Moving Though the Days With My Personalized 30 Pound Medicine Ball

Coming in on 31 weeks, and holy do I ever feel it! Squats, lunges and any other body weight exercise makes me laugh when I break a sweat and have to pause because my legs are on fire!

On the weekend I finally caved and bought some new workout pants, and 2 larger tops that I can put on.. without the help of my husband. I rocked them to a boot camp class in Bradford last night and it felt amazing! Boot camp classes are typically interval/ circuit style and are meant to kick your butt the whole time. I love them. I know my modifications partly because I’ve been working out through my whole pregnancy, but also in large part because I’ve done my certification for pre & postnatal for this very reason! I’m officially using no more than 25 pounds on kettlebells, when using two dumb bells I’m no heavier than 15 pounds, and… well you can pretty much call it a day with ab exercises.

Last night when I was working out I took particular notice to the extra weight at the front of my body. We were doing stairs– every other step.. with kettle bells. I decided that I could use a 15 pound weight because if you add that to what’s out in front, I should be more than set. HAH! I did it, I finished it, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel like dying. People were lapping me on the stairs as I took one step at a time, and set my mind to breathing and keeping proper form.

In the beginning of this journey I remember feeling frustrated with myself because I wanted to continue pushing hard in the gym, and lifting my regular weights, with the same speed and intensity.

Now, it’s not to say that I can’t push it, but I’ve had to play it smart with my intensity and the amount I’m lifting. The fact is, I could really hurt myself which could throw the rest of my pregnancy, and even opportunities to train the girls at the boot camp I still work at!

As the months have progressed I find myself laughing at the different positions I have to lay in, how much slower my movements are, and how freaking much my legs BURN when I do squats and lunges with my not so little lime. In one of the classes I did recently, we were doing leg raises on steps. You have to lay on the ground, place a weighted bar over your hips, and then dig your heals into the step and raise your hips up to the sky. For obvious reasons, I opted out of the bar across my hips… and decided on body weight. In my mind I told myself I can easily do one leg in the air for more intensity because– well– let’s be honest, this will be a breeze otherwise.

Annnnd once again there I was, NOT modifying to lift my leg in the air but actually working my butt off trying not to take a break in between each rep! It wasn’t until I was finished that circuit that I really pieced together that I do, in fact, have my own personal medicine ball that weighs everything down for me.

I love that little ball. She’s just doing her thing, flipping around, poking mama’s organs to make sure they’re still functioning, challenging my breathing… really– making me stronger. With each inch she takes up in my body, I become more aware of the focus and strength I need to keep my body healthy so that her body stays healthy too.

I joke when we go kickboxing about how she kicks me, so it’s fair that I kick the bag but really what it comes down to is that

I’m fostering a lifestyle that I want my baby to embrace when she’s able to make her own choices about health and fitness.

I have a couple more goals I’d like to achieve with her as we near the home stretch of our time connected to one another. I just love being able to take her along on these little adventures, because once she arrives it’s game on and I’m sure she will be taking me along for hers.

So you keep growing little ball, keep making mommy work harder, and get stronger because I promise that with all my strength, mommy will always be there to support you too.

cant stop me

workout

Those Sunday Blahs

I have had one of those weekends where everything around me feels Blah.

I’m on my new fitness program, and adjusting my carb intake along with I’m sure other monthly stressors preparing to rear their ugly head….So my physical and emotional state these last two days have been horrendous!

My poor husband came home from overtime on Saturday excited to have date night, only to be greeted by Hyde, Mrs. Vanderkooy’s evil twin.

Today, I awoke in worse spirits, with a neck so sore I could barely turn my head! I decided rather than fight through these feelings… I would try to embrace them. So, after church, I went to my favorite place: CHAPTERS. I bought a new book, and a magazine with new yoga poses.

Last year I began to do yoga on a daily basis, in my living room with a DVD that I had bought from chapters. It was only 27 minutes long and I found it fabulous. I have been struggling to get back into routine of having that daily practice so I decided to try it tonight in the hopes it may clear my mind. I followed the series of stretches through about 20 minutes, and lead myself through a meditation afterwards.

For the first time in what feels like AGES, I let myself slip into a deep meditation where nothing entered my mind. It was just myself in this moment with my breath. It’s not easy to let external factors and thoughts escape and leave you with inner peace, so today felt triumphant. It really felt refreshing to take that time alone and center myself.

I’m glad that I took the time to listen to my body and my mind today. I feel as though I avoided what may have felt like an up hill battle with myself, which I think is why my mind allowed me peace when I reached for it.

I feel ready to start a fresh week, complete with: Gym, boot camp, kickboxing, and running.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

just be

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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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!!