Forced to pause: What I’ve been doing with myself–and my body

Since my race in July, I’ve been pretty quiet about what I’ve been up to. That’s largely because it hasn’t been much. Sad face.

About a month ago, I was going through a regular ol’ weightlifting workout at the gym. I was on my own and I’d just finished training some clients and having woken up early, I was feeling pretty tired but nothing too out of the ordinary for a morning training session. I did a couple of snatches after a normal warm up and I ended up dropping the bar behind me and not bailing quick enough. So, the bar landed on my lower back (off to the side) and since then, I’ve been dealing with it.

The first two weeks were tough and even though I tried, my body yelled at me to back off. Lifting weights was definitely out of the question, but I thought yoga might be alright. Turns out, nope. After a while, I started to go to yoga and take it at an easy pace. I tried some runs and realized they were out. I went to the pool and avoided looking at the clock in favour of appreciating that I could move.

Like I said, it’s been about a month. I went on my first bike ride last week, and it nearly killed me. I took a few more days off. I started to do some light weights, avoiding things that hurt me. I tried biking again—success. My runs have created some kind of hamstring, or maybe IT band pain that is all new for me. Ohhhhh, left side of my body, how you test me!

I’ve been impressed with my ability not to freak out over this. I had the week leading up to my thesis defence without the normal outlet/distraction of working out to keep me from freaking out, and I think I was more prepared for it. And as I’ve come back to my activities, I’ve realized which ones make me feel good. I missed riding bikes with friends. I think I needed a break after my half ironman in July, and I didn’t take it – I went right back into it and raced (not so hotly) at Bluewater two weeks later. Maybe some higher power dropped this barbell on my back like he was trying to hit “pause” for me—the button just needed a pretty hefty push, apparently!

slow down

For now, I’m focusing on being grateful when I feel good and being patient when I don’t. I know in the past, I was compulsive about exercise and would have lost my marbles—for the first two weeks, I did less moving than I had in a normal week during training for my half, and I had to work as a personal trainer and watch my clients all killin’ it on a daily basis!

Now I’m feeling a little lost. I had plans to run a big trail run in mid-October, but running hurts the most right now. I thought about training for my Olympic Weightlifting debut, but I’m obviously a little discouraged there. I think for the first time, I’m going to give myself a break from trying to peak for anything in particular. Sure I have goals—10 chin-ups, anyone? (I’m at six)—and some events that I would like to do—bike rides in the fall are my favourite—but it might be nice to just “work out” for a little in the meantime instead of always feeling like I should be training my face off. I’ve written before about how exercise should improve the quality of our lives and how health ought to be a platform for us to live our best lives from, not the sole focus of our lives—and remembering that has gotten me through all of this! I am however glad to be able to bike myself to school, which started today (yahoo!).

biking to school

I write this because it’s part of a long journey from not being able to take a rest day on vacation without losing my mind or bingeing to realizing that I can rest—and should rest! I’ve seen that my appetite matches my activity level, that I don’t immediately get out of shape or look like a different person if I take some time off, and that I can release stress in other ways. I’ve had some time to think about what I want to do with myself and my body and to start considering what will make me feel like I’ve spent my time, energy, and money on the best options. I have realized how lucky I am to still be able to do things and that this too shall pass (as always). It could have been so much worse. I am not fragile, and I will come back stronger. I’m looking forward to my next comeback, whatever it’s back to…

setback

Have you had an injury that took you out of commission for a little?
Did you learn anything from being injured?
What are you focusing on this fall?
What do you like to do besides train?

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seeking sparkle

Last night, I had the pleasure of being a participant at a really cool yoga fundraising event, Ignite Your Inner Fire, which was just a stone’s throw away from my house:

“The mission of Ignite your Inner Fire, A Reebok Yoga Experience is to connect a community of like-minded, real people in the hope of igniting and influencing the passions of others in the community – and beyond! This FREE yoga class will serve as an invitation for all London community members to connect. It will bring London together to celebrate fitness, yoga, and creativity; to inspire people to live their lives with passion, intent and purpose; & to demonstrate how to live life with a passion via an approach that will inspire others to do the same.”

Besides being awesome just with that kind of a description, the event was also a chance to raise money for Growing Chefs, a group I volunteered with last year in a kindergarten classroom growing windowsill gardens and sharing the food that came from them with kids to teach them about where their food comes from and to inspire them to eat healthier!

The yoga class was outside of Bellamere Winery and with the sun setting and then the stars coming out and the twinkle lights and tiki torches coming on, made for a really cool setting. It was taught by five different instructors from around London and you can bet that we did some things I’ve not tried before. My mat was right next to a friend of mine, Maria, who’s been just as busy as I have all summer. It was really nice to get to share it with her. A bonus was the background music, which was live and lovely and every time I hear Jessi sing I want to tell her that I need to know that she’ll be available for my non-existing future wedding date! The icing on the cake was the way that things wrapped up: with crystal bowls and sparklers! We lit each others’ and made an intention after finishing up savasana listening to the bowls. If you haven’t heard them and you get the chance, do it.

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Reunion!

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Thank you instagram, and Jess (a friend from way back when and elementary school), for this one of the sparkly intentions!

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After the class, there was tea and twinkle lights!

Naturally, I also had a realization. When the microphone was not cooperating for Gillian, the girl behind the event and the first one to lead us through the class, she totally kept her cool. I’ve been known to freak out when things start to mess up, but seeing her go with the flow until the mic got sorted out—all with a smile on her face—reminded me that at that moment when she could have gotten frustrated or let it ruin her evening, she had a choice and made the choice to stay positive. It’s all too easy to let something going “wrong” turn into a tailspin, but when I think about all the beautiful things that came after that hiccup, I realize how much that kind of giving up or letting yourself get dragged down could have made us miss out on: a great class, the beautiful bowls, the intention-setting and sparklers, etc. That kind of attitude can apply to just about anything, I reckon, but I learned that smiling through that kind of road bump and staying on a positive track is worth giving your best shot.

Even though this week looks a little crazy on my calendar, wrapping up summer fun and my camp job and moving on to school things and staff training back at Campus Recreation for the fall, plus heading to visit my family this weekend, I am so glad that I decided (at the last minute, thanks to the power of suggestion) to go to this event. I ended up seeing even more familiar faces than I anticipated, and they were all people who brighten my day whenever I see them. I ran into Breanna, who is one of the first people I ever talked to about healthy living blogging, and who’s a big part of why I decided to blog today. It’s safe to say that the sparklers weren’t the only bright part of my night! It was great to catch up with people I don’t see on the regular any more and to remind myself that I live in a great place and that there are so many opportunities to be surrounded by like-minded, awesome people. My intention was about seeking out more “sparkly” experiences—the kinds of nights that leave me feeling rejuvenated and happy to be exactly where I’m at.

handle all this sparkle

a yoga class, a realization, and coming back to what matters

continue

The theme for today.

Today I took a study break to have lunch with two of my friends (who I miss and wish I saw on a more regular basis, FTR). We got to gossiping and when I mentioned an admittedly petty frustration I’m having with a blog I would probably be better off avoiding reading follow—the blogger sometimes says one thing and then does another.

My friend (lovingly) pointed out something about which I am sure there’s a cliché out there about, but I’ll just spit it out: I think I am so irked by this blogger because I can be guilty of the same thing. The things that bother us or that we judge in other people being the things that we are in some way self conscious of about or in ourselves and as dedicated as I am to loving my body, getting off the diet train, and redefining and owning what healthy and happy mean to me, I still slip up.

For a number of reasons (a list I’ll keep to myself), this month feels extra stressful. Old habits die hard and I’m finding myself looking for ways to feel like I’m in control of my world and comfort in the old ways I used to “take care” of myself using food. At yoga tonight, I found myself looking in the mirror and thinking about how much I wished my “belly” wasn’t there.

Maybe it was the instructor’s emphasis on focusing on our core (I sometimes joke that I was born without abs because my core feels non-existant), but at any rate, I found myself fixating on my abs (or lack thereof). Shame on that and shame on what happened next, but I couldn’t get my mind off of that thought for the majority of class. That being said, there’s something powerful about being stuck in a room half naked when all you want to do is get out (or being “stuck” in any situation, really), and by the end of it all I’d sorted out my thoughts.

My (condensed) thought process looked like this: It’s not fair that I spend so much time exercising and/or thinking about training and/or what I’m going to eat or not eat but I still look like this. à I could stop working out so much. à I don’t think that’s the answer…I like the workouts I do now. à I could give up ____________ (coffee, peanut butter, the occasional grain (oatmeal, rice cakes) I’ve been eating again lately. à For every restriction, there’s an equal and opposite binge. And I’m sick of yo-yoing. à Then what is the answer? à Losing weight? à You’ve been there and done that. à What’s really wrong here?

Hmmph.

Needless to say, this isn’t an internal dialogue I feel like having anymore

So what is the answer?

It’s cheesy (but that’s kind of my style), but the yoga instructor said something midclass that sparked some new thoughts in my mind. After a particularly challenging series of postures, she asked us to replace thoughts of “that was hard” with an appreciation for the fact that every time we challenge our bodies and feel the sensations that go along with that, we’re getting stronger.

Well, I’d certainly call overcoming my dose of body shame a challenge—and shifting the focus to look at it as an opportunity to get stronger relieved some of the negativity I was feeling about “still” struggling with it.

I (re)realized a few things. There’s nothing wrong with my body. If I lose 20lbs, my life will be essentially the same. I will still be stressed about my assignments. I will still get lonely and miss my family. I will still question whether or not I am on the right track or if I should have went to journalism school. I will still have bills that I wonder how I’ll ever pay without my parents’ help. I will still feel self conscious when I’m naked. I will still argue with my mother over the same old things. People I know will still get sick and die before they should.

In short, regardless of what my body looks like or how much I weigh, life will still have its ups and downs. Downs and ups. All that can happen if I take the emphasis off of the shape of my body and keep on the path towards focusing on acceptance is finding more space to love the ups. It’s tough to appreciate all that’s awesome if you’re caught up on what’s bringing you down: I have assignments that challenge me. I have a family to miss. I always know that I can get into journalism school if I need to. I have my parents’ support while I figure out how to pay my own bills. I have a healthy body that carries me through life. My mother and I are close enough that we can argue about things. I am blessed to have a big circle of friends filled with people who have impacted me.

I’ve realized this and I’ve said it before, but what needs to change isn’t the size of my body—it’s my beliefs and my attitude about the size of my body. It’s the actions that I’m taking that aren’t really serving me, regardless of their bearing on my weight (using dieting as a coping mechanism, emotionally eating/distracting myself from my feelings, taking on too much at once, wearing stress like a badge of honour, etc. come to mind). These things might not be as easy to change as what I eat or how much I exercise, but they are the real issues. Losing weight for the sake of losing weight would be like grabbing a bandaid; making lasting change with these things it’s taken me so long to own up to (and maybe losing weight as a side effect of sorting them out–or not) gets at the real issues.

cheesy

Yoga is often like a touchstone for me and today, it really brought me back to what’s important. I found compassion for myself and my struggles and an appreciation for the ongoing process I’m working on. I found a way to get back to appreciating what’s good in my life and a bit more acceptance for where I’m at right now. l gave up some of the self judgment (and noticed some of the judgment I feel towards that other blogger slipping away) and took my focus onto what really matters to me. Rather than hating myself for being in that thought process, I realized that I’m loving (in the love-hate sense of the word) the opportunity to get stronger in what I stand for: finding the sweet spot where happy and healthy are at the max.

pretty!

Have you gone through a process of learning to love/accept your body? Were there ups and downs?
Do you find yoga helps you come back to your intentions? How do you centre yourself?
Do you think losing weight improves your life in grandiose ways? 

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?

Chocolate, authenticity, and living out loud

So, I just dug into some Reese’s cups. It’s 10 o clock, I already had some dark chocolate after my Pork Palace party earlier, and I can honestly say I’m not hungry.

So what’s up?

There’s a post in me and it’s one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

I think a value that I missed when I made my original list is AUTHENTICITY. Whether it’s in terms of relationships, my message to the world, or whatever, I am all for being real. I interpret the “no filter” as some of my friends put it as part of this and I really think things are easier when we are as real as possible.

I don’t think I’ve been all that real with myself and I’ve been holding back.

My whole point with this blog is this: Happy and healthy go together.

My whole point with this post is this: I don’t feel all that healthy.

I feel like a hypocrite. It’s hard not to be frustrated with yourself when you aren’t living up to what you want to or what you know is right for you.

So here goes.

In short, if a client came to me as their trainer or instructor and asked me if I thought their exercise regime was balanced and they showed me what I’ve been doing, I’d have to be honest: straight up no way. I’m not going to launch into a big definition of fitness here, but it’s not about just being able to run marathons or looking jacked (though those are fine and dandy and come with the territory–maybe). I like linking to other people who have summarized already the things I’m trying to get across so for this one, check out Ben’s post on what fitness is (he refers to Crossfit’s definition)–or just know that it’s holistic and encompasses:

1. Cardiovascular/Cardio Respiratory Endurance

2. Stamina

3. Strength

4. Flexibility

5. Power

6. Speed

7. Coordination

8. Accuracy

9. Agility

10. Balance

…how many of those do I REALLY work on? Yoga helps with balance and flexibility. My spinning, cycling, running, and swimming help with stamina and endurance. But…I am not agile because I don’t ever think about it. I don’t really work on mobility, even though I know I should. Unless someone’s chasing me, there’s not much speed in my life. Accuracy and agility and coordination and all those sports-like aspects only come into play if I’m trying to kick your butt on the tennis court–and that doesn’t happen near enough.

Ditto for diet. I’m not sure what the “perfect diet” is — but I believe this: food should be real. Recognizeable ingredients. Something you can picture in nature. You should eat it sitting down, relaxed, and before you’re hangry. Life should include some foods just for the hell of it, but most of the things you put in your body on a daily basis should help you move towards a healthier state.

On top of this, I’m not really valuing sleep.

I don’t think what I’ve just said is revolutionary. Lots of bloggers decide to use their blogs as a way to stay accountable–Tina’s awesome blog started out as a way for her to keep herself on track. I’m thinking of this in the same way. After the presentation on blogging that I went to at the Canfitpro conference, I realized there are as many blogs out there as there are people who could possibly want to read them. And I also realized something: I’m not using this blog to win people, customers, friends, admirers, or readers. I could write all of the things I do here in my diary, but I like to share them because I know that there are other people who can relate. If who those people are changes over time, I have to be okay with that.

I think we often judge ourselves more than we should. I hear voices saying “Cheryl, why are you trying to eat less grains? Isn’t that ED coming back into your head?” When I know for a fact that ED is no longer controlling me and when I know that if I gave up bread for a week and then craved toast, I could and would eat it if I wanted to. I know that I’m the one in charge.

…so what’s the hold up?

Change is scary.

I want to change my exercise approach — and I am but it’s a bit slow. I deserve to not only be healthy in those couple of aspects but in all of them. I want to eat more real food and worry less about the other junk that seems to be filling me up a little more than I’d like. I want to eat by design — at least to see if it makes me healthier, which is the goal now. I want to focus on the great things that I’m doing instead of worrying about the little things — I’m doing a much better job of putting things into perspective and on sticking to the mantra “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no” but I still catch myself catastrophizing and being a yes woman on occasion.

…since I’ve redefined healthy and happy to be harmonious and one and the same and all that jazz, I know that I can and will do this. There’s no failing when your goal is being your best — if that makes any sense.

Again, change is scary. But scarier still is sabotaging myself. Sure, eating some chocolate isn’t the end of the world. But when it makes me feel like a hypocrite and then drags me down? That sucks. No, if I stay the way I am, I won’t be a bad person. But this nagging feeling that I’m not trying my hardest or giving myself permission to be as awesome as I’m meant to be is bringing me down and I’m sick of it. It’s not really about making the changes on the surface–it’s about the changes inside and the shifts that are necessary for anything to really change:

  • Instead of thinking change is scary — Isn’t it cool how we can always try something new?
  • Instead of worrying that I’m going to fail — Isn’t it awesome that we can learn by doing and take mistakes as lessons?
  • Instead of thinking that I’m going to be judged — Isn’t it great that I can be a leader for a whole new group of people?
  • Instead of thinking of this change as risky — Isn’t it awesome that I have the freedom to do whatever I want?
  • Instead of being ashamed that I’ve been holding myself back — Isn’t it empowering to live out loud and to share this whole journey?

Gosh, I hope this is making sense in some way. I promise that more practical stuff will come out of me some time soon. The 30 day challenge I mentioned before should be a kick in the butt to get organized and regular with that accountability stuff — and it’s coming up quick. Things are going to settle down soon enough after a whirlwind summer (I think I’m craving some routine and stability even though I’ve loved living free for the last little bit). Life is good.

 

 

Off again

To Grandmother’s house I go…but not before a quick post…

Update on the post-Tough Mudder recovery–slow and steady?

After my post last night, I went to Yoga Shack for a sweaty hour of awesome stretching. We did all kinds of hip openers and even the splits — hello hamstrings — so it was pretty much perfection for my body! I got pretty emotional at the end of the class (it happens!) because I realized that it was my last class with Kat before she leaves for her next step in Sudbury. And that makes me sad ‘cuz she definitely helped me get over taking myself and yoga too seriously. Funny enough, I’ve done things in her class that I never could do when I was too busy TRYING to have fun and to explore stuff and risk falling over. That’s a pretty big lesson/reminder: it’s supposed to be fun, too! 🙂 She also introduced me to Trevor Hall, so you know I owe her more props than I can describe…

Anyways, enough rambling.

Last night I had a bedtime snack and then went to bed (exciting?).

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greek yogurt, honey, flaxseed

I also had some more chocolate. And when I laid down I decided on something: I’m going to bring back my food journal, cuz I think I’m off again in more ways than one. I know that since I’ve been embracing a more paleo-like kind of eating I’ve started eating different things. I know that I’ve also not totally embraced it. I know that when I’m nervous I still eat chocolate and dried fruit or whatever candy I can get my hands on and almond butter by the spoonful. I also know that this is FINE but that it’s not necessarily THE BEST. And that awareness comes first. Don’t worry, I’m not beating myself up, I’m just curious and I feel like I’m at a good point to hold myself a little bit more accountable. I don’t think getting a significant amount of my calories from chocolate and almond butter and coffee cream is all that healthy…and I think that’s what is going on. I don’t want to be at a healthy weight, I want to be HEALTHY — and there’s a difference there.

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cute, simple, small food journal

breakfast = yogurt, almond butter, raisins, banana, flax seeds

I snapped a photo of my legs last night. Bruises keep popping up but it’s okay. It’s chilly and feels like fall (and I love it!) so I busted out some winter-y socks just cuz I can.

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Bruises and scraped, consider yourself covered. Gosh I love socks–I think I have a problem. But of all things to have a problem buying, I guess socks are a small thing to worry about…

I’m hoping that we get a little bit of shopping in this week at my grandma’s too. There’s bound to be some good back to school stuff and even if I’m not going back to school I’d argue that it IS the season, after all!

I read a funny post over at The Great Fitness Experiment today about health regrets. I can totally relate (the cardio, the health food, etc.) but I also think that all those “regrets” taught me things–and that since I’m always trying to get better (if you’re not TRYING to get better, what are you trying to do?), I really can’t look back and wish I’d done anything differently. Still, I love Charlotte’s posts and I laughed when I read the post! 🙂

Have a terrific Tuesday!

What do you find yourself eating a lot of lately?
Do you have health (or other) regrets?
What’s a random thing you love to buy? 
socks for me!

 

Here we go again

I think the name of the game this summer is living out of a suitcase.

While it makes me feel a bit off — what day of the week is it again? — I’m loving it, especially since when I was in deep with ED I never ever went away for fear of not being able to work out or not being able to control my food.

Now I know: I can always go for a walk and I always get to choose what I’m eating and how I’m eating it. In short, I really am applying that whole “vacation isn’t an excuse to go wild” but more importantly “if you figure out how to live healthy all the time so that you don’t feel like you need to overindulge on vacation, there’s nothing to worry about” idea I’ve come to.

I still don’t LOVE packing, but unpacking is worse. Which is why my bike is still in the box. I don’t need to ride it this weekend but I think I should probably get it built up so I feel accomplished! I did just about everything but yesterday — laundry, vacuuming, organizing, cleaning, all that good stuff — so I guess that’s a win. I also went for a nice 45 minute run on the trails (both my iPods were dead so I had some time to think — much needed!) and then hit up a power yoga class. Again, much needed. I missed yoga! My shoulders were tired — it’s amazing what a week away will do (plus the crossfit workout from Tuesday). I’m still feeling good and after my morning adjustment yesterday I noticed a difference–when I flipped my dog and was in wild thing BOTH sides worked. Amazing!

I’m sure this is what I look like…

In between my run and yoga, I had some trail mix. I also snarfed a banana and made myself a quick fish dinner with coleslaw.

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Myu final sk=nack was a granola bar. I know, it’s been a while since you’ve seen one on here! I’ve been trying to eat more foods that come without packaging. I don’t know if it’s mental but I felt like crap pretty much right after I ate this. Maybe it was also because I was tired and ready for bed or because I’d had a beer a few hours earlier, but I don’t think so. I guess I feel better when I eat real food — imagine that!  This is where it’s different that I am not choosing to eat certain things any more — it’s not because some Paleo book told me not to or because a nutritionist says that I should cut ____ to lose weight. It’s because I want to eat things that leave me feeling my best, performing my best, and yes–looking my best. They all go hand in hand and since I’m willing to make mistakes, I know I’m on the right track!

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This weekend I’m going to bring along a cooler. I remember the fitness conference as being a really crappy place to find food, as weird as that sounds…I’m really sick of spending more money than I should on food that I could have packed myself — so I’m not going to! 🙂

Last night we decorated Tough Mudder shirts. Sarah might laugh at this photo and Alex would kill me if I put it on facebook, but the world wide web and all my readers is not the same as his facebook friends, right? Baha, so I’m sharing. We used puffy paint and iron on transfers for these bad boys–but you’ll have to wait ’til Sunday to see the finished project!

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At any rate, it was awesome to see friends last night. Bonnie popped by (goal for the next week is to spend as much time with her as possible) and we laughed a lot and Sarah is trying to fatten us up with goodies but it’s all welcome!

In honour of Tough Mudder, three of my fav pump up songs:

Anyways — it’s time for me to get a move on. I slept til 930 today (I think all my travels are catching up to me!) and had a nice breakfast but I’m sure that today’s going to go quicker than I’d like! I’m aiming for a swim and packing this morning and then quality time/riding to Toronto with Bonnie this aft.

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I think I am taking a trip to Pennsylvania next week to see my grandma (she’s having a tough month) so this whirlwind is just going to continue. Apparently flying by the seat of my pants is the way to be…and that’s okay!

“Your real security is yourself. You know you can do it, and they can’t ever take that away from you.”- Mae West
Do you ever feel like your life is a whirlwind? How do you centre yourself?
Have you ever been to CanfitPro? What’d you think? (I get frustrated with the selling that goes on but I also know that fitness professionals need a venue to promote what they’re doing. That being said, there are some people to skip and some things that are really awesome there and knowing what to pay attention to is the trick to learning instead of being sold, I think!)
What’s your favourite pump up song?
Happy Thursday! 🙂

All around awesome

 

 

Tonight was all around great.

After my chiropractic appointment, I had some dinner and then made my way to the park for bootcamp.

Salmon, kale, apricots!

Four sweaty girls came out and they got their money’s worth.

Warmup: mixture of jogging, lunging, shuffling, sprinting, etc. 

Workout: as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes: 10 sprints/runs between cones, 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees, 10 sit-ups

core challenge: extended plank, up/downs, forearm plank, R plank, forearm plank, L plank, forearm plank, up/downs, extended plank (40 on/20 off for each)

cooldown/stretch

I’m sure they loved me as much as I loved them ;)! One superstar who used to come to my bootcamps at campus rec sighed and said “It feels so good when you’re done!” and then, “But I thought I was going to die during.” …sounds like my work is done! 🙂 My goal is to kick their butts but to make it something they can do. I want them to feel tired after but also that high from working out, not demolished. 🙂

After bootcamp, I got my own sweaty on.

Pretty freaking cool, huh?

Not cool: I totally forgot to snap a picture of my yogurt mess which was tip top delicious last night. Coconut, almonds, and some chopped up chocolate thrown into a bowl of greek/vanilla yogurt = holy schmokes happy belly!

Tomorrow there’s another bootcamp on tap and then I’m hoping to get started on my trip prep and to pound out a draft of my article for Bankrate. The awesome thing is that when I was interviewing one of my sources, he ended up being a cyclist. Since this was for my financial writing, I really didn’t expect to have the conversation I did. When we got to talking, he gave me about 10 ideas for other stories to pitch. Amen for people who just want to see others succeed. And yay for being inspired to pitch some story ideas and to get back on a regular writing/freelancing train!

Before I go to bed, I’m going to sort out my bootcamp plans for the morning and organize those story ideas and then dive into my journal, I think! What a perfect ending to a great day…

How do you like to end your days?
Have you ever had a similar experience to mine after an adjustment?  I’m so excited!

Shopping, smiling, sweating, and switching

Hi again! You know I’ve got free time when you get THREE posts from me in one day…

I spent most of the morning at Starbucks plugging away on my random to-dos. So much for freelancing, but yay for crossing lots of my to do list!

After lunch, which I’d packed for the day, I took advantage of the air conditioned mall and did some damage at lululemon. Oops. Don’t you know a girl can never have too much spandex? Believe it or not I never had one of the no limits tanks that every girl who works there seems to own in multiple colours. So this was like a rite of passage for me PLUS I am teaching my butt off these days PLUS I can’t pass up this hot hot pink colour. So I got the cool racerback and the power y tanks in the same shade and I’ll return them if remorse sets in but somehow I don’t think it’s going to!

chard, sprouts, sirloin, and spicy mustard 🙂

I look good in pink, right? Just tell the Visa man that…

I smiled a lot when I got free chocolate from Laura Secord, even if it was probably on the verge of expiry from Valentine’s Day. Om nom nom things that are free taste better and chocolate really never tastes too bad to me!

I ran some more errands/dealt with some appointments and then had myself an early dinner (like 4:30pm grandma/grandpa style) so that I’d have time to digest before heading to the park for bootcamp. It was uber hot so I tried to find a workout that wouldn’t make anyone ACTUALLY pass out, even if it made them feel a little like they might ;).

kale, pork, dried apricots, and avocado

I came up with the following…

Warmup 

5-10 minutes walk/jog (around the park at own pace)

dynamic stretching (arm circles, hip circles, deep breaths, shoulder rolls, etc.)

Workout

1. Lower body circuit = 10 jump squats / 20 hamstring activations (10/side) / 30 reverse lunges with a leg lift (15/side) / 40 step ups / 50 body weight squats  –> repeat 2-3x

10 minutes run/jog

2. Upper body circuit = 5 plank walkouts with a pushup / 10 burpees / 15 decline pushups (feet on park bench) / 20 triceps dips / 25 super mans   –> repeat 2-3x

10 minutes jog/run

3. Core circuit = 45 seconds on/15 seconds off each of extended plank / plank up down / forearm plank / left side plank / right side plank / forearm plank

Cooldown/stretch

…but no one showed up! So I’ll be saving that for tomorrow! I ran into walmart really quickly to grab some batteries and some other random things I needed before I went to the gym. I got my workout on in the air conditioning and it wasn’t so miserable–I guess when you only hit the weight room every once in a while it’s not so boring any more. My workout was:

warm up (squats, lunges, high knees, jumping jacks)

circuit x 3 12 – 15 reps each of barbell squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, medicine ball swings, medicine ball slams, medicine ball pushups (passing the ball so one side is uneven), medicine ball roll ups, oblique twists with the medicine ball, and weighted crunches

spin class! 

So even though I had 0 participants at bootcamp I’m not too upset. It was something ridiculous like 40 million degrees outside anyways and I’m not taking it personally. Aren’t I resilient? I say that cuz in the past I’d take this as a fail–but now I’m taking it in stride instead.

I’m also smiling because this sad face I tried to fake to sum up the whole no participants thing proves that not only is happy healthier for me, it’s also way cuter.

NOT a good look for me!

And I’m smiling because I have a happy belly.

Post-spin, I snarfed some grapes and then started in on this bowl of yogurt with some chocolate when I realized I really wanted something chocolatier and was NOT feeling the yogurt.

So I put it away and whipped up a power ball — kind of like the ones I made earlier this year around Valentine’s day but without any real recipe or guide, just my belly as intuition. Rather than eating fake hershey kisses, why not toss together whole foods and good ingredients and enjoy something I made myself? Walking the walk! 🙂 Warning: if you’re scared of fat, these aren’t for you! But note: you shouldn’t be scared of eating fat! 🙂

In the mix: 1-2 spoonfuls each of ground flaxseed, coconut (unsweetened), maple syrup, cocoa, and cashew butter plus a pinch of salt!

As you can see, after mixing everything together and rolling the result into a ball, I rolled it in a bit more coconut. And tah-dah, a simple and delicious snowball dessert that hit the spot. It was actually pretty big even though this thing looks tiny. I used almost 2 tbsp of cashew butter (I forgot how good it is). It’s been a long time since dinner…

On the agenda for tonight: sleep, sleep, sleep! Tomorrow I have bootcamp, a life coaching session, and a bike ride to look forward to. Looks like I’ll have time to share the playlist from spin tonight as well as maybe get down to work on that freelancing stuff I meant to start today. Wish me luck, and cross your fingers that bootcampers realize the early bird gets the worm!

Where is somewhere in your life that you’ve learned to stop taking things personally?
Do you go to the gym in the summer?
Do you shop at lulu? What’s your fav tank?
What’s your favourite colour to wear?

PS – Steph and I made it onto the London Free Press’s article about yesterday’s yoga event! 🙂 How zen do we look (bottom row, I have the red top on and she had the pink pants that I loved and almost bought today).

 

Feeling good, on purpose

HAPPY MONDAY! That’s an extra happy Monday, which tends to follow awesome weekends.

Golfing yesterday was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. It was sunny but no too hot, the company was good, and we won’t talk about the score.

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Amanda, Justin and some sweaty crazy girl.

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Sweetest rental clubs EVER.

After golf, I had the quickest/easiest dinner ever because I wanted to go to yoga. The morning class reignited my love for getting my zen on and I was just itching to get back to Yoga Shack, so I figured that anything I was going to do last night could wait until today in favour of going to Dave’s power flow class.

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Turkey jerky, apple, and cheese = quick, easy dinner. MIA: vegetables 😦

When I got home from the class, which was awesome and of course involved my favourite song in savasana (it must have been meant to be–seriously!), I mostly read blogs and my Oprah magazine (which went all the way to and from Virginia unopened) and ate bon bons.

Oprah has a knack for inspiring me, as cheesy as that might be. This issue was filled with quizzes, which I used to prompt some good old journalling. I had been thinking a lot lately about defining my purpose. No big deal, right? Alysha mentioned hers to me on Saturday post-race because she’s been working hard at her life coaching certification and I was so impressed with the confidence that she had. I read some posts about purpose and talked to some pretty inspiring people and realized that I’m lacking that direction and could probably stand to at least attempt at defining what I want. So what came to me yesterday after writing out some of the answers to the quiz in the magazine about what is “fun” for you flowed pretty easily onto my journal page (I’m not good at talking things out but when I get to writing, stuff just flows) and was something like:

I am here to serve as a real life example of living healthy and to use my own personal experience to launch a career and a life of inspiring, enabling, and coaching others to find their own best possible definition of health. 

There are two things I have to explain in there:

  • “real life example” — I have room for real life things like days away from training, like meals that aren’t perfect, like hitting bumps in the road and dealing with them as they come. Sometimes coaches and teachers seem like they’re living in an alternate reality where bad things don’t happen and where everything is easy and then it’s hard to relate to them. Lucky for me, I live in the real world and I like challenges. 🙂
  • “living healthy” — Notice that “living” comes before “healthy” since to me, the only way to be healthy is to live. The only reason to be healthy is to live. Sure, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. But if you don’t want to live a little while you’re here, why bother being healthy? So you can get to your grave in one happy piece at 15% body fat with a six pack? OK, have fun with that. I’m going to be going on some adventures while you work on your biceps. Keep flexing at yourself in the mirror while I go out and get some real life fulfillment.

More thoughts:

  • My talent for writing is something that I’m working on turning into a skill and using it to communicate all of these things–the principles of healthy living, the lessons I’ve learned, the people who I’ve encountered and their own messages–that’s where I find myself getting into a “zone”. Blogging might be a hobby, but there’s a reason why I keep doing it.
  • Teaching fitness is a nice part time job, but it has never felt like work. Interacting with people is what gives me the sense of connectedness on a daily basis–either personally or as an instructor/trainer. I see myself coaching in some capacity–whether it’s fitness, racing, yoga, nutrition, wellness, life–and being a leader, teacher, etc.
  • I want to work on my public speaking ability because being able to talk about my own experiences is something I hope to do. Having struggled through an eating disorder, I can pinpoint a bunch of people whose speeches have empowered me and inspired me to take another step forward. Jenni Schaefer talked about the step from “in recovery” to “recovered” and my life coach, Jennifer Schramm, talked about her four step recovery and how she got to awesome. Both of these women seriously changed my life in a one hour span–and that’s powerful!
  • Your dream career doesn’t have to exist, you just have to be willing to create it. There’s not really a secure job in this world–you might as well be insecure in a job that you absolutely spring out of bed to do. I have a feeling that if your career serves your highest, it really won’t feel like work. My plan is to work towards this unconventional idea for a while and if I am miserable and bankrupt and in trouble in five years, THEN I’ll settle. Teacher’s college has been appealing to me because it’s something to do and it’s something secure-ish. But it isn’t calling my heart out and I haven’t applied in the last two years even though I could have, so I don’t think I should go now. Doing a masters in kin is somewhat appealing, but ditto. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. If I can turn down Columbia, my dream school, for Journalism because I trust myself and my intuition enough to know that a master’s in journalism isn’t necessary for the 75000 price tag and all that jazz, I can say no to settling for conventional.

  • Creating your own vision for your career is just the first step. What else could you make amazing in your life? I want to go on adventures all the time — travel lots and do active things. I want to have nice things but I want to live simply. I want to use my money on things that I value — experiences and high quality things (food, stuff I need, etc.) and all that good stuff! 🙂
  • Nobody is going to stop you from being awesome, trust me. Most people are too busy living mediocre lives to care. If someone’s in your way, it could be jealousy, but I think what’s far more probably is that if you live on a big scale, you’ll inspire people. Once I interviewed Tina from Carrots n Cake and she said to me, “There’s plenty of room at the top.”–this really stuck with me. Someone who has made it to a high level and is living her passion essentially telling me that I’m allowed to do the same and am entitled to being just as successful? Holy canoli!
  • Stop asking for permission. You’re supposed to be great. Nobody really cares if you DON’T go for it — whether you’re scared or you don’t know how or you aren’t sure you’re allowed to. It’s entirely up to you to care.  At the end of the day and the end of your life, it was ALL up to you!

  • My plan — could I be an endurance coach? a personal trainer? a wellness coach? a nutritionist? a life coach? a yoga instructor? a motivational speaker? a fitness instructor? a professional blogger? an author of books? a guest on the Today Show? A magazine columnist? All of these things? YES, YES, AND YES. Whatever floats my boat. Someone who changes the world? THAT TOO!

I think I’m done–for now! Today’s been a productive day after all and it’s only 10:30! Before this cheese-fest, I tackled that laundry head on, cooked up some food for this week, and made a list of things to get done for the week. It feels good to be organized, nice to be at home, and AMAZING to have defined all that stuff I just shared with you guys.

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Kamut puffs, banana, coconut, walnuts, and soy milk for breakfast.

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Obvs you needed this selfie. New shirt!

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Home sweet home!

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Now I’m going to use all this positive Monday energy to get to work on my freelancing assignments and fitness planning! Bootcamp and spin tonight are something to look forward to and I might make a little pit stop at the mall in between appointments today if I’m feeling it…

Do you ever just explode with inspiration? 
Are you a golfer? 
Do you have a dream career or are you creating your own?