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


Summer Specials at Island Outpost!

Hello Friends,

I am sharing with you some fabulous Summer Specials at Island Outpost this Summer effective for travel from June 1st to October 31st.

If you have never been to Jamaica before, then I encourage to check out one of these three beautiful, pristine and unique hotels.

Island Outpost is a collection of three hotels owned by Chris Blackwell. GoldenEye on the North Coast of Jamaica, Strawberry Hill in the Blue Mountains, and The Caves located on the west end cliffs of Negril.

GoldenEye.jpgGoldenEye, St. Mary Jamaica, pic courtesy of GoldenEye.

At GoldenEye – The Barefoot Summer Special is open to book now:

Seven nights for the price of five, including one lunch and one dinner:

One three course lunch (excluding beverages). Lunch is based on two guests in a one-bedroom category and up to four guests in a two-bedroom category.

One three course dinner (excluding beverages). Dinner is based on two guests in a one-bedroom category and up to four guests in a two bedroom category.

Complimentary arrival cocktail & daily breakfast.

Free high speed wi-fi & nightly turndown service.

Use of tennis court, non-motorized water sports & par fitness course.

Daily glass bottom boat tour every morning at 9am.

A flask of Blackwell Rum.

**There is also the same as above but booking four nights for the price of 3 and includes one dinner.

Over at Strawberry Hill, which is located up in the cool, sweet Blue Mountains of Jamaica, there is a special “Bliss in the Blue Mountains” – which is three nights for the two.”

One three course dinner (excluding beverages). Dinner is based on two guests in a one-bedroom category and up to four guests in a two-bedroom category

Arrival cocktail & daily continental breakfast

Wi-fi & nightly turndown service

Use of sauna and plunge pool

Flask of Blackwell Rum

Daily continental breakfast

the-caves-resortThe Caves, located on the west end of Negril

And check out the two Summer offers going at the very sweet, Bohemian The Caves in Negril – do check it out with the link attached above!

Enjoy Summer in Jamaica in 2018!

Love, Neenie xo