Monthly Archives: December 2012

The best Christmas gift ever…a testimonial from one of my clients (my sister!) :)

Just thought I’d share with you an amazing letter I received in a card from my sister Jenn this year on Christmas eve! I couldn’t hold back the tears as soon as I started reading it!  I am so proud of how far she has come in 1 year!! I am even more excited for the amazing things she has planned for 2013 including a 30km and 42.2 (full marathon) race!  YOU GO SIS!!  Here is her story….

 

Exactly one year ago today, I received probably one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received in my life.  My sister Leslie Robertson gave me three months of online personal training support for Christmas.  I was pretty excited to receive this gift but I was also hesitant at the same time, thinking “well, how will this work?”

My journey actually began as a result of this gift and my New Year’s Resolution (yes, some of us make those-LOL!).  On January 1st 2012, I was working out at the gym and I decided to stand on the scale in the change room.  This moment was shocking! I had not been on a scale for years, measuring myself only on the fit of my clothes (and probably a bit too scared to see what the numbers on the scale would truly be).  From the moment on, I committed to myself to my fitness plan and my resolution to meet my fitness goal.

I began with a 30 day challenge-exercise everyday for 30 days in the month of January.  I achieved that goal and lost some weight in the process.  In February, I added a weight training regiment that Leslie provided and also included some high intensity interval training a couple of times week.  I also started running, my true passion!  I decided that I would do the 5km Around the Bay race in March of 2012 as a goal to continue working towards.

It wasn’t easy training for my first 5km.  I started with run 2 minutes walk 3 minutes on the treadmill and moved to run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes and so on until I could run 30 minutes on the treadmill without stopping.  After that I moved my training outdoors and continued to work towards my goal of finishing the 5km race.

Well, not only did I finish 5 km in March, I completed 5 more races this year, including the Yonge Street 10km, the Ancaster Heritage 5km, the Burlington Downtown 10km, the Road to Hope 5km.  My biggest fitness goal to date was the Army Half Marathon in Ottawa that I completed with Leslie in September.  It was probably one of the hardest things that I have done in my entire life, but completely worth the training and hard work.

As I continue on my fitness journey I have lost about 47 pounds and continue to lose more, hoping to hit my final weight loss goal in March 2013 of 62 pounds.  My one regret is that I did not do measurements (even though Leslie asked me to) which would have been encouraging at those stages of plateaus that I hit along the way.  I have learned that you always have to have a fitness goal in mind-my current goal in a 30km race-Around the Bay in March which will hopefully be the preliminary training ground for my ultimate goal of the Road to Hope Marathon next November.  I want to thank my sister Leslie for inspiring me to change my life-to set a fitness goal and work hard until you achieve it.  I don’t know where my weight loss journey would be right now had she not provided  me with the tools and encouragement to change my life.  Thank you for helping me to “Get Fit with Les”!!  I am forever grateful!

Love ya,

Jenn

 

Thank you so much Jenn for choosing to take full advantage of my gift of fitness last Christmas, you are a true inspiration to everyone!  Best of luck in your continued fitness journey and your BIG race goals this year!  You can do anything you put your mind to!!

Les 🙂

Be SMART! Don’t wait until the New Year to start…

Hello and hope you have all survived the craziness of the holidays-travelling, socializing, drinking and eating, staying up late, etc etc…I most certainly have enjoyed the break but am ready to get back to work!!

Now that Christmas has come and gone I hope you have had time to start thinking about your goals in the upcoming months…

Remember the best goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals…check out my friend Lydia’s blog post called “How to set SMART goals”  I have included below…

new years resolution

For example, let’s say you want to lose weight (a very common goal after all the holiday eating). Instead of making the resolution “lose weight”, let’s make a SMART goal:

S – Lose 10 pounds

M – You can measure this by weighing yourself on a regular basis (once a week is fine)

A – This is where it gets personal and specific to you. If losing 10 pounds is attainable, perfect, if not, adjust to what you can do.

R – This one goes hand-in-hand with attainable. I believe in stretch goals (aka going beyond what you think is possible) but you do want to aim for something that’s realistic.

T – Setting a deadline is one of the most important aspects of a SMART goal. Without a deadline, how will you know if/when you have achieved your goal? For our example, let’s say 6 weeks (for a safe 1-2 weight loss per week).

To sum up, our goal is to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks. At the end of 6 weeks, we’ll know if we’ve met our goal.

SMART goals set the foundation for action

Having the goal is the start, then you need an action plan. Here’s where I think many resolutions break down. Even if you create a specific, measurable goal, without a plan, how will you get there?

In keeping with our goal to lose 10 pounds, here are some ways we can plan for success:

– Start eating clean. Cut out white sugar, white flour and processed food.
– Drink 2L of water a day. (Notice how this is specific and measurable)
– Go to the gym 3-4 times per week. Book in your calendar!
– Limit alcohol to 2 nights a week (there’s a lot of sugar in alcohol)

Those are just some very specific ways that will help contribute to the goal of weight loss. Whatever your goals are, you need to outline the steps you’ll take to get there.

To help you get started with setting your goals for 2013, I’ve created a free, downloadable goal-setting template for you.

 

SOO what are your goals for 2013?? How do you plan on achieving them??

Les 🙂

 

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

My sister was getting ready for work, buttoning up her cute blouse;

The gifts were wrapped and put under the tree with care;

In hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there;

 

Dad was watching the news and Katie was toasting her bread,

While vision of Beech Road kielbasa danced in his head;

I was cooking egg whites and drinking a large glass of water;

And planning what I would do at the gym to make myself look hotter,

 

Then my sister asked my dad for a ride to work,

And kindly my dad said yes while I covered my smirk;

I feel guilty not training clients today,

But to have a week off  feels pretty good I must say!

 

As I watch all the Christmas shows on tv,

I just love how special this holiday can be!

Even though there might not be snow  in Toronto tonight,

The Christmas spirit will still be bright.

The best part of Christmas is spending time with family and friends,

And learning from my sister about all the new trends.

As we fill our bellies full of (healthy) food and drink,

We discuss our goals for the new year that will help our waistline’s shrink.

 

Today I will take a moment to reflect,

And remember that while I may not be perfect,

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by a  family,

Who’s love grows year after year, exponentially.

So here’s to the true meaning of Christmas,

When we celebrate the birth of Jesus,

Who inspires us and reminds us

What’s imporant is not the presents we give and receive,

But being in the presence of special family and friends on this eve.

Merry Christmas to my family and friends and all my wonderful clients!

Hope you have a fantastic holiday and enjoy your break! What are your Christmas eve traditions??

Les 🙂

 

 

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!

Yep last week was a tough week for me.  I won’t go into detail because to be honest it’s in the past but let’s just say I am back and feeling stronger, focused and more positive than ever!

My fitness goal for 2013 as many of you know is to compete in a figure competition with the WBFF in Montreal in April.  Only 19 weeks to go!  That means after Christmas there will be 16 weeks left=CRUNCH TIME!  My goal for this competition is to bring my best physique to the stage 🙂 Can’t wait to see the end result.  It’s going to be a lot of hard work, sticking to a strict diet and training regime and saying no to a lot of social gatherings but I know it will be worth it in the end.  I’ve done it before so I know I can do it.  What I’m most excited about is to see two of my clients step on stage for the first time EVER! It’s going to be a memorable day for all of us!

 

So what do I do when I am having a down day or feeling blue?  Here are a few simple things I do to stay positive when I’m feeling down…

1. Write a list! Write a list of things you are grateful for, or write a to-do list. Start simply by picking up a piece of paper and a pen, and making a list of all the things you are grateful for or the most important things you have to do. Sometimes it’s work stuff, sometimes it’s stuff around the house that’s bothering us, sometimes it’s goals, or a combination of these and more. Simply making a list can be a big relief — you’re getting things under control. You can see, right in front of you, what you need to do, and that alone can pick up your mood.

2. Call a family member or a close friend. Got a significant other, best friend, family member, co-worker you can talk to? Talk to them! That’s what they’re there for. Hopefully your friend or family member is positive and can encourage you, not bring you down. Getting things off your chest makes a big difference, and can be a huge lift. It can also help you work out the reasons you’re feeling down in the first place.

 

3. Do something productive! Take action. You’ve made a list, and you still feel overwhelmed? Well, get started on the first thing you need to do. Is it a big task? Break it down and just do the smallest task, something just to get you started. Once you get started, once you get into action, you’ll feel better. Trust me. You might still feel overwhelmed, but at least you’re doing something. And once you start doing something, you’ve got momentum, and that feels much better than lying around feeling sorry for yourself.

4. Workout! I don’t think this one needs explanation. I don’t know about you but a workout of any kind always puts me in a better mood.  Go for a walk, running, lifting weights or a yoga class always cheers me up 🙂

5. Shower and make yourself look good.  Nothing makes me feel better than taking the time to blow dry and style my hair and put on some make up (sorry guys, maybe try shaving to cheer up?).  Try it next time you’re feeling blah, it always works for me!

6. Play some music that pumps you up.  Yep, and have a dance party in your bedroom or living room!  Dance like no one is watching….another guaranteed way to boost your mood!

7. Realize that you can find opportunities in negative situations. Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” (thanks Dad for introducing me to this quote many years ago!  It is one I’ll never forget!)

8. Take a deep breath! Everything will be ok 🙂 And always remember…

 

What are your strategies for lifting your spirits when you’re feeling down or having a bad day?  Please share below 🙂

Les

 

 

The Best Healthy Brownie Recipe EVER!

Are you a brownie lover but would love to find a way to make healthy brownies??? Well this is a recipe you MUST try!  It’s also perfect timing to be sharing this with you as I know many of you will be doing Christmas baking or going to Christmas parties and this is the perfect treat to share with guests.

My client Amy is a busy career woman but she always makes time to cook wonderful healthy dishes (and desserts)and luckily she brought some of these AMAZINGLY delicious healthy brownies in for me to try.  Here is the recipe she found online and WOW honestly best brownies EVER! It’s hard to eat just one…two make the perfect snack 🙂

 

Black Bean Brownies with Peanut Butter Swirl

Prep time: 10 Minutes – Cook time: 30 Minutes – Total time: 40 Minutes Yield: Makes 12-16 Brownies

Black Bean Brownie Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Black Beans (540 mL)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Eggwhites (or 3 Eggs in total)
  • 1/3 Cup Pumpkin Puree (or unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/2 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup All Natural Pure Coconut Sap Sugar (or 1/4 Cup Agave, Honey or Maple Syrup)
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Instant Coffee
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (more if you wish)

Peanut Butter Swirl Ingredients:

  • 1/3 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Agave (Maple Syrup, Stevia or Honey)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Dash of Vanilla Extract

**Amy also recommends adding unsweetened shredded coconut, walnuts (raw), some oats and sometimes to add a bit of sweetness she will add a bit more sucanat.  She isn’t sure of how much of each, she is one of those instinct chefs but feel free to experiment (I wish!)  She also adds almond butter to the peanut butter swirl!**

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Place all black bean brownie ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with a healthy, non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Evenly spread batter into baking dish.
  5. On your stove-top melt peanut butter swirl ingredients and mix.
  6. Dollop peanut butter swirl mixture with a spoon spaced out about an inch from each other onto the brownie batter.
  7. Pull a knife back and forth through the batter creating your swirls.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  9. *Ovens vary so your discretion is needed. You will know your brownies are baked when the top becomes firm and the brownies pull away from the sides of the dish.
  10. Sticking a tooth pick in the middle and pulling it out clean will ensure your brownies are baked fully.
  11. Remove from oven when baked and let set in the baking dish for about 10 minutes.
  12. Gently cut brownies, serve and enjoy!
  13. To store brownies it is best to first let them cool completely and then store them in a sealed tight container in the refrigerator. Very important to let them cool and set properly before you cut them to ensure your brownies don’t crumble!

Try them out and let me know what you think!! Do you have any healthy sweets recipes you’d like to share??

Les 🙂

PS Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my blog! Things have been busy since I got back from my holiday in Florida and I am just about caught up on my paperwork, keep checking back for more tips and recipes every week!