A Beach Inspired Haven

I’ve had a fixation with beach-themed bathrooms for over a decade now, and love using shells and beach-themed décor as fun accents to remind me of the ocean and the beach. When I moved to a new residence this past January, I decided to really have fun with the beach theme, and I took it to the extreme.

One of the features I have displayed in my bathroom is a collection of clear containers which hold sand and shells from different beaches I have visited.  Included in this collection are sand and shell samples from Hawaii, Costa Rica, Bali, Thailand and the Maldives.  Whenever I look at my collection, I am transported back to those magical destinations which captured my heart and spirit.

Whenever I feel like escaping to an island getaway, but I am stuck in Los Angeles, I’ll take a bubble bath while surrounded by my sand and shell collection, lit candles, and starfish lights.  It’s a wonderful way for me to recharge and to surround myself with reminders of my favorite terrain.  I also love the fact that I finally have a full bathtub in my bathroom after 20 years of having shower stalls.  Whenever my schedule allows, I try to take a relaxing bath, which beats taking a quick shower any day.

Fit on the Fly: How to Work Out While Traveling

Check out this informative article by Sheila Olson of FitSheila.com

image via Pexels

Whether you have to travel for work or you are about to enjoy a vacation, spending time to improve your physical fitness while traveling should fit into your schedule. The more time you take off from your fitness regimen, the harder it will be to bounce back once you settle back into your normal life. That being said, traveling is a great opportunity to switch up your fitness routine and challenge your body to work in a new way. Exercise variety is key when it comes to burning fat and calories while improving other elements such as balance and flexibility.

Check out these tips on ways to incorporate workouts into your travel plans and itinerary so you can stay fit on the fly.

Try Out a Local Class

Boutique fitness studios are popping up everywhere nowadays; surely there are a few not too far from wherever you are staying. Scout out your options and walk in to see if they have any deals for first-time students. Often, these places offer the first class for free or at a discounted rate in hopes of encouraging the person to sign up for more.

When picking out a class to try, always lean toward the beginner’s level, even if you consider yourself fit. The latest fitness crazes always throw in some kind of twist to make them more difficult– like this Dallas studio that has you do basic bootcamp exercises, but on a suspended surfboard. You never know what you are going to get with a new class, so you might as well start out slowly.

Tour the Town

There is always something to explore, no matter where you are. And if there is something to explore, there is a way to do it while also breaking a sweat. If you have time to see the sights wherever you travel, get as much of them in as you can by running, skating, or biking around the area. Not only will you be fitting in a workout, but when you hit the pavement, you get a taste of what life is like for a local.

Even if you don’t have the time to burn running around the city, you can choose to be more active by walking wherever you need to go. While it doesn’t burn many calories, there are still health benefits to walking. Try to get at least 12,000 steps in each day– Plexus recommends tracking them with an app on your smartphone. Be sure to go the extra mile with the little things like taking the stairs instead of an elevator or getting off the subway one stop early if you have the time to stroll.

Eat Right

Diet is just as important as exercise, and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently. If you spend your travel time eating junk, it’s going to come back to haunt you once you are home. Maintaining a wholesome diet while you are on the road is really more important than fitting in exercise. If you walk a lot and eat well, you may lose some of your recent gym gains, but your bounce back will be swift.

● Avoid all processed foods and stick with snacks that are composed of a few ingredients at maximum. Some great options include fruit and nuts.

● Buy groceries and make your food rather than eating at restaurants. Food you make at home tends to have less fat, sugar, and sodium in it. Chefs tend to put those ingredients in their food to make you come back for more.

● If you are flying, bring an empty water bottle with you. Once you are through security, fill it up at the water fountain. Drink plenty of water throughout your trip to prevent dehydration.

***

Travel is no excuse to forgo fitness. Stay on top of your workout game by trying a new class and seeing the sights in a way that also breaks a sweat. Also, don’t neglect your diet while you travel. Eating a poor diet makes bouncing back that much more difficult when you get back on your fitness track at home.

Pack Your Meals! Tips On How To Succeed

containers-stacked-for-storageAnyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that I am consistent about packing clean meals and toting them around with me throughout the day. It can be cumbersome to pack food, especially when I know I will be out of the house for most of the day, but by doing so I have peace of mind knowing that I will be able to stay on track with my meal plan no matter what. Competitors and fitness professionals practice this habit and can attest to the power of clean eating in maintaining a sculpted, muscular physique.


However, I realize that many of you who do not compete or have an involvement in fitness may be wondering if there is any point to packing meals if you are an average person. There are a multitude of benefits to be gained from packing meals for the day:

• Portion Control – If you measure and weigh your portions before placing them into containers, you will have full control over your intake.

• Cooking Method – Steaming, baking, boiling, grilling and poaching are easy cooking methods which also enable you to prepare food without adding unnecessary fat.

• Save Money – By purchasing food at the grocery store and preparing it yourself, you will save a significant amount of money.

• Maintain A Low Sodium Diet – Restaurants often add significant amounts of sodium to enhance the flavor of their dishes. If you are trying to keep your sodium intake low, you are better off preparing your own food.

• Accommodate Medical Dietary Restrictions And Food Allergies – Restaurant meals may add ingredients which are forbidden from your meal plan due to medical conditions or food allergies. Instead of taking a risk, you are better off preparing your meals and packing them with you.

When I worked the Arnold Sports Festival Expo in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, I made sure to drink plenty of water, filling up my one liter container 3 to 4 times each day. I also brought my Hot Logic Mini with me (https://youtu.be/GQltYTRLTC4) and had meals from Icon Meals (https://iconmeals.com/) with me, and I made sure to consume a meal every 3 hours to keep my energy levels up. If you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you will find ways to stay in line!

I always recommend tempered glass storage containers over plastic, since heating up ingredients in most plastic containers carries a risk of deranging the plastic and releasing harmful chemicals into the food. I make an exception with BPA-free containers, and recommend the types which have locking lids to prevent leakage of food.
6-Pack-Bag_Details-small
The BEST meal packing system out there is made by Six Pack Bags:
https://www.sixpackbags.com/bags.html

By adopting the habit of packing your meals, you will be on the road to better health!

Consistency (Updated Post)

As a physician, I am as much a therapist as I am a physical healer, and am well aware of the vital connection between mind, spirit and body. I have also seen how closely linked emotional stress is to development and exacerbation of physical ailments. What concerns me is when people abandon healthy habits during times of adversity, because it is at those times that some structure would provide balance to their lives.

A common question I hear from patients, clients, and strangers I meet is, “How can you maintain a regular exercise schedule and pack your food all the time with your busy careers?”, to which I respond, “I just do it.” Working out and eating right are as essential to me as sleeping and brushing my teeth. It never occurs to me to abandon healthy habits during stressful times. I recently went through a particularly difficult month during which I took a rigorous board certification exam, went through a residential move, and traveled to four destinations (two for my medical career, two for fitness and bodybuilding) over a two week period. Though I didn’t work out my usual six days per week, I did manage to train four to five days per week, every single week. The regular workouts gave me structure and balance which helped me to burn off some of the stress I was under, regulated my sleep cycle, and just plain felt good. In addition, I traveled with clean foods and lots of water, packing them and making sure I stayed on track.

Why would I push myself like this? Because I know that consistency is key to maintaining balance in one’s life. When I am consistent with my workouts and food, I maintain structure and focus and do not allow excuses of an insanely busy schedule to deter me from my mission to live an optimally healthy lifestyle. I know that if I were to deviate from a healthy lifestyle, I wouldn’t have the energy to push through my to-do list, and I certainly wouldn’t be very happy either. No matter whether I am traveling, working, or enjoying a rare free day for myself, I make sure to invest in myself every single day.

When I worked the Arnold Sports Festival Expo in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, I made sure to drink plenty of water, filling up my one liter container 3 to 4 times each day. I also brought my Hot Logic Mini with me (https://youtu.be/GQltYTRLTC4) and had meals from Icon Meals with me, and I made sure to consume a meal every 3 hours to keep my energy levels up. If you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you will find ways to stay in line!

If you make an investment in yourself by being consistent with your exercise and meal habits, you will be rewarded with greater balance in your life and better health. Don’t you deserve that?

The Challenges Of Traveling: How to Eat Clean and Train While On The Road

It can be extremely challenging to adhere to regular training and healthy eating habits while traveling. As if that wasn’t enough, the impending holiday season presents even more of a challenge because of the indulgent foods which emerge. That is why some die-hard fitness people are resistant to travel, and are almost terrified of the holidays. And while it is possible to stay on track with workouts and food while traveling, foraging for fitness resources like a gym to work out at and places which carry clean food selections can range from frustrating to impossible.

With a little determination, it is definitely possible to exercise regularly and eat clean when traveling. The guidelines listed here will give you a blueprint which you can use to manage and stay on track with your fitness goals.

WORKOUTS ON THE ROAD

A little creativity can go a long way in figuring out ways to get your daily workouts while on the road. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of what is available to you when you are traveling.

1. Search for gyms in the area before you travel. Once you know your travel destination, you can do an online search of the area to find gyms and fitness centers. In some cases, hotels have very nice fitness centers which are fully equipped with free weights and exercise machines.

2. Try hotel room workouts. It is always possible to create intense workouts in any location by performing body weight exercises, exercises with resistance bands, and mat work. Resistance bands are lightweight and can easily be thrown into a suitcase.

3. Train outdoors. In most cases, you should be able to find a local park or school in which you can perform body weight exercises, plyometrics, calisthenics, stairclimbing, running, etc. You can use park benches or ledges for your workouts as well. Get creative, and keep up the intensity to get your body moving and the blood pumping!

FIT FOODS WHILE TRAVELING

Whether you are a seasoned competitor who is accustomed to following a strict meal plan, someone who wants to adopt healthier eating habits, or battling excess body weight, you may find it very difficult to pass up regular restaurant meals, fast foods, and holiday treats while on the road. The holidays can be especially brutal, since evil culinary temptations abound and threaten to sabotage any efforts at maintaining clean eating habits.

If you aren’t on prep, you can still indulge in small amounts of rich foods which are not considered clean as long as your other foods are healthy and clean. This means that your abs don’t have to hibernate during the holidays. However, if you compete and have competitions coming up, you can’t exactly throw caution to the wind and consume whatever you want. You will need to keep a tight rein on what you consume while traveling, a feat which is challenging, but which can be done.

Here are some tips to keep you in line with clean eating while traveling.

1. Invest in a great food cooler bag. A food cooler bag will enable you to enjoy your trip without having to worry about what you will eat throughout the day.

2. Make sure your meal plan is balanced. Don’t use traveling or the holidays as an excuse to rationalize bad food choices! Eat enough protein each day to keep you feeling full and fed so that hunger pangs are kept at bay, and drink plenty of water.

3. Prep your meals in advance. If you prep your own meals, you will have total control over ingredients, cooking method and portion sizes. Once you have prepared your food, store single serving sizes in individual containers or bags which are easy to pack. Freeze the food you will eat during your trip, and refrigerate the food which you will eat on the day you travel to your destination.

4. Ask the hotel for a refrigerator in your room. In most cases, hotels can supply a refrigerator upon request.

5. Consider a meal prep service. Meal prep services can be a blessing because they take the hassle of having to prep food out of the equation, and they can deliver directly to your destination.

6. Pack emergency fit foods. Non-perishable foods like protein powder, protein bars and nuts can be easily packed into your luggage and will ensure that you have backup food.

7. Consider staying in a room with a kitchenette. You can visit a local market, purchase fresh food, and prepare it in your hotel room.

8. Explore local produce and clean food selections in the area. Most countries tend to consume whole foods, so as long as you avoid sauces, you can often find clean dishes to eat.

9. Consume a small amount of lean protein right before you have a carb cheat. This will slow down digestion so that the carbs aren’t stored as readily.

10. Drink at least eight ounces of water before you indulge in a decadent treat. This will help to fill you up so you consume less food afterward.

11. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. If you have a holiday feast to attend, make sure to eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours beforehand to ensure that you won’t be ravenous come party time.

12. Don’t cave in to peer pressure. Sometimes family and friends can sabotage clean meal plans by convincing others to eat forbidden foods. If you find yourself in such a situation, you need to ask yourself if it is worth unraveling your healthy eating habits in order to appease a relative or buddy.

New Vino D. Shootout Locations

Vino Darius Calloway has outdone himself again, with new shoot locations for the Vino D. Utah Shootout for next June! I had the opportunity to shoot at these new locations last month, so I wanted to provide the models with some tips on how to prepare for them.

INFINITE TATTOO AND ART GALLERY:

This awesome location is in downtown Ogden, which is about an hour away from Park City. It’s a great place to shoot in if the weather doesn’t cooperate, and most of the shoot locations are inside the building. Infinite Tattoo and Art Gallery is a tattoo parlor, an art gallery, and a barber shop, and is filled with great furniture, art pieces, and outdoor murals. There is a lot of red and burgundy in this establishment, so colors which pop against red tones work best in this location. If Vino chooses this location, you will most likely leave the house late, perhaps around 3 pm, since you would be able to shoot until around 9 pm during the summer.

MOAB:

Moab was an amazing find, and though it is quite far from Park City, it is well worth the long drive. Moab is a four hour trek from Park City, situated in the southeast border of Utah, and is blessed with the warmest temperatures, making it a great shoot location if mother nature decides to fling some cold weather and wicked wind around Utah. Prepare to leave the house around noon. Once wrapped at this location, you ladies won’t return to the house until 1 am or later! Be sure to pack food for this long trip. Restroom facilities are VERY scarce in Moab, so be prepared to wrap a beach towel around you and find a bush to crouch behind to do your business. I always recommend carrying some tissue or a roll of toilet paper with you for those situations.

Shot at Infinite Tattoo and Art Gallery

Moab has some beautiful spots to shoot in, with panoramic canyon views, but the silt is slippery, there are rocks, twigs and brambles everywhere, and broken glass also litters some spots. For these reasons, it is imperative that you wear rubber-soled shoes or aqua shoes while climbing around in those areas! Keep your eyes open for any broken glass, and hold on to sturdy branches while climbing up and down the embankments.

You might be thinking that it would be better to avoid drinking any fluids, just so you can minimize your restroom breaks, but with the hot weather, you should hydrate throughout the day. Bring water with you to drink while traveling in the van. Every day that I was in Utah for the 2017 Shootout, I drank close to a gallon of water. My skin looked great as a result, and I didn’t have any issues with belly bloat.

It’s also a good idea to carry some extra water which you can use to rinse your feet and legs when at Moab, Salt Flats or Little Sahara.

Moab, Salt Flats, Little Sahara and the marina can get VERY windy. If you have long hair, I recommend shooting so that you are facing the oncoming wind. This way, you’ll avoid having your hair whip in your face and ruin the shots. I also recommend putting your hair in a very durable style, such as crimped waves which won’t unravel when the wind blows. Use a good setting spray to hold your hairstyle in place.

The sun’s rays can be brutal on location, so make sure you slather on sunblock, and use sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun. If you shoot without sunglasses, and you have difficulty with squinting while facing the sun, close your eyes and have the photographer count to three, then open your eyes for the shot.