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

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!)?

Monday, May 24, 2010


So I have been doing a ton of research on supplements...there is so much research out there! I have also talked to a lot of people and it seems everyone has a differing opinion. After narrowing down my list of supplements (protein powder, bcaa's and glutamine) I decided the best course of action was to visit a Supplement Store and speak to a professional. From recommendations (based on service as well as price) I decided to go to Samson's on Macleod Trail. When I got there I felt a little out of place and overwhelmed! It seemed to be full of the typical " juice monkey's"...sorry I hate to generalize but that is just how I felt at the time. It is a tiny store but to my surprise it was packed from the floor to the ceiling. There was only one little pathway that would get you from one end of the store to the next. The more I started looking and reading the more confused I got. So I decided to man up and get some help from an employee. There was only one person in at the time (I believe his name was Jason). He was the typical guy you would find in a supplement store...however he was very knowledgeable and very kind. I kind of half expected him to laugh in my face or at least roll his eyes when I told him that I was looking to train for a fitness competition. However, to my surprise he was genuinely interested in helping me out (that is what I get for judging a book by it's cover I guess!).
The first thing we looked into was protein powders. I had mentioned that I was lactose intolerant and he right away pointed my to the "ISO-Sensation line". He mentioned that this product was twice filtered and so if there was any lactose that got through it it would not be enough to effect they had lots of great flavours! I picked up a bucket of "Cookies and Cream" which they had on special for $79.00! I have been using the product for just over a week and have to say that I love it! I have not had great luck with protein powders in the past because my stomach can't seem to handle them very well, but have not had any problems with this product...and best of all it tastes great! I have since tried the chocolate fudge variety and that one also tastes fantastic! I think next time around I will try the Brazilian Cafe kind...mmmmmmmm. With my workouts I am using one scoop of protein powder before and one scoop after my workout (mixed with water).
My next purchase was the Ultimate Nutrition Glutamine powder, which came to $29.99 (Glutamine helps muscles with the recovery process). I had the option for go for a different variety of flavoured Glutamine but I didn't think that the flavours that were available would mix well with my "Cookies and Cream" protein powder. Currently, I mix one scoop of Glutamine with one scoop of protein powder for my post workout shake (of course mixed with water).
My last purchase was a bottle of ON BCAA (Branched ChainAmino Acids) 1000 Capsules. I went with the 200 capsules for $29.99 since I am just started out (for course the bigger bottle you purchase the better the deal). I take 3 capsules when I wake up, 3 prior to workout and 3 post workout. For those of you like me who aren't great at taking pills, these are almost a deal breaker because they are huge! Seriously, you would think that they are meant for animals not people!!! I am happy to report though, I am getting much better at swallowing them :).For those of you that aren't familiar with BCAA's I will give you a brief description about them which I am copying straight from the bottle:
"BCAA are essential, meaning that they must be consumed through the diet, since the human body cannot make them from other compounds. BCAAs have long been used by strength-training and endurance athletes alike to activate muscle synthesis nd reduce muscle breakdown caused by intense training".
Besides these supplements, I do take a Women's One a Day daily vitamin.
I will keep you posted on any changes in my supplements over the course of the year.

Up To Date

Ok, so I wanted to start off by giving everyone a quick update on what I have been doing over the past month. My journey actually began a while back when I had met the lovely Nadine Dumas while working at a local gym in Calgary. For those of you that may not know her, I strongly recommend that you google her name...I am only saying this because any description I tried to write about her here would not due her justice! Back then she had sparked my interest in fitness competitions, but it wasn't until she and fellow friend Brandi Miskow launched the site that my interest turned into a full boar goal. The site follows Brandi Miskow on her three month long journey towards a fitness competition as well as four weeks of post season (with Nadine Dumas as her coach of course!).
My first course of action was to get into contact with Nadine to work out a nutrition plan. I have always had what friends described as "the perfect body type". I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted and it would never show. However, over the past couple of years I have begun to notice some major changes (in particular I no longer had a super flat stomach and there were hints of love handles). I want to be clear off the bat and say that NO I never thought I was fat, but I became unhappy with my body. Another major reason for contacting Nadine was because of the way that I had begun feeling. I should warn you right now that when I set out to do this, I decided I would be brutally honest and shall not be censoring my comments some of you are going to get to know me maybe a little too close :). So I am just going to come out and say it...I had TERRIBLE and UNCONTROLLABLE gas with all day bloating ( haha I think I re-wrote this sentence like 5 times!). Now, I am not just talking about the gas you get every once in a while because you ate too much, I am talking about "clear the room" type of gas EVERY DAY! Now, as a girl I am sure that you can all imagine how terrifying that was to live with (especially having to hold it back all the time, YIKES!). On a side note, I actually farted in front of my boyfriend on our second date..yeah I thought I was going to die! Imagine this, you are cuddled up watching a movie together in bed, you drift off to sleep to only be woken up to the sound of your own fart!!! I think I turned every shade of red that instant! He was a good sport about it and pretended not to hear it...well until I admitted it (then to my horror he ran off and told his roommates!). I decided I had had enough of this and it was time to break the silence. I had the courage to tell Nadine about my stomach issues and she took on the task of designing a nutrition plan for me.
My nutrition plan at the moment was based off of the fact that I wanted to lose about 10 pounds ( I was about 127lbs when I first started) and my goal was to be between 115lbs and 120lbs. I am happy to report that I have lost 8lbs in 30 days and my weight is now 119lbs! For me though it isn't really about the numbers on the scale. I can see huge changes in my body. For instance the majority of my pants don't fit anymore around the waist, my stomach is completely flat and best of all I no longer have any gas or bloating (that is probably my fav thing at the moment). Right now my diet is pretty restricted because we are trying to find out what kind of food sensitivities I have. I know now that I am lactose intolerant (which is too bad because I LOVE Dairy) and now I am trying to figure out if I am sensitive to wheat. I eat way more than I used to...6 times a day at around 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm (broken down into :breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack). Obviously, the protion sizes are a lot smaller but nonetheless I am not starving! The hardest thing for me was to give up candy! My obsession (and I truly mean that!) with chocolate has gotten out of control over the past year. It was no longer something that I wanted every so often, but something I NEEDED to have. The problem was, I would gorge myself on it. My motto was always "Eat till the milk is gone" referring to cereal of course, but really in the big picture it was my motto for anything sweet!I have always been terrible with self control when it comes to chocolate and candy! My sister could vouch for that one! She likes to tell people about the time that I had a chocolate craving so bad in the middle of the night that when searching the house yielded no sweets, I actually took to eating one of her 5 year old chocolate Easter bunnies (that's right...the chocolate was so old that it had started turning white!). The cravings for me would start right when I would get home from work. It was too early to eat dinner but I felt hungry and would raid the fridge and cupboards for things to snack on. For me, giving up the sweets was not as hard as I thought that it would be. Nadine asked me to go two weeks without cheating and I was able to do it no problem. I won't lie, I never would have thought that I could do it! After the two weeks, I had a Kit Kat as a reward and you know the funny thing is is that it didn't even really satisfy me. By this time my mind was made up, I would enter a fitness competition. I knew that if I could just get through the two weeks I could do anything...and since then things have gotten easier. Over time I developed a routine and it makes sticking to the plan so much easier. Since starting back at the gym I have allowed my a "cheat meal" on Sundays. So far, it has been tough because after eating so clean for 30 days my body is not handling "unclean" food as well. But I think it will just take some time getting used to it.
I also wanted to include my plans for the next few weeks now that I am back at the gym. I had help from my fantastic roommate Rhod in developing it. Even though I have a background in Kinesiology I have a hard time developing my own plans. I guess the problem lies more in sticking to them. I always look around at what people are doing in the gym and then think, "huh, that actually is a good idea...maybe I should be doing that instead". Another problem I have is that I read too much...I know sounds weird! To clarify, there is so much research available out there that I just want to read it all. I feel strongly about educating yourself before you begin any endeavor. Sometimes though, it is hard to decide what is accurate and what isn't. Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything. So I figured, leave it to a professional! Anyways, the following is my gym plan for the next 4 weeks:
I am at the gym Monday- Friday, Saturdays I do cardio (spin class) and Sunday is my day off
Monday- Chest, Upper Back and Abs
Tuesday-Shoulders, Calfs
Wednesday- Biceps, Triceps, Abs
Thursday-Chest, Lower Back
Friday- Legs, Abs