Posts Tagged ‘female’

kristen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kristen McCarthy
twitter @thehulklady

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Christinia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe in yourself and great things will happen for you.

Love and blessings,

Christinia

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

Micelle

Hello, my name is Michelle and I am excited to share my fitness journey as so much has changed since sharing my first story with Socially Fit. I’m from the beautiful islands of Trinidad and Tobago found in the far south of the Caribbean. I began exercising at age 11 and never stopped unless told to do so. I was forced to stop working out in 2003 when I had a surgery. The other time was more recent, in 2013 after the birth of my miracle baby. Yes I said miracle baby since I was told that I was not capable of having children due to my diagnosis of endometriosis in 2003. I’m a figure athlete and have represented my country in various international body fitness competitions. My last competition being the Arnold Classic held in Ohio in 2013 where I placed 5th in my class.

During my pregnancy I was able to exercise with some modifications as I went through each trimester. However I had an emergency C-section which slowed my return to exercising post pregnancy. It was recommended that I should not to work out for the first 6 weeks post pregnancy and that was the crucial time when my weight should be reduced. Instead I have only lost a minimal amount of weight and after two months began a training regimen.

With the new addition to my family life, exercising has to be strategic. Timing is key. We purchased a treadmill for our home so I can get more structured cardio done when the baby is asleep. Weight training normally lasts between 30 to 40 minutes and is done prior to or after training clients as I am currently a freelance Personal Trainer in north Indianapolis area.

I have set both short term and long term goals and they motivate me to everyday to wake up and accomplish the objective set out for the day, week or month ahead. For example I set out to complete a 30 minute cardio session at least 3 days a week as well as 4 to 5 days of weight training to build muscle. My nutrition has also become even more crucial thus food prep every Sunday has become the norm to allow me to ensure the proper meals are consumed daily.

Some of my fitness goals include me being my original weight before I became pregnant on or before my birthday which is in July. I would also like to challenge myself by preparing to compete in October 2014 either representing my country Trinidad and Tobago or taking part in an NPC Show.

My hubby and parents have always been and still are the best support system ever. Hearing my mom say, “I’m eating better and exercising to be healthier” is support and a great motivational tool for me.

My favorite body part to work out is back.  I have always loved the quick response my back muscles adapt to my exercise routines over the years and this time is no different.

Always motivate yourself from within. Make mental notes and write down your goals. Mark Twain said it best, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started.” My last competition pic has been a continued motivational piece for me. I would love to earn my professional status one day. “One day at a time I am getting close to my goal” has been my mantra. It’s what I tell myself with each workout and each meal I consume each day.

Follow me on Twitter @triniintownmich
Blogspot M.O.R.E. Wellness by Michelle
Email michelle@fcindy.com
Or Facebook Michelle Blessed

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…)

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. 

 I’m living the GoodLife!

Aspire to be a better version of yourself always ~ Amanda Gray

Aspire to be a better version of yourself always ~ Amanda Gray

I’m currently a certified personal trainer and fitness manager at GoodLife Fitness!

I just recently made the transition into corporate and commercial training. When I began my journey as a manager I worked at Variety Village, a Charity and fitness community centre for all abilities. I had the opportunity to work with all kinds of great people looking to better their lives both physically and mentally through fitness and wellbeing. Fitness is my passion. I’m also currently hooked on Zumba and running. Outside of the fitness realm, I’m learning to speak Spanish.

I remember being 4 years old when my parents decided it was a good idea to enroll me in T-Ball for summer; needless to say I hated it! I told my mother I would never play again. 3 years later I thought I would give T-ball another chance. My older brother played baseball and hockey. I idolized him and figured I would follow in his footsteps.  So at age seven I began playing ice hockey and baseball. I ended up playing these two sports competitively. As I grew into my teenage years I began to focus mainly on fast pitch. I represented my city and province for many years. As an athlete it was easy to get into fitness to help me focus on being a better athlete and it helped me to perform at a high standard.

Even though I was an athlete, I was never a runner.

I played sports that didn’t require long distance running. Baseball and Hockey are both anaerobic dominant sports. As a child I was also asthmatic and over exerting my cardiovascular system was a not a good idea. I had to be careful. After I graduated from college, knowing I had grown out of my asthma, I decided I was going to challenge myself and take up running. My body always felt better when I was moving it. My college life, although an exciting time of parties and socializing, I had neglected my physicality and my body. So I began to run. Oh man, I was horrible. My stamina was pretty much non-existent. I started off with intervals of running and walking.  I wanted to give up but then I started seeing changes. I could run longer intervals. It was working. 3 years later I have completed my first half marathon! When I began running I never thought I would be able to complete a 5k let alone a half marathon. Aside from the obvious physical changes in my body, being active is an outlet for me. It’s the time in my life where I can just take a moment to really think things through clearly and fairly. We all have that self-doubt but fitness has allowed me to empower myself and be the best friend to myself that I can be. I keep my negative thinking limited, when I get into that negativity zone I remind myself how far I have come and how strong I really am.

My parents have been amazing source of inspiration and support. My mom recently had a rough time health wise and family wise. She lost her mother and went through a bout of depression, in addition to menopause. She let herself go and in the past 6 months decided it was time for change. She said that seeing me as a personal trainer and what I do to keep myself healthy inspired her to lose 64lbs in 6 months! She came to me for my knowledge and advice but she did all the work to get there and I am so proud! It’s nice to have a partner in fitness! We go to the gym and shop for organic food together!

Getting injured is part of being a competitive baseball player, yet you’re never really prepared when it happens. At 21 I tore my rotator cuff and labrum in my shoulder, throwing a ball from second to first base. My surgeon couldn’t understand how I could still throw a ball with all the scar tissue in my shoulder from years of overuse and not listening to my body. He suggested surgery but that was NOT an option for me. So I opted out and I began rehab instead. The rehabilitation was brutal, excruciating and exhausting but it was worth every sweat and tear. Over time I had strengthened my shoulder and got back into baseball with no shoulder pain, issues or surgery! It’s been about seven years since then but I’m still doing the things I love the most.

To date I have lost a total of 15 lbs on my 5’2 frame. Before I started running I was 132 lbs, I now weigh 117 lbs. My body fat percentage was 28%, it is now 19%! I feel great! I ran my first half marathon, without stopping to walk. I’m the happiest with myself I have ever been all my life. For me this was a huge accomplishment. Ever since I can remember I was always unhappy about something, somewhere on my body and I thought that I would never be good enough for me. That has all changed. I currently do interval cardio training 4 times a week and one endurance cardio training a week. I complete a resistance training program 4 times a week, including all muscle groups.  The supplements I take are CLA, Raspberry Ketone for fat burning, multi-vitamin, vitamin B12 sub-lingual, for a healthy body and Chromium Picolinate for blood sugar regulation as diabetes runs in my family. My brother was diagnosed Type 1 diabetic on his 28th birthday and my 28th birthday is just around the corner!

What a day of eating looks like for me:

Breakfast – One cup of wholy tea, one boiled egg and one piece of whole grain toast. One piece of fruit. I really enjoy watermelon and take advantage of it in the summer.

Lunch – Mixed greens salad. Tuna.

Dinner – Skinless boneless chicken, half a baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli and asparagus, one cup of wholy tea.

I drink lots of water daily. I also enjoy the odd cookie. I live life by the 80/20 rule. I’m currently on a 1200 cal/day diet. 80% of those calories are healthy whole foods. 20% of those calories are my treat. Right now I’m in my cutting phase. I’m looking to lose 5 lbs and 2% body fat. I am also training for a full marathon.

If you’re looking to start your own fitness journey start today- not tomorrow, or next Monday. TODAY. You are worth it, and why not feel good about yourself and comfortable in your own skin? Feeling good about yourself reflects in every aspect of your life. Fitness does so much more than just make you sweat. It gives you the strength and the confidence you need to be the best version of yourself.

I can be reached on twitter @GraytBody and by email graytbodyfitness@gmail.com

Size Healthy

Nataisha Ramirez - Size Healthy LLC

Nataisha Ramirez

“October 25, 2005 I made a decision to live a healthier life physically but I did not know that it would be a mental journey from the inside out.”

I traveled the world as a child because of my military father. I came into this world a “big girl” weighing 9lbs.at birth and I started to gain from there. It started slowly at first but it got out of hand as I got older. Weighing over 100lbs. in the 6th grade was a normal weight for me. I had the obesity gene from both sides of my family. My mother was a big girl at a young age however she lost her weight and my father’s side of the family also has a strong obesity gene.

Throughout high school I was still overweight, weighing 230lbs. for my 5’9 frame. I was an active teenager but it seemed like I just could not get the weight off. Did I suffer from a slow metabolism?  Perhaps. No one knows because back then parents didn’t take you to the Doctor for being overweight they just withheld food from you and placed you on a diet. Conversations and facts around obesity wasn’t high in the 80’s and 90’s either.

No one ever said anything about my weight. I was always told “you’re tall, you carry your weight well”. Carrying your weight well doesn’t help you get healthy; it keeps you stagnant because you think it’s okay to be that size. My weight got out of hand when I got married. I was borderline 300lbs. and when I became pregnant, it crept up to 330lbs. I lost the 30lbs. pregnancy weight dieting, but it quickly came back. I was trying “this and that” with little exercise involved. Another pregnancy came and once again I was up there and with this pregnancy I gained more because I was eating and not exercising or exercising very little. I don’t know how and when but I hit an all time high of 408lbs. and that’s when I said enough was enough. October 25, 2009 I had the gastric bypass surgery and it has been a journey!

No one told me being healthy was a mental process. They just said I had to lose it physically. Well do you know I couldn’t do it physically without thinking about it mentally? It took 7 years for me to lose half of my weight. Diet, pills and even surgeries are not the best remedies. None of them last without a committed lifestyle change. It took me 4 years to lose 120lbs, which still makes me overweight and borderline obese. I had to change my lifestyle and I am not on a diet. I exercise 6 days a week.  My routine is to give to God first thing in the morning with prayer and then I train my 5 am crew and myself and then I give to the world.

My exercise routine is split up with cardio and strength training but at this juncture in fitness I do more weight lifting and use cardio as my post workout.  My current fitness goal is to build up the muscle in my legs to match my iron diva arms.  I am currently using a Jim Stoppani workout training plan to reach my fitness goal. I have developed a pescatarian lifestyle and have been doing this for 3 years. I am not a junk food eater and have no desire to partake in those things. My go to food when I need something sweet is black bean brownies or a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.  I don’t believe in restricting my body from nutrients but I do believe in making alternative choices and eating in modification.

One day I had an epiphany that I wanted to help other women lose weight but from the inside out. I personally dealt with a lot of jealousy and insecurity; other women had bodies that looked better than mine. It caused me to have low self esteem; no confidence in myself and always thinking that I am not good enough to be who God says I am. If I was going through this then surely other women were too. I began to pursue and obtained my certifications as a personal trainer through the AFAA and started to help those struggling as I was; with weight-loss. 

As women we are all trying to fit into this one "society says" box, but truthfully God made us all different.

As women we are all trying to fit into this one “society says” box, but truthfully God made us all different.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13, 14 NIV)

So, if we are fearfully and wonderfully made why are we gauging our health by a number. Why not gauge it by how we think , how we look and how we feel? You can’t put a number on emotions. Heal-thy is healing of self not the scale, a number or what others say about you. The concept for Size Healthy was created from the thought that we are all a YOUnique Design. On Feb 4, 2012 I launched Size Healthy LLC as a faith based fitness business. I began working with women across the globe by motivating, encouraging and supporting them to attain their desires in weight-loss; giving them the support to become disciplined in their efforts and remain committed to their goals. Size Healthy improves your quality of life through education, physical fitness and building healthy habits. It’s a lifestyle change. We have a support group where we educate YOUnique women on the importance of dealing with the issues of the heart, eating healthy and exercising. We implemented walk to run clinics to help those that desire to run learn how to start. Boot camps are our signature class and we run that in 6 week increments 3 times a week. Individual personal training is provided to women who need that one on one assistance to reach their personal goals. We also provide workout classes at churches.

I speak at churches, empowerment retreats for women, motivate children to be active and encourage women of all ages to get healthy, stay fit and feel sexy. Your health matters and it’s your choice to do something about it.

On October 25, 2012 I reached my goal. I lost half of my weight! I went from 408lbs. to 200lbs. and the process has helped me to gain my confidence back. Gain my life back. It’s never too late to take your health back. If it doesn’t challenge you, it will not change you.

Take things one day at a time. Shift your focus from your weight to simply being healthy and you’ll win every time!  You can visit us at www.sizehealthylifestyle.com or on Facebook www.facebook.com/sizehealthylifestyle

 
Nataisha Ramirez
Founder Size Healthy LLC
YOUnique Design