Thursday, March 18, 2010

Article - Premier Issue Encompass Magazine!!!! 1st Issue due out soon!!

Congratulations, Karen on your Premier Issue of Encompass Magazine! You’ve assembled an incredible pool of talent and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this team. I know together we will make a difference in many women’s lives.
I have been incredibly blessed by my own transformation not only physically, but more importantly emotionally, and I am looking forward to being able to share my passion, knowledge, experience and inspire every one that I touch with the written word in some way be it big or small. This isn’t about what I have done to help others. This is all about what these women have done to help themselves. It’s also not about sculpting bodies and losing weight, it’s about embracing fitness and a healthy eating life style and using it as a springboard to help you find new avenues to explore, taking small realistic steps to find a new you. It doesn’t matter if your goal is health related, trying a new sport or activity that you never dreamed possible, or even better yet, going back to something from your youth that you loved. It’s about setting that first goal, and about living your life now and not postponing it until you lose weight or until you feel better.
I will be sharing stories of some incredible women that have awakened their inner spirit, their desire to better themselves and change their lives in such a way that will carry them through a lifetime. Their life changes have positively affected their personal relationships with friends and family, their self confidence and emotional well being has soared. They are either taking lower doses of medications or some cases, none at all. They have reached goals they never dreamed of reaching and have set new goals further in the future. These women are not rich or famous, they are real, everyday people who have set realistic goals, overcome obstacles, made realistic lifestyle changes in order to reinvent themselves to a healthier, happier version of the amazing woman they already were, just better!!!
I also want to hear from YOU, the readers of Encompass! What topics interest you, what things would you like to learn more about? What motivates or inspires you? Your feedback is important so that I may provide you with information on topics are relevant to you, offer you suggestions to overcome obstacles, clarify your questions on alternative therapies and natural treatments to help you achieve your goals. I’m not saying that my word is gospel, there are many different opinions and some things work for some people and not others, let me help clarify and answer your questions. The following words are the keys to your success, remember them, write them down and post them where you can see them every day; Healthy, Realistic, Long Term and Sustainable.
We are a very “instant gratification” society and everyone wants a quick fix. We are bombarded by information from the tabloids at the grocery store, television, radio and the internet and images of the “ideal body”, the “eat all you want and lose weight diet”, “nature’s best medicine” for the latest new herb, the claims are endless; and all aimed at taking money out of your pockets and your failure. Yes, your failure! If all of these “miracles” worked, why is Type II Diabetes an epidemic? Why are heart attacks and stroke a leading cause of death in adults over 50 years of age? Why doesn’t everyone have a 6 pack if it’s so easy?

Making changes to adopting a healthy and active lifestyle takes work and planning. Once you have the concept and start working with it, results will follow. When something seems too good to be true, it probably is....and it’s also expensive! Remember those four words I mentioned earlier? Healthy, Realistic, Long Term and Sustainable, let these words be your guide to a healthy new you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Follow me

Did you know that Team EP Fitness has a Facebook Fan Page? Don't be shy! Check it out!

If you're new to Team EP Fitness, it's a great way to learn more about how I got started in this business and follow my health and fitness journey. You can also meet other Team EP Fitness clients and commiserate about my workouts. I actually encourage my clients to share their thoughts with me . . . it's one of the ways for me to know if my clients are being challenged to their full potential and achieving the results they want.

And for you Twitter junkies out there, follow me @TeamEPFitness.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Check out my interview with !!

How did you get started with bodybuilding?After suffering from a deep depression on my 40th birthday, which I spent crying in my room, drinking red wine, smoking and feeling extremely stressed at work, I decided that it was time for a change. I began to see a therapist and refused to take the anti-depressants they offered me knowing they were just a band-aid solution and I needed to heal from within. Therapy made me stronger, but not yet wiser.

I finally mustered the courage to join a gym in January 2003.

I walked into the weight room and walked straight out feeling terrified and intimidated in not knowing what to do. After finding out that I was a “skinny” fat person at 110 pounds, 5’1” and 32 percent body fat I hired a personal trainer and started educating myself by reading fitness magazines, and changed my diet. One day, I asked my trainer about a woman I saw at the gym and wondered why she was literally melting in front of my eyes and I was still struggling to lose body fat – she was training for a show. When he told me not to concern myself with that because “you don’t have what it takes, it’s not for you,” something clicked.

With the support of a trainer who believed in me, I stepped on stage for the first time at the age of 45.

I was terrified! My goal was to be anything but last place. I was second last and happy with that. I had only intended to do just one show to prove I could do it, and before the first one was done I was hooked and signed up for the next just two months later. And I haven’t looked back since.

Where does your motivation come from?I love weight training and competing so I don’t need a lot of external motivation. Most of it comes from within; it’s a part of who I am. I am also very fortunate to have an incredible support network — TEAM EP, a collection of friends and clients who have become my extended family. I’m always amazed and humbled by their continued support year-after-year whether it be supporting my business and training studio, personal struggles or just being in the crowd cheering me on at shows, and of course enjoying the celebration dinners with me as well. Perhaps a little part of me does this for them, but as long as I’m winning and placing I’ll continue competing.

So what is the bodybuilding training routine that you use to achieve that killer physique?Off-season

I experimented on my own with 5 sets of 6 reps, working one body part a day — five days on, two days off. I love the feeling of lifting heavy. My goal is to increase upper body mass for more symmetry in 2010. For cardio, I generally do 45 minutes, five days a week; using a variety of machines and often taking advantage of the great walking trails in my neighbourhood with my dog, Tequila. I’m not a big fan of cardio!
On Season
For competition prep, I basically stick with a body part a day — 4 sets, 8 – 10 rep for upper body until I get closer to a competition, and then increase the reps to cut and define. Legs are my weak point so I usually keep in the 15 – 20 rep range. My leg workouts are split into quads one day and hamstrings another, so I train six days on, one day off.

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?Twice a day, low-grade cardio starts early for me to lean out my legs. At the four week mark, I like to add some all out one minute sprints every five minutes or so to my morning cardio routine.

What is your Diet like?Off-season my diet is approx 2,200 to 2,500 calories. I use avocados, walnuts and Omega 3’s for my healthy fats. My sources of starch vary between brown rice, wild rice and sweet potato. I’m gluten and lactose intolerant so I tend not to eat breads, cheese or pasta unless I’m having a cheat meal. I also eat small amounts of red meat every day for natural creatine. My competition prep diet is very similar except the calories and carbs drop at several points along the way. All starches are eliminated at the six-week mark using green veggies and fruit as my carbs. I also eat lots of tilapia, egg whites, chicken and ground turkey for my protein sources. I like to chew my food, so shakes are kept to once a day. I love to eat and cook so I often experiment with the items from my meal plan to create some really tasty meals.

What is your supplementation like?My supplementation is very simple. Most of my nutrition comes from my food — omega 3’s and the addition of magnesium and potassium once starches are eliminated. I add some leucine and BCAA’s to my daily intake and that’s about it.

Plans for the future?My first competition goal for 2010 is to compete in the figure category in the CBBF Canadian Nationals in Laval, Quebec in April 2010. To be able to compete at this level at the age of 50 is a dream come true. I’m hoping to place to advance to the Worlds later in 2010.

I’m also considering venturing into the world of bodybuilding for the next season.

Personally, I’m focusing on growing my personal training business and adding more group classes to my weekly schedule. Since my camps are limited to six people, there’s lots of one on one and coaching, and it’s one of the more rewarding facets of my business. I’m also looking at getting my motorcycle license this spring.

Favourite Bodybuilders?Darrem Charles is one of the most graceful posers I have ever seen. I was fortunate enough to see his routine at one of my shows and was absolutely mesmerized. James Banks was also a huge influence on me and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. He’s the trainer who believed in me and convinced me that I was competitive and got me on stage for the first time. As for women, when I first started out Jenny Lynn was my motivation. I had a photo of her on the fridge to remind me I didn’t need to be in there.

In August of 2006 Canadian IFBB Fitness Pro Mindi O’Brien presented me my trophy at the CBBF Canadian Nationals.

I remember watching her with the competitors backstage and chatted with her. She was so friendly and helpful, and I wasn’t even one of her clients. Over the years I ran into Mindi backstage at every show and she was always so friendly and approachable. I finally got the courage to contact her and meet with her in December 2008. It has been an incredible experience and I’m looking forward to working with TEAM O’Brien for the upcoming season.

Favorite Quote?I do because I can. I can because I want to. I want to because you said I couldn’t.


Monday, December 21, 2009


Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Stay tuned for updates on my progress to the 2010 Canadian Nationals.

A good way to burn off those holiday goodies and have fun is to join one of my group camps. Spaces still available in the following camps. Remember, I only take 6 people per camp so you get lots of one on one coaching!

- All experience levels
2 times a week for 8 weeks!!
Introductory pricing is $192.00* - that's a savings of 40%!!!
* New Clients Only. Regular prices apply on next round of sessions

MONDAY 8 PM – Upper Body and Abs – Intermediate to Advanced Level

WEDNESDAY 7PM - Leg Camp – Intermediate to Advanced Level
A full hour of legs....yes that’s right!!! JUST legs and glutes......weight training, plyometrics and cardio circuits designed to carve and tone those trouble areas. 8-week session: $160.00!!! Bring a friend who joins and get 1 session free!

THURSDAY Night Boot Camp 7PM - beginner to intermediate level - 1 spot available!!

Friday, December 11, 2009


With the launch of my new website, I'm launching a new series of CAMPS AND SPECIAL OFFERS!!! Check it all out!!! Give the gift of health and wellness for Xmas gifts for those hard to buy for people on your list!!

Want to beat the pre-New Year's rush....WHY WAIT? Hold off Holiday weight gain NOW and springboard to a stronger, leaner New Year!! Add some spice to your training regime...motivation, guidance, heart-pumping, gut-busting one-hour workout! Full Body Circuit training including : Cardio, Plyometrics, Body Resistance and Abs!!


2 times a week for 8 weeks!!

Introductory pricing is $192.00* - that's a savings of 40%!!!
* New Clients Only. Regular prices apply on next round of sessions
Space is limited - sign up now!!!

WEDNESDAY 7PM - Leg Conditioning Camp
A full hour of legs....just legs and glutes......weight training, plyometrics and cardio circuits designed to carve and tone those trouble areas. Starts December 16th.
8-week session: $160.00!!! Bring a friend who joins and get 1 session free!
A few spots still open!! Maximum 6 people!

MONDAY 8 PM - Upper Body Conditioning Camp
60 minutes of upper body conditioning and abs! Weight Training, plyometrics, cardio, abs and body resistance exercises in a circuit program designed to get you results!!
8-week session: $160.00*!!! Bring a friend who joins and get 1 session free!
Maximum 6 people! * pricing for new sign ups only.

THURSDAY Night Boot Camp 7PM - beginner to intermediate level - 1 spot available!!
I only take 6 people per camp so you get lots of one on one attention and coaching.

Check out my website at:

Face Book Fan Page:

There are links to these pages directly from my site as well. I will be updating both the Fan Page and Blog pages regularly as I head towards the Canadian Nationals in Laval April 3, 2010. These links allow you to follow my training, special events, and new classes and special offers with a photo diary of my journey.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Finally Here!!

I am pleased to announce that my website is finally complete and up and running. I welcome your comments!! Check it out at or

Many, many thanks to Rob Hutchison for the tremendous job! Robs creativity and technological talent has been invaluable to me. I'm very grateful for your help in putting this altogether and also for being such a good friend.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wow! It's been a long time since I updated, so sorry! So much has happened!!

Training for the Ontario Naturals took much of my time and was well worth it!! I placed 1st in the Short Division (5'2 and under) and 2nd in the Grand Masters Division (over 45 years young). I was thrilled and of course TEAM EP was there along with me. I've posted some pics from the weekend for you to experience show weekend along with me and TEAM EP from beginning to end!!!

The Ontario Naturals was a big event for TEAM O'Brien as well, and I was honoured to compete with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. The one and only Mindi O'Brien performed an incredible fitness routine for the audience...what a performance!!!! Of course the other half of TEAM O'Brien, Dennis was there for support and encouragement and it was a great end to 10 months of training, diet and dedication. So you ask...what's next???

My placings earned me the priviledge of competing against the best competitors from across Canada. Yes, I'm doing it again!!! I am pleased to announce that after 6 whole weeks off I have signed a one year contract with TEAM O'Brien and have started training and diet to compete in the Canadian Nationals in Laval, Quebec April 3rd, 2010!!!!!!!! My placings at this competition will determine what's next for me. You had to know this isn't the end of the line for me yet! TEAM O'Brien and I will decide our next steps after the Laval competition....we have some ideas.....stay tuned!!!

For those that followed my progress the last 10 months, you know I always learn so much from my trainers and you can be sure it will flow back to all of you!! So, be warned....buckle up! It's going to be a wild ride!