5 Reasons Why You Should Workout This Week

A new week has arrived and that means a million mantras start to flood our social feeds. Motivation can be fleeting sometimes no matter how much we read. It can be especially difficult if we've had a long break from our fitness and nutrition routine or are on the brink of diving into a new fitness regime.

Motivation is something that is recommended daily so here are 5 reasons why you should go workout this week...That have NOTHING to do with how you look:

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  • MENTAL FLOSS: Sometimes we have things that get stuck in our minds. Perhaps its regular anxiety. Maybe its that thing you said in your meeting. You could have even lost your mind on Carol and now can't shake it off. Just like you should be flossing your teeth...the gym is a great tool to floss out the fluff in your mind. Working out helps you focus on the here and the now. It's a great way to get some mental clarity
  • HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY: For every minute of anger or sadness you lose 60 seconds of happiness. There is no time to waste! Had a bad day?...Get working out! Thank that beautiful flood of endorphins for that elated feeling post workout.
  • MENTAL STRENGTH: You feel like there is no way you have one more rep in you, but somehow the music is perfect and you push past it. You think you couldn't possible sprint one more interval, but you focus and do three more. The gym is not just about flexing those physical muscles. It's a place that proves what you are made of on a mental level. You quickly start to realize you're capable of more than you ever imagined. This knowledge applies to a plethora of things in every day life that will help you push through perceived road blocks or obstacles.
  • CREME DE LA CREME OF CREATIVITY: Many studies have suggested that exercise boosts your creativity. So next time you want to get brainstorming on your next project or come up with the solution that will wow your workforce forget Googling someone else's stroke of genius. Create your own and enjoy the buzz of ideas flowing while getting your heart rate up as well.
  • THE ZZZZ's THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF: I'm sooo tired...I didn't sleep very well. Find yourself saying that less and less with a regular workout routine. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 67% of regular fitness buffs have a great night sleep. So say farewell to having to douse yourself in lavender and count a farm full of sheep...that perfect nights sleep could be just one treadmill away.

#Preplife Survival Guide for Your Other Half

I have essentially been prepping for competitions throughout 2017. One of the most common questions I get asked is "How are you and your husband doing?"

You see, competing can be difficult on the relationships we have with those that we love most. In fact competition aside a lifestyle change can be very difficult for couples to go through. Especially, if there is only one individual going through the transformation. 

In fact weight loss and lifestyle transformations are often quoted as a cause of divorce and conflict for couples. Add in the stress of an actual competition with a rigorous and extreme exercise and nutrition plan...the results can be detrimental.

I feel so very lucky to have a rock of a support. I've been happily married for 5 years to a man that has been in my life for 50% of my time on this earth. 2017 has marked a huge lifestyle change for me and I couldn't have asked for a better swolemate. But don't worry. I'm not going to feed you some filtered lies. It hasn't been smooth sailing the entire stretch. The ups and downs have made us even stronger and I like to think we've learned a little something along the journey.

 

This is why I've compiled the #Preplife Survival Guide for your other half:

  1. Don't Touch The Meal Prep: This is number one for a reason. When in prep every meal is planned and calculated. Nothing can put a monkey wrench in a day more than coming in after the gym and finding that a meal is missing. Yes we will notice if even an ounce is gone. Reactions to this can range from anger to mega toddler meltdown mode depending on stage of cut. Remember if opening the fridge: When in doubt-Anything in tupperware is out.
  2. Time is Of The Essence: Epic cardio sessions, killer workouts and prepping meals is a time killer. Add to that a normal working life and the yearning to be a social human vs a hermit...free hours can quickly get cut. This can mean sometimes it seems like we don't have enough time for you. Please know we love you to bits and couldn't do this without you. Sometimes we get so focused on the goal we forget to let you know that. If that's happening please don't hold it inside. Plan a date or suggest a movie night. Make us make the time. Fave date advice that we did this prep: couples massage at a spa that lets you use their hot tub and pool facilities as a day pass after. Reconnect with the addition of soothed muscles. Perfection! 
  3. Hot Mess Express: So you get all ready for work. The work day is done and the sweat session begins. The version of you your significant other gets at the end of the day is the PJs on and messy bun activated mode. Please understand there is a ridiculous amount of showering involved when you work out this much. Putting in the extra effort to get done up is just not in the cards always after the long days. It'll be worth it when you get to sit there all proud on show day.
  4. More Mess From The Hot Mess Express: The all you can eat buffet is out and the all you can wash dishes and laundry is in. Whether its tupperware mountain taking over the kitchen or the new laundry basket art installation in the hallway...we know. And we can't help it. We will deal with it...however until the prep is done it is literally a rinse.wash.repeat situation. A little help goes a long way. Literally can't describe the heart melting moment of finding a batch of dishes put away or the laundry folded in its place. At the very least...if you don't have time to do it yourself just don't address the mess. We know. We got this!
  5. Be Our Cheerleader: The transformation process is just as much a physical journey as a mental one. We are going to have days that are totally ridiculous. Whether its a carb deprived brain that leaves their wedding ring at a tanning salon (happened!). Or days where we have made so much progress yet just don't see it. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous we sometimes just need an ear to listen or a word of encouragement. The tiniest gesture can truly make the most remarkable difference.

Lastly please know we so appreciate you. When I took first at the Iron Ore Classic one of my favourite parts was that my husband was sitting near the front row. As 2nd place got called and I was the last person left standing on the green line I felt my eyes well up with tears. Fine. It's an amateur show. It's not like I was getting my pro card. However, this was an amazing end to a 272 day journey to get to that stage. I could not have gotten through months of prep without my husband. He was the ultimate cheerleader. When I competed in Kelowna and I wanted to compete again...there were reservations. This meant altered versions of date nights...messy kitchens...time constraints. In the end all I received was support.

It was a magical moment to be able to connect eyes when they called my number-contestant 396.  In that moment it was like we were communicating the same message to each other, "WE did it!"

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5 Things You'll Never See Me Do When I Work Out

We all have different approaches to fitness. Getting out, moving and doing what makes you happy is ultimately the best formula for your health and success.

For me personally I find tremendous benefit both physically and mentally by going to an actual gym. I love it. It's my version of me time. Headphones are in, blood is flowing, weights are lifted-I feel strong and focused. I share this passion with many individuals, but we all have different approaches. I learn something from the fitfam every single day.

So I wanted to share some gym truths with you that I've discovered along the way. You may just find you are the same or learn something that may be beneficial in stepping up your game.

 

Here are 5 things you'll NEVER see me do when I workout:

JUDGE MY FITFAM

Intimidated. This is the best word I can use for when I first stepped into the gym solo and started lifting barbells. Was I doing it right? Does this weight make me look weak? OMG I just fell off my bench! The struggle is real and we all start somewhere. I'll be the first to admit when I'm in the gym my regular smile all the time face disappears. I'm generally concentrating and envisioning the goal I'm working toward. That being said I try and give a little smile whenever I see a new face no matter what their fitness level is entering the gym. Remember we have all been there and we can all learn from each other. We have all decided to share our free time in this space and that is something to be celebrated. It takes conscious effort and choice to get that workout in...so even if my smile is absent know that I'm rooting for you. 

We all start somewhere. My first chest press was failure after 4 reps of 5 pounds...I kid you not. I've come a long way and have logged 170 workouts this year alone-strength is up-but knowing where I started is still like yesterday in my mind.

LEAVE A SWEATY SOUVENIR

I've yet to see a gym that doesn't supply some method to wipe down the machines after use...Please...Just Use This. 

FORGO THE RERACK

I know this may come as a shock...but there is no magical gym fairy following you around putting away what you use. I get it...a new vein or muscle is popping out so you got a little distracted in the mirror. I've been there. That being said-we all lead busy lives...we all have places to be...we could all work out a lot faster if we put things back where we got them.  On this note...most gyms actually label the free weights by number. The weights go back into place with their corresponding number. Got it...Good

PICK A SONG

Ok so I'm old school and most of the time I have a playlist on my iPod verses streaming. That being said no matter what method I choose somehow I can't find that motivating track when I need it. I also happen to instantaneously hate everything I've personally curated on my iPod. Sorry this rest break isn't ending until I find that perfect song to help me lift this up and put it back down 10 to 12 times.

WORK OUT MY FINGER MUSCLES

Unplug and I promise you'll have a better workout. I get it that some of us are using fitness apps to guide our workouts or log our weights. I can deal with that. However, having a full blown conversation via text with all your friends telling them how you're at the gym...not helpful. Not just for people you are inconveniencing that may want to use the machine you're monopolizing. You are actually hurting your workout. An effective workout means connecting your mind to your muscle. A phone is going to get in the way of that relationship. Plus if you're really serious about training you shouldn't be on your phone. What other athlete or sport would it be acceptable by a coach to be texting away or scrolling through social while training-None.

No matter what you're training method is I hope that you're having fun while working toward those goals and gains! That really is the major key to success.

Myth Busted: Self-Care a Necessity not a Luxury

The importance of self-care. Just say yes.

I found myself in the heart of the summer with some time off I had to take. So I booked the vacation days and for the first time in my life. I planned NOTHING.

Messages have been coming in from friends saying “Happy Vacation”…what are your plans?

Nothing.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can’t remember the last time I took time off with no plans. Especially having moved to Vancouver. Lately, when I have time off it is either spent flying home or entertaining a guest in Van. This is naturally fulfilling in its own way. Catching up with loved ones and with friends that I have so much history with. However, it never quite feels like vacation. It’s busy. It’s sightseeing. It’s dinners. It’s SCHEDULES.

Self-care is so important, but how many of us take a time out to indulge?

And no…taking time out for yourself does not include scrolling through your social feeds with a glazed expression on the couch glimpsing into the filtered world of each other’s lives.

I’m talking about taking yourself on that hike you’ve wanted to do, reading a book, lounging by the water, meditating, mani/pedis, massage…

How many of us have benefit packages from work that don’t get used! For example, a Canada health care study found only 27 percent of people with massage employee benefits use them…What?!

Now a huge rebuttal from most will be. Well…easy for you to say but MY life is SOOOO busy…I couldn’t possibly take time out for me. I’m willing to bet if you added up the amount of time you spend on social media and TV combined…you can carve out time for you.

Another rebuttal will be …easy for you to say…You don’t have kids. And I would say…hey now I love my four-legged fur child… but seriously…No I haven’t walked in your shoes, but I would hope you have loving family members or friends you could call upon to help you gain some quality time for yourself.

Because you deserve it.

Most people tend to constantly be living in the past or the future. That type of mindset is stressful. We can easily go through an entire day rushing from one thing to the next to the next…worrying about what is behind us or ahead of us…with none of those things we are rushing to adding any quality of life for ourselves.

But what if you only had this one day? Would you live it differently?

I activated staycation mode this week and it has been so refreshing. Not only do I get to spend time enjoying my city, but I’ve just simply operated on a non-plan plan.

Need a little self-care inspiration? Here are 5 ways to carve out some ever important YOU time:

Read a Book: Okay so you’ve had your long busy day and you’re climbing under the covers. Time to relax. Then you whip out your phone and start endlessly scrolling through your social feeds to catch up on what you missed in the last 5 minutes. Sound familiar? Ditch the phone! Pick a time in the evening to unplug your life. Put your phone on charge…and leave it. I promise you the world won’t come crashing down. Then grab your kindle and get down to that book you’ve been dying to read….Or if you really want the authentic experience…pick up an actual book. It’s amazing what our imaginations are capable of and it is such an incredible moment when you reignite that feeling of being transported to another world through written word.

 Meditate: I am self-professed the worst at this! Anytime I’m put in a position of group meditation my brain starts firing off incessantly. However, practice makes perfect. A great start for more mental clarity and mindfulness …. Carve out just 60 seconds …Just focus on your breath. In and out. Yep…us humans are pretty amazing aren’t we.

Roll it Out: The foam roller is an amazing tool that helps your body. Once you get in the groove it becomes a lot less painful and a lot more satisfying. Particularly if you spend any length of time working out your muscles will thank you. I’ve been so guilty of not stretching and I put my body through its paces. My Coach Ondrej at My Trainer 365 gave me a talking to about this as I’m missing out on tremendous benefits of my fitness as a result. The best time to roll will depend on your fitness regime. However, I’ve had several health practitioners say even if you just roll it out while you are watching TV your body will thank you.

Use The Benefits: Ok so I realize this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’ve had benefits and not through my career. One thing that annoyed me when I didn’t…is people who did and didn’t use them. Seeing an RMT or a chiropractor can give you such a different perspective on your health. Don’t wait to be in pain or something to go wrong to finally find the time to make the appointment. Do it now. When you have a car you get regular oil changes for a reason…generally it doesn’t just go into the shop when it falls apart…if you get it regularly maintained less goes wrong. Same principle here. Why would you treat your car better than you treat yourself? My Grandfather when he reached his late 70s used to say he felt like all his parts were on recall. He didn’t start exercising until after 75. He instantly found great benefits from it. However, I’m sure he would have rather maintained through his life so he could feel better for longer.

Just Be and Get Rid of the Guilt: So you’ve gone on that walk with your favourite tunes in your ear. You sit down on a piece of driftwood with your feet in the sea. And all you can think about is all the things you should be doing verses where you are. You start worrying about that thing that was said at breakfast. You begin to feel the anxiety creep up over that task you didn’t quite get done at work. Just stop. Just be. Give yourself permission to just enjoy your surroundings. It is so simple, yet how many of you have been guilty of the above. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking time for yourself to enjoy life. It’s a beautiful world out there…so enjoy it!

Even if you take just that 60 seconds to meditate today. Do something for you.

 Your body and your mind will thank you for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Get 'Summer Ready'...Why even bother

Remember "New Year New You"...Well now the new theme is "surprise summer is all of a sudden here, which means its swimsuit season." The calendars flip to June and beach season is upon us before we know it. I've actually already had a couple beach days here in Vancouver. Yay! I love the beach and have recently moved to the neighbourhood of Kitsilano to be even closer. 3 minute bike ride kind of close. There is some sort of joy that comes from staring at the water shimmering under the sun. (Despite the rumours yes sun does exist in Vancouver)

 

Something happens though when swimsuit season appears. A million advertisements prey on our insecurities and most of us quickly start strategizing in alarm that we aren't good enough to lounge around the sun and the sand. Almost all of us do this. I can almost guarantee that even the most fit individual you see knows of a flaw in their physique that they harp on. This is terrible. All we should be worried about is salty hair and sandy toes. 

I don't like the implication that summer ready means you aren't good enough now. We come in all different shapes and sizes. There are incredible options at the stores to "suit" every body....see what I did there. Ultimately your happiness is what is most important. Summer is all about creating those magical memories with friends and family that give you the warm and fuzzies on a cold winters night as you reminisce. 

To be honest out of all my summer memories you know what I don't recall for the most part. What I was wearing. What I looked like. No...instead I recall that time we found a retro hair crimper at the cottage and lived it up 80s style. The time the night sky in Tobermory, Ontario seemed to be filled with a billion stars. The time we ran down the streets of Blue Mountain for my friends bachelorette and embarked on absolute shenanigans. I recall a lot of laughs...sweet summer smells and a lot of smiles.

 

So my first bit of summer ready advice...don't stress. This season is far to fleeting to stress about where you are at in your fitness goals. I always remind myself...no one cares or thinks as much about you as you do about you. So that moment when you are over analyzing how you look in a swimsuit and thinking everyone is noticing that spot you aren't happy with. Guess what...they are probably busy over analyzing themselves giving no attention to that spot you're insecure about. It's a selfish thought, but holds a lot of truth. 

That being said obviously fitness is a huge passion of mine. Not as much in the results physically verses what it does for me mentally. It's the feeling I get to carry with me everywhere. For those that have started their journeys this year...you know the one.

So why even bother to get summer ready....

-It's a community. There are so many fun ways to incorporate fit in your summer. Whether its paddle boarding, hiking or a bike ride. This season offers so many ways to get your workout in that are a lot of fun. One of my fave activities of last summer was a build our own brewery tour my husband and I did. We designed our bicycle route and mapped out all the places we wanted to do some tasting flights. We got lots of exercise, although beer isn't exactly the epitome of health...

 

-Confidence. It's just plain simple. Getting up and moving makes us feel good. Especially after the season of binge watching our fave shows while cursing the winter weather from the comforts of the couch. There is a reason why there are those that post every gym visit or want to talk about the class they just did. It made them feel good. All of a sudden they want everyone to feel good. There is such a joy in doing something for yourself and that is exactly what a workout is. An investment in you. Ultimately this is going to give you a boost of confidence. This will shine on to those around you.

-Balance. Move over Thanksgiving and Christmas-Summertime is the real culprit. I don't know about you, but summer is always the biggest challenge for me when it comes to moderation. There are so many gatherings, BBQs, events and patios to be enjoyed. I've had years where that has dragged me down from a health perspective. Who would have thought that a pure diet of beer and BBQ burgers doesn't equate to a tremendous amount of energy. If you start thinking about your summer ready game plan now you'll be more conscientious when it comes to making your nutrition choices when those events stack up in a week. 

My best advice if being summer ready has been on your brain. Do it for you. Don't do it because you have an ideal you want to fulfill for anyone else. If you've been teetering on starting that routine or waffling on pursuing your goals than just go for it. The benefits go far beyond feeling strong...(although when I can carry all my groceries up the elevator to my condo in one trip...I'm pretty stoked) The benefits come from how you feel on the inside. For taking that special time to focus just on yourself and doing something just for you. 

As for what this summer beholds for me...Lots and lots of carbs!!! Woo. Complex carbs, but lots of them none the less. I'm starting my lean bulking with My Trainer 365 in preparation for fall competition. What on earth is lean bulking?...More on this in a future post. Summer is going to be a challenge, but I'm ready. Through sharing my story I've slowly been growing a pretty stellar chain of people on their own journeys...we are all going down different paths, but the bond is in the building. Building a lifestyle for ourselves that fulfills us and makes us feel healthy and strong.

Note: Should you be completely lost as to where to start on your fitness journey my trainers do online training at My Trainer 365. For the most part that is how I did my transformation. They have a great mobile app with your plans and literally as in their name-365 day support. Living in Vancouver I did have the chance to do bi weekly check ins in person. Fully transparent-I don't get anything for mentioning them. I just owe Ondrej and Andrea so much for changing my life that I always want to give them a shoutout. 

Post Competition - Let me Nutella You About It

Hi Ondrej

Ok so just updating you on life/confession time. My friend left last weekend. Definitely have the wine country escapade out of my system. During her visit I also encountered processed cheese-oh my goodness. My stomach had serious food baby status for like 3 days after. Clearly cheese and I aren't friends- never mind poor quality cheese AKA plastic? I'm fairly sure I also consumed several hundred calories of Nutella. Not like taking down an entire jar or anything, but things got a little frenzied for a moment. I thought I hated it...who knew? Nutella is life. That being said I've been steady at the gym. 6 days a week steady...

As for my veins being filled with Nutella and wine...you know me. Once my heads in the game it's all in. So once I have all my components together for the next step. It's game on 100%.

I endlessly told my coach Ondrej how much I hated Nutella when it was recommended as my rice cake topping on competition day. 

How naive.

Prior to competing I did a lot of reading about post competition. The post competition blues was a subject that came up often. The overall synopsis is you finish competition. You've been so strict for 12 weeks. You go uncontrollably off the rails when its done.  Then you ultimately end up in worse shape than before you even started your 12 week prep. Then you spiral and feel depressed.

That doesn't sound fun.

Luckily, I have tremendous support from My Trainer 365. There was no way I was falling into that trap. Ondrej and I had been discussing the reverse diet during the weeks leading into the competition. You get two cheat days. Then you get on track with a clean diet. The whole point of this whole process for me is not just to get fit for the summer. Not just to get lean for competition. Its to embrace health and fitness 365 days a year.

This includes health of the mind as well. So after competition it worked out seamlessly as I had a friend I've known since high school coming out to visit beautiful BC.

Our main event was a road trip to BC wine country with a stay in Kelowna and then near Vernon for a spacation.

The first stop was in Kelowna where we stayed at Hotel Zed. This is actually the same hotel I stayed at for the Kelowna Classic. We stayed in their suite, which was super spacious. The decor is oh so fun. Literally if you just want to embrace the fun side of life I highly recommend a stay here. The price is very affordable. They live by the slogan 'rebels agains the ordinary'. It's clean, it's bright and happy. PLUS...they have a disco room. Essentially designed for one or two people...costumes and all. You can also wear free roller skates in there. We took advantage of this and no doubt our laughs were echoing down the hallways.

 

We went out for a traditional BC visitor classic dining spot-Cactus Club. I ate pretty light with a veggie and rice dish. We did partake in several drinks. Followed by several more.

The next day we toured the Okanagan wine country. It's all about supporting local right? So we left with several to go bottles of wine and it was off to Sparkling Hill Resort.

My goodness. This place is the epitome of rest and relaxation. You're perched in the mountain top near Vernon, British Columbia. Expansive lake and mountain views delight. The property is clearly well designed so that you can get the maximum appreciation of these views from all angles. We toured the property and were told that robes were in our room. It was highly encouraged to venture all places in our robes and slippers. Even to the restaurant for breakfast (which is included in your stay rate). The only time and place they weren't permitted was in the Peak Fine Restaurant dining room at dinner.

 

After working tirelessly for so long this was the moment I was waiting for. Hotel Robe on. Slippers on. BC wine country wine...opened. Consumed. Opened. Consumed. Opened.

Sensing a theme here? This is why I had my Ondrej confession above.

The resort is home to Kurspa AKA heaven on earth. Access is also all part of your stay. It is Canada's largest spa coming in at 40 000 square feet. You have 7 unique themed steams and saunas. Included. My friend and I bounced around from a soothing rose steam, to an herbal sauna to the highly innovative and refreshing Igloo room. When we just wanted to sit in serene silence...there was literally a room for that. No talking in the serenity room. When we wanted to reminisce over our excitement of the steams and saunas we enjoyed a tea in the tea room, quietly chatting in hushed voices. We both got massages. Obviously this is extra, but a spacation isn't complete without a massage. After making my body work so hard for so long it was so wonderful to indulge in this treat. Then of course there were the themed showers. My favourites were the tropical and the fresh showers. The tropical was a lemon scented...yes a SCENTED shower...with the perfect warm temperature and the sounds of the jungle. The fresh was a cooler mist shower with an invigorating pine scent all topped off with the sounds of the rainforest.

 

Kurspa was home to an equipped gym facility. I went each day of our stay in the morning. It would have been really easy to stay curled up in the most comfortable hotel bed I've ever slept in. However, I knew it was a slippery slope if I let my guard down on that element of my routine.

The stay cost both of us a pretty penny. However, if you have some extra splurge income floating around I would recommend Sparkling Hill Resort over and over again. We stayed 2 nights and we both agreed it felt like we had been away for a week or longer. In the best way possible. Their main goal is for you to check in, truly unwind and focus on your health. Mission accomplished.

When I returned to my home I was actually moving to a new condo the very next day. Talk about jumping right back into life. I was honestly so happy to reunite with my kitchen. At this point I was just craving 100 percent clean eats. As soon as I moved the next day I did a shop and ample meal prep. I was planning on starting my lean bulking off season meal plan. I lasted a day. So many carbs are in this plan as obviously the aim is to lift heavy and to build muscle. I was so bloated from our wine country escapades I just couldn't stomach it. So I made the executive decision to go on one of my fat cut meal plans from the early days of prep. Can you believe it? That is what I was craving. I've been doing this for a week now and I feel so much better.

The biggest thing I've learned when it comes to nutrition is that a lot of foods actually put my stomach in physical pain. Sometimes it is even prolonged. Especially if its dairy. Clearly I'm not tolerant. I didn't eat cheese for 3 months when I was on prep. As I move forward although I now get two cheat meals technically a week on this new plan. I don't think I'll indulge in that item, which I loved so much. 

Overall I'm happy that for the most part I've stayed on track. My gym routine hasn't wavered. My diet overall is something I'm pretty happy with. There have been some off track days and the wine did not help. However, my mindset is in the right place. Even with the two cheat days that I'm allotted in my plan going forward I don't think I'll necessarily do them because they are there. It is not something I'm going to schedule. When I feel like something...then I'll have it.

I'll be doing lean bulking for three months with the guidance of course of Ondrej and Andrea. I'm excited for this next chapter in my year of competing. Now that I have one competition behind me...I can't wait to see what I bring to the stage looking forward.