Posts Tagged ‘running’

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Fitness isn’t about a crunch or a pushup. It’s about taking your power back!

The person that I am today would not recognize the person that I used to be if you placed him in a line up with 4 other “ME” look-a-likes.  That is an absolute blessing.  From what I can gather, there are more than a handful of people around my age that hit the proverbial mid-life crisis mode seemingly all at the same time. To say that I joined them in that journey would probably only be half the story.

My crisis was pretty much my entire adolescent life right into my 30’s.  Here is the funny thing about that.  Not many people would have noticed because I hid it really well until the split came between my wife and I.  I hit rock bottom with a thud.  I know many of the readers also hide their pain, anguish and disappoint. More on that later.  The man I am today loves the reflection that peers at him in the mirror every morning.  The man I am today welcomes the sunrise by opening my blinds the night before so it is one of the first magnificent things I see in the morning.  The man I am today cares about his health and his body but more importantly his mind and his emotions.  The recent changes I have made in my life has also brought on many new interests and hobbies.  I love photography, and carry my camera every where I go.  I’m still a huge sports fan and will probably still get neurotic around football season.  However there are so many wonderful things manifesting in my life right now from starting a new business in the next few months, mentoring others through the darkness of their lives (Me! A life coach, who would have thought), to taking my mother in and making my home her home.  The only thing that I feel is an obligation in my life now is to live it full of happiness, joy, health and unconditional love for any and everyone that crosses my path.  To find the BLISS in life and get swept away in it every opportunity that I have.

It was not always this way.  I have a pretty huge extended family.  I am also a product of a fractured home and re-mended family.  I was the baby of four brothers and one sister for a long time, then my little brother came along ten years later.  Too confusing to draw all the lines in. My parents divorced early in my life and then my father remarried a family friend and her family became our family as well.  Needless to say that relationship ended in a pretty nasty divorce that forced me and one of my siblings to go live at my Grandmothers in Miami until the dust settled over.  My wonderful grandmother on my mother’s side (Grandma Stella) was and is an angel or as near as a saint that I have ever seen walk the face of this earth.  But she was a saint with rules, a belt and a bible.  Lets just say as a kid I never listened to the first (rules) all the time and received the second (belt) and third (the bible) on a regular basis.  I grew up as an alter boy in the catholic church and I remember many times when the Priest would say those all too familiar words “Do this In Memory Of Me” then he’d wait for me to ring the bell and I would be over on the side with the other alter boys goofing around and not paying attention.  I would spend a good majority of my childhood grounded or in some type of trouble. Still are very pleasant memories. We were brought up on Soul Food.  Meat and potatoes, Ham hocks, Chit’lins, Collard Greens, Mac and Cheese, Corn Bread, Sweet Potato Pies.  Not exactly the cleanest way of eating but my Grandmother always made sure all of the kids (my cousins stayed over all the time) were in activities or forced to play outside until the street lights came on.  I started playing football then to stay out of trouble and didn’t stop until my senior year in high school.  We always had family cookouts and worrying about food, calories, processed verses unprocessed foods was never even heard of.  We ate hearty, played a lot and most of the kids never suffered childhood obesity in my family.  Then again, video games were just making their way into mainstream America and didn’t have its hooks into us yet! Those were the good times.  It got inevitably darker after that.

I later chose to live with my mother and the Judge would not split me and my older brother up so he had to go live with my mother as well.  She had a really hard time getting past the divorce.  Actually, she still hasn’t gotten past it truth be told.  That led to us bouncing around from place to place. Finally settling down in San Antonio, Texas in what I would not exactly call “Section 8” housing but it had all of the familiar symptoms of  “Section 8” housing with the crack-heads and broke down cars. Life was rough, free lunch kid, working at 14 and barely getting by all the way through my senior year.  I stayed busy though, with football, track and baseball when I wasn’t running the streets.  So I was always fit in high school.  The coaches tried to put me on multiple weight gaining programs but I did not have the heart to tell them that I couldn’t even afford to eat the amount of calories they wanted me to intake.  So I just got by.  College….well it was a blur filled with fun, crazy times and lots of debauchery and lets just say I’m surprised and fortunate I made it out alive!  Next Subject!

I was never really passionate about fitness when I was young.  I guess you could say I was blessed with good genes because I could eat any and everything and then drink a six pack and not gain an ounce.  I was always active and I guess it somehow balanced out. My awareness and passion came after my metabolism decided to pack it’s bags and head off to Italy or some where far far away. When I hit 27, I packed on 25lbs before I even noticed.  I went from the really skinny kid to filling out the way I always wanted to; but it didn’t stop there.  For some reason it never clicked in my head that, “Yo Stat, you know this weight isn’t going to stop piling on if you keep doing what you’re doing – right?”  In a matter of 3 years I went from 145-150lbs to 200lbs. Holy Crap! My passion for fitness was sparked when the reality set in that I had hit 200lbs. Like everyone else in the mainstream I grabbed all the fitness magazines, celebrity health books (the LL Cool J book was pretty good in hindsight) and jumped on every fad diet I could get my hands on.  I lost pounds and when I stopped the weight would come right back.  I yo-yo dieted for the next 6 years never losing more than 10-15lbs at a time.   When it was all said and done I weighed 226lbs. More than I started with. The heaviest I had ever been in my life. At 5’8 and a half, what the hell was I thinking?!?

Today, fitness and healthy living is such a pivotal part of my life that I am amazed I survived this long without it being the staple of my well being.  I walk daily now at least 2 to 3 miles weather permitting.  I hit the gym or do something in house to get my heart rate up as much as I can during the week.  I choose the best option of foods to eat that I have available but I don’t make myself crazy over watching each and every calorie.  Just generally track my calories. I also introduced meditation which I believe was the single solitary thing that has made my transformation possible.

“The body does not go where the mind does not lead it”

Not having a clear mind, a relaxed mind, a peaceful mind I feel would have made it easy for me to stop doing the things that were important for my overall health.  It’s as simple as loving myself completely unconditionally for who I am right now, to who I will be in my mind’s future.  It’s so important for all of us to lock into that mindset before ever making any goals and pushing like crazy to achieve them.  You have to be aligned with your goals mentally and physically before you will ever see the results that you strive towards.  My everyday goal is so simple:  “Every Day, In Every Way, I Am Getting Better and Better.”  My goals ascend as I ascend to just be a better overall person in every category. It does however turn out to work both ways because feeling healthy and being full of energy allows your mind to think more clear and sometimes twice as fast.

It’s always good to have a support system around you.  Family, close friends, workout group of your peers.  I have always been fortunate to have the greatest family and friends around me who always have supported me in my decisions whether they were idiotic or not.  I think however in today’s culture the emphasis on this support system has caused a false premise to be made into a belief.  It is that belief that often trips up many people.  For me, while a support system is good to have, maybe even important depending on where you are mentally and emotionally, it’s not a necessity.  When we couple ourselves so tightly to our support system we tend to allow their beliefs, likes, dislikes and philosophy to imprint on and cloud our own judgment.  We often find ourselves acting out of obligation to another instead of being internally driven.  This creates conflict within ourselves which just forms another road block you must maneuver around while you still work towards achieving your goal.  You should always be your most important Support System.  You should always check with yourself first to see if something is right for you.  Your emotions are the only guidance system you ever need.  it will always steer you towards what will ultimately make you happy in life.  At the end of the day, the decisions made are only for you to live not others.  However, when you are completely happy, free spirited and filled with love, everyone around you benefits including your support group. You may even realize that you have the power to influence them to find themselves and make a change FOR THEMSELVES. What has been most rewarding for me is now people gravitate to me from all different walks of life and I am having such and amazing time interacting, learning and sharing with these wonderful people like Shay and the team at Socially Fit.

However to get to the place that I now am, I had so many obstacles to get over.  The funny thing is that every single obstacle was placed in front of me by myself.  I think that was the hardest thing to get over.  To come to the realization that I was my own worst enemy.  Sure I had a disjointed childhood, and yes I live in a time was we were completely flat broke and had to come home to eviction notices on the door.  However, I used all of the short comings in my life as excuses not to get to where I knew I deserved to be.  I also brought a lot of the baggage into my relationships and thus effecting other peoples lives as well as my own.  So when I look back over my entire journey, my hardest obstacle was loving myself, trusting myself and believing in myself.  I was always very sarcastic even if I put a humorous twist on it.  I had low self esteem, self defeating thoughts and depression.  I felt unworthy and sometimes even a failure, especially after my marriage broke down. I resorted to drinking heavily all of the time.  8am in the morning was a great time for a beer on the weekend and I would drink until the sun tucked itself into bed and the moon came out to party.  Non Stop.  It even started to blend into my work week which left me dragging and uninspired at work.  I swear, If you can lock down these three virtues in your life (love yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself), your life will be become infinitely better in just a short amount of time.  There is a saying, I’m not sure first coined it, that it goes:  “If you can not change the situation that you are in, then change your perspective on the situation.”  It might sound a bit cliche, but there is a positive in every situation, and I think it is your absolute benefit to spend all of your energy searching only for that positive silver lining and not laboring over negativity that often blinds us.

Once you can do that, then your goals and aspirations become so much more obtainable.  I use to hate running with a passion.  I mean really really hate it.  Kicking, screaming, slobbering you get the picture.  One day, I decided that I was going to change my perspective on running.  I was going to play a game or movie in my head as I ran that had a purpose and a meaning so that I was not senselessly running for no reason once so ever.  I realized that running actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.  It didn’t get any easier but my feeling towards it was much more favorable now. Once I got the taste of enjoyment from running, especially when you finish and all the energy is just coursing through your body, and your covered in sweat and you know that you accomplished something good today, its such a shot of confidence that you want to get out and do it again as soon as you can.  This lead me to the goal I that I never saw myself ever even attempting let alone doing. That goal was to run a 5K marathon.  I am happy to announce that early this year, I accomplished that goal and ran the whole thing non-stop and even beat a few of my friends that run marathons on a regular basis!  I got my first 5K medallion and it hangs from my rear view mirror and I look at it every day.  Never again will I tell myself that I can not do something.  What a tremendous feeling that was!  It only fuels you to want to do more.  I also had a goal to get from 226 lbs back down to 180 lbs in 6 months.  Two weeks ago, I also eclipsed that goal and I am not sitting at 179 lbs.  The lightest I have been in over 10 years.  So along with what seems to be life long dream to get my six pack abs back, my new fitness goal is to run the Tough Mudder in November 2014 and get down to a solid 170 lbs even.  I could have run the Spartan or the other 5K races but why do those, when I can challenge myself to tackle the behemoth!

So I really start training next week.  I will continue to walk 2 to 3 miles a day.  I will restart my Insanity Program from the start and I will hit the gym about 3 days a week to start off with.  I’ll listen to my body and then adjust day by day and week by week.  I love to juice (vegetable and fruit juicing people, not the needles) and if any of you haven’t tried juicing I heavily recommend it.  It was an important factor in my dramatic weight loss.  I will substitute a juice for one of my meals 3 times a week, eat as clean as I can and just enjoy the journey.  I mix in plenty of salads and I eat chicken a lot!  I have actually cut out almost all supplements, I found out by juicing on a regular basis my body responded so well, I did not require anything else.  I will continue with what is working moving forward.  I can’t wait.  I’m pretty damn excited. I do use a recovery drink and add in some whey protein but that is it for supplements.

As for my meal plan once I start working out, I haven’t quite figured out what I am going to do yet. I have never done an intense training regiment along with weight training at the same time.  Before I boosted my caloric intake up to around 2100 cals a day.  I’m not sure how much fuel that will give me for this next chapter in my journey so I will blog it about it as I go along and see where I end up. However, I do have some staples that I stick to pretty religiously which will not change much with whatever plan I decide to go with.  Eat Breakfast.  It is so important that everyone do this for so many different reasons but the one that means the most for me, is the energy burst in the morning. I normally have oatmeal with flax seeds and some type of chopped up fruit.  If its not oatmeal, I love eggs and I’ll have three to four eggs as a wrap or on whole wheat toast.  I tend to pile my carbs on in the morning and afternoon.  Evening most of the time is protein and vegetables unless I sub in a juice.  Make your meal plan something that you like to do, something that is easy for you to maintain and can be switched up to add variety.  I often sub in fish for my protein for my dinners.  Salmon is my favorite especially on the grill.  You also do not have to be chef to cook and eat clean healthy meals.  I have a YouTube Channel I’ll mention at the bottom of this article that teaches you have to cook some quick delicious meals if you’re interested.

What an amazing journey this has been.  I have met so many people who were in a rut just like me. Basically getting up each day just to get the day over with.  No ambition, No vision for a better future. The endgame was just to stay afloat long enough to survive to the next day.  I am here to tell you that your life does not have to be that way.  You do not have to settle for what your current reality is giving you right now.  You can demand to have a better life and the go out an seek it with the passion and zest that you never knew you even possessed.  It all starts when these few things that I feel got me on the right track.

1)  Tell yourself this Every Single MORNING: You are an amazing person. You are strong, you are smart, you are WORTHY and you deserve more.

2)  You have the power within yourself to change your current situation. You do not need help from others.  You do not need a hand out.  You do not need follow anyone else’s path.  Follow your gut feelings, they are there for you and you alone.

3)  Every day in every way, KNOW That you are getting better and better.  You have to stop being so hard on yourself.  Stop self criticizing and instead start focusing on the things that you appreciate about yourself and the life as you are currently living it.  Look around at the things that you are proud of.  Take time to appreciate those things.  Friends and individuals that inspire.  Appreciate them.  Spend the majority of your time looking for the blessings, not the slights.

4)  Make your most dominant focus every single day, about something positive in your life, or something that you find inspiring.  When ever something unfavorable comes into your existence, become an active thinker and change the subject in your mind, focus on something good and hold that thought for as long as you can, and your mood will change and so will the things and people around you.

5)  Break the cycle. This is so important because we all have become such creatures of habit.  Take time to dissect all of your habits.  Highlight the good ones, the ones that make you feel good and add value to your life and make a list of the bad habits, the ones that lead to depressing feelings and anger or despair and eliminate them.  Whenever you feel you are about to move into that bad habit, you will know because you will feel uneasy.  Check yourself in the moment and change.

You have all of the tools you need to be as successful as you want to be.  The inner you has been waiting on you to realize how special you are and that this person is who you always should have been.  Find that person, embrace that person and in time you will be standing where you always wanted to be, feeling proud, accomplished and full of Bliss.

I want to take a moment to personally thank Shay and the Socially Fit team for allowing me to come here and tell my story.  I am not really good at this type of thing so if I rambled too much and jumped from topic to topic; I’m extremely happy that you are still here reading! I really enjoyed this time and it gave me an opportunity to stop and reflect and really appreciate how far I have come. Shay and the team are doing a wonderful thing here at Socially Fit and I am a fully supporting them from this day forward.  I love the stories that I have already read and I look forward to more inspiring stories in the future.  Hopefully I will be able to sway Shay into coming over to my blog for a guest writer piece from time to time as well.

So with that said, there are a number of vehicles where you can get in touch with me and follow my journey. I have just launched a YouTube Channel titled:  A Healthy New Stat which covers the three major pillars that help me get my life back in order. The Mind (meditation, inspiration and exploration of thought), The Body (healthy eating, cooking tips, quick healthy recipes), and The Spirit (all things that brings joy, laughter and smiles).  Please come by, watch some videos, interact and Subscribe if you like what you see.

Or My Blog which I’ll be launching in the next couple weeks – tons of inspiration and motivation along with links to my videos and guest blog writers.

I have a Fitness and Motivational Instagram and Twitter account you can follow me for daily inspiration, motivation and laughs.

Please feel free to come find me at any of these outlets.  I respond to everyone personally and I love making connections.  If I can help you along your journey, I would consider it an honor to be by your side!

Love often; love always and love unconditionally. May you become the healthiest fittest version of yourself that you could ever dream of.

Dee

“I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Be the best that you can be then be better ~ Morne Gabriels

I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows, not anymore. ~ Morne Gabriels

I am the proud father of four boys. Their age ranges from five through to thirteen.  I currently work from home as a software developer and have been doing that for thirteen years. I enjoy reading when I have the time, but my absolute focus at the moment is on singing, song writing and performing. I have also developed a passion for working out and running, running, running.

The only fitness activity I remember being involved in as a child was playing with friends and riding our bicycles everywhere.  However, exercise and fitness were not emphasized that much as I recall. I indulged in comfort eating; mainly because my parents were going through a messy divorce.  I remember eating 6 or 7 chocolate bars at a time, loads of bread, cheese, etc, etc.  In my mind, I’ve always been overweight.

Hitting puberty somehow helped and I grew into a more proportionate version of myself.  I remember my friend’s sister (who I had a little crush on) telling me that I looked so different (which was a boost) and then her immediately saying and laughing, “you used to be so fat” (which just somehow destroyed my confidence).

I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old, starting to run and running long distances.  I’d say eventually I was running 5kms, two or three times a week.   I had two bricks in my room, which I used as dumbbells.  So mainly did curls until I couldn’t hold the bricks any longer.  I did lots of calf raises, which I did until I couldn’t walk. Yet, that all fell by the wayside when there was any stressful situation in my life, I would return to comfort eating.

I had a certain amount of passion of fitness but never realized my fitness potential, growing up.   Through high school I never took part in any sporting events because I was never fast enough,  strong enough or confident enough.   My main form of exercise in high school was walking to school and back, which was about 10k each way.   I actually loved walking, thinking about it.  It was a great stress reliever during my teens.   However again whenever stressful situations or events occurred in my life, I needed to eat food that made me feel good.So this was my pattern for life until about the age of 32.  Exercise, stressful event, comfort eat, depression, exercise, stressful event, comfort eat and repeat.  The word “Yo-Yo” springs to mind.

The main catalyst for change was the day I stepped onto the scale and it displayed a nice, round number of 120kgs (about 265 pounds).  That, for some reason, did not make me depressed but determined to change.   I initially went about it in the wrong way; starving myself which again led to Yo-yoing but eventually learning that there is a balance to it all.  Exercise, eating right and rest.  When I finally got it right I noticed that the more physically fit I became the more confidence, joy and peace came to my life. I started thinking more positively about my kids and giving them a positive example.  Music; I started writing more songs and performing; it’s a really big passion of mine right now.  Being positive in my thinking and actions makes a world of difference. I am more adventurous now and willing to trying new things, meet new people.  I’m no longer in the background.  A line from a Foo Fighters song always gets me, “I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is truly a lifestyle for me now.  “Sweat everyday” is a poster I’ve seen on the Socially Fit Facebook page and it’s something I am living by. But the feeling of lightness, strength, confidence and peace is so intoxicating.  I want to feel that every day.  My support system is amazing. Though my immediate family resides overseas, my “in-laws” as well as my kids are always encouraging me.  Family and friends have all given me very positive remarks and comments, which spurs me on to keep going. My hope is that I am an inspiration to people.  If I can do it anyone can!! Furreal!!

The hardest thing for me to date has been maintaining the proper diet. Being consistent. I’ve learned to deal with stress in a more positive way and that has had a positive effect on my relationship with food; not being a slave to it. I’ve said goodbye to comfort eating.  I’m really proud to say that 5 years ago I was 120kgs (265 pounds) and today I am currently 86.5kgs (191 pounds).  No more Yo-yoing.  At my heaviest I wore 44inch waist trousers,  I now comfortably fit into 34inch waist trousers. I can honestly say that on average I run 80 to 100km per week! These are my accomplishments and I am humbled by them.

My workout routine is simple. I run an average of 7kms a day.  On alternative days I work individual body parts with weights i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps using 16.5kg dumbbell. I’m not taking any supplements at the moment.  My meal plan for the last four months has been eating one hearty meal in the evening including anything I wanted but would gravitate around green vegetables, chicken, fish or beef, rice or potatoes.  Also having the occasional junk foods like pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.  But for the most part stayed away from white bread and hard cheeses. 4 to 5 cups of green tea, 1 to 2 cups of coffee and about 7 pints of water a day. In the last few weeks however  I’ve had 3 to 4 small meals a day; Morning oats, with cranberries and cashews.  Lunch: Tuna or chicken with green leafy salads.  Evenings: Chicken or beef, vegetables, rice. Snacking on fruit and nuts during the day. This appears to be working for me right now.

I plan to enter a few races to keep me focused and pushing forward.  I’ll start with 5k runs and work my way up. I’d like to increase my lean muscle and most importantly get that flat stomach.   I’d like to add swimming to my exercise regime, meaning getting swimming lessons.  Then possibly giving triathlons a go. Baby steps. If you would like to get started I find reading positive messages on pages like Socially Fit’s Facebook page or motivational groups really does help keep me in a positive frame of mind and thus positive about my reaching my goals. Make daily affirmations:

Hard work pays

Sweat everyday

I can do it – I will do it

It’s not how good you are – it’s about how good you want to be

Be your own hero

Find your focus, find that determination deep within yourself that’s been lying dormant all this time.

Pain is temporary.

Get it done.  Get it done.  GET IT DONE!!

I remember when I started my recent journey to a successful me it was the middle of winter, here in the UK.  I was up at 5 o’clock in the morning, enduring the cold and sometimes snow to go running.  And I started with 5km most days. In the back of my mind I was thinking though, 5km will become your maintenance run.  And it did.  Then it became 7km a day.  Don’t be afraid to speak to yourself, positively.  I wake up in the morning saying “Today’s going to be a good day” even when I feel the opposite.   I remember things that I am grateful for and it changes my mindset.  Be positive to and about others as well ‘cause it will come back to you. I tell/ask my kids the following before they leave for school, “Be the best you can be and then?”  And they answer “BE BETTER”.  That can be used in any part of your life but in this case fitness.

When I first start running, I could only run for 10 minutes before I started feeling my ankles and knees.  120kgs will do that.   But I didn’t stop.  I would run for a minute and then walk for 30 seconds.  Repeating that.  Slowly I became better, stronger, faster.   IF I CAN DO IT – YOU CAN. It all starts up here (points to head). Start thinking right and positive. Visualize your goals; the body you want, the health you want.  Think about it, see it and feel it; then BE IT.

The only limits in life are the ones that you imagine!

https://www.facebook.com/morne.gabriels
https://www.facebook.com/groups/38546773592 – my music related page.
https://twitter.com/DukeSeven7

 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

I want to make myself better tomorrow than I am today.

ImageSean has served almost 20 years in the United States Marine Corps as a fighter pilot and a test pilotflying 28 different types of aircraft. He’s a father and husband and has been blessed beyond all he deserves. He’s passionate about fitness and health-taking a holistic approach to fitness and exercise with focus on endurance athletics. You can find him on Twitter at Sean Garick@push_ur_limits and on the web at pushurlimits.com. 

 

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Now how do I tell you everything about me in a few short lines? No, I can’t, no way. But I can provide a few highlights and tell you about some of the things which matter most. Let’s start with the amazing…  

 

One of greatest joys in life is watching someone accomplish something they once thought impossible. It’s amazing and life altering- to realize that there really are no limits to what you can do. I love to be a part of that. We live in a world of amazing people. People overcoming every type of obstacle imaginable; some are physical, some emotional, some mental. The people who are doing this have one thing in common- they believe! They may not have always believed, often it was someone else who believed in them first, but they believe now.  

 

“Every great achievement begins with the decision to try.” 

I’m constantly in awe of what people are capable of when they believe and apply. Of course, I’m also amazed by what others can’t accomplish because they just don’t believe it’s possible.I CAN’T are the words I absolutely hate more than any others! I’ve faced these ‘limitations’ myself. When I first joined the Marine Corps I had a group of buddies who invited me to go for a run with them. Then they told me they were going 10 miles. I quickly declined but inside I was astonished. How can someone run that far? I was firmly convinced that there were two kinds of people in this world: those that could run far and those that couldn’t- and I was squarely in the group that couldn’t. I lived with that until I was in my mid-thirties. 

 

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“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves” 

Then I began to wonder…hmmmm…what if...I wonder if I could add a little distance. I began incrementally with a little, then a little more. I remember the first time I ran 7 miles, then the first time I ran 10. I began to believe. Then eventually the Marine Corps Marathon. Now, remember my mindset at that time 26.2 miles was paramount to walking on the Moon. I mean, it was that far out there. It was an impossibility and yet, I did it. I had achieved the impossible. Here I was a pretty smart guy, a Marine and a fighter pilot and yet I had lived with a SELF-MADE limit for over 35 years. I had limited myself for absolutely no reason. I had held myself back. I had diminished how full my life could be. I had done this to myself. I vowed never to do it again. 

 

“Do not fear death. Fear an unlived life.” 

There are much better examples of this than mine. Just last weekend I met a Marine who told me about the number of screws and metal parts in his right leg- he’d been injured in combat. He and I met while both doing some open water swim training in the bay- training for his Half Ironman that he was doing the very next weekend. Awesome! I am fully convinced now that all limits can be overcome. And more importantly they can be overcome by anyone….anyone who is willing. We have the power in ourselves- the power to limit ourselves or the power to live an unlimited life!  

 

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t. You are probably right.” 

I love optimism. I have no room in my life for negative thoughts or negative people. I believe that attitude is contagious. The old saying, “You are either affecting or infecting others” rings very true. Motivation, positive thinking, and encouragement– these things are absolutely crucial to your mental state and your ability to achieve success. And these things have a shelf-life. They are fleeting! The book I read says ‘renew your mind daily’. It takes constant replenishment and that replenishment takes effort. We must work to remain positive and motivated. I love quotes and inspirational sayings- if you follow me on Twitter you already know this. These things replenish me. They renew me and my commitment. Yet another reason that I love Socially_Fitthe constant motivation and encouragement.  

 

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Athletes amaze me. I’m addicted to their inner strength. They get it, when the rest of the population doesn’t. Every damn day!That motto, that mindset. Regardless of the circumstances, the weather, the mood- they get up and go do their thing. Run, swim, bike, lift, Zumba, Crossfit, it doesn’t matter. That mindset translates into everything else in their life- the ability to push through the pain and to get up when you can’t. Because let’s be honest, life is going to knock us on our ass sometimes. How long we stay there is up to us and is often more a mental battle than a physical one. Every athlete knows it’s better to get up, get going and get it done. Life is always better when we do this rather than just lying there feeling sorry for ourselves. And similarly the day is always better when we get up and get that workout done. Love it.  

 

Balance: 

I am a big believer in well-rounded fitness and truly love all forms of exercise. In training myself to become a better athlete it didn’t take long before I expanded my view to include all the aspects of what healthy really means. The ONLY view that’s acceptable is a holistic view. We’ve all seen that guy in the gym that looks like the Hulk above the waist but is standing on toothpicks! Or the opposite version of the ultracyclist with amazing legs but looks like a 10 year boy above the waist. This imbalance is present in anyone who only focuses on ‘one’ thing. They develop imbalances in muscle strength. Different parts of the body compensate and stress is placed on parts that weren’t made for it. The eventual result is injury. Balance is the key to our health and I believe in holistic view of muscle development with an emphasis on core-related fitness.  

 

But we can expand this holistic concept a little more. For example, great exercise without proper nutrition will result in ceilings on our achievement as well.As I began to move into multi-hour workout sessions and multiple workouts per day,nutrition became a more important part of my life. You cannot train at high levels without making nutrition one of the pillars upon which your fitness is built. Now it’s about focusing on the various aspects of nutrition: pre-workout fueling, fueling during the workout, recover fueling and getting the body ready for the next session- which many times is only a few hours away. I get so tired of eating! Very rarely is eating for enjoyment- it’s about feeding the machine- about fueling the beast- making it better, stronger and ready for the next challenge.  

 

Now, if we dare to expand this concept a little more to account for our life as a whole, it’s easy to understand how all things need to be in balance– God, family, fitness/health, rest/recovery, work/career, seriousness, silliness, leadership, followership, father/mother, son/daughter, etc. If any of these grows too large individually at the expense of the others we will have issues sooner or later. We are made to be multi-dimensional- we can’t achieve our full potential living a one dimensional life. If we fail to achieve balance at any of these levels we will undermine our goals and will not reach our potential. Again, balance is the key.  

 

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“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” 

People often ask me how do I run and bike for hours at a time. What do you think about all that time? Why do you do it? Truthfully, inside me there’s a celebration going on! Every workout, every mile is an expression of gratefulness. There’s so many who would love to be doing what I’m doing and they no longer have the chance. I run because I can. And I run for all those that can’t. 

 

And my favorite feeling? Post-workout, laying on the ground, covered in sweat, too tired to move. The body completely drained of everything it had. You gave it all. There’s nothing left. That feeling of complete and utter satisfaction. The body is empty- but the heart, the heart if full!  

 

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Final Thoughts: 

ImageI want to make myself better tomorrow than I am today. I want to attain heights I’ve never reached. I want to inspire and help others to do the same. But I’m also at the point where I want it to be about more than just me. I want to do more. That’s why I was very excited to find the Charity Miles app. It’s an app that tracks your cycling and running and then a sponsor will donate to the charity you choose. It’s an awesome example of something that is ‘right’. A way to give and a way to help by doing what you were going to do anyway. There are some great charities and great sponsors. I run and cycle for the Wounded Warrior Project and PROMAX Nutrition donates for me. It’s a great relationship. I would like to find more ways to do similar things like this. If you know any, please let me know. 


Dramas of a Bald Head Queen

My Journey Through Fitness - Nina Brewton

My Journey Through Fitness – Nina Brewton

Today, I am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and so much more! I am blessed to be more content with the woman I am today than I’ve ever been in my life. All is not perfect but all is indeed well!  

I am a two-time self-published author and am currently working to re-release my memoir, Dramas of a Bald Head Queen in late June. I’m also working on adapting Dramas into a one-woman show which will debut on stage next spring!  

I mentor young people and am looking forward to serving on the board of directors for a non-profit organization in our nation’s capitol.  

I am so very excited about my future and know that this is just the beginning!  

Excerpt from Dramas of a Bald Head Queen

“Carl – dad – doesn’t sit still.  He’s constantly moving something; fixing, building, planting, painting, going somewhere.  He rarely moves without a purpose. He believed his two children would benefit from the same kind of movement.  If he found we’d been planted indoors for too long he would make us get up to do SOMETHING. He did the same for all the neighborhood kids…

Even though my father always had my brother and I on the go, I would not say that we were a “health conscious” family. I grew up eating large portions of traditional Southern cuisine, or “Soul Food”, on a regular basis. Most vegetables were cooked in “fat back” (pork fat) with lots of salt and meats were often fried – be it fish, chicken or my father’s blessed pork chops! Diet was not a familiar word. We were that family who ate white bread during dinner every night. 

I remember in high school, I was an avid runner and cheerleader who could, and would, eat nearly anything! During that time, my mother would always warn me, promising, “Alright, you keep eating like that, it will catch up with you!” I laughed it off, confident in my slim athletic build. I knew that if I kept moving, I could eat what I wanted without gaining weight. Good genes have kept me looking remotely fit over the years. I have my father’s “stocky”, athletic build and have taken advantage of that for years since first becoming involved in organized sports in middle school.  

Even after running track throughout high school and continuing as a hobby into my early 20’s, I noticed that my body began to change somewhere between year 25 and 26. In all my moving, doing and eating, the one thing I failed to consider was my body’s metabolism and how time and nature would one day turn against me…*cues scary music* 

During the two weeks leading up to Christmas 2006, I took a road trip from Virginia to Texas. After two days of eating food on the go, I found that my then size 8 body was quickly drifting into size 10 territory. I’ve been creeping up in size ever since, hitting a size 18 and 230 lbs in 2010. That was truly the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. Something had to change but even with all of my natural athletic abilities and physique, it hasn’t been easy. Besides becoming physically stronger with consistent exercise, I have discovered that I grow mentally and spiritually as well as I strive to be disciplined and obedient. I recognize that my purpose in life goes well beyond my being fit to look good or simply to fit into a pair of jeans. 

Nina at her heaviest - 230lbs

Nina – Size 18 230 lbs

I have learned that in order to be available to God, I have to be the best that I can possibly be. If I claim to live for God but lack the discipline to even control what I eat or whether I take the initiative to take care of my physical body, I can’t possibly have the discipline required to maintain a high level of spirituality.  

I take full responsibility for being a living example for every person that I am connected to. I strive daily to be that in every area of my life! I am most driven when I consider all the people in the world who are physically unable to do the things that I can do, I am reminded of my mantra, “If you’re able, be willing.” I think of all the people who are inspired by my life and I know that it is important to lead by example. From the youngest to the oldest, the world is in need of inspiration. If I can encourage one person to be better by remaining motivated to be fit, then I’ll do it! But I don’t do this alone. My family is most supportive. My husband, Raphael is not an athletic type so, he doesn’t go so far as to workout with me but he is totally supportive of my desire to be fit. From meeting me at the finish line at early morning races to making sure we include new running shoes and other workout gear into our budget, I know that he’s got my back, no matter what! 

Doubt is a killer of drive and ambition.

My mind is the greatest obstacle I’ve ever encountered. Whether our goals are physical, academic or professional, we have to take control of our thoughts to overcome our doubts and live up to our full potential! 

Nina a couple of weeks ago at the Color Me Rad 5K run

Nina a couple of weeks ago at the Color Me Rad 5K run

I recently rejoined the YMCA after two years because I found myself bored with my workout regimen. For over a year I was just running and running as I trained for my half-marathon. I eventually hit a plateau, growing tired of just running. I realized that, even though I enjoy running alone, I missed the camaraderie and support that comes from being involved in a group.  

My routine also lacked strength training so now I do a Bootcamp, circuit class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning which includes combinations of body weight exercises, calisthenics and cardio routines.  On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I run and lift weights.

I really don’t have a meal plan, per se. My goal every day is not to overeat! For breakfast I’ll generally have three hard-boiled eggs and an avocado with black pepper, turmeric and a dash of pink salt. That is my current favorite thing to have for breakfast. I also include juicing and smoothies with my meals to make certain I’m getting all the nutrients I need! As for supplements, I’m not a big fan. I may include whey protein powder in my smoothies but honestly, I am terrible at taking my daily vitamin.

Back in February my weight crept back up to 225. I have been working hard and I’m currently just under 200lbs. I would like to lose another 15lbs. My overall goal is to maintain my weight between 180 and 185 and to be wearing a size 10/12. Besides weight and size, I also have a goal of running my second half-marathon later this summer so, I’m training for that as well! 

Everything stems from LOVE - Nina Brewton

Everything stems from LOVE – Nina Brewton

If you’re thinking of starting your fitness journey it really begins with you. One has to get to a point where their ultimate well-being is their motivation. Not everyone is going to be a marathoner, a yogi or able to bench 200lbs but everyone can find what works for them and become great at thatJUST. DO. IT. Don’t think. Just do!

Every small step is a step towards a goal and no step is too small! Allow yourself to progress naturally. Compare yourself to yourself only! Don’t look at the progress, size, shape of others for your motivation. The better you has to be your motivation and the former you must be your competition! 

It is so very important to surround yourself with people who are like-minded in your endeavors. From your online network to those who are a direct part of your life, changing our mindset often means changing our environment and the people in it!As you purge your physical weight, don’t be afraid of letting the weight of negative, unsupportive people go as well!  

Contact Info:

I’m on Twitter and Instagram as @baldheadqueen and can be found on Facebook by searching for Nina Brewton. You may also find all contact information at www.baldheadqueen.com or follow my blog at www.baldheadqueen.blogspot.com 

Fabulous and Fit

Felicity

Hello, my name is Felicity and I’m about to transition out of my “Dirty 30’s” into the big 31. I still feel as vibrant as I was at 21 though. One thing that will never change is my personality and love for life! I am currently working as a Patient Care Coordinator full time setting up fertility orders for women all over the country who are trying to get pregnant. In the past I have worked as a pharmacy tech and my dream job would be to pursue entrepreneurship and have my own business. Something where I can work when I want, where I want, yet fulfill my creative needs. I am married – we have been together 11 years but married 3. I am a doggy mom of two rascals and I have two stepchildren that we never see. I am a socialite. I feel like I am always on the go. My motto is “I’ll rest when I die”. I’m usually bouncing from work, to the gym, to home, to spontaneous fun with friends. I enjoy talking, listening and just being around other people. My current obligation is first to my health, second to my marriage and third to my friends, family and spending as much time with them as possible. You should never take anything or anyone for granted.

I was a very active child. I cannot remember a time that I was stuck indoors being lazy for a long period of time. I was always out roaming the neighborhood and riding my bike with friends. I grew up with a swimming pool too, so I spent a lot of time pretending I was a mermaid! My mother also put me in jazz and gymnastics early on and I did that for many years. I started with somersaults and hand-stands and ended up doing no-handed cartwheels and front hand springs! I was very good at what I did and very flexible. Although I stayed fairly active – I was always “the bigger girl” around friends or in gym class. I didn’t like sports, mainly because I had stage fright and did not like to be “watched” while performing. So I was more active at home than I was in school. I was just not confident enough, so I shied away from “fitness activities” there.  I grew up on family foods, fast foods and there was no real structure as to what we couldn’t eat. My weight was always brought up during doctor visits and they always tried to give me ideas on how to slim down but I just got bigger over the years. Three years ago I lost 18 lbs and ended up getting pregnant. Unfortunately I miscarried 16 weeks in and haven’t been able to get pregnant since.  I really think that the way I changed my eating habits at that time played a major role in my being able to conceive and so I started my journey to fitness. Initially I wanted to get healthy and become pregnant again. It was only 10 months ago that I finally committed 100% and I am determined to stick it out.

I have never admitted that my weight has held me back in life – but now that I have lost some weight, I find that I have more energy and I’m feeling better about myself; I can finally admit to that. It did hold me back from doing things I have never done before; hiking, canoeing and other physical activities. I also find myself being even MORE social with friends/family when I go out. I don’t mind being in the spotlight as much, I get out on the dance floor and I have more confidence in front of strangers. This journey has also brought me and my husband closer together. I was eating better and exercising for about 5 months before he joined. Now that he’s joined (about 6 months ago) he has lost 40+ lbs! We spend more quality time together hitting the gym every day, taking the dogs for longer walks and cooking healthier meals. We share a new common interest which is rare for us because we are complete opposites.

My “before” pictures keep me motivated on a daily basis. I don’t like to say “after” yet because I am not at my goal. I see those pictures and think, “wow – was I really that big?” Cause at the time I still (for the most part) felt fabulous. But today I feel even MORE fabulous! I can pick clothes out from a regular store without having to go to plus size (went from buying a 3X shirt or pants to being able to squeeze on an XL) and when I look in the mirror I am not trying to hide away my muffin top or change my wardrobe three times in order to feel comfortable and confident. Also, I see other people’s transformations and I know that it’s not impossible. Anything I want, I can achieve with just dedication, hard work, and effort.

Just recently a friend told me, “Felicity you were never the FAT one, you were always the FUNNY one.” Which made me feel good cause I have beautiful friends. Talking drop dead gorgeous, nice bodies, high maintenance ladies and well groomed! And to be honest, I always felt like the “fatter” one among them. Having the same best friends for 15+ years now has helped to keep me going. Not only do I want to prove to myself that I can do this, I want to prove it to them. I wanna be able to walk into my best friend’s house and slip on a pair of her jeans. A few of them have joined along in effort to lose weight and tone up, some of them have been inspired by me to do it and everyone fully supports me! I joined Myfitnesspal.com and have currently logged over 300 days straight, counting calories and losing weight with online friends I’ve met. I also started a fan page on Facebook mostly to inspire others on their journey and to document mine as much as possible. In some ways I feel like a celebrity because I have so many people rooting for me, it’s lovely!

Eating out remains the hardest obstacle for me to overcome! I must say that making healthy choices during spontaneous moments can be hard. Especially after a long, busy day when we’re too tired to cook, so we decide to stop at a sub shop. Or if it’s during a party or cook out. I tend to tell myself “today I am going to make a better choice” then when that moment comes and I’m faced with either a salad or a sub – I choose the sub!! It’s almost like an addiction and making an irrational decision. After all is said and done and that moment passes… I regret it. But unlike before, I keep on moving forward now. I will not allow bad choices or small mistakes to deter me away from reaching my ultimate goal.

So far I have lost 43 lbs in less than a year. I’ve dropped over 20 inches through out my body. I have dropped 2 jeans sizes and 3 shirt sizes. My rings are now too big for my fingers and I have taken part in activities I never thought I would before, one which includes a 5k for Susan G Komen with co-workers! I can jog for at least 5 minutes straight without feeling like I might die and I built up endurance for all the cardio machines at the gym and I have earned a passion for weight training too! I normally hit the gym 3-5x per week. At first it was all cardio. I would do a mile on the treadmill, 3 miles on the bike, and a short time on the elliptical. Now I am in love with strength training. So I will spend 15-30 minutes doing free weights or machines. Then 30-60 minutes doing cardio. I have built up my endurance. So I am now able to not only walk on the treadmill but jog in intervals. I can last almost an hour on the elliptical and have recently built up 45 minutes on the Cybex (which is like the elliptical on the moon). I also try set goals and do one new “fitness” activity each month. Recently completing 8 weeks of an intense Bootcamp and this month doing a 5k. For supplements I just take a multi-vitamin and load up on whey protein.

Most mornings I have an iced coffee with a scoop of whey protein or just a whey protein shake made from almond milk. I’m trying to be better at eating every 2-3 hours to keep my metabolism up but because I work in a call center it can be hard. On the days I am home in the morning I try my best to eat breakfast which usually includes eggs and spinach! For snacks I eat fruit, cottage cheese, and nuts. I also love munching on apples & celery with peanut butter too! Lunch could be left overs from the night before or something small like fruit and yogurt or a garden salad. For dinner I eat a lot of raw veggies with chicken. Zone bars, pria bars, and luna bars are also a great meal replacement or post work out snack. I am very enthusiastic about meal planning for the week so I have a “Food Prep Sunday” where I cook and package my food for the next 4-5 days for easy access, it also helps me stay on track 100%.

Before I started this journey at 278 lbs I promised myself that I would lose 100 lbs and get down to 178 lbs. I started in May of 2012 and by December I had lost 33 lbs so at that time my New Year’s Resolution was to double that for 2013 and lose 66 lbs. Which would bring me down -99 lbs. total. I am currently down 43 lbs and look forward to what the rest of the year will bring me. Sometimes I feel like it’s a slow process, but its a work in progress and I am happy with that. Once I reach 178 I will then work on toning as much as possible and if I lose anymore I will stop when I am most comfortable and happy! It almost seems impossible to CHANGE; to make healthier choices and step outside of your comfort zone and exercise regularly. You just have to commit to and just do it! One of the biggest problems people face is screwing up. I want you to know that one bad choice or one bad day does NOT mean that you failed and you have to give up. Every meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and EVERY day is a new chance to make a healthier choice and keep going! Put that bad choice in the past and move forward – if you give up then a year from now you will have to start over and you’ll wish you would of just kept going. Slow progress is better than no progress and eventually you WILL be where you want to be!

The numbers on the scale are not the most important. The non-scale victories (us in the weight loss world call them “NSV”) are what’s most important. When you reach a physical or mental goal; when you fit into an old pair of tight jeans;  you discover that it’s the little successes in life that make you most proud. When you compare your fat pics to your progress pics I promise you will see a difference and THAT will motivate you to continue. I just want every man or woman especially to know that it is NEVER too late to change.

Felicity

In the past year I have been lucky enough to network with people of all different ages and sizes that have been successful no matter what their circumstances, all it takes is just some effort, passion, and dedication!

http://facebook.com/fabulousanddfit
http://myfitnesspal.com/fabulousago
http://pinterest.com/fabulousego
http://instagram.com/fabulousego

Leanne

The hardest obstacle for me has been “fitting it all in” on a daily basis. Juggling my goals; my children’s schedule; a busy husband AND a full time job can be tough. Knowing what and when to compromise is important. Since starting my journey I have lost almost 50lbs and I’ve gone from a size 12 to a size 4!

Baby Steps! That’s How You Get There!

I am a 37 year old mother, wife, gym rat foodie. I love the outdoors, good food; great wine and being able to out run my kids! Keeping up with a 7 and 5 year old is no easy task. With 3 students in my home one being my husband to say my free time is limited is an understatement. I work for an engineering firm in Marketing and social media. Currently I am interested in building a strong healthy family starting with me! I work for an amazing company that allows me to be fit, focused and creative. When not at work or in the gym you can find me in the kitchen creating tasty healthy creations for my family. 4 years ago I bought a Trek road-bike and when time and weather are on my side you will find me solo on the open road, there is nothing more liberating than being clipped in and passing Sunday drivers!

As a kid I was always involved in sports, I swam competitively (race and Syncro) and played softball on various competitive teams. My mother was a health food nut so I was always surrounded by healthy food and good choices, which I never appreciated until I had my own children. When I hit high-school I fell in with a crowd that was not so health conscious and my weight went up and my self-esteem went down. Puberty was a tough balancing act for me and was the first time in life I turned to food for comfort. My choices were poor for 10+ years and my health and body reflected it. Then came college and beer and bad choices became my way of life, as you can imagine my health reflected it, I was sick all the time, lacked energy and drive and was in a dangerous self-sacrificing spin.

My passion for health and fitness lay dormant for almost 15 years then I quit smoking and bought a gym membership, I hired a trainer and started to change my life. I ate clean, worked out 6 days a week and lost 50lbs and gained lean muscle. Then I met my husband and although we were active we got comfortable and the health and fitness passion went dormant again. 18 months ago I got fired from a terribly abusive job that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The boss I worked for was a bully and harassed me emotionally for years. I was at an all-time low with my self-esteem and an all-time high with my weight (175lbs at 5’5 and not pregnant). I was depressed, angry and needed to change. When I found the current company that I am with now, the focus on work life balance and the focus on health and wellness was just one of the many draws. We have a number of triathletes on staff and the company subsidizes gym memberships and has a full time wellness program complete with consultants that meet with us monthly. The constant chatter about training and nutrition re-ignited the fitness fire in me. It was exactly the kick in the butt I needed!

Fitness has given me awareness about how I impact others around me and has emotionally supercharged my self-confidence. I no longer run out of energy playing with my kids, I never turn to alcohol for stress relief anymore and I am more confident in my body and life. I feel that I am a positive role model for my children and others around me and hopefully I can inspire others to live a healthier more balanced lifestyle. Not to mention I feel great in or out of clothes, possibly for the first time in my life!

My 7 year old daughter is my biggest support system. She is full of questions and keeps me accountable. 60 days ago a took part in a 60 Days Strong Challenge put on by Sophie Smith of Sophie Fitness, a nutrition and fitness challenge that has created an awareness that has been more than profound. I am proud to say I won this Challenge and lost 12% of my body weight in the process and gained an insane amount of strength and knowledge.  A lot of my family think that I am extreme with my nutrition and work out regimens however they are currently doing nothing to better themselves or their lives. Most of my friends are great! We seek out advice and share strategies with each other, pushing each other to be better every day.

The hardest obstacle for me has been “fitting it all in” on a daily basis. Juggling my goals; my children’s schedule; a busy husband; and a full-time job can be tough. Knowing what and when to compromise is important. Since starting my journey I have lost almost 50lbs, have gone from a 12 to a 4 and for the first time ever I am smaller than my husband!   My biggest accomplishment though is planting the seeds with my children that fitness and nutrition is a normal part of daily life, not a once in a while thing.  I don’t do supplements other than protein powder; and before this 60 day challenge my protein intake was ½ what it should have been, now I average 150 grams a day plus. I try to limit  my caffeine intake but I admit it,  black coffee is my go to weakness.  I need it to survive my two kids. When I need something sweeter I add a ½ tsp. of cocoa and some peppermint extract and a bit of stevia… it is liquid candy!

I eat a LOT of green food, avocado, tomatoes and white protein… my diet is simple and spices are the trick… I experiment a lot with different dry spices… and try to eat the rainbow daily… My mom always said “if you eat the rainbow you will be healthy.” I am gluten and lactose intolerant so my carbs are usually veggies with oats being my go to before and after workouts, I eat 6 times a day with my first meal being at 5 am and my last at 9:30pm I eat at least 10 cups of veggies everyday!

My goals are still forming, this year I am competing in the Warrior Dash ( think Tough Mudder only scaled back) with my husband, this was my main driver to get me back in shape.  I intend to ride 100km this summer and in the next 5-7 years my daughter and I would like to ride across Canada, just to say we did it! Like most women who wear a bikini, I would like to see my abs, at least once 🙂  There’s no reason why you can’t start your journey today!  Just do IT! The first step is the hardest, as with anything, every day will get a little easier. It takes 21 days to create a new habit, mark it off on the calendar, set goals that are visible and realistic, write them down and put them on your fridge. Do NOT compare yourself to the people on the cover of a magazine or a TV show, this is not reality. Reality is we all started somewhere, we all have a story. If you are looking for a motivator, hire someone to help you set the foundation… it was one of the best steps I made. Know that you will have bad days, but it is one day, get right back up dust yourself off and do it all over again. Keep trying and trust in the process. If money is the issue, make a trade, I quit smoking 13 years ago and all the money I put into cigarettes I put into a gym membership and 3 months’ worth of personal training. The money was exactly the same just in a healthier spot? Do you eat takeout… that alone could be your gym membership or training sessions. If you dread the thought of the gym… get outside… nature is the best gym… Google outdoor HIIT workouts for beginners… you will be surprised how much work you can do at a park. Bottom line is trust in yourself… you are the reason to change, you deserve to be the healthiest person you can be, you owe it to you!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you have even the smallest desire to better your health and well-being make a lot of small changes instead of trying to transform everything at one time. Think of the transformation as putting together a massive 3D puzzle, first you must build the foundation and make sure it is strong, then you add on all the extras that help define the masterpiece then finally you add the little details that make it amazing. Start with doing something, anything! Walk somewhere every day, park at the back of the parking lot instead of up front, take the stairs, switch from Cream to milk in your coffee, eat out less, shop the outside of the grocery store first and the inside last 80% fresh 20% other! Find your support network Twitter was it for me, that and the morning crew at my local Y, seeing those same people every morning keeps me accountable and they don’t let me forget it if I miss more than 2 days in a row! Eat breakfast every day! Not negotiable, if the thought of eating makes you want to vomit try a shake… your body needs FUEL. You wouldn’t try and drive your car without gas would you? Eat 5-6 times a day.  Balance is key. If you are having an apple as a snack add in some nuts or yogurt too, get your fats and proteins with your carbs and you will feel fuller longer.

Twitter: @ALtillMom
My Fitness Pal: ALtillMom
Linked in: ca.linkedin.com/in/leannetillaartrhb/
Email: Leanne dot Tillaart at Gmail dot com