Monthly Archives: February 2012

JUST DO IT!

Nike said it best, when it comes to working out, going for a run, heading to a yoga class, don’t think about it JUST DO IT!

 

I had to make myself JUST DO IT yesterday when I was getting ready for my long run (24 km).  It wasn’t something I was looking forward to by any means (as much as I love running) but I got up early, fueled up with my famous Scottish oats with walnuts, almond milk, maple syrup and cinnamon, a few egg whites and a banana, got dressed and was out the door!  The first 10, 20, 30 minutes was BRUTAL and I kept asking myself “Why am I doing this?” “What is this so hard?” and “Seriously? 24 km?!” but as soon as I hit the 10km mark I got my second wind! If I had listened to my negative thoughts I would have stopped early but I was actually just warming up!  What motivated me even more is when an older man (and a complete stranger) said to me as I ran by “what a great way to keep fit eh??” and it immediately brought a smile to my face and my pace picked up and my run became automatically easier.  Funny how something so simple (yet true) could influence my run and make my day!  Thanks to that man for helping me finish my run!

So what is the point of my story??  Well, I’m sure you can think of many times when you’ve wanted to go to the gym, a run or a yoga class but found some excuse not to go.  Then you felt bad after or wish you would’ve went.  Instead of constantly saying “I should have done this” or “I would have gone but” drop the excuses and JUST DO IT!  The hardest part is GETTING there but I am sure once you are THERE and START your workout (usually after 10 minutes of starting) you have no problem finishing and feel much better afterwards.

Also, try giving someone a compliment or encouraging someone who looks like they are struggling or telling someone “good job” could make a huge difference and possibly make their day, even if you have never met them before!  Be kind to others just for the heck of it!  It feels good and makes someone else smile 🙂  Who knows you may have someone do the same for you one day…

I would love to hear how you motivate yourself to workout on the days you don’t feel like going.  Tips anyone would like to share??

Les 🙂

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Monday’s Motivational Motto

Who’s with me??  What’s your goal?  Are you working hard enough to get there?
Only four weeks until my Around the Bay 30km Race…I can’t wait!!!  I am already thinking about what my next goal will be…
I would love to hear what your fitness/health goals are.  Feel free to share!  Remember if you tell other people your goals there’s a better chance you will achieve them…it’s all about accountability.  If you need help reaching your goals (or need help making some!) you can always contact me for advice 🙂  3 days left to get personal training sessions for 20% off, don’t miss out!!
Have a wonderful Monday!

Les 🙂

February yoga challenge almost complete!

I committed to doing yoga everyday for the month of February and I am happy to say that I am 24 for 24 so far and I plan on keeping this up from now on!  What a difference doing yoga everyday makes!  Not only do I feel my flexibility improving but I feel more grounded, calm, and I find I take time to enjoy everything around me and am better at paying attention to what is happening inside my mind and body.  Some of you are probably thinking “OK what has happened to Leslie, she’s gone all cookoo on us” but honestly yoga does wonders for my (and everyone’s) emotional and spiritual self and it has brought me a sense of calmness and clarity.

When I used to go to yoga classes I would go for a workout and found that I would compete with myself or compare myself to others in the class.  I also remember not being able to clear my mind or focus in any of the postures (even in savasana or corpse pose!), as I was more concerned about “doing them right” and my mind would be racing thinking about the millions of things I had to do.  Now it’s totally different.  Whether I practice yoga in my room for 20 minutes or do a 90 minute class, I become so connected to my mind, body and am very conscious of my breath that it becomes a meditative practice which I LOVE!!  I have learned that yoga is not just about the postures but about connecting the mind and body and focusing your attention inwards which can be applied to life off the mat as well.

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on why you do yoga.  If you started a challenge at the beginning of the month how’s it going?  If you weren’t spot on (did it everyday) give yourself a pat on the back because any day that you did what you set out to do is wonderful.  I plan on continuing to do yoga everyday as I look forward to it and feel amazing afterwards (plus I am supposed to do yoga everyday since I am a yoga teacher trainee!!)

Have a wonderful weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t get all the snow that is expected (unless you like snow of course)!

Les 🙂

Plyo-what?

Hello and happy Wednesday!  What a beautiful day we’ve had here in Ottawa!  Spring is in the air!

 

Speaking of  “spring” I decided to do a  plyometric workout today and what a workout it was!  I forgot how tough plyos are, especially since I did the exercises in a circuit and for 1-2 minute each…WOW I was DRENCHED afterwards.  It included squat jumps, mountain climbers, broad jumps, burpees (my favourite), lateral hops, tuck jumps, pushups, jumping lunges, plank walks and many more!  If you’re interested, come join me sometime and we’ll sweat it out together!

What are plyometrics?? Also known as jump training, plyometrics are a form of conditioning used primarily by athletes to improve performance in their sport as they are designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness.  From volleyball, basketball, and tennis players to skiiers and boxers, to the regular gym goer, all types of athletes benefit from doing plyometrics as they can be done using the lower and upper body.

Most of you might not have been brave enough to attempt a plyometric workout but let me explain how adding even just 30-45 minutes a week of these exercises will benefit you in the long run.

Benefits of doing a plyometric workout:

1. Better performance-i.e. For people who like to run (like me!) plyos are the best way to improve your speed

2. Develop muscle power-Plyos give your muscles an intense workout which will increase your muscle and power production (leaving you with nice looking athletic legs and arms)

3. Enhance your ability to burn calories-By pushing your limits in these workouts you will be increasing your metabolism which means more calories burned at rest (perfect for those trying to lose weight!)

4. Increase your muscular endurance-Who doesn’t want that?? Again great for athletes or anyone who is preparing for an event-more energy, more stamina=better performance!

5. No equipment necessary! Can do it anywhere and anytime!

6. It can be modified for everyone-it can be as simple as jumping rope in your backyard to jumping back and forth over a rolled up towel.  Use your body and your imagination and you will be surprised with the things you can come up with!

The list goes on but thought you would appreciate the ones mentioned above.

SO now that you know what plyometric training is and the benefits and you’re all excited to get started how about a video to show you an some  simple plyometric exercises (I promise I will be uploading some video from yours truly in the near future, I just need someone to hold the camera!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN85qVxlnvQ

***BTW I don’t really like this guy’s jump lunge demo, his feet should land further apart and his back should be straighter but I think you get the idea 😛

If you have any questions or want more information on how to design a plyometric workout send me an email to les@getfitwithles.com or comment on this post and I would LOVE to help you out.  Or as I mentioned earlier, you are always welcome to join me on my plyo day 🙂

The keys to getting in better shape (according to me) are 1- consistency 2-challenging yourself 3-gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts and 4-changing things up every few weeks.  Try adding plyometrics to your workout routine and let me know how it goes!

Happy jumping!!

Les 🙂

 

 

 

Losing sleep makes you fat!

Did that get your attention!!  It’s true!  Research shows that people who are awake more hours in the day gain weight for multiple reasons.   Here’s a great article that explains this–>http://www.livestrong.com/article/119644-importance-sleep-weight-loss/

How many of you hit snooze multiple times when it goes off??  Or you have to drag yourself out of bed and the last thing you want to do is make breakfast so you decide to grab a high carb, high sodium (unhealthy) breakfast on the go??  How about rushing to work and realizing you forgot to pack a lunch??  Not a very good way to start your day now is it!?

So how do we fix this problem?? It’s pretty simple but can be challenging for most.  First of all you need to change your sleep schedule.   For example if you have to be at work for 8:30am that means you need to wake up at least 90 minutes before (depending on your commute) to get up, shower, make breakfast, eat breakfast, make lunch, do whatever you need to do to make yourself look presentable and head out the door to travel to work.  Make sense??  Obviously if you have others you need to help get ready (i.e. kids) this requires even more time.  So in order to get 8 hours of sleep that means you need to be asleep by 11pm (if waking up at 7am) so you should be winding down by 10-10:30pm.  Remember the key to waking up early is getting enough sleep so you must make yourself go to bed earlier.  Obviously if you start work earlier (like moi who starts at 6am twice a week) you need to get up even earlier which means going to bed even earlier.  Work backwards from the time you start work, your commute, how long it takes to get ready, make breakfast etc.

This might seem really easy and almost silly of me to post about how much sleep you should be getting but one of the common problems I see with my clients is they don’t get enough sleep.  It takes practice just like anything else but with consistent effort it will become automatic and you will wake up feeling rested.  If your sleep doesn’t improve after a few weeks of trying to go to bed earlier you may need to see a sleep therapist for help.

It’s time to stop thinking that sleep is a luxury, it is a necessity!  Benefits include improvements in concentration, short-term memory, productivity, mood, sensitivity to pain and immune function.  And if you care about the way you look sleep can help you lose weight and make you appear and feel more attractive!  If that’s not enough to convince you to sleep more I don’t know what will.

So the next time you are tempted to cram in one more thing (or snack) at the end of your day-RESIST!   Put the chips and cookies away, shut down your computer, turn off your cell phone and the television and instead try turning down the lights an hour before bed, meditating, journaling (perhaps about the worries that are keeping you awake), reading a book (hopefully one that puts you to sleep) or listening to some relaxing music to get yourself into “sleep mode”.

Sleep is something I used to deprive myself of in the past as I started work very early and worked long days at my last job and it caught up to me quickly.  I now make a conscious effort to be in bed by 10pm every night and pop out of the bed in the morning much happier with how I look in the mirror (no more bags under my eyes), I am much more productive and focused, my energy is up all day, my workouts have improved and my eating is more healthy and consistent!

Commit yourself to consistently getting more sleep and you are committing to a happier and healthier you!

ZZZZZZZZ….

Les 🙂

Do you practice santosha?

For the past two weeks my yoga homework has been to practice santosha in my daily life.  Here is an article I found online that explains the concept of santosha very well.  I couldn’t have said it better myself…so read and ENJOY!

Post image for Santosha

Santosha. I love the way this word sounds and feels as it rolls off my tongue. It could be an exotic food, a tropical getaway, or a really excellent cocktail (one that is pink with an umbrella), but it is none of those things.Santosha is part of the eight limbs of yoga and is one of the niyamas. The niyamas take a deep dive into our attitudes about life and how we feel about ourselves as outlined by Patanjali.

As I was studying The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the concept of santosha really resonated with me. It was the one I really wanted to follow, my favorite niyama, and I wanted to be its poster child.

From the translation of the yoga sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda, the definition of santosha is being content with what you have and where you are at instead of wishing for things you don’t have or daydreaming of the future. It is living in the present and feeling true satisfaction. And here’s the kicker: When you have this kind of contentment, supreme joy is attained.

You have to be real careful with your interpretation of contentment, though. For some people, contentment is the way they feel after eating a four-course gourmet meal with wine perfectly paired to each course or after some awesome sex, chocolate—you get the idea. Those types of contentment fall more along the lines of satisfaction. Real honest-to-goodness contentment means just to be as we are without going to food, sex, chocolate, or other “things” for our happiness.

Here are a few ways to practice santosha in your daily life.

  • If something comes, let it come. If not, it doesn’t matter.
  • Practice remaining calm in success and failure.
  • Cut back on energy wasted in thoughts of liking or disliking what is.
  • Practice living mindfully.
  • Ask yourself if you really need that new [fill in the blank] to be content. Seriously, do you really need more “stuff” in your life?

This next little exercise is the hardest one of all for me, but if I could do this each and every day, life would be so much sweeter.

  • Live in the present moment without regretting the past or anticipating the future.

The thing about santosha is that it is a key element in living a spiritual life. If you cannot be happy with yourself and where you are in life, you are going to have a helluva long road ahead on your spiritual journey. Dissatisfaction with life has many horrible symptoms, such as psychic infirmity, complexes, and high blood pressure. I’d rather strive for the symptoms of contentment in life: happiness, peace, and the ultimate…supreme joy.

I’d like to share a little santsosha mantra that I learned in my yoga-teacher training.

I am content.

I am grateful for what I have and for what I do not have.

I learn from the joys and disappointments life brings me.

I honor the good in myself and others.

I refrain from criticism and fault finding.

I accept life just the way it is.

I enjoy life!

So, here’s a toast, a santosha toast, to all my fellow yogis: May you find contentment in your life, stop beating yourself up over the past, let go of fretting about the future, cease the coveting of things you don’t have, be at peace with your life as it is right now, fully present with a heart full of love, and grateful for all you have. Cheers!

Are you a poster child for santosha? Got a great example of santosha in your life? Would love to hear from other members of the santosha fan club!

The website where I found this article:

http://dailydownwarddog.com/words-i-love-santosha/

I love the santosha mantra that the author shares, anyone else??

I have to say that santosha is my favourite niyama and I really enjoyed practicing it the past two weeks.  My group decided that we would take a moment everyday to write down things that we are grateful for.  I found it was an excellent exercise as it made me more aware of how fortunate I am and made me realize that I am already pretty content!  If you have never done this before I suggest you try it for a couple of weeks.  It is amazing seeing everything written down on paper!!  I am going to continue doing this as I really enjoyed it!

Hope this brings some positive energy and new ideas to you today!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Namaste,

Les:)

What I REALLY do!

In case you haven’t seen this already I thought you would enjoy this…

 

…funny but somewhat true!! I think that my clients would agree that a bit of everything mentioned above takes place during our sessions!

Hope you are all recovered from your Valentine’s Day food/wine/chocolate hangovers…what did you do to work off all the chocolate and candy you ate last night??  You’ve still got lots of time left to get a workout in…

Try this simple workout at home if you don’t have a chance to make it to the gym…I am about to start this workout myself as soon as I post this!  I had a few clients today, plus errands to run and then I was busy cooking in the kitchen for the last few hours and have some more work to get done before dinner time but NO EXCUSES!! (I went to Nigel’s amazing yoga class during lunchtime at GoodLife but that wasn’t enough for me ;))

Walk/run stairs 3-5 minutes to warmup ( OR 10-15 burpees, your choice!)

Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise with minimal rest in between

Full squats 20-30

Pushups 10-15 (on your toes or knees)

Alternating Lunges 15-20 per leg

Jump Squats 20

Tricep Dips (use a chair) 15-20

Lying Leg Raises 15-20 (both legs)

Full sit ups (all the way up and all the way down) 15-20

Jumping Jacks 30

Plank 30-60 secs 

Good luck!!

-Les 🙂

 

 

Things I learned from my naturopath…

I recently started meeting with Dr Ellen Simone who is an experienced and extremely helpful naturopathic doctor.  Sheworks at the Alta Vista Chiropractic Clinic on Bank Street.  After my initial assessment we decided that doing a 7 day detox/cleanse would be a great idea to help sort out some digestion issues I was having and to find out if I was intolerant to any foods.  After 7 days of eliminating certain foods from my diet I felt incredible!  No cravings, more energy, my mood was stable (yes I can be moody at times, ask Dave!), and I even lost a bit of excess weight as well!  Not bad eh??

Here are lists of foods that I was encouraged to eat and which ones to avoid:

Eat A LOT of
Brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, tapioca, amaranth, teff (cereals and pastas made from these grains are acceptable)
DO NOT EAT
Gluten containing grains such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt
EAT
All fresh vegetables
DO NOT EAT
Peppers, mushrooms, corn, potatoes, egg plant, all frozen, canned, jarred vegetables
EAT
All fresh fruits
DO NOT EAT
Bananas, oranges, grapefruit, melons, strawberries, dried fruits
EAT
Chicken, turkey, fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut, cod)
Rice milk
Almond milk
DO NOT EAT
Red meats (beef, pork), lunch meats, hotdogs, sausage, canned meat, smoked meat, shellfish
Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream, cream)
Eggs
EAT
Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
DO NOT EAT
Peanuts, pistacios, cashews, salted or flavoured nuts
EAT
Olive and flax oil drizzled over veggies
Cook with coconut oil
All herbs and spices
Sea salt
Nut butters, tahini and bean dips
Pesto, mustard with no additives
Apple cider/brown rice vinegar
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
DO NOT EAT
Table salt
Refined oils, margarine and shortening
All sweeteners
All food additives and colouring
DO
Drink 8 glasses of water a day
100% vegetable and fruit juices
Milk alternatives such as rice or almond milk
Herbal teas
Green tea
AVOID
Fruit drinks with refined sugar
Vegetable drinks with high sodium (V8)
Cow, goat and soy milk
Alcohol
Caffeinated beverages like coffee, pop, black tea
Try this hypoallergenic diet for a few weeks and you may find yourself less moody, less bloated, having more energy and maybe even losing a bit of weight!  No cheating though while eating this way, otherwise you won’t be able to find really determine if you are allergic to certain foods or not.  Who knows, maybe you will continue to eat this way and live a longer and healthier life!  Just when you thought you were getting in the habit of eating healthier here I go throwing healthier ways of eating at you…madness I know!
Dr. Ellen if you’re reading this please let me know if I am missing anything or misinterpreted anything that you told me 🙂
Anyone ever tried to cut out all the “trigger”  or “bad” foods in your diet before???  How did you feel?? Were you able to maintain it??
I am now trying to be even more conscious of everything I eat and find that not only am I much happier but my stomach is too 🙂
Good luck!
Les

Come to my free yoga class on Sunday!

Happy Friday Everyone!!  Imagine, we could be doing yoga on the beach??  Sometimes I really wonder why I live in Ottawa when I could live on the beach?!  I think I need to go somewhere hot soon…

Just a reminder that I will be teaching a FREE hatha yoga class on Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm at Rama Lotus.  Bring your mat and a couple friends and don’t be worried if you haven’t done yoga in awhile (or ever), it is a class for all to enjoy!

I am really excited to see everyone there!  Here is the address in case you have never been there before:

Rama Lotus 340 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 0Y8 | Phone: 613.234.7974

Come to the SKY room (top floor of the building right next to the main entrance) and be early as I am starting the class right at 4:30 and wouldn’t want you to miss any of it!

See you on Sunday!

Namaste 😉

Les

 

 

“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

A great quote that fits the theme of today’s post perfectly.  Do what makes you happy everyday!!  Of course my first recommendation is for everyone to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day but if exercising isn’t the number one thing on your list that makes you happy then find out what does and do it everyday!  So whether you want to surf the internet, enjoy a good book, meditate, sit in a coffee shop, talk to a friend on the phone or take a nap, take the time to do it everyday!

Why??  Because it makes you feel good!  I am trying to do 20 minutes of yoga everyday and to be honest it has really Kids laughingimproved my mood and my energy for the rest of the day.  Here is a simple formula I came up with…

FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY+DO IT EVERYDAY=HAPPIER SELF!!

Pretty straight forward right?  So why don’t we do it more often??  You can do this with anything and it doesn’t have to be the same thing everyday.  The point I am trying to make here is take some time to enjoy life and by doing something for YOU for at least 20 minutes a day and you will feel really good and if you don’t, well please let me know!  Maybe you’ll want to try some of these I found on this website http://www.highexistence.com/life-secrets-and-tips/ and here’s another link that will be helpful…http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/happy-people/

Keeping with the theme of my blog (“Get Fit with Les”) here is a workout you can do in 20 minutes or less the next time you are at the gym.

20 Minutes Circuit Workout

(*choose light weights for max reps)

1) Bench press* or pushups – max in 1:00
2) Squats – max in 1:00
3) Pullups or pulldowns – 1:00
4) Bike or jog – 3:00
5) Military press* – 1:00 (Standing shoulder press)
6) Lunges – 1:00 each leg
7) Bicep curls – 1:00
8) Bike or jog – 3:00
9) Tricep extensions.- 1:00
10) Leg ext – 1:00 (requires leg machines – or repeat squats with weights)
11) Leg curls – 1:00 (requires leg machines – or repeat lunges with weights)
12) Situps – 2:00
13) Crunches – 2:00
14) Stretch

I LOVE circuit training as it is one of the best ways to make a strength training workout that is also challenging for your heart and lungs.

This workout is a 20-minute workout that will take you to your maximum physical effort as well as your maximum heart rate. The object of this workout is not to rest in between exercises. You will see that one minute of a particular exercise will burn out the targeted muscle group as well as increase your heart rate to a fat burning zone. Try the 20 minute workout above- if it is not challenging enough for you try it again, totaling only 40 minutes of your time in the weight room.

Let me know what you think and remember all you need is to give yourself 20 minutes a day to do whatever you want.  It’s not that much considering there are 1,440 minutes in a day…ever think about it that way??

Do not look back on happiness or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it.

– Henry Ward Beecher

Les 🙂