Life

Year-end check in: Did I achieve my 2015 goals?

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.

Before I get into how I did this year, I’m kicking myself now for not adding GET INTO THE BOSTON MARATHON as one of my 2015 goals. Although I achieved my 2014 goal of qualifying in October last year, I missed getting in by 1 minute and 25 seconds. Not that it was in my control, but you better believe I’m going to be much more specific with my 2016 goals (more on those to come next week).

So how did I do this year?

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Gabrielle Bernstein’s 7 steps to happiness

“When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in.” On Monday, my best friend Janine and I attended a talk/book signing by Gabrielle Bernstein, a New York Times best-selling author, life coach, yogi and self-proclaimed Spirit Junkie. Yes, she’s slightly Tony Robbins-esque and dips her toes in the pseudo-profound at times, but I resonate with her general message of leading by example, going after what you want, understanding your values, and being compassionate, forgiving and empathetic. 

I picked up a copy of her book after reading and reviewing the book BODYPeace as part of a FitFluential campaign. Heather Waxman, one of the authors of the book, referenced Gabrielle (aka Gabby) a few times and I could tell much of the structure of the book was inspired by her work. I was going through a rough time earlier this year, and felt like I needed something. Something to help guide me through the situation I was in, something to help me better understand myself. I was doing online clinical therapy through a work program but it wasn’t giving me the help I needed, so I picked up a copy Gabby’s book May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness. I worked through the 40 days, mediating for short periods in the morning and evening and using her positive affirmations throughout the day. It truly did help keep my anxiety in check and my mood lifted, even when things got worse later on in the year. (more…)

Tales from the run: The curmudgeonly old bird man

runlightApparently I am an ignorant runner.

I know this because the curmudgeonly old man in the trucker hat who often walks my seaside running route with a squawking parrot on his poop-covered shoulder told me so the other day as I ran by during a tempo run.

And on my way back, he heard me coming and fully turned around with his arms extended in an attempt to stop me, his parrot wildly flapping its wings. “STOP! I need to talk to you!” he shouted as I flew by.

“Sorry, I need to see where I’m going! Safety first!”

He may have shouted a few profanities at me but I couldn’t quite hear him.

Stop during a tempo run? Sorry mister. I’m marathon training.

So what is curmudgeonly bird man so curmudgeonly about?

My headlamp. He doesn’t like my 80 lumen headlamp that barely lights the road in front of me because for that whole five seconds when I pass him by once or twice a week, it is “too bright in his eyes”. (more…)

Why you should handwrite (not type) your goals, dreams and aspirations

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believeWhen was the last time you wrote something down by hand?

Perhaps it was on Monday when you wrote out your to-do list in your work notebook. Or maybe it was Wednesday when you wrote on a Post-It note to remind yourself to pick up eggs. Or perhaps in was on Friday when you wrote a few pleasantries in a birthday card that you were planning to give your friend on the weekend.

Or maybe you just typed your to-do list in your lap top at work, set a reminder on your phone to get eggs and wished your friend a Happy Birthday on their Facebook wall.

Although my handwriting is barely legible and I misspell almost every word I write, I love writing things down. Pen to paper is my jam. I’m a visual learner, so there’s something about physically writing things out that helps me to remember it better than if I typed it out on a computer screen. (more…)

8 tips to help you have a healthy holiday season

8 tips for having a healthy holiday seasonWith less than a week until American Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas not far behind that, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.

Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) 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 planning 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 several weeks… it’s exhausting.

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

{thinking out loud Thursday} Why I’m not baking holiday treats this year

'_Darkness cannot drive out darkness_ only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate_ only love can do that.'_Sorry, family and friends. This year I won’t be baking holiday treats to give as gifts like I normally do.

I won’t be spending $100 at the health food store to buy raw cacao and cocoa butter to make this delicious homemade chocolate. Nor will I drop cash on pretty packaging and organic ingredients for tasty vegan cookies.

It’s not because I don’t think you deserve the best, because you do. You deserve the best gluten-free/GMO-free/Paleo/vegan homemade treats I could possibly create. But not this year.

No, it’s not because I don’t believe in holiday treats, because I do. I love treats — I love eating treats and I love making treats to give to others. It’s my one of my most favourite holiday traditions.

But not this year.

Recent world events have left me feeling sadness, desperation and disgust at the state of humanity right now; feelings I’m sure a lot of you share. But at the same time, I feel grateful, hopeful and optimistic about our future. While evil exists, so to does love and light. And the best way to fight darkness is with light. (more…)

How to quit your day job, move to Costa Rica and pursue your passion for fitness: An interview with Carey Adam of RunningMoms.com

How to quit your day job, move to Costa Rica and pursue your passion for fitness: An interview with Carey Adam of RunningMoms.comHow many of you have dreamed about what it would be like to quit your 9-to-5, pack up your whole family and move to paradise so you can pursue your true passion — be it blogging, fitness coaching, writing or otherwise — all while being able to stay home to spend time with your kids?

According to Carey Adam of RunningMoms.com, not impossible. You just need to discover your true passion, define your goals, seek guidance and support, and make a plan A — with no plan B option — to make it happen.

Instead of your typical guest post, I decided it would be fun to Skype call Carey and record the conversation to share with you guys. Carey used to live in my hometown of Victoria, BC, so I was curious about why she decided to move to Costa Rica, how she made the jump from working a 9-to-5 day job to launching her online run coaching business, and what it’s like working, living and running in Costa Rica, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. (more…)

Self-knowledge, the problem with self-help books and how to truly change your habits

practicemakespurposeYou know when you hit 30 (or 25, perhaps), and you start reading self-help books to address an identified problem or figure out what your life’s purpose is?

Unhappy in love? Relationship on the rocks? Feeling unfulfilled at work? Kids driving you crazy? Stress and anxiety ruining your life? Depression dragging you down? Unable to pay the bills? Feel empty inside? There’s a self-help book for that, I’m sure. And most of it is probably fairly good advice, especially if it’s penned by a PhD, medical doctor, scientist, therapist or psychologist with decades of experience behind their words of wisdom.

But does reading, intellectually understanding and even applying some of what you’ve learned ACTUALLY help you? Not the ego you, but the REAL you? The you that all those self-help books promise to help reveal?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’m currently eyeballs-deep into several self-help books. It’s all fascinating stuff, and while some of the wisdom and advice has definitely helped me to understand myself and others better and to see certain situations with more clarity, I’m curious as to how it’s actually affecting my true self. Although intellectually I understand the advice and have been working on applying some of what I learn into my everyday life… is it really me? It’s like when I give a new client a strength training program or nutrition plan: Intellectually they know what to do and can even take steps to incorporate it into their lives… but is it their default state? Is it something that truly resonates with who they are, their desires, their values, their beliefs? Is that why changing habits — especially ones related to fitness and health — so hard to do? (more…)

Do motivational quotes actually motivate you?

un-motivational quote

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Anonymous

“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” – Chris Grosser

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

There. Now that you’ve read those, are you ready to get up, put down your phone/close your laptop and create a risky opportunity that makes you feel uncomfortable in order to achieve greatness? Are you going to put on your workout gear and head to the gym right this very moment, even though you’re currently cozy in your bed/sitting at your desk at the office? No?

I’ve often wondered if reading motivational quotes layered over images of mountains, oceans and trees actually inspire people to get up and DO the things the quote is trying to motivate you to do. Although many of us seek out and resonate with words of wisdom, especially when we’re going through tough times or are working on something that requires mental strength and willpower, do they actually cause a person to take action? (more…)

Buddha was right: New study proves you’re not who you think you are

buddha-thoughtsAre you unhappy with your body? Do you wish you were faster, stronger, bigger or leaner? Do you long to be one of those neon-clad runners who pound the pavement at the crack of dawn and actually enjoy themselves while doing it? Do you wish you didn’t love ice cream, cheese, chocolate and salt-and-vinegar chips so much?

I’ve got good news for you.

Evan Thompson, a philosophy of mind professor at the University of British Columbia who recently published a neuroscience paper on the concept of what we perceive to be our ‘self’, has discovered that “the brain and body is constantly in flux. There’s nothing that corresponds to the sense that there’s an unchanging self.” Now, this doesn’t mean that one day you’ll spontaneously grow bigger bicep muscles and develop cravings for kale and wheatgrass smoothies – but it does verify what Buddhists have believed for ages; that our self is ever-changing and that we are not our thoughts.

“Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness,” Thompson explains in this article. He found evidence that “self-processing in the brain is not instantiated in a particular region or network, but rather extends to a broad range of fluctuating neural processes that do not appear to be self-specific.”

So what does this have to do with health and fitness?  (more…)

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