vancouver island

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 4 update (and what happened when I went off the nutrition plan this past weekend)

Week 4 RecapHappy almost Friday, friends! Sorry for the lack of blog posts and engagement lately — I’ve been trying to pack in more freelance articles (two more for AskMen.com!) during the week to keep my weekends free and clear for fun activities… like camping!

I doubled-down on my Tone It Up Bikini Series workouts this past week and took some measurements at the three week mark to see how I was doing. I definitely felt better and less bloated, but it was great to see a wee half-inch drop all around (except for the booty!) and the 4 lbs I gained livin’ it up at Disneyland and Vegas in February absent from the scale. To celebrate, I #ateallthethings when I went camping this past weekend and paid the price.  (more…)

West coast fall and winter workout gear essentials

wcwwgeLiving on an island off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia definitely has its perks. The ocean surrounds us, the wilderness here is beautiful, there are plenty of places to explore for hours on end without seeing another human being, and the weather here is never too extreme. That means year-round outdoor adventures and not having to spend the winter cooped up in a gym to stay fit and healthy.

Even though we hardly get any snow here at sea level and the temperature rarely drops below -1°C, outdoor enthusiasts still have to consider the elements when exercising outside during the winter months. Here are a few key pieces of apparel us northern west-coasters should add to our workout wardrobe for winter: (more…)

Why you don’t need to lose weight

DON'TI often tell my clients not to let numbers define them. Not their age, not their basal metabolic rate, not how many kilometres they can run, not how many reps they can do in a set, not their weight.

Numbers are arbitrary, and I think most of us know by now that even though weight can be considered as a small, measurable factor in the bigger picture of your health, it does not define you. It’s only a small piece of a larger, more complex puzzle, and a number on a scale should not be a milestone to reach in an effort to be your best self. It’s fine to have aesthetic goals, but I always ask my clients to choose non-aesthetic goals as well, such as their energy levels, how they feel, how flexible they are, if they can easily keep up with their kids, etc., in order to measure their success. (more…)

{Friday Favourites} The best reads of the week about health, fitness and mental wellbeing

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, friends! How was your week? What do you have planned for the weekend?

It’s been a very tough week for me and I’m glad it’s over. I may divulge next week, but for now I’ll just leave it at that.

Training for the Finlayson Arm 25K has been going well. This weekend Debbie and I are heading out to run this route: A 17km point-to-point from Mt. Work to Mt. Finlayson. Last year it took us about 3:30 hours to complete, so we plan to head out early in the day to beat the heat. It’s been abnormally hot and humid here in Victoria lately; you can’t do anything outside without getting tacky with sweat within 5 minutes. If it wasn’t for the numerous forest fires burning in BC right now and blocking out the sun, it probably would be even hotter. (more…)

{Friday Favourites} Goats on a roof and the best health & fitness articles from around the web this week

Life In LeggingsHappy Friday, Happy Canada Day (two days ago) to my fellow Canadians and Happy Independence Day (tomorrow) to my friends south of the 49th parallel!

I spent Canada Day up in Coombs, checking out the country market and visiting Matt’s family who were camping nearby. If you ever get a chance to visit Vancouver Island during the summer, stopping at Coombs is a must. It’s a total hodgepodge of hippy stores, local artisans, antique shops, used book stores, bistros, farmer’s markets, massive Buddha statues and random theme park remains — although it’s most known for it’s main country market where several goats reside on it’s grassy rooftop. (more…)

Recipe: Vegan black bean and yam veggie burgers

veggiebrgersThese are seriously amazing.

I’ve tried several homemade veggie burger recipes over the years, and most patties have either required too much effort to make, ended up tasting like cardboard or just fall apart in the bun.

Aside from some day-in-advance prep, these black bean and yam veggie burgers not only stick together, but also are super easy to make. I made a variation using this wonderful recipe from Treble in the Kitchen. I doubled the ingredients as I wanted to make a bigger batch to freeze, added more yams and also added in zucchini and carrots to up the vegetable quota. (more…)

The importance of exercising outside

IMG_5561I feel incredibly blessed and lucky every time I go out for a hike or trail run — even if it’s pouring rain and the trail is nothing but miles of mud puddles and slippery roots like it was this past weekend. How lucky am I to live in a place where such pristine and breathtaking trails are only a short drive away? I am well aware that that are millions of humans on the planet who will never get to walk trails like these. That they may never see anything except for concrete towers or suburban slums. I wish I could come pick you all up on a bus and take to you these trails or somewhere just as magical. Everyone should have the opportunity to be in nature. It’s part of our humanity.

I don’t know the type of person I’d be if I didn’t have access to nature and the ability to exercise safely outdoors. It had been about three weeks since I went hiking, and I was already starting to feel the effects of my absence from nature: Despondent. Tired. Sad. Lost. Irritable. Luckily on Friday, Matt’s sister Sara — who resides in the middle-of-no-where Saskatchewan — agreed to join me for a hike out to Mystic Beach, one of my most favourite places on Vancouver Island.

There’s just something about being in the trees and near the ocean that’s so healing for me. And after the stress of these past few weeks, it seemed to be just what I needed to feel balanced again. (more…)

Strength training. You’re (probably) doing it wrong.

IMG_3505Before I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought I had pretty decent form when lifting weights and  doing core exercises at the gym. I’d been studying the instructions in fitness magazines and following along carefully to workout DVDs for almost nine years, all the while thinking I was working the muscle groups I was trying to target.

Nope.

When I was studying for my CSCS exam, I got schooled by another trainer at a private gym where I was volunteering and job shadowing last summer. Turns out I have a wicked anterior pelvic tilt (meaning my hips tilt forward, like I’m trying to sit all the time), which made me botch up most of my core and hip exercises and was probably the reason to blame for my tight calves. (more…)

Can meditation make you a faster runner?

The Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson uses it with his players to prepare for NBA games. Top mixed martial arts fighters like Georges St-Pierre and Diego Sanchez use it to calm the mind and enhance focus before fights. Even the U.S. Army uses it to increase mental toughness.

Since endurance sports takes a whole lot of mental focus, pain management and rumination avoidance, you’d think meditation and running would go together like CrossFit and the Paleo Diet.

Although there have been several scientific studies published over the years about the benefits of meditation, I couldn’t find anything but anecdotal evidence when it came to endurance sports in particular. Even the big running mags only covered the topic of meditation and running just a smattering of times.

While we wait for researchers to study the connection between mindfulness and improving your running efficiency, there’s no harm in trying it out for yourself (unlike going paleo and eating a ton of bacon all the time, which CAN actually harm you). (more…)

Hate running? Then don’t do it.

Gunner Shaw 14That’s right, you heard me.

If pulling on your sweat-wicking threads, lacing up your flashy, minimalistic running shoes and pounding the pavement with Daft Punk blasting through your ear buds for 40 minutes or so isn’t your idea of a good time, then don’t do it.

And equally, if huffing and puffing your way up a steep and muddy single-track trail through forest while your quads turn to jelly is your idea of torture, then don’t do that, either.

Also, if sweating all over the floor and looking super unattractive while you lift heavy weights sounds downright deplorable, then feel free to give it a miss. (more…)

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