Official Blog of Allison Ethier

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Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Official blog of Allison Ethier NSCA Personal Trainer, ISSN Sport Nutrition, Educator & Mom

26 June 2010

One month in

Hi Everyone-

I am sitting here at the Tampa International airport about to board my flight back home and I thought I would take a moment to let you know how things have been going.

I have had a few clients so far this month. One is a long term client that has signed up for a few months. I am very excited to see their changes over the next few weeks. I do have some clients who sign on for a week, and then take a week break with me. I have been told that this is not normal - however, what really is normal when it comes to personal training? Sure I would love the client to have me with them all the time to make sure they are progressing, working hard enough, but then again it is all about what the client wants. I am willing to show them as much as I can in that small time frame we are together, and then let them see if they are able to work on their own, and usually they do come back for some more. My philosophy is to teach independence. I would do the same thing with my students; preparation for the next level. Giving them information and hopefully they are able to assimilate this information into something that is workable for them.

CISSN Exam/ISSN Conference

This past weekend, I was in Tampa, FLA for the International Society of Sport Nutrition’s (ISSN) annual conference and of course I was writing their Certification in Sport Nutrition (CISSN). This information is very athlete specific - endurance, or anaerobic/strength/power athlete. The application to fitness, figure and bikini gals is very limited. However, it is information. Information I feel I need, and perspectives that can only add to my understanding of my role as personal trainer, and ultimately fitness, figure, and bikini coach. Plus I get to hang with some super smart people for the weekend, and see what is up and coming in supplements.

Like Vitamin D for example. I saw a wonderful presentation by Rikki Keen out of Alaska about Vitamin D and how it is recommended for anyone who lives north of Altanta, GA they should be supplementing. 2000mg is the recommendation, but she herself supplements with 5000mg. There were some presentations that I was really impressed with; impressed that I had the knowledge to understand what was being said. The language was clearly very scientific but seemingly I understood all of it, and was able to follow along. I am sure reading the ISSN textbook has helped tremendously in refreshing my memory to some of these concepts, including the use of a very good dictionary.

Speaking of the ISSN exam - I think things went well. There were questions (of course) that I was not sure of and others that I was absolutely sure of. I will have to wait up to a month to see what my results are and I am very hopeful that things will work themselves out. I tried to remember questions that I had difficulty with in order to go and look up the answers, but after 3 hours of intense focus, and 200 multiple choice questions, I was pretty spent. I am sure questions will come to be as time passes, but yes, it was a difficult test, and yes, you do need to have a strong science background to be able to handle the concepts.

What is next for me? A few items.

Europa Texas - I will be training and dieting all summer for the August Europa Texas show. It will be the last chance to see if I can qualify for the Olympia. It is the last chance for any fitness competitor to qualify for the Olympia. I would love to be able to attend the show in my rookie year. Am I ready? Well, that is all up to the judges. I am on the smaller side (even Oxygen said so recently) but my routine I feel is on par with what is being presented on stage today.

Dieting - well I am actually looking forward to it. I have always found dieting in the winter easier, but this summer I want to be in better condition. I am not content with my shape right now, and losing a few will make everything (including me) feel better. Being in the gym on a daily basis also helps as this is now my job, and I am my own advertising.

Eating well can be seen as something as overwhelming but over the years I have found the right formula to make sure I am always prepared with my food. Like cooking in bulk, or preparing in advance if I know I am going to be away from the house for the day. I always bring my food with me. Always. You just never know when you will get stuck somewhere or might be at someone's house, and well - it is time to eat.

There are times when I want to go out to eat, or have a beer with friends, but it is few and far between. Many, many times I am extremely disappointed with the food I receive at restaurants, and think to myself, ‘why did even I even bother?’. I am always more satisfied with my food at home, and feel much better afterward.

I say this as I just traveled with all my food to this conference, and it really was not that hard. You never have to wait for your food, you always feel satisfied, never that heavy feeling you would get after a big meal, and it is good food. Sure you can get good food at restaurant, but if you are not familiar with what is being offered in terms of restaurants, or the kinds of foods they serve in that area (fresh, frozen, or fried) would it not just be a safer bet to travel with your food?

I rarely go out to eat in my town, and if I do plan to go out to a restaurant ever again it needs to be a very high end restaurant; one that offers the best food in the city. If I can cook it at home for fewer calories, and equal taste, I just don’t see the fun in going out to eat. BBQs and suppers with friends takes care of the social part, and I anytime I do eat out in a restaurant you know what I get? Salad. That is it, just salad. To me salad is a treat, and a ‘cheat’. I love to have a huge salad, with lots of toppings, and dressing, and some bread. Pretty boring eh? I guess my tastes have changed over the years, and I just find it easier to eat the same things most of the time. This was not a change that happened overnight.

Gym - Back to the gym on Monday, and with that I am going to make a push for more business. I have not advertised at all, and will do so when I get home. Unfortunately, I will be going on vacation in July so that might slow things for July. I will be visiting the Maritimes again this summer, and will start advertising down there. Plus I do want to hold some camps in the early fall. I really want to train fitness, figure and bikini competitors and show that your prep does not have to be THAT difficult. It is a process, one that you must be patient with, and realize that changes don't happen overnight.

I do have a post that I have worked on and am considering posting it; however, I do want to see how the summer goes with PT and how busy I am.


Have a great week,


06 June 2010

2010 New Beginnings - June 1

Hi Everyone-

There are so many good things going on, that I am not sure where to start.

Spray Tanning Services-
My friend and I are doing Spray Tanning backstage at shows and for regular spray tans in the Sherbrooke area in which we live. We did the FCPAQ Est show here in Sherbrooke (CBBF stream), and received great feedback from the promoter and he has already booked us for next year.
It was a busy day, but I loved seeing all the athletes performing and being apart of the atmosphere without any pressure to compete.

Sophie Charpentier, an athlete who I helped train competed in her first show. She is 18 years old and a former math student of mine. She did an amazing job - I could never have imaged myself at 18 years old competing onstage.

We have some photos online - where you can see the before and afters.

We will be at the 2010 CBBF Fitness, Figure and Bikini, Junior, Masters, and Grandmasters National championships in August in Toronto.

If you would like spray tanning services, you can sign up from my website - sign up here - and then we can make sure to take care of you for the event. We are still seeing if we can get backstage at the event as the CBBF has expressed interest in supporting our endeavors. We will update all our athletes of the final decision, however, we will be at the host hotel for the event in August.

Along with that we will be at our 3rd event - the New Brunswick Provincials in November. Information is available on my site - under 'services'.

Teaching & Beyond
Summer is almost upon us, and school for most students is coming to an end. Although I did not finish out the school year I know that I would not have made it to the end of the year. Teaching is one of those things that is so hard nowadays. It is unlike the way the education system was even 10-15 years ago. Expectations are different, students are different, administration has more pressure on them to implement changes quickly and effectively, and the teachers are expected to do more work than is humanly possible. This June try to thank the teachers of your children. High school might be tough but maybe you can thank the homeroom teacher or that teacher that takes the most care of your child. It is not an easy job at times, and even just a small note is enough encouragement for those great teachers to stay in the profession a little longer.

For me, I am so blessed. I did apply for a parental leave of absence in March, and luckily it was approved. This now leaves me the time to pursue being a personal trainer, teacher, and coach.

Personal Trainer & Teacher
I have finally decided on a gym that I will be working at for the next year - ProGym in Sherbrooke (Fleurimont) location. I already have an office, and a few clients under my care. I am very excited to what changes I can help them make. So if you are in the area, by all means stop in and see me or contact me at -

ProGym is a great environment for me. I had a decision to make as the other major private gym in my area also expressed interest in me. Although I would love to work at both gyms, I don't think either one would be happy with that arrangement. I have a great relationship with both gyms, and this was a tough decision to make. Did I mention that I am also trying to tackle this new position all in French? I will be learning a lot this year.

My goals include teaching my clients - (as that is my background) I want to help teach those who just don't get the gym to at least feel comfortable in the gym, stay motivated, and keep them on track when those times get tough. I find it tough every now and again, and it is always good to have someone in your corner to help pick you up when you need it.

Presentation & Posing Classes
Along with my gym, I also have a great working relationship with other community areas in Sherbrooke/Lennoxville area. I do my presentation classes at University of Bishops - they have an amazing dance studio that I can use for routines, and presentation/posing classes.

I know some from the Maritimes have contacted me about having seminars etc on this, and I will be home this summer in July - so if you are still interested, contact me and we will see what we can do.

I am currently studying for the CISSN sport nutrition exam in June - I will also be attending the ISSN Conference in Clearwater Florida at the end of the month. It is a very challenging exam as I have forgotten a lot of my chemistry and biology, but bit by bit it is coming back to me. I will be glad when this exam is over as it is occupying a lot of my time. I just don't want all this time and energy I have been putting into this, (plus the expense) to go to waste. I am very excited for the conference though. I like being the student as well as being the teacher.

Competing....? Again?
Yes. Yes please. I will be competing again this summer - crazy I know. I told myself not this summer, no more dieting in the summer, not any more summers, but here I go again. I don't find the diet as restrictive as I used to. Actually when I eat those 'bad' foods, I don't feel well, and my skin does not cooperate well to the change in foods. I am 33 and sometimes have the skin of a 14 year old. I don't realize how good I feel on the good food, until I start eating the bad food. (or too much of the bad food).
So I will be going to the Europa Texas this summer. Very excited, as I have never been to Texas. I do have a family vacation in there, but it is on the beach, so it is manageable.

My goal is to make it to the Olympia this year. Top 3 I need to make, or if the top 3 are already qualified, then the 4th place will be qualified. I will keep visualizing (a hint from Kary Odiatu), and then go out there and do my absolute best. I can only control me; not the outcome.

Along the lines of competing - how do I manage to compete year after year, and still enjoy it. My prep is not THAT difficult. Really. There are times when I want bread, and butter, but other than that I enjoy working out, I enjoy performing the routine (the practices are killer though...especially after a break), and I like the travel and seeing the girls. The summer I know it is about beer, and food, and friends. So I can have the friends, and the BBQ (with selected foods), but not the beer.

Is socializing with my friends going to be any more/less fun if I ate the non diet food? Probably not. I still talk and drink (water etc) and have a good time. I think it makes the people around me (or those who don't know what I do) more uncomfortable than it makes me. I do have tricks to mask my dieting, but my closer friends know when they see the blue cooler it is time. Time for the diet. They just don't even ask anymore.

Metabolic Damage
Although I never suffered any of this myself, I do feel that I could have been one of these girls. I ended up having my son at a time that if I continued competing this would have been me. After having my son in 2006, I did not have the time to spend doing endless hours of cardio, so trained smarter, more efficiently, and worked on cleaning up my diet more. In March of 2008, I connected with Erik Ledin and well, he wrote an excellent piece on this heated topic of debate - Metabolic Damage - all you who compete should read this.

Contest prep should not be a part time job. If your trainer is doing any of the mentioned might want to rethink your trainer - or perhaps get a second opinion.

I would love your feedback -