Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fighting the Battle

Sometimes I feel like I am constantly fighting. Fighting the battle. I’m tired. I’m sore. Track that. Take that supplement. Need more water. Shouldn’t eat that. Definitely eat this. Prep this, plan that. Train harder. Train less. Ahhhhh……..

We Struggle. We all struggle but our health is worth fighting for and giving up just means starting over. So we keep pushing, tweaking, tracking.

Some days ...are more of a fight then others. Some days I’m slower, some days I dwell too much on my metabolic issues and wonder what is the point of it all but I NEVER give up. I refuse to give up.

In the long run when you look back; you can think about all you have accomplished, both big and small. Those things truly make it all worth it. Remember when I used to eat that? Remember when I could only lift that or only run this far?

And you’ll be running these things through your mind while beating a personal best, running your best time or wearing your favourite outfit.

Do you know that I don’t remember the last time I ate a chocolate bar, bought a bag of potato chips, drank soda or even ate French fries? It is just who I am now. I don’t miss those things.

You see my body doesn’t function well on too many carbs and there are certain foods that really irritate by IBS so I stay away from those. Period! Even cheat days or cheat meals are a part of the overall plan. They are a conscious thought. As athletes that’s what we do. We plan, prep and yes, sometimes we fight. It is hard!

One quote has stuck with me and still to this day I repeat it to myself when I need a reminder. “Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy everyone would do it. Hard is what makes it great.”
So fitness peeps.
This is a reminder that We. All. Struggle.
But we still keep fighting the battle.

Stay Strong and never give up!

Until next time,

Monday, December 1, 2014

**Cyber Monday Sale** 20% off Nutrition Snob Clothing

Hey Fitness Peeps,

I have another great sale for you today for Cyber Monday.

Nutrition Snob Clothing is offering all of my followers 20% off using code CMFITGIRLSROCK at check out.

You don't want to miss out on these awesome, super comfy tanks, tees, scarves, and swetashirts. I love all of mine and I have a bunch :)

Visit https://nutritionsnob.com?ap_id=FitGirlsRock to get in on the sale...

Happy Shopping!!! :)

Pictured here: Endorphin Junkie sweatshirt. One of my favs

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gym Girl Gloves- 10% Discount

Just in time for Black Friday and the holidays, Gym Girl has announced these awesome new black leopard gym gloves.

Click on the following link and enter code LEOPARDLOVE at checkout for 10% off


Until next time,

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winter Fitness Interview with Betty LIVIN

I recently had an interview with Rachel at Betty LIVIN about how I overcome the cold, dark winters and still keep fitness a priority.

Here it is:


Until next time,

Monday, November 3, 2014

Endometriosis- a silent but painful condition

So here is something I don’t talk about much and that not many people, outside my close family and friends, know about me. I have Endometriosis.

What is Endometriosis? An often painful gynecological disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside instead. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis. Endometriosis can cause pain, in varying severity, especially during and just before your period. Typically menstrual pain for those with Endometriosis is far worse than the norm and tends to increase over time. Other symptoms include excessive bleeding, fatigue, bloating, nausea, headaches, pain with bowel movements/urination, pain with intercourse, diarrhea, constipation and infertility.

Personally, I don’t experience all of the symptoms listed above and some months are far better than others for me. There are months where I am so debilitated by my period that it leaves me curled up in a ball unable to go to work, where my only relief from the back and pelvic cramps is a heating pad or hot bath and where I am so bloated that I can’t fit into my jeans or pants. I start to experience my symptoms about a week before my period. During this week, I generally experience the extreme fatigue, bloating, sometimes spotting, headaches, body aches and pelvic pain. I have been known to exude flu like symptoms, even a sore throat and to only get two really good weeks out of a month.

Just last week I had another episode where I had that same debilitating pain, missed a day at work and spent the majority of the day curled up in a ball with my heating pad. I started a discussion about it on my facebook page and received a lot of comments from other women who suffer as well. It is a condition known all too well to those who suffer but one that is not very well known at all to others. It is basically an invisible disease, and because no one can see it, it is tough to understand just how bad it can really be. Its effects are definitely widespread.

So why am I writing all of this now? Good question. I have recently been doing a lot of research about Endometriosis, as it seems to have worsened again for me this year, and have come across some interesting blogs on the topic. I thought that I would write a brief overview of my own story
I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2007 after I stopped taking the birth control pill. I then noticed differences in my periods and menstrual cramps as well as some IBS like symptoms. In 2008, a laparoscopy was performed and many of the endometrial polyps were removed at this time. The procedure did bring significant relief to the pain I had been experiencing. However in 2011, when I began my road to fitness and clean eating, I noticed some drastic changes in my symptoms for the better and although the majority of these symptoms will clearly never go away, the lifestyle I lead certainly helps.

As long as I keep my diet consistently clean (I tend to find gluten free works for me) and don’t stray too far from those clean foods, stay as stress free as possible and continue training as I do then I am able to at least minimize the bloating, headaches, IBS symptoms, etc. The other pain associated with my period, changes constantly, making some months bearable while others are extremely debilitating. Hence the frustration living with this condition overall.
This blog is a little more personal than the content I normally share here but I have been contemplating writing this one for awhile. If you live with endometriosis, have you noticed any improvement in symptoms through clean eating and fitness or has it had no effect on your symptoms at all?

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Conquering the Beast!

On Saturday, September 27, 2014 I took on the Spartan Beast obstacle course race in Sun Peaks, B.C. This race was the last requirement to complete my goal of attaining my trifecta in 2014. The weather was beautiful and I was especially thankful for that considering the previous year they were running in snow.

We arrived at the host hotel and event site on Friday. I picked up a flu bug earlier and wasn’t feeling the best so as soon as we checked into the hotel I went to bed hoping that I would feel much better in the morning. Luckily, although my cold was still present, I did in fact feel energetic and in good spirits for the event.

After picking up my pre-race package, having a carb and protein filled breakfast and stretching I lined up with the others for the 9am heat. Next the customary chanting of “I am Spartan, AROO!!” and we are off.  First obstacle, the Over, Under, Threw and then onward to the continuous climb up the mountain for what seems like forever before any other obstacles at all. The climb is challenging to say the least and I am left wondering how I could have trained differently to make it easier. Uphill hiking, maybe? Although everyone started out in a run I see no one running now and we are all simply hiking up the mountain. Eventually we come to the log carry and then almost immediately thereafter the Hercules hoist. Good, I think to myself, some obstacles to break up the climb. No such luck however. We are on the climb again. A couple more obstacles where spectators can watch, my husband is there to cheer me on and lift my spirits, a water station and we are climbing again. This climb much like the start seems never ending and by now everything is hurting. Calves, butt, hamstrings, quads……B U R N I N G!!!

Finally I make it to “The top of the World” as it’s called and everyone including myself is thinking ok downhill from here. Argh…the downhill only lasts for a short time and we are going up again. Many short downs plus several climbs later and finally I can see the finish line, hear the cheers and am headed down the home stretch.

I can honestly say that the obstacles were the easy part of this race. I was terrified of the covered trench obstacle, being that I am claustrophobic, but with a pep talk from a couple of people near me, I took it on and was happy that I did. I honestly didn’t have the energy for burpees. A little over 14 miles (almost entirely uphill) and 27 obstacles concluded the race. I did have to complete burpees for a couple of obstacles……Always at the spear throw and the rope climb at the end.

This race is by far one of the toughest things I have ever taken on both mentally and physically. There were a couple of moments throughout the race that I wanted to cry, especially at the bucket brigade- it was such a long trek with that bucket full of sand, but I didn’t cry, several of us let out a few choice curse words instead. I jumped the fire after 4:58:40 with a sense of relief, got both my medals, grabbed some water, hugged my husband and then the tears came. Silly? Maybe, but it was an emotional, tough journey.

I am very happy to have taken on this challenge. I achieved my trifecta goal and once again have proven to myself that I am not a quitter but most importantly that I can certainly do anything that I set my mind too.

A huge thank you to my husband for cheering me on, giving me a pep talk before, during and after the race, for telling me how proud he was of me, for my trifecta sweater and simply for the awesome support and encouragement.  

He is intrigued by the beast so it looks like we will be conquering this one together in 2015.
Until next time,

Monday, September 22, 2014

Why I became a Beach Body Coach

Hey Fitness Peeps!

In June I took the plunge and joined the Beach Body team as a coach. I had completed a couple of their programs in the past with clear results and had thoroughly enjoyed them. So I thought why not get more involved, especially when you have a simple to follow product that you can believe in. I have a couple of facebook friends who are coaches and so I started asking questions, getting more information and learning all that I could about Beach Body. 

Even though I joined in June, I actually hadn’t announced it officially until August for a few reasons.

1)      I was focusing solely on getting my personal training business started

2)      It was summer vacation time….hey, I was on vacation too!

3)      I was still learning a lot of the basic coaching skills and so I wanted to  be more comfortable before I really jumped in

Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about health and fitness. How important I think it is and how much I believe in being active and eating healthy for a long, full life. This is why I became a PersonalTrainer so that I could help people reach their full potential, show and teach them how to work out and provide them with proper nutritional guidelines and principles as well.
So what made me decide to become a coach?

In just a few words; “I wanted to motivate and help people achieve their fitness goals and enjoy the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle.”

I became a ‘Beach Body Coach’ so that I could also reach out and help people who want to get into fitness, but, perhaps cannot afford a gym membership, a personal trainer or who simply don’t have the time to make it to the gym, yet still want to work out. Beach Body programs are designed specifically for these people. They are economical, simple to follow and they can all be done in the comfort of your own home, with full support from your very own Beach Body Coach.

When I became certified as a Personal Trainer earlier this year, I was contacted by so many people from my home town that wished me well and also wished that I was closer so that they could work with me. Beach Body now allows me to be that for them and so many others. By joining my Beach Body challenge groups, you get me as a coach automatically, to answer any questions and concerns but also to help motivate, inspire and help keep you on track.

So whether you’re new to fitness, on the diet rollercoaster, or just need that little push to keep you motivated and get you through, as a Beach Body coach, I can help.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Spartan Super Race- A Recap

Hey Everyone,

This past Saturday, my husband and I ran the Spartan Super in Red Deer, Alberta; another wonderful, fun, exhilarating day. 15km and numerous obstacles later, we were jumping over fire to finish it off with a time of 2:03:24

There is definitely something to be said for running these obstacle races with a significant other. I love that I am strong enough to help my husband through some of the obstacles and that he is always there to help and encourage me as well.

At 9am, with a final AROO and dressed as Wonder woman and Batman, we are off. I start out fairly strong but I lose that around mile 3 or 4 and I begin to get discouraged. My obstacle abilities are strong however it is my running that holds me back. I have to walk for little bits at a time, which is so unlike me, but I never quit. My husband, on the other hand, is feeling great and performing wonderfully.

We climb and jump over things, swing through monkey bars, flip tires, swim, throw spears, drag bricks, run stairs, carry sand bags, get muddy, etc.; all for fun and side by side. My husband is wonderful at the spear throw; I, on the other hand, suck. Although for the first time ever, I did get it, it just didn’t stick. Argh…burpees for me! One other set of burpees at the rope climb for each of us and we are done. I can’t seem to ever get a tight enough grip on the rope and with all that mud it just wasn’t happening…….one day I’ll get it!!

The race was well organized again this year. Race package pickup, bag drop off and getting numbers was a breeze. Volunteers were great throughout the race, the cleanup stations and change rooms setup at the end were efficient and we, personally, had no issues from start to finish.

This is my 3rd Spartan race, my husband’s 2nd. We did the Sprint together in July and I completed this particular Super last year as well; my time was a little better then but I’m not beating myself up over it. I had fun and I finished.

On September 27th, I am heading into the Beast in order to complete my goal of achieving my trifecta this year. I hear the course at Sun Peaks is grueling so I hope I can stay strong. I won’t give up and I will finish; another 3 weeks of training to go.

We are Spartan….AROO!!!

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Job- Gym Nation- Personal Trainer

It is official; Gym Nation YMM opens its doors on August 16th at 7am and I will be commencing my career into the fitness industry as an ISSA certified personal trainer at this gym.
So how do I feel? Well I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but like anything new, there are bound to be fears, doubts and nervousness. I am also incredibly excited and thankful to have been given this opportunity.

I will be working only part time to start but eventually it is my goal to make fitness my full time career. Fitness has been my passion for so many years and I just want to help motivate, teach and inspire others to lead healthy, active lives. My goal is to prove to each of my clients that they can do whatever they set their mind to.
If you are in the Fort McMurray, Alberta area and would like to have a training session(s) with me, please visit http://mindbodyonline.com/, follow the instructions and enter the information required to complete the purchase. From there you will be able to search my name (Melissa Shevchenko) and see my availability. If there are any specific questions please contact me and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Until next time,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let the struggles make you stronger; don't give up!

I was inspired this morning by a post from Fitnix. I have actually been contemplating writing a blog like this for a while but I couldn’t find the right words.

I started on this journey to fitness in 2011 and I was feeling great, making strides and seeing significant progress. In November of 2012, I competed in the fitness category at a local fitness competition and I was on top of the world. I felt more confident than I ever had, I was completely comfortable in my own skin and I was happy with myself.

However only a few months post competition and I was lacking energy, feeling so drained that I could hardly get out of bed in the morning and despite eating extremely clean I was gaining weight!! Unexplainable weight!

I was visiting doctors, naturopaths and so on to come up with a solution but nothing was working.

The gym suddenly felt different to me because I was now self-conscious. Self-conscious about people seeing that I had put on some extra pounds and what they would think and say. Would they think that I just binged post competition and therefore gained all this weight back?

I began accumulating a bunch of equipment for my home gym and as the weather got nicer I was slowly removing myself from going to the gym at all. I was and still am training at a high intensity and working very hard but still, to this day, I cannot get leaner. The benefits just simply don’t show on the outside these days despite the fact that I am getting stronger and still feeling fit overall.

There were many times when I even hesitated posting pictures on my facebook page. For a while I was documenting and openly discussing my issues and trials to fix it but soon there were no updates because myself and everyone I talked to were stumped. So how would that motivate my followers?

It did actually. It did and I really hope it still does because you’ve seen that I am real; that I struggle too and also that I NEVER, NEVER gave up and I have still NOT GIVEN UP!

I’ve learned many things in this process, including how strong I am both mentally and physically. I’ve learned that it is important to love and believe in yourself, to remain positive, to listen to your body and to tell yourself consistently that you CAN do this.

Don't wait until you feel great to show up....show up now (direct quote from Fitnix)….. continue to work with focus and intensity. Don’t let the bad days get the better of you!

People will be encouraged by your strength, determination and focus......

I begin my career as a personal trainer in a month (part-time to start), I am no longer as self-conscious to walk into the gym, I have good days and bad days but for the most part I am comfortable in my own skin again. I still haven’t found a diagnosis or treatment for whatever is wrong with my body but with some help, I am working on it.

I will get through this because I know I can. I know where I want to be and where I feel my best so I’m striving for that.

 Don’t let the struggles get the best of you; let the struggles make you stronger.
Until next time,


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Transformation Tuesday- Candice's Story

I’m back with another Transformation Tuesday and this one comes from Candice Pilgrim. Candice and I competed together in the KeaneClassic, here in Fort McMurray in 2012. We competed in different divisions but the same show.

I wanted to feature Candice because her transformation story is different. In her case, it wasn’t about losing weight but about going from skinny and unhealthy to healthy and fit.
Here is her story:
My name is Candice Pilgrim and I reside in Ft McMurray, Alberta with my husband and two sons, Aidan (8) and Dax (5). I had always been an athlete growing up....an endurance athlete at that. I was a National Level swimmer from the age of 8 until 16. I competed in numerous running and Triathlon races later on but it wasn't until we moved to Ft McMurray 4 years ago that I started to lose that focus in competing....and exercising for that matter.

I had always been "skinny" but I was very unhealthy on the inside. My life revolved so much around my young boys and husbands busy work schedule that I had no time to focus on myself. Two years ago, I was sitting at my desk job as a Fitness Specialist at a local gym, and decided I wanted to try Fitness Competitions. I trained for about 12 weeks and competed in my first local show - The Keane Classic in November 2012. I competed in the Bikini and Fit Mom Divisions and placed 3rd in both. I couldn't believe that I had made it through the process! I always said I couldn't but I definitely proved myself wrong.... I had found my niche.

I signed up for another competition right away - The NPAA Canada Classic (Natural Physiques and Athletics Association) which took place in Calgary, AB on May 19th 2013. It was a very successful show for me as I had entered the Amateur Fitness Model Division and won overall, earning an Elite Pro Card with the Federation. I signed up for yet another competition that year. This time it was with the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion). It was the show of the year - WBFF Worlds in Las Vegas, NV. I competed with over 30 athletes in the Amateur Fitness Diva Category and placed 2nd overall; Earning yet another Pro Card - A WBFF Pro Card.
I am currently a loyal Professional Fitness Competitor with the WBFF and with this title which I've had for almost a year now, I have been asked to represent the WBFF in Alberta assisting with Amateur shows and training camps. My next show with the WBFF, the WBFF Worlds, is on August 16th 2014 in Las Vegas. This will be my professional debut in the Figure Division....something I am very proud and excited about.
It amazes me still, being a 100% natural athlete that I can transform my body to compete at this level. Thank you Melissa for asking to feature me; it’s an honor to share my story a bit for those that may find it inspiring.
If you would like to be featured on a Transformation Tuesday please don't hesitate to contact me.
Until next time,

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Spartan Sprint Race - A Recap

Each year, at the start of the year, I make goals for myself especially in fitness. This year was no exception. One of my main goals for 2014 is to complete my Spartan Trifecta and this past weekend I started that process. What is the Spartan Trifecta? The Spartan Trifecta members are those that in just 1 race year complete the Spartan Sprint, Super and Beast.

On Saturday, July 5th I completed the shortest of the three; the 5k, 15+ obstacle Sprint, in Edmonton. I even finagled my husband into completing it with me. It was so much fun to run it together and to jump over the fire in the end as a team. We were nicknamed Mr. & Mrs. Superman before we even left the hotel.
We had a big thunder, lightning and rain storm the night before the event so needless to say the terrain was very muddy. I found it muddier and the trail harder to run on then the Super I completed in Red Deer last year. The weather, the morning of , was a little chilly and overcast but the perfect temperature for running.

Overall the event was well laid out. Shuttle buses ran from the host hotel which was very convenient. Registration, bag checking and body marking were all very organized and easily accessible. The event started on time but not before a few repeats of “I am Spartan….AROO, AROO, AROO!” to get everyone excited, pumped and ready.

We ran in the 9am heat and it didn’t take long before we were muddy. We encountered a number of obstacles some of which included balance beams, tire flips, monkey bars, inverted walls, straight wall, traverse wall, the crawl under barbed wire, mud walls, spear throw, sandbag carry, brick pull through a mud puddle, rope, etc. I, personally had to complete burpees twice; once for the spear throw which I can never seem to get and again for the rope which I can never get a grip on to pull myself up. My husband also had to complete two sets of burpees; once for the balance beams and again for the rope. I was so proud of him for getting the spear throw. We finished with a jump over the fire, a high five, a kiss and were awarded our medals and t-shirts of completion. We finished in a time of 1:13:29 not great considering I completed the Super in 1:58:50 however the terrain, as I said, was much more slick and you really had to watch your footing more here.

 photos from the event itself
What matters most is that we completed it, we had so much fun and we helped each other and others as a team. Isn’t that what Spartans are all about?

Up next, in September, is the Spartan Super in Red Deer and once again I am trying to convince my husband to do this one too. I think he will as he truly enjoyed the Sprint. He was nervous to start as he didn’t know what to expect; just as I was when I did the Super in 2013, but he performed fabulously and I was thrilled to have him with me. Following the Super and also in September is the Beast in Sun Peaks, British Columbia; apparently a very difficult course to run with a lot of uphill climbs. I guess we know what I’ll be training in the upcoming months—hill sprints and more hill sprints.

It was a wonderful, thrilling, fun weekend. We are Spartan…..AROO!!!
If you want to learn more about Spartan Races, please visit their website at http://www.spartan.com/

Until next time,


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Shefit Sports Bra

I recently did a giveaway on my facebook page for a Shefit sports bra. The response was huge and very well received. So I thought I would also write a blog and provide more information on the bras themselves.

These sports bras are amazing because they are the first custom adjustable bra that gives women of all shapes and sizes the support and lift they need. Who doesn't need that extra support? Ideal for women with larger chests who have a hard time finding the right sports bra or who wear 2-3 at a time when working out. The bras are designed to give the ability to adjust velcro straps for a custom fit ensuring the most comfort and support.

These bras are also awesome for women of all fitness levels from professional athletes to anyone just getting started. They zip up for easy on and adjust at both the straps and band for total support that can offer as much or as little support depending on your workout that day or if you lose weight or are a pregnant or nursing momma.

As you can see this bra is for everyone!

To order your own Shefit bra or to check out their other gear please visit http://www.shefit.com

Until next time,

Monday, June 30, 2014

Femsport Athletics Competition 2014- A Recap

This past Saturday, June 28 I competed in the Calgary FemsportAthletics competition. This was my second year and what an awesome experience to say the least. There is nothing quite like being surrounded by a group of strong, powerful women; women who support each other and cheer each other on. We even get teary eyed just watching someone struggle but still pushing through and accomplishing the end goal. It is a truly incredible event to be a part of.

In this competition it isn’t all about winning. It’s more about showing up, pushing through the challenges, persevering and cheering each other on; Women empowering other women.

The whole day was once again very well organized and ran without a hitch. There were no injuries and even the rain stayed away. I have to give a huge shout out to Nancy, Carl and Johnny for putting off such a wonderful event and also to Platoon FX for hosting.

This year we didn’t compete as team ‘Bam Bam’s Newfie Chicks’. Our team member Michelle wasn’t able to make it so Clarine and I competed as individuals in the open category. We didn’t place but we both gave it our all and I think I can speak for us both when I say we were happy with that and happy to be there overall.

The event included all 6 categories as opposed to the normal 5. There was the obstacle course, including the car push, kettle bell carry, tire pull, tire flip, box jumps and inverted rows. Personally the box jumps and inverted rows are my toughest challenges.

I am very proud to say, even though I don’t know this lady, that there was a 65 year old competitor at this year’s competition. She competed in each category like a true champion and persevered through each challenge. Hats off to her and congratulations! I only hope I am able to still do those things at 65 years young. It only goes to show that age is just a number and you CAN really do anything you set your mind to.


Special thanks to my husband Kevin, Roger (Clarine’s husband) as well as Andrew (our trainer) and Anna (our friend) for being there to support us, cheer us on, take pictures and videos.


It was an incredible day with a great bunch of strong ladies. Thanks Femsport for the event. I am honored to have been a part of it.  

If you are interested in learning more about Femsport including event locations, etc. Please visit http://www.femsport.tv

Until next time,