Eat clean and train dirty – that’s how body transformations happen. But what if you are training hard and eating clean and nothing is changing? What then?
This is something I know about all too well. The before pictures you see are from June, 2011 last year and I had been recently diagnosed as having hypothyroidism. I wasn’t feeling well, felt tired all the time, and I knew something wasn’t right with my body. After analyzing my nutrition and training program, things weren’t adding up (well they were…but not the way I wanted them too!). I had much debate with my doctor at the time who said I was just ‘working out too much’ and despite my lack of energy and plethora of other symptoms, he told me my body was ‘just fine’ (he is no longer my doctor of course…). I had grown out of my clothes but was working out 6 days a week, eating a traditional body building style diet (oatmeal, egg whites, chicken, brown rice…etc), and was feeling frustrated. I was getting amazing results for my clients, but I couldn’t figure out why my body fat was increasing despite my commitment to eating clean and training hard.
As a fitness professional I felt like I wasn’t representing everything that I was coaching. I also felt the pressure of wanting to look like a fit fitness professional, something that I feel strongly about. Although I don’t think all coaches need to always look like they are ready for a physique competition at any given moment, I do feel we need to be committed to a high standard of training and nutrition. Not only did I not feel I looked my best, I was also losing strength and felt very weak in comparison to the weights I was previously lifting.
The past year was quite the journey and I am fortunate to have worked with some incredible nutrition and training coaches to get me where I am today. Marianne, my nutrition coach and Taylor my strength coach (husband and best friend) were instrumental in helping me work towards my fitness goals. I really can’t thank them enough for all the help and their patience (emphasis on the patience).
Looking back a year ago, I remember meeting with one specialist in Toronto who told me that I just had to get use to eating 1000 calories a day and do 2+ hours of cardio in order to ‘lose weight’ with my condition. I remember leaving that appointment thinking, no wonder people are pushed into extreme diet and exercise programs with all the horrible advice and information from so called experts. I left that appointment after initially thinking I had wasted my time and a lot of money, but as I sat on the train ride home I decided to turn a negative experience into a positive one. I made the decision to commit to finding out everything I needed to know about my thyroid condition and become my own expert and build a team of coaches to help me find my way back to looking and feeling better.
I had to relearn what training and nutrition worked best while I was in transition to regulate my hormones (not an easy and quick process…trust me!). I became committed to new changes with my own eating to better support my hormone health and in the process I became certified as a fitness nutrition coach.
I would be lying if I said this process wasn’t frustrating or at times or I didn’t feel sorry for myself, because I did! We’ve all been there, but on a positive front I now have a much better appreciation for what it feels like when we start to change the way new members workout and eat. It’s not easy, but it is worth it. And having support is very key in the process. I remember thinking to myself that perhaps my situation was karma getting back at me for making so many people do countless burpees…lol
I’m fortunate to now have a healthy body and I have made a commitment that I will never take my health and how I feel for granted after such hard work. I have learned an extraordinary amount of information about nutrition, training, life and happiness along the way and I feel that I’m a better coach for it.
You might be wondering if my results are merely based on medication to regulate my hormones and that is fair enough to ask. The answer is NO (trust me…) and it is just a small piece in the puzzle actually. I still train 5 days a week, I have revamped my diet which has been one of the biggest factors contributing to my physique changes and I still take time for recovery with rest days, physiotherapy and massage treatment at our studio. To be honest I’m now training and eating smarter than I ever have before and I’m happy with my progress.
As I always tell our members, the key to being successful with your health and fitness is truly about respecting your body and what it needs. There are so many people out there on the same journey, trying to feel their best but going about it the wrong way. I meet women thinking running will make them lose weight, weights will make their legs and arms look bigger, using the scale will show them their progress, and eating carbohydrates will immediately add a donut size piece of fat onto their ass – all not true! It’s not about being extreme, it’s about training SMART and working with the right coaches to help you hit your goal. You can read countless workouts and diets in fitness magazines, but none of them are designed with you in mind. There are millions of readers of those magazines of all different ages, shapes and sizes but there is only one you.Your health and happiness is depended on what you choose to make of your opportunity to live your best life. So get out and make it happen!