Saturday, December 28, 2013

To Resolve or Not

As the year winds down many of us take the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and I for one love that about December.  When you're in it, you can't always tell that you're moving forward.  With reflection we can see growth, we come to appreciate what we have, how far we've come and how much we have to be grateful for. We also come to see where work is still needed.

 I came across Alain de Botton's School of Life blog Making Resolutions and I found it very thought provoking;  "A resolution always hovers over a grave inner conflict and constitutes a vow by one part of ourselves against another..."  I've resolved in the past to change things I did not like about myself. Today I resolve to improve on the things I do like.  The more I work on myself, the less I'm effected by external factors and the less I need from others.  When you take care of yourself you can in return take care of others, give freely, love wholly and bring happiness to others lives.  Surprisingly enough when we focus on the things we're happy with and continue with them, the things we're not so happy about start to resolve themselves. But while on the path to your best self remember that not everybody else is.  And that's really not your business.  You can't change others but you can however choose how you react to them - that's all YOU.

No matter what your goals are for the new year I wish you much success.  If you're striving to be your best self it won't be easy but it will be worth it.  

Happy new year, in good health and fitness. xoxo

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's Your Excuse?

Have you heard about this one?   I've thought about this statement - "What's Your Excuse?" - 
When I see those words over that image I wonder; is there a degree of judgement in those three words that has caused a divide?  Does it suggest that I should look that way? That I'm not doing enough if I don't look that way? That I'm just full of it?  Maybe but I don't think that was truly the intention here.  What if it said "You Can Do It!"?  Based on the varied comments and feedback how you interpret something may very well depend on where you are in your life and how you feel in your body.  It's a little complicated.  What I've concluded though is that I don't believe in excuses.  I believe we make choices and set priorities. We can all make different ones and still be healthy.  You've got a six pack? Awesome.  You want a six pack? Go for it. You don't care for one? Enjoy your cake.  Health does not come down to how you look.  Judging anyone's worth, values, morals,  parenting skills or love for their family simply on how they look is very close-minded.

No matter where you stand on this I certainly don't believe in shaming, ridiculing, bashing or hating.  I believe in taking care of self so that we can take care of what and who matters to us.  A “ripped”, “jacked”, “shredded” body is appealing to some people and they are happy to make the choices necessary to achieve that look.  Not everyone wants to make those same choices.  There's nothing wrong with that. Health includes body, mind and spirit.  In simple words; do what works for you, find your balance and live your life.

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

To Move and Be Still

Spending some time away from life as you know it is a good thing. We all need a break from the mundane. A chance to rest the body from the daily rituals of work, commute, responsibilities. To stretch the mind, relax and view the world through rested eyes. Maybe even gain some perspective. This is summer.

I enjoy vacationing with my family but being dislodged from my base for too long makes me antsy.  Waking up with the purpose to lounge is a sure way to make this girl restless. And a little cranky. A successful family vacation requires compromise. On this family vacation I joined a gym.

While everyone sleeps in, I pump iron.  It's a 25 minute walk to the gym which gives me the opportunity to take in my surroundings. Things I might not notice while driving I now pay special attention too while walking. I see everything from a different angle and my senses are full of life. By the time I get back my gang has wiped the sleep from their eyes and they're ready for the beach. And I too am ready for a lounge chair. It's great to be active just as it is to be still - to be aware of everyone and everything around you - but to be aware without judgement. To simply be present and mindful. There is beauty in movement as there is in such stillness. Mindful lounging.  I also enjoyed some windsurfing and some early evening runs by the sea. The sun is still hot and the breeze is warm. I taste salt on my lips, my skin darkens, my body loosens, my breath quickens and my spirit lightens.

It's wonderful when summer's rituals, smells and sounds fill the air. We've been surrounded by water, blue skies and mountains. Mother nature is graceful and wild, deep and humbling. But of course the season goes by so quickly. Before you know it the days are cooler and the night's are crisper as the smell of fall fills the air. I love summer perhaps because it is so short and the essence so distinct. I hope you have been enjoying the season. Take it all in and through movement and stillness - make the best of it.

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Old is New Again

For the past four months every aspect of my life was structured.  It had to be if I wanted to present my best self at each of the three figure competitions I competed in.  My food was weighed, measured and prepared on a daily basis.  Every workout was intense. Every repetition was a stepping stone in that big picture. But when it's over it can become tricky mentally and emotionally. Its' important to keep a level head. Your competition form is just that – competition form. It's your best self for the sport.  Seeing your transformation and grasping the potential of your body is super exciting.  I have also experienced this as a mother as I've watched my body take on a different form over two pregnancies.  The human body is truly amazing. But it can also be a little unsettling.  Unsettling because what you see in the mirror backstage is not sustainable.  Maintaining competition form all year round is not realistic or even healthy.  It's now one week post competition and I'm re-adjusting to my “new body” and the “new norm”. What's old is new again.  The first few days were definitely challenging.  Without a goal and direction for my drive, trying to find my place again outside of that determination and focus felt a little uncomfortable. Knowing that these feelings are part of the process is important.  It's normal.  In any sport you take the highs with the lows and quite frankly, that's also the case in the sport of life!   So hanging out with loved ones today meant a more relaxed day.  It's been some time since I've had a Saturday like this.  And I'm still working towards new goals for my next competition. That's where the excitement now lies.  Thoughts and ideas are stirring in my mind. Stepping out of competition mode I've had the chance to really let it all soak in and I'm happily entering back into my element.

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.

A Day at the Provincials!

What a day! The energy, excitement and competition was fierce! These past three months have been about hard work, sacrifice and growth. In February, just before my 43rd birthday, I decided I was going to train for my first figure competition. Well I accomplished that goal in April and quickly realized I wanted more! I did another competition last weekend and finally today I stood on stage with Ontario Physique's finest provincial competitors. For that I am very proud. What a blast at the Toronto Pro SuperShow! Congratulations to all the athletes on stage today. We all worked very hard to get here!

I am so thankful for my loving and supportive family, friends and my amazing coach Mindi O'Brien. I've met some great people and awesome team mates! This has been quite the experience. It was not only an opportunity to truly push myself but to really put myself "out there". I appreciate every moment of this journey. And although today was the final show for this year it feels like the beginning. The real work begins now! Where I am today is my best - for today. Tomorrow it's back to the "lab"...There are some new goals to set and new events to look forward to! Thanks for all the support! xoxo

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hats Off to the OPA Team and Athletes!

Of course I was up much earlier than necessary this morning but I feel great nonetheless! At last night's meeting I had a chance to learn a little bit more about the OPA and listening to the team speak you understand why you're greeted with “Welcome to the Family”. Regular people with great achievements in the industry. Why “regular” people? Because they are open, approachable and here for the athletes. They are passionate about the sport. They get it and they are individuals who make a difference. And then there'Stephanie Worsfold's infectious smile - the constant reminder to have fun! Something else that really struck me was looking up at the panel and seeing a mother holding her new born. A few seats down another expectant mother. How great is that! As a mother and competitor I am so proud to see this. Anyone who has participated in this sport understands that raising a family, running a home and business while competing – not easy! Every athlete has their own personal story. What connects us the hard work and dedication to get here. And I'm here to enjoy the ride, every step of the way!

enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena

Sunday, April 28, 2013

20 Days to London!

Photo: Rick Oliver Photography
In 20 days I'll be driving to London for the GNC Stephanie Worsfold OPA Natural Provincial Qualifier .  It's been two weeks since my first competition at the 2013 GNC Live Well Stratford Championships and in this short time I've had a chance to get into a better place in my heart and mind. When taking on challenges I would quite often just put my head down and plow through without coming up for air.  This time I'm breathing and it's a far better approach.  There's more clarity and perspective and with that comes more balance.  Which means I'm smiling more.  The day after Stratford I knew I wanted to compete again.  Not everyone understands. And that's ok.  I am going by what I feel.   

Life has taught me that at any given moment we can be our own worst critic or best supporter. Our biggest obstacle or the main force that propels us forward. People can help you, teach you, guide you but only you can make it happen.  You.  Take on the challenges that come your way.  Try. You can start with that small glimpse of desire that you've tucked away in the corner of your heart in order to keep you in your safe place.  Decide to risk fear and failure for the satisfaction of knowing you did it, regardless of the outcome Go for it - I'm rooting for you every step of the way!

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Final Night Before my First Competition...

While working towards this competition I wrote on a few different occasions. Going back and re reading everything now the different phases are evident. Just before my 43rd birthday I decided I was going to do this. It wasn't clear why though. Why would anyone work for 2 months only to be judged by a panel of strangers in a matter of minutes. One thing I will say for certain; when you go into something physically and mentally challenging know in your heart you are doing it for you. And know that you really want it because at some point self doubt will creep in and you may want to check out. Quite often memory fails us of that initial enthusiasm.

I believe when you are reaching for new goals and challenges it's important to surround yourself with like minded individuals. Simply, if you want to run faster run with faster people. Truth is your goals are not everybody's concern. You're not always going to hear what you want or even what you need. You may also see some raw truths that seem hurtful but perhaps at a later date they may offer value. Life does continue to go on around you. So here I am – one night before competition. I'm better today than I was yesterday. I've had feelings im comfortable with and others I'm not. Keeping perspective wasn't always easy and neither was keeping it all together. But I am at peace and excited and that's something I'm absolutely cool with!

When I look in the mirror I see the results of what I feel internally. We can glamourise a healthy lifestyle and leave it all to vanity but it doesn't come down to that. Transforming your body comes down to intensity, drive, passion. It's a desire to defy and the will to get truly uncomfortable. It's feeling alive. Its complicated at times and simple at others. If you feel all these things – they are real. Take it all in. I am satisfied with where I am because I have worked hard and gave it my all while still trying to maintain “normal” with family, home and work. Trying to fit it all in meant some late night and even earlier mornings. Moments of highs and lows. Moments of exhaustion. And guess what – that's OK!  That's life. It's not perfection. It can be messy and everything maddening and amazing all at once. I see moms and dads, grandparents and people of all walks of life changing their life through their health and fitness. And that's just awesome.

I hope you are working towards the goals you set out for yourself this year. I hope you haven't given up. You have to keep going to do your best, to see your potential. And in the simple act of going forward you will find fulfillment – in the words I WILL NOT GIVE UP. You can do it!

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness./gena.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Change versus Sacrifice

I recently worked with a gentleman who dropped a few pounds, increased muscle mass and lowered his body fat simply by eating clean and working out. We set out some guidelines but nothing major as far as lifestyle changes were concerned.  I mean it when I say nothing major. There was no rabbit food, counting calories or food tracking. Frankly I haven't met a man who would even consider doing any of the above.  It didn't happen instantly but within a few weeks the weight started to come off.  The body caught up to the efforts.  So later that day while chatting with a friend they declared that they, along with 90% of the population, are not willing to make any more sacrifices.  And it struck me - SACRIFICES.  And this is where perspective matters.

When it comes to losing  fat and getting fit some think "I don't want to make sacrifices" in sacrificing the ease of familiarity, comfort, TV, couch, junk food - while someone else might think "I want to make CHANGES..."  This approach is far more optimistic and allows room for "gains"; gain in energy, better mood, developed physique, strength, improved attitude and even getting some sexy back.  It's definitely easier to stay where you are. You have to ask yourself - do I really want to make the changes. Instantly we say yes but quite often we want to see changes without making changes.  But time has shown me that as long as where we are feels better than having to get off our ass - we won't change. Only when we start to feel worse than the work necessary for change do we actually change.  So perhaps the real question is "What have I sacrificed by remaining inactive? unhealthy? overweight?"

Once we acknowledge the sacrifices of an unhealthy lifestyle, we can then set out some healthy lifestyle changes to help us be our best physical self.

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.