Posted October 24, 2017

“If you are searching for someone to change your life look in the mirror​.”

Man where do I start!?  You all know me as Carmen the Competitor ,the Personal Trainer.  Fitness Chick.

Essentially I will always be a fitness chick.  I love to workout and love the industry.  But as I move forward I now see in the mirror what I really am.  I don’t find the need to be so hard on myself  nor do I blame others for what I don’t have or can’t seem to feel.

I have done pretty much every aspect of the Fitness Industry.  I started at the front desk in an all Women’s gym at 19.  That is when I really got into working out and looking at my health.  Believe or not I smoked up until that point.  Partied all the time.  (still had my party modes throughout life!) Once I fell in love with the gym, I stopped smoking cold turkey and got into learning mode.  Taught myself how to teach group fitness classes and got certified.  Achieved an award in the company for Fitness Instructor of the year.  Then I became an a manager. Received an award for Fitness Manage of the year.  I had a long career with The Alliance Fitness Corp.  13 years in total.  I did management, sales, opened up gyms and trained employees, taught group fitness and did personal training.  Did it all, literally.  Loved every minute of it.

It wasn’t until I was 37 that I decided to compete.  Just a small reminder to everyone,  COMPETING IS NOT THE FITNESS INDUSTRY it is a small component of it.  The Health and Fitness industry has many components.  You do not have to compete to be a strong force in the industry. Competing is a “sport” that came from the Fitness Industry.

Why did I start competing?  It was a challenge.  A colleauge suggested I give it a try.  He thought I would do well.  I never once thought about doing it and after speaking with him and throwing out a challenge, I jumped on it.  I am challenge driven so this was a great thing for me.

So for 10 years after I continued to compete.  I had the bug.  I sacrificed a lot.  Time with family and friends.  Couldn’t fully enjoy my brothers wedding.  Missed out on a lot of things that meant a lot to people around me.  Not only did I make sacrifices but those around me did as well.  Because they loved me and wanted to support me.   I was very lucky that way.

I have had a lot of things happen in my life as well as those in it, in the last 6 years.  A lot of loss.  Out of that loss comes a ton of life changing experiences.  The last 2 years competing haven’t been easy.  In 2016 the stress in my life was just unreal. Dealing with some negativity that I couldn’t get rid of (people) and then due to certain circumstances I had to suck up my pride and move in with my mommy! 🙂  I did this to help her as well, but to also help myself.

I quit my job to start my own business.  I had to start over and after a failed relationship had no where to live.  I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  At 47 I am alone and going through yet another break up and barely staying a float.  I quickly learned after about 6 months and coming off provincials, that what I did was one of the smartest things ever.  By allowing myself to take a step back I was able to leap 2 forward.

I started growing my business and was able to eventually start back into a healthy mindset towards myself and my life moving forward.  It took time and a lot of energy but glad I did it.  I still have a lot of work to do and continue to learn and grow daily.

Although the stress of all the above wasn’t my friend during prep.  My hormones were a mess, I was not dropping weight and that led to harsher diet and workouts.  I decided after provincials to skip Nationals that year to give my body a break and glad I did.  My prep for Nationals 2017 was definitely better and got better results as you can see from my pic.  But coming off this prep being the leanest I have ever been, took a toll on my hormones.  I didn’t have my cycle for 4 months.  Which is expected but has never happened in any preps except this last one.  After 1 month post comp I got my cycle back and it lasted for 2 weeks.   I gained 8 lbs in 2 weeks with no changes to my diet or my workouts.  How frustrating right? I have suffered with ovarian cysts for years and ended up in the hospital twice because of it.  Nothing serious but something that caused me extreme pain.  Discovered that I had PCOS.  This is more common in women now a days.  A hormonal imbalance is most likely the cause.  Stress lowers progesterone and low progesterone is one of the main causes of ovarian cysts.

As we get into our 40’s our endocrine system isn’t the same any more.  Hormone levels change.  And I mean all of them.  Currently taking course through ISSA on hormones and performance.  A big part of this is aging and the impact on our bodies.  As we age we need to be kinder to ourselves in many ways.  How, what and why we eat.  How, what and why we workout.  As we age, estrogen and progesterone drop as well as test.  But so does GH.  Taking GH isn’t going to help you in the long run.  For me, shorter and more intense exercise is best.  Working out every day leads to more stress on the body and a reverse effect as you age.  Not dieting or following a strict meal plan either. Why?  It stops you from making your estrogen and progesterone levels worse.  Long bouts of cardio and lots of it, only makes these levels worse.  Also, short intense bouts can help increase GH naturally.  Cortisol levels are also an issue as we age.  Research shows that any amount of exercise over 60 minutes raises cortisol and doesn’t come down.  A natural and healthy cortisol response is up and back down. This is needed to be healthy but it should never be high and not come down.  That never come down mode with cortisol leads to many health issues including that unwanted belly fat us 40+ girls and guys dread!

That unwanted belly fat is killer and very much hormonal.  The 2 factors that first need to be considered is lowering stress and getting sleep.  Competing has made my hormones worse.  And don’t get me wrong, I love the sport and respect all the athletes that do it.  But it is very hard on your body.

Coming off this comp, has been very difficult for me for many reasons.  I am still working on my health and will continue to.  I am always a work in progress.  Part of my issues is not feeling 100% good in my own skin.  I work on that every day.  I now wake up and look at myself and give myself a Mental hug.  I use to look at myself after a comp and freak out.  I am getting fat.  I need to diet again. I have to workout every day.  I didn’t like what I saw.  Now I embrace my body and know It will take some time to find that sweet spot.  First thing first is reducing stress in my body. Which after a comp can take a full year.

After each prep I felt like I got worse.  Wanting to prep again so I don’t look the way I do.  But that came from a feeling inside me.  A need to look better so I could feel better.  Or so I thought.  I have come to realize that a ripped body doesn’t change how I feel about myself.  If anything it makes it worse. Now again this doesn’t mean everyone feels this way.  It is how I feel.

I decided in the middle of my prep this year that it is my last.  My business suffered.  I couldn’t spend quality time with friends and family.  Now you may think I don’t have the drive or ambition any more. But on the contrary!  That drive and ambition I am putting into my health coaching to help others. I want to truly make a difference.

My health is now my priority and that came very much to light after studying Health Coaching.  Not just physical health but also mental and emotional health.  Without the latter you can’t have the physical. Not regularly anyways, without a yo-yo effect.

As much as it might seem easier to follow a meal plan, it is also weird to me now.  Why do I need that to be healthy?  Why am I not strong enough to make better choices?  Why do I need instructions on how to feed my body?  I DON’T!!!!!  What I needed is to discover my real why behind my why.  We all know what to do, we just don’t.

This whole refeed and cheat meal thing is now weirding me out as well.  You may hear coaches say you need to earn your refeed.  First off, I am not a pet!!!!! I am not on death row!!!!!!

If you eat balanced and focus on stable insulin levels, you don’t need a special diet. You don’t need to eat high this and low that.  You don’t need to be rewarded with food!  Saying you don’t deserve a cookie is so ridiculous.  You know what is going to happen?  You will then sit down and eat a cookie, then another then you will scold yourself and call yourself names. Then you will eat more cookies because you feel like you don’t deserve to succeed.  Your relationship with food starts with you having a better relationship with yourself!!

This is why I decided it is not for me anymore.  I am not doing it for the right reasons.  And for that I feel like I am disrespecting the athletes who are in a good place and who do it for the right reasons.  I love competing and it was a hard decision.  But to be honest after fulling accepting it, I feel very happy.  I had the best experiences with OPA now CPA.  I was treated like family and loved being on stage with the organization.  It was an honour and a pleasure.  I still support them and the athletes.  If it wasn’t for competing I wouldn’t have half the friends I do now!  I never say never and you never know what I might feel in 3 years but as of right now, I can’t continue down that path.

I started realizing that everything I have been looking for is right in front of me.  My friends and family that have never left my side.  My initial vocation is now in front of me and I am embracing it.  I started off learning about things no one else was.  Natural nutrition and better movement.  Life coaching and helping others feel better about who they are and their purpose.  I some how got lost in the glamour of things.  The attention and the excitement.  Sometimes it takes a loss to find your win.  This has happened to me.

Opportunity is in front of us everyday.  Never judge and keep your mind open to others beliefs and journeys.  If you truly want to make a difference stop pushing your beliefs and reasoning on others.

If you find yourself chasing your tail all the time.  Find yourself always starting over or changing your mind constantly on what makes you happy, you need to start looking a bit deeper.  As we get older the harder it becomes to change.  But we can.  You can’t do it on your own.  I tried.  It wasn’t until I started my health coaching program that I looked at myself different and embraced the truth.

Life is all about what you make it.  It is about how you see yourself and how you treat yourself.  That will project out onto your loved ones (family, friends, kids).  It will show in your career and physicality.  Start by doing a emotional and mental change.  If you don’t you will never get off that roller coaster.

Now I am sure you are asking yourself why I picked the title I did.  Well, it is a trade mark of most of our lives.   We talk the big talk and never accomplish half of it.  We say we are going to make change and start to but fall off. Even as a competitor. Yes I accomplished my goal but what about after?  Is that mental messiness a positive step?  Absolutely not!

I have clients all time say “ok Carmen this is it!  I am ready this time to make a change. I am never going back to my old habits.”  Bullshit * cough cough. They do their meal plan and do their workouts and either fall off the wagon because mentally it’s easier to go back to old habits where they feel comfortable.  Or they reach their goal become a bit too comfortable and go back to old habits thinking they can without repercussions.  I see it ALL THE TIME!  Never fails.

Or I get messages saying they want to change and need help but make up a million excuses as to why they can’t start.  There is never a good time to make change.  It will always be hard.

I do want to help and hope some of what I said sheds a bit of light on your own journey.

In order to jumpstart my new calling, my Health Coach training requires me to gift 6 hour-long “Body Transformation Breakthrough” sessions.

In this session, you will discover:

  • What’s been stopping you, slowing you down or keeping you from having the body you want
  • A powerful vision for your Body Transformation, and what it will mean you and for your life
  • Which foods and lifestyle habits are bringing your body down…and what to do about it
  • A step-by-step plan to create a Total Body Transformation in 90 days or less

This is a great opportunity to see what it would be like to work with me as your Health Coach.

For the months of November and December, these sessions are complimentary.

If you or someone you love could benefit from losing weight, gaining energy, and transforming your body, then message me today!

Live Well!

Carmen Shawn