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.

IMG_4377

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.

img_4125.jpg

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…)

IMG_6893

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!

 

 

 

 


Fitness – What I love.

Hello Friends,

While I work today on my second installment of “From Shy to the Stage” – I thought I would give a run-down on the products I am obsessed about fitness and health wise.

This is NOT a sponsored post. It is stuff I share from time to time, and did so on my last Blog.

Fitness Gear

I love, love these resistance bands from Amazon.com for that workout where you need to challenge yourself more, with dumbbells, or just using on their own. I carry these with me in my Gym Bag at all times.

Speaking of Gym Bags, I love all the bags from Fitmark Bags. I love this Company as I have bought many bags from them and shaker cups and they are all of high quality at a good price, and there is always a sale. In fact use code: NEENIE15 to get a further 15% off at checkout!

Transporter-Tote-Bag_black_front-580x580

This Transporter Tote is super special as it is a Gym Bag + Meal Prep Bag, for you serious fitness peeps.

This is something I have in my gym bag for the times I need to use it on the smith machine or a heavy barbell. Your neck and shoulders will thank you – it is the best squat pad I have found. I like using my own.

I recently ordered these sports bras from Amazon. A pack of three and a great buy.

I would go cray in the gym if I did not have my music. These bluetooth headphones are comfy and have a fabulous sound, plus they are not costly.

I always love wearing these Converse slip on “chukkies” for days of deadlifts and leg days, you just get so much more balance and better form. I have these in two pairs of white, black and high top white I love them SO much. Use them for your leg days!!

CONVERSE

Wear this for LEG days peeps. So your balance and ultimately your FORM is not compromised when doing squats, deadlifts and lunges even.

Supplements

I love using protein powder for post workout in a shake (with almond milk) as it helps to fuel those muscles and help with the repair of fibres, which ultimately lead to bigger muscles. I love chocolate flavours and have had alot of different brands over the past three years but I have to say that Optimum Nutrition, and NLA for Her in the chocolate eclair flavour are my two current faves. I love to make shakes with a small frozen banana, oats, almond milk, ice and a scoop of NLA for Her chocolate eclair when I really need a boost during the day. It is divine, try it!

her-whey-chocolate-eclair1-510x575

My fave protein powder right now in this YUMMY flavour. Helps you to really get your protein in for making those gainz ladies!

Let’s keep on track with Sups, I am also loving the same brand – NLA for Her in the Her Aminos – watermelon flavour. Now if you do not take Aminos and are working out hard with weights, you may want to re-consider why. Amino acids help hugely with building lean muscle, enhances muscle recovery, gives you that extra energy and even helps to cut fat. Take a scoop per day for that extra energy you need. I take mine before a workout, and continue to sip it with water in a shaker bottle during my workout especially a leg workout.  My “doms” are not too bad at all when I take this. Delayed onset muscle soreness can occur up to four days after a heavy compound muscle workout, so it is good to have something to sort of counter act that. Nothing wrong with a little pain after a workout, but sometimes it is just really dread after a heavy leg day.

Food

I love peanut butter. However when I stumbled across this Barney Butter almond butter (in smooth), I stopped eating peanut butter and have been ordering this one for about two years. In fact last year back stage at my Show in Jamaica, the girls were going crazy over it…we were eating it on rice cakes, (all we could really eat back stage, one of the joys of competing) – but this sure helped as the flavour is lovely and it is not made with palm oil.  I love it so much that I have an on-going subscription with Amazon monthly where I receive a bottle every month, perfffect!

Barney Butter

I love this stuff SO much I use it in my oatmeal, shakes and on rice cakes, the macros are good, for the fats you need in a day.

If you are not a member of Thrive Market.com, then I urge you to become one, and soon!  You will get up to 60% off the retail prices on these products via this site paying an annual fee, but it is SO worth it.  I buy my Simply Organic spices and Kodiak cakes here. The spices are ahhhmazing and so worth it with the lower price.

 

KODIAK CAKES

GIRRRL, (and gents!!) please get these if you have never tried them. A brilliant macros, and taste, PLUS protein is great. I love them before a heavy leg workout on a weekend.

That wraps up my things I love post, I will be posting each month a list of things I am loving fitness and health related. Stay tuned!

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy these tips, and make sure you go and order them, your life will be better. 🙂 well your Fitness life anyway.

Love, Neenie xo


From Shy to the STAGE – part one

Hello Friends,

When contemplating what my next Blog Post would be about, I immediately had a strong feeling that I should share my own life story in terms of weight issues, “fat shaming,” the way I used to look and judge myself and finally living on an island and never wanting to go to the beach because of my own “body issues.”

Getting on the “Starving to be beautiful train”

As long as I can remember and since High School I was always on a diet. At first I thought, wow this is so cool, I am copying the cool ladies (ones who were older) at school as they all seem to be on diets, and starving themselves, so it must be seriously in style. I never had a weight issue up to that point, I put it in my head that I did. I must have been about 105-108 pounds in all my teen years, and I looked very slim and healthy (looking back.)  However, I saw the girls with uniforms hanging off them, skirts falling off and collarbones sticking out – and I thought that was the way we were supposed to look in our teens. Everyone was trying to be “skinny” – one girl boasted that she ate one apple per day for two weeks and had lost ten pounds.  She seemed pretty skeletal looking to me….but again, it was ingrained in me from then that this is what the perfect woman must look like.

I was also watching my mother eat only salads, and the era of Miss Jamaica this and that, and Miss Jamaica Fashion Model, etc. whatever it was – they were all underweight, severely so – but I thought this was the picture society was telling us to look like. Emaciate yourself, and you will become someone. You will be beautiful. Men will love you.

And I fell in love with a very handsome man when I was 19, who loved my thin figure – so I kept thinking this is it, this is the epitome of beautiful.

Moving to Bermuda to study Hotel Management

I moved to Bermuda and started studying hotel management….and within six months, trying to fit in, study hard and missing my family – I put weight on. About 15 pounds. What they call the standard “Freshman15” – it just so happened the lovely ladies I was friendly with back then in Bermuda all had healthy figures – and they encouraged me eat normally, which included snacks, etc. I was not used to understanding what healthy was….I had no idea how to cook healthy and lived in with a family who ate frozen foods for dinner. So with that added stress came the snacking, eating bread etc. Another five pounds on my 5ft barely two inch frame.

By the first year in Bermuda I was now weighing about 132 pounds, but no one in Bermuda thought that was odd nor was I ever called “chubby” or even “fat.”  In fact I received alot of male attention constantly.

And back in Jamaica…

When I went back to Jamaica for the Summer vacation the following year — I experienced the first time I was “fat shamed” by a good, family friend a couple years older than I – a very attractive man who I had known since childhood. I went out one night to a night club with my handsome boyfriend and I was told that “I had gotten really fat” by this person and in front of many people. My whole world collapsed at that point and I wanted to go home.That led to me starving myself for the rest of the Summer and going back to Bermuda at about 120 pounds. To which I was told by all how thin I looked. I was so confused to put it lightly.

 

IMG_3535

I have been healthy at 125 pounds (like this pic) over the years and healthy at 102 pounds, the main thing is I am not dieting and have a healthy balance of macros, workouts and meals for my goals. This pic was 2013 when I was not weight training, just doing only cardio – nothing wrong with the weight, just was not as sculpted.

IMG_6674

This is 105 pounds my weight range now, – not much cardio (about 15-20 minutes each HIIT session four times per week // adding in much more weight training), and lots of balance of macros.  About where I am today, at this range I live a much more healthy life, I do not ever diet, I eat on the IIFYM (If it fits your macros) and train about five to six days per week.  Days off are SO important.

Another two years of college meant more weight gain. More vacations to Jamaica, more insults = more starving and you got the picture, each year I was going up and down by 15 pounds depending on where I was. Jamaica – 120 Bermuda, 135. What was wrong with this picture??

**In Part two: Meeting my hubby and finding the balance, and understanding what it takes to be healthy and fit..and not worried about what people think…to taking a walk on the stage.**