Remembering All Levels of Fitness and Goals

I’ve written a post similar to this one before, but I felt like I wanted to discuss this topic again in light of the new program that is beginning at our boot camp. We have a 6 week fat loss program called the “Sexy in 6” which continually proves to provide much success toward the women who join; for no other reason than they put in a solid effort and commitment, and keep their goals in front of them at all times as they get closer and closer to success.

Yesterday I decided I was going to participate in the program, and a requirement of the program is to record your weight and your measurements. Truth be told, I stepped on the scale for the first time in months and had a bitter taste of reality. There is a 15 pound difference from where I was in the summer to where I am now.

Yesterday I was so disappointed in myself, but today I woke up feeling more determined than ever to change what I saw. This, I have come to realize, was inevitable. Since the summer when I began to be so overwhelmed with the changes in my life, the regular bad habits crept back in:
wine, beer, deep fried foods, chips, ice cream, and NO consistent physical activity.

Disgusting for a person who knows better but…

I am human and made unhealthy choices when stress dominated my life.

I had an interesting experience yesterday while I was taking my measurements, one that has definitely happened to me before. A woman from the program caught sight of me, and stated
“If I had a body like that I wouldn’t need to be on this program”

Now, as flattering as that may be the reality is every body has their own goals they are working towards
And that’s exactly now I responded.

I know as a female we sometimes use comments like that as compliments for other women, but I have always found it to be completely the opposite. It is so important to validate ANY goal that a woman makes with regards to her health and fitness level. Because otherwise, what we’re saying is that they’re done. Perfect. No need to set any goals, or challenge themselves in any way to be a better version of themselves.

And that is simply not true.

There are always ways to improve yourself, and to be a healthier, stronger, more confident, deserving version of you.

I’m going to propose a challenge to the women out there today:

Try to embrace others who may have goals similar or different than the ones you have set. Try not to pass judgement, or assume that body size or higher numbers on the scale makes a person more deserving of working towards change in their lives. Try to remember that every one has their own demons they’re working through, and what you can do is stand behind them and work with them to reach their full potential; Their full potential, not yours or anyone elses.

Because after all, that’s what makes being united as women so inspiring. We’re all different and have our own strengths. So it should only make sense that our goals may look different as well.

So yes, I do have some weight loss goals added to my list of fitness accomplishments for 2014:

*10 pounds by Feb. 22nd

*15 total by April 1st.

*Fitness Photoshoot in May

*1/2 Marathon at the end of May.

What have I started to put in action to reach those goals?

NO
Alcohol for the next 2 months
Chips, Ice Cream, or other JUNK for 2 Months (once it’s out of my system it’s less likely I’ll be craving them excessively like before)
Sitting on my ass 5-6 days a week

YES
High protein, and Complex Carb intake. After two weeks, taking in carbs ONLY post workout (healthy carbs… not chips haha)
Packing more lunches for school
Making more dinners at night that carry over for lunch!
Running 3-5 K twice a week for the month of Jan–> Increasing to 5-8K for February
Kickboxing once a week
Train (and work out) at Boot camp once a week (sometimes twice)
Gym 2- 3 times (depending on schedule and what I’ve also done during the week)
Begin morning yoga routine again

MY ACCOUNTABILITY
My friend, co-trainer, and fitness partner: Rosie
THIS BLOG–> I’m putting it out there for you all to read to know I’m bloody serious

So there you have it peeps. I’ve made my goals, I’ve posted them for others to see and now it’s time to start my journey towards being a better, healthier version of me.

The guy in the picture is Dan, He owns this baby. I'm on the right. Rosie is on the left.

The guy in the picture is Dan, He owns this baby. I’m on the right. Rosie is on the left.

Spotlight for January: Linda Watson

Three years ago when I began this fitness journey, I signed up to do a trial month at this boot camp in Markham. Little did I know that decision would change my life in so many ways. Aside from the personal fitness I’ve attained being a part of it, and now the positive influence I share as a trainer at this boot camp, I have met a group of women that are so wonderful, SO inspiring, motivating and influential that I count my blessings every day. One of those beautiful souls in my life is my once boot camp trainer, turned friend, turned kickboxing instructor; Linda Watson. Enjoy her story, because like most of the people reading this blog she took the chance to follow her dreams and has never looked back.
Love you girl!

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Name: Linda Watson
Age: 43
Occupation: Owner/ Instructor @ iLovekickboxing.com

What were you doing before you fell onto this path?
I was working as a paralegal for the Crown Attorney/ Criminal

Would you say you were happy with what you were doing previously? Or was there something that was missing from your previous career path?

Fitness has always been a passion. I loved some of the people I worked with, but felt very unfulfilled

If you were happy with your current career, what was it about fitness that made you believe it was time to act on this interest & develop it into more than just a hobby?

Like they say “you just know”. I absolutely know it was time for a change

Had you had experience in an area like this before?

Yes, I have been teaching and training for well over 10 years

Did you have a mentor/ role model whom you confided in as you ventured into this new territory? How did they help shape your decision to follow your passion/ how have they shaped your journey?

Yes, the CEO of the company. I talked with him quite a lot about my dreams and what I wanted to do. Speaking with him killed any doubt or fear I may have had about this next chapter in my life.

Many books that I’ve been reading talk about discovering your happiness in life, and the easiest way to start is to look back at what you were interested in as a child. Did you ever play games/ participate in activities related to this field?

No actually. I mean, I used to fight (haha) but never took any traditional martial arts as a kid.

What were some of the challenges you faced when deciding to follow your passion & pursue this dream?

The only real challenge was the negativity from some people around me. People thought I was crazy to leave my career in Criminal Law and to open my own gym. But I knew what I wanted and what I had to do to make it happen.

Do you have any advice to other women who are possibly on the fence with following their own directions?

F**K FEAR!! (can I say that??)
Have faith and follow your instincts. You really CAN do anything you want to.

Looking back, is there anything that you may have changed that you think would have helped you get on this path sooner?

No, I think this opportunity came to me exactly when it was supposed to

Where do you see this passion growing to over the next 5 years? And 10?

Ultimately I would like to own 4 more locations here in the GTA, and from there maybe move home to British Columbia and open a few more there as well.

Where can someone find more information about your company/ career choice?

http://www.ilovekickboxing.com

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! It’s so important for women to read about other women who have found success in the activities they love. Do you have anything else you’d like to add to our discussion?

Just to follow your dreams.

If you believe in, trust and listen to YOURSELF, you can have anything you want in life.

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What’s a New Years Resolution Really Mean?

Hello Readers!

Well, it’s finally 2014 and once again it’s time to start with those “resolutions”. Every year we all get so excited to start fresh, make some new goals and start over. It seems like we bounce ideas off each other, get super pumped and the same resolutions arise: weight loss, quit smoking, hit the gym, eat healthy, no coffee… etc.

It makes me wonder– how can you ensure these resolutions stick, and that after January it doesn’t simply go from the trendy ‘quick fix’ and get checked into the “not right now”.. only to be forgotten about until the following year when you announce that THIS will in fact be– THE YEAR— (you have to add a strong, thunderous voice here for dramatic effect)

I’m going to use my students (yes, my grade 2 students) as guinea pigs this year. We’re going to sit down the first week back and begin to ask the question “What is a resolution?” and “How can we make a resolution that we can be successful at?” Together, we’re going to develop a criteria for creating goals– SUCCESSFUL goals, track them and here’s the best part: we’re going to ATTAIN THEM, and SURPASS THEM.

These are life skills that most adults struggle to work through, so it is not going to be an easy task. I want to break goal setting down for them by using a SMART method:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time Orientated

I have several goals for myself this year, and I have decided to break them down according to the length of time it will realistically take for me to achieve these goals, so that I have multiple moments of success throughout the year!

I believe that it is so important for you to continually feel success when you decide on a goal. This is so that the goal does not stay abstract, it becomes a reality. For example. This year I’m going to train for my first 1/2 marathon. I didn’t feel like I was ready last year when my friends completed one in the fall. I had a lot of personal things going on, and began to loose touch with this side of me. For the first time in months I feel positive about being about to balance areas of my life to fit in what really makes me happy. I think what I’ve really realized with regards to balance is that it’s perpetual. I will always have to revisit, and organize my schedule because I am always changing and growing within my life. Much the same as creating goals for yourself, — or in this case “resolutions” .

It is not accurate to say that in 2014 you will: __________________. There are so many factors that will change throughout the course of the year, so my personal viewpoint is that your goal(s) need to be attainable in shorter durations so that they are consistent with the growing and changing individual.

Here are my goals for the first 5 months of “2014”

January-> have written 8 blog posts, run 3-5 K twice a week, and start off my math qualifications for teaching with a BANG!
Feb- March–> 8-10 more blog posts, increase frequency of running to three times a week–> solid 5-8 K, finish up math course even stronger
April-May–> Seriously focus on 1/2 training, complete the 1/2 at the end of May, start training Girls on the Run (running/ emotional growth program for young girls at school), continue to post about my training and experiences, conditioning my core & muscle strength

REVISIT Goals, visions and accomplishments– reset and get ready to dominate the second half of the year!!

Here’s to a wonderfully healthy year, full of exciting moments and to relishing in the joys of accomplishing and surpassing even the most extreme goals. Always remember that ANYTHING is possible, but it’s not enough to dream about it. Plan for it, write it down, set a realistic time frame for it and that goal is as good as yours.

i can

The Laughing Buddha Cleanse & Goals for June!

WOoooooWwweeEE!!

These past few days have been extremely busy! We’re all moved in to our new home (still unpacking) and it’s time to clean out my system and start fresh back into regular routines! If there is anything I’ve realized these past few weeks, it’s how important routines are for me! They give me the structure to my busy days, and keep me focused on eating right and working out!

I’ve started a cleanse today based on the book “Super Cleanse” by Adina Niemerow and it’s called The Laughing Buddah Cleanse. It’s 5 days long, and what I really like about this cleanse, is that you’re still eating throughout the day! It’s a vegetarian cleanse, so I’m not eating any meat for the next week, and I’m nourishing my body with fresh veggies that have definitely been missing in my life for the past few weeks!

Here’s a break down of my days:

Upon Waking: Drink a cup of hot lemon water
Breakfast: choose from a list of smoothies in the book; today I chose “Hello, World!”
– 2 cups Water
– 1/4 cup hemp seeds
-5 dried figs, soaked for an hour to rehydrate
– 2 teaspoons of raw honey
Snack: cup of mint tea lemonade (home made 🙂 )
Lunch: Choose from a list of options; today I choose “Big Ol’ Chopped Salad”
– 1 medium tomato
– 1 avacado
– 1 endive
– 1 cup of shredded cabbage
– 1 small zucchini
-1 medium beet
– 1 cup baby arugula
– 1 cup romaine leaves
– 1/2 fennel bulb
– 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
– 5 olives of your choice

Mix all ingredients together, and top with dressing: 1/2 cup raw Tahini & 3 tablespoons water with 1/3 up of lemon, lime or grapefruit juice
Snack: 1/2 an apple & cup of tea
Dinner: Choose from a list of dinner options; today (and the basis for this food post!) SUSHI!
sweet potato & cucumber sushi rolls
Today was great! I do feel the typical side effects of starting the cleanse… minor headache, feeling light headed… etc. But, I know that in the next day or so all will be good, and my body will be back on track, cleared of the junk & refreshed and ready to continue my healthy habits.

Check out her site if you’re interested in this cleanse!  http://adinaniemerow.com/

June is my birthday month, and with this new month starting, my LTO (long-term occasional teaching position) starting next Monday, and having just moved into our house… it’s time for my new goals for the month!

JUNE GOALS:

  • Daily Yoga
  • Laughing Buddha Cleanse (5 days)
  • Gym 3 times a week
  • Training / Working out with the ladies 2 times a week
  • Spartan training once a week
  • 3 medium- long runs/ week
  • 2-4 L of Water per day
  • Prenatal/ Postnatal Exam
  • Spartan Race on June 22nd
  • Cheer Hubby on with his race on June 16th!!
  • Prepare/ Training for Job with Royal City Soccer this summer!
  • Camping Trip at the end of the month!
  • Spotlight for June
  • 2-3 posts a week for my blog 🙂
  • Increase my views/ followers!!

Validation without Judgement: Remembering to Appreciate All Personal Demons

The other day I caught wind of a discussion occurring among the women at our boot camp and it really got me thinking:
If we (women) know that there is something with our health, strength or fitness levels we’re working on, why is it so difficult to comprehend that other women may have something they’re working on as well? 

I hate my stomach. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this fact before but I’ll tell you right now if I were to mention this to a group of women (new women who don’t really know me) I would get the following responses:
“You’re crazy, you don’t need to loose anymore weight”
Let me be clear. Wanting a toned, defined mid-section at my fitness level has nothing to do with me loosing more weight.
“You’re already so tiny! How could you be unhappy with your body?”
Who said I was unhappy? I have areas that I want to develop & make stronger, but that doesn’t mean I sit at home draining energy, pining for my body to miraculously change and be perfect.
“I would kill for your size, there is no way you were ever mine”
Flattering, but so far from reality. Do NOT, EVER, NEVER set your goals based on who and what someone else is. YOU are YOU. Not anyone else, so stop comparing. My “size” for me may not even be healthy for you, OR my size may just be the tip of the iceberg for your own capabilities. So please, admire my strength, dedication, motivation & determination. Please do not admire physical (materialistic) attributes.

Anyways, back on track.

As a teacher, you are trained to value your students strengths and what they feel are their weaknesses. If they tell you they “suck at reading” you always validate their feelings, and then work with them to figure out what it is that makes reading challenging for them, and how we can work together to improve that particular skill. The same applies with women and their fitness/ body images woes.

It doesn’t matter whether a woman weighing 200 lbs  walks in and tells me they need to loose weight for her wedding dress, or a woman weighing 115 lbs comes in, distressed about her thighs. It is my job as a fitness professional — and a compassionate human being– to validate those feelings, and work together with her to figure out how we can attain those goals.

I believe, as women, we have the tendency to judge other women without separating ourselves from our own emotions. Instead of pausing and considering that a woman who may be taller, smaller, prettier, louder, more confident, older, younger, etc. than ourselves might have some of their own “demons”, we very quickly shut them down with what is disguised as polite responses.

The responses I gave from my own experiences are just some examples I’ve heard tossed around between women in all areas of my life!

Now, what I am sure of…

We don’t mean these responses to be anything but politely disguised statements that are supposed to remind the other women how beautiful they really are. Which, to a degree– is nice.

However.

I’m willing to bet there are some women reading this right now, who have been given these responses when they hesitantly opened up about areas of their fitness/ health/ body they would like to improve on.

It SUCKS.

There is nothing worse than wanting to open up to friends about fitness & personal goals, and being shut down with a blanket statement about how you are perfect and you shouldn’t worry so much about those things.

My request for you readers today is this:
Please validate any of your female friends, colleagues, workout partners insecurities.
Please take the time to let go of your personal judgements on someone else when your perception of them is something different then their own.
And finally,
When you’re tempted to give those blanket statements, try one of these instead:
“I’m surprised that you have that area you’re uncomfortable with! What is it about it that makes you feel that way?”

“How do you think you could take some steps to achieving that goal?”

Thanks for taking the time to follow, my wonderful readers.
Have a great night, and remember:
It’s okay to have fitness goals, no matter what shape or size you are. As long as you are healthy and taking steps to continually grow, you are on track for success!

Working Through Struggle to Gain Progress

struggle vs progress

Life has a funny way of happening all at once.

I’ve been missing putting together my blog, and trying to keep up with multiple posts per week, but alas… life has jumped right in front of me. It has filled my days up, and created minimal “down time” for me to do all the “extras” that I love to do!

I have recently started teaching for the school board (yay!) which is DEFINITELY my ultimate goal– but these last two weeks have been challenging. Leading up to this teaching opportunity, I’ve been focusing my energy making my fitness blog happen, attaining my fitness goals, coaching others to achieve their goals, preparing for my certification in prenatal & postnatal training, Oh yes… and sneaking in some time with hubby when I can!

The juggling act is little tricky at the moment. But, I keep telling myself to take it in stride, embrace the positive direction my life is going and know that once I iron out the kinks… I’ll find my groove again!

In some ways, I feel like I’ve been letting people down… not replying immediately to emails, checking in with clients to see how their progress is going. So I guess this is a small attempt at an apology for anyone who has noticed my disappearance.

However, I also want to put it out there:

In life, you make goals. On your journey to getting there, you’ll hit bumps and detours but you must keep focused on what you really want. ONCE you get there, you’ll face the biggest challenge of all:

MAINTAINING the GOAL.

There will be tests to see if this is what you REALLY want, and if it is, how badly are you going to work in order to keep it?

DO NOT LET THOSE TESTS BEAT YOU.

Each time you push through, take a breath and keep on working– you are getting stronger, and proving that you deserve what you want.

That’s all for today my friends, have a wonderful day… time for me to take on the day and prove that yeah… I’m busy as hell these days, but I’ll get through it, and at the end of the day– (and hubby can attest to this)
I ALWAYS FINISH THE TASK. I ALWAYS GET WHAT I WANT.

Keeping Fitness Fresh

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a Gemini or what, but I’m continually all over the map with what I love to do, and where I participate in fitness. I’ve done boot camp, I go to the gym, I’ve done kickboxing, I’ve tried cross fit, I run with a group of women, completed adventure races, done karate, taekwondo, aerobics, really the list is endless.  

I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to “dabble” in a variety of fitness experiences! I’m a perfect example of someone who is continually expanding experiences, and trying new workout classes & styles! But I do think that if you’re expecting results, you need to commit to a specific type of exercise so you can see them.

For example, if you want to increase cardio.. commit to a cardio program! If you want strengthening, find something that does strength exercises, if you’re going to fat loss, find a program that balances exercises with nutrition!

This morning, for example, I put off going to the gym to change it up for a little kickboxing experience!

I Looove to fight. When I was younger, I used to participate in Karate! I never graded fully, but I worked my way (very quickly I might add) up to a Blue belt. I still sort of regret not going all the way to black (seeing as all I had left was: brown, second degree brown, then black) buuuut I’ve come to accept that I’ve managed to accomplish a lot since then anyways.

In karate, my favorite nights to go was when sparring happened. It’s in my nature, I enjoy the physical activity & adrenaline pumping when you unleash on the bag (or sometimes, your opponent!)

I suppose to look at me, I’m not exactly your bad-ass, jacked, kick-ass mother… you see where I’m going with this.

IN FACT– clients & other trainers have used the following comments to describe me:

“Beautiful Beast”
“She looks sweet, but watch out! She’ll whoop your ass!”
“She may look tiny, but she’s tough… you picked the wrong partner!”
“Watch out for the quiet ones”

I feel as though I should share my “Bad-ass picture” give you a glimpse of what I have to offer (As I write this, I have my wonderful husband behind me laughing— great encouragement haha!)

Image

Yeeep. Don’t mess with this.

Anyways, time to get to the point of this post!

Keeping your fitness fresh is important so that you don’t loose interest in working out, which leads to the dreaded “falling off the wagon”.

I had so much fun working out on the bag, it takes me away from my regular workouts at the gym, and from the circuit training that I run at boot camp.

But word to the wise:
If you are looking for results, and have specific goals… you absolutely need to choose your outlet, and stick to it for several months in order to see consistent progress. It can be tricky to keep yourself on a similar training program, and it’s common to feel bored with repetitive exercises.

If you are at the gym, or even in my classes I tell my ladies the following:

If exercises become “boring” or “easy” you need to run a quick mental checklist
1. How heavy are my weights? Let me set the record straight right now.
Squat to Presses are VERY different experiences if you are lifting 8lbs vs 12…15..20lbs.
2. How intense are you going? If you are half-assing reps, It’s not going to work and you’re going to get bored.
The only way to see results is to BRING IT each and every time you are at the gym, boot camp, evening kickboxing!
3. Are you concentrating on the muscles needed for each movement? It’s no use to fly through a bicep curl, or deadlifts, if you aren’t remotely concentrating on the area you are working.
The more you focus on the muscle, concentrate & contract the area you are working, the more you feel — ACTUALLY FEEL the exercise WORKING
4. How is your form? To be brutally honest, a lot of times we aren’t feeling the workout simply because our form is incorrect. Number 3 & 4 really go together, because honestly– How can you focus on the muscle you’re working if the form is incorrect?
Really take your time to learn the correct movements, understand what you’re working so that when you increase intensity you’re maximizing results.

There you have it peeps!
I encourage you to keep your fitness fresh, and always try new experiences to expand your knowledge… but don’t be so quick to give up where you are just because a new ‘fad’ has come out! Whenever you feel bored, and need that extra push… run through my checklist and see if that helps pick it up a bit before you throw in the towel and move on.

Have a fabulous weekend!! Get out and get SWEATY!!