Carla is April’s “AICR Cancer Fighter of the Month”. A mother of two, Carla’s using her personal fitness goals to raise funds for cancer research and build awareness for health, fitness and cancer prevention. We asked Carla about her active lifestyle and what motivated her to start her journey to health.
A: With my 40th birthday approaching in November 2011, I started to contemplate doing a figure or bodybuilding competition to commemorate this milestone. I had recently gotten back into shape after having my daughters and was really passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I was still somewhat on the fence about the decision when something happened that created a “tipping point” for me. My dear friend Sue lost her battle with ovarian cancer. I became determined to find a way to pursue my goal while also raising funds for cancer research. I’m just so grateful AICR was there to support me in doing so.
Q: How did you choose to train for a figure competition over the typical marathon or other endurance race?
A: I had already done a few half-marathons and felt that I needed to do something different. Because I had made the most changes in my body by lifting weights, and I’d always admired the physique of figure and fitness competitors, it seemed like the most logical choice for me. Plus, I knew that preparing for a figure competition would be much more challenging and also something different in terms of a fundraising endeavor.
Q: What struggles did you face when first starting your diet and workout regimen?
A: I’ve been at this for a few years now so it’s more of a lifestyle at this point – and one that I enjoy tremendously! But in the early days I definitely had my share of struggles. The thing that helped me the most and created the most lasting transformation for me was signing up for an online coaching program. Doing this program really was a turning point for me in how I viewed food, my body and my overall idea of wellness.
After deciding to do a Figure Competition, I did my research and found the best coach I could afford. I think many struggles can be overcome by creating a support network of friends, family and experts to help guide you through any challenges you might face.
Q: How do you find the time to exercise?
A: I don’t FIND time – I MAKE time! For me, the key is having a gym with childcare and making my workouts a non-negotiable promise to myself. Plus, it’s a little known secret that the more you exercise the more your body starts to crave it. If you can just build up some momentum and start to see results then, trust me, you will WANT to work out and continue to see those results. Plus, it feels good to move and have a body that doesn’t slow you down or hold you back. I look back to the days when going up a flight of stairs was a challenge for me and I’m so grateful that now I can tackle those stairs two at a time!
Q: How has the addition of physical activity changed your life?
A: I think that it’s made me a better person and harder worker, overall. I have so much more energy to play with my kids and have discovered an inner and outer strength that I didn’t realize I had. It’s been my experience that a fit and healthy lifestyle changes you just as much on the inside as it does on the outside.
Q: Do you have any tips for people who might want to become more active?
A: My first piece of advice is to START NOW! Don’t wait until Monday…or New Year’s Day…. Start today! There is no perfect time to start so don’t wait for one. Every day is an opportunity to make better choices. It’s okay to start small as long as you don’t quit. Just keep doing more and more as you are able to and, in time, you’ll be startled at the results you’ll get – if you don’t give up!
If you want to support Carla and read more, visit her site Blood, Sweat…. and Heels.