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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!”

Tips for Working Out in the Morning

Hey everyone!! Well, as promised, here are my morning workout tips! Most of you know I’m a big fan of getting up mega early and doing my workout before my day’s commitments. I assure you, I haven’t always been a morning person. But these are some of the things that helped me acclimatize. Read on!


The day before:

  • Don’t workout after work Tuesday, then expect to wake up before work on Wednesday for another tough workout. Two workouts within 12 hours is hard, and tiring. Try to allow 24 hours between your workouts.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for your routine the next day. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll be up a little earlier to work out the next day, instead of ignoring it or putting it out of your mind.

The night before:

  • Prepare every last detail. Get your pre-workout snack ready, any coffee you need/want to drink beforehand. I even fill up the water jug in my fridge so there’s lots to hydrate with.
  • Get your clothes/gear ready. I put my workout clothes, down to my underwear and socks, at the end of my bed. On days I’m especially tight on time, I’ll even sleep in my workout clothes. I pack a bag with my wallet, iPod, water bottle, sweat rag and sneakers to grab on my way out the door.
  • I don’t wash my mascara off the night before so I still have a little bit on when I go to the gym in the morning. This way I’m not technically putting make-up on to go to the gym. But at the same time, it keeps me from looking like death at 5am. I have no shame in admitting to this technique.
  • If I know I’ll be tight on time in the morning, I’ll prepare my breakfast and food for work the night before too. (I live close enough to my gym that I can come back home and shower before going to work).

The morning of:

  • Don’t waste time laying in bed!!! I keep my alarm clock on the other end of my bed, so I have to sit up and crawl to turn it off. Do not lay back down at this point!!! That grogginess feeling wears off after 15 minutes or so. Do not let it fool you into thinking you’re too tired (unless you actually slept for 4 hours. Then go back to bed).
  • The first thing I do is put my gym clothes on. It’s hard to talk myself out of it once I’m up and in those clothes.
  • Drink at least 16 oz of water. I always wake up feeling super dehydrated, so this one is easy for me. I chug a glass every morning anyways. But if there’s one thing you should remember in your morning routine, it’s this one. Working out in a dehydrated state is not cool.
  • Have a small snack and caffeine (if you swing that way). This is the difference between a stellar workout and a “meh.” workout for me.

My pre-workout snack is usually around 100-150 calories consisting of nut butter + simple sugar and sometimes a complex carb. Since I start activity about 15 minutes after this snack, the sugar is more effective for energy than the complex carb, but that complex carb can be important for sustained energy. Examples:

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Dates + PB

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1/2 Banana + PB 

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1/2 Banana + PB + toast

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 Smooshed dates + PB + wasa bread.

I don’t vary a lot from these combos because it they always sit well in my tummy and give me lots of energy! Doesn’t mean it will work for you, so I encourage lots of experimenting on your part to find that magic combo :)

The real magic though, is my iced coffee.

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This is my secret weapon to morning workouts. I make a french press the night before and stick it in the fridge. In the morning, I mix half of the french press with almond milk and stevia (in my Jamaican frosty mug, of course). The coffee and snack is downed in about 5 minutes flat, and that’s when my energy soars. I practically bound out the door at that point! (the other half of the french press is consumed with breakfast)

 

So there you have it! I assure you, I never used to be a morning person. In fact, I have old blog entries to prove that fact. But the good of working out first thing far outweighs the negative!

  1. I get the luxury of coming straight home after work and have the time to prepare a nice dinner
  2. I don’t have to spend a good chunk of my day battling mentally whether or not I should go to the gym after work like planned
  3. Working late, or other unexpected reasons don’t get in the way
  4. I have the whole day to replenish my hunger, instead of an evening workout where I spend the rest of the night starving
  5. I get to strut around all day knowing I ran 5 miles while most of my coworkers were still asleep ;)

As a side note, I find my best workouts are often in the morning. Personally, my body performs best when there’s less food and stress from the day to wear me down.

 

And because I can’t leave you without any fun food from the day – I tried a lamb burger! Chris and I went to our favourite restaurant, Isaac’s Way.

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Curried lamb burgerGround lamb seasoned with curry, grilled, and topped with out roasted red pepper pecan spread, spinach, goat cheese and fresh red peppers.”

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I almost went for a “lighter option” on the menu. But this burger is what I really wanted, and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied without! So I opted for a side salad and got the burger in all its glory. It was delicious. The pecan spread was amazing with the goat cheese. I couldn’t detect a huge difference with the lamb though. The bun overpowered the meat a little.

Chris got one of his standbys.

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Nachos bathed in horrible flash photography.

We were hungry.

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After dinner, we went Christmas shopping – for me!!

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I upgraded from my old Motorola Razr to an LG Xenon :D Phone cost me $10 with a rebate, and I get the browser on it for only an extra $5 a month. HOLY DEAL! I can also e-mail and Twitter from it. I’m in nerdy heaven :)

 

Lastly, I just gotta tell y’all that I brought my own ingredients to make a banana Chocolate Amazing Meal smoothie at work today. Pretty sure it was the healthiest smoothie I’ve ever had out of a Starbucks cup ;) My co-workers already think I’m crazy.

Hope you all enjoy your Friday!!!

 

Question of the Day: When is your favourite time of the day to work out? If I’m running, I do it best as soon as I wake up. But other activities I prefer to do a couple hours after a hearty breakfast. Come afternoon, I just start to drag.

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