I’ve always tried to stay fit. Still, it wasn’t until I was getting ready for the Miss Canada pageant that I began to really understand its role in helping me reach my goals for personal growth and success. The ‘aha! moment’ happened when I realized that fitness is more about good nutrition than it is about working out.
The timing on that realization couldn’t have been better. I had the good fortune of being crowned Miss Canada 2009. Saying that it changed my life is an understatement. Yes, there’s the recognition and rewards. But suddenly I could turn the spotlight on issues that are close to my heart, like increasing social awareness of women’s issues, including their health and fitness. I was even able to help build a school for underprivileged children in Brazil, where I was born.
After the Miss Canada experience, I dedicated myself to helping others improve their health and wellbeing to help them reach their goals. I got my Personal Training Certificate and together with Michael, we opened a training studio. But, while I could help them with a training plan, I couldn’t do anything about what happened outside the studio.
People lead busy lives. They are working moms and busy entrepreneurs. While they came to me because they knew the importance of fitness to help them get through, I could only do so much. You can tell people to eat healthier meals, to improve their nutrition, but the reality of their lives can make that difficult or impossible.
One day one of our customers from the training studio, who was self-employed and worked 70-hour weeks, asked me to make meals for her. I ended up preparing some dishes for her and within the first week, the client told us she could see and feel the difference.
That was it. Long story short, Fit Food was born. And, despite everything I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish and experience, this might be the most fulfilling of all.
Every day I get emails from clients who tell me that they no longer have diabetes; or that they felt so confident in their wedding dress; or that their 90-year-old mom loves Fit Food and is actually gaining weight. We have moms who have their pre-baby bodies back. We have kids who take healthy lunches to school every day. We have athletes who perform better.
Now I’m a working mom who’s running her own business too. It’s given me an even better understanding of the challenges many of our clients face. And I’m so happy to be in a position to help them take care of themselves with healthy, nutritious meals.
To introduce you to Michael Valente, let’s look at some numbers:
- Over 10 years as a professional fitness expert
- 15,000 hours of personal training and fitness consultation
- 6 separate Training Certifications
- Personal trainer and fitness consultant for 2 Miss Universe Canada winners
The result of all those impressive numbers? Combined with his extensive background in athletics, nutrition and sports supplementation, they have allowed Michael to develop a holistic approach to his clients’ health and fitness, including regular exercise and a nutrition-based diet. It’s not too often that two people with the same last names end up getting married, but that’s what happened after Michael Valente and Mariana Valente met each other as he helped her train to win the Miss Universe Canada title. After opening The Fit Loft personal training studio in 2009, Michael and Mariana developed a custom meal plan to answer a client’s request to achieve higher levels of health and fitness. The client soon enjoyed results she never thought possible. Not long after, Michael and Mariana partnered with that same client, Cathy Ciccolini, to create Fit Food and offer the delicious and nutritious dishes to the public.
Many gym-goers buy a membership, show up a few times and never return. Not Cathy Ciccolini. She has maintained a weekly workout schedule for over 20 years, most recently with Michael Valente. But you need more than regular exercise to cope with 75-hour work weeks as one of the members of her busy family business. Michael helped Cathy take her health and fitness to a higher level with a meal plan focused on nutrition, higher energy and lower stress. It worked. Already fit, Cathy lost another two dress sizes, no longer craves fast and processed foods and easily maintains a healthy weight. So impressed with the combination of exercise and healthy eating, Cathy wanted to be more than a customer and asked Michael & Mariana to partner in Fit Foods to help others enjoy the same benefits. “It’s a journey that has changed my life in such a positive, long-term way. I became Michael and Mariana’s partner so I can share that journey with the rest of the world.”
Shelby Kroach, is a holistic nutritionist and a true food enthusiast. After receiving her honors BA in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario, Shelby decided to take her passion for health and wellness and combine it with her love for food and nutrition. Her philosophy of “what you put in your body affects how you feel both inside and out” has helped her clients achieve their health goals. Shelby was a competitive gymnast and dancer for over 10 years. She has a great understanding of proper fuelling for optimal performance and overall wellness. Some of the areas that she focuses on are: weight loss, sports nutrition, type 2-diabetes/pre diabetes support, and nutrition for various health conditions. In Shelby’s practice, the word “diet” does not exist. She develops lifestyle plans that are simple, attainable and sustainable for life.