….Relax….Release….Let Go! 

“Won’t you come celebrate with me,  that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed…” Lucille Clifton 

So this weekend I had the privilege of attending a beautiful yoga mini-retreat event entitled Starshine & Clay: A place for Women of Color to be led by one of my favorite yoga teachers and mentor Octavia Raheem at her Atlanta-based studio Sacred Chill West... It’s hard to believe that I’ve been sitting under the teachings of my beautiful yoga soulsister since 2013, from studio classes to yoga festivals, and each time its always an amazingly soulful and radiant experience…

With all that has transpired good and bad, positive and negative over the course of my 2017, this was a much needed pre-holiday season detox and refresher experience in preparation for the newness of 2018. I experienced an amazing yin yoga and meditation practice with yoga nidra, and  set my intentions for the holiday season as well as my plans for the upcoming year. I met so many amazing women and enjoyed a delicious fellowship dinner with them after the yoga practice compliments of catering from Atlanta-based vegan chef  Jamila Crawford Pecou of Earth Candy Arts

The pictures below are of the many delicious, vegan culinary creations listed in the menu above…

After a very nourishing night of a mindfully healing practice and delicious soul nourishing vegan cuisine, I can truly say that I am on my way to creating space in my heart and mind for the positive changes and exciting adventures that this holiday season and the start of 2018 have in store for me….

Its time to relax…release…and let go of 2017 and anything negative that may have happened this year, and to begin speaking intentionally to ourselves  and others as humans and as women.

INHALE….

“….I AM”

EXHALE…..

“….worthy

     …..powerful

         …..creative

                ……peace

                       ……truth

                                ……..love 

                                            …..light “

So until next time, continue to speak your truth, creating the kind of life that’s nourishing to your life as well as the lives of others, remembering this one truth, each day telling yourself …that “I AM love”…and that “LOVE is art” and a work of ART is surely what we are, “somewhere on the bridge between Starshine & Clay” (Lucille Clifton). 

So until next time,  just Breathe ….relax…release…and let go!
~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE ~

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****DISCLAIMER**** 

Sensitive topic alert!

Never thought I’d see the day when I’d feel this way. When fitness and training, for general health and well-being as well as sports and competing,   becomes more of a chore and a struggle than an enjoyable act of self improvement. Because everyone knows…

However for the past month, I have awaken every morning bag packed headed to the gym with no pep in my step,  no passion, no excitement,  no joy! Like a cloud of despair and defeat looms over my head. I started to feel somewhat just FIT(ish) … going through the motions with no true desire to really be in the gym working out or home prepping meals and counting macros, etc. but all the while frustrated about my tendency for overeating (future blog post), the ever climbing numbers on the scale and the tightening of clothes that once fit just fine.

Part of it is sheer exhaustion and fatigue from the rigors of recent changes and transitions in my professional nursing career, that will eventually settle out once I get on a stable life-work schedule and routine. A second part of it is also sheer discomfort and pain, as a result of past injuries and musculoskeletal imbalances that nag my aging frame at now 35 years of age, that will also resolve with routine trips to therapy and adequate rest.

But lastly, a third part  to my lack of drive is more recent, and many will say its resolvable as well, as it simply requires mental toughness. But how easy is mental toughness and resilience when the very act of lifting weights and training, despite my recent decision to never return to the bodybuilding stage (details in a future post), these activities become a constant reminder of a poor decision made just a few short months ago, and the individual involved who hurt you and damaged your trust in them and consequently your ability to trust in general.

Emotional pain has a tendency to manifest itself in psychosomatic fashion, and the physical pain and fatigue experienced in the first two reasons mentioned for my lack of drive to workout and train could also be a result of the following scenario I’m about to share:
How do you find focus or enjoyment in your training when a lot of who you are, and how you train developed from the past trusted coach-athlete relationship you once had with the previously mentioned individual over three years ago. Despite no longer being in a coach-athlete relationship context with this person, and having developed a more personal relationship  in recent months, you find yourself in a situation of being betrayed to a point of no return.

So many levels of emotion and gray areas of confusion and emotion run through my mind daily since I learned the truth about this person. Not only as a Christian, professional career woman and an adult athlete, but also as a coach and trainer myself, it’s hard to grasp the complexity of the intentions this individual may have truly had from the beginning in the past during our coach-athlete relationship and based on the behaviors that occurred in the present during a more personal relationship with this individual. The blurred lines, the recent lies, and the mixed communication, etc. How do you catch all the warning signs without being blindsided?

It’s like everything you once thought you knew about a person is damaged eternally, because the trust you once had for them personally and professionally was a lie. Furthermore, the confidence you once had in yourself, your previous sport, your training and nutrition routine,  and even your own morals feels like it has died. You feel shame, guilt, defeat, doubt, depression, and simply a sense of lost control over how you manage yourself in relationships.

Currently, as a USATF Masters Athlete member of the board and association chair person for disabled youth track and field preparing for my officials credentials , I’m in the process of taking the U.S. SafeSport training. In watching and reading through the lessons in each of the training modules, all I can think about is how these same issues of safety, trust and respect, the dynamics of the coach-athlete relationship, consent, power imbalances, emotional, physical, and sexual misconduct, etc. that happens in youth sports, also happens to adult athletes as well, but in more subtle ways that rest in a gray area of “Oh you’re an adult, so you should know better” or “you knew what you were getting into”.

However, lies, manipulative intentions, and predatorial actions, despite asking the appropriate questions and no matter the age of the coach and/or athlete (whether present or former), are still unacceptable. Especially when one side of the situation has no remorse or sense of a need to at least be honest or apologize for misleading the other person.

In such cases, the athlete is essentially left to pick up the pieces of the sports activities they once enjoyed and learn to love themselves again, understand that they are not to blame themselves for what happen, regain a sense of control, and surround themselves with the people who truly have their best interest at heart.

In an effort to not go into any further details on this topic, I will close with this: What do you do when it’s not FUN anymore….? Forgive,  Forget, and Move Forward. Train harder and live well. Let your negative thoughts drive you to be your best, thinking about it won’t change what happened to you, but your actions and choices you make going forward can change you, and that is the only thing you can control. As my belief system puts it, God will deal with those who hurt you, it’s not your battle to fight! So be blessed.

I do not consider myself a “VICTIM” in this situation, but instead a “VICTOR” because I learned the truth, despite how painful it was, and I got away before things could get any worse. The take home lesson in all of this is to always stay vigilant,  question everything, and if the answers aren’t good enough,  question it again…#StayWoke!

Watch and Pray 
Threats to your personal and professional morality and sense of self-worth are always around in every sport, at every age! As a matter of fact in every area of life itself because, not to start preaching,  but we are in a spiritual war (Read Ephesians 6:10-2).

So despite the recent incidents in my life, one thing is certain, and that’s that God has kept his hand on me on this journey. When I think about my bodybuilding journey in particular, I realized so many beautiful aspects about myself that for years I never realized or considered possible. I learned to love myself, embrace my perfectly imperfect frame and developed a undescribable sense of peace and zeal for life that so many people could not understand or even comprehend (Phil.4:7),  not even the person who helped me get back into the sport and eventually betrayed me years later. So credit is owed where is due, to God! For everything I am and still becoming, it was all God’s doing all the time. He created this athlete that stands before you and is still working on, in, and through me!

Situational setbacks can make you lose sight of the ONE who instilled your passion and enjoyment in your most loved activities. For me it was my personal fitness journey and athletic accomplishments.  Throughout my past and present athletic endeavors I learned so many things about myself,  I enjoyed the self improvements that I made in my 3rd decade of life and continue to set my eyes on God for the direction He wants to take this journey in next decade, and the one’s to come, because all the actual work back then and even now was performed by yours truly by the grace and hand of the Almighty God. To Him be the Glory and the Power Forever!

So until next time….on a lighter happier side of life …

~ I AM (still) CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is (still) ~CANDICE MARIA’S  FIT LIFE ~

Welcome to the final days of the #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge….I hope you enjoyed learning from the journey as much as I did! 😊

Mindful Minute

“Not everyone will understand you, but those that matter will, and will cherish what you have to offer…It’s okay to let go.” ~ Candice Maria 

Many times in life, when starting a new journey to better oneself we meet opposition. Keep in mind that a lot of this opposition, especially that which originates from family, friends, or acquaintances is many times just a direct result of their lack of understanding of the purpose and passion behind your choices.

This does not mean in anyway that you are wrong or that they are right, and vice versa. It simply means that you have to do what feels best to you, not everyone will understand at first and in time they either will or will continue not to. However, nevertheless you have to do what feels good to your soul, your mind, and your body, I mean considering we only show up on life’s door with one of each… 😉

So if they don’t understand, hold fast to those who do, and let the rest go for the time being.

Mindful Mobility WOD

For these last few days you will complete a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio and at least 8 Rounds (or as many as your body needs) of the Sun Salutation A sequence as prehab before and/or after or even during your other resistance training or athletic activities today.

Meatless Meals of the Day (MOD)

So this week’s meatless meal of the day is a simple fruit and nut spring mix salad from Publix deli along with a wonderful bottle of GT’s Kombucha (one of my favorite beverages next to plain water). 20171024_122009194780247.jpg

This concludes the blog updates for the #31DaysofMindfulness and Meatless October Yoga Challenge…enjoy these last final days and if you plan to return to consuming meat or meat products after October 31st that is OK, just as continuing to explore your new vegan, vegetarian, or vegetarian variation lifestyle that is also OK. Do what feels right to your mind, body, and spirit….simply treat it and feed it well.

Until next time ~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is ~ CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE~

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31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October Week 3 Introduction overview of Days 15 through 21….

Continue reading

 

Week 2 wrap-up of 31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October….Day 14….

Continue reading

Welcome to Day 13 of #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge….

Mindful Minute

 

Live such a fascinating life, that it’s open book worthy” ~ Candice Maria

A life well lived, traveled well, and lived out loud….do you live a life so phenomenal that it’s open book worthy?

I recently received a birthday card from my younger brother that stated on the cover…”She made her own life, and it was beautiful” What do others say about your life? Since it’s Friday the 13th, what do you think will come to mind after you leave this earth, during the eulogy of your death at your funeral, as others celebrate your life here on earth?

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Upon opening the card, it goes on to say ” …. and pretty soon, everybody else wanted one just like it..” Powerful words to receive on a day when you are celebrating another year of your life. Do you have an open book story to share with the world? Is there something about your life that you believe will make a difference, impact, and shock the world?

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Tell it….Welcome to the #writersblock

 

Mindful Mobility 

If you have been following along with the challenge calendar , you should be doing a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio, along with a minimum of 2 rounds (or as many as your body needs) of the Sun Salutation A sequence as prehab before and/or after your other resistance training or athletic activities today.

Meatless Meal of the Day (MOD) 

Today’s MOD feature is a Trifecta Nutrition System Sesame Mushroom Lima Beans:

Ingredient List:

  • Luna beans*

  • Onion*

  • Carrot*

  • Broccolini*

  • White cabbage*

  • Shiitake mushroom*

  • Scallion

  • Extra virgin olive oil*

  • Sesame oil

  • Safflower oil*

  • Coconut sugar*

  • Coconut aminos*

  • Grade B maple syrup*

  • Dijon mustard*

  • Lime juice*

  • Cilantro*

  • Ginger*

  • Basil*

  • Black sesame seed

  • Black pepper

  • Sea salt

  • Filtered water

*Organic

Nutrition Facts (The Macros):

Serving Size: ~ 350 grams (able to be divided into two 175g servings):

Total calories: 438

Total fat: 14g

Sodium: 532 mg

Total carbohydrates: 68g

Dietary fiber: 11g

Sugar: 30g

Protein: 10 g

This concludes Day 13 of 31 Days of Mindfulness and Meatless October Challenge….stay tuned for Day 14…

Until next time.. ~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is ~ CANDICE MARIA’S FIT LIFE ~

“When you get the courage to climb,  spread your wings,  because child you’re going to fly!” So today marks the start of my 32nd year on the earth!

Ambitions, Dreams and Goals
“I go zero to 100 real quick!”…lol! Just reading over the shower of birthday love and we’ll wishes from friends and family,  I am learning how my life has been a rapid fire lighting bolt of goal digging and dream chasing. Not a bad thing, just that it doesn’t go unnoticed.

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My physical fitness level over the past year has sky rocketed. Half marathons,  full marathons,  winning fun runs and figure competitions! I went from “no place” to “first place” in a matter of 12 months!

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Living Fit, Travel Light
“I live for the open road,  and the clear blue sky.” Travel is where my most creative being resides. The center of my creative heart, my intuition, the place where God speaks to me.  When I’m alone on the open road or in flight, free of distractions, this is when the seeds of the ideas and ambitions that are later manifested in my life are planted. I have found myself on this particular travel day to be very emotional,  with intermitent bouts of crying. Moments of joy and anxiety abound.  I haven’t traveled the friendly skies in over a year and a half,  and I’ve never been as fit as I am to date, plus all of this is taking place on my birthday.   So much has changed about my approach to travel,  my diet, the way I pack and prepare for a trip. When I worked as a travel nurse, I gained so much weight,  eating “conveniently” even when I thought it was healthy. I have always stayed active,  but the diet was too excessive that my physical activity level just wasn’t keeping up. Nowadays, to over indulge on food, whether healthy or unhealthy makes me nauseous.  I have found myself overwhelmed with emotions today because I have a whole new outlook my life now than in the past 30 plus years and I’m not looking back.

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Calm in the Storm

“If you want to live a life above the clouds,  you have to have courage fly” I can remember my first introduction to the power of flight,  as a little girl, my grandfather’s favorite pass time to share with us was to park outside the airport and watch the planes take off. Oh if only my grandpa could see his baby girl now. ..can’t keep me out of the clouds! It’s no wonder I’m also the offspring of an air force veteran.  I still watch in awe when waiting in airport terminals for my flights, as other airplanes parade around the landing strip in preparation for their turn to stretch their wings and fly!

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With flying high comes Turbulence. I once listened to a sermon from the profound TDJakes where he made the following analogy. “The devil doesn’t mess with you when you sit still, with your mouth shut, setting for less than your worth, but soon as you start climbing up, by your hands and feet and speaking words of faith, that’s when the enemy comes against you.”
Along this journey,  I’ve run across many set backs, distractors, commentators,  haters, and just down right devils.  But in sticking close to my small circle of people who care about my success the most,  I’ve overcome the traps and turbulence with grace and continue to live a life above the clouds, all because I choose not to care what people think of me.

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As the saying goes,  “you must be doing something right if people are talking about you” Well I know I am,  because I’m living fit and loving it!

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Grace for the Journey
“Live for today,  and ponder tomorrow,  but never ever look back”
Today I just touched down in the magnificent city of New York! Everything about this place is amazing.  So blessed to have made the contacts that I have made within the city. The founder of the urban obstacle race called City Challenge Race is so graciously hosting me during my stay here. I’m here for work and fun and love it! As a volunteer and intern for the City Challenge Race, I am embarking on a journey I would have never in my dreams imagined.

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Also while here I will be able to meet my #yogisister Lara Land, and practice at her studio. Don’t forget,  I am still raising funds to journey with her to India in the spring. You can follow the link below to learn more: http://www.gofundme.com/eokl2k

~Until next time…Live in Love…Live Fit~

Candice

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Greetings Healthy People!

The “Trainer’s Corner” updates with Candice Maria are BACK!!!!!! Most of you I have been able to stay connected with via Facebook and other social media avenues, and others I may have lost touch with over the past several months as a lot has changed in my personal and professional life since the last “Trainer’s Corner” update in February!

So I am ecstatic to share with you what’s new for August and beyond, just in time for back to school!

Radiant Balance Yoga

A mobile and virtual yoga studio, owned and operated by yours truly, currently serving the Tuscaloosa county community. The following picture outlines our current live class schedule and locations, class styles and descriptions follow:

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Flow #BacktoSchool this Fall with Ease! 📚📝📖📏📎📐📊📋📑📒

Join me in one or several of my #yogaclasses this August!

Several options, class styles, locations, and times to choose from across @tuscaloosacity :

Mondays: 10:30 am #YinFusionFlow and
5:30 pm #AshtangaBasics @yogablisstuscaloosa
7:20 pm #YogaBasics @BamaCheerXtreme

Tuesdays & Thursdays: 10:30 am #YinFusionFlow @BEWellNaturallyWellSpa

1st & 3rd Saturday ( August 2nd & 16th): 8 am – #GentleFlow @northridge_fit
9:30 am – #YogaandYogurt #OntheRiver @OrangeLeafTuscaloosa

Sunday August 17th 4pm: #YogaSunday #OpenAshtangaFlow @northridge_fit

CLICK HERE for Location addresses and Pricing!

Private yoga lessons available per request! CLICK HERE for Pricing.***

Personal Training Updates:

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Hanging out with Torch Fitness co-founder, Ty and the staff of The AVE Tuscaloosa

I have been recently selected to join a national fitness training and nutrition team called Torch Fitness and Nutrition,  based out of Atlanta!

Through this organization I will be teaching yoga, spin and boot camp classes along with training clients at the following 2 residential locations in Tuscaloosa beginning in late August and early September:

The AVE Tuscaloosa – Highway 69 Tuscaloosa

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&

2700 Capital Park – Downtown Tuscaloosa

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Yoga and Fitness Classes are complimentary to residents and their personal guests at either property!

Pricing for any Personal Training or Private Yoga Lessons will be announced soon! ***

Personal training sessions and Private Yoga Lessons for non-residents of either facility will be held at The AVE Tuscaloosa fitness gym only.

***Pricing for Private Yoga Lessons subject to vary per length of sessions, number of sessions and location. Starting rate for private yoga is from: $40/hour. Personal training pricing will be determined by the Torch Fitness organization.

Competition Update:

This month marks my official return to the stage. I have 2 shows lined up that I have been aggressively preparing for:

August 23 – NANBF Trojan Classic – Troy, AL

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September 27 – NANBF Global Cup Championship – Atlanta,  GA

Social Media Update:

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Urban Obstacle Race Company

City Challenge Race Team: As an Ambassador Trainer and Team Leader for an urban obstacle race company called City Challenge Race, I am hosting month long FREE training on Instagram and Facebook to help people find simple ways to stay fit as well as prepare for the race on October 5 in New York City. Follow either my Instagram or Facebook page to see each day’s work out and participate in the challenge! I will be giving away a FREE Race Entry to the person who demonstrates that they have completed all of this month’s challenge workouts!

Also for those interested in joining me for the race in October, please visit the following LINK to register for the team named “LIVING FIT” with the promo code: IAMFIT to receive a $10 off discount.

Kaiteki Sandals

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As a Brand Ambassador for an up and coming yoga clothing and accessories company I will be offering exclusive giveaways, contests, and discounts to friends,  family, clients and students.  Be sure to visit the LINK to check out their recent product launch!

This concludes your Trainer’s Corner Update for August! Stay tuned to my blog for fitness and nutrition tips throughout the month! Until next time Eat Clean – Train Dirty because Excuses Don’t Burn Calories! ~ The Fit Life

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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Do you have #FitSwag?

#WhatsBeautiful? #LivingFit! #IWILL and because I live fit everyday I reap awesome rewards beyond just having a great physique and healthy body! I earned FREE Stuff too!

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I began back in May of this year participating in an #UnderArmour #Instagram challenge called #SweatADay hosted by #UnderArmour sponsored athlete #ShaunaHarrison, PhD. Each day she posts a challenge workout or exercise related to general strength training, cardio, and/or yoga!

Participants in the challenge mimic and record each days exercise and post their variation of the day’s challenge exercise on their instagram account tagging the challenge host, sponsors, and using the designated #hashtags related to the challenge! I continue to participate in #SweatADay and this month she will be selecting #SweataDayAllStars from the posts of previous challenge winners!

Check out my #SwagBag gear from winning the challenge in May:

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UnderArmourWomen Studio Lux Outfit
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UA Womens 6 pack socks and Shoes
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UA Womens Running Shoes, Duffle Bag, and "Sweat" Band

Through the challenges I have had the opportunity to meet a fun community of like minded fitness enthusiasts like myself and became a winner of the super awesome #UnderArmour #swagbag!

I also became so inspired by the challenges that as a fitness professional myself,  I decided to launch a few of my own and even acquired a challenge sponsorship in the process! See my post about the #LivingFitCityChallenge I’m hosting for an up and coming #UrbanObstacleRace company called #CityChallengeRace

I am giving away FREE Race entries to dedicated challenge participants along with featuring them here on my website as the #IAMaFitnessModel monthly feature! Visit my Fitness Model of the Month to meet last month’s #Instagram challenge winner who will serve as this month’s #ChallengeAmbassador!