Archives for November 2010

Back on track (finally!)

Just back from a wintry weekend getaway in Ottawa.Not exactly the warm, sunny, winter destination of my choice, but DH received a big career award and it was important that he go there to receive it in person.

We were treated to a wonderful dinner at the National Gallery (Quebec goat cheese salad, rack of lamb with spaghetti squash and yam puree, vanilla panne cotta with wild blueberries and blueberry coulis; yum!) and were lucky enough to hear our new Governor General, David Johnston speak about the many important roles educators play in our lives. As a personal trainer, a big part of my job is education, so many of his comments I found particularly relevant.

And did I mention that it was the first weekend in 11 years and 8 months (more specifically, since the birth of the first of three children….) that my husband and I were able to get away together! What a fabulous way to start the holiday season! We visited the Parliament Buildings and the Byward Market. We shopped along the Sparks Street Mall (I’m guessing that this is more pleasant when the temperature is above 0) and had leisurely meals at restaurants without children’s menus!

Now that my bags are unpacked, the laundry done, and the children cuddled, I’m sitting down to plan out my workout schedule for the next two weeks (you did read my November 23rd post, right?). By committing these plans to print I’m making myself accountable to all of you (and we know that accountability is a huge part of the battle, don’t we) and ensuring that nothing else ‘jumps the queue’!

Here’s what I’ll be doing for the next seven days (I have the following week planned too, but in the interest of keeping this post to a reasonable length, will only include one week’s schedule):

Tuesday, November 30; strength training, legs and core; teach Body Sculpt

Wednesday, December 1; strength training, chest and back; 45 min spin class

Thursday, December 2; strength training, shoulders, arms and core

Friday, December 3; metabolic circuit (strength and cardio intervals)

Sunday, December 5; Teach 20/20/20 AND Bosu Blast

Monday, December 6; Teach Total Body Conditioning AND Spin and Abs

What does your week look like? Remember, “Do or do not… there is no try”!

Despite the best of intentions…

Have you ever had one of those months where your health and fitness plans were derailed at every turn? Where despite the best of intentions, life just seemed to keep getting in the way of getting to the gym?

That was November for me. A friend who had cancer was moved to palliative care where she passed away. My sister, diagnosed with a pre-cancerous breast tumour underwent a partial mastectomy. The school district, in its infinite wisdom, decided that we needed another long weekend over Remembrance Day and that parents should entertain their children on those days rather than work or workout. Despite having had his flu shot, my oldest son brought the virus home and required an attentive mother to stay home and care for him. Of course, he thanked me by passing it on. My poor immune system, crushed beyond belief, fell prey to the flu and then, adding insult to injury, a secondary infection that required antibiotics to get under control.

With a full teaching and personal training schedule there were very few hours left in the month for me to get my strength training workouts in (fortunately, I teach fitness classes, so I did manage to get some exercise!).

While the details of your challenging month likely differ from mine, we can use the same strategies to get back on track.

First of all, don’t dwell on what you didn’t accomplish. Life happens. People get sick. Other responsibilities sometimes take priority. Stop the negative self-talk and figure out what you can do RIGHT NOW to get back on track.

Get out your calendar. Schedule in your workouts for the next two weeks. I usually find that two weeks is about all I need to get back in the groove again. Don’t let anything get in the way of those workouts. They will feel difficult. Don’t use that as an excuse to give up. Cardio de-conditioning can happen in as little as a week. Loss of muscle mass takes considerably longer. You may not feel as strong as before your horrible month began, but your strength will return quickly if you just get through the next two weeks.

Go grocery shopping. Fill your cart with healthy, easy to prepare foods. Clean out the junk that crept into your cupboards during your time away from the gym (we both know it’s there; it happens in my house too!). Make nutrition a priority during this period of re-commitment.

As the end of the two weeks approaches, schedule in your workouts for the next two weeks! Increase your intensity in the gym. Add more challenging exercises to your workout. Up the weights. Cardiovascular function should be better, so let your heart rate climb a little higher than last week. Come visit me in the spinning studio for a great interval workout!

Reward yourself for successfully getting back on track. Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure. A new pair of shoes. A cute exercise outfit. Did someone say Lululemon?

Get ahead of the game!

January 1st is little more than a month away.

Have you thought about what you hope to accomplish in 2011? Do those goals or resolutions involve getting in shape? Eating better? Losing weight?

Why wait until January to get started? Why not start the new year well on your way to accomplishing those goals? Get ahead of the game!

Follow the tips below during December to ensure a great start to 2011;

1. Drink lots of water. First thing in the morning, with each snack and meal, between alcoholic drinks at a party. Water flushes toxins out of your system and makes you feel full, thereby reducing the amount of food you’re likely to consume during the day.

2. Go to the gym. Three 1-hour sessions each week should be enough to maintain your current fitness level during the busy holiday season. Exercise not only helps to reduce stress, it helps to regulate sleep (see 3. below) and mood (and it keeps you out of the kitchen!).

3. Get lots of sleep. Aim for 8 hours each night. Sleep is your body’s way of re-charging. It helps you manage stress and gives your muscles time to recover from exercise (you did get to the gym, right?).

4. Focus on healthy foods. With all those parties and social functions, there will likely be more opportunities to stray from your nutrition plan this month. Enjoy your splurges (within reason), but make fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates your dietary staples. Attempt to maintain your current weight this month.

5. Practice mindful eating. Eat 5-6 small meals, spaced evenly throughout your day. Avoid eating in response to boredom, stress and social pressure. Think about how you feel before, during and after a meal.

6. Take time for yourself. Spend 30 min each day doing something you enjoy. Something that relaxes you and makes you feel good about yourself. Take a walk with a friend. Watch a movie with your partner. Go skating with your children. Knit (seriously, repetitive manual tasks have been shown to reduce stress).

7. If all else fails, eat, drink and be merry and see me in the new year!