Archive for the ‘Nothing Can Stop Me’ Category

kristen

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” ~ Aristotle

After 21 years in the Health and Fitness industry, I can finally say that I’ve found my niche. I am a strength and conditioning coach at 2 well known gyms located in downtown Toronto. I also work part-time as a physiotherapy assistant. I like the balance of helping individuals to attain their fitness and aesthetic goals; as well as aiding those who require a more therapeutic form of exercise; whose goals are more predetermined and specific ( ie, get up from a chair without knee pain).

I’ve always been an athlete, kind of the black sheep in my family in respect to that. I saw being active as pure enjoyment; the racing heartbeat, adrenaline and sweat was something I always enjoyed. I’m also very competitive by nature and I excelled in all sports related activities. My favorites are soccer, water polo and volleyball. I enjoyed these mostly because of the energy and synergy of the team environment.

As I got into my late teens, I had a shift in feeling about the team dynamic and felt like I wanted to try a sport where the competition was within one’s self. At 18 I began running long distance and by the time I was in my second year of university I had run 4 marathons. As much as I liked the cathartic feeling of a long distance run and the endorphins that followed, I was not built (bio-mechanically) to be a good runner. I experienced several injuries in my plantar fasciitis; knee and back discomfort, as well as a fateful left hamstring tear which occurred while running a marathon in Massey, Ontario.

After that injury I saw a chiropractor as a form of preventative treatment. My Doctor at that time recommended that I begin weight training to strengthen my hamstrings and offset the imbalance created by my strong quads. At the age of 21, I started on a path to bodybuilding and it has been my passion for almost 20 years. To me there is no better feeling than lifting heavy weights and pushing the body beyond its comfort zone. It’s not a natural state of mind; it can be extraordinarily painful; yet I continue to push forward to attain the desired goal. This thought process or state of being has transferred to other areas of my life. It has made me persevere, maintain focus, calm my mind and feel more confident. When I set my mind to something “I WILL” get it done. In other words I have attained a level of discipline that cannot be taught by book; classroom nor motivational speech.

The hardest obstacle that I’ve had to overcome as a female bodybuilder is twofold; the need to create balance between the gym and my personal life, as well as society’s misconception of women who have attained larger than average muscles. Unfortunately, it’s not as accepted as I’d hoped. Crossfit and various athletic (or fit) celebrities have helped somewhat, yet I can still occasionally feel the look of disapproval from people who don’t know me, yet judge me on what they see. It has nothing to do with masculine or feminine. In my eyes it has always been about building the perfect human form through weight training. I’ve always likened it to adding bits of clay to a sculpture bit by bit, until the results are perfect. I’ve discovered however that once attained there’s always a new goal on the horizon.

In the last 20 years, I have competed and won 5 times. I’ve also competed at Nationals and placed 4th. I’ve gone on to do discuss body building in the media, as well as trained other fitness athletes who themselves have attained great success. I now envision myself a mentor and teacher to other women with the same ideals.

My current workout routine, after trying several variations and muscle groupings, is 6 days a week, 1 body part a day, no more than one hour if possible, followed by 20 minutes HIIT cardio (high intensity interval training) or 1-2 x a week – spin class. My diet consists mainly of fish, sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread, oatmeal, whey or casein protein, and several servings of fruit and vegetables as well nut butters and coconut oil for fats. My supplements have been basic for a while, as I try not to rely on them for my nutritional needs. I have a greens supplement drink first thing in the morning, followed by a pro-biotic and vitamin C. Post workout I have BCAA (branch chain amino-acid) as well as a shake. At night I take a multivitamin, vitamin D and magnesium.

My current fitness goals are trying to add more muscle to my legs and back; it’s the support system for the body and we can always benefit from getting stronger and more muscular.

One of the things that I try to convey to all of my clients is the fact that being inspired to train is good, but you must get to a point where you don’t need inspiration; only dedication. It all comes down to how badly you want to succeed. If the want is greater than the need, you’ll never be able to truly understand what it takes to get into the best shape of your life.

The sacrifices are many, but the rewards are tenfold physically, mentally and spiritually.

Kristen McCarthy
twitter @thehulklady

Christinia

This is for anyone who doesn’t believe in themselves.

My childhood was complicated, but here’s the nutshell version; my parents were never together; my dad left early; and my biological mother was barley nineteen years old when she had me. I was adopted by my parents at the age of twelve. I recall a lot of runaway homes and finding myself in bad situations. Growing up with emptiness and the only form of love I knew was abandonment.

The only way I was able to express my feelings as a young person was through sports and I was good at everything I played. I did it all from running track, to volleyball, sports became my outlet. I was raised as a small farm girl but I was a wild child at heart. I remember training within the last year and a half thinking, if only I had all this knowledge when I was younger, weight rooms, healthy relationships. What I’ve learned is this, “what if’s” get you no where. I know now you can’t change the past nor change anyone other than yourself, unless they’re ready. I would not have been ready for this chapter of my story had it come any other time in my life. This is something that has taken me a very long time to understand.

At the end of January 2013 I tried to zip a XXL winter jacket up, and it wouldn’t zip. I was not upset of the fact it wouldn’t zip, I was upset at the thought of how expensive a new winter coat would be and said I refuse to spend the money on a new one. I remember getting on the scale at my heaviest, 285lbs, but I never weighed myself after that. I can tell you at one point even size 30 pants were tight!  The same day I tried to zip the coat, Dr. Oz was on and he had Dr. Ian Smith as a guest talking about his book “Shred”. I told my ex, at the time we already were sleeping separate and just roommates going through life for the sake of what I call trying to survive, “I’m going to do this, and go to the gym after work from now on”. He really wanted nothing to do with what I was doing.

In the 6 weeks I went through the book, I lost my first 22lbs! I’ll never forget, I could barely walk on the treadmill then one month later it was jogging. I started adding spin classes soon I was running and spinning every day. It was all I knew how to do. I learned slowly that eating is a significant part of the process. I never understood that until I read “Shred”.  I started coming home from the gym at 1 in the morning, and found that I was too jacked to sleep. I became obsessed with Instagram, discovered ways to eat better, and thought maybe; just maybe I could actually lift those things called weights!

I started interacting with people on Twitter. I met and saw some amazing women and men who were fit and strong.  I have never had any real support in my life and felt misplaced in the world so for me to hear strangers supporting me via social media was hard to accept. I just didn’t get it.

Just seven months into this process I had lost about 120lbs, left my ex-husband and took the kids to start a new and scary journey. There are two sides to every story, I left my husband because I was dying inside. I was always the girl with the laugh you could hear from outside, the smile that could light up the darkest room. My friend tried to help me leave many times.  It is much easier said than done and I get this. For years when my ex would drink, he became a different belligerent man.  As I became stronger and started believing in myself, I started feeling alive again. I could not stand living one more day the way we were living. With no idea, no money, no help only the faith I had in God to guide me, we started over.

I prep my food every week. Normally it’s a whole organic chicken with a head of garlic, brown rice and a veggie (my favorite is acorn squash). When I need a change it’s either shrimp, turkey or bison. I have crazy goals I never thought possible for myself but it’s what drives me to be better than I was the day before. I’d love to compete in a bikini and I have plans to step on stage this August here at home. If I am not ready, there’s always next time.

Shortly after my first year transformation, I was introduced to my coach, my rock, my angel as I call him Rob Renowned. He inspires me with his old school methods and has transformed my body completely with each week that goes by. #CoachRob to you I am grateful!

I have three amazing and beautiful children. They are my best cheerleaders, my heart and soul. My son who is the youngest will never remember mommy fat, and I am grateful. The two youngest are my healthy eaters. My eldest has a hard time with the change but that is my fault. I was told once I was being selfish for leaving my ex-husband and losing all of my weight.  I don’t believe that there is any truth to this. So don’t believe the outside world. (These people are just as unhappy in their life as I was in mine.)  What’s truly amazing is the fact that their father and I are friends and we communicate pretty well.

To date I have lost 145lbs. I am losing about 2lbs a week and of course I am only getting leaner to compete. My coach has me on a workout routine, and I have worked my way up to 400-500 squats 3 days a week, and I love it! I am grateful for the manager Andy at my gym in New Berlin, the Princeton Club and almost every teacher (especially Zachary) I have taken a class with. These individuals have helped me every single day. I’ll never forget the day I was in Zachary’s spin class and I actually started to cry. The person that I have become through this entire journey is simply, crazy, amazing and beautiful.  Sometimes I don’t believe this is my life. I still don’t have much as far as material things, but let me just say this; a roof over my head, food on the table, my health and my babies are all that I need!

Today, if you listen close, you can hear me laughing and if we were to meet (I promise) if your room is dark, I will light it up with my smile and my energy!

Believe in yourself and great things will happen for you.

Love and blessings,

Christinia

Follow me on Twitter @determinedfiti
Instagram determinedfiti
Email me at determinedfiti@gmail.com

Ant

I’m very focused on building muscle while creating as little stress on my joints as possible. Always strict, controlled form. No bouncing. No swinging. Often (but not always): Slow reps (4sec down + 6 sec up) to shock the muscle and build up lactic acid releasing growth hormone. Drop sets, rest/pause and partial reps. Occasionally I will lift heavy weights, 3 sets of 5 reps or so.

In the mid-80s, I was a 115-pound teenager and I saw a picture of Robby Robinson posing. I remember thinking “Good grief is that his bicep?” He was fantastic and I was inspired. Seeing Robby Robinson, Frank Zane, Tom Platz and others, they blew me away.

I don’t have as many pains or some of the health problems that others my age have. I like to attribute this to staying healthy. Mentally, I love preparing for a workout, testing techniques and seeing how my body responds. It keeps me sharp. I love getting questions from others because then I usually have to do research before answering. I end up learning a lot that way.

Looking at how others progress and transform themselves, I also want to be inspirational to others my age or even younger. If I’m doing it, they can too! I love encouraging others and watching them take the bull by the horns.

My wife is fantastic! She’s my biggest supporter. She helps me eat healthy by eating healthy herself. She knows I’m not a fan of vegetables and she creatively adds them to the things she cooks. She is always encouraging me and telling me that I make her proud. She’s a wonderful woman and a blessing to my life!

I also get much enjoyment out of the younger crowd. We’re fortunate enough to have a great group of young people at our gym and they’re always encouraging and inspiring! I like having a good time at the gym and we all get along great.

Putting on weight has been one of my biggest obstacles. I was proud that I put on 18lbs. last year before cutting. That was the most I’ve ever weighed (178). I was also fortunate enough to have been interviewed by Bodybuilding.com. I was one of their Over 40 Amateurs of the week.

My routines change all the time. I’m cutting at the moment, the techniques are the same basically, I might add a few additional exercises if I think a specific body part needs more attention. I’m doing a lot of isolation type exercises right now to bring out the small details as I cut. I am very big on the MIND/MUSCLE connection (Kai Greene talks about this a lot). It really works!

I have a few goals I wish to achieve and there are many ways that I can go. Maybe personal training. Maybe a contest. But definitely to look at myself in the mirror and see improvement. My daily food plan consists of various combinations of the following: egg whites, 1 egg, oatmeal, tilapia, chicken breast, brown rice, tuna, broccoli, spinach, orange, apple and cottage cheese (casein protein). I also mix in supplements such as: Whey, BCAA’s, Creatine HCL, Yohimbe, Green Tea Extract, Fish Oil and Beta-Alanine.

I’m a HUGE fan of positive reinforcement. It’s just a great tool! EVERYONE has something they can be proud of and you should find people that will recognize those things in you. Social media is a great avenue for that. Find positive people who are not just blowing smoke or trying to sell something and they WILL help you. Remember, if you don’t fail occasionally, you’re not pushing hard enough. Don’t be afraid to fail! Just get started, one step at a time. Set small goals leading to ONE big goal.

Be proud, but don’t be satisfied. Take time to be pleased with the results of your hard work, but don’t be finished. Always look for something to improve. If you’re serious about progressing, you won’t have to look hard to find them.

Twitter: @TheOnlyAnt

Norba Nationals, Mammoth Lakes, CA - Jul 2001

Norba Nationals, Mammoth Lakes, CA – Jul 2001

I am an exuberant animal, dancing my way through life exploring every nook and cranny that is presented to me on this journey. My year round interest is ice hockey. I don’t play that much any more, so when I say ice hockey, I’m referring to the players that I develop, both on and off the ice. During the summer in my free time I’m in the mountain hiking with my dog and during the winter I’m snowshoeing with him. On the slopes during the summer I’m mountain biking, and during the winter I’m skiing. My current projects are developing an elite strength and conditioning program for Washington Ice Skating Association (Seattle Juniors Hockey Association and Seattle Skating Club). Also providing functional fitness and correction exercise services at an integrative medical clinic (Masa Integrative Clinic) in Seattle, Washington.

From as early as I can remember, my life has revolved around physical activity. Skiing, mountain biking, and hiking have all been the staples of physical activity throughout my life. When I was 9 I discovered ice hockey in the movie “The Cutting Edge”. From that day, I have been obsessed with the sport. I’ve always been passionate about fitness. The most recent catalyst for change came when I was living in Los Angeles in 2012. I had moved from Kirkland, Washington back to Los Angeles, California to be reunited with my closest friends since I moved to Washington to attend Bastyr University. When I moved back, I was my heaviest at 195 pounds. I had never been that heavy. As time went on, I continued gaining weight and hit 210 pounds in late 2012. I realized something needed to change! A better way to say that is transform! I wrote down all the tools that I used with clients to improve their lives and applied them to myself! I can now say “Wow this stuff really works”. I haven’t looked back since. I’m now 178-180 pounds. I want to add a caveat that weight is not an important number to look at overall, but for me it had meaning. And that is the key, find what inspires you to transform your life.

Without fitness I would not be where I am physically, mentally, or spiritually. Fitness has given my life purpose, and a community that has a universal language. I don’t care what type of physical activity someone participates in it’s fitness. The fitness world as a whole has given me the opportunity to touch lives, that I would not have been able to touch without my knowledge of fitness.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows me to continue to inspire others, while continuing to participate in the physical activities that keep me inspired.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows me to continue to inspire others, while continuing to participate in the physical activities that keep me inspired.

My driving force is leading by example. Being able to demonstrate what I’m expecting from my athletes and clients is very important. Also being able to participate in all of the sports and activities that I’m passionate about. In the long run, I take care of myself in the hopes of having a long healthy life. I’m the only child of two amazing parents that have not had the easiest of lives and I have the most amazing stories to tell because of that. My parents have been the most encouraging and supportive part of my life. In whatever I chose to pursue, they were always there to ensure I had a plan in place, to ensure that I was making progress. They offered this support for my desire to race BMX as a kid to the 20 plus years of ice hockey, and attending Bastyr University. Outside of my family, I’ve always had the most amazing mentors and coaches. For example I’ve had the same skating coach since I was 9 years old! My psychology mentor I’ve had since I was 14. Of course that relationship started with me being a patient. But hey, he’s a mentor now. More recently a former professor of mine from Bastyr has become a great inspiration and mentor. The honesty was not always easy to hear, but without the unrelenting support and encouragement of these people, I would not have been able to confidently pursue my passion for athletic performance, fitness, and wellness.

The most difficult thing to face thus far has been the numerous head injuries I’ve sustained over the years. I believe I am up to 12 concussions and 1 brain contusion. The concussions are not the obstacle. The contusion however changed the course of my life. Don’t get me wrong, the course of my life has lead me to this moment, which I’m honored to have. As an 18 year old being told that I could never play hockey, race downhill mountain bikes, go skiing/snowboarding, or four-wheeling ever again, broke my heart. That realization sent me into a place that I never wish on any of my athletes or clients.  Following my contusion diagnosis; there was a 5-year span of my life that was incredibly scary for my parents. But with the support of so many, I over came that barrier to become the coach I am today. Speaking of this time, I am inspired to do a presentation on the importance of sensitive communication when dealing with athletes who are recovering from an injury.

It's very important for me as a Coach to lead by example ~ Coach Daniel

It’s very important for me as a Coach to lead by example ~ Coach Daniel

I don’t have a set routine but I always have fun and try to stay injury free. My favorite tools though include TRX suspension, Rip Kettle bells, Barbells, Dumbbells, and of course bodyweight. Every workout does include the following:

Dynamic warm-up

Power Component

Strength Component

Agility Component

Aerobic Component

Flexibility & Mobility Components

When it comes to supplements, I stick to the items that have been shown to maintain brain health because of the severity of the brain injuries I’ve sustained, most of these products come from Metagenics. I take a high potency DHA, Co-Q10, and Multiple Vitamin Mineral. Sometimes I’ll add protein powder to my yogurt or make a smoothie. To manage my pain, I take a product called Inflavanoid Intensive Care, which is a combination of anti-inflammatory herbs.

The following are examples of how I usually eat; as with my workouts, my meals vary as well. I do my best to ensure that I’m getting a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. For my own personal health; I am gluten free and take supplements specific to my health needs.

Breakfast – Greek Yogurt with peanut butter, dark chocolate chunks, and blue berries Snack – Coffee with soy milk
Lunch – Sandwich (gluten free bread) with lots of spinach, onions, and an animal based protein.

Snack – protein bar or drink
. Dinner – Vegetables and an animal protein.

I want to maintain my current fitness level and remain injury free. It’s that simple. I’m always preparing to participate in an event. Currently I’m contemplating getting back into racing down hill mountain bikes.

Am I an exuberant animal ~ Daniel Heller

Am I an exuberant animal ~ Daniel Heller

Are you lacking motivation?

If that phrase comes up, sit with it. What does it mean to you, the reader? If it’s not sitting right, try another phrase, “I’m not motivated to go to the gym.” That’s totally fine, what are you motivated to do? What does that motivation feel like? Use that motivation to create a goal. If you’re uncertain how to accomplish that goal, remember there is someone out there who has had the goal and accomplished it; who is also willing to guide you. You’re not alone! Fitness is an open-heart community full of people willing and wanting to support each other.

Personal Note: I would like to talk about the importance of community. What Socially Fit has created by bringing people together to share their fitness journey in a social way is incredibly powerful to those who need community support to accomplish their goals. Thank you for this opportunity to share my journey, inspirations, and future with your audience. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey of athletic performance with you. I hope that my journey inspires others to take charge of their own lives and to seek out the community that can offer the support they need to continue with their journey to fitness, health & wellness!

Daniel Heller, BSc, CSCS, FMSC
Email: daniel@ironwood-fitness.com
Website: http://www.IronwoodFitness.com
Twitter: @CoachDCSCS

“I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Be the best that you can be then be better ~ Morne Gabriels

I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows, not anymore. ~ Morne Gabriels

I am the proud father of four boys. Their age ranges from five through to thirteen.  I currently work from home as a software developer and have been doing that for thirteen years. I enjoy reading when I have the time, but my absolute focus at the moment is on singing, song writing and performing. I have also developed a passion for working out and running, running, running.

The only fitness activity I remember being involved in as a child was playing with friends and riding our bicycles everywhere.  However, exercise and fitness were not emphasized that much as I recall. I indulged in comfort eating; mainly because my parents were going through a messy divorce.  I remember eating 6 or 7 chocolate bars at a time, loads of bread, cheese, etc, etc.  In my mind, I’ve always been overweight.

Hitting puberty somehow helped and I grew into a more proportionate version of myself.  I remember my friend’s sister (who I had a little crush on) telling me that I looked so different (which was a boost) and then her immediately saying and laughing, “you used to be so fat” (which just somehow destroyed my confidence).

I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old, starting to run and running long distances.  I’d say eventually I was running 5kms, two or three times a week.   I had two bricks in my room, which I used as dumbbells.  So mainly did curls until I couldn’t hold the bricks any longer.  I did lots of calf raises, which I did until I couldn’t walk. Yet, that all fell by the wayside when there was any stressful situation in my life, I would return to comfort eating.

I had a certain amount of passion of fitness but never realized my fitness potential, growing up.   Through high school I never took part in any sporting events because I was never fast enough,  strong enough or confident enough.   My main form of exercise in high school was walking to school and back, which was about 10k each way.   I actually loved walking, thinking about it.  It was a great stress reliever during my teens.   However again whenever stressful situations or events occurred in my life, I needed to eat food that made me feel good.So this was my pattern for life until about the age of 32.  Exercise, stressful event, comfort eat, depression, exercise, stressful event, comfort eat and repeat.  The word “Yo-Yo” springs to mind.

The main catalyst for change was the day I stepped onto the scale and it displayed a nice, round number of 120kgs (about 265 pounds).  That, for some reason, did not make me depressed but determined to change.   I initially went about it in the wrong way; starving myself which again led to Yo-yoing but eventually learning that there is a balance to it all.  Exercise, eating right and rest.  When I finally got it right I noticed that the more physically fit I became the more confidence, joy and peace came to my life. I started thinking more positively about my kids and giving them a positive example.  Music; I started writing more songs and performing; it’s a really big passion of mine right now.  Being positive in my thinking and actions makes a world of difference. I am more adventurous now and willing to trying new things, meet new people.  I’m no longer in the background.  A line from a Foo Fighters song always gets me, “I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is truly a lifestyle for me now.  “Sweat everyday” is a poster I’ve seen on the Socially Fit Facebook page and it’s something I am living by. But the feeling of lightness, strength, confidence and peace is so intoxicating.  I want to feel that every day.  My support system is amazing. Though my immediate family resides overseas, my “in-laws” as well as my kids are always encouraging me.  Family and friends have all given me very positive remarks and comments, which spurs me on to keep going. My hope is that I am an inspiration to people.  If I can do it anyone can!! Furreal!!

The hardest thing for me to date has been maintaining the proper diet. Being consistent. I’ve learned to deal with stress in a more positive way and that has had a positive effect on my relationship with food; not being a slave to it. I’ve said goodbye to comfort eating.  I’m really proud to say that 5 years ago I was 120kgs (265 pounds) and today I am currently 86.5kgs (191 pounds).  No more Yo-yoing.  At my heaviest I wore 44inch waist trousers,  I now comfortably fit into 34inch waist trousers. I can honestly say that on average I run 80 to 100km per week! These are my accomplishments and I am humbled by them.

My workout routine is simple. I run an average of 7kms a day.  On alternative days I work individual body parts with weights i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps using 16.5kg dumbbell. I’m not taking any supplements at the moment.  My meal plan for the last four months has been eating one hearty meal in the evening including anything I wanted but would gravitate around green vegetables, chicken, fish or beef, rice or potatoes.  Also having the occasional junk foods like pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.  But for the most part stayed away from white bread and hard cheeses. 4 to 5 cups of green tea, 1 to 2 cups of coffee and about 7 pints of water a day. In the last few weeks however  I’ve had 3 to 4 small meals a day; Morning oats, with cranberries and cashews.  Lunch: Tuna or chicken with green leafy salads.  Evenings: Chicken or beef, vegetables, rice. Snacking on fruit and nuts during the day. This appears to be working for me right now.

I plan to enter a few races to keep me focused and pushing forward.  I’ll start with 5k runs and work my way up. I’d like to increase my lean muscle and most importantly get that flat stomach.   I’d like to add swimming to my exercise regime, meaning getting swimming lessons.  Then possibly giving triathlons a go. Baby steps. If you would like to get started I find reading positive messages on pages like Socially Fit’s Facebook page or motivational groups really does help keep me in a positive frame of mind and thus positive about my reaching my goals. Make daily affirmations:

Hard work pays

Sweat everyday

I can do it – I will do it

It’s not how good you are – it’s about how good you want to be

Be your own hero

Find your focus, find that determination deep within yourself that’s been lying dormant all this time.

Pain is temporary.

Get it done.  Get it done.  GET IT DONE!!

I remember when I started my recent journey to a successful me it was the middle of winter, here in the UK.  I was up at 5 o’clock in the morning, enduring the cold and sometimes snow to go running.  And I started with 5km most days. In the back of my mind I was thinking though, 5km will become your maintenance run.  And it did.  Then it became 7km a day.  Don’t be afraid to speak to yourself, positively.  I wake up in the morning saying “Today’s going to be a good day” even when I feel the opposite.   I remember things that I am grateful for and it changes my mindset.  Be positive to and about others as well ‘cause it will come back to you. I tell/ask my kids the following before they leave for school, “Be the best you can be and then?”  And they answer “BE BETTER”.  That can be used in any part of your life but in this case fitness.

When I first start running, I could only run for 10 minutes before I started feeling my ankles and knees.  120kgs will do that.   But I didn’t stop.  I would run for a minute and then walk for 30 seconds.  Repeating that.  Slowly I became better, stronger, faster.   IF I CAN DO IT – YOU CAN. It all starts up here (points to head). Start thinking right and positive. Visualize your goals; the body you want, the health you want.  Think about it, see it and feel it; then BE IT.

The only limits in life are the ones that you imagine!

https://www.facebook.com/morne.gabriels
https://www.facebook.com/groups/38546773592 – my music related page.
https://twitter.com/DukeSeven7

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

Fabulous and Fit

Felicity

Hello, my name is Felicity and I’m about to transition out of my “Dirty 30’s” into the big 31. I still feel as vibrant as I was at 21 though. One thing that will never change is my personality and love for life! I am currently working as a Patient Care Coordinator full time setting up fertility orders for women all over the country who are trying to get pregnant. In the past I have worked as a pharmacy tech and my dream job would be to pursue entrepreneurship and have my own business. Something where I can work when I want, where I want, yet fulfill my creative needs. I am married – we have been together 11 years but married 3. I am a doggy mom of two rascals and I have two stepchildren that we never see. I am a socialite. I feel like I am always on the go. My motto is “I’ll rest when I die”. I’m usually bouncing from work, to the gym, to home, to spontaneous fun with friends. I enjoy talking, listening and just being around other people. My current obligation is first to my health, second to my marriage and third to my friends, family and spending as much time with them as possible. You should never take anything or anyone for granted.

I was a very active child. I cannot remember a time that I was stuck indoors being lazy for a long period of time. I was always out roaming the neighborhood and riding my bike with friends. I grew up with a swimming pool too, so I spent a lot of time pretending I was a mermaid! My mother also put me in jazz and gymnastics early on and I did that for many years. I started with somersaults and hand-stands and ended up doing no-handed cartwheels and front hand springs! I was very good at what I did and very flexible. Although I stayed fairly active – I was always “the bigger girl” around friends or in gym class. I didn’t like sports, mainly because I had stage fright and did not like to be “watched” while performing. So I was more active at home than I was in school. I was just not confident enough, so I shied away from “fitness activities” there.  I grew up on family foods, fast foods and there was no real structure as to what we couldn’t eat. My weight was always brought up during doctor visits and they always tried to give me ideas on how to slim down but I just got bigger over the years. Three years ago I lost 18 lbs and ended up getting pregnant. Unfortunately I miscarried 16 weeks in and haven’t been able to get pregnant since.  I really think that the way I changed my eating habits at that time played a major role in my being able to conceive and so I started my journey to fitness. Initially I wanted to get healthy and become pregnant again. It was only 10 months ago that I finally committed 100% and I am determined to stick it out.

I have never admitted that my weight has held me back in life – but now that I have lost some weight, I find that I have more energy and I’m feeling better about myself; I can finally admit to that. It did hold me back from doing things I have never done before; hiking, canoeing and other physical activities. I also find myself being even MORE social with friends/family when I go out. I don’t mind being in the spotlight as much, I get out on the dance floor and I have more confidence in front of strangers. This journey has also brought me and my husband closer together. I was eating better and exercising for about 5 months before he joined. Now that he’s joined (about 6 months ago) he has lost 40+ lbs! We spend more quality time together hitting the gym every day, taking the dogs for longer walks and cooking healthier meals. We share a new common interest which is rare for us because we are complete opposites.

My “before” pictures keep me motivated on a daily basis. I don’t like to say “after” yet because I am not at my goal. I see those pictures and think, “wow – was I really that big?” Cause at the time I still (for the most part) felt fabulous. But today I feel even MORE fabulous! I can pick clothes out from a regular store without having to go to plus size (went from buying a 3X shirt or pants to being able to squeeze on an XL) and when I look in the mirror I am not trying to hide away my muffin top or change my wardrobe three times in order to feel comfortable and confident. Also, I see other people’s transformations and I know that it’s not impossible. Anything I want, I can achieve with just dedication, hard work, and effort.

Just recently a friend told me, “Felicity you were never the FAT one, you were always the FUNNY one.” Which made me feel good cause I have beautiful friends. Talking drop dead gorgeous, nice bodies, high maintenance ladies and well groomed! And to be honest, I always felt like the “fatter” one among them. Having the same best friends for 15+ years now has helped to keep me going. Not only do I want to prove to myself that I can do this, I want to prove it to them. I wanna be able to walk into my best friend’s house and slip on a pair of her jeans. A few of them have joined along in effort to lose weight and tone up, some of them have been inspired by me to do it and everyone fully supports me! I joined Myfitnesspal.com and have currently logged over 300 days straight, counting calories and losing weight with online friends I’ve met. I also started a fan page on Facebook mostly to inspire others on their journey and to document mine as much as possible. In some ways I feel like a celebrity because I have so many people rooting for me, it’s lovely!

Eating out remains the hardest obstacle for me to overcome! I must say that making healthy choices during spontaneous moments can be hard. Especially after a long, busy day when we’re too tired to cook, so we decide to stop at a sub shop. Or if it’s during a party or cook out. I tend to tell myself “today I am going to make a better choice” then when that moment comes and I’m faced with either a salad or a sub – I choose the sub!! It’s almost like an addiction and making an irrational decision. After all is said and done and that moment passes… I regret it. But unlike before, I keep on moving forward now. I will not allow bad choices or small mistakes to deter me away from reaching my ultimate goal.

So far I have lost 43 lbs in less than a year. I’ve dropped over 20 inches through out my body. I have dropped 2 jeans sizes and 3 shirt sizes. My rings are now too big for my fingers and I have taken part in activities I never thought I would before, one which includes a 5k for Susan G Komen with co-workers! I can jog for at least 5 minutes straight without feeling like I might die and I built up endurance for all the cardio machines at the gym and I have earned a passion for weight training too! I normally hit the gym 3-5x per week. At first it was all cardio. I would do a mile on the treadmill, 3 miles on the bike, and a short time on the elliptical. Now I am in love with strength training. So I will spend 15-30 minutes doing free weights or machines. Then 30-60 minutes doing cardio. I have built up my endurance. So I am now able to not only walk on the treadmill but jog in intervals. I can last almost an hour on the elliptical and have recently built up 45 minutes on the Cybex (which is like the elliptical on the moon). I also try set goals and do one new “fitness” activity each month. Recently completing 8 weeks of an intense Bootcamp and this month doing a 5k. For supplements I just take a multi-vitamin and load up on whey protein.

Most mornings I have an iced coffee with a scoop of whey protein or just a whey protein shake made from almond milk. I’m trying to be better at eating every 2-3 hours to keep my metabolism up but because I work in a call center it can be hard. On the days I am home in the morning I try my best to eat breakfast which usually includes eggs and spinach! For snacks I eat fruit, cottage cheese, and nuts. I also love munching on apples & celery with peanut butter too! Lunch could be left overs from the night before or something small like fruit and yogurt or a garden salad. For dinner I eat a lot of raw veggies with chicken. Zone bars, pria bars, and luna bars are also a great meal replacement or post work out snack. I am very enthusiastic about meal planning for the week so I have a “Food Prep Sunday” where I cook and package my food for the next 4-5 days for easy access, it also helps me stay on track 100%.

Before I started this journey at 278 lbs I promised myself that I would lose 100 lbs and get down to 178 lbs. I started in May of 2012 and by December I had lost 33 lbs so at that time my New Year’s Resolution was to double that for 2013 and lose 66 lbs. Which would bring me down -99 lbs. total. I am currently down 43 lbs and look forward to what the rest of the year will bring me. Sometimes I feel like it’s a slow process, but its a work in progress and I am happy with that. Once I reach 178 I will then work on toning as much as possible and if I lose anymore I will stop when I am most comfortable and happy! It almost seems impossible to CHANGE; to make healthier choices and step outside of your comfort zone and exercise regularly. You just have to commit to and just do it! One of the biggest problems people face is screwing up. I want you to know that one bad choice or one bad day does NOT mean that you failed and you have to give up. Every meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and EVERY day is a new chance to make a healthier choice and keep going! Put that bad choice in the past and move forward – if you give up then a year from now you will have to start over and you’ll wish you would of just kept going. Slow progress is better than no progress and eventually you WILL be where you want to be!

The numbers on the scale are not the most important. The non-scale victories (us in the weight loss world call them “NSV”) are what’s most important. When you reach a physical or mental goal; when you fit into an old pair of tight jeans;  you discover that it’s the little successes in life that make you most proud. When you compare your fat pics to your progress pics I promise you will see a difference and THAT will motivate you to continue. I just want every man or woman especially to know that it is NEVER too late to change.

Felicity

In the past year I have been lucky enough to network with people of all different ages and sizes that have been successful no matter what their circumstances, all it takes is just some effort, passion, and dedication!

http://facebook.com/fabulousanddfit
http://myfitnesspal.com/fabulousago
http://pinterest.com/fabulousego
http://instagram.com/fabulousego