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333 Days Later. My 90 Day Journey Update.

By | 90 day Journey | 160 Comments

To be completely honest with you, when I first started my 90 Day Journey, I already knew that the hardest part wasn’t going to be hitting my goals on Day 90. It was going to be maintaining my results.

Every other time I had gone on a strict diet and fitness regimen (like my Bikini Competition in 2012), I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I was so sick of eating broccoli and chicken breast. So sick of feeling like I was in food jail. The workout part was fine – I mean I enjoy working out. But the food part was always the hardest for me. I am a foodie at heart and if I wasn’t a fitness instructor and didn’t need to ACTUALLY use my food for actual fuel, I totally, 100%, most definitely would be a competitive eater. I literally kid you not. I outeat all my friends and family. I’m usually the last one still picking at stuff at the dinner table. And then asking if we can have dessert.

This time though, when I decided to go on this 90 Day Journey, I made the very conscious choice to give myself time the freedom to experiment, fail, and try again. I never had that liberty before.

When I did Whole30, I couldn’t have any dairy, legumes, grains, added, sugar, baked goods, and junk food for 30 days straight. If I cheated, it was over. I’d have to start over.

When I did Keto, I couldn’t have fruit, I had to limit veggies, and had to force myself to eat more meat, dairy, oils, and fats to try to get into ketosis. Once I was there, I had to try to stay there…by eating more meat, dairy, oils, and fats.

When I did the bikini competition body builder diet, I pretty much could only eat protein. I got in trouble by my coach for eating too much lettuce…because it had “too many carbs”…plus I was eating only 1,000 calories a day for 8 weeks, while working out around 4 hours a day. (Unhealthy, please don’t try.)

The thing with all of these diets? They weren’t my own. They were someone else’s. And it didn’t feel good. That’s why almost immediately after my bikini competition, I gained all my weight back plus more. Same would happen after any other diet I’d try. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.

So this time around, on my 90 day Journey, I wanted to once and for all find a diet that would suit my lifestyle – not for 30 days, not for 8 weeks, but for…forever. Could I do it?

Before, After & After-After

333 days.

I can’t believe it’s been 333 days since the start of my 90 Day Journey. It was almost a year ago that I decided to embark on a personal mission to unapologetically get into the best shape of my life – MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY.

On my terms.

For myself.

If you can remember, things got off to a really controversial start…with people saying that I was a “disgrace to all women”, “anti body positive”, ” a hypocrite”, “a bad role model”, “mentally disordered” plus a whole slew of terrible assumptions that really hurt me.

Even though the public shaming was painful, it was the exact start I needed to prepare me for the difficult challenges that lay ahead. It foreshadowed the shedding of toxicity, extra baggage, and extra weight that was holding me back from being the best version of myself.

I am so happy to tell you that today – 333 days after the start of my journey, I am the HAPPIEST, most CONFIDENT, most CREATIVE, and most UNSTOPPABLE version of myself that I have EVER been. And it feels SO GOOD!!! AHHH!!!!

You can see in the comparison photos above that the momentum of the 90 Day Journey is keeping me fitter, leaner, and stronger than I’ve ever been before. Unlike with the bikini competition, I did not want to go back to my old eating habits. Why?

Because I like the way my food makes me feel.

Because I like the way my workouts make me feel.

BECAUSE I LOVE THE WAY I FEEL.

I finally, FINALLY, FINALLY understand my body. You guys…it’s like I solved the ultimate riddle. For my whole life I’ve battled my body. I was always so confused why my friends could eat whatever they wanted and not gain weight. I was always frustrated that if I tried eating the same foods my sister ate, she’d have abs and I’d have a bloated belly. I was always SO angry at my body for not listening to me!

But you know what the problem was???

I wasn’t listening to my body.

This whole time, my body was trying to tell me things but I kept ignoring it because I was trying to compare my body to other bodies…my diet to other diets. I was forcing my body to eat stuff and do stuff that wasn’t prescribed for its uniqueness. I was totally blind to the signs my body was trying to give me. It wasn’t until I started journaling that I started seeing the patterns and making the connections.

During my 90 Day Journey, I wrote down everything in complete detail:

  • What I ate
  • How much I slept
  • My mood
  • My water intake
  • My workouts
  • My weight
  • My body fat
  • My muscle mass
  • My accomplishments
  • My setbacks

Writing daily for 90 days allowed allowed me to solidify the following truths about my body:

  • Grains bloat me and make me constipated
  • Dairy irritates my stomach, makes me gassy, and makes me break out on my face
  • The combination of sugar and dairy will immediately lead to acne
  • If I get less than 5 hours of sleep, I get bloated the next morning and lack energy for my workouts
  • Eating late dinners messes up my digestion and bloats me for the next day
  • I can easily overeat if I am not mindful, leading to unnecessary weight gain
  • Increased stress increases my appetite

Additionally, I know once and for all that my genes do not allow me to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. (My 23andMe results confirm this as well.) I am simply not built like that! And that’s ok. I know that I do have to work harder than most people to get the results I want. But if that’s something I am willing to do because it brings me joy, then that is the very conscious choice I am going to make. No whining. No complaining. No “life is unfair.” This is the body I was born with. It is a gift. And I will do everything in my power to keep it healthy, fit, and happy.

So that’s where I am today guys! I wake up every morning to work out around 7:30am. I do a mixture of cardio/PIIT, Pilates, and/or weights. Then I cook all my meals at home every single day (thanks to quarantine). My meals are usually a lean protein with veggies. I snack on fruits, popcorn, freshly blended smoothies and/or protein bars. A couple times a week I have real ice cream (currently LOVING the ube ice cream and the strawberry oat milk ice cream from Trader Joes) because it makes my soul happy!

If you’re feeling inspired to start your own 90 Day Journey…

I have good news for you.

So you know how I kept charts, data, graphs, and literally recorded everything about my 90 Day Journey in blog posts, journals, and spreadsheets? It was a lot of numbers and notes spread across a lot of platforms. I was testing the best way to record key information for analysis. The entire time, I knew I wanted to share with you the EXACT strategy I used to crush my 90 Day Journey….and guys…here it is:

Meet the 90 Day Journal!!!! Inside is EVERYTHING I journaled to lose over 20 lbs (of toxicity, negativity, judgement, insecurity, and baggage) during my very own 90 Day Journey.

This is the daily page. Here you will record your food intake, macros, water intake, sleep duration, mood, workouts, and any notable things you are experiencing that day. Very important to be as detailed as possible so that in the future, you can look back and find patterns.

An upgrade from the last Fit Planner! This time there’s dividing tabs!!! This is SUPER necessary as you will be flipping back and forth between weeks A LOT. You will be comparing your progress and again, checking for patterns.

Goals. EXTREMELY important to set your goals. But not just physique goals. Your mental wellness goals (ie. not care about what others think about you) and your strength goals (ie. how many pushups on toes do you do by day 90?) are equally important. I added this page because I want your priorities CRYSTAL CLEAR. This will help give you direction when it comes to experimenting and tweaking your fitness and nutrition strategies.

I looked forward to filling out my weekly progress chart every week when I was doing my 90 Day Journey! I loved seeing how my hard work affected my results over the course of 7 days. If it worked, I would keep doing what I was doing. If it didn’t, I’d look back at my prior week of daily pages to find the culprit for my stagnation. Then I’d tweak my strategies for next week.

My fave part? How you can always compare you progress to Day 1. Sometimes it’s discouraging to not see change week to week. But you’ve got to look back to see how far you’ve come.

Grocery lists! You’ve got one every week. Bring this with you to the store and check it off as you shop!

Weekly recap. Very important. Taking the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t every week is what will help you tweak your process. You see – the reason why my 90 day Journey was so successful was because I wasn’t restricted to one method. I allowed myself to try, experiment, fail, and try again. 90 days is just enough time for you to focus and to also be flexible. Use the time to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to take risks! If you don’t try, you will never know.

If you really are serious about embarking on your own 90 Day Journey and finally getting in the best shape of your life – mentally and physically – DO IT. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My journey has positively impacted everything in my life: my relationships, my career, my happiness, my confidence, my creativity…even my hair!!! It is longer and healthier than ever!!!

I feel the best I have ever felt in my entire life. And that is not an exaggeration.

The 7 Day Ab Challenge (+ May Workout Calendar)

By | Calendar | 264 Comments

Hey guys!

It’s time for us to take on a challenge. You ready?

I want you to commit with me for 7 days.

Anywhere between 20-30 minutes a day. That’s it.

It’s the time you probably take to browse what show to watch next on Netflix. Or the time you take to mindlessly scroll TikTok for no reason. Or the time you take stare in the fridge deciding what to eat next :P

Do you want to accomplish something cool while getting stronger and feeling really good about yourself in just 7 days? Then this is what I want you to do:

I want you to commit to the #7DayAbChallenge.

Save 7 Day Ab Challenge

#7DayAbChallenge:

Purpose: To build and reveal your abs in 7 days!

Begins: Monday May 4, 2020

Ends: Sunday May 10, 2020

Length: 7 days

Daily commitment: 20-30 min

The Guidelines:

  1. Day 0: Save the challenge graphic and upload it to Instagram or TikTok and let everyone know you’re doing this! Make sure to hashtag #7DayAbChallenge and tag @blogilates.
  2. Day 0: Take a before picture or video of your abs.
  3. Day 1-7: Complete the workouts listed for the day. You can even film yourself doing these and have a cool progress video that you can upload to Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube at the end of the week!
  4. Day 1-7: Make sure to drink at least 64 oz of water a day for all 7 days.
  5. Day 1-7: Make sure to reduce your intake of refined/processed carbs (bread, crackers, cereal, pastries etc.) and replace with whole vegetables and fruits for 7 days.
  6. End of Day 7: Take an after picture or video of your abs and upload the results to Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube! Make sure to include the #7DayAbChallenge hashtag and tag @blogilates so other users can find the challenge!

Your 7 Day Workout Plan:

The workout videos:

This is the video that you will do every day for 7 days. The Waist Whittler Cardio Pilates is designed to melt the fat off of your abs.

You will then add on this video for days 4-7. The Beautiful Ab Sculpt is designed to bring out the definition in your abs.

Results!

Here are some results that just came in! I am SO PROUD of everyone who stuck to the guidelines and got so much stronger and fitter in just 7 days. It’s really cool to see the hard work pay off huh?

What if you want…MOOOORREEEEE???

If you want to be active for 45 min a day, but STILL wanna complete the #7DayAbChallenge, no worries. Here’s your May Workout Calendar :) I’ll also be linking the new videos to Coda so feel free to follow the calendar there if you prefer!

Save ImageClickable PDF

If you’re doing the #7dayabchallenge exclusively, then no, there are no rest days. But if you’re doing the May workout calendar, feel free to designate one rest day a week. You can pick any day you would like!

Good luck!

14-Day Quarantine Workout Plan

By | Calendar | 150 Comments

Umm, wow. The last few days have been pandemonium here in the US.

I went to Costco on Thursday and 3 huge lines wrapped all the way to the back of the store where the dairy was. People had to get in a separate line for toilet paper and water, and that line wrapped around the outside of the store. Oh, and I could NOT even get a single disinfectant wipe. Anything hygiene related was OUT. The worst part was, people were being super rude, pushy, and just plain nasty to me and one other. In a time like this, I feel like we should all be trying to help each other more…

So then I went to 99 Ranch (an Asian supermarket) hoping things would be better there. Lines were long, but they weren’t as bad as Costco…however…ALL THE RICE WAS GONE.

THAT’S WHEN YOU KNOW IT’S SERIOUS.

My sister told me that when she went to Trader Joes, the frozen food aisle was empty. Like, apocalypse empty! So eerie to see images like this…

And then just tonight, the Mayor of Los Angeles declared that all gyms and fitness centers be closed until March 31st!!!!

Well you guys, as sad as I am about not being able to go to the gym, at least we can still work out at home! The crazy thing is – just about 3 hours before I got the alert from The LA Times about the whole gym shutdown order in our city, I had already prepared a 14-day Quarantine Workout Plan – as suggested by YOU GUYS!

Download Plan

Here's what your 14-Day Anti-Coronavirus Workout Plan looks like:

DAY 1: Quarantine Cardio – See Demo

DAY 2: Anti-Covid Abs – See Demo

DAY 3: Sleek & Sanitized Arms – See Demo

DAY 4: Plump Pandemic Booty – See Demo

DAY 5: Long, Lean, & Clean Legs – See Demo

DAY 6: Empty Shelves Sculpt – See Demo

DAY 7: Social Distance Stretches in Bed – See Demo

DAY 8: Quiet Cardio – See Demo

DAY 9: No More Corona Core – See Demo

DAY 10: Couch Potato Upper Body – See Demo

DAY 11: Never Bored Booty – See Demo

DAY 12: Not Out of Stock Thighs – See Demo

DAY 13: Toned Unlike Toilet Paper Total Body – See Demo

Day 14: Stop Hoarding Start Stretching – See Demo

 

To get a 25-30 min workout in each day, do each circuit 4 times through! Give yourself a 1 minute rest between rounds to catch your breath and drink water. And make sure to check off each workout as you finish the day’s circuit!

I designed each workout to be apartment friendly so that you’re not driving your neighbors insane! So, no jumping! But I promise that you will still sweat and be sore the next day. That’s how we do.

Also, I will be posting the demos every day on my Instagram @Blogilates. So make sure you follow me there so you can see how to do the moves properly.

Please stay safe everyone!!! I’m wishing you and your family health and strength to get through this hard (and very weird) time.

Dear Cassey: How do I stop obsessing over wanting to be thinner?

By | Dear Cassey | 35 Comments

Dear Cassey,

I’m recovering from an eating disorder, but my doctor says it’s safe for me to begin to work out again. How do I find power in something that used to tear me down? How do I shift my mindset from working out as a way to diminish myself, to working out as a way to find my own power and grow some freaking muscle mass?!

Sincerely,

Recovering My Power

Dear Recovering My Power,

I want you to know that I am so proud of you for shifting your mindset from eating for skinniness to eating for POWER. THIS is what will give you the happiness and freedom you deserve. I am very excited for your journey towards recovering your strength.

As someone who overcame an ED, I can totally sympathize with the feelings that you are going through right now.

Look, in all honesty – this is going to be a process. There will be times when your mind will revert back to your old habits – obsessively calorie counting, obsessively weighing yourself, obsessively exercising – all so that you can get smaller and smaller and smaller. But this time – this is how you’re going to make it different.

You need to let go of control.

I know. It’s scary. But trust your body. It’s going to be just fine!

In this first phase of recovery, I don’t want you to focus on the numbers at all. You need a period of mental recovery from the numbers in order to build that trust you need between you and your body.

  • Don’t count your calories. Delete those calorie counting apps on your phone.
  • Don’t weigh yourself. Put your scale away.
  • Stop doing workouts that you hate. Do workouts that bring you joy.

I want you to set your “WHY” and focus on that instead of the numbers. Why are you on this journey towards power and strength? Answer that honestly, because that answer will help you make the hard decisions and conquer the tough challenges that will arise along your journey to recovery. You need to make it about something NON-PHYSICAL. This is very important.

To help you understand the importance of “WHY”, think back to why you got obsessed with food and exercise in the first place. Your “WHY” was probably something along the lines of “to be skinny” or “to get abs” or “to look like [insert name of some “perfect girl”]. Your “WHY” was so strong that you fell into an ED that spun out of control.

Now…I don’t want you to spin out of control again…BUT I do want you to dig deep and find a “WHY” so strong that nothing will stand in your way to regaining your power! REALLY think about why you’re so passionate about your new goal.

Though I love that you want to now focus on gaining muscle, I want you to be very VERY careful. Just because building muscle sounds healthier than getting skinny, making your “WHY” all about something super physical can lead you back to the same disordered thinking about your body…except this time you’re replacing the goal of weight loss with the goal of muscle gain. I want you to go into this new journey of yours with a new mindset – one that is focused on your mental well being FIRST. Got it?

Good luck on your new adventure Recovering My Power! You’ve got this! I believe in you!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

Dear Cassey: Why does everyone look better than me?

By | Dear Cassey | 21 Comments

Dear Cassey,

I really need some advice on body image. I am quite short (5ft) and am naturally a bit more curvy looking. I eat healthy and workout regularly, but I just never feel good enough…on social media all I see are these beautiful/sexy/curvy/fit women and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. It’s like I’m not working hard enough, eating clean enough, or just not working as hard as they are. It has really impacted my self esteem and self worth…any advice on how to get over this would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Sad on Social

Dear Sad on Social,

You are not alone.

So many of us women are constantly comparing ourselves against the latest beauty ideals. Be it putting ourselves up against magazine cover girls, Instagram influencers, actresses, models, or the pretty girl in the front row of your yoga class – I guarantee that you’re not the only one doing this and you are DEF not the only one who feels terrible afterwards.

Let me remind you of this: Comparison is the thief of joy.

The less you can compare, the happier you’re going to feel. It’s really that simple.

But…how do you stop yourself from comparing?

First, it begins with you understanding that comparison is a waste of energy. Why use your precious energy to pick yourself a part when you could be using that same energy to build yourself up? We all have 24 hours in a day, and what we choose to do with our limited time here on earth will dictate how our future self will look. I choose to focus on me instead of focusing on other people. That’s the secret to getting ahead and getting what you want. I want you to CHOOSE to stop comparing. This is a choice you can make.

Secondly, please realize that what people post on social media is simply a portfolio of the best moments and the best angles they’ve chosen to share. That’s right – they’re not sharing the the tears, the exhaustion, the frustration, the anger, and the sadness that’s very normal for human beings. Why? Simple. It doesn’t get likes and engagement. So the social media algorithm has trained us to share the better parts of our lives.

Additionally, a lot of people hype things up and make things sound wayyyyy better than they actually are. (Trust me – I personally know people like this. I’ve either muted them or unfollowed them because I can’t take the exaggeration.) And then you have the people who actually photoshop their pictures so that they have perfectly smooth skin, teeny tiny waists, longer legs, skinnier arms, and enhanced butts. There’s so many free photo editing apps out there that can allow anyone (like even my mom) to make believable edits to a photo. So again – you cannot take to heart everything you see!

Finally – you mentioned that looking at other perfect bodies on social media makes you feel like you aren’t doing enough. I get how that can feel. So I’m going to ask you a tough question: Do you, in the deepest part of your heart and soul, think you are actually doing enough to get where you want to be?

If I asked you that question and you suddenly feel attacked or offended, then I think you know what that means. It’s tough to be honest with ourselves because when things are bad, it never feels good to realize that you are where you are because of well, you. But know what? The good thing is that if you got yourself here, you can also get yourself out! You are in control of your destiny. It’s okay to take a moment to feel sad or angry with yourself, but let those emotions be short and temporary. Once you start creating a specific plan for how you’re gonna get to where you wanna be – girl, you’re gonna be on fire! A girl with a plan and determination is UNSTOPPABLE!

That’s how my 90 Day Journey started. My goal was to get in the fittest shape of my life mentally and physically. I declared my goals, how I was going to eat, how I was going to work out, and how I was going to reflect daily. And you know what? It’s been over 100 days AFTER my 90 Day Journey has ended I’ve not gained back any of that pre-journey weight and any of that pre-journey timid mentality. It all started with me being brutally honest with myself.

On the other hand, if you genuinely and truly are doing everything to the best of your ability, then girl, you’re doing your best and I am so proud of you!!! That is all anyone can ask for!! YOU ARE AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL!!!! If no one has told you that lately, I am telling you that now.

Listen, your version of best looks different than someone else’s version of best. Your version of happy is different than someone else’s version of happy. Your version of success is different than someone else’s version of success.

We are all made up of different genes and DNA – so how can we expect the same results? Biologically and genetically, we are different.

Accept your body for what it is and focus on the things that make you feel strong…things that make you feel skilled…things that make you feel happy. When you shift your focus from the physical to the internal, life gets so much better. And you know what? Sometimes all that stress from worrying about your body, makes your body stagnate in progress. Letting go will let things flow. And maybe, just maybe, your body will end up transforming without you obsessing over it so much.

Hope that helps Sad on Social!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

Dear Cassey: What do I do when someone calls me fat?

By | Dear Cassey | 41 Comments

Dear Cassey,

I work in a male-dominated field. Long story short, I was away from my normal assignment for the past 12 months so I hadn’t seen a lot of my coworkers in a while. A male coworker recently decided to point out that I’ve gained weight since the last time he saw me. Then a few days later, he said I should really get new pants before they split. I know you had some trouble with internet trolls saying bad stuff about your body (which btw you look awesome). How do you recommend I talk to this person?

I normally get all kinds of bad comments from the public because of my field (law enforcement) but it never gets to me. The only reason this is getting to me is because it’s coming from a middle aged guy that I’m cordial with but not friends with and don’t normally joke around with.

Sincerely,

Trolled IRL

Dear Trolled IRL,

First of all – thank you for your service.

Secondly, UGH. This makes me SO ANGRY!!!! I’m sorry this happened. It is SO WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS.

I remember the very first time someone called me fat. I was in elementary school. I never thought there was anything wrong with my body until that exact moment when a girl pointed at me while I was eating and asked me “Why are you so fat?” I ran into the bathroom and cried so hard. That moment shaped the rest of my life.

Now, back to your colleague. He is being so rude, so inappropriate, and so unprofessional. Just from hearing your story, I know exactly the type of person he is, and honestly, I’d try to get as far away from him as possible. He seems like a horrible human with no manners and no regard for other’s feelings. I wonder how he was raised.

In my opinion, negatively commenting on anyone’s body (especially your co-workers’) is never appropriate, EVER!!!! Is it possible for you to contact HR and/or your boss and tell them about this? Especially since it has happened twice?

I however, totally understand that there are 2 different social consequences for dealing with this via upper management versus dealing with this directly.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to HR right away, or think they won’t do anything about it anyway, here’s what I would do if I had to deal with him – adult to adult.

I’d ask to take him aside and talk to him. Say “Hey, mind if we chat about something that’s been on my mind?” Remind him about those 2 incidents that happened and tell him how uncomfortable and harassed it made you feel. Then ask him why he felt like he needed to tell you that.

After he gives you whatever B.S. answer he decides to make up, tell him that your body is none of his business and that the way your pants fit has nothing to do with the work that both of you do. Tell him that you wanted to give him an opportunity to explain himself so that you two could deal with this privately, before it was going to get out of hand, potentially requiring you to involve other people. (Maybe that will scare him.)

If he’s a logical person who genuinely wasn’t aware of his rudeness, then he should apologize and say he won’t do it again.

If he’s a total a-hole (which it sounds like he might be), he might respond by making you feel bad for standing up for yourself. Be prepared. He might say that you’re too sensitive, that you’re insecure, that you’re making a big deal out of nothing, that you actually do need new pants, or maybe he’ll even give you a fake apology, roll his eyes, and then gossip about you with fellow co-workers about this private matter.

If this happens – you need to tell your boss or HR. If his presence makes you uncomfortable and it negatively affects the quality of your work, that is something your manager needs to deal with immediately! I don’t know how the Law Enforcement field works, but maybe he can get transferred or maybe you can request to never have the same shift as him. Whatever happens, I want to see this male colleague out of your life. He seems like a total jerk who is degrading the quality of your work experience.

Good luck Trolled IRL! You’ve got this.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

Dear Cassey: How do I deal with stress eating?

By | Dear Cassey | 37 Comments

Dear Cassey,

Do you have any tips on how to combat stress eating? Hormones, lack of sleep, changes at work, and just general stress at work have been making me feel very stressed, and I’m finding myself reaching for snacks in these times of stress.

I try to keep snacks relatively healthy, like nuts or cheeses, but other times, I crave chocolate or something salty, and usually find myself feeling so full later that even thinking of a meal doesn’t sound appetizing, and I feel tempted to skip a meal just to try to “even out” and not take in too many calories.

I’m not unhealthily overweight, but I have gained weight since my cheerleading days, 5 years ago, and I feel like finding a healthier stress relief could help me feel closer to losing the unwanted weight. I know working out more can help relieve stress overall, but I wonder about immediate forms of relief as well. I would appreciate your advice.

Thank you!

Stress Eater

Dear Stress Eater,

First of all! I want to say thank you for being one of the first people to ever write in to my advice column! I am excited to focus on helping you deal with your stress eating today – because GIRL, I feel you. I used to stress eat A LOT and it was problem that I needed to acknowledge before I could get better.

Look, all those things you mentioned: lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and issues at work – those are 100% stress inducers! And guess what stress does? It makes us act out of character…it makes us cranky…it makes us cave into our weaknesses…it makes us make bad decisions…and it makes us want to reach for things that can make us feel good with low effort. And one of the easiest feel-good things we can reach for is FOOD!

I mean food makes us feel good in the moment – there’s no debate about that. And there’s nothing wrong with reaching for something to eat to make us feel better – because really, it DOES make us feel better!

Biting into something sweet or crunching on something salty brings us back to the good ole days of our childhood, where we could pretty much eat whatever we wanted without worrying that it would make us fat. Good flavors make us happy. But then, ya know, adulthood came along, and all of a sudden food had consequences. And that’s why we’re having this conversation.

Stress eating makes us eat more than we need to because we’re not eating when we’re hungry. We’re eating as a coping mechanism. And when we eat in EXCESS of our weight-maintenance caloric levels, we gain weight.

So, how do you stop the stress eating? Well – you need to figure out what you think is making you stressed and stop putting yourself in those situations! Here’s my advice.

BREATHE, HYDRATE, WALK.

The next time you wanna run to the snack cabinet and down a bunch of chips, take a moment to breathe. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Slowly. Remind yourself that you’re not actually hungry, and that you just need a break. Take a sip of water and go outside for a walk. It’ll help clear your mind and get your blood pumping, which will in turn make you feel better pretty much right away!

SLEEP MORE.

Not getting enough sleep 100% makes you stressed out. It increases your stress hormone cortisol, which also has been shown to be linked to an increase in lower belly fat. So what to do? Make it a PRIORITY to get into bed earlier. Try 10 min earlier, then 20 min, then 30 min, then an hour earlier. The sooner you get IN bed (even if you’re not sleepy), the sooner you’ll be likely to fall asleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, do not look at your phone right before you go to bed. Work emails and notifications will stress you out. The light will make it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book. That always puts me right to bed!

CREATE A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT.

You mentioned that changes at work and work stress in general have you feeling not so great. Is there a way you can talk to your boss and tell him or her what’s going on? How can your boss help you do your job better? I mean, yes they are there to manage you, but there are also there to get you to do your job well. It’s ok to ask for help! Maybe there’s something that you guys can discuss that will improve the work flow for the whole team!

If talking to your boss sounds scary, how about talking to your co-workers? Problem solving together and then bringing your plan to the boss might even impress him or her! Well that is…if your boss is open minded and is thinking about the welfare of the team and not his or her pride!

Either way, when work is stressful, I think it is important to them someone know so that they can help you get through it. I encourage our employees to always tell me if something is bothering them so that I can help them thrive at their job. It’s my duty to help them work on their best level!

FIND YOUR FORM OF MEDITATION.

Traditional meditation isn’t suited for everyone. I tried, and I just couldn’t find peace in sitting still for an hour. But meditation doesn’t have to look like that!

My form of meditation is getting a deep tissue massage! That makes me feel so relaxed right away.

I also find that getting in the zone when working out is another form of meditation for me. I always feel good after.

Find something that you can get lost in. Maybe it’s drawing, yoga, knitting, gardening – whatever it is – your form of meditation does not have to look like anyone else’s. It just needs to make you feel relaxed.

TALK IT OUT.

If you’re still stressed after trying all of this, talk it out with someone. Sometimes we just need someone to hear us complain! Get it off your chest. Talking it out will bring clarity to the situation and will help you figure out what is ACTUALLY stressing you out. Once you figure that out, and figure out a plan of attack for your problem, you won’t be stressed anymore! Being solutions oriented helps me stay less stressed because it keeps be objective and focused on the end goal.

Alright Stress Eater – I hope that helps!

If any of you guys have a question for the “Dear Cassey” advice column, please text your question to me at 510-692-4556. If you’re not able to because you’re not in the US or Canada, then you can leave a comment below!

Instagram filters that’ll actually make you feel better about yourself

By | Cassey's Corner | One Comment

Hey guys!

Fun stuff happening at Blogilates HQ! We’ve been diving into making Instagram AR (augmented reality) filters and we are having SO MUCH FUN!!!! Here are the ones we currently have out that you need to try right now!

#1. “Your best quality is…” by @popflex_active

The girls on the team wanted to create a filter that would give you an instant mood boost! You know that feeling you get after someone gives you a genuine compliment? Well, that’s what this filter is all about.

#2. “Sparkly Eyes” by @popflex_active

The way I see the world? Full of magic and possibility! This is an optimistic filter that’ll fill your eyes with wonder, while gently shooting out stars and lightning bolts every time you blink!

#3. “Post workout sparkle” by @blogilates

Pretty much the epitome of the phrase “I don’t sweat, I sparkle.” This filter will give you skin a natural glow and add dainty sparkles around your face.

 

#4. “Festival Flower Crown” by @blogilates

Spring vibes and Coachella vibes with the happiest daisies and butterflies on my head!

#5. “Roses are Red” by @blogilates

In a lovey dovey mood? Or just wanna try on red lipstick without actually wearing red lipstick?! This filter paints you as the ultimate romantic, complete with rose crown, floating hearts, lashes, cat eyeliner, and lush red lips.

#6. “Workout Command!!” by @blogilates

What better way to boost your mood than with a quick workout!? Run my workout command filter and do the command that pops up! It’s short and doable. So, just do it. Don’t skip it! Or else you will miss out on a natural high! Hello endorphin boost!

 

So, how do you find these filters?

First, you need to be on your phone! You can’t use them on desktop (or as far as I know).

Go to the Instagram profile of either @blogilates or @popflex_active and click on the sparkly face icon.

That’s where you will find all the filters that we’ve created. Then click on the filter you wanna try!

You can click on the camera icon to try it! But also, click on the download icon to save it to your IG stories. This way you won’t have to keep going to my profile every time you wanna use it.

How many of these filters have you tried!??? Tag me if you try em. I wanna see your pretty faces!

Paleo Zucchini Muffins (grain free, gluten free, sugar free)

By | Breads, Desserts, Food, Recipe Index | 11 Comments

Hey guys!

Last week, I had the pleasure of testing a couple zucchini inspired baked pastry recipes! And I am so happy to tell you that we’ve got a keeper!

Introducing my moist, dense, decadent, and perfectly sweet…

Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free Paleo Zucchini Muffins

I made these in muffin holders because I wanted to portion out my servings, but if you want a traditional Zucchini Bread look, then use a regular bread pan and slice. Same recipe!

INGREDIENTS (makes 12-14 muffins):

  • 3 cups of grated zucchinis (about 4 medium zucchinis with the water squeezed out!)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tapioca powder
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups of 0 calorie monk fruit sweetener (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/2 cup of light butter, softened

DIRECTIONS:

1 – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2 – Grate your zucchinis. Make sure to squeeze it as dry as you can! If you don’t, your muffins will be wet after baking, and not in a good, moist way! Use paper towels or a cheese cloth.

3 – Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl.

4 – Then line your muffin pan with muffin liners. Or if you’re using this recipe for zucchini bread, no need to line anything!

5 – Pour the batter into the muffin liners.

6 – Bake in oven for 50ish minutes, checking towards the end to make sure centers of muffins are baked the whole way through.

Once done, they will look like this…

HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THEY!!???!!!!

The best part is, even though these are grain free, sugar free, gluten free muffins – SAM APPROVES!!! Guys, you must try it! Moist. Soft. Just the right amount of sweetness. And full of amazing ingredients that are GOOD FOR YOU. You don’t even taste the zucchini.

I am so happy to have a little time to experiment in the kitchen. This is relaxation for me – cooking, baking, creating…I love it so much, and I just love feeding people. I hope to bring you more recipes throughout the year!

NUTRITION:

(Per muffin, with walnuts)

163 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g carbs, 6 g protein

(Per muffin, no walnuts)

135 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g carbs, 5 g protein

The Blogilates February 2020 Workout Calendar!

By | Calendar | 213 Comments

Hey guys!

I know I say a version of this all the time but…I cannot believe we’re already a whole month into 2020! WHAT!!!

February. It is Valentine’s month. The month of love, romance, red roses, heart shaped everything and LOTS of chocolate! When it comes to Valentine’s Day, usually everyone gets so caught up with their relationship status. We always focus so much on our relationship with others, when really, we need to BEGIN taking care of the relationship we have with ourselves. You can’t give love if you don’t have any for yourself. Everything starts with the relationship you have with yourself.

So this Valentine’s season, I want us all to embark on a little self love journey together. You ready?

I want you to take part in my 7-day #BodyLoveChallenge beginning February 10th!!!

What is it!? Well each day, I’m going to ask you to take a moment to do something that’s gonna boost your self esteem and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself and your body. And you know what? THEY WORK. How do I know? I’m excited to tell you that I teamed up with my friend and mental health specialist Kati Morton to come up with these daily actionable challenges for you guys! After 7 days of completing the tasks, I promise that you will notice a change in the way you view yourself. You’ll stand taller, walk more confidently, and see more beauty in others and in yourself. I can’t wait to do these 7 daily tasks with you.

So, are you in? If so – comment “I’m in!” in the comments!

Also, if you complete all 7 daily tasks, you will be entered to win a ticket to the 4-day POP Pilates Retreat this summer in Scottsdale, AZ (worth $1398)!!!! AHHH!!!! This will be the biggest prize I’ve ever given out!!!

So – how do you enter?

  1. You will need to post the challenge of the day, everyday for 7 days, from Feb 10 to Feb 16.
  2. You must follow @blogilates and @poppilatesofficial.
  3. You must tag @blogilates and @poppilatesofficial in each post.
  4. You must hashtag #bodylovechallenge in each post.
  5. You can complete the challenge on your Instagram feed or your Instagram story! If you choose to do stories, we will be asking for downloads of the stories to ensure that you completed all 7 days.

Good luck to all! This is open to POPsters from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Yup, I’m serious.

ALSO – if you wanna take your Body Love Challenge to the next level – come to a live POP Pilates class for FREE anytime between Feb 10 to Feb 16 at your local 24 Hour Fitness! My instructors will be playing girl power anthems on their playlists so class is gonna be extra empowering! Make sure to wear pink or red in the spirit of Valentine’s Week! Click here to check the group exercise schedule.

Now that we’re gearing up celebrate our bodies and the amazing things they can do, let’s check out the February 2020 Workout Calendar! This month is going to be SOOO GOOD! I can feel it!

When you download the PDF, you’ll find that each video is linked! Just click and it will take you to the YouTube video listed!

Also, I recreated the calendar on Coda and you have to check it out! It looks so good and I will be back to doing them every month on there.  You can check off your workouts there (for free!!)

Here’s what your week will look like. Each day has its own focus! Get ready to sweat 😉

SUNDAY: Outstanding Obliques & Abs
MONDAY: Booty Burn Bonanza
TUESDAY: Lovely Leg Day
WEDNESDAY: Ultimate Upper Bod
THURSDAY: Total Body Babe
FRIDAY: Rest and Recovery
SATURDAY: Feel the Fat Burn

Do each video once (unless otherwise stated) and check off as you go! Each day will be around 45 min of exercise! If you’re just getting started or want to ease into working out, my Beginner’s Calendar is a great place to start! It’s a free 4 week program to get you stronger, so that you can join in on the monthlies when you are ready.

I hope you’re ready for another amazing month! You absolutely crushed it in January so I know that February is going to be AH-MA-ZING! Especially with our bonus Body Love Challenge!

I can’t wait to celebrate our relationship with ourselves this month. Too often we out others in front of us and forget to take care of ourselves.

But beginning Feb 10, that is all gonna change. Today, I want you to prep for the challenge by asking yourself what you’re the most insecure about. Then envision how you want to feel at the end of the challenge on Feb 16. If you’re IN for the #BodyLoveChallenge, type “I’m in” below!

zucchini bread pudding healthy low sugar

Insanely Moist & Buttery Zucchini Bread Pudding (Vegan)

By | Breads, Desserts, Food, Recipe Index | 11 Comments

Hey guys!

It’s pre-Sam birthday week (his bday is on Feb 2) and that means…I have an excuse to bake some fun creations! Last night I stayed up til 3am baking 2 recipes (we had a crazy schedule and I couldn’t start baking until 11pm). I almost lost hope around 1 am because I had a disaster with my vegan coconut cream cream frosting.

My frosting was not acting like frosting. Instead of being thick, it was being drippy. There was no way I would be able to frost my cake.

But it was a blessing in disguise.

I decided to turn my 3 layer cake recipe into bread pudding and O-M-G this is literally one of the best desserts I have EVER made! So I present to you my…

Insanely Moist and Buttery Vegan Zucchini Bread Pudding!

Bread Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tapioca powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup zero calorie monk fruit sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegan butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 c walnuts (optional)

Glazey Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 oz vegan butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1.5 cups zero calorie powdered monk fruit sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk)
  • 1 can of canned coconut milk

Directions:

1 – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2 – Grate your zucchini. You do not need to squeeze the water out. 2.5 cups is roughly 2 medium zucchinis.

3 – Now mix together all of your bread ingredients.

4 – Once you have a thick bread batter, pour onto a lined cake tray.

5 – Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees F. If you spread your batter thin across the tray, you will need less time than if you pour it into a tall cake pan. Just do the toothpick check! When you think your cake is done, dip a toothpick into the center of your cake. If it comes out clean, you’re good! If it doesn’t, then keep baking!

6 – Once your cake is ready, take it out and let it cool.

7 – Once cooled, crumble it up with your hands and put the cake pieces back in the tray. We’re gonna pour the bread pudding glazey frosting on it next!

8 – To make the glazey frosting, just pour all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until you get a smooth consistency.

9 – Now pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the glazey frosting onto your cake until the pieces begin soaking it all in. If you feel like you need more, just add another 1/2 cup of almond milk to your glazey frosting.

10 – Put everything back into the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for another 20-30 min. This will allow the glazey frosting to soak into the bread. VERY IMPORTANT.

11 – Once the top is golden brown, remove from the oven, pour the rest of the glazey frosting on top of the bread and SERVE warm!!!! Or you could leave the glazey frosting in a separate bowl and have people pour it on themselves. OR you can put them in these cute mini mason jars like I did and top with glazey frosting and walnuts!

I highly suggest serving these warm. Every just popping them in the microwave for 30 sec will elevate the flavors tremendously!

Seriously guys…SO GOOD! It tastes buttery, creamy, warm, cozy, slightly sweet, soft, moist, dense, and just so so good!!! OMG I am in love with this zucchini bread pudding recipe. And the best part is…it’s vegan…AND Sam said it’s one of the best things I have ever made! Yay!!!!

Nutrition (per serving, makes 12 servings):

Without walnuts:

357 calories, 24 g fat, 28 g carbs, 5 g protein

With walnuts:

423 calories, 31 g fat, 30 g carbs, 6.5 g protein

 

Those are the macros assuming you’d evenly use all the glaze – which is a super generous amount!

Let me know if you end up making these and tell me how much you LOVE THEM! OMG seriously, I cannot wait for you to taste them! THEY ARE HEAVENLY.

I’m putting on the ultimate fitness retreat…

By | Group Exercise, Motivational | 6 Comments

Imagine this. We’re hanging out in the desert with larger than life cacti…

Spending 4 days at a gorgeous hotel and spa…

With lots of instagrammable moments like this…

And this…

And even your bedroom is instagrammable!

Healthy meals served to you all day…like this…

Or this…

Or this!

Fun workouts all weekend long that will motivate you to move…

Meeting your life long workout buddies…

Intimate dinners and discussions about stuff you can’t normally talk about…with people who’ll actually “get you.”

A pink carpet! Evening gowns!

Fun photo shoots GALORE!!

A POPFLEX fashion show featuring unreleased designs…and a chance to model in it!

Imagine coming out of the weekend with your spirit lifted, your body sore, a new fire lit inside of you and the CONFIDENCE to go conquer anything!

You guys, this summer I’m hosting the POP PILATES RETREAT in Scottsdale, Arizona and I want you to be there. I want to train you. I want to talk to you. And I want to see you GLOW UP over the course of 4 days. Because I promise you, you will leave changed.

Normally the POP Pilates retreat has been exclusive only to my certified instructors, but this year, I’m opening it up to the Blogilates community. If you have been on the edge of getting certified and starting a career in fitness, then I am inviting you to come! I’ve even built in an instructor training in Scottsdale, so that if you’re making a long trip, you’ll get everything done at the retreat.

Here’s what you can expect!

  • 4-day fitness retreat in Scottsdale, AZ!
  • Swag bag worth over $100+ of my favorite health, wellness, and fitness brands upon arrival! (For early bird registration before Jan 31, 2020)
  • 3 night accommodation at the fun Saguaro Hotel & Spa!
  • Delicious hand crafted, healthy meals
  • POP Pilates Instructor Training Workshop
  • Workouts all weekend: POP Pilates, PIIT28, Sunrise Yoga and more!
  • Perfect Form Training
  • Flexibility and Splits Training
  • Self Care, Body Positivity, and Confidence Building sessions
  • Social Media Secrets 2020
  • Fitness entrepreneurship sessions
  • 1 VIP Ticket to POP Prom!
  • 1 VIP Ticket to the Welcome Fiesta!
  • Many many chances to hang with me and @SirGeorgeTheMagnificent

If you wanna come, click here! We even have a payment plan set up to help you out. If you have any questions, comment below! I’ll be answering! Ahhhh I can’t wait to see you in Scottsdale ahhhhhhh!!!!!! It’s gonna be so much fun, so much crying, so many revelations, and so much random dancing! Whoooo!!!!