Fuel Up On Nature
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This is one of my sacred spots where I go to connect with nature and better yet myself. For me, this is paradise… Surrounded by snow cap mountains and unique rock formations the exploring is endless. Fueled and energized by nature, Karuna. A natural coffee drink, sweetened with dates, coconut cream and turmeric for added health benefits. How are you going to fuel your life, mind, body?

-Ashiko #ashikofit

Got Milk? Homemade Almond Milk in 3 min and Coconut Flour, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
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One of my favorite treats would have to be peanut butter cookies loaded with dark chocolate chips and glass of ice cold vanilla almond milk! You can always opt out for almond or cashew butter. They have to be soft and packed with chocolate. It’s cheat day after all.

I’ve always wanted to make my own Almond milk, but felt it might be too difficult, well it wasn’t!I found a simple recipe online that would only take 3 min to make, which turned out to be true! Of course you have to soak the almonds 24-48 hours prior. Other then that once you have your ingredients and a milk bag you’re set.

ALMOND MILK IN 3MIN

-Soak the almonds in a few cups of water so completely covered and let sit 24-48 at the most. You’ll start to see them grow in size…

  • 1 cup soaked almonds

  • 4 cups water

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend the ingredients for 1.5- 2 min and your set! On a side note, if you want to add sweetness to your milk you can always use agave, coconut sugar or stevia!

COCONUT FLOUR PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES WITH DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS

  • 2 tbs coconut flour, add more if needed

  • 1/2 cup low carb sweetener

  • 1/2 tsp stevia concentrated powder or 1/2 tsp monk fruit extract

  • 1 cup unsweetened peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup butter or butter substitute (your pick)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • you decide how much chocolate chips… it’s cheat day!

Mix ingredients together and lay on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 min until edges of cookie have browned.

Hope you guys give it a try! Make sure to send me pictures and videos, I love seeing what you guy’s create.

-Ashiko

NASM-CERTIFIED
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Dear Friends,

I have some exciting news that I’ve wanted to share with you for some time now, but wanted to get my official certificate in hand first (which got lost in the mail and after getting it reprinted, I finally got it, and no, it wasn’t just a dream). Im so excited to share that Im officially a NASM certified personal trainer! For those of you that don’t know what that means, the National Academy of Sports Medicine is thought by many to be the top certification available through the national accredited agencies, and a world leader in fitness certification. It feels like a dream come true.

I started studying end of August last year. After purchasing the guided study and turning in work each week. I began to fall behind and had to go at my own pace. Which was hard for me to accept, but one of the best things I could have done. During that time I went through a break-up, moved, climbed mountains (literally and figuratively!), studied, worked, trained. I wrote my exam December 14th, 4 months after studying an obscene amount of work… I found out immediately that I passed. I had tears of joy… I felt relieved and accomplished. Most people study 6 months to a year for their exam with prior knowledge of exercise science. I had none… I was so stressed, and by this time overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge I was trying to retain daily. The night before I the exam, I actually forgot most of what I had studied. I quickly googled “Is it possible to study too much and forget everything” Of course there was an answer and naturally all the things I didn’t want to hear were possible!!

I have such a hard time giving myself credit (maybe you can relate?) I’ve done more in the last 7 months then the last few years, and always feel there’s more I can do. There’s moments like this where I stop and actually look at what I’ve done, and overcome— and I have to admit that Im proud of who I am and who I’ve become. I’ve been listening to motivational podcasts, and one that stood out to me said “I dare you to work on yourself for 6 months… I dare you to shut out the world, shut out all the distractions, I dare you to give up everything that’s keeping you from your dream. Write down what you need to do, to make a better life for yourself, learn something new” … And so I did, I trained, studied, worked and hiked in freezing temps so that I could become a knowledgable trainer that could help change peoples lives. Through passion, education, motivation and functional training, I soon found my niche. I’d like to take this time to say thank you to Eylene Pirez for being such an inspiration and such strong women.

But as we know life keeps moving forward and we have to keep creating new goals. So it’s time to change what I have written on those dry erase boards and take that knowledge with me.

Thank you so much for all your love, understanding, support and emails. I promise to get back to each and every one of them.

Love,

Ashiko

Cross Training- Functional Fitness, Test Yourself On Those Winter Trails
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CROSS TRAINING- Resulting in functional muscles. Over the last few months I’ve modified my workouts significantly with each long distance hike I’ve completed. With the knowledge and at first unaware I was developing what I call now functional muscles. Im big on being able to put your body to work, not just for training in the gym. Having modeled for the last 15 years I more then understand estetiques and can appreciate it. Weight training is very important both with free weights, machines and using your own body’s resistance. Alternating body parts throughout the week and incorporating several full body exercises has really helped me stay fit and get in shape. Posture, balance and a proper functioning kinetic chain is prime and it should never be over looked. A common pain many people experience is lower back pain, especially due to the sedentary lifestyle we’re living in. This can be a result from an under developed core, gluteus or most importantly muscle imbalances in the feet. Something I recommend doing is an over head squat assessment, this way you’ll be able to understand what you’re working with. Squat as if sitting in a chair, hands over head running parallel with your ears. Of course this will be hard for you to do on yourself, especially from side view but at least you will be able to feel whats happening in your body. Example is your range of motion limited, is it hard to keep your arms up, do your feet turn in or lift up? Observing all 5 check points, front view -feet and knees. Side view pelvis, shoulders and head. Remember to look below and above for any problems in your body. You should be able to gather enough information with 5 squats.

I recently hiked Mount Baldy in winter conditions. One thing I love about the outdoors is being able to adapt to the weather and mother nature. I believe that spending more time in nature has been a huge part of my emotional growth. This his newfound adventurous mentality I’ve adapted for the last year has not only helped me with training outdoors all season long, but also served in my personal life. One thing I’ve never mastered is change. Im sure many of you can relate… When Im about to do a big hike, I sometimes get this wave of anxiety, playing in my head what might happen if I’m not prepared, or better yet, not being comfortable with last minute changes. Something the outdoors as taught me is that things happen and it’s normal to alter pans. Life will always going to surprise you and it’s how you deal with it in the moment that truly distinguishes your character.

I hiked Mount Baldy again, but this time the conditions were very different. Weather conditions (which can be found on www. mountian-forcast.com) were in the 40’s at the portal and gradually decreasing to the low 20’s at summit with around 50 mph winds. I had to prepare best I could for the low temperatures and high winds.

Here is a list of the majority of gear I wore and brought along.

1.North Face Apex + Etip gloves

2.Medical Kit for 2 ppl for 1 day

3.REI Carbon fibre trekking poles

4.North Face hiking Boots

5. Arc’Teryx Gortex Shell

6. Patagonia pack

7. Arc’Terxy Brize 32 day pack

8. Smartwool hat

9. Arc’Teryx fanny pack

10. Kahtoola Micro spikes

11. Pocket knife

12. Arc’Teryx puff coat

13. Gregory 3 Litre camel pack

14. Smartwool neck gaiter

15. Smartwool base layer

16.Arc’Teryx legging

17. Patagonia base layer legging

18. Smartwool socks

I’ve spoken about it but can’t stress enough how important it is to understand what your clothing is made of and how you will layer or remove layers effortlessly when needed. You don’t want to constantly undress releasing body heat and lowering your heart rate, so understanding how you react to physical activity and temperatures is vital. Zipers AKA vents are your friend! You can read more about it on my previous blog “Calorie Burning/Toning..” for more info.

A few highlights from this hike were of course the beautiful snow cap mountains, fresh air and sunshine along with having to use micro spikes 3/4 of the way up AND down. That really added to the Cross Training Workout! It was definitely a surprise but I was ready then I ever could’ve imagined. The winds were the harshest I have ever experienced feeling like I could get blown away so photo ops were limited! Thanks to my partner Don Lee for standing by me, and always getting ready for an adventure. Thank’s to him, we managed to get a few photos at summit. Due to the weather conditions we decided not to attempt the Devil’s Backbone- - it’s a very narrow and exposed path on the mountain top ridge. Always remember to make your health and safety top priority, there’s always next time! Be prepared, and don’t get discouraged by the surprises along the way.

-Ashiko

Say yes to nature's CHOCOLATE!

Hey guys! I wanted to share one of my favorite protein bowls with you, loaded with flavor, crunch and … CHOCOLATE! It’s easy to make and so much fun. Once you have all the ingredients you’ll be able to custom design your own bowls or interchangeably use them for cooking and baking.

We all heard ab’s require work…well they do! A healthy and consistent diet along with regular sweat sessions at the gym focusing on core strength and conditioning. If you’re like me and love food and life then finding the right post workout snacks that do most of the work are key.

Here’s what you’ll need!

  1. Chocolate protein powder, I prefer isolated Whey protein but feel free to use what you’re comfortable with. If you have any questions about picking protein feel free to send me an email. I would love to help you out.

  2. 1/2 frozen banana

  3. Ice

  4. 1 cup almond milk, or coconut water. Cutting back on calories? Feel free to use some filtered water.

  5. 1 cup frozen mango’s…. yes! Mango’s it will help thicken your mixture. If you’re not into into throw in a whole frozen banana…. feeling wild, add some frozen berries.

  6. I wanted to share with you something that I add to my post workout smoothies, Glutamine. Glutamine is an important amino acid and is a building block of protein. It will help you with muscle recovery reducing potential soreness along with lean muscle mass. Make sure you do research before taking any supplement to make sure it’s right for you. And do your research on brands and dosage.

    And Vou La, now blend together!

    Here’s the fun part, TOPPINGS!

  1. Sweetened Cacao Nibs, if you’re new to nibs here’s the inside scoop. It’s nature’s dark chocolate chips, contains antioxidants and wait better yet… Drum roll please, for 1 tsp it’s 25 calories and 1.5g of fat!! Not into sweetened… you’re brave, opt for the unsweetened nibs.

  2. Unsweetened Carob Chips… Not familiar with them? First things first, for 1 tbsp it’s 70 calories and 3.5 grams of fat and 8 carbs. Carob chips are made from the pod of the carob tree, a small Mediterranean shrub.

  3. Toasted coconut flakes. I buy them raw and toast them myself.

  4. Toasted Almond slices. Again I toast my own. Make sure to keep your eye on them… they toast quickly!

Im so excited for you guys to get creative and have some fun with healthy food. I would love to see what you create, please snap a pic and send it my way!

-Ashiko

Calorie Burning/Toning/Conditioning Day Hikes, Mount Baldy 10,064 Elevation
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No Hills? No problem! Understandably, not everyone will have access to trails with hills and/or elevation gain. However there’s a few exercises that can be done in a gym to mimic those movements to gain the same effects of hiking! I’ve recently tried the VersaClimber for endurance training and loved it- -even though it kicked my butt! Should you want to make it even more challenging, try a weighted vest, wrist weights t or ankle weights to intensify your heart rate. Remember to keep your arms moving- -this way, when you do end up using trekking poles, you”ll be engaging your core muscles with the correct posture, getting that upper body workout in. The Stairmaster and treadmill are also great machine to use with a combination of moderate to high incline, and again taking some extra weight will help you burn those extra calories helping mimic the weight you would carry in your bag. on a hike. Keep in mind that on a hike like Mount Baldy, 3 liters of water is sufficient, which equals to 6.6 lbs along with the rest of your gear. If you can’t make it to the trail frequently, don’t sweat it- -weighted cardioid the gym can absolutely condition you for the outdoors!

Mount Baldy, located in San Bernardino County near the eastern border of Los Angeles surrounded by the tall trees of Angeles National forest, is known amongst the outdoor community as great day-hiking trail you can utilize to keep yourself conditioned almost all season long. It’s easy to get to (roughly 1 hr from Central Los Angeles depending on traffic), and has several trails you can take depending on the distance you’re looking to trek and/or the altitude you’re looking to gain. The only permit you’ll need is an adventure pass, which is a parking pass and can be purchased online or at REI and must be displayed in your vehicle window when using the forest for recreation purposes. A day pass will be $5 and annual pass $30 which can be used for Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest and Los Padres National Forest.

I have to admit, there’s not much I love more then strength training and conditioning in the gym. Having access to hight-tech equipment with various options for resistance training is amazing, but every now and then I crave a new environment where I can get a good workout in that really challenges and more so inspires me. Hiking all season long is more then just a passion, it’s a lifestyle-- and being properly conditioned is key to really enjoying long distance hikes with high elevation.

It’s amazing how much my endurance has improved over the last 4 1/2 months with all the hikes I’ve done along with regular conditioning at the gym. Day hikes have become an adventurous workout, and having access to mountains like Mount Baldy really is special. If your looking to burn some calories, tone and condition your muscles day hiking is for you! I usually wear my Apple Watch and try to keep track of calories, distance, steps and flights accumulated. From where I parked to the summit and back I burned approximately 1,800 calories and walked just over 12 miles.

Knowing what to pack from food, hydration and clothing is so important to enjoying any hike, especially when the climate is either hot or on this particular day, cold. I had just bought my Arc’teryx Belt LT shell and was beyond excited to break it in. After my hike to Mount Whitney I knew I needed a shell with more features such as the pit vents which is crucial to avoid sweating. Its worth the extra expense and I would highly recommend it.

I hope this inspires you to explore other trails in so Cal or create that hiking environment in the gym.

-Ashiko

Thank you to Emma Zander