Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Getting healthy + The raddest fitness trainer in Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Hey guys,

Sigh.. I promised myself to keep up regular posts, but what can I say? Life got busy. Business got busy. That’s a good thing! Now, I have so much catching up to do! So be prepared for a few blog post blasts coming your way in the next couple of weeks to get caught up on my favorite shoots and weddings of the summer!

I have to warn you. Changes are coming! Good changes. This year I have been slowly accumulating information and making small steps towards branding my business in an entirely new way for 2015. I am really excited to be announcing some new changes for the new year and the launch of my new website as well. It has been a slow and progressive process to make these changes and I am hoping (fingers crossed!) that all of my hard work will pay off.

Change is hard! It takes time! It takes perseverance! It takes DEDICATION. No one knows this better than Saskatoon personal trainer Debra Coutts. For everyone who knows me well, they know that weight loss is something I have struggled with off and on for the past few years since having kids. A few months ago, I put it out there that I wanted to make some changes and asked for names of excellent personal trainers. One name kept popping up over and over again… Debra’s name!

When I met Debra for the first time, it was like a breath of fresh air. I mean, this woman ACTUALLY cares! She wants people to be healthy, she wants people to be fit, and she wants people to be happy. That’s a rarity in this lifetime if you ask me! Not only does she care, but one look at her tells you she has a lot of dedication to her own health & fitness and it sure has paid off. Debra went on to win a 6 week ab challenge and absolutely nailed it, won it and took home the prize. The greatest prize? The boost of self confidence and some knockout abs. The first time I trained with Debra, it seemed innocent enough at first. We kept up a steady stream of chatter while she went Biggest Loser on my butt and the kicker came afterward. I couldn’t move my arms for a week! From then on, walking into the gym, I could tell just by the look on her face what she had in store. She pushed me, she motivated me, and even when road blocks like crappy knees and a bad back arose, she moved around those stealthily, coming up with new and unique exercises that fit my needs.

Debra is awesome. She is someone who I can definitely aspire to be like in health and fitness. She is a motivator and a mentor. In my opinion, everyone needs someone like this in their lives.

Part of Debra’s prize was a free photo-shoot of her hard work on camera! I was so honored and thrilled to be a part of her rewarding journey and I am sharing some of the photos from the session with you now. For inspiration, advice, tips, tricks or motivation check out Debra’s page and like her at Debra Coutts – Fitness Junkie

Stay amazing,

Martine

Credit: Hair & Makeup for shoot by Danielle Konjolka of Studio Rouge Saskatoon

Photos from 6 Pack Ab Challenge contest – Peter Carvell

Photography by Martine Sansoucy ©2014 All Rights Reserved.

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Just look at those abs!

Just look at those abs!

Laughter really does do the body good!

Laughter really does do the body good!

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

Fitness trainer Debra Coutts, Saskatoon

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How I really feel about Jamaica.. a personal post :-)

We are outside and the heat is thick.. my hands are literally swollen to the size of small balloons (just a fun perk of being me right now). I am wiping the sweat off my brow and chatting with friends or yelling in their ears over the loud music. Despite my trying to stay still, I just can’t. I find myself involuntarily moving in my seat and wanting to get up and grind my whole body to the vibrant and sexually explosive Jamaican music. I am the only white girl in the place and my red hair and fair skin stick out like a sore thumb, attracting all sorts of wanted and unwanted attention. At times, it can be a little tiresome and all I want to do is fit in. I cover my hotel band with my bracelet and try to look casual, like being thrust into such a foreign way of life is normal for me. I run into some people I met last time I was there.. I can hardly believe I know people here already and it’s a great feeling. I want locals to consider me another local, not some tourist who’s rolling in American money.

I take a cab back home in the darkness. I am crammed in a small car that sounds like it might explode if it moves too fast with a tall dark Jamaican man on my right and a cheerful voluptuous looking woman on my left. They chatter with each other sometimes in Patois (the Jamaican language) and I struggle to understand… if only I had bought some books before I left! They start to chatter with me and within 5 minutes we are exchanging numbers and Facebook info, hoping to connect if I should ever be back in Montego Bay. The general vibe is they just want to show me a good time here in Jamaica and they are always so interested to hear about the weather where I am from. It’s nearing the end of my ride and I hand the cabby $200 Jamaican dollars, which comes to around $2 American or Canadian. No doubt I would be paying an upwards of $30 or $40 American if I had taken the “safer” and registered taxi’s that come straight to the front of my hotel. Again, I don’t want to be some rich bitch perceived by the Jamaican’s, I just want to be treated like everyone else even though my face is white as the moon.

The security guys at the gates of my hotel are by now used to my comings and goings. When I left the first night I was there with friends, they were sure to document my room number, name, the name of the person who was picking me up and the location of where we were headed. By the third day, they just smiled and waved me off as I ran off across the street. One of the security guys later told me him and the other guys were concerned about me, but after watching how I waved away certain cabs and chose specific ones they knew that I knew what I was doing. I was really flattered by this and it made me feel happy to know they no longer just thought of me as some “tourist” – confined to the prison walls of a resort. Don’t get me wrong, my way of travel isn’t for the faint hearted or just anyone, but I question the people who fly all the way across the country just to listen to American music and eat American food at resort buffets, and stay trapped in a bubble of at-home luxury without ever experiencing anything real. I ask myself, what’s the point?

I found myself often moving to Jamaican beats in my head, even when there was no music playing. I felt vibrant, alive, energetic! My skin was also literally starting to glow.. my pimples were disappearing and I felt less self conscious about being a bit bigger than I would like to be at this time. The Jamaican men were quite forward about letting me know how they felt about my appearance. It was always positive and I was flattered at most times. It was a self esteem boost but could also easily get tiring. My nose had cleared up.. I slept like a baby, the best I have slept in so long because I could finally breath. Back home my nose is constantly stuffed up and I often wake up not being able to breath. The only downfall was the sweat… ohhh the sweat. I don’t mind sweating during a workout I’m killing, but to sweat all the time every day for no other reason then just because you are hot and uncomfortable is unattractive to say the LEAST.

My friends are gems.. I made some real connections I feel so good about. There were other people I met and the general over all consensus from a lot of people was that a friendship could be bought and paid for. After all I am from Canada and I MUST be loaded with cash and have plenty to give away at leisure. I am not. My money is worth just as much as theirs is back home and it’s not cheap to live here in Canada. Not cheap at all. I may make more, but I sure spend a hell of a lot more on the necessities of life. There were times I felt taken advantage of and merely used for the hopes of receiving my money. It didn’t feel good and it didn’t feel right. That was the one biggest negative that I have about being in Jamaica. All the more reason fitting in as a local was so important to me. Now let’s be fair… not ALL Jamaican’s are like this. On the opposite end of the spectrum I was treated the best I have been treated by anyone in a long time by my friends, who are all amazing and wonderful people.

The last night in Jamaica my friends took me to a street party… Yes, a real street party in Jamaica. The type of party that would not have been legal anywhere here and totally shut down immediately. Honestly, sometimes I had to take a step back to realize that I was actually there and it was real and this was happening. The sweet smell of pot wafted around and drinks were flowing. The music was sick. I had begun to pick out my favorite songs and move my body freely when they came on. Kartel, and I Octane, Mavado and Lady Saw… have all become household names for me now. Suddenly at some point, the party went from seeing space between people to crammed and jammed up against one another.. in a sea of dark faces I was the only white girl at the party yet again and the guys walking around with video cameras seemed to be attacking me with bright lights. Being there was amazing though, and the feeling was humbling and surreal. I never wanted it to end.  I was feeling good but the last couple of days had exhausted me. By the next morning I was feeling emotional and heavy with regret at the thought of leaving this beautiful tropical paradise. I felt like perhaps I had let myself feel too fast and too much for some of the connections I made and didn’t want it to end.

Yes, I do believe I made real connections and also a couple friends for life. The number one question I am being asked by all is did I find love in Jamaica? Well the answer to that is simple. No. But I believe I could. It would be easy and effortless and it scares me to death. There are some things a girl doesn’t need to share with the world either. What I really need to do now is fall in love with myself.

What are the things I brought back with me that are the most treasured? First and foremost, the memories and the friendships. After that, I would have to say the mixed CD’s of music I bought from random guys selling burnt discs from their cars and on the streets. I still feel like dancing and it has me motivated to start dancing once again. Overall I brought back a sense of myself.. a longing for change and self appreciation. Yes Jamaica will change you and affect you in many ways if you are willing and open to let it in.

Will I be back to Jamaica? I have no plans as of right now to be returning to the beautiful country, but sometimes fate has a way of intervening and whatever is meant to be will be. For now I am studying up on learning some Patois and dancing around the house in my underwear to these ripped Jamaican beats , feeling more free and irie than I have in my life.

*Stay tuned for a mega blog post on the AHHMAZING Wedding I shot in Jamaica and all the fun details behind it and other shoots I did while there!*

Good friends and good vibes

Good friends and good vibes

To new beginnings!! Starting off 2013 with Inspiration, Motivation and Determination!

Searching for you in a sea of faces..

Searching for you in a sea of faces..

Good morning lovelies!

So I wanted to start the new year off by starting a new blog! Why you ask? It’s true I have at least three blogs started, updated and sadly… abandoned and unfinished. The reason I believe is because my focus for the blogs I have done in the past is BUSINESS. Pure and simple uploading photos and pumping out general business information. This time I want to start fresh, and I want to make this blog more PERSONAL. I don’t want to look at it as just another chore to do on my work list. I want to feel excited about posting personal stories, information, tutorials and above all letting my fans and people get to know the REAL me. I think it just may work out!

So some things I plan to change in the New Year…

For those of you who know me, know that I have been struggling with health and weight issues for awhile and while I am generally a pretty up beat, positive vibe person,  when it comes to body image issues I am nothing but a negative Nancy. Which is silly because I love promoting body beauty awareness through my photos and I can honestly say some of the most beautiful people I have photographed are NOT skinny minnies or have your stereotypical model-type bodies. I see beauty in all shapes and sizes and I wish I could feel the same about myself! So I have made a vow to myself that I will bring my A game to get in shape this year.. not necessarily by dropping a few pant sizes (although let’s face it, that would be AWESOME), but just to get healthy, feel healthy and start living the way I should! I hope too that by sharing my journey with you in bits and pieces on this blog it will hold me a little bit more accountable to make these changes. One of my favorite things to do is dance around my house in my shorts and sports bra to some outrageously awesome music. I plan to do this every day until I work up a sweat, and I have also joined a boot camp to get my butt in gear. I am ready to make this year the best yet… after all I AM turning the big 3.0 this year!!! Aaaahhh!

Something else quite big coming up this year… In May it will be FIVE whole years since I started in photography, and honestly I am stunned, shocked, in awe, loving it, emotional, etc when I think about how far I have come and how much I LOVE what I do. I am truly so fortunate to be doing something that I love. I NEED to make this a memorable year but stepping up my game in photography, learning more, always expanding and trying new and different techniques. I am also dying to do something epic. I don’t know what yet… but I know I want it, and I have plans to make it happen!

Family time! I need more of it. My boys are my whole world and I want to spend more and better quality time with them. If this means re-organizing priorities sometimes (like taking on a little less work) than so be it! I want to grow with them, travel with them, and perhaps even teach them a thing or two about photography. I am excited for some adventures we have planned this year and also excited to share these adventures with all of you. I also want to take more photos of my family. I look through all of the photos I have done and often realize I have more photos of other peoples children then of my own! I guess that’s the way it usually goes in any profession, but photos are not something I want to be lacking of with my boys. In this digital age, I also find most of my photos are always online but never in print. There is still something about being able to HOLD a photograph in your hands and I want to make this a priority as well. To get more of my family photos printed and put into albums or hung on the wall 🙂

I’m not going to lie, I am a FACEBOOK ADDICT! This needs to change! I have come up with a nice little schedule for myself to become effective immediately. It allows me two 1/2 hour slots during the day to check up on Facebook, respond to comments, e-mails, update photos, etc. Other than that I am going to try my very hardest to stay away from Facebook. I find it eats up wasted time on basically NOTHING!

So with that being said those are just a few of the things that I am aching to get my change-on with this year!

I just arrived home from Jamaica a few days ago.. and I have to say, it has changed my life. I can’t wait to tell you why, but you will have to hang on until my next post!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog.. I hope you come again soon and I also want to say I welcome any photography related questions to agasteche@yahoo.ca or through my Facebook

Peace & love – Martine