Taking a break..

Sooooo, I totally took an extended break off of MOST of my social media platforms. Oopsies, sorry!

I have been back from Florida for a while now but I have been keeping busy with a few things.

A) been working on something I am choosing to keep personal for a little while, I will mention it later on 🙂 (sorry for being THAT annoying vague blogger).

B) been working on my free lance local training business (webpage, policies etc) as well as coaching

C) it is been kinda nice living life and not documenting everything (hope you don’t take it personally ;)).

But I am here! Today, I thought I would talk about taking a break…with exercise?

Say whaaaat?!

I took the longest break from working out since starting my journey to a healthier me in 2009. Why? I felt stuck. I felt I was in a funk. I felt like fitness was a punishment rather than something I enjoyed. NO THANKS.

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Fitness has been something I have enjoyed my whole life. I was an avid team sports player most of my adolescent years, and fell in love with strength training and running in my early 20s. Sometimes you get in a funk. You get bored. Sometimes.. you need a break.

Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t just sit on the couch all day and do ZIP. I was still active with walking and what not. I live in a city where I can walk anywhere and I also do not have a car I can drive. So I do my best to keep walking throughout the day. But I took time to just relax, take a couple hot bubble baths, and renew myself. That is exactly how I feel, my love for fitness is back and renewed. I WANT to be active. I WANT to get my heart rate going. Not, I NEED to workout.

Also, I think my body benefited from the physical rest I was giving it. So mentally and physically, this break has done me well.

 

QOTD: Have you ever taken a break from exercise for something like this?

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Florida Trip- Part 1: Miami, Tampa, & Orlando

Vacation, again?

Yes, yes.. well kind of. The trip we were on before was kind of a vacation, but more so to see our wonderful family and friends :). With Matt being gone for a good third (or more) of this year, we thought it could be nice to explore and enjoy some time together in beautiful sunny Florida.

Before we left Vancouver, we met for brunch with my very best friend Natalie and her boyfriend. EVERYONE has been going on and on about chicken and waffles. Can I just say? sounds gross. Well.. it sounded gross. Jordan said Tableau (in Vancouver on Melville by Bute) is the place to go, boy was he right. It wasn’t overly greasy or heavy. So good. They served it with maple syrup and gravy on the side too.

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We had a red eye to Toronto and then onward to Miami. We got to our destination around 1 pm on Monday (left around 10:30 Vancouver time on Sunday). At our 3 hour layover in Toronto, we were blessed to see a beautiful sunrise. This photo doesn’t do this justice. In the background you can see the skyline of downtown Toronto. Gorgeous.

IMG_5175Once in Miami, we shuttled our way to the hotel. We stayed close to downtown. We decided to go for a walk and HOLY was it humid! we decided to hop on one of the free city trolleys instead and found ourselves at an outdoor mall. We found somewhere to eat and then headed back to the hotel and conked out.

I woke up feeling SO rested and hit the gym pretty hard for 45 minutes. We took the free shuttle from the hotel into Miami Beach/ South Beach area. First thing we did? Went for a swim. How can you not in this beautiful water?!

IMG_6289At one point I felt something on my hand and looked back to see I had a big jellyfish behind me. Luckily, no stings. But it scared me pretty good. We met some wonderful friendly folks on the beach, talked for a while then went off to find Lincoln mall. I remembered going there when I was in Miami a few years back. We found a Nespresso cafe that was HUGE. Never seen a stand alone store like this!

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After tons of walking about, and a little shopping at Madewell, Matt and I were staving. Most of the places around looked overpriced or much of the same (especially on Ocean Ave). We found a little Italian place by the shuttle drop off point and the pizza was phenomenal. I had the prosciutto one and Matt went with a pepperoni one. We did a little splitzies.

IMG_6291SO good.

The next day we packed up, and went to grab our rental car to head up towards Tampa area. Matt and I have been planning the trip as we go. We had a few spots already planned, but for the rest, we would book as we went along.

I really wanted to go towards Tampa to meet a dear internet friend. I have been talking to Julie for YEARS. Pretty much since I started this whole journey. I just HAD to see her in person. We met at Dunkin Doughnuts (mainly because I LOVE their coffee and they don’t have it in Canada but also because it was really close). We talked over coffee and then went for a nice walk around town with her little guy. We hit it off (just as I knew we would). I really wish we lived closer!! But it is okay, because she has to come to Canada at some point (sorry girl, you don’t have a choice ;)).

IMG_6300Such a wonderful day! We talked so much that we almost had her miss her afternoon appointment! oopsies!

I got back to the room and Matt and I jetted off towards Orlando and than onward to where we are now, Cocoa Beach. We hit up Orlando so we could go to the Premium Outlets there.. okay..it wasn’t Matt’s choice at all. All me. But grabbed some amazing deals at the Victoria’s Secret Outlet (I believe this is the only one they have in the US but could be wrong). If you get a chance to go, IT IS SO WORTH IT. I bought a VSX sports bra (they are amazing if you have never had them) originally  around $60 for $14.99. YUP. Also, snagged some sweats for $10. Win. SO could have spent the entire day at that outlet.. but a couple hours worked fine. Didn’t want the husband to be TOO upset with me ;).

Now off to enjoy Cocoa Beach!!

My tips and tools for new runners!

I really started getting into running in 2009 when I started my journey towards a healthier me. As I have explained in the past, running was originally a plan to lose weight. It turned from this activity that created a large caloric deficit, into something deeper than that. Running became something that really centred me, it has meditative qualities for me. It has carried me through times of struggle and times of celebration. My relationship with my body, in turn, became stronger. I began to love my body for how it could preform. I also learned to love my body for what it was, rather than picking it apart at any glance in the mirror. I have fallen in love, out of love and back in love with running over and over again. Even during the times that I felt like I was not enjoying it, I found aspects that I still truly enjoyed. But even yet, I still get the constant “HOW can you like running? I absolutely hate it. I wish I could enjoy it” response from time to time. So this inspired me to share with you some points and tools to remember when you start running:

Know you may not love running right off the bat….or at all…

When you first start a new form of exercise, it will be a struggle. For many, being sweaty, out of breath and feeling challenged does not ring “fun.” But as you feel better with your pacing, try new routes, new terrains, new races and running buddies, running may turn into something great. But also know, not everyone will love running. That is okay. We all have our own personal preferences, so of course we won’t ALL love running. But you may end up loving it after some time trying it out!

You do not need a specific plan when you first start.

When I began, I didn’t start with a program like Couch 2 5 km. (Though, c25k really is a great way to start things if you like more structure.) What did I do? I just got out there and remembered that if I had to walk, that was okay. I was still moving. So I would go out for 20 minutes and keep in mind that my main goal was just to move. Also, I would remember to check in with my body, so not to push it TOO far. I would run for as long as I felt I could, then take a power walk break. Then once I felt ready to run again, I would! Each time I would try and challenge myself and would do my best not to back down from challenges like a steep hill. Which brings me to my next point.

Do not fear hills.

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Where I live, hills are unavoidable. How will you ever improve if you do not challenge yourself? When I started, I would do my best to make goals while climbing a hill. For instance, I would tell myself that I would run up the hill until that lamppost (tree, fire hydrant etc), and often times once I got there I felt I could keep pushing to the next marker. Before I knew it, I had crested the hill. Again, some days are stronger than others. But as long as you do what you can that day, that is all you can ask of your body. Remember, though, we are a lot stronger than we think we are!

Don’t worry about apps, and other electronic gadgets.

I run with a Garmin Forerunner 310XT now, but honestly..you do not need electronics when you run. I know plenty of people that rather not run with things like this. I used to run just with a watch so I knew how long I was out there for. But you do not need expensive pieces of equipment to train. Just a pair of shoes (unless you are a barefoot runner that is…you go Glen Coco!).

However, if you want to know distance..

Maybe you are curious about how far you did go while you were out there. The main website I use (and there is an app if you so choose to use it) to map my run. It is named exactly that. Map my run.

Don’t get hooked on numbers…

It doesn’t matter how far or fast you go when you first start. Sure, these can be good goals to constantly improve on. But do not let these number make you feel defeated. You are still out there and moving!

Don’t worry about technical running gear.

I would run in sweats and a baggy T shirt when I started. Really, it is okay if you don’t have running tights and technical t shirts. Same goes to fuel belt, fuel bottles or hydropacks. Honestly, these are NOT 100% necessary. If you live in a hotter area and feel the need to have water on you at all times, sure. But no need to complicate things and buy $500 worth of things from your local running store before you first start running. Ease into it. Use what you have in your closet!

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But remember..Safety first!

You may want to buy some running shoes. Shoes are the only piece of equipment we use as runners that is absolutely key. They are also the piece of equipment that can be the cause of back, hip, knee or (insert body part of choice) pain. Running shoes are designed for..you got it! RUNNING. Where as cross training shoes are designed for places like the gym where you may be moving omnidirectional. Running, we typically run forward. Not laterally. So running shoes are designed as such. Also, running shoes can be “too old” to run in. So my best piece of advice is to go to your local running store. They can fit your foot to the proper shoe you need since we all have different foot types and may need more or less stability.

You  may also want to have some reflective tape, bands or a vest if you are early morning or evening runner.

But above all this.. the most important thing?

Don’t over complicate it. Stop over thinking it. You will learn along the way. Listen to your body, don’t over do it (too much too soon is a recipe for overuse injuries). Just get out there and do what you can that day. Some days will be better than others. Some runs will be a huge struggle. But you are moving, you are doing what you can do that day! With time, you will feel more in touch with your body and its needs. Do your best to listen to what it wants.

Don’t worry about how you look or what others could think. Because more often than not, the people who will drive, run or bike past you are not thinking about YOU. They are thinking about themselves or whatever else is on their mind. Focus on how your body feels, breathe and put one foot in front of the other.

Just get out there. Move.

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Lobster Mac & Cheese? yes please!

Woke up in the mornin’ feeling…exhausted. That is what you get when you stay up late talking with your good girlfriend right? I had to drive back home to meet with our wedding photographer. If you are looking for an awesome photographer in the lower mainland, I couldn’t recommend Morgan Hargreaves Photography enough! Morgan and Erin are such an amazing team, they know the exact moments to capture and they simply just amazing women. Weddings, boudoir photos, newborn photos, you name it! Please go like their like page to see more amazing work!

IMG_2883 (2) copyMorgan and I sat and chatted over tea for a while. I really enjoyed all the wonderful conversation and talking about other weddings she has gone to. It must be so amazing to experience and see how everyone celebrates their love. She mainly came by to show me the photo books that she now offers. We definitely will be picking up some of those for our coffee tables.

I then to get a bit more dressed up. You know when you feel just “blah?” Yep. That was me due to lack of sleep. So I reapplied my makeup and straightened my hair. We were going out for dinner in a few hours anyway.

IMG_3906Caught. Selfie-ing it up!

My brother came over and we went out to shoppers really quick to pick up a few items. It was a good ol’ Vancouver rainy day and of course I don’t know where I placed my compact umbrella that is usually always in my purse.

We went to the Boathouse (in Kitsalino, located on the beach) with my parents for dinner. Boy. It was good!! My Dad and I are huge shellfish/seafood people so we split the oysters. Yum!

Oh.. and prepare yourself for horrible flash photos. It was way too dark in that place.

IMG_3909The miso sauce was really really good for these bad boys.

As for my entree, I couldn’t resist the lobster mac & cheese. Just sounded WAY too good to pass up.

IMG_3911It was REALLY good. Not overly cheesy which was nice. Enough for you to taste the cheese but it wasn’t drowning in sauce. I have half of it for after my long run today. Mwahaha!

Then we indulged in some dessert. Everyone went for the mocha ice cream cake except for me. The apple & sun dried cranberry crisp sounded more up my ally. Yum!

IMG_3912I have had SO many rich indulging foods last few days. Back to my clean eats today! my tummy is getting a bit mad with me!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! I am now off to run 18ish km and I will have company this time! Picking up my brother on the way!

Product Review: The Vitamix

DISCLAIMER: I am in NO way sponsored or affiliated with Vitamix. I made this blog post/YT video because I had many questions on my experience with the blender/was it worth the $$.

Over on the Youtube channel I had a few subscribers ask about what I thought about my Vitamix/is it worth the money. I decided to make a video showing a few of my favorite go to recipes and explain what I thought about it. Click the link above to check out my channel if you wish.

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Generally, the Vitamix is pretty pricey. Matt and I ordered off the Costco website and had it shipped to our door. We went with the “Nutritional Centre ULTIMATE” package that retailed for $699.99. This package included:

– A DVD
– 3 different blending containers (2- 4 cup containers- one for wet ingredients, one for dry.. and 1 8 cup container for wet ingredients)
– 3 skinny spatulas
– chopping mats (each identifies poultry, fish, beef, veggies/fruit to avoid cross contamination)
– chefs knife
– plunger like devices to guide ingredients to the blades

What you can do with it:

-make homemade flour
– grind coffee beans
– make smoothies, juices or shakes
– nut butters HELLO!
– sauces, dressings
– have a picky eater on your hands? you can liquify veggies into your sauces to sneakily hide the nutrients into your dinners!

Downfalls:

1) The shape of the containers

There are lots of little grooves in the container that can make you lose product. If you took the time to scrape everything out? well good on ya! Personally I find it overly time consuming. May not be a big deal for some, but when working with expensive ingredients like pine nuts? everything counts!

2) The size/heaviness of base

If you are like me, I like a clean kitchen area. The base of most of the vitamix models are a bit heavy and chunky.

3) The noise

I do find the blender to be louder than most blenders, but it is due to the size of the motor in these bad boys.

What I LOVE

1) Versatility

It seriously replaces SO many appliances. I don’t need a blender, mixer, coffee grinder, food processor, juicer! The list goes on!

2) Save money

I make so many things from scratch now! I make my own almond flour, quinoa flour, almond butter, pesto sauce, tomato sauce, etc.

3) The Warranty

Vitamix holds a 7 year warranty! Not too shabby if you ask me!

All in all, I TOTALLY recommend this blender to EVERYONE. It is amazing and I use it pretty much 2 times a day or more. However, if the price tag is a bit more than you would like. The Blendtec is a great substitute as well!

Change of Plans

Gosh I miss having wifi! It is being installed on Friday though, thank goodness. I want to blog from the comfort of my sweatpants, no makeup and messy hair! Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, I wanted to do an update in regards to a big move I decided to make with my meal plan and training plan. As seen here on blog, I have been working with my coach Michelle for about 4 months now. I will just say it, I have decided to stop working with her. It is nothing against her. She is great and people see amazing results with her! But I want to explain why I have made this choice. It is due to something that I haven’t mentioned too much on my blog or Youtube because, quite honestly, I have felt rather embarrassed and nervous to talk about it. I have come to the realization that many people struggle this situation and I thought it would be good to address it.

If you have seen my bio, either on my blog or through my videos, you will have seen that I was always an athlete. Exercise is something I have always been very passionate about and that is still true today. However, I was overweight and matters only got worse after my first year at university. I have always explained it was because “I didn’t know much about healthy eating,” but only part of that statement was true. Really I struggled with binge eating. I now know what situations bring out the “I wanna binge” feeling and this is the main reason why I stopped working with Michelle (again, its not because of her!). Personally, the planned out concise meal plan did not work for me. It brought out the binge eating tendencies. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gained weight from the many binges I experienced in the past four months. I have maintained part of the weight I lost in month 1. I just feel this was the best step for me.

What I needed was balance. The one cheat every two weeks was not cutting it for me. Also, the fact it was suppose to be a clean cheat. After having beef flank every single day for a month, the last thing I was craving was a beef steak! Again, nothing against this way of eating, it is just not for me.

As a certified trainer and coach, I believe self development is extremely important. I have been studying, reading and learning more about weight lifting, gaining muscle, fat loss, nutrition, and so on. I have come to the realization that much of what I want to accomplish I can do on my own for the time being. I may hire someone, locally, when I get into show prep (because lets be honest, AWKWARD Jenn posing for her show needs to be slightly less awkward!). For now, I am okay to do my own thing.

Also, I am working on my fitness business to get it up and running in the next year or so. I have many big ideas and dreams but the main plan on is to train clients locally as well as online. So I am planning on being a guinea pig for the workouts I am putting together as well as trying out a new way of eating.

As you may have noticed, I am an Instagram-aholic! I had noticed the hash tag #IIFYM all over the place and thought… “what is it with people and acronyms?!” ….just kidding. I was actually very curious and did a fair bit of research. IIFYM stands for “If it fits your macros.” This is my “new way of eating” that I found.

A basic rundown of what IIFYM (click to learn more) is:
Not all calories are created equal. 4 calories per gram of protein, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and 9 calories per gram of fat. This is why there is a shift of focus from calorie counting to macronutrient counting. The understanding is that if you want to have treats like frozen yogurt, sushi, pizza, or “insert food of choice here,” you can as long as you have the fat, carbohydrate, protein grams that allow for that. IIFYM is also known as “flexible dieting.” It reminds me a lot of the Weight Watchers “points plus” system that came out when I was working as a leader and receptionist! Like IIFYM, Weight Watchers focus was now on the macronutrients. Why? because not all calories are EQUAL. *light bulb turns on*

I have been using this method of eating and honestly, I am eating clean 90% of the time and still enjoying food I love! I am finally feeling BALANCE again and have no urge to binge. What else? I am seeing improvements in my energy levels, more power in my workouts and changes in my body! Not too shabby if you ask me!

So that is a not so brief run down of where I am at now! I still have plans to compete and gain muscle, I just will be working towards those goals with my own knowledge and planning.

One step at a time

Wanted to share a few thoughts that have been with me the past few weeks…

Since I have been officially DONE undergrad since April 22nd, I have taken the past few weeks to have a bunch of time to myself to reflect, read and renew myself. I have been thinking a lot about what overwhelms me most and how to overcome that. I will be upfront to say I have gained a bit of my weight back, about 10 lbs, and it has made me feel pretty frustrated, annoyed with myself and unhappy. I have experienced some extreme “self love” emotions to extreme lows of “self hate” for my body image in the past few months. It’s exhausting. So I took these “personal development” days to step back and reflect on what to do from here.

tumblr_m6iahq8EKu1rptw4do1_500 I realize that I have a habit of looking too far ahead and not embracing myself and the moment. I am happiest when I live in the moment. When I leave my worries of what could happen if I take this or that risk behind, I find I am freed. I looking too far ahead of where I am right now to be somewhat destructive as it makes me feel overwhelmed and almost “not good enough” to carry on. So what I have decided to do is step back and embrace each step for its ups and downs. From time to time, look bad to admire the battles I have fought and move forward with new ones.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. This was an idea I followed when I started my journey in 2009, and I found a way of losing grip of that idea. One step at a time. I need to focus on each step in order to move forward and feel at ease. I know I am a high anxiety and high stressed individual, so this is what works best for me.