Writing

Stories and writing class assignments

Monthly Goals – August

With only just over two months to go until the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, I figured it was time to up my accountability game by sharing my monthly goals (thanks to Ange and Carmy for the idea and hosting the link-up!). Marathon training has been solid during the week, but weekends have been a struggle — mainly since I’ve been away travelling or doing the complete opposite of training/health/wellness by attending music festivals. Well, I’m now on holidays for a week at home and plan to refocus and get back on track with training and health.

augustgoals

Before I share my goals for the month, I feel like I should share a recap since my last fitness struggles update. (more…)

IDEA World Fitness Blogfest 2016 recap

Blogfest 2016 RecapIt’s Monday and I’m still tired and sore.

But heading down to Los Angeles for IDEA World Fitness Blogfest 2016 was so worth it.

In case you want to just skip to the good parts, here are the highlights:

  • Meeting Ariana, Beth, Megan, Susie, Jessica, Lea, Christiana, Ashley, Ivanna, Carleeh, Stephanie, Kelli, Teresa, and Jamie and Alyse (as well as many other fabulous bloggers) in real life and getting to hang out with them for the entire weekend
  • A sweaty group run through downtown LA
  • All the free food, swag and snacks we got – seriously, I’ve never been so spoiled at a conference. Sweat Pink and all the sponsors truly outdid themselves! Buffet breakfast and lunches, all the protein bars, yogurt, hummus and veggies we could possibly eat, and lots of take home goodies
One whole suitcase full of free swag!

One whole suitcase full of free swag!

  • Watching 90-year-old Elaine Lalanne (Jack Lalanne’s wife) take on Tony Horton in a push-up competition
My goal is to be able to do this at 90!

My goal is to be able to do this at 90!

  • Hearing Amy Van Dyken‘s story – it was truly inspirational and she’s a very funny lady
  • Getting my butt kicked (and slapped by Susie during a plank exercise where we had to partner up and try to push the other person off balance) in bloggers-only a workout with Gunnar Peterson
Everything hurt after this strength and cardio circuit with Gunnar Peterson

Everything hurt after this strength and cardio circuit with Gunnar Peterson

  • Late night Whole Foods dinner runs, business chats and celebrity spotting with Ariana
  • Getting yelled at by Jillian Michaels during her BodyShed workout
"I heard you guys were trainers, so I turned the 'what the fuck' button up all the way for this circuit" - Jillian Michaels, explaining our workout

“I heard you guys were trainers, so I turned the ‘what the fuck’ button up all the way for this circuit” – Jillian Michaels, explaining our workout

  • Doing a combo workout of Insanity/P90X/Turbo Kick/Cize and Country Heat (I couldn’t take that one seriously) with the Sweat Pink crew
country heat workout

Yeee haw!!

  • Checking out all the latest, greatest and weirdest in fitness and health at the expo (LOL at that car-buffer massage thing)
  • Hearing and being inspired by lectures from David Katz, John Berardi and Yoni Freedhoff at the nutrition and behaviour change summit (these people are smart and get it – follow them if you aren’t already!)
So much good stuff at the nutrition and behaviour change summit

So much good stuff at the nutrition and behaviour change summit

  • Did I mention all the free food and swag?

Blogfest sessions
On Thursday and Friday, we sat in on a series of blogger-focused lectures and workshops, which included sessions about how to use SnapChat, how to collect/use emails, content marketing, iPhone food photography, blogger round tables and peer reviews. (more…)

How I prepared for a fitness magazine photoshoot

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

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

Why you shouldn’t monetize your blog (or other passion projects)

yell at your creativityI had a fabulous sense of relief wash over me while reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last week.

Remember how I’ve often pontificated about how us overachieving millennials (or any generation of the population who wants to do it all, for that matter) can balance work, life, health and our passions? Back in 2014, I wrote:

“Even though you have a secure, well-paying 9-to-5, you decided at some point that you wanted to own your own business — something more in line with your true passion, whatever that may be. So you start one in amongst all the social media-ing and blogging you’re already doing, because hey, you’re a millennial — you do it all. Who wants to work for “the man”, anyway? You’ve delayed getting married and having kids thus far, so you clearly have all the time in the world — might as well do it now!

There’s just one problem.

That $30,000 student loan isn’t going to pay itself off, and you need some cash upfront to get your new business up and running. Times are already pretty tight, and you’re only making the equivalent of the price of a pumpkin spiced latte per month from the Google Ads you put on your blog, so you decide to take on a second job to help pay for your new business expenses.

And here’s when you find yourself at a crossroads — getting up at 3:30 a.m. to somehow write an acceptable blog post most days of the week (because you need to be consistent, they say), post to all your social media channels, read other blogs and write thoughtful comments, get your workout in (don’t forget to post a #workoutselfie!), make your healthy lunch and Instagram it (#vegan #paleo #gmofree #glutenfree #sugarfree #whybother), get ready for your day job, work, get home, make a healthy dinner (don’t forget to pin it on you Healthy Recipe board on Pinterest!), catch up on all the emails and social media posts you missed during the day, work at your second job for a few hours because you have a deadline, spend some time promoting/working on the new business you’re trying to get off the ground, and go to bed at 9:30 p.m. because you’ve been up since 3:30 a.m. and you’re exhausted.”

Well, it turns out I don’t need to do all of that. In fact, I shouldn’t be, for the sake of my passion projects. (more…)

My one word for 2016

one word for 2016Happy 2016, friends! I hope you woke up feeling fresh and revived and ready to tackle another 365 days on Earth spinning around the sun. Or perhaps you woke up late like I did, took a few pain killers to get rid of your champagne headache and have been nursing a coffee for the last hour or so. Nevertheless, I feel good about the year to come. Not in a “I’m going to have a positive attitude not matter what and everything will go my way” kind of good, but good in my current and newfound mindset of accepting what is and being grateful for what I have. My not-giving-a-f**k mindset (I must find a better way to say that).

Yesterday I took the fabulous advice posted by Elizabeth Gilbert on her Facebook page and wrote down on a piece of paper things I’d like to let go of or leave behind from 2015, burnt it, collected the ashes and dumped them into the nearest body of water. Gilbert wrote, “This is a day to return to the elements — fire, water, earth — and to set yourself free from what was, while opening your heart wide to what is to come. It’s worth the trouble to invent a little ceremony at this moment of transition, because it’s a big moment.” (more…)

My three goals for 2016

My goals for 2016Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come: one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal.

I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.

My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead. That’s a much more bad-ass goal.

In 2014, I actually achieved all the goals I set out for myself, which I was super proud of — especially getting published (and featured!) in a print magazine and qualifying for Boston. Last year I did okay, but as I explained in this post, I was having another “transition” year, as I like to call it — where a lot more stuff was going on than what was shared on this blog.

So for this coming year — considering all things that have happened this past year — here are my three goals for 2016. (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…)

{thinking out loud Thursday} The weirdest search terms that have led people to my blog

Welcome to my blog! You came here looking for what?

“Old man eating spaghetti painting”.

Why someone would need to look that up, I don’t know… but how that term led someone to my blog a few years ago is a real head-scratcher.

I love looking at analytics and finding out how people came across my blog. Not only do these insights help me understand where my readers are coming from, what they’re interested in and what questions they want answered, but also help me to optimize my posts so they’re a bit more discoverable on the interwebz.

Earlier this week Ashley from A Lady Goes West shared some of the common and not-so-common terms that people searched to end up at her blog based on content she had written about. I loved the post — it was fun to read another blogger’s search terms, and like me, Ashley also had some very odd search terms pop up that led people to her blog.

So honour of Thinking Out Loud Thursday, I thought it would be fun to share some of the weirdest search terms that have led people to my blog, too 🙂

Before I get to the weird stuff, some of the most common search terms people have used this year that led them to my blog are anything to do with the FitBit: how it calculates calories burned, how it tracks your calories and if it’s accurate or not and (the top 25 search terms for 2015 so far were FitBit-related). That probably has something to do with this post, this post and this post.

But sometimes, much to my delight, I get a totally random phrase show up in my site stats and wonder how in the world that term led someone to a blog about running, lifting and yoga. Most of the time I can figure out what post they stumbled upon, but sometimes… I just don’t know. So without further ado, here are some of the most unusual search terms that have led people to my blog this year and my response to whomever was looking for that kind of information… (more…)

Stop apologizing for your awesomeness

Seeing the world from a new perspective

Seeing the world from a new perspective

Imagine you’re in a meeting at work and your boss compliments you in front of your coworkers on the stellar job you did getting a project together. Do you:

a) Smile and look embarrassed
b) Say, “Well, so-and-so actually presented it, so really he deserves the credit.”
c) Say, “Well, it was really a team effort.”
d) Say, “Thank you.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of the above except D. An not just in work situations.

Receives compliment on attire: “Oh, this dress? I think I got it on sale at Old Navy.”
Receives compliment about hair: “Yeah but it’s so dry — just look at my split ends!”
Receives compliment about writing: “Oh yeah I just do it for fun, hardly anyone reads it.”
An activity is suggested that I don’t want to do: “Sure, yeah, whatever you want to do.”
Someone says something I don’t agree with: Silence

I am the ultimate conflict-avoider. I do it at work and in my day-to-day life. I apologize, I bend, I push aside my opinions to make sure everyone is happy and likes me. I’m agreeable and highly sensitive. Although being a highly sensitive person is an excellent human trait — especially now in our current culture where we need more people to consider the health of our planet and the other organisms that live on it — it can get in the way of being our true, authentic selves sometimes.

Authenticity is scary for a conflict-avoider. It means we need to show up and be real. Be honest. Let our true selves be seen. (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…)

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