Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Episode 1 – Where to start?

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My intention with this post was to give anyone looking for some insight into doing your first competition a really clear picture of what it could look like for you from start to finish. I hope that I can do this for you. And lets face it, I’m adding some serious pressure on myself when I go public with my plans.

I start my journey in Calgary Alberta where there really isn’t a heckuva lot to do in the City but the Foothills of the Rockies boast some of the best skiing and hiking on the planet. Luckily for me, I live in an acreage in the foothills  with my devastatingly handsome partner Jeff, our 3 dogs and my step-daughter Anastacia. We spent all winter building ourselves an amazing gym at home that has everything a person could need including an infrared sauna and hot tub for recovery!

As a semi-pro dancer with decades of athleticism under my belt I thought I would try my hand at some kind of fitness competition. After about a year of dedicated training and eventually committed weight lifting regime I decided that I would put my best foot forward and go for it. But where to start?

As luck would have it, a health and safety consultant of ours had been to competition before so I picked her brain about the situation. I knew that I definitely had my work cut out for me in trying to find a local, qualified trainer who could also help me with Vegan/Vegetarian nutrition to achieve the goals that I wanted.

What I learned: 

I needed to buy some meal prep containers. I bought these ones however, the lids aren’t as fantastic as I would like but they are sturdy and can be re-used several times and are about as cost effective and environmentally friendly as you can get in the realm of plastic.

Find a food scale. This is the best one I could research and it works well.

I needed to keep track of what I was doing currently. I used this app in the past and it’s working well for me now. You can print out your daily logs and send them to your coach when asked.

Find a trainer – this is coming in Episode 2 “Tail Chasing and Boiling Blood”…or something like that.

Find some show dates. I picked all natural and drug free competitions. I don’t like the use of steroids or other things that some folks use. That being said, you could go to those shows and just NOT do the drugs, but your chances of placing/winning would be lower.

Find some literature that I could trust and learn from. I bought this online book which is perfect for Vegans and Vegetarians alike.

Here are some links:

NPAA

INBF

IDFA

WBFF

Work my ass off (below). While I exercise daily, I by no means limit my food or alcohol so I’m basically maintaining what you see below. Not the prettiest sight however, at nearly 37 I’m alright with it. This is my “starting” image….hideous bikini, day 2 of my period, earlier in the morning than I’d like to be up.

   

Look out for my next post coming soon….this will get into HOW I found a trainer and all the BS that I had to go through to do it. Get googling, ask me questions and most of all – do your research! I’m blogging all of this so that you can skip the pain that I have gone through to get to the good stuff.

Fit on the road – European Vacation

 

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Running in Germany, spooky delight.

 

Aaaaah travel. Were it not for a very terrible series of events, this last trip I would have not taken for at least a few years. However, my friendship duties called, and on (very) short notice I made my way with my BFF of 20 years to Europe….an anniversary of sorts as we had made the trip back in ’98 as teenage gals and were heading back on *nearly* the same path.

Without a lot of time to pack the biggest thing to cover was getting all the true essentials into one easy carry-on bag. I made a small listing of necessary items on a Facebook post:

Key #fitontheroad ingredients for a successful trip abroad. First stop,#Vienna:

– portable water bottle
– hand sanitizer
– lip balm
– moisturizer
– baby wipes – for all surfaces of aircraft/trains
– kleenex
– earbuds
– a couple of pens
– a diary
– bergamot essential oils (in lieu of deodorant)
– peppermint oil (for headaches)
– wicked playlist
– good books
– podcasts that rock
– pre-packed workouts
– travel data plan
– last minute call to your banks
– phone charger
– power adapter
– foreign currency

 

I recently purchased a North Face small sized duffel bag which has become a miracle bag for me and travel. It converts to a backpack and fits enough in it for 2 weeks abroad in winter weather. A dream. Check it out HERE if you wish.

We boarded an 8pm flight from Calgary to London and from London on to Vienna and eventually Prague and East Germany.

Traveling over night is a great way to get your sleep on AND arrive a little refreshed. Unfortunately, I was enamored by in flight entertainment so I did not end up getting any rest. I did however, guzzle enough water to get a camel through the desert for a year…..random act of hydration, satisfied.

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Vienna, my newest love.

 

First stop: Vienna. What a town, what a place, what an amazing couple of nights. Not only had I never seen Vienna before, I had no idea what to expect and we had absolutely nothing planned. We found a great hotel near the middle of it all which had free internet and had been modernized. Hotel Mercur in Wein Zentrum. A little on the pricey side, no breakfast included however, free wifi and central. So, who’s complaining about working for their meals?

I have to admit, after booking the flights I soon quipped to my partner Jeff ” my god, Europe, what will I EAT?”. My last experience in 2011 with Spain and Morocco left me a little starved and disappointed. Lets just say, Vienna won it all back for me.

 

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Kat and I walked just 5 minutes and happened upon a little vegetarian hole-in-the-wall gem (pictured above)  that served some type of Turkish food. It wasn’t bad at all and whats more is it was better than most restaurants around Calgary. Full of flavour and colour. Beans, rice and a few dried fruits. This dinner was accompanied well by a glass of white wine and a walk in the chilly temperatures in and around the Danube and beautiful city of Vienna.

The hotel room we had was more than small, it was EENSY…but that was no match for work out number one as pictured below. With just 6′ x 3′ of space to work out I managed this couplet/butt series as well as a great walk around the city that night. I managed to have a great sleep for a full 7 hours after showering and a bit of reading and meditation.

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We woke up on Friday morning to the task of finding breakfast and getting some train tickets purchased. The train station was all the way across town and ended up very near a lot of amazing sights like a gigantic palace where a lot of Viennese locals were jogging around the footpaths. (Insert jealous huffy face here). The second day and only full day out I managed to look at the step counter on my iphone and we made it over 20,000 steps that day! We saw sights, stopped for a beer and even found a random pub with a veggie burger.

We headed back to our room for a little nap and some meditation then made our way back out to find dinner. Man alive did we find the spot that knocked our socks off. Yamm.  Vegan, Vegetarian, quality and amazing buffet style food. We loved it all so much we ended up going back to fill our plates twice AND sharing a small dessert. While Vienna pricing is not for the faint of heart, for the quality and atmosphere, this place was fabulous. Sadly, we planned to go back for breakfast the next day but were out of time.

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After dinner we continued to walk the city and take in the sights…even finding a fantastic local/organic/slow food market called MERKUR which just about killed me with all the intense variety of salts, truffles and vegan delights. We bough freshly squeezed juices and fruit for our breakfast in the morning along with a few treats and even a VEGAN chocolate bar. Yes, heaven on earth is Vienna, Austria.

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Merkur, your slow food won my heart.

Upon returning to the room later that night I whipped off this little Ab 300 routine that was a perfect way to end an entire day on my feet. You should try this puppy out, she burns. I like to throw it in on days where I have no set routine. Pairs up perfectly with Leg 300 routines as well. Google or hit up my Pinterest for ideas.

 

Now that our fun in Vienna had come to an end….off we rode to Prague. Excited much? Unfortunately, on a 4 hour train trip there isn’t much to do for exercise but stretches and walking the aisles while I was stir crazy I managed to find a great new Yoga app that I’ll tell you about later on in this trip, and I managed to make some use of a pretty neat little meditation app I have called Stop, Breathe & Think. Click HERE for details.

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Rolling out of Austrian borders and into the Czech Republic was obvious from the train window. Clean and tidy countryside became graffiti plastered, littered with garbage and generally more poor looking. While the Czech’s are part of the EU, don’t expect to see Euro’s here – they have kept their Crowns, so hit up a bank CZ-side…the upside? Way cheaper stuff. I don’t know how to communicate just how impressed I was by the food available in Prague. Last time I was there I was on an extremely small budget and ate buns and cheese from the market so I really have a narrow frame of reference however, I was floored by the amount of amazing vegan/vegetarian options and their proximity to the old and new parts of the city.

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Cue music: “Now I…..had…the time of my liiifffeee……”

 

Prague has done a lot of changing since I was there last. Nothing that you would notice outwardly in the first few minutes but the vibe is definitely different, and I guess I’m different too! What we did notice a massive influx of were these Thai Massage storefront operations. We had no choice to partake on our first night after a Long walk through the city and a hotel room workout. This workout was great because I had a lot more space to get a good HIIT in. Try it out.

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Thai Massage. Back cracking good times.

 

Day two was filled with seeing sites and walking over 30,000 steps that day. I was exhausted. Again, I can’t believe how handy this new iPhone iOS 8 update is…have a look at it a little further down the page. This day was so much fun, cold but a lot of great memories were brought up and we really had a fantastic time. We also managed to find FOUR Vegan/Vegetarian restaurants and got the chance to hit up two of them. I haven’t had such thoughtfully prepared Vegan fare since L.A. in August, I was a total peace and glowing after eating these meals. Impressed doesn’t even begin to describe how great the options were.

 

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Prague Castle – the 30,000 step day!

 

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Maitrea, Prague old Town. A great stumbled upon treat.

 

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Hummus & another appy dish at Maitrea.

 

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Loveg. Oh YES you did.

 

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Traditional Vegan AND Czech? You had me at Dumpling.

This night, Veganism took us to some amazing sites. We ended up at LoVeg where the food and atmosphere were second-to-none! To our surprise, there was a tiny rooftop terrace that we were shown to which just happened to look out onto the Castle lit up at night as well as a sprawling view of the rooftops of the old city. You know what? Eating differently, healthfully has really led me to be able to see a LOT  of sights I wouldn’t have if things were different. To add, when trying to find a great place to get some exercise without equipment AND outside, I’ve stumbled upon some pretty awesome places as well. Like Petrin Hill Park (below) and the cool little funicular that ran from top to bottom.

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A morning run through the park. There she is yonder!

The majority of the time spent in Prague we were major tourists and sightseers. We did find what I thought was a set of stairs heading up this hill the evening before this picture was taken. As is stands, in the daylight, it was an amazing park with a bunch of paved trails that lead uphill to a beautiful view of the orange and gold rooftops of new and old Prague. Breathtaking. There was even an old funicular railway system that I got to see running as I did some push-up sets on an old railing.

Czech out the Petrin Hill park HERE.

After a quick shower and a decent hotel breakfast at the Hotel Leonardo Prague, we were off to the races again. This time, a 6 hour train journey to North Eastern Germany. Hohen Demzin to be exact.

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Old friends headed to old haunts – off to Germany.

Now, the true reason for my travels was to say goodbye to my best friend Kat’s Oma (grandmother in German). She recently passed away peacefully yet completely unexpectedly. We had the great privilege of being able to stay at her home in a small village. The weather this time of year is not all that welcoming, though, with the natural and vast beauty of this part of Germany it didn’t really matter. Littered with amazing running/walking/biking paths, there is no way to stay sedentary even without a gym or equipment.

Here are just a few work outs I posted on my Facebook page:

 

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Hohen Demzin. Miles and miles of running trails and rolling hills.

 

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New HIIT cards came in handier than I thought.

 

I purchased a new 3-pack of these HIIT cards. Talk about making putting a workout together easy. You only need to pick the type of workout you want, match this by colour, add some cardio cards and you are off to the races! If you don’t have a list of possible workouts in your smart phone photos already – you really should pick these up. Cheap and easy workouts here folks. We also took an amazing 15 km bike ride up cobblestone paths and through a very large nature preserve-type area that housed dozens of amazing art installations. I even managed to see a bunch of castles and add some more handmade pottery to my collection! Using these smaller roadways I was able to fit in a 10km as well as a 7km run in this week. Even with the snow, the temperatures hovered above zero and made for some decent running weather. Minus a few mud puddles, all was well.

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Beauty begets peace.

 

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Airplane prep time – stretch it out.
Yoga apps & dancers legs
Yoga apps & dancers legs

 

The yoga app I used here is called Yogify. It is made by EA Sports. There are some free classes on here in a variety of capacities so if you need instruction while you travel, this one works very well. Try your luck at using it HERE.

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Fun on ice.

Karls. A wonderful delight about 1.5 hours down the Autobahn near Rostock. Strawberryland is really what it should be called. Anything and everything they can make out of strawberries exists here. And I mean anything. Jam, soap, liqueur. To die for. There were even ice sculptures, Gluhwein, ice skating, aquariums and DOGS allowed everywhere.

50's themed ice sculptures at Karl's near Rostock.
50’s themed ice sculptures at Karl’s near Rostock.

 

I did manage to go grocery shopping a couple of times to be able to eat cleanly. I was able to buy bananas, brussel sprouts, eggplants, lettuce, arugula, cucumber, tomato, onion, oranges, dried fruit, vegetarian mortadella as well as some decent quality unsalted mixed nuts and large bottles of water. What I didn’t prepare myself for were these chocolate covered rice cakes that Kat found. I didn’t buy any myself, but must admit that I had a couple and they were pretty darn great!

Healthy & bad for you. Treats are OK too!
Healthy & bad for you. Treats are OK too!
Bike riding to Schlitz Castle over 15 kms of muddy but stunning trails.
Bike riding to Schlitz Castle over 15 kms of muddy but stunning trails.

Traveling home again, I was prepared for the worst in food however, I was able to eat quite decent food all the way home. First stop: Berlin, Tegel airport. I managed to get a vegan bagel with avocado, sprouts and tomatoes at a coffee shop inside the terminal. Then, British Airways had a snack from Berlin to London that was a hummus wrap made with “all natural” ingredients and 100% vegetarian, THEN a stop in London where Apostrophe coffee shop had a curry hummus & roasted veggie sandwich on the menu. What I DIDN’T know was that Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant in Terminal 5 that will pack  “plane picnics” for you. WTH??? Why am I not living in one of these amazing places?

Finally, getting on the flight home to Calgary I decided that because I was arriving at 5:45pm local time, I would stay up the duration of the 8.5 hour flight and try to head off jet lag. Usually, I sleep where I can so I don’t eat much and I bring and fill my own water bottle. I travel with a Platypus collapsible water container. Check it out HERE if you like. I find it to be awesome for saving space and keeping hydrated.

We were served a curried rice as well as a half decent cheese/jam type sandwich. If you’re starving, it hits the spot. Also, the food quality seemed to be pretty decent as far as airline food goes and with most airlines you aren’t offered much past some type of unidentifiable meat with a Pepsi/Coke product.

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London, your airport food puts the City of Calgary to shame…..

Travelling is fun, exhilarating and mind-blowing. It can also be expensive, frustrating and exhaustive. If you fall out of your routines on trips or vacations you could  be placing more stress on yourself than you think. Guilt creeping in after too many fancy cocktails, brownie treats or lack of exercise can put a damper on your mental and physical “fun” vibes. Make a point to keep your endorphin’s running and your palate teased. Searching out amazing food can also lead to seeing amazing sights!

Playlists – your best workout pre-planning friend

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I’m not sure how often you all work out, but I am almost certain I work out 7 days per week. Sometimes a good session in silence is called for, but for my tastes I like a lot of variety in my tunes. The common thread? There’s gotta be an amazing beat! Something to pace myself by and that is possibly a little on the nostalgic side ~ I’m only human.

Here are some of my all time favourite workout jams for you:

Ace of Spades – Motorhead

Aint fit to live here – Graveyard

Am I demon – Danzig

Animal Rights – Deadmou5

Artsy – remixed by Edit – The Grouch

Bit by a little – The Smalls

Hot in Herre – Nelly (shaddap, it’s a guilty pleasure & now it’s out)

Middle of the road (cover) – The smalls

Pala Tute – Gogol Bordello

Woman – Wolfmother

Shame on a Nigga – Wu-Tang

The ballad of John and Yoko – The Beatles

Start wearing purple – Gogol Bordello

Get it together – Beastie Boys

I come prepared – K’naan

Shake – Shook Twins

Angel or Devil – Nomeansno

Must be losing my mind – Brett Dennen

Get lucky (feat. Pharrell) – Daft Punk

Unstoppable (remix) – Diplo

Default – Django Django

Transmission – Joy Division

Nice Legs…. – The Monks

Booty Swing – Parov Stelar

C.R.,E.A.M. – Wu-Tang

Have a good time – Team Canada DJ’s

1980 – Dirt Nasty

Any which way – Scissor Sisters

Kangaroo Court – Capital Cities

 

 

Welcome to the flungle

flu

Over the last few days at my office most employees seem to have picked up a sniffle, cough, hack or sneezing disease which I have been completely immune to. At this time of year I often wonder what it is exactly that gets people so run down that they inadvertently let sickness in. In the hopes that they would help themselves with a little help, I passed on some wisdom to them via email.

I am in the in-house health and nutrition consultant after all. Maybe you’ll let some of this work for you too!

” From the looks and sounds of it, we are under attack by some kind of virus or several viruses. There are a number of things you can do to prevent illness and speed up recovery.

Prevention:

  • Sleep – the body needs recovery time. There’s an article in the kitchen for you to read up on.
  • Exercise – don’t stagnate & stress out. Keep strong and purge physical and emotional toxins with movement. Any kind, 25 minutes per day.
  • Water – at least 1 litre per day to keep fluids moving and toxins with them. If you have trouble remembering, try this app: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/watango-daily-water-intake/id875850852?mt=8
  • Nutrition – you are what you eat. Fast food, lots of meat & dairy slow down your system and tax it heavily JUST to digest what you’re eating. If your gut spends its life digesting it’s taking a lot of energy away from your immune system. You’re also taking away precious recharge time with MORE digestion. Eat HIGH alkaline foods that are easily digested.
  • Things to avoid – alcohol, mass amounts of caffeine, drugs, late nights, stress, mass amounts of meat.
  • Hygiene – throw away old Kleenexes immediately after use, wash hands frequently, wipe down your workstations daily, use hand sanitizer, wash hands after shaking hands, opening doors and before you eat, cough/sneeze into your arm, wear a mask while contagious or out in public.

Recovery:

  • Sleep : your body needs rest. Put down the remote and have a nap, turn on the humidifier while you do!
  • Fluids : Warm water with lemon and honey. Hydrating and encourages mucus to take virus away. Also see prevention.
  • Nutrition : Warm soups like garlic or bone broths – clears sinuses and packed with nutrients. Try a “hot toddy”. Alcohol takes the medicinal qualities of foods/herbs directly to our bloodstream.
  • RECIPE: 1 oz brandy, ¾ cup hot water, 1 tsp honey, juice of ½ lemon – add ginger or licorice root or any other immunity boosting herb. Steep for 5-10 minutes and drink.
  • Herbs: Echinacea, ginseng, elderberry tea, ginger, turmeric, licorice root, garlic.

Maintenance:

Hygiene is the most important part of keeping healthy. If you keep clean it’s half the battle. The other half of the battle is staying healthy. I have an annual talk I used to give on influenza, in part of it I asked the audience:

“If you were given ONE car to drive for the rest of your life, how would you treat it?”

Your body is that vehicle and a reflection of who you are and what matters to you most – start with YOU. If you are healthy and happy and taken care of you can help your family and friends do the same for themselves.

Stay healthy over the holidays people!!

S “

 

Fit on the road – an introduction

Bagging Peaks in the Rockies
Bagging Peaks in the Rockies

My love of health and travel has led me to really push my abilities to stay fit and focused while traveling – a lot.

Whether it’s to a beach destination where the gyms and yoga classes are scarce…………..

Beach yoga Maui
Beach yoga Maui

……….to Sin City where in May, 45 degrees is too damn hot to work out in so you cruise through the Valley of Fire before hitting the Casino gym…………….

Working out late at night in the Nevada desert
Working out late at night in the Nevada desert

…………..to music festivals & hillside metropolitan cities where you walk all day from venue to venue………………..

Walking for hours at Coachella
Walking for hours at Coachella
Long walks and hilltops in the San Francisco Bay
Long walks and hilltops in the San Francisco Bay

……………….to the planets amazing mountain peaks that provide enough exercise for an army, or European escapes where you could nearly get arrested while in a Yoga posture in front of a Government building, or you may split your pants doing a maneuver after a scotch tasting..

Hikes & Yoga in Scotland
Hikes & Yoga in Scotland
Yoga in Moscow
Yoga in Moscow

I want to be able to keep a routine and feel great emotionally and physically without any excuses. Bad moods and lethargy don’t just come from celebratory holiday hangovers and that time of the month. We need to be sure to keep our “good vibe” chemicals in check – through movement.

Fit on the Road - Cancun
Fit on the Road – Cancun

What keeps you from being the best version of yourself while you’re on the road? For me, it’s already easy enough with diet; I don’t like sugar or treats, I don’t eat dairy at all unless there’s cheese on the odd item, pasta makes me feel like a lead balloon and meat, well, you know my stance on that. This may not be true for everyone out there. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Jalapeno chips and Gin Gin’s, luckily I have the will power to rarely buy these things. I guess I would have to say that my kryptonite in the food department is alcohol.

Raw & Vegan meals in LA
Raw & Vegan meals in LA

I love the taste of bourbon, Whiskey and Gin…on a Sunday brunch date, either white wine (sangria) or Caesars. I have made peace with the fact that my abdominals may never be washboard again as in my 23 years of Dance….Old Fashioneds taste too damn good. We all have our treats, vices and little cheats we wont give up. That’s ok, as long as we’re making sure liquor, cake and reality TV aren’t on the agenda every evening. Oh our poor livers, kidneys and grey matter!

I digress. We all know what good eating looks like: no preservatives, no packaging, home-made, nutrient dense, fresh, GMO free and mindful.

Real food & hydration rule.
Real food & hydration rule.

So, if Safeway isn’t coming to Namibia with you, how do you stay in shape cardiovascularly and muscularly with no gym?

For starters, you could prep for your trip and do a 1, 3 or 5 day juice cleanse to fire up your immune system and purge toxins….

3 day "Juice Juice" Cleanse
3 day “Juice Juice” Cleanse

But the answer is far more obvious and simple. Bodyweight workouts with little-to-no equipment. Write them down, download them onto your laptop and bring a GYM BOSS interval timer or download one for free for your smart phone HERE.

Camping - workout hacks
Camping – workout hacks

If you’re traveling soon (as I will be) take some time to look at these resources for workouts and making sane meal decisions while abroad. As usual I will be posting my #fitfam and #fitontheroad pics for inspiration on my INSTAGRAM , which reposts to my FACEBOOK PAGE, which will repost to TWITTER.

Workout Hacks
Workout Hacks

You should also check out my YOUTUBE channel for (literally) like 1 million amazing workouts.

You should also consider bringing a water canteen with you. Think before you buy. Nalgene tests on animals so maybe try something like this S’WELL bottle. S’well is great because it’s double lined and can hold hot and cold bevvies. This will increase your intake of water as well as save a bunch of plastic bottles from hitting the landfills and our beautiful oceans.

Follow my posts on FB often for more ideas. Here are a few you can start with…

wo3 wo2 wo4 wo1

Bon Voyage and stay fit.

XX – Sasha

Skinny fat / Fat skinny – why you’re rotting

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You’re skinny. You never have to work out because you just can’t gain weight. You’re a “lucky skinny girl”, you have “great genes”….blah blah blah.

What if your luck was actually a curse? On the outside you look amazing (ish) but on the inside, you’re falling apart.

I took this AMAZING 😉 picture of myself in the washroom today just before I went to work out and was reminded that of an experience I needed to blog about.

I was prompted to write this post after a short vacation we took to Mexico last month. While strolling by the beach, a young girl in front of us was preoccupied with a conversation on her phone. Twenty, thin and wrinkle-free, I was drawn to her as she walked ahead wrapped in a towel. I looked her up and down (as most females at least do) and as I came to see her knees and what dangled below them, I was shocked. Twenty-four inches of noodles held together by feet and knees stood erect, tubular and without shape. Slightly bowed, thin and tanned.

I looked at my partner and said “please tell me that my legs do NOT look like that, they’re so dead looking!” He quickly responded with a “NO!” and something like “gee, those things have no shape….”

My mind swam with all of the STUPID ideas that women have been made to accept, and I was mad. Nuts are fat, avocado is fat, coconut milk is fat, you have to weigh XXX in order to be sexy…diet, lean cuisine, Dr. Bernstein, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers. I mean c’mon, space food in micro-portions, filled with preservatives, GMO’s and carcinogens, burned to a crisp in your microwave is healthier than eating heaps of REAL food and moving your body???

There’s something very wrong with this picture.

And so the person that lingered up the beach before me bore the resemblance of what I see so often in the mainstream media and unfortunately in the general public.

Skinny-fat people, as they are sometimes called, fall prey to some pretty harsh health realities because of the neglect and damage they unknowingly subject their bodies to. Namely a lack of exercise/nutrition. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes(not just for fatties), dental hygiene damage, hair loss, dermatological issues, stress, depression, anxiety…..you name it.

Why you would neglect your HEART, the force that gives you life, I do not know. But PLEASE, please for your own sake, educate yourself. Go for a walk, do some weight training, be active, see the world. There is a happier, healthier, more amazing person in that tiny flabby body, I promise.

If you choose not to, that’s your life, but please, for the love of all things holy, do not breed. The world does not need any more people with nothing to give back. Even better, get yourself fixed.

If you want help, Google is there for you. If not, I am. You can do it.

Easy, quick results….ok, I’m sold.

I decided to share this with the inter web because everyone deserves to see a little truth behind working out once in a while. I am not necessarily bashful however, I AM a little embarrassed of myself when I let laziness or “life” carry me away from my passion of being active and fit. And that’s how this story starts. 
Over the last month and a bit I really let myself go….by my standards. Why? Well my little baby dog died and a slew of other obstacles presented themselves and instead of keeping focused, I internalized, I drank too much wine and I didn’t work out beyond walking my dogs a couple of times per day. I stopped cooking every day and was eating out at least once per day…it was madness for my usually clean, active and positive world. 
In this amount of time I managed to gain weight and become trapped in a cycle of bad moods and lethargy. 
Then the new year happened, I kicked it into high gear with running, yoga and cooking at home. What I didn’t expect to do was to join this 30 day challenge online (for free) and see results in 9 days. I’ve still had the odd beer, wine and even nacho’s last weekend. 
No money, no equipment and just 12 minutes per day, all arriving in my inbox. 
I didn’t adhere to rest days, and usually run for 30 minutes or do a 1 hour hot yoga/flow class to pair up with the 12 minutes. I also love skiing, hiking and spinning…..so changing it up helps. 
If you have 12 minutes to watch TV (ok, I don’t have TV but say Facebook then….)you have 12 minutes to at least give yourself the gift of movement. 
Check out BodyRockTV here https://www.facebook.com/BodyRock.Tv
If you’re looking for menu tips, check out some of my recipes and skip purchasing their menu plan. If you’re looking for alternatives to their equipment, check my feed on TWITTER: @trimmingthefat for alternatives on exercises and what equipment I did or didn’t use. 
Long story short, I’m astonished at the results for what I think is very little effort on my part. 
I’m proud of myself, and if you need a nudge, I hope this got you there. 
Sasha

YOGA – What your mother never told you.

I held off for quite a while on blogging about this particular subject. Why? You ask, simple – I was a little embarrassed at my motivation to be perfectly honest and I wasn’t quite sure how long I was going to stick to it. After over a month of applying myself a minimum of 3-4 times per week, I am ready to tell you about the proven benefits of Yoga AND what has actually benefitted me.

First of all, I am a high anxiety person who has to go go go! That isn’t really by choice, there is always a fire burning inside me that tells me to get going. I was getting sick of constantly feeling negative, tired and mixed up in my head. I couldn’t sleep, I over ate and I was COMPLETELY irritated by the most awfully simple things. In one word, bitchface.

I decided after I quit my stressful, hectic job in search of some meaning to my life that I would conquer the world of wellness and alternative health. No, I wasn’t becoming a lame-o hippie, I just wantedt to live a little happier for a little longer. I began back with Hot (Bikram) Yoga which is a killer 90 minute class, sometimes I could find a 60 minute one so I wouldn’t die on myself. Then I moved on to a Power Yoga (Vinyasa) class early in the morning to fit with my new job and schedule. Power Yoga has a heated room as well but it is about 5 degrees cooler than the 110 to 115 degree Hot class and the timing is perfect for me.

At first my body hated me, I had only done maybe 10 hot classes and 5 regular Yoga classes so I wasn’t my stretchy self as I was when I danced all those 23 years. I was embarassed and defeated at my abilities, but the teachers are so supportive and Yoga IS NOT supposed to be competitive. I had to get over it.

Once I went through the first week or two I could feel the strength in my body and mind, I could go through a day completely positively and I found people commenting on how happy I was. At my new job people were amazingly positive and I knew I had to have something to do with it! I felt great, impowered and healthy! What a fantastic and unexpected result. I could actually feel myself taking control of my body and mind. I felt like I could be 100 years old, still practicing Yoga and having complete control over my limbs and my mind. How liberating!!!

Not to go on too long BUT if you cannot seem to find your niche in life and you’re going through a case of the winter or booze blues, try a class or two, nourish your mind and take 60 or 90 minutes to zone out and let everything go. Your body, mind and soul deserve it!

Here are some of the MANY benefits to Yoga practice:

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

Respiratory rate decreases
Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
Cardiovascular efficiency increases
Respiratory efficiency increases
Gastrointestinal function normalizes
Endocrine function normalizes
Excretory functions improve
Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
Joint range of motion increase
Eye-hand coordination improves
Dexterity skills improve
Reaction time improves
Posture improves
Strength and resiliency increase
Endurance increases
Energy level increases
Weight normalizes
Sleep improves
Immunity increases
Pain decreases
Depth perception improves
Balance improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga

Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
Social adjustment increases
Anxiety and Depression decrease
Hostility decreases
Concentration improves
Memory improves
Attention improves
Learning efficiency improves
Social skills increase

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga

Glucose decreases
Sodium decreases
Total cholesterol decreases
Triglycerides decrease
HDL cholesterol increases
LDL cholesterol decreases
VLDL cholesterol decreases
Hemoglobin increases
Lymphocyte count increases
Total white blood cell count decreases
Thyroxin increases
Vitamin C increases
Total serum protein increases