Want to form healthy habits? Start small. Really small.

I need to work on being present.

I need to work on being present.

Did you know it takes 66 days to form a habit? According to this article from Fast Company, a new habit becomes automatic after performing it every day for 66 days in a row. After that, it becomes part of your routine. Like brushing your teeth or folding your laundry.

The key to making a successful shift, however, is to start small. Really small.

“The bigger a project seems, the less likely we are to complete it, since it seems like too much effort,” author Drake Baer points out. “What we need to do, then, is to find a strategy that lets us lay the foundation of a productive habit while minimizing the upfront workload.” (more…)

Guest Post: MEC Big Wild Challenge 21 km trail race review

Debbie getting ready to "run" the MEC Big Wild Challenge.

Debbie getting ready to “run” the MEC Big Wild Challenge.

By Debbie Preston

Some of my favourite races to run are the MEC series here on Vancouver Island. Although they might not have all the bells and whistles that other races have – some races aren’t timed, there are no medals and there aren’t always aid stations along the route – these races have the essentials: they are always affordable ($15-$20), you’re guaranteed to be challenged by a talented group of fellow racers and the entire MEC team and amazing volunteers will cheer you along the course. (more…)

Recipe: Quick and easy dairy-free kale pizza for one

pizzaWow… that blog title makes this recipe sounds incredibly bland, boring and depressing. Dairy-free kale pizza? For one? Like, why even bother, right?

I assure you it’s actually really good and a great quick and nutritious meal for people who can’t have dairy (but can have gluten) and LOVE pizza. This version is vegan, but you could add any topping you want. I love the crispy baked kale on top. I eat this for dinner at least twice a week when I need something quick and easy. (more…)

Forever alone: Why I don’t want to join your running group

wildflowerquteSometimes I feel a sense of longing when I see a big group of runners or cyclists out for their long Sunday run or ride, chatting away about their families, race goals and interests. What a great way to pass the time, I think, to socialize and get your long training run done at the same time.

But I will never join a running group. At least not regularly. I prefer to run and workout alone. (more…)

BQ Marathon training plan update and an exciting announcement!

Marathon training in 26 degree heat is for crazy people.

Marathon training in 26 degree heat is for crazy people.

I AM SO RELIEVED.

Remember my non-new year’s resolution goals for this year? I’ve been working on goal number one for the past 10 months, and am so excited to announce I PASSED THE CSCS EXAM! In terms of practicing what I’m truly passionate about (which is helping others reach their health, fitness and happiness goals), having this accreditation helps immensely, not only as a personal trainer but also as a writer. Now when I pitch articles to publications or write ranty posts on my blog, people are more likely to give some thought to what I have to say. At least that’s my hope. (more…)

Paleo shmaleo: Why I don’t eat red meat (or much of any animal food, for that matter)

A typical day of macro and micronutrient consumption, sans meat.

A typical day of macro and micronutrient consumption, sans meat.

Since all of us endurance sport and fitness folks love to talk about food and debate endlessly about what diet works best based on x goals, here are some interesting stats about mine (paleo people, you might want to cover your ears): I eat close to 300 grams of carbohydrates every day. That makes up about 60% of my macronutrient ratio, for all you IIFYM people. I don’t eat dairy or red meat, and eat very little poultry and fish. All the fats I consume come in the form of plants: peanut butter, olive oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter. The majority of the protein I consume also comes from plants. I also eat a crap-load of grains (earmuffs, paleo lovers, earmuffs!)

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6 things you should do to detox after a weekend at a summer music festival

sunfest

At Sunfest Country Music Festival this weekend. Had an amazing time!

It’s the morning after the final night of that awesome summer music festival you and your friends were at over the weekend, and you crawl out of your tent looking for water. You straighten your Woodstock-inspired Navajo headband that’s still around your forehead as you survey the dusty and trodden ground, littered with beer cans, red solo cups, half-eaten hot dogs, tipped-over camping chairs and crumpled-up chip bags. You feel terrible, immediately regretting the five or six beers — or maybe that was 10 or 12? — you had each day over the weekend, along with all the hot dogs, chips, candy and other festival food that was so hard to resist, especially after a drink or seven. You were doing so well with your diet before the weekend, eating mostly whole foods and lots of vegetables. Now you feel like you’ve ruined everything in one weekend. As you pull on your last clean pair of high-waisted, high-cut denim shorts and Bill Murray T-shirt before packing up your mess of a campsite, you vow to drink nothing but water and green juice for the next seven days. (more…)

Why I get up at 3:45 a.m. most days of the week

sunrise

I get up early so I can see things like this.

I usually get a look of disgust followed immediately by a “but why?” when I tell people what time I wake up in the morning.

Even when I’m tired or get to sleep late, I roll out of bed around 3:45 a.m. Very rarely does my comfy bed compel me to stay tucked in for another two or three hours. As soon as I open my eyes, I’m excited to be awake, eat breakfast, have coffee, exercise, meditate, and get stuff done before I head off to work my nine-to-five at about 7:45 a.m. (more…)

How’s your plank? Mine sucks and this is why.

 

Getting ready to plank. Indy is supervising.

Getting ready to plank. Indy is supervising.

The toe bone’s connected to the heel bone. The heel bone’s connected to the foot bone. The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone. The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone. The knee bone connected to the thigh bone…

While technically the bones connect at the joints, this classic children’s song is a pretty accurate (albeit simplistic) overview of what’s going on under our skin and muscles. And for some reason it always pops into my head when I’m planking.

I usually add verse, though, that goes something like this:

The hamstring muscle group’s connected to the pelvis and fibula/tibia. The iliopsoas connects to the lesser trochanter of the femur. My hamstrings are tight and I sit all day at a desk, and that’s why I can’t plank
(more…)

How sick is too sick to run?

All dressed up and nowhere to run. Had to get all cleaned up for a photo shoot today, hence the make-up and workout gear.

All dressed up and nowhere to run. Had to get all cleaned up for a photo shoot today, hence the make-up and workout gear. This is my sad face right now.

You know that whole neck-rule thing when it comes to sickness and running — if the illness in the neck or above you’re good to run, but if the illness is below the neck you should probably rest?

Well, if you decide to run 24 km while the illness is still located in the safe zone above your neck you might just make it worse like I did last weekend. It’s now in my chest, and I have a 27 km run planned for this weekend.

There’s a really nasty summer cold going around right now, and my boyfriend came down with it just before our camping trip two weeks ago. He’s only JUST feeling back to normal this week, whereas my cold — which I got a few days later — has only gotten worse. It started as a very sore throat, then the worst sinus pressure I think I’ve ever had. I was stuffed up and useless for three days, and have been hacking up digustingness for two weeks now. (more…)

Calorie counting: Necessary for weight loss?

Homemade Pad Thai - about 350 calories.

Homemade Pad Thai – about 350 calories.

Want to know something kind of disturbing?

I can correctly guess the amount of calories in home-prepared meals and food items (like a banana, egg, chicken breast, slice of bread, cup of ice cream, etc.) with an accuracy rate of about 90%. (I made up that stat. But it’s probably close to that).

I find my calorie-counting abilities disturbing for two reasons: One, because I’m not a dietitian and I don’t really need to know what’s in everything, and two, because for some reason I’ve retained that kind of information yet can barely recall anything I learned in Math 11. (more…)

5 awesome (and free!) fitness and health podcasts to listen to during your long run

fkgolfcourseWhen I was training for the Squamish 50K last year, I started listening to podcasts to pass the time on my long training runs. Since I was running trails for 3-plus hours at a fairly slow pace, I wanted something I could focus on instead of how tired I was feeling and how much my feet hurt. Not only did those long runs feel like they went by much faster while listening to podcasts, but also I learned a ton of stuff; everything from what the latest research and trends are in strength and conditioning world to how to start a fitness business to what it’s like to go vegan and complete an ultraman.

If you’re tired of music blaring in your ears during your long runs or just want something informative and interesting to listen to on your commute to work, I highly recommend checking out these awesome (and free!) fitness and health podcasts. (more…)

Gym #selfie challenge: Quit posing and show us what hard work really looks like

gymselfie1Confession: I’m sick and tired of your #gymselfies.

I get it. You’re all sweaty and the lighting is awesome, making you look like you have “delts for dayz”. You want to inspire others with your “fitspirational” Instagram photo. You pop your arm back to get that skinny-arm look and flex your abs. You snap a few pics, apply a filter that highlights those muscles even more. You write something like “No excuses, got it done #demgainz #sweatfest #fitness #fitspiration” and hit share. You’re proud of your body, and you should be. I can see you’ve put in a lot of work.

But that’s not what I want to see all the time. And that’s not what we should see all the time.

(more…)

Is your FitBit making you gain weight?

Photo(1)According to this article on Today.com, countless FitBit users are taking to online forums and social networks to find out if other users are packing on the pounds instead of losing them, and wondering “what lifestyle changes or electronic tweaks they can make so their wristbands work for them.”

(I can tell you right now why “it’s not working”, but just wait and see where the article goes with this.)

The Today article then goes on to provide a few anecdotes from users who gained weight when using the FitBit, some of whom decided to get one to help them break through a plateau after they’d successfully lost weight. (more…)

How to fit strength training into your marathon training plan

Celebrating our fastest half marathon times!

As runners, we all know we should be doing it. It should be as much a part of our training as speed drills and the long, slow run.

No, I’m not talking about stretching (even though we should do that, too).

I’m talking about strength training.

A few weeks ago, Lululemon reposted this article on their blog from Jason Fitzgerald, a running coach at StrengthRunning.com, which promotes the benefits of strength training for runners. While Fitzgerald does a pretty good job of explaining why runners should incorporate strength training into their training plans and what they should be doing, he doesn’t really explain how.
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Can meditation make you a faster runner?

The Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson uses it with his players to prepare for NBA games. Top mixed martial arts fighters like Georges St-Pierre and Diego Sanchez use it to calm the mind and enhance focus before fights. Even the U.S. Army uses it to increase mental toughness.

Since endurance sports takes a whole lot of mental focus, pain management and rumination avoidance, you’d think meditation and running would go together like CrossFit and the Paleo Diet. (more…)

15 simple steps to help start your weight-loss journey

My long-term goal: Doing a triathlon. When I signed up, I didn't even know how to swim.

My long-term goal: Doing a triathlon. When I signed up, I didn’t even know how to swim.

I know what you’re probably thinking.

15 simple steps? Losing weight isn’t easy like that.

You’re absolutely right. Changing your body composition is not easy. Losing body fat and gaining muscle; getting stronger, faster and more flexible; and changing your habits to get there is HARD. And it can be even harder to know where to start.

No matter where you’re starting from in your weight-loss journey (or body re-composition, as I prefer to call it) here are 15 steps you need to work through before you even buy that gym pass or start counting your calories.

(more…)

Going for the BQ: 2014 goal update and my Boston-bound marathon training plan

IMG_3542It’s been six months since I declared my 2014 personal and fitness-related goals for this year: become a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), get published in a print publication, and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

So how’s that all going, you ask? (more…)

Sunday Runday: Francis/King Regional Park trails

Beautiful old growth trees

Beautiful old growth trees

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to explore this park.

Francis/King Park is only about 15 minutes from downtown Victoria, just off Munn Road near Prospect Lake. There’s a nice little trail system within the park that connects to Thetis Lake Regional Park in the Highlands, so you could easily make this run longer than the one hour-ish run Debbie and I did.

Though lacking vistas, Francis/King certainly has some beautiful single-track trails that twist and turn through old growth cedars and lush, green marshland. This would be a great place to go if you’re a trail running newbie as the trail is neither that steep nor technical. (more…)

Recipe: Healthy chocolate peanut butter protein balls

ballsIf there’s anything better than chocolate and peanut butter, I have yet to discover it. (Okay, wine is pretty great, too).

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for about three weeks now, and I think I’ve found the perfect flavour/consistency for these bad boys! If you want to make them really low calorie, you can omit the peanut butter — but really, why would you do that.

I even calculated the calories and macros for all you IIFYM people. It takes less than 10 minutes to prep, and only 12 minutes to bake. Stop wasting your money on those amazingly tasty Quest bars and make these instead! (more…)

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