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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

Guns n’ Goals

Happy International Women’s Day!! I celebrated aaalll day. Easy to do when you’re a woman ;) Funny, I find the older I become, the more “pro woman” I am. I have my stellar role models to thank for that!

Speaking of strong women, did anyone check out Sandra Bullock’s guns during her speech last night?

Girl’s been lifting weights. Look, she’s all ready to curl that Oscar! I love seeing strong ladies, especially in Hollywood. It’s also slightly reassuring to know that even Sandra Bullock can make for a funny screen shot :P

I actually missed the Oscars because I was getting my beauty sleep for a workout this morning. I decided to switch things up and trade in my usual Monday morning spin class for a heavy upper-body day to keep from getting bored.

Warmed up with 20 minutes of sprint intervals on the elliptical. One-minute sprints at high resistance, followed by two minutes at an easier pace and resistance. Then on to the tough stuff:

Straight Sets:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Assisted pull-up  55 lbs 5 4
Dumbbell bench press  22.5 lb dumbbells 5 4
Seated cable row  70 lbs 5 4
Dumbbell incline bench press 22.5 lb dumbbells 5 4
Cable underhand pulldown  70 lbs 5 4

Alternating Sets:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Dumbbell shoulder press  17.5 lbs dumbbells 5 3
Incline curl 10 lb dumbbells 10 (ea) 3
Cable pushdown  30 lbs 5 3

Straight Sets:

Exercise Reps Sets
Plank  90 sec 1
Boat pose  45 sec 1
Side plank rotation  10 each side 1
Plank knee to elbow  20 1
Prone jackknife  10 1

This was actually not as heavy as I would have liked it!! I could have easily gone up to 25 lb dumbbells for the bench presses, but 1) I didn’t have a spotter, and 2) I couldn’t get them up to start with! I’m fine once the weight is up, it’s just getting it above my head that first time that is difficult. Anyone got any tricks? I suppose I should just switch to the barbell since it’s already above my head, but I like the challenge of the dumbbells.

Desk-breakfast was what’s slowly becoming the usual…

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Yogurt, vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, blueberries, almond butter, Grape Nuts. Basically a mushy mess.

Chased down with some iced coffee!

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Morning snack was a mangled S’mores Luna bar.

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These used to be my favourite bars, but I think I’m kinda done with them for the time being. I actually prefer my homemade ones now!

Lunch looks weak. That’s because it was.

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Tuna pita + baby carrots. Sundays are my grocery day, which didn’t happen this week.

Another snack attack…

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Boiled eggs + cheese. My boss walked into my office after I ate this. I wonder if he could smell it?? I’m paranoid.

I’m going to try to hold off on buying groceries this week so I eat up all the extra stuff I have in my freezer and cupboards. Today I dug out a couple turkey mini meatloaves that I made and froze a long ass time ago.

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With cheetas (aka roasted sweet potatoes). I sprinkle everything with salt, paprika and chili powder.

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And finally, a tomato salad made with the darker kumatos, topped with balsamic vinegar, pepper, basil and parmesan cheese.

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All together now!

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What you don’t see here is how I smothered everything with ketchup after ;) Nomnom.

 

Weekly Goal Check-In!

I’ve decided Monday is the day to do this for no particular reason. I think my goals are off to a slow start…

1. Work on getting my car sold and apartment subletted. Well, I got a price estimate for my car and I’m posting my apartment on Kijiji as soon as I’m done blogging :)

2. Apply for a bazilion jobs in Toronto. Didn’t apply for any more this week. Seeing as I’ll be in Alberta for a chunk of June, it could potentially be almost July by the time I’m ready to start work. That’s a long ways away!

3. Take more initiative at work so I can finish my contract knowing I made a mark. I’m busy as hell at work, and right now I’m just happy to keep my head above the flood of projects that are coming in. Phew!

4. Learn as much as I can about personal training. FINISHED MY TEXTBOOK!! Yay!! My in-class training is in a couple weeks, so I just have to get through the online component before then, which will likely be time consuming.

5. Run outdoors again. This may happen this weekend if mother nature stays on my side. I don’t workout after work, and it’s still way too early in the season to run at 5:30 am (in the dark!!).

 

Sooo, #4 is the only one I rocked at, but I’m getting there! Now, I’m off to keep my promise and go post my apartment for rent…

 

Question of the Day: How are your goals going? I hope you wrote them down!!

Things I Learned This Month – February 2010

  • It’s hard to blog after Canada kicks butt winning a record 14 gold medals aaaand beating out the US in the gold medal hockey game :D
  • Topping custard oats with a soft-fried egg, salsa and cheese is absolutely amazing.

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  • Sometimes I like resting my body on Sundays, mostly so I can torture it better throughout the week ;)
  • Showering at the gym almost every morning means I don’t have to scrub my bathtub as often.
  • Elvis might have been on to something. Bacon Peanut Butter is delicious on top of banana.

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  • As Danielle eloquently put it, “Consider fatty feb to be fatty forever.”
  • Protein powder is amazing when mixed with just a little water, whether eaten straight up as protein cookie dough or used as a spread on a peanut butter protein sandwich.

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  • Sometimes small steps forward turn into giant leaps. Moving from my cozy province to a giant city 14 hours away doesn’t scare me in the slightest. Finally, I’m EXCITED!!
  • Being who I truly am attracts the right kind of people into my life.
  • Even though Western Creamery is owned by my favourite yogurt brand, it just doesn’t live up to Liberte.

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  • Homemade granola is better than store-bought. Seriously.
  • Peanut butter puffins do not live up to the hype, but I will still munch the box away.

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  • There is nothing more healing than a wild weekend with my best girl friend.
  • I am perfectly content being on my own, but I miss living with other people.
  • I need to take more supplemental vitamins.

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  • But I also need to check the ingredient list of said vitamins before deciding to ingest them everyday.

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  • The expectations I place on myself are ridiculously high and unwarranted. Often the pressure I feel to succeed comes from within, and not from outside sources like I trick myself into thinking.
  • There is something wrong with me when, at the age of 24, I refer to university students as “kids.”
  • Treat Monday is possibly the greatest invention ever.

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  • But there is a reason why I’ve never tried blondies before. It’s hard to stop at just one!! (or, erm, two)
  • President’s Choice The Decadent semi-sweet chocolate chunks are superior to all forms of chocolate chip.

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  • Being well groomed is expensive. Hair straighteners, nail polish, fancy eye liner and hair goos, it all comes at a high cost.
  • I needn’t be scared to cook with high-fat foods like olive oil, butter, nuts, full-fat cheese and even egg yolks. My body craves them!
  • Sweet potatoes need to by slow-roasted. Go. Do it now.

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  • Actually, everything tastes better slow-roasted.

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  • And sometimes the only spices you need are salt and pepper. Why mask the flavour when you can enhance it?
  • Weight lifting makes me feel amazing. Cardio may burn the calories, but weight training has me waking up every morning feeling good about myself (and mega sore)
  • I need to be an active participant in my own life. It’s pointless to just let things happen when I can make every day in the meantime one worth remembering.

Question of the Day: What did you learn this month?

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