Posts Tagged ‘nutritional’

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…)

15 health benefits of eating apples

Many of us forget that sometimes, the simplest answers are the best. Better health could be as easy as reaching for the fruit bowl for some apples next time you need a snack.

apples1

What makes apples so great?

In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples—Red Delicious and Granny Smith—ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin—a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.

1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

2. Avoid Alzheimer’s

A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetyl choline and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

3. Protect against Parkinson’s

Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

4. Curb all sorts of cancers

Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

5. Decrease your risk of diabetes

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

6. Reduce cholesterol

The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

7. Get a healthier heart

An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

8. Prevent gallstones

Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

9. Beat diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

10. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

11. Avert hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

12. Control your weight

Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

13. Detoxify your liver

We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

14. Boost your immune system

Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

15. Prevent cataracts

Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

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http://www.besthealthmag.ca

 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

Watermelon – Fresh Fruit Popsicles

You can replace the watermelon puree with honeydew melon or cantaloupe puree. Use any fresh organic fruit you have on hand. We used contrasting colors because it makes the popsicle look delicious!  Don’t forget to use seedless watermelon.

3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine, diced small
handful fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Set out about 1 dozen popsicle molds (amount needed will vary depending on size of molds). Fill each one with the chopped fresh fruit. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each one. Place into your freezer and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, run the popsicle molds under warm water for a few seconds and then pull each one out and enjoy. Summer here we come!!

Your friends at Socially Fit

http://www.nourishingmeals.com

Ex-Wesson Star Stuns Doctors with Recovery

"The only person who can hold you back is yourself."

“The only person who can hold you back is yourself.”

That’s a quote that I repeat to myself everyday. My name is Drexel L. Hudgins and this is my story. I can only hope that it leaves you with a new outlook on life.

As a child I had the benefit of having both parents in the home along with two younger sisters. My parents always had me enrolled in one sport or another and it kept me out of trouble and off the streets. I liked football and baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed basketball. Whether it was playing with the neighborhood kids, the local 3 on 3 at the mall or being involved in a weekend tournament I lived basketball. As I got older and started to grow so did my skills on the court. I started playing in elementary and continued on through high school were I received a full ride scholarship to Colorado Northwestern Community College; it was a two year school in Rangley, Colorado. While attending CNCC I knew that I was going to better myself mentally and physically on the court.

A couple of months into my scholarship a classmate and I decided to go home for the weekend. The school is located in the mountains and it had snowed a couple of days prior to us leaving. As I was packing up my bag to go home, I decided to take my mountain bike so that I could do some riding over the weekend. We headed out mid morning and as we drove my bike kept tapping on the back window. Eventually my classmate asked if I would move my bike so that it would stop tapping on the glass. As I took off my seat belt and proceeded to climb into the back of his Ford Bronco we hit a patch of black ice. From that point on I don’t remember what happened. The report that my classmate gave to the authorities and my family stated that we rolled three times. The force of the blow propelled me out of the window and I was somehow tangled up in my bike.  I had broken the C5-C6 vertebrae in my neck which resulted in brain hemorrhage and and later pneumonia.

I was transported by “flight by life” to the nearest hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, and my chances of my survival was slim and none. It seemed like forever before I finally opened my eyes. I was heavily sedated. I was greeted by my family and girlfriend at the time. I was so heavily sedated I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t move anything but my eyes. Later on that day the doctors came in and explained what had happened. I was paralyzed from the neck down with a steel plate and screws  in my neck. On the positive side of things there was a good chance that I may get “some” sensation back since I was young, athletic and took care of my body. I was there from December 9 to December 23. I was then flown to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado. This Hospital is known as one of the best spinal cord and brain injury hospitals in the country!

Drexel 8

From day one at Craig Hospital I told myself that I wasn’t going to let this obstacle get in the way of me living my life no matter what the final outcome would be. I started physical and occupational therapy. I always pretended to be fine; like nothing bothered me; imagined I was the same person I was before. Although I fought hard everyday and gave it my all,  I still felt like less of a person. I started to think that all the effort was for nothing; that I would never walk again; I wanted to give up. One night however I had a dream so vivid and real that I was going to walk the next day during a pool therapy session; that I pleaded with therapist to let me give it a try and for the first time in two months I began to walk again. Everyone was amazed that I was up and walking so early considering the type of break I had in my neck.  From that point on there was no holding me back. I had overcome self-doubt and now believed that I could accomplish anything.

I then prepared to make the transition back home to face “my reality” for the first time since the accident. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I had gone from being a popular guy at school; known for my basketball skills; to the guy that was  in a car accident. I lost friends and my girlfriend at the time and for years afterward I battled personal demons telling me that I just wasn’t good enough. That I couldn’t be productive in society. I wasn’t attractive; nobody would ever like me for who I am. I thought myself a total failure. The only thing that helped me to relieve stress and take my mind off of things was my time at the gym. At first the gym was a scary place to be, but after a while the athlete in me came back. As I got older and started following the ways of the world I lost my passion for the gym. I would be consistent then stop and this routine went on for years. Until one day I looked at myself in the mirror and decided it was time for a change. The pity party was over and I really wanted a six-pack!  My journey on the path to being fit and healthy began. After a solid year of training at the gym I could see some serious results and I was getting stronger every day. One day I was approached by a fellow gym rat about competing in a bodybuilding competition. I never gave it much thought until I actually did my own research and went to my first show. I thought “hey I can do this; plus I could be the first disabled men’s physique champion!”  So I began researching and asking around and getting advice about what I need to do in order to participate in this sport. I soaked up everyone’s advice like a sponge and decided that it was what I wanted in life. To make a difference not only in my own personal life by competing in my first Colorado NPC Men’s Physique Bodybuilder Show but to show others to never give up on life.

The sky is not the limit... I am.

The sky is not the limit… I am.

I can honestly say that this sport has changed my life and opened doors for me in such a positive direction I couldn’t have been more blessed. Currently part of team Ultimate Transformation, they’ve given me hope and opened my eyes to the bigger picture of how I can affect people’s lives. Show people never give up on your dreams and that with hard work and dedication you can do anything, no matter what your physical ability is. It’s not what your body can do; it’s what your heart says you can do.

Talk to God or whoever you believe in and ask for peace and understanding and you’ll be surprised at the doors that will open for you. The only person who can and will hold you back is yourself.

 

Contact info Twitter: @drexelhudgins53  Facebook: Drexel L. Hudgins  Email: drexelhudgins@yahoo.com

 

5 Common Reasons why you might not be Gaining at the Rate You Want To

struggling with fitness gain

1. What is Your Routine?

Although having a routine is an extremely important ingredient to achieving a goal, a routine can also be one of your biggest enemies. A general rule of thumb is to adjust your training every 4-6 weeks in order to avoid a plateau. This general rule of thumb is also one of the most misunderstood training principles. Try to keep the same routine (exercises, exercise order, sets, repetitions, rest periods) for approximately 4-6 weeks at a time. Adjusting your training following this phase could be as simple as adding in supersets or compound sets, changing the repetition ranges and/or the tempos of the working and relaxation phases of the lift. There are many variables that you can change to alter your workout enough to keep your body guessing and stimulate new adaptations. Here is the best example I can think of to help you understand how your body responds to exercise. Think about a child learning to walk. The child takes a step and falls to his knees, realizing that he fell forward, the child stands up, tries to take another step but falls on his bum. Now realizing he has fallen back, the child stands up, takes a step and stumbles to the left, only to fall on his bum again. The child then stands up, stumbles to the right, catches himself and then takes another step forward. What the child did through this process was learn from his mistakes! Your body does the same thing. As you exercise, your body is being broken down and forced to rebuild. If you continuously challenge the body with the same workouts, it will learn how to avoid breaking down and will not be forced to rebuild, hence why you hit a plateau. Changing your routine every 4-6 weeks can prevent this!

2. Are You Training for a Goal?

Probably one of the biggest mistakes that is made in training is that people do not train for a goal. Typically when we teach ourselves how to exercise we learn from those around us who “look” like they know what they are doing. What I encourage you to remember; what works for someone else will likely not work for you. You are very unique and different than almost every human being in this world. Do not fall into the trap of following a workout you see in a magazine or online. Yes, that workout might provide you what you need to make some gains, BUT you will be limited because a generic workout is not designed for your unique needs. In this case, you have two options, 1) seek the help of a professional or 2) educate yourself and learn about exercise prescription. Do not follow 90% of the gym population and let the weight determine how many repetitions and sets you do. Your training goal should determine the weight you lift. That is one piece of advice that is consistent for everyone!

3. How do you layout your week and your workout?

Most people (including me some weeks) take part in international chest day, which occurs on Monday of every week. Do not follow the same routine as everyone else. Design your weeks to train the largest muscle groups earlier in the week (Legs and Back) and then as the week goes on work towards the smaller muscle groups (Chest, Shoulders, Arms). Your workouts should be designed in the same fashion. Perform your most difficult lifts (Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, Bent Over Rows, Pull-Ups, Overhead Presses, Bench Presses) earlier in your workouts and then the less complex movements (Leg Curls/Extensions, Chest Flys, Lateral and Front Shoulder Raises, Biceps Curls, Triceps Extensions) later in the workouts. This will allow you to focus on having more energy for your larger muscle groups and better technique while performing your more difficult movements at the start of the week and the beginning of the workout. You do not have to train one muscle group a day, be creative! You can group muscle areas together on one day or have full body days. In my experience I always like to start the week with Chest and Back, followed by Legs and Shoulders and then Core and Arms and then I cycle through this again in a 7-day period. Keep in mind that this is a very advanced week for an advanced lifter but it allows them to meet the guidelines for an advanced program. They are able to hit each muscle area 2-3 times in a 7-day cycle, it allows them 48-72 hours of rest before the same muscle group is exercised again and it allows for one rest day in the 7-day cycle. Again, I cannot stress enough that everyone is unique. Principles of training need to be adapted for every unique individual!

4. Are you performing the Exercises with Proper Technique?

One of my biggest pet peeves in any fitness facility is seeing people exercising just because they know it is the healthy thing to do. Not performing exercise with proper technique can be equally as dangerous in some cases as not exercising at all! You need to become a student of exercise, as there is a proper technique to all exercises. Some general reminders when performing all exercises are, 1) Keep the core tight. Pull your belly button in towards your spine. 2) Keep your chest up and make sure your shoulders are pulled down and back (emphasizing proper posture). 3) Work through a full range of motion and control the weight. You control the resistance; do not let the resistance control you. 4) Always try to avoid exercising with a flexed spine. Performing exercise with a flexed spine can be dangerous. 5) Breathe. Exhale on the working phase of the exercise and inhale on the relaxation phase. Lastly, ALWAYS remember that what you do to one side of your body, you must do to the other side of your body. Just because you cannot see your back, does not mean it should not be trained. Train all muscles of the body, not just the ones you see in the mirror. In fact, with the back muscles being some of the largest in the body, I recommend spending more time training your back muscles than most other muscles because they require a larger stimulus to grow and adapt.

5. Did you Consider All of The Dimensions of Fitness

Lastly, but not least, there are multiple dimensions of fitness. Resistance training is only one of them. The dimensions of fitness are strength, speed, agility, endurance and flexibility. Many people tend to ignore the heart and only spend time moving resistance however the heart is more important than the rest of the body because it is the main muscle that will feed the rest of your muscles. If your heart is not strong enough, the rest of your body will suffer. The other most underappreciated dimension of fitness is flexibility. Poor flexibility could be the reason you suffer from low back pain, headaches, sore neck and shoulders, sore knees or even sore feet. All of these things are directly related to your flexibility. Three days of your week should be spent working on your flexibility as it has a large impact on your quality of life. But remember; never stretch a cold muscle, as a cold muscle is susceptible to injury. Always warm-up and work through a comfortable range of motion. Yoga is an excellent method of improving your flexibility. If you are stretching on your own, to increase the length of a muscle, you generally need to hold a stretch for 30 seconds.

I know there is a lot to remember and a lot to learn. When I started out in health and fitness I felt the same way. Take things in stride. Do not look for overnight quick fixes. Make the commitment to a lifelong lifestyle change and you will not be disappointed. And lastly, never hesitate to ask questions. There are people like myself who have dedicated their life to helping others so please ask questions.

Add me to Facebook – Nick Petrella
Follow me on Twitter @nickjpetrella or @corefusion1
Email me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca
Subscribe to my Youtube Channel at Core Fusion
Check out my website at http://www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion.

I am here to help and I love meeting new people.

Remember – “If you do not make time for exercise now, be prepared to make time for illness later” ~ Jim Rohn

Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose.

Juan Carlos Flores – Fitness has not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose.

Who I am today

I have as of last week completed a two-year Health, Wellness and Fitness program at Mohawk College and I anticipate graduating in June with honors. My current interests consist of running and weightlifting, I have re-kindled my love for soccer and I continue to play regularly. My goals include taking up MMA as a hobby, and to eventually participate in a marathon.

I am currently employed as a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning. My job as a Conditioning Coach is to assess my clients on an individual basis and then create and implement a periodized program according to their unique needs. Baselines are established in order to systematically monitor progress. As I mentioned earlier my availability has recently opened up, I am currently accepting new clients, teams and groups to train.

My Childhood and Sport

I grew up in Hamilton Ontario; I was quite active as a child always running around participating in whatever sport or activity I could. I remember taking swimming and diving lessons as a young child and I was actually a pretty good swimmer until one day while vacationing in Mexico I got caught in an undertow. That was it, I was scared of the water for a time and to be quite honest with you, I still don’t enjoy swimming as much as I did back then.

My parents didn’t really have the money growing up to enroll me in other sports but I played just about every sport in which my elementary school had a team. In high school I tried out for Jr. football and made the team but never actually played. The following year I decided to stick to soccer as I enjoyed it much more than football. I was not great, but good enough that I got to play. That year a wrestling team was introduced and thought, why not? To my surprise, I was a pretty good wrestler and won gold in just about every tournament I participated in. I remember winning City Championships and then placing second in the Golden Horseshoe Area Conference (GHAC). That was the end of sport for a very long time in my life.

A New Beginning

I cannot truthfully say I have always been passionate about fitness or active living. There was a dark time in my life in my early twenty’s where all I did was work and come home. I was the epitome of a sedentary individual, I did nothing but relax and enjoy “Good” food. I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape and people that I hadn’t seen for sometime would say to me “you look healthy” but they would stutter in the process. That was their way of saying you got fat in a polite manner. I stand 5’5, and at my worst I was approximately 190 pounds, I was borderline obese. I knew I had to change and that was the point that made me reconsider what I was doing and slowly I managed to change my life around. I became more active, and at times I was hitting the gym twice a day. I was addicted to the new me!

Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose. I like to believe it starts with our desire to look better, but fitness has contributed to so much more for me. In July of 2011 I found myself unemployed with no job in sight. I had received a nice severance pay and was uncertain of what to do with my life. I flirted with the idea of returning to school and I researched various courses of which I was interested in. I was accepted to a few programs but something inside me pushed me toward health and wellness. I accepted and started in September of that year, the last two years of my life have been nothing shy of extraordinary.

No End in Sight

I am by no means a big guy but I know that I have made strides in my physique and I have never felt better. I am stronger today then I was in previous years. I can run faster and greater distances than I could ever imagine. There is, and always will be room for improvement but I am by no means in any rush to get to the finish line, I believe this to be a life long process. What I do know for sure is that as I age, I will continue to be the very best that I can be.

In terms of mental and spiritual awareness, I have grown exponentially. Now more than ever I understand and value the importance of mental and spiritual wellness and it’s effect on health and longevity. I have come to realize that your mental state makes up a great part of everything you do because there will always be struggles. I have seen my fair share of setbacks, but those that know me well will tell you that I always have a big smile on my face. I believe that if you maintain a positive attitude and carry a positive outlook, the world is a better place. I realize it is not a perfect world, but the truth is that the power to make it better starts with you, and that is exactly how you need to approach everyday.

I strongly believe that I do what I do because I am never truly satisfied with where I am. I am happy with what I have accomplished and where it has taken me, however I will always strive to be better. It is my opinion that if we become satisfied with where we are, something inside of us has already died. I want to live the rest of my life knowing I couldn’t have done any better, the only thing that drives me, is me.

My Strength

I have been blessed with a really amazing family and must admit that I would not be in the position that I am now without them. I grew up with my aunt, uncle, grandfather and sister. To me they are the fantastic four, they have never lost faith in my abilities, even when I was uncertain of myself. I am eternally grateful to them because they seen in me what I have become, long before I could even fathom it. I couldn’t have done it without them, and I love them to pieces.

My professors at Mohawk College have done a tremendous job of mentoring and molding me into the professional I aspire to be. As a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people who have guided me throughout my tenure as a student and coach. Thank you Nick, Chantal, Mark, Kim, Chris, Danielle, Sarah and Bryan.

I have been privileged enough since the summer of 2012 to be writing for Lifestyle & Strength. Matt is the website administrator and has been very supportive of me since I met him last year. I believe he has definitely influenced my growth as person. Furthermore he has fortified my passion for fitness and helped me find a way to reach people through his website, thank you Matt.

Do I Take The Red or Blue Pill?

I think when I first started on my journey the lack of knowledge and overwhelming misinformation was confusing and frustrating. I have to say this was the hardest thing for me to overcome. Everyone is an expert but no one has a solution. My solution – you have to find what works for you and become your own expert. It is trial and error and you must fall flat on your face before you find it.

Past Accomplishments

When it comes to fitness I know that losing an excess of 30 pounds was a feeling of great relief and satisfaction. I can now run 10k in under 45 minutes, to me that was a tremendous accomplishment. In January I enrolled a few of my friends as well as myself in “My Hamilton Amazing Race”. We ended up placing first; it was an awesome experience I will not soon forget. My current workouts range from week to week. I write my own programs and I enjoy mixing things up, I have recently completed a power phase. The next phase I complete will be more of an endurance phase with high repetitions and low rest periods.

My Philosophies of Training

I am not a big believer in supplementation and therefore I do not consume them regularly. I have supplemented in the past but I don’t anymore, I am a believer in eating wholesome foods. My meal plan is currently under reconstruction as my routine has changed, and I am no longer in school. My philosophy however is still the same; eat when you’re hungry, just make sure it’s wholesome. What we eat directly affects how we function, so I eat as healthy as possible to ensure I am fueling effectively. That’s not to say I don’t have vices, but I know the difference between a lapse and a relapse and as such I enjoy those meals where I can let loose.

My current fitness goal is to increase my flexibility to improve my range of motion. I have incorporated some corrective exercises into my routines in an effort to improve posture and functionality. Stretching is another component that was non-existent for a time but now I practice with regularity. I have in the past few months started to do some power lifting and I am in the process of improving upon that as well.

Parting Words

There was a time when I lacked the motivation or desire to do anything for my health. I know that many people feel exactly how I did back then, some of which may be reading this right now. To them I say; we are all scared in the beginning, the unknown quickly becomes familiar and that which you thought you knew becomes a distant memory. So fight to become the person that you want to be, it will be a struggle but it may very well be the greatest investment of your life, live with no regrets.

You must learn to be resilient and thick skinned because you will experience the doubters and negativity that comes with progress and success. Focus your efforts solely on what you can control, and even then do not dwell on your tribulations. May your memory be short term but that you can remember how you started your journey. Everyday is a new day, a blank sheet for you to write your story; we all have 24 hours in a day, sleep when absolutely necessary but not on your dreams.

Every means of communication with regards to social media is a tool; use it to find like-minded people. Surround yourself with people that are better than you, be a sponge and show humility. I have devoted all my social media outlets as a means to network myself. I am always happy to help wherever possible, please feel free to follow, or add me; I will never shut you out.

I want to leave you with a quote which I believe absolutely defines me. At times I feel like I have lived two lives with everything that I’ve been through. Without further adieu … “A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else”

I want to leave you with a quote which I believe absolutely defines me. At times I feel like I have lived two lives with everything that I’ve been through. Without further adieu …
“A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else”
 
Contact Info:
Juan-Carlos-Flores@mohawkcollege.ca
Twitter @_flofitness or Carlos Flores Facebook Carlos Flores or floresc4@yahoo.ca
Body Mechanics writer at Lifestyle&Strength.com

Give change a chance, you might just like it.