Friday, March 28, 2014

A Friday Night in Manhattan.

I'm starting this post on Friday March 28th at 11:30pm. I'm writing this post in my ridiculously comfortable memory foam bed. And ya know what? I had a great day so I thought I would share it, because sharing is good and I haven't made a blog post in forevs. I'm half white, I can get away with saying the word forevs.

Considering this post is entitled A Friday Night in Manhattan I'll go ahead and jump to 5pm today. Although my morning was fantastic (I trained a few clients and taught a Zumba class and aSculpting class) I'm only going to give you details of my evening.

5pm I get on the Subway and head to the Lower East Side.

5:48pm I get to Essex Street to teach Zumba to kids at an Elementary School. I work with a non profit organization that promotes wellness in the schools from time to time so that's what I did. It was so much fun, I mean how can you not love kids? Kids are so excited and appreciative of the little things in life,they're like a breath of fresh air, well at least from time to time. I can't imagine having kids right now, I'm only 24, I got a few solid years left ....

7pm Today was the first day in NYC that the weather was above 50 degrees so I decided to go for a walk in the East Village after Zumba. I came across the comedy spot that I've been wanting to check out for months so I stayed and watched some amateur stand up, it was free and hilarious, and I seriously commend anyone who has ever gotten on stage and attempted comedy. After taking improv classes I truly believe that comedy is an art form and being funny isn't easy, it takes a lot of balls.

8pmish I continue my walk around the village, not looking to do anything in particular but I definitely didn't want to go home. I stop into a deli and grab some sort of Vegan cleansing juice, and on my way out I ran into a childhood friend. Considering that I grew up in West Virginia this is super random and awesome. We literally we went to school from elementary all the way through high school, she was one of the cool kids, we ran cross country together during senior year. We caught up for a few minutes, then her friend asked me where I lived so I told her that I lived in Harlem.

And I always get the same sort of "ohhh" response. It's terrible that I feel that I need to explain to people why I live in Harlem, but my apartment is really big and nice and hella cheap and it's a one bedroom. It may not be the nicest neighborhood in town, or the safest, or the cleanest but Harlem has swag, and I'm pretty sure I get some street cred points for living up here.

9pmish After running into my friend I saw a pretty blue sign that said "$10 basic palm readings." That's right, I went to a physic. And although I don't believe that anyone can predict the future I do believe that are some people with a special hyper intuition that can teach you about yourself and solve problems. She told me I'm impatient and sometimes too honest for my own good, she hit the nail on the head with that one. I thought the reading was a little on the short side, it was only about 3 minutes but it's all good. I've been to 2 readings in the past, I never got sucked into paying more than $10 but I've always found it to be money well spent.

9:20pmish I stumble into a restaurant that only serves chicken nuggets, like really good grassfed chicken nuggets. Do I need to elaborate further. I basically had sex in my mouth. After leaving nugget heaven I came across the Trader Joe's wine store. The only place in town that you can get a decent bottle of wine for $3 and I'm seldom in the area so every time I go I pick up 3-4 bottles invite my friends over for wine night. Why not. I picked up 3 bottles for $12, and my cashier guessed I was 23 years old, that's pretty much 2 years younger than I am. Score.

10:00pm ish I get home to Harlem and wash dishes and marinate some tuna steaks for tomorrow. I was actually supposed to go on a date tonight but I gave him a raincheck, he's hot but his personality is kinda stale so I'll probably never actually go out with him. Dating in NYC can be a living hell or a great way to save money on food depending on how you look at it.

12:04pm and now I'm here finishing up my post, in my bed,finally being in the moment of this whole writing process and all I can think about is how funny life is. How I have to be up at 8:15am tomorrow so I can teach classes and train people. How hopefully I can convince my friends to go out tomorrow because it's been forever and I just need a drink a little rachetness. About all the stuff I didn't share in this post and how much fun my life is when I actually put it into perspective. About those hazel eyes. And on that...goodnight.

XoXo

-AminaZena

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

No Body Is Perfect

One thing I've learned from working as a personal trainer is that everyone has hang ups about their body.  I've found that even the most "perfect" looking people find something to pick at, and as I've experience my own changes I've come to realize that the more in shape you get the more critical you become.

 The first thing I do when I begin working with someone is sit down and ask them their goals, I take their weight and body fat and we talk about why they want to work with me in the first place.
"I want to lose weight, tone up and be healthy" is pretty much the initial response I get. Basic. No depth. People tell me that at first because they don't want to expose their insecurities, but I see right through it and dig deeper. I'll ask why, do they have an event, a wedding coming up? Sometimes that is the answer and that is pretty self explanatory- wanting to look your best as you walk down the aisle makes sense, but I don't only work with brides and grooms, I would be broke as a joke if that was the case.

I continue to ask questions, because that's my job and that's who I am. Anyone who I'm friends with in real life knows that I'm wide open, I keep it "real" so to speak, uncensored and I like a good conversation. I'm genuinely interested in people, I love to listen just as much as I love to talk and that's what makes me great at what I do. Personal training is, well, personal so in order for me to train my clients in the best way possible I have to know them, who they are, what makes them tick. 

After 5-10 minutes minutes of asking the same question in about 10 different ways the wall starts to fall down a little bit, and they start grabbing their belly fat and telling me about their flabby arms and wanting to get back in shape because they just broke up, or they were always picked last in gym class, or they want to build muscle to impress their cute coworker, or they're depressed and need something to help them get out of a slump, or they need to be on point for an upcoming show.

And although I know that anyone and everyone- celebrities and professional athletes included- can improve their physical appearance and athletic capabilities I sometimes ask myself why certain people have sought out my services. Believe me, I appreciate their business, but sometimes catch myself wondering how such an athletic and good looking person comes to me with such insecurities.

I work with some women who have great bodies, dime pieces, could be models, curves in all the right place, no cellulite, flat stomach, already toned, who look in the mirror and say that their shoulders are too broad or that their legs are too skinny or their boobs are too big. I work with guys who have poppin 6 packs and say that they feel weak and undefined. And sometimes I  even catch myself wishing, if only my thighs were a little tighter, my arms a little more sculpted, my abs a little flatter. 

It's easy to indulge in feeling bad about yourself, but it won't get you anywhere. The worse you feel about yourself the worse you treat yourself. You'll end up eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's 3 nights a week and it just ends up being a vicious cycle that never ends. Nobody is perfect and even someone who appears to be perfect sees flaws. We all feel down from time to time, but that shouldn't be the way you feel all the time. 

When it comes to fitness, you can't just focus on the looks, you'll go crazy if you haven't already. Your goal should be to achieve, to do 5 more pushups this week, to improve your 5k race time by 1 minute, to get up to your 5th floor walk up without losing your breath and the improved looks will come. It's a package deal; get better at doing something in the gym and you'll look better as a result. Make fitness strictly about fitness and you'll end up looking better than you thought you ever could - I know this first hand.
This is my before and after, even though some people might think I was fat before I thought I looked good, and all of my workouts were based on fitness goals, and not aesthetic goals.  I ended up looking better without really tying because working out was and still is all about fitness for me. 

So in the meantime stop criticizing yourself so much and accept the fact that you are amazing just the way you are! You're not perfect and that's okay, and your recent crushes' ex girlfriend who's always posting swimsuit selfies on Instagram isn't perfect either. We're all imperfect but that's what makes us special, that's what gives us our uniqueness, our look, our "thing" that no one else has. So stop being being so hard on yourself and go hard in the gym instead. Eat clean, get your sleep, drink water, workout like a beast and trust that there is more than one person out there who thinks you have a bangin body and would love to grind up on ya in the club all night long!



That's all I got for now. Go check out my YouTube channel and Instagram page for more fitness stuff!

XoXo, 
 AminaZena

E-mail:        aminazena@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Food Labels Lie


We live in a society where everything is all about labels- you have to have the newest Nikes, you need to rock the Louis Vuitton purse, the Apple computer. All these labels matter, they mean high quality, high status, and the same thing applies to your food.

Believe it or not, food companies lie on their packaging and the government doesn’t really care that they do. There are bunches of knock off foods running around and the FDA and the USDA really don’t regulate shit.  Hostess Bakery could plaster “Whole Wheat” all over their Twinkie packages and swear up and down that their Ho-Ho’s are “Organic”; doesn’t mean that they are and it doesn’t mean they’ll get in trouble for it either.

Just because you pick up a package that says “All Natural” doesn’t mean it is.  If you really want to know what you’re eating you either need to grow it your damn self or you need to read the ingredients list. It’s the only way to know if what you’re eating is safe and isn’t full of growth hormones and pig feces.

Bread is the best example of this.  Breads (and pastas) with labels and packaging  that says 100 percent whole wheat can in fact only be made with whole wheat flour; products that are 100 percent whole wheat are usually organic and can be found at health food stores. Anything that isn’t 100 percent whole wheat is made with white flour, stripped of nutritional value and full of sugars and carbs that give you cellulite.

So other not so healthy breads try to get away with looking healthy by putting things like “multi-grain” and “made with whole wheat” on the labels to seem like they’re just as healthy as their competitor – fucking posers.  Breakfast cereals like Trix say that they use more whole grain than any other ingredient- they do, they use whole grain corn which has basically no nutritional value at all.  

Wonder Bread and Wheat Thins do the same thing; claiming to be made with healthy grains when in reality they just food coloring to make their white flour look more like whole wheat- SMH.

The same goes for eggs- labels that say things like ‘cage-free’ and ‘free-range’ try to make it seem like the  eggs you’re eating come from cute little chickens that pranced around on a sunny farm their whole life. The only qualification for eggs to meet that labeling guideline is that the hens were not raised in a battery cage. The hen could still be full of steroids and grew up in a warehouse, was beaten on a regular basis and literally never saw the light of day - so freakin’ messed up.  The best way to check your egg quality is to buy them from a local organic farmer or to look for the “Animal Welfare Approved” label.

Like stated earlier the only way to really know what you’re eating is to grow it your damn self, but the second best way is to read the ingredients list. A good rule of thumb is- if you can’t pronounce it don’t eat it. Another good rule of thumb is to use your common sense-duh.

If you’re eating something that’s bright neon green, covered in sprinkles or can be fully cooked in the microwave in under 10 seconds and says “All Natural” on the package it’s pretty obvious that it’s not. Don’t be an idiot.

Another rule of thumb; the less ingredients the better. One time I was craving mashed potatoes but I didn’t have time to cut and peel them so I opted for the instant kind. I had a package of instant potatoes from Idahoan, I took one look at the ingredients list and stopped counting after 25. I then went to Whole Foods, bought a box of potato flakes and the only ingredient was dehydrated potatoes. That’s 1 ingredient compared to over 25, and the Whole Foods brand is cheaper!

Eating right isn’t this black and white thing, it’s a big gray mess, but the quality of your food matters just as much at the calories you eat, what you’re eating, when you’re eating and how much you’re eating.

I always encourage people to shop at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s because they’re companies dedicated to providing you with quality, ethical foods and they don’t sell anything that isn’t made with top notch ingredients. Even though I read the labels to everything I buy it’s nice to go to store and not have to worry about picking up something that might be infected with E coli or get recalled for having traces of lead and arsenic in it - and for the last damn time, eating healthy is not more expensive.


That's all I got for now.

XoXo, 
 AminaZena

E-mail:        aminazena@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How To Be Confident

I have a medium sized list of tangible achievements. Landing big roles in high school plays, beating my own personal records in cross country races, I've earned scholarships, graduated from college, became a certified personal trainer, moving to NYC.  Blah, blah blah the list goes on.

But it's not these "accomplishments" that made me confident. I was confident therefore I achieved.

And I started to think about all the times I got what I wanted, I think about how I was so self assured. I'm not just talking about the big stuff like getting a job or an apartment. I think about the little things like how I was able to get a cab driver to take me somewhere for 10 dollars cheaper than he should've charged me, or how I was able to get in a club where I didn't know anyone at the door before all the people waiting in line, or how I can get pretty much any guy I want to wine and dine me and chase me for months on end without giving him so much as hug goodnight.

(My number 1 confidence jam)

And then I think about all of the times I failed and how it was pretty much a self fulfilling prophecy. All the times I've been rejected from jobs, or on my YouTube channel, or failed a test. Every single time I've been rejected or let down it's because I didn't think I was good enough, and that's definitely not the case the majority of the time, but it was in those moments of self doubt when I failed. You see where I'm going with this?

True confidence cannot be faked, that's called cockiness. True confidence comes from believing in yourself so much that other people will believe in you too. So how does one become confident? Why should you believe in yourself?

The real question is, why shouldn't you?

The most important step to be confident is to think positively. Stop saying I can't, instead say I will. Try it before you give up on it. So many times we tell ourselves we can't do something or that we shouldn't do something because we're afraid to fail, when in reality the only way you fail is by not trying. Write down a list of all the things you like about yourself and keep it somewhere where you can see it everyday. Just for a day let go for the fear and self doubt you've been clinging onto for so long and realize you're not so bad after all.

Decide that you are worthy of a great and wonderfully fulfilled life - not that you necessarily deserve it, but that you are worthy. Quite frankly you don't deserve anything you didn't earn. Just know that you as a person are worth great things and you can have whatever you work for. You were put on this planet for a reason, you have a purpose to serve.

But don't just talk about it, BE ABOUT IT. When you are engaged, and passionate and doing what you love something inside of you shifts. You feel alive, you feel assured, you feel as if you can do anything and no one can stop you. That's your confidence building up.

It's only when you start taking action and working on becoming a better person (or at least good at a certain task or trade) that you will be in a position to provide value to the world. When you bring value to the world is when you can start demanding certain privileges and treatment. Value doesn't always mean something you can make money from. Being a good listener, an upbeat person, a reliable friend; all these things add value to your life and the value you will be able to bring to others. You get what you give.

Looking good most certainly helps with confidence, and of course as a personal trainer I'm going to tell you to get in shape, walk tall and take care of yourself. Self grooming and having your own personal style matter, your outside is a direct reflection of what's inside, one does not outweigh the other. Think about the most confident people you know, they are probably some of the best looking people you know too. Healthy body = healthy mind = looking good = feeling good= doing good = confidence.

Make promises to yourself and keep them. If you make a promise to someone else keep it. Set standards, set the bar high and dedicate yourself to being the best version of you.

Being confident is not just state of mind, it's not just for celebrities and people who are in the limelight, being confident is a way of life. Waking up each day and being ready to go, ready to overcome obstacles and knowing that you are that bitch ( at least that's what I tell myself). Know your worth and know that you are awesome, be proud of how far you've come and excited to see how far you can go, don't be afraid to brag on yourself,stay humble and open to growth. Live and breathe that ish!

(Dancing like everyone is watching, that's real confidence lol )

And there you have it, my ideas on how to be confident in a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed =)


That's all I got for now.

XoXo, 
 AminaZena

E-mail:        aminazena@gmail.com




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20 Fun Ways to Get Some Cardio In This Fall

Ahh, it's officially fall and it's never felt so good! The crisp breeze, the colorful leaves on all the trees, and it's the perfect time to get some cardio in without worrying about heat exhaustion and hideous sports bra tan-lines. Let's get that heart rate up!!






That's all I got for now.

XoXo, 
 AminaZena

E-mail:        aminazena@gmail.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

Get Over Yourself and Start Living Already


A lot of people are afraid to tap into their potential and be the best version of themselves, and if everybody did the world would be full of great people doing big things. We’d all be happy, healthy, financially stable and no one would be suffering, but that’s clearly not the case. And if I would of read something like this 3 or 4 years ago I would probably get squeamish - actually I wouldn’t have read something like this 3 or 4 years ago because I was too busy partying and pretending to do homework. Nothing wrong with that, but my point is that sooner or later it’s time to grow up.



Don’t get it twisted though, growing up doesn’t mean you have to put on a suit everyday and stop laughing at silly jokes and act like life is just one big serious ordeal. Growing up means realizing that you were given certain gifts and strengths to utilize to make the world a better place. See, everyone is good at something, everyone has something they like to do, and everyone has a dream. Most people aren’t living their dreams though, and it’s actually quite upsetting and perplexing to me. 

I’ve gathered that most people are just kinda scraping by at some job that they really don’t like at all. Wearing what everyone else is wearing, doing what everyone else is doing, always worrying what other people are thinking about them and trying to so hard to ignore that nagging voice inside their head that keeps trying to tell them to stop caring so much and just live. It's a pretty common theme; the result of fear and lame excuses. I’ve spent countless hours reading blog posts about people who couldn’t take it anymore and decided to actually live their dreams instead of wasting away behind a cubicle (no offense if you actually like your cubicle), and I decided that I wanted to contribute, although I’m not exactly where I’d like to be yet.

You see, I’ve haven't quite felt the feelings that I’ve just described to you because I don't try to surpress my inner desires, but I can empathize because I know what it’s like to feel fear. I sometimes fear that I won’t end up living the life that I’ve envisioned for myself, or that I’ll never meet the right guy, or that I’m making a fool of myself on the internet (well, I kind of enjoying making a fool of myself on the internet but that’s besides the point). I’m more afraid of not reaching my goals than caring about what others will think if I go after them. I’ve been “different” my whole life, and I spent a lot of it wanting so bad to fit in, but one day in middle school I realized that being a bi-racial girl with an afro, a big butt and a twin brother in the suburbs of a college town in the middle of West Virginia wasn’t gonna cut it as “normal."

So I decided to embrace it and I’m definitely glad I did because it’s taken me far. Even when I’m tired, or feeling uncertain I take steps forward, because despite the occasional bouts of insecurity I know that one day I’m going to get to where I want to be (which includes a fine-ass, rich and loving manfriend/husband). It’s all about adopting that do or die attitude, and as extreme as it sounds, it’s what needs to be done if you want results. I’m not trying to get all new age on you, but if you really want something for all the right reasons, and are working towards it the Universe will conspire and meet you halfway to make sure your goals are met. I moved to NYC with absolutely no money, no friends and no job, and I’m here I am one year later with great friends, multiple streams of income and a beautiful one bedroom apartment - that’s not luck, that’s Devine intervention whether you want to believe it or not. 


Now I’m not this outrageously successful public figure turned rap star/ athlete who overcame a life of extreme poverty and disease, and there are many entertainers that I admire myself but sometimes what you need more than dose of fantasy is a dose of reality. I’m just like you, I’m your peer, I went to college and found that my degree doesn’t mean much, I’ve worked sucky office and restaurant jobs, and I’m not going to tell you that following your dreams is easy but I know for fact that it is worth it. I also know for a fact that if you want something you got to go get it, and give it your all while you do because you only get one shot at life and your life could end tomorrow. Hell it could end as you’re reading this sentence.  

So many people post Facebook statuses and Twitter updates about only living once and following your dreams but how many people are really doing just that? It’s easy to get inspired for a few minutes after listening to your favorite artist, or watching your favorite movie, but it’s time that you stay inspired, and that you get focused, and take positive action instead of day dreaming your life away.

Whether you want to be the world’s best chef, or school teacher, or hair dresser, or start a day care, or be a pop star, now is the time. Now is all you got. Set a clear plan of action for yourself, set goals and get shit done. Strive for excellence in everything you do and excellent is what you’ll be. Everyone has a different idea of what their perfect life is, and I’m certainly not going to tell you what that is, that’s up for you to decide. I just want to encourage and motivate you, and to let you know that you’re not a lone out there. 

And although it’s imperative that you set goals, and keep setting goals once you’ve met the previous ones, the most important thing of all is that you learn to love the process. Life is a journey, not a destination. There is so much beauty in everyday life, but you’ll miss it if you spend your time doing something you hate and not being present to take it all in. So to answer your question there is more to life, it just a matter of whether or not you’ll go out and see for yourself.

Okay, my brain hurts, and I can only be sentimental and meaningful for so long before I want to start talking about makeup and boys. So I’m out. I hope you gained something from this post. Don’t act like you didn’t. We gotta work on making the inside look just as good as the outside! 


Sexy is a LIFESTYLE.

That's all I got for now. Later Bitches.

XoXo, 
 AminaZena

E-mail:        aminazena@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

10 Little Ways To Look Better


When it comes to your looks, a little attention to detail goes a long way. These are just a few tips on how to go from good to great. 


10.Keep Your Eyebrows Plucked- eyebrows absolutely make or break your face, you should really keep them shaped at all times. Nobody should look like they have 2 caterpillars on their forehead. Either buy a pair of tweezers or get them waxed or threaded by someone else. Not too thin tho, keep it classy.

9. Nix the Panty lines. This isn’t 1979, and panty lines are absolutely atrocious, if it’s that time of the month it’s a little more understandable but you can always wear a loose skirt or dress to cover those granny panty lines up. Otherwise it’s seamless boy shorts and thongs FTW.

8.Having Good Posture- For goodness sakes stand up straight! Sit up and walk tall and proud muthafucka! Slouchy is anti sexy in both men and women and is often the result of weak back muscles, try doing more back exercises in your work outs, and if you aren’t working out you betta start!

7.Whiten Your Teeth-  If you look in the mirror and see even a twinge of yellow you’re well overdue for a teeth whitening session. There’s no excuse to have yellow teeth. You can whiten your teeth with a 2 dollar box of baking soda or use an all natural product for $10 by Britenz.  You can’t even slightly justify having yellow teeth, you really can’t.

6. Keep Your Nails Did - Now I personally think that a woman should always have some form of polish on her nails, even if it’s a clear top coat. Maintaining your nails doesn’t take much time and boy oh boy does it make a difference. People see your hands all day, and even more importantly YOU see your hands all day, they should be worth looking at. TOES included.

5. Flattering Hair Cut- it goes without saying that you should always leave your house with your hair done, but if you have an unflattering hair cut it won’t matter if it’s done or not. The hair cut you want and the hair cut you need might be 2 different things, you should research which kinds of cuts go with your face shape, it really makes a world of difference.

4. A Touch of Make Up- I think all females should wear a little make up when stepping out of the house, especially if you’re single because you never know who you might meet and you definitely don’t want to look like shit if you meet someone great. A little tinted moisturizer, mascara, and lip gloss can go a long way. If you’re not really into wearing makeup I suggest you that head over to Sephora and play around and see if you feel the same way after you leave. You won’t.

3. Blingage- an outfit is only as good as the accessories you wear with it. You can turn a basic t-shirt and jeans combo from fugly and boring to super cute and fun with the right ring or necklace. And the best part about jewelry is that you can find ultra cheap stuff that actually looks good. Don’t get too avant-garde with it though, jewelry is meant to accentuate you not embarrass you.

2.Clothes that fit - If you’re swimming in your in your blouse or have a muffin top pouring out of your slacks your shit doesn’t fit right and you know it. It’s not hard to tell when clothes don’t fit because you can feel that they don’t fit. Clothes should lay nicely on your body, they should be fitted, comfortable and functional - but when in doubt choose looking good over comfort- this is the age of Facebook and nobody wants to look like shit on the internet.

1. Having a nice body- this isn’t a little thing, but I’m a personal trainer and exercise instructor so what do you expect. Truth be told, no matter how much make up you wear or how good your hair looks, the appearance of your body trumps everything. Looking like you’re out of shape has never been in. So if you aren’t on your working out/ eating right game now is the time to start.



Sexy is a LIFESTYLE.

That's all I got for now. Later Bitches.

XoXo, 
 AminaZena

E-mail:        aminazena@gmail.com