So yea- I'm back this Monday with a wonderful lady from the BIG city- New York! Do I sound small town when I put it like that? Maribel is a food and wellness blogger who loves to cook, powerlifting and inspire others.
I am really motivated by Maribel's mindfulness of her emotional well being as well as her diet. She's super positive even when things aren't the way she wants and she's got some killer advice to share with you all. I know you're find her just as motivating as I do!
Exercise move: Deadlifts are my absolute favorite lift and all-around exercise. It works everything from your legs, core, hips, arms, and butt. It requires a lot of concentration and coordination to ensure that your form is correct. Plus it's pretty awesome to feel yourself lifting nearly twice your body weight!
Healthy snack/meal: Half a banana with natural peanut butter for a snack and one of my favorite healthy meals is shakshuka, a Middle-Eastern dish with tomatoes, greens and poached eggs. It's a simple, nutrient-rich dish to pull off after a workout with lots of versatility. You can check out my recipe here!
Piece of workout gear (machine, equipment, timer, etc): Rack and bar. I prefer working with the free weight of a bar as opposed to a smith machine, so it's the first thing I seek out when I'm at the gym. And I can't get through a workout without my iPod shuffle.
Piece of workout clothing and/or clothing line: I'm obsessed with my Underarmour authentic capris. I usually don't fuss too much over workout clothes and go for what's most affordable and comfortable, but these capris are amazing. They offer lots of movement even with the tight fit and the fabric has a kind of sheen to it which looksgreat.
Healthy App (if you have one): I'm currently looking for one to keep track of my workouts. Any suggestions??
Cheat meal: This is tough! I'd have to say a bowl of pasta with a side of freshly-baked bread and olive oil. It's nearly impossible for me to resist freshly-baked bread when I pass by a bakery. I try to go for whole-wheat if the option is available but I usually only indulge on the weekends or right after an intense cardio workout.
How did you get started working out/eating right? After years of making excuses for my unhealthy eating habits and lack of commitment to exercise, I reached a turning point. I was at my heaviest weight, unhappy, and I felt disconnected with who I was at that point in my life. I decided to work on my diet first by making small changes; switching from refined grains to whole grains, eliminating processed foods and all sodas, and adopting an "eat the rainbow" strategy when cooking my meals. I started adding exercise with the aid of DVDs (I give a lot of credit to Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred for really pushing my physical limits at this point!) and created a diverse workout schedule for the week including high intensity style workouts, dance, pilates, and yoga.
As I started to lose weight I realized how much I was actually enjoying this process which inspired me to be even more inquisitive about my food and the systems in place that bring this food onto my plate. By asking questions, I learned more about what foods are the most beneficial for my health while also experimenting in the kitchen with new ingredients like quinoa and kale to keep me excited about healthy eating. After about two years of working alone, I lost about thirty pounds and maintained a commitment to this new lifestyle. I realize now that I needed to go through this first to really find the motivation within myself to keep moving ahead. Eventually I decided to take on a personal trainer to raise my fitness routine to the next level by incorporating powerlifting. This turned out to be a huge win for both my physical transformation but also my mental and emotional transformation as I opened myself up to a world that I'd never envisioned for myself before. The stronger I got, the more capable I felt to reach new fitness goals while solidifying my dedication to healthy living. I've embraced a more holistic point of view when it comes to diet and exercise and I continue to try and find balance with all the aspects of my life. Altogether, it's been an incredible experience that has truly transformed the person I am and has been so rewarding.
Do you have a mantra/saying you live by? I always encourage my friends, family, and readers of my blog to pay it forward. I would never have gotten to this stage in my life without an amazingly supportive network of people who encouraged me along the way. As much as diet and exercise is a personal journey, I believe that what we do impacts our environment just through our example. I remind myself to be mindful of the message I'm putting out there and to always pay the positivity forward because you never know who may be affected. Positivity breeds positivity and it's all about creating an upward spiral in a world that's dominated by so much negativity. It's a powerful idea and one that I keep in mind on a daily basis.
What motivates you to workout and/or eat right? Initially I was motivated by weight loss goals. I had a number in mind and that drove me the first couple of years. Once I changed my lifestyle, my motivation changed. Now it's about the feeling of strength and power I get from lifting the bar. I over analyze pretty much every waking hour of every day. Lifting is one of the few times where I can shut my brain off and allow my body to just push itself to its limits. I've come to relish those moments where it's just me, the bar, and a weight that I want to push or pull. I think it's the equivalent to a runner's high or being in the zone. Once you've experienced that, you want to feel that again and again. Seeing what my body is capable of is enough to keep me going now that weight isn't an issue.
What about on days you really, really want to give up? This is something I've been working on a lot this year. I still have days (or weeks!) where I blow off the gym and go into a carb-induced coma. I've realized that this happens when there's disconnect between myself and my optimal living goals. I'm distracted by other events in my life or not having an especially energetic week, and those curve balls can throw me off my stride. I used to feel guilty for these lapses and I became incredibly self-critical which actually worked against me because it discouraged me even more. Now I'm learning to roll with those off days and instead, I take the time to dig into why I'm having those feelings. I've embraced meditation and the use of affirmations to really tap into where I am emotionally and mentally in my journey. This has been so vital to to creating a lasting commitment and more importantly, improving my relationship with myself.
What advice would you give to those who are in a slump and/or just getting started in their healthy lifestyle journey:Just this year I reached my PRs in the Spring and fell completely off the wagon during the summer. I remember what it felt like to hit my numbers, and that's what's driving me to get back to my program now. To anyone experiencing a slump, I'd recommend thinking back to a time when you felt truly successful in your life, particularly in the area of health and fitness. What about that event was so successful and how did it make you feel? Reacquainting ourselves with a positive experience from our own pasts can have a powerful effect on our self-esteem by reminding us of our accomplishments. If you're starting out, I'd recommend taking the time to really establish a vision for yourself and creating small goals that you can work on a weekly basis. By establishing smaller goals within the framework of a clearly defined vision, you help manage your expectations and increase the likelihood of realizing your vision. The most significant lesson I've learned through my own experiences has been the importance of finding something that works for you. I'm a powerlifter which is something I came upon after some trial and error and fell in love with almost immediately. Running? Not so much. Once I admitted to myself that running wasn't for me, and opened up to other exercises I realized how much I actually enjoyed exercise. The same goes for food and experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. Don't restrict yourself to just one form of exercise. Have fun with it and try new things! Healthy eating and exercise should be viewed as a positive compliment to your life, not a hassle or chore.
How you can stay in touch with Maribel: Check out her blog here and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and like her page on Facebook!
Thanks so much to Maribel for giving such great answers. I'm totally heading over to her blog now to check out her recipe shakshuka!
You're turn to help Maribel out: After you like her page leave a comment suggesting an app you like to track workouts!