This year, I decided to spice up my regular strength training and running routine by trying a few exercise programs that seem to be popular with the Instagram crowd due to their impressive #transformationtuesday progress pictures and heavy focus on their respective social media communities: the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) and the Tone It Up Bikini Challenge (#TIUChallenge).
Besides trying something new for fitness last year, I was curious to see if these Insta-popular exercise programs are actually safe and effective from a strength training, functional movement and body composition point of view, instead of just another way to burn extra calories.
**Warning! This post contains #Fitspo images (bikini bods, abs, butts, etc.), so maybe don’t read it on your work computer OR if you’re trying to avoid images like that.***(more…)
I’m sure we’ve all had mornings when we hit the snooze button on our iPhones a million times instead of getting up and out of our warm, cozy beds to face the day.
Maybe you’re just tired and you’d rather grab an extra 10 minutes of sleep instead of getting up to make a nutritious breakfast for yourself, opting for something less nutritious on the go instead. Or maybe the warmth and comfort of your bed is much more appealing to you than going for a chilly morning run. Or maybe you’d rather go back to dreamland than face the hard tasks you need to accomplish that day.
I’ve had those mornings, but thankfully they’ve been few and far between. I make my breakfast and lunch the night before to ensure I’m always fueled, and promise myself to exercise after work if I really don’t feel like getting up an hour earlier that morning.
I always manage to keep that promise. I think I’ve only missed 3-5 workouts this year due to illness.
So what’s the secret to getting up and getting sh*t done each and every morning, no matter how unpleasant it might be? (more…)
Happy Saturday, friends! And happy last day of 2016.
Although I’m sad my Christmas holidays are coming to an end, I’d like time to speed up again so I can be on a beach in Maui asap. Not just for the beaches, tropical forests, hiking trails, sea turtles, whales, mai tais, mahi mahi, sunsets and jeep adventures — but also because our unusually cold December weather is destroying my skin and I need to be exposed to heat, sun and humidity before I turn into a reptile.
Since I already shared my goals for 2017, here are a few random things to share going into the new year: things that I plan to do, things I’m obsessed with, and things that are on my mind lately. (more…)
First off, you might be thinking, akrasia? Is this some new sensitivity associated with gluten? Is it slowing down my metabolism so I can’t lose weight? Is it causing leaky gut syndrome so I’m retaining water and feel bloated all the time? Is it altering my thyroid and messing with my hormones?
Here’s the definition of akrasia from the Oxford Dictionary:
The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.
So, in other words, this state of mind:
I think I’ll sleep in rather than get up and go for that run I planned to do because my bed is cozy and warm and it’s cold and gross outside, even though I know running will make me fitter and boost my mood.
Might as well eat this whole bar of chocolate/extra piece of pizza/bag of chips because it’s delicious and I’m feeling stressed, and this helps make me feel better right now… even though I’m trying to cut back on sugar/salt/fat to try to lose weight so I can be healthier and have more energy to play with my kids.(more…)
I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.
My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead. That’s a much more bad-ass goal. (more…)
Happy Friday, friends! Here are five things I’m excited about this week.
1. I woke up to a very rare sight this morning.
I’m so happy today is my flex day. I don’t plan on going anywhere — people in Victoria don’t know how to drive in the snow and we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it, so it’s best to avoid driving anywhere if possible when it snows here. It also doesn’t help that we live on a hilly, twisty road that’s always the last to get plowed and de-iced. We had a bit of snow earlier this week and I was sliding all over the place trying to get from my house to the main road to work. Needless to say I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere today, and get to spend the day playing in the snow with the dogs, doing a bit of writing and baking cookies. (more…)
With American Thanksgiving/Black Friday this week and Christmas too not far behind, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.
Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) that’s been shipped to the wrong address; hitting up grocery store after grocery store trying to find baking supplies for those thoughtful homemade gifts you’re planning to make (apparently everyone had the same gift idea); and trying to find the time to whip up a different appetizer to bring to each of the seven holiday parties you’re invited to over the next several weeks… it’s exhausting.
And let’s not forget about the guilt you’ll feel after mindlessly inhaling all the delicious holiday baking available at said seven Christmas parties (and the leftovers coworkers bring into the office after the weekend) and not being able to get to the gym because you have baking to do, decorations to put up, and Christmas parades to attend. (more…)
AWESOME GIVEAWAY ALERT: Before you read what my personal, professional and fitness goals for November, head on over to my Instagram page, find the image below, double-tap it to like it, and follow the instructions in the caption to enter to WIN $500 worth of awesome fitness gear and goodies that Kaella, Jen, Ange, Carmy, Heather, Allison, Janice and myself love from some of our favourite brands, including a Yoga Wheel from YogDev, Vega One Nutritional Shakes form Vega, Mizuno cold weather running gear, Starbucks Coffee and more! But hurry – it’s only open until November 9 (for US and Canadian residents only), so get your entry in today!
In light of last week’s post about why you should focus on consistency with small habits instead of end goals, I’ve decided to change up what I plan to focus on this month from previous months. Although most of my goals are already small habit changes, sometimes I still focus too much on my end goals: having more money available to spend on vacations and paying off debt, leaning out for faster marathon times, finding more meaning and purpose in my career, and spending quality time with loved ones. While it’s important to know what you’re working towards, too much big-picture thinking and not enough consistent action slows down progress – at least for me, anyway. So here’s what I plan to work on this month. (more…)
We often hear about how important goal setting is when it comes to achieving anything, from becoming more successful at work to improving your overall health and fitness. While setting short- and long-term goals are still important and a part of the process of achieving a more happy and healthy you, sometimes focusing too much on an end goal can be more of a barrier than a motivation factor.
I was listening to an episode of the Lift Like a Girl podcast the other week that touched on exactly this topic. In the episode, fitness coach JC Deen and Nia Shanks were discussing the perils of fat loss (you can listen to the whole episode here) and how where you’re at is a process of your habits. When asked how someone can successfully overcome the perils discussed earlier in the episode, JC read a quote from trainer Amir Siddiqui that I thought was a great analogy for why focusing on the end goal doesn’t always work:
“Get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal – getting obsessed with the goal won’t work and neither does having moderate goals. It’s like thinking about laying down the perfect foundation of bricks, perfect brick after perfect brick, rather than going nuts over seeing the building emerge.”
JC goes on to explain: “Your goal of seeing the building emerge is your ideal body or place in fitness. You can be so focused and obsessed with that you can forget to actually do what it takes right now to essentially create the process. A lot of times are habits are so low key that we don’t think about it; food, exercise decisions in the morning, etc. … we are a product of our habits. In order to make long-term lasting changes and improve everything, we have to start with building the processes. Either create new habits or change habits. Get obsessed with the habits and the processes, and then one day you’ll wake up and finally notice the change.” (more…)
Since Halloween falls on a Monday this year, I doubt we’ll do anything aside from watch a few scary movies and eat candy. I bought a huge box of treats from Costco, but we get zero children visiting our house since it’s in the middle of nowhere and also kind of creepy and ominous-looking from the street. If the odd neighbourhood kid was out treat-or-treating in our neck of the woods (we’re literally in the woods), they’d probably skip our house anyway.
So yes, that Costco-sized box of mini chocolate bars is for us.
I like to listen to fitness, health and business related podcasts when I’m on the treadmill and getting ready for work in the morning, and one name in particular kept coming up on several of my favourite podcasts that warranted an online search to see who this wise and influential person was. This person had clearly impacted and shaped the lives of the podcast hosts and guests, so I wanted to know what he was all about.
If you’re a basketball fan or participate in sports of any kind, you may have heard about John Wooden. Wooden was an English teacher, American basketball player and coach who, during his time as head coach of the basketball team at UCLA, won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than two in a row since.
It’s no wonder he was named national coach of the year six times and is one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports.
As a strength and conditioning coach, I’m always looking for tips and tools to not only help my clients reach their full potential in whatever health and fitness goal they want to achieve, but also to help develop myself to become a better coach and athlete.
During his years spent as an English teacher and coach, Wooden developed a guide to help his students and players become the best version of themselves that he called “The Pyramid of Success”. (more…)
Imagine you’re in a meeting at work and your boss compliments you in front of your coworkers on the stellar job you did getting a project together. Do you:
a) Smile and look embarrassed
b) Say, “Well, so-and-so actually presented it, so really he deserves the credit.”
c) Say, “Well, it was really a team effort.”
d) Say, “Thank you.”
I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of the above except D. An not just in work situations.
Receives compliment on attire: “Oh, this dress? I think I got it on sale at Old Navy.”
Receives compliment about hair: “Yeah but it’s so dry — just look at my split ends!”
Receives compliment about writing: “Oh yeah I just do it for fun, hardly anyone reads it.”
An activity is suggested that I don’t want to do: “Sure, yeah, whatever you want to do.”
Someone says something I don’t agree with: Silence
I am the ultimate conflict-avoider. I do it at work and in my day-to-day life. I apologize, I bend, I push aside my opinions to make sure everyone is happy and likes me. I’m agreeable and highly sensitive. Although being a highly sensitive person is an excellent human trait — especially now in our current culture where we need more people to consider the health of our planet and the other organisms that live on it — it can get in the way of being our true, authentic selves sometimes.
Authenticity is scary for a conflict-avoider. It means we need to show up and be real. Be honest. Let our true selves be seen. (more…)
I had planned to post a few informative fitness and health related blogs last week, but I just didn’t have the motivation to write. To be honest, I was at a loss for words over the election in the states, and writing a blog post about my favourite protein bars or the most effective strength training exercises for your glutes just didn’t seem like the best use of anyone’s time (me writing, anyone reading). My concern and sadness for women, minorities, the environment, the future for our children and humanity in general took up more space in my brain than I could deal with last week, and I just needed to disconnect and think.
I got into the health and fitness business to help others — to share my experiences and use my skills to do something meaningful and fulfilling with my time. And while it’s still important to me and something I enjoy to do, I’ve lost that initial passion somewhat. I’ve been thinking about what to focus on next — what I can do to make a bigger impact, either in the health and wellness industry or elsewhere.
After several weeks of researching options and talking to friends and colleagues, I’ve decided to go back to school and do a masters degree next September. Not only to hopefully open more doors career-wise, but also for the opportunity to challenge myself and get exposed to global issues. I’m about 99% set on doing an MBA, but an MPA is also an option since I work in government.
The downside to this, of course, is probably zero time to write blogs and fitness articles come September. But we’ll see, depending on the program I choose to do. Both programs offered at the University of Victoria (where I did my undergrad) have a weekend or online option, which I would do so I can continue to work full time.
So that’s my big life update. And even though I called this post Five Things Friday, I don’t really have five things to hare. But here are two more things that happened this past week. (more…)