Category: Athlete Factory

Motivation is for the weak

February 18, 2014

“MotivationMotivation is for the weak.

I read that delightful statement on someone’s facebook status last week. My first response involved enough eye rolling for my husband to ask what I was reading.  The statement stayed with me for another day or two and was murmured by my sub conscious enough that I sat down and had a little think about it.

Motivation is for the weak.

For me it had a ring of truth. Off and on over the years I have done what people call “motivational” speaking. The title never sat well with me because I didn’t want to motivated the unmotivated, I always want to help direct the already motivated. To be someone’s motivation is a huge responsibility and one that I have never felt comfortable with, too much room to seriously disappoint someone!

Motivation is for the weak.

Still something was troubling me because that statement felt so wrong. What was I missing? Where does motivation truly come from? Motivation comes from our weakness. It is our weakness of body or soul that motivates us to move on, pick up, grow, change and pursue what we want, if what we want is more than that perceived weakness.  Weakness is not really a negative or positive trait.  We choose if we want to change a weakness or focus on a positive. Sometimes the answer is a bit of both, it all depends on where we are in our journey. A weakness is just that; a weakness. We give it power, weakness doesn’t give or take from who we are. It just is.

All motivation comes from weakness.

That sits better with me, but again the thought isn’t complete. We live in a time where we are inundated with pictures and messages, often together. People turn to “fitspiration” for motivation. External motivation from a source that might not even represent the truth of what is achievable.  You can read more about that from REEMBODY, also from Everyday Feminism and Beauty Redefined.

As I ponder all these thoughts I scroll past a post that reads: I am my motivation.

That rings true!  I AM MY MOTIVATION!

It takes the arrogance out of “motivation is for the weak” acknowledges that we all need motivation but speaks the truth because the best motivation can only come from one place, from within you. Sometimes we just have to dig a bit deeper to find it.

Day 19 ~ Christmas Countdown of my Favourite Things

December 21, 2013

I can honestly say that I never in a million years would think I was excited about something from American Apparel. Generally speaking it is not a store that is geared towards my age group or body shape. But these Principle 6 t.shirts are simply awesome.

From the webpage:

The Principle 6 Campaign takes it’s name from the entry of the Olympic charter which states “the practice of sport is a human right”. As part of the P6 Campaign, American Apparel has teamed up with Athlete Ally andAll Out in protesting LGBT discrimination at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It’s with great pride that we stand alongside Athlete Ally and All Out by offering this line of items. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the clothing line will support the Principle 6 campaign and other human rights and LGBT advocacy groups in Russia fighting discrimination and anti-gay laws.


I love that.

Added bonus.

As a woman in a traditionally male sport I get very frustrated at the “hey look, a girl is doing better than you, you should step up your game” mentality.

This is what has me steaming today;



Really? REALLY?!? Ugh.

How about…

The awkward moment when the person next to you is unexpectedly killing you on the same work out based on your outdated stereotyping tendencies.

But enough of that.

Here is the T.shirt I love.

You can also get a crop top and hoodie, but you can only get them from the online store.


Buy yours today ~ HERE



Day 10 ~ Christmas Countdown of My Favourite Things!

December 11, 2013

Michele Helmeczi is one of my favourite things.

OK. Somehow I don’t think you can add a Michele to your shopping list.. but you can have a little piece of her!  Michele is my trainer at The Athlete Factory along with being awesome in that capacity she also has a passion for food!  She loves to breakdown what food will make you perform at your very best and she wrote it down and put it in a book!



My trainer is also an author! How cool is that!

You can get your copy of “An Introductory Recipe Book for Performance Nutrition” now for $25.00!

Pre order now to save yourself from GST and shipping costs.

If interested, make sure to contact Michele Helmeczi at her email:

“It’s going to feel heavy.” The last words I heard.

November 21, 2013

I had a very exciting day at The Athlete Factory recently.

Athlete Factory


I back squatted 290lbs!!!


Now if you have been tracking my progress you know that I recently back squatted 320lbs at a competition.

So why the excitement about this 290?


In powerlifting there is two basic categories. Equipped and Classic. If you lift equipped you use a belt, knee wraps, a bench shirt and squat suit. If you lift “classic” you can use knee sleeves, wrist wraps a belt and.. well that’s it. I lift “classic.” Personal choice for both philosophical and cash flow reasons.


So my 320 was using a belt and in competition.


My 290 was unbelted with wrist wraps and really really really solid technique and form. When I am training a lift isn’t “official” unless it is perfect, or pretty damm close.   I have a tendency to fold in half as I go down into my squat which makes it harder to get the proper depth (hips below knees) because if your chest comes down your hips go up. This is bad. My biggest battle has been keeping that core tight and up. Good news, I am getting so much stronger. It is like my core is finally catching up to the strength I have in my hamstrings.

Shoes and wraps


I knew my goal that day was 290. I had almost has it the previous week.. except an unfortunate gas issue in the bottom of my squat lead to giggles. Giggles do not make for great squatting.


My warm ups were solid. My form was good. My depth was excellent. My energy was holding.


My confidence was strong.


It was going to be a big jump from what I had just lifted. I think it was 265 up to the 290 but there was no sense in tiring myself out, so the plan was to go for it.


My trainer, Michele has grown to know me well, which is such a blessing. Sometimes when I am lifting I am startled by how heavy the weight is on the bar. When we do a big lift usually the last words I really hear is Michele simply stating; “This is going to feel heavy.”


In the beginning it would be; “It’s going to feel heavy, but you are strong enough, trust your hamstrings”. As time has passed that phrase has gotten shorter and now is simply; : This is going to feel heavy.” I can fill in the rest.


The best thing about this phrase is that it allows me to acknowledge that it does feel heavy, and that is OK because I am strong enough.


I also have a mantra that I say to myself as I get under the bar. In my head I say.


  • I am fit.
  • I am fierce.
  • I am strong.


Following that is a roaring silence.


I squat with intention.  Hit depth, drive out my knees and power up.


That 290 was a fight. It felt fabulous as I went down and the first inch on the way up felt great.


Then it all stopped. Literally STOPPED.


It was like a hand was on my head pushing down and saying, you want it? Fight for it.


Fight I did.


Not once did I go back down. I fought to keep rising. I did everything I had learned and just trusted that I was on the line I needed to be on and my hamstrings had the strength to stand.


They did.


Michele said there was a brief moment when she was ready to step in and take some of the weight of the bar thinking I was going to fail but she could see that while it was slow, it was rising and it was strong.


This lift was mine and it was happening.


My eyes well with tears as I write this.


When I was done I turned to Michele for confirmation. Did my chest drop? Did I get depth? Did it count???


YES! It was a solid lift.


At The Athlete Factory they have a huge “leader board.”  I am not someone who is accustomed to being on a leader board, never mind going UP the leader board. My name in bright yellow chalk with a 290lb beside it is up for everyone to see. One name is above mine with a very healthy 350 next to it.

Leader Board


I can feel inside that one day it will be mine.



You are not responsible for your behaviour when you are hungry. #hangry

November 10, 2013

You are not responsible for your behaviour when you are hungry.

Wait. WHAT?

I first heard those words from Paul Balsom the “head of it all” (Director of Athlete Performance & Coach Development) at The Athlete Factory where I train. He has said these words a few times. The first few times I don’t think it registered at all, mainly because he intimated the crap out of me (my issues, not him) but slowly I started hearing the words. I would smile and nod but internally I was thinking…

  •  Yeah, because I have zero will power.
  • Yeah, because I suck.
  • Yeah, because I can’t control myself and obviously don’t want it badly enough.

Frustration 101

I am sure you are picking up on the theme here. Too many “fitspiration” meme’s combined with some self esteem issue and not enough listening to what was actually being said.

To start let’s take out of the equation eating for emotional reasons, this post isn’t about that. This post isn’t about being skinny either. It isn’t about the number on the scale and it isn’t about losing muscle along with the fat. This post is about health and performance. If your goal involves wearing a size 0 but also having 0 muscle and 0 concern about your health read this blog here.. it’s funny and involves crazy family stories and my weird eyes.

This is about understanding that if you have started on a road that includes exercising, that body is going to need sustenance, or dare I say calories!   When I am following my proper eating plan it involves meals with protein, fat, fibre and even dare I say CARBS!

Under that criteria that could equal a Big Mac meal, but the other part of my eating plan involves what people call “whole” food. Stop rolling your eyes. If you give your body the food it needs to be healthy. It will be healthy.

Eat food that is good for you and good things will happen.

Eat food. REAL food. Give your body what it needs before it needs it.  Give your body food that actually offers something to your body that does more than just shut off the hungry switch for a short period of time.

When you are hungry you body is telling your brain one thing.




Sometimes it is yelling so loudly that any common sense your brain is sending out is overridden and you do exactly that.  You EAT.

You EAT in an all caps EAT kinda way.

For some people this can head into binge territory and quickly escalate into an eating disorder that turns into a much worse situation. (Get more info on that here)

For others, like myself. it turns into the random grazing situation. If I come home from work hungry I will suddenly find myself munching on cheese and crackers. If I am hungry at the grocery store those check out chocolate bars become irresistible. The radio station I work at seems to have a constant supply of donuts, cookies, candy and other treats. If I come into work right after a work out I shovel something into my face that is not a “whole” food.

Imagine there is a massive winter storm outside. You have to walk the dogs. Do you go outside in a t.shirt and shorts to determine how many more layers to put on? No. You head out prepped and good to go with a toque, scarf, mittens, boots and winter jacket. This way your body doesn’t give you frost bite so your brain understands next time to dress properly.

When the time comes that health is priority one, or you are making a lifetime change, or you have an athletic goal, it is time to step up and address the situation with changes that make big picture sense.

It will not happen quickly, it will take a time of adjustment. You will experience other health benefits before you start to drop fat. It will be frustrating. SO frustrating. INCREDIBLY frustrating. People will taunt you with fad diets and age old cliches like “calories in, calories out” or better yet “just eat less and move more!”

Your goal is long term.


Think of how you want to feel at 20, 30, 60 or 70. Give your body what it needs. Give your body time to process that you are truly making a change and it isn’t a “fad” let your body acclimatize to food it instinctively knows how to process. One day your body will shout to your brain that you have come to your senses and that it will be nourished properly for the rest of it’s life, therefore it’s OK to release what it has stored for “in case of an emergency.” (Buh Bye fat!) Here is what I want you to take away from this blog post:

You are NOT responsible for your behaviour when you are hungry.


You ARE responsible for keeping your body from getting hungry.


Michele Helmeczi  ~ Trainer at The Athlete Factory and has a athlete focused cookbook coming out before Christmas

The Whole Life Nutrition Cook Book ~ Excellent recipes and information


Today I was naked with a sex bomb.

October 30, 2013

Change rooms can be intimidating. Change rooms at a gym that trains elite athletes from a variety of different sports even more so. At The Athlete Factory I have shared the change room with swimmers, tennis players, figure skaters, golfers, yogi’s, rugby players and fitness models. Including this super sexy woman:

Meet Deanne Greff Wbff Pro



About the only thing our sports have in common is that we both lift weights. Her success comes from how her body is sculpted and looks to the judges. In my sport success comes from how much weight I lift and if I hit certain bench marks while doing it. What we have in common is that we both work very hard at what we are doing and make sacrifices to make it happen.

Let me show you another picture of this hottie:


Now picture standing in a change room.


With this woman standing next to you.

It happened.


Even better it was in front of a mirror.

Here is a quick reminder of what I look like:

Suddenly the most amazing thing happened. I looked up as we were chatting and saw us both in that mirror; no shame, no unease, no embarrassment. Yes I was larger and my breast are losing their fight with gravity, but my body is strong, my curves hit in the right spots and my posture is excellent. Plus my very sexy friend certainly didn’t care, she was enjoying having a friend to talk with about the cold weather and her work out that she was heading into.

I have been making a point of reinforcing my thoughts that we are a truly beautiful in our own way over the last year, and it has slowly graduated from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk.” I made small adjustments in my thinking. I was kinder to myself when I looked in the mirror. I made a point of expressing my discomfort at the hilarity people found making fun of how others appeared no matter how outrageous. I tried to keep “top of mind” that I am not aware of anyone’s physical appearance journey and the challenges they have faced.

These changes seem to be working. Will I continue to evolve to hit my goals both physically and emotionally. Yes. It isn’t that hard to stop speaking out loud in judgment, it is hard to stop thinking it.

Progress is being made; and such joy at hitting this moment in my emotional growth.

That dream of yours? Not gonna happen.

October 18, 2013

This blog is the outcome of too many inspirational quotes posted on facebook and from reading too many cheesy motivational speaker blogs.

Where would the world be without dreamers? Follow your dream, that is the way to true happiness! Even Walt Disney said; “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Hey, I’m not going to mess with Walt, but are we talking about dreams or goals? Could they be the same thing?

NOPE. A dream and goal are different. Both are valuable and important to living life to it’s fullest and being a happy you. A goal has a plan, steps are being taken, and the process has begun. A dream is just that, a “dream” perhaps you could even call it a “wish” or a “hope” but it currently has no action attached to it. For that “dream” to happen it will require a small miracle or a broad stroke of luck because you sure aren’t doing anything to make it closer to reality for you or it flat out might be impossible.


WHAT NO! Say it isn’t so Susan!

How can you say a dream can be impossible..

Example: I would love to be 5’4 in flats without surgery.  This would involve dreaming the impossible dream.

Do I think you should stop dreaming? NO! There is more to life then setting up goals that you recognize as achievable with step by step planning. Dreams are the seed, the beginning, the hope for something more.

What I think you should do is stop whining. I have also had my share of pity parties, but when you hear the same people say over and over.. “It’s just a dream.. Sigh…” I want to climb on a soap box and deliver this message:

Make it a goal. If you can’t make it goal and this unfulfilled dream is pulling you down, let it go.

Life evolves and changes so will your dreams. Some become goals, goals that might even launch bigger dreams until they to become goals. Sometimes in the act of turning a dream into a goal you discover your “dream” is bigger or smaller or totally different than what you originally dreamt.

Example: I wanted to back squat 3 plates. I thought it looked bad ass on the bar and it would be over 300 lbs which seemed like an impossibility.  I let that “dream” percolate in the back of my head. I told my trainer, she told me it was doable. I nodded and said great, but wasn’t ready to move it from “dream” to “goal” at that point. As we trained it became apparent that it was goal material. As that fish bowl exploded other dreams took place of the one that became a goal. Currently on the cusp of a dream moving into goal is the 400lb backsquat.

As we grow into ourselves we discover we can be more than we ever originally thought possible. As a child I dreamt of riding at Spruce Meadows, accepting an Oscar and singing the blues that brought a crowd to their feet. These “dreams” didn’t happen for me, I still hold them dear but they grew and changed as I did. I have set records as a powerlifter, become a major market radio personality, and have owned a motorcycle and a boat. All part of my shifting dreams that became goals.

We can’t allow dreams to define who we are for the good or the bad.

What can define you is the effort you put into being the person you want to be.

 Further reading that didn’t make me want to toss my inspirational cookies:  Rowdy Kittens , Road To Epic and because often goals involve getting a handle on cash flow this blog offers insight and tools: Squawkfox.