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

 

Do It Yourself ‘Kind’ Protein Bars? Yes please!

Homemade protein bars.

Yeah, yeah, I make words out of my food. It also happens to be super delicious. Homemade Kind-Like Protein Bars. #yummy

Hey Everyone,

When we went grocery shopping at our local Costco last month, we purchased a rather large box of Kind bars, because they are so tasty. I thought that the whole box was dark chocolate and sea salt, wrongo. I grabbed one the other morning on my way to a meeting. It was one of those dreary, rainy, cold New Orleans mornings where your breakfast is the only comfort that you have for this terrible weather. When I stopped at the red light, I unwrapped it. I took a sip of my warm coffee and thought, “Best combination ever-the dark chocolate, almonds, and coffee.” Then I lifted the kind bar to my mouth, took a bite, and ………..

It was like a slap in the face. I was betrayed by my own breakfast. What was this thing in my mouth? Where is the chocolate? Where are the chunks of sea salt bouncing off of the sweet honey and raw almonds? Yuck. I quickly turned that little wrapper over and there it was staring back at me, as if to say, “Read the box next time sunshine.” The label read Madagascar Vanilla Almond. I don’t care how fancy you make it sound, this protein bar was like having happy hour with your Tax Accountant….boring and unpleasant.

Needless to say, my tummy was growling during this meeting, because their was no way on God’s green earth that this thing was making a second run at my mouth. No way. Hello circular file. I will be donating the rest of these to my church, because they love to put out snacks on Sunday. Hopefully someone there does not have my discerning protein bar palette :-).

Anywho, onto the homemade protein bar journey. I did what any red blooded American with Pinterest would do, I created my own and took pictures. I originally made them for my husband and I, but while I was cutting one for him to take and try as breakfast, the kids asked to try. They freaked out! They each wanted their own. I knew that I had to share this immediately, because if you can get children to voluntarily eat, this is Breaking News! Here is the text from my hubby after he ate it while driving to work.

"Best protein bar I've ever had! Thx."

“Best protein bar I’ve ever had! Thx.”

Yup, my protein bars bring all the boys to the yard, because mine are better than yours. 🙂 Sorry, I got a little out of control there for a second. I am sure your protein bars are delicious too.

So here is the recipe;

Step 1: Grab a 5 x 9 cooking dish and spray with cooking spray.

Step 2: Mix all of these dry ingredients together.

-1/2 cup Oat Flour (I just took oatmeal and put it in the blender for a few seconds-voila oat powder)

-1/2 cup Quick Oats (not the regular kind, but the kind in the little packets or anything that cooks up super fast)

-1/2 cup Rice Krispies (I just used a box of chocolate rice krispies that the kids voted off the island last month. Haha, I win. I got them to eat it anyway. I am so sneaky 🙂 )

-1/2 cup Vanilla Protein Powder ( I personally have an obsession with BSN Vanilla Ice Cream protein powder, but anything works. If you want to use the same protein that I did, you can grab it here: http://amzn.to/1IiobhB)

**Optional, but I added:

-1/4 cup Pistachios (shells removed, unless you are trying to break your teeth)

-1/4 cup crushed Raw Almonds (take almonds, add to ziplock bag, think of someone who frustrates you, attack bag violently with hammer, rolling pin, your fists, whatever. Don’t judge me.)

Stir all of this together and set aside.

Dry DIY protein bar ingredients

Dry DIY protein bar ingredients

 

Step 3: In a small pot, gently melt;

-1/3 cup Raw Honey

-1/3 Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Step 4: Gently fold the honey, peanut butter, vanilla mixture into the dry ingredients.

Step 5: Press into the bottom of the pan. I mean really press it down, because this is how you guarantee that you are going to get that thick, dense, protein bar consistency.

*Step 6: Optional, but I did it. Melt dark chocolate squares in the microwave, roughly 1/3 cup, for 30 seconds at a time until it is smooth and creamy. Drizzle over bars, smooth with spoon, sprinkle with sea salt.

Step 7: Cover dish with wrap and refrigerate overnight.

DIY Protein Bars

DIY Protein Bar Cake Getting Ready to Chill

Step 8: Using a pizza cutter, cut flattened protein cake into 8 bars.

World's Most Awesome Protein Bars.

World’s Most Awesome Protein Bars.

Step 9: Bag individually and stick in the fridge. If you want the little bags that I used, get them here: http://amzn.to/1yw0Mcu. Dirt cheap 1000 bags for $16 with Amazon Prime.

Step 10: Grab on your way out the door in the morning, and know that you are freakin’ awesome! Seriously, you are awesome because you totally made your own breakfast bar, and there will be NO more surprises at the next traffic light when it hits your mouth.

I honestly can not express to you how delicious these are. You can mix up the ingredients and add anything that you want; cranberries, flax seed, anything you want. It’s your breakfast, so go crazy!

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. I would love to see your creations or hear what you think of this recipe when you try it. Enjoy!

XO

Raphaela

Homemade protein bars.

Wrap into little bags. Enjoy!

 

 

DIY Travel Mirror That Everyone Will Try To Steal From You! Adorable and Affordable.

Hey guys,

I wanted to take a moment to share my little DIY mirror idea with you. I love this mirror so much, and I use it all the time. Many of my friends have duplicated this idea, and they just love them. They are also fantastic gift ideas, because they are relatively inexpensive to make (roughly $25) and they are so unique. I just could not stand to be crammed into a bathroom while traveling to have access to a mirror during the holidays. For that reason, I decided to redesign the whole compact mirror idea, and it is just too cute not to share.

Total Cost for This DIY Mirror: $25 (Details Listed Just Below This)

Items Used in This Video:
You may use any mirror or case that you like, but I have had friends try to recreate this without knowing the measurements, and they ended up ordering items that don’t fit together, so here are the proper measurements below to make it easier for you.

Handheld mirror (9 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall-without the handle-just the mirror face and border)
*I looked on Amazon to see if I could find one here with the correct dimensions, and I don’t see one, so I would recommend just picking one up at WalMart or your local drugstore, because that is where I picked this one up a long time ago. Just make sure that you measure. It was roughly $7-10.

Ipad Case: (9.75 Wide by 7 1/2 Tall)
Available on Amazon for only $15.99 and it qualifies for free shipping. Also, they have a ton of colors to choose from, so go and pick the one that you love. I have given these away as gifts and people just LOVE them.: http://amzn.to/1BU2WlF

#diy #mirror #compact

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean

How To Set Up Your Business For Less Than $10…Seriously!

Hello Everyone,

I finally began shooting this series on Monday. This is honestly the most rewarding thing that I have done in a really long time. Thanks to my business now being run functionally by Amazon, I am free to share all that I have learned over the last 20 years with anyone who is interested. I have had to bootstrap everything in both my personal and professional life, so trust me, I get being on a budget.

I completely understand what it feels like to have a dream, and no way, or no help towards reaching it. This is my way of giving back. I am not selling anything, just providing information for people that need it. If you know someone who you think could benefit from this series, please recommend it to them.

This series will walk you through the step by step (literally) instructions for how to set up your business. The first 3-part video discussed how to come up with and choose your business name, make sure that no one else is using it, and see what others think about your name. The second 3-part video discusses how to set up your blog, domain name, and matching email address yourself. I have already filmed a few videos about how to sell on Amazon, and I will expand on this going forward at the end of this series. Tomorrow, I will be talking about how to secure all of your social media names, link everything up, design your own logo, print your marketing materials, and help your customers find you.

You do NOT need to hire anyone to do any of this for you. If you have been wanting to set up your business, or want to ‘polish’ your brand, then these videos are going to provide you with some very valuable content. Please click subscribe when you are there so that you will be notified when I upload new videos in this series, as I do not regularly post them to my blog.

I am so excited to be filming these, and I hope you find them a valuable nudge towards your dreams.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

How To Choose Your Business Name

Hello Everyone,

I just shot a 3 part series (total of roughly 15 minutes) that details what I believe to be the most cost effective and efficient way to choose your business name. Whether you are thinking about starting a business, have recently started one, or are rebranding, these videos contain very valuable (and free) advice about how to get the job done quickly and correctly. I hope you enjoy these. I am posting the first one below. If you like it when you visit my You Tube Channel, just watch parts 2 and 3. Thank you.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

Cauliflower Pizza Trick. Must Try…

Hey everyone,

I wanted to share the link to the YouTube video that I just created for my new Cauliflower Pizza trick. If you love cauliflower pizza, but you do not like the long process of trying to get the water out of your cauliflower before turning it into Cauliflower Dough, then you have to see this. I tried this tool that I found for something else, and it works like a charm. Sorry about the sound and light in this video, but I was so excited about this discovery that I shot a video at night, which is a major lighting no-no :-).

Hope you find this as helpful as my family does.

To Your Health,

Raphaela

What’s Going On For The Next 2 Months? Moving To….

Ok, so I have been MIA for quite some time, and yes there is a good reason. I will have to blog about that after we get settled. If you want to know what I am up to for the next two months, check out my latest YouTube video. It’s just a short two minute clip.

I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend.

XOXO

Raphaela

 

 

OOTD: Cozy Travel Outfit of the Day

Here is another OOTD (aka…outfit of the day video) that I just posted on YouTube. Hope you like it. Don’t forget to layer up when traveling. Gratefully, Raphaela