Health

Gear Review: FitBit Flex

Photo(2)Like most endurance sport junkies I know who train to improve their personal bests, I’m obsessed with analyzing stats and data: average pace, distance travelled, average stride rate, beats per minute, heart rate, number of reps, calories in, calories out. I don’t know if I could run a race now without my trusty Garmin keeping me on track. And while I love to pore over my Garmin stats after a run or bike and track my training progress, recent health issues prompted me to research other body monitoring devices. I researched a few that are on the market right now (the FitBit One, Jawbone UP, BodyMedia Fit and the Basis) and settled on the FitBit Flex, which only just came out about a month ago. (more…)

Put your best food forward for Nutrition Month

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! Click here for the recipe.

Healthy eating starts at the grocery store, which is why this year’s Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month campaign is dedicated to helping you plan ahead before you hit the aisles, as well as how to navigate the grocery store like a nutritionist and prepare healthy, home-cooked meals your whole family will enjoy.

According to a survey by the Dietitians of Canada, 63 per cent of Canadians struggle when it comes to making healthier choices in the grocery store at least half of the time they shop. And it’s no wonder: we’re faced with a multitude of choices and often stop to grab groceries at times when we’re feeling tired, stressed or hungry, such as on the way home from work or while we’re out running other errands. Instead of filling your cart with frozen pizzas and granola bars on your next grocery run, set yourself up for nutritional success by following these tips based on the Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month campaign.* (more…)

Nutrition update, and some healthy (and really tasty) gluten-free recipes!

Betcha can't eat just one!

Betcha can’t eat just one!

I’m not doing so great with this whole “cleanse” thing. Turns out I go crazy when I restrict things when I really don’t need to, especially if I want to keep my fitness (and sanity) up at the level where it’s at now. So it’s kind of just turned into this “only have one small cup of coffee in the morning, have a glass of wine with dinner on the weekend if you feel like it, make proper meals instead of eating cereal out of the box for dinner and drink more green tea during the day” kind of cleanse. And I can live with that. I’m saving the program kit for a time when I really need it and maybe don’t want to workout as much as I am now. But I’m on a roll (and paying for a gym membership), and don’t want to stop! To truly benefit from the Reset you do have to follow it properly, and the meals weren’t enough to sustain me through a long day, even if I ate more of them. I followed it closely for about a week then got sick, so now I’m just trying to recover from that and to get my energy back up to get back in the gym. (more…)

How do you train for a 50k trail race?

Me and Kai on the Timberline Trail

Me and Kai on the Timberline Trail

I’d like to know, because I signed up for one taking place in Squamish on August 10!

I’ve been getting out at least once a week lately for a long trail run, usually running for about an hour to an hour and a half on a few hilly trails. On Friday, my friend Debbie and I ended up running for about two hours on the trails without any water or nutrition; we weren’t planning to go that far, but really wanted to see what Joycelin Hill was like in Gowlland Tod Park. It didn’t look like it was that much farther from Squally Reach, which is where we usually run to when we go there. We ended up running about 12 kms, and were both pretty bagged at the end. I just went downhill from then on, thinking I was getting sick (still having tummy troubles… not sure if I’m fighting the flu bug that’s been going around or if was the haggis I tried on the weekend), so I opted not to go for our planned Coast Trail run on Sunday. (more…)

Day 4 of eating clean

Grilled basil and pepper chicken salad for lunch on day 1!

Grilled basil and pepper chicken salad for lunch on day 1!

Well, I made it through the weekend without any wine, coffee or chocolate. Success! I did cave and had a piece of dark chocolate tonight, and had some Shakeology as a snack today (I guess you can’t have it because it has natural chocolate flavour in it, and stevia). Three days is enough without chocolate. I decided you only live once, why not enjoy the things you love? In moderation, of course. As long as the other 95% of my day is whole foods, I figure that’s better than nothing.

Alcohol, added sugar and wheat are not going back on the menu, however. I can live without those for 21 days. I had a pretty bad caffeine-withdrawal headache yesterday, but I feel fine today. I’m probably going to add coffee back in a few days and keep it to one cup in the morning, instead of the six cups I used to drink throughout the day. I’ve been sleeping better so far this week, not sure if that has anything to do with it. (more…)

Super healthy chocolate zucchini protein muffins

Super healthy chocolate zucchini protein muffins!

I’m on day two of my mostly-eat-whole-unprocessed-and-nutritious-foods-like-a-human-should regimen and almost broke into a Terry’s Chocolate Orange because I was craving chocolate so bad today. This doesn’t bode well for the other 363 days of 2013 still to come.

So I made something chocolatey out of whatever I had in my kitchen. I just threw all of these ingredients into a bowl without measuring, so this recipe may need some tweaking. But whatever muffin-like creation I pulled out of the oven after baking them for 15 minutes (I think?? I bake by the toothpick test 🙂 ) at 350 degrees tasted pretty darned good for something with no added fat, sugar or wheat. (more…)

My 2013 non-New Year’s resolution post!

Winter run at Gowlland Todd

Winter run at Gowlland Todd

Well… I didn’t really meet the 2012 goals I set out in last year’s non-New Year’s resolution post, partly due to work/life factors, and partly because I didn’t follow my own advice of setting small, weekly goals for yourself as you work towards your larger goals.

I didn’t end up competing in any triathlons in 2012 because I was crazy busy organizing the majority of the triathlons I probably would have participated in. I did get back in the pool for a little bit, but was sick of everything triathlon by the end of summer and lost my passion for it slightly. I didn’t do a marathon in 2012 so I didn’t get my sub 4-hour PB, but I did manage a super fast half marathon time, beating my previous best by five minutes. With all things considered, I still had a great 2012 fitness-wise. And I know 2013 is going to be even better. (more…)

Why our culture is making us fat

Hopefully Shakeology can get me through the holidays just a little bit healthier

Hopefully Shakeology can get me through the holidays just a little bit healthier

First off, I’m not one of those people who believes you have to eat healthy 100% of the time. I eat chocolate everyday, drink wine when I feel like it, go out for burgers and beers occasionally. But like all things bad for you, I consume them in moderation. Moderation means 10 less kilometres I have to run and three less sets I need to rep out to keep my body looking like it does and to be healthy, inside and out.

I don’t know at what point in time our culture stopped supporting this. I feel like there is this weird cultural norm where you get judged when you slip too far towards either edge of the health spectrum — too gluttonous and people think you have no self control/self respect, too health conscious and people think you’re no fun/judging everyone else/annoying. The perfect balance would be eating what everyone else is and still looking healthy, which isn’t possible except for those people gifted with genes that let them eat whatever they want and not gain a pound.

(more…)

How many calories do you actually burn doing workout DVDs in comparison to running?

dvd_compareI was wondering about this recently and couldn’t find anything relevant after a quick Google search, so I busted out the ‘ol HR monitor to find out.

I compared two different workout DVDs of about roughly the same duration of time — Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones and Insanity: Plyometric Cardio Circuit — to a 48 minute run that incorporates a steep trail (of which I actually had to hike up instead of run).

While the run is pure cardio, the DVDs do incorporate some strength training moves (push-ups and squats for Insanity; super sets with 3lbs weights for Jillian) along with some interval training, so the fitness benefits are a bit different. Let’s have a look, shall we: (more…)

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