Monthly Archives: March 2013

My 30k Run 5 Weeks To Marathon

Since I was training for the fitness competition for the last two months,  I wasn’t able to get in as many long runs as I would have done otherwise. All in all, a 20-30k (12.4-18.6 miles) run when you’re low on carbs is next to impossible and I don’t recommend anyone do it.

When your glycogen levels are depleted and you are not feeding your body with enough new carbohydrates to restore those levels, you’re most likely already feeling fatigued and low on energy. The last thing you want to do is run 20+ km unless you are prepared for prematurely hitting the wall.

So, I did a lot of shorter runs, speed training and weight training instead and, as a result, improved my 5k and 8k times  while at the same time waiting on the truly long runs (20km or more) until after the competition.

Also, because the distance to and from my work is 5k (~3.1 miles) one way, I often ran to and from work and then worked out in the gym after work. It was perfect because I still got some running in, didn’t have to be on the treadmill for too long and was able to focus on muscle building and strengthening workouts.

At first, I was a little bit concerned that I haven’t done a truly long run over the past 8 weeks, knowing full well that it would be about 6 weeks until my marathon after the competition. I do not recommend beginners to train for 6 weeks prior to running a marathon. The proper length of a marathon training program for a beginner is between 18-20 weeks (or more), which allows you to slowly build up your mileage and decrease the likelihood of injuries.

Knowing that the BMO Marathon is coming up on May 5th and I begin Run for Their Lives on May 20, I knew that I had to get a few long runs in. I wasn’t entirely sure how long my first long run since contest prep would be, but I knew that I would be satisfied with anything between 24 and 30km.

So, at just past noon on March 30th, I went out to my favorite place to do long runs-Elk and Beaver Lake. It’s a 10k loop, so all I had to do to run 30k was do 3 laps around.  It’s also where I trained for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. It’s a beautiful place to run and what I really like is that the air there is clean and I don’t have to stop for traffic lights (since there aren’t any).

Above: This is what I looked like after my 30km run. I feel like I recovered in less than 3 minutes. All dressed up in Public Myth gear.

As I was parking at Elk and Beaver Lake, I thought to myself: “I will do 24km to see how I feel after that which will help me decide if I want to do 30k”. I was also a little bit concerned that I might have been getting sick, since I had a sore throat last week and the morning of the run.

The weather, however, was way too nice for me to sit inside on the computer or run on the treadmill. I reserve treadmill runs for distances under 12K and for speed work. I also knew that if I ran, then I will feel less tired for the rest of the day.

The first lap came and went. I ran it under 49 minutes and felt great. Then, I ran the second lap and it felt just as good as the first one. I kept my pace the same. So, after knowing that the 2nd lap felt good, I decided to do a 3rd one. There were some people who were sitting near the path where I was running and I was extremely flattered because each time I passed by, they would be counting my laps out loud. Other runners who have also seen me doing multiple laps would always say something encouraging to me each time we passed each other as we moved in opposite directions.

I was going just a little bit slower than I would want my marathon pace to be. Being out there for almost 2.5 hours allowed me to clear my head and think about a lot of stuff. I find running to be a major stress reliever too. My Garmin Forerunner 110 stated that I completed 30km in 2:26:25 running at a pace of 4:53 min/km (7:52/mile). I also burned almost 1800 calories, which is the equivalent of an entire day worth of food.


What I ate/drank before my long run: 1 glass of water, 1 banana, 2 pieces of toast and a cup of coffee. I waited about 1 hour after eating before beginning the long run.

What I took with me during the run: my BlackBerry, Garmin Forerunner 110, a water bottle of dissolved Cytomax (cool citrus flavor).

I wore my Public Myth teaser leggings and racer back sports bra for the run. The clothing was super comfortable. The 30k run is a good test for both shoes and clothes in terms of how comfortable they will be for marathons and beyond.

This was one of those runs where absolutely nothing frustrated me. I felt like I was running on air and it felt amazing. I achieved that “runner’s high” and it stayed with me for the rest of the day. I’m hoping to cover between 34 and 38k on next week’s long run and then begin my taper for the BMO Marathon a week later.

My taper will not involve any drastic cuts in mileage since when I go to do “Run for Their Lives” I will be running more than 30km each day for sure, and even hoping to cover 40-50km per day.


Contest Recap: Inside Fitness Magazine Cover Model Search

Last night I competed in the Inside Fitness Magazine Cover Model Search in Vancouver. In the beginning of 2013, I said that I was going to do a few things this year that will challenge me and that will push my boundaries when it comes to fitness. I’m one of those people who always needs something to work towards. Although I was in good shape prior to beginning contest preparation, I was always seeking to improve.

Above: Image by David Aboody (as are all the other stage shots where you see in the lower right corner-Photography: David Aboody)

I’m passionate about learning new training methods, trying out new exercises and really getting to know more and more about fitness. I also wanted to experience what it’s like to prepare for a fitness contest and a marathon within the span of less than 6 months. I really wanted to know what it’s like to be on stage.


Training for a fitness contest is completely different from training for a marathon. Many people have told me that I can’t do both. I’m doing this to see that I can. After all, when I trained for a marathon before, I didn’t lose much muscle mass. I lost fat and increased the rate at which my body burns calories, both of which, I would think, are beneficial for contest prep.

I went over to Vancouver on Friday night, visited the Public Myth headquarters before checking into the hotel and going to the athlete’s meeting. I was relieved to hear that we were allowed to choose what poses to do while on stage since I was a little nervous about posing and walking in the high heel shoes while making it look like I’m comfortable in front of all these people who were watching the show.

My biggest fear was looking like I had a big fear of being on stage, so I’m glad that it didn’t show up in the photos and that I didn’t project that feeling into the audience.


Above: In the midst of hair and make-up

I got my tan, hair and make-up done by Cherry Dolls. I think these ladies did a phenomenal job! It’s amazing what hair, make-up and a tan can do to change one’s appearance! When I first saw myself all made up, I was like “Wow! I had no idea I could look like this.”

It was my very first time competing on stage and it was definitely a memorable day! I met some awesome people, including many girls who inspired me. Everyone was super encouraging, which is great! Even though we were “competing against each other”, the attitudes that everyone displayed towards each other were those of friendship. This is one of those things that I like about both competitions and races-everyone is friendly and supportive even though we are technically competing against each other.


I believe one of the reasons why the girls who compete in these types of fitness shows are supportive of each other is because we all understand how hard we all worked to get into contest shape. Preparing for a show is a big commitment and it’s something that we have to want to do. We also understand the dieting and the challenging gym sessions that go into preparing for these shows.


Contest prep is so much more than just working out a few times a week, eating right and then stepping on stage. It’s also a mental game almost as much as it is physical. You have to really overcome that inner fear of people looking at you while you’re on stage and you also have to overcome any excuses that may prevent you from working out and eating properly.


Looking back at the time (4 years ago) when I used to think that doing a business presentation fully dressed in a suit in front of a class of 60 people was hard, I believe I’ve come a long way given that I signed up to walk out onto the stage in a tiny bikini in front of 400 (or so) people. Four years ago, I could not have done that.

I think that the most challenging aspect of competing is the diet. It was very difficult for me to not eat carbs for 7 weeks prior to the contest. In addition to not eating complex carbs, such as bread and pasta, I was also racing 12k, 8k and 5k. What really surprised me throughout the entire process was the fact that even though I wasn’t eating carbs, I was still posting some of my better times in races. The contest prep did not interfere with my running in a negative way.


About an hour before the start of the show, I was so happy to have amazing girls to talk to while waiting to start. Talking to them helped me feel less nervous about being on stage for the first time, especially since I found out that some of them were also in the same boat. I am very glad to have gotten to know them because I love meeting people who also love fitness.


I ate plain rice cakes and natural, unsalted peanut butter the day of the show.

When I first got on the stage, adrenaline took over. I felt like I was no longer afraid. I felt a huge rush of energy. My fatigue and anxiety disappeared. All of a sudden, all my fears of being on stage disappeared and I was able to focus on my poses and walking properly. I thought to myself: “Just smile, relax and have fun.” That’s what I did.


By the time the evening gown round came about, I felt totally comfortable with the entire process. The shoes became much easier to walk in. Also, I was a lot more at ease on stage.


Although I did not place in the top 5, I still had a great weekend and learned a lot. Additionally, I won a photoshoot with David Aboody. Most importantly though, I learned how to push my own boundaries beyond what I felt was possible. I also got into the best shape I’ve ever been in since my foot injury a few years ago.

I did the very best that I could given the circumstances and stepped onto the stage at 10.9% body fat. I’ve also put on quite a bit of muscle, developed core strength and learned many awesome new exercises from my trainer, Tamara. Learning these new exercises will help me improve my own training techniques when I train my clients. It’s amazing how much a trainer could learn from another trainer.

I wanted to say a big congratulations to the following amazing ladies who placed top 5 in my category (Fitness Model) at the Inside Fitness Magazine Cover Model Search:
1st place – Karen Makowsky
2nd place – Jean Yu
3rd Place – Annette Milbers
4th Place – Carmen Telford
5th Place – Jaime Smart

Congratulations to the following gentlemen who placed Top 5 in “Men’s Physique”:
1st Place – Dease Watson
2nd Place – Darwin Clancy
3rd Place – Dale Larsen
4th Place – Michael Brascia
5th Place – Brody Robertson

Also, congratulations to the Top 5 Bikini Models:
1st Place – Bree Lind
2nd Place – Rachel Timothy
3rd Place – Darci Lee
4th Place – Venessa Leianne
5th Place – Courtney Mary

Lastly, congratulations to the following people who won the other awesome awards at the show:
Best Bikini – Annette Milbers
Best Gown – Carmen Telford
Best Abs – Tim Roberts

After the show, myself and some of the amazing people that I met backstage went to Moxie’s. I had a nice, big burger with fries and a glass of water. Yay! Carbs and water! Finally 🙂



Given that I had no idea what to do to prepare for a contest, I hired a trainer, Tamara Hambly, who has done quite a few fitness competitions and placed in all of them. She has been an amazing resource for me. I definitely want to thank Tamara for being a part of my journey to the stage.

To anyone who has ever considered competing: it is a big commitment, but if you want to challenge yourself it’s totally worth it. If you’re doing your first show-don’t worry about placing in the Top 5, just do your best and put your heart into your training.

Keep on working hard and striving to improve yourself regardless of what place you get. Whether you race, compete on stage or both, always strive for excellence.

Happy Training! 🙂

Interviewed on 107.3 Kool FM about Run for their Lives

On Friday morning, March 22, 2013, I was interviewed by Robin & Brian on 107.3 Kool FM about Run for their Lives. I’m extremely passionate about this event because it combines two things that I love the most: running and helping others. I’m running 495km to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank, Recreation Integration Victoria and BC SPCA.

Robin and Brian are the hosts of Kool Mornings on 107.3 Kool FM and they are awesome! Yana-with-R-B
Above: Brian, Me and Robin. I’m sporting the Public Myth Warm-up jacket.

When I got invited to be on their show, I was thrilled!  I listen to them every morning and I’m a big fan of the show and the station.

What’s even more amazing is that the night before my interview I found out that KOOL FM won station of the year in a medium market (meaning city size) and KOOL Mornings with Robin & Brian are the medium market Morning Show of the Year! (this GREAT NEWS was revealed during Canadian Music Week). HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to them!

It was an honour and a privilege to chat with award-winning radio hosts about a project that I’m extremely passionate about. I had a great time at the studio!

I want to once again thank Robin and Brian for taking the time to chat with me on their show. It was a pleasure meeting them.

For those of you who missed the interview on March 22, Robin and Brian recorded it and posted it on the 107.3 Kool FM website.



Race Recap: LifeMark Health Esquimalt 5k

My registration for the LifeMark Health Esquimalt 5k was a last-minute decision, but it was a great one!

Originally, I planned to go to Vancouver and run the St. Patrick’s 5k because I wanted to get a 5k PR and couldn’t find a 5k to run in Victoria.

I needed to run a 5k in the first half of 2013 before I begin the really serious training for the BMO Marathon and the Run for Their Lives.

Not saying that I wasn’t training hard now as I always train hard. I’m just saying that in the last few months I was more focused on speedwork and weight training (I needed to do that) rather than distance. I couldn’t expect to get faster just by doing long slow runs all the time. I also couldn’t gain muscle for my upcoming fitness competition if I only ran. Balance, my friends!

I was super happy to have found the LifeMark Health Esquimalt 5k because it saved me a trip to Vancouver and fulfilled my desire for a 5k PR. (as I will be in Vancouver next week for my fitness competition anyways.)

For years, it has been my goal to run a 5k under 20 minutes. Sometimes, even when I was wasn’t running due to my foot injury, I would Google “how to break 20 minutes in a 5k” and spend a long time reading all the different running forums and articles.

Going into this race, I had no idea what to expect. I just heard it was flat and fun, so I signed up 🙂

The morning of race day, I followed my usual routine. Get up 1.5 hours before the start time. Eat an energy bar and drink an energy drink. Normally, if I wasn’t training for the fitness competition, I would be eating high-carb meals on the few days leading up to the race and drinking a lot of water. However, because I have a fitness competition next week, I’m carb-depleting and dehydrated. So, I really wasn’t sure how the race would go but I wanted to see what my body would do.

Above: Victoria Royals Mascott Marty the Marmot was at the start line with us!

I arrived at the Esquimalt Recreation Center about a half hour before the start of the race and parked far enough away from the start line to fit in a warm-up run. About 5 minutes before the start, I got pretty anxious. I reset my Garmin Forerunner 110 (LOVE this GPS watch!!)

I talked to a few people at the start line to try to figure out how they will be pacing themselves because I wasn’t sure how to pace a 5k, given that it was my first 5k since the injury. Some people were shooting for sub-18 and others just wanted to finish.
esq5kstartAbove: Almost ready to go!

The race started and I started too fast. I did my first km in 3:42. Surprisingly though, I maintained a very good pace and by the 3km mark I was at 11:30min (yes, that would be a 3k PR for me). I stayed as close as I possibly could to the leading pack of runners. I noticed that there was only 1 woman in front of me about 3.5k into the race. I thought to myself: “I will push hard because I want to try to catch her. I also must not get passed right in front of the finish line like what happened at some of my other races.”

esq5k1Above: I believe this was taken at the first turn-around. I’m the only girl in the sports bra and teaser leggings by Public Myth (in the center of the photo)

Once I got to the Lampson/Lyall intersection, I knew we were almost done. I looked at my watch and saw that if I pick up the pace a little bit, then I will break 20 minutes. When I saw the finish line not too far away, I went for it!

I looked at the timer as I crossed the finish line and saw “19:25” (3:52 per km or 6:13/mile). It was an amazing feeling! For the first time ever, I beat my goal time of 20 minutes. The results are posted on Race Day Timing. I was the 2nd woman across the finish line and 1st in my age group. Also, I was 11th overall out of a total 402 finishers (men and women).

Esq 5kAbove: Receiving my 2nd place certificate.

However, the best part? Along with my 2nd place finisher certificate, I received a complimentary entry into next year’s LifeMark Health Esquimalt 5k. This means I get to do it again! Awesome!

Happy Running! 🙂

An Interview with Successful Fitness and Internet Entrepreneur Jonathan Goodman

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure to connect with Jon Goodman, a successful and inspirational fitness and Internet entrepreneur. I admire the way he has created his career because it revolves around two things that I’m most passionate about: fitness and the Internet.

I bought one of his books, called “The Race to the Top” and I’ve already read and enjoyed it. (Yes, I will have a more detailed review of the book up on this blog in the future).

He has developed a number of resources for personal trainers, including The Personal Trainer Development Center and Viralnomics.

The reason I interviewed Jon is because he has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. His success story as a fitness professional really inspires me. Jon went from being an overworked personal trainer to a highly successful fitness entrepreneur. He is definitely one of my role models (yes, I have a few…).


YANA: Have you always wanted to be a personal trainer or did you have other career aspirations when you were younger?
I didn’t ever think of being a personal trainer (or even really knew that personal training existed). I grew up in an affluent, predominantly Jewish, neighborhood. All the adults I knew were professionals. So I thought that the only way to earn a respectable living was to be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or accountant.

So after I threw out my arm and my dreams of becoming a professional baseball player went away, I found and became obsessed with science. Chemistry and Biology came naturally. I started studying Kinesiology in University with the goal of becoming a doctor. After first year, that changed to a desire to follow a path in academia, in particular studying muscle physiology.

I personal trained all throughout University and started full time upon graduating. The plan was to work for a couple years before going back for a masters and Phd.

I had actually booked interviews with professors internationally for interviews to pursue a masters degree. At that point I had a conversation I’ll never forget. It was with a client who, at that time, was the associate dean of medicine at a major University in Toronto.

He asked me why I wanted to get a Phd, my response was that I wanted to write a book. To this day, I can still remember his facial expression and hear his words: “So write a f****n book.”

So I did and you know what? I’d have just finished my Phd last year and would probably be just starting on my book around this time. Instead, I’ve had two published.

YANA: What does a typical day look like for you?
I don’t train clients anymore…

Currently, I’m in Hawaii and will be coming back to Toronto in May. I’m here working hard developing a number of programs and products.

I’ll wake up around 7:30am and make a great breakfast. Afterwards I spend 1-2hrs checking and responding to emails and making sure all is in order for the day. If it’s a training day, I’ll go to the gym around 10am and head to my favorite coffee shop (Starbucks in the Maui Marriot) for the bulk of the afternoon.

I generally block social media and email in the middle of they day and spend 3-6hrs straight writing.

Around 6-7pm I get home, make dinner, and settle in at my computer for the night.

My best writing takes place at night. So once every 2-4 nights I knock down an espresso and work from 8pm-3ish in the morning. This is when I produce the majority of my blog posts or premium materials.

YANA: When you were writing “Ignite the Fire “, what do you feel were some of your biggest challenges and how did you get through them?
There were a lot of challengers. I’m happy I went into the process ignorant because if I hadn’t, I’d probably have never started. If I had to outline two I’d say they were the following:

1. Feeling the complete isolation of the writer’s life. I had a lot of smiles and nods when I told people about the project but they either didn’t believe I would ever do it or tried to offer advice that wasn’t all that helpful. By the end of the first year, I stopped telling people that I was writing it and made up other excuses about why I wasn’t going out on Saturday nights.

2. Finding an editor. It still saddens me when I think about how many people tried to cheat me upon approaching them to edit my book. The editing process cost me $10,000 start to finish and had me approaching bankruptcy. If I chose the wrong person, the book would have never gotten made.

I try to tell everybody wanting to write a book to find a good editor that they trust and learn to identify the scammers. I’ll take this opportunity to thank Bryan Krahn for being a beacon of hope and guiding light during the process and my editor Kelly James-Enger for doing a freakin’ amazing job!

Above: the front cover of the book Ignite the Fire

YANA: What do you like the most (and the least) about the fitness industry?
I love the community. Getting and interacting (and hopefully eventually meeting) people like yourself is the best part of my day.

I’m not going to say what frustrates me about the fitness industry. There’s too much negativity out there already. What I will say is to always aim to produce positivity and add value in everything you do.

YANA: What piece of advice would you offer to people who are struggling to stay on track with their fitness program?
Remember back to why you’re actually there in the first place. Look past the superficial goals that either you or somebody else set for you, like losing 5lbs, and try to remember why you set that goal in the first place. The brain can only make sense and develop a plan for something it already believes is a reality. Become great at visualization—close your eyes and visualize yourself already having achieved success, then work backwards.


YANA: What do you feel have been the most critical success factors in getting your books out there?

When I publish a book I write a personal letter to the 60+ people I’m sending an early copy to. This letter talks about the influence that person has had on me either directly or indirectly. At the same time, I find a section in the book that they are featured in or have influenced and put a sticky note in the page.

Often I’ll actually write a note to the person in the book itself on that page. I’ll also inscribe the book with a personal note. In the letter, I tell them that I thought they would be interested in one section in particular and bring attention to the stick note.

Busy people (especially editors) don’t have time to read an entire book sent to them, especially if it’s an unsolicited request. But they have time to read a single page or two. So I gave them a page that represented the book to peak their interest to read more.


YANA: What does your workout routine consist of?
Right now Dan Trink is training me. He’s a beast and has designed my last two programs—I’ve never gotten better results in the gym than I have with him. We packaged the first program for sale at and I’m currently preparing for a photoshoot under his guidance. You can follow along on Facebook.

YANA: What would you say is your favorite form of exercise?
I love deadlifts.

YANA: Do you have any additional comments?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reflect on my own journey and share some of the things I feel have helped me have some success with others.


I would like to thank Jonathan for his time in this interview and I wish him continued success. I’m also looking forward to reading “Ignite the Fire ” at some point.

Disclosure: Yes, the links to Amazon that I have on this page and the link to are Affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I will make a commission.

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