How Do You Spend Your Time…All 168 Hours Per Week?

Ahh, it’s that time of year again, when my birthday is looming just around the corner. Now, I should lead by saying that I do not dread birthdays, I am actually just really grateful for them. That said, they do make me stop for a moment and take the pulse of my current life and check to see if adjustments need to be made.

It occurred to me while writing this that I have a very specific set of numbers that I keep in front of me at all times. It’s on my phone, on my pantry door and in every journal that I am working from. If I know you in real life and we have ever discussed time management, then you have likely been subjected to my explanation of these numbers.

It’s all about the 168 guys and gals. Wait, what? What the heck is 168? It’s the number of hours in every single week. I don’t care where you are on the globe, what month of the year that it is or anything else. We all have 168 hours per week as of 12:00 AM on every Sunday. There are exactly 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes per week, every week.

During everyone’s week, we all have commitments that we have to keep, friends to visit, jobs to work, meals to prepare, offices to commute to and so much more. The thing with time is that it is a constant in an ever changing world. If you know what you are working with, you can be much wiser with how you spend or invest your time. Time is one of those things where ignorance is not bliss.

The thing that I love about this system that I use is that you can adjust it to fit your lifestyle, but the fundamental tenants are the same for every single person. It’s just that some people spend more time doing certain things than others. So, let’s look at the numbers.

How Did You Get To 168 Hours?

24 Hours In A Day x 60 Minutes In Each Hour: 1,440 Minutes Per Day

1,440 Minutes Per Day x 7 Days In A Week: 10,080 Minutes Per Week

10,080 Minutes Per Week/60 Minutes In An Hour: 168 Hours Per Week

I break time down into seven categories; Resting, Working, Fitness, Food, Community,  Growth and Management. I am going to give you some examples of each and a general explanation about what belongs in each category.

What Are The Categories? 

Rest: This is the amount of time that you spend with your eyes shut, not responding to text messages, not playing on Facebook and just recharging your body and mind. Some people can get by on 6 hours, while others require up to 8. I personally have always felt best when I rest for 7 hours per night and my math below is based on 7 hours. It also includes any activities where you are not doing anything else, but resting and just generally vegging out. Things like watching a movie, watching youtube videos, getting a massage would all qualify. The point is that in this category, you are not doing anything for anyone but you. You are rebuilding, restoring and replenishing yourself. If you are doing something like reading a book that is meant to help you grow as a person (self help, business, etc) then that would go in the Growth category below. However, if you were reading Harry Potter just because you love to escape into fantasy, then you would put that here in the Rest category.

Work: This is anything that you do for a living, to try to grow your career, to look for work, to increase the value of your personal brand, to receive payment for services, etc. In other words, this is not spending time on hobbies. This is any and all time that you spend of professional development. If you are a student, then studying is your current job, so this is where you would put that time. The average work week in the United States, where I live, is 40 hours, but I use 42 hours in my math below, because I am accounting for that time when you are just getting to work or preparing to leave work. All of that time is being spent at work, so I include it in this category.

Fitness:  This is all of the time that you spend actually doing your workouts, logging your workouts, preparing for your workouts and stretching after your workouts. I include the time that it takes you to prepare for your workouts and keep track of them, along with your actual workouts, because any workout enthusiast knows that this can be several hours per week. This category does not include your time commuting to the gym, as you will see all of that included in the final category at the bottom.

Food: This is one where most people spend far too much time. Here in America, our whole culture seems to revolve around food. This, undoubtedly contributes to our obesity rate and a whole slew of other problems. Food is not meant to take over your life. Food is fuel. It is nothing more than that. We glorify food and turn it into our therapists and we indulge on cheeseburgers when we are sad or overly happy. We use it as comfort food to accomplish so many other things that food was never meant to do. I am not saying that food is not important, because it absolutely is. I am saying that understanding the role that food should play in your daily life can really help you to save a lot of time. Obviously, family gatherings and holidays are a whole different ball of wax, but we are talking about everyday life here. This category should include the amount of time that it takes you to prepare (as in microwave or heat up) your food and eat it. Assuming that we should eat roughly 5 times per day and that each of those meals should take roughly 30 minutes to warm and consume, that’s 2.5 hours per day. That is the logic for my math below. Conversely, if you only eat 3 times per day, but you go out for each meal, then use whatever numbers work for you.

Community:  This category should contain any and all time that you spend connecting with others (dogs, babies, neighbors, friends, children, etc). Being in community is healthy. It is not healthy for us to spend so much time at the gym or the office that we become isolated. That is unhealthy. However, like all things, if you do not make it a priority, it’s easy to allow this to happen, so plan for your community time and keep yourself emotionally and mentally well balanced. Some examples would include; time spent on Facebook, watching YouTube videos (to a point and especially if you are part of a YouTube community), church, volunteering, reading your children a bedtime story, visiting with friends and family and more.

Growth: This is one of the most straightforward categories that should be very easy to use. When I say growth, I am talking about personal growth. That can include learning a new language, taking up a new hobby, learning to cook a new meal, reading a book and so much more. Growing as human beings is something that is vastly underrated. When people stop growing, they become stagnant, bored, unsatisfied with life. It’s hard to force yourself out of your comfort zone, but the benefits are well documented. Learning something new can help sick people to feel an improvement in how the feel physically, help depressed people come out of a bad time and can keep your mind sharp and young.

Management: I think most people would probably call this ‘maintenance’ rather than ‘management’, but maintenance is just an unattractive word. It makes people think of unpleasant emotions, so I use the word Management, because that makes people feel empowered, as if they are in control. It’s your time. You are in control of it. This management category includes the sometimes wonderful and sometimes mundane tasks that are required by human beings to thrive in life. Some examples include; commuting to work, taking children to extra curricular activities, grocery shopping, meal prep, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, paying bills and so much more.

That should help to provide you with a pretty structured framework for what is happening to your time. If you think that you have something that doesn’t fit into one of these categories, please leave it in the comments below. For now, assuming that we have covered all of our basis, as I can fit all of my time spent into one of the categories above, let’s do some basic math.

How Much Time Should I Spend On Each Category? (My Current Personal Plan)

Rest: 34%: 57 Total Hours Per Week

Work: 25%: 42 Total Hours Per Week

Fitness: 7%: 12 Total Hours Per Week

Food: 11%: 19 Total Hours Per Week

Community: 6%: 10 Total Hours Per Week

Growth: 5%: 8 Total Hours Per Week

Maintenance: 12%: 20 Hours Per Week


100%: 168 Hours Total

The, the, that’s all folks! If you are like me, you will look at those numbers and think, “No way!” You will, can and should double check my math just so that you know that I am not pulling a fast one on you. Trust me, the numbers don’t lie. The first time I looked at this a few years back, I reran the numbers because I just couldn’t believe it.

These are the numbers that I currently run my personal schedule based upon. You may shift your numbers around any way that suits you. The point is to be aware of the time that you have so that you are more careful and intentional about how you spend or invest your time.

If you want to run the math, just take 168 and multiply by the category percentage that is listed above. That will help you to arrive at your own numbers too.

Have you ever met someone who seems to have more time than you. They don’t. They have just figured out that time is short, that’s it’s a commodity like anything else and that there is a limited supply, so they are more careful about what they do with their time.

Another important thing to look at is to consider a typical day using these numbers so that you can see that this is in fact how most of your days are spent. Let’s do that.

What Does A Typical Day Look Like? Starting From Midnight….

Rest (7 Hours)

Eat breakfast, workout, shower, get ready and commute to the office (2.5 Hours)

Work (8.5 Hours)

Commute Home, Prepare Your Dinner, Eat, Laundry, Dishes, Watch a Show, Etc (4 Hours)

Spend Focused Time With Children/Spouse or Call Or Visit A Friend (1.5 Hour)

Read A Book (30 Minutes)


24 Hours Total

Yup, that’s a wrap folks. Cut, print, check the gate, because it’s tomorrow. That’s what an average day looks like. In the example above, I pushed a lot of items together instead of separating them by category just so that you could get a general idea of how fast time goes in a day.

The example above is based on a typical work day, but here is the good news. On the weekends, you get an extra 16 hours in your days (Saturday and Sunday) to spend any way that you like, because you don’t have to go to work. If you are like me, you will see very quickly that if you are careful about how you spend your ‘free time’ then you can make more time for yourself during the work week. For example, if you get the laundry done, grocery shopping and meal prep done and pay all the bills during the weekend, then you will have extra time when Monday rolls around.

One of the biggest ways that you can save yourself time during the week is meal prep. You can save so much time and money by simply adopting the practice of preparing your meals in advance.

The whole point of this blog post was to showcase how quickly time slips away. It’s not sad. It’s just a fact. It’s life. You can’t create time, nor can you buy it, but if you are careful about how you spend it, you can leave yourself time to go back and get an advanced degree, take up a new hobby or whatever you like.

Final 3 Thoughts:

  1. You will notice that as you become more consistent about certain ways of spending your time, that other areas of your time will change as well. For example, if you become very consistent about your workout times, you will spend less time ‘socializing’ (read….drinking with your buddies), because you will value your results more than the constant repetition that is frequently associated with hanging out at bars and clubs.
  2. If you want to spend less time at work, you really need to focus on the Growth category. Figuring out ways to increase your revenue streams, will naturally mean you have to work less. Then, you may take that time and spend it on whatever you like.
  3. It’s important to make time for every single one of the categories above. It’s healthy and human to need human connection, to want to be fit and healthy, to continually grow as a person and to have a purpose to our work. You will find that so many of life’s problems could be solved by simply adjusting the way that you spend your time. Take the husband who works too much and never connects with his family and it ultimately ends in divorce. Take the fitness obsessed girl who never socializes because her whole life revolves around food and fitness and then she burns out one day, because she ‘misses her life’. Life is not meant to be stuffed into one of these categories. It’s meant to be diverse, fun, challenging, somewhat predictable and hopefully exciting because it’s filled with laughter and love.

 

Hey, by the way, if you know anyone who always says that they were doing this or that to kill time, please tell them that I will take their extra time if they do not want it. Thanks guys, your’e the best. 🙂

I hope you found this helpful. Make your own chart. Just go old school and grab a notebook and a pen and consider how you spend your time, where you are and where you want to be. Now that you have the numbers, it should be pretty easy to at least identify when you are overinvesting in one category and also to allocate your time to the categories that are important to you during this chapter of your life. I created a quick little PDF that you may download and print out use to get your own numbers.

Time Management Tracker By Raphaela Laurean

This is one of the greatest life secrets that I have ever learned and I hope that it connects with you in a meaningful way. Thanks for spending some time with me. See you around the blogosphere.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

 

 

My Secret Elf On The Shelf Addiction. Help, I Have A Problem

Hey Everyone,

Yes, it’s been like 35 years since I have written a blog post. Ok, not 35 years, but way too many months. If you follow my other social media channels, then you know that I post to them, and my YouTube channel almost daily. I really want to challenge myself to get back into blogging, because there is something about the written word that just reaches people and clarifies my soul like no Instagram post ever can.

I was posting my Elf on the Shelf ideas to my personal Facebook account, when a friend of mine (thanks Tracy) suggested that I should blog these ideas, because she had not seen anything like them before. If I may be so bold, she even used the word ‘Innovative’. 🙂

Anywho, it must be fate or something, because I have really been itching to blog lately, so here we go.

Let me start off by saying that up until about 2 weeks ago, I was (everybody hold onto their seats) genuinely irritated when I heard people talking about the whole Elf on the Shelf thing. Why? Simple. I am a bad person :-). Alright, no, that’s not true. It’s because I really didn’t understand what it was, and I kind of thought it was a little creepy.

Two weeks ago, as I was picking up my son from day care, he showed me his Elf at school, and asked when ours was going to arrive. Never one to take the last open seat on a bandwagon, I said, “Um, I will have to text Santa and find out.” After the kids went to bed that night, I looked up the general idea of the Elf kind of policing children for Santa, and by extension for me, and thought, “Yeah, I’ll give that a spin.” Oh, don’t judge, you know how this ends…with me spending $30 on a somewhat creepy little elf like millions of other parents.

I went to Walmart, then Target, to try to purchase this little North Pole Narc, and they genuinely laughed at me. They were like, “those things have BEEN sold out.” Ok, well, excuse me for not knowing that the freakin’ Elf was #trending. 🙂

Moving on. In comes my personal favy favorton Amazon.com. With the click of a button, my own little personal Elf was on it’s way from the North Pole…Ok, yes, I know it’s from the Birmingham, Alabama Amazon fulfillment center, but go with me here. We are dealing in suspended reality.

He arrives. The kids go through a slew of names from Stinky and Jingles, to Flake and finally circle the wagons back around to Chippy. Yeah, super original, I know. 🙂 Cut them a break, what they lacked in originality for naming our Elf, they make up for in creative ways to destroy their bedrooms, so I guess it all evens out.

The first night, I read them the story, and explained the rules, at which time I was promptly informed that, “Everybody knows that stuff mommy.” Oh, my bad for missing Elf 101 at the local community college. Geez, where’s the magic anymore?

After I put the kids to bed, I had two choices; 1. Hit up Pinterest for ideas. 2. Search my own brain for crazy stuff and see what falls out. Of course, you know I chose option 2, because I feel like I need to make everything in my life vastly more difficult than it actually needs to be :-).

The first night, I wasn’t feeling that adventurous yet, so I stuck him in the cookie display, and positioned him like he was holding a cookie and got stuck in there.

Night 1: Chippy Got Caught With More Than Just His Hand In The Cookie Jar.

Originality Score: I don’t really know, but I am assuming it’s somewhere near a 1, on a 1 to 10, 10 high scale.

elf, elfontheshelf, elfontheshelf2015, ideas, funny, cute, original, new, innovative, easy, fast, funny

Elf In A Cookie Jar

The kids freaked out. They loved it. They were yelling at him about stealing their cookies, and laughing that he got caught. They of course overlooked the most obvious question…How Did That Elf Escape From His Packaging Without Mommy Touching Him? Ah, the magic that is Elf. 🙂

Night 2: Elves Need To Netflix and Chill Too

Originality Score: I think I was probably tickling like a 3 here, maybe.

Night two. I am starting to feel a little more like I can actually do this. I was studying while sitting on the couch, and I thought, man, I would really just love to Netflix and Chill right now. Then it hit me, Elves work hard too. Those little guys deserve to kick it on the couch in their fat pants too, and so this next idea was born. I staged him with an empty soda, and a half eaten popcorn bucket. I crushed up some Oreos and Cheese balls and sprinkled them around him. I added a remote for good measure, on account of it being somewhat difficult to Netflix and Chill without Netflix. Sure, he could have watched it on his iPad, but we decided to go old school, and use a real TV.

 

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This Elf Needs To Netflix and Chill

The kids were sold! This one really made them think this little guy was for real. The crumbs were the real hero of this set up, or as I like to call them, The Elf Question Closer. There was no doubt left for the kids, this little dude was up and about in our house while they were asleep. They said, “he must have been so tired from flying to the North Pole and back.” Yup, mommy win!

Night 3. Elf with OCD

Originality Score: I feel like this one pushed me over a solid 5. If not, please allow me to exist in my own delusion. Thank you very much. Hey, not everyone’s work is appreciated during their lifetime, ok?

So the kids had gone to bed. I was sooo tired that night. I was unplugging the Christmas Tree, you know, because I don’t want to burn my house down and all. Yes, I have a real tree…GASP! I digress. I accidentally knocked a candy cane off of the tree, (clutz) and it hit me like a 2 x 4 between the eyes. Let’s get Chippy to try to fix the broken candy canes. Oh yeah baby, it’s show time.

I go into the garage and grab every kind of glue that I can find; Elmer’s glue, glue gun, Shoe Goo, Gem Tac, yup that’s it. I fooled you with that last statement, huh? I made it sound like it would be like 20 different kinds of glue. Seriously, I was just using a little puffery. Maybe you should lower your standards a little. Who the heck has 20 different kinds of glue?

Aluminum foil in hand, I set Chippy up on the back of the glue gun and touched the gun to the cane. Of course, I had to break a few more candy canes to really sell it, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Whack! Sorry little candy canes, it’s all for the cause.

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Elf with OCD Fixing Candy

The kids were particularly fond of this one. They said, “Man, Santa must really get angry when the Elves break candy canes, huh?” I’m thinking, “You better hope so, or our little elf Chippy has a wicked bad case of OCD. Let it go Chippy, it’s a candy cane. You can buy a whole box for a dollar at Walmart.”

Night 4. Time to Get Shredded Little Dude

Originality Score: I am definitely somewhere near a 6 or 7, but not yet at Innovative.

Ok Elf, If you’re going to stay, then you gotta stop eating that garbage and get fit! We don’t play around about fitness in this house, and I think that Chippy the Elf was feeling like he may have overdone it on his cheat meal of Oreos and Cheeseballs. As I was getting my own gym bag packed for the next day, I thought that maybe Chippy could get in on my bodybuilding action.

He really went ham and decided to lift 200 marshpounds, but hey, Go Big or Go Back to the North Pole, right? I set him up with my Beats headphones, some BCAA powder and a polka dot straw with two large marshmallows. Side note; it is super frustrating when you are trying to complete your evil Elf plan and you can not find the Sharpie, again! Why kids? Why must you constantly take Mommy’s one marker, when you have an entire basket of crayons and markers? Ugggghhh. I showed them. I went into my daughter’s room and took one of her markers to finish this set up. Nanny, nanny boo boo. My marker! 🙂

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Elf Getting Shredded

The kids literally dragged me out of bed at 5:10 in the morning to show me that Chippy was messing around with my gym stuff. Some parents have golf clubs, dishes, or electronics that you don’t touch. I have BCAA’s, protein bars, and Beats headphones that are punishable by death. 🙂

They said, “Oh Mommy, since Chippy has your headphones, I guess you can’t go to the gym today.” My face went blank. How had I not considered this outcome? Don’t freak out. I’m freaking out. I calmly said, “It’s cool, mommy has another set of headphones in my gym bag, so I’ll just use those.” Translation, once you are buckled into the car, I will say that I forgot my lip gloss and make a mad dash to separate Chippy from MY headphones. Bad elf!

Last Night. Night 5: Twisted Elf With Weight Issues

Originality Score: This is the one that pushes me over a 9, and may even qualify as Innovative. Hey, relax, I said may.

Alright, as you can clearly see if you have read the post to this part, I may be a little too invested in this Elf situation. Pump your brakes their Judgemental Jenny, you may want to find a mirror, because you’re the one who read all of this. We may just be in this Elf thing together. 🙂

All of that said, when you are this far down the rabbit hole, who knows what you will find, so of course, I keep digging.

I have to attend an event next week, and I have to wear a dress that is very elegant, but in no way forgiving. Though I work out like a crazy person and am super careful what I eat, I think this dress is going to give me nightmares. I keep trying it on thinking that it will fit differently next week, and yet, same result. Hey Oreos and Red Wine, you’re up. I quit :-).

I decided to make the Elf the living embodiment of my struggle. I went to my daughter’s room to pull a dress off of one of her Barbies to complete the look. Sidebar for a second: Remember when dolls had dresses that came off? I had to go through 5 dolls to find one where the top of the dress wasn’t permanently affixed to her body. Who are we kidding here? What Barbie wants to wear the same dress, day in and day out. Who is making these dolls?????

Alas, I found one. My victim was to be none other than, Cinderalla. Naked doll in hand, I tossed her back in the bin and went looking for her shoes. Why can’t those things be glued on? Oh, there you are shoe, in the VERY LAST bin that I looked in. The Barbie Gods are against me, but I will prevail!

I grabbed my scale, an empty wine bottle (give me a break, who doesn’t keep empty wine bottles lying around their house), some Oreos, the shoes, and a tissue. I propped Chippy up, with his butt not able to fit in the dress. Let’s overlook for a moment that he was even trying to put a dress on in the first place :-).

He clearly tried to fit into the dress, which he could not (no comment), probably because of his Oreo and Cheeseball binge from the night before. Sure, blame it on the water weight Chippy. We feel you. He weighed himself, saw the nasty cold hard number staring back at him from the scale, and decided to cry himself to sleep after drinking wine and eating more Oreos. Yeah Chippy, that’s the way to solve that problem. You show those Oreos who’s boss!

#elfontheshelf, #elf, #elfontheshelf2015, #ideas,

Elf With Weight Issues

I snapped the picture of Chippy with the wine bottle for you guys, but I don’t think leaving that out for the littles would have won me the Mother of the Year award, so I did the responsible thing. I pitched it into the trash can with reckless abandon and almost woke up the kids. Way to go Mom!

The kids were laughing so hard at this in the morning. They were like, “Oh Chippy, you can’t fit it the dress because you ate too many Oreos little buddy.” I wasn’t sure that they would understand the set up, but they totally did.

Again, I was really not thinking ahead on this one, because I left him in the middle of the kitchen. Elf:2 Mom: 0. Now I have to tap dance around this Calorie Crime Scene until the kids go to bed tonight.

If you want to know what other crazy ideas that I come up with, I put these pictures on a Pinterest Board for you. I will add a new one each morning. I don’t promise that they will all be ‘innovative’, but I may have 4 or 5 more slam dunks rattling around up there.

I just wanted to say another thank you to Tracy for taking the time to not just click like, but to encourage me to get blogging again. I forgot how much fun this is. I am usually sitting here laughing while I am writing, and hope it brings a smile to your day.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

Bikini Bodybuilding: The First Two Weeks

Bikini, bodybuilding

What to expect during this phase of your journey into bodybuilding.

 

Hey Everyone,

Well, today is officially the end of the second week of my training for my bikini bodybuilding show. I thought that this would be a great time, you know-while it’s still actually in my mind- to give you an inside look at what to expect during those first two weeks. In order to get to the 101 basics of bikini bodybuilding, I first have to walk you through the personal stuff so that you can see ways of dealing with the things that will come your way during this part of your journey. So, let’s take a little trip to make sure that your head is in the right place, so that your body can follow.

Let’s go back for just a second. When I told my husband that I was going to start training for a show again, he was not happy. He is not supportive of this lifestyle or this sport in any way. To be clear, I am not saying this for pity.  I need to say that so that anyone else who is in that position knows that when you finally make this decision for yourself, you will need to go it alone, at least in the beginning.

Two weeks ago, we had a huge fight about this, which I detailed a little bit in my last blog. The point that I want you to take away is that you have to state your goals, out load, for every and anyone to judge. You need to own them, represent them, and be proud of them. Some will judge you, but you will find that most will actually be pretty supportive, or at least encouraging. Strangely enough, most of the people who will actively encourage you are not the people who you are closest to. I really don’t understand why this is, but it is how it will begin for most of you. Knock, knock. Who’s There? Jealousy and Change. Nope, we don’t want you here. Accept that this will be reacted to in many different ways, and just know that it has NOTHING to do with you, and then move on.

For me, when you question something that I have said that I am going to do, it only makes me want it even more. Ok, ok, Raphaela, get back to it. 🙂 Any who, I told him on a Friday that the following Monday I would begin training. We fought. I prepared my meals, my workout plans, and laid out all of my outfits, slowly and deliberately throughout the weekend. I wanted to make this transition as easy as I could on everyone in my family, so I made sure to do these things on my time, not theirs.

On Monday, I got up, got the kids ready, then went to the gym. I worked out, ate clean, drank my water (1 gallon per day…seriously do not skip this). My husband gave me a bunch of lip about how it must be nice for me to go to the gym while he has to go to work. To that I say, I chose a different path in my life. I work for myself, and I have worked for more than a decade at my business to put it on auto pilot, or at least mostly, so that I could have the freedom to do other things. While he was going to work, getting promotions, getting accolades, and moving our family around the country, I worked my a*s off from wherever we were living. I rebuilt my business repeatedly to support him. I mean, I worked all the time, nights, weekends, during holidays, during his repeated deployments, during our moves, 3 hours after I had both of our children, and more so that I could have this freedom. So, basically, I think that it is kind of amusing that he is frustrated by my freedom, especially since it has no financial impact on him. Regardless, I just went right on with what I wanted to do.

At nights, instead of simply sitting down to dinner with the kids, then bath, then bedtime, I set up a mini activity for us each night. I knew that it would make the temptation of snacking or emotional eating less likely to derail my plans. It started with me making the kids meals in little to go containers and then pulling them around the park, or our city, while they ate. We saw a lot of really cool things that we would otherwise have missed. They really enjoy our little sunset dinner cruises. One of our evenings out, we had the opportunity to watch a pilot drawing in the sky. It was very cool and the kids loved it.

 

 

We saw someone writing in the sky.

We saw someone writing in the sky.

When Friday night came, I knew that would not only be a struggle, but a temptation, as we have gotten into the habit of having a few cocktails on Friday night after the kids go to bed and just spending time together. I told him that Friday morning that I would be watching a movie, not drinking and hanging out. He rolled his eyes, which I expected. When Friday night came, I made my 6th meal (right on schedule), and I turned on a movie that I have always wanted to see, and never made time for ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. He asked what I was watching, and I invited him to join me, which he did while saying, ” I reserve the right to go to bed in like three minutes because this movie is going to suck.” No matter, I turned it on anyway. We sat and watched the movie, and our son woke up and decided to sit with us for a bit. The whole time, my husband kept making fun of the movie, and I would just tell him how much I was enjoying it. I watched the movie, finally (only like 30 years late 🙂 ) and went to bed early. He stayed up doing whatever.

I woke up early on Saturday, the kids and I had a beautiful breakfast together and then we went for a bike ride together. Then came Saturday night, aka, the night that I am supposed to have a cheat meal, which I did, but I decided to cheat clean. This means that you eat something that is not on  your normal meal plan, but that you prepare or eat food that is still a healthy choice. Cheat meals can undo a lot of progress, and I just didn’t want to do that. I made my cauliflower pizza and it was soooo yummy. Seriously, I would rather eat this than @Dominos.

Cheat Meal Cauliflower Pizza with Spring Onions,  Tofurkey Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Faux Meat Sausage and Fresh Grape Tomatoes. Yummy!

Cheat Meal Cauliflower Pizza with Spring Onions, Tofurkey Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Faux Meat Sausage and Fresh Grape Tomatoes. Yummy!

 

I know, I know, you are thinking, “Wow, this really doesn’t have much to do with bodybuilding.” Hold your fire there sunshine, because you will soon realize that getting control over the space between your ears has EVERYTHING to do with bodybuilding. You have to train like a champion before anyone even knows your name. You have to show people, with actions that you are not going to be stopped. It doesn’t have to cause fights, but it will likely be uncomfortable in the beginning. In the end, who cares? It is not my issue if others are made uncomfortable by my progress, it’s theirs. That takes some time to really own, but once you really grasp that, you will become a MUCH better bodybuilder.

One night I was going to bed at 9:45 so that I could be in bed, sleeping by 10. He asked my why I was going to bed so early. I explained that I needed eight hours of sleep per night. He said, “Why, because you’re an athlete? Yeah right.” I said nothing. I know what I am, and I know where I am going, so I brushed my teeth, washed my face and went to bed. I could bore you with all of the antics and petty comments that he made, but at the end of the day, it was textbook behavior, so I just decided to pray for peace in my household, and I pressed on. I planned my work, I worked my plan, and I continued training. I set everything out the night before. I prepared my meals for three-four days, two times a week. I drank a lot of water. I peed a lot, like I am considering moving an iPad in there :-). I slept for 8 hours per night, period, no questions asked.

I can not stress to you enough the importance of rest. It makes it vastly easier to train hard. It has a huge impact on your ability to stick to your meal plan. It keeps stress levels low, and it really causes you to prioritize what needs to get done. I go to bed at 10 PM and wake at 6 AM, seven days a week. I do not make exceptions to that rule, because it simply does not pay off to do so. Some may think that is really boring, but anyone on a mission knows that this is absolutely necessary to be fully available and present in your life.

Yesterday, something magical happened. My husband actually texted me asked me how my workout went. I will look upon that as a sign on hope. Ok, that or he was just really bored at work. 🙂 Regardless, my story, and my path will be different from yours. Some of you may have a huge support system, and some of you may not. The point is to take control over these struggles, to empower yourself with the understanding that you can and will effect positive changes in your life, but that it may not happen right away.

Outside of the emotional side of it, there are some pointers listed below that I really encourage you to follow.

Bodybuilding Pointers:

-Write down your workouts before you get to the gym. Know how many sets you are going to do of each, how long you will rest between sets, and leave a space to write how much weight you lifted so that you can track your progress. Say it with me, YouTube is your friend.

-Lay your workout outfits out in advance. This makes it an automatic behavior when you wake up. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you get into your workout gear. If you work out at night, lay them out anyway. Take them with you to work. Finish work, change your clothes and go to the gym. If you have children, make sure your gym has a daycare. If it doesn’t, go during lunch, because you will not be wasting time running around looking for food, because you will already have food with you. Don’t give yourself excuses. I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning to drive 27 miles into Los Angeles to beat the traffic so that I could work out before getting to my office at 7:45 each day. Get it done!

-People say that it’s 80% Diet, 20% Food. I couldn’t disagree with that more. I think it’s 15% Mental (giving yourself permission to succeed, and not giving yourself permission to quit, not concerning yourself with what others think, and not robbing yourself of a goal that you are worthy of achieving), 15% Exercise (seriously 45 minutes of weight lifting 5 days a week and 3 sessions of High Intensity Interval Training 3 days per week should do it), and 70% Diet (It’s not a diet. It’s choosing to put fuel, not garbage in your mouth. It’s understanding that you are building your body, and that you must feed it the proper fuel to make that happen.) A piss poor diet, matched with endless hours of cardio at the gym will not give you a chiseled bikini bodybuilder body. Trust me, I have tried that plan. It DOES NOT work. Stay Focused. Train Hard. Eat Clean!

-Don’t count calories, figure out your macros. There are all kinds of online tools to help you do this. I really love FitDay.com. Enter what you eat, adjust the proportions of food to fit whatever Macro split you are trying to hit. I am currently doing 50% Protein, 30% Carbs, and 20% Fat, but my goals may be different from yours. Macros help you to understand how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need to feed your body to make it do what you want it to do. Bodybuilding is NOT about counting calories, it’s about feeding your body the fuel that it needs to be able to perform the way that you want it to perform. Get a food scale. Click here to buy the one that I use. It’s not the most expensive, but it gets the job done, and has for the last 6 years. It’s the cost of a six pack of soda, so don’t make excuses, just do it. Prepare your food in advance, weigh your food, and eat only that amount. This is how you build a lean body.

Get A Food Scale Today. You can not afford to not own this. Don't count calories, understand Macros.

Get A Food Scale Today. You can not afford to not own this. Don’t count calories, understand Macros.

-Write out your weekly meal plan, and stick to it. I eat 7 times a day, no that is not a typo, 7 times per day. I eat at 6:30, 9 AM, 11:30, 2PM, 4:30, 7PM and again right before bed at 9:30. I eat basically every 2.5 hours, and drink a lot of water between meals. I never feel tired, or bloated, or hungry because I am always giving my body just enough fuel to burn and not enough to have to store. On cheat nights, do yourself a favor and cheat clean. The sky is the limit. Check out Pinterest for hundreds of cheat night meal recipes. I don’t eat anything but Fish (Pescetarian) and I created a Pinterest Board, which you are welcome to follow for those recipes. In case you don’t think that this works, you should know that I have lost 7.2 pounds in the last two weeks, so it absolutely does work. I promise. 🙂

-Drink your water. Don’t skip this one. Don’t short change your body, just drink it. Milk does a body good? I don’t know about that. Water definitely does a body good, well great actually :-).

-Watch videos on YouTube of competitions, look at pictures of bikini competition suits, and just generally recenter and refocus yourself several times per day. Trust me, do yourself a favor. People will say that what you are doing is not normal, but you have to remember that you are not shooting for the middle here. You are trying to effect change in your life, and yes, all of the things mentioned above are normal for competitive bodybuilders, fitness models, or anyone else who wants to live a healthy lifestyle where they are proud of their body.

-I would set up a schedule for yourself, as I have done for myself of when and what you are going to buy during what weeks. For example, this week, I purchased my competition heels, in two weeks, I will sign up for my NPC card, etc, etc, right up to the week where you buy your suit and make your hotel accommodations. If you do it in little pieces it will be less of a shock to your wallet, and it is like setting up a system of incremental rewards to keep you moving forward.

I hope you found this helpful. I hope you don’t give up on yourself. I hope you follow my progress, and I hope that you achieve the body of your dreams. If you want more regular updates, check out my YouTube channel for more about Bikini Bodybuilding and more. I shoot videos about a lot of things there, my life, my family, my fitness journey, and just yesterday, about repurposing your old tank tops and turning them into workout tanks. Don’t forget to subscribe so that you are notified whenever I upload a new video.

Here are a few examples in case you want to make your own, or feel free to take my ideas and recreate them. I would be flattered :-).

Ready, Set, Lift. My DIY Workout Tank

Ready, Set, Lift. My DIY Workout Tank

Leave Nothing DIY Tank Top. I wore this today and it really helped me to focus on putting everything I had into my workout today, and leaving nothing in the tank.

Leave Nothing DIY Tank Top. I wore this today and it really helped me to focus on putting everything I had into my workout today, and leaving nothing in the tank.

 

Thank you for spending some time with me. Now go plan your work, work your plan, and maybe I will see you backstage at a show some day.

Loving It All,

Raphaela

 

Dear Body, Let’s Talk: #dearbody

Dear body. A letter to myself.

Dear body. A letter to myself.

Hey Everyone,

Today is Friday, but not any Friday. Today is the day that I am going to share some very personal things about my body, where it has been, and where I want it to go. I should say that I am likely not alone in anything that I will write here. I should also say that I am writing this letter to myself, to my body to be specific, but I am sharing it because I know that this will be helpful for others, as it has been a very eye opening experience for me. So, here we go. Here is the letter that I wrote to my body a week ago, and the decision that writing this letter caused me to finally make today.

Dear Body,

What up! 🙂 It feels kind of weird writing to you, while being inside of you at the same time. Oh well, details I guess. Jesus, where to begin? Let’s start at the beginning. Remember when we spent hours a day on a tennis court together, you know, basically the entire time that we were growing up. I trained you insanely hard to play competitively. I remember what it felt like to want to play pro so badly that it’s all that I could think about. We were so fit, so happy, so hungry, but not for food.

Then the years went on and I started to want it less, life got in the way, and then remember when that as*hole shot you in the arm on Christmas night? Yup, I remember that too. That was some scary sh*t. We survived, but we were forever changed. We were a little weaker on the left side, but a lot stronger on the inside. Remember how you spent almost a year with your arm in a sling, and we had to do everything with one arm? What a year that was. Remember when we could barely lift a bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol 5 times during physical therapy? We cried and cried, but we didn’t quit. We just worked it out, slowly, but we worked it out. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Ah yes, then there was college. Were we training for anything then? Nope. And what happened during college? Let’s see; we started going to dance clubs (country bars) and dancing, and that was fun because we were so good at it. It was good exercise too.  We were so young, our body was perfect in basically every way, and we didn’t really have to work for it. We could just eat whatever we wanted, sleep or not, drink, and it really didn’t show. Those were the good old days.

Competed in some pageants for fun. Why not?

Competed in some pageants for fun. Why not?

Then remember how I thought it was a good idea to smoke socially, and start drinking socially. Wow those were two of my best decisions, NOT! I so wish that I had never begun either of those things. Why, you ask? Simple, because they are disjointed from who I want us to be. Then you got bigger, had cellulite, and just generally started to look less than wonderful.

I was so mad at you for betraying me and not giving me the beautiful body that I once had. You were likely very irritated with me for not taking care of you. We were stuck together, like it or not. Then one day I decided that I would fix you once and for all and I decided that I would just stop eating and I would work out like a crazy person.  Just for fun I thought that I would up the anti and take copious amounts of fat burners, energy pills, and drink tons of caffeine.

New Years Eve. I just didn't think I was thin enough.

New Years Eve. I just didn’t think I was thin enough.

Oh yeah, you got skinny alright. Skinny like someone who was sick, becuase I was sick. My mind was just crazy. It took me years to admit it, because for a while everyone said how great we were looking. I couldn’t stop and you were just along for the ride. I was anorexic, like seriously  anorexic for so many years. I don’t think that I have ever apologized to you you for that, so I am sorry. That was wrong. I hurt you.

I was anorexic. It took me four years to admit.

I was anorexic. It took me four years to admit. I weighed only 94 pounds here at the age of 25.

I was lucky to have some very good friends around me that finally said that I needed to deal with my problem, and I did. I was one of the lucky ones. Together we beat anorexia and we got healthy again. We gained a little weight, and life was normal for a few years. Then what happened to us? Come on, you know. Shorts became replaced by pants. Tank tops were now covered up by cardigans. Don’t you even think about forgetting that sarong thing that covers our butt at the pool every year. I know, I know, I can try to lie to both of us and say that I have been so busy and stressed out trying to build my company, follow my military husband around the country, raise our children, etc that I ‘just don’t have time to be that thin anymore’. I could say that, but it’s a lie. It’s a lie that I have been telling you, well, me, for years. You never bit off on any of that. You never stopped wanting to be better, but what could you do, you were stuck with me. I was stuck with you. We were so unhappy. We went on like that for almost 10 years.

This is not a happy girl even though I am smiling.

This is not a happy girl even though I am smiling.

Then one day, a friend told me that she was getting into bikini bodybuilding. I didn’t know what that was, so I looked it up and for some reason, on that day in 2013, I was hooked. I knew that was my path. I knew that is where you and I belonged. I signed with a team, and we trained, and we trained. We were starting to change. We were starting to look really good. I felt great.

My fitness team: Team Bombshell

My former fitness team. Team Bombshell.

Then, that fateful day (detailed in another blog post titled My Year in Review) you just stopped working. You started falling down stairs, I couldn’t speak correctly, you trembled all the time. We spent months at the Mayo clinic until it was all sorted out.  I knew deep down that you were broken, broken from all of the abuse in the past, broken from a decade of bad decisions, and when I tried to push you that hard without giving you what you needed, you finally quit. I was so emotionally broken. I felt like you took that from me. I gave you time to heal. I found a new way to make you work again. We were sick and we were hurting, but we found a way through it, together. 

Yes, I know that I continued to train you for the last year and half, but not in the way that we are now capable of, because I have learned to embrace the fact that I am not a ‘skinny’ girl. We have curves, which until I learned about bikini bodybuilding, I did everything in my power to hide that fact. You have broad shoulders, a tiny waist, and more junk in your trunk than we know what to do with, but we are strong. We are muscular, and if we work together, we can do great things. For all of those years, I was a ship lost at sea, and you were my unwilling passenger. I knew that we were going the wrong way, but I just coudn’t see land. I didn’t know where we belonged. It was like I was living someone else’s life. I always had this voice inside of me that screamed that this was not all there was for us. It was you. I didn’t realize that, but you were waiting, you were stoking the fire, you were waiting for me to see you for what you are. You were waiting for me to learn to love you for what you are, flaws and all. Thank God you were so patient and that you are still here and now healthy.

There are many people in our life that do not want us to train, that do not want us to compete, and that are perfectly happy watching us live a life that is short of the one that we can live.  They feel that way for two reasons. One, if we train, they will be forced to look at their own behavior and question if they should and could do better for themselves. Two, it is inconvenient for them. They think that we will change, and we will. They don’t see how much happier you and I will be, in all aspects of our life, if we can work together to get to that really healthy place, so we have to have enough faith for all of them.

I believe in you. I know that you are an athlete. You always have been. No matter what I have done to you, or what you have done to me, we have one thing in common, we both want better. I want to make you better. I have dreams. I have goals. I will no longer live this life, where I know that I am leaving things on the table that I don’t want to leave there.

It has taken me 40 years to realize that you and I need to work together to achieve our goals. It’s silly really if you think about it, because we want the same things; goals, accomplishment, rest, training, clean food for fuel, and plenty of water. I get it now. I am so sorry that it took me so long to figure out that I couldn’t short change you, that I couldn’t manipulate you, trick you, or in some other way make you deliver the results that I wanted without the work. I am sorry that you were trapped with me while it took me way too long to grow up. I am asking for your forgiveness. I want a clean slate. Can you forgive me?

I want to move forward with you, in a healthy relationship where we give each other what we need, and where we both benefit from that process. I want you to know that I have always been an athlete too. I think that is why I engaged in so many of the self destructive behaviors that I did. I was fighting you, and not for any good reason, other than self doubt. I want you to know that I don’t doubt you any more. I don’t doubt what you are capable of. I don’t doubt that you can deliver the results if I give you what you need.

I want to compete in bikini bodybuilding. I don’t want to do it for bragging rights, I want to do it for us. I want to do it so that my daughter looks at me and thinks that she can do anything. I want to do it so that my daughter grows up with a healthy body image. God, I don’t want her to go through what I put you through. I want to do it so that I can play in the pool with my kids on a summer day without stressing about my body. I want to do it so that I can go on a date with my husband without wondering if ‘I look fat’. I want to do it for me, because I still have the spirit of a fighter, of an athlete. That fire still burns inside of me, and I need you to help me make it a reality.

Will you go on this adventure with me? I want us to compete at a show in August, in Louisiana. Its far enough that we can train safely, consistently, and arrive stage ready. Will we win? I don’t know. I don’t know if we will win the trophy on this first time out, but I know that you and I will be winners if we work together to achieve that body. We can tweak everthing else after the first show, but we have to get ready, together. Are you with me? After that, we can do anything we want, but its’ going to be an adventure 40 years in the making. I am ready. Will you join me? We have 106 days, 15 weeks! I’ll meet you at the gym, near the weights. 🙂

XO,

Raphaela

My Year In Review: Why I Have More Aliases Then A Colombian Drug Lord

raphaela, lorian, laurean, rafiela, name, change, merge, social, media, identities, accounts

Why Did I Merge Two Social Media Identities?

I will begin this post by saying that this is going to be a long post. It’s not a story that can be told quickly, and I am going to tell you the whole story. A lot of people that I know on both sides of my social media channels have been asking why the change, and what has been happening during the last year. So here goes……

Yesterday I engaged in the scary, but very rewarding adventure of merging two social media identities. For the last year or so, I had begun to develop my personal social media channel (www.raphaelalaurean.com). I began to develop this channel for two reasons. I was training for a Bikini Bodybuilding competition (say what??), and preparing for my EnvyTan products to move to Amazon.com. As you read this post, you will learn how these two things are tied together.

Initially, I started to develop this channel because I had taken on the challenge of training for a Bikini Bodybuilding Competition to really push my fitness to the next level. For reasons which seem kind of silly to me now, I was not really ready to share that kind of information with every person that I have ever known. It strikes me as odd, and very amusing, that people will share the most intimate, terrifying, personal moments of their lives with strangers without hesitation, but they always give pause when considering whether to share with those people who they truly know. Why is that? I can’t speak for you, but for me, I am sure that it is mostly insecurity. I am sure that it is rooted in a fear of rejection, and of being judged. People like to compartmentalize the people they know; this person is a great dad, this person is a business woman. It becomes very uncomfortable for people when someone that you know jumps out of any one box, and attempts to leap into another. My Mom has always said, “No one is a profit in their own town.” For example, I am sure that the people who knew a young Tony Robbins or Glenn Close did not take them very seriously when they were rising to stardom.

Anywho, back to the story. I joined Bombshell Fitness, went to their training camp, trained exceptionally hard for roughly 3 months (in the gym 2.5-3 hours daily), and was on track to do my first Bikini Bodybuilding show a few months later. During this time, to connect with all of the exceptional team mates and community members that I was meeting, I developed my ‘Raphaela Laurean’ page. It would have been fairly obvious to anyone on my other social media pages that I was bodybuilding if all of a sudden all of these ‘bodybuilders’ were my friends and posting ‘bodybuilding content’. I loved training with this team.

I saw amazing changes in my body and confidence levels (something every relatively new mom struggles with). Then one day, I fell down the stairs. At first I dismissed it because I thought I tripped. Then it happened again a few days later, but this time I was holding my baby boy when it happened, and I knew that something was very wrong. I started falling down stairs, not being able to speak properly (couldn’t recall the words that I was trying to say), I had terrible tremors, constant nausea, and I was in pain everywhere. After seeing every specialist in Warner Robins, and then Macon, GA, I was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Florida. I spent several months commuting back and forth to the Mayo Clinic (5 hour drive each way) with what seemed to be a mystery illness. As you can imagine, my training stopped, and I was suddenly planning for a different version of my own life. It was at this time, that I began to research moving my products to Amazon.com, and the real reason that I did that is because I was preparing for a situation in which I was either not present, or not well enough to manage the details of EnvyTan any longer.

I had CAT scans, PET scans, Biopsies, Blood work, MRI’s and things that I can not even pronounce done. My mother and I did eventually, and only by analyzing test results, figure out what was wrong (that is for another post). I have to thank my Mom for never stopping her research. She worked tirelessly around the clock analyzing the information that was being returned on these tests. She is the one who figured out what the problem was, not the doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Let’s just say that the show ‘House’ isn’t happening at the Mayo Clinic. They did not look at the overall picture, they looked at segmented pieces of information, and just couldn’t put it together. Regardless, I am extremely lucky to have such an intelligent and dedicated mom who simply would not give up on finding the truth. Thank you Mom. I love you.

I am not going to die, so don’t get too excited and start trying to lay claim to my personal treasures :-). While you are reading this, you will likely be thinking, I didn’t know anything about this. As I will explain later in this post, I never shared details of my personal life online, so this was completely a private struggle that consumed my life for more than half of a year. All the while, I was trying to run my business, raise my children, keep up appearances, and deal with my husband’s constant mini deployments (1 week here, 1 month there). Let’s just say that 2014 was not my best year.

However, I did learn some things during this year. I learned that when the rubber really meets the road, and you actually do share and ask for help, people are usually willing to be there for you. This was not a strength area for me. I learned that I can try to plan for anything that I like, and that I will almost certainly have to move left and right to get to that goal, where I used to think that it was a straight line. Becoming that ill, that suddenly, is a very humbling experience. When you have to ask someone to help you hook a necklace, because your hands are trembling too much to do it for yourself, you will quickly realize that you are not as perfect as you may once have believed. After months of living in uncertainty, and treasuring every day with my babies, because I was getting worse, I am a much more grateful, patient person now.  Things are different now. I have to listen to my body now. I have had to slow down a lot. I have had to learn to let a lot of things go, to keep stress levels very low. I have been given a gift to see people in a new way, and to appreciate that if someone is being grumpy or mean, that they may just not be feeling well, and it may have nothing to do with me at all.

Most of all, through all of the research, my eyes have been opened, very wide, to what is wrong with traditional medicine, and how it is practiced. I have learned that you ARE your ONLY advocate, and that if you don’t have someone (thanks Mom), or yourself advocating for your health needs, you will be swallowed up whole by the medical system. If you think I am joking, out of sheer frustration one day at the Mayo Clinic, I asked one of my doctors how this could be happening, and how they could not have an answer, he said, “Well, Raphaela, that is why it is called practicing medicine.” They would have had me taking more than 10 pills per day, living in constant pain, and never have fixed the problem. Enough said, I had to take control of the situation, and with my mother’s help, and a LOT of research, the situation is now relatively under control and I am happy to tell you that I do not take a single pill (mainstream medicine) to manage this situation. There is so much to say on this topic, and it will be the subject of later posts. For now, let’s get back to the meat and potatoes.

The second reason, which as you now know is only really an extension of the first reason,  was in preparation for my freedom from sitting as the “President/CEO” of EnvyTan.  I am still in charge of things at EnvyTan, but after 10 years in business, I have decided to reward myself by letting Amazon manage the warehousing, inventory, shipping, etc for my business. This decision was arrived at out of necessity, but in all honesty, the business has grown to a point where it is the best thing for our customers around the world. It is faster, less expensive, and requires much less of my time and energy.  All of the products will be available on Amazon right before Valentines Day this year, February 14, 2015.

As a result of this, I am finally free to have some kind of ‘personal’ life online. I always felt that it would be very inappropriate to share details about my personal life while I was running things from the corporate location. For example, no one wants to see you enjoying time off on vacation if it means that you are not available to answer their questions, or tend to their needs. That is a small glimpse of what I am talking about. Now imagine hearing that the person who runs the company where you buy your supplies is very ill. People tend to jump ship in these situations to protect their own business interests, and I completely understand that. Suffice to say, I felt it was easier and more inline with my company image not to share these kinds of personal things. All of that said, while reviewing my goals for 2015 yesterday, I decided that it was time to stop living this ‘Double Life’ and merge these two identities.

I have multiple sides of myself, as we all do; business owner, wife, mother, DIY’r, beauty enthusiast, and the list goes on. I guess I come from the tail end of a generation that was brought up to believe that if you can’t sell yourself, you can’t sell your products. That is still true, but the interpretation of that has morphed substantially over the last decade. People want to really ‘connect’ with the people that they do business with. They don’t want to buy from a brand, they want to be part of an overall experience. They want to be in the fold, not on the perimeter anymore. This is wonderful, but it takes a little getting used to. It takes time to embrace the idea that people are open to the fact that just because someone bakes silly cake pops with their kids on Saturday, doesn’t mean that they are not exceptionally good at manufacturing sunless tanning solution, the other 5 or 6 days of the week.

So, with multiple social media channels come many names. This was simple for me, as I have changed my name several times in the last 20 years. My brother says, “Sis, you have more aliases than a Colombian Drug Lord.” I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. 🙂

Legal: Raphaela Laureana Theresa Robertson (Maiden)
–Insert one or two marriages and you have various last names 🙂
*My friends in high school called me Terri, short for my middle name Theresa. Why is this you ask? Well, let’s see, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out and then became insanely popular when I was about to start high school. Let’s review their names; Leonardo (nope, not a problem), Donatello (nope again), Michelangelo (hmm, my sister’s name is Michaela) and Raphael (you have got to be freakin’ kidding me). It was choose a nick name or suffer eternal wedgies in high school (lol).  My sister and I both chose nick names. Come on, you have been to high school. It’s like prison rules. 🙂

When I moved to LA, I figured that since I had finished college (you know like a decade later), that people would let that whole Ninja Turtle thing go….wrongo! Every time that I said my name, some knucklehead would say, “Oh, like the Ninja Turtles?” To which I would respond graciously, “Wow, yup, that’s first time that I have ever heard that.” In truth, I was slapping the crap out of them in my mind, but they had no clue.

Then, one of the 2 or 3 thousand guys that I dated in LA (ok, those numbers are slightly exaggerated), called me Elle. It was like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Why hadn’t I ever thought of this? Regardless, I didn’t keep him, but the nick name stuck. From 2002-2013, this was my name. Come on, 11 years is a good run. 🙂

Flash forward to last year when I started Bodybuilding, I really wanted to switch back to my ‘real name-Raphaela’, and so I did. I am not using my legal last name for security reasons.When you share things online, you get to know a lot of people, and some of those people want to know you better than they need to ;-), so it’s just a safety thing.

Where does Laurean come from? My grandmother’s name was Laureana, so to honor her I chose to use Laurean as my last name on this account.  You get to an age, coming up to the ole’ 40, where you just become who you are, and you just stop caring so much about all of the other stuff. You take down your walls, and you celebrate what makes you unique and weird, even if you do have to share names with a Mutant Ninja Turtle (why, God, why did this movie have to be released again a few years ago to prolong this torture?) I am kidding. I just don’t care anymore. That’s my name. It was important enough for my parents to choose it out of the thousands that they could have chosen, and I will honor them by using my given name.

I was somewhat fearful that a lot of the people that I know in my ‘personal life-as Elle’ would reject this idea, but I was wrong. Almost every single person that was on my old Facebook page is on this new one. That was exceptionally flattering, not only because it meant that they want to keep in touch, but because it meant that I was now going to be free to share all of the information that I want to share with everyone in my life. I took a leap of faith, and so did the people that I value as friends.

So, what does 2015 hold? It holds the absolute possibility for a better year than last :-). I spent the last 4 months getting settled in our new home in New Orleans, getting well physically, and deciding how to spend the rest of my life. It has been the first time in more than a decade that I did not work more than 10 hours a day for EnvyTan. It was a much needed ‘Nomadic Year’ that only lasted for four months.

I am going to start training again, but not yet with Bombshell Fitness, as this program is extremely intense. I am going to start TerraFit, on the 12th of January, as I was invited by a family member to try this. Later this year, I will begin bodybuilding training again and I will keep you 100% in the loop, good and bad. I am going to focus on sharing this year. I am going to share all of the things that I have learned in life, in business, as a mom, military wife, and more. Most of this will be on my YouTube channel, because it is far less time consuming than writing blogs, so if you want to follow what I am doing, go and click the subscribe button to stay in the loop. No, this is not a shameless plug, this is me sharing how you can keep up with what kind of craziness I am getting into this year without having to read a blog :-).

Mostly, this year, I am going to spend more time dedicated to improving the lives of others, because I have been so very blessed in my own life. Even this year’s medical challenges were a gift. They have opened my eyes, my heart, my mind, and my life to opportunities which would otherwise never have been present. I wish each of you success, confidence, and authenticity in 2015.

Happy New Year Everyone. Make it Count! Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan!

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean

Bombshell Fitness Training Camp Is Intense!

I should start this by saying that one of the only parts of my body that are not sore are my fingers. I just returned from my Bombshell Training Camp weekend with Shannon Dey’s Bombshell Fitness in Daytona Beach, Florida, and all I can say is OUCH! FYI, do not judge the way that we look in these photos, we were soaked in sweat at the end of three days, but so happy to be done.

I was pushed this weekend, hard. I was asked to do things that quite honestly, I had no idea that I could complete. I was asked to run longer, lift faster, jump higher, and just plain push myself to new levels. It doesn’t matter what the specifics of the weekend were, but I will tell you that from the moment I checked in to the moment that the pictures above were taken, the only time that I was not covered in sweat was directly after my shower at night.

The next time that I see a girl that looks that amazing in a bikini, I am going to know how much work it takes to look like that. I have seen my share of challenges during the last 37 years, but this kind of training is all encompassing. These girls train 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with extraordinary focus and commitment.

I know that you are thinking, “no way that anybody trains 24 hours a day.” They do! I guess I should say, we do. We eat 6 meals a day, with a commitment to prepare all meals in advance and eat them regardless of where we are, are how we have to get the food into our bodies. Yes, there are a lot of meals that are consumed with your fingers out of a Ziploc bag, well mine are from Uline (most economical way to purchase a lot of reclosable bags for prepared meals). We train hard 6 days a week. I am not talking about throwing on a pair of yoga pants and working up a little treadmill Barbie sweat at your gym while enjoying the latest Beyonce album. I am talking about the kind of training where when you are through, you are offending yourself, if you know what I mean (hello, somebody needs a shower…STAT!).

If all of that doesn’t sound like enough fun for you, then it would be helpful to understand that we forego life’s little treasures on a daily basis in an all out effort to be committed to putting our best foot forward on the stage to represent Bombshells everywhere. We don’t drink coffee, add salt to our food, consume alcohol, grab convenience food, or a million other little things that most people enjoy without even thinking about it. We drink a gallon of water every day, and we are happy to do it.

My whole point is not to make Bombshells sound like superheros, but to drive home the point that this kind of training takes elite athlete level commitment. I know that a lot of the people in my personal circle of friends and family do not lend Bikini Bodybuilding the credibility that they should, and that is their reality, not mine. As for me, I embrace it. I welcome the opportunity to set high standards and goals for myself, and to wake up and go to bed every night focused on my goal-the stage-the win-the team.

To all my Bombshell Sisters, thank you to those of you who encouraged me, and all of the other Bombshells to dig deeper this weekend. Thank you to Jen Strobo and Shannon Dey for their invaluable, and very frank, advice about how to succeed in this industry.

If you are considering attending a Bombshell Fitness Weekend Camp, I say, “Go For It!” It will be hard, you will push yourself, you will cry (or maybe that was just me 🙂 ), but if you are there for the right reasons, you will finish it, and you will go home with the Team Bombshell pendant hanging around your neck. It will be a reminder to you every minute of every day that you pushed yourself, and that you can push yourself.

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean

I am ‘Under Construction’ with Team Bombshell

Ok, I’m in. I received my email yesterday from Team Bombshell, officially welcoming me to join their ‘Under Construction’ team, which is great, because that is the one that I applied for. They have several different levels at which you can join, and being honest with myself, I had to start from the beginning.

The ‘Under Construction’ part of things means that you are now working with their nutritionists, trainers, and exclusively using their advice to move up to the ‘Bikini Competition Team’. I have really given this a lot of thought, and I would estimate that it will take me roughly 4-5 months of solid training to move up to this next level.

I am very eager to try their nutrition, training programs, etc. After years and years of working out every day with minimal gains at best, it’s time to admit to myself that I simply do not know what I am doing. I know how to drive to a gym, lift weights, get on and off of a treadmill, take supplements, etc. However, that doesn’t mean that I personally possess the knowledge to make all of those elements work together correctly. There is no shame in admitting that you are not the best person for the job. There is only shame in admitting that you waited too many years to have that little chat with yourself. C’est la vie.

I am hoping to attend their weekend camp this weekend to meet the girls, staff, learn the ‘trade’ and come out of it with my program for success. As for the details of the training, nutrition, etc, I will have to be pretty vague on here about all of that. As a business owner myself, I can appreciate completely that they want to protect their intellectual property (methods/techniques) and their business model. It’s not like they swear you to secrecy, but they do ask you not to divulge what you are learning, as that is proprietary to Team Bombshell Fitness, and I totally agree with that.

I am so ready to get there and get fit! For the first time in I don’t know  how many years, I am actually excited about bikini season. I have a lot of work to do, and a short time frame to complete it in. Let’s get this party started Team Bombshell!

If you would like to learn more about Team Bombshell Fitness, click here. I will not lie to you, it’s a little pricey, but what is it worth to you to not have to hide in your clothing anymore?

For me, the answer is, priceless!

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean