What DNA testing can tell you about your health

This past November, I decided to do some research on my family tree for Christmas gifts. I bought the AncestryDNA kit, which happened to be on sale for about $70 at the time, and a one year subscription to Ancestry.ca so I could access historical records and their extensive database of user-created family trees.

What I discovered was definitely worth the cost and time spent poring over records, photos and information. The DNA test told me I’m 91% Great British (Scottish/Welsh/English), with a little bit of Italian/Greek, Scandinavian and European Jewish. I also found out my 6th great grandfather John MacColl was a key witness in a famous murder trial in Scotland in 1745, and was featured in the novel “Kidnapped” by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (author of “Treasure Island”). (He was described as “a ragged, wild, bearded man, about forty, grossly disfigured with the small pox, and looked both dull and savage.” Sounds like we’re related, alright!) I also found out my 4th great uncle Hugh MacColl was a logician and wrote a few novels, which are on Amazon for sale.

I was also able to connect with a distant relative on my mom’s side who has the MacColl family bible from the 1800s, and another relative in New Zealand who sent me a ton of information and photos of my 3rd great grandparents on my dad’s side, who immigrated to New Zealand from England in the 1800s and owned a sheep farm that’s still around today. (more…)

Why I’m still diligent about tracking exercise and nutrition

One of the best things about logging and tracking your progress – be it keeping a personal diary, bullet journaling, logging workouts or tracking nutrition – is looking back at certain points in time when you remember feeling at your best (or at your worst) to see what was going on so you can either disrupt or adopt certain habits and behaviours.

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Gear Review: Running and lifting in Swiftwick Socks

A few months ago, the nice people at Swiftwick sent me three pairs of their running socks to test out and review. Because you can only get a good feel for workout clothes — and socks in particular — by wearing them during all kinds of workouts in all kinds of weather and conditions, I took my time putting each pair through their paces. Also, I’ve only been running once or twice a week, so I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for each pair as they are all a bit different in terms of material, cushioning and compression.

Yes, socks can be as custom as running shoes are these days! (more…)

Race Review: Vancouver Island Trail Running Series Race #1 – Cobble Hill

I wasn’t planning on actually running much of the hilly 12 km short course at the first race in the Vancouver Island Trail Running Series (VITRS) this past Saturday since I haven’t been running much lately and wasn’t feeling good this past week, but I couldn’t help myself after I started to descend after the first of many steep climbs.

The course follows a fun network of hiking and mountain biking trails around Cobble Hill, and I LOVE running on twisty-turny downhills that aren’t too steep. Once I get into that downhill flow on the trails — you know the kind when you expertly navigate every rock and root with minimal effort and feel like you could run forever — I can’t be stopped.

The Cobble Hill race, held on Saturday, April 8, was the first event in the VITRS. It featured a long course (18km) and a short course (12km), as well as a kid’s race. Even though the weather was rather gloomy, there was a great turn out at this sold out race. (more…)

Blogger rant: Why I’m over sponsored social media posts

Happy Saturday, friends!

I’m sorry I haven’t quite got back into the swing of regular health, fitness and wellness related blog posts, but I promise I’ll post something substantial again soon. To be honest, around the time I started studying for the GMAT thinking I’d be going back to grad school I was feeling rather disenchanted with the whole blogging and fitness/health side passion I had going on. Perhaps I was still bitter from the Mode Media fiasco and doing $1,700 worth of work promoting brands and not seeing a dime of it; or perhaps I enjoyed my two-week Maui vacation a little too much and decided I’d rather have true downtime outside of work (which has gotten insanely busy) instead of side hustling. (more…)

Recipe: Healthy banana chocolate chip protein muffins

The nice folks at Naked Nutrition sent me this massive tub of protein powder to try a few weeks ago. Since whey protein doesn’t sit well with me in protein shakes (and I prefer plant-based protein in general), I decided to use it in baking last week.

Not just for Rickys and Bobbys!

I threw together some banana chocolate chip protein muffins for snacks during the week and was really happy with how they turned out, so I made some again this week and measured everything this time so I could share it with you guys. (more…)

Why I’m taking a blogging break

Hi friends! Even though I’ve posted a bit about what I’m up to on some of my other social media channels, I thought I had better update you here as to why I’ve been MIA from blog comments and posting in general.

I lurk around a bit on the weekend, but over the past few weeks I haven’t had time to be on the interwebs and follow all the latest in the health and fitness world. I’m currently running a private Facebook fitness challenge, have a few product reviews in the works, have a handful of online fitness clients and another magazine article coming up, but otherwise my downtime has been devoted to spending time with family and friends and studying for the GMAT. I found out last week I’ve been conditionally accepted into business school, so now I really need to buckle down and re-learn math 12 for this test. Ugh.

My life for the next two months:

Once that’s out of the way I’ll have more time to blog (until school starts in September, that is!), but I can’t see myself sitting down to write anything until the end of April.

I love you all, have been quietly reading your updates and promise I’ll be back later this spring 🙂 If you want to stay in the loop, feel free to follow me on Instagram!

XO

 

Everything you need to see and do while on vacation in Maui: Part 1

Happy Monday! It’s back to reality for me this week after what seemed like months of holiday bliss. I had 10 days off a Christmas; went back to work for a week and a bit; celebrated my 32nd birthday weekend by going out for dinner with Matt, hitting the trails with Debbie, brunching with friends and spending a day at my favourite spa; and jetting off to Maui for two glorious weeks with Matt and his parents.

This was my fourth time in Maui, and I’m glad we decided to go for two weeks instead of just one. You really can’t do everything in one week and feel relaxed (the mistake we made last time). Not that you have to do and see things every day, but with so much cool stuff do and see there, why not spend two weeks in paradise? And with four people splitting the cost of food, the rental car and accommodation, it didn’t end up being that much more expensive (though overall it was expensive — the CAD dollar sucks right now in the US).

Since I know a few people heading to Maui or are thinking about heading there this year, I thought I’d finally write a blog about everything you need to see and do while on vacation in Maui! (more…)

A strength coach tries to get InstaFit: Which popular exercise program is more effective – Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide or the Tone It Up Challenge?

This year, I decided to spice up my regular strength training and running routine by trying a few exercise programs that seem to be popular with the Instagram crowd due to their impressive #transformationtuesday progress pictures and heavy focus on their respective social media communities: the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) and the Tone It Up Bikini Challenge (#TIUChallenge).

Besides trying something new for fitness last year, I was curious to see if these Insta-popular exercise programs are actually safe and effective from a strength training, functional movement and body composition point of view, instead of just another way to burn extra calories.

**Warning! This post contains #Fitspo images (bikini bods, abs, butts, etc.), so maybe don’t read it on your work computer OR if you’re trying to avoid images like that.*** (more…)

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