Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Spartan Super Race- A Recap

Hey Everyone,

This past Saturday, my husband and I ran the Spartan Super in Red Deer, Alberta; another wonderful, fun, exhilarating day. 15km and numerous obstacles later, we were jumping over fire to finish it off with a time of 2:03:24

There is definitely something to be said for running these obstacle races with a significant other. I love that I am strong enough to help my husband through some of the obstacles and that he is always there to help and encourage me as well.

At 9am, with a final AROO and dressed as Wonder woman and Batman, we are off. I start out fairly strong but I lose that around mile 3 or 4 and I begin to get discouraged. My obstacle abilities are strong however it is my running that holds me back. I have to walk for little bits at a time, which is so unlike me, but I never quit. My husband, on the other hand, is feeling great and performing wonderfully.

We climb and jump over things, swing through monkey bars, flip tires, swim, throw spears, drag bricks, run stairs, carry sand bags, get muddy, etc.; all for fun and side by side. My husband is wonderful at the spear throw; I, on the other hand, suck. Although for the first time ever, I did get it, it just didn’t stick. Argh…burpees for me! One other set of burpees at the rope climb for each of us and we are done. I can’t seem to ever get a tight enough grip on the rope and with all that mud it just wasn’t happening…….one day I’ll get it!!

The race was well organized again this year. Race package pickup, bag drop off and getting numbers was a breeze. Volunteers were great throughout the race, the cleanup stations and change rooms setup at the end were efficient and we, personally, had no issues from start to finish.

This is my 3rd Spartan race, my husband’s 2nd. We did the Sprint together in July and I completed this particular Super last year as well; my time was a little better then but I’m not beating myself up over it. I had fun and I finished.

On September 27th, I am heading into the Beast in order to complete my goal of achieving my trifecta this year. I hear the course at Sun Peaks is grueling so I hope I can stay strong. I won’t give up and I will finish; another 3 weeks of training to go.

We are Spartan….AROO!!!

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Job- Gym Nation- Personal Trainer

It is official; Gym Nation YMM opens its doors on August 16th at 7am and I will be commencing my career into the fitness industry as an ISSA certified personal trainer at this gym.
So how do I feel? Well I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but like anything new, there are bound to be fears, doubts and nervousness. I am also incredibly excited and thankful to have been given this opportunity.

I will be working only part time to start but eventually it is my goal to make fitness my full time career. Fitness has been my passion for so many years and I just want to help motivate, teach and inspire others to lead healthy, active lives. My goal is to prove to each of my clients that they can do whatever they set their mind to.
If you are in the Fort McMurray, Alberta area and would like to have a training session(s) with me, please visit, follow the instructions and enter the information required to complete the purchase. From there you will be able to search my name (Melissa Shevchenko) and see my availability. If there are any specific questions please contact me and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Until next time,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let the struggles make you stronger; don't give up!

I was inspired this morning by a post from Fitnix. I have actually been contemplating writing a blog like this for a while but I couldn’t find the right words.

I started on this journey to fitness in 2011 and I was feeling great, making strides and seeing significant progress. In November of 2012, I competed in the fitness category at a local fitness competition and I was on top of the world. I felt more confident than I ever had, I was completely comfortable in my own skin and I was happy with myself.

However only a few months post competition and I was lacking energy, feeling so drained that I could hardly get out of bed in the morning and despite eating extremely clean I was gaining weight!! Unexplainable weight!

I was visiting doctors, naturopaths and so on to come up with a solution but nothing was working.

The gym suddenly felt different to me because I was now self-conscious. Self-conscious about people seeing that I had put on some extra pounds and what they would think and say. Would they think that I just binged post competition and therefore gained all this weight back?

I began accumulating a bunch of equipment for my home gym and as the weather got nicer I was slowly removing myself from going to the gym at all. I was and still am training at a high intensity and working very hard but still, to this day, I cannot get leaner. The benefits just simply don’t show on the outside these days despite the fact that I am getting stronger and still feeling fit overall.

There were many times when I even hesitated posting pictures on my facebook page. For a while I was documenting and openly discussing my issues and trials to fix it but soon there were no updates because myself and everyone I talked to were stumped. So how would that motivate my followers?

It did actually. It did and I really hope it still does because you’ve seen that I am real; that I struggle too and also that I NEVER, NEVER gave up and I have still NOT GIVEN UP!

I’ve learned many things in this process, including how strong I am both mentally and physically. I’ve learned that it is important to love and believe in yourself, to remain positive, to listen to your body and to tell yourself consistently that you CAN do this.

Don't wait until you feel great to show up now (direct quote from Fitnix)….. continue to work with focus and intensity. Don’t let the bad days get the better of you!

People will be encouraged by your strength, determination and focus......

I begin my career as a personal trainer in a month (part-time to start), I am no longer as self-conscious to walk into the gym, I have good days and bad days but for the most part I am comfortable in my own skin again. I still haven’t found a diagnosis or treatment for whatever is wrong with my body but with some help, I am working on it.

I will get through this because I know I can. I know where I want to be and where I feel my best so I’m striving for that.

 Don’t let the struggles get the best of you; let the struggles make you stronger.
Until next time,


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Transformation Tuesday- Candice's Story

I’m back with another Transformation Tuesday and this one comes from Candice Pilgrim. Candice and I competed together in the KeaneClassic, here in Fort McMurray in 2012. We competed in different divisions but the same show.

I wanted to feature Candice because her transformation story is different. In her case, it wasn’t about losing weight but about going from skinny and unhealthy to healthy and fit.
Here is her story:
My name is Candice Pilgrim and I reside in Ft McMurray, Alberta with my husband and two sons, Aidan (8) and Dax (5). I had always been an athlete growing endurance athlete at that. I was a National Level swimmer from the age of 8 until 16. I competed in numerous running and Triathlon races later on but it wasn't until we moved to Ft McMurray 4 years ago that I started to lose that focus in competing....and exercising for that matter.

I had always been "skinny" but I was very unhealthy on the inside. My life revolved so much around my young boys and husbands busy work schedule that I had no time to focus on myself. Two years ago, I was sitting at my desk job as a Fitness Specialist at a local gym, and decided I wanted to try Fitness Competitions. I trained for about 12 weeks and competed in my first local show - The Keane Classic in November 2012. I competed in the Bikini and Fit Mom Divisions and placed 3rd in both. I couldn't believe that I had made it through the process! I always said I couldn't but I definitely proved myself wrong.... I had found my niche.

I signed up for another competition right away - The NPAA Canada Classic (Natural Physiques and Athletics Association) which took place in Calgary, AB on May 19th 2013. It was a very successful show for me as I had entered the Amateur Fitness Model Division and won overall, earning an Elite Pro Card with the Federation. I signed up for yet another competition that year. This time it was with the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion). It was the show of the year - WBFF Worlds in Las Vegas, NV. I competed with over 30 athletes in the Amateur Fitness Diva Category and placed 2nd overall; Earning yet another Pro Card - A WBFF Pro Card.
I am currently a loyal Professional Fitness Competitor with the WBFF and with this title which I've had for almost a year now, I have been asked to represent the WBFF in Alberta assisting with Amateur shows and training camps. My next show with the WBFF, the WBFF Worlds, is on August 16th 2014 in Las Vegas. This will be my professional debut in the Figure Division....something I am very proud and excited about.
It amazes me still, being a 100% natural athlete that I can transform my body to compete at this level. Thank you Melissa for asking to feature me; it’s an honor to share my story a bit for those that may find it inspiring.
If you would like to be featured on a Transformation Tuesday please don't hesitate to contact me.
Until next time,

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Spartan Sprint Race - A Recap

Each year, at the start of the year, I make goals for myself especially in fitness. This year was no exception. One of my main goals for 2014 is to complete my Spartan Trifecta and this past weekend I started that process. What is the Spartan Trifecta? The Spartan Trifecta members are those that in just 1 race year complete the Spartan Sprint, Super and Beast.

On Saturday, July 5th I completed the shortest of the three; the 5k, 15+ obstacle Sprint, in Edmonton. I even finagled my husband into completing it with me. It was so much fun to run it together and to jump over the fire in the end as a team. We were nicknamed Mr. & Mrs. Superman before we even left the hotel.
We had a big thunder, lightning and rain storm the night before the event so needless to say the terrain was very muddy. I found it muddier and the trail harder to run on then the Super I completed in Red Deer last year. The weather, the morning of , was a little chilly and overcast but the perfect temperature for running.

Overall the event was well laid out. Shuttle buses ran from the host hotel which was very convenient. Registration, bag checking and body marking were all very organized and easily accessible. The event started on time but not before a few repeats of “I am Spartan….AROO, AROO, AROO!” to get everyone excited, pumped and ready.

We ran in the 9am heat and it didn’t take long before we were muddy. We encountered a number of obstacles some of which included balance beams, tire flips, monkey bars, inverted walls, straight wall, traverse wall, the crawl under barbed wire, mud walls, spear throw, sandbag carry, brick pull through a mud puddle, rope, etc. I, personally had to complete burpees twice; once for the spear throw which I can never seem to get and again for the rope which I can never get a grip on to pull myself up. My husband also had to complete two sets of burpees; once for the balance beams and again for the rope. I was so proud of him for getting the spear throw. We finished with a jump over the fire, a high five, a kiss and were awarded our medals and t-shirts of completion. We finished in a time of 1:13:29 not great considering I completed the Super in 1:58:50 however the terrain, as I said, was much more slick and you really had to watch your footing more here.

 photos from the event itself
What matters most is that we completed it, we had so much fun and we helped each other and others as a team. Isn’t that what Spartans are all about?

Up next, in September, is the Spartan Super in Red Deer and once again I am trying to convince my husband to do this one too. I think he will as he truly enjoyed the Sprint. He was nervous to start as he didn’t know what to expect; just as I was when I did the Super in 2013, but he performed fabulously and I was thrilled to have him with me. Following the Super and also in September is the Beast in Sun Peaks, British Columbia; apparently a very difficult course to run with a lot of uphill climbs. I guess we know what I’ll be training in the upcoming months—hill sprints and more hill sprints.

It was a wonderful, thrilling, fun weekend. We are Spartan…..AROO!!!
If you want to learn more about Spartan Races, please visit their website at

Until next time,