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We Have a Winner!!

Well you guys. It is finally here. April, the long weekend, oh yeah, and the giveaway winner!!! That’s at the end of the post. Always got to save the best part for last ;)

Started this fine Thursday off with 6 miles on the treadmill. I always do some form of intervals on the treadmill, otherwise I’d fall off out of sheer boredom. Usually speed intervals, because the incline button intimidates me, and the “whirrrr” the machine makes as it rises scares me.

Anyways! Not today. I swallowed my fear and lived to tell the tale!

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.6 0.5
5-10 5.8 0.5
10-15 5.8 1.5
15-20 5.8 2.5
20-25 6.0 0.5
25-30 6.0 1.5
30-35 6.0 2.5
35-40 6.2 0.5
40-45 6.2 1.5
45-50 6.2 2.5
50-55 6.4 0.5
55-60 6.4 1.5
60-65 6.4 2.5
65-70 3.5 0.5

In all honestly, it was almost too easy! Again, I use the term “easy” lightly here. I just felt like I could have pushed myself a little more and still have felt fine. I still tend to think of myself as a slow newbie runner, so I tend to underestimate what I can do. Perhaps inclines aren’t as scary as I thought :)

Breakfast was inspired by Holly’s banana split overnight oats. I went into this with full intentions of making it as such – but it turned into spiced banana raisin oats.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • cinnamon, and lots of it
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp banana extract

You may also notice by the above picture that when I opened it at my desk today – it was still soupy!! This is like fail #56 on overnight oats for me. I must be missing the overnight oats gene or something.

Thankfully, the microwave room was unlocked this morning, so I was able to zap it.

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Muuuuuch better. It actually turned really creamy with the almond milk and yogurt (plus that yogurt tang was an excellent addition!)

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The bites with little hunks of almond butter were my favourite :)

Oh. And I think I have discovered how to avoid exploding oats in the microwave. Put them in a bigger bowl. Duh. Hey, I never said I was a clever person here :P

I kept up the same flavour theme with a homemade apple cinnamon protein bar midday.

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Lunch was a ham, egg white, pickle, mustard and laughing cow sandwich.

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And deceptive orange. Looks big, was half the size after I peeled it. I got gypped.

Then this afternoon I snacked on a bag of strawberries dipped in unpictured vanilla cottage cheese and a cheese string.

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That vanilla cottage cheese by the way, is President’s Choice brand, which is available in Superstores/Loblaws across Canada. I also highly recommend their Mediterranean flavour. It’s great in salads and pitas!

Hey, speaking of salads!! ;) It’s what I had for dinner.

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It contained a million ingredients, including a whole head of romaine, whole tomato, pickled beets, sauteed tofu, baba ganouj and feta cheese. 

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I don’t even want to remember life before pickled beets.

I’ve also been experimenting with this stuff over the past few days:

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I’ve noticed that my fibre has decreased ever since upping my fat and protein (obviously). I like to get this sort of thing as naturally as possible, but my body also needs max amounts of fibre. I suck at digesting, and suck even more at it without fibre.

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One packet is about 1 tsp of tasteless powder for 5 calories, 3g carbs, 3g fibre. So far, I haven’t been able to detect it in anything I put it in. Even my nightly protein dessert. 

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1 1/2 scoops chocolate protein powder and a benefibre packet dissolved with a dash of water, topped with marshmallow fluff and pretty sprinkles. Protein + Fibre = Win.

 

Well, it’s a new month which means a new set of monthly goals. Holymoly. I can’t believe it’s April. Wasn’t it just Christmas??

 

Goals for April 2010

Continue the spirit of the sleep challenge, aiming to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I think 7.5 hours may actually be my magic number, which means I need to be snoring by 10pm. Totally do-able.

Get rid of as many of my belongings as possible. This includes donating clothes, books, and other random shiz. The less I have to cart halfway across the country the better.

Get my bike on the road. Ahhhh, cycling. It feels like nothing but a distant memory…

Pass my personal training exam. Ie, study like hell until April 16, and practice instructing people as much as I can before my practical.

Chill the eff out. There was a time when I made decisions so I could enjoy life more, not stress myself out more. Must remember to find excitement in the chaos again.

 

Five goals, not too shabby! I’ll be checking in every week as per usual. How about every Thursday this month? Why not.

 

Okayokay….you’ve made it this far. Now time to reward your efforts. Here’s what was up for grabs:

Ready???

 

randomorg 

 

66. clip_image002

Ftiness4Looks, on March 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm Said:

Mangos are awesome! I usually try to get about 7-8 hours of sleep! It’s tough finding energy in the morning to work out, but good for you for going to spin class!

Wooo!!! Congrats!! I’ll be e-mailing you shortly :) And thank you to all of you who participated. I had tons of fun seeing new names pop up, and have a plethora of new blogs to check out!!

 

Question of the Day: What are your goals for the coming month?

Bonus question: Did you do anything for April Fool’s? I didn’t, and thank goodness no one did anything to me!!

Fitness Test Day

Happy weekend!! I hope it’s been happy anyways :)

Once again, thank you for all the recommendations for my skin. I’ll keep you updated on the hydrocortisone. It has worked on my eczema numerous times in the past, but the strange spots on my leg I don’t know…

Anyways, moving on from that embarrassing (for me) topic! I managed to not embarrass myself doing a fitness test at personal training class today. Yay!

I first have to admit that I totally cheated on the sleep challenge last night. I was up late going through the bones and muscles of the human body that I wanted to know for today. I squeaked by with about 6.5 hours. Fail. Especially for a weekend, when I like to catch up on sleep. No worries, I am already in my peejays and ready for Sunday’s 6am alarm!

Today was my first day both eating breakfast and showering at my own apartment since last WednesdaySt. Patrick’s Day! I was at my grandparent’s last weekend, then at the gym every other morning. I’m losing my breakfast skillz, this was all I could come up with…

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Homemade marshmallow protein bar and two boiled eggs. I’m thinking I may venture out and actually make something hot tomorrow ;)

I had another marshmallow protein bar for my mid-morning snack.

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One great thing about making my own protein bars is that I don’t stress about eating them all the time. I’m not scared about what crazy chemicals I’m putting in my body if I eat more than one a day :)

Lunch was a peanut butter protein sandwich.

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Plus an orange. For the “protein,” I just dissolve some chocolate protein powder with water and use it as a spread. With the PB, it tastes like nutella!

Afternoon snack attack:

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I love how healthy my fellow personal-trainers-to-be eat! Usually I feel like a weirdo opening up my mini cans of tuna in public, but one guy bust out a full-sized one today with a can opener. I am with “my people” ;)

Highlight of today was definitely the fitness test. We did it firstly to learn how to conduct one, but also put ourselves through it to experience it from the client’s point of view. It’s nothing hard or overly strenuous, but intimidating no matter what shape you’re in!

We started with the Rockport Walking Test for VO2 max. VO2 max, put simply, is how much oxygen you can take in during exercise. It’s a pretty good indicator of how fit you are. Athletes for example, will have a high VO2 max, as the ability to take in more oxygen fuels activity better.

For the test, we just walked on a treadmill for a quarter mile as fast as we could. It’s supposed to be one mile, but for time’s sake, we multiplied our time by four. So I did my “mile” in 13:08 (walking at 4.8mph!). The second you stop the treadmill, take your pulse for 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by four, and it will give you your heart rate or beats per minute (bpm). Mine was 128 bpm. Then you plug those numbers into a hugely complicated formula, or you can just fill out this form. I ended up with a VO2 max of 51. So that’s 51 millilitres of oxygen that I take in per kilogram of weight, per minute. According to all the “charts,” it’s above normal for my age, so that’s nice :) Men are always higher, I think there were a few dudes who had theirs in the 60s.

After that we also did a push up test, curl up test and sit and reach test. I only did the first and last ones, both of which I sucked at. Okay, I still did 25 push ups on my knees, which again, is “above normal,” but I really wish I could do that amount on my toes by now!

For the sit and reach test, you sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, then reach for your toes, measuring how far your fingers go past them (or, how far they are from your toes). I managed to get my fingers a half-inch past my toes, which is better than I was expecting. I didn’t think I could even touch my toes!

None of these tests are hugely important. They help a little in program design, but they’re really meant to benchmark your current fitness. Six weeks from now, I will hopefully be able to crank out more push ups, and it will be nice to have quantitative results of fitness improvement rather than just “I guess I feel kinda better…”

We stayed a little late to practice more training sessions. If anything, it’s been a lesson on machines for me, as I’m a dumbbell/barbell girl. Machines just always feel awkward, however they are ideal for the “new exerciser” who hyperventilate at the thought of a squat rack. Gosh! I used to be that person!

Anyways, after the hour+ drive back home, I could feel my tummy eating itself from the inside out. It’s a careless beast sometimes.

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Polished off the last of my veggies with my fave salad of all time – maple balsamic spinach salad. With some roasted sweet potato for good measure.

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Nothing fancy here. I just wrapped the salmon and sweet potato in tinfoil, doused it in balsamic vinegar, maple extract and sugar-free syrup, and baked till it was done! I can’t believe after a week of going through a package of maple smoked salmon, I came home and made more maple salmon for supper tonight. It’s that good!

I got an excellent question in my last post about buying equipment for strength training at home. I wanted to get to it tonight, but my 8 hours of sleep are more important, so I’ll get into it tomorrow!

 

Question of the Day: How do you measure your fitness level? I’m a number nerd, and a slave to my heart rate monitor. When I do cardio, I love seeing how quickly it peaks and recovers. I also love hitting those high numbers and sustaining them for longer periods than before. Of course, discovering I could actually complete toe push ups was pretty awesome too ;)

Learning to Love Exercise

TGIF!! Yes, Friday starts when I get off work on Thursday ;)

I have a busy weekend ahead! I’m leaving for Saint John, about a 75 minute drive from here, right after work. I’m staying with my grandparents and I’ll be doing the start of my personal training course! I’m doing my course through Can-Fit-Pro (Canadian Fitness Professionals) which is the organization most recognized nation-wide. Essentially, all I have to do is pass their exam, how I do that is up to me. The written part is based on their textbook which I’ve had since December. I also have access to online modules. As an option, I can fulfill a number of in-class hours at the location closest to me. That location just happens to be in Saint John! I have no idea what to expect!

After my beautiful evening run yesterday, I took it easy at the gym this morning. I’m not a huge fan of doing workouts within 12 hours of each other. Thus I ellipticized for 35 minutes, rowed for 10 and stairmilled for 10. Sweaty and heart pumping with no high-impact pain :)

Had my favourite cottage cheese breakfast concoction waiting for me in my lunch bag.

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  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • strawberries
  • almond butter
  • Grape Nuts cereal

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All messed up! And making a mess in the process…

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I hate getting food on the keyboard!! I always end up opening a bunch of crazy windows on my desktop as I try to get it out.

Work was actually exciting this morning! We hosted a press conference with the premier. I think I’ve met the premier three times now and each time he introduces himself. Jeez, am I not that memorable? :P

Snaaaaack.

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Bananas and peanut butter belong together.

Lunch!

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Maple smoked salmon sandwich with tzatziki. The tzatziki was awesome on it! Also, a few baby carrots and uber ripe pear.

Snack number two.

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A Cherry Dark Chocolate Protein Bar. I know I say this with every batch, but I think this is one of my best ones yet. Seriously!

Dinner was a couple more Veggie Patch Portabella Patties.

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I baked them today and they oozed out juices.

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I also had some baked sweet potato slices and green beans. I always dust my veggies with something spicy when I roast them to give them a bit of kick. However instead of sprinkling these with cayenne, I accidentally dumped it on! Holymoly, my mouth was on fire. I was sweating profusely. I like a little spice, but not when it takes away from the flavour of the actual food that I’m eating.

For my snack tonight I opted for a banana protein cake on the recommendation of Katherine. Key ingredient – banana extract! 

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I picked this up with some maple extract the other day. I can already tell they will be life changing ;)

I mixed up 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 tsp baking powder, dash pumpkin spice, 2 tbsp egg whites, 2 tbsp apple sauce and 1 tsp banana extract in a giant mug. The giant mug is necessary.

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Popped in the microwave for 90 seconds. This sucker expands! Check out the dirty mug below…

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I cut it in half and topped with peanut butter fluffed up by whisking it with soy milk.

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In 5 minutes I had banana bread with peanut butter frosting. Or, err, something like that ;)

 

 

So in my last post, I asked everyone to be honest with me, and tell me what they really thought about working out. Many of us are on the “healthy living” bandwagon, which includes some form of daily activity. But I find there is a number of people out there who don’t actually enjoy the act of exercise itself. This baffles me because I love every last thing about it. But I know if I’m going to be a successful personal trainer, I need to find ways to pass this enthusiasm on to other clients. Hell, I’d even like to pass this on to the people in my everyday life!

So I turned the floor over to the eyes out there reading, and asked you to put your fingers to work. Here’s just a snippet of what some of you had to say….

Tina
And when I was training for my figure competition – I HATED it…because I HAD to.

Danielle
I don’t associate the feeling of my heart pounding with pain. Two separate things!

Amy
I don’t love it. I don’t hate it either. I find it a lot easier to scare myself into exercising, which is why I keep signing up for triathlons/half-marathons, etc. I race to train instead of training to race!

John
The fitter I get the more I enjoy it. Makes sense though :-) If it’s fun like badminton I really enjoy it

Madeline – Greens and Jeans
I love working out. I love running outside. I love going to the gym and watching the Today Show while I elliptical my little heart out.

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo)
Exercise? Try taking it away and you may as well take a lung, or two for that matter.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
And for ppl who don’t get i, i just say they havent found their calling or the right thing for them…yet.

Chillel
Initially i used to DREAD getting out of bed in the morning to go to the gym..but i think it’s because i was just running to burn cals and lose weight..

Sista Sara
Two winters ago I discovered crosscountry skiing and realized I’d found my winter activity. It requires lots of prep (hauling your skis) but I’ve developed a system to help me with this (bought a 50$ bag that holds all my things that’s right at my door so I can just pick up that bag and go!) like cycling I get to be outside breathing fresh air and I never know what kind of challenges I’m going to face (hills, etc). This winter I found myself coming home from work, making dinner, and then just feeling like skiing, so sneaking out to the track at 9pm just because.

Lara (Thinspired)
Short answer to your question: NO.
Long answer: I always kind of say, I love the way I feel after exercising, but the actual act of exercising, hell, no. I really don’t. I do it purely for aesthetic, vain, superficial reasons only. There, I said it!

 

For the sake of space and time, I only picked bits and pieces of the comments (taking quotes out of context is what we reporters do dontcha know?). But for the record, all of the comments were wonderful, well-thought, and shone a bit of extra light on to the topic. I’m really happy I asked the question before writing about it!

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately as people have entered my life trying to lose weight or get in shape. They all moan and groan at the thought of going to the gym. I get laughed at when my eyes perk up at the mere mention of a spin class. People don’t seem to understand that my hobby, my passion, lies at the gym. I get up at 5am everyday to work out because I can’t picture doing anything more enjoyable with my time.

Hmm. But that spiel still doesn’t infuse that level of excitement into those around me.

The comments reflected many of my own suspicions. Many people don’t enjoy exercise because they haven’t yet found an activity they love. I’m an easy case, because I pretty much love doing everything in the gym (except jump lunges, I’ll even refuse to do them in group classes!).

I think this is because there is an assumption that exercise only happens within the confines of a gym. NOT TRUE. As my sister and John pointed out, exercise can be something like cross-country skiing or badminton. It does not have to be slaving away on the elliptical for an hour. Hell, even tobogganing is a workout. Have you done that lately? Climbing up that hill is work!

That’s why it’s important to think outside the box. Just because your best friend lost 20 lbs running, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do to lose 20 lbs too. Cardio is cardio, get your heart pumping in any way possible, and you’re off to a good start.

As far as weight lifting goes, it doesn’t have to be done in a gym either! Not everyone loves throwing dumbbells around in a dingy weight room. In fact, time spent at the shoulder press machine doesn’t always translate into real-life strength. One of the reasons why functional strength training has increased in popularity.

I think many people also associate exercise with punishment. It’s a way they punish themselves for having extra wine the night before, or for giving in to that donut mid-morning. Yes, exercising regularly has been essential in maintaining my weight loss, but the things I eat do not translate into time spent at the gym. Working out is more than just burning calories. I’m not going to pretend like a piece of pie isn’t a nice way to reward an extra hard workout, but it shouldn’t be the only reason for the workout.

Also, when you’re out of shape, working out really isn’t as fun as it can be. I understand that. Especially cardio, when your body is not used to withstanding those high heart rates. But it does get better, it’s just a matter of allowing yourself to improve.

Finally, set goals. As Amy mentioned, sometimes it works to sign up for a race and scare yourself in to training! Hey, if it works, and you love the feeling of crossing that finish line, then do it! This is why I’m also a supporter of figure competitions, because it gives someone a goal and date to work towards. Some people require more structure (and fear) than others.

If all else fails, don’t stop trying. I naively believe there is an activity out there for everyone. It can be rock climbing, snow shoe-ing, tennis, paintball, rappelling, swing dancing, dog walking. The possibilities are endless.

 

Well that wraps up my mega-long post :) I have to make up for the fact that I won’t be posting on Friday. Too much going on! And okay, my grandparents don’t have internet. But I’ll be back Saturday with all the gossip from my first day of PT classes! Have great start to your weekend!! xoxo

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