Weekend RoundUp

This weekend started off with a vet visit. My poor little ginger cat Morris has been having some skin issues, which looked like scratches so naturally I have been blaming the sores his little sister.  However as it turns out this cat is one of my soul-mates in that the sores weren’t caused by fighting but rather by what he was ingesting, my cat has eczema.   Turns out just like his “mom” this ginger cat has some food intolerance.  So now the fun begins, and I don’t just mean getting to give him his medicine, now we get to find out what is causing the reaction, what fun.   I think moments like these all pet owners wish their pets could speak, it would just make things so much easier.

20140210-051355.jpgOnce things cooled down from Morris coming home from the vet, his sister was back to cuddling him and making sure he was okay.

20140210-051306.jpgAfter all the commotion that was caused because of the vet visit it was back to a regularly scheduled weekend. Although because of my back it wasn’t exactly the “usual” I was still able to be there for a client’s personal training session and then it was on to Rock N’ Roll yoga in the afternoon. I found teaching the yoga class slightly challenging, seeing how I am still pretty green as a yoga teacher I do still find it easier at times to “say as I do” style teach, so it was definitely an excellent opportunity for me to work on my verbal instruction, which is always a good thing.

Saturday evening, trying to keep things on the healthier side because of my lack of exercise during the week, my husband made up a tasty, clean eating, whole wheat pasta dish for supper.  I have Tosca Reno Eat Clean Cookbook 2, and in it there are several pesto recipes all of which have a little less oil than a normal recipe and they are normally topped up extra herbs, extra veggies and other things to spice up the regular “pesto” flavours.  There is one that my husband and I just can’t get enough of, there are four or five different herbs and then the regular players (although I take out the nuts for allergy reasons).   The herbed pesto is so fresh and bright in flavour it is a nice pick me up in the middle of the last month or two of winter.

20140210-051339.jpgAfter supper my husband and I enjoyed a nice quiet evening of Mario Party. Nothing says super fun exciting night like a little Mario Party competition.   I always find it so funny how fast time seems to pass when you play games.  Before we knew it it was way past our bed times and it was time to pack it in.

20140210-051321.jpgWhen Sunday rolled around I had a couple more errands to run, some cleaning, meal prep, menu planning and all the normal things I would do to close off my weekend, followed by reading and cuddles with my sick little kitten.

The weekend was way less physically involved then a normal weekend, but my back definitely needed it and my body I am sure appreciated getting a bit of a break.  Now I am attempting to move forward and to find some exercises that will help my back out instead of slow down its progress, so should be interesting.

Looking forward to the week ahead.  Happy Monday everyone.


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 and a Fist Shake to Netflix

This past weekend was exactly what the doctor ordered, so to speak.  After several months of being busy running from here to there to here again, this past weekend allowed for much rest.  With my departure for Yoga Teacher Training coming up quickly there have been a couple of things I have been in the process of wrapping up, one of which was my Personal Trainer Certification.    It has been something I had been toying with the idea of for some time (since I had taken a certification for Nutrition and Wellness last year).
CanFitPro-Logo1This past Friday marked my final exam before the certification process was complete (hence the reason for no food Friday post, I was doing some last minute preparation).   The exam went well, I had brought my wonderful running/exercise buddy Susan with me to play the part of my “client” and we did great.  The nice part about the whole process is after you take your practical exam they don’t make you sweat it out for days, weeks or months, you get to sit down with your examiner and they tell you right away if you passed or failed.  Having found out I passed it felt like a load was lifted off my shoulders and I was ready for some celebrations with friends.

Friday evening post-exam was a blast, filled with good food, conversation and yes some celebratory drinks (mostly bubbly, it was a celebration after all).  After a great evening it was time to head home to rest up for a lazy Saturday.

Saturday was spent at home hiding from the cold and rain watching some movies with my husband, with me going away for a month I am trying to get in as much time as I possibly can with him. It was a great way to spend a cold rainy day.

Sunday started bright and early as per usual with a trip to the farmer’s market, followed by running some errands with my husband.  We are lucky here in Ottawa and the market stays open until mid-November, and then the same vendors have a “Christmas Market” where there are more crafters but the same baked good, meat, root vegetable, dairy, coffee, etc. vendors are there too for your grocery needs.  Although I will be missing the end half of the farmer’s market this year, I will hopefully be able to attend one of the Christmas Market weekends before I am forced back into a grocery store for the winter months.

Then that evening I ended by getting sucked into Sons of Anarchy on Netflix, which was awesome by the way, however I stayed up so much later than I actually should have and I am definitely paying for it today with my 5am wake-up call for work. Although I know it is my fault for making the decision to not make sleep a bigger priority I am going to blame this one of on Netflix for making it so darn tempting to just watch “one more” episode and before I know it I am binge watching TV series and going to bed at 1 in the morning. Despite the major lack of sleep I would say this weekend was definitely a successful one.

Now it is Monday and I am wrapping things up at work so that my absence from the office won’t be a big deal.

I hope you all had a great weekend and are having a wonderful Monday!

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!

Furthering my Education

Over the past couple of months I have been doing my best to work towards my physical goals. Pushing myself to work on a faster mile, on doing an unassisted headstand, and increasing the weights I am able to lift when I started to realize that I had been neglecting my brain a bit.

Of course I read articles and books and pay attention to the news. I brush up on different nutritional and exercise tidbits and I am slowly making my way through the piles of magazines and books I have sitting on my coffee table, but in all honestly learning has kind of fallen to the sidelines the more summer has progressed. So I decided A) it was time to pick up a book and finish it B) it was time to finish my runners magazine from June! and C) it was time to sign up for a course.
weightloss CollageFor a while now I have been bouncing back and forth with the idea of pursuing my certification for personal training because it is something that interests me, and I have gotten some pretty great encouragement to go for it from my running group and my personal trainer so I finally did it. I am sure to some of you out there it doesn’t seem like a huge step but I tend to shy away from things that will likely involve team learning, I am a serious solo learner so doing team style learning is a serious step outside of my comfort zone (hence my back and forth on signing up).

When I started working with a personal trainer one of my main goals was obviously to get into great shape and lean out, but the other major goal was to learn. I wanted to learn about how things worked, how to properly target muscles and how to motivate myself. After 6 “full-time” months of training with Alannah and now almost 5 months of “part-time” training I can honestly say I have learnt an incredible amount. Having learnt so many new things,like your butt is made up of three muscles – maximus, minimum and medius, I have become all the more curious.

My other motivating factor has been the Gingersneezes Run Club, I mean learning can only help me be a better leader and can only help to encourage stronger runners out of the members so really it is a win win situation.

CanFitPro-Logo1My course is through Can-Fit Pro and doesn’t start until the end of September but there is an online component and they send your books basically right away so I have cracked them open and started reading. I am excited to get a bit more knowledge on human anatomy and I think it will be really great prep for my yoga teacher training in November so I am all jazzed up for it.

So there you have it my big news for now. What types of goals have you been setting for yourself? and what types of steps have you been taking to reach your goals? I would love to hear from you!

Happy Wednesday!

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?

Part Two: When I Started to Wake-Up

With the New Year around the corner and New Year’s resolutions coming out of the wood work, I figured that sharing this part of my journey might be well timed.
The first part of my journey was about realizing that I was “sleeping” my way through life. Instead of being a part of the change I wanted to sit back and have positive change happen for me, whether it was for my physical appearance or my self-esteem, but one way or another I had decided that I shouldn’t have to do anything in order to achieve it.

I eventually began realizing that in order to promote change I had to be a part of the change. The only thing was I had no idea how I would get there, what there would look like, or even have any semblance of what being in that ballpark would be like. I knew it had to be something for myself, something that I was leading but that is where my knowledge and understanding of what needed to happen ended.

The summer before my third year of university I decided that I was going to do something, I was going to try something out and I hoped to god it would work. I had always had very bad eczema on my hands arms and scalp (I know probably more information that you wanted or needed) so while doing some internet based research for a cleanse I discovered that I most likely had something called candida yeast that was making my eczema act up. So I looked into a couple different cleanse for this particular aliment and I gave it a go. Coupled with testing out this new cleanse I also decided that I would buy myself some rollerblade and start moving.

With rollerblades strapped to my feet and a new plan for eating I got started. The rollerblading was great, I actually really enjoyed it after several harsh realizations as to what my fitness levels actually were, but the “cleanse” on the other hand was disastrous. It was so restrictive, I had no support system and my knowledge of cooking was limited and this all amounted to a quick death of my attempted cleanse.

After failing to even make it half-way through my cleanse I had given up all hope. I figured eating healthy was a lost cause for me, I mean I couldn’t even last a month without dairy and wheat how could I possibly figure out how to make healthy food choices for the rest of my life. So instead of focusing on food I put everything I had into rollerblading to and from work, it was a bit over a 6 km route there and back and I figured that at least I was moving. The first time out wasn’t the greatest but eventually my stubbornness paid off. The rollerblading started becoming enjoyable; it woke me up in the morning and relaxed me after a day in the office on the way home. There were of course still times where I contemplate taking a Taxi home instead of rollerblading, but for the most part I had become committed. Over time my confidence started increasing, and I started to notice that I felt different about myself. I hadn’t lost much weight and my eating was still pretty awful but I realized I was actually starting to like myself. I began to notice that I was starting to take pride in something and it was all because I had finally put the effort in.

Of course with the end of the summer also came the end of my rollerblading, and the cycle of bad eating not exercising and self loathing started up all over again. During this period of time I started to attempt to cleanse again, this time making it through the month losing 15lbs and feeling great, only to go back to my old lifestyle gain 20lbs and starting to be disappointed in myself all over again. This on again off again cleansing/dieting and exercise cycle continued for years, until I decided that I was done. My eczema was out of control, I was experiencing so many food intolerances it was hard to keep them all straight, and I was back in the same funk I had been in previous years. It was at this point I felt like there was nothing else I could do, I had tried so many thing on my own and my knowledge of what was good vs. bad for me was, well let’s say, skewed at this point. This is when I decide to get some help, in the form of a Naturopathic Doctor.

I know this isn’t the route for everyone, but it is the one that really helped me to open my eyes. I had someone to help me through a natural body detoxification, to test me for different food intolerances and other ailments, and I had someone there coaching me and listening to my griping about not being able to have this and that. It was a three month long process, and it was during this time that I fell in love with Yoga, myself and most surprisingly of all what I used to think of as “hard work”.

We have all experienced life’s ups and downs, but it wasn’t until this point in my life, with the love and support of my boyfriend (now husband), great friends, my family, and some professionals that my eyes started to open up to what else was out there. Realizing that there is so much more than just self-criticism and judgment have helped me move into the next phase of my life and I hope sharing this part of my journey can help anyone out there move into the next happier phase of their own journey.

Stay tuned, in a couple of weeks I will post my final part of this miniseries on my personal journey.

Happy Thursday Everyone! Hope you are all cozy and warm somewhere.