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

The Art of Not Being Good at Something

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.26.58 PM
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

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
    goals
    Photo cred: http://www.becomeablogger.com

    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.
    Photo cred: www.nicabm.com
    Photo cred: http://www.nicabm.com

    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!

-Bexx

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!

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!

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.34.20 PM
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 in the Rain: 2 Tips for Running in the Rain!

Rain There is something really refreshing about running in the rain, yet I shy away from actually doing it often, because I’m afraid of getting soaked.  I’m made of sugar you know.. so I will obviously melt 😉 iphonerain

I was running the other day, and I saw the gray cloud looming over my head, and internally I scoffed at Mother Nature’s cloud and was thinking that I’d for sure beat the rain.  I was sure that I could out run the cloud, but in hindsight was very wrong.

I was stuck under a little wooden bridge, mostly stuck there on the premise that I did not in fact have shelter for my iPhone and didn’t want in fact want to risk its functionality on account of a ‘little’ rain.  I watched the rain drops hit the little stream that goes under the bridge and was surveying my options.  It slowed down for a little awhile and as I was about to make my getaway, the sky opened and dropped some buckets onto to Cobalt as I stood there.  I could have phoned a friend I suppose…. like on that show Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Cash Cab, but no one would have felt sorry for me at all… haha

As the rain let up a second time, off I went, hesitantly risking my own melting and demise (Fact: This is not true at all.  I will never melt in rain, unless it’s acid hydrochloric rain?!)  It was a calm rain for a little bit, but then reverted back to torrential.  I put my iPhone inside my two shirts and under my sports bra in hopes of shielding it from the rain and continued on my run.

Tips for running in the rain:

1) Embrace it; laugh about it; dance in puddles – bring out the inner child in yourself that hasn’t done anything super fun in a long time.  You’ll be happy that you did!

2) Try and have a dry place to store your electronics.  Sometimes I even run with a little baggie in my sports capris pocket for occasions like a random rain storm.  As fun as dancing in the rain is, you don’t have to have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new iPhone 😉 rainsummer

I hadn’t felt that refreshed in a really long time.  I also must have looked a little bit crazy laughing in the rain.  It was just what I needed.

Happy Training,

-Bexx