Nobody Likes You When You’re 33

(by the way, if you get the reference from this blog title, bless you, we’re probably of the same pop-culture generation)

I interrupt this regularly scheduled #AskAmanda blog spot with a not-so-riveting revelation:

In just a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll be turning 34.

34 is not an exciting birthday, it’s not the type of birthday you make lists for (“30 Things to Do by Age 30”) or feign dread about (“OMG 40! Over the hill!”) or even anticipate with anything more than a mild sense of whimsy (“My 21st is gonna RAGEEEEE”).  It’s sort of one of those birthdays that gets lumped in with all the other ones from 31 onwards, and maybe gets marked with a few spirited beverages with friends or a nice dinner out.

That said, I was reading an article about how to age gracefully today, and in that article, it said that the official age category of being considered “young” is 1-49, which gives me a solid 15 more years of scientific youth.

Whew.  I’ll take it where I can get it, surely.

But of course, in the same article, it noted some of the inevitabilities of physiological aging, such as bone degeneration (yep, a little every year after age 30 for women), muscle loss (3-5% per decade after 30), running speed decline (up to 20% between ages 20-59), and the biggie, of course – the end of “biologically optimal childbearing” kicking in at a the ripe ol’ age of 35.

Sigh.  One more year, and even my poor neglected uterus can’t keep up.

Perhaps some (or all?) of this started weighing on me more heavily the past year, particularly as I was going through a rough patch personally over the past eight months. Every time I looked in the mirror I felt old, slow, lethargic, a little less vibrant, a little less confident.  I didn’t like this feeling, so I sat down to make a list of all the things I wanted to do differently in the coming year – since, as I tell my clients, you are your own problem, so you must be your own solution.

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The first thing I wanted to address was my mental game.  As I’ve aged (and moved beyond my many, MANY years of formal education), I feel like my brain fires a bit more slowly, I can’t find the words I’m always looking for, and I’m a bit less clever.  I recommitted to keeping this blog alive on the regular (you’re welcome), as well as reading at least one book per month, and I signed up to advance my nutrition coaching career by going through the (quite comprehensive!) Precision Nutrition curriculum.

I’ve also downloaded the app Buddhify and tried to complete at least one meditation every other day, ranging on every topic from “calm” to “sleep” to “focus.”  I’m actually not too much of a stress case despite my insane schedule, but I definitely lack mindfulness, and it is something I definitely need to work on – especially when it leads to easy mistakes at work or temper tantrums in my personal life.

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The second focus is of course, outward appearance.  Decades of being an “expressively” emotional person means I have some impressively deep wrinkles on my face, so I finally bit the bullet and went for Botox, which I’d been talking about doing since I was 30.  Believe it or not, the whole experience was easy-breezy, especially considering they’re putting needles directly into your face without painkillers.  I noticed major results (around the eyes and forehead, in case you’re wondering where) immediately and short of wearing an I ❤ BOTOX t-shirt, I am a total convert and devotee. #faceneedlesforever

I’ve also committed to getting regular facials (kind of a cheat since I really started doing this when I moved to Singapore in 2015), actually caring about how my nails look (you know, throwing some non-chipped color on there once in a while), and taking care of my skin and hair – including, believe it or not, not only regular haircuts (!) but my first round of eyelash extensions which, I must say, were absolutely spectacular and gave me a near-Botox-level feeling of addiction after the first treatment.

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Look Ma – no wrinkles!

The day after the extensions I decided to double down and even go for my first LED lamp tooth whitening treatment, which despite the sensitivity factor (I have sensitive teeth and gums even without putting chemicals all over them), gave me back the sparkling-pearly teeth I remember having before rampant coffee addiction took over my life.

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Mah teefs, before and after

And now for the third prong in the self-improvement game – emotional wellness.  I noticed that I feel better when I am more connected to family and friends, even during uber-busy times at work, and that when I don’t have these relationships thriving, I feel exhausted and empty no matter how well I’m doing with my career.  The demands of opening and operating a small business have definitely taken their toll over the first half of this year, but I’m not letting it get me down – I’m recommitting to my closest and most important relationships no matter what this year.

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NOT happening.  Not again; not ever.

I’m going to Skype with my parents once per week.  I’m going to remember to send postcards to my niece when I travel.  I’m going to cook dinner for my partner once per week, and go out of my way to make him feel special.  I’m going to keep my (pen-to-paper) journal updated.  I’m going to say YES to friends and NO to clients when the latter start to drain my energy with unreasonable demands.  And I’m going to rediscover my yoga practice – yes, the one I actually had for so many years – at least once per week.

There are some things in life that are non-negotiable when it comes to maintaining health and happiness, and in my (impending) 34th year, I’m focusing on exactly what makes life worth living – no more working toward other peoples’ priorities at the expense of my own health and sanity.  As the poet Robert Frost once said, “Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty.”

As for me, you read it here first: I’m going to use every bit of the next 365 days to its fullest.

What are your best habits for staying well as you age?  What keeps you going each day?

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Where Have I Been & Other Excuses

Oh hi, hello.  I’m here, really, but this time, like actually really.

My 2016 New Year’s resolution (loosely) was to write more.  And I’ve sort of been doing so, in terms of submitting more articles to health & fitness publications and starting a collection of short stories (details later, don’t hold your breath) on my own time.

That said, have you noticed the blog kind of died?  Yeah, I did.  And I am turning that around.

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First of all, I am recommitting to giving you guys topical fitness and health-focused discussion here at least once a week.  That means talking about something near and dear to my personal trainer’s (cold, black) heart that might be of interest to you all as well.

Second, and perhaps most exciting – I am bringing back Ask Amanda Wednesdays (absorbing and reviving the ever-popular Would Amanda Eat It? series as well)!  OH HELL YES, loyal readers, we will again have our open-talk venue here and on my Facebook page for you to ask me all the weird / tough / confusing health and fitness questions you’ve been pondering and want some professional advice about.

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And finally, fit people, I’ll make sure to take the time to be real with y’all as well – giving you straight talk about what’s going on with me personally, rating all the best dresses on the red carpet (looking ahead to you, MTV Music Awards), and making sure ThisFitBlonde is giving you lots and lots of reasons to keep clicking back.

Thanks for sticking with me, guys.  I promise I won’t let you down.

My Top 10 Life Quotes

I was recently asked to share my “top 10 quotes” with a media outlet and to be honest, the first few were really easy – and then I had to dig deep.

Who are my favorite authors?  Who are my heroes?  What are they saying about life, love, and everything in between?

I was finally able to compile a list of my favorites, which taken together really do say a lot about my personality, my values, and what I hold to be true.

Read on and hopefully they’ll inspire you a bit, too – and I’d love to see your favorite quote down in the comments!

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He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg. [Chinese proverb]

  • ​I am a decisive person and indecisiveness in the name of “deliberation” drives me crazy.  Action is more valuable than inaction, and it is always better to redirect the ship than never to leave port.​
The cure for pain is in the pain. [Rumi]
  • ​As a marathon runner, if you stop when it hurts, you’ll never get to the finish line. Learning how to live with discomfort is a skill lost among many these days.
If things go wrong, don’t go with them. [Roger Babson]
  • ​Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even at the risk of being unpopular.  This is especially important for women – use your voice and go with your gut.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. [Henry David Thoreau]
  • ​I’m a “glass half full” type of person.  We can all see the worst in every situation, but it takes practice to filter our negativity and focus on the best.​
Always do what you are afraid to do. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]
  • ​My next tattoo is going to read “fearless,” but only after I make it through my biggest fear – childbirth!  I have jumped out of planes, off cliffs, and off bridges (with a bungee cord!) and I was terrified each time – which is why I knew I had to overcome it.​
You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop spring from coming. [Pablo Neruda]
  • ​Again, so many people live with sadness and negativity – doing their best to ​keep themselves in a place of darkness.  Remembering that no matter what we do within our lives, time does pass, and spring does come – it gets better.
​ Whatever you are, be a good one. [Abraham Lincoln]
  • ​My parents used to say some version of this to me growing up – they weren’t concerned with me being a doctor or a lawyer or some bigshot – they simply wanted me to strive for excellence in what made my heart sing, and I always have been happy because I do.​
You show people what you’re willing to fight for when you fight your friends. [Hillary Clinton]
  • ​Everyone loves a “yes man,” that is, until they say no.  If you are willing to fight for what you believe in, even against someone you love, that shows character – and hopefully you’ll remain friends because of it.
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction. [Antoine de Saint-Exupery]
  • ​My officiant read this quote at our wedding because I think it summarizes true love quite perfectly – you can be two different people, you can lead your own life with your own interests, but at the end of the day, your future is tied to your partner – and you are both working toward the same goals.  I love thinking of it this way.​
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. [Henry Ford]
  • ​One more tally for the power of positive thinking – ​​if you believe it, you achieve it.  There is no goal unattainable except the ones you tell yourself you can’t reach – and I have learned that less time and again in my own life.

Weekend Roundup

Time to sort through the chaff of blog links to find the wheat – and believe me, it’s quite a wheaty week!  I feel like the advent of fall brings an abundance of inspiration in the blogiverse, and I love the recipes, fashion inspiration, and holiday ideas that come of it.

Wait – you mean there’s such a thing as fitness fashion stylists?!?!  HOW DO I NOT HAVE THIS JOB?!?!

I know I already posted it on Facebook, but guys, I was a guest poster on Talk About Beauty this week!  Check it out!

I’m trying to convince myself I need an “L.A. winter” coat, and this one’s only $52.  I need it, right?

Sometimes I need motivation to keep writing.  This is a solid reminder.

My friend writes for Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, but the best part of my week is when he posts the jokes they didn’t use.  Hilarious.

The definitive power ranking of traditional Halloween candy – and no matter what list you look at, Reese’s always dominate (duh; that’s science).

What to do with your extra Daylight Saving hour?  Well, here’s some things you can do, whether you would actually try them or not is up to you.

I think I do a pretty good job of maintaining a comfortable guest room, but after reading this, I realized I can definitely up my game.  The bedside carafe is on order!

So nice I had to post it twice: Pumpkin-Spiced Bulletproof Coffee.  YES PLEASE.

What did I miss around the Internets this week?  What’s on your mind?

A Day in the Life

A loyal reader asked me to break down a day in the life of a personal trainer – when I wake up, what I do all day, and how I stay fit.

Those of you who are also independent consultants like me know this: there is no typical day.  Each one is different, and plan as we may, days tend to take very different courses depending on cancellations, traffic, and a host of other “unpredictables” as the hours roll by.

That said, because my days are so varied and (perhaps) somewhat interesting, I figured I’d combine that reader request with today’s Blogging 201 assignment, which is thus:

B201 – Day 6 – Make the Most of Events

Create a recurring blogging event on your site, and/or make plans to attend a blogging conference.

Besides looking up blogging conferences in my area (not too difficult seeing as I’m in Los Angeles), I am hoping to draw some inspiration from my daily life to create a recurring but meaningful blog event (think World Fitness Day, or American Clean Eating Month [don’t take my idea – this may happen!], or something we can all participate in for the greater food).

Until I figure that all out, here’s a breakdown of what my #dayinthelife looks like this lovely Tuesday:

5:00am– alarm goes off; I groggily walk to the coffee pot and brew up some DD

5:15am – take my temperature (for fertility tracking), take my Biotin (for hair growth), and get ready (using my fave sweatproof products by it Cosmetics)

5:30am – coffee in hand, drive out to my first (outdoor) client while listening to Kevin & Bean, my absolute favorite morning radio show

7:00am – first client done, drive back to Fox Studios to teach CycleSculpt class

8:30am – class over, client at Fox

9:30-11:00am – bathe and prep for wellness presentation; breakfast of two hard boiled eggs, leftover arugula salad, and 1/2 whole wheat pita

11:30-2:00pm – give back-to-back wellness presentations at Fox (title: Exercise Intensity – The What, The Why, and the How-To)

2:30-4:00pm – work with online clients (all 89 of them!) over on FitOrbit.com; nosh on leftover Winter Day chili and pumpkin cornbread from last night

4:00-8:00pm – train more clients (both at Fox and outdoors)

8:30pm – receive Amazon Fresh and Blue Apron deliveries, prepare delicious meal (tonight: caramelized pork and congee); watch Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Tosh.0, and/or House Hunters International with the fiance

10:30pm – after a couple chapters of Lena Dunham’s new book, hit the sack

What does your #dayinthelife look like?  If you blog, what’s your favorite blogging event and/or conference?

NaBloPoMo Is Coming!

Yep, it’s time for THAT awesome thing with an annoying name – November is NaBloPoMo, also known as “National Blog Posting Month.”

For the month of November, bloggers are challenged to submit a post every day – meaning November 1-30 – loosely following prompts and themes suggested by the powers that be.

Well, readers – YOU guys are my powers that be, and I want to hear what YOU want to read about in the coming month.

What health, fitness, wellness, nutrition, and/or lifestyle questions would you love to know more about in a dedicated post?

Blogging 201: Day 4

(yeah yeah, I know there’s no B201 Day 3 post yet, but that project is harder and tech-heavy and takes longer, so I’ll update that when I get there).

For now, a look into B201 (the blog improvement project) assignment of the day.

B201 – Day 4 – Give ‘Em What They Want

Conduct a short and simple stats analysis that will help you create an editorial calendar for the next 30 days.

  • Takeaway #1: my most popular post is Lessons From the Organizing Pro, which featured photos of my home, “before and after” documentation, and a strong theme (household reorganization) that seemed to resonate with both male and female readers.  A distant second was Top 8 Lessons Learned in a Year of Wedding Planning, which makes me think that lists are also a popular click for my readers.
  • Takeaway #2: it looks like most of my readers are checking in on Wednesdays (not coincidentally, also #AskAmanda days over on my Facebook page) and Thursdays, and not as many on Mondays or weekends.  This means I might want to think about running my strongest content on the more readable (and hopefully, “shareable”) days.

Because I am committing to blogging 6 days per week, I will continue to provide content every day (and keep up with my Weekend Roundup link posts to make sure you guys haven’t forgotten about me when the weekend rolls around).

That said, I plan to add more list-style posts, personal (vs. stock) photos, and practical, life-hack type thematics – so get ready, readers!  TFB is coming for YOU!

What keywords, themes, or ideas get YOU to actually click over to a blog?