Feature Friday: Cassandra Fiorella aka ‘PetiteFi’

PetiteFi1

First name: Cassandra aka ‘PetiteFi’

Last name: Fiorella

City: Denver

State: Colorado

Age: 26

Height: 5’4”

Weight: I rarely get on a scale and have not been on one in a decent while, but I would guess around 130 – 135lbs

Profession: General Trouble Maker/Blogger/Health Enthusiast/Crossfitter/Trainer

Follow Her:
Twitter: @OhHeyItsFi
Instagram: PetiteFi
Blog/Website URL: One is coming soon!

When did you start working out?:

I grew up an active child – playing sports, climbing trees, biking, running, jumping around. “Fitness” in the sense of movement and life- has been a part of my world since day 1. However, my journey into fitness in the traditional sense of the word began around the time I turned 21. It was at that time, after a long stint of years spent partying, that I realized it was time to change my direction and head down a new path in life.

PetiteFi2

How many days a week do you work out?:

This is very much season and schedule dependent, but I prefer to hit the gym 5 to 6 days a week. I’d say I average 4 a week throughout the year although even on the days I don’t make it into the gym, I still remain relatively active either through biking (my main mode of transportation) or hiking, running, walking. This is simply a way of life for me, not some necessary evil or chore I feel I must do.

How long is your average workout?:

Crossfit WOD classes are scheduled for an hour at a time however the actual workouts themselves average around 12 to 20 minutes. The rest of the hour is spent warming up, going over technique and mobilizing/stretching. Some days I perform additional “accessory” work generally in the form of technique work focused around particular weaknesses of mine. I also try to spend at least 15 minutes a day mobilizing as flexibly is a major factor that generally gets overlooked. On top of this, I generally average around 10 miles a day on my bike (in the warmer months) simply in transport from one place to another.

Favorite muscles to exercise:

All of them! I don’t “spot” train (no “leg days” or “back days” for me). My lower body is much stronger than my upper body – as is the case for most women – so anything lower body centric is preferable to me but I am working hard to balance them out as much as possible.

Least favorite muscles to exercise:

None. This is not about muscle groupings for me. This is about functionality. Anything involving heavy overhead (presses/snatches) is difficult for me and causes me the most anguish, but I enjoy practicing those movements because I want to improve.

PetiteFi3

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:

I absolutely have goals and will continue to do so with every one I achieve. By the end of 2013 I would like to be able to Squat 300lbs, Deadlift 300+, Bench press 150lbs, Snatch my body weight, Clean & Jerk my body weight (or more), perform 10 strict handstand push ups, and knock out double unders like its my job.

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:

To be perfectly honest, all the people I see and meet on a regular basis who are pushing themselves in the gym are inspiration to me. Whether it is the girl taking her first steps into the weight room, the novice nailing a heavy lift they’ve attempted time and time again, or the single mom somehow finding time in her day to take a walk around the park. Knowing that they all are striving to better themselves fuels my drive to better myself and help others do so in the process. All accomplishments, large or small, deserve to be recognized and celebrated. If you are dedicated, working hard and staying positive all the while, you have my utmost respect regardless of your fitness level.

What supplements do you take or recommend?:

Supplementation is a gray area in my world. I believe that some supplementation, mostly in the form of vitamins and minerals, can be used to round out a healthy, real food based diet, but totally relying on pills & powders is absolutely unnecessary and potentially dangerous. I personally try to get all my nutritional needs from whole foods but do take a high concentrated fish oil as well as a D3 supplement daily. I occasionally make use of protein powders either when I am in a pinch for time after the gym or in between meals in order to meet my daily protein requirements, but try to not rely on them too much. I’d much rather eat a steak than drink a chocolate flavored beverage.

PetiteFi4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:

I eat Real Food! Foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. I eat very little, if anything, processed – even making my own condiments and non-dairy milks. High quality (aka grass-fed, pasture raised) animal products from a variety of sources (including organs and bone marrow) make up a large portion of my diet as well as seafood and eggs. I eat a wide variety of vegetables including an abundance of dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and squash for my carbohydrates. I also eat A LOT of fat – coconut oil, olive oil, real butter, ghee, bacon fat, avocado as well as some nuts and seeds. I consume a minimal amount of fruit as I try to keep my sugar intake, even sugar from natural sources, on the low end and I do not drink any alcohol or sugar based beverages but do drink coffee and kombucha tea regularly. I also incorporate fermented foods such as sauerkraut regularly for their probiotic benefit as well as drink home made bone broth to support healthy gut flora!

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:

Constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. I truly believe in Crossfit because I have seen what it has done for hundreds of people’s lives – including my own! The premise of specializing in not specializing is very appealing to me as it has developed me into a well-rounded athlete capable of a wide variety of tasks and set the stage for my functionality for years to come. That being said, if I had to pick one exercise that I believe is the most affective in overall strength and health development it would be the squat. Loaded and unloaded. You want to be able to stand up off the toilet without assistance for the rest of your life, don’t you?

PetiteFi5

How much cardio do you do? (Per day or per week):

The only “cardio” I perform in the traditional sense regularly is riding my bicycle, as it is my main mode of transportation. I average around 100 miles a week in the spring and summer time here and probably spend more time on that thing than off. Otherwise, I am training my cardiovascular system every time I train thanks to my workouts being performed at high intensity

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:

Find a style of fitness that you find fun! If you hate to run it is very unlikely that you will stick to running a few times a week. Try different types of classes, workout alone or with friends, experiment with active activities in order to find something that best suits you. There is no ONE “right” way – don’t let anyone allow you to feel that there is. Regardless of how you choose to train, STAY consistent! That is ultimately the key to success in anything in life. Hard work & dedication.

Do you have any other things you would like to say?(Comments, suggestions, etc)?:

Remember that your life is yours and yours alone. You can shape it into any direction you choose – make it what you want.

Do you find ‘PetiteFi’ inspiring? Do you have any other questions for her? Do you think you have what it takes to be featured on my blog? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

BOSU Ball Squats

Bosu Ball Squat - Position 1

Bosu Ball Squat – Position 1

Want to tone your legs? Want to challenge yourself with something new… Try BOSU Ball Squats.

This exercise is excellent to activate all of the muscles in your upper legs and your core. It requires a lot of control and balance and is a bit harder than it looks. To perform a BOSU Ball Squat:

    1. Grab a BOSU ball and put the ball on the ground, leaving the flat surface up.
    2. Slowly place one foot at a time on the BOSU ball and stand up straight (You are now in Position 1).
    3. Slowly lower to a squat position by lowering your butt down and activating your quads (You are now in Position 2)
    4. Using your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, raise back up to a standing position (You should now be back in Position 1).
    5. Repeat for the recommended amount of reps (usually 12-20).
Bosu Ball Squat - Position 2

Bosu Ball Squat – Position 2

Tips:

    1. Remember, when doing squats, the general rule is “Ass to Grass!” Lower your butt down as far as you can. This full range of motion will help build and tone your legs muscles.
    2. In order to balance, really activate your core. This exercise is more than just a leg workout!
    3. Once you become comfortable, you can add a barbell to make the exercise harder. Rest the barbell behind your head on your shoulders and perform the exercise with this added weight. WARNING: Do not try to squat the same amount of weight on the BOSU ball that you normally do on the flat ground. Start off small and add weight slowly. You will be surprised how much harder the squat becomes on the BOSU ball.
    4. BE CAREFUL!!! It is easy to fall off the ball. If you need to, perform this exercise next to a wall or something else that you can hold to maintain your balance. Try and do the exercise without brasing yourself, but hold something when necessary… Safety is always the most important thing when exercising!

Do you like this exercise? Do you have any other exercises you would like to share? Any questions or comments? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Feature Friday: Sandy Vo

Sandy Vo 1

First name: Sandy
Last name: Vo
City: Albany
State: New York
Age: 21
Height: 5’2″
Weight: 128lbs
Profession: Communication major, Business minor. Founder of Peer Academic Review Board for the school. Director of Communications for American Marketing Association. Proud intern at this awesome music company called Tunigo. If you’re a music lover, this will be your best friend for life.

Follow Her:
Twitter: @Msfitique
Instagram: Msfitique
Blog: http://www.msfitique.com

When did you start working out?:
I started this new healthy lifestyle, working out and eating clean consistently late March last year. I didn’t start lifting until July though! I’ve seen tremendous changes ever since I started lifting. To think that I used to be the one who was scared of weights because it would make me bulky is too funny to even think about it. Start lifting ladies 😉

Sandy Vo 2

How many days a week do you work out?:
I work out 6 days a week and make sure to have one rest day for my body to recuperate. Some weeks I have ultra energy and find it hard to have a rest day. That’s what this lifestyle does to you though. It makes you feel so good, mentally and physically, that you start absolutely loving it. Being an ex-college party girl who was almost always hung over, working out and eating clean was non- existent in my life. When I started, I did it because I felt like I absolutely had to in order to get healthy. Now, I do it as a hobby more than anything. It’s incredible how much my mental state has changed since then too. It’s so worth ditching parties, cheesy pizza and liver killing alcohol for =).

How long is your average workout?:
My average workout is 1 hour. When I first started and had no clue what to do in the gym, I’d hog the elliptical for almost 2 hours and got super skinny, and fragile looking as a result. Now, lifting and having knowledge about the right kind of training, it only takes 1 hour of my life a day to get fit. There are no excuses there.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
I love working out my glutes because I have some pretty fun exercises for that, and I love seeing the changes week to week. I also love working my legs overall, and shoulders.

Sandy Vo 3

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
If I had to pick, I’d say chest because I’m not a huge fan of bench presses.

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
Yes! I’m actually competing for my very first show June 29th in Boston with the WBFF. After losing 30 pounds since I started this journey less than a year ago, it’s been rough to get my physique to where I wanted it. I was looking fragile and I wanted to be fit. So I started slowly upping my calories to gain weight but I did it the wrong way and I gained back all the weight. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to learn. I started prepping in January actually because I wanted to do this the healthiest way possible by giving myself time. So far I’ve learned that slow progress is the best kind of progress and real results take time. Patience is everything! I gained back all the weight because I was frustrated with not seeing the kind of results that I did. In January 23, I was 140. Now March 29, I am 128. Competing for me, has nothing to do about winning a trophy. That will be my cherry on top. It’s more about testing how strong your mind really is. Training for a show isn’t easy but it will be worth it in the end.

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:
– Amanda Latona, super hot body with a kick ass personality.
– Justine Munro
– Andrea Brazier is also another gorgeous, hard body inspiration.

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
I only take multi vitamins, fish oil, vitamin d, iron (because I’m low on iron) and that’s it! I don’t believe in using fat burners and unnecessary supplements that may harm my body. All the nutrients that we need is in our food! Supplements are just that, they supplement our diet, not replace it.

Sandy Vo 4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
Meal 1- 4 egg whites, 1 egg. 1/2 c oats
Meal 2- 1/2 c cottage cheese, blueberries
Meal 3- 3 oz chicken with small salad and 1/4 c brown rice
Meal 4- 3 oz chicken with small salad
Meal 5 -3 oz tilapia with veggies and sweet potato
Meal 6 – Protein shake
Of course I add my own little twist and turns to make my food super delicious. I turn meal one into scrumptious pancakes

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
HIIT is very affective. I’m talking about a lot of calories and fat burned in a short amount of time. It’s also fun to play around with the intensity and challenge yourself. Normal steady cardio is boring. I find myself seeing the most progress with high intensity interval training always.

How much cardio do you do? (Per day or per week):
Because I am prepping for a show right now, I do cardio 6 days a week. I do one session in the morning and one after lifting.

Sandy Vo 5

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
Start by believing in yourself. Believe that you can achieve that physique that you have always dreamed of, but more importantly, believe that you have that strong mentality and power inside of you to do absolutely anything. Back then, running at 8.0 mph for even 20 seconds was impossible to me. It was impossible because I limited myself. But once I tapped into that power I knew I always had inside of me, I finished a mile in 6 min and 30 sec. I’ll never forget how accomplished I felt. Another super important tip is be patient! All your hard work will pay off if you are willing to be patient for it. The small progresses are the best. Learn to love them, reward yourself for them versus picking on yourself for not seeing any changes. I promise you that you can wait just a little bit longer while continuing to do what you do, you WILL get there!

Do you have any other things you would like to say? (Comments, Suggestions, etc)?:
I’m currently in the making of my own incredible fitness journey and I have yet to be at the level that I want to be at but looking back, the fact that I have made it this far is what thrills me the most. I’m super excited to see how far I am going to take myself with this show coming up! I’m taking my readers a long with me through my journey on Youtube as well, so feel free to watch me go!

Did you like this Feature Friday Inspiration? Do you want to know more about Sandy Vo? Do you think you have what it takes to be my next Feature Friday Inspiration? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Feature Friday: Mirella Mikaela

Mirella 1

First name: Mirella
Last name: Mikaela
City: Stockholm
Country: Sweden
Age: 23
Height: 161 cm (about 5’3″)
Weight: 48 kg (about 106lbs)
Profession: Law student

Follow Her:
Twitter: @MirellaMikaela
Instagram: MirellaMikaela

When did you start working out?:
I’ve always been active, going for power walks etc., but started going to the gym in November 2012.

How many days a week do you work out?:
About 5-6 days a week.

Mirella 2

How long is your average workout?:
About 1.5 hours.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
All the body! I primarily take classes like Body Pump and Circuit Training (kind of like Crossfit.) Sometimes I box and do yoga.

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
I don’t have one that I don’t like.

You have very defined core muscles. Is there a specific class or workout you believe helps you achieve these results?:
Core is included in all the classes I take, so that’s probably why. I also go horseback riding once a week which is super core-strengthening.

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
To be strong, healthy, and happy!

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
I don’t take any.

Mirella 4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
A lot of proteins & vegetables.

Do you have any guilty pleasures/cheat meals?:
A lot of them! To mention one, I’m in love with dark chocolate.

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
See above (the classes.)

Do you have a favorite workout class that you like to take?
Body Pump and Circuit Training, kind of like Crossfit.

Why is it your favorite?:
You workout your whole body

How much cardio do you do? (Per day or per week):
I have a dog so I walk at least 40 min/ day. Sometimes I run on the treadmill after a class as well. How long depends on how I feel that day.

Mirella 3

How did you be come flexible?:
Yoga! And I did gymnastics as a kid.

Do you have any specific advice for women who are looking to hit the gym harder?:
Find The kind of workout/exercise YOU enjoy. It’s not a pain in the ass, it’s actually really fun!

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
Just the regular: clean eating, exercising And dedication. You won’t see results right away. Don’t give up.




Did you enjoy this Feature Friday Fitness Inspiration? Do you have any more questions for Mirella? Do you want to be featured as one of my Feature Friday Fitness Inspirations? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Vitamins for Women

Healthy Woman
Sorry guys, this post is specifically for the women who read my blog. The next one will be for you.

Obviously men and women are physically different and have different needs, especially when it comes to the amount of vitamins and nutrients they require. Because men, in general, have larger bodies they usually need more of certain nutrients than women. This got me questioning, which nutrients do nutritionist believe are the most vital for women to have?

After doing some research, it appeared that nutritionists almost always recommended getting your nutrition from foods rather than supplements; however, they do highly recommend certain supplements for people who may not be getting all of their proper nutrients through their diets. For non-pregnant women, there seems to be two nutrients that nutritionists frequently suggest supplementing into a diet if you are not getting enough with the food you are eating.

IRON:
Women who experience menstrual bleeding frequently do not have enough iron in their diets, especially those of which who are dieting and consume less than 2,000 calories a day. Because of this, Anemia is fairly common in women. Anemia is a condition that occurs when there is not enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. Due to the blood loss during a woman’s menstrual cycle and the lack of iron in a woman’s diet, a woman with iron-deficient anemia does not have enough iron to produce enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen to the body’s organs. This will cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and multiple other symptoms. You can get Iron from red meat, eggs, fortified cereals and numerous other sources; however if your diet does not allow for the recommended amount of iron (18mg a day) a supplement may be the answer.

Milk and bones

CALCIUM:
Women are more prone to a condition called osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones which can cause a lot of pain and weak, easy-to-break bones in later years of life. Calcium is highly recommended for women to help prevent this issue. It is recommended that a woman should have 1000mg of calcium a day. To get this amount a woman would have to drink four 8-ounce glasses of nonfat skim milk a day. Of course someone can get his/her calcium in many other foods such as dairy products, spinach, and even fish; however, to have the recommended amount of calcium every day is not easy.

Did you like today’s topic? Do you currently take any supplements? Do you have any other questions or concerns? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com