This week’s Inspiring Woman is Carmen Burk.Â As a fellow Canadian (hehe) Carmen has been active her whole life, finally coming to love the gym while in college. Carmen is now a group fitness instructor, inspiring and helping women daily reach their fitness goals.
Womens Ab Workout: Tell us more about yourself. Who are you? How long have you been training and what are your goals and aspirations in the fitness industry?
Carmen Burk: My name is Carmen Burk and I am passionate about fitness!!!! Â I was born in Alberta Canada but moved to Ontario Canada with my family when I was 8 years old and lived here ever since.Â I have always been active growing up.Â I was in gymnastics at a young age, then participating on all the sports teams all throughout my school years.
I finally joined a gym when I was in college (in 2002) and started participating in all the Les Mills classes that were offered at the gym, such as BodyFlow, BodyAttack, BodyPump, BodyCombat, and BodyStep and Awesome ABS classes.Â I got into a routine of doing cardio 6-7 times per week and a weight class (BodyPump) 3x per week.
In May of 2008 I went away for BodyPump training and became a certified BP instructor, and have been teaching BodyPump for about one year, which is a 60 minute full body barbell class that strengthens & tones your entire body by challenging all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls. Â I am also planning on going for BodyAttack and BodyFlow trainings to become a certified instructor in those disciplines as well
I recently started training with a personal trainer (who is also a figure competitor) 2x per wk and training with weights with my awesome training partner (who is a bodybuilder) 2x per wk.Â Through my week I train with weights 4-6x per week and do some form of cardio (a 60 min class or 30 min jog on the treadmill) 6-7x per week….I’m hooked on fitness Â I am growing interested in figure competing and may start training to compete in the near future!
WAW: What was your motivation to start working out and get into fitness?
CB: I have always been active growing up and feel it is natural for me to continue in my adult years.Â When I see small changes in my body after staying committed to myself and my fitness goals that is what motivates me to keep pushing forward & to work harder and set my goals higher….we are all capable of working harder and achieving more than we think, we just got to be consistant!Â I LOVE the way I feel after an excellent workout!
WAW: How would you describe your training? Are you into body part splits or full body training? Why?
CB: I currently train:
Legs 2x per wk
Chest 2x pr wk
Bi’s & Tri’s 1-2x per wk
Back 1x per wk
Abs/Core 4-5x per wk
I do some form of cardio 6-7x per week, either a 60 minute class or 30 min treadmill or outdoor jog.Â I take BodyFlow, which is a mix of tai-chi, yoga and pilates 2-3x per week to stretch and lengthen my muscles.Â I also try to take one day each week off (away from the gym) for muscle recovery.
WAW: Diet is probably one of the most important aspects of getting a flat stomach – and the hardest part for busy women to stay true too. What does your diet look
CB: YES!!!Â Diet makes a big difference in achieving a flat toned stomach.Â I try to eat every 3-3.5 hrs, eating 6 mini-meals through my day.Â I eat alot of lean protein sources such as skinless, boneless chicken breast, grilled white fish (talapia, cod), tuna, egg whites (for yummy veggies omletts), hard boiled eggs, protein shakes (no sugar, low fat/carb).Â I also eat lots of fresh veggies such as spinach, brussel sprouts, fresh cut peppers, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, tomatoes, mushrooms are some of my favs.Â Oatmeal and split peas and lentils are also a staple in my diet.Â I also love fresh berries, cherries and banana’s.
I usually start my day with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of oatmeal and a protein shake or an egg white veggie omlett.Â I use natural sauces like crushed tomatoes and spices and herbs (Mrs Dash) to add flavor rather than dressings which have alot of hidden sugars
Some of my favourite meals are grilled chicken and spinach salad with split peas and sprouts, oatmeal pancake, and chocolate protein brownies….mmmmm, super yummy and all good for my body!
WAW: What are three important aspects of a diet, for busy women to keep in mind, when trying to get a flat stomach?
CB: It is important to ensure you are getting enough lean protein in your diet to assist with maintaining lean muscle tissue and muscle recovery.Â Eat some lean protein (hard boiled eggs are easy to pack or protein powder in a shaker cup..just add water) every 3-3.5 hours with a complex carb source to keep your metabolism up and energy levels high & fuel your body.
I find if you pack some healthy snacks you are less likely to grab unhealthy choices and keep your body feuled with what it really needs!Â It is also SUPER IMPORTANT to drink LOTS of water through the day to cleanse and keep your metabolism up.Â I always make sure I consume a protein shake post workouts to assist with muscle recovery.
WAW: As a Group Fitness Instructor – what do you find as the biggest obstacle women face as they work towards getting in shape? What do you suggest to get over this obstacle?
CB: I think one of the biggest obstacles woman face is maintaining a consistant workout routine and avoiding weights all together in fear of getting “bulky”.Â I think the toughest part is the “getting to the gym”, but once you are there and into your workout you feel FANTASTIC and you always feel even more FANTASTIC when you are done.
I always tell my participants that it is the small steps of progress that make BIG change in the end and tension=tone…you got to feel it (the burn) if you want to see it…they like hearing that for some reason….when I say it, I always see a little more effort and that’s what I LOVE to see !!
WAW: You mentioned that determination, passion and commitment, are an important part of getting into shape along with attainable goals – what makes an attainable goal? What are two things to keep in mind when writing your goals?
CB: For me, an attainable goal is one that I know I will achieve.Â I write down all of my goals and make a vision board with pictures of what I want to achieve (fitness model pics, etc.) & have it hanging above my computer to remind me every day of what I am set to work on.Â I review my goals every day and take daily inspired action towards achieving it.
Taking those baby steps and working on it each day little by little…small steps equal BIG results!Â Â It’s also impotant to have supportive friends who are going to motivate and ecourage you to push on when you need that little extra push.Â Surround yourself around people who will help bring you closer to achieving that which you set out to achieve.
WAW: Where can we find more information out about you?
CB: You can find more information about me:
Add me on facebook (Carmen Burk)
- Inspiring Women: Tina Marie Guaglianone
- Post Workout Nutrition – What to Eat After Your Workout
- Finding the Secret to Flat Abs: Interview with Barbara Mencer
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