I have to say… I’m fed up with reading articles that promise to make us lose 10 pounds in 10 days. Yes, like many of you, I would like to lose 10 pounds, but what I really want is to be healthy, get back in shape, and stay like that for more than just the time of a diet.

As some of you already know, I went through cancer two years ago. This experience was of course very difficult, but it also changed my life… for the better. When you fear for your life, you realize how important your health is and suddenly, you want to do everything in your power to stay healthy. So I started slowly… taking gentle yoga classes at Happy Tree Yoga.

At that time, I had lost so much weight because of chemotherapy that I wasn’t thinking about my shape but rather my spirits. Yoga helped me fight depression, embrace life and find my inner strength. Yoga is definitely one of the reasons I found the courage to quit my job and launch my own blog, which was a lifelong dream! And for that, I will forever be grateful to my teacher, Melanie Richards.

Me, in January 2011, when I weighed 115 pounds.

Two years later, things are very different… I am mentally much stronger, but I also gained back the weight (maybe a few pounds too much) so I really want to get back into shape. When I look at myself in the mirror, I think of Dr. Richard Béliveau‘s words “Staying lean &  having a healthy weight (you can calculate your own Body Mass Index here) is our number 1 tool to cancer prevention”. I had also read about a research that stated that two 0r three hours of physical activity a week can diminish your risk of a cancer recurrence by 45%. That was enough motivation for me!

So I subscribed to a very well-known gym and took a couple of private sessions with a trainer, just to get started! Despite my enormous amount of good will, I stopped training after only a few weeks. Why? Simply because I felt like I was on my own, even during the private sessions… How can you get back in shape when your gym sees you as a number?

That’s when I decided to get in touch with my friend Patrick Owen. Patrick is a Doctor in nutrition, a personal trainer… and has an amazing philosophy about life! After telling him about all of this, he was excited to tell me he had just started working with R Gym, a new gym with a different and ultra-personalized vision of health and fitness. A few weeks later, I met the owner, Rocky Russo and my decision was made. If I was going to change my life, this was exactly what I needed!

But this is not only for myself, I also want to share the R Gym team’s knowledge with you and eventually convince you that it’s possible to lose weight, get back in shape and stay healthy! Throughout the summer, I’ll be posting about nutrition, exercise, sleep regime… and updating you on my progress. Yes, I’m not just going to write about it. I’ll actually do it! And I’m going to be very honest about it… starting right now!

So this is me today (no makeup, no Photoshop). I weigh 135 pounds.

The first thing I want to do is introduce the team that you’ll be reading about all summer: Patrick, Rocky and Andre. You can also call them the “mind, body & soul” trio (thank you Patrick!)…

Dr. Patrick Owen… the mind

Age: 39

Profession: Nutritionist and personal trainer

Background: PhD in nutrition research. He spent several years in Africa & Asia studying the impact of our diet on our health.

What is your role in this trio? I apply an evidence-based approach to diet, weight control, fat loss, and body composition change.

Why are you the perfect team? Holistically, the three of us make a killer team because we can help virtually anybody achieve their health goals by targeting sticking points, weaknesses, and personal obstacles. Exercise and nutrition plans are therefore highly individualized and catered according to particular needs. More importantly, the three of us have a positive attitude that makes us approachable, friendly, and fun to work with.

Why did you say yes to this collaboration? To show women that low-fat diets, calorie-counting, and hours on the treadmill aren’t the best ways to lose fat. We’re trying to get women to become more comfortable eating fat and protein and to walk confidently into the weight room or boxing ring. We hope to show fashion-conscious (and health-conscious!) women that if Lolitta Dandoy can do it, you can too!

Rocky Russo… the body

Age: 40

Profession: R Gym owner & personal trainer

Backround: Body building, Mixed Martial Arts & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been in the training business for over 20 years.

What is your role in this trio? To create outside the box personalized workouts. Training top fighters and athletes all over the world has boosted my creativity, today I can combine old school and new school movements to produce a crossbreed of training styles.

How do you see the world of training and fitness?  Today, the world of fitness has become so complex, but I still believe that with the right attitude and knowledge, we can change people’s lives.

What makes R Gym different from the rest? We fuel ourselves with passion, determination and dedication to help people own their body and teach them how to do it while still having fun, no matter the level. We like to create real workouts that produce real results!

Andre Gears… the soul

Age: 27

Profession: Mixed martial arts fighter, certified strength and condition coach & yoga instructor.

Backround: Wrestling, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and yoga. He lived and trained in Thailand for six months.

What is your role in this trio? My job is to fine tune what the others provide with regards to training exercises. I am the perfectionist. I love the details.

When did you decide you wanted to work in this field? To be honest, I feel like the field picked me. At the age of 12, I started babysitting for the day care at the local gym and worked my way up. Between working at gyms and training, I feel most at home and comfortable when I am in gyms or on the mats.

How is your vision different from the rest?  With regards to world of fitness and training, I feel like the most important aspect is often forgotten. In today’s world, the ideal body is pursued and aesthetics is most often the goal, not health or increased life quality. My vision differs from this as health, happiness and life quality are most important. My goal is to help individuals fall in love with their body, to feel it, to embrace it… to embody it, in the truest sense of the word!

I don’t know how you feel after reading these portraits, but I hope that you are as inspired as me!

As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy to strip down to a a tube top and shorts and show you my real self, but I believe in this project and I want to prove that if we put our mind (and body, and soul) into it, we can achieve real results. So follow me all summer long, and please don’t hesitate if you have questions for Patrick, Rocky or Andre… I’ll make sure to pass them along!

And if you would like to try R Gym yourself, contact Rocky or Andre at 514 690.3939. 

Lolitta xx

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