Goals Goals Goals!

It’s the first of the month tomorrow which always gets me a little excited about setting goals. I love writing out goals and thinking about what I can achieve and doing my best to get out there and do it. I think setting goals in life are so important; and  monthly goals are a great way to really get some good habit started.

So what makes a good goal? Think about the SMART way to set goals in order to set yourself up for success:
Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve? No time to be vague here! Ex: I want to run 5 miles per week.
Measurable: How are going to know if you achieved this?  Ex: I’m going to use a running app to track my weekly miles run.
Attainable: Is this something that you believe you can do? Ex: I am already running 3-4 miles a week, so 5 miles is attainable for me.
Realistic: Maybe right now you haven’t run in the past 6 months. This isn’t a realistic goal. Or you are super busy are already struggling to get a few runs in. Know yourself. Don’t set a goal to get up at 6am everyday and go for a run when you are not a morning person. This is only going to result in disappointment.
Timely: Set a time frame. This helps you determine if you reached your success in that time-frame; although make sure it is still realistic. Lose 5lbs in 1 month. Check! Set a date you want to achieve these goals by.

So I want all my followers to sit down and right now 5 GOALS for the month of October and write them in the comments below if you feel like sharing. Here are my goals:

1.) I will complete the current course I’m working on online this month. I need to complete at least 2 chapters per week and will track it on my “Way of Life” App.
2.) I will try out 1 new recipe a week! I’ve been getting boring in the kitchen and want to learn some new healthy recipes. I’m going to pick a new one each time I go grocery shopping and try it out (and put it in this blog!)
3.) I will write at least 1 blog post per week. I really want to continue developing this blog and getting some good content for you guys that you enjoy reading!
4.) I want to heal my back so that I can run again! I’ve got an appointment with a surgeon and a physio in the next 2 weeks, and I’m going to do everything possible to get better- this isn’t really a measurable or timely goal but something I’m motivated to do fork over the $$ for physio and figure out this month!
5.) I am not going to step on the scale once. The scale continuously makes me crazy. I keep telling my clients to get off it and I need to take my own advice. I’ve never actually felt good or successful when I step on the scale like I do when I kill a workout in the gym; so why am I even bothering? I trust that with the reduction of binging with recovery I trust that my weight will settle wherever its best for me. I’m just going to focus on loving myself exactly how I am right now.
6.) Continue meditation, journalling, and stretching and foam rolling everyday: These things relax me and help me stay focussed and I’ve been doing them everyday for the past month I want to keep them up!
6.) I will add 3 more nutrition clients to my roster: My nutrition business has really been expanding and I hope to only continue this into the next month.

Those are my goals for this month.. What do you want to achieve?

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Pre & Post Workout Recommendations!

I do a lot of early morning bootcamps, and some of clients need help with nutrition for first thing in the morning. You need FUEL to work out properly when you are starting an intense workout at 6am, or any other time of the day! Here are some general recommendations for pre & post workout nutrition in order to really see those results and time you are putting in your workouts in the gym!
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Another question I have is “Should I take a pre-workout?” If you hang out at the gym quite a bit you may see people mixing some sort of concoction before a workout, or perhaps you’ve heard of the energy you can get from taking one of these. Some of the popular pre-workout mixes are “N.O. Explode” or “Superpump” which is essentially a blend of high doses of caffeine, creatine, niacin, Vitamin B, taurine, ginseng.. It’s basically an energy drink on steroids. I actually used to take things like this before I started learning about nutrition and now I don’t recommend them. With a proper nutrition plan you should have plenty of energy to power your workouts without a bunch of chemicals! They usually will end up making you shaky, reliant on them, restless, and unable to sleep at night. So I would avoid these and stick with a healthy dose of carbs to power through your workout- or if you are exhausted and can’t muster up the energy to push at the gym- DON’T GO! Listen to you body and take the rest when you need it 🙂

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The only thing I would recommend as far as “supplements” go is plain old caffeine. Have a cup of coffee to get you going- caffeine is the only supplement actually proven to increase endurance, increase the pain threshold (so workouts seem easier), and heightened awareness & focus. Caffeine is considered safe for most adults, and a daily intake of up to 450mg has no adverse effects. Here is the caffeine content of some common drinks:
Grande Coffee 250-330mg
Home brewed 8oz coffee: 80-100mg
Espresso: 100mg
Brewed Black Tea: 50mg
Pop: 35-55mg
Coffee ice-cream: 45-60mg (don’t have this before bed! haha)

a_little_yumminess_peanut_butter_and_bananaGoals of a pre-workout meal:

We want to promote additional glycogen synthesis, supply body with blood glucose during exercise, and minimize fatigue.
When engaging in strength training, a pre-workout meal has been shown to increase total work capacity, especially for higher volume, longer duration workouts.

Avoid foods that may cause gastrointestinal distress such as foods high in fat and fiber,  milk products for lactose-intolerant athletes, acidic fruit juices, highly fortified meal replacement beverages, or unfamiliar foods.

Type of meal/snack when in between competitions (such as in a power-lifting meet) depends primarily on the time available. If you are short on time, a liquid choice may be best to avoid a very full stomach. Choose something high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and lower in fat and fiber. You can also consider a lower GI meal that will help to keep blood sugar levels more stable during exercise.
If a second exercise bout is going to occur within 6 hours, it is beneficial to consume 75-90g of carbohydrate immediately post-exercise to help with rapid glycogen restoration.

Aim to have your pre-workout meal 2-4 hours prior to exercise.

A good rule of thumb for carbohydrate before exercise is:
4 hours before = 4g/kg (body weight)
3 hours before = 3g/kg
2 hours = 2g/kg
etc…
Aim for 100-300g range pre-workout, especially when aiming for a longer workout, or one with a higher intensity that is lasting longer than 30 minutes

-If you are eating immediately before, be aware that hypoglycaemia (light-headedness, dizziness, inability to concentrate, nausea, irritability, fatigue) may be at risk. This happens with individuals that are prone to hypoglycaemia.  When you consume a high carbohydrate meal and in turn have high blood insulin levels immediately before exercise, then a decline in blood glucose levels may occur at the onset of exercise, resulting in pre-mature fatigue. Blood glucose decreases because of elevated blood insulin levels due to carb feeding, which stimulates the uptake of glucose by tissues at the same time that exercise causes a uptake of glucose, and the liver output of glucose may be low. This is known as rebound hypoglycaemia. Most athletes do not have this problem, but it is good to be aware!

Easy foods to eat pre-workout:

Clif Bar: 44g carbs, 5g fat, 10g protein, 245 calories
Banana: 23g carbs, .3g fat, 1.1. protein, 110 calories
Whole wheat toast & tbsp peanut butter: 13.5 carbs, 9.0g fat, 5g protein, 168 calories
Lara Bar: 24g carbs, 11g fat, 5g protein
1/4 cup steel cut oats & berries: 22g carbs, 1g fat, 4g protein, 122 calories

If you are getting up and heading straight for a workout within 30 minutes, a simple piece of fruit could make the difference between a great workout or a low-energy one.

Another thing to make sure you have enough of is WATER! Even a slight amount of dehydration is going to really reduce your energy and endurance- so make sure you are always drinking lots of water all day!

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Goals of the post-workout meal:


-Aids in recovery, reduce skeletal muscle breakdown, restore glycogen, synthesize protein, and rebuild tissues.
Aim to consume a higher glycemic carb with protein post workout. Carb will stimulate insulin which stimulates amino acid uptake into muscle, and inhibits muscle degradation.
-Since you are in an anabolic state post exercise, this is the prime time for skeletal muscle growth. 30 min- 2 hours post exercise is the best window for replacing energy stores and allow for the body to synthesize protein instead of breaking it down.
-Protein consumption post exercise supports muscle growth but there is no evidence that it increases strength/power or changes body composition.
-For maximum protein synthesis aim for 20g of high quality protein; preferably a blend of casein and whey which allows for a slower more sustained release (casein) as well as fast acting (whey). Casein will help to suppress skeletal muscle breakdown.

Easy Ideas:
-Scoop of whey/casein blend with 1 cup of chocolate milk
-Higher protein meal if it falls within meal time: Meat + vegetables + brown rice
-Omelette with 2 eggs, egg whites + vegetables
-Cottage cheese/plain greek yogurt + nuts + berries
-Protein pancakes

I hope this helps you to train your best the next time you step in the gym, and recover better!

Truth about my Health & Fitness journey…

I’ve been debating over writing this blog post for a long time, and the truth is it’s a tough subject to tackle, but one I feel very strongly about.

Basically I would like to come forward with something that is super scary to come forward with (ESPECIALLY to all those who read this blog or follow my Facebook page), but most days in my chosen career I feel like a total fraud. Yeah, I’m a personal trainer, and I love to work out and eat healthy and study nutrition and feel like I know it all- but the truth is I struggle just like any other person and it’s incredibly hard. I’ll start from the beginning, and I hope this post can inspire other girls to come forward if they EVER struggle with something similar to what I did- and know that there is help out there if you ask for it. I don’t want to be ashamed anymore, and I also don’t want to hide my struggles from everyone because the truth it- nobody’s life is perfect and everyone has their own battles they need to face when they wake up each day. My personal battle is Bulimia, and I’ve struggled with this for 13 years.

When I was in Grade 7 it all started. I was a competitive swimmer, and in amazing physical shape although I didn’t really see it back then. I was teased by some dumb guys in my class and I started feeling extremely self conscious. I remember weighing myself at a friends house and seeing 114 lbs on the scale and feeling like this was HUGE. I started to “diet.” I don’t even know how I learned about dieting really; because my family is very “normal” around food and I’ve always been glad I’ve had such a positive role model in my mom & dad because they just ate healthy, enjoyed foods in moderation etc. My version of dieting was basically starving myself. I clearly remember everyday getting to school and throwing out my lunch immediately that my mom packed for me every day. I skipped breakfast whenever I could, I would make up any excuse in the book to avoid eating dinner with my family. I would count every single calorie. I was swimming for 2-4 hours a day, and I was eating about 800 calories or less. I would take laxatives and “diet pills”, anything I could get my hands on. I was literally obsessed with losing weight and it worked. I dropped down to under 100 lbs, then under 90. I would add extra workouts in as well as swimming- I would run, lift weights, burn on EVERY calorie I ate + more. I liked to have a “negative” calorie balance every day so I would eat about 800 calories and then try and burn off about 1500 thinking that I would lose weight so much faster. This is when I was anorexic. Whenever I look back at my journals from these days it makes me so incredibly sad. All I wrote about was how fat and awful and disgusting I was, what I ate that day, and how much exercise I did to burn it off. I don’t even really remember much else from middle school because it’s really all I thought about honestly.

Then I started getting dizzy, losing my vision, being completely exhausted. One day I CLEARLY remember waking up at 4 in the morning with heart racing completely, hands shaking, so so hungry I couldn’t even stand it a second longer. I had to eat. I basically crawled to the kitchen because I couldn’t walk I felt so weak- and I poured myself a bowl of cereal and ate it as quickly as I could. This was the start of a new eating disorder- binge eating and bulimia. Obviously a bowl of cereal doesn’t seem like a lot to most people, but to me I just ate my whole days calories in one sitting. I starting with doing extra exercise that day. Then my binges kept getting bigger and bigger (a normal person could not even imagine the amount of food I could put away) and I had to work out more and more- and this is where I started trying to make myself throw up. The first couple times I couldn’t do it and I wish I had stopped trying back then. I trawled the internet for tips from “Pro-Ana” websites (pro-anorexia websites where a whole bunch of us young girls would trade tips on starving ourselves, cheering each other one, message each other when we wanted to eat, etc) and someone told me to try syrup of ipecac. This is a POISON that induces vomiting. I was so desperate that I tried to find it in the drugstore to take it; but thank god I was unsuccessful. With enough tips from the girls online I because very successful at vomiting up my food. I would do it anywhere. Public washrooms, in the shower, on the side of the road after work, hidden in the downstairs bathroom, in the back YARD, at friends houses.. anywhere. I would throw up up to 10x a day. I seriously did not CARE I had to get the food out. With the “purging” of my food, it only made my binge eating worse. Over the next 10 years I would diet, binge eat, exercise, and throw it up and managed to stay at a perfectly healthy weight because of this swinging of the spectrum. Most bulimics are at a perfectly healthy body weight which is why no one really ever suspects how bad it truly is. Just because I wasn’t stick thin anymore, I was fine.

Now I’m a personal trainer, and soon-to-be nutritionist-…and still struggle. I wish I could say I’m completely recovered but the truth of it is that I still have a ways to go before I would call myself completely recovered.  I’ve had periods of time in my life where I made huge strides and thought I was done with this for good- but it always seems to come back. It’s been part of my life for so long; it makes sense that it takes a lot of hard work to form new habits. My attitude around food & health is SO MUCH better now. I am no longer trying to be stick thin, and I want to be healthy and fit. I firmly believe in enjoying all foods in moderation.

I think what I struggle with the most is that I want to be a better example to my clients. I counsel all these people on nutrition and health and meanwhile most days I have this secret double life. One day I’m the epitome of health and fitness, and other days I’m really having a tough time; just like everyone. I guess the reason I am coming forward with this is because it’s a massive part of my life as much as I wish it wasn’t. It’s been holding me back for so long and I don’t want to pretend that it doesn’t exist anymore and that I’m “fixed”. Every day I do my best to be a healthy role model to my clients and truthfully I am the healthiest I’ve ever been; despite gaining weight recently due to a back injury and no longer able to workout like a crazy person for hours a day. In my old life I would have been restricting like crazy to get this weight off and never leaving the house or doing anything fun. I’ve learned a lot about body love and self confidence the past few months, and that what you weigh isn’t everything. In fact; it means absolutely nothing. I’m definitely the happiest and most successful and determined I’ve ever been in my life and career and friendships despite being the heaviest.

I hope that someone reading this takes away that the scale does not determine your self worth. You do not need to be a certain number on the scale to life a happy and fulfilled life. Sometimes I wonder “Why does anyone even listen to a word I say when I look the way I do?” it’s VERY hard in this industry to brush off those insecurities. Yes, I’ve been a lot fitter and a lot thinner in my life and I feel defensive sometimes when I go into work and I’m teaching classes/training people thinner than I am. I’m feel as though I’m “supposed” to look a certain way because I’m in this industry, and that because of my body right now I don’t deserve to be counselling other people.

My hope for the rest of my career in health and fitness is that I can help people be the best version of themselves and love themselves unconditionally.  Ditch the scale. Focus on being healthy and strong and falling in love with yourself and exercise. I want you to feel strong, healthy, fit, happy, confident and love yourself no matter what. Those extra 10lbs mean nothing in the grand scheme on your life and you need to go out there and live it. Of course I firmly believe in good nutrition and fitness, but do I think that losing weight is going to finally make you more confident and happy? Nope. Learn to love yourself and chase the life of your dreams and the rest will follow. Eat to nourish your body and feel amazing- work out to feel those endorphins and lift heavy things and feel capable and strong.

Here are some amazing references that have really helped me along my journey to health & recovery:

 Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Program that Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch **** Seriously the most amazing book of all time, I read it again and again.
Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen
Bulimia, A Guide To Recovery by Lindsey Hall & Leigh Cohn

In Victoria there is free counselling and group therapy that I found very helpful through the government located at #302 Jutland Road, 250-387-0000. You can self refer but you do need GP to get involved I believe.

If you ever want to chat with me about this or would like help; please please don’t hesitate to ask! Mental Health issues are important to talk about, and a subject that I don’t think should be taboo anymore. We shouldn’t feel ashamed for dealing with this or opening up and talking about it!

Pumpkin Lovin’ Recipes & Workout!

It’s the beginning of September, so you know what that means! Everyone’s thinking about jeans, cosy sweaters, boots… And pumpkin spice lattes! Unfortunately for your waistline; pumpkin spice lattes pack a bit of a hit to your healthy nutrition with 380 calories & 13g fat. I don’t know about you; but I would rather have a full meal for that many calories! I’ve scoured my favourite healthy recipe blogs for some delicious recipes you can try out- have your pumpkin spice latte the healthy way, and enjoy with with a pumpkin muffin or some pumpkin baked oatmeal 🙂 Also included is a “Pumpkin Workout” which you can also use a medicine ball to substitute if you don’t have many pumpkins laying around yet 😉

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (single-serving!)


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Pumpkin Boatmeal for One

(Boatmeal = Baked Oatmeal!)

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (50g)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (and 1/8 tsp nutmeg, if making pumpkin version. Or just use pumpkin pie spice.)
  • sweetener, such as 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp maple syrup or 1 to 1 1/2 packs stevia (I used less, but I’ve cautioned you before about my lack of sweet tooth.)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (or applesauce or banana)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice, or nondairy creamer, or water (scale back by a tbsp if using liquid sweetener)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Optional: 1 to 2 tbsp oil or favorite nut butter (if oil, scale the milk back by a tbsp)
  • Optional: raisins, walnuts, brown sugar to sprinkle on top, etc.

Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Combine raw oats, spices, pumpkin, and milk. Pour into a greased 1-cup ramekin (or two 1/2-cup ramekins) or a mini-loaf pan. Cook for 20 minutes or more, until it gets firm. Finally, set your oven to “high broil” for 3 more minutes, or until it reaches desired crispy-ness (or simply just bake longer, but broiling gives it a nice crust).

Best part about this oatmeal is the nutritional information:

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Carbs: 33 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Fiber: 9 g

    Eat Up! 

 Pumpkin Pie Filled Muffins 
http://slimpickinskitchen.com/

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For the muffins:

1 cup whole wheat flour (I haven’t tried subbing a gf all-purpose mix, but I think it would work.)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
1/8 cup Stevia In the Raw or granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple butter or applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/4 heaping cup vegetable or coconut oil

For the Filling:

3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 tsp Stevia In the Raw or granulated sugar
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple butter or applesauce
1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions for the Muffins: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk flours, baking powder, stevia, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, apple butter, almond milk, and coconut oil and stir until well incorporated. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet (I did this in thirds) stirring just until each third is combined. Do not over-mix! Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into a muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray and let rest while you make the filling.

Directions for the Filling: In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, stevia, brown sugar, apple butter, coconut oil, and salt and stir until well combined. Scoop about 2 tsp or so of the pie filling onto the top of each muffin. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely. Enjoy! (Yields around 12 muffins.)

 

Nutritional Information per muffin:
Calories: 133
Fat: 4.6g
Protein: 2.3g
Carbs: 21.3g
Fibre: 1.6g

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

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(Serves One)

  • 2 T canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup milk of choice, or (for a richer taste) a combination of nondairy creamer and milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T strong coffee
  • sugar or stevia to taste

Mix everything but the coffee with a fork or whisk. (Then, for a hot latte, you can either microwave or heat on the stove.) Add coffee and whisk again.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 110
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g 1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg 2 %
Sodium 130 mg 5 %
Potassium 432 mg 12 %
Total Carbohydrate 15 g 5 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 5 %
Sugars 2 g  
Protein 9 g

Grab a pumpkin or a 8-12lb Medicine Ball & Try out this workout below!

1.) 50x Mountain Climber hands on pumpkin
2.) 25 x Russian Twist with pumpkin in hands
3.) 15x Double Crunch holding pumpkin
4.) Side Plank Dips Weighted with pumpkin on top of hip
5.) 15x Toe Balance Push Ups (Feet on pumpkin)
6.) Same position as above (plank with toes on pumpkin): Bring one knee in towards chest then extend behind you squeezing glutes 15 x each side 
7.) Pumpkin Squat and overhead press 20x (Holding pumpkin at chest, lower into a squat and then as you stand raise pumpkin overhead into a shoulder press). 

Repeat 2-3x for a total body workout!