Fave things – November Edition

Hi Friends,

I thought I would write about my favourite things – and this is the “November Edition” as a lead up to Christmas, and for ideas that may help you – whether fitness related, books I am reading and love….my fave Blogs and YouTube Channels right now, and just in general!

I used to do this alot on my last Blog – A Fabulous Life in Jamaica which I retired in 2016.

Fitness – what works for me…and what I am trying

 

 

The Buff Bunny Game Changer Bag! In Mauve, shadow, noir and Pearl colors. 

When The Buff Bunny Collection came out with the Game Changer bag – I could have cried I was so happy. I was so sick of dragging around my Meal prep bag to work, with my purse, and gym bag! This game changer bag certainly changes the game a bit in terms of having a space for a “little of everything.” There is a sleeve for your laptop, files, wallet….even workout clothes, plus and the big plus is, a compartment at the outside/bottom of the bag where you can store snacks/meal prep items for that day (note it does not come with an ice pack…) however it is super pretty, made with vegan leather… and very convenient for days I am not hauling an entire set of meals with me to work (that is for the weeks leading up to a competition…) they sell out very fast, I must warn you!  Why I love this Collection is because it is designed by a lady (Heidi Somers) who has been into fitness for years, and has a popular YouTube Channel. However a great idea for a Christmas gift for that busy, fit lady in your life.

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These lifting straps will change your weight training game!

They will literally change your training game. You know when you’re concentrating on holding the bar/handle from slipping out of your hands, these take that away and help you to focus more on the exercise. I highly recommend these for your workouts and to help take you to the next level. I always have a problem with deadlifts when I am trying to level up to the next weight and find it hard on my wrists to hold the bar ++ more weights, well this had changed that scenario!

 

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My next fave thing is something I literally just purchased about six weeks ago, so I have not been using it long, but love it. I have seen many posts on instagram about it and decided to try it. This Sweet Sweat stick is made up of natural ingredients – coconut oil…aloe vera extracts…acai pulp oil (so it also smells very nice) and it works as it  is activated by your elevated heart rate and may help the body sweat more during exercise. This topical gel works best during cardio, circuit…I use it on my core when I am doing fasted cardio, which is about 3-4 times per week for about 15 minutes right now. I just ordered the Paige Hathaway waist trimmer + coconut oil set and have not tried that yet, but will give a full review on the next Fave Things post. This set sells out fast too.

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The Paige Hathaway Waist Trimmer and Sweet Sweat Coconut Oil by Sweet Sweat – I have not used it yet, but apparently it sells out very quickly!

Organising

Organising has to be a HUGE priority in my life as a PR and Social Media Manager for a Group of three hotels and entities, it is a matter of be organised or sink! Well not that intense, but you get the picture.

I have had MANY Day Designers in my life – in fact since the very first one was introduced, that is the one I ordered and loved it – still do. However I realised over the years for me, the agenda itself is very hard to run around with.  When I have press/ journalist hosted visits, or photoshoots and I am on the “ground” running like crazy it is almost physically impossible to carry something that heavy (though it is beautiful…) to me, the original day designer agenda is more of a feature for your desk that does not move. Until I found the newer version “Today & To Do” which let me tell you has changed my game! While only having enough daily pages for three months, it is more of a goal oriented quarterly agenda that keeps you on top of your daily to do’s (same pages as the daily day designer) – it also has a section for weekly to do’s and month to month looking ahead. It is also beautiful to look at and much easier to carry around!  I have had this colour below, and now on the dusty pink which is beautiful.

As a social media manager I need to have everything in the same place – even though each App is individually on my phone I have ONE place where I post and answer comments from my laptop if you can believe – and if you are a social media manager et al, and have not gotten on to Later yet, then you are seriously missing out!  I used to manage my platforms via Hootsuite, but have found Later to be much more modern in many ways. Plus each week there are emails sent from the Later Team with new, innovative ways to post and also giving you tips re anything from scheduling posts to Instagram stories. I find it a HUGE relief whereas once I was much crazier, I am now a bit more sane, when it comes to the day to day management of social media channels.  You can add up to a certain amount of channels on this platform, for example, Facebook Accounts, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – and post at the same time. Scheduling is also a HUGE help so that you are posting especially to Instagram at the right times of day etc.

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I love using white boards in my office (I have two) for each month and what to do for work. I find them easy to clean and easy to see. I highly recommend having one of these whether in your home office, or at work on the wall. This simple way of writing lists to do for the week / month ahead and having it right in front of you, is a real game changer for me.

Books and YouTube Channels

 

I am a huge fan of beautiful coffee table books and have been ordering them for years and years. This year I have stumbled across some really lovely, beautiful books that I wanted to share as I feel they enhance the quality of my life in many ways.

The book on the left  – The Live Fit Kitchen is by a good friend and famous Jamaican fit lifestyle entrepreneur and Yogi, Sharon Feanny.  It really is not only beautiful to look at but all about Sharon’s LiveFit way of life in terms of her recipes. There are 100 recipes that she has shared, and let me tell you all delicious looking! I have tried a few, and cannot wait to try more.

The book on the right – Gracefully You – is one  I stumbled across on Instagram on Jenan Dewan’s Instagram Page and immediately ordered it on Amazon as it just looks like something I would want to have in my collection. I have decided that it is such a beautiful book that I will be purchasing more for friends this Christmas!

Fave YouTube Channels:

I follow many, many YouTube channels and they are mostly Fitness related! I follow ONLY channels that will inspire and motivate me, and this includes for Instagram too.

Fitness

Natalie Matthews – Lifestyle, Fitness, Recipes

Natalie is an IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor, and is a vegan! She also is a wonderfully talented cook and shares many of her fabulous recipes with us.

Angelica Teixeira

If you are into fitness in the bikini competition way, then you will know that Angelica is a two time Miss Bikini Olympia. SHe is not only amazingly fit and awesome, but she shares her 12 week competition preps with us, and is super humble too. She also shares her workouts – which I love.

Ashley Kaltwasser 

A former Miss Bikini Olympia three times – Ashley also has fantastic content – she works closely with Adam Bonilla, Owner of Team Elite Fitness who is also her Coach and also a fabulous resource for competitions and prep.

Other/General:

Kara Corey Fit Life

Yes it has a Fit Life title – but Kara is also about the balance of finding joy in everything she does. So it is a little of fitness as well as everyday life (she is a Registered Dietitian and WNBF Bikini Pro.)

Whitney Simmons

This lady has become hugely popular in the last year especially and vlogs about everything from fitness, to beauty….to home and everyday life – highly recommended! She is also very positive and wonderful to follow.

Other Stuff:

Every quarter I receive the most amazing, fabulous Box of goodies – via FabFitFun. I signed up about two and half years ago, and have never looked back! For $49.99 per quarter, you receive boxes that can literally be worth over $250.00 – $400.00 or even more! It is such a great way to discover new brands, and to also feel like Christmas has come again, three months later. I actually use many of the products in my boxes as gifts to friends, but have also discovered new brands along the way.

You can sign up right here! 

What was in my Fall Box:

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I hope you have enjoyed this November Fave Things Post, and I do hope to post more and more about the things I love in the future!

Jeanine xo

 


Keeping it real, and an update!

Hi Friends!

It has certainly been awhile since I have written here – and all I can say is that I have to blame it on my busy busy life (career) since I last posted.

I want to keep it real and always prefer to have great content to share, and sometimes the busy days turn into busy months and then voila, six months later, you are wondering where did the time go?  While I was waiting for this “great content” to share, all of this time just went by! So from hereon, there will be regular posts – snippets of my life, etc!

It is coming up to that wonderful time of year with the weather changing and the festive season approaching and I thought I would update on what I have been doing in my Fit life and otherwise.

In terms of fitness, in 2019 I continued to focus on my “fit life” and have been working out 4-6 times per week on average. I started training for a national competition in Jamaica in June, for September with my fabulous trainer Maya (who is based in Canada and a former Bikini competitor herself) – we were able to build my frame with some good muscle growth which was my goal this year. I went from 102 pounds to 112, and then shredded to 102 again for the Show. Unfortunately, the morning of the Show I realised the spray tan went very wrong and I had splotches all over my core and large spots all over my arms and legs. I was unable to enter as I knew I would be marked down for this.

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The morning of the Competition, September 7th – when I went to the Hotel Gym to “pump up” before stage. I realised the spray tan was splotched and I had brown spots all over me. I then decided NOT to enter.

In the picture above I was very happy with my final presentation. I was coming in at a great “S curve” and sufficient muscle growth for Masters Bikini of an Amateur National Show.  However the spray tan was not dark enough and there were splotches! A HUGE NO NO! This final look was the result of one year of dedicated workouts, 80% clean eating each week and a real focus on the final look my Trainer and I wanted to present on stage for my Masters category. In fact the week before the Show, I went to the “rehearsals and posing session” and the Head Judge was there – asked if I would enter the “general bikini open category” – which is of course all ages. That is from like 20’s up! However I thought to myself there is no way I am going on stage with 20 somethings :-))

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The day after the Competition, I went to the beach and my hubby took these to show me the results of my hard work – but clearly you can see the splotches and dark spots!

I think 2019 has taught me that you sometimes just have to “go with the flow” of life and not get too caught up in certain standards. I realised after not entering the Show that life can dish out some unfair perspectives, and really it is all about going with it. So I did not enter the Jamaica National Bodybuilding Show. Well, maybe in 2020 I will be able to build more muscle and enter an international competition – who knows?  One day at a time!

Many of my friends question me about my nutrition and ask me about my “macros.” It is so hard to explain to anyone not in the fitness/health world as macros are solely dependent on goals. However to put it simply macros mean “macronutrients” which broken down again, is the ratio of protein:carbohydrates:fats we consume each day. Protein is the “building block” of muscle in our bodies. So if we are trying to “build lean muscle” then we are going to need not just enough protein, but more than enough. Carbs help to “bring it” and fats are crucial in this process too! My macros will be different during my “prep” for a Show to a woman of my age just maintaining her weight. So sharing my breakdown would be fruitless to anyone reading this, as it is all dependent on goals // weight right now // where I want to be // bulking OR // Cutting. Also how many times I am working out each week. Right now I am again on a building muscle period, so my cardio is low and my macros are higher than before. I can safely say I am now on an average of 130- 140 grams of protein / over 200 grams carbs and about 40-50 grams of fat average per day per week depending on my workout split.  I will post again on this soon. Also I would love to talk about building muscle at my age, and how hard/easy it is to shred. It is all such an interesting world when it comes to this fitness/competition life!

I still get up in the mornings and do fasted cardio as I personally love it. That is about four days per week for 15-20 minutes NO longer, as that is a way I can stay on top of any extra body fat gain – meaning to balance it. I do weight training about 4-5 times per week with a split of upper-lower-upper-lower-cardio and abs. Training ABS is not that crucial to me as I know maintaining a six pack is hard to do all year if you are trying to build muscle. My core comes back when I am shredding. However I do fit in abs about twice per week.

See more posts on my Fit Life here here and here.

Here is a post on Jamaica, if you are thinking of visiting!

Other than my fit life – all else is good. Soon I will be posting pictures of my beautiful dogs, which includes my year old “pup” named Pinot Noir after my fave wine.

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Pinot Noir and Bono – on the chair in the room that seems to be “theirs” and Pinot Noir has already chewed up the bottom of the chair as you can see!

Well until the next time, I do hope you enjoyed this update!

xo

 

 


Update: My Fitness Journey in the past year!

Hi Friends!

It has been awhile for sure. I thought it was well time to come back and keep up the posts here.

The last (almost) year has been go, go go and very stressful – and as a result I was unable to keep up the writing here.

In the past few months I have realised that I was losing myself to stress and frenetic times, and also realising that it is not healthy for me or for living a healthy life. I have been working out hard as much as I can – that has helped to balance things out – but writing also helps. So here I am, to catch up and get back into my blogging!

I thought I would kick back off this Blog with a small report of my fitness journey in the last year.

Due to the way 2018 panned out, I did not enter any bikini competitions last year. I hope to enter one this year, and have been doing my best to build lean muscle in the last six months especially. Where I fall short is a lack of protein, and for anyone who knows the world of lifting and gaining muscle mass – you have to have a certain amount of protein for the muscles to grow with all the working out one does. It is called the bulking stage and I have to admit that this phase can be hard as you really are supposed to gain weight….the premise being you will “cut” slowly before the Show. As I have not identified 100% which Show I will compete in next, I am not really being that strict with the macros (macro-nutrients) and tending to eat more intuitively.

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This year I will focus on building more muscle, since the last Show I entered at the end of 2017. Focusing on glutes, hammies and my core.

Leading up to my next Show (about 10-12 weeks before) I will get very strict about macros, weighing my food and ensuring I am getting between 110-130 grams of protein in my diet. Of course this is reflective of my goals, and my figure – it is not for anyone else to feel that this is what they should do. We all have different goals. Friends ask me this question all the time. What should I be eating each day to lose weight? Or how should I be exercising?  My answer can only be that in a simple breakdown: if you are trying to lose weight, then you have to consume less calories each day via smaller intakes of food OR taking in less calories via exercise (cardio if you have to lose weight.) You can also do both, which is the most healthy way of cutting back – have a specific range of calories you consume per day to lose weight, + exercise 3-5 times weekly with a cardio session added to weight training.  This blog post however is not about going through macros and exercise (that can be in a future post with more details…) but just commenting on it in general.

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With lean bulking comes weight gain, and a lack of a real six pack or core, and that has been hard but it is all par for the course!

My cardio breakdown per week right now is only 15 minutes of HIIT three times weekly directly after weight lifting. Twice I just lift with NO cardio. This is because I am aiming to gain muscle mass, not to lose it. If I go harder on the cardio, my body will go into an anabolic state, which means as I have a low (ish) body fat percentage already, I would be in danger of losing muscle mass – precious lean gains that I have worked so hard for.

I love to exercise, as I feel it is SUPER beneficial for our lives in ALL ways. You just cannot go wrong with whatever makes you happy. It also keeps you healthy, works to combat disease, and aids with overall confidence. For me, exercising took a new turn when I fell in love with weight training after years of avid boot camp classes. The difference in my my body now compared to then is obvious…more lean body mass, less body fat and a general more “sculpted” look. Since then, I have never done a boot camp class again! (I am NOT knocking anyone who loves boot camp – if it makes you happy, you should…)

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I have been also taking the time to enjoy life a bit, relax and not worry TOO much about prep life of competing in the last year. I was also very stressed at work and trying now to find that balance again

In the next six months, I will continue to train 4-6 days per week, two with a Trainer and the goal to be to build more muscle – at least 2-3 pounds of muscle, focusing on the upper body and glutes/hamstrings.

I am also incorporating alot more work with bands for glutes (especially glute activation), and hip thrusts added to my current repertoire of deadlifts, squats, lying leg curls and tons of lunges (curtsy/walking/stationary) – not forgetting kickbacks! It is all good for all aspects of “building the glutes and hammies.”

I have posted a few posts on my fitness journey here and here on this Blog for reference.

In my next post I am going to be sharing who my fave fitness peeps are, some who have been to the Olympia stage and done very well…they are what I refer to as the epitome of fitness in that they live the life all year without succumbing to too much weight gain in their off season. They are great examples of who to follow if you are on this path.

I have also discovered in the last year some cool brands – apparel and nutrition, which I am also going to share.

Until then, stay fit and healthy friends!

Love Neenie xo

 

PS keep up with my doses of fit life and Jamaica on Instagram!