Archive | February, 2013

Making Friends Along the Weigh

26 Feb

Today, and most days actually, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a group of incredibly fit and active friends. It make staying on (or getting back on) track so much easier! It also makes creating new gym playlists incredibly easy as I can often ask them for their current favourite gym jams. They are a great resource for new classes, routines and most importantly, and ever-present source of encouragement. A few of us will even be running a 10k together in May and a half marathon in September.

They are always encouraging me to try new things or, like this weekend, participate in active events. This weekend me and a few friends will be participating in the GoodLife Spin 4 Kids (http://goodlifekids.akaraisin.com/common/Event/AboutUs.aspx?seid=6233&mid=58) – this is a great fundraiser that raises funds in support of getting kids active! PLUS – we get our spin class in on the weekend, get to hangout together and, of course, get a t-shirt!

Also, I have a friend I have convinced to be my “accountability buddy”. Basically, each week we tell each other our workout plans for the week and it makes us more accountable (than we would be just to ourselves). Seeing how great she does and how committed she is never fails to encourage me to go even harder! She is around for runs and outdoor bodyweight workouts when the weather is nice and helps me stay away from treats if I text her in my moment of temptation! Her support is invaluable to me and I know she appreciates my motivation (especially when I’m yelling at her during a training session) and putting together challenging and creating workouts for us to do together helps me push myself out of my comfort zone.

Are you lucky enough to have a group of fitness addicts surrounding you (like I do?) or are you challenged by the temptation your friends present? How do you motivate your besties (and vice versa) to get off the couch and get moving?

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A new weigh to use protein powder

21 Feb

For some of you, I’m sure this post will be “old news”. However, no matter how many times I read about this trick I refused to believe it worked…so here I am – testifying.

In the past I have purchased some very questionable tasting whey protein powders…admit it, until you found a favorite brand (or maybe you haven’t yet), you were susceptible to buying whatever was on sale. I mean, c’mon, that stuff can be expensive!!! Not to mention how daunting the supplement aisle and/or nutrition stores on the whole, can be.

I always read that you could add protein powder to recipes and that you wouldn’t be able to taste any difference. I was highly skeptical…especially with the toxic concoction I currently have at home – I knew my “vanilla ice cream” would surely put this claim to the ultimate test. Ladies and gents, I am talking atrocious. This stuff has me gagging at the after taste even when I add banana and PB to my shakes. So I thought before I tossed it I would give this oft given nutrition tip a try….what they hey? I was throwing out the powder otherwise.

So, after much research (and a good deal more thought) I decided to give it a try in the a way that would mean the least amount of effort and money. I would add the powder to a pre-made muffin mix. I bought a bran muffin mix, added a touch more water and enough protein powder to ensure that each muffin had a 1/4 scoop of powder (approximately) – 3 scoops. I also added a ripe banana mashed…after all, I figured this recipe could use as much help as it could get.

The end result came out of the oven 18 minutes later…and although I was hesitant (the batter hadn’t smelled all that fantastic when I was filling the muffin tin), I gave the muffins a shot. SUCCESS!!! They tasted great! (Albeit a little dense) The end result was a muffin that was just shy of 200 calories (once the banana, and protein were added) and came out to about 10gย of protein…I think these will work great for an after workout snack to pack for the gym and best of all, I don’t have to throw out 40$ worth of whey!

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes…next on my list to try, protein powder pancakes – I’ve heard great things!

When Life Gets in the Weigh

19 Feb

I have generally been pretty good at “fitting exercise in” to my busy schedule. Although, some of my busy days (like many of you) end with me being exhausted and lacking in motivation, I usually end up figuring out a way to be active most days and to train 4-5x a week no problem. I’ll admit I am incredibly lucky in that I legitimately enjoy working out. Nothing clears my head and relaxes me quite like an hour that ends with me dripping in sweat and stumbling off the spin bike or treadmill – which makes doing it much less of a struggle than it is for those who dread the site of the gym.

I try to treat working out like an appointment. I create a workout schedule for my week (working around any special events) and write it into my day planner and enter it into my email calendar at work – this helps me feel more accountable to myself. It also helps me to prioritize accordingly and make sure I get my workout in most days. I am also incredibly lucky that I have an aerobics studio in my office building and can take a variety of classes throughout the week on my lunch break. This means 4-5 days a week (work allowing) I can get a quick workout in on my lunch and then I generally head to the gym a few days a week on top of that for weights/spinning/running.

Yesterday though I was reminded about how, no matter how carefully you plan and how highly you place exercise in your priority list, sometimes life just gets in the way. Here in Ottawa, yesterday was a holiday for many people (not everyone though, as I had to work) and as a result I called my gym to make sure they were open regular hours. When I called I got devastating news…they were closing at 4, before I would even get off work! My mind was reeling and I felt like an addict looking for a fix…I started to put together a little circuit I could do in the house with some free weights and began to talk myself off the ledge a bit. Then, it happened! I got a call from a friend asking if I could substitute for a missing player on her intramural soccer team – problem solved!!

Moral of the story folks…take advantage of any spontaneous opportunity to be active (actunity) that presents itself, who knows when you’ll be too busy to squeeze in a workout? By fitting exercise in anytime you can, your body and your mind will be better off on those days when life gets out of hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you do to fit in exercise on those days when life has other plans? We all have busy schedules these days and new ideas for prioritizing health are always welcome!

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Happy Valentine’s day all! Enjoy some chocolate…then get out and get that heart pumping!!!

14 Feb

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Getting Lost Along The Weigh

13 Feb

So folks, yesterday I slipped.

I had been doing so great! My exercise is beyond on track. Lately, I have felt like a boss at the gym! On Monday I even managed an epic day of Zumba at lunch, a 5k run after work, a one hour spin class after that, followed by a half hour of weight training focusing on my upper body (those stubborn biceps just won’t get in line!).

Now, yesterday I had tickets to an NHL game in my city. I, like many of you, am well aware that live sporting events can be notoriously bad health wise (what with the beer, pizza, poutine, etc. that you are expected to consume)…no matter how high in the nose bleeds your seats are you will never burn off all those calories from walking to and from concessions. I went in with such a positive attitude. I had been focusing on how great my body felt, and made sure to have a healthy meal (homemade naan pizza, light on cheese with tons of veggies) before we went, so as not to be tempted by my growling stomach.

I started off so well…when all 7 people I was with ordered delicious, cold and foamy beer…I ordered a diet pop. When people I was with ordered pizza, poutine, deep-fried egg rolls and popcorn…I got a soft pretzel (not great I know) and one bite in asked myself if I really even wanted it – when the answer was no, it winded up in the garbage. But then, came the second period…and my boyfriend’s second slice of delicious pizza. I accompanied him to concessions under the pretense of a refill on my diet pop. So then, how did I end up back in my seat nom-nomming on a slice of greasy pie? A slip in willpower, that’s how.

I also ended up in bed with a serious tummy ache later that night and a renewed commitment to minimizing my intake of foods that make me feel that way. I will not dwell on my failure, instead I will harness that feeling of pizza induced awfulness and store it away in my mind for another time when I am feeling weak…I do have lots of hockey games ahead of me in life, and subsequently many opportunities to get a willpower “win” in that atmosphere!

I’m back on track today! One slip does not determine success or failure! On the brighter side…the home team managed to win!

What have been your struggles lately? I’d love to hear how you overcame them or developed plans from a slip in order to avoid a future repeat.

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The Canadian Weigh of Life

11 Feb

This post will be short, but sweet!

This past weekend I was reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to live in a country/region that is so incredibly beautiful that you can forget what you are doing could be considered “exercise”.

Some of my friends and I went on a ski weekend to Mont Tremblant on Friday. Although my thighs and hammies were burning for much of yesterday I was reminded just how fun and effortless exercise can seem when you are surrounded by friends, beautiful scenery and perfect weather!

This got me thinking…if I am lucky enough to live in a city that has the longest outdoor skating rink in the world, separated by only a bridge to one of the best snowshoeing and hiking sites known to Canadians, and just a hop, skip and a jump from a handful of top class ski resorts…what do other people have at their disposal that can help them get in a few hours of exercise
that will go by much quicker than spending that much time churning away on the stair master?

So folks…what do you have in your city or nearby? What could or will you be doing this weekend to make your training a walk in the park (maybe literally)?

 

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Getting carried a-weigh with competition

7 Feb

Just like everyone else struggling to be fit, some weeks are better than others for me.

Some weeks I am an absolute machine where 5 days a week I’m training at lunch and post work, while throwing in an extra workout or two on the weekends….other weeks, I feel like an amorphous blob glub-glubbing my way from kitchen to couch and back again. Even on my bad weeks though, I still manage to motivate myself to train at least 3-4 times a week.

Recently, I have been doing a great job of fitting exercise in to my life at least 5 times a week…and 3 or 4 of those days I’m training twice a day – once in the afternoon on my lunch break and once post work.

However, I’ve noticed that the more consistent I get with my training, the harder I am on myself when I miss a day (or heaven forbid only go once!!). Lately, I’ve been trying to ease up a bit when I’m sore in order to avoid injury. Although, I know when you ease up a bit you begin to flirt with the temptation of a day off here and there. These days off can easily turn into weeks if you let them.

Well, I’ve finally found the solution to this (potential) hiccup! It’s a great exercise tracking app that plays on your competitive nature! This can be especially useful if, like me, you have a group of workout fiend friends.

The app is called nexercise and it turns working out into a contest instead of a lesson in calorie math. It’s super simple too – just add your exercise into the app (or even try tracking your movement with your smart phone) and soon you’ll be accumulating points like it’s nobody’s business! My favorite part is the updates I get when my friends train. After all, who wouldn’t be motivated when receiving a message that “Leigh just did 1 hour of weightlifting…quick! You’re falling behind!”

Give it a shot folks and let me know what you think! I’d also love to hear your motivation tips and tricks…you can never have too many ๐Ÿ™‚

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