Friday, May 31, 2013

Operation Red Bikini Complete! Link Up Post & Mega Give Away

Brace yourself- long post coming at ya! It's finally here, the conclusion of Operation Red Bikini aka my favorite Instagram hash tag #operationredbikini I shall miss you! Before sitting down to write this post, I searched through my old posts to find my original ORB goals. This all came about last December when Kassie at Southern Girl Gets Fit decided to throw down a summer challenge. I found my first mentions of Operation Red Bikni back on December 8, 2012. The award for longest challenge ever goes to....

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The overall concept of Operation Red Bikini was simply a challenge for our blogging community to pick a summer goal piece, a pair of shorts, a certain size, set a new running PR, Rock a Red Bikini, etc in an effort to feel prepared and confident this summer. I whole heartedly believe each of us owes it to ourselves to feel good in our own skin. It's a gift to give yourself, to love being you. You are fabulous, never forget it! 

Every blogger that I have followed participating in Operation Red Bikini has had a different goal. Staying focused for 6 months has been no easy task, however the challenge has been so much fun. I've gotten to know so many of you through our Operation Red Bikni Challenge and the experience has been AMAZING. I may not retire my hashtag just yet :)

If you're participating in the ORB link up, be sure to include your link at the bottom of this post. Next, browse everyone's post and ORB goal wrap up posts for summer inspiration. Leave comments, make some new friends! Searching for fitness inspiration? Look no further- these women ROCK!

First things first, gotta talk give aways...

The Operation Red Bikini swag pack- One lucky lady from the link up will win this awesome sauce collection of summer survival gear from a floppy beach hat to some of Kassie and I's favorite skinny eats, even the a Jillian Michael's DVD (cause we know how ya'll love to hate her)! The winner will be randomly selected from the Link Up Participants. Show these ladies some love, they've worked hard!



Didn't participate in the link up? It's cool, we've got some ORB swag for you too! Two more prizes up for grabs! To enter to win, you must be a follower of this blog and Southern Girl Gets Fit. That's it! All Operation Red Bikini Winners will be announced this coming Tuesday!

One $25 Gift Card to my favorite online boutique Charly and Company. Charly's lace shorts have become my favorite pool side companion....



One Giving Up is Not an Option Tank from Body Love Apparel, because Giving Up is NEVER an option!



My ORB Goals Posted January 2, 2013

Achieve 18% body fat
Wear Hot Shorts to Run (Yeah like volleyball player spandex biz nitch)
Rock a Red Bikini (Pictures & Previous Summer Shots to be Included)

Phew reach for those stars Elle Noel!

1. Achieve 18% body fat- Not there yet, but actively working towards this goal through my Macro meal plan, thanks to my coach aka bikini pro, Macro Meal Planner Extraordinaire, cheerleader, and friend Ashley Leahy! Currently at 20.5-21 percent body fat. Goal is to check again in a week and a half for a status update. Progress, not perfection.

2. Wear Hot Shorts to Run- When I originally posted this goal, I honestly thought the hot shorts were a far away goal. I first wore my volleyball player spandex biz nitch style shorts on January 21, 2013. (South Louisiana Weather). I actually wear my hot shorts A LOT. I kinda love them. They're incredibly comfortable, they allow me to be free!



3. Rock a Red Bikini

First, Let's go back in time

*Note All Pictures Have been Cropped to Protect my Friendships- Nobody panic :)

July 2007- 20 years old. I was at my lightest adult weight in memory. I was actually about 10 pounds lighter than I am now. However, present day, I'm much smaller physically. Why? Muscle weighs more than fat, gotta love that! During this time, I NEVER exercised. I'd get winded going up three flights of stairs. I kid you not. I was an undergraduate student who put the P in PARTAY! (Sorry Mom) I was always hungry and trying to convince myself I wasn't. It's not at all surprising that not eating was not a sustainable method of weight management. I eventually got hungry. Surprise Surprise...


Summer 2008- My weight started climbing. I was conscience of my weight gain, but felt powerless to stop it. I felt if I really wanted to turn things around, then I certainly could. I just didn't want to yet. I was entering the end of my college years and I was stressed. So I ate. A lot. I also drank beer frequently- exhibit A


Summer 2009- My weight had officially become out of my control. Prior to our annual trip to the beach, I joined my current gym in a bid to drop some weight. I managed to lose 15 pounds for the trip, and I gained it all back plus some directly after returning home. I was miserable in my skin and it showed. My cloths didn't fit and my self esteem was in the toilet. However, I still wasn't ready to take control of my life and face the facts. I had some more complaining to do first...


Summer 2010 Complete swim wear black out. My first year post grad, I was working full time, my first big girl job, I'd just gotten engaged, I should have been on top of the world. I wasn't. I was 60-70 pounds over weight. I hated myself. I absolutely hated my body. At this time, I was really battling with my appearance and self worth. I honestly felt they went hand in hand. This is difficult to admit, but I'd given up hope in really loving myself. Most days I think it's fair to say I hated myself. I hated the lack on control I had over my own life. If I couldn't control me, how could I control any outside factors affecting my life? If I continued on this path, what future could I possibly have? I had big dreams, and no confidence to back myself up. Everything was personal to me. I mean everything. I was angry I had allowed my life to spin out of control. Was this the path I wanted to walk in life? I wanted more from myself, but I wasn't ready to put in the work yet. Still in complaining mode. I didn't feel this weight battle was fair, pitty party table for one!

If it weren't for the people who love me most, the real me with all my imperfections, no matter what size pant I wear, I don't know how I would have pulled myself out of this extreme slump I found myself living daily. It wasn't just my body I hated, I was struggling with me, inside and outside me. For lack of a better phrase, I was completely lost. Both in what I wanted out of life and who I am as a person. It was not a bright time. No sad story ending here, a-ha moment coming soon....

Summer 2011 I'm about to get married to my now husband, and boyfriend of 5 years.Who loves me no matter what the scale says. No matter what my pant size says. Who proposed to me at my heaviest weight, because he loves the girl on the inside. He loves my heart. He thinks I'm smart. He believes in my dreams. He admires my tenacity. He adores my character. He believed in me when I didn't believe in me. He thinks I'm beautiful, and his opinion is the only one that matters. I'd just lost 30lbs, I was starting to feel good about myself again. I felt confident in my future. I was taking back my life!


Summer 2012 Throughout the previous year, my yo-yo cycle continued for about 6 months. 6 months out from my wedding I found myself 13 pounds heavier, again, and staring down the barrel of another beach trip. Something snapped. Enough was enough.  I had to break the cycle. I felt confident in my abilities to work for my goals. I had started loving myself again. I knew it would take time, but I was willing to work HARD. This was it. Now or never territory. Summer 2012 what we now know as Elle Noel was born....


Summer 2013 - 258 Blog Posts, a new runner, one half marathon,and more mini challenges than I can count later....Operation Red Bikini Success! NEVER GIVE UP!

..

You died inside,
and you don't know why
So you try to turn the light on...

But stand up and never say never
'Cause this Life is Gonna Get Better
Take a Breath, Shake it Off and Say
I'm on My Way

You been down and feel so fed up
Might not be on top of the world but hey
Here's What You Say

You Might Work but I work Harder
You Might Fight but I Fight Smarter
Might Not be on Top of the World but Hey

I'M ON MY WAY

Charlie Brown- On My Way
Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Macro Diet Update

After initially posting about my new eating pan of action, the Macro way, I have been continually blown away by how many people are curious about Macros! I started working with Ashley Leahy, two and a half weeks ago, I really can't sing the praises of this diet program and Ashley enough. Not only did Ashley put together my meal plan based on my specific dietary needs- ie my weight, height, age, activity level, she's held me accountable by getting my weight twice a week. That girl always remembers to ask me for an update too. There is no forgetting to weigh in- hello accountability!

She's been available to me at all times, and has never made me feel any question I may have is insignificant. She also introduced me to her team of Grit Girls via Facebook where we can all communicate our questions, share recipes, success stories, and encourage one another. The entire experience has been phenomenal, and successful. I'm down 3 pounds in 2 and a half weeks, and I'm shrinking! I can clearly see marked definition in my arms, legs. mid section, etc. To think it all started with a message from Instagram. I love the internet! 

The first week on the plan was the most difficult to adjust. I ate the same things, literally every day, for a week straight until I felt comfortable adjusting my diet. Once I got into the groove, it's become a much less time consuming task for me each day to ensure I'm eating the right amounts of each food - Protein/Carbs/ Fat (Macros in a nut shell).

As a former fatty, chunky monkey, fluffy girl, whatever you want to call it, I feel I will always have issues with the super strict diet. I personally feel the super strict diet sets you up to fail yourself. Unattainable goals and unrealistic expectations set you up for disappointment. When you feel like a failure, you want to throw in the towel, say f*ck this, then you're disappointed in yourself. You'll stand in the mirror and pick yourself apart, let the scale determine your worth, rapidly depleting your self-esteem- why can't I do this!? and, if you're anything like me, insert binge attack. For these reasons, I will never follow a super strict diet. I allow myself one extreme cheat a week. This prevents the negative scale cycle and food dependency. I do feel over time I've become detached from food, however if it's Sunday evening and I'm craving ice cream, I'm going to eat ice cream. I've done it twice since starting this diet. The Sonic Peanut Butter Cookie Shake is other worldly by the way :) Guess what? I'm still getting the results I want from my macro plan even with my one cheat a week. I don't feel deprived or hungry, and YES I'm still getting in my social hour on high carb day aka Saturday. Ya'll know this girl ain't missing out on that! Come on nah!

I'm hesitant to call any meal plan a life style. This buzz phrase just doesn't fit my life. Ya'll wanna know what my life style plan is?

Aside from the fact that she's ridiculously rich (hello personal chef),
Jennifer's plan will work for my life too
The Macro plan is working for me. It gives me freedom to cheat, within moderation, and is producing my results. Win win right?! I have progress pictures, however I can not post them here. My husband's friends and some male family members read this blog, so I don't feel comfortable posting those pictures here. (Sowwy Guys!) however, leave me a comment and let me know you'd like to see the pics, I'll happily share with you :) If you're curious about Macros or working with Ashley, shoot her an email. Yes I think it's worth the money. The proof is in the results ya'll, and after plateauing for the better part of 6 months, I'd sign up with her all over again!

In other news, rocking and rolling the May Meltdown with Ms Michael's, and looking forward to the conclusion of Operation Red Bikini! Who is ready for the link up tomorrow?! THIS GIRL!

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Rest Day- A Love Hate Relationship

The Rest Day, we aren't great friends. I struggle scheduling time each week to rest from my exercise agenda. I know, I know, this day is essential in recovery. The body needs time to rest in order to get stronger. Without a Rest Day, killer work outs, just won't happen. I notice this is even more true when training for a long run, hello half marathon, do not skip your rest day!

This week, I allowed myself two consecutive rest days. I began Monday morning with every intention of getting in my work out, however, I could not shake the fatigue. My first reaction when something like this happens is to tell myself, suck it up buttercup, but something told me to take it easy another day. Sunday usually claims my only rest day.

I've been guilty of over training.  I love the burn, the feeling after a long hard run, the high after a work out that literally builds character. However, when those over training sluggies set it, it's time to take it down a notch. What are the over training sluggies? For me, it's overwhelming fatigue and an inability to bring intensity to a work out. I won't take a rest day simply because I'm sore, I actually find working out sore muscles to be beneficial in quick recovery, however those sluggies can knock you out for a few days if you aren't careful!

Resting will make you stronger. The body needs rest. Two consecutive rest days enabled me to knock out my Tuesday evening work out. I was able to increase weight and cardio intensity. All down to that extra rest day.


Ok so why would anyone hate on the rest day? Sounds like it's all good stuff!

Womp!

Here's why I'm resistant to the rest day- it takes away my routine. Without my routine, I find myself with weak will power and the sluggies. A terrible combination. It's rest days that a Sonic Blast can have more power over me than I have over myself. I love Sonics. Don't Hate. Don't act like you aren't curious about those 25 new shake flavors! Oreo Cheesecake flavor say what?!

The rest day is my most challenging day diet wise. It's when I'm most likely to slip up. To let little things slide. This is an area in which I need improvement.

How do you handle your rest day? Do you have a love/ hate relationship with that day?

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Operation Red Bikini Link Up & Finale

Good morning! Who else has all their days and weeks mixed up!? This girl does! I apologize for my lack of post Friday morning, I've been totally swamped in and crazy busy, womp womp! It's been a wild couple of days and I'm ready to get back into my routine.

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This week marks the conclusion of Operation Red Bikini! Those of you who have been reading Elle Noel and Southern Girl Gets Fit for a few months know about this on going campaign that Kassie and I worked up to get everyone excited, and most importantly feeling great in your skin, for summer! It's finally the last week of ORB aka grand finale time! Friday we'll be hosting a linkup to conclude the Operation where we can all check back on our original goals with some before and after pics, as well as, the big prize pack give away!

If you do not have a blog, but have been participating and would like to include your experience in my post, email me here. Let's spread the positive patty energy and share all of our stories of success. I personally can not wait to hear about everyone's individual experiences and goals that have been met. Success stories are my favorite motivator!

Friday also concludes the #4mchallenge aka May Meltdown with Ms. Michaels!



I've been enjoying Killer Abs all month long, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to this DVD, but I will include my review next Monday since ya know Operation Red Bikini will be one heck of a post :) My biggest upcoming challenge is commitment to my Macro Plan, which is going famously I tell ya. I'll update on this Thursday morning. The conclusion of all these challenges has me asking, What's Next?

My biggest upcoming motivator is our annual summer vacation to the beach. Coincidentally , I'll begin officially training for my next half marathon the weekend we return. Plus ya'll know I got some other stuff I'm cooking up to stay motivated. Updates coming soon! 

Weekly Goals:

Monday- Rest Day

Tuesday- 
Treadmill Circuit (Shoulders & Back)
Killer Abs Level 3

Wednesday-
6 Mile Run & Triceps Biceps
Killer Abs Level 3

Thursday-
Killer Abs Level 3
Strength Class

Friday-
Killer Abs Level 3
Treadmill Speed Training (5 Miles)

Saturday-
Speed Training Clinic
Killer Abs Level 3

Sunday-
15 Mile Bike Ride
Killer Abs Level 3

Cheers to an Awesome Week!!

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why the Early AM Work Out ROCKS!

FAQ: How do you have so much time to work out? Do you ever skip? I don't have time, I make time. Working Out is a top priority. I always make time for my daily, a few times a week even twice daily, work outs. No excuses. The early morning work out aka the 4:45am alarm time. I get asked a lot how to make this happen. Why would you want to wake up so early to work out?! I could never.


First off, yes you can (I'll give you some of my tips), and here's a list of reasons why you should!


  1. The early morning work out sets up an extremely productive day!  It gives me time to center my thoughts,mapping out a plan of action for what I need to accomplish that day, and gives me an overall peace of mind before starting off the work day! Multiple studies show that morning exercise increases brain functionality and productivity. Google "benefits to morning exercise" and see how many times this one pops up. Morning exercise fills me with the positive energy I need to grab the day by the horns and run it my way!
  2. No Distractions- When I wake up and head to the gym at 5am, I will not be distracted by the social scene happening there, because well, there isn't one. People are not, generally speaking, super social at 5am. Sure I still see people I know at the gym during this time, however, everyone working out with the early morning crew is there to work! My cell phone isn't ringing, no one is texting me, my husband isn't bugging me about what's for dinner, I'm not stressing about making it to the nail salon before it closes (I do realize this is not a real problem), or worrying about how much time I have left in the evening to do laundry etc. My mind is free from distraction!
  3. The Morning Run- First thing in the morning, I can really push myself during a treadmill routine, speed training, a short run, or a long run. Part of me thinks this is because my brain isn't fully awake and functioning properly enough to lodge it's complaints. Running is as much mental as physical. The other part of me thinks I'm just more of a morning runner.
  4. Get it Done- Putting in your work out first thing in the morning clears your day. Your work out is done, and it's not even breakfast time yet. Unless you're running frequent two a days, like some other crazy lady who shall not be named, you've just freed up the remainder of your day! Before you even have time to rationalize how you can talk yourself out of working out (cause it's so early and your brain is asleep) you're done for the day. Awesome-Sauce!
  5. Proven Statistics- Over 90% of people who work out in the morning, are consistent exercisers. Consistency is essential in yielding results- that's the part we all want! Results!
  6. Better Sleep- Morning work outs set me up to sleep like a rock. No tossing and turning, no waking up in the middle of the night, head to pillow and off to dream land. Since I began early morning work outs with consistency in early 2012, I've noticed a major increase in how easily I fall asleep and how well I stay asleep. I find my sleep efficiency to have increased as well, meaning I'm not spending time sleeping in or running late. Even on the weekends my internal alarm goes off and it's time to take on the day! Dare I say it- I've turned into a morning person. Now a days, I hate wasting a day sleeping. No one finds this more comical than my Mom. Remember when you would sleep till noon every Saturday?! I never thought you'd be out of bed at 7 on the weekend! I was always the last down stairs at family get togethers, vacation etc. Now I'm first. Times they are a changin! (See number one- increased productivity!)
Ok so all this info is fine and dandy but how do you even start getting your booty OUT of the bed early in the morning?! 

  1. Set your work out cloths out the night before so that all you have to do is put feet to floor, get dressed, grab water, and hit the door! Plan, prepare, succeed
  2. Tell someone you're going to be there. Accountability. Peer Pressure can be positive!
  3. Set a goal for the week- I will make the early morning work out three times this week. Reward yourself with a relaxing afternoon- like a pedicure after work!
  4. Fun alarm tags, we've all seen them. A funny alarm can be very motivating! My favorite right now states, "Forrest Gump can run for three years, you got 30 minutes this morning"
  5. Be stronger than your excuses. Your excuses are the only thing holding you back! Seriously. Shut it down! Will power is a muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it gets!
Prior to early 2012, I was NEVER an early morning gym person. I was a sleep in ohhh I'll do it later, kinda person. More often than not, do it later turns into, didn't do it at all. You gotta ask yourself, How bad do I want this? How hard am I willing to work? It's all up to you!

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cardio Circuit- Shoulders & Back Strength

This morning I am linking up with the beautiful Skinny Meg for her series Work Out Wednesday (WOW)- fun how that worked out huh!? Be sure and head to her blog today where there will be many different work outs to browse and click though!


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Presently, I'm focused on increasing over all body strength, building more lean muscle mass, there for decreasing fat. Currently into my third week of isolating muscle groups and concentrating on lifting heavy! I am still completing cardio daily, I don't think I will ever lose my need to sweat and work up endurance in this fashion.  I LOVE a cardio circuit routine. It's a beat down for boredom and helps to build muscle while decreasing fat and increasing endurance. As a runner- maintaining endurance is essential.

Tuesday evening was back & shoulder day, which I peppered in with two rounds of twenty minute cardio sessions. Right now I'm thoroughly enjoying lifting in Super Sets. Umm what's that?


Work Out Break Down:

20 Minutes Stair Climber- Aerobic Endurance Level 5

6 Minutes Warm Up (Regular Walk)
Alternating Minutes through Minute 10
Double Step Leg Extension Minutes 6,8,10
Double Step Minutes 7,9
Around the World Walk 
1 Minute Side Right Minutes Minutes 11, 16
1 Minute Back Wards Minutes 12, 17
1 Minute Side Left Minutes 13, 18
Double Step Leg Extensions Minutes 14, 19
Double Step Minutes 15, 20
Repeat through Around the World

Back Strength in Super Sets

12 Dead lifts 
12 Upright Rows
Repeat Twice

12 Flys
12 Rows
Repeat Twice

12 Lateral Pull Downs
12 Seated Rows
Repeat Twice

20 Minute Cardio Circuit- Incline Walk
Speed 4.5
Incline 14
I like to move it move it

Shoulder Strength in Super Sets

Isolated Lateral Dumbbell Side Raises
12 Per Side Repeat Twice

12 Per Arm - Standing One Arm Dumbbell Press
12- Push Ups
Repeat Twice

Isolated Lateral Dumbbell Side Raises
How do you know how much weight to use? Don't be afraid to play around with different weights. My personal guideline is that each set of 12, the last 2-4 reps should be very difficult to complete. If it's too easy to lift, it ain't heavy enough!

I swear I'm not always a sweaty mess.....


Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dig a Little Deeper

Most weeks, I've got lots to talk about. I sit down to write a post and the words start flowing. Sometimes I know exactly what message I want to convey, other days I have to brain storm a few different topics before discerning what I want to pen into my little corner of the Internets.

Today is an off day.  A friend of mine said to me when I first started writing this blog, "Don't sensor your thoughts or second guess it. Just hit publish". I'm taking that advice today.

Lately, I've been trying to encourage myself to dig a little deeper. Digging deeper can be scary. It makes me vulnerable and  that's not a feeling any of us are inherently comfortable with. I'm on a quest to discover the root of my issues with my body. Lawd knows I have them. I truly feel without identifying the heart of the matter, these issues can not be resolved. Put to bed, so that I can move forward with my life in the most positive ways. I want to stop the yo-yo cycle, and I want it to end with me.

I've spent my life ashamed of my weight in numbers, struggling with insecurity and self doubt, which all stems back to these deeply rooted insecurities with my appearance. I can remember feeling conscience of my appearance as early as four years old.  Have I always longed for acceptance?  Is it because I'm a born people pleaser? Are these insecurities rooted in my upbringing? Is it because my thoughts are purely skin deep? Is it because the media has taught me that my appearance is my most redeeming quality? It's easy for others to point and declare healthy living/ weight loss blogs to be full of shallow and vain subject matter.

I beg to differ.

As much as we'd like to believe appearances don't matter, they most certainly do. To clarify,  it's unimportant how others perceive your appearance. How you perceive your appearance shapes your life.

Your body is your vessel. Your message to world around you. The way you hold yourself projects how others feel they can or can not communicate with you. It dictates to others how they can or can not treat you. If you're feeling insecure or ashamed of your appearance in any way- What message are you sending?

Anyone who feels insecurity in their body can relate to those feelings. If you are intensely insecure with your body, it projects itself into other aspects of your life. Maybe it makes you docile and easily taken advantage of. Maybe it makes you fearful to express your thoughts and beliefs. Maybe it makes you unable to participate in seemingly normal social settings with ease. Maybe it makes you jealous and envious of the perceived perfect friend with her perfect body. Maybe insecurity makes you angry. Angry that this is the hand you've been dealt, to publicly struggle with your body image.

I have been quite literally searching my soul for answers as to why I have had these feelings, ya know my whole life, it's brought me back to a dark place. Things that I will likely never share here, I have no desire to publicly or privately drudge up old negative bullshit. I refuse to let these ancient demons have power over my life presently.

It's also subject matter that makes people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because it's real and raw. No one wants to admit that bad things have happened to them. Some very bad things have happened to me. Things I do not dwell on in my day to day life. However, despite whatever image I'm projecting here. I think I've given the impression that my life is perfect. Oh tra la la la sunshine and daisies- losing weight is fun! Now I can wear a size four! All of my troubles have ended!

Let me be clear, my life is not perfect, it hasn't been, it isn't, and it never will be. Personally, I feel perfection to be over rated. Perfect is boring. I believe our imperfections are what make us truly beautiful. Both our intrinsic imperfections as well as the exterior. It's the imperfections that attract us to one another. It's the way friendships are forged and strengthened.  It's what makes families strong. Everything that is imperfect about me, is why my husband loves me. It's why my friends love me and know come hell or high water, this chick has got your back. It's why my family is thick as thieves. We protect each others imperfections.

 All of these relationships are imperfect and flawed. It's what makes them beautiful. It's what makes them real. I don't mean When people stop being polite and start getting real, I define a real relationship as a tangent one. One in which we are totally free to be who we are, without fear of rejection or judgement. In order for relationships to be real, we must be real with ourselves.

I've learned to confidently embrace my imperfect. My real. It makes me, well me.

Weight loss has come with confidence. Confidence in my life in all aspects. Confidence at work, confidence in my relationships with family and friends, and lastly confidence in my appearance. I finally feel I'm projecting the way I have always felt on the inside, on the outside.

Strong
Confident
Happy 
Beautiful

All of these things make us productive adults. Qualities that enable us to live our best life. They are qualities I want to pass on to my own children. I want to lead my future by setting the example in the present. Where the hell is she going with this?

I won't solve all of my body image issues with this post. I won't solve your body images issues with this post. My hope is that together, we can be kinder and more accepting of each other as individuals so that more people feel comfortable with the uncomfortable and accepting of what's real.

If you're struggling with any of these feelings of insecurity or self acceptance, you aren't alone. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Know that your imperfections are beautiful too. You deserve to live your best life, and don't let ANYONE ever let you feel you don't deserve exactly what you want.

My dig a little deeper quota has now been filled for the week. Work outs tomorrow, yes? Happy Tuesday!


Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator


Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Goals & Weekend Rewind

This past weekend was the one weekend in what feels like eons that we had no plans. I was determined to relax, read a trashy romance novel, get some laundry done, maybe watch to much TV, so naturally none of those things happened. The weekend ended up being action packed from start to finish, however relaxing all the same.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5am to cram run fuel in my yap before meeting up with the Sole Sistas for Speed training at a local high school track. I'm participating in a short speed training clinic with the run group with two more sessions in upcoming weekends. Waking up at 5am on Saturday is rough. My first thought when the alarm went off was, whyyyy do I sign myself up for all this stuff?! Then I showed up at the track and saw all those smiling faces and remembered why I enjoy doing this crazy early morning run thing so much. The camaraderie brings me so much joy. There aren't many people who understand the love to run, I love having a group to share these experiences with!



Post speed training, I got in Jillian Michael's Level 3 (4m Challenge 2 weeks to go!), then headed back to the gym to work out my glutes. Oh yeahs! Saturday was my first high carb day of the Macro Plan. I didn't get in all the food I was supposed to, but I didn't cheat either, so I'm ok with this. I can't make myself eat when I'm not hungry. Work in progress. Next high carb day, I'll work in bigger singular meals.

Next, we were off to spend the afternoon at the pool followed up with cocktails with friends at one of our favorite watering holes. We discovered this little Ap for iPhone called Heads Up  , if you're a trivia junkie this is for you. Warning- shiz can get rowdy and fast.

More lace shorts from Charly and Company - I'm a sucker for lace!


Both dressed head to toe in Charly and Company and feeling sassy! I'm wearing the Flutter Dress in black 
Sunday Mr. Noel and I were out running a few short errands when he says to me,
"Have you ever been to Holly Beach?".
 Why is he talking about Holly Beach? 
"Actually, no I haven't! Why?"
"I haven't been since I was a kid and I want to check it out"
"That sounds like fun!"
"Let's go. Right now"
"ok!"
Are we crazy?!



I didn't get home until 10:30pm, I have four loads of laundry to do today after work, and the gym, and it was totally worth the most spontaneous day I've had in really long time. I like to pretend I'm super go with the flow, but really I'm not. Oh big surprise from the girl who posts a weekly work out schedule like clock work. I like to follow a schedule, I'm super Type A.  I enjoy a routine. I'm working to be more go with the flow. The irony is not lost on me that I have to work at being go with the flow, but whatever. It is what it is.

Weekly Work Out Schedule-My favorite S word :)

Monday
RIPPED
Killer Abs Level 3

Tuesday
Killer Abs Level 3
Ciruit Training- Shoulders & Back

Wednesday
Killer Abs Level 3
6 Mile Run
Triceps & Biceps

Thursday
Killer Abs Level 3
Weight Training (Class)

Friday
Pinterest Treadmill Routine
Killer Abs Level 3

Saturday-
Speed Training
Killer Abs Level 3

Sunday-
Rest Day

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: Macros Day 5

Alright alright alright!!! Macros is where it's at ya'll! Guess who is down a pound in four days?! Two since last Friday, but we'll just count from Macros Day ONE! I feel A-MAZ-ING! Ashley Leahy's macro plan is rocking my fat off- literally!

I feel small, really small, and toned. I know it's due to portion control, eating the right foods at the right times, and killing it in the work outs! Ashley assures me this the PERFECT amount of weight to have lost in short time, ie losing fat not muscle! We all know how I've been struggling to shift the pounds, even gaining (due to muscle) at some points. These are the results after four days, I can not wait to see where I'm at for our summer beach trip in 63 short days- what's up holler! Over all end goal is 18% body fat. I'm only going to check this number once a month. Stayed tuned for an update, on that number, in three weeks!

The macro plan isn't the only change I've implemented this week. I changed up my work outs. Previously, my work outs focused on low weight (10lb-12lb dumb bells), high rep, HIIT training, total body strength, in conjunction with running. This week, I backed off the cardio, upped my weights (16lb-18lb dumb bells) and intensified the heavy lifting- burn bay bay burn! 

My main goal this week was to focus on isolating muscle groups. I did work abs every day through Jillian Michael's Killer Abs Level 3 (LOVING the intensity Level 3 is bringing!) The goal was the burn up the muscle, rendering me unable to train that section of my body the next day. Goal achieved. The stronger the muscle-the more fat it burns!

For example:

Monday- 
RIPPED- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) using 10lbs weights

Tuesday-
Legs (KILLER) & 15 Minutes HIIT

Wednesday-
Five Mile Run
Back Strength

Thursday-
20 Minute Incline (14) Speed 4.5
Shoulder Strength
30 Minutes Elliptical
Shoulder Strength

Friday-
Speed Training- Treadmill
Biceps & Triceps

Saturday-
Speed Training (Track Run)
Glutes

Which muscle groups do you find the hardest to train?

This first week on Macros has been eye opening and trans-formative. I have not been hungry, and I've placed my high carb day on Saturday, so my diet will not interfere with my social life. Priorities. I'm retraining my body to perform at a different level, ie. moving away from largely focusing on HIIT and cardio. Putting more focus on strength training vs. cardio is proving to be shock therapy for my body. I must say, I already feel is paying off!

Lady Guns say Heyyy!!!
If you're interested in jumping on the macro train, holler at Ashley, I know she'd love to hear from you! My plan has been taylor made to fit my body, ie my weight/height/activity level. I truly believe the success I'm experiencing is down to individuality of MY plan built for ME!

Wishing each and everyone of you a ROCKING weekend!


Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lean Lady Legs: How To

By popular request, an Elle Noel style leg work out! This week I completed leg day with my friend Marathon Mary aka @fitashmichelle on Instagram. This girl does not play around with her legs! I'm still sore two days later. Ooochie waa waaa!! That said- I can't wait to do this work out again next week. I know lifting heavy will get me the results I want- 18% body fat baybay! I'm including pictures of these machines for frame of reference only. Machines will vary gym to gym and there are multiple variations of each machine.  Let's look at what we did to burn up those muscles!

Leg Work Out-
Warm Up
12 Squats (30 pound bar)
12 Dead lifts (45 Pounds)
Repeat Twice

Seated Leg Press
12 Press (150lbs)
Standing Calf Raises
12 Front, 12 "first position", 12 toes pointed together (150lbs)



Repeat Previous Two Moves Twice


Weighted 50lb Bar
12 Squats, 12 Lunges Per Leg

Repeat Twice


Leg Press Repeat - Three Sets of 12 (Standing Machine if Available)

Glute Press Three Sets of 12 Per Leg (60lbs)



3 Sets of 12 Deep Walking Lunges holding 20lb Kettle Bell Over Head
Repeat Twice

We rounded off the leg burner with Three Sets of 12 Wall Squats with a ball & weighted kettle bell combo. Hold 50lb kettle bell between legs and squat.


This work out took roughly an hour to complete. We rounded off this routine with about 15 minutes of HIIT training, which was incredibly difficult considering all of the above. I broke up with the elevator at my office some time ago and for the first time in months, I've seriously considered ditching the stairs.Weights are not just for the boys! Beastmode= on!

My running skort from Athleta came in this week, and I was itching to take it for a spin. Wednesday evening, I ran five slow miles- heavy legs from leg day previously. The skort was incredibly comfortable, more comfortable than my hot shorts, light, and super cute. I received so many compliments on it from the ladies at the gym! Mr. Noel even took note- Hey, that's really cute work out gear you're wearing! This man rarely notices what I'm wearing. Ever. Skort is rocking! I may order a few more in other colors/styles. It's going to be one HOT summer. Gotta stay cool!


#4mchallenge update- moved up to Jillian's Killer Abs Level 3 this week. She really is trying to kill me on this level. It's strenuous and challenging. I'm absolutely loving it. I enjoy working out at home now- it's not something I ever thought I would like as I've been in cardio/gym/social mode for years now. However, it's nice to wake up, workout in my living room, shower and get ready for the work. The elimination of travel time is most appealing. Post #4mchallenge I'll keep Jillian in rotation a few days a week. I LOVE her attitude and the ability to constantly challenge myself. I will say I have noticed significant increased core strength since using her DVDs to focus on stomach definition  Girl friend knows how to work it out!

Dripping Sparkle at 6am
What are your favorite leg work outs?
Do you have a favorite Jillian Michael's DVD?

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My PSA for the Day

Opinions. They're everywhere. Consenting opinions, dissenting opinions, opinions that mostly agree but still don't quite like one another. This applies is all aspects of life. Marriage, child rearing, work, travel, politics, and it some circles, like this one, diet specific opinions. In this arena, we're going to discuss the latter.

I hear opinions on diet floating around me each and every single day. What so and so thinks so and so should or should not be eating. How so and so knows how to lose weight "better/easier/more efficiently" than another person, or how certain methods just don't work and it's their civil obligation to let said person know. 

My diet has changed and evolved over time. The way I eat now is polar opposite to the way I ate when I first started out trying to lose weight. It's different than I ate a year ago, even six months ago. I don't think any singular method was superior to another. At each moment in time, that method was working for me. When one method stopped working, I moved on to the next. One thing I can say with absolute certainty, I put a lot of time and effort into planning how and what I was going to eat. Hence, harsh criticism of my diet felt like a personal attack.

 I have moved on from these feelings. I can see these criticisms for what they are now,"That didn't work for me so it won't work for you" People have constantly given me their opinions on what I'm eating. Whether I asked for it or not. I realize, present day, by writing this blog about my weight loss and fitness journey, I'm asking for opinions and feedback. However, it baffles me when I hear this going on around me in day to day interactions with other people.

Critiquing another person's diet is incredibly personal. It's personal for several reasons, the largest however being, this person has already admitted they're unhappy with their body. So unhappy in fact, they're willing to overhaul their life in an effort to change it. Admitting these feelings is personal, it can make you feel weak in the beginning, transforming into empowered over time. Start at the bottom.... However, imagine so and so comes in with a superior attitude and bashes said plan. Youch! Stick a fork in me and twist it! Unless someone specifically asks me for my opinion, I'm keeping my mouth shut. Here's why:

1. What works for one person may not work for another and vice versa. My way of shedding lbs is in no way superior to the next. If it works for you, go on witcha bad self!

2. Each and every person is different. Each person is living a different life. Each person needs to figure out what works for them individually. Again, see number one.

3. People have to make their own mistakes. It's part of the process. We learn by trial and error. I've always been the type of person who has to learn the hard way. Everyone isn't like that, see number one, but I am. Guess what? That's OK!

4. Focus on yourself. Work on you. If what you're doing really is a superior method, it's going to show in your results. Then people will ask for your opinion. Focus on refining yourself, and the rest falls into place.

Elle Noel's guidelines for diet opinions:

Before critiquing or diet bashing, evaluate the following: Does this person seem motivated and encouraged? Yes. Keep your opinion to yourself.  Does this person seem discouraged and frustrated? Ask if they'd like some help. 

Remember weight loss is a personal journey. Be kind to others. Don't kick them when they're down.

This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by Elle Noel Fitness- trial and error Queen. We now return to your regularly scheduled programming with killer leg work outs tomorrow!


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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Speed Training & Tips

Everyone wants to know how to get faster. How to get those PR's coming down and the legs kicking up dust. For me personally, this has come with time. When I started running, I was about 35 pounds heavier than I am now, so naturally, I didn't move as fast with extra weight. As the pounds started rolling down, my legs got stronger, endurance increased, and I was able to run faster at shorter distances. September 2012, however, I felt I had hit a wall with speed. I was training for my first 10k, also my first long race, and I could not get myself out of 10:20-10:40 mile pace. Every now and again, I'd strike gold and hit an even 10 or 10:15 then endurance would toast and my pace would be back around 10:30. I knew it was going to take work to get myself out of that 10 minute mile.

All of my research was pointing me in one direction, run a shorter distance at a faster pace, and over time, overall speed will increase. Hey, ho, let's go! Once per week , I began completing a speed training work out, pushing myself at a shorter distance, and over time, I left that 10 minute mile in the dust! My favorite treadmill routines have come from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.  I write down each work out and bring it with me to the gym, placing it on the treadmill and getting to work. Speed training should be HARD. It should test your mental and physical endurance, as both will make you stronger out on the road.  I haven't always been able to follow all of the speeds, don't be afraid to bring a work out down to your level, and work up to the original plan. You'll be impressed with how quickly you can improve!

After completing the half marathon in February, I knew I only wanted to get faster. I'd been able to hit my pace and distance goals every race, and I knew with certainty I wanted my next races to be even better. I've outlined my pace goals for the coming run reason- a sub 2 hour half marathon ( Current PR is 2:09:40) and the Marathon in 4:10:00. This past Saturday, I participated in outdoor speed training with my run group the Sole Sistas. We ran 4 rounds of Yasso 800's and 10 200 meter sprints. What's a Yasso 800? Here's a great article from Runner's World that explains it far better than I can, but ya know I"ll give it my best shot!

Start by determining what your goal Marathon pace would be, if you aren't at all interested in running a Marathon, you can still do this training, hang with me! No idea what your Marathon pace is? That's ok. Take your half marathon goal and double it. My goal for the full marathon is to run 10 minute miles. This would make my finishing time roughly 4 hours. This makes my 800 meter pace (aka half mile) 4 minutes long, which is an 8 minute pace. Very fast for me. After running your 800 meter pace, take that same time walk and recover. One round of Yasso 800 for me, looks like this:

Two Laps/Half Mile in 4 minutes
Walk 4 Minutes

I completed this round four times. We ran on a track at a local high school, however this work out could easily be converted on the street, or on a treadmill. It was a real test of my endurance and I surprised myself by hitting the mark every.single. time.

After completing four rounds of Yasso 800's I felt amazing, I was actually going to take off on another round, and then the run coach said, "No no no we have another activity to do". Oh ok, cool, bring it!

We ran 100 meters down the track and 100 meters back in rounds of 90 seconds. 90 Seconds to get down, back, recover, and repeat. 10 Times.

This is when I felt like I was going to upchuck. I pushed my body hard. My legs are still sore today, but I know that work out was hands down one of my most productive work outs last week. I've got another round of speed training this Saturday, so I won't be pushing a treadmill route this week at the gym. Don't push yourself to the point of injury. I've done that before too. One of my most important pieces of speed training advice has come from Christin, Certified Running Coach, at The Southern Wife "A little speed work goes a long way!" 


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