Why I'm Not Competing This Year

It’s a big decision. During the last two years I’ve trained exceptionally hard by honing in on my nutrition and exercise. All with the ultimate goal of pushing myself to my limits and getting up on stage for fitness competitions in British Columbia. From 2017 to 2018 I competed in three events placing 6th, 1st and somewhere in the double digits at the Vancouver Pro Show. I had so much fun participating in these events. The day is always a whirlwind, but what I love most is the preparation.

I couldn’t have pushed myself without the guidance of my Coach Ondrej of My Trainer 365 at the time. I’m forever grateful for the knowledge and habits that he instilled in me. I still train at the gym generally 5 to 6 days a week. I monitor my nutritional intake, but naturally without competition my dietary habits are certainly more relaxed. I feel very happy that coming out of three competitions I have recovered both mentally and physically with ease. The reverse diet was so important. I’m also aware that especially as a female, lowering your body fat to competition levels for most genetic make ups is not attainable all of the time. It’s about generating a balance for your life with your nutrition and fitness at the forefront. My body is still where I live so all superficial diatribes aside…I like to take care of my “house”.

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So if I had so much fun competing…why on earth would I decide not to compete this year? Well never say never, but I have no competition plans as I’m taking on a new challenge.

One of the main reasons I joined the CTV team last year was to provide myself a sense of community that I didn’t have in Vancouver as a solo video journalist. I’ve made it my mission to participate as much as possible with my new crew and I’m happy there have been lots of opportunities to do so. That said, you can’t join this team and not hear people talk about “the ride”.

Team CTV is going to be a part of the Ride to Conquer Cancer for the 11th consecutive year. When I hear my colleagues talk about the ride many of them express sentiments of how emotionally moving the weekend is and the level of camaraderie that is felt. This years ride will be 200 kilometres spread over two days August 24th and 25th.

Fun fact: I don’t really ride a bike nor have I ever ridden one on the road with cars. This will be an entirely new experience for me. Sure I’ve had a beach cruiser I dust off a few times a season—this journey is going to be exceptionally different. This is why I have decided not to compete. I want to focus on my ride training with my initial step of committing to 3 spin classes a week along with my regular strength training regime. I’m looking forward to the new physical and mental challenges that are to come.

Naturally the cause is the most important part of this journey. Every single one of the riders has a personal cancer story that has impacted them. Sadly many of you reading this also have these stories to share. For me the most upsetting part of this disease has been in recent years when it comes to the devastation cancer has caused for women my age. I lost my Grandmother to breast cancer in my teens, but I have to say it is a completely different experience when I see cancer going after women I know in their late twenties to mid thirties. Now don’t get me wrong one instance is not worse than the other. It’s just when it is someone so relatable to your own age it makes the entire disease have a whole new sense of reality to me.

In my mid twenties one of my very best friends was misdiagnosed with a gluten allergy for years. It turns out it was Ovarian Cancer. She fought hard and had to endure a very invasive surgical procedure. I’m so happy to say she quite recently celebrated 5 years cancer free. She is my absolute warrior having handled the whole ordeal with grace and courage.

This year I had a shock when I heard news of an old college friend. She is a 31 year old mother of two who is fighting against stage IV breast cancer. Although we have not been close in recent years it is still someone I shared a classroom with and sat next to at Niagara College. She is a kind and beautiful soul who clearly demonstrates this disease does not discriminate. She has been candid in sharing her journey and it is heartbreaking to see it unfold for herself and her family. She shared a sobering reminder for women to check their breasts regularly and stay in tune with their body. Upon her advice I literally made my check up appointment I had put off for years that very day.

Most recently a good friend from Orlando shared very upsetting news about her sister that is in her thirties. After being in terrible pain with unexplained symptoms for months she has now learned that she has cancer. She very much wants children of her own and is currently raising funds to freeze her eggs before she starts her cancer treatment.

We all have stories of people we know that have battled, are battling or have lost the battle. Participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer is a small stride to make a difference when it comes to new discoveries and improved patient outcomes.

Spoke to Spoke and Pedal to Pedal. I’ll be sharing the training journey here on the blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. My fundraising goal is $2500 and I would love if you could take a quick moment of your time to make a donation to my ride.

For all those with a story — We have the power to create a happy ending. You can donate below and I thank you so much in advance.

http://www.conquercancer.ca/goto/krissyvann

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The Journey. The Challenge.

It's been a while. The last time I blogged I was on the brink of moving to my new job at CTV Vancouver and just embarking on my 12 week prep plan for the Vancouver Pro Show.

My two worlds were about to collide. Quickly co workers were going to become accustomed to the norm of me heating up pre prepped meals like clockwork. They would realize I would turn down all the offers of work snacks and quick lunches downtown. They would soon get used to hearing that my pre or post work plans typically involved being at the gym.

When prepping for a fitness show it's really just three key ingredients coming together. A goal. Consistency in taking steps toward that goal day in and day out. Lastly, discipline.

"It’s the discipline to work hard…
You know – NOT when everyone is watching.
But when no one is watching.
When the fans aren’t there.
When the coach isn’t there.
When it’s just you and your character.
The discipline to eat strong healthy foods, when you have other tempting options.
When those around you might not be so strong" - Fearless Motivation

So as many of you know I gave my whole heart to this prep. My discipline was unwavering. It was challenging as my entire life since I started competing a year and a half ago had changed. I had a new routine. New friends. New job. I hosted two back to back houseguests in my little 680 square foot condo at the heart of my homestretch of training. I refused to let prep result in being a social hermit so I went on brewless brew tours and dinner dates where I had already ate.

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To those not involved in the circle this may come across as a lot of sacrifice for one day. One day that involves 500 competitors. Where fierce competitors will be traveling in from around the world. One day where you could show up having brought everything to the table...and leave with nothing. Or do you really leave with nothing?

At the Vancouver Pro Show that was me technically. However, I can assure you I didn't leave that stage empty handed. I may not have left with a physical medal, but once again I've left prep with another 12 week crash course on the power of the human character.

You see once you go through this process you come to realize this empowering metaphor of life. That any goal you set can be achieved. When you make consistent choices day in day out that positively impact working toward that goal and remain disciplined to be consistent...You will get there.

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There is this incredible culture in this world of fitness that has learned that. Every single person who hit that international stage knows the battle. Knows the days they don't feel like it, but do it anyways. Throughout my day at the Vancouver Pro Show (very long day...Up at 3am Friday and went on stage the second time at 1230 am Saturday) I saw endless examples of sportsmanship, camaraderie and encouragement. It's a culture that celebrates pushing your mind places that allow your body to do great things. Every single person who got up on that stage has accomplished something that a sliver of the population will ever get up and do. One of the number one New Years resolutions involves incorporating a health and fitness routine. By July 95% of people have abandoned this resolution. The competitive fitness culture is yet another segment of the remaining 5% pushing things to the extra limit.

I don't say this in a superiority factor. We all have different motivators in our lives and ideals that we quantify achievements that fulfill us. I do feel though that any competitor has strength of character. The ability to identify choices we want to make to drive a path to our goal and follow it. I am amazed at the inspiration I get from this community daily. And who is the competitor you may ask? From copious amounts of tilapia to endless cardio to sobriety to no refined sugar...who are these crazy people that aren't being forced to live this way yet participate in the insanity that is show prep...

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They are nurses, doctors, police officers, lawyers, students (which I'm always so impressed because I know what I was doing in my early twenties), accountants, teachers and the list goes on and on. They are just normal people who share a passion.

I'm so happy to have incorporated this level of health and fitness in my life. I'm so happy to have joined in this community. My someday became this transformative journey to where I am now.

So where am I going from here now that one of my most challenging preps is behind me. Well I'll be honest the minute I was done my brain was like...I want to do it again! However, at this point I have decided to take the rest of the year off. I've done 36 weeks of strict show prep within the last 1.5 years. I want to get back to equilibrium over the summer and that starts with a reverse diet to a healthy balanced caloric intake. That said, I've discovered such a passion for health and fitness that I can't deny. So my next challenge is actually completing my personal training certification with Ace Fitness. I haven't crafted my exact game plan once I complete this, but no doubt I'll keep you posted. For now I've been enjoying soaking in more knowledge about how to build a healthy functioning physique and perhaps benefit others with this knowledge in the future.

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This post wouldn't be complete without some major thank yous. To every single person who has had to engage in a prep related conversation or smell cod at 830am in the lunch room...thank you. Massive thanks goes to my producer Derek at CTV who not only supported and motivated me so much through this process, but also popped in the middle of his day just to see pre judging. This meant so much and then he also generously let me use his nearby condo for a nap. We work so closely together at CTV and I'm just so happy to have met such a soul with a heart of gold. My husband Gavin is my biggest supporter. He has never doubted my crazy passions, ideas or pursuits and I'm forever thankful. My Mom who doesn't entirely understand this crazy sport, but nevertheless encourages me with unwavering love. My Coach Ondrej who responded to about 5000 messages during my toughest peak week yet. Beauty by Banakas for getting me glammed for show day and allowed me to have a 6am tan drying dance party in their salon. To every single person who checked in or has reached out in any way. I see you and I'm thankful for you. 

So I didn't get a medal. Yet I've woken up today feeling more inspired and motivated than ever. I'm so proud to have hit that daunting stage with incredible talents from around the globe. No one can take that feeling away. No one can take away the growth from the process. My passion has just been reignited after yet another epic journey to the stage. 

"It’s the journey.
The continued pursuit of growth.
The constant seeking of improvement. THE CHALLENGE.
That’s what makes life great.
That’s what makes a fulfilled life.

I didn’t come this far to only come this far!
When I get this GOAL: I’ll seek MORE. Not more things. MORE GROWTH.
Constantly pushing myself to be better.

I didn’t come this far to only come this far!
I came this far so I could be strong enough to go further!
So I would be good enough to push myself harder! I’m only getting started. This is just the beginning.

I AM proud of my achievements, but that doesn’t mean I’ll settle for them.
PROUD but NEVER SATISFIED. PROUD but FOREVER HUNGRY. PROUD and ALWAYS READY.
PROUD but PUSHING. PUSHING FOR MORE . PUSHING FOR GREAT.

A true winner doesn’t seek only the title. A true winner seeks GROWTH. A true winner seeks GREATNESS.
It’s the JOURNEY. It’s the CHALLENGE" - Fearless Motivation

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The Announcement

For anyone that knows me personally working at The Weather Network was always my dream. I recall saying it consistently when I was at school at Niagara College. In April 2012 that dream was realized. Entering the building that day I never imagined the moment I would make the call I did on March 1st, 2018. The moment I submitted my resignation.

I know I know. Why would you ever leave a job that you love. They say all progress takes place out of your comfort zone. Apparently my life theme is to visit that zone on the regular. I must have some sort of gravitational pull to it. That's really all I'll say at the moment.

Let me give you some context on how I got here.

After interning abroad at Canterbury Television in New Zealand and traveling the world working on cruise ships it was time to get to work on nailing down my TWN dream. I applied every 4 months. 

The approach worked and eventually I started my career there as a traffic reporter. I still remember my first live shift. In reality, I never made it to the green screen that day and did my first scheduled shift. Can you believe a friend took me out for a celebratory meal the night before and I got a nasty bout of food poisoning. I had to call my poor boss at home in the middle of the night. What a way to start.

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From that point though I have had more experiences in my job than I feel some may accrue in a lifetime. The role was far from a 9 to 5. I’ve never known what it was like to work in a cubicle. My days ranged from getting my face sand papered by a raging blizzard, to paragliding off a mountaintop in the rockies, capturing the Aurora at 36 000 feet, bobsledding in Whistler, celebrating the summer solstice at the Arctic Circle, standing on the worlds largest non polar ice field, hang gliding in Orlando. Honestly even writing it down makes it sound like someone else's imaginary life.

I would like to point out that none of that fell into my lap. I spent years as an on call employee. Like any on call type of work that meant your shift amounts could be feast or famine. I applied to jobs I didn't get. I got laid off from a station once that went up and went down in 4 months. There were many obstacles. I appreciate every single one of them.

Without those obstacles I never would have had the abundance of gratitude when the going was good. One of my most rewarding career highlights at The Weather Network will always be that it allowed me to move my life to the west coast in Vancouver. It was a terrifying move at the time, but the benefits have been exponential for both myself and my family. Family meaning my dog and husband. We miss our friends and family in Ontario often, but luckily Vancouver is an amazing place to visit (hint hint).

The biggest learning that I could give to any other individual is to embrace fear. I find that fear and excitement are such closely linked human emotions. If you push past fear you will discover something that ignites your life. Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. 

So this brings me to my departure. After 6 years I can tell you there has been all sorts of fear associated with leaving the creature comforts of my job. I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions with this decision. However, I can't let fear stop me from this next stage in my career journey. I'll share more with you on this in the coming days. Now is not the time.

For now I want to thank each and every one of you that have supported me so far. The ones that have believed in me when I'm known as the wild dreamer that always seeks to make them reality. There are a whole slew of incredible people that I have worked with over the years. Mentors. True inspiration. Kind souls. 

TWN houses the best people. There is so much involved in the behind the scenes that you all never get to see. I have worked with the most supportive and encouraging bunch. So much love to all of them.

I also have to thank each and everyone of you reading this. You have been a part of this journey. You have taken an interest in what I do and allowed me to share tidbits of my life with you. I truly feel we are all looking for human connection and I think we live in such an exciting time where it is literally at our finger tips. 

I will have more to share with you in the coming days. In the meantime I'll still be with my weather family until mid March.

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Disconnect To Reconnect

When was the last time you spent any length of time away from your phone? How long did you last?

Sometimes we just need a break and even a tiny one can make all the difference in our mental wellbeing. 2018 has been a wild ride so far for me so I was feeling this more than ever. On top of it my job is one that I have trouble disconnecting from at times. I work in weather. So as long as I'm in British Columbia even when I'm not working I feel like I'm surrounded by my work. I feel the need to document the patch of snow on green grass. To tweet the latest special weather statement. You get the picture...it's hard to power down.

I could feel the need mounting so I booked an impromptu getaway for my husband Gavin, my dog Stella and myself at Tofino Resort and Marina. 

Tofino Resort and Marina

For me Tofino is the ultimate destination to unplug. It's also helpful that service is sparing in the area. I actually opted to put my phone on airplane mode for 24 hours. No texts. No emails. No scrolling through social media.

I survived. My phone was merely a camera. I had shut off all external communication. It was fantastic and I couldn't recommend it more. Here are all the things I experienced during my iPhone boycott.

We arrived at our resort late Friday. This is actually the second time we've stayed there and I feel like I'm divulging Tofino's best kept secret. What used to be a rundown motel in the heart of town has transformed into a boutique chic affordable oasis at the marina. Best of all they have pet friendly accommodations. We booked for 2 nights. We popped into the resorts pub called The Hatch to have a post travel bite and a drink.

Saturday we woke up bright and early. We are those annoying morning people. We walked our dog and set out on the first adventure. Hot Springs Cove. We booked a tour with Ocean Outfitters.

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The thing I love about traveling in BC whether it be by boat or by car is that the journey is always as rewarding as the destination. The 1.5hour boat ride was stunning to the Hot Springs. We saw otters, sea lions and bald eagles on the way. When we arrived on the island it was a chilly hike to the springs. Temperatures were way below seasonal. This made the reward of the hot springs that much more sweet, but I'm not going to lie we were practically running vs hiking just so we could submerge.

The springs at maximum are 50 degrees celsius or 129 degrees fahrenheit. The roar of the surrounding ocean can be heard as you enjoy a tranquil soak and get settled in the rock formation. 

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After our tour of the springs it was time to hit up Tacofino and then Tofino Brewery. We walked there from our resort. We love that the brewery is dog friendly as our Stella much prefers to be part of the action. They have recently renovated to a new space. It is significantly bigger and perfectly pinteresty. As usual the brews on tap were delicious. It was a different vibe, which will take some adjusting to. I always preach my love of change, but I was feeling a little nostalgic over their original set up. That being said it was still perfectly laid back as you will find that is the norm throughout Tofino.

After the brewery we gave 1909 Kitchen a try, which was also located at our resort. You're honestly hard pressed to find a bad meal when in Tofino.

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That brought Sunday, which was spent strolling the expansive beaches all morning before heading back to home base.

As soon as I had returned to a service area down highway 4 I was reconnected to the outside world. The emails came in. The scrolling continued. The online world had gone on without me. 24 whole hours and the world had not imploded. 

I think presence is something we all struggle with. We have so many distractions it's really easy to not commit to being present in any particular moment. How many times have we gone to something for the sake of the gram photo later. How many times have we not truly seen a fireworks display because we are trying to get the perfect boomerang. Look at 99 percent of weddings and no one is watching the bride walk down the aisle. Not directly anyways- its all through our phones. I think we are all pretty guilty and we are consistently adapting our lives to integrate technology in a way that isn't sabotaging our mental health.

We constantly hear about the latest cleanse when it comes to diet. Maybe we have to take that mentality and apply it to our lives when it comes to dealing with technology. Take an evening. Take 24 hours. Take a weekend. Just take the time to give it a try. 

A little disconnect can go a long way when it comes to reconnect with what matters.

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The Human Connection

Sometimes I just have to blog about life. Essentially what I would typically journal I'm now sharing with you. For no other reason than in past experience and responses I've received...often times there is someone on the other side who makes it through my ramblings and what I've written down has resonated. So here goes...

Anyone notice that it is hard AF (I cringe thinking I'll get a text from my tech challenged Mom asking what that means) to make deep connections with people the deeper into adulting we get. 

Since moving to a new city I've put myself out there a lot. My job as a television video journalist requires me to interact with new people every single day. I've always taken pride in the fact I can walk into a room feeling confident that I can strike up a conversation with anyone. And I can. However, pass the buck conversation is a lot different than building a bond with someone that you can ultimately count on in this busy world.

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Now don't get me wrong. I've built a small handful of these deeper connections since moving here. I couldn't feel more grateful for those people that have entered my life. The ones I can be 100 myself and 100 percent real around. Outnumbering those is a large collection of those I have on the surface interactions and friendships with.

Which then brings the question. Why is it hard AF to be real. As clearly the equation for a deep connection is simple. Be 100 percent yourself with each other and your bond will grow. As humans I've noticed we set limits. Perhaps even a subconcious expectation that we project on an interaction that prevents us from breaking through that perceived barrier.

So what has caused this whole mental mind blown mood to strike me. I went to my pal Po on's winter mingler. Notice I say pal. I really like her and we actually have a lot in common. However, I haven't invested the time to dig deep with this woman. Another shining example...adding this to my to do list as I actually think there is great friendship potential there.

Any who I checked into the mingler, slapped on a name tag and got to work. There was no way I was going to stand in a corner awkwardly with a glass of wine in hand. And so it began. "Hey nice to meet you" "What do you do" "How long have you lived in Vancouver" "Do you live around here"

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

The rehearsed rhetoric we are all guilty of.

Then magic happened. Julian DeSchutter of Damn Early Days came up to the microphone and called us all out on our BS. With a simple chair.

The rules were clear. He would ask a question. The more you felt the answer to the question to be your truth you moved closer to the chair. Then we would share from the outer circle and the inner circle why we made our place there.

Question one. How easy do you find it to meet people.

Chair plus me. Glued to the chair. I can genuinely say I don't get nervous meeting new people in the slightest.

So he asked why I was so close. I expressed I loved meeting new people and generally others are sometimes just needing someone else to break the ice. So he asked my advice for the ones on the outer circle...quite possibly the dumbest response came out of my mouth.

"Well you always have the weather." UGH! Now in fairness I work at The Weather Network so its a hot topic for me. However, my response could not have missed the mark more and quite honestly it has led me to a spiral of self reflection. 

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Cool he said as he probably cringed on the inside. The questions continued all with a goal. To get us beyond that rehearsed rhetoric we all guard ourselves with. Before I knew it I was having real deep conversations with people I had never met from all walks of life. People sharing hardships from their lives whether it had been deaths, finance, career or family. The energy in the room had dramatically shifted from when I had initially walked in. It was powerful.

So now I left this entire mingler with a completely shifted mindset. It was something I didn't expect.

We all crave human connection. Especially when you move to a new place and have left your rock solid have your back humans that you can sporadically break into song around with zero judgement thousands of kilometres away. 

There are so many things and challenges in life where we say with risk comes reward. Life's biggest rewards come from the biggest challenges. They go on and on.

What I've learned is that this is no different when it comes to building a true human connection with another individual. You have to risk being vulnerable. You have to challenge yourself to not only share, but to unequivocally listen. You have to make the investment on a deeper level to reap the reward.

More than likely the person on the other side is craving the same thing as you. We are all just humans going through life with stories, challenges, successes and obstacles to share. We want to infuse our lives with people that have meaning. 

We all just have to admit that it isn't easy to let someone in. We need to be kind to others as there is always more beneath the surface that meets the eye.

Listen with an open heart and share with an open mind.

 

 

 

 

The Monkey Wrench

Somehow its February. I can honestly say 2018 has been moving at rapid speed for me. I was traveling the majority of the month with some fleeting down time with my dog Stella and husband Gavin.

Prior to the New Year I had a conversation over a burger (ironically) that led to some decisions in regards to competition in 2018. Due to my qualification at the Iron Ore Classic in the fall I was going to train for the Vancouver Pro/Am in July. However, there have been a lot of changes in the organization. Instead of the BCABBA I'll be competing with the CPA, which comes with some different rules and mandatory poses.

I missed the thrill of the prep anyways so I thought I don't want my first experience with this organization to be in July. I wanted to do a regional show first. Introducing the Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic in March. That became my goal...somewhat. I entered January with the kind of sort of mind set that I was possibly maybe going to do a show in March.

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This is where the problems started. Lack of focus.

I went home for a visit to Ontario. I called it my last hoorah. I still went to the gym regularly, but I indulged in a whisky tasting and other culinary fineries. 

Then I flew to Orlando for a work shoot. I called it my last hoorah. This was my final week before clamping down with a more restrictive competition diet.

About halfway through that shoot I was ill. Quite literally. That flu that has been running rampant decided that I would be its next recipient. The final days of the shoot I knew I wasn't fun. I was up all night with chills and a cough. I was socializing as that's part of the experience, but could feel myself increasingly getting run down. I missed 3 gym days in a row on that shoot.

When I got home I didn't move off the couch for 18 hours. In total that flu bug meant 7 days off the gym. My longest stint away in 2.5 years. It can not be coincidence that at the time I was taking the worst care of myself with diet and that is when I became super ill.

My competition dreams for March were waning, but I decided the call on that would be made by my Coach Ondrej. I see myself everyday. It's hard to tell exactly where my physique stands in regards to being competition ready. I can't help it, but I don't compete just for the experience. I enter the stage knowing I gave 100% and I'm competing for 1st.

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There is never any reason to lie to your Coach about your performance. Ever. Mainly because they know before you've even said anything. Their job is analyzing and critiquing your physique. So if you've missed 7 days or put the all you can eat into the all you can eat buffet...they can tell.

Ondrej was encouraging. Prior to the months hiccup I had been pretty steady with my off season nutrition and certainly wasn't missing time at the gym. Just like you don't make all your gains in a day...You don't lose them either. Your psyche will tell you otherwise. That is why a Coach is key.

So although it would be a much shorter prep and therefore a little more difficult...We decided we could do it.

Cue this last week where once again I was doing the morning show live from Florida. Trust me it was amazing. As much as its an intense schedule I am constantly reminded how lucky I am that during that week those activities and views are my assignments and office. Within one week I traveled from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale to Miami to Boca Raton. We worked 14 to 16 hour days. It was a lot of fun as you can imagine. I even got to check out the most indulgent hotel room (Penthouse at the Hilton Bentley-Former home of the Kardashians) ...As my producer put it...It quite possibly may have been the first time real work was done in the Kardashian penthouse.

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I started off strong with squeezing in my gym visits. I opted for healthy dining options. However, with 14 to 16 hour work days I didn't plan it well. That's when my brain was like well if you don't do LBMC you could do the Vancouver Island show right after it.

There lies the problem. Lack of focus.

Could I have ate restrictive and made sure to get all my workouts in. Absolutely. I'm a believer in no excuses. I chose swimming in the penthouse pool over a sweat sesh. I chose a 20 minute power nap over 20 minutes of cardio I could have squeezed in. I chose getting up at 6am instead of 5am.

I chose.

I really feel it was my wishy washy mindset over the March deadline that really allowed me to waver on getting the work done. This is why when it comes to goal setting having a clear and concise goal is one of the key ingredients to your success. If it doesn't have a deadline you aren't keeping yourself accountable.

In addition it comes down to more than motivation. Motivation is a fleeting emotion. I have a friend who just started a YouTube channel called Supercharger Wellness and it took him saying something I already knew to have a revelation over my progress this last month.

Motivation comes and goes. However, we use it as a tool we think we are always going to have. Motivation will fail you. Determination is what makes the difference. Determination is what would have gotten me to choose the treadmill over the pool, to choose to set the alarm clock to 5, to choose the cardio over the nap.

It is the time of year that many have seemingly fallen off the wagon when it comes to their resolutions and goals. Based on my performance for aiming toward a competition I would have to admittedly include myself among those many.

The beauty is realizing that its never to late and that if you decide to infuse your life with that determination NOW you can still reach those goals. Just because you feel like they may have faded away or that you derailed...don't use that as an excuse to not get back up and keep going.

I've reprogrammed my mindset. I know that I can do it. So March 24th is my deadline to hit the stage again. It's officially 6 weeks and 5 days away. It's ambitious, but so long as I can make it there with a healthy game plan it's going to happen.

So as the circulating meme has alluded. January was your free trail month. If you left your goal behind already don't use that an excuse to wait all the way until 2019 to try again. Just start now. You've got this!

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#MotivationCollective - Erin Danielle

The beauty of social media is its ability to unite individuals with a common interest. It allows us to cultivate a community that propels us toward our goals. This couldn't be more true when it comes  to the #fitfam. This is why I'm starting a weekly blog post called the #MotivationCollective. This platform allows stories to be shared of inspiring men and women who participate in this social space.

#MotivationCollective Volume 1:

Introducing Erin Danielle

Source: Instagram @erin__danielle / Photographer: Ramirez Creative Photography

Source: Instagram @erin__danielle / Photographer: Ramirez Creative Photography

When I had the idea to start this collective interviewing Erin was a no brainer. A quick scroll of her Instagram feed and it becomes apparent this woman is no ordinary warrior. She is highly dedicated to her fitness regime and greatly involved with motivating others. You'll quickly learn that she has had to face significant challenges after being faced with a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer. Through this all she has never hidden away from her followers. Instead she has shared her story on good days and bad all while carrying on with an epic tale of motivation and never losing sight of her goals. Keep on crushing it Erin and thank you for sharing!

How long have you been into fitness?

I've been active since high school, playing on basketball and rugby teams. In my 20s and early 30s I started weight lifting, but my passion was running. I completed several half marathon and 10km races. 3 years ago I discovered bodybuilding and competing and I'm hooked now.

What was your fitness 'aha' moment?

My 'aha' moment for competing was when I walked into a new gym and the gym owner told me 'you need to compete'.

What is your 'why fit' and what is your current goal?

When I started bodybuilding 3 years ago, I was going through a difficult and life changing time. I felt strong, powerful and in control when training. This gave me confidence outside the gym as well. 

I prepped and competed in 2 shows in late 2015 and early 2016. Then in October 2016, while I was in preparation for my third show, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Since then I've had 3 surgeries, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, countless tests and procedures. I continued to train throughout it all. I believe that if it not for bodybuilding, my body and mind would not have handled all that it had to endure throughout my cancer journey. For that reason, I continue to train, so I can take care of my body and mind both inside and out of the gym. I train to set an example for others and for my son. 

Source: Instagram @erin__danielle

Source: Instagram @erin__danielle

 

My goal this year is to make a comeback to the stage in July at the Vancouver Pro Show.

Aside from the physical transformation, what benefits have you gotten from regular fitness activity?

My fit and healthy body allowed me to remain strong through my treatments and surgeries.

What has your biggest challenge been along your fitness journey and how have you overcome it?

My biggest challenge along my journey was my diagnosis. At first it was difficult to accept that this 'setback' would actually set me back for over a year in my fitness journey. I have since learned that this 'setback' has made me strong both inside and out.

Is there something you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning when you started working out?

I wish I knew how to be patient! I was eager for results NOW. I know now that results and changes take time. It's called bodyBUILDING for a reason.

What is your fave cheat meal?

Sushi

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field so far?

My biggest accomplishment was winning 3rd place at my second bodybuilding show. That qualified me for the next level of competition, a pro-qualifier in July.

What has been your most embarrassing moment in the gym while training? Don't worry we all have one!

I often chew gum while I'm training. Sometimes, while exhaling, I shoot my gum right out of my mouth. It's happened so many times, I only blush a little now.

What advice do you have for someone just starting their fitness journey?

Make good diet decisions everyday. Not sometimes, but everyday. 

Consistency is KEY

If you think you're working hard enough you probably aren't. Work harder.

Be patient. Change and results take time.

Source: Instagram @erin__danielle / Photographer: Ramirez Creative Photography

Source: Instagram @erin__danielle / Photographer: Ramirez Creative Photography

 

Erin can be found training at West Coast Iron under the guidance of Darren Toma of Custom Built Training. We wish you luck in your training for the Van Pro Qualifier in July!

Follow Erin Danielle: @erin__danielle

Tidings of Discomfort & Joy

Ok so its officially 2018 and that means all that goal planning you've been talking about actually needs to be placed into action.

There are a million quotes out there that thread a common theme.

"Nothing worth having comes easy."

"Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard for it."

"Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it."

Well guess what. Statistically only 6 percent of you reading this will successfully accomplish your 'resolutions' or goals you've set out for yourself when you ring in 2019. By July that means 94 percent will either have failed or forgotten.

I still have so much to learn in this life, but there are some lessons that I've gathered in my three decades on this earth. One of the biggest is that most things that have been worth doing and have attributed to great happiness in my life or success have been the direct result of being incredibly uncomfortable. 

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A few examples would be when I worked on cruise ships. I was able to travel the world for free and build incredible friendships. However, I lived on deck 0. Yep...ZERO. I literally lived under the sea, which as you could imagine when you work 6 months straight 7 days a week with no days off...it can be a lot. However, I would not trade having that experience for anything.

Moving to Vancouver was a biggie. I owned a home in Ontario. I lived walking/biking distance (although I was so car centric at the time) from all my friends and family. I had a job in the province doing what I love at The Weather Network. However, there was something that I couldn't squash inside of me. It was a desire for more life adventure. From a personal choice when it came to a lifestyle...the city I grew up in didn't offer what I was after. (The West Coast is an endless playground for the outdoor enthusiast) So the opportunity came to move to Vancouver and I jumped. 3 weeks later I was here. If you've ever moved your entire life you'll know. Its a massive headache. It would have been easy to stay where I was, but in the end a risk turned into one of the biggest rewards. When I wake up to the ocean and mountains it brings me such a sense of joy.

Of course training for fitness competitions come with an abundance of discomfort. Fasted cardio, burpees, strict diet...the intense mental stamina. The time commitment. Yet again accomplishing that goal makes all those difficult times worth it.

So my biggest piece of advice whether you've crafted resolutions or not is to perhaps set this one goal.

Make 2018 your year of being UNCOMFORTABLE. It could be the best thing you ever did when you look back and reflect in 2019. Happy New Year!

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