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Losing Weight Does Not Cure Negative Body Image.

Fat Loss, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset By March 26, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

 

This is typically something you will not hear from someone who works in my field. Personal trainers have been profitting off of the negative self-image of others for a long time. Promising that when you lose 20lbs or you have a more shapely butt that you will just start to ooze confidence.

Unfortunately, a change in the number on the scale is unlikely to unravel your whole self-belief system you have held for the majority of your life. If you view your body negatively, the way you see yourself is not going to change just because you lose weight. The way you carry yourself is not going to change just because you lose weight.

As someone whose weight has varied from its heaviest at 220lbs and at its lightest 135lbs, I can tell you that even at the times in my life when I was my leanest I was never satisfied with how my body looked. I was in what a lot of people consider to be “great shape” and still I had no confidence – I was painfully shy and the idea of wearing shorts in public would send me into a frenzy of tears and panic. I would constantly compare myself to other women – especially models and actresses – and try to validate myself by making my body and my overall look similar to them.

Nowadays, I maintain a fairly consistent bodyweight, and although I am not at my leanest – I am probably the healthiest I have ever been mentally and physically. I am strong and mobile and I can do things I was not even able to do as a child – such as handbalancing. I now maintain eye contact with people when I am talking to them, I don’t speak quietly or mumble anymore, and I am no longer petrified of wearing shorts in public. And even though I am not what society considers traditionally beautiful – I am happy with my body: how it looks and all the wonderful things it does. And this confidence has trickled into all aspects of my life.

But I know not everyone feels this way about their bodies. We have it hard, as women society tells us that if we are not “conventionally beautiful” à la Victoria Secret Angel than we are not valued. By no means am I saying that looking like a supermodel is wrong, however there are maybe 5 people in the world that look like Victoria Secret Angels and there are 3.5 billion women being told to look like that and being told that they are not worthy or valued based on how they look right now. And this is a HUGE PROBLEM.

There are 5 women in the world that look like this and it shouldn’t matter that you don’t look like them.

We, the people, come in a variety of shapes, colours, sizes, ages, ability, and body compositions and we should never feel guilty or ashamed of being ourselves nor for simply being in our bodies. The sooner we acknowledge and accept that, the sooner we can heal our broken relationships with our bodies and develop a stronger and more positive self-image. We can ask for better representation of our diverse bodies by voting with our dollars with the products purchase, by purchasing from companies that showcase our diversity. Hopefully over time we will achieve better representation of our physical diversity and this will normalize all bodies.

There is a strong need for a more diverse range of people in our modern day media.

Outside of asking society to change the narrow representation of the female body there are things we can do ourselves. We must first start by accepting our bodies and loving them. We can do this by:

  • doing things that make our bodies feel good; moving, eating, resting, sleeping, laughing, dancing, singing, exercising in ways that we enjoy, etc.
  • wearing clothing that is comfortable and makes us feel good
  • surrounding ourselves with positive people
  • keeping an inventory of the things we like about ourselves and our bodies
  • being grateful for all the wonderful things our bodies can do such as breathing, healing, running, etc.
  • protesting messages and media that are non-inclusive with regards to our bodies
  • calling people out for body policing and shutting down body policing

I also strongly believe an integral part of developing healthy body-image also begins by detaching our value as human beings to our looks. I am not saying it is wrong to want to change the way you look – however knowing that are valued outside of your looks is highly important. We are whole people – with skills, abilities, and smarts that can contribute to the world in so many positive ways outside of our looks. Taking the time to acknowledge, develop, and use our non-aesthetic assets will allow you to positively impact the world and in turn reward us with confidence and happiness that conforming our bodies to a societal iron maiden never could. 

When we start to claim our presence as whole people, we remember that we are not hollow shells meant earn our place in the world by pleasing the eyes of others. Only once we have accepted our bodies as they are can we begin to love them and act from a place of compassion and treat ourselves with respect and love we deseve. Maybe then we will fully acknowledge that losing weight does not cure negative body image.

Our remedy for negative body image starts with how we think and how we act. We need to act in line with how we want to feel and stand together to manifest the changes necessary to make us feel more positively about our bodies. We owe it to ourselves to take the steps towards feeling comfortable, safe, and confident in our bodies, and we are the only people who can make that happen.

I know I am ready for women to feel normal, happy, confident, and proud of their bodies. 

Are you?

 

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – Snatches&Ladders

Fat Loss, Programming, Training, Workout By January 10, 2017 No Comments

Snatches&Ladders has made it here for this week’s kettlebell conditioning. A complex ladder that primes you to perfect your kettlebell snatch.

 

A1) One-Arm Swing(R)
A2) High Pull(R)
A3) Snatch(R)
A4) One-Arm Swing(L)
A5) High Pull(L)
A6) Snatch(L)

Rep Scheme: 5,4,3,2,1

3 Rounds. Perform the ladder as quickly as possible. Rest as necessary between rounds.

 

Enjoy 😉

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – Clean it up!

Fat Loss, Programming, Training By January 2, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

This week’s KETTLEBELL QUICKIE is here! A simple and straightforward complex to help train your clean and jerk.

A1) One-Hand Swing x 5 reps
A2) Clean x 5 reps
A3) Jerk x 5 reps
A4) Clean and Jerk x 5 reps
PERFORM 3 SETS PER SIDE. Rest as necessary between sets. Complete as quickly as possible.

 

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – UpDown Complex-Ladder

Fat Loss, Programming, Training By December 26, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

Perform the following complex as a ladder with the listed rep scheme. Perform the ascending sets of the complex with even numbered reps. Start with 2 reps and work upto 10 reps. Start descending the reps of each set with odd numbers starting with 9 reps working down to 1 rep on the final set. Rest as necessary. Perform as quickly as possible.

COMPLEX:
A1) Kettlebell Swing
A2) Goblet Clean
A3) Goblet Squat
A4) Two-Hand Press
REP SCHEME: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1
You can use this workout as a stand alone workout or conditioning complex after your regular training. To get better at this workout, time how long it takes you to complete the ladder and try to beat your time each time you attempt it.
Enjoy!

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE: It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing!

exercise, Fat Loss, Programming, Training, Uncategorized By December 20, 2016 Tags: , , , , No Comments

This week’s kettlebell quickie has landed, and if you haven’t guessed it already: it’s all about the the kettlebell swing.

This week’s workout is a short and simple complex consisting of 4 rounds of several types of swings with one minute rest in between each round.

Let’s do this!

A1) Two Hand Swing x 10
A2) One Arm Swing (Right) x 10
A3) One Arm Swing (Left) x 10
A4) Hand to Hand Swing x 10 per side

4 rounds. Rest 1min in between rounds.

 

 

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – Snatch That!

Fat Loss, Training By December 13, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I am thrilled to annouce that every week I will be sharing a kettlebell metabolic conditioning workouts that you can do in a pinch. These workouts will short and intense in nature and will be shared every Monday moving forward, so stay tuned! 🙂

Our first workout is a kettlebell complex to build and groove the kettlebell snatch. A complex means you will complete one round of the exercises without putting the weight down or resting.

This week’s workout goes as follows…

SNATCH THAT!

A1) one arm swing x 5 (right)
A2) high pull x 5 (right)
A3) snatch x 5 (right)
A4) one arm swing x 5 (left)
A5) high pull x 5 (left)
A6) snatch x 5 (left)
Do 4 rounds for time, rest between rounds as necessary.

Hop to it! 🙂

Share your times for you workout on Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget to tag me in the posts.

 

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3 Tips for Mindful Eating

Fat Loss, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition By November 25, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

“Everything moderation,” they say.

You know who I am talking about, your friends whole effortlessly lean and radiant, yet eat whatever they want. Small pieces of chocolate every day, pasta at dinner, the occasional decadent hot chocolate with whipped cream and full-fat milk. They’re never uncomfortable after eating. Their weight isn’t jumping around by 20lbs multiples times per year.

Meanwhile, you gain 10lbs just by looks at a piece of double chocolate cheesecake. You’ve been gluten-free, low-carb, calorie tracking, macrocounting dieting for God knows how long.  Eating 1400 calories religiously daily during the week, only to find yourself 10,000 calories deep into a large pizza on Friday night continuing on glutinnously raging through the weekend.

Trapping yourself in the cycle of restrict and deprive, and then bingeing as a “reward” or “treat.” Losing weight every week, gaining back the same weight every weekend, and losing that same weight again next week – punishing yourself with food restriction and excessive exercise to make up for the lack of “progress.”

The physical and psychological torments we put ourselves can be mind boggling. Clearly it’s not working. So why do we do it? Sometimes because we don’t know any better.

There is better. And we can do better. 

I want to talk to you about Mindful Eating.

Mindful eating isn’t some crazy “woo woo” trend you need to go to the Himalayas and train with the Dalai Lama to learn. In fact it’s quite simple and quite easy. You don’t need to count your calories, you don’t need to deprive yourself, and you don’t need to eliminate all the foods you love that been called “bad” by zealots who want you to believe that certain foods are holier than thou.

Mindful eating is done simply by paying attention to all the things that are happening while you are eating. Eating slowly and paying attention the sensantions, flavours, textures, and feelings that are experienced while eating your meals.

Because of the enhanced awareness we have while eating mindfully, most people who practice this are able to maintain healthy body composition while still being able to enjoy all of their favourite foods. When we slow down and focus on really experiencing our food we autoregulate our caloric-intake. This allows most people to avoid eating themselves to a point of discomfort, being overful, and taking in excess calories.

So how can you start eating mindfully? Start with these three steps.

  1. Put your phone down
    • In the words of the ever-mighty Erykah Badu: “I can make you put your phone down.” Maybe the phone isn’t your vice, but you want to avoid any distractions while you are eating your meals. Turn off the TV, put your phone down, and give your meal the undivided attention it deserves.  Being distracted while eating will take away from being able to pay attention to what is actually happening in your body. Are you hungry? Are you full? Does your food even taste good?
  2. Eat slowly
    • Next, you will want to make sure you are eating slowly. A lot of people are not even aware of how quickly they are eating. People who eat slowly tend lose and maintain weight more easily, and have better digestion, than people who do not eat slowly. You’re body physically needs time figure out when it satisfied (not full,) and eating slowly will ensure that you don’t jump the gun overeat unecessarily. The improved digestion will mainly start from taking time to properly chew your food better instead of taking larger bites and swallowing the food in large chunks, meaning your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down and process the nutrients that you are taking in. A good goal for a window of time to eat meals would be 20-30 minutes. If setting aside a half hour for a meal feels like an eternity, set a timer for 15 minutes and see if you can gradually eat a little bit slower each week.
  3. Taste your food
    • Start making mental notes about what your food actually tastes like and how you are experiencing it. Is the texture soft, chewy, crunchy, tough? How does your food taste? Sweet, savoury, salty, sour, bitter? How does your food smell? How do you physically feel while eating your food? Do you enjoy it? How could you improve it? How do you feel mentally while eating your food? Is it satisfying? These are all important things to pay attention while eating. And will allow you to truly experience your food and enjoy it significantly more.

 

So there you have it, eat what you want, but do it slowly, and savour the moment. 😉

Be like Erykah Badu, and put your phone down.

 

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“I can’t.”

Fat Loss, Lifestyle, Mindset By November 29, 2015 No Comments

Have you ever told yourself or someone else you can’t do something when you actually could? I hear it often enough from different people.

Self-defeating words that become self-fullfilling propehecies.

“I can’t save money.”

“I can’t wake up early.”

“I can’t cook food at home”

“I can’t go to the gym.”

*SPOILER ALERT: YOU PROBABLY CAN!*


Maybe there is someone who actually “can’t” do something, but I’m fairly certain if you live in the first world you are probably quite capable or have the resources to do anything you’ve ever imagined beyond your wildest dreams.


I was discussing with one of my clients what she could do in order to reach her goals. We were going to focus on one habit that would benefit her the most right now and work on it until it felt easy and effortless to her before moving on to something else.

After much discussion, I asked her if she would be able to work on her sleep patterns, I suggested that she should wake up regularly at 7am and go to sleep at 11pm.

I asked if she thought this was reasonable to which she said “Yes,” but then she said me “I can’t do that.” 

This was slightly shocking to me so I kept asking her more questions. I asked her what made her think she couldn’t wake up at 7am, and all she could say to me was that it was too early.

So then I asked her one more question: “If I gave you $10 000 000 to be awake tomorrow at 7am, would you wake up at 7am?”

To which she responded with a smile, a laugh, and a resounding “Yes!”


 

Whenever someone says to me “I can’t” there’s really only one answer I want to know.

“You can’t or you don’t want to?” 

Because there is a difference, and there’s nothing wrong with whatever your answer is.  However there is something sobering about taking responbility of what is actually in your power and what you choose to do or not do.

The reality is everything you’ve ever wanted is achievable. You can want a lot and it’s probably not unrealistic to say that you can achieve it as long as you show up regularly and put in the effort.

But that’s the catch – do you want to show up and put in the effort?

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Sleep Easy – Get rested so you can dominate

Fat Loss, Lifestyle, Training By October 18, 2015 Tags: , , , No Comments

You know that feeling of waking up exhausted – your eyelids are heavy like they’re glued down and the snooze button is your sweet sweet saviour. Maybe you decided to stay up late to watch of few extra episodes of Prison Break on Netflix. Or maybe you tried to go to sleep early and just ended up tossing and turning in your bed restlessly – waking up and answering text messages getting in a game of Candy Crush or two in between your sporadic periods of sleep.

Unfortunately, lack of good quality sleep can effect you physically and mentally. Not only does sleep deprivation lower your level of performance and impede your recovery but it can also change your hormonal profile to be less than optimal.

Taking a Laissez-Faire approach with sleep may work for people who don’t have structured schedules – however for those of us who need to wake up consistently at the same time we also need to make sure we are going to bed at the same time to ensure that we get the appropriate quantity and quality of sleep.

So how can you make sure that you are rested and ready to carpe the hell out of the diem when you wake up in the morning?

  1. Address quantity of sleep: Most people need anywhere from 7-8hrs of sleep. Knowing this calculate what time you need to go to sleep at and plan to start a sleep hygiene routine one hour prior to going to sleep. (Eg. I need to wake up at 5am and I need a minimum of 7hrs of sleep to feel rested, therefor I must be asleep by 10pm in order to wake up and not feel like I’m a zombie who was hit by a train.) Be dilligent with sticking to your sleep routine and eventualy it will happen naturally, your body will prepare itself to be sleepy by your bedtime and you’ll eventually start waking up without needing an alarm.
  2. Address sleep hygiene: Sleep hygiene consists of everything you do prior to laying down to sleep and setting up your sleep setting. There are several important things you should do to make sure your unwinding appropriately:
    • Make sure your room is cool and dark; black out any lights that may be emitted from TVs, internet routers, etc.
    • Don’t watch TV or use electronics before going to bed
    • Avoid stimulants in the afternoon (coffee, caffeinated teas, energy drinks, chocolate, etc.)
    • Do not eat large meals close to your bedtime
    • Do not do vigorous exercise close to your bedtime – try to do this in the morning or early afternoon
    • Limit the use of your bed to sleeping – do not watch TV, use your computer, read or write while in your bed
    • Take the time to write a list of all the things that are running through your mind before your bedtime (this is called a “brain dump”) – this will allow you to fall asleep easier if overthinking is a problem
    • Practice relaxtion techniques such as meditation or progressive relaxation before going to bed

Simply doing a few of things will improve the quality of your sleep which will allow you to feel more energized, be rested, perform better, and recover better. The implementation of a good bedtime routine is a game changer for the majority of people. It can hard to understand just exactly what you are missing when you’re not already getting that good quality 7-8hrs of sleep per night, but once you do, you’ll feel the impact right away.

What are you currently doing to manage your sleep? Are you going to try out any of these tips? Did this article help you?

Let your comments and inquiries below and I will respond promptly 🙂

 

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STOP OVERRIDING THE SYSTEM – Dealing with Burn Out

Fat Loss, Mindset, Nutrition, Training By September 6, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

4am on a cold day of February in 2011, there I was restless, tossing, and turning in my bed unable to sleep – this particular moment seared into my memory because both of my quads cramped and I was in what felt like the worst pain I’ve experienced in my whole life.

I went to bed at 9pm and so I could wake up at 6am to make it to the gym to train before I had to go to my lectures for the day. I would go to bed and lay there unable to fall asleep.

But this wasn’t something that happened once in a while, this was something that was my life for about 3 months. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

I trained 2hrs a minimum of 5 days per week before my 8:30am classes, one hour of hypertrophy based resistance training and one hour of steady state cardio…all in a fasted state.

I was a full-time student in college, and I worked a part-time job after I was done school and on the weekends. In addition to my own workouts I had several hours of sport based activity courses in program that I would participate in.

On top of this overload of activity, I thought it was wise to adhere to a Paleo-esque low carb diet.

I was the leanest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I was tired, I was angry, I was hungry, I was always sore, and my legs would regularly collapse while walking up or down stairs. My recovery was poor but the idea of resting or taking a break seemed petty.

It was brutal.

And I was willingly pushing through this thinking that if I didn’t do what it takes to get lean that I was somehow weak or incapable or unworthy.

I was running on E.

Eventually my body decided for me, that I couldn’t keep up. I got the point where I couldn’t override the system anymore. I became riddled with injuries, my strength was depleted, and the only thing I was physically able to do was hatha yoga (which became a very important part of my life.)

I had beaten my body into a state of no longer being able to function properly. And it had finally had enough. It tooks me months to recover and get back to being in good health and having bountiful energy. I was eventually able to get back to training but not to the extent that I was before.

But all of this could have been prevented had I simply listened to my body.

if-you-listen-to-your-body-when-it-whispers-you


My story is not unique – I see a lot of people doing what I did. People will  relentlessly do every thing possible for the sake of achievement despite causing more harm than good.

Just because we can do everything possible, doesn’t mean that we should.

There needs to be congruence between our input and our output. If we’re going to be putting a lot out then we need to be putting enough in. And the good news is that our bodies have a way of communicating with us to let us know if that symmetry isn’t there.

bucket full

We just need to LISTEN.

Our body communicates with us through several avenues:

  • Our energy and mood: Energy and mood play a significant role in telling us if we are applying too much physical or mental stress to ourselves. Ideally we should feel energized and have a general sense of well-being and overall satisfaction. Constantly feeling lethargic, depressed, sad, dissatisfied are indicators of imbalance somewhere in our behaviours. Too much output and not enough input, or even the opposite.
  • Our appetite: Our appetite is another indicator if we are currently under too much stress physically or mentally. If you are under stress it’s not uncommon to experience little to no hunger or have a voracious appetite beyond anything you could fathom. This can also be accompanied with severe cravings for food that are very carbohydrate and/or fat dense.
  • Our recovery: Recovery gets impeded when there isn’t congruence between our input and our output. Poor recovery is often experienced as constantly being sore despite consistent training, experience repeated nagging injuries, and general achiness.

STRATEGIES FOR BALANCE

If you are listening to your body and you are finding that you need more balance in your life there are some strategies you can implement in regards to your training, nutrition, rest and recovery patterns so that you don’t burn out:

  • TRAINING: Adhere to training protocols that are based on progressive overload but are moderate. Your training program needs to be tailored towards your lifestyle and not the other way around. If you work 40+ hours per week it’s unwise to follow a program that has you doing 2 hours of exercise for 6 days of the week. It would be better to adhere to protocols that incorporate resistance training 3-4 days per week, with moderate to light activity such as yoga, brisk walking, or leisure sports for an additional 2-3 days per week.
  • NUTRITION: In terms of preventing dietary distress, you’ll want to be moderate. Extremes in nutrition can lead to issues that transcend for beyond simply being “hangry.” Dietary moderation means incorporating all macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and variety of food groups.  It also means avoiding significant caloric deficits and learning to listen to the body’s signals for hunger and satiety to determine when to start and stop eating. Eating in a moderate manner with minimal restraing is the key to preventing uncontrollable cravings and the development of disordered eating patterns or food obsession that can attribute to stress and anxiety.
  • REST & RECOVERY: Rest and recovery isn’t something that just happens, we have to be prpactive in making sure that we are well-rested on a day to day basis other wise we will burn out. Recovering from the stress of exercise is important, but it is also important to recover from the stress in our day to day lives we can accumulate from finances, jobs, education, relationships, etc. This is where it can be helpful to implement strategies such as meditation, journaling, practicing gratitude, expressing ourselves through creative outlets (dance, writing, music, etc.), doing yoga, progressive relaxation, spending time with friends and family, or anything that helps to get us destress. In addition to destressing, we also need to make sure that we are practicing good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of having a regular bedtime and waking time in addition to creating a regular routine before bedtime that is free of stimulation (especially from electronics) that will make it easier for us to fall asleep. It’s also important to make sure that our beds are in quiet, cool, dark spaces to prevent overheating so we can sleep soundly.

 

Our bodies communicate with us every single day to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s up to us to be attentive and react accordingly.  If you’re exhausted is it really wise to go and train as hard as possible that day? Or would it be more reasonable to do a quick yoga flow for half an hour? If you’re hungry enough to eat an entire cow, is it wise to restrict your caloric intake even farther? Probably not.

Sustainability comes from moderation and balance. Balance is achieved by maintaining a healthy midzone between doing too much and doing too little. Making sure that we are matching our input to our output is the key to being consistent to achieve the results and behaviour changes we want.

Have you ever suffered from burn out? Are you going to implement some of the strategies here?

Are you implementing strategies I didn’t discuss?

I want to hear from you. 🙂

listen

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