How to survive the Holiday Feast

Yes, it is that time of year again.  Christmas is fast approaching! For some it is their favorite time of year, others it is their most stressful time of year.  Food is everywhere and it isn’t just veggies and dip.  Chocolates, desserts, turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, the list goes on.  Let’s not forget all the festive drinks at Christmas and New Year’s.    The stress of worrying about what to eat and how much can be overwhelming for so many.

Is it really necessary to stress about Christmas dinner?  I really don’t think anyone should stress about it.  BE mindful of your choices.  The temptations will be there just like every year so you just need to be prepared to make good choices.  If you are consistent with your food choices and you are consistent in the gym, one day of subpar eating will not negate all the hard work you put in. There are a couple tips that I will share to keep you stress – free during the holidays.

-Don’t restrict yourself for weeks or days leading up to your Christmas feasts.

-Don’t do “additional workouts or cardio”.  Instead, use those extra calories to hammer out high intense workouts the day before and the day of your planned dinners.  Intensity is the key to your workout.

-Be mindful of your choices.  What this really means is that you are aware of how much protein and carbs and fats you are taking in along with enough fiber.

-Eat slowly!  Enjoy your meal.  Don’t inhale it.

-Follow the 80/20 rule.  People should eat for their health as a priority with improved body composition being the by-product of great choices.  Food quantity and food quality matters 80% of the time.  Moderation and flexible choices are part of this 80% to allow for subpar 20% choices that you do not have to ever feel guilty about.  As long as you are consistent you will be fine.

-Portion control is really what it is about.  I don’t expect anyone to be carrying around a food scale and measuring the amount of food they are consuming.  This is where portion control is vital.  Fill your plate with little bits of everything.  Don’t deprive yourself.  Control the portions of whatever it is that you choose to have.  There is a difference between 1 dessert and 2-3 pieces.  This includes drinks and your main course.  Don’t abuse it.  The food will be there next year!

-Plan to have smaller meals throughout the day.  Don’t starve yourself going into your Christmas dinner.  Smaller meals or snacks that are high in protein are great choices to keep you satisfied throughout the day.

-When filling your plate make choices that you love and know will satisfy your cravings.

-Don’t linger around the “food table”.  Many families like to set out all the desserts and snacking foods in a designated area.  The food is accessible and it will be there so just keep yourself busy doing other things other than hanging out at the food table.

-Listen to your body.  If you are full, don’t fight it and don’t convince yourself to eat more or finish the plate.  You don’t want to have a food baby belly!  Eat and stop when your body says you are full.  You can always finish your plate later if you are truly hungry.

-Let your body digest.  Don’t start picking at food when you are cleaning up.  Let your body feel full and satisfied.

-Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean you have to sit around after dinner.  Get up, go for an evening walk, take the kids sledding or play some games.  Be active and enjoy the festive season.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Remember, consistency and moderation!

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Compete for the right reasons!

I remember when I first decided to compete.  It was way back in 1994, a couple years before I met my husband and  5 years before I actually stepped on stage.  It was shortly after the first couple weeks of joining the gym.  I was young but I loved muscle and wanted more than ever to look like one of those girls in the fitness magazines.  I remember walking into Club Fit and seeing this amazing girl in incredible shape.  She had these abs and shoulders like DLB.  Her upper body was so lean and her legs, OMG I had never seen legs like that before on a girl in real life, only in the magazines.  I was never brave enough to approach her to ask her about her training or anything.  I was that creeper in the gym, I just watched her train and was in awh of her physique.  I finally asked one of the girls at the front desk if they knew who she was and if she was training for something.  That was when they explained she was only weeks away from her first bodybuilding show.  It made sense, hell she was in shape! I was intrigued and that was when I said one day I will be on stage!  I mean her physique was to die for!    At the time I didn’t realize what it took to diet down and to compete.  I didn’t know any trainers in the city, I just went to the gym and consistently followed my training plan I designed.  I knew that I wanted to be strong and build muscle.  I was so naive, I had no idea about diet.  Back then nutrition was so confusing, much like it is now.  I just ate what I wanted in hopes I would see muscle soon.  Fast forward a couple years, I took my personal training courses, basic nutrition courses and decided I wanted to be a personal trainer.  I was also working with my family business where we were on the manufacturing side of health food supplements.  In 1996 my life changed for the better when I met my husband.  He pushed me to work hard both in business and life.  He wasn’t a gym goer at all when I met him but shortly after he was joining me in the gym.  We started at the Bull Pen gym but then settled into Gold’s Gym where I was exposed to bodybuilding.  I was in heaven.  There were many members that were competitors.  This is the time when I made the decision to compete.  There were trainers back then that were recommended so I asked around and finally sat down with them to discuss my goals.  I  never really understood what it meant to compete.  Diets?  Training?  How hard could it be?  I never asked the questions, I just listened because I was told they were the best.  I had no idea what to expect.  I just knew that if I followed the plan, that I would someday be on stage.  My trainers never asked me why I wanted to compete but I knew why.  I did want the look, there was no doubt in that but I had always loved muscle.  Let’s not forget that I was in the gym at the tender age of 20.  I was there because I was once the fat kid in the playground so building muscle for me was my goal.  I never wanted to be overweight again.  When I decided to compete it was to rid my body of all that bodyfat.  There had to be some muscle there to show off.  Competing at the time was my only avenue to see all that hard work.  I knew then that my lifestyle would always include bodybuilding.  I dabbled a bit in personal training and I loved to train.

My first show was Northerns, I dieted for 4 months.  I placed and decided to compete at the Provincials a month later.  I placed again!  BAM!  My first year competing I placed!  Was I the best?  No, I was lucky enough to compete in womens lightweight where I only had 2-3 woman to compete against.  I was guaranteed a spot.  I was lean but not conditioned enough.  I was very happy with my placing but I wanted to be better.  Yep, I caught the bodybuilding bug.  That same year the Nationals were coming home to the West in Edmonton for the first time in years.  I was tempted and I thought, why not?  I was told I would never place, that I wouldn’t have what it took to be conditioned enough or have enough muscle.  I started in the gym 4 years before, I knew I had some muscle and you could see it at the previous shows.  I knew all I needed was conditioning.  At this point I had already been dieting for 20 weeks.  I had at least a month break before I would have to start dieting for the Nationals.  Remember when I said I knew nothing about the diet?  Well this is where I learned my first hard lesson about pre contest diets.  My diets for my shows were so restricted.  No sodium, no condiments, high protein, no fat, high fibrous veggies.  Regimented, no options, no cheat meals.  It was a crazy ass diet but I followed it to a T.  I never ever deviated.  I was so focused and determined to be my best.  This is where I found my discipline but I also knew that I loved the sport for all that it was for all the right reasons.Dieting, restricted or not was fairly easy for me.  However, that restricted diet set me up for a whirl wind of crazy bingeing after my first two shows.  I had a month in between and I swear I couldn’t stop eating.  First, I had no idea what my body was going thru and well back then no one understood metabolism and my trainers and everyone around me said it was normal to binge after a show.  However, I was ashamed and felt defeated.  I found myself eating even when I was full.  I had a food belly 24/7 and I hated the way I felt and I was starting to look pretty fluffy.  My trainers said it was ok, that I would be dieting soon so not to worry.  OMG, when I think back to how bad I was, it disgusts me.  I would have acid build up in the back of my throat and I would still stuff my face full of food.  Finally when the date came to diet, bam I was back on track.  I was more focused then ever, especially when I was told I would never make it at Nationals.  I had to prove to myself I could and to everyone else.  Another 4 months of dieting and training.  I was doing 2 hours of cardio and basically chicken and veggies for 90% of the diet.  Nationals happened and guess what?  I placed 4th place in womens lightweight.  This time 12 competitors from across Canada and I placed!!! I was in better shape, my condition was amazing! BAM the diet and cardio worked!

One week later, I was 20 or more pounds heavy.  How did this happen? I dieted 4 more months with no sodium, no condiments, only chicken and veggies, no options, no cheats and 2 hours of cardio.  When I walked off stage at the Nationals I had dieted for a combination of 9 months in total.  This is what set me up for my uncontrollable binges.  All my body wanted was food.  I didn’t train, I quit cardio, I was ashamed.  My body hurt everywhere.  All I wanted to do was eat.  My food belly was HUGE all the time.  I felt sick but I ate anyways.  After that week, I thought I better get my ass back in the gym.  It didn’t take long for an injury to occur, what did I expect when I was 20lbs heavier.  It only took one week of craziness for all my hard work to be covered in water and fluff.  YES, bodyfat had already accumulated in areas I never thought would.  This was a rude awakening for me.  My trainers didn’t provide me with all the information I needed to truly understand the diet and training required.  They never spoke of post show rebounds or blues.  They never talked of the possibility of body image disorders, eating disorders.  They didn’t ask me the question as to why I wanted to compete in the first place.  Lucky for me, even though I went through all that rebound, I knew I wanted to compete again.  I knew this was the lifestyle for me.  It was a sport for me.  I needed to be better.  I just needed better and more informed trainers.  I wanted to live my life in and around the gym.  Competing for me has never been about trying to get a pro card.  Competing for me was and always has been about being better, building a physique that is balanced and conditioned.  It is about living the sport, not just competing in it.  Even after Nationals and the rebounds I went thru, I still wanted to compete.  In fact I was preparing for the Nationals in 2000 in Calgary however, I felt my body was not responding and decided not to step on stage.  Shortly after that, I decided that 2001 would be the year but life threw me a curveball and I found out I was pregnant.  Talk about a life altering event.

Having my kids and taking time away from competing never changed my love for the sport.  I had my first daughter in 2001 my second in 2006.  After my second daughter I had always said I would love to compete again.  I slowly got back into personal training full-time and began to live that lifestyle I started with way back in 1994.  The drive had always been there.  The discipline is something I can’t explain but I have always known that I would compete again.

Fast forward to 2011 and I step on stage for the first time in 12 years.  I knew the coach I wanted to work with, I knew he was experienced and trusted his protocol.  I never starved, I had options, I had sodium, scheduled cheat meals that were never out of control.  Cardio was used as a tool and never over done.  I had the bite again.  Living the lifestyle was so much easier.  Why? It’s who I am and what I do.  I also understood what it meant to compete, to diet.  I had an incredible coach that supported me.  Years before I experienced the worse side of competing, the big rebound.  This time though I knew better.  No rebounds and no bingeing.  The reason, better coaching and I had more knowledge about my own body but I competed for all the right reasons.  After my show in 2011 I continued on.  It was about setting goals with my physique based on judges feedback. It was about bigger shoulders, smaller waist, bigger legs.  Sculpting my body, it truly is an art.  I never ever stepped on stage because my friend was doing it,  to get in shape for summer, because a coach persuaded me to.  It has always been about the sport, the dedication and focus it brings out in me.  It is the lifestyle.  I continued on to compete until this past July 2014 when I stepped on stage for the very last time.  I went to Nationals and went into the show knowing I was retiring from the sport.  I did what I had set out to do.  I wanted to be on the National stage again.  No procard, just the time on stage with amazing athletes.  A place where competition is at a level I desired to be.  Walking away from competing did not mean that I was done in the gym or understanding my nutrition.  It simply meant that I would no longer compete.  This is why I know I did this for all the right reasons.  I have no regrets. I learned so much about myself when I was 24 yrs old on stage and now at the age of 40 retiring from the sport.  No matter what, I will always have a place in my heart for the sport.

Why tell this story?  I want those who desire to compete to make sure it is for all the right reasons.  This is why I coach.  Athletes need to understand all aspects of the sport.  It isn’t just about that day.  It is pre / post show and how it impacts your life. It’s about you and your desire not about what others do or what they say.  It is about researching suitable coaches, understanding the shows and the formats, where to start.  I don’t think people who desire to compete really understand it.  When they do, it’s almost too late and body image disorder (BID) rears it’s ugly head.  BID leads to disordered eating which then leads to eating disorders.

Too many come out of the sport hating it.  They hate it due to poor coaching, unbelievable strict dieting and cardio protocol.  They hate it because they did not do the proper research into the sport.  Don’t be that person.  Don’t hate it and have others believe it is the worse sport ever.  I’m not that hater yet I did experience the bad shit.  I was open minded and did my research but I also live this lifestyle.  It is not for everyone so please, before you decide and hire a coach, get all the information you can.

Love the sport, not the look.  Understand it and respect it.

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This is 40!

brandys Iphone Nov 19 451This is 40!  Omg, today I turned 40 and what an amazing life I have and what an amazing future I have looking forward.  I always thought 40 was old but now that I am, I can honestly say that I feel better today than I did when I turned 30.  I remember when my mom turned 40 and boy was she old!  However, when I look back at her life, she did not live a healthy lifestyle and she was nowhere near as active as I am.  I can say with all my heart that being active and taking care of yourself pays off…BIG TIME!

Looking back over the past 10 years I have done all that I wanted in that 10 year span.  We planned to have another baby and we did.  Brooklyn came along in 2006 and she is an amazing 8-year-old now.  We wanted to move and we did.  We built our second house in 2006.  Corey wanted to start his own business and I wanted to be a stay at home mom so I could focus on my kids and my health and so he started his business in 2006 and I haven’t returned to work…well at least not working for anyone.  I run my own business  now  and couldn’t be happier.   I wanted to travel and we did.  I wanted to create a life that my kids could enjoy and that I could be proud of and I did.  Finally, I wanted to get back on stage and compete and I DID!

In 2010 I started to rethink my life and what I was missing.  I needed to get back to what I was always truly passionate about and that was bodybuilding and competing.  My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in late November 2010 and her diagnosis was a huge eye opener for me, that life is way too short.  My mom was given 3 mths to live, she survived only 6 weeks.  My mom passed away in Jan 2011 and it was then, that moment, that I decided that life was too short to sit back and let days pass by.  I needed more.  I wanted more.  I needed to put myself first so that I could be happy and so that I could be a better mother, wife, friend and family member.  I wanted to live with passion.

Fast forward to 2014 and I can honestly say I have done it.  Not only do I live with passion every day but I did exactly what I set out to do by the time I turned 40.  I competed in 2011/2012/2013 and graced the stage one last time in July this year.  I am so proud of what I have accomplished.  I completely changed my mindset.  I work hard everyday to be a better version of myself.  I work hard everyday to help others see their potential, to teach them to love themselves and to be a better version everyday.  I have the discipline, the mindset, the motivation.  I have stumbled and fallen but I pick myself up each time.  Every goal I have set has been for me.  I have become a person I am proud of.

Not everyday is easy for me.  I want everyone to know that.   I am human and I do have bad days just like everyone else but what I want to say here is that you can reach your goals and be happy.  You can live with passion and you can accomplish what you set your mind to.  What you need to do is dream it, believe it and DO IT!  Don’t let days pass by and don’t say you will start tomorrow.  I want every single person that reads this to know that it is possible.  It is possible to be a successful busy mom.  It is possible to love yourself with all your flaws.  It is possible to be a mentor, someone to look up to.  It is possible no matter what.

I have felt so much love from so many people today.   I have made a difference in my life and shared my passion with others and it has paid off big time.  I am not talking about money.  The love I feel from the people around me makes me feel so appreciated and that is worth more to me than any amount of money.  I have changed lives and that you can not put a price on.

Thank you to all those that I have worked with.  Thank you to my coach Ron Partlow who worked with me from July 2011 to July 2014.  He brought out the passion that was slowly dying inside.  He made me see my potential.  It wasn’t about trophies or pro cards.  It was about loving what I do, being better at my sport and training for life.  Thank you to my friends and family who support me with encouraging words every single day.  My biggest thank you goes to all my clients.  Every single one of you has what it takes to make a choice and live your life.  Thank you for trusting me and the process.  We are all training for life and I appreciate every single one of you.

Live your life.  Love what you do, do what you love.  Live with Passion.

This is my life.  This is 40!

brandys Iphone Nov 19 450brandys Iphone Nov 19 416collage trainerizeAugust 1 Iphone brand 1465

 

 

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I know I’m ready!

It’s already that time of year for me, contest prep time.  It seems like I just got off stage and now I’m getting ready for another show.  I guess time flies by when you are having fun!  This past off-season has been great.  I set a goal to keep my conditioning in check all while trying to make improvements with my physique and I believe I was successful.  I feel good.  My mind is focused and I know I’m ready!

My contest diet is not far off of what I already eat.  Calories will be reduced somewhat but nothing crazy and my cheat meal per week will stop until my coach sends me for one.  I don’t get hung up on that at all.  Food for me is the tool I need to feel good and to tweak my physique.  Sure, mentally a cheat meal is great but I’m good with or without.  I know with my prep I always get at least two cheats.  Maybe this time around I will get more!

Training is good.  It’s not very often that my training lags, however I do get tired and I feel the impact of my diet.  I do listen to my body.  It’s tough to take a day of rest that isn’t scheduled but I will.  I know that if I walk into the gym during prep and I can barely get a pump and I’m feeling really exhausted, it’s time to take off the gloves and leave.  I experienced that a couple of times last prep and my coach just told me to rest and the trainer in me agreed.  One day off schedule won’t break me or ruin my prep.  It will be in my best interest and benefit to rest instead of pushing through a workout that in the end is just over-training.  I listen to my body and I listen to my coach.

Trust the process.  I believe in this.  I know I want my clients to trust me no matter what their plan is.  I trust the same.  I have a coach for a reason.   I don’t want to worry so I leave that all up to him.  My coach is very experienced in contest prep so it’s not often I worry and when I do, he always seems to convince me otherwise.

Posing.  Practice, practice!  I have to nail this!  Posing is vital.  It doesn’t matter if I am conditioned, balanced or have the best physique on stage.  If I can’t show case it with proper posing and the total package, then I don’t deserve any placing.  With having been on stage before, I have used the judges feedback to fine tune my posing for my category.  I have to nail this!

I know I’m ready!  I’m excited to see what my final physique will look like.  This is what drives me!  All the hard work will pay off I know it!  I’m excited to step on stage with so many other hard-working, disciplined and focused athletes.  It is such a rush.  Being on stage is simply an amazing feeling.  If you’ve competed, you know what I am talking about.  However, this year is big for me.  The last time I stepped on a National stage was 1999.  I was one of 12 girls and I placed a respectable 4th.  I honestly just want to be my best.  Placing is always nice, being first would be amazing but I’m not about that, never have been.  I’m driven, but the placing is not what drives me.  I want to be better, I want to be my best!

This isn’t my year, every year is my year.  My year to do my very best, to succeed and reach the finish line.

Here’s to a successful contest year!

Dream it!  Do it!  Believe it!

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You can follow me but you must understand me too!

Oct 2011!  My comeback

Oct 2011! My comeback 112lbs

June 2012 Provincials
June 2012 Provincials 114lbs

June 2013 Provincials

June 2013 Provincials 114lbs

It’s funny, I look huge but look at my weight!  It’s a lot of hard work and discipline, this has not come easy!  Although it’s interesting to hear what others “think” about me and what they “think” my life is like in order to look like this.

First, I think its important to point out that I have been in the gym since 1993!  I have barely missed a gym date except when life thru me a curve ball and I got pregnant.  Once my girls came into my life there was no doubt I took time away from the gym.  Not to say I quit training, I just did not train at my potential for at least 5 years.  Once my second daughter was born in 2006 I realized that it was time to get back training.  Although walking the talk back then was not a priority, my kids were.

Fast forward to now and I can say that I have worked my ass off since July 2011 when I decided to compete again.  I’ve been on stage before back in 1999 and even made it to the Nationals so I knew that it would take a lot to make significant changes in order to be competitive.  I diet hard and train hard but I still live my life.

I’ve had people follow me on Instagram and Facebook and on my blog and message me about my dedication to the sport.  I would say that 90% of the people who follow me are people who know me and understand the dedication it takes to make it in the sport of bodybuilding.  What boggles my mind is the assumption that I only live and breathe this sport and all that I have is my gym, my kids and my husband.  That part is true but so is this….I have a life!  I go out, I have friends, I enjoy time away and yes, I eat!  To assume that I don’t do anything except live in the gym and eat chicken and rice and veggies is completely untrue.  THAT WOULD BE UNREALISTIC!! It kinda upsets me that people think that I have put my life on hold to do this.  If this were the truth my family would be non-existent.  I have kids, they have sports to go to.  They have friends and birthdays to enjoy.  I have a husband that works away a lot so I have to step up for both of us when he is away which means if my kids want to go for dinner, we do!  I never ever ask my family to sacrifice!

I don’t ever think I sacrifice.  I am different.  I am the one that loves the way I eat and train.  I am the one that enjoys every minute of contest prep and the discipline that it takes to be competitive.  I love this because I live with passion, true passion for the sport, not just the aesthetics.  I am a personal trainer, it’s what I do.  I am the trainer that walks the talk. I am the trainer that believes I must truly understand every aspect of training and nutrition, to be MY BEST.  I have made huge changes in my life to support my goals.  What gets me is that people think I live in a bubble and find it hard to believe that I actually live this life…It is a lifestyle not a contest!

I don’t live in a bubble.  I go to movies, I go to basketball games and I go camping, hell I will travel too.  I do it all!  What I do differently is I plan when I’m prepping for a contest.  I also plan when in my offseason.  I make choices that are good for me and my goals.  If I want to go to a movie and not have popcorn, why is this such a big deal?  I don’t judge those who choose to HAVE the popcorn.  If my kids want to eat out while I’m in contest prep I still go with them.  Why not?  Why should I be judged if I don’t eat?  It’s ok for a person who suffers from allergies to not eat certain food at a restaurant but not ok for me to say no because it’s not on my plan for my COMPETITIVE show?  In my offseason we plan dinner and we go out.  We do this so that we actually follow thru but because it’s once a week that we do this, not every night like most.

Here’s what you need to understand about me.  I am a very busy mother of two very busy kids.  I take them everywhere.  I am their taxi service.  My husband works extreme hours and sometimes days or weeks away so I am a single parent somedays.  I am it.  I have to live my life normal.  Here’s another important fact about me.  I don’t drink!  I never have been a person who enjoys alcohol.  It’s funny that I get more flack for this than my diet!  I train and when I say I train, I train hard.  I’m always asked how many hours a day I spend training and its simple…1 hr! Unless I’m in contest prep adding cardio, I’m training 1 hr ea session with high intensity….ALWAYS!  Those who have hired trainers understand this more than anyone.  Just when you think you are hitting the gym hard you find out very quickly that you are not training to your full potential.  When I have clients that have never been pushed and I push them, they quickly understand that maybe they are not training to their potential.  I have understood this myself by having my coach put me thru some workouts!  Just when I thought I was training crazy hard, he kicks my ass and makes me re-assess my training protocol.  So before you say “I train hard too,”  ask yourself if you really are?  I am also very dedicated to eating well and fueling my body.  I was just saying to a client today that it has been weeks since I had a desert from a restaurant.  Not that I don’t have a treat, I just choose to make my own and it is always very satisfying!

This is not a rant, I just wanted to have everyone understand that I do have a life full of enjoyment and rewards.  I want people to know that it is real and it is manageable.  I love what I do.  I love training and I love competing.  I’ve been a bodybuilder basically my whole adult life and I wouldn’t change it.  I never feel deprived but I do get tired and I do get sick.  I choose to take time off when I need to and I enjoy the very small and big things in life.  These last 3 years working with my coach Ron Partlow has been the most dedicated I have been to any sport in my life.  I am proud of my accomplishments and proud to walk the talk.

If there is one thing I could say and leave with you is to always follow your heart and your dreams.  I took a lot of time off in between 2000 and 2011 and I do regret not getting back on stage sooner.  But I don’t regret my life, my kids, my family or my choices now.  I love that I am happy, probably the happiest I have been in many years.  I am turning 40 this year and I am proud that I can manage and still at the end of the day say “I did it!”

You are worth it to try…If I can so can you! Live with Passion.

xoxo

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My life, my balance.

Wow, Jan 27, 2014 already!  Time has quickly gone by!  It is almost that time again, contest prep.  I have struggled with what to blog about over the last month and a half.  Do I want to blog about training?  Nutrition?  Motivation?  During my “bloggers block”  I have had a few people ask about my life and where it is.  People have asked what my current goals are and how I stay on track.  I have been asked about my balance between my kids, my husband and my training and my clients.  It has made me ponder a bit and has brought me to this blog.  How do I do it all?  I am no superwoman but I do it!  But how?  So here’s a little insight into my life as a mother, a trainer/coach, a wife and a competitor.

My day starts pretty much at 520AM.  It doesn’t matter if it is the weekend or my day off, I am up early.  In order to get all that I need done in a day and to balance it all I must be up early.  I make no excuses, I just get up and start my day.  I’m down the stairs in my kitchen in no time to make 2 pancakes, one for me, one for my hubby.  During my morning, I’m prepping meals for the day, making coffee, taking my BCAA’s and vitamins and cleaning up.  Yes, I do all this while I’m cooking my pancakes.  It’s routine, I just do it! While I eat I open my laptop and my txt msg’s and try to answer as many as I can before my kids get up.  This time is also a great time for me to watch the news and have a conversation with my hubby.   My kids don’t usually get up until 630AM and at the ages of 12 & 7 they are pretty independent.  That doesn’t mean I’m not yelling at them to get up but I don’t have to do everything for them now so that frees up time to get my day started. Once the girls are finished eating and lunches are made for them, we are all up the stairs to get ready for our day.

Out the door and off to school at 800AM.  I have one in junior high across town and the other in elementary, her school being closer but starting later.  It actually works out quite well.  I drop them both off and I’m off to the gym for 835AM.  2013 was a year of many clients and competition mode for me most of the year.  I always scheduled my workout around my clients.  I found some days to be a gong show of getting my workout done, being all sweaty and rushing to eat just to get to the next client.  In December of 2013, I made the decision to scale back some one on one personal training and to prioritize my training by scheduling my workouts at 845am -10am.  I had to.  It’s a big year for me going to the Nationals and I want to make sure I get all my training in for the day.  This only applies to the weekdays.  Weekends are mine.  I workout as early as 6AM to balance the weekend with my family.  Either way, I get it done early and out of the way to avoid the stress of trying to “fit” my workouts in.  It really did stress me out a bit so now that stress is avoided and I honestly feel way more balanced.

Once my workout is complete, I re-fuel with meal 2 which is my favorite meal of the day.  A combo of protein powder, peanut butter and oats all mixed into my famous “Protein Puck”.  I love this combo so much I have shared my recipe with all my clients, friends and family.  It’s a great balance of fast acting protein and carbs and fat!  All that I need to continue my day with my clients.  As I have said above I have scaled back some one on one personal training.  It was a choice I made to make room for my nutrition clients that are both in the gym and online and to continue to dabble into coaching.  I have found a real passion in helping others that want to manage their food intake.  Food matters!  It’s a big deal and I want to make a difference.  I still love to train others and push their limits, that will always be my passion.  However, having someone change their life for the health of it, restore confidence and focus on what the real issue is when it comes to food…that is rewarding.   I have found a real good balance between the one on one personal training and nutrition coaching so I am extremely happy at this point in my life.  My day pretty much consists of tweaking food, reviewing food journals, creating customize eating and training programs and ….grocery shopping, data entry for two businesses, cooking and prepping meals, laundry and picking my kids up from school and taking them to their extra curricular activities.  There is one major addition I have made to my life and that is my wonderful cleaning lady.  I’m so much like my mom in that I need a clean and organized home.  Now most will come to my home and say how beautiful it is but it’s the tiny little things like deep cleaning bathrooms and dusting that I just have no time for.  I have found I don’t have as much time for it.  My hubby supported me in hiring someone and I have found a wonderful lady who is a future competitor and a wonderful person that does a beautiful job of cleaning my house.  This has added to my balance.  I walk in and my house is clean and tidy.  It’s a relief and I recommend those who struggle with trying to do it all to find an outlet and let others help you.  Heather, from Leave it to Lily, has been a great investment and I wouldn’t change it!  Love ya Heather!

My day at the gym is done at 2pm or 3pm depending on clients.  I have already managed to fit in meal 3 and ready to eat again at 4pm.  My girls are usually in the pantry at this time too having an after school snack.  YES!  My kids snack.  Both kids are pretty active, especially Maddy who plays ball 5 days per week.  I let my kids snack on what they like. I don’t force them to eat what I like but I do know that my pantry has quick little processed  snacks for them but also know that there is plenty of healthy food in the fridge.  They usually balance both.  Brooklyn loves yogurt and smores crackers and Maddy is a cheese and cracker, peanut butter and banana kind of kid who even asks for the occasional protein puck!  I don’t worry about my girls.  They don’t eat chocolate bars, cakes, ice cream and candies.  If they do, they ask and they eat them in moderation and usually as a treat.  We are not hot dog and hamburger people either.  Fast food has become quite scarce in my house.  On occasion I may order a pizza for them but its rare.  I usually make homemade healthy versions.  Eating out is left for one day per week and it is usually Saturdays, especially in the off-season.  Once I start prep it is actually a benefit for all of us.  The girls and Corey don’t usually eat out and if they decide to order food in it is rare.   We usually all wait until my coach sends me on a cheat for us to go out.  I don’t ask for that, my family is just supportive that way.  I love them for that.  I will still go out with them if we are out and about in the city but I always have my food prepped and with me so that never ever becomes an issue or a temptation.

After school is a time for me to sit and chat with the girls or it’s a time for me to finish off some client programs or I am prepping food.   If the girls are not playing basketball they are outside with friends or downstairs dancing.  They are always doing something which gives me time to continue to do stuff for my clients and for the family.

Corey is away a lot or he just works too much.  I have found balance here.  It’s never an issue with him working out-of-town.  Its been our life for a while now so there are no excuses.  I am an independent person to begin with.  I can mow lawns, wash my truck, shovel the driveway.  He’s needed oh yes!  However, I still manage the household when he’s away.  I still workout, cook and prep food and manage the household and kids.  No excuse.  It’s what our life is so I have found balance.  The girls help out a lot so again it provides some relief and support which I appreciate so much.  If Corey is home, I stretch my meal 5 out to eat with him at 6-630pm.  It’s a great time to talk as the girls have already had their dinner.  I usually make them something for just before.  They can’t always wait to eat and he doesn’t expect them too either.  Gone are the days of all of us eating at the same time.  We try but it rarely works out.  Saturdays are usually the day that we spend dinner together.  For the most part it is a meal out so we can enjoy the atmosphere of living life.  It’s important to me that we do regardless of my contest prep or not.  I don’t ask my family to arrange their life or needs around mine.  If I did, it would create dismay.  The decision to compete is mine, not theirs.  The decision to be disciplined and focused, to have goals and reach my finish line is mine not theirs.  I don’t think I would have come this far if I had asked my family to sacrifice.  If they want to travel, I will.  If they want to eat out, I will.  I manage my life and I sacrifice. Although, to me it’s never a sacrifice.  This has become my lifestyle.  A lifestyle that is manageable and rewarding.  I wouldn’t change it for anything.  My family, they have become so understanding.  It has not always been that way but I believe they see just how important my contests and personal training has become to me.  My passion and my discipline and focus speak for me.

Rambling on…my evenings usually consist of basketball,  homework with the girls and bedtime for them around 830pm.  Maddy is older and tends to stay up but doesn’t really bother us.  I am finally sitting down to enjoy my last meal of the day around 830-9pm and honestly watching TV for the first time that day.  It’s usally 1 hr and lights out for me.  1030pm is late when you are up at 520AM each and everyday.   My phone is usually switched to do not disturb around 8pm but on for those who I am coaching or for those who need me in that moment.  I keep myself accessible for reasons most don’t understand.  I do get a lot of msgs and its sometimes tough to put my phone down but I must in order to balance my life with my passion.  I always get back to my clients, just sometimes I wait til the next “business” day just like everyone else.

It seems pretty simple my life.  It can be hectic.  I yell and scream at my kids and my hubby.  I have bad days and sick days.  I have great days and rest days.  I am human.  I am not superwoman but I am a mom who has pure passion for what I do.  I now believe more than ever you must walk your talk, especially in the fitness industry.   I practice everyday what I preach.  I get better each day and I learn from the days that I have fallen.  I give no excuses, I just set my sights on my goals and I follow thru.

I lost my mom 3 years ago.  It seems like just yesterday.  When my mom passed away all that was negative in my life also died with her.   It seems really awful when I say that but those who knew me then see what a different person I have become.  I was with my mom when she died.  Watching my mom slowly die was something that I will never forget.  In that moment she taught me that life is too short.  Life is precious.  Life must go on.  The negative that I held in that moment went with her but in that moment I know that is what created the fire within me to find a passion to live for.  As much as I wish she were here with me today, I thank her for that lesson on life.  Live…Live and live with passion.  Believe, believe that you can.  Dream, dream to be something bigger and better.  Do for you and just be happy.

I hope I have given you some insight as to what my life is like.  I’m just like you.  What makes me different?  I live with passion.  I love what I do.  I see myself and know that I am a work in progress.  I see myself and know that I am enough.  I am confident, I am strong.

Live with passion and believe….xoxo

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This is off-season!

It’s November 18, 2013 and it’s snowing crazy.  It is nearing the end of 2013 and what a year it has been for me.  I switched gyms and moved my personal training business out of my home to my current home gym Snap Fitness Leduc.  I started to train for the Masters and Alberta’s in Feburary 2013 and competed in June 2013, placing second in both shows.  I made a huge decision to coach this year which was not an easy decision to make.  Coaching is tough and you have to be confident in your ability to get an athlete ready for a physique show.  I made the right decision and coached my clients Leslie and Nicole to their first show, with Leslie winning first place in Women’s Physique!  It was a crazy ride but I enjoyed it so much.

I’m currently in my off-season prepping for 2014.  I’m focused on my off-season more than ever so I thought I would share a bit of what my life is like and what my goals are and where I am at.

One of my favorite poses, side chest!

One of my favorite poses, side chest!

After placing second at the Alberta’s in June I made the decision quite quickly that I wanted to compete again in 2014.  I want to make improvements in my conditioning so I am working with Ron Partlow this off-season, paying more attention than ever to my conditioning.  Off season to me is more important than contest prep.  Now is the time to tweak my physique the best I can.   I reversed dieted out from the Alberta’s to avoid rebound but mostly to build my metabolic capacity so that when it comes to contest prep time my body will be primed to diet.  Over the last 8 weeks I have continued to add calories every week to build my metabolism even more.  I have reached my caloric intake goal and managed to stay lean which was my ultimate goal.  I want to add a few pounds of muscle before we diet so that too is coming along quite well.  I’m strong in the gym training 6 days per week with my cardio limited at 2 – 3 days per week, 20 min HIIT sessions.  My intensity is key in the gym at all times.  However, I have felt that my shoulders are a weak link and training legs can be a chore.  So with that in mind I set up training with Ron, having him kick my ass and take that intensity level up a notch with both muscle groups.  He created two wicked workouts that I am currently cycling in and I love it.  I have always struggled with training shoulders but not now.  Leg day, well let’s just say I have always enjoyed leg day but now more than ever I love it!  I’ve hit personal bests on both the leg press and my dead lift and I can see it in my leg development.  My core is also a weak link but with all my dead lifting, I feel strongly that my abs will be blocks come contest time!  I can only hope for DLB abs!!  (wishful thinking!!)

Off season is so important!  It is not the time to stay contest lean, it is the time to build.  This does not mean “bulking up” to the point that you can no longer see definition.  This is my opinion.  Why work so hard to diet down to let it all go to shit.  Condition in the off-season for me will make or break my condition in my contest prep.  I have stubborn body fat that I carry in my quads and my glutes so I have been very focused on my nutrition this off-season.  Ron created a plan and I have stuck to it!  I eat to grow with lean muscle gains in mind.  I have made good gains and I am so proud of that.  I follow his plan and I eat only one cheat meal per week.  I eat over 2200 cals (average) on my workout days and about (1800) on my non workout days.   I don’t feel deprived and I don’t ever feel guilty about enjoying a cheat meal either.  I don’t eat and then end up in the gym trying to burn it off.  I don’t binge.  I eat to enjoy the atmosphere around me and I eat because I know it works.

Nov 18 234

This is me now, today!  I’m 129lbs and so happy.  I’m not ripped!  This is me!  This is off-season!  I don’t need to be in contest shape year round, I don’t want to be.  Yes, it’s nice to be ripped for the summer no doubt but when I’m ripped my calories are restricted more, I am doing more cardio and a cheat meal is rare.  It happens but not often enough.  Off season is designed to make improvements no matter what sport.  Set goals during the off-season to keep you on track.  I did!  I do!

I’m accountable each and everyday to myself and to Ron.  We are both incredibly busy trainers so I don’t waste anyone’s time.  I love being accountable.  It keeps me focused and on track.  Having Ron tell me that it’s good to see me eating a lot and staying in shape makes me feel like I’m doing something right.  His vision combined with my discipline, we make an excellent team.  I can’t thank him enough.

I give him a lot of credit but I am finally giving myself credit too.   I am disciplined, I am focused.  I am going to be 39 years old tomorrow and I what I see in the mirror is not what I had visioned I would look like or how I would feel.  Nearing my 40’s isn’t as scary anymore.  I have my knowledge, focus and discipline to keep me on track.  I have my family and friends supporting me every step of the way.  I am so fortunate and everyday I am thankful.

So take it from me.  Use your off-season to your advantage.  Be smart and be focused!  It does not matter what sport or goal you have in mind.  Off season is vital to your overall performance and success!

Train hard, train with intensity.  Eat to grow!

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