A Blue Workout

18 Sep

I haven’t been myself lately. Although terribly neglected, I’ve kept this blog around in case I eventually shrug the cloak of apathy and depression that’s been weighing heavy on my shoulders.

 

Without going into too much detail, I’ve had many bad days lately. A lot of personal drama has stripped me of my essence, and well…I kind of feel like a shell of my former self. The things that used to make me happy no longer make me happy. Working out has become a chore. I still do it, albeit not as regularly as I used to. I suppose the habit is so deeply ingrained in me that I can’t just drop it altogether. I also started to develop lower back pain that has prevented me from lifting as heavy or intensely as I like. I can’t squat or deadlift or do almost any exercise which requires me to bend at my hips unless it’s with light weight.

 

But still, I manage to drag my sad-sack self to the gym and workout. Some people say that exercise helps when you’re depressed, but I find the opposite to be true. When I physically exert myself it unleashes whatever it is I’m trying to suppress, which lately has been tears. (Ugh, I know. Just bear with me.) These days progress is measured not by how much weight I can move, but by completing a workout with minimal back pain and no emotional breakdowns.

 

Today is cardio day, and I did the following workout. As much as I drag my feet the whole way to the gym, I never regret working out. As much as I feel like the lump in my throat is going to suffocate me, I’m still breathing. I realize unloading myself like this to the public is a blogging 101 No No, but I really don’t give a shit. Now, onto the workout.

 

With two dumbbells (weight is at your discretion) go through the following sequence for 10 reps. (You do all exercises ONCE, one after the other. When you get to the shoulder press, you will have completed one rep for each movement. Start back at the push-up for your second rep.)

 

Push-Up

Plank DB Row

Deadlift

Curl

Shoulder Press

Lunge (You can keep your arms up, or bring them back down)

 

Once you have completed the 10 reps, jump rope for one minute. Repeat this complex two more times. Finish with 30 burpess.

 

I used two 10 lb dumbbells for this workout. I was pretty good up until the third round. In the future I’ll probably for four to five rounds for more intensity. Didn’t time it, but I was done pretty quickly. I think less than 15 minutes.

Here’s a video for reference:

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The Temple of IRON!

26 Feb

All of us have our temples. Places we go to find peace, to clear our minds, to revitalize our insides.

For some, the bedroom is a sanctuary from the stresses of life. For others, it may be the library, a park, the kitchen, bathtub, and so on. For me, it’s the gym. I know it’s an unlikely comparison. To many people the gym inspires anxiety and resentment, not feelings of peace and invigoration. But I feel strong and productive when I’m there, so it is my place of “worship.”

But what do you do when your temple shuts down, or gets turned into something that’s no longer your place of refuge?

That happened to me when the gym I had gone to since I was 16 closed down. The next closest option was a perpetually over-crowded LA Fitness. It was not an adequate substitute. As I’ve mentioned before, you practically have to wait in line to use the equipment there, and finding a matching pair of dumbbells is near impossible. As a result, I started working out less because I couldn’t stand being there.

And I realized how important it is to like your temple.

I needed to find a new gym, but wasn’t interested in another commercial chain. I ended up buying a Groupon for a crossfit class at an independently-owned gym, and I am SO HAPPY I did. I love this gym. Yes, it is small and a little bit dingy, but I like that. It’s never too crowded, and I’ve never had to wait in line for the squat rack while some dude was curling the bar. The place is Thump Fight Gym, and they also have a ton of classes. The vibe is super friendly, and I’m really digging the crossfit classes (that is a whole other post waiting to happen).

No more stressing before the gym or annoyance while I’m there. Being at Thump really is a pleasure.

So that being said, I got in an early workout recently. My strength had really dwindled the past few months, and I’m so happy that within just a few weeks of consistent training, I’m almost back to where I was before.

Lifting weights is fun and calluses are fun to pick.

Lifting weights is fun and calluses are fun to pick.

Here was my workout:

Squats: 5×5 120 lbs
DB push press: 1×8 30 lbs each, 4×5 35 lbs each
Chin-ups: 8×3
DB chest press on flat bench: 3×7 40 lbs each
Inverted push-ups/BW row/whatever you wanna call ‘em: 3×8 bodyweight

Feels good, man.

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Pretty Muddy Miami 2012

30 Jan

I am usually a punctual person, but apparently not when it comes to blogging.

I’m more than TWO MONTHS late on this post! I know, terrible. But better late than never?

So, back in November I did the Pretty Muddy Women’s Run in Miami. It’s a women’s-only 5K race with obstacles and of course, lots of mud. (Although running around the mud is an option, but what’s the fun in that?)

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This was my second 5K. As I’ve mentioned before I’m not much of a runner, but I really enjoy these themed races. This one was a lot of fun, especially since my friend OTAKITTY accompanied me.

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Pretty Muddy took place in Amelia Earhart park, which is quite nice. We started off in an open field then made our way into a forest trail. This is a great race for beginners because it’s friendly and non-competitive. Some obstacles were climbing over a net, climbing over and under wooden barracks, and crawling through muddy tunnels. I enjoyed it. I just wish the obstacles were a little harder, but that’s just me.

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And I’ve gotta say, that was some nice mud. I mentioned to the social media coordinator (don’t quote me on that title; I made it up) Courtney Norman that the mud reminded me of chocolate fudge, and she said they actually brought in special top soil for the ladies to crawl through. Makes sense. The regular ground there would NOT be pleasant to crawl through (think rocks…lots of evil, little rocks). The top soil was really thick and soft and squishy…kind of what you’d expect crawling through fudge would be like, except less delicious. Although I can’t confirm that for sure….

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I completely ruined my shoes, but they were like 5 years old anyway.

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There were superheroes.

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Tutus.

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And costumes of all kinds.

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Now, the clean up afterward was interesting. Imagine a big pit with a bunch of chicks hosing mud off themselves. My kinda party, man. I have no shame and got right in there. (Unfortunately there were no pictures of this, hah.)

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After the race Otakitty and I went to a Mexican restaurant to re-fuel. All-in-all it was a morning well-spent. And who knows…there may be more 5Ks to come!

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Racin’!

24 Oct

This past weekend  I did something I never thought I would do.

 

I ran a 5k race. Specifically, the Color Run.

 

What I liked about this race is that speed and endurance aren’t important. It’s all about having fun. Which was good for me, because let’s just say I didn’t exactly train for this race. I’m not much of a runner. In fact, I don’t think I’ve run 5k in close to 5 years!

 

Before with some friends.

 

Pre-race with Lisa and Henry.

So at every kilometer there’s a station where you get doused in COLOR! (I believe it’s cornstarch.) Racers wear a white shirt and are encouraged to get covered in color. I did my best to color-fy myself, but by the end of the race I looked more like I had rolled around in mud than ran through a rainbow.

The first color station–orange, aka Jersey Shore tanning salon.

 

Lisa fully Snooki-fied.

I was surprised at how well I did, considering that I didn’t train at all. My friend Lisa and I made it through in about 33 minutes (don’t have the exact time because I forgot to stop my watch  right away) with just two or three walking breaks. I don’t think I would have been able to do that well without her. She really helped me power through it. Although I paid for it the next two days. I was sore all over and my knee was achy. Oops. Oh well. I had a good time and I’m recovered now!

 

Color party!

 

More color. *cough*

Now, thanks to another friend, I’m doing ANOTHER 5K, and I expect to get even dirtier in this one. It’s the Pretty Muddy Women’s Only Run! According to the website, there will be architectural obstacles, lots of mud, and an epic finish line party. (I hope they have margaritas.)

 

While I don’t see myself jumping on the race bandwagon, I am hyped about Pretty Muddy. Probably because it involves more than just running. Check out this video from the Chicago race.

 

I’m ‘bout it, ‘bout it.

 

If you’re in Miami and would like to register, I have good news for you! Enter the code fit-geek when you sign up and you’ll get $10 off. This code is good up until two weeks before the race, which is Nov. 17. That means you have till Nov. 3 to sign up.

 

Hope to see you some of you there!

Just ’cause I can.

 

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post but the opinions are my own.

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Just buy the f*cking pants.

5 Oct

Some new things are on the horizon for me. Things that I said I would NEVER do. Like Crossfit and running races and buying bigger pants.

Instead of saying the cliché, I’ll just leave this here.

(I freakin’ LOVED that movie as a kid.)

So Crossfit. I bought a two-month coupon because I need something new. Waiting in lines to use equipment at LA Fitness is not cutting it anymore. Seriously, that place is like a jungle. An overly-tanned, neon-shoes-matching-tank-tops, curling-in-the-squat-rack clusterfuck of a jungle. Normally I can ignore that kind of stuff, but it is so crowded that it affects my workout. And when you mess with my workout…nothing bad really happens but I get pissy and frown and I might snap at you.

So it is with great reservation that I have decided to try Crossfit. I have my concerns–the cultiness of it, the notoriously poor form–but I’m going to see for myself. If I start using words like “box” and “WOD” feel free to roll your eyes.

But in its defense, everyone I know who does Crossfit really seems to love it, and I fare well in group exercise environments, so who knows. Maybe I will drink the Kool-Aid? We’ll see.

I’m also running two 5Ks, mostly because friends asked me to. I hate running, but I like doing active things with my friends. I’ll go into more detail about these races soon.

And finally…PANTS!! So I’ve gained a little weight, enough to warrant me going up a pant size. Yes, I was/still kind of am one of those girls who refuses to buy bigger pants. But I was down to two pairs of pants that still fit me well. I can only get away with wearing leggings and dresses for so long. A girl needs her jeans! So while I was at the mall I tried on a pair of jeans that were a size up…and they looked good. What a bittersweet feeling.

I know it’s silly to cling to a certain clothing size, but really, I don’t think anyone looks forward to buying bigger pants. And my pant size is still relatively small so I feel a little dramatic being bothered by it. Maybe I should shop at Walmart where I’m below a size 0.

But seriously, I’m glad I bought these jeans. Even if you have gained weight, why punish yourself by limiting your wardrobe just because you’re no longer a size 2/4/6/whatever? I don’t consider myself a superficial person, but when I’m dressed nice I feel good. And I don’t know about the rest of you, but because of my height and body shape (short and stumpy, think hobbit), it is HARD to find a pair of jeans that look just right on me. So when I do I can’t pass them up!

Although I don’t necessarily want to stock up on a bunch of jeans at this size, I’ll probably buy at least one more pair. But they’ve gotta make my ass look HOT. No really, the way my butt looks in jeans makes up about 70% of my decision to buy them.
*Looks down*…check!

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Not so fast: Is my metabolism making me fat?

24 Sep

Note: This is an article I wrote as part of a job application (didn’t get the gig). I spent a butt-load of time looking up research for it, so I felt it would be a waste if it never saw the light of day. Even though it’s, you know, A REJECT.

 

When the scale won’t budge it’s easy to chalk it up to a slow metabolism. What about that guy who lives off doughnuts and never seems to gain a pound? He must have a fast metabolism, right? Well, not exactly. The answer is a little complicated, but the good news is that being overweight doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

Why It Matters

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in our body to convert food into energy. This process helps to fuel all of the functions we need to live, from breathing to keeping our heart beating. Another way of thinking of metabolism is total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which accounts for all the calories we burn in a day.

Lots of things can influence TDEE, like body composition (how much fat and muscle a person has), age, activity, and how much someone eats. The more muscle someone has, the more calories they require to maintain that muscle[1]. Younger people also tend to have higher metabolisms[2].

Based on these factors, everyone has a unique TDEE, and thus, a unique calorie requirement[3]. While our metabolisms are special snowflakes with their own individual energy needs, the number of calories we burn is still largely dependent on our diet and activity levels. In most cases, excess weight is due to eating too much and/or moving too little[4]. Slow metabolisms are rare and usually not the cause of obesity.

“I don’t really believe in ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ metabolism. It’s much more complicated than that,” says Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD, research director for the Healthy Food Bank and creator of women’s weightlifting site, stumptuous.com. “In fact, if your bodyweight is higher, you are just as likely to have a “fast” metabolism — because you probably have more lean body mass (including bone density) to carry a larger body around, and your body has to make a larger system function properly.”

You’re the Boss — The Answer/The debate

There are situations where hard work doesn’t pay off. When people have hormonal issues such as hypothyroidism or Cushing syndrome it’s much more difficult to lose weight. There are also certain genes that predispose folks to be overweight or obese.

The good news is that thyroid disorders can be treated and genes only play small role in determining weight[5][6]. Ultimately, we do have control over our body size, even those who have a genetic predisposition to be heavy.

To lose weight, one must burn more calories than they take in, either through reducing the amount they eat, exercising more, or a combination of the two. It’s the good ol’ calories in vs. calories out model[7]. There are also certain methods that increase metabolism. But for the most part, eating healthy and being active are the best choices for staying trim[8].

Further Resources:  

  1. Metabolic Effect — Is Your Metabolism Broken?
  2. Time — Can Exercise Trump Genetics?
  3. Precision Nutrition — Genes vs. Workout Program
  4. Mayo Clinic: Metabolism And Weight-loss: How You Burn Calories


Works Cited:
1. Factors influencing variation in basal metabolic rate including fat-free mass, fat mass, age, and circulating thyroxin but not sex, circulating leptin, or triiodothyronine. Johnstone, AM., Murison, SD., Duncan, JS., et al. Aberdeen Centre for Energy Regulation and Obesity, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005 Nov; 82(5):941-8.
2. Energy requirements and aging. Roberts, SB., Dallal, GE. Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. Public Health Nutrition, 2005 Oct;8(7A):1028-36.
3. Human energy expenditure in affluent societies: an analysis of 574 doubly-labelled water measurements. Black, AE., Coward, WA., Cole, TJ., et al. Dunn Clinical Nutrition Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1996 Feb;50(2):72-92.
4. Understanding and addressing the epidemic of obesity: An energy balance perspective. Hill, JO. Center for Human Nutrition, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado. Endocrine Reviews, 2006 Dec;27(7):750-61.
5. Genetic determinants of obesity. Current issues (In German).  Hebebrand, J., Bammann, K., Hinney, A. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz, 2010 July;53(7):674-80.
6. Polygenic obesity in humans. Hinney, A., Hebebrand J., Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany. Obesity Facts, 2008:1(1);35-42.
7. Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Sacks, FM., Bray, GA., Carey, VJ. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2009 Feb;360(9):859-73.
8. Who does not gain weight? Prevalence and predictors of weight maintenance in young women. Ball, K., Brown, W., Crawford, D. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. International journal of obesity, 2002;26(12):1570-78.

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Ahem…

13 Sep

Um, I’m alive. Writing the intro to a post after you’ve been away for oh, five months, is kind of awkward. Let’s just pretend we’re the kind of friends who can go a year without talking and then pick up again like no time has passed at all.

So what’s been going on lately?

I finally got certified as a personal trainer with the NASM. That means I’m kind of like a dominatrix of body composition. I beat fat into submission and then beat your muscles so they get bigger and stronger. There may be yelling involved, but only if that’s what you’re into. And I draw the line at peeing on a client. This ain’t no dungeon!

And while we’re on that topic…
S&M Bootcamp? Whatever, we’re sexy and we know it. (We workout.)

If you’re in Miami, you should come to the bootcamp. It’s free! And usually there is no riding crop involved. Although it is an effective motivator.


I am officially a crazy cat lady. I took in a mama cat and her three kittens. Next to women with children and zoo employees, I clean more poop than anyone. Moments like this make it worth it though.

Also, I applied for a fitness writing job, but I didn’t get it. I spent a lot of time working on the article, and even though that place didn’t think it was good enough, I do! Good enough for my rinky dink website anyway.
I’ll post it soon.


Oh yeah, and I turned 28 and drank waaaay too much tequila at a bowling alley. If you know me, you know what’s up.



Well, it feels good to be back. Hopefully I won’t be gone for so long this time around!
PS. I know my page is looking all kinds of F’d up right now. I’ll get around to fixing it…eventually.


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The more things change, the more they stay the same

25 Apr

Arguably the hardest thing a person can do is change.

In many cases, I am skeptical of one’s capability to erase a deeply seeded habit or mentality. Same thing goes with adopting new practices. But it’s possible. And I know this because I’ve seen it. Not often, but often enough.

In myself, I have seen many changes. Most pressing on my mind is the change that occurred from 106 pounds to now.

Me at my smallest, and most tortured.

I’m sure you are familiar with the disordered eating stories that most of my “kin bloggers” have posted. My tale is no different. I was bat-shit crazy, insecure, and obsessed with food and being thin. Doughnuts gave me anxiety. Pizza made my heart palpitate. And eating chocolate was comparable to masturbating while crying. (Of course that’s purely speculation. I swear.) Social situations were particularly tormenting because I love to go out, but the inner turmoil I felt towards the food that was there ruined the experience. I always ended up binging and feeling gross.

A noteworthy memory was driving home from my ex-boyfriend’s dad’s funeral. We had a lot of leftover food in the backseat from the reception. Earlier I had already stuffed myself till I fell asleep on a couch from a food coma, yet I still reached back, opened up a tray of potato salad and used my hand to shovel it in my mouth. If anything epitomized the pathetic state of mind I was in, it was that moment.

I don’t do that crap anymore.

As I was saying, I’ve changed a lot since then. Yes, I’m no longer as thin as I used to be. But I’m also not as crazy as I used to be. My relationship with food is a hundred times better. Not to say that it’s perfect, but at least now I can look at a slice of pizza and say “I’m going to eat the shit out of you” without hating myself later.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because someone on Twitter posted something about the saying “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”–the infamous thinspo and proana slogan. Once upon a time I agreed with that sentiment. Now I don’t. See? Change!

You know what tastes better than thin feels? EVERYTHING. Because if you are starving yourself to the point where you have to repeat this phrase to yourself, being thin feels horrible. It’s a JOB where you’re in constant fear of being fired. F that.

Now, that was the rational side of my brain talking. I like to think that most people have a logical, normal side and a crazy, irrational side. It’d be dishonest to gloss over the latter aspect in myself. As strong as my distaste for that phrase is, I can’t really look down on someone who says it, because the loco in the coco side of me still understands that sentiment in a way. I know, I know. I just went on this spiel about changing my unhealthy body mentality. Just hear me out.

While my food and fitness habits have changed for the better, there is still a part of me that wants to be thinner. The urge is certainly watered down from what it used to be, but if I’m being completely truthful I can’t deny its existence. In our society, the desire to be thin is so strong, I wonder if any of us can truly escape it.

For the most part, I’m confident with my appearance. I think I’m pretty balanced with the way I eat. I’ve been hovering around the same healthy weight for a couple of years and it’s comfortable. But there’s that tiny, little voice in the back of my head that says, Imagine how much better it’d be if you had visible abs and your thighs were each 2 inches slimmer.

The really sick part is that while half of me wants to squash that voice and just focus on being fit, strong, and healthy, the other half of me is clinging tightly to that mentality, refusing to let go.

I suppose that’s what my next change should be. Fully and truly releasing this fat loss fantasy and just enjoying the healthy person that I am.

At least I can say that these days I have enough sense to not make myself crazy over it. If I somehow learn to unlove fried food, sugar, and booze, then cool. But I’ve been long done with miserable restriction. I don’t hate my body anymore. In fact, I’m proud of the things it can do. The next step is learning how to stop making myself mildly dissatisfied because of 10 pounds. To not care. There’s the rub!

Sidenote: I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to lose fat, or get rid of a few vanity pounds. Just, for ME, I’m tired of feeling like a slave to it.

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Fitness & Friends

9 Apr

One of the most satisfying feelings for me is making a real connection with another human being. On par with that is the sense of belonging, laughing, helping other people, and making a difference.

A very big reason why I lead a free boot camp class every Sunday is because it helps me experience these things. It makes me feel like I’ve had a positive influence on other people. I get to hang out with friends and socialize. We’re doing something constructive. And as much as I love to drink (my Instagram feed is practically a shrine to Bacchus), I like that boot camp is one of the few social settings that doesn’t involve alcohol. Usually.

The whole thing has me thinking about how important a sense of community is. When I first started doing the boot camp classes, I was skeptical about how many people would show up. I’m sure there are a thousand other things my friends would rather be doing on a Sunday afternoon than burpees. But the same people kept coming back. And I think it’s because most everyone is friends, and in addition to working out, it seems like people are having a good time. I’m sure it being free helps too, hah.

Then I think about my self defense class, and how one of the reasons I’ve attended for so long is because I feel like I’m friends with everyone there.

As an introvert who has only recently adopted extroverted tendencies, I’ve just begun to realize how strong and fulfilling social bonds can be, and how much influence they can have. For instance, a job that you otherwise would not care about is exponentially more pleasant when you have close friendships there.

Before I started experimenting with these boot camp-styled workouts, I was strictly a solo exerciser. And that’s fine, even preferable for me most of the time. Working out by myself is much quicker and more efficient than working out with a partner. Once you add someone else into the equation, you have to consider their level of fitness compared to yours and whether they’re interested in doing the same workout as you and so on. I’m just much more focused when I workout by myself.

But working out with friends has been fulfilling. I hope to continue doing it, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do.

As of right now, I’d like to make more of an effort to talk to everyone and perhaps try to coordinate a group dinner or barbecue once a month or so.

See, working out can be fun! :P

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No more allergies!

25 Mar

Friends! I have something I would like to share with you in that hopes that it might help someone suffering from a similar problem. This isn’t fitness related, but it does have to do with your health. If you have allergies, this might make a difference in your life as it did in mine.

So, to start with, I’ve had terrible allergies my whole life. With the exception of food, I’m allergic to just about everything you can be allergic to: ALL furry animals, dust, pollen, grass (not that kind, though), YOUR MOM, etc. I don’t think this is an allergy, but even the day before it rains I would get sinus pressure and pain and lots of congestion. How’s that for a weather forecast? The bottom line is that I have extremely sensitive sinuses.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my nose was a leaky faucet with no fix. I’m not exaggerating when I say I would have sneezing fits ALL DAY, at home and at work. Regular allergy medicine helped a little, but not much. And Allegra D or Claritin D always made me feel cracked out. Besides, I didn’t want to have to rely on pills to feel normal.

I needed a better solution. One that didn’t involve getting shots for the next 5 years either. (When I was 20 I did get allergy shots for about a year, but stopped because it was difficult to go every week. Plus I had to wait in the office for 30 minutes to see if I had a reaction.)

After Googling, I found a site of personal testimonies singing praises for apple cider vinegar. I’m somewhat familiar with it as it’s touted as a “fat-loss enhancement” in the fitness world. Never tried it though. But I decided to give it a shot for the sake of my allergies. (I use Bragg raw apple cider vinegar and would HIGHLY recommend it.)

I mixed 2 teaspoons with 8 ounces of water. (You can add baking soda if the acidity upsets your stomach. I didn’t have that issue though.) I swear, by the second day my allergies and sinus problems were GONE. Like, completely disappeared. I have never, ever had such an abrupt change in my health like that.

I’ve been drinking diluted ACV for about a month now and I have had no allergy attacks since. This is UNHEARD of for me. Before this, I was in a perpetual state of allergy-induced hell. My weather-related sinus problems haven’t bothered me at all either.

I have no idea what is in ACV that made it work for me, and I can’t make any guarantees that it’ll be the same kind of miracle tonic for anyone else. But speaking from my own experience, it has cleared up my allergies better than anything else I’ve ever tried.

I usually drink it Monday-Friday in the morning. I find that even if I skip a few days my allergies still don’t act up.

If anyone else out there suffers from allergies, give ACV a try and let me know if it works!

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