Monthly Archives: December 2013

To Be Honest

Honesty is generally a trait we really appreciate in a person. However, we all know someone who is just a little bit too honest, right?

I can’t take credit for this one but I just have to share because it made me laugh pretty hard. I found this on Imgur and attached the link at the bottom. Check out some of the unbelievable (and hilarious) things that actual researchers have been cited as saying…

honestly-10years

honestly-bakery

honestly-ketchupcups

honestly-scarynoise

Check out even more #overlyhonestmethods at http://imgur.com/gallery/yPH3k

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Women’s Rights

Be warned: this might turn into a rant.

Today was my last day working out in London while I was home to visit family. While the gym I was temporarily using does offer a women’s only area, I didn’t think twice about it before heading out to the gym floor. The main gym is hardly co-ed as it was filled with guys working out in small groups and walking around like they expected girls to ask for their autographs. If you aren’t looking at them then they will stare you down in the mirrors until you do. These guys just reinforce why women deserve a private area to wear their stretchy pants.

At my gym in Toronto, there is no option for a women’s only area. The ladies who don’t feel comfortable in front of the men are relegated to stick to the cardio machines, or let their attendance slowly drop off. Women brave enough to trek into the free weights risk the careful watch of creeping men or the ignorant looks from those who consider them flawless at their “gym ratting” ways. I do see the benefit of offering a separated option in a gym, but if it is done right.

The New Years resolution crowds must have got a head start on January because all of the benches were full, all of the cables were taken, and training partners were eager to step in. So I did a lap and ended up in the women’s area.

I have previously expressed my frustration at women working out differently than men (waving 2.5lb dumbbells at their reflection in the mirror) but as I entered the women’s section I realized that we are set up for it. This area was primarily cardio machines and I had to dig through a pile of mats to find the single Olympic barbell in the place (no joke). Even if you can scout out the barbell, there is no squat rack, and there were only 5 or 6 renegade plates from the co-ed section. The machines looked like they were plastic and I expected to see “Playskool” covered up somewhere. This room begs you to ride an elliptical from any of the endless aisles of cardio that dominate the space, and overlook the mess in the corner (attempted “free weight” section).

Let’s give women some cables and some benches, and some direction as to what would be most valuable to women in the gym. As much as I appreciated being alone with the free weights, it was ridiculous how many women were just doing steady state cardio. Hey, who knows, maybe they are training to become long distance elliptical riders in which case I support their training. In all fairness, maybe they are just doing a cardio day. I know from working in a gym that too many women neglect resistance training, and I am just trying to make a point here. Check out what I wrote earlier (not in a rant): Annie Get Your Guns.

Women are absolutely different than men and this does require some minor changes in training, however, this does not mean in any way that a woman is restricted from going heavier than 5lb dumbbells. Next time you see someone who has a body similar to your “goal self”, ask them how they got there. I would be shocked if anyone said “mindless hours of cardio!” I am not biased at all…. however I have science on my team.

The best advice I can give someone (over blog): get a trainer for a short period of time and learn all you can. Ask lots of questions and pay attention. Show up early, warm up on your own, and cool down on your own. Then follow their advice!!

WHYYYYYYYYY

WHYYYYYYYYY

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The Boxing Day Sweats

Yesterday was leg day. Even though it was a terrible workout it still counts as a workout I can cross off as completed! I didn’t consider that I was completely fueled by chocolate, turkey, and alcohol (or that is how it felt, anyways). Normally I really do eat healthy- it is just that every rum and coke is just celebrated on this blog if it sounds like they come often.

It really feels as if the accumulation of consecutive nights of casual drinking is stored in your sweat glands. There it patiently waits until leg day.

I headed for the gym with a belly still full from Christmas dinner, and with the excitement that comes from going too long without a workout!… about 2 days. This was the first day that my brother didn’t join me since I have been home. He said he was sick but I think he was scared.

I could make a lot of excuses for my rough workout- I didn’t do my usual pre workout ritual  of waking up before the sun and standing all day, and I was using equipment I wasn’t used to. But really, I think I have to blame the fact that I was full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and chocolate. This really goes to show how important the fuel is that we put into our bodies. It didn’t take more than a few days for me to feel sluggish and slow. On the other hand, I would rather sweat it out than miss Christmas dinner! ‘Tis the season for meat sweats!

By the last exercise of my workout- single leg seated leg press- I had to drop the weight by 20lbs.

And I still struggled.

More meat sweats.

I really appreciated being in a gym in a different city where no one knew I was a trainer, as I whimpered and shook my way through my last set.

The holiday season is a time of year for food, drink and packed schedules, but I have somehow fit almost all of my workouts in. And they all feel just as great when they are over! I hope everyone has been getting their workouts in!! Happy Holidays!! Now go sweat!! 🙂

meatsweats

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Top Thirteen of ’13

As we reach the beginning of the end of 2013, I have been reflecting on the year past. I have been through a lot of changes and I have learned more than I can summarize. This was actually a huge year for me in terms of growing into my big girl pants. Or maybe I should say pant suit. Regardless of what my figurative self is wearing, I would like to share the biggest lessons that 2013 handed me.

1. Work smarter, not harder.
Time is valuable. Don’t put yourself out to accommodate others who do not do the same for you. Spending 14 hours at work, but only working for 8 is not smart. It is hard.

2. Have faith.
In anything. Just believe in the universe/ the world/ yourself.

4. Hard work is hard. But worth it.
Particularly because I work in the fitness industry, I can vouch that change demands hard work and hard work elicits change. And this applies to everything.

5. Making time is hard. But worth it.
It is too easy to get caught in front of the TV, or creeping your acquaintances on Facebook for hours and be convinced you have no free time. If you want it, then do it. You won’t miss your computer.

6. Accept help.
Don’t assume that friends and family will judge you or think you are weak if you ask for help. Most people will be happy you asked them. Help arrives in many forms, so be open to the opportunities you are given.

7. Find your release.
Pressure builds up and if you don’t give it an exit, it will make one. Find a way to let out your stress, frustration, and aggression. Try exercise! Or try blogging!

8. Money and sleep aren’t your biggest stresses.
Too many times have I worried about lack of money and lack of sleep, and I have missed out on things because I prioritize money and sleep. Sure, I don’t get enough of either but life isn’t waiting.

9. Stay in the game.
You are the only one who can take yourself off the bench. If you are disappointed, then be disappointed. But get back in the game because no one does anything from the bench… except yell.

10. Patience is a virtue.
Be patient and listen and do not brush people off no matter how stupid or impractical their concerns may be to you.

11. Go with your gut.
Trust yourself. This year I made many big decisions, and I changed my mind at the last minute regarding two really big situations. Both decisions were right, without a doubt.

12. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Be who you want to be, and don’t be bothered by others who do things differently. If you can be happy with yourself, then, in my opinion, you have everything you will ever need.

13. Don’t stop learning.
Learn from your past, learn from others, seek education, and take it all in with an open mind.

As a last note: this is my 40th blog post and I want to thank you for reading along! I thought this might go off into the internet to die after a few entries but I am happy to keep writing 🙂

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Walk the Line

I would like to give credit where credit is due.

Today I got home a little earlier than normal and I am getting ready to go to my parents’ house for a week to spend Christmas with my family. So I am cleaning, doing laundry, taking out garbage and recycling, and all of this requires me to leave my apartment several times. Each time I left my apartment I ran into (sometimes literally) one of my neighbours.

This woman has her never-been-outside-bright-white Velcro walking shoes done up tightly as she walks purposefully up and down the hall. I won’t lie; the first time I saw her I thought she was being creepy and just nosing around. I felt really awkward as I double checked that my apartment door was locked behind me.

So the next time I walked through the hall I stopped to say hi. She told me with a big smile that she was getting her workout in for the day. When I asked her how many lengths of the hallway she walks, she said “Oh I would go crazy if I counted!” which seems funny to me because walking lengths of a short hallway doesn’t seem anything except monotonous, counting or not. She went on to tell me that she sets time goals and then she just walks. I mentioned she try the stairs but her response was that she was waiting until she felt more confident with her balance. Maybe, someday.

I have clients who think that once they pay for their sessions, they have invested in their health. They will show up late, come inconsistently, or complain their way through workouts. When they leave, they always say they are happy they “got their workout in”.

After my encounter with this woman (and several more as I ran up and down the stairs all night) I feel less impressed with my workout today. The gym was empty, I had no distractions, and I worked until I was smelly and grunting. For some reason though, the fact that this woman is doing 30 minutes of walking in a straight line for short lengths, with no music, and no real view; that seems more difficult.

Now if I ever miss a workout I know I will hear her feet padding on the carpet as she paces by. And who knows, maybe I will join her.

walk

 

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Sunday Funday (Run Day)

My plan for the weekend was to be lazy because on Friday I did a workout of superset dropsets. If you don’t know what that means, think of going to failure. And then repeat. And repeat. Until you have 5 pound dumbbells in each hand and you’re grunting like you’re lifting a car and people aren’t even trying to pretend they aren’t staring at you.

My body responded well to taking the week off of barbell squats and pushups which was really disappointing because I was somehow convinced I knew my shoulder better than my surgeon. That was false. My asymmetries also seemed to backslide this week, likely because of a crazy week of training (others) and not finding quite enough time to train myself.

This morning I felt like staying in and just getting work done. Just some reading and some programming, and my fitness was dancing along to Christmas carols when I got up to make more tea.

But the body wants what it wants. And it decided to run.

Maybe it was the calming view of fall snowing through my window, or maybe it was the music that made me feel like outside was a magical wonderland. Either way, I needed to clear my head and I think my neighbours probably needed a break from the power ballads that Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera call Christmas carols. If they could even hear them over top of me singing/screaming along.

I bundled up and headed out into a slushy mess not resembling the untouched snow on my balcony that looked so inviting. Ah yes, the season of irregular cadences, unpredictable footing, and 100:1 chance of spontaneous injury. This was our first big snowfall in Toronto this year, and it made up for our lack of snow earlier in the season.

I headed out away from the main streets into a quiet neighbourhood nearby. I ran around a park full of families sledding which created a soundtrack of children yelling and laughing over top of my heavy breathing. As I slipped along home, my keys jingled reassuringly in my pocket and my phone bounced around in the other (lesson learned; you never know when you might get hit by a car). I zig-zagged from one sidewalk to the other depending on which looked safer or less congested with slow moving, bundled up bodies. This ended up getting a little bit frustrating but winter running is never for speed. Unless you are participating in a bobsled or luge race.

I got back home with my tear stained cheeks in a big smile and I was about to walk back inside as someone in an old school fake wooden paneled minivan honked and yelled at me. I gave him a thumbs up because I’m sure he yelled something like “Hey aren’t you the girl from the blog?!” Gee, people in Toronto are friendly. 🙂

snowrun

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Hunger Gains

I think a good way to gauge how your workouts are going is by how hungry you are. If you are putting in the workouts, it is really surprising just how much you need to eat. Just to clarify- if you are not working out and always hungry then this does not mean you are exercising more than enough… but that is off topic.

Lately it seems like I just can’t eat enough. Work is getting in the way of my eating, and unbelievably so is my sleeping (only on weekends when I actually sleep). One meal just wants to avalanche into the next. On the plus side, my cooking is actually starting to get really good out of necessity. I can only handle so much of one thing.

I remember my brother telling me how he would make pre-meals to eat while he was cooking his actual meal. Look out big brother, I think this Christmas will be a showdown for turkey and potato servings. Tis the season to celebrate competition?

My visits home increasingly turn into some form of fitness competition or display of strength. We earn our rum and cokes.

On Friday, I made the most amazing herb crusted pork tenderloins. I am no chef, but they were perfect. I am also no food critic, but they were perfect. I have to admit I watched them cook with my face and hands pressed up against the oven window like a kid looking in a toy store window for the first time. Maybe I should clarify that my ventures into “real” cooking are still in the early stages and each time I make something delicious, nutritious, and edible, I do a slow motion victory jump in the air. I high five my spatula and then apparently I blog about it.

I just bought a new steamer/ rice cooker that looks like R2D2 and is equally as confusing. The box advertises it as simple but the 35 page manual disagrees. After some light reading (looking at the pictures), I am excited about having it in my kitchen to keep things interesting, if nothing else. My last steamer survived a year- overuse may have been an issue- so hopefully this appliance will be able to handle my version of cooking. Maybe I should have gotten the extended warranty?

On that note, I leave you with a picture of pork tenderloins. Yes, seriously.

photo

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Squats, Trots, & Tweets

Hi friends.

When you are on a water break from your squatting and trotting, you can check me out on twitter. That way you really won’t miss anything that happens in or out of the gym.

@squatsandtrots

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We Eat What We Kill

I had some great advice given to me last week. If you’re trying to find out just what you want out of life, write it out. This may seem silly or ineffective, but I feel like there is a discrepancy between my motivation and my output so I decided to give it a try. It has been a long time since I made a word map (elementary school style) and I had a lot of work that I needed to justify putting off. Done.

I felt like I was in a writing sort of mood. I’m not sure how to describe that feeling, but it felt productive. As productive as I could be from a seated position; it had been a long day. With some blank paper and a pen I prepared to brainstorm. Thoughts and ideas came much easier than I expected, as if my brain had always known what it wanted to say but wasn’t given a pen to write with. I eventually started grouping ideas into categories like health, career, and relationships. My page filled up quickly, sometimes with the same thing written multiple times (staying healthy) or just random words like “design”. There were actually so many solo words that I don’t remember writing that I might have blacked out a few times.

Altogether I made a big list of what I want out of life… it is a lot. I plan to keep digging deeper, too. Everything seems less terrifying when it is written down, though. It is almost like I have removed the ominous darkness from the future and replaced it with black and white. Despite only having a paper full of point form notes more than I did the day before, I do feel like I have more direction. There is something to be said for putting ideas in writing.

The hardest part of reaching a goal is setting a goal. There is a great saying that if your goal doesn’t scare you then it isn’t big enough. Think about it: if you were given a step by step plan to achieve success you would probably follow it, right? So why don’t you write your own plan?… Probably because it is hard.

For the majority of us, we need to work hard to find work. And to keep that work. So we should be channeling that effort to work towards something that is at the end of our ultimate “To Do List”. So what is your ultimate endpoint?

Life lesson from my dad #464: We eat what we kill.

todolist

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Milk Duds

Yesterday I had my first experience celebrating milk.

One of my clients has created a line of organic almond milks and I attended the launch party to help celebrate. Why is it that attending a party in the daytime is much more difficult?!

I had no idea if the start time was the actual start time; we all know that if you show up at an evening party when the invitation says to, no one will be expecting you yet. But what does 3pm mean? Does the earlier start time shorten the fashionably late standard?

What about taking a gift? Maybe some Oreos to dip in the milk?

What sort of outfit says “I’m an almond milk enthusiast!”?

These were all very serious concerns on Saturday morning. Somehow I made it there (dressed and empty handed) ready to get my almond milk mustache on.

We sampled unlabeled bottles of almond milk and we were given cards to write our feedback on them individually. The more you try, the easier it is to make comparisons, so I was in a constant state of crossing out and rewriting (and confusing) all my cards. On top of that, I was trying to somehow alter my distinctive handwriting as if my client would stop training with me if I gave her poor reviews.

It is hard to give feedback when you are not sure which one you are actually supposed to give feedback on. In my opinion, there was only one I liked, and the rest either tasted too much like grass or too much like almonds (which might be the point). Other guests seemed much better at describing their opinions than my responses which ended up being many lines of writing all scribbled out, then “This tastes too flowery”. I will cross food critic off my list of potential job opportunities.

I’m not a big milk drinker but I do like almond milk. Usually I will just add it to my tea or to a protein shake.

What kind of milk do you drink?

milk2

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