How to start: Working Out

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If your new to living a healthy lifestyle, working out can seem really intimidating. I remember the first time I set foot in the gym, I had no idea what anything was or what I should be doing. Everyone else seemed to be so experienced and intimidating, I didn’t make eye contact with anyone at the gym for the first year that I worked out. I was always worried that I was doing an exercise wrong and people were laughing at me from afar, we’ve all been there and we’ve all felt like this, it’s normal. I always tell first time gym goers that most people are too focused on themselves to notice others unless you are a loud grunter or screamer then you will be noticed. It’s not hard to start working out it’s just intimidating for most people. I have created a list of tips for first time gym goers to help you get into the gym or off of the couch.

  1. Write Down Your Goals – Identifying your goals is the most important part of living a healthier lifestyle, this will help you find your why and your motivation to get shit done. When writing down your goals make sure to rate the importance of these goals to you on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being extremely important. Rating your goals creates a bigger emotional attachment and gives you a lot of motivation. If you’ve ever had a consultation with a trainer you have most likely been through this type of goal setting.
  2. Just Start – You’ve already made the conscious decision to change or try something new so just do it. Walk into your local gym, contact a trainer, break out those home workout videos, get it done and crush those goals.
  3. Seek Professional Help – Like I said before, working out can be intimidating for the first time, no one wants to feel like they’re doing something wrong and no one wants to get hurt. I recommend seeking out some professional help. Most gyms will offer a complimentary session with a trainer when you sign up, use this as a time to ask questions and get your form critiqued.
  4. Pace Yourself – We all get excited when we start something new or want to crush some goals, it is super important not to go crazy within your first week or month. I’ve seen a lot of new gym members wear themselves out within the first month, pace yourself, ease into it and don’t try and find your 1 rep max within the first week of working out. Also don’t buy a shit ton of supplements as soon as you join the gym like no just no.

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5. Schedule Out Your Workout Time – In my experience if you don’t schedule out your workouts then they probably won’t happen #truthbomb. Mark it on your calendar, tell Siri to remind you do what you gotta do to get it done. Don’t like schedules? Too bad, schedule it.

6. Don’t Reward a Workout With Food – Most people who start working out make the common mistake of thinking that because they workout they can have all the food. I used to think that because I worked out I could eat cake.. every night. Don’t deprive yourself but also don’t eat cake every night if you want to lose weight.

I hate running so I’m going to learn to run

I don’t think there is anything in this world that I hate more than running. When I was a kid I hated track and field day because you show up to school one day and you’re expected to run for like 800 metres. No thank you. The night before track and field day I would try and come up with ways to get out of it, like breaking my own leg. I don’t think that’s too dramatic or anything. I’m also asthmatic so running is a bitch for me, a bitch that I’ve avoided like the plague.

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A couple of weeks ago I walked into my regular Crossfit class and written under WOD on the board was a 400 metre run. No, just no. I felt like I was in elementary school again, only this time I didn’t have my inhaler. The run was awful, I hated every minute of it. I was embarrassed by my horrible running skills, I literally have the lung capacity of a mouse. I hate being bad at things so I am determined to improve this skill ASAP. I know I won’t be able to run long distances over night but I’ve come up with a plan. Repeat the weekly workout 3-5 times a week.

 

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Feel free to join me for 8 weeks of literal hell, I’m starting Monday. Hopefully in 8 weeks I will be significantly better at running.

Why Non-Scale Victories Matter More than the Number on the Scale

For many of us the scale is a complete nightmare. Stepping on a scale can be a very demeaning experience for many of us. Picture this: you’re feeling amazing, confident, lean you decide to step on the scale (sounds innocent enough). The scale says you’re up 5 lbs since the last time you weighed in, in a matter of seconds you can go from feeling on cloud 9 to feeling like complete shit, all because of that tricky bitch of a scale. Many people allow their self worth to be measured by that number on the scale. YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER (that was me yelling encouragingly). I still use the scale with my clients but I always follow it up with measurements because the scale could say they’re up 5lbs but the measurements could show drastically different results. No matter the results, always follow it up with something positive like “remember last week when you hit a new PR on your deadlift, you’ve gotten so much stronger in the past 6 months”. I’ve also started to make a habit of asking about some non-scale victories with my clients “are your clothes getting loser?”, “how’s your energy?”. A non-scale victory can be as simple as making better choices when you go out to eat or maybe now instead of a double double, you drink your coffee black. These non-scale victories are extremely important, fitness is a journey not a sprint.

The other day, I had a huge non-scale victory, it was so huge that I almost cried. The other day my friend and I went shopping, and we popped into Value Village, because Value Village is AMAZING. We were walking around and from across the room, I spotted something gold and slightly glittery, time stopped as I raced over to check it out. The item I spotted was the most amazing jumpsuit from H&M (another amazing store). I was pumped. This glittery jumpsuit was only 8 dollars, 8 freaking dollars!! I checked out the size, praying it would be my size. Turns out it was a size 6, not my size. I contemplated life for 5 minutes and then decided to buy it, because maybe just maybe I could squeeze my ass into it (I was too lazy at the time to try it on). I brought the jumpsuit home, excited and nervous to try it on. I tried on that jumpsuit and, drum roll please….. it FIT. I fit into a size 6. Now this may not be a big deal to some but I used to be a size 16 so for me this was a huge moment. It was in this moment that I realized that I don’t own a full length mirror so I couldn’t document this monumental moment. But that’s ok because I’m going to wear that jumpsuit everyday for the rest of my life, because gold, glittery jumpsuits give me life and it makes my booty look good.


I haven’t weighed myself in a few months because I’ve been feeling good, my clothes are fitting better and I’m becoming stronger. I don’t need the scale to bring me down (although it could say I’m down in weight) but I don’t feel the need to look. Maybe in the next few months I’ll pop on the scale just to see what it says, because curiosity will probably get the best of me, but for right now I am completely content with where I’m at.

Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing

Now that it’s officially summer, all I want are salads. Right now I could eat a salad for every meal. Give me all the veggies, all of them. After I completed my first whole 30, I never wanted to buy store bought salad dressing ever again, that shit is loaded with sugar and additives. Living in Canada, I don’t have access to some of the dressings that American whole 30’rs rave about. Today I decided to experiment with some apple cider vinegar and it turned out delicious, it was a party in my salad bowl.

 

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30 min Summer HIIT Workout

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a good way to get your ass handed to you in a short amount of time. HIIT workouts are designed to torch calories in a short amount of time and are a fantastic addition to anyone’s workout program. The best part about the HIIT workout I’ve designed for you is that, you don’t need equipment and you can do the workout outside (work on that tan). Also it’s only 30 minutes, everyone has 30 minutes they can spare for a workout.

 

HIIT Workout

 

Squats: Feet hip width apart and push your butt back. Need assistance? You can use a TRX or a bench/chair.

Push Ups: Remember to keep your elbows close to your side. You can go from your knees or toes or you can go from an elevated surface.

Jumping Jacks: An oldie but a goodie.

Lunges: Keep your chest up, core engaged and toes pointed forward.

Burpees: *evil laughter* this isn’t going to be easy but it’ll be worth it.

Sit Ups: Never skip core, I learned the hard way.

Long Jump: It’s like track and field all over again. Squat down and leap forward.

How to Overcome a Protein Bar Addiction

Step 1: Admit you have a problem

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  • Do you eat protein bars frequently or in replacement of meals?
  • Do you experience irritability or mood swings when you don’t have a protein bar?

 

Step 2: Seek support

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  • There are no registered support groups for this addiction.
  • Reach out to a family member or friend.
  • Always post to social media when you’re making a life change, if it’s not on social media, it probably didn’t happen.

 

Step 3: Rid your house, car and gym bag of all protein bar remains

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  • Get rid of all temptation and by get rid I mean throw out, DO NOT CONSUME.
  • Throw out any left over wrappers, you may be tempted to huff the wrappers.

Step 4: Cold Turkey

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  • Don’t try to slowly ween yourself off, cut it out completely. It’s for the best, I swear.

 

Step 5: Create an action plan

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  • This may include avoiding certain sections of the grocery store or never leaving your house again, find something that works for you and stick with it.

Step 6: Do not go on Pinterest

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  • This might possibly be the hardest step, you think it’s fine to just look up some DIY house decor and next thing you know you’ve pinned 10 protein bar recipes.

Step 7: Unfriend anyone who offers you a protein bar

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  • Promptly slap that protein bar out of their hand.
  • You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, besides didn’t they see your post on facebook about not eating protein bars? How rude.

Step 8: Preparing for cravings

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  • It’s bound to happen at one point or another, when the craving hits simply stop whatever you are doing, get down on the floor, and curl up into the fetal position.

 

Why Don’t We Teach Self Love in School?

The number of people who suffer from an eating disorder is on the rise. As a society we still have a close minded view of beauty and body standards (I’ll take a moment to applaud all the people who are actively trying to change this). Social media plays a huge role in how we see ourselves and how we see others, we’ve all heard this before. The important thing to remember as we scroll through Facebook and lurk through Instagram is that those people you’re creeping aren’t perfect. Social media allows people to show themselves without flaws, they pick the best angles or the highlights of their life. Like we get it Sarah, your boyfriend loves to spoil you with gifts and love notes, but have you ever thought that maybe “Sarah’s” boyfriend is actually a dick and he buys her all those gifts as apologies? No one is perfect (except maybe Beyoncé), no relationship is perfect and for the love of Oprah, no one has the perfect body. The day you stop comparing yourself to others and start telling yourself that you’re a f***ing rock star is the day you start living a happier life.

I became self conscious about my body in Grade 3, I started developing before any other girl in my class and everyone else thought it was weird. The boys in my class were relentless, making fun of basically everything about me. I had no friends and I was constantly negative towards myself. I hated the things about myself that other people made fun of me for, before Grade 3 I was a fairly confident kid. My biggest regret is letting other people influence how I felt about myself, but how was I supposed to know that these kids were wrong? We don’t teach about body positivity and self love in school so how are kids supposed to know that they’re amazing and unique? Let’s teach kids to be positive about their bodies and stop being assholes to each other.

The summer before high school, I remember telling myself that I needed to lose 10 lbs before I started Grade 9. Looking back, it sounds messed up and distorted, my body was still going through changes (puberty can sometimes take forever) and that “pudge” I had was not a big deal. I allowed myself yet again to be influenced by others. I had peers and even family members that would make comments about my body and it sucked. It felt like every time I gained some small amount of confidence, someone was there to knock me down. I struggled through grade nine, I was counting calories, starving myself, binging, hating myself and throwing up. It was a vicious cycle, a cycle that was extremely hard to stop. In Grade 10 I could feel my self hatred getting worse. I masked my disordered eating by becoming a vegetarian. I figured it would be easier to say no to food without suspicion “oh that casserole has meat in it, guess I won’t eat it”. The rest of high school continued like this, because of my insane eating habits, my metabolism pretty much peaced out. By Grade 12, I had gained what felt like a lot of weight. Most people get excited about prom, I was dreading it. I refused to go prom dress shopping because I was afraid of not fitting into anything. I ended up ordering a dress online and thankfully it fit. During Prom, I felt uncomfortable and self conscious, I hate looking back at photos of that night because it reminds me of the self hatred I was feeling. I wish someone had told me that it’s ok to look different and that the weight on your body doesn’t define you.

In the past year, I’ve been really focusing on thinking more positively when it comes to my body. It may sound lame but reciting a positive mantra a few times a day really helps, it can be as simple as “I am worthy”. Before job interviews I usually sit in my car or stand in front of a mirror and tell myself that I’m Beyoncé, I swear, it’s the best confidence booster.

After following the Whole 30 and reading Melissa Hartwig’s book Food Freedom Forever, I have been able to identify and stop myself when I start slipping into those disordered eating habits. I have also stopped referring to foods as good and bad because why the heck should you be made to feel bad for eating something? If a child grows up thinking that a food is bad then whenever they eat it or see someone else eating it, they’re going to have some judgement towards that person or food.

In closing, let’s teach the future generations about self love and respect. Teach them that it’s ok to be different, it’s ok to be tall, short, big or small, happiness doesn’t come from a certain size, happiness comes from the life you live or maybe even a box of donuts.

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Thoughts I’ve had While Doing CrossFit

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Image via scrubbing.in

I recently started attending a beginner CrossFit bootcamp. I’m now able to understand what all the hype is about. The best part of walking into a CrossFit class is that you don’t have to think about a workout, you just walk in and get your ass handed to you, it I walk into every class with excitement and a little fear. Despite how tough a workout may be, and how much I may hate in the moment, I can’t wait to do it again as soon as the workout is over. I’ve made a list of my most common thoughts (sometimes I say them out loud) during a WOD.

1. “AMRAP 8 min, so easy” – By minute 4 *wheezing* “Is it over yet!!?”

2. “I hope this makes my butt bigger” – every exercise.

3. “F*ck burpees”

4. “Maybe I’ll just play dead during this WOD”

5. “I love wall balls”

6. “F*ck wall balls”

7. “Why do I pay to be tortured like this?”

8. “Where’s my inhaler?”

9. ” I wonder if Beyoncé does Crossfit”

10. “I hope I have abs after this”

 

 

Why I Stopped the Whole 30

I mentioned in a previous post that I was starting my second round of Whole 30. I was extremely excited to start it up again, I had developed a strange rash/eczema outbreak and I was hoping the Whole 30 would get rid of it. In between my two whole 30s I was also experiencing painful stomach burning and pressure, it would happen at any time and it would leave me unable to leave the couch. I went to the hospital one night because the pain was unbearable. The doctor thought it was just a bad case of acid reflux and I went home with a powerful prescription of antacids. Fast forward a week and I was still having pains, I was annoyed and frustrated because I was eating the cleanest I’ve ever eaten. I was hoping that a second round of Whole 30 would eliminate both these issues.

A couple of days in to my second round, my rash was starting to get worse. I started to think that it was something I was eating, I had already eliminated eggs because they made my stomach feel awful, so next, I eliminated potatoes (it was hard). Eliminating potatoes didn’t seem to help either so I eliminated tuna because I had been eating more tuna than usual. I was eating a very limited Whole 30, it wasn’t hard but I missed potatoes.

Yesterday, I went to get a second opinion about my stomach pains and rash, because I was getting more and more frustrated every day. The sparks note version of yesterday is that my Gallbladder isn’t functioning properly and my rash may be caused by my digestive system being out of whack. The gallbladder helps the body digest fat, and my gallbladder isn’t able to digest fat at a normal rate. I was eating all healthy fats (avocado, olive & coconut oil) so it’s shocking to me that my body is rebelling like this. I’ve learned that the best way to heal my body is with whole grains, fruits, little or no fats, super lean meats and certain vegetables. I was feeling super down yesterday about everything but I realized that if I wanted my body to heal I would need to step back from the whole 30 for now. I wouldn’t be completing a true whole 30 without the healthy fats. I still believe that the whole 30 is an extremely effective plan and lifestyle but my body isn’t accepting it at this point in time.

I came home yesterday and I was trying to do some research on my own about foods and recipes and I came to realize that there is a lack of information on this particular subject. I’m determined to find recipes that are going to heal my body and taste delicious.

I am by no means a nutritionist but I like to research and share my findings so here is what I’ve found so far:

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My findings are pretty basic, but it gives me a good guideline. For me personally I can’t eat gluten (I wish I could but that is another thing my body hates) so for whole grains I’ll be sticking to oats, quinoa and rice. I’m going to attempt to make some shrimp pesto without oil today so hopefully it turns out well. I guess this experience just means I have to get a bit more creative in the kitchen.

The Burpee

I avoid burpees like the plague. I am a naturally uncoordinated person so burpees have always been a challenge for me. When I was at my heaviest weight, burpees were extremely awful, I hated the feeling of my body jiggling and my boobs flailing around (even while wearing two sports bras). I know burpees are a fantastic full body exercise and should be incorporated in someone’s workout plan, but I was scarred and embarrassed by my lack of skill with the burpee that I avoided them and avoided making my clients do them.

The other night after avoiding burpees since the beginning of my fitness journey, I was faced with them, 36 of them to be exact. The workout was as follows:

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Thrusters are awful, burpees are awful but I loved every minute of the workout. To my surprise my burpees have improved a lot, I could actually jump my feet to my hands. This may seem small but to me this is a huge accomplishment, in my previous attempts at burpees I could never jump my feet up, I always had to do one foot at a time. My boobs were still flailing and my body jiggled but I was ok with it, we all jiggle and flail when we workout, it’s normal. Safe to say that I am going to be adding burpees into my routine and you should too, especially if you hate them. The things we aren’t good at or the the things we dislike are the things that help us improve the most, this applies to anything but is especially true in a fitness journey.