Comparison, Overtraining, Under Eating, Trusting The Process, Faith, Pregnancy and Bringing It All Together Full Circle with Monica Salinas, iCoach Nutrition Coaching Client

Today we’re diving into a new section of the podcast where I interview clients that have worked with iCoach Nutrition. Today I have a client, a friend, somebody that’s really become a part of our group of friends throughout the last few years working out together and I’m excited to have her on the show.
Coach Justin: “Monica, How are you?”

Monica: “I’m well, thanks for having me. This is exciting.”

Coach Justin: “I think podcasts have absolutely changed my life. I love being able to tell stories on my podcast. I always think back to clients that I’ve worked with, like over the last 8 to 9 years and if I would have had a podcast that I could give them to listen to in terms of the situation that they’re going through, it could have been so powerful and so that’s kind of what this section of the podcast is all about and I know our journey together, we had a whole bunch of different things that we went through an obstacles we overcame and I’d love to dive into to really just your story and your journey.”

Monica: “My nutrition journey all started with crossfit. Let’s see, 2014 was when I first started crossfit and you know when you get into the swing of things, you get into the crossfit culture, you start to drink the kool Aid, you start to learn about paleo, you know, you’re getting stronger and then you’re losing body fat and then you just start to have this amazing looking body, you’re performing well in the gym, people are noticing and you just because of all of that. You get so obsessed with it and so I’ve been going through this process since 2014. Paleo has been my lifestyle for about 2-3 years and I look my best from 2014 physically. From 2014 to about 2016 I started to plateau and I just started to gain weight again and so then I thought, okay, well maybe I just need to restrict my eating. Then I started the RP Diet templates. I’m saying all this to say I began a set of dieting trends and it was like a yo-yo diet with different results. So anyway I went to the renaissance periodization people and then really restricted my eating, I just felt crappy. Still going to the gym really hard 6 to 7 days a week, sometimes twice a day, incorporating more strength training into my metcons, still not eating well because i’m thinking you know, if I worked out a lot and eat less and I’ll lose body fat, but I was gaining more weight and so then I even became depressed. I started to think maybe I just need to go back to Paleo, which I did and nothing changed and I just didn’t perform well in the gym. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was losing my hair, hormonally I was out of balance. I was not happy! I didn’t understand what was going on for about a good two years and I just kept pushing through with CrossFit 6-7 days a week and just eating as little as possible but still gaining weight. So then I finally thought alright there’s gotta be something for me to change up and I had been hearing about iCoach Nutrition for a while now, but I didn’t want to make the financial investment at the time. I thought it was just something that I could just learn on my own and clearly it wasn’t working and so I finally decided to pull the trigger and invest in 1:1 coaching with iCoach. Working with iCoach, I learned that we need to start from the foundation of where you’re at right now, what is the current situation? How are you feeling from a biofeedback standpoint? And it wasn’t even necessarily about aesthetics or performance for me at this point. I had finally come to terms that I was unhappy…I wasn’t eating enough. I was working out too much and feeling like crap. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was losing my hair. My hormones were out of whack. The list went on and on! Justin helped me to take a step back and truly have a ten thousand foot view of my life. I began to learn how to fill the gaps I was missing and then we continued on the journey for about six months or so to get back on track and so this is when I learned how to be the most healthy version of myself according to what my body needed in this current season of life.”

Coach Justin: “This was an amazing story! Thank you for sharing. So I know that, you know, it’s definitely been a journey I think for so many people in the CrossFit space, every podcast that I do that’s about CrossFit, they always ask the question, what’s the biggest nutrition problem you see in the space? My answer is always the same: overtraining / undereating. I see it time after time after time again and it’s one of those things where you’re not trying to under eat, but before you know it you realize you are. For example, if I was working out at a 24 hour fitness, taking three minutes in between sets and looking at myself in the mirror, taking selfies, the energy requirement is not as high as going and doing a CrossFit WOD. So I think in terms of fueling ourselves, we might have got away with under-eating in a setting like that, but you just can’t get away with it in high intensity workouts. The more sedentary you are, the less fuel you need. The more active you are, the more fuel you need. Let’s talk about the mindset piece though, because like, I mean I think that this is something that a lot of people out there struggle with eating more. Males as well, but what’s some of the negative self talk you experienced once you learned you needed to eat more in order to get results? Can you talk about the mindset of going through this process?”

Monica: “Yeah, Gosh, it’s a little embarrassing to talk about it, but I know most CrossFitters can understand or just those that are into fitness can understand, but when you get into the CrossFit world, you’re comparing yourself to other people based on your performance, not only on your performance you know, did I finish faster than that girl next to me or that girl that I’m comparing myself to but also do I look as good as she does? Do I look as fit as her? She may not be as good as me in the gym, but she looks better than me. So there must be something that I’m doing wrong. I must focus on improving my diet or maybe I need to be at the gym more often or maybe I need to buy certain clothes like all Lululemon to make sure everything looks great and there’s this daily comparison to other people that I struggled with for many, many years. It just felt so empty to have that, it was an empty feeling of well aesthetically and at the surface level I feel good, I look good, but inside us it’s like there’s just something not right, it was just an unhealthy relationship from an internal standpoint and so going through the, you know, the yo yo diet because of my comparison to other people in the gym. I mean, I went through the struggle that because of comparison I could be feeling amazing, I could be feeling active and athletic and just a million bucks, but I’m still comparing myself to the girl next to me. Looking back, I now realize how unhealthy this mindset was because we’re all so different. The CrossFit environment that I was in was full of people that I was hanging out with that would also compare themselves as well, and so you kind of just plant this little bad seed that multiplies and grows and everybody is in this environment of negative self talk comparing themselves to each other. I even remember saying things like, oh you, oh you look great, you have abs. I don’t have as you know, things like that, I just didn’t, it was an unhealthy environment for me personally and so, anyway, but along the way, you know, I would say the last year and a half or so I, I grew up from a spiritual standpoint, from a nutritional standpoint and just really understanding okay, this is my body, what does it need from a wellness standpoint emotionally, spiritually and physically? I began to put these pieces of the puzzle together and it was a really cool time that I got to go through. We need to be spiritually trained so that we can make sure that our thoughts are healthy, that we are able to make the decisions that are healthy and not have negative self-talk and compare ourselves to others because we have our own body and it was created uniquely for us. And so that the way we use it now is going to be very important later in life. The way that you would feed your mind good thoughts and knowledge and education you want to be able to feed your body the same good things, things that it needs. You can’t restrict your body from things that it needs just because you think it will produce some type of outcome. It was more about understanding what my body needs, my mind needs and being able to put that together and be this healthy holistic person. And so as I went through this training or really mentorship coaching with you Justin and through this ministry at church, I began to transform, slowly but surely. I learned to change my mindset and the first thing I remember is you had to tell me nearly every single call, okay, you need to refocus you are, you’re thinking bad thoughts, this is all emotional, you need to think about what you’re, what you’re talking about here. You can’t just compare yourself and think that you need to do something else, you need to think positively because that’s what’s going to help direct your next step. And so yeah, that was really hard to hear, you know, but then I learned that hey, as soon as I start to cut out the negative self talk and be less distracted, I began to truly just focus on my body and what it needs. I started to feel healthier. I started to feel better and that made me think more positively, so it was really hard to kind of push through the instagram photos. I started unfollowing some people that had unrealistic bodies and I stopped reading articles about how to get abs in 10 days or whatever. I stopped all of the negative self talk and just thought about how grateful I am to be healthy. I have all four limbs, I can go to the gym any day I want and I feel great, I should be happy with what I have and people are different and and I just started to feel better about myself by going through this journey of understanding that hey, this is your body, give it what it needs when you need to rest and that it just made me feel better then I realized, okay if I just listen to my body and think positive thoughts, I’ll be able to put away the noise and continue to move forward and essentially what happened last year.”

Coach Justin: “I love that so much like that’s so incredibly powerful! You know, shifting from the fact that I had been an athlete since I was three years old and that’s what I identified with. So once I stopped competing in CrossFit, that was the first time in my life at 24 or 25 years old that I wasn’t competing in a sport anymore. And so, you know, I think that like carrying that back to like your story as well, It’s like we identified as CrossFitters right? We’re sipping the Kool Aid, you know, like, I remember the first time I made an order on the Rogue website, I was like oh my God, I’m never going back. But it’s just interesting, you know, it’s this identity mapping process that we’re starting to talk about more and more and more, but it’s just going through these different phases of life, these different identities and I don’t know it’s just such an interesting concept to me.”

Monica: “I have to say every time I’m working out at Strong, I see the two big photos of you from your regional competition days. It’s so cool to see you up there and then just to know where you are now moving forward with building this awesome nutrition & lifestyle coaching company. It’s really cool to see!”

Coach Justin: “It’s stories like your’s that inspire myself and our team to do what we do! I think I was given a second chance at life and I’ll never forget that moment and this is why I have literally dedicated my whole entire life since then, to helping other people. This is what brings fulfillment in life. It’s my life mission! So many people talk to me saying they don’t know what they’re passionate about or what their purpose is in life. I’m like, just find a way to start helping people, like, however you want to go about doing it, and that will make you happy and bring you fulfillment in life.”

Monica: “And you know, we joke around about me not knowing what to call your business, but it truly is mentorship, like working with you. Before we started, I thought it was another, you know, here’s a spreadsheet of the things you should eat by this time, how many grams here, grams there and it wasn’t that at all, it was truly a mentorship, you know, I’m not getting paid to say all this by the way, obviously, but like, it was truly a mentorship, it was all about, hey, what is it that you want to accomplish in life? Who is the person you want to become? There were lots of open ended questions for me that I really appreciate and it helped me think back into like, why am I even doing this? What’s important to me? And so I really saw it as a mentorship, It was a mentorship summer Justin so thank you for all of that you do because I’ve been able to get back on track and be healthy and be hormonally imbalanced. I’m also blessed to say I’m 17 weeks pregnant because when we were talking about what it was like, I cannot get pregnant and it was because I was not providing my body and nutrition what it needed. So anyway, it makes me want to cry. But anyway like really, I’m not a crier, but it’s just it is a mentorship. It’s just like, really cool to be able to know that I’m working with someone that doesn’t just care about the before/after pictures. It was so much more of a holistic approach that really had my long term health in mind. That really helped me out! I’m tearing up now but it was, it really was I know that it was just like, you know, six or seven months of working together but it was truly life changing to be able to, sorry, I don’t cry, but it was, it was really cool to be able to feel so comfortable in my own skin so thank you.”

Coach Justin: “No, don’t do not be whatsoever. I’ve cried on the podcast myself. So hey, I think it’s great, but first off congrats to you, that’s so amazing. I’m so happy for you. Obviously Alex and I are expecting one of our own here in two weeks. So ya, they’re gonna be little friends playing together, it’s gonna be fun. Yeah, you know, I’m so incredibly proud of you. Like, you are the definition of somebody that, trusted in the process, you know, it wasn’t easy, we had a lot of conversations that were tough, but I tell people all the time…when is the last time that you had somebody come into your life and have that 10,000 ft view and ask you tough questions that force you to challenge your beliefs? Because for so many people, I feel like myself included, we get stuck, like sometimes we feel like we’re not like moving forward, sometimes we feel like we’re just like in this plateau or we’ve just fallen into this place of complacency, so, you know, kudos to you and props to you for taking the initiative and getting uncomfortable and being vulnerable and reaching out for help. I’m such a big believer in coaches! I have a nutrition coach myself, I have a business coach. I’m a huge, huge, huge believer and I think that, like the right coaches, can truly change people’s lives.”

Monica: “Yes, I agree, I agree. So, thank you for all of that. You’re a great coach!”

Coach Justin: “Thank you, you’re an amazing person, client and someone I call a friend. This is an interesting transition here, right? So, so you’re pregnant now, exciting, how has, you know, we’re just talking about, like, that identity shift, right? So here you are, you’re shifting into a new identity, right? Like me, I’m shifting into being papa Murphy and then, and then Alex, you know, into being a mom. So, what are you thinking about? Maybe the emotions, like where’s your head space with everything?”

Monica: “Well, this is another set of comparison thinking about, oh man, I’m gonna be like Miranda Lambert, I’m gonna be like all of those pregnant CrossFitters in the gym with muscles and just a big old belly but really thin features and I’m going to be in the gym all the time who eats so well, but that went out the door from week one. I can not eat meat and you know, lean protein, like all the healthy, nutritious, balanced meals that I was used to. All my body wants are french fries, potatoes, spaghetti, pizza, basically all the carbs. I don’t want any meat or vegetables and give me all the carbs and I’m like, okay, whatever the body wants. So I’m eating all the carbs and I’m feeling better and better and, and if I’m nauseous, I’ll eat more carbs, I’ll feel better you know, but I’m gaining weight, you just do, you just gain weight. I mean if you’re not, if you’re consistently eating, you’re just going to gain weight. And so I started to gain weight and I started to compare myself to some other ladies in the gym who are also pregnant who didn’t know that they were pregnant, they probably know who I’m talking about, but they didn’t know they were doing so well at the gym and they’re looking great and I’m like, man, that’s not me, what happened and so I’m trying to compare myself again. But you know, I have this amazing husband, we’re celebrating four years next week and he is just so great at reminding me that, hey, you know, we’re all so different and the way that my body wants to carry the baby and the weight, it’s just gonna be different. And so I had to just embrace this part of my life and just be okay with it. And so anyway, after the first trimester of literally just eating carbs I finally can eat meat and vegetables now. I’m eating balanced meals and I’m feeling better. The weight gain has now slowed down, which is great and now, you know, the doctor says my weight gain is healthy right now, so I’m not I’m not concerned about that. But, I was still comparing myself again to folks at the gym. Instagram can really be a bad thing. My perspective changed when my friend invited me to go to a pregnant and postpartum athletes seminar with Briana Battles a couple of weeks ago and I was able to learn, I was able to learn that, hey, this is a new chapter in life, this is meaning a new body, be able to embrace it because at pregnancy, your body is going to change post pregnancy. You know, postpartum, your body is going to be different and it just is that you get to have this, this life that you are breeding, that you’re developing inside of you and so be okay, that you’re just going to be different, be okay, that you’re not gonna be able to do the things that you used to do and being able to see other women in the seminar that looked like me that wasn’t like a Miranda Lambert and see Brianna Battles who who is amazing, she was real and spoke truth about pregnancy, postpartum and I started to feel better about the whole process. I realized once again that I was comparing myself to people I see on instagram, but here are the real women, women with Diastasis Recti where, you know, their abs split, women that pee when they do double unders because they just gave birth, like, so this is like, real stuff that I’m learning. I’m like, oh my gosh, okay, this is my new body. The best thing I can do for my new body is love it and care for and feed it the way that I need to make sure that my baby is healthy and make sure I’m healthy. And if it takes me slower to get back into the gym, that’s fine. But at least I know to work on the basics, I know to just think about myself and my body rather than compare myself with unrealistic goals. So that was a whole new mind shift as well with Briana battles.”

Coach Justin: “So, you’re continuing to learn how to best prepare your body for delivery and postpartum! I love that. I think that’s amazing. I think that it just goes to show that, you know, if you’re ever going through something or struggling with something or having these thoughts of like, oh my God, I’m the only one that’s going through this, like, that’s just not the reality and you need to plug yourself into a community of education and support. I think that’s so incredibly powerful and something that, like, we’re striving to create with my coaches at iCoach. I want a community of people that can support each other! Admittedly, I made the mistake early in my career with women that I was working with who were going through pregnancy, like, you know, you see everything that they need to do and I had those expectations for them. Maybe in a perfect world of course, ideally we would love to do all these things. But you know, the reality is that things rarely are perfect and typically don’t go as planned. I think I gained a lot of perspective over the years working with clients and also a lot of perspective over the last nine months with my own wife as to how you can’t sit here and beat yourself up. Like you said, your body is going through amazing changes and it’s a new chapter of life. I mean Alex, her first trimester was terrible, she threw up, like, every single day she lost 12 pounds. She was eating candy every day, basically, like, you know, but at the end of the day, again, she just didn’t have the appetite for certain things and you know, honestly she couldn’t keep anything down anyway. So every single person goes through a different experience, but we’re all unique, we have our own unique needs and wants and that’s why iCoach stands for individualized coaching like that’s what this is all about.”

Monica: “I love that I think there are so many, like good little nuggets and takeaways in this conversation. We are so different, we look different, the way our body reacts to things are different and it took me a while to understand that. You know, it goes back to the comparison game, right? I’m guilty of it. Everybody is guilty of it. We do it on a daily basis probably for most people and that’s fine. I mean that’s just the reality, that’s what we do as human beings, but we also have to realize that we’re doing it.”

Coach Justin: “I think that there’s so much negativity out there in the world and this could be social media as well. So I just try to put positive things into my head. I try not to watch and listen to negative things. So you know, it’s the same, it’s the same thing whether it’s comparing yourself to you somebody because they have better abs than you or staying in better shape during their pregnancy or they’re more successful in their career or whatever it may be, comparison is the thief of joy.”

Monica: “I couldn’t agree more. I love it!”

Coach Justin: “Well you know, this has been an amazing conversation. I could probably talk to you all day long here and ask you all the questions! But, I want to respect your time. Monica, thank you so much for trusting the process and I’m so incredibly proud of you and everything you have accomplished. You’re going to be an amazing mom!”
Monica: “Aww…thank you so much Justin! It was a blast. I really enjoyed our conversation and I hope this helps at least one other woman out there listening! Thank you so much. I appreciate you!