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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!”

Take Heed

Ahhh, it was yet another glorious day around these parts. Mid 20’s and clear blue skies. Felt like a summer day!

I loved reading through everyone’s goals for May. One of the reasons why I keep doing it! Here is just a snippet for inspiration ;)

  • Kristin: “Run at least 20 times… that is 5x a week! I am officially in race training” 
  • April: “My new goals are to STRETCH!!” 
  • Morgan: “my goals are to relax and enjoy the little moments. I spend a lot of time thinking about my future but I don’t live in the moment very much. I need to change this!”
  • Julie: “My May goals are no beef or bread. I’m also working hard on Weight Watchers and trying to lose 5 pounds.”

So now when I check in every week this month you can keep me updated on how it’s going! I think I’ll make Sunday check-in days again. Seems to be the only day of the week I can remember…

Once again I am putting my ugliest photos at the top of the post. Probably not the best blogging technique ;)

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But this has to be shared!

Last night, I microwaved 3/4 cup egg whites in a mug, then added blueberry jam and peanut butter.

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Are you gagging yet? I assure you it was delicious. I’ve had eggs with fruit before, but the nut butter really brought it up a notch. Scrumptious snack!

I was up at 6am with a growling tummy. It required a special remedy.

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Hey, it was never specified which type of jar oats in a jar should be eaten out of ;)

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The last of my marshmallow fluff now that I’m trying to lay off the refined sugar. Cream of wheat cooked with egg whites, topped with PB and chocolate chips for good measure.

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The fluff melts on the hot oats and it transforms into the thing dreams are made of.

I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it before, but I added a splash of vanilla extract to my coffee today – delightful!

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Thankfully, I don’t drink regular cow’s milk or cream, so reducing my dairy consumption should not affect my coffee consumption. I normally just use a splash of almond milk. Cow’s milk has always made me squeamish :\

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Are you singing it now?

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Naner and dates with crunchy almond butter. I’m back and forth with crunchy and smooth. I just can’t decide which is best.

Then it was off to Body Step! I went to the big gym again and it was beyond stellar. My heart rate skyrocketed because I was pushing myself to the max. It’s such a motivating class. I credit it entirely to the instructors – they bring it out of me! 

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My whole life, my eyes have always been bigger than my stomach.

Except in the case of salads. I’d say they’re on par here ;)

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Highlights being spinach, kale, rotisserie chicken breast, and pickled beets. Dressing made out of watered down hummus.

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I’m trading in my usual romaine lettuce for dark leafy greens to make up for some of the calcium I’m missing out on without the usual dairy. I’ll also add a little more tofu, almonds and sardines which are all notably high in calcium as well. And of course, I take a daily calcium supplement! There’s tons of conflicting research out there about calcium absorption. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that’s been highly politicized.

After lunch, I took the pooch out for his walk in the sunshine. It was hot out!

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He passed out at the bottom of the stairs again after. This is probably my favourite picture of the bugger yet. Archie + Running shoe = <3

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I think I’m losing my love for honeycrisp, it’s been replaced by galas. This snack powered me through cleaning out my closet. I am getting rid of exactly half of my wardrobe!

I had full plans of eating up my cupboards this week, but I just couldn’t do it. I caved and bought fresh produce

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I’ll throw out my 2-year-old box of lasagna noodles and expired box of soup. The fresh veggies were worth it.

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Steamed green beans + broccoli, topped with 2 whole eggs that were scrambled with smoked salmon, capers and honey mustard. Scrambled eggs + mustard may be my new favourite thing. Awesome pairing!!

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And some butter on hot toast. Nothing like it my friends!

I was supposed to meet a friend to practice for my personal training practical – but the gym was closed! I dropped her off at home, and intended to drive back to my place. But I drove right past the turn off to my neighbourhood and kept driving.

I drove across the river to the other side of town, and kept driving.

I rolled my window all the way down and turned up Death Cab For Cutie’s Narrow Stairs album.

In the two years that I’ve been driving, I’ve never just driven. I’ve always been on a mission, a deadline, somewhere to be.

I had no clue where I was going tonight, but that didn’t stress me out. Instead I relished in the scent in the air and the feel of it on my face. It was fantastic.

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It’s helps that I live in a gorgeous river valley. I may be sick of this city, but that river definitely stole my heart.

I effortlessly found my way back home and hour later. I took the dog out for another evening stroll. Again, soaking up every minute. Day 2 of my May Goals, and I’m already reaping the benefits.

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Finished the night off with some Averie inspired protein popcorn. Microwave popcorn tossed with a little water and chocolate protein powder. Another fabulous treat :)

 

I am off to go cuddle up in bed and read magazines. Busybusy day tomorrow packing up!

 

Questions of the Day:

1. Nut butter – smooth or crunchy? Flavoured or natural? I’m back and forth, but I think I like crunchy best. Definitely natural.

2. What moment recently made you stop and take heed? Tonight, I walked up the hill and looked over the river as the sun was setting. And the smell of freshly cut grass coming in through my car window!

Run To The Hills

Hey! I got a kick out of those of you rating your sweet tooth off the scale :P Many of you said you had more of a salty tooth! I can’t relate, I will always choose sweet over salty. Unless the two are combined, then my mind explodes.

Good news, I didn’t pass out at the gym today! Sad days when this is a bonus, here’s what I did:

10 minutes elliptical, increasing resistance

Straight Sets:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets Target Area
Romanian deadlift to row  50 lbs 6-8 4 Back
Wide-grip lat pulldown  65 lbs 6-8 4 Back

10 minutes rowing machine

Straight Sets:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets Target Area
Dumbbell bench press  22.5 lb dumbbells 6-8 4 Chest
Dumbbell fly  17.5 dumbbells 6-8 4 Chest
Dumbbell shoulder press  17.5 dumbbells 6-8 4 Shoulders

10 minutes treadmill, increasing speed

Supersets:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets Target Area
Cable pushdown  25 lbs 8-12 3 Triceps
Barbell 21s 20 lbs 8-12 3 Biceps
Barbell upright row  30 lbs 8-12 3 Shoulders

10 minutes stairmill, increasing speed

Finis! I had a whole banana with PB today (usually I only have half) and lots of water, I felt pretty good the whole time. Not on my “A” game, but I was expecting much worse.

Got to the office and had the usual cottage cheese mess.

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Have you heard? Cottage cheese is the new yogurt. Plus, it’s awesome with strawberries, banana extract, cinnamon, almond butter and Grape Nuts cereal. Yupyup!

Morning snack:

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Homemade dark chocolate s’more protein bar. Holymoly, these are really good! So chocolately and protein-y. This is where I should make some awful “s’more” pun. Lucky for you, I hate puns.

Came home for lunch today! Wanted to take the dog out, and whipped up a quick lunch in the meantime.

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My sweet veggies – carrots + sugar snap peas with the last of the salsa and hummus.

Look! Proof that baby carrots come from real carrots!

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A very Janetha-esque photo with a begging pup in the background ;)

My new flavour obsession…

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Maple smoked salmon + laughing cow cheese + blueberry jam in a grilled sandwich. This was even more heavenly grilled!!

I ate my snack late this afternoon, so I wasn’t gnawing my arm off like I usually am after work. Turned into a gorgeous day so I took Archie for a walk before dinner.

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Confession: I live next to several hills that would be awesome for running hill repeats. Instead, I choose the very flat trail in the opposite direction. Hills scurr me!

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But I took Archie up the hills today. His small poodle legs could use a little muscle definition :P

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This is me attempting to look badass with my shades on, but I just look smug!

I also had a bit of a “moment” walking up the hill. I came up to these two college girls who were huffing and puffing up the incline, noticeably exerting themselves. I on the other hand was barely bothered walking up. Only two years ago, I would have been one of those girls, struggling to make it to the top. Instead, here I was taking my “fitness” for granted. I hardly notice these types of things anymore and need to thank my lucky stars that I can prance my way to the top if I want to! (although, I really wish I could help those girls get to the top easier as well…)

Came home and threw together my favourite salad combo as of late.

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Spinach base, with highlights being pickles, pickled beets, chicken, feta, olives and tzatziki. I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately! I find if I just buy the fresh veggies, then I feel pressured to eat them before they go bad. Easy way to make sure I get my veggies in ;)

Archie tried to beg while I was eating, but I think our hill walk tuckered him out.

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So many trees to pee on… so little time…

Also found this for two bucks at the store today…

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The name “Susan” means “graceful white lily,” and they just happen to be my favourite flower! I never have fresh flowers in my place, but for $2 I don’t care if it dies in a few days – it’s worth it! Plus, I love the smell, even if it reminds people of funeral homes :P

I also want to mention that I’ve decided to take a bit of a mini-break from the gym. Hallie reminded me to take my own advice of taking extended breaks every once in a while, and it has been a while! Thanks Hallie! So I’m going to chill out for the next few days and let my body fully recuperate, because it’s obviously trying to tell me something. I love working out so much that I always have to be cognisant of the symptoms of overtraining. But with my impending PT exam, there’s no better time for a rest than now!

And with that, I’m off to study!

Question of the Day: Do you know what your name means?

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