Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's your pain?

I picked up the phone today to connect or network with a fabulous lady and successful business owner of she said something Epic to me at least and I feel it’s worthy of sharing.

We were talking about health and fitness and what it is that is blocking our clients and sometimes ourselves from achieving our desired fitness levels. What is causing the self destructive behaviours that block us from greatness such as: over-eating, over-drinking, over-anything that works in numbing us out.

Pain! What's your pain? Not the one in your knee or your back or your backside; but the one in your heart? That pain untouched, not healed or not shared will continue to cause the unhealthy self-sabotage that many of us are afflicted with.

My pain is still loss and grief. In the last decade I've lost my mom at 63 after two leg amputations, my dad 6 months later to heart attack at the age of 66 and my mother-in-law who passed three weeks later from cancer. They all missed the birth of our first son by 6 months. Just when I got a little bit of balance and what I thought a grip on parenting I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I was treated for depression but I believe it was unresolved or repressed grief.

After that next dark valley came the most unexpected and sudden loss when my baby sister dropped dead at 42 years old from a massive brain aneurysm. My bottom fell out. I have never experienced such earth shattering pain. I really thought I had experienced walking through loss until this loss. I had done multiple grief groups and counseling all good work but the loss of Catherine had me completely derailed for a good six months.

All I knew is I had to fake it for my kids and I had to keep on the path of health and wellness. I continued to teach (all the while faking joy) and yet was inspired by others wanting to change their lives and my sister was all over that. So I continue and will continue to trudge along this journey and while I've come out that dark tunnel and see sunshine again, when I experience those valleys of emotions or if I'm up late eating junk I try to pause as those are my signals to share with others my pain. Even if my head and heart aren’t connecting what's going on my negative behaviours are my signals that something is going on and usually if I talk it comes out.

A burden shared is a burden halved. I keep teaching, moving, sharing, motivating and educating so I (we) can share abundant health. So go move and be grateful for your body regardless of the shape. Remember wellness starts in our heart, then our mind, and then by moving and healthy eating. I wish you abundance.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm perfectly Imperfect I'm a Progressional Athlete

It's tough some days being a self-employed personal trainer. You see it’s a lonely business when I’m away from my clients and left to my own mind. When alone my mind defaults to the negative loop tapes and I do believe three tapes play at once in my mind. They tell me I should have rock hard abs, I should not have had that berry crumble last night, horrors if I'm online or reading a fitness magazine that I see those images and feel a sense of failure as I don't look like those super athletes or the super models who by the way have great pressure and magical tricks to capture those professional images of perfection. Usually after my workouts the tapes stop and I remember I'm just perfect the way I am.....perfectly imperfect.

For each person being ‘in shape’, the shape you desire is a very personal thing. Just the word ‘shape’ leads one to believe that this quest is an actual body shape and of course our society screams ‘skinny” is the shape. Don’t get me wrong it would be greet to be firm all over and have the muscle tone and definition I absolutely desire but people its progress not perfection. I am a Progressional Athlete. Professionals or elite athletes do NOT achieve what they do without sacrifice; be it relationships, never having treats or time with their kids (if they have any) and the list could go on. Define your own success. If I can fit a workout in everyday, be a good mom, wife, train my clients and keep a home somewhat clean - I am laughing and I am generally happy.

In regards to shape I learned awhile back to ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and fit isn’t about size. I have been blessed to work with some extremely strong and fit trainers and clients at the Body Exchange Health and Fitness. These plus-size clients are strong and fit and are achieving their goals long-term one day at a time, one workout at a time. They know results take time and loads of effort.

As a working mom balance is my constant challenge. For me to be the best person I can for my family and for you as a trainer I need to eat well and sweat hard daily. I cannot afford to call a walk my workout today - maybe later in my life. Today to shed unwanted calories and achieve the endorphin release I need to keep me sane I must raise my heart rate to my acceptable training zone. Google that folks. Depending again on the time I have that day sometimes it means splitting my desired 60 min into 2-30 minute workouts or 3-20 minute time frames. Be creative, today my workout was in the basement on my spin bike while I did laundry, spinning while watching the spin cycle. We can't all be carrying our yoga mats into a studio while wearing our lulu pants and then going for skinny lattes (but I can dream).

Look around your home got a room you can groove in? Spin, do a fitness DVD, join a class, walk, run, or dance. What's holding you back? No money get a workout off the internet or at the library, got money hire a trainer or join a group fitness class or bootcamp. People, it is progress not perfection.

If I can fit a workout in everyday, be a good mom and wife, eat healthy, train my clients and keep a home I am a success – if I don’t succeed at all the above I am still a success. Move more and eat less! Blessings to you and yours!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stress and Belly Fat

Did you know that stress can be your worst fat loss enemy? In the past few days working with my clients and talking with lady friends the subject of tummy fat has come up more than a few times. What is causing it? STRESS!!!!

While cortisol is an important hormone and a helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event. Higher and prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream not only have numerous negative health effects on your immune system it is also responsible for increased abdominal fat. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress. So what does one do? You must build in some ‘de-stressors’ and if you can do even one of these steps your body and belly will thank you!

1. Exercise – Of course this is number one for me and should be for you! This is one of the most effective and healthiest ways to deal with any kind of stress. Get moving, do something that you enjoy, do it daily and try your best to get a sweat on!
2. Network, Fellowship, Find YOUR Tribe – Reach out to family and friends to develop meaningful relationships. Stay in touch, even when you feel the most stressed.
3. Meditate and Slow Down – Build in some down time where you do nothing. Practice sitting for five minutes and just focus on your breath or something positive like gratitude. Increase that time and see how much more effective you are after re-setting your body’s stress response timer.
4. Be of Service and get out of yourself– Sometimes the best way to help yourself feel better is to help someone else. Small gestures can make a big difference and can get you out of yourself. I don’t know about you but I sure get sick of me, me, and more me.
5. Powerful words – Develop positive self talk or a mantra to encourage yourself. You are a grown woman and don’t need to hear it from others (although geez sometimes it’s nice).
6. Rest – Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep and almost everyone gets over tired. Stress can seem insurmountable under these conditions, so try to get your zzz’s on a regular basis.
7. LAUGH – Have a laugh, or plan something fun. Even if you’re under a timeline, sometimes by taking a break or having something to look forward to, it gives you renewed strength and energy. So take a break and have some fun.
8. WALK AWAY from or limit the time you spend with the people in your life who are negative, scared and fearful. They will drag you down and take your energy. Trust your intuition on who they are.
9. 70% is good enough – Accept imperfection for some things. Be realistic, don’t purposely set the bar low, do your best, but then accept your best even if it’s not perfect. Take imperfect action.
10. Be Creative – Nurture this side of yourself. Journal, paint, garden or cook.
11. Get organized – De-stress your mind and de-clutter your life. By getting organized you will save time too. Anyone looking for service work you are welcome to come by and help me out here.
12. Say ‘NO’ – Don’t over plan your life and prioritize what’s important to you (like exercise (put it in your day timer – make a date with YOU or a trainer!) This may mean saying no to some things like volunteering, social invitations, work commitments.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trying to figure out how to lose weight fast and safe can be confusing and overwhelming. There is so much information out there that can be baffling, overwhelming and it just makes you want to throw your hands up in the air or rather into a bag of chips. I hope this information can help you begin the path to weight loss safely and without pills. While weight loss isn't complicated (it's simply calories in minus calories out), how to lose weight fast and healthy is not so simple. Here's a 12-step plan for how to lose weight fast naturally. It starts with 5 basics:

• Make a commitment.
• Eat only healthy foods.
• Consume fewer calories.
• Get super quality nutrition.
• Exercise enough every day.

And while slow weight loss tends to be more permanent, it's still definitely possible to lose weight a little faster. But how fast is fast and how fast is safe?

12 Steps to Lose Weight Fast Naturally

You could lose 20 pounds of water weight your first week. But that's not fat. It takes approximately 3,500 calories to add or subtract a pound of body fat. So for each 500 fewer daily calories, you lose about a pound a week.

1. Reduce calories per pound.
If you currently eat 2,700 calories a day, by cutting down to 1,200 daily calories, you could possibly lose 3 pounds a week. But never average less than 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day.

2. Eat small meals more often
. Eating every 2-3 hours helps you keep blood sugar stable, avoid ravenous hunger and make healthier choices. Don’t get too busy to eat or you will sabatoge all your efforts. Plan ahead and think of healthy choices and prepare those healthy snacks and bring them along on those errands, don’t look for them at the mall or work that’s where you find sugar and empty calories! BEWARE.

3. Include way more daily fiber. Try filling up on high fiber foods that are low in calories, you can satisfy your hunger and feel full on less food.

4. Keep a daily written record.
Tracking calories, exercise and emotions in a weight loss journal, keeps you aware, accurate and accountable.

5. Manage time for weight loss.
Learning how to lose weight fast, safe and healthy is a major project that takes time management and focus. Research nutrition online there are so many incredible sites dedicated to your health and wellness. If you don’t know what protein or carbs really are then Google it and learn it. Print if off and post it on the inside of your kitchen cupboards. My favorite website:

6. Exercise and be more active.
Since physical activity burns calories and muscle burns more calories than fat, including exercise and weight training in your lose weight fast plan will help you lose weight faster. Weight training is especially important for women to prevent osteoporosis and ladies it helps to speed up your metabolism, burning calories faster and more efficiently. Hire a trainer to get you started or ask for help at your local gym. Correct form for your exercises is critical in achieving your goals and preventing injuries.

7. Drink pure calorie-free water. A high water intake fills you up, carries nutrients to cells and detoxifies your body. So drink at least 8 cups a day.

8. Choose the healthiest foods. We all know that a low calorie diet is much healthier – as long as you're eating the healthiest foods. This includes:

• Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic meaning (chemical free),
• Good quality low fat, high protein foods,
• And enough good fats with limited bad fats.

9. Avoid sweet and salty foods. Salt and sugar cause water retention and food cravings. Stick with low sodium and low glycemic foods.

10. Get every important nutrient.
If you want to be thin, looking good and feeling good too, you need to include quality health supplements.

11. Stop feeding your emotions.
Hunger is generally not the cause of overeating. Emotions are. So to lose weight fast (or slow) it's absolutely necessary to learn how to stop emotional eating and overeating. Get help, your life depends on it.

12. Focus and keep your eyes on the prize. To win the battle, you must make "lose weight" the goal through visualization. Do you have a holiday or event coming up? Picture what you want to look like and keep that image as your focus when grabbing for the junk food or the extra drink. Picture where you want to be in 5 or 10 years or even 1 year from now? Healthy and hiking or testing blood sugar levels and bedridden due to some self-inflicted health condition. Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? The choice is yours and you have to be ready to make your change!

To lose weight fast and healthy you still need to put these 12-steps for how to lose weight naturally into action. It works when you work it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nothing changes until something changes

I’m off to a friend’s bbq and it’s just not the same as when I used to head out to indulge. Today I load my plate but it’s done with awareness. I have too much information in this brain to live with my head buried in the sand when it comes to how many calories are going in the shoot and how hard I have to work to work to burn those calories off. Today I am trying to live in a constant state of awareness so that I can combat that sneaky accumulation of weight that happens when one doesn’t live in awareness of what is going into their bodies. Some people choose not too be in awareness or are even in defiance and by all means that’s their choice; yet deep down I believe we all want abundant health. We were made to enjoy abundant health!

So tonight I will make conscious choices of what I eat. If I choose the dessert it’s because I’ve had the extra long workout today, planning ahead I call it. Yet if I’m looking to loose weight (which I am) I’m going to have to stick to some healthier options on the dessert platter such as: fruit. It always helps if I tell myself I CAN have that cake if I really want it and perhaps tomorrow I will but just for today – no thanks!

Just Google ‘calories burned’ and look at how hard you have to work to burn the excess calories you’ve consumed. Look up how many calories your favorite dessert or drink has and you may make different choices. You do need calories folks don’t get me wrong it’s the excess you don’t want. Start educating yourself and you will begin small changes in your choices. Based on your sex, age, and activity level you can find numerous tools on the internet so you know how many calories you personally need. Anything in access of that will be stored as fat in your body. Pick one or two manageable changes in calories consumption that you can live with and start small. Don’t jump on the diet wagon and deprive yourself because if you are like me the self sabotage kicks in and I’ll double that consumption.

So many people complain about how hard they workout and that nothing is happening with their body. They go to boot camp or the gym 2 – 3x a week and nothing. It is a two part process effective workout routines and you must look at what you are consuming (nutrition). Here it is for fun and for free, the secret to weight loss: You must burn more calories than you consume.

If you eat more than your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) , you give your body more energy than it needs and it will store those extra calories (energy) as fuel reserve which unless you are burning those calories off will more than likely settle in fat stores in places you just don’t want them. So …..

1. eat more than your TDEE, your weight will increase
2. eat exactly your TDEE, your weight will remain constant
3. eat less than your TDEE, your weight will decrease

My best friend Maria in Ottawa has a trainer 2 x a week now and is ALSO maintaining her boot camps 2 x a week AND tossing in a run or two and is NOW seeing the changes she’s wanted and she’s proud. I too am so proud of her! It’s the best investment you can make – investing in you! Remember folks ‘nothing changes until something changes’.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sleep Yourself Slim?

I've had a nasty month of colds! Two in one month and then my eldest son was very sick last week basically having us housebound and me sleep deprived and exhausted. When my fitness, nutrition or sleep go off balance or disappear, you might as well lock me up. I'm certifiable. I'm so negative and I get so dark. I had to fake it to those around me and put on a phony smile but inside I felt horrible. Every happy or positive thing I read on Facebook I wanted to reach out and slap the person reporting it. That’s when I know I’m not in a good place. The importance of the endorphin fix and the well-being I receive from a good workout is indescribable. No, not true, I can describe it: just one more day of no workouts and you’d see me being carted away in a straight-jacket screaming and flailing my arms and legs; because it sure felt like I was heading there.

What changed? Rest, rest and more rest. I had to force my son to rest and I had to take the same advice and force myself to rest. For those of you that know me well, you know I don't particularly like sleep or sitting still for that matter. I'm a night owl and I feel like I'm missing ‘the’ party at the thought of going to bed before 9pm. My head knows better but it’s just the way I’m wired. To get well I knew I had to really focus on increasing my sleeping time these past two weeks as well as keeping my expectations of myself and tasks I’d like to complete to an absolute minimum.

Our families increased sleep worked and we are all healthy today! We celebrated by climbing rocks and playing at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver and then home for a great workout on the spin bike. What a glorious day!

So super athletes, wanna-be-athletes and couch potatoes listen up! Along with good nutrition and great workouts, we really need our sleep!! According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking, and breathing.

Studies have consistently shown that sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity and emotional well-being. This explains why, after a good nights sleep, you feel better, your thoughts are clearer, and your emotions are less fragile. Without adequate sleep, judgment, mood and ability to learn and retain information are weakened. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to an array of serious medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even early mortality.

Weight gain is one of the most disturbing consequences of lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep tends to disrupt hormones (including leptin) that control hunger and appetite. The optimal amount of sleep for weight control is between seven to eight hours a night. 68,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School reveals that women who sleep five hours a night are 32 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds or more as they get older than women who sleep seven hours or more.

Common sense says that someone who’s awake and running around should be using up more calories than someone who’s in bed. Running around should make them skinnier, right? But the study, conducted over a 16-year period, reveals that even when the women who slept longer ate more, they still gained less than women who slept less.

So shut the computer off and get to bed and prep your body for some calorie burning energy!!! Night night and see you really soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Manageable Chunks of Time

We're all so busy!  Some days I can barely manage to get the kids to school on time with healthy lunches in their backpacks BUT there are no excuses that can justify letting my health come last.  Not money, stress, jobs, kids or schedules!  

If you make health and fitness your number one priority - your body will carry you through all you need to accomplish (both stressful and joyful) and with a renewed energy.  Everything in my mind and in my day changes to positive after a good workout.  It would then make sense for me to do an am workout and have those good positive feelings all day long yet my busy reality dictates when I can actually get that hour in so I take it one day at a time or should I say one hour at a time and if getting my workout in is important it gets done.  I just know if you are struggling that we all hit a point when we just know something has to CHANGE.  We get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  This is right about where the head kicks in and will be out to get you! My negative self talk kicks in the moment my eyes open.  I'd love to say I'm the glass half full girl but it's the other way around and I really have to work at the positive affirmations.  I just keep reminding myself this is no dress rehearsal.  I get one crack at this life and I had better treat my body with respect by what I eat and challenge it to work hard by the fitness I engage in.  I'm human and I too fail, cheat and sneak chocolate and some days don't even do a workout (shocking!) but I dust myself off and the next day keep trying over and over again.  Don't let the slip off the wagon be the road to more pounds and more couch time.

As a trainer there is nothing I love more than the call I get when someone is serious about making change.  Last week it was from two awesome ladies.  First, Nurse Judy who is active, she walks her dog, dragon boats 3x a week and did I say she's a nurse.  She is really motivated to change some poor habits and to loose more weight and tone up.  Portion control with her food is the number one change as there are diabetic concerns with herself and some family members.  Weight is beginning to drop for her and family members as she begins with controlling the portion amounts on the dinner plates.  She hired me to come to her home to train her as she does a portion of her work from home.  She wanted some 10 minute programs set up as she realizes she more likely to adhere to a mini program in manageable chunks of time.  She wants to fit her workout into her work schedule right where she's at - at home.  She now has a weight routine for when she's on the phone sitting in her chair to tone her upper body along with some other full body training programs.  She's a nurse and she knows all the secret formulas for loosing weight and staying healthy but she's human and she needs help.  She's choosing to be accountable to me as her trainer and knows her own limitations and can set her fitness goals so they are realistic and attainable so she will be succeed!  She is working out in small 10 minute time frames during the day hoping to reach 3 x 10 minutes at day in the next month. I see her in 3 weeks so keep up the good work Nurse Jude!

Another fantastic lady I train, Maureen works crazy hours as she owns a boutique public relations firm  She needs to train in her gym and also wants variety so we meet outdoors at either the ocean or in the forest.  She is open to change and this variety keeps the workout different everytime.  Perhaps we'll toss on some bands and huff it up Quarry Rock next?  Who knows give us a little more sunshine and anything is possible.  It's the people I work with that makes me love my job so much!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Put down the sticks!!!!

Wow I'm sure learning a lot about myself these's exhausting in a good way!!

I was exercising last night on my spin bike (instead of snacking because that's what I really wanted to do as I was disappointed about something hmmm interesting link) and I realized when I closed my eyes that the image I had was these little gremlins with sticks surrounding my spin bike while I cycled.  I thought that was a rather interesting and yet disturbing image and I really had to think about it and write about it.  I don't want my exercise to be a punishment or have any negative emotions tied to it.  I don't want to think about the treat that I just burned off or that I've burned enough calories to eat a treat.  I don't want my fitness to be about 'evening out the scales' so to speak.  I desire a positive and healthy balance with my thoughts, my eating and my fitness.

I am a trainer and I've got the eduMacation to know about effective program planning, nutrition, and have a gift to movitate others but I too am human and suffer the same emotions many of us go through.  I know it's not only women that go through this but I will speak to you ladies - put down the sticks you're beating yourselves up with; I am.  I most certainly would not be training you with a stick in my hand and speaking negative words at you so why would I allow this subconscious stream of thoughts to be happening within me?

Start looking at JUST TODAY.  What did you do that was healthy?  Put that down in writing.  I use my Outlook calendar and just track the amount of time I exercised and the method (spinning, running etc).  It makes me feel like I've really accomplished something big no matter how small.  If you parked 1/2 block away from the school write that down.  Did you eat a healthy breakfast instead of a sugary cereal on the run.  Did you meditate for five minutes?  Did you take an hour to study for an exam which is stressing you out?  Did you find the courage to confront a situation that you're avoiding which is finding you snacking in front of late night t.v.?  When you were getting dressed what self-talk was going through your head when you saw your reflection something negative or positive?  It's not too late to start your day over right now.

Today I'm trying to focus only on positive thoughts.  I'm going to go now and type in my 50 minutes of spinning, pat myself on the back and drink a protein packed smoothie!  YA Me!  I feel such gratitude for my body, my mind and my health.  I wish you a beautiful and healthy day and may your hands be light and empty of sticks. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who motivates you to strive for your best?!

What or who motivates you to stay fit and healthy?

You haven't heard from me for well over a month. What happened you wonder?  Assuming all you think about is me and my blog (ha!) my life got way too busy to sit quietly and write.  As a mom of two boys, wife, business owner, and someone who tries to participate in service I got overwhelmed and as my husband says....very fragmented.  Old behaviours of being everything to everyone and saying YES when I should say NO.  Not to mention darkness of this Vancouver winter crowding in on me; remember us trainers are prey to the very things you struggle with when adhering to a fitness program and staying motivated.  Me getting in the way of me.

March is also a month of reflection on someone very special to me who left this world April 1st, 2009 - my baby sister Catherine Gordon.  Catherine died from a massive brain aneurysm at the young age of 42 and her sudden departure rocked my world, my heart and my priorities.   When my heart is heaviest, I try to sit in my emotions of grief and pray that I can express those emotions in healthy ways through exercise, painting or other methods of creativity.  I am reminded that my life is so very short and precious.  I look at my body as the vehicle in which I'm to move through this life and I do want to move through it as long as possible and with the greatest of ease.  Catherine was always educating herself with new nutritional information especially the negative affects of junk foods and other high glycemic (google that) and processed foods had on her body.  She was a great advocate for just MOVING and was always walking some days for hours and continuously tried to work on past issues and FORGIVENESS.  She kept life simple and she was a SUCCESS!  She focused on RELATIONSHIPS as the number one priority in her life.  Not only was she a success she is also a HERO as her healthy organ donations saved 5 lives the day she left this world because she looked after herself the best she could.

When I need to be motivated I close my eyes and I see her smiling face.  In fact I used to workout for the longest time with a photo of her smiling at me. If you are like me and are extrinsically motivated, you need to find that motivation in others or outside of yourself.  Get into group fitness, bootcamps or start working with a buddy or a trainer.  For those that are intrinsically motivated well they're up and running every day at 5am by themselves ~ I envy you, applaud you and wish I was like you ~ but I'm not. 

I am a firm believer in not only exercise but in looking within and healing those wounds that keep us trapped in unhealthy behaviours whether it's drinking too much, emotional eating and/or other behaviours that adversely affect you and your health. Exercise and nutrition are huge components for optimum health but refusing to look inwards at our wounds can keep us trapped in unhealthy patterns of self-sabatoge and it's far more difficult to see your fitness results.  I know as I battle it continuously.  Ladies and gentlemen, we need to put down the sticks we're beating ourselves with, and look to whatever you need too to begin the healing journey.  For some it will be your faith or in finding a faith, through health professionals, counsellors, 12 step groups etc.  There is something out there for everyone to get well.  It's your life, your body, your soul and your choices.  Choose well as you are so worth it.   Have a healthy week!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day.  I'm hoping you've all had a chance to feel some loving today and if not, perhaps then you had the chance to give some away.  My friend was sharing that she was trying to take time to be kinder to others when she's running around doing her errands.  Simply taking moments of pause as you go through the grocery store checkout.  Instead of wishing everything went faster how about wishing everything went slower.   Taking the time to smile at others, to greet your cashier by their name (it's not only on their uniform so you can complain about them).  Shock them out of their boredom and give them a nice compliment.  I don't know about you but when I take the time to feel those good loving feelings in the mundane and everyday places I tend to feel better about everything and generally everyone. 

Okay back to fitness....and food.  We've all got so much to do and places to be that I'm going to give quick tips and I won't do information overload. Implement one or two changes per week.  Make it all manageable.  I tend to be an 'all or nothing' gal and I'm really trying to slow down and make a few realistic and manageable changes each week. 
 My session with a client today was great.  It was pouring with rain and I let her decide where she wanted the session to occur inside or out.  I was so pleased when we were running up the side of the mountain in the trails down in Deep Cove.  Protected by the trees and with the sound of the rushing river one cannot help but feel ALIVE and grateful for the lungs and the legs carrying us up the hills.  Adding hills can really help the cardio improve and by changing your routines from the same old thing.  Don't do the same form of cardio every workout or you will stop seeing results as you plateau you must confuse the muscles and you will get better results.  Well it's storytime in the next room so I must go.  Have a healthy and love filled week. 

Today's quick tip:  10 Favorite Energy Foods

  1. Whole wheat pasta
  2. Oatmeal
  3. Fruit smoothies made with low-fat yogurt
  4. Peanut butter
  5. Dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, raisins, figs)
  6. Yams
  7. Beans
  8. Apples
  9. Carrots
  10. Chickpeas

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Unusual Workout!

Nothing like a new workout routine to keep you motivated! 

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.

Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.) You’ll be sweating now!!

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

            This Irish workout is compliments of my lovely cousin Diane K. xo

Monday, February 7, 2011


First of all, your body primarily uses carbohydrates (carbs) for fuel. Fat contributes to fuel needs, but your main source of energy comes from glucose. After an evening of rest, your body’s stores of glycogen (stored glucose) is somewhat depleted. Your brain prefers glucose for energy as well. Given this information, for optimum performance and energy, it IS best to eat something prior to your morning workout.

Your best bet for a quick morning meal is some complex carbohydrate for longer lasting energy, mixed with a small amount of protein to moderate your blood sugar. You want to avoid an insulin spike at all costs (this means don’t eat only simple carbohydrates!). Follow this simple rule and you will reduce the amount of times you reach for a quick sugar fix because you will crave less by keeping yourself properly fueled.  Don’t avoid carbs rather educate yourself about which carbs you should eat.

Check out this link and cut and paste onto your fridge.

Depending on your energy needs you could try:
-a hard boiled egg and half a slice of whole wheat toast
-a cheese string and an apple
-a glass of skim milk and half a banana
-sprouted grain toast, organic peanut butter and a glass of skim milk
-half a cup of 1% cottage cheese and fruit (I combine cottage cheese with low fat yogurt)
-a protein smoothie mixed with fresh or frozen fruit

Well I must go eat my boiled egg, one piece of multigrain and jump on my spin bike!  Have a great day! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

February is Heart Month

This is a very special month to me as it is the thief heart disease that ended my beloved parent’s lives.  Today I want to fight against this disease and I’m passionate about seeing sedentary or stressed individuals make the change to turn their lives around and live happier, healthier and more physically active lives.  We were created to be vibrant and happy lives.  Physical activity can be a lifesaver – literally. When you’re active 30 to 60 minutes a day, most days of the week, you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular activity also helps prevent and control risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.  

Adding more activity to your daily life may also reduce stress levels, increase energy and improve sleep and digestion.  Because physical activity makes you feel better about yourself, you’re more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices and to avoid bad ones such as smoking, overeating or drinking too much alcohol.

Benefits may begin within the first week of regular activity. For example, your blood pressure may start to come down, and you could feel more energetic and relaxed. After three months you may experience better health, improved posture and balance, stronger muscles and bones, more confidence and a more positive outlook on life. Before starting a physical activity program, it’s best to speak to your healthcare provider first to discuss what is right for you.

I love you all so much that I am cutting my personal training rates in half for the month of February 2011.  For $30 hour I will train you in the month of February.  Contact me today at Dragonfly Fitness 604 803-7757 - Your Mobile Personal trainer, to set up your appointment today. 

Why do we close our eyes when we pray, when we cry, when we dream, when we kiss? Because the precious moments are not made to be seen, but felt by the heart! ♥

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gratitude and Celebration

Today is a great day!  I kicked off the sixth consecutive month of Dragonfly Fitness Group Fitness classes running and more importantly I celebrate the women who have supported my business and their lives by committing to their health and fitness!  You a beautiful, strong and amazing!  I am so proud of you. 

Through my blogging I hope to reach you with a level of honesty to help you see that while I have fitness as my passion and vocation you will see that this trainer is human and I battle many issues if not all of the same issues you do.  So today’s question is:  Am I lazy?   Hell yes, I wake up lazy!  I was born lazy.  It is my natural default and again there is no pride in proclaiming this to the cyber world I do wish I was wired differently somedays! 

There are no excuses for me in not achieving my own personal fitness goals aside from pure laziness which I combat daily.  I am telling you this because I DO NOT bounce out of bed and think, "I can’t wait to work out and do something really positive today"!   Rather I stagger from bed and think, "I have to get that workout in as I will feel like a million bucks when I do and I have never not felt better about myself, my health and life in general after a workout."

With my busy life I have to schedule that workout into my outlook calendar as an appointment.  I purposely give up an hour of paid work time to book my workout in first or else it will not get done; it is non-negotiable.  Not only does the rest of my work day become more productive but my mindset and attitude is drastically improved if I take care of me first.  That being said, secretly I’d much rather not workout and I always desire the easiest and softest way possible to that slim and toned body of a twenty year old - really don’t we all.  This is reality fitness though and not Shape Magazine so I don’t need to tell you but I will; unless you were blessed with incredible genetics and perhaps are in your twenties or in your pre child-bearing years, it certainly doesn’t work that way. 

When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired like I was you will make the necessary changes and only then.  When you are ready the North Shore has something for everyone.  Group fitness classes, boot camps, personal trainers, there is something for everyone; whether you are a beginner, plus size, intermediate, very fit or an elite athlete.  Do your research and ask questions so you don’t set yourself up to fail.  If you haven’t trained for years start at a beginner level and excel in your class, then move on up.  Do not let fear keep you on the couch any longer.  You just need to make the commitment to begin.

Start with small and realistic goals and better yet; do it with a friend or a group of friends.  It’s so much easier to commit and adhere to your program when others support you and you are accountable to them.  Some of us (me included) need a personal trainer in order to motivate and challenge me to have a focused and results-oriented training routine.  You will be amazed before you are half way through a boot camp or a few weeks of classes at how much better your feel about yourself and how your strength and energy increases. 100% of my participants increase in strength, stamina and loose inches and gain a better outlook about life and themselves. 

Make your first step today and plan your new fitness plan for 2011.  Figure out what your obstacle(s) are that are blocking you from achieving your goals and remove them or get the help to remove them.  I wish you every success one workout at a time.  Feel free to contact me for assistance and if I’m not the right person for you I will refer you to some awesome people in the fitness industry. 

Caroline O’Neill Liggett
Mother and BCRPA Certified Personal Trainer
Owner and Operator of Dragonfly Fitness

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life....It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." -Melody Beattie, American author

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Journey

So my journey back to health and fitness. I was always active and playing sports and was getting awards in school for fitness except it was always MIP (most improved player) and never MVP.  I tried not to get choked about it because it was my good friends winning those MVP awards.  I learned that I was trying my best and while I wasn’t the best, I was an important part of a team.  Team sports within school and community was where it was at as far as sports being fun but I really wasn’t one for going the extra mile unless a championship game was on the line and then it was full output of energy.  Fast forward into my twenties and early thirties and I’m not too proud too say I did as little as possible in the area of fitness unless again it was a fun volleyball league or the ultra fun of dragon-boating and skiing when I could indulge in the team bonding or get into the more important après ski events, if you catch my drift.   

Skipping ahead a few après ski moments later through an event-filled decade of my life to after my first child were born in my late thirties. Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with son number one, both my parents died suddenly within 6 months of each other and my mother-in-law died 3 weeks later.  It was a very dark time.  I glided through on numbness, autopilot and support from good friends.  After son number two was born two years later it seemed to all hit, the grief, the hormones and the postpartum depression.  I began trying all methods of help available and as usual the last resort was exercise and it miraculously became my number one medicine.  Today it is the mood regulator that works for me; I cannot live without it.  I fell in love with fitness after I realized the benefits and it was the answer to reclaiming my physical health and mental health.  Son number two arrived a whopping 10.5lbs. and needless to say I had more than a few pounds to shed.  It has been a slow road back to where I feel good in my skin and strong in my skin. 

Making the choice to be at home with my two boys I began re-training for a career in fitness which would allow me to juggle both family and work. Today if I miss a day of fitness it’s my husband who cringes and tries very hard to support me in opening up time to get it done.  I’m very serious when I say it is mood altering drug for me. 

I’m not sold on any one specific workout as I’ve had to learn to enjoy many types due to my lifestyle.  When my children were young exercise DVD’s and free weights was what worked best for my schedule as I could not get out the door until Mr. Wonderful came home.  I then took a turn at running (literally out the door) for a few seasons of 10km’s and running clinics.  Then came the need to get out with others and I found excellent boot camps on the north shore designed to kick my butt back into shape and of course the local recreation centers always had a class that fit into my schedule.  Today I teach group fitness classes, at the local recreation centres, teach privately and have personal training clients who I just love working with. I also attend sessions with a personal trainer on the North Shore.  Chris Kwan has just a few years on me but she is sinewy, strong and truly leads by example and is a wonderful woman.  She makes me laugh and I really like her, aside from being qualified that is for me important component when picking a trainer.  Tomorrow I’ll chat about some of the obstacles that block me from achieving my goals.  Have a healthy day!

Caroline O’Neill Liggett
Mother and BCRPA Certified Personal Trainer
Owner and Operator of Dragonfly Fitness

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reality Fitness After 40

Many women have the luxury of awaking to their alarm clocks with soothing music playing to gently lull them out of their sleep. My alarm clock kicks my door open and in a split second has thrown its 65 pound body across mine and is doing his best renditions of Kung Fu Panda across my bed and bouncing of my body. Just when I’m coming too after the initial shock and my heart rate is coming down to a normal resting rate, in runs number two son and the belly flops begin. I slither out of bed unnoticed looking for my cup of coffee. Another day has begun and I vow today will be different. I will be focused, organized and of good spirit. I will create a home full of peace, harmony and incredible efficiency. Minutes tick by, the coffee is ready and the breakfast is done.  We’re organized and we all fall into our TV and computer habits and then I look at the clock and panic! WE’RE LATE!!! HURRY UP! Get your shoes on! Where’s your backpack?!  Mom...scholastic orders are due, it’s hot lunch day I'm told after I've made the lunches, irritated at them for not telling me earlier but honestly irritated at myself for not taking time to read my notices from the school.  If only I was more organized.  Why don’t I get up an hour earlier and meditate or go for a run?  If I was just more disciplined then everything would be peaceful and serene.  Not today Zorg!

We are loud, we are wild and yet we are all happy within seconds of driving to school – even somewhat ecstatic if we know we have beaten our neighbor Tina to school. We arrive first at school and the van is unloaded, the boys run to their friends and the day stretches out ahead of me - full of promise. I once again imagine in what order I should organize my work, the errands and ultimately and most importantly; my much needed workout – my medicine!  Check in tomorrow and I’ll share my journey back to health and fitness.