“The longest journey starts with a single step.”
From the movie Precious – c/o Coco and Lowe
I have always been a somewhat healthy slim girl. I was a ballet dancer for the first 13 years of my life then involved in musical theatre and a dance club throughout high school and university. I started going to the on campus gym at McMaster University and became a CFL cheerleader in 2004 for the Hamilton Ti-Cats and in 2006 for the Toronto Argonauts. I have always been fairly “fit”. By fit I mean tiny. Didn’t really have to watch what I ate. Didn’t really have to exert too much effort to stay small. I’ve hired personal trainers before but never really done a whole package training deal. By that I mean concentrating on fitness, health and diet.
In January 2009, I recognized a former Ti-Cats cheerleader (Ashley Harrison) on the cover of Oxygen. We didn’t cheer together the same year but I recognized her from pictures. I immediately said in my head, if she can do it why can’t I? So we’ll chalk up my fitness passion AHA moment to a competitive “I can do what you can do” mentality.
In February, 2009 I started my research. Looked into protein powder, purchased every fitness magazine at the bookstore and started a new training regime.
First step: Progress Pictures. Oh lord! All Winter I ate my heart out in microwave bags of popcorn, refined carbs, sugars, ice cream, dairy, etc. You name it. I probably ate it. I have always been a slim girl but I turned 26 last year and bam! No more perfect metabolism. What’s that under my butt? Cellulite? Egad.
Second step: Cardio! I started pushing myself to wake up 30 mins earlier than I normally did to hit the elliptical in my condo’s gym. What a difference the morning workout made. It was hard getting up but I started to see a difference in my energy level.
Third step: Weights! Started hitting my Extreme Fitness location near my office after work to lift weights. Figured out a workout plan using Oxygen magazine, online fitness tools and watching and learning others in the gym.
Fourth step: Kick it up a notch! Lyzabeth Lopez’s Hourglass Workout! I enlisted in May in her month long Bootcamp for women. I had no idea what hit me. The first week of the program is something that is lovingly referred to as Hell Week. I had shin splints, trouble sitting down in chairs, groaned getting out of bed and absolutely loved it! Lyzabeth is the most positive and caring person I’ve met in the industry so far! Nothing but good things to say. She definitely kicked my butt. My focus in the workout was less on weight loss but more on muscle gain. So I’d be doing muscle building exercises while the others were doing cardio. Lyzabeth really tailors the program to her participants.
Fifth step: Functional strength! I had attended a training with the Hourglass Workout at the DCC. The Dynamic Conditioning Centre in Toronto at Yonge/Wellesley is crazy. I like to refer to it as a man’s playground. Complete with sand pit, tire tractors and turf path for pulling and pushing plates! Tyler helped me out for a few sessions and gave me a great total body strengthening workout.
Sixth step: Fitness Model Workshop with Lyzabeth Lopez. Learn tricks of the trade. What to purchase for tanning, how to do photos shoots, submit to magazines, etc and learn how to walk and pose! It was a great summer course and I definitely learned some new things to add to my repertoire.
Seventh step: Nutrition. During the Hourglass Workout I received a tailored meal plan from Lyzabeth as part of the program and learned to take control of what I eat. I don’t diet. I eat clean. Over the course of several months I also enlisted the help of a Naturopath to help me with some health problems that I was worried about might affect my training.
It’s now September 14, 2009. I’m 5 days away from my first fitness competition. I’ve never felt better. I’ve transformed my body. I’ve built muscle. I have energy. I feel healthy and happy. For me I’ve achieved my goal of competiting in a fitness event. I would love to place top 10. Cmon I’m competitive remember! But overall and whatever the outcome I’m just happy that I’ve taken control of my health and have never felt or looked better.