Tree Pose Focused

hot yogaI think some things and people come in to your life for a reason.

Recently I started going to Tula West at Ossington and Bloor, and I’d have to say it has been quite the game changer.  I’ve done yoga before.  I actually used to go to Bikram yoga a couple of years ago, but it didn’t last.  I liked the heat aspect, but didn’t really connect with the poses and type of yoga that it was.  I thought at the time that my little flirt with yoga was pretty much over forever.

This new year, marked a time in my life when I really wanted to do something different, put the past year behind me, reflect, learn and make myself better.  (Pretty much everyone starts the year off this way, no?! hah)

I decided that I wanted to do yoga on a Saturday morning and asked my friend Jill to join me.  I’m glad that we did this – not only do we have Saturday morning brunch dates afterwards or before, but I’ve also had someone with me on this spiritual journey.  I had never done hot hatha before, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this class, and how much I pushed myself during.  After the class, I felt like a million bucks and was in a head space that I hadn’t been in a long time.  I was that grinning idiot on the subway 😉

I must admit that I was rather skeptical about all this “zen” stuff, and didn’t really think that this would change my life or really make me a better person.   I thought I’d end the class twisted up like a sweaty pretzel, sad about the poses that my little stumpy legs couldn’t/wouldn’t ever do, but  SURPRISE! – that was the furthest thing from what actually happened.

I’m not going to tell you that I am a super flexible yogi with it all figured out, because I am not that either.  What I am though, is someone who is open to this new experience; willing to concentrate and push myself further than the week before, and someone who is truly feeling that yoga should have a bigger place and role in my life.

The instructor last week during tree pose, scared the heck out of everyone when she was talking calmly one minute and then started clapping and yelling in the next minute.  “This is your life.  There are always twenty things coming at you at once trying to distract you from the goals that you are focused on.  Keep focused in your tree pose.  Take the lessons you learn here and apply them to your outside life.  Don’t let anything distract you from the things you zenwant and deserve.”

After a long week in the hustle and bustle of the city, with what seems like a million work projects on the go, and the normal stress of every day life that sometimes overwhelms you – there is something about putting down your yoga mat, placing your towel on top, laying down, inhaling deeply and letting everything sigh right out.  Gone are the stresses of the week, your shoulders loosen, your head clears and you are focused on then and now.

The Better Person

I’ve written similar posts to this oBetter personne before on workout buddies/support systems, but tonight made me realize just how important it is to surround yourself with great people.  Well that’s not fully the truth – this whole weekend has made me realize this.

Ultimately your friends are there to support you when you need it, and also tell you when you’re being ridiculous.  I’m pretty ridiculous sometimes, as you know, so it’s always nice when people are around you to give you that reality check.  (I hear “Oh Bexx!” a lot because of my silly antics. hah)

I think the better the people you surround yourself with, the better person you become.  iI’s like when you have a running buddy.  When they are a bit faster than you at first it seems discouraging (if you let it.)  “I’ll never get there!” *pounds table with fist*  As the weeks pass and you keep up with them, less out of breath than last week, you realize that you too are improving.  You are becoming what you surround yourself with.  (I don’t recommend running with an Olympian in this analogy….like we all have goals and it’s great to surround yourself with greats, but if you’re trying to speed up to an Olympian you may just end up feeling worse about yourself, and that’s not the point.  I’m sure you get my drift! 😉 hahah)

Tonight I got together with some old university roomies that I mentioned in my NYE list post, and we had dinner, caught up and discussed our individual lists.  Jay Skyped in because he couldn’t make it to Toronto (more crazy snowing going on.)  We never judge each other on our respective lists, accomplishments or goals, we just listen and celebrate with a Kidstreet clap (please see 17 second point of the video for an example) when someone has accomplished something amazing etc. We discuss and laugh, and overall end the evening with some awesome YouTube clips.

The one thing that stood out to me tonight that I wasn’t expecting, was that I have let far too much time pass in between when I had seen these people last.  I was on the outside of some of the inside jokes, and I’ve fallen behind in their lives unintentionally.  I’ve gotten so wrapped up in my own ‘stuff’ that I have forgotten to reach out as much as I should.  I’ve missed important proposals, dance caves, DJ Earworm mash-ups, and important life milestones, like getting dream jobs.  I am adding another goal to 2014 – to make sure that friendships like these do not get put on the back-burner for other ‘stuff.’

We talk about goals; we talk about failures; we talk about things that wouldn’t even make sense if you repeated them ten times; we laugh; we reflect on the things we can do better, and the better people that we can become.

*thankful*

*plays fav mash-up smiling*

-Bexx

Winter Wonderland: What to add to your winter workout gear!

If you’re reading my blog from California a) I’m jealous and b) this post may not pertain to you, unless you plan on visiting me in Canada. *This is perfectly fine and welcomed.*

I workout close to home, so I tend to boot it home and shower here versus showering at the gym.  I also tend to change at work from work clothes into my gym gear (suit-up, if you will) to save time too.  I’m not sure how many  of you do this as well, but regardless I think there are a few items that you should have on hand for that walk home or to the gym to make your winter wonderland walking a success.

The Miss Molly (Source: http://www.graceandlace.com)
hipster toque
(Source: http://www.etsy.com)

I’m a huge fan this season of leg warmers.  One may say I have a bit of an obsession with them.  My favourite to put on these days over my workout tights to keep the ‘pistons of power’ (Read: legs) warm, are from Grace and Lace.  They recently appeared on Shark Tank, so it’s a bit of a wait to get them sent to you, but SOOOO worth it.  They’re cute, warm, and if you put them under your boots, the little lace part sticks out and gives your outfit some pazazz! *spirit fingers*. Your legs also stay warm, which is ultimately the goal at the end of the day.

The second piece that I love for winter is a nice loose toque that I like to refer to as ‘the hipster toque.’  Now mine is bright red and has a pompom on it, and it cost a dollar.  However, you could go more upscale with your ‘to and from the gym toque” –  the world is your oyster.  It’s great for after the gym – you can throw it over gym hair that may not be acceptable looking to that hottie on the street who’s checking you out.  Think about it, a nice little toque adds that ‘you’re cute’ factor to some hair that could potentially otherwise just look like a sweaty mess. Think about it.  Functionally, your head stays warm as well – BONUS! 🙂

roots pants
(Source: www.canada.roots.com)

The third item is a nice comfy pair of jogging pants.  These days my favourite pair are from Roots.  They’re the classic-style baggy jogging pants.  They can go over your workout shorts, capris or tights, and they add that extra barrier between you and the winter wind.  I love how comfy and baggy they are.  They’re also great for lounging on a regular day, or perhaps at an après-ski type situation by a cozy fire.

For all of you starting some awesome new years resolutions at the gym, hopefully this helps!  For you pros out there, feel free to add some of your tips/favourite gear in the blog comments section! Sharing means caring!

Happy Training!

-Bexx

Fresh off the Press – 2014: NYE List

2014

Every year some old roomies from university and I share our New Years resos. (You can see last year’s post here: NYE 2013 List)  I’ve decided to make mine public, and I sit here (proudly) hang-over free, at 8 am writing this while the condo is quiet and most of you have yet to rise (except for the hardcores who have already been out at 6 am running 8k and stuff haha 😉 [Bexx note: I then got distracted, cleaned, went to a movie, then did some work, and am now completing this entry.  I am like Dory in Finding Nemo- ‘Something shiny” heh.]

I didn’t really quite accomplish the goals I set out to do in 2013 fully, but I still had a great year – great friendships, meeting wonderful new people, and reuniting with some friends who I thought were lost forever.  It’s been a good year of learning about myself, the world, and how much I can push myself when I need to.  I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be the year of Bexx 😉 [Bexx note: I say this every year, and every year is equally as awesome for the record, all for different reasons of course!]

TOP 10 OUTSTANDING MOMENTS OF 2013…

  1. Realizing that not everyone is going to like you, or all the things you do, but you’re still going to do the best that you can.
  2. Being asked to be my cousin Melissa’s Maid of Honour in her July 2014 wedding.
  3. Winning a plank-off competition at bootcamp.
  4. Gaining more confidence in the public speaking world, and hitting a lot of goals I set for myself at work in terms of confidence, and measure of success.
  5. Having someone tell me that I was an inspiration to them 🙂
  6. Meeting a cab driver who changed my perspective on a major life event.  It’s interesting who you will meet, and how they will change your life/perspective in only a very short time.
  7. Getting to see beautiful Dublin, Ireland and Barcelona, Spain this summer with some wonderful people! (Two more countries on my Life KPIs list complete!)
  8. Making great new friends, maintaining the old friendships and hearing from some people I never thought I would again!
  9. Spending time with my mom and bro this summer.  As much as they tease me about being a princess, they still make me dinner and take care of me :)
  10. Going “skiing” with my cousin Melissa at Christmas.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time.  Thank you for that.
TOP 5 DISAPPOINTMENTS IN 2013
  1. Not winning the lottery, again.
  2. Not hitting all the fitness goals that I wanted to (BUT became a burpee queen regardless! WIN!)
  3. Getting stranded in Barcelona sans id/passport/credit cards.  (Learning that your family and friends will always be there supporting you no matter how far away they are!)
  4. Not becoming Prime Minister of Canada.  That’s always disappointing, not just in 2014! (I’m repeating this, I still think it’s equally as important this year.. haha)
  5. Learning that the Caramilk secret is still a secret 😉
5 Goals for 2014
  1. To run a sub 58 minute 10k.  This year it will happen. 2014 you will be my b*tch!
  2. Get fit and have fun Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod styles.  Work b*tch!
  3. Run a NWM half, with Jaymie.
  4. Post regularly on my blog! I always have issues with keeping up 🙂
  5. Actually tell people how I feel about things, and standing up for the things I believe in.  Confidence will be key for me in this.

3 Best New People of the Year-

  1. Alex Giordano (@lexxgiodano) –  Gym buddy of the year.  This girl makes me giggle while planking, and always helps me push myself when I want to give up!
  2. Lindsey Chapman (@lindseygchapman) – It’s interesting to realize you can meet new friends at the bar too, not just men! 😉  Bubbly, funny, and entertaining, this lady is one of my new favs!
  3. Sammie Kennedy (@sammiekennedy) –  Bootcamp and kick-boxing coach, she was even a good sport when we made her attend a twerking class this year, that I’m not supposed to talk about.  ❤

Richard Bronson posted today using a quote from Confucius that I really like and he also added a few of his own words:  “”A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step.” By making one little change, you could have a profound positive effect on other people’s lives as well as your own.”

I hope you all had a great 2013, and will have an equally great, if not even better, 2014! May you accomplish all of the goals and resolutions that you set out for yourself!

Happy training,

-Bexx

Bexxified: Surviving Cold and Flu Season

poofI wish I had THE magical advice, which would rid you of any chance of getting a cold or flu this winter season.  Heck, I wish I had this magical advice so I could also give it to myself and avoid whining and crying and missing workouts because I can’t breathe.  I think you forget how much you like breathing through your nose while you sleep, until you can’t.  It makes me angry when it happens. A few times I’ve even got so frustrated I yelled “COME ON!” at my congested nostrils.  Stop laughing, I bet you have too, so stop pretending you haven’t. (Yelling at them didn’t work, but it made me feel a bit better, in spirit at least.)

There are a few things that I will unsolicitedly tell you what I do to fight off colds and flus during this lovely winter season, while simultaneously making up words…*sigh*  Hopefully some of them will help you.  Sometimes these things help, sometimes they don’t.  Regardless (placebo-ish thoughts or not) doing these things makes me feel better and makes it seem to me as though my colds/flus are shorter than most.

Bexxify Yourself for Cold and Flu season in the following ways:Arnold

1- If you start to feel sick, tired and fatigued, get ample amounts of ZZZs and drink a lot of water.  Sounds simple, but we forget.  Whether you’re a little stress-ball working extra hard during your company’s year-end, or running yourself down visiting ten million (I may exaggerate a bit) relatives during holidays, make sure that ultimately you are getting the rest that you need to keep the germs at bay.  Germs hate strong immune systems.  I wouldn’t mess with Arnold, colds and flus won’t mess with Arnold-Immune, as long as you keep strronnggg. *flex*

ColdFX2- If you start to feel a tickle at the back of your throat ,or like the front of your face is going to fall off/front of the face headache – eat ice cream.  (Okay, I may be lying about that part….) If any cold or flu-like symptoms appear, be proactive about things.  Big fan of ColdFX.  There are numerous professionals that agree or disagree with the use of this, but it makes me feel better.  I suppose one doesn’t really know if it works because it’s supposed to prevent you from getting sick at the beginning of the sickness. If I’m not sick once I’ve taken it, I assume it worked.  I am no medical professional, so who knows.  I consider this and Echinacea to be the ninjas of cold fighting.  One could argue that Oil of Oregano makes them feel better, but it tastes not as great, and burns.  I am not a particular fan, but I have taken this as well when told it would help.*Sneeze

3- Wash your hands.  Don’t be touching things on the subway then eating or touching your own face with said hands, because Joe-McSneezerson could have been touching that pole before you got on the subway,  you don’t know.  I’m not saying get all paranoid and become one of those people afraid to touch anything, but be cautious.

So these are a few of the things that I do to protect myself from dreaded cold and flu!  Despite my sarcastically sound advice on this topic, sometimes you’re still going to get sick.  You’re going to want to yell at your congestion like I do, and maybe even shake your fist at it.  If this does happen, curl up under your biggest blanket, drink lots of water, get a lot of rest, and most importantly demand someone bring you soup – at least that’s what I do!

Stay healthy,

-Bexx

*Confession: Paused half way through cold and flu tips to have a little dance party to Applause-Lady Gaga and Stompa- Serena Ryder. Then I tried to drop a beat to Rihanna and Eminem’s The Monster, but still have to learn the song a bit better first.*

Gym Bag Essentials- Bexx

In Bexx-ercize Your Workout Closet I let you guys in on some Bexx favs when it comes to workout clothes.  Now I rarely switch up my essentials, but most recently I’ve decided to add some new items that I now absolutely love! I am not affiliated with any of this brands (opinions are all my own) I’m just being honest because it’s what I wear :))  Let’s start with the head and work our way down:

source: www.sparklysoul.com
source: http://www.sparklysoul.com

Sparkly Soul headband  With my new fringe, I need to keep my hair out of my eyes.  This non-slip headband not only does the trick (I have a silver thin one) but it stays in place. That is key – plus, it sparkles – need I say more? 😉

Sporting the Under Armour long sleeve with Duke the dog.

Under Armour AllSeasonGear Long Sleeve-  I live in Canada (eh?) and so keeping warm in between workouts, and on my way to and from the gym or my workout classes is important.  Everyone wants to steal this shirt.  I can’t blame them, but that’s why I practice sprints every now and again – you never know when someone is going to try to punk your favourite workout shirt.

lululemon Run: Inspire Crop II
lululemon Run: Inspire Crop II

Lululemon Run: Inspire Crop II– These are my new favourite running capris.  I like that they come up a bit higher on the waist than most workout pants. When you’re kicking butt at burpees the last thing that you want to worry about is losing your pants.  (Trust me I’ve been there….hah.)  There’s also a drawstring in the front in case you’re really worried.  My legs are a bit short, so the capris are a bit longer on me, but I still love them. There’s also a great pocket to store things (like keys) in the back.

procompression
Pro Compression Train Low in Pink

Pro Compression Trainer Low Socks– I love these socks. I own some full length (up to the knee) compression socks, but I also love this lower version which still provide the foot with compression while you work out.  I alternate between different kinds of socks, but these are a current favourite.  I have them in pink (as pictured.) They’re lightweight and have great moisture control for the feet.  Stink and sweat be gone!

My shoes are always Asics.  I own about five pairs, so I won’t bore you with that 🙂

That about sums it all up – these are the things that are currently my ‘gym bag essentials.’ (I also carry Bath & Bodyworks PocketBac Sanitizing Anti-Bacterial gel in my gym bag too, for the record!)

Hope you all enjoy your training and workouts while looking super fab,

-Bexx

#MomMustHaves #ImNotAMom

Although I am lacking a key thing that makes me a mom, that being a baby or young child, I was invited to attend an event that was put on by Honeywell, Vicks & Braun.  I gladly accepted when I heard that this event would give me a look into the health and wellness aspects of products for the cold and flu season! (I also feel like my mom friends will benefit from this post :))

The event was held at the Shangri-La in Toronto, in the Owner’s Suite.  The guests were put in groups to visit specific stations set-up to be reminiscent of a real home.Entertain

We were shown some air purifiers first, which I didn’t find all that interesting initially, being someone who lives in a condo and doesn’t have any allergies to worry about.  The part that really interested me the most about the air purifiers is that they can actually clear the air of smells, which is great if you’re doing home renos, or if you’re cooking something that is rather fragrant.  (I will get into more detail about this when I do my full review on the Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Cleaner in an upcoming post.) People with allergies will benefit highly from one of these for sure.

VicksVapourizerThe lovely Dr. Greenberg went over humidifiers and the importance of having one in your home especially in the cold and flu season.  I’ve never really owned one, and when I think about humidifiers in particular, I always think of that one from childhood that every mom seemed to have for their sick children that smelled like Vicks VapoRub. Turns out that this Vicks Vapourizer is still available and now features Vicks VapoPad technology.  For those of you who may have grown up with one of these, do not be sad and think that ‘old faithful’ is gone.  The Vapo-pads are $9.99 for a 6 pack, which is a pretty good deal, when coupled with the $26.99 for the humidifier itself.  I was recently sick and used Vicks under my nose (and on my feet – weird sounding, but I read somewhere it helps?! hah) and the humidifier is like putting Vicks under your nose times ten.  AND for those of you who are afraid of the dark, there’s also a nightlight on this bad boy 😉 *you’re welcome*  Plus the fact that it’s called a vapourizer makes it sound galactically bada$s.  Think about it.

DrGreenberg
Dr. Greenberg demonstrates the Vicks Behind Ear Thermometer

(I will be doing a full review on the Honeywell Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier in an upcoming post to give you an idea of some different options when it comes to humidifiers.)

There were a couple of thermometer demos that were cool for moms out there.  The one that seemed the most interesting was the Vicks Behind Ear Thermometer  that takes your body temperature from behind the ear.  This prevents a baby or little one from waking up during a temperature check, which is probably a great idea when you have a sick baby on your hands.  Some of the Vicks Themometers also include Fever Insight, which is awesome because it lights up according to temperature levels.

If you have any questions about anything you see in this post or are curious to learn more, let me know.  I’ll try and answer to the best of my ability or find out for you! 🙂

Stay healthy during this cold and flu season!

-Bexx

 

*I was not compensated monetarily for this post, and opinions in this post (as always) are my own.  I will be  provided with the Honeywell Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier, and Honeywell AirGenius 5 for review*