Julie Dee- The Life of a Competitor

The life of a competitor…Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat…oh and don’t forget the endless hours of cardio, everyone loves the cardio. Sound familiar? I know, I’ve been there myself a time or two. When we compete we train so hard we lose sight of most things that really matter and the process becomes less and less enjoyable until, at the end, it is almost unbearable. You can’t wait for it all to be over so you can go back to “normal” life. This is how I used to compete and why after my last show in 2013 I vowed that I wouldn’t go through it all again, that I was happy training for life and life alone.

And then I found spin. There are no words to describe the immense impact a stationary bike in a dark and sweaty room has had on my life in its entirety. My body is different, my mind is different, I am different. That “cardio” I once dreaded became something I looked forward to and those 50 minutes I HATED scheduling into my already busy life were suddenly the most important 50 minutes of my day. When I step into that room, my busy life slows down. All those thoughts swirling around my head 24 hours a day suddenly become quiet. Every negative thought, every negative part of life disappears when the doors close and the opening track starts to play, it really is almost spiritual. And the physical benefits, I don’t even know where to start! In previous years I struggled to get my lower body to respond the way I wanted, I had the size but lacked definition. “It’s your conditioning.” How? I was doing cardio upon cardio, up to 45 minutes TWICE per day with no such luck! I could out run, out sprint, out climb almost every person I knew, please tell me how to get more “conditioned”?!?

In October 2013 I decided to stop competing, train for me, train for life. January 2014: Enter spin classes and YYC CYCLE- Spin Studio. The more spin I did, the leaner and more conditioned I became. My legs took on a whole new personality and suddenly became my favorite body part! I have always been strong but spin gave that word a whole new meaning. My body was transformed, I finally found a balance. I finally enjoyed training, cardio and the entire process of obtaining my dream body and thus decided to give the stage another try in the fall of 2014.

My recent competition prep process was BY FAR the most enjoyable. No crazy dieting (4.5 weeks prep!!), a lifestyle that was manageable and the best part…I had MY BEST body EVER! I maintained my spinning schedule teaching 3-4 classes per week, lifting 4-5 days per week with very little additional cardio and training needed. I stepped on stage October 4 at UFE No Mercy in Regina SK with my best competition package to date and took 1st place in the Fitness Model Category. I was extremely happy with my win but I couldn’t stop there. The following weekend I stepped on stage again at the Alberta Bodybuilding Association Muscle Beach 2014 show and placed 3rd in my height class in the Bikini Division. Again, extremely happy with my physique and everything I brought to the table.

What’s next? Will there be another competition? For now I am undecided but there WILL be more spin and there will be more training. Thank-you YYC CYCLE- Spin Studio and My YYC Bikergang for your continued and unwavering support along my fitness journey, I would not be here without you. I am inspired by my fellow YYC Motivators and Biker Gang to do better and be better each and every day. You inspire me to train harder, spin faster and in turn I hope to inspire others to do the same. From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone for joining me on this crazy ride, stay tuned for the next tour.


'Lest we Forget - Remembrance Day Ride With Dan Halber

As we prepare to remember those who have fought and still fight for our great country, one of our very own inspiring Motivators and Ex-Marine Dan Halber is preparing to celebrate the memory of those men and women of service in a special way. Tomorrow night, join Dan at 5:15pm for a Remembrance Day Ride at YYC CYCLE - Spin Studio.

For those of you who don't know Dan, we've put together a couple questions and answers with this incredible man for you.

Q & A with Dan Halber

What is your summary of service?

I shipped off to Marine Corps boot camp in Sept of 2008, and after graduating that, attended infantry school where I was selected to go to the Basic Reconnaissance Course, the Marines Special Operation Force. I graduated there in June of 2009, and went to my unit, and prepared for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. I deployed in May 2010 and returned in December. In 2011 and 2012 I hopped around from place to place running missions where ever we were called I around the world. In May of 2013 I left the Marines and moved to Calgary.

Can you tell us about your experience within the military?

My experience with the Military was overall positive. I learned a lot about who I am as a person and what I stand for. I was forced to mature quickly and learned to be accountable, responsible and dependable. I gain a lot of life experience which has truly made me the person I am today. I served with my men that I will always share a special bond with and we will always be a close group.

What does Remembrance Day mean to you?

This day is very close to my heart because it's a time to reflect on the sacrifices our military has made for us. Giving up their lives and well being both physically and mentally so that other may life better lives. We as Canadians and Americans have a very luxurious lifestyle with a lot of privileges only because men and women has stood up for what was right and what they believed in, some laying down their lives in order for us to do so. I hope everyone can stop for a second on this day and reflect how lucky we really are to be a free nation.

Click Here to join me on Tuesday November 11th for a Remembrance Day Ride to put in some work together for those who have worked so hard for our Country.

Hey Neighbor - Let's connect with a purpose!

I am writing this today with a smile on my face. I have struggled to figure out what to say and how to say it, especially because I have so many great things I want to share and create with everyone who loves a good collaboration. But, for the sake of simplicity, I will start with what you need to know, as I obviously have some intended purpose of taking your attention for a few minutes in this moment.

I am putting my collaborator hat on to create an opportunity to combine a few of my favorite things: a non-profit organization I am passionate about, my home-away-from-home YYC CYCLE- Spin Studio, bright and playful local art (including my own), yummy food, wine, and great people. Come out on the evening of Sunday November 16 and be entered to win one of several prizes donated by local Kensington business (including a 2 week pass to YYC CYCLE), bid on local art in a silent auction, and connect with your community with purpose. Need I say more?

I have been tinkering with the idea of an art show for several months, but it wasn't until I came across SAMHI (Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative) that I really got things into motion. It's funny how having a purpose can really get the ball rolling and get people on-board!

SAMHI is a young organization, and the more I hear their backstory and their vision for the future, the more I fall in love with the idea of supporting what they are creating. Check out their blog http://www.samhi.ca

Here's My Story....

From an early age, I had my mind set on being a professional Basketball player. My dad put up a hoop at the base of our driveway, and I spent countless hours playing and practicing. When my family moved out to Springbank (West of Calgary), my Dad had our barn turned into a legitimate half court gym, with grip flooring and enough space to accommodate a solid 3 on 3 game. That became my sanctuary.

By the time I was in grade 9, I had coaches from all over Canada reaching out to build relationships with me. By grade 10, I was receiving letters from coaches across the U.S. expressing interest and asking for me to keep them in mind when considering where I want to head after High School. In grade 11 I had my pick of any school across Canada, and had full-ride scholarship offers from half a dozen Division 1 Universities. As so many student-athletes do, my identity was deeply intertwined with my success as an athlete. It was the only thing that felt real and was always at the top of my priority list. And as so many former student-athletes know, once you reach a certain level (or breaking point), the sport that once fed you and gave you a light that no one could squash, starts to leech from your energy and torment you in the constant comparison to perfection.

I chose San Diego State University because the campus was beautiful (hello beach!), the coach appeared to be a Father figure that cared deeply about his team, and I was put on a pedestal - made to believe that I was going to make a difference on this team in my first year.

Marin McCue and the Aztecs continue a busy pre-holiday slate with a Monday night game with UC Riverside.

My experience as a Student Athlete at a Div. 1 school resulted in a significant change of course that I was not prepared for. The unrealistic pressure and expectations that are placed on student-athletes is alarming and not a thing of the past. Your sport becomes a full-time job (literally occupying 6-8 hours per day, or more), and too often the stressful environment becomes a barrier in the pursuit of a fulfilled and balanced life.

In my case, I developed an eating disorder, struggled with depression and felt lost for several subsequent years. I came home from San Diego like a wounded puppy with my tail between my legs. I tried playing at a couple of Universities in Canada but I had lost the fire I once had and I knew it was time to find something else in life.

As many former student-athletes can attest, the day suddenly feels much longer once you retire from the game that you spent countless hours practicing, playing, watching, and dreaming about. I started to tap into my creative side as an outlet, painting and making jewellery. I loved the feeling of creating something. I loved seeing colors or pictures flash through my mind, or appear on the blank canvas as I stared and contemplated what message I wanted to leave or question I had to ask. My style and confidence evolved and continues to evolve as I create pieces that truly reflect who I was in that moment of creation.

I am honoured to be able to feature local art (including my own) and raise awareness for SAMHI all in one beautiful evening. Reserve a ticket at YYC CYCLE- Spin Studio or by contacting me directly mmccue@lululemon.com ($10 before Sunday November 16, $15 at the door).

Thanks for reading and I hope to see your smiling faces soon ;)

The SAMHI Huddle | Official Blog of the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative
Official Blog of the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative