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A Worthy Gain

What’s up.

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That would be me in my new personal training uniform. So unreal to be able to wear it now!! My client roster is slowly starting to fill and I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to go to the gym, help people get in shape, and call that “work” :)

Mucho gracias for indulging me in my last post about Jagerbombs. Despite being an employed trainer now, my behaviour has been decidedly “un-trainer-like.”

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We’ve had people visiting these past few days, which should always be met with celebrations. When they said they were going to Smoke’s Poutinerie I had to go. I knew it was going to be bad. Real bad. But I seem to have this insatiable food curiosity that sometimes takes away from my better judgement.

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I know a few people would be horrified by their treatment of the classic poutine – a dish of fries, beef gravy and cheese curds. Smoke’s has a large menu filled with various toppings and varieties. We’ll agree to call it a “fry and gravy” place ;)

I went for the Country Style: slow roasted chicken breast, double smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions.

Not gonna lie, I was a little horrified upon seeing what I’d ordered.

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LOOK AT ALL THAT BACON!!!

I had to dig deep to find the actual poutine part…

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Omg, I can feel my arteries clogging all over again just looking at this. I think I finally have my This Is Why You’re Fat submission.

I arrived to the Poutinerie after a heavy weight-lifting workout, which in retrospect was perhaps not the best idea. My stomach was loudly growling and I polished off the whole thing. The whole thing! In terms of how poutines go, it was just alright. I think I liked the Elgin Street Diner in Ottawa better. I prefer shoestring fries and mushroom gravy :)

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We walked down to Trinity Bellwoods park to enjoy our greasy boxes. The same place as the blogger picnic, and my favourite park in Toronto!! Okay, the only park I’ve been to in Toronto…

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Chris got the triple pork poutine with pulled pork, smoked bacon and Italian sausage. A little something he coined “poutirnalism.” Eating mass quantities poutine for the sake of mankind.

I of course immediately regretted stuffing myself with such food as I had to go directly to a job interview (part-time job at a coffee shop – fingers crossed!), and then to a fitness assessment!

I offered to be the victim of a fitness assessment at my new gym to get an idea of how they go about doing them. Keep in mind, mine was much harder than what they do to the average person. The trainer I was working with obviously wanted to see what I’m made of ;)

I tried to explain to him that I’d just eaten a pound of poutine, and that I’ve been feeding on hamburgers and cake since travelling to Banff in June. I can’t say I was surprised when I stepped on the scale and discovered I’ve gained 6 lbs in the last three months. Every ounce of that gain is the result of good food and good times I wouldn’t trade in for the world. But there’s always something about that numerical value that seems to sneak out of the scale and slap you across the face.

You mean I can’t eat a pound of poutine on the daily?? :P

Yeahyeahyeah, I guess now that I’m settled in my new home, it’s time to settle back into my usual eating routine as well. Noted Mr. Scale. Noted.

Weight gain aside, I did pretty well on the fitness assessment. There were a lot of lateral raises, ab moves and lunges among other things. My core strength needs work, but my legs and back are waaaay stronger than I was expecting. My shoulders are still struggling a little, but I’m workin’ on it :)

Lunch was eaten at 1:30pm and I didn’t start to feel snacky until 9pm!!

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I reached for this Daryl’s All Natural Regular Elite Granola Bar. A Canadian-made protein bar that I spotted in the fridge section of a local natural foods store.

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Ingredients and stats are okay…

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But the taste? Meeehhh. Notsomuch. The texture was lovely and reminded me a lot of my own homemade bars. But I thought there was too much honey and the dried fruit was a little tart.

I awoke this morning with the determination to get back on the straight and narrow. This of course meant celebrating Waffle Wednesday!!

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I whipped up quite possibly my best protein waffle recipe yet:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • several shakes cinnamon
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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Made two medium-sized waffles. While they were cooking, I also cooked peach slices with cinnamon in a frying pan.

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Thrown on top with flaked coconut and sugar-free syrup.

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They tasted like real waffles!!

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The recipe has 270 calories, 3g fat, 25g carbs, 4g fibre, 0g sugar, 37g protein.

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It’s love!!

Even though I woke up incredibly sore from weightlifting and the fitness assessment the day before, I was still pumped for a noon-hour spin class.

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Pre-spin fuel was a few figs topped with my Easy Peasy Cream Cheese Icing.

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All I did was mix together a wedge of laughing cow cheese and a tbsp of marshmallow fluff. SO good!!

Unfortunately, I got my days all messed up and there was no spin class happening once I got to the gym. Instead I just hopped on various cardio machines while watching Sex and the City. Just as well!

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For lunch, I stir-fried every fresh veggie I had in the fridge and added tofu balls.

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I tossed the whole thing in Averie’s peanut sauce and it was divine. Stir-fries are becoming one of my favourite summer meals!

I’ve been trying to avoid the chocolate cake my roommie brought home, so I snacked on my own version later in the day.

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Deep Chocolate Vitatop with Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter.

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That right there, really is the stuff dreams are made of ;)

 

I will leave you with the above image to drool over. My dad, big sis and little step-sis are arriving in less than an hour and I’ve got things to do! I’m superduper excited to see them and show them my new city :)

Interviewee

I spent a lot of time on the streetcar today.

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One thing I love about Toronto is that at any time of the day I can step onto the street and be whisked off in a matter of minutes. No need to ever check a schedule. The downside of course is that Toronto is a huge city, so getting around still takes time. And I had a lot of places to go today.

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Remember when I worked an 8-5 office job and complained about cold breakfasts? HA! That seems like a different time in a different world. These days I’m looking for anything but an 8-to-5er in a chair and all about the cold breakfasts. It’s hot in the mornings!

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I know this looks messy and gross, so you know it was delicious ;)

  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 scoop (30g) unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed berry jam
  • cinnamon
  • fresh strawberries + blackberries
  • 1 tbsp crunchy almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp dry rolled oats

Bam. One of those bowls where I throw things in as I go and the result is nothing short of amazing. As a side note, I still don’t like overnight oats (it’s cold mush! plain and simple!!), but I am loving dry oatmeal sprinkled on yogurt. Go figure!

That bowl had me bursting at the seams with fullness by the time I went off to job interview #1 at a *ahem* “very popular coffee chain.” One that I have 5 years experience working at!! It’s my back-up, and something I really love to do. Making lattes and chatting with regulars all day is a blast. I really liked the manager and store location, I think it could be a great source of income for me while I get this personal training thing off the ground :)

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I also got lost for the first time since arriving in the city. Okay, I actually showed up to the wrong place, when it was really 10 minutes down the road. Not a good way to start off an interview!! I knew ahead of time I’d be tight on time for lunch, so I’d pre-made a tuna sandwich to eat at home between appointments.

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With mass amounts of carrots + salsa! Better than carrots + hummus, or carrots + ranch, or any other combo. All in my humble opinion of course ;)

Then it was off to interview #2 for the day!! This interview is the reason why I held off on accepting the job offer at the other gym right away, and I learned today it was the right choice. I am in love with this new gym and feel like it really suits my goals for personal training. Please cross all your body parts that I get hired!!

After more running around and several subway and streetcars later, I ended up at a place called Kyoto House for sushi.

Kyoto House Japanese Restaurant
Source

Okay. So funny story.

Last Thursday, I’m in this corner convenience store downtown picking up diet coke that I may or may not have mixed with whiskey. But that’s neither here nor there. The real point is that while in the store, I ran into someone I knew! From New Brunswick!! Toronto is almost 1500 km away and home to 2.5 million people. It’s not like I was expecting to just casually run into someone I know from New Brunswick in a random convenience store downtown.

Anyways, clearly, a dinner was in order.

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Both of us New Brunswickers have been told that we need to experience sushi in Toronto. He was staying near Kyoto House on Dundas, which I’d been told had good sushi at a good price.

They actually offer an all-you-can eat deal, but we weren’t really feeling it. I opted for the Special Sashimi: Tuna, Salmon, Surf Clam, White Tuna.

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Yeah, I legitimately love the “raw fish.” It’s got such a sweet flavour!

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Loved the thick-sliced sashimi!! Oddly, my favourite part was the pickled ginger, and I don’t typically like fresh ginger.

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Scott went for the Sushi Special which conveniently arrived on a boat. I hate to say this, but even the rolls tasted better than the ones I tried in NB. And the miso soup was honestly the best I’ve ever had. I don’t care if that makes me a Toronto snob now… good food is good food.

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The sake was totally Scott’s idea.

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But when in a sushi house in Toronto, right?

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The best part though are the pieces of fruit you get at the end of the meal.

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It was super fun catching up with a friend from home. Now I want all my friends from back home to come visit so I can take them out to eat in Toronto. Kapeesh??

 

Question of the Day: Sushi. Yay? Nay? What’s your favourite thing to get? So far I love salmon and tuna sashimi… but I’m always looking for new things to try!

Tips For Staying Healthy in College

You guys. I feel so much closer to you all now. You love waffles as much as I do!!! <—click for a chance to win a free waffle maker ;)

I also have to thank everyone for the congratulatory comments about my becoming a certified personal trainer. I swear I woke up feeling different today! John asked if I’d be like Jillian (Michaels, for those of you who aren’t on a first-name basis with her like John and I). I joked back that I’m more of a Bob (Harper). But really, I can’t wait to be ME! Hopefully I can bring all my personal experiences, attributes and knowledge to the table and create a training experience that’s unique.

Heidi asked if I have any idea where I’d like to work. Answer: not a clue. Honestly, at this point, I will take whatever I can get in Toronto. Yes, there are more jobs there, but there’s also more competition. So far I’ve been applying to jobs in my various fields – writing, communications, barista, fitness. My dream job is of course to be the columnist that appears after Tosca (Reno) in Oxygen. But realistically, I think I really want to give this training thing a shot! Even just doing it on the side for some extra $$. Preferably at a chain where the clients are provided for me. At least until I get some more experience and confidence to try other things. So that’s where I’m at!

Lunch.

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I am all over the fruity/salmon combo. Salmon lends itself well to sweet flavours to begin with, and this is becoming a favourite!

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I microwaved the remnants of a bag of frozen berries with some maple syrup.

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And put it on top of smoked salmon and english muffin. It was missing the usual laughing cow, but beyond that was stellar. If you’re a salmon fan I urge you to try it!

I spent the morning taking out the TWELVE bags of garbage to the curb, and loading up some of my car. Then it started to rain. Then I really wanted to go to the gym, I didn’t yesterday. So I said “screw it” to packing and cleaning and hit the iron. I think this is the first time I felt guilty for actually going to the gym! :P

It was a momentous gym visit too – my first one as a personal trainer. (I’ll stop this, eventually). Even more fun is that I ran into a girl I did my PT classes with and we squealed over passing. Good times :) Oh right! My workout!

Warm-up: 15 minutes on elliptical, increasing resistance

Superset x3
Lat pulldown (mid-back)
Barbell Sumo squat (quads, glutes)

Superset x3
Barbell bench press (pecs, front delts, triceps)
Barbell split squat (quads, glutes, adductors, soleus)

Superset x3
Arnold press (deltoids, traps, triceps)
Stiff leg deadlift (hamstrings, glutes, lower back)

Superset x3
Cable pushdown (triceps)
Cable bicep curl (biceps)

Superset x3
Cable horizontal woodchop (obliques)
Hanging leg raises (lower abs)

And then some stretching. Totally worth putting off packing for. I felt SO much better after. I just hope I’m not paying for it when I’m trying to move boxes tomorrow.

Came home and refuelled with some beer a smoothie.

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The healthiest drink to be in a Molson draught glass I’m sure – soy milk, Vega smoothie infusion, a banana, ice, and 1/2 tsp each of guar and xanthan gum.

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For my girl JB!! (soontobeJG) Even worse than posting a smoothie stache photo post workout, is going into the Bulk Barn a sweaty mess after in my workout leggings. Classy. This is what I’ve become in my unemployment.

The rest of the afternoon was spent tearing around town tying up loose ends before I blow this joint tomorrow. Stopped by the old office where they gave me a card that almost brought me to tears. My old officemate was my “victim” yesterday for my practical. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share these past four months with!!

Anyways, I did eventually pull it together. Picked up my new antibiotics for my legs *unenthusiastic yayyyy*

I’m down to the very last pieces of fresh food in my fridge/freezer.

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A turkey breast sliced up and coated in egg whites, panko bread crumbs, Kirkland no-salt seasoning.

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And roasted sweet potato slices.

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Aka cheetahs because they have spots! Check out the salt on those suckers too – love coarse sea salt :)

And while we’re talking about food – I added a recipe page for my Homemade Maple Cinnamon Oat Bran Protein Bars.

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I’m eating one right now!

Tips for Staying Healthy in College

Now on to an e-mail that I just had to share.

I’m studying journalism at University and since beginning a little over eight months ago, have gained nearly five kilos!  I think you use pounds, so that is like i guess 12 pounds?  I know that you went through something similar when you started at College, and I was wondering if you had any tips or exercises that you found useful?  It is hard with the whole drinking, hamburger eating, nights out in the pub culture.
Thanks so much.
Vanessa.

 

Now before I even delve into this, I feel like I should say, I’m no expert on staying healthy in college. I made a lot of mistakes and some bad choices, but in the end did find a few things that worked for ME.

1. Use the campus gym. Most universities have free gym access that hardly any students (besides those on teams) use. I did a lot of my weight lifting workouts during a 90 minute break between classes Mon-Wed-Fri. Remember, even going to the gym for 20 minutes is better than not going at all – it adds up!

2. Walk to class. I gained the bulk of my weight when I bought a car and stopped walking everywhere. If it’s less than 20 minutes away, walk there!

3. Join a sports team. If there’s one thing I would have changed about my university experience, I would have joined the cross country team. Joining a team isn’t just a great way to socialize and meet friends, but it’s also a great way to get exercise and stay active on top of school work.

4. Drink smart and drink slow. Don’t go to the pubs and guzzle back 6 beer on $2 draught night. Find a “light” drink that works for you. Mine is whisky and water. A single has 60-70 calories, and is strong enough that I can’t chug it back. Other great ones are vodka and club soda (NOT tonic, it’s sweetened!!), rum and diet coke, light beer. Or you can just order a diet pop and skip the booze altogether.

5. Find light options at all the late-night hangouts. When I first started losing weight, I googled the nutritional value of foods at many of the local eateries. I wrote down some lighter options for each one and kept it in my wallet. That way, if I ever found myself out with friends who had to eat at this one spot, I wasn’t thrown off guard and had an idea of what to order. If you know the 2am visit to the pizza joint is inevitable, find something on the menu other than a big slice that you can have without breaking the calorie bank.

6. Use working out as a method of procrastination. This worked fabulously for me ;) Going to the gym and sweating for an hour always sounded more appealing than reading about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for an hour.

7. Be honest. I experienced a lot of peer pressure in university, it just comes with the environment. You’d be surprised by how many people will stop bugging you when you tell them avoiding the freshman 15 is more important to you than spaghetti night at the cafeteria.

8. Don’t be too strict. University is meant to be enjoyed (well, in between all the stressful parts). Don’t ever, ever skip out on a social function because you’re scared of the food or drinking. I did this, and I regret it. I got smarter toward the end. I realized that being able to go out and have a beer with my friends was more important to me than being my dream size. I’ll take a few good belly laughs over a size 2 any day. Just like I never regret a workout, I never regret hanging out with my friends :)

 

Hopefully that helps Vanessa!

 

Question of the Day: Any tips you want to add to the list? As Holly would say, “sharing is caring!”

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