FOMO or FOBP? Your call.

Last weekend, David and I traveled to North Georgia and the border of Tennessee. We had a friends trip to go white water rafting for the first time! We were so excited to go! Since I was young, I wanted to try it at least once. It would be an adventure to say the least! I’m willing to try anything [within reason] once.

We left Atlanta to drive north. After the two-hour car ride, we dropped cell service here and there and it reminded me of several trips I’ve made before. I have driven through Southeastern Ohio, North Central Nebraska or northern Missouri and been lost and separated from cell service. Those times, I was often alone.

That’s challenging. But when you have someone with you to go through the navigation together, it makes it easier and more fun. You can share road trip stories, belt out sing along sessions to your favorite 90s songs and enjoy mid-drive snacks or prepped meals. We found a playlist on Spotify that was more of “driving music” and allowed us to have a deeper conversation about relationships, friendships, love and life.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

Driving on the curvy roads prepared us more for the white water rapids we would face the next day. We did not have any friends go white-water rafting recently. But, it was even more important to me to be present for this experience.

There are so many distractions in life. A lot of our friends had either events or bodybuilding competitions the weekend while we were gone. Both David and I are in an off season from competing and having some FOMO.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out” is a large problem for our age group today. I believe it to be the biggest downfall with social media. It can easily cause envy, jealousy, desire and craving for attention, instantaneous reaction and response. More critically, it takes away from being present.

I have suffered it. I think I leads to a new category: FOBP. This I call “Fear of Being Present”. For some, they do not necessarily fear missing out. Instead, they have a fear of being present. They do not want to face a situation, want to live in a “fantasy world” in their phones and “escape reality”.

I’ve noticed the more my social media platforms grow, the more I get sucked in to this tunnel. It has taken some self analysis and witnessing it in others. I now acknowledge it head on; I am addressing my weakness with FOMO and FOBP.

Therefore, for the day trip, I disconnected from my cell phone. It was self-induced once we reached the cabin. Cell service was spotty, I wanted to enjoy the moments and cook our last meal for the evening and make the most of our time in nature of the Georgia mountain ranges. So that is what I did. Others may have checked their phones on occasion that evening. The next day, we all left our phones in the car until after the rafting trip.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

This forced us to be present. FOBP was pushed aside. This was about enjoying the experience. We could share it later. Storytelling is the oldest form of communication. I do not have video footage or photos of the greenery, the steep and staggering geography along the riverbeds, the sparkling blue waters in the calm parts of the waters. These are all in my mind. But that is what makes it more fun to reminisce and think back to the experience!

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

Our guide JP was an eclectic, knowledgeable rafter. He has been working there for five years and his knowledge shown through as we successfully made our way down the river to his commands.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

“Two forward!” “At ease!” “Left side, three forward!” “Everyone down!!!”

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

I almost fell out of the boat two times. But, those twists and turns on the quick white waters gave me the adrenaline I’ve been missing! It was a bonding experience to work as a team, rowing on command and taking control (as much as we could) of the raft along the natural and man-made Ochoee River.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

Four hours later, we returned, everyone intact and with slight sunburns. We also found out there were cameras around the river capturing moments from the trip.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice.

We dried off, ate and made our way back to Atlanta. I pulled out my phone and was reluctant to review all the notifications. It was nice not having the noise and clutter.

Detachment from our devices is hard. Let’s be real: we live on them. And it sucks sometimes. That’s why taking a little separation can be good. It does not necessarily have to be for half a day. It could just be one hour each day you dedicate to not checking your phone, setting it on “Do Not Disturb” and focusing on work, family or friends. Let’s shift away from the “Fear of Being Present” and move into being present, not missing out on the moments and memories that life is really about… the ones not seen in a screen.

What will you choose? I think I will dive more into this topic, because it is not just relevant for me, but for many others in my life.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice.

How to diet during busy season & on bodybuilding improvement season

Woah, how is it already December?!?! I do not know about you, but I think this fall and year has flown by. A lot of it is to do with staying busy each day, every weekend, going none stop. But thing is, I love the grind. I love the hustle.

Strong Sweet Caroline | improvement season dieting

Since August and moving to Georgia, I have improved tremendously at being task oriented and completing action items to advance me towards my goals. This is not just in business but also in hobbies and passions like bodybuilding. I am not competing anytime soon but that does not mean I get to slack on my diet and training.

With that in mind, I wanted to discuss how to diet during busy season and more specifically my experience with bodybuilding improvement seasons or “off seasons”. It is not for the week minded or lazy. Bodybuilding is not for the lazy, period. Even if you are not in the sport, you may have another passion, goal or hobby that requires diligent effort and continued execution. Therefore, to improve, you cannot slack.

Read on for my steps to success in dieting during busy season and improvement season and my new program for January meal prep!


First and foremost, you need to identify your goal.

Are you looking to increase size and mass? If so, where and what body parts? Overall symmetry? This will affect your training routines and eating patterns.

Second, create structure around that goal.

You tell me you want to increase size and mass, specifically in your glutes and hamstrings but also more caps to your shoulders. If I were your coach or seeking to work with a coach, I would adjust the volume of your training to be more leg and glute focused, possibly increasing frequency of workouts each week, increasing time under tension, etc. When you get as specific as possible and outline your path or options, it will steer you in the right direction for execution.

You tell me you want to lose 15 pounds. Do you know what you eat in a day or week? That might be a good place to start is writing down everything you eat each day for one week. Then, you can actually determine how much you are eating and where to adjust.

Third, do not get caught up in social media with shredded friends and athletes who are on a different structure and goal than you!

Just like in a horse race, the winning horse does not try to look around its blinders to see who might be gaining on it. It focuses its eyes on the strides ahead toward the finish line. If that motivates you to stick to your diet for long-term success, by all means, print a photo off and stick it on your mirror! But don’t get caught up in it.

Fourth, now that you have your goal, structure and are focused on YOU, fuel your body accordingly.

It is sad that so many out there think that burgers and fries, pizza and donuts are good for you in an improvement season. I actually cut them out entirely.

Why? Because quality food matters. When you are at a caloric surplus (which most society is overeating not undereating), the nutrients absorbed into your body work to maintain your metabolism. If you are constantly eating foods that are more processed, higher in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars and not nutritionally dense, they will slow your metabolic rate and cause you to store more body fat. I know I do not want that. To prepare for previous shows, I spent WEEKS doing cardio to strip the fat off my body.

So, when at a surplus, what do you do? Eat right. Be strategic. And even if you do not want to do it, eat the carbs. You’ll appreciate them later.

I decided to photograph all the foods I eat in one day. I am at a caloric surplus now and did not realize that including my intraworkout drink, I have eight meals per day. But, here’s where it gets interesting.

Strong Sweet Caroline | How to dietStrong Sweet Caroline | How to diet

Each meal is under 500 calories. When you go out to eat at a restaurant, you’re luck if anything on the regular menu is 600 calories or fewer. You can modify and customize orders, but it’s the idea that those meals are often lacking the nutrients you really need and have more filler foods and ingredients than necessary.

I eat pretty close to the same thing every day. I follow “if it fits your macronutrient dieting”, commonly referenced as IIFYM. Does that mean I get to each chocolate and poptarts if I choose? Yes. Do I do so daily? Nope! I’m strategic about everything I eat.

This has been my progress the past two months. Slowly putting on muscle, weight and body fat. The majority comes from consistent eating habits and hard ass workouts.

Strong Sweet Caroline | improvement season dieting
Top was October 1, bottom December 1

I’ve come a long way. And now I’m transitioning to bikini instead of figure. So, there lies another challenge. Learning new poses and as mentioned above, restructuring my programming. Time for more glutes, squats, lunges and plyometrics to build the booty!

Additionally, my meal prep company is growing, new clients are signing up and my website will be launching in a few short days! With all this happening, I’ve realized how crucial my meal prep planning is. I want to share that with y’all and help teach others to be successful at meal prep.

I am launching my first Meal Prep in 30 Challenge!

Strong Sweet Caroline | Meal Prep in 30 Challenge

 

This will teach you everything from grocery shopping, macronutrients, storage containers, seasonings I use, cooking methods, and more so that you can start your 2018 on the right food with health and wellness in the forefront.

It is only $30 to enter. There are objectives to complete each week and when you do, whoever completes them, in addition to engagement on social media and other bonus challenges, will be entered for a drawing to win

  • My first ever dessert ecookbook
  • $25 gift card to Whole Foods
  • 1 sample pack of Enlightened Broad Bean Crisps
  • 6 Pack Bag meal prep bag!

Reach out with any inquiries and sign up today!

5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

This past weekend, I flew to Scottsdale, Arizona for the third annual Fitposium conference. I discovered it this past spring over James Patrick Photography’s Instagram profile and ponder it for a few weeks before securing my spot. Each year, I usually invest in one weekend for some sort of personal development. To be frank, some of the conferences I’ve attend the past 3+ years have become stale. Sure, I always had some new nuggets of information to learn. But, there was something tugging at me to travel to Arizona.

As someone transitioning from one industry to a completely different one, I was not sure what to expect. The two-day agenda was full of unique opportunities. And it did not disappoint! I had some powerful takeaways from Fitposium. Watch now for my five tips to succeed in your casted roles. You can also read more details below!

Do not treat your peers as your customers.

I was surrounded by other fitness professionals, entrepreneurs and models during the two-day conference. The industry has become saturated and, even in a conference setting, it can often be competitive. For example, during the casting call, I got nervous about what others were doing for poses and outfits. Should it have mattered? No. My brand is the only one I need to focus on at that moment in time. Do not worry about what your peers are doing. Majority of the time, they are not your customers.

Many of the keynote and session speakers hit on specialization. It used to be about knowing “everything” and being a “Jack or Jill of all trades”. But guess who is now getting all the business? The specialized ones. Speaker, Jill Coleman, creator of Jill Fit, asked, “What is your X-Factor?” Identify your customers, your niche, your true “passion” in the industry. Is it powerlifting? Do you love yoga? Vegan nutrition? Get clear and focus now.  This is not just advice for fitness professionals, but all professionals in their respective industries.

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

Know numbers to succeed in business.

I have always been a writer. I love marketing, public relations and photography. Where is my weakness? Financials. Even in my full-time corporate role, I was challenged a lot to improve on knowing my numbers. It helped me make it more of a habit but I need to keep growing it. The biggest reason businesses fail is because they do not focus enough on their balance sheet, profit and loss statement and operating budget. Even as someone in college, corporate or in your home, having a budget is essential to staying balanced and having less worry on financials.

The grind is not sexy.

I am experiencing this firsthand. There will always be things in life we are required to do that we may not love to do. You may have heard the phrase, “the most valuable things in life do not come easy.” This is the same with building businesses, relationships and the life we dreamed of. This is the opportunity to think futuristic and make shit happen. Speaker and entrepreneur Jon Boles stated that you must “position yourself to where you are going, not where you are.” But, in order to do that, you have to trust the process and do the daily grind. Hustle your butt off.

Strong Sweet Caroline | Blog Quote

Do not be vanilla.

One of my favorite speakers was Bizzie Gold. She is a serial entrepreneur who I’d define as a bad ass boss lady. She shared we spend too much time being wishy washy, trying to be all to everyone. You can have whatever ice cream you want. There are many brands and even different types of vanillas out there. We must identify who we are, being creative to showcase our talents and taking action each day that will lead to future expansion. Rome was not built in one day. Our lives and empires will not be either if we do not act DAILY and do not find a way to be unique in the crowd.

Always tell your story.

Past Olympian Erin Stern, Your Marketing BFF Tana Nelson and Chris Powell and Heidi Powell all shared a common message: tell your story. Story telling is the oldest form of communication. It’s how we build relationships. It’s how we impact the world. It is the most important way we communicate to anyone. Never forget to tell your unique story. Many people do not know I have traveled to different countries, spoken on stage in front of over 20,000 people or raised alpacas. They do not know I grew up on a farm, moved across the country three times and that I left corporate sales to pursue a dream larger than myself. But now more than ever, I am empowered to share that message.

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

I am empowered to help other people create elegant strength and joy in life’s journey. I know who I am to the bone. And this allows me to give my best talents and gifts to the world.

 

New YouTube series

What’s life if it isn’t fun? Since moving to Georgia, there have been many moving pieces (literally and figuratively). Thankfully, David makes it fun. Both he and I want to start sharing our daily experiences. We thought there was no better way than to start a new YouTube series!

Strong Sweet Caroline | New YouTube series
All the meal prep gains is discussed in a new YouTube series with David.

This first episode includes:

  • Grocery shopping at Buford Highway Farmers Market
  • Pre-workout meal
  • Brutal leg day workout
  • Taste testing at a new local restaurant (can you say dessert find?!)
Strong Sweet Caroline donut inspiration
New gourmet donut shop in Atlanta called Scream’n Nuts! Better check it out. These flavors discussed in YouTube video below.

Obviously part of our shopping includes ingredients for my new meal prep company. I’m blessed that things are moving along smoothly. I have registered for a trademark and LLC. I have one client and onboarding another new customer!

Strong Sweet Caroline - Sweet Potato Donuts and intro to YouTube series
When inspired by donut shop, bake your own homemade sweet potato donuts!

I am also working two part time jobs, freelance writing and living the American dream, because I love what I do and know I am contributing to the world in a positive way. Stay tuned for more updates.

Strong Sweet Caroline - new YouTube series and meal prep
Shopping haul to cooked meals. Lots to learn still but enjoying the process!

Let us know what you think and if there are any specific topics you’d like us to cover!

Four things to do when you move to a new city

I have moved four times since graduating from The Ohio State University in May 2014. Each time, I have gone to a new city. Three of the four I never actually visited before moving there! A while back, I blogged about my largest move to Nebraska. Now that I have moved again (this time in Atlanta, Georgia), I’ve done some thinking on the trials and tribulations relocating can create. I think it can often be easier to do than we think.
Below are four things I recommend doing when you move to a new city. BONUS: I discuss one of my favorite healthier alternative ingredients to use when creating baked goods.
  1. Get acclimated with the area
When moving to a new place, especially a large city, it can be very intimidating. The first thing I like to do is pull up Google maps and see what the surround area, towns and roads look like. Then, hit the road. It serves you well to drive around, take in the local businesses and get a feel for your surrounds and directions. I even allow myself to get lost. Usually, that’s how I find new coffee shops, backroads and fun places to explore. When I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for my first job territory, I found a neat coffee shop called Firefly Coffeehouse. The more comfortable you can become, the more quickly the “new” factor will wear off and you can normalize your area.

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Daily supplements as a female weightlifter

I go to the gym five to six times per week. I cook 90% of my meals at home. These are just two elements to being a female weightlifter. What else do I do to optimize my strength and physique? I supplement.

I traveled to Atlanta for Fourth of July week to spend time with David and some of his friends and family. The trip was balanced with new adventures and reoccurring routines.

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One of the routines was meal prep and eating together. I’m blessed I have a man who enjoys cooking as much as I do! We eat clean, nutritious foods. But we didn’t just eat. We also supplement our diet to get necessary vitamins and optimize training and recovery.

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