This week I am happy to feature a nutrition and fitness firecracker from Boston, named Shelby Keys! ShelbyKeys

Coming from a family with less than perfect eating and fitness habits, Shelby has learned to push herself and to be a good example for others through good fitness and nutrition.  She is currently a certified Personal Trainer through ACSM, and will be completing her Sports Nutrition certification this fall. Way to go, lovely lady!

Why Shelby Keys Inspires Me:  Shelby inspires me because she doesn’t let things get in her way.  She could make excuses of family history, but excuse is not in her vocabulary.  She knows when to push her limits and recognizes that resting is important.  She doesn’t beat herself up when she has a bad day, but she knows that results come from outside a person’s own comfort zone.  She inspires me to work hard, and workout harder.

What we can learn from Shelby Keys: We can learn that small changes in the long-run will help you achieve those goals that you set out to do in the first place.  You are the only one who can make the changes that you want to.  If you want these changes badly enough, you’ll work your butt off for them.  Shelby has dreams and she goes for them, bar none.  I think ultimately we can learn that we have work for what we have, it won’t always be easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.


7 Questions with  Shelby Keys

What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?  Going from SKINNY to STRONG. Obtaining my dream job at an elite sports club as an RD and Personal Trainer. My journey is only just beginning and each day that I can be a role model and help others find balance and achieve optimal health is an accomplishment. Each time I enter the Crossfit box, I exceed my expectations and accomplish something great.

Who would you say inspires  you the most in terms of living a healthy fitness-filled lifestyle?  Every single fit and strong woman out there who is dedicated to putting in hard work and improving their quality of life. Those I see at Crossfit accomplishing amazing things inspire me to reach my full potential. I am insane when it comes to working out, but with an extensive family history of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., I refuse to let genetics get the best of me. My own little accomplishments inspire me to keep pushing on.

Who do you attribute as being your biggest influencer when it comes to the healthy lifestyle that you live? Honestly, I am my own influencer. Many of my friends don’t exercise daily and neither does my family.  A soon to be RD, I realize I need to be a good example for my clients and live the life I preach. I was sick of being overweight as a kid and really took it upon myself to live a healthy lifestyle and have since been determined to not end up overweight like my parents. Besides that, I have plenty of little influencers such as my crossfit coach, my boyfriend, and my fellow trainers who continue to influence me daily in terms of fitness and health.

If you had to describe what fitness means to you in one word, what would it be?  THERAPY

What do you focus on when you really don’t feel like doing that ‘next workout’?  Besides the ice cream I will get to eat after I workout…hmmm (jk)… I focus on how I know I will feel after. It’s never tough to get me to crossfit, but ALWAYS tough to get me to run. I have a love hate relationship with long runs, but I know I will feel energized after, confident, and satisfied. I also try to focus on the benefits of my particular workout as well as my goals. However, if I feel sore, tired, discouraged, etc. and moving in any way just isn’t working, I know to call it a rest day and try again the following day. Not every day is going to be a success and some days I might have to call it quits. But, rest days are so essential and my body will thank me. I know I will get right back into it soon enough.

If you could give advice to someone who is working out for the first time, what would it be?  Be consistent and make slow small changes. Too many people try to jump right back into fitness after months or years of doing essentially nothing. This sets them up for injury or discouragement, very similar to those who attempt extreme dieting. It simply does not work. You will give up before you reach your goal. Therefore, first find something you love doing. Exercise doesn’t have to involve the gym, it can be hiking, going for a walk, swimming, playing Frisbee, etc. Find what motivates you. Schedule time in your day. Make a plan. And lastly, perhaps hire the help of a personal trainer.

Favourite fitness/healthy quote:  Train Insane or Stay the Same!

Thanks for your answers, Shelby!  You can find Shelby on Twitter 🙂

Happy Training,



In this week’s NOT SO AMATEUR post, I had the pleasure of interviewing an old coach of mine, Nate Bower of Nate Bower Fitness.  I have taken some of his boot camp classes (indoor NateBowerand outdoor), and Saturday boxing classes.  He’s kicked my butt on numerous occasions in a good way! (Figuratively speaking of course! :))

Nate Bower is a certified personal trainer, fitness expert and competitive athlete.  He has won his age group championship in the MultiSport Canada Duathalon series in 2009.   He is a four-time Nova Scotia provincial boxing champion (2002 to 2006), a former track and field provincial champion, and has been a competitive athlete for the past 20 years.

Over the course of the week you will find Nate in the gym training, or making sure his clients are getting the most out of his personal training sessions.

Why Nate Bower inspires me:  Having taken some of his classes as I mentioned above,  Nate pushes his clients and the ladies and gents in his classes, to get better each and every day.  I’m not going to lie to you – there were mornings when the whole class would show up and we were not looking like a lively bunch – Nate was there to snap us out of it and start our day right.

He practices what he preaches.  He is lucky (he says) to be married to a lovely woman who just happens to be a dietitian!  She helps Nate stay on track with healthy meals that she prepares from scratch.  Nate also gives 100% effort during his workouts and expects nothing less from his clients.

What we can learn from Nate Bower:  We can most definitely learn from the example that Nate sets for his clients and those around him.  He works himself just as hard as he works them.  There is something to be said about someone who pushes themselves like that.  Participating in Duathalons and in the boxing ring requires endurance and an “I-won’t-give-up” attitude that Nate most definitely has.

Nate does not use ‘being busy’ as an excuse for himself.  He owns and operates his own personal training business and is constantly looking forward to future opportunities, whether it be a fancy new boxing app or a new trendy workout for his clients, he’s on it.  He is also an advocate for  Start2Finish Run4Change,  which is an organization that works with children to end poverty and eliminate obesity through education.  (You can click here to watch Nate’s 20 minute workout video for children all over the country!)

A lot of the time this guy is up at 5am, and training until 10pm.  Early in the morning, or late at night, he gives the same amount of attention and dedication to his clients! He’s a great coach, and he sets the bar pretty high for those fitties around him!


7 Questions with Nate Bower:

What  does a typical day in the life of Nate Bower look like?  A typical day….hmmm, thousands of chin-ups and buckets of protein powder…..hahah.  Actually, most mornings begin with a 5:30am wake-up call.  This includes putting together the day’s programs and confirming with clients if they are committed to their sessions for the day, replying to overseas emails and my first breakfast.  By 9 am I have made it through a few client appointments and by 10am, I have my second breakfast.

Before lunch I head to work with some in-home clients.  On the way, I make the day’s phone calls, on Bluetooth of course….

After lunch I make myself suffer with my own workout of the day and refuel with a choice healthy lunch. (800-1000 calories)

From 4-9pm I continue to train clients.  Eating here for me can be challenging so my workout bag substitutes as a portable restaurant on occasion.  Rubber bands and stir fry actually work well together 😉

Finally, after confirming a few more client appointments for the following day, I get to relax…

What would you say your greatest accomplishment in fitness has been thus far?  On a personal note my accomplishments in Boxing (3rd place at Nationals)  and Duathalons ( winning my age group championships) were very rewarding and a lot of hard work.

On a client level it is  the continuous comments of how “training has changed my life” that I get from my clients.  Knowing that people have found a new lease on life by making a decision to follow a blueprint for change that I helped create always makes my day.  The fact is the best thing that I can provide as a trainer is to be a positive motivator and a role model.  When clients believe in you and change their lives because of it, there is no better reward or sense of accomplishment.

What is your favorite healthy food/recipe to prepare/eat?  There are a few actually!   One of my favourite breakfast foods happens to be gluten-free quinoa pumpkin pancakes.  A favourite dinner food of mine is butternut squash soup with warm spinach salad.  Sushi is also a classic favorite.

How do you stay motivated on those days where you feel like you don’t want to workout?  I think what helps me the most is that I believe that I need to set a good example for my clients and practice what I preach.  I can’t give up or lose motivation because I expect my clients to work hard in the same ways.

I also believe many people blame age as a limiting factor for their decline or slow improvements in fitness or with their life goals.  I also try to show my clients that age is not a limiting factor.  It is commitment that is the key to success! Humans have an incredible ability to adapt to fitness and healthy lifestyles – the only excuses we have are the ones we make for ourselves.

Who is your biggest motivator/inspiration and why?  I’m actually motivated by success itself!  Challenge me to fail and I will strive for success even harder.

What are you most excited about for 2013?  This year is a big one for NB Fitness as we have recently launched the NBF Boxing Coach Simulator App and will Be launching Bower Boxing Gear.  The NBF boxing App is currently the best boxing App on the market and it’s only going to get better as we add ‘trainer mode’ in the next month.

Bower Boxing has already started to grow in anticipation of the official launch in a couple of months.  We hope to make Bower Boxing the best boxing gear in this generally untapped market.

Favourite fitness quote- “How can I expect you to suffer if I don’t…Sweat is your FUEL, results are my PASSION!”


In this week’s NOT SO AMATEUR I have the pleasure of featuring a coach of mine that inspires me every class of hers that I take! I recently had the opportunity (as you know) to attend SammieKennedyFemme Fitale fitness boxing classes, and this is where I had the chance to meet the lovely Sammie Kennedy.  Now, I haven’t known her for long (about a month), but sometimes you just meet those people who you know right away will have a great impact on your life.

Sammie is realistic, she is honest, she is a butt-kicking drill sergeant coach (when she needs to be), and she most definitely practices what she preaches during class and in her life.

If she expects you to skip for 8 minutes then she is right there doing it with you – encouraging you along the way, and yelling friendly reminders of why you’re there in the first place when you have seemingly lost a bit of motivation.

Sammie admits that when she was younger she was the girl who cried during gym class and tried to forget her gym clothes, as some of us do, until she decided in 2005 that she was going to begin her fitness journey.  She began her journey with a book program called Body for Life.  Seeing such great results, in both body and mind, people kept asking her how she did it.  This inspired her to help others achieve the same thing and so she began to personal train.  This later evolved into her career as creator and CEO of Booty Camp Fitness and Femme Fitale.

She has had many trainers and mentors herself.  International fitness model Maggie Diubaldo , who has graced the cover of Oxygen Magazine and many others, taught her a lot about training, structuring programs, and how to conduct herself and her training in a fun and friendly way that still pushed her clients at the same time.  She credits another mentor of hers, Jason Battiste (who is a former Canadian Super Middle Weight Kickboxing Champion) for setting her up for success in kickboxing instruction, by setting such a great example for her in their training sessions.

Sammie takes pride in helping other women get fitter, faster and stronger, and this is what keeps her motivated to provide as much as she can for her recruits!

Why Sammie inspires me:  Sammie inspires me in many ways.  She inspires me to be a better ‘fitness’ me.  I know that sounds kitschy, but if you meet her you’ll get it.  She makes a lot of things look really easy (like burpees) but she also knows that everyone has a different fitness level and that they have to start somewhere.  I’ve had coaches growing up that didn’t understand that not everyone was on the same level and it was often discouraging.  I saw people quitting sports and fitness activities that they loved because of it, and that made me sad.

She inspires me to want to coach some day and be as confident as she is when it comes to fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I think we can all learn from each other, and build on what we know if we just take time to appreciate others around us who are going through the same journey.

She inspires me to practice what I preach.  She doesn’t make us do anything that she can’t.  She trains with us, and she supports us, even when we think that we can’t do something, and that means a lot.  Having such a great positive reinforcement on your side is always a bonus 🙂

What we can learn from Sammie:  Being the CEO of her own companies, Booty Camp Fitness and Femme Fitale, she shows us that being busy should not be an excuse to skip out on fitness.  Her business is centered around fitness and she is often traveling all over the place for meetings and training.  She doesn’t make this an excuse for cheating on her healthy eating goals or fitness.  Fitness needs to be something that we have as a priority in our lives, no matter how busy and hectic our lives become.

Sammie also helps us realize that you don’t have to have an athletically graced background to succeed in fitness.  You just have to find the activities that are right for you.  When you do this, fitness won’t seem like a chore and in the end you will feel and look great.  Fitness shouldn’t be a punishment, it should be something that you look forward to, and something that you are proud of!


 7 Questions with Sammie Kennedy

What would you list as your biggest fitness/health accomplishment so far?  Oh lord, tough question!  I’d say the fact that I’ve been able to inspire over 30,000 women across Canada so far to embrace fitness and explore a healthy nutritional lifestyle pretty much takes the cake.

What inspired you to start Femme Fitale?  I had been working one on one with a kickboxing coach for about 2-3 years and LOVED the way it made me feel, the stress release it provided and most of all how it easily and quickly improved my results in conjunction with my boot camp training.  As a fitness professional you are always trying new things but this form of exercise stuck with me. I really felt there was a need to eliminate the intimidation factor of going to a kickboxing or martial arts gym and training with experienced male partners, and provide an environment where women could feel comfortable developing their skills with like-minded ladies. 

What is the greatest thing about being the CEO of your own company?  Having that ability to inspire women throughout the province by way of assisting, training and inspiring my instructors.

If/when someone is starting out on their own fitness/health journey, what advice do/would you give them?  I always say to be patient because results take time (you won’t lose 10, 20, 50lbs overnight) and don’t get locked into a long-term contract until you find a form of exercise you enjoy.  If you can’t have fun doing it, you won’t continue.

On those challenging days when you do not feel particularly motivated, what do you do to regain that missing motivation?  I usually need some veggies! I find I am most down when I am too busy to properly prepare foods, so a quick green juice usually resets my vibe.  I’m lucky though, I instruct most days, and my ladies keep me smiling!

If you could meet one fitness/health pro who would it be and why?  Tony Horton the host of P90X, I admire his ability to create a program that reached over 2 million people across the world and would love to pick his brain! My own goal is to inspire 1 million women to embrace a healthy lifestyle so I’m sure he’d have some valuable advice!

Favourite fitness quote-  Sore? Tired? Out of breath? Sweaty? Good it’s working!

You can find Sammie’s blog at or you can follow her on Twitter – @sammiekennedy

Happy Training!



In this week’s NOT SO AMATEUR post I am featuring someone who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for quite some time now.  I am very excited to be writing about a high anna2school friend of mine named Anna Williams.

Anna and I went to high school together, and are from the same ‘Good old town’ of Cobalt.  If you aren’t sure where that is, you aren’t alone. (I’ll refrain from singing the Cobalt song to you…. ‘if you don’t live there it’s your fault…’)  It’s a little mining town in Northern Ontario where we both had the pleasure of growing up.

Anna and I often had the same gym classes and were both involved in fitness throughout our high school careers.  As we all know, high school can be hard to fit into sometimes and like most teenagers we had a lot of different things going on, making fitness sometimes not our main focus.

After a brief hiatus, Anna returned to fitness having been inspired by a good friend who also ran.  When she started to run again, she realized that she actually enjoyed herself.  Before she had thought of physical activity and running like a chore, something that helped keep her weight in check, but never something that she particularly enjoyed.  This was no longer the case – fitness was fun!

Why Anna Inspires me:  Over the past two years Anna has completed numerous fitness feats, including 5 and 10 km races, a half marathon, a triathlon and she even participated in Met Con Blue with her Northern Diva team! (They won loudest team at this race, and quite frankly that makes me beam with pride too!! Way to go ladies!!)

Anna never gives up and when she isn’t good at something she looks at it like a challenge, embraces it, and then does everything in her power to conquer it.  One of her favourite quotes (that you’ll see below in 7 Questions with Anna Williams) tells it all – there are no bad workouts, because no matter what, they all count.

There is no fitness stone (so to speak) that will be left unturned by this lady, folks.  I’m excited by how much she has accomplished in such a short time, and I am excited to hear about  many more of her adventures to come.  Hopefully I will have the privilege of being part of one of her crazy running teams one day.  (They need loud people, right?! ;))

What we can learn from Anna: Anna may have originally looked at fitness like a means to an end, but now she looks at it like an adventure and enjoys every minute of it.

Sometimes when we least expect it, our minds can shift.  We realize, like Anna did, that something that once seemed or felt like a chore, can be something that we really truly enjoy.  We can use these types of fitness and activities to relieve stress, to feel better about ourselves, and to feel that great surge of adrenaline after a workout that is like no other.

Being fit is an awesome feeling – you walk taller, you surround yourself with great people who support you (Anna’s husband Paul can be credited for a lot of this amazing support along the way), you have fun and you enjoy life with a pep in your step!   This is something that radiates from Anna, and this is something that we should all remember.  A lot of fitness and success is based on attitude and a positive attitude will take you a long way!

7 Questions with Anna Williams:

What have been your favourite things about running so far?  I’d have to say that my favourite things about running are that it makes me feel alive and that I am truly doing it for myself.

You have accomplished your goal of running a half marathon, now what is your next big goal that you’d love to accomplish fitness-wise?  This past October I completed a half a marathon with a time of  2:47.  I completed it under 3 hours, which I was aiming for.  I was very happy!!  My goal is to do another half and have my time below 2:30.  I am always up for a challenge in respect to my fitness goals and right now I am in a strength training program  to help improve my running  for the spring.

Who would you say is your ‘fitness hero’ is and why?  I don’t have a fitness hero per say, but I do have people in my life that have inspired me to continue running and be active.  Of course my husband Paul is very supportive and encourages me every step of the way.  I also have a great group of fun and supportive running buddies, that are always up for the crazy ideas that I come up with!  In my opinion, we always have to keep challenging ourselves!

I also have to say that if it wasn’t for the Running Link and Get Active in Timiskaming, I am not sure if I would have continued running.  Get Active in Timiskaming  puts on local running events that help people not give up on running!  There is something about getting ready for a race… and attempting to beat your time that is so breath-taking and that words really can’t describe.  All the runners out there will understand what I mean.

If you could tell yourself one piece of advice when you first began running, what would it be?  I have started and stopped so many times when it comes to running and other activities, because I was always doing it for the wrong reason.  I now do it to live a healthy lifestyle and because I want to. Running makes me feel great and alive.  The piece of advice that I always tell myself,  is to not give up. “I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done”

Do you have a secret mantra or thing you focus on when you want to give up/quit?  When I feel like giving up or quitting, I find another crazy event to train for so I can put my focus on that and it gets me PUMPED!  I also feed off of others, so when I am part of a training group it makes me work twice as hard.

What is your favourite piece of running gear and why?  My favourite  pieces of running gear are the tons of running shoes that I own for all the different runs I do, and my music…I have got to have my music!!

Favourite Fitness quote:   “Even a Bad Run Is better than no run at all!”  Also –  “If you run, you are a runner.  It doesn’t matter how fast or how far.  It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years.  There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get.  You just run.”  – John Bingham.


Happy Training,




In this week’s NOT SO AMATEUR I am featuring Rae Gibson, who is a mentor of mine.  If there is someone who I strive to be like, it isn’t to  ‘Be Like Mike’ like those old Gatorade commercials *bah dum dum ching, I’m here all night folks….* it is to be like Rae!

Until 3 years ago Rae didn’t ‘do’ sports.  Aside from a yoga class once every couple of weeks, she wasn’t participating in any other fitness related activities.  Motivated by a friend to do her first run, which she completed doing 1:1s, (one minute of running, followed by one minute of walking intervals) she realized that running wasn’t actually as bad as she had previously thought, and she was inspired to take her first Running Room clinic last spring.  The 5k clinic made her fall in love with running and she continued training on her own after the clinic had come to an end,  completing her first half marathon last October.

Rae Gibson is well versed in many different types of fitness.   She has run two 5k races, a 10k race,  and two half marathons (sub 2:15.)  She has competed in the Tour de Terra Cotta Road Cycling Race (26k) and came in 2nd place in her age category!! (This was her first of hopefully many more road cycling races to come!!)  She has also participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, which is 200kms of cycling over a two-day span, raising $2700. (These funds support the work of The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.)  She also took part in the Ride for Karen, riding 160kms.

Why Rae Inspires Me:  Rae is my running buddy and she inspires me the most because no matter what’s going on around her she is always smiling.  Hard runs, long training runs, she is always that person who sucks it up and leads the motivation train to the nearest trail or path that needs to be run or cycled.  It will be pouring rain and she will go for a run (despite the weird looks that she gets from people under their umbrellas.) She encourages and leads by example, and she is one of the most genuine people who I know.

What we can learn from Rae:  I think the most important thing (but obviously not limited to just this) that we can learn from Rae Gibson is that you don’t have to be a lifelong athlete to be good at something or try something new.  Any time in your life is a good time to start fitness.  You can really be surprised at a) how much you enjoy something that you didn’t think was for you and b) how great you may just turn out to be at these fitness related activities.  We may not all be the Michael Jordan’s of the world, knowing what our sport oriented goals are at a young age, but if you reach down deep inside, you might be surprised at what you find!


7 Questions with Rae Gibson

Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Rae Gibson:  This may sound so corny but my mom. Not that she was ever an athlete by any means, but she’s someone who to me has triumphed in the face of adversity and embodies the spirit and perseverance that every athlete needs to have.  8 years ago she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer which resulted in her left shoulder-blade being removed, completely and her humerus (upper arm bone) being re-attached to her clavicle with the equivalent of mesh. Initially it meant she lost the use of her left arm and had to go through intense rehabilitation to be able to regain the use of it from the elbow down. One of the proudest, most independent (and stubborn) people I’ve ever known and she suddenly had to re-learn  how to do the most basic of things like dressing herself, cutting her food and rely pretty heavily on those around her to help her do it. She was so determined and positive and now you can hardly even tell that she has limited mobility in her arm.

If you could compete in one Olympics sport what would it be and why?

Rae Gibson:  Badminton. My finishing poses are a force to be reckoned with! Ok not really, if I somehow found myself without the need to go to work every day and an infinite amount of money so that I had both the time and money to properly train I would love to compete in the Women’s Cycling Road Race. I love to run but being on my bike is just magical. The distance that I can cover and the speed that I can go is simply amazing. And to be able to compete amongst the top women in the world doing something that I love would be a dream come true.

If someone were to tell you that you couldn’t do something and that it was ‘impossible’ what would your response to them be?

Rae Gibson:  My first response really isn’t appropriate to publish so I’ll clean it up a bit… “Oh yeah? I’ll show you”. And then use that as my motivation to achieve and excel in whatever it was that they told me I couldn’t do. My mom isn’t the only one who’s stubborn.

What is the craziest thing that has happened to you while cycling?

Rae Gibson:  My cycling “career” has been relatively short so far but there is no shortage of mishaps. I truly am a klutz and I firmly believe that if something is going to happen to anyone while cycling it’s me. I attempted a season of mountain biking and the day before my first “learn to ride” technical course decided to put my new clip in pedals on my bike. For anyone thinking about doing this, don’t. It’s a VERY BAD idea. Technical mountain biking is challenging enough without literally attaching yourself to the bike. When going over rock piles, bridges made of planks of wood and through single tracks you really want to be able to put your foot down without having to think about it so that you can stop yourself from falling over. Needless to say, I ate a lot of dirt that day and I managed to put a small but permanent indent in my upper left thigh.

Mountain biking was not my forte and I traded the mountain bike in the next season for a road bike. Although there are considerably fewer obstacles involved it’s still just as dangerous, at least for me. In my first season while on a group ride I managed to get taken out by a runner on the trail (yes, only me) who was still standing after the crash and managed to give me a dirty look before jogging off into the sunset leaving me pretty seriously scraped up, my bike in need of a wheel adjustment and the guys I was riding with screaming for his head. Despite feeling like I might throw up I continued to ride with the group for another 30k just to prove I could ride with the big boys. They were thoroughly impressed but the moment I left them I broke down in tears and rode home to clean up and cover my wounds in Polysporin. And yes I now have another permanent scar from cycling. You’d think I’d give up at this point wouldn’t you?

If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting out on their fitness journey what would it be?

Rae Gibson:  I really believe that 99% of any sport that we do is mental. Keep a positive attitude and know that there are going to be good days and bad days but a positive attitude and approach will keep you going.

What would you list as your biggest fitness accomplishment?

Rae Gibson:  Everything I’ve done! But if I really had to choose one it would be placing 2nd in my age category in the Tour de Terra Cotta beginners race this summer. I got on a road bike for the very first time this past March and the only reason I did it was because I’d signed up to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer with my mom again being the motivation behind it. But when I got on the bike I found that I really loved cycling and had a fairly natural ability for it. So I rode like crazy all summer, going longer and longer distances. Mid-summer my road bike was stolen and I was devastated. I obviously had to replace it and decided to upgrade but made a deal that if I did I would work towards entering a race. For some unknown reason I decided to do it this summer. So yes, 4 months into my first season on a road bike I entered a race. Insane. Especially given the fact that I hadn’t been training to race. I’d just been riding. So race day came, I was soooooo nervous but I rode as fast as my little legs would carry me. I finished and felt great about how I’d done. I’d achieved a time that I was happy with and completed my first race. Then with chocolate milk in hand I wandered over to read the results and nearly had a heart attack when I realized that I’d placed and would actually be getting a medal!

Favourite Fitness Quote:

Rae Gibson:  “Believe in yourself and al that you are. Know that there is something inside that is greater than any obstacle”. Christian D. Larson


I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post! Thank you to Rae for answering all of my questions and sharing her stories with me!

Next week you can look forward to another NOT SO AMATEUR post on one of my hometown fellow fitness pals!

Until then, happy training!





In the NOT SO AMATEUR section of my blog I really want to feature people who inspire me, and in turn will hopefully inspire you!

This week I had the great honour and opportunity to interview one of my favourite people and closest friends, Miss Hilary Jack. Hilary is a gifted artist, teacher, and “Jack” of all trades. (Yes, I just went there hehe) On a serious note, I wanted to feature Hilary this week because she has just reached a very momentous goal in her life when it comes to health and fitness – she has lost over 100lbs!

At her heaviest Hilary weighed 285lbs. After a lot of hard work and dedication she is now down to 183 and still losing as the weeks go by! She attributes her success to a new healthy lifestyle combination of making better food choices, biking and Weight Watchers.

 Why she inspires me: Losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle is a challenge for us all these  days.  We are all really busy. Really making that time for ourselves is key. Hilary has limited the amount that she goes out to eat, makes a lot of her own meals and really does watch what she eats when she does treat herself to a nice meal out. She doesn’t deprive herself of things that she loves, looks for healthy alternatives and she is very realistic.

We all have good days and bad, but she doesn’t give up. Her success comes from a lot of hard work, but also dedication to her own quality of life. She works out religiously and strives to feel that surge of energy after a great workout! She is also not afraid to get her sweat on!

Our old hangouts of pizza and movies, have turned into workout dates at the gym, where we exchange high-fives at the end and yell ‘good job’ like we’re some sort of unofficial sporty gym team 😉

What we can learn from Hilary: You have to be ready and you have to want to do this for yourself!

We used to see a nutritionist in University and if there is one piece of advice she told us that stuck it’s this: “You can know the exact steps that you need to take, but you have to want to take them. Sometimes you will sit on the same step for a really long time until you are really ready. I can just give you the tools that you will need when you decide that you are ready.” (Linda Barton, WLU.)

Hilary points this out in her journey for us below, but she inspires me the most because she refuses to let blips in her journey affect her end goals. She has lost the 100 lbs and she is still striving to do better and better each day! Congratulations on reaching your goal, Hilary! You are such an inspiration to us all!

Hilary Jack- Before and After!


7 Questions with Hilary Jack:

What inspired this change in your lifestyle and encouraged your decision to try to lose 100lbs?

Hilary Jack: I can honestly say that when I started this it wasn’t with the end goal of 100 lbs in mind. That part just sort of happened. When my mom had a  stroke it made me take a hard look at my lifestyle and I knew some things had to change. Those of you who, like me, have struggled off on with their weight, yoyo’d from fat to thin and back again know that it’s not a matter of ignorance; it’s a matter of choices and state of mind. I was determined not to end up like my mother.

How did you do it? (What do you think your keys to success were?

Hilary Jack: When I moved in with my parents to help my Dad out with my Mom for the summer I made two very simple promises to myself : “drink more water” and “exercise at least once a day”

I didn’t exercise everyday but I was working out for about 30 minutes 3 times a week. Then I told myself I’d start eating smaller portions. So I did that. That summer I dropped 30 lbs without really trying much. But I hit a standstill and knew my life had to change more than it already had. So I joined weight watchers with the encouragement of my sister. Best decision I’ve ever made. WW made me really step back and look at how I had been eating my whole life and how to better manage my habits and portions. Working out a few times a week turned into a daily routine, where 30 minutes slowly turned into 60. I now bike about 5 times a week for 60 minutes.

Through all of this, it was making sure my mind was healthy and happy. I admit that I suffer from depression, and making sure that my mind was in the right place made all the difference.

Keeping track of everything and staying consistent and positive were what got me where I am now.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is currently in your ‘old shoes’ what would it be? Hilary Jack: You’ll get there when you’re ready and don’t set your goals high, set them small and make a new goal every time you reach an old one. One of the most important things I learned about myself was that I had to do it when I was ready to. Not when someone told me to. I knew why I was overweight, I just wasn’t ready to change it.

Set your goals simple and easy so that when you meet them you have small accomplishments and milestones that you have met. If you make a goal too big its discouraging when you’re not any closer. I made small goals and I’d much rather have 6 goals behind me than 1 huge goal looming overhead.

You only set yourself up for failure when you don’t set realistic goals. Start the goal at 10 lbs not 60, 15 minutes not 60.

What do you use as your motivator(s) during those tough “I want to give up’ times?

Hilary Jack: Honestly, I think about you, Bx. How you push through the toughest stuff that I’d never even think of attempting (Who does this crazy girl think she is running a half marathon with huge blisters.) I think about seeing my mother in the ER after rushing to the hospital and I think about what a high that rush is when you hit your second wind on a workout. But honestly.. biggest motivator is knowing how amazing it feels when I’ve made it one step closer to another goal.

What would you say are the three most important things that have guaranteed your success?

Hilary Jack: Healthy mind.

Reasonable eating. ( I still eat pizza every week!)

Lots of exercise.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

Hilary Jack: Haha this is SO cheesy and nerdy but Morpheus from The Matrix: “Don’t think you are, KNOW you are.”

Favourite workout ‘pump you up’ jam?

Hilary Jack: Right now it’s the Songza Progressive House Hits playlist. Gets my blood rushing every time!

I will leave you with my favourite Hilary quote of all time:  “Sometimes I just want to bury my face in cake…. but I just don’t!”