Category Archives: General

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 🙂

One more week to go! My life will be back to normal in no time!

Do you ever wake up some mornings before your alarm feeling very rested and are so wide awake that you just bounce out of bed? This happened to me this morning at 4:30am! It’s crazy since I am in my final week of preparing for my figure competition and the last 2 months it has been hell waking up before 5am to do my cardio.  Something clicked either last night or this morning and my body was like COME ON LESLIE YOU CAN DO THIS!  So here I am with all this energy writing a quick blog post today, let’s hope it lasts!

My day is a little less busy today so I have already done my laundry, I am getting ready to go to a yoga class before I head back to work.  Then tonight I will be meeting up with a few girls to practice my posing (doing a t walk on stage in heels and a tiny bikini is not something that comes naturally to me, it takes lots of practice!)

I am really really excited for the show next Saturday but what I am most excited about is to have more free time! It is crazy how training for a competition takes up so much of one’s time-from grocery shopping, to cooking, to packing/measuring all my meals, hours of cardio, weight training (which I love), sleeping…it really feels like a part time job on top of my full time job where I usually work from 6am-7:30pm everyday (thank god I LOVE WHAT I DO!)

Things I am looking forward to when the competition is over:
1. My very first meal after the show…I am still not sure what I will feel like eating but it’s going to taste AMAZING!

2. My vacation! I am going away for a week to visit university friends in the states and go to a wedding in Norman, Oklahoma, WOOHOO!!

3. Eating fruit!

4. Having a social life-a competition diet and training is very demanding, doesn’t leave much time for a social life.  But I’ll be honest, even though I have not had any alcohol in almost 4 months, I don’t miss it at all and don’t plan on drinking very often (except maybe at the wedding in a few weeks and my birthday in June!)

5. Starting a new workout routine! I have been doing a body building/hypertrophy program for 7 months! I am looking forward to mixing things up, thinking about doing some kettle bell conditioning and circuit training workouts! I LOVE KETTLEBELLS!

6. Running outside! I might even sign up to run the Army Half in September, I love that race!

7. Trying new recipes 🙂 Yep SO many great recipes I can’t wait to try!

8. Blogging! I have been too busy to blog, I am not letting myself get behind on my blog anymore! I am determined to blog at least once a week 🙂

9. Doing more yoga! One thing I noticed during my competition prep was how out of balance my life becomes and what usually grounds me? YOGA! I haven’t had any time/didn’t make time to do yoga and this will be a priority when I am done.  I also plan to start teaching again this summer.  Stay tuned for when I’ll be teaching yoga 🙂

10. Having energy! I haven’t been myself lately (ask my clients and co workers they will tell you) so as soon as I can eat more food and do less cardio I will be back to being the energetic Leslie you’ve all been missing 😉

I still can’t believe how fast the past 7 months has flown by!  What a journey it has been though! I have learned a lot not just about preparing for a show but about myself.  I will be posting a blog after my competition with my thoughts and will discuss the ups and downs 🙂

Have a fabulous weekend!

Les 🙂

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

 

 

“Get Fit with Les” Tips for Staying Fit While on Vacation…

For many of us lucky Canadians (and Americans in the northern states), winter can mean vacation to a warmer climate. Whether it’s flying to an island, visiting snow bird parents (that’s me!), or taking a long weekend road trip with friends, the change in schedule can throw off anyone’s workout routine. Combine that with the warmer weather, easily accessible restaurants/junk food, and everyone excusing you by saying “Hey, you’re on vacation!” and you could be looking at gaining 5-10 pounds by the end of your trip. No matter where you’re headed or what your plans are on your vacation, use these 7 tips (that I  follow) to stay fit, and healthy, and (more importantly) feel great when you get back…

1. Pack your own snacks: Non perishable food items like nuts, hard boiled eggs, oatmeal (just add hot water), protein powder+shaker cup (again add water), cut up veggies, homemade protein bars, fruit, and rice cakes are perfect for travelling.

2. Pack your workout clothes/shoes: Nuff said! Oh and use them!

3. Walk everywhere: The weather will most likely be warm and you’ll probably be visiting a part of the country/world you’ve never seen so why not take in the culture by walking or go for a hike!  It’s a much better way to sight-see than sitting on an overpriced tour bus…

4. Most hotels/resorts have a fitness center: USE IT!

5. Wake up early: Groan, moan, but seriously! Typically at the end of your day you’re not in the mood to exercise (whether you’re on vacation or not). Rise & shine 30 minutes before you normally would and get it over with. It may seem like a chore, but studies have proven that working out gives you more energy and makes you much more conscientious about your food choices throughout the day – why not start the day out right? Morning workouts are the best!

6. Drink water: Especially when flying, Flying dehydrates you because of lack of humidity in the cabin air, so stay away from drinking anything caffeinated or alcoholic when you travel. It will dehydrate you and put you off your plan for the rest of your vacation. Try to drink a glass of water every hour on the plane. If you’re sick of water, ask for lemon or pack travel size Crystal Light packs to add to your water. Your body will thank you for it.

7. Relax! This one I will struggle with for sure.  You can’t be hard on yourself if you miss a workout or don’t eat exactly the way you would at home but as long as you’re making an effort to get workouts in when you can and are making healthy food choices 80% of the time, you should come out of your trip in the same shape you left!  You can be good to your body and still enjoy yourself-everything in moderation of course!

I hope that you take my advice the next time you go on a trip!  What are some things you do to make sure you don’t gain weight/lose your momentum on vacation? What challenges do you face?

Les 🙂

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