Posts Tagged ‘athlete’


“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


World Champion Water Skier

“I am a World Champion Water skier, and I compete professionally throughout the year. I live AND love to train; whether it’s in the gym, on the water, in the kitchen, or sleeping. My current project is an amateur ski event combined with a charity event that my coach, Matt Rini (@swini_skis) and I (with the help of our sponsors) are currently putting together that will be held at his lake in Orlando in the Spring of 2013. We obviously have a passion for water skiing and we want to be able to give back to the community as well. My obligations are to myself, to my sponsors, and to my country (Canada)- to me that means being responsible, maintaining a positive image, and being the best athlete that I can be.”

Whitney McClintock - World Champion Water Skiier

Whitney McClintock – World Champion (age 23)

I grew up water skiing and that is really the only life I knew. I was introduced to other sports at school and my older brother Jason (@jmacskis) and I were always competing in track and field events; we made all the winter sports teams at school as well. As a child, I was strong and competitive and sports were fun! Jason also kept me busy after school tossing around a football or shooting hoops. It wasn’t until I made the Canadian National Waterski Team that I was introduced to the gym, and fitness in that regard. Sport Canada places a high priority on fitness assessment and tracking athletic development. For that reason, the Canadian Waterski Team has always had personal training programs and we are always seeking something new that will get us that competitive edge. But to be honest, at first I didn’t believe that working out in gym would benefit my career as an athlete. It took some time to build an understanding of how all the body’s systems work together. My injuries and going through rehab sparked my interest in compensation, rebuilding and rebalancing. Once I committed to study Sports and Fitness, my passion began to consume me. I began to really understand how the gym (combined with proper training) was essential to reaching my full potential.


Fitness has made me stronger in every way. When I push myself physically it makes me stronger on the water which also gives me confidence. When I am confident, I can accomplish more because it makes me a mentally tough athlete. Water skiing has guided me to situations in my life that I know God is in full control of. I have developed a trust in Him and a faith through water skiing that I would not have any other way. My family introduced me to water skiing and they know how important the whole lifestyle is to me. Matt (@swini_skis) is definitely the most influential person in my life with regards to my fitness efforts. He is my ski coach but he is also extremely dedicated to my fitness (and his own). He pushes me to lift more than I believe I can. He tells me “yes” when my body tells me “no”. Everyone needs a Matt in their life! Someone who will always tell you that you are capable of more! Having him around comes in really handy on my Cardio days. Cardio has been my biggest obstacle. I know how important it is for me to have a strong cardio-respiratory system; and that makes it even more frustrating. I love spin classes but if my schedule doesn’t line up and it’s up to me to get on a machine or run, I will most likely find something more interesting to do. However, lately I have switched it up so I only do 1 boring low and slow day per week and 1-2 days of HIIT, and 1 spin class. I have committed to put my iPod in my ears and just do it. My Twitter #FITFAM and Matt has been great encouragement for me to make sure I don’t skip my cardio workouts.


When I push myself physically it makes me stronger!

I don’t have a crazy transformation story. I use fitness as a means of accomplishing my goals as an athlete. I am a 1x World Record Holder, 14x Canadian Open Record Holder, 5x World Champion and 7x Pan Am Games medalist (3 gold 4 silver). I am proud about my BSc in Sports and Fitness and my NSCA- CSCS certification. Being a personal trainer allows me to help my friends and family dream bigger about their fitness future and live the fit life everyone deserves. I am still in my off-season so I am in the gym trying to build strength and train my cardio base. I just changed my routine up in the new year so now I have 3 different days consisting of:

-cardio & legs
-shoulders, chest, tris & core
-cardio, back & bis.
My goal is to hit each workout in 3 days then I get a day off.

I take a whole-food supplement by Life Force International called Body Balance- it’s Aloe Vera juice and a proprietary blend of nine sea vegetables. Body Balance helps to balance every system in the body; and has helped me personally to sleep more effectively and recover more rapidly. I also consume an all natural protein shake in the morning or slow digesting protein (casein) at night after heavy lifting sessions in the gym.

A typical day of eating for me:
8am Breakfast- 1c Body Balance, a protein shake made with fat-free milk AND 1/2 c oatmeal with 1 c fat-free milk, 1/4 c berries, 7 chocolate chips, 1 tbsp psyllium husk, 1/2 tbsp hemp seeds
1c Body Balance; a bowl of Quaker oatmeal squares with milk AND 2 egg omelette with 1/4c bell peppers and a sprinkle of low fat mozzarella cheese.
1030 Snack- ToYou Snacks bar and an Activia yogurt
12pm Lunch- chicken breast sandwich with cheese on whole grain bread with lettuce, tomato, mustard & mayo
3 pm snack- apple with ToYou all natural trail mix OR 1/2 c Quaker oatmeal squares cereal with 1/2 c fat-free milk
6 pm dinner- baked chicken breast with vegetables and a sweet potato AND Two dove dark chocolate promises for dessert
8-9PM- I will usually snack on a batch or homemade air popped popcorn with no oil and just a little butter and sea salt
OR if I go to the gym in the evening I will have a casein protein shake made with 1 c of fat-free milk before bed.

*To be honest I would probably also find room for some Swedish Fish or Mike & Ikes. I don’t have many days in my life that I don’t eat candy…*

My current fitness goal is to be stronger and leaner than I have ever been in my life by March. Weekly, that means getting out of my comfort zone and lifting heavier than I did last week. That means, when my legs are shaking with 225 pounds on my back I will still find the power to rep out some squats. Daily, that means doing that last round of core circuit when it already hurts. And finishing my 45 mins of cardio even though my mind keeps telling me to stop. I can accomplish my goals, it’s all about mind over matter. I will be physically capable of so much more in a month than I am capable of today, but it’s not going to be comfortable.

If you’re sitting at home and you’re thinking that you would like to make fitness a part of your lifestyle (and it is a lifestyle) know this; if you can dream it, you can do it! If you truly, deep down to your core, want something, you will find a way to make it a reality. Block out any negativity. Every time your mind tells you “no”, tell yourself out loud “I can do it!” “push!” Wake up 30 minutes earlier and put your running shoes on and go walk-run for 20 minutes. If you are a member at a gym, mark a 30-60 minute appointment into your calendar at least 4 x a week: “my time to shine”. Make it your job to tweet a new inspirational quote every morning while you are eating breakfast. Make fitness and health your obsession, not your number on the scale. When you feel good and love working out, there will be no turning back!

Whitney (age 17)

Whitney (age 17)

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the amazing support of my sponsors:
@swini_skis @nautiqueboats @radarskis @toyousnacks @tmhonu
and my parents @McClintocks

Shout out to my big bro: @jmacskis. He’s a tattooed, jeep driving, TRX certified, home gym fitness inspiration and a member of the Canadian National Waterski Team.

“Go for what your mind wants, and don’t give up until your heart is satisfied!”

That’s my quote and personal motto. 

Twitter: @whitmcclintock

Photo credit goes to my mom @McClintocks

Today We’re Chatting With an NPAA Elite Pro

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

Mindy Lou Ambrose

Can you tell us a little about your formative years?

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

How has fitness changed your life?

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

Who supports your efforts?

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

What are the difficulties that you’ve faced?

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

What are some of your accomplishments?

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

What’s your current training and meal plan?

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

What are your immediate and long-term goals?

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

Any advice for our readers?

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

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

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

1-2-3 GO!

You can reach Mindy directly at her new Blog and Website: twitter @mindyambrose Facebook –