Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fueling the body

For the first time in months, I can finally say that I am leaning again. There were days that I sincerely believed I would never get there, but I made it! It is a very humble victory, but most important, it is a definitive step back on track.

One of the things I have been investing special attention these days is my intake. I am not a big eater. In fact, I spent most of my life as skinny fat. Getting to "know" what kinds of food suit better and how to combine them to get the best results has been a challenging task, but I am loving it. Some weeks ago, I was home for a couple of days and I took advantage of it to work on my skills.

It is not like I have been cooking amazing stuff, it is just that I am truly putting effort in varying my diet to get all my macros, vitamins and minerals and also keeping it balanced. I might me going through a long off-season period, but it does not mean that I am planning on going over the board just-because.

Having protein in all my meals is very important at this point. Due to the months of limited or no activity, I lost muscle mass. Besides getting smaller, it is much harder to burn fat when one has no muscles (you know what I mean by "no muscles", don't you?). Most of my protein comes from hormone free meat and poultry, but I also add superfoods and shakes to my diet.

Hormone free chicken and rice with organic carrots and leek

Another must-have are carbohydrates. My goal is keep on working out 5-6 days a week. My training mostly takes place in the evenings after a whole day at the office (except for Sundays when I go to the gym in the morning and Thursdays when I do Power Yoga during lunch break), which means that I am already tired before I even started. To make sure I have enough energy to kick ass with the weights, I need to carb myself up. Caffeine is not a option since I have been sparing my adrenals the extra stress. My carbs come mainly from vegetables, lots of them; and I cannot miss oats in the morning either. At this point, I also have a fruit a day, but then again, I am not in contest prep.

Balance is the key for getting in shape and staying healthy. One must also include fats, minerals and vitamins to provide enough fuel for the body to perform all tasks properly. We all have a life beyond the gym that demands a huge amount of our energy as well.

Not choosing my vegetables is quite fun. I enrolled for a weekly subscription from the local organic farm and I only know what I am getting one day in advance. It is so challenging, but I am discovering a lot of veggies that we do not have in Brazil or that I simply had never had the chance to try.

Asperges, hormone free pork, organic celeriac oven chips and corn salad

Even though cooked greens lose part of their vitamins, they fit me better than raw. I am still working on detoxing my gut and I do not want to overload my digestive system (a portion of fruit a day is already more than enough). The easiest solution in this case is steaming.

There are a lot of interesting and informative articles on the internet. Be careful on not just looking for "diet" and "weight loss" tips. Learn about metabolism, allergies and food in general. I am not going to play specialist here because I still have a hard time myself putting the right combinations together in optimized portions avoiding as repeating the same ingredients over and over again (the latter being my major weakness). Do not rush. It is your body we are talking about and you must know it better than anyone else (including your MD).

Salmon with organic beta and corn salad

Modern life brought us a lot of facilities, but also an enormous amount of challenges and demands. Our body has the incredible capacity to adapt itself to the obstacles of society, but we cannot neglect feeding it properly. To keep any machine running smooth, we put oil and do regular checks, why not applying the same principle to ourselves.

Healthy days everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Looking back - 2013 edition

It is again that time of the year when I like to sit down and reflect on the past 12 months.

As I wrote on my blog My 2013 Commitments, I do not feel comfortable with the word resolutions. On that entry, I shared the list of things I wanted to achieve throughout the year. And here it is how it went...

Open Limburg, April 2013, in the Netherlands
  • Get competition ready by the beginning of April
    • I made it! Yes!! My performance during the Open of Limburg was my best so far and I'm incredibly happy of what I accomplished then despite all the odds.
  • Keep on improving as an athlete
    • The road was bumpy in 2013 and I did have some unexpected set backs who forced me out of driver's seat of my training. However, during my hiatus, I took time to learn, improve and become a more conscious player of the game. Mission accomplished!
  • Give the first steps towards a pro-card
    • This is a tricky one. Acquiring a pro-card in my age sounds almost like a mission impossible in Europe. It is not like I have given up, but it is not in the spotlight for me at the moment. First, I want to improve my physique, then compete and who knows, achieve the pro-card once experience meets the 'perfect' shape.
  • Finish the Personal Trainer course
    • This was the only total no-show of the year... I did not make it to finish the course within the expected timeframe, and as I noticed that the near future was not looking any better, I did not even requested an extension. It is something I still would like to finalize, but I will only jump in a training again when I feel I will be able to conclude it.
  • Progress professionally
    • I consider myself a lucky person for working on something I really like. I found 'home' in IT and I am looking forward improving every day.

Hormone free liver and organic broccoli and beta
  • Become a more patient, organized and relaxed person (=zen)
    • I would love to say that I got it 100%, but it would not be the truth. I am a little more organized and I am moving forward. Maybe not as fast as I wanted to, however, I am not putting pressure on myself. After all, being patient and relaxed are also part of the plan.
  • Sleep more
    • Sleeping enough still means a battle to me. I come from periods of total rest, to various sleepless nights (like in the past 3 weeks, for instance). I have not been able to figure out what works better for me and what not. Since I stopped doing cardio in the morning though, I gained an extra hour per day which is being quite helpful.
  • Embrace a natural life style
    • It is fun to see that my last topic was exactly the one in which I booked the most improvement. I changed my sources of protein to hormone free meat and poultry; went organic when it comes to fruit and vegetables; and cut gluten from my diet. The results were immediate and I still cannot believe it myself. I simply don't want to go back!

2013 was the year when I had the chance to attend the Arnold Classic Brazil as well as BodyPower in UK. Thanks to these events, I had the chance to meet some of my idols in person which is an experience I will never forget!

Nathalia Melo and me at BodyPower 2013
Around June, I made the decision to switch from Bikini to Figure, and more recently, to take a break from competitions so that I first build the body of my dreams without jeopardizing my health or my other responsibilities.

I am not waiting for 2014 to arrive to put my following commitments into practice. However, I will not write about them today.

And you? How did it go with your New Year's resolutions/commitments for 2013? Have you taken time to review and evaluate them? It can be a more rewarding experience that you can imagine. And even if you think that things could have gone better, this exercise will help you assess your goals for the year to come. Remember to make them SMART : Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Let's do it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Guess what? I have been cooking!

At home, there was always delicious food on table. My grandma and my mom made delicious recipes out of nothing. I have never been much of an "eater", but cooking has always been a no-no. Believe me when I say that I tried to live out of shakes for sometime. I wanted the protein, but spending time in the kitchen was not in my plans.

With contest preparation getting more serious, I simply had to. I always tried to find a way to cook as much raw food as possible and I was really glad that sauces and all tasty stuff was out of my menu.

No-cook recipe: tuna salad with chia seeds
Lazy me was happy, but my body not so much. It needed variation and I could not escape taking my relationship with pot and pans to the next level.

I am in no way a chef, but I finally started daring searching on the internet and mixing up things just because.

Subscribing to receive vegetables and fruit on a weekly basis forces me to do something with them. And because I cannot choose what I am getting, I have to leave my comfort zone and get creative.

Rice with leek: organic and gluten free
And like a miracle, I find myself getting exciting about the results of my experiments. I am still a Can't-Cook, but for the first time in my life, I feel as there is hope for me.

This week was a very productive one with me staying home for a couple of days. I did some green shopping and brought home some new toys to play with. Since my purpose is not only eating healthy, but achieving a specific physique, I cannot lose sight of combinations and balance in all my meals. This includes smoothies too since fruit juices are a healthy choice full of sugars and that can cause unnecessary fermentation in the gut.

Smoothie Lunch
To make sure I am doing it 'right', I use Calorie Count to login all my recipes. This way I am learning how to make use of the food that is good for me to reach the result I am looking for.

The best part of is seeing my body reacting positively to all changes. I am not going to lie, but there were days when I truly doubted I was ever going to be able to workout as I used to. I had lost hope after going through medical exams with perfect results while my body was crashing.
Left: November 20th, 2013. Right: November 29, 2013.
Even though we do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Belgium, neither in my home country Brazil, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped in my fitness path so far. Each single person taught me something which guided me to this continuous better version of me. This is just the beginning, but I am confident that I will get there. Thank you!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My road back

For some blogs, I have been mentioning that I am going through a healing process. But what exactly do I mean by that? What am I healing from? And what makes me believe that I am getting better when from the start all my medical tests have been flawless?

Road To Recovery

As per dictionary definition genetics means "the genetic constitution of an individual, group, or class". It is what we are made of, our structural shape. In addition to whatever our qualities are, as we grow, environment, relationships and how we deal with situations also mold us. All this together with the addition of the experiences we go through 'now', form who are: physically, mentally and psychologically. 

When I decided to train more consistently and take my physique to the next level, I made certain choices ignoring my being as 'a whole'. After one year and half of intensive workout and dieting, certain predispositions rose up and started to get in my way.
Healing cannot occur in the absence of self-love and compassion.

One important step I took in my lowest point was taking control of my health. Not that I have some sort of healing power, but I just decided to become a serious student of the game. Instead of just sitting around and waiting for someone to tell me what to do and how; I started researching and learning. I am not alone in this though. The insights I have been receiving from Nicole Moneer are priceless. She is being a great guide who is showing me a path I feel incredibly comfortable with.

I also started looking within my body and doing some tests with my food choices. Controlling gluten ingestion has brought immediate results that I could have never dreamed of. Organics greens and fruit and hormone-free meat are not only good for the body, but they taste so much better! And sincerely, if you search well, you may discover that they are not always necessarily more expensive.
For your health - Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping enough hours is the simplest medication I could give yourself. If you have a full-time demanding job like me and has to stay focused for at least 8 hours a day, you will see the results of a good night sleep in no time. And that is not to mention that you will probably need less stimulants throughout the day, which your adrenals will thank you for.

Eating 'right' goes beyond eating healthy. One common mistaken done when one wants to get a lean figure is eating too little or simply unbalanced meals. If you have constant cravings, your body might be sending you signs that something is lacking. It is not only a matter of giving in or not, but of getting it right.

Food cravings

These small changes together have brought my energy levels up considerably. Around August, I had reached the point in which I had to sit on the floor and take deep breaths before being able to clean my gym bag. For two months, I was not able to train at all. In November, even though I have not been able to do any consistent cardio yet, I was able to train consistently for three weeks in a row. My weight fluctuation during the day is around two pounds and I do not retain water and get bloated on a daily basis. I drink healthy amounts of water sparring my kidneys and am taking more care of my liver, my personal achilles' heel.

It is just the start for me and I am glad with the direction I have taken. Step by step, I am getting there though.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Taking a deep breath

Choosing a topic for this week's blog was not an easy task. In the past months, I entered this "thoughts-full" mode and it is sometimes hard to be selective.

Here, I essentially write about my fitness experience, but there is more than training and dieting in the life of Debbie Rodrigues. There are the things I can control, and those that I cannot. There is happiness and there are the lessons. Who I am now is a reflection of my experiences and how I have been reacting to them throughout my 38 years of existence.

In general, I have this all-or-nothing attitude. Instead of first putting my feet in the water and slowly getting accustomed to its temperature, I jump in! Sincerely, it is a very rewarding way of life when it comes to things that are not influenced by others or the environment. Unfortunately when we "depend" on external agents, things frequently get messy.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
In my case, I had this pretty 'boring' plan for 2013. I did everything I could to go with the flow without thinking anything over. However, life had other plans to me.

Amongst some of the decisions I had to make in order to readapt, was changing my "Body Transformation" path. The idea was to be stage as fast as I could, doing anything necessary to achieve it the physique I dream of. My body did not like the idea though and after awhile, it started to play tricks on me. Since I'm not a Cylon and cannot jump into a more suitable body (Oops! Geek joke), I had to look for alternatives.

Therefore, the once "asap-plan" became a 2-year one. This more realistic approach itself already took a major weight off my back. I can breath again and enjoy my workouts like I haven't in a long, long time. And the results are already showing! Last week, I trained 6 days straight and even (finally!!!) included a session of Power Yoga to my routine.

Yoga Benefits
It does not have to be perfect to be enjoyable and to bring progress. In a world surrounded by negativity, we have to take charge of ourselves if we want to remain sane. There is suffering all around the globe, tragedies and cruelty; there is laziness, hate and arrogance. But there is also sunshine, the stars, nature and there is hope, kindness and love.

We cannot let the craziness and all the rush imposed by modern life take the best of us. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a deep and connect back with people and things that really matter. The rest... Well, let go of the rest.

Have a strong week!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Inside Out

In 2010, after years of thinking about nothing but work, I realized that my physique did not "match" the person I had become. I was doing a job that I really liked and had found balance work x home. However, after years without training and not caring at all about my intake, I had become heavy and unhealthy. In September that year, after annual leave, I got enrolled in a gym and I restarted to workout.

At that time, I did not really care about the quality of the food I was eating yet. I still thought I could outwork a bad diet by training intensively for enough time. It was not before 2012 that I realized once and for all that it was not really the best approach to achieve the results I hoped for.

Now, around one year and a half later, I am facing another phase of my own 'evolution'. I am not living in pink clouds anymore, but I have been rediscovering the joy of taking control of my life.

"Happiness is not the absence of problems; it's the ability to deal with them."

My journey back to my roots includes looking within. We are so much more than what meets the eyes... Concepts like 'being in shape', 'looking good' etc not always determine our health inside. Our organism also suffers from the stress of modern life; our own expectations and of our environment; and from all the substances that we consume on a daily basis. Of course that their impact on us differ depending on how we and our body deals with those external agents.

Me, an assumed workaholic, perfectionist and control freak, do not spontaneous balance things around me. There is no gray in my color scale, just black & white. So for me, and those out there in the same situation, it is necessary to first acknowledge that 'there is more out there' followed by a conscious work of self-forgiving/cleansing/healing.

Detox Your Body

To avoid exerting myself in the processing, I am taking one step a time in this personal journey to becoming a better version of me. At first, I pulled the handbrake (see blog 'Changes are good'). Then, I started to observe my interactions (with people, food and environment) and their outcomes (see 'Trying new things'). Even though these two cycles will always be a work-in-progress, it is time for some action.

One month has passed since I started to approach my intake in a different way. The results are already beyond my expectations for such a short period of time: no more joint pain (I thought I had developed carpal tunnel the past few years), my heart rate is slowly raising again, I haven't been short of breath in weeks, no more tachycardia and despite cardio still being a 'no-no', I managed to do weight training 4 days in a row this week.

"The best is yet to come."

In this detox period, I will start focusing on my liver. Back in Brazil, I was raised drinking Boldo tea, but since it is not that easy to find it here, I need to adapt. This means that for the next weeks (to say the least), my water boiler will be my best friend, together with various tea sorts I have stored in the cupboard, but rarely drink.

This is another small step towards bringing my body back to balance before being to advance in my fitness goals. At first, I took it all as a major set-back. I was overwhelmed by all the tiredness, soreness and pain I was going through. Words are not enough to describe how sad I felt by not being able to train and diet with the same intensity I had been doing since March last year. Looking back though, this has become a very rewarding experience to me. I have been given the opportunity to learn so much. It all forced me to take control of my life and not let external facts dictate how my day will be. In spite of them being my baby-steps, I am moving forward and that is all that matters.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trying new things

Since my body decided to play tricks on me, I have been trying new things in order to both spot what is good (or not so good) for me and get my health back on track.

One aspect we tend to ignore is that there every person is different. What works for one, might not produce the same result for another. Genetics, predispositions, environment, work condition, family affairs, everything plays a role in who we are and how we feel.

"What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful."

We all have role models and we all wish that our efforts were enough to transform our body like Xs and Ys within a certain time frame. Sometimes, however, our unique characteristics play tricks on us and things don't go exactly as planned.

When hitting a plateau, or even moving backwards, you have to revaluate your efforts and look for the root cause. This can be a tricky because we tend to be whether too hard or too lenient with ourselves. The key is being sincere! 'Am I really doing everything I'm supposed to?' 'Do I give it all while training?' 'How have I been dealing with the situations I come across?'

The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.

Maybe you are missing some small detail here and there like an extra spoon of peanut butter or taking long breaks between sets. Or maybe your body is getting accustomed to the routine you have imposed it. In this case, a change of habits make put you back on track.

Remember that no matter how experience or knowledgeable your coach, nutritionist or physician might be; unless you be straight forward with your feelings, impressions and perceptions, there is little they can do for you. They are not in your head. 

Keep track of yourself. Logging your workouts and diet is easy, but try keeping of your reactions as well. What is the impact of your relationships in your mood? Think of every single person you come across throughout your day! How do these interactions influence your day? What gives you energy and what drains it away? Can you pinpoint a day of the week, time of day, meal, food or activity that is frequently related to a certain emotion?

Everyday is a new beginning. Take a deep breath, and start again.

Don't be afraid of getting to know yourself better. Many times, the answer is within us, just waiting for our eyes to see it. Becoming your best friend is a lesson you can use not only in sport or other hobby, but in life as well. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The thing about priorities

In my blog "No, I don't write plans", I mentioned how important it is to know your goals. It is as important in fitness as it is in everything else in life. Women generally excitedly answer that they want to lose weight, while men want to get big. Most of the times, it stops there. There is no clear (and realistic) objective when it comes to the physique one wants to achieve. Sometimes because one did not take time to think about it, but also because people in fact, do not really believe they can reach their goals in first place. So why bother?

I know exactly how it goes because I have been there, done that. When I first joined in 2004, a forum member asked me what my goals were and I blushed behind my laptop. "What does she mean with that?!? I want to lose weight, that is all! This talk about fat percentage... WTH!". And sincerely, until I understood what she meant by that, I did not book any progress.

Once one determines what their goals are, they set a path and speed to achieve. The path for some it might getting a machine to train at home, while others get enrolled at a gym. There are those who want to look good in time for the summer or some celebration, while others have a show in mind.

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to be the person you believe your meant to be."

No matter how clear your plan is, we all have a life outside fitness and external factors might get in the way and force us to some detour. If you are consistent though, you will do any necessary adjustments and keep on doing what you have to do, no matter what.

In my case, after years complaining of extreme tiredness here and there, my body gave up on me the last months. Unfortunately, I have not been able to spot what exactly is going on with me since traditional tests are normal. However, the truth is that I can sleep a whole day and night and still wake up exhausted the day after. On my worst days, I was running out of breath just by taking stuff out of my gym bag.

I have been slowly recovering by doing major changes in my training and intake with the help of Nicole Moneer Guerrero. I am also looking for a holistic doctor where I live so that I can get some medical opinion (other than: "sleep more" or "take hormones").

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

My priority now is cleaning my body and regaining health. I still want to go compete, but it is not my priority at the moment. If it will be in 2014 or 2015, I do not know it yet. I set my mind in going "Figure", so after healing, I will need to do a lot of working on leaning out and building muscle. The rush is gone, so I will take all the time that I consider necessary (Masters! Here I come!).

The thing about priorities is that we may need to review them sometimes. It is not that you are giving up on things, but it is better to make some calibrations than quitting. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013


It is going to be a slightly off topic entry, but since it is part of My 2013 Commitments (I'm not into the word "resolution"), I think it is worth writing about it.

We are already in October and for most part of the year, I did not work on inner self. I wanted, but did not really worked on it at all until really recently.

The trigger of me making this major change was my health. Even though I have been eating really clean for the last month, there were some triggers missing and I had to restart from scratch. I am still taking baby steps in reviewing my meals and workout routine, however the first positive signs are already showing.

Hormone free chicken & turkey. Real food!
So after setting my intake in a good track, it was moment to take another major weight from my shoulders: my lack of organization talent at home.

At work, I simply freak out with the slightest idea of having a messy desk. I do not bother cleaning things up every once and a while; changing places and reorganizing. But at home... It is like my brain cannot process information the same way when I cross the door.

Having chaos around me bothers me more than I can describe, still I had not found a way to work it out in a way that I could made this change permanent. I was so attached to the idea that I "couldn't"...

Browsing aleatory sites, I bumped into The fun thing is that it was the first time I felt comfortable with the approach (believe me, I have a collection of books on the subject, with different models that simply did not work for me). She writes for perfectionists, freaks like me who think that if they cannot do it all at once, it is not worth even starting. And so there is clutter.

I am taking one step at a time, not putting too much pressure on myself. There is only that much I can do with the 'free' time I have in my hands and not feeling 'obliged to' has also helped me so much with my training and meal plans that it is worth to expand it to other aspects of my life. 

You can't rush something you want to last forever.

Today, it has been a week since I started following this plan and since then, I have been getting rid of a lot clutter and I am excited about improving every day.

And you? How are your plans for this year ago?

Remember, there is still time to accomplish a lot before 2014 hits the door! Wishing everybody a lot of success.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Changes are good

I believe that when things are not going the way we want them to, we have to do something. You cannot expect to achieve something special by doing the ordinary. You have to look for ways while keeping your eyes on the goal. And that is what I am doing these days.

Awesome Life Tip

For the past months, my body has been acting weird. It goes from upset stomach to headaches, including exhaustion and difficulty in breathing. I changed my routine, took extra rest days, slightly adapted my meals, however, without success.

When things are like that, the only solution is turning routine upside down. 

The time has arrive to question everything, go back to the draw board and restart from scratch. It is not easy to get out of the comfort zone, mainly for a Taurus like me. We move our buts only when there is no other way. I love routine!

One of the changes I am slowly implementing is going gluten free together with adding bio veggies and fruit to my diet. I have been eating 'real food' for the past year and it has already major changes in my body (not only what meets the eyes). Now I am taking a step further into this healthy lifestyle of mine.

Bio fruit and gluten free muesli

Today, I went to a local bio farm and got some fruit and gluten free cereal. Afterwards, I got some hormone free meat. The substitution will be gradual. As I need to buy new items, I will looking forward 'cleaner' alternatives.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the subject, including recipes. I am not the most skilled in the kitchen (that is my shy way to say that I cannot cook), but I am looking forward testing my skills soon.

And you? Have you introduced new habits in your life recently? Thinking about it? What would you like to change?

Whatever it is, if it is where your heart is pointing to, go for it! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It has been longer than I remember

Time flies, doesn't it? I thought I was just a month or two behind with my entries... Shame on me AGAIN!!!

Anyways, a lot happened in the meantime, but I will not drop everything here just like. Let's catch up little by little.

So far this year, I have participated in 2 competitions. They were my first under the umbrella of Team Bombshell. And even though the results were not I expected, I am extremely happy and proud of the progress I have made in the past months.

LEFT : October 27th, 2012
RIGHT : April 6th, 2013
Of course that everybody wants to win (or at least, I hope so...), but the final result, the medal, the trophy, is not something we can control. It depends a lot on what the judges want, how other competitors look (odd ones rarely win shows; and if they are not first, last they will be), promoters expectations, etc. 

However, against all odds, you win every single time you go on stage knowing that you did EVERYTHING you had to do in order to place 1st!

Knowing oneself, doing what it takes and being in peace with things you cannot control are the keys to your success. And if others don't see it right away, no sweat... Your time will come!

June, 2013                                 August, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

No, I don't write plans

It is interesting how many people have been asking me about help with their diet and/or training. I understand their reasons. I am a regular, full-time, working person who despite the odds, is slowly achieving the figure of my dreams.

The thing is: I do not write plans to anyone. And my reasons are very simple.

The tips I give are based on my own experience and they never go further than "watch you sugar intake", "don't exaggerate with supplements", "watch your form" etc. To go any further than that, I would have to know the details about your goals, habits, general health (chronic diseases, high blood pressure, heart problems etc) and understand your level of commitment. Without one of these items, any further attempt to get you in shape would be irresponsible.

When wanting to transform your body or improve your condition, the most important thing is to look for professional advice. I cannot stress it enough! When you go the gym, there are a lot of people who look fabulous and that have been working out their "whole life". Still, believe me or not, that does not per se suffice to give you qualitative advice. They might even do it out of friendship or to help you out, however, remember that they do not always have all/enough knowledge to provide the guidance that you really need.

It is true that hiring a Personal Trainer is not cheap and that it does not always guarantee that they more than just a certificate. The thing is that each person is unique and it is imperative to your health that you work with someone who sees the big picture (not just your winning about wanting to get big).

Why is their knowledge not free? Because it takes months of studies and years of experience to acquire basic information and a life-long learning process to develop oneself as a Personal Trainer. New techniques and products come out every day. There is always something new that can be incorporated in traditional methods. Real Personal Trainers know they are worth their fee and that is why there is a price for their services.

I am not saying with that you should not listen to anyone anymore. The same way that there Personal Trainers and personal trainers; there are also a lot of people out there with much more knowledge and experience that you may first think. The tip here (yes, I'm giving you one) is becoming a sponge of the game. Use and abuse of sites like http://www.bodybuilding.comhttp://www.fitnessrxwomen.com and others, to learn about nutrition, training and supplementation. Do not waste your money with the new big thing just because you have heard some big dude/gal has been using it. Understand your body: What is your ultimate goal? What is your body type? What is your lifestyle? What is your diet? How many times a week do you train? And the questionnaire goes on and on...

Remember, you are unique. Your body is unique! What works for a person, might not have the same effect in you. Or even worse! Be realistic about your objectives and work step by step to achieve them. There is no finish line and the only adversary you have in this race is your own limitation. Learn, put your knowledge into practice and shine!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Erase & Rewind

Since my time is limited, I generally plan my weekly blog entries in advance. This way I can do some extra research if necessary etc. The idea for this one was writing about supplementation, but some questions I have been receiving the past days made me change my mind.

Probably it is the time of the year. There is this whole pressure about "resolutions" and it gets to people (see also My 2013 Commitments). Suddenly everyone wants to lose weight, exercise, stop smoking and whatever they can think of. It is EVERYWHERE! Gyms get packed for a couple weeks and that is it. Yeah! After the first obstacle, all the enthusiasm is gone. No one talks about it and they all have excuse (good or not) for why they went back to their old habits.

The point is: you cannot expect that suddenly, like magic, an old habit of yours will vanish and everything is going to be perfect. Forget it!!! It takes time, consistency and hard work no matter what your goal is.

Many times, I have the impression that people are hoping that I can say: "I took this magic pill and all the fat disappeared". If it is your case, I am awfully sorry to disappoint you but reality is way far from that.

And you know why I can be so hard about it? Because I have been there and done that! I may not know the details of your story, but I myself have denied certain facts that cost my progress before.

In my blog Getting Started, I wrote about the steps I consider mandatory if you sincerely want to transform your body. Unless you are sincere with yourself and with your goals, there is no angel on earth that will help you achieve your objectives. At the end of the day, it is YOUR life, YOUR choices, YOUR attitude and YOUR results. Nobody else's...

No athlete is born in one day. It takes YEARS of hard work; of working out even when one does not want to; skipping parties; being laughed at for not drinking or for bringing your own food; missing a TV program because you need extra rest; getting up before sun rise to get cardio done; you name it!

Nathalia Melo: 2009 Ft. Laud Cup NPC - 2012 Olympia
Probably your "reasons" are very good ones and if you believe it, they are. However, one cannot expect to achieve anything with excuses. Stop blaming your partner, your friends, your job, the parties; and face yourself. You do not have to tell it to anyone, but you must be sincere to yourself. Unless you do it, whatever your goal is, achieving it will be a very tough task.

I wish everyone health and success in everything you do!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My 2013 Commitments

Here we are! The new year has started and it is time to get things going. Maybe you found the title of this entry a little odd. Why "commitments" instead of "resolutions"?

Well, words are what we make out of them. I associate "resolution" to a short-time effort that people drop down when facing any adversity. This idea scares me and that is why I prefer the word "commitment".

Happy 2013! This year I will...

For the first time, I wrote down a small list with my plan for 2013. I feel attached to it already and that is why I want to blog about it. Since then, this list grew a bit, but even if I need to update it here and there, these are the my main objectives for the next 12 months (no specific order):
  • Get competition ready by the beginning of April: I am looking forward participating in the Limburg Open, so... ;)
  • Keep on improving as an athlete: including stage presence, marketing and all other aspects involved in getting myself known in the sport and  in the media. I have big dreams and having a strong brand is a very important part of it;
  • Give the first steps towards a pro-card: the amount of shows in which one can get a pro-card is REALLY limited in EU. Adding to that, I haven't seen any Masters competition for Bikini. I'm not backing down though;
  • Finish the Personal Trainer course: there is so little information and support for girls who want to get lean and fit here. I love helping and motivating people. It would be great if I could aid them get in shape too;
  • Progress professionally: once a workaholic nerd, there is no salvation for you. I will be assuming a new job position soon and I am really excited about its future possibilities;
  • Become a more patient, organized and relaxed person (=zen): as a perfectionist and a control freak, I ended up adding extra unnecessary pressure to my shoulders. I seriously need to start working on that;
  • Sleep more: even though it may sound the easiest one, I still haven't been able to find the best solution to achieve it. I'm still struggling with the limited opening hours from all gyms here and my working schedule. I will find a way though;
  • Embrace a natural lifestyle: my intake is already based on whole foods, and I already exercise regularly, but there is more I can do to achieve the balance I mentioned some points before by taking a next step towards a healthy life style.

These are my short, medium and long plans for 2013. They are very simple, but require consistency and hard work. I am taking one step a time to avoid creating useless chaos and confusion that could hinder my progress. Like a friend of mine always says: "Life is great!". And it really is, but one has to live it day after day in order to be able to appreciate and enjoy it.


So these are my plans? And yours? What are your commitments for this new year? 

I want to hear from you too! Let's support each other along the way and celebrate together our accomplishments!