Category Archives: Life Lessons

Monday Updates!

Happy Monday! I first want to thank you all for following MoonFitness. I love each and every one of my readers and the messages I receive from you guys. I’ve had one of those weeks were SO many great things are happening, as well as some rough things. Every time one of you guys message me with a question or comment, I remember that I’m getting to do what I love and that feels absolutely fantastic. This post is a little short and sweet, but here are a few things going on with myself, as well as Moonfitness.

1. One of my awesome clients is a really great photographer and we had a whimsical photo shoot planned for a few months now and finally made it happen yesterday. Our “costumes” were seriously awesome and I’m pretty sure the pictures are going to come out great. No this was not a fitness shoot! Something more along the lines of Alice in Wonderland….and I’ll let you guess which character I am:)

976332_599281960082023_340959130_o2. I am reading two great books right now that I want to recommend. One is called Lights Out by T.S. Wiley and the other is called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.. You can buy these here and here. Lights Out is really enlightening on the subjects of sugar, sleep and health concerns. We eat more sugar because we have less sleep. We have abandoned nature’s natural clocks by tricking our bodies into thinking the extra sunlight is summer, and as we all know, most animals eat a lot of food in the summer so that they can hibernate safely in the winter when food is scarce. Our ability to produce artificial light at 2:00 in the morning tricks our bodies into thinking it’s just summer time, which means the more food the better. This is obviously not the case for us human folks. I hope I’ve caught your attention on the subject, and you’ll look into reading it yourself so that you can learn how to adopt nature’s natural cycles once more. The other book, The Four Agreements, is really short but also powerful. It’s about finding freedom from the world and other people’s words. One of the best things I’ve learned so far in this novel is to not take others’ seriously. Whatever cruel things they say are said because of THEM not me. Everybody speaks out of their own personal experiences and it has nothing to do with anybody else. I already feel a little bit more free from others.

3. I don’t have a lot of physical possessions that I really “love” but the few things I do, are all breaking. The things I care for the most are related to the kitchen and the gym, obviously. My phone broke last week, my ridiculously expensive headphones broke, a piece of my crock pot broke, my favourite purple water bottle that I carry everywhere with me broke, my gym iphone arm band broke and my only good knife broke. Am I stressed about this?! Yes, I’m human. But it’s a good reminder that things are just that, things. I can have a moment of self-pity and then move on because everything will be okay. I just have to make-do with what I have and focus on the things in life that are eternal:) Cause those won’t break on me! (oh and in case you follow me on facebook, this indeed doubled as a status update….I wrote it while I was slightly flustered).

4. My health coaching program has changed. I want to develop more personal relationships with my clients and really help them create life-long habits. One month is not nearly enough to do that, so I will now only have 3 and 6 month programs. A lot of communication will be involved in these programs, as well as individualized meal plans based on your schedule and personal needs/habits. Message me at madelynvmoon@gmail.com if you’re interested! The 3 month runs at $150/month and the 6 month program is $125/month.

5. I’m making bone broth for the first time right now and I’m super nervous and excited. I’ve never had to buy beef knuckles before, so that was fun. But I am cooking it in my crock pot, which is a lot smaller than the normal ones that are used to make broth so I don’t know if my water to knuckle ratio is spot on. I’ll keep you updated!

6. I’m writing my first article for Paleo Magazine and I recently wrote one for Austin Fit Magazine. Yay for writing for awesome companies!

7. Last week, I started writing about my obsessive tendencies in regards to health and fitness and how I’ve finally come to find balance in this lovely world of ours. I have covered a lot about my own past and where I am now, hoping that it will really help some others who have struggled to live in “moderation” instead of 100% all day every day about ONE thing. I love living a balanced lifestyle. I’ve stopped putting emphasis on having the perfect body and have started focus on having the perfect relationship with my body. If you have any concerns or personal issues you would like my to talk about, I’m open to suggestions. We all have a different story but we can still learn from others’ experiences.

8. Watch this for a laugh.

9. And click here to watch Ellen Degeneres stick up for women and put down Abercrombie and Fitch for their terrible tactics. (if you don’t know about the Abercrombie and Fitch controversy yet, this will be a good place to be enlightened).

10. In regards to the group I have been trying to put together for my What’s Beautiful campaign, there have been a lot of technical difficulties going on and I still have yet to be able to make one. Nonetheless, all of the goals I talked about in this post are still going strong! All of my chest exercises have been increasing and I feel major progression in my arms, even after a few weeks. Make a goal for yourself and join in on the fun! Let me know what yours is and we can keep each other updated on our progress:)

11. Last but not least, curry and cinnamon make an awesome combination, not to mention they both have insane health benefits. Try these two together on your yams, it’s awesome! Or maybe I’m just so super weird. Or possibly both? I don’t know but this is definitely a new obsession of mine.

Hope you’ve had a great start to your week!

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What’s Beautiful?

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I’m so excited to a part of the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Challenge with the rest of my friends from Fitfluential. The reason why I promote this campaign and think it is such a beautiful movement is because it pushes women to perform better and challenges them to do whatever it is they have been wanting to do but haven’t been able to make the commitment. Last year when this challenge first started, my goal was to compete in my first NPC Competition. I didn’t sign up online for the Under Armor What’s Beautiful Challenge, but I did mentally. I was so busy with training, I didn’t think I could have had enough time to do video logs and blog about it on both the Under Armour website and my own blog….but I wish I did! Regardless, this movement helped me to pick a goal and DO IT. No thinking, no pondering about it endlessly, just doing it. And it was ultimately and amazing experience. (By the way, this post might look slightly familiar to one I wrote in October of 2012 about self-worth….check it out here!)

This year is different though. As much as I wish I had one goal to work towards, I’m focusing on two slightly broad things. Balance and muscle growth. I believe balance is a challenge in itself, but it’s one that I’m learning how to master. Muscle growth, as you probably know, is a HUGE challenge for me. I tend to psych myself out a lot because I think that the reason why I’m not growing is because I don’t eat enough, but honestly, I think I eat just fine. I have a very well rounded and balanced diet and I would much rather eat when I want instead of having to time everything and eat to the point that I’m stuffed. I hate feeling stuffed. Usually, that’s when my energy is the weakest and I would much rather pick awesome energy over a uncomfortably full belly.

So my training techniques are what I’m focusing on for this challenge. More power lifting and compound movements. Not only do they increase mass, but they also make you feel like one tough cookie. Who doesn’t love to see their PR increase in deadlifts and pull ups?

So my goals for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Challenge are as follows:

1. Continue to seek out balance
2. Learn proper power lifting etiquette and form
3. Continue to do sprints once per week (all other cardio has been cut out)
4. Increase my strength
5. Increase my muscles, duhhh

Here are my PR stats for the compound movements I’m already comfortable with:

Straight-legged deadlifts- 170 lbs
Normal deadlifts- 155 lbs
(Decline and Flat) Bench Press- 100 lbs
Back squats- 115 lbs (I used to be much higher but then I realized I wasn’t even going parallel…now doing booty to the ankles!!)
Overhand barbell rows- 70 lbs
Military press- 60 lbs
Barbell curls- 65 lbs
Dips- 10 per set
Chin ups- 8 per set, no assistance
Assisted pull ups- 10 per set (with 60 pounds assisting)

All of these exercises in particular I would like to see at least a 10 lb increase within the next month or so.

And then of course, there are the movements I’m not too familiar with that I would really love to get better at…such as:

Overhead Squat, Cleans, Snatches (ahh), Pulls, Jerks, Presses, etc…..I’d mostly like to learn the basics and then all the different variations. The names are confusing in themselves to me…power clean vs. high-hang clean vs. clean and press vs. clean whatever. Yeah, maybe I should look into Powerlifting for Dummies. I’ll think about it.

I’m working on putting a group together on the Under Armour Website, where my females friends can join and push themselves with me! Because of some technical difficulties, I’m having to post-pone the creation of this group but I’m hoping I’ll have it running asap. So please stay tuned to my facebook page for details! I’ll most likely be posting it there.

The first step is to go to the Under Armour website, create an account and upload your goal. Easy peasy. And feel free to give yourself completely different goals than mine! If you’re a runner, pick a race and start training for it! If you are a competitor, pick a show and join in on the fun!! We all have different goals for our bodies but we can encourage each other every step of the way! And you can follow individual athletes’ pages so be sure to follow me by clicking here and then clicking “follow athlete” 🙂 I’ll do the same for you!
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By the way. I really wish I could take pictures and videos of myself doing particular exercises in the gym and post it on my group’s page. I know a lot of people post pictures of themselves working out but how in the world do you muster up enough courage to ask somebody to take a snap shot of yourself?! I just don’t want to be that person!

Fitness: Putting to Rest the Controversies & Confusion

I’ve been talking and thinking about this topic a lot lately and getting different perspectives on fitness through other fan page accounts, twitter, instagram and it’s pretty easy to see how different people view fitness. There are many definitions of fitness. The one in the dictionary is the ability to reproduce…but I don’t really think that’s what most people have in mind when they’re throwing 65 lb dumbbells up and down the gym, gulping down protein powder and tweeting about their massive pump (#fitness #health #swole).

You know how health is one of the most controversial topics today? Well, that’s because people have different views on what works and what doesn’t. That could be for many reasons. It could because our bodies are made differently and a certain way of eating for me may not work for my neighbor and vice versa. Some people can look at a weight and grow biceps. Others can look at a cake and gain 5 pounds. We all have to adjust our routines to figure out how our own bodies respond the best.

I’ve believed in every single kind of diet at least once in my life. High carb/low fat, no this, no that, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, 6 meals a day, 2 meals a day, and yes, I’ve even tried NO meals a day. I’ve made all the mistakes in the book. I used to over-train and underfeed. I used to kill my body slowly with massive amounts of cardio. I’ve switched around my diet so many times trying to figure out “what works best” for me and my head spins just thinking about it. All the controversies out there have a huge part in my dietary habits, I was constantly listening to what one person says I should and should not eat but then I would hear another very convincing claim that states just the opposite.

You should see my massive pile of nutrition and diet books.

But today I’m going to let you in on a little secret. One many people may want to argue with…but truthfully…if you want to know my opinion….I’ve come to believe that..

EVERYTHING WORKS.

Circuit training works. Crossfit works. 5 by 5 workout routines work. Eating 6 meals a day works. Eating 2 meals a day works. IF works. No IF works. Skipping breakfast works. Working out on an empty stomach works. Working out on a full stomach works. Yolks work. Chicken works. BCAAs work and pre-workouts work. Paleo works. Vegetarian works….(eh…kinda). Everything works as long as it’s enriching and healthy for your body.

Not healthy as in “I’m going to eat zero calorie foods all day cause that’s me being healthy.” But healthy as in….”This banana came from Mother Nature. Therefore I will stuff it in my face, enjoy every bite and then use it to fuel my workout.” Now we’re talking.

So I want to put to rest some of these questions about health and fitness. There will always be controversies. But it’s your job to not let it get to you. Do not fall into the trap of thinking only ONE thing works and everything outside of it is a fail. That’s limiting yourself too much and eventually you will grow tired. And confused.

I’m not saying you should turn away from listening to what people have to say. Quite the opposite actually. Learn what you can from smart people. Read nutrition books. Study the art. Figure out what benefits are coming from the food you are consuming and read about different training strategies. Knowledge is power. The part where things get tricky (for me) is implementing that knowledge into my own life without letting it control me. I’ve been switching my attention over from listening to what others say will work, to how my body responds to the things I do each day. I still absolutely love to hear about what coconut oil will do on an empty stomach or why it’s best to eat simple sugars post workout and all that fun good stuff. It’s exciting and enriching to learn more. But once you have the gift of knowledge, don’t abuse it. Have fun with testing out new things but take it a day at a time. If you hear a theory that goes against the same one you heard yesterday, it’s probably true. Everything is true in some way. it just depends on how you look at it, your goals and your own beautiful body.

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The Negative Side to Achieving Female Abs

With all this talk about summer and needing to be sexy in a bathing suit, I felt the need to share a little bit about my own experience with working towards those gotta-have abs. If you’re looking for the secret to abs, please stop reading immediately and continue to search through the Oxygen Magazine sitting on the coffee table nearby for the answer- because I promise you, what I’m going to tell you will either disappoint you or bring you relief and peace. I’m hoping it’s the second option.

I’m going to share a little bit about my story on the quest for perfect abs. But before we go into that, I am going to be blunt and tell you that I am still on that quest. Everything I am about to tell you is for both your benefit and mine, because I too forget the truth behind what it takes to get a six pack for females. I often look at photographs of my favourite fitness models and competitors and drool over those tight tummies, and then get a little infatuated with reaching that level of chiseled..ness.

As you all probably know, I was 100% dedicated for my fitness competition last year. No fruit. No sugar. No almond milk. No gluten. No dairy. No cheese. Honestly, the only foods I had for 20 weeks were egg whites, chicken, brown rice, oats, protein powder, broccoli, green beans and asparagus. Oh and one tablespoon of peanut butter per day. Every once in awhile I switched out oats for a little sweet potato. But there was NOTHING ELSE. If you think I’m kidding…well, I’m not kidding so just believe me.

At first, this post may seem like I’m dissing myself or aggravated at my fitness prep but that’s definitely not the case. There is more to this, I promise. I have a point and a message I want to send but first I want to recap last year’s quest for the perfect shredded physique.

This was my grocery cart for 20 weeks.

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photo-9This cooler was with me every where I went, whether it was to a party, to a meeting, to a study group or what have you.

I mean, the water bottle still goes everywhere with me but that’s still a downgrade from what I usually carried.
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4774220004f811e290351231381b5983_7 I spent my Friday nights in the fitness room of my gym wearing my heels, walking up and down checking out my smile, turns and making sure my booty was “poking out” enough. This was indeed a little fun for me, but at the same time, I do remember turning down a few really fun parties to do this instead. Oh, and I had to retake this picture several times before I posted it on Instagram because I thought I looked fat in some of them.
photo-25I was eating calorie free chocolate dip, dressings and pancake syrup. Calorie/carb/everything free dips….do you know how many chemicals were in this thing to make it taste so good but be so guilt free? My body HATED me for this. I was not “healthy” I was skinny..and this was my secret. Deathly, disgusting fake products.

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This became the only thing I read because it was the only thing that I was really interested in any more.

Now PLEASE do not get me wrong. I LOVE FITNESS MAGAZINES with my life. It’s actually been a dream of mine since I was little to work for a fitness magazine. It’s a huge passion for me. But it definitely shouldn’t be my only passion, right? I was become information-overloaded and it was all I was starting to think about.

Until I started to look like this.

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Now, you may not know my face very well but I’ll just tell you, I have a very round face. I have always kind of had that child-like face and even my body tends to want to be a little on the softer side. This picture here scares me. You probably can’t tell, but this is not what I look like. My legs look like twigs here and I have absolutely NO muscle development. All gone! Thankfully, this was mid prep and I ended up filling out a little better right before my show and developed a little more muscle definition.

So dieting+no social life+ eating out of Tupperware religiously+ no freedom in food choices+cardio every day+fake food= MY abs. I’m not saying this is how you got your abs, but I’m saying, in 2012, this is how I achieved my abs because I did what I was told by my coach and followed the fitness competition norms.

There are different ways to achieve abs I’m sure. Some people have awesome genetics. Some people take fat burners. Some people diet and don’t need to do much cardio to get abs. We are all different. But this is my story, so I’m sharing how I got them. I would love to think that eventually I could learn how to have them again by doing it differently but for the mean time, I’m not stressing. I enjoy being lean just from choosing whole, clean foods and that’s good enough for me. I absolutely LOVE getting stronger and seeing muscle growth. As a matter of fact, my face is getting fuller. My arms are getting bigger and stronger. My abs actually FEEL stronger, even though they are less noticeable. I get to cook fun meals and post them on my blog! I could never do that before because I was too scared to eat outside of my normal diet.

If you are about to follow or thinking about following a similar approach to getting abs you need to simply ask yourself…is it worth it? Are abs worth giving up 90% of everything else? That’s the question I have to ask myself from time to time. I need to channel my energy elsewhere, like developing stronger relationships, getting lost in music, calling my family to tell them I love them, help others learn how to be more than just LEAN but how to LIVE.

My dream is to help females STOP fantasizing and drooling over fitness models and their perfect abs and thinking “Oh if only I looked like that.” or “I’ll never be that skinny.” Because I promise you, those ladies had to make some serious sacrifices to get there and that’s because to them, it’s worth it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. They had to give up some things and work really freaking hard. I know this because I had to do the same. And after my competition, I remember telling my mom exactly this, “Mah, I had the perfect body for a few weeks. The one I’ve always wanted. In return, I lost social skills, missed out on relationships and had nowhere to go with this ‘perfect’ body because i was so terrified of messing it up. I will never again sacrifice my life for a lean set of abs.”  I do not have a 6 pack naturally and I never will. I was not born with those genetics. It’s easier for some than others and if you’re one of the “others” you need to decide what you really, truly want in the one life you have. Laughter and stress free dinners with family and friends? Or sweat-inducing nervous breakdowns because you’re scared of what that banana might do to your body fat levels. Maybe you can have a little bit of both. And if you can, that’s amazing. That’s called balance. It’s a point I have finally reached. I am conscious of my food choices but I allow myself to live in the moment.

These days when I find myself fantasizing, I just remember what it took for me to get to that “dream” level of leanness. It’s not what I want for my one and only life. I want to be happy. That’s where my heart truly lies these days.

Weekend Fun & Some Recent Thoughts

My weekend nights are usually pretty relaxed and non-eventful. I really enjoy my down time to recover from the past week and to prepare for the week ahead. Some may call this lame, but I call it “listening to my body.” It seems as the semester comes to a close, every week just keeps getting busier and busier and my workouts are getting better and better. Therefore, on a typical Friday and Saturday night you can definitely find me in my apartment cooking a new recipe and having my me time. Except for last night. I went out, for once, since my beautiful sister and her best friend came into town. You could say I don’t feel so hot today. Not so hot at all. And I think I’ve had 2 gallons of liquids, so I’m retaining water like a balloon.
image.pngWorth it? Definitely. I love going out with these beautiful ladies, PLUS we went to my favourite restaurant Moonshine and even though the wait was an hour and a half, we feasted on some delicious bison meatloaf and tasty margaritas. I don’t splurge often or stray from my paleo ways, but it’s been a good few months since I’ve had a cheat and I felt the occasion called for some relaxed eating. Afterwards we hit up down town and enjoyed ourselves with good conversation and lotsa laughs.

Like I said, I don’t drink often. So the majority of today I’ve felt kinda crummy. This morning I made them some tasty eggs and we spent 3 hours watch Game of Thrones Season 1 because these silly girls have never seen it…..I KNOW. NEVER. It initially upset me but now they’re hooked so there goes all their free time for the week.

Around 2 I had a couple cups of coffee with 1 T coconut oil and some vanilla whey. It’s kinda like a latte pre-workout and it’s freaking fantastic. I then hit the gym for glutes and hamstrings and this is what my workout ended up looking like:

5 minute run
Box squats with barbell- 5 sets, moving up in weight each time
Alternating lying leg curls- 3 sets (10 on each leg and then both legs together)
Abductor machine- 3 sets
Sumo squats with kettlebell -4 sets
Deep squats pyramid set- 5 sets (alternating between wide and narrow stance)
Stiff-legged deadlifts- 4 sets
Seated calf raises with two 45 plates- 4 sets

The box, sumo and deep squats will be the death of me. On leg day, I seriously go a little crazy with the squats but it’s because they really make me happy. I feel like a goof saying it, but it’s my favourite exercise and I would do them all day long if my body allowed. My booty has grown tremendously in the past 4 months just from switching up my squat techniques and DITCHING the smith machine. It works for some people but every time I used it, I completely abandoned my core, put too much weight on it and never went deep enough. I wasted a lot of time on the smith but hey, that’s how we learn, right?

So here’s the part where “some recent thoughts” are exchanged. In case you don’t follow my Facebook page, here are two of my most recent statuses:
1. “Time for some truth y’all. I’ve struggled with body images since I was 13. I was a stick but I thought I was fat. I have been vegetarian, vegan, a bikini competitor (yes, that’s a diet lol) and now paleo. I ran an hour on the treadmill every day my freshman and sophomore year. I spend two hours on the elliptical in high school. I under-ate. I struggled. I was obsessed.

Now? I still have my doubts at times but I am ten million times better. I want to be the BEST version of myself…not the smallest. I want to be the STRONGEST, not the most “fragile.” I want the inside of my body to fuel my so I can perform my absolute best. I’ve only been eating paleo for about 4 months but in these past 4 months I’ve loved myself more than I ever have. I don’t check the scale. I don’t weigh every ounce of food. And I appreciate my life for the ups and downs. Love what you have while you have it.

I want to help you find this happiness. If you struggle with any kind of body images, know that you are BEAUTIFUL however you look. You are exactly where you are supposed to be in life. Want to get in shape? Well, do it for the right reasons. Do it for your happiness and energy. Do it to live longer. Do it so that you can teach others how to do it too. And remember you’re not the first person to struggle ♥”

2. “As a health coach, my main goal is not to help you lose weight. I’m sorry, but that is not my number one concern, unless it’s crucial for your life. By making healthy choices and learning how to control your portions and hunger, you will in fact lose weight but that’s because it’s NATURAL. I am not going to be giving my clients macros anymore, unless they specifically ask for it. I provide a sample meal plan, a HUGE list of food options, guidance, support and I make some pretty nifty documents for you to keep about how to bulk prep, recipe ideas, etc. I realize that macros (numbers of grams to hit every day) and weighing your food religiously can really turn into an addiction. You rely on those numbers and that scale and soon enough, you’re in some deep mental trouble and the stress keeps adding up. My concern is to bring you HEALTH. To bring you HAPPINESS through your diet. Forget numbers. Forget HAVING to eat every 3 hours. Your body knows what it wants and I want to help you learn how to listen to yourself. Now that’s a talent we should all be trying to learn. If you want to lose weight, it will happen naturally and stress-free as long as you make the right choices”

So in case you where wondering what’s up, I’ve decided that my coaching techniques really and truly are going to be integrative & holistic. I originally thought I wanted my niche to be sports nutrition, and macro-focused diets with strict “bodybuilding” meal timing for optimum results but I realize that’s NOT what I want to teach. I want to teach my clients how to eat intuitively. I myself have gone through the ups and downs of diets countless times and I’ve struggled with macros. I am just now learning how to NOT count every gram of protein I eat, or not write down every single thing I bite into. It took me so long to learn how to count macros but once I finally got it down, I completely forgot how to simply eat.

You know why I’m ditching the macros? Because I’m healthy. I’ve learned what things I want to eat and what things are good for me, and that’s enough.

I’m putting pure, whole foods in my body. I am not starving myself. I am not weighing myself. I know when I’m hungry because my body will tell me. I know which foods affect me in negative or positive ways. I have watched girls go into competing excited to make changes and then lose sight of SO many other aspects in life. They take their critique cards from the show, cry for hours that their booty wasn’t up to par with what the judges wanted, and then spend the next several months dieting even more in hopes to improve their physique for another group of completely different judges, who may not even have the same judging criteria as the last set of judges! It’s confusing! And god forbid you aren’t lean enough. Then the judges will mark you down because you have a tiny bit of extra water retention.

like….WHAT?! How much more discouraging can it get?

Now, I am not hating on competing AT ALL. I loved it, I had so much fun. And I hope to do it again some day! Just in a healthier way. It’s hard to ignore people when they basically tell you that you are NOT perfect, even though you spent a ton of time trying to perfect yourself.

In my coaching practice, I know I will coach people who want to compete down the road. But I don’t want to kill them with cardio, starve them, and then abandon them after the show to fight off the evil post-competition mental demons that are surely going to sneak up. I’ll do it right. And for everybody else, I don’t plan on giving numbers and macros for you to follow because that is just PLAIN STRESSFUL.

Can I get an AMEN?!

We all need to learn how to live in our own bodies. Truly live in them. Love your body. Feed your body. Hug every curve. Caress every inch of skin. Work what your momma gave you cause I’m pretty sure some girl out there would die to have what you have, no matter what size you are.

Oh and by the way. Ever since I’ve stopped counting, I’ve been seeing results in my lagging body parts. My quads are finally growing and my arms are getting bigger. I cannot believe all I needed to do was listen to my body and that would be enough.

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Q&A #1

1. How do you manage a social life when your diet and exercise regime starts to take over?
This one is tricky. I have two answers. First, I don’t let my diet and exercise regime take over. When I was training for my bikini competition, my training really did take the front seat and everything else got left behind. I went on only a few dates my whole prep and they were dramatically hard to get through because of my ridiculously embarrassing meal orders. I missed out on boat rides, parties, trips, and just small things like birthday gatherings, all because I didn’t want to miss a meal or skip a workout. It was mentally stressful more than anything. My true friends were gems through this time. I lost a few, but honestly, I’m glad for the friends that ditched me. They were never real friends. But if I did learn something, it’s that I would rather have a muscular, physically fit body and a life than to look 100 percent perfect and have no life. I remember crying in my room after my competition one night because I was so overwhelmed by all the mental stress and rigidness I let get in the way of my life. I never want to let fitness control me. I control it. That’s it. My other answer is, if you really do let fitness and your diet take over, schedule time with friends at least once a week where you can indulge stress free. Don’t miss out on their birthday party because you have an early morning workout. This gym will still be there the next day. At the end of your life you will not feel very satisfied if you spent all of your days obsessing over diet and exercise. Life is for living.

2. What sugar/flour/milk should I buy?
I buy Stevia because it’s a natural sweetener and I love the taste, it also bakes really well. Unsweetened almond milk is my favourite milk substitute and for flour I suggest coconut, almond or oat flour.

3. How do you feel about IF?
I don’t have much to say on this topic, simply because I’m always hungry and fasting is not easy for me at all. After I went to the PaleoFX convention, I met a lot of people that believe in it and do it weekly. I have done some reading about not eating 12 hours before your previous meal the night before, and it does make sense. Breakfast is not the MOST important meal of the day. Food in general is important, but there isn’t a magic time to eat. IF is something you should try out for yourself and see how your body reacts to it.

4. What isolated exercises do you do?
A lot. Especially when I’m working on muscle definition. Lately, I’m focusing on building mass, so I do more compound exercises but the isolated movements I still incorporate are: dumbell  curls, EZ bar curls, tricep extensions, calf raises, shoulder presses, etc. Most of my workouts are composed of squats, bench press (all types), leg press, military press, rows, clean and presses, more squats and close grip benches.

5. Favourite type of cardio?
Stepmill and HIIT. I love the stepmill because it tightens my glutes big time but I love HIIT (sprints) because it burns fat quicker than any other type of cardio and it goes by pretty fast. I usually only do 30 minutes of stepmill and 20 minutes of HIIT.

6. How do you get rid of excess post-baby belly fat?
Honestly, I say your best bet here would be a combination of HIIT and diet. Increase the healthy fat intake, decrease the carb intake, eat your body weight in protein and do several HIIT sessions per week. It’ll take some time to burn off all the excess skin but consistently sticking with proper nutrition and sprints/cardio you will get here.

7. How do you feel about counting calories?
YUCK. I am guilty of being a chronic counter. But no longer. I have been listening to what my body wants and I have been doing this long enough to know what size portions I need to reach my goals. If I have more carbs one day, I know to go easy on the fat. If I have more fat one day, I know to go easy on the carbs. Counting calories is really beneficial when you have a photo shoot or competition coming up, but otherwise, just eat clean foods and watch your portions. Don’t eat till your stomach hurts and don’t eat one carrot and decide you’re full. Cause I know you’re not. I eat and I eat a lot. But everything I eat is clean, whole foods so it’s all great for my health and well being 🙂

8. Any tips for tightening up for summer?
HIIT and nutrition. I can’t say it enough. I know this stinks but it also helps to limit the fruit. Fruit is sugar, so even though it has plenty of healthy vitamins, it will be consumed as sugar and will not necessarily help you your weight loss goals. Getting rid of grains and dairy will also decrease your bloat tremendously. Drink plenty of water to help flush out any excess toxins and move nutrients through your system quickly:)

YAY! I think I may start doing more Q&A sessions. Email, tweet, or FB me if you have something you’d like me to discuss in another Q&A post.

On another note, my back/bicep workout yesterday was really intense so I decided to share it. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

EZ bar curls (pyramid set- 20, 15, 12, 9, 6, 1) started at 40 lbs, ended at 65
Overhand parallel row 3*8
Alternating hammer curls 3*12 (Last set drop set)
Pull ups 4*10
Smith machine shoulder press 4*8
Reverse curls 3*8
Lat pull down 3*8

PaleoFX 2013 Recap

Wow. I just had an absolutely amazing weekend. In case you haven’t been keeping up with my posts on Facebook and Twitter, I just spent the past 3 days meeting some of the best and the brightest in the paleo community. I was a volunteer for the wonderful event and I was fortunate enough to be able to reap all the benefits of the events by attending lectures, watching cooking demonstrates, meeting extremely awesome vendors and of course, oogling all of my favourite paleo bloggers. If you know me, you know I love bloggers. Paleo food+ authors+bloggers+cooks+workouts+awesome people= the most perfect convention ever.

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The Paleo book station.image-47

A presentation hall.579386_574201785932211_601411048_n

Ummmm yes. That’s Robb Wolf and Sarah Fragoso.

305247_10200980854784596_1865714654_n  Yup. Juli Bauer from paleomg.com…..I really embarrassed myself by bombarding her right as she was signing in but I was just so EXCITED. She’s one of my top favourite bloggers and I really couldn’t believe that I got to meet her. Such an amazing woman and really down to earth.

Little did I know at the time, standing next to her was the amazing George Bryant from Civilized Caveman. I had seen his pictures a few times but I didn’t even recognize him until I stared down his name tag. I got to listen to his transformation story and watch him and Juli do a cooking demo later in the weekend. Probably my two favourite parts of PaleoFX!883394_574156929270030_833520195_o

Also Nora Gedgaudas! Another amazing woman.

And then Thursday night, I got to attend the PaleoFX Hangout dinner, where we saw…

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Some white peacocks. And ate some…image-45

CRAZY DELICIOUS FOOD. This isn’t the best picture (I blame the dim lighting) but I had grass-fed lamb, kale, sauteed broccoli, parsnips-carrots-beets-in-ginger salad and roasted sweet potatoes. Basically, Thanksgiving for the health-conscious.

Day 2 I met Nell Stephenson, also known as the Paleoista….so incredibly nice. And girl’s got some guns.

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Saturday I heard an amazing panel about transformations.

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This one was definitely my favourite. They shared their stories and talked about some of the challenges they have had to face throughout their journeys. Most people probably think they have everything altogether but they definitely had to fight through some hard times and doubts to get where they are today. I was really glad to be in that room because it really inspired me and helped me to love my body every day, no matter if I’m at 10 % body fat, 6%, 17% or whatever.  Heck these guys don’t give a crap about body fat. They care about their health on the inside as well as the outside. They are mentally healthy and have their priorities right in life. Really awesome.

I also met some other really incredible people, including Jimmy More, DH Keifer, Able James Bascom, James Fitzgerald, Dr. Lauren Noel, Amy Kubal, Todd Dosenberry, Keith and Michelle Norris, attendees, and of course the other volunteers on my team. Overall I would say it was an incredible time and I’d love to help out again next year. If you want to read up on the speakers and visit their websites, click here.

So what else have I been up to? Well, a lot of homework, cooking, eating, working out, reading, writing and researching. That’s what. I’m not with my family for Easter which is a major bummer. Holidays just aren’t the same without family:(

At least I was a little productive though. I cooked up 20 lbs of chicken, a few sweet potatoes and I’m ready to hit the week. And GAME OF THRONES is tonight!!! Happy Easter everybody!