Archive for the ‘Fitness Model’ Category

I am a Body of Work in Progress

My life is a happy balance ~ Stephanie Joanne

My life is a happy balance ~ Stephanie Joanne

Describing myself and what I do is always the most challenging task. To be very honest, the simple truth is I am a personal trainer. I have been blessed with some great exposure and tv/media opportunities which have opened up some doors for me. The one thing I’m not afraid of is walking towards those doors and making things happen. I really believe that there are no chance meetings. Keeping this in mind, I am always thinking of ways to collaborate with those around me. Currently I am working with a few companies in marketing and the exposure side of their business. Aligning myself with key organizations such as The Treadmill Factory has my time tied up these days.

I was brought up in Europe. Sports and play were daily activities. I did it all. My parents pretty much encouraged me to play and do as much as my spare time could allow. Following a full extracurricular program my memories are of my father playing games outside with me that he played during his childhood. My big brother Jonathan always included me in games that he played with his friends and I played OBA (Ontario Basketball) until I was seventeen. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that it’s because of this early interaction that I turned into quite the tomboy and sport fanatic. I also joined a gym with my Mom at thirteen years of age and I’ve been in love with fitness ever since. It’s like brushing my teeth. Something feels terribly wrong if I don’t move.

The hardest obstacle for me thus far has been trying to figure out who I am in this role as a “fitness expert”. I spend most of my time with media related obligations and in meetings. Yet somehow all I want to do is wear my tights and workout. Finding balance and making sure I enjoy the process of creating my brand has been my primary focus. My boyfriend frequently reminds me to stop and be grateful for all that I have already accomplished before looking at what is next. I need to be constantly reminded of this.

I keep my workout routine and supplements simple. I box twice a week, hot yoga twice a week and train at the gym three times. I take Cygen Powergreens21 and Cygen Fish Oil. I am obsessed with the new victory bars, my OhYeah and Quest bars have always been a staple. I am in love with this new Yoga place I found. The girl teaching is the best I have come across in YEARS!! Her name is Karin (from YogaTree) and she has me determined to get into all these poses I would have never thought possible. Bending legs behind my head, balance and hand/head stands…all that good stuff!

I have a great team of individuals cheering me on! My Dad offers a welcomed thumbs up and tells his little girl he is proud at times when I feel like I am still that 7 year old girl who does not have a clue what she is doing or where she is going. In reality this is the truth. The older I get the more I realize that “adults” as we knew it when we were kids, don’t quite have it all together like we thought they did. My brother is that guy who will always take care of his little sis; pick me up when and if I fall kind of brother. It sure makes life a lot easier knowing that even when the rest of the world thinks “you’ve made it” on the inside you still need to know that if time ever came and you’re about to fall, that someone’s going to catch you. That person would be my brother, hands down. My best friend Sabrina is the one I literally speak to for at least an hour a day. She is the one who knows all the details. It’s like a very attractive human diary. Then the man behind the woman is Sheldan. Most days after I’m finished running my business and taking on the world, he gets the cranky version of me. The version most would not believe existed. The big joke is that the Stephanie Joanne turns back into the Stephanie Beekhuysen (which is my real name) and all I want to do is sulk and get back rubs. He deals with me and he supports me, which gets him major points all day long. Life really is all about relationships. As long as I value my relationships and the time I spend with the people I love, everything else will fall into place…. I hope!

I'm always going to be Daddy's little girl ~ Stephanie Joanne

I’m always going to be Daddy’s little girl ~ Stephanie Joanne

If remaining committed to fitness is a challenge for you and you’re trying to figure out what’s the best path to success I really think it’s time to start looking inward for the solution. Too often people trust what “experts” have to say and they get caught up in a war of conflicting information. When I get stuck I turn off my cell phone; I turn away from the computer and I sit with a pen and paper. It may take me 5 minutes or it may (and often does) take me all day and night; but I take that much needed time to re-group and journal what it is that I want and more so why I want it. I take the time to answer the important questions, “What does it mean to me? What do I have to do to make my goals happen?” Then I act on it. I strongly suggest that you do the same.

Throughout this entire journey I have found that there really is nothing more important than my time and energy. I have had the fancy job and the fancy title and I reached a place in life where I had to let it go. No regrets! Now, I have the energy to do everything that I am passionate about in my own time.

My message is simple, take control of your life.

Twitter @stefjoanne or www.stephaniejoanne.com

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Elizabeth White (mother of two) Currently preparing for her first physique competition.

Elizabeth White (mother of two) currently preparing for her first physique competition.

I am a mother of two, Personal Trainer, IFBB Pro Figure/Physique Athlete, and  Nutrition Consultant.  I live in North Carolina.  Work is mainly at the Y, personal training, although I do have many long distant clients I help with training, nutrition and contest prep.  My degree is from East Carolina University in Exercise and Sports Science.

I am a Sponsored athlete by NutraClipse.  I absolutely love their products!

I am currently preparing for my first Womens Physique Competition.  I decided to switch divisions two years ago, focusing on gaining size to compete in Physique, not Figure. I have always been very active.  As a child I rode/showed horses, played many different sports.  Soccer was my favorite.  I can remember so clearly at age 12 , falling in love with the weight room.  The “Iron Passion” has been there ever since! I competed in one body building competition in 1998.  Then, I got married and had two beautiful children.  It wasn’t until 2004 that I decided to compete in Figure.  I won the overall in my first show.  It was ON after that.  I trained hard to earn my Pro Card,  In 2006, I won the Overall at the Jr. Nationals and turned Pro.

Health and fitness has been my life for over 20 years

Health and fitness has been my life for over 20 years.

Health and fitness has been my life for over 20 years.  The most rewarding thing is knowing I make a difference in someone’s life.  I love helping others achieve their health and fitness goals; be it fighting disease or just boosting their mental, emotional and physical outlook. This is what I do and what I enjoy.

My family has always been supportive.  They know it’s my lifestyle, striving to be stronger, healthy and full of life.  My children even know when my “cheat meals” are and when and why it is important to eat healthy and exercise.  I want to be an incredible role model for them in every way.

I think the hardest obstacles for me to overcome were the death of my father and my divorce.  When I turned Pro it was Fathers Day weekend which made it extra special for me having lost my father.  On the flip side, I was also going through a very hard divorce, trying my best to raise two small children, live, work  and  compete through the process.  BUT I DID IT! I give thanks to God for giving me the strength, patience and determination to achieve my goals and the support from my friends and family being there for me.

For the past two years I have trained and planned meals to add more muscle to compete in Physique. I have been dieting since January of this year to compete next week in my first Physique competition.  I haven’t been on stage since my last Figure competition 2 years ago.  So, I am very excited and ready to see how I do in this new division with a different look.

I do a lot of “old school” training. I love lifting heavy, challenging myself to see just what I can do with what God has given me.  It is so freakin fun to me!!! LOL yes, I love it! I train each muscle group at least once a week.  Cardio in the off season is a minimum 3 days a week.  Pre-contest, I do cardio every day and lift according to how I feel as calories/body weight drop.

Normally, my meals are broken down to 5 /day with protein shakes around training and before bed.  Pre-contest I eat 5 meals /day and start backing off the shakes a couple weeks from show. Protein is always consistent through day.  I manipulate carbs according to how I look and what my goals are at the time.  I drink 1-2 Gallons of water each day, take vitamins, minerals, protein shakes, essential fats and amino acids. I use NutraClipse preworkout and thermogenic.

I would encourage ANYONE that is not currently in and exercise program or eating healthy (with a purpose) to start NOW!! I have been in this industry long enough to say I have seen the difference it makes not only physically, but mentally and emotionally a huge boost in life and living, being happy!

Elizabeth White  with her game face on! Killing it!

Elizabeth White with her game face on! Killing it!

I have NEVER heard anyone say that they regret making the decision to live healthy and strong!

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story.  I can be reached :

Twitter-@elizabethwhit20

Facebook – IFBB Pro Elizabeth White

Email-physequeessentials@yahoo.com

Going For The Win – Arnold’s 2013

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Chie Terui – Personal Trainer, International Figure Competitor and mother of 3 teenagers

My name is Chie Terui. I’m from Japan and I’ve been living in the U.S. for over 15 years. I’m part owner of Ratio 1:1 Fitness Personal Training Studio in suburban Chicago. If you’re ever in Chicago stop by for a visit and a WORKOUT!! I’m a personal trainer, international figure competitor, and mother of three beautiful teenagers. I’m interested in helping people through my experience and at the same time, challenging myself to achieve my own fitness goals and dreams. My project right now is getting ready for The Arnold Classic Amateur international figure championships; which, I placed 3rd in the open figure A class in 2010 and 2011. This time I’m going for No 1!

I was born north of the main land in TOWADA City AOMORI, Japan. I was always into sports and I liked the challenges of different sports. I played basketball (even though I’m short) for 3 years. When I was in Jr. High school, I got into “Kendo” a  Japanese martial art form. I continued through high school and earned my black belt. After that I became a swimming instructor, aerobics instructor and personal trainer in Japan. So you can say that I have been in the fitness industry all my life. However after moving to the U.S. and the birth of my children my habits changed. I love to eat; this combined with a lack of exercise got me up to 160lbs and wearing a size 12 (I’m only 5 feet tall). I developed health problems like high cholesterol. So being unhealthy, overweight and having marriage problems, I hated myself. I used to cry and was depressed all the time. One day I was watching this documentary of a girl that was born without arms. She didn’t have arms from the beginning so she didn’t know what it was like to have them. She knew how to work with what she had, though. She used her legs and feet for everything. She wrote and typed with her feet, ate and combed her hair with her feet. I mean everything was done with her feet. I thought to myself, I have arms, legs and feet and a strong mind that God gave me, so stop complaining and do something about it!! I know it might sound like I made it up but that’s exactly how I decided to change my life.

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I want to motivate others through my experience with fitness – Chie Terui

I had low self-esteem as a child growing up and I felt I wasn’t good enough for anything. But as I went through my journey with fitness I learned to truly believe in myself and that I could do anything that I set my mind to. When I decide to do something, I don’t quit until the end.  I have a lot of support from my family and fans. First my fiancé Earl Bell: He is my mentor and he trains me also. Second my three children. They are my cheerleaders (When I try to cheat they say, you are going to win so you should not eat that!). Third, my family and fans in Japan. I wrote a training column for a Japanese bodybuilding magazine call “GEKKAN Bodybuilding.” Since then, many of my fans are great supporters. Thanks everyone!!

My accomplishments to date:

2012 NPC Chicago Extravaganza Championships Figure Short class 1st place

2011 The Battle Of Champions Figure Short Class 1st place

2011 The Arnold Amateur International Competition Open Figure A 3rd place

2010 The Arnold Amateur International Competition Open Figure A 3rd place

2009 The IL State Championships Open Figure Short Class 1st place

Even with all of these titles under my belt the hardest obstacle for me to date was believing in myself, from my heart. I still practice everyday to think and feel positive at all times.

My workout routine is 3 days on, 1day off. Shoulder – Hamstrings & Glutes – Chest & Arms – Back – Legs in this Order.

Supplements are BCAA, Protein Shake, and Glutamine. Multi Vitamins, Vitamin C&D, Kelp, Calcium, Omega 3,

I prefer to have my protein from solid whole food, not protein shakes. I had a kidney infection when I was a teenager. Since then I had kidney infections every pregnancy. So I choose to consume my protein from foods, for less stress to my kidney. I eat the same always. I eat 5 to 6 times a day. Breakfast is egg whites, turkey bacon, oatmeal with raisin and a cup of coffee. (Off-season I might have pancakes sometimes) Meals 2 and 3 are chicken breast, broccoli and a baked sweet potato. Meal 4 is tilapia and asparagus. Meal 5 is egg whites and broccoli. (Off-season I will have a cheat meal on the weekend). I drink plenty of water.

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I’ll continue to push myself until my dreams come true!

I am currently 6 weeks out from The Arnold Amateur International Figure Championships. My goal is to win the overall title. Another goal is to become an IFBB Japanese Figure Pro and compete at the pro Arnold figure and The Ms Figure Olympia. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror or how you feel, get your butt up and fix it!! If I can do it so can you.

Other goals on the horizon:

  • I’m currently collaborating with Chike Nutrition on my own meal replacement called “VITAI” (which means beautiful figure in Japanese)
  • I am also the only Midwest distributor for Chike protein coffee and protein shakes
  • I am working on a clothing line called “Figure Prodigy”  I look forward to sharing it with you very soon

It’s amazing what fitness can bring together. Thank God for social networking: it has truly connected the world. Who would have thought a Japanese girl with low self-esteem from a small country town in Japan could experience all the things that I have mentioned. I believe that when you want something so badly and are willing to put in the hard work, your dreams will come true. That is why I’m still here and continue to push myself until all my dreams come true. I would like to put back into the fitness what fitness has given me. Thank you so much for this opportunity, I appreciate it.

@chieterui

Never Lose Sight of Your Goals

Gina Marie Policastro

In March of 2012, I walked through the doors of “The East Coast Mecca, Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym,” in Syosset NY and my journey commenced.

Growing up in Queens NY, I was that kid that was always out on the block and could never sit still. My parents enrolled me into dance classes by the age of 5 and by age 7 I was taking on gymnastics too. I fell in love with the sport; practiced 3 times a week and at home I would practice some more (although my parents weren’t so happy to have me flipping off of the couch and other furniture in the house). Most of all, I love conditioning! Weird, I know but I welcomed the challenge. I would come home from school, have a snack, do homework, but as I watched TV at night I would do sets of sit-ups, V-ups, supersets of push-ups, all during commercial breaks. Then I saw “Ms. Fitness America” on ESPN that I thought, “I’m gonna do that too!”

Throughout my high school and college career I continued doing gymnastics, took on cheerleading, and was a regular in the gym. By living this active lifestyle I never felt the need to diet, in fact I’m a foodie at heart and have a severe sweet tooth! While in college I began to train at a personal training center with hopes of competing someday. I made great gains, but managing my studies, working full time as a middle school science teacher, and getting married by the age of 24, I subconsciously suppressed my goal to compete.

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation” Maya Angelou

Things don’t always work out the way you plan. In fact, I feel the more you plan, the more likely you are to stray off that path. By 26 I divorced from a very unhealthy relationship, I was mentally torn down, defeated. I was angry that I had “stopped living” and lost sight of my own dreams and goals for somebody else. I realized change must come from within. I thought, “I need to figure out who I am, complete the things I’ve wanted to do, it’s not too late, there is no right time, there is only now.”

I began my research and came across “Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym.” I picked a day of the week (I believe it was a Wednesday) and decided to walk in. I remember feeling anxious, nervous, and intimidated walking to the front doors of a well-known establishment. However, I was greeted by Lou Tangredi (one of my favorite people at Bev’s!) whom referred me to Angelica Nebbia. I will never forget the day that Angelica called me. I was ecstatic to hear that someone was going to help me begin my journey!

Angelica scheduled a night to meet me, where I learned that she was an IFBB Figure Pro and we discussed what training for a competition would actually entail. We talked about hours of training, meals, food prep, costs, different divisions (bikini, figure, physique), posing, and expectations. To me, I didn’t care how much time or how much money was going to be spent, all I knew was I wanted to get started, I wanted to achieve my goal! I wanted to become an IFBB Figure Pro.

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

I began training every day at Bev’s and twice a week with Angelica. She created my contest prep diet, my training schedule, and set a goal. I was 3 months out. We were headed for the “NPC Atlantic States” to compete in Figure, June 2012.

Over the next 3 months, Angelica became more than just a trainer and coach, but also my best friend. I’m so thankful for having met her (and her husband Roy). She has supported me from day 1, motivated me, and helped re-invent myself into becoming a stronger, more confident person. Soon it was time to step out on stage. I was proud of how far I had come and regardless of my placement; I knew she would be too. When I stepped into the stage lights, I tried to keep my cool, but my quads were trembling as I tried to hit the mandatory figure poses. My nerves had kicked in! The judges began calling numbers, the end result; I received first callouts. I placed 3rd! I was elated I had done so well. Finally, I felt alive, I felt I had changed, I knew this was only the beginning of my journey.

I continued to train after the “Atlantic States” with another goal in mind. “NPC Team Universe,” in Teaneck, NJ. I was 4 weeks out from my first national competition. I was determined to bring my best and knew Angelica was by my side to help me get there. Training was intense, lifting for at least an hour a day, cardio had increased to 2-3 hours/day, following the strict meal plans was mentally draining, but I wanted to do well. I placed 12th in a class of 28 competitors and couldn’t wait to compete again.

Comparison – Atlantic States, Team U, USA’s

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Greg Anderson

I refuse to give up on myself! Having been “on-season” since March, maybe I should have taken a break. However, I went on to compete at two other national level competitions, “NPC USA’s” in Las Vegas, NV and “NPC Atlanta Nationals” in Atlanta, GA, where I placed 13th in a class of 38. I will be competing once more in a regional contest, November 18th at the NPC Easterns in NYC.

Pursuing this goal meant a lifestyle change, not only for me, but for my family as well. I was constantly prepping meals, packing gym bags, and if I wasn’t at work, I was training. No more Sunday dinners (coming from an Italian family this was a huge disappointment) and I was bringing my own food to celebrations (including Easter) at relative’s houses. I was so engrossed in my training that I failed to notice that my family was not quite on board with this way of life, but I loved it. It was new, it was demanding, both physically, and mentally, but I didn’t care. Slowly my family has adapted to the new and improved me. This is my goal and I’m sticking to it, you’re either in or you’re out, you can support me or not, but I’m doing it! I made a promise to myself to never let anyone step in the way of achieving my own personal goals in becoming an IFBB Figure Pro.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paul Coelho

One of the most rewarding aspects of this journey has been the friendships and relationships that I have built along the way. Although my family does not understand my reasoning for wanting to train and compete, I am blessed to have such phenomenal friends and support at Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym. I am proud to belong to the “East Coast Mecca” and look forward to it every day. Being surrounded by others that have goals, determination, and drive creates a positive atmosphere to help me push through tough days. Whether in training or in traveling, we stick together!

The “NPC Easterns,” will be my last competition of the season. However, that doesn’t mean that my training will cease. My plans for the off season are to grow physically as a figure competitor, put on more muscle mass, and make big hanges to bring to the stage in 2013. The offseason is bitter sweet because although I love competing, it can be mentally exhausting. I have definitely grown as an individual as I have become more focused, regimented, organized, and optimistic. I find solace in reading inspirational books and listening to motivational speeches. I have carried these new traits into my career as a middle school science teacher and hope to influence my students and encourage them to reach, and achieve their goals and dreams.

Gina with her supporters, Angelica and Roy

The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.” Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

I hope this finds you well. As you embark on your own fitness journey, remember why you started in the first place. What motivates you? What drives you? The beginnings are the hardest part; but once progress appears use it as your stepping stone to continue on. Surround yourself with positivity; people, books, daily affirmations. Strength is more than just the physical. It is the internal and mental toughness that makes a champion.

Thank you to SociallyFit for inviting me to share my story, to the NPC, to IFBB Figure Pro Angelica “Tiny Phenom” Nebbia, Steve and Bev at Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, IFBB Physique Pros Sadik Hadzovic and Vince Fiore, and NPC competitor Dickens Fenelon for their continuous support on my journey to becoming an IFBB Figure Pro.

In strength,

Gina Marie Policastro

I would love to receive feedback, questions, or comments. I may be reached at the following:

gmpolicastro@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/gina.m.policastro

Twitter@GMPolicastro

Youtube@GinaMPolicastro

Instagram@GMPolicastro

Set standards, not limits.

At 42 I’m competing with individuals half my age and I’m winning. Set standards, not limits.

I evolve every day. I embrace change and welcome new challenges. I try to live each day to my fullest potential, while keeping life simple. The only thing that never really changes for me, is the love that I have for my family and friends. I am currently working on expanding  as a personal trainer and online coach. I am developing  a corporate wellness program and I am very committed to my clients. I have two clients scheduled to compete as Fitness Models next Spring, and that will be a wonderful addition to my portfolio.

My mother was health conscious and she encouraged my brother and I to stay active and eat well.  At an early age, I had good, healthy habits instilled in me. I was a track athlete in High school, and I excelled at sprinting and long jump. I started working out in a gym when I was eighteen years old. A year later, I decided to make health and fitness a career.  I have now been in the Fitness industry for over 20 yrs and I love what I do. As a Personal Trainer, Pro UFE Figure Athlete and Fitness model, my main goal is to inspire, motivate and educate. I love that I help others become healthy and feel better about themselves. Fitness is all I have ever known, and I believe that it keeps me young,  mentally and physically. If you feel good; if you are healthy; you feel timeless. This may sound a little over the top but it’s true. I am 42 and I honestly forget how old I am until someone actually asks my age. Fitness brings energy, strength, better moods and greater self-esteem, this alone makes you feel younger and vibrant.

Carmen on stage, doing what she loves. Follow your passion.

For the longest time staying fit was important not only to feel better but to look better. As a woman it’s empowering to be healthy, fit and strong. Since the recent passing of my father, this is now where I channel my energy. I just did a fitness competition after taking a four-year break and I came back to win 1st place in the figure category and 4th place as Fitness Model. I am now a Pro UFE figure Athlete and owe this to putting all my energy into something positive and giving it my all. I choose to focus on something good for myself which has helped me through the hard times. My dad passed away before he had grandchildren, before he could walk his daughter down the aisle. He didn’t take care of himself. I want to have children and grandchildren. I want to enjoy them. I never want to miss out on what motivates me.

My family and friends are an amazing support system. During competition prep,  they have my back. At family events, they make me something that I can eat. They encourage me and never question why I go through it all. They tell me all the time how proud they are of me, even though they may not understand fully why I go so hard.  It warms my heart. Even though I appear to have things under control, I still struggle with eating. I enjoy eating food. Also when I first started out I had a fear of stepping on stage to compete. I practiced endlessly. I learned as much as I could from others. I am now so comfortable on stage, that I could stay on there forever.  Fitness is growth, it’s never easy. Taking 1st place in open and masters figure has taken me 5 competitions to accomplish.  Another great accomplishment for me is placing 4th in open Fitness model. At 42 I’m competing with people half my age, and winning. That’s not too shabby!

My workout routine varies, but I lift (weight train) 3- 4 days a week depending on the phase of training I am in. I do Energy systems training (tabatas) right after each weight training workout. On my days off, I will do HIIT for 20 – 30 mins. That could be sprints, stepmill, rower etc. My supplements are L-carnitine, magnesium, fish oil, coconut oil, green tea extract and when I’m competing I take a post workout supplement. What I consume daily also varies with my program, be it maintaining or competing. When I am maintaining, I have a carb meal in morning, usually do quinoa flakes or steel-cut oats with eggs. Lunch will be lean protein or fish, asparagus or green beans and berries. Dinner is mostly fish with mixed greens. Snacks are protein and veggies with cashews or almonds or coconut milk and some berries or grapefruit.

Now that I have attained the Pro Figure and Elite Fitness Model titles, I aspire to participate in  the Pro and Elite North American Championships being held on November 10th. Wish me luck!! I would love to take home the Pro Fitness Model title. I would also like to compete in the Tri-fit challenge that’s held in Tampa, Florida. This is more of an athletic challenge (obstacle course and fitness skills) plus physique and beauty! Definitely a challenge that I will enjoy training for!

Are you still procrastinating? You have to start somewhere. I remember the very first fitness class that I joined, I thought I was going to pass out. I couldn`t even get through 15 mins. It was awful. A year later I was teaching classes as the company’s top instructor and in great shape! Why not start today? We all start at the bottom. Just remember that every workout you do, every healthy meal you eat and every positive thought you have, can get you to where I am! Once you get going and you see results you will become self-motivated. You will wonder why you ever doubted yourself. Find inspiration in others, take advice and aim for consistency and results will be inevitable! Never try to look or be like someone else, just aim to be a better you. We are all different and require different things to get us to our ultimate fitness goals. Stay positive, be consistent and most of all never give up!

Live to inspire, and be inspired to live.

Website: http://www.carmenshawnfitness.com Blog: http://www.fitness-for-u.com

Twitter: @carmenfitness & @wordsonfitness

Instagram: @carmenfitness

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carmenshawn

Today We’re Chatting With an NPAA Elite Pro

If you follow Mindy Lou Ambrose on twitter you know that she’s nothing short of a fire cracker. She plays hard and works harder, so we’re thankful that she took the time to answer a few questions for us.

Mindy Lou Ambrose

Can you tell us a little about your formative years?

I spent much of my childhood exploring acting, dance and visual arts while my sister seemed to be more of a sports junkie. However, because she was only one year older, I kept trying to keep up with her. This meant participating in sports like Volleyball and Basketball, as well as competing in track and field events. My parents were supportive of all of our interests. My Dad used to ride my Mom’s bike around the block stopwatch in hand, beside us as we ran. We had him time us every night so that we could try to beat our times. This is a fond memory of mine because other kids in the neighborhood started to join in, and it was quite funny to see my Dad on my Mom’s bike with a pack of kids running beside him.  In high-school a few friends had gym memberships. I couldn’t afford one so I used a youth exercise program at a Rec Centre. I was heavy into aerobics, plyometrics, running, and resistance training from the age of 17 (through the youth program) but wanted to get into weight-lifting too. I loved the gym setting from the minute I set foot in one for the first time on a friend’s guest pass. I can’t say there was ever a light-bulb effect moment where I became a fitness junkie. It has just always been in me – I genuinely enjoy challenging my body. I started to realize I could be serious with weight-training when I joined a gym at the age of 20 that was managed by my good friend. He was a bodybuilder, and a personal trainer and gave me priceless advice about heavy-lifting, building and fat-burning.

How has fitness changed your life?

Developing muscles and cardio conditioning at such a young age has helped me feel physically strong and capable which has always added to my self-confidence. The biggest impact fitness has had overall, is in goal-setting. I am a self-declared expert at goal-setting. For over a decade I have seen myself set and exceed goals on a regular basis and I can’t tell you how valuable of a habit that is. Now that I am in my 30’s I feel like there’s nothing I can’t accomplish in life. No goal is too intimidating for me. I feel compelled to enlighten others on the habit of setting what I call “Juicy Goals.”  I see my body as a survival tool, and plan my nutrition and training around maintaining it the best I can. Results keep my momentum up more than anything. Seeing my strength and conditioning improve weekly gives me a high. At the moment, I have had success in natural bodybuilding and identify with being a completely hormone/drug-free, fat burner-free athlete. I hold myself accountable for living the lifestyle that I promote. I also surround myself with amazing people who are like-minded and are not afraid to set big fitness goals.

Who supports your efforts?

My parents are worriers – they fear for my safety when I practice boxing, and they remember all the ailments and injuries I have had from weight-training (which have all been very minor.) It is quite amusing actually. They are also conservative and have had to get used to the idea of me painting my body brown and wearing heels and a bikini before a panel of judges. When I had my first win, my Dad said “I’m proud of you but keep your clothes on.” They have always given me unconditional support, so all they care about is that I am happy. My sister and I are polar opposites but she tells me that she brags about my accomplishments to her friends. She is very proud of the level of confidence I have built through my sport. She comes to all of my shows. My main squeeze, Jason, fully gets what I do and welcomes my lifestyle. It makes a huge difference having a partner who shares the same values in health and fitness, and who genuinely believes I can achieve all of my goals. He has been known to push me on the odd day that I lacked motivation or energy, leading up to a competition. Even on our first dates he taught me about using nutrition to keep the muscles that I work hard to build. I also have the best coach in the business, and she has wonderful clients who are becoming great friends of mine. They all have zero doubts about my fitness goals, and that feels amazing.

What are the difficulties that you’ve faced?

I am in the habit of removing obstacles in my path to achieving goals. I can’t say I have had many obstacles except financial barriers surrounding a divorce, and retiring a business as a result of the divorce. I sold furniture and personal belongings to get started in this sport – to pay for my first coach, show fees, and costuming. Now that everything is sorted out, and I am thriving in a new career, my success has been building ever since, (on all levels.)

What are some of your accomplishments?

Winning my first show of this season, after having to drop out of the Fall season from the flu and pneumonia,) was an emotional milestone for me. I felt like I couldn’t get on that stage fast enough, after having a taste of competing 12 months before. I had already won, in my eyes, because of all of the personal goals I had exceeded in prep for the show, but bringing home my first trophy was redeeming that this was MY sport. I received first place in the IDFA Novice Fitness Model division, and a few months later won first overall in Fitness Model class at INBF in Vancouver. Having 2 unanimous wins gives me great confidence for future competing. I have now been awarded Elite Pro status in the NPAA, and will be competing for an IFPA pro card on September 30th, 2012. This year I found my place in natural fitness model physique competitions, which is perfect because of my values regarding banned substance use. I practice natural, healthy competing, and prefer to represent associations that reward this.

What’s your current training and meal plan?

I use Fitnessprint.com which is an online coaching program created by WBFF Pro Fitness Model Fatima Leite Kusch. She adjusts my training about every few weeks, and it has changed for each of the 4 competitions this year (that’s right, FOUR competitions this Summer.) One trend seems to be 2 days on, rest day, 3 days on, rest day… for the past couple of months it has resembled a building program. I have had to build a lot of muscle since being sick all last Fall/Winter. For supplements I take protein shakes, (but rely on food first,) BCAAs and Glutamine. My body has held onto my muscles more effectively since using BCAAs. Muscle recovery is my main motivation for using these supplements. Mostly I rely on 8 hours of sleep every night, for muscle repair. I can’t tell you how much this works. It also prevents food cravings like nothing else. Every week, Fatima changes my ratio of fats, carbs, proteins, etc. I am fed more fats and carbs than people expect – even on the day of my show – back stage – I am eating loads of EVERY food group all day long, while other competitors starve and eat nothing but rice cakes. My favorite carbs are slow-release options like yam muffins, yams, oatmeal, oat brownies, and oat cookies. My favorite protein options are lean cuts of steak, chicken curry meatloaf, baked multigrain chicken strips and turkey burgers. For fats I eat olives, cheese, nuts, coconut, avocado and nut butters. I am consistent year-round, and avoid gaining excess fat in the winter, which allows me freedom to enjoy all kinds of foods. I don’t feel like I am dieting until I am1 week out from a competition. The emphasis is on feeding my muscles, rather than depletion. While I do eat a lot of foods, I don’t eat restaurant food very often, as there is little control over how it is prepared. You don’t achieve a pro fitness body by eating out all the time, or by simply making wise meal choices – it takes much more than that.

What are your immediate and long-term goals?

I have recently earned Elite Pro status with NPAA, which means I am recognized as a Canadian pro athlete. In order to win an international pro card with the IFPA (an affiliate with the NPAA,) I have to win my height class in my next competition, and then win overall among all height class winners. I feel that competing at the International pro level is just the gravy on top of all the opportunities coming my way. My goal is to continue competing annually, perhaps twice per year, and to use that new level of celebrity to become a judge, a posing coach, and a motivational speaker. I have a lot to say about living confidently, savoring life, and creating enormous goals. I also plan to master the art of Capoeira and compete in amateur boxing.

Any advice for our readers?

If you’re serious about transforming your physique health, and conditioning, my best piece of advice is to COMPLETELY model an athlete who has the regimen, body, and lifestyle you would enjoy having. I noticed major changes in my body when I started boxing. I admired the physique of a boxer, as well as enjoyed the various physical exercises involved with boxing, and wanted a total body workout and intense cardio conditioning. I wanted to be able to say I was an athletic machine, not just a bunch of pretty muscles. Having this connection to my overall goal kept me consistent and excited – none of it felt like a chore. The same applies to bodybuilding for me. I enjoy all aspects of this sport and my category, and I do not feel like it is a chore. I thrive in this sport because I genuinely enjoy it. Explore fitness and when you discover the activities you can’t get enough of, perform them with 100% intensity every time. If you hate running – don’t run. If you hate cycling – don’t cycle. Find the balance of the desired physique you want to maintain, and the level and nature of activity you are prepared to commit to… stop talking about it… start doing it.

Set a very specific big goal, and use small, bi-weekly attainable goals to get there. Enjoy the process of getting to the big goal, and celebrate your small successes. Give credit to all of your efforts. Also, do not let a single barrier get in your way of what you want to do. You can keep your momentum up by doing something every single day (no matter how small,) that contributes to your desired results. Whether it’s trying a new clean-eating recipe, buying yourself some new fitness gear, planning a fitness outing with friends, trying a new exercise class or new jogging route, going to the supplement store to be enlightened on new products… you can do something EVERY day that will help set you up for success in fitness. Everyone should also know that it may be scary throwing yourself out there for criticism (maybe you are out of shape and joining a gym… maybe you are competing as a fitness model and don’t feel like a conventional model,) but I guarantee you will hear more positive feedback than negative once you get started. Whatever you feel most vulnerable about will not be noticed by the masses. They will respect you as an athlete. Most of my fans started following me when I had only competed once, and received 5th place – no trophy. They support me because they see me eating, sleeping, and breathing my ideal lifestyle. They are fans because of my passion, not because of my wins. Throwing myself into the public eye was daunting last year, but for every ONE negative downer in my life, there are 1,000 supporters in my corner cheering me on.

I dare everyone to stop talking about that big juicy fantastical goal they have been talking about for years, and start implementing it TODAY. If I can design a dream life, so can you.

1-2-3 GO!

You can reach Mindy directly at her new Blog and Website:

http://www.mindyambrose.com twitter @mindyambrose Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/mindy.fanpage

One of the hardest things to find when traveling is quality lean protein sources that will fill your body during your travels. Most fast food places serve manufactured junk that they call meat, sandwiches at the airport only have a small amount of meat in them. So what do you do to get quality protein portions throughout your travels? The hardest thing is during air travel because of the restricted areas forcing you to eat whatever is in the terminal. Plus the limitations on what you can bring with you is  slim with no liquids or gels. You can however bring food for personal consumption! This is great because you can pack chicken breast, mountain high sandwiches, and other convenient forms of protein, but of course you can only carry so much food.

The best option is honestly protein powder because it can be made instantly and carried easily. Most people aren’t going to haul a 2 LB container of protein with them, so your next best bet is to call the manufacture and ask to purchase sample packs. This is very easy to do by simply telling them what you are doing (Traveling) and they will often ship you sample packs. The price might be slightly higher because of the individual packaging but it’s so worth it. They are sealed and labeled so you don’t have to worry about customs of security wondering what the powders are in individual zip-lock bags.

Another great way to get quality protein is to look towards meal replacement protein bars. Once again these are very easy to carry and come in a wide range of products. With 100’s of different bars on the market, look for one that is higher in protein and lower in carbs for traveling. You wont be doing a large amount of exercise, so you really don’t need the extra carbs in the bars. Some that I really like are Promax Bars.. They come in both full flavor and light and have a great nutritional makeup. They can be found in almost any nutritional store in Canada or the USA.

 Hint: Chocolate Mint is amazing! You honestly can’t go wrong with any flavors of the Promax line.    

Corey Swiergosz  http://sweatwithcorey.blogspot.ca/