Posts in FASHION
Empowering Humanity With Northern Fashion
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Less than a year ago I entered a new chapter in my life, fueled by the desire to connect and break down the walls we put up… I put up. I want others to see us for who we truly are, where we come from and the aspirations we have. After realigning my values and more importantly sticking by them I soon made the decision to change careers after modeling for 16 years to study sports medicine. During my studies I developed a passion for the outdoors, hiking. While hiking long distance trails and camping in freezing temps, I guess you can say I discovered and learned more about myself more than I had. I’ve teamed up with Northern Fashion, a brand that supports woman and girl’s to stand tall and raise their voice. Northern Fashion is a brand that believes we have the power and the resources at our disposal more than ever before, and encourages woman to take control of the narrative and language used to describe us int he workplace at school and beyond. The T-Shirts can be found at the market at Macy’s in 12 Oaks Mall, and also online at www.northernfashion.com! With so many cute statement’s, from emotional to passionate, bossy to being a leader. We have to stick together, teach each other and more importantly support each other.

Make sure to get your T-Shirt and tag @northern.fashion @ashikowestguard for a repost!

Thank you so much guys for all your continued love and support! I feel it ;)

-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

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

33º47'59.99N, Day Hiking
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   Even after years of living in Southern California, Im constantly amazed by the vast mountain ranges  that make up the beautiful backdrop to Los Angeles. This past weekend I got the chance to climb one of those mountains.  Mount San Jacinto!  I can't wait to share my whole experience with you in my next blog post. From intense preparation to challenges I encountered, to how the trip impacted me upon returning home... It was truly a fitness journey.

   It should always be a rule of thumb when training to always wear clothes that won't constrict you from any movement/not allow you to optimize the full range of joint motion. If you're not able to move around freely during intense physical challenges such as hiking,  you could possibly be overusing other muscles  -a dangerous phenomenon which is  referred to as Synergistic Dominance. You"ll  want to be able to have full use of your neuromuscular system, or you"ll end up compensating elsewhere leading to shortened and tight muscles. 

   With the weather being in the high 80's, I decided to wear the Koral, Knockout Jacquard Legging and Tax Galaxy Sports Bra (pictured to the right) while climbing. This set worked out great, as the fabric was super breathable. When descending the weather was in the low 50's so I definitely had to layer. Keeping in mind excessive sweating can cause dehydration. I picked the Koral Dash Jacket, which was very light, the Catcher Sports Bra and Scout Double Layer Short (pictured to the left) 

   As much as I love fashion I won't compromise my training for it, and neither should you! If your looking for comfortable and  stylish apparel these pieces should be perfect for you. 

 

Make sure to come back and checkout out my weekend hiking adventure! So happy I get to share all these moments with you.

-Ashiko

In an athleisure day in age, there's Koral
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       Hey guys!  Lately, workout clothes have been a huge topic amongst my girlfriends. So many feel if they just had cuter clothes for their sweat sesh, they would be more motivated to workout. As a women, I'll admit that  I also find myself  annoyed with putting on the same workout clothes time and time again. And with the booming market of fitness and athleisure, it make's sense that we want the latest trends. After all, it's 2018 and sporty leggings aren't just for the gym-- workout clothes have become a staple of our daily wardrobe. 

    I wanted to share with you one of my favorite go to athletic apparel brands, Koral! With so many brands on the market offering so many styles, this one stands out by far.  The pieces hold there shape and color even after multiple washes and wearing regularly. One of my pet peeves is when stitching starts to fall out and the fabric's elasticity starts to give. No one wants to get caught hiking up your sagging tights or re adjusting the top so things stay in place! Been there and done that.

   Whether you do cross fit, yoga, run or lift like myself Koral offers many sleek , fun styles!  Im wearing the Emblem Versatility Bra and Emblem Cropped Legging (pictured above).

Im curious if men are as particular about their workout clothes as women? I would love to hear everyone's feed back.!

-Ashiko