Tag Archives: health

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

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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?

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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!

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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 🙂

 

 

 

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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 🙂

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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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Why is weight loss so hard?! Part 1

Do you think it’s easy to lose weight? If you listen to the weight loss industry, read magazines/books/articles, shop in health food or supplement stores, you have read about or been told how easy it is–just take this pill, follow that diet or buy this piece of equipment and the fat will just disappear. In fact, we spend over billions each year on weight loss products and services and yet we’re still overweight. So with that being said, is weight loss really that simple?

The idea behind weight loss is simple–burn more calories than you eat. This can be accomplished by replacing a couple of sodas with water and adding 20 minutes of walking each day. Sounds simple…and it is. If it’s that simple, why can’t we seem to do it?

There are a number of factors that contribute to our weight gain that you already know. But it’s not just about finding time to exercise or choosing the salad over the burger–it’s about genuine commitment to make healthy decisions every day….REGARDLESS of what’s happening in your life. If you’re not ready to make some changes, losing weight will be hard. I have come up with 10 things you’ll need to look at in order to get yourself in the right mind set and on the right track to weight loss!

1. Your Attitude. If you’re only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. Why? Because, what happens if you don’t see results quickly enough? You give up. Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what’s to keep you going if the scale doesn’t budge? It takes time to lose weight–how will you motivate yourself in the meantime? Find more reasons to be healthy–having more energy, dealing with health problems or wanting to live longer to be around for your kids. Those are some awesome reasons, if you ask me. We will all have moments of weakness, when we fall off the wagon, miss a few workouts, etc, but we must pull ourselves back up and start over again! It doesn’t always have to be an all or nothing approach! Tomorrow is a new day! Oh and I totally love this quote….

2. Your Workouts. If you don’t workout consistently enough, it’s hard to lose weight. Yes, it’s possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you’ll likely hit a plateau. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, you only need to set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can follow each week. It’s not about killing yourself with workouts–it’s about finding something you like and that you’ll continue with for the rest of your life. You have to be willing to be more active on a regular basis–not just for a week here and there. Having a personal trainer or a workout buddy is a great way to hold yourself accountable!

3. Your Eating. I can’t emphasize this enough! Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20 % exercise! TRUST ME! I used to be the person who was convinced that I could eat whatever I want as long as I workout hard everyday.  THAT DIDN’T WORK!  I get best results when I really pay attention to what I am eating and avoid any foods that will not help me reach my weight loss goals. This woman and her book totally changed my thoughts about healthy eating and the importance of nutrition…if you aren’t familiar with Tosca Reno (the Eat Clean Diet Queen) I highly recommend you check out her selection of awesome cook books 🙂 She is Canadian!

Changing the way you eat is another thing you’re going to have to do for long-lasting weight loss. You need to be willing to replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices–every single day. This might mean:

  • Keeping a food journal
  • Spending more time in the grocery store reading food labels
  • Spending more time preparing meals
  • Saying no to extra portions
  • Making conscious choices about what you put in your mouth.

For permanent weight loss, you need to pay attention to what you eat and make good choices more often than not. Maybe a structured diet eventually ends, but healthy eating never stops…there will never be a time when you’re done eating healthy. You might feel you’re sacrificing the good stuff (pizza, fast food, etc.) and your life won’t be fun if you can’t have those foods. Guess what? You can still have them…just not whenever you want. Are you ready to make these changes? Are you ready to stop giving your body the most convenient thing available (and often the most fatty) and, instead, spend time planning what and when you’ll eat? Because that’s what it takes to get healthy…permanently.

4. Your Lifestyle. If you want a healthy life, you have to be willing to change how you live. It most definitely doesn’t mean changing everything overnight, but simply being open to new ways of doing things. Some things you might need to change for a healthy life are:

  • Daily Routines. You may need to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout, use your lunch hour for exercise or go for a walk after work instead of watching TV. Are you willing to do this?
  • Limits. You might need to set new rules for yourself limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. You’ll need to pay attention to how you spend your time and where you’re out of balance so you can add more movement.
  • Your Pantry. I’m the kind of person who will eat an entire bag of Doritos or cookies if they’re in the house (I’m dead serious!) That means I don’t keep them in the house and if someone brings them home, they must hide them. If you want to be healthy, you may need to get rid of those foods you just can’t resist.
  • Your Schedule. If you’re not willing to sit down and change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it’s hard to lose weight!!!   People use busy schedules as an excuse not to be healthy…are you one of them? If you’re not ready to take responsibility for the schedule you’ve created, it will be hard to lose weight. I hear this excuse A LOT and I could use it as well but I choose not to! The results are worth the extra effort 🙂

5. Your Surroundings. Sometimes, you can’t control the things around you. At work, you may be surrounded by temptations–donuts, vending machines, invitations to eat out for lunch, etc. That’s just one thing you have to deal with…but what about your home? Surround yourself with things that will support you in your efforts to get healthy. That might mean spending your hard earned money on a personal trainer, setting up a corner of the house with workout equipment or instead of watching mindless TV a few nights a week choose to do an exercise video. Set up an environment that encourages those healthy choices and reminds you of them!! Always having a fridge and pantry full of healthy groceries is a guaranteed way to make sure you are making healthy food choices everyday!!

Check back later in the week for Part 2 where I will be completing this list with 5 more ways to make your journey to a healthier lifestyle a little less overwhelming…

What changes are you going to make today to make sure you are set up for success?? Are you as dedicated to your goal as you think you are?? If you really want something, stop dreaming, set a goal and start DOING IT!

Les 🙂

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Are you getting enough greens!?

I recently posted a video on my Facebook page about the benefits of a product I take everyday called “Vital Greens”.  For some reason I am having a hard time uploading it to my blog so I will summarize the information I provided in the video below…

What is it? NAKA Vital Greens- “a liquid boost of essential green nutrients plus a great mint flavour”

Why should I take it? It is a 100% vegetarian herbal formula that provides green nutrients, botanicals and vegetables in a pleasant cleansing liquid and is a great way to get all your essential green nutrients if you have a hard time eating lots of vegetables and salads.

Benefits? Increases energy and alertness, improves elimination and detoxification, improves digestion and immune function, balances blood sugar levels which can reduce cravings/leads to weight loss

When do I take it and how much? In the morning on an empty stomach, 1/2 a capful or 1 tbsp of Vital Greens mixed with 1 cup of water.

What’s in it? Chlorophyll, aloe vera, ginseng, ginko biloba, spirulina, beet root etc, as well as a list of super foods and vegetable juice complex.

What does it taste like? A nice light mint flavour, very refreshing!

Where do I buy it and how much does it cost? At any health food store. A 500mL bottle which will last you over a month (if you take it everyday) costs less than 30 dollars!

Where can I get more info?  Check out this website….

Any other questions about supplements or healthy ways to detoxify your body?? I’m here to help so feel free to comment below 🙂

Have a great night!

Les 🙂

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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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“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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