Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 4 update (and what happened when I went off the nutrition plan this past weekend)

Week 4 RecapHappy almost Friday, friends! Sorry for the lack of blog posts and engagement lately — I’ve been trying to pack in more freelance articles (two more for AskMen.com!) during the week to keep my weekends free and clear for fun activities… like camping!

I doubled-down on my Tone It Up Bikini Series workouts this past week and took some measurements at the three week mark to see how I was doing. I definitely felt better and less bloated, but it was great to see a wee half-inch drop all around (except for the booty!) and the 4 lbs I gained livin’ it up at Disneyland and Vegas in February absent from the scale. To celebrate, I #ateallthethings when I went camping this past weekend and paid the price.  (more…)

3 ways you can help convince a family member or friend to get healthy

3 ways you can help convince a family member or friend to get healthyIf you’ve been a reader of my blog for awhile, you may know my story about how and why I got into running, and later health and fitness and personal training. Although I know I’ve inspired a few friends and readers to start their own health and fitness journeys (which is amazing and awesome and is the  number one reason why I continue to share my experiences on social media), the one person I’ve always been trying to inspire is seemingly un-inspirable.

My dad.

The one who’s health issues scared me into exercise in the first place and made me swear off fast food forever. He’s stubborn, set in his ways, and can’t stand to be told “no”.

Perhaps you also have a stubborn loved one, close friend, spouse, brother, sister or parent who has bad and harmful habits you wish they would stop, because you can see how detrimental it is to their health. That despite heart attacks, angina, various heart surgeries and diabetes that has all but claimed their mobility, they just can’t change their ways. Because to you, you think that they’d rather eat burgers and fries and sweets and alcohol than be around for your wedding day. You think that because they don’t care about themselves, they don’t care about you. (more…)

Are you self-creating stress?

My happy place. I always make time to get out in nature with the dogs.

My happy place. I always make time to get out in nature with the dogs.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about balance, and my constant struggle to find it. Especially right now, with the month of May being full of birthdays, camping, trips and other activities. My weekends are pretty much booked full for the next two months. Part of me is excited by all these fun things and experiences I get to be a part of, but the other part is wondering how I’m going to find the time to take care of general chores, tackle yard work, write blog posts, write my regular freelance articles, help my online fitness clients, work at my 9-5 job, and make time for family and self care.

According to the American Psychological Association, busyness is the reason why the majority of American’s have high stress levels that interferes with their health, and as author Scott Dannemiller points out in this Huffington Post piece, the majority of the stress we experience is brought on ourselves:

Dr. Michael Marmot, a British epidemiologist, has studied stress and its effects, and found the root causes to be two types of busyness. Though he doesn’t give them official names, he describes the most damaging as busyness without control, which primarily affects the poor. Their economic reality simply does not allow for downtime. They have to work two to three jobs to keep the family afloat. When you add kids to the mix, it becomes overwhelming, and the stress results in legitimate health problems.

The second type of busyness also results in health problems, but it is a sickness we bring on ourselves. Like voluntarily licking the door handle of a preschool bathroom or having a sweaty picnic in the Ball Pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

It’s busyness we control.

Self-created stress.

I definitely think I self-create the majority of my stress. (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016 – Week 2 Recap

bikini RecapWell, week two of of Tone It Up Bikini Series didn’t go as smoothly as week one, but that’s the beauty of causally following a plan with flexible guidelines — you get to make it work for you!

Workouts
I hit all my workouts as planned and then some, which I was happy about. I also did the 5 Daily Moves and 15-20 minutes of incline walking on the treadmill or a 20-minute dog walk every day. All workouts are from Tone It Up Beach Babe 4.

Monday – HIIT Me Up (a 20-minute HIIT workout with dumbbells), Toned Arms (12-minute dumbbell and band arm workout)
Tuesday – Kettle Flow (a 20-minute flow yoga routine that incorporates a kettle bell)
Wednesday – Rock Your Body (a 20-minutes Pilates and Barre workout) and a 30-minute run
Thursday – Upper Body Total Toner (a 23-minute upper body workout with dumbbells and bands), Cardio Abs (standing ab moves with cardio bursts)
Friday – Booty Workout (a 20-minute mini bands and dumbbell glute workout), K+K Slay (a 11-minute cardio/HIIT workout)
Saturday – Cardio Flow (a 12-minute flow yoga routine), Toned Arms
Sunday – 8K run (which was AWESOME, by the way… no pain and ran at my normal pre-marathon pace) Toned Abs (a 20-minute yoga core workout)

I seriously look forward to these workouts every morning. They’re challenging, but also fun. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: 20-minute HIIT workout for runners

Workout Wednesday_ hiitI have a love/hate relationship with high-intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT workouts. Even though I generally hate every minute of each exercise in a HIIT circuit and am always left feeling winded and dripping with sweat, you really can’t argue with the results. Not only are HIIT workouts a great way to boost your anaerobic capacity (which can translate into speedier run times), but also can help build your strength and power in your legs with pylometric movements. Also a plus: HIIT workouts are short in duration (they shouldn’t be longer than 20-30 minutes), which makes them an effective way to get a workout in when you’re short on time.

If you’re looking for a total-body 20-minute HIIT workout to help build strength, power and anaerobic capacity, I’ve got you covered: (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 1 Review

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

Despite not lifting heavy weights during my usual early morning sweat seshes, my muscles sure feel like they got a good workout this past week. Everything from by abs to my glutes to my shoulder to my biceps feel worked. So that’s a good sign!

I did the full 7-day routine, which included 2 to 3 short workouts per day (that I went over in detail in my last post if you want to know more) plus a few 5K runs and 40-minute dog walks. I also followed the meal plan more or less. Well, I made most of the meals on the plan, but added about 25 per cent more calories from other suggested snacks or things I like, because the calorie count was far too low for me to function on. I tried everything suggested for meals on the first three days of week one, then stuck to my favourites for the rest of the week (I’m obsessed with the protein pancake!). (more…)

Fitness Friday: “Toning” workouts and a running injury returns

fitnessfridayHappy Friday, friends!

As I explained a few posts ago, I finished my 8-week muscle and strength building program (which did help put on some baby muscles!) and started the Tone It Up Bikini Series this week.

I was skeptical about the Bikini Series workouts, because they looked like fluffy women’s fitness magazine workouts with lots of body weight exercises and strength training (or “toning” moves, as they call them) with tiny pink dumbbells. Now, that’s not going to do a whole lot to build muscle or make you stronger. But it’s a good place to start of you’re a beginner and not ready to get into true strength training. While online videos and DVDs are fine for body weight and light dumbbell exercises, I think proper strength training requires the assistance of a personal trainer or coach to ensure you’re performing the exercises correctly, so a) you don’t injury yourself, and b) you actually benefit from the moves. That said, there’s certainly a place for lighter, Pilates-type exercises. They do a good job of working your core and your ancillary muscles (triceps and biceps, etc.), and are particularly great if you’re rehabing an injury and can’t do heavy lifting or more intense exercise.

Anyway, here’s what my week of workouts looked like: (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016 – My first impressions of the program

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my posts have quadrupled since last week and are littered with hashtags about #tius and #bikinis. #sorrynotsorry.

As I explained in this post, I’ve joined a few thousand other women to take on the Tone It Up 2016 Bikini Series Challenge for the next eight weeks. And aside from keeping up with the group and feeling like a part of the community, all the posts and hashtags = chances at awesome prizes, including a trip to Turks and Caicos. Hence why I’m #sorrynotsorry.

I’ll do a full recap at the end of each week to let you know how it went and my thoughts on the workouts and meals (since they change a bit each week), but I thought I’d share some initial thoughts I’ve had since reviewing the program, doing Sunday meal prep and how changing up my morning routine went on day one. (more…)

thinking out loud: Why I’m changing up my approach to exercise right now and a few exciting things!

Happy almost Friday!

Happy almost Friday!

First off, the exciting thing I alluded to in my two previous Friday posts is not happening 🙁 Well, it will happen, but just not as planned. More to come on that in a few weeks! #vagueblogging

But there were two other exciting things that happened over the past two weeks: I wrote my first article for AskMen.com (yes, I know it’s called Ask Men, but they have female writers too), so check it out if you want to know which pieces of Bri-approved home gym equipment you should get that don’t take up a ton of space and are relatively affordable. The second exciting thing was that I finally became an official member of Oiselle Volée!

volee

I’ve been a fan of their running apparel since the beginning (I have still have an original pair of shorts and sports bra) and everything they do for females in the sport of running, so I was more than happy to contribute to their athlete fund to get their awesome singlet and represent for real this time. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: A lazy, post-vacation (or post-illness) workout

Workout Wednesday_ A lazy, post-vacation (or post-illness) workoutYou know when you return from a week or more of vacation — that may or may not have included lots of relaxing, eating and drinking — and have a hard time getting back into your workout routine? Or when you’re out for a few days to a week with the flu and aren’t well enough to jump right back into your fitness routine?

Instead of putting off exercise for another day (or week), try this easy yet effective post-vacation/post-illness workout routine. You won’t be burning mega calories with this one, but it’s a great set of exercises to help get you back on track.

This will most likely be the workout I do in a few days after I recover from whatever illness I have at the moment (almost everyone at work has some kind of sickness, and I seem to have had a bad reaction to medication I took yesterday for something unrelated… ugh). (more…)

Five Things Friday: You know you’re an adult when…

five thingsHappy Friday, friends!

Whatch’yall up for the weekend?

Since I powered through a lot of freelance this week I might actually have more time to do fun things this weekend. I’d like to buy some more plants and herbs for the patio and tidy up outside a bit more before BBQ season… maybe go to Home Depot, or maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond but I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time… (more…)

A boredom-busting treadmill workout

Treadmill WorkoutEven though I run outside year-round on Vancouver Island, there are some days (like today… and pretty much all of January and February) when it’s too cold and miserable outside to run. Well, it’s not really—but I’m much more likely to actually get my workout in than skip it if I can be comfortable during said workout.

Enter the treadmill (aka dreadmill). Sure, it’s not as fun or challenging as running on a single-track trail over roots and rocks—but the treadmill can be an effective way to get in a great aerobic workout when any outside run just isn’t possible.

To beat treadmill-running boredom and to help increase your aerobic capacity and leg strength, try doing a fartlek run (a run consisting of various inclines and speeds from easy to moderate to hard) for your treadmill workout. If you need something more structured than just running fast and slow and adjusting the incline on the fly for your treadmill run, try this 40-minute fartlek treadmill workout: (more…)

Five Things Friday: Beat the Blerch, print magazine features and why I’m loving spring right now

five thingsHappy Friday, lovelies!

Let’s see if I actually have five exciting/fun/interesting things to share with you this week…

I’m running Beat the Blerch! Timing never worked out for this race for me before–which I’ve been dying to do since The Oatmeal‘s Matthew Inman first announced it–but this year it will fit perfectly into my third-time’s-a-charm BQ attempt at the Goodlife Victoria Marathon in October. I’ll be doing the half and using it as a speedy race-prep race, though I’ll probably have to stop and take photos of blerchs and to eat birthday cake. Because how could you not. Also, heading to Seattle means a stop a the Oiselle store (sorry, bank account). Is anyone else planning to do it?? (more…)

Why analytical thinkers and problem solvers make the best ultramarathoners

barkleysI don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Barkley Marathons finishers are typically scientists, physicists or engineers. I feel like you need to have a certain mindset or way of thinking to handle the physical and mental demands of an ultra endurance race like that.

This past weekend I was glued to Twitter following the 30th running of the Barkley Marathons—the only resource for live updates on the famously enigmatic 100-ish mile race—and constantly refreshing the #BM100 hashtag feed to find out how Canadians Gary Robbins and Rhonda-Marie Avery (who was the race’s first blind participant – yes, blind) were faring on the race’s unforgiving course. Rhonda-Marie and her guide gave a valiant effort, dropping out after getting lost on the first loop, while Gary completed four and a half loops (out of five) before getting turned around and losing time, which forced him to drop out about five hours from the cut-off time.

According to sources on the course, Gary was hallucinating bad—something that ultrarunners often experience when attempting 100+ mile races on little to no sleep. I’ve heard of runners seeing things in the trees, feeling like the forest was caving in on them, hearing voices and experiencing other wild visions when they start to lose mental footing during a race. Even this year’s winner (who is the race’s first-ever three-time finisher) Jared Campbell mentioned he was hearing voices in the tunnel on the course. I can’t imagine the mental fortitude it would take to ground yourself and keep pushing on when your that emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.   (more…)

Five things Friday: Getting strong, crappy runs and my new home office!

five thingsHappy almost Saturday, friends! And happy April Fool’s, I suppose?

I was hoping to post more this week, but with moving and unpacking and freelance work taking up the majority of my “free” time right now, I just haven’t felt motivated to sit down and write. I still don’t, so I’m going to make this short and sweet 🙂

1. I’m starting to get some upper body strength/definition back thanks to my new strength training program. I’ve been pretty consistent with it since I got back from vacation in early March, and will continue it for another month until I mix up the reps, sets and weight a bit.

2. I’ve only done a handful of 5 km runs since the marathon, and they’ve been pretty sloggy — I can tell it’s time to go running shoe shopping (I’m way overdue as I’ve run two marathons in this pair that I’ve had since October). It also doesn’t help that pollen is literally coating EVERYTHING in sight right now and I’m having a hard time breathing outside. The only good things about my runs lately are that it’s light out enough after work to hit the trails, the weather has been beautiful and I’m treated to scenery like this: (more…)

10 easy, healthy snack ideas for the desk dweller

new vega sport performance proteinRaise your hand if your morning routine goes a little something like this:

Crap, I’m already running late for work because the kids are fighting/my hair is just NOT working today/I have nothing to wear/I lost 10 minutes of my life to Facebook/the dog just puked all over the carpet. *Looks in fridge* I guess I’ll just take this leftover spaghetti from last week to eat for lunch because I have no time to make anything else. *Opens container, notices something growing on it* Never mind, I’ll buy lunch.

And then similarly, your work day goes something like this:

It’s only 10 a.m. and I’m starving. Ohhh sweet, someone bought a box of doughnuts to the office! *Chows down on a Boston cream and gets back to work* How is it 1 p.m. already? I have so much to do, I really don’t have time to grab lunch. I’ll just see what’s in the vending machine/snack shack. *Buys a frozen Lean Cuisine* I guess this is healthy enough, it says ‘”lean” on it… and that looks like a piece of broccoli in there. *Unwraps and heats up Lean Cuisine, eats it at desk* Ugh, it’s only 3 p.m.! I’m starving. *Heads to vending machine and buys a bag of chips and a chocolate granola bar* Hopefully this will tide me over until dinner! *Gets home, feels ravenous. Eats cereal from the box while deciding what to make for dinner*

When you have a busy life and an even busier job that entails sitting behind a computer for most of the day, making time for healthy habits can be hard. Not only is it tough to take a break, get up and move around, but making healthy food choices can also be challenging.

Because most of us nine-to-fivers don’t always have the time to prepare roasted kale chips or homemade protein bars, I’ve come up with a list of snacks you can prep in a pinch and bring to work with you that will keep you fueled throughout the day until dinnertime. Bonus: You’ll save a ton of cash by bringing your own food. (more…)

How I prepared for a fitness magazine photoshoot

IMG_7660This past Sunday I did a photoshoot for an article I’m working on for an upcoming issue of IMPACT Magazine.

Of course, the article has to be about sports bras and of course the photoshoot has to happen in the middle of winter. As a chronically cold person with Raynaud’s disease, I seriously had to psyche myself for this photoshoot. And not just because of the cold — I was going to be photographed running around in JUST a sports bra and shorts; something I don’t feel comfortable doing even in the summer months. Lying around in a bikini in the sun at the beach, sure — but things jiggle when you run. And since I’m right in the middle of marathon training and my fast-twitch muscle fibres — the ones that get more defined with resistance training — are taking a back seat to my less defined slow-twitch muscle fibres, I’m a bit squishy at the moment. Marathon training hanger hasn’t really helped, either. (more…)

Recipe: Cranberry banana nut and seed energy bar (vegan, gluten-free)

energy barIn an effort to save some cash (after discovering I spent over $1,000 on groceries last month — yikes!), I decided to make my own energy bars instead of dropping close to $5 a bar at my local health food store.

I looked at the ingredients in several of my favourite bars and whipped up this cranberry banana nut and seed energy bar concoction last week. It turned out AMAZING, so I made it again and measured everything this time so I could share it with y’all 🙂

High in fibre, protein, vitamin E, zinc and essential fatty acids, these seedy bars are the perfect snack to fight off those 3 p.m. hangeries.

 

 

 

 

(more…)

%d bloggers like this: