Tag Archives: fitness

How I stay motivated to run outdoors during the winter…

I love running and yes even in winter! People always ask me ‘how do you do it’ or ‘why do you do it’ and it is a pretty easy answer…because I LOVE IT. I love that I get to enjoy the beautiful city I live in while running outdoors, I crave that feeling after a good run when I get home, I enjoy the friendly waves I exchange with other runners as we pass each other, I love feeling healthy, happy, alive and free when I am running outdoors. I also love being one of ‘those crazy people’ drivers see running in the winter. It’s fun to know I might be inspiring someone to try it. It’s funny because before I started running in the winter I used to be amazed when I would see people running all bundled up, I am now that person!

Are there days when I don’t feel like going for a run outside? Sure! And to be honest when the temperature is dangerously low or I know that the sidewalks will be extra slippery I will run on the good old treadmill (aka dreadmill). But 9 out of 10 times I will get outside for a run no matter what. What do I do to stay motivated you ask? Here are a few tips I’ll share with you…

1-Have a goal-I believe that unless you have signed up for a race you’ll have a much harder time motivating yourself to get outside for a run during the colder months. Look up some locals races and sign up for a 5, 10, 21 or 42km race! Having a race goal and putting a plan into action to reach your goal increases your chances of running on days that you don’t feel like leaving your bed or couch.


2-Run with a friend-You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s one of the easiest ways to stay on track in the winter. Not only do they help keep you accountable by “forcing” you to show up, but misery loves company. Grinding out at fast 5 km in the snow and below zero temperatures isn’t quite as bad when you have 3 or 4 of your running friends by your side to freeze your butt off with.
If you don’t have a few running buddies that you can try and team up with, check out some of the local running clubs,they’re usually struggling for numbers in the winter and they would be glad to have you. I am lucky to have my friend Peter to run with once or twice a week.


3-Plan out your route/have a plan-I have a coach who has designed a program for my half marathon training this year.  I am always looking for support and to learn different training methods.  I also strongly believe that every great coach needs a coach, and I am more successful when I have a monthly workout plan and someone to check in with on a weekly basis.

4-Warm up before going out-You do not want to start your run being cold. Make sure you do a good warm up indoors before you head out. Try doing some mobility exercises or even walking up and down your stairs or doing jumping jacks works too. It’s also very important that you wear the right gear. It will take you a few runs to figure out how many layers, what type of hat/scarf/gloves and shoes work best for you, but you’ll learn by trial and error.


5-Bring your music-I don’t always enjoy running with music as I always get tangled or annoyed by the headphones etc but I do find (especially for longer runs) that music really helps to motivate me to speed up and keep going especially when I get tired during the end of my run. Some of the music I enjoy running to is usually upbeat (pop, hip hop, electronic).

These are just a few tips that can make training this winter a little easier and keep you more consistent. If you have some tips or tricks that help keep you on track, I would love to hear them. Please share your tips in the comment section below 🙂

Les

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Client Success Story: How my client lost 30 lbs in 4 months without doing anything extreme…

It all started with a random email I received on April 14 2015. A girl named Kelsey contacted me as she had heard “I was very motivating and a pleasure to work with” from a mutual friend (thanks Denise!)  Also in her email she explained to me that she was “feeling really out of shape and interested in one on one training”.  We set up our first appointment right away and from the moment I met her she was smiling, super positive and enthusiastic.  She was the most excited 24 year old female I have ever had a consultation with. I was instantly as excited as she was to get started.  She make the decision to commit to training 3 times a week (as that is the most effective way to get results, especially when a client is new to an exercise program) and was going to do cardio workouts on her own 2-3 times a week (pretty awesome right!?) She also wanted to learn how to eat properly and cook healthy but delicious and easy meals.

Her goals when we first met were to lose weight (20-30lbs and be a size 8-10), to feel better, (strong, fit, energetic) and do something crazy (Spartan Race, pull ups, etc).

Here are her measurements for her first assessment

April 21 2015

Body weight-177.8lbs Body fat 35.9% Chest 42”, Belly 40”, Hips 42”, Left Arm 11.5”, Left Thigh 24”

Performance wise she was starting off pretty strong with good pushup, squat, lunge, deadlift, twist, pull and plank form. BUT she wasn’t doing much exercise on her own and had no clue how to eat properly! Well this is where having a trainer makes all the difference.

We set up a schedule of training 3 days a week and GUESS WHAT?! She only missed one session in the 4 months we trained. She was determined to make it to all her workouts and worked her hardest while she was here. And she did that…and more! Consistency is so important when working out and changing eating habits, and her motivation never wavered!

We discussed nutrition early on, I had her track her food for a few days so I could get an idea of what her daily food intake looks like. At first, she was eating out almost every meal, ate mostly carbs and not a lot of veggies and protein. She was constantly drinking water so that was good J Now, you might find it hard to believe but I never wrote her up a meal plan! I simply taught her the 5 Habits from the Precision Nutrition program and one week at a time she worked on mastering those. They are as follows

1-Eat slowly and without distraction

2-Eat protein (25-30 g) with every meal

3-Eat 1-2 servings of veggies with every meal

4-Eat carbs based on your body type and activity level (if trying to lose weight, eat carbs around your workout etc) and watch your serving size (1 cupped handful is 1 serving)

5- Make sure you are getting enough fat in your diet (eggs. Meats, fish, olives, nuts, seeds)

I also got her to fill out a biweekly adherence sheet to track her meals (tracking good meals, missed meals and unhealthy meals) and the goals was to improve her adherence each week. This worked super well without being too complicated.

She literally took every bit of advice I gave her and followed it from Day 1. Yes there were some late nights out and drinking  with her friends once in awhile, and she would go for sushi, have pizza or eat dessert sometimes (who doesn’t?)  but my point here is she did not do anything extreme to achieve results! She followed guidelines I provided her for fitness and nutrition and STUCK TO THEM FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME!  After training with me for 4 months these were her measurements…

Aug 28 2015

Body weight 144.4 lbs BF 22.6% Chest 37” Belly 34” Hips 38” Left Arm 10” Left Thigh 20.75”

She was down 32.6 lbs, 13.3 % bodyfat and 25.5 inches all over! Incredible, right?

Her strength  and form in all her exercises improved 100%, she is at the point where she LOVES a tough leg workout and requests challenging exercises when we train together.

All of these changes happened over 4 months, no extreme dieting or crazy workout routine, she JUST DID WHAT HER TRAINER TOLD HER TO DO, for more than 2 weeks (unlike most people who start up a new fitness routine)…and was determined to improve her health and fitness.

Kelsey is an inspiration to anyone who is unsure about personal training or making the decision to take their fitness more seriously.  Her positive attitude was the number one reason was she had great success, she was open to my suggestions, and ready and willing to make changes, AND she was prepared to work very hard to reach her goals week after week..

Now even though we aren’t training 3 times a week anymore she still comes to see me once a week for a really good butt kicking.  She tells me that coming to see me even once a week really helps her to stay motivated and do her own workouts during the week, so basically, she uses me as someone to be accountable to and I am the one who helps to keep her on track.  This makes me happy and I truly feel like I have helped take Kelsey’s fitness, nutrition and health to a whole new level, a level that she is committed to maintaining for the rest of her life!

This is just one of many success stories of clients I have trained in the last 8 years, perhaps you’ll be my next one?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You’re never too old to enjoy exercise!

I recently spent 7 days at my parents beautiful home in a part of Florida called the Villages.  If you’ve never heard of it you should seriously consider convincing your parents to retire here! Check this place out-here is a link to their website!

You must be over 55 to live here (unless you are visiting or work in the Villages) but trust me, youwould  never believe that anyone who lives here is a day over 50! There are so many activities to choose from: pickleball, baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, track and field, billiards, the list goes on! The gyms are beautiful and there are  multiple classes almost every hour of the day.  There is something for everyone, no matter what age or fitness level and the classes were packed!  I did a few classes with my mom (power yoga, spin, body pump) and the people were shoulder to shoulder in these classes! It was so inspiring to see so many active ‘older adults’ as they like to be called (don’t you dare call them ‘seniors!’)  participating and breaking a sweat! Fitness is booming here and the population in the community is growing so much (currently over 100,000 people live here!) that they needed to build another commercial size gym! There are smaller (free) gyms at most of the pool/fitness centers on top of all the other sports facilities. And get this- there is a senior games event in Florida for ages 50-100! Some people are so good they compete nationally!?

Here are a few things I learned observing the people in the Villages gyms…

1- There is no such thing as TOO OLD! Never mind that, I could never guess what age anyone was? This just goes to show how exercising keeps you young!

2-Exercise is fun at any age! I think what brings people together is the socializing! I loved seeing the interactions between the ‘regulars’ at the gym and how the instructors and trainers called most of the members by name.

3- Exercise makes you feel better, stronger, more confident and that you accomplished something! I think that going to the gym or playing sports is the best part of their day! I didn’t see a single miserable or sad person at the gym, and everyone is so friendly, asking where I was from, etc etc.  Whatever makes you happier leads to a longer and healthier life right? No wonder they are so active!

4-Older adults don’t like being called ‘old’…they are all proof that you are only as old as you feel!

5- They respect their equipment and facilities.  I have never seen a more immaculate and cleaner gym than the ones in the Villages, if only younger people would adopt these habits at our gyms in Canada! It makes working out so much more enjoyable when you get to train in a brand-new and spotless facility!

So let’s just say, every time I left the gym while on vacation I had a big smile on my face and left feeling inspired! I couldn’t wait to go back the next day! After all, if they can do it and they are all at least 30 years older than me, I better be able to keep up with them!

Thanks to the many wonderful members and staff at the MVP gyms and to my mother who let me tag along and join her for her workouts and classes for a week in the Villages, I wish I got to live there year round! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

Les 🙂

4-

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Reasons Why YOU Should Hire a PRIME Personal Trainer…

Still debating whether or not you should invest your money and hire a personal trainer? Think it’s too expensive? Don’t have time? Maybe you think you’ll just do it on your own? Maybe…

BUT, if you are tired of starting and stopping a fitness routine, don’t feel comfortable in a gym, feel lost in a grocery store, struggle to find the motivation to cook/eat properly, or maybe you don’t even know what you need to do to get yourself in better shape, maybe this blog post will inspire you to reach out to one of our personal trainers at PRIME 🙂

10 reasons why you should hire a PRIME personal trainer:

1-Goal Achievement

Our personal trainers help you define your fitness goals and show you how you can ‘redefine your prime’. We will take into account your current fitness level and discuss what you want to achieve through your workouts based on your commitment/how many days a week you are willing to train per week. While you may have some idea of the goals you want to set, our trainers will be able to help you break them down into smaller goals (daily, weekly, monthly) that are specific and realistic. Our personal trainers will also help assess your progress toward those goals.

2-Personalized Workout

We will create a specific workout plan just for you based on what you want to achieve. This personalized plan gives you better results than a general workout plan. Because we will be made aware of your physical condition and medical background, we are able to make accommodations to the program to fit your needs. We will also help you with providing workouts you can do at home as we all know that in order to get results you must exercise AT LEAST 3 times a week, 5 times a week is best.
3- Instruction
At PRIME, we will teach you the proper way to perform each exercise in your routine.  We often demonstrate the movement and watch you perform it so we can correct any issues with your posture or technique. Learning how to perform exercises properly reduces your risk of injury and increases your ability to increase strength and build muscle. You also will be able to do the exercises on your own at home or at the gym PROPERLY when  learning them from your personal trainer.
4-Motivation
Motivation is often difficult to maintain when you exercise on your own. Regular sessions with a personal trainer enhance your motivation to continue with a workout regimen. Even if you don’t use a personal trainer for every session, knowing that you’ll meet with your trainer weekly will motivate you during your own workouts. You also get the satisfaction of showing your trainer the improvements you’ve made as your exercise program proceeds (lower body fat, strength gains, more muscle, better posture, improved endurance, etc).

5-Accountability

Another common problem is lack of commitment to a regular exercise program. When you exercise on your own, it is easier to skip a session here and there or fall off the wagon completely since there’s no one to hold you accountable. When you work with a trainer, they will keep you accountable, making it more likely that you’ll stick to your training program and achieve your goals.

6-Variety

Our experienced trainers teach you a variety of exercise methods, which will keep you from getting bored. Also, if a specific exercise does not work for you or you can’t physically perform it, the trainer will modify or change it to one that suits you better and provides the same physical benefits. Our trainers also help you to make adjustments as your fitness level improves to ensure continued progress.

7-Efficiency

A PRIME personal trainer is able to make the most of your workout time, which increases the efficiency of your exercise program. This is especially beneficial when you have a limited amount of time to exercise. For example, if you only have 20-30  minutes available to workout at home, your trainer can design a routine for you that will provide the same benefits as a 60 minute workout and will burn the same number of calories.

8- Encouragement and Ongoing Support

We take pride in our passion for helping our clients feel better regardless of how busy or horrible their day may have been and our clients will always leave their session smiling! We recognize that everyone is human and will have weak moments, eat something unhealthy, miss a workout, etc but we will encourage you to keep going! It is so important to have someone to support you through the tough times (there will be many on your journey to improved health and fitness) and cheer you on during the good times.  We are proud of every single one of our clients for hard work in the gym, their time in the grocery store and cooking in the kitchen, and most importantly the decision they have made to dedicate their time and money to making better choices in their life and doing it the right way (by hiring a trainer to achieve their goals).

9-Fun

Very rarely will you be working out with one of our trainers and NOT having fun!  We realize that not everyone LOVES working out so we do our best to make it fun while kicking your butt.  Why would you want to meet with a trainer who wasn’t any fun?  Want to workout and have fun at the same time? Come train with us! You’ll learn to love working out again!

10-Nutrition Guidance/Support

We encourage our clients to follow proper nutrition guidelines.  Do we suggest meal plans and diets? NO! Do we promote healthy habits and teach our clients proper serving sizes and the difference between a protein, fat and carb and how much of each macronutrient they should be eating with each meal? YES! Do we help our clients create their own daily food intake by offering suggestions for meals and recipes? YES! We want our clients to enjoy food, look forward to preparing meals (instead of feeling deprived and eating the same thing everyday which can lead to bingeing), and not feel overwhelmed by all the confusing and conflicting information there is about nutrition out there.

If you are reading this and are a current client at PRIME (or former client of one of our trainers) feel free to add any other benefits you’ve experienced since you starting training with a personal trainer.

Don’t wait for January to start, make the choice today to make your health and fitness a priority! We are here to help you redefine your PRIME!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hi I’m Leslie. I am a recovering speed addict…

It’s true, I can remember a period of my life (over 5 years ago, when I first started personal training at Goodlife) when I felt as though there weren’t enough hours in the day….my to-do list was never getting smaller and I couldn’t keep up with my day to day tasks not to mention having  a social life and being in a relationship PLUS working out, eating and cooking and sleeping, PHEW!  Thanks to a 200hr yoga teacher training program a signed up for couple of years ago, and establishing a regular yoga practice,  I was made very aware of how my lifestyle and my “need for speed” was wearing me out!  I have been working very hard putting everything that I have learned into practice and this book (“Speed” by Stephanie Brown) was another confirmation of my former speed addiction.

Excerpt from “The Power of Less”

“For many people these days, work is a constant stream of emails, of new and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files.  The day starts with an inbox full of emails, and ends with an inbox just as full, and each email represents a request for information or for actions that we don’t have time to fulfill.  We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea how to reduce the flow…”

So true right? This is very stressful and wasteful.  If we stop to think about it, it’s not how we want to spend our lives. How do we overcome these problem of overworking ourselves and feeling as thought there aren’t  enough hours in the day?  We must set limits!!  Focus on the important things instead of EVERYTHING!  Life can become  much simpler, it’s all about choices!  We must learn how to identify the essentials and eliminate the rest…much easier said then done…

 

Now the book that inspired me to write today’s blog post is called  “Speed: Facing our Addiction to Fast and Faster-and Overcoming our Fear of Slowing Down” by Stephanie Brown. Since I was never very good at book reports (yep, I still struggle to summarize the important parts of a book and put in my own words)  in school, here is a summary I found on Barnes and Noble…

“Feeling rushed, out of control, and overwhelmed?
Feeling like you can’t keep up… and can’t stop?
It’s not just you.

From the need to be constantly connected and the changing definition of “work hours,” to unrealistic expectations of instant gratification, our bodies and brains are being harmed by habits that, as with any kind of addiction, promise short-term satisfaction while doing long-term damage.

As a psychologist and addiction expert who practices in Silicon Valley, Stephanie Brown sees firsthand the impact of ever-faster technology and the culture it has spawned. She knows it’s affecting us mentally, physically, and spiritually. In this ground breaking book, she explores how our beliefs and behaviors are being shaped by the seemingly limitless new world we’ve entered in recent years—and why faster doesn’t always equal better. Dr. Brown offers a step-by-step plan for breaking out of the speed trap. With practical guidelines, she shows us how to ease up on the gas pedal and reconnect with ourselves, learning to accept—and value—our limitations as human beings, reduce our stress levels, and free ourselves from our counterproductive obsession with speed.”

Sounds pretty interesting right?? I don’t want to give away too much of the book (you should read it yourself if you want to learn more) but one part that I found really interesting was the questionnaire she included in the beginning of the book.  Take a moment and answer the questions below.  How many do you say YES to??

Twenty Questions: Are you Hooked on Fast?

Your behavior:

1. Do you want to slow down but you cannot? Have you lost control?

2. Do you keep adding activities without taking any away?

3. Do you work longer and longer hours, but don’t ever finish?

4. Do you treat other problems: sleep, anxiety, depression?

5. Do you act first and think later?

6. Do you check your email and reach for your phone first thing and last?

Your feelings:

7. Do you feel internal pressure to live fast and act fast, which becomes a craving to “connect” more rapidly?

8. Do you feel empty if you are not in constant action?

9. Do you feel nervous without your tech gear in hand or pocket?

10. Do you feel the beep of your phone as a comfort that gives you a shot of adrenaline?

11. Do you feel you belong when you are rushing, stressed and in action?

Your beliefs:

12. Do you believe you have no limits and you are entitled to live without limits?

13. Do you believe you should think, feel, react, and behave instantly?

14. Do you believe you will fall behind if you slow down?

15. Do you believe success equals fast and faster, and slowing down is falling?

16. Do you believe you should only feel good, only feel high; other feelings are a sign of failure?

17. Do you believe stress is the price of success and chaos is normal?

18. Do you believe that the “new intimacy” is through technology; less time for off-line relationships is the price of success?

19. Do you believe instant action is a virtue and you can overcome anything with enough willpower?

20. Do you believe all change must be big to count?

Are you addicted to speed like I was? (there are a few on here I still struggle with, but I am working on it now that I have been made aware of them!)

What she also included were tips to help you slow down…read below….

The Twenty Guidelines for Slowing Down: How to Unhook from Speed

Your behavior:

1. You ask for help; you seek a mentor who believes in slowing down for guidance and support

2. You develop a recovery action plan.

3. You begin to make small steps toward change.

4. You learn to pause, to reflect on your behavior, feelings and thinking.

5. You ask yourself, “What am I doing?”

Your feelings:

6. You feel the reality of limits and face the feeling of failure.

7. You become aware of feelings, and learn to face them.

8. You trust that the high of impulsive action is NOT the feeling you seek.

9. You develop a wider range of new feelings.

10. You come to trust that deep, intimate human ‘connection’ exists in a slowed down, quiet state.

Your thinking:

11. You believe in the reality of limits.

12. You learn to recognize and challenge your belief in entitlement.

13. You challenge your belief in willpower.

14. You believe in the value of small steps and a slower sense of time.

15. You believe in a new definition of success; you best effort within a structure of limits.

16. You believe in the value of delay, endurance, and the concept of “enough.”

17. You believe that growth and change are not instant; that ‘quick fixes’ reinforce the thinking of fast and impulsive action.

18. You believe in the value and necessity of reflection as a part of health and success.

19. You challenge your all-or-none thinking.

20. You give new meaning to ‘service.’

It is a process…it takes time and practice.  But the best way to improve your relationship with yourself and others, your health and anything else that is being affected by your fast -paced, non-stop, go-go-go, so many commitments, not enough time, crazy lifestyle is to stop for a moment, turn off your computer, turn off your phone(s) and sit in peace to think really hard about what you really want to accomplish in your life.  Instead of bragging about how busy or stressed out you are, focus on the ESSENTIALS and allow everything else to drop away.  It’ll make you much happier, less stressed, and surprisingly, more productive!

Ever since I started doing more self reflection I know what my limits are.  I have taken the steps (it is a work in progress) to simplify my life I have been able to reach new goals and habits and love sharing my experiences and tips with others.  Focus all your energy and time on one thing at a time (start small and build on one small ‘thing’ at a time) instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.  Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing….it works!

For more information on how to simplify your life be sure to pick up Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less”, you’ll be glad you did…I am almost done reading it and I just picked it up from the library (my new favourite hangout!) an hour ago!

Les 🙂

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Ways to Live a More Positive Life

I feel it is my duty to share how I maintain such a positive outlook on life.  People comment regularly on how I have the ability to always make them feel better, or they ask how I can always find the positive in every situation.  This is a skill that I have practiced and learned throughout my many experiences in life, it wasn’t always natural for me (trust me).  If you’re someone who is looking to get more out of life, here are 5 simple ways to live a more positive life…

1. Appreciate everything around you! People often want appreciation from others. Instead, start to appreciate everything around you, for example:

 – The sunshine and the weather (this can be hard especially at this time of year, but soon, spring will be here!)

– How easy it is to get healthy food and our unlimited supply of drinkable water

– Your health and fitness.

– The people around you. Your friends, family, co-workers and any strangers you walk by everyday

– A good TV-show, a movie or a song on the radio

– A good conversation.

– The roof over your head and the clothes you wear.

– All the great things you can find online (including my blog of course!)

– Yourself. If look closely, there is a lot to appreciate about yourself (this is a tough one for most people)

These are just a few things you can be grateful for, I’m sure you can think of many more!  Practice doing this everyday, even write a few things down when you wake up or before you go to bed (keep a Gratitude Journal).  It’s a quick way to turn a bad mood into a more positive and productive one. Just try if for a minute and see how it changes the way you feel. It’s a win/win situation and I promise you, more people will want to be around you if you appreciate them more and think this way!

 2. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want!
The more I do this, the more I discover that it is so key in improving my life. It sounds silly but it takes practice but by doing this, in time you will begin to see your life fill with more of what you want and you will be surrounded by the type of people you enjoy being around!  We are so good at focusing our thoughts on what we don’t want (and the people who we don’t want to be like) rather than what you want. If you do that then it will be hard to get what you want in life.  For example, if you want to improve your finances then focus on having a great financial situation rather than your lack of money and your debts. If you want a new relationship then focus on meeting a lot of new people and forming great relationships rather than focusing on your loneliness and your lack thereof. If you want get in better shape then focus on the lifestyle that you need to have in order to get there!  If you don’t then you’ll miss many opportunities that your mind just blocks out since it’s focused on what you don’t have.  But if you do this then there will be a greater chance of opportunities popping up that you have always dreamed of.  Your mind can mostly just see what you focus it on. So focus on what you want in life instead of what you don’t want.  I think it is also important to focus on WHAT YOU HAVE instead of WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE…another important thought pattern to practice!

3. Self educate and explore yourself!

This is something I am constantly doing. Whether I want to learn more about myself, the people I interact with, the fitness industry, my business, areas of my life that I want to improve on, I take responsibility and seek out the resources that I think will help me become better!  This is one of the keys to a better life!  We can never possibly know everything so it is so important to constantly look for ways to educate ourselves.  One of the best things I ever did to learn more about myself emotionally and spiritually was to do a 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training program.  It was one of the most intense 8 months of my life but the end results have changed the way I view myself and the world around me.  I have become much more self aware and kinder to myself and those around me.  I am also constantly looking to learn more about my career in fitness, whether it is related to programming for my clients, nutrition information, injury treatment and prevention, how to improve someone’s behavioural patterns, etc.  I’ve read books, articles, attended seminars, talked with experts, and I have also learned a lot through my own self discovery.  I still have so much to learn, I am a lifelong learner! Find out what area of your life needs improving and start to seek out the resources that will help you to achieve what you’re looking for! This is also a great way to get to know yourself better and understand why you think, feel and do – or don’t do – the things you do. And knowing yourself better – and other people too, since we share so much that make us alike – is pretty useful if you want to improve your life and lives of other’s too.

 4. Take action!
So many times I hear people saying “Man I really wish I could do _________” or “I have always want to ____________” or “I wish I had the motivation/discipline/will power to _______________”  Well guess what? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO, IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING!  Yeah, this one’s maybe easier said than done, but stop wishing and start doing! There is so much great information on how to go about it and it’s a great way to improve your life. “Just do it!” is one of my favourite mottos. But if you feel like you really can’t do what you want then it will probably not be too helpful. If you feel that fear is holding you back from doing something then you might need someone to help you out (i.e. for fitness goals, an awesome personal trainer!) Here is something else to think about, if you want something you’ve never had you must do something you’ve never done (thanks to my wonderful fiancé for that quote).  In other words, you  must step out of your ‘comfort zone’ in order to achieve your biggest goals and dreams.  Take a risk, it might not always work out BUT you’ll never know if you don’t try right?  A good way to make your goal or less daunting, break it into smaller steps or goals and confront your ‘fear’ little by little, thereby creating a momentum that let’s you move on to the next step. Another is learning to surrender, accept the now, live in the present (something that takes practice, yoga has really helped me with this!)

5. Improve your social skills!

This is such a big part of my life! Not only is my job VERY social but when I am not at work I surround myself with many different group of friends!   So much of the happiness, value and fun in life comes from  my interactions, experiences and relationships with other people. Improving those interactions and your communication skills can greatly improve your life.  Sometimes, when we spend too much time alone that we become overwhelmed by our thoughts (and most times the negative ones and those feelings lead us to feeling more self conscious!) so if we surround ourselves with positive people we can focus our attention outward.  Most people have a hard time living in the present as they are too preoccupied thinking about what happened yesterday, or last week or last year OR they are worried about what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year.  We must practice focusing on what is happening right now!  If you can’t enjoy the present moment, when will you be able to enjoy the future?  This is the joy of having great friends and a busy social life!

  To all my positive friends and followers out there, do you have any other tips to share that can help someone who is looking to live a more positive life?

Les 🙂

Tagged , , , ,

Les’ Healthy Advice to Live By….

Being in the fitness ‘industry’ for quite awhile now and being on my own journey of health and improving my fitness I have learned quite a bit about nutrition, from my own experiences or from my many friends and clients!  I thought I would share my ‘top 10’ tips with you in today’s blog post as these are the 10 commandments that have helped me get to where I am today! 🙂

1. Set aside time in your day to workout-NO MATTER WHAT! If you can, make sure it is the same time everyday!  If your life isn’t that organized and predictable make sure you set aside at least 30 minutes a day to exercise, it’s the best gift you can give to yourself everyday! If you’re having a hard time finding enough hours in a day, try tracking how many hours you spend in bed, on facebook or watching television/Netflix and you might find some extra time to get in a good workout 😉 Learn to love working out and it will become much more enjoyable instead of working out because you think you have to!

2. Give yourself enough time in the morning to make a good breakfast!  And no a shake does NOT count as breakfast!  Cook an omelette, make a quiche/strata the night before, cook up some protein pancakes (lots of ideas in this blog post or this one) or if you really hate cooking, you can make a complete meal in your blender and create a delicious smoothie-add a liquid of your choice (preferably water), fruit, greens, plain greek yogurt, oatmeal, protein powder, flax seed, fish oil or peanut butter and VOILA!) Make protein (25-35 g) the lead role in your breakfast, followed by carbs and/or healthy fats. It has been proven that people who eat breakfast are leaner,more productive and have more energy throughout the day!

3. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours.  Depending on how many hours you are awake during the day (i.e. 7am-10pm=15 hours/3 hours between meals=5 meals per day) you should be eating 5-7 meals!  The reason I encourage people to eat multiple times throughout the day is to rev up your metabolism (every time you eat your body has to work hard to break the food down) and to ensure that you control your insulin/blood sugar levels by never being super hungry (no cravings!).  Your meals should be protein dominant (yep snacks too!) and should include LOTS of veggies, healthy fats and carbs (but limited depending on your body type and activity level).

4. Cut back on your TV watching time!  You’ll have more time to exercise, prep food, be productive and most importantly, less chances of mindless eating! Besides, if you’re like most people, you have a job that requires sitting down all day, why would you want to continue to sit on your butt when you could be cooking your meals for the next day in the kitchen or working out at the gym or running outside!  Call me crazy but it’s just a thought 😉

5. Eat real food! 100 calorie packs, low fat, no fat, Weight Watchers, gluten free, dairy free, no calorie, shakes for meals, supplement this etc etc blah blah blah….EAT FOOD! Lean protein (variety of meats, eggs, legumes), all colours of vegetables, healthy fats (nuts, oils, avocado, fish) and healthy carbs (oatmeal, rice, sweet potato, fruit, quinoa) are your best options.  You are what you eat…literally!  Some people complain about the price of eating healthy but guess what? You’re worth it!!  And all those crazy diet pills will never work unless you eat healthy everyday! I cannot stress this enough, proper nutrition is the key to weight loss! EAT REAL FOOD!

6. Stick with it!  Yes, there will be days when you skip the gym, you will eat something you shouldn’t, drink a little too much wine, have a bad night’s sleep etc but remember that consistency is the key to getting results!  I’m not talking a week, 2 weeks or a month, but months and years of healthy living is when you will truly start to feel and see the results of your efforts!  So be patient, your better body or fitness goal can’t be achieved in a few weeks of working out and eating healthy (or what you think might be healthy;)…) It took years to get your body to the state it is in now so it will take at least a year of solid and consistent effort to make a difference in your current physique and lifestyle…ask someone who you think is in great shape how long it took them to get there, I’m sure they will tell you YEARS!

7. Surround yourself and make friends with people who have similar interests in health and fitness!  If you’re hanging around people who make you feel bad for eating healthy or not going out drinking with them every weekend or don’t understand why you spend so much time exercising, or why you spend your money on a personal trainer,this makes it harder for you to stick to your plan!  I’m not saying to get rid of the people who aren’t supportive of your lifestyle but maybe spend less time with them and more time with people who can relate to your lifestyle and fitness goals and will bring you up and support you instead of making you feel bad about your new and improved life!

8. Hire an experienced trainer!  The only way to be held accountable and learn how to do things properly is to meet with someone who has experience teaching others about working out and proper nutrition that lead to results.  It doesn’t have to be a big investment, even 1 session a week or corresponding with a trainer via email/Skype/online once a month is worthwhile.  Your trainer will help get you on the right track by sitting down with you to set goals, break them up into weekly or monthly goals and then design a plan to help you get there!  Make sure you do your research though to make sure that you trainer has the proper knowledge, training and experience to help you reach your goals!  Do a background check! Ask for testimonials of current and former clients to get a better idea of the type of service you can expect.  Once you find a trainer perfect for you, CONGRATS!  You have just made the best investment and commitment you could ever make….investing in your health!

9. Follow healthy fitness and nutrition blogs/Facebook pages/Instagram for workout or recipe ideas and inspiration!  And don’t just read them, take notes and try them!

10. Get ready to spend a lot of time in the kitchen as you must prep all your own meals…accept the fact that losing weight is 80% nutrition so cooking and grocery shopping will take up the most of your time! Find a day (or 2) during the week when you aren’t busy and COOK UP A STORM!  Bulk cooking is best!  You will also spend a few days a week at the grocery store, this is normal!   Ask my clients who have gotten excellent results or who are competing in fitness competitions what the easiest way to prepare their food is.  They will tell you to cook as much of your food in advance!  Plan out your meals and have them ready or you’ll be stuck grabbing food on the way home (bad!) or not eating at all!  You can eat out (if you must) but be sure to make healthy choices…here is a blog post from my Naturopathic Doctor, (Dr Ellen Simone) with some tips for eating healthy when eating out.

These are just a FEW tips I thought I would share with you….I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information!  Remember you can’t change everything at once so pick one or two things to focus on each week and once you master those, add another healthy habit!

You can do it, you just have to be willing to make extra time for yourself and do a few things that require a little extra effort! (ie cooking and working out!)

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks…and feel free to share some of your own that I may have forgotten!

Les 🙂

Tagged , , , , , ,

Why am I training for a fitness competition??

Because I love being in amazing shape and well, because I want to! Simple enough!

Success Trains Failure Complains Quote

Seriously though, I get asked this question all the time and I actually ask myself this same question quite often, especially at this point in the training when I am up at 4:30 am most mornings to do 40 minutes of fasted cardio!

I have been an athlete my whole life (played club basketball from a young age, then switched to playing for an elite level club (winning Nationals my first year) volleyball team from Grade 10- 13/OAC and worked my butt off to earn myself a full volleyball scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi).  I have always had the desire to work hard and see how far I could push myself.  That inner athlete and competitiveness will never go away! So for all of you who think I am crazy for training for a competition and pushing my body past where it wants to be perhaps this helps explains my love of training and pushing myself. I AM AN ATHLETE!

So why am I training for a competition?? Here are a few of the reasons why…

1. I LOVE WORKING OUT! And honestly if you don’t, you are missing out! If you need help finding motivation, I’d love to help you out with that 😉  I find that the best feeling is the way I feel after kicking my own butt and breaking a good sweat!

2. I always need to have a goal-Whether it’s a marathon, a photo shoot, a vacation where I want to look good in a bikini I MUST be training for something, otherwise what is the point?! April 27 is the date of my show in Montreal…and after that I will be setting a new goal!

3. I want to look the part-I am a personal trainer and who wants to train with someone who doesn’t look the part?? I have to stay in better shape than my clients otherwise I might lose them 😉 And how would I attract new clients if I wasn’t in great shape and wasn’t practicing what I preached?

4. I love challenges- What’s the biggest challenge when training for a competition? THE DIET! Bring it on, I am doing whatever it takes to get my body in the best shape possible, no cheating, no excuses, JUST DOING IT! And to those of you who think that it is an unhealthy diet, think again! I am eating clean and often and no junk food AT ALL! Yep no cheating for 3 months, try it! Sounds pretty healthy to me and my body LOVES me for it!

5. I like staying lean and seeing my body change- Training and dieting for a competition, my body changes on a weekly, and sometimes, daily basis.  Being a personal trainer, I know the effects a good weight training program and healthy eating can have on the body. But training for a competition is vastly different from general training due to the nature of the diet and intensity of training required of you daily regardless of how tired and run down you feel.  To see my body transform is not only fascinating, but motivating as well.  Seeing definition in my arms, abs and legs is very exciting and not something I see all the time, but it’s something that I am going to work very hard to try and maintain after the show.  It is seeing results that keeps me motivated and is going help me make it to the stage!

6. My clients are competing in their first fitness competition! I want to be there with them through the whole process and what better way to be there for them than to join them and compete as well! It’s going to be hard to hold back the tears on the day of the competition, I am already proud of how far they have come and can’t wait to see them in the best shape of their lives on stage (in a teeny tiny bikini and clear heels haha)!

7. The feeling of success at the end- My success is always relative to where I started.  The last time I did a figure competition I was just a girl wanting to check another item off of my bucket list and to learn what it takes to take my body to the next level, looking awesome in a skimpy two-piece bikini on stage infront of hundreds of people (scary to think about, I know).  Even though I did not place top 5, I successfully reached my goal and that felt AWESOME!  My progress was relative given where I started, however, not relative when I was on stage against women who had been competing in figure competitions for years.  I definitely fit in as a “figure competitor” and certainly belonged on stage with the others who also worked so hard.  Now, because of an awesome team of trainers I work with (Lucas and Honore specifically) and my clients deciding to compete I am training for my second figure competition.  But this time I will look even better than the last show I did 🙂 I can’t wait to step on stage again, and to be able to say I DID IT! I REACHED MY GOAL! I love that sense of accomplishment! It’s like crossing the finish line of a race, best feeling ever! Oh and I also can’t wait for my first cheat meal afterwards too!! 😉

So there you have it, all the reasons why I compete in fitness competitions!  To those of you who have competed or are currently training for a show, what motivates you to do it? I’m interested to hear from you because everyone has a story and reasons as to why they train for these things…

10.5 weeks to go!  Keep checking my Get Fit with Les Facebook page for progress pics!  Can’t wait for my abs to show 😉

Les

Tagged , , , , , ,

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 🙂

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

“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 🙂

Tagged , , , , ,