Monday, March 13, 2017

WHAT????? I'M NOT HARDCORE!!!!! - Guest Blog Post by April

Today, my blog is being overhauled by my lovely friend April D.  She is a fellow gym-goer and bad-ass chicka.  On pretty much every conversation we have with one another, it ends up with me telling her that she either:

1) Needs to start her very own blog

OR:

2) Needs to start a YouTube channel because people would definitely watch that!  

On the following blog post (down below), I had asked April to write about something that she is passionate about and this my friends posed as a bit of a challenge. April is one passionate lady.  You just sense the zest she has for life even in the first few minutes of meeting her.  It is plainly obvious.  She took the time and FINALLY came up with this.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Not a lot of the wording was changed.  These are her words and her story.  

I hope you enjoy it.  

-K-

_______________________________________________________________________________  

And here’s the truth about becoming hardcore.

Hi, My name is April and I’m into bodybuilding, power lifting and I’m a social worker.

10 years ago, I was 150 lbs, hot and broke. Now, I am 240lbs, strong and wealthy. (Wealth, for the purpose of this paper, is the feeling of fulfilment). WHY?

That ladies and gentlemen will be the topic of this blog.
The audience of this blog is going to be US. All of us. Fat, skinny, tall, short, ugly, pretty, unseasoned, and yes even the pros.

In this blog, I’m going to be talking about going to the gym, building relationships, what success means and becoming hardcore.

Since going back to the gym in 2015, I have earned a few titles. My personal favourites are “old school” and “hardcore”. In all honesty, I did my very best to deny this “hardcore” non-sense. Shit, I don’t look hardcore. I am, after all, fat. But I have had some very close people, including Kim Ho and my trainer Ryggs, walk me out of denying this title and truly embrace this title.  

When it comes to being hardcore, to me, it doesn’t matter how much you lift. What matters is that you do it. Before accepting my hardcore title, I was just running through the motions of finding personal success.

How do you find success? Well, let’s start from the beginning.

So, you’re sitting at home and you figure you’re going to go to the gym. Or you are like me....once upon a time the best of the best and lonely as fuck? (I have never competed but I have modelled.) And then your life went beyond the gym and you made your decisions to the best of your ability and lived with the consequences. The fact is that right now, you’re going. You go "all-in" because this is it. You’re going to go to the gym and you’re going to go every day and that’s it. Right? Trust me when I tell you, we have all been there. It doesn’t matter your background, profession, or how many kids you do or do not have. We have all been there.
This is where I’m going to invite the social work perspective. This is going to be a non-judgmental and more therapeutic approach to going to the gym. This will be less about motivation and more about inspiration.

How do you get to a place where you sign the gym membership and do it? How do you get from a place of broke to wealth? How do you earn the love, admiration and respect we all want and desire from others? What does hardcore even mean? 

This is the journey I want to take you on. I would like to invite you to discover your true strength.
What makes the difference between someone who succeeds in this life to change and someone who doesn’t? Well, that’s simple. Making time (which you can read up on in Kim Ho’s Blogs) and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

So, let me take some time to explain this. This is a graph that is meant to be read from the bottom up and it’s also based around creating change. The reason you are on the couch in the first place is because of the red zone: the physiological. I would also say that your safety, love and belonging should also be in good order before going to the gym.
(Now hang in there all you pros cuz I’m going to be helping you all in a bit here, if you’re feeling lonely at the top. If you think that your life is perfect, then feel free to stop reading. I have boundaries around time. I will not waste your time by trying to get you to buy into this paper and you won’t waste my time with any hate crap ok?)

However, I can almost guarantee that after you hit the gym floor, your safety, love and belonging are all compromised. Why is that? Well, you’re going into the gym because you are not truly secure in your body. That’s OK because neither am I. Imma let you in on a little secret...Not a single person you meet is truly happy with what they see in the mirror. That’s why we go to the gym. But don’t tell anyone I told you. It’s our little secret.

Your resources are compromised. Bodybuilding for 10 years and going from 150 lbs to 250 lbs with 10 years of atrophy, I can safely say that my resources were compromised. If you’re a first timer, you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ll let you in on another little secret, none of us actually know what we’re doing, we just make it look good. And that’s ok. In all actuality, seasoned gym goers love trying new things, seeing how this or that exercise feels. It’s an ongoing process of self discovery.

Your morality is compromised. Don't get me started on fat shaming or ethics in the gym but trust me when I tell you, I know all about that. Want to know the truth about being fat???? Use it to your advantage!!!!! If you smile and invite lots of relationships, you can actually make a lot of friends. But don’t tell anyone I told you that either ok???? It’s our little secret. And the topic around being the most emotionally safe person at the gym is another topic for another day!!!

Your family are compromised. You ain’t got no family in the gym. Your health is compromised because now your old injuries are going to bite you in the ass. 

Finally, your property is very much compromised. “What? I need to share the dumbbells with him???? But I need them!!!! Ahhhhh!!!!! THIS GYM NEEDS MORE DUMBBELLS!!!!!!!!”  THIS IS NORMAL AND OK!!!! We have all been there. We have all done it and I’m going to tell you how to overcome this part. By overcoming the second step called “safety” in Maslow’s Hierarchy, you will have jumped hurdles to becoming “hardcore”.

Now, I’m not going to take too much time going into the rest of the hierarchy but you can read it and you will be able to see how all of your emotional safety can go to hell in a hand basket in about 27 seconds of hitting the floor. If you can trust me for the remainder of this paper, I will teach you everything I know about how to be loved, appreciated, respected, and regarded at the gym.

STEP 1: Safety
STEP 2: Love and Belonging: Building Your Family, One Friend At A Time!

The very first step place to start is, where you put your money. I’m going to get into mine and little Kimmy’s relationship here for a bit.

Kimmy and I met when she had shown me around Snap Fitness. In the 24 hours prior to meeting her, I left my gym in Edmonton, got hooked up with my old trainer and was planning a transition over to the box gym life, from the big gym life. Little Kimmy was her happy, kind and loving self. She took a great deal of pride in her gym and I was very impressed with her customer service. But it was when she asked me what I was looking for that really perked my attention. This was the moment I knew that Kimmy would be a friend to me. When I told her I was into bodybuilding, she responded without hesitation “we can help you with that!” I knew full bloody well that she was looking at a 245 lbs fat chick but she didn’t judge me. She didn’t give me the once over or a weird face or anything. She just looked me straight in the eye and said, “We can help you with that!”

Now, I paid my membership fees and I started right away. I let her know that I was working with a trainer in the city and I was locked into him. She seemed ok with that. Her and I worked out at the same time for a bit and I had a chance to observe her dedication to her workouts, her work and her marriage. She also observed me.
She commented on how my trainer must love me for my lifting abilities. I commented on her focus and her drive. To be painfully honest, I found myself being very nervous around Kimmy because she was just so amazing.

At this point in our relationship, and even up to writing this blog, I had no idea how many people Kimmy had in her life. My relationships are usually face to face. And that’s it. Being a social worker, my life has, for the most part, been lived incognito. Therefore, to me, Kimmy was “the manager behind the desk.”  But I could see that she was very well apt in the gym.
In order to calm my own nerves around Kimmy, I actually had put in my mind that I paid Kim to be nice to me. So every time I said hi to her, I expected to hear a “hi” in return. This actually took a great deal of ego strength. I don’t like using ego strength if I don’t have to because it feels like I’m bitching up. And I think if we are all honest with ourselves we don’t really like being bitches or ass holes. But I feel like Kimmy and I were lucky, in so far as, we both had an almost instant mutual regard for one another.
Now, I’m not the type of person to BS my way around life. I would rather deal with a harsh truth then a happy lie. And with Kimmy, I took time to be my most truest and authentic self. With this in mind, our relationship quickly evolved from a politically correct tragedy to an emotionally correct safe place.

This is a great Ted Talks video on emotional correctness.  

Even if it was just, “Hay April. How are you doing?” I would take this moment to be your most genuine and authentic self. “You know what Kimmy? I feel ok today, but Imma get a good hour of cardio in and turn my tunes up as loud as I fucking can and I’m going to go off in lala land.” I truly don’t think it’s healthy in any relationship to say your fine if you’re not fine. I think it’s okay to have an okay day. Own those feelings and do something about them.  Why we feel better after the gym is also another topic for another day.
Now, one of the nice things about having the idea in the back of my mind that I paid Kimmy was that in my own mind it gave me a bit of room to practice and fuck up. Can I let you in on another little secret???? It’s almost impossible to fuck up!!!! People at the gym are VERY forgiving!!!!!!! They are usually just happy you’re making an effort. And if you walk away going “OHHH I fucked that one up.” Don’t worry, revisit the topic tomorrow!!! Apologizing for fucking up is NOT a sign of weakness. It’s a commitment to change.

Say hi, smile, and take this part slow. Make sure that you purposefully allow 10 minutes to re-establish your relationships.
“Hay Kimmy! How are you?”
10 minutes of chit chat. Relationship re-established. And done! NOOOOTTTTT
Now, mine and Kimmy’s relationship was really like a bull in a China shop. Kimmy was always very kind and sweet and I, well, I fumbled my way on to her blog. God, I can’t even tell you how many things came flying out of my mouth. And she would just smile and laugh and be warm.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows of emotional correctness. There was a dark period of time where I actually had to re-establish new and temporary boundaries in our relationship. I was going through a time that was extremely hard for me. I told her “Don’t ask me how I’m doing until after my work out. My view on the world is much better then.”  I wanted so bad to protect my little Kimmy from my hurt.
And you know what Kimmy did instead of asking how I was doing? The moment I walked through the door, she would get her little ass running around that desk that she was behind and she would give me a hug, full on, no boundaries and no judgement allowed, hug. She did that for like 2 weeks solid. For 2 weeks, little Kimmy would welcome me home.
Mine and Kimmy’s relationship has truly evolved into a very magical thing. We have a respect and regard for one another that is second to none.  We have worked out together. We talk as much as we can. She brings out the best in me and I hope I give her the same.

But honestly guys, it's 10 minutes. The wealth of love, caring, empathy and kindness that you can get and give out of 10 minutes of just being your truest and most authentic self will change your life forever.

And it doesn’t matter that I just saw Kimmy yesterday or last week. What matters is that I’m seeing her, and anyone else I see, right now. I make it my purpose to spend time with people and re-establish relationships. I could lift all the fucking weight in the world.....but trust me when I tell you, my life is more fulfilling now at 240 lbs, and taking the time in those relationships then it ever was when I was 150 lbs. And that ladies and gentlemen is wealth. (Now to all you pro’s, another topic of conversation for another day will be around the power of role modelling. Yup, I knew you would sill read this article!! Topic of conversation is “did you get more out of this article then just building relationship in the gym?)

Your people skills will help you feel better at the gym. You will find that you will build a few friends, and a few more and even say hi to regulars who’s names you don’t even know. Believe it or not, just by knowing who you paid for and just opening your mouth can, and does relieve so much isolation in a place of discomfort. And that is %75 of your success.
And if you want to test this theory, go to the gym for 3 months straight. Talk to as many people that you can. Ask people to spot you. Spot other people. Be kind and warm. Then miss one week.
Then go back. I promise you, you will have people ask you where you have been. That’s how you know you have built your own family. Now, you have your home gym.

Safety, Love/ Belonging are now checked off in Maslow’s Hierarchy. Hold others accountable too. Remember, we are all in this together. If you see a face you haven’t seen in a while, welcome them home too.

STEP 3: Esteem
STEP 4: Self Actualization: I Look Like I Know What I'm Doing Because I Do Know What I’m Doing!!!

If you are walking into a gym and you don’t know what you’re doing, THAT’S OK!!!! We have all been there. The best way to solve this problem is to be your truest and most authentic self. I solved this problem by hiring a trainer. Never in my gym life have I not had a trainer. My initial reason for having a trainer was because I didn’t know what I was doing AND THAT’S OK. They are there to teach you how and what to do. They will even put together a program that fits you. I then got my second trainer (Dean Sommerset) to help me recover from my spine fracture. I got my third trainer to help me recover from my surgery and recondition me after spending 10 years off to raise my two daughters. Now, I have my current trainer to help me with my body composition. All in all, I’ll admit that I’m lazy and I want someone else to think for me. Yes, I pay them to be nice to me and I’m nice to them. But I work to earn their respect.

When I earn the respect of my trainer, I earn the respect of my peers in the gym. Why? Because I have admitted my weakness, learned what I hired them to teach me and became confident/comfortable in the movements I have to do. Now, I have to warn you that your relationship with your trainer can become very personal because this is the person who is walking you through a life change. Respect and honour that process for what it is. Don’t hire the hottest guy or girl you see. They see through that shit and it’s very belittling. I’ve seen it on the floor so many times and have watched trainers literally disengage from their clients for treating them like a piece of meat. Hire them for their knowledge, for their structure or simply because you want to look like them. Just don’t hire them because you want to date them.
I’m going to get a bit into the fine details a bit here on how I picked my current trainer. I’m also going to get into the power of a moment here with you guys.
Ryggs and I met at the gym that I was at previous to Snap. He was a trainer there and I was a client. But I had my own trainer Jess, and she was rehabilitating and conditioning me.

I kind of saw Ryggs around the gym a couple of times and never really thought much of it. He was structurally sound. He was similar to another dude that worked there but Ryggs had a bun. The other dude had red hair. Both dudes equal and opposite to me. 

So, one day I had a really awesome body composition. I did a 5 for 5 in 2 weeks. (5 lbs of body fat loss and 5 lbs muscle mass gain in 2 weeks) and, of course, I would tell anyone who would give me the time of day. And there was Ryggs. I went flying up to him and said, “Now, you’re someone who would appreciate this” and he was like “what?”. I told him about the 5 for 5 and he interrupted me with all his happy wishes and blah blah blah...and then I was like “in 2 weeks!!!!!” It was in that moment where I was not judged for being fat.
He tried to pay me some bull shit compliment about having biceps and I said, “No, that’s just well shaped fat.”  I stumbled, fumbled and fucked up all the way through that entire conversation and this huge dude, who could have just snubbed me off as another fat chick going to the gym, was happy for me. In a moment. All it took was a moment.  But that’s all it was right? Just a moment, no big deal.
Now, that was the first time we met.  He was not my trainer yet. I was still conditioning.

A couple weeks later Jess, my trainer, told me that she was applying for a really great opportunity elsewhere. Just an FYI, if you have a trainer tells you that, it’s time to start looking for a contingency plan.

I started fishing. I talked to a few trainers here and there and did a great deal of observation in to other trainers’ styles. I kept kind of coming back to Ryggs. Now, let’s be honest. The guy is hard to miss. The dude walks around like a brick wall with a bun!!! Like this guy is HUUUUGE. But there was something about him and it took three weeks of passive observation for me to nail what that something was.
After a few positive encounters and a look into his professional background, I took it upon myself to go up to him on a very clearly baaaaadddd day. That’s when you really get to know people. I asked him a relatively intelligent question. I said, “Regan, can you help me with something?” He didn’t even look up from his phone when he said, “Yeah what?” And you want to know what went running through my head? “You had better watch your sorry ass cuz I’m about to figure you the fuck out, Bitch.”
I pointed to the front of my shoulder and said “what is this?”
He looked up from his damn phone and replied in a snarky tone I had never heard from him before or since, “anterior delt.” Now, I could have walked away, cashed in my chips and called it a day in that moment. But I didn’t. I calmly wrote in my book that I had at the time “anterior raise”. And I looked at him as he looked back at his phone, and I pointed to the side of my shoulder and said “what is this?”  He exhaled, and looked down past his phone. The thought in my head? “Gottcha fucker!! YOU ARE MINE!!!!” He looked at me and realized who he was talking to. And he answered the question, like my Ryggs would. My thought in that moment was, “There we go sweet heart, your safe with me.”
What did I see in Ryggs? The exact same longing and loneliness I felt 10 + years ago.

You see, when I was bodybuilding back in the day, I had no friends. Everyone thought I was hot but I had no really real friends. No one I felt truly safe and comfortable with. Who saw me for me on the inside. That was partly my own fault because I was working in a career where I couldn’t talk about my life outside of the gym. But that’s what I saw in Ryggs, a man who was tired of being treated like a piece of meat.

I walked away from that conversation knowing that he was it. He was my next trainer. And I knew that I was going to turn his whole fucking world rate upside down. He was going to learn how it feels to be respected. How it truly feels to have someone one your side. Someone who has your back. I had no idea when or how, but I knew I would!

Shortly thereafter, Jess went to pursue her new career and I moved over to Ryggs.
Now, if I sit here and say that the process of having a trainer is easy, I would be a fucking liar. My expectation of him, seeing as how he was 6’4” and a beast, was that he would be able to push me to the next level. I had my first appointment with him, and I was so excited. I had envisioned an awesome work out and that I would hit recovery and that it was going to be crazy and I was going to blow him away with my strength aaaaand then not. My first session with him was a fucking joke. It would have been great if I was a first timer but I wasn’t.

So, I had to figure out how to get under his skin and prove to him that I could do what I could do. What I’m about to tell you worked for my trainer and I, but I also knew that I had a lot to lose. This is what I did. I went up to him a couple days after our first session and I made another appointment with him. After making the second appointment with him, I actually said “And if you could stop your pissing around, that would be great.”
In that moment, he could have dropped me as a client. But I think I walked away too quickly for him to get a word in edge wise. In all honesty, I had never been so scared in all my life but also, if I had the balls enough to say that, I had better have the balls enough to back it up.
We had our first leg day together and that’s when he really saw and respected what I was made of. That was after 4 sets of a 10 plate leg press. After that, Ryggs and I weren’t just “on”. Ryggs and I were “OOONNNNN!!!!”

Shortly thereafter, he was gone to another gym. Long story short, he and I are back together and still working through this totally amazing client/trainer relationship. My trainer knows the most intimate details of my life. Be prepared to earn their respect and work out a lot of stuff with them. (working the mental through the emotional and into the physical is also another topic for another day.) I actually call the weeks my trainer and I get together, my getting Rygged weeks.
Because our relationship was built on the premises of respect and because I strongly hold him in a very high regard for his intelligence, ability and structure, and the fact that he is equal and opposite to me in that I’m the female version of him, he became my friend. The space between my trainer and I is a very sacred space. My trainer and I have an energy on the floor that is hard not to notice. The best part is, I know he has my back. Our relationship is integral to my success at the gym.

Now, let’s get onto success. Success is relative. Kind of like the Tylenol commercial. You know the one that says “Normal. Whatever your normal is.” It’s similar. Success. Whatever your success is. If you show up to the gym every day, then that is success. Set your goal. If your goal is to meet 5 new people, then that is a success. If your goal is to lift 0.5 lbs more then what you did last week, then that is success. Spend 5 more minutes on cardio, then that is success. From pushing yourself just that little bit, you WILL become successful.

Now, with all of these elements in place, gym, trainer and friends you have accomplished, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety, love/belonging and esteem. Now, you’re ready for self-actualization. This is where change and success happen.

Once you become successful to yourself, others will see your success. When others see you as successful, that’s when they will start calling you hardcore. And maybe, like me, you will deny the claim. But maybe one day, you will embrace it like I did.

If you liked this article, please tell me. If you have questions, ask me. If I have challenged your thoughts, let’s talk.
Be humble and stay strong!!!!

April Dombrosky



Citations
Source: Boundless. “Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.” Boundless Management Boundless, 26 May. 2016. Retrieved 14 Feb. 2017 from https://www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/organizational-behavior-5/employee-needs-and-motivation-46/maslow-s-hierarchy-of-needs-171-7621/
Kohn, Sally. Sally Kohn: Let's Try Emotional Correctness | TED Talk | TED.com. Rep. N.p., October 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Part III : Willingness To Change For The Better

We all have a time in our lives when we know something needs to change.

From there, we have two options:

1) to stay stagnant/unmotivated and carry on, even though the issue is still there

OR

2) do something about the problem. 

My problem was that I didn't really understand how big of an issue my weight gain was. Ya, I knew I was a bit heavier, but looking in the mirror....that to me seemed to be "normal".  Normal to me was covering up with sweaters and pants even in the summertime. Normal was refusing to go to certain birthday parties if it involved a swimming pool or the beach.  I would even go as far as sporting the latest designer sunglasses and bags to divert my self-esteem issues and impress people. Who was I kidding?!?  But, that was MY normal. These were all pieces that made up my safety blanket. 

Real-Life Scenario #3: Trying To Change For Someone Else

In the beginning stages of our relationship, I was a skinny mini. But, life gets in the way and college life takes over. You do know what type of food is served in the cafeterias at school right?!?  Bad food!!  Chicken fingers with dill sauce, french fries, chicken burgers, fried chicken, and pizza were some of the things we kids ate at lunch.  You can only imagine how unhealthy I had got. I wasn't even doing anything too physical besides working out my retinas from the crazy amount of reading we had to do. 

Now, let's flash forward to a year after graduation.  Adulthood was on the horizon with new experiences, new careers and a new zip code.  Luckily, we moved to a city where we already had a few friends residing there. The fellas of the group decided to join a basketball league, which although was just for fun, is still physically demanding.  Just to keep up with all the other players, my boyfriend (at the time) decided to join the gym at his workplace.  I thought it was a great idea for him, but to me... it didn't appeal to me at all.  While he was getting his sweat on, I opted for going straight home to prepare dinner or straigght for the munchie aisle to chow down in my "no judgement zone" alone at home. It would be a habit of mine to hide my plastic wrappers, bags, containers of my junk food in the weirdest spots before he came home. Under the bed...at the back of inconvenient cupboard on top of the fridge...in my closet. I was obsessed with hiding the truth. Most commonly, I would wrap up my wrappers in paper towel so he wouldn't see it out in the open in the garbage without me having to take out the trash.  

We would frequently argue about me not wanting to do anything fitness-related like all his friends with snowboarding, dodgeball and of course, working out.  I would consider staying home alone rather than going to a gathering with friends where there was any chance we would do anything physically active. 

We would also argue about some of the food I would get at the store and him saying it was "unhealthy". At the time, I didn't think pasta was unhealthy with the creamy, red sauce. I didn't think pork tenderloin was bad for the body. I didn't think crackers and dip was fattening.  All these things I thought were healthy were on my regular shopping list. I really didn't know any better.  I almost wish they would of taught me at a younger age in elementary school. I'd be the fittest young adult out there. But alas, there was not such a class when I was growing up. 

Eventually, I caved and got a gym membership because our relationship seemed a little strained. It wasn't like how it used to be.  Not all sunshine and rainbows.  My intentions for this particular journey were to get him off my case. He seemed so thrilled I FINALLY came around to working on my health/getting back to Skinny Kimmy. He taught me a few things with weight training and seemed so proud of me. It felt nice to be connected again. This ONLY happened in the first few workouts when newbies at the gym are all excited about getting into their best shape yet. This was all short-lived. Soon after, I would fall back into my old habits and retreat home immediately after work to pig out in silence. The cycle began again.  The fights and arguments started again.  But the more he pushed, the more I resented him for it.  I even recall this big blow up we had when I was so angry at him, I was kicking, screaming and crying my eyes out while we argued in bed.   Gosh, what an awful way to end the day!

For reasons beyond my unwillingness to change to get on the "healthy train", we went our separate ways. It was most likely one of the deciding factors in our breakup. 

Being forced into doing something that you don't want to do, never works out in the end. These were my issues, and no one, no matter how hard they'd fight to fix me, would make me want to change.
__________________________________________________________

Fast forward to a few months after the break-up :
Now, living back home with my parents in Winnipeg and still following my unhealthy routine, I was assigned your basic house rules by doing my own dishes, making my own food and cleaning up after myself.  It wasn't until one time when I was cleaning up my room and underneath my bed were 4 empty canisters of Pringles, I thought "Yikes!  I ate all of that in one night?  Wow!  What have I've done!"  It was at that point when I knew something had to be done.  Who was going to love me (besides the unconditional love I get from my family/friends) if I didn't love my own body?!? This was my reality check. This was my sign. 

Kimmy 2.0 : Re-Booted : I re-signed back up at my old gym around the corner, paid for a bundle of personal training sessions, and started on a new meal plan. Just like that, I decided this girl was ready to flip my life around. This time, I knew I was ready to give it my 100%.  There was no one pushing me.  No one guilt tripping me. No obligation to anybody.  The decision to start this journey commenced on its own time....my time...on my terms. It just took me a long while to get to my destination.

What I'm trying to say is this: There are no fitness challenges that will motivate you to stay on track for the rest of your life. Those are all temporary fixes.  Fad diets?  Been there. Done that.  Crazy, unreasonable workout schedules?  I don't think so.

Sometimes a person HAS to be forced into being ready, because their doctors are telling them their sound advice to get that body moving again to prevent any more damaging effects.  Your moment of clarity may be a friend who had passed away from a sudden heart attack, or perhaps a mother-in-law who had been recently diagnosed with fatty liver disease or being told by the doctor you need to start taking high blood pressure pills.  For me, it was that one monumental salty-snack moment that made me change my life for the better.

The journey won't be easy, but gets easier as time goes by. Will there be obstacles?  Will there be yo-yo'ing and "falling off"?  Of course!  Don't let those challenges steer you off course from getting to your ultimate finish line. Trust that everything else in your world will fall in its' place. Your confidence will slowly grow and grow with every passing day.  On top of growing physically stronger, your mind will follow.  You will be given opportunities that once seemed impossible now attainable. All these wonderful things... they are all just hiding until you are truly ready to embrace the "new" you.  Little steps get you to the big picture AKA overall health & wellness. It all starts with the decision to change when YOU are ready.  When that is? Only you will know.    

So, trust the process because ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. And it all starts with the decision to try. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Part II: Support Your Fort

The people who you surround yourself with can be influencers in life for decisions you make. True or false?

Now, not everyone is like me and not everyone likes the same things I do and that's okay.  Just as long as it isn't too much of an indifference IMO. Don't like Backstreet Boys?  No problem. Don't like my new hair cut? Whatever. Get mad at me for not drinking it up all night?!? Ah well.

On my journey of "Finding Myself", I was at a crossroad. I just started my quest to health. It was something I always wanted, but I was still hanging out with some friends who didn't live that lifestyle and didn’t understand why I was doing the things I was doing. Just like Sean Kingston would say, "Sleep all day and party all night". I wanted to keep both lifestyles. (At the time I didn't know any better). 



Real Life Scenario #2: Party Time or Party Pooper? (*see scenario #1 here)

It was my girlfriend...hmm....let's call her Jessica...it was her birthday bash at her place.  There was food galore since it was a potluck. With Filipinos, we go BIG when it comes to food. We are also known for handling copious amount of liquor....not very well, but we can. 😉

Sam and I had already had a dinner beforehand, which was our cheat meal. So, we didn't want to eat or drink anything else. We just wanted to hang out with our friends.  

Sam and I only started dating a little bit before the birthday. But even with that short amount of time, he had already instilled a few healthy habits in me.

With the hours that had past, a few of the people at the party were now pretty drunk.  

One guy came up to Sam and I.

"HEY, let me get you two some drinks."  Sam exclaimed "No, it's ok. We don't drink."  The guy blurted out "What? You don't drink? Cmon. Just one!"  Sam said "No. We are good."  He stumbled off to talk to the next person to coax them into drinking. 

But a good 10 minutes later and the Drunk Crusader was back at it. "Cmon you guys...just have a drink."

Sam, now with a more annoyed tone, said "You already asked us and it's still a NO."  The guy said "Man, just have a drink with us...it's a celebration."

He left once again. 

Another 10 minutes later, he came back AGAIN!!  By this time, I was gonna be like "F**K IT!  I'll just have one."  He opened with "It's not going to hurt if you just have one."  As the first few words were coming out of my mouth to give in, Sam stepped in, cut me off mid-sentence and said aggressively "Buddy, you had already asked us THREE times. We don't want anything to drink. You are disrespecting me and my girlfriend."

Buddy was like "Woah man, calm down."  Another guy who understood us stepped in and said to the drunkard, "he already said no. Just leave him alone."  Buddy said "I just wanted everyone to loosen up and have fun."  He shortly left the table to go for a smoke.  

______________________________

Now, Sam's been doing this healthy-active lifestyle since he was a teenager but then there was me...the girl who just started her journey. It was easier for me to give into pressure because I wasn't used to saying no. People pleasing and being a YES-girl was my M.O. It made me realize by being "that girl", I was taking away my true potential for growth both mentally & physically. It was damaging my chance for ever getting to that finish line.

I read somewhere and got some sound advice from people who have been doing this healthy lifestyle for years. And more often than not, when I had mentioned friends who are not 100% supportive about the whole journey of wellness, the consensus was "It's for the best to let them go."

I promised myself that going forward, the choices I made in my life were for me and me only....not to satisfy anyone else.

So, my mission was to focus on me and just see what happened to my existing relationships. So, what happened in the following months?  I did my own thing and slowly the people who still didn't understand my new life became less as a regular cast members and more like special guests.  I believe that friendship is a two-way street.  The people who really wanted me in their lives, kept in contact with me and fully accepted and respected my goals. 

Cut out the bad to influence the good that is out there. And my goodness...there are heap loads of wonderful things, experiences, and inspiring people to meet in the world that one could potentially miss if action is not taken NOW.  After all, there is no better time then the present. 

I found this one quote that really got to me: "There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time." -Malcolm X-

I slowly became more aware that I was on the path of potential greatness (I know it sounds a little uppity but really there isn't any other way to say it).  I was a more positive person and motivating individual for it.  With my life change, I was able to help motivate others with their goals. How awesome is that?!?

It truly boils down to a happy-self in order to make for a happy life. Focusing on my healthy habits/goals and my own self-improvement made for a better Kimmy.  Selfish? Perhaps, but if you too are on a journey, you will find out that the quest for happiness is never-ending and most definitely, THE most fulfilling.

"Self-love is the source of all our other loves." -Pierre Corn-

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Excuse Me? Part I : Doing It For All The Wrong Reasons

Excuses? Oh let me count the ways...



With working at the gym for 3 years now, I've heard all the reasons under the rainbow as to why people need to cancel their membership. These include:
1) Too busy/No time
2) Not motivated/Lazy
3) Loves food too much (Kody, if you are reading this, I am looking at you haha :D )

Whatever the reason is, the number one reason people cancel is "No time". 
I believe, it really boils down to a few things that will help you succeed and overcome this whole "I-am-too-busy” attitude, which is: 
1) Making a change for all the RIGHT reasons, 2) Having a solid support system and 3) The willingness to change for the better.

So, let's talk about one of my own personal downfalls starting with "
Doing It For All The Wrong Reasons."

What is a “NTGG": Short for NOTORIOUS TEMPORARY GOAL GAL and I, Kimberly Ho, was sadly one of them.  

Definition
1. A girl who would only get motivated to lose weight when she knew a special event was coming up in the near future, only to gain it all back & more. Ex: an upcoming vacation, wedding, Christmas party, summertime or birthday.

Real-Life Scenario #1: Getting ready for my friend’s (Erica & Dave’s) wedding

Doing my workouts at home started about a month and 1/2 before THE BIG DAY. On a daily, I would kill myself with an hour up to two hours on the elliptical downstairs in my basement and an excessive amount of WiiFit time at home. This was all to ensure that I made that deadline of looking great on that one special day because I just wanted to.  Besides having my elliptical and WiiFit, I did have other equipment to use like dumbbells. I went to my nearest drugstore and picked up the two different workout mags specifically for women. Leafed through one of the magazines until I saw one that really caught my eye. “6 Weeks to Flat Abs Workout Routine.” This was the answer I was looking for. I definitely wanted abs and only 6 weeks?!?! I’m IN!

What did I eat? At first, I guess you could say I was kinda doing clean eating…like I knew what foods were good (like tuna, chicken, lettuce, any vegetable…I even thought Vector cereal was healthy before LOL) and which ones were bad but to be honest, I really didn’t know much about food and the appropriate amount to take in while trying to cut my body weight/fat. So, let’s just say I just watched what I ate….kinda. I say kinda because I would still be going back to my potato chips, crackers, and whatever food my mom would bring home from work from the nursing home late at night, which is absolutely the worst time to eat the bad junk. I knew it was wrong, but I guess I thought by eating clean all day that it would be justified and balanced with eating a little bit of bad. Whoops, my bad!

Read up on new meals to try in the fitness magazines I brought home, but personally, it all seemed so daunting and tedious. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the food looked just beautiful, but c’mon. People don’t do this everyday, do they? All I could think was ”MAN, the amount of time it would take me to cook all this food, I know I am going to be so tired at the end of it AND its probably going to cost me a lot." Scratched was the idea of following a meal plan from my magazine. l’ll just stick with the somewhat healthy food my parents have in the fridge. I wanted to change my body for the better, but I didn’t really want to change.

I needed a quick fix to my overweight problem and fast. Of course, I knew there were just TONS of different fad diets out there. Hmm…guaranteed….a diet was going to help me lose a whole bunch of weight!

I’m pretty sure the diet I tried this time around was a version of the cabbage diet and low-carb diet. The cabbage soup was super yummy!!! I modified it to fit my needs and cut out the carbs. Carbs (in my mind) were Bad News Bears. So, I did my research online and found out which vegetables had carbohydrates and cut them out of the diet completely. The first few days were good. I lost about 3-4 lbs. I was still working out and it truly felt like things were happening. But about day three or four, I started to feel very weak and not my normal self. Nonetheless, I still continued the diet until the day of the wedding.

In total, I lost about 15 lbs in the course of a month and 1/2. My mission was complete! I looked good on the outside on their wedding day for all the pictures that were taken but felt very weak on the inside. However, I didn’t feel weak for long. I ate my face off for the 10-course meal they had at their Chinese banquet wedding. Boy, was it ever yummy! My fav was the crab balls. *drool* At the end of the night, I felt gross beyond belief. I was super bloated and felt disgusting. Good thing the dress I was wearing was forgiving.

The next day, I felt as though someone punched me in the face. I had the biggest bags underneath my eyes, my cheeks was swollen and my tummy was sticking out so much.  Cankles are not attractive by the way. It didn’t stop there. No more strict dieting and no more intense workouts.  Because I reached my goal, I felt as though I was free.....free like bird to eat whatever I wanted.  This continued on for a week or two of eating all the junk food I could find in my house because I could.  It was even as bad as I sought out junk food and made a special trip to the store just for a bag of chips. I ended up gaining back all the weight and more.  I felt hopeless and miserable. Back to square one. This is just one of the times I've done this out of countless occasions.

Please, DON'T BE THAT GIRL!!  

For some, this is a vicious cycle that can never be broken. It's really one of the most unhealthiest things you can do to your body. All the up's and down's....your body is probably saying "WTF!"  Instead, find balance in the foods you consume and the workouts you push out. Eat food that your body will thank you for and search for workouts that are fun!  Just find something that works for you and stick with it. Overall wellness for the rest of your life is the key here, not temporary happiness.

To be continued...

-Kim-


Saturday, October 31, 2015

From The Outside Looking In: A Transformation Story

Instead of talking about myself in this post, I decided we can focus on my readers. I had a 'good' idea of interviewing my friend Brittney H., who had just competed this past weekend and won her Pro card at the INBF Championships...an amazing before/after story since she had also come from a place of insecurity, but interviews with successful athletes ask the same typical questions with the same typical answers. So, my husband and I opted for a different approach. 

It is an interview of Brittney from a different perspective. From the outside looking in. We all are typically held back from pursuing our goals because we are concerned what others in our support system may think, and it is those possible negative judgements that make us hesitant. In fact, those insane ideas going through your head are the complete opposite from the truth.

We (my husband Sam and I) interviewed Colleen, Brit's mom, so we can see Britt's transformation through someone else’s eyes instead of her own.

Intrigued?  Alright, here we go...

We started off by going back to Brittneys' early years. "Well, she was a very self-conscious girl.  She would always be covered up." as Colleen mimicked pulling an imaginary sweater all the way up to her chin.  

"Oh no, she might get mad at me for saying this" Colleen said jokingly. She collected her thoughts and in a serious tone responded "it was really her body image and her bad eating habits.  She would not try anything we ate as a family.  She wouldn’t try anything new.  She never ate red meat and she still doesn’t, which was really hard for my husband and I because we were on a beef farm. She was a very picky eater. So, it was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, chicken fingers and chicken nuggets…all processed stuff...all the time...that's it!  When it came to her school lunches, it was Cheese Whiz buns...hmm...maybe for about 8 years.  There was granola bars...that breadstick thing that you dip into the cheese.  Like I said, she wasn’t a good eater."

She continued "The rest of the family would eat beef, potatoes, vegetables and salad. That was our regular meal.  It wasn’t the healthy kind either.  I have to admit.  That's probably why I was overweight all my life.  At the beginning, we would try to make her…you know...say stuff to her like...'you are not leaving the table until you eat this.'  You would try it at least but it didn’t matter how long, she would just leave it and wouldn’t try it. I always cooked her what she wanted because I would know she would at least eat it....at least it would be something, rather than nothing.  So that part is my fault.  Because, yes, I cooked two different meals.  I cooked for us and I cooked for her.  It was very hard.

"Whenever we confronted her about her habits, she would be mad at us if we brought it up too much.  We would talk about it, my husband and myself but we wouldn’t talk about it with her anymore because she would cry or would be sad & it didn’t help anyways. I remember her once trying red meat & that was it.  She wouldn’t try it anymore. I just really forgot about her eating habits when she was younger until now. Wow!"

We then shifted the focus of the interview to Brittneys' beginning of her transformation and competitions. 

"I noticed her eating habits start to change for the better after she started going out with Ryan…so that’s been 5 years now...  He took her to different restaurants.  He would eat anything and then she kind of started eating different stuff.  Now, it’s mostly chicken and salmon.  Although before she was happy, she was still scared and self-conscious. Once she started on her goals, (Sam) helped her through that and then she became more confident.

"I think the turning point was when she started coming here to Snap...that’s when I started hearing your name.  Sam this and Sam that."

I quickly pulled out my phone to show a before picture of Brittney to Colleen that was taken when she first started her journey. 

First Picture: Brittney in Hawaii in 2010.
Second Picture: Brittney at the INBF Champsionships in Oct 2015

"Oh my god!  Wow!  It’s such a difference seeing it side by side.  That’s gotta be a picture from Hawaii....about 5 years ago."

I pulled out my phone once more to show a before picture of Brittney when she first started training at Snap Fitness Leduc. 

"Oh yes. That's her.  I remember when she started though, she was very cranky.  She wasn’t herself. She was snappy.  It didn’t seem like a happy time but I think that was with the eating and changing everything.  Now, her father is old school.  He was just used to her being more curvy. So, his reaction to her changes was she was too skinny or thin.  We had seen her & Ryan together during her competition and it was a little tense…just the whole process.  I had also seen it with my son & his girlfriend too.  It was tense.  He wasn’t as supportive.  Whereas Ryan has always been supportive of Brittney."

She continued "I've always have said I don’t care what you do.  I don’t care how you of it.  I just want you to be happy.  So, if this is what you choose to do, then go for it.  If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t of done this.  There is no way!  I know that.  How can she be so fit & open up a fitness store & her mother is overweight?  How can I?  Like…I dunno.  I was very happy she did that.  Doing her competition…that was a big achievement & it kind of makes you think, it’s a lot of hard work but that you can do it.  She’s come a long way & I just never thought she would be where she is today.  We are very proud of her & her accomplishments & everything that she has done."

We finally came around full circle and took some time reflect on Colleen and her own journey.

"It was right around Britts' first competition where I kept thinking she is doing this & doing that and that  I should try to be healthier. I never had the motivation to do it before.  I did take a long time though.  I had the help of Rhonda.  She was going to start working out & I wasn’t.  She said she was going to start with Britt with personal training & said 'let’s do it together'.  It was doing it with someone else that helped.  It’s easier at the beginning to work with somebody I found.  Also, it was healthy cooking, following my meal plan and exercise plan.  Where before I tried the whole diet thing to lose 20 pounds but you would end up gaining it back.  I was more motivated this time.  How can I sit on the other side of the counter at the store & help her when I am overweight?  Do you think anybody wants to come in & buy anything there or take me seriously?"

"I want to be around.  I want to be around for grandchildren *chuckle* AND NOT JUST DOGS!" 

"I can NOW do it on my own.  I don’t want to push the gym to the side because I am going to fall back into that bad habit I was in before.  You have to make it a part of your life.  Now that I see it can be done like Britt, you have to incorporate the healthy eating and working out into your life & it’s really not that hard when it’s only an hour or an hour and 1/2 out of the day.  You just gotta do it."

"I never enjoyed the whole process at the beginning. There are some days where I wanted to choke people.  You see people who are fit at the gym and you’re overweight & you think 'what am I doing here?' but then as you progress, it’s great!  Now, I see other people at the gym who are overweight & think 'good for you...good for you for coming & good for you for doing this' because I didn’t want to be dead at 60 years old.  I am down to 1/2 pill from 2 pills in my blood pressure medication."

"Like I said, if it wasn’t for Brittney pushing me,  I don’t think I would of ever made it.   It was because she was my daughter & I wanted to show her that I could actually do this."

_______________________________________

With Brittney, although the whole experience was a hard one, what made it easier was having the positive support system that she had.  You see, it's always the people who you surround yourself with that either help you (even in the smallest way) or deter you away from your goals. Say adios to those Negative Nancy's!!!  It's absolutely not fair to you to always second guess your healthy decisions.  No one needs that constant reminder that it is possible to go back to those old habits. And if they do want to stay in your life, make them understand they have to respect your life and what you do with it. Plain and simple. If not, they are disrespecting you and your decisions and can just bugger off. 

Another thing a person has to understand is besides having a great support system, that a healthy decision or a fitness decision has to be made by YOU and only you. 

When is it the right time to start on your journey?!?  The answer?  Only you know that. There is no 'perfect time'.  Don't wait for perfect conditions because it will never happen. Just do it!!  You'll be thankful that you did. Happiness within yourself is the key here and if being healthy makes you happy, then you know your on the right path. 

Stay the course and you'll find that finish line. Trust. 

-Kim-



Friday, October 23, 2015

Trust Me, I've Been There!

This is a story...make that two stories about strong women. They were lost, slowly found their way and now, found the "light". Sounds corny, right?? Bah, who cares. I could of used any analogy and I picked the corny one because I Love Corn!!!

Anyways, if you are reading this, maybe this woman IS YOU. Maybe...just maybe...it COULD be you because you have just begun your own story.  What ever the case may be, let's begin the tale. 

My Story (short version):
I was a content 160 pound girl. Had a good school life, a boyfriend who was my world and had family/friends who had my back. My world suddenly fell apart when my so-called amazing boyfriend dumped me OVER THE FRICKIN PHONE.  What a jerk!!!  I wanted revenge. It was the type of revenge where when he saw me at a mutual friends' bday, his mouth would just drop to the floor and think to himself "dang, I missed out."  Yup!  This is how my world turned upside down for the better.

I found fitness.

It was a great outlet for me to get all my anger out in the open with no judgements.  I loaded up my gym playlist with empowering women and songs about crappy ex-boyfriends.  I would spend hours upon hours at the gym. I even remember this one time when the front desk attendant at my gym said "wow, I definitely am noticing your body change."  I was so pleased that I'm pretty sure I wrote a blog post about it when I first started my journey (circa 2009).  Anyways, these types of amazing comments truly motivated me to keep pushing forward.  All those useless hours spent crying over the whole breakup had now been used to better ME. With seeing my trainer on a regular, clean eating and tons sweat sessions on my own at the gym, it helped me realize that I was the driving force behind my own happiness...not him.  I noticed I slowly became more empowered in all my life decisions and less worried about getting revenge on a certain scumbag ex-boyfriend. My heart was stronger and so was my mind and body. I was building my world back with all things that made me happy and I didn't need a man to do it...just like that Pussycat Dolls songs (totally had that on my gym playlist lol).  He was now just a faint shadow in the background of the mirror I was standing in front of. 

It was just me. I had the answer all along. 

You can never really find your true identity unless you are willing to make sacrifices and just be honest with yourself.  It's a journey to take alone but one that's worth while in the end. A person has to work hard and want it BADLY enough in order to obtain it.  "It" being anything really...goal weight...a job...even HAPPINESS!

It was The Old me vs. The New me and The New me WON! Bye bye old self. It was nice knowing you.

Now, it's all about balance. Balancing my life with work, fitness, owning a business, friendships, family, meal prepping, cheat meals and taking some time for me to reflect on how far I've come.  Now weighing in at 139lbs, I can say that I've been there. I truly know what it's like.  That's what's really great about my blog. It's my online diary...my reminder to never go back to where I once was.  

Taken Today: I love me!


Onto Story Numero 2:

Tammy's Story (Mon, Oct 19, 2015):
Ding Dong!  The doorbell rang and I rushed to get it early morning at Snap Leduc. Tammy, one of my newer members looked quite distracted.  No gym clothes or gym bag equals red flag in my mind. Something was wrong.  

I asked "What brings you into the club today Tammy?"
She replied "I came in to cancel my membership."  I asked "why?"
She said "I don't feel comfortable in the gym like how I was reassured I would when I signed up.  There are so many extremely fit people here. Are there even any overweight people?"
I said "I understand exactly what you are going through Tammy. You are not alone. I've been in a place where I too once was uncomfortable and unhealthy. She seemed shocked (like she didn't believe me) but I continued "but you know what?....I just ignored them because at the end of the day, all you have is you. These are your goals and who cares about theirs. Yes, I may have done a fitness show and obtained a body like that (*points to the image of my transformation in the wall) but who says that is the model of health?  It's about balance in your life. Just trying to stay healthy and I believe that is what your goal should be too!  When you go to sleep at night, it's just you. You have to make the decision to better yourself and I know you know that this is going to help you get there.  And to answer your other question...YES, we do have people who struggle with their weight but they too have setbacks every once in a while like my member Jacqui. Every time she falls, she just picks herself up and keeps coming back again."
Sounding defeated, Tammy responds  "I just have tried all the gyms out there...Spa Lady, the LRC and now to quit here. There are no gyms left in Leduc. It's just a cycle. I get really excited to join and am all-in but crash hard and just quit after a few months. My husband says I am just wasting money. It's this cycle that I can't break."
I proclaimed "It stops NOW. The vicious cycle of starting and quitting ends here today. I am not going to let it happen."
As I finish my sentence, I see Tammys' face start to redden and tears fall from her eyes.  I even start to tremble and my voice starts to quiver as I say " I will do whatever it takes to help you. We are here to help you.  Tammy, you are going to make me cry."
We both laugh as I continue the conversation. " I am going to set you up with a consultation with one of our trainers. They are going to help you with your goals...even if you see them just to tell someone your story, I think you would benefit from it."
As she wiped her tears away she said "Good for you Kim. I was so determined when I signed up here a few months ago and I was so determined to cancel. Good on you for changing my mind."  I walked over to her and gave her a big hug and said "everything is going to be okay.  You got this!"  We said our goodbyes and I just hope she left with a better insight. My heart just felt so heavy after she left the gym. I felt every single bit of that conversation.  

I hope that she will continue on her journey.
I hope our heart to heart made all the difference in the world.
I hope but we won't know what will happen. It's really up to Tammy what her next move is.
I just HOPE the move is in the right direction...FORWARD.

-Kim-

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's a Funny Thing...Those Extra Carbs

Whew!  The Khammy Photoshoot was a SUCCESS!! The girls who did it looked wonderful, even the first-timers!  Amazing job ladies!  Way to come out of those shells. Boudoir shoots will definitely bring out your inner diva.  I recommend EVERY GIRL do one in their lifetime. Thanks again to my good friend Khammy for hacking it out all day. You are a real superstar!

So, you probably wanna know how I am doing now? What things I ate afterwards...right?!?

Let's start off with post-shoot:

WATER!!  Omg, it's pretty incredible how much water is a big part of my life. Every second sentence out of my mouth while shooting was "I'm SO thirsty!!" Or "I want water!"  Instead of food, it was water that I was truly craving. I downed a bottle in 10 seconds flat post-shoot. It was the best thing in life at the time.  After we finished shooting the fitness segment of the day, we went to a buffet in town here, which surprisingly we didn't go too crazy. Ate a few ribs, mashed potatoes, salad, and a few desserts. Next stop, Tutti Frutti!  A cheat is definitely not complete without making a trip there. 


After Tutti Frutti, we stopped by the grocery store (which by the way was our last stop of the night). We grabbed some munchies to go alongside our movie choice of the night : "Inside Out".  Side Note:  I loved the movie and the message that went with it. 

Anyways, after vegging out with some nachos and popcorn, we ended up calling it a night. It was a super long, successful day and we were pooped by the time of 10:30pm. 

Morning came and I was awakened by clanging in the kitchen. Sam was already hard at work on our early morning breakfast. Because it was routine to me, I quickly got my best gym gear on and headed to the gym for some earlier morning fasted cardio. You'd think I would take a break from it all huh?!?  NOPE!    After a quick 20 minutes on the treadmill, I got home to a great smelling kitchen. Yum!  Breakfast is served. I woke up Khammy and we all had breakfast together. 


Doesn't it look yummy AND healthy!?  At this point, my body already felt a little fluffy for the night prior. Even if the stuff I ate wasn't the worst junk food in the world, it was still foreign food in my system and my body was like "hey, what are you doing?"  My fluffyness usually shows up on my mid-section, and my face. Yippee to chubby cheeks (*sarcasm).

We did some promo photography shots for 9Round, had a clean sandwich at Press'd and dropped Khammy off to the airport.  A little bit of carbs here and a little bit there.

Little did I know, Sam wanted to hop to the city to take me on one last cheat before the weekend was over. We went to Red Lobster, which I totally regret now. We ordered the Endless Shrimp special and already 1/4 way into our meal, I felt pretty tapped out.  I was loving the freedom of food again but I felt it was time for "regular nutrition" to start up. 

Cue Monday.  We brought back oats and broccoli into my meal plan...more clean carbs into my life.  But with that, my mind was toying with me saying "carbs equals gaining weight". Ugh, it's such a weird thing. I understand the process but when it happens on my own body...all of a sudden it makes absolutely no sense to me like frickin' calculus.  It's now Wednesday and in still trying to adjust. So with that, I am giving myself a week to refocus and hopefully *fingers crossed*, next week will be mentally stronger. Darn my mind and always being so hard on myself. Where's the switch to turn it off because I can't seem to find it. 

These are my current struggles and most likely it is someone's daily on-going battle. It all comes down to trusting the process that your coach (aka my husband) has set out and executing the plan. Fingers crossed* Hopefully you have an amazing coach like mine that puts up with all the craziness.

Sure, it makes me sad to see my abs go but from sadness comes happiness (just like the movie we watched *hopefully I didn't spoil it for anyone) :D

We will see what new gains happen for the 2016 year. 

Bring it on BODY!!!  You got this!!

-Kim


Friday, October 16, 2015

Big Day Tomorrow

Well, on top of the countless things I have to do for the next couple of weeks, tomorrow is a big one. 

I annually do a photoshoot just to capture...well...ME!  Each year, I take an off-season to gain more muscle mass and lean out again to capture it.  The only difference this time is I am uneasy with perhaps putting my smexy shots out there in the social media-twittisphere-insta-universe.  Why you ask?  Well, I have a few reasons.

Reason 1: Due to an injury, I wasn't able to get as lean as I would normally like.  I didn't get a chance to do my sprints as I would normally do. I stayed away from doing heavy leg press and heavy squats in the cage due to the pain in my back. I definitely listened to my body and my chiropractor because I didn't want to chance it and hurt myself beyond repair. I was in despair but I had to make sacrifices. That's what life is about sometimes, isn't it?!
Reason 2: Will I even like what I see?!? Yes, even though I may look the way I do, I too have body issues. At the back of my mind is that younger, unhealthy and overweight Kim saying "you're not good enough". It comes and goes especially in times like these.  But, with doing a boudoir shoot, a woman is made to feel beautiful. So, I am going to try to embrace it and take it all in.
Reason 3: Not a hard-hitting reason but...who knows...the pictures may be WAY too sexy LOL. Therefore, only one other person besides myself and Khammy (my photographer) can see and that would be my husband Sam. Ever since I started my journey, I always kept it classy. So, I want to stay true to what my image has been and will always be.  There have been too many times on social media where I see young girls do whatever it takes for a tiny bit of fame.  "I want to be famous."  That's great but do it the right way and for what you love. Not for the attention. Do it to inspire people and not to make them feel sad, grossed out or feel bad about their own body image. My advice for them: Smarten up!  It is not only your life you are affecting, but the lives of your loved ones.  Classy and Never Trashy!

Well, I better get back to my prep for the shoot. I still have to find outfits to wear. Last-minute huh?!?  I know. 

Wish me luck. 

-Kim-

Monday, October 12, 2015

I Give Thanks: My Top 5

Well, we Canadians have Thanksgiving today. Happy Turkey Day my friends!!!  My boudoir photoshoot is in just 5 days. So, there is to be no turkey or all of the fixings this weekend. I'm going to be that lame person who has Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving. Ah well. I gotta stick with the goals I planned out for myself. Stick to the plan, Kim!

So with Thanksgiving upon us, here are the things I am thankful for:

1) My Health:  Ever since I started on my journey towards overall health and wellness, I'm just so grateful I am now truly on the right path. I used to brush off anything related to fitness or healthy eating. 

Common dialogue:
Friend: "Kim, want to go to the gym?"
Kim: "No thank you."

That was me. The girl who just kept gaining and gaining...not giving a crap at all about working out or eating healthy. I was the one waking up late at night in the house and sneaking junk food back to my bedroom to devour in minutes.  I was that girl who would make a trip to the store just for junk food and stash it in my secret hiding spot for a future binge.  Until one day, I decided I wasn't going to do this anymore. I needed to make a change. You have to understand that making the decision of extreme change is probably the hardest thing a person can do and is something a person has to do on their own. There is only so much a friend or family member can do.  I remember conversations with family members about them saying I've gained weight or I should lose weight or the best one of them all...I shouldn't be eating SO much of that. Hearing these things discouraged me more. It made me super depressed. *Cue vicious cycle of binge eating.  I realized a change this BIG had to satisfy me, myself and I. No one else.  I am thankful I realized how important my health was NOW, as opposed to waiting until it was either too late or I was way older than I am now.  

2) My Husband:  His name is Sam.  I like to see him as a man of many hats.  He is my best friend, love, coach, financial advisor, partner in crime...my life coach...my everything.  He was definitely a game changer compared to my past relationships.  

Let me tell you a little story about this man.  Sam came into my life out of the blue.  I was midway on my journey of a healthier version of me at 150-155lbs when we met through a mutual friend.  Went on one date and he already proclaimed to me that I was his.  I thought him to be strange.  How could he be so sure?!?  I mean, I was still trying to find myself.  He must of saw something I didn't see at the time.  I brushed it off at first until I really got to know him.  He taught me valuable things in regards to working out and cleaning eating that you could never read in a textbook.  Some of the stuff he says was/is so empowering.  He is a philosopher in my eyes and I am sure many of my friends who know him agree.  I really don't know how he comes up with some of the stuff he says but he always makes sense of it all.  He is especially hard on me out of all of his clients because like he says "Kim, I just want you to be the best".  He never babies me but is critical of situations and makes the best of the bad.  I hate him for that but of course love him after the fact.  With his help, I was able to reach my goal of losing body fat and getting down to my junior high weight of 135lbs.  He helped re-shape the way I looked at things and shaped my body in the process.

My parents on the other hand decided they didn't like Sam.  They thought he was just another guy.  It made me so upset they couldn't see how amazing he was to me.  With that, it made me withdrawn from them.  I would get criticized constantly.  I just had to leave.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I moved out temporarily to live with Sam.  In the days following, I received many forms of communication from them but I didn't want to face even more criticism.  I ignored their calls.  I didn't respond to text messages.  I even ignored messages from my siblings.  Sam knew it was eating away at me.  So, behind my back, he contacted them and said I was doing okay, I still loved them and were going to be attending my mother's birthday.  I still remember the day and the words my mom said at her birthday.  Mom: " We don't care what had happened in the past.  All we care about is you and having you in our lives."  After that, our relationship has never been stronger.  My parents gained respect for Sam that day and now love him to death.  For all that he is, I am so grateful.  

He also managed to help me with my finances.  I was the girl in college just walking down the halls and a rep from a credit card company calls you over.  BOOM!  That is how I got into trouble.  GRR!  My advice to young people is to just say no to credit cards.  I bought Chancel this and Dior that.  Little did I know, my debt keep adding and adding up.  It really stressed me out.  It would be in my thoughts...my dreams...my everyday life.  I couldn't get away.  It was only until I opened up to Sam about this dreadful problem. He helped me budget better.  Sam would say stuff like: "What do you need to pay for this month?" or "Will you have enough with the hours you are working to pay of the things you need/want?"  Statements like these are common in our household.  Now, I do not own any credit cards and am debt free (besides the credit cards Sam owns).

He still surprises me with special recipes and romantic gestures.  He makes me laugh even though it wasn't his intention.  He loves me for all that I am.  He gets so thrilled when something exciting happens to me.  I'd definitely be lost without him.  Love you babe!!!

3) My Family:  I know I haven't been the most angelic child growing up.  I was the one who would always make a stand.  I was the one who would fight back.  I was the one who would make my voice heard.  I was also that naughty kid who would stay out WAY past curfew, sneak out of the house, and NEVER check in with my parents.  I had the "I DO WHAT I WANT" mentality.  I was a brat!!!

Luckily for me, my parents had what most have for their children, which is unconditional love.  Going back to the story of how I got reconnected with my parents, it was a life changer.  Our bond is the strongest it has ever been.  Lots of "I Love You's" and "I Miss You's" every time we call back home.  I miss them dearly but sorry folks, I don't think Sam and I will be coming back home to live anytime soon.  Unless...kids...maybe move back home if we had kids.  And no, we aren't trying yet if that was your next question.

4) My Friends:  You guys are the backbone of my existence.  All those times I would cry on your shoulder about some douche(s) dumping me for some lame reason, you were there.  All the times I would get advice on this or that, you were there.  All those hours of repeating the same rant OVER and OVER again, you listened anyways (no matter how redundant it was) because you cared.  You were there.  I have countless stories of friends who were there for me when I needed them the most.  This blog could go on and on but just know that I love you and appreciate all of you that are still in my life.  I feel like there should be a friend oath like they do at wedding ceremonies.  "For better or for worse.  For richer or for poorer.  In sickness and in health.  Until death do us part."  And then just pinky swear at the end of it all.  Anyways, I just have to say that I am one lucky girl to have you.  You know who you are.      

5) My Career:  It all started when Sam got word he was going to be laid off from his Winnipeg job.  Luckily, he knew someone who lived out in Alberta who was able to get him a high-paying gig.  Sam left within a week to start his new career in the Oil & Gas industry in October and left me behind until he came back to get me at Christmas time.  After our big family dinner, we left to our new home in Leduc, Alberta.  At this point, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.  I was SO happy in Winnipeg when I was personal training and wanted something that would give me the same joy.  After weeks and weeks of searching, I finally came across something along the lines of what I had done in the past for a front desk position at the new Snap Fitness opening in town.  Quickly set up and interview and met Mike (the owner) at the nearest coffee shop.  Super casual interview.  I answered all his questions perfectly and at the end of it he hired me.  I was on top of the world.  I told him it was my lucky day because it coincidently was my birthday.  Happy Birthday to Kim!  I found out on my first day, they hired two of us.  Because our learning styles were quite different, I was able to surpass her immensely.  Within just 2 1/2 months of working at Snap, they promoted me to Assistant Manager.  I just couldn't believe it.  A few more months (my 7th month employed) and they promoted me to Manager.  I have never been more happy with my life regarding my career and finally I knew the reason why people used the statement "Passion is the difference between having a job or having a career."  I live with passion each and every day I step through those doors.  I love what I do and love the fact I can help others achieve their goals.  After all, I have been there.  I understand you.

Because of the passion and determination Sam and I have, we were given an amazing opportunity to be a part of something new and exciting to Canada.  9Round 30 minute kickboxing was presented to us late last year.  We didn't know much about the company but thought it would work very well in Leduc.  May 2015 is when we opened out doors and now, the doors won't stay shut.  We are doing so well that we are #1 in all of Canada!!!  9Round is my husbands' baby but I am so proud of where he has taken the business.

That's why this Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful.  I am blessed with all the amazing people and opportunities that have come my way.  I said it before and I'll say it again.  I am one lucky girl.  Thanks for reading.    

Question: What are you thankful for today?

-kim-