Share where you started… (“before”)
I had been active / athletic my entire life but I will count my first 10 years of Motherhood as my “before”, and age 39 as becoming a “born again” athlete!
What lit your fire? How did you know it was time to change?
Having been somewhat athletic my entire life, I was disgusted by what had become of my body after 10 years of Motherhood. I was still pretty strong, not horribly over weight… but what happened to the days when I got excited to exercise? During that 10 years since my first child was born, at age 30, I tried running multiple times but only lasted a few weeks and then I got bored. It seemed that was all I could do as a stay at home Mom, though. There was no P90X back then!
In 2010, I enrolled my children in Taekwondo. After a few months watching them kick and punch from the sidelines, I confided in the Master, “That looks insanely fun.” His eyes lit up and he demanded me to try the TKD fitness class the next morning. I gave my very best excuses… “I’m in the worst shape of my life.” “Perhaps I should run for a month to prepare so I don’t die on your mat.” But he insisted and I came. One class and I was hooked. I was too afraid to get on a scale, but I am guessing I weighed about 155-160 lbs. I first stepped on a scale after working out for 3 weeks and I weighed 146 lbs.
Where you are now? (how long did that take?) And do you have before/after pics you can share!?
I never dreamed I would be where I am now. And I am hoping my future holds the same type of mystery. I currently weigh 129 lbs and have approximately 9% body fat. I remember my original goal being to weigh 135, my pre pregnancy weight. With exercise alone, I plateaued at 140 lbs. Fortunately, my martial arts instructor had access to a very influential nutrition expert and shared his knowledge with me. Tightening up my nutrition not only blasted off that stubborn last 5 pounds, but 5 bonus pounds beyond my goal! My first “taste” of reality… that your body is 20% gym, 80% nutrition…. or there abouts! After coming to realize this, I began setting further… and further… and further goals. I thought my final goal was to be 9% body fat. And when I hit that a couple months ago, I looked in the mirror and knew I could take it a little bit further. The guy that did my body fat test (hydrostatic / water disposition) eye-balled me at 12% and was shocked when I walked away at 9%. He said I was the densest female he has ever measured. My trainer and I now agree that I carry my mass a little differently than most females and that 7-8% would look more like what I imagined 9% would look like. I never want to stop seeing what I can do!
What do you love best about your transformation?
Besides the obvious, looking in the mirror is now enjoyable, I love that I have improved my health and extended my life to it’s absolute fullest potential. I feel better and look better than I did in my 20′s… which was the previous “best shape of my life”!
Any health benefits you’ve seen? any benefits for your family?
I am rarely sick. Right now, I am getting over a cold that was spreading in my gym. Don’t get me wrong, all the ladies I workout with are in phenomenal shape, but they aren’t fanatical about nutrition like I am. One of the ladies ended up with pneumonia and another with bronchitis. Nutrition to blame? I’m not sure… but I can’t help but notice! Illnesses aside, I just FEEL healthy in a way I can’t really explain. Only half joking, I have described how I feel as “high”… like a buzz that is actually good for your liver, haha! Along the lines of feeling “high”, I feel “light” and not just because I weigh less… but because there actually is less (um, how do I say this politely?) crap in my system. My digestive tract is so efficient, colon and intestines always have a pretty light “load” (haha, pun intended).
Now to the nitty gritty…what exactly did you do to transform? what were your general eating plan and exercise regimine?
Like I said previously, it’s been a journey of evolving goals. Starting with small goals that can be met in about 3 months time. I started by exercising, then cutting soda… then cutting fast food… then ultimately, discovering nutrition. The exercise that got the ball rolling for me was my martial arts fitness class. We not only did a lot of HIIT style kicking and punching, but a lot of very creative martial arts style body weight strength training. I did this 3 days per week for one hour. About 3 months later, I started taking the martial arts (Hapkido) classes as well. I worked my way from white belt and now I am a black belt candidate and will be testing for my first degree black belt next summer. About a year and a half after that, I discovered weight lifting; something I have steered clear of my entire life. You see, as a teen I was a gymnast and I knew from the strength training we did there that I built muscle fairly easily for a woman. I became your typical cardio-bunny who was afraid of becoming “bulky”. My weight trainer was extremely complimentary and encouraging and I decided to embrace what I was gifted with… mass, strength and symmetry.
Here is a typical day eating for me. I always start with a big bowl of oatmeal. Go beyond rolled oats! Make your own mix from the bulk bins: rolled barley, 5 grain cereal, oat and wheat bran, flax seed, soy lecithin, nutritional yeast, PB2 and last but not least, protein powder for flavor. A quality carb rich breakfast fuels my first workout (always martial arts). Then, I refuel with my second breakfast… a huge veggie and egg scramble. About an hour later, I have a light snack of fruit. Lunch comes around 2, which is usually a HUGE green salad and 5-6 oz chicken, fish or lean beef. About an hour later, I have another light snack… usually a sweet potato. Carb up to workout again! After workout (either CrossFit or weight lifting). Dinner is usually steamed or grilled veggies, salad and more lean meat. Right before bed, I have a desert that I am just fanatical about! You should totally try it: 6 ounces Fage 0% plain non-fat yogurt with 1/2 scoop cookies n creme protein powder and 1 TBS PB2 (powdered peanut butter). I swear, I love it as much as ice cream. This blast of casein protein keeps my tummy full throughout the night.
All the gurus say “eat well and exercise” – this is so generic!What did you eat (maybe a typical day’s menu)? What did you do in the gym?
This is today, 12-12-12!
Bent Over Barbell Rows 85×8 85×8 75×8 Supersetted With Low-Back Extensions (medium angle) 20×8 20×8 20×8
Deadlifts 180×8 180×8 180×8 Supersetted With Pulldowns With Narrow Grip 90×8 90×8 90×8
How did you deal with meal planning for a family? as we find often kids reject our new healthy foods like brown rice, fish and asparagus!
OH, my kids are the same way. I usually prepare 3+ meals at one time for myself and that makes cooking separate for them a little easier. I eat a lot of chicken, but they get bored of that much chicken… but they do like how I prepare it. My boy is very picky with his veggies, but I am very excited that he is now eating green salads now that he has discovered Brianne’s blush wine vinegarette (OMG – I will do anything to get him to eat something green!). The only other vegetables he will eat are red bell peppers and carrots. My 3 girls, are much better. They pretty much eat all veggies and are positively influenced by me. Score!
I know they have been influenced because I NEVER bought yams and sweet potatoes before. Now that I do, they eat them! They are definitely curious about what I am eating. If they get bored of steamed potatoes, I will treat them. Like last night, I sliced red potatoes thinly and sauteed them in olive oil. They loved it!
What are your go to meals for the crazy days when you don’t have time to cook a nice meal?
Preparing many meals at a time has saved me so many times, but when I am in a bind, it’s always TUNA packets. They are always ready. If I have just a few seconds, I make this sauce to pour on top: 2 TBS PB2, 4 TBS apple cider vinegar, 3 TBS Braggs Aminos (soy alternative), 1 minced garlic clove, 1 TSP Sriacha hot sauce. Mix that all up, then pour 2 TBS of the mixture on top of the tuna. SERIOUSLY, it tastes gourmet. IMO, it tastes even better over fresh grilled chicken, but we are talking quick go-to meal here. Other foods… always, always, always have fresh veggies chopped and ready to go. Debi knows this… I have stopped in the market, bought a head of broccoli and started eating it in the car… like it was cotton candy!!!
What is your best strategy for dealing with cravings for the “bad” stuff? (chocolate, soda)
GUM. I love mint the best, but have discovered those desert gums recently… WOW. I thought they would be disgusting, but they are so tasty. Try the rootbeer float while drinking a diet rootbeer, close your eyes and dream… haha! As bad as they are for you, I do have a diet Dr. Pepper addiction, which does give me my sweet fix. I would say the best distraction foods are raw nuts and my PB2 yogurt. Non food distractions are simply to keep busy! Sundays are my hardest days because I’m supposed to be relaxing. When I do that, I start to think of food.
Did you find ways to deal with stress without turning to food?
Fortunately, I am pretty laid back. Like I said, keeping busy helps. But what I think is most important is… make your workouts and activity that you get excited about. That will, in turn, be a major outlet for stress. Funny that I chose martial arts… punching and kicking is such great therapy! The first 10 years of Motherhood that I spoke of, I tried numerous time to start running. Each try lasted 3 weeks max. I HATE RUNNING!
No one can be perfect 100% of the time… Do you allow treats or splurges or do they happen unwillingly? How do you get back on track if you had a not so great day with food/exercise?
Absolutely! What I’ve discovered in the past 2 months (Halloween, a birthday, and now Thanksgiving) is that big re-set / re-feed day is GOOD for you. Not only does it keep you sane, but a shock to the metabolism is fantastic. Keep the body guessing. For the past 4 weeks, I’ve binged on the weekend because of celebrations. I do gain a pound or two, but it’s off by the next weekend and I have maintained 128-129 though these binges! I even had a 4 day binge over Thanksgiving and I gained 5 pounds. I was able to lose it all in a week by being very strict with my food.
Do you take supplements? anything to boost energy?
Yes. Multi-vitamin. Beverly International “Lean Out” and “Keto7 Musclean”. I am only taking these while trying to get to my next goal. The Keto7 Musclean is an energy booster and fat transporter. When body fat is this low, energy is easily exhausted.
Any other advice you’d give for someone starting to get fit? or someone who’s lost motivation along the way?
I touched on this a bit already, but find something that you really enjoying doing. I have recently started crossfit and I love it just as much as martial arts and weight lifting. What I like about crossfit is that it’s a nice combo of everything and a different workout everyday keeps it interesting. And since you are trying to beat time or reps, the competitive edge keeps you motivated. Mingle amongst like-minded people and look a pictures of fit people on the internet!
ONE OF THE CHALLENGES CARRIE TOOK ON WAS TO DO 3100 PUSHUPS IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER – SHE MADE IT A PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE TOO GORGEOUS IMAGES TO CELEBRATE HER LOVE OF PHOTOGRAPHY & FITOGRAPHY (heehee)
THIS WAS CARRIE’S AWESOME HALLOWEEN COSTUME! SHE EARNED THAT ONE 3 TIMES OVER!!