Friday, May 30, 2014

Sneak Peek into a Bulu Box!

I was recently approached by Bulu Box and asked if I was interested in becoming a Brand Ambassador, I have heard of Bulu Box and was excited to give it a try.  If you haven't heard of this fun idea here is a little more about Bulu Box taken from their website:

"Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you. Of course, shipping is always free and you can cancel anytime. Share your thoughts about each product in our sample surveys and you can earn 50+ Rewards Points (that's $5!) each month! Use your points to purchase your new favorites in full size at! Here you’ll also get expert tips, tricks and a supportive community of Bulugans just like you! Join the discovery and find a healthier you"

Today I received my complementary box for becoming an ambassador!  It is always fun to get new stuff in the mail to try out.  Here is what I received today:

 I love the bright Orange box with the fun sayings on the front.  I also received a hand written note from Stephanie, which was really sweet.  Everything was packed so neatly, like opening a gift on Christmas or my birthday!  They even included a great card with all the information about the samples included in the box.  
This is what is included in my Bulu Box:
Mestrength- a pre-workout without carbs, calories, sugar or caffeine.
Beauty Bursts- these little chews are packed with collagen which help improve hair, skin and nails.
Smarty Pants Adult Gummy Vitamins- All in one vitamins that contain multis, vitamin d and omega 3's in little gummys with no HFCS, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. 
WhiteSheild- powder you can mix in your cup of coffee to prevent stains from forming and helps to remove existing stains.
Mediterranean Snacks Tapaz 2 Go- A healthy and portable snack with lentil crackers and hummus to help keep you full between meals and easy for when you're on the go.  They are gluten free and non-gmo.
KIND Bar Dark Chocolate Chili Almond- this low sugar bar has the right blend of sweet and spice to satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt.  A great choice for an on the go snacking.

I am excited to try these samples and I will be sure you let you know what I think!  Another fun part of trying out the samples is you can go on the website and give your review to earn reward points.  You can use the points to buy full size versions of the products you really loved!  On the back of the info card is a little sample journal where you can jot down your thoughts on the samples...they have thought of everything!  

Now it is your turn to get in on the fun of the Bulu Box!  Here is a link to get started and use Coupon Code BULUGAN016 to get 50% off your monthly subscription!

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Build More Muscle Fast...The Mind Muscle Connection. Guest Post from Hanna Camille

Happy Friday!  I am so thankful to all my Feature Friday participants, it is wonderful to read about others struggles and successes.  I will still be doing the Feature Fridays segment, it will only run the first Friday of the month.  If you have a story you would like to share please contact me and I will get in touch with the information.  Today I am excited to share a guest post with you from Hanna who is a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador, about the importance of the mind-muscle connection.  I have been doing a lot of reading on how important it is to be fully focused on your workouts and the muscle you are working.  Now that I am trying to build as much muscle as possible before my first bikini competition I realize how important it really is.  Hanna does an amazing job of breaking it down and explaining just how to get the most from each rep!  Read on and be sure to head over and visit her blog and social media sites, she has a ton of great resources!

Build More Muscle Fast...The Mind Muscle Connection:

Hi everyone!
My name is Hanna, a fellow sweat pink ambassador and fitness blogger over at I am an NASM certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor - I LOVE training and use my blog to post all kinds of workouts, fitness advice, and general musings on health.

I am very excited to have the opportunity to write a guest post for Angelena on the subject of using visualization and focus in fitness training. This is something I discuss with all my clients as it takes results from good to amazing with relatively little work on the client's end - who doesn't love that?

I hope you enjoy the post and I hope some of you will stop by and say hello at  as well as find me on twitter and instagram :) 

There is one thing I emphasize during every. single. workout. with any and all clients. It isn't necessarily something you would expect to be that important either. It seems more like something you would mention just to build healthier habits, have more awareness for your body, and focus during exercise. It should be something you are thinking about during every workout because it makes such a HUGE difference.
Focus on the specific muscle group you want to work while you are working it.

Really. That’s it.

Because science, that’s why.
But no really. Your mind effects your physical movements and ability, and our minds work in a way that if we focus on the specific muscle we intend to contract in order to perform a movement of some type of resistance, we are actually stimulating that muscle before we do any work. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research found that when an athlete was verbally instructed to focus on a specific muscle group during an exercise, the activity of that specific muscle increased by 22% compared to the other muscle groups working. How cool is that?!


Skeletal muscle is what we rely on when we exercise, and skeletal muscle contracts voluntarily, meaning that they contract when you tell them to - the contraction is a result of an electrical signal traveling down nerve cells leading to a release of a neurotransmitter from the neuron to the muscle cell at the neuromuscular junction.  This entire chain is produced voluntarily, from our own thoughts or need for movement, so it makes sense that we could enhance muscle stimulation through focusing our thoughts on muscle contraction. A 2004 study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation studied this idea by measuring strength gains in groups using mental contractions of little finger abduction and elbow flexion. The study compared the strength gains in the "mental training" groups against control, and were able to show significant gain in muscle strength as well as an increase in measures related to voluntary muscle contractions in groups that practiced mental training. Check out the article here.

moral of the story...

Actively focusing on a specific muscle group you want to tone during an exercise could greatly improve the results you see in that muscle from the workout.

Try out this technique with a few of my favorite workouts and I promise you will start seeing better results than ever!

Upper Body Workout (at home!):

Toned Legs, Butt, and Abs - no equipment needed:

Check out this YouTube Video that gives 4 tips to improve your mind muscle connection.

Give it a shot! Next time you workout, focus on each muscle group you are working as you go through the exercise.
Do you already do this? Does it make a difference in your workouts?
Leave a comment below and/or tweet me your thoughts! @camilletraining

Thanks to Hanna for sharing this helpful and insightful post with us!  I know I am going to incorporate this technique into all my workouts.  Try it out and let me know if you see and feel a difference!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Staying Motivated

staying motivated, workout motivation

When you start off ready to tackle your goals you are rip-roaring and ready to go!  You workout for a few weeks, eat better, but then something happens...your motivation takes a vacation!  Where does that motivation go?  How can you stay motivated to continue on the path to reach the goals you set for yourself?

This is something that has happened to me time and time again, and I am working on changing that for myself.  I will stay consistent and then be about 10 pounds or so from my goal weight and then stop.  Why?  I'm not 100% sure what happens.  However, this time things are different.  I am working on changing my mindset of restricting certain foods then after a while I give up and binge.  I want to reach my goal weight the healthy way and then maintain with an 80/20 way of life.  80% of the time I will eat clean food and 20% I will allow for treats.  I don't always wake up with the motivation to workout, sometimes I would rather lay around and chill all day, not that it happens now that I have a toddler running around!  However, I take the time to think about my goals, what I really want for myself then I motivate myself to get moving.  Once I start my workout I am fine and I am happy that I got it in.

Here are my top tips for staying motivated on the path to reaching your goals and your best self:
  1. Write your goals down. Having a journal helps.  Start by writing down your goals.  This will give you a visual reminder on the days you feel like throwing in the towel.
  2. Define your WHY?  This is so important.  It is great to have goals, but if you don't know WHY you want to achieve those goals it is much easier to give up.  Put time and thought into this and again write it down!
  3. Create a motivation or vision board.  You can do this the "old fashioned" way with magazines and poster board or on Pinterest.  I love Pinterest because you can create different boards.  Here is one I created for my fitness journey Working on My Fitness.  I will hop on there if my motivation is low.  It gives me the reminder that I am working on creating my best body and to go commit to my 90 minute workout.  I know I will feel better when I am done.
  4. Take progress pictures.  The scale should not be the only way to measure progress.  If you are working on losing fat and building muscle you have to remember that muscle weights more than fat.  I have been taking progress pictures along the way.  I can see my body changing in the pictures, and know that all my hard work is paying off.  Seeing how far you have come and the progress you have made is often motivation enough to keep going.
  5. Take a day off from it all!  This is important too.  You devote your time and energy on a daily basis that you need one day to rest.  This does not mean to eat whatever you want!  This means take a day off the gym and do something you love.  Go shopping, read a book, have a date with a friend or spouse.  This will give your mind and body a rest so you can come back ready to hit it hard!
  6. Find a workout or motivation buddy.  Do you have a workout partner that will drag you to the gym when you don't want to go, or visa versa?  Having someone who has similar goals can help keep you on track.  If you don't have someone to workout with, find someone who can be a motivation or accountability buddy.  Share your weekly goals and struggles with each other and work to keep each other going.  
  7. Be Proud of Yourself!  Most important take the time to give yourself the pat on the back you deserve.  You are working hard to reach your goals!  You are taking the time to be the healthiest, happiest version of you!  Be proud of that, because you are worth it all! 

workout motivation

I hope that this helps when you are lacking the motivation!  You are strong and can do anything you set your mind to!  Have a wonderfully fit day!

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Feature Fridays: Meg Maxwell

Happy Friday!  It's time for this week's Feature Friday!  I am really excited to share Meg's story we met through a mutual friend on Instagram and when I saw her before and after photos I asked if she would share her incredible journey with us!  She looks younger now than she does in her before pictures.  She started slow, but didn't give up and now running half marathons and is training for a few fulls!  She is a busy mom, but doesn't let that stop her!  After you read her story, be sure to visit her blog and follow her on social media to stay motivated by her never quit attitude!

Meg's Story:
I started my fitness journey in January 2004.  I was 22 years old and had just gotten married. After high school my weight was a yo-yo.  I was used to being "skinny" and athletic even with never watching what I ate.  After high school I started putting on weight slowly but surely.  In 2003 when it was time for my final fitting for my wedding dress, the dress I had picked no longer fit.  It was too close to the wedding to make alterations so I had to pick out another dress in a bigger size off the rack.  You would think that this would have opened my eyes but it didn't.  I had every excuse in the book. I'm getting older now so I'm just going to gain weight.  I'm married and it's normal for wives to put on weight.  I don't have time to workout with my full time job.  I'm sure you are all familiar with these types of excuses because most of us have used them at one point or another.  Finally, in December of 2003, after I had gone up 4 sizes in three years and was starting to head towards going up another size I decided something had to change.  I knew if I didn't make the conscious decision to make a lifestyle change I would just keep gaining and gaining.  

On New Years Day of 2004 my husband and I went to Dicks Sporting Goods and literally bought the cheapest elliptical they had.  I did not want to sink a lot of money in it because I wasn't sure if I would stick with it.  I wanted too....but I knew it would be hard and in the back of my mind I figured I would end up giving up.  I started working out 20 minutes a day on the elliptical, 5 days a week. There were times I would have to stop after 10 minutes, take a break, then do another 10 minutes because I was so out of shape.  I wanted to run, and we had a treadmill that my husband used, but I could only run maybe 5 minutes without stopping and giving up.  Little by little it got easier and easier and pretty soon I was seeing differences and able to do 20 minutes without stopping.  I also made a complete change to my eating habits.  This is when I adopted the 90% rule that I have used ever since.  I am not one to completely cut out food that I love (pizza, ice cream).  BUT I am a firm believer that these things should be done in moderation.  I started making healthy meals for us Monday-Thursday.  Typical meals included grilled chicken, fish, vegetables, and rice.  We made a point not to eat out during the week.  We would allow ourselves to eat out 1-2 times on the weekend.  Typically one of the meals on the weekend I would keep somewhat healthy and the other meal I would make my "cheat" meal as some call it. I started packing my lunches and snacks so I wouldn't be tempted to order with my coworkers or get fast food at work.  

By making these lifestyle changes I was able to lose 60 pounds in a year. The lifestyle changes I made that year completely changed me.  I was confident and happy and this spilled over into my career.  I started becoming more successful at work and received several promotions.  I have kept the weight off for 10 years now, even after a pregnancy.  I was worried that I would fall back into old habits but honestly, once you made a lifestyle change like that it is difficult to fall back.  I am in better shape today, at 32 years old and after having a baby, than I was when I was 22 years old.  I look back now on my excuses and just laugh. No time?  I have a 3 hour round trip commute to work every day and juggle being a wife and a mom.  My husband travels a lot so many times it's just me at home with my daughter.  But I still find time to fit in a workout.  How? Well at 4:45 in the morning most days during the week. Is it ideal?  No. But it's what I have to do to get it done.

Being healthy is important to me and I want to be a good role model for my daughter, so I will do what it takes.  Since having my daughter I actually have really taken fitness to the next level.  I have ran 10 5Ks, 2 10Ks, and a half marathon.  I am currently training for the 2014 Chicago Marathon and the 2014 Chicago Triathlon.  If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be doing these things....and enjoying them....I would have said you were crazy! 

Here are some of my tips for other busy moms out there:

1.) Meal prep- it makes a huge difference and helps make sure you don't grab unhealthy snacks and food on the go.

2.) Make breakfast simple and easy, but don't skip it. My go to breakfasts include Overnight Oats and Smoothies

3.) Make a schedule for the week with your spouse or significant other that includes time to workout and stick to it.  If something comes up, revisit the schedule and work together to find a new time to fit it in. 

4.) If you have a bad day don't beat yourself up.  We all have them. Just start new the next day!

5.) Find a support system.  If it's not your spouse or significant other it can be friends or other family members.  Check out Instagram.  I have met some of the most supportive people on Instagram that are going through the same thing you are in their fitness journey.

I am proof that if you put your mind to something and throw away the excuses you will be successful.  I wish all of you the best of luck on your journey!  

Connect with Meg:

Thanks Meg for sharing your amazing journey with us!  You are motivation to never quit!  Anything is possible when you put your all  into it! 

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Q&A With Anna Richardson, WBFF Bikini Model

Hello and Happy hump day!  Today I share with you my first Q&A, and I am excited to share with you what I learned from Anna Richardson, WBFF  Bikini Model.  She is a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador and when I first read her story on her blog, I saw a lot of similarities in our stories.  She followed her dreams and became a WBFF Bikini Model and is working on her goals daily.  I started chatting with her on Facebook and she is so positive and motivating I asked if she would be interested in doing a Q&A, so here we are.  This all has led me to my decision to train for and compete in an NPC Bikini Competition this fall, stay tuned for a future post on that!  This is a scary and nerve wrecking decision, but it is time for me to challenge and push myself out of my comfort zone.  However, with my support system in my family and friends and some of the awesome women I have met through Sweat Pink I know that I can do it!  Well, enough about me!  On to the Q&A with Anna!  She is awesome, be sure to check out her blog, Glam Legacy Fit and follow her on social media as well (see links at the end of the post).

Tell us a little about yourself:
Well first, my name is Anna Lavonne Richardson and I am a health and wellness enthusiast… it is more like an obsession. I have a fiancĂ© that I have dated for about 8 years and we just got engaged this past August. I compete with the WBFF, write a blog, and actively share my love for fitness through social media. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. I started my journey as a 20-something year old insecure and depressed woman. I battled severe depression, insecurities, and never pursued my dreams and desires because of fear. Within the last year and a half I have had to teach myself new skills like self confidence, ambition, and self love all on my own. I struggled growing up to feel confident, I never fit in with the in crowd, and I never had a lot of friends. I never felt comfortable in my own skin and I made the decision about a year and a half ago that I would change that. I have been determined ever since to be the woman I always dreamed of being friends with! Happy, secure, successful, an entrepreneur, confident wife, strong, healthy, educated, well rounded… I could go on and on, but I wanted to be THAT GIRL!

Q1- What first got you into fitness? 

Growing up I didn’t play sports and I actually failed two semesters of Physical Education class in high school. In 2008 I got a gym membership and personal trainer through the local commercialized gym. I thumbed through the pages of Oxygen Magazine and Fitness Rx and that was my goal. After 4 years of paying high dollar for a personal trainers, NEVER accomplishing my goals, and feeling terribly insecure, I knew I needed a big change. I wanted to look like the women in the magazines badly and the desire never went away, but I wasn’t getting there.! Realizing I wasn’t getting myself anywhere and seeing posts about competing in social media, I had a light bulb moment that competing would be the challenge and set goal I needed to accomplish my goals. I hired a coach to help me with meal plans and routines for in the gym. It was what I needed to light the fire under me!!

Q2- Have you always lived a healthy lifestyle?  If not what made you switch your lifestyle?

I have always been cautious of what I put in to my body and THOUGHT I knew what healthy was growing up. I had terrible acne in high school and my early 20’s, so I had played around with nearly every “beautiful skin” diet there was. My fiancĂ© and I had goals of being fit in early 2009 to 2012 when I got my first coach. It wasn’t until last March when I realized what I thought was healthy was actually destroying me.

What I thought was healthy was eating “diet foods” throughout the week. I didn’t have balance in my diet. I ate a lot of fruits, vegetables, and processed diet foods. I would spend countless hours doing cardio during the week and was eating what I thought was healthy. Then *ENTER PROBLEM* I was giving myself a cheat meal once a week. My cheat MEAL turned to a cheat day, then a cheat weekend where I literally binged on splurge meals. Cookies, appetizers out, chips and salsa, candy, bread, and whatever else I could find that wasn’t on my healthy eating plan. Monday I would feel awful about myself, try to over compensate in the gym, and then Friday night the cycle started over.

My turning point was hiring a new coach in March of 2013. She didn’t give me cheat meals and she had me read a book called The End of Over Eating by Kessler. IT CHANGED MY LIFE!! Not having a cheat meal put me in to some withdrawals for about 10-14 days, but I was reading this book so I knew what was happening to me and WHY! I then began to realize I had developed a binge and purge way of living. I started diving in to fitness books, articles, nutrition books, finding blogs, social media. Slowly my passion for making myself feel better through food made me more knowledgeable and in control of my results and how I felt.

Q3- What made you decide you wanted to compete in bikini/figure/fitness competitions?

I will first start and say I compete in the Diva Bikini Model Tall division as an amateur with the WBFF. My first competition was exactly 1 year after I decided I wanted to compete. In the last 8 months I have competed 3 times with the WBFF.

First and foremost I was looking for change in myself when I decided to compete. I wanted to be a fitness model or at least look like one! Second, I was following competitors on social media who competed with the WBFF. The WBFF has a bikini round AND an evening gown or theme wear (think Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Costume) round. I was hooked by the glitz and glam of the WBFF. I researched more and found that competitors were called DIVAS and MODELS, they allowed TONS of rhinestones, and the stages looked so professional. I’ll link you back now to my desire above…I wanted to look and feel like a fitness model and I knew I found my match.

Q4- You are only a few days out from your third show, what do you know this time around that you wish you would have known on your first show?

Oh boy!! There are a few things. First, I would say practice your walk and your posing at least 3 months leading up to a show. As soon as you decide to compete, start researching on YouTube and start practicing your walk and posing. Second, pay for hair and make up to be done. I know competing comes with a tight budget, but having your hair and makeup done to match your tan is so important. You will feel beautiful and you will shine on stage!

Q5- What is the biggest challenge/struggle you face when preparing for a show and how do you over come it?

I have had to learn how to train my mind really, really well. In my mind I am the underdog and that thought process gets the best of me. I tend to psych myself out and start thinking I can’t do something. This last prep I had to work at how I thought and spoke to myself. It really did help me this time around on stage. I started thinking “why not me?!”… Why not me placing top 10 or 1st place? Why not be looking fierce on stage? You start to realize you can actually accomplish your goals. I started journaling and writing down everything from my goals, to quotes, to just daily feelings. It helped me really focus on keeping my thoughts positive.

Q6- We all have heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”, what does a typical day look like while prepping for a show?

Prepping for a show for me isn’t a whole lot different than everyday life. I don’t believe in an off season and I always plan to keep myself lean and athletic looking. I eat about 5-6 meals a day. My meals always have a lean protein source (chicken breast, eggs, fish) and generally a green vegetable in all meals but the first meal. Closer to a show I take my fruits from 2 a day to about 1 per day. I always choose fruits with a lower amount of natural sugar. About 2x-3x per day I will have a starchy carb like quinoa or oats. Finally, I always consume a good amount of healthy fats from oils. I don’t usually eat almond butters or avocados for healthy fats. I tend to consume coconut oil, udos oil, flaxseed oil.

Q7- One of your sayings and what really drew me into your blog was “Results are beyond genetics, work hard and the results will come”.  Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

I have always been the smaller, “skinny” girl growing up. I didn’t play sports either, so growing up I was very straight up and down. My quote, “Results are beyond genetics, work hard and the results will come” is truly based on experience. I don’t come from a family of big, perky bums or defined arms. I wanted shape and curves as a woman, so I have had to work very hard at sculpting the body I was given in to the body I dreamed of. I have lifted weights and eaten balanced meals to get the build I have now. I desired to be healthy and comfortable in my own skin. I wanted shapely arms and a bum like J-Lo, so I literally started building it in the gym with weights.

Q8- When prepping for a show do you do all your own nutrition and workouts or do you work with a coach?

I work with a PHENOMENAL coach online who is based out of Canada. Nathan Harewood owns Define Fitness ( and has a team of girls (and guys) who he coaches. His clients are considered #Domin8 athletes and I truly believe I have one of the BEST coaches in the industry. Search on Facebook Define Fitness or Instagram (@n8fitness or #Domin8theStage) and you will be able to see the progress of his clients leading up to stage. He writes my meal plans for me and all of my workouts, including cardio. I keep Nathan in and out of competition prep. When I am not prepping for a show, we are improving my physique. When I am prepping for a show, we are working together to bring the best me to stage.

Having a GOOD coach is so important when it comes to competing. I encourage anyone to research, research, research before you hire a coach. Look at their client’s progress and email their clients to ask questions. Another HUGE tip, look at their turn over rate of clients. Do they have clients for 2 or more years or are they constantly starting and stopping with clients? Some coaches are excellent at SELLING service, but what you get in return isn’t compassion and care. Research using social media and searching hash tags relating to that coach.

Q9- I am truly fascinated with the process of getting ready for a show and it is a goal of mine to someday do one, what is the best advice you have for someone who dreams of doing a bikini competition?

First, you have to truly want something other than 1st place or a win. I know I sound like a downer, right? I know it is a competition, but there can only be one 1st place…there can only be five top 5 girls. As a competitor you never know who is going to show up. The BEST athlete could fly in from Germany to compete on the same stage you are competing on! You just never know. For me, it is about the journey and the stage photos I get from competing. Stage photos help build my brand. Competing helps me tell a story and inspire people to seek health and wellness. Competing to me means seeing what I am capable of and then going back to improve it. Maybe you dream of being a fitness coach, your creditability can come from sticking to a strict plan for 12 weeks. Maybe you are a mom and you want to prove women who had babies can be fit and sexy, too! Maybe you just want to see what you body will look like lean and in a bikini.

Take plenty of progress photos and make sure you have stage photos taken at your competition. This is why I like my hair and make up done, too! Competing gives me a story line to prove I have determination and I follow through.

Second, DON’T BINGE EAT AFTER A SHOW! Meaning, don’t eat a ton of candy, processed foods, pizza, soda, gummy bears, cake, and cookies the night or day following your show. This is one of the things I am extremely passionate about in my competitive life. This is terrible for your metabolism and mental health. You have just spent months sacrificing for your best physique. Don’t throw it away in a few hours because you want pizza, pop tarts, candy, and cake. After your show, slowly reverse yourself out of the strict diet you were on. Leading up to your show make a 4 week plan and know what treats you will enjoy the month following your show. TRUST ME!! The post-show binge never leaves anyone feeling proud and looking phenomenal. I don’t see the point in wasting my hard earned results on binging after a show. Food will ALWAYS be there. I promise you, you can enjoy pizza and ice cream two, three, four weeks after a show. It will still be there!

Q10- You have accomplished so much in your fitness journey, what is next for you?

Oh boy!! Next is building my brand and my company as a coach and mentor to other women. My goals include becoming a published fitness model and writer, becoming a coach and mentor, and writing a book to help other women accomplish their goals. I would like to speak publically at seminars and one day hold my own camps geared toward empowering women.

I love helping other women find the beauty in themselves and helping women feel confident with who they are. I was so insecure and dreamed for years of having the right person guide me to who I wanted to become. I will be expanding my social media platform to what I call The Fit Life, Fit Wife. I plan to teach other women how to balance it all in health and wellness. I work with Lindsay Messina right now and she has becoming a life and business coach to me. She helps me with planning and mapping out my goals so I can make them reality.

Finally, I dream of being a WBFF Diva Bikini Model Pro one day and I know I have to build more shape before that can happen. I am willing to put in the work to make my dream come to life.

Thanks so much Anna for doing my first Q&A!  Your story is inspiring and I thank you for your help in guiding me toward my first show!

Connect with Anna:
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Take Your Health Back From The Food Industry

Recently I watched a video from Michael Pollan where he is discussing his new book called "Cooked", and one of his statements really stuck with me...and I paraphrase... What mattered most, more than nutrients or calories consumed when talking about a healthy diet and the health of someone is the fact that the food they ate was cooked by a human being and not a company.  (I highly recommend you watch the whole video, here)  He also talks about how food companies will cook with more fat, sugar and salt than you ever would in your own kitchen, but they do so in such a way that you become addicted to their food. The bottom line is that food companies don't care about your health, they care about making you addicted to their food so you keep coming back and spend your money with them.  This includes fast food companies and processed food companies alike. They spend so much money on "food" chemistry to get the formula just right so you become addicted.  It's no accident that "once you pop, you can't stop"!  If you are eating fast food and processed food chances are that you are addicted to these foods and will continue to crave them until you decide to take them out of your diet.  Before I move on I want to make one last point about sugar.  Recently I read a book by Dr. Mark Hyman called, "The 10 Day Detox" in which he discusses how it is not your fault you are addicted to these foods and mostly sugar.  He notes there have been studies conducted that show the pleasure center of the brain of lab rats when they eat sugar and when they are given cocaine.  It was found that sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine and when given the choice the rats always chose the sugar!  No wonder you are is a chemical response in your brain, and you are set up to crave more and more.  To be clear I did not do the 10 Day Detox because I started eating Paleo, however they are very similar in that they cut out foods that cause addiction.  I found for me 3 weeks was the magic number!  I do think that it is a great starting point for anyone addicted to sugar.

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 So, how do you break this cycle of addiction?  Cut it all out of your diet (and when I say diet I mean your way of eating as the word was meant to be used) and keep it out of your house.  If you have read any of my previous posts you know that recently I have started eating Paleo.  It is working so well for me and all the cravings I had are gone, because I have cut out all processed food, grains and dairy and I only eat real whole food.  I am not suggesting that you have to go Paleo, but I do recommend that you cut out all processed food.  It is a hard process which took me about 3 weeks to fully get there and to really stop craving processed foods like breads, pizza, chips, cookies you name it, and I don't crave it.  Once my body detoxed from these highly processed and addictive foods I no longer craved them or am even tempted by them.  This is a huge step and has totally changed my relationship with food.  I feel like a fog has been lifted and I can see clearly how the food I was eating had power over me, and how I have taken that power back.  I now view food as fuel.  It is not meant to comfort, entertain or make you happy.  It is meant to fuel your body so you can live the best life possible

So what is next?  Get in the kitchen and start cooking! You don't have to be a gourmet chef to cook your own meals.  I am not a wonderful cook, but I know the basics and started there.  My husband and my mom are both actually a really great cooks and much of what I learned I learned from them.  If you don't have someone to teach you their ways use the internet to find healthy recipes, Pinterest is a great resource.  Try to find a healthy cooking class in your area to take a few lessons to learn the basics.  When I cook now, I choose my proteins and veggies and get to work.  For example last night I made turkey burgers, zucchini "pasta", pork chops, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.  This makes enough for my hubby and I to have for a few days.  It is nothing revolutionary, but they are all whole real foods that fuel my body. 

Now it is your turn to take back your health from the food industry.  Buy, cook and eat whole real foods.  You will be amazed how much better you feel when you make the powerful decision to stop eating foods that are made in a lab and how quickly the cravings and addictions dissipate and eventually disappear.  Trust me when I tell you that I used to be addicted to sugar in any form I could get it, I was even addicted to white processed foods as well, I can honestly say I no longer crave or am even tempted by these foods.  I know that I am creating a healthy body and a healthy mind when I fuel up with WHOLE REAL FOOD!

If you have any questions on this topic or need help with the process of breaking the addiction please feel free to send me an email or on Facebook.  I am here to help you find the best, healthiest version of yourself!  
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Friday, May 2, 2014

Feature Fridays: Jessie Olsen

Happy Friday!  I hope that you are having a wonderful week and working on your health and fitness goals.  I have been on stellar track and am loving how I feel.  I've also been looking into doing a bikini competition in October of this year, but more on that later!  I will do a post about that all soon.  I love Instagram and motivational quotes to help pump me up and motivate me when I need it.  Today's Feature Fridays is from Jessie Olsen who caught my attention with her amazing before and after pictures.  Today she shares her story on how she lost the weight and is going after her dreams, she is an aspiring fitness competitor!  

Jessie's Story:
I was always a normal weight growing up. Then after going through 2 pregnancies, not knowing how to take care of myself, I went from 120lbs to 188lbs (which was borderline obese.) I was embarrassed and felt that I was inside someone else’s body, not mine! I had no energy, felt uncomfortable and craved sugar and fast food. I knew I had to lose 70-75lbs and felt completely overwhelmed. But... my desire to do it was greater than any obstacle in my way. I wanted not only to be thin like before I was pregnant, but HEALTHY & STRONG!

It took me a few years to lose it all. First I started eating low glycemic and worked out at home doing Beachbody programs, P90x and Insanity. Then I started running 5k's, 10k’s and then 2 half marathons. I lost 50lbs. I reached a plateau. I didn’t really care about losing any more weight, but I wanted to change my body. I started eating clean and lifting weights. I not only lost 20 more pounds, but it completely changed my life! I love feeling strong and setting small goals. It's become my passion so much that I decided to go back to school in Health & Fitness. I also would love to compete in a Figure Competition someday.

These days I feel happy, I have energy, I wake up every day excited about life! I am so grateful that I never gave up--- no matter how long it took. NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

Challenge/Failure throughout her journey:
When Jessica was training for her first half-marathon, she had to restart her training four different times before she was able to run the race. The first time, she injured her knee and had to take time off. The second time, she started a different job and it conflicted with her training schedule. The third time, she went back home to Canada to take care of her dad who had a heart attack. It was then the fourth time that she started her training that she was able to run in the marathon that she had put off for so long.

Favorite Motivational Quote:
"If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough."

Her Fit Tip:
Being fit and staying active doesn't mean you have to go to the gym 6 days a week. I do, yes, because I LOVE lifting weights! But if you don't like the gym, don't go! There are SO many other ways to get daily exercise. A girl once told me she hated running but she did it anyway. That's great. But why?? Why do something you don't enjoy? I think it's important to be excited about your form of exercise, or you wont keep it up. My sister likes working out from home, my good friend goes kayaking and hiking, my other friend loves to play sports. They are not "gym goers" but are still in great shape. Diet is important. Eat healthy. Stay active!

About Jessie:
Jessica Olsen is a 31-year old Canadian who lives in the States with her husband and 2 children. She is a weight loss success and transformation story and her passion is helping others start their own journey. She is currently in college studying Health & Fitness and is working on her personal training certifications while she is also an online Beachbody Coach.

Connect with Jessie:

Thank you so much to Jessie for sharing her story with us today!  You are a huge inspiration for moms everywhere and prove that when you put your mind to something you can achieve anything!  Let me know you you are planning on doing a show...we can push each other!  

Are you on Instagram?  Head over and follow Jessie and while you're there be sure to follow me too @onfirefitnesspt.  

Don't forget to head to the giveaway page and enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card to Alo Yoga Clothing! 

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