Listening to Your Body.. Not the Critics

As I journey through this pregnancy, and have fully immersed myself into my second trimester– I’ve been feeling fantastic!

My energy levels have returned, and other than the little belly and added weight at the front of my abdomen, I have pretty much returned to my regular fitness routines. Of course, there are always modifications now, and the intensity is much different than I would normally bring to the table, but regardless I’m up to about 3-4 times a week for some sort of physical activity! 

Last Sunday I had a pretty exciting accomplishment. I ran in the Sportinglife 10K in downtown Toronto. I had mixed opinions from others about me participating in the run, but ultimately

it was up to me to listen to my body and make the decision about whether this was the best decision for me to do!

 

It was absolutely the most rewarding decision to run in this race. I was running with a friend of mine and naturally our paces were not well matched. Within the first 2K I could already tell that I needed to slow my pace down to maintain a safe heart rate, and could feel her pace getting ready to build with the adrenaline of other racers that surrounded us. I told her to continue without me, which she reluctantly agreed to, and with that– it was just me and my baby lime (who has graduated to a small cantaloupe) running together!

At the 5K mark I checked my time. Now, I’ve had to adjust to the fact that my time is much slower than usual, but I was very happy to see that I was at 35 minutes. With most physical activity, I find that it’s more of a mental game than physical. So

I told myself that I was doing amazing, gave little lime a loving rub and got ready to count down the last 5K.

At around 7K, I could feel myself starting to fatigue. There was a water station up ahead and I told myself that really– I had nothing to prove so it would be in my best interest to take a quick walk and enjoy the water break before continuing on. I’m an all-in kind of girl, so slowing down my pace and even walking for part of the run is a hard pill to swallow. But– let me tell you– it takes a stronger person to know when to listen to your body, rather than pushing through and ignoring possible problems. I sent my hubby a quick text and let him know that I was coming into my last couple kilometers. He sent me the motivation text that I needed, which helped me push through for the final stretch.

When I hit the 9K mark, I could feel myself finish that last kilometer with a huge grin on my face.

I had done it. I had listened to my body and successfully ran a 10K race with a tiny baby growing in my belly.

Crossing that finish line felt fabulous. Any negative comments I had been told, or recommendations to “just quit” if it was too hard were so far removed from me at that moment. I had started instilling healthy values that I feel will continue into the parenting of this young child, and hope will carry through into their own healthy choices for an active lifestyle further in the future.

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With any decision in life there are always those that will support you through lifes choices, and those that will try and deter you from what you want. I’m slowly discovering that as a mother-to-be there are many supporters of my choices to be physically active during pregnancy, and many that are unsure of my choices and seem to take my choices personally– as if it reflects poorly on their own pregnancies. 

I want to be clear. I don’t make these choices, write about my accomplishments and lack of “excuses” to continue this lifestyle for any other reason than to be proud of me. I don’t judge those who choose not to participate in these activities while pregnant. I can’t possibly judge a woman or pregnancy I know nothing about. I only know me. I only know what I am capable of doing, and what I know my body will let me achieve. If along the way it inspires someone who was unsure whether to take that route on her own pregnancy journey, then as a fitness professional I have done my job. 

Be safe, listen to your body above all the opinions of others. You will know what is right for you and your growing baby, but please remember– don’t be afraid to try! 

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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.

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

Learning to listen to your body

On Saturday morning, I finally got a chance to catch up with my fitness ladies, and head out for a run. Sometimes I catch myself stepping back as we are running, and simply smiling at our group. There we are; so many different backgrounds, back-stories, a wide range in personal experiences and phases of our lives. There are mothers, sisters, wives, and aunts all geared up, running in pairs and most importantly– laughing and gabbing the whole way.

People must hear us coming: the buzz of happy & healthy women, out challenging our bodies while preparing and training for yet another race. Switching spots every now and then to change up our pace, but also to catch up with another friendly face! During this particular run, a discussion came up which is a reoccurring topic in both my fitness experiences with the ladies, but also my conversations with Hubby!

How often are you listening to your body when it’s trying to tell you something significant is going on?

 

Generally speaking, I tend to really be in tuned with my body and when it’s trying to tell me to take a break. For example, if I’m feeling tired or sore from previous days work outs or activities, I will usually reassess whether pushing through is worth it, or am I making myself vulnerable to injury?

It’s a hard thing to accept. That maybe your body needs a break, but ultimately the bigger question to ask yourself is –  “should I continue doing what I’m doing, or could this cause me a more permanent injury which will only further delay me from reaching my ultimate goals?”

I’ve had to ease up on my weight training in the last month for exactly that reason. I asked myself that question, and sadly but honestly the answer was Yes. I was going to end up more injured, which would wreck my training completely.

I think as women & especially those who love to workout, we are naturally inclined to tough it out. My wrist is sore? Oh well, it’s fine. I’ll keep pushing through it. My ankle hurts from when I twisted it months ago? That’s okay, I have it wrapped, besides I WANT to run, I’ll just be careful. I’m developing tendonitis? Ugh, that sucks– but I’ll still continue to do my weight training, I’ll just make sure to ice it when I’m finished.

why does there seem to be an irony about fitness & training that makes us so inclined to stay healthy & active, but scared to slow down if your body is hurt?

 

I think it’s fear. Fear that if we do stop, it will get easier to keep stopping until you get to the point where starting becomes a chore again. So for that, I propose the following:
– How about you try an activity that is low intensity so that it takes the pressure off what is bothering you in your body, and gives it a chance to heal?

For me, it WAS the tendonitis. So I slowed down with the weights, did lighter ones and focused on different areas of my body so that my elbow could get a break. I took a break from kickboxing as well, and spent time swimming, running, and biking. It was difficult, but the other day I was able to lift weights without feeling pain.

In the fitness industry, you KNOW there are two types of pain. That amazing feeling after a solid workout when you know you worked it hard, and that pain you should not feel. The one where you know you’ve tweaked something which could set you back. Knowing that I took a break, gave my elbow a chance to get stronger and was able to get back to my training, pain free– that was DEFINITELY worth the dreaded “break”.

Keep that in mind my friends, when you are doing an activity that you love, and you notice a pain that hasn’t been there before. It’s time to listen to you body. Do a scan and assess whether that pain was a positive one, or something more serious. Ultimately, we workout to fuel our bodies, and pamper ourselves physically & emotionally. Which means that we have to work together with our bodies to be successful. If you respect your body when its trying to tell you something, that’s when you’ll reap the benefits later on. That’s when your body with heal, become stronger, and reward you with the health & vitality you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Have a wonderful night my readers, and please:

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Getting Back to Me

For the last month and a half, I have felt like I’ve been holding on to life by the tips of my fingers. Just gripping onto the ledge, hoping to keep the strength for a few more days… trying so hard not to let go.

Anyone that knows me know that I am NOTORIOUS for taking on too many things at once. But this time– I really over did it! Moving into my first house with Hubby, while starting my first LTO as a teacher, personal training 2-3 days during the week, certifying myself as a prenatal and postnatal specialist in training and trying to maintain my own personal fitness… was TOOOOO much!

You would think once teaching finished at the end of June it would slow down… but it hasn’t! I’m currently supervising Soccer camps which turned out to be more effort than I thought— I also have an online course that I’m trying to complete at the moment. Sadly, I’m subtracting a day of my training during the week.. but only to regain some much needed personal space to get back to me.

This week is looking promising! Aside from the soccer camp, I only have one day this week where I don’t be home before 9:00pm.

Today I went for a run, and it felt fantastic.
pre-run selfie!

I woke up at 6:30, slowly got myself ready to run at 7:00. I ran for 50 minutes, and finished the run off with some yoga upstairs– just in time for hubby to wake up! These are the types of mornings that have been lacking in my life. Ones where you

take the time to be alone, appreciate everything around you, reflect on circumstances in your life, and just BE.

It felt so good concentrating on my breathing, feeling my heart rate at a steady pace, and working up a great sweat! I’m aiming to revisit the gym tomorrow to get a good muscle burn on.

I also felt like I haven’t been getting the chance to sit and reflect on the fitness experiences and healthy eating habits I’ve been exploring and share them with you on here. I want to work really hard to bring posts to my readers that you can appreciate and that resonates with you.

So tonight, I put these questions out there to you:

What experiences have you had recently, or in the past that have made you feel like you’re at a stand and unable to complete ALL the things you’d love to do?
What have you done to help get yourself through those tough times, and back on track?

Would love to hear some of your comments,
Have a wonderful evening!

Standing on the Other Side of the Finish Line

Today my husband ran his first 10K.

I remember when he asked me if I wanted to run it with him. I thought about it, but quickly decided that for once I was going to step back and let him have his moment. I wanted to be there at the finish line cheering him on, as he does so so often for me.

While I was waiting, and watching others finish their race, it really hit me what an emotional journey accomplishing a run can be. There were people of all shapes, sizes, abilities, ages all working towards their own personal goal. I think I could have stood there all day cheering on these strangers, because the pride in their faces as they pushed through their final stretch was both amazing, and inspiring!

Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with my emotions because I found myself continually tearing up as people came towards the finish line. The mother’s hearing their children cheer for them, the fathers, the husbands, wives, friends and the children! The energy at these events makes you remember the goodness in the world, and keeps you inspired to push through with those goals and achieve what was one thought impossible.

One of the best feelings when you cross that line at the end is looking for that familiar face. Knowing that someone supported the journey that took you to this point, and watched you follow through! I was so proud watching Jer run across that finish line, he worked so hard and his finishing time was outstanding! Even better, was squeezing through the crowd to get to him once he finished! As happy as he was, I knew– just like when I finish– he was looking for that familiar face so he could smile and say “I did it!”

He did.

Congratulations my man, you made me proud today!
Now, rest up this week because next week we run our first race together!
The SPARTAN SPRINT! AROO!!

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