Sunday, 14 February 2016

Leaving it on the mat.

These last few months have been a whirlwind of travelling, socializing, wearing really uncomfortable panty hose and yoga.

I never thought I would say this....but I'm learning to really love the time I have on my 72" X 24" dimension mat. It's the only thing that's been pretty consistent over the last two months. I've also learned to value how little or how much time I have on my mat. Some days, it's only been 20 minutes, but that's been enough time to make me feel like I've made time for myself and I've moved around loosening up some tightness. Moving with purpose and focusing on my breathe and body. That time is about me, all ABOUT ME. And no one else.

I went to my first yoga class about 15 years ago - I continued to practice mostly because I LOVED the dripping of sweat on my mat. It would sound like an intense tropical rainfall in Costa Rica....I LOVED IT. I loved the feeling of sweat starting at my forehead and making it's way to the tip of my nose and then....DRIP onto my mat. I won't lie - I still love the feeling of the reverse shower I get at hot yoga, but now actually taking the time to practice at home in my own neutral-temperature apartment is not something I ever thought I would do. Yoga was alway something I would do to mix up my workouts, but now it's becoming THE workout. The consistent thing in my life.

Do I miss the DEEP BASS and heavy hand clapping of aerobics? ABSOLUTELY. Do I want to break out in high kick and dance while we are doing sun salutations?- YES, why can't I make my own sun salutations up with high kicks? Do I find it hard not to talk to my neighbour in class and socialize while we are supposed to be focusing on our breathe - SOOOO HARD NOT TO TALK TO THEM! LET ME WHISPER PLEASE....I can say, in this moment in my life, with so much uncertainty and chaos when I'm on my mat I feel like I can focus on me and I know it will probably be okay...and even if I am not okay, I know how to do some really cool inversions now. That's right - upside down, right side up - I can do it.
If you are looking for some yoga to do at home, this is a free site that has something for every level:

(I had problems streaming some of the videos from the site so I searched the ones I wanted on Youtube and I was good to go).

People change, our workout preferences change, life changes and it can be scary/anxiety provoking/exciting. Do what makes you feel safe, happy and focused to get through it all.

This video includes EXCELLENT rain noises (10 hours of it!) to inspire you to drip out the sweat on the mat.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

The INNER Sweat

Happy New Year! I hope you all had some wonderful holidays that involved time with friends, family and hydration after those holiday workouts! The holidays means time at home for me - which allows me to do many of my fave Body Attack, Daily Method and Spin workouts. The best part - it's ALWAYS with a friend/my mom.

This year I decided I would take some time during the holidays and try a different kind of "workout." A more intrinsic one involving a lot of focus on the breath, awareness of the body and thoughts.

WAIT A MINUTE...this doesn't sound too sweaty? Okay you GOT me - you're right, but I was surprised to find it the perfect addition to the rest of the sweaty fun I partake in. I've been going to gentle yin and meditation classes over the last couple of weeks. It's quite new for me, and I find the entire 60-90 minutes a struggle to shut off the madness in my mind. It's definitely as challenging and even more so then many of the other more physical workouts I have done.

These classes to me represent self-care. The teacher acts as a guide that leads you through suggested movements and reminds you to focus on your breath throughout the class. The lights are perfectly dim, with a few candles flickering in the front, and the guide speaks with such a gentle voice which is so easy to get lost in. I wish I could say that for those 60-90 minutes my mind shuts off and I completely focus on the breathing - but this would be an outrageous lie. I think what I've learned more than anything is my mind is polluted with all sorts of noise. It's impossible for me to focus on th breath after 6 or seven breaths. The first step is self-awareness...right?

I will definitely continue to attend these types of classes because I'm realizing as important as it is for me to have a physical workout, it's also nice to have the time for self-care and attempts to decrease that noise even just a little bit.


Friday, 6 November 2015

'Tis the SWEATY season

This is it - In my opinion the best season for outdoor workouts. It's not too hot, not too cold and not too icy. The fall leaves are changing, the air smells like sewage (it makes you run faster), and people aren't overly angry yet since we're still warmer than 0 degrees celsius. 

The only challenge I have at times is deciding what to wear for my fall-time runs. I usually go with full or three-quarter leggings on the bottom. The tricky part is the top. Do I wear a lighter top and struggling with a colder warm-up? What about a warmer top, which has been sweating in excess at the top of the hill? OR do I wear two layers and then be stuck running with one around my waist? Yes, yes - what a trivial problem I have. Must be nice to have this as my dilemma - IT IS NOT MY ONLY DILEMMA IN LIFE - let me ASSURE you. 

My new thing has been the double-layer-hide. I'll wear two layers, but I hate having to run with an extra garment dangling from my body - SO - I hide it somewhere along my running path. I hide it very well, because well let's be honest - I smell good and who knows what dog or human would take it as their own to put under their pillow and smell? Right? 

This has been an excellent strategy until I forget where I hid my garment, or more recently completely forgot about it until about 1km after I had passed it on my way I had to run all the way back for it adding a 2km to my run. I got an extra 2km in, all against my own will. Not bad right?

So, this leads me to my strategy to get those extra steps in throughout the day - hide your things in the evening and you will have to move FAST and find them in the AM when you're running late. Hide your friends' lunches, their phones and wallets. You will be helping them reach their fitness goals. And if they get mad - tell them you're do it for THEM. Yes, this is about THEM. 

You're welcome. Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Sweat, Love and HILARIOUS Cheesy videos

I attended rounds last week which discussed Exercise related Emergencies. The rounds were very well done and they re-sparked my love for my favorite workout couple. 
Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod! 
If you want to learn more about them check out my previous blog post:

I've been spending a lot of time in front of the computer working on a variety of projects and's turned into me spending most of my time watching old PARTICIPACTION videos and very little time doing actual work. Let me show you why! 

I have to hand it to Hal and Joanne. They truly know how to get their workout everyday, even while doing simple activities such as:

- STOP that online shopping and get to that grocery store:
On the flight/train ride/car ride:

"Don't worry, no one will notice."

And lastly - just in case you develop any injury from your exercising: 

I hope you can all share the same enjoyment I have for these videos. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Sedentary Sniffles

I’m sick,  the simple cold sick, but enough to prevent me from going to my favourite aerobics class back home. It's just a runny nose and a little dry cough, but it’s enough to make me out of breath even after 3 high kicks. So what have I been doing? Well other surfing the interwebs for wonderful new workout clothes and music? A lot of stretching, foam rolling and drinking juice. It’s quite lovely actually.

Some less cardiovascular challenging activities I have been doing are: walking (fall is the perfect season for the breeze and a great opportunity to see fall fashions (which again leads me to my online shopping interests),  yoga videos at home (this way I can keep my coughing to myself and take a break when I need to) and stretching with straps.

Research dating back to the late 1990s shows that taking a break from repetitive strain and stress of exercise on the body is beneficial to the body to allow it to adapt and become stronger. So despite being sick and going through a box of tissue a day, I’ll consider this wee little cold a blessing and I hope I’ll look forward to aerobics next week stronger than last week! That's right - I'm a SURVIVOR.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

High kicks for happiness, High kicks for warmth, High kicks for YOU

Hello my high kicking friends. As we head into colder temperatures our workout goals may also including BRINGING THE HEAT in addition to staying fit and having fun. I thought I would re-post one of my favourite posts and the inspiration for this blog. 

Happy High Kicking! The HIGH kick is FOR YOU. Not for anyone else. 

Those of you who know me - or have every come to aerobics with me, or HECK - even spent more than 2 hours with me know I LOVE the HIGH KICK. It is quite possibly my favorite body movement in life. Let me explain the High Kick before I go into great detail about why I LOVE it so much.

Basic High Kick

Throughout the High Kick series remember to breathe and enjoy yourself - it always helps to SMILE.

1) Start with both feet together and your hands on your hips.
2) Ensure strong posture by tightening your core, chin up, shoulders down and back.
3) Before you HIGH KICK it is important to understand that you must acknowledge your limits. You kick to your limits - not to the level of the lady, man or child next to you.  
The High Kick is FOR YOU - not for anyone else.
With one SMOOTH and SWIFT motion you kick your right leg up but KEEP your left leg stable, strong and supportive until you reach YOUR LIMIT.
4) Gently place your right foot back in place with your left.
5) Repeat on the left side.

If you are injured or cannot do the high kick for health or mobility reasons HAVE NO FEAR!!!
You can still get the benefits by choosing a part of your body you do want to fling in a CONTROLLED manner and  give that a try. Perhaps your arm? Forearm? Finger?

How good do you feel?

I love the high kick for a variety of reasons. Here are are the top 5:
1) I always feel alive when I High Kick - if I can kick that high I must be living right?
2) The feeling of being able to High Kick higher than previous times is a feeling of accomplishment.
3) High Kicking in a room of strangers at aerobics gives me a feeling of unity achievable in no other manner.
4) Health Benefits of High Kicks: Flexibility in your Hamstrings, Strength in only your core but also your entire lower body. Win -Win!
5) High Kicks can cause for hilarious events (falls) to occur and as long as everyone is okay at the end it can make for some funny stories and laughs.

I invite you to try some high kicks to this fabulous workout tune:

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Spectacular Sweaty Selfies

Since my post last week I have been fortunate enough to receive sweaty selfies from lots of my friends. Friends upside down, friends doing a wall sit, friends doing a bicep curl. I LOVE IT. Not only did it motivate me to sweat even harder so that I could reply with an EXTRA SWEATY selfie it allowed me to reconnect with some friends I haven't heard from in a while.

I continue to send aggressive eye pictures to Rebecca and my dear friend Emma has joined in on the fun workouts and although we don't do them together, we keep each other accountable after each workout (sorry for the yelling Emma). I encourage you all to take selfies next time you workout and send it to someone you haven't been in touch with for a while. Maybe it will encourage them to work out and it will put you back in touch. 
Here are some tips on taking the PERFECT workout selfie:

1) BE SAFE. GOOD for you - you ran on the run/bike path for X kilometres, but BEFORE you snap that sweaty picture look both ways. NO ONE wants to end up in the ER because of a collision with a bike, rollerblader (or a horse if you are in Montreal). 

2) PICK THE PERFECT LIGHTING. Sometimes it barely looks like I am sweating, other times I look DRENCHED. You must play with the lighting and the angle. I am no photographer so unfortunately I cannot tell you the best angle or lighting but you are smart human beings. TRIAL and ERROR. LAW and ORDER. Play with it, own it, FLEX it. 

3) The MESSIER, The WETTER, the REDDER the BETTER. Don't fix your hair, DO not wipe that sweat off, and do NOT wait until your face isn't as red as a BEET. Embrace it. You worked hard. Your body is showing your GLOW. 

If you need more non-workout selfie tips I have included this wiki-how link. Some tips included "do something cheerful" and "know what poses are passe. " The article is full of accurate diagrams and tips. Please enjoy.

Dear friends, continue to send me pictures of your sweaty self. It motivates me and gives me a good laugh. Enjoy the song of the week.