I have a spectacular post in store for you today.
First and foremost the BIG NEWS.
I passed my personal training exam!!
I am now a certified personal trainer.
Even more – I got 93%
Just 0.5% less than my written exam ;)
How I did this is beyond me. I should explain I suffer from major performance anxiety. I’m the girl who dropped classes that had presentations in the syllabus. When I saw my Personal Training Specialist course included a one-hour practical exam, I seriously considered not doing it. Instead, I did what I do best. Ignored it and pushed it to the back of my brain.
Unfortunately, the day still came. One thing that really attracted me to personal training is that it’s one-on-one. I’m good at that. But the idea of going through an hour-long session with an instructor watching me like a hawk sent the anxiety rushing through my veins.
Today I sent my mom a text: "”I’m freaking out!! Worst idea ever :(“
She immediately called to give me a pep talk. She told me to keep my weaknesses in check (I’m a mumbler) while playing up my strengths. She knows I’m good at putting people at ease, and told me to be my genuine self.
That’s exactly what I did! (thanks mom) I got docked marks on a few nitpicky things, but my instructor said I aced it based on my enthusiasm, attentiveness and communication with the client. I am thrilled beyond words. I feel like I can really do this PT thing now :D
Anyways, all that aside, I am still moving this week. Phew!
As I was packing yesterday, I found an old teddy bear I’ve had since the age of four. Freddy the Teddy (I was a clever child). Finding him brought back a slew of childhood memories and I couldn’t bare to cram him back into storage.
Now I have two teddy bears :)
The money shot!
Aahhh, I’ve been trying to catch Archie yawning since he got here. Animals yawning are so cute :)
I awoke this morning after having a strange and vivid dream. My mother’s house had been overtaken by cats, and then I almost burned it down. What on earth does that mean??
I needed waffles to soothe my subconscious.
A wafflewich made with two Nature’s Path Pomegranate Waffles, one fried egg, smoked salmon and pure maple syrup. An amazing combination of flavours.
And the mandatory citrus on the side.
On my Favourite Food Pairings post, Lara said hers was eggs + citrus. I would have to agree. What is it about eggs that makes me crave oranges??
Now, for the really good stuff.
It’s no secret that I love waffles. It’s a love that goes way back to the days of Eggos before elementary school, covered in real butter and Aunt Jemima. Clearly, I’ve matured plenty over the years, celebrating Waffle Wednesday every week. My first appliance upon moving into my current (soon to be old) apartment was even a belgian waffle maker.
I feel bad though. Every Wednesday, after devouring my latest batch of protein waffles, I get comments from my bloggie friends, saying they wished they had a waffle maker. If only I could spread the waffle wealth!
Enter: CSN stores.
When I was contacted by CSN about doing a review or giveaway, I was overwhelmed. Too much to choose from. I didn’t need or want anything extra because I’m moving halfway across the country. And what on earth could I give away that would make sense on my blog??
Then I found it.
Finally, a Wednesday where I can actually share my waffles :)
To win this, all you have to do is leave a comment in this post. That’s it! It’s open to everyone. To make it as fair as possible, I will not be responding to comments in this post – I’ll draw a random comment next Wednesday, May 12 at 8pm EST.
A special thank you to CSN for hosting this giveaway :)
And an even bigger thank you to everyone out there in blog world and real world who has been SO supportive throughout all my endeavours. Sometimes I get people telling me I inspire them, but in all honesty, you inspire me. <3
Thank you sososo much for all the congratulatory comments on my last post! Y’all are too sweet :) Passing my personal trainer theory exam definitely feels like a small victory in this long journey I’m on. Also feels like an affirmation I’m on the right path!
Speaking of paths (segue alert!), I hit the trail this morning. I’ve essentially had the same gym routine since January, and I’m desperate to change it up! Even though it was supposed to be cold and rainy this morning, I couldn’t bring myself to slog out a run on the treadmill, so I took it outside anyways.
I would like to say it was freeing and glorious, but Susan-land is not la-la-land. It may not have been dark at 6:30 am, but it was cold. 4 degrees celsius, which Google tells me is 39.2 F. I have a high-quality shirt and jacket for cold weather, but just cheap cotton leggings for my legs. No good. As Caitlin would say, my thighs felt like frozen chicken thighs. When I took my leggings off, they were bright red from the cold!
Ended up running 4 tough miles. It felt like I was running through cement at times as my legs are still sore from my last weight workout. But I did it. It was fun-ish. And it gave me something different to say when my coworkers asked me what I did at the gym this morning ;)
No time for a fancy breakfast.
That’s my excuse anyways, but we all know I just wanted waffles again ;) Nature’s Path Pomegranate with peanut butter and blueberry jam.
Was going to put protein powder goo on top until I remembered I have an excess of egg whites in the fridge. The best protein comes from real food :)
Got my carbs, fat, protein and sugary goodness. The perfect breakfast :)
Lunch was l-l-leftovers!
What was left of the “wonky Mexican hash” with melted cheese on top.
Then after work today, I went to the campus gym with two co-workers to show them around the weight area. Both are getting married this summer and want to look good in their wedding dresses! Both have been going to the gym for a while, but felt a little lost. It was so fun to see how excited they got over the new moves! One of the girls was so cute. She asked me what to do to get rid of belly pudge, I told her it was diet-related, and her face immediately dropped. Ahhhh… This is something I’m going to have to get used to I think…
Took the dog on his second walk of the day (I can’t say no to him!) then came in for a late supper.
A tofu faux alfredo
- Block extra-firm tofu
- 1 small spaghetti squash
- 1/4 bag frozen broccoli
- 1/4 red onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 pint mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
I cooked the squash in the microwave, then added it to the pan with everything else. For the sauce I mixed up 4 laughing cow cheese wedges with soy milk until it was at a consistency I liked, then added a dash of pepper, nutmeg and parmesan cheese.
Ever notice I eat a lot of things out of bowls? I find bowls comforting for some reason. Plus, they’re better for portion control. I can pile a lot more on a plate than I can in one of these bowls.
The Non-Training Training Program
I’ve spoken a lot about training programs and how I like to sort of fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to working out. But, one thing I have learned, is that it is sometimes beneficial to look at the larger picture when choosing workouts.
During the program design section of my personal training course, we learned about periodization and the three different training cycles:
- Macrocycle: A period lasting several months to a year
- Mesocycle: A period lasting several weeks/a few months
- Microcycle: A period lasting around a week.
If you’re not training for a big race, you are probably wondering why the hell you have to care about periodization and training cycles.
Well that’s why I’m here, duh!
Even if you’re not training for something in particular, it is still beneficial to follow training cycles if you want to see an improvement in general fitness. It doesn’t have to be grand. Hell, most people would just like to be able to carry their groceries indoors with greater ease.
The cycle typically starts with low intensity workouts and increases into higher intensity workouts.Eventually, you reach a peak intensity, where you are at your best performance. After reaching this peak, you recover. This is a REST PERIOD of a few days. After this rest period, you slowly begin the cycle over again with the lower-intensity workouts. Each "peak" stage will be a little higher, meaning you are getting more fit, yay!
This is my fancy graph. I made it all by myself :)
This is where a little something called "progressive overload" comes in. This is one of the key training principles, and just one of many which I’ll be sure to talk about over the next little bit.
Progressive overload is just that – you progressively add to your workouts, be it time, speed, intensity, load, etc, to see improvement. If you go to the gym and do the same 30 minute elliptical workout every freakin’ day, then it is going to be hard to improve upon that. You need to challenge yourself to get better. And with each challenge, the same amount of work will feel easier!
It’s fun to say we just show up at the gym and do what we want. But in reality, a little more forethought should go into it.
- Don’t progress too quickly (the 10% mileage rule for running for example)
- Always err on the side of caution and rest when you need it.
- Decide what you want to improve on, and work on challenging it
- When you feel you’ve reached a “peak,” rest. Recover. Then start all over again.
For me, I take a few days off every 3-4 months. Usually to coincide with life events or just when my body says "whoa." I also tend to train with the seasons. I’ve probably already peaked in terms of strength training for this year, but I’ll be working towards a running peak early in the fall.
It’s also worth noting that you can’t just keep getting better and better without taking that rest period. Fitness doesn’t grow exponentially. But rather grows in little bumps!
And with that, I’m off! To make protein cookies :) Tomorrow is Flashback Friday. Trying to stir up a good one, see ya then!
Heyyyy friends!! Just returned from writing my personal training exam. 100 multiple choice and 50 fill in the blank. Both of which I suck at. I’ve got a Liberal Arts degree, I can develop and argue a stellar thesis, but ask me to choose between ‘a’ and ‘c’ and I clam up! Here’s hoping I got the 80% I needed to pass!
I’ve been a busy bee again all day, but I want to take the time to go through another Flashback Friday.
One reason why I want to do this is because I think it’s important that people know not everyone is born healthy and fit. Most of the people we see at the gym didn’t start that way. Not all food bloggers are inherently healthy eaters. Like anything, it’s a process. Just like we enjoy seeing pre-photoshopped photos, it’s a nice reminder that no one was born perfect.
My story is a common one. I was a chubby girl because I ate and drank too much and moved too little. In fact, I was horribly out of shape, having never been remotely athletic my entire life (I spent my weekends reading the Babysitter’s Club).
Sports teams were out in high school, there was no time between smoke breaks.
I smoked for 6 years. Quit cold turkey 4 years ago.
I was a vegetarian from ages 14 to 22, so most people would have identified me as a healthy eater. I made hummus, I liked vegetables, I ate a lot of yogurt.
But I didn’t have a sweet clue what calories were. Seriously. If you told me that slice of pizza was 400 calories, I had no idea what that meant in relation to anything else, and I didn’t really care to figure it out.
The only thing that made sense to me was eat less = lose weight. This never worked, so I don’t know why I kept trying it. I thought about food all the time, counting down the minutes until my next meal. I thought I couldn’t eat after 7pm, so I’d go to bed starving.
I consumed a lot of oil too. One tablespoon being 120 calories didn’t mean anything, remember? Everything was drenched in the good stuff. Or fondued in it.
One of my favourite restaurants served breakfast 24 hours a day. There were many a-night where my friends and I would saunter in after a late movie, or night out at the bar, and I’d order a giant homestyle breakfast.
Just because I was a vegetarian, and later pescetarian, didn’t mean I ate a lot of vegetables. Carbs were the name of my game. Potatoes, rice, couscous, bread, cereal. Usually drenched in as much cheese as I could chop up.
I honestly thought I was making good decisions back then, but it’s hard to do when you’re horribly uneducated on basic nutrition. I cringe to think of the pre-made salads I bought, or ginormous bagels I would slather with cream cheese, thinking I was eating well.
Working at Starbucks for five years didn’t help!
Being surrounded by delicious lattes, frappuccinos and pastries is hard. Drinking four coffees a day is one thing, when four of those are white chocolate mochas, that’s another thing.
Oh yes, and there was the sweet tooth. I thought this was my downfall as a chubby girl.
I blamed my extra pounds on the sweets I regularly indulged in, but they were only a small part of the problem.
I was GWLHB – Girl Who Likes Her Beer. I would often “watch” what I ate, so I could still get away with drinking mass quantities of beer. I honestly don’t know how my belly fit all that volume…
Needless to say, I eventually started bursting at the seams.
Obese? No. But no girl deserves to hate herself and her body, no matter the size.
The summer going into my fourth year of university, my friend took pictures of the radio show I co-hosted.
The pictures horrified me. The desk is covering me here, I deleted the worst ones. Seeing them were a huge wake-up call that my weight had gotten out of control. It was devastating.
So how does a girl go from nachos every other day to salads and cottage cheese?
I just started teaching myself about what I was doing to my body. I learned about those calorie things everyone was talking about. What foods contained what nutrients. Once I knew what was in everything, I desired the crappy foods less and less. I gained a desire to give my body only the best.
I started eating. I spread my calories out over the day. I balanced out my macronutrients, I filled up on nutrient-rich food that kept my hunger at bay.
This of course went hand in hand with fitness. Because good food will give you energy, and you need good food to supply your workouts!
I went from soft and squishy…
I went from barely finishing a quarter mile run…
To running 10ks, and beyond.
Driving home from my exam tonight, I was thinking about all the things I want to teach my clients. I think first and foremost, I want to teach them to value their bodies. I can only do so much as a trainer. The onus is really on the individual to dig deep and find some respect for themselves. I can only provide the tools to help someone along on that journey.
Also every bad thing you’ve ever done to your body can be reversed. Even smoking. Even eating one too many Mini Eggs. It can all be reversed in just one simple choice :)
Upward and onward! Or as Steinbeck put it “Ad astra per alia porci.”