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…)

Advertisements
#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

 

Are They Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

It has been some time since I have put my thoughts into writing but today I saw something that inspired me to write this short article about the things you should be looking for in a personal trainer. 

For the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work with, manage and teach many aspiring health and fitness professionals. In this time, I have also been a witness to many practices that I will never understand and today was one of them. When I exercise I tend to keep to myself and observe everyone else. I do this for a couple of reasons; one of them being that I am a lifelong student and I am always watching people to learn from them and their successes and mistakes. The other is that I have had the pleasure of observing some of the best and some of the worst fitness professionals in the industry.  

Today, I witnessed something that I still cannot wrap my head around. When I am teaching aspiring fitness professionals the one thing I spend a fair bit of time on is safety. Today I witnessed a complete disregard for safety by a certified personal trainer. While working with his client and spotting her on a dumbbell flat chest press, he spotted from the elbows (which is the first mistake). When spotting his client, she failed and the dumbbell fell on her face. The part that I am still struggling with is that within a minute, he attempted to spot her again from the elbows, and again, the weight fell on her face. First things first, when spotting any dumbbell press, you should always spot from the wrists or hands so that when your client does fatigue, you do not push the weight into their body or face like I witnessed today. This is one of the most commonly made mistakes in a fitness facility but any educated fitness professional should know this. Secondly, he did it twice!  

There are an increasingly large number of people seeking personal trainers in North America. With this demand, the industry has been exploding with new theories of training, new certifications, new styles of training, new corporate fitness facilities and more and more boutique style training facilities. Before you sign up and purchase personal training, there are some things you might want to consider.  

  1. Age, Maturity, Engagement, Body Language, Appearance and Attire 

Something that is not always easy to determine prior to purchasing personal training is the age and maturity level of the fitness professional. But if you have the opportunity, it is always a good idea to observe the personal trainers while they are exercising in the facility and while they are engaged with a client. This will reveal very important information regarding the personal trainer’s perspective on exercise and their approach to personal training. Look for things like whether the personal trainer has their shoes tied up, are they leaning on equipment or sitting down when their client is exercising, are they observing their client’s performance from all angles and viewpoints, are they smiling and making eye contact with their client, are they carrying a coffee while they are training their client, do they look like they just rolled out of bed and were late getting to the client’s session, are they carrying their client’s file and are they writing down information, are they actually watching their client’s technique or are they looking at other gym-goers, are they motivating and talking with their client? In between sets are they being personable or are they staring off into the distance, are they offering feedback to their client? Does the client look like they are enjoying themselves? Are they working hard or hardly working?  

The answers to these questions will tell you the quality of the personal trainer you are going to get. The personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for! 

  1. Education/Certifications 

Aside from the personal side of personal training, you want a personal trainer who knows what they are doing. In the industry today there are more certifications than we know what to do with. There are certifications that you can achieve by attending a weekend course, certifications that require a minimum of two years of post secondary education before you can achieve them, certifications that you can achieve online, certifications that are one day workshops and certifications that specific to a type of equipment. What you want to look for in a personal trainer are certifications that are theory based because the theory-based certifications typically require formal education prior to attempting the certification. Some of the more common theory based certifications are CSEP – CPT, NSCA – CPT, NSCA – CSCS and the YMCA Fitness Education certification. These are certifications that require education and mentorship hours to achieve. This means that they have formal education in health and fitness in addition to their personal training certification. Keep in mind that just because someone is wearing a shirt that says “Personal Trainer” does not mean they are certified. I was a “Personal Trainer” for a year at a well renowned fitness facility without any certifications 

Most fitness facilities will post their personal trainer’s credentials for you to see. Google what the certifications are or the requirements to obtain them to see just how qualified your personal trainer is! 

Ideally, your personal trainer should have formal education (post secondary) in health and fitness as well as a theory-based certification. I am not saying that any personal trainer who does not have this is not high quality (I currently do not have a theory based certification but I do have 10 years of post secondary education in exercise science and 16 years of work experience in the field) but it is something to consider!  

  1. Walking the Walk 

Another questions to ask is, does your personal trainer practice what they preach? Are they coaching you to do something that they cannot do themselves? If this is the case they might not be best suited for you. Think about your stockbroker. If they were encouraging you to purchase a specific stock, but they would not purchase it themselves, would you buy it? If your doctor prescribed a medication for you but they would never take it themselves, would you be confident in taking it? Find out what your personal trainer does in their spare time, their hobbies and interests. This will tell you a lot about whether they will be able to inspire you and motivate you to health and wellness.

In closing, a real fitness professional will be professional. They will treat their job as a profession. They will design workouts and programs specific to your needs and your abilities. They will contact you on your off days and see how you are feeling. They will ask you questions about you and listen to your answers and offer advice when needed. They will be YOUR personal trainer and make you feel that way. They will inspire you to be better, to do more, to achieve goals that you have never thought possible. They will educate you and teach you why you are doing what they are telling you to do. And lastly, they will encourage you and guide you to the results you want to see while making sure you are getting there safely. 

If you have any questions or comments I would be happy to hear from you. Check out my website at www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion, follow me on twitter @nickjpetrella and @corfusion1, add me to facebook or email me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca. I would be happy to hear from you! 

Madison

I was born, raised, and still live in southern US and I love it! But being from the south, food has always been a big presence in my life, and not necessarily healthy food. Not to be stereotypical, but we like to fry everything we can get our hands on and then we might cover it in ranch dressing or gravy or even sugar depending on what it is. I never really remember learning healthy eating habits as a child and I have been overweight pretty much my entire life. I started to gain even more weight when I graduated from high school and went off to college; but then the problem wasn’t just food. I drank with my friends in high school as a lot of teens do, but once I was out of my parents’ house it became a daily thing. I failed every single class I was enrolled in the second semester of college because instead of going to class I woke up and started drinking. I moved home and got it somewhat under control for a brief time but went right back to my old ways, failing out of yet another university. I gave up on trying to get an education at that point, got married, and began working random minimum wage jobs that were miserable and only contributed to my eating/drinking problem.

During these years I did the yo-yo dieting thing, losing 50-60 pounds then gaining back 70-80 each time. I was only trying to lose weight to look good at that point. I didn’t care about my health really; I just wanted to be thin and pretty! I was approaching 25 and I kept hearing things about a woman’s metabolism slowing down considerably after that age. It was almost like it was directed towards me as much as I kept hearing this. So February of 2011, 3 months before my 25th birthday, I stepped on the scale and saw the number 254. I nearly choked as it had been a while since I weighed myself, and I was convinced I hadn’t gotten _that_ big since my last diet! I had always told myself I would never let myself get past 250lbs as I was afraid that was my point of no return. I decided then that it would be the last time I would ever see that number, and I was going to be thin while I was still young if it killed me. Even then I didn’t much care about my actual health, just what I looked like. However, I did great for a while. I ate enough and ate healthy, I lifted weights and did cardio religiously, and I had amazing results losing about 80 pounds in probably 6 months. Then my body got used to what I was doing and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see. I thought, “Ok, well I guess I need to start eating less and doing more cardio because weights aren’t doing anything for me.” I should mention now that I was still drinking pretty heavily at this point. I cut my calories even more and now I was only eating 800-1000 calories a day while doing literally hours of cardio. I got down to 150lbs which was my goal weight at the time and I should have been happy; but since I lost the weight so quickly and not healthily I was left with this deflated, flabby body that I hated. I began to starve myself even more, I weighed myself constantly, and my drinking became absolutely out of control. I would drink to stave off the hunger and the thoughts that I would never have the “perfect body” that I was striving for. My husband and I fought constantly, I called in to work because I would be so sick from drinking/not eating, I was miserable. Here I was 2 years away from my starting point, and I was no happier than when I was overweight, if anything I was more _un_happy. There were many times that I “quit” drinking during that 2 years but I never _really_ found the motivation to make it stick. In February of this year, my body had finally reached its breaking point. After months of starving myself and poisoning my brain by consuming so much alcohol, I literally lost it. My husband was able to reach my parents and the three of them were able to get me calmed down and talk some sense into me. I realized that looking good was not worth what I was doing to myself and I had to get it together. My main focus at this point was to be sober and healthy and I was in search of a way to do that. I had heard people talk about eating “clean” and I had no idea what that meant, so I did some research. I started cutting out as many “unclean” things from my diet as possible and I was seeing some changes again. This time, though, I was noticing things like my hair being stronger and more shiny and the wrinkles that had formed on my face looking less noticeable; I started to realize how old and unhealthy I looked before even though I thought all I wanted to be was “skinny”. I’d say about another month later, I found the “fitfam” community on twitter. They all talked about eating clean and *gasp* LIFTING?! I thought, “But doesn’t that really make you bigger?” That’s false, of course, and luckily I decided to try it anyway because I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I have now been sober for 7 1/2 months, October 18th will be my 8 month mark. I would have to say that my problem with drinking was the hardest obstacle I had to overcome in order to get to this point. I think it was the root of all of my other problems. I have also been eating clean and training my body in a healthy way during that time. I don’t even weigh myself anymore as the changes to my body speak for themselves and are not reflected by a number on a scale. I feel as though I look and feel younger than I have in years; I was aging myself with my unhealthy lifestyle. I don’t get sick, I have a more positive outlook, and I’m actually living my life; I’m just _finally happy_ and that is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. This feeling of peace and joy are my motivation to keep going because it just keeps getting better. Every day that passes I am able to do things I couldn’t imagine being able to do before. Most importantly my husband and I have started to become involved in church again. I have probably neglected my spiritual health even more than my physical health throughout this journey, and getting back to that has been a blessing. Make no mistake, I have worked very hard to get myself on the right track to being fit, but I can’t take all the credit. The Lord has given me the strength to pick myself up when I get knocked down, and I thank Him for that daily. Without His presence in my life, I know I would have been lost. My husband has been a great support through all of this as well. He has stood by my side no matter how crazy things have gotten. My parents tell me how proud of me they are almost daily. It’s a great feeling.

The person I am today is nothing like the person I was 2+ years ago. I seem to be always on the go instead of always on the couch these days! I work in a small (but extremely busy) restaurant owned by my parents that is a pretty popular spot for the local college kids and Downtown employees. Recently I have started attending cosmetology school, which was always a dream of mine, so after work I drive about 40 minutes to school and am there from 5pm-10pm Monday through Thursday. I have about a year of cosmetology school left, after which my ultimate goal is to become a certified personal trainer as well so I can help people like me take control of their lives, feel great about themselves, and finally start really living.

I don’t necessarily have a set “routine” that I follow anymore as far as my workouts are concerned.  Since I am so busy Monday through Thursday I just make sure to commit myself to at least 3 days of cardio a week, where I will do some kind of HIIT program on the elliptical for anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and lifting at least 5 days a week. My lifting schedule varies as I get bored easily, so I focus on the different muscle groups (i.e. core/abs, arms, legs, back, etc.) and just switch it up however I feel! I make sure to train all groups at least once every week. I find different exercises by searching online, from people on twitter, from various fitness apps on my phone, just doing my homework! I do all my workouts at home as my guest room doubles as my weight room, and I have my elliptical set up right in my den. I’d say I follow an “If It Fits Your Macros” style diet, with my macros varying based on what activities I have planned for the day. For example, I may lower my carb intake on a day when I know I’m just going to be sitting in class and not moving around much, or up my protein intake on a day when I’ve done some intense lifting. My fat intake doesn’t really vary, I just make sure I am getting enough to fuel my body. I try to avoid any processed foods like the plague and stick to fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. I do have the occasional protein bar that might not be “all natural”. I keep my whey protein powder stocked as I use it in oats, smoothies, etc. for the extra protein, but I don’t take any other supplements. I used to take a pre-workout but I find that they just make me jittery and coffee works just as well if I need a little boost. I always have coffee in the mornings as well, and I do add a little Truvia. I make sure I’m drinking at _least_ a gallon of water a day and I drink a glass of green tea as soon as I wake up, after every meal, and after my workouts. I try to never have a “cheat meal” but I LOVE sweets so if I’m feeling the need for a treat I’ll have some natural peanut butter. I am obsessed with any of the flavors by Peanut Butter and Co., especially White Chocolate Wonderful.

My goals right now as far as fitness goes are to keep losing fat and building muscle as much as I can while not having as much time to train, and of course to maintain a healthy diet. Once I graduate from cosmetology school and become licensed in that, I want to become a certified personal trainer as I mentioned before, and I have played around with the idea of competing when I have more time to train my body. Really, my ultimate goal is to help others. I want everyone who is currently stuck in the life that I was living before to be able to be happy and healthy and to wake up every day feeling great and loving themselves. To those of you reading this who ARE me before, I want you to know that you CAN do this and when you do you will never regret it. I’m not here to tell you that it’s easy — it’s not easy at all. It’s hard to train yourself out of bad habits but it can be done, and it is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself.

I’d like to thank Shay for asking me to share my story, it’s so flattering and kind of overwhelming at the same time! I’d also like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my story and I hope it can serve as some kind of inspiration or motivation for you. If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can follow me on twitter @Fit_Love_Beauty and I’ll try to get with you as quickly as my schedule allows! Again, thanks for reading. 

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

Meet Elite Trainer – Will Hough

Ever wonder how the pros keep themselves in shape? Here you’ll find out what one particular individual is doing to stay at the top of his game. I’m often amazed by the sheer dedication and passion of the personal trainers, coaches and mentors that I see in gyms, out in the field and in the media. I wonder what their secrets are, what motivates them to get up every day and work hard to help other people achieve their fitness goals, shape and mold athletes, or coach a team to victory. My mission with this blog is to take a closer look at the world of personal trainers, coaches and mentors. What makes them sweat? What makes them smile? And what can we learn from their personal stories?

Believe it or not I met Will Hough through Twitter! He has quickly become a friend, a trusted peer, someone I can bounce ideas off of, and above all, someone I truly respect and admire. I am honored to feature Will Hough as the first trainer interviewed for “How the Trainers Train Themselves.”

Will Hough
Owner: WillFit in New York City
Certifications: USA Triathlon, IHP, Certified Coach, Strength Training for the Triathlete,
Swim Faster Using Less Energy, Triathlon Training Program Design, ACSM, CPR & AED

Professional Trainer Instruction in: Running, Weight Training, Flexibility, Endurance, Strength & Conditioning, Triathlon & Biathlon Coaching and Nutrition

How the Trainers Train Themselves: How did you become interested in fitness?
Will Hough: When I first got into training I was new at working out after coming from a background with the Marines. I had trained with the Navy Seals and Special Ops teams in areas like super chemical warfare, snipers, unconventional warfare training, heavy artillery and as a heavy equipment operator. I was a Marine from 1979 to 1985.

HTT: That’s some pretty intense training! How did you get into the business?
WH: Yeah, I knew about being conditioned but I didn’t really know about the art of training. I met a women in Seattle, Nita Gunthrie, back in 1982. One day at the gym I was trying to bench press 185 lbs and the bar fell on top of me because I didn’t have the correct form, and this woman comes over to me, she’s about 4’ 11”– and pulled the bar off me and said, “let me show you how to workout the right way.” That’s how it all started, that day in the gym. She took me under her wing and became my mentor. She guided me through training and reconditioning and helped me gain 30 lbs of muscle mass over two years. I went from 235 to 185 and started competing in triathlons and biathlons and became an adventure racer, a power lifter.
HTT: So that was a pivotal moment in your life, the beginning of a new career path, when this tiny strong woman came to your aid?
WH: Yeah! At that point in Seattle I was out of the Marines and just an ordinary guy trying to see what life was like on the outside. Within a year (1983) I became certified and started training.
HTT: What were your personal fitness goals back then?
WH: I wanted to learn to develop my body. Instead of being lean and small, I wanted to learn how to become more muscular, I was always intrigued about being strong and lifting a lot of weight.
HTT: And where did this new body and career as a trainer take you?
WH: I was working for myself as a trainer in Seattle for a bit, and I became a competitive bodybuilder in 1982, until 1989. I eventually made my way back to New York and started my own training business in 1993—WILLFIT/HOUGH LLC.

My business is based on training, conditioning athletes, the everyday person looking for a change from basic training. I’m more into taking a person beyond their limits.
HTT: What’s your favorite/least favorite type of client?
WH: Favorite type of client! One that’s truly motivated, passionate, driven, limitless and eager to rise above and beyond.
Least favorite client!?! One that’s wasting my time!
HTT: I hear that! What makes your training style unique? What is your specialty?

WH: My training style is very different, I try to see, learn, what makes you, YOU! Develop your weakness, make you stronger from within and then there’s no limit on where we can go from there!
HTT: If you had to sum up your style in a few words?
WH: Intense, driven, mind and body together as one!
HTT: What are your hobbies?
WH: My hobbies are vast, I have an African Art collection, Asian Art, sports memorabilia, a coin collection, car collection, Ducatis! I’m into almost anything that fuels my passion! My cars and bikes! Any chance I have to ride and drive it’s on!

HTT: Favorite food?
WH: Anything except red meat, sushi…
HTT: Favorite sport?
WH: Formula 1, then football.
HTT: What’s one of your “guilty” pleasures?
WH: Baking cakes!
HTT: Your favorite book?
WH: I haven’t had a chance to read any! I’m more into audio books now. But “The Feathermen” is a must!
HTT: Favorite movie?
WH: Gladiator! Anything action or Sci Fi.
HTT: What do you do to keep yourself in shape?
WH: I challenge myself each workout–cycling, high reps, moderate weight total body 3x week with cardio 30, 45, one hour sessions.
HTT: What do you do for fun? Leisure?
WH: Spend time with my son, my family and friends and my hobbies.

HTT: Where do you see the future of fitness heading?
WH: Future of Fitness! That’s a good question! I think the market is over saturated with unproven trainers, fly by night certifications and many haven’t paid their dues. While trainers like you and I have laid down the ground work for them!
HTT: Thank you, Will! I so appreciate your honesty, integrity and humor. It’s great getting to know more about you, like, who would have pictured you baking cakes? Formula One, yeah, that I can picture, but cakes? Sweet and Strong, an inspiration!

Follow/Contact Will:  https://twitter.com/#!/willtrainer008

Written by Laura McDonald 2012 and reblogged today as per Will Hough