Tuesday, June 1, 2021

30-DAY BARRE CHALLENGE: WEEK 1



Happy Hump Day Homies!!!!


It has been seven days since I started my #30DayBarreChallenge and it has been great! I have taken a few classes, met some amazing people, and got the glute pump of my wildest dreams.  This week has been an expected doozy. I planned a camping trip for a few days with my friends meaning I would not be able to take classes. Bummer right? I planned to "double-up" on barre classes for a few days in preparation for my trip. I was semi-successful. Continue reading to know more about my week. 


CLASS #1


I took an outside class with the Barre3 instructor Alexis. I arrived right on time even though it is urged to arrive 10-minutes before class. Want to know why I was late? Tikima did not read the email disclosing the address. 


Reading is fundamental homies. 


The class has a great turnout and the energy was awesome. I met some amazing people, hung out with some cool cicadas, and worked a few muscles that were on a 1-year sabbatical. 


Not only the energy was amazing it was also very supportive. I didn't feel judged for almost falling over several times. I shared my #30DaysOfBarre challenge with a few classmates and they gave me that I will keep you accountable with your attendance look.  I am cool with that because Lord knows I need it. I met a homie, I'll call her L, who rescued me from a cicada. Not one but twice. The cicada wanted to attend class so bad. The homie L does not know it as of yet but we are going to be friends. 


Lastly, Alexis worked my ENTIRE abdomen. I do not remember what exactly we did for core work, all I know is I could not belly laugh for a few minutes after class. It was great!!! 

VIEW FROM MY YOGA MAT 


MY FAVORITE PART 


I have three: being outside, core work, and Alexis's fire playlist. Alexis brought the heat to class with her workout and the playlist. I felt like I was at a club for people over 30 with sensory processing sensitivities but still want to be out in these streets with the homies. 


I know that the last sentence made no sense to some but it was perfect to me. 


CLASS #2 


Since we were approaching a long weekend, a few of my clients canceled to enjoy their holiday weekend. Therefore, I have nothing but time on my hands. Time to take 2 classes today, WOOT WOOT! I started the day with a 6:00 am live stream with Sam. 


I have taken a fair amount of live stream classes during the last year and this one was by the most organized. Once I logged on, I noticed a moderator controlling the music and chat for any questions. I really appreciate that as a fellow instructor and student. It allowed Sam to do what she came to do, KICK OUR ASSES. 


You guys, she was not playing with us on a Friday morning and it was awesome.


MY FAVORITE PART 


I definitely enjoyed the banded glute work. I have trouble activating my glutes during workouts and this glute segment had my muscles shaking. I think I heard my gluteus medius asking Alexa to play Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys... ON REPEAT. At the end of each segment, the instructor does a stretch or shake out to give some relief to the muscle worked. I am not confirming or denying that I was looking forward to the stretch/shakeout after engaging my glutes so much. 


One of the reasons I chose to attend Barre3 was their way of incorporating mindful and meditation into the workout. This class was no exception, we ended the class with a quick mindful meditation and I. FELL. ASLEEP! I was tired, worked, and needed that nap. 

AFTER MY ACCIDENTAL NAP

CLASS #3


I was my second class of the day and I was determined not to fall asleep. Some will say falling asleep during an outdoor class is impossible but I'll say, you don't know my life. Sleep can happen anywhere. 


My third class was at a local park with the instructor Helga. I will not lie, I was intimidated walking towards the park because I realized this would be my first time using props (band, and 2 sets of weights) during an in-person class. Helga reminded me that it is perfectly fine to complete the entire class without props but athe props adds an extra challenge and I am a glutton for punishment. Helga put us through a beautiful lower body segment that added to Sam's leg work. The two combined gave me the booty pump of my wildest dreams. 


I caught a glimpse of my legs while walking past a storefront and said Aw Shucks out loud. If that is not a reason to continue this challenge, I don't know what is. 

MY FAVORITE PART

I love a great modification. I am an injury-prone woman and I know my limits. Have you attended a class and felt like you shouldn't take the modification even though your body is begging for it? If you responded no, lucky you. There are times we push ourselves to that unsafe space, the environment does not welcome modifications or your instructor does not offer any. Whatever the case is TAKE DAT MODIFICATION HOMIE.

I appreciate Helga offering a ton of modifications throughout the class and creating a space where we feel safe to take the modification when needed. 

After a weekend of camping and hiking, I signed up for a Monday evening class with Sam. Can you guess what happened next? Yep. You are right, I slept through it. Before you ask, no I do not have a sleeping disorder. I am just a mom who does all of the things. I felt horrible but tomorrow is a new day.

CLASS #4



I was super stoked for this class because it was my first time in Barre3 Bethesda's studio. It was such a vibe. Very much,  I watched every episode of Golden Girls and dreamt to recreate a modern version of Blanche Devereaux's bedroom when I got older but never grew up because I am a Toys"R"Us kid vibes. If you know, you know. 


The studio was extremely clean and I felt comfortable attending class. 


I took class #4 with Helga again and she did not disappoint. I was sweaty HEAVILY. You would have thought I went for a run prior to taking this class. 


I enjoyed every minute of my first week of #30DaysOfBarre. It was great taking classes from different instructors and experiencing their styles of teaching. My goal was to take 7 classes this week but I was only able to take 4. I will not beat myself up to much about it because life happens. I hope I am able to take a few extra classes next week. 

Hope you enjoyed my week 1 recap of #30DaysOfBarre. I would love to hear of any new challenges you are setting for yours. 

XOXO, 

Tikima Renee

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

30-DAY BARRE3 CHALLENGE

30 Day Barre3 Challenge, Tikima in low lunge

In summer 2020, I got certified in teaching barre. To be honest, I have not done much with the certification. To reignite my love for torturing every tiny muscle in my arms, core, butt, and legs I set out yet another goal for myself. I would like to challenge myself into taking as many barre classes as I possibly can in 30 days. Why? My answer is simple, who does not like a challenge? 


WHY BARRE?


There are three main reasons why I chose Barre for this challenge: 


  • I am certified in the format and want to start teaching Barre soon and would like to get some practice in. 

  • After interviewing Dr. Tammia Guest, a chiropractor in Dallas TX about Correcting Your Posture, on The Fit Black Queens Podcast. I wanted to add a fitness format that emphasizes posture. 

  • I am training for a secret project that I have been dying to do for 10+ years. In order to maintain strength and become a well-balanced athlete, I am using Barre as a form of cross-training.  

WHAT IS BARRE?

Barre is a ballet-based workout with pilates and yoga elements. The class is normally broken into sections that focus on the core, legs, arms, and glutes. After the muscle is fatigued by completing a high number of repetitions, small targeted movements like pulsing, and light weight resistance each section is paired with stretching of the worked muscle. In the first barre class I attended, I was instructed to get a ball, two sets of weights, and a resistance band. I chose the heavier weights and regretted it. Pulsing tricep kickbacks with 5-pound weights does not sound like a bad idea at the beginning but I recommend working your way to that point. Do not underestimate the power of a two-pound weight, my muscles were burning. 


WHO IS BARRE3?




I have tried a few Barre classes here in the Washington, DC area and I have always been amazed by how my body aches in a glorious way. I will not lie to you, I normally think when is this over about 2-4 times during the class. I recently had the honor of taking an outdoor Barre3 class and I loved every second of it. Was it difficult? Ummm yeah, but I was so caught up in the moment I didn't have time to think about time. 




Barre3 is a full-body workout like other Barre classes. What attracts me to Barre3 and sets them apart from other Barre studios, is that it combines strength, cardio, and mindfulness. Barre3 had me at cardio. If I can add cardio to something I am interested in, I am down. Throughout the workout, the instructor gently reminds you of your breathing and I truly appreciate that. This is extremely helpful for people like me who "forget" to breathe during workouts. At the end of each workout, the instructor guides the class through a meditation exercise. I stated that Barre3 had me at cardio but I stayed because of the workout and meditation.


PREDICTIONS


I am starting this challenge Wednesday, May 26, 2021, because I woke up and said out loud I really need a change. I know if I don't start now, I will continue to put the challenge off till Monday. (We all are familiar with the I'll wait till Monday meme).  




After the 30-day challenge,  I really would like to have logged 32 Barre3 workouts. Too ambitious? Not really since my body is accustomed to doing multiple workouts a day. The issue is that I will am going camping on Memorial Day Weekend, meaning I will have three days that I am unable to take a Barre3 workout. That means a few days, I will need to tap into my inner superhero and attend two workouts a day. 

I am super stoked for this 30-day challenge, so wish me luck. Have you had that SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE moment and set out a crazy challenge for yourself? I would love to hear about your challenge. Want to check out my progress? Follow me on IG and click the photo below for my weekly updates. 


XOXO, 

Tikima 



Thursday, May 20, 2021

WORKOUT MUSIC: BOOTY BURNER BY ALEXIS REED FROM FLECKSOFLEX.COM



SUMMER IS APPROACHING, THE SUN IS SHINING, AND MY BOOTY AND LEGS ARE COMING OUT OF HIDING. 


BARS

Drop the mic



This summer I registered for Hot Girl Summer and I am showing up and showing out!


Skin. Immaculate. 


Water intake. Hydrated AF. 


Mental Health. Healthy. 


Body. IN PROGRESS.  


In prep for HGS, that's what we call Hot Girl Summer,  I have set a few goals for myself. One goal, in particular, is building muscle mass in my glutes. I want a DONK! Building muscle mass requires a lot of hard work and dedication. If I am going to be working in the gym I will need some serious tunes. That brings me to this week's #ThursdayTunes. I have been rocking out to Booty Burner by Alexis Reed


I know you are wondering how did I come across this playlist? Well, after the homie Alexis taught two 45-minute spin classes, we had a GREAT idea. Let's do a 15-minute glute workout. It'll be fun. I am learning that whenever either one of us says "it'll be fun" RUN FAR FAR AWAY!!!


We coerced gently nudged another friend into doing the workout along with us, set up our mats, and all we needed was a great playlist to get us through the workout. Alexis slowly walked to her phone and put on this heavy hitter I am sharing with you today. 


By the way, the workout was a killer and 20 minutes instead of 15 like intended. Let me know if you want me to share the workout. 


PLAYLIST MOOD


I stated that my goal is to gain muscle in my glutes, butt, booty, hams, phatty, whatever you want to call it. In order to reach my goals proper form, mind-muscle connection, and focusing on the proper muscle are crucial when building muscle mass. This playlist is a great companion to your glute workout. Want to know why? Most songs on this playlist mention the glutes in some way, shape, or form. How could you not focus on the glute muscle when you hear 


Big Big Booty, What You Got A Big Booty? 


Come on, that lyric is motivation in itself. Alexis included the greatest love song of ALL time Back That Thang Up by Juvenile and a song that ooze early 2000's college experience Ms. New Booty by Bubba Sparxxx, Collipark, and the Ying Yang Twins. 

 


MEET YOUR MAKER


From blogging to teaching multiple fitness classes per week, Alexis is a woman who does ALL THE THANGS. Currently, she is teaching 8+ weekly and each class requires a different playlist. Yes, you can reuse a playlist but lucky for us, Alexis loves music and curating playlists. Alexis is inspired by different genres and it is reflected within her song choice it allows her playlists to be eclectic and awesome. 



What did you think of that Booty Burner playlist? Want more? Head over to either Alexis Spotify Channel or mine for more playlist. While you are on Spotify, check out Alexis's podcast Sweat Fearlessly for some amazing interviews and more. 


Know of a great playlist you would like for me to feature on #ThursdayTunes? Send it to me. Until next time homies. 


Xoxo, 


Tikima Renee

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

NOT DEAD YET SUCCA VOL: 1 BY TIKIMA RENEE FROM TIKIMA RENEE FITNESS




Succulents How Y'all Feeling? Begonia's Y'all Alright? 

Homies, I am just checking in. 

For this week's Thursday Tunes we have Not Dead Yet Succa by yours truly, Tikima Renee. If you did not know, I think I am a world-famous playlist curator so, prepare for some pure awesomeness.

I curated this playlist for my 20+ plant that lives in my 833 sq ft apartment. I am a self-proclaimed Crazy Plant Lady and I sincerely love my plants. The act of tending to my plant babies forces me to be present at the moment, subsequently managing my anxiety. Some have their emotional support animals and I have my emotional support plants.

As a thank you for treating me well, I like to spoil my plant babies by making playlists specifically for them. I have not found any scientific evidence that music assists plants with the growth of the plant but that does not matter to me. I just want to set the mood for something you love. 

YOU MADE A PLAYLIST FOR YOUR PLANTS BUT CAN THEY HEAR IT?


Ummmm, kinda... with sound waves. Sound waves create vibrations that could be picked up by plants. Plants would not "hear" the music, they will feel the vibrations of the sound waves. 

Different forms of music have different sound wave frequencies, degrees of pressure, and vibrations. Louder music creates greater pressure. Some people think loud music may have a detrimental effect on plants. There's no scientific evidence proving this but I think my plants LOVE trap music.

If your plant babies like trap music too, be on the lookout for a playlist soon. 

PLAYLIST MOOD


I stated that my plant babies enjoy trap music but I am happy to report that they are a well-rounded group. Sometimes it is rock, jazz, old school hip hop, classical, and funk to name a few. We try to switch it up from time to time. 

This week I am sharing a calm, cool, collected plant playlist. This collection of music is an easy listen as you tend to your plants. You may notice yourself singing along to the neo-soul D'Angelo's Lady feeling nostalgic or Duckwrth's Kiss U Right Now dancing a quick two-step. Whatever it is, I hope this playlist brings you as much joy as it did me creating it.

Lack of motivation to be the best plant parent you can be? Don't fret, it happens to us all. NOT DEAD YET SUCCA VOL:1 can be played as a pick me up too. Watering, fertilizing, wiping leaves, and repotting will no longer feel like a task it becomes enjoyable on days motivation is absent. 

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST DESCRIPTION


My plants enjoy long walks on the beach, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir candles, cognac, and listening to the cool sounds of NOT DEAD YET SUCCA VOL: 1
 


MEET YOUR MAKER


Tikima Renee is a fitness professional who loves music. After years of making playlists for a variety of fitness formats, she decided to share them with her homies. 



Like that and want some more? Head to my Tikima Renee Fitness Spotify Channel for more playlists! Do your plants listen to music? if so, what music do you think they enjoy? I would love to add your favorite playlist to my Thursday Tunes series.  

Friday, April 23, 2021

34 THINGS I LOVE AT 34

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY



Light the fireworks. Bring out the cheesecake and carrot cake. Cue the Happy Birthday song, Stevie Wonder of course, because it's a celebration! 

So far, my 30's have been incredible. I learned a lot about myself and I am looking forward to the future. I thought it was a great idea to share some love with so much chaos in the world. That is why I am listing 34 Things I love at 34. I simply could not rank the 34 things that I love, therefore, this list is not in any particular order. 

(I will say the last two are the best though) 

1. Community. 

2. Listening

3. Skincare


5. Accepting reality
Accepting people and situations for what they are rather than what I wanted them to be is extremely difficult. I am still learning to remove my rose-colored glasses and not paint everything/everyone the way I want to see them. 

6. A good ole' NO THANK YOU 

7. Laughter. I never laughed as much as I do now.

8. Observing 

9. Writing ridiculous songs 

10. Yoga
Since starting and completing YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) my views on life have changed. Maybe it was the training, maybe I was ready for a change, maybe it was a compilation of the two or maybe it was Maybelline. Whatever it was, it forced me to deepen my faith, strengthen my relationships, and be present in life. I started yoga for the asanas but stayed for so much more. Check out a previous post of why I started YTT


11. Exploring 

12. The dentist (am I the only adult excited for my dental appointments?)

13. Silence

14. Relearning my definition of love

15. Therapy
Has anyone asked you the questions; How are you? Are you okay? You don't know how to respond so you just faintly utter fine? That was me and I use to hate these questions because I really needed to think about how I was feeling. Therapy has given me tools to check in with myself daily and answer those simple questions truthfully and honestly.

16. Nature


17. A good ole' crying session

18. My family


20. Advocating for myself
Whether it's for my health or physical space, advocating for myself has become crucial to my growth as a person. I STILL struggle with it but I see progress. 

21. Transparency 

22. Brunch. Raise the roof for alcoholic beverages! 

23. Dancing and singing in public 


25. Learning to set boundaries 
I was never taught how to set boundaries as a kid so this has been a doozy. Setting boundaries comes with a lot of actions. Communication, checking in with yourself, being direct, holding yourself and others accountable, and the list goes on. I am going to be transparent. Besides being direct, I suck at those things listed. Confronting the actions that make me uncomfortable has been... uncomfortable to say the least but well worth it. 

26. Freedom

27. Learning new things 

28. Friends 

29. My Aftershokz

30. Olive Oil
For YEARS I use olive oil for everything. From skin, hair, to cooking. I wouldn't pass it as a youth elixir like a certain pop star but it is a great moisturizer. After each shower, I will do a 5-minute self-massage using olive oil as the carrier oil. 5-minutes? Yes, 5-minutes. It's a great way to check-in with yourself before returning to your day. 

31. Sliding in DM's 

32. Working out 

33. Being Taylor's Mom


34. BEING ME!!!!! It took me a WHILE to get here but I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. 

Thank you for checking out my post of things I am currently loving. It was super fun writing this list because I was able to focus on a little positivity. Want to experience a moment of euphoria through positivity? I would love to hear what are the top 5 things you love right now? 

XOXO, 

Tikima Renee.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Beginners Guide To Composting In Small Spaces


While living in an apartment, composting can seem impossible. It is not like you can start your own compost pile in your backyard. Because ummmmm, you don't have a backyard. I know you are wondering to yourself, is composting while living in an apartment possible? Is it a hassle? 

I am new to composting and I compost in an apartment. I am here to tell you, it is definitely possible. Not only that, apartment composting barely takes any effort. 

Why should we compost? 


We have all seen those photos of landfills with a mountain of garbage. When organic scraps fill our landfills, it is difficult to decompose there. As a result, 16 % of methane emissions are from undecomposed waste in our landfills. 


Ain't Nobody Got Time For No Methane!


Therefore, composting is an excellent way to combat those nasty emissions into our environment. You will not only help your environment out but your garden and plants will love you. You are welcome, thanks in advance. 

What Are The Benefits of Composting? 

Saves on food cost at home.
Ever since I started composting, I am hella aware of my food waste. The average American household wastes $2,200 dollars worth of food every year. Composting gives you a clear idea of what you are throwing out and forces you to be more mindful while grocery shopping. 

Reduce waste in landfills
I said it before and I'll say it again, it's good for the environment. Writing this I am 33 years old (I'll be 34 tomorrow. Woot Woot) by the time I am 52 years old The United States may run out of landfill capacity.  Crazy right? Every small contribution such as apartment composting helps the environment. 

Great for your plants, garden, and more
All of my crazy plant people stand up!!! Applying compost to the soil of your plants, lawns, the garden makes your babies happy. 

It's Fun. 
Who doesn't love a great transformation? Seeing your "trash" slowly transform into black gold, that what we insiders call compost, is ever so satisfying. Truth moment: I just found out about the term black gold 5 minutes ago so am I really an insider? Food for thought. 


How Does Composting Work? 


Composting is simple. This is the basic process: 

You will need to collect your kitchen waste for the day (veggies scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, tea bags, etc). This is the GREEN stuff- rich in nitrogen and contains more moisture. 



You will also need dry leaves, newspapers shreds, cardboard, twigs, sawdust, etc. This is the BROWN stuff- rich in carbon and contain less moisture. 


What Can I Compost? 


Compost: 

-Eggshells 
-Vegetables, fruit stalks, and peelings (including corn cobs) 
-Grass cuttings 
-Tea leaves and coffee grounds 
-Paper towels, tissues, and newspaper
-Old spices


Do Not Compost:

-Dairy Products 
-Fish 
-Meat and bones 
-Grease or oils of any kind 
-Diseased plant material
-Disposable diapers 
-Glossy paper
-Ashes

I Want To Compost Now What? 


We now know what to add to our compost bin, let's discuss where to hold your compost. Compost bins, pit composting, open bins, tumblers, piling, or vermicomposting.

For apartment and other small living spaces, like mine, it is the best bet to go for a compost bin. There are many bins you can choose from super fancy bins or DIY composting bins like mine. 

A DIY composting bin is quite simple. This can be a simple setup as a plastic bucket with holes poked in the sides for airflow. If you are going for the basic setup like I did, here's how I did it.

Essential Supplies 

-Two buckets (make sure you have a snug-fitting lid to close your DIY bin)
-A drill
-Green stuff 
-Brown stuff

How To DIY a Compost Bin

1. In one bucket, drill about 10 holes in the bottom of the bucket (the base), about 10 holes in the lid, and 5 to 8 holes around the sides at various heights. These holes are to allow airflow inside and out. 



2. Time to start adding material. Sometimes, the holes at the base of the bucket get clogged by compost material. To prevent this, place twigs and sticks across the bottom of the bucket- they will act as a net to prevent clogging. 

3. Start dumping the green and brown in a 1:3 ratio. The ideal method is to add some browns in first, add greens and then browns again, and so on. Add them in alternating layers, while maintaining ratio. 


4. Cover drilled bucket that contains material with lid and place in the undrilled bucket. 

5. Start dumping the green and brown materials in a 1:3 ratio daily, until the bin gets full. Close the lid and keep it aside. If needed, you can start a new bucket. Just follow the same steps above. Also, remember to keep the cycle going and use the compost you've created in your garden to feed the next generation of fruits, veggies, and flowers. 



2 Composting Tips I Learned The Hard Way 


Keep the bin covered at ALL times.

One HOT summer day, I added my green and brown to my compost bin and got distracted by an episode of Fraser. The next day, I woke up to these weird flies surrounding my bin and a weird mold on the top layer of my compost. I was devastated. Since the humidity in my apartment was HIGH my compost was soggy. I discarded the top layer of my compost and added more brown to combat the sogginess. I created a trap of apple cider vinegar, liquid dish soap, and a mason jar for the flies. This was an experiment and it actually worked. I am not sure if it will every time but I am sure you should not leave your bin open. 

'Turn' the mixture once a week.

August 2020 I visited my family, out of state, for a couple of weeks. I forgot to ask my friend to tend to my compost, not a good idea.  When you turn the mixture weekly your mixture becomes homogeneous and creates sufficient airflow to allow the magic to happen. If your bucket is a cylinder-like mine, you can roll it on the floor for the contents to mix together without you having to open it and mix it with a stick or gloved hand. 

Wouldn't My Compost Attract Flies And Unwanted Pest? I shared above my mistake of leaving the top off my bin and attracting flies. This does not have to happen to you if you are careful and consistent. Keep the lid closed and remember to turn the material. 



With a little patience and minimal weekly work, you can create a kitchen compost bin that will drastically reduce the amount of waste you're sending to the curb each week. Some cities have had success with composting programs that they've reduced the frequency of their trash pickups! Click HERE to find a composting program in your city. 

What if you don't have a garden but want to compost? You can still make that sweet-smelling compost and gift it to your neighbors, friends, local farmer's market, or gardener's store. I don't know about you but I am excited when gifted compost because sharing is caring. 

I hope this post helps takes the stress out of apartment composting. I would love to hear about your composting journey and some great tips. 

Happy Composting Homies!!!!

**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support.  

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Hidden Creek Green Trail Gaithersburg, MD #50FirstHikes


THE FIRST HIKE OF 2021 IS COMPLETE! 

Only 49 more, that's all. The optimism of ONLY 49 to go is such a trainer thing to say.


Today's hike was a good but unexpected one. Why unexpected Tikima? Alexis and I thought we were going to another trail and Alltrails dropped us off at Hidden Green Trail instead. Being the just go with the flow type of people we are, we decided to try this trail out. Besides, it was new-to-us trail and that was one of the two rules for the #50FirstHikes challenge remember? 

LOCATION

Hidden Creek Green Trail Gaithersburg MD, USA  


DESCRIPTION 

Hidden Creek Trail is tightly nestled in the middle of a neighborhood. Based on the route you take it has an equal mixture of paved and natural surfaces. We normally do not start a hike without a plan but this hike was an exception since we planned for a different trail. Therefore, we winged the 2.36 miles hiked. 


DIFFICULTY

This was a relatively easy hike. 1 out of 10

HIDDEN CREEK TRAIL: WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • I would like to consider this a neighborhood trail hence it being a "trash-free" trail. There are no trash cans available. In order to protect the wildlife, visitors, and keep the trail beautiful, what garbage you bring in you must take with you. I like to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines whenever I go hiking. 
  • We parked in a local neighborhood and we did not come across any trouble. Please read street signage prior to parking, you don't want to park in someone's residential parking spot. 
  • Local public trails normally do not charge for use. Therefore there weren't any admission fees. 
  • The WiFi service was great. We had service our entire hike. 


ONE PIECE OF GEAR I AM HAPPY I BROUGHT 


The first week of January + being on the east coast = COLD AF!! 

I feel like this entire blog I feel the need to remind you that I am originally from California. So you can understand when I say, cold weather is not flattering on me. This Sunday afternoon was cold but not unbearable with the help of my trusty NorthFace TriClimate Waterproof Jacket. I love that I could remove the inner fleece if the weather changes while on my hike.


ONE PIECE OF GEAR I WISH I BROUGHT 


BETTER GLOVES!! I have been eyeing some WhitePaw RunMitts and I think it is time to put my order in. I brought my daughter's gloves with me because mine was in the washing machine. Want to hear more about WhitePaw RunMitts? My podcast Fit Black Queens had the opportunity to interview the inventor of these great mittens. 

BEST PART OF THE HIKE 

Who doesn't like a discovery? I love a great find, especially during a hike. While hiking, Alexis and I stumbled across an old, graffiti-covered dam. Can we say cool? I was able to test out my strong knees with a SQUAT!!


MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE HIKE 

There really was not a difficult part of this hike. It was accessible for many and quite fun. 

LAND ACKNOWLEDGE

The land we hiked today was of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe. The Piscataway Conoy Tribe was prominent throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.  It was enlightening to learn about the tribe's history. From their first European encounter in 1608 to Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley reestablishing government-to-government relations by granting "State Recognition of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe" in 2012. 


America's past of disenfranchising people of color is painful but it is up to us to know our past. I encourage you to learn more about the Piscataway Conoy Tribe.


WHAT DID I LEARN?


This hike was fun. We began late afternoon and ended just before sunset. I visit Gaithersburg, MD frequently and never knew this trail was there. This hike challenged my idea of a hike. I was starting to think that a hike must be in a state park, mountain, or something that was densely packed with luscious greenery. This hike reminded me that it does not have to strenuous. 

I lived in Maryland when Governor Martin O'Malley granted state recognition of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe. I am grateful to learn more about the Piscataway Conoy Tribe. 

OVERALL RATING


Don't get mad but I don't think I can rate this trail. Sorry!  I can say that this trail is great for beginners and pretty accessible for everyone. 

Stay tuned for more hikes and recaps. Alexis and I will post our adventures on our Instagram page. If you are participating in the #50FirstHikes challenge, I would love to hear about your hikes! 


*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

2021 Challenge: 50 FIRST HIKES


I love to set a challenge for myself at the top of the year. I DO NOT like to call it a New Year's resolution because for some strange reason I never complete it with that label. How many of you can relate? I have a ton of personal goals but I like to always incorporate a challenge involving my friends when writing out goals. 2020 the challenge was to complete a triathlon and this year... my goal for 2021 is... drumroll please...


#50FIRSTHIKES HOMIES


My homie Alexis and I challenged ourselves to hike 50 new-to-us trails in 2021. Exciting right? We, know. Do you just love it when you and your friends share the same love for outdoor activities?  Anywho, to accomplish our goal, we must hike roughly one trail weekly. I have lived in the Washington Metropolitan Area for years now, I can honestly say I have not explored our local trails as much as I would like. #50FirstHikes is a way to do just that and be #blackandoutdoorsy of course. 


I DON'T LIKE RULES BUT ARE THERE ANY TO THIS CHALLENGE?


I am a person who does not like restrictions but they are needed in order to not have this challenge become the Wild Wild West of hiking. There are two main rules for the #50FirstHike challenge:

  1. The trail must be new-to-me. Finding a new trail for each hike is exciting but will become difficult as we hike more. That is why we are using the book 60 HIkes within 60 miles: Washington DC,  All Trails, and local websites to plan our hikes. 
  2. Have fun and explore. Have you met a person who is extremely intense? They think that challenges must be extremely difficult and the joy factor must be 2 out of 10. Well, they can participate but they will not be on my team! I just want to have fun, smell the fresh air, and hang out with my homies. 

Simple right? 



WHATCHA DOING ON THESE HIKES?


This is a great question. Alexis once hiked with Black Girls Trekkin' in Los Angeles California and they began their hike with a land acknowledgment. I am going, to be honest, I never thought of doing this before. Now that I know, acknowledging the indigenous people who were forced to leave their land seems like a no-brainer right? Now that we know, we will begin each hike with a land dedication. America has such a gut-wrenching history with uprooting humans from their land/homes and it's my duty to learn more about our painful past. I would share as much information as I could. 



I WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT YOUR HIKES?


Don't fret. Not only would I share on my Instagram, but I also plan to write a blog post recapping each hike. Super stoked to share my adventures with you. 

YOU MAKE THIS SOUND FUN. MAY I  JOIN?


Grab ya' kids, grab ya' wife because this challenge is for everyone. Just consult your physician prior to hitting the trails. When you start your challenge, give us a shoutout on the 50 First Hikes Instagram page. We would love to learn more about your hiking adventures. 

I hope #50FirstHikes encourages you to get out and explore your local trails. If you never hiked before and want to know what to bring? I got a blog post for you homie. Check out Beginner's Guide to Hiking. I mentioned the organization, Black Girls Trekkin'? Listen to the Fit Black Queens Podcast where we interviewed Black Girls Trekkin' click  HERE

XOXO, 

Tikima Renee

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

5 THINGS I'VE LEARNED DURING THE PANDEMIC




10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 

I brought 2020 in a little different, with one of my clients instead of the typical family celebration. We set our intentions for 2020, sip champagne, and danced the Bachata until our hearts were content. While walking to our cars, she looked at me and screamed "2020 is going to be the best year yet!!!!" December 31, 2020, I received a call from my client.  Before I said Hello she screamed


"You remember when I said 2020 was going to be the best year yet? I LIED" 


We both laughed. 2020 has been a difficult time for us all, but at the end of the day, all we can do is laugh and keep moving forward. 


Even though there were known cases of Covid-19 in other countries dating back to November 2019. Since the WHO (World Health Organization, not the band. Get it together people) declared Covid-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. 

 The pandemic has been extremely hard on us all. Here are five things I have learned during the pandemic: 


IT IS OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK 





When the pandemic first started, I truly believed taking a break was a physical act. I was surprised to learn it is not, it is much more than that. I was accustomed to working multiple jobs, being a full-time mom while being a part-time employee of Hustle Culture USA. My body needed recovery but my mind desperately needed the 365 days, 8,760 hours, and  525,600 minutes received. I was reclaiming my time for all the years I felt forced to be okay when I was not. By the way, I am not done. For me taking a break was sitting with myself clearing out the mental clutter and chatter.  I wish it did not take a devastating pandemic to force me to take a break. 


LOSS IS INEVITABLE, BUT IT STILL HURT



Tikima and her 90 year old grandmother holding flowers


In the past year, I learned a lot about loss and grief. I am no stranger to either but I am a stranger to dealing with it in a healthy way. I was forced to grieve the loss of clients, income, financial opportunities, relationships, and most importantly loved ones. In the past, dealing with loss and grief I would fixate on the problem, binge eat, and/or shut down. 


This past year held a mirror to my unhealthy habits. I was forced to deal with my grief and loss. January 2021, I was put to the ultimate test, my grandmother passed. I fell into old habits at first but was able to recognize my behavior and correct it. I surprisingly found myself at peace with her passing.  I was at peace because she lived a glorious 90 years, made me laugh and smile for 33 years, and got to meet the love of my life, my daughter. I know I would have moments of sadness and pain, they are expected but peace is the ultimate feeling. The peace I felt of her leaving this world got me thinking. If I could be at peace with the transition of someone that meant so much to me why can I not for these material things? I will stay optimistic because I will have them again. Loss is inevitable, it's hard emotionally, but it is also emotional growth. Stay optimistic homies. 


CELEBRATE YOUR WINS, CUT YOUR LOSSES


I grew up in an environment where humility and loyalty were demanded. Be proud but not too proud and ALWAYS be there for the people who were there for you. 


Humility and loyalty were never explained to me as a child. I had (and still have) so many questions. When do you take a break from being humble and celebrate your accomplishments? Can you be humble and celebrate at the same time?  When do you cut people and things off? When does loyalty expire? My upbringing has forced me to doubt myself so often that I shut down.  Notice a trend of me shutting down? I vowed to celebrate myself in the way I felt necessary for the rest of my life. 


In 2020, I had some losses but I also had some amazing wins. I was nervous to share them knowing others were going through hard times or suffering. It was extremely uncomfortable for me. I never want to be perceived as a person who brags about their accomplishments but when do I get a moment to celebrate? I may be late but I am not sorry. Here are a few things I accomplished during the first 365 days of the pandemic. 

  • Learned how to dance the Flamenco and Tahitian dance. I am not a pro but I am proficient in the basics. 
  • Began a hiking challenge 
  • I got certified in the following fitness formats: TRX, Barre, Yoga (200 HR), and HIIT. 
  • I am currently learning how to skateboard.
  • Started to love me again. 



Whew, happy to get that off of my chest. Celebrate Yo'Self!


I am able to celebrate my wins by shedding the ideologies of my upbringing. One of those ideologies is loyalty. Everyone and everything does not deserve your loyalty. CUT PEOPLE OFF!!! Creating boundaries is extremely difficult but rewarding. I started creating boundaries P.C (pre-covid) but hone in on my skills this past year. Tip of the day: recognizing when situations no longer serve you is a gift. 


THERE ARE CRUEL PEOPLE, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE ONE OF THEM


Growing up my grandmother would say when someone shows you their true colors believe them. As a kid, I was extremely literal and sometimes thought what colors will people show me? Years later, I realized what she truly meant. 


I was 33 years old when I began implementing this advice into my life. FUN FACT: I'm 33 years old writing this. Therefore, I am just grasping this concept. I had a habit that when people were mean to me I would return the favor. I had to ask myself WHY? No, seriously why? It's not worth it.


Michelle Obama says when they go low, we go high. My uncle Charles says when they go low, we go even lower! Please take advice from Michelle Obama NOT my uncle Charles. lol


GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD


For the last year, there has been a lot of one-sided conversations that have been going on in my head. These conversations often highlighted more of my shortfalls rather than my successes. 


Why did I say that? Why am I not doing enough? You are not good enough. Etc, etc. 


A lot of defeating negative self-talking has been happening in this noggin. The pandemic forced me to take an assessment of what I was saying to myself. I learned that I would NEVER speak to another as poorly as I spoke to myself. Taking account of the everyday negative self-talk was eye-opening because I had to come to the realization that I was holding myself back from doing things I wanted to do. I knew I had to GET OUT OF MY OWN HEAD. 


Initially, I wanted a quick fix. I thought my weekly therapy sessions would be all I need to feel better. The tricky thing with therapy is, you have to do the work to get better. Ain't Nobody Got Time For Dat! 


I have to actively silence the self-doubt and negative self-talk by saying something nice about myself or acknowledge something I have recently accomplished out loud. It is hard Homies but I am trying. Journaling, movement, friends, and family have been other tools I have used this past year to get out of my head. Releasing our feelings, emotions, and ideas in productive ways is necessary for our mental health. 


Whew Chile, can we get a soul clap for making it an entire year? You made it, it's time to CELEBRATE! 



HAPPY COVID ANNIVERSARY HOMIES!!

I hope you learned a little about me. What have you learned during the pandemic? Does any of the lessons I have learned resonate with you? Or do you think "you should have learned these lessons a long time ago"?  Either way, I would love to hear what you have to say. 


Allow yourself grace. 

XOXO, 

Tikima Renee  

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

I AM BLACK AND OUTDOORSY


Growing up in Los Angeles California, I can honestly say I am very much a city girl (I still am in some regards). The hustle and bustle of city life were all I knew. The traffic, air pollution, the constant noise of everyday life was part of the norm. That all changed my summer leading into my freshmen year in high school. I attended a Christian camp in Big Bear California. 


At this camp, I experienced nature in a way I never thought I would. I smelled a different type of air, I dipped my toes in a lake, and lastly, I saw stars for the VERY FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE! I always knew that the life I lived was not for me but this experience in Big Bear California solidified that thought. So when I got the chance to move to Maryland for a better opportunity, I screamed PEACE OUT HOMIES!!


Moving to Maryland my dreams of being an outdoor enthusiast did not transpire the way I expected. It took years. I needed to shed some negative ideas of people of color and nature. 


I regurgitated false information about black people and nature so much that I believed it. I would say things like "why would I want to walk through the woods?" (hike), "we don't swim", or my most famous line... "I would only run if someone was chasing me". 


My ancestors were looking at me like GIRL, STOP YOUR NONSENSE! 



It took years to realize how ignorant and stagnant my way of thinking was. The worse part is, I secretly wanted to be "one with nature". I had a decision to make, would I wait till I am no longer judged to be the #BlackAndOutdoorsy person I longed to be or just DO THE DAMN THANG. 


If you didn't notice, I chose the latter. Woop Woop. 


One spring day, I had an epiphany. I was the one being judgemental. To myself and my fellow people of color. I was part of the problem and I had to make it right, starting with me. That day I registered my daughter for swimming lessons and the two of us for tennis lessons. You may be thinking, TENNIS? I was taking baby steps homie.



After that epiphany, I have never looked back. To be honest, I was extremely ignorant before. I thought the majority of people of color did not participate in outdoor activities and that is not the case.  Yes, I had to search using Bob Dole's internet but ultimately I found what I was looking for. There were organizations that were of color AND doing the activities I wanted to try. I sought out people who look like me and occupy the spaces I would like to be apart of. I made a commitment to myself and my community to debunk those negative stereotypes by promoting a healthy representation of people of color in outdoor spaces. 


I will be sharing some organizations to assist you on your quest to be #BlackAndOutdoorsy.


It is great sharing my journey with you.  Speaking of journies, I would like to share my hiking journey 50 First Hikes with you guys.  My girl Alexis from FlecksofLex.com and I have challenged ourselves to hike 50 new trails in 2021. Wish us luck. 


I would love to know how you fell in love with nature or if it's not your thang, what is? I am open to new ideas and experiences. 

XOXO, 

Tikima Renee

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HIKING



It is not a secret that I love hiking. Hiking is an excellent low-impact workout. Unlike walking on a treadmill or paved path, hiking involves more, sometimes unpredictable variables. Of course, the variables are part of what makes it so enjoyable. Use the following hiking tips to make your first hike successful:

HYDRATION

Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways to make sure you enjoy yourself outdoors, no matter what season it is. Hiking is 100 times more enjoyable when you have water... and you actually remember to drink it. For water intake, about a half liter per hour of moderate temperatures is a good starting place. These amounts depend heavily on several factors, such as the intensity of your hike, the weather, your age, your sweat rate, and your body type. 


FOOD

As a beginner hiker, it can be tough to know how much food you'll need. A good general recommendation for how much to eat is 200-300 calories per hour. As you gain more experience, you'll get a better sense of just how much you need. 

SHOES


Painful feet can ruin a hike. You do not need to buy new shoes on your first hike. Let's make sure you like hiking before you make the investment. When you are ready to invest, invest in quality hiking shoes and socks. This doesn't mean heavy leather boots, there are a lot of "light hikers" available that require little break-in. Also, not skimp on socks... and please NO COTTON!! I know this way too well. Wool or synthetic socks are the way to go. One last foot tip, pack blister dressings just in case.

FIRST AID 

You don't need to be a medical pro to take a hike, but it is wise to know some basic first aid. Always carry a first-aid kit and know how to use it. The farther afield you go, the more important it can be to have medical training. 

PACE YOURSELF

When you first get on the trail, you may feel like powering forward like a hero. However, you'll be a zero by the end of the day if you don't pace yourself. Instead, pick a pace you can maintain all day. It might feel a little awkward at first, but after a few miles, especially uphill, you'll be glad you saved your energy. 


KEEP TRAILS BEAUTIFUL

The beautiful trails we love will only stay beautiful if we care for them. Take time to read the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and follow them. It's up to every outdoor enthusiast to take care of our natural spaces. 

XOXO, 
Happy Trekking Homies

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Why I Started Yoga Teacher Training

The first time I sought out a yoga class, was a few months after I delivered my daughter. I was craving adult company with some sort of movement. I was given a gym membership for my birthday, (best/worse gift for a new mom) so I figured that will be the best place to start my yoga journey.


I walked into the yoga studio at my local gym wearing an oversized t-shirt and running shorts and was ready to go. 


So long the days of working out in cotton t-shirts, I miss you dearly. 


I laid out the mat provided by the gym, sat in criss-cross applesauce eagerly awaiting the class to start. We were instructed to lie on our backs, close our eyes in preparation for pranayama (breathing) and grounding. The next thing I knew there was a tap on my shoulder, I slept through the entire class!! I was mortified and felt horrible. The embarrassment must have been written all over my face because the yoga teacher looked me in the eyes and gently stated You Look Like You Needed It. 


I don't remember the type of class or the teacher's name but I am incredibly grateful for her to allow me space to do that. 

Throughout the years, I have learned how not to fall asleep at the beginning of classes (savasana... that is a different story). I practice yoga because I have always felt better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually after yoga. So when I became a fitness professional in 2012, yoga teacher training was always in the back of my mind but, the cost was an issue. Who knew training would cost over USD 2,000.00? Sticker shocked, I had to evaluate my wants and save up for this investment because that price is a damn investment. 


In June 2020, I finally got a cost-effective opportunity to start yoga teacher training. I received a scholarship through My Vinyasa Practice, The course was virtual and I could complete it at my own pace. Ummm, can we say blessing??!! I was stoked to get an opportunity to do something I wanted so badly. 



Yoga teacher training and my personal practice were the gentle nudges I needed to sit, see, and be with myself. I was able to physically measure my growth when I saw improvements in asanas (poses). I was also able to give myself grace when needed. I noticed less judgment for myself and others. When I started to let go of judgment and notice the things that kept me bound, I felt free.


The asana was my gateway drug into loving yoga. It tricked me into breathing. It forced me to move. It quiets my mind. It taught me to be present. I believe in the transformational power of yoga. I have experienced it myself. Who doesn't want to bring that to others?


I care about my students, I am passionate about teaching and I feel called to share yoga with my community. I am ecstatic to share my yoga teaching journey with you guys so stay tuned. 


Xoxo, 

Tikima Renee 

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