Monthly Archives: January 2015

How long will it take me to get “in shape”?

On my walk home from the gym today I felt so good and I started thinking… why is that? And how long have I felt this way? What did I do to get to this point? How can I help to inspire others to crave this feeling? What is it about exercise and a healthy lifestyle that makes me feel SO GOOD? And what exactly does being ‘in shape’ mean??

Well, first things first! I have experienced living at the opposite end of the spectrum, being overweight, unmotivated, eating WHATEVER I feel like depending on the day, drinking way too much alcohol, late nights out, being inactive and MISERABLE!  Was it a good place to be? NOPE! Was it easy to live like that? Well yes and no (it is easy to be lazy though!) Would I want to go back to feeling that way? DEFINITELY NOT! How did I get there? Long story short, after university and playing collegiate volleyball (10 years ago), I started teaching and felt very alone. I had a lot of responsibility as a teacher and I wasn’t enjoying that position at all! I had to make decisions about what to teach each day, what I would assess the students on, worry about whether the kids would listen or do what they wanted that day, the list goes on! So after 1.5 years of not enjoying my life as a teacher I hit a low point, and during this low point I decided not to teach anymore…and moved to Ottawa on a whim to find a better life/career for myself.

My first job in Ottawa was working as a hostess at a famous Irish Pub…keep in mind I knew nobody in Ottawa (except my sister) so in order to make friends I would hang around after my shift with co workers and drink, and eat, and drink some more and would stay up really late 4 nights a week.  This lifestyle seemed fun at the time BUT it got the best of me and I became more and more out of shape, unmotivated and miserable.  Luckily the kilt I wore for work was adjustable so I never actually was able to tell just how overweight I was getting.  This all came to an end when one day (actually she told me many times until I finally went) my sister said “hey why don’t you go to the gym? You don’t do much other than work, eat bar food and drink booze and stay out late.  Doesn’t seem like you are very happy with yourself either.” Well good thing she cared about me enough to tell me this and pushed me to go to the gym because that is when my life started to head in the right direction again. After many failed attempts of meeting with a fitness advisor at Goodlife, I finally was able to set up an appointment that worked with my schedule and his.  We sat down to discuss the services they offer, then he gave me a tour of the gym and he asked about my fitness background, goals, etc and then somehow convinced me to hire a personal trainer.  I remember leaving the gym after that appointment feeling sooo excited (and scared) with my decision to make a change and start working out again! At first I was a little nervous about how much it cost per month but after a couple of weeks I soon realized it was TOTALLY WORTH EVERY PENNY!  My trainer was Julie and she was the one who convinced me to apply to be a personal trainer…I was like WHO?? ME??? But I am sooo out of shape! But she told me that with my education, my experience as a high level athlete, my caring personality, my ability to relate to different people and my passion for helping others (I have a teaching degree after all!) that I would be an ideal candidate to become a personal trainer.  She also promised that she would help me get in the best shape of my life! So, I applied, had an interview and within a few months of working out at Goodlife with her and getting to  know the staff and getting my CAN FIT PRO certification I was hired!

It was during the first year that I really really became OBSESSED with (in a good way of course)..ok hooked on exercise and although it took me almost 6-9 months to get a handle on my nutrition (and to have less nights out at the bar!), the fat was shedding, my body was changing, I saw muscles I had never seen before.  I felt more confident! I stopped wearing old volleyball t-shirts and baggy shorts and discovered Lululemon (eek!)  Tight fitting yoga pants and clingy tops were my new fave items to workout in- I wasn’t trying to hide my body anymore. Other people were starting to notice the changes in my body and in the way I carried myself….I felt so good! And kept getting better and better, the best part of this new and improved lifestyle was feeling confident and alive! And I was eating more-more protein, more vegetables and less CRAP (ie deep friend food, packaged, low fat foods etc) I felt like I had a purpose…not to mention the reward I felt from being a personal trainer and seeing my clients change their lifestyles the same way that I was! These were some of the best years of my life.  I even did some crazy things like run a few half marathons, competed in my first fitness competition and even ran a full marathon during my time at Goodlife.  I was always setting new goals and  working so hard to achieve them in my work life and my personal life.

Next thing that I discovered…yoga…at first I was very resistant as I didn’t like how boring it was, I found it weird that we would chant randomly in class, I wasn’t ‘good at it’ and couldn’t seem to stop my mind from wandering the whole time.  In some classes I felt like it was pointless to just sit and hold poses for an hour or more. I kept saying “this isn’t a workout! Why am I doing this?”  Then I had some wonderful yoga teachers who started teaching me that the importance of yoga is not to get somewhere or to become the most flexible but to take a moment to dedicate some time for yourself (which I had no problem doing in the gym) to calm your mind and feel grounded.

WOW! What a difference when you look at it that way!? I became so hooked on yoga and the way it made me feel when I practiced yoga regularly plus it was so beneficial for my body that had been working so hard lifting weights and running that I decided I would sign up for a 200hr hatha yoga teacher training course! I wanted to learn more about the practice of yoga, and again, I was thinking…ME?? Teaching and learning about yoga?? But why??  Well it was the best decision I ever made as I met some wonderful people throughout the training and I also learned SO MUCH about myself, how I view myself and others and what is really important in my life.  And the best part? Yoga is the best way to bring me back to earth, it calms me down when I feel myself getting carried away or over committing myself and getting too busy.  I can now share my practice and what I learned with others.  It was at the very beginning of my teacher training that I had an opportunity to branch out from  Goodlife and start my own personal training business.  And with a few sleepless nights and long talks with my boyfriend at the time and my friends who had started their own personal training businesses (plus convincing my parents that it would be a smart decision and that I would be successful) I took the plunge and started Get Fit with Les.  Now we are 4 years into my fitness journey at this point….imagine 4 years has gone by and I am still hooked to the gym, eating healthy and practicing yoga, heck it is what I do for a living!  Do I have moments, days or weeks when I feel like eating a really good meal (burger and fries or pizza) and skipping the gym? OF COURSE, I AM HUMAN! And I do it without feeling guilty or beating myself up about it.

Ultimately though, in the grand scheme of things I have realized that it is my PASSION to help others overcome their obstacles and teach them how it is possible to live a healthier and more active lifestyle.  I LOVE IT! I love love love love love what I do and could never imagine myself doing anything different.  My clients are my inspiration and are the reason I love what I do so much, seeing them get stronger, leaner and more confident as they achieve their goals is the most rewarding thing in the world.

Changing the subject again (and back to my story lol) during year 2 of Get Fit with Les I decided to train for another fitness competition since I had more time to myself (after ending my relationship) and was determined to show people how I could transform my body in hopes that it would help my business grow.  It worked, I charted and shared my progress week by week in hopes of inspiring others and it worked.  I was the busiest I had ever been, training 40 hours a week on top of all the hours of training and cooking I had to do to prepare for my show.  It was so rewarding, I have the pictures to prove I did it and I learned a lot about myself (and the fitness comp world) through the process.

Did I do it to win? No. Did I do it to challenge myself? YES. Is it the healthiest and best way to get in ‘awesome’ shape? Not really.  Is it something I would recommend to others? It depends…Do I know how to get myself (and others who are interested in doing a show) as lean as possible aka ‘my best’ shape, OF COURSE! Is it worth the sacrifice to my health and my personal life? To me? NOPE! Looking back, I am glad I had the experience of doing two competitions but it isn’t really for  me.  It is so hard on my body to get that lean and in my opinion, sure I looked amazing but was I ‘healthy’ and in ‘great shape?’ Not at all, I was tired all the time, had digestive issues and let’s face it, I was starving myself and in a massive calorie deficit.Not an ideal state to be in… Long story short, that will be my last competition because I have realized that as much as I ‘loved’ being super lean (like imagine me 30 lbs lighter than I am now?)

it is not sustainable nor do I have the desire to lead such an extreme lifestyle to look AWESOME for 1 week, heck 1 day.  BUT I have huge respect for anyone who does a competition and continues to compete.  Big props to you! But all I can say about my experience now is simply been there, done that…enjoyed the challenge but I’ll pass for now…

Sorry this is the longest post ever and good for you for continuing to read this…where was I? OH YEAH! What do I love about working out so much and how did I get to this point?  I have realized after many years of training for different ‘goals’ and having many different trainers and going through a variety of experiences and times in my life plus training hundreds of individuals with their own stories and obstacles to overcome that what I enjoy most about working out is the way I feel AFTER  MY WORKOUT (and I’m sure my clients would agree with me on this one)!

Not only do I feel like I have accomplished something but my body is saying THANK YOU. And it is even more fun when I can workout with others (like my husband in this picture, poor guy, he has to put up with me and my crazy ways!)

My food choices on days I work out are always WAY better than on days when I am not exercising. I sleep better when I have a great workout. There are so many different ways to exercise, there are endless types of workouts, a variety of ways of using equipment, difference places to train, etc that I never run out of things to do at the gym and I never get bored! I have realized that being active, eating healthy, having a positive mindset and surrounding myself with people who are supportive makes me so happy.  I have finally accepted my body as it is without constantly wishing I could  make something look smaller, tighter or skinnier.  I am so content with my current state it is crazy but this doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days, or days when I feel ‘fat’ and eat excessive amounts of Chicago Mix popcorn 😉 but again, I am kind to myself during the moments, and have to remind myself during these low points of how far I have come!  All I have to do is think about where I started (yep, that wasn’t very fun back then) and that I am human.  So while I am content with where I am right now this doesn’t mean I stop challenging myself each day to continue to improve and be better.  My parents always told me that they don’t care what I do, who I date, or who I hang around with as long as I am happy.  What makes me happy? My husband, my family, my friends, my business, my clients, and my fitness!

So many things to be grateful for but the most important things are the things I have learned along the way…my journey.  I feel blessed that my fitness journey has brought me to such a happy place and it keeps going.  I am not sure where I will be in 3, 5, 10 or 20 years but one thing I do know is that I will always be active and doing what I love…which is inspiring others to workout.

Why?? Because it feels good and there is no right or wrong way to do it! You can do it anyway you want! You’re never too old, too big, too short, too slow, too lazy or too broke to exercise….so why not JUST TRY and DO IT!  I chose to stop complaining about my life 7 years ago and look where I am now…it has taken a long time to get here but I had to start…and if you haven’t yet or you’re still struggling to find your way to becoming a ‘fit’ person (whatever that means) aka find your happy place (mentally, physically and emotionally) you should think about the following… 1- where are you right now/what are you currently doing? 2-how committed are you to change your ways? 3-what help do you need to get there?…4-what are your goals?  5-what steps do you need to take to get there and more importantly how do you get started and keep going?…We all know that ‘getting fit’ doesn’t happen overnight so are you in it for the long term? I hope so!  The best advice I can give you is to keep your goals simple…and just start….small…without turning back….without feeling sorry for yourself and making excuses or complaining. Just take it one day at a time and if you need help don’t be afraid to ask (or pay for it!) That’s what I did and it was the best investment I ever made!

So if you are reading this and think…well she is personal trainer, working out and eating healthy must be so easy and second nature for her…well I must confess…it is not easy!  I still struggle with food (as most of us do) but the main thing is I am very aware of what my triggers are and I don’t deprive myself or follow an extreme diet as I know that all or nothing approaches always end up as nothing!  Do I have the least amount of body fat and 6 pack abs? NO and I never have nor is that my goal! Do I wear a size 8? HECK NO! Am I happy and comfortable in my own skin, my size 10/12 jeans and embrace my curves? YES!

Do I love the way I feel when I workout and when I eat healthy foods? HECK YEAH!  Do I enjoy a good burger with fries and a milkshake once in awhile? SURE DO!  Am I addicted to the gym and working out? SURE!  Is that a bad thing? NO because I take rest days and am fully aware of the importance of balance!  Honestly, I might not have the ‘perfect body’ according to some people in the fitness industry (who cares!) but what does ‘perfect’ or ‘being in great shape’ mean anyway? What does ‘perfect’ look like? In my opinion ‘being in great shape’ means being happy with who I am, what I do, who I spend my time with and with what I have…this to me is PERFECT!  But, we all have to start somewhere…we all have our own story…so what is your journey like or going to be like? It won’t be easy…but it will be worth it….you have to find something that you love to do…and do it! It might even be not ever working out in a gym but that’s ok! As long as you’re moving and smiling while you do it!

Ok! My rambling has come to an end…I could go on and on and I’m not even sure that what I have written makes sense….but I hope that you have enjoyed it at least

Les

REBLOG From JillFit.com “8 Ways to be an Anti-Perfectionist in 2015”

Something I have been working on for the last few years is becoming less obsessed with perfection (it takes a lot of practice and self reflection/discovery). When I came across this article by JillFit I had to share it as I know a lot of people who are so obsessed with perfection (especially in the fitness industry).  Not only are they sabotaging their own personal growth efforts but they are missing out on enjoying life as they are so caught up in the process of attaining the perfect physique, etc. Don’t let your perfectionist tendencies control you by refusing to accept anything less than perfect. After reading this post I hope that you begin to accept your current situation as it is, and maybe you will one day realize that you are good enough. -Les 🙂

Honestly, perfectionism sucks.

Not only does it keep us from feeling good enough, but it actually doesn’t work effectively as a productivity system. Perfectionists are really bad at taking action because they are so scared of failure. I don’t know about you, but the times I make the biggest strides in my personal growth is when I take action, despite not knowing entirely what’s going to happen.

Like Jade says, “It’s not ‘Jump and the net will appear,’ it’s ‘Jump and then create the net.’” In other words, if you want to be successful in any endeavor, you have to learn to trust YOU fully.

We can never predict outcomes with 100% certainty, and betting on results can be a tricky business. But you know what you can bet on? Yourself. To handle whatever comes up.

And that’s the anti-perfectionist — the person who says, “I got this. And if I don’t, then I’ll find that out eventually and at that point, I’ll do what I need to do.”

And so, perfectionism can go throw itself off a bridge.

In 2015, I want to learn to embrace an anti-perfectionist attitude. And that is … wait for it … authenticity!

Authenticity is what turns who we are into enough if we are brave enough to try it.

Authenticity is the courage to show up as-is in the world and let the chips fall. Owning 100% who you are, no apologies, excuses or justifications. You, as you are right now, are enough.

dontapologize

And so, my anti-perfectionism practices for 2015. Ready? Here we go:

1) Don’t take things personally.

When someone makes an off-hand comment or passive-aggressive remark or takes a cheap shot, shake it off. Defending anything you do or anything you are, sends a subtle message to your higher self that something is wrong with what you are doing or who you are. And in the spirit of authenticity, defending is kind of apologizing for being you. Let it go, and instead, fully own what you’re doing.

2) Be an example of confidence to those around you.

The kind of person who makes an impact or makes a difference in the lives of others is not the leanest person, but the most confident in their abilities and their contribution. I learned this from one of my mentors, who is a powerhouse business woman and an incredible success. I never, ever saw her sweat about her physique or cower away like there was something wrong. She walked into a room and her energy demanded attention. People follow conviction, not body fat percentages. When you show up confident and ready to kill it, it gives those around you permission to do the same.

3) Never explain your physique.

Resist the temptation to defend your body to people. You’re amazing, perfect, whole and valuable regardless of your size; you don’t ever have to defend your physique to anyone. This can be hard when we feel like we should be thinner, smaller, leaner, more muscular, whatever. But the second you start preempting other people’s judgments by explaining “why you look the way you do” is the second you relinquish your power.

4) Play to your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses.

Instead of focusing on things that are tough for you and then as a result, berating yourself for still not being able to do them well, could you start playing to your strengths? You have unique contributions that the world needs. Put those forward. As for the rest? Do your best. Find workarounds or shortcuts or bring in someone else to do whatever it is you either can’t do or don’t want to. It doesn’t make you weak or a quitter, it makes you strategic. And in my opinion, an eventual success.

5) Stop defining “perfect.”

As adult women, I think we can finally, FINALLY retire the whole concept of perfection. It’s actually the most subjective thing on earth. If I asked 100 women (or men for that matter) their definition of “the perfect body,” I’d get 100 different answers. So the idea that we can or should continue to cling to some arbitrary number or shape or size in order to “be perfect” is just plain misery. It keeps us in a holding pattern of never ever feeling good enough. And luckily, this switch is just a single choice away. You know what’s perfect? Working on your inside game so that you can show up in the world authentic and transparent, and ultimately happy.

6) Trust yourself, first. Who’s better?

It’s all too easy to take in considerations, suggestions and advice from others. Especially when it comes to eating and exercise. It feels easier to listen to an expert or read the latest diet book or ask your personal trainer, who really knows hardly anything about you. It feels easier because it sort of takes the ownership off you. You don’t really have to do the work. I get that. But here’s the thing — no one can ever, EVER know your body and mind better than you can. And when it comes to your physique, your metabolism, your personal preferences, your psychological sensitivities, asking others diminishes your power and undermines your ability to trust YOURSELF. It keeps you dependent. It makes you question things and become unsure. And the more unsure you become, the easier it is to doubt and feel overwhelmed and scared and fumble. In 2015, I want you to finally stop giving your process over to people who aren’t nearly as qualified as you are about, well, you. I want you to do the tough work of getting in tune with your body. I want you to feel confident to tell anyone who questions your unique process to butt out. I want you owning your journey and never apologizing for the one-of-a-kind-ness of you.

7) Rid your circle of the negativity.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, BUT, one thing I am resolved to doing in 2015 is maintain a zero tolerance policy for negativity anywhere in my life – online, with friends, family, acquaintances, my blog, social media, wherever. I won’t do complaining. I won’t do blaming. I won’t do naysayers. I even won’t do fear. If someone wants to try to prevent or warn against or second-guess, I’m out. My circles in 2015 and beyond will be 100% optimism and possibility-thinking 100% of the time. And it’s on me to create that. Besides, we teach people how to treat us, and if I have negativity going on in my tribe, then it’s my fault.

8) Give up the need to please.

One key trait of perfectionists is that they tend to be people-pleasers. They try to control how other people see them, and as a result, tend to run around trying to regulate other’s responses to them. Can we ever control how someone else sees us? No, of course not. But this is hard because we want people to like us. Of course we do. I do, you do, we all do. But at what expense? The expense of not doing what we want to? Of not following our dreams, passions and desires? What someone thinks of me is not my business. And running around trying to control all of that only keeps me miserable. Instead, be the Anti-Perfectionist by showing up 100% as-is and letting the chips fall. See what happens. Chances are that if people don’t like what they see, they aren’t really true friends anyway, and guess what? That’s fine! In fact, it’s perfect. It’s a perfect stratification system (pun intended!) :)