Monthly Archives: May 2013

Take more time for yourself!

 

How many times have you heard yourself or others saying, “I wish there were more hours in the day” or “Gosh, I am soooo busy” or “I need a vacation”?!  It’s crazy because I know that almost everyone feels this way! We spend way too much time taking care of other people. We want to please our bosses, take care of our kids, support our friends, be a good friend or partner, volunteer, host the best parties and attend every social event…it’s exhausting!

When we get sick or tired, those demands on our time don’t stop—and we often try to  keep meeting them, at the expense of our own health. TIME OUT, I think it’s time to SLOW DOWN and change our behaviour! It can be tough to say now and take time for yourself but it’s so important!

When you’re super busy, you’ve got to watch the clock: there are doctor appointments to squeeze in, a sleep schedule to follow, meals to get in every 3 hours, and—oh, imagine that!—a full life to lead. It takes planning and practice, but you can find more time to do the things you love. In today’s blog, I’ll walk you through a few tricks I use to make more time for ME! If you follow these tips, you will notice a huge difference in your energy levels, mood, and overall well being.  And who knows you might even get in better shape while you’re at it!

Take a time out. Freeing up your time starts with taking a step back to take a good look at your life. You need to block off at least an hour. Several hours or half a day is better. A whole day would be awesome. A weekend would be even more ideal, though not necessary practical for many folks. With this block of time, take a look at your life with some perspective. Is it what you’ve always wanted? How would you get to where you’ve always wanted to be? What do you enjoy doing, but don’t have enough time to do? What things actually fill up your day? Are there things you could drop or minimize to make more time? We’ll look at some of these things in the following items, but it starts with taking a time out to think and plan. I just came back from a yoga class this morning, best decision ever! I am making a serious effort to start practicing yoga regularly again. This week I practiced yoga 3 times and I am already noticing the benefits 🙂

Find your essentials. What is it that you love to do? Make a short list of 4-5 things. These are the things you WANT to make room for. Here’s my list: workout, yoga, time with friends and family, run.

Find your time-wasters. What do you spend a lot of your time on that isn’t on your essential list?  For me, it’s FACEBOOK! Take a close look at these things and really think about whether they’re necessary, or if there are ways to reduce, minimize or eliminate these things. Sometimes you do things because you assume they’re necessary, but if you give it some thought you can find ways to drop them from your life. Figure out what you do simply to waste time — maybe surfing the internet, watching TV, texting/talking on the phone, etc. You’re going to want to minimize these time-wasters to make room for the more important stuff, the stuff that makes you happy and that you love to do.

Schedule the time. As you sit down and think about your life and what you want to do, versus what you actually do, you will be looking at ways to free up time. It’s crucial that you take a blank weekly schedule (you can just write it out on a piece of paper, or use your calendar) and assign blocks for the things you love — the stuff on your essentials list. If you want to exercise, for example, when will you do it? Put the blocks of time on your schedule, and make these blocks the most important appointments of your week. Having a personal trainer really helps with this 😉 Schedule the rest of your life around these blocks.

 

Consolidate. There are many things you do, scattered throughout your day or your week, that you might be able to consolidate in order to save time. A good example is errands — instead of running one or two a day, do them all in one day to save time and gas.

Declutter your schedule. If you have a heavily packed schedule, full of meetings and errands and tasks and projects and appointments, you’re going to want to weed it out so that it’s not so jam-packed. Find the stuff that’s not so essential and cancel them. Postpone other stuff. Leave big blank spaces in your schedule. This is another habit I have started and it’s not as scary as I thought it would be (having free time that is!)

Re-think your routine. Often we get stuck in a routine that’s anything but what we really want our days to be like. Is there a better way of doing things? You’re the creator of your life — make a new routine that’s more pleasant, more optimal, more filled with things you love.

Learn to say no. If you say “yes” to every request, you will never have any free time. Get super protective about your time, and say “no” to everything but the essential requests.

Disconnect. The biggest of distractions, for most people, is the Internet. My most productive times are when I’m away from the computer and my phone!  I’m not saying you need to be disconnected all the time (I wouldn’t know what to do with myself! haha)  but if you really want to be able to effectively complete tasks, disconnect your Internet so you can really focus. Set certain times of the day for facebook/email/surfing the internet etc, and only connect during those periods.

Make use of your mornings! I find that mornings are the absolute best times to schedule the things I really want to do. I run, do yoga, workout or write my blog in the mornings — three of the four things on my Essentials List (spending time with family is the other thing on the list). Mornings are great because your day hasn’t been filled with a bunch of unscheduled, demanding, last-minute tasks that will push back those essentials. For example, if you schedule something for late afternoon, by the time late afternoon rolls around, you might have a dozen other things newly added to your to-do list, and you’ll put off that late-afternoon essential. Instead, schedule it for the morning, and it’ll rarely (if ever) get pushed back.

 

Your evenings. The time before you go to bed is also golden, as it exists every single day, and it’s usually completely yours to schedule. What do you want to do with this time? Read? Spend time with your kids? Work on a hobby you’re passionate about? Go to a yoga class to unwind? Take advantage of this time. It will also help you sleep better knowing you did something that you wanted to do 🙂

Lunch breaks. If the morning or evenings don’t work for you, lunch breaks are another good opportunity to schedule things. Some people like to exercise, or to take quiet times, during their lunch breaks. Others use this time to work on an important personal goal or project.

Declare ME time! You are the king/queen of your domain! Declare some ME time. For me, it’s Sunday – I  get to do whatever I want. Maybe it’s hanging around the apartment. Maybe it’s seeing a movie or going to a yoga class. Usually it’s running errands and prepping my meals for the week. The point is: it’s my choice, and no on else’s. Pick a day, pick  part of a day, or – pick an hour each week, whatever works for you. That time is yours to do with as you please.

I hope you read this from start to finish and will start implementing a few of these into your life! We get so caught up in the rat race that sometimes we forget how good it feels to take a time out, sit back and enjoy having nothing to do or nowhere to be.  YOU are the most important person, make more time for YOU!

Les 🙂

 

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Are you interested or committed?

Do you know the difference between being interested versus committed to something?  For years I didn’t know the difference!  But now I do and I can finally say that I am committed to my health and fitness so I am going to share with you the difference.

If you am interested in doing something say a doing a workout or going for a run you will allow yourself to be persuaded to not do your workout or miss your run.  If you’re committed then you will do it no matter what, or invite your friend to workout with you or get together after your workout! The key thing is that you will do your workout because you are committed to your health and fitness goals.

It’s not always easy to get committed or stay committed to our goals especially if we are doing them for someone else or setting unrealistic goals.  It is when we are ready to make changes in our life and we set our minds to accomplish a goal that we are able to achieve our goals.  Sit down and really thing about what YOU want, HOW BAD you want it, and WHAT IT TAKES to get there.  If you’re not at least an 8 out of 10 committed to your goal then it’s most likely not going to happen.  BUT you also must keep in mind that it might not happen right away, you must be patient and persevere as there will be set backs and road blocks along the way. You must also evaluate your own commitment versus interest level on a regular basis.  Many of us SAY that we are willing to do whatever it takes but in order to reach our goals we must actually DO the things that we have never been willing to do.  When this happens very little can get in our way to achieving our goal.

Achieving our goals takes work, determination, sacrifice and YES it’s hard – really hard.  But in the end the sense of accomplishment and the pride we feel for our efforts is an even greater reward than achieving our goal.  Let me use the example of training for a competition.  Here are some of the things that I experienced throughout my training and preparation for the fitness show: I was scared and unsure of how my body would transform, I made a decision to train for it, I never missed a workout, I said no to many invitations to go out drinking, eating, etc, I was committed, I made it my top priority, and I never looked back as I was willing to TRUST THE PROCESS! And the sense of accomplishment I felt when I walked across that stage was OVERWHELMING!! It’s amazing what we can do when you really commit to it! Some of us give up wayyy too soon!

So it doesn’t matter what your goal is, if your new to fitness or an expert, young or old, big or small, what job you have, where you’re from, the main thing is that you must have the courage and determination to COMMIT to your goal!  It is hard of course but the more we do things that make us step out of our comfort zone the stronger and more confident we become!

All my clients are my heroes!  I am proud of every single one of them! BUT I REFUSE to invest a lot of time in people who will not commit to reaching their goals. I want to help people become healthier, happier, more confident and improve the quality of their life, if they aren’t COMMITTED and are only INTERESTED then there is very little I can do for them and to be honest I don’t like wasting people’s money and time.  If you believe you can achieve your goal then you WILL and I will support you 110%!

So go ahead right now and check in with your level of commitment, are you interested or committed?? Is fitness a hobby or a passion of yours?  Think about this in other areas of your life, relationships, your job, your friends, etc…what will it take to flip the switch or change your attitude so that you become committed as opposed to interested?  How much more successful would you be?  What sort of help do you need to stay committed?? A coach?  A schedule? Surround yourself with more supportive friends? Whatever it is, seek the help you need and stick to it!

Many of my clients have very busy schedules, families, etc but because they have a personal trainer they FIND A WAY to get to the gym to workout because they are COMMITTED!

When I commit to a goal (I always have a goal) I am more likely to be successful if I publicly announce it (via facebook or telling family and friends).

I believe that by telling others what your goal is then it helps keep you on track as they will encourage you and cheer you on when you’re feeling down or want to give up! Sometimes by sharing your goal with others you might even inspire them to join you or they may set out to do something they have always wanted to do!:)

Sometimes we need to hire a trainer (I’ve had 4 personal trainers in my lifetime and many amazing coaches when I played sports) to help get us going in the first place and that’s okay!  I think that having a trainer is absolutely the best plan but I’m biased 😉  It’s much simpler to have an awesome coach who will help keep you focused on your goal and most importantly WHY you made the goal in the first place.  As I said before your goals need to be for YOU and no one else.  YOU need to decide on ‘what’s in it for me’ because when we can tie our goal into ‘what’s in it for me’ we know what our pay off is and why it’s important that we keep going.

So I’ll ask you again, are you interested in your goals or are you committed to them?  If you find yourself saying things like ‘I should do this’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to’ or ‘It would be nice if’ then throw it out as a goal!  It is the goals that we have passion around that we will be most successful with, so focus on those goals! Instead of saying ” I wish I” start saying “when I…”

If you’re ready to get serious about achieving your goals but need a little extra help getting started I’m always here to help get you going in the right direction and be your guide along the way :):)

So take some time, sit down and really think about whether you are interested in getting in shape or committed to it!  If you’re only interested, that’s ok too, but don’t complain to those around you about how you wish things were different, it’s up to you how you live your life, no one else!

Les 🙂

Stop Making Excuses!

I thought I would share this article with you (thanks to my cousin for forwarding this to me a few months ago!) This is not original content (I did not write this) and I’m not sure where it’s from but I thought it would resonate with many of you and hopefully inspire you to stop making excuses and JUST DO IT!

7 Excuses You Need to Stop Making:

1. I don’t have enough time

This excuse is probably the biggest enemy to anyone with a goal they are not yet on the road to accomplishing. Many of us push our goals and responsibilities to the side when we feel they require more time than we have available, however, time is relative to how you use it. There is always available time for the things we want to get done, we just need to be more choosy of the ways we fill our time throughout the day. Rather than filling our time with meaningless procrastination, we can use that time to accomplish the bigger goals when we make them a priority throughout our day.

2. I’m OK with where I am right now

There’s a big difference between being genuinely happy with where you are in your life and just settling because you’re happy enough with the circumstances. Simply accepting the current conditions of you life and learning to accept them could be holding you back from achieving your goals. Stop being “just OK” with where you are in life and break from the status quo. There is nothing wrong with trying and failing. As they say “shoot for the moon – if you miss, at least you’ll land among the stars.”

3. “I’m afraid of ______.”

When it comes to achieving your goals, fear can be your greatest enemy or your best friend. Fear is the driving force behind many of life’s actions, whether good or bad. Whether it’s fear of failure, fear or change, or even fear of success – fear is the most powerful excuse we have for avoiding certain situations and goals. In the end, it doesn’t matter what kind of fear it is, if we don’t take action we will continue to sit complacent. Without facing our fears we will never grow and achieve.

4. I can’t do it

Often when we don’t have the skills to complete a task or don’t have a strong enough sense of faith in ourselves we will simply say we can’t do it. If you don’t have the skills, what is stopping you from learning them? Practice doesn’t make perfect – there is no such thing. But it does make improvement that you can build upon. Throughout history, people have been pushing boundaries and proving seemingly impossible tasks to be possible. At one point people said “man can’t walk on the moon” so don’t take what others say as concrete proof that you can’t do something.

5. The circumstances aren’t right

If you ask people what is holding them back from success and happiness, chances are that nine out of ten will blame circumstances. Many of us believe that the outcome of our lives is only partially up to us and more due to the circumstances that surround us. If you’re always living in a world where A has to happen before you can accomplish B then you are never carving your own path, but rather depending on outside forces to accomplish your goals. You’re never going to be 100% ready for anything and the circumstances will never be perfect so you need to stop waiting and change what you can. (Very true!)

6. It’s too difficult

The most common excuse we often use is that a task is too difficult or impossible to complete. There will always be difficult goals in life, and the best way to keep yourself from completing them is by convincing yourself they’re impossible. As Alice in Wonderland once said “sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Nothing worth having in life is ever easy, but if we work hard to develop the needed skills and believe that we can accomplish them, more often than not our goals are reached. (YES!! EXACTLY!)

 7. I’m the victim

When things aren’t going your way in life, it’s easy to blame others and make yourself the victim due to circumstances. It’s easy to tell yourself that you didn’t get that big promotion because your boss has a personal vendetta against you – and maybe he does – but it’s more likely that you need to reevaluate your work habits and just don’t see that because you’re deflecting fault to someone else. We often forget that we are not the centre of everyone’s universe, only our own. By owning up to our shortcomings we can recognize where we need improvement and take the necessary steps to fixing these areas.

How many of you find yourself making excuses?  What are you waiting for? The time to start working towards your goal is NOW! GO FOR IT!

Les 🙂

It’s been 4 days since I stepped on stage and accomplished a goal I started training for last October and wow what a journey it has been! I’m going to summarize my thoughts on preparing for a show and my experience on the day of the competition 🙂

First of all to anyone who thinks that training for a competition/getting as lean as possible while maintaining muscle mass is easy, you have obviously never trained for one before! It is even harder if you are someone like me whose starting body fat was over 25%! Most of the women who compete in figure competitions (especially in the WBFF) will step on stage with their body fat around 8-10%) or lower.  This is why I gave myself a lot of time to prepare for the show (most people do a 12-16 week prep while I did a 24 week prep). Now, even though I have competed before and have an great understanding how the body works, what type of training and diet is required, I decided to hire a online trainer (Sara Fennell) who I would report to every week with my progress and she would provide me with my diet and workouts.  I am always eager to learn as much as I can in hopes of improving my knowledge and expanding my expertise.  She was great and helped get me in better shape than my first competition (3 years ago).  One thing that I learned through this process and by watching my client (who was prepping for the show as well) transform as she followed the meal plans I gave her and the workouts I provided is that I really enjoy training someone for a fitness competition and I am fully capable of doing so!  Check out Tiffany’s before and after photos….

Before (June 2011)

Image

After (April 2013)

Tiff has been training with me for almost 3 years and after seeing Jamie Bell (a friend and client at the studio where I work) transform as she competed in her first fitness comp she decided that she wanted to compete as well! So we sit down and I told her how long it would take her to prepare for the show in April and she listened to everything I told her (did all her cardio, lifted weights 6 days a week, followed her diet, practiced posing) and the whole time maintaining an amazing attitude about the competition.  And clearly her hard work paid off! She lost 20% body fat, almost 50 lbs and has become a happier, healthier, sexier, more confident woman!!  This was a life changing journey for both of us as we learned the importance of consistent clean eating and the results that come with hard work in the gym!  One thing I told Tiffany from the beginning was to have a goal of stepping on stage NOT a goal of winning.  Some coaches may not agree with me (including my own coach) but to be honest, why put so much pressure on yourself to win or earn your pro card (especially if it’s your first show) when the fact that you have decided to compete and the act of stepping on stage in the best shape of your life makes you a winner alone? Less than 1% of people (or so I’ve heard) actually compete in fitness competitions, many  people have intentions of doing it, but not many go all the way! Many people forget this and get so caught up in striving to earn a medal or placing top 5, for me, it’s not about this! This is why I train for a fitness competition, I do it as a personal challenge and because I like seeing how far I can push my body!! I’m also a personal trainer so it’s kind of my job to stay in shape and I want to make sure that I look the part!!!

It is an extremely challenging task, not only because you  must spend a lot of hours in the gym and kitchen but also mentally as you must overcome many cravings, social events, mental battles, getting used to a new body/leaner version of yourself etc…ask anyone who has competed and they will agree that it is the hardest thing they have ever done not only physically but mentally as well.  It is very helpful to have a strong support network/other friends competing if you decide to do something like this, I found it VERY helpful having a big group of people from our studio competing as I felt I had others to vent or relate to about the whole process.  So thank you to Team Ottawa for being an awesome group of people to go through this with!

So while there are many positives when it comes to prepping for a fitness comp there are also some negatives….for example, the last few weeks of training.  Everyone has a different prep, body, response to the diet etc but I must say that the last few weeks are not the healthiest especially for someone like me whose body does not go below 20% bf very easily or below 160 lbs.  One thing I don’t like about the last few weeks is the lack of energy, feeling constantly tired, irregular bowel movements (gross I know but not cool!), being freezing cold all the time, and people constantly telling me I must be starving myself as I look too skinny (it’s true but it’s the way I have to look for the show, which is one day and to be honest I probably eat more than most people do in a day!) So yes, it isn’t so ‘healthy’ the last few weeks leading up to the show but in order to get our bodies to be as lean as possible (for the purpose of the show) we must eat very restrictive diets, do lots of cardio and weights, but again it is only temporary!  I think the worst is the water depletion that most people do the week before the show (ugh awful!) but again temporary and it’s only for the purpose of looking as lean (and dry) as possible on stage!) Since the show I have gone back to a healthy eating plan (still eating 6-7 times a day) with lots of protein, veggies, healthy fats and complex carbs.and drink 2-4L of water a day! I feel fantastic and love grocery shopping when I can buy a variety of foods (not just fish, nuts, green veggies lol!)  I must say this time around I was not having as many cravings as I did my first show and I have been very good about not binging on unhealthy foods since the show! I am about to start my vacation where I will be eating out for most meals and I am already excited about all the healthy foods I will be ordering!!

The day of the show is the most exciting part and the whole reason why we set out to follow our meal plans and training programs in the first place! I competed with the WBFF this time as there was a big group of people training for the same show and it was in April which meant I would be training through the winter and would be in great shape for warmer weather (BONUS!) I’m so glad I did because they put on a great show!! The venue was in Montreal at the Place des Arts right downtown. The atmosphere in the dressing room with the other athletes was very supportive and having my client and other friends from Ottawa there was amazing!

It was a long day (up at 6am for make up and hair appointments) with prejudging at 10:30am then the big break until the night show at 6pm but that’s life! The worst part was not being able to drink water all day AND trying not to wreck my spray tan! The steak and potato at lunch time ( I was allowed to eat out in between the shows) was AMAZING!!!  OMG!

The best part of the day though was definitely when I first stepped on stage, with a big smile on my face, strutting my stuff in my bikini and clear heels (haha) and felt 110% confident and proud of myself for working my butt off (literally) and doing what I had set out to do!! I even got emotional that day when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror while the girl was doing my makeup, I couldn’t believe what I looked like! I was like “Wow that’s me? That lean, fit, beautiful and happy girl in the mirror is me??” It was a moment I’ll never forget. Just thinking about how hard I worked to get my body in the shape it is was an incredible feat! Another emotional moment for me was seeing my client walk across the stage with so much confidence and sass!! She looked phenomenal!! She did it! She did something completely out of her comfort zone and rocked it!!! WOW! Very proud (and emotional) day!!

I was so happy that my mom and sister among other friends and co workers were there to support me! They all witnessed my transformation and were very happy for me and it was nice to hear them cheering from the audience, not to mention the awesome photos they took that I will have forever!

So overall it was an amazing and memorable experience! Everyone asks me if I will compete again and to be honest I probably will but not any time soon, I need to give my body a break as I pushed it pretty far and missed out on a lot of fun the past 6 months or so.  So who knows, maybe I will, maybe I won’t.  One thing is for sure, I am always up for a challenge and love pushing myself past my comfort zone to accomplish goals I set for myself.

Off to the mall to do some shopping, it’s always fun to shop when you lose weight, new body=new clothes!

Les 🙂

Reflections after my figure competition 🙂