Usually, when I write a blog on here I write it with one of two goals in mind. Either to:

a)     Motivate, inspire and teach my readers, or,
b)     Update them on my fitness and training progress.

But in today’s blog, I’ve decided to take a bit of a different approach. I want everyone who’s reading to have a solid understanding of what a day is typically like for me. You see, although it may appear like I get up and train with ease each and every day, the truth is, I don’t.

Aside from sometimes feeling lazy or unmotivated to hit the gym – which by the way I’m not alone in – I also battle daily pain and discomfort as a result on my accident in 2007. Something with which I’ve avoided speaking about openly, online and with many of my closest friends. 

In the past, I’ve believed that speaking about my injuries would release a negative vibe to others, but now, since I’ve received so many emails referring to my emotional and physical battle, I realize that people want to read and discuss real life issues. We, as humans, need to hear about the challenges that others face – it helps us feel like we’re not alone in our own struggles.

So, let me shed some light on what I experience.

On a daily basis I find myself constantly uncomfortable. Since my accident a couple of years ago, my back, neck and knee have been a wreck – don’t get me started on my flashbacks and anxiety while crossing the street, driving around pedestrians or even watching a movie where a person is hit by a car. 

If I’m not waking up with pain or discomfort, then I know it’s coming at some point in the day. Whether that’s while I’m sitting at my desk at the office, driving my car, or just walking around for too long, my neck will always weaken, feel strained or get stiff and sore. This doesn’t even begin to discuss my back.

Truthfully, I could go on for a while about each of the permanent damages I’ve sustained. But I prefer not to dwell on the topic, as it usually upsets me or reminds me of what the doctors have warned me about my future.

But the point I’m trying to make here, is something I learned from a woman I loved dearly as a child, a woman who passed away from Cancer far too young, but has still managed to make a gigantic impact on my life to this day.

In her laptop – written as she was struggling with her diagnosis – she wrote, “By some absolute miracle, I learned early on that in spite of what was happening inside my body, I could control my mind.”

As obvious as this may seem to some, when you battle daily physical ailments or pain it’s often hard to feel like going on or moving forward.

Some days I dread the idea of getting out of bed, walking around the mall for too long or going for a lengthy car ride, because I am aware of how uncomfortable I will get.

But what I always try to remind myself – although it’s often very hard to do – is that I can’t let this pain take over my life. I have dreams and I have goals, and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.

I’m going to continue to see doctors on a weekly or bi-weekly basis – no matter how frustrating and inconvenient it is. And I’m going to continue to strengthen my body to help my joints feel better – no matter how temporary that fix may be. 

I’m not going to let this accident beat me; I’m going to control my thoughts just like she did, I’m going to control my mind.

In loving memory of Karen Sampson 

 
As many of you know I have been working on “cutting” since January 2010 – exactly a year ago this month. It’s been a long journey full of lots of wonderful wins and some not so wonderful plateaus, but I have been able to maintain motivation the whole way through and I am proud of myself for it.

When I first started my journey, I thought it was all about the weight. I just wanted to drop 30lbs of fat and be done – but I was so very wrong.

As I know I’ve mentioned before, this journey became more about self discovery and gaining control over my life, than it did about becoming a slimmer, smaller me,. This is exactly why my goals and aspirations have changed over time, and now I am approaching the next stage of my adventure – phase 2. 

About halfway through my journey I became intrigued by the notion of competing in figure. Why? Well 1 year ago, even the thought of me stepping on a stage in a two piece and being judged was my worst nightmare – but this is exactly why it became my best goal.

I realized that if I wanted to continue to reap the self discovery benefits of this journey, I needed to keep pushing myself beyond my mental limits. I needed a goal that would take me out of my comfort zone and teach me that I can face my biggest fears and I can be whatever I want to be. So my answer became training for figure.

So what is phase 2, you ask? Phase 2 of my journey is a whole lot of things, it’s:
- Focusing on lean muscle building and re-shaping my body, rather than dropping fat.
- Taking my strength and weight training abilities to another level.
- Preparing myself for my first figure competition.
- Pushing past the naysayers and doing something just for me. And,
- Taking a giant leap forward towards conquering one of my greatest fears by facing it dead on.

So over the next couple of months – starting around March of this year – you will notice that the focus of my content will begin to shift. Rather than listening to me speak about how the numbers on the scale are going down, I will be discussing how to make them go up (in a good way).  

My goals will be to build lean muscle while maintaining the lowest possible body fat %, and to balance out my physique in preparation for my first competition.

Stay tuned my friends! Stay tuned.

 
Over the past 12 years of my life, I have probably tried to lose weight 10-15 times. So, naturally, people want to know what has made this time different – why am I suddenly able to do it now? 

Aside from the fact that I am better educated in proper nutrition and exercise, there is one other factor that I hadn’t considered until recently. But before I tell you what that is, let’s rewind a little…

Last week, my sister’s boyfriend Sheldon agreed to do a mini photo shoot with me – as a young woman hoping to get ‘noticed’ by the big boys of the industry, I figured I should prepare myself with a few decent photos – so, one night he came over to my condo gym with his fancy camera and proceeded to capture me in the moment. 

As I pushed through my regular workout routine, Sheldon snapped multiple pictures. The photo shoot was going great, but with each flash of the camera, I grew increasingly aware of all the eyes that were glaring at me - what I hadn’t considered was that there would be other people trying to ‘get their sweat on’ at that same time.

Now, I’m sure some gym-goers thought I was crazy, or maybe some even thought I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough to have a photo shoot, but guess what? 

I didn’t care!

I was having fun taking pictures, that for the first time in my life, I wasn’t ashamed of. I was enjoying that fact that I could curl 25lbs on each bicep and have pictures to prove it. And, I was finally aware of why I have been so successful this time around; because I am doing it for me. 

You see, in the past, losing weight wasn’t about me; losing weight was about looking great in the eyes of others. All I ever wanted as I young girl was to be considered by others as ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’, and I truly thought that becoming skinny (a word I now hate) would do that for me.  

Well, I was wrong.

Today I do feel beautiful, and today I do feel pretty, but not because I am 37lbs lighter than I was 8 months ago, and not because other people may think I look great.  

Instead, I feel beautiful because I finally let go of the image I was trying to live up to, and I finally let go of the idea that I had to be skinny to be accepted and loved by others.

What truly matters is that I accept myself for who I am.  

I’m not a stick thin girl, I don’t ‘fit in’ with standards, and I won’t get intimidated by other’s judgments. 

Instead, I am a woman who loves a little muscle.
I am a woman who longs to be different. And,  
I am a woman who wants to achieve what others think is impossible.

And that is ok with me.
Picture
25lb curls