Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My Beloved...

I attended a workshop recently where we were asked to write a letter to our Beloved, in this letter we were told be as detailed as possible, what your hopes and dreams are for this person, what their life looks life, relationships, friends, job, home, everything you could possible think of.
I choose to write to my 6 year old Mekaella, I must say it was quite emotional because as you start to think of all you wish for your Beloved to have in their life,  it comes from such a place of love and hope.

Below is my letter to my Munchkin...

"My dear sweet Mekaella, I want for you to have a Full Life and be Full of Life, to be a dream chaser, follow your heart, listen to that inner voice that tells you yes or no and honour that, not listen to anyone who tells you can't, be wise, be kind, do not apologize for standing your ground, do not back down from conflict but rather step up to the plate and speak your truth, be giving, write lists of goals and enjoy crossing each of them off,  be a Women people Respect and Admire and above all LOVE yourself.....EVERY INCH, Every Pound, Every Imperfection, Every Fault...know all this is part of who you are, every step taken is part of your wonderful journey....and there is only one of you EVER....Embrace yourself...
Follow through with Post Secondary Education, attending University is a wonderful growing time and someday those extra letters behind your name will be beneficial.
 I want you to find a career where you are able to use your incredible leadership qualities to shine, I see you as a CEO,  someone who is respected, driven, hard working but who also knows when to take a much needed break and take care of herself.
Travel and see the world go backpacking through Europe and use your French speaking skills you have acquired.
Love fiercely and be loved unconditionally, NEVER SETTLE,  your partner will value you, encourage you, respect you and your choices, and to challenge you to be your best.
Create a home that "Rises to meet you" which gives you great peace, where you have many laughs and hopefully few tears.
Friends that love you as sisters, sticking it out through thick and thin where your connection is deep and everlasting, when you have not seen them in ages it feels as though no time as passed.
To enjoy the pleasure of having children and watch them grow and learn as I have had the pleasure of watching you.
To be healthy, appreciate this amazing body you have, to reach for physical goals that challenge you but do not define you.
To understand that you are connected to all that is and as Pierre Teilhard says "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
This is your journey my sweet little girl....I pray and hope that you embrace every wild and amazing second of it..."

Later in the day we were instructed to read back our letter, because this letter was in fact a letter to ourselves, as all our hopes and dreams we have for our Beloved are actually our own.
I broke down and cried as had I been instructed to write a letter to myself it would have consisted more along the lines if a "List of Things to Do"
1:Chfa orders,
2:pay off debt,
3:buy a new house etc...
Now I would have gone into more details,  however I can be completely honest in saying I would not have expressed the letter with such Tenderness...
Why is that?
Why can I not give myself the Love, Hope and Caring that I would give to my Beloved?
I am well aware that when only when I Love myself and put myself first can I then give and love others to my full potential...
Yet putting those well known facts into play usually does not happen...

This exercise was very eye opening for me....I now have a copy of the letter beside my computer to look at each day to remind myself of my hopes and dreams.....I am my Beloved

 
     
               
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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Gratitude...Not so easy sometimes...


This past month of Sept was one of the most challenging month's for me, I was on the go for work, we have our huge annual trade show and the pressure to reach sales targets are constant,  I cracked a rib while trying an epic dance move on a VIP couch (fail), developed a rash from the pain killers and was so itching I almost took off a layer of my skin, was served paper's by my ex who is going after custody of my daughter along with child support and to top it off I have decided to sell my house and we have an offer on a bigger place across the street.
    In the midst of all this I found myself thinking "What next" and "This is a brutal month" I felt beat down, tired.  The most important issue in all of this was in regards to my daughter, she is my top priority, so I had to push everything else aside and focus on the court case (beside scratching myself obsessively) .
   After our first lawyer meeting I had complete breakdown, Scott has never seen me loose it like that. I try as most Mom's or Dad's do, to give my best to my "Most Favourite Little Person in the Whole Wide World" (as I call her). The thought of not seeing her beautiful little face and hearing her voice ask me random questions like "Mommy do Blind people have eyeballs" on a daily basis, literally kills me.
   Now I won't get in to specifics but after 2 court appearances and a very large sum of money (next lifetime I'm coming back as a lawyer...just saying)  I am still the primary caregiver but this is probably far from over. I have never been a person of conflict which is probably why I just "Let things Ride" when in fact I should have started this proceeding myself years ago.  I felt at my wits end several weeks ago, I did not know how I was going to get through this, the costs of the lawyer, the time, the emotional strain was enormous.
   What has gotten me through all this is being Grateful...it sounds strange but even in the midst of the court hearing I gave thanks "Thank you for our legal system in Canada that I can goto court" "Thank you for this judge and all his wisdom" "Thank you for my lawyer and her knowledge and experience" even "Thank you for my ex"(that was a more challenging thank you...LOL).  Though this has been the most upsetting event in my life I am thankful that I have my little person who I never would have known had it not been for him. 
  You know what....in all the stress and anger things became easier....I felt at peace....I became thankful for this situation and all it is going to be.  I do believe everything is a lesson and a step to who you are supposed to become.  I cannot get to where I am going unless I walk through this, as this will take me to my next part of my journey.
 Since putting more gratitude in my life Mekaella and I have now started saying One thing we are grateful for on our way to school, and I am now trying to look at every situation from the eyes of being thankful...

   So for you who is reading this little blog...Thank you...I hope you can look at all the craziness going on in your world through the eyes of gratitude as it makes the journey SO MUCH BETTER! I know it has done wonders for me.....However I am still having difficulty finding gratitude for being so SO ITCHY!!!


                                          



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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Adrenal and Cortisol Support





"Lets go lets go lets go".......as we rush out the door off to Mekaella's school and myself to work...at this point I have already been awake for 2hrs....did morning cardio, caught up on the never ending emails and paperwork....made Mekaella's lunch...let the dog out...usually put a load of laundry in (seriously where do all these dirty clothes come from) and tidied up the kitchen. 

This is my life....always on the go....high stress, also with a job in sales that is performance based and 100% commission I have to be on my game. Raising a 6 year old, rushing her to Soccer practice, games, french lessons and gymnastics there never seems to be "downtime", and even my weekends are spent catching up on paperwork and working shows or events.... 
 One of the reasons my coach Darren and I believe that this year my body would not let go of the extra weight was my stress and coritosl levels were so high. I just obtained my new Management Role and my desire to prove I can handle it, give my all, combined with all the training and life stress resulted in my body basically not responding.

Adrenals produce Cortisol which is the hormone responsible for how your body responds to stress. This hormone can effect sex drive, mood, metabolism, blood pressure, inflammation and many other things. So when you are stressed cortisol levels will rise and can react in these different various was. Mine was a slower metabolism, which in prepping for a show was not conducive for bringing in a tight lean package.  
 So after the Nationals I started supporting my adrenals twice a day with SD Pharmaceuticals Rhodiola Rosea. One of the principal effects of Rhodiola is to reduce the secretion of cortisol. It is also known to increase mood, libido and energy. In 2010 the Swedish Institute of Herbs in Sweden did a study and found that subjects taking Rhodiola Rosea experienced neuroproductive, cardioproductive and anti depressive effects as well as reduced fatigue and increased lifespan.  
 What I have noticed right away is I feel more relaxed, within 15 min I can feel Rhodiola taking effect, like the edge has been taken off and with no negative effects from the amazing herb I am going to continue to keep Rhodiola twice a day as part of my daily supplement routine. That combined with at least 10-15 min a day of meditation to calm my mind, be present and breathe is also another tool to reduce stress. 

There will always be stress in life, we all have things to do, places to be, unexpected events, combine that with taking fat burners, pre workouts and stimulants this can all be hard on your adrenals. However,  learning how to manage it and knowing what supplements can support you such as Rhodiola Rosea can help to reduce the negative impact on the body.





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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Week 3 Carb Back Loading...

Well...This is week 3 of my Carb Backloading....

To give a brief history:

At the World Qualifier (Aug 9th) I weighed 146...could not seem to get any lower, my body was fighting me every step of the way, I raised my cardio to 2 hrs a day, infrared sauna's, Turkey and Tilapia was the choice protein, low carb rotation days, quality high fats, but even after a water depletion and Ripped Freak Diuretic it was not budging.

First Monday (Aug 11th) after Nationals I bounced up to 156lbs...with the sodium and water and all the goodies Sat and Sunday night I actually did not even want to get on the scale but I made myself.
I started my Carb Backload experiment that day, consuming 150grms of protein a day spread out over 6 meals, with roughly 75grms of fats. I have coconut oil with every meal along with nuts and nut butters. Progressive Organic Coconut Oil is my first choice for a fat source as it gives me immediate energy,  I am clear headed, I have great workouts, and I overall feel much better, I also consume 4 litres of water a day and still enjoy my sugar free Monsters:)

Following Friday (Aug 15th) my birthday I was 150lbs, the water retention from the previous weekend had subsided.  I used my birthday night as my first carb backload day with candies, popcorn, cake, wine so not the best Carb Backload but still something.
That Sunday I left for my sales conference which throw's my training for a loop, as the gym is super prehistoric but I managed to get in there everyday. I kept to no carbs all week except a glass of red wine with dinner. I also allowed myself to have vodka/soda water for my drink of choice, aged cheddar for dessert, continued by having really high fats all week, raw coconut and nuts for snacks in the meetings and good quality protein and vegetables.
The surprise is I was getting tighter and tighter...and more vascular, I even commented to Scott that I felt tighter than I did at Nationals.
When I got home I weighed in on that Friday (Aug 22nd) and I was 145lbs!!! So.....I was able to have  goodies that week... wine, lots of nuts, cheese, coconut oil, protein, reduced my cardio, was not even able really to train that effectively and I lost weight????

Sunday (Aug 24th)was my first real Carb Backloading day, I ate my regular fats, protein and veg during the day then at 4pm we went to IHOP where I had pancakes, real syrup (to get the glucose pumping into my system) and 4 pieces of turkey bacon. It was very interesting to watch how my body responded as time went on, I became super vascular, full and tight.
At 9pm I made Organic popcorn with coconut oil with M&M's and Nibs. Now usually on a "cheat" night I go crazy but this is different now, I am watching my body and really taking count of how I feel...I stopped when I became full.

Monday I went right back to high fats and no carbs, I trained legs on Monday and had a killer workout, again I left that day and was on the road all week in the interior for work, however I stuck to my diet. On this past Sat I weighed myself and I was 146lbs, so I am up a pound, what that means to me is I need to cut back on my Carb Backload's, so this past Sunday I had 3 homemade pancakes (lower in carbs) at 2pm, then my regular fats and protein meal in between and at 8pm with homemade popcorn with M&M's and Nibs.

Now I must admit this past week I was not 100% perfect on my diet either we did go for a date night on the Friday,  I had no starchy carbs but I did have some wine and cheese (actually a little too much wine truth be told),  I also have not been able to goto my HIT classes either three times a week.
But overall I am loving this experiment and did I mention I quit 2hrs of cardio and I am only doing 45min?!?!

So far I have only have gained one pound from my contest weight, I have been eating, having some drinks, I feel energetic,  lifting heavier, and reduced my cardio by 1:15hr.
Pretty sweet if you ask me...
I am excited for the next couple weeks.... I will continue to experiment with lowering my carbs on my backload as I am preparing for a photo shoot in Vegas at the Olympia.

I am fascinated with really having an understanding about how my body works and responds,  I am excited how my body keeps responding, and the biggest thing is I am not looking at this as a "diet" which makes it much easier to do...this is my experiment....

So I will continue to tinker with this, but so far so good,  my end goal being slowly reducing my cardio, training harder, increasing my metabolism, eating more food....and loving my body...stay tuned...


                                               My Veins after round 1 of Carb Back Loading

 

                                                    Carb Back Load Round 2    


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Monday, 25 August 2014

Carb Backloading....My Experiment...


So....I have decided to experiment with Carb Backloading....after this last show my boyfriend Scott suggested I look into it. I have always generally been fearful of carbs as I believe most women tend to be, as the years have progressed, the carbs in my competition prep's have lowered and lowered. As I have said before in earlier blogs I do very well in ketosis, I can still train hard, have a clear mind and function with little carbs as long as I have fats. 
The Sunday after the show I began to look online into Carb Backloading and came across a whole host of video's regarding this topic from a guy known as Keifer. My goal is to be lean all year round, I am willing to put the work in, train hard, follow the diet but to achieve this, I need to find out what it takes to for body to get those results. After having months of show prep structure, to then have no diet structure will lead me back down the same path I have been before with food and my body issues. I now have defined goals with how I want to look year round, how I want to train and physically feel. I am tired of struggling with my body issues and I am looking to find something that works for me.
Carb Backloading seems to have the science behind it and makes logical sense to me.  High fats all day and in the evening you consume your carbs after a training session. Instead of using low glycemic carbs you intake high glycemic carbs, which is very different to what I have always done. 
The premise is when you wake you are in a fat metabolizing mode and once you ingest carbs you slow down that process. It is about using carbs for a purpose, after you train to create and refuel your muscles.
His book "Carb Night" suggests doing this every evening, however since I just finished a show I have decided to do this Carb Backloading once a week, with the hopes of eventually going every 5 days...3 days...2 days...then every night. I will consume good quality fats (nuts, coconut oil), lean protein's and vegetables 7 days a week, then on Sunday consume a high glycemic carb meal and then a little later some treats...(popcorn and nibs here I come). During the carb consumption I will judge how much I intake by how my body feels, as I feel my body start to become tighter and fuller I will slowly start restricting the carb intake, as that will be my indicator glycogen is absorbing onto my muscles.
 On the following day I will return to high fats and protein and also train legs with intensity using the extra glycogen I have consumed the night before. The premise also being, that the extra glycogen will carry me through the week until the following weekend when I will reload again.
I am also changing my training, I will still keep my 3 times a week classes that I love and instead of rapid training I am starting to train with my boyfriend, heavier, with more intensity, and more bodybuilding style. I tend to try to avoid pain and doing legs with him....well there is no avoiding. 
There also is no video's regarding carb back loading with girls and their experiences, so I am starting a weekly video log on my You Tube Channel to talk about my experience and if this is working for me and how I like it. 
I am on journey to find out what works for me....I want to figure my body out...how do I achieve the look I want year round....I am willing to put the work in to get the results I want. I am also enjoying trying this experiment, how my body reacts and responds to what I am giving it.
So there might be tweaking to this, I might be adding ideas in from other diet and training philosophies but I am starting here....

     

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Post Show Reflections...




Well I am done my two shows this year...I did BC's and The World Qualifier Natural Nationals in Winnipeg. Competing is tough as with bikini I find there is no "set" look they are going for and they change from show to show and sometimes the same show the winners looks vary from class to class. I'm not genetically a small girl, being 5"8 and usually sitting at 155 my body fights me to get below 140lbs. 
I have curves and in fact I really like having curves, when in prep my body leans out on top first and the bottom half will take it's sweet time with tightening up. The problem with my curves is that is not really the look of bikini. 
Last year I was told at Nationals I was too muscular and borderline figure. So this year we took the approach of creating a softer look, not as muscular. My training consisted of alot of fast paced training, I also incorporated a class 3 times a week that consists of plyo's, TRX, core exercise, and good butt kicking. I loved this class and will continue to do it going forward, as having a group energy and being able to try new exercises each week is challenging and fun.
My cardio towards the end went to to 1.5hrs, 45 morn and 45 night and my food was a higher fats lower carbs ratio. I do operate very well in ketosis and have discovered a new found love of coconut oil that I use with most meals now. However, even with all this my body was holding on. 
Now starting my new Management position right in the middle of my prep did not help much, I take my job very seriously and given this amazing opportunity is one I did not want to mess up. So combine the stress of that with the 100 retail partners I still work with plus a 5 year old, a relationship I want to nurture, and a house to run I was in a constant state of fight and flight....Go...Go...Go was an understatement...
So the week before BC's I questioned if I was even ready, I had a roughly 16 week prep but I was not as tight as I wanted to be. What's interesting is the scale was the same as I was at the Arnold's but my body composition was completely different. 
I ended up doing the BC's as my trial run and the feedback was I needed to be tighter, leaner, more conditioned. So with my month between BC's and WQ I upped my game, started running intervals, increased my cardio to 2hrs, did infrared sauna's (in the summer...so not fun) did the Grouse Grind once a week, and really paid attention to every detail of my diet. I did tighten up my legs went down as inch, my butt looked worlds different, however the scale went up and I stepped on stage at 146. 
I did feel great at the show but I still was not 100% the look I wanted, and the feedback was generally the same. I have amazing stage presence, I look beautiful, but I am curvy and just not as small as the other girls. On my own I look great but when in the line up compared with the other competitors it become obvious how much bigger I am them the rest of them. 
For years one of the reasons I have done shows is to have photo shoots for marketing, I had 3 amazing shoots this year. Every time I do a shoot I step away feeling amazing, I love the whole process, makeup, hair, posing, outfits, I have a blast. 
When reflecting on that I began to question why do I compete when photo shoots bring me such joy and although I LOVE being on stage, the comparison and list of things I need to change to fit the "mold" ends up leaving me feeling sub par.
So for now I have decided my next goal is a photo shoot in Vegas, I won't say I will never compete again, but for now I want to find a happy place for my body with a no "off season" mentality. To work towards strength, power and endurance in the gym, focus on my work with passion and excitement, be present with my daughter, spend date nights with my boyfriend working towards our future together, find the diet that gives me the results I want...and even though my state of constant fight or flight (old habits never die) probably won't change I will try to also remember to play along the way...


                                          BC's June 28th, 2014
                                                       World Qualifier Winnipeg Aug 9th 2014


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Friday, 8 August 2014

New Position..

So my last post was in March....which according to what I stated on my last blog that I would start writing once a week obviously did not pan out....
As it happens life took over and with good reason, one of my career goals of reaching Management has finally come to reality. I have written before about my belief in the power of goal setting and list writing,  well.....another huge goal was crossed off my list this spring.
Over 7 years ago when I first moved to Vancouver I came with the intention of reaching eventually reaching management. Last year I was passed over for a management position within my company, and although I was a little upset I knew and trusted that there was a bigger plan.
Now,  that has now come to reality....I am now Brand Manager for sales in Canada for 2 of the brands within the company I currently work for. 
I get the best of both worlds and I am so excited to help my amazing sales team and grow these two lines even more. I still get to work with my 100+ retail stores within BC and now I get additional goals that will enable my continued career growth. 
So that is my excuse for not writing each week...oh and also I had been prepping and competed in the Provincials, was traveling and working other competitions such as the Western Canadians, Toronto Pro show, and the Northern Classic.  
My new work load has increased substantially so finding balance within all that crazyness to still be a mom, run the house and give time to my relationship plus the added stress of prepping for the World Qualifier has been a learning experience.
So something had to give and Blogging and Social Media had to be put on the back burner...at least till I found my new groove
Now my new goal is to write when I get the chance, continue to try to find balance and be the best Aeryon I can...

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