Since I moved to Vegas few years ago, I couldn't help but notice that beside American, the majority of the city's population is Asian. There are several casinos Asian themed and a variety of Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese restaurants and shops.
I woke up today trying to give a sense to what happened last night in Paris, after more than 120 innocent people were brutally killed, attacked while out at dinner, watching a soccer game, singing at a concert, enjoying a night out like we all do, completely unaware of what atrocity was coming at them.
“People won’t take action until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.” Paul Mort This is so incredibly true. This sentence got stuck in my mind since I read it few weeks ago, and I feel it applies in so many situations in life. Whenever you wish to make a change, but the thought of it scares you or feels insuperable, you just put that wish away and forget it for a while. Then it comes back, and you push it away again, trying to justify why you really don't need to make that change, your life is good anyway etc. But inside you already know, soon or later that itchy thought will grow bigger and bigger in you, and you will have to deal with it, eventually. It could be anything, your desire to become healthier, quit smoking, lose weight, take a plane, follow your dream job, moving on from a wrong relationship. I like that in the sentence above, the word "pain" is being used. Pain is a state we all live in our life, on a daily basis. We live to alleviate pain, in a way. We sleep to alleviate the pain of being tired, we eat/drink to alleviate the pain of being hungry/thirsty, we work to alleviate the pain and problems of having no money etc...isn't the absence of pain what we call happiness?
So in a way, a change becomes necessary because it's creating a growing "pain"in our life, as discomfort, dissatisfaction, concern, lower self esteem etc. You realize that dealing with the change will only make your life better eventually, you envision yourself being happier; the change take place in your mind first, then when the mind starts metabolizing this thought, actions - not just words! - should follow.
Also, each one of us has different changes to deal in their life, do not judge what those are, because whatever change it's needed to be done, small or big you think it is, it takes courage, effort, work, dedication, motivation, an open mind.
I'm personally dealing with something I've been trying to avoid for years... and just couple days ago I told myself, no more. I got to the point where I can't escape this change, I tried, it's time to take this barrier down and deal with my fear of... DRIVING! Don't laugh at me, there is nothing that scares me more than driving a car. I'm 29 and never had to drive or own a car, untill now, where leaving in Las Vegas car-less became unbearable to me. I tried before and quit, now I'm motivated to get over with this fear.
So now you know, it doesn't scare me to stretch to the max with my butt on my head, but driving a car terrifies me lol. I'm dealing with it though! It's my time to change :) A fun fact, when I drive I have to wear my Tupac good luck shirt lol
What scares you that you keep postponing changes towards it?
As you know in the last couple years I completely changed the way I trained my body, and I won't bore you again on how much I like contortion etc, so don't leave me yet ;) Training my body differently had a huge impact on how I see my life today, how I think, make decisions and behave. I've always used my body as a mean to deal with life, my approach to it has always been a consequence of how I treated my body, what I did with it, and so it's now. I used to not know the actual meaning of BALANCE and FLEXIBILITY, I didn't know the great gifts and freedom those two brings. In life if you don't aim to take care of a variety of aspects (how's your social life, your family, career, relationships, passions) you'll burn yourself out, on one front or the other. You'll be amazing at something (like your job) and sucking at something else (neglecting friends and family, call them when you need etc). I'm not saying you need to have everything perfectly working, that's unrealistic, but you should aim to a balance in your life where you can find satisfaction on many fronts, not just one or two.
Flexibility, that had a tremendous impact in my way of thinking, too. I now consider myself open to changes, I accept the new, let go the old, I'm mentally flexible, I adjust myself to what life brings me. We really have no choice! You can't fight changes, because changes are part of life, and they happen. Some things last a very long time, other don't, and it's ok. The more I get old the more I understand this.
Alert: this is a post about "women's stuff" ;) Sometimes it's scary to think how our reasoning and mood is affected by hormones, it makes me feel like a robot that works on some mysterious chemical reactions. Above all, I wanted to learn a little more about estrogen and progesterone, the two primary sex steroid hormones in the female body, so I did some research to hopefully figure out what connection (if any) exists between muscle stiffness and hormones. It looks like women goes through a lot of hormones fluctuations (drops and rises) especially 1-2 weeks before their menstrual cycle, those cause several symptoms like anger, moodiness, fatigue, hunger, depression... AND joint/muscle stiffness !
It's hard to determine exactly what causes what, but right before a woman's period there is a high concentration of estrogen and progesterone in the blood, that suddenly drop right when the period starts. This drop releases the stiffness and rebalances all the above discomforts.
Here's a more detailed explanation of what happens:
"The graph shows the normal hormonal fluctuation seen with menstruation. Day 1 of the cycle correlates with the first day of menstrual bleeding. The first phase of the menstrual cycle is called the follicular phase. Estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest as the uterine lining sheds through menstruation. The follicular phase lasts 10 – 14 days, or until ovulation occurs. Just prior to ovulation estrogen and FSH (follicule stimulating hormone) rise, and LH (luteinizing hormone) surges to stimulate the release of an egg from the ovary. The luteal phase begins when ovulation occurs. Progesterone is exclusively released from the developing egg. Both estrogen and progesterone work in concert together to prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. If fertilization does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease causing menstruation to occur." (drlauraruby.com).
So LOW levels of estrogen and progesterone seems to work magic with flexibility, at least in my experience.
Another interesting point this author makes is "estrogen dominance, resulting in changes in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone are the underlying cause of many of the symptoms seen with PMS". So this could solve my question about what causes the stiffness. Or at least I'm getting closer to an answer. I'm sure this can be slightly different from person to person ;)
To show you where I experience the most stiffness: my middle/upper back. They refuse to bend on those pre-cycle days !
When I was little I remember having a view on life extremely simple (of course!) where my parents basically were everything for me and all I wanted to do was play with what was around (sand, trees, rivers, grass... everything was so interesting!), then growing up year by year I discovered more things and meet more people, found new interests, fell in love, travelled, learned more about myself and what I wanted to do as an independent adult. The beautiful thing of it all is that I never forgot that long time ago I was a little girl with a very simple view on the world and a great curiosity. Now when I see a picture of me at 6, 10, 16 yo, it amazes me that I still remember how I was FEELING and THINkiNG at that age. Growing up I discovered that life wasn't always simple and easy, problems, stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, those were the new feelings I was encountering, along with passion, motivation, satisfaction, freedom; like a scale, life was putting on the plates equal good and bad things, but now I can say mostly good :) While I approach my thirties (next year!) I'm realizing every day more how much I like my life better as I get older. I have no desire to get old in my body, but my mind get wiser and I'm more confident with my life choices. I still have in the back of my mind that little me, when I feel down I listen to her. She still sees life in a very simple way and remind me that most of my worries are not big deals, if there is a problem there is also a solution. When I try to keep that outlook on life, I'm more positive and focused in the present. Present time is what really matters, because the past is gone and the future is not here yet. So while sometimes we let ourselves get lost into negative emotions, make an effort to shake them off and think as you did when you were a child. That child in you has the best outlook on life!
Btw, I just got to Vegas, will post more about my visit in the next days ;)
What are you looking for when you pick the city where you want to live? Do you even pick, because some people stay in the same place where they were born and never move anywhere, sometimes because they don't know there could be places where actually you'd be happier to live, sometimes because they want to stay close to family and friends (nothing wrong with that). But me, I've always been looking for the perfect place, where I could enjoy almost every day, I really didn't want to think "oh I wish I was ___", I wanted to be already where I wished. So far I can't complain, beside my hometown Milan (Italy) I lived 5 years in Miami, 7 months in Santa Barbara CA, 2 years in Las Vegas and few months in Chicago. Chicago wasn't my first choice but it was a move necessary to do for personal reasons. I had many people telling me how beautiful of a city Chicago is and that it was time for me to relocate to a "real city", less superficial, more metropolitan, historical etc. But I still think that when people talk about places, they don't really know what they mean: they haven't lived my life and always have the tendency to believe the best life happens to be in big, "real world" cities. I disagree. Those are some comparisons I did between Vegas, capital of the "superficiality" and Chicago, one of the main US "real world" cities. Starting with Vegas: Some people call superficiality what I call simplicity. Vegas is a simple city. Smaller than most US cities, divided in 4 chunks (north east, north west, south east, south west), not very trafficky (beside weekends on the strip), based on entertainment and tourism (which is where people get the superficiality from), most famous areas are the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, overall a safe city, 1 season (a hot summer and a cold summer), it's dry and never rains.
Job wise, currently hard to find (especially if you're a guy).
Friends wise, not easy, have to agree, Vegas is a transient city, many people comes and go, I met some weird, crazy ones (Vegas can make you like that), some distant immersed in their world. But I made few strong friendships there, nonetheless.
Summer is extremely hot, but hey... that means pool parties ;) Vegas is perfect for those people who never want to grow up, leave the 'dream life feeling' and don't like conventionality.
Chicago is big. I mean very big. Chicago I learn is not only downtown, but all the suburbs surrounding it. It's a lot of distance from place to place, and traffic can be terrible. It's a very rich city tho, a lot to offer: concerts, theatre, museums, good schools, lot of bars, music, nice cafés, definitely more history than Vegas. I see why European people like it. Many good different areas, some bad ones (don't go south!). BUT...Holy crap, the winter. Really, the winter ruins the city. It's very hard for me to enjoy going to a place in Chicago, when it's 0 F outside. And it's so damn long... I heard spring and summer are beautiful, I don't doubt it! But can you enjoy a couple months of warmth without having the thought of winter on your mind ? Winter makes life complicated. More clothes to buy, frozen hands and feet, you get sick more frequently, and the streets are just an obstacle course
Job wise, probably more opportunities for both sexes.
Friends wise, well many people know each other from high school and such, relationships are long lasting and stronger I believe, more common ground, habits and culture. Vegas is a madhouse ! People are from everywhere.
What do you think of where you live? What characteristics you find very important to have? I'd love to hear.
Unfortunately, I'm more and more coming to the realization that there are very few things important in life, that not all friends are true friends and money was just an evil invention. Starting with the money statement: lot of people would do pretty much anything for money, every day I see less and less morals, values and respect. Related to this, friends show their true colors when money is involved. I've seen relationship and friendship breaking up because of money. Bah.
The few things important in life for me are personal achievements, family, love and the few real friends you can luckily find. This past week I spent few days with my mom in Miami and our time together reminded me how pure and strong the mother-daughter bond is. I decided to live so far to follow my dreams and explore the world, but what a price I had to pay, stay away from my family and see them so little. So that made me question priorities, is our career and personal evolution more important than being close to our family?
I had great experiences throughout those years away, but I was surprised by how little friends I made, how little "significant people" I met. Most of my experiences were personal and private, as far as human relationships... Wow that was close to zero. I invested a lot of time and energy with some wrong people who left me empty and hurt. In Italy I had the deepest bonds and when abroad I often felt this big lack. After years of studying and traveling I was full of beautiful places, events, knowledge, experiences, but empty of relationships. So I started questioning why I needed so badly to stay away from my roots and origins... Till I met my hubby that was surely a big turn out in my decisions. I think following dreams and careers is a worthy reason to leave, but it has to be timed and it has to have an evolution (a succession of goals that become increasingly a bigger and more important plan), u can't spend 10 years following a dream, you need to set dates and know that your time is precious and you won't have it back.
I don't regret my decisions but I feel the need to be closer to my family and the people who worth the most to me. So I'm gonna use my time wiser and more efficiently. This is one of the good things I'm learning growing up!
A pic from Miami, stretching on the beach :)
Last few days I felt happy. Just simply, overall happy about my life. This feeling made me reflect. I thought about my dreams and I realized I achieved many already. I thought about my personal life, I love my husband and the friends I have. I thought about my career and it's taking form, I'm happy with what I'm doing. I like Vegas, beside some days. I even like my body now without being extreme! Which is HUGE. It's ok to be content? I don't mean to stop and get comfortable, I'm always looking for improvements in all aspects of my life, but what if where I am at now is really making me happy overall? Do we all need to get famous, recognized, rich, big career, whatever society think brings happiness? I don't think so. FIND WHAT YOU LIKE AND DO IT.
I don't really give a damn about being "famous", I just like when people recognize I work hard and when I can be an inspiration to others. I don't like media and TV, nowadays Honey Boo Boo gets on it, and that is saying a lot about where things are going. I rather be followed on Facebook honestly!
I think every dream is worth to be follow, no matter how big or small it is. If you don't have any at the moment, new ones will come.
On a piramid of generic priorities I'd put first family, loved ones and own's health, then education and jobs, friends and social life, saving for future, leisure time. Happiness is made of daily little things and I believe the quality of our life is extremely important to be able to appreciate them. Invest in quality, not quantity! Work daily to make yourself happy instead on depending on outside events. End of post... :)
Cheers and keep stretching!
I feel bad because I haven't been posting regularly, but a fitness philosopher like me can't just open the laptop and type, I gotta have either a good training/nutrition topic to discuss or some sort of inspiration, deep thinking, meditation, self-examination process going on. I'm sorry you have to wait for one of those lol. Today my brain is in a vegetative state so forgive my grammar or if I say some nonsense, but I'm lacking sleep from last night and that's what happen: I'm SLOW.
There are several things that happen in your body when you don't sleep:
1. Suppressed immune system
2. Attention deficit
3. Moodiness (sleep and mood are regulated by same chemicals)
4. Increased appetite: Guess what? You're not craving carrots and spinach. You want the WORST sugary and fatty bastard foods. One simple reason this happen is because your body release more ghrelin (hunger inducing hormone) and less leptin (hunger suppressing hormone). Go figure why not the opposite? I'd stay awake 24/7! JK...
5. Fight or flight state: Body registers stress. Body isn't a very bold guy, ... whatever you do you're in danger. Ehy I just didn't sleep last night, relax dude! NO. Body feels the need to increase blood pressure, blood glucose, cortisol and heart rate. DO NOT drink coffee to wake up! Make things worst.
One thing I know for sure is that night sleep is not the same as day sleep. The real restful recharging sleep happens at night. Any other time is BS. So if you had a bad night's sleep, survive the day and drag yourself to bed EARLY.
I go through periods where I sleep like a baby and others where I wake up every night, usually around 1 or 2 am, and it takes me an hour or so to fall back asleep. I noticed in the past when I used to diet very hard my sleep was awful. I'd wake up at 3am craving my breakfast... sleeping hungry is the worst! On the other hand, training intensely is a great sleep booster and body relaxer.
I took benzodiazepines every now and then when sleeping was just too hard for me. They work like magic, but it's easy to get addicted and you better have a doctor's prescription if you're taking them... they're not candy.
So in other words... I'm really looking forward to my bed tonight.
Quick post today... day off, no training, no nothing! Super lazy day. Last night I went out and I was feeling hot and all that
This morning I looked quite different, thanks to the special formula sleepless night+no make up+ WTF happen to my hair?
LOL I look 200 pounds as well
"Umph! I'll prove it to you all!"
I've been taking quite a collection of eyes pictures. Yes, vanity to the extreme and beyond... if you didn't noticed yet lol.
Some of my "eyes shots" :
No make up eyes
They all are green!
If that's not enough, then I'm color blind and nobody ever told me.
Sometimes I go out riding my bike on the streets of South Beach and I don't really wanna bring a bag or backpack with me. So I hang the keys on my neck, credit card and blackberry in my bra. Lately though I've been placing my blackberry on a more proper and comfortable seat. "He" deserves to see outside and get some fresh air, too. So now he stays here:
And it feels so funny because I imagine he's like my baby or puppy I'm taking out for a ride. I know I'm a weirdo!!! Ahahah :)
I like to approach a variety of topics. Mostly fitness, since is my biggest passion. But there is so much more that interests me, and I know I don't have just fitness freaks like me among you readers, so I'm sure you enjoy some diversity every now and then. Ok, things worth living. There are things you choose to do, eat, drink, even though they might not be the best for you, in terms of health, common sense, "normality" etc. But you wouldn't enjoy life as much without them. Hear me out, this is different from addictions. You can say you like to smoke and drink, if you do it "consciously". If you get a booze every day, if you smoke 2 packs of cigarettes regularly, well you are into an addictive behavior, which means you don't even enjoy it that much, you just NEED it, and negative effects override the positive ones. I know some things I consider worth living have side effects- again, if you overdo them. They are:
COFFEE. Life is better with a cup of coffee. Feeling energized, focus, alert. Like a real Rabbit On Crack ;)
TAN. I'm italian. We freakin LOVE being dark! What can I say. I don't wanna live pale, sorry (been overdoing here).
It started at a young age...lol
LOVE. As painful as it can get. Its worth it. If you are afraid of suffering, you are afraid of living. Love is beautiful. Can't guarantee you it last as bright as it started. It fades, transform, becomes something else, affection, memories. As far as myself, it never dies completely.
MUSIC. If I wasn't into fitness, modeling etc, I'd be either a chef or a DJ. Maybe a DJ with a kitchen as consolle. Lol. No side effects here! Dance your ass off when you can :)
DIET COKE. I can go weeks without it. But then comes a day where I'm dreaming about a tall ice cold glass of it...like this
delicious bubbling dope.
BEING IN THE BEST SHAPE of your life (here we go fitness again,lol). But think about it. Isn't it worth it? And taking pictures, that will last forever. Unveil your potential, your beauty. And when you feel your best from outside, it make you wanna be your best on other levels. Professionally, morally, ethically... Its "inner contagious".
Bye for now...its sunny outside gotta get my tan fix :)
Confidence can go hand in hand with a higher self esteem, a overall feeling of "control and power" on your life and, sometimes, a pretty good dose of.... arrogance.
I gotta admit it, I'm having quite fun with this blog. And like with all the things I love, I'll take good care of it. As ALWAYS, my day turned better after the gym. I did 68 min cardio, which I split this way: 20 min hoola hop with some new variations I learned, 30 min stepmill at level 8 with few intervals at 20, 18 min arc trainer @ 35 level resistance, 10% incline. Nothing crazy today, just medium intensity. Then I spent 50 min doing the following: trigger point therapy on the wall using my lacrosse ball. Then I used the hard foam roller and "rolled" my glutes, quads, inner thighs and IT band. In the end, some of my classic stretching...you can learn more about it in one of my e-books, the Flexibility manual ;)
Now I was just chilling at home, and since I do NOT have a TV (by choice), I was entertaining myself with my phone, singing that song "Killing me softly" from Fugees... but instead of "killing me softly with his song" (original lyrics), I sang "killing me softly with THIS PHONE"...lol, who knows why. And took this pics :-P