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?

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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Starting FOCUS T25 and working off the extra “fluff”

Yesterday I started up a new Beachbody program! I am a Beachbody coach (I can be YOUR FREE coach, ask me how in the comments or email me!) and love to try all the new products this awesome company has been coming out with. Focus T25 came out this summer and it is just another awesome workout program by the fabulous Shaun T. As you know, I LOVED Insanity, so naturally this was my next step. Why? Uh… can you beat 25 minute workouts? I don’t think so. I am ALREADY in love with the program and I have only tried two of the workouts. I LOVE programs that don’t require a LOAD of extra equipment.
T25I am still running and going to the gym. This is the awesome thing about these workout programs, you can use them along side your usual training. Yep! Cross training in my living room. That’s how I do. So yesterday I bit the bullet and measured, weighed and took photos of my “beginning” of this program. I will not be showing you the photos quite yet or jotting out specifics of weight. I will be honest, I saw a number on the scale I haven’t seen in close to 2 years which is a bit of a downer but I am working on it. The fluff will come off with a little hard work and clean eating. Nothing to get bummed out about. So my goal is to complete the Focus T25 program, whilst using the ever so yummy Shakeology (again, feel free to ask me more about the products!).

As many know, I am making my come back into marathoning shortly. I have decided to assess where my body is at come January. If I am near or under my “happy weight” I will train for the full in spring. However, if I am not quite there yet, or I don’t feel it is time, I will train for a half. Personally I almost always GAIN weight during training for the full, and I know a lot of people that have had the same experience. It isn’t anything crazy, give or take 10 lbs, but I for sure can tell the excess weights impact on my knees. I am happy to be running again AND I just got back my newly repaired Garmin Forerunner 310XT! Which HOLY I missed! I can’t tell you how much better it is for me to run without my phone again. I used to get email after email and text after text on the run and it would be in the back of my mind the whole run. I like to focus on ME and the road when I’m running…not work or what so-and-so is up to! May be selfish but HEY it IS my ME time. Just sayin’.

So here we go! Committing to a new program, STILL enjoying life and eating clean. Balanced lifestyle is what it REALLY should be about. Let’s do this thang!

Product Review on nutTea: a Naturally Caffeinated Organic Energy Bar

Recently I was contacted by my lovely friend Teresa from The Golden Zebra about a product her friend Mayank Chauhan currently created called nutTea. nutTea is an all natural energy bar that Mayank created using all natural products, no soy, no syrups or added sugars, that give a caffeine punch using tea!

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As many of you know I am an endurance athlete who also loves to lift weights, do yoga, Turbo and much much more. If you have followed my marathon journey on Youtube, you will be very aware of the perils I had with finding the perfect fueling source. I tried my best to work with natural products but more often than not it created issues with my digestive system or I would have an energy crash early into the run. So I jumped at the idea of trying out an all natural energy bar. I especially love supporting local!

A little bit about the product:

Gluten Free
Soy Free
Raw
100% Natural
100% Organic
No added sugar
No preservatives
3-4 whole food ingredients per bar

2 Flavors (as of now)
Dark Chocolate (70-85 mg caffeine)
Green Tea (25-35 mg caffeine)

Best used
Consume 15-30 minutes before exercise
No coffee/tea or other caffeine sources before consuming
No meals 2-3 hours before consuming
Retailing for $4.59

My Review:

DARK CHOCOLATE NUTTEA BAR – 80mg Caffeine

Nutritional Facts-Chocolate Yerba Mate

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Before we get into anything can we just take a moment to look at the ingredients lists on these?? How natural and pure is that?! Amazing!

Before Activity: I used this bar prior to a 7 mile LSD run (long slow distance). I had not slept well for the past 2 days, was very tired and very little appetite when I woke up. I drank about a litre of water that morning and only had the nutTea Dark Chocolate bar before hitting the road.

Taste/Texture: The texture is chewy with a subtle crunch (from the nuts). It tastes chocolately, but not too bitter as some dark chocolates can be. There was no bad after taste afterwards. Also, I ate this right out of the refrigerator (that is how I like my bars generally) so at room temperature the texture would be more chewy than what I was experiencing.

During the run: My energy was constant and I felt no crash. I was not feeling super hungry during my run, which is pretty normal for me for an hour run. But the best part is that I had NO tummy or digestion issues. This is HUGE seeing as my tummy can have many issues when it comes to all natural type products.

Overall: I definitely felt my energy pick up. Like I mentioned, I had no caffeine, no meals and very little sleep prior to trying out the nutTea bar. I could tell the bar helped me with my mental alertness as well as my physical energy levels.

GREEN TEA NUTTEA BAR- 35mg Caffeine

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Before Activity: I used this on a speed run where I preformed multiple intervals and ran a few hill repeats. These types of runs generally require much more energy physically and a lot more mental focus. I had 500mL of water and my bar first thing in the morning. I felt rested, had a full 9 hours of sleep and was ready to go! Before the run I was pretty hungry, but I found the bar was pretty satisfying.

Taste/Texture: Very much like the dark chocolate bar, it has a chewy with slight crunchy texture to it. This flavor may be an acquired taste to some, but personally I loved it. I say that because know not everyone is a green tea flavored kind of person, but I am the type of girl that loves green tea flavored anything. It is definitely a more earthy kind of matcha green tea taste.

During the run: Again, constant energy and mental alertness, and no energy crashing during or after the run. Absolutely no tummy troubles! Generally post run I can be a bit spacey, and I found my energy was still pretty steady and constant. Since I was hungry prior to eating the bar, I did have more of an appetite once I got home.

Overall: Also really liked this bar. It tastes great and it preformed really well for me.

My Suggestions:

I really loved pretty much EVERYTHING about this product. The taste, the texture, the performance and the quality of ingredients. I think it would be very beneficial for nutTea to expand into the runner/triathlete/cyclist market by making the bars in a form that could be easily accessed in the endurance athletes fuel belt. Such as “energy bites” or something of that sort. If you glanced at the ingredients list, you will notice that dates are used which are a great energy source for this sort of thing!

Plans for the future of nuttea?

Ultimately, nutTea has an amazing mission that is looking out for the better good of the consumers and the environment by using premium quality ingredients. In the future, nutTea plans to be making product lines that include drinks, powders, and gels.

nutTea has just launched their Kickstarter to help build up the business! Check out what awesome rewards nutTea has lined up for those who pledge!

http://bit.ly/nutTEAjj

Where can you learn more?

Please check out nutTea’s various social media platforms!

Website: http://bit.ly/GSvNxV
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bk0hSP
Twitter:  http://bit.ly/19FUs4G

The Importance of Passion

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Monday morning I laced up my Mizuno Waveriders, zipped up my 2010 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon windbreaker and hit the pavement for my first “carefree” run in a very long time. This was the first workout since the start of 2013 that I felt genuinely happy throughout the entire workout! Sounds silly, but I didn’t really realize how much I missed running without a plan or route in mind. Just hitting the road and taking turns where ever my feet wanted to go. I also was extremely happy to run outside rather than on a treadmill! Or should I say, dreadmill UGH!

If you have followed my journey on Youtube since 2009, you will know that running has been a huge part of my identity since starting my 50 lb weight loss. Running truly has shown me so much of the world and myself. It started as a weight loss effort and soon bloomed into something much more beautiful. Running is a constant in my life and helps me deal with a lot of emotions and situations. I run when I am angry, sad, frustrated, stressed, and happy. I feel it? I run it!

It was hard to read the words written on my month one plan from the coach I was working with. They read that I would have to stop running distance…uh, what? I realized I would have to take it down a notch, but stop? Oi. The only type of running I was doing during that time was during intervals on a treadmill that were no more than a mile. It wasn’t until the 4th month that I was allowed to run 4 miles. It was then that I was really realizing that I was sacrificing a part of ME and apart of what I LOVE to do! My passion.

I am not saying that every run I have ever run was perfect, happy and easy for me to get out there and go. Definitely not! But you know that feeling you get when you think of something or see something you love? That “AH I want to do that right now!” feeling? That never went away for me. This may sound silly to my readers that do not run, but I sometimes will see a street or a trail and think “that would be perfect on a beautiful fall day!” or “I should hill train here!” Or I would see a runner and be slightly jealous of them. I know deep down that running will be apart of me for the rest of my life.

I am glad it took this for me to realize how much running is apart of my life. I am very lucky that this is the reason I stopped, rather than a serious injury. I still love weight lifting. I am a trainer and I encourage my clients to lift heavy! But I also encourage my clients to find passion in what they do. Sure you can drag yourself day in and day out to do a form of exercise you really don’t enjoy and see results. But is it worth the boredom and frustration? Not at all. Healthy living does not only mean eating well and working out. To me, healthy living includes quality of life.

So what next?

I have been pondering what my next goal race and distance will be. Originally I thought of running a half in spring to slowly bring myself around to training again. That would mean starting training Mid to late January. However, I am debating on running a full in the spring. Still not 100% sure, but I do miss that distance a lot. Yes. I am crazy. We should know this by now.. I will let you all know when I figure out what I want to do!

One of my big goals that has been in my head for a while now is to BQ by 30 (Boston Qualify). For my age group, that would mean a 3:35:00 finish. Holy mackerel. My best finishing time has been a 3:58:59. Since running my first marathon I have taken off over 30 minutes within the 2 years. I am pretty proud of that. So yes, this will be a very hard goal but I don’t think it is impossible.

I plan on sitting down in the upcoming weeks to really sit down and construct a plan. I want to see how my body will respond to a slightly different progression plan with my milage, speed, and hill work. But first I will have to pick a distance and race ;).

So the moral of the story? If you love something, do it! Passion, in my opinion, is part of the equation to creating success. Like I said, it doesn’t mean if you are passionate about something that it will come easy to you. It will just make it more enjoyable. I am so very excited to be documenting my running AND cross training again with you all on and off Youtube/the blog!

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.