Carola Della Mattia, 56, on learning how to rely on herself, and how she got in the best shape of her life.
Beginning the Journey I’ve suffered from asthma since my adolescence, and I used it as a crutch in order to avoid exercise. That all changed approximately six years ago. I met [health expert and author] Tosca Reno at The Health and Fitness Expo in Toronto and started eating clean. I lost more than 10 pounds in three months — simply by eating six meals a day. Then, just prior to my 51st birthday, I decided I wanted to get into the best shape of my life. Before then, I never exercised and I certainly never lifted weights. But when I committed to getting in shape, I signed up for online training and meal plans, and I started seeing results immediately. More than three years ago I discovered kettlebells, and I love incorporating them into my training.
To Cheat or Not to Cheat When I first started my lifestyle change, I was incorporating cardio daily and my caloric intake was approximately 1,300 calories with no cheat meals. Currently, I don’t do cardio and I consume substantially more calories. I rotate my carb intake and enjoy a cheat meal (with wine and dessert) once a week. Clean eating was a big lifestyle change for me. Other than my cheat meal once a week, I stay
pretty much on track with nutrition and training. To relax, I enjoy reading and travelling. I do go off-course on my diet when I’m away on vacation, but I still hit the gym because it feels good.
Finding Inspiration It’s human nature to want what you don’t have. I don’t think we ever reach our goal — we are never completely satisfied. In my quest to build muscle, I’ve worked with various coaches because I was always looking for the magic formula. But I’ve come to realize that the only person you can rely on is yourself. Most friends my age don’t understand my commitment to the process. That being said,
Instagram has been a great source of support and motivation amongst my age group. My personal motivation and
reward for progress is a professional photo shoot. You get all glammed up and get to play dress-up! And then, in the end, you have lasting memories of your hard work.
Building Patience The best piece of advice I can give someone wanting to get fit naturally is that it takes time and lots of patience. I never expected the process to take as long as it has, but I know now that building muscle is not an exact science. Genetics play a huge part in the nutrition and training methods you will need. Here’s another piece of advice: if you use a coach, make sure he or she is experienced. You don’t want just anyone messing around with your health.
PHOTOS BY WEST STUDIO (@WEST_STUDIO)