Monthly Archives: June 2012

8 ways to stick to your diet during Canada Day (or any long) Weekend!!

TGIF and TGI the LONG WEEKEND!!!  I am sure many of you have been waiting weeks for this weekend of fun in the sun and lots of time with friends, family and of course, FOOD!

I will be spending the weekend with Dave’s wonderful family in Scarborough to celebrate his Mom’s 60th birthday!  I have already been thinking about how I will ‘stick to my diet’ while I am away from home.  Here are some ideas I’ve come up with…

1. Focus on the people not the food!  Keep in mind that long weekends and parties are for celebrating and spending time with family and friends, not just for eating lots of junk!

2. Remember what your goal is-you have worked sooo hard up until now, why let all that hard work and clean eating go to waste in one weekend?  Keep your eye on the prize!  Do you BEST to follow your diet/healthy eating and exercise routine instead of falling off the deep end and telling yourself you will ‘start fresh’ next week.

2. Plan a workout or try to be active everyday-I know there is a BIG chance I might be consuming a few more calories than normally this weekend BUT to offset that I have already planned to hit up the Goodlife near Dave’s parents place in Scarborough on Saturday, go for a long run on Sunday and yoga before our long drive back on Monday.  Might go for a few walks through his neighbourhood too 🙂 Just because it’s the long weekend doesn’t mean you don’t have time to exercise, in fact you probably have MORE time to exercise.  Use your time wisely 😉

3. Don’t overindulge- I’m not saying you can’t have a few beers, a burger, some ice cream and any other treats you usually have on a long weekend but treat yourself in moderation!  You’ll feel sooo much when you do 🙂

4. Prepare some healthy treats for the party you’re going to or eat before you go! Never arrive on an empty stomach or all hell will break loose!  It’s also a good idea to drink a large glass of water before hitting the appetizers/buffet table, it will take the edge off your hunger.  Since I will be staying at Dave’s parents place, I will be stopping by the grocery store to pick up some egg whites, extra veggies, chicken and fish, and I have already packed my protein powder and nuts 🙂

5. Eat slowly-It takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s full.  So the slower you eat, the less you will eat.

6. Don’t load up on liquid calories-Check out this chart below for a better understanding of how these drinks can add up!  I think I’ll stick to my usual drink of choice…WATER! Ok and maybe one Coors light…

7. Beware of leftovers!  Just because you have food leftover doesn’t mean you have to eat it.  If you’re hosting a party or bbq, don’t be afraid to give away the leftovers to your guests, they will love you for it and so will your waistline!

8. Prepare to be firm! If you have a habit of caving in when pressured by your friends (it’s so hard to say no sometimes), make sure you’re not sending mixed messages.  Come prepared with a game plan that defines in your mind what you’ll eat and how you’ll respond to temptation. This way, they won’t interpret your hesitation as a cue to push the chips and dip your way.  It’s also helpful to make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep to guard against giving into peer pressure as you’ll be less likely to crave bad foods.

I hope this has been helpful and even if you choose to follow only ONE of these tips I will be very impressed and you can give yourself a pat on the back for making the effort and choosing to stay healthy!

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers!!

I’ll miss my family and friends in Southampton this weekend but I will see you all soon!

Les 🙂

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Are you too hard on yourself??

Good evening!  I have been behind on my posts lately but there are some good reasons for that.  First of all, my boyfriend has been moving in (yes very exciting) and I have been helping him pack, clean, move, unpack etc.  Secondly, business is picking up so all the extra time I used to have in between clients is getting less and less, now that’s a good thing!  But I promise I will continue to provide you with useful (I hope!) health, fitness and nutrition tips every Monday and Friday via my blog.

I haven’t posted anything ‘yoga’ related lately and I was inspired to write this post after meeting a friend for coffee and having some deep discussions…

I recently read a book called “Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life” by Judith Lasater  and found it to be very empowering and have learned some great lessons from it.  To give you a brief summary, the author does a great job of explaining the ancient teachings of yoga and how it can be applied to our lives (aka yoga off the mat).  I love this stuff and even if you’re not currently practicing yoga I highly recommend this book if you are seeking guidance in deepening your relationships with yourself, your family and friends and the world around you (who isn’t??)

What I love the most about this book is how each chapter is divided into 5 parts: a verse from the Yoga Sutras or Bhagavad Gita (aka Yoga Bibles), an essay, a guided practice, more suggestions for practice and Mantras (‘manas’ means mind+’tra’ means to transcend=helps you to transcend ordinary ways of thinking) for Daily Living.  The practice sections will help to support your exploration of ‘living your yoga’.

One chapter in the book in particular really resonated with me, Chapter 4, Self-Judgement, and here’s why…maybe you can relate…

My whole life I have been someone who has worked hard in everything I do, school, sports, relationships, work.   I always strived to “be the best” whether it was to get straight A’s in school, be part of the starting line up on the basketball or volleyball team, I wanted everyone to like me, be number 1 in the company etc.  In the past I have also been very hard on myself and found that my inner dialogue (yes I talk to myself sometimes!) was somewhat self-judgemental.  If I wasn’t successful or things didn’t turn out exactly the way I had hoped I would be really hard on myself and blame myself for not getting what I wanted.  This is where the “no pain, no gain” mindset all started but after reading this book Judith recommends we should practice an attitude of “no pain, no pain” instead.  I like that!  It applies to all areas of our lives, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

I have included an excerpt from the chapter that explains ‘self judgement’ really well;

“…I discovered something even more disconcerting: there was no way that I could be harsh towards myself and, at the same time, be compassionate to others.  I realized also that the process of silently putting myself down was actually a form of egoism.  If you expect more from yourself than from others, you are saying that you are better than others and, therefore must perform at a superior level.  I do not mean that you should not set goals for yourself.  Rather, the question is, how do you react if you do not meet these goals? Honestly admitting that you may have not done your best is not judgement.  It is judgement when you draw a conclusion about yourself based on your ideas about failure.  Honesty involves taking responsibility, judgement has to do with blame.  To view yourself as bad or a failure because you did not accomplish what you set out to do is judgement.  To state clearly and simply that you did not accomplish your plan is taking responsibility “.

Pretty deep stuff but very profound!  This got me thinking and I have been ‘practicing’ being less critical of myself and others.  It is quite liberating and I am finally beginning to feel (after 29 years) that I AM perfect just as I am.  Sounds silly but I am sure many of you can relate to the feelings of  “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy” or “I will never be able to lose weight/run a half marathon/gain muscle….”   this is very self-judgemental.  The first step in freeing yourself of these thoughts of self-judgement is to be aware of them.  In the book, Judith provides some great ways to practice changing your attitude or inner dialogue (for example repeating the mantra “I am perfect just as I am”) so you’ll have to read it to learn more!

So if you have made it to this point (the end!), you are either a) interested in learning more about ‘living your yoga’ or b) you can relate to being judgemental towards yourself or c) you just really really enjoy reading my blog (not matter what the topic) or d) all of the above!

If you have any more questions or comments about this concept I encourage you to share your thoughts…I am still learning soooo much about the yogic philosophy but feel the need to share some insights once in awhile.  There are so many great books out there that I need to dive into! Ever since I have become a yoga teacher I am becoming more interested in the spiritual side of yoga and less concerned with the physical practice.

Good night and remember YOU ARE ENOUGH and YOU ARE PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE!  Don’t forget it 😉  And tell yourself that once in awhile…you will begin to believe it!!

Les 🙂

Lat Pulldowns: How To

Thanks to Tess for this very detailed and informative post. It was full of so much useful info I thought I would share it with my readers!
For those of you who do or have done Lat Pulldowns please read and take notes!! This is one of my FAVOURITE back exercises and definitely one that most people do wrong.

Now I’m off to Rib Fest to enjoy my cheat meal….

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
Les 🙂

Possibly the most incorrectly used machine in the gym is the Lat Pulldown machine.  On any given day, I could pick out at least 5 people ranging from beginner level women, to big buff men, to seniors, who are doing it wrong.

A few basics:

-“Lat” is short for latissimus dorsi, the widest muscle in your back which, in short, moves the upper arm down and back.  “Pulldowns” refer to the motion of pulling in a downward motion.

-The lat pulldown machine is meant to exercise the back, specifically the lats, back of the shoulders (rear deltoids), and the small muscles underneath the shoulders (rhomboids).  Because most pulling movements also involve the use of your biceps, you will also be working them a little bit too.

-By exercising the lats you will increase your overall power in many activities; your rear deltoids help you help to stabilize your shoulder blade…

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Egg whites should be a staple in everyone’s diet…

And here are just a few reasons why… (from Burnbrae Farms website since that’s the brand I eat!)

Main Benefits of Egg Whites

-good source of high quality protein

-fat free and cholesterol free

-source of 3 vitamins and minerals (riboflavin-needed to metabolize proteins, niacin-helps release energy and promotes normal nerve function, folate-aids in red blood cell production)

-1/4 cup is just 30 calories!!

-all natural (just egg whites) -no added ingredients or preservatives

-pasteurized (won’t get sick from eating them raw)

kosher 

-ready to use/convenient (no mess or expense in breaking and separating whole shell eggs)

-can be frozen up to 3 months before expiry date

Some more important nutritional information:

Conversions:

2 tbsp=1 egg white

3tbsp+2tsp=1 large egg

1-250mL carton (1 cup)=8 egg whites

2-500ml carton (2 cups)=16 egg whites

So many ways to cook them:

Check out this link for some easy and delicious recipes 🙂

I could eat egg whites for EVERY meal of the day if I had to!  I never get sick of them! I don’t know if I love the texture or the taste better (many would argue that they have no taste but they will take on the taste of anything you add to them!)  The best way to eat egg whites (in my opinion) is cooked with fresh veggies in a pan (make an omelette) for breakfast, lunch or dinner.   I also really enjoy cooking my egg whites plain then adding a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste.

So since there are 3.5 g of protein per egg white, having 6-8 egg whites is usually a good amount to consume at a time (3.5×6=21 g of protein and only 90 cals!) I normally use 3/4 cup-1 cup of egg whites when cooking my breakfast.

Eating protein (egg whites) at breakfast is the best way to rev up your metabolism and keep yourself feeling fuller longer 🙂  Another idea is to hard boil a couple of eggs, throw out the yolk and use can eat the hard boiled egg whites as a snack with some cut up veggies or fruit or if you’re weird (like me) a tsp of all natural peanut butter…try it you might like it!

Remember that the best and most effective way to lose weight is to eat protein at EVERY meal, snacks included.  So for those of you who struggle to think of ways to have protein for your snacks, how about egg whites??  You’ll be getting more protein without consuming too many extra calories.  Protein shakes are another great way to increase the amount of protein in your diet (without adding lots of calories) but I will save that discussion for another day…

The egg yolk is very healthy as well (packed with vitamins and minerals)  so don’t be afraid to throw one whole egg in  once in awhile, it will make your egg white omelette taste even yummier!

If you are someone who HATES eggs or egg whites maybe this post will inspire you to try them again!?  And to those of you who are already huge fans (and consumers) of egg whites feel free to post some of your favourite recipes and tips for those who aren’t lovers of this AMAZING yellowy-clearish liquid protein source.

I LOVE EGG WHITES! Do you??!

Les 🙂

Another year older?!

Yes as many of you know (from Facebook or having a really good memory!) today is my 29th birthday!! Thanks so much to all of you who so kindly posted on my wall, texted or called me today! :):):)

I have just sat down for the first time at my computer all day after an AMAZING day being spoiled by my most awesome boyfriend.  He planned a fantastic day and treated me to some delicious meals and awesome gifts! THANK YOU DAVE!! xoxo  Now it’s time to get ready for a night out with some of my friends 🙂  That being said…I will end today’s post with this…

Thank you so much to EVERYONE who I have met, kept in touch with, spent time with, cried and laughed with, ran, worked out, did yoga with, and honestly for making this past year the BEST one yet.  Can’t think of anything that could make me happier than time spent working out, socializing with my friends, catching up with family and spending time with DAVE!  I am looking forward to many more fun times ahead!  It is crazy how time flies!

So tonight, I will be celebrating a very successful year and enjoying every last moment of my 20’s….

Have  a great weekend everyone! Enjoy this PERFECT weather we are having…

Oh and in case you’re wondering, yes, trainers eat cake on their birthday too (well I do!)…I had a delicious chocolate cupcake that my client kindly bought for me 🙂 But that is it!! I got my workout in early this morning too…no excuses!!

Let the party begin…

Les:)

A quick and simple recipe to spice up your chicken!

I was about to cook my chicken last night for dinner and saw some coconut oil in my pantry and I thought “HMMM, maybe I’ll cook my chicken with that tonight?”  Then I began thinking about what spices would taste good with chicken cooked in coconut oil.  Thank you Google and this website for helping me find this quick and easy recipe…

chicken bites

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts (I used 3 breasts)

2-3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil

1/2-3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon sea salt/real salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a bowl comine all of the spices and add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Stir in the chicken and mix until the chicken is coated in spices.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, stir in the chicken and cook for a few minutes, or until the chicken is not longer pink in the middle. Remove the chicken from the pan as soon as it is done cooking. The bites are so small that they can get overdone sitting in a hot pan!
  4. Recipe adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen

I decided to make a salad and topped it with the chicken bites and I didn’t even need any dressing 🙂  Dave loved it too!  Other ways to eat these ‘bites’ is with some brown/long grain rice and cooked vegetables in a stir fry for a main dish (lunch or dinner) or make them an appetizer by serving the chicken bites with some healthy dipping sauce (greek yogurt?) and then pair them with sweet potato wedges as an appetizer.  No matter how you eat them they are DELICIOUS and a great way to add some excitement to your chicken!

Try them and let me know what you think …

Les 🙂

Why do you exercise??

Have you ever really thought about it??

Is it because you know it’s good for you? Or maybe you think you have to? Do you do it to relieve stress or as an excuse to get out of the office or the house?  Do you like to exercise with friends and look forward to the social part of it?  Maybe you are trying to lose weight?  Are you training for something? Or maybe you’re like me and you miss it when you don’t workout because you LOVE working out SO much!

Whatever your reason for exercising I congratulate you because you are part of a small percentage of Canadians who exercise.  According to this article it is recommended that adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week in order to obtain substantial health benefits.  That’s only 30 minutes a day 5 times a week and guess how many are actually achieving this?? For males 17% (good job guys) and females 14% (tsk tsk)!  What’s even worse  is youth guidelines were met by only 9% of boys and 4% for girls (they are to get 60 minutes of exercise a day).

Being an active person, 30 minutes a day seems like not enough time!  Yes, it’s true it’s better than nothing but other than doing some high intensity interval training or a really good ab workout in 30 minutes I’m not convinced I could get everything in that I wanted to do!  People need to stop having the “it’s better than nothing” attitude, it is a pet peeve of mine!  Basically what you’re saying is it’s not satisfactory but it’s better than nothing at all…sounds pretty negative to me!  But that’s just me…do something but make it worthwhile !!

My clients always come for 1 hour workouts and this seems to leave enough time for a proper warm up, an awesome 😉 workout and cool down.  What’s even better is they get results doing 2 or 3  1-hour strength training workouts a week with me and then a couple of hours (of cardio or activities of their choice) on their own.

I am convinced that the reason today’s youth do not get as much exercise is because their parents aren’t encouraging them to!  Or perhaps the parents  aren’t active??  Whatever the reason, kids are so influential so I think it is the parents responsibility to be a role model and teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle.  What do you think?? Sounds simple to me!  And yes, I know, there are single working moms/dads, and sometimes both parents work etc etc but you can always do your best to MAKE time to educate your children about the importance of exercise.  Show them you care by getting them involved in athletics or helping them find an activity they enjoy.  Without all the years I played basketball and volleyball I don’t know what else I would’ve done with my time?? I have some of the best memories of my life playing sports, learned a lot about myself and made friends that I will never forget!

For those of you who have families what do you do when you have free time with your kids?? Watch movies or tv?? Or do you take them outside and PLAY! Whatever happened to kids spending hours playing outside with their friends and having to be dragged inside?? That’s what my sister and I used to do!  Or if we weren’t playing outside we were spending hours in the gym practicing with the basketball or volleyball team we were playing on!  I don’t remember having much time to watch tv and it also helped that my dad banned video games from our house! Thanks DAD!! I wish more parents were this tough with their kids, maybe the child obesity problem wouldn’t be as bad if kids were encouraged to play outside instead of sitting for hours glued to the computer or tv screen.  Just sayin…

Ok so somehow this has become a bit of a rant, sorry about that!  I am so passionate about educating our youth about the importance of exercise and I know when I have kids (wayyyy down the road) that they will be VERY active and hopefully enjoy playing volleyball too 😉  For those of you who didn’t already know, I studied Physical Education in University and actually taught elementary school phys ed when I first graduated so I have seen first hand how little support there is for phys ed programs in schools these days.  It is quite sad and kids are getting so lazier because of it!  Thank you to all the phys ed teachers and coaches out there who are trying their hardest to increase the level of fitness for today’s youth!  What would we do without you??  Without phys ed programs most kids wouldn’t get ANY exercise.  What’s worse is if a child has a bad experience or doesn’t like phys ed they are usually the ones who end up becoming sedentary adults.  You don’t have to be an athlete to stay active, you just have to appreciate how good it feels to be healthy and moving!

So back to my first question: Why do you exercise??? If you’re someone who works out without even thinking about it AWESOME!  You are an inspiration to those around you who aren’t there yet.  Keep it up!  If you are a person who has to drag yourself to the gym or begrudgingly workouts 3-5 times a week, YOU ARE AWESOME!  You’re putting in the effort, and you’re still part of the 15% of society of exercises 😉 Keep going!  If you are someone who becomes tired at the thought of exercising or have attempted to many times and then stop after a week, guess what you are awesome too you just don’t know it yet!  Dedicate at LEAST 30 minutes a day to exercising and once you realize how amazing it feels you’ll become addicted (like the rest of us) and you’ll become that fit person you’ve always dreamed of being!

I love this cartoon…

Now, share your answers please! Why do you exercise?? Or why don’t you exercise?? I wanna hear from you 🙂 Better yet, why do you read my blog?? If there are any topics you would like me to write about please let me know!

Les 🙂

Without E.D.D. you’ll never lose weight…

Hello! Hope everyone has started this first week of June off in a good way.  I sure did!  My upper body is a bit sore from the 108 Sun Salutation Challenge with Megan Campbell and Ichih Wang at Pure Yoga Ottawa yesterday for “a good cause” but it was sooo worth it!  I still can’t believe how many chattarunga’s (high plank to low plank) we did!  It took some serious effort, determination and discipline for all of the people who were there to get there and stick with it for the entire 90 minutes.

Effort, Determination and Discipline-I like these words.  They are the ingredients for success in all parts of our lives.  Today I will discuss how effort, determination and discipline with your NUTRITION is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

Being a personal trainer for the past 4 years has taught me A LOT about fitness and nutrition and to be honest I am still learning!  But no matter what anyone tells you, or what you read in a magazine or hear on Dr. Oz (lol!) I know for a fact the the BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT requires EFFORT, DETERMINATION and DISCIPLINE, trust me on this one!  If you really want something bad enough (lose weight, lean arms, sexy back, flat stomach, muscular legs) you have to work your butt off for it! And it’s not a temporary thing, you need to continue to work at it for the rest of your life!  Personally I  have been putting in a solid effort to lose weight and “get fit” since I entered the fitness industry in July of 2008 and the work never ends!  Recently I have been making a conscious effort to get my body fat below 20% and you know what the secret is?? It’s a big secret so you ready?? Eating clean every single day of the week!  Yep, no cheating, no exceptions!  I have been following a strict but very healthy “diet” since the middle of April (very few carbs except for oatmeal in the am, fruit for a morning snack, lots of veggies, protein and healthy fats) and I have lost 3 inches off my belly (very important with bikini season quickly approaching) and have lost 7 pounds of fat.  Doesn’t seem like a lot but I am more than happy with my progress and this is only the beginning.  So imagine, a personal trainer who follows her diet to a T, lifts weights 4 times  a week with 2 of the best personal trainers in Ottawa (Lucas Couturier and Honore Levesque), runs 2-3 days a week and does yoga almost everyday, takes almost 2 months to lose less than 10 pounds and I’m not done yet!  So to those of you who give up on your “healthy eating” and “work out” routine because you’re not seeing results after 1 or 2 weeks, I can guarantee that if you kept trying your hardest for a few more weeks you would start to see your body change.  If not, well you need to push yourself a bit harder 😉

Another example of someone who puts forth a solid effort, is very determined and disciplined is my client who recently signed up with me and is determined to get in the best shape of her life.   She committed to training with me 5 DAYS A WEEK for the first 3 weeks and wrote down every single food and drink she put in her mouth and guess what?  She has lost almost 10 pounds and 10 inches total.  A miracle?? I don’t think so! It happened because of her E.D.D. and she will continue to push herself in the gym and stay focused in the kitchen!

Here is an awesome video that reiterates the topic of today’s post.  Tim Bell is a super cool guy, a personal trainer and the founder of Jungle Fit in Kingston.  I was lucky enough to have  met him at a recent Power Yoga Teacher Training workshop I did a few weekends ago.  Watch the whole video…http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wnAwD6NDMUw

Here’s a link to his amazing blog as well!

So how bad do you want it?? Start putting in more EFFORT, DETERMINATION and DISCIPLINE and you can get it! It’s all up to YOU!!

Les 🙂

Les’ Top 5 Reasons Why Early Morning Workouts RULE!

I know, I know we’re not all morning people but hear me out!  I know many of probably struggle to get out of bed in the morning and even the thought of working out in the early a.m. before you head to work seems crazy! Well here are 5 reasons you may want  set your alarm for an early morning workout…

REASON #1: It’s usually quiet at this time of day, so it can be a great way to have some time to yourself.  Plus there is much more equipment available at the gym so you won’t have to waste time waiting for equipment!

REASON #2: Exercising in the morning wakes up your brain, clears your mind, and helps you organize your thoughts, what better way to prepare you for your day? Plus you will feel soooo good afterwards and feel so positive about yourself that the thought of eating anything unhealthy (that will take away further away from you reaching your goals) doesn’t even cross your mind.  Double awesome!:)

REASON #3: YOU GET IT DONE! If you get it done first thing, then you won’t have to worry about trying to squeeze it in to your busy schedule (socializing, kids, friends, a hot date, etc).  Plus, studies have shown morning exercisers are more consistent and rarely miss their workouts!

REASON #4: Exercising helps get things moving, digestively speaking, so working out early can help with getting rid of the ‘build up’ in your body (if you don’t go at least once a day, you might want to see someone about that!)

REASON #5: Without food in your belly you will likely faint or feel nauseaus during your workout so working out in the morning will encourage you to eat breakfast, which is the best way to boost your metabolism which means  you will burn more calories throughout the day!

So are you convinced??  There are many other reasons why it’s better to  get ‘er done (your workout, that is)  in the morning!  To those of you who are regular early a.m. work-outers, why do you train in the morning? And for all the people who like to work out after work, how do you do it and what do you like best about it?

If you haven’t tried the early morning workout thing I highly recommend you do!  You can thank me later 🙂

Have a great weekend! Rain, rain go away!!

Les 🙂