Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Funday & Glute Workout

Good afternoon from me and my new boyfriend Simba. I hope you are all having a great day!

Today is my Sunday, which means it's time to recap last week.

Last week was my first week back on the Shred plan after having my wisdom teeth removed January 14th. It felt great to be back on track, and all of my work outs felt strong. I have been trying to make an effort to push more and try more when I'm in the gym. Whether it's lifting a little bit heavier or doing a couple more reps than usual, all of these changes will help contribute to a stronger me, and that's definitely what I'm after! In my last post about goal setting I talked about writing things down, and soon enough I will be able to start checking more things off the list. I am almost half way through the Shred program (it is 8 weeks as opposed to a longer competition season, if that were my goal), and I'm on my second course for my personal training course. Progress takes time - it's not overnight! So, it's important for me to be patient and keep working hard for what I want to achieve.

With that being said, I had a check in with my trainer this morning at the gym. We did a weigh and measure, and I am down 4% body fat since I last checked in with her last Monday (we meet weekly to track my progress), and about three inches, if I remember correctly. This was motivating for me as I did go a little bit off track this weekend, but clearly my body is burning through that energy and metabolizing it in a productive way.

Rewinding to this weekend: Saturday was a short day at work as my Brownie group went camping! I am not sharing pictures on the blog for privacy reasons, but I will tell you that it was a wonderful time, and all of the girls had so much fun. When I came home on Sunday, I was pooped, but surprised to see a new desk waiting for me!

I have been looking for a desk for the last couple weeks as I have lots of notebooks and study materials that need a home other than the closet or the dining room table. So, while I was away at camp, Ryan found this desk for me. It matches pretty well to our table (a bit darker), but I can always sand it down and stain it later as it is solid wood. My first project will probably be selecting newer knobs and handles to refresh it, and then we will see what I want to do after. Sunday afternoon was spent putting things in their rightful place, and I sit here now typing up this blog post. I have a feeling this desk will get a lot of use!

Sunday night was spent with family at my parents' house around the campfire. We got to visit with some family from up island, and shout out to Kelly because I know she reads this little blog of mine! Hey, hey! It's always a good time when our families get together, and I always look forward to when we visit. It was the perfect way to unwind from the weekend and kick off the week.

Back to today...

Monday workout: LEGS! Glute focus, because booty. And also some quads and hamstrings.

So basically lower body.

It looked something like this:
Warmed up on the elliptical for five or so minutes.

4 x 12 quad extensions, then drop pin 10% and 4 x 10 reps at lower weight

3 x 12 single leg dead lifts, followed by 3 x 12 regular dead lifts

3 x 15 sumo squats

2 x 15, 1 x 12, 1 x 10 leg press, heavier each time

1 x 15, 1 x 12, 1 x 10 hamstring curls, heavier each time

3 x 12 cable kickbacks (heavier weight on last set)

3 x 12 incline leg press (alternating between feet close together and wide apart)

30 seconds of cardio (running on the spot, jumping jackets, etc) between each set to keep the heart rate up!

That's all that I can remember, but needless to say, it was a good leg day today!

I am off to enjoy some down time before I head to bed. Have a good evening & chat with you later!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why Should I Set Goals?

With the New Year, you hear a lot about people talking about goal setting, or making resolutions for the new year ahead. I am all about resolutions, but what happened to setting goals year round? I am a firm believer that every day is a new beginning, but one positive thing the New Year brings is a fresh start to accomplish as much as you can in the year to come.

So, why is goal setting important?

Goal setting is important, to me, because it gives you a direction and a place to concentrate your efforts. For example, my 2015 goal was to compete in the IDFA BC Classic. With this goal in mind, I knew where I wanted to go in terms of diet and exercise. My nutrition and work out plan transformed to help me achieve that goal, and I was now working out with a purpose, rather than for the sake of getting to the gym and sweating (which is still great, don't get me wrong). I am a very goal oriented person, so having a deadline in my head will help me work harder to get there.

How do I go about setting goals?

First off, your goal should fit into these three guidelines:

1. Have a specific time line for all of your goals, whether it's six months, one year, five years, etc.
My example: I want to complete the 8 week Shred program.
This would be considered a short term goal. Another short term goal could be something like, I want to do cardiovascular exercise twice per week for two weeks.

Breaking your goal up into smaller segments will make it seem much more attainable!

2. Make your goal realistic. If you know you absolutely will not do cardiovascular exercise twice per week, why would you set that as a goal if you will only do it once?
My example: "Work out six days per week, every week."
This is unrealistic for me given that I like to take two rest days per week, and often my gym schedule changes as more events pop up throughout the year. If you are setting stretch goals - that's great! But you may find yourself becoming discouraged if you continuously don't meet these goals. Make sure the goal you are setting is realistic for you. It's great to dream, but you can always work up to those dreams, too!

It is great to set a large goal, but make sure you are setting the goal for the right reasons.

3. Write it down! I use my planner for goal setting, but I also have a notebook where I write down my goals, too. This way I have it written down in two places, and often times I'll put it on my blog as well to keep me extra accountable! Having your goals written down on paper allows you to visually see where you want to go. It's great to have goals in your head, but it becomes easy to forget about them when you can't check them off your list as you achieve them.

For me, a general goals list works just fine. However, you may find it helpful to divide things into separate categories, such as personal goals, health goals, professional goals, etc. Keeping a running list in the notes section of your phone may also help if you want to check-in while you're on the go.

For my own goals, the ones that will take the longest for me are gardening, growing my nails, and blogging consistently. Traveling to a new place will be a longterm goal as well, though I do think I will achieve that this summer. Plans are in the works, anyway! On the same note, I personally try to keep my list on the shorter side and will sprinkle in some weekly goals as I go through my planner every week.

Finally, there really are no rules when it comes to goal setting. You are the master of your life, so do whatever works for you! I hope you found this post helpful & let me know in the comments what some of your goals are. Thanks for reading!

Have a goal, create a plan, make it happen!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kitchen Chaos & Home Decor Finds

Good morning & Happy Monday!

I hope you are all enjoying the day as much as I am. Today is my last day off before heading back to work tomorrow. It has felt like forever since I've been there! I enjoyed my last day off and have had quite the productive day if I do say so myself, which included picking up the books pictured above from the post office. I ordered them online a couple weeks ago from Amazon and was thrilled to find the little postal delivery note in my mailbox this morning. I heard about these books from a YouTuber that I watch and thought I would check them out myself. One of my "resolutions" is to read two books every month, so I added these to my collection to help me along with that goal. The Instant Happy Journal is just that - a journal where every day you follow the prompt and write your answer in there. Some samples of questions in this journal are, "Recall a loving act - either one you did for someone or one you did for yourself" and "List todays mini miracles." It looks like a great way to reflect and really release some of that mental clutter that can often overtake your brain.

Rewinding to yesterday. I left the house for the first time since Thursday(!!!) yesterday afternoon, so Ryan and I headed out to Home Depot and to Winners. Of course, one cannot leave Winners without buying at least something! Ever since the Christmas decorations came down, I have been itching to redecorate certain spaces in our home to fill up some empty spaces.

Our front entry way has a dresser that holds most of our shoes. Pardon me. Most of my shoes. On top of the dresser we have a metal tray with all kinds of goodies inside. The newest thing to the collection: the silver striped vase in the back, purchased at Winners.

I also found this mirrored picture frame. For whatever reason, I am in love with that design carved out of the wood front of the frame. I don't even know how to describe it, but I noticed that our curtains in the bedroom (AND the guest room) has this design. They are different, of course, but maybe not that different. Further, I found a couple more candles to add to the collection, but they are unpictured. All about that candle life (said every female ever).

Finally, we are at today! If you guessed, "You guys must be painting the cupboards!" then you guessed correctly. They have spent far too long in a pile on the kitchen floor, so last night at about 6 o'clock pm I said to Ryan, "We should paint the cupboards right now. Come on!" So, that's what we did. We painted until about 9 o'clock before calling it quits, and made a huge dent in the work! I finished painting the sides and backs of the cupboards today, so hopefully they will be up in the next couple days after the hinges and knobs are added on. Does anyone else like shopping for knobs and paint and home stuff? It is pretty exciting to see all of your hard work come together!

Speaking of hard work, on a non-home related note, I had a check in with my trainer today. Today was my first morning back at the gym since last Monday. I did a home workout on Thursday, Wednesday I half-assed it in that I did a few squats and bicep curls and called it a day, and that was it for last week. It felt good to be back there, and despite taking it easy for back & biceps today, breaking a sweat was way better than being on the couch! 

Today's work out looked like:
3 x 12 lat pull downs
3 x 12 straight bar pull downs (arms straight, targeting the upperback/trapezius area)
3 x 12 bicep curls (using rope attachment on the cable machine)
3 x 12 bent-over rows (targeting rear deltoids)
3 x 12 face pulls (using rope attachment on cable machine)
3 x 12 alternating bicep curls with dumbbells
20 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes on the stair climber & 5 minutes walking cool down.

During my check in we talked about my food for the last couple days. I flat out said I was not consistent because of my wisdom teeth surgery and that it is still kind of uncomfortable chewing more solid items due to the stitches in my lower jaw. I am going to do what I can do make this week GREAT and to get myself back in the game. With that said, despite a funky week last week, I am still down 1.4% body fat and inches all around, so progress is progress. I'll take it!

I hope you are having a great afternoon & I will talk to you on Wednesday. In Wednesday's post we will be chattin' about goal setting. Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Control What You Can Control

A Saturday night blog post? What is this!?

Usually I'd be in bed by now, but the past couple days I have been going to bed much later. Tonight I was perusing through some of my competition photos from my first bikini competition in June (part two found here), so I thought I'd pop onto the blog and share how the week is going.

Let's rewind to Monday, the last time I checked in. I came down with some awful cold bug that sent me home halfway through the day on Tuesday, and left me in bed slash laying on the couch all day Wednesday. Who knows where it came from, but I am so happy to be over it now!

Only, I am battling something else right now. I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed Thursday morning, so needless to say the whole week has been a write-off work wise in that I have been at home sleeping. Yesterday I took three or four naps throughout the day! This is kind of insane for me given that although I enjoy naps, I think of all the other (productive) things I could be doing instead and simply never do it on a regular basis. However, I suppose my body needed the rest. I have been on a few different medications to help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Fortunately most of the swelling in my face has gone down - certainly don't have ginormous chipmunk cheeks, by any means. They're just on the smaller end of the chipmunk cheek scale. Thankfully icing right away after the surgery plus on and off throughout the day on Thursday (and a bit yesterday) has helped with the swelling. Further, my diet has now become a lot more softer and liquefied than my veggies and chicken before. Smoothies with greens and protein powder, some soft pureed vegetable soups, popsicles, unsweetened applesauce... So. Boring. I do admit, I had some ice cream last night and tonight which actually felt really nice on my mouth, but I am technically still doing the Shred program so I am trying to be mindful and not all, YAY ICE CREAM during this healing period. The "real" food will come back all in due time! As far as work outs go, I am taking a bit of a break from the gym to ensure I do not disrupt any healing in my mouth. I read that the bottom wisdom teeth tend to have a slower healing process than the top wisdom teeth, because they are being extracted from bone that is more dense in the lower jaw. The last thing I want to be doing is being in the middle of shoulder presses or something and having one of the stitches in my mouth rip (sorry for too much information, but really. That would be scary)! So, it is important to me to keep my diet in check if I can't be in the gym! Control what you can control, right?

Lots of cuddle time with Simba the past few days!

He's pretty cute. I think this was before I woke him up and he attacked my hand.

Drinking a green smoothie as I complete some personal training homework. YES, I am still doing this! I have moved onto my second course (out of three courses), which is all about being a successful weight trainer. One thing that I love about these courses is how in-depth they are. As I was completing my quiz tonight, I would go back in the book and reference back to some things. So many great examples and explanations, which will be extremely helpful when it comes to my exam. Speaking of exams, I have my first one scheduled mid-February, so lots of my time in the evenings now will be spent studying. I am looking forward to having that behind me so I can continue moving on in the program!

Well, I will leave you with that & talk to you soon! Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Rambles & Current Skincare Favourites

Good afternoon!

We meet again. I had a date with the ol' blog scheduled in my planner today, so I think my New Year's goal (or resolution, if you will), of blogging (and using my planner) more is off to a good start!

Since the last time we chatted, I have been continuing on with my new gym program and kept up with my workouts. This month is turning out to be another busy month, with get togethers, my Brownie group going (indoor) camping, and my wisdom teeth being taken out on Thursday. And work in between. I took the later half of this week off work as I go in Thursday morning to have all four of my wisdom teeth taken out. Many people tell me mixed things about this procedure, but I am trying to go in with an open mind and not expect the worst -- which is usually what I end up doing! So, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be spent resting and recuperating before my regular days off commence on Sunday and Monday. Fortunately, we don't have much planned this weekend other than a whole lotta rest for me!

I will admit this, though. I am a little leery as I will be missing the gym and my regular work outs. I know, right. Such a silly thing to be concerned about when you are literally getting oral surgery. That's a pretty good reason to take some time off! Regardless, I am sure everything will go well and I will look forward to when it is all said and done!

Now onto some fun stuff!

I have always been interested in skincare, so I thought I would share a few of my current favourite products. Some are new, some are old favourites, so hopefully you like them too!

I found this mask on sale at our local community farm store, and I am loving it! Andalou Naturals always produces great products, and this one is no exception. The texture is like pureed pumpkin, and of course it has an orange hue to it. I actually have it on my face now as I type! A bonus: this mask was 50% off on promotion. Can't beat

Celestial is an old standby favourite. I have been using it on and off for years now, and I love the rich, creamy texture. It smells like vanilla and is made with almond milk, so it is gentle on my skin. My skin is very sensitive and prone to redness and dryness, but this moisturizer calms my skin and works well under make up, too. On the other hand, to wipe off my make up, I have been using this cucumber face wipes. They were in one of my stocking's this past Christmas, and so far they do a nice job of removing face make up. I keep these on my dresser near my bed, so the nights where I am too lazy to wash my face (note: every single night, I won't try to make you think otherwise), these are easy to grab and wipe away the day's make up.

Last but not least, the moisturizers I have been using! Side note: these Simple cleaning wipes are also an old standby favourite, as they are so gentle and remove both face and eye make up well. I am not big on cleansers, although I do have one in my shower, as I find cleansing wipes are so much more convenient. Plus, if I have an extra sweaty work out and need to clean myself up after the gym, I can easily toss these in my gym bag and wipe my face clean after I'm done. Voila!

In terms of face moisturizers, I have become a big fan of the Origins brand. I switch between this and the Celestial moisturizer, depending on how dry my skin is feeling that day. The Origins face moisturizer has almost a gel-like texture, so it is extra light on the skin. Similarly, the eye cream is wonderful as well because it keeps the delicate eye area moisturized without being soaked under a thick, heavy cream. When it comes to my skincare, I don't like feeling I have a moisturizer or an eye cream on my skin. I'd rather them soak in so I can carry on, put my make up on, and get out the door. Further, the Origins Night-a-mins cream is super moisturizing and great to put on before bed. Since it is such a thick formula, a little goes a long way!

Moving on... Today's workout was legs!

I like working legs on Mondays. I don't know why, but it's become part of my Monday routine. When Ryan leaves for work, I leave for the gym to get my day started on the right foot. Although I am not feeling 100% (I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a cold was coming on), it felt good to get my heart rate up and sweat. My workout lasted about 45 minutes, and I finished with 15 minutes of high-incline walking on the treadmill. My workouts coupled with my meal plan this last week have made me feel a lot stronger and energized. I am eating six meals a day, which includes a breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and an after dinner snack. Holy food, right? It is hard to feel hungry when your next meal is right around the corner! Monday is also my meal prep day, so after I came home from the gym, checking in with my coach (I am down inches already - yay!), and grocery shopping, I got meals ready for the next two work days. I don't anticipate eating any chicken or veggies once my wisdom teeth are taken out, so I am trying to make the most out of the days I actually have on my plan this week and stay extra organized!

Now, it's time for more tea and rest. I am hoping to kick this before Thursday rolls around!

On that note, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend & a happy Monday. Talk to you all soon!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome, 2016!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2016 & back to my little ol' blog.

December was one of the busiest months, and I am looking forward to new routines and settling into 2016. Between my family and Ryan's family, we had some kind of event going on almost every week; some weeks we would have two or three family things going on plus work and day to day things. Needless to say, I am ready for the New Year and excited for what's to come!

So, the photo that kicked off this blog post is me and Ryan's Christmas gift. We decided to do stockings for each other still, but we were in dire need of a new table, so that was our big holiday purchase. Although it did not arrive for Christmas, we brought it home December 29th & got everything set up. The table has two leaf inserts to make it extra long, which will make life so much easier when it comes to hosting dinners or just having people over in general

On New Year's Eve my parents had a party, and it ended up being so much fun! We weren't sure who would show up since it was pretty much an open invitation, but once 9pm rolled around, the house was full of people. The party didn't stop until 5:30am too - although that was mostly my dad & his buddy in a competitive round of whiskey shooters. Yup, count me out! I ended up going to bed at 3am and, I'll admit, I was a hurting unit on Friday. Thankfully I had the day off! Saturday was back to work, yesterday was a day off full of sleeping in, taking Christmas down & then dinner at my parents' house, and here we are at today!

Today's morning view. When we left my parents' house last night it was lightly snowing. Well, I suppose it either got heavier or just accumulated during the night, because we had a couple centimetres of snow dusted on the ground when I woke up. It didn't last long, though! The little bit of rain that we had today washed it all away.

Today was spent getting organized, which includes typing up a blog post and writing in my planner for the week ahead. I am scheduling in "blog posts" in my planner to make sure I am consistent. That being said, I am aiming for blogging at least twice per week. Other 2016 goals include completing my personal training certification, going on more weekend trips (or adventures in general), reading two books per month (currently on my second one for January), running the Lululemon SeaWheeze half marathon, completing the Shred plan (offered by my competition coach), and starting the garden at my parents' house again.

Oh yeah, and then this happened today:

New hair cut, new work out plan, new goals for 2016 - ready, set, go!

What are your 2016 goals?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Mumbles & Weekend Fun

Hello, and happy Monday everyone!

I am here with a quick blog post before I head to my parents' house to celebrate my mom's birthday! I hope to get plenty of pictures tonight to share with you later on this week.

Since the last time we chatted, there's been a few work days and a weekend thrown in there. The weekend for me went by so fast!

Saturday after work I hopped on the treadmill to complete the second half of my run. Second half? Yeah, I was about 7 miles short of my weekly goal of 25 miles, so I ran four in the morning and then three after work. Fortunately, I worked up an appetite so I was more than ready for our dinner reservation at 6:30 that night! If you live on Vancouver Island, I highly recommend checking out the Dayliner Cafe. You will not be sorry! The food, the wine, the ambiance - ah! Both Ryan and I LOVED our meals. He had a fancy beef dish that I can't spell the name of, and I had the pasta which had a creamy tomato dressing, other veggies and some scallops. So, good! Plus you can also (each) get an appetizer and dessert. And wine, because who doesn't love wine.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening! When we arrived back home, it was time to get comfy on the couch and have some quality snuggle time with Simba. As crazy as that cat is, he is pretty cuddly! And to be honest, some nights I just want to stay in with my favourite guys and watch tv. Does anyone feel the same?

Yesterday the majority of my day was spent in Nanaimo shopping with my sister Sarah. We hit up the mall, Chapters, Home Sense, and of course had to grab a holiday Starbucks while we were in the area. I did not get any pictures of what I bought, as I mostly purchased gifts for people with the exception of my face moisturizer (which I'll talk more about in a post about skincare!).

So, here we are at Monday. I slept in to the glorious hour of 9:08AM and don't even remember Ryan saying goodbye before work. I briefly recall someone sitting at the edge of the bed, but to be honest I was just in la la land! The morning was spent making my usual every day oats for breakfast, drinking coffee, and doing laundry. When I have a relaxing morning, I find that my whole day feels more centered and less rushed than if I sprang out of bed and decided to be GO, GO, GO right off the bat. After breakfast (this was about 11AM by now), I went downstairs to the basement and hopped on my treadmill. I'll be honest and say that I don't like running in miserable, rainy weather, which has been the case here lately. So, I got in 8.3 miles (13.35KM), then headed back upstairs to shower and get myself ready for the day. I planned a few things in my planner that I wanted to get done, and checking things off my list is so satisfying!

A look at my planner spread this week. For those of you looking for a planner, I highly suggest the Erin Condren design planner as it has large boxes & is super customize-able! For those who are wondering (because a million bajillion people read my lil ol' blog), the candle in the picture is from Winners, and was a little find I came across today.

I hope you all had a wonderful day today! I am off to get ready & will talk to you all in the next one. See ya!