How to gain confidence in 10 days…

We live in a world where a bare busom can “break the internet” and in order to “see” models you don’t have to buy a magazine – It’s at the tip of your fingers – scrolling down on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feed. We live in a world where just about everything can be accessed instantly by the click of a button. Men and women automatically know how to describe the “perfect” body.  Instant gratification seems to be of the utmost importance and maybe it’s also the reason why you came across this post – you want to gain confidence in just 10 days. Well, my love, read on because I really wanted your attention. 

This blog is my safe space. It’s the place where I can be as brutally honest with myself and share that honesty with others. Some might not call me an “expert” on these topics, but I am here to offer my experiences and hopefully, offer a good tip or two in the process.

This post came from so many conversations I’ve had in the past few weeks and thoughts I’ve always pondered over for years.

Self-esteem & true confidence.

Simple words that have an insane amount of meaning. Now, if I were to ask you to describe yourself as having low or high esteem, which word would you choose?

I haven’t always been 100% comfortable in my own skin. It has taken a lot of time and a lot of self reflection to accept and LOVE the person I am, flaws and all. My body, my weight, my hair all have changed over the years and they continue to change. My jean size has always fluctuated but I’ve never been a size 1 or 2.. I’m a pretty curvy girl especially in regards to my height. If we are being technical, I’ve been told by the doctors that I was “overweight” in proportion to my height and I made sure to take that serious.

Let me take you back to an experience I had in High School when my body really began changing. It was a time when I was gaining a lot of weight, especially around my hips and waist. I was made fun of and told that I had to lose weight because I was going to become “too voluptuous”. My big lips were always the topic of conversation and my short height was always on display. I remember crying one day to my mother about all of this, and I will never forget what she told me. She said that when she was my age, she was ridiculed in El Salvador for being too skinny. I could not believe it. As my mother informed me, a size 0 wasn’t something to be proud of in my culture (Latin American), but when she came to the United States, it was the complete opposite. She thought about how American culture glorifies the skinny girl and diminishes the curvy girl. She proceeded to tell me that depending on where I would go and who was looking at me, I might be too big or too small for their liking but reminded  me that this shouldn’t ever matter. What should NEVER happen, my mother said, was the part where you actual believe that what they’re saying about you is your truth.

It took me a while to realize the honesty behind what my mother told me when I was younger. Depending on who was looking at me, they might think I was TOO much of something. She’s too skinny, she’s too curvy, she’s too short, she’s too feminine, too tomboyish.

This helped me come to one of the biggest revelations that I live by: I have the power to define what being beautiful means. To me, there is no such thing as being too much of anything, I just am. My duty to myself is to aim to be the healthiest version of myself and truly love every inch and every curve.

Being healthy and completely loving & accepting yourself just as you are, is how I define true confidence.

My advice to everyone regardless of age and size is this: love yourself. Truly love yourself. We all have something special about us–even incredible, unknown talents. Use them for good.

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Need some tips on how to begin gaining more confidence? Read these quick 5 tips I recommend you start doing today.

  1. Smile more. No one, and I mean NO ONE, has the same smile as you. Go ahead, smile at the mirror, girl. Show yourself that when no one is looking, the person starring back at you in the mirror is happy and feels that way too.

  2. Stop COMPARING yourself to celebrities, friends, complete strangers, humans, aliens etc. Just stop it. Guess what? You and the person you are comparing yourself to weren’t meant to be the same. You both have gifts, talents, and qualities that make you just that, you.

  3. Embrace your imperfections. Know thyself. When I finally realized how perfectly imperfect I was, the way I viewed beauty completely changed.  Don’t let people dictate who you are or how you should feel about yourself.                                              IN MY EXPERIENCE: When someone tries to bring me down for, let’s say, my height (i’m a short gal), I take no offense because I’m completely accepting of my height. I’d rather make a witty remark to show that person it doesn’t bother me. When people say I’m short in a negative conation, I tell them “I think God just wanted me to have a lot of hair.”

  4. Try new things. Try that new hairstyle or fashion trend you want to. Sometimes pushing our comfort zones we learn new things about ourself and bodies. I did a boudoir shoot and it unexpectedly made me feel that much more comfortable in my own skin.
  5. Last but not least, stay humble, my friends. This world is filled with a lot of people who believe they are walking gods and that their looks or bodies should be worshipped (especially on Instagram/social media). I assure you, being grateful and humble will definitely go a longer way than being boastful and conceited. God has given you the beauty and talents so that you can be the best version of yourself!
    Don’t forget what Queen Bey said: “Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.”

My special advice to younger girls is this: when it comes to the pressure some girls feel about guys and finding “the one”, the right person for you will absolutely love everything about you, flaws and all. I can honestly say, that not every guy wants that “perfect” 5’11 size 2 with C or DD cups and the roundest, perkiest perfect busom type of girl because I wouldn’t be with my guy if that was the case (I’m short and a member of the itty bitty committee). Just like we have this idea of what perfect is, a guy’s idea of perfect could be [insert your name here]. You my darling, are FLAWLESS***

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Confidence is something that I feel I work on every day and it’s those small things we do every day that lead us to be the best version of ourselves.

This post is dedicated to two special teenage girls whom I love very much – Lynae and Dayana. You girls are growing up in an era where the internet is so in your face about defining how you should look and act but you both are the epitome of beautiful and I hope you never forget that. ❤

XO,

JoJo

5 Reasons why every woman should do a Boudoir shoot!

I wanted to share with you all a unique experience that although I am late at posting about it (blame life) it’s something that can be done anytime. Back in February I got to do something I had never done before in my life – a boudoir shoot. A couple of boss babes that I know hosted a pop-up boudoir shoot in their home and I quickly jumped on the opportunity. I must admit, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be, since I made the decision to turn any fears (or complexes) I had into pure excitement! I left the shoot feeling like a million bucks and I promised myself that I would let all my confidence-seeking ladies know about it. If you haven’t done a boudoir photo shoot before, this is a MUST. 

5 Reasons why I think every woman should do a Boudoir shoot!

  1. It makes you feel sexy. I must admit even though my boo was going to be the one receiving these pictures, this really became more of a gift for myself! I loved getting my makeup done and putting on lingerie and being one with all my perfect imperfections. The photographer walked me through certain poses and it felt like I was channeling my inner Rihanna for a quick second.
  2. It helped me appreciate my body for all that it is. When I saw the pictures I was like DAMN THAT GIRL SHOULD BE ON AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. But in all seriousness, the setting and the poses helped me to find my groove and find positions that flattered me the most. The pictures were beautiful and most importantly I fell in love just a tad bit more with my true self.
  3. Girl Power. I must admit, I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable and empowered if it weren’t all the females around me. Believe it or not, you build connections with every person around you and it’s a dope feeling! 
  4. Owning it! Doing this shoot really helped me push myself to own my sexuality and not be ashamed of it. Towards the end of the shoot, I had become so comfortable I was asking the photographer “Did you get this side?”, “What about this side?” 😉
  5. I came out of the shoot feeling confident AF. This shoot made me see that even though i’m working out like crazy and I don’t have 3D abs (yet), there is beauty in the process. I honestly can’t wait for my next shoot! (want to read more about confidence? check out this post

I want to take the time to thank Charly & Cortney for hosting this pop-up! They made the whole process so smooth and had me feeling super comfortable. You babes rock! I can’t wait for the next pop up photoshoot, and to all my ladies reading this post–get in touch with me via Instagram or my website to get the scoop on the next photoshoot!  

A letter…

To my readers:

These past few weeks have been filled with all types of emotions. From happiness to deep sorrow, it has felt as though the universe has been throwing all sorts of experiences my way. My blog has been a place for me to be honest; a place to share my experiences and live my truth. This year my aim will be to do both a mix of blogging and vlogging in order to share as much content as I can. 

This blog post is a catch-up and I’m using it to set a tone for this upcoming year. I’ve come to realize it’s okay to NOT be ready to speak on things that may be going on, but I do plan to share much more in efforts to help any reader that may be going through the same or similar situations. 

Just in the past 4 weeks alone, I have undergone a spectrum of experiences. There were some days where it hurt more to wake up and others it seemed impossible to fall asleep. There were times of joy and laughter and others of serenity + peace. I was filled with joy as I watched one of my best friends say “I do” to a wonderful man and the love of her life, and I’ve been learning how to deal with grief as I said a final goodbye to a woman I loved so much and was like a second mother to me. These times have been extra tough, and normally, working out has been the outlet that keeps me grounded and has provided a way for me to relieve stress. However, I had to undergo a small, yet important surgical procedure that has left me in a recovery mode where I haven’t been allowed to work out. 

Nevertheless, I am back and I have taken this time to fill myself with good energy and spent a lot of time reflecting and growing my soul more spiritually. I’ve had a theme since the beginning of the year that has been helping me with setting my tone for the day, and I wanted to share it with you all. I have come to realize and truly believe that it is my duty to live out my best life. From reading The Alchemist to the signs I’ve felt the universe is sending me – each morning as I wake up I remind myself that I have a responsibility to the universe to try each day to live out my best life. So far, it has allowed me to reflect on how I choose to spend my hours and energy, and has helped me to accept that I am a constant work in progress.

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Peace & Love,
#TheBmoreGypsy

Living Proof – Dry Shampoo and dry volume blast (review)

I finally found my new favorite dry shampoo! Influenster sent me Living proof’s new dry shampoo that has helped take the excess oil and gave my that extra push my hair needed. I work out a lot and this dry shampoo is a lifesaver. I absolutely would recommend this product and it’s so easy to use. I personally liked the smell and in less than a minute the dry shampoo worked wonders for this girl on the go. Living Proof sent me these samples to try and now I’m obsessed. I used the dry shampoo volume spray as well and it provided just the right amount volume for my already big hair (see pic below). I would definitely recommend this product for anyone looking for a good dry shampoo especially if you working out a lot as I was.

Intermittent Fasting 101: What it is & How to start

I decided to try Intermittent Fasting (IF) about 3 weeks ago when it was suggested that it could help me burn fat quicker and keep me on a clean eating pattern. I felt like I had a steady workout routine but I wasn’t seeing as much progress as I thought I would. Again, for me it’s about being fully aware of my body & its limits thus knowing I could push myself a bit more. I was starting to work out at least 3-5 times a week and when I told my boyfriend I wanted to step it up he suggested I try Intermittent fasting and the first thing I did was obsess over the research. One of the blogs I found helpful to educate me on what IF was and how to do it was Lean Gains. The blog goes through the different types of fasting and the actual science behind what it does to our bodies and the research that has been done. After reading his blog and a dozen other articles (this site is dedicated to IF) I was excited to begin trying it. I decided to do the 16/8 intermittent fasting which basically means 8 hour eating window (that I choose) and 16 hour fasting window.

Side note: you can have liquids (I stick to water tea & coffee only) when you’re fasting (for my coffee addicts, black coffee is allowed in the mornings – hooray!).

My 16/8 Intermittent fasting experience so far…
I am currently going on my 4th week of intermittent fasting and I must tell you all – I feel great. To say I was worried about how long I could do this fasting would be an understatement. When my boyfriend first told me about it, I read about it religiously to make sure this would be something I felt I could do and work for me. You see, I am one of those people that believed breakfast was the most important meal of the day and I NEVER skipped breakfast. It didn’t matter if I was running late or if the world was coming to an end – I’d always have breakfast within an hour of waking up.The first day I tried IF, I set my eating window from 11- 7pm so I could ease my way into “skipping” breakfast. After the first day, I felt like I could push my body to do a 12pm-8pm eating window and I would then try and get a workout in before breaking my fast. Now depending on when I work out and what my schedule allows I either do the 12-8pm or 1pm – 9pm window. In the past 3 weeks I haven’t gotten any headaches (I am prone to headaches/migraines) and I note this because I always had the misconception that if I didn’t eat soon as I woke up it would mess with my health and even give me a headache – again, it’s about awareness and being in control of your mind and thoughts.  

Suggestions that have worked for me
Life happens and if you’re like me I have a job that’s more of a 8 – 6pm and on top of that I sometimes travel for work. With that said, I had to go Austin for a couple of days and I was a little worried on how well I was going to keep up with my fasting. So of course I consulted with David to see if I should stop for a couple of days and he told me the following, “…your body is already getting used to the fasting, try to keep up with it and push your body within reason.” This was just the right push I needed because I don’t know about you but my mind is not only my biggest ally but also my biggest challenger. By doing this fasting I have seen how much power our mind has sometimes to STOP us from thinking we can push our bodies physically. In the beginning my mind was telling me, you’re going to get headaches, you’re going to be cranky, you’re so hungry just quit but I pushed through all that noise because I know why I’m doing this. I ended up continuing my fasting throughout my trip and I made sure I drank more water while I was on the plane (dehydration is real up in the clouds). Also, let’s talk about drinking (alcoholic drinks). I would be lying if I told you I don’t enjoy a drink or two or three but while doing IF I am limiting myself to red wine (2 glasses) when I feel like I want to indulge in a drink. While I was SxSw in Austin the party was sponsored by Tito’s Vodka which is actually one of the better liquors (no carb/sugar and low cal) but again you should be drinking in moderation. While I was SxSw I indulged in some vodka but I made sure to drink lots of water too (we were outside for 7 hours).

Scheduling up your week
The schedule I try to stick to is below. This is if you wanted to get an idea of how to structure your schedule. Sundays are usually the best days to see what you’re working with during the week and so you can mentally plan and prepare yourself for the week.

If I think I’m going to workout in the morning: If I think I’m going to workout at noon: If I think I’m going to workout after work:
Wake up at 7am – drink coffee and tea and lots of water

11am – workout

12pm – Meal one

530pm- meal two

730pm – meal three

Wake up at 7am – drink coffee and tea and lots of water

12pm – workout

1pm Meal one

6pm – meal two

8:15pm – meal three

 

Wake up at 7am – drink coffee and tea and lots of water

12pm – meal one

4pm – meal two (even if it’s smaller meal)

6pm – workout  

7pm – meal three

 


The IF journey
It’s important for me to remind myself to always check in with myself to see how my body is feeling and what it’s doing. I always give myself certain challenges to hit before my birthday (April 22) and I have seen the progress in doing this for 3 weeks. In the first two weeks I started noticing I was starting to shed fat around my hips (jeans were looking kinda lose this past weekend) which is all good – but again my goal is to lose fat but build muscle. That said, 4ShoFitness told me it was time to step both my workout regiment and protein intake up a notch. Right now, my focus is now to reduce my carb intake (<50g a day) and increase my protein intake. I’m trying to increase the intensity in my workouts but again always paying attention to what I’m feeding my body. My waist is slimming down but my energy levels are higher than normal. (I rarely step on a scale but for sake of my next post I might take measurements and weigh myself for actual numbers)

So, what should you eat during IF?
This is the most important part of the fasting, deciding what to put in our bodies and sometimes we make this more complicated than it should be. Honestly, I did this for so long to my personal trainer – asking the constant question – WHAT SHOULD I BE EATING? and the answer never really varied. Protein + Veggies. It’s that simple. For the first two weeks I was just trying to get used to the schedule of my eating window so I tried to eat as lean, clean and green as I could but I wasn’t focusing on my carb intake as much – again I just wanted to get my schedule and habits working. Now, as I’m going on my third week of IF I am limiting my carbs to consume at most 50g of carbs each day. Again, if I can limit eating carbs to lunch that’s ideal – but if absolutely not possible, don’t be hard on yourself and just try and plan for the next day. It’s all about honoring your body and being in tune with what your body is telling you. I try and eat 3 meals during my window and what I’ve noticed is that by eating later I have kind of curved my cravings for snacks. Usually if I’m hungry it’s just time to eat a meal and I’m ok with that.

 

How to get started
When I first decided to do it, I decided to start at 11am the first day because it was right in between 10am (that latest I usually have bfast) and 12pm (when I usually have lunch) this way I could end right around the time I got home from work and still feel good. The first day went well – felt kinda weird but it wasn’t awful. The next day I aimed for noon. Depending on when you can get your workout in, I would suggest trying to break your fast after your workout (again if your schedule allows). I feel invigorated if I get to workout before breaking my fast but sometimes my full-time job doesn’t allow me to do that and it’s ok. If I can’t workout during the day, I just workout after work and go hard.

I hope this post sparks some insight on IF and if you’re interested in joining me reach out to me! Like I said this is a journey and you’re not alone.

What are your fitness goals?
Are you interested or going to try IF, if so what time frame will you be trying?   

 

(Feel free to comment below if you’re interested in in IF and you’ll be starting this week.)
#Fit4Sho #LetsHustle

Workout Motivation: The Start of a New Fitness Journey

What a journey it has been! I wrote a post on my health and fitness journey about two years ago when I started to really start to see my metabolism and body changing. It was during that time that I started to focus on nutrition and health and looking at more natural remedies whenever I felt under the weather.

Fast forward to March 2017 and I haven’t stopped learning about health and fitness. This year in particular I have been challenging my body to lift more weights and to eat healthier every day. The most difficult part to my journey so far has been pushing myself to skip over foods that don’t provide much nutritional value and opt for foods that nourish and are good for my body. I love food so much and a year ago I was the Queen of the brunch scene and was always on top of the newest restaurants opening up – but one thing i’ve learned through this process is that balance is key.

Again, this is the start of a different type of fitness journey for me (vs the blog post I shared from two years ago) and I’m super excited to share it with you all via my blog/instagram and YouTube. From my favorite workouts to easy recipes that I’m learning along the way I want to bring you all into my health and fitness journey. With that said, I’m still trying and testing new routines to find what works best for me and in no way am I trying to convince or suggest you should be doing the same thing, again it’s about finding what works for you. Being able to share it on my blog is also a way to keep myself accountable and see what’s working and what’s not.

My goal for my current fitness journey is to be the best version of myself – and I really mean that. I want to build muscle and lose fat but my goal isn’t just weight loss–it’s to be the healthiest version of myself. I hate scales because in my mind they don’t mean much to me (unless your health physician says so). I want a healthy and toned body and that’s my goal in all of this. This is super important for me to state because a lot of times I hear so many people – especially women – talk about their bodies or working out in terms of not liking their bodies which stems from very low self esteem and this journey isn’t all about “looks”. I’ll touch on this in the next upcoming weeks but for the sake of this post I want you, the reader, to grasp that this more about living and embracing a healthy lifestyle rather than the physical looks. I am fortunate enough to also have an amazing boyfriend, David (4sho Fitness Training) who just happens to be a certified master trainer and has a pool of knowledge that I get to learn from and adapt into my routines etc. He has been and continues to be a huge part of my journey since we are both such big health and fitness enthusiasts.

Lastly, I’ll be sharing a lot of my research on certain things like vitamin/supplement information but it’s super important you do your own research as well. I’ll be posting workouts and places I go for inspiration on Sundays so if needed, you can always follow along. If you’re already on your own fitness journey I’d love to hear from you! If you’ve been thinking of starting and haven’t committed, I’d love for you to join me (even if it’s through virtual support)! Again, I can’t wait to interact with you all to create a community that’s geared towards becoming the best version of ourselves possible!

So, if you’re ready to follow my journey, I leave you with this question to get started — what/who motivates you? (feel free to comment below!)

Folgers Jingle x Submission Video

Happy Monday!

Today I wanted to share with you all the link to my Folgers jingle submission I submitted last month. Although, I didn’t make the finals – it was definitely a unique experience. I had to write my own spin/verse to the original jingle and I did so just in a couple of minutes. As soon as I got a hold of a pen and paper, I simply just wrote what coffee does to me. Coffee really gives the start of my day the boost I need to be the best version of myself.

So, to all my coffee lovers – this one is dedicated to you! ❤

Let me know what you think in the comments below! Or if you have a request for a cover, please feel free to suggest it below! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

The French Kitchen – A Savory Delight

There’s nothing better I could think of to do on a Friday night than to go out to eat to an exceptional restaurant. When I walked into the Lord Baltimore Hotel, I was quickly transported to a place of pure elegance and charm. We quickly got seated and our waitress Tiffany introduced herself and served us some fresh bread while we browsed through the menu. The French Kitchen is truly stunning as soon as you walk in—I felt as though I was transported to a Parisian restaurant. The colors and architecture of The French Kitchen are so beautiful you can’t help but stare at them.

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As we tried to decide which wine to go with –Tiffany gave us her rundown on suggestions and asked if we wanted to sample any. I sampled the red Bordeaux and it was exactly what I wanted. We ordered sipped our wine and placed orders for appetizers.

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Everything on the menu sounded absolutely delicious, but after asking our waitress for some suggestions we finally settled on the following appetizers: Crab and Brie Fondue, Calamari Persillade and Beet Salad.

As soon as I took a taste of the baguette in the crab and brie fondue – I thought to myself, “This is what heaven must taste like!” The cheese and crab combo was just one of the most delicious starters I have had ever. Everything just kept getting better, the calamari had a special sauce that the waitress told us was made in house and it was the perfect pairing. The beet salad had just the right amount of variety with a yummy lemon feta dressing that I wish I could have in my fridge as I sit and write about it.

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Crab & Brie Fondue
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Calamari
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Beet Salad
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Beet Salad

Our main entrées came right on out as soon as we finished our appetizers. It seemed like just as I was about to sit back something even better appeared at our table. The entrées we decided to go with were the beef short ribs and the special of the night which was a NY Steak. I was originally debating between the Beef Bourguignon or the Steak – but as our lovely waitress Tiffany mentioned, the beef was staying on the menu whereas the NY Steak was the special of the day. I couldn’t compete with that reasoning so I settled on the NY Steak and by the end of the night I was super happy with my decision.

The slow braised beef short rib was tender and flavorful and it fell effortlessly on my fork. The NY steak was just the choice for me. The asparagus that came with the steak was the perfect combo of crunch and flavor. Even though the steak had a little more fat than I would prefer, it had the perfect taste to it.

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NY Steak – Special of the Day
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NY Steak
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Beef Short Rib
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slow braised beef short rib

From the outside looking in, it might’ve seem like we wouldn’t have room for dessert but if you know me you know that I have the craziest sweet tooth. To me, dessert is just as important as the main entrée and the French Kitchen did not disappoint. We had the vanilla crème brulee and the strawberry and crème, both of which were amazing – the crème brulee won my heart. I have honestly never been a huge fan of crème brulee (I’m more of the chocolate type of gal) but this dessert was perfect. It was quite literally the sweetest ending.

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Creme Brulee
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Strawberry Creme

Finding The French Kitchen felt as though I had discovered a hidden gem that I couldn’t wait to get home to blog about. I was sad to leave, but I knew I’d be back sooner rather than later, especially to make my way to the new speakeasy that just opened up! I really would recommend this place, especially if you’re thinking about taking out that special someone. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner – I know where I’m suggesting for dinner. ☺

Have you been to any new restaurants lately that were to die for? Let me know in the comments below!

 

XO,

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Positive Energy Through Exercise – P.E.T.E

As we begin 2017, fitness + health remain at the top of my list of priorities and goals for the year. Luckily, I got to meet two trainers through my job that have motivated me to create my own fitness goals and embrace the positive lifestyle I always preach. I’m also very lucky that my bf is also a trainer & that I get to workout with. Even though I’m not quite #bodygoals just yet…this year we about to turn all the way up.

Towards the end of last year we got to participate in a photo shoot for P.E.T.E and I wanted to share the pictures and their contact info too. They train in Baltimore and hopefully within the next couple of weeks I’ll get to show you all the types of workouts we do. If you need to hit restart on your workout habits, NOW is the best time to start.

Check out the pics below:

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If you’re interested in personal training with either Pete or Nikki or simply want to learn more about P.E.T.E — visit their website at http://www.petedjohnson.com/ or email Pete directly at: petedjohnson1@gmail.com. (& tell them I sent you, hehe)

They make a pretty dope team if you ask me!

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