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My Fitness Journey to Health

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Emily Reynolds is a World Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (WBFF) pro Diva Bikini athlete, an International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) pro bikini athlete, O’Neill 365 Icon, figure champion, competition coach, personal trainer, nutritional and wellness consultant, fitness personality and model.

But it wasn’t always this way.

I know better than most the power of nutrition and exercise. I know because in the not-so-distant past, I suffered from a health condition that crippled my entire world. The only thing that saved me was a healthy diet, fitness and the power of believing in myself. This is how I got to where I am today. I grew up healthy and fit for most of my life. After college, I started noticing that I wasn’t feeling like myself anymore. I didn’t have the energy I used to. I started experiencing ailments I never had. Eventually, these ailments worsened to the point that I could barely get out of bed some days. Every joint in my body ached, I suffered from chronic headaches, my stomach hurt all the time and I felt as if I was allergic to everything. My life was in a downward spiral with no end in sight. This went on for many years.

After countless doctor visits and several second opinions that gave me diagnoses such as lupus, fibromyalgia, IBS, diverticulitis, chronic fatigue – I was even told by one doctor that I should be put on disability – I was left feeling hopeless. I finally found a doctor who accurately diagnosed me. I had Graves disease. Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to overactivity in the thyroid gland. The thyroid does many things in the body, one of which is regulating a person’s weight. Even though weight gain was the least of my concerns, in the years that I was sick, I gained an unprecedented amount of weight: 40 pounds. I went from an extra small to a size 13.

The doctor’s orders were to have my thyroid completely removed. I did it, but I know now today that wasn’t necessary. And it caused a whole host of other problems in my body as a result. I was fed up with the doctors, and sick and tired of feeling so extremely sick and tired. But, I refused to end my search for answers; I felt that doing so would be a death sentence. So one day, I made a life-changing decision. I decided to fire my doctors and hire myself to take control of my health. I didn’t just want change; I needed change. There simply was no other option in my life.

From that decision, began my journey.

I hired a personal trainer, a nutritionist and started to take wellness supplements. I worked with holistic practitioners who taught me the power of natural medicine. I was driven, dedicated and determined to take back my health and my life.

During this time, I knew someone who competed in figure competitions. The transformation of her body was inspiring to me. After some convincing, I reluctantly decided I was going to start training for one; I felt it would give me that extra push I needed to focus on getting well. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t an easy journey. In fact, it was one of the most challenging things I had done. It took a lot of work, both physically and mentally. But, I made a vow to keep pushing forward and never turn back.

At the end of my first 12 weeks of serious focus, exercise and nutrition, I couldn’t believe my progress. I had lost 27 pounds and dropped to 18% body fat. I then took that step I never thought I could or would; I entered my first figure competition at the NPC. I ranked fourth place in my first show. Figure and bikini competitions soon became another passion of mine.

With my newfound focus on wellness, nutrition and fitness, I had my life back and felt better than ever. From that point on, I spent countless hours researching, learning and experimenting with nutrition and fitness. The more I learned about holistic living and the power of the body and mind, the more I realized everything we need is in nature and within ourselves. The pure power of a healthy, natural lifestyle is something I will never stop believing in.

I knew I had to do something with my journey. I wanted to share it with the world. And that’s exactly what I do every single day. As a fitness personality, competition coach and trainer, I am able to share my knowledge. My mission is to inspire and change lives through my experiences and my love for helping people.

I love being in the fitness industry because I see people every day take charge of their bodies, and empower themselves to make the changes they want in their lives and experience incredible results. There is no greater feeling than the rewards of a healthy, fit lifestyle. And these rewards trickle into every aspect of your life, because you can’t fake feeling absolutely amazing. To me, there is no greater reward than coaching people on this journey to health, wellness and success.

As a coach, I practice what I preach and believe in what I do. Along with fitness, eating and living clean, the power of positive thinking and believing in yourself is hands down, the single-greatest thing you can do for yourself.

If I can turn my health and my life around against all odds, so can you.  I am this passionate about health because I know what it’s like to go without. Each one of us has what it takes to get right where we want to be. You have the power to live your life healthy, happy and balanced. All it takes is a little push in the right direction.

I learned how to be my best me. Let me help you be your best you.

Remember…Be your best you
Emily Reynolds

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Diet and Nutrition Tips for a more healthy lifestyle!

Carine Duval is a fitness Pro who works as a dental hygienist who started competing in fitness two years ago at the age of 42. She won her pro card eight months later.

How many times have you told yourself: “I will start exercising every day,” “I will commit to eating healthier,” “I will lose a lot of weight.” People make promises to themselves every week! This is such a common thing to do, but even more common is the alarming rate at which these promises are broken.
To me, this is not surprising. I explain it with a simple analogy. Making a generic statement like “I will start exercising” is like saying “I will be a better person.” What’s wrong about that you ask? Nothing, if you believe that one can just become a better person by saying it aloud. If you truly aim to bring about a change, the key is to define the ‘what’ and the ‘how.’
How will you lose more weight? What exercise routine will you follow? What eating habits will you change? Don’t let these questions overwhelm you. It’s actually quite simple. When it comes to fitness, there are a few rules to follow as sacrosanct. Especially if you are trying to achieve a goal like weight loss or better health.
If you’re clueless about where to begin, here is a list of my ten best tips to get you started!
1. Avoid processed foods, refined sugars and white foods such as white pasta, white rice and white bread. These foods get absorbed and digested quickly, causing a high spike in energy levels, however followed by a crash which could lead to increased hunger pangs in between meals. Healthier alternatives such as whole grains and whole wheat deliver the necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber and a host of phytonutrients.
2. Drink a lot of water. And I cannot emphasize this enough. Drinking atleast 8-10 8oz of water in a day will not only keep you hydrated – good for your skin and vital organs – but will also give you a sense of feeling full.
3. Exercise at least 4 times a week. Try to make it fun, choose something you enjoy so that you follow it rigorously. Join a biking or running group. When you make a commitment to others, you are more likely to keep it. Incorporate cardiovascular exercise with weight training. Cardio burns fat and is good for your heart. Weight lifting increases muscle mass which burns fat as well.
4. Eat 5-6 small meals a day. This will keep your metabolism high, and you’ll burn more calories. When you eat three big meals a day, your body is unable to metabolize too many calories at one time, thus the food gets stored as fat. With 4-5 smaller meals, you’re only eating the amount your body needs at one time. Combine 3 0z proteins, ½ cup veggies, and ¼ starches into each meal. Also include ¼-1 cup of fruits a day.
5. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry. This may sound funny but when you go to a grocery story on an empty stomach, you’ll end up buying all kinds of high-fat food that you will later regret. Make sure you have eaten well and importantly, make a list of the foods you need, and stick to buying only what is on the list.
6. Isagenix. Choose a weight loss program and regimen that is safe and healthy. Trust and recommend Isagenix to maintain my lean physiques and build muscle. Their products are all natural and organic. They offer products such as a 30 and 9 day cleanse, gluten free protein shakes, healthy low calories snacks, and other supplements that comprise of ingredients from the earth.
7. Prepare your meals ahead of time. When hunger strikes, it’s common to want to eat everything that is in sight. If you have a proper meal already prepared, you could make a much healthier choice as opposed to reaching out for the bag of potato chips.
8. Maintain a daily log and take weekly photos. Record all that you eat in a day, including small meals. If you have to, make yourself answerable to somebody. This will make it easier for you to keep focus and stay on track. From the time you begin your health/fitness routine, take full-length photographs of yourself every few days. This will help you to visualize the changes your body is undergoing
9. Don’t sign off foods that you like, for life. If you hold back too much, over a period of time you’ll tire out your self-restraint and end up eating a lot more. Allow yourself the occasional treat and don’t feel too guilty about it.
10. Don’t stock up on food that is tempting and unhealthy. When you have processed food, colas, high-calorie desserts, foods that are high in saturated fat and sugars, etc., at home, it’s easy to get tempted and cave in. Don’t keep such options too handy.

Carine Duval

Click Here to find out what Carine uses for supplements