Archive for the ‘Socially Fit’ Category

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro70 - Review and Contest

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro70 – Review and Contest

I’m really not a big fan of protein powder of any kind. I believe in eating clean (salad, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, a little starch, no sugar, lots of water) and training dirty. Yes I sweat a lot and when I’m in the gym ; I’m in the zone! I don’t eat meat so when I work out with my trainer I try to consume three boiled eggs at least an hour and a half before my work out. I find that it gives me enough energy to handle a tough workout and I very rarely get light headed. The thought of a plant based protein powder was very appealing to me. So when I was asked to take part in this Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro70  review (nod to Fit Approach,  I’m a Sweat Pink Ambassador) I was a little hesitant yet somewhat excited to give it a try.  So here goes!!

According to the sample packages received the ingredients are as follows:

  • Hemp protein concentrate
  • Organic coconut sugar
  • Organic fair trade cocoa powder
  • Natural plant extracts

It’s NON GMO and proudly Canadian! All great things wouldn’t you agree? Now to create a memorable smoothie!

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My Hemp Pro70 Plant Based Protein – Spinach Smoothie

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon homemade nut butter
  • 15 g chocolate (or vanilla) Hemp Pro70 plant based protein powder
  • 4 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy the heavenly goodness! You’ll find that it’s creamy, light, easy to digest and full of flavor. I felt full for a longer period of time and think that it’s safe to say that this may be my new go to for protein on my heavy workout days!

If you’d like to give HempPro 70 a try for yourself, you can buy it here. Plus, if you use the code “sweatpinkpro70” you can get 20% off the vanilla and chocolate flavors! For a chance to win a whole case of your favorite flavor for FREE, make sure to share the hemp love by snapping a pic and tagging @manitobaharvest on Instagram or Twitter with #pro70.

Entry deadline for the contest is September 30th! #GetYouSome

stat

Fitness isn’t about a crunch or a pushup. It’s about taking your power back!

The person that I am today would not recognize the person that I used to be if you placed him in a line up with 4 other “ME” look-a-likes.  That is an absolute blessing.  From what I can gather, there are more than a handful of people around my age that hit the proverbial mid-life crisis mode seemingly all at the same time. To say that I joined them in that journey would probably only be half the story.

My crisis was pretty much my entire adolescent life right into my 30’s.  Here is the funny thing about that.  Not many people would have noticed because I hid it really well until the split came between my wife and I.  I hit rock bottom with a thud.  I know many of the readers also hide their pain, anguish and disappoint. More on that later.  The man I am today loves the reflection that peers at him in the mirror every morning.  The man I am today welcomes the sunrise by opening my blinds the night before so it is one of the first magnificent things I see in the morning.  The man I am today cares about his health and his body but more importantly his mind and his emotions.  The recent changes I have made in my life has also brought on many new interests and hobbies.  I love photography, and carry my camera every where I go.  I’m still a huge sports fan and will probably still get neurotic around football season.  However there are so many wonderful things manifesting in my life right now from starting a new business in the next few months, mentoring others through the darkness of their lives (Me! A life coach, who would have thought), to taking my mother in and making my home her home.  The only thing that I feel is an obligation in my life now is to live it full of happiness, joy, health and unconditional love for any and everyone that crosses my path.  To find the BLISS in life and get swept away in it every opportunity that I have.

It was not always this way.  I have a pretty huge extended family.  I am also a product of a fractured home and re-mended family.  I was the baby of four brothers and one sister for a long time, then my little brother came along ten years later.  Too confusing to draw all the lines in. My parents divorced early in my life and then my father remarried a family friend and her family became our family as well.  Needless to say that relationship ended in a pretty nasty divorce that forced me and one of my siblings to go live at my Grandmothers in Miami until the dust settled over.  My wonderful grandmother on my mother’s side (Grandma Stella) was and is an angel or as near as a saint that I have ever seen walk the face of this earth.  But she was a saint with rules, a belt and a bible.  Lets just say as a kid I never listened to the first (rules) all the time and received the second (belt) and third (the bible) on a regular basis.  I grew up as an alter boy in the catholic church and I remember many times when the Priest would say those all too familiar words “Do this In Memory Of Me” then he’d wait for me to ring the bell and I would be over on the side with the other alter boys goofing around and not paying attention.  I would spend a good majority of my childhood grounded or in some type of trouble. Still are very pleasant memories. We were brought up on Soul Food.  Meat and potatoes, Ham hocks, Chit’lins, Collard Greens, Mac and Cheese, Corn Bread, Sweet Potato Pies.  Not exactly the cleanest way of eating but my Grandmother always made sure all of the kids (my cousins stayed over all the time) were in activities or forced to play outside until the street lights came on.  I started playing football then to stay out of trouble and didn’t stop until my senior year in high school.  We always had family cookouts and worrying about food, calories, processed verses unprocessed foods was never even heard of.  We ate hearty, played a lot and most of the kids never suffered childhood obesity in my family.  Then again, video games were just making their way into mainstream America and didn’t have its hooks into us yet! Those were the good times.  It got inevitably darker after that.

I later chose to live with my mother and the Judge would not split me and my older brother up so he had to go live with my mother as well.  She had a really hard time getting past the divorce.  Actually, she still hasn’t gotten past it truth be told.  That led to us bouncing around from place to place. Finally settling down in San Antonio, Texas in what I would not exactly call “Section 8” housing but it had all of the familiar symptoms of  “Section 8” housing with the crack-heads and broke down cars. Life was rough, free lunch kid, working at 14 and barely getting by all the way through my senior year.  I stayed busy though, with football, track and baseball when I wasn’t running the streets.  So I was always fit in high school.  The coaches tried to put me on multiple weight gaining programs but I did not have the heart to tell them that I couldn’t even afford to eat the amount of calories they wanted me to intake.  So I just got by.  College….well it was a blur filled with fun, crazy times and lots of debauchery and lets just say I’m surprised and fortunate I made it out alive!  Next Subject!

I was never really passionate about fitness when I was young.  I guess you could say I was blessed with good genes because I could eat any and everything and then drink a six pack and not gain an ounce.  I was always active and I guess it somehow balanced out. My awareness and passion came after my metabolism decided to pack it’s bags and head off to Italy or some where far far away. When I hit 27, I packed on 25lbs before I even noticed.  I went from the really skinny kid to filling out the way I always wanted to; but it didn’t stop there.  For some reason it never clicked in my head that, “Yo Stat, you know this weight isn’t going to stop piling on if you keep doing what you’re doing – right?”  In a matter of 3 years I went from 145-150lbs to 200lbs. Holy Crap! My passion for fitness was sparked when the reality set in that I had hit 200lbs. Like everyone else in the mainstream I grabbed all the fitness magazines, celebrity health books (the LL Cool J book was pretty good in hindsight) and jumped on every fad diet I could get my hands on.  I lost pounds and when I stopped the weight would come right back.  I yo-yo dieted for the next 6 years never losing more than 10-15lbs at a time.   When it was all said and done I weighed 226lbs. More than I started with. The heaviest I had ever been in my life. At 5’8 and a half, what the hell was I thinking?!?

Today, fitness and healthy living is such a pivotal part of my life that I am amazed I survived this long without it being the staple of my well being.  I walk daily now at least 2 to 3 miles weather permitting.  I hit the gym or do something in house to get my heart rate up as much as I can during the week.  I choose the best option of foods to eat that I have available but I don’t make myself crazy over watching each and every calorie.  Just generally track my calories. I also introduced meditation which I believe was the single solitary thing that has made my transformation possible.

“The body does not go where the mind does not lead it”

Not having a clear mind, a relaxed mind, a peaceful mind I feel would have made it easy for me to stop doing the things that were important for my overall health.  It’s as simple as loving myself completely unconditionally for who I am right now, to who I will be in my mind’s future.  It’s so important for all of us to lock into that mindset before ever making any goals and pushing like crazy to achieve them.  You have to be aligned with your goals mentally and physically before you will ever see the results that you strive towards.  My everyday goal is so simple:  “Every Day, In Every Way, I Am Getting Better and Better.”  My goals ascend as I ascend to just be a better overall person in every category. It does however turn out to work both ways because feeling healthy and being full of energy allows your mind to think more clear and sometimes twice as fast.

It’s always good to have a support system around you.  Family, close friends, workout group of your peers.  I have always been fortunate to have the greatest family and friends around me who always have supported me in my decisions whether they were idiotic or not.  I think however in today’s culture the emphasis on this support system has caused a false premise to be made into a belief.  It is that belief that often trips up many people.  For me, while a support system is good to have, maybe even important depending on where you are mentally and emotionally, it’s not a necessity.  When we couple ourselves so tightly to our support system we tend to allow their beliefs, likes, dislikes and philosophy to imprint on and cloud our own judgment.  We often find ourselves acting out of obligation to another instead of being internally driven.  This creates conflict within ourselves which just forms another road block you must maneuver around while you still work towards achieving your goal.  You should always be your most important Support System.  You should always check with yourself first to see if something is right for you.  Your emotions are the only guidance system you ever need.  it will always steer you towards what will ultimately make you happy in life.  At the end of the day, the decisions made are only for you to live not others.  However, when you are completely happy, free spirited and filled with love, everyone around you benefits including your support group. You may even realize that you have the power to influence them to find themselves and make a change FOR THEMSELVES. What has been most rewarding for me is now people gravitate to me from all different walks of life and I am having such and amazing time interacting, learning and sharing with these wonderful people like Shay and the team at Socially Fit.

However to get to the place that I now am, I had so many obstacles to get over.  The funny thing is that every single obstacle was placed in front of me by myself.  I think that was the hardest thing to get over.  To come to the realization that I was my own worst enemy.  Sure I had a disjointed childhood, and yes I live in a time was we were completely flat broke and had to come home to eviction notices on the door.  However, I used all of the short comings in my life as excuses not to get to where I knew I deserved to be.  I also brought a lot of the baggage into my relationships and thus effecting other peoples lives as well as my own.  So when I look back over my entire journey, my hardest obstacle was loving myself, trusting myself and believing in myself.  I was always very sarcastic even if I put a humorous twist on it.  I had low self esteem, self defeating thoughts and depression.  I felt unworthy and sometimes even a failure, especially after my marriage broke down. I resorted to drinking heavily all of the time.  8am in the morning was a great time for a beer on the weekend and I would drink until the sun tucked itself into bed and the moon came out to party.  Non Stop.  It even started to blend into my work week which left me dragging and uninspired at work.  I swear, If you can lock down these three virtues in your life (love yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself), your life will be become infinitely better in just a short amount of time.  There is a saying, I’m not sure first coined it, that it goes:  “If you can not change the situation that you are in, then change your perspective on the situation.”  It might sound a bit cliche, but there is a positive in every situation, and I think it is your absolute benefit to spend all of your energy searching only for that positive silver lining and not laboring over negativity that often blinds us.

Once you can do that, then your goals and aspirations become so much more obtainable.  I use to hate running with a passion.  I mean really really hate it.  Kicking, screaming, slobbering you get the picture.  One day, I decided that I was going to change my perspective on running.  I was going to play a game or movie in my head as I ran that had a purpose and a meaning so that I was not senselessly running for no reason once so ever.  I realized that running actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.  It didn’t get any easier but my feeling towards it was much more favorable now. Once I got the taste of enjoyment from running, especially when you finish and all the energy is just coursing through your body, and your covered in sweat and you know that you accomplished something good today, its such a shot of confidence that you want to get out and do it again as soon as you can.  This lead me to the goal I that I never saw myself ever even attempting let alone doing. That goal was to run a 5K marathon.  I am happy to announce that early this year, I accomplished that goal and ran the whole thing non-stop and even beat a few of my friends that run marathons on a regular basis!  I got my first 5K medallion and it hangs from my rear view mirror and I look at it every day.  Never again will I tell myself that I can not do something.  What a tremendous feeling that was!  It only fuels you to want to do more.  I also had a goal to get from 226 lbs back down to 180 lbs in 6 months.  Two weeks ago, I also eclipsed that goal and I am not sitting at 179 lbs.  The lightest I have been in over 10 years.  So along with what seems to be life long dream to get my six pack abs back, my new fitness goal is to run the Tough Mudder in November 2014 and get down to a solid 170 lbs even.  I could have run the Spartan or the other 5K races but why do those, when I can challenge myself to tackle the behemoth!

So I really start training next week.  I will continue to walk 2 to 3 miles a day.  I will restart my Insanity Program from the start and I will hit the gym about 3 days a week to start off with.  I’ll listen to my body and then adjust day by day and week by week.  I love to juice (vegetable and fruit juicing people, not the needles) and if any of you haven’t tried juicing I heavily recommend it.  It was an important factor in my dramatic weight loss.  I will substitute a juice for one of my meals 3 times a week, eat as clean as I can and just enjoy the journey.  I mix in plenty of salads and I eat chicken a lot!  I have actually cut out almost all supplements, I found out by juicing on a regular basis my body responded so well, I did not require anything else.  I will continue with what is working moving forward.  I can’t wait.  I’m pretty damn excited. I do use a recovery drink and add in some whey protein but that is it for supplements.

As for my meal plan once I start working out, I haven’t quite figured out what I am going to do yet. I have never done an intense training regiment along with weight training at the same time.  Before I boosted my caloric intake up to around 2100 cals a day.  I’m not sure how much fuel that will give me for this next chapter in my journey so I will blog it about it as I go along and see where I end up. However, I do have some staples that I stick to pretty religiously which will not change much with whatever plan I decide to go with.  Eat Breakfast.  It is so important that everyone do this for so many different reasons but the one that means the most for me, is the energy burst in the morning. I normally have oatmeal with flax seeds and some type of chopped up fruit.  If its not oatmeal, I love eggs and I’ll have three to four eggs as a wrap or on whole wheat toast.  I tend to pile my carbs on in the morning and afternoon.  Evening most of the time is protein and vegetables unless I sub in a juice.  Make your meal plan something that you like to do, something that is easy for you to maintain and can be switched up to add variety.  I often sub in fish for my protein for my dinners.  Salmon is my favorite especially on the grill.  You also do not have to be chef to cook and eat clean healthy meals.  I have a YouTube Channel I’ll mention at the bottom of this article that teaches you have to cook some quick delicious meals if you’re interested.

What an amazing journey this has been.  I have met so many people who were in a rut just like me. Basically getting up each day just to get the day over with.  No ambition, No vision for a better future. The endgame was just to stay afloat long enough to survive to the next day.  I am here to tell you that your life does not have to be that way.  You do not have to settle for what your current reality is giving you right now.  You can demand to have a better life and the go out an seek it with the passion and zest that you never knew you even possessed.  It all starts when these few things that I feel got me on the right track.

1)  Tell yourself this Every Single MORNING: You are an amazing person. You are strong, you are smart, you are WORTHY and you deserve more.

2)  You have the power within yourself to change your current situation. You do not need help from others.  You do not need a hand out.  You do not need follow anyone else’s path.  Follow your gut feelings, they are there for you and you alone.

3)  Every day in every way, KNOW That you are getting better and better.  You have to stop being so hard on yourself.  Stop self criticizing and instead start focusing on the things that you appreciate about yourself and the life as you are currently living it.  Look around at the things that you are proud of.  Take time to appreciate those things.  Friends and individuals that inspire.  Appreciate them.  Spend the majority of your time looking for the blessings, not the slights.

4)  Make your most dominant focus every single day, about something positive in your life, or something that you find inspiring.  When ever something unfavorable comes into your existence, become an active thinker and change the subject in your mind, focus on something good and hold that thought for as long as you can, and your mood will change and so will the things and people around you.

5)  Break the cycle. This is so important because we all have become such creatures of habit.  Take time to dissect all of your habits.  Highlight the good ones, the ones that make you feel good and add value to your life and make a list of the bad habits, the ones that lead to depressing feelings and anger or despair and eliminate them.  Whenever you feel you are about to move into that bad habit, you will know because you will feel uneasy.  Check yourself in the moment and change.

You have all of the tools you need to be as successful as you want to be.  The inner you has been waiting on you to realize how special you are and that this person is who you always should have been.  Find that person, embrace that person and in time you will be standing where you always wanted to be, feeling proud, accomplished and full of Bliss.

I want to take a moment to personally thank Shay and the Socially Fit team for allowing me to come here and tell my story.  I am not really good at this type of thing so if I rambled too much and jumped from topic to topic; I’m extremely happy that you are still here reading! I really enjoyed this time and it gave me an opportunity to stop and reflect and really appreciate how far I have come. Shay and the team are doing a wonderful thing here at Socially Fit and I am a fully supporting them from this day forward.  I love the stories that I have already read and I look forward to more inspiring stories in the future.  Hopefully I will be able to sway Shay into coming over to my blog for a guest writer piece from time to time as well.

So with that said, there are a number of vehicles where you can get in touch with me and follow my journey. I have just launched a YouTube Channel titled:  A Healthy New Stat which covers the three major pillars that help me get my life back in order. The Mind (meditation, inspiration and exploration of thought), The Body (healthy eating, cooking tips, quick healthy recipes), and The Spirit (all things that brings joy, laughter and smiles).  Please come by, watch some videos, interact and Subscribe if you like what you see.

Or My Blog which I’ll be launching in the next couple weeks – tons of inspiration and motivation along with links to my videos and guest blog writers.

I have a Fitness and Motivational Instagram and Twitter account you can follow me for daily inspiration, motivation and laughs.

Please feel free to come find me at any of these outlets.  I respond to everyone personally and I love making connections.  If I can help you along your journey, I would consider it an honor to be by your side!

Love often; love always and love unconditionally. May you become the healthiest fittest version of yourself that you could ever dream of.

Dee

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

Kristin

Since my last story approximately two years ago, I’ve rejoined the workforce, commuted to another county, my mother survived cancer, I’ve competed in a small bodybuilding show, sold my house and divorced.  It’s been quite a journey.

The competition in February 2013 was small and a lot of fun.  I wasn’t the fittest competitor at the show, but I was the fittest ME.  Just being strong enough and brave enough to get up on stage after having kids and several years of training and getting healthier was a victory in itself.  I lost to my bodybuilding coaches, but no disappointment there. I did it for myself!

I am planning to compete in Women’s Physique this summer in Venice Beach.  Gorgeous plans, lots of fun and many friends will compete there. Again, I’ll be doing it just for myself. Free time and extra money are scarce these days, so one show is my only goal.

My work/life/gym balance is currently far from ideal.  I spend 3-4 hours commuting daily to my office in Orange County.  I have my daughters every other week but hardly see them.  My training is done whenever I can fit it in. Five days training per week is my goal, but fluctuates based upon travel times, the girl’s schedules, obligations, and a disturbing need for sleep.   This is the area of my life that needs drastic improvement, but the bills must be paid!

My primary goal is to find proper balance, spend as much quality time with my loved ones as possible and become as financially independent as I can without sacrificing my health, fitness or family time.

For the past 4-6 months I’ve been lifting as heavy as possible and building strength and mass. My upper body and legs have grown and definitely reflect it. I focus on individual muscle groups during each training session, but do adore training chest with triceps and lats with biceps.  I just started lowering the weight and am doing 20 minutes of some type of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) almost daily now that I am working on leaning out so the muscle definition really pops. I am very careful to keep the cardio moderate, my ultimate goal is burning fat without burning muscle mass. I want to keep the strength I’ve worked so hard to develop.

While my nutrition is tighter now that I am working on getting leaner, I am much more loose with it than I used to be. I eyeball portions more often than weighing and measuring. Treats find their way in when I feel the need. I recently recalculated my macros and am playing around with 170 grams protein, 140 grams carbs and 40 grams fat daily.  If I don’t see the results I’m aiming for, I’ll change it. No plan is so perfect that it cannot be improved upon.  This isn’t a diet or a fad, it’s my lifestyle.  It gets tweaked as my goals and needs change. I eat a lot of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.  Added sugar and processed foods are kept to bare minimums.  I’ve been doing this long enough that it’s no longer habit, but second nature.

Getting started, overweight, after having two children and multiple abdominal surgeries was HARD.  It was even more challenging to keep stepping into the gym when progress was slow, or seemed non-existent because I couldn’t see the changes happening fast enough for my liking.  It seemed like all of the incredibly fit people I saw at my gym were born that way and found it an effortless process. I have never, ever forgotten how that felt. I know better now and my passion is to help motivate others to take that first step. Encourage them to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Small steps now lead to BIG changes later. The journey to health and fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.  I want others to believe in their own inner strength and learn how to channel that into self-motivation.

The past year has been the most challenging of my life.  It’s also been the most rewarding.  I’ve fully embraced my inner strength, further developed my outer strength and emerged with the clearest vision of just who I am and, more specifically, who I am not.  I am perfectly imperfect and the people in my life who truly matter embrace me for who I am, not who they want me to be.  I am grateful for each new day.  Love and respect yourself first.  Then allow others to.  Love more.  Train harder.  Eat better.  Dream bigger.  Don’t compare yourself to others be the best possible YOU!

TWITTER: @OrganicOutcast
FACEBOOK: The Organic Outcast (warning: haven’t logged onto FB in months…)

#TrainInsane #LeaveHumanityBehind #TeamMutant

#TrainInsane
#LeaveHumanityBehind
#TeamMutant

Well it’s time to share my journey and life transformation through fitness. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to share my story for the first time and it really changed a lot of things in my life for the better. The overwhelming positive response that I received added to my already burning desire to be the best that I could possibly be!

It all started in 2011, I weighed 267 lbs. and had lost all respect for myself. One photograph that I received from my parents changed everything. I saw how awful and out of shape I looked and knew right there it was time for a change. Through a clean diet and some exercise I managed to lose 90 lbs. in 95 days.  Everything in my life beyond just my health and specific level of fitness was amazing from the beginning of my journey up until today.

Last year when I shared the second year of my journey I had already taken on more of a bodybuilding workout regimen and had just invested in my first gym membership a few months prior. I fell in love with the atmosphere at the gym. Everybody was so positive and willing to share so many great tips. For all of last year and even today I generally train 6 days a week.

Since the last story I have really taken my workouts extremely seriously. Endless hours have been spent in the gym training as hard and heavy as possible in an effort to gain size. Bodybuilding is such an amazing art and being able to watch the way you are physically able to manipulate your body is incredible. I’ve spent the last 12 months focusing on adding as much muscle mass as possible to my frame. When I had initially lost all of my weight, I had dropped to 178 lbs. and I felt too small. I currently weigh 218 lbs. and I am finished with my bulk. I am focusing on cutting down and walking around with a body fat percentage of around 12%. My ideal weight will likely fall between 200lbs.–205lbs. and I’m excited to see results from my years of hard work.

Last June I was fortunate enough to become an ambassador for Mutant Nutrition. This is a major supplement company based out of Vancouver. The products are located in 76 countries worldwide. I had been using their supplements for around a year so I was definitely excited to have a chance to work with this great brand if even in just a small capacity. As an ambassador I promote the products mostly through social media.  Forums like Instagram and Twitter as well as Facebook make it extremely easy to connect with people and answer questions regarding the Mutant Nutrition. I hand out samples at gyms in my area and the response is overwhelming. People love the supplements and the sponsored athletes, so it really makes my job very easy. I’m promoting something that I love and that I truly believe in. I will also work a few of the Mutant booths at bodybuilding expos which is really going to be great! I look forward to interacting with the fans first hand and hearing their feedback about the products.

Mutant products have been around for a while but in the past year the brand has really blown up. The products are processed in British Columbia and are always guaranteed results if used properly combined with proper diet and training. There’s everything from pre workout powders to post workout as well as everything in between. I stand behind the products and can tell you I would never go back to using anything else. If you’re interested in seeing the entire line of supplements, clothing and training videos go to iammutant.com.

This year my main goal is to lean out and see how I look. I’ve added cardio back into my regimen so it won’t be long until I see the results from my year of training hard. I’m really expecting great things for this year! To be a bodybuilder is an incredible obsession. But in the end every ounce of sweat that you sacrifice in order to reach your goal is worth it. By the end of this year I would like to be 220 lbs. with 12% body fat. It won’t be easy to reach this, but then again I never enjoyed anything that came too easy.

My workouts always vary but for the most part I generally train one muscle group per session. Often times I will throw in some calves or abs at the end of a workout. I train calves and abs 4-5 times per week and everything else just once. My sessions are usually around 90 minutes long and often include upwards of 50 sets and 500-600 reps. I love the burn and I crave the pump when I’m training. I like to hit things from multiple angles and different rep counts. I include giant sets, drop sets and super sets in my workouts. It’s great to constantly change things up so you can create a bit of muscle confusion. My current split is back, chest, arms, shoulders, legs and then day 6 I start all over again or just have a rear delt and trap day.

My normal diet consists of 6 meals. Basically the only foods I eat are rice, sweet potatoes, veggies, chicken and ground beef or turkey, eggs, egg whites and oats. I also have 2 or 3 whey protein shakes a day. Normally I consume 3500-4000 calories a day. 300 grams of protein, 300 grams of carbs and 100 grams of fat is the norm. Now that I’ve begun cutting those numbers will change. Eating cold meals out of Tupperware has become my life. I much prefer this lifestyle over my past where fast foods were a staple. My cheat meals are generally massive and sloppy. Lately my go to has been a meal consisting of lasagna, veal parm, meatballs, sausage, garlic bread or piles of chicken wings and a lot of pizza. I usually have one cheat day a week and without counting I’m sure I’ve had some days well over 7000 calories. Cheat days are great to control cravings throughout the week and give you something to look forward to. However mine get a little out of control and I’ve cut them completely for the next 3 months while I cut.

I feel it’s important that everyone knows that anyone can do this. When I started I was a 30 something year old obese lazy slob. Once it’s in your mind to be great, nothing can stop you. The mind is your most powerful weapon. It can literally either make or break you. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, only you have the ability to make the change. Start with just some light exercise, go for walks, eat more fruit and limit your sugars. It’s very easy to get started but once you do, be prepared to work your ass off and continue to do so for the rest of your life. Fitness isn’t a part time job. It’s every day, every meal and every rep at the gym. It is the healthiest addiction you can have!

I just would like to say in closing, thank you to each and every person who ever called me fat or told me I couldn’t do this. Your words have been on my mind for the past 3 years and it has been the motivation I needed to reach my goals. I’ve set my goals so high that I will have to keep working for the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Train hard and live the fit life!

Follow me on Twitter @MUTANT_FREAK_
Instagram @mutant_freak_
Or Facebook Michael Gainz Green

Daryl Malden (Left 2013 Right 2014)

Daryl Malden (Left 2013 / Right 2014)

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~ Bob Marley

My name is Daryl Malden and I am currently a Digital Marketer.  My other interests include cooking, health, fitness and most importantly family.  Growing up in Trinidad, I had an amazing childhood.  I enjoyed many outdoor activities and healthy eating was simply a way of life. That being said, I was always considered to be a chubby guy (not fat).  As I got older and headed into my teen years I became more self-conscious about how I looked; I never actually thought about how I felt physically or mentally. I always looked at “other guys” and wanted to be just like them. So I watched what I ate, exercised and did my best to look like them – the perceived healthier, happier guys. This would go back and forth for many years; my weight up, sometimes down. Finally mid 40’s I decided I wanted to be me.  Whatever that was; so I started a journey of self-discovery. I wrote down what I wanted to change in my life to become closer to my authentic self and here is what worked for me:

#1 (This is the most IMPORTANT)

I changed my mindset (focus) from where I was in life to where I wanted to be in life.

#2

I started reading books that interested me about wellness, self empowerment, meditation, religion etc.

#3

I made a promise  (to myself) that I was going to find that place within where I was most at peace in a happier, healthier, drug/alcohol free body.

The turning point in my life came when I hit 245lbs; I was taking all kinds of meds for health related issues that stemmed from being overweight and not exercising. As I started to read and research more about the food that I ate I began to realize that the processed food and even the stuff that I thought was actually healthy, really wasn’t all that good for me. Initially I stopped eating meat. I also stopped smoking and having the occasional drink.  I also started to exercise. Then I decided to try a juice cleanse. This is where the magic happened.

For me juicing organic vegetables and fruits of all kinds work best for me. I have never felt so energized about life as I do right now. I am now at 5’9’ 170 lbs and loving it. This has become my new lifestyle. At 54 I am proud to say that I am off my meds and heading upward in all aspects of my life. I wake up every morning at 4:30am, make a cup of green tea,  wash up and head to my quiet space where I meditate and give gratitude for all that I have and what’s coming. When I am finished I head into the kitchen to start breakfast for my family. Breakfast consists of protein and fruit or 32oz of green juice and it’s freaking amazing. Then I head to the gym or stay at home and work out for about 45 minutes. After my work out I have another green juice and then I head to my home office for a 3-4 hour work day. I keep hydrated with lots of green tea and fill up on hearty salads as often as I can.  I throw in some almonds and dried fruit (with no sugar added) at different times of the day.  In the evening I head to my quiet space to meditate and give thanks for the day. It’s the most amazing feeling any human being can imagine.

In order to stay focused I’ve surrounded myself with positive people and positive thoughts. Every breath that I take; everything that I see, touch, smell or taste I am thankful. For my strong arms, legs, heart, lungs, kidney and brain, I am thankful.  For my ability to walk, talk, breathe and experience life on a daily basis I am thankful. For the family, friends and mentors that have stood by me throughout this process, I am eternally grateful.

Sometimes as you try to find your way you lose friends and family members and that’s ok. You have to change for you and no one else. If you are in a relationship let your partner know what your intentions are and where you’re headed; if they love you they’ll be supportive, they may even join you and the journey becomes more fulfilling.

Find your motivation and above all else, stay true to self.

Daryl

Namaste