#FitFriday – 5 Things I Did To Start A Fit Lifestyle

Being healthy and fit is a huge part of my life today. But it wasn’t always like that. The beginning of 2016, I set out to make my life more about healthy living. It wasn’t easy, with diet changes and making working out a part of my daily routine. But here I am, at the start of 2017 and at the healthiest that I have been in a long time.

So how did I do it? These five things are what I did to motivate myself towards a healthy, active, and fit lifestyle.

  1. Find A Fitness Enthusiast Friend

    The thing that kept me from heading to the gym at first was the intimidation. I wanted to get more into weightlifting and working with free weights, but simply walking into the gym felt scary to me. Not knowing anything about anything made me terrified.
    But one of my close friends showed me the ropes and helped me figure out what workouts work best for me and how to target specific muscle groups. She was patient with me, and was super encouraging. Her encouragement and support helped me get past the fear and anxiety that I had about going to the gym. And once I got to a point where I was comfortable and felt as though I knew I was doing, I started to go on my own.
  2. Join A Fit Community

    Since I started my fit journey, I joined the Fit University community. Fit University is a community targeted for college students who are interested in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Fit University’s website publishes all sorts of articles, from work out routines, to fit inspiration/motivation, to personal stories from the Fit University team, to healthy and yummy recipes. I’ve found a lot of support and encouragement through Fir University recently, and it helps push me towards keeping up with my fit and healthy lifestyle. Plus, it’s fun to have a community of people that you can celebrate PRs and goals being achieved with!
  3. Figure Out What You Love And Do It!
    I love weightlifting, so that’s what I look forward to the most when I work out. I like to challenge myself and see my body grow stronger. By learning more about weightlifting and how I could target different areas of my body through different exercises, I’ve developed routines and schedules that work best for me and that I can have fun with as well.

    I really love leg day. I was a dancer in high school and spent a lot of time in the studio, so I naturally have pretty muscular legs. I used to hate that my thighs were a bit bigger than most girls my height, but now that I’ve started lifting I am grateful for my legs and their strength.

  4. Figure Out What You Hate And Do it!

    I hate cardio. I’m not much of a runner, and while I know it’s good for me and necessary for my fit lifestyle… it doesn’t make it any easier. Running is hard for me physically, being someone who suffers rom fibromyalgia and chronic joint pain. But one of my specialists that I see for fibromyalgia told me that she once had a patient who started using running as treatment and now runs marathons. That to me seems like an impossible goal for me, but I know that if I worked hard enough for it, I could possibly do it.

    Running might not be my most favorite thing, but knowing that there are people who have a lot more challenges than I do and who can run marathons pushes me to do it anyway. And you know, the more that I do it, the less I hate it.

  5. Have Fun With It!

    Seriously, have fun with it! For me, going to the gym is the high light of the day. But for others, it might not be as fun. So make it fun, by going with friends or trying new things, such as a spin class, yoga, zumba, rock climbing, or kickboxing. And don’t take yourself too seriously. I’m TERRIBLE at zumba, but I still have fun whenever I go. I may feel ridiculous, but it’s an entertaining and different way to get my cardio in.

    Living a fit lifestyle isn’t all about setting and achieving big goals or getting super muscular. It’s more about taking care of your body and pursuing healthiness. Our bodies work best when we are active and healthy, and those who live active lifestyles are proven to be happier and more content. Fitness has many benefits, not just physical ones. And I promise that you’ll start to see positive outcomes when you start to pursue a fit and active lifestyle.

    I’m cheering for you, and I’m always here for support and to answer any questions about my fitness routines that you might have.

    With love,
    Erin ❤

A Guide To Happy, Healthy Hair

My hair history is a bit crazy. In high school, I never had hair longer than shoulder length, and at one point I was rocking the pixie cut (or at least I thought I was..) Because I had short hair, I always had to style it. So using heat on my hair became a habit. Senior year I decided to grow my hair out, and right before beginning my freshman year of college I began to bleach the ends of my naturally dark hair.

Since then, my hair has been ombre-d, balayage-d, lightened all over, bleached, and toned countless times. (at one point it was a nice shade of gray) My hair is now a honey brown and actually pretty healthy, but it wasn’t always like that. In fact, I just cut off around 3 inches of ends that were totally damaged and dead from mistreatment and over-bleaching.

If you want to know how I maintain my color while keeping my locks happy and healthy, read on!

  • First things first.. don’t over do it with the bleaching and coloring. Your hair needs time to become strong again, and giving it time to “heal” between lightening sessions is very important. I’m no expert, but I would definitely ask your stylist how long you should wait before trying to go lighter again.
  • Since my hair is naturally black, the lightened parts of my hair tend to get “brassy” or orange-toned. I personally don’t like this, as I tend to like the more ashy brown/blonde tones on me. To avoid brassiness, I use a purple shampoo. The brand I use is Not Your Mother’s and it works wonderfully. I find that it doesn’t dry out my hair like many purple shampoos do, and it does a good job of keeping brassiness at bay. It’s important to use color-friendly shampoos and conditioners if you want your color to last longer. Try to look for sulfate free products, as they are more gentle on the hair.
  • I also don’t wash my hair every day. I know that sounds gross, but it keeps my hair from being dry and lifeless. The days that I don’t wash, I usually wear my hair “natural” (no straightening!) and put some dry shampoo in. But if it feels a little more greasy than normal, I’ll put it up in a messy bun.
  • A habit I broke to keep my hair healthy is using heat. I rarely straighten my hair anymore, and I only curl it from time to time. I shower at night, so I usually have time to let my hair air-dry mostly, and then blast it with the blow dryer for a couple minutes (after I spray some heat protectant all over my hair). But other than that, I try to stay away from using heat on my hair because it helps it stay healthy and looking shiny. Also, rinsing your hair with cool water is a good habit to form. Really hot water is not good for your hair!
  • My final tip is to use hair masks. I use L’Oreal’s Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm on my hair around 2-3 times a week. After shampooing and rinsing, I massage this into the roots of my hair and into the ends, then leave it on for around 5 minutes. Once I rinse with cool water, my hair is silky smoothy and tangle/knot free. I’ve been using this product for around two months now, and I can tell that my hair is already so much healthier and stronger than it was before.

 

I hope these tips have helped you and given you some pointers on how to get your hair back to where it’s happy and healthy. ❤

With love,
Erin ❤

music monday flor – hold on music video

 

This is my favorite music video of the moment. From the incredible sounds that they produce in their music, to their use of visuals and fluorescent colours, Flor is definitely a band to watch this year. Their use of visuals often reminds me of the 1975, but their sound is a little softer and more ethereal.

I absolutely love the visuals used in this music video, and it kind of gives me Studio Ghibli meets Wes Anderson vibes. I really like the violet-y pink colour palette, and the nostalgic feeling that the storyline of the story gives. Plus the actress is super cute with her pixie cut and doe eyes.

Flor is set to release more new music this year, and I can’t wait. They’re also going on tour, where they will be performing some of their shows with GroupLove! I’ll be seeing them at the end of January in Cleveland and I can’t wait.

Check it more of Flor’s music on Spotify  and find more details on their upcoming shows on their website here.

when your heart is discouraged and your soul doubts

If I were to be honest, it’s been a rough kind of week. I have faced much disappointment and confusion, and hurt from certain situations and relationships. I’m left feeling a little betrayed and a little hurt, but mostly discouraged.

I’m tired. I’m tired of where I am right now, tired of the hurt and disappointment. I’m weary from fighting battle after battle, and trying to keep my head above the waves. I’m not where I want to be, my heart is straining for what’s ahead and what could be, but it’s stuck here. And my discontentment is breeding doubt. I’m doubting that this is where I’m supposed to be.

And I know I’m not the only one that’s feeling wounded from situations or relationships in their lives. I know that I’m not the only one who’s feeling so discouraged, so doubtful. I know I’m not the only one.

And I wish I had the words for those who feel the way I do, but I’m not full of wisdom or insight. I don’t know what the right things to say are.

But what I do know is that there are promises for us, ailments for our hurting hearts and sick souls in the Word.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. //
Psalm 34:18

I am an incredibly introspective person, who is perhaps a little too self-aware. I hid away inside myself when I am feeling a little too much, and I retreat to the back parts of my mind, as if I’ll find answers there to answer the “why”. I don’t like to leave questions unanswered, and I like to find those answers for myself. But sometimes (most times) I don’t have the answers to why things are the way they are. And I don’t know why things must hurt as much as they do.

But I serve a kind and just God who has a plan and a purpose for everything that I go through, all the little and big hurts I feel. I serve a God who doesn’t seek to bring pain to my life, but lets me walk through fires and storms so that I can better experience His sovereignty and faithfulness. I serve a God who promises to be a good Father, even in a world full of heartbreakingly bad situations.

The LORD is righteous in all His way and kind in all His deeds. // Psalm 145:17

Even though my heart is wrestling with discontentment and worry about what is to come, my future rests in the hands of a God who has been faithful in every season in my life, and will be faithful in every season to come. He has held me up when I was struck in my grief, and He has led me through the darkest hours of my life. When I look back at the valleys and storms and fires and mountains He’s led me through, how could I ever doubt that He will be faithful now and in the future?

In my deepest doubt and furthest wandering, still He chooses to rescue my heart and bring me home. When I didn’t want to seek Him, He sought me. When I didn’t want to love, He loved me. It amazes me how He still chooses to see me as His child, even when I’ve been more like a prodigal.

A thousand times I’ve failed, still Your mercy remains. And should I stumble again, still I’m caught in Your grace // hillsong

If your heart is filled with discouragement and you find yourself doubting, I want to encourage you to look back. Remember the difficult times that you’ve been through and the darkness that you’ve seen. Remember the storms. Remember the tragedies and the loss and the brokenness. But also remember that you are here right now. You made it. He saw you through some of the most difficult things in your life. He carried you through it all. He lead you through the darkness and through the valleys and through the storms before, and He will continue to do so. He has been faithful and He will continue to be.

I know it’s easy to settle into discouragement and doubt, because it seems (for a little while at least) comfortable. It is familiar. But you cannot stay there. We cannot stay there. We cannot let our hearts get weighed down by the hurt, we cannot let our souls start to forget His faithfulness. We cannot stay here. We must choose to remember His faithfulness and His sovereignty in our lives, for that is the only way our discouraged hearts and doubting souls can be healed.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. // Psalm 147:3