Fighting to be Fit…3 Years later!!

 

I’m about a week late but…Happy 3-year Blogiversary to all of us!! Thank you all for your continued support as we Fight to be Fit!

I had big plans for this little blog last year but life had different ideas. 2016 was a rough year for most of us…and I was no exception. I suffered a major setback with my health, in the form of severe chronic fatigue and the reappearance of my PCOS symptoms. On top of that, my shoulder finally gave out on me & I had no choice but to undergo surgery. It’s been a really long road…but I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

For starters, I’m officially 3-months post op! Although I still have pain, I’m 1000% better than I was before. My range of motion isn’t perfect but it’s definitely improved. I’m finally able to raise my arms above my head without pain, which is something I haven’t been able to do in over two years! Despite my progress, I get in my head a lot. I think about how hard I worked and where I was before this injury happened. My workouts have resumed but they are nothing like they once were. It’s a huge adjustment mentally but I’m trying my very best to focus on the positives. I may not be able to lift heavy or do the exercises I once loved, but I will be able to soon. Deep down I know that if I push myself too far too soon, I will only make matters worse…and set myself back even further.

As far as my health goes, I have good and bad days. My chronic fatigue has gotten much better, which I believe is due in large part to a supplement called Adrenal Restore. That shit is magic. I wrote a whole review about it last year…and everything still holds true today. My PCOS symptoms have been horrible. I’ve developed pretty debilitating migraines, which sent me to the ER earlier in the year. All things considered though, that’s been mostly under control and since that episode have rarely happened.

The surgery mixed with my health issues definitely set me back with my weight loss. I gained back a good 20lbs over the last year….and it definitely wasn’t muscle. I went from weighing over 200lbs to getting myself ripped to something in the middle.

I won’t pretend that I’m happy about the setbacks or that I’m proud of where I’m at. However, despite my physical setbacks I learned that mentally I’m stronger than ever. Sure I have bad days like everyone else…but rather than get discouraged by the bad I’m using it as motivation. I know if I keep working hard and stick to a (mostly) clean diet, I will see great results. Hell, I’m already seeing some drastic improvements!

November 2016 >> December 2016


Being on a weight loss journey really teaches you the art of patience…and about yourself. We are all much stronger than we know and it’s not until we are truly put to the test that we realize our full potential. That being said, I won’t make any elusive promises or grand gestures as we go into our 4th year. My goal is simple: continue to inspire all of you reading and give you all hope that no matter how hard life gets or what obstacles you face, it IS possible. After all, nothing worth having comes easy 🙂

Let’s all continue this Fight to be Fit together throughout 2017…& beyond!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

 

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Staying True to ME

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It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. Truthfully, I took a step back. The goal of this blog is and always has been to share my story and hopefully inspire others with similar struggles. Somehow that has gotten away from me. I got really caught up in low viewership and rather than stick to my original purpose, I became defeated. We live in an age driven by likes on social media and often we get away from the truest forms of ourselves. Well, I noticed that happening and decided to re-evaluate everything.

I am taking this back to where it should have gone. Now that I’m a certified personal trainer and am working on my nutrition certification as well, I’ve decided to clean this blog up a bit. As I look back on my posts I realize they seem to read like a diary. So that’s where the change will happen. I will still post some of my experiences along with the occasional product review but I want to stick to posting about nutritional advice and various workout/training tips. It will still be my own spin on things because the advice and tips I give will be, in large part, driven from my own experience(s). After all, what separates me from other trainers isn’t so much my knowledge but my lifetime of experience. None of us are reinventing the wheel but I’ve been there…and sometimes I still am there. So, this blog will continue to be about just that…minus the dear diary moments. I’ve said in the past I wanted to be more consistent but this time I will stick to it…and there WILL be a post every week. I want to help as many people as possible so I hope that by sharing my story and including some education, someone out there can say that I really have inspired them.

Lastly, I will be including some of my personal training/online coaching specials on here, in order to create a broader outreach. I promise to not turn this into a sales page however I do want to share the offers (which are presently on social media) with my blog viewers. This is the current special that I’m running for the summer:

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For questions regarding anything on this blog including training or coaching, you can email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com.

Until next week, stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

 

Exercise & Invisible Illness

 

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Anyone who suffers from an invisible illness can testify to the effect that it has on you, mentally & physically.

I suffer from two different invisible illnesses, PCOS & CFS. The PCOS has been under control for many years however I have been experiencing a very bad flare-up…which has caused my CFS to go mad. The combination has caused my workouts to stop, my weight to rise, and my mind to go bonkers. Let’s back up a bit so I can explain better.

Unbeknownst to me, the  (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) began in high school. I would get extremely sick every month and end up sent home from school, doubled over in pain. Soon after my graduation I went for my first ob-gyn appointment, and learned that there was a reason for my misery. I was placed on birth control and, barring some issues along the way, have mostly been fine ever since. Until now. Up until recently, I have not had the insurance to warrant my regular exams or medication. The results have my weight sky rocketing, my sugar cravings going absolutely MAD, my hormones completely out of whack, my skin breaking out like a teenager,  and my lower back in chronic discomfort. The more research I do, the more I realize I have been suffering with various symptoms of this all along but since the pain was gone, I had no idea. It also seems that some of my stomach problems may be linked to this. While there is no concrete evidence, I’m finding that the “PCOS-friendly” diet is actually the diet that helped my stomach most when I followed it a while back. While I do follow the high protein/low carb diet, I have been on sugar overload. Now I may love candy but even I can admit that my cravings have been out of control lately. All of this has my wheels turning and thinking that perhaps PCOS has been the cause of all of my health issues all along…but since it is not a proven fact I will just let that be for now. What I can say is that the PCOS, combined with my insane stress levels, have caused my CFS to run wild.

CFS, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is something that is very hard to explain…and even more difficult for people to understand. There are no visible signs. Your body aches as though you have a very high fever or the flu and you get extremely tired and feel this overwhelming sense of fatigue that no amount of sleep seems to cure. Your immune system also gets significantly weakened with CFS. Some days it just feels like my body is fighting a losing battle within itself.

With the combination PCOS & CFS wreaking havoc on my body, my exercise routine has taken a BIG hit. So much so, that my Summertime Shred has been put on hold. It’s been really hard on me mentally but I know it’s for the best. I have been doing my best to follow a very good (PCOS-friendly) diet and exercise whenever possible, but it’s still taking a toll on me.

Often times people who suffer from CFS feel as though they don’t have the energy for simple tasks such as going to work or taking a shower. That’s exactly where I’m at. Lately just getting myself out of bed has been a chore in and of itself. However, seeing how much you can accomplish and improve over time by exercising can be a big motivator and a way to feel better, both physically and mentally. I am doing my best to get some type of exercise in every day, no matter how little it may be.

A common trend that came up in my research for both CFS & PCOS is that of walking & yoga. Both seem to be exercises that are extremely effective and favorable to both illnesses. As the weather gets warmer (HELLOOO SPRING!!), I have been incorporating walks more & more into my daily routine. Despite the fact that I am not the biggest fan of walking, it does make me feel good to get my body moving. Since it seems to be working well for my body, I find myself doing this most often.

I have also found myself stretching a lot more. I’ve tried to take advantage of the foam rollers around me and, while I have never been the biggest yogi, I’ve also been using several yoga poses to help with managing the aches & pains. It has been proven that certain yoga poses promote hormonal balance and deep relaxation, which help to bring the adrenal and cortisol levels of otherwise stressed-out PCOS minds and bodies in check, while assisting in healing from chronic inflammation. The more my lower back hurts, the more I find myself gravitating towards this practice. Right now I’m doing some of the stretches/poses myself however, I may be trying out some yoga classes (or dusting off my old SkinnyGirl dvd) one day very soon.

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If you are like me and have grown accustomed to a structured strength training regimen, having chronic pain & fatigue can be torture. However, I have found that resistance bands, in all their simplistic glory, are quite the amazing resource in such times. The bands are designed to keep your strength training up with as little impact & intensity as possible. Your muscles will feel as though they had a monster workout but you are actually putting in half the effort you normally would.

I have also found in my research…and my own experience…that it is often easier to divide daily exercise into two sessions, to avoid symptom flare-ups. Activity may be alternating and brief, spread throughout the day and/or followed by rest. If you experience a worsening of symptoms, you should return to the most recent manageable level of activity.

It’s important to keep in mind the following when beginning a workout routine, under the stress of any chronic pain/illness:

  • The more gentle the exercise, the better it will likely be for you. It may seem like you are doing nothing (especially at first) however it’s important to ease into a new routine that will suit your current needs.
  • Start slow – It’s not about the ego! I’m guilty of trying to do more than my body will allow but it’s critical to monitor your symptoms and adjust your workouts accordingly.
  • Push yourself to get moving, but don’t push yourself to do more until you know you’re ready. You want to make sure you get your body going…but not overdo it to the point you make a bad situation worse.
  • Expect some setbacks – you’ll need to experiment to find your current level of tolerance.
  • Remember that exertion comes in all forms. Don’t try to exercise on a day that you’re also going to the grocery store or doing something else that’s strenuous.
  • Take breaks when you need them, but don’t give up! The payoff could be less pain, more energy and a better quality of life.

**Note: Many people who suffer from chronic illness/pain are so ill they can barely get out of bed, let alone leave their home. In this instance, there should be a very modified & careful approach to exercise. Hand stretches and picking up/grasping objects may be all that can be managed at first. Gradually increasing activity to the point where you can handle essential activities of daily living such as getting up, personal hygiene and dressing would be the next step. Those in this situation, should focus on improving flexibility and minimizing the impact of deconditioning so they can slowly increase function enough to manage basic activities.

I always struggle with sharing my setbacks on here and on my Instagram but the goal has always been to inspire others by sharing my story…no matter how good or bad it may be. I want you all to see that no matter how hard things get and whatever life throws your way – it IS possible. I have been feeling really defeated lately, especially as I am trying to build a fitness business. However, I know that I work hard and I will get myself back to looking AND feeling good soon enough. As a matter of fact, I have recently obtained insurance and have already begun taking the necessary steps to alleviate this whole mess! I may not be able to crank out my own crazy workouts right now but that doesn’t mean I can’t help others achieve their goals. I know how hard this journey is and I know what it takes to succeed. I have always said that nothing worth having comes easy – and this is by far the biggest test of that. The best advice I can give anyone (including myself) is to take it one day at a time…one step at a time…and above all, just keep going!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

When in Doubt, WORK IT OUT!

Well…it had to happen sometime I guess. Winter has come in full force and brought a blizzard with it. I hate the cold weather but living in NY it’s sadly part of life. If you are like me and go completely NUTS being stuck inside – work it out! Press pause on your literal “Netflix & chill” kinda day and get moving! Hell, you can even keep your favorite show or movie running as you do it. It’s a total no-brainer.

For starters, most of us have some sort of shoveling to do. As much as we all complain, it really is an amazing workout…so get outside and do it! Besides completing your shoveling duties for the day (or the hour), there are plenty of indoor workouts that can keep you moving. My favorite? HIIT! Nothing is better for fat burning and total body toning than High Intensity Interval Training. While these are typically done on a treadmill, I’ve created several HIIT circuit workouts that can be done anywhere…with little to no equipment necessary!

Here are just few to get you off the couch…and working up a good sweat. Try them out and let me know what you think!!

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Use any flight of steps in your house for this one:

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This one targets the booty and it can be done with either of the above circuits. I did this one last night and trust me – it’s NO joke:

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Last, but not least, ABS! This can be done anytime…anywhere…with any or all of the above workouts. This is one of my personal at-home ab routines…& it’s a killer!:wp-1453663354404.jpeg

I know firsthand how hard being stuck in the house can be on a weight loss journey. With all of the snacks available and so much free time, it truly can be a recipe for disaster. However, you have to remember your goals and just fight the urge to binge eat. Use your time productively! If you really want to be in the kitchen, use the extra time to meal prep for the days ahead. Keep in mind – summer is just a few months away! Don’t let the winter blues ruin all of your hard work and stop you from getting that sexy summer body! It may be hard to fighting the boredom binges but when you are happily strutting your stuff on the beach in a few months…it will ALL be worth it.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

2 Years & Still Going Strong!!

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You guys…this week marked my 2 year blogiversary! I can’t believe it’s been so long – where the hell has time gone?!? First and foremost, I want to take the time to thank everyone who has supported me and read any of my posts. This really has been the little engine that could but I am truly grateful for you all. My goal with this blog has always been to share my journey in the hopes of inspiring or motivating someone else who may be struggling on their own journey. Hopefully, I have achieved that goal and some of you see that if I can do it, so can you! I truly appreciate all of you sticking with me…and I promise you even bigger and better things in 2016!

With that out of the way, I want to get into some of the updates and plans that I have in mind for this year. For starters, I am very proud to announce that I have FINALLY become a certified personal trainer! After years of being miserable in Corporate America, it feels amazing to be able to pursue such a life changing profession…and I can’t wait to get started!

In addition to getting a job as a personal trainer, my plan is to finally move out of the Bronx…once & for all. If everything goes according to plan, within the next couple of months I will be calling Long Island home. Good bye city life! (cue Green Acres theme song)

As far as fitness goes, one of my biggest ideas/plans for this year is to create a free, outdoor boot camp. I want to share my knowledge and experience with you all…and the best way to do that is to practice what I preach. Ideally, this will happen in the spring…so as the warm weather approaches, more details will follow.

Another thing in the works involves an amazing supplement company, 1st Phorm. They have an incredible weight loss transphormation challenge going on now. In addition to that, I have been working on my own weight loss challenge that will, in a way, piggyback off of it. I’m very excited to share that with you all – so stay tuned for that in the next couple of weeks!!

As far as this blog goes, my overall plan is to post much more often and perhaps switch this whole thing up a bit. I post pretty regularly on Instagram (@FinallyFit23) but the plan is to add a lot more workouts and recipes on here…while still giving my same motivational posts.

There are so many exciting things to come this year and it’s only just begun! Thanks for sticking with me over the last two years – I promise that the best is yet to come!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

My Whole30 Breakfast Plan

Breakfast has been one of the bigger struggles for me. I’m used to having oatmeal or a yogurt everyday…and both of these are no-no’s on the Whole30 diet. I’m also used to having coffee creamer or some flavor in my coffee…which is also not allowed. So I’ve had to adapt. Since beginning this diet, I’ve been eating eggs most days. I’m used to only eating egg whites but I’ve had to incorporate the yolk as well to make it more filling. I also have learned that you must incorporate some sort of meat or vegetable into your breakfast or else you will be starving all day.

The best part about these recipes is that they all take 15 minutes or less to prep and cook. I make all of my food the night before so I can grab it and go to work. They can all be easily microwaved and all taste just as great the next morning. All of the recipes seen here serve one, as I cook for myself. However, I can certainly assist you with expanding whichever recipe to feed more.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions or comments. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Scrambled Egg with Sweet Potato Hash

1-large egg

1-small sweet potato

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

  • Begin by grating the sweet potato. Toss shredded potato with black pepper. Take a paper towel and drizzle some olive oil on it; rub oil onto a small pan.
  • Add shredded potato to pan and place on medium heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes then flip. Continue this until cooked through.
  • Crack the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper (I also had a pinch of parsley) as well as a drop of water. Poke the yolk and scramble egg with a fork. Set aside.
  • Remove potato from pan and add egg mixture. Let it set for a bit then flip eggs in pan. Cook for a total of 3 minutes. Lay egg over potato and enjoy 🙂

 

Egg in Avocado

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1-egg

½ avocado

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

Lemon or lime juice (to drizzle over avocado)

  • Begin by preheating an oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice a medium avocado in half. Using the half without the pit, drizzle lemon or lime juice on top. This will help prevent browning. If using a large egg, scoop a little extra avocado out of the center.
  • Place avocado in a baking dish, such as a ramekin. Crack egg into avocado hole. Add salt and pepper.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I don’t like runny eggs so I cook until the yolk is firm, however you can cook for less time if you like it that way).
  • Remove from oven. Serve alongside fruit or sweet potatoes and enjoy 🙂

 

Scrambled eggs with leftover turkey “chili”
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2-eggs (one whole + one egg white)

approximately 1 cup of leftover turkey chili (no sauce)

black pepper, to taste

pinch of salt

pinch of parsley

  • Begin by cracking an egg into a bowl. Take the second egg and separate the white from the yolk; add the whites to the egg in the bowl. Add a drop of water, salt, pepper, and parsley to the bowl; scramble together.
  • Take a paper towel, add a little olive oil and rub onto a small pan. Heat pan on medium and add egg mixture. Cook for a total of approximately 3 minutes, stirring around throughout to cook evenly. Set eggs aside to cool.
  • *When I made turkey chili, I made sure to take about half of the meat and peppers out of the pot before making the sauce for it. I then portioned that half out and used it for two days worth of breakfast.
  • Take your leftover “chili” out of the fridge. Once eggs are completely cool, add to “chili” and place back in fridge for your morning breakfast.
  • **If you are making this to eat right away, reheat meat prior to cooking eggs. Set aside, cook eggs, and pour eggs over the meat.

 

Strawberry Smoothie

*This shouldn’t happen everyday but once in a while it’s a nice addition to break up all of the savory foods.*

approx. 1-cup of frozen strawberries

1/3 cup of light coconut milk

1 tbsp flax seeds.

  • Place all ingredients in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend and enjoy along side a banana.

 

Coffee
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This is where I thought I would struggle most. I love my coffee creamer and sweet flavors from Dunkin and Starbucks. However, I found that canned coconut milk is creamier and slightly sweeter than what I was used to. I add about 1/3 cup of light coconut milk, which is the serving size…and while it sounds like a lot, trust me you will need it! I also add a pinch of cinnamon. Somehow that’s a fake-out to making your mouth think you’re having something sweet. Anyway, this has actually been working really well for me and I don’t really miss the extra sweetness in my cup of Joe. I even found you can alter your favorite Starbucks drink with it! I got a Grande Americano, black then I went home added the coconut milk and blended with some ice. Topped that with the pinch of cinnamon and boom—Coconut Blendicano 🙂

Water: I’m making a point to add this. I have a bad habit of forgetting to drink during the day. I don’t really know why or how it happens but I do. I’ve found that the more water I drink early in the day, the less hungry I am as the day goes on. I didn’t invent that theory but I figured out how true it was when I was starving during the first few days of this diet. So, it may not be the most exciting beverage and you may already know to do this…but be sure to get at least your 8 glasses in while doing this diet.

 

This diet, like everything else on this journey, is extremely hard. Remain focus and remember why you started. It may not get easier but you will feel so much stronger for doing it. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2Befit@gmail.com

Dreams DO Come True!

If you would’ve told me a couple of years ago that my life would be this amazing, I would’ve laughed in your face. I can’t believe how much good can come in such a short time!

The Biggest Loser was my motivation on this journey and continues to inspire me. Today I was featured on their website!! I can’t begin to describe how grateful and honored I am.

Here’s a sneak peek at the feature 😉

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“There was a time in my life when I was truly miserable. After letting health issues, toxic friendships, and an abusive relationship take over my life I decided enough was enough. I took control of my life…and my destiny…a little over two years ago and I haven’t looked back. At my heaviest, I weighed in at 210 lbs and wore a size 14. Today, I am over 70 lbs lighter and wear a size 2/4. Along with dropping weight (in pounds and with negative, toxic people), I have also freed myself of a lifelong obsession with the scale. Instead, I have become more focused with how I look and feel rather than what number the scale says.

The best part of this journey has been finding myself again. I spent so many years miserable that I lost myself. It has been truly amazing getting the real me back! I still struggle with various health issues and some mental roadblocks but at the end of the day I am the strongest, healthiest, and happiest that I have ever been in my whole adult life. The Biggest Loser continues to teach me that you can do all the physical transforming in the world but if you don’t overcome the mental demons you will never truly succeed. I am forever grateful to the Biggest Loser and to my gym, Planet Fitness, for guiding me on this journey.”

To read the rest of my story, check out my amazing feature on the Biggest Loser RunBlog: http://www.biggestloserrunwalk.com/runblog/inspiration-ginas-story/

Dreams really do come true! Work hard and always remember…nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!
-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com