We give so much to our relationships with our significant others, our friends and our family… but how often do we give attention to our relationships with food and movement? I learned the importance of this, the hard way.
In the beginning of my fitness journey I thought I needed to be extreme in order to see progression. I always go all in when I have a goal in mind – which is as positive as it is negative. I would hesitate going out with friends because I knew my evening would consist of saying no to tempting foods and passing on a glass of wine. I almost began to loathe being asked to attend events. I was exhausted trying to keep up. I began to question what this lifestyle was really doing for me. I reach my goals, sure… but at what cost?
I realized that this lifestyle wasn’t worth it and it made absolutely no sense depriving myself. I shouldn’t feel guilty indulging in one meal or spending time with the people I cared about. I realized I needed to learn the right ways to do this. How can I reach my goal while still having a life and feeling good? How can I still be balanced and still maintain my progress? The answer was simple: quit doing more and simply do less.
Here’s what I learned:
1. You don’t have to deprive yourself.
Realistically speaking, there is only one way to lose body fat: be in a caloric deficit (and the deficit doesn’t need to be 1000 calories). If you want that one meal on the weekend then GO for it! It wont make or break the results you have made thus far. If you want that glass of wine, drink it and ENJOY it. There is no need to feel guilty afterward. As long as you are eating well often and moving often, you will be fine. Live your life
2. You don’t have to eat salad every day.
Don’t get me wrong… I do LOVE me a good salad, but I definitely don’t eat them all the time. We are conditioned to believe that we have to eat like rabbits and aren’t allowed to eat food that taste good. How boring of a life, right? So instead of feeling like a slave to food, I learned that it really isn’t that hard to eat healthy. I eat pasta, rice, and meals with sauces. Instead of buying low-fat this or low-calorie that, I focus on the individual ingredients I put into my body (foods typically in their most natural state / unprocessed). Food is fuel. Food is not the enemy.
Everyone is different. Do your research and go back to the basics. No need to feel like you’re “on a diet.” Mindset is everything! A lot of people believe carbs are bad, when in reality carbs provide our body with energy. Your body NEEDS them. It’s all about moderation and portion control.
3,You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym, simply MOVE.
How are you feeling about working out? I mean really… Even as personal trainer, I have had moments where I was like ugh I am just NOT FEELING it. So how do I stay motivated and LOVE moving my body daily? Seriously though, I actually get excited about doing something daily to move my body. This isn’t always a high intensity workout or a heavy lift day. Sometimes, this isn’t even a cardio day. This can literally be a quick walk, or bike ride outside.
It doesn’t take much to feel amazing and just MOVE. Don’t get stuck in thinking that it always has to be intense. You will make such a difference if you just spend about 15-20 minutes a day doing SOMETHING.
Rebuild your relationship with food and movement, it’s a lot easier than working against it. Once you see the magic in simplicity it’ll be easy to maintain. For me, wellness is never just an “end goal” type of thing… it’s a lifestyle.
Last weekend we sent the clocks forward. In Vancouver the flowers are in bloom and every other day we’re blessed with sunshine and mild weather. On Saturday I laced up and set out for my first run of the season. The sun shining, the ski blue, the birds chirping, the air mild and fresh. Perfect running conditions. I’m not sure when I went from obsessive runner to seasonal runner but these days if it’s too cold, too wet or too windy you’ll definitely find me working out in a studio rather then battling mother nature.
With Spring on its way, I sorted through my fitness wardrobe and recent purchases and decided to share my personal “Must Have” Spring Running Finds for the Fitness Fashionista.
Shopping is my cardio!” Carrie Bradshaw
So, let’s start with the Zandra 2 piece outfit from Fabletics! The Salar Mesh PowerHold Legging are designed with ultra-lightweight performance fabric that wicks away moisture & enhances airflow to help you remain chafe-free! The max-compression performance fabric sculpts & supports you and is designed with runners in mind with the side pockets big enough for your iPhone and keys. The super soft-fabric feels like you’re wearing next to nothing at all and sit perfectly on you hips.
The Shira Sports Bra is made with a wide bottom band for extra support and wide, adjustable elastic straps deigned for full support. The removable cups and power mesh detail at the neckline are moisture-wicking compression fabric. This sports bra is one of my season’s favorite for sure.
I can never have too many sneakers and I can never have too many shades of pink! I found these Reebok – Women’s Guresu in Sandy Rose at DSW in San Francisco. They are super lightweight and provide stability & support, with EVA midsole to absorb shock and a midfoot wrap to anchor your foot. I feel like I’m running on air!
So now you’re dressed and ready to go. But before you head out on one of your long runs, you better think about staying hydrated. Drinking Nuunbefore, during or after your workout will help you feel and perform at your best. This electrolyte comes in a tablet and will replace and replenish what you lose through sweat. Bonus it’s only 10 calories, 1 gram of sugar and nothing artificial. Just drop a tablet into your water bottle before leaving and enjoy. It’s available in a number of different flavors and can be purchased online and at most supplement stores and drug stores.
I don’t know about you, but you won’t catch me on a run without music! Since December I’ve lost 2 iPhone headsets and a wireless rose-gold headset. When I came across the Skullcandy Chops In-Ear Sweat Resistant Sports Earbud with Mic for only $19.99 I figure it was worth a try. This headset may not be pink but it’s the best I’ve used for running so far, and this is why:
Designed with a swivel hinge, you can swing the buds out during runs or when you need to hear surrounding sounds.
Sweat Resistant: Fully sealed construction protects sensitive components from moisture that can destroy your earbuds.
Won’t Budge: TheStickyGels technology is 30% more secure when sweating which boosts in-ear stability.
Epic Sound: Chops In-Ear produces attacking powerful bass; warm, natural vocals; and precision highs. All that is left to do it get lost in your favorite beats!
Every day is a fashion show, let the world be your runway.”
What’s your favorite running apparel or accessory? Leave a comment below!
On January 20th I arrived to Fit and Fly Girl Luxury Fitness Retreat in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. This unique fitness retreat series is organized by owner Rebecca Garland. Her desire is to bring women together, combining travel with the pursuit of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
A fitness retreat is about escaping your everyday life and taking the time to focus on yourself. It gives you the opportunity to reflect, learn healthier practices, workout with a personal trainer and discover new fitness tips and exercises. Many fitness retreats include spa therapies, a body assessment and adventure and wellness activities. This type of travel can be particularly popular with solo travelers, as singles are likely to meet like-minded individuals.
Attending a fitness retreat is a great way to take a break from work, family stresses or any other dilemma. It can serve as a great recovery or reset after a break-up or a personal loss. Whatever you may need time away from a fitness retreat offers an escape to adjust your perspective, regain control of your life and maybe even discover aspects about yourself that have been dormant or you didn’t know existed. When dealing with stress or self-doubt it can help to remove yourself from your current situation and share your stories with others who can offers a different perspective and help you to see another way of dealing with your situation.
Fit & Fly Girl luxury fitness retreats provide a well-rounded approach to fitness getaways; blending together fitness, wellness, culture, adventure, nutrition, and pampering.
Overall, the purpose of Fit and Fly Girl is to empower women to travel in style, to find adventure, to create meaningful and lasting friendships, and above all, to take care of your mind, body and spirit!
At this particular fitness retreat we were a group of 16 ladies staying in the luxurious Don Vito Villa. We were spoiled with nutritious and delicious meals prepared by our own personal in house Chef Fabien Mandrea.Our body assessment, daily workouts and yoga practices were all taught by Hannah Davis, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, also known for her training program called Body By Hannah.
Christine BibboHerr the fitness and fashion blogger from @NYCPretty was also part of our fitness group and he husband John a professional photographer, took on the role of “paparazzi”, capturing our moments of pain and dripping sweat.
Here is a summary of my week at Fit & Fly Girl’s luxury fitness retreat in Costa Rica.
Day One – Saturday January 20th
All the ladies arrived at the villa and Hannah conducted individual fitness assessments to learn our personal fitness objective for the week. She also took our body measurements and before and after photos to show us how much progress can really be made in seven days.
We had our first body shake out class which was a short 30 minute workout with dynamic stretching to open up our tight muscles after a long day of travel and prepare us for the week ahead.
After dinner we sat around getting to know each other.
Day Two – Sunday January 21st
Rise and shine at 7 :00 am, inject caffeine before a short foam rolling session and we were out the door before 8 am for our first Full Body & Strength Class at the gym next door to the villa. This hour workout was designed to build muscle and tone us up. The workout included eight strength training stations performing 3 x 1 minutes per exercises. Stronger is better!
10:30 am – Time to Surf!
“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf “⠀
This was my first time surfing; I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it, but it was an amazing!! Thanks to the patient instructors at Iguana Surf I managed to get up five times and I fell a more times than I can count; I have the bruises to prove it. In all aspect of life you should never be afraid to try something new and push your limits!
Later that afternoon we took advantage of our free time to watch the NFL playoffs. Go Jacksonville Jaguars!
5:30 pm – We wrapped up the day up with a vinyasa yoga and guided meditation. A much needed stretch session after a tough day of surfing.
Day Three – Monday January 22nd
8:00 am Body FHITT class at the beach. This was a team based high interval class to improve our metabolic conditioning and burn max calories in the shortest amount of time. The heat and sand made this workout extra challenging,
Down time I spent the afternoon at Coco Spa getting my sore muscles massaged.
Day Four – Tuesday January 23rd
You don’t inspire your teammates by showing the how amazing you are, you inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.” – Robyn Benincasa
8 am we were back to the beach for a Body Team Training Class. (My personal favorite workout of the week) This was a partner-based beach workout which had us focused on pushing our physical limits as we accumulated points for our team. There is something very powerful about working with a partner and not wanting to let down your teammates. I personally thrive with a some friendly competition!
On Tuesday evening we had the pleasure of going to the La Senda labyrinth. Unlike a maze you can not get lost because a labyrinth has only one path which symbolizes our life’s journey and takes us inward guiding us to find out who we really are. We had a guided meditation in the middle of the labyrinth which was a magical experience for me. Another marvelous dinner was prepared for us on the La Senda property using fresh organic vegetable grown on the scared land.
Day 5 – Wednesday January 24th
8 am workout in the backyard at the Don Vito Villa. The 60 minute body power class was focused on building power and helping us to tap into our fast switch muscle fibers to stay quick and powerful,
Followed by a 30 minute optional hill sprint workout, which of course I was keen to partake! All those years of running in higher elevations and hills of Vancouver BC proved to be good training for this workout.
We spent the rest of the day soaking in the beauty of Tamarindo on a boat, sipping cold cocktails, waddling in the water and just hanging out.
Hills. We love them. We hate them. They make us stronger. They make us weaker. Today I chose to embrace hills. – Hal Higdon
Day 6 – Thursday January 25th
Adventure day: fun filled day included zip lining, a mud bath, horseback riding, rafting and much more!
Day 7 – Friday January 26th
Time to double up!
8 am. Body FHITT workout at the beach. A super high intensity interval class designed to improve our metabolic conditioning and burn maximum calories in the shortness amour of time.
That’s afternoon I had time to relax at the spa again for a facial before we went back to the beach for a sunset body burn out class. An all body weight exercises to burnout the legs, arms and abs like nothing we’d done yet.
Although every woman on this retreat had a different fitness level, background and reason to travel to Costa Rica, we all had two things in common: we all wanting to better ourselves physically and I think we all had some kind of personal quest. Some were seeking new experiences or adventure, others wanted to establish new fitness and health habits. Some wanted to step away from their daily grind and evaluate life and break out of their comfort zone and other others wanted to make new connections.
Personally I got all of the above and more from this experience. The Fit and Fly Girl luxury fitness retreat combined my two loves; fitness and travel and gave me time to reset and evaluate many things of my life. Thanks to our personal trainer Hannah (who was extremely relatable) after only seven days I walked away stronger and feeling inspired to push myself further on my personal fitness journey. I think we can all agree we shared personal and physical breakthroughs, lots sweat, laughter and some wine too! We all made special memories and real friendships were created! I feel blessed to have been part of such a powerful, determined, strong, creative and caring group of women!
“Its easy to spot the strong women. They’re the ones lifting each other up!”
If you like fitness and would like to travel to new locations that you may not otherwise visit on your own, if you’re looking to connect with like-minded women, then what are you waiting for? Step out of comfort zone and get ready because it’s your time to fly!
I have 10 reasons why SoulCycle is the best spin studio. This fitness phenomenon is a New York City-based indoor cycling company founded in 2006; with studios in nine U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. As of 2016, SoulCycle had 85 locations in the United States with approximately 20,000 people riding every week.
My first SoulCycle ride was in San Francisco in November 2015 and it changed my spinning expectations. I’ve been to a dozen different studios since, and not to say I didn’t enjoy every single workout (cause there’s no such things as a bad workout right?) but no ride has come close. It’s like when you meet the guy of your dreams, and then he vanishes…you’ll meet other people, but the feeling just isn’t the same…
So when the Vancouver location opened this summer, I was worried… would it be as magical? Or would it shatter the beautiful memories of my first time? I had to find out; on Saturday I attended the 11:45 am ride lead by Daniela and I’m ecstatic, it was everything I remembered and more! Little fun fact, Kelly Rippa was in my class!
Here are my 10 reasons why SoulCycle is the best spin studio:
1.Spinning® has been around since the late 80’s but SoulCycle created the craze.
2. A perfectly branded “feel good” company that practices what it preaches. The SoulCycle riders loyalty is proof of that; in 2015 there were 934,500 rides, 25,641 classes, and 10,378 rides per day.
3. Extremely courteous, knowledgeable and friendly staff. The instructor training program is eight-weeks long. But the company also created a ‘Soul University’ with over 45 proprietary training programs to scale the distinctive culture and service of its studio operations.
4. A “clique” free zone, where everyone is made to feel part of the family! In class, the instructors encourage interaction with your neighbor, which opens communication and creates an uplifting feeling in room. There’s also constant dialogue with riders through ‘Your Soul Matters’ team, responding to 50,000 rider emails annually, and Twitter feeds.
5. Well organized, beautifully designed, spacious, and clean studios.
6. The service is on point! From the second you check in, customer services representatives makes sure you’re informed and helpful staff members come around the spin room and ask every single person if they need help setting up their bike before the ride starts.
7. A high vibbin’ candle lit room, with heart-pounding tracks and inspiring mantras from your instructor will help you push your physical limits and guarantees a great sweat sesh! Instructors are more than just guiding through the ride: they remind you that you’re stronger than the voice in your head that says you can’t.” You don’t have to be here, you GET to be here!”
Fall has officially hit the west coast; torrential downpours and gusty winds are likely to be with us for the next five months. After only two days of darkness my body was desperate for some heat and since I can’t just hop a flight to Hawaii I decided on the next best thing; a workout at Oxygen Hot Yoga & Fitness. The Kitsilano location opened up few blocks away from my place, so I decided to go try a class.
Oxygen Hot Yoga & Fitness is not a typically yoga studio. First of all, the studios are heated with far infrared heat which has extraordinary heath benefits such as; improves your immune system, reduces toxins and wast minerals, helps reduce stress, burns extra calories and helps control weight gain. It’s also been proven to help diminish cellulite and improve skin tone, plus can strengthen the cardiovascular system, relieve pain from arthritis, sprains, strains and over worked muscles.
You can indulge in a wide variety of yoga classes such as “Hot Yoga Rise & Shine” – Mix sun salutations, balance poses, standing poses with strengthening poses and deep stretches. Early morning yoga is a great way to center yourself, listen to your body and set an intention. But if you’re looking for something more powerful, I welcome you to try one of the many fitness classes such as “Hot Cardio Fusion” – A intense cardio party that helps keep your heart healthy and burn fat. View the full schedule
The Oxygen Yoga & Fitness mantra is “I Love My Life” which is written all over the studioand the fitness instructors have you recite it at the end of every single class; expect nothing but good. positive and friendly vibes! The room is hot approx 30 degrees and the lights are usually dimed. If you’re in a yoga class the mood is calm and meditative but in the fitness classes you can expect loud music and very high energy! You’ll need your yoga mat, a yoga towel, a face towel and WATER! Be prepared to SWEAT A LOT!
“No one has ever drowned in sweat.” – Lou Holtz
I hadn’t been to a “hot class” since February of this year, so I decided to looked up my sign in records at the Olympic Village/Fairview location from February 2016 to end February 2017. I attended 155 classes (13 classes per month or 3.5 classes per week for a year). WOWZA! So I thought it best to ease the hot classes back into my fitness schedule this week.
–Monday October 16th 7:30 pm – Combo at Kondi 30 minutes of a total body TRX workout to strengthen and tone and 30 minutes of Callanetics to lengthen and tighten your muscles.
–Tuesday October 17th 6:30 pm Oxygen Hot Yang/Ying Yoga lead by Sandra: first class back and forgot how HAWWWT it get’s in there. The yoga teacher was friendly and had a meditative voice; this much needed deep stretch was painful yet ohhhh so good!
–Wednesday October 18th 7:15 pm TRX class at Kondi is a core-focused workout which uses your own body weight and angle to determine the difficulty.
–Thursday October 19th 6:30 pm Oxygen Hot Fast and Furious Fusion Challenge Level 2/3 with Holly. This class was kickass ! One hour of non-stop heart pumping cardio and strength training! I felt amazing after! This class confirmed I’d to signing up again!
–Friday October 20th – Rest day
–Saturday October 21st 11:15 am – Combo Kondi 30 minutes of a total body TRX workout to strengthen and tone and 30 minutes of Callanetics to lengthen and tighten your muscles.
–NFL SundayOctober 22nd – 4:30 pm 6km hilly run
– Monday October 23rd 6:30 pm Oxygen Hot Power Core with Lindsey!! One of my favorite teacher’s from the Fairview location. This class ABS-olutely rocked!!! This class incorporates yoga, weights, resistance training and cardio into a fast paced heart pumping core blasting session!
Having only been back for a week, I can already see and feel the benefits of combining my fitness routine in the far infrared heat. My body leans out and builds muscle so much faster, my skin is glowing, I push myself to my physical limit in each session and I’ve been sleeping like a baby! Plus working out in the heat is a good way to prepare for the outdoor workouts I will be doing on my luxury fitness retreat in Costa Rica. Not to mention, all my fitness needs are met under on roof with classes ranging from yoga, barre, cardio, core, strengthening and more!
“I will make sweat my best accessory, I will run harder than my mascara.”
If you’re a Vancouverite, Oxygen Yoga & Fitness is a must! Especially in the winter months! But don’t take my word for it, for only $10.00 you can try it yourself for a week or for $49.00 have unlimited access for a month. With 35 locations in British Columbia and 11 more opening soon there’s sure to be a studio near you!
Have you tried Oxygen Yoga & Fitness? What’s your favorite local studio these days?
Last week, while in San Francisco I got the chance to go to a spin class at Soul Cycle SoMa. The candle lit space is jammed packed with bikes with just enough room between them to squeeze by. The music is rocking loud which instantly hyped me. As I sat on my bike, an attendant came by. “I haven’t seen you here before; can I help you set up your bike?” She asked. She welcomed me and gave me a quick briefing of what to expect during the session. Out of nowhere a tiny muscular lady with a super long blond ponytail jumped in front of me and said “I love your tank top! I’m Jenny, I’ll be guiding your ride, let me know if you have any questions and have fun!” 3-2-1 and we were off. We climbed, jogged, sprinted, danced and worked our upper body. Before I knew it, I was drenched from head to toe and the 45 minutes class was over!
Soul Cycle definitely is fitness fun! The inspirational instructors have a knack for bringing the riders together and creating a real sense of community. I was blown away! The good vibes and energetic instructor Jenny re-ignited my spinning obsession.
When I got home on Thursday I looked into local spin gyms. On Saturday I went to Eastwood Cycle. The setup was very similar, with the instructor surrounded by candlelight on a platform in the front of the dark room. The class “Icon” was also comparable; a 45 minutes intense class that combines riding to the rhythm and an upper body workout.
These bikes have a display with a speedometer, time worked and calories burned showing on them. I know most people love this feature, but personally I’d rather not know! The numbers tend to distract me, so I threw my towel over top of it.
I had a chance to speak with the instructor after class, and it turns out she used teach at Soul Cycle in LA! She also told me about the introductory special, $100 for 30 days of unlimited classes. I signed up!
With the festivite season upon us, I can use the extra motivation to ensure I make the best of the next 31 days and avoid packing on any holiday pounds. #holidaysweat
PS – If you’re an enthusiast of sweaty activities, I would definitely suggest you try a spin class!