In Need of a Kick in the Pants

I feel like I have been circling around this topic since I came back from my yoga teacher training. I have been feeling a strong urge to get everything back on track and to be a bit more serious about my goals.

It isn’t that I have been completely neglecting my goals,  it is that I have been having a challenging time figuring out what they are. I am sure this happens from time to time for everyone but figuring out how to get back on track is what seems to be the tricky this time around.

Run Club Shirt CollageI have been doing great at setting weekly goals and sticking to them. However, I feel like I am lacking that “big picture” goal and not to be dramatic but it is making me feel a bit empty inside.  Beside setting a super vague “to be as healthy as I can be” or to “keep up with my physical fitness” type goals I have been having a pretty rough go at focusing my intentions on something for the year.   It doesn’t help that I have been having knee issues and I am slightly bored with my current workout set up, but I feel like these two challenges could be seen as advantages in goal planning, my brain just isn’t picking up on what to do with all of it yet.

With all this whining and feeling slightly lost aside I figured if I can’t do it on my own, it is time to bring in some professional help.  Although I am a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor sometimes we all get stuck and pulling ideas out of a second brain is exactly what we need to get refreshed and recharged.  So I met with my trainer.  It was great to get outside perspective on my workouts and to be asked to figure out what I would like to achieve and how I would like to go about it.

Sometimes all it takes is being asked the same questions in a different manner.  I think I still have some work to do to figure out exactly what my goals are (workout, life, career) for this year, but I feel like I have been refreshed and can start looking at it all with a new set of eyes.

Now with new eyes, new exercises and some new recipes to try I am excited to sit down with my pen and paper and write out some new concrete goals.

Have any of you had this same struggle?  Where you feel like you have been doing something for so long it becomes almost mechanical and you have lost sight of what your goals were or are? 

Happy Wednesday!



Weekend Round Up

This past weekend felt so incredibly short. My husband and I headed out to Edmonton in the middle of last week (leaving the kittens in good caring hands, don’t worry). The past few days have felt like our weekend, so let’s see what I remember.

We got in last week and arrived at my sister’s mother-in-law’s house and were immediately pampered and let me tell you it felt great, especially after just coming home from jungle living. After catching up and filling our bellies with some warm homemade soup we headed over to my dad’s to say hello and of course to pick up a much needed GPS. I don’t come back to Edmonton too often and when I left I definitely didn’t have a license so I rarely have any idea where I am going, thank goodness for technology.
20131223-072837.jpg After a quick visit with my dad we headed over to my other sister’s house to go to a winter festival with her and her step daughter. It was lots of fun, filled with ice skating, banok making, picture taking, letters to Santa and other fun family style activities.


20131223-072824.jpg Then we headed back to home base to rest up. The following day started with a father-daughter trip to the gym, Christmas supper grocery shopping with my sister and then braving the West Edmonton mall with my other sister to wrap up start our Christmas shopping. Thank goodness for my brother-in-law’s mom making sure we are fed and hydrated otherwise I would have forgotten to sit down and  nourish myself.

The following day was more hanging out with family and Christmas shopping, but yesterday was the most exciting.

Sunday my dad married a wonderful lady. The two of them together is so warming to see, they balance each other and seem to keep one another in check. Seeing them both before the wedding with obvious butterflies was so beautiful to me and I am so grateful I was able to travel to Edmonton to be present for all of it.

20131223-073539.jpgThe ceremony was lovely and short and to the point, much like my father, and the gathering of people was kept to family and close friends, which was perfect and made everything feel so intimate and welcoming. It was a treat to see my dad so happy and to know that he was marrying someone that understands he sense of humor and obviously cares greatly for him. The wedding was definitely a great addition to my holiday season.

Today is my second fakemas of the season and I can’t wait to get into the kitchen with my big sister to start whipping up a tasty healthy holiday meal for our family.

Happy Monday everyone!

Celebrating the Past

Around last year I was introduced to one of the greatest opportunity and women I have ever have the chance to be introduced to. I was at a point in my life where I had been trying for what felt like forever to find something would work for me in both the health and fitness department.  It was at this time that a new gym was opening and I was reluctantly brought to the open house by a friend.  Had I known what going to their open house would me for me and my life I probably would have attended the event with a bit more enthusiasm.

After being entered into a draw and winning some personal training with Alannah, the greatest trainer ever (in my opinion, I could be biased) I don’t think I could have ever imagined what would happen next. At this time I had been contemplating signing up for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and had been saving my pennies in order to do so, so I didn’t think an opportunity like this would change much.  After just three short days with Alannah I was hooked, and fortunate enough to be presented with the opportunity to work with her on a regular basis for the next 6 months.
photo 1Over the next 6 months we worked together at fine tuning my form and enthusiasm for the gym as well as, looking into my nutrition so that I could see maximum results, if you will.   It was during this time that something completely unexpected happened I fell in love with the gym, with the rush of lifting (what I consider) heavy weights and to the slow disappearance of my knee and hip pain.  It was life changing for me and it helped to let me know that I was making the right decision when it came to signing up for my YTT.

All of this to say Alannah and I celebrated our one year anniversary of working together and my sticking to (and wanting to stick to) a workout regiment and adopting a new outlook on food even without the regular three day a week check in with my personal trainer.  To celebrate we decided we should do something a bit different, healthy and fun…so we went rock climbing.  Something I have avoided for years but always said “yeah that sounds fun let’s do it” but then when given the opportunity I made a million excuses not to go.  I have always figured that maybe I had a fear of heights (which is probably why I avoided climbing), but keeping with pushing myself and dabbling in the unknown and what scares me I said “yes” and forced myself to get out there.
photo 2Alannah was much more confident on the wall than I was, swinging from rock to rock like a little monkey, but I had a blast.  With encouraging words from Alannah I was able to make it to the top of one of the bouldering areas once, it was at this time that I realized that my fear of heights was very much a real one.  With my heart racing and the idea of having to come back down to the ground sending my mind aflutter I was content with my one time victory and figured I would practice climbing up the lower ones and hanging around like a sloth.
photo 3Alannah on the other hand swung, climbed and shimmied her way to the top time and time again. I like to think my loving enthusiasm from the ground helped. After about an hour or so both of us decided that our forearms felt like they were going to explode and a nice tea would be an excellent way to end the evening.

All in all it was a great evening, heart attack from heights and all, I would likely do it again.   It wasn’t only the getting to try something new and terrifying, or the conversation and delicious tea, it was having the opportunity to celebrate something so positive.

I have found that in our own individual journeys to finding our-healthy-selves we tend to focus in on the negative things, all of the slip ups and chocolate bars and over the top carbohydrate meals we eat and we forget about all the successes.   The past year of sticking to something and transforming my body and my mind has been such a huge turning point in my life I was so happy and grateful to have the opportunity to take the time to celebrate with one of the people that was so integral to the whole process.

So in the spirit of celebrating the positive, maybe just take a second to write out three positive things in your life; one big, one medium, and one small thing that has made you smile.   Sometimes it takes putting life into perspective for us to realize just how great we have it.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Weekend Round Up – Girls Weekend

This past weekend was a great one. After some crazy weeks and some even more crazy weeks to come it was nice to escape the city to hang out with one of my closest girlfriends Gail.

We both took our Fridays off from work in order to get a head start on our time together. Seeing how we live in different cities and an extra hour here or there are precious hang out minutes to us.

Pre-travel CollageFriday started off with checking in early to our hotel, the glorious Delta Montreal, setting our stuff down and then heading out for our first round of shopping. After several hours of walking around, a Starbucks break  and more walking around, we headed back to the hotel to rest our feet and get ready for what was sure to be a delicious meal.

Friday evening we headed over to La Société a Bistro style restaurant with some super tasty dishes. We split a magnificent shrimp cocktail and then I had some delicious maple bourbon chicken with crispy potatoes and s super fresh salad for my main.   I skipped desert because I was stuffed but also because of my nut allergy, desert isn’t really something I can get as a rule when eating out.20131020-092338.jpgAfter supper we were initially going to hit up a comedy club but after a morning of traveling, an afternoon of shopping and walking around, we both just wanted to relax a little and catch up some more. So we headed back to the hotel room to chat and relax.

I was up bright and early Saturday morning, I seem to be missing the gene to sleep in.  I knew this would happen so I was sure to bring my gym clothing so I had something to do while Gail was sleeping until a reasonable hour.

After the half marathon I had taken some time off of rigorous exercise and had been sticking to yoga for the past week so it was definitely nice to get in some gym time.   Normally I don’t have very high hopes for hotel gyms because well they really don’t seem to be a priority in most hotels. However, this gym was fantastic!  I was surprised by the range of weights, machines, cardio equipment and the stretching area that was available, they even had a squash court and a pool!  Initially I had planned on doing a body weight circuit but when I was surprised by all of the equipment I couldn’t resist throwing in some weight training.

Hotel Gym CollageAfter a great workout I headed back upstairs in the hopes that my friend was starting to rise.  I then quickly ran over to Starbucks to grab us some tea and quick breakfasts before we got our day started.

Although we had spent much of our Friday shopping the sun was out Saturday and there were just so many excuses to hit the streets again to see if we could find anything we loved.   We wandered up and down St. Catherines popping in and out of stores and checking out what they had. Unlike Ottawa, Montreal has a Vans store so we were sure to check them out and get me a new pair of kicks.  With another day of shopping under our belts it was time to head back to the hotel to start getting ready for dinner.
weekend CollageOh my gosh dinner!  Dinner was incredible, Gail picked a place called Pintxo which serves small Spanish style tapas.  Gail knows me pretty well and knows that I love tiny plates of things, because you get to taste more that way, and I am not a fan of sharing my food.

Dinner was amazing, the restaurant was extremely cautious and attentive to my nut allergy (which is always a plus), the waitress totally knew her stuff and recommended the tastiest glass of wine and every plate I was served was more delicious than the one before it.   The resturant had an option where you could get 4 small pintxo and a main or you could get the regular sided pintxo and however many you wanted of them (they recommend 4 to 5 to make a meal).   Everything looked so tasty so I went with 4 pintxo so I could taste a bit of everything.
Pintxo CollageThe lighting wasn’t the greatest and I gave up on taking photos when my last dish was served (it was a goat cheese ravioli in a duck stew, can you say amazing!).  If any of you are ever in Montreal I strongly recommend finding this place and tasting it out, it was by far one of my favorite treat meals in the past 5 months. I was saddened when the plates stopped coming, but also happy because I was pretty stuffed.

20131021-120452.jpgLuckily Sunday both Gail and I had later travel plans which meant some more time to hang out and enjoy the city.  We both took our time getting moving and then headed out for a late breakfast at a nearby dinner.  Once it was time to head out we packed up and both headed to our respective modes of transport.

As awesome and fun as the weekend was I was excited to get back home to my husband and kittens and to do some Sunday afternoon lounging. The rest of my weekend was filled with movies, kitten cuddles and some relaxation in preparation for the coming week.

I hope everyone had as wonderful of a weekend as I did and you were all able to stay warm in this increasingly cold weather.

Happy Monday!


Weekend Round Up – Day Light Savings

So this past Sunday was Day Light savings, and I have got to tell you I am not a fan. I so very much dislike how it completely throws off my internal clock, and how I get that weird panic the next morning that I am late for something because my phone didn’t self set. All of that aside I am just hoping that I adjust to my 5 A.M. wake ups super fast and I get used to walking to work in the dark again, I had really grown fawned of the sun in the mornings, but on the bright side of things it is amazing having so much sunlight after work, longer nights means more opportunities for out door runs.

This weekend was pretty fantastic. Friday night I went to the gym as per usual, followed by an amazing party thrown by my wonderful husband and my amazing running/gym buddy. The party was filled with great company, great food, flowers and bubbly.
Oz_-_The_Great_and_Powerful_PosterThe following day, my husband, of my two girlfriends and I went to see the new Wizard of Oz movie, and I have got to say it was not bad at all. It started off a little slow, but it really picked up. We didn’t see it in 3D but you could tell that it would have been amazing in 3D so if you have the option I would pick the format that involves ridiculous 3D glasses.

Sunday was unusual as it started with me heading over to the gym for a personal training session, to make up for the fact that I had missed Monday’s regular session due to car issues, but it was actually kind of nice to finish the week off with a bang. The workout was super challenging and I was definitely exhausted at the end, but all in all I would say it was worth it. Then that evening I went out for supper with my mom and step-dad for my birthday. Dinner was then followed by my husband and I heading home to just relax on the couch for a bit before our work week started. The cats were definitely happy to get in some cuddle time too.
sleepy catsThe weekend was all pretty magnificent if you ask me, it kind of makes the loss of an hour worth it .

Happy Monday Everyone.

How did you spend your weekend? Were you able to enjoy the outdoors?

No Gym – No Problem

So when I first started to think about this post I thought maybe I should wait until it was spring because it felt like a post that might be more suited to nicer outdoor weather. Then I figured why wait? Just because there is snow on the ground and it is below freezing doesn’t mean we are doomed to only workout at the gym.
no problemPerhaps you are lucky enough to live walking distance to your gym or workout institute of your choosing, or maybe even luckier you have a home gym! Unfortunately for the rest of us normally have to take some for of transit to our chosen fitness institute but with the winter often comes heinous driving conditions and during these times it may not be safe to drive to the gym. So what to do when it is just too gross out or maybe you don’t have the time to make it all the way to the gym and back?

The more traditional suggestions would be things like an at home workout DVD. These are things that I often times turn to, normally in the form of an at home yoga DVD. I am also a big fan of Jillian Michaels. I know there are people out there that aren’t huge fans of her and the Biggest Loser or maybe you just aren’t a fan of the celebrity type trainers, but I maintain that it is a great place to start if you don’t have much time and money to put towards physical fitness. When I had started getting involved in my physical health I had definitely turned to Jillian’s DVDs, they made me sweat and I definitely felt it the next day. I haven’t done her DVDs in a while but if you are looking for a suggestion for a starting DVD I would definitely recommend her 30 Day Shred DVD it kicked my butt!

Before I get into it I think I first want to mention that when it comes to starting up a yoga practice or strength and resistance training I am a huge advocate for seeking help. You want to make sure you are doing it properly, not only to make sure you don’t hurt yourself but also to be sure that you are getting the best out of it. So although DVDs might be the most convenient thing to do if you are starting off I would suggest looking into taking a couple intro classes to learn the basics before venturing out on your own. Now that the “check yourself before you wreck yourself” disclaimer has been inserted I get to talk about what I have been doing to keep moving.

So I have mentioned before that we haven’t been having the greatest weather so working out at home was less of a choice and more of a need. But I wasn’t bummed out about it, it actually gave me a chance to turn my workout into something less serious and gave me the chance to “play”. Wanting something a bit more fun than say challenging I opted to not pop in the Insanity DVD or gear up for a sweat inducing Tabata workout and I turned to my game console. Yes, you heard me correctly I would turn on my video game machine and I popped in this gem.

20130130-052405.jpgAlthough it was perhaps not the greatest workout I have ever had, it got me sweating and I had the chance to dance like no one was watching. Because I made sure no one would be watching, I am so uncoordinated. I have played before, but I was surprised this time around to find myself doing ski jumps, one legged jumping jacks and dynamic squats perhaps not the most graceful moves but it was nice to see that the game designers are trying to get your heart pumping a little.

20130130-053012.jpgFor me this was a fun way of getting myself sweating without having to take myself too seriously. It obviously doesn’t have to be a video game for you, it could be twister with your main squeeze or throwing in a limbo competition at your next big event. The point to all of this is that sometimes it is nice to switch it up a little bit. I love running and weight training and yoga, but it was so refreshing to do something a little less structured and to a “shake it all out”.

Hope everyone has been having a good week so far! Happy Wednesday!

What are some unconventional ways you try to get your heart rate pumping and the sweat pouring out?

It’s Friday already?

This week kind of got away from me. With being a slightly under the weather, the holidays and my trainer being away for a bit any semblance of a week kind of melted away, and them BAM Friday was upon me.

Seeing how I forgot what day of the week it was I haven’t exactly prepared  my regularly scheduled Food Time Friday master pieces. So instead I felt like it might be useful to post about how it has been working out without my trainer.

Now before I had a trainer I did exercise, basically yoga and running were my exercise, but I hadn’t really ventured into heavy weights. In my mind the heavy stuff was for meat heads and strong women (you know the ones that compete). It has been through my training that I have discovered that weight training is pretty much for anyone, with the proper instruction and go ahead from a doctor of course. It is also the one thing my husband kind of enjoys at the gym so I was excited to get to “pump some iron” with him this week. In order to work out with my husband we headed over to our “regular gym” not the one I normally workout at seeing he doesn’t have a membership there.
gymSo far some of the positives of working out without my trainer include: working out with my husband and spontaneously deciding when to go to the gym. With any positive there is a negative and unfortunately there are a couple, they are less to do with not having a trainer there and more to do with being at a “regular gym”. Some of the negatives include; the machines are strange and different to me, I have seen about 3 women in the weight area, everything is super spaced out (machines/weights vs. where I could do some sit-ups), there are so many people all fighting for mirror space and I miss my resistance bands. I have also noticed that I may not be pushing myself as hard as Alannah would probably push me, but I am definitely working on that.
premium-versa-tubesAll in all the experience has been mixed. I am loving working out with my husband but I am missing my gym and being pushed to achieve that next level. I thought the most difficult part was going to be convincing myself to go to the gym but so far that hasn’t been a problem. I guess working out and sweating has actually finally wiggled itself into my list of life’s “want to’s” now to keep that going.

All of this to say that I do miss Alannah, I enjoy the routine of our meet ups, but it is nice to know that I am able to continue on and motivate myself when she is not there.  I am happy that I am back to my regular schedule next week, and I will know what day it is from one to the other.

Happy Friday everyone, I will be back on track next Friday with some tasty treats.

Have any of you ever had trainers or followed some type of training plan? What have been some of your challenges?