Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FOOD for Thought and my FUTURE

Over the past year my brain and body have undergone a dramatic transformation. I have fed my brain an abundance of knowledge within the Holistic Nutrition field. I have studied, researched, completed courses, read, experimented and tested countless new nutrition and wellness approaches. My body has gone from an outwardly appearing healthy individual who was filled with toxins and imbalances, into a rejuvenated and balanced body both inside and out. I have begun taking on new clients to look deep into the root causes of their health status and have formulated logical and realistic health prescriptions and action plans to educate them on making better choices for their unique personal wellness journeys. Along the way I have altered my approach to fitness, nutrition, lifestyle habits, emotional perception and the way in which I go about my day. I have also changed the way I help people around the world, the philosophies I hold and my methods of delivery. The more I learn the more confident I am that there is so much more to nutrition and health then we ever thought was possible. As I am entering my seventeenth year within the health and fitness industry I am confident in saying that I will continue to learn and grow as a person and professional for the rest of my days on earth. This new chapter of my life is a wonderfully exciting one and feels like the perfect puzzle piece to my already acquired knowledge through my massage therapy degree, personal training specialization, team building management and personal athletic accomplishments. Over the past year I have found peace within myself and a more positive and laid back approach to life. I have learned that balance between mind, body, and spirit is essential for everyday living. I have learned that being within the moment is extremely important and challenging. Personal relationships have been nurtured and even more importantly I have learned that being aware and grateful are two very important ingredients to any recipe. During stressful times it is always challenging to remember to live each day like it was your last, but I have made a point to never leave words unspoken. Some of you may laugh at this last sentence and that is probably because you know me well. I have always been one to speak my mind and I am reassuring you that my mother can vouch for that. I have been punished, ousted, ostracized, dumped, fired, threatened and almost thrown in jail for my wild ability to stand up for what I feel is right and to blow whistles when I think it is appropriate. There are times when I am sure that I should have kept my big trap shut, but most of the time I am proud of my ability to do speak out. My personal belief is that life is too short to beat around the bush and to just tackle situations by getting to the root of the problem. I suppose that is why I choose the Holistic Nutrition field and decided to leave Dietetics and traditional medicine to others (yes that was my loud mouth again). As this journey has unfolded I have uncovered some of the most disturbing information I have ever seen. There have been many days when I would come home and drop into bed crying at some of the disgusting ways man (mankind) has destroyed the earth and one another. I have almost turned away from the health and wellness industry a few times thinking that it is a lost cause. I have asked myself daily “how can one person change a world that is so damaged and distorted”. For a few hours I give up and then I see more governments, companies, and money hungry people take advantage of people that do not know any better. I read hundreds of studies produced by scientists, the traditional medical professionals, major worldwide corporations, and holistic practitioners to obtain all points of view on a specific subject. I then go back to science and relate the information to each specific situation to see if it aligns with my philosophies. Nine times out of ten I see humans destroying humans because of the need for money or power (one in the same from what I can see) and I see a world filled with not only toxic environments and food supplies but toxic people. In amongst the dreary situation we are all faced with at the moment I also see a glimmer of hope. I take pleasure in seeing smiles on the faces of people who are uplifted by information and knowledge that I share. I am gracious to the people that take time to express their gratitude, but more importantly I feel as though the world can be changed when I see the extreme changes a person can make simply by adopting the recommendations that we implement. I have seen major diseases heal, severe allergies dissipate, infertile couples conceive, pre-mature babies develop, pregnant mothers thrive, and athletes achieve the unthinkable. So in essence as long as I continue to see positive changes in the world then I am able to continue to fight the “bad guys”. With all of the posts, recipes and knowledge that I share I hope that you too can “share” and educate yourselves and friends further on how our food, lifestyle, environment, activity and stress levels are determining how healthy you are! In health and love, ~Jenny B www.jennybfit.ca jenny@jennybfit.ca

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Staying Strong in the FIGHT Against Cancer

Cancer is a battle and those who have to face it, have to prepare for the fight of a lifetime. As with all things in life, attitude is everything and cancer is no different. Those who face treatments with a positive outlook tend to have the greatest success stories. Eating well, getting plenty of rest, and continuing to do things that one enjoys are all a recipe for a better prognosis, whether mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer, or prostate cancer is the problem. Regardless of which form of cancer one is facing, exercise is extremely important as well. It is essential to stay strong in order to endure the strain of treatment and get on the road to recovery. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments wreak havoc on the body. There will be times when it is hard to get out of bed. However, as soon as the worst is over, it's important to keep going. If possible, cancer patients should try and get into a routine of daily activities that can't be missed. It doesn't have to be anything intense or high impact. Going for a walk every day could be the perfect outlet for exercise. It can be adjusted depending to how one feels, extending the distance on good days, cutting back on the days when the body doesn't want to cooperate. One of the best things any cancer patient can do is team up with a buddy to stay motivated. Get a change of scenery and visit national parks. Walk around a lake. Go away for a weekend and take a hike. Make it enjoyable while keeping the body in shape. Yoga is another excellent choice when it comes to exercise, regardless of one's physical condition. It enhances flexibility, keeps the body strong, and provides many techniques for relaxation. Facing cancer is extremely stressful on a person's mind and physical well-being. Regular yoga sessions can actually be a source of relief and tranquility. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, many studies have been conducted that support exercise as a plan of attack for those facing cancer. Exercise promotes strength, a healthy weight, flexibility, and a positive sense of well-being. It is important for those who face cancer to do things that they enjoy, as they stay active. They will have something to look forward to and feel better as well. Cancer patients should also listen to their bodies, adapting their exercise routine day by day with the consultation of their doctor. - Melanie Bowen melanielbowen@gmail.com http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/melanie/bio.htm

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Jennifer TransFORMATION!

I was born Jennifer and then at some point in my life my sweet, quiet loving grandpa transformed me into Jennifer Lee. This transformation was unconscious and just happened through the caring influence of my mother’s father. As I learned to walk and saw the world through my child eyes, I grew and the “Lee” just happened. As I entered school I slowly morphed into Jen. Jen was a growing girl who took pleasure in the humor of life and always wanted to have fun and be constantly stimulated by new things. Jen played by a different set of rules and had an agenda for life like no other. Jen also struggled throughout her teenage years and rebelled against everything and everyone she could. I suppose you could say that the –nifer lost in my birth name was also symbolism of losing a bit of myself. As most teenagers and young adults do, I become confused in who I was and what I was doing on this earth. In amongst my years as Jen I would spend my summers as Jenny-Lou. Jenny-Lou was comfortable for me and taught me about hard work in the labour sense. It brought me joy and life-long friendships; it brought me exploration and the beginnings of my love for the beach and everything it stood for. But when the summer months would end I would morph back into Jen. Jen left this world and became Jenny as she transcended from a butterfly to a moth and then back into a butterfly. This Jenny journey brought me into an ugly moth stage as I looked in the mirror and saw what other moths told me I was. I lost my beautiful colors and my ability to soar was stunted by my personal weakness. As the days went by Jenny the moth looked around to find something to give her hope that she would one day turn back into a beautiful butterfly and fly away back into the world she loved so much. I remember the day that Jenny the moth came out of her cocoon and turned back into Jenny the butterfly and it was unlike any other. I was with a bunch of my butterfly friends and they were unconsciously reminding me how wonderful it was to fly and that being Jenny did not mean that I had to be a moth any longer. Two of these butterflies today still remain close to my heart and they always will. That night I flew away from my old self and I have never looked back. To this day I am still a Jenny but when I share my knowledge and give without thinking I become a J. I feel no loss of the -enny, in fact I feel more complete as a J, but I know that staying a Jenny is where I need to be. Years ago a beautiful woman saw the Jenny B in me and I remember that ah ha moment when she uttered this new personae. Jenny B was a passion in my head during my early Jenny days but something that I had never really acted upon. Today I am confident that I know when and where to put Jenny, J, or Jenny B name tags on and am so grateful for my transformation. So you see this is my journey, one that I am thankful for and blessed to have had. I have met so many influential people along the way that drove me to become who I am today, a confident woman who is happy with the many hats she has in her closet, ready to wear each of them when the time is right. FOREVER, Jennifer, Jennifer Lee, Jenny-Lou, Jen, Jenny, J, Jenny B

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

F this day!

I love how in a single day I go from having what seems like the most stressful day on earth to pure bliss within a few hours. How I can sit in front of the most understanding and supportive man on earth and vent to him for 20 minutes straight (without even taking a breath) about how stupid people in this world appear to be (to me anyways) and how I cannot understand how people operate. I then go to meet an incredible woman who is passionate and fabulous in all senses of the word and discuss business and ideas and become rejuvenated. Then I head home to be greeted by a 15 year old that already knows that I have had a tough day as she proceeds to give me her last (yes last) maple syrup candy to try and cheer me up. Wow. One hour later I sit down and eat my dinner and then start crying at the TLC show called Strange Addictions because I am so sad that the next generation is being born into a world filled with more issues than Playboy magazine. I sit down to relax and answer a few emails, go on Facebook all awhile chatting with my 76 year old grandmother who is determined to explain to me why he believes evil people are taking over her nursing home. I briefly (not so brief to her) share a bit of my day with a Facebook friend because I know that she may just have the same frustrations and questions about life that I do. We giggle and laugh about “Ken and Barbie” and at the intricacies in today’s society. My day then leads into a conversation with my mother who is convinced that she is a product of my comedy sketch. I try to explain to her that I am not being funny but I am just telling her how it is and most people just don’t say what they think because they are too afraid of how others will perceive them. Too bad I don’t care what others think about me, should I? The next u-turn is towards balls, yes that’s right balls. For some reason every day since I can remember my day always includes a discussion about balls. Whether it be a short or long or floppy (you get my point), it always ends up there. Regardless I end up laughing and realizing that no matter how many sore neck muscles I have from shaking my head because of how odd the day was, I still end up laughing and smiling and enjoying life. So what did you do today?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Transition Time: PART I

F word #1 FAMILY
A few weeks ago I asked my sister, brother-in-law (FBIL), mother and soul mate (Goat) what they would say are 3 words that best described me.

This is what they said:
Mother: Witty, beautiful and sarcastic
Sis: Creative, driven and funny
FBIL: Funny, opinionated and warm-hearted
Goat: Funny, funnier, funniest

I cannot helped but think three things; one my sister should have rearranged her answers in order to be more accurate, two FBIL, mom and Goat are SMRT people and lastly I feel a lot of pressure to suddenly fill a comedic role through my blog. Regardless I just wanted to share a little bit about myself, or at least how my FAMILY views me!

F word #2 FOOD
Over the past few months I have been in experimental mode and the kitchen has been my laboratory (insert evil laugh here). Poor FAMILY you might say, but generally I think most of my experiments usually turn out alright. If the family doesn’t like the FOOD then the racoons certainly enjoy it! November was cookie month and I had 6 recipes to try out in hopes of having 3 winners for Christmas time. Luckily our household has a high cookie tolerance and I am not too fond of them myself. After the dough was rolled, cut out, baked and tasted the clear cut winners were the gingerbread rounds with butter cream icing in the middle. These tasty treats (WHAT I had to try a few) were re-named cheeseburgers due to the soft butter cream centres being rolled in Christmas sprinkles which were sandwiched together by soft brown gingerbread wafers which resembled hamburger buns. After 4 batches I am pretty certain I found the perfect recipe.

On to the more productive FOOD experiment details. I have been testing out and educating myself on the intricacies of the PALEO diet and how to combine PALEO approved foods to make menu worthy creations. I am fairly knowledgeable on the high fat, no gluten, grain and high protein diet as throughout my 2011 contest season I was primary on a fat loading / ketosis program. What is new to me is that the Paleo diet does not eliminate natural sugars from fruit. This is a new concept for my body and is perhaps a great balance for a long term nutrition plan for many people. This is why I have a few lab rats (ok they are people) I know on the diet and I am monitoring them in regards to performance, energy levels, fat loss, muscle gains and overall opinions on how easy the program is to follow. I will keep you up to date on my findings. As a health and fitness consultant I find that it is integral for me to not only test new nutrition approaches on myself but others as well. Constant learning and brain building!

Here are my two new favourite Paleo approved foods and my findings.
1. The almighty Bacon Wrapped Date
Let’s just say that there is nothing like that salty rich exterior and the warm sweetness of the date. The first time I made them it was obvious that the type of date you use is VERY important. Medjool dates are the only ones I would use; keep those sticky dates in the cupboard for this one. That means you Lee! Soak those small skewers in water for a good 20 minutes before stabbing that plump date (take the bloody pit out lazy) wrapped in bacon. Of course I am always trying to make food better so after the first attempt I thought that it needed a little crunch. Round two proved that the almond stuffed date (just replace the pit with an almond) made a big difference. I still think it can be improved upon so next time I will be putting some forbidden goat cheese in the date just to see what it will be like. I personally think it will be epic!

2. Almond Cashew Jamberry Bars
I have only made these once and if I hurry home there may still be one in the freezer for me to eat, and if Skippy (Goats youngest daughter) likes them then they have to be good. They are a mixture of lemon juice, blackberries, raspberry and honey spread on top of a thick layer of crushed almonds, cashews and pure maple syrup. I still have doubts on how this can possibly be good for you and I will be altering the recipe to make them more solid and replace the maple syrup and honey with a few other ingredients. The maple syrup and honey are apparently allowed in small doses on the Paleo diet. Heck if these are allowed then this program is looking more and more feasible as the clock ticks.

You might be able to tell that FOOD is a real passion of mine and I could probably talk about it for an eternity, so I should really quite while I am ahead.

F word #3 FITNESS
Yes, I did kind of leave you hanging on the last blog. Sorry but I had to create some kind of anticipation and bribing you with food wasn’t going to be possible via the net. As I stated in my last entry I decided not to get up on stage and compete in 2012.

Over the past year my sister has gotten involved in crossfit. She is the most hardcore women you will ever know and has done some of the most insane sports, events and workouts known to woman/man. After hearing about her crossfit journey over the past year I started to become more and more intrigued. In September my sister came to visit me and I did my first crossfit WOD (workout of the day). For those of you that are wondering what crossfit is I suggest you take a look at a few YouTube videos and try to keep your jaw closed when watching them. Each WOD has a name and this particular one was nasty. His name was Tabata and I will never forget him. The WOD was 8 sets of 20 second reps with 10 seconds of rest in between each set. We started with air squats (the air seemed heavier than usual that day) and by the sixth set I am sure I looked at my sister with evil eyes and asked her WTF she was trying to do to me.
You see I have never been one for cardio of any kind. In fact I would bargain with my coach and do anything I had to (within reason) do in order to always avoid cardio. When ever anyone asked me how much cardio I did when I prepared for a figure competition I would mumble the answer under my breath so they could never hear me. The average person does over 1.5 hours of cardio minimum a day for about 8 weeks leading up to a show. Personally I have never done more than an hour a day for more than 2 weeks. I never saw the point because it always tore down the muscle I worked so hard to get.
So fast forward to me attempting to complete this “so called WOD” with my “so called sister” who was supposed to love me, not try to kill me (there is my sarcasm as my mother would say). Once the squats were done we moved on to pull-ups and then sauntered over to the box jumps (evil things) and then ended with some sit-ups. Now this workout was tough but I had done tough workouts before. The next morning I walked with a limp and stiffened up like a board and can still remember that day like it was yesterday. As I limped around the house I knew that this was a sport I wanted to dig a little deeper into.
In November I gathered up enough courage to sign up for the set of fundamentals classes at Altitude Crossfit in Burlington. I knew that if I was going to get involved in a new sport that I would need a mentor, a community to support and push me and a facility in which to train in (and perhaps an ambulance nearby). Those classes almost killed me and I know that I will have to train 10 times harder than most in order to progress because I have never trained my cardiovascular system. I also have a wrist and thumb injury that requires me to alter a few exercises in order to get the WODs done. I do what I have to do in order to getter done!

So this is my new journey, a journey on a brand new path, unexplored by my body. My priorities are no longer getting as lean or as symmetrical as I can. My priorities and goals are doing a 180 and are geared towards building my strength, developing my techniques, and getting these lungs and this heart a moving!

I use to say that if I was ever being chased by someone that there was a 99% chance that I would just turn around and try to talk my way out of the situation instead of attempting to run. I have never run a mile without stopping in my life. This new journey I am embarking upon is frightening and there will be good days and there will be bad. This journey is not unlike any other goal that each one of us has. I believe that dreams are goals without a plan, a roadmap, a true belief and desire to achieve them. If you believe, have a little faith and have the proper tools to achieve your goals then anything is possible. So my dream begins……………….

Monday, January 2, 2012

There no way to put this other than to say that 2011 was an incredible year! I sit back and reflect how many epic moments I had. To say I am grateful is an understatement.

Most of you know that I started competing back in 2001 but after my 5th show in 2003 I knew that I had to take time off to build some solid muscle and sculpt my body to become more symmetrical and balanced in order to compete against the National level girls (full on beautiful beasts). I took 8 years off to build a business (health and fitness consulting), travel the world (Australia and all over Canada) and gain the strength (arm wrestled all the drunkards), knowledge (SMRT) and team (Team Jenny B Fit) I needed to make a comeback in the figure world. In August of 2010 I decided that I was going all out, balls to the walls, train each day like I was only one week out from getting on stage to compete. My Coach Chris Marzarella was behind me 100% and together we created solid plans in order to prepare me for what was ahead. I don’t envy the poor SOB because I am one of the WORST clients anyone could have, I want to know the “whys” behind everything and always believe that there may be a better way of doing things. No chicken, brown rice, broccoli diets and 2 hours of cardio a day for this girl! I knew there was a much better approach to the old school diet and training that would spare the muscle I worked my weapon off to build. Coach and I found what worked best and rode that donkey to the stage!

I also met my soul mate at the end of 2010 and willingly moved to Ontario to start a new chapter filled with adventure, love and laughter. Who could ask for anything more right? Well he also has 3 beautiful girls that have made this adventure even better and I thank them for being so wicked in the process. Each one of them supported me every day through my contest preparations and they sat in the audience donning their personalized Jenny B Fit t-shirts and foam fingers. Again, I am very grateful.

My first show was in Quebec to compete at the WBFF figure in the masters division. It was a great feeling to be back up on the stage again and even though there were only two of us in the class I felt like I brought my best package to date and accomplished everything I set out to achieve. At the end of August I switched back to the IFBB, where I first started competing back in 2001. I felt amazing and loved being on the stage in Ontario with an improved physique, presentation and package than a few months before.

This journal and my writing style is not always going to be about all the wonderful things in life, it’s not edited and sometimes I have no filter (actually most times). There will be times when I speak my mind and some people may not like it, but that is the joy of a blog. My opinion is mine and if you don’t like it then that’s awesome because we are all different and entitled to our opinions. With that being said this is most likely going to be the tamest of my blog entries, so prepare yourselves lol. If you are following you may be in for some long winded rambling!

Now that I have prefaced my final paragraph properly I can tell you that I was disappointed with my placing at my last competition. This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel as though I was entitled to win nor does it mean that I think I was better than anyone else on stage. I don’t train to come in 2nd or 4th I train to win. With that being said after valuable information and feedback from the judges at the show they have told me that I carry too much muscle and came in too lean for the figure division. I respect that and that is why I have decided that I will not be competing in the figure division in 2012. Stay tuned for the new adventure..............woot woot!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

GO FIGURE: 2 Days Out: Ode to Donkey

There once was a donkey and his name was Fred ..
Every damn morning he would get me out of bed ..
He was an old donkey but he sure made me sweat ..
But not nearly as much as our stinky new pet !!

Thank you Coach Jugs for being so mean ..
Without your badass attitude I would not have gotten so lean ..
You listened to my whining, you are a true gift ..
My butt likes you as well .. must be those deadlift(s)!!

I want to make sure that I thank PA 1 and PA 2 ..
Without them I would not rememeber all that I had to do ..
I wouldnt be here without my whole team ..
To help me achieve my goals and my dream ..

On Saturday I step onto the stage ..
I enter a new chapter and turn a new page ..
What happens in the end remains to be seen ..
But I can tell you one thing .. I WILL BE EATING POUTINE!!

So this concludes my Ode to Donkey and now I must make a few calls ..
Its almost show time so as I always say "BALLS TO THE WALLS"