3 Tips for Time Management

It is now a week into Challenge V.2.0 and it feels great to be back into a challenge. Sometimes I find it takes a bit of competition to remind yourself of how much willpower you have, how determination you are filled with and how many other people out there have similar goals to your own.

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Clean eating is something that I have found that the more I do it and the more effort I put into making it a part of my regular life, the easier it gets and the more it turns into just a part of your regular routine.  You have to think about it much less and the decision to pick something clean or to make the tomato sauce instead of buying it becomes something that is less of a decision and more of an instinct or habit.

Some of the things I notice of myself when I do challenges like this is that I always find that I have a bit more time on my hands.  I feel that I end up focusing so much more on my organization to ensure that I succeed at the challenge that I end up feeling like everything I need to get done actually gets done. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this, but I always feel like when I plan things properly I feel like I have more “time” for everything.

So just in case you can’t relate to my feeling or you are looking for some tips on how to make everything a bit easier on yourself I would provide some tips to help you all feel a bit more relaxed and as though you have all the time in the world so that preparing your food and self for the day doesn’t feel like a chore.

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1. Plan it out.   Much like the tips I provided on meal planning it is important to give yourself a specific time every week to plan out what your meals will be and what groceries you will need to get for that to happen.  This doesn’t only apply to your food, I find it really helpful to plan out my workouts, yoga visits, and runs with my running buddy that way activities like this are much less likely to fall the waste side.

2. Take time to relax.  It is great to have things planned out and to be busy (at least I don’t mind it) but no one can go full tilt forever.  As important as it is to get everything done and be prepared it is equally important to take a minute to catch your breath.  Be sure to give yourself some time each day to unwind and relax a bit, even if it is just reading a book for 30 minutes before passing out at night be sure to give yourself some time.

3. Combine what you can.  When it’s possible try and kill two birds with one stone.  Things like making big suppers so you have lunch for the next day, working yoga into your day as your “me time”, or chopping your veggies right after grocery shopping.  When it is possible to group to do’s together do so to save yourself some time.

I hope these tips help you to stay on track with your health, fitness and wellness goals.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

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Food Friday – Gettin’ Sweet on Honey

Honey on of natures tastiest forms of sweetener. We put it in our tea, we bake and cook with it but what do we really know about honey. Well I know that I enjoy honey, but am terrified it will get in my hair and become a sticky mess. But in all seriousness honey, I am not talking about the overly processed junk that comes in a bear, in a raw and organic form is just packed full of benefits for us humans.

So what is honey good for besides helping to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my baked goods? Well here is a list!
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  1. Energy Boost, honey is a great way to give yourself that boost you might need for your next long run or rough weight session. The glucose found in honey can be used in a similar manner to carbohydrates and energy drinks that one might consume during a particularly intense training session. Instead of filling your body with sports drinks riddled in high fructose corn syrup give honey a try for that energy boost.
  2. Relax and get more sleep, this might sound super ridiculous considering I just said it was a great way to boost your energy levels, however the spike in insulin can also help your brain absorb that great chemical compound typically shared by family members after a thanksgiving meal, tryptophan. Tryptophan helps promote relaxation and sleep. I have heard that the best form of honey to test this out with is honey straight from the comb.
  3. Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal. Who would have though honey was so anti-everything!? The pollen with a mix of a “bee glue” (what the bees use to make their hive and seal out dangerous viruses and such) help create these anti-bacterial/viral/fungal properties. However these properties are lost in the refinement process, hence it being important to get raw and organic honey.
  4. Great for your skin. Although because of my how “it is going to get in my hair” fear I would never put honey on my skin (maybe if it was super diluted) it is great for getting rid of blemishes. It is also great at moisturizing your skin, honey not only helps to attract moisture, it helps lock it into your skin and hair because of this a lot of natural cosmetic companies use honey as a natural moisture enhancer.
  5. It is soothing. When you are sick adding a spoon full of honey to a cup of hot lemon or ginger water will help to sooth that scratchy throat of yours. Also because of the anti-bacterial properties mentioned above it will give your immune system that little kick it needs. But don’t think you have to be sick to enjoy the soothing effects of honey, if you are someone that speaks all day, sings or otherwise strains your vocal cords regularly consider having some honey to help relax those muscles.

Body and Brain Break

Body Break…does anyone else remember them? Those commercials were the best, I learnt so many things like how to exercise on an airplane.

This week for me has been a break for my body and it has quickly turned into a brain break also, which to be quite honest has been AMAZING! I am just now starting to realize that for the past 7.5 months I have been pretty hard on this here body of mine. It has been a lot of fun but I had completely forgotten about giving it a break now and then. I mean yes I always gave it one day off a week, but other than that I was pretty much on the go regularly which meant little rest otherwise.

As I had promised myself some weeks ago, after my race I was going to be giving my body a much awaited and much needed week off so besides Monday night Run Club I have been off my feet. My week has been filled with gentle yoga, foam rolling, and thinking up new wonderful workout ideas (which my running partner Susan has been kind enough to help me test out – there are just a few more tweaks and then I will be sharing, I promise).

Although I normally struggle with taking a break and letting myself relax so far this week has been pretty glorious, and because of the yoga (even though it is more relaxing than challenging) I haven’t felt the urge to just go to the gym or set out for a run, which I think is contributing to my mind calming down.

I am so grateful that I decided to listen to my body, my trainer and my running partner and just allow myself this rest without feeling guilty about it, like I am cheating myself. My body definitely needed this rest.

How do you relax? what do you do to let your body rest after intense training?

Happy Thursday folks, the weekend is so close I can taste it.

Also today is the last day to enter the Gingersneezes giveaway, if you haven’t entered please make sure you do before midnight!

Struggling

This is going to be a short post. Kind of more like a rant than a post but I hope someone out there can relate I feel like I am going batty. The past couple days (okay it has been over a week) I have been struggling with respecting injury and as of this past weekend illness (just a cold). I know I have mentioned before how important it is to listen to your body and to remember to take breaks and relax when you need to but for me it is likely the most challenging part of my fitness journey.

Relaxing and taking it easy or recovering always seems to feel somewhat counter productive to what I am trying to achieve. I want to build this healthy, fit, active lifestyle and resting and relaxing is a puzzle piece that just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. I for some reason seem to feel like there should be a designated time or place for such a luxury.

DR3Like a beach vacation or a trip to a cottage, those are designated relax times.Times like now when I am in the downward phase of my training for a race (um…this weekend) taking some rest to recover just feels so innately wrong. So making myself sit back and relax/ do nothing becomes a huge inner struggle. Luckily I have a great husband, good friends, and an amazing trainer to keep my ego in check (I am assuming it is my ego that is making me so thick headed when it comes to this type of stuff.)

So what am I doing? not much to be honest. I am doing my rehab moves to help strengthen my ankle and build up some more stability and I am stretching. I know these are essential components to healthy training but sometimes I get this “if you don’t sweat it doesn’t count” mentality. So I am doing my best to respect my injuries and my sickness and I am learning how to take a step back, which by the way is surprisingly difficult. I am hoping that soon enough I will be able to acknowledge that rest is just as important as physical exercising when it comes to training so that I can learn how to properly integrate it properly in the future.

Have you ever had to deal with something like this? How do you find balance between rest and training?

I hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

Let’s Recap

So this past weekend was the last insane weekend of November (mostly because it was also the last weekend in November to be insane), and I can’t tell you how excited I am for some relaxation and the pace to slow a little bit. This month has been great with family celebrations , visits with family, parties and learning but I am ready for just a bit of relaxation.

Several months ago my exercise buddy brought a Canfit Pro about nutrition to my attention. After some initial humming and hawing over how busy my November already was as well as the cost of the course,  I eventually decided that it would be a great thing to take. It could only add to the health journey I am on and I was sure it would teach me something new.

The course was pretty interesting. It was definitely a huge motivator to be in a room of fitness professionals; hear about what they eat, healthy combinations they suggest and the teacher was super knowledgeable  There was some stuff that I didn’t so much agree with, while there was also some stuff that made sense to me. I took a lot out of it, and now I have a lot of studying to do for my exam, but the course all in all was pretty worth it.
outdoors Weekly goals, so last week I kinda skipped the weekly goals but by the time I started thinking of it it was Wednesday so I figured it would be okay to let it go. Anyways here is a little recap on how I have been doing.

1. Eating clean: eating clean has been going pretty awesome, it probably sticks about 80% of the time (yesterday I went a little nuts on my After Eight consumption). No dairy for 2 weeks was both a success and a failure. Dairy was drastically reduced (success), I went 8 days no dairy and then one evening I came home starving and before I thought about what I was doing I had eaten pizza (failure). But I figure slip ups here and there are all a part of the struggle journey.
2. Yoga: I have gotten pretty solid on making sure to practice yoga at least 2 times a week, the introduction of some DVD’s has made it less likely for me to skip, but I have still yet to get to 3 times a week, which to be honest is a little frustrating.   Seeing I haven’t “met” this goal yet I will be leaving it on my weekly goal list.
3. Running: I totally rocked this goal! My exercise buddy and I finished our app off in record time, and actually ahead of the schedule we had initially set out for ourselves.
4. Sleeping: I am proud to say I rocked at this one too.  I think it was a good goal to put on the weekly list just to remind myself that even during hectic days, weeks, months that it is so important to get enough sleep. I actually think making sure to get 8-9 hours of sleep is what saved me the last two weeks.

So now in the spirit of building on my successes as well as my not so successful attempts here is this weeks edition of my weekly goals.
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Happy Monday and  I hope everyone had a great weekend! 

What are you goals for this week?

Slowing Down

Meditation has been around for what seems like ever, as far back as 15th century BCE there is mention of the practice. It is a practice that goes across many different religiouions and has been adapted by the western world and moulded into “New Age” type practices (mostly pulling from Buddhism and Hinduism). Meditation is an inward personal practice (despite often being practiced in groups) in order to realize some benefit, may it be enlightenment, relaxation, stress management, personal time, what have you.
buddhism and hinduism I have attempted to add some Zen back in my life through meditation, as I was having a difficult time making it to the yoga studio. I started out with an 11 minute meditation, to help focus my mind, and relax my body from the impending stresses of planning a wedding, working 5 days a week, and managing a social life. My first couple attempts were alright. I was able to sit still for about 9-10minutes, but never quiet able to make it through the full 11minutes of guided meditation.

After my first few failed attempts I primarily blamed my inability to sit there on the podcast I had found. It seriously isn’t the greatest, and at this point I now find the man’s voice utterly annoying. But upon reflection I have realized it has nothing to do with the poor quality of the meditation podcast, nor with the man’s wanna be soothing voice. It was me.

So under the advisement of my sister I started to attempt walking meditation. I read up on it a little on the internet, and I remembered it from some books I had read and I thought, surely it would be so much easier than sitting there for 11minutes. I could even incorporate it into my walks home after work. WRONG! I tried soothing music to help block out distractions. I tried Mantras I had learnt from one of my favourit yoga teachers, but walking meditation seemed even more futile than sitting meditation.

Then the second I get on my mat in a yoga class, everything just seems so easy. the moving postures (Asanas) just melt anything else away. I can focus and clear my mind and think about almost nothing besides what is going on on my mat. This isn’t to say that at the end of the class I don’t often trail off about what I am going to make for supper, but I am able do it for more than 11minutes, without feeling like my skin is about to crawl off my body.
yogaSo as it turns out yoga is the best way for me to meditate. By doing something I can forget and clear my mind of other things that are happening in my life. Now for the problem…realizing this doesn’t change the fact that gym yoga sucks and that the yoga studio I currently have some passes with doesn’t really sync up with my schedule. But with most things in life you just have to rely on a little help from some friends! A good friend of mine had lent me a book a while back, and I had been a little slow in getting to it, but flipping through the pages the other day I realized that it has outlines for personal yoga practices, there are 30, 60 and 90minutes personal practices

Now I have a history of being notoriously bad at sticking to at home self guided things (workout dvd’s and the like). But I figured there is no harm in giving this ago. I mean I was making myself sit still for 11minutes a day for a couple of weeks. I am sure I can get myself to do something I love to do for 30-90 minutes a day and heck if it doesn’t workout I still have my regular yoga classes, and at least I tried right. Today will be day one of the at home yoga attempt, I will report back on how it goes.

Have you ever attempted something at home? How successful were you?