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Monday, November 28, 2016

Kettlebell Circuit

(Also posted on Kelowna Now and Global Fitness)

Need a Monday workout? Switch it up and try a kettlebell workout!  

  1. Single Arm Kettlebell Squat (10 reps each side): Rest a kettlebell on your shoulder with your elbow high as you keep your core tight and lower into a squat. Repeat for 10 reps on one side and then swap the kettlebell to the other side and repeat for 10 reps. 

  1. Single Arm Row (12 reps each side): In a plank position, row for 12 reps on one side, keeping your elbow tucked in and core tight, and then swap to the other side for 12 more reps. (try not to come down in between from your plank!) 

  1. Single Side Reverse Lunge (12 reps each side): Hold the kettlebell at your chest level (keep your chest up!) and step back into a reverse lunge making sure to keep the focus on your front heel and use your glutes to power up back to standing. Repeat 12 reps on the SAME side and then switch to the other leg. 

  1. Single Side Dead Bugs (10 reps each side): Hold a kettlebell stationary in one hand and start with legs and arms up. Drop your opposite hand and opposite leg, keeping your core tight, and them bring back to your starting position. Repeat 10 on one side and then switch to the other side. Make sure to keep your back pressed into the floor to really engage the core! 

  1. Single Arm Kettlebell Swing (12 reps each side): With feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Grab the handle with one hand, maintain a slight bend to the knee and drive the hips back, lowering the body—but not too low (this isn't a squat!). Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, keeping the glutes and core engaged. Remember: The motion should come from the hips, not the arms, as the body returns to standing. Lower the weight back down between the legs and alternate arms, keep this swinging motion going for 12 to 15 reps. 

Repeat this all for 5 rounds total for a full body and simple at home or in the gym workout! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

What If We Actually Loved Our Bodies?

(Also on Kelowna Now)

What if we obsessed over the things we love about our bodies, instead of the things we desperately want to change? What would happen? 
Would it be so bad to shift our focus away from what we think are our flaws, and onto the fact that we are all completely amazing right this second? 
We obsess over our love handles, our cellulite, and our muffin tops. We obsess over our diet and our training schedule and every inch of our body to the extent that, yes, we might actually lose body fat and look like a bikini model. 

But is obsessing over our flaws an effective way to change how we look? I don't think so. 

Loving and accepting your body doesn't mean you give up. Choosing to focus on the things you love about your body is not, in any way, giving up on your fitness efforts. 

Instead, I have found in my 10 years as a fitness professional, that approaching your fitness endeavors with gratitude and self-acceptance is actually a much more sustainable, and far less miserable experience. 

Standing in front of the mirror and saying “I love my shoulders” or “I have killer quads” is not going to make you stop exercising, is it? Calling your attention to your strengths won’t make you decide to just give up and stop evolving. Shifting your focus towards what you love about your body won’t suddenly make you abandon your healthy lifestyle.

Shifting your mind-set will come with many benefits: 
1) You will allow yourself to treat your body with love and respect. 
2) Give you the energy you need to be present in your life and approach fitness and nutrition with gratitude and enthusiasm. 
3) Consistently improve in a sustainable manner that doesn’t question your self-worth. 

Obsessing over your “flaws” in an effort to change them will typically cause you to: 
1) Yo-yo diet, rebound and binge eat. 
2) Never feel good enough. 
3) Miss out on the beauty and magic of the process. 
4) Regard fitness and nutrition as punishment rather than a way of life. 
5) Encourage destructive perfectionist tendencies. 
6) Make the entire fat loss process miserable. 
While obsessing over the things you want to change about your body might give you the focus to do so, how is that going to affect your quality of life and your sense of self-worth? 

Do you want to feel energized, inspired, and grateful? Do you want to love food AND the way food makes you feel? Do you want to crave exercise because of it’s many emotional and physical benefits? Do you want to feel during your transformation, you aren’t constantly obsessing over your body, and as a result, missing out on the rest of your life? 

That’s what shifting your focus will allow you to do. That’s what it means to find self-love. It doesn’t mean you become complacent and stop living a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t mean you say screw it and start eating donuts every day for breakfast and stop working out. 

It means that when you look in the mirror, instead of thinking “I hate how I look, I need to lose fat", you think, “Damn, my butt is looking good in these jeans and my arms look tighter”. Positive thinking creates positive results. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hashimoto's Lifestyle

This was an interesting year for me. I went through a lot of changes, physically, mentally and emotionally. Everything seems to be settling now, which I definitely needed because this summer was a hard one. I went through some things that I don't really want to share, but because of all the stress on top of not sleeping or eating well, my thyroid went through hell. I lost a lot of hair. My precious hair that I took for granted. It has thinned out.

I scared myself. I try not to cry when I think of my hair. It is a bad feeling when you know you had the thickest hair that everyone envied, and now that too has changed. I realized I needed to take better care of myself asap. No more wine, no more sugar, no more stress. I don't want any of it. I need to fix this. I need to get my body into remission.

I consider myself lucky that I got into health and fitness at such a young age. I am so lucky that I put muscle on over the years that has helped me stay lean. I am so glad that I joined a gym when I was 22 years old. I am thankful that my body was fighting this without me knowing about it.

I will be staying on my AIP diet 110% until I no longer have hashimoto's. I have worked hard with my career and in the gym, so this is no big deal to me. If you want results, no matter what it is, you must work for it. Nothing comes easy and I will not be "fixing" myself with a pill. Prescription drugs can stay out of my body, it's nothing but poison.

If you have hashimoto's disease, or any type of autoimmune disease, I understand what you are going through, and staying in shape is THE most important thing you can do for yourself. Trust me. You have to move. You have to workout and move that body. You have to eat healthy or things will get worse. It's ultimately your decision, and my decision is to be healthy. Period. I constantly surround myself with health and stay away from those who choose to destroy their bodies. It's not for me. Health is the most important thing for a good life, and having a good life is pretty amazing.

I choose to feel amazing everyday. I don't need a hero, I am my own hero.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rock Your Dress Workout

Also posted on Kelowna Now

The holiday season is on its way, which means more get togethers and parties which require dressing up for the occasion. If you aren't feeling confident about wearing a dress, or you just want to look your best for a special party, here is a workout to get you feeling fit and in shape for your sexy holiday dress.

Make sure you warm up and stretch properly before beginning!

Squat and shoulder press 15 reps
SUPERSET jump squats 15 reps
3 sets

Machine chest press 15 reps

SUPERSET renegade row 20 reps
3 sets

Alternating reverse lunges with bicep curls 20 reps
SUPERSET ball hamstring curls 15 reps
3 sets

Front/side shoulder raises 20 reps
SUPERSET alternating jumping lunges 20 reps
3 sets

Alternating curtsy lunges 20 reps

Burpees 10 reps
3 sets

Finish with a 20 minute uphill climb on the treadmill

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Spirit Animals and Auras

This year was a year of change for me, and I wanted to write about this because some interesting things happened to me that I couldn't explain at all to myself and made no sense to me.

I am a big believer of spiritulism. I was raised a Catholic but I don't practice it at all. I grew up with my own beliefs and ideas of how you should be in life, including kind and helpful to others. I am very open minded to others beliefs and ideas.

I always wondered why dragonflies were around me all my life, and this year is the first time I realized that dragonflies are my spirit animals or "angels". I have picture proof of them landing on me, and it's happened many times during my life. 

This year especially, I saw them more than usual. And in one particular moment when I thought I was completely lost in life, and I was so depressed and angry, dragonflies showed up almost like in a cloud. There must have been at least 20 of them. It's hard for me to admit this because I try to act so tough on the outside, but I started bawling my eyes out knowing that everything will be ok. 

I did some research about dragonflies, and it was interesting to me because it fit my life so perfectly. 

"The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life."

"The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As a spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colours."
When your spirit animal shows up in your life, it’s an indication that it’s time for change. Just like the dragonfly changes colors as it matures, an individual may be called to live and experience life differently. 
The dragonfly is characterized by amazing flight patterns as it appears to be able to change direction swiftly, gliding through the air with no apparent effort. Its lightness inspires those who have the dragonfly as totem to use their ability to be flexible and highly adaptable in any situation.
Another strange experience I had very recently, and if you are a believer you will appreciate this. I saw an aura around me. I was in a situation that made me feel like everything fell apart, but this aura told me something different. It calmed me and it didn't scare me at all. I have never experienced something like it. I could see the light right around my whole body. 
Auras can reveal information about your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and even others wishes for you. Each color is not completely straightforward, and one must take into account the shade of a color in order to get an exact reading. Auras are given off by all living things because they emit energy with a special vibration and color. That color can be seen by gifted people and those trained in the healing arts, who can manipulate energy fields for effective healing.
I saw a green aura, and specifically more turquoise in colour.
GREEN AURA COLOR MEANING: Relates to heart and lungs. It is a very comfortable, healthy color of nature. When seen in the aura this usually represents growth and balance, and most of all, something that leads to change. Love of people, animals, nature; teacher; social. Turquoise, in general  is the ultra aura color for a powerful healer. You help others discover their inner truths. Usually found in doctors, healers and counselors.

This feels like me. To be honest I don't even know what to do with all this, but I wanted to share anyways. Maybe this has happened to you too in a different way. Perhaps you feel confused. I sure did but it's ok because deep down you will know what it all means and it will all make perfect sense. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Living a New Life

2016 has been quite the year for me. Not only did I find out that I have an autoimmune disease that has been causing me grief, I am also starting a new non-married life.

Almost every person that has found out that I joined the divorced club has felt sorry for me. There's nothing to feel sorry about. This is called life and life happens. If something doesn't work, you just have to move on or you will be miserable.

You only live once and life is tragically short. It's easy to assume happy looking people don't understand your pain, but just because someone looks happy, doesn't mean that they are. The older I get, the more I realize that happiness takes work. Happy people have been through every bit of sadness, fears, disappointment, and rejection as the next person. They just have the courage and strength to smile anyways.

So how do you live a new life to the fullest? Here are a couple things I have come up with, and hopefully it can help you.

Decide what’s important to you. Don’t do what you think people want you to do. everyone has their opinions, but at the end of the day, you’re the only person who will be around for every moment of your life. Do what makes you happy. 

Take risks. Sometimes life can be scary, but every reward carries risk with it. If you never take risks, you will never get anywhere in life. When people look back on their lives, they regret the chances they didn’t take more than the ones they did.

Live in the present. Your past is important to learn from and your future is important to work towards. But at the end of the day, the only thing that exists outside of your head is right now. Your past and future and important, but only dwell on the present and what is going on at the moment.

Ignore the haters. No matter what you decide to do with your life, there will always be people around to point out the ways of how you may fail. Successful people don’t start out successful. What makes them successful is that they don't give up.

Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Trust your instincts. Do whatever you want so long as you can look yourself in the mirror.

Always keep your mind open and stay compassionate. Just because you are right about something doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to look at it. Keep your mind open about other people's ideas. Lend an ear to someone that needs to vent. Try to understand other people's actions and why they feel a certain way. Be compassionate. Your kindness and words can make a difference in someone's day. Think before you react. Try to put yourself in someone else's shoes. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Solo Travel for Self Discovery

A few weeks ago I decided to go on a solo vacation. I never thought I would be the person to do this but I didn't even think twice about it when I booked my vacation. 

I have been having major stress in my life and I just realized I needed time on my own. I had a "wtf" moment and I just needed to get out of my situation. I'm sure we have all felt like that a few times in our lives.

I decided to go to Red Mountain Adventure Resort in St. George, Utah. I have been eyeing this place out for years, and instead of going on a weekend trip to Vegas with the girls that would definitely lead to self-saboteury, I thought I would do something healthy where I can go on my own.

I must say, Utah is amazing! It's beautiful, the mountains are spectacular, and the weather is awesome. 

I love the desert and love hot weather so I was in my element. I didn't care that I was sweating down my face, I loved every minute. The heat loves me.

My first night at the resort, I decided to go on a kayak adventure. It was great. I didn't realize I was so good at kayaking on my own. I was the best. I was in a race with everyone else(they didn't know), and I was so fast. I wish we had more time before the sun set because I wasn't ready to be finished.

My second day there was the best. I went hiking for 3 hours at Camel Back mountain and climbed some rocks. I took the best pictures. Back at the resort I went to the pool, hit the gym, then decided to rent a Camaro and drive to Vegas. Yes that's what I do, I fly on the seat of my pants. I hung out at Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris hotel for a few hours, watched the Bellagio fountains, walked around and then drove to the Hard Rock hotel and got a small tattoo at Hart and Huntington. Vegas is like second nature to me. I have been so many times, so I felt safe and at home just walking around. 

I got back to St. George at 3am and passed out. I woke up way too early and decided to eat something which I knew would make me sleepy. And it sure did. I went back to sleep until 10:30am. Thank goodness. I  decided to drive out to Pioneer Parkway and hike by myself. I went on a 2 hour hike, climbed some rocks, ran down some sandy paths and was on my own with no one around except the lizards, rabbits and my deep thoughts. This whole time I tried to forget my problems by keeping busy, but I was forced to face my them because it was just me and nature. It was time.

Pioneer Parkway 

Snow Canyon 

I got back to the resort and I couldn't sit there. I started walking and didn't stop. I went into Snow Canyon State Park and kept going. I actually sang out loud while listening to my music(sorry Mother Nature), and I never do this.

I came to some realizations, some were good and some were things I didn't want to face, but I know it will make me a better and stronger person. I can't keep holding on to hope and how things used to be because that's not what life is about. When you hold on to how things used to be, you will wind up hurt and confused. I don't want that and neither does anyone else. 

I am curious to see how the rest of this year plays out for me. As the hummingbirds and dragonflies float past me and winter arrives again, I will be waiting for joy and happiness to arrive and take me on to a better road in life. 

Always wish for joy and happiness. We all deserve it.