3 REASONS WHY I'M NOT YOUR AVERAGE FITNESS FANATIC

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I DON’T USE FITNESS TRACKERS

Back when I was training to race outside, my Garmin was LIFE and if I didn't cross post my workout to Strava than I felt like it didn't even happen. I was obsessed with how far I had ridden, how many feet of elevation I had climbed and how many hours I had been in the saddle that week. One day I received a pretty nasty message from someone who had gone through and stalked out my race results, my workouts, etc. They used it as a personal attack to make me feel like I was undeserving of any sponsor I had earned and any recognition I had received. Clearly this person didn't follow my blogs on the Specialized website or actually take the time to read my Instagram posts because my entire journey was about starting from nothing, never claiming to be the best, but rather sharing the ups and downs with other people in hopes that they would get out there and try riding, too! Not too far after that incident I pretty much stopped posting my workouts. I went back and forth deciding if I stopped because I wanted to or if I stopped because someone made me feel bad about it. I didn't want to admit that someone actually got to me. Hate happens allllll of the time and most times you can let it go - sometimes you don't. Regardless of whether or not I stopped because of this person, I will say the silver lining is that when I did stop, I finally found balance in my life. The pressure was gone and I was finally working out for myself, not for the likes on Strava or to appease what I thought I "should" be doing. It's now been around a year and a half and I haven't looked back since. 

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I DON’T COUNT CALORIES OR MACROS

Listen, I am a definite rare bird in this scenario. Most people will not relate to this, but if you do, know that you aren't alone. I fully appreciate that tracking food intake helps A LOT of people and to be totally honest, I WISH it had that effect on me. Unfortunately, every single time I've ever tried using an app to track my food it has the reverse outcome. Instead of eating better I end up only thinking about food, absolutely obsessing over it, and after awhile I lose my mind and binge eat...bad. By the end of it, I will have eaten WAY worse than if I had just went about my day eating what I wanted. After several tries of monitoring my food I had to accept that it just didn't work for me. I would rather be aware of what I'm putting in my body and try and make good choices rather than flipping a switch and completely losing control of myself. Again, most people I tell this to think I'm nuts, but if you're anything like me - I FEEL YOU. I will say, even though I don't use things like MyFitnessPal anymore, I did learn a lot about what I was eating when I was using it. I still think it's a great tool for a lot of people, just not me. 

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I EAT (admittedly) TOO MUCH JUNK FOOD BUT I’M NOT AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT IT

Look, I grew up eating terribly. The only spinach I ever grew up eating came from a can and was cooked in a pot with loads of butter and salt. It's amazing I don't weigh at least 100 pounds more than I do and even more amazing I was able to get where I am now. However, sugar is still a massive addiction of mine. It's my HUGE personal battle, but rather than cutting it out 100% (probably not possible) or pretending that I eat salads on the daily, I use it as a means of balance. Now, do I eat 3-4 donuts for breakfast anymore? Absolutely not, but if I want one than I will have one. It took a lot of trial and error to find what works for me and a lot of feeling guilty that I wasn't the perfect health specimen. In the end I finally found that balance was king and my balance will not be the same as your balance. If you can cut sugar out than by all means you go Glen Coco, but for me, I'd rather have one donut than lose complete control of myself and end up eating that donut, plus a pie, plus fried food, plus literally whatever else I can find. IF the day comes where I decide I want to be shredded, I am fully aware that I will need to do some major adjustments, but until that day comes, I'll take my small daily food victories and accept that although I'm not perfect, I know that I've come a LONG way in my eating habits. 

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I'd love to hear your journey with food. Did you grow up eating healthy? If not, how do you think that's influenced how you eat now?

Outfit by the amazing Largo Drive. Check out their blog post where I did an interview and talk about my journey in becoming a fitness instructor.
Interested in buying something from them? Use code MAE20 from now until November 11th to get 20% off all regularly priced items.

I'm wearing the Lanston Sport Slit Bra and the Lanston Sport Slit Leggings

Governors Island with Exploring Paths

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Earlier this year a mentorship program based in NYC called Exploring Paths reached out to me. They provide their youth participants access to bikes, helmets, journals, one-on-one mentorship, and cycling activities around New York City. When I visited in January I gave a talk to the kids and a talk at an amazing fundraising event, but it was too cold to actually go on a ride with them. So when I was given the opportunity to come back this summer, I was excited to join in on their trip to Governors Island and spend two days with everyone!

We started the weekend off at the YMCA where snacks, water, food, and all of the cycling gear was provided to the kids and mentors. We headed out using paved pathways with plenty of support to ensure an extremely safe ride to the ferry. Once we boarded the ferry (with our bikes) we had a great view of the city and a nice cool breeze. We started riding to the urban farm, but not without stopping to go on the slides and take photos in front of the Statue of Liberty first. 

At the urban farm, called the Teaching Garden, we were taken on a tour of their vegetable beds, educated about their recycling program, fed goats, got close to the chickens, and played with worms. We ended the ride around Governors Island with a tasty snow cone before boarding the ferry. With colorful tongues and a full belly, we headed back into the sunshine and biked the streets of New York City where we ended at the YMCA. `

It makes my heart so happy to know this program exists and these kids are being exposed to an active lifestyle, nature, leadership, and fun. I'm very grateful to have met these kids and their mentors and I hope they never stop exploring paths! 

A huge thanks to Katherine Long for having me, Specialized for gifting the kids hats and shirts, and Oakley for gifting the kids sunglasses. 

Permission to Pause with Athleta

I am SO excited that this week I teamed up with Athleta and gave myself #PermissionToPause in their new Restore collection. I chose to go to the Atlanta Beltline as it's one of my favorite places to walk around and unwind. You get to see A TON of dogs (and if you know me you know how much that excites me), stop by for a popsicle, watch people go buy on skateboards and bikes; and admire the art that lines the entire pathway. Because I previously lived walking distance away, I find it both nostalgic and fresh as it's always changing and updating, but still so full of memories.

If you don't have a local place like this that brings you peace (and popsicles) consider these alternatives:

- Take time for gratitude and involve those around you. I use an app called "Gratitude Journal" if I'm in the mood to document my day with photos or even just to list off the things I'm thankful for. It keeps it sorted for you by date - almost like a bullet diary with only positive memories. If I'm around people when I'm entering my thoughts, I'll ask them to do the same!

- Reach out on social. Sometimes I take my mindfulness to Instagram stories. I'll list three things that I'm thankful for or proud of and encourage others to think of three things as well. Then I give everyone the option of sharing their thoughts with me if they want to. It creates a really amazing community!

- Guided meditation. My boyfriend and I use the Headspace app. If you haven't tried it, I recommend giving it a go. It has a free basics pack and gives really great tips (and animated videos) on how to use it. I even have it set up to send me little "Mindful Moments" which are push notifications on my phone that keep me grounded throughout the day. 

If you live near an Athleta, I encourage you to stop by their store and attend their "Permission to Pause" meditation class. Not sure where one is near you? Check out the list HERE.

Now, on to these ridiculously cozy and extremely soft clothes that I'm wearing! The white "With Ease" tank is tied up, but you can wear it like a normal shirt - but really, what's normal these days? The softest joggers I've ever worn are called the "Restore Joggers" and if you buy only one thing from this line it should be these. The roomy grey short sleeve is called the "Eco Wash Restore Sweatshirt" and it's a really nice structured shirt with an oversized cozy twist to it. Lastly is the super snuggly black sweater called the "Pranayama Wrap" and can we just take a moment for the amazing thumb holes? Yes, please! 

I'd love for you to share your ideas, mantras, and ways you stay mindful below. The more the merrier! Also, make sure to check out the Athleta Chi blog for more tips to unplug!

Lastly, a HUGE thanks to Athleta for collaborating with me and sponsoring this post. #PowerOfShe

Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike Review

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you would have seen just how proud I was when I put together this bike rack by myself - even the FedEx guy who stopped by was impressed. Full disclaimer, this rack was sent to me to review, but opinions are always my own, so here I am telling you allllll about it. 

This is the new Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike, it retails for $469.99, and I've been using it for mountain bikes only so far. It was pretty simple to put together, a one woman job, and everything needed to assemble was included except for the adjustable wrench. The rack weights 35lbs so I have no problem taking it on and off my car. I'll list the detailed specs below and elaborate on some or my favorite and not so favorite things so far. 

First off, I love that the lock is integrated. I live in Atlanta and bike theft is rampant so that is a MUST have if I'm taking my bikes anywhere at all. Make sure you feed the cord towards to middle of the rack and through the frame rather than coming towards you and back into the rack (I hope that makes sense). The cord is just long enough with no extra slack so it's nice and snug. Like I said, so far I have used this rack with two mountain bikes and I'm happy to say that they are both easily secured. I was able to tighten everything down myself which I was happy about, as this has actually been a problem I've had with another bike rack in the past. A few simple pushes on the wheel-clamping hooks, a couple of clicks, adjust the straps at the bottom for the wheels, and you're ready to rock and roll. This rack also has zero contact with your frame, another pervious problem I've had, so I'm very happy about that! Lastly I love the tilting mechanism. I can fold it up when I'm not using it and tilt it back with the bikes on to access my trunk. 

Cons: So far the only problem I've had was loading TWO downhill mountain bikes on at the same time. It was a two lady job as one person was needed to hold the first bike steady as I loaded on the second one, and then brought the arms up. In the future, it would be nice to see a version that has the arms independently adjustable in order to put on bigger bikes one at a time. Realistically, this won't be much a of a problem as my go-to bikes are small enough to load each bike in one at a time with ease. 

There you have it! The new Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike rack in all of it's glory! If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Check out the detailed specs straight from the Saris website below:

  • Platform style hitch rack
  • Carries 2 bikes, up to 60 lb/each.
  • Two shepherd's hooks hold bike by top of both wheels -- does not touch the frame of the bike.
  • Sleek, compact and lightweight design transports two bikes on a single bar.
  • Adjustable arms and wheel trays fit almost any type of bicycle, including those with fenders, mountain bikes and ebikes; bike spacing accommodates widest combination of bicycles.
  • Integrated locking cable secures bikes to the rack.
  • Locking hitch pin secures rack to the car
  • Tilting feature allows access to rear of vehicle, even when fully loaded, and folds up when not in use.
  • Ratcheting arms pivot on case hardened brackets for superior strength.
  • Reflectors on outside wheel trays ensure extra visibility in low light.
  • Bottle opener integrated into tilt handle.
  • Built and tested to outlive the elements.
  • Universal hitch works with 1¼” and 2” hitch receivers.
  • Rack weight: 35 lb
  • This rack fits a wheelbase of up to 48”.
  • Universal wheel trays accommodate a wide variety of bikes and wheel sizes (up to 4” tires).
  • Wheel straps are provided for the rear wheel if needed for kids bikes, e-bikes and bikes with fenders.
  • For use with tires wider than 4”, add the Fat Tire Wheel Holders.
Here are some stock photos incase mine just aren't doing it for ya! 

Here are some stock photos incase mine just aren't doing it for ya! 

A weekend in Florida

This post was written for Specialized. See the original post here.

Well, it’s definitely no secret that my Camber and I have become quite the pair. My boyfriend and I have even started making a tiny course to practice on in our backyard AND I signed up for a Women’s Downhill Camp that’s happening in July. I pretty much jumped in with both feet to say the least. I’m still SO incredibly new, but very set on learning. 

This past weekend we took a trip to Destin for a little beach vacation and while we were there we thought we would visit a local MTB trail. We reached out for suggestions on social media, found the address of a trail near by, packed up our stuff, and headed out. The trail head had no map of the trail system, but plenty of bear warnings. As we’re riding along I’m thinking to myself how flat it is, no one would need anything more than a CX bike out here, easiest trail ever, so and so on and then BAM I over correct and throw myself into a tree. Just goes to show you that you can literally fall anywhere so use this as my friendly reminder to wear a helmet while riding. Regardless of the tiny scratches (and slightly hurt ego) I ended up with, we had fun, explored through the path of palm trees, admired the crazy amount of white moss, and of course stopped to take photos.

We finished the ride, stopped for acai bowls, and ended our day playing in the ocean while enjoying Floridas white sandy beaches. Bikes, food, and the beach - I’d say this is one of my favorite ways to spend a day.