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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

Meatloaf Pizza and Goal Check-In!

Ooohhhh maannnn. Anyone else have a rough Monday? I think it was a combination of having a busy weekend, plus the time change. I didn’t have a great sleep last night and felt like a cranky zombie until about 2pm. Spin class didn’t even do it for me. It was far more torturous than it usually is. In fact, most people had that “just been run over by a truck look.”

Oh, and my day totally got started off on the wrong foot. I went to put my contacts in first thing this morning, except, they weren’t in the case. I dug my finger all through the solution and couldn’t find them. After a couple minutes, I realized they were still in my eyes. Even worse, they’d been in since Saturday!! I woke up with crusty eyes Sunday morning and briefly thought I was getting pink eye. Then I forgot all about it and wore my glasses all day! Then I woke up with super dry and crusty eyes again today and was really grossed out realizing they were still on my eyeballs. *shudder*

Aaaanyways, moving on! Desk-breakfast was solid today. I’m finally starting to get used to these! (I used to hate cold breakfasts)

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, stevia, fresh strawberries, homemade granola. It’s a classic combo for a reason.

Lunch was the exact same salad I had last night, just in giant tupperware.

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Highlights of the salad were definitely the pickled beets and tzatziki. SO good! It also contained pieces of my first ever attempt at cooking pork. I over-cooked it, which I suppose is better than under-cooking it :\ I picked it up because two pork tenderloins were one-third the price of two chicken breasts. Holy shit.

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I always put half the spinach on the top so I’m not left with a bunch of dry spinach at the end.

Highlight of the day definitely came at 2pm (when my mood improved!). My boss lent me his car to run an errand and had The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album in the CD player. I cranked it, rolled down the window to let the spring air in, and sang along to Think For Yourself. Good times :)

Dinner was, ahem, “inspired” by this magazine I stole from my mom’s house (busted) which you can get for free at Sobey’s. (Canadian grocery store)

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Always on the lookout for high-protein dinners, this Crustless Meatloaf Pizza caught my eye.

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From the website:

1 cup Compliments Balance Tomato & Herbs Pasta Sauce, divided

1/3 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs (I used panko)

1 egg, beaten

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp dried Compliments Italian Seasoning (I used Kirkland no-salt seasoning)

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

1 lb extra lean ground beef (I used extra-lean ground turkey)

1 cup Compliments Finely Shredded Pizza Cheese Blend (used 3/4 cup Kraft shredded old cheddar)

2 cups assorted vegetables such as sliced onion, red and green peppers and mushrooms (I used artichoke hearts, onions, mushrooms, yellow pepper, spinach and tomatoes)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place 3 tbsp (45 mL) pasta sauce in a large bowl; stir in bread crumbs, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Crumble in the beef and mix gently to combine. Press evenly onto a 12-inch (30 cm) rimmed pizza pan.
  2. Spread the remaining sauce evenly over the beef. Sprinkle with cheese and top with vegetables. Bake, on the lowest rack, for 15 to 20 min. or until the pizza is set and the cheese is bubbly. Cut into wedges and serve.

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My kitchen takes crappy photos, but I wanted to get a shot of it as a “pie” :)

The yumminess in some natural light with steamed veggies topped with coconut…

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HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS. This was so good. If you like meatloaf, make it now!!!

I went back for seconds ;)

 

Okay, it’s Monday, which means it’s time to check in on my March Goals:


1. Work on getting my car sold and apartment subletted.
Apartment is 85% subletted! I have someone who has offered to take it, but I still need to get a deposit and signature from him (should be Wednesday). As soon as that happens, then it’s officially done! I also cleaned out my car and took pictures of it yesterday, so I’ll be posting ads for it soon too.

2. Apply for a bazilion jobs in Toronto. Definitely lagging on this. But I’m not stressing about it that much. I know no matter what I do, I’ll have enough money to at least survive, so that’s comforting…

3. Take more initiative at work so I can finish my contract knowing I made a mark. I’ve been really busy at work, but people are at least noticing the time and effort I put into it, which means a lot :)

4. Learn as much as I can about personal training. I lagged on this last week! I still have to complete my online lessons, which will be time consuming. Hoping to get that done in the evenings this week – I start my in-class learning this Saturday at a gym in Saint John!!

5. Run outdoors again. CHECK!! I got three, surprisingly “easy,” miles in on Saturday. I’m hoping to get another outdoor run in after work this Wednesday :)

 

Question of the Day: How are you doing on your goals for this month?

Bonus question: Do you sing in the car? I do. No shame.

A Sugary Sunday

Crap. Is the weekend really over? I’m pretty bitter over that lost hour – I coulda used it!

I slept in till 8am today which is pretty much unheard of for me. Except, seeing as it was well past midnight before I went to bed, it doesn’t add up to much extra sleep :(

Decided to take a rest day since I worked out twice on Saturday. Rest days call for fancy breakfasts in bed :)

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Protein pancakes! This is a new recipe that I sort of made up as I went along, and turned out delicious!

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup soy milk

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Topped with coconut, fresh strawberries and sugar-free syrup. Remember when I was complaining about frozen strawberries earlier in the week? Well, fresh ones were on sale for $5/5lbs. And they’re pretty tasty too! They’re the giant strawberries… in season in California maybe?

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I was pretty proud of myself for making up a decent batch of pancakes on a whim like this. However, my usual protein pancakes/waffles with oatmeal and cottage cheese aren’t quite as dry.

Lunch featured some maple smoked salmon.

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On a english muffin with honey mustard, fresh dill, spinach and swiss cheese. Delicious!!! I’m on a dill kick, it adds such an interesting flavour!

Shortly after I had a chat with Holly about our upcoming adventure to Banff, Alberta! Those of you who are interested in coming, expect an e-mail soon. I booked my flights last week and will be booking our accommodations in Banff tomorrow. I am SO excited. I’ve been to California, but I’ve never been to Western Canada before. I can’t wait to see the mountains!!!

Then, it was on to more serious business. Brownie making business.

I saw this recipe from Zesty Cook for chocolate caramel brownies and knew it would make for a perfect Treat Monday contribution. I’m all for healthy-fying sweets, but not when I’m sharing them with other people. Let’s face it, healthy substitutions just plain suck when compared to the real thing :P

I didn’t double-check the recipe before I bought groceries yesterday, so I didn’t have all the right ingredients. But I still made do!

Started by mixing up a Duncan Hines chocolate fudge brownie pack as per the instructions on the box. I baked a little over half of it for about 15 minutes.

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As that was baking, in a pot I melted a package of Kraft caramels with 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup soy milk (less than what the recipe calls for – it seemed like a lot!)

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Poured the caramel sauce on top of the brownies with chocolate chips…

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And added the rest of the brownie batter!

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It took a while for the rest to bake, 20-30 minutes? I really should have timed it as the bottom got a little crunchy. I just wasn’t in a precise mood today I guess ;)

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I cut it up into 25 little squares THREE of which I ate! Three brownies people!! Not to mention licking the bowl. But that’s a given.

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Get these away from me asap! They are sooooo good! I actually felt a little sick after my brownie consumption as I’m not used to digesting so much crappy sugar at once :P Thankfully, I have my co-workers to pawn them off on for Treat Monday.

I made up for my mass brownie consumption with a giant salad for dinner.

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  • spinach
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • bell pepper
  • tomatoes
  • pickled beets
  • artichoke hearts
  • olives
  • grilled pork tenderloin
  • feta cheese
  • tzatziki

I used Liberty tzatziki which was absolutely fab. Thick and creamy, with a nice garlicky flavour to it.

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Might I add the pickled beets were also a wonderful addition. Thanks to Emily for helping me get the guts to try them!! (and now I officially feel like an old man for loving them)

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Short and sweet post tonight folks, I’ve got a 6am date with a spin bike. I have a feeling I’ll be sweating brownie batter out my pores :P

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite sweet treat? Cookies? Brownies? Cake? Cupcakes? Ice cream? Donuts? Pastries? I am 100% a cookie and brownie person. You could dangle any other sweet treat in front of me and I wouldn’t care. But that is definitely not the case with cookies and brownies!!

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