In need of a body, mind, soul uplift? Here are three books I have on my bookshelf that give me just that! I turn to these three time and time again. Easy reads, insightful boosts.Read More
We now often find ourselves trusting the fate of our bodies in the hands of someone with an "ideal" body. With today's technology and endless opportunity, anybody can become a self-taught personal trainer, a self-taught chef and a self-taught business owner.
Instagram is filled with people who post healthy recipes, fit selfies, and life quotes (I'm guilty of all of this haha). And followers go on to trust everything they see.
It's easy to find people who love to eat healthy and are dedicated to hitting the gym. Healthy living is the new "thing". Nowadays, it seems more convenient to turn to these people for answers than having to pay for a certified trainer or a gym membership.
We see someone who has a "perfect" body and trust that he or she knows what is best for us. When in reality, you know better about what is best for you than anyone else ever will.
Think about it. We all have different body types, different eating habits, and different genetics. Just because you're following the same routine as this person with this "perfect" body does not mean that you are going to get the same results. Does the person truly know how to adjust what he or she is teaching you according to what is best for your body type, your habits? Are they taking YOU into consideration?
Cooking and baking has always been a passion of mine. I started stirring things up in the kitchen the moment I picked up a spoon. Creating a healthy diet was through personal sensitivities towards many foods. I was never an athlete nor was I ever really a gym rat up until I entered college. Four years later, I have experimented with many different exercising routines and workouts. I learned a lot and I love sharing what I know with others.
Now that I am sometimes seen as this "self taught person" on Instagram (and I wouldn't say self taught because I learned a lot from others) I always say... I can help you learn the basic do's and don'ts of working out, I can show you my exercise routines, I can teach you how to cook healthy alternatives (and even improvising with what's currently in your pantry), I can help you figure out some sort of schedule where you can make time to make these adjustments but I always make it clear that I am no professional, neither are many other people on the internet. I can only help you as far as my knowledge lets me and your efforts take you. I will not make myself to be someone who can transform you.
I don't know your body as well as you do. Nobody does.
Too often I see people desperate for results or change that they trust others with their health.
My biggest advice is listen to your body. Your body lets you know when it's hurting. It lets you know when it doesn't welcome a certain food or movement. Your body cares for and loves you. It loves you so much it eventually starts adjusting itself for you and you can note these changes. Love your body in return! Listen to what it's telling you and act on it.
Your body is already perfect as it is because it was made to suit YOU. Your body understands you, it knows what is good and what is bad for you. No other body would be able to cater to you like your own. Understanding this makes you recognize that you really shouldn't want someone else's body.
Never would middle school or high school me imagine me say this but... I love my body! I've come to learn that it is like no other. It is constantly adjusting itself for me. My body will never be like that "perfect" woman's body on Instagram but mine is just as worthy of love, confidence and care. After years of self criticism and comparison, I have come to realize that all along I already had the perfect body because it is mine.
You see, you already have your ideal body because it is yours! You just have to discover it.
You know how we are nowadays. We're on our phones, scrolling through our Instagram and Twitter pages, clicking on one link, leading to another and eventually we find ourselves going through the personal lives of some stranger in another state (if that doesn't happen to you I'm going to feel like a total creeper).
So loooong ago, I stumbled upon @fitalicious_me on Instagram and instantly started following her.
I'm fortunate, yes fortunate, enough to say that I've been following her long enough to have seen her growth and her journey over the course of time.
Today (July 19), something I had dreamed of happening since I first recognized her, I met her! I want to start off by saying that she is a breath of fresh air! If you think she is beautiful on Instagram, she is twice in person (inside and out)! My "interview" with Vevian was one that I've enjoyed the most because I could feel her simplicity and her genuineness (and I put interview in quotations because it felt more like a relaxed conversation).
Now off to the recognition.
Vevian Vozmediano and I met at a cafe in Manhattan Beach, CA, one of her favorite getaways. Can't say it isn't a nice area! Very posh, we agreed. It'd be a dream to live in the area! The only thing is that, she has yet to spot a good grocery store and if you follow Vevian, you know she is smart savvy when it comes to creating recipes and it not being pricey! One of the many reasons why people enjoy following her.
Another reason, is that Vevian shares her life with her Instagram followers! She is open and real. As her Instagram started to reach a large following, which is something she never expected to happen, she was having quite a journey (and very much still is).
Vevian pursued being a massage therapist for six years. Which caused her family to tell her that she should open up a salon with her sisters since one of her sisters was a hair dresser and the other was a nail tech! What a salon that would be! I know I would visit. Lol.
She then became a household maid/nanny for a family for seven years! This is where the cooking all started. The family has asked her if she knew how to cook, and she did because she grew up cooking Middle Eastern foods with her mother, it just wasn't something she did everyday. Her job description included having to cook them dinner, snacks and all of the above! As she began to cook everyday, it's safe to say she became obsessed with it!
Having moved to Chicago, she came out with her first e-book (which came from a blog that she used to have) on December 24, 2012 titled "Bake Shop." Following that she created a project that allowed her to live with 23 families all over the country last year (2013), "Project Fit Nation." With these families she helped cook, grocery shop, and work out with, only asking that they pay for her flight. Being the fearless woman she is, upon her return to Chicago she decided to move again to her now current home in Huntington Beach, CA.
All the while, she was sharing her life with us via Instagram. Everything from her past negative experiences, her self image, her family, her ex-husband to whom she referred to as her "gray cloud," her road trip from Chicago to California, her new found love and husband, and, of course, her healthy recipes.
Now, she inspires thousands of people daily! People reach out to her for all kinds of advice from fitness and health to personal. "It's crazy," she says.
Vevian displays her e-mail to the public purposefully because she loves reading e-mails and she gets them everyday! She not only gets e-mails from people who desire to lose weight or need help with workout routines, "I get e-mails from women that have lost hope in their love life, I've gotten e-mails from women that are in second marriages that are miserable, relationships that are miserable, girls with eating disorders, they are at a dead end job and ask me how I changed my life," she continued, "young girls to women who are old enough to be my mother, it's all over the place. It's all over the place, it's not just like this one generic person out there that reaches out to me.
"I mean, it's almost daily I get these really, really long e-mails people are telling me literally their whole life story and it's overwhelming sometimes to be honest, 'cause I'm just a normal person like you."
Could you imagine? Getting e-mails from thousands of strangers that you've never met who spill all these personal details to you asking for help.
"At the end of the day I tell people I'm not a therapist, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a dietitian, or a nutritionist or not even a personal trainer," she adds.
"I can only tell you so much but what I tell you, it might work for me, might not work for you. And I always tell people to just try, try everything. If they even have a 'oh I think I might want to do this' why haven't you done it yet? What's stopping you from actually doing it? Whether it's like moving, changing jobs, dumping your boyfriend, like what is stopping you? And I feel like at the end of the day so many people are stuck in a rut that they just don't do it. Like I said, I know I would probably be somewhere here in California even if I didn't have an Instagram account but all I'm doing is just sharing my life, just constantly sharing, sharing, sharing and it's brought me here."
Vevian would still have made changes in her life even if her Instagram didn't become what it's become. She made it a point to say that. "It changed because I wanted it to change. It wasn't 'cause Instagram or money or anything. I moved just like anybody else [would have] wanted to move. Even if I didn't have an Instagram I feel like I would still be here in California," (got rudely interrupted by the Starbucks blender, lol), "I don't feel social media has brought me to California," she repeated.
That's another reason why people enjoy following Vevian. If she wants it, she goes and gets it. She makes things happen and it shows!
"I never expected my Instagram to have a large following, I just feel like I got it at the right time," said Vevian. The only true opportunity she feels like she has gotten from her now large fan based Instagram profile is the ability to share her life. People misconstrue the popularity she has gained from social media to where people make many false assumptions. "People think that we have all these special opportunites but no, unless you're sponsored, unless something happens to you, no. But yeah, I make a living off my e-books," she said. Now she's coming out with her seventh recipe e-book which was originally going to be called "Five Ingredient Dishes" but now... she's aiming more towards "Almost Five Ingredients."
Most of her recipes will consist of only five ingredients but "I'd be cheating myself if I just called it five ingredients," she mentioned, "'cause I want everything I do to be awesome so I'm like how about we call it "Almost Five Ingredients." She wants people to have options to add more things to each dish. Which, to me, sounds ideal!
Vevian never shares food to the public that she doesn't think is delicious, recipes that aren't perfect, or company brands that she believes aren't worth your money. She stays true to herself and genuine to you.
When it comes to her future aspirations, one of her long time goals was (and still is) to publish her very own cook book by the time she's 35 (she's currently 34). And although that might not happen as soon as she had wished, it's still on her To Do list.
Vevian said she needs "a publishing company to see me or recommend me or something like that. That would be ideal." Even though she feels like people don't really even buy cookbooks anymore, she just wants to be able to have all her recipes in one book, a book she can hold! "It's not even for the intention of becoming famous, a famous author, or be like Rachel Ray, being all over the world, it would just be this tangible thing that's something that I'm so passionate about and now it's all together in a book, " she said. The cookbook would also include her story on how Instagram has allowed her and inspired her to come up with all her recipes, all her collaborations. Everything from what she's posted on Instagram, to her e-books and even along with families that she visited all last year. I'll tell you what... I'd definitely go purchase that.
Aside from publishing a cook book, a show of some sort has her interest too. It wouldn't be like any other cooking show though, it would be interactive! "Cooking with people," said Vevian, "to teach them how to cook healthy yet affordable. Reaching out to people on different levels." She adds, "Mine would be like I'm over... a lady I just met at the grocery store and she's having girlfriends over and they're all dealing with different weight loss, they're trying to go on diets... families that have busy schedules, I'll go in there and show them how to do a real simple dinner, maybe do like things for their kids."
As of her short future, she's doing a photo shoot for Lululemon in Newport this week and she's very excited for it. It'll be on the beach! So be on the lookout for Lululemon's Facebook page to see Vevian sporting some awesome athletic ware.
Her biggest piece of advice:
"I think [we're] being sabotaged [by ourselves] when we want to do so much and whether it's just putting yourself out there, going for a job that you think you're not qualified for or whether it's that guy across the hallway that you think is too good looking for you to talk to or vice-versa or, I mean seriously, whether it's that dress that you're looking at and you think it wouldn't look good on you. I feel like there's so many things that we're just so afraid of doing, that if we just stepped out of our comfort zone and actually take that step to actually do it, there's so much more to," she paused for a brief moment, "It's just around the corner, if you just take that one step and actually do it. We're just so... we sabotage ourselves so much just by overthinking, over and over and overthinking that like... I just put myself out there and just [being] like 'you know what, I'm just going to do it.'
"If it's bad, if it turns out wrong, then at least I can say that I tried but I feel like there's some people that... just put yourself out there! What's the worst that can happen? Rejection? Not being able to deal with it, you know, at least, I'd rather have something not work out for me, that I tried than for me to be like 'I wonder if' like five years from now. I'm only going to get older. Things are not going to change if I don't take that step."
When it comes to happiness and staying positive:
"I have very negative people in my life and it's all about actually just having a wall and just not even allowing those people to get to you and at the end of the day, we all make our own decisions and all you can do is show love towards those people but if they refuse your love then you can't... you know you just have to move on. Even if it's your friends that you grew up with, your family, your parents."
"Dessert. I don't even care about real food I'll just eat dessert all day."
Back in the day:
"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was younger, no idea. I actually wanted to go to art school. I liked art. I still love art... paintings, sculptures. But I knew my parents wouldn't allow me to do such things."
"I like the ocean but I don't like going in the ocean. I like the way it looks, I love the beach but I don't like going in the ocean. Especially here in California because you can't see the floor. Like if you were in Florida you can actually see the floor a little bit more, a little bit better there."
"I'm afraid of fish. I'll never go snorkling or scubadiving."
"Life and people that reach out to me on a daily basis on Instagram."
All in all, at the end of the day Vevian is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary passion. She found her talent, her purpose and is sharing it with the world. I like to call her "a breath of fresh air."
People ask me how I find these inspirational people and you know... I just have my eyes open and stumble upon them! These people are all around us. I was scrolling through Instagram, you know the usual, and I see a post about free workouts and paying it forward, so I decided to do a little stalking and found myself here, writing about Beast Fit Nation™ and sharing it with you.
The Beast Fit Co-CEO/ Trainer for Tucson/Phoenix, AZ - Lyle Brown
Born in Texas, lived in Mississippi and Colorado, Lyle Brown is one of the fitness trainers for the non-profit Beast Fit Nation™. With a full ride scholarship for the University of Arizona, this graduate began looking for another route, something new! One year later he became a part of Beast Fit through his friend in Portland Sergio Jones (the founder of Beast Fit Nation™). Lyle met Sergio from a friend while in school back in Montana. He was always known for giving good workouts and was always good at leading. As they spent more time together, Lyle looked up to him, becoming a big brother figure.
Beast Fit Nation™ kept (keeps) progressing, getting bigger and bigger. Putting their minds together, both Sergio and Lyle had (have) good visions and ideas for it. It has been around for about three years and Lyle has been doing it for almost a year and a half.
They won't just have anybody train others. They seek someone with good influence. Someone who represents the entirety of Beast Fit Nation™. This ensures the members to not only have a beast workout but also leave feeling good about themselves and inspired to help others in the community!
Sometimes Beast Fit Tucson will have 2 people, sometimes it will have 20 people in attendance. But nevertheless, Lyle is always there giving his 100%. Trying to bring the pay it forward concept, they're incorporating their passion for fitness and being kind.
No, they will not be tracking you down making sure you do three random acts of kindness, it's all about integrity. Sometimes Beast Fit will have group sessions, where they do stuff together, organize something. The planning behind workouts occurs the morning of for Lyle by deciding which muscle groups he would like to hit. He likes to provide full body workouts each session. Also, keeping in mind if any of the members have any personal goals. He alternates the times according to the sunset, which is usually around 5-7 pm here in Arizona. They enjoy watching the sunset while working out with the music playing. "It feels good to make an impact," he mentions, "I've met so many people."
What does the future hold for Beast Fit Nation™?
"Our goal is to be in every city in the US. We teamed up with WakeUpNow, giving us a financial advantage. It is hard to expand without money. With more network, we have more connections by bringing the WakeUpNow family and the Beast Fit family. We want to make an impact everywhere. As it keeps growing we want to open up our own gym, giving free workouts. The goal is to change the status-quo of the fitness industry. Provide a moral obligation instead of financial obligation. Being able to stay fit without having to worry about money."
What does fitness and being kind mean to Lyle?
"Fitness can be bigger than it is. It means staying healthy. Fitness is a big part of life," explains Lyle. "Kindness is to be able to do stuff out of the ordinary. Not always just thinking of yourself, but bettering someone else."
Beast Fit Arizona is currently postponed until June 4th. There will be more music, a bigger boombox, more equipment, and Beast Fit gear. Every year Beast Fit Nation™ sits back, reflects and comes back two to three weeks later. Building from bottom up, one step at a time. Stay tuned for documentary videos filmed by Jonathan Martin, founder of Black Socks Production, with the Wake Up Now movement through out summer!
Lyle's most valuable/biggest lesson learned:
"Giving back, how much of a difference it makes. How you can help people, not be so selfish in certain situations."
No excuses! Free workouts held by Lyle Brown at Himmel Park in Tucson, AZ! Pay it forward with three random acts of kindness instead of paying a membership fee.
THURSDAY-SATURDAY at 5 PM
Click on one of the buttons below for more info!
Those of you who read my #FeelGood14 blog post know that one of my Feel Good goals for 2014 is to transform my personal Instagram page into an inspirational fitness transformation of myself by "nurturing my body". This goal was inspired by my diagnose of having kidney stones in late November. Yes, I am only 20 years old and I can already say that I have had kidney stones. Words cannot explain how excruciating the pain was when the stone was making its way from my kidney to my bladder. I literally feel like I can endure any other pain I come by and I am near to invincible now.
This kidney stone could not have had worst timing. I was studying for finals, taking finals, finishing up my Fall semester in college, getting ready to enjoy Winter Break, trying to get over an ex, just got a new job, going to start training for a fight (I box) and was awaiting the arrival of my family from Mexico who I had not seen in 2 years. Lord have mercy. Lets just say, it did not go at all how I had planned.
Both my parents had kidney stones (God bless my father who had them more than once) but I had never known how severely painful they are when you have them. My mom even said its worse than childbirth, looks like I am ready to pop a baby (NOT). Anyways, I went from feeling like I was in my best shape and health ever to the worst shape I have ever been in a matter of three weeks.
Around 3 in the morning Thanksgiving day, I awake to such an unfamiliar feeling in my abdominal area and the feeling started to progress as the minutes passed. I found myself unable to lay in bed and burst into tears as I start pacing my bedroom. I then decided I must call my mother to take me to the hospital and after that night... everything went downhill.
I had a consistent dull yet sharp pain that went from my lower back to my abdomen that made me almost immobile in my whole left side of my body and forced me to become the hunchback of Notre Dame. The unbearable pain would come and go but soon enough I became almost slaved to it solely because suffering 3 hours in the ER waiting room no longer seemed like an option so I would just bear it at home, alone. It would last about 2-4 hours each time. I then just relied on prayer.
First off let me begin by saying that I only went to work for a day and that was it. And I submitted final essays like a good dedicated student that wont let a thing get in the way of their education (still were probably some of the worst essays I have ever written). I lost my appetite, could no longer hold any food or beverage down, vomiting some days over 8 times a day, couldn't sleep (laying down comfortably was impossible), had a very pale complexion, became weak, did not exercise AT ALL... not even a walk from my room to the kitchen, talking became too much of an effort, cried hopelessly and life was grey. Because they had me on around 7 pills a day: I would last a whole week without going to the bathroom (if ya know what I mean), broke out like crazy, became even weaker, got blurred vision, lost my sense of taste, was always extremely tired and I just shutdown. One day (the most painful one), I looked in the mirror and literally came to terms in my own head that I might die. I lost myself.
Over eight trips to the hospital, two months, two surgery's, and one stint later... I stand here. Writing to you that although this was by far the most painful, extensive, weakening experiences of my life... it was also one of the most awakening, inspiring, life changing experiences. It guided me to faith, strengthened my love, and made me grateful for my health in all aspects.
I lost 10 pounds of hard earned muscle, am starting from square one in the gym, and have slowly regained my appetite. But I am beyond motivated (even more now that I am making it public) to come back even stronger! I am excited to share this journey through my personal Instagram page, as I will also post healthy recipes I both create and discover as well as people I meet along the way!
Also* please feel free to ask me any questions about kidney stones, my experience, or my goal... as there is much more to the story!