Change of Plans (?)

As some of you may know, I’ve been prepping for my next competition set in October. As of right now, I’m 7.5 weeks out from the show and have been technically dieting for it since April.

When I started in April, I knew there was a lot of work to be done- having rebounded 25 lbs from my last show and all….

But at first, things were much easier than I expected.

As you might recall from my last post, I loved my meals, my cravings were bearable (if any) and my weekly cheats were far from crazy. I was slowly losing weight, feeling much better about myself, and finally feeling like I was in control again.

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After about 2 months, we went on vacation. The timing was perfect as my motivation had started to dip. A week and a few delicious burgers later, I was back on track and ready to go! Before I knew it, I was 12 weeks out from the only show in my hometown in the fall season! I felt ready.

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To be clear:

Competition diets are not lifestyle diets. I would never EVER put a client through this. The lack of carbs makes you feel tired, weak, and cranky. Relationships get rocky, and all you find yourself doing with your spare time is collecting recipes on Pinterest as if it were your own personal porn stash.

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To reiterate- not a lifestyle! Not sustainable!

I was in love with my morning oats. I was proud that I was able to reintegrate peanut butter- my Christian Grey- into my daily diet without going overboard. I was excited that I could still have all of this AND a free meal on the weekend and still get to my goal! I felt like I had finally found that balance.

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At 12 weeks out, the oats were cut out and replaced with a measly half cup of chickpeas. Don’t get me wrong, my tuna, chickpea, celery, red cabbage salad is quite tasty. But it doesn’t keep me nearly as full and it, by far, does not satisfy my sweet tooth.

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I’ve managed to deal with the hunger and the spacing of my meals a lot better than my prep last year.
However, what set off alarms were the strong peanut butter urges coming back. Also, the need to rape a bakery.

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Those same urges I fought last year came back with a vengeance! Now, combine that with my already feeling terrible because of the return the dreaded diet constipation issue and you have yourself one hot mess.

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Have I caved? Yes, absolutely. I have not been able to really enjoy a proper cheat meal with my boyfriend or close friends because I keep “screwing up” in private and it’s frustrating!

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It’s also frustrating to have to refer to it as “screwing up”! Can’t a girl go to the gym, eat amazingly well but still have a freaking cookie if she wants one!?
The answer is yes.
The problem is, when you restrict, you don’t stop at one cookie anymore… At least, I don’t. Not right now.

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So what do I do? Do I back out? No. I’m not a quitter. That’s not in my nature.

I do think, however, I might have to re evaluate things. When I was cutting down slowly, I was much happier and having way more fun with the progress.

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Lately, I have felt myself getting more and more stressed and unhappy with how I look- which, not to sound arrogant, but I look amazing and the only thing that makes me unhappy and think otherwise is the fear of not being ready for the show.

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My first impulse was to message my coach and request not just stepping on the gas but flooring it! Then I thought: that would mean no more carbs, no more cheats and probably enough caffeine to make a sloth bolt! Is that what I really want?

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I want results, yes. But I also don’t want to rebound again. Getting lean quickly for a competition instead of slowly and steadily for myself was what caused all of this mess in the first place, right?

It’s the classic diet with a deadline.

Maybe it’s the guilt from the cookies I just had talking, or maybe it’s the fear of failure but there’s definitely a hint of the voice of reason.

I’m not saying I’m not competing. It is something I absolutely want to do again. I’m saying that until I’m in the final phases where restrictions are inevitable, I want to avoid doing anything extreme for something that is still 7 weeks away.

I put a lot of pressure on myself and it can be VERY counterproductive. So my plan is to take a load off, and go back to doing this slowly and properly. It’s me and my health first. If I’m ready by October 3rd, I’ll compete. If I need more time, I’m only a couple of hours away from the other shows. No big deal.

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It’s all about bringing your best package, after all, and if I feel like mine is suffering, well, that’s just not what I want to present- simple as that.

This goes beyond being just about me.

I am a daughter, a sister, a maid of honor, and a girlfriend. Not to mention I’m also a personal trainer/leader/mentor and friend to many and I only ever want to lead by example.
I’m not perfect, but I’m also not one who is going to hide that from you!

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Thank you for letting me share this. Like I said, this could very well be guilt talking and I’ll be ready to compete by the 3rd but there’s a chance that it might be later and I’m ok with that. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted whichever the case may be!

Thank you for the support and, as always, be happy and be healthy. Xx

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Body & Mind

A fellow fit friend, who is about to start her first contest prep, recently asked:

“Where do you keep your trophies? Do they empower you every time you look at them?”

My trophies are currently displayed on my night table. I see them every morning when I wake up and every night before going to sleep. However, although I am proud of what I achieved, they humble me more than anything else.

They remind me that hard work pays off- yes. They also remind me that as much as I may have won that battle, I certainly did not win the war.

What came after the competition was a series of hardships I did not see coming. I wasn’t really warned about the epic bloat, the post show depression, the body image issues, the 25 pound rebound, and, of course, the disordered eating habits I developed…

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All of which did not make me feel like much of a “winner” or “champion”.
For 9 months, I looked at my trophies and felt like nothing but a huge LOSER- a fake.

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They say that bodybuilding is just as much of a mental sport as it is physical. And it’s true. Your mindset will determine your outcome. Feeling like a loser only made things worse for me at the time and kept me stuck in that binge/restrict cycle. I had to learn how to stop feeling guilty, stop feeling the need to punish myself, and appreciate how I looked and who I was in the present moment. Only then was I able to regain control over my eating habits and win back my confidence.

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The challenges are not always found in the weights you’re going to lift that day. Sometimes, the biggest challenge is to wake up and decide to let go of the weights that keep you down.

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I’m very much in a different head space today. I still lose motivation now and then, but I don’t beat myself up over it. It always comes back because, the fact is, I love what I do. I was not born to feel miserable. And neither were you!
We are all capable of amazing things. I know this for myself and, through fitness, I get to help others realize that for themselves as well.

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Challenge yourself every day to live up to your full potential. Make decisions today that will make you proud tomorrow. Trust me, it gets addictive and it is DAMN well worth it!

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Speaking of all things amazing! For those of you who don’t know, next year (June 2016) my friend and I will be walking from Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Disney World, Florida for the Make-A-Wish foundation!

This kind of project is HUGE and we need all the help we can get!

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For donations, sponsorships, and details about the walk, visit our page:

https://cause2give.unxvision.com/P2PWeb/Default.aspx?EventId=828&LanguageId=1

Also, you can follow my fitness journey on:

Facebook: Sophie P. Fitness

Instagram: @broadwaybunny

Twitter: @SophiePFitness

YouTube : www.YouTube.com/SophieProtopoulos/

Thank you again and always for letting me share. I wish you all a wonderful week. Xo

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Breyer’s Pralines and Cream

… is what diet rock bottom tastes like.

I’ve been relatively open about my struggles with food since my competition in July last year.  Many times, since then, I’ve told myself I’d start “my cut” and many times I would just end up polishing off a jar of nut butter instead. I always felt like I was in control for about a week and by week 2 I’d lose focus and lose myself all together. I got stuck in the nasty “binge and restrict” cycle with no real escape route.

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Eventually I let go of my old diet (clearly, it no longer worked for me) and decided to take on a more “balanced” approach. It was a combination of learning how to eat intuitively while still keeping track of my macro nutrients (protein, carbs, fats). That worked for a while… until I started trying to constantly cater to my cravings because #balance #yolo.

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This isn’t to discredit the iifym (if it fits your macros) method altogether. It really does work for some people. It just didn’t work for me at this point in my life.

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Sugar is extremely addictive and when I have it regularly I’ve noticed that it clouds my judgement. The more I have it, the more I crave it. The one sure fire way to get rid of these cravings (this is what works for ME) is to just cut it out of my daily diet. I cut it out long enough for my body to forget its “need” for it and long enough for me to almost forget what it even tastes like.
I was discussing this with MuscleMania Pro Fred Chevry and he worded it best: “Cravings are like bug bites. By scratching them, you only make it worse. You just have to leave them alone and they’ll heal.”

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Is that deprivation? On some level, yes. But I know that it’s not cut out from my life forever- let’s be real, me and peanut butter are in it til death do us part. It’s just long enough for the obsession to wane. When I do have it again, I’ll either fully enjoy it and move on, or realize how underwhelming it is and that I was obsessing over nothing. With all that being said, my goals (both physical and psychological) are more important than a measly cookie.
I also feel better in general when I stick to nutrient dense, wholesome foods!

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After polishing off nearly an entire container of the aforementioned ice cream, I decided it was over. I could no longer keep doing this to myself. I was unhappy with my weight, my head space, and slowly becoming unhappy with my life. Enough was enough.

I opened up to my boyfriend (who happens to be my coach as well) and he put together a new meal plan for me. There are more calories, and just enough carbs to keep me from going brain dead!

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It’s been 4 weeks, now. I don’t feel starved and I have not touched a single jar of nut butter. Even my cheat meals have become less of a binge fest.

I’ll be honest, I was worried that putting myself on another “restrictive” diet was going to make the binging issue worse since that came as a result of my previous diet. The fact is, my body is getting everything it needs now and as much as I’m eating more or less the same things every day, I still enjoy it. I love my oatmeal in the morning, I love my big voluminous salads, I love my steak, and I love my Greek yogurt and berries. Not gonna lie, I also love not having the “ugh, what am I gonna eat today” issue! I have enough to think about as it is!

This is what works for ME. But everyone is different and that’s why I try to work closely with my clients when I make their “diets”. We all have different goals, lifestyles, and preferences. Some people need to follow a plan, others need more variety or a little wiggle room. It is all possible as long as you’re consistent!

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I’m glad I went through this. I think it’ll only make me grow both as a person and especially as a trainer. I feel like, now, I can truly empathize with my clients who get “stuck” or who feel like their goals are so far out of reach. It makes me want to help them THAT much more!

I’m slowly cutting down for the summer. I’m not putting any pressure on myself to compete so soon and with my sister’s wedding coming up, my maid of honour duties come first. You will, however, be seeing me on stage again in the fall!

In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram: @broadwaybunny

Twitter: @SophiePFitness

Facebook: Sophie P. Fitness

Or you can even subscribe to my vlog on YouTube:

https://m.youtube.com/user/broadwaybunny86

Thank you for letting me share this with you. I wish you all a wonderful week. Xo

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So You Want to Build a Booty…

Over the years, what has been perceived as the “ideal” body, has gone through many different phases. It has ranged from voluptuous figures, to the slim “boyish” look, from favoring the tiny waist to ignoring the waistline completely.

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It seemed, up until recently, however, that for the longest time, all any woman wanted was to be thin. The late 90s/early 2000s had us idolizing the Victoria’s Secret runway models, and those typically skinny sitcom heroines.

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Alas, we are now entering a new era. An era in which women’s curves are more than just acceptable. It is an era in which “The curve” has now become our hash tag fitness goal.

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The specific curve to which I am referring to is…the booty.

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I remember when breast implants were all the rage. Now, some women are going as far as injecting oil into their buttocks to attain that large, round yet firm, look. Booty has become the new boobies.

But unlike boobies, bootys can be grown.

How, you ask?

I am by far no expert, but here is a basic guide I have put together that has worked in my experience.

To Build a Booty :

To make that booty grow, you must:

Train Your Booty-

Leg days are great but they are a fairly large group of muscles in which the booty can easily and accidentally get ignored. I, personally, love to train quads, hamstrings and calves on one day and reserve a whole other separate day for booty training.

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To squat or not to squat?

Squats are not necessarily every girl’s best friend.

If you are a bit more quad dominant, like me, glute isolation is key. Various exercises like hip thrusters, kickbacks, and lunges are great. Don’t get me wrong, compound movements like squats, various deadlifts (regular, stiff leg and sumo), goodmornings are also fantastic. Just be sure to keep your proportions and fitness goals in mind when building your program. Also, ladies, it’s time to give up your fear of lifting heavy once and for all…

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Shock Your Booty-

Doing the same thing over and over again will not just be boring but your body will also get bored as it has been given the time to adapt. Feel free to switch up the rep ranges, the tempo in which you execute each exercise, even the exercises themselves every few weeks. Surprise pulse reps make for a good burn.

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Feed Your Booty-

Like a plant, if you do not feed it, it will not grow. Nutrition is key. Be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of protein to help rebuild the fibres you tear up in the gym. Also, do not fear carbs and fats. They are your main sources of energy.

Rest Your Booty-

Rest is important for muscle growth. Overtraining, overworking and over stressing will leave you stagnant, exhausted, and frustrated.

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Be Patient With Your Booty-

Results take consistent hard work over time. Don’t expect to wake up looking like jlo the day after your second training session.

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Disclaimers :

Be advised that there are things you must be prepared for once you have successfully grown a booty.

Be prepared to be sore.
Especially in the beginning, more often than not, stairs, chairs, and even the toilet will be the enemy. Consider the pain as validation for a job well done.

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Jeans.

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If you thought jeans shopping was hard before, prepare for it to only get worse. In fact, you might as well get comfortable living in leggings as I’m starting to believe that jeans that fit are a myth.

Tight spaces.

Remember that time you could shimmy between 2 tables at a restaurant? No more. Prepare to knock shit (even people) over. Constantly.

The world will want to spank you.

Your friends and family will get away with it and eventually get over it.

But the strangers who can’t are forced to find other ways to express their urges lest their heads explode. Most expressions are verbal and awkward.

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In other words, be prepared to walk around with an ASSet the world can’t handle.

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Let’s be honest, it’s kind of awesome, though.

Now, lastly and most importantly, Whether you already have a big booty or are in preparation to grow one, remember This: inner beauty before booty.

You can spend hours trying to polish a turd but you’ll never end up with a diamond.

Real beauty comes from within. If you get that part right, no matter what shape or size you are, you will shine.

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Resolutions and Re-evaluations

I have always been a “go go go” kind of gal. I write down my goals and I go out and get it done. It’s how I’ve always been.

We are now reaching the end of February and, lately, I have been feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I had a list of things I wanted to achieve this year and I started to feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. 



As many of you know, I had started cutting down for the IDFA in April. As many of you know, that’s no longer happening. 

After the Christmas break, I jumped into full out “cutting” mode. “Just get back on your diet,” said coach. The only diet I knew for a show was the 1200 calorie keto diet that I had done for 12 weeks straight last year. So that’s what I did. 



That is an INSANE drop of calories considering how generous I was with my caloric intake in the off season. Not to mention cutting out a whole macronutrient! 



I went strong for a week. By the second week, I became the hungry keto dragon, and by the third week my body completely rebelled. Cravings became out of control, I couldn’t sleep, I would only have a BM once a week and that’s only if I forced it with a “smooth move” tea, and I got my period 3 weeks early (I’m on the pill. This is not supposed to happen.) and it continued on for 3 weeks! My body just wasn’t having it. 



I worked hard to put on some lean mass in my off season. So it is very possible that the diet that had worked on my body last year might not actually work this year. 

In theory, I could have just forced it, risked being miserable for 3 months and risked losing all of my hard work only to look exactly the same as last year. But for what? Because I told a handful of people I was going to compete in April? 



Another thing that became a bit of an issue is that after my last competition, I felt like I had forgotten how to eat. I became afraid to eat carbs, and when I did I would over eat because my poor body was under the impression that I would deprive it of energy again. It became this ongoing cycle of “eat all the foods!!!” And then “attempt to diet back down!!!”. We call this a binge and restrict cycle. We also call this unhealthy. Now, throw body image issues into the whole mix and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. 



As much as I didn’t like the idea one bit, I had to put my ego aside, call off my plans to compete in April, and redirect my focus to re-learning how to eat a proper balanced diet, and re-establishing my relationship with food. 

Yes, I’m a competitive athlete but I am also a personal trainer with clients who look to me as an example- as a leader. 

This isn’t to say that I will not be competing anymore. In April, depending on where I am at both physically and psychologically, I will decide whether or not I will compete in the summer. If not, well, there’s always the fall. 

I had this whole idea for 2015. I’m not exactly where I thought I would be. But there are things to keep in mind before getting discouraged:

#1- It’s only February !!!

    I still have another 10 months to the year and as long as I use every day to work towards improvement, then I am accomplishing the biggest and most important goal- to be the best I can be. Because…

#2- Without progress there are no results. 

One of the biggest reasons why New Years resolutions fail is because people want results tomorrow. They get so fixated on how they’ll be happier once they lose 10lbs or once their arms are less flabby or once they have a Beyoncé booty but let’s be honest…will they really? Will all of their problems magically disappear? Will they even notice the change? 

If you can’t love yourself today, how can you possibly love yourself tomorrow? How can you truly appreciate your progress if your process is based on punishment rather than nourishment?

I’ve learned to appreciate how I look now without the shredded abs. I’m eating a lot more of the right foods- yes,carbs included- and I’m already noticing a change in my body without having to deplete myself. I still allow myself to indulge now and then and sometimes I still make mistakes but I’ve learned to move on and not feel guilty about it. We’re all human. It all evens out in the grand scheme of things, anyway.

#3- Without excitement, passion, and challenge, there is no life.

The only people who don’t have problems are the ones lying six feet underground. If 2015 played out exactly how I wanted it to, that would be kind of boring, right?

All that being said, I had looked over my New Years “resolutions” for 2015 and I was actually quite surprised.

I had said I wanted to try to get into yoga. 



I tried a class. It wasn’t for me. I’ll stick to foam rolling. 

I wanted to conquer my fear of liquid eye liner. 



I’ve always used pencil and the idea of making a mistake with liquid liner was scary. I surprised myself and was actually good at it. Moving on to gel liner! 

I wanted to start my YouTube channel. Who says it’s too late? As much as I wanted something up by January, I had no equipment! I’m finally taking steps towards that: better camera, new computer, selfie stick/tripod, adobe premier lessons etc… Things are in motion!

I had written I would like to “own” my diet and not let my diet “own” me. Well, considering I’ve dropped the crazy restrictive keto situation and have started working towards a more balanced, flexible, and intuitive approach to things, I think I might be on the right track!

Finally, I wrote down that I would like to get a pro card.

It’s important that when you set goals, you regularly go back and re-evaluate them. Life happens. Circumstances change. I’m not saying this particular goal is impossible, but I definitely need to make sure I’m comfortable with that new sense of balance before I try to cut down for a competition again. It’s not all about physical strength. The mental strength plays a huge role as well. The next time I step on stage, I want to present the best possible package. That’s how it should be. That’s what a competition is all about.



Now, there are things I hadn’t planned for this year that I’m incredibly grateful for! 

My business is exploding! Every day I get to help my clients better themselves and achieve their goals! I’ve gotten the chance to witness some of the greatest transformations and that alone inspires me every day! I’m even working on putting my first athlete on stage! 









I’m surrounded by some of the most wonderful and supportive people. For that, I am truly grateful. 

Sorry for the long winded post, but it was clearly overdue. This alone helped raise my spirits and I hope it did the same for you. Thank you for letting me share this. Let’s all hang in there. This brutal winter is almost over. Xo



My First Off Season Experience

It’s been quite a while since my last post. That search for balance was a real battle. To be honest, I never really perfected it. I made sure I got plenty of protein in…that’s about all I tracked. I ate as I pleased, but I trained like a little beast.
It was really tough being able to accept my body at 20lbs above stage weight. I didn’t look BAD. It’s just that once you see how far you can take your body, your personal standards are set a lot higher… I wasn’t too hard on myself about it, though. There was no use in self abuse. I had a choice, after all. I chose to enjoy food until next prep and that’s exactly what I did.
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My off season/bulking season is over. Now, it’s time to cut back down and see the results I put in the gym these last 3-4 months.
My first show of next year isn’t for another 20 weeks but I’ve decided to get a head start for a couple of reasons:

1- 20 lbs is a lot to lose in 12 weeks.
2- I would like to try and preserve my hard earned muscle gains.
3- I definitely do not want to be doing last resort 2 hour cardio sessions just because my fat decided to be stubborn.
4- More time = more cheats = more sanity.

I started my diet about 2 weeks ago and I’ve already turned into grumpy bear. Not the best start…so this year’s challenge is to change the vibe of this prep. I don’t want to become the miserable hermit I was for my last prep. This is a journey I WANT to enjoy. I have a few shows in mind for next year so I better start getting used to this from now. It won’t be easy. But it will definitely be worth it!

I want to keep this post short. Just wanted to update you all on where I am at. Lots of crazy fun projects coming up!

Stay tuned for some exciting announcements!

Post Show Battles

The most asked question since my competition is:

What did you eat once it was all over?

Well, considering  I was already eating peanut buter and rice cakes backstage during the show, what I really wanted most was WATER!!!!

After having downed about 2L as if I were travelling the Sahara, the festivities began! We all met up at The Works in Ottawa where they have endless choices of burger topping combinations! All of the possibilities was a little overwhelming. I haven’t been “allowed” to eat all this food in what feels like forever! I got a burger with cheese, tomato, and avocado with a side of celery and cucumber. I was craving something fresh. I did get dessert (of course). The most amazing sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and their warm homemade cookie dough!  Best. Sundae. Ever.

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Because my sister couldn’t make it to the show, she promised to make me Sunday brunch. So the following morning we grabbed some good old Tim Horton’s Doughnuts (yes, Oreo was in the mix!) to chow down on while she prepared waffles.

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I had 4 doughnuts, an oreo ice cap, and 1 belgian waffle with fruits and honey.

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But it didn’t end there… I met up with my other sister, my cousin and his girlfriend for all you can eat sushi, followed by brownies at Juliette and Chocolat. Needless to say, I was carrying quite the food baby

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On the monday I told myself I would start a strict lean mass diet and keep the cheat meals to once or twice a week…HA! All my body wanted to do was eat. Constantly. I mean, I don’t blame it. After being in a caloric deficit for 12 weeks I’d be excited about all this new food too! Wait…I was!

Angry Baby : I Need Food !!!!, - by Anonymous

Here is the part I didn’t see coming and was not really warned about: The post show bloat.

When you are dehydrated for a long period of time, your body releases an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin. So, as soon as I started drinking water again and eating all kinds of food my body was not used to, I retained EVERYTHING. Also, because my stomach most likely shrank during my cut, going back to eating normal amounts of food/ borderline excess (sometimes definitely excess) or even just drinking a bit more water made me feel like I just walked out of a Chinese buffet; uncomfortable.

That food baby feeling followed me around for almost 2 weeks! (Not to mention I got a surprise visit from Auntie Flow for both of those weeks!)

But not only has this been a physical battle…It has also been a mental one.

One day you’re a champ in the best shape of your life. Two days later you’re up 10 lbs on the scale and feel like a water balloon. Some days I was even up 15 lbs. I couldn’t even see my abs anymore. Was it all fat? Definitely not. Have I put on fat since? Absolutely.

As I’m entering my improvement season now, I need to eat enough to put on muscle. The sad truth is that it does mean putting on some fat. I’m not saying I have to become OBESE. Ten pounds over contest shape is healthy for female competitors. I have no intention of going over that.

Here is an example of a WBFF pro:

The way I felt when constantly chowing down on doughnuts and epic froyo bowls (I don’t f*ck around when it comes to froyo) was not good. Yes, it was delicious and definitely exciting knowing that I can have all this stuff again, but the sugar addiction is definitely slowly making it’s way out of my system. I’ve started cleaning up my diet one day at a time. I started with my gallon of water a day, and that alone started making a huge difference. I’ve also cut out most sugars except from fruits which is making me crave sweets less and less. I’m basically slowly re establishing my relationship with food (and fat deposits, ha!).

On the plus side, my strength seems to be back with a vengeance! It feels SO good training at the gym now. I’m alot stronger and reaching new PRs every time! Having these new goals has made it all that much more motivating! I’m happy,healthy, and strong!

My body may not look the way it did on stage but that doesn’t matter. I will not let my body fat pecentage define me. I have every intention of spending the off season training like a bad ass, fueling myself properly, and loving my body every step of the way.