Tuesday, December 31, 2013

See Ya Later 2013! I'm Bringing Back "Food For Thought"!

Hey lovey,

New Years Eve is here! For many this means a start of a new beginning, but I think it's always fun to look back at the year and reflect on the achievements we've had and should be proud of! Everyone is always focused on what they want to change for the next year, and I think we need to stop and pause and be happy for everything we did this past year!

I took a moment and thought back over the last year, and I've done a heck of a lot more than I thought I did!

1. I got accepted into the George Brown College Marketing program!
2. I quit my full time job to go back to school.
3. I had my breast augmentation surgery that I'd been contemplating for the past 2 years.
4. I made some seriously amazing friends that I would now consider a few of my bests.
5. I got invited to and attended some seriously awesome blog events which allowed me to network and really grow my blog audience!
6. I got rid of a lot of stress in my life when I quit my job and have recently been really taking a lot better care of myself (better late than never, right?).
7. I discovered my own personal sense of style... one that reflects everything about me, and not what others think I should be/wear/whatever...
8. I've stopped caring what others think. I've realized that the more in love with your decisions you are, the less it matters what others think of them.
9. I've been less judgemental of people and peoples decisions.
10. I've been HAPPY! For the most part... some things in my life didn't make me happy but I changed what they were knowing that life is too short to be unhappy. :D

HOLY! I think that's a big list, and 2013 was an AWESOME year!! I can only hope 2014 is as good as 2013 and I know it will be! School is starting next Monday, I'm going to make a ton of new friends, I'm going to (eventually) start a new job, I'm going to continue this crazy training I'm doing and eating so healthy and just really focus all my attention on school and being the best in my class!

I want you to tell me what you consider as your biggest accomplishment of 2013 and why it's important to you! I love celebrating everything, and there is no small accomplishment - so let's here it!!

I'm excited to have some friends over tonight to pop some champagne with and play poker to bring in the new year! I'm really excited to get some good photos of everything, that's something on my 2014 list - take better photos! I've been practicing so far, and I think I'm getting better than I was for sure!

Yesterday I had my last training session of the week. It was hamstring and pull day so it gave my quads a much needed rest. At the end of the session we had some time left so Deanna had us (myself and another girl) pull Deanna while she was sitting on weight plates. I couldn't resist taking a photo of this crazy woman and the things she makes us do.

I had no idea I had back muscles until I saw this photo - nice! My goal is to workout twice between now and when I see Deanna again on Saturday... I'll be doing interval training so that should be nice and deadly. My nutrition program has been going well. I love that I'm eating so often, I never get hungry and I'm eating so much food that I love that I don't feel like it's much different than what I would normally eat anyways. It's more like I'm now weighing everything and making sure I get the exact amounts of everything I'm supposed to! Check out my breakfast this morning...

I cooked up some chicken breast in EVOO and used parsley, sea salt, paprika and turmeric on it... DELISH! I ate it with blueberries and almonds, I won't bore you with the boring details of how much I had... you can see here. This is on a small plate, so that can kind of put it in perspective for you. Do you cook with turmeric at all? It's one of my favourite spices and as it so happens, it's also one of the healthiest spices to cook with! Want to know why? How about we bring back the little series Food For Thought!

Food For Thought - Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice that has been used for thousands of years throughout China and India. It's used in a lot of mustards and curries because of the bright yellow colour, and comes with an abundance of healing properties! Curcumin is the active healing ingredient found in turmeric and is also the compound that gives turmeric it's yellow colour.

Antioxidant Properties

When consumed on a regular basis, turmeric can help prevent free radical damage associated with premature aging (YEAH! Youth!), heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative diseases. India has a fraction of the amount of people with Alzheimer's disease than America and is thought that the turmeric found in Indian dishes is responsible for the low incidence of Alzheimer's in India.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The active ingredient curcumin has been found to be as effective as prescription or over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Many sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis have found relief after adding turmeric to their diets.

Livery Detoxifier
Turmeric has been found in studies to help protect the liver from damage from alcohol and other toxic substances.

Natural Blood Thinner
Turmeric can help keep blood platelets from sticking to each other! That, in turn, helps prevent blood clots, heart attacks and strokes!

Digestive Aid
Turmeric increases bile production in the stomach which helps with fat digestion!

All in all turmeric is a delicious, healthy as hell spice that you should be including in your cooking on a regular basis. The only people who should avoid using large amounts of turmeric are people with bile obstructions and gallstones. Also, people who have a blood clotting problem or are on blood thinners should definitely talk with their doctor before incorporating turmeric on a regular basis.

What's your favourite spice to cook with??



Monday, December 30, 2013

Do You Like Post-Workout Massage?

Hey loveys,

So as most of you know, I've started the 12 week training program with Optimal Body Fitness and my trainer Deanna. This time of year has been a bit nutso in terms of getting a consistent schedule for training. With Christmas, and going back home, and then New Years it's been a bit crazy. So because I just got back to see Deanna on Friday, and I can't see her Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday of this week, we decided that doing 3 sessions back to back was a good idea.

My quads really don't think it's a good idea.

I've always laughed when I saw this photo because it's pretty hilarious, but it's exactly my entire life right now. Some things I've learned in the past 2 days:

- Split squats are not my friend.
- Split squats holding extra weight are definitely not my friend.
- Pushing heavy weight across the length of an entire gym is not "fun times".
- I need shoes with better grip.

I'm going back to see Deanna this afternoon and I'm not totally sure how I'm going to survive. Hopefully it's a little less quads and a little more... anything else. After yesterdays session my legs actually felt a lot better, however when I got home and stopped moving they became a lot more sore. Deanna told me my homework was foam rolling my quads for at least 10 minutes last night. I attempted to foam roll, I really did, but I just couldn't do it properly because it hurt so much. Then I had a "brilliant" idea.

Get C to massage the crap out of my quads. 
My face the whole time

And by "massage" I really mean "rip my quads apart and release all the built up lactic acid". I laid on the bed and he got some cream and away he went. I had a pillow over my head the whole time because the pain was so unreal. I could feel bumps in my muscles (knots) and it was just so sore no matter the amount of pressure he applied. I put my iPod in my ears and started singing loudly. C eventually told me I had 5 more massages and for every time I said "ouch" it would drop by 1. For anytime I didn't say anything he would continue.

Needless to say it didn't take him long to finish because I kept saying ouch, but I did manage to keep a few painful massages to myself. My legs feel a little better today but I wanted to look up and share with you why having someone massage sore muscles after training is good for you!...

- increases circulation in the muscles allowing them to flush out lactic acid and repair more efficiently.
- gets more oxygen to the muscles via the blood which allows them to heal and move faster.
- helps stretch the muscle in ways we are unable to do by typical stretching.
- if you've had an injury, it helps break down scar tissue.
- can help provide not only physical benefits, but can also help relax you as well!

Deep tissue massage can cause the muscles to be sore for a day or two after the massage, which kind of feels like you would after a really hard workout. Needless to say, it is a great thing to do if your muscles are sore, even if it is REALLY painful for the time being. :)

I'm off to do some food prep and then get my butt to see Deanna for the last time this week - YA DAYS OFF! :)

Are you a big fan of post-workout massage? Or do you love foam rolling? I feel that's a love/hate type thing...


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting Back To It Is... Well.... Hard.

Hey loveys!

Sorry I've been MIA for a little while, with Christmas and coming back to Toronto and all that, I didn't get anytime to squeeze in a blog post!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I sure did. Want to see some fun pictures from our big family Christmas dinner?

The bird!

C and I
Aunt Janis cooking!
My sister Brooke
Cousins Tim & Amber
Little cousin Ella & my Mom
Me & Ella
Cousins Jenna & Jeremy with Jenna's Grandma Dot
Sisters Ella & Ava
All the gluten free desserts Aunt Janis made
Ava & I
Ella & C
Fun, right? Did any of you get any cool Fit Gear? My mom got us the coolest little fit gadgets called FitBit! Have you ever heard of it?? It's a bracelet that basically tracks everything... see?

There's a little tracking chip thing that you can put in your computer that links via Bluetooth to your wrist band, and then you can download the app on your phone which also links via Bluetooth to your wrist band. It tracks the number of steps you take in a day, the water you drink (you input that in yourself), your sleep patterns, active minutes throughout the day, the miles you travel... it's so neat!

Those are today's stats so far! Not bad, including my PT session with my trainer! This is what the sleep patterns look like...

I think I've discovered why I'm always so tired! I'm the most restless sleeper EVER! I was more restless during the night than actually sleeping... ugh! C's sleep patters are basically all sleeping.. must be nice. I had a personal training session today with Deanna and I told her about it.. she said that when I'm on my nutrition program and my supplement program it should really change and I will begin sleeping a lot better. I am definitely looking forward to those changes.

Speaking of personal training... today was BRUTALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got my butt kicked SO HARD!! I haven't seen Deanna since last Friday (so 8 days ago) and today she completely destroyed me. All in a good way of course. This is why I'm glad I worked out over the holidays - could you imagine how it would have been coming back today and not having worked out AT ALL over Christmas??? I would have been in a coma at the end of the workout! We are trying to stretch out my hip flexors to prepare me for squatting, and it's so hard. After being a runner for so long my hip flexors have gotten really tight.... Split Squats are what we are using to help stretch them, and it's also really making me hate split squats with a passion!

I also got my nutrition plan today and I just read over it - I'm so excited!! I get to eat every 2-3 hours.. and for those who know me, and know how much I like to eat, can understand how great this is for me! It does mean that I have to somehow muster up the energy to make a trip to the grocery store today, but that's ok... for food, I'll basically do anything.

Anyways - I'm going to wrap this up so I can have a lay down after this insane workout, but here's what I did learn today. It's so not worth taking time off an exercise program. Seriously. I have to go in to see Deanna 3 days in a row, and I really don't know how I'm going to do it lol. Deanna says it was hard today because I had a week without seeing her. This is so true... so if you're on a hard core exercise program right now - just stick with it... don't take time off. I promise it will hurt less. :)

PS - Today is C's birthday!! Wish him a happy birthday in the comments below and I'll show him all of your love! :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{I Workout} T'was The Night Before Christmas Tabata Workout

Happy Holidays Lovey!

I didn't sleep well last night and I think it was because I wasn't in my own bed (I was awake for about 3 hours in the middle of the night)... but anyways all day I've been pretty lethargic and lacking in energy. My goal over the holidays is to stick to my workout schedule and try to make the healthiest choices possible when it comes to what I'm eating and drinking. Today the Wingham gym wasn't open past 1pm and by the time I mustered up the energy to actually exercise, it was about 1pm.. boo.

Not to fret! I'm staying at my Aunt and Uncles house (they go to Vegas over Christmas) and they happen to have a home gym. SCORE.

By no means is it crazy or extensive, but there's enough stuff there to have a seriously good workout. I didn't feel like going on the treadmill or doing some spinning, so I came up with a tabata workout that I could do multiple times to get a nice sweat going. If you don't know what "tabata" is, it's a type of interval training where you're doing work for 20 seconds, and resting for 10 seconds and you do it a total of 8 times which puts you at the 4 minute mark.

I came up with this workout and designed it so that you complete it 5 times, making it 20 minutes in length. I downloaded a tabata timer on my phone (it whistles at you every time you stop and start!) and laced up, walked downstairs and got my sweat on. Oh - I made a pretty sweet playlist on my laptop and brought that with me too. And water. Always water.

T'was The Night Before Christmas Tabata Workout! If you don't have any fitness equipment at home, you can use a stair for the tricep dips and you can use some heavier cans or basically anything you can bicep curl for the bicep curls! Easy peasy!

I will admit, by round 3 I opted for alternating lunges as opposed to jumping lunges, and the hip raises were getting REALLY hard by the end of the 5 rounds. The Tuck Jumps were also brutal and I always feel stupid doing them, so I'm glad no one was around to see that! Lol... I also added a 30 second plank at the end of each round to engage the core and really target the whole body. The workout in total took me about 25-27 minutes including my water breaks and music changes. Not bad! I was really sweaty by the end. I also almost gave up after 4 rounds... but nobody likes a quitter, right?

If you look closely at that photo, you can see the sweat on my forehead and a drip at the very end of my nose. I wasn't lying when I said it was a hard one! :) My hair also is insane, so don't judge me lol.

Alright, I'm off to drink my protein shake and head over to my parents house. I think I need a shot of espresso... le sigh.

If you have 30 minutes today - try this workout out and see how great it feels! :)

Ps - SANTA COMES TONIGHT! So Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas, or Feliz Navidad, or whatever it is you celebrate, HAVE A GREAT NIGHT! And if I don't talk to you, a great day tomorrow!! xoxo

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tis The Season.. For Christmas Parties!

Hey loveys,

On Saturday night I went to my first Christmas party of the season. Our friends Wade and Karolina had a bunch of us friends to their house for a full on Christmas Dinner. If you read my DIY post on my other blog, Karolina is the one I made the infused salt for!

Anyways, the night started out fine, my friend Jen came over and we had a glass of red wine before heading over (with C of course) to Wade and Karolina's. The only downfall was that it was raining and crappy outside and it was super hard to get a cab, which made us about an hour late for the shindig. Not to fret, we still managed to get some turkey and I had some fruit to go with it. Random, I know, but I'm supposed to avoid gluten and the only sides left were stuffing made with bread and a vegan salad with pasta in it. So fruit it was.

The party was so fun. I love getting together with friends, and C and I brought our SLR camera so we could take some fun shots of the night. There were a lot of photos taken and most of them not so good, but I managed to come across some that were awesome so I'm going to show you how much fun we had!

Kissy. Had my lips done - Juvaderm & Glitter ;)
Under the Mistletoe!

An attempt at a group candid shot
Overall it was a really fun night and I got to chat with some people I didn't know very well and made some new friends which is always nice!

Yesterday C and I made our way up to my hometown of Wingham, ON for CHRISTMAS! Yay! I love coming home for Christmas, it makes me happy and this year we're home a couple days earlier than normal so that's super nice! We didn't get here till later yesterday but it was still fun to hang out with my fam jam for a while. C and I are staying in my Aunts and Uncles house which is about a 3 minute walk from my parents house because my Aunt and Uncle to go Vegas every year for Christmas, so we move in temporarily! :)

I'm trying really hard to make healthy decisions this holiday season, mostly because I don't want Deanna killing me in the gym on Friday... last night on the way to Wingham we had to stop at Popeyes because their chicken is always a big hit in Wingham. Everybody ate that for dinner and my mom (very kindly) went and bought me a whole chicken from the grocery store...

I was temporarily sad that I wasn't able to have the biscuits and chicken but when I wasn't bloated (like what normally happens when I eat fast food) I was pretty thankful. I know a lot of people kind of give themselves a "get out of jail free card" when it comes to being unhealthy over the holidays, but I think it's better to be strong and keep up with your healthy habits so you don't lose it all completely. When I had to take a month off of working out it's been SO HARD getting back into it... it's just easier to keep doing what you're doing than have to recreate the habit all over again - don't you think?

Speaking of which - I have to go get ready and help my mom do some errands and then hit the gym with my sister! Today is leg day, so the goal is not being able to walk tomorrow. OH! And my Aunt and Uncle have a treadmill, spin bike and weights so Christmas morning might involve a little spinning before we head over for the presents. Might as well, right? :)

How are you staying healthy over the holidays?

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Can See Biceps!

Hey loveys,

I sit here writing from my couch sipping a peppermint tea, thanking GOD I'm no longer outside in the crappy weather that is happening in Toronto right now. It's raining... bleh. But it's taking away all of the snow I suppose - there's always a silver lining.

Today marks my 1-week mark since starting with Optimal Body Fitness and my personal trainer Deanna. I have actually noticed some changes happening in my body already... When hoping in the shower this morning I noticed my tummy didn't really stick out AS MUCH as it used to (it still does a little bit). I also noticed that my bum is quickly rising and isn't folding over my leg as much.. and I noticed that my biceps are growing.

When I was at the studio right before training, I shamelessly took a picture in the mirror of my bicep so I could compare it to prior photos. I'm going to share this with you, so don't laugh. There is full disclosure in this blog so ..... here it is.

Yes, my face is funny.. it's just a natural reaction to me flexing my arm like that. Lol. But yay! You can see a bicep there! Jon, the founder of Optimal Body Fitness actually mentioned that he can already tell my back is a lot more toned and it's getting leaner than it was when I started. I can't take a photo of my back, so you guys will just have to trust me on that one.

To be 100% honest with you - this past week has been HARD. I've never had a personal trainer tracking my progress before, and holding me accountable to making the most healthy decisions possible. However, with that being said, I know that if it's not hard, then it's not working. I've been sore since last Friday. My foam roller is turning into my new bestie (I think I'm going to have to take it home over Christmas) and I'm drinking way more water than I ever have in my life. I've been learning so much about diet and nutritional timing. I mentioned mixing spinach with my Sun Warrior Raw Vanilla Protein and it turns out that you shouldn't eat fibre after a workout. You want the protein to go directly to the muscles after a workout and fibre actually slows down the digestion of the protein which causes it to get to your muscles slower.

I KNOW - mind blown. I had no idea. So instead of spinach after my workout, I had a protein shake and sweet potato. BOOM!

Chopin Vodka is made with
potatoes! Opt for it over a vodka
made from wheat.
Another big reason I have a massive girl crush on my trainer is because she understands that it's the holiday season so sometimes we won't make the best choices. I mentioned that I have a Christmas party to attend tomorrow night so I asked in a very innocent manner "Sooo..... if I were to have a couple, you know, adult beverages... which would be my best option?". Her response initially was WATER! Haha, but I told her how I'm a big fan of Vodka/Soda. She educated me that most vodka is made from wheat which means it has gluten in it. She said it would be best if I could buy vodka made from potatoes so I can at least avoid the gluten that way. She said a dark red wine like Pinot Noir would be best. She also said if I'm drinking I have to be really conscious about making REALLY good food choices after the fact.

Well shit. I suck at that.

So I'm going to have to have food prepared for me for when my night is over tomorrow. It's all about planning I'm coming to realize! I'm kind of nervous to go home at Christmas because there is going to be A LOT of temptation but I'm going to be as strong as I can be... and I'll message Deanna whenever I want something I'm not supposed to have. Turns out the threat of burpees is super influential when it comes to putting bad things in your body or not.

I know a lot of you tend to relax and take it easy over the holidays and I totally agree with you, however try not to let yourself fall completely off the bandwagon over the holidays. Try and squeeze in workouts when you can and try to make the healthier food choice, remember to drink tons of water and herbal teas and try to limit the alcohol consumption. The holidays are definitely a time to relax, but don't lose everything you've worked hard for this year in 1 week of holidays!

How do you plan to stay on track over the holiday season?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Years Resolutions.. already?

Hey loveys,

First off, horrible news. Last night I watched up until the end of Breaking Bad that is on Netflix. Turns out it's not the end of the series which is bush league. I ended off at the part where DEA Brother finds out that Walter White is actually "WW" which links him to the big scandal. You know what I mean, right? I'm probably the last person in the world to be catching up on Breaking Bad. Oh well. Since I can't watch any more of it right now, I started watching "Revenge". I think I like this show better than Breaking Bad already. It has me wheeled in by episode 3 where I wasn't totally into Breaking Bad until Season 3. Anyways....

See, my badass foam roller
beside the couch ready to be used.
Alright. So here's an update on my 12 week program. I've had 2 work outs already and I have another one tonight, and my god I feel like I'm already ripped. Mostly because my body is in a constant state of "sore". Last night it was to the point where I had to get C to massage my hamstrings because I couldn't extend my legs without it hurting. When he started rubbing them it hurt SO BAD... I told him he needed to do it hard so that it would break down the lactic acid. Eventually by the end my legs felt WAY better, but this morning they were still super tight so I had to take an extra long, extra hot shower and stretch them out while I was in there... I'll probably try and get in a few more stretches before  I head off to get torn apart again this afternoon lol.

Today I actually have to go in early and get this thing called a Bio Signature Reading done, which means basically Jon is going to pinch me in a bunch of places and find out stuff about my hormones and it's going to tell him how to design my nutrition program for me specifically. I'm actually kind of excited about the nutrition plan (not the pinching) because normally when I have a plan I'm really good at sticking to it. I will admit that I'm kind of nervous that Christmas is so soon and there's going to be A LOT of temptations and alcohol available over the holidays. I'm going to have to ask him what's acceptable to drink... maybe Pinot Noir? Will it be a red wine kind of Christmas? What if I stick to my nutrition plan PERFECTLY and then maybe have some extra wine? Is that ok? These are all things I need to remember to ask today.

Speaking of it being almost Christmas.. well 1. I still have a couple things to get and that's annoying.. and 2. I'm starting to think of the wonderful New Years Resolutions that I want to set for myself!! Some of them are pretty easy to target, and some not so much. I am a planning type and if I don't plan out what I want the resolutions to be, I'll never do it. Failing to plan is like planning to fail, right? So why not get a start on what you'd like to do in the new year with me? Here are some that I've come up with already...

Woohoo! Now you know what I've thought of so far. I'd love if you could tell me any New Years Resolutions that you may have already in the comments below! :)

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Rantings - Snow, Personal Training, Memory Ball Gift!

Hey loveys,

Holy heck there is actually snow on the ground here in Toronto. This morning it seems to have stopped, but this is what it looks like from my balcony..

Le sigh. This is much better than yesterday. I had to go out to a Marketing Meeting for Memory Ball and go get my monthly Miracle 10 Peel Treatment so I had to literally truck through the snow and it was windy as all hell and snowing all at the same time. The roads and highways had tons of accidents, so I decided to take the subway, and then found out the subway wasn't running for a stretch that I needed to take so I had to take the subway the wrong way and then, well, it was just kind of a cluster. But I finally made it home around 4, and hibernated ALL NIGHT with C, ie. Had a nap, C made dinner, I wrapped a present for a Secret Santa with my cousins today and we watched a movie on the couch! This is the present I wrapped (if you haven't seen it already, I'm going with this "them" for my Christmas wrapping this year - what do you think?)

On Friday night I had my first personal training session with my trainer at Optimal Body Fitness. Deanna is the name of my trainer and man she is INTENSE. I absolutely am totally in love with her though. She's been where I am currently and has totally transformed the way she looks. By no means was she out of shape when she started with Optimal Body Fitness, but she ended up competing in a fitness competition! I don't think that's quite my goal, but I know my body is going to look a million times better once I'm done this 12 week program.

A big huge part of the program is nutrition. I don't have my nutrition plan yet because I have to meet with the owner of the company, Jon, and he's going to do skin folds on me to find out how my hormones are doing and he's going to cater my nutrition plan around that. Something I really like about the way he caters his nutrition plans is that he doesn't want to not allow someone to have something they like, so we can talk wine for example. He said "I don't want to tell you to not have wine, but maybe you can start drinking a Pinot Noir because the health benefits of that wine are x-times greater than drinking the red zinfandel you're drinking now." PERFECT. I'll compromise to that.

I took before photos but I'm going to wait until I have after photos to show you how I actually look lol. I met with Deanna on Friday night and I'm like so sore today. Jon was laughing because he knew I was going to be sore and Deanna was like "YEAH! YOU DESERVE TO BE THAT SORE! YOU WORKED SO HARD!" Hahaha. We did back and bum/hamstrings and I can feel it all over my whole body still today. I see her again tomorrow so hopefully the pain has subsided by then! I'll keep you updated on my progress and maybe eventually I'll post progress photos so you can see how I'm doing! :)

After my workout I got a protein shake from the studio I was working out at and they put glutamine in it and gave it to me to go in a lovely mason jar. After I got home obviously I put it in a wine glass... however it was like not good tasting at all so I hoped that putting it in a wine glass would make it taste better but it didn't. This is what it looked like...

Bleh. But apparently it helps my recovery, so I knocked it back quickly and drank water the rest of the night. Wheeew crazy Friday night!!! :)

On another fine note, are you looking for a last minute Christmas gift? If you live in Toronto or the GTA, you might want to consider purchasing a Memory Ball ticket for a loved one for a gift!

It's an awesome idea, and it's going to be an epic event this year! You don't want your loved ones to miss out! Tickets that you're able to purchase for yourself go on sale on January 1, so mark your calendars! There's a limited quantity of early bird tickets available as of January 1, so make sure to remind yourself to purchase on January 1!