Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle like prior to your transformation?
My life before CrossFit was active I suppose, but only because I was chasing kids all day. I was becoming desperate to get in shape. I think I tried every kind of diet, pills, and exercise routines I could find. I used to be the treadmill queen too, spending crazy amounts of hours between that machine and the step climber. Constantly, I was buying all kinds of different gimmicks, trying to look for the easy way to take off the pounds.
I was always somewhat afraid to do weights, and then I met my husband. For fifteen years he could not convince me it was the right thing for me. I would get in an occasional run now and then, but did not get to a gym at all. My diet was okay by normal standards, and that at least kept me from growing larger. I do, however, remember always feeling very tired and unmotivated. I knew I needed something more.
What was your low point or turning point?
I hated my figure after having my third child. The feel and look of my flabby, loose skin and cellulite was very discouraging. So I guess my main motivator was realizing that my family was complete with three children and that it was time for me to take control of myself.
Figuring out the diet part was the biggest learning curve with a lot of trial an error. Like so many people, I believed in consuming the least amount of calories and eating only once a day. I always thought that there had to be a magic pill out there to help me. I started to read and educate myself until I found the right combination of diet and exercise, and the key to my happiness.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
Yes, it is still challenging to focus on my own goals while trying to take care of my family. I still find it difficult to stay focused and prepared during events or gatherings. Some people don’t quite understand my commitment to my goals.
Please provide a timeline including when you started the transformation, and include major milestones:
- Transformation Start: Oct 2009, 155 lbs, strength = 0. Started to train with boot camps.
- Milestone: January, 2010. Dropped a few pounds. Did a few push ups on my knees. Transitioned into CrossFit. Started to understand the concept of “eating clean”.
- Milestone: July, 2010. Down a few more pounds. Able to do regular push ups. Started to add push ups with my feet raised on a table. Able to get a couple pull ups on my own. I felt leaner, faster, and stronger. This was the real beginning. Adjusted diet as I learned how my body responded.
- Milestone: October, 2010. Reached a very lean state at 112. Felt as much confidence as I ever had. Core is strong very defined. Able to perform most CrossFit exercises. I wanted to start adding a little muscle for a better shape and to help my overall performance. Started to add Olympic lifts. Added protein and little more healthy fats to increase my performance and recovery. This added much needed energy to my days.
- Milestone: March, 2011. Olympic lifts improving. More strength, more speed, better flexibility. Improved performance all around.
- Transformation End: October, 2011 (and through today), added a couple pounds of muscle, still increasing strength. I’m always trying new things to test my limits.
Any other important information?
I started one year after my last of three kids. I tried to stay active and would run/bike a little, but even that became very irregular. I had never even tried a push up or pull up before, and so I had no upper body strength at all. Now in 2012, I’m able to do things I didn’t think I would be able to do, like climbing rope, pull ups, Olympic lifts, handstands, gymnastic movements, like dips and wall push ups.
My after transformation weight was 112, but now I’m gaining a little muscle, so I’m at 116, and much stronger. Now I’m also able to adjust my diet very easily to show more definition for the summer season.
Marcela's Training Approach
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
I first stated with an interval routine and did more of a body part routine every day. For example, 20 seconds of hammer curls, 20 seconds reverse curls, etc. in different postilions. After a few months, I was starting to lose interest and went to CrossFit. All the movements became more functional based, combining gymnastic, Olympic lifts, and metabolic conditioning.
Please add a workout that worked best for you:
- Monday - Warm up: 5 minutes jump rope, 10 push ups, 10 squats, 10 sit ups. Stretching. Strength work: Thrusters 5 sets of 3 reps - (2) sets at 55 lbs x 3 reps, (2) sets at 65 lbs. x 3 reps, (1) set at 75 lbs x 3 reps. WOD (Workout of the Day): 4 rounds for time, (10) alternating kettlebell snatches with 16kg. 200m sprint. Stretching.
- Tuesday - Warm up: 5 minutes jump rope, 5 push ups, 10 lunges, 10 V-ups. Stretching. 21 deadlifts (155#), 3 rope climbs 15’, 15 deadlifts (155#), 2 rope climbs 15’, 9 deadlifts (155#), 1 rope climb 15’. Stretching.
- Wednesday - Warm up: 1 mile run, 10 leg swings, 30 mountain climbers. Stretching. Interval training: 6 rounds of 4 minutes work and 2 minutes rest. Each round will start with a 500m run and with the remaining time I will complete as many reps as possible of the following movements: Round 1 – air squats, Round 2 – push ups, Round 3 – ball slams, Round 4 – box jumps, Round 5 – sit ups, Round 6 – sweet surrenders. Stretching.
- Thursday - Warm up: 5 minutes jump rope, 10 push ups, 10 squats, 10 sit ups. Stretching. 4 sets: 20 seconds - push press 65lb, rest 90 seconds + 4 sets: 20 seconds - max burpee, rest 90 seconds + 4 sets: 20 seconds - double unders, rest 90 seconds. Stretching.
- Friday - Warm up: 1 mile run, 10 leg swings, 30 mountain climbers. Stretching. Run 800 meters. 7 rounds: 7 pull ups, 7 dips, 7 hang cleans ( #115 ). Run 800 meters.
- Saturday - Rest.
- Sunday - Long run for 7-8 miles.
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
A lot of sprinting because of time constraints. They are fast and efficient. I was constantly hauling three kids on my bike, like a train, and running out of time to get somewhere, with added hills along the way. I try to keep moving either riding my bike to places or walking fast. As a busy mom I have to always be ready to get my workouts in however I can.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Perform compound exercises, that work all in one are super efficient.
- The duration of my workouts became shorter, but much more intense.
- Not to compromise form.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
I am always looking for the next challenge in exercises and combinations. Some days are heavier and shorter, some are with no cardio, and others add a lot of metabolic conditioning. The concepts have stayed the same, but every day is still different and challenging.
Marcela's Diet And Supplement Plan
What is your philosophy about nutrition?
To eat as clean as I could and to know where my food was coming from or being prepared. Nothing packaged, ever. It’s a commitment for sure to have my food with me when it’s time to eat. There is the occasional sushi dinner now and then.
Can you give an example of what your daily meal plan looks like?
Training Day Menu
- First: Drink an ice cold 16 oz of water and my omega 3.
- Pre workout: 1/2 scoop whey protein powder in water.
- Do CrossFit workout: My routine changes in duration and exercises. I never know what I am doing until the moment I start. I do about 10 minute to 1 hour workouts. Some weeks I do three days, and other weeks I train six days in a row. It all depends on the intensity and how my body feels. I also don't have a set time, I just squeeze them in whenever I can during the day. This is not by choice, but by necessity.
- Breakfast and/or post workout: My favorite meal of the day, my oatmeal! The most important component is the 1 scoop of vanilla recovery protein, add a mixture of oat bran, flaxseed, wheat bran, wheat germ, chia seeds, cinnamon, bee pollen, macca powder, 1 cup of mixed berries, then add water. It is super yummy! This changes too according to my taste buds. Also, sometimes I add a healthy fat like almond butter or pistachios. I keep trying to trick my system.
- Sometimes Snack: 1/2 scoop whey protein powder, add cinnamon, add water and 1/2 cup of coconut milk and my Advance Greens powder. Sometimes I add 2 teaspoons of coconut shavings.
- Lunch: 3-5 oz of chicken breast (cooked measure), 1 pound broccoli or mixed veggies, (steamed or pan fried with a little coconut spray). Sometimes I add my Miracle Noodles to the mix. Tip! Add mustard or Brags Amino Acids spray for a little kick!
- Snack: 2 large carrots with 1/2 scoop of whey protein in water.
- Dinner: 1 pound shredded cabbage, 1 cup beets (about 5 oz, cubes, raw measure), 1 pack Miracle Noodles, 5-6oz baked Salmon, add mustard to taste. Make sure it is without added sugar, and no honey mustard!
- Sometimes Late night snack: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 2 boiled egg whites with cinnamon and Stevia.
Rest Day Menu
- Breakfast: My favorite - Coconut Pancakes with chocolate egg whites, super yummy! This is my own recipe and even my kids love it!
- Snack: 1/2 scoop whey protein powder, cinnamon, add water and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Sometimes I add 2 teaspoons of coconut shavings.
- Lunch: 4-6 oz baked or pan fried salmon, 3 cups green beans. Add seasoning to taste.
- Dinner: 1 pound cauliflower (raw measure), 1 pound broccoli (raw measure), 1 pack Miracle Noodles, 1 cup egg whites with mustard to taste.
- Note: I adjust my meals according to my days and workout days and routines. Also, don’t forget that I drink 1 gallon of water a day, if not more.
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
Yes, eating nut butters, they are so good and not so easy to stop. Also, learning that my food intake has to be different according to my training days and rest days.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Play around with different things.
- Experimenting with timing and combination of foods.
- Portion control. Usually, I eat more though, not less.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
From time to time, but not very often. I just never felt the need. I rarely have cravings, and when I do, it’s sushi.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
Advice For Others
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Set your goals.
- Be mentally ready.
- Have patience.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
By setting intermittent goals for myself every so often, and by finishing a workout every day. People’s comments have a huge impact and my family as well. Write all your goals and put them some where you can see them. Stay focused, find clothes or pictures of things you are shooting for. Do self-check photos.
Find a supportive group of people to be around. Get educated and understand why you are doing what you are doing. This lifestyle is a trial and error, and some things might work for your body type, and some others might not. Experiment with it and be patient. Don't give up!
Your Life Now
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
I feel so much better about myself and I feel much stronger. I am not afraid any more about trying new things. CrossFit has a way to help build, or rebuild, you from the inside out. I feel like I am always prepared for whatever the day brings. All the functional training has my body doing so much work that it can’t help but perform, which in turn, keeps me fit. As a bonus, I now feel confident wearing anything.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
Really, all my motivation is fed by my job as a CrossFit coach. I see the perseverance and determination of my clients each and every day. They are truly motivating. I thank my husband for being so supportive and always pointing out my accomplishments. Because of him I always want to take myself to the next level.
Anything else you would like to share?
Making a change is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it. We all want to reverse the negative things we have done in the past number of years, in the least amount of time. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Everyone has road blocks and challenges, but no matter what they are, it’s easy to give excuses to all of them and give up. If you really want something, go after it! That is all it takes to be mentally ready. Commit to those goals you are going after!
How Can People Contact You?
How can people contact you?