So I’m a career woman by day. Fitness fiend by morning or night.
Pursuing my fitness passion 8 months ago has benefited by “day” job. I have more energy. I no longer get headaches in the middle of the day. Probably due to cutting caffeine out. I miss coffee though! All in all, I’ve been able to perform better and stay on top of daily tasks and challenge myself to think more strategically in the office.
I truly believe that my new found fitness is challenging me to grow in both my personal and professional life. By continuing to climb the media ladder I have several things that I stick to to ensure my success at work.
I am a firm believer in dressing up for work. Now that I’m in the gym in the morning or evenings in my lulus or sweats I’m so tempted to just throw on a pair of jeans and T and head into the office. I have however made a promise to myself that I would always dress up for work. At my very first ad agency I would see co-workers in jeans and hoodies in the office. Although they looked comfy the professionalism didn’t come across. On a daily basis I could interact with clients or sales reps so I always make sure that I’m “done” up enough to make a great impression. It also makes changing into the comfies such a great feeling.
So when I decided to start my fitness training I started 3 things right away.
I wasn’t the best informed but I knew how to research, ask questions and try things out and learn as I went.
I’ll write about where I did my research in another article!
1. Cardio: I started getting up 30 mins earlier than my normal wake up time to hit the gym in my condo. I downloaded some great 30 min mixes onto my Ipod and got on the elliptical. After probably 1 month I increased my morning cardio to 45 mins. I started taking glasses at my gym in the evenings after work. My favorites became spinning and a jump rope class. Spinning because it was great to rid my thighs and butt of the excess body fat I had accumulated while strengthening my glutes, quads and calves at the same time. I also started lifting weights in the evenings for 45 mins to an hour.
2. Weight Training: I’m tiny right… a little weak in the upper body… ok very weak in the upper body but I knew I had to build muscle up top. I started small. 5 pounders were my best friend. Not going to lie… I was beyond intimidated lifting my little 5 pound weights and finding that it hurt while guys beside me were curling 60 pounds and up. Just put those ipod headphones in your ears, look straight ahead and focus. Just in terms of bicep curls, I went from 5 lbs, to 8lbs 3 months later and now at 8 months later I easily curl 15 lbs. To others it’s not a lot but to me it’s huge 🙂 I feel like I’ve accomplished something I could never have done last winter.
3. Nutrition: I started a food journal. I knew as a “fitness model” I was going to have to eat 6 meals a day. Every 2 hours. I started to plan out my meals ahead of time. Actually writing them out for the week in the beginning. Doing my grocery shop on Sunday, food prep on Sunday night and packing my gym bag w/ food every morning. The things I cut out of my diet immediately after reading countless magazine articles was refined carbs. White bread, white pasta, white rice and sugar. I also cut out dairy but that’s cause I was lactose intolerant and ignoring it.
Some Examples of The Changes I Made
Meal Before After
Breakfast Bagel & Cream Cheese Protein Shake and Oatmeal w/ Cinnamon & Blueberries
Snack Nothing or Thinsation Cookies 1/2 Grapefruit or Bean Salad
Lunch White Pasta, M&M Chicken, Sauce Brown Rice Pasta, Broccoli and Organic Chicken Breast
Dinner Bag of Microwave Popcorn Salmon Filet and Asparagus
Snack Ice Cream or Chips or Doritos Almonds or Larabar or Usana Oatmeal Raisin Bar
Good Luck with your baby steps. No matter how small. Little steps become big in no time at all!
In the October 2009 issue of Oxygen Magazine (one of my favs!) there was an article by publisher Robert Kennedy titled “Are you Skinny Fat?”
It really resonated with me because at 27 I became a skinny fat girl. I have always been tiny. Years of ballet, dance, musical theatre, cheerleading, being busy, eating relatively healthy and a fast metabolism kept me in the thin, skinny, svelte world. Then bam. I turned a year older, a year wiser and my metabolism said “Enough is enough”. Time to slow er down.
I ate what I want over the winter of 2008/2009. Microwave bags of popcorn for dinner, ice cream late at night, wine and cheese, muffins and cookies galore at office meetings, bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. Barely any fibre, fresh produce or healthy carbs. Doesn’t really seem that bad does it. It was never crazy binge eating or overindulging. I just didn’t watch what I eat.
My condo has an indoor pool and one day in December 2008 I decided to go swimming. I checked out my butt in the mirror as all girls do and I gasped. Did I, the skinny girl, have cellulite. Umm… no way. It’s the mirror. I continued to say oh it’s fine I can keep going like I normally do. I scheduled a photo shoot in January 2009 where I would be doing implied nudes in dancer poses. I told the photographer give me 2 weeks after the xmas holidays to hit the gym. Really? That’s all you need girl? Sure!!! I did the photo shoot saw the photos and went home crying. My abs were not attractive. I didn’t take a good picture and I knew it.
I had become skinny fat. I knew it. Egad. When I read the article from Oxygen this summer one sentence reminded me of my winter moments before my fitness AHA moment. “Incredibly even though both women were thin his forefinger sank into a sea of fat.” My boyfriend could grip my love handles and I had had enough. Then my fitness why happened. Check out one of my first blog post for that.
So below are two of my first before pictures taken. I wanted to make sure I documented the change. The changes were slow in the beginning. I did a lot of cardio since I had developed quite a lot of “fat” for my body. The hips slimed down, the thighs carved up and I lost 2 cup sizes. Now my abs are starting to come in, my thighs are becoming more muscular, I’m building a butt shelf and I have tickets to the gun show! Just kidding! But the biceps are coming in quite nicely!
If I could do it over again I would’ve started lifting weights much more at the primary stages to build the muscle underneath as I was able to shed the fat in as little as 3 months. Now I’m tiny again but having a heck of a time building the muscle now. I’m so proud of what I’ve been able to do over a short 8 months and hope I can inspire at least one person (even another skinny fat girl) to take initiative and get fit or just take care of their health.
Tweetdeck: Desktop application that allows me to view my following feed, @ replies, DMs, find potential new follows and a facebook feed
Ubertwitter: BlackBerry phone app that let’s me keep up w/ Twitter while I’m on the go. Subway morning reading to see what happened while I was sleeping and checking in the evenings before I go to sleep.
Brizzly: A web based application that allows me to group who I’m following on Twitter. In theory great idea, haven’t implemented it yet.
Adnews: Everything from brand campaigns to website sponsorships to who’s hiring who in the advertising/marketing landscape
Media In Canada: New campaign launches, new media initiatives and info about top shows and advertisers on radio or TV
I decided to enter one of the biggest competitions in Toronto, let alone Canada as my first competition. Ok so I aim high! I was nervous, crazy excited and had no idea what to expect. Thank goodness I was able to experience the competition with a fellow Hourglass Workout girl, Chivon John and my personal trainer Lyzabeth Lopez. They kept me sane, gave me pep talks, took pictures with me for our standard facebook picture albums and kept me calm in the change-room.
I was competing in the Diva Bikini Model category. When I first registered for the contest I was under the assumption that there would be a pro category and an open (amateur) category. Although I may have a lot of self-confidence competing against fitness models that have been on the cover of Oxygen Magazine several times is a tiny bit intimidating. Ok so it caused me to have a slight panic attack. They had merged the category together and I found out the night before at the Athlete’s Meeting. So I think I psyched myself out a little bit. Ok I totally psyched myself out of the competition.
I tried my best to rock it on stage but I knew that my attitude had changed. It showed in my walk and on my face and I was further disappointed to find out that I didn’t place top 10 which had been my goal. I could’ve given up at this point and said meh I competed on stage. I have changed my fitness and health around. I have a great new body and I conquered fears of appearing on stage and rocked the stage in an itty bitty bikini. I licked my wounds, got some much needed confidence back and set my sights on my next competition.
Ok so the Hourglass family decided to head down to the Olympia weekend in Vegas. If you know bodybuilding this is one of the events to be at during the year. Flex Magazine hosts a Bikini Model Search every year so I thought sure! Why not! I arrived to find out I was competing against 90 other competitors. Gasp! And there goes that twinge that is telling my confidence to drop. Pause. Take a deep breath you can do this. I had already paid my entry fee, booked a spray tanning w/ Pro Tan and brought my bikini with me. No way was I backing out on this one. The best part of my experience was having my girls Chynna Chung and Chivon John smiling up at me from the stage. They snuck into VIP seating (shhh!) and sat right behind the judge’s table so I couldn’t miss them. It’s thanks to them I was able to beam on stage. I found the girls in this competition quite tight in their physiques. I also wasn’t aware of the online voting part of the contest so I have a better strategy for next year 😉 No top 16 placement but still a great experience, hot photos from the stage and a great chance to meet girls backstage from all over the world. The competitor behind me was from France so I got to practice my bilingualism backstage. Time to head back to Toronto and re-focus for my 3rd competition.
My experience at UFE Halloween Mayhem was a positive, fun, learning, exhausting and overall great experience. I had returned from Vegas having caught a nasty bug on the plane ride home. No more red eye flights for me. I wasn’t able to workout for a week after returning and was scared I wouldn’t be ready in time. I had 3 weeks to revamp the bod for Oct 24 and I trained hard. My first week back in the gym I had a weird time training certain muscles. I would work out my back and my shoulders would hurt the next day. Focus on my glutes and have inner thighs screaming. The last two weeks before UFE went by smoothly. The meal plan was back in effect, the muscles were hurting in the right place, I had a great costume idea being made and my focus and goal of placing top 10 was still in my brain.
I was able to experience this contest with my training partner Gule Sheikh. We met this summer during a Fitness Model Workshop, ran by, of course, the lovely Lyzabeth Lopez, and started a couple of personal training sessions with Lyzabeth together. We drove down Friday morning, had fun getting spray tanned together, making jokes about being water depleted and had a great chance to enjoy the experience. The atmosphere at UFE was so much different than WBFF and Flex. There were friendly faces backstage, great friends competing together and an organized show with a schedule that all competitors were made aware of well in advance. I felt confident knowing what was going on and could focus on performing well onstage. I rocked the Bikini Model round in a butterfly costume and was able to stand out on stage enough to place number 9! I don’t really care what number it was. It was Top 10. My goal accomplished. I could smile and enjoy the placing!