3 Spring Must-Haves!

It’s that time of year again, the geese are confused and back early here up in Canada, the trees are budding and the snow is pretty much gone in most areas!

I’m not going to miss the cold that much, but as we ease into this lovely new Equinox, I want to tell you about 3 Spring Must-Haves that should be in your outdoor running toolkit!

Nike Running Club:  Ask your friends to add you, stay accountable to yourself, get reminders sent directly to your phone! This app keeps me in check.  I love sneaking a peek at the weekly leader board to see where I am ranking against my friends – a little good healthy competition never hurts your motivation to lace on up, and head on out for one of those 5 am 5Ks I’ve been telling you about! 😉  

Deep Blue Rub: I recently discovered this product and I’ve switched from Deep Relief/A535 as this dōTERRA cream/rub is infused with the Deep Blue Soothing Blend of  CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and gives you a cooling and warmth sensation that helps problem areas!  Getting back into outdoor running can be a challenge, but Deep Blue is your buddy that helps those achy muscles you feel when you’re getting old ;))  

10% Happier by Dan Harris: I picked this book up as a reco from my buddy Doug Foley over at The Happiness of Pursuit.  Dan Harris in this well-written book, makes fun of himself in ways that I connected with, pointed out similarities that I never thought him and I would have, and makes you realize that meditation, self-awareness and reflection are easily able to help us become that much happier (at least 10% ;)).  His journey through to meditation and self-realization are inspiring and attainable!

The running app keeps me accountable, the Deep Blue keeps my tired muscles happy and on point, and 10% Happier keeps me in-check to mentally re-set when I need it, and power through those tough moments when you’d rather turn around and go home to sleep in your gym clothes!  *Maybe that’s only me? 😉

Happy Training, lovely people!
-Bexx

Run for the Love of Pete 5K : The Why

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.24.43 AMAt first, I wanted to do something in the memory of my father, Pete. I wanted to raise money and awareness for heart health so that people around me got to live longer and learn about the things that they needed to do to accomplish this. I love running, so why not pair the two?

Over the course of wanting to launch this run (I’ve been thinking about this for about a year and a half), I had anxiety about hitting send on a mass email, hitting create on an FB post and talking to people about it in general. I’d hold back. I realized that all I needed to do was take the first step.

In all my research around running races, and organizing them, I scoured the pages of Runners World Magazine and any online resource that I could. If I was having this much trouble taking the first step to creating a race to ‘change lives’ then how many other people were having the same struggle? I mean this from all standpoints in life. Were others struggling to run? Were others so afraid of what other people thought so much that they were just sitting and waiting for that perfect moment to do what they really want to do?  Were other people so paralyzed with fear and self-doubt that they just sat on really great ideas for a really long time instead of just getting out there and doing them?

I was (and still am a little spooked) about taking the first step. What if one person comes to the race? What if no one shows up? What if it’s raining? What if people look at September 11th as a negative date? What if I don’t raise awareness or money and fall flat on my face? There will always be ‘what ifs’.

I took the first step yesterday.

I almost puked in the car.

Some people will understand, some people won’t. Some people will laugh at your goals and mine, others will suScreen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.16.28 AMpport them with banners (think signs made out of glitter and uncooked macaroni, that’s what I see ;)), and do whatever they can to help.

I set-up the Facebook invite, and to some that will seem rather trivial (or an archaic way of doing things hah), but it has taken me months to hit that ‘create’ button. My buddy Doug took me for a ride in the car. He made me listen to a podcast that really changed the way I look at this hurdle. I have to spend more time looking at why I want to do this, not at how or what. The rest I can figure out along the way. (Check out this TED Talk with Simon Sinek if you want to learn more about the ‘why’).

All I have to remember in every step of this process, no matter how good or bad this goes, I took the first step – the first step of many to come.

I will learn a lot throughout this whole thing, things won’t be perfect and I will refine and change things as I go. I hope that you join me, as we take many first steps together, never forgetting the why along the way!

-Bexx

The Art of Not Being Good at Something

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I went for my Saturday morning session this past week with my trainer, and since switching trainers in favour of changing things up a bit, I am perfecting techniques that I already thought I had perfected. Derp.

My new trainer tells me that my form is amazing but critiques and adds things that I could consider to make the exercise more effective, or to target some muscle or group of muscles I didn’t even know that I could target. He gives me options and things to really think about: “Break the bar when you come up,” “I want to put a glass of water on that back and I don’t want it to spill,” “Dig those heels in,” “Don’t think too much”.

Don’t think too much…

Thinking, although helpful in jobs that involve strategy (which mine usually have), is usually a great thing. It’s okay to think about all possible outcomes, weigh all your options, figure out the main goal and then all the tactics that are needed to execute. Overthinking is my nemesis. It’s something I’m working on, and will continue to work on throughout my life. This tends to hinder me the most particularly when it comes to working out. (Dating and relationships also suffer from my overthinking, but thank fack this blog is about fitness and not the latter.)

At first being critiqued like this was frustrating. My trainer could see it on my face, and I think I did threaten to punch him a few times. Poor guy gets a Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.30.30 AMfriendly bird flip every once in awhile too. I like to switch things up.

Much like I have learned that he’s only trying to help; he’s pushing me to do things that I don’t like to do, he’s making me think about things that I don’t want to think about. I want to think that my damn deadlift is perfect. That people will call a hotline somewhere to ask for my advice because it’s so great. Like an unsuccessful telethon let’s just say no one is calling yet. (Trés opposite of hotline bling…?)

What I’m learning slowly and accepting much more easily than I used to is the fact that it’s okay to not be good at things. It’s okay to be limited physically, mentally, emotionally, or however-ally.

The important part about not being good at something, at least to me, is realizing that you have a choice. You can choose to give up, or you can choose to learn how to do whatever it is however you can, within the limits set by factors that you may not be able to change or control.

Will it always be the best? No.
Will it always work? No.
Does that mean it’s not worth trying? To some yes and that’s okay too.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.38.14 AMYou’re in charge of you, not anyone else. I’m not going to judge you. You’re going to judge you, just like I judge myself and that’s probably the harshest judgment you’ll ever face in life. You.

My trainer at the end of the day doesn’t go home and lose sleep over my deadlift stance. He doesn’t practice with me late at night when no one is looking. He’s probably thinking about ways that we can tweak certain things and how he can help me attain my goals of perfecting my deadlift (so much that people do call me on the deadlift hotline) but when it comes down to it, I’m responsible for me.

I can quit, I can start again. I can flip the bird. I can yell. I can silently beat myself up, which isn’t good but I do sometimes anyway. I can read about it, I can write about it, I can overanalyze the shit out of it. Bottom line is it’s okay if you’re not good at something. It’s okay if everything seems to go wrong. It’s okay to quit. It’s okay to overanalyze, but at some point, you just have let yourself accept what you’re not good at, stop thinking so much about it that you overthink things, and just go and do it until you do have your version of it….whatever that might look like!

-Bexx

 

2015 NYE List – A Year in Review

2016Goals and resolutions don’t need to start at the beginning of the year, but a new year gives us all an opportunity to reassess the goals that we set for last year and try to figure out what we still have an opportunity to work on.  A clean slate, if you will.

A lot of people start fresh at the gym, swear off sweets, vow to not date any more people who aren’t good to them etc.  No goal is too big or small, if you put your mind to it! It’s better to fail, and fall on your face, than never try at all! I’ve fallen on my face numerous times, on all fronts haha

Looking back here are some key highlights from my 2015, some of my new favourite people, and goals for 2016!

TOP 10 OUTSTANDING MOMENTS OF 2015…

  1. Personal training – got a trainer for the first time, and am more ambitious than ever when it comes to health and fitness goals.
  2. Boston trip to see the Jays play at Fenway.  A dream come true!
  3. Nashville trip – fav part – Bluebird Cafe acoustic session (for all you Nashville tv show fans!)
  4. Cottage time – adventuring at the cottage with my favs this summer, fishing, trolling, water wading, bon fires, laughs and fun.
  5. Living on my own – it has been freedom that I’ve never experienced before and it’s the best! I’ll dance in my undies if I want to!
  6. Letting myself fall hard in ‘like’ –  love is too strong of a word.  I’m not ready for that yet haha
  7. Hanging out with my 94-year-old Grandma at Christmas, and making jokes about getting wasted and tearing up the town.
  8. Running an 8k race with Hilary on the tarmac of the Downsview Airport.
  9. Bonding with my bro before and during this Christmas holiday. I really appreciate him, and I have a lot to learn about the grown-up version of my little bro. He’s a gem. ❤
  10. Finishing a half marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.  Not by much, but it still counts!
falling
TOP 5 DISAPPOINTMENTS IN 2015
  1. Not hitting all my fitness goals this year.
  2. Meeting a guy that I really connected with who I thought was super awesome; our first date felt like six and like I was talking to someone I knew my whole life.  Timing is everything though and it just didn’t work out. Excited for new man-adventures this year 🙂
  3. Not being as good of a friend as I sometimes need to be.  I want to be more present and there for the people who need me, like they are for me!
  4. Realizing that sometimes trying to change things is a bigger hurdle than you could ever imagine.  It does take one person to initiate change, but it also can take a village to help support. (I know I combined sayings here… but work with me village, work with me…)
  5. Having a personal trainer who didn’t actually seem engaged in helping me with my fitness goals.  After re-assessing and getting a new trainer mid-way through, I feel recharged and like it’s making a difference the way that I had hoped.
5 Goals for 2016
  1. Organize and launch a run in my dad (Pete’s) memory – Run for the Love of Pete to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
  2. To do something with my life, that is my true passion.
  3. To not just ‘lose more weight’ but get even fitter.  Body composition has definitely changed for the better and I feel so much stronger and leaner.  Just need to keep at it and not quit 🙂
  4. Run a 5K in less than 30 minutes, and a 10K in less than 58 minutes.
  5. Run a 10K with my buddy Darryl.  Accountability partners are where it is at, budddayyy!

3 Best New People of the Year-

  1. Stacie K-  Watch out for this one guys! She’s a figure competitor, and she’s working hard this year for a show she’s gonna win 😉 I met her through a friend of a friend, and she’s become a staple in my every day – including snaps, gym talks and me trying to get her to take up running.
  2. Marissa Lok – Honey Badger don’t give a f*ck!  One of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.  She most definitely takes one for the team, will be the last one up making sure things get done, and is one of the kindest, most thoughtful friends I’ve ever had.
  3. Lee Taylor and Aleisha Learoyd – Team Bell.  Meetings, laughs, good times – excited for more to come. These two most definitely make me appreciate the smaller things in life ❤ (At least all 10 feet of your combined ;))

noidea2015, it’s been great.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, life, and love.  I’ve decided to make 2016 about being present in all that I do – putting my phone down, appreciating the overall experiences and adventures.

Happy training, cheers to 2016, and to the year of being present!

-Bexx

6 End of Summer Favourites

This summer I’ve found a lot of favourites, that will continue to be favs into the cooling down months! (We all shudder when the F-word is mentioned, so I won’t say Fall ;))

Photo Credit: Fabletics

1- Fablectics –  I suppose I can’t really say it is one thing – it is many things. I have so many awesome capri tights that continuously get me compliments at the gym with awesome new patterns; I have cute workout shirts, and a killer tote bag envied by many.  Kate Hudson – you done right!  My fav piece is the bag to the left, with its beautiful graffiti-like design, that I use for soccer and quick travel weekends.  Superb!Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 7.39.02 PM

2- Life Brand Exfoliating Face Wipes – I run, train with my trainer three times a week, do yoga and play soccer.
That means I’m often a sweaty mess.  These wipes were reco’d to me by my fellow super fitness fanatic friend Hilary (you can read about her and her amazing fitness journey here). These wipes swipe that gross-sweaty-salty-after-sport grit off of your face and exfoliate your skin.  They make you feel like you’ve just washed your face, even if your reality looks more like sitting on the side of a soccer field post-game taking off your soccer cleats!

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3. amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo – I got a tester of this lovely product and used it for the first time when I was in a pinch between work and an event.  When you’re on the run, and you’ve worked out, or even just had a long day – this dry shampoo smells great, and really dries up and freshens thScreen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.47.16 PMose less than fresh (read: greasy) spots.  That sounds like an infomercial.  You’re welcome.

5. The Daily Crave Veggie Chips –  I was at a gourmet grocery store (why, I’m not sure) and I found these gems. Tasty like a real chip, but wayyyyy less salty, gluten free, vegan free… haha kidding.  They are vegan though for real! They are also dairy free, with no artificial flavours or colouring, non GMO, and no hydrogenated fats.  (Check out their website for more info!)

6. PC Blue Menu Sparkling Water  –  I’m trying to give up pop.  I love Coke Zero, but hate the idea of Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 9.51.34 PMaspartame.  That being said I was looking for an alternative that still gave me the fizz aspect with some flavour.  With no additional sugars, this one won.  I love all the flavours they offer, but mandarin is my top pick of the bunch.  They offer lemon, lime, and pomegranate blueberry as well!

If you could add to the list what are some of your favourites from the summer that would be greatly enjoyed by all this Fall to accompany their healthy-ish lifestyles? Let us know 🙂

Happy Training,

-Bexx

 

REVIEW: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

hempA few weeks ago I received the opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts through being a #sweatpink ambassador with Fit Approach.

I had heard about Hemp Hearts, but I hadn’t really tried any, nor was I really sure what I was supposed to do with them.

Luckily the Manitoba Harvest website features a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ideas that you can use to get you started!

A few quick facts about Hemp Hearts that I didn’t know:

i) Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein per 30g serving and 10 grams of Omegas.
ii) They taste great on a salad, in oatmeal, in a shake or smoothie and also add extra awesome to your baking.  They also taste great straight out of the bag (I did try this…..then tried again, because they actually tasted so great!)
iii) Hemp hearts have more protein and omegas than the same serving of chia or flax, and less carbs (bonus!!)

I tried them on my salads, in my shakes, and in some of my baking.  In each instance, they actually added a great nutty flavour that I thoroughly enjoyed. (They’re often compared to a pine nut, or sunflower seed in taste.)  They’re great for vegetarians who want to add more protein to their diet.  I love the idea of a plant-based protein as an alternative to meat choices.  I still love meat and the protein that it gives me, but it’s important to have a variety of protein types in your diet.

I would recommend that you check out the Hemp Hearts for sure!

For one lucky reader out there, you have a chance to win yourself your very own bag of Hemp Hearts.  Simply, follow Manitoba Harvest on Instagram and Twitter,  and RT/reply to one of my tweets about this blog post using the hashtag #HempHearts telling me why you want some Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest for your chance to win or leave a comment on this post of why you think you should win!

Good luck!

-Bexx

(Although asked to do this review, this is my honest opinion. Winner of the giveaway must be a resident of the US or Canada.)

 

 

Running is my therapy

I’m angry at the snow preventing me from running my best pace outside on the non-icy sidewalks.

I’m angry at my legs for being too short to fit the regular lengthed lulu winter running pants.

I’m angry because I just stubbed my toe while trying to find my running shoes.

I’m angry because I missed my running group tonight because I had to stay late at work.

photo: http://www.popsugar.com
photo: http://www.popsugar.com

Today is one of those days that you just want to crawl into a ball and hide from the world.  I want to eat a giant chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream, and then finish off a bag of jalapeno cheddar Doritos for my dessert.  There are no rules when you’re angry, apparently – dessert can be chips, and dinner can be cake.

Regardless, today I am a little ball of anger, and that’s not usually the case.  If I ever drank coffee and experienced that caffeine high people claim to need to get their day going, I’d probably bounce off the walls and have no friends left because the pain-in-the-butt sunny disposition that I already possess, would result in people wanting to punch me out.  However, today I’m just angry.

I don’t usually talk about negative things, but I think it’s important to acknowledge when you’ve just had a terrible day, and it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a little bit – provided of course that you’re not using your anger to punch someone out etc. Anger is healthy.  My life is not perfect.  It is okay to be angry at so many different reasons that it don’t make sense.

Today is that day.

No one did anything particularly mean or bad to me today.  I just have an issue with letting two hundred things go, without getting angry about them at the time, or speaking up about my feelings. Where a normal person would say something while these two hundred things were happening at the very time they were happening, I just let things go, and process internally.  It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and every now and again, I still have an angry day. I’m having less of them and I’m getting better at telling people how I really feel about things that happen to me, but I’m not perfect by any means.

Life-is-ten-percent-Holtz

“You cannot change the things that happens to you, but you can change how you react to them.”  I read that quote somewhere once, and I try to remember it when something bad does happen, or when someone is a big enough jerk to me that they warrant a flying drop-kick.  (Note: I don’t want you to try to picture me doing one of these, because it will take away from the non-hilarity of this blog post ;))

That being said, I’m not going to eat the cake or Doritos (Sorry, guyssssss!)  I’m going to lace up my shoes and run a long run solo, on the wintery streets of Toronto, in my too long for me winter lulu pants, with my tunes cranked up, and a slight grin on my face, because the anger will dissipate as I run my very first steps out the door.  Running is my therapy.  Anger get out of here 😉