Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

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

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

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

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

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

Health and fitness has been my life for over 20 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth White  with her game face on! Killing it!

Elizabeth White with her game face on! Killing it!

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

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

Twitter-@elizabethwhit20

Facebook – IFBB Pro Elizabeth White

Email-physequeessentials@yahoo.com

Sometimes all it takes is seeing a picture of yourself to make you realize you're not happy.

Sometimes all it takes is seeing a picture of yourself to make you realize you’re not happy.

The Transformation

Wow! Can’t believe its already been a year since the original story was shared! When we first got this rolling I was so new to health and fitness. Now its officially become the absolute force that drives me.

Since the airing of my story my dedication and desire to become better has been fueled by continuous results. I’ve been blessed to have regained my physical well being and have been able to use that to help motivate and inspire so many people. I’ve put together several workout and meal plans for friends and family. All of whom have used them to better themselves. That of itself is a huge reward. I’m still working construction from April til December so needless to say when I’m not working out…I’m still working out. Doing interlock brick for a living has definitely become easier with my new found addiction to fitness. It was a long summer last year juggling 12 hour days lugging and laying bricks and coming home and getting my workouts in however,  I managed to stay on track and remain focused on my goals. No excuses. Training is a part of my everyday routine now.

Growing up I was always active, I just simply couldn’t sit still. Played both soccer and baseball as a youngster and when that wasn’t happening you could always find me on a basketball court or on the streets playing endless hours of road hockey. If I had stayed involved with sports and stuck by my friends who shared those interests with me, it’s safe to say I would never have let myself get to a point where I was disgusted by my body.

It was after I turned about 18 that things really went downhill for me. I had stopped hanging out with the guys I had grown up with who were all into sports and working out. Instead I chose to let myself turn into what most would consider to be a party animal. My entire 20’s was pretty much a write off. Really can’t think of very much during that time that I am actually proud of. Cared more about partying and having a good time, than I did about being a good person, a good friend or even a good son. I made so many poor decisions regarding my physical well being that in all seriousness I consider myself lucky to be alive.

It wasn’t until April 2011 that I actually looked at pictures of myself and realized how much I had let myself go. What I saw was nothing that anyone would want to be. At 267 lbs with a ridiculously high body fat % I had become a complete disaster in terms of health. I had myself convinced that my extremely physical and heavy job was keeping me in shape. Sadly this couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was probably eating upwards of 5000 calories a day most of which came from processed foods saturated in trans fats and I was a sugar drink addict as well as thousands of empty calories from consuming far too much alcohol. Looking back it blows my mind to think how long I lived my life like this. Thankfully sometimes all it takes is seeing a picture of yourself to make you realize you aren’t happy with how you look and it forces you to do everything in your power to change it.

Since I made the choice to change my entire lifestyle I’ve had such great motivation from just simply watching my body change right before my eyes. Realizing how blessed I am, I have become a much more spiritual person. I’m more caring,  more willing to help others. I really feel as though I have not only changed the person I am physically, but also emotionally.  I’m so much more at peace with myself. I have a passion burning inside of me that never in my wildest dreams would I ever had thought existed. It goes without saying that I am a much better all around person since I’ve turned my life around through fitness.

The transformation begins!

The transformation begins!

My family and friends have all been amazing throughout this journey. So very supportive. Always complimenting me and motivating me to be a better person every day. Friends who I grew up with who were always in better shape than me are actually now asking me for advice in training and diet. That right there assures me I’m doing something right. My relationship became strained from my dedication to this fitness game and eventually it ended. However I have been lucky enough for God to have brought someone so very special into my life who truly understands and supports everything I’m trying to achieve. She is my biggest supporter and understands where I’m coming from, as she too went through the process of losing weight and changing her life.  She has even turned me into quite the cook. We enjoy making new clean eating dishes together and she has shown me how great cooking at home can really be. Having someone by your side who has gone through the same thing and understands the level of commitment required to achieve all your goals is a blessing. With her in my life I feel like nothing can hold me back. She makes me want to be better and that’s the kind of person we all need when you’re going through a major change in your lifestyle.

One of my biggest obstacles has been eating enough to grow. After being fat for so long I am always worried about eating too many calories. I’ve really had to overcome that in order to put on size. When I dropped to 177 lbs I felt great but since that original weight loss I’ve fought tooth and nail to get where I am now. I currently weigh 215 lbs with 17% body fat. Everyday I eat as clean as possible and work as hard as I can to become better in every way. I’ve even been lucky enough to have my transformation photos shared on a few other sites. So crazy to think that this one time fat guy could be responsible for motivating so many people.

My training since the last story has changed quite a bit. I was doing an upper/lower split but changed last Spring to more of a bodybuilding style split. Still trained at home all last summer but in December I made the switch to a local gym and I gotta say I’ve truly embraced the atmosphere. I love being around others who are training. I love being one of the bigger guys in there who people come to for advice or for workout programs. Little do they know my results are only from just over a year of training. I usually train 6 days a week because rest days just make me feel lazy. I am so addicted to lifting now that I embrace the pain that comes along with it. My split is generally Chest/Biceps, Shoulders/Triceps, Back/Traps and Legs/Abs but it’s always changing. No more cardio through the streets, I’ve now discovered the joys of treadmills and stationary bikes. While I was bulking for a while I did very little cardio but now as summer is approaching you better believe I’m all about that cardio again. I’m very cerebral when I train. I use many variations of exercises and hit muscle groups from multiple angles. My workouts are constantly evolving. Rarely will I do the same routine 2 weeks in a row. I love keeping my body guessing. Muscle confusion is critical when you are trying to gain size. Nothing becomes stale in my routine because of this constant change. This summer I used a mass gainer to help add some size but over the last 5 months the only supplements I use are Omega 3 Fish Oils, MultiVitamins, Whey Protein, Creatine and Glutamine. I try to use food as much as possible as my main source of supplements. Sometimes I need a shake to get my protein up or boost my calories but I’m not completely dependent on supplements for results.

My meal plan is probably considered extremely boring to the average person but since my transformation I’ve learned to eat for function rather than flavor. I’ve learned to incorporate a variety of spices in order to make my meals taste great while also being great for you. Cinnamon is one the greatest spices you can find! The fact that it also aids in fat burning is a huge bonus. Every morning I either have oats or egg whites. The rest of my meals throughout the day include lots of green vegetables and lean meats which are high in protein. No more saturated fats or sugars unless they are from natural sources. I only eat fruit before or immediately after a workout. I try to keep my carbs moderate but my protein intake is always high. I aim for a minimum of 220 grams of protein daily and rarely do I not reach this number. Generally one cheat meal per week is all I allow myself. Training days I will boost my caloric intake a little bit depending on the intensity of the workout. I still keep an eye on my calories and always monitor my macros. I feel that constantly tracking my food intake makes it impossible for me to fall back into old eating habits. If you see me in the grocery store its always going to be a cart full of vegetables, egg whites, chicken breast, ground chicken or turkey, talapia, tuna fish, and cottage cheese. Simple but effective.

I feel like since my weight loss I’ve come a long way putting on the size I desired. I now feel big but this time around its not because I’m fat. I’m currently working towards 10% body fat and am not trying to lose too much weight or muscle in my pursuit of this goal. Ultimately I would love to be around 210 lbs with that body fat %, so safe to say I will still be working as hard as ever to make this a reality. The great thing about training is it allows you to constantly push yourself and adjust your goals along the way. Keep in mind my original goal was to be skinny when this all started. Didn’t take long being skinny for me to realize how badly I really wanted to be muscular. Skinny really isn’t a great look. I’m currently in the midst of a slow cut because this year is all about definition. Really can’t wait to see what I look like by the end of the year. With my goals and desires always changing this truly helps to keep me focused on the task at hand. Its amazing what we can do with our bodies when we put our minds to it.

I feel that its important for anyone who is serious about changing their life, that they need to realize I didn’t do anything special. There was no fad diet, no magic pills, no starving myself. I lost 90 lbs in 95 days because I did what was necessary to achieve my goal. Nothing comes without hard work. You cannot look at other peoples bodies and say “I want that” or “I wish I looked like that”. You have to do it for yourself. Throughout the process you need to appreciate what you’re doing, and embrace the challenge. Its not easy. You will doubt yourself. There will be setbacks. But that’s what makes it so much more amazing when you reach your goal. Don’t be too reliant on a scale. Its only numbers. The mirror will tell you how great you’re doing. The most important thing is to remember its not a race. This is your life you’re trying to take back. Do it for all the people who said you couldn’t. Enjoy the journey. Remember no one on this earth is going to do it for you. Dig deep, stick with it, the results will come. And when they do, be prepared to feel things you have never felt before. This could be your last chance, so please don’t wait til tomorrow. Decide today to change your life forever.

The transformation continues!

The transformation continues!

I just want to say that what I’ve gone through in the past 2 years has been absolutely incredible. The opportunity to share my story and inspire others has really changed me as a person. Our minds are such a powerful tool. Once your mind is in the right place,  there really is nothing that can hold you back. Don’t forget I started this journey with a new diet and a resistance band. Changing your life forever doesn’t have to cost you a bunch of money. All you need is the desire to achieve a goal and the willpower to follow through with it. Anyone who’s reading this and is thinking that they can’t do it, I just want to tell you that YES YOU CAN! Our obesity rates are far too high and if I can even help motivate one person to change this trend then I feel as though this has all been worth it. Please just watch what you feed your children and yourself for that matter. Lets take back our lives. Lets all fight together to create a healthier environment for those we love. Lets set goals and not stop til we reach them. Lets change the way we eat. Lets change the way we live. Lets change the way we love. We’re all in this together. Lets all remember why we started and rejoice at the finish.

Most importantly, let us all become SOCIALLY FIT!!!

Thank you for taking the time to read my follow up story. With any luck I will have inspired some of you and it will be your story that I’m reading next!

You can find me on Twitter @G_FiT_ToRoNTo_ I’m always willing to answer questions or offer advice or workout programs.

LaShonda

LaShonda

I am a 34 year old, wife and mother of two girls, and a Human Resources professional by day. In my spare time, our family runs a semi-professional football team, the Shorewood Monarchs (part of the Mid-States Football League) and I am a singer who works with a number of local hip-hop acts in the Milwaukee area.  As a child, I loved participating and watching a number of sports, basketball, football, track and volleyball. I wasn’t encouraged or discouraged to be very active, but I liked participating in sports. Unfortunately, after suffering a bad knee injury in middle school, my ability to participate in a number of those things ended.

I can recall my parents encouraging me to join Weight Watchers around the age of 10, because I was “bigger”. I laugh about that now, as I look back, I see a girl, who was “bigger” in comparison to her friends who all were size 0-4’s. Nice way to create a bit of a complex for a kid. I am certain that, as adults who had frequently fought the battle with weight themselves, it was a way to try to impress upon a growing girl the importance of healthy eating and being cognizant of what I was putting into my body. Unfortunately, I think many of the bad habits that I carried into my adulthood were due to such an early introduction to a hyper-sensitive focus on weight.

I have not always been passionate about fitness. I liked sports, but I was never one of those people that were diligent about a routine of training. In college, I went to the fitness center as more of a social activity, than for a real workout. In my adult life, I played a few club sports, nothing intensive, and often started fitness routines, with the best intentions, but motivation and life often were quick to get in the way of keeping an on-going commitment. Prior to now, I had given weight loss the old college try through working out and proper dieting many times, but the most successful and most recent attempt was cut short after suffering another injury after losing about 50 lbs placing me back on the side lines. I had gotten into the practice of regular exercise, 3 times a week, and really watching my diet. Unfortunately, a lack of physical activity quickly led to a lackadaisical approach to diet as well. Before I knew it, I was 33 years old, walking around weighing more than I had in my ninth month of pregnancy with either of my daughters, suffering from high blood pressure, chronic sciatica and degenerative disc disease. Basically, I was 33 living in the body of someone 83.

Call me Elle

Call me Elle

I made the conscious decision that the life I was leading was not normal and definitely was not a lifestyle I wanted my girls to think was “normal”. After discussing with my doctor the many options I had to accomplish the goals I had set for myself. I began doing some research thanks to some help from a friend on options of bariatric treatments. I know it seems weird, but unlike most people, when I had been able to maintain a regular workout regimen, LIKED working out. I liked sweating, I liked the burn of the next morning, however the body I was living with didn’t allow me to even start on the path I needed to get there. Based on my doctor’s recommendations and my research, I decided that for me, gastric bypass surgery might just be the tool I needed to start on the path to a healthy me. I struggled with the decision, for a number of reasons. There was the stigma of the outsiders that say, “Oh so-and-so had weight loss surgery,” thinking I did it “the easy way”. There were also, my own mental demons that were telling me that this was a cop out. After continuing with my research, however I realized, gastric bypass surgery was by no means “the easy way out”. If nothing choosing this option would likely be harder. Once surgery is done, it’s done, there’s no turning back. If you fail, you can’t get a do-over. Two, the gastric bypass is not a guarantee to losing weight. Sure, many people lose weight initially, but if you don’t follow a proper diet and fitness routine, there are many people who have seen little to no change. I set one goal for myself and that was to never again look like my before picture, creating the ability for me to be more healthy and active than I had ever been in my adult life. That’s where my journey started again a year and a half ago.

I am healthier than I have ever been in my adult life, a byproduct of that is that I am also smaller than I have ever been in my adult life. I can be active with my kids and encourage them to do things they might not have done without that little push. My youngest daughter loves going to bootcamps with me on Saturday mornings. Working out is now my stress reliever, instead of something I have to force feed into my daily routine. It’s my happy place, admittedly when I don’t get it, I am not the best of company.

Knowing where I came from, knowing how my body felt when I was at my worst, knowing that I have two daughters watching me as an example drives me on a daily basis. Additionally, my rebellious hard-headed nature, wanting to prove people wrong. So many times you see people who have had weight loss surgery, who have gone backwards, regained weight, or just were complacent with losing weight not taking advantage of this new found health and option of an active life that they have been given. I don’t want that to be me, I didn’t come this far to turn back now. Additionally, many of my successes in this journey, I keep getting people who tell me that my story has inspired them. I find that funny, considering my one real goal initially was just make sure I was still around at 45, but if my journey helps even one person, then all the better.

My friends and family have been an awesome support system, from my decision to make an actual lifestyle change to my ongoing hurdles and accomplishments. They have been some of my biggest cheerleaders and have continually made references to my determination causing them to now want to push to achieve specific goals. The hardest obstacle for me has been myself. I am slowly learning to get over these hurdles, but I can be very good at talking myself out of doing things. I can be very quick to convince myself of “I can’t…” mainly out of a fear of failing. After getting past, I can’t lose 100+ pounds, I can’t run, I can’t keep up with a regular fitness plan…I am slowly learning that there has yet to be an instance where I truly can’t (do something) if I set my mind to it. Make a realistic plan and stick to it.

 Celebrating my triumphs:

* Weight loss of 105 lbs to date

* Loss of 46 inches to date

* Completed my first 5k mud run

For the first time in over 13 years I am no longer obese or even morbidly obese according to that evil BMI calculator. I am officially only overweight and I will take that! 

Typically, I workout in some shape or fashion 4-5 days a week, if not more. At least 3 days a week, I am at the gym typically doing a combination of 30-50 mins of cardio (depending on my mom taxi schedule), typically using the elliptical and/or steep inclined treadmill, and alternating weight and resistance training. In addition, usually 1-2 nights a week, I use the Nike+ Training program for Xbox360 Kinect to help with toning and strength. Every Saturday morning I attend a kick butt boot camp with a local company, Solful Fitness, to get a full body workout and start my weekend right. I have learned in my journey, I can get bored easy. In an effort to never get bored with my workout, I have to change up what I do. During the summer, I like to run, it’s a stress reliever. Admittedly, you will not catch me running on a treadmill, I have a fear of ending up on YouTube bouncing off of it. I also enjoy taking classes like Zumba and Cardio Funk.

I don’t take many supplements, however due to having gastric bypass, I do have some supplements I have to take to ensure I am getting the proper balance in my diet. I typically take supplements of B12, iron, vitamin D and calcium. I am also a fan of adding unflavored whey protein isolate to my yogurt, eggs, shakes, to make sure that I am getting my full allowance of protein in a day if I know my actual food intake lacks that. Typically I stick to a meal plan of under 1200 calories per day, obviously that adjusts some days depending on my work out. I use MyFitnessPal.com pretty religiously, to track my diet and activity. It helps me a lot with keeping track of determining where and how I need to supplement my diet based on the food I am eating. Early on after my surgery, the site was good for helping me to make sure I was actually eating enough, which was a struggle I was unfamiliar with.

LaShonda - My first 5K Mud Run

LaShonda – My first 5K Mud Run

 Future Goals:

* My next goal is to complete a 10k followed by working myself up to a half marathon, I am thinking in order to this, the next fear I need to stop saying “I can’t…” to will be running on the treadmill, since living in Wisconsin is not conducive to running outside 12 mos a year.

* I am really working on toning, so I know I still have some inches to take off, but I am a lot less focused on losing pounds, I think they will continue to happen by virtue of the work I am doing, but I am really trying to work on sculpting this new body of mine.

Some Inspiration to Consider:

There’s a quote from a movie, “The Bell Jar”, that’s made by the lead character Esther at the very end, that I recall hearing almost 2 years ago, as I began to embark on this whole crazy roller coaster of a journey. The quote says:

“If I am to be the hero, than I cannot fly from darkness”

To me that line has come to mean a lot of things, however the one theme that I really gathered from this quote was, as we set goals for ourselves we are going to face a lot of tough times or darkness. The road to any goal we set is never easy, but it is how we face that darkness that allows us to truly come out better on the other side of it. This quote came to mean so much to me as I have gone through this journey that it is now literally etched on my body as a tattoo (number eight of nine).

On this journey, I have had so many people tell me that my transformation has been inspirational for them. I am grateful for that, but it is honestly a little funny to me, because I did what I saw I had to do to ensure that I could appreciate a healthy life with my family. If my drive to live a healthy, happy life has in some way effected someone else, all the better.  I would like people to realize that everyone’s journey is different, there is no easy way or quick fix that can solve years of mistreating our bodies. I chose gastric bypass as a way to get myself on the path to leading a healthy life, this is not the right path for everyone. If people do choose this path, research is key and knowing that this may be as far from an “easy fix” as someone can get will be important. Whatever you do, do you! You have to realize that this is a lifestyle change, that it’s a commitment for life, not just until you can fit into that next cute swimsuit or little black dress.

Elle

LaShonda Hill aka Elle

Remember it’s one day at a time, one check mark at a time. We all like to view ourselves as a home remodeling project with a to-do list from here to Kingdom Come. I always say, you can’t check off everything on the list at the same time. Take each item on your list and truly check it off, doing your best and then move onto the next thing. Doing any one thing half way could mess up the whole project and could have you back at square one again sooner than you know.

 twitter.com/ellerazberry  facebook.com/ElleRazberry phattofabulous.wordpress.com

Attract Positive Energy and Dispel Negative Energy

398284-meditation

Every moment you have a choice – to be at peace or to be in resistance. When you are at peace you attract positive energy and when you resist you create negative vibes that reflect back on your being. It’s a simple choice and yet most people unconsciously choose to live in negativity.

It’s not your boss, colleagues, parents, ex or the traffic, but your own perception that creates stress and negative energy. Circumstances are neutral. You will generate positive vibes when your inner state is one of alignment and congruence, instead of being resistive.

Here are a few tips to attract positive energy by staying in touch with your inner peace and stillness.

Start Your Day With Meditation

Any form of meditation is helpful but it’s best to keep it simple. Just practice the meditation of becoming aware of your presence. You don’t have to sit in any strident posture, just relax and feel your consciousness or presence in the midst of the thoughts and emotions. This is a very powerful practice that creates a positive vibe throughout the body.

Treat Everyone the Way You Want to be Treated

A day is easily ruined when you start holding resentment against someone. Know that everything is oneness and though we appear as different forms, everything is the manifestation of the one true essence. When you see others as yourself you will not harbor negative feelings and in turn your attitude will attract positive energy from the people around you.

Let Go of Your Need to Control

Life is a flux and its nature is change. The more you resist the more you will suffer. Whenever you try to control a life situation, you will feel stressed out and this will generate a lot of negative energy. Just imagine life to be a raging river, does it serve any purpose to struggle? Wouldn’t it be much more relaxing and peaceful if you just let go and allow yourself to float with the flow? People who stay surrendered and relaxed generate a lot of positive energy and attract the grace of life.

See the Positive in Every Situation

Know that good and bad are just perceptions created in the conditioned mind. In reality every life situation is pure grace and is the manifestation of the one truth – call it god or spirit or energy. When you see every situation with this innocence, it will reveal its grace to you.

Visualize a Peaceful Life

Your mind might be addicted to negative thinking, most minds are. You will have to consciously break out of this addiction if you want to attract positive energy within you. Stay conscious and see your mind churning out fearful images. Stop thinking these thoughts and focus your attention on visualizing a peaceful flow of life. You will be amazed at the positive vibes you feel in your body.

Stop Worrying About the Future

Worry has not served any purpose to this date for anyone. Whatever has to happen will happen, there is nothing you will achieve by worrying about it. In fact what you worry about will not even happen most of the times. So why waste energy dwelling on worries? You are unconsciously creating a lot of negative energy inside you which is harmful to your whole being. Just plan practically and leave the rest to life.

Drop the Resentment Within

The past is past, it has no reality than as a memory trace. Can you live in such simplicity? After all if you don’t continuously think up a bad memory you will not feel any resentment within. So just learn to forgive and move on. There is a lot positive energy in the simple act of forgiveness.

Stay as the Presence Instead of the Ego

While interacting with people try to stay as the conscious presence instead of dwelling in your mind. Be the unconditioned presence, allowing people to talk or interact with you without taking offense or protecting opinions. People will get attracted to your calm nature as it radiates a lot of positive energy.

Look at the Nature

If you want to attract positive energy just look at nature for a while. A tree or a flower, it just rests in stillness and moves with the wind. There is a peace that radiates from their being. This peace will ignite your own inner true nature of stillness.

Feel the Spaciousness in Your Body

Just close your eyes and try to feel your body from within. You will be surprised at the spaciousness of your body. It feels like a lot of empty space with a few sensations here and there. This inner body realization will free up any stored negative energy. After a few moments of inner body realization you will feel light and at ease.

These are some simple techniques to attract positive energy into your being. Remember that staying conscious and dwelling in presence is your true nature, and it’s always peaceful and radiant of positive energy.

Happy New Year from your friends at Socially Fit.

http://www.outofstress.com

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Todd surrounded by his son’s Ben, Luke and Max

Me, today …

I’m on a path that I’m sure is directing me to where I was intended to go with my life. I couldn’t always say that, but I know it’s true today. While I’m not sure where this wonderful journey leads, I trust that all will be well when I reach my final destination.

I consider myself to be a kind, caring and compassionate individual. However, I also am most definitely aware that I’m not perfect—not at all. I’m aware of my weaknesses and my many imperfections. This clarity reminds me to work each day to be better, to be stronger and to strive for progress as a human being. No, I will never be perfect, but I can do my best to do good, be good, and to ask for forgiveness when I fall short.

My interests today include health and fitness, my spirituality, and my family and friends. I enjoy working in my profession of marketing communications/public relations. However, my Big Three are taking care of my body, my soul, and my loves (family and friends). The bliss I feel every day comes from the Big Three.

I’m married and have three children. My sons are ages 16, 13 and 3. That’s quite a gap from the oldest to the youngest, but their varied ages add so much interest and excitement to my everyday life. The boys have always helped me to keep things in perspective and to never lose sight of love. As insane as my life has been at times, those three kids have helped to keep me sane in ways they could never understand. They have given me purpose and value. They are Love. And, Love is my God.

In my role at work I have the privilege of meeting and learning from many who help others. I also get to meet quite a few of the vulnerable people my company serves, and those encounters also help me realize that I’m right where I’m supposed to be with regard to my profession. I’m able to share my purpose and value, and that is hopefully leading to an improved quality of life for those I touch.

Childhood …

Discussing my childhood has never been easy. In fact, it was so hard at times that I ran from the subject. I ran and then even hid in places I should have never visited. I will explain more about that later.

I grew up with three brothers, my mother, and an alcoholic and very mean stepfather. One of my first recollections of childhood is fear. I was fearful from the start. I feared my stepfather and his mental and physical abuse. I feared for my well-being and safety. I was keenly aware of and fearful of the fact that I had a father who showed no love to me.

I’ve learned much about love, and everything I read points to the importance of love in a child’s life. My mother loved me, showed it, and still demonstrates that. But, my stepfather’s spite impacted me in devastating ways, both as a child and as I grew into an adult. I had no confidence, no self-esteem, and felt no sense of security because of him. I carried that with me for a long time. I ran from it as a kid, and as an adult I hid from it–behind many bottles of booze. Again, I’ll explain more about that in just a bit.

I did play sports as a child and excelled in baseball. I loved the game, and when I was on the field I felt happiness. I was away from life’s worries. I could be me, a kid. Those worry-free “me” times were rare, so I cherished baseball and the escape it provided. I was small in stature, but I knew how to play the game, I used my strengths and I did well.

Growing up …

As I grew into my teens and toward high school, our family basically fell apart. My mother divorced my stepfather, but the damage had been done. I stopped playing sports. In fact, I stopped going to high school. I quit. I dropped out of the life I had been living, and entered into a new one. It was the start of my run away. It was the beginning of me hiding.

I worked for two years after that. Those were two pretty uneventful years. As I turned 18, I recognized my mistake and returned to high school for my senior year. I then went on to college, where I graduated in four years with a bachelor of science degree in communications. Much later in life (May 2012), I earned a master’s degree in marketing communication. I had come full circle—a high school dropout turned master’s degree recipient.

It was in college that I began to lift weights and place an emphasis on working out. I noticed quickly that my muscles grew, and my self esteem grew. I worked out all four years of college and continued to do so after. I didn’t place much emphasis on cardio, but after gaining 35 pounds during my college years I realized that simply lifting weights wasn’t going to cut it for me. So, I began running.

As an adult …

Through all the years and with marriage, jobs, children, etc., I continued to work out and run. It indeed made me feel great, but something was still obviously missing. I thought a lot about my past, and I continued to run from it. I often told myself, “You’re fine, look at all you’ve accomplished.” But, I wasn’t fine. I had always drank alcohol, and it slowly evolved into a daily habit. Obviously, it was a very poor daily habit that had serious health consequences, both mentally and physically.

This is where the cat gets out of the bag. I’ve never gone fully public with my alcoholism, and it touches me at the core of my being to do so here. Several friends (and all of my family) are aware of my situation. I’ve always been hesitant to tell this part of my story because of the stigma associated with alcoholism.

People typically don’t understand it, and I don’t expect them to. But, I also don’t want that lack of understanding to turn into negative assumptions. Sure, life sucked during the last couple of years of my drinking because I was so addicted. And the early recovery was harder on me than anything I’ve ever experienced. But, that desperate drinking and subsequent painful recovery experience helped me realize who I really am. You don’t need to understand my alcoholism, but understand that while it crushed me initially, it was a foundation for growth. And I have grown so much.

As I said earlier, I know I’m on a path intended to help me get where I’m supposed to. If I didn’t have difficulties as a child, and if I didn’t suffer through alcoholism, and if I didn’t go through the often painful recovery, I wouldn’t have the peace I have today. It was intended to be this way to help me grow to be me, so I can help lift others.

Life really is so good …

I haven’t had a drink for just over five years, with my sobriety date being October 8, 2007. As I told you, I suffered mightily for about a year after that day. I had also suffered leading up to my breaking point. I lost my soul. But the suffering taught me to let go, to trust something bigger than all of us, to trust others who were willing to help me, and to believe that all will be well.

During my recovery I had a lot of time to consider my past, all the way back to my youth, and I came to grips with it. I accepted it. I learned from it. And finally I grew from it! After all those years I stopped running. I never want to feel that pain again, but I am grateful for it because it was my pathway to peace. No substance could ever make me feel the peace I have today.

Since I stopped drinking I’ve also placed an even greater emphasis on health and fitness. Wow, the bliss I feel after stirring up the naturally produced endorphins the body is willing to produce for anyone willing to sweat!

Physically fit …

I currently work out six or seven days each week. During the week I wake up by 5 a.m. to get my fitness fix. I’ll work two muscle groups one day, two the next day, and one more on the third day. I’ll repeat that routine the next three days, and mostly stick to cardio on the seventh day.

My cardio, in the winter, comprises a 20 to 30 minute walk uphill on the treadmill after my lift. In the summer, I head outside to run after my lift. I’ll run 10 minutes, then sprint my favorite hill five times, and run home 10 minutes. I also mix in a lot of core work (dips, planks, ab wheel/rolls, etc.). I know I need increased flexibility, so my goal is to continue to work toward perhaps a modified Yoga routine.

My diet isn’t as strict as it could be. But, about two years ago I was turned on to the benefits of a protein-filled lean muscle diet. Upon waking I drink a whey protein shake and eat a banana. A couple hours later I’ll eat breakfast, which can comprise plain Greek yogurt, a cheese stick, almonds, oatmeal or egg whites, wheat toast or wheat crackers. Lunch is light, with the same types of food. I’ll snack throughout the afternoon on nuts, almonds mostly. Dinner is typically not the friendliest of my meals, but I do have a family and it’s difficult to try to convince them (especially the kids) that we should eat lean turkey, avocado, and Greek yogurt every day. So, I’m more flexible with that meal, but I always include a whey powder protein shake afterward.

I’ll eat a snack right about 7 or 8 p.m., trying my best to stick to a pear and some almonds. Before bed I’ll drink a whey protein shake and eat a scoop of almond or peanut butter. I take no supplements other than whey protein powder shakes, of which I’ll drink about three per day.

Accomplishments, and what drives me …

My greatest accomplishment in life is my responsibility to my children. I will never let them down. I know all too well how that feels. No child should suffer like that. Another accomplishment is the battle with alcoholism. I struggled so much mentally and physically for almost a year once I stopped. I’ll never forget that pain because it keeps me motivated and inspired to live a life that gives me natural highs. A life full of fitness and love, both which produce an endorphin no beer company could produce in a bottle.

The battles I fight today are personal. It’s Me versus Me. Be humble. Help others. Be grateful in all circumstances. Be fit. Be happy. What drives me toward these things daily are the feelings and endorphins and the high I get afterward. My body and brain benefit from fitness. My soul and spirit benefit from giving and sharing love. I give what I seek. I also write about it all, and that helps my spirit, as well. My blog site is listed below. Wow, I love the writer’s high I get from that blog. Sharing and hopefully helping.

These things fill my voids that are instinctive or otherwise. I want to be the best I can be for me AND for you. I want to inspire. I want others to know they can overcome. I want others to know that if they have no one else to count on, they can count on me. I will be that person. I care. I understand. I support.

We all have our own problems, and some of them even reach demon status. If you lack motivation, or if you hurt, or if you have doubts, or if you think you can’t overcome life’s problems and demons, think about what I just said about pain and a pathway to peace.

You want encouragement? Contact me. I’ll call you. I’ll Email you. You will hear it in my voice. You will feel it in my passion. I want you to have what I have. Because I know how good it is. It can save you the way it saves me. It’s physical. It’s spiritual. It’s Love. And it all starts down in the soul. Join me there. Peacelove!

Twitter: @ToddPMc

Blog: toddpmccollough.blogspot.com/

How To Get the Most Out Of Your Cardio Training

high-intensity-interval-training

The importance of cardiovascular exercise is undisputed and the benefits that are associated with regular cardiovascular exercise are well documented BUT do you know how much cardiovascular exercise to do, how intense your cardiovascular exercise should be and what it should feel like?

Quite often we are told by fitness professionals that we need to do between 10 and 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week in order to see adaptations from the training. As true as this is, if you do not have the proper intensities, your adaptations will be limited!

What is Cardiovascular Exercise?

Cardiovascular exercise is activity that elevates your Heart Rate (HR) and keeps it elevated for a specific amount of time.

How do I measure my intensity?

The most accurate and one of the easiest methods to monitor your intensity when doing cardiovascular exercise is HR. HR is easily measured by most pieces of cardiovascular equipment by placing your hands on the designated handles however, this is not always easy to do nor is it recommended when you are running on a treadmill. Because of this it is my professional opinion that a HR monitor is the single best investment you can make on your body along side your footwear. A HR monitor will allow you to exercise and maintain an intensity throughout your cardiovascular and resistance training workout that will stimulate larger gains!

What intensity should I work at?

It would be easy for me to tell you that you need to run at a speed of 5.0mph and an incline of 1% for 35 minutes but that would not be appropriate for everyone. In order to assign intensities for people relative to their ability, we use percentages of maximal HR. Based on your ability you should be working at intensities from 40-100% of your age predicted maximal heart rate. The higher the intensity you are working at, the shorter the duration of the training session.

How do I know what intensity to start at?

Begin working at 40% of your age predicted maximal HR and try to complete up to 60 minutes of continuous cardiovascular exercise. If you are able to complete 60 minutes at 40% of your age predicted maximal HR then you can increase your intensity by 10% of your age predicted maximal HR.

How do I calculate my intensity?

In order to calculate the target heart rate range for your training all you need is a calculator and your age.

220 – your age = your age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR)

APMHR x the percentage you wish to work at = the Target Heart Rate for your training

For example, if you wanted to work at 50% of your APMHR and you are 50 years of age, your calculation would look like this.

220 – 50 = 170bpm

170bpm x .50 = 85bpm

Frequently Asked Questions

If I can train at a higher intensity, should I? YES!

If I want to lose non-lean mass, does it matter what intensity I train at? YES! The higher the intensity you can train at, the more calories you will burn!

I don’t need to lose weight, should I still do cardio? YES! The heart is a muscle that needs to be trained like the rest of the muscles in the body!

If I do cardio, will I lose muscle mass? NO! If you are conscious of your diet and the amount of protein you are consuming, your lean tissue will not be sacrificed by doing cardio.

Quick Cardio Tips

  • Stay tall with your chest up, shoulders back
  • Keep your core engaged
  • Focus on controlling your breathing
  • Do not lean on the machine when doing your cardio, use the machine for balance if/when needed

General Recommendations

  • EVERYONE should do cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 3 – 6 days a week. If you can do more, you should!
  • As you begin to improve, increase the intensity by 10% at a time
  • Do not neglect your heart; it is the single most important muscle in the body!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca

Follow me on twitter @nickjpetrella and @corefusion1

Check out our website http://www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion

Add me on facebook Nick Petrella and “like” our facebook page Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning

Beginners – Please Be Aware

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Photo used Under Create Commons License | Credit: lululemon athletica

Cardio workouts are great for your body. They help to boost your energy levels. They improve your cardiovascular health, and they help you to lose weight. However, beginners often make mistakes when they start exercising, and these mistakes can cause injuries. If you are just starting a workout routine, here is a look at common mistakes that beginners make and how to avoid them.

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is being overly ambitious when they start exercising. If you have been sitting on the couch for months, it is not time to jump up and run a half marathon. You will damage your body if you try that. For best results, beginners should ease themselves into a routine. They should start with a mild workout, and they should increase their efforts incrementally for the next few weeks.

A personal trainer can be a great resource when you first start working out. They can guide you toward the right workout for your abilities, and they can help you know when and how to increase that workout. Unfortunately, hiring a personal trainer can be cost prohibitive for some people. Luckily, most exercise equipment has built in workouts. Treadmills, for instance, have settings where you can design a workout, and you can make it increasingly more difficult every day. To find out more about exercise equipment that can act like a personal trainer, you may want to check out a website like proform.com – great treadmills at a great price.

Another mistake that beginners make is doing the same workout over and over. This allows your body to get into a rut, and it will actually make it harder to lose weight. For the best results, you need to confuse your body. You can do this by varying your workout regime. This will also help you to avoid injury. Ideally, you should rotate cardio workouts with strength training, and you should rotate the exercises that you do within each of those categories.

Another mistake that you should avoid is getting discouraged. It can be difficult to get into a healthy workout routine, and if you miss a few workouts at the beginning, you should not lose hope. You should simply keep trying, and if you keep in a consistent rhythm for a month or two, you will find that exercising becomes like second nature.

If you’re new to fitness you should always keep these points in mind to avoid any kind of setbacks. Though living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a fitness routine takes a lot of commitment, and effort, don’t get discouraged, the long-term health benefits are worth it.

Agnes Embile Jimenez