FUEL YOUR FITNESS

BY MONICA GUTIERREZ

Feed your body what it needs and it will respond in ways you never imagined. Whether you’re looking for a physical or mental change, or need deeper healing, learning to truly nourish your body with love and food is critical. I know first hand how food can positively affect you, and its fascinating. 

I have always tried to be mindful of what I eat, and whether or not it is “healthy”. With the exception of my lean-and-mean egg sandwich, I didn’t really know how to cook, so I tried to make good choices at restaurants. The thought of cooking intimidated me. I often felt overwhelmed by the number of ingredients, seemingly advanced cooking techniques, and felt it took forever to get the meal on the table. In the early days, as I was just getting started, it definitely took a bit longer to prepare a simple grilled chicken and often went for the prepared option from the store. As I learned later, cooking and meal preparation gets faster and faster the more you do it and the intimidation quickly vanishes. 

In 2011, when I met my husband Carlos, and moved to Indianapolis, I decided to go after a dream of becoming a professional cheerleader. Carlos encouraged me from the beginning to go for it. I prepared for months, and learned more about fitness and nutrition during the process. Carlos introduced me to eating clean, and cooking all of my food (which seemed completely crazy to me). I started to notice that I couldn’t get the results I wanted from crazy workouts alone. My physique really started to transform when I finally realized that my success relied on a balance of mental, nutritional and physical changes. I needed to eat whole, real ingredients, and prepare them myself so I could keep track of my progress. It was important to avoid hidden sugars and artificial ingredients that didn’t serve my body. I started with simple meals, and soon it became my lifestyle. I felt the best I ever had then. Increased energy and confidence were the only side effects. With Carlos’ help, guidance from a dear friend, and a lot of hard work, I was happy to make the team. I was able to give 100% of my energy to long practices and intense workouts because of the food choices I was making. 

After my season with the Colts, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina with a new appreciation and excitement for health and nutrition. I began teaching kardio dance at kādi, and continued my work as a registered nurse. My passion kept growing as I continued to read, and learn about nutrition and fitness on my own. I couldn’t keep all the amazing things I was learning to myself, so decided to get certified as a health coach.  I wanted to help open peoples’ eyes, the way my eyes were opened, to how the value good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle adds to their life. 

Now, I enjoy cooking and love the challenge of new recipes. No matter your health goals, cooking, whole foods, and a mindful approach to nutrition and fitness should be a part of your journey. 

Show your body love by what you put inside.

JOIN MONICA AND CARLOS THIS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, AT NOON, AS THEY SPEAK MORE IN DEPTH ABOUT "FUELING YOUR FITNESS." (Free for members, or $10 for non-members)