Posted in My Fitness Story, Uncategorized

Comp Prep Ramblings & Life Simplified

The process of competing isn’t about competing against other people and trying to be better than everyone. Competing is about bringing the best to the stage that YOU can.
Doing a fitness competition isn’t something that I decided to do just to “look good in a bikini”, or for attention, or for some guy to notice me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I am perfect, by any means. But I am saying that I am at a stage in my life where I am very comfortable with who I am and what I look like – however I look, and am not looking for validation from anyone.

I’m doing this for me.

I don’t work out to compete. I compete because I workout and now I am looking to challenge myself and see what I can achieve.

I’m doing this because I love working out and challenging myself and doing things that are “not normal.” I love being different and pushing my own limits, not because I want to feel superior, but because I love the feeling of pride I get from working hard towards a goal. Plus, I have learned so much about the human body and how amazing it truly is (not just during prep, but from school) so it is really cool for me to see the effects of my work. This has really been a learning process for me and has been so incredible to see the changes in my body, and I’ve only been on “prep” for 6 weeks!

One thing that has made this journey a little bit easier on me (so far) is that I have used the last 3 years of my life making my body as healthy and strong as possible. I’ve done this by incorporating more weight training and food, and less cardio.

This combination has allowed me to put on almost 30 pounds, mostly muscle – not all mind you, and turn my body into a metabolic, carb loving machine. Yes, as my prep continues I know I will need to continue to change my diet, but that is because I am going to push my body to it’s extremes. Thankfully I have a brilliant coach who doesn’t change anything overly drastically and allows me to work smarter instead of stupidly hard. Furthermore, since I was eating such a high amount of carbs, and overall calories before I started my prep it has given me tonnes of room to work with when going into a deficit. This is another reason why I am so glad that this is the year I have decided to compete.

When my coach sent my update this week she told me that she believes we are ahead of schedule! Which is amazing to me, since my diet hasn’t been crazy and I’m not even doing 1 1/2 hours of cardio a week! This proves that the more muscle you have and the better you treat your body the easier it is to manipulate it and change its composition.

I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression and have you believe that getting to this point has been easy for me and has been little work, because that would be a lie. But it’s been a lot easier mentally than when I first attempted to lose weight, before I was educated and knew the healthy and simpler methods.
This is the first year in a while that I have felt content and at peace with my life. Not just my body, but everything in my life. Clearly, my life isn’t perfect, and it’s not that I was unhappy all the years before this, but I am just wonderfully content with my life right now.

Anyways, there’s no major lesson in this post.. I warned you this was my ramblings!

But I’ll leave you with these thoughts:

– Life doesn’t have to be hard to get better OR different, yes change is challenging but it’s all in your approach. The knowledge and mental attitude in which you approach a task will determine how efficiently and enjoyably you reach said goal.

– In my opinion it is always better to work smarter than harder.

– LIFT WEIGHTS. FUEL YOUR BODY. SLEEP. REPEAT

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Posted in fitness, Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

Simple Tips to Keep You From Finding the Weight You Lose

Most people think that if they diet for a bit, and start to exercise that they can achieve their goal bodies and then go back to their old habits once they get there… Do you see the problem here? Reaching your goal is only half the journey, if you go back to your old habits then doesn’t it make sense that you will eventually go back to your old body?

Mind you, it’s a lot harder to get it off than keep it off, but it still takes smarter decisions to allow you to maintain your weight loss.

So here are my tips:

1. STAY AWAY FROM QUICK FIXES

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times, the slower you lose the weight the more likely you are to keep it off. Juice diets, skinny teas, whatever, will only work for so long… And although you may lose 5-10 pounds very quickly, once you go back to your “normal” lifestyle you will gain that 10 pounds back just as quick and be even more frustrated. So stick with a sustainable nutrition adjustment and you won’t have to worry about rebound weight!

2.  Exercise!

I’m not just saying this because I make people sweat everyday, but because it’s been proven. By exercising regularly you keep your metabolism from decreasing with age. Furthermore, your body burns more calories at rest and therefore even if your nutrition isn’t always perfect your body will process the extra calories better.

3. Eat whole foods more often than not

These foods will give you more bang for your buck, meaning they have more nutrients and will keep you satisfied for a longer time span, plus they have fewer calories.

Therefore, most of your groceries should be bought along the edges of the grocery store so that you can have a plateful of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein at every meal!
4. Eat vegetables EVERYDAY

There’s a reason every person in the health industry preaches about eating your 5-8 servings of veggies a day, and it’s not just because they are super tasty! Although after eating them on a regular basis your body does actually begin to crave them, meaning your taste buds to start to like them more! This not only means your body is getting more nutrients than you would with junk food, but your cravings for the high sugar and fat foods will decrease!
5. Get rid of that scale!

Or at the very least, stop weighing yourself everyday.

This can not only be de-motivating and lead to harmful practices (excessive amounts of cardio or restricting food), but it can be way off!

Did you know that your weight can fluctuate over 5 pounds in one day?

Well, now you know.

And now you know that although you could be doing well and moving in the right direction, your body may be holding extra water which will effect the number you see on the scale!
6. Make most of your meals yourself

The most obvious reason this helps is because you know exactly what is in it. Therefore, you know exactly what is in the food and how it is prepared, which can save you from consuming tonnes of extra calories or additional ingredients.

Furthermore, this also preserves your willpower. How? Well you see, the more you go out to eat the more decisions you have to make, “fries or salad?”, “pop or water?”, “double bacon cheese burger or chicken breast?”

Sure you may have strong willpower the first time you go out, choosing the water to drink with a salad and sandwich. But over time this can wear on you and eventually you will snap, choosing the burger with extra large fries and a coke.

So, eat at home or pack your lunch as often as you can!
7. Avoid sugary drinks

Whether it’s your doctor, dentist, or personal trainer telling you to choose sugar free drinks, they all have a point. Their main goal may be to save your teeth from decaying, your body from developing diabetes or your waistline from expanding, but whatever the reason is, staying away from sugar in your drinks will help you improve your health.

Sugary drinks, whether it’s a slushie, pop, or that margarita at happy hour, they will add hundreds – possibly even thousands, of empty calories…I don’t know about you, but I like to save my calories for things that will actually nourish my body.
8. Allow yourself to splurge, but be accountable for them

The best way to satisfy your cravings and your body composition is to allow yourself cheats from time to time, after all, life is all about balance. But I don’t want you to think that I mean it’s okay to go out for a full cheat day and stuff your face with as much food as you possibly can just because you have eaten well the whole week prior. Furthermore, I also don’t think that you should be the crazy person who brings the low- fat kale, spinach, green – something or other to your next get together. You need to find the balance between the two, try to follow your good eating habits most days and allow yourself to indulge in your favourite foods from time to time – I like the 80/20- rule!
9. Love your body now and always

Our bodies change every single day. They are amazing, and allow us to do so many things, and the best part is – we are all slightly different. If you are only following a certain program because you hate your body and want to change it, then you will never be truly happy because as soon as you reach one goal you will try to change something else. Plus, you will feel extra guilty by enjoying holiday meals or treats, which is unhealthy on a whole different level.

Your self-worth and happiness does not depend on the size of your jeans, it depends on your outlook on life and the size of your heart.

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, My Fitness Story

It’s OK not to be OK

I try to be as real as possible. Especially because most people look at me and think my life is “perfect”, or that things come easy for me,or that I don’t have bad days, and that is truly not the case.
It’s easy to look at someone who seems to have their life together, who has the things you think you want, and judge them, be jealous, or even belittle their accomplishments because you haven’t seen the hard work that they have put in to get to that point. It’s just easier. And most of the time we do that to make ourselves feel better, because by believing that they didn’t have to try to get to where they are it makes us feel like it’s not our fault that we haven’t reached a certain goal.
But that needs to stop.
Just because you haven’t seen someone’s struggle and hard work doesn’t mean it wasn’t or isn’t there.
Anything worth having is worth putting in a little bit of effort. The people who inspire me the most are the ones who are honest, the ones who don’t just show their highlight reel, the ones who show their effort and struggle and give me something to relate too. Being able to relate to my role models helps to give me the confidence to keep grinding and to believe that I do it.
But I’m here to let you know that I struggle.

I have bad days.

I have days where I have to force a smile, not because something in particular has happened, but just because I am feeling a little down, not myself.

I have days (like this whole past week) where I felt like I was just going through the motions of my life.
I figured when I started prepping for this competition that the hardest part for me would be the diet and posing and girly stuff, and that I would soar through the workout program.

But boy, was I wrong.

I had to force myself just to get through my specific plan, my heart wasn’t in it and I was lacking my usual energy and strength….
But I pushed through.

I have goals, so I knew what I had to do, and that was get through my workouts as best as I could. This was tough for me because my workouts are intense, I mean they always have been, but being on a calorie deficit leaves me with a little less energy, therefore not having the energy to fuel my typical workouts and it has discouraged me a little.
This week was hard for me.

I didn’t feel like myself, and have been extra hard on myself because of it.

This isn’t a pity party, I’m not looking for sympathy.

I’m just trying to say that being successful isn’t all fun and games, and it truly does take hard work.
There’s a difference between understanding that it’s OK to have a bad day, and dwelling on it.
All week I have been doing what I usually do to get motivated in an attempt to get back to myself, and it hasn’t been easy. But yesterday I finally felt stronger in the gym again which has helped regain a bit of confidence. I took the rest of the weekend as a complete rest to let my body and mind regenerate, and I’m so glad I did. I feel rested, relaxed and actually excited to get back in the gym tomorrow and start my new program for this month!
Thankfully, I have a great support system and can have a fresh start anytime I choose.
I intend to make this month even better than the last. I will do this by choosing to only think positive thoughts and keeping the end goal in mind, which is less than 8 weeks away!
Next time you’re having a bad day, remind yourself that it happens to everyone. Allow yourself to become aware of how you’re feeling and really feel those emotions. Let it off your chest; talk to someone close to you, write it in a journal, or post a blog about it, whatever you need to do to acknowledge your feelings. Then let them go, rid yourself of those feelings so that they cannot get in the way of your happiness and goals again.

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

Calories, what are they good for? 

Calories are not the enemy. Calories do not make you fat.

Calories are not tiny monsters that sneak into your closet and shrink all your clothes.
Calories are important.

Calories give you energy.

Calories allow your body to function.

Calories keep you alive.
With all of the diet fads and crap circulating people have come to see calories as little demons, when in reality, they are literally necessary to your survival. Calories always seem to get bad publicity for “making people fat”, but do they people who preach such nonsense even know what calories are?

Most likely, no.
So I’ll drop some knowledge here: a calorie is a unit of energy.

There.

Does energy make you fat? No!

It’s the exact opposite, energy allows you to move and therefore function and expend energy.
Calories do not make you fat.

Eating an excessive amount of calories does, but that’s just simple math. When you consume more calories than you burn of course you will store some.
Then there’s the discussion of whether all calories are equal or not.

Technically, yes…. But some foods are more nutrient dense (meaning a high amount of nutrients per the amount of calories) and some are considered “empty calories” (meaning they have no nutrients but a lot of calories).
Furthermore, it’s not like healthy foods don’t have calories, or that junk foods have worse calories, it’s that people are not aware of what they are consuming. Processed foods have more calories but less nutritional value so you feel like you’re not eating as much and are still hungry, causing you to eat more of them. Which usually leads to weight gain. Healthier foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains have more vitamins and nutrients allowing you to feel satisfied after eating them and therefore less cravings which means fewer calories consumed.

All foods have calories.

But some will leave you feeling hungry and craving more, while others will leave you filled with nutrients and energy.
Without calories your body wouldn’t be able to move, your brain couldn’t function, and eventually you would die.
So stop making calories out to be bad.

Look at calories as your fuel to give you energy to function, move and just enjoy your life.
The moment you learn to have a loving relationship with food instead of looking at it as “reason you’re fat”, you will change your life.

Posted in fitness, Healthy Lifestyle Advice

Exercise isn’t enough – Why it’s important to get off your butt!

“Sitting is the new smoking”Have you heard that yet?

Well tonnes of studies have been done recently on the health implications of sitting for prolonged periods of time. One particular study in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week sitting in their cars and watching TV had a 64% greater chance of dying from heart disease, than those who sat for 11 hours or less a week.
One of the scariest parts for me, especially as a fitness professional, is that the risks were relatively unrelated to how much the subjects exercised outside of their sitting time. This means that even exercising for an hour a day, a couple days a week still isn’t enough to totally ward off disease (don’t get me wrong, I could go on about TONNES of studies as to how exercise helps to decrease the risk of disease and other things, I’m saying it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk) so we need to make more opportunities to move throughout our day!
* FYI, 23 hours a week is only 3.28 hours a day, for some people that could be their whole commute, or a partial Netflix binge, because let’s be real, who stops at 3 hours of Netflix.
That’s insane right, you’re sitting there thinking “yeah, ok Roni, who doesn’t sit for more than 3 hours a day?” And I know that sounds super intense, but there are ways to decrease your risk, which don’t take that much effort on your part!
One study looked at the effects of simply standing at your workplace, instead of sitting at a desk. The main takeaway from this study is that the volunteers were able to raise their heart rate about 10bpm, which equaled up to burning about 50 calories more per hour than sitting. Those extra calories burned from simply standing rather than sitting adds up to about 30,000 more calories burned in a year, which is around 8 pounds of fat!

This doesn’t mean you have to stand all day at work, as little as 3-4 hours (about half your work day) can have a great influence on your health.
Another simple way to do this, if you do not have the environment at work that you can stand while you work, is to just stand up every 30 minutes and take a little walk or stretch. Instead of emailing a co-worker go walk to their office, go to the far restroom, or just stand up and stretch. Anything you can do to get out of your chair will help!
Not only is this a great way to decrease your risk of disease, but it also has other benefits. Sitting less can also help with weight loss by increasing your Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (how much calories your body burns in a day) and will most likely reduce any back pain by reducing the pressure on your spine when you sit all day!
In summary, I’m not taking away anything from exercising (obviously), I’m just reminding you that 3-5 hours a week of planned exercise is not enough!
A body in motion, stays in motion!
And I don know about you but I want to stay in motion for as long as I live!

Posted in fitness, Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

How are your resolutions going?

Happy Monday, Happy February, Happy time to check if you’re still on track!
Okay, today is the start of February, about the time most people give up on their New Years resolutions. So this is your chance to make sure you’re on track, or get refocused! You are not most people, you are going to change your life this year!

So I have a task for you!

Sit down sometime today & look back to what your goals were at the start of the new year. Now be honest, are you doing everything you can to make those goals happen… Are you still doing anything to make them happen?

If yes, then great! Keep up the hard work 🙂 I’m very proud of you!

If not, that’s ok, heck that’s what I’m here for!

Even if you haven’t fallen off track here is something you can to do make sure you’re moving closer to your goals and re-motivate you!

Here’s what I want you to do:

1. Sit down, look at those goals and see which ones are really important to you.

2. Write down your new/ improved goals at the top of a piece of paper. Decide which one or two you want to focus on this month and make it your “main goal” for February.

3. Underneath your main goal(s) write down at least 3 “action goals” for this week that will help you get closer to your main goals.

4. Then write down 4-5 “action goals” for the whole month to keep you focused.

5. Keep this piece of paper somewhere you will see it everyday; stick it to your mirror, hang it right by your door, anywhere you will look at it more than once a day. This will not only remind you to do those action goals, but seeing it multiple times a day will help it sink into your subconscious.

(Don’t skip 5 it is extremely important)

6. Then every week write down 3 more action goals to keep you continuously getting closer! These weekly action goals can be very similar or the same, if that’s what you need to reach your goals.

If you’re a little confused as to what I mean I’ll give you some help.

Here are mine:

Main goal: make sure I am prepared and don’t look out of place in my fitness competition.

This weeks action goals:

1. Practice posing >3 times

2. Give my all in each workout (yes, even cardio)

3. Hit my macros within 5-10 grams

4. Start my day with positive affirmations

Monthly action goals:

1. Buy my shoes

2. Practice walking in those shoes

3. Send posing routine to coach to get feedback

4. Continue killing my workouts

5. Hit my macros

6. Stay positive & visualize myself on stage

Your main goals don’t have to be fitness focused! You can use these for any tip of goal you have, and I recommend that you break all of your goals down into mini and action goals to help you achieve your goals in all areas of your life.

There are still 11 months left in 2016, so let’s make the most of it and cross those resolutions off your list!

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

When “dieting” be careful with eliminating food groups

Almost all fad diets seem to highlight one food group or macronutrient as the reason people are fat. There’s low carb, low fat, high protein, no carb (which you would actually die if you followed it to a T), paleo, gluten- free, the list goes on and on!

But those are all basically nonsense.
No certain food will make you fat.
The only way, I repeat, THE ONLY WAY, that a person will gain weight is by consuming more calories than they burn. Those calories could all come from vegetables and fish, it doesn’t matter, but if you eat more calories than you burn your body will gain weight.
It’s science.
I don’t care what you read in some magazine.

Carbs DO NOT make you fat.
Fat DOES NOT make you fat.
Bread DOES NOT make you fat.
Gluten DOES NOT make you fat. …
However, too much carbs, fat, bread, or gluten will make you fat.

The main reason that these diets work at first is because when you take away a whole group, that usually puts you in a calorie deficit… Therefore you are burning more calories than consuming, so you lose weight. SCIENCE.

The main reason these diets are harmful on your body is because by cutting out whole food groups you then begin to deprive yourself of the nutrients that you used to get from those foods. Yes even those “bad carbs that make you fat” like pasta and bread have nutrients that your body needs.

Now, some people have to cut out certain foods or food groups because of intolerances or allergies. That I totally understand and obviously you should not eat that food. But, if that is the case you should make sure that you are still getting those vitamins and nutrients from other sources.

Speaking of crazy diets that started with people with a disease and people now think it will help them lose weight – gluten.
I will try not to rant too much, but this fad just drives me nuts.
Does anyone who starts a “gluten free diet” to lose weight even know what it is? No. Well, maybe you do, but most don’t. Gluten is a protein, it is not a substance that once enters your body causes you to get fat. Gluten is actually essential and has many important nutrients for your body. The only people who should avoid gluten are those who are intolerant or have IBS/IBD.
If you start eating gluten free to lose weight a lot of people, unless they are paying attention to the calorie content, actually gain weight. This is because a lot of these gluten free snacks have more calories than the ones they are replacing.
Why you ask? Because they need to replace the gluten with something.

This goes along with all “diet” snacks, whatever they are taking out, they must replace with something so please always read the label so you know what you are eating.

Moral of the story: Don’t fall into fad diets just because it seems to have worked for someone else. Pay attention to what you put in your body and make sure you are giving it the right nutrients!