Friday, June 26, 2015

My Journey to Half Dome

"Pizza and Beer." 
This was what kept us going for 9.5 hours!! The promise of beer and pizza. Well, it worked!! 
48,000 steps later, my biggest goal has been ACCOMPLISHED!! 
Making it to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park--CONQUERED.

Never.Give.Up.

Half Dome Hike

Summer 2014 was huge for me. I graduated college, became a coach, traveled alone for the first time, to Vegas where I knew no one, I got in the best shape of my life, and I was invited to hike this beast of a mountain. I've been going to Yosemite my ENTIRE life, literally every summer and I could hardly make it to the first waterfall...that was less than 2 miles. 

Half Dome is no joke. You have to be prepared, you have to be in shape, and you have to constantly have a positive mindset the entire time. I'm no mountain climber. I've always gotten out of breath climbing a flight of stairs, and high elevation always messes with my breathing. Excuses, excuses, excuses. But I did it!

Here is a quick preview of my Journey to the Top of Half Dome and some tips if you plan on tackling this hike:

1. PREP:

You have to prepare for this hike, preferably months in advance. It takes luck to get permits nowadays. In order to hike Half Dome (for safety reasons, so not too many people are on the cables), you have to enter a lotto and get a permit. If you do not have a permit, you cannot go past Sub Dome. Trust me when I say, Sub Dome is the hardest, and there is a ranger waiting for your permit at the top. If you do not have one, all that sweat and hard work for nothing.

Hiking Shoes

Shoes: You also must have the RIGHT hiking shoes, and you need to break them in before. I got mine at Mel Cotton's Sporting Goods only a few days before, so I had to wear them for two days straight, walk around, break them in, and get used to them. I also got thick ankle socks that were breathable and had a ton of support. This is essential! 

Hiking Poles: These things saved my life! My uncle gave me two and I ended up giving one to my brother's girlfriend so we shared them. My hip had been bothering me a few days before, so going up the treacherous stairs of Vernal and slippery rock stairs of Nevada would have been even more intense without this support. Also, on the way down, the pole was my support the entire time. Use them, trust me.

Gloves: This is something you DO NOT forget!! A few people in my hiking party had gardening gloves, a few dirt biking, but whatever you use, make sure they have grips! Even my brother, who does Crossfit, hikes anything with flip flops on, and has non-stop energy, said he would not make it on the cables without gloves. You are gripping for your life, and need to rely on them when you're hanging off the side of the mountain.

Half Dome Cables
Half Dome Cables--View from Sub Dome

GU Energy Gel: I was surprised when my mom came home with a ton of these packets (you can get them at any sporting goods store) but I definitely think they helped with my energy levels. I had about 3 total the entire hike (and they were delicious) and they give you a burst of electrolytes and energy you need to just keep going!

Camelback: The only places to get water are at the bridge to Vernal (and you've hardly had any water yet), top of Nevada (and it's from the waterfall), and I didn't see anymore. That's not even halfway to the top. You have to have a fairly large camelback. I actually didn't drink water constantly (and I drink a TON of water), but your'e sweating the entire time and need to replenish at least at the top of each check point. It's also nice and cooling on your back and you need a place for the next items.

Vernal Falls
Top of Vernal Falls! Check point 1 done! :)

Snacks: Pack allll the snacks. My hiking party had bags of trail mix, pb sandwiches, GU, P90X bars, and some meds just in case. We didn't really take a break to eat until on top of Nevada Falls, where we didn't stop for long, and then ate on top of Half Dome, but our bodies were not feeling up to really eating until after the hike. 

p90x bars


Hat: Even though the first couple hours of the hike are not sunny if you are doing this before sunrise (and I highly suggest you leave before 5am), and there are a ton of trees after Vernal, the hike to Sub/Half Dome are in direct sun. This is when you need to replenish your energy and save it for the cables. Definitely wear a hat, it'll soak up your sweat too, lol!

top of Half Dome
Sitting on top of the World <3

Advil: I had a lot of hip pain before this trip, so I popped Advil several times throughout the hike. It is an anti-inflammatory and really helped me, along with the poles.

Permits: This is mandatory. Make sure your group leader has the permits in his/her camelback ready to show the ranger. You will be asked.

Mindset: The most important prep "item" in my opinion. Sure, I had done month 1 of Insanity, I had awesome endurance, muscle tone on my arms and legs for the first time, and I was confident in my physical ability to at least make it to the top of one waterfall (which I almost cried on top of because it was such a huge deal)...but if you're not working your MIND muscle, you might as well not go. You HAVE to be positive, have that concept of positivity no matter what, and encourage yourself because you can't expect others to do it for you. Everyone is struggling at some point--even if they're in amazing shape. One foot in front of the other seems like a long flipping time over 9.5 hours. I read personal development books every day to prepare (and this is something I just do anyway) along with audios. I told myself everyday before going that I would make it to the top and prove everyone wrong (mostly myself). Since I was always the family member who would collapse at the Mist Trail, have trouble breathing, would turn around and quit...I wanted to finally say that not only did I surpass Vernal and Nevada, but I climbed the damn cables, made it to the TOP, and didn't even want to stop. I was even ahead most of the time because I knew that if I was the last person in the group, I'd get discouraged and down on myself. Nope, my mindset would not allow me to quit.

Sub Dome
2 Miles away! Winding up to Sub Dome!
Hiking Party: Go with people who lift you up, are encouraging, in the same shape as you, and have that mindset. I suggest going with your significant other, siblings, or really close friends. Everyone hikes at their own pace, but it's so important to have people you're close to. This is definitely a HUGE test of willpower, and you'll want as many positive vibes as possible. I went with my brother, his girlfriend, and my boyfriend. It was an awesome, supportive group!



2. HIKE BOD:

I touched on this already, but you have to be in decent shape. Some people can just put on shoes and go for a run when they never run, and I can't even handle those people, lol! However, this is different. I'm not saying you need to be training like a beast, but if you have permits, you better be doing some sort of endurance activity. I was doing Insanity with Shaun T, and it's because of that first month that I persevered and made it to the top. The workouts were pretty long, the moves were incredibly hard, and my endurance was tested every single day. I was fueling my body with protein and superfoods (thank you Shakeology) so I never got sick, I would help my soreness with stretching, and I modified when I couldn't keep up. My shin splints flared up a bit because I was going so hard everyday, but I iced my hip and shins daily, and took advil when needed.

I really prepared my body physically, and was eating super clean. I think this is super important because it'll also help your mental clarity. Fitness + Nutrition + Personal Development = healthy mind, body, and soul! :)

Half Dome Hike
My brother was an amazing support system the entire time!!

3. ENJOY: The entire time you're hiking, you have to take it all in. Yes, there will be times you feel like you're going to collapse. Take a minute, look at the beauty you're surrounded by, be grateful you are capable of even doing this, and keep going. Take pictures along the way, but really be present. Also, don't be stupid. Be safe, stay inside the cables, stay on the path, slow down when you need to, breathe, take breaks, and drink a ton of water when needed!


This was overlooking the edge of Half Dome into Yosemite Valley--scary stuff, but amazing!!

There was one point where I had a mini breakdown. For me, this was a win. Whenever I used to hike Vernal, every few steps I would get tears in my eyes and have that horrible voice that told me I was going to fail. This time, I made it to the top of Vernal without complaint. Then I led everyone to the top of Nevada Falls without complaint. Then I popped Advil because my hip flared up, then I led everyone the long and winding path that climbed up to Sub Dome.

This, was where I had to talk myself down. I was going too fast. The altitude got to me. I all of a sudden had a hard time breathing. I told my team to go on and I sat down with tears in my eyes wondering after this entire time if my body couldn't go any further. I said no, absolutely not. I've come this far, so I literally talked to myself (in my head). I took huge breaths, slowly, looked around at this amazing beauty, realized how small I was compared to it, and got back up. I relied on the pole heavily on the switch backs up Sub Dome, and it was pretty scary because there wasn't really a path after that...but that was incredibly thrilling.

Half Dome cables
Selfie at the Half Dome cables!


Sub Dome was really intense because you had to stay in the "center" of the giant rock. Both sides were round (hello it's a dome) so you would go off the edge if you weren't in the middle. You're basically on your hands rock climbing at some points, which scared the shit out of me but I made it to the cables as you can see.

We put our poles down, and gloved up! When I was preparing for this hike, my uncle said we had to use harnesses and clip on/off the entire time up the cables. He had 3 small boys who went with him so they did this for safety. However, we didn't end up using the 2 harnesses we brought with us. Why? Well, did you see the cable picture above? It would have taken FOREVER!!

Basically, the gloves saved us. It was 100% upper body strength hefting ourselves from plank to plank up the mountain. The planks were basically strips of wood you stood on to breathe in between each insane pull up strength to get to each plank. Basically, adrenaline was what helped me reach the top (and arm strength from Insanity). You don't realize what your mind and body are capable of! It took a good 20 min, and it's pretty scary when people are coming down--you have no where to go but hold on for dear life with one hand. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT go outside the cables. That's how people have died, and I saw several people slide way too far and it was terrifying.

On Top of Half Dome--cables have been conquered!! Thank you Shaun T--all the pushups saved me!! :)

It was incredibly satisfying when we reached the top. The whole time on the way up the cables, I never looked down. I kept my eyes focused on the next cable, then the next, until I was climbing over the edge, on to the top of the world!

top of half dome

9.5 hours later. 15 miles. All the willpower and strength I could muster. When I reached the top, I have never felt such a rush. I looked around and realized how incredibly small humans are and how insanely amazing nature is. I made a video about my full fitness journey, with my hike to Half Dome as a very significant part of it. You can watch the video below, or click here for more details.



All in all, this journey changed my life, altered my perception of time, space, and the future, and I will always be grateful for being able to experience this outstanding beauty we call Yosemite.
I look forward to taking another trip, but I am still overcome with emotion just thinking back on this one!


"The Mountains are Calling and I must go." <3




Monday, June 22, 2015

Mid Summer Reboot Challenge

21 Day Fix Extreme

It's time to get SERIOUS! LAST CALL!!

Summer is well underway and I don't know about you...but I've always wanted to be able to show off my hard work in some Daisy Dukes and sun dresses! It's not too late to do so! It only takes 21 days to establish a lifestyle :)

I'm going to be launching my Mid Summer Reboot challenge on Monday, July 6th and I'm beyond excited to officially open the group to 10 ladies who want to do this with me!! It's called a Reboot because we will be doing a complete 180, with a focus on diet, and a LOT of juice recipes and tracking! 

Email me at laurenmchugh14@gmail.com, or apply below to get all the details :)

👉You must be 18 or older and live in the US or Canada to apply👈

This group is going to be a game changer because my focus is really going to be on NUTRITION! I will be offering a completely plant-based recipe guide, along with 2 other meal plans (omnivores are welcome!) and a TON of Info on juicing, healthy cleanses, and Rebooting to really help you kickstart your nutrition and establish a lifestyle change, not just a "quick fix" to get through the program.

I know that nutrition is my #1 struggle, so I've been testing this out, and I am BLOWN AWAY by the progress I've seen.


My energy doubled, I sleep better, I feel lighter, my mood has shifted, and I am actually feeling leaner and more confident by the day. 


You must be dedicated. You must have willpower. You will get stronger, both physically and mentally with added personal development in the online group daily! 

I've been perfecting these groups monthly and I am now hoping to launch my best one yet!! It's all online, from home (no gym or excuses), and I have your bases covered with daily workouts, nutrition guides, portion control containers to stay on track with meal prep, and constant motivation to never give up. 


I'm here to keep your momentum going the whole time. Just shoot me an email at laurenmchugh14@gmail.com or apply below for 21 Days of FOCUS, REAL FOOD, and RESULTS! 




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Welcome!!


Hi everyone!! If you are new to my blog, WELCOME!!

I thought I'd introduce myself and ask you all your opinions on what you'd like to see more of! 

feminist

SO, a little about me....I'm Lauren and I like warm hugs!

Here are 10 Facts about Me:


1. I just graduated college a year ago with a degree in Feminist Studies and Literature. I'm a writer at heart, big on body positivity, and embracing your weirdness.

2. I've been a loyal Vegetarian for over 10 years and I'm making the transition to a plant-based lifestyle (all about the balance).

PiYo


3. I am an online fitness coach and have been for about a year. It all started with my soulmate workout Turbo Fire that I did in my dorm room my last year of college and I lost 30 pounds with it! #turbogirl

4. I'm colorblind. And yes I can probably tell you what color your shirt is.

5. I laugh too much. I laugh at myself, people call me my biggest fan, and it's kind of just what my siblings and I have always done. Comedies are my favorite (along with historical romances) and Will Ferrell is my hero.

6. I love tattoos. I think they're beautiful and I have 7 of them. One big piece on each thigh, two on my hips, 2 on the back of my neck, and one on my ribs. I love colored tattoos, especially since they really stand out on my skin, lol!

7. I love Disney, and I quote Frozen probably more than the average 7 year old girl (as you can already tell from my quote above).

8. I have 1/2 inch gauges in my ears and no, I don't plan on going any bigger. I love piercings, and I'll probably get some more. I think they go well with the pink in my hair. 
Don't take yourself too seriously. 

9. My love language...is all the languages. I love giving, seeing people get excited, I love writing letters, giving compliments, and I'm very bad at receiving them (working on it!).

10. I am extremely passionate about sharing my journey and inspiring others to get started on their own. In fact, I've basically had every up and down involved in my fitness journey, with eating problems, weight gain, over exercising, not exercising, binging, you name it. I still struggle to this day. Because I'm the girl that thinks about a burrito and not a bikini while doing burpees (#realtalk). 
*I'm all about embracing what you have, working to become a better version of yourself, and always speaking to yourself in a positive way. I know both ends of that spectrum, and trust me when I say that no good will come from being down on yourself.*



Beachbody Coach

Well, that's a little glimpse at who I am! I'd love to know a little about YOU!! Feel free to check out my like page www.Facebook.com/LaurenMcHughFitness, send me a message, or email me to let me know what you'd like to see more of! LaurenMcHugh14@gmail.com :)

Examples: Vegan recipes, meal prep, hybrid workouts, fitness videos, fit/nutrition tips, blogs, body positive messages, motivation, funny nonsense, etc! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Juice On with Joe Cross

Juice On

Have you heard of this film, Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead? If not, go on Netflix right now and watch it. Go ahead and watch the second one too. I swear they will change your life. I know they did for me!

I've been following Joe Cross on social media for a long time now, and I have the utmost respect for what he is doing. He completely transformed his lifestyle from eating plants. Yes, that is the secret to changing your life--eat PLANTS! 

Joe did a 60 day juice fast and had the willpower to come over from Australia and complete this in the land of donuts and pizza--America. He crushed the cleanse, inspired SO many people along the way, got another inspirational man to join him who had the same chronic illness as him, and now Joe is off medication, glowing, and went from fat, sick, & nearly dead, to inspiring people across the world to reboot their systems and their lives.

Hear me when I say that I have watched his films at least 4 times each, and that's not an exaggeration, it's probably more actually. Every time I watch them, I get re-inspired to juice more, and reap the benefits! Since I've started juicing, and making this part of my lifestyle, I've noticed my skin start to glow (anyone who juices often will see this), I'm more alert, and I FEEL healthy!

So basically, he's kind of a big deal, and when my friend who works at Facebook called me and said he's stopping by to give a talk, I drove 2 hours after I had just gotten back from traveling to another country to make it. Of course I had to be there!! 
I got to meet one of my biggest inspirations, and I couldn't be more excited to share this! Make sure you follow him @joethejuicer on Instagram--his posts are SO inspirational! :)
Joe Cross

So he was speaking at Facebook Headquarters and I was lucky enough to be a guest at a small gathering where he talked to us about his story, his film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and we got to ask questions and meet him!! I was incredibly nervous and excited, but he was SUCH an incredibly nice person and I am beyond excited to have been able to attend!

Something that stood out to me is when someone asked a question about what's "off limits," and he said he doesn't look at food like that. If you limit yourself, continually say something is bad for you as you're binging...you'll just feel guilty. Think about it. If you are constantly eating ice cream and saying this is bad, this is bad, then at the end of the carton...you'll FEEL bad, and guilty. However, if you look at those "macronutrients" as "fun foods," your perspective will shift. He gave the example of going to a baseball game. If you know you'll be going to a game, surrounded by fun foods like beer and fries, then prep your body! He said when this happens, he'll drink green juice, salad, healthy foods, and exercise so indulging that night is actually enjoyable--you worked up to it and it's ok to have the fun foods every now and then!

I used to feel guilty eating pizza, ice cream, pasta, etc...but if that is something you legitimately enjoy consuming, think of them as your fun foods that you can enjoy once a week after you've given your body the healthy nutrients it needs. Joe said he drinks green juice in the morning, followed by an afternoon smoothie, and salad! This sounds similar to when I was on the Ultimate Reset--veggies all day! Throw in some exercise and BAM! Healthy lifestyle alert ;)

This was such an amazing talk, and now I can check that off my bucket list!


Juice On, Joe, and I can't wait to meet you again! :)





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#Fit Feminists Wanted!

Beachbody Coaching

Calling all Fit Feminists!!

One year. In just one year, I completely found myself. I went from avoiding mirrors, deleting pictures when people took them, binge eating, not eating, over exercising, counting calories obsessively, studying feminist studies, preaching self love, but not taking my own words into account...to embracing my strengths, balancing my nutrition, helping others learn to love themselves (which helped me accept myself as well), filling myself with personal development, traveling across the country even with high anxiety, following my dreams, and recently going across the border for an amazing leadership retreat I had the opportunity to join. Never did I think I'd be here today.

Don't get me wrong. I still struggle with my looks, my weight still fluctuates, I'll eat way too many carbs...but the difference is that I forgive myself. I shrug my shoulders, don't do it nearly as often, and realize that I.am.human. Those girls in the magazines...aren't EVEN those girls in the magazines. Hello airbrushing and photoshop! If you haven't yet...read Tina Fey's Book Bossypants. It will change your perspective drastically :)

It's time for me to pay it forward and welcome 10 new #FitFeminists to my New Coach Mentorship for June, to learn what it is that I do, how I do it, and why I have changed so drastically simply by living a healthier, happier lifestyle!

I know the word "feminist" deters many people, and that's cool. When I say that, I mean that I believe in self love, promoting a healthy lifestyle, LOVING your body, yourself, and helping others realize their potential--no matter their gender, lifestyle, or how they choose to present their identity.

If you'd like to apply to this mentorship and COMMIT to being fully present and willing to learn about how to run your own online fitness business while working on yourself, please fill out the form below or email me at LaurenMcHugh14@gmail.com

"Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."



Powered by Blogger.