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.

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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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Holiday gifts for the runners in your life

With the holiday season here, I was inspired to make a mini holiday gift guide for the runner in your life!

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Running Shoes

Pretty easy right? wrong. Make sure you know the exact size, brand and type of runner they wear! There isn’t one single shoe out there that will fit all. If there is no way to figure out the size, brand or type of runner, a gift card will always be appreciated!

Technical Clothing

Running gear can make a runner more or less comfortable. With various climates and body temperatures, sometimes cotton will be the enemy. Cotton also can create grounds for chafing. No bueno. No need to spend crazy amounts of money on the big brand names. I find places like Wal-mart, Target, Winners, TJ Max and other discount stores have really great technical gear that is affordable and fashionable. Make sure the clothing can breathe and doesn’t have any crazy looking seams (no one likes chafing! ouch!).

Compression gear! it gets mighty pricey at times but can have some benefits. I am a huge fan of CEP compression calf sleeves and socks. Also, there are some really great compression tights and crops out there too.

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Running Accessories

For my winter runners, gloves that have the ability to still use touch screen electronics are seriously the best invention ever. Most of us run with either an ipod or smart phone these days! Does it snow where you are? find a good pair of gators or spikes that can be strapped on over runners to avoid getting snow in the shoes and avoid slipping! also finding toques (or for my American readers, beanies) or ear warmers/head bands are great. If you are shopping for a female runner that has long hair, you can buy many of these hats that have a hole to accommodate the ponytail! Dandy and looks like you have a squirrel on your head (what? totally does! think about it).

The COOLEST stocking stuffer ever? socks! what? everyone wants socks! okay maybe not everyone, but socks are a huge deal to runners and there are so many types out there! ankle socks, compression socks, double layered socks, thin layer socks, socks with support around the arch, etc! It is always good to have extra running socks around!

Above all else? BODY GLIDE or any other anti-chafe stick/cream. Once you get to a certain distance or time out on the road, many runners experience horrible chafing! Chafing from anything! Believe me! I have spots on my lower back STILL from my ipod creating friction on my waist band. These anti-chafe sticks are a blessing!

Reflective Gear

I can’t stress the importance of being as visible as possible. There are so many times I have had close calls with drivers who aren’t paying much attention, and it is hard to see into the card to get eye contact when it is on the darker side. Make sure you and your loved ones are properly lit! There are so many options: lights, reflective strips, knuckle lights, head lamps, reflective vests and much more. Every runner needs some kind of reflective equipment!

Fueling and/or hydration systems/packs/belts etc

If you have a half, full or ultra marathoner on your hands, a fuel belt, a box of gels, new bottles or flasks may be a good option as well. Just be sure it is something they truly want. Like most of us, we have our preferences. It can be as technical as shopping for a purse (am I right ladies?) I personally am a fan of the 2 10 ounce bottled holding fuel belts, but some may prefer the 4 7 ounce bottled belts. Or there are hydropacks as well that are more like a back pack with a long straw! Make sure to get their input!

Race registration

My, now husband, did this for a Birthday gift one year and I was very thankful. Registrations can get expensive! If you have a race bling addict on your hands (hey! we like our medals okay?!) then this will be a big help! Just be sure they have yet to register otherwise you may be running  along side with them!

itunes cards, music players, ear buds etc

I spend a good chunk of money on music. When you are out on the road for a while and do not have a training partner, sometimes music and a podcast are what get you through those days where mother nature is throwing every headwind possible at you. Not all runners listen to music, but I know many that do. I personally love my ipod since it has FM radio on it and it clips onto my belt (older generation) and nothing beats finding ear buds or headphones that do not budge!

Road ID

I am a huge believer in safety. I have been on the road with runners where something does go wrong and medical attention is needed. We don’t always run with a partner or group, so what happens if something bad were to happen? It is good to have ID on you regardless of how far of a run you are going for. There are many options from bracelets, to shoe tags, to writing labels for your clothing.

Motivational pieces

Have you heard: the hardest part is getting out the door? It is really true sometimes with us runners. Motivation and keeping your eye on the prize can be tough when its snowing out. So motivational pieces are key for people like myself. Before EVERY marathon I run I watch Spirit of the Marathon (the first one). Okay, maybe I am a tad superstitious and that is why I watch it before each race..I have a whole set routine! But it is the most inspiring running documentary. For the people with running readers on there hands, there are also some great books (and audiobooks for ON THE RUN 😉 ) out there for runners to learn and improve their running, or even just to read about other runners stories and get inspired.

Subscription to their favorite running magazine

I was gifted this one year and honestly it was a great gift. Running magazines are one of the few fitness type magazines I will actually read, and learn a bit from. Plus they are affordable for the most part!

Electronics

Now this is the more pricier gift on this guide, so it may be something you want to go halfsies on. Again, make sure you know what your runner wants.  Various GPS watches are a great tool to have but know that not every runner is into the techy side of things. Also, there are so many models out there and they all serve various functions. Make sure to ask many questions or at least get a gift receipt.

Pampering!

As we know, running can be physically and mentally demanding. Do you see where I am going with this? *ahem* SPA DAY *ahem* As gnarly as our runner feet can be, we like a good pedicure. Don’t even get me started on how awesome a relaxing massage can be! or if we are in the midst of training? SPORTS MASSAGE. We will love it!!!…err.. okay maybe AFTER the appointment after all the knots have been poked and kneaded out of us!

Or you could call these two devices “pampering” devices.. foam roller or “the stick” anyone? Okay they are love/hate devices but it helps massage our those muscles we work so hard! Every runner must have one or both of these! (LOVE the stick if you are a destination runner like myself. You can pack it so easily!)

Medal hangers

For the runner that has a large collection of racing bling, I suggest a medal wall hanger. There are so many out there of various sizes, colours and various motivational sayings! I absolutely love mine!

and if you just don’t know what their preferences are with any of these? GIFT CARD

I can always appreciate a lovely gift card to my favorite running stores and sports stores! I am a huge fan of gift cards! I rather have the person enjoy what I get them, rather than them saying “uhh thaaaaanks… you shouldn’t have…”

 

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

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: 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!

Jonesee’s Breadcrumb Free Beef Meatballs

Hey everyone!

So if you used to watch my vlogs every Saturday, you know Matt and I usually do out big grocery shop that day. So this Saturday we went to Walmart, Bulk Barn and Costco and picked up many goodies, including AMAZING new spices to play with. I picked up a few things I don’t normally pick up at Costco since I have been loving cooking up various dishes and trying to make my own recipes. So this week we picked up ground beef for the meat sauce I wanted to make for dinner since we were having guests over. As we all know, Costco usually sells in large quantities so to say the least I had a good 2 lbs of beef left over, so I thought I would attempt to make meatballs for the first time!

I just made them up and gave Matt two and his response was “OOHHH MY GOSHHHH… mmmm. PLEASETELLMEYOUMADEMORETHANTWO!!!!” (no spaces since he said it so darn fast ;)). With that kind of reaction I thought it was only fitting to blog the recipe. I have another pound of beef left in the fridge so I may have to make more by the sounds of it!

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Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 cup chopped baby spinach
3/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons Garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
pepper ( I used a few dashes but its up to you!)
1.5 tsp Coconut thai curry spice (I bought this at Bulk Barn! you can add mild curry spice instead)

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Let’s get cookin’!!

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop up spinach and onion. Set aside.
3. Mix flour and spices in mixing bowl. Add chopped veggies and beef.
4. Add beaten egg and mix! I ended up just getting in there with my hands as it seemed to be the easiest method :P.
5. Now get in there and start molding those meatballs and place them on an oiled cookie sheet. You can play with the size you prefer, I made a medium size-ish.
6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (depending on your oven).

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Et Voila! Yummy beef meatballs! I am going to attempt making Turkey meatballs next. I will keep you all posted on that venture.

Now for the Nutritional Information. As you can see in the picture of the meatballs raw, I ended up making an odd number! So the information here is for the full batch split into 11! (Weird, I know! Silly Jenn. Should have made 12. Coulda shoulda woulda. Oh well!).

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