Making Fitness a Family Affair

Getting the whole family involved in a healthy lifestyle is a good way to not only keep yourself on track, but is also a great way to try new activities with your family.
It can be hard at first to get everyone on board. People like different things, and organizing the “perfect” exercise may be a challenge. However, you don’t have to get TOO crazy in order to make things work. This is especially important to me as I could easily fall into the Netflix-and-couch mentality every day after work. Instead, I wanted to share with you a few easy ways to incorporate fitness into your family life.
Find an outdoor activity: Whether you are hiking with your significant other or kayaking with your kids, getting outside is one sure-fire way to ensure everyone enjoys the activity. After all, who doesn’t love getting out in nature!? You don’t have to do anything hard, either. Simply checking out a new trail can be sufficient! Something Ryan and I have been doing lately has been going for day trips. We will go for a hike in a new area, or drive somewhere and walk along the ocean for a change of scenery. If you have a dog, this is a great way to get them out and about, too!
Some other outdoor activities include: running (trail or pavement), canoeing, skiing/snowboarding in the winter (can make a great family getaway!), swimming (always great in the summer), walking, etc.
Check out a new class: One thing my sister and I enjoy doing is going to a new fitness class together. We have gone to yoga classes, zumba classes – you name it, and there is probably a class for that! Fitness classes don’t have to be expensive, either. With a little bit of research, you can find a class near you (check out a community centre in your area) that won’t stretch the wallet too thin. My mom and I signed up for spin classes, and that was a fun way to sweat together and try something new!
Other class ideas include: bootcamp, barre fitness (ballet inspired work outs), drop-in sports like volleyball, spin classes, etc.
Walk it out: Simply going for a family walk is a nice way to not only catch up, but fit some extra steps into your day. Additionally, going for an after dinner walk can help aid in digestion and burn extra calories, too. Switch things up by walking on trails, walking through a new-to-you-neighbourhood or enlisting some friends for extra fun and conversation. If you are visiting with family members, maybe try going for a walk instead of going out to eat – you will save money that way, too!
Make it a challenge: Are you a fan of some friendly competition? See who can go one week without sugar (think junk food sugar, not natural sugars like those found in fruit). See who can fit in X amount of work outs into the week. Whatever your challenge is, make it FUN! You can also have a bet if money is something that motivates you, or a reward system at the end. For example, if you successfully go one week without sugar (just an example), maybe you will win a massage or some other kind of treat (and not the food kind. You are not a dog).
Workout at home: Working out can mean yard work too, not just taking the stairs or walking to get the mail. You can always get family involved with chores around the yard, as that often involves heavy lifting, clearing debris, and lots of bending and walking. Further, you can try online at-home workouts with family if you want to make a family work out night and get everyone involved!
Workout for a cause: Often times running races are centred around fundraising for a cause. For example, some Father’s Day runs fundraise for prostate cancer. Fundraising can be an excellent way to not only get the family involved in an event, but it can draw people to train together, too!
What are some ways you stay active with your family?
Let me know your fave way in the comments below!

Why You Should Reward Your Accomplishments

Hey, hey!
I wanted to chat about a topic I feel is important when it comes to health and fitness, and especially if you are transitioning into a healthier lifestyle.
It’s easy to get started on a healthier journey, but oftentimes it can be hard to keep going. What do you do to keep the momentum going?
Reward your accomplishments.
 
Okay, so does that mean I have a big fat burger and fries after a killer work out?
No, not exactly. I wouldn’t recommend it, anyway.
 
Here is an example.
After the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon last summer, I wanted to treat myself for accomplishing that goal. I had spent months logging in the miles, getting the time on my feet, and I felt that I earned something. Kind of a high five to myself, if you get what I mean.
So, I enjoyed my weekend in Vancouver and made wise choices when we were out to eat. For my post-race meal we went to a cute breakfast cafe downtown, and I chose to have an egg and veggie skillet instead of the eggs benny with that deliciously creamy Hollandaise sauce. Nope, I chose wisely, because I knew that my reward was coming.
What did I reward myself with? A spa afternoon with my sister. We got massages and pedicures, and I felt so relaxed and content. It was just what my mind and body needed. Additionally, during the Seawheeze weekend I also rewarded myself with a few new work out pieces and some yoga to keep my body feelin’ good. This was my celebration of all the time put into training for the race.
Setting goals is great and everything, but what happens after you reach your goal?
Some people want to celebrate with food, and that’s great if that’s what you are into.
However, I’ll tell you why I don’t personally like to reward myself with food.
Rewarding yourself with food, especially when it is something high sugar, high fat, or highly processed can aid in undoing all of your hard work, especially if you make that reward a regular thing.
What do I mean by this? If after every time I went to the gym I went to Starbucks and got a frappuccino and a donut, eventually that would start to catch up to me. Those extra calories would add up, and (knowing my body) I would get super bloated and end up feeling down on myself and wonder, why did I eat that? Ja feel? Choosing a whole food option post-workout is always a better idea from a nutrition stand point.
Are you saying you have never rewarded yourself with food? Nope, that’s not what I am saying at all. After my bikini competition two years ago I had a meal out with my family, and it was damn good because I hadn’t had a meal like that in seven months.
On the other hand, food is fuel for your body and should be used as a tool simply to put engine in your tank. Personally, if I want a glass of wine at the end of the work day, I will have one (if we have my favourite reds in the house). However, I cut myself off after a glass or two, because I know that if I have anything more than that I will A) be drunk and B) not feel great. Keeping your balance of food treats and whole foods in check will help keep you on track if you have a health or weight loss goal. Of course there are several other factors, but I won’t get into that right now : )
What I am saying is that there are other options when it comes to rewarding yourself.
Why should you reward your accomplishments?
Rewarding yourself for accomplishing a goal can help you stay motivated to achieve your next goal. Mentally, you will know that you have something just for you at the finish line, and that will propel you towards your goal. These are some of the biggest reasons why I reward my accomplishments, even if it is with something small.
A few ideas for non-food rewards:
– Book a spa treatment such as a massage or pedicure (my personal favourites!)
– Buy a new piece of work out gear
– Participate in a relaxing yoga session
– Take a nap! Seriously. So nice
– Take a bath with your favourite bath bomb, bath salts or bubble bath. Or all three!
– Paint your nails
– Have an at-home spa evening
– Unwind with your favourite movie
– Plan a road trip, vacation, day trip, etc
The list goes on and on! Sometimes you gotta get creative with it, but at the end of the day as long as you are doing something you love, that’s a reward in itself : )
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that everyone has their own way of rewarding their accomplishments, whether that is buying a new lipstick or going for a full on shopping spree. Rewarding yourself shouldn’t break the bank, either. It’s important to mindful about how you are rewarding yourself as you do not want it to become harmful to your finances.
 
What are some ways you reward your accomplishments?

WORKOUT! Upper Body Blast Workout

Good morning!
So, home workouts. I love them, how about you guys? I actually have not been to the actual gym in months, because I have been doing my own thing at home. Home workouts are super convenient, and a huge bonus is that you do not have to purchase a gym membership! I’m all about saving that cash money.
If you are looking for a good upper body workout then I would highly recommend giving this one a shot! Added bonus: you only need a pair of free-weights (or dumbbells). I have been adding this into my routine about two times per week after my shorter runs, or I will sneak it in after work. It doesn’t take all day, and the minimal equipment is a plus, too!

Modify the exercises if you need to. I took a 30 second to one minute break in between each exercise before moving onto the next one. Once all exercises are completed, take a water break and do ’em again!

I hope you enjoy the workout! Let me know in the comments what YOUR current favourite workout is right now : )

The Power of Positivity

Positivity: noun, plural positivities. 1. the state or character of being positive : a positivity that accepts the world as it is. 2. something positive.
 
Being positive is an ongoing process that, like anything, takes time. One thing that is important to know is that YOU have the ability to choose your mood each and every day. Sure, it is easy to look at things with a negative outlook, but there are so many benefits of being positive including lifting your own mood, self-motivation, self-confidence, and so much more.
 
So, what’s the big deal with positivity?
 
For me, being positive helps me deal with life’s curve balls with a more open mind. An example of this would be when I was asked at work to move into a new office. At first, my mind automatically put on the brakes. No, no, no. Nope, not happening. So, I wasted the weekend dwelling on the thought of this change, and made myself miserable thinking about the negatives. I made the mistake of not looking at the positives of the situation. Once I gave myself some time to reflect, I decided: how is this going to impact my life in the long term? To be honest, it is such a small change that I decided to stop wasting my energy on the thought and just DO IT with an open mind and see what happen. What’s the worst that could happen, anyway? I decide I don’t like it? No big deal.
 
I made the choice to change that NO to a YES and give it a shot. Why not!
 
And you know what? I love it. One thing that helped me was focusing my energy in a positive space now. The biggest thing you can do once you are faced with a hard decision or a stumbling block in your life is step back from the situation. Think: is this person angry at me, or the situation? What can I do to solve this and make things easier for myself? Often times, when you focus your mind on negative energy, everything in your life kind of tumbles down, too. While it can be more simple to just throw in the towel, keep your mind open and curious about what could happen if that shift was made to positive energy and the wonder of what comes along with that.
 
When a negative thought pops into my head, I acknowledge it, then roll my eyes inwardly. Negativity, who invited you? Not me. Don’t care. Moving on, positively.
 
You can apply positivity to any aspect of your life, too. It’s not just when you are confronted with a struggle, or when someone is really pushing your buttons. Think about all those times when you don’t want to go to the gym, don’t want to go to an event that you’ve committed to, or don’t want to clean your house.
Here’s a trick. Think of how good you will feel when you are done, or how showing up will help support a friend (whatever the case may be). This could be applied to anything in your life, too!
Find your WHY and just DO IT.
Yes, I understand this is easier said than done. In fact, I spent the whole week prior trying to wake up early and start my morning gym sessions sooner. However, my mind hadn’t shifted to that positive space yet, and I didn’t truly believe in my WHY, I suppose. Yeah, I’ll go after. Yeah, we’ll still have some time together in the evening. Oh yeah, we have puppy training class tonight… Oh, and this has come up.
You have to embrace your inner bad ass and push past those feelings. Then you will feel that positive change.
Something else that can truly help shift your mind into a more positive state is starting each day with a grateful heart. Life is busy, and during all the running around it can be easy to let the things we love and truly make us happy slip from our mind.
So, here’s 5 things that I am grateful for today:
1. My wonderful family (including my partner) who supports me with all of my crazy ideas
2. My dog, who has shown me that it is possible to find something to get excited about every day
3. Working out, to start my day off on an energized note and allowing me to release any stress
4. Curling up with a good book to unwind after a long day
5. Coffee, especially when enjoyed while reading or blogging
See. How AWESOME is it that we, as living, breathing, thinking humans, have the ability to change our outlook simply by looking inward? Not to get all woo-woo on you or anything (but it’s happening anyway), by simply being grateful for what we have in life can help put our mind in a positive space and change the tone of our whole day. This is pretty darn powerful to me – don’t you think?
There is something positive to be found in every day. I heard a quote once that was something like, if you think positive thoughts they will radiate through you and you will always look beautiful. It is so true! There is so much in life to smile about and be thankful for, so next time you feel that negative energy creeping in, give it a swift kick out of your way and carry on, positively.