Do You Hate Mornings?

Mornings, how I love thee. There is no time in my day that is more serene than just after the sun has come up and everything is peaceful and quiet – though nature gets brownie points if there are birds chirping (and mega points taken off if there is snow…just saying). I haven’t always been a morning person, though. In fact, for as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a night-owl if left to my own devices. I know you’re probably thinking “But wait – you just said you’re a morning person!?!”. Let me explain.

In high school and university, if I didn’t have somewhere to be early in the morning, I would stay up as late as possible. I remember when my house shared 1 PC and I would make a ‘to read’ list of things I wanted to research on the internet once everyone went to bed. I would stay up until 3am reading about world events the Backstreet Boys. By the way, staying up late makes you HUNGRY! No wonder I was obese. The problem with my nasty habit of staying up late was that I couldn’t manage to sleep in, no matter how I tried…which meant I was just tired ALL THE TIME.

I didn’t really transition from night-owl to morning-lark until I was about 6 months into 9-5 life, but once I made the switch, I never looked back. I get asked a lot how I started to love mornings, so here are some tips to help you make a habit of waking up earlier and not hate your life in the process

  • The Slow Creep

It’s probably unrealistic to expect that after a lifetime of waking up ten minutes before you need to be out the door, you’ll suddenly spring out of bed, throw on your running shoes and knock out 5k. Instead, I always suggest people start by setting their alarm 5 minutes earlier than normal, and keep going in tiny increments week by week until you’re waking up an hour earlier (or however much earlier you’d like). The important thing here is consistency. I’ve found that people who decide to workout at 6am twice a week but sleep in the other three weekdays struggle waaaay more with waking up and lacking energy than those who make it a daily habit.

If you’re a real ‘rip the bandaid’ type person, you can try just getting up an hour earlier for a week. Some people do best with sweeping gestures, so if you know that you’re the go-big-or-go-home type, maybe it’s worth trying to suffer through a few sleepy days to shift your clock faster.

  • Set Some Bait

Brainstorm some things that you can do/enjoy with all of your newfound morning time. Brownie points if these are things you wouldn’t normally do at night because then you’re not just shuffling things around, you’re actually adding productive things to your day. Some ideas here could be:

* Read that book that’s laying under an inch of dust on your bookshelf

* Go for a walk. For extra motivation, see if you can find a friend who is also wanting to take advantage of mornings and arrange to meet up and go for a walk together. Friend time and exercise? Check. Check.

* Meditate

* Make a delicious healthy breakfast

* Prepare some things for dinner that night so you have more time when you get home from work (double win!)

* Take a class at your gym that you’ve heard is great but always miss out on because you’re snoozing.

* Clean. I know this sounds torturous but trust me – you will feel so satisfied when you come home at the end of the day and your house is glistening!

I remember the first time I EVER worked out before work/class. A friend from work invited me to meet her at 7am (ungodly at the time) for a spin class that she heard was fabulous at the GoodLife Fitness near our workplace. I had been having a hard time making it to the gym after work, given the adjustment to my new 9-5 job and the brutal winter weather, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I showed up to that class, yawning and wondering what  the @(*@$& I was thinking when I’d agreed to do a spin class at 7am…and my friend slept through her alarm and never showed up. But what do you know – I did the class, LOVED the feeling of having burned 450 calories by 8am, and was delighted at 3pm when I thought the usual “urrrghhhh I have to go to the gym” and then realized that I had already been.

  • Burn a One-Ended Candle

I used to say that I wasn’t a morning person because I always felt sleepy when I woke up early. Well, it turns out I felt sleepy when I woke up early because I was staying up later than I should have. Say what? The morning wasn’t making me sleepy…the lack of sleep was. Insert *face palm* here. Once I started making an effort to get to bed earlier – just a 1/2 hour at first, and then eventually a couple hours – I realized that the mornings weren’t the enemy. In fact, they were AMAZING! I was won over pretty quickly by the sense of tranquility and calmness that you’ll find at 6am just about anywhere you go…except maybe Ibiza. Or a Full Moon Party. I digress.

  • Treat Yo’ Self

Offer yourself a reward for waking up earlier.  Tell yourself that if you wake up earlier every day for a week, you’ll get a massage on Saturday morning, or have pancakes, or get a pedicure. Eventually (and I can almost guarantee this) waking up early will be its own reward. Or hey, get a dog. I hear they’re great at ‘persuading’ people to wake up earlier ;)

So there you have it. A few tips to help you make the most of mornings. This habit, by the way, is a bajillion times easier to implement in the summer months when the sun rises at 5am and sets at 9 (just in time for bed, amiright?!). For myself, sleeping late feels like wasting precious summer sounds and sunshine, so I make early rises a priority. Give it a try!

 

 

 

 

* This post was written in contribution to the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program* 

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Health Hack: Front-Loading.

Sometimes I resist blogging because I feel like I have to make these long, sprawling posts. And then I realize – I hate reading other peoples’ long sprawling posts, so maybe you guys would like a break from them here!

I figured I’d swing by with a super quick, easy, and effective tip to make losing weight and maintaining/improving general health a relative breeze (which sounds like a band name to me. Anyone?).

Most of us are savvy about the fundamentals of health and weight loss in terms of getting plenty of protein, limiting processed foods, and making sure to eat lots of protein and healthy fats. The problem is, we’re all busy and truthfully, it can be a real PITA to plan out every bite in advance; on the other hand, free-styling can sometimes lead to us choosing the easiest options, subsisting on frozen yogurt and sour patch kids. Not speaking from experience or anything…

To make your life as easy as possible in your quest for optimal health or along your weight loss journey, I suggest the following simple approach:

  1. Prioritize your goals – and particularly the goals with which you’re struggling the most. Maybe it’s to eat 100g of protein, or to get 5-7 servings of veggies per day, or to eat more fiber.
  2. Come up with some ways that you can meet your goals as early in the day as possible. If you are aiming to eat more protein and to get more green veggies, for example, maybe start your day off with a protein shake and add some dark leafy greens to the blender to kill two birds with one stone.

See? I said it was simple.

So, if your goal is to eat 10 servings of fruits & veggies/day but you find yourself falling short at the end of the day and craving anything but a stir-fry, try sneaking veggies into your breakfast and lunch (and snacks!). I like to take the path of least resistance here…so if your absolute favourite meal on earth is your breakfast pancakes, then don’t torture yourself by trying to add pureed kale to the mix. Instead, enjoy your pancakes but have some baby carrots, celery, and cucumber with some hummus or dip as your snack, and a nice big salad for your lunch.

If, on the other hand, you can take or leave breakfast but really enjoy a hearty sandwich for lunch, then maybe your breakfast could be a smoothie with 1 scoop of protein powder, a few handfulls of greens, and some frozen fruit. To add even more veggies, you could use a superfood powder like Shakeology or Vega One, or a greens powder like VegeGreens. Then, with your sandwich at lunch, have a green salad on the side or some cut-up veggies. For dessert, enjoy some fresh berries, watermelon, or pineapple (can you tell I love the summer fruit?). By the time dinner rolls around, any veggies/fruit you add should be proverbial gravy ;)

But wait! The wonders of front-loading don’t stop here. I like to apply front-loading to any situation where I’d normally procrastinate; dreading going to the gym after work? Do it in the morning or at lunch. Dreading a task around the house/at work? Do it first thing. It’s so basic it’s silly to be posting about, and yet lots of people put stuff off until they “feel like it,” which often never comes. Better to do it before you’ve even chiseled at your willpower yet.

So next time you’re planning – whether it’s a food you want to be consuming, an activity you wan to do, or just a task that needs to get done, think about front-loading. Ask yourself “if all I did today as far as eating veggies and fruits was to drink this smoothie with kale/spinach/vegegreens/shakeology/banana/cherries/whatever, would I be ok with that?”. If yes, then freaking do it!! Do it now!! And then all the other veg and fruit you eat will just be brownie (mmmm) points. Those are points you can trade for a brownie since you already had your fruits & veggies ;)

 

 

 

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Sup? (Or: 4 Supplements I’m Loving).

No lengthy into here, folks. I just wanted to share with you some supplements I am using and enjoying these days, and that are getting me great results for my goals…which are:

  • #1. Preserve muscle mass and build as I can (difficult as you’re trying to lose weight)
  • #2. Lose fat. This goes in hand with #1. Instead of focusing on losing weight, as in the past, my big goal lately has been to preserve the muscle that I built in the winter while eating at my TDEE, while losing fat.
  • #3. Sleep better. I have suffered from terrible insomnia in the past and it SUCKS.
  • #4. Fix my hormones. For years I’ve been dealing with irregular periods, spotting, awful PMS, blah blah blah. I’m on quest to stop feeling shitty for 1/2 the month :D

So here’s the roster, in no particular order.

1. L-Carnitine I’m not going to show a photo here, because I don’t have an allegiance to any one brand. I mostly buy what’s on sale as long as the capsules contain 500mg at least of L-Carnitine Tartrate. To be honest, I take this because Examine.com told me to, as someone who doesn’t eat meat and rarely eats seafood. L-Carnitine touts lots of benefits for everything from infertility to diabetes (and fat burning, duh!) which you can read about here. I take 1000mg in the afternoon and 1000mg before bed.

2. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)bcaa

These are the tree best BCAAs I’ve tried. L-R we have:

  • Aminocore Blue Raspberry BCAAs by Allmax. This flavour is delicious but DO NOT get fancy and try the Carribean or Cherry Lime. Yuck.
  • ProteinCo BCAAs in Fruit Punch. Flavour wise, this stuff is mild but it is pretty much the ONLY BCAA I was able to find that is sweetened with stevia. Plus, I love supporting Canadian companies when I can! Plus, these are cost effective. Can’t beat em’!
  • Cellucor BCAAs in Watermelon. These are the best tasting BCAAs I’ve tried, hands down. The con is that these are expensive.

I don’t eat in the morning before I work out, and that’s when I rely on BCAAs. BCAAs are excellent, in my experience, for appetite reduction, muscle preservation during fasted exercise, and energy. I’ll defer to the experts for more info on why BCAAs are amazing.

3. Lorna Vanderhaeghe EstroSmart

I started taking this in January 2014 after figuring out, after doing a TON of research, that a lot of my hormonal issues were related to an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. The key ingredients in this that are helpful for women with hormonal imbalances (particularly estrogen dominance) are Indole-3-Carbinol and DIM. Everything else in there is gravy! I noticed differences within weeks of taking this in terms of the length of my cycle (used to be very short, and now is longer…yay!). It has also helped to improve the hormonal insomnia I’ve been dealing with for years. I take this now in conjunction with Shakeology as ‘insurance’, as excess estrogen has been linked to autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, increased blood clotting, and acceleration of the aging process. So basically, no thank you…pass the EstroSmart.  I buy mine here because they offer the best prices I’ve found, and this stuff is expensive, too.

3. Shakeology

Shakeology is all the rage these days, and it’s damn expensive. I was a hard sell to try it because of the price and general cynicism, but after struggling to overcome some digestive issues I’ve been experiencing since last spring (2013) I figured I might as well try it. A quick google shows that people rave about Shakeology’s benefits on everything from digestion and weight loss to hormone health and sleep.

Personally, I’ve found it to help with my digestion, sleep, and hormones. I never really talked about it here, but I’ve been trying for three years to regulate my hormones, and have been dealing with irregular periods, awful PMS, and hormonal migraines. All of these have improved since trying Shakeology in March, in conjunction with the next product I’m going to mention!  I also generally like knowing that if I drink this, I’ve gotten a good dose of antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, phytonutrients, digestive enzymes, and adaptogens (these are what’s been helping to regulate my cycle, I’m sure), among other benefits. If you’re interested in more info, I can do a more detailed post down the line. If you want to check it out, feel free to go here…but know that that is an affiliate link, as I signed up as a coach to reap the discount benefits. I recommend the chocolate and the strawberry, if you do decide to check it out. 

That’s a wrap for now. There will likely be a Part 2 to this post in the next few weeks, as I’m trying out a couple of new products I’m really enjoying. Stay tuned!

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4 Realties I Learned From Cycling

Let me start off by saying that I went back and forth switching the word ‘biking’ for ‘cycling’ about ten times in the title of this post. What is the difference? Is it like running vs. yogging (soft j – someone please acknowledge that reference!!). I will use them interchangeably and beg your forgiveness if I’m breaking some unwritten biking (cycling?!?!) rule. Amateur over here!

Not long ago, I bought a road bike from a friend at work. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that over the past couple of years I’ve really concerted my efforts toward becoming a runner, even completing a couple half marathons and marathons along the way! Running certainly taught me a few lessons – for example, did you know that you can chafe in just about any area you have skin? Who knew.

After marathon #2, I decided that long distance running was not doing my body any favours, and decided to focus more on strength training. As I spent more and more time lifting weights, I came to dread the hour-long sessions on the stepmill that I had previously loved.  This revelation happened to coincide with my move to what some would call the suburbs (it’s NOT!!) and the advent of the commute to and from work. This was fine and dandy until sun started to shine and the flowers started to bloom and the thought of sitting in the car made my skin crawl. So, I decided to do what every other Ottawa resident does when the snow melts – bike!

And so, for the last two weeks I’ve been practicing commuting to work. Well, no, I guess you’d say I’ve been successfully commuting to work since I do, in fact, arrive at the office in the morning and back at home each evening with all appendages in tact. Semantics aside, biking 26km/day has been truly eye opening and today, I’d like to share with you three harsh realities that biking has taught me so far in my short career.

1) You have to come to terms with shorts.

I did my pre-commuting practice rides in Old Navy workout capris after getting along just fine with them in spin classes for YEARS. I  quickly learned the rationale behind those diaper-looking shorts that bikers wear. Turns out seams are BAD when you are going to squish your butt and other delicates onto a bike seat for a couple of hours. As a former fat person, I have no interest in wearing shorts…period. So, in the name of shame and modesty, I bought a pair of cycling capris from ebay, equipped with a padded crotch :D. Well, I don’t know who those pants were made for, but I can tell you that they were not designed for people with hips or torsos.

Downtrodden, I waddled into the local bike shop where my dear friend’s boyfriend works, where I was met with two cutting words: bike shorts. I tried on several pairs and realized that since my legs are both muscular and adorned with loose skin, a muffin top above each knee was inevitable, but that padded shorts were the key to my biking salvation. And now, I can say that not only do I wear shorts every day, but I have the added honor of looking like I’m due for a diaper change thanks to all the padding “down there”. I see a niche market here. Oh, before I move on, did you know the word “chamois” is pronounced “shammy?”. Worth adding to your mind bank before you ask where the “sham-wah” shorts are.

2) There is no bike wave.

Runners can be an elitist bunch, no doubt, but your commonalities bind you. These include things the wearing of some sort of sweat-wicking and/or breathable material, and sport-appropriate footwear. Everything else is gravy. If you are running often and you pass the same person a couple of times over the course of your runs, you’ll notice they start waving at you. Eventually, this becomes second nature and you pay forward the running love and wave at those that you see running. Or, on a bad day, maybe you smile or nod at them.

Bikers mean business. If you are going too slow, they will fly past you on their $10,000 bike in their ridiculously tight (and often white…why??) uniforms (I’m told these are called “kits’) emblazoned with companies who don’t actually sponsor them. My bike has pedals that would allow me to clip in with my cycling shoes (which I do actually own) and yet I don’t, because I’m afraid of the possibility – nay, reality – that I will pull some sort of side-face plant when forced to stop on a dime. I can’t help but think that the bikers are judging me because my shoes aren’t attached to my bike. My bike and I are not “one”. When people pass me on bikes, they either ring their annoying bells or grunt at me to signal that I should make room for them; if they are flying toward me, they pass me without so much as making eye contact. I can’t help but miss the runner’s wave.

So I’m under the impression that cycling is an elite and expensive sport, and that you are either legit, or you are a hobbyist biker who will be trampled by men in white spandex with pointy helmets. BUT…

3) Runners can be obnoxious, too.

When I was a runner, I wanted to stick my arms out whenever a biker rode along behind me obnoxiously dinging their bell, expecting me to make room for them despite a wide open path next to me. This was particularly the case after I’d been out running for hours on end and even minor changes in direction felt like I was running up Mount Everest with a backpack full of cement. However, any time spent on a bike on a shared path (or sidewalk, if you grew up in a small town where that jives, like I did) will show you that runners have a sense of entitlement that may only be rivaled by…well, bikers.

It seems that runners believe it is their prerogative to run 3-wide and to run wherever they feel like it in their lane, and as a biker, you are somehow to get around both oncoming “traffic” and said runner(s) without killing or causing harm to yourself or to others. Dog on a leash? Even better! When Fido decides to spring out for a pee spontaneously, cyclists are expected to gracefully manoevre around the pup without being clothes-lined.  I now understand that, even though as a runner you might feel like you are compact and generous with space, this is not always the case. I also understand that bikers don’t mean to sound like arrogant $*#*%(% when they ring their bells – they are simply trying to be courteous in case the Phoebe Buffay becomes the next barefoot running.

4. Biking Gives You Wings

I know, Red Bull beat me to it right? But let me tell you – it is one thing to huff and puff along a your running route and see some new things in your town/city. It is a WHOLE OTHER thing to FLY around your city on a bike…no, not like this:

Biking lets you make spontaneous decisions that running just doesn’t. For example, if you see that a light is about to change, you can accelerate pretty darn fast to get through before the red. And if you are bored of the route you took to get somewhere, you can choose to take another route without really worrying about whether you just accidentally added 3km to your trek. And you also get to go REALLY fast and feel the wind whip around you. Now, I know I’m not a fast runner, but I don’t think that feeling can be rivaled on legs!

So where do you fall? Biker? Runner? Both? Any sport-specific pet peeves you’d care to share?

 

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A value-able post.

Do you know what your values are?

I mean really know what your values are?

People often throw around expressions like “It goes against my values” or “Doesn’t he/she have any values?”.  We even say “My values are important to me” or “I value xyz,” but I’m discovering that many people – myself included – are very out of touch with their actual core values – the values that govern how we act, feel, and live day to day (or at least, they should.).

I’ve also come to realize that values are integral to losing weight, maintaining weight loss, and to having a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. If you’re sitting there scratching your head trying to think of your values, STOP! Go here. Have a look and try and weed out the 5 words that resonate with you most. To help you hash this out, try and think about a day that you felt on top of the world – happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. What words would you use to describe that day? If it helps you, try and look t the list through a ‘health’  lens. If you’re stuck, email me and I’ll help you flesh out a list (I never thought I would use the words hash and flesh so close together, but I’m so happy I’ve had the chance).

Once you have your values in place, try and identify how they relate to your weight loss journey, or your thoughts/behaviours about food. For example, think about the last time you overate to the point of feeling sick (if this happens to you) and the guilt you felt. Where does that guilt come from? It might be because you feel crappy physically, or because you had a goal and overeating took you off course – but it might also be because treating your body that way or engaging in an unhealthy relationship with food violates one of your values, and you don’t even realize. When we set goals, we often see them as floating objectives that we’re working towards. If we act in a way that doesn’t support our goals, we feel guilty and like we’ve failed, but can also rationalize “I’ll start again tomorrow”. Your values are a part of who you are and what makes you human, and acting against those values can make you feel like something just isn’t right – a sucky feeling, of course, but also a great motivator. When we do something that doesn’t support our values, we feel like we’ve betrayed ourselves; in contrast, when we lose sight of a goal, we feel disappointed and maybe a bit defeated.

#character #values

So lets say that’s true, and that you discovered you’ve acted in a way that is out of alignment with your core values for your life and your body. Super. So now what? I suggest sitting down and mapping out positive and negative some of your food/body/exercise/weight less (etc.) thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Which of these thoughts, feelings and behaviours match with which values, and which are in direct contrast with your values?

If it meant developing a set of habits that would better enable you to lose weight, maintain weight loss, or just feel better about yourself and your relationship with your body,  what are some small steps you could take toward having more items in your “pro-value” list and less in your “anti-value” list?

More on this here :)

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I’ve been thinking about food

Just sitting here chucking at the title of this post…which is meant to be read to this tune, in case you missed the reference.

This will probably end up being a largely ramble of a post, and it definitely won’t be fact-filled or full of hyperlinks. Nope, I’m going to go ahead and forecast that this post will be predominantly anecdotal. So read on, if you dare…or care.

So I mentioned previously (ok I renounce my declaration that there would not be hyperlinks) that I’d been consciously eating more in an effort to gain some muscle and gently remind my metabolism of how much active people should be eating to fuel their bodies. I thought that maybe I would give a little more detail on this, since I’ve received a few emails since publishing that post that lead me to believe that there are a lot of you out there who are undereaating, overtraining, or dealing with a lot of disordered thinking around food that you think is normal because so many women in your lives are also obsessing about every bite they put in their mouths.

Because I’ve lost 100lbs, I have loose skin on most of my body. Sometimes I forget about it, but mostly I don’t; I think about it every time I jump, run, wear shorts, wave, sit, or bend over. I’d love to say that I embrace my excess skin as some sort of badge of pride for my weight loss, but I don’t. I resent my extra skin for overshadowing every muscle bump I work so hard for, and  fully intend to have it removed someday. But until that day comes ($$$!) I am faced with two options: do nothing, OR, build as much lean muscle as I can on my body so that I can look my absolute best with the body I have….loose skin and all.

So I decided, after seeing my marathon photos and crying over how I looked, that I was going to stop putting my body through hours of steady state cardio and start building muscle and training strategically. Oh, and I was going to eat more, too. Take that, body! When I started eating in balance with my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), I expected that I would gain some muscle, as well as some fat, and that I would feel pretty full in the beginning.

What I wasn’t really expecting is that I would no longer be obsessed with food. I wouldn’t feel physical anxiety around sweets, and I wouldn’t make three trips a day by any candy bowl I could find – even if I didn’t really like the candy – and take as many pieces as I could each time. Oh, and I wouldn’t eat myself sick on weekends anymore. This transformation didn’t happen overnight by any means. Actually, I started eating my TDEE on November 1, 2013 and I didn’t notice that my food preoccupations had lifted until February, 2014…just before I began reducing my calories to drop some of the weight I gained before summer.

In early March, I started reducing my caloric intake by a very small amount, still eating around 2000 calories/day. I began to have days where I would land around 1500 calories/day (gross count) and just run with it, thinking “excellent, now I’ll have an even bigger caloric deficit and lose weight faster.” Recently, after eating a ridiculous amount of candy welllll past the point of fullness,  I started reflecting on some recent…tension…in my relationship with food. I realized that after even a small amount of time in a moderate caloric deficit, I was back to circling around candy dishes, making up bizarre protein powder concoctions to replace real treats, and picking up and putting back things at the grocery store because I’m not sure I can trust myself around them.

Obviously there are tons of people out there dieting successfully, so I’m not saying caloric restriction is a bad thing if you’re trying to lose weight. What I’m learning (and I’m always learning about this stuff) is that all of those disordered food behaviours that I thought were indicators of my poor willpower or giant sweet tooth, were really just my body’s way of telling me that I was not properly feeding myself for the level of activity that I was putting it through. I suspect that, having dieted extensively in the past, those 4 months of eating at my TDEE were a real “a-ha” for my body. I ate enough and made sure that I was getting enough protein, fat, and carbs, and the clouds parted. Here comes the sun!

So what do I do now?

Well, I plan to stop borrowing from Peter (skimping on weekday calories) to pay Paul (overeating on the weekend). My plan is to get back to basics – eating enough per day (1750-2000 calories and never netting below my BMR of ~1460 calories) and balancing my macros, even on weekends. I’m going to stop asking “ok, if I want ice cream, how can I make it with PROTEIN!!” and start letting myself have servings of what I want during the week, as long as I’ve met my other macronutrient goals for the day. I’m not sure that this will work – in fact, it could just be that I need to tell myself to buck up and buckle down if I want to shed a few pounds before summer. What it does highlight though, is that for those of us who have struggled with our bodies and weight, a curious mind and diligent observation is critical to our weight loss success, to improving our relationships with food, and to understanding our bodies. Knowing what makes your body tick (and what makes you mind go a little crazy) is the key to an empowered approach to weight loss.

So, that’s my little confession and my $.02 on all of this nutty stuff.

As always, please email me at dnhfitness@gmail.com if you have any questions, or just need an ear. I certainly appreciate you all lending me yours!

 

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Things I Loved In March

My return to blogging has come at a great time, because it’s almost the end of March – which means I get to share all the things I’ve loved over this past month!

First, I’ll share something I did NOT enjoy in March:

photo(1)

Yeah sure, it looks kind of nice and pristine on this glorious sunny day we’ve been having here, but I am ready to see patches of grass on my lawn…not a good 4 feet of snow that needs to melt :( Send melty thoughts, please!!

Now, onto the things that didn’t make my heart weep this month!

Books

Admittedly, I am way off my book game lately because I’ve been studying for a mandatory real estate exam that I have coming up this month. That said, I’m not one to let forced work spoil my literary wanderlust, so I always make sure for my extracurricular reading. This month, I’m all about entrepreneurship, self-improvement, and fabulous women. Here’s are my favourites of the moment:

May Cause Miracles – Gabrielle Bernstein

This book is for you if you:

  • are a wannabe-meditator but have a little bit of ADD (or a lotta bit)
  • want to make some changes in your life but feel held back by fear
  • feel stuck in general

I am a super task-based person. I thrive on administrative tasks that you knock off a list in rapidfire succession and then feel super productive. Long, drawn-out books on self-exploration and meditation are not for me right now. This book gives you little tasks to complete each day (one in the morning, one in the evening) that are quick yet deeply transformational.

She Takes On The World – Natalie MacNeil

Natalie is a spitfire, and a Canadian to boot (I said TO boot, not Aboot, thankyouverymuch), so there are two things off the bat to love about her. This book is for anyone who feels a bit lost, is struggling to find their passion, and wants more out of life. That’s a really reduced nutshell summary, but I am really loving Natalie’s writing style and feel like I just want her to come to Ottawa and tell me what to do with my life (Natalie? Are you reading?)

Workouts

I’ve been trying some new workouts lately, in light of our burgeoning home gym.

Cyling

I’m loving my indoor cycling classes, which I take twice a week at the Goodlife fitness near my work. These aren’t RPM classes – they’re road drills classes, which means that they’re focused on developing actual translatable cycling skills that can be applied on real bikes, outside. This isn’t why I love the class, though – I love it because my instructor is hilarious and has fantastic taste in music. I honestly look forward to 7am on Tuesdays all week, every week – well as much as one can look forward to a Tuesday, period.

I’m also loving the free cycling workouts available though the Global Cycling Network on Youtube. My favourites are the ones led by Paul Ryman, like this one. If you should land on one where a bunch of girls in sports bras ride spin bikes with terrible form and look like they’re being held at gunpoint, kindly skip ahead and do not let it sully your opinion of the other workouts ;)

Other Cardio

I’m also rediscovering a “love” (because I do NOT love it until I’m finished, and then I feel amazing) for this bad boy:

And as bonus, Matt really enjoys these too…even though he makes me look away when he does 80% of the moves because thinks he looks ridiculous (sidenote: he does but it’s awesome).

And I’ve been using this weapon:

Yep… a good old-fashioned jump rope. Blast some tunes and just jump. Voila!

Strength

Insanity does work on strength by focusing on bodyweight exercises, but I do love to lift weights at least 3 days a week, as well. I have a whole routine that I do when I’m able to get to the gym, but on days when I feel too lazy to leave the house, I’m LOVING this program:

I dare you to youtube clips from the BodyBeast workouts. Actually, no…I dare you to watch them and not laugh. Sagi, the trainer, is super hilarious and sometimes unintentionally so, but it’s kind of endearing after a while.

Food

I’m not going to give wordy descriptions of why I love these foods…just know that I eat them often and often have to slap my own hand away from eating more than I want to.

(Oh, if you pick up the cantina extra thin chips…do yourself a favour and mix Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce and Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Yogurt dressing together and dunk. Sooo gooood).

Songs

Dark Horse –  Katy Perry & Juicy J

Yeah, I know it’s overplayed. But I can’t stop listening!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSOMA3QBU0

Wide Open – B.O.B.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBzxgu0tkxU

We Alright – Young Money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cyUSC8ZJKk

Go Get It – T.I.

Because if you ever don’t feel swaggy enough, you need to listen to this song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvM3YwmDfwE

Born To Die (Gucci Vump Remix) – Lana Del Rey

And then if you’re feeling too swaggy after listening to that last song by T.I., it’s a clear indicator that you don’t have enough Lana Del Rey in your life. I can fix that!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6ACh1DYklM

You Know You Like It (Tchami Remix) – AlunaGeorge

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcqVeVlZXno

As always, I’d love to hear your favourites for not just March, but the last 3 months! And if you have any questions about the things I mentioned here, shoot me an email – dnhfitness@gmail.com

Until next time!

 

 

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