Recipe: Coconut cashew protein bars (vegan)

cookiesWhat’s sweet, delicious, vegan, satisfying, low in carbohydrates and relatively high in protein?

THIS.

I’ve been testing several homemade protein bar recipes to fit in with client meal plans, and so far this one by Kelly over at Foodie Fiasco is the best I’ve come across after hours of scrolling through Pinterest and foodie blogs. Not only is it super easy to make, but also is much more affordable than the store-bought protein bar it’s based on.

Here’s a slightly modified version of the recipe, minus the pretty food photos but triple the amount of cashew coconutty goodness. You can eat them raw as intended in Kelly’s recipe, but I prefer them baked — they become a bit more cookie-like and less doughy if you pop them in the oven for 15 minutes. (more…)

Mind over marathon: What to do when your body wants to quit

My BQ attempt at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria last year, ignoring the pain!

I wish I could train for a marathon without running those 3-hour-plus long training runs. No matter how beautiful my running route is and how interesting the podcasts I listen to during my long runs are, I always start thinking about how hungry, tired and chaffed I am and how much I just want to stop running and be back at home.

I guess I sort of skipped the long runs in 2013 during training, but that’s because I already put in those once weekly 3-5 hour long run days several months before while I was training for the Squamish 50. Then I took a two-month break, got up one day and ran 24 km, and then ran a marathon a week later.

I know there are marathon training methods where your longest training run is only about 25 km. These plans also include several longer runs (12-16 km) per week, plus a day or two of strength training and a tempo run. Although the proponents of this method say your endurance will be marathon-ready and you are less likely to overtrain and injure yourself by skipping the once-per-week high mileage runs (which may be true), here’s why I don’t like that method: you miss out on training your brain. (more…)

Giveaway time! Enter to win an H2O Audio Interval 4G Waterproof Headphone System!

FullSizeRender2Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m happy to report I’m finally back to workouts this week — I started with some light resistance training on Monday and 30 minutes of yoga yesterday. I’m sore everywhere. Oh how I missed you, DOMs.

My plan is to finally head out for a run on Thursday this week. I’m so glad I didn’t end up signing up for a spring race like I had planned to, otherwise I’d be mighty disappointed in my cardio fitness right now. I have no races planned in the near future, however, so I have plenty of time to build it back up again.

Speaking of races, I’ve been seriously considering getting back to triathlon again. I did my first race in 2010 and fell in love with it. But then I went and became an event organizer and communications person for a local triathlon race series and that experience completely crushed my desire to participate again. When you breathe swimming, biking and running 24/7 from an event organizer perspective, swimming, biking and running is kind of the last thing you want to do in your free time (on the rare occasion you have any).

When I was training, though, I would have LOVED to have had this for the pool. The H2O Audio Interval 4G Waterproof Headphone System is a waterproof case AND headphones for your iPod shuffle so you can rock out in the pool during swim training. (more…)

The importance of exercising outside

IMG_5561I feel incredibly blessed and lucky every time I go out for a hike or trail run — even if it’s pouring rain and the trail is nothing but miles of mud puddles and slippery roots like it was this past weekend. How lucky am I to live in a place where such pristine and breathtaking trails are only a short drive away? I am well aware that that are millions of humans on the planet who will never get to walk trails like these. That they may never see anything except for concrete towers or suburban slums. I wish I could come pick you all up on a bus and take to you these trails or somewhere just as magical. Everyone should have the opportunity to be in nature. It’s part of our humanity.

I don’t know the type of person I’d be if I didn’t have access to nature and the ability to exercise safely outdoors. It had been about three weeks since I went hiking, and I was already starting to feel the effects of my absence from nature: Despondent. Tired. Sad. Lost. Irritable. Luckily on Friday, Matt’s sister Sara — who resides in the middle-of-no-where Saskatchewan — agreed to join me for a hike out to Mystic Beach, one of my most favourite places on Vancouver Island.

There’s just something about being in the trees and near the ocean that’s so healing for me. And after the stress of these past few weeks, it seemed to be just what I needed to feel balanced again. (more…)

How to maintain your fitness (and recover properly) when injured

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks.
Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

You’ve finally found your exercise groove and are just starting to notice a change in your body when BAM — you get sidelined with an injury. As frustrating as it may be, especially if you were training for a race or other event, getting injured doesn’t mean all your hard work for the past few months was for nothing. Though rest for proper repair is crucial, there are some things you can do during the latter stages of recovery to help you bounce back quicker.

In general, it takes about two to six weeks for muscles to atrophy (meaning you lose some of the gains in strength and size you’ve acquired from your training). However, when you return to training, the rate of strength reattainment is high, meaning your muscles will “remember” their previous state and will bounce back quicker. Although you may be tempted to start training as soon as the pain stops, it’s important to follow instructions from your doctor or physical therapist in regards to when you can start light activity again. If you were an athlete on a team and I was your strength coach, your doctor or athletic therapist would give me a form with your indications (what you can do) and contraindications (what you need to avoid) on it so I can best help you return to training. (more…)

Post-surgery recovery update

feb22-3Just a quick update today since I haven’t said much about the crappiness that was last week/the week before since I wrote this blog post.

I went to my doctor on Friday and I seem to be healing up okay, which means I should be good to slowly get back into yoga/resistance training/running by the end of the week. The hardest part for me is doing too much too soon the moment I feel like myself again, so I wrote myself a recovery plan to follow just in case I get any crazy ideas :)

The plan is to go on an easy hike this weekend, then do some body weight exercises next week working up to an easy run by the end of the week. Yoga is a bit more difficult due to where the incisions are (on my abdominal area), and I can feel things pull when I stretch, so I might wait awhile before I can get back into my practice. Which sucks, because I was making great progress on my headstands! (more…)

Strength training. You’re (probably) doing it wrong.

IMG_3505Before I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought I had pretty decent form when lifting weights and  doing core exercises at the gym. I’d been studying the instructions in fitness magazines and following along carefully to workout DVDs for almost nine years, all the while thinking I was working the muscle groups I was trying to target.

Nope.

When I was studying for my CSCS exam, I got schooled by another trainer at a private gym where I was volunteering and job shadowing last summer. Turns out I have a wicked anterior pelvic tilt (meaning my hips tilt forward, like I’m trying to sit all the time), which made me botch up most of my core and hip exercises and was probably the reason to blame for my tight calves. (more…)

Fitness rant: Looking good does not make you an expert

Look how fit I am! You should listen to me! And buy my ebook! - Internet fitness experts

Look how fit I am! You should listen to me! And buy my ebook! – Internet fitness experts

By now you may have heard the story behind Jen Selter, the “fitness expert” who landed a column in the New York Post by posting pictures of her shapely butt on Instagram. Thing is, this woman is neither certified to train nor in a position to give fitness advice to the general population, as author and certified personal trainer Jen Sinkler points out in this article for Men’s Health.

“Good intentions abound—she isn’t endangering people, by any means, only propagating myths that have been disproven. She is a fitness inspiration to many. She is not (yet) a fitness expert, however. She has never trained a client, aside from her mother.”

The quote above from Sinkler’s article is something that can be applied to a lot of the well-intentioned fitness fanatics on social media these days. (more…)

Thoughts on being present during horrible situations and coping with rest when you love to move

Meditation did not help me in this situation.

Meditation did not help me in this situation.

Something extremely painful and horrible happened to me last week.

I don’t want to go into the details of it right now for several reasons, but I can tell you it involved several trips to various clinics and to the hospital; a lot of pain, discomfort and frustration; three days of fasting; and surgery at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. I’m extremely happy to be home and on the mend today.

Since I’ve been working on my zen and being present lately, I wondered if it would help me deal the with situation I was in. Though taking deep breaths did help me deal with being pricked a total of six times with an IV needle as nurses searched for a good vein during my hospital stays, it did not help me during the constant pain and discomfort I experienced since the incident last Tuesday. Nor did it help as I fasted and waited, fasted and waited all week for an operating room time. I did not want to be present. I wanted to zone out and for time to move quickly. I watched a lot of really bad TV and stupid movies. (more…)

Guilt and the art of letting go: Why it’s okay to feel like crap sometimes

buddha-thoughtsSay you had a particularly stressful day at work and you came home and finished off a bag of chips before dinner instead of snacking on something more nutritious. Or maybe you fully intended to go to the gym before work, but your bed was just too darn comfy. Or perhaps you had planned to stick to the vegetables and lean protein offered at that dinner party, but those buttered dinner rolls were calling your name.

So you give in to temptation. And you immediately feel crappy about your decision.

But then you think, I shouldn’t feel this way. Tomorrow is a new day. It’s just a bag of chips; I can start again tomorrow, right? I feel guilty, but I feel silly for getting upset over something like this because I read this post on Facebook/inspirational quote on Pinterest telling me not to feel that way, that I shouldn’t beat myself up over things like this, and now I feel bad for feeling bad.

Sounds like a vicious cycle, right?

Well I say feel all the feels. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Total-body strength circuit part II

Happy #WorkoutWednesday! Here is part II of the strength training program I created for a challenge group I hosted back in January. You can find part I, workout A, here. Perform workout A and B on alternating days for the next 6-8 weeks with a rest day in between. So for example, during week one on Monday you would do workout A, on Wednesday you would do workout B, then on Friday you would do workout A. The following week, do workout B on Monday, workout A on Wednesday, and workout B on Friday, and so on. Try it out and let me know what you think!

What you need:

  • 8-15lbs set of dumbbells
  • Yoga mat

The workout:

WARM UP

ACTIVITY SETS / REPS INTENSITY NOTES
Arm circles 1 2 easy Forward and backward 12 rotations
Sun salutations 3 1 easy Down dog to cobra pose and back up
Leg swings 1 8 each side easy Swing front to back and side to side
Knee up/backwards lunge/stretch 1 8 each side medium Knee up, step back w/ same leg, stretch arm up on same side
Side lunge w/ 5lb weight 1 8 each side medium Lunge and push weight out in front

 

WORKOUT

Alternate workouts grouped by letter (A, B, C, D) until all sets are complete. For example, complete one set of workout 1A, rest for 30 seconds, then complete one set of 2A. Rest again, then repeat two more times before moving on the the next grouped set.

EXERCISES SETS / REPS WEIGHT REST NOTES
A1. Walking lunge with dumbbells  3 24 steps 8-10 lbs each hand 30 secs Take 12 steps (6 each leg) forward, alternating legs.
A2. Sumo squat 3 10 8-10 lbs 30 secs Take wide stance, toes pointed out. Hold dumbbell between legs.
B1. Dumbbell row 3 10 8-15 lbs each hand 30 secs Standing w/ both weights or single-arm row using a bench or knee.
B2. Dumbbell bench press 3 10 8-20 lbs each hand 30 secs Can be from floor or bench.
C1. Tricep extension 3 10 8-10 lbs each hand 30 secs Lying on floor or bench.
C2. Standing row 3 10 8-10 lbs each hand  30 secs Can use 20 lbs barbell.
D1. Side plank 3 30 sec/side BW none Advanced: Do 8 leg lifts.
D2. Superman 3 10 BW none On hands and knees, extend opposite arm and leg.

[Book Review] Lose It Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind by James Fell

loseitrightDo you know how much the diet industry makes each year in revenue?

Twenty billion dollars. Each year. Just in the U.S.

And do you know how many people in the U.S. are on a diet right now?

One-hundred and eight million. Again, this is just in the U.S. And according to these stats, dieters typically attempt a diet roughly five times a year.

Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

There are a lot of reasons why we’re overweight and why diets fail, and James Fell does an excellent job of explaining them in his book Lose It Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. As James puts it, “obesity is a multi-factorial condition. That means it has more causes than Cosmo has freaky sex tips.”

And that’s just one of the reasons why I love about this book. Instead of telling you to eat this, not that; exercise like this, not that — James actually explains, in plain language (that’s full of his usual humour and wit), WHY we’ve gained weight, WHY we’re struggling to lose it and WHAT STEPS we can take to get ourselves back on track. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Total-body strength circuit with modifications for beginners to advanced

Happy #WorkoutWednesday! If you’re looking to get started with a resistance training program — or maybe you’re looking to mix up your current routine — I’ve got just the workout for you. I created this video and program as part of a fitness challenge group I hosted in January. It requires minimal equipment, works all major muscle groups and is something you can easily do at home. It’s the first workout of two meant to be performed 2-3 times per week on alternating days with a rest day in between. I will post the second workout, workout B, next Wednesday :)

What you need:

  • 8-15lbs set of dumbbells
  • Yoga mat

The workout:

WARM UP

ACTIVITY SETS / REPS INTENSITY* NOTES
Arm circles  1 2 easy Forward and backward 12 rotations
Sun salutations 3 1 easy Down dog to cobra pose and back up
Leg swings 1 8 each side easy Swing front to back and side to side
Knee up/backwards lunge/stretch 1 8 each side medium Knee up, step back w/ same leg, stretch arm up on same side
Side lunge w/ 5lb weight 1 8 each side medium Lunge and push weight out in front

 

WORKOUT
Alternate workouts grouped by letter (A, B, C) until all sets are complete. For example, complete one set of workout 1A, rest for 30 seconds, then complete one set of 2A. Rest again, then repeat two more times before moving on the the next grouped set.

EXERCISES SETS / REPS WEIGHT REST TIME NOTES
1A. Goblet squat 3 8 to 10 10-20lbs 30 secs
2A. Walking lunge w/weight/twist 3        12 10 lbs 30 secs Take 12 steps (6 each leg) forward alternating and twist towards the leading leg when you lunge. Do lunge w/o twist if you have lower back issues.
3B. Glute bridge 3     10 to 12 10 lbs 30 secs Advance: hold a 10-20 lbs dumbbell on your hips.
4B. Side lunge w/ weight  3     10 to 12 5-10lbs 30 secs Lunge and push weight out in front. Beginners, don’t use a weight.
5C. Push up  3         8 BW none Beginners: from knees. Advanced: from toes.
6C. Donkey kick  3  8 each side BW none Kick back behind you on hands and knees. Advanced, try yoga variation.
7C. Plank 3 Hold for 30-50 sec none

Does marathon training make you gain weight?

Looking like a stuffed sausage during triathlon training in 2010.

Looking like a stuffed sausage during triathlon training in 2010.

It might seem counterintuitive, but running long distance does not always equal a fit-looking body. I say fit looking, because if you can run 25 – 34km once a week for several weeks, you are a fit person. You just might be carrying around a little extra squishiness than if you were, say, lifting weights and doing half an hour of plyometrics a few times a week instead.

What gives? I burn, like, 1,500 calories on my 30 km training runs. That’s like, a whole day’s worth of food!

And herein lies the problem: Marathon training = eat all the foodz + type I > type II muscle fibres = more squishiness. (more…)

Unhappy with your body? Change your perception by thinking of it like this.

At the right place at the right time for this rainbow in Maui.

At the right place at the right time for this rainbow in Maui.

Are you unhappy with the way your body looks? Do you pick yourself apart, thinking negative thoughts about how this part of your flesh looks in that particular outfit, or the way that body part of yours should be just a little bit more narrow/wide/tall?

If you’re critical of your body, try thinking about it in this way.

Try thinking of it as a rainbow.

Seriously.

During my last few long marathon training runs, I started listening to AudioDharma, a podcast recorded at a meditation centre in California that explores Buddha’s teachings. Being an aspiring yogi, I decided I might gain some insight by brushing up on the teachings of this often-quoted spiritual sage. I like a lot of the concepts practiced in Buddhism (kindness, gratitude, generosity, mindfulness, etc.), so I thought I might be able to find little nuggets of wisdom I could take away and practice in my daily life while getting those training miles in under my belt. (more…)

How I finally cleared up my skin after 15 years of cystic acne

A rare non-running selfie of the elusive Bri

I didn’t really want to talk about this on the blog since this topic isn’t really related to running, lifting weights or doing yoga. Although it’s related to eating healthy, it’s a bit more personal than I usually like to get. But I thought since it’s about self-care and mental health I may as well share my story. Plus, if it helps someone else struggling with the same issues, even better.

My battle with bad skin
I’ve had bad skin since I turned 15. Almost everyone has bad skin at that age, but mine was particularly bad. Not only did I get acne, but also cold sores (on my chin and nose, never on my lips) and eczema. Birth control pills never helped, and neither did dermatologist-prescribed retin A creams and other steroids. I’ve been to the best dermatologists in Victoria, tried Proactiv (which completely dried up my skin in a bad way) and took antibiotics. The only thing I haven’t tried was Accutane, because I’ve heard horror stories about how bad it can be for your liver and what it can do to your skin if you take the wrong dosage.

I’ve been dealing with problem skin for my entire teenage and adult life, finding relief only occasionally for a few days after a tropical vacation (my skin tends to improve after a week in the sun sans makeup and stress). And as anyone who suffers from bad skin will know, it’s pretty psychologically damaging to have problem skin. Not only does it hurt (cystic acne and cold sores), but you also feel so self conscious of your face. It takes me twice as long as most people to get ready in the morning because I apply make up like I’m creating a work of art or something. Because of that, I’m often late, which causes even more stress.

There would also be times I’d avoid social situations all together because I was feeling so self-conscious about my skin. And when I did feel confident enough to go out, I’d avoid going anywhere near a window or outside in natural light.

Those who know me in person and see me on a day-to-day basis always say it’s not that bad — but that’s because I do a pretty good job of covering it up. Only my close girlfriends, parents and boyfriend have seen me without make-up and at my worst. Obviously I don’t have “before” photos to share, because I could never bring myself to take a photo sans make-up during a particularly bad break out. But my skin looked similar to this beautiful soul’s skin, who was brave enough to show the world what she looked like without make-up: (more…)

Best vegan (and gluten-free) banana hemp heart muffin recipe ever, plus a chance to win your own bag of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts!

Hemp heart banana muffins in the making!

Hemp heart banana muffins in the making!

As someone who doesn’t eat red meat or dairy, and very rarely eats chicken, eggs and fish (I only do if it’s served to me just to make my life easier so I’m not “that picky vegan girl”), I need to get most of my protein and healthy fats from plant sources. Because I can’t eat peanut butter at every meal (even though I kinda want to) and I get sick of tofu and tempeh if I eat it everyday, I like finding ways to sneak the good stuff in to each meal. Not only is it more nutritionally well-rounded to include all macronutrients in each meal, but also it keeps you feeling satiated for longer.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan and haven’t tried hemp hearts yet (though you probably have because we’re all a bunch of hippies at heart), I highly recommend including them in your salads, smoothies and oatmeal as a protein and fat source. Hemp hearts contain 10g of protein and 10g of omega 3 and 6 per 30g serving (about 2 Tbsp). Also, they’re delicious. I add 1 Tbsp to my oatmeal everyday (and have been for the past three years) because it makes it a bit crunchy and extra tasty. I also use them in baking a lot for a boost of protein. I tried this recipe from Manitoba Harvest’s website last night and THEY ARE AMAZING. (more…)

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.

Although there have been several scientific studies published over the years about the benefits of meditation, I couldn’t find anything but anecdotal evidence when it came to endurance sports in particular. Even the big running mags only covered the topic of meditation and running just a smattering of times.

While we wait for researchers to study the connection between mindfulness and improving your running efficiency, there’s no harm in trying it out for yourself (unlike going paleo and eating a ton of bacon all the time, which CAN actually harm you). (more…)

My evolution in blogging

My second race ever, a half marathon in Maui

My second race ever, a half marathon in Maui

Yesterday I read this thoughtful post by run blogger Susan and it got me thinking about why I started this blog and where I’m going with it now. Like Susan, I also started to blog because I was training for a race, and wanted to document my journey and maybe inspire others along the way. But I had another reason for starting a blog. And I explained it in my very first post in August of 2009:

If you stumbled upon this blog and wondered to whom this unorganized and unprofessional looking site belonged, you might have checked out my “25 Random Things” (a la Facebook) in my About section.  Number 21 on the list mentions that I had a blog back in the day, when ICQ and MSN Messenger were the popular forms of social media, used mostly by teenagers and geeks.  I posted regularly in my LiveJournal, mainly about what I did on weekends with the occasional “stupid customer” story from my days in the hospitality industry.  I documented about 5 years of my adolescence… and it’s pretty entertaining to go back and read, and I’ll post some of my finer entries here occasionally for your enjoyment. [Note: I ended up deleting it. No juicy tales from my past will ever be revealed on this blog!]

The point is, I thought it was about time I wrote about my life again. That, and I should be writing more often if I want to become a writer… that’s what “they” say, anyway.  I’m also training to run in my first half marathon this October as well as training to become better in all aspects of my life (health, fitness and wellbeing). I know there are tons of blogs about people doing these exact same things, so I will also include lots of anecdotes and observations that I usually just keep to myself in my head… rather than just amuse myself, I will try to amuse you as well!

So that’s how it all began. Now six years, one blog rebrand and 180 posts later (I wasn’t posting very consistently in the first four years), my blog has definitely become more of a how-to, magazine-style blog than a “here’s what I did today” and “these were my workouts for the week” type blog. Although I enjoy reading both types of blogs, I prefer to write in a more how-to magazine-ish style because that’s what I love to do, what I went to school for (I have a minor in professional writing and publishing), and what I generally prefer to read. As someone who is trying to build their freelance career and get more articles published in print magazines, writing in this way not only helps me hone my own writing style, but also acts as a bit of a resume — I wouldn’t have got my first published piece in a print magazine if it wasn’t for the content on this blog. I also notice my tips and how-to posts generate more traffic than diary-style posts. (more…)

Hate running? Then don’t do it.

Gunner Shaw 14That’s right, you heard me.

If pulling on your sweat-wicking threads, lacing up your flashy, minimalistic running shoes and pounding the pavement with Daft Punk blasting through your ear buds for 40 minutes or so isn’t your idea of a good time, then don’t do it.

And equally, if huffing and puffing your way up a steep and muddy single-track trail through forest while your quads turn to jelly is your idea of torture, then don’t do that, either.

Also, if sweating all over the floor and looking super unattractive while you lift heavy weights sounds downright deplorable, then feel free to give it a miss. (more…)

Another Vancouver Island trail you need to run before you die: John Dean Park in Sidney

John Dean Park - on the Barrett Montfort trail.

John Dean Park – on the Barrett Montfort trail.

And we thought we had run all the beautiful trails around southern Vancouver Island… turns out, we were wrong!

Back in 2013, I started creating detailed trail running route posts of all my favourite trails around southern Vancouver Island after reading this post on Shape.com and deciding that the trails I run regularly in Victoria could definitely give those suggestions a run for their money. I mean, how many places in the world have this many well-maintained, amazing and beautiful trails, all within an hours drive of the capital city? Probably not too many. And I’m sure there are many other spectacular trails that can rival these (Inca Trail, anyone?), but for accessibility’s sake, I’d take my moss-covered, root-entangled, winding west coast trails over almost-urban gravel trails any day.

By mid-2014, I had photographed, mapped and blogged about the seven best trails to run on Vancouver Island according to my “Best Trails to Run” criteria (scroll to the bottom of this post to read my criteria and for links to each post). Well… turns out I need to add a number eight to that list :) Thanks to Coach Lindsey of TriStars for suggesting this trail and for providing directions. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before! (more…)

No, you’re not fat because you’re stupid. You’re fat because the fitness industry is failing you.

litingmanFirst of all, I love Bryan Krahn’s writing. He’s entertaining, smart and to-the-point. He’s a fitness professional who gets it. His name also makes me think of Byran Cranston from Breaking Bad, which makes him even that much cooler.

But I took issue with his tongue-and-cheek blog post published last week called You’re Fat Because You’re Stupid after seeing it featured on the Personal Trainer Development Center‘s website. I see what he’s doing, and all of his arguments are totally valid; but isn’t calling people who overcomplicate and oversimplify body recomposition or expect weight loss to be quick and easy “moron[s], fool[s], [and] slack-jawed mouth-breather[s]” a form of shaming? Just because people with weight to lose turn to scapegoating (it’s the gluten that’s making me fat! Wait, no — it’s my fatiguing adrenals and leaky gut!) and the latest diet fads does not make them stupid. Diet fads, consumerism, sensationalist headlines and fear-mongering is stupid; the people who buy into them are not. As syndicated fitness columnist James Fell says in this awesome post that was also featured on the PTDC’s website, “Shaming over body weight is stupid. The evidence that the obesigenic environment and capitalism run amok are the primary culprits in the obesity epidemic is overwhelming. Being obese is rarely a choice people make. In most cases, being lean is a choice, and a damn hard one to follow through on.”

So why do we continue to buy into this stuff and ignore the advice from smart trainers like Krahn and Fell? (more…)

A very important part of your fitness program that most trainers fail to address

yogatreeWhen it comes to a client’s fitness program, most personal trainers and coaches take a single-field approach; they teach a client what they physically need to do to get the physical results they are after, whether that’s to gain more muscle, lose body fat, strengthen their bones or to move better. Unless you have a degree or proper training in another field, such as nutrition, physiotherapy or yoga, this is perfectly acceptable — you’re practicing within your scope of expertise. You can’t always be all things to all clients.

Yet the more I read and learn about health and wellness, the more I’m coming to realize a HUGE part of an individual’s health and fitness journey is tied to mental health and happiness. More often than not, if you don’t have those things in check before starting your journey (or if it’s not a part of your journey at all), no matter how much body fat you lose or muscle you build, you’re going to have a hard time finding contentment. I think that lack of self-love mixed with a focus on changing your physique can create a dangerous environment where disordered behaviours can arise. (more…)

Why you don’t need to get lost to find yourself

wilditwasWhy do we sometimes feel the need to get lost to find ourselves?

Where did we go?

Are our comfortable, 9-to-5 lives with practically the whole wide world available at our finger tips so bad?

We bask in the glow of our tech products instead of the warm light of the sunrise. We go to a big room full of sweaty humans and various sizes of black iron and rubber objects and machines with levers and pulleys for a few hours each week in order to maintain our physiques instead of chopping wood, tilling the ground and playing outside. We go to warehouses stocked full of delicious and nutritious food from around the world located just minutes from our homes — most of the time we don’t even have to walk to get there. We’re not under constant threat of predators, we don’t go to bed hungry wondering where our next meal is going to come from, and we can generally fair okay in the elements.

Boy, do we have it easy.

So why are we so depressed? So anxious? Why do we feel the need to abuse substances to feel okay? Do the 27 percent of adults in the U.S. who suffer from mental health disorders all need to sell their belongings and go into the woods for a long hike to find themselves, too, like Cheryl Strayed?

Of course not. But just think about that for moment. What is it about nature that soothes our souls? Why is it that the farther we move from the natural environment, the more unhappy we become? If I didn’t get out on the trails at least once a week, I’d be in a much more anxious and stressed state than I already am. As much as I’d love to sell my worldly possessions and take of on an adventure with my backpack right now and write the next Wild or Eat, Pray, Love, I know that won’t fix things. I need to be here on this path I have chosen. I reflect, meditate and get out into nature enough to know what I need to do to live the life I want to live, and right now it’s just a matter of working towards things that will allow me to live, and love, that life.

I’m not really sure where I was going with this post. But I just want you to know that you don’t actually need to get lost to find yourself — in fact, staying right where you are and looking within may help you find the clarity you seek. If you have the means to go an adventure, then by all means, go. Go into the wild. But if you can’t for whatever reason or responsibility, and that makes you feel even more depressed, just close your laptop and go outside. Bask in the light of the sunrise. Walk on a dirt path under a canopy of trees. Eat berries right off the bush. Be present, then reflect.

It might not fix everything. But trust me: it will help.

Best gift ever during birthday staycation week extravaganza

Views on my birthday morning run

Views on my birthday morning run

I don’t want this week to end.

Other than some social posts, I’ve successfully stayed away from my computer and spent most of the week getting pampered at the spa, hiking with my dog, and reading books. It’s been lovely, and much needed.

Though the massage, facial, daily yoga and Epsom salt baths all week have been amazing, my favourite day was obviously yesterday (my actual birthday), where I spent the morning in the spa getting a manicure and Ayurvedic pedicure and came out to find my wonderful boyfriend had already paid for my treatments. Then I came home to discover he snuck into my apartment and put a big bouquet of flowers on my kitchen table :) Then last night before dinner with my family, he gave me this amazing gift.

 

 

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Recipe: Super delicious immunity-boosting green smoothie

Because everything tastes better in a mason jar.

Because everything tastes better in a mason jar.

GUESS WHAT?

I got a Blentec for Christmas!

Finally, no more gritty smoothies or lumpy dips and sauces. I can now fully experience every single delicious vegan recipe in my Oh She Glows cookbook.

Of course, the first thing I wanted to try in my new blender was a whole fruit and veggie smoothie. My circa 1985 hand-me-down blender could barely crush ice, let alone liquify a whole beet.

Since I haven’t been able to make a whole fruit and veggie smoothie before, I asked my Vitamix-owning coworker what kinds of smoothies she likes to make. She told me she makes this green smoothie every morning that’s loaded with immune-boosting ingredients like ginger, lemon and kale. She says she hasn’t been sick in years since she started having this special green smoothie, so I decided to give it a try. Here’s the recipe with a few tweaks based on what ingredients I had on hand. (more…)

#FitnessFriday: That time I was almost kicked out of a yoga class

timber6I figured it’s time to live up to my blog name.

I’ve been a runner for over seven years and have completed many marathons, half marathons, 10Ks, trail races, triathlons and even an ultra. I’ve been a gym junkie since I was about 22 years old, and finally decided to take my love of resistance training to the next level last year by becoming a certified strength and conditioning coach.

The first time I tried yoga was at a community centre when I was in high school. I went with a bunch of my girlfriends, and almost got booted out of the class for snickering during cat-cow pose. (It was Kundalini yoga, so there was a lot of heavy, guttural breathing, which was making us giggle like a bunch of, well… immature high school girls.) We decided if wasn’t for us, especially after the instructor made us sing a song at the end about a long-time sun. (I still remember that song, and we’d jokingly sing it on occasion in class at school, operatic style.)

I didn’t try a yoga class again until I was about 21 years old. I got a pass for Christmas and went a few times. I really enjoyed it, but couldn’t afford to go regularly. I did my own thing at home based on what I learned in the studio for several years, practicing less and less until the only yoga I did was a few stretches at the end of my runs. (more…)

Book Review: Let go of body shame and find freedom with BODYPeace by Heather Waxman and Kasey Arena

Your thoughts BP BloggersI’m not really one of those people who’s into spiritual self-help books. When I’m perusing Amazon for new books to buy, I generally add inquisitive fiction, exposé-type nonfiction, continuing education texts and cookbooks to my cart. But as a freelance book editor, I’ve had the chance to read my fair share of self-help manuscripts — some good, some not so good. None have stuck with me or lead to make any of the major behavioural changes as promised on the cover of said books.

Until I actually did find a sense of freedom (and a whole lot more) with BODYPeace by Heather Waxman, a meditation expert and life coach, and Kasey Arena, a certified strength and conditioning coach.

BODYPeace is a 30-day self-help guide for women who experience body shame — particular those with disordered eating behaviors such as obsessive calorie counting and binge eating — let go of those behaviours and find inner peace.

The first part of the book focuses on how to recognize those behaviours (called “BODYshame” in the book), explains what might really be going on (most disordered eating behaviours are triggered by a past experience or deep-rooted psychiatric issue, such as anxiety, depression or OCD) and provides readers with a set of tools for how to manage them. (more…)

One third of my life is over and here’s how I plan to celebrate it

Me and my bestie Janine in Thailand celebrating my 21st birthday. Chang beer... worst hangover of my life.

Me and my bestie Janine in Thailand celebrating my 21st birthday. Chang beer… worst hangover of my life.

In nine days, one third of my life will be over. (Yes, I plan to live to at least 90.)

The big 3-0 birthday has been troubling me ever since I turned 29. I hear life is better in your thirties, but I suppose it could be the whole you’re-getting-older-and-can’t-drink-wine-like-you-used-to-on-a-saturday-night thing that bugs me the most about this birthday. I also think it’s because I’m not where I thought I’d be at 30.

This comes up for me pretty much every time I catch up with friends and family at parties or over coffee. I get to hear about upcoming nuptials or babies on the way, which is all lovely and awesome and I’m genuinely excited and happy for them… but then when they ask what I’ve been up to, even after I excitedly describe my new business and my blog and recent fitness magazine article, the next question is always, “So, are you living with your boyfriend yet? Are you going to have a family?” followed by a sympathetic look and a complete change of subject. (more…)

My one word and mantra for 2015

newyearHappy New Year, lovelies! How many of you started 2015 yesterday with a run or hike? Or maybe you hit the gym with all the other resolutioners? Or perhaps you have family tradition on New Year’s Day, like a walk on the beach? Or maybe you were nursing a hangover from the previous night’s libations…

Despite a late night ringing in the New Year at a friend’s house party and a glass of wine or five, I stuck with my tradition of a run on New Year’s Day. The first time I actually went for a run on my own accord was New Year’s Day 2003 in an attempt to start fresh and do something for myself after a Ross-and-Rachel-style “on a break” break up. It took a few more years until I actually fell in love with running, but since then I’ve always tried to hit the trails or pavement on New Year’s Day. (more…)

My Annual Non-New Year’s Resolution Post: 2015 Goals

IMG_3542Unlike last year’s annual non-New Year’s resolutions post, this year I can actually say I accomplished the three goals I set for myself at the end of last year: get my CSCS designation, get published in a print magazine, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. This is one of the reasons why I love having this blog — I can publicly announce things I want to accomplish and hold myself accountable to them, no matter how lofty they may be.

And lofty they were this past year. (more…)

Recipe: Homemade chocolate with raw cacao powder & cocoa butter (vegan)

jarsI usually do a variety of cookies for gifting to family and friends at Christmas, but this year I wanted to try making my own chocolate bark with raw cacao and cocoa butter. Not only does chocolate have a longer shelf life than cookies (which by now most people are probably sick of so they may not eat them right away anyway), but also… who doesn’t love chocolate?

I’ve made my own chocolate bark before using melted baking chips and adding crushed candy cane, nuts and dried fruit, but it kind of felt like cheating. I wanted to try using raw cocoa butter, the stuff real chocolate is made of.

Cocoa butter wasn’t easy to find nor cheap. I couldn’t find it at a regular grocery store, but found a bag at a local health food store for $20. There was enough for two small baking sheets of chocolate in the bag, so since I needed to make more than that I decided to make half with coconut butter and half with cocoa butter. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: Carrot, Banana & Peach yoga wear

Carrot, Banana & Peach sounds good enough to eat, doesn’t it?

Though I don’t recommend it, you probably could eat the clothing made by Carrot, Banana & Peach, considering most of the materials the company uses to create their eco-friendly yoga apparel comes from bamboo, soybeans, milk, bananas and aloe vera.

Carrot, Banana & Peach is a U.K.-based yoga and lifestyle apparel company specializing in “hypoallergenic yoga clothing created from organic and sustainable sources.” While I’m curious as to how they make stretchy, sweat-wicking fabric from aloe vera, milk and soybeans, I can imagine the fabric feels super soft. I love the subtle and natural colour palette they’ve used in their collection of “retreat” wear, and the bright pops of colour featured on some of their yoga and fitness gear. Below are a few of my favourite looks from their fall collection. (more…)

Why I’m breaking up with my FitBit (for now, anyway)

Your thoughts BP BloggersMy wrist feels so bare.

Sometimes I grasp at it in the night, trying to turn off some silent, vibrating alarm that isn’t there.

In the moment I realize I’ve been on my feet a lot during the day, I instinctively reach for my phone or wrist to see how far I’ve gone.

But lately, I don’t know.

And I must say… it’s really freeing.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m obsessed with fitness tech and love testing fitness trackers (see here, here, here and here). But something was happening thanks to this obsession; something not good. And I didn’t even realize it until a book I’m currently reviewing connected the dots for me. (more…)

Looking to get fit in 2015? Join Koru Personal Training’s January Fresh Start Challenge!

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know I don’t like New Year’s resolutions or diving in head-first to some new diet trend or fitness program and giving up all your vices cold turkey. Most of us are back to our old ways by February, and feel crappy that we failed our resolutions yet again.

I’m more a fan of setting goals or intentions for the year, and then setting smaller SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals to help get me there. If one of your goals is to improve your health, fitness level and nutrition knowledge this year, I’m hosting a month-long online fitness challenge over on Koru Personal Training’s Facebook page for the super reasonable price of $20!

From January 1-31, clients will participate in weekly fitness, nutrition and mindfulness challenges under my guidance to help start 2015 off on the right foot. An exercise program tailored to all levels with video instruction will be provided, as well as basic nutrition guidelines and meal plans, support, accountability and encouragement. Participants in the challenge group are also encouraged to share their progress and help motivate others — the more you engage and participate in each challenge and with each other, the more entries you will get to enter to win a Polar Loop ($100 value)! The group will also be private, so I encourage all participants to share as much as they feel comfortable sharing with others in the group.

I did a free pilot fitness group on Facebook for three weeks in November with about 13 people, and they all really enjoyed the challenge and loved the accountability and support.

If this is something you want to be a part of in January, head on over to Koru Personal Training’s Facebook page, “Like” the page and go here to fill out the registration form. More payment details will come later.

What are your biggest health, fitness or wellness challenges/habits you would like to tackle in 2015?

#FitFashion Friday Feature: Some Product running and yoga pants from Breathe Athletic

IMG_4873Last weekend I had the pleasure of testing some new ethically produced, locally made yoga and running tights from Breathe Athletic here in Victoria BC. I’ve you’ve never shopped at Breathe, you must — owner Stephanie Hinton sources the most beautiful yoga, fitness and lifestyle apparel for women, all of it made in North America and/or produced ethically and sustainably where possible. Can’t get to her store? Don’t worry — she also sells her product lines online through her website at breatheathletic.com.

But on to the pants! I took this pair of tights from Some Product out for a chilly trail run.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4839

One thing I loved right away about these pants (aside from the eye-popping “Blue Equestrian” print, made-in-Vancouver tag and gorgeous imported Italian — yes, Italian — fabric) was their slight compression-like feeling. (more…)

Mindful malas: How to make one and what to do with it

My amethyst mala

My amethyst mala

Most yogis or anyone who has read or watched Eat, Pray, Love will be familiar with malas: those long, beautiful necklaces made out of what appears to be round wooden beads with either a stone or tassel hanging near the navel. Aside from looking gorgeous on anyone from SoCal hippies to New York fashionistas, malas have a much more significant purpose and meaning for the wearer.

A mala, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, is a strand of beads traditionally used to count the number of times a mantra is recited during meditation. Malas normally consist of 108 beads made out of ‘Bodhi seeds’, which come from the Rudraksha tree. In Hinduism, Rudraksha seeds are said to be the crystallized tears of Shiva, who cried tear of compassion for the welfare of mankind. (more…)

Top 8 tips to help you survive the holiday season

8tipsWith less than three weeks until Christmas, you’re no doubt right in the thick of “holiday madness”: Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Elsa doll for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon on Black Friday 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 trying 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 three weeks.

And let’s not forget about the guilt you 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…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: Sustainable outdoor fashion by Nau

If you’ve ever been to Portland, Oregon (or Vancouver Island, for that matter), you’ll notice an eclectic mix of outdoor wear (think Gortex and hiking boots), hippy threads (ponchos, pantaloons and Cowichan sweaters), hipster garb (tight pants, boat shoes, plaid shirts, toques, grandpa sweaters) and various spandex attire meant for yoga, running or cycling. I wouldn’t call it fashion-forward, but I would say the clothing definitely fits the environment and how we function in it. Luckily, there is one company based in beautiful Portland, Oregon that manages to make our west coast sense of style… stylish.

Nau makes beautiful functional clothing for both men and women that’s perfectly suited for our urban-yet-wild, sometimes-rainy-hardly-snowy environment. Not only do they use sustainable fabrics like recycled polyester, wool and organic cotton, but also donate 2 per cent of every sale to a partner organization of your choice. Which is awesome and very considerate of them, considering most of us on the west coast are like this: (more…)

I Mustache Ask You a Question…

492_23_11_12_9_16_071I was tagged by the lovely Rachel of bettylivin.com to answer a questionnaire that’s been floating around the health and wellness blogosphere recently. It feels like a Facebook note circa 2009!

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  • Bri (my real name is Brianne)
  • Breezy
  • Brian (when they read my real name out loud and think I’m a dude… hence going by “Bri”
  • Brie cheese

2. Four jobs I have had:

  • Barista
  • Visitor Information Councellor
  • Marketing, social media and communications associate for a local resort management company
  • Communication and events coordinator for a local triathlon series
3. Four movies I have watched more than once:
  • Moulin Rogue
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Love Actually
  • All Indiana Jones movies (except for the 4th one… it sucked.)
4. Four Books I recommend:
  • Ishmael (the book that turned me into a vegetarian)
  • Life of Pi (such a beautiful story)
  • Jitterbug Perfume (My favourite book by Tom Robbins — the king of the metaphor)
  • Born to Run (for obvious reasons!)

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Gear review: Polar M400 Sport Watch Activity Tracker with GPS

polar-reviewIf you’re a regular reader of Run. Lift. Yoga., you know how much I love testing wearable fitness tech (see here, here and here). I currently own a FitBit Force for tracking activity and sleep and a Garmin Forerunner 110 for tracking and pacing my runs, so when an opportunity to review the beta version of the new Polar M400 GPS activity tracker came up — a sport watch that not only tracks your daily activity levels and sleep, but also your running, cycling and other indoor and outdoor activities — I obviously did this:

 

vlntr

I was curious to see how the Polar M400 would stack up against the Force (which has an LED display and tracks activity, sleep and stairs climbed) and the Forerunner 110 (which tracks your runs and heart rate during activity). I like to use my Garmin’s heart rate monitor in conjunction with my FitBit and the MyFitnessPal calorie counting app to get a fairly accurate representation of what I energy I take in and expend each day (see my fat loss experiment here). (more…)

#FitFashion Black Friday: Deals and discounts on all my favourite things!

blackfridayYeah yeah, I know… Black Friday = evil first-world consumerism. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support amazing local companies or companies with awesome products who are doing nice things for the world, such as supporting local artisans in Costa Rica or using recycled materials and offsetting their energy consumption with renewable energy credits.

Since I like to vote with my dollar and support amazing companies, and because I want other people to save money at a financially stressful time of the year, I’m going to pass some of the deals and discount codes I received via email subscription this morning and other social channels along to you! Happy shopping :) (more…)

Workout Wednesday: 20-minute dumbbell full body circuit

workoutwedsHave a pair of dumbbells and 20 minutes to spare? Work your whole body with this circuit from IDEA Fit. Though some of the moves are slightly more advanced, there are modifications in each video for beginners.

What you need:

  • Set of 5-10 lbs dumbbells, and an optional heavier set (15-30 lbs) for the squat and lunge movements
  • yoga mat

Warm up:

Warm up for 5-10 minutes with arm circles (10 rotations backwards and forwards), leg swings (8 reps front to back, as well as laterally), lateral lunges with a light weight (8 on each side), 10 spider lunges and 5 sun salutations. (more…)

Practicing with prAna: Early winter collection yoga apparel review

Breath, life, vitality of the spirit.

Breath, life, vitality of the spirit.

Remember a few #FitFashion Friday’s ago when I posted about California-based yoga and lifestyle apparel brand prAna and their funky, well-fitting pieces with beautiful details? Well guess what — I was lucky enough to be selected through a Fit Approach campaign to try out a few pieces from their early winter collection… AND give my readers a 15% off discount code so you can try it for yourself!

I chose to feature prAna awhile back not only because I loved the look of their funky-patterned yoga leggings and tops, but also because I was impressed by their commitment to sustainability — something I think is definitely lacking with other active wear brands.

“A brand should give much more than it takes from the world”. This has forever been prAna’s simple answer to the complex challenge of sustainability. prAna’s reason to be and to continue on is based on an increasingly mindful use of natural resources, but also on our ability to motivate our community of customers and peer businesses.

prana2 Print

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#FitFashion Friday Feature: Fit Girl Redefined – quality workout clothes designed to embrace curvy women

Lola Tee by Fit Girl Redefined

Lola Tee by Fit Girl Redefined

A few posts ago I mentioned I struggled to find well-made, stylish athletic apparel for “plus-sized” women to feature on #FItFashion Friday. Although some brands do have sizes up to 14, what’s a girl to do if you don’t fit comfortably into a 14? It’s not fair that there is all this amazing, gorgeous athletic apparel for the extra-small types, but limited options for sizes extra large and up.

That’s why after further digging since finding Lola Getts — a collection of cross-functional active wear for “the woman who celebrates her curves and her busy lifestyle” — I was excited to find another great brand specializing in active wear for sizes 14 and up.

Fit Girl Redefined, a U.S.-based active wear line by Jennifer McClelland, is “all about quality workout clothes that are designed to embrace curvy women.” Not only are the pieces stylish and comfortable, but most are also made locally in the states, which is something I can get behind. I also love what McClelland says about why she founded the brand:

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Recipe: Spicy peanut zucchini noodle saute

Spicy peanut zucchini noodle saute

Spicy peanut zucchini noodle saute

Who needs to cook pasta when you’ve got a spiralizer? I seriously love this thing.

Yesterday morning I decided to whip up this spicy peanut saute to take to work for lunch. It only took about five minutes to prep and less than 10 minutes to cook. It was amazing — the sauce was so good!

Spicy peanut zucchini noodle saute
Makes three servings

Ingredients

  • One large zucchini, spiralized
  • 1-2 cups sugar snap peas
  • Half a clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

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PSA: Why I’m no longer eating meat (thanks in part to a talking gorilla)

With the gorilla gone, will there be hope for man?

With the gorilla gone, will there be hope for man?

I should have known this day would come.

I tried to deny it, ignore it, fight it, and justify it ever since I was old enough to understand what was being served to me at dinnertime. I just don’t think I can anymore.

(Paleo people, cover your ears.)

I can’t eat meat anymore. I just can’t. Even though, as a fitness professional, I know it’s an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids and will still recommend it’s consumption to my clients (preferably lean cuts that came from locally and ethically raised livestock, mind you). But I can’t eat it.

Although I blame this decision partly on my dislike for red meat, my high cholesterol levels, some bad childhood memories, a love of animals and how terrible animal agriculture is for the environment, there are two other reasons why I’m going vegetarian-bordering-on-vegan (’cause I can’t eat dairy).

And one of them has to do with a talking gorilla. (more…)

Stuff you should read Saturday: Secret meth and other scary stuff in dietary supplements, does weight loss really matter and my first fitness magazine article!

sysrsHappy Saturday! I hope you’re either still cozy and warm in bed browsing through your social feeds on your tablet with a domesticated animal curled up at your feet or having coffee in your kitchen, getting caught up on all the latest on the Internets and enjoying a hearty breakfast. Or, you know, socializing with your loved ones. But then you wouldn’t be reading this awesome collection of articles, would you? Here are a few gems from this week:

Can you be overweight and healthy? – Chicago Tribune
A great piece by James Fell in the Chicago Tribune this morning. Though I tell my clients to ignore the scale for the most part and measure their progress by how much better they feel and move, it’s still important to consider actual health markers, such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure, to determine just how “healthy” you are. So can you have excess body fat and still be healthy?

“‘When you look at it from all angles,’ Katz said, ‘the conclusion you reach is that an excess of body fat is inevitably harmful.’ The problem, specifically with abdominal obesity, is that it infiltrates the organs. ‘Especially the liver, which interferes with insulin metabolism. Then the pancreas pours out extra insulin, and it creates a self-generating cascade that leads directly to diabetes and increased cardiac risk.’ He spoke of research showing an increased risk for most forms of cancer as well.”

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#FitFashion Friday Feature: The best sports bras for every size

boobcollageBouncing. Chafing. Swoobage. Back pain. Pancaking. Potential suffocation during downward dog …

Yes I’m talking about boobs, and what happens when you don’t contain them properly during exercise.

A good sports bra is one of the most important pieces of workout gear for women, and one of the hardest things to shop for. While you may be tempted to shop by style and what will look awesome under your tank top at the gym, the reality is everybooby—I mean, everybody—is different, and a bra with a customized fit that keeps everything comfortably in place during your workout should be your number one priority.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to rock the super supportive beige granny bra during your workout. Thankfully, there are a few apparel companies that make sports bras that are both functional and stylish.

Not sure what brand of sports bra would be best for your cup size and the type of activities you do? Read on to hear from nine women of all shapes and cup sizes who participate in a variety of activities—from ultra marathons and triathlons to weight lifting and Jazzercise—about some of the common issues they’ve experienced and what brands and types of sports bras they recommend. (more…)

The top 3 reasons why (most) women avoid the weight room

IMG_3505Ladies, put down those neoprene-covered, purple-colored dumbbells you found stacked by the yoga mats at the gym and confidently march your butt over to where the heavier weights lay. Do not fear the cold, iron barbells and dumbbells – I promise they will warm up in your hands. Do not shy away from the squat rack – it’s not as intimidating as it looks. Do not fear the sweaty, grunting, muscle-bound males that strut around you – they may look tough, but they’re not going to hurt you or judge you. In fact, they’re more likely to admire you for ditching the elliptical machines to join them in the weight room.

Judging by myriad threads about women and weight room intimidation on the popular bodybuilding.com forums, however, this may be easier said than done.

While I don’t believe we can solely blame our apparent lack of desire to lift heavy weights on the great gender divide in the weight room, I do think it plays a part, along with several other factors. (more…)

The worst workouts on Pinterest

Don't ever do this workout.

Don’t ever do this workout.

Want to learn how to get six-pack abs, an inner-thigh gap, burn 1,000 calories in 40 minutes AND ruin your self-esteem?

No, not by flipping though the latest issue of a popular health and fitness magazine or by clicking on one of those ubiquitous Web advertisements in your browser’s sidebar.

These days, the latest venue for bad health and fitness advice is everyone’s favorite place to get inspired: Pinterest.

Don’t get me wrong – Pinterest is a great place to find home décor ideas, gluten-free/vegan/paleo recipes galore and 101 uses for mason jars, but it’s a terrible place to go if you’re looking for “fitspiration,” or workout advice of any kind, really.

Have you ever perused the health and fitness feed on Pinterest? Besides those motivational quote pins about crawling/puking/crying/bleeding and never giving up (usually layered over some fitness model’s airbrushed abs) and “thinspiration” pins with images of waif-thin models (usually accompanied by heartbreaking comments from pinners like, “My goal, must work harder…”), Pinterest is rampant with bad fitness advice.

And by bad fitness advice, I mean exercises that are ineffective, dangerous or just a plain-old waste of time. Or is that waist of time? Whatever. (more…)

Stuff you should read Saturday – Mindfulness walking, humane meat and a 1980s aerobic dance video

sysrsHappy Saturday! This week is a round-up of posts that resonated with me and how I’m feeling this week, cool stuff I found around the Internets and awesome posts from my fellow Sweat Pink, Girls Gone Sporty, and FitFluential ambassadors; IDEA Inspired bloggers and Active Times contributors. If you have a blog or post you’d like to have featured, send me a link in the comment section below.

Fit & Fashionable Friday Link-Up – fitfulfocus.com
In case you missed it, on Friday the lovely Nicole of Fitfulfocus.com hosted a link-up for fitness and fashion related posts, so I had to join in and link-up my regular #FItFashion Friday feature. If you’re into fitness and fashion, you should check out all the other amazing posts featured on the link-up.

5 Things You Should Do Everyday – bretcontreras.com
If you’re not a regular exerciser, you should at least do these five moves everyday to help you stay mobile and healthy. I incorporate all of these moves into my clients’ workouts as well as my own. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: West coast winter workout gear essentials

wcwwgeLiving on an island off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia definitely has its perks. The ocean surrounds us, the wilderness here is beautiful, there are plenty of places to explore for hours on end without seeing another human being, and the weather here is never too extreme. That means year-round outdoor adventures and not having to spend the winter cooped up in a gym to stay fit and healthy.

Even though we hardly get any snow here at sea level and the temperature rarely drops below -1°C, outdoor enthusiasts still have to consider the elements when exercising outside during the winter months. Here are a few key pieces of apparel us northern west-coasters should add to our workout wardrobe for winter: (more…)

Recipe: Raw vegan Buddha bowl with spiralized zucchini noodles and yams

Raw, vegan and delicious!

Raw, vegan and delicious!

So I finally got one of these bad boys (!!!) and have been eating massive bowls of zucchini noodles everyday for lunch. Zucchini noodles (or zoodles, as some like to call them) are so quick and easy to make with a spiralizer — not stringy or soggy at all like when you make them with any other kind of peeler. I spiralize half a zucchini in the evening as I’m making dinner and store the zoodles in a container in the fridge overnight, adding other delicious things to it the next morning.

My go-to right now is a yam and hemp heart Buddha bowl inspired by the creations of this lovely lady.

Ingredients:

  • Half a large zucchini
  • 1 TBSP raw hemp hearts
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup cooked chopped yam
  • 1 TBSP Apple cider lime and ginger dressing

Directions

  1. Spiralize the half zucchini into a bowl.
  2. Add the yam.
  3. Sprinkle with the hemp hearts and nutritional yeast.
  4. Add 1-2 TBSP of the apple cider lime ginger dressing and eat!

For the dressing:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup lime juice.
  2. Add 2 TBSP pure organic maple syrup.
  3. Add a dash of cayenne pepper.
  4. Grate in 1 TBSP fresh ginger.
  5. Mix well and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Do you have any great recipes using zoodles? Please share if you do!

 

Do you feel bloated/uncomfortable after certain meals? Could be the FODMAPs

No more whole wheat pita pizzas :(

No more whole wheat pita pizzas :(

There might be a reason why (other than the “nocebo effect“) most people say they feel better after jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon even though 98 percent of them don’t actually have any kind of gluten allergy.

I’ll admit it, I read Wheat Belly when it first came out and went gluten-free for a period of time. I already didn’t eat refined carbs, so I only felt moderately better when I gave up whole wheat bread. I didn’t get the whole holy crap this has changed my life experience that other people had, so I started eating it again. I actually decided to try going gluten-free in hopes that it might clear up my skin, but it didn’t, so I said to hell with it.

Fast forward three years and several allergy tests later and I still haven’t figured out why some foods just don’t agree with me. But then I came across this article the other day and decided look into what foods contain these elusive FODMAPsFermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: “Plus-sized” athletic apparel that is actually stylish (featuring Lola Getts)

Plus-sized active wear by Lola Getts

Plus-sized active wear by Lola Getts

Though I love the way all the run-to-runway fitness gear I feature in #FitFashion Friday posts looks on the models, you’d never catch me wearing a laser-cut designer sports bra with tiger-print spandex pants out in public. Maybe if I lived in New York… but we’re a little less fashion-forward here in Victoria on the west coast. Gortex, Lululemon, Crocs, Tilly hats, tie-dye and cargo pants seem to be acceptable here; wild prints and colourful designer clothing, not so much.

Also, most of the clothes I tend to feature aren’t practical for the average-sized woman, as the sizing only goes up to a large. Also, a designer sports bra with laser-cut holes probably won’t keep the “girls” under control during a workout.

So for this #FitFashion Friday feature, I decided to hunt down some designer fitness apparel for normal-sized women. Which was actually harder than I thought it was going to be. (more…)

How to beat the post-marathon blues

Debbie and me just before the race on Oct. 13.

Debbie and me just before the race on Oct. 13.

You would think if you ran a marathon after 17 long weeks of training, hit a PR and achieved your goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon without getting injured, you would be happy. Thrilled. Satisfied. It’s time to take it easy and go on living life, right?

Yes… but no.

It’s not that easy when you’re a runner. You have that day-after elation (or crushing sadness) of achieving (or not achieving) your goal. You tweet, Facebook and blog about your race and respond to messages like these for days: “Congrats! Well done!” or “You made the right choice to DNF, I’ve been there, it’s okay,” or “Heal up quickly! You’ll come back stronger!” After that, you get an email from the marathon photography company notifying you that your race photos are ready and you laugh/reminisce while browsing them online (“that must have been near the end, look at my face! And what am I doing with my hands? I would never pay $50 for these!”). (more…)

So I finally went for a run yesterday…

I think this was from early in the race as I don't look like I'm dying yet.

I think this was from early in the race as I don’t look like I’m dying yet.

It’s been two whole weeks since the marathon. One week of complete rest and two weeks of no running.

I’ll admit, the whole not-running part has been a welcomed break. Though my foot didn’t hurt after the race and I didn’t end up breaking anything (thankfully), I can tell my body needed a break. The pads of my feet were actually quite sore, and my legs just felt tired and achy.

Of course, after a week of doing nothing, I got tired of sitting around and jumped right back in to weight training, picking up where I left off before taper.

Bad idea.

I definitely lost a lot of strength, and a workout that wouldn’t have cause any DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) before caused me to hobble around for days. For DAYS. At least I know my programmed workouts are effective :) (more…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: Michi by Canadian designer Michelle Watson

Edgy, biker-chic styles by Michi.

Edgy, biker-chic styles by Michi.

I recently discovered the online store Carbon38.

Quick, hide my credit card!

That’s where I found these gorgeous clothes by Toronto-based designer Michelle Watson. You could easily wear many of her pieces as part of a statement outfit, or even out for a night on the town thanks to their sophisticated, edgy look. I particularly love the cut-outs on the sports bras and colour blocks on the leggings. At $129 for a sports bra and close to $200 for a pair of leggings, though, Michi is definitely a splurge. But, that’s the price you pay for designer clothes that aren’t made in a sweatshop overseas.

Though I couldn’t find any details about Michi’s manufacturing processes, as mentioned above, the clothes are all made in Canada. And they’re awesome-looking. Check out the rest of her collection on her website.

michiblog

The overachieving millennial’s dilemma: Is it possible to have a day job, blog, grow a following, be healthy and fit AND have a social life?

At a crossroads, trying to figure out which way to go.

At a crossroads, trying to figure out which way to go.

You know you need to reassess your life when you set your alarm for 3:30 a.m. just so you can have time to blog.

Sure, you could whip up some top ten list of your favourite foods, or maybe give a play-by-play of your weekend at the farmer’s market, but no… you read somewhere that well-crafted and researched content that is both entertaining and informative gets more shares and likes, so you spend a good hour and a half writing it (and because, let’s be honest; you don’t like to half-ass things anyway and take pride in your writing), another 20 minutes locating a photo from your Instagram feed that might be suitable (’cause you gotta have an image, but using iStock is cheating), and another 20 minutes posting and scheduling said blog post on your multiple social media networks.

You also read somewhere that to grow your blog following (which you want to do because you’d really love to reach more people and spread the message of sustainable health and fitness; find clients for the business you just started; get accepted into paid ad campaigns from your ambassador and content networks to help make all this blogging financially worthwhile; and hopefully land more paid articles, because deep down you really want to be a writer), you need to read other blogs and comment on them, grow your social media presence, AND keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research in your chosen industry, be it fitness, health, food, DIY, parenting, or design, so you can be an expert, or something. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: A workout for the professional desk dweller

workoutHappy #WorkoutWednesday!

Do you sit behind a desk all day? Try this workout from IDEAfit to combat the effects that sitting in a hunched-over position all day has on your body by focusing on stretching and strengthening your posterior chain (basically the whole back-side of your body). Click here to download a PDF of the workout and click here to watch videos demonstrations.

 

 

What you’ll need:

  • a foam roller
  • a yoga mat
  • dumbbells or a kettlebell
  • resistance tube/band
  • stability ball
  • chair or sturdy bench

(more…)

Recipe: Raw chocolate almond butter power balls

Raw chocolate almond butter power balls!

Raw chocolate almond butter power balls!

There’s a health food market not far from where I work, and I sometimes walk there at lunch with my coworkers to grab groceries or pick up some healthy office treats. A favourite is this raw cacao power ball the deli sells right near the checkout. They’re SO good, but at $3 a pop, I figured why not save some money and try to make my own?

Not only are these tasty treats full of nutritious goodness, but are also easy to make — no baking required! I added a bit of Vega chocolate protein powder to up the nutrition factor, but you could just make them with the cacao powder if you wanted. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Practicing with prAna

Love the printed leggings from Prana

Love the printed leggings from Prana

Prana is another great California-based yoga and lifestyle apparel brand with a focus on sustainability and making funky, well-fitting pieces with beautiful details. Though I’ve selected a few of my favourite fall pieces below, they also have stuff for guys. Hooray!

While their main focus is on yoga apparel, they do have a nice outdoors collection, too. Their signature styles range from a vibrant and colourful funky-patterned hippy look to something more subdued and plain. They also have some really cute bathing suits and climbing accessories.

Prana is available at most outdoor retailers like MEC and Atmosphere, and online from their website.

 

 

From top left: Meadow Top, Julz Burnout Top, Roxanne Printed Legging, Hope Top

From top left: Meadow Top, Julz Burnout Top, Roxanne Printed Legging, Hope Top

 

 

Marathon recovery and how I plan to spend my “post-season”

IMG_0072

Definitely could not walk after the race!

It’s been four days since the marathon, and I’m still shuffling like a zombie.

Thankfully my foot is not hurting, and that weird ache I had is no longer there. I haven’t tried running, of course, so I don’t know for sure if it’s gone or just shifted to another part of my foot. Once I’m recovered and can actually go for a jog to find out, I’ll head to a sports doc anyway just to make sure.

So far my recovery plan has been to do as little as possible. I’ve never been this sore after a race before — usually I would have been stretching and foam rolling by now, but I can barely walk let alone put any pressure on my legs. I think today I might be able to stretch and do some light foam rolling, and hopefully stop popping the Ibuprofen. (more…)

I DID IT! I qualified for the Boston Marathon!

I can't walk... but I did it!

I can’t walk… but I did it!

Holy crap — I did it!

Somehow, despite an ambiguous foot injury and a head cold that made life miserable during the last week of taper leading up the the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon on Sunday, I managed to squeak under the Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group by a minute. I finished the race in 3:33:57 without breaking my foot, vomiting, or going down in a blaze of glory and ending up in the medical tent. Yes I felt horrible, yes I felt like vomiting, and yes my legs felt like they could give out at any minute. But I wasn’t going to give up; I had already made up my mind I’d be running as hard as I could and finishing the race, injury or sick or whatever. There was no way I wasn’t going to try. Not with a BQ that close. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: Get your sweat on in locally made Tonic Lifestyle Apparel

I was first introduced to Tonic apparel while attending the Every Woman Moves conference weekend in Whistler almost five years ago. This local Vancouver-based yoga and lifestyle apparel company uses environmentally friendly manufacturing processes when creating their clothing, which is awesome. Their stuff is high quality and made right in Vancouver, which is also awesome. Tonic is available in select specialty stores throughout the world, including Breathe Athletic here in Victoria on Fort Street.

Below are a few of my favourite pieces on their website right now. I especially like the sweat shirt/infinity scarf/fuchsia capri pant combo. If I didn’t have an office job where I had to dress business causal sometimes, I would live in that outfit for fall.

tonicall

To see their entire collection, visit mytonic.ca.

5 days to go until the marathon… and guess who gets injured?

Stupid feet.

Stupid feet.

Of course. After a solid 17 weeks of training, guess who gets injured during taper? This girl.

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but my guess is either plantar fasciitis or a stress fracture, based on the dull ache in my instep, arch and top of my foot when I start running. The ache continues during the first part of my run, comes and goes throughout, then comes up again once I stop running and start walking. During the rest of my day I don’t feel anything.

No, I have not been to a physiotherapist or doctor, and yes, I’m self diagnosing. To be honest, I haven’t had a spare moment in the last few weeks to make an appointment and also cannot afford to see a specialist right now. I am covered by my work, but don’t have the cash to front for an appointment at the moment. I am a penny-less writer. So, Dr. Google to the rescue! (more…)

Koru Personal Training Giveaway!

giveawayMy Koru Personal Training Facebook page has reached 100 likes, so to celebrate this milestone I’m hosting a little giveaway!

The prize:

The contest is open from October 5 to October 27. I will announce the winner via Facebook and/or Twitter, so make sure you’re following/like Koru Personal Training on Facebook and following @korufitness on Twitter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stuff you should read Saturday – Introversion, vegan kids and muscular babies

sysrsI thought I would start a new feature on the blog for your Saturday morning reading pleasure. This week is a round-up of posts that resonated with me and how I’m feeling this week, cool stuff I found around the Internets and awesome posts from my fellow Sweat Pink, Girls Gone Sporty, and FitFluential ambassadors; IDEA Inspired bloggers and Active Times contributors. If you have a blog or post you’d like to have featured, send me a link in the comment section below.

Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving – Space2Live.net
As an introvert myself, discovering this blog was a relief — I’m not crazy because I like time to myself, I’m just an introvert. As I explained in this post, introversion is an innate temperament, not a choice. An introvert’s brain composition is actually different from an extrovert’s, who tends to have more dopamine (associated with movement, learning and attention) in their primary blood flow pathways in the brain and a shorter, less complex dominate pathway of blood flow than we do. This means that while our brains integrate complex intellectual and emotional information better, it requires more time to do so. We also get our energy from time alone as opposed to extroverts, who get it from being social with others. If you’re an introvert — or an extrovert living with an introvert — this post is very helpful.
(more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Teeki – Gorgeous yoga leggings made from recycled plastic bottles

Deer Medicine Goddess Capri from Teeki

Deer Medicine Goddess Capri from Teeki

I’ve seen a few yogis around town sporting these funky printed yoga leggings from Teeki and they look amazing. Teeki is an eco-concious activewear line based in the United States that uses recycled plastic bottles to make their pants (it takes approximately 25 bottles to make one pair), uses eco-friendly printing methods and are made right in the USA, so their carbon footprint is minimal.

And seriously, look at these prints. They make me want to run around in the desert in search of my spirit animal, or something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

teekipants

The pants are available in sizes extra small to large and will set you back about $72. You can order them online, or if you live in Victoria, they’re available at Breathe Athletic on Fort Street.

5 awesome kitchen tools for healthy meals

Rectangular Silicone Steamer from Epicure

Rectangular Silicone Steamer from Epicure

We all know the best way to eat healthy is to prepare home-cooked meals as opposed to grabbing something to-go from your favourite restaurant or fast-food joint. But just because you make it at home doesn’t mean it’s going to be any better for you, especially if you cook with a lot of oil, load up your recipes with butter and salt and skimp on the veggies.

Aside from using healthier recipes, like the ones found in these cookbooks, there are a few kitchen tools you can use to whip up healthy meals in a pinch. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Run Lift Yoga Wear

A few weeks ago I ask you to help me design a t-shirt for my personal training business. The slogan Run. Lift. Yoga. was the winner, but I loved all the suggestions so I opened a store at spreadshirt.ca!

I created a whole bunch of men’s and women’s t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, leggings and tank tops for all you fitness-loving, weight lifting runner yogis out there. Most are performance shirts so you can get your sweat on in them. There are also several eco-friendly options available. If there is something in particular you want (a specific design on a specific shirt), let me know and I’ll make one for you!

You can order any of the shirts in sizes small to extra large and in the colour of your choice from runliftyoga.spreadshirt.ca.

(more…)

1 simple tool to help you stay motivated and on-track with your health and fitness goals

Though a fitness partner can help, this tool works well, too.

Though a fitness partner can help, this tool works well, too.

Trying to break bad habits and implement new, healthy ones is no simple task. Not only does it take an excruciatingly long time for a new behaviour to become a habit, but it may also feel like a constant uphill battle to get where you want to be.

For example, you may want to lose weight and get fit, but in order to do so, you will need to make a variety of changes — both small and large — to reach your goal. Doing one small thing, such as cutting out pop or skipping dessert twice a week, is definitely a good start; but you know that if you want to achieve the “get fit” part of your goal, you will need to add in more exercise at some point as well. Sometimes when you take a step back and think about all the things you need to do to reach your goal, you feel overwhelmed and hopeless, which can lead to roadblocks and speed bumps along your path to health and wellness.

Luckily, you don’t have to focus on all those goals and tasks at once to stay motivated. Forget “keeping your eyes on the prize” — simply keep your eye on one or two small things each day to stayed focused and motivated. (more…)

Taper time: How to properly taper for a marathon in three weeks

36Thirty-six kilometres.

It felt really good to cross that run off the marathon training plan I have posted on my fridge.

The Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, the race I’m going to attempt to BQ at, is now just three weeks away. No more packing gels and filling water bottles and heading out the door early on a Sunday morning when I’d rather be drinking coffee in bed.

Until race day, of course.

But for now, it’s taper time. And though some runners say they get all squirrely during this time, I actually look forward to it. I know I’ve put in the work, my legs have carried me over great distances, and I’m ready to rest up for race day. (more…)

That time I actually raced a stranger while out for a run

Just running like a girl.

Just running like a girl.

You know when you’re on a treadmill at the gym and someone chooses to take the one right next to you, even though there are plenty other treadmills available? And then you assume, naturally, that they want to race and you set your speed just a little bit higher than theirs?

No?

Must be a runner thing, then.

Anyway, I find that if someone passes you outside during a training run, you feel less compelled to hold your own. Maybe you pick up the pace for a minute, then realize they’re just going at a pace that’s comfortable for them and you should probably stick to what pace you planned to do that day.

Unless, of course, the person who passes you decides to give you a cheeky thumbs up and laughs as they run by. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Lux looks from British designer Charli Cohen

From SS14: The VIS Collection

From SS14: The VIS Collection

I first discovered personal trainer and British designer Charli Cohen’s stylish athletic apparel through a Kickstarter campaign. Charli was raising funds to help launch a pop-up store in London over the holidays to showcase her first collection, SS14: The VIS Collection. I was on the hunt for a pair of leggings for winter runner and absolutely loved the look of her Laser Leggings — but not the $250 price tag. After reading her story and following her on social media, I decided to support the campaign to help launch her first collection, even though the coveted leggings weren’t really in my budget. I bought the more affordable Dynamo Bra, which came with a super soft organic cotton workout tank top, a nice thank-you card and a healthy holiday recipe ebook. I love the sports bra and tank top, which not only look super chic but also perform well during a workout. The fabric stays light even when it gets soaked in sweat, and the sports bra doesn’t chafe or feel restrictive. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: 30-minute total body workout

rdHappy #WorkoutWednesday! Looking for a short strength training workout that targets all your major muscle groups AND gets the heart rate up? Try this five-set circuit. All you need is a yoga mat and a set of dumbbells.

1) Romanian deadlift into dumbbell bent-over row
2) Squat to overhead dumbbell press
3) Anterior lateral lunge with low-reach dumbbells
4) Push up / bent-over lateral raise (perform as superset)
5) Bird dog / reverse crunch (perform as superset)

Perform each set three times with 8-10 reps per set. Rest for 30 seconds in between each set before moving to the next set. Click here for video instructions and here for a handy print-out.

10 easy, healthy snack ideas for the desk dweller

Raise 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* (more…)

#FitFashion Friday: Oiselle

mestandingThough it might not be obvious to those who see me day-to-day, I love fashion and they way clothes look on the body — but not in the sitting-at-a-desk, walking-to-the-car or just-standing-there kind of way. I like the look of clothes on bodies in motion, hence why my wardrobe is 80% workout gear, 10% office attire and 10% casual clothes and dresses. I don’t bat an eye at $110 workout pants, yet struggle to spend more than $40 on a pair of pants for work. I own three pairs of heels, and 20 pairs of running shoes. Laundry day is hell because all that spandex and sweat-wicking material is hang-to-dry. Some people call it lazy fashion, but I don’t like to think of it like that. I’d rather be spending my day in motion instead of sitting in an office, so why not spend the money on the clothes you know you’ll get the most out of? Plus, I think we can all agree spandex is more comfortable than a structured cotton pencil skirt.

That said, I’m going to start a new Friday feature on my blog highlighting some of my favourite functional workout gear and things I’m coveting at the moment. (more…)

The 3 biggest roadblocks to weight loss and how to break through them

timber8Sometimes you find inspiration for blog posts in the most unlikely places and situations.

I just finished an intensive three-day change management course for my real job as a corporate communications advisor. I had to participate in several break-out sessions, give a presentation, and write an exam. Along with all the notes I jotted down pertaining to work projects and organizational change management over the three days, I wrote down this blog post title on a sticky note.

A strength and conditioning coach is kind of like a change manager. We help our clients work through a change to achieve their desired outcomes or goals. In the case of business, this is usually financial success. In the case of fitness, this is usually weight loss, an improvement in aesthetics or an improvement in overall health and wellness. (more…)

6 tips to help keep you lean during marathon training

Gunner Shaw 15Now that you aspiring long distance runners know there’s a chance you could gain some weight during training, I definitely don’t want that to be a discouraging factor in your decision to run a marathon or ultra. First of all, it shouldn’t really matter if you gain a few pounds. Your body is doing what it needs to do to prepare to run for four-plus hours straight. That’s a pretty big energy demand on your body. Yes you get hungrier than normal, and yes you crave carbs, because they are the preferred energy source for your body. That said, if you want to run a marathon — or maybe lots of marathons in the future — and really want to maintain or improve your physique, there are a few things you can do to prevent weight gain during training.

Before I give you some tips, I need to get all science-y about nutrition for a moment. (more…)

Race Review: MEC Victoria Race #4 – 15K distance

The start/finish line.

The start/finish line.

With the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon about a month away, I decided to throw a speedy, long-ish distance race into my training plan at the last minute. The MEC Race #4 event, which happened on Sunday, September 7, offered three race distances (a 5K, 10K and 15K) along a route I’m very familiar with, as it’s just steps from my front door. I signed up for the 15K race, and decided to run it at my tempo run pace (about 4:30) for as long as I could as a pre-marathon tune-up.

The MEC races are fairly small in terms of the number of participants, which is great if you’re looking to run fast. I found myself trying to keep up with the speedy women in the front, whereas at a larger race I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard. The price is also incredibility reasonable: For only $15, you get a timed race, post-race snacks, a free 15-minute massage, David’s Tea, coffee and medals for the top three men and women overall. (more…)

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