How to Finish 2017 Strong

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Ah, December. The last month of the year. It’s been an eventful one for me – getting engaged to my best friend at the beginning of the year, wedding planning, getting married in the summer, road tripping to Oregon, taking my health serious, crushing my fitness goals, starting a blog, teaching three jiu-jitsu programs (adults, teens and children) all while learning confidence and self-love. Needless to say, I’ve accomplished a lot and though it’s been a busy year, it’s still not over yet. There are 20 days left of 2017 so let’s go out with a bang! Bust out your notebooks or a nearby napkin, and your favorite pen to jot down some ideas on finishing 2017 strong!

Need some ideas for your goal list?

  1. Travel goal. Where do you want to go? It can be local or even a plane ride away.
  2. Try something new goal. Feeling brave? Taste a new cuisine, bake a sweet treat, take a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class or attempt a Pinterest DIY craft.
  3. Productivity goal. You know that thing you’ve been avoiding? You should go ahead and just do it.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone goal. Do one thing that scares you.
  5. Keep in touch goal. Mail some cards out to friends and family to let them know you’re thinking of them.
  6. Health goal. Gain or lose weight, stop drinking soda, eat more vegetables, drink more water.
  7. Fitness goal. Run a mile in less than __ minutes, go for a walk 3 times a week, do 30 consecutive push-ups without stopping.

Here are a few things I said I wanted to accomplish by the end of the month:

  • Make jump-roping a habit (Haven’t jump-roped once)
  • Finish reading two books (Haven’t even finished the first one I started!)
  • Increase muscle mass (Haven’t strength trained in a couple weeks)

We won’t always accomplish every single thing we say we will; unless that’s your style (more power to you!) I feel that it’s important to set realistic and measureable goals in order to actually ensure you’ll achieve them. So if I’m being honest with myself (and you), I’ve decided to re-vamp my list of to-do’s.

I want to:

  • Make a diy craft
  • Finish reading one book
  • Clean out my closet
  • Donate to the Goodwill
  • Send Holiday cards
  • Increase blog following +3 followers
  • Paint an art piece
  • Gain 3 new BJJ students
  • Increase female students at Gomez Jiu-jitsu (If interested, comment on this post or email me bjjandselflove@gmail.com)

I know that completing this list will fulfill my soul and I’ll be content with how I ended 2017. So make sure to set some goals that will launch you into an amazing start to 2018!

What are some of your December goals? Comment or make your own list and tag me on Instagram @bjjandselflove to be featured!

Thanks for reading.
-Jules

10 Ways to Reset After a Holiday Binge

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I love the last couple of months of the year. It’s a time to surround yourself with friends and family, enjoy delicious food, find inspiration in the holiday décor and music, eat tons of yummy food, look back on all you’ve accomplished during the year, and did I mention eat lots of FOOD?

Yes, it’s that time of year where, personally, I’m likely to over-indulge in all of the holiday goodies lying around. I mean, how can you not have hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and marshmallows, home-made warm baked cookies, turkey, ham, and tamales, etc?! The holidays only come once a year so it’s okay to enjoy all they have to offer. However, if you do feel like you’ve veered too far off track, here are a few things that help motivate me after a splurge.

  1. I accept that not too much time has passed. If you’ve been eating fairly healthy, working out at least 3 times per week then go and splurge at a family get together, relax. All your progress did not go down the drain. One bad meal won’t make you fat just like one healthy meal won’t make you fit.
  2. I acknowledge that every day is a new beginning. Isn’t it wonderful that every morning we wake up; we get the chance to improve our life? If yesterday you were too lazy to work out, today you can make a change and exercise for 30 minutes. 55f7db462eb7cd78ca6cd18e5bc2ce7aIf you were in a grumpy mood, today you can do a good deed for someone. Weren’t very productive yesterday? Get up early and don’t scroll through social media until you’ve finished everything you’ve been procrastinating on. We have the power to edit our day as if we were writing a page out of a chapter book and creating our life story.
  3. I increase my water intake stat! If you’ve indulged a little too much, chances are you’re feeling bloated. How do you get rid of bloat? By drinking water to flush out the excess sodium you just consumed. Yes, you may feel even more full but only temporarily. The more water you drink, the more your body can excrete the toxins.
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  4. I drink green tea all day. This powerful herbal tea can help you beat the bloat by increasing your metabolism thus burning calories. I did an 8-day experiment in which I drank 6 cups of green tea a day. The results were shocking. Read about it here if you haven’t already.
  5. I decrease my intake of sodium-filled foods. Sodium makes you retain water, something you don’t want to do if you’re trying to shed pounds. It’ll hold onto that water making you feel bloated. Stay away from salty junk and increase your water levels to stay balanced.
  6. I get a workout in ASAP. I always feel lighter after a quick sweat sesh’ both physically and mentally. You may not like the way you feel during your workout but you’ll feel quite accomplished after. Your endorphins will kick in and your whole attitude will change.
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  7. I recognize that the scale doesn’t matter. Don’t weigh yourself often and especially not after a splurge. The scale is just a number and it doesn’t mean anything. What matters is how you feel on the inside. Do you like what you see in the mirror? If you do, yay! If you don’t, get motivated, but don’t let a scale affect your mood.

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  1. I train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Not only do I find BJJ beneficial to my physical health, but it has improved my mental health immensely as well. While other fitness related activities focus on improving your physique aesthetically, BJJ has helped me appreciate my body for what it can do rather than how it looks. Being a 114-pound female, there’s only so much that I can bench press, but that 185-pound dude over there? Yeah, I can sweep that 😉 I can easily break an arm or put you in a choke hold. I use leverage rather than brute strength to control someone and that makes me confident in my skills rather than in my appearance.

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  1. I look for fitspiration (fitness inspiration) related blogs, articles, watch health documentaries or scroll through Pinterest and Instagram. There is always some awesome recipe, workout, cute outfit I’d like to fit into or motivated person that inspires me. Whether it’s a picture of someone’s progress or a quote, I’m sure to get my ass off the couch and go make some green tea or get on my spin bike.
  2. I distract myself. I’ll go out and do something fun with my husband, start tidying up the house, read a book, play with my dog; anything to get my mind off of how I’m feeling.

These tips usually motivate me to get my healthy groove back after a splurge. It’s frustrating to fall off track so we have to remind ourselves that if we don’t want to keep starting over, we have to stop giving up. If all else fails, wrap yourself up in a blanket with a hot mug of tea and lemon, throw on your favorite chick flick, and get some rest.

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Thanks for reading!

-Jules

 

Ooey-gooey Healthy Chocolate Muffins

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With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to dust off your muffin tins and shock your friends and family with your baking skills. This super easy 8-ingredient muffin recipe has some wholesome ingredients and it’s hubby approved so you know it’s yummy! These muffins are ooey-gooey and chocolatey – perfect if you’re craving something sweet without the over-loaded calories and sugar.

Ingredients

  • Chocolate protein (I used Designer Whey Gourmet Chocolate flavor)
  • Orgain Organic Protein lightly sweetened vanilla Almond Milk
  • Barlean’s Flax, chia, coconut blend mix
  • Jif creamy peanut butter
  • McCormick Ground cinnamon
  • Bananas
  • Medjool dates
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Add 1/2 cup lightly sweetened organic protein vanilla almond milk, 8 tbsp Peanut butter, 10 dates (Make sure you take out the pit), 2 scoops of your favorite chocolate protein, 2 bananas, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 3 tbsp Flax, chia, coconut blend mix to your food processor. Blend. Remove blade from processor. Stir in 3 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips to batter. Place your cupcake/muffin liners in your tray and fill with batter. Smooth over. Add a couple chocolate chips on top for extra delicious decor.

Bake for 20 mins. Makes 12 muffins.

Difficulty level: Easy

Note: You can be creative with this recipe. Add, subtract or substitute ingredients to make it suit your tastebuds/macros. Enjoy!

16 Reasons to Love Working Out at Home

 

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Sometimes getting to the gym can be difficult for a number of reasons: You don’t feel like changing out of your warm PJ’s and driving there at 7am OR it’s packed af after you get off of work OR you don’t want to make eye-contact with the person who saw you embarrassingly hit your head on the squat rack last week. Whatever the reason may be, here’s why ditching your gym membership might not be such a bad idea.

  1. You can straight up rock the roll-‘outta-bed look. PJ’s. No Mascara. Hair brush? What’s that?
  2. No one staring you down a) Rushing you for a machine b) Being pervy or c) Judging you.
  3. You won’t forget your headphones, hair-tie, shower sandals etc.
  4. You can come home from work, rest your mind & body for a little then prepare yourself for an intense sweat sesh when you’re ready.
  5. Feeling anti-social? Avoid everyone & get your squat on in private.
  6. Post-workout protein shake or food is right around the corner. Literally.
  7. You don’t have to worry about random people’s germs all over your equipment.
  8. You can multi-task. Have a minute between sets? Set your timer and grab that book you’ve been itching to read. Take it one page at a time.
  9. You can blast your own tunes. LOUDLY.
  10. You can Netflix n’ chill er I mean Netflix n’ agility drill. Duh 🙂
  11. You can invite a friend over to workout with you bi-weekly & they don’t have to have a (or the same) gym membership.
  12. It’s free. Enough said.
  13. You don’t have to worry about it being packed or finding/paying for parking.
  14. You can create your own home gym. Invest in some equipment- yoga/Jiu-jitsu mats, dumbbells, pull-up bar, jump-rope, resistance bands, spin-bike etc.
  15. You can pull up any kind of YouTube fitness video on your Smart TV, phone or laptop so it feels like you’re in a class setting i.e. yoga for beginners, BJJ drills, body weight exercises, cardio home workout, kettlebell workout.
  16. No more “Can’t go to the gym because no one can watch my kids excuse.” You can even include your children in your workout- Squat with your baby, do push-ups while your child sits on your back, or find a Mommy and Me Workout online.

It doesn’t take much to get a good home workout. You can use your own body weight and still challenge yourself. It will, however, take some discipline but as soon as you realize that you are entirely up to you and that your health should be a priority, the rest is easy; even fun! So get started, girl.

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Tips:  Create a workout schedule. Whether it’s every morning at 9am or evenings at 6:45 three times per week. You decide. Make a commitment to yourself and stick with it. What’s cookin’ good lookin? Create your own workout menu. HIIT? Dance? Yoga? As long as you get your heart racing and muscles movin’, any workout is better than no workout. For more tips on getting started, read up on my “7 Steps to a Healthier You” article.

Post a pic of your workout and tag @bjjandselflove on Instagram to get featured! Happy sweatin’ 🙂

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Thanks for reading!

-Jules

I Drank 6 Cups of Green Tea Every Day for 8 days. Here’s What Happened.

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Only about a couple of months ago did I become a fan of green tea. At first taste I couldn’t stand the bitterness, but my best friend, Madeline, was always drinking it and I knew there were tons of benefits. It boosts your metabolism, may reduce your risk of developing heart disease or Alzheimer’s, lowers blood pressure, and many other awesome things. I decided to give green tea a chance. Since then it has grown on me. I prefer to drink it hot with lemon juice (from just a slice) and it tastes great. Lemon is also a superfood. Not only does it add flavor to everything but it has plenty of its own health benefits as well. Could drinking green tea with lemon help me lose weight? I decided to do a little experiment.

During these 8 days, I cut out artificial sugars, ate healthy meals (protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains), had snacks in between meals, drank plenty of water, and exercised. I also consumed no alcohol. I took notes throughout the 8 days and here’s what happened:

Day 1 stats: 116 lbs, 16% body fat, 38.9% muscle.

Day 1 (Nov 2, 2017)

It seemed that I was mostly peeing more than drinking. Lol. TMI. I know, but I want to be honest. Your body just flushes out the toxins. It was a little challenging to drink 6 cups of tea today. My fifth cup was at 10pm because I just couldn’t get it in earlier due to a busy schedule. I ended up staying awake for an hour. I drank 5/6 cups of tea today.

Day 2 (Nov 3, 2017)

I woke up at 4:30am because my husband’s alarm went off. Usually I’d go back to sleep, but I was ready to start the day. Along with the tea, I also drank 45 ounces of water. I drank 6/6 cups of tea today.

Day 3 (Nov 4, 2017)

I always wake up with an urge to pee. I think that in order to change this, I should not drink anything at least an hour before I go to bed. I always wake up with an appetite. It can be 5am and I want breakfast – not like my hubby who doesn’t get hungry until 9 am. By that time, I’ve eaten twice lol. Well I woke up hungrier than usual and energetic. I’d usually be yawning by 1pm but felt naturally awake throughout the day. I drank 5/6 cups of tea today.

Day 4 (Nov 5, 2017)

I woke up earlier without feeling lethargic and groggy. I drank 5/6 cups of tea today.

Day 5 (Nov 6, 2017)

I woke up with energy. I noticed that my skin has been clear with no major break outs. I haven’t felt the need to drink my C4 pre-workout which I usually have twice a day to stay awake until after I get home from training at night. I have the energy to workout at home. I’m feeling good today so that puts me in a positive mood. I drank 6/6 cups of tea today.

Day 6 (Nov 7, 2017)

My energy has been high and I am in awe of the fact that I still haven’t felt the need to drink any pre-workout or energy drinks. Because I teach jiu-jitsu multiple classes a day, I have to get some sort of caffeine by 6pm so I can have the enthusiasm to work but haven’t had any extra caffeine drinks these past few days. I drank 6/6 cups of tea today.

Day 7 (Nov 8, 2017)

I feel lighter but won’t be able to tell a difference since I didn’t take a photo on Day 1. I did weigh myself though so I am looking forward to weighing myself on Day 8. Whatever the scale might say, it won’t matter because I feel amazing and that means more to me than a number. I drank 6/6 cups of tea today.

Day 8 (Nov 9, 2017)

Drinking tea has become easier. I was very productive with my time today so that makes me happy. It’s about 4:30pm and I swear my endorphins are putting in work. I feel really good! I feel motivated to work and I’m in a creative mental space at the moment. I feel like creating, writing, and reading. I’m in the greatest mood right now. I drank 6/6 cups of tea today.

Day 9 Weigh-in day!

It’s over! I woke up early, headed to work and weighed myself there. It’s best to weigh yourself early in the morning on an empty stomach after a BM.

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Day 9 stats: 114.6 lbs, 15.7% body fat, 39% muscle.

That’s 1.4 lbs lost, 0.3% body fat lost and 0.1% increase in muscle! It speaks volumes to me. It’s good to know that these tiny efforts will continue to change my health and body for better. I’m motivated to keep drinking green tea daily. My weight has always plateaued at 120 lbs but since working out, making healthy choices and drinking green tea (not as much as 6 times a day), my weight went down to 116 lbs which was a record for me. Apart from the weight, I felt a bit sluggish at 120 lbs so the change has definitely increased my energy. Now after this experiment, my energy is natural, I feel good and have furthermore broken my plateau from 120 to 116 to now 114.6 lbs.

Additionally, I didn’t crave sweets as much as I usually do which is a huge deal. I have a big sweet tooth so just the fact that I didn’t feel the need to have any junk was really motivating. The only treats I had during the 8 days were some pumpkin spice protein muffins that Madeline and I baked, and other healthy protein banana date muffins I baked in which I knew all the ingredients.

Rating: 5/5

Would I do it again? Yes, definitely. In fact, I’m going to continue drinking 6+, if not more, cups of green tea daily just because it makes me feel good.

Pros: I don’t have to rely on coffee, pre-workout or energy drinks so I save money. I have natural energy throughout the day. I lost weight and body fat. Green tea is very inexpensive.

Cons: You will pee a lot.

Type of tea used: Green tea packets from Wincos & Classic green tea packets from Sprouts Farmer’s Market. The package at Sprouts contains 100 packets and it’s less than $3. Jack pot!

So the answer is YES! Green tea can help you lose weight. Do you dare try the #GreenTeaChallenge?

Thanks for reading!

-Jules

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7 Steps to a Healthier You

Want to get healthier but don’t exactly know where to start? Having a plan definitely makes it simpler so I’ve outlined a couple steps to help you during this new project in your life.

 

  1. Know what it takes to lose weight. You need to burn more calories than you consume and create a 500 calorie deficit. If you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, you should cut back to 1,500 calories. So how do you know how many calories you’re eating and burning? There are a few tools you can use to help you with this.

 

The first is an app called My Fitness Pal. It’s an awesome way to track calories and macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) from foods and also track the amount of calories you burn from cardio exercises. You can input your current weight, goal weight and how many pounds you want to lose per week. It will give you the whole break down at the end of the day of your nutrition + fitness, and how much you’d weigh in a couple of weeks if, for example, you did everything the same as that day. Pretty motivating if you ask me.

Secondly, using some kind of Fit bit or fitness watch/tracker can also help get an average of calories you’re burning by tracking your heart rate. Some I’ve seen to be popular are the Polar A300 watch which comes with a chest strap to track your heart rate.

Thirdly, using a food scale. Although I’ve personally never used one, it seems like a good way to learn portion control. It can be used particularly for meat or any food thats serving size is in ounce form. When starting to change your nutrition habits, measuring food will be important to learn the correct serving size per meal.

Note: These tools are simply suggestions and not at all required to lose weight.

Although counting calories and measuring food is not for everyone, it’s an aggressive approach if you want to laser focus on your goals. I am a huge advocate for flexible dieting, but again, for a more aggressive approach, this may be something to consider until you get into the swing of things.

 

  1. Create a workout schedule. Think about your day. What time can you make the daily commitment to exercise and for how long? It doesn’t have to be very long if you do a high intensity workout. 15-30 minutes is better than nothing at all.

 

  1. Create your workout routine. What kind of workout are you going to try first? High intensity training will scorch calories so try exercises like jump-roping, jump squats and burpees. High intensity exercise is tough so expect to feel challenged. Just remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop. Workout alone, with a friend or find mommy and me workouts on YouTube.

Try this 10 Minute Victoria’s Secret Model Workout on YouTube. I promise it will have your heart racing and it’s ONLY 10 minutes. No excuses.

 

  1. Clear your cupboards of tempting junk and go grocery shopping for healthy food and snacks. If the cookies and chips are not there, you have no choice to eat it. Healthy grocery shopping can be exciting! Choose lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and high protein-snacks. Stay away from added and artificial sugars. Key tip: Stay on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. The middle aisles tend to have more of the things you want to stay away from. Learn how to read labels here.

 

  1. Create your daily nutrition timeline. Figure out the times you eat and what you usually eat. If you work early in the morning, chances are you are grabbing something quick to eat which may not always be healthy or maybe skipping breakfast entirely. By lunch time you are famished and susceptible to over-indulge in high calorie foods. Instead, you should spread your meals out into smaller ones throughout the entire day – about 2-3 hours apart – to keep your metabolism up and running. It might even help to set alarms with fun captions like “Eat a snack” or “Fuel yo’self” so you don’t forget to eat or just listen to your body.

Try to model this daily eating routine: Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and low calorie, easily digestible snack before you start winding down for the day. Your meals should include a combination of protein, greens, grains and veggies. Your snacks should be high in protein. Key tip: When reading labels, snacks should contain double digit grams of protein and single digit grams of sugar.

Breakfast Ideas: Oatmeal with 1 tbsp Peanut butter, protein shake, egg whites with spinach, avocado toast, omelet loaded with veggies, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, vegan options, healthy and green smoothies.

Snack Ideas: Celery with Peanut butter, carrots, grapes, apple slices with peanut butter, turkey slices, veggies and hummus, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, trail mix (You can create your own at Wincos or Sprouts. Opt for unsalted, raw nuts with no chocolate), half a sandwich, bananas.

Lunch & Dinner Ideas: Collard green chicken wraps, whole grain breads for sandwiches with Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted bread and Dave’s killer Bread, grilled chicken breast, sweet potatoes, mixed green salad, ground turkey, stuffed bell peppers, spaghetti squash, Buddha bowls loaded with black beans, veggies and protein, salmon, shrimp, brown rice and quinoa. The list is endlessly delicious!

 

  1. Log your progress. Keep track of your current and goal weight. Take your body measurements and progress pictures of yourself, too. A couple of months from now, you could look and feel totally different. Log your energy levels and how you’re feeling. Make any notes that will help motivate you and allow you to see how much progress you’re making. Get a cute fitness notebook, start a blog or a vision board.
  1. Binge search for motivation. Pinterest, Blogs, Instagram, Facebook. Look for someone or something that inspires you, research new recipes to try – make the foods you love healthier by switching up the ingredients, find new workouts to try at home or at the gym. Get your partner, a friend or family member to make the change with you. Have some kind of accountability to keep you on track.

 

Okay, you’re all set! Now the rest is up to you! There are so many reasons to get healthy including increased energy which anyone would dream of, feeling better physically and emotionally, being healthier, living longer, more confidence, etc.

Remember that you are allowed to put yourself first. When you take care of your health, your energy and enthusiasm will radiate towards everyone around you. You’ll have a better outlook on life, improve your work performance, strengthen your relationships and start to actually live and enjoy your life in the present moment. Good luck!

Email me at bjjandselflove@gmail.com to get a full grocery list. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

8 Self-Defense Tips Every Woman Should Know & Practice

1. Situational awareness. Be aware of who and what is around you. Ladies, when out on the town, please put your phone away and pay attention to your surroundings. Not only can this save you from being assaulted but it may also help you avoid getting lost, struck by a car, kidnapped, or even help report useful information when witnessing a crime.

 

2. Make eye-contact. Most women think that they should avoid eye-contact with a creepy stranger hoping they won’t be noticed – giving off the vibe that they are uninterested and “don’t want any trouble.” On the contrary; you should be interested in who is around you. What do they look like? What are they wearing? Any tattoos? What are their hands doing? Reaching in their pocket? The last thing you want is to avoid eye-contact while walking by someone, and get stabbed or hit over the head from behind. Scary to think about right? You shouldn’t trust just anyone so be smart. Not everyone is as level-headed as it may seem. Be observant of small details.

 

3. Lock your car door. I always make it a habit to lock my car door as soon as I get in and when I’m pumping gas. You never know when someone will randomly walk up to your vehicle and pull you or your belongings out.

 

4. Learn the rear-naked choke. The rear naked choke (RNC) is a chokehold in martial arts applied from an opponent’s back. Learning the proper way to perform the technique and practicing on different body types is crucial. Find the nearest Brazilian jiu-jitsu school and sign up for a class.

 

5. Learn how to disengage from being dragged by the wrist against your will. This technique is shown in my FREE Women’s Self Defense class on Tuesdays at 6:30pm. Tell us you’ve read the self-defense tips article and send us a text or call to confirm you’ll be there! Gomez Jiu-jitsu (323) 412-0863

 

6. Learn how to escape a mount. If you are ever in a situation where someone is holding you down against your will, you should know how to escape from beneath. Once again, learning the proper way to perform the technique correctly and effectively and actively training your mind for a life-threatening scenario is critical. This is not a “one-time thing.” You should continue practicing to become proficient.

 

7. Scope out the public restroom. When using a public restroom alone such as in a park, unknown building or in a sketchy part of town, presuming there aren’t that many stalls, check to make sure there isn’t anyone lurking around in there that shouldn’t be. I always push open every stall rather than peek underneath because an assailant may be standing/slouching on the toilet making his or her feet invisible.

 

8. Check for two-way mirrors. Want to know if there might be a two-way mirror in your restroom or changing room? Do the quick and easy fingernail trick.

 

This post is meant to make you a little more aware of the dangers we face daily. As women, we are a huge target. The biggest mistake we make is thinking, “It will never happen to me.” Hate to break it to you but you aren’t special. Anyone can be a victim of a crime. We’ve seen countless acts of violence recently so it’s time to spruce up your street smarts if you haven’t started already. Are you going to be a victim or are you going to be prepared? Your move.

I train and teach Brazilian jiu-jitsu and self-defense here:

Gomez Jiu-jitsu

(323) 412-0863

www.bjjandfitness.com

120 E. 8th St Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Suite 509)

Thanks for reading!