Valentines Day is coming this weekend to Toronto!! And the NBA All Star game… If you play your cards right boys, you can have your cake and eat it too 😉 I for one like Valentines Day! I always have, single or not. I always get a Valentine 🙂 even if it is from my Mom!! I don’t care, why be bitter? There’s enough love to go around! This is why I am writing this blog post! I’m just spreading the love guys! If you’re not already exercising? Well then here are some good reasons to start!
Regular exercise increases your confidence inside and outside of the bedroom! When you exercise regularly and you eat well, there’s no reason for you not to look good, and when you look good, you tend to feel good as well. When you have an improved body image, you feel more confident and comfortable in the bedroom. Feeling sexy is a big part of sex. Everyone wants to be and feel desirable. The better you feel about yourself, the higher your sex drive. People who exercise regularly tend to rate their desirability, as well as their sexual performance higher than those who don’t exercise regularly. Confidence is attractive boys and girls! And who doesn’t wanna feel sexy right?
Regular Exercise will improve sexual performance! I think everyone wants to feel confident in their abilities in the bedroom. No one likes a “one minute man” right? 😉 Sex itself is a very physical activity that requires both strength and endurance. Regular exercise will improve both of these areas, which will open up the possibilities for different sexual positions that require higher levels of physical strength, stamina, and flexibility.
Regular Exercise improves blood flow, which will increase sexual arousal. So exercise will improve blood flow in your body, this will increase the blood flow to your genital areas. Not only will this increase sexual arousal, but it will increase your sexual pleasure as well! Increased blood flow, will make sex better, and the better it feels, the more you’ll want to do it. Exercise will therefore increase your overall sex drive, and pleasure. Keep the heart healthy, and you will have a healthy sex life 🙂
Exercise increases Testosterone, Endorphins and, Adrenaline, a potent cocktail that increases your sex drive! Elevated testosterone levels in both men and women has been known to increase the sex drive of both sexes. Elevated levels of testosterone has been found in men after 6 weeks of weight training, and in women after 8 weeks of consistent weight training. So ladies, lifting weights = better sex drive!!! Pick up those weights if you haven’t already! Increase testosterone in males has the following results when it comes to sex: an increase in erections, man increase in sexual urges, higher energy levels, and it lowers depression. For women: more frequent sex, heightened sexual arousal, higher energy levels, and heightened mood/reduces depression. In addition, long workouts at moderate to high levels of intensity, cause the release of endorphins, and adrenaline. This is best known as “the runner’s high.” These chemicals create a feeling of well being and pleasure. The release of endorphins has been known to increase a woman’s sexual arousal, or even her orgasm.
Exercise decreases your stress levels! Stress is a major sex inhibitor, and exercise releases endorphins which decreases your levels of stress and anxiety. Regular exercise is excellent for your overall mental health. It helps to reduce depression, stress, and anxiety, all of which severely reduce your sex drive. The higher your mood, and the more positively you feel about yourself, and your life, the more willing you will be to open yourself up sexually. I recently wrote a piece of the benefits of exercise to your mental health called, “How Fitness Continues to be a Beacon of Hope for Me” https://alexrinaldo.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/how-fitness-continues-to-be-a-beacon-of-hope-for-me/ In this article I talk about how exercise can improve your overall well-being, especially your mental health. It is important to understand that exercise is more than just improving your physical health, exercise can greatly improve all aspects of your life.
So guys, Happy Valentines Day Weekend! Exercise, take care of yourself, and make love ❤ 🙂
Don’t you hate it when your friends are right?! I know I do! Especially when you have a best friend like mine! Love her to death, and she always has your best interests at heart but damn! This girl LOVES to be right, and she LOVES to gloat! She is a terrible winner let’s just say that… I lie sometimes when she’s right just so that she wouldn’t be right, but let’s be real she knows I’m lying… Man, I wish I could blame a bunch of my life choices on being drunk, just saying. But putting that all aside, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned this weekend, is that you have to “swallow your frogs” if you ever hope to move forward positively in your life.
Now you may be wondering, what does she mean? Swallow your frogs? I’m sure most of us know that we need to get uncomfortable first before we make any real change. This is true with diet, exercise, anything really. Anything new and scary will be uncomfortable, and challenging, like a new diet plan, or workout routine. However, the more you do it, the easier it gets, for the most part that is… But that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Swallowing your frogs, basically means that you need to start tackling the things that you know you have to do, but you’ve been avoiding to do. We all do this! I know that I have recently been a culprit of this BIG TIME! We all get caught up in our daily lives, and our own bad habits. We tend to do the things we enjoy the most, and we avoid all the things we don’t enjoy. However, just because we’re not doing the tasks that we don’t want to do, doesn’t mean that they suddenly disappear. If anything these tasks, or frogs, just keeping growing and getting worse, making them less and less appealing, and harder to swallow. Sucks right? I know, trust me!
That is why it is so important for you to at least swallow one frog a day. You can pick the frog, because I know from experience, the more someone nags me to do something, the less likely I’m going to do it. I HATE SO MUCH being told what to do, especially when I’m being told repeatedly! I will maybe do it begrudgingly, or it just won’t ever get done… So, to avoid this issue, and because most of us reading this blog are capable adults, we can decide for ourselves which uncomfortable task we are willing to tackle first. If, for example one of your frogs is to go to the gym? Then get it done first thing in the morning! It is much easier to swallow a frog first thing in the morning. You are much more motivated to tackle the day in the morning. Plus, once you’ve got the worst part of your day done first, well the rest of the day should be smooth sailing! Or, if your frog is to loose weight/stick to your diet, well then plan and pack your meals right before you go to bed. That way when you get up in the morning, you don’t have to think about what you’re supposed to be eating for the day, because it was already planned out for you. It will then be much easier to stick to your diet, because all the hard work was done ahead of time.
These are just a couple examples of some of the frogs in your life that are piling up behind you, constantly making ribbit sounds in the background. Some louder than others, but the more often you do these uncomfortable tasks, the better you will be at getting through it, and the smaller the pile of frogs! Whatever your frogs may be, you will not get any closer to where you want to be if you don’t deal with these things first. Unfortunately, our problems don’t just disappear, but the better you become at managing these difficult tasks, the better your quality of life will be. Also, side-note, the more successful you become the bigger your problems. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you really want to move further in life you need to be able to handle the frogs you have now. I know I’m committed to a frog a day, are you?
I was inspired to write this next blog piece by the Bell #letstalk campaign that ended last week. For those of you who don’t know what that is about, it is a campaign run by Bell Media to help breakdown the stigmas surrounding mental illness. A lot of the ads in the campaign dealt with depression. I for one, am so glad that we can speak about the subject of depression more freely now than ever before. This can only help those who are suffering from depression, feel a lot less alone. This is because, depression is a very isolating illness, and the stigmas that surround mental illness only make it worse. I know plenty of people personally who have, and are currently suffering from some form of depression. Even myself, I have gotten into slumps, and I’ve experienced high amounts of stress too. I don’t know if I would go as far as to say I was depressed, but I have definitely felt overwhelmed, and low. The only thing that keeps my head on straight during these times is fitness.
I have always been a strong advocate for fitness, especially when it comes to combating mental illness. Even when I was back at Laurier and I was the Group Fitness Coordinator, I partnered with Michael Onabolu on his Presidential Campaign for WLUSU Student President, and we did an Aerob-a-thon (like a dance-a-thon but with aerobic classes) to help raise awareness about the benefits of fitness when you’re battling stress and mental illness. Michael had a strong campaign advocating for student’s mental health, and I felt very passionate towards this as well, so we joined forces. Fitness is so much more than trying to look good, it also helps you feel good. My goal with this piece is to explain to you how fitness is my anchor, and how it helps me stay motivated and focused with the rest of my life.
First of all, the main benefits of fitness when it comes to your mental health are that for one, it helps you better manage physical and mental stress. It also boosts “happy” chemicals in the brain called endorphins. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression. This is why many doctors tell their patients to regularly exercise to help boost their mood. In some cases, exercise can be as powerful as taking an anti-depressant! Regular exercise also helps to slow down cognitive decline, by preventing the degeneration of the hippocampus (the part of your brain responsible for memory and learning). In addition, doing cardio like interval training can really help alleviate anxiety sensitivity. So if you’re feeling really stressed out or anxious? Do a spin class, or some intervals on the treadmill for 20 minutes! You will feel a million times better! Exercise can boost brain power, and increase memory. Exercise helps boost energy levels, as well as getting you a really good night sleep! And trust me, I can sleep like a rock! Also, people who regularly exercise tend to get more things done, than those who are more sedentary. And those are just some of the benefits of exercise! To be honest, I can talk all day about the benefits of exercise for your overall health, but I’ll spare you the rant…
Now that you have the Coles notes on how exercise can help you with your mental health, I’m going to tell you how exercise helps me personally with my own mental battles. Like I’ve said before, I wouldn’t say I was ever clinically depressed, but I have dealt with high stress, some anxiety, and well just feeling down in the dumps… It happens to everyone at some point. Life in general is definitely a roller coaster with it’s highs and lows. For me personally, in the last little while after finishing university, I’ve found myself a little lost. I had the time of my life while I was at Laurier, and I was for a moment so sure of myself. I thought I knew exactly who I was. I felt independent, and happy. I was in a job that I loved, and in a field that I loved (I was Group Fitness Coordinator for Laurier). Then I had to leave all of that behind and move back home into my parent’s house. Now you can imagine the adjustment that had to be made there! Not only did I loose my independence, I had to start all over again, and build a career for myself. I knew where my passions were, and that was in fitness, so I went with that.
To make a long story shorter, I ended up being a personal trainer, who then went on to become a Fitness Manager for a big box gym and I absolutely HATED my job!!! How could this be? How could I love fitness so much but HATE my job?! Well the truth is, I still loved fitness, but the gym I was working for did not represent my values as a trainer, and I no longer felt like I was helping people, but instead I became a salesperson. I would be stuck in an office on boring conference calls, talking about sales, and stats, and all the stuff that never really mattered to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate business, but I would rather be worked to the bone for my own business, than the business of a corporate gym… But hey! To each their own I guess? Even though I was deeply unhappy with my job as a Fitness Manager, around the same time I became a Fitness Manager, I started bodybuilding. I may not be a Fitness Manager for a corporate gym anymore, but I do still train heavily as a bodybuilder, and I absolutely LOVE IT!!!! And now that I have been venturing off and creating my own fitness business, bodybuilding, and training on a daily basis is what keeps me from completely loosing it when things get rough! Here’s why…
First of all, breaking off from working for another gym, whether it be a big box corporate gym, or a small private gym, it is some scary shit!! Suddenly, it is all up to you to make it happen. You are completely responsible for your services, and well for your own paycheck. If you don’t hustle, and bust your butt, you better believe you’re not eating. It can all be so overwhelming, and there are days where you feel like your entire world is on fire, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it!
No it’s not fine! I mean this is what we tell ourselves, but really we are FREAKING OUT!!!! This is terrifying! I know at some point we have felt this overwhelmed, but for me, when I feel like my world is on fire, or spinning out of control, the one thing that always remains constant is my workout. When I feel like I can’t seem to accomplish anything, or nothing seems to go right, I know that I at least got my training in. Bodybuilding gives my life structure and purpose. When life can get out of hand, I always know what comes next in my training program. When things seem to be getting really rough, and it’s hard to get out of bed, I know that if I go to the gym that day and get my legs done, I’ll feel that much more accomplished. And that feeling of accomplishment, motivates me to accomplish other things in my life. I know I can’t just workout all day, I’m not a paid athlete… At least not yet 😛 So, if I know that I’ll be training shoulders for example that day, I will plan out where is the best place to train my shoulders, what time makes the most sense for me, and so on. My training, and even my diet, because even in the off-season I split all my meals up into 6, forces me to plan my days out accordingly. This makes me a more productive, and efficient person.
You don’t need to bodybuild to give your life purpose, or to help battle your stress. Bodybuilding just happens to be the sport, and the style of training that really resonates with me. It gives me a reason to workout everyday, and to eat well. Working out everyday, and eating well helps me both physically and mentally. I’m the type of person that does very well when given a plan to follow. If you give me a little bit of structure and guidance, and if I know what you’re asking of me, I can deliver tenfold. This is why I do so well with having a coach and a very structured plan. I can work independently, just as long as I know what I should be doing, I’ll do it well. Life, or running your own business does not work that way unfortunately. There is no set plan to follow, but you can apply the principles of bodybuilding to your life, and that’s what I do on a daily basis. I create a structure for running my business and my life around my bodybuilding. This gives me a sense of direction and a sense of purpose. Plus, as mentioned above, every time I work out I reap in the mental health benefits. This helps me achieve balance in my life. Without working out everyday, and being so mindful of what I put in my body, there is no way in HELL I would be able to deal with the stress that comes with trying to start your own business. I would probably be rocking myself in a corner hoping someone would come and save me! But that’s not me. No, I’m a fighter and bodybuilding keeps me fighting everyday. Even a half hour of some sort of physical activity will help keep you mentally ready for battle each and everyday. However, you must keep at it, and make it a priority. It is always hard to start, but once you start, and you really get going, you will never look back.
Below is a comparison photo that I made today. The top of the photo is me from this morning, Friday, February 5th 2016, and the picture below is me back in June 2015 when I first started prepping for my last show. Right now, or in the top of the photo, I am around 160 lbs and I have followed my reverse diet, and plan to a tee. At the bottom of the photo I was 180 lbs. Last year when I was in off-season, it was my first ever off-season, and it was a learning curve for sure. I didn’t realize how mentally challenging it would be to reverse diet! Plus I was a Fitness Manager and HATED my job. Combine the lack of experience and mental stress, no matter how much I worked out, I definitely did rebound from my first show. Now that I am much more experienced as a bodybuilder, plus I’ve learned how to better take care of myself and my stress, I’ve gained the mental strength to really stick to my reverse plan. I am much more conscious of how I eat nowadays. Combine that with training everyday like I always do, you see from the photo below how successful my off-season this year has been so far! And that’s how I get through the stresses of life. I always make sure to take care of myself first. I eat well, and I workout every single day so that I can be the best and strongest version of myself. That way I can feel strong enough to battle life everyday.
I’ve been a personal trainer now for over 3 years, and one question that I’ve been asked many times has been, “Why would a personal trainer need a trainer?” This is a very tricky question because I know why most people are asking this question. It’s mostly because they believe that if you are a personal trainer you should walk the talk, and should be able to motivate themselves to workout on their own. This is true. I definitely believe that if you claim to be a personal trainer, your own personal fitness speaks volumes about your business, and how you are as a trainer. This is because most people who are looking for a trainer or a coach, are looking for someone who they aspire to be like. If you are a personal trainer or coach, you are a leader in the gym, and people expect you to act as such. Members are always watching you because they are looking to you as an example. So, if you are not working out regularly and eating properly yourself, then I don’t think you have any right trying to tell other people what they should be doing to reach their fitness goals. Do not claim to be a fitness expert if you never apply it to yourself. That being said, I do honestly believe that everyone, and this includes personal trainers, could benefit from receiving training or coaching from someone else.
Why? Well first of all, most trainers have an expertise or a niche within the fitness industry. It takes years of experience and practice to learn the various training techniques that exists. And even still, there is still plenty that trainers can learn from their peers. I have a coach, and I’ve been working with him for over a year and a half. Not only has my own personal fitness improved greatly, but I’ve learned so much about bodybuilding, dieting, and growing my own business. I think everyone can benefit from a coach or a trainer, I mean professional athletes have several different trainers, why would you think that you don’t need one? Do you know everything there is to know about weight training? Are you a Guru in the gym? Probably not… Especially if you do want to learn about a particular style of training, or a particular sport like Olympic Weight Lifting or Bodybuilding for example. It is a good idea to get a coach, that way you can learn from someone who has experience in the sport, and if you want to compete you will have a much better chance then if you tried to do it on your own. Plus it’s an excellent opportunity for you to find yourself a mentor within the industry. Someone who you look up to and aspire to be like.
Even if you weren’t trying out a new sport, or competing in anything. It is still a good idea to get a trainer to teach you the basics. You would be surprised how much your fitness will improve once you learn how to properly engage the right muscles. I’ve seen way too many people attempt exercises with horrible form. This will only lead to injury. Why not get some helpful advice from an experienced trainer? No matter who you think you are, I’m sure you would learn something from the experience. Plus your fitness can only improve with the help of an experienced trainer, and your commitment. Even on the flip side, I’ve seen people (mostly ladies) out of fear, they reach for very low weights, or they do not even attempt to get full range of motion in the exercise. Now their fear may come from various places, like a fear of injury, a fear of becoming too masculine, gaining too much muscle and looking bulky. There are so many myths and fears surrounding the gym. The gym can be a very intimidating place for someone who has very little experience weight training. This is why a trainer is so important! They can help to relieve some of your fears, and give you confidence in the gym. Their main job is to teach you how to properly exercise, and to help you reach your fitness goals.
Most people HATE working out, but it’s mostly because they have no idea what they’re doing. It is very demotivating to try and do something that you’re not very good at, or that you don’t know very much about. This is why having a trainer is so important. So many people flock to the gym in January with their new years resolutions, and that’s great! However, the problem is, is that many of these people have goals, but they have absolutely no real plan on how to reach these goals. So they go to the gym, highly motivated at first, and they do whatever they think they should do to get the body they want and then they leave. After a few weeks, they aren’t really seeing any results, and by the end of January more than half of these resolutioners have given up… Why?!? I know that training is not always affordable, but it is so worth the money. I’m obviously biased because I am a trainer. However, why do you keep wasting money on gym memberships if you have no idea what you’re supposed to do while you’re there? Personal training is a worthy investment because ultimately you are investing in yourself. You are your greatest asset in life, and if you want to prosper in your life you need to positively invest in yourself. You need to educate yourself, nourish yourself, and you need to exercise. Personal training does more than help you in the gym, just like sports for kids, there are many transferable skills that you can learn from your coach in the weight room. Personal training is an investment that literally anyone can benefit from. We all have so much potential for personal growth, but we are more likely to reach our fullest potential through the guidance of someone else.
Now, you may have read the title of this post and thought to yourself, “how is this possible? Doesn’t weight training make you manly, or bulky?” These are some of the myths that intimidate women from the weight rack, and even though many women know better, they are still worried about getting too big. So they say things like, “I just want to be toned.” However, there is no such thing as “toning” your body in the gym. There are only two things you can accomplish in the gym when it comes to your physique. You can either lean out or build size aka muscle. You cannot “tone.” I wrote a blog post not too long ago called “Toned? Or Skinny? Toned, the new word for skinny…” https://alexrinaldo.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/toned-or-skinny-toned-the-new-word-for-skinny/ Basically, in this article I talk about how when most women say they want to be toned, what they really mean is that they want to be smaller. They want to lean out, however, when you lean out and you don’t have a solid muscle base, you actually just look skinny. If you want to look defined, well you need to get lean, and build muscle, it’s as simple as that.
So the real question here is, how did you enhance your feminine shape through weight training? Well first of all, I’ve always had a decent butt from skating, dancing, and cheerleading. However, bodybuilding, and serious weight training has only made my butt higher, bigger, and rounder. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a great ass?! Bodybuilding has enhanced my feminine shape and curves in my lower body. Now, many of you may be thinking, well everyone knows that you can build a great ass in the gym… But what if I told you I’ve built myself more of an hour glass shape in the gym as well? Unfortunately it is not possible to grow your boobs in the gym, but you can make your waistline appear smaller in proportion to your back and shoulders. How do you do that? Well you grow your lats, and your delts, creating what bodybuilders call a V-taper. So if you have a V-taper, combined with a great butt and legs, you have now created an X shape or an hourglass shape. This can all be built in the gym, you can build your back, shoulders, legs, and butt in the gym, through some consistent, and heavy weight lifting, and the proper nutrition to sustain proper growth and muscle retention. Obviously genetics play a small role. It is much easier to create a more dramatic V-taper if God gave you a smaller waist naturally. Us women come in many shapes, however, this does not mean that you cannot make your waistline appear smaller in proportion to your shoulders, because you can! And you do that by lifting weights!
Still scared of weight training? You probably are, it is intimidating I agree. I was once intimidated from weight training when I first got into fitness. Coming from a dance background, I was not familiar with weight training at all. However, now that I have educated myself and really became serious about it, I will never look back! It saddens me really that so many women are scared of getting stronger. It’s as if they’re afraid of losing their femininity, and therefore no longer being attractive to the opposite sex. But I’m more muscular now than I’ve ever been, and trust me, boys still find me attractive 😉 No worries there! And like I said, if anything I’ve only enhanced my hour glass shape, only making me look curvier and more feminine. My muscles, and my strength empowers me like you wouldn’t believe! Fitness in general empowers me! Never have I felt more confident and capable in everything that I do. I love looking in the mirror LOL as narcissistic as that may sound but I do. I worked so hard for my body, and I am so proud of what I see. I built this body, it is my temple, and every day I work on making it stronger, and better. Ladies, don’t you want that? Don’t you want to feel a great sense of pride every time you look in the mirror? Don’t you want to love what you see? So many girls say they do, but they really don’t, and most of the time it is out of fear.
If you want the real truth girls, here it is… Most of you do not train often and consistent enough for you to see any real muscle growth. So the chances of you ever getting “bulky” is slim to none. Secondly, the majority of you do not eat properly to sustain any real muscle growth either. Many of you, I believe are quite naive when it comes to weight training. A lot of you underestimate the amount of work it takes to get any real size on your body, because let me tell you, it takes a HELL OF A LOT! I literally workout everyday! I weight train 6 times a week! It is not magic that my body looks the way that it does. It has taken me over a year to have the body that I do today. So, what I’m telling you is that you will NEVER get manly or bulky from weight training. Especially if you’re not using any chemical drugs to enhance your muscle growth. Please, stop worrying, and start lifting anything heavier than your purse! Don’t even think about grabbing those two pound dumbbells! It feels good to be strong, trust me 😉 And it looks good too! But that’s just my opinion…
This is an exercise that I see so many people doing in the gym, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who think that it is an “arm workout,” or an “arm machine.” THIS IS A BACK WORKOUT! THE PRIMARY MUSCLE GROUP IN THIS EXERCISE IS THE LATISSIMUS DORSI! AKA YOUR UPPER BACK! There are many variations of this exercise, like wide-grip, close grip, and so on. The form generally speaking stays relatively the same. You must set your shoulders, and keep your chest high during the entire exercise. You do not need to lean so far back either… It is not a back bend! Anyway, watch and enjoy! Please let me know if you have any feedback for future videos!!
Last week I was training shoulders, and the facility I was training in had their cable machines facing the group fitness studio. The entire time that I was facing the group fitness studio, which was about 20 or so minutes tops, there was a girl in the studio laying on her stomach playing on her phone. She obviously had no real plans of working out, but she went through the trouble of changing into her gym clothes anyway… Sound familiar?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when you’ll be resting in between sets for over a minute, and maybe during that time you’ll be answering a text or something. But there should be no reason why you would be on the phone playing around for 20 minutes if you really had the intention of getting a solid workout in, right? Now this is a very obvious form of wasted time at the gym, and I don’t need to further explain how that is… However, in this post I will discuss how not following a specific training program in the gym is just as much of a waste of time as sitting around texting. I have come across way too many people in the gym who have no real idea what they’re doing! I’m not just talking about how people mis-use equipment because that’s another story, but how so many people come into the gym with no real plan of action. A lot of people say that they’re just “gonna do what they feel like,” or they may know what body part they want to do, but they choose the exercises on a whim, and they guess at how many reps they should perform, and how much weight is appropriate. The list goes on… Yet they wonder why they’re not seeing results? And because they’re not getting very far with their fitness, they slowly stop showing up and the gym. Eventually their gym key fob is a relic that never gets used. It’s sad really, because this could all be avoided if they put some thought behind their workouts before hand.
Think about it! How are you supposed to get anywhere with your fitness goals if you don’t have a plan of action, or a recipe to follow to get you there? If you were trying to bake a chocolate cake, but you have no culinary schooling, you’re not a pastry chef, what is the likely hood of you being able to make this cake without any sort of recipe or direction? You are most likely going to fail…The same is true with your fitness goals. I mean, I’m a personal trainer, and competitive bodybuilder, and I ALWAYS have my training split printed out and on hand EVERY SINGLE TIME I GO TO THE GYM!! I like having it on paper rather than staring at my phone trying to read it. I print out two copies, I keep one at home and one in my gym bag just in case I lose one. I always know what I’m doing in the gym, how many reps to do, what weights to use, and so on. Having a plan, having a strong purpose every time you step into the gym, will only make your goals that much more realistic. How do you think I could go from 8th place Bikini to 2nd place Figure in 11 months? How do you think I was so successful with my reverse diet from my last show? I had a well thought out plan to follow. I had clear direction, and because of this, I was able to be consistent with my diet and workouts. What does this all spell? Success. In order to be successful you need to have a purpose, or a plan, and then you need to be consistent in executing this plan.
Now, this may seem very overwhelming, and you may be thinking, well how the heck do I figure out what to do in the gym? Well first of all, this is when a trainer or coach definitely comes in handy. They can teach you a lot about training, how to workout in a way that is specific to your goals, and ultimately they will give you a plan to follow so that you can be consistent in the gym so you can see results. Everybody wants to see results, and everybody wants to be successful. This is why it is so important to seek help, when you really don’t know how to be successful. Even if you have an idea of how to train, getting a coach will only take you to the next level. I’m a trainer with an athletic background and I still have a coach. Sydney Crosby has several coaches and trainers… So if you somehow think you’re above getting training from someone, even in the short-term, you couldn’t be more wrong.
However, I do understand that training is expensive. So, here is my suggestion. Attend small group training sessions, or group fitness classes. When I first got into fitness, way back in my second year of university, I was very intimidated by the gym. I had never really worked out with gym equipment before. I was a dancer, cheerleader, and before that I did skating. I was more comfortable in the studio, than in the regular gym. So, I would schedule a group fitness class into my school schedule every day. Monday- Friday I did a fitness class, and most Saturdays as well. This is how I lost my “freshman 15” and basically how I caught the fitness bug. This is where it all began for me. When I would schedule the fitness classes, I would try to alternate a sculpt or muscle class with a cardio class. I tried my best to create some sort of balance in my schedule. There was a method behind my madness, don’t just pick random classes to go to, try to create some consistency in your training. That way you can actually measure whether or not you’re improving. If you go to the same classes every week, your workouts will be fairly consistent, and you can therefore measure your results. There are also bootcamp programs, and small group training programs run by different trainers that will also help to give you some motivation and consistency in your workouts. Usually these programs are smaller than typical group fitness classes, and therefore you will get a lot more focus from the trainer to make sure that you’re executing the exercises properly.
If classes really aren’t your thing, you can find programs in books, and online. The problem with that is, is that you have no one really teaching you how to perform the exercises. You also don’t have anyone to hold you accountable. When you attend group fitness classes or small group training classes, you create relationships with other people, and those people motivate you to keep showing up. That’s the beauty behind the classes, there’s a sense of comradery. And well, there’s someone there to make sure you don’t kill yourself! If you’re not experienced in the gym, your chances of being successful without some guidance from a trainer, or a class instructor are slim to none. You must have a plan, you must have consistency in your workouts. The better the plan, the better chances of success. Stop wasting your time “doing what you feel like” in the gym, what you “feel like” probably isn’t what you need to be successful in your fitness goals. Don’t throw your new found resolutions down the toilet just yet! Get a plan, and stick to it!
I met a new gym member on Christmas Eve in my boot camp class (forgive me I don’t remember her name ) and while I was training her (she was also the only woman brave enough to show up for boot camp at 6 am on Christmas Eve) the subject of feedback came up. Like myself, she was a Communication Studies Grad, and I was telling her how I have only really put my degree to good use once I started this blog. I mentioned to her that I’ve gotten some really good feedback from my blog, and that was motivating me to keep writing. But then she asked me what if you don’t get any feedback? I explained to her how WordPress tracks my stats for me, and I get instant feedback from anything I post, same with Instagram and other social media platforms that I’ve been using. But it did get me thinking… What if I don’t get any feedback? What then?
I think that we’ve become so used to getting instant feedback and instant gratification from a lot of the things we do, that’s why we keep doing them. How do you think the whole “selfie” phenomenon got started? We keep talking selfies because people keep liking them! I’m not gonna lie, I’m a ham. I LOVE attention, I do. I wouldn’t say that I do anything for attention, I’m not that insecure. BUT I do love the attention once I get it. I’m always looking for feedback. Especially now that I’m trying to build a brand for myself, and trying to expand my network, every time I post something, I check to see what kind of feedback I’m getting. Do people like it? Is it good? What should I post next? Am I on the right track? And I know I’m on the right track because of all the positive feedback I’ve been getting both on and offline. But what if I didn’t get instant feedback from all the things I’ve been doing?
I think we can get into a very dangerous place when we’re constantly relying on external feedback for approval. Yes, it’s great that we now live in world where we can share ideas instantly, and network with one another on a global scale. But you shouldn’t be posting things, or doing things “just for the likes.” You would be living a very meaningless life if everything you did was meant for the approval of others. It becomes very superficial, and dishonest if you start to live your life this way. Now this may seem slightly ironic coming from a bodybuilder, where the whole sport is judged based on your aesthetics… But there is no way I would still love the sport if I did it to be validated in some way. It is not worth all the discipline and hard work just to get “likes” on my Instagram photos, and a trophy. I do it for myself. It makes me feel great. The discipline that I get from the sport helps to give me focus and drive for the rest of my life and career.
The only feedback that really matters is the feedback that you give yourself. Whatever you post online, or whatever you do in life should feel good to you. If it feels right, if it makes you feel good, and if it adds to your life in someway then by all means keep on doing it. But if it takes away from you happiness in someway, if you’re no longer doing it for yourself, but for the approval of other people, then maybe it’s something that you should quit? People are fickle, one day they love you, the next day they can’t remember your name. Don’t let other people determine your self-worth or your happiness.
I hope your New Year’s Resolutions came from love, a love for yourself. Even if you haven’t made a resolution or set any goals for yourself yet this year, when you do, I hope that is comes from a place of love. Why? Well there are many reasons, but mostly because there is nothing more genuine than true love. Instead of sleeping last night, I was thinking about all the things that I’ve accomplished or done in the past, and then I was thinking about all the things that I have planned in the future, and then it hit me! All of the positive things that I’ve done in life have come from love. Let me explain…
As I’ve grown up I’ve learned to really love myself. I’ve learned that I am the most important person in MY life, and that if I don’t truly love myself, then how can I expect others to? Now I know this sounds so cliche, but hear me out! When you truly love someone, you only want the best for that person. You want to see them happy, and you want to see them succeed. However, many of us don’t truly love ourselves, and because of this, none of us really reach our full potential. When you stop loving yourself, you stop trusting yourself, you pretty much lose your sense of self-worth. When this happens, you no longer think that you’re capable of accomplishing much of anything, so you set your standards pretty low. You hold yourself back from really doing anything, and void yourself of being truly happy. WHY?!?! Why is it that we are so much more willing to help someone else achieve happiness than ourselves? It doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I honestly believe that if you are in a healthy relationship with yourself, then you can really have healthy relationships with other people. Plus, once you’re in a healthy relationship with yourself, you will start to treat yourself better, and heighten your sense of self-worth. Once you’ve started doing that you will start to expect more from yourself, and the people around you.
Which leads me to what I was saying about setting goals for yourself out of love. Your goals need to come from a positive place, and they most definitely must mean something to you. For example, if you have any fitness goals for yourself, you can’t say “I need to lose weight cause I’m ugly and fat.” That is not coming from a place of love, you need to set goals for yourself because you feel as though you deserve better. You need to believe that you think you’re better than the life you’ve been leading, and you deserve to be happier. So, if your goal is to lose weight, then it should be because you don’t like the way you feel anymore, and you know that you deserve to be happy, healthy, and to feel good in your own skin. Instead of cutting yourself down before you set out to make a New Year’s Resolution, you should instead be working to build yourself up! It is much more motivating to carry out your goals if you honestly believe that you deserve them, and that someday they will be yours. It is hard to believe those things if you’re constantly bringing yourself down. You are your worst enemy, but you don’t have to be! You can be your best asset!
As I’ve mentioned above, you are the most important person in your life! Only you will truly reap the benefits of your hard work, and only you will suffer from not achieving your goals. You create your own happiness, and your happiness can only come from a true love for yourself. If you learn to love yourself, you will learn to trust yourself, and you will then push yourself to be more, achieve more, and love more. Your life will only start to improve, once you start improving the relationship with yourself. The next time you want to cut yourself down, don’t! Focus on the positives! Think about how far you’ve come! It is hard to do, but you must always tell yourself that this is temporary, you can only get better from here.
I would not have been able to accomplish all that I have so far if I didn’t have a love for myself. I would not have been able to get through some of the rough patches of my life, if I did not have a good relationship with myself, and the people around me. All the goals that I set out for myself last year, as well as this year come from a place of love. I love to body build, it makes me happy. I love fitness, it is my life, so I’ve made it my career. I love connecting with people, so I’m writing this blog. I want to win, because I know that I deserve to win! I want to be happy, because I deserve to be happy, and right now I know that I could be so much more than I am right now. That is how I set my goals, and my standards for myself. It comes from a place of love, I love these things, and I love myself, so I push myself to be better at the things that bring me the most joy. I am constantly pushing myself to want more, and to be more, because I know I can. The only reason that I know this, is because I have formed a good relationship with myself over the years. It takes time, and my relationship with myself is always being tested, but at the end of the day, nobody knows yourself more than you do. It is up to you to either build yourself up, or to break yourself down. So my wish for you is to build yourself up! Set positive goals for yourself that come from a genuine place called love. You should always want more for yourself, just like you do for your loved ones. If they deserve the best things in life, well so do you!