Fit Chick Friday - Ginel Stephenson

We are an amazing community of Fit Chicks right here in Edmonton and I want to highlight that community. Each week I'll be featuring a new new Fit Chick on Friday's. Learn about trainers, teacher, instructors or you ladies who are just into a good ol workout!

This week I had to have my friend Ginel Stephenson on. We met in a moms group when our now almost 6 year olds were tiny 4/5 week old babies! She is one fit and fun mama!



Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, CSEP CPT and CEP CrossFit Level 2

Where to find Ginel:

She has a garage converted into a amazing home gym where she takes clients through True Shape Fitness.

What are your specialties?

CrossFit style training, general nutrition, nutrition for endurance athletes, weightloss and chronic medical conditions. 

What got you into fitness?

Being a kid that couldn't sit still, I realizes that there was no way I could work in a career sitting behind a desk or behind a counter. I love moment and how it makes you feel.

What/Who is your biggest motivation?

Challenging myself is my biggest motivation. I am able to go out to my gym and work out on my own no problem, but there needs to be a reason for me to work out so it doesnt become mundane. Whether its getting a few kf's on a lift, decreasing my time in distance training or getting one more pullup. I enjoy fitness as a sport and tracking improvements and gains. I LOVE CrossFit competitions and ultramarathons. I have yet to complete one solo but am working on 120 km this year.

What got you into to training people?

It was a gradual process and many other instructors and coaches along the way. Wach different niche was foudn through different passions of others that I have been honoured to work with and for. 

What are some of your favourite exercises or equipment?

Olympic lifting, the squat rack and my incline trainer treadmill that goes 40% incline.

What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Trail running.

What is your favourite indoor activity?

Baking and reading the newspaper. (She said she's lame, but that sounds glorious to me)

Any advice you'd like to give to other women?

It's most imperative that you do NOt compare yourself to others. If we were all alike, earth would be a pretty boring place to be! You need to set your own goals and have accountability for those. 
Also, listening to our body. Mother Nature is pretty damn smart and had got us this far. Some days it's okay to sleep in past your 5am alarm set for a workout and just rest and recover. We actually don't make any gains in the gym, it's the rest, recovery and rebuilding time where that happens. 

Find Ginel at on Facebook or her new Instagram account!

A shot of Ginel and her husband running together. 

A shot of Ginel and her husband running together. 

5 Foods To Eat After Injury

If you don't follow along on my Instagram, you would have missed the fact that I injured myself yesterday. Doing some fancy version of box squats, I missed and landed on the corner of the box with my shins. *Insert grimace*.

So here we are writing about some foods that will help the healing process. These are great not just for us adults, but for the kids on our lives that play sports or get injuries from riding their bikes, as they are non medical ways of helping heal. 


1.Ginger - Ginger is a well known anti inflammatory and helps reduce pain. But in addition to this, if you are taking medication for pain/healing that upsets the stomach, ginger is known to help fight nausea and upset stomachs.  

2.Tumeric - Also another well known powerful anti inflammatory, reducing joint pain if there are injuries to knees, elbows, shoulders etc.

3.Vitamin C Rich Foods - Vitamin C boosts immunity we know but it also important in strengthening of collagen (the stuff that holds our skin together), if we aren’t getting enough vitamin c Collagen gets weaker and wounds heal slower.Try sweet bell peppers, oranges, spinach, and brussel sprouts.

4.Protein - Think about bodybuilders and muscle heads and all the protein they seem to consume. While working out we are tearing the muscles and protein is needed to repair the tears. It’s not just neede for repairing muscles but also injuries such as cuts, burns, wounds etc. Increase your protein intake while healing. “Protein gets used for energy before healing” - Michele Gottschlick R.D Ph.D.  So we need to increase protein for energy AND to use for healing.

5.Zinc Rich Foods - Zinc is needed to synthesis protein and for cell growth, helping heal wounds faster. Spinach, Beef, Kidney Beans, Pumpkin Seeds, Oysters, Garlic (well isn’t that just convenient) Egg Yolk, Pork and Dark Chocolate (So I’ve given you a scientific reason to eat chocolate).

Adding some of these foods together would probably make a great salad or stew! Watch for a recipe on the blog soon!! Ha ha



Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

Self Care Sunday - Acupuncture

This week for Self Care Sunday we are talking about acupuncture. A little while back Andrea Wingrave from Acupuncture Edmonton and I put together THIS post, all about acupuncture and what it is.  I thought what a wonderful self care idea. Getting some acupuncture. 

Luckily most benefits cover acupuncture these days up to $500 or $1000 so in reality you aren't out anything if it isn't your thing. But really, it's going to be. 

The needles are sterile one time use needles. I know this is something people have expressed concerned about when I tell them about acupuncture. I was also worried I wouldn't be able to donate blood anymore, but turns out if they are sterile singe use then you still can. (Bonus!)


At first it seems a little intimidating thinking about the needles going in and/or staying in. But really after they go in and some minor adjusting to your comfort, you don't even feel them.

But here is the best part people..... you get a 30 minute nap. Yeah, the needles go in, adjust as needed and then you get 30 minutes all to yourself to relax on a soft comfy bed and have a heat lamp on your feet. Oh that glorious heat lamp. I need one for home. 

Now whether or not you are sure if you "believe" in acupuncture working or not, the relaxing time spent in the room and you taking time for yourself is a huge step toward tapping into that parasympathetic (rest and digestion) cycle of the body. This is truly self care. Calming down, unwinding and finding time for yourself. 

Oh and before I forget.... you get a head massage at the end.... *drooooool*

So a few tips for heading to the acupuncturist. 

  • Maybe find a referral from a friend. I love friends that tell me about professionals they love and why, that way I sort of know what to expect. 
  • Wear loose fitting clothing. That way pant legs can be rolled up if access is needed to the knees etc. 
  • They will have music but honestly I think this relaxation time would pair perfectly with a mediation podcast or yoga nidra recording on youtube. 
  • Turn off your phone. Not on vibrate, You don't want to hear buzzing and crap as you are trying to relax. 
  • I highly recommend booking an appointment in the evening so you can go to sleep after!

Have you ever seen an acupuncturist? Whats your favourite part?


Jen the Bitchin' Housewife

What's That Barre About?

Every thought about trying out a barre class? Yeah that was me. A friend and I have thought about it for a while and weren't sure. I figured I would try and blog about it so you can see if it's something you wanted to try! I'll experiment on my body for you like that. We cool.

Thursday night my two friends and I went to Xtend Barre in south Edmonton and tried out a class! First of all this brand new studio is super gorgeous and the people that work there are amazingly friendly and inviting! I mean I know I have tried many different things in fitness, but always embarking on a new journey can be a little intimidating and these guys treat you like a best friend the second you walk in the door.

So we walk in and fill out our forms and get ready for class. Fist thing is we grab some equipment. Some straps, mat, ball and choose our size hand weights. Now, let me tell you a bit about my ego. There are 2, 3 and 5 lbs weights. And I'm all like, "I lift weights, where's the 15 lbs weights?" and Cheryl is all like "3 lbs is challenging and 5 lbs is like hard core". I almost grabbed the 5lbs, but last second thought, I'm a newbie I'll go 3. *Insert rolling laughter from everyone ever who has taken a barre class*.

We get all set up and start on some warm up movements. It was pretty good, I felt loosened up and got a grasp of hand placcement and footing. I had concerns about how complicated it was going to be, especially after I saw the equipment we needed, but the moves are simple and easy to follow.

After warming up we grab our weights get to some strength. Yeah so I'm a weightlifter..... I can hip thrust a whopping 270 lbs. These 3 lbs weights kicked my ass. Well shoulders, but you get the idea. I seriously part way through had to put those suckers down and do just bodyweight. Which is a wonderful option for newbies to fitness too. It's totally still a good workout. 

We got to some more bodyweight stuff......

Happy Chris doing her favorite move, tricep dips. With a pointed toe twist of course. 

Happy Chris doing her favorite move, tricep dips. With a pointed toe twist of course. 

Then we hit the bar. Where I learned, it doesn't matter how fit you are, you can ALWAYS learn something new. I'm totally proud of my capabilities to perform a very good squat with my butt back and low. But Cheryl had to keep correcting me to tuck my pelvis the other direction. Not a squat but a plie! Let's talk about using new muscles! yowza!

Then my FAVORITE, core work!!!!!

Overall we had a total blast. Chris and Melissa proclaimed to be very sore yesterday. I wasn't as sore since I taught 7 hours of yoga and stretched all day, but I can feel it still in some parts of my body!

My overall take on barre:

  • Great workout, with something available for all levels to get a challenge.
  • Very simple to follow, with easy transitions between exercises. 
  • Fun upbeat music.
  • What I liked best was it was almost like a taste of being a dancer, without the intimidation or seriousness. We were just some friends hanging out and having fun, while learning a new way of fitness. My friend Melissa was actually a dancer as a child and she said it reminded her of her dancing years and she will definitely go back. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Grip socks are required. This particular studio offers them for sale, but I see them all the time at Walmart or Shoppers or places like Keylime Athletic Wear.
  • Keep within your limits and rest if needed.

Overall, I'm a fan and will go back for sure! Have you tried a barre class? Will you?



My Journey To Fit & Healthy

I get asked a lot about how I lost the weight or started eating healthy and so on. So I thought I would write my story so far. I'm going to go back 4 years. Pregnant with my first. I gained 60 lbs, had a large cherry pepsi almost everyday, ate all my cravings and wasn't that active, despite having a personal trainer even.



After the birth of my first, an emergency c section, I thought I had to loose the baby weight. I was breastfeeding and ate the My Fitness Pal recommended 1200 calories plus 500 for nursing. That didnt last long, I hated it. I tried eating relatively clean with cheats here and there, did the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and a few other videos and lost the weight by 3/4 months PP.

I wasn't too happy with my pre baby weight though, so of course not happy with it then. Never did too much extreme to change it though. The summer of 2012 I trained for a half marathon and ran it at 7 weeks pregnant with my second. Never really shifted my body composition much. (So there goes the cardio looses fat rule!)



I got pregnant with my second when my first was 17 months old, just two months after I finished breastfeeding. I started becoming really interested in food, healthy eating and holistic type nutrition. I began reading a lot about foods through the internet, books and so on. Especially interested in food knowledge now because I was responsible for feeding my child and I want her to grow up healthy.



I sadly had another emergency c section. I gained a healthy 26 lbs with my second pregnancy though. Most lost before 6 weeks pp. I was breastfeeding and eating a lot. I forgot how hungry you get after having a baby!!!!

The first picture here on the left is at about 6-8 weeks post partum. I was proud I looked like this so soon after baby by the way. Body pride all along the way. This I believe to be key. Love your body at each stage. Learn to find something about it that makes you happy.



I spent the time from Mid June to September doing basically cardio. I research more this time and found HIIT to be how to loose that stubborn fat the fastest way. Before googling exactly what that is, I must caution you to actually read about it's benefits and suggested usage. I did it every second day, sometime third. Do NOT do this type of training daily. Sometime I did some HIIT and then a long distance run after it too. I am a runner after all.



In my head I had a a number goal. Which I never had before. I wanted to get to 125. Every time I was dying on the treadmill, I just kept thinking, "you can do 10 more seconds. This is for 125" I also had my sisters wedding coming in September in Cuba and wanted to be a hot mama. So I bought and hung in view a motivation bikini. These goals were strong motivation for me. Two kids, one of which was extremely colic and a husband working away mostly I had to dig deep for the motivation some days. Some days running on that treadmill in the basement at 11 pm was my stress relieve.

I reached my goal in September, got a gym membership to change it up (AND DAYCARE!) and stopped cardio and started lifting weights. Mostly high rep, low weight stuff, I was a) scared of getting hurt and b) healing a diastasis recti. Please google Wendy Powell and her Mutu System to find out all about this.

I loved my body in Cuba in November. Still at 125, two months later, and proud as hell to walk on the beach with my two kids. Even post a picture of me in a bikini on Facebook and Instagram when I got back!



Then I got into heavy weight lifting. And my love of weights began. First goal? Be able to squat with the bar on my shoulders without the pad. I had to build those muscles to be strong enough so it didn't hurt. Second goal? Build my ass I lost from all that cardio. Okay this might have been my priority in September, but was really serious about it now.

This is also about the time I started really thinking about bikini competing. A goal to obtain in 1.5 years. By my 30th birthday. (July 2015) Give my body time to get ready, and also because I was still breastfeeding and planned to until my second was at least a year old. I didn't want to risk getting my body fat too low and loosing my milk before we were both done. I like to make assumingly crazy goals and try my best to achieve them. See above about my half marathon!

I then heard about a competition November 1st and thought to myself, "you can do that. You've been training hard, made great progress. Worst that can happen is dead last, but it's still a win to try".Okay in reality worst that can happen is developing an eating disorder, body viewing issues, a destroyed metabolism, hardened relationships from grouchy hangryness and post show depression. But all things I've researched intensely to be mindful of and avoid as much as possible.

Bringing me to my believes. I still believe in being as healthy as possible, eating whole nutrition rich foods and paying attention to my body and what it needs. I don't like taking fat burners, artificial sweeteners or other strange things filled with chemicals that aren't good for you. All supplements and foods as natural as possible. And vegetarian. Did I forget to mention I don't eat meat?



I didn't want a coach for contest prep, because I was sure I would never find soemone that believed the same things as me. One that wouldn't starve me on 800-1200 calories, wouldn't tell me to take fat burners or make me do hours and hours of cardio each week. There are things such as macro counting, smart ways of doing cardio and natural supplements that can do the same job without ruining your body. Again please research all of these.

Had some trial and error with macro counting myself. Especially hard figuring it out while breastfeeding, but if you refer to my It's a Lifestyle, Not A Diet Post, you'll understand some things take some time. And they are worth figuring out. Plus of course, the time will pass anyways, make it worth your while and try. Below is a picture of me from about April to June with macro counting, lifting weights and zero-minimum cardio. I of course went over macros a lot, cheated on them lots and so on. I'm human, forgave myself and moved on.



June 29th I started with my coach. One I researched a lot and read every post on his blog to make sure we viewed how this should go as the same. When I started with him I was basically the exact same weight as I was in September. See the difference in my body though? Weight isn't everything. I gained lots of muscle, leaned out and remained the same weight. This picture is from November to April but the above one shows me in June too. All the same weight.



Now it's almost 7 weeks later and I'm amazed at myself and what I've accomplished. All my muscles I've spent the last 11 months building are coming out as a I lean out. Here is the difference in the last 8 weeks.



And 3 weeks.



And for shits and giggles the difference since starting with coach 7 weeks ago.



I can't wait to see more. Knowing stage weight isn't something I want to keep obtainable forever too. It's just that, stage/competition weight. I was really happy at 125 and will likely go back up there afterwards. Maybe more to bulk in the winter and grow a bigger booty and shoulders. ;)

The whole process has been trial and error over the last 15 months. Food wise, exercise wise and mentally wise. But I think being told what to do and not knowing why or how it works is something that just never works for me. If I invest the time to research and try different ways of doing things I will find my stride. Which I believe I have. Which is how I hope most people view it for themselves. Find your own journey, in the healthiest way possible of course. Last picture July 2013 - August 2014. The journey may be long, but it's worth it.



Thanks for reading and good luck in your journey!