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Fitness Friday: Stories, Workouts & Eats

HIYAH buddy friends. How’s the week going so far? First order of business:

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE RACING THE BMO VANCOUVER MARATHON/HALFIE THIS WEEKEND!! I’ll be stalking ya on social media to see how you’re doing. :)

A few stories of the week to share with you…

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Do you ever stop to play with random animals while running? I was trekking along when I spotted a puppy, came to a screeching halt, scooped her up and died. Animals are the freaking best. I’m not one of those people that lets dogs lick my face though. Ew.

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Say hello to your new favorite sweet treat: 5 Ingredient Fudgey Energy Bites. So great for hiking, trail running or simply stuffing your pie hole.  If you like Bounty Bars, they’re right up your alley.

You know how I mentioned I was working last weekend? I’ve been waiting for everything to be said and done before revealing the #1 reason I was at work.

Aside from a photo shoot I was… oh you know, just saying hello to our {dreamboat of a} Prime Minister and welcoming him to the mountains.  He was so friendly and approachable. He gave hugs and took photos with pretty much everyone who wanted a photo op. He even did a Snapchat face swap with one of my coworkers – ahahahhahaha

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After Prime Minster Trudeau wrapped up his final press conference on Tuesday, our team waited for him in the lobby for a group shot. He came rushing in with a photographer’s DSLR in hand and exclaimed, “I heard you guys wanted a photo!” took a shot of us, then jumped in the crowd.

I know my Conservative friends (hi David) are rolling their eyes right now. WE GET IT. You hate everything that isn’t Alberta, oil, big trucks and stuffing pipelines into every nook and cranny. Side note: we watched his press conference and I’m fairly certain I was the only person (on site and probably in Alberta) rocking hallelujah hands when he began defending the environment. I am living in the wrong province. Haha!  And now you know where my political views stand.  But that was kind of obvious right?

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Onto my moves:

Monday

30 minute HIIT that was quite ‘leggy’

{HIIT = high intensity interval training // AMRAP = as many rounds as possible}

I’ll tell ya… working out with my swole mate prevents me from slacking. Even though we were each doing our respective workouts, knowing he was a few feet away from me kept me motivated. Plus, I didn’t want to look like a weakling in front of a dude.

Two circuits.  AMRAP in 7 minutes

Squat –> overhead press with a 25# plate
Weighted step ups
Ab bicycles
Lunges

Burpees
Straight leg sit ups
Weighted lunges
Push ups

Tuesday

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30 minute core & cardio HIIT

Snap Jumps
Jackknifes
Ab bikes

Burpees
Mountain climbers
Scissor kicks
X jumps (I love these!)
Plank

Wednesday

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Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred dvd in the morning + some easy running and stair sprints late afternoon

Thursday

30 minute HIIT – same as Monday’s workout with swole-mate. It was my turn to introduce him to some of my moves. I’m preparing him for our summer adventures: carrying heavy packs, climbing mountains and running wild and free through the woods.

“You mean we’re going to burpee our way to the top?” SW asked. Good point. Let’s just call him ‘SW’ from now on.

Friday

Off

Saturday

Planned: Bodypump (I HAVEN’T BEEN TO PUMP IN WEEKS. SO EXCITED!!)

Sunday

Planned: Hot yoga or maybe a leisurely run/walk

Of possible reading interest on the benefits of HIIT training.

“Compelling and ever-mounting research shows that the ideal form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise. Not only does it beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), aka the “fitness hormone.”

Let’s chat about some of my favorite EATS of the week, yeah?!

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The return of snack plate dinners! The only thing missing was hummus and I was too lazy to go to the store. Veggies, chicken, brown rice tortilla, grainy mustard and salsa for dipping. ‘Dessert’ was an apple + cashew butter.

Ps. The book Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe is such a great little {heart} read. It would be a great gift for someone you love!

For breakfast, I find my body thrives on a good balance of carbs, protein and fat. Post Whole30, I’ve scaled back the volume of fat on my plate – it was too much and making me feel nauseas, full and hungry at the same time.

I’m enjoying scrambled eggs with a carb-y side dish: either some mashed  sweet potato or yam, rice cakes + banana + almond butter, or this weeks combo of a Food For Life brown rice tortilla (from the depths of my freezer) with a banana and almond butter. I realize that’s a lot of carbohydrate on one plate, but it works for me. I like to think I’m carb loading for my intense lunchtime workouts.

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Lunches and dinners are mostly huge salads with any and every vegetable I can get my hands on, sweet potato, avocado and chicken. <– holy trinity

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I experienced my first post Whole30 sugar rush by treating myself to a couple of butter tartlets with fresh whipped cream for lunch dessert one day. They were leftover from the Prime Minister’s visit and insanely delicious. Worth the stomachache, that’s for sure. Butter tarts are one of the best dessert inventions of all time.

Afternoon snacks are either an apple + nuts or chia parfaits with berries and gluten free/sugar free ‘museli’ for a little extra crunch.

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What do you usually eat for an afternoon snack?

What kinds of workouts and movement are you loving lately?!

Last dessert you ate? Any fun food plans in the works for this weekend?

Linking up with Kris and the gang for Fitness Friday

Weekend + Changing with the seasons

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It was a rainy, cozy weekend over here in the mountains. With the transition from ski season to summer, we’re currently experiencing a lull in tourism which makes for a peacefully quiet town. Things will ramp up in a couple weeks and it will be pure insanity until September.

My original weekend plan was to hike with Kris, but the weather made us reschedule. It ended up being a nice change from my usual go, go, go! My body was craving extra sleep, food and reading my latest library books in bed.

Friday

After work, I hit the gym for an easy 30 minute elliptical session to shake things out. My back was  cranky from sitting and driving for most of the day. From there, I did a few sets of heavy deadlifts, back rows, bicep rows and called it a day.

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My tank is by a new-to-me Canadian athletic clothing company, Cory Vines. As part of our partnership, they hooked me up with an outfit of my choice: the lane unity 2 tank and a pair of ‘the path‘ crops. I’m so impressed by the quality and price point that I wanted to share the good word with y’all.  That being said, I’m definitely  not just doing my ‘bloggers due diligence’. In fact, they didn’t even ask me to blog about them.

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I can’t say enough good things about the leggings. I’d describe them as a thicker and more versatile “Wunder Under”. You can strength train, run, do yoga and watch Netflix in them. No wedgies. No revealing of lady parts. 😉

Let’s talk about blogger influence for a moment. Rest assured, if you see a product or positive review on my blog or Instagram, it’s because I personally find value in said partnership/product/experience and think you will too. :)

What were we talking about again? Oh right, Friday. Post gym, I stopped by the grocery store and bought a bunch of fresh vegetables for my latest love – HUGE DINNER SALADS. The more ingredients, the better.

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Ah! I’m delighted by this time of year. It’s like my body craves and thrives on fresh vegetables and fruit. I put everything into a large tupperware bowl and go to town.  It takes around 30 minutes for me to eat: taking my time to slowly savour the different textures and flavours. This bowl contained spinach, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, sliced sweet potato, avocado, pumpkin seeds, tomatillo salsa, marinated artichoke hearts, bell pepper, steamed asparagus, truffle hummus (!!!) and grilled cardamom chicken.

I spent Friday night catching up on Real Housewives of New York and Dallas. Anyone else a Real Housewives fan?! It’s my guilty pleasure.

Saturday

After lazing around for a while, I pulled myself out of bed, caffeinated and did one of the Jillian Michaels dvd’s that I borrowed from the library.

I appreciate the creative twist she adds to her workouts in addition to the perfect trifecta of cardio, strength and stability. We’re talkin’ moves such as a crescent lunge + upright rows. One armed mountain climbers (good lord), alternating crow push up + grasshopper pushups (vomit). The circuits move quickly and before you know it, 30-45 minutes has passed, you’re dripping in sweat and marinating in the accomplishment that yes, you can indeed endure uncomfortable situations and become better because of it.

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I showered, made breakfast, then got back into bed with my book and fell back asleep for a couple hours.

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I’m not sure if I like napping. I often wake up feeling dehydrated, confused, groggy and like I’m dying of starvation. My first thought it always, “I NEED FOOD!” even though I don’t really feel hungry. I realize this makes zero sense.

I figured some fresh air would do me some good so I ate a snack and laced up my running shoes.

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These Über Larabars are just okay… they could use some salt to balance out the chocolate and tartness of the dried fruit.

I jogged to a set of stairs about a mile away from my house and got to work on some sprints. The cool, damp air was infused with earthy scents of fresh pine, soil and rain. It felt like nourishment for my lungs. Nature’s aromatherapy!

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After my sprints, I took a long route back home, alternating between running and walking. I ran downtown, along a boardwalk through a meandering spring creek, towards a gradual uphill gravel trail for the journey home. My body feels strong and powerful  – ready to take on summer adventure.  I believe it’s a combination of rebuilding my spirit (after last summer’s breakup that gutted me), mending my body from marathon training and good nutrition.  In hindsight, I think marathon training TOOK more than it gave – but that’s a post for another day.

My Mom and I chatted on the phone the other night. I brought her up to speed with my life and she said, “You seem really happy again. See, what did I tell you? Just wait. You’ll come back” Not that I ever doubted I wouldn’t. Here’s your reminder that time is, without a doubt, the magic ingredient. Spring is the time of renewal. Blossoming, growth, upward expansion. After months of letting go of old beliefs and worries, rest and introspect (which is what fall and winter asks of us) it feels amazing to be stepping into something new. I feel so much lighter!  :)

Saturday’s dinner was another big bowl of green goodness. I treated myself to  a bubble bath, got into bed around 9pm and read until slumber took me away to dreamland.

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Sunday

10 hours of sleep later (geez, apparently  I really needed those zzz’s) I awoke to the sound of rain and Robins outside my bedroom window.  <— best sound or what?!

Coffee in bed, a quick cardio/ab HIIT workout and a big ol’ breakfast smoothie to start the day. Spinach, frozen banana and blueberries, ice, cashew milk, cinnamon, Vega Sport mocha, walnuts, coconut and cacao.

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I love smoothies, but dislike how cold they make me. I had to take a scorching hot 20 minute shower after just to warm up.

I quickly got ready, threw some snacks in my bag and headed off to work for the afternoon. I’m in the midst of coordinating a photo shoot with a professional architectural photographer who flew in from Toronto.

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Essentially, it entailed me holding stuff, turning lights on and off, moving furniture around and trying to stay out of their shot.

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That’s a wrap!

Tell me something great about your weekend!

What is your profession or what do you do for work?

Do you notice yourself changing with the seasons too?

Fitness Friday: Gym Bros (And some post-Whole30 eats)

I’ve spent the past week and a half re-introducing some grain (and hummus!) back into my life.

My observations:

—> My insides like rice, quinoa & hummus

—-> My insides reject oats (I always use gluten-free rolled oats)

My first re-introduction meal was a nice warm comfort bowl of banana oatmeal. I experienced indigestion and heartburn all morning after eating it, but thought it was maybe a one-off. The next morning, I woke up to rashy-looking cheeks and a massive zit on my chin (no idea if this was from what I ate, or the rosehip seed oil I slathered all over my face the night before)

Over the next several days, I ate some rice, quinoa, a rice tortilla, coconut milk ice cream, beet hummus (man, I missed that stuff) and avocado or almond butter slathered rice cakes.  I felt fine after those foods and decided to give overnight oats a second go for Tuesday’s breakfast.

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1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk, 1 T chia seeds, frozen blueberries, sliced banana and a big spoonful of sunflower seed butter. Yum!

Soaking grains tends to make them more digestible as it breaks down difficult to digest components aka. “anti-nutrients” like phytic acid.  I had high hopes for my old breakfast fav AND IT BETRAYED ME! This time? I felt worse! I was bloated, crampy and miserable for the entire day and into the next morning. Not only that, everything I ate afterwards made me bloat even more. Ugh!

What gives?! Anyone else sensitive to oats/grains? 

I’m going to give ’em one more chance to see what happens, and if I still get the same reaction, no more oats for me.  In hindsight, I regularly experienced heartburn, indigestion and bloating that it became my “normal”. Now that I’m used to feeling amazing 100% of the time, I’m all “HOLD UP. WAIT A MINUTE. WHAT IS THIS DISCOMFORT PLAGUING ME AND HOW DO I MAKE IT GO AWAY?”  Funny how us humans have a tendency to tolerate crap, hey?

I can easily swap overnight oat jars for rice, quinoa or millet. Back when I was marathon training, i ate a lot more grain and often made overnight quinoa. Pretty sure I’m still working my way through a Costco sized bag that I bought 3 years ago.

I still get “ick” feelings when I think of yogurt and cheese, so I don’t plan on introducing them yet. When the day comes that I want cheesy pizza or ice cream, I’ll just eat that.

Next up: I’m re-introducing Vega Sport protein powder. I’m giving the middle finger to the food rule that we “shouldn’t” drink our nutrition or calories.  Summer is coming and I love cold, thick, creamy protein smoothies. My personal stance is if you’re active (especially an endurance athlete) you NEED liquid nutrition to get calories and nutrients in quickly. Especially because our stomachs can be so finicky.

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On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight or have a tendency to over-eat, smoothies probably aren’t the best option. They’re high calorie and don’t provide the same satiety as a plate of food.

Workouts

I’m wrapping up a pretty fun week of workouts. The hot weather has me taking most of my activities outdoors. Do you ever workout outside? It’s the best!

One of the things I’m known for at work is trying to recruit people to run/walk/workout with me. Most people ditch  or aren’t consistent to keep the momentum going.  Until now! I made a new friend who *conveniently* has a kinesiology background and loves lol’ing at gym-bro gangs and being active as much as I do.  We speak the same language.

Monday

30 minute HIIT

Tuesday

Lunchtime 30 minute HIIT + an easy 5km walk/run after work. Do you ever run in a sports bra? I used to be self conscious of jiggling parts but now I don’t care.

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Wednesday

Lunchtime walk-run with my fitness-bro/swole mate. We walked 1.5 miles down a steep hill, then ran back up

Evening: 1 mile easy jogging warm up + 30 stair sprints + 1 mile easy jogging cool down

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Thursday

Partner circuit that buddy-guy Nick created for us.

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“Thanks for being my swole mate” I said as we walked out to a field to get our sweat on. Partner stuff is great! For example, one of us would do 5  sit ups while the other did twists holding a medicine ball, then we’d switch and keep going until failure.

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Friday

Planned: Upper body strength + my prescribed lower body heavy lifting stuff

Saturday

Planned: hot yoga

Sunday

Rest

Do you workout with friends or do you prefer solo training sessions? Do you have a gym-bro or swole mate?

Best workout of the week?

Best thing you ate?

Linking up with Kris for Fitness Friday

Single Life Talk: “Boy-Men” vs. Men


 

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I’m never going to stop laughing. Today, we’re going to chat about dating, single life and boys. Sound good?

Several months ago, my girlfriend Brianne and I were hiking the Stanley Glacier, swapping life stories and discussing men and current single-lady statuses. As we do. 😉

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We both came to the conclusion that we crave relationships (dating or friendships) with depth, meaning and substance. We have no interest and very little tolerance for superficial interactions or facades. We want to see the contents of people’s souls. I want to know what people live for. What makes them happy. What drives them forward. Their dreams.

Perhaps it’s because we’re both Moon-influenced sensitive Cancers: ruled by emotion, deeply intuitive, nurturing and passionate. We love and feel everything so very deeply.  In some ways, we both feel wise beyond our years. Old souls in young bodies. :)

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Which brings me to “boy-men”. By (my) definition, a boy-man is someone who (mostly) has their shit together: educated, career, healthy, fit, well-traveled, smart, good looking etc. YET, when it comes to relationships or ‘how to treat a woman’ they have NO CLUE. It’s generally due to immaturity and an overall lack of dating experience. They unintentionally “don’t put in the effort” to land or keep their leading lady, impress her, or make her feel taken care of.  <– I’ve been educating my 20-something year old male friends on this lately and they’re all, “HOLY SHIT JO, YOU’RE RIGHT!”

*mic drop*

My last boyfriend was a boy-man. It wasn’t his fault though. It’s my fault for letting things progress and *hoping* he’d grow up. I take 100% ownership of my involvement in that train wreck  I saw coming from miles away. But hey. When you know better, you DO better, right?

Brianne’s last boyfriend was a boy-man.

I don’t like dating boy-men.

The majority of guys I meet are boy-men.

What’s a girl to do?!

Here’s an example:

Guy asks me out for dinner. I say yes. 

A boy man will say things like, “Where do you want to go?” “What should we do?” “You plan everything and let me know” “I don’t know what to make, so I’ll let you cook” “I don’t have any food at my house”

A MAN will say, “Is there any restaurant in particular you’ve been wanting to try?”
Me: “No, I’m open to whatever!”
MAN: “Great, I’ll look into restaurants and make a reservation for 7pm on Friday night”

Extra bonus points when he comes up with some fun ideas of things to do after dinner. Love that.

A man HANDLES IT. A boy man expects the woman to plan and do everything.

Case in point/FML:

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(That last emoji was most definitely a middle finger)

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Sigh. Sassy is right. Clearly, I was feeling a little feisty that day.

UH… if I’m being 100% honest, sometimes I just say things to make myself LOL. I’m so funny, I love me. In all seriousness and joking aside, I don’t feel like I’m asking for the moon.

GIRLFRIENDS: What are your thoughts or experiences with boy-men? Do you find it difficult to meet ‘quality’ guys? I’d rather be alone forever with a house full of plants than try to make it work with someone who is ‘just meh’.

What are you looking for in a partner? I want to be with someone who is just as fun, caring, funny & fit as me! *bicep flex*

COUPLED/MARRIED LADIES: Tell me what you love about your guy! 

SPRING GIVEAWAY!

Well I’ll be damned. I used to think a pedometer wouldn’t motivate me to get moving, but after wearing my Garmin at work and tracking my steps, it’s become a fun little game for me. If I sit for more than an hour, it beeps and tells me to move. Smart lil guy. :)

During the workday, I’m often sedentary for hours at a time. Sure, I’ll take 30 minutes to hit the gym or go for a quick run, but that’s still not a lot of movement.

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Experts say humans should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day.  Now that I know my Garmin is watching (and judging) me, I find myself taking longer routes to get from point a to point b at work. Getting in quick walk breaks when I can. Parking at the far end of the parking lot.  Every little bit adds up!

All of this extra walking and trail running means I’ve brought my SCAT belt out of hibernation.

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It holds a can of bear spray, keys and my phone. Whenever I’m out on the trail and head deep into the forest, I find myself becoming hyper-aware and nervous. Every little rustling startles me. Logs turn into cougars or bears. I’ll probably never go camping alone for that very reason. I’d be awake all night panicking. Would you ever go on a long hike or solo camping trip?

I’m taking my lunchtime workouts outdoors this week. Nothing like a blast of fresh air, sunshine and endorphin-enhancing moves to break up the work day.

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My essentials for lunchtime workouts:

-Wearing a non-complicated, non-high maintenance work outfit that I can get in and out of quickly
-Hand towel + wipes
-Dry shampoo
-Deodorant

Most importantly:

Changing the mindset that there isn’t much you can accomplish in 30 minutes. You can and you will. But you have to be willing to work a little harder and really get your heart rate up.

A CHALLENGING workout – like high intensity interval training or sprints? You’ll get more out of that in terms of calorie burn, human growth hormone stimulation, etc. than a long, steady state cardio session.  Not to mention that sweet, after burn effect that fires up your metabolism.  I’m really loving HIIT lately. Good cardio sweat session while building strength. 30 minutes, quick and dirty, fast and hard. Aw yeah. Fist bumps all around.

I have a giveaway for you today! Do you remember a few months back when Snapware sent me a shipment of food storage containers (which I love and use everyday).

Quick disclaimer: I was compensated for this post and received complimentary product. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

As part of Snapware’s spring campaign, they hooked me up with some home-storage containers to help organize my life and are offering YOU a chance to win some as well! They’re stackable, air tight and the lids and clips are incredibly durable. I can’t believe how well my food storage containers have held up. They come with a lifetime warranty too!

Snapware
is the modern & innovative brand of everyday storage that delivers easy organization solutions in order to embrace your life in motion.  Only Snapware home storage is:

  • Innovative with sizes to fit any shelf depth
  • Durable with reinforced corners built to last, resist splitting and chipping
  • Solution focused by being designed for both storage and organization
  • Functional with containers that snap and stack

Snapware home storage is:

  • Modern and innovative: designed for today with clean lines, see-through vessels with vibrant and colorful lids.
  • Simple and durable: well-designed products are easy to use and built to last.
  • Real solutions: designed for everyday activities and optimized for storage and organization.
  • A SNAP! The lids snap on with an audible “snap” that tells the user the lid is secure, and containers have a modular stackable design so they stack easily.
  • Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty.

The 12”, 14” and 16” series containers include an easy-carry handle.

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Sometimes I let thing little things get away from me. Out of sight, out of mind. Until stuff like this happens in your bedroom and underneath your bathroom sink. As unsightly as annoying as it is, it’s like I can’t stop adding to the pile of random stuff. What is up with that?!

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UGH. I’m gross.

First, I organized all of my running gear that I’m not currently using.  Extra ear buds, torture devices, electrolyte tablets, fuel, etc.

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Then I spent a good hour organizing the black hole of cosmetics, cleaning supplies and personal care products in my bathroom.

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This weekend’s project will be focused on my outdoor gear, camping supplies and putting my winter clothes away for the season.  These containers would be great for keeping kid-related items under control. Toys, clothing, whatever else comes with having kids… hahaha

If you’d like to score a set of these, leave me a blog comment and I’ll select a winner on Wednesday, April 27. CONTEST IS OPEN TO CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES. Wee!

Other than that – how’s your week going so far?

Do you workout at lunch? What time of day you generally hit the gym?

How many steps per day do you think you get in?

Have you put your winter clothing away yet?

Adventure Scenes from the Weekend

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BIG SMILES. Summer-like temperatures have graced the Alberta Rockies and I’m already rocking a golden tan (and one sunburned arm). HEY OH.

I’m much more outgoing, happier and delighted to be alive this time of year. While most people are planning their summer getaways, there’s no place I’d rather be than my mountain backyard. Two years into this journey, I still feel like I haven’t experienced nearly as much as I want to.

A few highlights from my weekend:

My best friend David came to visit and celebrate our success with Whole30 (check out my recap here) but most importantly, his own personal health journey.  Over the span of several months, he’s made tremendous strides towards creating his ideal life. He’s a completely different person – mind, body and spirit.

Here’s a shot of us from July 2015:

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And NOW?

He’s bagging peaks with me.

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To date, with the help of a personal trainer, a shift in perception and improved nutrition, David has lost around 60lbs (and is still losing) gained some serious muscle and strength, started RUNNING and as of this past weekend climbed not one, but THREE mountain summits! He currently weighs less than he did in high school. SAY WHAT!

It’s pretty cool to witness your best friend undergo such a drastic, incredible and inspiring transformation. To watch them transition from years of self-loathing and an attitude of “this is just the way life is” to learning self love and compassion.  “You helped me find my heart” he says. “I couldn’t have done this without you encouraging me”. As much as I appreciate the compliment, it’s 100% his doing. He’s had to make a lot of difficult decisions and undo years of old beliefs and patterns.  I understand whole-heartedly how difficult the growing pains can be –  and now I see why I’ve had to endure my own struggles. It’s so I could teach and help others. :)

The guy who used to laugh at me (and Glenn) for inviting him to yoga, now comes to yoga with us.  The guy who used to say he’d never run, is running 5ks after work – AND STARTED A RUNNING CLUB for his colleagues. The guy who didn’t believe in the magic of the universe now reads and practices the Law of Attraction and A Course in Miracles. It’s pretty crazy stuff. (In a good way!)

Friday

Our adventure-packed weekend kicked off on Friday night with a toast. To us, to life, to kicking ass at everything we do. But mostly the completion of Whole30.  Dirty vodka martini for me and something man-ish like scotch for David.

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As you know, I’ve been DYING for sushi. We ordered a huge spread of sashimi and  ‘fresh’ rolls without all the mayo, tempura, etc. Still keeping things on the ‘cleaner’ wide while transitioning off the program.

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Chef Studio Japan is the best place to get sushi in the Bow Valley. The service is generally terrible, but it’s worth the long wait times and being forgotten about.

We  finished off the night with some coconut milk chocolate ice cream. I always need ice cream after sushi. It is law.

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Saturday

BIG adventure day, friends. Now, despite knowing David is new to hiking, I didn’t plan an easy trek for us. We do it right, or don’t do it at all.

I figured a moderate scramble up the face of Heart mountain would be a great way to experience the Rockies together.

For breakfast, we fueled up with a hearty meal of eggs + pumpkin bowls. Canned pumpkin seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, sliced banana, coconut flakes, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.  A nice change from my mashed sweet potato or yam bowl.

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I was a little concerned about Heart mountain for the sole reason that people frequently get confused by detouring from the trail and  getting cliffed out or needing to be rescued. First, I googled. Second, I consulted with the Alberta Adventure Girls gang. Third,  a certified mountain guide to ensure I had a solid understanding of the route beforehand.

See this sign? It means don’t wear Nike Free Runs. I experience so many emotions when I observe people hiking in running shoes. I suddenly feel responsible for them!

I’m not being a B, it’s the total lack of awareness or concern for safety that gets me fired up. Would you show up to run a marathon in sandals without water or fuel? No. WHY do people insist on wearing running shoes on mountains?  Biggest pet peeve of life.

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After a couple hours of scrambling, we made it to the false summit (where most people turn around and go back). We ate our lunches, took a little rest and continued our trek to summit #1.

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What is this summit #1 business, you may ask? If you’d like to extend your adventure time, you can traverse along a few ridges to two additional summits, turning the hike into a 11km total loop.  11km seems like NBD but it makes for quite a long day with the steep ascents and descents.

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Let’s just say our legs and feet were toast by the end of it!

I got into bed around 10pm, decided I needed a few scoops of Coconut Bliss, got back into bed and passed out sitting up. I woke up a short while later and discovered I was DROOLING! HAHA. Amazing.

Sunday

Our original plan was to cycle 50km round trip to Banff, but our legs said no. David has a bad knee from a sports injury, I had a bad knee from smashing it on a rock the day before. Plus, we were both fatigued from our mountain trek.  An active-recovery down day in Banff was much better suited for us.

A 5km stroll through Johnston Canyon before the herd of tourists arrived.

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Plus a picnic in a park in downtown Banff, before ending the evening with another long walk. I was passed out and dead to the world by 9pm on Sunday.

Weather-wise, this week is looking fantastic so you’ll find me soaking up the sunshine in all of my free time.

What are your summer travel plans looking like this year?

What’s your favorite season? Do you notice yourself feeling happier in the warmer months?

Best part of your weekend?

Fitness Friday + Food Judgements

As I was putting my fitness recap post together, I concluded I can’t pinpoint which blogging or lifestyle “niche” I fit into. Some people have running, hiking or crossfit blogs (or Instagram accounts) and I’m ALL OVER THE PLACE doing hot yoga, hiking, trail running, pavement running, Bodypump, lifting barbells in my bedroom, HIIT, cycling and whatever else piques my interest in the moment.

I still haven’t tried Crossfit. I want to! Them Crossfit $$$’s tho….

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GoodLife is definitely my second home. My happy life requirements: a profession that allows me to unleash my creative talents, a nearby GoodLife, hot yoga studio, my best friends, running shoes, a strong spiritual foundation, books, my sense of adventure and lust for life.

I have no desire to achieve success in just one sport or activity. Additionally,  I want my  {gym} activities to carry over into practical life.  I aspire to kick ass at a lot of activities and be able to handle whatever challenge comes my way. My weekday strength training assists me in becoming a stronger runner AND a lil lady who can carry heavy packs through the backcountry. My lunchtime HIIT workouts help me power up mountains. Yoga keeps my skeletal and joint systems balanced. There’s an ease and fluid motion to the way I walk and move. Trail running engages all of my senses and keeps my mind sharp.  It makes me feel like a kid again! Cycling makes me want to die of cardiac arrest. Hahaha. For real though…

I love experiencing life and all of it’s delicious offerings.

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Here’s what my week looked like!

Monday

30 minute HIIT

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+ 2.5 hour walk/ hike after work

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Tuesday

30 minute HIIT

Wednesday

Shoulders (upright rows, overhead press, side raises)  biceps & triceps (just some simple curls & dips)

45 minutes eliptical, easy. I used this time to update my workout playlist and catch up with my besties on Whatsapp

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Love me orange & pink color combos! :)

Thursday

30 minute  HIIT

Friday

OFF

-My BFF are celebrating the end of our Whole30 by going out for sushi (and a couple tequila shots)

Saturday

Planned: Hike

Sunday

Planned: 50k bike ride

Unrelated (kind of) but I wanted to share this article on the dogma belief around food:

“The body speaks. We just don’t listen until we get sick and have to start paying attention to what our bodies need. By that time illness has manifested so strongly within us it will take extreme dedication and perseverance to heal ourselves – and that will require major lifestyle changes.

A high vibrational body is a body that is thriving. But lets not forget that we also have an emotional body, a mental body, a soul body and a spiritual body and it is the cumulation of these bodies that are a direct reflection of our vibrational frequencies. Our vibrational frequencies will be extremely low if we are eating an all raw food diet but we are allergic and unable to properly digest the raw foods we are eating – not to mention we are absolutely miserable with our new way of eating. In addition, if you are a raw foodie or vegan and you elevate yourself above others, pass judgment, belittle and project angry outburst towards others because they are eating foods you do not approve of – you are fully in your egoic consciousness. Your ego is trying to control others and you are not honoring other people’s free will to listen to “their” body to decide for themselves which foods are nourishing and life affirming for their souls journey while in a physical body…”

It then goes on to offer some suggestions (some of which I find a little woo-woo psuedo science) BUT the suggestions on how to balance and care for our emotional, mental, soul and spiritual bodies is DEAD ON.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the article. :)

TELL ME:

What are your ‘happy life’ requirements? 

Have you ever judged someone for the way they eat? Hand up. Guilty. I get frustrated when people I care about (like my parents) KNOW better but don’t DO better. I’d say that’s the only time I get fired up. I couldn’t care less about what anyone else is doing though!

What are you doing this weekend?

This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program

Linking up with my mountain girl – WHO I GET TO SEE NEXT WEEKEND!!!! Kris for Fitness Friday

That’s A Wrap! Final Whole30 Thoughts + Before & After Photos

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I MADE IT! I treated my body like a pristine temple for 30 days with no:

Processed foods, preservatives, additivites, horrible vegetable oils. No junk, no common inflammatory foods:

Sugar or artificial sweeteners (that included the natural stuff like honey, maple syrup, stevia)
Alcohol
Grains
Dairy
Peanut butter (aka legumes)

(Personally, I think eggs should be included in the off-limits list since they’re one of the most allergenic foods, but this is Whole30, not the auto-immune protocol. I actually *thought* I was sensitive to eggs, but now believe it’s what I was consuming WITH them – cheese in my omelette, toast + butter, coffee + milk – I suspect dairy is problematic for me.)

My first re-introduction meal:

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Banana egg white oats with almond butter, coconut and chia seeds. It wasn’t as lovely as I remember. It tasted like nothing? I’ve become accustomed to my meals having a ton of flavour and texture.

Now that everything is said and done, let’s get into my perceived benefits, things that sucked, misconceptions and where I’m going from here! 

Benefits I received from the program:

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-Way more energy! The most high vibin’ energy I’ve ever experienced.  I found myself sleeping soundly and waking up 1-2 hours before my alarm. After the first week, I didn’t get any post-lunch “Omg I need a nap” crashes.

-NO BLOAT. Well, aside from some PMS water retention at the beginning and end of the program, the food I ate didn’t make my insides hurt.

-Improved mental clarity and mood.  I felt very balanced – body, mind and spirit. Less anxious. Optimistic and extra happy. :)

-My skin cleared up nicely after two weeks

-I saved a lot of money on food. Granted, it’s just little ol’ me, BUT I wasn’t buying snack-y foods like bars, crackers, chips or eating out. Purchasing seasonal produce helped immensely too.

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-Not sure if this is coincidence or a benefit of Whole30 but I didn’t experience PMS symptoms or menstrual discomfort at the end of the program. My “normal” is extreme fatigue, sugar cravings and mood swings a few days before. Day 1 of my flow always promises terrible gut-wrenching cramps. I KNEW my period was going to be arriving based on the calendar, but other than a little water retention, I felt nothing.

The Cons:

-I experienced FOMO a few times. I missed the social aspect of dining with my friends. So many of our encounters with people are centered around food and drink. I always offered alternatives to friend dates – such as a hike, hitting the gym, etc. But damn, I just wanted to enjoy some wine and post-hike beers with my girls!  (I kept reminding myself, “it’s only 30 days, you can do anything for 30 days)

A guy asked me out for drinks last week and our conversation went  like this:

“Let’s go for drinks”
Me: “I’m not drinking right now”
“Why?”
Me: “This is going to sound weird, but I’m doing a wellness program and I haven’t had anything processed for a few weeks. I’m not fun right now.”
“You can drink juice”
Me: “That is a terrible idea”

The end. (We haven’t talked since)

-I felt very annoyed and simply, OVER IT during the last few days. I desperately wanted to be done with it and have a treat. I was tempted to say F IT a few days early – because, really, what is 2-3 extra days going to do? But Jo doesn’t quit. Nope.

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I have so much energy that I have a hard time sitting still. I need to burn it off!

Misconceptions about Whole30:

“What is the point of doing something for 30 days if you’re just going back to what you were eating before?” I had this exact same thought, but after putting my ignorance and assumptions aside to research the program, that’s NOT what Whole30 is about.  I don’t know if I’ll go back to eating exactly the same way I did before. I definitely want to establish a middle ground between the two and find something that works for me. Would you guys be interested in hearing about my reintroduction phase over the next few weeks? 

It’s very ‘meat heavy’. It’s not! The only thing that really changed for me was  I started eating eggs instead of oatmeal in the morning. 75% of my plate was always filled with vegetables.

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“It’s hard”. It’s not hard, it’s just different. All it takes is a different way of thinking. It’s not a human rights violation to NOT eat sugar. It’s simply breaking out of a usual routine.

You’ll spend so much time in the kitchen. <– if you are someone who NEEDS to follow recipes, then yes, you will. I kept my meals simple because I hate doing dishes, cleaning up huge messes or coming home from work hangry and having to wait forever. My meals typically came together in 15 minutes.

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My go-to simple meal has always been chicken, sweet potato and broccoli. I love it!

It’s a weight loss program. No! It’s definitely a reset program that will make you feel amazing and teach you how to shop, cook and eat whole foods. It will show you how you’re “supposed” to feel.

The Physical Results

First and foremost, the #1 reason I wanted to do Whole30 was to see if changing my diet would clear my acne on my face and back.

Here’s what my “normal” looked like before:

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The results: 

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This is the first time since the age of 11 that my skin is clear. I still have some lingering acne scars, but hopefully they’ll go away. (Anyone know how to get rid of the dark spots blemishes leave behind? Exfoliation?)

Out of curiosity,  I weighed myself at the gym before and after. The scale *says* I lost 3 lb. However, I didn’t notice any visible changes in my body composition.

I don’t regularly weigh myself for no other reason than I don’t own a scale. I use how my clothes fit as a gauge. If my pants are getting too tight, it’s usually because I’ve been consuming too many treats  and dial it back. 

I didn’t change my workouts, wasn’t following a fitness program nor have I been pushing myself hard while I recover from my running injury. That being said, I wasn’t trying to lose weight. There is a small part of me that was hoping I’d magically develop visible abs, but my body isn’t like that. A few years ago, I weighed 15 lb less than I do now, was very thin, had hardly any muscle and I STILL had fat on my stomach. It’s just how my body is!

My body looked different depending on where I was at in my cycle. I started and ended while I was on the verge of getting THE P.

Here’s my before:

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And after:

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I look exactly the same! Hahaha

Okay, so I didn’t develop *visible* ab muscle tone (which isn’t the point of fitness, health and well being anyway). Wellness is all about how you FEEL. And I absolutely FEEL GREAT. I FEEL STRONGER. <– I remind myself of this when I entertain silly thoughts like, “Maybe I ate too much? Do I eat too much? Should I eat less? Maybe I shouldn’t have so many snacks”

REAL TALK: Guys. I’ve never asked myself those questions until fairly recently when people started saying things to me like, “Geez you eat a lot” “Are you going to eat that entire plate of food?” “Wow that’s a lot of food you’ve got there” “For someone as little as you, you can sure eat. Most people would love to have your metabolism”

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This was a snack ^^

Over to you.

Have you tried an elimination diet or Whole30? Are you sensitive to any foods? What were some of the benefits you experienced? What was the hardest part for you?

First ‘post Whole30’ treat or meal? I still haven’t treated myself yet! I told myself I was going to get some good quality dark chocolate or coconut milk ice cream – if I wanted it – and the craving hasn’t struck yet? I’m having sushi and tequila on Friday though!

Do you think you could handle Whole30? Would you try it?

 

What To Expect At Orange Theory Fitness

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“Good things come to those who sweat” was one of the first things I noticed when I walked into Calgary’s  Orange Theory Fitness Seton location last weekend.

Before we get into it – our group was provided with a complimentary private class in exchange for a review.  Thank you to Orange Theory Fitness Seton and Brie for coordinating everything. You da best. :)

You’re probably wondering what OTF is. There are so many wellness trends in the market that I find it difficult to keep up with what’s hip and happening! I had a vague idea beforehand – I knew it was interval training, but decided against researching it further so I could be surprised.  (I prefer surprises!)

I love the fact that fitness has become a popular social activity among people.  Fitness Friend Dates are here to stay!  Before social media, I struggled with meeting like-minded people who shared similar interests, hobbies and values. Blogs, Instagram, group exercise classes and outdoor adventure have been the key to finding my tribe! I’m always meeting new people, trying new-to-me activities and having as much fun as possible. THAT is what success and happiness looks like to me. Always learning, always expanding.

What is Orange Theory Fitness’ Philosphy?

By definition, it’s ‘Base. Push. All Out. Fitness meets science. The idea of Orangetheory is this: a 60 minute workout designed to push you into the Orange zone. This creates “Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption” or EPOC. It’s what burns calories after your workout and gives you noticeable lasting results’

I know what you’re thinking. What in the flying f does that even mean?

OTF incorporates heart rate monitoring with the intention of pushing you past your baseline to at least 84% of your maximum heart rate for 12-20 minutes during the 60 minute class.  Think of it like jogging at an easy pace where you can maintain conversation for a few minutes, then running hard for a minute. Repeat.

If you’re into numbers and data,  this is definitely a workout for you! I find analytical, Type-A’s tend to be particularly motivated by this sort of thing.

What does the workout look like?

Inside OTF, you’ll find treadmills, water rowers and individual work stations with a TRX suspension, bosu ball, bench and dumbbells. TV monitors display your heart rate and color zones, in addition to the prescribed strength circuits with visual cues (in case you aren’t sure what the move is supposed to look like)

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Here’s what we did:

The first 27 minutes of class were treadmill intervals but don’t let that intimidate you! You can choose to power walk, jog or run. There’s also a spin bike and elliptical in case you need further modification. After cardio, the class quickly moved onto the strength circuits (which was my favorite part! Love me some weights.)

I tried one jogging interval, then switched to power walking because my leg cannot handle running fast, or continuous running for more than a couple minutes.

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Then it was time for three strength circuits. We did things such as:

Bench hops
Plank + leg raise
150m row

Upright rows
Chest flies
Reverse chest flies
150m row

TRX bridge + inverted row
More rowing…

… and I can’t remember what else! All I know is that my chest was very sore on Sunday, so it worked.

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What should you wear?

Whatever you feel most comfortable running in. I need to wear shorts while treadmill running.

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I wonder how many combined hundreds of lululemon dollars our group was wearing!

Final Thoughts

-I liked the music and party atmosphere! If you’re into the energy and music of a spin class, you’ll appreciate OTF. Our coach was great – she made sure everyone performed the moves correctly and was upbeat and motivating. Instructors can make or break your class and it’s definitely a huge factor in how I determine which gyms and studios to sign up with. 

-Despite power walking like a beast, I couldn’t get my heart rate up into the Orange zone. If I walked any faster, I would’ve been running. I have a low resting heart rate though. Anytime I have a check up or donate blood, they say, “You must be an athlete”
That said, I was pretty conservative with my workout and didn’t push myself too hard due to injury. I want to go back when my leg is 100% so I can really give it my all!

– It’s a little pricey. (For me, that is) Depending on which plan you select and how many times per week you attend, it works out to around $25-29 per class.  However, OTF is like having a personal trainer with individualized attention, but within a smaller group setting.  It’s a nice middle ground between  large group exercise classes gyms offer and a trainer.  You won’t get lost in the crowd, yet you still get a personal touch. It would be a more affordable option than a personal trainer, that’s for sure!

-Your results are emailed to you immediately after each class. It’s pretty cool that you can keep track of your progression.

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-It’s a great way to switch up your routine and keep you motivated. As someone who gets bored very easily in the gym, I NEED group exercise classes to keep me accountable. I like having someone tell me what to do, rather than winging it on my own.

OTF offers a complimentary trial week if you’re interested in checking out some classes to see if it’s a good fit for you. If you enjoy full body workouts where you get to do a little bit of everything, you’ll like it. I promise. :)

Have you tried Orange Theory Fitness? What did you think?

Do you have any specialty studio memberships? Aside from the gym, I belong to two hot yoga studios: one in Canmore and one in my hometown.

How many millions of dollars in lululemon do you own?

Weekend Adventures!

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Friday was excellent. Not only was hot and sunny out, but I left the office early for an appointment which meant an early weekend for me! YAY

I had my final assessment with my sports med Dr. and we chatted about a few things.

Me: “This whole incident started as weird calf pain and soft tissue tenderness. Why didn’t I know I was so broken?”
Dr: “Yes, it usually does. And you probably felt it here and here and underneath here” as he squeezed my leg in three various places.
Me: “OMG YES. You’re good.”

Funny, I keep *expecting* my leg to hurt when I touch it, but it’s fine.

See, my stress fracture was posterior – on the INSIDE of my shin bone. Consequently, when I felt sensation deep inside my leg, I kept running. Until one day, I woke up and couldn’t fully bear weight, nor did I develop any exterior swelling until much later on. The Doctor explained he treats a lot of runner patients who think they have nagging shin splints/calf strains and it’s often posterior tibial stress fractures. Some poor soul had it in BOTH of his legs recently. Can you imagine?!

The good news about this type of injury? Due to the location of the fracture, it’s low risk and heals up nicely without complications. When tibial fractures occur on the outside? They often require a hard cast and sometimes surgery to repair them. Dodged a bullet there, friends.

I shared my current fitness routine: weight bearing exercises (like Bodypump), some HIIT training, yoga and light walk/runs – mostly on trails.

He then had me jump up and down on one leg and  cleared me to run 5x a week (easy of course, and only if I want – which I don’t)  I’m free!

My running RX advice: 

-To start lifting super HEAVY weights, lower reps 2x a week. (5-8 reps max x 3, as heavy as I can tolerate, with good form). He says squats, lunges and deadlifts are ‘the three best moves’ for runners. This is to build bone density, without adding too much muscle bulk.

Good thing I bought that Olympic barbell, hey gang? The bar itself weighs 45# and I’ve been using that alone for upright rows, overhead presses, bicep curls, dead lifts and dead rows. Time to up my game. (I did 15 95# dead lifts yesterday and my back is so sore!)

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-Focus on slowly building volume and adding some downhill work once a week

Once I’m feeling good and strong again, I’m going to join his weekly runners club at the school track and local trails for speed intervals. (Man, I can’t wait to run fast again!)

To celebrate, I went for a leisurely trail run and soaked up the sun’s delicious golden rays. First shorts and tank top session of the year! Definitely got some color on my poor, pasty white skin.

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I came home with very muddy shoes and legs. :)

Saturday

I was on the go for most of the day.  After breakfast, I went for a bike ride with Glenn (remember him?! yes, we’re still friends) and realized I am SO out of shape when it comes to mountain biking. Climbing hills on a bike sends me into cardiac arrest.

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In the afternoon, I met up with the girl-gang bloggers at Orange Theory Fitness (which I’ll share my thoughts on later this week). Came home, made a nice dinner, watched a movie – Sex and the City, always a classic.

Despite being awake since 6:30am, I had a ton of energy to burn. Don’t you love days like that?! By 11pm I still wasn’t tired and had to drug myself with melatonin. <–  y’all ever take that? I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sometimes it makes me feel groggy the next day.

Sunday

I slept in until 9:15am (!!) and bailed on my plans to attend a ‘self love’ wellness workshop at a yoga studio in Banff. It’s not that I didn’t want to go, but I needed to prioritize some freelance work. I made myself a carafe of french press coffee and plugged away until lunchtime. From the comfort of my bed. :)

In the afternoon, I wanted to test out my new  pair of Salomon Speed Cross trail runners. I met up with one of my dude friends for a quick road trip to Banff.  If you have been wondering who this mystery  guy is that’s been showing up on my Snapchat…  (and if we’re dating) no. Just a friend. We work together, both enjoy the outdoors + fitness  and conveniently have the same days off. :)

I felt the need to clarify in case Leo DiCaprio reads this and thinks I am taken.

One of my favourite easy running trails is Johnson Lake. It’s less windy and touristy than Two Jack and Minnewanka. The trail is a (mostly) flat 3km loop. In the summer months, I love doing 2-3 laps in the evenings amidst the mountain magic. Sunrise and dusk is my favourite time of day to be outside!

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Parks Canada red chair marketing plan is pure genius. After Johnson Lake, we perched ourselves on a rock overlooking the Bow river and sunned ourselves until dinnertime.

A sunset walk through my neighborhood rounded out the day. Last night’s show was unreal!

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Now that the weather is nice and spring-y, I want to implement long Sunday evening walks again. It’s such a great way to unwind from the weekend and I tend to enjoy the best sleeps afterwards!

Do you have any weekend wind down rituals? How do you typically spend your Sunday night?

Trail running or regular running?

What’s the weather like where you are? 

 

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