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My Italian Firecracker!

I cannot believe it has only been 30 days since Stephanie was put into my life thanks to her father.  30 days.

30 days ago I received a call from Stephanie’s father expressing his desire to get some nutritional guidance and support for his daughter who had been struggling with her weight for some time, which affected all other areas of her life.

The past 30 days have been one of the most rewarding of my career;  not because Stephanie has lost over 32 pounds in 30 days, or because she calls me “Goddess” or “magician”…..

Nope.  None of the above….although the ego-stroking is great :).

The real reason is because I see SOO much of my “former” self in Stephanie.   The frustrating former attempts at finding an optimal and healthy mind frame and lifestlye. The drive and dedication to her goals and NO BS attitude. Her GUMPTION to follow through with her goals set out before her. She is a fighter. She won’t take NO for an answer and she is doing this 1000% all IN.

I love this Italian Fire-cracker and I cannot wait to share more of her journey with you all as she progresses!!

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In the meantime…Here is her first month finding her groove.  Thank you all for cheering her on!!! She is a HUGE force to be reckoned with.

Thank you Pino for trusting me with your precious daughter.

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“My journey thus far has been absolutely amazing. Two outstanding factors have been the support from Rita and the amazing meal plan. Rita truly is a magician!!! She has such a love for helping others and that has definitely been evident this past month. She is always there to lend a helping hand to make even the toughest days a breeze. The meal plan is delicious and so easy to work with. Meal prepping has been so much fun throughout the past four weeks, as well as the convenience of the nutritional system which is important to me as a busy university student.  This has been something like no other especially considering I’ve tried multiple times to start the process of losing weight and have always resorted back to my old ways time and time again, due to a lack of results.  However, with Rita’s guidance and meal plans, I don’t feel like i’m on a “diet” but rather learning how to live a healthier lifestyle. Rita, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help this far and cannot wait for months 2 and 3. Let’s do this !!!!!”

Stephanie

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Vegetarian Runner Rediscovers her Mojo!

I have known Kristan for over 2 years now as our daughters dance competitively together.  Over this time, I could see Kristan, an avid runner, struggle with some of her food choices, especially being a vegetarian, and making the proper selections to be able to support her output as well as make her feel energetic.  I had wanted to reach out for a while, but I am always cautious of approaching friends and family, as weight, nutritional programs and transformations are very personal, emotional and can be “scary” for many.  I usually let them approach me:)

I felt a calling late summer to connect with Kristan on this issue, as I could sense her whole mood around her self-image worsening.  Am I ever glad I did:)

It has been 2 months to the day (pictures on left labour day, pictures on right Nov 1 st- day after Halloween), and Kristan has not only released over 15 pounds (which is probably the LEAST of her excitement, as she prefers the NSV – Non-Scale-Victories), but her vibrant nature is shining through!! She is more energetic, positive, motivated and of course GLOWING from the inside out!! I am so proud of her for taking the chance, and following through!!!

Her pictures do not do justice to the women I see in front of me weekly!!! I know this is just the start Kristan!!!!!

Your proud friend, coach and fellow “Dance Mom”, Rita. xo

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“I’ve been a runner for the past 15 or so years, but always sporadically.  My weight, size, and muscle mass fluctuated based on what I was doing and how much I put into it.  This past summer, even while running, I saw the pounds and fat creep on.  I felt tired and not motivated to do much about it.  It got to the point where I would only wear workout clothes because they were stretchy, so they fit.  I couldn’t comfortably wear my jeans, and I felt awful no matter what I put on.  I was bloated and was getting to the point where I was avoiding going anywhere so that I wouldn’t have to see people.  That’s when I reached out to Rita.  I just wanted some help with breakfast – I knew mine wasn’t healthy, and I knew I needed to eat breakfast and give my diet a complete overhaul.  She invited me to come chat with her.  Little did I know, that moment was a life changer.  I’m now 2 months into a fantastic nutritional program.  It helps me get my daily protein (I’m a vegetarian, so protein sources aren’t quite as plentiful) and many other nutrients I wasn’t getting before.  On top of the obvious physical changes, Rita has helped me step out of my comfort zone.  I am actually proud of my body for once in my life.  I am looking forward to the beach next summer, and I’m really excited about meeting my goals: one of which is a sub 2-hour 1/2 marathon.  I am positive now that Rita and this nutritional system are going to help me get there…. and I couldn’t be happier!”img_3892 img_3896

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2 Trophies

Trophy

  • an object (such as a large cup or sculpture) that is given as a prize for winning a competition
  • something that you keep or take to show that you were successful in

Everyday in my home office I sit down and work. I love my work. I would not even call it work, I would call it passion and purpose. I LOVE coming into my office. It is my designated area of my house that when I enter I feel a sense of worth, duty, calmness, excitement and possibility all in one.

Due to the fact that I spend so much time in my office, I need to make sure that my surroundings match my intentions; which make me not only productive but make me FEEL good; having reminders around the office of WHY I do what I do.

You see, with a “lack of a boss”  to keep me motivated, my motivation needs to come from within.  My daily dose of “LETS GO” comes from the picture of my daughter smiling back at me, the flowers, candles, scents, crystals and Dreamcatchers that remind me of my team and the endless possibility of dreams.  I spy with my little eye…..post-it notes of every size and colour reminding me of my goals and staring at them daily makes me work harder at them and allows my subconscious to work on them even when I am not ACTIVELY paying attention.

I see books, with titles such as #GIRLBOSS, #YOU ARE A BADASS, #THE UNTETHERED SOUL and #THE BIG LEAP (ok, and perhaps some 50 shades of something’).  I have whiteboards with my team and THEIR goals, not just mine. I save cards of appreciation from my friends, family and clients all around the world.  A hand-painted piece of art hangs on the wall in front of me of the Alhambra, My ALHAMBRA,  reminding me of WHERE we want to vacation and eventually reside, and some magazine covers of times gone by. 

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But this post is about the trophy (s) that sit upon my desk. The trophy that sits in the corner, behind the stack of books and fake hydrangeas from Home Sense, and the other trophy that sits just to the left of my MAC screen in direct vision daily.

The “in the corner” trophy with a light sprinkling of dust comes in the form a well sculpted physique that I recieved in 2013. 

The inscription says  “2013 Arnold Amateur International Championships BIKINI.” 

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To be honest, I have not thought about that trophy until a few weeks ago when I received my subsequent one…3 years later; the one just to the left of my computer.

The inscription says  “#1 Leader In Action – Rita Catolino and Dario Garcia Cabezas”

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Both trophies are important. Both represent a push, a sacrifice and a outcome of success. I am proud of both, but that is where the similarities stop.

You see, looking back at my days of competing, although I recall them fondly, it was a very lonley time.  Bodybuilding (or bikini in my case) is a solo sport.  You train “in the zone” daily making sure you are giving enough time per session to each body part so that you can “sculpt” your physique to the liking of the judges- rounded glutes, heavy shoulders, chillsed waist, sweeping quads etc…. Then you need to get in some form of cardio, HIIT to show off those hard earned muscles.  This equates to at least 1-1.5 hours daily in the gym. Easy? No. Worthwhile. I say yes…to a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I still train and move my body daily, but I do it for the endorphins, the mental clarity, for sustainability, health and for my body.  I listen to my body daily and if it wants yoga, yoga it gets.  I no longer focus on the actual veins, proportion and idealism of specific group of people. I do it for Rita.  But I digress. Solo Sport. EGO sport (in my case).  We have not even touched upon the food and lifestyle aspect.  I LOVE food. Im Italian. So competing (I competed for over 7 years in over 16 shows) took that away from me to a certain degree.  Whether you are following “old school style” of nutrition plans with poached chicken and greens, or a macronutrient “IIFYM” approach, the kitchen scale, nutrient timing, Tupperware and missed get togethers (my own choice for my lack of will power) are just part of the regime.  I trained the majority of my shows with NO alcohol (I am a red wine lover) for months on end. To be brutally honest and real, these shows put a huge wrench in my marriage. It was no longer about a “bucket list” or out competing myself, it started to affect my mood, my health and not to mention the amount of money put into new bikinis (they are not cheap), travel, hotel, hair and makeup, spray tans, registration etc etc. This was not easy on my family.  You get the point.  Something that I have not divulged to many people (only those close to me) is that I also lost my menstruation over 7 years ago due to back to back shows and too low body fat percentage (for my body type). You see, we are all different, and my body type IS not excessively athletic…. I have an Italian bum, hips and curves.  It is HARD for me to build muscle, especially in the areas needed.  I pushed WAY outside of the zone (always natural, never with ANY fat burners or other substances), just with food, excess training, and diligence.  I obtained the “ideal” look for my category (bikini) and started winning shows and eventually top spots on international stages. I did have fun. I did meet so many amazing people. I accomplished a goal set out in front of me.  I did get to shoot some amazing photographs and collaborate in some amazing projects.  BUT was it worth ALL of the extreme protocol, loss of menstruation and subsequent not being able to give my daughter a sibling? NO.  Is my plastic trophy of a sculpted physique something that I stare at daily and am proud of? Not anymore. To be honest, it just reminds me of the things it robbed me of. 

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My newest trophy has no dust on it. I look at it daily, it gets my attention.  Not because I am a narcissist, but because this trophy is the antithesis to the previous mentioned.  This trophy WAS not a solo gig or egotistical feat.  This trophy is about stepping into my leadership and impacting as many women and men as I can on a daily basis.  LEADER IN ACTION is sharing my passion and purpose with hundreds of people and being in SERVICE TO THEM…NOT to myself.  Its about leading a team of amazing people, being their to support and loving on them NO MATTER WHAT.  Its about stepping outside of my comfort zone to help others succeed both in their health and wellness goals, as well as their financial ones.  This trophy, unlike the first, did not require me and my husband to fight, rather it brought us closer together than ever. 

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Being the #1 leader in action in my company for 2016 is no small feat.  What you don’t see behind the shiny trophy and pictures in glamours outfits onstage with Mario Lopez are hours upon hours of emails, meetings, zoom meetings, group sessions, travel, courses, reading, sharing and days with no hourly schedule. This is not a sign me up, get-rich-quick type of deal. This is THE REAL thing …if you want it. This is just like any other career you chose to run your life with-  hard work, sacrifice, dedication… except that you get to build it as you wish; with the people you wish to build it with, on your own watch, in your bathrobe or in heels. This is a life I have always (well never actually) dreamed. It is a life that gives hope, opportunity and one that ANYONE can achieve. 

Oh, and the trophy? A physical daily reminder of all of every single life you have impacted? NOT JUST YOUR OWN agenda?  Who wouldn’t want that recognition? 

As my friend Angelike Norrie said to me, “give a woman money and she will move, give a woman recognition and she will move mountains.”

Thank you to my team. Thank you to all of you. Thank you to my supportive husband Dario. Thank you to my family who are ALWAYS there.  Thank you God without whom NOTHING of this could be possible.

Rita

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Marvellous Mindy!

Mindy came into my life a few months ago when I opened my home up to a nutritional session on proper supplementation.  Mindy came as a friend of a neighbour, and I thank God everyday that she did.  We started working together as teammates in our nutritional networking company and I could see early on in terms of work ethic than Mindy is a very focussed and driven woman. She sets goals, follows through and achieves her goals set out.
Mindy started  messaging me back and forth toying with the idea of a fitness shoot or show, something that was always in the back of her mind.  With her 40th (I know, right!!) birthday approaching this month, I gently nudged her into both of her goals.  I assured her that I would NOT put her on some of the plans we had both witnessed first hand (less food then I would give my 9 year old daughter), that she would still be able to enjoy her guilty pleasures, BUT hard work would still be involved. Mindy is no stranger to that, so needless to say she was up for the challenge!
I decreased Mindy’s cardio drastically, having her do very little (under 1 hour weekly total), I increased her actual lifting schedule focussing on her shoulders and glutes.  She ate A LOT, was able to go out for dinners and even travel to Prague and indulge in a vacation with her husband in her final month of prep.  We introduced the APMPED line of pre and post workout supplements from Isagenix to help with recovery and strength as well as the ISALEAN PRO shakes to ensure Mindy was getting all of her pre/pro biotics, fibre and minerals and vitamins.
Mindy DID NOT go to the gym 2 times a day, she had 2 rest days. She didn’t do fasted cardio or eat fish and broccoli (only if she wanted to) .
There are MANY ROADS to ROME, and we decided to take the PLEASURABLE walk there:)
I am so proud of this mother of 2, wife, buisness partner and now friend!!
I have a feeling this is NOT the last the stage will see of this superstar!
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Just over a week ago, I stepped on stage and competed in my first fitness competition!  The truth is, I had always admired (and  maybe was a bit jealous) of  women who trained hard and sculpted their bodies into works of art…. something I had always dreamt of.  NEVER did I think I would have the will power and knowledge to achieve such a goal. Enter Rita.
Three years ago I started following Rita on social media.  I admired her so much and was just in awe of everything she stood for.  I loved her style when it came to food- she appeared different then the typical coaches, and my instinct was right.   I knew she would be a perfect fit for me, as I love to cook as well.  I LOVE food, and knew that I would need a coach that would incorporate the foods that I enjoyed in my diet in order for me to be successful.  I was not wanting (or willing) to follow a cookie cutter meal plan that forced me into 3 months of eating boring chicken and broccoli day in and day out! I needed to be able to enjoy food with my family, still be able to go to restaurants and not feel deprived or that I was missing out on life because I had decided to do a fitness competition.  Rita had me on a very flexible macro-counting plan right up to the day of my competition.  I was able to still eat dairy, have cheese, eat pasta, and even add some pizza here and there.  I never felt hungry, always felt satisfied and was able to come up with a few recipe tricks to enjoy frozen yogurt with strawberries and strawberry sauce for dessert with my family after dinner.
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Progress Pictures

 

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Show day!
Rita is a master of her craft; from to her meal plans to her workouts but most importantly for her ability to encourage, support and know when to push (but never push to hard). Her knowledge and expertise in fitness is matched by her kindness, patience and boundless energy.  It is really hard to briefly sum up all the positive words and thoughts I have for Rita.  It was hard work but I am wholeheartedly over the moon happy that I decided to take on this goal and have her guide me through it.  It has been such a pleasure to work with her and I truly enjoyed the journey.  Competition day was bitter sweet; I was happy to compete and sad that it was over. Who knows what the future will bring?”
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Shannon Shines Bright!

Where do I begin with Shannon?

Shannon and I have been working together for some time now, and our connection has become so much more then just “trainee-coach” as happens often with my long-term clients.  Maybe because she married an Italian like me, or perhaps our mutual love of family, FOOD,  fitness and fashion (and in that order), we just “connected” via many, MANY emails:)

Living on opposite sides of the country obviously provides some logistical obstacles in terms of seeing each other, but our communication was strong and both Shannon and I were very vocal about our mutual needs in terms of her goals and physique.  I slowly coached Shannon into LESS cardio, heavier lifting and a LOT more food and incorporated the best supplements in the industry. We use both the AMPED pre and post line from Isagenix, as well as their grass-fed whey products for post workout.  After trying many approaches (there are many roads to Rome), we have settled nicely into a flexible macro counting schedule with carb cycling. This approach allows Shannon to have her Prosecco and Pizza when needed!  I think the pictures speak for themselves!

Apart from the physical, FEAR was a big obstacle which we worked through together. I remember one specific conversation with Shannon about attending my annual ambassador weekend for all of my online clients.  I think the thought of flying across the country alone to visit a bunch of women she had never met in person was a bit daunting ( I don’t think I would have done it:) lol) , but I said “why not?” What have you got to lose? I do believe that was the start of a whole new Shannon.

I am honoured to call this amazing woman client, ambassador and now friend.  I leave her here to share her story with you all and hopefully inspire you!

p.s I just finished coaching her Italian husband which had it’s own challenges (don’t tell Serge, Shannon)- and after 1 month, he is down 16 pounds and giving his wife a run for her money!!!!!

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When Rita asked me to write my transformation story, I was elated.   I have been working with Rita for nearly 3 years, so thought wow…where do I begin?!  Such history!

I first discovered Rita in 2012 in the pages of Oxygen magazine.  I would flip thru the pages wondering how those models got in such incredible shape and looked so amazing! Rita was one of those fitness models! She had an amazing transformation, and I was inspired.  She was in the midst of coaching Tosca to the competition stage and I was very interested in their journey.   Who exactly was this coach?  She definitely peaked my interest. The more I read about Rita, the more I wanted to work with her! 

I was always a fitness buff, trying many things from fitness classes, running and a little dabbling in the weight room.  There was something about Rita that intrigued me…her story, her lifestyle, not to mention her numerous competitions, and her love of all things fitness, food and fashion!!  I read her interviews and articles, tried her recipes, and absorbed any nutrition and training tips.  I was like a sponge wanting to soak it all up!  All I could think was…gee…wouldn’t it be amazing to have a coach like Rita?!

 I had worked with a few trainers over the years.  I lifted weights, ate “clean” foods, loved a glass or two of wine, and had (and still have) a major sweet tooth…gelato or pie anyone? I tried to cut out carbs, not eat after 7pm, and followed some mind numbing  fish and asparagus diets, only to lose weight, then re gain. I was attending spin classes religiously, and running sprints on the treadmill, and did I mention, I hate cardio!  I was working so hard, but I felt like I wasn’t progressing. Then there was that recurring idea .…hmm, wouldn’t it be fantastic to work with Rita?.

 It wasn’t until 2013 that I finally sent Rita an email.  Why did it take me an entire year to contact her?  I had lost my father to cancer in 2012, and was overcome with grief and sadness. He had called me “Shine” from the time I was very young. In my sadness I realized I had lost that inner glow, and was no longer shining.   It was also summer. I wasn’t getting to the gym, I was travelling, taking my boys for gelato, and entertaining friends with homemade pizza made in our outdoor wood-fire oven. (My husband makes the best pizza this side of Italy!)      But did I really need a transformation? I was already going to the gym, eating healthy food, and living a pretty balanced lifestyle overall, but still never getting the results I wanted.   I was telling myself that maybe I just wasn’t the kind of client Rita was looking for? I realize now, these were just all excuses masking what I was really feeling. Why was I talking myself out of something I wanted? Was I really worth it?   My husband supported me, and knew how much I wanted to work with Rita, but who was I kidding?  Why couldn’t I just do it? FEAR.   I was simply afraid to take that leap.  But I did!  Why wouldn’t I want to become the best version of myself?

 Well, am I ever glad I sent that email!  For any of you that know or have worked with Rita, she has an unbelievable spirit.  She is motivated from the get go! She truly cares, makes you feel important, and can hone right in on your goals.  She is unbelievably motivating and clearly wants success for all her clients. I could feel this right away.

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 After a few weeks of training I felt fabulous! My workouts made sense, and were organized around my goals.  I learned how to use food as fuel, and absolutely loved my time in the gym…in fact every morning I jumped out of bed, so excited for my workouts and the day ahead!   Over time, I began to see my shoulders pop, my hamstring curve…hello muscles!! I went to the gym armed with my “Rita plan”, and had such an immense feeling of focus and determination. I had found a passion I never knew I had.  Rita taught me a whole new lifestyle that was sustainable and not a quick fix. I learned that changes take time, and must be sustainable.  I now call it my “Rita lifestyle”!

After doing Rita’s 12 week program, I continued to work with her and continue to do so today.  Together we have discussed where I am on my journey, as it is never ending….perhaps even a fitness competition in my future.

When I began to work with Rita my intention was purely a physical transformation.  I had no idea I would be transformed on the inside aswell.  That is the beauty of working with Rita. She creates a workout plan, teaches you how to nourish your body, emphasizes a balanced lifestyle, but she sees an inner light, which often we cannot see.  There were days when I second guessed everything form an exercise(chest dips, Rita!!) to flying across the country to attend the annual ambassador weekend.. One of Rita’s email replies simply said “TRUST” …that’s it.  And that has been one of my biggest learnings. Trust Rita, trust the process and most importantly trust myself! 

     I am fortunate to be one of Rita’s Ambassadors, and have attended 2 of her annual Ambassador weekends.  I have met many fantastic like- minded women,  all clients of Rita’s, who also have the desire to become better version of themselves.  They too,  have left an impression and although we are far, I think of them all every day! 

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I cannot forget Rita’s amazing dream team, who put their expertise into the photo shoot… Florencia for your beautiful make up artistry,  Dina for making me feel so comfortable while she sprayed on the “glow” and Paula for making me feel so relaxed from behind the lens while I stood there in such little clothing!  Thank you ladies for making me feel like a fitness model!!

I am eternally grateful to you Rita…for you passion, your coaching, your friendship, and helping me to shine again.  XO”

Shannon

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