health

Five Things Friday: What am I doing with my life, Seaweeze and GPS art

five things fridayI had planned to post a few informative fitness and health related blogs last week, but I just didn’t have the motivation to write. To be honest, I was at a loss for words over the election in the states, and writing a blog post about my favourite protein bars or the most effective strength training exercises for your glutes just didn’t seem like the best use of anyone’s time (me writing, anyone reading). My concern and sadness for women, minorities, the environment, the future for our children and humanity in general took up more space in my brain than I could deal with last week, and I just needed to disconnect and think.

I got into the health and fitness business to help others — to share my experiences and use my skills to do something meaningful and fulfilling with my time. And while it’s still important to me and something I enjoy to do, I’ve lost that initial passion somewhat. I’ve been thinking about what to focus on next — what I can do to make a bigger impact, either in the health and wellness industry or elsewhere.

After several weeks of researching options and talking to friends and colleagues, I’ve decided to go back to school and do a masters degree next September. Not only to hopefully open more doors career-wise, but also for the opportunity to challenge myself and get exposed to global issues. I’m about 99% set on doing an MBA, but an MPA is also an option since I work in government.

The downside to this, of course, is probably zero time to write blogs and fitness articles come September. But we’ll see, depending on the program I choose to do. Both programs offered at the University of Victoria (where I did my undergrad) have a weekend or online option, which I would do so I can continue to work full time.

So that’s my big life update. And even though I called this post Five Things Friday, I don’t really have five things to hare. But here are two more things that happened this past week. (more…)

3 ways you can help convince a family member or friend to get healthy

3 ways you can help convince a family member or friend to get healthyIf you’ve been a reader of my blog for awhile, you may know my story about how and why I got into running, and later health and fitness and personal training. Although I know I’ve inspired a few friends and readers to start their own health and fitness journeys (which is amazing and awesome and is the  number one reason why I continue to share my experiences on social media), the one person I’ve always been trying to inspire is seemingly un-inspirable.

My dad.

The one who’s health issues scared me into exercise in the first place and made me swear off fast food forever. He’s stubborn, set in his ways, and can’t stand to be told “no”.

Perhaps you also have a stubborn loved one, close friend, spouse, brother, sister or parent who has bad and harmful habits you wish they would stop, because you can see how detrimental it is to their health. That despite heart attacks, angina, various heart surgeries and diabetes that has all but claimed their mobility, they just can’t change their ways. Because to you, you think that they’d rather eat burgers and fries and sweets and alcohol than be around for your wedding day. You think that because they don’t care about themselves, they don’t care about you. (more…)

Are you self-creating stress?

My happy place. I always make time to get out in nature with the dogs.

My happy place. I always make time to get out in nature with the dogs.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about balance, and my constant struggle to find it. Especially right now, with the month of May being full of birthdays, camping, trips and other activities. My weekends are pretty much booked full for the next two months. Part of me is excited by all these fun things and experiences I get to be a part of, but the other part is wondering how I’m going to find the time to take care of general chores, tackle yard work, write blog posts, write my regular freelance articles, help my online fitness clients, work at my 9-5 job, and make time for family and self care.

According to the American Psychological Association, busyness is the reason why the majority of American’s have high stress levels that interferes with their health, and as author Scott Dannemiller points out in this Huffington Post piece, the majority of the stress we experience is brought on ourselves:

Dr. Michael Marmot, a British epidemiologist, has studied stress and its effects, and found the root causes to be two types of busyness. Though he doesn’t give them official names, he describes the most damaging as busyness without control, which primarily affects the poor. Their economic reality simply does not allow for downtime. They have to work two to three jobs to keep the family afloat. When you add kids to the mix, it becomes overwhelming, and the stress results in legitimate health problems.

The second type of busyness also results in health problems, but it is a sickness we bring on ourselves. Like voluntarily licking the door handle of a preschool bathroom or having a sweaty picnic in the Ball Pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

It’s busyness we control.

Self-created stress.

I definitely think I self-create the majority of my stress. (more…)

Is akrasia getting in the way of your health and fitness goals? Here’s how you can stop it

akrasiaFirst off, you might be thinking, akrasia? Is this some new sensitivity associated with gluten? Is it slowing down my metabolism so I can’t lose weight? Is it causing leaky gut syndrome so I’m retaining water and feel bloated all the time? Is it altering my thyroid and messing with my hormones?

Here’s the definition of akrasia from the Oxford Dictionary:

a·kra·sia
əˈkrāZH(ē)ə/
noun: Philosophy
noun: akrasia; noun: acrasia

  1. The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.

So, in other words, this state of mind:

I think I’ll sleep in rather than get up and go for that run I planned to do because my bed is cozy and warm and it’s cold and gross outside, even though I know running will make me fitter and boost my mood.

Or

Might as well eat this whole bar of chocolate/extra piece of pizza/bag of chips because it’s delicious and I’m feeling stressed, and this helps make me feel better right now… even though I’m trying to cut back on sugar/salt/fat to try to lose weight so I can be healthier and have more energy to play with my kids. (more…)

Best reads in health, fitness and wellness on the web this week

the best reads in health and wellnessHappy Friday, friends! How was your week? Have you finished your Christmas baking/shopping/decorating? Are all your Starbucks-holiday-drink-consuming, Christmas-movie-watching, annual-holiday-traditions activities well underway?  If they are, I hope you’re taking a moment to truly enjoy the season and not get caught up in the stress of “needing to to do it all.”

But speaking of needing to do it all, my Erin Condren customized planner arrived yesterday, and the type-A in me is SO EXCITED to start planning out my entire 2016 with customized stickers, a budget book, notes, colourful markers, and tabs. (more…)

Friday Favourites: The best reads of the week in health, fitness and well-being

the best reads in health and wellnessHappy Friday, friends! How was your week?

Despite my bad news on Wednesday, I had a solid week of workouts, client training and program developing, freelance writing and actual work-work. Thank you all for your comments on yesterday’s post — though I’m disappointed I won’t be getting to experience Boston this year, I know I’ll get there eventually. I was kind of hoping to take a break from structured marathon training for awhile, but in order to attempt another BQ between now and September I’m going to aim for a March-May race. There’s the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1, a race I’ve done and really enjoyed, though I hear the full marathon route is rather hilly. I could also travel to a destination race, like the Phoenix Marathon in February, and combine it into some kind of a vacation. But I think I’d rather stay closer to home in a climate similar to what I’ll be training in.

Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving AND the Goodlife Victoria Marathon, of which I’m running the half. I haven’t trained much other than a few 15 km runs on the weekend since I’ve maintained a good level of fitness since the Finlayson Arm 28K. I almost considered signing up for the full just to see how fast I could run… but logic won. Ange is coming to stay with me for the weekend which will be super awesome as well.

Some other highlights from the week: (more…)

{Friday Favourites} The best health and fitness reads of the week

best-reads-teaserHappy Friday y’all! How was your week?

Mine started off fairly disappointing when I learned that it’s going to be even harder to get into Boston this year, thanks to 3,000 faster people registering before the five-minute-and-under qualifiers could 🙁 I knew I’d be cutting it close, since last year the time cut off was 1:02 (and I finished within 1:03 this year). Although I haven’t completely given up hope yet, I have a feeling this won’t be my year. I’m sad I will miss out on running it in 2016, but I’m still proud of myself for qualifying. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, and I’ll need to run even faster next year to get in for 2017. I’m thinking I’ll need to run AT LEAST a 3:29 to guarantee myself a Boston bib. Sigh.

On the upside, all that money I was saving for a Boston trip can now go towards some other trip, perhaps a tropical vacation?? I got a few items in the mail this week from my cousin in New Zealand to entice me to come and explore NZ’s amazing trails. Maybe?? (more…)

Why mindset is the key to achieving your health and fitness goals

Mindset: The key to achieving your health and fitness goalsI listened to a fantastic episode of Nia Shanks’ Lift Like A Girl podcast the other day where she interviewed Carrie Campbell, a counselor and personal trainer with the Mindset Performance Institute (MPI) about how importance mindset is when it comes to changing habits.

The thing I’ve struggled most with as a newbie personal trainer is how to get clients to follow their programs. Even though you can create the best exercise program designed to fit into a busy schedule and can provide simple nutrition guidelines that include foods the client enjoys eating and meals that are easy to prepare, it can still be hard to achieve compliance. And it’s not the fault of the client, by any means.

Think about it: How many of us already KNOW what we need to do to lose weight or get fit? I’d say most people know they need to eat more vegetables, drink more water, eat less sugary processed food, get more sleep, and exercise regularly. I’d also say most of us even know HOW to do it – stock your fridge with veggies, cook more meals at home, carry a water bottle around with you and set a timer on your phone to remind you to drink, turn off your electronics an hour before bed, and go to the gym three times a week on your way home from work.

So why do we struggle to follow through?

According to Campbell, it’s because we’re not doing the pre-work we need to do to get to that point of adapting to a new habit. We need to change our mindset first before we can change our habits. And to change our mindset, we need to understand why we do the things we do. (more…)

{Friday Favourites} The best reads around the web this week in health and fitness

best-reads-teaserHappy Friday, friends! What are you up to this weekend?

I have the Finlayson Arm 25K (but really 28K) trail race this Saturday, and I must admit I’m a little bit nervous about it, despite running the majority of the course two weeks ago. Debbie pointed out to me that there was a cut-off time for the 25K of 5.5 hours, which seemed strange as the 50K runners will be coming across the finish line well into the afternoon. It took us 5 hours (well, 4.5 hours if you don’t count us getting lost) just to run 22 km, let alone 28 km. And the part we missed during our training run is the fairly challenging. What are they going to do… prevent us from crossing the finish line that will be open for another 5 hours or so if we don’t finish by the cut-off time? I reached out to the race director to voice my concerns, and he said since the 50kers had a cut-off time it was only fair we did, too. Also, he said last year the average finish time for the 25k race was 4:15, and the last person came through at 5:18. Hrrm. Fingers crossed I can actually run faster on race day… even though I’m a BQ’er, I’m a fairly slow trail runner.

Although training for this race could have been better, I did okay despite lots of missed runs due to vacations and illnesses. I was pretty good about sticking to my strength training plan and shorter training runs, but didn’t get out on the trail as much as I should have this past month. Oh well — this is a just-for-fun race, anyway. Plus, there will be free post-race beer!

Since I’ve missed doing a Friday favourites link round-up these past few weeks due to freelance article deadlines, here are the best reads around the web this week in health and fitness, plus some of my favourite reads from last week you may have missed. (more…)

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

Life In Leggings

Happy Friday, friends! How was your week?

I have a serious question for you: Do you notice odd repeating number patterns sometimes? Like looking at the clock randomly and seeing 11:11? I’ve heard of this before, and never had it happen to me until this week when literally EVERY time I looked at a clock, document, screen or sign I’d see either 1:11, 11:11 or 3:11. As soon as I started to notice it and think, hmmm, that’s odd… several really awesome opportunities came my way this week that are in line with my career and life goals. It felt like a sign confirming that I was doing what I needed to do, and that things were going to work out. (more…)

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