Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I've had enough!

I'm tired. I've had enough. I do a lot. All my choice. I admit I'm burning the candle at both ends. Not getting enough sleep. And while that's not a good thing (and I'm vowing to change that) it's all because I want to live my best life. And no matter how tired I am I'm not giving up. No matter who says I can't do it, I'm not giving up. No matter who puts up resistance to what I want to do, I'm not giving up. No matter who says be careful, I'm not giving up. I've had enough ... enough of haters, enough of those who don't want to see me succeed, enough of those who are too scared to take a risk of their own and try to convince me in their own subtle way that I'm making a big mistake. The only mistake I could make is believing what those haters are telling me. Instead I'm going to believe in myself. Yes I have goals ... some pretty big goals. There will be good days and not so good days on this journey ... but I'm living "MY" dream ... not your nightmare.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Glass Half Full

23 out of 30. That's how many classes I completed in my 30 day hot yoga challenge almost a month ago. And instead of looking at it as the glass half empty because I didn't do 30 classes ... I'm saying "Ooo my glass is half FULL!". My main goal was to do 30 days but what I got out of it was even better than doing the entire 30 days. When I enter that yoga studio I'm better able to focus on the NOW ... clear my mind ... even if it's just for 90 minutes. Clear my mind so new, positive, and exciting thoughts can enter. And there have been a lot thoughts. (Not always positive but I'm working on that.) Here's something exciting. I've got one more (big) step to take to successfully become a Can Fit Pro certified personal trainer. Exciting for sure! And scary. So much to learn! And now that it's out there ... there's no turning back. The real work begins. The work to make it happen ... create my own fitness business ... my fitness empire! Wow. Can't believe I just said that. Can I really do this? So nervous. I could use a glass half full right now ... half full of red wine!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Body. Mind. Spirit. Are you ready?

Three weeks into my 30 day hot yoga challenge. Loving it! With one week left in the challenge I know I can't just stop after the 30 days is over. So I've decided I want to keep going ... incorporate it into my regular exercise regime. I made some other decisions too. I decided I won't be competing next year (or maybe ever ... but never say never). My body, mind, and spirit are not ready ... They're screaming for a break from that kind of training and that kind of dieting. I'm not abandoning my healthy lifestyle at all. I'm still going to exercise ... full body workouts a few times a week ... Yoga at least 3 times a week ... And probably hit a boot camp or two. I'm still going to eat healthy. My eating will be an experiment involving vegetarian meals and raw food ... not a complete change ... just an experiment.

Yes! That's my decision and I'm sticking to it!

So why am I thinking about getting on stage again next year? Sigh. It's probably because I went to a competition this weekend. Seeing all the athletes on stage got me excited. I wanted to be up there. Of course I always end up running into fellow competitors from previous shows or trainers asking me when I'll be on stage again. When I say "I don't know" ... all I hear is "See you on stage in 2012!" or "Come on! You love it! You have fun up there!" Or "Thought you'd be on stage tonight" or "You get better every year!" Comments that have the potential to sway me from my decision to NOT compete next year (or maybe ever ... but never say never). But ... it's not going to happen. My mind is made up. As much as I think I want to be on stage next year I know my body, mind, and spirit are not ready.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

L.O.V.E. Yourself

I don't know what happened. I'm not sure what turned things around for me during my 30 day hot yoga challenge. Last week I was going into my hot yoga classes and ending up frustrated and unable to focus. This week, I'm leaving the ego behind and doing my best at staying in the moment. I think I'm just starting to understand a little more of what yoga is all about. The messages from each instructor are starting to sink in ever so slowly. One message that stood out for me this week ... Love Yourself. So simple yet for some it's a difficult task. As the instructor read a passage about loving yourself, I took it all in. I was smiling a little bit ... knowing that I was loving myself. (I do admit that some days I don't like me). It's so true what they say ... only when you love yourself can you truly love others. And when you love yourself, you attract love. Well, I received love before I even left the yoga studio that day. A woman took the time to tell me that she loved watching me on TV. How nice! Then another woman also with the same message a short time later. In fact, we talked for about 20 minutes after class about fitness, working out, yoga, organic food, clean eating and more. I was feeling the love. Then I started to think back to all the loving moments in these past couple of weeks. A get together with some awesome girlfriends. Downtime with my sweetie. Thanksgiving dinner with his family. And I can't forget all the girlfriends who joined me in a hot yoga class since I started my 30 day challenge. And I'm sure if I took the time, I could come up with more. So you see how making the decision to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY can open your eyes to all the love that's flowing (or trying to flow) into your life? When you've made that decision take a few moments ... even if it's just 10 minutes ... and think of all the L.O.V.E. in your life.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No Sugar Coating ... Keeping it Real

30 Day Hot Yoga Challenge ... Day 4 Observations

*I wanted to make friendly eye contact ... a connection ... with someone before class. Shouldn't everyone be smiling at a yoga studio? I feel like the new girl in school.

*I was obsessed with how my body looked in the mirror. Hips looked wide. Wish my core was tighter. The "girls" are sagging way too much.

*I'm frustrated ... the instructor is going too fast. No where near ready for these intermediate or advanced moves. Am I doing this right?

*I should have eaten more and had more water today. Dizzy.

*Emotions? ... a mixture of sad and mad at the end of class. Neither emotion was really strong. Just a sprinkle of both.

Yes I realize these are mostly negative ... That's just how it was today. No sugar coating. Keeping it real.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vinyasa Flow? Vinyasa ... Whoa!

Andrea warned me. She's one of many inspirational women I trust and admire for her honesty, spirit, and her brains. In fact it was about 3 years ago that she suggested I take a month off of everything. Real rest. Back then I lasted a week. Now I'm supposed to be resting because of my foot mainly ... and because I'm a bit burnt out ... and instead I decided to do a 30-day yoga challenge. Yes I realize that's not resting. Restorative yoga was my original goal but I couldn't always make it to those classes. Anyway, I told Andrea yesterday that I was doing this hot yoga challenge while "resting". This is exactly what she said "Rest my ass! Hot yoga will kick your ass!" That it did today. Vinyasa flow turned into Vinyasa ... whoa! This is how they describe it at the studio: "The practice is a combination of different traditions of yoga that come together for a dynamic mix of sweat and spirit. It will tone your body and electrify your mind." I couldn't have said it better myself. It was a tough class ... but at the beginning the instructor told us to set our intention for the class. My intention was to do my best to finish the class and do the postures to the best of my ability. She also told us to leave our egos outside ... I couldn't help but smile. That word has been haunting me for the last few weeks. Probably because I've got some work to do on scaling back my own ego.. And today's kick-ass class was a great reminder. Namaste.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Unexpected Emotions

Apparently hot yoga isn't "resting" but I'm doing it anyway. Someone suggested I do some yoga while I'm taking a break from teaching fitness classes. Since I like hot yoga I went to a nearby hot yoga studio. It just so happens that it was the first day of the studio's 30-day challenge. Did someone say "challenge"? Okay! It didn't take long to convince me to do it. After all, I may be out of the teaching game for over 3 weeks.

What a shocker in my second hot yoga class. I experienced some unexpected emotions. I was in a restorative yoga class. This class is for those recovering from injuries or illness as well as those looking to relax and unwind. Yep. Sounds like a perfect class for me right now. After a little guided mediation the instructor asked a select few what they wanted to work on. I was hoping she would ask me and she did! I suggested hips ... a sore and tight spot for me. So here we went into a pose to open up the hips. Starting with the right side, I noticed it was very tight and uncomfortable as I went into the stretch. Nothing new. *Breathe!* But as the instructor started to explain a little about the hips, all she had to say was " ... this is where we carry a lot of our emotions ... " and I had this urge to cry. What the ...? What's going on? I focused on my breath ... trying to hold back the tears ... but at the same time trying to let them flow. I was on the verge of sobbing. I've heard that this can happen to those who practice yoga ... but I never, ever thought it would happen to me. What an experience to have on day 2. It may never happen again or it may happen several more times! Needless to say, this 30 day hot yoga challenge will be an interesting journey.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Very Bad Timing ... Or is it?

So I'm out for at least three weeks. I can't teach my beloved Get Ripped classes. Why? Because of an injury. Not my hamstring, or shoulder, or knee. I have an overuse injury on my big toe on my left foot. Can you believe it? Who injures their big toe? So basically no impact exercises on my feet for a while ... which is pretty much a lot of what I do when I teach. What upsets me is I worked my way up the Get Ripped ladder and now I'm teaching four regular classes plus a boot camp. I had my Mondays and Fridays at Fitness Plus South and my Thursdays and Saturdays at Talisman Centre. I was a few weeks into that routine and an old injury popped up. An injury I was trying to "play through". An injury I should have dealt with a long time ago. So it basically didn't go away ... I just ignored it ... and it got worse. (Hello ego!) Very bad timing ... or is it?

After I left the physiotherapy office ... wrapping my head around the diagnosis ... I quickly sent an email to my Get Ripped boss Jari explaining everything so they can start to fill my classes with other instructors. I felt bad. I felt sad. All I was thinking was ... "All the participants are going to forget about me." Silly ... I know. But as I started to relax and slowly accept my situation I actually felt a little relief. Yes that's right ... relief. You see, I was starting to get burnt out. Fatigued. Almost falling asleep at the wheel a couple times in the middle of the day was a big wake up call for me (no pun intended). Unfortunately my ego gets the best of me and I felt I could do it all. Wrong. I'm tired. And I need to rest.

I've been going non-stop for about a year now. It started with practicing for the Get Ripped DVDs and my group fitness certification, plus training for my figure competition. That spilled right into more classes in the spring and even more in the summer. Then sprinkle in a few fitness and nutrition courses. And that's all on top of a work schedule that wreaks havoc on my energy levels. It's all AMAZING stuff! (except waking up at 3:00AM ... not so amazing). I loved it all! It was my decision to do all of those things ... but what I should have as well was scheduled in some good, solid rest time ... rest for my body, mind, and spirit. Well, it looks like my "toe" did the scheduling for me. So let me move my mega ego aside ... *ugh* ... and do what I have to do to rest, heal ... and come back stronger!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Falling in L.O.V.E. ... Again!

If you think I'm going to spill the beans about my love life ... You're right! But wait! I'm talking about my first and only true love ... I'm falling in L.O.V.E. with ME!

I never stopped loving ME. But to be honest, I was having a difficult time liking ME. Well the physical ME I'd see in the mirror every day. You see, it's been well over 3 months since I competed in my 7th figure competition. And it's only been about a month since I started loving how my body looks. That's the thing about physique competitions. My body doesn't stay that lean, ripped and stage-ready all the time. Post-comp I don't do nearly as much cardio, I have "dirty" food whenever, and if I want to skip a day in the gym ... I do it.

However, after 5 years of being in this lifestyle, each year I've adopted more and more healthy habits in my EVERY DAY life. And it has paid off. I may have my curves back but they're sexy, not sloppy. I may not always have a "leg day" or "back day" every week but I'm active at least 4 days a week. I may not pound out a solid 60 minutes of cardio daily but I'm teaching several fitness classes a week ... working up a sweat with my class participants. And sometimes as I'm calling out the next move, I catch a glimpse in the mirror and there's still some definition in my arms and shoulders. There's still some strength in my legs as I put my class through dozens and dozens of squats.

But what's best of all, after every workout, I feel good. And isn't that what it's all about? L.O.V.E.!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I've Come a Long Way

It was the winter of 2006 when I started to train for my very first physique competition. It was the fitness model category. Hahaha! Wow! I've come a long way since then. After that first show I did 6 more in the figure category. Some were not great experiences. Most were pretty awesome! Through it all, I developed my passion for all things fitness and health. I wanted more of it. I wanted to challenge myself to see how much farther I could go. I wanted to hang out with people who lived the fitness lifestyle. I wanted to live that uber healthy lifestyle too. I wanted to share with everybody how good it feels being fit! So I got certified as a group fitness instructor. I started out doing the odd class here and there. Now I'm a regular at "the largest multi-sport complex of its kind in Canada"... the Talisman Centre in Calgary. It's an awesome way to motivate a large group of people and have fun at the same time!

So why stop there ... right? Right! I've mentioned this in a previous blog entry ... I'm actually going to take a personal training course. In fact, it starts next week. I was on the fence about actually getting certified as a personal trainer. I had all kinds of excuses. "Everybody's a personal trainer." "I'm too old." "I've got way too much to learn." "There's no way I could make a decent living." Then I recognized those excuses for what they really are .... FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.

I'm inundated with positive quotes and messages from Twitter and Facebook friends about living my best life and following my passion ... and that the only thing holding me back is myself. So I'm doing my best to get out of my way and I'm going for it!

So even though if feels like my journey has just begun, I know I've come a long way and I'm stoked about the journey ahead!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lazy Days of Post Competition

I have been so freakin' busy but I still feel lazy. Why? Because I've had very few "focused, goal setting" workouts. Not that I haven't been active. I teach 2 to 3 Ripped classes per week. So I'm still moving. However my gym visits have been sporadic and with little planning. I guess I'm still in the lazy days of post competition. I feel a little lost. Still haven't decided what the BIG fitness goal will be. I still feel I NEED a big fitness goal. But I do have some little (medium) goals to help me along the way, hence the "busy-ness".

Courses like crazy!
I'm expanding my knowledge in fitness. And with courses come exams. One coming up next Thursday. And another course starting mid-July. Let's just say I'll be studying a lot this summer.

Teaching a ton!
Probably going to be teaching Ripped classes a lot more during the summer as some instructors will be taking vacation. I may even make some appearances at Talisman Centre! It will be lots of fun and I could use the experience. :)

Invitations and mini road trips!
I put my social life on hold during contest prep. Not anymore. Hoping to do more stuff in and around Calgary. And hopefully another trip to Banff with DF this summer!

But there's something missing. Oh yeah. MY training. Well that kind of "kicks off" in July. I've figured out what my physical goals are ... 1) lower body strength and 2) lower body size. Yes. I said SIZE. You may be asking "What is a 42 year old woman doing trying to build size on her legs?" Very good question. I still don't know if I'm going to compete. But as Trainer N8 said "You can still have physique goals ... competition or not".

So Trainer N8 will be the "Sergeant" in "Operation Leg Bomb". Gonna blow these legs up real good! Be ready for the F-bombs and other colourful expletives N8ster! It's going to be a fun experiment!

Wait a minute! Who am I kidding? It's going to be hellish! I'm going to embrace my laziness for a few more weeks.

P.S. Despite not hitting the gym as much as I think I should, I'm proud to say I'm still eating clean!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Food! Glorious food!

I'm just keepin' it real when I say ... Thank goodness I get to eat solid food! Glorious food!

It's the end of my 3-day juice cleanse. I'm sipping on my last mug of steamy soothing nut milk right now. Mmmm! But to be honest, I'm glad this juice cleanse is over.Not because it didn't taste good. The juices were quite delicious. And I'm a picky eater.
Not because it made me feel crappy. I was a little lethargic but nothing that impacted my day. I actually felt pretty good by day 3. Not because I was starving. I felt hungry from time to time but I learned to sip my juice throughout the day instead gulping it down in one sitting. That made a huge difference.

I'm glad the juice cleanse is over because I miss different flavours and textures of foods in my mouth. I miss the smell of salmon baking in my oven. I miss the feeling of licking smooth and creamy peanut butter off of a spoon. I miss the crunchy goodness of almonds. I miss the juicy-ness of a crisp Gala apple. I look forward to experiencing that again ... and again ... and again!

So how do I feel? Well my stomach is nice and flat. :) No bloating. No gas. Just good! I lost a few pounds. 5 maybe. But that's how I feel NOW. The real test for me will be when I start re-introducing solid food into my system. I have a plan from a nutritionist on how to eat post-juice cleanse. I'll start my day with a protein fruit smoothie, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and maybe have a little fish. I'll do that for 3 days before introducing other things like chicken or nuts or grains like quinoa. It will be an exercise in patience. Hmmm ... patience. Something that is challenging for me.

How did it impact me spiritually? Well it got me thinking about what I REALLY want out of life. I thought about my priorities right now. I thought a lot about how I can be more "Authentic Cara". Because "Authentic Cara" is an "Awesomer Cara"! That's right! I said "Awesomer"!

Will I do a juice cleanse again? Yes. Once maybe twice a year. But in the meantime I'm going to enjoy and be truly GRATEFUL for every morsel of food I put in my mouth. Truly GRATEFUL.

P.S. I'm going to miss the night time nut milk treat. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I do my very best to approach all that I do with positivity. It is my priority. I'm not smiling and sunshine everyday ... but it is something I work on everyday. I also do my best to surround myself with positive people doing positive things. Some may not "like" the things that I do. And that's okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have friends who think the way I diet for competition is not good for me. Some may even think I do too much and need to rest and relax more. I know people who think this juice cleanse I'm doing is not the best for me either. Again, it's their opinion. I welcome opinions and different points of view. It makes me think and helps me make decisions on what is best for me. However, if those opinions come from a negative place ... laced with condescending and rude statements, I shut down. I don't want to hear it. I will even delete any comments I don't like on my FACEBOOK wall or my Twitter timeline. I'm entitled to that because it's MY wall/timeline. It's not that I don't invite differing opinions it's just that POSITIVITY IS MY PRIORITY.

And on that note, I'm feeling good on day two of my juice cleanse! The nut milk last night was yummy! The warm chai-spicy drink helped me get a deep sleep! And I woke up this morning for the first time in weeks without a bloated belly. I even tried to shut my phone off early to disconnect. That was the hardest part for me actually. Today, I'm meeting with a nutritionist to talk about post-cleanse eating. It will be important for me to re-introduce whole foods gradually. This is all a great learning experience for me! I encourage you to do your own research on cleansing, check with you doctor or health practitioner, and find out what works best for YOU!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Drink to the "Beet"! Day 1 of my Juice Cleanse

My first of three bottles of cleansing juice brought back an old childhood memory I'd rather forget. When I opened it up and took a whiff all I could smell were beets. I'm not a huge fan of beets. Reminds me of when we were forced to eat beets my Mom had pickled. We tried to eat them fast ... struggling not to gag. Needless to say I started to think "What did I get myself into?" However, I committed to this cleanse. I have to drink it. Took a sip. Mmmm. Not bad at all. I can't even taste the beets. Can I finish the entire bottle before heading to work? Yep! All done!

So far so good! Or was it?

5:41am ... Feeling hunger pangs. :( My body is so used to eating/chewing every 2 to 3 hours. It's saying "Feed me Cara! Where's my foooooood?! Where's my breakfast?!" Sorry stomach ... You got it already. ;)

6:36am ... Discovered another challenge: Need to peeeeee ... Again! I must find the nearest bathroom every morning. This will be difficult between 5am and 9am when I'm on location for work. I never know where I'll be. I might be in the middle of a field or by a busy highway. Good thing there was one close by today. What will tomorrow bring? We'll see.

8:41am ... I hope this gets easier. I think for my second bottle "The Green Drink" ... I'm going to sip it instead of guzzling the whole thing down ... then I won't feel so hungry.

10:55am ... I think I'm figuring this out. Sip throughout the day to quell the feelings of hunger. :)

1:28pm ... Just got home from work. This is the time when I get snack attacks. All I want is almonds! Anything I can grab and shove in my mouth. That's why I don't keep "junk" in my condo. Too easy to eat it all in one sitting. Instead I drink some lemon-cranberry water ... and take a nap.

2:44pm ... Starting my purple drink now. Last of the 3 bottles for the day. Tasty. Not really feeling hungry but would like to chew on something. I can't even have gum.

6:40pm ... yep ... I feel hungry and a little lethargic. One last thing to try before I go to bed ... the nut milk made from almonds! I hope it tastes as good as it sounds.

All in all ... it was a challenging day but not agonizing. I did feel hungry a lot and the water with the lemon-cranberry concentrate helped. Day 2 is supposed to be more challenging ... and I've been told a time when you start to look at your "psychological attachment to food".

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Challenge of the Mind ...

I've been offered a challenge by my friend Jackie Dumaine. It's not the first challenge I've had from her. (Check blog entry "ONE OF MY TOUGHEST CHALLENGES YET" from OCTOBER 3, 2010). It's not a "fitness" challenge like running a 10 K or squatting an insane amount of weight. It's a challenge of the mind, soul, and spirit. I'm not completely sure what that all means but maybe I will by the middle of the week. Curious yet?

I'm trying out a new juice cleanse called Bava Juice. (www.bavajuice.com.) My main purpose for doing this was to physically cleanse my system and start my new off-season training program/diet fresh. But I'm told by a couple of people who have done this particular cleanse that it's more than just a cleanse. It's a bit of a spiritual journey ... A time of reflection. In fact, the Bava Juice slogan is "Get Reborn".

The juice cleanse itself is only 3 days which is not very long. But here's where it gets "challenging" for me. In those 3 days I'm not really supposed to do anything. No weights. No intense cardio. In fact, Jackie told me "stay away from the gym!". Good thing I'm not teaching Get Ripped until Thursday. My boyfriend even challenged me further. Less phone. Less computer. (I'm addicted to my BlackBerry. Not sure how that's going to go.)

So what will I do instead? Take walks outside in nature. Read a good book or two. Relax. Rest.

As I write this I'm already feeling anxiety about the whole process. I've got so much "stuff" to do! No time to "rest" or "relax"! But as my friend Jackie said to me: "What is the worst that can happen ... Cara? Will the world self-destruct?" Sigh. As much as I fight it, I know I need this. So I hope you don't mind if I remove my Superwoman cape for a few days.

P.S. I will be blogging about my juice cleanse experience so stay tuned for more!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

My biggest fear is failure. Probably pretty common with many people. I take risks all the time. It's scary. But for the most part I let the fear fuel me. You could say I feel the fear and do it anyway.

This next risk I'm about to take is kind of scaring me. It has to do with my latest fitness goal. I'm even scared to share it! Why? Well, what if I fail? What if I tell people what I want to do and I get discouraging comments? What if I say I'm going to do it and then I'm too scared to follow through?

So this is it: I'm going to get my Personal Training certification. *hides face*. See how nutso-crazy that is? Hahaha!

This is not the first time I've taken a "nutso-crazy" risk like this. The last time was when I switched from a career as a Computer Analyst to a career in TV news. I was fearful of what people would say about my decision. But to be honest, I only remember one discouraging comment from someone whose brother was just laid off at a local TV station. Back then, I didn't let that negative comment bother me because most of the reaction I received was positive. In fact, I got positive feedback from the people I least expected to get it from.

So what's the worst that could happen as I embark on this new fitness goal? I could take the PT courses, gain some valuable knowledge that I could use for myself, and stop there. Or I could get out of my comfort zone, take a risk, and venture into this industry. After all, without risk, there's no growth. So when I grow up, I want to share the joys of healthy living by helping others take control of their health. I will feel the fear and do it anyway.

As I put the final touches on this blog entry I spotted a quote on Twitter... just when I needed it: Successful people replace the words "wish", "should", and "try" with I WILL.

So I challenge you to finish this sentence for yourself: I WILL ...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To Compete or Not To Compete

I did it! I competed in my 7th figure show earning a 2nd and 3rd in my height class for Masters and Open respectively. I admit I'm glad it's over. The last few weeks are always the most difficult. And without fail I always say the same thing in those last weeks "I think this will be my last competition". And then when it's all over I start planning the next one. So with two trophies in hand I ask myself once again ... "To Compete or Not to Compete?"

Why would I NOT compete? Well no offence to anyone involved in these competitions (including me) but it's kind of stupid. Why would anyone work their ass off in the gym for months, bring their best body to the stage, and then have someone else decide whether it's good enough to win? Makes no sense when you REALLY think about it. But it is what it is. So I try to go in these shows competing against myself which is difficult sometimes. One reason is because I'm competitive and want to win hardware every time. Don't we all? And guaranteed there is going to be a call by the judges that will leave people scratching their heads in confusion. That happens in EVERY federation. Not one organization is excluded from this. They are ALL guilty. It's a subjective competition.

Why would I compete again? Like I've said many times before, I love the journey ... the training, the clean diet, how my body looks and feels as it gets tighter and stronger. I also love connecting with like-minded people ... that has to be the best part. And of course, I love having that fitness goal to work towards.

So will I compete again? I don't know yet. I get better and better every year so it would be a shame not to. And I had a great time working with Trainer N8. But do I really want to be judged on how I look? I think I get enough of that being on TV every day.

In the meantime as I try to decide, I will focus on improving my fitness level, eating clean (with a little dirty eating from time to time) and having fun living life. Plus I have some other fitness goals that are putting me on a "stage" of sorts ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I can honestly say I LOVE training for figure competitions. I especially love the Hour of Honour sessions with trainer N8. I never know what kind of hell he's going to unleash on me. I totally love getting a pump when I'm doing weights. Makes me smile just thinking about it! I actually don't mind the diet this time around. I enjoy the meals. I admit I wish there was more flexibility but that's the nature of competing. And of course I love the reward meals best! But I'm not so crazy about the girlie part of competing. You know ... The high-heeled stripper shoes ... The shiny posing suit ... The glam make up (ok I kinda like that one!). Then there's the T-walk modeling thing. Ugh! That's the part that I'm most nervous about. Give me STEEL over STILETTOS!

Allow me to complain a little (after all I'm a bit "low carb" right now). The damn shoes are so high! I even thought about doing body building just so I wouldn't have to wear heels. But I'm looking at it as yet another challenge. So I keep practicing. A couple weekends ago was the first time I wore my stripper heels to do chores around my condo. Any guys reading this may be thinking "Oh that's hot!" Sorry ... no French Maid outfit. I was in my fleece pj's. Not sexy.

It's funny because I have spent months running my ass off, throwing around heavy things, swearing when it burned, fist pumping in celebration of an intense workout, and wiping the sweat from my face with my drenched tank top and in less than 2 weeks, I have to be on stage all made up like a beauty contestant, "T's" up, "A" out, smiling like a prom queen ............... and flexing my hard rippling muscles. Is it just me or does anyone else see the irony in this?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Riding a Roller Coaster of Emotions

I've only been on a roller coaster once when I was maybe 10 years old. Never again! But that's not always hard to avoid. You see, I've been riding a roller coaster of emotions for the last few weeks of contest prep. It all began about 3 weeks ago...

Roller Coaster Going Up
I dieted perfect. I got in all my workouts, cardio, and even taught a few classes. I got fairly decent sleep as well. Got on the scale for my weigh in at the end of the week. WTF! I dropped 5 pounds since last week's weigh-in. Unbelievable! Trainer N8 was surprised. And I "earned" 2 reward meals! Woohoo! Contest prep was going great!

Roller Coaster Going Down
So I was motivated to do everything perfect the next week too. So I did. Dieted perfect. Did all my cardio, workouts, and classes. Got to bed on time. But then a couple of "issues" came up. Let's just say "issue #1" was a girlie thing and "issue #2" ... a recurring "issue" ... will be referred to as ... "issue #2". Both of these "issues" wreaked havoc on the scale at my next weigh-in. Up 3.5 pounds from the previous week. Eff!

I had my whining vent session with a couple of close and special friends (thanks guys!). There was a lot of "I'm frustrated!" and "I don't know what I'm doing wrong!" and even some "Why me?!" Believe it or not I even contemplated ... for a split second ... quitting contest prep altogether! It was just a split second though.

After I calmed down and got all of that negativity out of my system, I made a decision. I decided to accept what was happening and just continue to do the work.

"Issue #1" is a fact of life so I just need to suck it up and deal with it. "Issue #2" is manageable with patience and time.

I told myself to believe that it will all work out if I just focus on what I'm supposed to do, focus on the positive, and make the necessary adjustments to deal with whatever "issues" come along.

I admit it's not rocket science but we ALL need to be reminded of this from time to time. I know I did and probably will need it again before I hit the stage in about 4 weeks. Because training for a figure competition is not just about sweating it out in the gym and eating super clean. That's the easy part! It's about believing in yourself, staying positive, and learning to deal with life's ups and downs without too much drama. Kind of like a roller coaster!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Operation: Frozen Nutty Goodness!

I have a love affair with a certain nut butter. That's why I had to implement Operation: Frozen Nutty Goodness! O:FNG was created to stop me from being tempted to dip a spoon in my jar of almond butter several times at the end of my work day ... the time when I'm most vulnerable.
On my contest prep meal plan, I get to have 1 tablespoon of almond butter with my first meal ... which is totally awesome! So I plop my 1 tablespoon of buttery heaven on the 1 rice cake I'm allowed. It's like cake with icing! And I'm pretty much satisfied with that.

But a few times I would come home from work/gym famished and the easiest thing to grab before eating my real meal was the jar of almondy goodness. All it took was a little spoonful of the beautiful butter and I was good. But then I would find myself dipping more and more.

I knew it had to stop. It almost got to the point where I was going to ask trainer N8 to remove it from my meal plan so I wouldn't be so tempted to cheat. And then I had my "Aha" moment and created Operation: Frozen Nutty Goodness.

Here's the plan I devised: After I savour my 1 tablespoon of pure nutty buttery joy in the morning, I put the jar in the freezer. By the time I get home from work/gym it's frozen. Not so easy to get at now hey?! Then before I go to bed, I take it out of the freezer and it is defrosted by the time I'm up in the morning. No dipping and diving! No cheating! O:FNG works like a charm!!
Except for that one morning when I forgot to take it out of the freezer the night before for breakfast the next day.

Yeah. Well. I now know how long it takes to defrost a full jar of almond butter in the microwave oven. (Btw, Auto defrost. 5 minutes).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where do you find the energy?

When I'm fortunate enough to meet some of my Twitter or Facebook friends who follow my ramblings, many of them are inspired, motivated, impressed, and sometimes confused at my dedication to training for figure competitions. Now, I can add on top of that, my new "part time job" as a group fitness instructor. One of my class participants asked me after I had just worked them out "Where do you find the energy?" Good question. Of course much of the energy comes from the good clean food I eat. Nutrition is so important.

However I think there's more to it. You see, I'm up at an ungodly hour for work (3:00am) and usually go non-stop until my head hits the pillow (I shoot for between 8:00pm to 9:00pm). So my energy is definitely not coming from good rest.

This is where I think much of my "energy" is coming from:

1) Knowing how great I will feel after I've had a good hard workout.
2) Seeing how far my fitness level has come since I started training with N8 as he guides me to DOMIN8 THE STAGE!

3) Watching participants in my class "digging in" for those last few reps (and thanking me later for making them sore the next day)
4) My music! From Hip Hop to Top 40 to Trance to Old School ... It keeps me going!
5) Seeing my full muscles as I lean out for a competition.
6) Most importantly, my special peeps who are cheering me on even though we can't do lunch, dinner, or drink wine together for a few months. Thanks! L.O.V.E.!

As challenging as it can be (especially the strict dieting), the rewards are awesome. I L.O.V.E. this fit and healthy lifestyle. Because without good health, you really have nothing. (By the way, I really should get more sleep ... working on that. And when competition dieting is over I will allow myself treats and cheats, now and then. After all, a woman needs her dark chocolate and red wine!)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Guilt?! Get over it!

This past week has been a great second week of contest prep training! Despite taking a couple days off due to a cold, my energy levels were pretty good. My eating was on point. And most importantly the scale was good to me for my weekly weigh-in. So my trainer allowed me a reward meal. So why do I feel GUILT?!

Let's break it down. After my first week of contest prep I earned a 600 calorie reward meal ... a treat meal with restrictions. I'm okay with that. I actually didn't think I'd get any kind of "reward" at all! Celebration time! Woot! Woot! Fast forward to week two. I dropped a healthy amount of weight after my second week so my trainer says ... word for word ... "Watch the fights and have some good food tomorrow!!!" I was looking for the small print that said "Caloric limit = 600" or some other restrictive number. Nope. Couldn't find it. Then I started to question: "What does he mean by good food exactly? Should I ask him? Should I just stick to the 600 calorie thing? Should I just throw down on a feast? He wasn't specific this time. What should I do?" Then I got distracted day-dreaming about the endless possibilities of treat meals I could have. Oh joy! I quickly decided on a burger and fries. And as usual, it never tastes as good as I imagined but it was better than fish and cucumbers. So me and my "food baby" were content with my reward meal and ready for the week of clean eating ahead.

Now before I get to the guilt part, bare with me as I share something. I remember as I prepared for my very first competition a very knowledgeable and experienced trainer told me to ignore what everyone else was doing for contest prep and just focus on what my trainer has instructed me to do. So I've always done that. But this weekend I was almost influenced after a casual chat with yet another trainer who is equally experienced and knowledgeable. He said he doesn't give his clients a reward meal ... only on rare occasions ... and it might be just 1 or 2 glasses of wine. He said "Don't do the burger and fries thing." Damn it! I just did!!! But I earned it! Didn't I? Guilt!

Whatever! What's done is done and he's not my trainer. I need to just get over it and stay focused on MY contest prep. Plus I think I burned off all those burger calories worrying about eating that treat meal. Guilt?! Ok! Ok! I'm over it! Time for some cardio!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


What’s better than one Crave cupcake? Well ... duh! Two Crave cupcakes of course! (My faves: red velvet and chocolate coconut!) So with that in mind, what’s better than one kick-ass boot camp with an amazing trainer? Two kick-ass boot camps with ANOTHER amazing trainer! Yes! I kicked off my Saturday morning at Hour of Honor with my trainer Nathan Harewood. And a couple hours later I decided that was not enough because I “bent over” for another whoopin’ from Tommy Europe! (see photo above) Can you say DOUBLE TROUBLE?!

Both workouts were awesome! Heart beatin’, sweat pourin’, fist pumpin’ workouts! Ok so maybe I was the only one pumpin’ my fists. It’s because I think these guys are a couple of the smartest trainers I’ve come across. Smart, not because they “know everything”. But smart because they both continue to grow and learn in their industry. That’s so important. But that’s not all! Here are a couple examples of why I dig these guys:

I’ve been working with Nathan since July of 2010 and my biggest struggle was finding the right combination of foods that worked for me and my wonky stomach. Well unlike some other diet plans from other trainers, Nathan has customized this diet just for me. Every meal and food combination has a purpose. That takes a lot of research and knowledge. Just sayin’. My tummy is happier! :) Plus his style of training is so fun you almost forget how much you dislike him as he’s making you do more freakin’ burpees and sprints! And he makes laugh. Heehee!

Tommy is gettin’ it done! He really knows how to handle a room full of about 100 ladies (and a few guys) who adore him. A gentleman and a jokester, all at the same time. The guy clearly knows that he needs to diversify if he wants to stay on top of his game in the fitness industry. He’s got his two hit TV shows, his sold out traveling boot camps, a new book coming out, and could there be another TV show is in the works? Maybe!

So I feel very fortunate to have been able to workout with two fitness professionals this weekend. Two fit fellows who are working their butts off to spread the gospel of fitness! What an awesome day of fitness it was for me! And even though it’s over, I still have sore muscles EVERYWHERE to remind me of the good times! Oweee!

Monday, February 14, 2011

What a way to kick off my contest prep!

I’m ready! I have my game face on! My meals are prepped! My calendar updated with my workout schedule! I even went to bed at a decent time last night. But Monday ended up being a bit of a challenging kick-off to my 12-week contest prep.

It started when I got into work this morning. My co-worker’s wife baked Valentine’s day cookies. She bakes the most AMAZING treats! They looked soooooo gooooood! I had to talk myself through it. “Walk away Cara! Don’t make eye contact with the pink frosting on the heart shaped cookie!!!” Ugh! Well I passed that test. You would think after my last cheat weekend I'd be sick of "dirty" food. Anyway, let’s just hope no one brings their left over Valentine’s chocolate to the office tomorrow.

There was something I couldn’t avoid today. It was an appointment with my physiotherapist. I had a nagging sore toe that I’ve been trying to ignore for the last 3 months. I know. I know. I was trying to “play through” the pain. To make a long story short, after the assessment he says to cut back on anything that puts pressure on my toe. Ummm let’s see that would be EVERYTHING I DO IN THE GYM! I basically told him in a round about way that I wasn't going to cut back. I’m going to “play through”, get therapy from time to time, and deal with the pain as best as I can during these next 12 weeks. Aging pisses me off sometimes.

So here I go! Preparing for another figure competition. Woot! Woot! After an awesome “off-season” I’m very excited about the next 12 weeks of weighing and measuring my food, eating the same thing everyday, training 6 days a week, spending my Sunday’s prepping food, spending Friday and Saturday nights at home, going to bed extra early on the weekends, not drinking wine, not eating chocolate, not eating Crave cupcakes, not eating out ... wait a minute ... why am I excited again?