The Creative Connection

As some of you may have guessed after being out of competition circles for over a year I have decided to return to the stage. I’m always happy to provide advice when it comes to health and fitness, but I feel it is important for me to emphasize that I embark on this journey for the benefits far beyond physicality. I want to communicate this to you as I understand that particularly in social media circles a constant bombardment of insta-fitness can be triggering for some. There are many negative connotations around diet culture and rightfully so. Training for a bikini competition can easily translate to an unhealthy relationship with food , binge eating and overall struggles with self image when it is all said and done. I never shy away from sharing with people that when you see my chiseled physique on competition day you have to bare in mind that I am dehydrated and have crafted my stage package for the sole purpose of that day. Quite honestly when it comes to stage day the term healthy is not synonymous with the situation.

That said, I’ve had fun during the process on every trip to the stage. I feel grateful that I’m tracking toward my fourth comp and haven’t harbored negative feelings around the journey. My reasons why I’m sure play a strong role in this. Fitness is a celebration of the ability to move our body. Naturally there is a strong focus on a sculpted physique, but the brain benefits are truly what resonates with me on a high level.

I’ve always put high value on physical fitness in my life. Not so much from the aesthetic side. Although, I will not lie to you, I do enjoy and find it fascinating that we can sculpt and define through nutrition and exercise. The main highlight for me that I’ve discovered is the mental creativity and clarity that amplifies in my brain inside those gym walls. I do my best thinking there and I’ve only recently been able to identify that it is my meditation. This is no coincidence.

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul”

-Elder Uchtdorf

The creative connection does makes sense. In fact it has been scientifically proven that exercise stimulates something called the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor-in a nut shell BDNF means you speed up the birth of new brain cells. This ultimately helps enhance memory and although there is more research needed to make the imagination connection—there are many theories that allude to the fact that we also gain a creative boost.

Since realigning myself with fresh goals at the gym and ramping up my focus I have been astounded by how it has shaped my mindset. Every HIIT sprint or strong lift makes me feel like I’m plugging in some cosmic connection to the universe that allows me to unlock the possibilities of what I can invite and create for my life.

I’ve felt this insatiable urge to write once again and share through my blog. I’ve even been daydreaming of ambitions so big that they seem damn near impossible to bring to fruition. However, this is where the beauty of dedicated workout routine comes full circle.

When prepping for a competition you are more disciplined and focused than many people believe themselves to be physically capable of. However, a competition prep becomes a metaphor for life and can truly be a gift in its own way no matter how the cards fall on show day. Generally you go through a 12 week transformation. You work on the goal of the stage every single day. You live and breathe it through how you fuel your body and the discipline to dedicate yourself to time in the gym for both weights and cardio. At first the progress seems slow and the goal seems far. However, over time you start to notice the subtle differences. Every single day becomes a building block toward that ultimate goal. Who you are at the beginning of the journey has vastly transformed by the time you reach the end. You have just proven to yourself that if you put the work in, focus your goals and take small steps each day—You can achieve something that seemed impossible when it felt far away. You won’t get there in one gigantic leap…it is all about the building blocks.

Which leads me to one of the biggest conundrums I’m presented with when on my fitness journey. Although it is not for everyone there are certainly people that find it a source of inspiration. They want to lift weights and sculpt and define. They ask you how on earth they can get started. This is typically followed up with sentiments such as “I could never be disciplined” “I could never give up alcohol” “I could never wake up early and go to the gym.”

And you know what…You’re right. I truly believe in this life we have this amazing creative brain that has the ability to craft anything you set your mind to. Look at all the marvels in the world and then tell me that isn’t true. However, anyone that has brought those instances to life has had one quality that is of the utmost importance. They believed in themselves. Yes you can be disciplined. Yes you can give up alcohol. Yes you can wake up early and go to the gym. Yes you can get the career you always dreamed of. Yes you can cultivate meaningful relationships in your life. You can have it all. It will take work. Just like training for a fitness competition it comes from putting in the work, focusing your goals and taking small steps each day.

There is no sense in ripping down the building blocks before you’ve even poured the foundation…You have to believe.

5 Reasons Why You Should Workout This Week

A new week has arrived and that means a million mantras start to flood our social feeds. Motivation can be fleeting sometimes no matter how much we read. It can be especially difficult if we've had a long break from our fitness and nutrition routine or are on the brink of diving into a new fitness regime.

Motivation is something that is recommended daily so here are 5 reasons why you should go workout this week...That have NOTHING to do with how you look:

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 12.29.32 PM.png

 

  • MENTAL FLOSS: Sometimes we have things that get stuck in our minds. Perhaps its regular anxiety. Maybe its that thing you said in your meeting. You could have even lost your mind on Carol and now can't shake it off. Just like you should be flossing your teeth...the gym is a great tool to floss out the fluff in your mind. Working out helps you focus on the here and the now. It's a great way to get some mental clarity
  • HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY: For every minute of anger or sadness you lose 60 seconds of happiness. There is no time to waste! Had a bad day?...Get working out! Thank that beautiful flood of endorphins for that elated feeling post workout.
  • MENTAL STRENGTH: You feel like there is no way you have one more rep in you, but somehow the music is perfect and you push past it. You think you couldn't possible sprint one more interval, but you focus and do three more. The gym is not just about flexing those physical muscles. It's a place that proves what you are made of on a mental level. You quickly start to realize you're capable of more than you ever imagined. This knowledge applies to a plethora of things in every day life that will help you push through perceived road blocks or obstacles.
  • CREME DE LA CREME OF CREATIVITY: Many studies have suggested that exercise boosts your creativity. So next time you want to get brainstorming on your next project or come up with the solution that will wow your workforce forget Googling someone else's stroke of genius. Create your own and enjoy the buzz of ideas flowing while getting your heart rate up as well.
  • THE ZZZZ's THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF: I'm sooo tired...I didn't sleep very well. Find yourself saying that less and less with a regular workout routine. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 67% of regular fitness buffs have a great night sleep. So say farewell to having to douse yourself in lavender and count a farm full of sheep...that perfect nights sleep could be just one treadmill away.

#Preplife Survival Guide for Your Other Half

I have essentially been prepping for competitions throughout 2017. One of the most common questions I get asked is "How are you and your husband doing?"

You see, competing can be difficult on the relationships we have with those that we love most. In fact competition aside a lifestyle change can be very difficult for couples to go through. Especially, if there is only one individual going through the transformation. 

In fact weight loss and lifestyle transformations are often quoted as a cause of divorce and conflict for couples. Add in the stress of an actual competition with a rigorous and extreme exercise and nutrition plan...the results can be detrimental.

I feel so very lucky to have a rock of a support. I've been happily married for 5 years to a man that has been in my life for 50% of my time on this earth. 2017 has marked a huge lifestyle change for me and I couldn't have asked for a better swolemate. But don't worry. I'm not going to feed you some filtered lies. It hasn't been smooth sailing the entire stretch. The ups and downs have made us even stronger and I like to think we've learned a little something along the journey.

 

This is why I've compiled the #Preplife Survival Guide for your other half:

  1. Don't Touch The Meal Prep: This is number one for a reason. When in prep every meal is planned and calculated. Nothing can put a monkey wrench in a day more than coming in after the gym and finding that a meal is missing. Yes we will notice if even an ounce is gone. Reactions to this can range from anger to mega toddler meltdown mode depending on stage of cut. Remember if opening the fridge: When in doubt-Anything in tupperware is out.
  2. Time is Of The Essence: Epic cardio sessions, killer workouts and prepping meals is a time killer. Add to that a normal working life and the yearning to be a social human vs a hermit...free hours can quickly get cut. This can mean sometimes it seems like we don't have enough time for you. Please know we love you to bits and couldn't do this without you. Sometimes we get so focused on the goal we forget to let you know that. If that's happening please don't hold it inside. Plan a date or suggest a movie night. Make us make the time. Fave date advice that we did this prep: couples massage at a spa that lets you use their hot tub and pool facilities as a day pass after. Reconnect with the addition of soothed muscles. Perfection! 
  3. Hot Mess Express: So you get all ready for work. The work day is done and the sweat session begins. The version of you your significant other gets at the end of the day is the PJs on and messy bun activated mode. Please understand there is a ridiculous amount of showering involved when you work out this much. Putting in the extra effort to get done up is just not in the cards always after the long days. It'll be worth it when you get to sit there all proud on show day.
  4. More Mess From The Hot Mess Express: The all you can eat buffet is out and the all you can wash dishes and laundry is in. Whether its tupperware mountain taking over the kitchen or the new laundry basket art installation in the hallway...we know. And we can't help it. We will deal with it...however until the prep is done it is literally a rinse.wash.repeat situation. A little help goes a long way. Literally can't describe the heart melting moment of finding a batch of dishes put away or the laundry folded in its place. At the very least...if you don't have time to do it yourself just don't address the mess. We know. We got this!
  5. Be Our Cheerleader: The transformation process is just as much a physical journey as a mental one. We are going to have days that are totally ridiculous. Whether its a carb deprived brain that leaves their wedding ring at a tanning salon (happened!). Or days where we have made so much progress yet just don't see it. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous we sometimes just need an ear to listen or a word of encouragement. The tiniest gesture can truly make the most remarkable difference.

Lastly please know we so appreciate you. When I took first at the Iron Ore Classic one of my favourite parts was that my husband was sitting near the front row. As 2nd place got called and I was the last person left standing on the green line I felt my eyes well up with tears. Fine. It's an amateur show. It's not like I was getting my pro card. However, this was an amazing end to a 272 day journey to get to that stage. I could not have gotten through months of prep without my husband. He was the ultimate cheerleader. When I competed in Kelowna and I wanted to compete again...there were reservations. This meant altered versions of date nights...messy kitchens...time constraints. In the end all I received was support.

It was a magical moment to be able to connect eyes when they called my number-contestant 396.  In that moment it was like we were communicating the same message to each other, "WE did it!"

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 5.53.25 PM.png

 

 

Going Glutton Free

Glutton: an excessively greedy eater

Synonyms: gourmand, overeater, big eater, gorger, gobbler

Yep...My eating habits once were synonymous with a gobbler. Let me paint the picture of a couple real life scenarios for you:

1) Husband and I decide we are going to order pizza for dinner. Obviously we get the deal that comes with two pizzas so we each have our own....we will have some for lunch we say. We crush the pizzas. Cinnamon sugar covered dessert for an extra $2...sure I'll fit that in there as well.

2) Movie night in our household. Can't watch a movie without snacks. Chips...mmm. Well for the price of the little bag I could get two big bags for $3. Those big bags are half air anyways. We each get our own fave kind of chips. Said family size bag of chips...crushed. Fingers covered in chip seasoning. Lick off said seasoning.

3) Gets ice cream thats really just "Modified milk ingredients, sugar, glucose, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, polysorbate 80, carrageenan and artificial flavour."??? Tummy is upset after bite four...5 minutes later scraping the bottom of said container. Should have got the bigger size.

Sound familiar at all?

Personally I don't think these situations are unique to myself and I have no shame to admit it. Food relationships are complicated from the get go.

IMG_9749.JPG

Think about it. Every milestone in your life. Happy occasions and even through the rough times...We reward ourselves with food to elevate our mood.

Birthday? Have a cake. Funeral? Skip flowers send cookies. Bridal Shower? Cake Pops. Showed up to work on Monday? Muffins and Cupcakes.

No wonder this behaviour so quickly translates into us thinking the idea of a great night is throwing on a onesie...binge watching til our eyes hurt while mindlessly shoving food in our face that provides zero nutritional value and we weren't even hungry in the first place.

You aren't alone.

I used to get excited for said nights. Especially if they could happen as a party of one. Husband away or has gone to bed early. Excellent...I can silently savour every crunchy bite or whatever the delicacy de jour was.

I was a glutton.

IMG_9752.JPG

Since starting my fitness transformation I've come to understand food in a way I never have before. I study menus and realize at a restaurant the majority of items often exceed what should be my daily caloric intake. I look at portion sizes and know a dinner plate filled with food is ludicrous. I think of 'all you can eat' and now ask...why is that a thing?

 I look at those items not in judgement toward others. A once in a while moment like this is fine. However, feeding ourselves like that in a repetitive manner is a recipe for health issues in the future. I'm not an ingredient snob by any means, but I'm certainly a lot more cautious over food that I can't read a single ingredient of.

Now I'm on the other end of the spectrum. Training for a competition with a tried and tested method that would often be referred to as bro science. My nutrition plan consists of very clean basic ingredients. Everything is measured to the ounce or gram.

This can equally become a disaster because it once again complicates the relationship with food. If you obsess and do that so long you can end up in a mindset that you don't even know how to properly fuel your body when your competition life is done. You can build a fear over consuming something not in the plan.

I can't say what this transition will be like for me for sure after September, but I hope I'll be as ok as I think I will be. My Coach will put me on a reverse diet where I slowly transition into what my maintenance calories should be. Staying stage lean year round. Not healthy. 

I started competing in bikini fitness mainly because I already loved the gym. I spent countless hours there because its a way I actually enjoy spending my free time. No...I didn't drink an excessive amount of pre workout magic koolaid that manipulated my brain into typing that. I genuinely love the feeling of lifting in the gym. Quite honestly as time has gone on I actually enjoy cranking my music and doing my cardio sessions. However, not in the length required this close to competition.

It's never really been about an obsession over a particular physique I wanted. Do I love the results? Yes. But I never saw anything "wrong" with myself to begin with when it came to looking in the mirror.

For me its about feeling strong. Watching my lifts get bigger and bigger. Being able to do a proper pushup. Pull ups! I started with assisted and now have no problems all on my own. It's been about the discipline. Knowing that I can enjoy "cheat meals"...but not in the gluttonous fashion I used to know. I understand that food is what fuels my body. What goes in is ultimately going to determine how well my body functions. I've used the example before, but it is the best one. Would you fuel your car with sawdust and crap? How well would it run. Would you expect it to travel the distance? Of course not...fill it with premium and its ultimately going to run at a premium. Your body is the same.

Overall I think most of us have a complicated relationship with food. However, in the age of social media and technology we have more information at our finger tips then ever before. You have to do what is right for you. I've been prepping and for me its not mentally waring to eat my lean ground turkey and veggies. I find it tasty and my meal prep simplifies an aspect of my life. I love that. For someone else that same experience would be torture. If it is...don't do it. You need to find what fits your life. You need to have moments of that glutton like enjoyment, but don't make it your source of entertainment. 

I fell into that for a period of my life and I know I didn't feel well. I napped all the time. My energy levels were so low and my productivity was poor. I also don't miss it. 

Learn about what fuels you. Try new things. Build a relationship with food you love and your body will love too. 

 

 

5 Things You'll Never See Me Do When I Work Out

We all have different approaches to fitness. Getting out, moving and doing what makes you happy is ultimately the best formula for your health and success.

For me personally I find tremendous benefit both physically and mentally by going to an actual gym. I love it. It's my version of me time. Headphones are in, blood is flowing, weights are lifted-I feel strong and focused. I share this passion with many individuals, but we all have different approaches. I learn something from the fitfam every single day.

So I wanted to share some gym truths with you that I've discovered along the way. You may just find you are the same or learn something that may be beneficial in stepping up your game.

 

Here are 5 things you'll NEVER see me do when I workout:

JUDGE MY FITFAM

Intimidated. This is the best word I can use for when I first stepped into the gym solo and started lifting barbells. Was I doing it right? Does this weight make me look weak? OMG I just fell off my bench! The struggle is real and we all start somewhere. I'll be the first to admit when I'm in the gym my regular smile all the time face disappears. I'm generally concentrating and envisioning the goal I'm working toward. That being said I try and give a little smile whenever I see a new face no matter what their fitness level is entering the gym. Remember we have all been there and we can all learn from each other. We have all decided to share our free time in this space and that is something to be celebrated. It takes conscious effort and choice to get that workout in...so even if my smile is absent know that I'm rooting for you. 

We all start somewhere. My first chest press was failure after 4 reps of 5 pounds...I kid you not. I've come a long way and have logged 170 workouts this year alone-strength is up-but knowing where I started is still like yesterday in my mind.

LEAVE A SWEATY SOUVENIR

I've yet to see a gym that doesn't supply some method to wipe down the machines after use...Please...Just Use This. 

FORGO THE RERACK

I know this may come as a shock...but there is no magical gym fairy following you around putting away what you use. I get it...a new vein or muscle is popping out so you got a little distracted in the mirror. I've been there. That being said-we all lead busy lives...we all have places to be...we could all work out a lot faster if we put things back where we got them.  On this note...most gyms actually label the free weights by number. The weights go back into place with their corresponding number. Got it...Good

PICK A SONG

Ok so I'm old school and most of the time I have a playlist on my iPod verses streaming. That being said no matter what method I choose somehow I can't find that motivating track when I need it. I also happen to instantaneously hate everything I've personally curated on my iPod. Sorry this rest break isn't ending until I find that perfect song to help me lift this up and put it back down 10 to 12 times.

WORK OUT MY FINGER MUSCLES

Unplug and I promise you'll have a better workout. I get it that some of us are using fitness apps to guide our workouts or log our weights. I can deal with that. However, having a full blown conversation via text with all your friends telling them how you're at the gym...not helpful. Not just for people you are inconveniencing that may want to use the machine you're monopolizing. You are actually hurting your workout. An effective workout means connecting your mind to your muscle. A phone is going to get in the way of that relationship. Plus if you're really serious about training you shouldn't be on your phone. What other athlete or sport would it be acceptable by a coach to be texting away or scrolling through social while training-None.

No matter what you're training method is I hope that you're having fun while working toward those goals and gains! That really is the major key to success.

Myth Busted: Self-Care a Necessity not a Luxury

The importance of self-care. Just say yes.

I found myself in the heart of the summer with some time off I had to take. So I booked the vacation days and for the first time in my life. I planned NOTHING.

Messages have been coming in from friends saying “Happy Vacation”…what are your plans?

Nothing.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can’t remember the last time I took time off with no plans. Especially having moved to Vancouver. Lately, when I have time off it is either spent flying home or entertaining a guest in Van. This is naturally fulfilling in its own way. Catching up with loved ones and with friends that I have so much history with. However, it never quite feels like vacation. It’s busy. It’s sightseeing. It’s dinners. It’s SCHEDULES.

Self-care is so important, but how many of us take a time out to indulge?

And no…taking time out for yourself does not include scrolling through your social feeds with a glazed expression on the couch glimpsing into the filtered world of each other’s lives.

I’m talking about taking yourself on that hike you’ve wanted to do, reading a book, lounging by the water, meditating, mani/pedis, massage…

How many of us have benefit packages from work that don’t get used! For example, a Canada health care study found only 27 percent of people with massage employee benefits use them…What?!

Now a huge rebuttal from most will be. Well…easy for you to say but MY life is SOOOO busy…I couldn’t possibly take time out for me. I’m willing to bet if you added up the amount of time you spend on social media and TV combined…you can carve out time for you.

Another rebuttal will be …easy for you to say…You don’t have kids. And I would say…hey now I love my four-legged fur child… but seriously…No I haven’t walked in your shoes, but I would hope you have loving family members or friends you could call upon to help you gain some quality time for yourself.

Because you deserve it.

Most people tend to constantly be living in the past or the future. That type of mindset is stressful. We can easily go through an entire day rushing from one thing to the next to the next…worrying about what is behind us or ahead of us…with none of those things we are rushing to adding any quality of life for ourselves.

But what if you only had this one day? Would you live it differently?

I activated staycation mode this week and it has been so refreshing. Not only do I get to spend time enjoying my city, but I’ve just simply operated on a non-plan plan.

Need a little self-care inspiration? Here are 5 ways to carve out some ever important YOU time:

Read a Book: Okay so you’ve had your long busy day and you’re climbing under the covers. Time to relax. Then you whip out your phone and start endlessly scrolling through your social feeds to catch up on what you missed in the last 5 minutes. Sound familiar? Ditch the phone! Pick a time in the evening to unplug your life. Put your phone on charge…and leave it. I promise you the world won’t come crashing down. Then grab your kindle and get down to that book you’ve been dying to read….Or if you really want the authentic experience…pick up an actual book. It’s amazing what our imaginations are capable of and it is such an incredible moment when you reignite that feeling of being transported to another world through written word.

 Meditate: I am self-professed the worst at this! Anytime I’m put in a position of group meditation my brain starts firing off incessantly. However, practice makes perfect. A great start for more mental clarity and mindfulness …. Carve out just 60 seconds …Just focus on your breath. In and out. Yep…us humans are pretty amazing aren’t we.

Roll it Out: The foam roller is an amazing tool that helps your body. Once you get in the groove it becomes a lot less painful and a lot more satisfying. Particularly if you spend any length of time working out your muscles will thank you. I’ve been so guilty of not stretching and I put my body through its paces. My Coach Ondrej at My Trainer 365 gave me a talking to about this as I’m missing out on tremendous benefits of my fitness as a result. The best time to roll will depend on your fitness regime. However, I’ve had several health practitioners say even if you just roll it out while you are watching TV your body will thank you.

Use The Benefits: Ok so I realize this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’ve had benefits and not through my career. One thing that annoyed me when I didn’t…is people who did and didn’t use them. Seeing an RMT or a chiropractor can give you such a different perspective on your health. Don’t wait to be in pain or something to go wrong to finally find the time to make the appointment. Do it now. When you have a car you get regular oil changes for a reason…generally it doesn’t just go into the shop when it falls apart…if you get it regularly maintained less goes wrong. Same principle here. Why would you treat your car better than you treat yourself? My Grandfather when he reached his late 70s used to say he felt like all his parts were on recall. He didn’t start exercising until after 75. He instantly found great benefits from it. However, I’m sure he would have rather maintained through his life so he could feel better for longer.

Just Be and Get Rid of the Guilt: So you’ve gone on that walk with your favourite tunes in your ear. You sit down on a piece of driftwood with your feet in the sea. And all you can think about is all the things you should be doing verses where you are. You start worrying about that thing that was said at breakfast. You begin to feel the anxiety creep up over that task you didn’t quite get done at work. Just stop. Just be. Give yourself permission to just enjoy your surroundings. It is so simple, yet how many of you have been guilty of the above. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking time for yourself to enjoy life. It’s a beautiful world out there…so enjoy it!

Even if you take just that 60 seconds to meditate today. Do something for you.

 Your body and your mind will thank you for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Muscle Fluff

Hey you!

I've missed you. However, if you recall when I started down this journey...I'm an incredible procrastinator. So here we are several weeks after my last post and so much has been happening!

I feel as though I've had terrible planning foresight when it comes to my competition training. Who goes through June and early July in bulking off season mode! I'll explain in a moment, but first...

Its been a while since we've caught up so if you want to lurk the latest adventures I'm forever updating my Instagram:

Okay so let me explain what's been going on the last little while...

Basically I hid my ultra lean bod under raincoats and sweaters for several months throughout the winter, spring and up to May 6th (Kelowna Classic Competition Day). Then I had my pow wow with Coach Ondrej at My Trainer 365 and was like oh I want to compete again. How about Prince George for the Iron Ore Classic on September 30th. Poof-like magic he had the road map planned out and perfectly tailored for me. Which up until recently has included an epic amount of carbs (complex carbs mind you) and lots and lots and lots of eating. 

My Coach does NOT believe in dirty bulking.

Dirty Bulking definition from good old google search: For those of you not familiar with the concept, the idea of dirty bulk is simply to eat as much as possible, adhering to no real nutritional guidelines other than getting a boatload of calories down your gullet. There is no distinction between junk food and health food.

Clean Bulking again from my friend google: Traditional dirty bulking is like rowing a boat with one oar. First, gain some muscle and balloon with fat. ... Although you'll gain weight and size with a loose diet, you'll also get fat and compromise your health. Lean bulking takes time. A lot of time. Remember, the whole point of lean bulking is to gain muscle with minimal fat. 

My initial plan had 2 cheat meals a week built in and the rest was a calorie surplus meal plan filled with veggies/meats/and ample carbs. All good healthy foods and clean eats.

Overall I felt okay about my off season performance. Just okay. I nailed being consistent getting my workouts in...nutrition...so so.

 I let myself throw caution to the wind a couple times in Yukon. Mainly with outings that involved VINO...and headaches in the morning...so lets just say more than a glass. I never missed a workout...even when that involved cramming myself in the smallest space of my room at a remote fishing lodge. Krissy, why didn't you take your workout outside if there was no space you ask? Because I breathe deeply when I workout and I didn't fancy hoovering mosquitoes down my lungs. Now that I think of it though...I'm sure the extra protein wouldn't have hurt.

Kluane National Park- Yukon

Kluane National Park- Yukon

 

When July came around and I was starting to hit the beach more regularly that is when I started to feel mentally confused over the process. I knew I wasn't that far away from where I got myself to in May and I also knew that being that lean like competition isn't going to be the case all the time. However, I felt like I was wearing a muscle sweater of all the cheats and deviations that I had since competition. To be honest the biggest issue at that point was that between work travel and summer getaways Ondrej and I hadn't sat down for a solid check in. When that happens I start to feel the questions creep up in my mind. Do I look the way I should based on what he sent me? Am I on track for this competition? Am I gaining enough muscle? Have I gained to much fat? I realize that this does all sound so superficial. You need to remember that I'm training for a specific competition that isn't that far away. I'm very passionate for this sport and want to give every prep everything I've got. That is why having a Coach/Trainer is so important. Not only do they push you to your physical goals, but they guide you through the mental obstacles as well. Every single time I've had that mental muscle fluff in my head and I share with him when I have my in person check in....he always is like why didn't you text me. When they say 365 support...Ondrej and Andrea really mean it. 

As much as the mental questions can come into play sometimes its all a lot of fun.

 

Which brings me to my next discovery. Off season workouts are the best. Oh-my-goodness! So many personal bests when it comes to lifting. It is amazing what a well fuelled body can accomplish. I've felt stronger than ever before and it has just made everything more fun in the gym. Now that I've been going steady since January...(I actually just logged my 150th workout since the start of the year in my personalized Trainerize app from My Trainer 365)...I'm a lot more comfortable when it comes to trying new workouts. If I see a workout a fellow woman is killing and I'm not sure how it works..I'll just go up and ask. That is what the fitfam is for!

So as for how things stand now I'm 10 weeks from my next competition. I've told Ondrej not only do I plan on winning my class, but I'm aiming for the overall. I'm going to put everything into this prep. My carbs have just gone through their first big cut since off season. I'm feeling actually as though the eating is a lot easier since its not carb overload anymore. Ondrej is already laughing at me as he knows when I'm super close to competition and carb depleted I'm going to eat those words. I get one cheat meal a week so I still have the chance for summer social outings. I've also built in 3 days of freedom in my plan for when I go home to visit friends and family in Ontario late August. Always important to plan ahead!

So that's me in a nutshell. How have your fitness goals been doing since the summer started? 

 

 

Get 'Summer Ready'...Why even bother

Remember "New Year New You"...Well now the new theme is "surprise summer is all of a sudden here, which means its swimsuit season." The calendars flip to June and beach season is upon us before we know it. I've actually already had a couple beach days here in Vancouver. Yay! I love the beach and have recently moved to the neighbourhood of Kitsilano to be even closer. 3 minute bike ride kind of close. There is some sort of joy that comes from staring at the water shimmering under the sun. (Despite the rumours yes sun does exist in Vancouver)

 

Something happens though when swimsuit season appears. A million advertisements prey on our insecurities and most of us quickly start strategizing in alarm that we aren't good enough to lounge around the sun and the sand. Almost all of us do this. I can almost guarantee that even the most fit individual you see knows of a flaw in their physique that they harp on. This is terrible. All we should be worried about is salty hair and sandy toes. 

I don't like the implication that summer ready means you aren't good enough now. We come in all different shapes and sizes. There are incredible options at the stores to "suit" every body....see what I did there. Ultimately your happiness is what is most important. Summer is all about creating those magical memories with friends and family that give you the warm and fuzzies on a cold winters night as you reminisce. 

To be honest out of all my summer memories you know what I don't recall for the most part. What I was wearing. What I looked like. No...instead I recall that time we found a retro hair crimper at the cottage and lived it up 80s style. The time the night sky in Tobermory, Ontario seemed to be filled with a billion stars. The time we ran down the streets of Blue Mountain for my friends bachelorette and embarked on absolute shenanigans. I recall a lot of laughs...sweet summer smells and a lot of smiles.

 

So my first bit of summer ready advice...don't stress. This season is far to fleeting to stress about where you are at in your fitness goals. I always remind myself...no one cares or thinks as much about you as you do about you. So that moment when you are over analyzing how you look in a swimsuit and thinking everyone is noticing that spot you aren't happy with. Guess what...they are probably busy over analyzing themselves giving no attention to that spot you're insecure about. It's a selfish thought, but holds a lot of truth. 

That being said obviously fitness is a huge passion of mine. Not as much in the results physically verses what it does for me mentally. It's the feeling I get to carry with me everywhere. For those that have started their journeys this year...you know the one.

So why even bother to get summer ready....

-It's a community. There are so many fun ways to incorporate fit in your summer. Whether its paddle boarding, hiking or a bike ride. This season offers so many ways to get your workout in that are a lot of fun. One of my fave activities of last summer was a build our own brewery tour my husband and I did. We designed our bicycle route and mapped out all the places we wanted to do some tasting flights. We got lots of exercise, although beer isn't exactly the epitome of health...

 

-Confidence. It's just plain simple. Getting up and moving makes us feel good. Especially after the season of binge watching our fave shows while cursing the winter weather from the comforts of the couch. There is a reason why there are those that post every gym visit or want to talk about the class they just did. It made them feel good. All of a sudden they want everyone to feel good. There is such a joy in doing something for yourself and that is exactly what a workout is. An investment in you. Ultimately this is going to give you a boost of confidence. This will shine on to those around you.

-Balance. Move over Thanksgiving and Christmas-Summertime is the real culprit. I don't know about you, but summer is always the biggest challenge for me when it comes to moderation. There are so many gatherings, BBQs, events and patios to be enjoyed. I've had years where that has dragged me down from a health perspective. Who would have thought that a pure diet of beer and BBQ burgers doesn't equate to a tremendous amount of energy. If you start thinking about your summer ready game plan now you'll be more conscientious when it comes to making your nutrition choices when those events stack up in a week. 

My best advice if being summer ready has been on your brain. Do it for you. Don't do it because you have an ideal you want to fulfill for anyone else. If you've been teetering on starting that routine or waffling on pursuing your goals than just go for it. The benefits go far beyond feeling strong...(although when I can carry all my groceries up the elevator to my condo in one trip...I'm pretty stoked) The benefits come from how you feel on the inside. For taking that special time to focus just on yourself and doing something just for you. 

As for what this summer beholds for me...Lots and lots of carbs!!! Woo. Complex carbs, but lots of them none the less. I'm starting my lean bulking with My Trainer 365 in preparation for fall competition. What on earth is lean bulking?...More on this in a future post. Summer is going to be a challenge, but I'm ready. Through sharing my story I've slowly been growing a pretty stellar chain of people on their own journeys...we are all going down different paths, but the bond is in the building. Building a lifestyle for ourselves that fulfills us and makes us feel healthy and strong.

Note: Should you be completely lost as to where to start on your fitness journey my trainers do online training at My Trainer 365. For the most part that is how I did my transformation. They have a great mobile app with your plans and literally as in their name-365 day support. Living in Vancouver I did have the chance to do bi weekly check ins in person. Fully transparent-I don't get anything for mentioning them. I just owe Ondrej and Andrea so much for changing my life that I always want to give them a shoutout. 

Post Competition - Let me Nutella You About It

Hi Ondrej

Ok so just updating you on life/confession time. My friend left last weekend. Definitely have the wine country escapade out of my system. During her visit I also encountered processed cheese-oh my goodness. My stomach had serious food baby status for like 3 days after. Clearly cheese and I aren't friends- never mind poor quality cheese AKA plastic? I'm fairly sure I also consumed several hundred calories of Nutella. Not like taking down an entire jar or anything, but things got a little frenzied for a moment. I thought I hated it...who knew? Nutella is life. That being said I've been steady at the gym. 6 days a week steady...

As for my veins being filled with Nutella and wine...you know me. Once my heads in the game it's all in. So once I have all my components together for the next step. It's game on 100%.

I endlessly told my coach Ondrej how much I hated Nutella when it was recommended as my rice cake topping on competition day. 

How naive.

Prior to competing I did a lot of reading about post competition. The post competition blues was a subject that came up often. The overall synopsis is you finish competition. You've been so strict for 12 weeks. You go uncontrollably off the rails when its done.  Then you ultimately end up in worse shape than before you even started your 12 week prep. Then you spiral and feel depressed.

That doesn't sound fun.

Luckily, I have tremendous support from My Trainer 365. There was no way I was falling into that trap. Ondrej and I had been discussing the reverse diet during the weeks leading into the competition. You get two cheat days. Then you get on track with a clean diet. The whole point of this whole process for me is not just to get fit for the summer. Not just to get lean for competition. Its to embrace health and fitness 365 days a year.

This includes health of the mind as well. So after competition it worked out seamlessly as I had a friend I've known since high school coming out to visit beautiful BC.

Our main event was a road trip to BC wine country with a stay in Kelowna and then near Vernon for a spacation.

The first stop was in Kelowna where we stayed at Hotel Zed. This is actually the same hotel I stayed at for the Kelowna Classic. We stayed in their suite, which was super spacious. The decor is oh so fun. Literally if you just want to embrace the fun side of life I highly recommend a stay here. The price is very affordable. They live by the slogan 'rebels agains the ordinary'. It's clean, it's bright and happy. PLUS...they have a disco room. Essentially designed for one or two people...costumes and all. You can also wear free roller skates in there. We took advantage of this and no doubt our laughs were echoing down the hallways.

 

We went out for a traditional BC visitor classic dining spot-Cactus Club. I ate pretty light with a veggie and rice dish. We did partake in several drinks. Followed by several more.

The next day we toured the Okanagan wine country. It's all about supporting local right? So we left with several to go bottles of wine and it was off to Sparkling Hill Resort.

My goodness. This place is the epitome of rest and relaxation. You're perched in the mountain top near Vernon, British Columbia. Expansive lake and mountain views delight. The property is clearly well designed so that you can get the maximum appreciation of these views from all angles. We toured the property and were told that robes were in our room. It was highly encouraged to venture all places in our robes and slippers. Even to the restaurant for breakfast (which is included in your stay rate). The only time and place they weren't permitted was in the Peak Fine Restaurant dining room at dinner.

 

After working tirelessly for so long this was the moment I was waiting for. Hotel Robe on. Slippers on. BC wine country wine...opened. Consumed. Opened. Consumed. Opened.

Sensing a theme here? This is why I had my Ondrej confession above.

The resort is home to Kurspa AKA heaven on earth. Access is also all part of your stay. It is Canada's largest spa coming in at 40 000 square feet. You have 7 unique themed steams and saunas. Included. My friend and I bounced around from a soothing rose steam, to an herbal sauna to the highly innovative and refreshing Igloo room. When we just wanted to sit in serene silence...there was literally a room for that. No talking in the serenity room. When we wanted to reminisce over our excitement of the steams and saunas we enjoyed a tea in the tea room, quietly chatting in hushed voices. We both got massages. Obviously this is extra, but a spacation isn't complete without a massage. After making my body work so hard for so long it was so wonderful to indulge in this treat. Then of course there were the themed showers. My favourites were the tropical and the fresh showers. The tropical was a lemon scented...yes a SCENTED shower...with the perfect warm temperature and the sounds of the jungle. The fresh was a cooler mist shower with an invigorating pine scent all topped off with the sounds of the rainforest.

 

Kurspa was home to an equipped gym facility. I went each day of our stay in the morning. It would have been really easy to stay curled up in the most comfortable hotel bed I've ever slept in. However, I knew it was a slippery slope if I let my guard down on that element of my routine.

The stay cost both of us a pretty penny. However, if you have some extra splurge income floating around I would recommend Sparkling Hill Resort over and over again. We stayed 2 nights and we both agreed it felt like we had been away for a week or longer. In the best way possible. Their main goal is for you to check in, truly unwind and focus on your health. Mission accomplished.

When I returned to my home I was actually moving to a new condo the very next day. Talk about jumping right back into life. I was honestly so happy to reunite with my kitchen. At this point I was just craving 100 percent clean eats. As soon as I moved the next day I did a shop and ample meal prep. I was planning on starting my lean bulking off season meal plan. I lasted a day. So many carbs are in this plan as obviously the aim is to lift heavy and to build muscle. I was so bloated from our wine country escapades I just couldn't stomach it. So I made the executive decision to go on one of my fat cut meal plans from the early days of prep. Can you believe it? That is what I was craving. I've been doing this for a week now and I feel so much better.

The biggest thing I've learned when it comes to nutrition is that a lot of foods actually put my stomach in physical pain. Sometimes it is even prolonged. Especially if its dairy. Clearly I'm not tolerant. I didn't eat cheese for 3 months when I was on prep. As I move forward although I now get two cheat meals technically a week on this new plan. I don't think I'll indulge in that item, which I loved so much. 

Overall I'm happy that for the most part I've stayed on track. My gym routine hasn't wavered. My diet overall is something I'm pretty happy with. There have been some off track days and the wine did not help. However, my mindset is in the right place. Even with the two cheat days that I'm allotted in my plan going forward I don't think I'll necessarily do them because they are there. It is not something I'm going to schedule. When I feel like something...then I'll have it.

I'll be doing lean bulking for three months with the guidance of course of Ondrej and Andrea. I'm excited for this next chapter in my year of competing. Now that I have one competition behind me...I can't wait to see what I bring to the stage looking forward.

Competition Day- The Tale of 1000 Rice Cakes

It's quite strange to actually be writing this post. So much prep time and the actual day that loomed in my calendar for weeks has come and gone. I'm sitting on the other side of the goal. It's crossed off and accomplished. Here is the funny thing about goals. We meet them. Then we replace them with something bigger and better. The satisfaction is fleeting.

I suppose that isn't a terrible approach to life. A lot of people do the same with worries or problems. They worry so much and then replace their worries with something bigger and more worrisome. Being an optimist I'll stick with being goal oriented.

So many people have asked me what the big day was like so here we go. This is a pretty comprehensive account of what happens during a bodybuilding competition. Mainly because I want the memories for myself as well since they are fresh in my head.

The week prior to competition was an uphill battle. Carb depletion, final cardio, water loading all in an effort to find the right combination of sodium and water in your body. This is essentially what it takes for your muscles to chisel and pop. However, not to much because the division I'm in you'll actually get knocked down points if you look to hard or dry. I had felt so good during my entire prep until that week. I seriously had moments where I wanted to give up.

I was really lethargic and irritable. It was tough going to the gym as I just felt like I had no energy. I went...but there were a lot of texts with my Coach getting through the day to day. On top of that I was working. I feel in hindsight I would have booked those last few days off.

When it was time to head up to Kelowna I was feeling excited. Especially as I knew the end of my Friday would be topped off with a burger, cheesecake and a glass of wine. Got to love science. This was all on coaches orders to achieve the right look for show day.

 

In the early afternoon I got my first layer of tan. Yes. It comes in layers. Then I went to the athletes meeting in the evening and to be honest it was really chaotic. Maybe they are all like that or maybe not. It was just a massive crowd of 200 competitors with varying layers of tan crammed in a room. On top of that once you are tanned you can't wear any body sprays or antipersperant. Enough said. I felt as though it didn't provide any reassurance over how the next day would go. Since my show was drug tested all the meeting accomplished was making me to nervous to drink my AM coffee the next day in fears I would test for high levels of caffeine. After the meeting you get your suit checked, your height measured and get your button. Number 232. That was what I had to put in my head. Number one rule-know your number. It is how they refer to you on stage.

 Most of my nerves leading up to competition were based around my physique not being ready to compete. I obviously had full trust in my coaches strategy. It is just some sort of mental messed up sabotage you do to yourself. So much so Coach Ondrej gave me specific instructions to text in those moments. In addition I had to send morning and night photos every day that last week incase we had to do any last minute diet adjustments.

I had my burger and then it was time for bed. I slept really well. A carb related burger coma after so much carb deprivation will do that to a person. I woke up the morning of the Kelowna Classic calm and ready to go. I will be very honest. Peak week was so tough I was almost excited to fast forward through the day just so I could have my cheat meal at the end. (which was nachos by the way.) Terrible I know.

The way the show works is you are on stage in the morning for "pre judging". Which is actually the real judging. You go through your poses. They instruct some additional moves and switches for comparisons. Then you go back and they do call outs. Call outs are indicative of your placing. You want first call out. Then at night its more the fun glitz and glam portion. You come out. Do your poses in 10 seconds. Then you leave the stage and they announce the top 5.

Morning started with hair and makeup done by Beauty Mark Productions. They were the official provider of the show. They had to reassure me a million times I wouldn't be late. The bikini division is the last to go so you are actually getting hair and makeup done while the show is happening. Being a first timer I was so paranoid over time. They were right. It was a hurry up and wait when I got to the show after, but I just felt better being at the venue. There were to many unknowns in my day to relax when I wasn't there. 

 

Arriving at the venue was wild. You travel back stage. Instantly the smell of rice cakes fills your nose. I'm fairly sure Quaker Oats stays in business because of the bodybuilding competition industry. There are people everywhere! Men and women pumping up their muscles with resistance bands, random push ups dropping down left right and centre, people practicing posing and touching up for the stage. I took a second to just take in the madness. There is a room where the show tanners are set up for putting on your second layer and glaze. It is not very private. You just accept it. Everyone is there for the same reason. The staff at Visual Dimensions Tanning were phenomenal. They 100 percent understand the sport and have a lot of love for the athletes. I was beyond impressed.

I had a couple hours to go until it was my turn for stage. I just crammed in those rice cakes every 90 minutes to avoid my muscles going flat. I honestly wasn't nervous backstage. So many of the women were really kind. Yes we were all in competition, but it was more a women supporting other women vibe. I love that! We all did the work. We were all excited to be there. Why not just be a nice person. There were the odd few that didn't play by that philosophy...and that's okay. I opted to surround myself with the positive.

After much waiting we were called into the hallway to await our turn for the pump up room. After about 15 minutes it was time to go in. I used resistance bands and just did lots of reps of biceps, shoulders, back and triceps. This gets the blood going to your muscles and ultimately they will look their best. Then we were lined up by our numbers and before I knew it Bikini Class D was being called to the stage. It was literally as if all the waiting disappeared in an instant.

I wasn't nervous in the pump up room. I took a deep breath before walking on stage. I used to do public speaking talks for over 1000 cruise ship guests at a time, I work on live television and I used to do theatre. Yep-It didn't matter...It didn't matter at all. The minute those lights hit me I discovered something about my body. It had a vibrate setting. Everything was shaking. My lips were quivering. I did have a smile on. Its honestly my most natural setting. Smile mode. I eyed down the judges. Going through my poses was tough. When your entire body is involuntarily shaking its a little difficult to look graceful in your quarter turns. 

The bikini class D was a big group of incredible ladies. Somehow though I hear number 232 for first call out. I now head to front and centre along with 5 other women. Now I'm really really shaking. We have to do our quarter turns and comparisons once again. While in my front pose the one judge says 232 adjust your left foot. I know my brain told it to move, but it was like my body wasn't quite able to connect at that point. I kept composed and smiling, but it took me a minute to get it just right. I have a feeling this pose and that moment has a lot to do with my final placing.

After this you exit the stage and you're free to relax until the night show. A lot of people were congratulating me on first call out. I had stared down those trophies that were on stage knowing I wanted to leave with one. I was in the top 6 so it was a viable possibility. On top of that the top 5 qualify for provincials. I was feeling good....until...one text message and Facebook post got in my head. My husband didn't mean to start anything when he read it. A friend of his that is familiar with shows asked where was she standing at the end of first call outs. I knew from watching shows the middle is where you want to end up. I started in the middle and ended up on the end. Throughout my entire break this made me feel like a trophy was out of my grasp as it had already been decided. I couldn't get it out of my head. The mind. Can it seriously be any more annoying at times!

My coaches were really supportive. My posing coach Andrea just said you walk out there and show them your body is worth a million bucks.

It was a long long day. I had been up at 5am. On stage the first time around noon. Back at the venue at 8:30pm for tan touch ups. Not on for the final part of the show til 10:30pm. The second time out on stage for the night show was so fast. You walk out on a line. Do your four quarter turns and exit the stage. Then the top 5 are called out. One number...two numbers called...three numbers called...then four and five. No number 232. I placed the dreaded 6th.

I remember in training when Andrea said sometimes in big shows they call out 6 women for first call out. You do not want to be the 6th one. 

Don't get them wrong or myself. First call out is a great accomplishment especially in such a competitive class. This is me though. I was there to participate, but of course I wanted to win. My eye was on the prize. I was out of the venue really quickly after that. Not in a poor sportsmanship way. It was so late places that sold food in Kelowna were quickly closing and this girl wanted her nachos on the pronto. I wished well many of the ladies as we grabbed our things. However, I can't lie. I had a lump in my throat. I knew I just needed a quick moment to absorb the sting of the loss. Being so very close to the top 5 and just being edged out.

My husband was so supportive, but I could tell he was disappointed. Not in me. He just knew that I wanted it. So it made me more sad that he was sad for me. Then I had to text my coaches and that was the worst part. I wanted to bring a trophy home for them. I felt like I disappointed them. Again, they were so amazing and were asking if I was okay. I knew I was. I just needed a minute. My in laws were away in Mexico during the show. They had been checking in all day. They were in a different time zone, but I figured I would Facebook message them the result just so I didn't have to do it the next day. My mother in law was AWAKE. She had messaged all day how I had done the family so proud. She was so excited that she was still up thinking of the show. I know they were proud and it was all well intentioned...but it left a sinking feeling that she was up all that time and I had to write I was 6th. They had told everyone at their resort I was competing and were sharing pictures all day. It made me feel like great now they have to get up the next day and explain I didn't win. So I had a little tear fest again when I said this scenario to my husband. I realize all involved were super proud of the accomplishment. I'm merely just telling you the honest truth of how I felt in the moment and where the root of my defeat was coming from.

So all that sorrow was literally a 15 minute affair. In true Krissy style it did a quick turn around into fuel. I'm going to submit my competition pictures to the judges for feedback. I know my posing felt a little rocky and even looking at some of the videos I can pinpoint things that I could have fixed. I will find out exactly what I did that docked my points for a placing and get to work for the next competition in the fall.

Being so close to a win...now I want it even more.

IMG_7372.JPG

 

 

 

 

4 Days Out- 2 Truths and a Lie

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 6.24.01 AM.png

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 6.24.01 AM.png

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets play a game- 2 Truths and a Lie

I’ve wrestled an alligator

I competed on a swim team and didn’t know how to swim

I’ve lived in 3 provinces

....

The Lie: I've lived in 3 provinces. So far I've just lived in two. I grew up in Ontario and for the last 1.5 years I've resided in British Columbia. I'm absolutely in love with BC so I don't foresee myself departing the west coast anytime soon. The lifestyle is all about living in the outdoors 365 days a year. Add a healthy dose of mountains, ocean and palm trees...You quickly start to understand how we justify the hefty cost of rent out here.

So lets talk about the truths and how they relate to the fact that I'm 4 DAYS away from my first bikini competition the Kelowna Classic.

I've Wrestled An Alligator: I'm not sure if its because I had a milestone 30th birthday, but I've been practicing a lot of life reflection lately. I've come to realize that for some reason I enjoy building a life that is really uncomfortable. I actually thrive on these uncomfy experiences (actually peak week is terribly uncomfortable...not sure if I'm thriving as the only workout I feel like is the new napercise craze). I consistently seek out experiences that scare me a little bit. I'm a rare breed that loves change and navigating my way through it. Sometimes scary moments can get the best of me and that big alarm of mental intuition screams...I don't like this. Point in case when I found myself on a TV shoot in Orlando that required hopping onboard an alligator. No tape...skilled people around...but lets face it...there were waivers that had to be signed.

I was very very uncomfortable. My point is that competition time is days away. There are so many unknowns about the day for me. My coaches have of course prepared me....but as we all know..."you don't know until you know". So my mantra over these next few days will be ... you wrestled an alligator and survived... surely I will survive this first competition. A fellow competitor in a different division stopped me at the gym and provided a boatload of advice. (Fitfam for the win once again) Her main advice. You've worked hard. Don't look at anyone else in a comparative way. Just have fun...the work is done!

I competed on a swim team and didn’t know how to swim: Participation ribbons. Yes those were a thing as I was growing up...and I loved them. This is going to sound so ridiculous, but for some reason I really really loved participating. The problem was I was terrible at 95% of sporting activities. The only thing I've every won a trophy for in my life was for public speaking.

<----I relate to this scene in Meet The Fockers all to well.

However, it was never my parents glorifying the participating. I did that all on my own. In elementary school the swim team allowed anyone to join. They probably didn't envision that a kid would join that didn't know how to swim. Well...I did! Most of practices I had to use a flutter board. I still showed up to every practice. I still remember showing up to my first swim meet. Equipped with my swimming cap and goggles I was ready. Growing up in Toronto the crowds were quite large. I cheered on my teammates...most of which were incredible swimmers. And then there was me...I came in last in every heat....by a lot! Thinking of it now I'm sure it was entirely ludicrous to anyone who was watching. For some reason as a child it didn't phase me. I have a positive memory of the experience. Same goes for the softball team I signed up for. I was so terrible. Never hit the ball with the bat. Clearly I was placed way way in the outfield. I would just cheer on my team...so much so they called me "the cheerleader". (Which I actually was in high school and wasn't half bad). 

The participation parade extended throughout the curriculum of the physed department. Whether it was almost coming in last for the 100 metre dash...taking down the pole of the high jump...or bench warming...so many benches. For some reason I loved it...and amazingly enough the memories of all of this don't horrify me as an adult.

So now I'm 4 days away from a huge goal I've had in my adult life. To be the most fit I've ever been in my life. I've loved the process because I've been staring down the competition since I started. Myself. I've had to prove mental stamina, determination and push physical limits since January. Peak week. Carb depletion. There are days that you really don't feel great. Yet you still have to do the work. I have. I have not wavered from my plans. I haven't had a beer since January. I haven't had any wine for over a month. I didn't have a single Cadbury mini egg over Easter (that deserves a medal all on its own). 

When I hit that stage I'm going to give it everything I've got. However, there is some incredible competition that I'm up against. Participating in the Kelowna Classic was the ultimate goal. No matter what happens on that day I know I've already gained so much from this experience.

The support along the way has been incredible. Thank you to all of you who have followed along this challenging journey. The DMs of workout questions, the text message check ins and of course even just reading along here. It means a lot as even with Coaches it can be a lonely journey sometimes. You are so limited with how you can socialize, so many hours of free time become invested. You have all helped get me through.

Now ...lets do this...

 

1 Week Out- An Open Letter to My Trainer 365

An Open Letter to My Trainer 365:

It’s the moment that insecurities are made of. I’m standing in a fluorescent lit room. It’s the heart of winter and my summer glow has long faded away. I’ve just ate my way through Christmas and forget the 12 days of Christmas…I indulged in the festivities during the pre and the post game of the holidays. I hop on social media and I’m bombarded with New Year New You reminders.

Now I’m just mad about myself. That resolution was sooo last year…or at least it was. Until it wasn’t anymore. Time and time again I had tried. I had promised myself it would be my most fit year ever. And then I broke that promise. And since the promise was broken I just dug deeper into the habits that got me in this situation in the first place.

When talking of the before. There was nothing wrong with that woman. But as someone who always seeks a challenge and more often than not follows through—it was frustrating. I loved the idea of working toward and earning the toned physique I envisioned, but the funny thing about dreams…they don’t work unless you do.

So 2017 arrives and its decided enough is enough. This is happening. I’m going to not only do the work, but I’m finally going to turn that bikini competition from talk…into action.

And before I knew it I was in that fluorescent lit room. Sports bra and shorts. Insecurities. That moment, a pure acknowledgement that this wasn’t happening on my own. I needed guidance, support and motivation.

So there I was standing in front of Ondrej Leipert. Standing face on. Picture. Turn to the side. Picture. Turn to the back. Picture. Silence. Analysis…

And then came the plan. Here is the thing about a coach and competitor relationship. They can’t do the work for you. They lay the blueprint, but it is your willpower that is going to determine if you get there.

This time next week I will be in Kelowna just hours away from the athletes meeting for the Kelowna Classic. I feel ready. This has everything to do with Ondrej Leipert and Andrea Leipert from My Trainer 365. (Talk about #couplesgoals by the way)

This has been a journey, but they have been by my side every step of the way. People hear about Coaches or trainers and immediately their mind goes to the money factor. Yes it has a cost, but let me tell you a couple things I purchased from them these last 90 days:

Self confidence, Patience, Mental Strength, Life Balance, Discipline, Self Respect

Think how many material things you've bought since January that don't have meaning. Think about gifts you got or gave for Christmas that are collecting dust. I invested in myself...

and all those personal gains don't even include the piece de resistance...

The results of trusting the process and the plan:

 

From a fitness perspective I feel better than I ever have in my life. I’ve learned so much about myself when it comes to discipline and setting your mind on something. We as humans are so capable, but our mind is often the one creating barriers and limitations. The process of competition preparation tears all of that down.

You work out even when you don’t want to. When you are working out you give everything even when it feels like you have nothing left. You eat clean even when surrounded by temptation. And not only do you survive that…you thrive.

I have cried. I have been frustrated. I have been elated. I have been nervous. I have been in physical pain. I have had some of the best sleeps in my life.

It is a whole mix of ups and downs.

As I stand 1 week from competition I have to say thank you.

Thank you to Ondrej and Andrea for getting me to this point. We don’t even see each other that often, but I’ve felt a tremendous bond over this common goal. I’ve had trust in you. I love your honesty. I love your passion.

It is amazing how much more of a workout you get out of a simple form correction. How each gram of nutrition you place in your body counts. Posing…well Andrea is simply one of the best at her craft. That woman is graceful…so much so that I feel like when Bambi first tries to walk on ice in front of her…but that’s okay. She has been wonderfully honest and that will only will help me prepare mentally for what is to come.

I owe so much to you both for getting me through this journey. I look forward to what is to come. Bring on the Kelowna Classic…and from there…this fitness story and personal journey is to be continued….

#workinprogress

Incon-SOLE-able

2 Weeks Out

I’m now officially 15 days away from competition. As I type this I realize that is incredibly close. To close for comfort. Lets face it not much about this process is comfortable.

I’ve had regular muscle soreness, pangs of hunger and to many egg whites to count. No matter how creative you get … egg whites are simply terrible. Unless its in a recipe for cake. I’m convinced my coach Ondrej Leipert of My Trainer 365 gets some semblance of enjoyment out of my overwhelming loathing for egg whites.

HouseWhite

For the most part though I’ve complained very little in this process. I put my foot down over one food item and ironically its one I liked...in the beginning. Fish…sole in particular. I was going about my prep and carb cycle happy as a clam…not eating clams of course. And then one day it was time for my fish meal…and it was absolutely gag worthy. It was like all of a sudden a switch flip and I hated fish.

So I texted Ondrej for help as to what I could replace it with…and like a good Coach he had my back and a solution in a jiffy. Then the joke was on me. I thought I had lean turkey in my freezer and then that night after singing to my husband with a little dance “I don’t have to eat fish”… I realized no turkey. No alternative prepped. I was all packed in for the night in my jammies. To hungry to go to the store. My husband was just sitting down to have his meal so I wasn’t about to ask him to get dressed and go get me something. So guess what I had to eat. Sole. And I cried. You could say I was incon-sole-able. In fact I don't have children, but I'm fairly sure my reaction could be comparable to an epic toddler temper tantrum or meltdown. Like the one a parent would leave the shopping cart at the grocery store and head to the exit with their screaming child. 

This is where I realize that there can be some irrational moments during the prep process. I realize there are much larger problems in the world than having to eat piece of fish. But Me…The woman who often sucks in her feelings in public…Bawled over sole in my tiny condo kitchen…over a little 120 gram piece of fish! Nothing like sobbing over spinach, cucumbers and lemoned fish.

Other than that I’ve been feeling really good. Like any competitor I have days where I look in the mirror and think... I’m so lean…where is the stage...I'm ready! And other days where I want to ask “is it frowned upon to wear a sleeping bag over my bikini for this thing?” Luckily my Coach prepared me for the rise and fall that is to be expected in these final weeks.

Another thing we’ve been discussing is post competition. Even when the competition is over…it isn’t really. I’m planning to do a reverse diet. This is the process where you take the time to reintroduce foods and let your body adapt to a more normal life. As I said in the beginning this prep process isn’t exactly the epitome of health toward the end or a sustainable way to live your life. Its an extreme. Its important to let my body adapt when this is done so that I can hold on to the fitness results I’ve worked so very hard for.

That means post comp I get the traditional cheat meal..and maybe a cheat breakfast…but then its back to the plan I get placed on. The same goes for workouts. There is no taking a week off the gym. To be honest I’ve been going fairly steady for about a year in total so I couldn’t imagine staying away for an entire week.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 5.45.07 AM.png

I love giving insight to my competition prep, but I also love sharing with you my wishes for you based on something I’ve learned. As you know this process began right in the heart of #NewYearNewYou in January. I remember seeing the quote “3 months from now you’ll thank yourself”. I couldn’t agree more. I can’t believe the changes that have been made. Now I’m getting stopped in the gym almost every workout from regulars who have watched my progress. Words of encouragement. Others seeking advice. I won’t lie it feels great. It has all been a valuable lesson. I’ve wanted to do this for so many years. I’ve wanted to push my limits. Now I can see the proverbial finish line. The sense of accomplishment even 2 weeks out is tremendous.

So if you’re also teetering on your own goals and own journey…my best advice is start now. 3 months from now you will thank yourself. The beginning will be hard, but you will hit your stride and achieve more than you could have ever imagined. People DM me asking what my secret is…as if I’ve learned some sort of fitbod magic…but in the end it is so simple. Consistency. Consistency with your workouts and your nutrition. I believe in you. As soon as you start you’ll be a part of the #fitfam and in my experience that community will always have your back.

 

The Carb Conundrum featuring Guilt & Co

I aim to inspire people to embrace a lifestyle change that makes them happy and healthy. However, I know I'll never be able to do that without being completely transparent with you. I don't want you to ever think that this is a seamless journey that comes easy and doesn't have a few wrinkles embedded in it. So here we go...my worst 10 days of training for the Kelowna Classic:

The Carb Conundrum

Stupid things I've done during the last 10 days:

-Swiped my key fob for my condo repeatedly on the gym scanner wondering why the turnstile wouldn't let me in. Note to self condo fob is not a universal magical swiping device to grant entrance to all the places.

-Moisturized myself at the gym with a bottle of hotel conditioner not understanding why I was somewhat lathering over absorbing.

-Didn't understand why the sink wasn't registering my hands underneath it when it worked for the person in front of me... Turns out ...It was not an automatic sink and it had a lever.

-Tore apart my house frantically looking for my keys. It just made no sense as I had just walked in to grab one thing I had forgotten..how could they go missing so quickly? Keys were in the door.

Welcome to my carb cycling brain. It all started with a 5 day carb load filled with pizza and pasta. Now I'm on a rotation of 3 days very low carb and 1 day high carb. That one day is no longer filled with pizza/pasta, but plenty of brown rice. Generally this method is really effective for fat loss-especially in those tough places for women like the lower abs and beneath the glute. Now 25 days away from the Kelowna Classic every fine detail is being monitored to ensure I'm stage ready.

Kelowna Classic Prep

 

It wasn't just the diet that generated my now growing list of hilariously silly conundrums. I had a rough week last week. Essentially the worst week since I started my training. The training didn't suffer and the diet didn't waiver. It was more a mix of an emotional rollercoaster and exhaustion.

My family lives about 4200 kilometres away in Ontario. My Mom and Sister were coming for a visit. They were forewarned that even though they were visiting my lifestyle had to take priority. This is why I tell people often I'm selfish...and I know it. People always so no don't say that about yourself. I don't technically look at this selfishness as a bad thing. I take time for myself and fill it with something productive and it fulfills me. Ultimately it makes me a better person mentally. However...

Guilt & Co

This past week was a revelation week for me. If you feel like you're succeeding so much in a certain areas you are probably failing in others. You can't be everything for everybody. When it comes to training it is my highest priority right now...especially being so close to the goal. It takes up a lot of time and energy. It is all day every day. I need good sleep...I now eat 7...yes I said SEVEN meals a day...Cardio is 40 mins 5 times per week and weight training already soaks up a few hours. I refuse to fail in that endeavour. But lets not forget I have a full time job. One that I love and adore no less. So that can't suffer either. Not only does it pay the bills, but when you do something that you love you hold your work to the highest standard. So there are 2 solid commitments in my life. Which means something has got to give...and unfortunately that something lands at the hands of my friends and family.

My husband we will get to in a second, but first let me explain with my family that was visiting from out of town.

My family time is so limited now living so far away and it pained me to leave them during key moments to get my training in.

I decided to take them to Vancouver Island to experience Tofino. It is literally my favourite place in the world and I highly recommend that you place it on your bucket list immediately. We had booked a lovely rainforest cottage at Long Beach Lodge. I was so excited as nature always rejuvenates me...and I needed a boost. Plus we had our own private hot tub...yay for muscle soreness!

As soon as we arrived they wanted to go walk the stunning and expansive Cox Bay Beach. I wanted to see their faces when they saw it. You know that wonderful joy you get when watching someone experience something you love so much for the first time. But I couldn't. Naturally since traveling I was due for another meal and then had to hit their gym or else it would be so late by the time we could all go to dinner. So I had to make choices. Guilt. That is what I felt. They were so good about it, but in that moment I was recognizing that I was placing my training over my family. 

On top of that was the exhaustion. My husband had left for Mancation for a week in Cabo. Throughout the week it become exceptionally clear how much that man does for me. The support he has provided through this journey is unreal. As the week went on I realized just how much he has helped raise me up, get things done and live out this lifestyle. During his absence our poor dog Stella was upset that he left and got a case of the runs...which led to other complications no one needs to read about in descriptive verbiage. So I was up all night with her every 2 hours for 4 days. (Don't worry I wasn't neglecting a complicated doggy issue to avoid a vet bill. We knew what the problem was and lets just say we just needed to tweak her diet for a bit to firm up the situation. Sidenote: plain rice and canned pumpkin= puppy miracle)

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 8.00.56 AM.png

Sleep is so very important to training. Especially because to spend time maximum time with my family I had to get up at the crack of dawn to get it in. So I was lacking sleep, getting my training in and during the entire visit just felt terribly guilty that I wasn't giving all of myself to the visit.

I'm understanding more and more why many say that fitness competitions are such a huge mental competition. Dedication and commitment. Two words we throw around in adorable little quotes on Instagram. Well...there is a reason why I tell people I admire their dedication OR what an amazing commitment. Those words are heavy weights. It is not easy some days to be dedicated and committed to the goal...yet the only way to get the goal is to be dedicated and committed.

For the record my family had a lovely visit and they saw the magic in Tofino that I hoped they would. That's saying something as the one day they really really experienced why we get the nickname 'the wet coast'.

When they left my husband returned. A little something about me...I LOATHE crying in front of people. I've had a few rocky moments in my life and even within tragic loss I generally have a rule of thumb-shove the tears away and shed them on my own time...in PRIVATE. Yet my swolemate got back from vacation and I cried. Maybe it was the whole low carb thing playing on my emotions...but on top of that it was the revelation I had while he was away. I truly recognized the support system he was providing. The help with the meals, the emotional support...everything.

So to everyone who has helped me along this journey so far...whether it be a message of encouragement...checking in how its going...reading my bloggy ramblings. Thank you. I so appreciate you being a part of my journey.

 

 

The Truth of The Matter - 6 Weeks Out

I'm officially 8 weeks into my training with My Trainer 365 and I have roughly 6 weeks ahead of me. Its getting closer and closer to competition time and I can hardly believe that I'll actually have worked my way to being able to walk on that stage. I've really been enjoying the process. I know...if you've encountered me in the last couple of weeks you know I've ate the SAME THING since February 1st day in and day out. I'm a control freak though with a busy mind. I think I love it because it simplifies one aspect of my life. I never have to stare blankly in my fridge wondering what to eat. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.48.40 PM.png

There is something I want to address and that is progress photos. I attended an event recently when one of the speakers said, "I unfollowed all those crazy fitness people because I don't need that negativity.". The context of the comment was based on the connotation that it breeds jealousy and therefore the person sharing was aiming for that effect. 

First of all. Crazy Fitness People. Well I did just admit that I ate the same thing since February 1st...so perhaps there is some truth to the crazy...and sometimes I do feel a bit crazy dedicating myself to this process so I'll give you that one. However, breeding this concept of jealousy. Wow. Never the intention and I doubt it is for many people who share their fitness journey.   

Let me explain why I share and I imagine its also the reason behind many others who do.

First of all- Inspiration- social media is where I found mine. I had always had a love of fitness, but essentially just quit before I reached my end goal. Does this situation sound familiar to many of you? Probably because this is most of us. Sure we aren't all training for a competition, but that's not the point. No matter where you are starting with your gym/fitness goals (or where you may have left them behind) it takes motivation to keep going. Lets face it, there are a million reasons we can find to not go to the gym. Carving out that 'me' time for yourself is a task especially when you haven't built that momentum that eventually turns it into lifestyle. I've been standing on the edge of this competition process since LAST APRIL. So its taken me pretty much a year to get to this point. I didn't start my prep until January. It was through social media that I held on to my goal and said "I'm going to do this one day". I combed through before and afters, quotes, workout routines. It inspired me to not give up on what I wanted to achieve. I'm grateful to each and every individual that allowed me a peak into their lives to give me the push to go for it. When I share progress pics it is my aim to do the same. It has happened. I've had people message me for advice. Tell me that my progress has gotten them back to the gym. People sometimes text me just to tell me they went like a check in. That is awesome. Fitness has this infectious quality to it. We are all in it together and support is a beautiful thing.

IMG_6559.JPG

Second of all- Pride and Encouragement. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not even ashamed to say it. I'm proud of myself. This journey I'm on is intense. 2.5 hours a day in the gym. Round the clock eating and food preparation. The only people in my life that truly understand what I'm going through are my Coach, my husband and anyone else who has competed. That's a small group that knows the entire rollercoaster I'm on. When at my suit appointment last weekend I was told (and not the first time I've heard this) that this process has actually broken up many relationships. The level of dedication is tremendous. You are literally strategically building your body to create shape and symmetry. So when progress starts to happen or an area you've been struggling with starts to take shape...you are excited and proud. Encouragement ties into this as well. The "#fitfam" is a massive community that also understands this level of commitment that is required. They know that social events are difficult because you can't eat anything served, but you also have to eat every 2-3 hours. They know that you worked a crazy day and even though you were up at 5am to fit in the gym you have to go again after dinner just to get that workout in. It's all encompassing. So the words of support we share in a comments section on a social platform can give that little bit of boost to get you through. To remind you of what you are working for.

So this is why I share-not to create a community of envy. Its about building a community of support, positivity, encouragement and inspiration. I would love to hear about your journey no matter what it is. I do believe in you and I know you can do it. You may be like me a year ago and just standing on the edge of that pool waiting to dive in...grab on to some inspiration and go for it. I promise you won't regret it and I'll be there to cheer you on just like you've supported me.

 

 

 

My Boyfriend Gym

I've been going to the gym since I was in high school off and on. We've always had a relationship in some capacity. I know that Gym gets around and I imagine if you've also dated Gym you've gone through some similar phases like myself.

If I had to summarize my Gym relationship in a Facebook status it would be "Its Complicated" for the win.

Stage 5 Clinger- This is where I'm at right now. Poor Gym. I am currently the clingy overbearing type that just won't leave Gym alone. Sometimes I even visit Gym more than once a day. When I'm not with Gym...I'm thinking about Gym. Gym has to deal with my jealousy issues like when someone monopolizes his time in the form of occupying his only smith machine. I hate when that happens. Especially when that individual isn't even giving Gym the attention he deserves. "Get off your phone!"...I want to yell.

Enabler- This is never a nice situation to find yourself in. Just handing Gym your money over and over when you get nothing in return. I've been in these shoes. I've come to realize it was my fault. Gym was always there to welcome me. That being said, Gym just kept taking my hard earned dollars month after month. He never dared to call or ask why we weren't hanging out anymore. He just took my money and ran. (at least one of us was running)

Keeping it Casual- This relationship rarely blossoms into what you hope it could be. Casually dating Gym just always leaves you shy of your relationship goals. You see each other once in a while, but you just aren't wholeheartedly committed. You turn to the kitchen in times you're apart. If you're like how I was, to fill the void of long absences from Gym I often filled it with donuts...rainbow sprinkled ones specifically. It is during this type of relationship I also would magically find myself in the chip aisle....thinking to myself 3 bags for 5 bucks! A) That is a bargain and I'm practically making money buying these chips and B) I worked out hard...I deserve this!

Hiding Gym: This relationship is the one that you hide from your friends. You do not date Gym in public. You only hang out with Gym at home and you two never venture out together. This romance often results in people commenting on how great you're looking lately. You just blush and say...oh its probably because of Gym at home. There is an alternative to this fairytale and why I've never had a Hiding Gym relationship....because you know what else lives at home...snacks...Before I know it I'm being captured on a hidden pantry closet camera with oreo crumbs all over my face and having a Modern Family Cam moment...

As with any relationship-yours with Gym more than likely also bleeds into your inner circle. If you're Stage 5 Clinger like me your friends are probably sick of hearing about Gym. You have to stop yourself often from saying, "So when I was with Gym today....". When you see each other that often it can become difficult to not let it be all consuming and all you speak of. Try and remember-not everyone wants to hear all about Gym. In the nicest way sometimes you should just shut up about Gym. (I need to heed this advice sometimes.)

If you're the Enabler you probably just try to not bring up Gym all together. Its in the back of your mind...you don't need to be reminded of it all the time.

If you're keeping it casual you more than likely share with the world whenever you see each other. Nothing wrong with that...no doubt a visit with Gym made you feel great.

No matter what your current relationship status with Gym is I do have one saying to share that I hold onto on the daily. You'll never regret going. So if it's been a while since you've paid Gym a visit and its on your mind...just go. I promise you that you will be welcomed with open arms (and hopefully you'll have sore ones later).

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways To Kick Start Your Weight loss Goals- Before Even Hitting The Gym

Let me preface this post by saying sadly there is no magical quick route to fitness goals. I've had a relationship with the gym since high school and I can say with certainty that results directly correlate to the amount of effort you put in.

That being said the process isn't something to be feared, loathed or get the perception that its such a monumental task that its unattainable. You are capable. You can do it. Remember its a mental game. As soon as you're all in, ready and putting in the work the change will happen.

You'll find a lot of people that perhaps are your inspiration for your own fitness goals often use the term "its a lifestyle". This is truth. Individuals you see with that shredded physique-its a second job that consumes every single day. The workouts are a big part of this, but the nutrition component is even bigger.

There are several sayings that become relevant:

A lot of people have reached out to me that are teetering toward a lifestyle change. They just don't know where to begin and it seems really overwhelming at first. There are some simple things you can do RIGHT NOW in your life to kick start your new lifestyle and get on your desired track.

1) TRACK YOUR FOOD: There are some amazing apps that will track what you're eating. My personal favourite is My Fitness Pal. I believe in tracking your food when you want change for a couple of reasons. First of all, it makes you more aware of what you're putting in your body. Some things you regularly consume may surprise you when it comes to caloric intake. It also makes you think twice when you are tempted to haphazardly snack throughout the day. Secondly these apps allow you to see all the nutritional information of what you are eating. This can help identify some areas that you are lacking or overdoing when it comes to a balanced diet. My first venture with a food tracking app was a real eye opener when it came to the amount of sugar I was eating. Trust me...sugar is hidden in a lot of foods you wouldn't even think of.

2) WATCH YOUR LIQUIDS: We don't necessarily think about what we are drinking in terms of our nutrition and calories. Guess what- your complex coffee order, soft drinks, smoothies, ice teas, beers and wines...it all adds up. The worst part is that you may be making choices that you think are healthy as the industry has such clever ways to use buzzwords that mislead you. Many smoothies are made with sugary ingredients. Just because your fave coffee place has added coconut milk or almond milk options...these do not mean the drink is healthy. One coffee place in particular had a coconut milk coffee beverage with such a smooth name I'm sure it fooled many. Well guess what, the mid size will add 200 calories to your day and 25 grams of sugar. That's 6 and a 1/4 teaspoons of sugar. Would you order a regular coffee and ask for just over 6 sugars added. On that coffee note...a large double double...may have you believing you're consuming 2 teaspoons of sugar. SURPRISE...if that is your go to you are adding 264 calories to your day, 7.5 teaspoons of sugar and 8 grams of saturated fat.  Maybe its not Monday vibes slowing you down to start the work week...your coffee may be the culprit. 

Water is your best friend. Your body needs it. During this phase of my bikini prep I'm drinking 3 litres of water a day. I can feel when my body isn't at appropriate levels of hydration. You know that it is what your body needs...if you own a garden or plants you're already proving the experiment. Life thrives when it has water-It dies or withers when it does not. Simple.

3) READ THE LABELS: Since starting my fitness journey to competition in January I have not had one meal that emerged from a box. Everything I consume essentially are ingredients I can read and pronounce. With the exception of many of my supplements. I'm well aware my daily dose of pre workout is not exactly a healthy product. If you are grabbing that quick snack start reading the labels really closely. We may pick something up and think hey...140 calories...that isn't so bad. Then you realize that is 'per serving' and the serving size is only 12 pieces of popcorn. The frozen food aisle in general is an area to be avoided. In addition gluten free, vegan, and organic...don't think the major food suppliers aren't aware that people associate these with a healthier lifestyle. Just remember gluten free, vegan and organic on a label-doesn't necessarily equate to a healthy choice.

4) TELL YOUR FRIENDS: There is always strength in numbers. One thing I find fascinating about fitness is that it is almost as contagious as the common cold. When one person in a group starts on the path...there are almost certainly to be more in the group that want to take part. Since the start of the New Year I could not be more proud of a couple individuals in my inner circle. I have a co worker with one of the most epic displays of inspirational dedication and a wicked collection of Sweatstagrams. He is feeling good and making huge strides towards his goal. Another friend has lost 20lbs since her WeightWatchers journey began. She is just making the transition from being solely food focused to incorporating exercise into her routine. I can't wait to watch her journey. Another friend started an 8 week challenge just before I started my competition prep. Its been great to have each other as cheerleaders to get through the work. We are all at different stages and we all have different goals. We all looked great before we started as I truly believe there is no body type ideal...we are all working toward what makes us happy and what feels good. So tell your friends as you can bond together to encourage each other on the tough days. You also need to accept that not everyone is interested in your journey nor wants to take part. However, sharing your dietary restrictions or gym commitments with them generally means they will respect that. My diet has meant extreme limitations since starting this. I've been blown away by the respect of others and kindness in helping me along. Its my journey not theres--but simple support goes a long way.

5) EAT OFTEN: Just like a car your body needs fuel. This fuel is food. If you put gunky oil and sawdust in your gas tank the car wouldn't run very well would it. Think about what you are putting in your fuel gauge to help your body through the day. In general North American portion sizes are way to big. Filling an entire dinner plate is the wrong way to go. The notion of starving yourself all day so you can eat a ton before you go to your fave restaurant- its not going to make you feel good. Small balanced meals spread throughout the day are the best way to go. I literally eat every 2-3 hours. In addition contrary to what most of us do your dinner should be the lightest meal of the day. Think about it- you're generally done with your heaviest activities...why would you load up on your heaviest meal right before bed?

These are easy steps you can incorporate into your life now. Always remember that slow progress is better than no progress when achieving your personal goals. Go get it!

8 Weeks Out-The Cleanest "Dirty 30"

Dirty 30.

This is the name we give to the celebration of entering our third decade. The connotation is that we are supposed to get completely annihilated similarly to how many a 19th birthday has been rung in. Personally I think we are highly underestimating the power of a 30-year-old hangover. Unlike a fine wine, those do not get better with age.

Being 8 weeks out and well into my bikini competition prep- a weekend of crazy drinking was completely out of the question for the big birthday. To be quite honest it also didn't appeal to me. A weekend of highly indulgent food and over the top decadent cake- also out. If we're keeping the honesty parade going-that would have peaked my interest.

Living in British Columbia there are a vast array of staycation options in the province. Since moving west I have completely fallen in love with the lifestyle and the landscape. I feel very lucky that through my work I’ve done more exploring in my short 1.5 years here than some have done in their BC lifetime. One of the destinations I hadn’t had the chance to experience yet was the Gulf Islands. So through a recommendation of a friend I booked a getaway at Woods on Pender on Pender Island.

My husband, my dog Stella (AKA my best friend) and myself hopped on an early AM ferry on the Friday and started our adventure. The ride was stunning as we stopped at various Gulf Islands before it was our turn to disembark. I’ll never get over the fact that a viable vacation option for me as a resident in Vancouver is hopping on a boat and sailing in the Pacific where the whales roam (which we saw) and enchanting forests tower out of the ocean.

This trip was really different from the camping ventures of last summer however. I had a full cooler in the trunk stocked up with ample amounts of pre-portioned extra lean turkey, green beans and the occasional ¼ cup of quinoa. I had supplements all organized by time of day and to be honest at this point I’m surprised I don’t cough powder.

We arrived at Woods on Pender. A rustic cabin awaited us equipped with a romantic cozy fireplace. The extra bit of luxury at this particular glamping getaway was the fact that our cabin had its own private hot tub. Or so we thought. Turns out a chemical imbalance meant our tub had just been drained that day and was only up to 55 degrees…it was going to essentially take our 2 night stay for it to heat up.

How did I feel about this?

My muscles have been sore since January. I literally have been tearing my muscles apart and my body has been welding them back together stronger and stronger consistently for 5 weeks. Not having a hot tub-which really separated this from just being a cabin in the woods in the middle of winter-was not an option. Luckily the resort was not at capacity and the owner worked on finding the best solution possible. He let us use another sites hot tub that was so private and secluded in the forest. It also was on one of the lots of their super funky retro renovated airstream trailers.

I have to say after giving my prep everything I’ve got day in day out…each moment of each day…it was heavenly just relaxing in the middle of nature. Pender Island had this wild magic. Salty air from the sea and that dewy smell of a rain saturated forest.

The perks of staying at Woods on Pender was the onsite restaurant. Now even though I’m already a journalist I’ve now found myself taking on the role of investigative journalist with a speciality in menu analysis.

If I’m going out to eat I like to research my best options well beforehand. Woods Restaurant and Kitchen did not disappoint nor lure me to far from my meal plan. The majority of their ingredients were proudly sourced locally…and I truly think it’s a fine art when you can actually taste passion in your food. I had two of my favourite dinners over the course of the several weeks I've been on prep. I honestly forgot what flavour tasted like. I opted for a Vegan dinner the first night- which essentially consisted of incredible fresh veggies and chickpeas. The second I went for the steak with vegetables. No major casualties to my mealplan.

The one thing that got me was dessert. Night one. I ate it…I shared it...but I ate it. First of all-if this was my one mega cheat-well it was phenomenal so at least it didn’t disappoint. Psychologically I took a bit of a hit. It was the after. I felt quite full. I hadn’t had that feeling in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk around in endless states of hangry starvation. However, I eat the right size portions with all my food weighed…so I roam around each day feeling satisfied…and then very hungry every 2 hours…but I’m also eating every 2-3 hours. Feeling full felt plain uncomfortable.

It did however help me reflect on how healthy I’ve been feeling on my nutrition plan. I used to eat until literally my stomach hurt from shovelling the food in. Fullness would come and go…but if it was on the plate I would keep going like a champ. My tummy would be distended in an effort to contain everything I had jammed in there. Not a nice feeling. Its return wasn’t welcome.

So on night two on my actual birthday the dessert option came up again. I knew how incredible it had tasted night one. I thought about it…In truth I dare say I almost agonized over the decision. But then I realized…I’m not hungry. Why would I indulge in this for the 10 minute satisfaction in the moment- only to have regrets over my plan for the next several hours to even the entire next day and beyond. So I held strong…maybe I should have put a birthday candle in my steak...

I did get one birthday cake related item with a candle. It was a Buff Bake cookie. It was really good. I took the first bite…heaven. You know what tastes like heaven…sugar. I gave the rest to my husband. Glad I did. Its always important to read the labels…the serving size allocation for protein, carbs, fats and sugar wasn’t great, but wasn’t to terrifying at first glance. Then you realize the nutrition label serving size was only half the cookie.

Working out while on an island with a tiny population and staying at a glamping resort with no gym seemed like a challenge at first. One thing I’ve learned…there is always a gym somewhere. I researched and found Pender Island Fitness in their local plaza. I bought a $10 gym pass. It was "rust"ic...but it worked.

All in all it was a successful weekend. I got my workouts in. I ate very close to my nutrition plan. It was a clean dirty thirty and I have no regrets.

I am starting to get painfully aware that competition time is closing in on me really quickly. Mentally I have to be careful when I consume social media at this point. I follow so many women and men who are truly inspirational in the fitness arena. However, I find myself getting stuck when I see a photo of someone 8 weeks out who is seemingly way more lean than I am. I have to remember that I’m doing this for me. That being said, it is in my spirit though to give it everything I have. It is called a competition after all- You go into it with the goal of taking the win.

I've got My Trainer 365 on my side. Ondrej and Andrea not only live and breathe what they preach, but they also have guided many people to fantastic results. I've got full trust in the process. I know I'm going to give it everything I've got!