The iron...my friend, my teacher...everyday, the iron has lessons for me...it awakens my body and mind to their true potential...the iron always kicks me the real deal...you can't cheat the iron...it won't give you anything you haven't earned through sweat, hard work, determination and persistence. The iron...the clang of the metal...it moves me.
Sunday Sentiments & Food for Thought...
As is true for many things, the most beautiful things in this world are those things which are not visible to the eye. In working towards achieving goals, we often focus on the outcomes and the end result forgetting that the real beauty is in the process...the part not seen by others...the part that is not glamorous and glorious...the sweat, the struggles, the time, the sacrifices that it takes to achieve your goals. Love yourself through the process and remember that change takes time. Stay patient with the process of change and delight in the beauty of it. The outcome is important and of course the end result of achieving our goal is our ultimate endeavor, yet to me, the real beauty and the part often forgotten is that which is unseen by others...all of the behind the scenes effort and work...the grind. We celebrate the end result when we achieve our goals, and when we look at others, whether it be their success, their career, their physique or any outward reflection of achievement, we only see the end result as opposed to what it took for them to get there. Of course, the end result is rewarding and wonderful, but to me, the thing to be admired is not only achieving the goal, but even more so, the hard work, dedication, perseverance, sacrifices...the process that it took for them to achieve it. The transformation that occurs within us as we grow with our goals and dreams in order to achieve them is the ultimate beauty...the process...the metamorphosis. Love the process...embrace the change...love who you become as you work to achieve your dreams. Keep setting the bar higher knowing that if we set our goals higher each time, we will be forced to grow into them becoming stronger with each metamorphosis. Strive for the end result, but don't forget to love the process along the way knowing that the real beauty is in the metamorphosis of who you are becoming as you work to achieve your goals.
I am building a fire. And everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match. -Mia Hamm
Stay patient and stay focused...long term consistency and persistent effort are the keys to success. No matter your sport or goal, there is no off-season...only improvement season. Everyday focus on doing the things that will move you closer to achieving your goals. Success comes to those who do not give up.
Remember these words: Patience. Persistence. Progress. Everyday strive and work for what you're after...never losing focus or sight of your dreams. Build that fire...everyday...if you aren't willing to put in the work or patiently stoke that fire, then maybe it's not your dream...if it is your dream, then dedicate yourself to making it happen...it's not a question of IF you want it, but rather, it's a question of HOW MUCH do you want it and are you willing to do what it takes to make it happen?
"It's my observation that most people get ahead during the time others waste." -Henry Ford
Wake up every morning hungry for achieving your dreams and put in the work everyday that will get you there!
I've tailored this post to bodybuilding which is my sport and personal goal, but these principles can be applied to any goal...so, think about your goal and tailor this blog post to your dreams and what it means to you...how will you apply this to you and your goals? What sets your soul on fire and what will you do to keep that fire stoked?
Many people focus on the scale and general weight loss as a measurement of success. While the scale is certainly a valuable tool, it does not reflect body composition (your ratio of fat mass to lean mass) and does not tell us what kind of weight (fat or lean muscle mass) we are gaining or losing. The weight on the scale does not reflect just fat mass...we tend to equate the number on the scale with a measurement of weight in terms of fat. So many variables are at play with the scale and our weight fluctuates...for example, if you just chugged 16 oz. of water, that can add a pound to the scale, or if you had a high sodium meal, you may retain water weight which will reflect on the scale, and there are many other variables as well that can play into weight fluctuations. I believe we ought to focus more on improving body composition as opposed to general weight loss. We ought to focus on gaining lean muscle mass while losing fat mass. Muscle has weight just as fat has weight, but muscle is denser than fat...5 lbs. of muscle weighs the same as 5 lbs. of fat, yet 5 lbs. of muscle will take up much less space than 5 lbs. of fat. Focus less on the scale and more on how your clothes are fitting and how you feel. As your body composition changes, the net result on the scale may not reflect well in the scale number. Refocus...think body composition, not weight. Should we still use the scale? Yes, it's still a valuable tool; however, try not to obsess over the scale. If you want tangible measurements for tracking progress that better reflects body composition changes as opposed to the scale, take body circumference measurements and/or body fat measurements with skinfold calipers.
How do we most effectively exercise to change our body composition? Endless hours of cardio? No. Cardiovascular exercise is important, but, cardio combined with weight training has been shown to be more effective for fat loss than cardio alone. Weight training is a critical component for improving body composition. We want to increase our muscle mass because the more muscle mass we have, the higher our resting energy expenditure becomes...our metabolism increases. For every pound of muscle you gain, you will burn an extra 40-50 calories per day. Grab those weights! Eat clean and participate in a consistent exercise program that includes both resistance training and cardio...do this and your body composition will change for the better.
I came across a post on Instagram today by Dana Linn Bailey referring to Rita Catolino's blog post, "The Squeeming Truth". It was refreshing to see this addressed by respectable women in the fitness world...as both a medical and fitness professional, these corset contraptions drive me absolutely crazy! As part of the "underground" culture in bodybuilding and the fitness world, practices such as this are unfortunately becoming more commonplace--I personally do not participate in practices such as this and I discourage anyone else from doing it as well...in my opinion it detracts from the respect of the sport of bodybuilding...bodybuilding should be about pure, hard work rather than results at any cost...unhealthy measures shouldn't be taken...have we lost sight as to what it's all about? Bodybuilding should be about obtaining a healthy, masterpiece of a physique earned by hard work and stellar nutrition, not by corsets or any other unhealthy practice.
Here's an excerpt from Rita Catolino's blog: "Damaged internal organs, digestive disorders, bruised and broken ribs are just a few of the possible side- effects. But the worst thing in my mind isn’t the fact that you can deform your stomach and liver, it's the unrealistic message that these people are sending out to these young, impressionable girls. Are these women mothers? Would they want this for their daughter? There younger sister??? I am truly appalled and saddened to see this practice evolve.
My goal is to continue to preach HEALTH, FITNESS, STRENGTH, LONGEVITY and BALANCE and quite frankly, corset wearing belongs NO WHERE in these goals. It's time we STOPPED COVERING our eyes to the awful truth that surrounds a large part of the fitness industry. I am starting today to spread the message, dilute the “perfection” of this industry and let people know that you can still BE, LIVE and ENJOY this industry without the negative attributes."
Thank you Rita!
Read her complete blog post at http://ritacatolino.com/archives/999
"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just a few thoughts about thoughts...
What kind of thoughts occupy the most rent in your mind? Be aware of your thoughts and make an effort to mindfully choose thoughts that are healthy and productive. There is great power in our thoughts...mind set is everything...commit your mindset towards thoughts of positivity, growth, self improvement, goal achievement, and kindness & compassion towards others.
A man is what he thinks all day long. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our destiny changes with our thoughts; we shall become what we wish to become, do what we wish to do, when our habitual thoughts correspond with our desires. — Orison Swett Marden
Recipe originally posted on my Instagram page. Follow me on Instagram for more recipe posts! IG @fit_chick_nick
"Competition Brain"...a real phenomenon...if you have ever competed or if you are in the process of competition prep...whether it be bikini, figure, fitness, physique, or bodybuilding...then chances are, you will probably identify with this and I hope you will find encouragement in this post.
I was moved today by a fellow competitor friend's social media post today. I thought I would share her original post and my subsequent post in hopes that others in the competition world may be just as inspired and encouraged.
"Competition Brain"...this was something I myself felt and can identify with completely yet I could never quite put it into words or find a way to aptly describe it. Stephanie puts it into words perfectly and I just wanted to share it in hopes that it will help my competition friends who may be experiencing it and I also share it for those loved ones and friends in my life and in the lives of competitors in hopes that it will help you understand the increased sensitivity, reclusiveness, and extreme focus that competitors go through...these things can be misunderstood, as I know my training focus was misunderstood when I became less social at the gym or when I needed to train alone rather than with a partner. I am blessed and thankful for those in my life who were so patiently supportive. Not everyone understands the intense demands that undergoing competition prep requires while trying to hold all other aspects of life together...full time jobs with full time training, etc. It requires incredible internal strength and discipline...the outward physique may physically reflect the months of training & discipline, yet the real strength and growth occurs inside where the eyes cannot see. Strength is built from the inside out. When we feel weak, close to breaking...these are the moments where breakthroughs happen and where strength is gained...this is why we do it...not because it's easy but rather because it's incredibly hard and the hard is what makes it so great. Competition prep is a refining fire...a refinery of the body, heart, mind and soul. Just as gold is refined by fire, so are we. Original credit and thanks goes to Stephanie for the inspiration she provided to me. I respect, admire, and appreciate fellow athletes who "keep it real"...those who openly share their challenges. It's not all rainbows and butterflies. It's hard! We all struggle and may even want to quit at times, but in sharing our challenges we help each other to stay strong...knowing we are not alone...together we can make it through and emerge successfully. To all competitors out there...stay strong...knowing that the difficult moments will come, but these are the moments of growth.
Women, Muscle, & Training--just a word or two to address common questions I often get from female clients and friends.
Can women truly build muscle? Yes!
Will I be big and bulky? No...not unless you want to be. Women don't just wake up huge after a few lifting sessions. Women with solid, muscular builds got there on purpose, not by accident. So if you don't want to be big, don't worry...you won't get "big" unless you're trying to get big and it takes very hard work. Also, women simply do not have the hormonal makeup that supports the type of muscle growth that men have, so while you can certainly build muscle mass, you will not turn into she-man.
One of my passions in personal training is inspiring women who are interested in building muscle and strength to gain confidence in the weight room and to believe in their goals. We train according to our goals, not our gender. Muscle is muscle and a bench press is a bench press. Your muscle cells don't know you're a female. Male or female...the goal is the same...to create the maximum possible aesthetic development of our physiques. It takes hard work and a commitment to realizing your goals through consistent training and proper nutrition. The two areas where women tend to short themselves when it comes to muscle building are: lifting heavy enough and eating properly. If muscle growth is your goal, you must sufficiently overload your muscles by lifting heavy enough and you must eat to grow. Note: "eating to grow" doesn't mean "all you can eat." We're talking about lean, clean eating to fuel your body and supply your muscles with the proper building blocks to grow.
Another critical component is patience...many women do not stick with the training long enough to reach their full muscle building potential. You can't train haphazardly. You must train with specificity and consistency. Muscle building doesn't happen overnight. It takes patience and persistence. The important thing to remember is that when we set out to climb a mountain, we start at the bottom and work our way to the top...one step at a time...even when we can't see the top, we press on with determination that we will get there if we don't give up.
Life and lifting are the same...both are a process of continual learning and improvement. Believe in yourself and your goals...train with focus, intensity and determination. Consistency and persistency are the keys to unlocking our success. To my fellow iron chicks out there, keep liftin'! Muscles are beautiful!
Below is a comparison photo showing the difference in my arm size and build before I started a consistent weight training program and two years later. The "before" photo was taken in 2011 when I was primarily a "cardio queen". The "after" photo was taken in 2013 after I fell in love with strength training...I have since then improved upon my musculature even further with consistent, progressive training.
Fit Nick's Blog
Welcome to my blog! Various topics related to fitness, health and wellness will be covered here.