Basic Instinct

Blog #5 ~ The Jane Experiment

Why do we do the things that we do?

Whoa, heavy topic for a health and fitness blog!
It’s something that I often wonder. I used to assume we do things; such as eat, sleep, cry, laugh because of instinct. Born that way, no control, or we don’t know any other way. What if our instinct, or mine at least, is just to feel good, ALL THE TIME? Because thats what it occasionally feels like.

I’ve been asking myself; ‘How do I know if I’m hungry or sleepy?’ Really how do we know? It kind of goes back to the listening and translating idea I explored a few weeks ago. I’m just starting to give myself the time to recognize these feelings even. Before, I would just hop into bed and have a nap, or dash down to the store and eat as fast as possible.

If it’s a Basic Instinct to want to feel good and take care of ourselves, why do we self sabotage? Do you ever say you want one thing but do another? Look good in a bikini – eat a whole pie? Want a loving relationship – fall for a guy who’s a jerk? What instinct are we embracing then?

And then there’s all the worrying and complaining and weighing of options. Such a time-consuming practise! I may be projecting, but I think we fear choosing the wrong instinct, or answer or path. I know I do.
But I can’t help but think there has got to be a better way to look at it.

As I was getting ready to work out the other day, I was moping and moaning to myself. All like ‘Ugh I have to work out!’
Then I stopped myself, in my tracks, and asked ‘Do I Have to?’ Like, who says I do? Who cares?
Then it hit me, I GET to. I get to work out. I have a body. I can feel, I can express, I can change, I can grow, and alter, and improve, I can chose.

It’s actually kind of awesome, awesome-sauce! I know we may be told as children, and as adults, that we are all special and to be grateful! But hearing that didn’t necessarily make it sink in for me.

Even when I was writing this blog this week, I was mulling to myself ‘What do I talk about? I HAVE to find something interesting to say!’ But the beauty is; I GET to. I get to talk to you. I get to share with you.
Human connection is one of my highest values, but I’m so comfortable with wallowing and putting things off, and not pushing myself that I limit myself, and put a negative spin on things that could be positive.
I do this with people, at the gym, at my job. I forget that I do actually get to choose what I do, and how I do it. Boy, is that inspiring! We are human and we can do more than just follow instinct.

One month ago, Chad started an Evernote Fitness Challenge: Get outside and move for 15 minutes a day. Well I didn’t quite do 30 days consistently, but it’s been in the back of my mind, urging me to go outside. And outside my comfort zone, away from my instinct that I need more sleep and to stay in bed.

I almost feel like I’ve been pushed into a war zone; with scary, healthy looking foods, running, listening to my body and treating it with love and care.

As I’ve been trying to treat myself with compassion I sometimes want to indulge in things like chocolate bars, or day dreaming. But when I really think about it, what is it that I want in that moment I think I want candy. Maybe I just want to feel better, feel loved, asap, by eating or fixing.
On some level I want to be super skinny, but also indulge the ‘instinct’ to eat gluten-free cake or potato chips whenever I want, and not have to run them off! Realistic, I know.

I’m starting to feel like I’m getting to a very settled place, where I ask myself if that’s really what Healthy Jane wants, in that moment and in the future. Maybe it is; I had an amazing glass of wine a few nights ago and a great nap yesterday afternoon. I’m not nay-saying doing nice, indulgent things, I’m just proposing the idea that perhaps we can monitor our ‘instincts’ a little more and discern the difference between needing something and enjoying something.

As a bonus I lost 5lbs! And I’ve been on as little artificial, processed sugar as possible over the last week! Listening pays off.
How’s the listening going for you? Do you feel like we have instincts we can’t ignore? What runs us, the body or the mind?

If you’ve been doing the Evernote Fitness Challenge, don’t forget the Twitter Party on Tuesday. Details will be on the Facebook page.

Have a great weekend!


The Value of Water

While about leave my apartment the other day, I went to fill my bottle up with water. Sure enough, the Brita jug was nearly empty. Then came the slew of thoughts:

Do I have time to wait for the filter or do I just go straight for the tap water?

When was the last time I actually changed that filter?

Is it supposed to be changed every 3 months or 6?

Will there be a difference in my water quality after 3 months vs. 6?

How much are the filters anyway?

I bet it’s cheaper than bottled water!

Crap water is expensive!


Since then I’ve been thinking about the value of water. On one side, it’s the second most valuable thing in the world. As in, only air is more immediately needed than water to survive. Without either, we’d die pretty quickly. But, why don’t we pay for air then… It’s polluted too… Will there be a Brita Air filter? How much with that be? Uh oh, here we go again…

In north america, we pay more for bottled water than we do gas in our cars! Is it really that valuable? I mean, I know we’d literally die without it, but is the quality we’re buying truly worth that much? Is the quality we think we’re buying actually the quality we’re getting? Does that quality really matter?

I know plenty of people that mainly drink filtered water. I know plenty that mainly drink tap water. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of people that don’t even have tap water. Can we measure our health differences between bottled vs. tap? To what degree does the filtered water win out over regular tap water?

Crap. So many questions!

As you can see, I have many questions around this subject and I wanted to put them out there to stimulate some though and discussion. What is your view on the value of water? What do you choose to drink and why do you make that choice? Is it because it’s available and marketed to us or are there health benefits you can measure? Please post your thoughts in the comments and see if you can do it ‘un-googled’.


Fast Food Nation

Blog #4 The Jane Experiment…

It’s not that I like McDonalds or KFC, I’m not talking about that kind of fast food. I just don’t seem to allot much time in my schedule for preparing meals, so I chose what’s easy, quick and immediately satisfying. Not what will necessarily nurture me the best.

My assignment this week from Chad, while I’ve been healing, was to look at protein options.

As a vegetarian it seems that I don’t’ get enough protein, therefore I am not staying full or sustained for long enough and then when I’m ‘starving’ or in ‘dire need’, I reach for easy, accessible foods; usually packed with sugar. They may give me a blood sugar high but with no fiber or protein they later send me into an inevitable Crash! Bang! Boom! I want to change these ways.

I’ve always been a picky eater, but as my taste buds have matured and I’ve learned to enjoy more vegetables and ethnic foods I have also made certain choices in my diet. Four years ago I was diagnosed Celiac, which means I can’t eat any Gluten or wheat. I’ve been pretty good at following this for the last few years. It has made a huge difference to my health. I know it sounds crazy but I suggest everyone try giving up gluten and wheat for a month or two, trust me, your sytem will thank you.

It was one year ago I made the choice to be vegetarian. It started as a one-month challenge with myself to see if I could do it. I wondered how it might change my fears around food and my lack of imagination with choices. It totally did. I became brave and learned to expand my options and try new things. Like tofu, turns out I like it. Plus eating vegetarian is really in line with many of my values. But still, a year later, I’m not getting enough protein.

One thing I desperately want to work on is kicking my sugar addiction; I believe it’s literally as bad as smoking, just more acceptable. And I’m hoping more protein is the answer.

So I went grocery shopping…

In the past my experiences with grocery shopping confused me and I mostly bought yummy things. It was like a kid in a candy store, if the candy store had fancy cheese and coconut ice cream. I would make the effort to go to Whole Foods and buy some healthy things but once I was in there, I would have no idea what I wanted or how to cook half of it. I’d be hungry and easily distracted and feel overwhelmed with ‘shoulds’ and options. It became easy to eat a lot of crackers and cheese and veggies or ‘healthy’ snacks like GF granola etc.
Yesterday when I went shopping I had things in mind. I had a list, I had a plan.

Personally, I like food to be simple, yummy, portable, and flavorful. I prefer smaller snacks throughout the day rather than massive meals.

The first thing I looked at in my diet was breakfast. It’s something I usually skip or I choose to just have orange or carrot juice. I love to make smoothies, but I don’t like to clean my blender; slight conflict of interests. So I was on the hunt for healthy ways to start my day.

I had been chatting on Monday with a good friend and she recommended some great high protein low sugar/low carb snacks. So I picked up a few of her favorites to try.

New beloved snack or meal, an invention of Leah’s: plain Greek Yogurt, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, a few sliced strawberries, some blue berries and a little almond butter. Oh my goodness, actually so good! Adding a little honey is also an option, or I assume agave or maple syrup, but I liked mine plain. 

Also putting almond butter on celery is awesome. (reminds me of being a kid, which totally ties into my blog from last week!)
Other fixings I picked up included: ingredients to make fancy and flavorful salads, tofu, carrot juice, almond milk for smoothies and drinks, nuts, yogurt, veggies, berries, chickpeas, beans and eggs.

My main goal that I’m aiming for, is to avoid ALL processed sugar. And actually eat the food in my fridge! Starting this week! I’m holding myself accountable and I will report back next week with any other fun recipes I’ve tried or created, or my level of failure or success!

This is the first time in awhile that I’m actually excited about eating. And happy to be treating myself well.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about airplanes. (I have a bit of a Travel bug) And how in a crisis they ask you to help yourself first before helping those around you, I think this is a lesson we could all take a little hint from. It’s much easier for me to accomplish my goals, do what I want to do, AND be in a good mood, if I’ve been well fed. Observation.

Do you have any high protein options you care to share? I would love some ideas!!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


We prefer Fat? What!?!

One of the most common discussions I have with my clients is around consuming fat. It’s been marketed so heavily that we just believe consuming fat is bad for us. Every item on the shelf and everything recommended on the news talks about low-fat this and 0-fat that. We have been taught that eating fat makes us fat.

This just isn’t the case.

I was recently reading a great article from Mark Sission of The Primal Blueprint.  In the article, Mark talks about the fact that not only do humans do well on a diet of fat, we actually prefer it!

Fat and protein were the dominant macronutrients (when food was even available) over the majority of our two-and-a-half million years as evolving humans. The lack of regular access to food and a scarcity of carbohydrates for much of this time necessitated that we adapt efficient pathways to readily store and access body fat for energy if we were to survive day-to-day and generation-to-generation.

Through evolution, our bodies have adapted to being better at using fat as a fuel than carbohydrates. We can actually go a very long time without any dietary carbohydrates at all. If needed, our body reserves and liver can provide and create all the glucose we’d need. Once our body gets used to this system that is.

For many, because we consume so many carbs, there is a transition period while our body adapts to a higher fat diet. When your body is so used to getting all it’s glucose needs met and then some, through dietary consumption, it’s not that quick to produce it on it’s own. Instead of kicking the liver into gear, you just get cravings for more sweets. This is often why people feel so hungry all the time when they reduce their carb intake. It’s your body trying to get you to consume more.

Overall, fat is not bad for you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I encourage you to read the article linked above or at least test it out in your body. Of course, talk to your doctor first or get some professional guidance.

Let us know your experience of high-fat or low-carb diets in the comments below.

Lost in Translation…

Blog Number 3 ~The Jane Experiment

When I first started this project, I was so gung ho! So ready to give-er and make waves and changes in my life. I’d recently recognized that I was the perfect example of the definition of insanity and I needed to switch things up if I actually wanted to change.

One of the main reasons I was so keen, was because I’d just been sick with a bad infection, and had a root canal and I was tired of healing and resting. I really wanted to get going with my health and weight loss goals!!

Guess what happened this week? I got sick again.

And though it was an inconvenience and I didn’t accomplish my mini goals or plans for all my workouts, I did have a few interesting discoveries about myself.

Mostly when I’ve been sick in the past I usually take 1 of 2 routes:
A: Push through, pretend I’m ok, take some meds and try to ignore being sick, or
B: Wallow in my sickness untill it goes away. Also ignoring how I really feel.
Both are equally not so effective. And in neither one do I really take care of myself and listen to my body.

I find when I’m sick, I really just don’t want to be, I feel week, puffy, sore, tired, angry and not ‘perfect’ (a major complex of mine.) I just want to feel healthy and energized so I can have fun and keep functioning.

But all that energizer bunny-ing persistence, which is great for making things happen and working hard, can also be detrimental.

So much of my time and energy goes to ‘being ok’ ALL THE TIME. Not showing weakness, pretending a lot, and not caring for myself in a loving way. I often opperate in a ‘do more, be better’ way.  I’ve become pretty good at ignoring my body or my feelings, when that serves me. Which is helpful when my feet hurt but I need to push through the last two hours of a serving shift, or when I have a headache or cramps but I have an audition. I drive though the discomfort, but without listening, without reading the road signs saying; ‘Remember to feed me nutrients’, or ‘Please give me 8 hours of sleep tonight!’

Listening. An exercise I could use more practice in.
(Granted I’m pretty good at listening to my body when it’s telling me it wants chocolate…)

I’ve discovered it’s more about translating rather than listening. If I took constant care for my body and listened to it, how it felt, what it needed and wanted, how certain foods feel or how much sleep is required to function, then I might not get sick so often!

This week I was reminded of what I’ve always believed, but forget in the moment; we don’t get sick for no reason.  Either we learn something, have time slow down or take a new approach to our health.

How do you function when you’re sick? Do you listen to your own body’s feelings, wants and needs? The balance is doing that, while still being operational and successful.
I think it takes baby steps, check ins with one’s self, and perhaps treating ourselves a little bit like we are kids again.

A few months ago, I read a Women’s Health Magazine article about Heather Morris and she said ate like a kid. She aimed to diet like she would feed her six or ten year old self.

Food for thought:
Would you constantly give a six year old food filled with chemicals? Would you starve them or eat at random, unpredictable times? Would you deny them the enjoyment of a few treats here and there? Would you give them all the sleep and vitamins they needed?

This sounds like a lovely way to live, with love, and care for ourselves and enjoyment for life. It’s going to be my new approach to how I eat, and treat myself; with love and joy! Of course I like a lot more foods and flavours now than I did when I was six, so I’ll be adding a little spice to that mix but still translating how that feels for me.

I would love to hear your thoughts about how you care for yourself with love, good food and fun exercise. It can be applied to exercise too; I jumped skip rope with my nieces yesterday and it was so much fun!

Also, if you have any topics you would like me to cover and rant about, suggestions and feedback are always welcome and appreciated!

Hug your six year old self for me, and have a great weekend in the sun!


What’s the best…

As a professional fitness mentor, one of the most popular questions I ever hear is: “What’s the best… (fill in the blank)”. The top of this list includes things like:  What’s the best exercise for abs, legs, cardio, toning, or what’s the best thing to eat for breakfast, snack, lunch, etc. Everyone seems to want to know what’s the best thing they can do for their health.

Although I think it can be a great question, I feel like I’m usually asked from a short-cut mentality. As in, if it’s the best, then I’ll just do that one thing and get all the results I want right?!? Ummmmmm, not so much. Sorry.

In the pursuit of health, I personally don’t think anything can be titled “the best”. There’s definitely a scale of better and worse, but even that will depend on multiple factors. Things like: your goals, your timeframe, where you’re starting from, your age, gender, etc. The thought of claiming anything as the best in a one-size-fits-all approach scares me.

The funny part however, is that so much of the fitness industry is based on this concept. There’s a million Ab-Rollers (see video), ellipticals, suspension systems, DVD workouts, iPhone Apps and specialty fitness classes out there that claim to be the best. I’d easily argue that most, if not all, will be able to get you some pretty sweet results too. However, in the long run it’s not going to remain effective. It’s not going to continue being the best.

One of my usual responses to “the best” question is to give a food example. Let’s say for a moment that brocoli is THE BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD. Even if it were true, do you think you’d do well if that was the only food you ever ate? Not a chance. Your body is more complex than that.

Even though there may not a best exercise or best food, I do still encourage you to aim for one “best” in particular. I encourage you to strive for being in the best shape of your life. As far as we know, we only get one life, and your body is the one thing that will be with you throughout the entire thing. Why not make it awesome?

What are some of the top things you’ve found to help you get success? What’s near “the best” on your lists?

Run, Jane, Run

The Jane Experiment continues…

Oh my Atlanta!


This week I received my first week of workouts to do from Chad and boy, oh boy did I learn a lot!

When I first read my workouts I immediately emailed Chad: “I don’t run.”

And its actually quite true, I don’t think I’ve gone for a run since track in High School! I’ve been choosing to do other cardio like dance, skipping, walking up hill, or jumping on a trampoline. Anything to avoid running.

For several reasons; I believe it’s hard on my old dance injuries, it’s boring, and I think its really frickin’ hard!

Well Chad, being the encouraging trainer he is, was like “Can you just try it, once?”

Oh fine.

So Wednesday evening I hit the treadmill, because I haven’t figured out a better way to track distance yet. Timing myself and measuring along the way!

The set I had to do might not be that hard for some people, you know for people who climb the Grouse Grind everyday for 30 days or run half marathons and beat their time by 9 minutes.  THOSE people would probably scoff at what little running put me into a tizzy!

I start, timing myself to run 1K. Well, while running my inner monologue goes rampant.

This was kind of along the lines of what my thought process was while running:
Ok, I can do this.
Envision the swimsuit.
Ow. Why Chad Why!
I wish I was doing Shavasana right now…
Breath, breath.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
Ok, doing to die, must slow down.
Why is the time going so slowly, its going to take forever to finish this 1K, ok speed up again.
It’s just a body feeling, its just a feeling.
Run, Jane, run! See Jane run!
Why is this taking so long?

Ahhh, rest…
And then repeat, continue and do it again, and again.

In the rest time I took notes on how my body was feeling. Paying attention and being in tune with my body is something I wish I made more time everyday.

As much as the running was hard, painful, sweaty and made my face turn as red as my hair, there was a strange sense of accomplishment to finishing it as well. As I walked the 4 minutes home from the gym, very slowly, I actually felt kind of jazzed and proud of myself. I almost felt that exhilarating high people try to tell me that they get from running. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to think of marathons, but I would like to run more. Learn about it. Shocking I know. And now that I’ve said that, I suppose I actually have to do it…

It’s inspiring to push through the pain and get to the good feeling part.

The one thing Chad hasn’t implemented yet is an eating plan so for the moment I’m documenting everything I eat, with pictures in Evernote food. I feel like a tourist. But knowing that I have to share these pictures and details with someone does make a slight impression on what I eat…

Thursday I did another workout from Chad. Squats and push-ups and crunches galore!

Lessons learned:
-Take a day off between workouts.
-My hip flexor and my massage ball are now best friends.
-Doing yoga moves in the shower is genius and I need to patent ‘Shower Yoga’ and share it with the world.
-I really like to be comfortable. And not feeling ‘comfortable’ can highly affect my energy, mood, and speed at which I operate. Interesting to notice.

I only managed to do 2/3 of the workouts thus far for this week, scheduling in time to sweat is even part of the obstacle.

But I’m taking each day as it comes, trying to challenge myself but also care for myself. Feel compassion for my body and what it can do. Because scolding it for not being in better shape is like yelling at a 2 year old for not knowing how to drive. And I just realized I’ve been doing that for the better part of my 24 years of life. Not so nice.

I hope it gets to be a little less painful, but just difficult enough to keep me on my toes! In the meantime I will be having lots of hot baths. Bath Yoga… humm the possibilities…

Be inspired!



The Challenge: a coach’s view

If you haven’t already seen it, last week Jane posted her first article on this blog. It will be a weekly chronicle of her experience of working with me and persuing her fitness goals. We originally got together to discuss an exchange of her helping me with my social media and me helping her with her fitness goals. During the meeting, I challenged her to an idea, if she was willing, to have her share her experience with the world!

From my standpoint of being an ‘Online Fitness Mentor’ it’s really tough at times to explain how my process works to prospective clients. It’s a pretty new concept to most people and one that many haven’t yet experienced. I figure this experiment will give some people the opportunity to experience online coaching vicariously through Jane.

Full disclosure: Yes, Jane is working for me and helping me with social media and reaching out to the world. I found that I just didn’t have time to be consistent with it, and needed to hire someone for help. However, for this challenge, she has been given full freedom to write whatever she wants in her posts. It will not be edited in any way because I want people to see the entire process through her eyes.

Is it going to be tough for her? Definitely. Is she going to want to quit? Most likely. Will she have good days and bad days? Days with huge progress and days with minor set backs? I can guarantee it. Will she also get support through the whole thing? 100%

My job as her coach is to see when she’s struggling and help her through that. Being online, I will help her find her own strength, and not just pull her along for the ride. I’ll try and expand my view of ‘dragging services’ in a later post.

I’m very excited for this process. I’m confident that jane will be able to express an honesty that not everyone can. I know that I’m looking forward to her post each week and really hope you are too!

The ‘Fitness Challenge’ and the challenging of getting to know myself.

I done it. I’ve started, it’s happening. I’m actually about to work on a health/fitness challenge with a Coach? Seriously?

It all started with a Questionnaire….

Well, actually it started with a conversation about Twitter, and it turned into my good friend Chad, of Anthrophysique, explaining to me about his company and his training process. And then we started to chat about me, my issues, and my goals. And it was clear from there: I’m a fascinating mess!

I’m a person who has tried many ways, methods or styles of working out, several fad diets and who loves a good juice cleanse. So it’s quite natural that my relationship with my body and food is rather convoluted.

I began explaining to Chad that I wanted to feel healthy, be loving towards my body, and be kind in the way I treated it. I would also like to be less concerned about what I ‘perceive’ people think of me. And to know, understand, and embrace my body.

So much of ‘me’ seems wrapped up in “If I lost 10lbs I’d be happy!” “If only I was that thin!” or “if that skirt just fit, everything would work out!”

Logically I know this isn’t true, but I still FEEL it sometimes.

Chad suggested I work with him, as client and a bit of ‘test subject’ I would measure, track results, be open to feedback and share my vulnerability to the world via guest blogging.

First thought: Sounds fun! 2nd thoughts: How much vulnerability? When you say measure you mean like just looking in the mirror every now and then, right? 

Wrong! Hard core, detailed measurement. Apparently this is how you can see growth and change or something… blah. 

So in order to see where I am, and therefore build where I want to go, I had to take pictures… in a swim suit! Something I pretty much avoid unless I’ve been on a 10 day liquid diet and then, only in flattering light. So my brain went: AHHHHHH! 

Then came the measurements; just some things I totally prefer not to look at, and to ignore, most of the time. Way safer and more comfortable right? Gulp. 

Even more ‘stuff’ came up with the Questionnaire…..

I’m mentioning it because honestly it was bloody scary to ask myself some of these questions. (I‘m an expert at ignoring uncomfortable feelings, and pretending to be happy about it, and then eating.) 

Questions such as “Describe the ‘current you’? Umm, kinda freaking out! Umm me? I’m fine! Like not thin as I’d like to be, but ya, fine. I mean I guess it would be nice to be fitter, or something right? …. 

OK Honestly? Slow, groggy, frumpy, nervous about my body and the way I look, flab where I want ab, rolls where I don’t want them, kinda weak-ish, stiff joints. Oh, and I have weird, hateful, and confusing relationships with food.

Now when it gets to questions like “Describe the ‘perfect you” and “How will your life be different?” I’m all over that! Imagining myself in cute bikinis, slinky dresses and maybe even a boudoir photo shoot! I visualize the body I used to have when I was a dancer and didn’t have a love/hate relationship with Ruffles Potato Chips.

I also really want to inspire people to be healthy, and to not feel like they have to hate it. I mean I’d like to learn that, wouldn’t you? But in my head I’m going… is this possible? What if I want to eat Nachos at The Foundation, or Frozen Yogurt? 

I really just want to feel excited about my health, not treat it like it’s a chore.

Motivation also comes up. If you’re like me and you grew up reading Vogue, that is some golden material, or the fact that it’s the middle of June and it is rumoured that we may have a bikini season in Vancouver, eventually.

Or possibly, its warm (ish) out and wearing black to ‘look thin’ is becoming not so fun.

For me it is all of the above; the value of beauty and clothing, enjoying one’s self etc. But also health and my relationship with ME. I’m the one person I’m going to spend my life with, and I want work on loving, and getting to know me.

Which, for those of you know me, know that I already work on a lot, either in Acting class or with books, workshops etc. But at the moment, when I look in the mirror; I still butt heads with myself. I become this judgemental, non-loving person who I don’t want to be.

Compassion for others, I believe, must come from compassion for ones’ self.

I want to learn how to take care of myself with compassion and have a body that I’m proud of: consistently.

I’m sick of Yo-yo ing and as I said to Chad, there has to be a better way!

Then came the goal setting, like baby steps and plans for the next year, 6, 3, and 1 months. It gives you a nice road map to dream of! And also a presence in the back of your mind when you want to veg out with nothing along the lines of a vegetable in sight.

Those little goals are a check in point, a point of accountability. A little hand holding, a little pushing. And that’s exactly what I need, to take the right steps forward.

So, to challenge myself to do what I say I want, I’m going to be sharing my journey with all of you. Asking for your feedback, and bringing in results each week will be my way of being accountable to you and myself. I will also be sharing what is really going on with me as I try to make change; what’s holding me back, or guiding me forward. Because as much as I know I want to lose 20-25lbs, I also want to become friends with myself and my body and there is an emotional journey that I’m embarking on too.

It may be fitness challenge, but it’s a love building challenge too.

I hope you’ll join me, set your own fitness challenges, join the one by Chad on  Evernote, or just laugh while I try to do push ups.

Looking forward to the blood, sweat and tears as I face all my fears!

More to come, every Friday!


2nd Evernote Fitness Challenge

On Monday, Evernote announced our 2nd Fitness Challenge. These challenges are a 30 day effort to focus on a Fitness and or Nutritional Challenge. It is meant to be fairly basic so that the majority of people can participate. The basic details are:

For this challenge, you’ll have the option of choosing one or both of the challenges below:

Get outside for at least 15 minutes per day. You have to spend these 15+ minutes doing something active — smoke breaks and sun bathing at the beach don’t count. You have lots of options: walk, jog, ride your bike, play a pickup game with friends at the park.
Eat only vegetables for carbs. To get that leaner body, you’ll want to reduce your carb calories. For the next 30 days, you’ll cut out processed grains and fruits. Got questions? Find Chad on the Facebook event page, our Lifestyle forum, and on Twitter.

Check out the Evernote Blog for even more fun details and join us in this challenge! Also, join us at the end of the 30 days for our Twitter party. Let everyone know you’ll be participating by tweeting:

I’m participating in the @anthrophysique + @evernotelife Fitness Challenge and Twitter party on Tues, July 24th. Join us! #evernotelife

Working with Physio

I’ve been training people for many years now and I’ve dealt with a lot of injury rehabilitation. Working in partnership with Physiotherapists is common when it comes to injuries and the two together can be very beneficial. I currently have a client in this boat trying to fix an old injury. She is doing her training with me but also seeing a physiotherapist a couple of days a month.

If you’ve ever been in this situation, it’s important to make sure your trainer and physio communicate so they can work together. In a very general sense, trainers will work on the bigger muscles and larger movement patterns while physio’s will work on the smaller muscles and movements. Yes, it’s all in the same body, but if you don’t get the two working together, they can actually cause more harm than good.

Constantly working larger movement patterns without concern for the finner ones can lead to further problems and compensation. Instead of fixing the issue, you end up just working around it or building over it. It’s the short cut way to dealing with injuries and never works out in the end. Communication between the physiotherapist and trainer is the key to a successful recovery.

Working together allows everyone to be on the same page and have the sessions compliment rather than oppose each other. It also allows you to fix the problem and build up new strength at the same time. Bottom line, if you’re in a rehabilitation phase, make sure your trainer is working with your Physio to optimize your success.

I can’t help the extremes

I was having a great meeting with a company the other day and a question came up about how I help certain individuals. They recognized that there was a limitation to online coaching and that it doesn’t provide enough motivation that some people need. Some people need a trainer with them while they work out to really push them to work hard. This is very true, but it leads to what I call a dependancy relationship.

Beyond the relationship that personal training creates with most of it’s clients, there are certain people in this world that I just can’t help. They are the extremes, and they’ll be in any industry. The key is to recognize them, and not waste your efforts on thinking you can help them. Also, the good news is that they usually know for themselves if they are an extreme case. This can actually be a great quality to have, because then you know who you are and who you’re not.

On one end of the fitness spectrum is the fully dedicated. This is the person that gets up at 5 or 6am every day and does something active. They’ll go to a gym, yoga, personal training, crossfit, the pool or a run. It doesn’t really matter what they do, but they’re gonna do something. Even if their workout partner or trainer doesn’t show up, they’ll just do some push ups on a park bench or go for a run. Rain or shine, nothing stops this extremem case!

The other end of the spectrum is the fully content. This is the person that is totally cool with their body, their health, their activity level and the fact that they aren’t interested in doing much about it. They love life, eat what they wan’t, and just don’t like any type of exercise. It just doesn’t make a difference to them one way or another. They may try a class here or there or even hire a trainer, but in the long run, it’s just not something they’re interested in.

The reality is, these people are what they are and they will continue to be that way no matter what. As mentioned above, they may hire a trainer here and there, and in those cases I can help them short-term, but I’m not going to put efforts into chasing them down and showing them ‘the way’. When it comes to the extremes, I just can’t help.

Do you know where you are an extreme? What areas of your life are you 100% rain or shine and what areas are you just not interested?

How do you log results?

Measurement and logging is sometimes a tricky thing with my clients. The first question is always “What do I measure?”. This is followed by others: How do I measure it, How often do I measure, and How do I actually log it?

This last question is what I want to look at today. How do you log your measurements and/or what tools do you use? Some people like spreadsheets and make charts, others have piles and piles of tiny scraps of paper, and some create journals. You can get journals from book stores, creating your own or order custom ones like Sports Journals.

Being an online company, I like to stay digital and paperless as often as possible. I utilize Evernote to share programs with my clients and they can log their results right in the shared note. It keeps everything in one place and can be easily referenced through the search feature.

However, I’m always looking for new tools and options. I wanted to send it out to the world and see what types of tools you use to log your activity and workouts. Are you paper or paperless? Is it computer based on mobile based? What is the main reason you use what you do? I’d love to hear your feedback so please share in the comments.

Nutritional Inflammation

I read a great article the other day written by a heart surgeon about chronic inflammation in our bodies. Dr. Lundell states that chronic inflammation comes from “the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.”

It appears that the low fat diet we’ve been pushed all these years is actually harming us rather than helping us.

What I like most in the article is his descriptive terms for visualizing the damage created by inflammatory foods. He writes “Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding and you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury.” This is what these foods do inside our body.

I always try and inform my clients that it’s not only the ‘fattening’ effect of food that matters, but that many of the foods we eat are physically damaging to the lining of our digestive track. This leads to inflammation in our body and eventually autoimmune diseases if we continue to consume these damaging foods. However, sometimes we need to hear it from our doctor before we do anything, so here is what Dr. Lundell suggests:

“What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.”

What’s your experience with nutritional inflammation? Post thoughts in comments.


Fitbit trial update

In my original post about my Fitbit trial I had intended to have an update well before this time. As I often say to my clients, sometimes “life just happens” and a couple weeks turns into a couple months. It seems easy at times to get off track and distracted by other things but real success comes from getting back on track as soon as you can. Here I am!

The good news about 3 months of data is that I have a bigger picture view of my use of the Fitbit. In the first few weeks I started off strong and had the Fitbit with me everywhere I went. It came to work, play and sleep and logged everything along the way. I synced it to the web interface and enjoyed checking the results. I even linked my account with some friends and got to see their progress compared to mine. It peaked a desire to compete with them and made it pretty fun. Other motivation came from the emails announcing my achievements!

However, I did experience a downturn in that motivation. I forgot it in my jeans a couple times, missed some sleep logs and had a couple freak outs thinking I had washed it. Thankfully I didn’t, but missing some of the data allowed me to lose a little interest. That might just be my behaviour, but a couple friends reported similar findings. The initial excitement also wore down for them a little but they still continued to use the Fitbit fairly regularily.

The main downside for me was in relation to my goals. I personally wanted to gain 10 pounds and it seemed like the Fitbit had a challenge figuring that out. When I would update my weight every other day or so, it couldn’t compute how far I was from my goal. It just kept updating my starting weight and leaving 100% to my goal. I’m not sure if that actually de-motivated me or if it was just annoying for me.

The positive towards my goal was that I didn’t want to take too many steps per day. I am a very active person and 10,000+ steps per day is very easy for me to achieve. It’s also what keeps my metabolism high and difficult for me to gain weight. By knowing how far I was going each day, I used that information to be more efficient in my work and actually decrease steps per day. I didn’t just start sitting on the couch all day, I just re-assessed how I move all day. The weight I want to gain is lean muscle mass, not just body weight. If that were the case I could just sit around all day and eat more junk. Sorry, not going to happen!

My overall view is that I actually quite like this little device. It’s size makes it easily portable because you forget it’s with you. (It also creates scares of washing machine deaths though). It logs a good amount of data for activity and the online program also allows you to track food and calories. It can also log your sleep activity which is definitely my favorite feature. For the average person, I think it can be a great tool to keep you aware of your activity and remind you to be ative when you’re not.

I’d love to hear what you’ve experience if you have a Fitbit or similar device. Please post feedback in comments.