CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Commit to be fit. Finding motivation with Amanda B

My relationship with Amanda began as a lot of my client relationships do – online.

When we met she was struggling with time, illness, kids….(3, not 1) and prioritizing life. After a false start, she came back resolute and stronger than ever. This year, at Pittsburgh VegFest we actually got to meet face to face – what a light that radiates from her. I was even able to meet her charming hubs…..after hearing “you changed my fricken life”….I was smitten.

Amanda has done SO well and is such a vibrant example of strength to her family. If you’re struggling with time, motivation and more, please read her interview for inspiration.

Amanda is a fit worker, wife, mom and most of all ~ independent woman who knows the value of self care. Rock it lady – you’re inspiring more people than you know.

Love you girl, so proud.

xx

S

Compared to 6 months ago, how does your fit life look?

It has changed dramatically-20 lbs will do that!! The motivation I have to find out what I am capable of doing. Ex- I was not able to do a push up in April and now I am doing them-a real one LOL!

 What do you think were your biggest challenges as it relates to fitness and nutrition?  

TIME! The first 30 days I was DO or DIE-my neighbors were like “where are you” Im like over pressing tofu cooking broccoli. I had to keep away from social events just to get my mind right, check in after check it -it ALL paid off!

 If you took a break from staying fit at all in your past, why do you think this occurred and what value do you put on fitness now?

After my 2nd child I dropped the weight and was “fit” working out and that was just my lifestyle-was in nursing school and life was good, then FULL TIME job really diminished that “fit” life-I worked nights and had 2 kids and NO time for me. Then the 3rd babe came along and I was like I’m gonna just do this beautiful chaotic life and roll with the punches 2 years pass and I was mentally and emotionally ready to commit to getting back into fitness.

Why did you decide to look for a coach to help you with your goals?

I went vegan about 1.5 years ago…didn’t lose weight. Vegan processed food will do that, I was working out but no CHANGES and I felt defeated I knew I needed the accountability I needed someone checking in, cheering me on but letting me know where I was fudging up the plan.

 Do you think that having a support system (online or otherwise) is integral to your ability to stay on track?

YES! People ask “ what are you doing” I got a coach-she made them plan-I followed the plan! My husband is  a smart man, he wasn’t going to say “You think you need to eat that? Or did you work out”.

What is the most surprising part of your journey so far?

What 30 days of pure commitment will do, my focus and mind set has changed completely.  I allowed myself to have free days in July for sanity and summertime. I follow the set pan the rest of the days. My performance in the gym and my endurance has improved beyond measure. I even wore shorts and went swimming this summer which has not been a thing since 2013.

 What is your biggest challenge between work/family/self care?

Time again!! Just making sure I have my meals readily available, I do a batch cook day, press my tofu, cook the veggies, I always have frozen vegan meat and veggies on stand by. 

What is the biggest positive impact on your life since you undertook a healthier nutrition / fitness outlook?  

Hearing my 10-year-old say “Mom you are so strong” The fact that they are watching, they are seeing what hard work does and that girls are strong and working out is about being healthy! This journey also opened my eyes up to the relationship I had with food-my life revolved around food or socially drinking on most occasions. My mental and health goals became inline with my social life.

How do you keep progressing and set goals for yourself?

Just remembering how I feel now compared to how I felt on April 26 2018, when this journey started. I put away my “big” clothes and don’t ever want to bring them back out!

What/who keeps you accountable?

My tribe of 5, husband- Ryan, kids- Aiden, Chloe and Jaxon!

 

What are your top 3 favourite foods to eat (good or bad) and do you have a new or interesting food item that helps you with any unhealthy cravings you may have?

Salsa/guac and chips I love crunchy salty foods!! So Ill do guac and salsa with carrots or cukes. Also, pizza, that’s my weakness in food life. To get my red sauce kick ill sauté spinach with grape tomatoes and sprinkle on nutritional yeast.

Tell us a little bit about what you see for your future goals.

I plan to just keep improving in my performance at the gym and in my overall outlook on my health. I feel great and am so proud of myself for making ME a priority. This alone has improved my relationship with my husband and children. They understand that mum just needs her hour to herself to workout and the day will carry on, it has made me a better woman, wife and mother. I have rolled around the idea of some sort of fitness competition…who knows!!

If you could give a solid piece of advice to anyone who may have been in your same position who just “doesn’t have time” to take care of themselves, what would it be?

YOU ARE WORTH IT-you get one shot here on earth, one body to do life in-WHY not feel good in that body!

 

 

The art of the juice cleanse

Many times have I committed to a juice cleanse and never have I managed to document any of the experience for clientele or the general public. Because I have embarked on yet another cleanse I feel that I had the time and space to do this – because I’m not leading a group cleanse or making juices myself.

This time, I decided to go with a commercially purchased cleanse. I looked at several options before taking the plunge and took several items into consideration:

– what was the company selling the cleanse all about

– where were they located

– price & value

– ease of starting/receiving juice

I had initially chosen a company out of Calgary as this would be a place to pick up from that was easily accessible and had nearly 0 carbon footprint. Unfortunately, they took more than forever to return emails (terrible, spoiled Albertan vendors with no idea of the rest of the worlds customer service initiatives *steam*, this province is so alienated by the oil and gas industry) and when then did, they were not helpful, or cheery, with getting a cleanse to me outside of their prescribed days and times – even though I said I would pick up.

So, as it has been going lately, I decided to look out of province. Why? Well, their markets aren’t as inflated and their vendors generally care about having paying customers.

Enter “Raw Raw” Cleanse: http://www.rawrawcleanse.com.

It took me just 2 days and $200 per person for a 6 day cleanse to arrive via courier to my office. Tina, the proprietor was very helpful. We had a bit of a hiccup with juice types and after sending an email, I was assured the additional juice would arrive next-day (today hopefully) to get the sequencing of juices done right. Wow.

If you are interested in the juices I have been drinking you can find them HERE. 

 

DAY 1

The juice arrived at 10 am to our offices. It came packaged in a styrofoam cooler with cooling gel packs above and below the juice. The package also contained a juicing reusable bag, a note on the expiry, a 25% off coupon and a quick reference card for consuming the juices in the right order.

 

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The "how to"

Because I was ravenous, I opened up the cooler and immediately (took pics for all of you) then shook and guzzled my first “Clean Greens”. I’ll just put it out there, green smoothies are NOT my favourite, never will be. I understand their vital importance in balancing our vitamins and minerals, but they are sour, and so was this one.

Next, on my way to a meeting I grabbed the ginger berry. WAY more my style and super easy to drink with a lovely ginger taste – can’t complain.

I did a couple random circles around the office looking at trail mix and bananas, but I did not partake. Win. Next, Cool melon. This is where I learned I didn’t have any cool melon but double the almond milk variety. So I drank an almond milk one…it was great – a little extra nut fiber in there, but it was good. Cool melon – for real – on the way home I snaked a cool melon out of my boyfriends order. Simple, sweet and minty – I actually use the same recipe for watermelon martinis in the summer.

On the way home, I was feeling like I needed a nap. By the time I got home, I completely thought I would have one – except work got in the way a bit. I felt SUPER agro for about 1 hour, so I ate a handful of cashew nuts – raw ones. By the time I walked the dogs and puttered around with small chores, I realized I might as well just get on with it and do my day 8 of 21 Day HIIT challenge. During this 20 minute super workout I felt like I had OK energy and could cope with all the exercises without utter exhaustion.

I then used the next Clean Greens as a post-workout drink – it still tasted bad. I was in bed reading by 8:30pm and sipped away at the final Citrus beverage until I fell asleep. I LOVE this one. Spicy, citrus-y, deliciousness. At this point, I was feeling full and so far haven’t felt starving. I don’t think Jeff can say the same.

I fell asleep and was probably up around 3am. Not sure if the lack of sleep ability was the dogs or what, but it was a tough night.

DAY 2

Waking up was a bit hellish. I managed to get back to sleep by 6 am and slept until about 7:45.

Got out of bed, guzzled some water and had my first Clean Greens. I didn’t feel hungry at all, and I still don’t.

As I sit and write this I miss coffee. The smell, the taste and the buzz. Hoping that getting through my errands and a big dog walk will pull me into the land of the living by 11 am.

Stay tuned……………………….

I headed out of the house just after 10 am with my second (and favourite) juice in-hand to have a scoot through the country with my pups.  I took the dogs out for a walk in the woods and nearly left them there – woah nelly, settle down. A little bit more easily aggravated these days I have to admit. Hangry. By 1130 am I was still tired and now annoyed at my dogs.  Again, I drove home and thought I was going to crash heavily, and didn’t. Instead, I had a handful of cashews, brewed up an herbal peppermint tea and hunkered down to watch a very disturbing movie on Netflix. I hopped up for one of the many million pee’s during the movie and grabbed by third juice of the day for “lunch”. I have just taken the dogs out for another walk, wrote a letter and am now going to attempt my HIIT for the day: WORK OUT .

It is currently 7 pm. I made it through a HIIT and 12 minutes of a 20 minute spin – legs were far too tired – I also managed a bit of Yoga without issue.

I lapped up half a clean green for a recovery drink, with a small handful of cashews.

Literally a handful of cashews.
Literally a handful of cashews.

Let me tell you , my stomach was grumbling, so I had another cup of herbal mint tea and did some laundry. I think I may pay heed to the recommendation of “moderate” exercise. I don’t even listen to my own good advice.

I currently have two juices left and am feeling quite alert. Not aggravated, that was definitely a morning thing. Though, I have been fantasizing about food for the last couple of hours. Poor Jeff, went to his grandmas and she ordered a pizza. Ruthless day for him.

I would call day 2 a success……nighty night until tomorrow!

DAY 3 

Day three arrived. My sleep wasn’t nearly as interrupted as last night however, I still woke up a little tired. Getting the ball rolling on the day seemed a little less painless and I had no desire to eat or any hunger.

The work day was 10 hours long with no breaks, a few times I had to run to Jeff’s office to scarf down some almonds & cashews. Probably ate at least 3/4 of a cup of each throughout the day.

I thought about food all day. When I wasn’t stressing about something, I literally only thought about food. I had to plan a luncheon for tomorrow and ordered about twice as much pizza for 15 people as I should have. I could taste it.

I think today was the hardest day by far. Knowing it’s nearly over and hearing a little voice inside your head say “c’mon, just have a snack”……I’ve been beating that voice back all day.

There is one more drink to go before bed. I know I can make it, I think Jeff has at least 5 meals prepared for us to eat tomorrow – which is SUCH a bad idea when you’re coming off of a cleanse. Honestly – ease into it with soup and salads….or suffer the wrath.

The dirty bits: bowel movements still occurring however, not at the mass and frequency expected. I didn’t go at all yesterday, no urge either. Jeff wont let me talk about his poops in public. Sissy.

Overall, today I felt the most spacey I have and the most weak. I opted for a longer walk with the dogs instead of exercising at full out capacity.

Ok, I lied. I'm a workout addict.
Ok, I lied. I’m a workout addict.

I will say that removing meals does remove a sense of community and that is one part of the human culture that I quite enjoy. There is a certain void left in a day where there is no communion with others, a sharp empty space that only cooking and enjoying a meal can fill. That, is what I truly craved most in this cleanse.

Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Season 3 – Ep 3 – The road less travelled

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Honeymoon is over {sort of} and now there are more goals set and training on the horizon. We had an amazing wedding, shared the day with our closest loves and are now married….bizarre for us to think that 14 years ago this thought probably never crossed our minds. 5 years ago, still nada.

Then but for a beautiful night out in Philly {eating Vegan food at the amazing Bar Bom Bon} we decided to make it “official”….2 months later, cue wedding bells…and one month after that, we take this union stateside. Pfew, way to pack it all into one summer Williams’.

In terms of who we are and what we’ve committed to as a couple, that’s easy and hasn’t wavered. We train every day – at least 5/6 times per week. We work hard and play hard and have a great life balance that has taken years to achieve. We decided to save cash and take a road tripping honeymoon to see some amazing sights and bands.

We knew that our latest travels were going to take us to some amazing food, drinks and places we’d never seen. At a time of celebration it’s SO important to not lose sight of real life. Bodybuilding is a passion of ours but living out loud is moreso. Making the decision to not compete again this year was hard BUT the freedom it’s given me/us to have some fun and be playful is worth more than another bikini girl trophy ~ there is life before, during and after competition.

Scroll right to the bottom of this blog post for a list {with links} to all of the Veg/Veg Friendly places we stopped at worth mentioning. 

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Lets get to the good stuff shall we? Checking our egos and our 6 pack abs at the door, we said goodbye to the last of our houseguests and hit the tarmac.

We started off in Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel. This one was $50 which is a steal and is off strip. Their Asian restaurant happened to supply vegan protein and we were stoked. It’s off strip which is great because we were just there 2 months earlier so we didn’t need to do the usual getting pissed on the Vegas Strip. WE also chose this hotel because it has a decent place to workout. If you know Vegas like we do, you’ll be aware that there aren’t a lot of hotels with gyms to speak of at all ~ which is stupid really. We hit the gym both days we were there, ate well, drank minimally and enjoyed the sun.

From there we went on to Arizona. Page, to be exact via Zion National Park {pictured above}. Page is a creepy little place with a literal “God Strip”…no joke, 2-3 miles of churches lining a main drag. There was even “The Lords Gym” which we really wanted to hit up but it was just too janky. Sad face because I didn’t even get a picture of it.

There wasn’t too much to choose from in terms of staying fit BUT we were there for Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and nothing more. We did find a good little gym there called Titanium {below} and fit in another workout on the road. $5 drop in too. Good selections of Apex/Hammer Strength/Cybex with some crossfit stuff/battle ropes as well as some treadmills and one {very hidden} stair master.

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We were up early that morning due to a time change error and spent a couple of hours lazing before we headed for our tour of Antelope Canyon. You have to book this and it’s actually a sad and frustrating experience because it’s PACKED and I’m not sure how I mentioned to pull off a shot with no people in it. Check out my insta for more pics of the nature stuff.

Next we were on to Colorado via Moab Utah. We decided to stop in Moab so that we could take advantage of the most amazing Arches National Park ~ definitely needed 2 days here but we only had two hours so, if you do go, make some serious time for it. It was HOT and once again, crowded. Very sad face.

We ate at The Moab Brewry for dinner. They had salad options…no vegan protein, and mostly deep fry. Great beer though.

This day I was in a bad mood because we intended on hitting the gym in Moab, a place called South Town Gym. We rolled up at 730 am and realized the office didn’t open for 2 hours for us to pay a drop in. It’s a 24 hour gym for members but it posted threats all over that if we just snuck in people could lose their membership. The doors were unlocked but, ethically, we couldn’t do it. I was fuming.

We packed up and went to this little hippy looking place for breakfast (referenced below) but it was actually not easy to find anything vegan and then when I did suggest a tofu sub it arrived cold and lack lustre. If you must eat in Moab, proceed with caution.

Below, we hit a pretty well known gem in Marble, Colorado called The Crystal Mill {pictured below} which we had to access via a rented side-by-side. The weather turned but we didn’t stop…..great little BBQ spot called Slow Groovin’ had just enough on the menu to feed us…and is the only game in town that serves booze. This town is off the grid – no gym here. We stayed at Beaver Lake Lodge – such a gem and so wish we had two more days there as well.

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A little drenched from the rain, a little sad to be leaving such a magical place {that looked and felt and smelled like home} we hopped in the car and headed on down the road for Denver…..the apex of our honeymoon at Riot Fest – The Misfits & Gogol Bordello headlining day 3 had us at decibel 11 excitement.

The ride up to Vail and past through to Denver is a beautiful one. Twists and turns and fast moving traffic. Days in the car were on average 4.5 hours or so…this day is long, but with beauty weather it wasn’t really a bother.

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Hot weather, good times and some pretty amazing Vegan food had us all in a tizzy. We hadn’t really struck out too much in terms of food the whole trip. Sure, we missed a couple of days at the gym here and there but…we ate well, loved hard and were ear to ear smiles most of the time. Found this little reminder sitting on a park bench after a stellar meal at Vital Root in the Berkley neighbourhood of Denver.

Day 2 of the 3 day festival I woke up in EXTREME neck pain…FML, this old injury on the day we were working out at Armbrusts in Wheat  Ridge. I sucked it up, took a couple of Advils and went anyway to smash out a leg day. The only regret I have here is not buying a souvenir tank. Idiot. Who does that when they’re visiting the “Mile High Mecca”. D’oh.

Jeff convinced me {imagine no neck mobility and full face headache} to find some active release nearby. He located someone and lo-and behold they were an effing chiro. I was terrified…if you know me you know I don’t do back crackers. Check out my happy waiting room face below. So much pain, so happy about our workout.

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I won’t say much about the appointment but Jeff stayed with me through the active release, massage, electro shock & neck cracking ~ I flipped RIGHT OUT when he adjusted my neck. Never again!!

With Denver quieted down after yet another epic Gogol concert {hopping up and down for an hour straight is considered a cardio/calf day, no? } and a so-so Original Misfits show, we went home to bed ready to take on New Mexico. 5 states, 9 days…all adventure. There are far too many cats ass restaurants in Denver to rattle off in one email so again, check out the bottom of this post. We were well fed and there was even a street fair “Taste of Colorado” that we meandered around at…sadly, the food was pretty bad so we didn’t eat there at all.

The road to NM is a pretty boring one. Imagine windy windy windy prairie roads with a tonne of trailers scattered throughout. Not much to shake a stick at.

We arrived at our Motel 6 for the last 3 days of our journey and were outright disgusted. I know you get what you pay for but…well….I won’t go on, it was a homeless, unsecured haven covered in axel grease.

We straight up said HELL NO when we walked into our room, promptly got a refund and headed to old town.

We scored a helluva deal at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa which is close to damn near everything. It’s civilized and what we have become accustomed to over the last few years. We have been spoiled by our successes but not to the point where we won’t stay in a 1 star…as most of our trip has been…we figured we needed to splurge a little for our last few days.

Back to a place with a built in gym, restaurants and clean sheets ~ wheeeee! Downside? Not a helluvalot of vegan options and a breakfast laid out like the one below is about $40 USD. Sickening in my opinion.

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For our last few days we hit the gym every day, walked, hiked and made plans for the future. As I write this I am 1 Lara Bar down and ready for a bit of cardio…then on to see Bandolier National Park, Meow Wolf art installation.

Meow Wolf was an all out win. If you’re ever in Santa Fe, you need to pay homage to this amazing art installation. You’ll need at least 2 hours and then you’ll need to go back at least half a dozen or more times to get the story down. It’s far more epic than I can describe. Picture Disneylands Haunted Mansion meets the Little Mermaids grotto meets a sweet sweet mushroom trip in the woods. Something like 20,000 square feet of brain boggling art and imagination ~ with a side of LIVE music.

Just look at this link and plan accordingly: MEOW WOLF SANTA FE

Finishing up this blog post I wanted to impress how important fun and play are in life. We can all push our hardest 100% of the time but without play, life would just be toil and I have half a mind to think that’s not what it’s all about. You?

Yes, I’m an athlete. Yes, I’m a vegan. Yes, I’m an adult with responsibility. Conversely I am human, playful and imaginative ~ all sides need to be fed in order for this machine to run smoothly.

So, with that being said as I sip black coffee at a train depot of a municipal airport in Santa Fe, I’m starting to dream about the next few months and what they’ll look like. Though we are moving in 2.5 weeks, training for a new season of bodybuilding starts tomorrow. While I didn’t miss too many days of the gym, I still didn’t get in what I thought to be “real” gym time and this neck/back injury is still plaguing me. Time to dig deep and look forward with health and happiness at the forefront of my daily goals.

With all that deep stuff and a bigger need for life budgeting in mind, I think I’ve finally settled on my next contest, via the INBF Canada Crew putting together a little road trip to Savannah Georgia! Hows that for exciting?!!! Of course I can’t stop thinking about gaining weight, being lazy and eating / drinking poorly this trip. But it’s my honeymoon and there’s no way I’m letting that pass by by being a restrictive brat. Living is so much more than beating yourself up about not getting leg day done, it’s about reminding yourself to breathe and maybe take a couple days off because your neck and back are screwed!!

 

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Restaurant Recommendations by State:

Nevada – Las Vegas

Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas – FU *Vegan Protein Options

Utah – Moab

Moab Brewing

Peace Tree Cafe

Colorado – Glenwood Springs (final resting place of Doc Holliday)

Sacred Grounds  – horrible

Colorado – Marble

Slow Groovin *try the okra

Colorado – Denver

City O City

Vital Root

Watercourse

Handy’s

True Food

Hapa Sushi – a chain with shitty service but decent selection

New Mexico – Santa Fe

Agave at Eldorado

Coyote Cafe

Indulge

Sweet Water Harvest Kitchen

Taberna ~ By La Boca

Annapurna