VLOG: Traveling to CA + World Surf League Founder's Cup

Now that it is officially summer and my life is getting a little more exciting, I am bringing back the vlogs!!! I just uploaded a new video from my trip to California for the World Surf League Founder's Cup where I interned and helped with the first time event. As always, message me on Instagram if there is anything that you all want to see this summer!
Thanks for watching! xx

What @balanced_baig Really Means

I get questions constantly about what my Instagram name @balanced_baig means and the story behind it. I have been in a mental "fog" lately and overall just really confused about the direction that I want to take my life, etc. etc. Nothing new, as this is something that we, as humans, deal with 24/7 as a part of growing and changing through life.

In terms of fitness, I am very much an experimenter and I don't really know the best way about achieving my goals in a healthy and sustainable way. I have really struggled with being weighed down by the perfectionist mindset in all aspects of life, so by giving myself the nickname "balanced" Baig, I hoped I would get closer to finding the balance that I truly crave. I am a naturally curious person and I love reading, learning, and consuming content, but sometimes I can get lost in the sea of Instagram and Youtube. Every single person that shares their story online is different and they've had a totally different journey and experience than every person watching, so the amount of (often conflicting) information is overwhelming, especially for a Type A individual (aka me) that likes to have rigid structure and guidelines at all times. I have consumed so much information over the past few years that I really developed a passion for learning new things particularly in the health and fitness category. 

I'm just a college girl that shares the same struggles that most women face every day. I struggle daily with anxiety, OCD, and the pressures of feeling like I'm not enough. Lately, that pressure and weight has been so heavy on me and, when I reflect inward, I'm realizing that the root of this is comparison. You hear it all the time: "Comparison is the thief of joy". At times, it goes in one ear and out the other, but, you guys, comparison is killing my joy. I'm embarrassed to admit...probably 75% of my day is spent on Instagram stories watching my favorite people...I know it's a horrible habit, and, while I love these (ultimately) strangers and their content, I constantly ask myself why my life isn't as perfect or amazing. If you really sit and think about the act of watching a 10 second video and tearing yourself apart over it, it sounds freaking crazy and it is, yet it happens all the time, especially with people around my age. The truth is there is no right answer or secret to living a healthy or happy life because every individual is on their own journey.

Although I try to be "balanced", recently, I've struggled with finding inspiration to post because I feel like I have to post that I have my life together all the time and, honestly, it is so far from together it's hilarious. I found a love for writing and posting because, by sharing my daily experiments and struggles, I literally feel like I'm exhaling all the anxiety and thoughts that I have swirling around in my head. In attempts to find peace within myself, I'm kind of shifting my outlook on posting to the blog and Instagram. I understand the stress and negative feelings that come with beating yourself up on a daily basis and I hope by my sharing a glimpse into that struggle, you feel a little better about your own journey to finding that balance. I have so many exciting changes coming up in my life and I don't want to waste another second feeling less than because of what I see on social media, so I hope you'll stay tuned as I share a little more realness. As always, follow along or message me on my Instagram.


Week in my Life VLOG: Grocery Hauls + Healthy Eats

Hi friends! I have been working on a new vlog and it is finally live on my Youtube channel. I share some of my healthy meals throughout the week and what I picked up at the grocery. As always, if you have any suggestions for future posts or videos, send them my way on Instagram!


The Honest Truth About Being in a Sorority

We're taking a break from health and fitness over here today to share a peek into college life. When I was brainstorming ideas for the blog, I thought it might be interesting to share what it's like being in a sorority at an SEC school. But instead of just giving my two cents, I thought I would also enlist the help of some of my sorority sisters and friends in other sororities to give our experiences, tips, and advice. As a high school senior, I remember being so nervous and excited about joining a sorority, but also confused about what it really entailed, so if that is you, I hope you find this helpful. For reference, I am in the Gamma Iota chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Kentucky.

A special thank you to my sweet friends for taking time to write for me. I am so grateful to have found such intelligent, strong, beautiful women to call my best friends. This is a super long post, but I wanted to share each perspective as they are different.

Caroline, Kappa Alpha Theta (Atlanta, GA)
Coming to UK from out of state was a hard decision because I went out of my comfort zone and was going somewhere where I knew no one. I was terrified about going through recruitment and was afraid that no one would see me for who I was, I would get cut, and then I would be out of the sorority experience I longed for. No one knowing me and me knowing no one was the best thing that happened to me during recruitment. I was able to come in without any old reputations or stereotypes and be the true and honest me. Being a legacy was hard because I knew my mother wanted me to follow in her footsteps, and if I knew girls and listened to others I probably would of chosen that sorority. However, I decided to not listen to others and make the decision on my own… and it was the best decision! My advice to younger girls going through, would be to not let your old reputation or a sorority's reputation persuade you into making a decision. Just because your neighbor is one sorority, and “they are the best” doesn’t mean it will be the best for you! An open mind makes the world's difference. 

Erin (my Theta house roomie!), Kappa Alpha Theta (Lexington, KY)

Advice: Know coming in that sororities cost more than what is on the paper. On top of dues, there are T-shirts, Sweatshirts, and Philanthropy events that come out of pocket and they add up fast. This is important to talk about because no one wants to be blindsided when you get a bill, I know my dad was.
Pros: When you are on such a large campus it is nice to have a large, diverse group of friends. Joining a sorority is a great way to start college off with at least a few familiar faces. Coming in no one from my high school was in my sorority and it scared me not knowing anyone, but I never felt alone.
Cons: Rush is hard. You are emotionally and physically tired the whole time. I’m not going to lie, not getting asked back to a house you were really happy with hurts. It is extremely hard not to take it personal. But it’s hard from the other side. When a girl you want is going through recruitment you can push her really hard, but really you have no say. Just try to keep your head up, and always keep an open mind.
What I wish I knew coming in: You do not have to be best friends with everyone in your sorority. There are over 300 girls in most chapters and it’s okay to not get along with everyone. I wish I knew this going in because I was always too cautious to speak my mind. It’s okay to be annoyed and step away, there’s no harm in that.
Don’t expect to find your best friends right away. The first semester there is a lot of pressure to find your group and do everything together. During recruitment, everyone seems like best friends, like they are all so close. Don’t feel intimidated. Good friends take time, and eventually you will find your besties and you’ll look forward to the weekly tea times! 

Mary Kate, Kappa Alpha Theta (Owensboro, KY)
When I was going through recruitment, I was terrified. My best friend from back home had already gone through recruitment at her school and felt like she could coach me into one the best chapters on campus. I’m not completely socially inept, but I’m not the bubbliest girl you’ve ever met. I don’t dress like a mother stuck in the 90’s all the time, but I do most times. 
My advice to anyone going through rush is to stop and ask yourself what you want to be liked for and what you want to be noticed for. If it’s your Barbie-like style, then by all means, wear your Lilly Pulitzer and Jack Rodgers and kill the game, but if that’s not you, it doesn’t have to be. If you want to be remembered for loving Grey’s Anatomy even though you gave up after the first two episodes, go ahead and keep the act going, sister, but good luck because Grey’s fans are crazy. Although it can be a good conversation starter, there’s no shame in not owning a Netflix account. When you go through rush, you want to be remembered for YOU. The girl with the driest sense of humor, the girl who accidentally walked in wearing her UK flip-flips because she forgot her heels in her dorm, the girl who wore a bright blue jumpsuit when everyone wore a pink dress, the girl who’s majoring in Nature Conservation, or even the girl who talked about farting. (Erin did this during her recruitment, I don’t actually recommend this.) This was just a long drawn out way of saying to be yourself during recruitment or you won’t find the girls that make your sisterhood so special.

Maggie, Pi Beta Phi (Lexington, KY)
Recruitment and my sorority brought me so many great gifts freshman year. Things like making new friends, finding an individual place where I belong, getting away from the people I went to high school with, meeting all different kinds of people, and experiencing so much along the way. But sophomore year has been totally different, a lot of that new and excited feeling has worn off. I'm currently in a place where I feel lost in the shuffle, without that magical experience that's suppose to come with living in the house. I wouldn't change anything solely because of the joy it brought me last year, but my choices with my role in my sorority moving forward is still up in the air. 

Emma, Delta Delta Delta (Lexington, KY)
One of the biggest pros of being in a sorority to me is having friends all over campus wherever I go. I see people walking to class or eating near campus and saying hi to each girl makes the school seem so much smaller. If I could go back to recruitment, I think I would tell myself to calm down. You truly do have to trust the process because even though I did not get asked back to some of my favorite houses, the one I ended up in is the perfect fit for me. My advice for any girls going through recruitment is to chill out about the whole process, make sure you make friends with your Gamma Chi group, and talk with your roommate(s) about it all. They say not to, but when you are freaking out about everything, speaking to the person who is with you throughout recruitment always helped me. My roommate freshman year did not have a great experience rushing and got cut by the sorority she thought was home. It turned out that the sorority she got a bid from was meant for her all along. When we spoke about recruitment and the houses it really helped us understand, come to terms with, and figure out what we wanted. Another piece of advice I think is very important is to appreciate every house you visit and every girl you speak to. Not only will you maybe have class with some of the girls you talk to, but you really do make lots of forever friends outside your sorority.

My two cents:
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about sorority life is that the sole purpose of joining is the social aspect (ie Instagram photos, partying, etc.). While going to parties is fun and can be a small piece of college life whether you are involved in Greek life or not, being in a sorority is (or at least should be) about having the opportunity to serve your philanthropy (a specific charity/organization that your chapter will bring awareness to and donate time and money towards), participate in service, and have a set of standards and group of people that will hold you accountable as you grow and mature through college to become your best self. Being in a sorority does open so many doors for personal and professional opportunities and has given me a sense of structure and responsibility that I wouldn't have had otherwise. While, it is so easy to look at Instagram and get caught up in the superficial and sometimes petty nature of sororities (drama and pettiness are inevitable when you're in a group of over 300 girls), look at this as an opportunity to find a group where you can totally be yourself. If you put aside expectations and perceived reputations, you will find the right fit for you. I feel it is really important to not cheat yourself of that time and experience just because of what other people think.

While this post was meant to be general advice, there are a lot more topics we can go deeper into if that is something you are interested in. Don't hesitate to send me a message on Instagram with topic ideas or any questions at all. 


5 Healthy Hacks for College Life

Hiiii friends! I am back today with some of my tips and tricks on how I keep my diet fairly healthy as a college student while still getting to enjoy pizza, pancakes, and dessert (all my favorite things!!). I live in a sorority house so most of the time I eat the meals provided for me, but I've gotten pretty good at grocery shopping on a budget and making healthy choices when I can. It does make things harder when you can't cook for yourself, but I've found what works for me and what I can make without needing more than a toaster or microwave. Having limited options and money make it hard to make good choices, but it is possible to be healthy without being crazy restrictive.

1 // Add things in instead of subtracting
My number one tip for eating healthy in college and particularly if you are on a meal plan in the dorms is to add healthy things into your diet instead of trying to restrict yourself and take things away. For me, this looks like adding as many green vegetables to my plate if I can. If I can't have a super healthy dinner, I can usually add a big salad to whatever I'm having with veggies to get in those nutrients. If I have fresh fruit or vegetables as an option I always try to take advantage of that. For breakfast, I usually try to add 1-2 big spoonfuls of chia seeds (you can read about the benefits here) to my toast or oatmeal. I'm big on peanut and almond butter so I always add a spoonful of that for healthy fat and a little extra protein as well when I can.

2 // Protein
Especially on days when I am working out hard, I really try to make sure I'm getting good sources of protein in my diet. Most days we have some kind of meat for lunch or dinner and there are typically leftovers, so I try to take advantage of that throughout the week, so I don't have to spend extra money on eating out. When it isn't available, I love doing plain Greek yogurt with fruit, adding protein powder to smoothies and oatmeal (this is my favorite), getting deli chicken or turkey, or having an RX bar as a snack

3 // Smoothies
Being on the go constantly, I need easy ways to get in my greens and nutrients. Smoothies tend to be my go to for getting a big serving of greens in because they're so quick and easy. My favorites to add are baby spinach and kale because when you throw them in with frozen fruit and a banana, you can't even taste it.

4 // Watching Sugar
I have the biggest sweet tooth (our chef at the house makes amazing desserts!!), so this is a challenge for me. My favorite time to have a sweet treat is right after dinner when I'm working on homework so if I know I'm going to want that at night I do my best to cut out sources of extra added sugar during the day. For example, when I make oatmeal, I use whole oats instead of instant and I always do plain Greek yogurt instead of the flavored, sugary kind. I find sugary drinks and coffees tend to be a big source of extra sugar for me, so I typically just stick to black coffee and water.

5 // Probiotics
This is a personal thing that I have been doing as I have learned more about the importance of healthy gut bacteria. I don't know enough about it to really go in depth, but there is sooo much information out there. I love having Kombucha first thing in the morning and  I take a probiotic supplement at night before I go to sleep. This helps me feel better and less bloated and is really good for digestive health.

Let me know if you want to see more posts on healthy eating in college as I know it can be a huge challenge. As always, if there are any suggestions, send them my way on Instagram.

Happy Friday! xx

My First VLOG

I am SO excited for today's post. I spent this past week vlogging my workout routine for you guys and it is now live!! I talk more in the video about why I decided to make a video as opposed to a blog post and touch on finding time to workout in college and listening to your body. I had so much fun filming and putting the video together. I have tons of ideas and think I will probably incorporate more lifestyle content with the workout content in the future so please send me a message or leave me a comment on Instagram! If you want to see more videos like this from me in the future, like the video on Youtube and subscribe to my channel to stay in the loop :) 

Click here for the yoga video.

Give Burn Bootcamp Lexington a follow on Instagram to see sneak peeks of their classes!


2018 Goals

Now that we are almost halfway through January, I thought it was the perfect time to share my goals for the year that I have already been working on. It is important for me when setting goals and maintaining steady progress to break them up into smaller steps so that what I want to accomplish is realistic and attainable. You aren't likely to keep up with things if they seem too far out of your reach at first. If you start small, it gets easier to work up to where you want to be. I also believe that if a goal is truly important to you, instead of saying "I might try to..." or "I'm going to try to...", say to yourself, "This year I will..." I have learned that this takes the uncertainty out of your expectations for yourself and pushes you to not give up on what is really matters to you. 

I touched on this a little in my last post, but my word for the year is confidence. In the past, I have spent a lot of time putting responsibilities, expectations from others, and other people before myself. Finding confidence to me is not just about my body or appearance, but about putting myself first, constantly making decisions to better myself, being able to speak up for myself and what I believe in, and being able to say no to what doesn't bring positive energy into my life.

In no particular order, here are my focuses for the year and what I am manifesting and putting into action for 2018:

Start each day with a positive mind and a grateful heart: My goal is to start each morning by writing or just taking a moment to say to myself what I am thankful for. When we have a lot on our plate, it is easy to forget how many good things we have going for us. My hope is to find joy in even the smallest things because a positive mindset is so important in manifesting our goals. 

Invest: A big focus for me this year is to really invest in my life. Whether this be investing in quality clothes and shoes, putting aside more money for the future, or investing in quality relationships. My time is as precious to me as my money. Sometimes I find myself wasting time on people that aren't contributing anything positive to my life just because I feel obligated. This year it is a priority to me to invest in the people that truly matter and that are sources of positivity and happiness for me. 

Put the phone down: I touched on this a little bit in this post but I am going to continue working towards not reaching for my phone out of habit first thing in the morning, before bed, and when I am bored. I think a realistic expectation for myself is to spend two to three hours at a time each day with my phone turned off and put away. 

When I start to feel overwhelmed and anxious, stop what I am doing and take four deep breaths. I have already started doing this and it really does help me to center myself and feel better.

Continue to prioritize my health + wellness and get stronger mentally and physically. I didn't make this super specific because it's important for me to remove the pressure on myself to workout 4-5 times per week or eat a certain number of calories and just listen to my body and what I'm feeling that day and week. I'm in a 6 week challenge right now at a local gym that I'm going to post about soon!

Post on the blog once per week. 

Read one book a month.

Finalize my study abroad plans.

I hope that through my posts you find inspiration to achieve your goals and really find that faith in yourself to make your dreams happen.

Follow along on Instagram. xx