Powerlifting Nationals – Maggie Morgan

Powerlifting Nationals – Maggie Morgan

So happy with today! Competed at my first national championship and walked away with the bronze medal for my class, junior 63kg. I hit all my lifts going 9 for 9, and hit PRs on all my 3rd attempts. For squats I finished with 115kg/253lbs, benched 67.5kg/149lbs and deadlifted 150kg/330lbs for the 3rd place spot. My weight class was stacked with so many strong beautiful girls, not to mention the most supportive behind the platform with some A+ butt slaps, Danielle Fontyn.

This has been the toughest yet most enjoyable meet prep to date, and I could not have done it without my coach and friend Justin Reeson. I put so much trust into him for this prep, and he came through right till the end with beautiful attempt selections and thigh slaps.

Protein Chocolate Cake Recipe

Protein Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup egg whites
2 tbsp greek yogurt (can substitute unsweetened applesauce)
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Sweetener to taste
Chocolate chips (optional)

cakeSteps:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Transfer to a greased, microwave safe bowl.
  3. Microwave for 3 mins 30 seconds.
  4. Ice it with protein powder mixed with a little bit of water.
  5. Top with crushed up smarties.

Macros:

Without the toppings the macros are:
20g protein
20g carbs
1g fat
225 calories

Once you have tried making this recipe we would love to get your feedback!

Did you like this recipe? Do you have any suggestions for improving it?

Benefits of BCAAs

Benefits of BCAAs

The benefits of BCAAs, which stands for branched chain amino acids, are numerous. No matter your goals, BCAAs are a useful tool to include in your nutritional arsenal.

BCAAs offer multiple benefits to all that use them. For those looking to lose weight, sipping BCAAs before and during their training can help protect their muscle from breakdown. When we’re in a calorie deficit, our body will have to source energy from somewhere. During a workout, this can sometimes come from endogenous protein turnover, which means your body breaks down some of its own muscle tissue to create the energy required for exercise. That muscle gets broken down into its constituent parts, which is a series of branched and essential amino acids, which then get shuttled into the blood, before it gets converted into blood sugar for use as energy. This is where one of the most powerful benefits of BCAAs comes into play. Drinking BCAAs before and during exercise can help counter this breakdown of muscle tissue. By doing so, we put amino acids into the blood so that they are already present, which essentially tells the body, “don’t break down your own muscle! Look, there are already amino acids in your blood stream! Use those for energy instead.” The net result is us keeping more of our muscle tissue while we lose weight, which is extremely important to keeping our metabolism strong and healthy.

For those training to build muscle or increase sports performance, BCAAs are equally useful. Research has established that the consumption of BCAAs before and during training can reduce muscular damage. This allows us to train again sooner, and at a higher level of effort. The more recovered we are, the more progress we can make. As well, BCAAs, namely the amino acid leucine, activates some important pathways to protein synthesis, which is the repair and construction of muscle tissue. On a more immediate level, BCAA intake during a workout increases performance by decreasing time to fatigue and boosting overall endurance, allowing you to push hard from start to finish and get the most out of your training efforts.

AminoX is a product I’ve used for years, and have recommended to dozens of clients, with great success. It’s a fantastic product that is very reasonably priced, and is calorie free. Start drinking one scoop at the beginning of your session and experience all of the benefits that BCAAs bring. I suggest buying it from Bodybuilding.com as they have great prices. The watermelon flavour is superb!

Click here to check out AminoX pricing and flavours.

As a special deal for LiftHacks clients, you get extra discounts on Bodybuilding.com products! To get your discount, click on this link and don’t forget to use the following discount codes: www.bodybuilding.com/lifthacksdiscounts

  • Get $5 off site wide when you spend $100 or more with code 5OFF100
  • Get $10 off site wide when you spend $200 or more with code 10OFF200
  • Get $15 off site wide when you spend $250 or more with code 15OFF250

*You have to do both parts to get the full discount, so don’t forget to click on the link AND use the discount code at checkout.*

How To Make Fitness Work For You In 2016

How To Make Fitness Work For You In 2016

It’s 2016! But you already knew that. You may have missed the mark in 2015 for achieving all of your fitness goals. Fret not. A new year is upon us, and all of the unbridled opportunity and enthusiasm that comes with it.

There are probably a myriad of reasons that you fell short of sticking to your fitness goals from last year, but the massive time requirement of your job or career is likely the biggest of them all. It’s ok and it makes sense, life gets hectic. Ultimately, personal fitness is but one piece of your larger life pie.

That being said, there are numerous ways in which committing to your personal fitness can benefit your mental health, and your cognitive performance!

Stimulate the body, stimulate the mind

“There’s a lot of research into how cardiovascular exercise helps people with depression and seasonal affective disorder by stimulating certain chemicals and hormones in the brain, and just generally helps them feel happier,” says Marta Wein, the manager of the Carleton Fitness Centre, and Carleton’s fitness and recreation programs administrator.

“I’ve also encountered a lot of anecdotal evidence of people saying that exercise makes them feel better, more confident, and better about themselves in general,” says Wein.

It makes sense that feeling more confident about yourself and the things that your body can do, as well as enjoying an increase in general feelings of well being, will have a positive carryover into your work, as well as all areas of your life.

However, exercise also has a direct impact on focus and work related performance, says Nick Westcott, the manager of Carleton’s High Performance Centre. Westcott has a degree in exercise science minors in biology and coaching, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is also Carleton University’s head strength and conditioning coach.

He says that there are various ways that exercise can improve mental health and mental performance. Aside from benefits like stress reduction and an increase in endorphins, “exercise has been proven to increase the number of nerve cells, and interconnections between nerve cells in your brain, basically allowing you to create new neural connections. And that isn’t applicable just to the central nervous system and athletics, that applies to overall neurological function.”

Westcott says that he’s encountered research supporting the fact that aerobic exercise (cardio) decreases restlessness and increases general focus. As well, research also states that resistance training (lifting weights) increases mental acuity and momentary focus, which is the ability to, “focus on one thing at a given point in time, like a presentation, for example.”

Westcott says that he believes resistance exercise has a definite, albeit indirect, impact on cognitive performance. “Resistance exercise has a positive effect on sleep quality. It also improves energy levels, which in turn will improve mood. You get the benefit of new neural pathways, and that provides you with more tools to focus, to be more alert at work, and to be more receptive to learning new skills.”

Therefore, while all forms of exercise stimulate an increase in focus and cognitive performance, strength training seems to have the most profound direct and indirect impact. That being said, both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training are important, especially if you’re looking to change your body while experiencing the positive mental benefits of exercise. And chances are, changing your body is what is motivating you to get to the gym in the first place.

Hopefully all of this is some food for thought the next time you consider skipping out on the gym when work gets stressful.

Give 80 per cent, 100 per cent of the time

Both Westcott and Wein agree that above all else, consistency is the key to success. A big part of being consistent is setting realistic goals. If you haven’t exercised in a few months, expecting to go everyday is both unrealistic and a recipe for disaster.

If getting into fitness is your New Years Resolution, realistically, fitness is not the top priority in your life. To decide to go five times or more in a week and aim for perfect attendance from the get go is both unsustainable and unrealistic.

“I would have a beginner exercise no more than three times a week. And that being said, aim for three, but if you get two, that’s also great,” says Wein.

Wein says that the most common mistake she sees this time of year is people doing too much, too soon.

Westcott echoes that sentiment, stating that starting small is important. He says everyone should start with something realistic that suits their schedule and the amount of time they can actually dedicate to their fitness.

“A lot of people will come out of the holiday season after eating a lot and not really being active and decide they’re going to go five or seven days a week, and that will last seven days. They’re already done. They’re too sore and beaten down. It doesn’t fit their schedule and they call it quits. Going two or three times a week for three months is going to accomplish way more than going hard for two weeks and taking three months off,” says Westcott.

Getting Started

According to both experts, a three-day a week program that blends both strength training and cardiovascular exercise is an ideal approach to starting your fitness journey in 2016.

Westcott says that in regards to long term, sustainable fat loss, there are a number of factors that influence what kind of exercise is ideal. Things such as training experience, injury history, individual goals, and the amount of time available to train have a big effect on how the individual would exercise. “For the general population, you know, someone who only has time for three 45 minute sessions a week, they’re definitely going to want to make resistance training part of their training.”

He says that lifting weights, regardless of gender, will have a far greater impact on fat loss than three equal duration cardio only bouts of exercise. “That’s not to say that aerobic exercise isn’t important. It does have a positive impact on overall health, as well as some fat loss benefits, but weight training is going to facilitate fat loss and have a bigger impact on body composition.”

The reason that weight training has a more significant effect on fat loss is because of the way in which it stimulates the metabolism. Muscle tissue is the most metabolically active tissue in the human body, meaning that the majority of calories burned at rest come as a result of muscle tissue’s high energy demands. By stimulating you muscles with weights, you’re stimulating your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day. The net result is more fat burned over the long term. As well, as you slowly become stronger, you also slowly build more muscle, which increases your body’s basal metabolic rate over the long term. Generally speaking, the more muscle tissue you have, the stronger (faster) your metabolism will be.

Westcott and Wein both say that focusing on basic movement patterns – hinges, squats, pulls, and pushes – are the most effective way to stimulate the body. The more muscles involved in a movement, the greater the associated metabolic impact.

As well, as a beginner, cardiovascular exercise should absolutely be part of your program; following weight training. You want your body to be fresh and devoid of fatigue for your weight session so that you can execute the movements safely and effectively. The most important aspect of this program is establishing a foundation of quality movement.

The Program

Westcott says that in his experience the things that most often keep non-competitive athlete trainees coming back is measurable success. Adding weight to exercises, change in the shape of a muscle, or small and progressive losses in body fat are significant motivating factors. “I also see a lot of general population clients take pride in, and get excited about getting better at performing the movements.” An example is someone going from not being able to do one proper pushup, and then three weeks later they’re able to execute ten reps with great form. “When this kind of thing happens, a light goes off in their head, they’re so happy, and they know that they’re achieving something.”

“The body composition changes happen fairly slowly, but when they’re starting out people can get better everyday, and they should take pride in that. If they stick to it and let that kind of thing motivate them they’re going to look how they want to look.”

Based on the recommendations of Westcott and Wein, as well as my own experience, I’ve constructed a one-month beginner program that should build a foundation of quality movement, stimulate fat loss, and offer all of the mental health and academic benefits addressed above. Work hard, and enjoy!

A special note for Women

From our talk, and from my own research and personal experience, I already knew what the answer to my next question was going to be, but I had to ask it anyways. I looked at Mr. Westcott with a blank face and asked, “but won’t lifting weights make women big and bulky?” He smiled and laughed before answering, “No, no it won’t.”

“I’ve been doing this for a while,” he said, “and it’s a lot harder than people think to do that, even for men.” He laughed a little while longer before giving a more detailed answer: “lifting weights will make women stronger, and they may get a little more toned, as they like to say. They may add some muscle mass, and they’ll decrease fat mass. Women don’t have the hormones to grow muscle like men do.”

Wein, who does personal training, says, “It’s very important that girls lift weights when they’re trying to change how they look. It starts very young, but no matter how many times you explain to someone – to women in particular – that lifting heavy weights will not make them look like a man, it just doesn’t seem to compute.

They kind of believe you, but at the same time they don’t, and they’re still kind of scared of the whole idea.”

“Women come in and they want that tight, toned body they see on websites and social media, and I explain that in order to look that way they’re going to have to work hard, and they’re going to have to lift heavy things, and still they shy away from the idea. An hour on the elliptical won’t create a body like that, but lifting weights can,” says Wein.

LiftHacks 30 Day Fitness Program
Don’t forget to join The LiftHacks’ Facebook group for women who are interested in lifting and nutrition, so you can connect with other people who are doing the 30 day challenge, ask questions, and get even more free help from the LiftHacks crew! Click here to join!

 

About The Author: Justin Reeson

Justin Reeson is the founder of LiftHacks (www.lifthacks.guru) an online training and nutrition company. He is a powerlifter with a journalism degree.

Plank

plankgood – hands forward, make your body form a straight line, tense core aggressively and hold, focus on breathing into your belly while keeping your abdominals tight

plankbad – hips too high, rounding of the back, another common mistake is to allow the hips to sag too low

If you have any questions about the movement after reading those descriptions please post your question in our Facebook group.

How To Do Back Extensions

If you have any questions about the movement after reading those descriptions please post your question in our Facebook group.

Back Extension starting position

Back Extension starting position

Back Extension finishing position

Back Extension finishing position:
extend your hips using your glutes and hamstrings to raise your body to parallel, hold briefly before returning to start

Back Extension Bad Form

Incorrect Form For Back Extensions: Do NOT hyperextend lower back, your body should appear parallel to the floor at the top position

Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat Starting Position

Goblet Squat Starting Position: hold the top of a dumbbell against your chest, stand with feet a bit wider than hip width apart

Goblet Squat Bottom Position

Goblet Squat Bottom Position: keep your core tight and push your knees out slightly, allow your hips to descend until your thighs approach parallel. A highly effective way to safely teach your body the squat motor pattern.

Key Points: Heels must stay in contact with the ground, keep torso fairly upright, don’t allow knees to drift in towards the midline of your body

If you have any questions about the movement after reading those descriptions please post your question in our Facebook group.

5 Tricks to Maintaining Strength During Bikini Prep

Stage ShotIn February of 2015, I competed in my first powerlifting competition and placed first, holding the collegiate total record for the 72kg weight class. I hit a 231lbs squat, 138lbs bench press and 297lbs deadlift. It was after this meet that I begun my prep to the stage in July of 2015. I ended up losing ~25lbs bodyweight and continued to hit PRs in the gym right up until I stepped on stage. I placed first in my class at the Ottawa Natural Classic, qualifying me for provincials in August 2016.

My coach knew what my goals were, and we shared the aspiration of having me compete at the Ontario Provincial Championships for powerlifting in October 2015. Together, we reached that goal and I ended up hitting a 248lbs squat, 145lbs bench press and 314lbs deadlift in the 63kg weight class, placing second in Ontario. Not only can you maintain strength while cutting, but also evidently you can increase strength. Its not easy, but it definitely is possible. Here are 5 important points to keep in mind about maintaining strength while cutting, whether it be for a bodybuilding show or not.

  1. Accept the bad days

During a cut, your body will respond differently on different days due to an array of factors. If you’re having a bad day at the gym, it is important to remember what you are putting your body through and accept that you are going to feel weaker some days. Listen to your body and don’t push it on days it doesn’t want to be pushed. This is important for avoiding injury and allowing your body to recover as it needs.

  1. …and Praise the good days

That being said, you will also have days where you surprise yourself with your performance and strength. Engrave this feeling and those days into your mind. Hold on to them during your weaker days so you don’t get discouraged.

  1. Rep PRs instead of 1RMs


Going from powerlifting to bodybuilding was a drastic change, and even though I continued to incorporate powerlifting into my workouts, the intensity was significantly decreased. I was still hitting PRs though, and something my coach did amazingly well was make sure I knew when I had hit a PR, even if it was a new 8 rep max. It is important to keep track of your progress, every form it may take. I couldn’t expect to go into the gym during the last few months of prep and hit a new 1RM, but I was able to see strength gains in other ways. This kept me motivated, which in turn kept me strong.

  1. Eating strategically

When the amount of carbs you are allocated begins to decrease and decrease, it is important that you plan to consume the majority of those carbs around your workout. Post workout especially, but also pre workout and even intra workout if you can afford it.

Feeling full became very mental for me during prep. I put so much effort into planning my meals so that they were exciting, and lasted as long as possible on my plate. The fuller I felt, the better I would perform in the gym because I would feel stronger.

  1. The value of sleep

There is a limited amount of factors you have control over during prep that can positively influence your strength, and the main one that gets overlooked is sleep. It is so important to prioritize sleep no matter how hectic your schedule becomes. Not only will you feel more energized throughout the day, you will perform much better in the gym. 
I wish you the best of luck with your journey towards a stronger, healthier and happier you.

How To Forgive Yourself For Holiday Eating Choices

How To Forgive Yourself For Holiday Eating Choices

Ah, the holidays: full of cookies and puddings and fruit cake and chocolates. How can you say no to the tins of homemade delights, or the second scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy?

You think it’ll be different this year. This year, you’ll stay in control: have one cookie, or one slice of pie, or only miss one workout. But by the time Boxing Day rolls around, that plan has gone completely out the window. And now you’re left to deal with the consequences.

For me, that’s the part I struggle with. After I overindulge, I tend to panic. I start to think “how can I make up for this?” I make mental plans to only eat salad the next day, or to go for an extra run. I stand in front of the mirror and grab my belly and shake it, and say “this is what you’ve done to yourself”, like shame will somehow motivate me not to overindulge next time.

This holiday season, after indulging in an entire tin of homemade oatmeal shortbread cookies with my mother, I felt the panic rising. As soon as I swallowed the last bite, the regret washed over me. I failed. Again.

But you know what? That attitude is not productive. Obviously, avoiding the binging in the first place is the best solution. But sometimes we give in. Hey, we’re human! And when we do, we have to learn to forgive ourselves.

Forgive: “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake”. That’s right, STOP feeling those thing. That doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize that we made a mistake. It means that we make a conscious effort to stop feeling angry, or resentful. And yes, it will take effort. You have to STOP your train of thought when it veers towards those emotions. Do not get sucked into the vortex of negativity.

All we can do is keep moving forward. And not in a drastic, punitive way. As soon as possible, get back to your normal plan. Punishing yourself by limiting food or over-exercising is just going to wreak havoc with your body. Look at yourself in the mirror and say:

“I messed up. But that’s ok, because that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve worked hard, and will continue to work hard.”

Then do that: every single day is a new opportunity to better yourself.

Pumpkin Mug Cake

Pumpkin Mug Cake

Ingredients:

25g Canadian Cinnabon Protein
1/4 cup (60g) Pumpkin Puree
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate chips (optional)

Steps:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients
  2. Add the pumpkin and egg
  3. Add chocolate chips
  4. Microwave for 2-3 minutes depending on your microwave. Keep an eye on it!
  5. Top with whipped cream, Greek yogurt, or ice cream if it happens to fit your macros

Macros:

mug cake ingredients

Once you have tried making this recipe we would love to get your feedback!

Did you like this recipe? Do you have any suggestions for improving it?

mug cake

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the perfect starting point for most meals, ideally pre and post workout meals because it is mostly carbs. Not just any carbs though, its almost 100% starch which is ideal for feeding muscles and keeping you full.

So, you have your oatmeal.  Now for the fun part! I’ve always had a major sweet tooth, so I tend to satisfy those cravings with my oatmeal by adding protein (typically chocolate flavoured), berries, greek yogurt, peanut butter, you name it.

Snapchat-2739322059318790490One of my favourite combos is oatmeal cooked with cinnamon, a serving of 0% plain greek yogurt (can be sweetened with stevia/artificial sweetener if you like), and a tbsp of natural peanut butter.  The warm oatmeal mixed with the cool yogurt and slightly melted peanut butter literally just makes all your troubles go away when it hits your tongue.  Not to mention it is also the perfect combination of macro nutrients.  You have your starchy carbs from the oatmeal (which also has a decent amount of protein), a few extra carbs from the yogurt, protein from the yogurt, and healthy fats from the peanut butter. How could you ever go wrong.

 

 

 

45g (1/2 cup) Quick Oats

3/4 cup (175g) 0% plain greek yogurt

1 tbsp (15g) all natural peanut butter, or nut butter of choice

Cinnamon, to taste

Sweetener, to taste

Mix the dry oats with a dash of cinnamon, then add about a cup of water to the oatmeal and microwave for a minute and 30 seconds. Let it cool for  a few minutes before adding the greek yogurt and peanut butter.  Dig in! You can mix it up or keep the ingredients separate.

 

Canadian Protein

The first thing that I believe people tend to miss when beginning their lifestyle change towards a healthier, more balanced one is the need to adjust their protein intake. Especially for athletes, keeping your protein intake high is vital.  I started to make this change at the beginning of my fitness journey with a simple protein shake every morning, as soon as I woke up, and immediately after every workout.  Ideally this would be a protein shake with little to zero fat and carbs, which was difficult to find. The macro nutrients found in the Canadian Protein 100% Whey Protein Isolate are ideal for this purpose. The product mixes wonderfully with just water, and tastes amazing! It is the only protein isolate I have ever found enjoyable on its own.  To name a few, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cookies n Cream are all amazing with just water.

Curving a sweet tooth craving also became so much easier and made my meal planning so much more enjoyable when I could incorporate protein into treats! With the extensive flavours that Canadian Protein has to offer, the opportunities are endless. This fall I have used a large amount of Cinnabon flavoured Canadian Protein in my recipes that include pumpkin, and the simple Milk Chocolate flavour is perfect for all your favourite chocolate recipes – sweet potato brownies is one of my favourites.

I have also swapped out cream in my morning coffee for a little bit of Canadian Protein, mixed with water, and then stirred into a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee.  Mixing it with water first will ensure that it doesn’t curdle when you add it to your coffee, as long as your coffee isn’t too too boiling hot. I highly recommend the Canadian Maple flavour for this purpose. But again, all of the flavours are unreal. For this purpose and baking purposes, the Canadian Protein Whey Protein Concentrate in addition to the Isolate, works wonderfully.

Use this link to get a 5% discount on Canada Protein’s already great prices: http://canadianprotein.refr.cc/HK2CVF8

Egg Salad

  • 1/2 cup (125g) 2% Cottage Cheese
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1tbsp light mayonnaise
  • Green onion
  • Chopped cucumber/celery/iceburg lettuce
  • 1/2 a pita or 2 slices of bread
  • Salt and pepper

Take your egg and put it in a pot of water on the stove, high heat for 15 mins.  Let cool.

Mix together the cottage cheese and mayo, then add in your egg, chopped up. Add in any extras, such as green onion, cucumber, celery or lettuce. Add some salt and pepper, then either put the filling in a pita, or on a slice of bread as a sandwich. Enjoy!

Egg Salad Macros

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

120g (1/2 cup) Pumpkin Puree
30g (1) egg white
8g (1 serving) Sugar Free Jello Pudding Mix
25g Canadian Whey Protein Isolate
1/2 – 1 tbsp (8 – 15g) Chocolate Chips
1/2 tsp baking powder
Water/syrup/milk to reach desired consistency
Sweetener

Steps:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients
  3. Fold the chocolate chips in.
  4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, on parchment paper.

Macros:

IMG_0928

 

Once you have tried making this recipe we would love to get your feedback!

Did you like this recipe? Do you have any suggestions for improving it?

Ontario Junior Provincials Results

Ontario Junior Provincials Results

Ontario Junior Provincials was a great success. Four of the clients I coach and program for lifted their hearts out, and all four came away with medals: two golds, and two silvers in all.
____________________________________

Maggie Morgan (@magssaakje – 63kg class), who I’ve been working with for nearly 3 years, had an absolutely perfect meet. She went 9/9, squatted 112.5kg/248lbs (13lbs PR), benched 65kg/143lbs (3lbs PR), and deadlifted 142.5kg/314lbs on her third attempt to win the silver, and to lock in a 17lbs lifetime PR.
____________________________________

Jackson Spencer (@jackson_spencer – 105kg) had an unbelievable meet in a gold medal, record setting performance. Jackson is the current 105kg junior national champion. He went 8/9, squatting 282.5/622lbs to set a new national record, and a 16lbs competition PR. He also had a massive day on the deadlift, pulling 290kg/639lbs for a 54lbs deadlift PR, which set the new national record total at 737.5kg. He hit a 441 wilks.
____________________________________
Mallory Rowan (@malloryrowan) and Catherine Chu (@cattyceezed) battled until the very end for the gold in the 72kg class, tying in total after all was said and done. Mallory won the gold on bodyweight and had an incredible meet. She squatted 135kg/297lbs (11lbs PR), benched 70kg/153lbs, and deadlifted 145kg/319lbs for a new deadlift PR. I believe she improved on her total from July by 22.5kg, and with that, she is an Ontario Champion.
____________________________________

Catherine racked up PR’s that were so ridiculous I can barely even keep track. She went 9/9 and squatted 137.5kg for her first ever 300lbs squat. She benched 65kg/143lbs for a 13lbs PR, and deadlifted 147.5kg/326lbs for an 11lbs PR. I took over her programming 9 weeks ago, and we’ve made incredible progress since. Two months ago she was considering not even doing provincials, and now she comes away with a silver medal after a perfect meet.
____________________________________

I had an awesome time coaching these amazing, driven lifters, and I’m so proud of them all. They’re all juniors, and all have even bigger numbers coming their way at Canadian Nationals in February.
Body Image and the Mental Journey of Acceptance

Body Image and the Mental Journey of Acceptance

You might not always be able to have your cake and eat it too unless that is your only simple goal, or you are genetically inclined. Otherwise, if you have other commitments, desires, ambitions, or priorities, you will find your body image goals far out of reach.

If you are anything like me this will eat you inside. You will stand there in your sweatpants feeling like a bloated whale (thank you, “girl problems”). The time of the month won’t matter in your head because you don’t have a portable hormone verifier telling you “it’s ok, you’re just retaining a bit more water now…tough it out and I PROMISE you will feel better in a few days.” Your significant other, friends, and family will make it worse by either getting annoyed with you or by being overly supportive and concerned. You want neither of these. You want someone to tell you want to do. You will do anything. Eat 1000 calories, eat only carbs, eat no carbs, chug weird green concoctions, eat every 3 hours, not eat for 16 hours, drink a few gallons of water per day…You just want to know.

The problem is, you will NEVER know EXACTLY what to do. Every day is different. And wanting to know exactly what to do every single day is, quite frankly, obsessive. See all those posts of people saying things like “it’s so simple” and “just eat clean and be healthy” or “iifym” or “follow these 5 simple rules and you will look like THIS”? Ya. They bug me too. They bug me because everyone is different. They bug me because I can’t follow these people around and see what they are doing with their days. They bug me because I can’t see their complete genetic profile and I end up doubting myself and my knowledge.

So cut it out. Just stop. Stop shamming yourself because you didn’t go to the gym once, or twice. Stop beating yourself down because you didn’t follow The Plan, or worse, because you failed to even decide on a plan.

Do you have passions? Great. Go for them. But know that other things will TEMPORARILY fall to the side as you pursue them. And that is ok. It’s ok to not be the best powerlifter, weightlifter, bodybuilder, every type of designer (literally every type), business woman, friend, girlfriend, daughter, cook, homeowner…Those are just SOME of MY things. And there are more. I obviously want to do everything and go everywhere. I see other people’s accomplishments and as happy as I am for them, truly, I think why can’t I or didn’t I do that?

I could ramble forever but the bottom line is simple, just like those stupid posts say: DO YOU. But “doing you” today won’t necessarily be the same as tomorrow and that’s ok too.

Prioritize. Set goals and timelines. Evaluate but don’t judge. Make a plan but don’t be upset when you don’t execute to perfection because imperfections are where we learn. If you were perfect all the time…well you’d be pretty boring. Don’t let your mind prevent your body from doing wonderful things. Choose to be imperfect. Choose to accept. Choose to love those imperfections.

Now, stop wasting time reading another one of those stupid posts and go out there to Train your mind with Grit, and Live your life with Grace.

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