Archive | January, 2013

The Buddy System…plus pics

30 Jan


This made me laugh because I know there are people out there that could CARE LESS about what I did today for my workout. And guess what? That’s exactly why I rarely post what workouts I do.

However, there are other women (mainly) that DO want to know what I’m doing in the gym and vice versa for me…which is why I joined a couple forums (yes, they still exist in internet-land) specifically for potential figure competitors and current competitors as well.  What a great way to get information and share and VENT about this whole process!

For those who are interested the two forums are SiouxCountry and Precision Nutrition.  The latter is more of a nutrition message board but you have to purchase the program in order to enjoy the forum.  You can still look at the blog and the articles I believe as a non-paying member.

What I’ve been doing lately is taking my meal plan from my coach and just making the tiniest modifications to it.  My main modification? Adding more veggies.  That’s the only thing I feel is truly lacking.

I also got a text from one of my friends who would like to workout with me.  This is a first! I don’t think I’ve worked out WITH or alongside someone in….ummm…ever?  Unfortunately my schedule is kinda goofy so looks like Sundays are our only options.  It’ll be nice to workout with someone for once instead of alone.  Most days I enjoy being in my own zone doing my own thing but once in a while I get a yearning for some sort of contact from someone.  Social media and electronic forms of communication get old after awhile.

As for pics, I was an idiot and took updated pics but neglected to take the FRONT of myself.  Just side and back.  I blame the fact that it was literally first thing in the morning.

So I thought I would just post the side as a BEFORE from October and an AFTER from yesterday.  You can definitely see some baby abs forming. :) And this is also for those peeps who thought “I can’t believe you had 16lbs and 20inches to lose!”  Well, yeah you can see where most of it was storing itself.  Pics really do help to see the difference!

October Side

October Side

Side Jan 29th

Side Jan 29th

I’ll be sure to post better, full body shots next week.

Until next time!


Random Tweet: “Stop the presses! Faster Pussycat House of Pain is playing on WMMS. I’m rockin out in my car…#notashamed

Unchartered Territory

24 Jan

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” By: Edward Stanley

This quote popped up on an app I have just moments after speaking to someone who insisted that he did not have any time to devote to exercise. This person works very long hours and claims he does not have any time left in the day do get on his treadmill at home for even a quick 20 minute walk.

After hearing his complaints and then seeing this quote I thought, “There HAS to be a way to help this person.”   Because it’s so true isn’t it?  If we don’t take care of our bodies and MOVE a little more everyday during our sedentary life, (I’m standing as I type this because I refuse to sit during my desk job all day) we WILL be plagued with illness.

I’ve heard it so many times from many people that they wish they would have started getting on the path to health ages ago or “right after I had kids” or “before I turned 40″ and now it’s so much harder for them to create that habit.  And maybe now they do have diabetes or an injury or something that prevents them from really working out to their full potential.

It’s one of the most frustrating parts of being a Personal Trainer; I want to help as many people as I can and even if financially, there is no problem, it’s still the BEHAVIOR that has to be implemented.  And THAT is probably the hardest part.

Dr. John Berardi from Precision Nutrition posted his blog today about this subject with regards to coaches/personal trainers.  I found one of his quotes very interesting:

“Yet “dieting” or embarking on a new fitness plan in the 21st century means purposely enduring discomfort, restricting activities and foods that soothe us (or give us a “high”), and/or adding more demands or stimulation to an already busy schedule.

If you think about it, why would any client ever eat less and go to a gym with bright lights, loud music, and unfamiliar equipment, in order to expend excess energy?”

Wow.  I mean, he’s right!  As a coach/trainer I’m telling the average person with a 9-5 job:  “I want you to get up in the morning and come to a place you aren’t too familiar with yet and wear clothes that you can sweat in so I can watch you exercise and  instruct you on what to do and then I want you to go home and make yourself a meal that’s healthy, oh and if you go to work and there are donuts at the office avoid those at all costs,…etc”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that many folks are afraid of exercising and dieting.  They have that fear of the unknown.  They’ve never done this before and asking them to completely change their daily routine is extremely unnerving.


I began on this figure journey in a similar way; I’ve never done anything like this before and it was uncomfortable and I was fearful.  I continue to be fearful of what is to come!  But it’s more of an exciting, anxiousness than actual fear.  Because I gave myself such a long-term goal, there really isn’t any pressure on me.  And there shouldn’t be pressure on anyone with a desire for change.  You put that pressure on yourself but you have the ability to make it easy or hard on yourself everyday.  I think once people realize THEY are in control and the coach or personal trainer you hire is just a GUIDE, you can get much better results.  You have the guidance, you have the tools, now it’s up to you to use them.

So my challenge of the day/week/month/year for anyone out there is to not let fear stand in your way of your fitness goals – This is more than just saying “If you want something bad enough, just do it.”    That’s all well and good but I think it’s much deeper than that.  If you have always wanted to do something that challenges your body and your mind, you should do research first and figure out the best approach.  And if you’re looking for the quick fix, then unfortunately you will fail because it doesn’t exist.  And you will be back to where you started.  So make up your mind today if you’re doing to lose weight and get fit the RIGHT way or the STUPID way.

Here’s a hint:  If you’re finding things to be difficult challenging and frustrating slow-going and telling yourself  “I thought this would be easy!” “This is hard, I don’t know if I can do this!”  then you probably chose the RIGHT way. :)


Follow These Pro’s

21 Jan

This is going to be more of a gigantic referral post more than anything.  What I have discovered lately is that I follow a bunch of women and yes, some MEN too on Facebook and Twitter that are very driven, focused, motivating and knowledgeable about so much more than just health and fitness that I wanted to give them all a special shout out here.

I know alot of people  who are struggling with losing weight and trying to find the right program for them.  I honestly wonder if  they have fully embraced the fact that social media can HELP with this.

On the other side of the spectrum I have quite a few male followers that would probably be interested in the bikini and figure female competitors that I follow so they can creep on them.  So see? There’s something for everyone here!

I have 5 categories for whatever you may be looking for:

Fitness and Exercise for those with limited budgets and equipment:

Zuzka Light – She co-founded BodyRockTV and is super sweet and FINALLY got her own website where all her very short but very effective (Tabata style) workouts are stored.  Men don’t be fooled, her workouts are not just for the stay-at-home Mom!

MyoMyTv – If you have at least one kettlebell at home, this is the site for you.

My Mad Methods – This guy is nuts…Lots of hardcore workouts that I’m even scared of.  But you should give them a try sometime to challenge yourself!

Weight Loss for those who are in need of support and motivation:

Precision Nutrition: I’m thrilled to be starting their program soon.  I had heard of them while working at LifeTime Fitness and recently purchased their Precision Nutrition V3 package.  I’m going to try it out myself and then hopefully use it on others that need the guidance.  What’s awesome is that they have a forum (Remember forums from back in the old internet days? Ha!) that allow all their members to start their own log.  So the support system is crazy awesome.  Check out the free articles if you’re still skeptical.

Hungry Healthy Happy: This woman is amazing. She has over 24K likes on her FB page because what makes her awesome is her journey to lose 98lbs and keep it off.  She’s just a REAL person sharing her recipes, fitness and healthy living tips.

Fit & Fierce: Cari runs a great FB page; she’s young, loves fitness and is a firefighter on the side.

Female Gym Motivation:   Exactly as it sounds.  Some of the pics they post are not exactly work-friendly so be careful with that.

Serious or advanced lifters/exercise freaks who are always searching for the latest and greatest stuff:

Ben Bruno: This guy demonstrates the best advanced exercises and every week takes all the best fitness articles out there and links them on one page.

Fighter Diet: Pauline Nordin is awesome. She’s blunt, cuts to the chase, gives you what you need in terms of great workouts through her e-books and basically is no nonsense.

SiouxCountry:  Technically this is a message board but I find it hard to follow because it just hurts my eyes to do all that scrolling.  So their Facebook Page is much more user friendly.  This could also be categorized under anyone looking for motivation (mainly women) because they will post the most amazing transformations.

Nutritional Advice and “Fooducation” as I call it; those who are more interested in the prevention of obesity and disease:

Lean Bodies Consulting:  These guys are fierce and no nonsense.  They have been known to help a ton of people transform their bodies for figure competitions.  But they also give some really great advise and wisdom concerning metabolism that I find interesting and really informative.

Healthy Living How To – Vanessa Romero runs a fantastic site with healthy recipes.  I have to remember not to look at her Facebook page when I’m hungry because her pics of her food make me want to eat the computer screen.

LifeTime Weight Loss – Life Time Fitness has a great website specifically for weight loss but they also discuss supplements, exercise, book reviews about obesity, metabolic disruptors, everything you can think of related to health and wellness.  Subscribe to the free newsletter. It summarizes all the articles very nicely.

Fooducate- Technically this is an app for your phone or mobile device.  You can scan your foods at the grocery store before you buy them to see if they make the grade.  Although, you shouldn’t be buying anything with a barcode anyways…BUT, if you must, this is a must have app.

Eye Candy

Okay so these last few peeps are MORE than just eye candy but for those that could use a little motivation, here are some ladies and gents that if anything, should INSPIRE you to maybe say to yourself “I wonder if I could ever look like that someday.”  If you want it bad enough, you can get pretty damn close to these amazing physiques:

For the ladies:

Ryan Hughes – Ladies…just click on it.  You won’t be disappointed.

Gregg Avedon – He’s one of the best male models out there. You will see why.

Jeff Halevy – I like him a ton more than Bob Harper.  Sorry Bob.

Steve Cook – A gorgeous young man…oh and he puts videos up about exercises but I’m too busy drooling over him to watch them. ;)

For the men:

Mindi Smith – A fitness model and my current screensaver for motivation

Nicole Moneer – Bikini Pro Competitor who just turned 40.  If I look HALF as good as she does in 5 years, I’ll be happy.

Female Gym Motivation – Believe it or not this is also for the guys because as I scroll through their Facebook page I almost find myself going very quickly if someone is looking over my shoulder because some of the pics are leave little to the imagination.

Lastly, shameless plug time!

Please follow/Like my places of employment! :)

ASAP Fitness – A great facility in Rocky River where I do Personal Training.  We also feature something called Mission Fit which is more like Group Personal Training. Check us out!

Empowering Punch – Ever wanted to try Boxing?  Well even if you don’t have experience, we can take care of you!

Thanks for reading this ultra long post!

Time to get some much needed rest.  Here’s to a wonderful week no matter what your goals!


Random Tweet of the Day:  “Insert not every nice tweet about Ray Lewis here.”

(I’m livid the Ratbirds made it to the Superbowl)  GO Niners!!!

Hurry up and Wait

17 Jan

ImageThere’s a little saying in the production world where I used to work that if you were on the crew you would say to one another as a joke: “Hurry up and wait.”  I have no idea where this saying came from, perhaps it’s applicable to your job. 

The reason behind it is the rush of trying to get things done, only to have to wait for certain things to happen first.  When I worked as a production coordinator, you would hurry up and get everyone in place ready to shoot a scene, only to have to wait for someone else to make things happen.   Maybe the actor that was hired is still in wardrobe or makeup, maybe the lighting still isn’t quite right, maybe the teleprompter won’t start up (that last one is from personal experience).  Talk about a panic attack as everyone sits there and just waits and stares at you to solve the problem so they can get through the day.  Glad those days are behind me!

I thought of this saying today as I was frantically emailing and messaging various people online asking all kinds of questions about my figure competition goal.  I recently opened up and sent some pictures of myself to a very well known trainer who told me I was way too thin to even think about competing this year.  Granted she made it clear it was her own opinion and she is just looking at pictures of me but it threw me off a little bit. 

I did ask for her advice so I brought that on myself.  And I knew she would be honest.  After thinking about it for awhile I realized she’s only saying I need to train 3 months longer than I had originally planned.  No big deal right? 

See the problem with being surrounded by other trainers and being a trainer myself as well as having a fair amount of knowledge about nutrition, I am constantly researching what the best method is for training for this competition.  At the same time I’m getting all kinds of advice.  So with this advice and research, the self-doubt kicks in. 

All of a sudden I thought to myself “Maybe I’m doing too much cardio.  Maybe I should do what that woman is doing…maybe I should eat like that guy is telling people.  Shouldn’t I be seeing muscle gains by now?  How come I’m not losing the fat quicker?  How long is this going to take?!”

I worked my brain into a frenzy.  But worst of all, I didn’t trust my coach.  I hired this man for a reason and I realized I need to stick with the plan.  There is no rushing this process.  It’s going to take time.  A year?  Well, maybe.  But after I got some great advice from two competitors that I contacted, I understand that I can still do my show as intended in October this year as a “warm-up.”  Then, if I choose to, do another show as the “real deal” in the Spring of 2014.

I also took a step back this week to remind myself why I started this whole thing:  For myself; to change my body; to see how far I could take this body and my fitness level and to essentially show off all my hard work.  I’m not doing this for a trophy, for a prize, for anything more than to say “I did this.”  So back to the drawing board, although I never really left the board.  I just took a temporary leave to get my mind straight.

Now that it’s on straight, I can say this:

“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.”

I’m not stopping.  I will keep going.  I can do this.


Have an Attitude with Gratitude

11 Jan


A few times today I either read a text or another blog post or a status update that had some distressing or discouraging health issues.  I took a step back and realized I am so very lucky to be healthy.

One person blogged about how she has all these symptoms that no doctor/endocrinologist/internist/GI can seem to diagnose.  Another status update came from a person suffering from Crohn’s who has chronic joint pain from her medication (she’s supposedly in her 20’s and feels ancient).  Ironically she’s on the same medication I’m on.  Then there was the picture of a fitness competitor who had a stroke last year (while on the stage by the way) and is 40 years old and still trying to live a healthy life.  She posted a pic of her wearing a heart monitor for the next 30 days so her docs can monitor her heart beat.  Lastly, got a text from Mom that her chemo is working and her doctor is hopeful and encouraged.

This last one of course made me feel great, but more importantly I’m feeling grateful.  Grateful that I don’t have these illnesses, these symptoms, these downright scary diseases that some people have.

However, everyone that takes their health seriously like these people, are fighters.  They aren’t giving up.  They aren’t asking Why Me.  They are fighting everyday.  So today, everyday, I will try to think of these people, even though they are strangers and faceless or I just see them on a social network somewhere. I will think of THEIR fight and how they are choosing to move on and live their life despite their health concerns.

Here’s to happy and healthy weekend!



The Three Month Mark

10 Jan

Today marks exactly 90 days since I started this whole Figure Competition training journey.

Here are some highlights and even some lowlights of this process so far:

  • I’m not and probably will never be a big fan of eating 5-6 small meals every 2 hours.  Although this is how I’ve been eating since hiring my coach, I still don’t think it’s realistic nor ideal for anyone just trying to maintain their weight.  I have found that if I wasn’t drinking all my water, I would feel like I was starving about an hour after I ate something.  This only lead to “cheating” on two occasions and the “cheats” were protein bars. Not the worst, but this was definitely a mental game that I have fought with myself and I would say the most difficult part thus far.

    This was too cute not share.

    This was too cute not share.

  • My life currently revolves around food: planning food, making food, thinking about food, buying food, reading about food.  I can see how one can easily become obsessed.  However, I have found new and delicious foods that I would never have eaten if not for my training.

    It's your fuel..not your reward.

    It’s your fuel..not your reward.

  • I count down the minutes until I can workout.  Besides food, working out is now part of my routine once a day at minimum and twice a day most of the time.  I actually LOOK FORWARD to going to the gym.  This really isn’t anything new for me but I love the workouts I am doing because there is variety involved and when you see the results literally as you’re doing it, it makes it all worth it to me.

    Yep. That's pretty much it.

    Yep. That’s pretty much it.

  • I have the most amazing family and friends and co-workers.  So many people have commented, complimented, inquired, and just plain patted me on the back to say what a great job I am doing with this.  And the best part is, in my opinion, the fun hasn’t really started yet!  I even inspired a friend to hire my coach too.  She may not even compete but she is impressed with the results I have shown and actually loves having a simple meal plan to follow too.  So who knows, maybe one day I’ll be on stage with her!
  • Shopping for jeans that fit because most if not all of your jeans don’t fit are embarrassingly huge is not a bad problem to have.  This is one time I wish I owned a belt.  And if belts looked good on me.  And if I weren’t so cheap.
  • Socializing is a challenge.  Although technically I am not in full prep mode just yet, I have been as diligent as I can when going out with friends.  I pack my food in my oh-so-cute Sachi lunch bags  so it’s not completely obvious I have food in them.


    How freakin cute are these???

  • Lastly, as promised, here are the most current pics.   And this time with my face!  :)  Forgive the “just woke up” look…I wasn’t about to put make up on and doll myself up at 5:45 in the morning today. Ha!



A quote to inspire…

6 Jan
“Appreciate the incredible opportunity you have to become fit. You have to prepare your meals, but many have no meals to prepare. It’s hard to train before or after work, but many are out of work. Lifting weights takes effort, but some can’t even lift their body from a wheelchair or bed. This is a privilege, so make the absolute most you can out of it. From that perspective, there are no failures—only opportunities.”

Love Love Love this quote.  Sorry, don’t know the source.  It was from an article on

I consider just being alive a privilege.  I try to appreciate the fact that I have legs and arms and a body that moves and a brain that functions and a roof over my head and money to buy my food a huge blessing.  Everyday.  Blessed.


Weekend Warrior Workout

6 Jan

I’m not exactly a weekend warrior…I’m more of an everyday warrior but tonight’s workout was one of the best I’ve had in a long time; so much so that I feel the need to post it.  Feel free to try it yourself!

Warm up:  Foam rolling for about 5 minutes.  LOOOOVE the sweet torture of foam rolling.  If you want to learn how to do it, Ashely Borden (@Ashleyborden on Twitter) has a great pdf guide on how to “roll out.”

Strength Training: Tonight it was all Back, my favorite part to work.


I stole borrowed this workout from Megan Donnelson from her interview on here:

  • T-Bar Row: 4 x 8 – Added 25lb plate to the bar
  • Underhand Seated Row: 4 sets x 8 reps – On the Dual cable pulley I’m around 48lbs total…on single pulley I can do 55lbs- superset with -
    Rear Delt/Upper Back Rope Pulls on Cable: 4 sets x 10 reps – 30lbs for me
  • Seated Close-Grip Pulldowns: 4 sets x 8 reps (Drop-set last set 8, 8, 8) I have found it depends on the machine that you use for these.  When I was in Chicago at a club there working out, I could only muster 35lbs.  Tonight I did 60lbs on a Cybex Pulldown machine. So…kinda frustrating not knowing where I am on that.
  • DB Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps – I use 25lb Dumbbells in each hand
  • Pull – ups: to Failure (4 sets) – Although I have a pull up bar in my room now, courtesy of Santa, I just started to do assisted pull ups with a band.  I max out at around 6 pull ups. At the gym, I use the Assisted Pull up Machine and although it’s considered a waste of time by many, I knocked out 4 sets of 8-10reps with the machine assisting me with 52lbs.

So that’s it for strength! I got it done in 45 minutes or so.

Then came the real fun torture.

My coach instructed me to run a mile on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes of plyometrics one night a week.  So…this was my night to do that.

The run went pretty well.  My feet and knees felt fine, which in my world, is pretty darn incredible considering a year ago I was on crutches with a broken foot.

Worst. 3months. Ever.  

But I digress…

Tonight after the successful run (held 6.0mph the whole time…again, this is big for me), I headed to the empty Group Ex studio to do my plyo. 

Best. 15minutes. Ever.

Here’s what I did, on a whim pretty much:

30 Jump squats


15 Squat and Medicine ball (10lbs) toss and catches (since I didn’t have a partner or a wall)


25 skaters 


10 Tuck Jumps


30 seconds of High Knees holding weighted (Sand filled) BOSU Stability Ball


15 Squat and Medicine Ball Toss (again)

Repeat entire sequence 2 more times. 

I noted at the end that I still had 30 seconds left of my 15 minutes so I finished with 10 burpees.  Image

I burned 170 calories in  these 17 minutes.  LOVE this finisher.  I’m grateful (and so are my feet) that I only do this one time a week because I doubt my feet could handle any more than that. 

While I was doing all this crazy stuff I noted in the mirror that my tuck jumps were exceptionally high.   6 months ago I wouldn’t have even attempted trying them.  I admit…I amazed myself.  And I’m giving credit the fuel that I’m giving my body and the workouts I’m putting it through.  It’s responding better than I anticipated and I’m so grateful!

My reward to myself tonight:  20 minutes in the dry heat sauna.  It was heavenly.  So heavenly that I tweeted about it..HA!

That’s it! Time for that all important sleep before a fun filled day with the family tomorrow as well as church and food prep. :) 




“My food is my fuel…my food is my fuel…”

4 Jan

This mantra has been on repeat in my head all day today.  Why? Because today started meal plan #2 from Coach Davies. 

Before I go into what Coach has in store for me this month let me just boast that today, FINALLY, I was able to break through my plateau.  I weighed myself this morning after not getting on the scale for a week, to find that I’m down to 125lbs. What a relief! 

I was somewhat concerned I would never see it budge ever again.  And although I am well aware that it’s not really about the scale at all, I do like to at least know what kind of a range I’m in right now.  Plus, today was the weigh out for my little bet I had going with my friend Craig.  I proudly exclaimed on Facebook that he owes me $20…

Yes Virginia, it IS possible to lose weight over the holidays:  9lbs down from Thanksgiving until today.  The only rule we set out from this bet was that I would not do any diet pills (as if) weight loss shakes or anything like that.  I promise I stood by these rules. 

I can also add that a FB friend of mine from high school,  ALSO took on the challenge of losing weight during the holidays and she lost 5lbs too!  So yes, it can happen. 

I tallied up the amount of cookies I had from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day and it totaled 20.  I can even remember exactly what I ate (is this normal?)

Thanksgiving: 2 Chocolate chip cookies

The Dessert Party on December 9th: Already posted about this but just to repeat: 1 triple layer cookie, a piece of angel food cake, a small bite of pumpkin pie (really don’t need to count this do I?) 1 of those sugary icing deliciousness cookies.

Christmas Day (for us was Sunday the 23rd): 6 chocolate balls, 3 buckeyes (This is Ohio ya know) 1 homemade cut out cookie.

Christmas Eve: 4 cookies at work of various types, 1 sugar cookie at dinner.

So for anyone who thinks I just avoided all sugar, you are sorely mistaken.  I definitely enjoyed my fill. 

I would say this may have been part of the reason I plateaued almost the whole month of December.   Maybe not, but I think it’s interesting that all of a sudden I lose 2lbs the second I stop eating the junk? Hmmmm…

As for my meal plans and getting back on track (although I didn’t really get off track, did I?) last month my Coach had me eating alot of egg whites, chicken, and flank steak.  This month, even MORE egg whites, Imageasparagus, Imagetilapia Image

or cod (yum!) and green beans, Image

among other things.  Besides the meal plan becoming more of a challenge, the workouts are much more intense as well.  Sprints, plyometrics, walking backwards on the treadmill and stairmaster (I have yet to master this. I am convinced I will fall and make myself look like an idiot.)

The mantra “My food is my fuel” came into my brain after reading a woman’s FB post recently.  Her name is Amy Jo Horvath and she’s a National Physique Committee competitor.  Here’s her FB Page:

She’s also a mom and wife and is in full contest prep mode.  This means she basically has to find time to train and eat clean still be a full time mommy and wife.  I must say, at least on the surface of her FB page, she is on top of it! 

A few weeks ago she posted how she had to eat her prepared food in her car.  She ended the post with “Food is fuel!”  It stuck with me as I downed cold Cream of Rice and egg whites this morning, literally fork in right hand, driving with the left.  This wasn’t as difficult as it sounds (although I do not suggest doing it). 

The second meal of the day proved more challenging to stomach: Tuna, egg white and diced asparagus.  Perhaps it was the lack of flavor…perhaps just the sloppiness of trying to get tuna and asparagus on the fork…but it was by far the hardest part of my day.  (I know how silly that sounds considering the hardest part of the day for most people is probably way worse)

But THAT’s when the mantra kicked in.  And in the end I ate it all.  I didn’t puke, I didn’t feel sick…lo and behold I actually felt full and energetic. 

Wow, who would have thought?  Good food = good things. What a concept!

The only downside to this new meal plan?  It’s true what they say about asparagus. I will let the reader figure that one out.

Time to get sleep…because as awesome as food is, it’s equally important to rest and recover for the day that comes tomorrow.


Random tweet: I burned 97,611 calories in 2012.  But sadly, I didn’t log all my workouts. So it’s probably more. #random #exercise #workoutfreak



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