Tag Archives: personal trainer

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 🙂


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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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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 🙂

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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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How to stop falling off the wagon!!!

if you're tired of starting over

Are you one of those people who starts a diet or makes a decision to eat healthier and then less than a week later you’re back to eating unhealthyfoods and finish off an entire carton of ice cream?? Well in today’s post you will not only learn why you do this…but WHAT to do about it and hopefully how to prevent it from happening again!

But first, I want to share an interesting article I found on the internet that sounds very similar to the way I dealt with food in the past (and not gonna lie I am human and have weak moments from time to time even now!!)  This is also very similar to what I’ve noticed over the last several years working with  many different people as a personal trainer and observing how people lose weight…it’s long but worth the read…you will most likely be able to relate…

“It’s that when most people start a diet (which by the way I don’t encourage), they seem to have NO IDEA what will keep their enthusiasm going and keep them from cheating… and eventually failing.

And when they fail on these diets, they feel “out of control” of their lives…like a weak person that has no willpower…or a loser that’s failed — AGAIN!

Have you ever started a diet and really believed that THIS time it is gonna be different because you have found that drive and determination to change yourself… NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES?

Have you told yourself, “I don’t care how hard it’s going to be. I’m ONLY going to eat what my diet says is okay to eat.”

Ok let’s get real here!! Here is an example of what happens to most people (including myself)…

So here you are, on a diet and it’s the weekend and you have plans to go to a party!

You  have been so good all day long and only eaten exactly what the meal plan told you to eat today. You’re feeling really good about yourself and know that you’re going to have a great time at the party tonight.

You show up at the party feeling great and looking good.  You make your way over to the appetizers and there they are…Fresh baked, hot chocolate chip cookies! NO! Not COOKIES!  I LOVE COOKIES!  But there they are… teasing you with their sweet, sugary aroma and hot steam dancing around the slowly-melting chocolate chips (HAHA!)  Your senses take all this in and your mind quickly zooms in on the chocolate chip cookies. Suddenly, you can think of nothing else.  It was as if everyone in the party  has disappeared and there is a spotlight pointed at the tray of cookies (seriously this has happened to me before!)  You tell yourself, “I’ve been so good all day long. One cookie isn’t going to hurt any.” So you grab one and stuff it into your mouth. OMG!! Pure decadence. Mouth-watering ecstasy.  No worries in the world… just you and your cookie… wait! It’s gone! That was over way too quickly… you must eat more. And so you grab a second, and then a third, and then a fourth… and before you know it, you’ve had 6 fattening, sugar-filled chocolate chip cookies. Was that on your diet meal plan for the day?  I guess probably not.  All at once it hits you…What Have I Done?!  You ate 6 chocolate chip cookies in less than 5 minutes. How could I let that happen? I was doing so good.

Well, now that this night is shot… you might-as-well enjoy it while you can and have some fun.  So you go over to the chips and guacamole and start piling it on.  You tell yourself, “I’ll start back on my diet again tomorrow.”

And so the cycle repeats…

Isn’t that a funny phrase, “start back on”?  How can you “start back on” anything?  Can’t you only start something ONCE?  How many times have you “started back on your diet”? If you’re like me then you don’t even remember.  I would start a diet and really believe with all my heart that I would stick with it… that NOTHING was going to break my willpower.  I would tell myself, “This time it feels different.” “It feels special.”So why did I always end up back at the same place with a cookie in one hand and a fried tortilla chip in the other? I was doing everything I could to convince myself that I needed to change my body. I took a ‘fat picture’ of myself and pinned it to my bathroom mirror, I made a list of all the things about my body that I hated and wanted to change, I even laid out my high school jeans so I could look at them every day for motivation. But still I was cheating. Still I couldn’t keep from eating those super-fatted and sugar-filled foods. You would think that the disgust that I felt every time I caught a glimpse of my thighs in a mirror would be inspiration enough to PUT DOWN THAT COOKIE AND GRAB A CELERY STICK…

but it wasn’t.

Every time I started a diet to change the body that I hated, I failed. Finally, it hit me…THE BIG AH-HA THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME!.  Maybe the reason that I kept failing at my diets wasn’t because I didn’t have ENOUGH hatred for my body… Maybe that hatred was actually the reason why I was failing. I started to think about this a little deeper. I had been torturing my body and trying to force it to change… but it wasn’t responding.  In fact, it was rebelling and I was getting fatter. The more I thought about this, the more it seemed to make sense. Of course!

Why SHOULD my body change? What motivation am I giving it? Hatred. And what responds positively to hatred? Nothing. Think about what would happen if a friend wanted YOU to change. If she comes to you insulting you… and telling you everything that she hates about you… and all the reasons why you should change… and then DEMANDING that you change…You’re probably not going to react really well to this line of talk… and you are probably NOT going to change. No, you’d just get defensive and grind your heels in deeper. But if she comes to you with caring… and humility… and from a place where she is wanting to help you because she loves you… and then she convinces you there are wonderful reasons to make the change…You might feel inspired.You WANT to change.

I started to treat my own body like a friend that I wanted to inspire. Every day I would tell my body all the beautiful things that I loved about it. And when my body (or mind) made a mistake, I immediately gave forgiveness because I didn’t want my body to become discouraged. This shift in my thinking about my body changed my relationship with my body. It was no longer an enemy that I was fighting against… My body became my strongest ally. And we were fighting together for the same common goal — to be the healthiest person possible. It was suddenly much easier to stop eating junk food or to stop after one. It actually brought me JOY. And that was just the beginning…The more time I spent exploring my body, the deeper into my SELF I travelled. And you know what I found? Hiding underneath all these bones and organs, quietly and patiently waiting to be discovered…Was my spirit. And once I was introduced to my spirit, my fascination with my body faded quickly. And I made some really big discoveries…I am more than my body. This body is where my spirit lives. Every time I eat junk food or crap, I am polluting the house of my spirit. More than that, I WANT to give my spirit a beautiful place to live… and only pure, clean natural foods can build that. And so I started eliminated unhealthy foods from my diet, one-by-one and replacing them with healthy foods. And the healthier I ate, the brighter my spirit shined. I love that feeling. I CRAVE that feeling. I appreciate how great it feels when your spirit shines brightly because I spent the first decades of my life without that feeling. And now, I’ll do anything for it… I’ll even give up chocolate chip cookies. I even enjoy working out.

If this sounds crazy to you, I understand. I never thought I would find a better feeling than eating a plate full of chocolate chip cookies… but I have. When I feed my spirit the pure, clean, natural foods that it needs…My spirit rewards me in so many ways. I have more energy than I know what to do with, I laugh like I did when I was a schoolgirl, and I find happiness EVERYWHERE – even in the most common things. You may be thinking, “You get all this from food?” Believe it or not, Yes. When I finally found a deeper motivation to eat healthy foods, I stopped eating crap. All that crap I used to eat was dead. Dead of life, dead of nutrition, and dead of any good energy. Once I started to eat healthy foods, it was like someone came and breathed life into me. It feels so good to eat healthy! And it begins to actually taste BETTER to you than that junk food does. When your food is dead – YOU ARE DEAD.

I feel like I am alive for the first time in years. I got so many good feelings from eating healthy that I got hooked and didn’t want to eat anything else.

And you know what happened? My body started to change. My eyes got brighter, my skin got clearer, and all that extra fat around my thighs, butt and stomach disappeared. AND I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE! When I started talking to other women who have healthy eating habits, turns out they all have some higher motivation for rejecting crap and embracing healthy, natural foods. Some are healing from an illness…Some are following spiritual beliefs…Some have ethical reasons… Regardless of WHAT the motivation is… it always comes from some higher place other than “I want to look hot in a swimsuit.” The physical desire to change won’t carry you through those really difficult times when you want to cheat because that’s a physical desire as well. The physical pleasure you get from pigging out won’t always win over your physical desire to be “hot”… But your spiritual one will. When your motivation comes from the deepest place within you, it is driven from a much more powerful force. It is NOT driven by fear or hatred – it is driven by love. And that’s what kept me from cheating and failing at my diet. Today, if I do decide to cheat (which I sometimes do) I know that I won’t feel good after I eat it, and it won’t give me the same rush of health that I’ve become hooked on… But I do it anyway and I allow myself the enjoyment while I’m eating it because I know that that’s ALL the enjoyment I’m going to get. I deal with the after effects – the bloating, the indigestion, the sluggishness and lack of energy… And then I get right back to my healthy diet because that is what I prefer. Now, I CHOOSE foods that give me sustained enjoyment that nourish my body, mind and spirit. Look, I’m not some spiritual sage levitating four inches off the ground in lotus position… I’m not some great and powerful person or some holy saint with superhuman powers… I’m just a regular woman from a small town in Texas that turned my attention to what really makes me happy… and I found out that it wasn’t in chocolate chip cookies after all.

I know any woman can turn her attention inward…and discover what REALLY makes her happy…so that she can start to make better choices. And when you PREFER to make better choices, you will STOP failing at your diet. In fact, you won’t have to ever diet again. I know that this is not something that happens right away, and that maybe you might need some more guidance to find your way to where I am. 

PHEW! I am back!  Now  I am going to share with you 5 simple steps you can follow to stop failing at your ‘diet’ and prevent you from constantly starting over again:

1. Don’t be on a diet!!  Instead make wise-food choices.  Eating healthy food allows your body to get the nutrition it needs and it promotes a healthy physique as well.  There are foods that can naturally promote weight loss and a lot of these clean and healthy foods.  This includes a wide variety of vegetables and fruit (most veggies), as well as lean sources of protein, complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, etc) and a fair amount of healthy fats as well.  Stop failing at your ‘diet’ by wisely choosing the right foods!
2. Do not skip meals! Skipping meals will not do you any good. Do not believe in the common misconception that starving yourself makes you thinner and healthier. This is false! In fact, skipping meals can sabotage your weight loss attempt! Skipping meals causes your metabolism to slow down and as a result, the fat deposits are not thoroughly and easily burned. Skipping meals also makes your body eager to store more fat than the usual because fat stores are necessary to sustain you during the times that you are hungry and skipping your meals. Tip: You should be eating 6 times a day!
3. Proper timing of meals.  Many underestimate the effect or proper timing in food intake. What most do not know is that proper timing can increase or decrease the effectiveness of your weight loss routine. For one, eating on time makes your metabolism regular and on its peak. Correct timing also decreases untimely cravings at night. Tip: Eat small meals (with protein at every meal) every 2-3 hours!
4. Go natural-Eat whole foods! Nature has its way of making our body fit. As much as possible, always go for fresh, organic foods and avoid those which are commercialized and artificial. Commercialized and artificial products are high in bad fats (good fats can be found in natural food sources like avocado, oils, nuts) which are more resistant to fat burning. Moreover, these junk foods often contain a lot of salt and other preservatives which promotes water retention. Excess water makes you feel bloated and heavy.
5. Make your best worst choice– Sure, you might for various reasons make nutritionally or calorically (is that a word?) frightening choices, but so long as you asked yourself these two important questions, “Is it worth it”, and, “How much do I need to be happily satisfied”, there can’t be a wrong choice.  Sometimes your best may be a basket of chicken wings but perhaps a smaller basket than normal and one less beer, or a fancy coffee with whip just ordered less frequently, or a bowl of ice-cream instead of a pint, or a small bag of chips rather than the giant bag, or a full-sized chocolate bar rather than an entire Blizzard. What I’m getting at is that sometimes we make choices that are less than ideal, but that so long as you’ve made your best worst choice, you’re still doing great!


Hopefully this has been helpful and you will do your best to stick to your plan of eating healthy!  I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this topic, I know so many of us struggle with this!!


Les 🙂


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Do you Practice Mindful Fitness?

We should learn to   live in the present moment....

I recently received the latest issue of CANFITPRO (Canadian Fitness Professionals: the organization I am certified through) and came across a very interesting article called “Mindful Fitness”.  Here is a section from the article I had to share…

“Many of us are constantly looking for an alternative to the non-stop, stressed out, fast food lives we are living which are driving us to exhaustion, and are responsible for the booming rates of conditions such as obesity, drug addiction and cancer.  As fitness professionals we are responsible for illuminating another path that can help save us as individuals and the planet as a whole.  It involves the simple concept of mindfulness. We cannot ignore this movement towards mindfulness and in fact we need to embrace it for our own benefit and the benefit of every life we touch..

Mindfulness is the act of being conscious of our own thoughts, movements, and speech in the present moment and without judgement.  Mindfulness is letting life unfold as we watch, noticing the thoughts and feelings that arise in our minds without necessarily acting on them.  It brings peace to our hectic lives.  It sounds simple but if you’ve ever tried being consciously aware for any length of time you’ll know that it’s something that takes practice.  Imagine what life would be like if we made only conscious decisions and didn’t pay so much attention to the unconscious thoughts and feelings that are constantly driving us to ease and comfort.  We would be living a life on purpose.  The beauty of mindfulness is that it gives us a conscious control over our decisions and allows us to live a life of our own choosing…”

So true right?? Before I started practicing/studing yoga I would’ve read this article and laughed, actually I never would’ve made it past the first paragraph as I was guilty of living life in the fast lane; constantly thinking and worrying about tomorrow, what I was going to do next, what meal I was going to eat, who I was going to train etc.  Now I am the complete opposite!  I really do my best now to live in the present, and I am much more aware of what I am doing, feeling, thinking at the present moment.  Let me tell you, my stress levels have decreased dramatically!  I am also a much better listener as I actually listen and give other people my full attention instead of having 100 thoughts and scenarios going through my mind!

This also relates to success with my workouts.

Here is a list of 4 things you can do to practice “Mindful Fitness” :

1. Make a Plan Including Goals (and Barriers) to Your Success
One of the first things I share with my clients over and over again is the famous quote:
“those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Hence, in order to have success in your fitness, you must clearly define your goals and figure out why you are motivated to reach those goals. Are you motivated to lose weight? If yes, ask yourself why. Are you motivated to run a 10k? Why do you want to do this?  Be sure that your reasons are YOUR OWN and that you have not become swept up in another person’s dream or vision.  Once you have defined your goals, write down what may get in the way of your progress (barriers). It could be time, lack of equipment, work commitments, childcare or other obligations.  Just know that the same things that have been getting in the way of your success will continue to hinder you unless you avoid those roadblocks with workable solutions. Once your plan is underway and you have begun putting in the work to improve your fitness, there are additional things you can do to practice “Mindful Fitness”.
2. Pay Attention to Your Body by Learning to Differentiate Pain from Discomfort.
Remember, you are not always going to be comfortable while you are exercising (ask my clients, if it burns it means it’s working!). It is tough work and you must get comfortable being uncomfortable. Pay attention to your body by learning to differentiate between pain and discomfort. It is often quite uncomfortable running up a hill. You might be breathing heavy and if you are not used to that you may not like it. However, your foot should not hurt simultaneously. Be aware of pains and twinges that may lead to an injury down the road. If a specific mode of exercise hurts you, then you may need to find another one that suits your body better. Listen to your body and be conscious of what it can do.

3. Keep a Fitness Journal
Practicing “Mindful Fitness” is also about noting your progress so that you have a clear vision of your past when your perception may become skewed. For example, how would your body be affected if you began walking one mile per day? Well, one mile will burn about 85 calories. Therefore you would burn an additional 595 calories per week or 30,940 calories per year if you regularly practice this. That equates to a loss of 9 pounds per year, not to mention all of the other health benefits that you cannot physically see. Sometimes change seems so slight that you feel you are not making progress. If you keep a fitness journal, you will appreciate being able to look back and see how far you have come. Understand that making small incremental changes will eventually lead to big results.

4. Give Yourself Permission to Reevaluate Goals When Natural Backslides Occur
Finally, accept that there will be times when you are going to backslide and miss your workouts. Even the pros go through this. When it happens, revisit your goal sheet and reevaluate your motivations. Give yourself permission to amend your goals or your motivations and become determined to continue moving forward one small step at a time.

“Mindful Fitness” is about creating a realistic plan, listening to your body and being aware of how it feels. Find your balance, choose activities that agree with your body and be willing to work hard to achieve your desired results. You won’t regret it.

Meditation is the ultimate mindfulness activity.  I still have yet to attend a meditation workshop or class.  If you’re intimidated by meditation (as I am) keep in mind that in order to reap the benefits it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time but it should be done daily for as little as 5-10 minutes.

The simplest way to connect with the present moment (as I’ve learned through yoga) is simply sitting quietly and breathing for a few minutes.  Breathing with purpose and noticing how calming it feels to inhale deeply and exhale deeply is the most important and easiest thing you can do 🙂 I dare you to try it…

Speaking of breathing and yoga, I will be teaching a yoga class this Sunday at LC Fitness Studio (1376 Bank Street, B200) at 1pm.  Come and practice “mindful fitness” with me and you’ll leave feeling refreshed, re-energized, more flexible and very relaxed but most importantly you’ll be happy you dedicated 75 minutes of your day to yourself!


Les 🙂




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Wedding weekend in Hamilton :)

Holy cow it’s cold outside!!!  With the winter approaching my days are getting busier and busier (that’s a good thing).  I can’t believe it’s Friday already and I’m off to Hamilton/Ancaster for a good friend of mine’s wedding (Meghan Boyle) tomorrow! 🙂 Even though I am getting busier with clients, I can tell I’m extremely motivated these past few weeks as I have not skipped a single workout and I have been pushing myself and sticking to my meal plan 🙂 how about YOU?!

I have heard many people blame the colder weather for one of their many reasons not to exercise and since today is the first cold day we’ve had I want to snap you out of hibernation mode or ” being lazy-storing more body fat and not fitting into your clothes” mode before it’s too late by providing you with a few motivational posters…

Stop making excuses and thinking about getting in better shape and eating clean and make it happen!  If you have time to watch tv and spend hours on Facebook you have time to exercise and cook your own healthy meals!! JUST DO IT!

Need help getting motivated!? You know how to reach me 😉

Have a fantastic weekend everyone! And congrats to Meg and Phil on your wedding day tomorrow :):)

Les 🙂

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Which ‘stage of change’ are you at?


There are typically five stages (sometimes 6)  one encounters when making life changes.  This model was developed in the 70’s to chart the changes in smokers trying to quit.  Above there is a chart I found that shows you how it relates to people attempting to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.  Which stage are you at and how does it relate to your need to make a positive change in your life???  How do you think you’ll get to the next stage??  Keep in mind that not everyone moves from one stage to the next in the same length of time.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the Stages of Change model:

Precontemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware or in denial of their problems (i.e. sedentary/unhealthy lifestyle)

Contemplation is the stage in which people are aware that a problem exists and are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet made a commitment to take action. (“I know I need to BUT…” or you make “I should” statements)

Preparation is a stage that combines intention and behavioral criteria. Individuals in this stage are intending to take action in the next month and have unsuccessfully taken action in the past year (i.e. look into getting a gym membership, think about contacting a personal trainer, making “I could” statements, etc)

Action is the (hardest!) stage in which individuals modify their behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome their problems. Action involves the most overt behavioral changes and requires considerable commitment of time and energy. (This stage must be celebrated!! The person has made a choice and demonstrates desire for change! Having a personal trainer really helps you to stay motivated during this stage :)))

Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action. For addictive behaviors this stage extends from six months to an indeterminate period past the initial action. Also celebrate this stage! You’ve accomplished your goal. Your clothes fit better. You don’t even think about missing a workout.  This is a long-term commitment but you love your new habits and healthier self!  It takes time to get here and there will be small ‘bumps’ or ‘slip ups’ along the way but you’ll switch up your workout to keep yourself motivated.  Your life has changed tremendously since you were in the “Precontemplation Stage” and you generally a lot happier with yourself than when you started 🙂

Relapse is the stage you want to avoid happening at ALL COSTS! But if it does happen, it’s never too late to start over again…but it’s hard, really, really hard!

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The reason I wanted to write about this topic today is because in the last couple of weeks I have witnessed quite a few new clients in stage 4- ACTION!  This is the most exciting moment for me as a trainer, especially taking clients through their very first workout.  Sometimes I wish I could videotape the first workout (some are worse than others) and then play it back to my clients 6-12 months later to remind them how far they have come (and how out of shape they used to be!)  Not only are they extremely motivated and ready to work hard on the first day (and everyday after that) but they give it their all! (no matter how light-headed, nauseous, sweaty, weak, or tired they feel).  It’s amazing (and refreshing) to see people coming in to see me so DETERMINED TO CHANGE and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  It is one of the reasons I love my job as I get to help people overcome their greatest fears and do things they never thought were possible.

So to all my new (and old) clients reading this, you have taken a very positive and HUGE step towards living a healthier lifestyle and I congratulate you!   I know you can accomplish any goal you put your mind to- it just takes time, patience, determination and discipline (and listening to/trusting your trainer!)  And if you ever need any help, you know I’m always here to help and support you (and kick your butt when you need it!) 🙂

If you’re someone who has been ‘contemplating’ working out for a while, or maybe you’ve always wanted to train for a marathon or wish you were in the best shape of your life and had a personal trainer well, what’s stopping you?  Go ahead and JUST DO IT!  Life is too short to regret not living your life to the fullest!!


Les 🙂




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