20 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life!

20 Minutes

I’ve said this many times before.  I’ve said it over and over again and I will continue to say it over and over again.  Why?  Because I believe it.  In fact, before I began my fitness journey, someone in my life kept saying that to me.  I thought he was just being an asshole and telling me I was fat (let’s face it, y’all, I was fat!), but eventually I listened to those words and I went from there.

As I mentioned in my last post, when I first started exercising, I couldn’t make it 20 minutes.  I could barely make it 3 minutes without wanting to kill myself (or feel like I was already dying).  My goal was to make it to 20 minutes.

When I finally did make it to the 20 minute mark I was ecstatic.  And for a long time that’s where I remained.  Just at the 20 minute mark.  Eventually, I did move up and sometimes I would (and still do) work out for hours on end.  But, there are times when time is limited and 20 (or 30) minutes is all you have.  You can sit around watching TV or creeping Facebook, OR you can get up and take advantage of that little bit of time and do something that will improve your mood, your energy level, your health, and your life.

Change Your Life

This past Saturday I was pressed for time and wasn’t able to get to the gym or a class but I desperately wanted to work out.  Technically, it was supposed to be my day off, but it was rainy and gross out and I was feeling lethargic and lazy and like I needed to do something. Initially, I was supposed to do the warm up for the Relay for Life but because of the raining weather, the warm up got cancelled.  Yet, I was craving a workout.  I didn’t want to overdo it because rest days are extremely important and, I admit, I don’t always take advantage of them, but I really wanted to get in a little cardio and a little strength.  And I did.

I got my game plan ready and I had myself a sweat-inducing, heart-racing 21 minute workout right there in my boyfriend’s living room.  And it felt great.  I felt great.  I accomplished a lot in a little bit of time and carried on with the rest of my day.

So, if that’s all it takes (at the very least, to start), why not set aside 20 minutes of your day and get moving in the direction to change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

Begin (Confessions)

I saw this post in my Facebook feed this today and knew I had to write something about it.

Beginner

…Because this is truth.

We all have to start somewhere.  We are all beginners.  We will not know our full abilities until we try.

When I first began my fitness journey I could not do a full three minutes on my elliptical.  In fact, I found it so hard that I gave up.  I was winded and sweaty (I still sweat like I’m burning in Hell) and, frankly, I was embarrassed that a mere three minutes of cardio nearly killed me and I gave up!

I had bought that elliptical on a whim of trying wanting to be healthy (read: skinny) and I failed.  And, apparently, at that time I was okay with failure.  But then one day, that one particular day, I made a decision and my life changed – forever and for the best.  I swear to God, that elliptical saved my life.  I saw this with all seriousness and certainty.  I was on a path that was destroying me.  My self-esteem was shot, my mental health was in the toilet, and I was overweight to a degree that I should never have let happen.

And I jumped on my elliptical and had my first real workout.

And, although I swore I would never publicly show this photo – I realized, “well shoot!  This was me!  This is what I looked like!”  So, here goes:

Side by side

Left: Before / Right: After 

Yep!  The pic on the left with the scratched out face and the really, really badly blonde hair is me.

And you know what’s sad?  I I don’t even recognize that person on the left and I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to treat my body that way. After A Lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline, the pic on the right reflects closer to where I am today. But each day I grow in my fitness. I’m so much stronger and adventurous in my exercising. And I look forward to challenging myself daily.

Once I started exercising regularly and eating healthier, I started feeling better on the inside too.  I know not everyone gets this or agrees. But this is 100% true for me. Exercise helped bring me out of a 10 year depression. It helped with my self-esteem and confidence.  There are days when I still struggle with these but overall, I’ve become a different person.  (Give it a chance….you might be shocked to find that exercise can help you too.)

Mood changer

When I look back to those years ago and hopping on my elliptical and failing miserably at my first attempt of working out, I almost feel glad,  Because I was doing it for the wrong reason.  As I said above, I wanted to start exercising to get thin, not to have a better life.  And it wasn’t until I decided to change my life that my life changed.  That’s when I really began.

So, don’t be afraid to begin.  Even if it means you’re starting over or beginning again.  It’s when you’re really ready that you will make the effort.  As you know, my mantra for years has been “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight.” (Thank you Shaun T!)  Again, #Truth!

So, don’t be afraid.  Go ahead and begin.  And if you have to, begin again.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Day Ab Challenge – Redux

I’ve been getting some requests to re-post the 30 Day Ab Challenge from a few years back. That particular post was and has been one of the most-searched posts.  It seems to be pretty popular – especially around this time of year (aka upcoming beach season).

This is a fun little exercise that you commit to participating in over 30 days.  You can do the challenge on its own, or as a complement to your current workout routine.  If you’re already accustomed to working your abdominal muscles, then double (or triple) each day’s challenge.  Push yourself – you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.

Here’s the Challenge (you can view the original post here):

ab-challenge

Have fun!

~FB

Eat the Doritos*

Chips

Last year a friend was telling me how she had fallen off the fitness wagon.  She was busy with work and her kids and her life was consumed with normal life things.  Then she told me that the week prior a friend of hers was diagnosed, at age 30, with ALS.  She was so sad about this news and she said to me “I know that I need to stay fit and healthy and on track, but sometimes, I just want to eat the Doritos.”

Last week this same friend buried her mother.

This week one of my closest friend’s father passed away from a sudden massive stroke.

Several weeks ago my brother was injured badly in a motorcycle accident.  He just returned home a few days ago after spending 16 days in the hospital.  He’s very fortunate and blessed to still be with us, but he’s got a long road of recovery ahead of him.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been overwhelming with so many tragic and stressful events all heaped together.  And believe me, I wanted to eat the Doritos!  All of them.  Well, maybe not Doritos but I certainly wanted to bury my emotions in chocolate.  And maybe I did…a little.

I am a very emotional person and I am a bit of a crybaby and sometimes when I’m trying to hold it all together I feel more and more like I’m going to fall apart.  I felt that way a bit with my brother’s accident.  He is a very strong person, physically.  He always has been.  He lifts weights and he boxes and runs and bikes and he wrestled.  He’s done it all.  And seeing him in such a state of vulnerability and completely busted and broken was, not only terrifying, but also a bit unknown to me because I don’t recall ever seeing him like that. (Not that he didn’t still have his moments of being an ass!)  So I buried most of my fear and sadness inside, had a breakdown once or twice, and then spent the rest of the time eating chocolate – followed by regular workouts.  Because I’m a bit of a freak and it seems that exercise is really the best way for me to get my aggression out.

Life is about balance.  There are times when you need comfort and sometimes food is the only place you can (or want to) find it.  And that is okay.  It’s about moderation.  You can have the Doritos, you can have the cake, you can have the Tim Bits.  You just can’t have it all all the time.

So, go ahead and eat the Doritos.

~FB

PS I’m not affiliated with Doritos

My Saturday Morning Workout

Lately, I have been killing it at the gym and in my classes.  I have been expanding my horizons and trying all sorts of different exercises and techniques and really working on improving my form and overall fitness level.  I have totally upped the ante.

I’m a huge fan and supporter of body-weight exercises.  In fact, it’s what my boot camp classes are based on.  No equipment.  100% body weight.  My family fitness classes are similar, but often we will bring out some equipment to keep the younger participants keen (although, let me just say that the kids are LOVING this program, and if you don’t think your kids would be interested in fitness and exercises, try working out with them!).  In my family fitness classes I have used jump ropes, hula hoops, and a few balls.  And aside from gliders (which are TOTALLY body-weight exercises) that’s the only equipment I’ve ever used in any of my classes.

My gym workouts and my at-home workouts, however, are an entirely different story. I try and utilize as much equipment as I can at the gym – things I can’t use at home, like the rowing machine, the Smith machine (be still my beating heart), heavier weights, even a Bosu ball (for burpees – again, a body-weight exercise).

Until recently, a lot of my home workouts were body-weight based: doing some of my boot camp classes, or videos like any of the Insanity series, P90-X, Jillian Michaels, etc.  But since I got my dream boxing bag for Christmas, I’ve been using that a lot as part of my home exercise, and often incorporating weight-lifting, and running the stairs into the routine.

Today was a gorgeous day in Nova Scotia; it has been sunny and warm and it truly feels like the start of an early spring (we’re gearing up for some snow tomorrow though.  Bummer.), so I took advantage of the sunshine this morning and moved part of my workout outside – coming back inside for other parts of the workout that I wasn’t able to access in the fresh air.

A few years ago I found a bombdiggity weighted jump rope at a local store.  I loved it so much that I went back and bought the remaining ropes.  Seriously.  I have a small stock, just in case.  I also bought one for my boyfriend so that we can both take advantage of the awesomeness.

weighted-jump-rope

For my warm up I brought the rope outside and skipped away.  It was so wonderful to be able to warm up outside.

Oustide jump rope

This was basically me this morning. (via Yahoo)

Once warmed up I moved back inside so that I could do a boxing workout.  I boxed my butt off to some upbeat music, while doing burpees and squats in between.

boxingbag

Just call me Rocky Balboa

I also took advantage of my resistance bands and my newest obsession, my suspension training system.

Squat Row

Resistance bands are really just as good as weights – and certainly more mobile. (via Google)

I did a bunch of variations using the resistance bands – from squat rows to bicep curls to overhead extensions.  I did it all.

I took my suspension training system outside and channeled my inner Candace and inner Norman and performed different variations of exercises, such as: mountain climbers, chest press and fly, to the full body row (below), planks with a leg extension.

Suspension Candace

Candace Cameron Bure (and Kira Stokes) via Instragram

Norman Reedus Suspension

Norman Reedus via Men’s Fitness

I did circuits of all of these exercises, moving from inside to outside and enjoying every bit of it.

You don’t need a lot of money or a gym membership or even a lot of equipment to get in shape.  If you’re not into body-weight training – or want to move outside that realm for some of your workouts, invest in a few small pieces of fitness gear: resistance bands usually run between $10 and $30, smaller weights can be purchased fairly cheap at places like Canadian Tire and Walmart, weighted jump ropes can be picked up pretty much anywhere, including some discount and dollar stores.  Suspension Training Systems can be pricey.  Mine was an investment that I decided to go ahead with since I can use it personally and for my clients and, well, because #obsessed.  My boxing bag was a Christmas gift and something I’ve been wanting for many years.  It too was an investment (gifted to me), but you don’t necessarily need a boxing bag to enjoy a boxing workout.  There’s nothing wrong with shadow boxing or cardio boxing <- those will definitely get your heart pumping.

And all of the above (minus an actual boxing bag) are mobile items.  So you can move your workouts outside, or pack your gear when you’re vacationing, or even take with you to a friend’s house so that you can exercise together.

The ultimate goal would be to take advantage of both body-weight training and inexpensive workout gear.

~FB

Don’t Give Up

Tried Everything

Let’s be realistic for a minute.  Results take time.  You aren’t going to do one workout or one class or one day of a change in diet and expect to drop down a bunch of sizes.  Life doesn’t work that way.  And like I’ve always said, the weight didn’t come on in a day, it shouldn’t come off in a day.

You have to work for it.

And, something else I’ve said over the years:  If you’re not willing to work for it then you’re not ready to lose the weight.

Life is not easy and losing weight is not easy.  But get in there, dig deeper, work hard, sweat, LOVE YOURSELF, and your hard work will pay off.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new week.

It’s the first day of a new you.

Hang in there.  Don’t give up.  It will seem easier.  You will get stronger.

Don’t give up.

You Got This!

~FB

 

Be Happy


be-happy

It’s Sunday and I’m feeling really…overworked in fitness.  Maybe?

I’ve been going so hardcore lately – “upping” it in my classes, and going all out in my own personal workouts, in addition to picking up a few additional clients.  And this weekend I am paying the price.

I haven’t had a tarsal tunnel flare up in a few months but I totally overdid it this week (my own fault) and screwed myself and now my ankles have been buzzing since Thursday.  I can’t quite explain the pain to you – but it feels like ongoing electrical shocks in my ankles and at the bottom of my legs.  On top of that, my back is still going out every other day, and my hamstrings have been super tight the last few days (again, self inflicted and I should know better).

I could sit here and write about how horrible my life is and whine about “why is this happening to me?”.  But I won’t because I absolutely do not feel that way.  In fact, I feel the opposite.  I am blessed to have the ability to get up and work out each day.  I am thankful that I have a full belly each night – and that I even have the option of creating healthy meals.

Quite recently I saw a rerun of an old Judge Judy episode where one team mother was suing another team mother of their sons’ football jerseys.  The plaintiff really looked like a smug lunatic and she and her husband kept stating how “upset” they were that the uniforms weren’t what they expected.  Judge Judy then asked “Do you have healthy children?”  To which the plaintiffs responded “yes”.  Judge Judy then said if they were “upset over a uniform they were sickos” and that if they had to “deal with parents who were upset that the lettering was coming off the children’s uniforms when the children are able to run around a football field and healthy enough to do that then you’re all sickos.”

See the point?

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to better my fitness goals.  I am thankful that I have the ability to get up and lift weights and run and jump and teach classes.  I am blessed to live my life the way I do and have the option of making the choices I do.

I think positively.  I work hard.  I eat healthy.  I dance more.  I exercise daily.  I love often.  And I AM HAPPY.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cravings Almost Got Me

I’m now 36 days into my Whole 60 and have been doing so well. But this past weekend was tough: surrounded by delicious foods and decadent drinks. I was pissed off at my food.

So last night, while gearing up for snowmageddon in Nova Scotia, I made these complian nut butter cups.

butter-cup

I made only a few and they have been serving their purpose. Cocoa, coconut oil, sunflower seed butter. That’s it. Easy peasy! Completely satisfied ( except for the weather. #snowpocalypse )

 

Directions:

Measurements can be estimated.  I made a half dozen cups and used 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of cocoa, and a another half teaspoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of sunflower nut butter for the center.

1. Melt coconut oil or butter over a double broiler (you can use a microwave).  Once thoroughly melted, blend in the cocoa until completely smooth as liquid.  Pour half of this into mini muffin tins or ice cube tray and place in the freezer.

2. Melt coconut oil or butter over a double broiler . Once thoroughly melted, blend in the nut butter of choice and stir until completely smooth.  Pour this mixture over the frozen chocolate bottoms and freeze.

3.Re-warm an pour remaining chocolate mixture onto the nut butter cups to complete the third layer.  Freeze.   ENJOY!

 

 

You’re Good Enough!

I had a conversation with another fitness professional recently and we were discussing how “haters gonna hate” (although we were more eloquent than that).

When you make the decision to change your life and to become a healthier person, there will always be someone – that one person – who will do whatever he or she can to keep you down.

I can attest to this.

After I’d made some changes and began eating better and exercising, I lost weight very quickly and my overall health changed.  Everyone was really supportive of me, my decisions, and my lifestyle.  Except one person.

This person, for whatever reason, wanted to make me feel bad for feeling good.  In fact, this individual even made a public comment that I looked sick and had “gone too far”.

Really?  I gave my life a makeover and worked my butt off to get healthy. Before that  was overweight, sedentary, and basically ate garbage.  But suddenly, now I’d gone too far?

good-enough

While you will always have tons of support while on your road to good health, you will also encounter a few people who jerks and will work to bring you down.  Either they’ll throw out a hurtful comment or a snide remark, or will just talk shit about you behind your back.  The truth is – and again, I’m calling a spade a spade – these few people are dissatisfied with their lives.  They’re jealous that you look and feel so damn good, and that you have accomplished (read: earned!) so much, and they, for whatever reason, don’t want to put in the effort to do the same for themselves.  So, in turn, they want to discourage you in hopes that they can bring you back down to their level.  DON’T LET THEM.

And if you need to, shake ’em off.

Remember, as always, You’re Worth It!

~FB

#youreworthit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Inspiration

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s.  And back then, we didn’t have cable at home.  And certainly, we didn’t have overwhelming channels that today’s folks have to choose from.  But, we had a few staple television shows that were watched – The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss? (my favorite), Growing Pains, etc.  And I was obsessed with teeny-bopper magazines that showcased all my crushes (Kirk Cameron and Michael J. Fox), and potential best-friends (Alyssa Milano).  The famous were beautiful.

When Full House made its way to my television. I instantly was in awe of Candace Cameron.  Aside from the fact that she was Kirk Cameron’s little sister AND had had a small guest appearance on Who’s the Boss?, she was the first girl I’d seen on TV that looked like me: cute curls, a little chubby, and with the “Charlie Brown cheeks” that she referred to in a later episode*.  It was wonderful that I could finally identify with someone on TV and in magazines.  I was elated.

young-cc

How cute was she?

Although Candace said she never had an issue with her weight while filming early in the seasons, season 4 of Full House aired an episode called *”Shape Up”, in which DJ goes on a crash diet to slim down for a pool party.  This was an emotional episode for me for me to watch.  Although my eating disorders didn’t begin until a year or two later, I could completely relate to how DJ was feeling and could already see my own disordered eating and outlook.  (Note: While preparing this post, I re-watched the episode for the first time in likely 20 years and had the same emotional response I had the first time it aired.  To this day, it breaks my heart because I know the struggle and I know that most little girls have and will continue to have this struggle at some point in life.)

Later on, Ms. Cameron Bure declared she developed eating disorders a few years after the show had finished filming.  (Although, she states that it had less to do with her weight and more to do with where she was in her life, emotionally and physically.)

Since her days of self-destruction, Candace Cameron Bure has completely changed her body and her health.  She has an incredible workout regime, and one of the best (celebrity) trainers, Kira Stokes, as her own.  And I have found inspiration in them both.

These two have some of the best workouts I have seen.  As a trainer – and a trainee – I am often looking for ways to keep workouts fresh, innovative, and fun.  And these two ladies sometimes help me get there.

candace-and-kira

Candace Cameron Bure and trainer Kira Stokes (photo via Cameron Bure’s Instagram)

 Aside from gaining inspiration for my workouts, I have found inspiration in Candace  herself, from how she approaches fitness and clean eating and even spiritual health.  Three topics I already have in common with her.  Her approach to how she keeps her body lean and how she looks at her muscle and her strength is refreshing and it’s nice to actually see and hear a celebrity talk about it all and show how much dedication it takes her to keep her body in tip-top shape.  Especially when so many celebrities make the claim “I eat whatever I want and don’t work out.”  Pffftt!!

candace-cameron-3-times

Via US

Although Candace Cameron Bure is a celebrity and she has personal trainers and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars where she spent endless hours each day for endless months dancing non-stop, she is also a woman who has worked incredibly hard to get to get and keep a strong, toned, lean body.  Believe me – that takes work!  And, again, I find it inspiring that she has been so inclined to share her journeys with us, the public.  Through her books and her social media accounts and her television appearances, she has been delightful in showing us that if you set a  goal – and work for it – it can be reached.

And what’s even more delightful, and something I have found truly inspiring since I was a pre-teen, is that when she was a young actress and already a very public figure, she never had issue with her body – even, as it has been stated, when other people had. She was a great role model in childhood and continues to be a role model in adulthood.

I will continue to find inspiration from her.  Where do you find yours?

~FB