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!



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!


  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!
  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!


How to Pick the Perfect Personal Trainer

When you have a trainer you spend a lot of time with them, just how much time you spend with them, is really up to you.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.47.17 PMI personally love morning training sessions and see my trainer TJ at 6 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Sometimes I think he’s plotting to kill me with his crazy training weightlifting/cardio combos, other times I think he just likes watching my face when he lies and says just two more burpees when I know we already got to 12. (He’s sneaky like that!)  All said in jest – if you know me IRL, you have probably heard a TJ story or ten, because I really appreciate my trainer and all that we accomplish within these hour-long sessions.  He’s like a big brother that you actually listen to, and sometimes he even yells out really cool things to embarrass you in the gym (This morning he yelled “NOW DON’T FART” when I was about to do leg lifts for my abs to try and embarrass me…I died laughing.)   All kidding and joking aside, he’s really good at reading his clients (HE GOT TRAINER OF THE MONTH FOR SEPTEMBER!!!!) – he is good at joking with some clients, being serious with others, and pushes some that need to be pushed in ways that they’ll feel comfortable.  This is a key to being a good trainer in my opinion.

How to find your own awesome personal trainer like mine:

1. Personality

  • social-media-personality-typesIf you don’t like being pushed, and the type of trainer you pick likes to lead your sessions with encouraging ‘yips and yells’ about fitness screaming “YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS” in your ear while you workout – you’re going to want to spend your session punching them with your mind, rather than focusing on the workout. This pretty much defeats the purpose.  If that is your style and you love the idea of having your own personal drill sergeant, pushing you beyond your own minds limitations, then this type of trainer may be for you!
  • There is no right and wrong type of personality when it comes to training – fit is what is the most important (not how fit they look, how they fit with you! ;)).  When you’re looking for a job at a company the culture and how you fit in matters, and the same thing goes for training – pick a person (and place) that is best fit to your own personality and what you’re looking to get out of a personal trainer.

2. Goals

  • Ultimately your goals and what you’re going to the trainer for are important.  I spend a lot of time at the gym and training.  That being said, you observe a lot of different trainer/trainee relationships.  If you’re going to the gym to see a personal trainer for the mere fact that you can tell Suzy and Mimi
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    that you have a trainer, then your goals are going to be a bit different from someone who is looking to drop weight, improve their endurance or enter their first fitness competition.

  • It is important in this case to know what your trainer has in terms of  credentials or ‘claims to fame’. Have they trained both males and females?  Have they helped people get to their goal weight?  Have they won fitness competitions themselves? Do they know how to train people who want to do that? All very important questions to ask or look into when you’re trying to find the trainer who is right for you.  A lot of people will claim that they can get you to your goals, but don’t necessarily have the street cred to back that up.  (Note:  This does not give you license to blame your trainer if you are not hitting your goals if you mash pizza into yo’ face after training.  Diet is equally important.)

3. Price and Availability

  • How much are you willing to invest in a personal trainer? Some of my friends think I’m crazy and spend a lot on training.  I realize that I do. I also used to spend a lot of that money on pizza, so I think it’s a good reallocation of funds 😉  It’s okay to save your money and shop around for a trainer who fits into your budgetary life too.  At the end of the day, you need to do what works best for your lifestyle.
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    Maybe it’s time for less pizza, or maybe it’s time to shop around until you find a super awesome trainer who is starting out and may have a Groupon deal.  It’s really up to you.

  • The time of day that you’d like to train is also important.  Some trainers are flexible with training time. If your schedule isn’t always the same,  you may want to find a trainer who can work with a more sporadic schedule.  Some trainers are working with other clients who have more set schedules, and they may not be for you.  Again, it’s really about finding someone who can work with you, and your schedule to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your training.

Overall, I’ve had a great experience with my trainer!  I started off with one that didn’t really mesh with my personality, and what my goals were.  These are some of the things that I thought about when trying to find more of what I was looking for.   I hope that this helps you when choosing your personal trainer wisely 😉

Any great or not so great stories about personal training to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy Training!


ps unsolicited plug – if anyone is looking for an awesome trainer, I happen to have one and know a few others as well 🙂 Let me know if you need any help sourcing!


In this week’s NOT SO AMATEUR I have the pleasure of featuring a coach of mine that inspires me every class of hers that I take! I recently had the opportunity (as you know) to attend SammieKennedyFemme Fitale fitness boxing classes, and this is where I had the chance to meet the lovely Sammie Kennedy.  Now, I haven’t known her for long (about a month), but sometimes you just meet those people who you know right away will have a great impact on your life.

Sammie is realistic, she is honest, she is a butt-kicking drill sergeant coach (when she needs to be), and she most definitely practices what she preaches during class and in her life.

If she expects you to skip for 8 minutes then she is right there doing it with you – encouraging you along the way, and yelling friendly reminders of why you’re there in the first place when you have seemingly lost a bit of motivation.

Sammie admits that when she was younger she was the girl who cried during gym class and tried to forget her gym clothes, as some of us do, until she decided in 2005 that she was going to begin her fitness journey.  She began her journey with a book program called Body for Life.  Seeing such great results, in both body and mind, people kept asking her how she did it.  This inspired her to help others achieve the same thing and so she began to personal train.  This later evolved into her career as creator and CEO of Booty Camp Fitness and Femme Fitale.

She has had many trainers and mentors herself.  International fitness model Maggie Diubaldo , who has graced the cover of Oxygen Magazine and many others, taught her a lot about training, structuring programs, and how to conduct herself and her training in a fun and friendly way that still pushed her clients at the same time.  She credits another mentor of hers, Jason Battiste (who is a former Canadian Super Middle Weight Kickboxing Champion) for setting her up for success in kickboxing instruction, by setting such a great example for her in their training sessions.

Sammie takes pride in helping other women get fitter, faster and stronger, and this is what keeps her motivated to provide as much as she can for her recruits!

Why Sammie inspires me:  Sammie inspires me in many ways.  She inspires me to be a better ‘fitness’ me.  I know that sounds kitschy, but if you meet her you’ll get it.  She makes a lot of things look really easy (like burpees) but she also knows that everyone has a different fitness level and that they have to start somewhere.  I’ve had coaches growing up that didn’t understand that not everyone was on the same level and it was often discouraging.  I saw people quitting sports and fitness activities that they loved because of it, and that made me sad.

She inspires me to want to coach some day and be as confident as she is when it comes to fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I think we can all learn from each other, and build on what we know if we just take time to appreciate others around us who are going through the same journey.

She inspires me to practice what I preach.  She doesn’t make us do anything that she can’t.  She trains with us, and she supports us, even when we think that we can’t do something, and that means a lot.  Having such a great positive reinforcement on your side is always a bonus 🙂

What we can learn from Sammie:  Being the CEO of her own companies, Booty Camp Fitness and Femme Fitale, she shows us that being busy should not be an excuse to skip out on fitness.  Her business is centered around fitness and she is often traveling all over the place for meetings and training.  She doesn’t make this an excuse for cheating on her healthy eating goals or fitness.  Fitness needs to be something that we have as a priority in our lives, no matter how busy and hectic our lives become.

Sammie also helps us realize that you don’t have to have an athletically graced background to succeed in fitness.  You just have to find the activities that are right for you.  When you do this, fitness won’t seem like a chore and in the end you will feel and look great.  Fitness shouldn’t be a punishment, it should be something that you look forward to, and something that you are proud of!


 7 Questions with Sammie Kennedy

What would you list as your biggest fitness/health accomplishment so far?  Oh lord, tough question!  I’d say the fact that I’ve been able to inspire over 30,000 women across Canada so far to embrace fitness and explore a healthy nutritional lifestyle pretty much takes the cake.

What inspired you to start Femme Fitale?  I had been working one on one with a kickboxing coach for about 2-3 years and LOVED the way it made me feel, the stress release it provided and most of all how it easily and quickly improved my results in conjunction with my boot camp training.  As a fitness professional you are always trying new things but this form of exercise stuck with me. I really felt there was a need to eliminate the intimidation factor of going to a kickboxing or martial arts gym and training with experienced male partners, and provide an environment where women could feel comfortable developing their skills with like-minded ladies. 

What is the greatest thing about being the CEO of your own company?  Having that ability to inspire women throughout the province by way of assisting, training and inspiring my instructors.

If/when someone is starting out on their own fitness/health journey, what advice do/would you give them?  I always say to be patient because results take time (you won’t lose 10, 20, 50lbs overnight) and don’t get locked into a long-term contract until you find a form of exercise you enjoy.  If you can’t have fun doing it, you won’t continue.

On those challenging days when you do not feel particularly motivated, what do you do to regain that missing motivation?  I usually need some veggies! I find I am most down when I am too busy to properly prepare foods, so a quick green juice usually resets my vibe.  I’m lucky though, I instruct most days, and my ladies keep me smiling!

If you could meet one fitness/health pro who would it be and why?  Tony Horton the host of P90X, I admire his ability to create a program that reached over 2 million people across the world and would love to pick his brain! My own goal is to inspire 1 million women to embrace a healthy lifestyle so I’m sure he’d have some valuable advice!

Favourite fitness quote-  Sore? Tired? Out of breath? Sweaty? Good it’s working!

You can find Sammie’s blog at or you can follow her on Twitter – @sammiekennedy

Happy Training!