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!

 

 

 

 


Jamaica Scenes, and Stuff.

Hi Friends,

If you have never been to Jamaica, I strongly encourage to think about it. “BrandJamaica” or rather #brandJamaica is so strong right now, more than ever. And I mean to visit Jamaica and enjoy our culture, beautiful beaches, food, music and people is something you have to write on that list if you have never made it happen.

While all inclusive resorts with everything you need at your fingertips is really a lovely way to relax and let your hair down for a week, I hope you are able to come back and see some more of what Jamaica has to offer on your next visit. I hope you try to experience the “authentic” Jamaica that delves a little deeper into the history and culture of my beautiful country. Get out the hotel and do some wonderful and fun tour of the country, eat in the community nearby to your hotel or villa, and get to meet some people along the way. You won’t regret it.  There is so much more to us, than just a beautiful beach!

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View from my gorgeous room at Strawberry Hill, Irish Town  – Jamaica is not just about the beach!

In the last six months I have been very fortunate to be able to re-discover my own island in the sun, via hosting press trips and Journalists and seeing places and new “haunts” that I have never been to, and vow to keep going back to. I am so happy to share some of these scenes with you.

Coffee Country

The Blue Mountains of Jamaica is one of the most beautiful locations on the island. It is hard to imagine you are still in Jamaica when you are up there. The smell of pine, the cool air and the vegetation all becomes completely new.  Strawberry Hill, part of Island Outpost, is located in Irish Town and about 3,100 feet up.

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The view of the Infinity pool overlooking the hills and capital city of Kingston from Strawberry Hill. Photo courtesy of Island Outpost.

Go much further up to explore the Coffee Houses and Farms, and to to hear more about the production of the best coffee in the world. You will see all the coffee plants literally on the side of the mountain as far as the eye can see. A visit to David Twyman’s Estate is a treat to see how the very best coffee in the world is grown and roasted, as well as if you have an “innings” to check out Clifton Mount (Coffee Traders Farm and old Plantation House) with Jamaica Tour Society.

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Up at 5,100 feet in the Blue Mountains, where the best coffee grows, as far as the eye can see is coffee plants!  It is very cool up here so far up, you will need a sweater or a scarf.  Wear comfortable shoes.

Places to stop by…

Try Eits Cafe when you visit the Blue Mountains, short for “Europe in the Summer” – such a cool stop for a meal. They are open for breakfast and lunch up to 6:00 p.m. and have an organic garden where the fresh arugula and lettuce is grown for the famous salads (try  the shrimp pesto salad, the dressing is to die for good) – the “green goddess” salad dressing is so good people will travel from Kingston on a Sunday to order a salad and the famous ‘barrel roasted chicken’ or one of their other divine dishes.

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Have one (or more!) of the EITS Mojitos, with the mint just picked from the garden, and definitely just make sure you take a few hours to sit and enjoy the view, the music, the people — it is really an eclectic and lovely setting. The owners are lovely people willing to sit and chat about anything.

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EITS Cafe’s Famous Bar Menu – the Mojitos are amazingly good!

Kingston and Kingston Tours

Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and many people tend to shy away from the city thinking it is riddled with crime and bad news. However over the years Kingston has gotten a bad rap. It is a metropolitan, fun place to visit especially when you want to learn more about our culture, music, art community and food. If you link up with a really great tour guide like Jamaica Tour Society, or Vibzen, you will be able to customise the type of fun tour you would like to experience – it could be a strictly “music” tour – or a combo of music and foodie, mixed in with culture, you get it!

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In Downtown Kingston at Coronation Market, the largest and oldest produce market in the Caribbean. A really diverse and “raw” experience. This little Bar is located at the outside perimeter of the Market.   That is LyndaLee peeking out the window who owns Jamaica Tour Society and offers custom Kingston and Blue Mountain Tours (see her link above for more information.)

In Kingston, you can have various tours set up, and we did a combo of Downtown and an “other” interesting finds…we started at Devon House for the famous and most yummy Jamaican patties and coconut water…Devon House also has the best ice cream in Jamaica, which you need to have (I wish I could tell you more, but I literally have to be disciplined on these trips – food wise…lol or my Trainer will hold me accountable 🙂 )

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Devon House for the first stop on our Kingston “Tour” – for Jamaican patties, so DELISH – you can get lobster, shrimp, chicken, callaloo or even curried goat patties.

…And then headed to Downtown, where we checked out Paint Jamaica at Fleet Street – a street that has massive painted murals on the walls done by the children who live in the area, as a community project that continues. We then went to LifeYard, run by true Rastafarians who are taking the time to harvest an organic garden right in the middle of two buildings on Fleet Street…so interesting! They will also let you sample some of their wellness natural juices (very yummy.) We visited Nick Davies who is a huge pioneer in his own right – making the most divine dark chocolate with cocoa beans grown right here in Jamaica. That’s right, we make chocolate too! And right after that we visited the famous Coronation Market.

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An example of a painted mural on a wall on Fleet Street – “Paint Jamaica.”

None of this is considered luxury or anything you would find on your typical vacation here in Jamaica, but it is certainly worth doing if you want to find out more and delve a little deeper into our rich culture and heritage. Having a wonderful guide like LyndaLee is an asset and the way to go too. She will give you a run-down on the history and culture of each stop and the communities.

Next time you are in Jamaica, go a little deeper, discover more, learn about our Music – the history of reggae, stop off at the Bob Marley Museum…taste some real “ital fare” — go up to the Blue Mountains and see how the most famous coffee in the world is grown….pick up a bag of the best coffee while you are there…visit an Art Gallery in Kingston – we have so much more to do than just sit on a beach (which is all good too!) – however there is so much more to discover.

Love, Neenie xo