One of the coolest parts of this entire journey for me has been the opportunity to learn. Even though I am about fifteen months in, I learn something new everyday. A new workout, a new company making awesome products, or a new recipe. I want to be able to provide information to you all that helps you to grow and learn as well. One of the easiest ways to do that is to reach out to someone in my tribe and ask them some questions. I am excited to share with you all a healthy living Q&A with one of my gals; Carrie Crista. You can find her on her blog, carriecrista.com or on Instagram at @carriecrista. Enjoy!
Q: Who are you?
CC: Hey friends! My name is Carrie! I’m 27 years old and I live right outside of Nashville with my husband, my almost-two-year-old daughter, and our two dogs. I work at a university full time and manage a blog/YouTube channel called Carrie Crista! Carrie Crista is a lifestyle blog that focuses on healthy living, art, and beauty. Fitness has been a huge part of my life for the past 6 years, but it hasn’t always been the smoothest ride. Despite everything I do on a daily basis, I still try to fuel my body properly and train 4-5x a week. It isn’t easy sometimes, but it’s totally worth it! Outside of all that, I love Christmas, the color black, and Bruce Willis.
O: Hey Ya’ll! Its October. I’m the driving force behind all things going on at “In With October.” I live in sweet Tennessee, pretty close to Nashville. I just turned 25 and I work for a university. I graduated with my Master’s degree in May so I am excited to not be a student for the first time in my life. Who knew life without homework existed? I travel a lot for work, so don’t be surprised if you see me pass you by in a rental car somewhere. My lifestyle change happened about 15 months ago, so it is relatively new for me and I am loving everything that comes along with it. When I’m not working or at the gym, you can find me spending time laughing with my best friends and cuddling with my dog.
Q: What started your fitness journey?
CC: My history with health and fitness is a long and complicated one. All you really need to know before 2011 is that I struggled with an eating disorder that nearly killed me. This led to a very distorted view of the purpose of food and what foods were good and bad so I ended up gaining a significant amount of weight as a result of jumping from one end of the ED spectrum to another. I would eat EVERYTHING because I felt I had missed out on so much. ANYWAYS. In 2011, I got some test results back from my doctor that said I had to take cholesterol medicine and that I was pre-diabetic. I wanted to get healthier, but I hated our college gym. The facilities were absolutely incredible, but I always felt ashamed and uncomfortable since most of the people there seemed fit already. My boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to try out a gym off campus with great rates for students and I was hooked. I started paying attention to my nutrition (I, personally, count calories and pay attention to macros) and I ended up losing a significant amount of weight.
There are SO many more pieces to this story and how I ended up where I am now (spoiler- where I am now is SO different than where I was before, in a GOOD way!) but that’s how I got started!
O: Happiness is really what started my fitness journey. I knew that my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I was not self-aware at all. One day I got an honest glimpse of what I looked like in the reflection of a pair of sunglasses (literally) and in that moment, I knew that something had to change. 70 pounds and a little over a year later and I cannot believe where I am now. As I look back I am able to see so many changes within myself not only physically, but mentally. I’m not slowly down anytime soon, but I have gotten myself to a place where I am proud of the progress and am able to see the hard work coming to fruition. Some days it is extremely hard and I wish I could just eat whatever I want from Taco Bell. And some days, Taco Bell wins. But, there are even more days where I win and am able to make decisions that are best for me and my body. I’m really thankful for that.
Q: What’s your favorite healthy recipe?
CC: I make this dish we call Cauliflower Delight. The recipe is on my blog but, essentially, it’s riced cauliflower (uncooked), ground turkey (cooked, duh), and pasta sauce. Basically just stick it all in a pan, make sure everything is hot all the way through, add some mozzarella cheese (if you want, but, come on now, it’s cheese) and eat it! It sounds so weird and it truly looks like dog food but it is DELICIOUS. It’s kind of like the inside of lasagna, but way better for you!
O: Anyone who follows my blog knows that I am the pizza queen. If it will go in the oven and I can put it on top of a pizza, I’m making it. But, by now, you’re probably ready for something new. One of my favorite recipes is actually a salad. It’s a seasonal salad and is perfect for fall. Holla, because it’s officially fall and it’s still 80 degrees in Tennessee! I roast chicken, broccoli, red onion, carrots, and sweet potatoes in the oven topped with s&p, olive oil, cumin, and garlic on 375 for about 25 mins. (adjust cooking time as necessary based on oven) After that, I put them on top of a bed of greens and lightly top with italian dressing. It is SO good. And a perfect way to get in a few servings of veggies while still feeling fulfilled after you’re done. Because no one has time to feel hungry all day… am i right?
Q: What’s your favorite treat?
CC: Bread. Specifically any savory/cheesy/garlic-y bread (I’m looking at you, Red Lobster…and you too, Little Caesars with that Italian Cheese Bread).
O: Chips, cheddar cheese, and a Dr. Pepper. Super specific, huh? And I want that combo all at the same time. Lay’s Original chips in the yellow bag (basic, I know..) with some cheddar cheese is simply unbeatable. There is just no healthy equivalent for chips, so I splurge on this every now and then.
Q: What’s your go to snack when you’re in a hurry but starving?
CC: A protein shake. It’s so plain and boring, but it gets the job done. If I’m out and all of a sudden need some sustenance, I generally will grab a Quest bar (or something similar- I prefer Quest because the carb/sugar is lower than other bars, but any protein bar generally does the job) or beef/turkey jerky. The key is to get something high in protein to fill you up!
O: Protein, protein, protein. It’s what is going to keep you full for longer. It’s easy to grab candy or chips when you’re in a time crunch, but they’re ultimately just going to make you hungrier. Some of my favorite protein-filled snacks are protein bars (I’m going to second the Quest bar rec from above) and beef jerky. Beef jerky feels like a cheat to me, so this is an extra fun snack that I like to grab from time to time.
Q: What is your favorite exercise?
CC: Oooooh, that is hard. I prefer weights over cardio ** , so I’d have to say squats or overhead press. I do thrusters a lot because it combines a front squat with a press and adds a little cardio to the mix, but I don’t generally enjoy thrusters- ha! **As a side note, I think this is as good of a time as any to reinforce that lifting weights will not make the average female look masculine. Don’t be scared of the weight floor!
O: I’m definitely the complete opposite of Carrie on this one. I am all about some cardio. My favorite is the stair stepper, crazy I know. But, it is a machine that challenges me every single time I go to the gym and I can continue making it more and more difficult each time. I usually do this for thirty minutes and each ten minute segment, I switch it up and do something different. If you are looking to switch up your cardio and would like my stair stepping routine, let me know!
Q: What are the main body groups that need to be focused on during a weightlifting workout/regimen?
CC: This question really depends on the person and their goals/needs. I would say, however, that it’s super important for most people to focus on compound lifts. Compound lifts are ones that work more than just one muscle group at a time. Squats, for example, work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and your core. Bench press works your chest, triceps, delts, and core. Does that mean you should only stick to barbell weights and heavy lifting? No way! Isolation exercises are great and they’re really beneficial. Compound exercises, however, will give you far more bang for your workout buck. So basically, focus on your whole body by incorporating compound lifts!
O: I’m just going to second everything that Carrie said! Focus on the areas that you want to work on. Don’t be afraid of strength training exercises (working on learning this myself), they aren’t going to bulk you up if you are a woman. There are tons of resources available online for free that can give you great workouts that target specific body parts if you aren’t sure where to start. Ladies, don’t be intimidated by the weights, you got this!
Q: What’s on your gym playlist?
CC: SO many things. My playlist is pretty random but it’s mostly rock. My go-to song is “This is the Time (Ballast) by Nothing More. I’ve had it on my playlist for 4 years and it still pumps me up. Other artists on my playlist include Palisades, Starset, Zedd, Martin Garrix, Justin Bieber (I know, I know), Drake, Future, Avenged Sevenfold, and tons more.
O: My gym playlist has two different phases. For cardio, I like to stick with upbeat pop-rap. It almost makes it hard for me to not start dancing so it keeps my mind off of what I’m doing. Some of my favorites are “Knuck if you Buck,” “Wipe Me Down Remix,” and “Salt Shaker.” Can you tell I was in my prime during the early 2000s? When I’m doing strength training, I usually listen to just plain rap. The beat helps with reps and it just makes me feel like a little baddie.
Q: What’s one fitness goal that you have?
CC: I want to be able to do a muscle up. You know how those gymnast go from hanging under the bar then they’re pushed up on top of it ? It’s kind of like that. It’s super common in CrossFit workouts and it’s one of the harder motions to master, so I want to be able to do one of them!
O: I’m training for a 5k right now. I know running 3.1 miles doesn’t seem like much, but for me it is. I have spent the last 25 years of my life running only if someone was chasing me. And luckily enough, no one has chased me yet. So my running experience has been slim to none. I want to run the whole thing without stopping and preferably around 30 mins. My race is in a little over a month, so keep your fingers crossed for me.
Q: What’s ONE piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting a healthy lifestyle?
CC: Be patient and consistent. I know, I know, those are two very hard things. I still struggle with them, but those are the two things that will translate into progress. Results are not instant, anyone or anything that claims otherwise is lying. Find a program that is healthy and realistic and stick to it. Over time, you will start to see progress.
O: Be forgiving with yourself. At the beginning of a journey, it is really easy to make a mistake or have a slip-up and you feel like you’ve ruined all of your progress. I hear from people time and time again that they accidentally ate something unhealthy so they just stopped going to the gym. It’s okay, you just have to hop back on the horse and get back to work. Don’t let one mistake (or a whole weekend of eating like crap) keep you from finding your happiest and healthiest life. You won’t regret it.
I love having the chance to team up with other people that have similar interests and incredible stories to share. Sometimes getting to hear more than one perspective is helpful because not everyone’s journey looks the same. The only thing that matters is that you find a healthy journey that works for you. Find your path and follow it.