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.


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


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

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


Bananas and peanut butter belong together.


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

Snack number two.

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.

I baked them today and they oozed out juices.

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! 


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.

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

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

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….

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

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

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!

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.

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

Posted on March 18, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. I like the idea of roasting string beans, yum.

    Great tips! I am slowly learning to love exercise. I find what works best for me is working out based on my mood, my energy levels, and my physical health at the time. Some days I need yoga, some days a good sweaty run. When I make a rigid schedule, it starts to become un-fun.

  2. Love it!!

    Those are all great tips. I love how you suggest people open their minds to finding something that they like to do rather than what they THINK they should be doing exercise wise.

  3. Have a great weekend! I can’t wait to hear about how the training/testing goes :D Drive safe.

  4. That sandwich sounds delicious- I might have to try that combination.

    Back when I had gained a few pounds and my doctor was asking me if I was exercising, my excuse to her was that I hadn’t found anything I liked to do yet. She came back with “well, you’ll just have to do something you don’t like until you find something that you do like- because not exercising isn’t really an option…” That has kind of stayed with me and anytime I’m not “having fun” while exercising, I remind myself that it can’t all be fun. (though for the most part, I really do like most physical activity)

  5. I totally LOLd over your keyboard incident. That happens to me with popcorn husks and it’s not pretty :-) Your banana is PERFECT. I think I drooled just a little with those spots. I LOOOOOVE banana extract- it is one of the best extracts as it really tastes just like, um, well bananas. THe one extract that I cannot find anymore is Pineapple- it breaks my heart.

    Love your recap on the Exercise philosophies- thanks for the shout. You edited perfectly :-)

    Have a fun friday and fun with the grandparentals. I’ve still got your 3 generations post saved so that I can really absorb it. :-)

  6. Susan, I love that you’re training to be a PT and that you love it so much.

    What I’m saying is that all trainers should be like you, and really, truly love it. Then your clients will love it too. I had a professor that make me excited about, of all things, Ancient Indo-European Liguistics (SO not my area), because he was so passionate about it.

    I’ll be your client when you’re certified and living in Toronto! That’s only a…..1 1/2 hour drive (haha)

  7. Have fun at your course! Hope you learn loads!!! Any luck on finding a gym to hire you in the T-dot?

    As far as exercise – I love how I feel afterwards. But sometimes I have trouble psyching myself up to get started.

    I should probably also mention that a huge motivator for me is finding a workout space that feels like a retreat! When I lived in Victoria I worked out a private studio (Bodhi) and I loved it!!!!!!! Beautiful (it still has the best showers I’ve ever used), clean, uncluttered, and literally everyone knew your name. I loved it. Much more so than my sterile World Gym in the Rockies.

  8. I admit that initially going into the gym and working out was the means to losing weight. It took me almost a year to finally feel great about going in, running, and lifting weights. Trying different classes like kick boxing and running are activities that really made me happy and further motivated me to continue an active lifestyle.

  9. Great post!
    You hit the nail on the head when you said find something you enjoy. I turned down a new poker night because it conflicted with badminton.

    And unlike the premier I’d remember you :-)

  10. WOW you are so wise!! GREAT tips girl! thank you for sharing!
    YAY FOR NANER EXTRACT! i got SO excited when i saw my name! haha thanks love!!

  11. love the words of wisdom! you are always elaborating on things and i just nod along because you are so right.

    and banana extract? how did i not know about this? BALLER.

    hahaha.. you really do say that about every batch of bars! at least we know they are delightful!


  12. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    You are a wise sage and you are going to make a GREAT personal trainer! I may even have to come to Canada just so you can help me get my sweat on!

  13. Have a wonderful weekend dear!
    I really loved that post…haha..i think hell will freeze over before i find that i dont love any of your posts..
    You make me feel like i have the potential to be my very own wonder woman..
    You’re going to make an AMAZING AMAZING personal trainer..Anyone who gets to work with you is going to be so ridiculously blessed and lucky!

  14. the Cherry Dark Chocolate Protein Bars looks amazing

    so jealz that i cant do eggs, at all. i have seen those cake in a cup things for many years in varoius online groups and i am so bummed. eggs make me itchy and hives.

    The sweet comment you left me re running in a sports bra. I run in the tiniest shorts possible, also the thinnest, and a pink sports bra. I really dont care what people think, i am for optimal comfort which means paper thin tiny clothes! ha! but yes, i am a total free spirit and boy, I could tell you plenty of stories but not on a comment field :)

    And Danielle coffee run also said the same thing, she’s never run in a sports bra. I thought it was just her til your commetn came in. Im like whoa…these ladies are missing out!

  15. Love this post! I used to despise exercise because I would push myself way too hard and get burned out quickly. I also focused so much on weight that I chose my activities based on how many calories they burned rather than on what I actually enjoyed doing. I’ve since changed my mindset, and it has definitely enabled me to find the joy in exercise!

  16. Good post. I think you have chosen wisely for this profession as a PT, so key to love what you do. I sure wish I loved working out as much as you do! Good for you. Have a fun weekend!

  17. I’m glad I have friends to motivate me at the gym because the only activities I enjoy are eating, reading, and sleeping! lol!

    I am doing boot camp again this weekend and I like it. I feel like I’m dying during class though! :)

    Banana extract sounds yum. I use orange extract in everything…especially chocolate chip cookies. Yum!

  18. Yes, yes and hell yes! You summed up everything I think in this post!

    Once you find your “thing” it won’t be a chore anymore! It’ll be your hobby!

  19. ummm at my coop, they have banana, maple, anise, strawberry, coconut – pretty much any flavor you want. i need to pick something fun up!

    and i loved hearing everyone’s view on exercise – i think that whether you hate it or love it, the feeling after IS the best!

    hope you have a wondrous weekend doing your personal training thangs – that is so exciting! and i love that your grandparents don’t have internet :)

  20. Haha. I JUST finished doing some jump lunges while I was doing Jillian Michaels’ good ol’ Shred Level 3… and they’re definitely one of my lesser favourite parts of the DVD… ugh. They sure do work those legs though!

    And I definitely agree that A – exercise DOES get easier. And therefore more enjoyable. And B – there IS something out there for everyone.. some people just need to be more creative. Exercise isn’t only running or lifting weights. There are SO many ways to get the heart a pumpin… so many that I myself am just waiting to discover! I can’t wait to find out what other activities I’m going to love in my life that I haven’t had the opportunity to try yet.

    And of course there are many many times when I don’t feel like exercising and am NOT looking forward to it. And even many times when the entire process of it kind of sucks… but I’ve never regretted exercising once it’s over and I feel sweaty and healthy and accomplished!

  21. Great tips, Susan! I really had to learn to only do what I love when exercising. It makes it FUN, not torture!


  22. Bah – I have the same keyboard issue every day! Oops!! Your baked green beans look good! I’ve never tried them like that.

    Great tips! I think one biggie for me is to do ‘work outs’ that aren’t work outs i.e. swimming in the lake, playing basketball, riding my bike outside.

  23. OMG – you have Fridays off?
    I´m jealous!
    Hahahaha ;)
    Amazing eats and pics, as always.
    Gotta love cottage cheese!
    Have a great weekend, girl!

  24. You are so cute Susan. I really really realllly want to meet you one day! Of course, I know this will happen.. I just don’t know when it will happen. :)

    Love all your eats in this post and your topic of discussion. I am like you, (I mean in high school especially) I loved getting up super di duper early to go to the gym, lift weights, see the sun rise, shower at the gym, then go to school, it was second nature, and I loved the people there, and it was normal routine. I will admit, as much as I enjoy working out, it is harder for me to go to the gym at school, because I don’t have a set schedule yet. I’d prefer working out in the morning, but the gym doesn’t open until 7 and that is when my day starts in the kitchens. And then its hard to find a groove, when I have so much other stuff to do! I get it, its college, I’m a busy girl, but I need to get myself a schedule. I will say I have definitely been enjoying the zumba class every week though! It is awesome! And I’m doing yoga 3-5 times a week on my own, but I haven’t lifted weights in like a month. :( Boo.

    OKAAAY enough about me! I hope you are well! It’s almost April, isn’t your PT certification coming up?

    Hahaha I also loved what Lara said. I’m in between, but I def see her point with the vain aspect of it. :)

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