It's a dream until you write it down, and then its a goal. - Anonymous

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I need your help....please vote!!!!

I am posting the following link in support of my fantastic nutrition coach Nadine Dumas, who needs your votes to win FLEX's bikini model search. I promise you that no one is more deserving. Not only is she a beautiful person on the outside but the inside as well. Without her help and generosity I would never have been able to make my fitness goal a reality! Go to: and vote for Nadine D.

Thanx ;0)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Planning, planning and then more planning!

When I first started this journey I really thought the hardest part would be what I do in the gym. But it turns out, that is the easy part! Well perhaps "easy" is the wrong choice of words, hehe, but it only comes second to amount of planning that goes into a venture like this one. I would have to say that planning is probably the most crucial part of reaching my goal...and I mean that in relation to so many aspects.

First off, there is the meal planning. Sounds easy, but let me tell you it so isn't!!! (And I would like to consider myself a very organized and planned individual). Not only is my diet pretty restricted at the moment, but I also have to eat every 2.5/3 hours (not so easy with a full time job!). The one thing that helps me is the fact that I LOVE to cook. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't always that way (my family could tell you lol). In fact, it is only really over the past 2 years that I really started taking an interest in it. Before then it was just something that I did out of necessity. Though I love to cook, I will admit that it has been a bit of challenge adapting recipes to cater to my diet. I also try to take into consideration my boyfriend's likes as I am not only cooking for myself (it does help that he is also on a gym push right now and is eating clean). Every night after dinner I sit down and plan my next days meals. The plan that my nutrition coach (Nadine Dumas) set out for me has certain targets for proteins, carbs and fats. I need to make sure that at the end of the day I have met those targets or stayed under. With the plan set out my next step is to prepare my lunch (as well as my boyfriend's) for the following day. Everything is carefully measured out, packed in my lunch bag and put in my fridge (where it is waiting for me the next morning). Buying a lunch bag and tupperware was by far one of the best purchases I have made. Sometimes the hard part is remembering to take it with you to work, lol!

Next comes grocery shopping! Whether you are dieting or simply eating clean, it is imperative to have a well stocked fridge. Gone are the days where I could pick up some "fast food" when I didn't feel like cooking or shopping for groceries. Prior to starting this journey my boyfriend and I were in the bad habit of going grocery shopping at least 3 times a week! Instead of planning out our meals for the week we would plan them out everyday after work. Of course, more than half of the time we would not have all of the ingredients and so we would hop in the car and go grocery shopping. As most people are probably already aware, shopping this way is definitely not cost effective! This past three weeks we have made huge strides in changing how we shop. We plan our meals out for the week and only hit the grocery store once on the weekend. Instead of running over to Safeway or Co-op we go to Superstore and Costco (and the savings are unbelievable!). We have also visited Crossroads Market (in particular Regina's Meat Shop) and that is where I am planning to buy all of my meat from during the 3 months prior to my competition. This is going to sound strange but Regina carries the biggest chicken breasts I have ever seen! My boyfriend and I even took pictures...if I can find them I will post them for you because this is definitely one of those, "you have to see it to believe it" things.

It will come as no surprise that the other half of my planning is spent on all that I do at the gym. My first step was to roughly plan out the entire year. I needed to know the dates of when I would be finishing a phase and when I would be starting a new one (thank God my roommate was there to help!). He also helped me hash out a plan for my first 8 weeks at the gym (including warm-up, exercises, sets, reps, rests..etc). After that time, we will work together for a week to test my progress and plan out the upcoming couple of months. Another important part of the process was planning out the times that I would be at the gym. I currently work 8-4:30 so it seemed appropriate that I would head to gym for 5:00pm. Of course it is unrealistic to think that I will always be able to make it during that happens and there will be other important engagements that arise. Therefore, I needed to make out a plan for the days that I would either have to change my start time...or the days that I would miss out on all together.

The funny thing is is that this is going to be easiest part of my journey when it comes to the topic of planning. During the last three months is when it is going to get really hectic (diet, gym twice a day, tanning, posing workshops, waxing, nails, photoshoot,swimsuit fittings, work, family, life....the list goes on!). It is crazy to think of the amount of planning and preparation that goes into 10 minutes of stage time!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our New Addition

So my boyfriend and I found out on Sunday that our puppy was born!!! I am beyond excited as I have always dreamed of the day that I would be able to own a dog. This is something that we have been talking about for the past year and now it is turing into reality!(I am still in disbelief a little bit!). We fought over what breed to get for months! I was really hoping to get a doberman, german shepard or a rotti, while my boyfriend was dead set on getting a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. In the end we actually agreed on completely breed of dog altogether: a Hungarian Vizsla. Not many people are familiar with this breed, however, growing up in Hungary it was one of the most common dogs. They would be comparable to the German Weimaraners with the exception that they are a rust colour rather than silver or grey. Finding a breeder in our neck of the woods was very difficult as well. If we lived in Eastern Canada or the States we would have had so many places to choose from. Here in Calgary we were only able to find one breeder (where we would have been wait listed with 13 people ahead of us!). I decided one day to test my luck on Kijiji. After countless (no exaggeration!) of fraudulent offers we finally came across a breeder only a couple of hours away. We visited them a few months ago and prayed that they would be able to successfully breed their dogs. We have kept in contact since then, and on Sunday we received the news that the puppies had been born; 3 boys and 3 girls! Of course, it will be another eight weeks before we can bring him or her home. We are not 100% decided on whether we are going to get a male of female, but are leaning towards a male (the funny thing is is that we can only agree on a girl's dog name at this point!).

If you would like to see the little pups please visit:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You

I wanted to take this time to say thank you to all those who have been supportive of my venture. When I first started out it seemed that I was met with doubt and criticism. I never thought that simply telling someone that I was on a diet would be so controversial! Then adding that I wanted to compete in a fitness show only added fuel to the fire! It wasn't until I got fed up with all the negativity and posted my feelings on facebook that people started to come around. I was so frustrated and was having a hard time keeping my feelings bottled inside. I am now glad that I had the courage to speak up when I did, because as soon as I did, people really started taking an interest in learning more about what I wanted to do. I started the diet due to health reasons that I have mentioned in a previous blog, but it is going to be a major part of competing. Of course the true competitors diet won't begin until I am three months away from my competition date but trust me when I say that the diet I am on is a great test of my will power and dedication. I am not only saying this because of what I am so called missing out on eating but rather the amount of planning it takes to keep up with it(something I will dedicate a separate post to).

In this last few weeks since starting up at the gym more and more friends and family have begun inquiring about my goals. I am not sure if they were unsure about fitness competitions altogether or if they felt that perhaps this was just an idea that I came up with one day but was truly never going to do. The feedback so far has been very positive. I actually had someone tell me that I was an inspiration. I knew this journey would impact my life forever but I never imagined the impact it may have on others. I am just an average person and to know that something I am doing is helping others means so much to me. When I decided to teach it was for that exact reason, because I wanted to help others and have a positive impact on their lives. I never imagined that something I decided to do for myself (which so far I have deemed pretty selfish) would actually affect others.

So to keep this short I wanted to say thank you to all of the people in my life who have been there encouraging me, and for those who I will meet along the way. It is nice to know that this is not a journey I need to take on my own!

Check It Out

For anyone interested in clean eating I would like to recommend the following page which provides tons of great recipe ideas (please note that these recipes are not only for those who are looking to compete):
Check Out Facebook for: Recipes for Gals in Figure and Bodybuilding (the ideas are endless and super easy!) I also recommend that you check out her actual website if you want a sneak peak into the life of a competitor.

For those interested in knowing what it takes to become a fitness competitor I highly recommend you check out: What you will find is a video diary of Coach Nadine Dumas and competitor Brandi Miskow as they work towards her first fitness competition, as well as the four weeks post competitions.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cheats Days...Should You Do It?

At the start of my diet I was asked not to cheat for two weeks. Two weeks to most may not seem like a long time but to a "sugar addict/choco-holic" it seems like a lifetime! The first few days seemed to be a breeze...but as the week came to an end and the weekend started so did the cravings (going out to Moxie's with the girls and being the only one who couldn't eat probably didn't help lol!). But, I somehow pushed through it and the second week went without a glitch. My reward for two weeks of clean eating was a single Kit Kat bar. To be honest I didn't feel like I had to have it but the majority of my week was spent on trying to figuring out what I was going to allow myself to have. I decided a Kit Kat bar would do the trick. I was planning on really taking my time eating it, really savoring the fact quite the opposite happened. I devoured it as if it was the last piece of chocolate I was ever going to get to have. The worst part is, after I didn't really even feel satisfied! The next Sunday we were treated to an array of desserts as per my boyfriend's sister-in-law (based on idea she got from a restaurant her and her husband visited). There was carrot cake, cheesecake and a brownie! The first ten minutes I felt fantastic...the next few hours not so much! I didn't think that eating clean for a few weeks would have such a drastic change on my body. But literally ten minutes after consuming the desserts I was having stomach pain and I felt nauseous for a good two hours. I decided that perhaps instead of dessert I would be better off having a "cheat meal". My cheat meals for the next two weeks consisted of :
1) An entire Small Pepperoni Whole Wheat/Thin Crust pizza from Panago (no lie!)
2) Grilled Chicken and Provolone Panini and starter Italian Wedding Soup from East Side Mario's
I have noticed that after the first month my energy levels have dropped and my mind was beginning to think more and more about food. Unfortunately it wasn't the good foods but rather the chocolate bars and ice cream (we received coupons in the mail from Marble Slab...yummy!). I was worried that feeling frustrated I would begin having thoughts about buying a small chocolate bar and just having one piece, not the entire bar, but enough to satisfy that craving. But I knew myself better than that. One piece would lead to the entire bar. Then that bar would lead to another. For the next couple of days I would be over come with guilt and have a hard time picking up where I left off.
I started doing research on the internet and after getting some professional advice decided that I would continue to incorporate a cheat meal once a week on Sundays. From what I gather incorporating a cheat meal once a week will not only emotionally calm my cravings but it will jump start my metabolism and provide some extra energy. I mean one splurge will not ruin my progress as a healthy diet can include all foods...just in MODERATION! (the moderation part is something I still need to work on). Of course, not everyone agrees with this and as I get down to the last three months before the competition I will need to make some changes, but competing to win means sacrifice. Until then, I will trust the opinions of those who are helping me on my journey.

Spin Class

So today I completed my second ever spin class and I think that I am hooked! The instructor told me the general rule was that it would take 3 classes before someone gets hooked but for me it seems one class was enough. For those of you that may not be familiar with spin, it is a cycling class. I know, most of you are probably thinking, "come on, how hard can that be!". Yeah, let me tell you, it is a fantastic workout and great fun!!! And keep in mind that this is coming from someone who hasn't ridden a bike in probably a good 10 years!
This class definitely made me think about why I ever gave up bike riding? From what I recall I flew over the handle bars a few too many times mountain biking, and I was scared for my life riding in the city streets. So I am sure you are all wondering what made me decide to take this type of class in the first place. Well, to be completely honest my cardio is terrible (no exaggeration!). I could easily chalk it up to my sports asthma but that would be a cop out. I was always involved in competitive sports growing up and over time I was able to fade out the use of my puffer. However, over the years the activities dwindled and the asthma became noticeable (especially when trying to keep up with my scrambling buddy while hiking Mt. Yamnuska). Recently, activities such as jumping on the trampoline with my students for 10 minutes would leave me breathing hard. I am only 26 and I felt like I had the lungs of a 70 year old! (no offense to anyone in the older age!). So I decided that I needed to add in some cardio to my routine.....but what? I am not the type who could run on the treadmill for an hour...I just get so bored! I really give cudo's to all those who can. Then I remembered that when I signed up at the gym I was told about spin classes. I knew of them as I had worked at a gym where we also offered them to members, but never really thought that it would be something I would enjoy. However, spin or cycling is one of the highest calorie burning activities that a person can engage in. When I began this journey I promised myself that I would be open minded and would continuously challenge what a better way than to jump into a classI haven't ever tried ( or let alone an activity I haven't done for 10 years!)...and I am so glad I did!
When I first entered the class I was kind of a fish out of water. I headed straight to the back row and looked for a bike that seemed to be set up at the right height for me (I decided to avoid the awkward fumbling around with all the different gadgets). I just got on the bike, strapped my feet into the peddles the best I could and started peddling. Soon I was surrounded on either side by "regulars". I watched them like a hawk while they were setting up their bikes so I would know what to do the next time I came (if there was to be a next time!). I am not typically the shy type when it comes to asking for help, but an experience earlier on in the week kind left a sour taste in my mouth. To make a long story short, I asked a personal trainer if they could demonstrate a specific exercise to me so I could make sure I was doing it right, and the way they responded to me was very off putting.. .as if it wasn't part of their job to help people out! Anyways, enough said. When the class started the instructor asked if there were any newbies in the class and without thinking I raised my hand...of course I was the only one! As everyone's gaze feel upon me she asked if I wanted to move to the front of the class...I politely declined and hoped that would be the end of it. She just smiled and gave me the run down of the 50 minutes. Basically there were to be 7 different phases, with phase 2,4,6 and 7 to be the toughest. Each phase was carefully choreographed to music (all of which was enjoyable to listen to). The phases went back and forth working between "racing" which was basically peddling at very quick paces and "hills" which required us to get out of the saddle and ride as if we were climbing a hill. Of course all phases required us to increase and decrease the resistance on the bikes based on the instructor's request.
There is one thing to be said about doing classes, and that is motivation. I think like most people I work harder when I have someone motivating me. It isn't that I don't try to push myself when I am working out alone, but like most people I always seem to have a little more left when someone is there to motivate me. Partly my competitive nature also kicks in and makes me think that if the person beside me can do than I too can do it (and do it better lol!).
I am happy to report that I made it through both classes! No one was more surprised by this than me. Of course my first time I kept the tension on my bike pretty low but today I really challenged myself. Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that my Friday workouts are legs and abs so going into these classes my muscles are not 100% recovered. So I guess they kind of get a double workout :).
So to anyone who has thought about trying a spin class but wasn't sure if it was for them I definitely encourage you to do so. I mean what do you have to lose (besides the calories of course!)?