I was going to write that post showing a couple sample days of my diet, but I was inspired by this post on Facebook, and instead wanted to write about just how important it is to have a support network in achieving your goals! Yes, there’s some people out there who are perfectly capable of being their own motivator, but for the rest of us, having at least someone in our corner, cheering us on, and keeping us accountable, can really be what takes us over that finish line. I’m so incredibly grateful to be a part of Jean-Jacques Barrett (my coach) and his partner Michelle MacDonald‘s Active Protocol team. Here’s a little back story (don’t worry, I’ll try to make it short!)…
2010/2011 were big years for me. I realized what had been just past time interests could be turned into a career. So I took my passions about fitness and nutrition, became certified, and started a business. I experimented with all types of training styles, and really fell in love with high-medium intensity training intervals. Anyone that knows me, knows I like to work hard, and fast – no long slow jogs for me! Because I provided mobile training services, I had everything I needed at home: a pull-up station, kettlebells, weights, medicine balls, bosu balls, TRX, etc… I was SO into these workouts I was doing 4-45 min session, 2, sometimes 3 times a day! Needless to say, I was very lean!
I’m not saying I looked bad, just very lean and without much shape or definition! I should also point out that I was eating a primarily vegetarian based diet.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, my life changed drastically, and I moved out to Vancouver at the end of 2011. At this point I had put on some weight (fat, not muscle), and was looking for some new inspiration to keep me going. I was crashing in a friends bachelor suite apartment, so my usual interval workouts were pretty much out of the question. I can remember being on my friend Matthew Kenney’s Facebook page, ogling his usual delicious raw/vegan creations, and Michelle MacDonald popped up under his list of friends. I was intrigued by her profile picture so I clicked on her. At this point I didn’t know anything about the world of fitness competing, other than the stereotypical body building types with giant greased up muscle men. I was fairly certain she was one of the most gorgeous women I had ever seen! I connected with her, and started to emerge myself into the fitness modeling and bodybuilding communities online, making a lot of new friends, and learning a ton of new information. But despite deciding to go down this path, and with a strong start thanks to Julie Bonnett, my motivation and confidence in myself wavered quite a bit over the next 8 months. I just wasn’t there mentally, and I was still feeling rather alone in this journey. From April to August I lost sight almost completely of what my goals were, allowed myself to fall into some very bad thought and behavior patterns, and put on nearly 20 lbs. I had all these amazing people in front of me online, achieving their goals, realizing their dreams, and here I was feeding into a vicious cycle of eating poorly and skipping workouts, feeling guilty about it, and then attempting to feel better by just repeating the same thing! Craziness! But I know many people can relate to that on some level.
***Note: I’m also aware that I don’t look bad in these above photos either – it’s all relative, and was about how far from my goals I was becoming.
I weighed myself for the first time in months and was pretty shocked to see I had gained nearly 20 lbs since the beginning of the year. I’ve always told my clients – if you aren’t happy about something you have two choices: you can accept it, or change it. It was about time I took my own advice, and I certainly didn’t want to accept this. It wasn’t even so much about the body – but it was the lifestyle I was leading, with the body as a byproduct. I was drinking a lot, not working out as much, full on binging on unhealthy foods in the evening multiple times a week – something that I hadn’t done in years! I made a list of things I needed to change in my environment that would help promote holistic health and well-being in my life (always my most important goals!). I quit my job at a gym that I was very unhappy at, and I cut certain people out of my life that were encouraging some very negative behaviors. While I was doing OK on my own for a bit, I was still missing something. I wanted encouragement, and accountability. I had developed some very bad habits that were going to be hard to break, and I didn’t want to waste time trying again and again to defeat them on my own. So I contacted Michelle MacDonald and Jean-Jacques Barrett, who’s physiques, lifestyle, and outlook on life and health I had admired and followed all year.
I have now been training with JJ for 4 months or so, and have never felt so motivated to achieve my goals ever before! Being a part of his and Michelle’s Active Protocol team is like a dream come true! While I connect with my team mates and coach primarily through facebook and Skype, the encouragement and sense of community I feel from these people is unmeasurable!
Moving to a new city, alone, it can be hard to find that support network you need to stay focused and motivated. While I did have a couple friends here, I didn’t have anyone who understood or shared my ambitions. I wasn’t accountable to anyone, so it didn’t make a difference whether or not I was on track. Finding even a single person who you know is going to be excited about seeing you succeed, or disappointed if you give up, can make all the difference in the world! For me, being part of a team packed full of athletes that I had admired for so long makes me feel like I’m part of something big! Surround yourself with people who inspire you to rise above your current level, because even if it’s just you alone with negative feelings and thoughts, you become the company you keep!!!