{Friday Favourites} Goats on a roof and the best health & fitness articles from around the web this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, Happy Canada Day (two days ago) to my fellow Canadians and Happy Independence Day (tomorrow) to my friends south of the 49th parallel!

I spent Canada Day up in Coombs, checking out the country market and visiting Matt’s family who were camping nearby. If you ever get a chance to visit Vancouver Island during the summer, stopping at Coombs is a must. It’s a total hodgepodge of hippy stores, local artisans, antique shops, used book stores, bistros, farmer’s markets, massive Buddha statues and random theme park remains — although it’s most known for it’s main country market where several goats reside on it’s grassy rooftop. (more…)

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


At Sunfest Country Music Festival last year. Had an amazing time!

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

#WorkoutWednesday: Full-body strength training workout for trail runners

Today I’m featuring part II of the strength training workout I’m doing as part of training for the Finlayson Arm 25K trail race. Last Wednesday I shared the workout I’ve been doing on Mondays, which focuses on upper body and core as it comes after my long run day. Today I’m going to share my Wednesday workout, which incorporates upper and lower body supersets, as well as core work. Wednesdays are my heavier days, so I use 50 lbs weights and perform only 6-8 reps. However, you can use something lighter (10-20 lb dumbbells) and still benefit from the strength training exercises — just perform 10-12 reps for 3 sets instead.

ultrastrength2 (more…)

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…)

{Friday Favourites} The best articles in health, fitness & life from around the web this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! How was your week? I have another busy weekend ahead full of birthdays, BBQs, bridal showers and boring long runs (well, not really all that boring… I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to alliterate!)

Training for the Finlayson Arm 25K has been going well so far. We managed 13km last week on the trails so I’m aiming to get a 15km in this Sunday. I shared part I of the trail runner strength training workout I’m doing on Mondays as part of training for this race. I’ll be sharing part II of my program on Wednesday this week.

But enough about me! I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings as per usual to share some of the most interesting reads in health, fitness and life I found around the web this week. (more…)

{thinking out loud Thursday} How I got buried in debt and why I can’t pull myself out

Just taking my $17,000 Jeep off-road through some mud... smart...

Just taking my $17,000 Jeep off-road through some mud… smart…

I can’t recall the last time I didn’t stress about money.

Ever since I got my first credit card in my twenties, along with a $17,000 loan to buy a car (to this day I have no idea why my bank agreed to give a university student who worked in a coffee shop that large of a loan), I’ve struggled to get by. Before then I had no problem saving up to buy things I wanted, including a trip to Thailand. I never shopped or spent money on frivolous things. But once debt from my car and student loans piled up, several relationship break-ups requiring moves and all the household purchases involved with that occurred, plus a new-found love of running and triathlon (shoes and spandex isn’t cheap), I’ve never been able to dig myself out — despite several rescue attempts from the bank of mom and dad and consolidating everything at my bank a few times. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Ultramarathon strength training program for trail runners (Part I)

finlayson-summitLast week I shared my 25K trail race training plan, and aside from the usual mid-week and weekend long runs on the trails, you might have noticed I also included three days of strength training per week. Just as strength training is important for runners training for marathons held on paved roads, it’s also important for runners racing on the trails — even those racing an ultra distance.

Although fitting strength training in to ultramarathon training can be tricky, it’s doable and totally worth it. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, some of the benefits of adding strength training to marathon training include faster recovery from injury, prevention of overuse injuries (which is one of the most common injuries ultrarunners experience), and a reduction of muscle imbalances. Besides providing preventive benefits, strength training can also help runners increase their power output, which comes in handy when climbing hills. (more…)

Recipe: Quick, easy and healthy coconut prawn and veggie Pad Thai

Homemade veggie and coconut prawn pad thai... takes less than 15 minutes and is much more nutritious/healthy than the take-out version! Click here for the recipe.

Homemade veggie and coconut prawn pad thai… takes less than 15 minutes and is much more nutritious/healthy than the take-out version!

This homemade Pad Thai is a staple on most of my client meal plans. Not only is it super tasty and much more nutritious/healthy than the take-out version, but also it’s quick and easy to make. You can use either prawns, shrimp of tofu for your protein, and any vegetables you want. I like to use bell peppers, carrots, broccoli and snap peas. (more…)

{Friday Favourites} The best reads about health, fitness and life from around the web this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! How was your week? My training for the Finlayson Arm 25K officially started this week, so I’m heading out for my first long-ish trail run (12km) tomorrow morning in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Time to pull the ‘ol hydration backpack out of the closet and charge the Garmin! Even though I know it’s going to be a slog (the trail has a ton of climbs and I’m feeling pretty out of shape at the moment), I’m really looking forward to spending a few hours in the trees.

I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings as per usual to share some of the most interesting reads in health, fitness and life I found around the web this week. (more…)

What happened when I discovered my clothes no longer fit

Your thoughts BP BloggersEarlier this week I decided to dig my summer office attire out from the back of the closet (since it’s finally warm enough here for me to wear less layers) and don a black knee-length skirt to work  with a black t-shirt, grey cardigan and some cute gold flats. The last time I wore the skirt was at Christmas time, when I paired it with black polka dot print tights, a teal sweater and brown leather boots.

Imagine my horror when the skirt wouldn’t zip up.

But why would I be horrified? I’m a personal trainer who promotes body acceptance and positive self-image. I know I’ve been strength training and squatting a whole lot since December. I tell my clients it’s not about aesthetics, it’s about how you feel. Why would I even let it bother me? (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: My Finlayson Arm 25K trail race training plan

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

I finally signed up for a race.

It’s been almost eight months since the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, and I must admit I’ve been slacking in the running department. I took a planned break from training to focus on building strength and flexibility for the first few months of this year, but have started to get bored and unmotivated to workout. My workout routine has looked something like this since January:

Monday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Tuesday – 30 minutes of HIIT or an easy 45-minute run
Wednesday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Thursday – Easy 45-minute run
Friday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Saturday – 1 hour hike, 30 minutes of yoga or a rest day
Sunday – Easy 45-minute run or a rest day

Although my fitness-related goal for this year is to work on yoga inversions, I love having an event or something to train for as it gives me something tangible to work towards. Plus, I love participating in races – the nervous excitement, the runner camaraderie, the race shirt and medal, a sense of accomplishment… who doesn’t love the race-day experience?

So, last week I signed up for the Finlayson Arm 25K. It’s a challenging trail race incorporating all my favourite mountains in one of my most favourite places to run: Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. (more…)

My 2015 goals progress update

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

In January of this year, I shared three goals I hoped to achieve by December 31, 2015: master some variation of the scorpion pose and hold it for 10 seconds, grow my client base at Koru Personal Training, and get a consistent meditation practice going. Although training for the Boston Marathon is also on my to-do list (since I achieved my 2014 goal of qualifying in October last year), I’m not going to know if I made it in until September, so that goal is a bit out of my control.

So how am I doing on my 2015 goals now that we’re half-way through 2015? (more…)

{Friday Favourites} The best reads in health, food, fitness and life this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! How was your week? Even though this week was a short one for me it felt like it was never going to end. Last weekend I got to see one of my best friends get married before jetting off to Vancouver the following day for a Shania Twain concert (Yes, Shania Twain. I love her. Don’t judge me), then had a very busy week at both jobs. I can tell my introverted self needs a bit of a slower weekend to recharge. So other than some causal hang-outs with good friends on patios, I plan to take it easy this weekend!

I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings as per usual to share some of the most interesting reads in health, food, fitness and life I found around the web this week. (more…)

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

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

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

#WorkoutWednesday: 20-minute HIIT workout to build strength and power

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

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


This circuit is one that I do once a week when I’ve only got 20 minutes to workout. Most of these exercise are pretty self explanatory, but here are a few videos just in case you haven’t performed them before:

Do all exercises in each set three times through before moving to the next set, resting for 45 seconds in between each set. Remember to take those breaks in between sets to let your heart rate recover. Also, if you are a beginner exerciser, have had a past knee injury or are postpartum, please check with your doctor before starting a HIIT program (or any exercise program for that matter).

Do you incorporate HIIT into your exercise program? What HIIT exercises do you love to hate?

– B

Cookbook Review: The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

ppw-cover-frontIf there’s one thing I’ve learned from eating plant-based and making the majority of my food from scratch over this past year, it’s that eating whole-food plant-based doesn’t have to be a labourious task — you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to make healthy, tasty meals. All you need are a few handy kitchen tools (like a good blender, a spiralizer and a nut milk bag), an hour set aside on a Sunday and a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, such as veggies, seeds, nuts, fruit and healthy fats, in order to prep and cook all your meals for the week. I’ve also discovered — thanks to cookbooks like Oh She Glows — that vegan meals are incredibly delicious, and are not only better for you than non plant-based versions, but also are more flavourful and satisfying.

As soon as I heard that my favourite podcaster and plant-based ultrarunner Rich Roll and his lovely yogi songstress wife Julie Piatt were writing a cookbook, I knew I needed to add it to my collection. Rich would often talk about some of the amazing meals Julie had prepared, either in her past job as a chef at yoga retreats, to fuel him during his training for EPIC5 or just to feed their family of six. Their cookbook, The Plantpower Way, was released this past April and I’ve been trying recipes here and there since I got the book in early May. Here’s a description of the book from their website: (more…)

{Friday Favourites} Best health and fitness reads this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings as per usual to share some of the most interesting health and fitness reads I found this week. And there were lots of them.

Do You Really Need to Eat Chicken and Broccoli? – Born Fitness
You won’t find “chicken and broccoli” on any of my nutrition plans. Pad Thai? Yes. Beef tacos? Yup. Wine, chocolate and ice cream? That’s on there, too. Moderation, variety, planning and not beating yourself up if you “indulge” are key to a successful “diet”.

Why You Shouldn’t Have (Fat Loss) Goals – Nia Shanks
Although it’s fine to want to lose body fat (if you have body fat to lose for health reasons), focusing on the process of getting healthier and becoming stronger, faster and fitter as your goals result in more success and a better frame of mind than when you make it your goal to look a certain way. This is the mindset I like to teach clients who come to me with fat-loss only goals. (more…)

{thinking out loud Thursday} Fears about reproductive health

Since Thursdays are for thinking out loud, I wanted to bring up a little factoid I read in an article last week in Chatelaine Magazine that concerns me.

I think most of us know that a women’s fertility starts to decline after age 30, but did you know that rate plummets between the ages of 35 and 37? Here are some more stats from the article:

“According to Health Canada, 91 percent of women can get pregnant at age 30. At age 35, that number drops to 77 percent, and by age 40, it’s 53 percent.) When they do become pregnant, older women are at a greater risk for miscarriage and complications in childbirth, and their chances of having a child with a genetic disorder, such as Down syndrome, are also higher.”

I didn’t worry much about my desire or capacity to have children until I turned 30 earlier this year. I always thought I’d start a family between ages 28 and 32, but since that’s not something clearly defined on the horizon for me anymore, I’m starting to get a little concerned. I’ve also always had this weird sense I’m going to have problems getting pregnant, or will have an issue with pregnancy. I have no idea where that comes from — it could be known family history, or it could be something else. My fears were almost realized earlier this year when I had something happen that could potentially cause reproductive problems down the line.

I know this is a negative way to think, is unnecessary worrying and I should just let it go — but I wanted to have a conversation about it and find out if I’m not the only one with these fears, unfounded or not. I’d also love to hear from anyone who started a family late by chance or choice, and if they had any concerns about it.


Thanks Amanda for the link-up :)

Are you over 30 and concerned about your reproductive health like me? Are you waiting to start a family until later in life? Why? Did you delay having kids and have had no problems, or were there some issues?

#WorkoutWednesday: A sample Boston Qualifier marathon training plan in honour of National Running Day!

IRun2014blankHappy National Running Day! Although I won’t be logging any miles today because Wednesdays are my resistance training days, I thought I’d put together a sample Boston Qualifier training plan in honour of the day! You can use the base of this plan (the Monday to Friday workouts) for 15 weeks to build up strength, speed and stamina leading up to the two to three weeks before race day. It’s very similar to the one I used to achieve my BQ this year, so I know it can work 😉






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*

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

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

{friday favourites} My favourite health & fitness reads and discoveries from the web this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings today to share a few of my favourite health and fitness reads and discoveries from the web this week.

How to Fit in Strength Training and Marathon Training – Cowgirl Runs
Although this is a guest post I wrote for Ange, I love her added commentary! Not only is she a fellow marathoner, blogger and Canadian, she’s also an e-friend (since we haven’t met IRL but will in October when she comes to run the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon) and client!

Fueling The Vegetarian Endurance Athlete – Part 1Girls Gone Strong
A great run-down of how much carbs, fats and protein you should be eating if you’re a vegetarian endurance athlete, plus the best plant-based sources of protein, iron and vitamin B.

This guy is attempting to do 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days – Iron Cowboy
Yes, you read that right. This Calgary native is attempting to complete 50 Ironmans — that’s a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon (42.2 km) run — in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. INSANE. His first leg kicks off in June in Hawaii, and finishes in Utah in late July. You can join him for the last 5 K in each state as part of a charity run, which I would totally do if I happened to be in the US. Do you think he’ll make it? (more…)

{thinking out loud Thursday} A part-time omnivore’s dilemma

Happy almost Friday, friends! I’ve had a crazy busy week and could not be more excited for the weekend. Yesterday (and almost every other day this week) I worked from about 5 a.m. (blogging/9-to-5 job/training at the studio/replying to client emails) until about 7:30 p.m. Luckily it was all things I love to do! But I can tell I need to take a break and completely disconnect this weekend. We’re going camping again, so there’s going to be lots more of this going on:

Indy quite happy to be glamping

Indy quite happy to be glamping

My adult sippy cup.

My adult sippy cup.

But on to the topic of my Thinking Out Loud post for this week: Yesterday I had an article I wrote a few months ago published on Elephant Journal, which was super awesome and exciting because I love the stories published on Elephant Journal!


You can read the article here.

The only thing is…

I’m not vegetarian. (more…)

Calorie counting: Is it really necessary for weight loss?

Homemade Pad Thai - about 350 calories.

Homemade Pad Thai – about 350 calories.

Want to know something kind of disturbing?

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

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

The importance of a morning routine and why I get up at 3:45 a.m. most days of the week


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

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

Even when I’m tired or get to sleep late, I roll out of bed around 3:45 a.m. Very rarely does my comfy bed compel me to stay tucked in for another two or three hours. As soon as I open my eyes, I’m actually excited to be awake — maybe because I get to eat my favourite meal of the day, or maybe because the early morning hours are peaceful and give me the space I need to focus on things I enjoy. Whatever the reason for my excitement, here’s what my morning routine has evolved into over the past three years:

3:45 a.m. – Wake up a minute before my alarm goes off.

3:50 a.m. – Do a few sun salutations and inversions will my oatmeal cooks and the coffee is made.

4:00-4:30 a.m. – Eat breakfast while catching up on email and surfing Facebook (a multitasking habit in which I’m trying to break).

4:30-4:45 a.m. – Meditate. (more…)

{friday favourites} My favourite links from around the health and fitness blogosphere this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings today to share a few of my favourite links from around the fitness and health blogosphere this week.

First off, thank you for all the great comments and feedback on yesterday’s slightly controversial post. I’ve been wanting to write about it for awhile because I do think it’s an important issue to shed light on for several reasons, but as someone who’s not entrenched in the bodybuilding or fitness competition world, I felt I could only provide an outsiders point of view. But since the article I discovered the other day and quoted in the post supported most of my thoughts about why “competition prep” is becoming so popular, I felt the time was right to talk about it. Not to pass judgement on anyone, but to shed light on the possible underlying issues of the use of restriction and discipline in order to feel worthy, negative self-perception, and unrealistic body image goals that could potentially lead to psychological issues such as disordered eating behaviours.

But I digress. On the the awesome reads from this week! (more…)

{thinking out loud} Are fitness competitors really just narcissistic, needy wannabes?

gymselfie1I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m in the fitness industry and follow many like-minded individuals on social media, or because it’s suddenly become trendy to eat chicken and broccoli out of Tupperware containers all day long, perform upper/lower splits six days a week, chug 4 litre bottles of water everyday and take endless progress selfies… but I’ve noticed more and more people preparing for and competing in fitness competitions. That’s great if it’s growing as a sport, but are all these new competitors really in it for the right reasons?

This great article by Christian Thibaudeau (who happens to be a bodybuilding coach), which I came across yesterday in my Facebook feed, pretty much sums up my feelings about fitness competitions and why newbie competitors could be getting into it for all the wrong reasons. Thibaudeau, who’s been in the industry for awhile, points out that “people who are years away from having what it takes to think about maybe competing… are thinking about competing,” and that the majority of newbie competitors who “have no business doing a show” are simply “narcissistic, needy wannabes.”

A bit harsh? Yes. But I see where he’s going with that. Obviously there’s a bigger, underlying issue going on here. And I think the large influx of male and female fitness competitors we’re seeing these days has everything to do with the selfie-loving, photoshop-happy, unrealistic and poor self-perceptive way we share our lives on social media. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: 30-minute total body workout

Happy #WildWorkoutWednesday! 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 another handy print-out.

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…)

{Friday Favourites} Awesome personal training client progress and long weekend camping

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! I’m linking up with the lovely Heather of Life in Leggings today to share a few things that have made me happy this week, since yesterday’s post was a bit depressing again. Sorry about that.

This amazing feedback from one of my online coaching clients

Since I launched my personal training business in the fall of 2014, it’s been growing steadily and I now have several online and in-person clients. I have been able to drop the book editing side job all together as the income I’m making from training is starting to surpass that. Coaching is also something I love to do and am passionate about, which makes it even better that I’m actually earning (part of) a living from it. Though I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist and began training clients so I could write with more authority on the topic of fitness (it really does help when you’re pitching articles to magazines if you have some letters after your name), I truly love helping people and making a difference in their lives. I don’t really get that with my day job as a government communications advisor, but this whole training-and-coaching thing has satisfied that desire in me to serve others. I feel more balanced in my life having both a behind-the-scenes professional writing job and a people-facing service job. (more…)

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

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

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

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


Why you should run when you’re on vacation

Debbie checking out the views in downtown Seattle

Debbie checking out the views in downtown Seattle

This past weekend I went to Seattle for my friend Katie’s stagette (or bachelorette party, as you call them is the U.S.), and despite a late night the day before, my friend Debbie and I got up early to hit the streets for a morning run. We decided to do some hill repeats up and down a few blocks near the water (if you’ve ever been to Seattle you know the San Fransisco-like hills I’m talking about) and get ourselves orientated to the area in which we were going to be spending the next two days.

Despite the obvious reasons for going for a run while on vacation (burning calories, staying fit, sticking to routine, etc.), here are a few other reasons we discovered:

  1. You can see as much of a new city as you can while on foot. You can cover a lot more ground when running than walking.
  2. You can do a recon mission to check out areas you plan to visit later. Knowing where the pub was that we planned to visit later was helpful, especially when trying to find it after several beers at the baseball game.
  3. You can discover cool places to shop and eat. Though we never made it back to Biscuit Bitch, we’ll definitely stop there next time.
  4. You might discover some incredible views. You’re usually rewarded with a gorgeous view at the top of a set of stairs.
  5. You can justify having one more drink or that amazing-looking dessert later because you ran in the morning and pre-burned some calories.


{thinking out loud} Are you self-creating stress?

First of all, thank you everyone for your kind words, texts and comments about last week’s {thinking out loud} post. The positive vibes really did help :) I’m feeling much more content about things this week, though not quite out of the woods yet. But that’s life, right?


Thanks Amanda for the link-up :) (more…)

Looking for a challenge? Enter to win one FREE entry into any Western Canadian Reebok Spartan Race!

image002Have you ever participated in one of those obstacle course races? I won’t lie — I’ve never had the desire to do a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race (which is apparently even harder than Tough Mudder) because I’m too worried about injuring anything that could hamper my running and yoga activities. But if you ARE into obstacle course races (and are far more badass than I am) I have one FREE race entry to give away for any Western Canadian Reebok Spartan Race in an open heat PLUS a discount code you can use for 15% off any race! (See below for how to enter).

What’s a Spartan Race?

A Spartan Race is a an obstacle course race consisting of three distances (sprint: 3 miles and 15 obstacles; super: 8 miles and 20 obstacles; and beast: 12 miles and 25 obstacles) and various challenging obstacles that include elements of fire, water, mud, barbed wire and something called Hell on Earth… whatever that is. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? (more…)

15 simple steps to help start your weight-loss journey

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

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

I know what you’re probably thinking.

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

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

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


{thinking out loud} It’s okay not to be okay sometimes

Sometimes life isn’t all perfectly pretty latte art and #beastmode #gymselfies. Sometimes life is hard and you’re working your way through upsetting or messy situations. You rarely see Instagrammed #sadselfies or blog posts detailing the hard times. Everything on social media is double rainbows and sleepy puppies.


Thanks Amanda for the link-up :) (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: 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


Recipe: Vegan black bean and yam veggie burgers

veggiebrgersThese are seriously amazing.

I’ve tried several homemade veggie burger recipes over the years, and most patties have either required too much effort to make, ended up tasting like cardboard or just fall apart in the bun.

Aside from some day-in-advance prep, these black bean and yam veggie burgers not only stick together, but also are super easy to make. I made a variation using this wonderful recipe from Treble in the Kitchen. I doubled the ingredients as I wanted to make a bigger batch to freeze, added more yams and also added in zucchini and carrots to up the vegetable quota. (more…)

Stuff you should read Saturday: Crazy fitness gurus, why I love/hate the fitness industry and the greatest bachelor party of all time

sysrsGood morning, friends. I hope you’re all having a lazy Saturday morning in bed like me with a mug of vanilla-flavoured coffee and a fluffy dog curled up at your feet. I’ve had a very rough week this week, and as much as I’d love to pour my heart out on the blog, I will refrain. Some things are best left for a moleskin journal, not a health and fitness blog.

Due to said rough week, I spent the night in last night and read (I just cracked open The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron), ate chocolate, relaxed in a bath and gave myself a french manicure. I also decided to book myself into my favourite spa for the afternoon today. I needed something nice to look forward to — I also really need a pedicure, because it’s almost sandal season and my runner’s feet are looking pretty mangled.

I was feeling slightly more optimistic this morning until I heard about the earthquake in Nepal. My heart sunk again. Sending thoughts and prayers to the beautiful people in that country.

If you have some time to catch up on internet reads this morning, here are some of my favourite posts and articles from this week: (more…)

Fitness and the introvert: Why I don’t want to join your running group or teach a group fitness class

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

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

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy company on my training runs or dislike training with a group. I love going on trail runs with a small group of friends once a week or long marathon training runs with my friend Debbie, who often plays running model for my trail run blog posts.

The thing is, I’m a textbook introvert. Sometimes when I read about the typical character traits of the introvert personality type, I think Carl Jung had me in mind when he more or less identified them:

  • You enjoy solitude.
  • Dislike small-talk, but enjoy in-depth conversations about topics that interest you.
  • People say you are a good listener.
  • You like to think about and choose your words carefully before speaking.
  • You dislike conflict.
  • You prefer to work alone and without interruptions.
  • When you’re stressed or need to recharge, you spend a few days alone by yourself.
  • Often express yourself through writing.
  • People describe you as “soft-spoken” or “mellow”.
  • You like people, you just don’t want to be around them all the time.
  • You don’t normally like to take the lead, but will step up when no one else will.

When I run, I use that time to think and recharge. It’s just something I need to do to be able to function during my nine-to-five. It’s also another reason why I get up hours before the sun does. If I were to work my nine-to-five and then meet with a running group before dinner for a training run on a regular basis, I’d be useless, drained and irritable. (more…)

Recipe: Matcha green tea chia seed protein pudding

Matcha green tea goodness

Matcha green tea goodness

I made this concoction the other day to take as a snack to beat the 3 p.m. hangries at work. I ended up eating it right after lunch (because I have no self control) and not only was it delicious, but also it kept me full until dinner time! It’s packed with antioxidants, calcium, iron and roughly 20 grams of protein.

Matcha green tea chia seed protein pudding


  • 3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt (non-fat so it’s not as thick)
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Sunwarrior)
  • 1/3 tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp white chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp stevia (optional if you want it sweeter)


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl/container you plan to eat it out of.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for a few hours to give the chia seeds time to expand and make the mixture more pudding-like.
  3. Eat!

Notes: If you want to make a dairy-free version, sub the yogurt for an unsweetened non-dairy milk, skip the extra tbsp of almond milk and add another tbsp of chia seeds.

Nutritional info: 217 calories, 7 g fat, 27 g carbs, 20 g protein.

What’s your favourite chia seed protein pudding recipe?
– B


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

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

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

Stuff You Should Read Saturday: Common weight-loss mistakes, best supplement brands, and why you need to find someone who ‘gets’ you

sysrsHappy Saturday, Friends! I’m currently at my desk (aka actually still in bed because I live in a bachelor suite and don’t have a desk) working on some nutrition and strength plans (aka also reading blogs and scrolling Pinterest for mandala/lotus flower tattoo ideas) and drinking coffee (with Baileys… just kidding. I can’t have cream. Sad face.) before I head out for a 10 km run this morning around Elk Lake with my run buddy Debbie. If you’re also just starting your day and like to read stuff on teh internets, here’s a collection of good reads from this week. (more…)

{thinking out loud} Random (and weirdly morbid) thoughts on this Thursday

Generally, I only write a blog post if I think it might be useful to someone, an important issue that needs to be addressed, or a funny/interesting story. I don’t always write just to write, but when I do I find those meatier blog post topics come easier and I’m more inclined to spend the extra time researching and writing them.

So here I am participating in Amanda‘s fun link-up :)

Thinking-Out-Loud2 (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Yoga Strength Fusion workout

Looking to mix up your strength training routine? Try this fusion of isometric yoga asanas, dynamic yoga asanas and resistance training. This is actually one of two workouts I’m doing right now and it’s super fun :)

yogafusionWARM UP with 5 sun salutations

  • 3 x barbell squat/deadlift/row – Grab a barbell and load it with a weight you can manage to row in a bent-over position for 6 reps. Hold the bar in front of you and squat down, push back up and lower bar into a deadlift position, making sure to push your butt back behind you. Once in the lowest position, row the bar to your chest then slowly lower. Push your hips forward up and extend back up into standing position. Rest between sets for this one.
  • 3 x down dog kickbacks – Get into high plank position and press back into down dog. From here, lift one leg back behind you, keeping your hips parallel to the floor. Bring that same leg in and your knee into your chest. Repeat.
  • 3 x push-up side planks – Get into a push-up position and lower down until your chest is close to the floor. Push up and roll onto the side of your foot, stack your legs and lift one arm straight up overhead into side plank position. Return to push-up position and alternate sides.
  • 3 x crow/jump back into cobra – Get into crow position and try to hold the pose for 5-10 seconds. Contract your core and shoot your legs back out behind you, while lowering your body to the floor. Curl your toes over, extend your back and press up through your palms into cobra.
  • 3 x lateral raise – Grab a set of dumbbells and stand shoulder-width apart, weights slightly out in front of you. Raise them out to the sides until your arms are parallel with the floor; slowly lower.
  • 3 x glute bridge – Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels of your feet on the floor. Squeeze your butt and rise up into bridge, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower before your repeat.

Have you tried mixing yoga into your strength training workouts? What are your favourite yoga poses?

– B

Recipe: Chocolate avocado mousse (sugar-free, vegan)

Nom nom nom.

Nom nom nom.

In an effort to cut back on my expensive chocolate bar habit — cause when you buy chocolate you gotta get the good stuff, even if it’s like $5 a bar — and still reap the benefits of cocoa and good fats, I whipped up this delicious treat the other day on a whim. The best part is you don’t even need a food processor to get a smooth, mousse-like consistency — just a big bowl and a fork!

Chocolate avocado mousse (sugar-free, vegan)
Yields one serving

  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder (I like Camino cocoa powder, but raw cacao powder also tastes good)
  • 1-2 tsp sweetener (raw sugar or stevia if you prefer sugar-free — I used stevia in this recipe)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used coconut almond milk)


  1. Scoop out half an avocado and mash up with a fork until smooth in a bowl. You could use a food processor if you wish, but this method = more chocolately avocado goodness in your mouth vs. stuck to the sides of a food processor.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and whip/beat with a fork until mixture becomes a smooth, mousse-like consistency. You may want to add some of the sweetener and milk, stir, taste, then add more if necessary.
  3. Place the bowl in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before eating. I like to whip this up as I’m making dinner, place it in the fridge and have it for dessert :)

Nutritional Info: 137 calories, 9 g fat, 13 g carbs, 9 g fibre, 3 g protein


#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.

If you happen to live in Victoria and are free today between 10 a.m and 4 p.m., stop by Breathe Athletic for Tonic’s Promo Day event! Ania from Tonic Lifestyle Apparel will be there to chat about their Canadian-made brand of athletic clothing and to give away complimentary headbands. There will be a draw for a fabulous Tonic outfit and a 10% discount on all purchases and light refreshments. Can’t make it in store? The discount applies to purchases made online as well.

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 24/7.


To see their entire collection, visit mytonic.ca.

Fitful Focus

Thanks Nicole for the link-up! :)

Recipe: Easy smoked salmon and avocado salad rolls with spicy peanut sauce

Salmon and avocado salad roll

Salmon and avocado salad roll

Looking for an easy and healthy alternative to a sandwich? Try these Vietnamese salad roll-inspired rice wraps — they’re super easy to put together and are a perfect high-protein lunch option. I used a store-bought thai peanut sauce because I was feeling lazy this week, but you can easily make your own.

Easy smoked salmon and avocado salad rolls with spicy peanut sauce
Makes two rolls


  • Two rice paper wraps – you can pick these up at mot grocery stores
  • 4-6 leaves of green leaf lettuce
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 3/4 cup smoked salmon
  • 1 tbsp spicy thai peanut sauce – homemade or store bought


  1. roll1Run the rice paper under warm water for 30 seconds, making sure to dampen both sides.
  2. Place rice paper on a cutting board and place a few slices of avocado (about 1/4 of the avocado) in the middle of the rice paper.
  3. Next, place 1/3-1/2 cup of the smoked salmon in the middle of the rice paper on top of the avocado.
  4. Grate about half the carrot on top of the smoked salmon.
  5. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of the spicy thai peanut sauce over the carrot.
  6. Place 3 or so lettuce leaves over the avocado, salmon and carrot.
  7. Grab one side of the rice paper (it should be pliable now) and fold it in half over the lettuce. Fold in either side so the ends are covered, make sure the lettuce and insides are tucked in then roll it so the other side is sealed. If that made no sense to you, watch this video for a tutorial. (It may take a few times to roll it into an actual roll — my first ended up looking like some kind of alien egg.)
  8. Repeat using the remaining ingredients for the second roll.
  9. Devour for lunch!

If you plan to make these in the morning to take to work, place a small lettuce leaf down on the rice paper before the avocado and salmon – that should prevent the peanut sauce from going through to the rice paper, which can make it too soft and end up tearing.

Nutrition for two rolls: 279 calories, 11 g fat, 30 g carbs, 21 g protein, 4 g fibre

Let me know if you try this! What are you having for lunch today? Do you have any good salad roll recipe/combos I should try?

– B

The surprise secret to motivation and consistency when it comes to eating right and exercising

Happiness is a wiener dog on a beach.

Happiness is a wiener dog on a beach.

I’m often asked by my personal training clients how to stay motivated to work out and how not to “fall off the wagon” when it comes healthy eating. Like most of us, they know what they need to do to lose weight and how to get healthier, but fail in the execution of even the most well-thought-out plans. Although having a personal trainer or nutrition coach can help you with the what and how, they can’t help you with the why. That part — which is the hardest part when it comes to being a happy, healthy human — is entirely up to you.

Not only is it up to you, it has to come from within you. From a place buried deep down inside that you might only see glimpses of now and again during shavasana at yoga class. Or when you experience a runner’s high on the trails in the forest. Or when you’re playing with your kids. Or when you’re laugh-crying over beer at the pub with your best friends you’ve known since middle school. Or when you’re watching your dog run full-tilt alongside the ocean at the beach. Or when you’re hugging your parents.

Those experiences. That feeling. That’s the secret to motivation and consistency when it comes to eating right and exercising.

(I know that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. But just bear with me here… there is a point, and I will get to it :)) (more…)

{Friday Favourites} Magazine features, standing desks and sunrise runs

Life In LeggingsHappy (Good) Friday, friends! I have a mishmash of things I wanted to share on the blog this week, so what better way than to participate in a Friday Favourites link-up? Today I’m linking up with Heather of Life in Leggings, because that would probably be the name of my blog (actually it would be Life in Lululemon) if I didn’t have a government job.

I had two more articles published in a magazine this week!

Getting published in a print magazine with a byline was one of my goals for last year, and I was thrilled to not only write but also be featured in this article for IMPACT Magazine. My plan for 2015 was to really pick up my freelance-writing game, so I was more than happy to write these two pieces for Get Out There Magazine’s Annual Women’s Edition:



#WorkoutWednesday: My off-season workout routine right now

Running in the bamboo forest in Maui.

Running in the bamboo forest in Maui.

It’s hard to believe that about six months ago I was running a sub 4:45-per-kilometre marathon pace. Right now I can barely run for 10 km. And I’m probably running at twice that pace.

It’s good to have a break from running and racing at least once a year for a few months, as it helps to prevent overuse injuries and gives you a chance to spend the time cross training and strengthen all those muscles you don’t get to use during marathon training. Though it can be humbling to head out with much faster and fitter friends during your “off-season”, taking a break from running now and again will benefit you in the long run — literally and figuratively.

Other than the set back I experienced a few weeks ago (where I couldn’t do anything more than walk for about three weeks), I’ve been pretty consistent with my strength and yoga routine, mixing in at least one or two short runs (7-10 km) and one hike per week to maintain a good cardio base. My weeks look something like this: (more…)

Recipe: Coconut cashew protein bars (vegan)

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


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.


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:


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



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.

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:


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


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.

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.


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.




Recipe: Super delicious immunity-boosting green smoothie

Because everything tastes better in a mason jar.

Because everything tastes better in a mason jar.


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.






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!)


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:



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


#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:


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


  • 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


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.”


#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.


  • 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


  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.


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…)

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”


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…)

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.

#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.








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.

#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.


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?


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…)

#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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