Today’s “Five Questions With” series features Cari Shoemate, a Houston-based certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, group fitness instructor and yoga instructor. My friend Megan from Honey We’re Home recently collaborated with Cari on a Get Fit Done – Healthy Lifestyle Guide and I wanted to get her insights on fitness and nutrition – especially as a busy mom!
First, a little about Cari: she has taught everything from yoga, step class, boxing and even kids fitness classes at the best gyms and studios in Houston. She has been a regular on TV demonstrating exercises and talking about health and fitness. A few years ago she caught the eye of NBC Universal and ExerciseTV and they asked her to be one of their official trainers (Jillian Michales was an ExerciseTV trainer!) and come to LA to film a DVD: “Long Lean Legs with Cari Shoemate.” She later did many other fitness projects for NBC and E! including leading workouts with President Obama’s personal trainer in NYC. She also regularly writes workouts and provides fitness advice for many major magazines such as Muscle and Fitness Hers, Weight Watchers, Cosmo, Shape and many others. Over the last few years she’s earned the title of one of Houston’s top trainers (Houston Chronicle) and her popular Bombshell Bootcamp was named “Houston’s Best Bootcamp” by Houstonia Magazine. She also trains many former and current NBA and NFL cheerleaders and was the official personal trainer for the Houston Rockets Power Dancers. She is a mom of 2 and enjoys traveling with her family and running in her spare time (she’s done 6 marathons, including 1 ultra marathon!)
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in terms of women starting and being consistent with exercise or a workout program?
Well, I think the main reason women don’t start an exercise program is that they are scared to change and scared to fail. It’s scary to start something new – especially if that means changing yourself (even for the better!) But, you have to remind yourself why you are going to do this (better health, more energy, better sleep, feeling proud of yourself, etc. But, it’s also a challenge to stay motivated once you start. I think the main reason women stop working out is that they aren’t seeing results fast enough. I think if we all saw results faster we would be more motivated to do it consistently. I also think an obstacle is just putting everyone else before you. Sometimes you just have to put yourself first because if you are healthier and in a better mindset – you will be helping those around you just by being a better you!
How is nutrition a component of overall health and wellness? Do you recommend following any specific nutritional plan?
Nutrition is a huge component of health and fitness. It’s true that you “can’t out-train a bad diet.” But, I honestly feel that regardless if you start with your diet or exercise – making changes in either of those will start you off in the right direction and you will see results. But, if you really want to make big changes, you have to combine both – healthy eating and exercise. Changing your diet (or reducing calories, playing with macros, etc.) will just make you a smaller version of your current self. That’s great if you have weight to lose and it’s a good place to start. However, if you really want to change the shape of your body….you have to add strength training (body weight only counts!) On the flip side of that – if you work out really hard, but eat like crap…you aren’t going to see those lean muscles you are sculpting! As far as a diet plans go- I just recommend you eat “clean,” meaning minimal processed foods and focus on fruits, veggies, lean meat, plant protein, etc. There will always be a new diet trend that works great for some people. But it’s just that…a trend. Most of them aren’t great to follow long-term (and can even be detrimental to your health). So, just stick with common sense – less sugar, moderate fat, moderate protein and fill your plate with colors from nature.
How is exercise different after having children? What challenges might women face (or not)?
OMG…it’s totally different. You are no longer a priority (sigh) and are longing for the days when you could workout WHENEVER you freakin’ wanted! Why wasn’t I at the gym all the time?! Haha! So, now you have kids and it’s even harder to think about yourself. But, girl – it has to happen! Not only does working out help you look better, but it makes you FEEL better. I know for me – if I don’t sweat at least once a day I get a little bit on edge! So, I just have to fit it in when I can and sometimes that means a quick 20 minute weight training session in the morning while my husband makes the kids breakfast and then another 20 minutes of jump squats, burpees, etc. while I have dinner in the oven! Get your kids involved if that helps! Sometimes mine “workout” while I do my exercises. For me, it’s all about setting a good example. I want my kids to grow up healthy and strong and know that exercise is great for their body and mind.
How can women starting a new fitness program set realistic goals? What does that look like?
Women are super strong and goal-oriented and I think that when we set our minds to something we are like “ok it’s GO TIME” and go all in. That energy and motivation is great, but it needs to be spread out a little each week! Take things slower than you think they should be and set realistic goals. Sure, it’s more motivating to think if you eat a certain way and exercise a crazy amount you can be your goal weight in just a few weeks! But, that’s not sustainable. Instead, think of yourself as a sculpture you are trying to make smaller, chisel muscles, etc. Each day that you eat healthy and sweat some…you are chiseling off a small amount and getting one step closer to your goal body. You may not notice, but if you do a little each day – you are making progress. You worked on a fitness guide with Megan of Honey We’re Home – what inspired you all to launch the guide? What has the response been?
Yes! We just launched our Get Fit Done guide! It’s a 128-page detailed ebook/guide that you can download on your phone, computer, etc. or have it printed. We were inspired to create the guide after we got some great feedback from our fitness challenges.
I had been following Megan for a few years and was inspired by her fitness journey and how after having kids she competed in bikini competitions! So, when she started challenging some of her followers to work out more – she asked me to help her with the workouts and meal plans since that is my expertise!
Then, we realized we were really helping women change their lives and we just wanted to take it one step further and create something bigger with more detailed workouts and meal plans. We both worked on it together and Megan tested out all of the workouts and then we both have included some of our favorite recipes and snacks!
It’s great for everyone too because the workouts can be scaled back for beginners and then I also give tips on how to kick it up a notch! We have 4 weeks of workouts and specific meal plans (with grocery shopping lists!) But, each week is a little different – because I know as a trainer people get bored easily and also the best way to get your body to respond is to keep things fresh and mix it up! So, one week is high-protein, one is low-carb and we even have a vegetarian week!
The best part is that it’s also more of a lifestyle guide. It’s not just about working out and eating right – but taking care of yourself. Megan shares a lot of her great tips and also some great printables that can help everyone stay on track and organized! We just launched the plan a few weeks ago and have already gotten great feedback!
Thank you so much Cari for sharing your insights and expertise with us! If you’d like to try Megan and Cari’s Get Fit Done guide, click here!