Posts tagged fitness
Earth Candy- Sourcing Natural Ingredients, Health Benefits
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As you many of you already know life simply inspires me. Living in LA can be incredible at the same time time while becoming an entrepreneur in the fitness/ wellness industry it can be taxing, having to re-center myself daily while going back to nature’s source for daily Inspo. From colors to textures, traveling, fitness and natural remedies. I love having a cabinet full of yummy go to’s in my kitchen that reminds me of our roots, literally lol. Having natural products you can throw on just about anything to spice things up.

Being in my 30’s Im always trying to take the best care of myself and starting within. Life as a personal trainer and blogger can be really physically demanding. From really early mornings to engaging my mind and body in my work. The backend which not many see is another beast. From programming, studying, creating and training it’s a mental game and being alert and focused can really dictate my success.

Turmeric has scientifically proven health benefits. From preventing Alzheimer’s and Cancer. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis. Maca powder known to boost and improve energy while reducing blood pressure and fighting free radicals. Figs which are good source of fibre and calcium while also helps with lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels and blueberries being the king of antioxidant helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Cacao Nibs not only add’s that delicious chocolaty taste and crunchy texture but again packed with antioxidants, magnesium and. natural source that act’s as a mood enhancer. Of course we can’t forget Açaí Berries another source of antioxidants used the base. I used Sambazon Acai frozen individual packets ready to blend with your favorite fruits and veggies.

Next time you’re at the supermarket make sure to stock up on healthy go to’s that you can use interchangeably in your recipes. It’s always fun to discover new things while getting all the benefits!

-Ashiko

Wanderlust- Never Lost And Always Found
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Several weeks ago a friend and I sat on a near by patio at a local cafe sipping almond milk latte’s, while we talked about life, adventures and travel; okay we talked about our happy place. From their time folded and we had our first adventure planned out. He showed me images from one of his recent trips to the Mojave Desert. I’m always amazed that within a few hours you can literally feel like you’re in another world. That idea alone sets my soul on fire!

As a few weeks went by, we had it all planned out. We were desert bound. There’s something about the air as soon as you leave LA. For me it’s a sense of freedom… I feel lighter, more centered not mention creative. I simply feel alive. I can’t stress enough how important it is to re-energize your soul. I used to be a person that would hang around waiting for others to plan something or I would just hang out letting time pass thinking that was enough. Until I went down a new path in life, one which I met myself front and center. My time became more valuable, my heart had a new awareness of happiness and my soul craved adventure.

It was my first time hiking the sand dunes. I’ve heard the expression “God’s Country” and well this was exactly that. It’s where I felt closer to my beloved father, who I was and who I am. Im not sure if Im explaining myself accurately, but there’s this feeling I get being vulnerable in the outdoors that excite’s and also frightens me. I can feel how the climate affects my body and mental state. While walking through the untouched land hearing all the peculiar noises unsure if there’s going to be a poisonous snake that could bite you and if that happens the fear of what to do. After all we were so far out and no hospital would be close enough should we urgently need one.

As we trekked the sand dunes I realized something. That as evolved and skilled as I’ve become in life and the outdoors, Im still connected to the woman that feared the unknown. The person that was scared to take risks, worried I would be too out of my comfort zone. Well it lasted a moment, then realizing it was just a state of mind and I had the option to have full control.

If you haven’t been to the Mojave desert then I highly suggest you go! Make sure you take enough water and layers to keep yourself protected from the sun and later cool air. The wind will blow the sand unexpectedly so a buff or bandana is a must. I recommend taking trekking poles, they’re extremely useful when hiking up the slippery sand and when coming down reducing the impact to your knees. I hope this place brings you clarity and a new found respect for mother nature .

With each day we grow, with each experience we evolve and with each adventure we set ourselves free

-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

13,600 Elevation. Mount Whitney, to be continued...
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Something I’ve learned is to never underestimate the climb. Every mountain has it’s own challenges. From switch backs, to steep elevation climbs through loose scramble, to maneuvering yourself between uneven surfaces and tree roots puckered out 1-2 feet (not to mention the distance and the actual elevation gain), climbing can be a dangerous gamble and depending on the time of year, must be considered as a key determining factor.

Mount Whitney, located in Sierra, Nevada was one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve seen to date. With a distance of 22 miles roundtrip and an elevation of 14,505 feet, Whitney is the tallest mountain in California as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States. She was everything I expected and then some. Surrounded by gorgeous lakes with this delicious dark teal hue, beautiful meadows that stretch a mile long, and bold, jagged rock formations. The views were captivating the higher you climbed.

My friend and hiking partner Joe and I set off on a Saturday with the hopes to receive a lottery permit to climb the next day. After waiting patiently for any remaining permits, a few more hikers with the same hopes showed up. After drawing the last number, I knew the climb wasn’t going to happen the next day. I was pretty devastated , all set and ready to go… but that wasn’t going to stop me. We decided to get permits to climb that Monday. There’s 100 permits available to climb daily. If they’re taken, you can show up the day before and wait until 2pm. At that point should there be any permits that were returned, you have the chance to snag them.

We spent 2 nights camping at Lone Pine Campground, just 6 miles from the portal. The elevation was around 6,000 feet which was a good start to acclimate for the hike. Temperatures at night dropped to the mid 20’s. We had accounted for the weather, and were prepared with the right tent’s and sleeping bag’s to stay warm. During the day we hiked in the beautiful Alabama Hills, and the balmy temperatures being in the 70’s were the perfect way to keep our spirits warm and high.

On Monday, we packed up at 2 AM and headed to the portal. Excited and tired, we trekked our way up to the summit in the dark taking in the incredible views as daylight started to break. As our body temperatures changed rapidly to the drop in temperature and high winds, we would adjust our layers to avoid over heating. Our Arc’ teryx Gortex jackets were vital to cut the wind and lock in our body heat. One thing you never want to do is sweat. If that happens’ you loose your hydration along with risk the chance of you getting cold and sick with wet clothes.

One of the most difficult parts on the trail was the 99 switch backs. Yes, there are actually 99 of them which seemed endless and harsh, especially when they’re covered in snow and winds at 15 mph. We had micro spikes which we put over our boots upon entering. Along the side were cable wires running along a 50 foot section to ensure the safety of hikers from falling off the steep rock face to the right. Mid way through the switch backs I had to sit to catch my breath and check in with myself. Acclimating is different for everyone and it’s important to listen to your body, and take your time, with it as the effects of altitude sickness can set you back and cause series harm.

After completing the switch backs, we had reached Trail Crest, with an elevation of 13,600 feet and views of a life time (seen in the photo above with the 2 lakes). Unfortunately, my friend had started to get altitude sickness and felt nauseous and weak. After resting, we assessed the situation and decided to continue as we were only 1.9 miles and 905 feet from the Summit. I admit I had summit fever and needed to finish. At this point, the trails were are narrow and very rocky, requiring full concentration as there is a steep drop off the west of you. We continued for an hour until a dark cloud started to roll in. I stopped disbelief and looked on at the safe-house on top Mount Whitney hovered by a dark cloud. Sadly, we had to make a decision: was the climb worth risking our lives. Should a storm roll in, we would be exposed to extremely high winds and lightening. We decided to turn back.

It’s important to remind yourself that mountain climbing is an experience and we’re so lucky to even be able to do it. It’s ok if things don’t go to plan. It’s what you do in challenging moments that shows your character, that’s what builds us. For me, it was shifting the notion of failing into succeeding, learning and letting this be a positive experience. As unfortunate as it was to not summit, I also had so many amazing memories and an unforgettable journey. The walk down was sober and so long…

I told Joe this was my last climb of the year. I arrived home and took a few day’s to recover mentally, physically and spiritually. I got the itch to go back. Maybe this year, or maybe next… to continued.

-Ashiko

A special thank you to Joe Flores for the incredible adventure, and my dear friend Emma Zander and Don Lee for all your love and continued support.