A Pinterest-perfect body: thinking twice about “trouble spots”

My increasing tendency to spend my downtime on pinterest has led me to notice a lot of pins, especially as I look at fitness-related motivation, dedicated towards certain body parts and how to make them look a certain way. Like the magazine headlines that say “A Perkier Butt in 7 Minutes a Day,” I don’t think the routines will do the trick. But even worse, I have noticed the way in which bodies are literally turned into objects—butts, arms, shoulders, abs—to go along with these routines.

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We talk about the objectification of women’s bodies, and this is an example, I’d say. We’re taking this part of a woman’s body and we’re focusing on it, removing it from context and personality. We’re also contributing to something that we take for granted sometimes—this idea that we can pick and choose how we want our body to look in sections and then achieve it through our own hard work.

When I work with personal training clients, I sometimes get the questions about “what am I working now?” and I sometimes have a sense of if the person is concerned with “toning” or afraid of “bulking up” or asking because they want to know about the functionality of what we’re doing. I really try to answer questions about how to tone a certain body part gently and not hold people at fault if they want to have tank top arms. But I hope that people know that just because things like Pinterest make it easier than ever to take for granted that every part of your body can be molded and shaped until you have the most ideal of all the ideal bodies doesn’t mean that it’s realistic or even possible.

When you think about the insane notion that you should perfect every part of your body to match the idea in your head or in the media that you see of what is defined as perfect for each region as insane, you might feel a range of things. Maybe you’re defeated—what’s the point, then? I’d argue there’s lots of points: aesthetics in general, the health benefits of working out, the functional benefits of moving your body, the sense of accomplishment and self esteem you can get from participating in physical activity, to name a few. Or maybe it feels like a relief—the pressure is off and you can be a little more appreciative of the awesome body you’ve got. Those “trouble spots” you were so concerned about before won’t hold you back if you let yourself let go of the perfectionism around our bodies that’s easy to buy into.

I hope that this post leaves you thinking, and I of course hope that you are a little gentler on yourself. Lots of people have one body part that they just can’t seem to “fix.” Our body parts are not mistakes, and this idea that if we try harder or find the perfect routine just sustains our insecurities—and keeps the people who benefit from them in power. Let’s learn to love our bodies as a whole, appreciating all of the parts. My friends over at Fit is a Feminist Issue shared this photo on their facebook page (which is always filled with interesting things to check out, I might add), and I think it is a perfect way to leave you thinking:

worth loving

Does this resonate with you at all?
Do you focus on specific body flaws? 

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Try to look on the bright side–friends, pinterest, and being hurt

One of the things I love about fitness is that it brings us together with people we might not have otherwise met. Last year at CrossFit, I met my friend Katie, who has been through many miles and Clif bars with me since. Even though we met at the gym, we realized that we are both the kind of person who wants to run to and from the CrossFit workout and who thinks the seat of a bicycle is a fine spot to spend a Saturday. Katie is always giving me someone to chase and her first Ironman this year kept me believing in my first half Ironman–and her advice got me through a lot of the things I am not sure I would have thought of along the way!

Now, a little cranky with my slow comeback from my back injury last month (I dropped a barbell on my back–the side, down low–which has affected my leg if I try to run, then my back when I did a little too much yoga, maybe, and now is giving me pins and needles at school when I sit for long stretches, and is generally keeping me from being as active as I normally am), Katie has proven to have a little life coach in her too. I didn’t ask her if I could share the text she sent me last night to cheer me up, but she is generally one of the most encouraging folks I know, so the world needs this and I’m sure she’ll understand:

“I think your injury might be getting you down. So I decided to make you a list of benefits of being injured. I’m sure you’ll consider yourself lucky after reading it.:

1) A perfect manicure lasting two weeks!
2) Hair that looks great 2 and maybe even 3 days after a wash
3) Callus free hands (see above perfect manicure)
4) Less time spent doing laundry!!
5) A chance to wear your ‘real clothes’ not just your latest lulu’s.
6) Less time showering and training = more time to spend with people you love!

And the best part of all…building up the desire and drive to train your way through the winter into next season!”

It was too good not to share, and it definitely got me out of my little pity party. Of course I still want to be training, but I remember again that the reason I train is not because my worth depends on it–but because it makes me feel good! Right now, it doesn’t. So it’s time to rest. It’s simple, even if it’s not easy.

Beyond Katie’s sweet text message, I also have been turning to pinterest during my breaks that might otherwise have been filled with workouts. Here are some of the fruits of my labour, specific to injuries and staying positive. I’ll leave out the ones of chocolately peanut buttery goodies or outfits that also seem to lure me in!

gym cute injury

truth lion injury

bulldog adorable

setback

positive pants

I will never be happy for an injury, but at least I can take Katie’s advice and try to find my positive pants every day! Yay for the interwebs, but more importantly, yay for friends.

What helps you get through injuries?
How do you stay positive when you’re feeling down about something?

magazine covers: should they inspire, or should they just sell magazines?

To answer the question in the title of this post, I think magazines, ideally, can do both.

The reason behind this post is all of the hubbub that Camille Leblanc-Bazinet’s latest magazine cover, this one on the box, a CrossFit magazine, has caused.

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Camille has been on the cover of lots of magazines, CrossFit and more mainstream.

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Her popularity makes sense: she’s Canada’s sweetheart, she’s beautiful, and she won the CrossFit Games this year.

She’s also been photographed in some pretty racy ways (this is one from SweatRX).

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So, when people were getting angry on the interwebs about her bikini model-esque cover, I thought maybe there was a little overreacting going on. My reaction? I would rather see her doing something than just standing there. There was a lot of talk about the poor photoshopping that went on and plenty of outrage over the whole process, but maybe I’ve just come to accept that magazines will photoshop even the women I look at and think of as pictures of strength and fitness.

I haven’t read most of the posts out there, but I think what’s missing is a recognition that she posed for this photo. With that racy one from SweatRX in her portfolio, I don’t think it’s that much of a surprise that Camille is using her sexiness to sell herself. Girl power? Or playing into a bigger problem? That depends on how you think a magazine should sell itself. Camille’s mentioned before (in magazine articles) that CrossFit can help shift body image:

“Now that Leblanc-Bazinet is a pro in the weight room, she holds her head just as high. “If I gain two pounds but I can lift 100 more pounds on my bar, I’m like, ‘Hell yeah,'” she says. “I only want to be fitter, stronger, faster, and healthier, and that’s given me tons of confidence.”

Amen to that, I say.

A few months ago, Annie Thorisdottir was on the cover of Vogue. She was pictured in ways that are different from what we would typically see of CrossFit athletes in their element, but there wasn’t so much outrage (at least that I’m aware of).

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Maybe the difference was the magazine? Do we expect our CrossFit magazines to resist the urge to sell magazines using sex appeal or making the athletes who grace their covers into cover models?

To me, this just reiterates a point about how we don’t want to just replace one ideal with another. There is something different than saying “strong is the new sexy” and then leaving “sexy” as this objectified, half naked person who is just standing there. The thing with the cover of Camille is: she is much more than that, and while she looks good standing there, she doesn’t have to just stand there. I love the women of CrossFit because of what they can do. I love that their bodies come in different shapes and sizes and degrees of ripped. I appreciate photos of them the most when they remind me that their bodies look that way thanks to their doing and that their bodies are capable of doing amazing things. I read the magazines because I appreciate a break from the typical “tone your tush by Tuesday” articles that fill up lots of general health and fitness magazines.

So the box, if you’re listening, I’m not mad that you did this “to” Camille (let’s hold her at least a little responsible, folks). But you should know: I like the photos of her in action a lot more. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind one or the other, but I think he’d like to see more of Lauren Fisher. We’ll both buy your magazine. I have an old photo from your magazine of Camille tacked to my vision board. She’s snatching, and I put it there because I am sure that some day soon my snatch is going to look just like hers.  

Those active photos are the ones I want to see. They’re the ones that make me want to go do CrossFit. They’re the ones that remind me that it’s okay to work out for something besides the pursuit of looking sexy. I like CrossFit magazines because they’re about the sport more often than they are about losing weight or looking a certain way. Reading Shape and Self, when I let myself get sucked into it (usually because there’s a recipe I want to eat somewhere in there or they’re talking about CrossFit or triathlon or something else I care about), leave me with the sense that exercise is really about changing the way my body looks. I think women especially are sick of, when it comes to fitness and health, seeing ourselves as objects or looking at our bodies as things to be “perfected,” whatever that ever-changing definition of “perfected” is. I like that CrossFit gives me a space where it’s a heck of a lot easier to get away from that obsession. Here’s hoping that this isn’t a trend. I, for one, think it’s pretty silly to put the fittest woman in the world in a bikini and ask her to stand there.

What do you think of the cover?
Do you do CrossFit? What for?

summing it up

This week, I am grateful to have an opportunity to talk with the board at Hope’s Garden about my fundraising bike tour next summer. While telling my story is something that I think gives it meaning, that doesn’t make it easy. So, as I’m getting myself ready for this meeting, I have been asking myself a couple of questions to try to make it easier on myself:

Who am I and what’s my story?

I love it when other people introduce me, but when I have to do it myself, I’m never sure where to go with things. Does someone need to know that I’m a grad student first? A fitness instructor? A writer? That I love riding a bicycle? That I had an eating disorder and I recovered? At any rate, these are all part of who I am.

Why a cross-continent bike tour?

As part of my freelance writing gig, I interviewed a man who rode across the US and raised money for brain and spinal cord regeneration research, blogging about it along the way and raising over $26 000 with his efforts. Ever since then, I’ve had the notion of biking across the continent in the name of eating disorders awareness on my mind.

As someone who struggled with their body, weight, eating, and self-esteem for as long as I can remember, my relationship with exercise has been rocky in the past. So many of us come to see our bodies as our enemies or as problems to be fixed and end up using exercise in a way that’s punishing. The time I spent slaving away in the gym, hating my body speak to this.

Cycling, though, was one of the first sites where I was able to appreciate my body for what it was capable of rather than simply being concerned about how it looks. It seems only fitting that if I were to put myself to this kind of a physical challenge, I would do it in the name of eating disorders awareness, prevention, and treatment—all of which are close to my heart.

The start of a 100 mile in Philadelphia: definitely one of the hardest (and hottest) rides I've ever done!

The start of a 100 mile in Philadelphia: definitely one of the hardest (and hottest) rides I’ve ever done!

What do I want to be able to say about this experience at the end of this all?

Anyone who bikes across the United States in 33 days gets bragging rights. Racking up 3, 457 miles in just over a month—over 100 miles per day, on average—is no small feat. If I just wanted to be able to say that I did it, I would sign up for this tour as a vacation and leave it at that.

But I’ve always been ambitious. I want to start a dialogue. I want that dialogue to change the way that people relate to their bodies. I want to change the way that people look at and talk about exercise. I want people to start to realize how amazingly capable their bodies are. I want them to start taking care of themselves so that they can do all of the amazing physical things that we’re all capable of. I want people to realize that they can come to a place where they enjoy working out and where it is about creating more health and happiness in their lives. I want people who are struggling to see an example of someone who has recovered and isn’t just surviving, but is thriving.

love your bod

Why Hope’s Garden?

During my recovery, Hope’s Garden was an amazing resource to me. I know how important it is to this community and I know how much that the support will be appreciated.

How’s this all going to work?

I have set a goal of raising $20,000 to go towards Hope’s Garden. The tour’s cost is $5 500 and beyond its cost, the money is directly going to benefit Hope’s Garden’s ongoing work with eating disorders. In the process, I hope that I can raise awareness and start to make some difference in people’s lives who hear about the tour. I plan on using online donations—I’ve set up a website where donations can be made directly to Hope’s Garden—as well as things like charity fitness classes, raffling off my personal training and coaching services, etc. along the way and would appreciate any kind of support or spreading the word that people can help with. Like I said, I am ambitious, but I know that this will not only be a physical challenge with a huge sense of accomplishment but something more.

The end.

I think that I’ve summed it up pretty well–and while the perfectionist in me says I can do better, I know what I’m doing is awesome and that people will connect with my story no matter what parts of it I choose to share. I have lots of time to go into more detail, too…

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I’m already grateful for the encouragement, the words of wisdom, and the energy I’m getting when I tell people about this. The saddle sores I’m already getting from upping my rides, not so much. Thank goodness for chamois butter!

chamois butter

 

If you want to donate to my ride and to Hope’s Garden, please visit my Giving Page at https://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=37108. All the donations go directly to Hope’s Garden. If you want to get involved or have any questions, ideas, or other thoughts, please comment below! In the meantime, love your body and be happy and healthy. 

it’s not rocket science: my top tips for living a healthy, happy life

As a healthy living blogger, I thought it might make sense to put together a little summary of what I do on a regular basis to keep myself healthy. Thus, my top 10 tips for being happy and healthy. There’s nothing surprising or revolutionary here–I don’t think healthy living is rocket science. Enjoy!

  1. Cook for yourself. Lots of people use time as an excuse for not cooking. In reality, there are plenty of ways to get around this problem: doing a big meal prep on the weekend, choosing quick recipes (that take less time than driving to the chinese food restaurant or ordering wings), for instance. Cooking for yourself can be relaxing and usually means you end up with less junk going into your meals and snacks–a big win, in my books! Plus, you wind up saving money.
  2. Have a (rough) meal plan. I used to think that if I wanted to be an intuitive eater, meal planning was out of the question. This made grocery shopping, cooking/meal prep, and living, to be honest, more difficult than it needed to be. I’ve since realized that if intuitive eating and meal planning are mutually exclusive, it’s not for me–I do better when I give myself a rough plan for the week, including what kinds of snacks and when I’ll eat them. Whether or not I end up hungry for all the snacks and meals I plan, knowing that I will be eating again makes me less likely to overeat at each meal and snack and having a plan saves me trips to the grocery store and lots of money along the way.
  3. Eat real food as often as you can. When I make my meal plan, I try to include as many real foods that don’t come in a wrapper as I can. As Jillian Michaels (who I have a love/hate–mostly love–relationship with) suggests, if it didn’t come from the ground or have a mother, you shouldn’t be eating it. That means my snacks are things that are either as is (fruit, veggies, yogurt, nuts, etc.) or that I make for myself (muffins, etc.). I still end up grabbing a bar here or there, but I don’t plan on eating very many processed things are part of my daily routine.
  4. Schedule your workouts. I know that if I have an appointment, I will keep it. One thing that keeps me sane and moving is writing down when I’ll work out ahead of time. Sometimes I literally just schedule in “work out” (if I’m not sure how sore I’ll be or what I’ll be in the mood for), but I’m most likely to get a work out in when I schedule a specific class or plan into the mix. Bonus points if I invite someone along with me to hold me extra accountable.  
  5. Focus on the big picture. I used to stress and stress and stress over every little thing I put in my body (was that yogurt 1% or fat free?) and over the smallest details of my workouts (I should have done 3 more minutes on that treadmill!). Realizing that these things are not what dictate whether or not I’m healthy and happy—but that worrying about them actually takes away from my health—has been freeing. The big picture and considering whether or not what I’m doing is moving me in the direction of a healthier and fitter version of myself keeps me saner and calmer than getting caught up in the little things.
  6. Strength train. I cannot think of a reason why getting stronger could possibly be a bad thing. With CrossFit getting more popular and the “strong is the new skinny” motto out there (a blessing and a curse, in my opinion), I think more women are hitting the weights regularly. Yay! My favourite part of being strong and lifting on a regular basis is seeing how it carries over into my day to day life: I can move my own furniture and can carry all kinds of things up the 2 flights of stairs to my apartment. It’s the small things that count! Also, on a purely vain and aesthetic level, filling out a pair of jeans and having broader shoulders (hullo, smaller-looking waist) are not so bad side effects.
  7. Do something that gets your heart pumping most days of the week. As a recovered cardio junkie, I still think there are huge benefits to getting sweaty on a regular basis. Whether or not it helps you lose weight or maintain your weight aside, I don’t think people would be less healthy for hitting the trails or hopping on their bicycles a few times a week. Maybe it’s playing a sport or going for a hike, but whatever it is, I think there’s a mental and a physical benefit from doing activities that are aerobic in nature and keep your heart pumping. In the midst of all the “cardio is death” messages out there, it can be hard to admit that hopping on a stationary bike with your iPod and a podcast is one of your favourite ways to unwind, but for me, that’s the case. Following this kind of activity, I feel calmer, clearer-headed, and restored.
  8. Take up yoga.  From CrossFit to triathlon to climbing to just wanting to be a healthier, fitter person, yoga will help. Whether it’s an athletic style that challenges you physically and mentally or something deeply restorative and meditative that feeds your soul, there’s something to be said for doing a yoga class once or twice a week to supplement whatever else it is you do for your mental and physical health.
  9. Move every day. Whether it’s a walk or 15 minutes of stretching on your living room floor, there’s something to be said for giving yourself and your body the love you deserve. Most people, when they put in the effort to exercise or to take care of their bodies, will make better choices throughout the day—I know if I’ve gone for a run or made time for the gym, I’m more likely to choose the apple over the cookie when decision time comes.
  10. Reflect on where you’re at and where you’re going. Maybe it’s not a blog that you share with the world, but documenting your health and fitness journeys – in a diary, on some kind of forum, with photos – is one way to keep yourself honest and to give yourself something to look back on. If you end up injured or overtired, it’s helpful to be able to see what led up to it all. If you feel like a million bucks and have a great race or competition, you’ll want to know what you did to set yourself up for that success. I also use vision boards and goal setting to keep me looking ahead to how I want to keep striving and improving.

take care

What is your top tip for living a healthy lifestyle?

Happy halloweenie

This post has nadda to do with Halloween but I bet you giggled at “halloweenie” – no?

Maybe this will get you giggling then…

If that fails, this one compliments of my sister might do the trick…

Classy.

Other than those photos and a few pumpkin treats, there wasn’t much about my day that suggests it was Halloween. I’m not too upset…

I started my day sweaty, not spooky, with a session at crossfit. Deadlifting day is my fav and today was no exception! My 5RM is up to 215 and I managed to eke out 4 consecutive pull ups again today. That in itself would make for an accomplished morning but we also did rope climbs (love!) and the conditioning was 50 burpees for time or 3 minutes of awesome suck (3:06 to be particular)!

I popped into GFC to get checked and then was ready for a busy day. I also fuelled up with a banana and some raw almonds while I ran a few errands this morning.

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Does anyone else think raw almond suck? I’d much rather have them roasted. And roasted in a nut butter would be best…but in terms of overeating I’m sure it looks like this in terms of worst offenders: peanut butter (roasted, salted, sugary, hydrogenated, etc.) = all holds gone > roasted natural nut butter > roasted nuts > raw natural nut butter > raw nuts. Hmmm…

I think I’ve gone through a half a jar of almond butter this week and you’ll see why if I fill you in on my meals for the day:

  • breakfast: eggs (with coconut milk), almond butter, apple, dried cherries

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  • lunch: pork with kale, squash and raisins and cinnamon

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  • snacks: 2 almond flour muffins (one with chocolate, one with raisins) + a pumpkin cookie I didn’t snap a photo of (but my bootcampers and my fellow CrossFitters approved of my second go at my paleo pumpkin cookie recipe)

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  • dinner: pork chop and almond butter, straight out of the jar

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At least I know what I could have done better: less nuts, more veggies.

I spent the afternoon on campus talking to some of my former writing professors about journalism, grad school, and all that kind of jazz. It feels good to be moving forward with my applications–I’ve got a lot of work to do but I’ve done it before and I am excited to write them again! It also felt good to be on campus, even I dare say it to be in the library working on my next freelance article about the paleo diet and cycling. It’s due in a week so I’ve got to get an outline and a draft together soon–it’s not like I’ve got a whole lot of free time to work on it!

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I did some work but I definitely could have been productive. I got sucked into the Whole 9 website again and was reading all kinds of entries on it when I “shoulda” been working. Whatevs. Now I can share with you the link that got me sucked into the website…it was the blog “Lies We Tell Ourselves” and sheesh it was awesome. I clicked over to the posts about being addicted to stress, which really rocked my socks. I like that they include actionable things in their posts and that they’re personal about their writing. I like that The Whole 9 takes a big ol’ simple approach to things: either something makes you healthier or it doesn’t. Remember my realization that there’s no sideways/standing still in life? Same thing! What they talk about is a lot like Eat by Design and is probably the most user friendly stuff I’ve found in my reading. I have “It Starts With Food” and of all the “paleo-ish” books I’ve picked up, it might be my favourite recommendation for someone thinking about experimenting with their diet.

Anyways, now that I’ve rambled a bit…back to my day! I called it quits on campus mid-afternoon and came home to clean my apartment a bit. I was greeted by my level 1 certificate from CrossFit! I already knew that I’d passed but to have the certificate in the flesh feels pretty legit. 🙂

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This evening I made it to a Moksha Flow class across town by the gym where I teach bootcamp. It was a sweaty hot class (I’m aware this is obvious) and we did lots of hip openers in what felt like an “easier” flow class. I really can’t complain–I probably needed more of a yin class than anything today since I’m pretty sore! The time was perfect though and the owner of the studio was teaching (always a treat!) so this class could become a regular thing for me. I had just enough time to shower and to eat a nanner before I headed across the street (literally) to teach bootcamp. I put my recruits through a tabata workout today (squats, pushups, lateral jumping, running, step-ups or box jumps, and planks). They didn’t like me but I had the pumpkin cookies to win them back over once we had stretched and cooled down!

And now here I am…ready for bed. For a day off, today sure was busy! Tomorrow I’ve got plans to get writing, a bootcamp to teach, some shopping plans with a few lovely lady friends, and a workout in the mix. If I’m feeling too much writer’s block a yoga class in the evening (yin, maybe!) could be just what I need. 🙂

Have a happy halloween!

What’s your favourite kind of nut butter?
Did you do anything to celebrate Halloween?

No apologies

 

 

 

“Accept everything about yourself–I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end–no apologies, no regrets.” 

 

-Henry A Kissinger

Another day down…where did this week go?

I started my morning with breakfast and shopping. I bought more shoes — this time two pairs of boots. I know it’s only August but when I can find boots for $30 a pair, I’m in. Gosh I need a bigger closet!

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egg scramble with mixed veggies and potatoes

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I bought this. And a quilt. Bring on the new bedroom…must. start. apartment. hunting!

 

We also made a pit stop at Starbucks and got the car washed…a girl needs her caffeine!

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bubbles!

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this is fun

 

We were home by a late lunch time. I had a life coaching appointment–it was bomb and inspiring and you know there’s a post coming about it–and then went to the park for a workout.

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My mom met up with me there and brought my gramma’s dog, Duke. He was great company during my Tabata fun.

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We played on the monkey bars once I finished and even went on the swings. It’s been so long since I just hung out with my mom — very fun and very funny when she wanted off the rotating thing (I bet it has a name but I have no idea what) but I wouldn’t stop it. FYI, making your mom throw up is mean–but pretty entertaining! Also entertaining was when a girl walked by with a sheep. There’s a photo on my mom’s camera but it’ll have to wait…but it was just a casual afternoon walk with her sheep, apparently. She wasn’t phased by us but we thought it was just the funniest shit…bahhhhhhhh!

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After the fun in the park, we were hungry so it was dinner time! I made pork chops, zucchini, and asparagus. With some salad and then a bit of tomato sauce, I had a weird but tasty mix (the fam also had spaghetti!).

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Dessert today was more Reese’s. And after a lot of thinking about such a small thing, I’ve settled on this: I like chocolate. My mom likes it, my grandma likes it, etc. We were talking about health bars and the stuff that people eat when they’re trying to get healthy (shakes, meal replacement bars, etc.) and it came to this: me saying that those things aren’t really all that healthy–REAL FOOD would be better. So it’s alright to eat chocolate, froyo, beer, etc. and to own it. And not to be stupid about the fact that these things aren’t actually fuelling me — they’re just tasty. I do a pretty good job of eating plenty of real food and I’m definitely working on doing better daily so rather than beat myself up, I’m just going to give myself some props for getting real about this all.

Hence the quote of the day I started with today. Rather than try to make excuses, why not just own it? It is what it is–whatever it is. 🙂

20120823-205601.jpgIt’s hard to believe how quick this week (especially today!) has gone by. We’re packing up early tomorrow so I’ll be back in the great white north (ha ha ha) soon. Maybe it will be boot weather… 😉

What are you sick of apologizing for? What would happen if you just owned it?

 

Good and bad and everything in between

Hi! I’m back to London (and a computer) and I’ve been dying to make a real post, but there’s a lot on my mind so it could get messy.

I think a quote is in order to start this off and to let you know what page I’m on:

“I believe that everything happens for a reason.
People change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

– Marilyn Monroe

Tough Mudder was in a word: tough. I don’t even think I can do a full race recap right now because I’ve blocked it out of my memory…but I’ll try ;)!

We got up bright and early and hit the road after some breakfast–our drive was supposed to be about an hour and a half and it was a nice morning with a pretty sunrise.

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Nina, Andrew and I carpooled and met up with Sonya and Sarah and their spectator friends to go to the race site (on a school bus — fun right?).

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Once we got there it was all about getting pumped up (aka waiting around for our 9:50 start time).

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To start, you actually had to hop over a mini wall. Funny. I used a boost.

After they totally pumped us up (lots of cheering, some anthem-singing, high fives, etc.), we were on our merry 16km way. Up and down and up and down and up and down and then up and down hills. Our 6th member, Steve, found us right away — and we were off! Ski hills, not bunny hills. So when I say that we “ran” the course, you can infer that it was a mix of running, walking, trudging, and crawling. Plus swimming, technically…

There were 20 obstacles (I think) and the ones that stick out as the most fun were the arctic enema, funky monkey (monkey bars over water which I totally made it across with a smile!) and the mud mile. There was also essentially a giant slip and slide down mud on a hill which was just plain old fun, but I’m not sure what that one was called!

For those 3 fun obstacles, there was also plenty of hills to climb and some really shitty obstacles. Like being zapped. Over and over again in two different obstacles — electric eel and electroshock therapy. Yeah, I survived, but I won’t lie to you — I cried. And I got cranky. And I had to apologize to my team for it and move on and thank god the hardest of the shocks came at the end. I literally crawled to the finish but whatever. Done and done.

We were lucky enough to have spectators who snapped some photos of us in action, but we look pretty dirty (and you can see my cranky face ;)!).

after you…into the ice!

In the ice bath, Sarah popped her shoulder out. Then she put it back in and went on with the race. Definition of epic.

The venue was gorgeous!

Those wires look little…but don’t be fooled. OW

Beer helped bring back the smiles.

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I probably wouldn’t do another tough mudder real soon. I’m not just shook up by the electroshock, it was also expensive (over 150$) and one of those things I think you can check off your bucket list 😉 and be done with! I am glad I did it — but I heard a story about a guy who did it 3x this weekend in Toronto and I think he is psycho. That is all. We did have fun hanging out after the race with our matching shirts and sunburns!

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After we kind of relived (whined about) the race for a while, we packed up and hit the road. The traffic back to Mississauga sucked, to put it nicely.

We pulled over for snacks (it was almost 3 and breakfast and the bananas, LARA bar, and apples I’d eaten weren’t cutting it). I had chili at Tim Horton’s and was much less hangry driving the rest of the route to drop Nina off. 20120820-171813.jpg

Even though we were late getting back to London, we met up for sushi. It was my first time! And it was delicious, but I’m not a big rice girl so I mostly ate meat and tempura. It is what it is.

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Afterwards, some of us went out for drinks. I don’t know how I was still awake–but I guess the coffee (which may or may not have had Bailey’s in it) did the trick. Today I had nothing important to get up for so I was in bed til lunchtime. So lunch was breakfast! I hung out with Angela and got my car checked out (it was making a hella funny sound but it’s okay and all fixed up), rebuilt my bike, and half-unpacked/repacked for Pennsylvania).

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lunch: sausage over kale, apples, and some maple dressing with dried cranberries

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snack at Starbucks

 

Now I just finished a quick dinner and am going to head to yoga. My body is NOT in the state to feel good teaching spin–my hip was a mess after the hills and the car ride yesterday and I feel like a train hit me (or like I got tough muddered…). I did get to the chiropractor today which left me feeling energized (though it might have been the positivity and the fact that I got to whine for a few minutes about how tough the race was ;)!) and like I can move my neck again! 🙂

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pork over swiss chard with raspberry vinaigrette

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Dessert: digging into my awesome chocolate find from the conference and trying out some cranberry tea!

Things I’m sick of include living out of a suitcase and eating tons of dried fruit and nuts. I am craving a little bit of routine but I know going to my grandma’s for a few days is going to be fun and relaxing. I’m looking forward to getting away–if that makes any sense since I’ve hardly been home–since where she lives is so rural and simple. I plan on reading, journalling, blogging, etc….all the good stuff I feel like I’ve been missing out on lately! I am bringing my TRX and my kettlebell and leaving my bike here–if I do much I think I’ll take it to the park or find a trail to run on while I’m there. I’m still tired from everything that’s been going on I think and one thing I am learning to take to heart is that if you’re tired or sick or injured, what’s the point in stressing yourself out with a workout that you feel like you SHOULD do? (Hint: there’s not much point for me!).

Anyways, it’s zen time! I hope you enjoyed my whining and ranting about the race and that you’re all happy since I’m back. 🙂

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder Race? What’d you think?
Do you do well with travelling?

Saturday start

Oh hey there!

It was a sunny start to things here in Banff.

I started my morning the best way possible: an inappropriate selfie.

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Just kidding. The best way possible = scenery and sweating.

So after that nanner, I laced up my running shoes and hit the trails. I didn’t run very far, but I was out for a while since I stopped to take lots of photos. I think today, scenery > sweating.
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…wouldn’t you agree?

After my quick jaunt around Tunnel Mountain (one day I wanna run some of the awesome trails I saw leading off the ones I did explore today), I did a circuit in the hotel gym. Which blows. There’s just a bowflex, no free weights, but at least there’s a pullup bar! And at least I’m staying in a hotel in a beautiful town on the side of a mountain. Things could be worse ;)!

While I was running I saw lots of people getting active — sheesh it would be nice to get out here again when I’m not embarking on a 500km trek on my roadbike. I bet there are people who trail run, mountain bike, and do crazy workouts outside. I googled crossfit banff and there’s not much. Business opportunity? Haha…

After my little sweat session, we had a breakfast buffet. I loaded up my plate with two breakfasts worth, but I ended up going the more adventurous (for me) route when I realized the granola was stale and not what I remembered. My tastes might be changing…or since I am embracing bacon maybe that’s just what was up.

Anywho, I polished off the bacon/sausage and eggs and had some of the fruit. I want scrambled eggs like it’s no one’s business, but I made do with the one from the eggs benedict. Haha, re-read that sentence. “Made do with the one from the eggs benedict.” God, it’s a rough life…there was also copious quantities of coffee, which left me with a hella happy belly.

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After we were sufficiently stuffed, we picked up my bike. The shop was a zoo (they do rentals) and there was of course ~5 guys who I decided would make FINE future husbands. Something about this mountain air…

Now it’s time for us to get our golf on! We’re playing at the Canmore Golf & Curling Club, which appears to be out of my league, but ya know…I have lots of potential as a golfer, my dad likes to say. I guess I’m just tapping into that!

Wish me luck. How many balls do you think I’ll lose?

Do you golf?
What’s your fav breakfast food if you’re out to eat? At home?
If you could live anywhere for a summer, where would it be? 
I’d choose here! I’ve been to Banff in the winter before–and I think I could make do if I had warm enough clothes and a hot enough husband. Hahhaa…

 

Start it right

 

Morning! I’m feeling particularly accomplished this morning.

I had three boot campers with smiles (or something like that) on their faces this morning, including Bee whose blog, Bee Goes Bananas, I’m sure you’d love if you aren’t already a reader!

After bootcamp, I decided to go for a morning run. It’s not uber hot out and I was feeling energized and pumped up (I guess my girls’ awesomeness rubbed off on me), but I was also feeling hungry so I had a quick energy gel and then hit the trails.

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…and then the trails hit me.

It’s not as bad as that looks but I was dirty. I hustled home and to prove that there might have been blood and sweat but not tears, I snapped a photo. Girls don’t sweat, they glisten…remember?

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If this isn’t a good look for me, I’m so shit out of luck because I  glisten like a pig every time I work out! I think this morning I probably did about 5 or 6 miles (we ran in our bootcamp workout–the one I posted yesterday) but I’m not sure since my garmin was dead and I frankly don’t care.

I refuelled with last night’s yogurt plus some kamut puffs and a banana. It was yummy, but it got yummier when I threw in some almonds and some chocolate soy milk. Oh hey, creating it as you go, you’re delicious!  The hungries I felt after my run are just proof that cardio = working up an appetite. All of a sudden it’s seeming kind of weird that people start working out and training for marathons and triathlons and all that to LOSE weight. I eat MORE when I train — not only physically do I need the extra calories but I definitely justify some things (i.e. the chocolate in this break) based on the workouts I do. Hmmmm…thoughts?! I think it was in Gary Taubes’ book that I read something about this whole phenomena…about how silly it is that we take up endless endurance exercise to lose weight when people also work out in this way in order to “work up an appetite” for instance if they have a big dinner to look forward to. Very interesting. Still, I loved my run this morning, I like riding my bike, and I enjoy swimming…so since that’s not my motivation I’m not crazy, right? 🙂

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Now it’s time for me to get organized and get down to business on my writing! I promise myself not to blog ALL DAY LONG but that doesn’t mean I won’t probably get distracted reading blogs and all that fun stuff…oh well! I have this spare time, I might as well enjoy it. Starbucks here I come. 🙂 After my life coaching session, I’m going to hit up a yoga class since my workouts are done for the day. My main goal: stay upright, since I have a knack for falling over these days!

Have you ever bailed on a trail run? Did anyone see? No one was around when I fell so I had to laugh at myself instead of having the pleasure of providing entertainment for someone else!
What do you do with free time?