Raise the Bar

Twinkle

The other night I had a new personal training client.  She’d never been in a gym before (other than the previous week when she picked up her key) and wanted me to show her around.  As I was giving her a tutorial on the cardio equipment I asked her what her thoughts were on strength training.  She admitted that she was nervous about it and didn’t want to “bulk up”.

I explained to her the importance of strength training and showed her around the weight room and demonstrated some workouts with the weights and got her going with a small routine to incorporate into her workouts.

The following we day she sent me the following note:  “Thank you for your help.  When you emailed the other day saying you were going to make me look like a rock star, I thought “she’s funny”.  Now, I want to look like a rock star!”

It was so nice of her to send me a message but what made me really happy is that she was excited to start her workout program AND start training with weights.

Try not to be intimidated by a workout.  Go into your exercise program excited and open to new ideas.  Don’t be afraid to raise the bar.

~FB

Healthy Eats

Happy Sunday!  Actually, it’s mid-Sunday evening and back to the grind tomorrow, so some of you might not be so happy.  But, you know what?  It was a beautiful day, I had a great workout this morning, I visited a friend at her new digs, had a date with my nephews, completed two articles, got a bunch clothing donations ready for the Red Cross (#fortmcmurray) and I made a delicious, healthy dinner, and just threw a pan of healthy brownies in the oven!  The day has been great.

Seriously, whoever said that healthy eating is gross or boring obviously was just looking for excuses.

First up I made this gorgeous summer vegetable dish:

Veggies

I found this dish on Pinterest a long time ago and have been wanting to try it.  I finally got around to it today.  It was so good.  And cheap.  And easy.  And other than a little added cheese, it’s completely healthy.

I got the recipe here: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/08/summer-vegetable-tian/.  The only change I made was I swapped out white potato for sweet potato – simply because I could only find bags of white potatoes and I only wanted one.  I was able to buy a single sweet potato so that’s what I went with.

I added some spices too.  The next time I make it I’ll likely avoid the cheese.  I don’t normally have cheese in the house and I wanted to use up what I have because I’m starting another Whole 30 again soon and wanted to use some of it – the less I have to waste.

The reason I’m heading back to a Whole 30 again, aside from I love how I feel when I’m on it, is  that my sugar cravings have been outrageous lately.  And that’s the thing with sugar.  The more you have, the more you crave.  The purpose of the Whole 30 program is to eliminate those cravings (and rid your body of systemic inflammation).  I look forward to my 30 and I don’t miss the sugar when I’m on.  AND, I love eating whole foods: fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  My body really does thank me when I’m on the program.

But, because I’m not ready for my 30 yet (you really have to be ready) and I’m craving chocolate like it’s going out of style, I decided to make a pan of healthy black bean brownies.  Yep, you heard me, black.bean.brownies.

peanut-butter-chocolate-protein-bars_3

via Chocolate Covered Katie

I have made these brownies several times in the past and they are soooo good.

I get the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/01/06/homemade-protein-bars-chocolate-peanut-butter-vegan/).  Katie is a healthy food blogger I’ve been following for years.  She makes incredibly delicious and drool-worthy healthy recipes.  I’ve tried a ton of them (including her crispy avocado fries…you.must.try!).

I don’t follow Katie’s recipe 100%.  I omit the sugar.  I amped up the vanilla. And I added more coconut milk (unsweetened) to make them extra moist and gooey.  And I use dark chocolate bits and organic hazelnut almond butter.

OMG YUM!!

The brownies are currently still in the oven but I’m bunkering down to watch The Walking Dead so I’m sure I’ll have one (or two!) later.  The rest of them are going to be individually wrapped as pre-workout snacks.

Now….doesn’t all that make you want to go out and try a new recipe – something with fresh produce or a healthy alternative to your favorite treat?

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Season

Race season has started and charity and fun runs are popping up all over the place.

Next weekend is the Bluenose Marathon here in Nova Scotia (http://bluenosemarathon.com/).  It’s a bit of a big deal here and it’s a race that I’ve thought about/wanted to do the last couple of years but, in all honesty, I can never remember to sign up for it.  I’m clearly a dough-head.

I have managed to participate in several races over the years.

My favorite – and by far the most fun – race is the Zombie Run (http://www.zombietrailrun.ca/).  Of course there are variations of this fun run all over the place (http://www.zombierun.com/, https://zombiesurvivor.ca/index.php, http://www.the5kzombierun.com/ <– Seriously, just Google “zombie races” and I’m sure you’ll find one in near your area).  I’ve already participated in this race twice and my bff/race buddy and I have already pre-registered for September’s run again.  It’s something to look forward to.

Zombie Run2

Last year I messed up and ended up rolling my ankle on the trail (https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/zombie-run-2015/and ended up with a good sprain.  Good as in bad.  Ugh.  The worst part of last year’s mishap was that it happened two weeks before the Harvest Marathon and I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to participate.

But I worked through the sprain. I did take it easy for a bit but as soon as I really thought I was able, I continued my training so that I could complete the Harvest.

The Valley Harvest Marathon (http://www.valleyharvestmarathon.com/) is a pretty incredible event.  The Harvest is for serious runners.  And, although it certainly isn’t classified as a “fun run”, it is definitely a huge deal and an accomplishment.  When I completed my run last October I was elated (and tired!).

In fact, my most memorable moment from any race was probably fighting to cross that finish line last year.  I had to pee so bad (I refused to use a Port-a-Potty) and my hip had kinked up part-way through the race and I was in pain.  I really had wanted to stop and walk but I kept pushing and when I got to the track to circle it and make my way to the finish I kicked ‘er into high gear and gave it everything I had left.  I felt incredible.

And, one of the best thing about running in Nova Scotia in the fall is that it looks like this:

FALL RACES

Seriously – one of my favorite running paths looks like this in October.  I love fall in Nova Scotia❤

There are so many races I’d love to participate in but they add up so I try to choose wisely.  My BFF/race buddy and I are checking out some fun runs in the US to participate in.  There are a few in Maine and New York that we’re looking at that seem like they’d be a lot of fun.  And it would give us a reason for a girls’ weekend/road trip.

When I am gearing up for a race here are some tips I follow:

  1. I run at least a few times a week.  Inside and out.  Although I prefer to run outside, sometimes the only option is to hit the treadmill.  And when that happens I definitely increase the incline and the resistance.  I need my practice runs to be similar to the terrain I’ll be racing on.
  2. I increase my strength training.  Although I’m a big pusher of strength training anyway, when I’m approaching race season I try to bring it just a little bit more for the few months preceding the race.  Strength training is important for structural fitness (the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles to withstand the impact of running), it aids in injury prevention, and it helps you run faster.  Strength training also strengthens your bones.
  3. I try to do a “run thru” of the run.  Not the exact course, but a run thru of the distance of the upcoming run.
  4. I find the “right” tune and make it my racing buddy.  Over the last two years my two favorite training tunes have been “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker (please don’t judge me – that’s a really good song) and “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.  These two songs have basically been playing on repeat while I’ve been training and running.  They keep me at a good pace so I can count my steps and not overdo it, ensuring that I don’t burn out fast.  In fact, when I was running in the Harvest last year, Wagon Wheel was my running bitch.  I had the song playing continuously through and I kept my pace down so that I could keep my cardio up and finish the race in a decent time.
  5. Carb up – but don’t overdo it.  As you know, carbohydrate is the fuel for your body.  I’ve made the mistake of not eating properly before workouts and runs before and nearly killed myself.  Nowadays I know better and I’m careful what I put in my body so that I can make the most out of a workout or a run.  I want to ensure I have enough fuel to last me through the entire race too.

I really love running.  And the races I participate in give me a goal to work toward.  I would encourage anyone to check out runs in and around their specific area.  Or look at runs in other areas and make a mini-vacation out of it.

Charity runs are something I have participated in and plan to participate in again, likely this season.  It’s great to get out and support a great cause, show some community spirit, and have a great run.

Check out cool websites like Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.ca/) to search for upcoming races, or, to create your own https://www.eventbrite.ca/l/event-management-software/.

Ready.Set.RUN!

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Day Arm Challenge

I’ve always been a little paranoid about my arm skin.  I never thought about my arm skin until I read an article with Drew Barrymore in US Magazine when I was 14 or 15.  Drew was complaining about her arms being chubby.  (See:  Even celebrities are body obsessed.)  Since that day I’ve been obsessed with my arms.

A few years ago my arms were pretty awesome. It was after I’d lost a ton of weight and was working out and running more.  My arms seemed to be bombdiggity to me.  But now that I’m older – and since I gained weight resulting from my exercise addiction (read more about that here:  https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/confessions/) – I seem to be even more “obsessed” and have a hard time losing the arm pudge.

Over the last few months I’ve been lifting like a beast – focusing more on my strength routine and adding weight.  And it seems to be paying off some.  But there’s much more we can do to strengthen our arms and upper body.  (I do a lot of strength training in my classes and with my clients.)

That’s why when I came across this 30 Day Arm Challenge recently I was ecstatic.  The workouts contain just a few moves but will build muscle and strengthen your arms and core.

ARM CHALLENGE

I think this challenge is great for everyone – especially those who aren’t able to get to the gym or don’t have a lot of (if any) equipment to work out with.  I am a firm believer in body weight workouts.

Try this challenge for the next 30 days and see your strength improve.

~FB

Morning Workout

Don’t think you have the time to workout?  Give this morning (or any time of day) workout a try:

Morning Workout

You can do a run through of it once to get a little energized, or, you can go full throttle and do several reps to get a complete workout.

I used to love getting up early to exercise.  I felt so accomplished beginning my day with a fitness routine.  When I first started I was going to the gym.  It was a different gym than I belong to now and I wanted to go first thing in the morning because, like many, I was intimidated and embarrassed.  I wanted no part of anyone seeing me working out.  When the gym burned down I gave up for a bit but eventually picked up my morning workouts again when I began a relationship with my elliptical.

From there I moved on to other morning fitness rituals, like Insanity and Jillian Michaels, and even attending boot camp classes.  But over the last few years I’ve decided that I really like sleep.  In fact, I like sleep much more than getting up at the buttcrack of dawn and sweating it up.  And since I started teaching classes I prefer to run my sessions after the work hours.

But, spring is here and summer is coming and I’m seriously contemplating running early morning classes.  (But again, I also reallllly like my sleep!)

Now, all that being said, I challenge you to morning workouts three times a week for two weeks.  See if you can do it and see if it changes your day.  I (almost) guarantee it will.

Fall in love with the solitude of the mornings and the privacy of your living room workouts – or grab a buddy and make the above-workout part of a system routine to start your days.

Cheers.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin

Begin

We all have to start somewhere.

Don’t be afraid.

~FB

Every Step You Take

Every Step you take

*insert The Police music here*

Seriously tho – truth.

Here’s a little story:  When I first started working out I was utilizing the elliptical I’d purchased the year before.  My then-boyfriend found it for me on a great sale and I had every intention of using it, but, man….it was hard!  So I gave up – and stayed overweight.  I wasn’t ready yet.

When I was ready the next year I hoped on the machine and gave it my all.  And my all was only about 3 minutes at a time before I was out of breath, fatigued, and ready to die.  But I stuck with it.  And soon enough I was ellipticalling (I just made that word up) to Oprah each night – stopping when I needed to – but making progress.  I went from 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 10 minutes and before I knew it I was on my elliptical with a good book and an hour and a half had passed.

I stuck with it and what I thought was going to kill me made me a whole helluvalot stonger!

So whenever you feel like giving up – DON’T!  Hang in there.  You may not see results right away (go read my previous post) but I guarantee the results are there.  Your heart is getting stronger, your cardio is building up, your calf muscles are strengthening, your core is tightening.  STICK WITH IT!  Like you – it’s worth it!

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Takes Time

Progress

So often I hear of people who’ve quit fitness because the results weren’t instantaneous.

But you know what?  Results likely won’t be instantaneous.

I’ve said this many times in the past and I stick by it – (think about it) – the weight didn’t come on overnight, so it shouldn’t come off overnight.  This is why I’m wary and against those “diets” and programs that offer nearly instant success, yet, encourage you to not exercise (I’m looking at you, Ideal Protein!*).  I mean, you’ve got to work for it, people!

(*You can read more about the dangers of high protein, low carb diets from my post here: https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-dangers-of-high-protein-low-carb-diets/)

We all want to see our hard work pay off, and it will.  But you have to actually put in the work.  And you have to give it time.

Don’t be discouraged because three weeks have gone by and you haven’t lost the ten pounds you were hoping to.  Our bodies don’t work that way.  You might not lose those ten pounds for a few months.  But I guarantee that if you’re eating healthier and fitting in time to exercise regularly that the wonderful changes you’re making in your life are affecting your health in a positive way a lot more than losing those ten pounds are.

Remember:  Progress is progress!

Hang in there.  Stick with it.  Don’t give up.

~Fit Bitch

 

A League of Our Own

ARMS

I saw this today and thought it was pretty rad.  Okay, honestly, I saw this gal’s arms first and was totally jelly – but when I read the caption I though, yeah, I’m definitely in a league of my own.  In fact, we all are.  Especially when we hit the gym.  There should be no competition at the gym, unless it’s with ourselves.

Coincidentally, I had a gym date last night with a friend.  We totally did our own things but it’s sometimes still nice to make plans to workout just so that we can see each other.  While I was warming up on the treadmill another girl came in.  I’ve seen her there a few times before over the years.  And she’s one of those girls that goes to the gym with her hair down and curled and a full set of make-up on.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d just come from work AND I had a great hair day yesterday, but as soon as I walk thru those doors the hair goes up in a ponytail and the sweat starts to roll.  I’m not there to impress anyone.

Once I was finished warming up I hit the strength room and loaded my weights onto my buddy Smith.  I was doing my thing.  Curly Locks came in and lifted her free weights.  She did her thing, I did mine, and that was it.  We didn’t pay attention to each other.  When she was done she took her curls and left.

Maybe she didn’t want a hard, sweaty workout.  Maybe she was going  to work, or maybe she was heading to a hot date.  Or, maybe she’s one of those people who drops into the gym on occasion, gets her minimal workout in, and feels good for the next 3 months.  Who knows.  Regardless, it’s her business, and my workout is my business.  There was no competition between us because we are both in our own leagues.  My goal last night was to increase my weight.  I am constantly in competition with myself these days and I’m winning.

(Call Charlie Sheen.  #Winning)

~Fit Bitch

How I Live My Healthy Life

Have you heard of Cotopaxi?  I hadn’t until recently.

**Cotopaxi (https://www.cotopaxi.com/) is a company founded on the principals of making a difference, moving people to do good, and inspiring new adventures.  They also make really cool backpacks and other great gear such as jackets, water bottles, and tents.  Here is a little video on Cotopaxi:  https://vimeo.com/101418328.

Cotopaxi

Click me  to make me bigger

I was inspired by Cotopaxi to write a post about a way I live a healthy lifestyle and, after giving it some thought, I couldn’t decide on just one way so here’s a little about me and how I live healthily:

FITNESS
As you know, I am a fitness queen.  I try not to have too many regrets in life, but one regret I do have it not getting into fitness sooner.  I dealt with so many body image demons when I was younger that I was eager to get the “quick fix”.  It wasn’t until I made the commitment to fitness that my body changed.  And I wish I’d stepped onto that platform a lot sooner.
HEALTHY EATING/NUTRITION
I am a big believer in clean eating and whole foods (I’m a Whole 30 nutball!).  I love eating fresh vegetables and fruits and meats.  I eat whole foods as often as possible and since last June I have completed 5 Whole 30 months and am currently in my 6th.  Eliminating sugar and processed foods from my diet gets rid of any systemic inflammation in my body and eating clean makes me feel so much healthier.  My gut health is a hundred times better than it normally is when I’m not eating clean.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some chocolate and a Starbucks on occasion, but for me, eating clean and whole (and in moderation) is the way to go.
Following this kind of nutrition lifestyle may not be for everyone so in that regard I say eat clean when you can, reduce portion sizes, eat in moderation, and, for goodness sakes, stop eating junk!
MENTAL HEALTH
I mentioned in a recent post that I have suffered in the past from depression.  And it wasn’t until I started exercising regularly that I was able to tame that beast.  Well, in addition to fitness, I also like need to do the following:
-Spend time with friends, family, loved ones, coworkers.  I NEED that interaction.  I am a very social person and isolation really just isn’t my bag.
– Take time for myself.  I know, I know – I just said I need interaction.  But I also lead a very hectic life and sometimes I need alone time.  Not necessarily isolation, but I definitely need my “me” time.   That usually means reading (I’m on my 21st John Grisham novel), cleaning, writing, or honestly, sacking out on the couch and watching some T.V.  (But usually it’s reading!)
-Laugh.  I am a comic.  I need laughter in my life.  I learned a long time ago how to laugh at myself and, believe me, I do.  I always believed I was destined for Saturday Night Live.  I am still holding out for that reality.  In the meantime, I laugh.
SPIRITUAL HEALTH
I am not a religious nut but I do have my faith and it is very important to me.  I make sure to have my prayer time each day. It’s another time of day that is just for me – no matter where I am or what I’ve been doing, I have my prayer time.  It’s my time to talk with God and I find it therapeutic.  This subject is very personal to me, as is my prayer time, and I know not everyone believes the same thing.  But I encourage you – if you do believe (in something) – take this time and see what I’m talking about.  It makes my day complete.
There you have it: the four basics of my healthy living.  It’s pretty simplistic.
Living healthy should not be complicated.  Complication just adds a big ol’ mess to our lives and we need to get.rid.of.it.  Live, love, laugh.  Eat, drink, exercise, and be merry.

**What Cotopaxi does: “We create innovative outdoor products and experiences that fund sustainable poverty alleviation, move people to do good, and inspire adventure.Cotopaxi funds solutions that address the most persistent needs of those living in extreme poverty. Giving is core to our model. As a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation, Cotopaxi has made a commitment to creating positive social impact. We focus our efforts on global poverty alleviation & give targeted grants to advance health, education, and livelihoods initiatives around the world.

Our grantmaking represents our belief in the power of holistic development model. We focus on three pillars which we believe are inextricably linked and crucial to creating a sustainable pathway out of poverty. Within each pillar, we have identified specific poverty indicators against which we track our outcomes and success.

~Fit Bitch

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