Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pregnancy Workout DOs and DON'Ts

*Always make sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program!

Exercising while pregnant can be frustrating, but there are plenty of ways to keep moving.  As a general rule, most of the activities you were doing before can still be done well into your pregnancy, though you may need to modify them a bit.  With that in mind, here are some of the basic guidelines for pregnancy exercise:

DO - drink plenty of water
DO - take frequent breaks
DO - nourish yourself with whole foods
DO - exercise as often as you feel able
DO - keep yourself from overheating, especially in the first trimester
DO - avoid bouncing or jarring movements
DO - listen to your body!

DON'T - hold your breath while lifting weights
DON'T - do any exercises laying flat on your back past the first trimester
DON'T - push yourself to the point of being light-headed or past the point at which you can talk
DON'T - partake in activities that may put you at risk of injury

In the first trimester, I found that whenever I tried to lift weights I would almost puke.  Now that has gone away, only to be replaced with the feeling of having to pee within minutes of doing any kind of cardio!  It's frustrating at times, but if you listen to your body you will find something that works for you.

Good luck and stay fit!

Monday, 26 November 2012

3 Ways I Sabotage My Goals

I'd love to be able to say that I never get off track, never cheat outside my one day per week, and never miss a workout... but that would be far from the truth.

Everyone hits stumbling blocks along the way, although we always have the choice to pick ourselves up and start fresh.

These are the top ways in which I tend to sabotage my goals:

1.  Not eating often enough

Seems silly, right?  But if I go more than 3 hours without eating or get too hungry, I usually wind up eating far to much of the wrong things.  It's really easy to just get busy or distracted, and next thing I know I'm ravenous and ready to eat absolutely anything I can get my hands on (and usually the more calorie-dense, the better).  The solution?  Eat smaller meals more often.  Even set an alarm if you need to.

2.  Writing off entire days

I ate a donut at work, so I'll just eat whatever I want for the rest of the day and start fresh tomorrow.  I don't know if anyone else does this, but I definitely do!  I'll even write off the rest of the week with the intention of starting fresh on Monday!  How can this possibly make sense in my mind?  Each moment has the potential to be a fresh start.  Each meal you eat is an opportunity.  Use it!

3.  Catching myself unprepared

As long as I'm up-to-date on my grocery shopping, cooking and prepping, things tend to be good.  But guaranteed the one day I'm rushing around first thing in the morning and forget to pack a decent lunch will be the day there are donuts at work or I get stuck there for longer than anticipated and wind up running to the airport cafe for a burger.  If I pack enough healthy meals to get me through the entire day, things run a lot smoother.

That's about it!  I'm sure there are many other ways I've sabotaged myself, but I feel as though these are the three most critical to me.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

5 Things I've Learned About Buying a House

A little off topic, I know.  But we're in the process of buying a house, and it's hard to get my mind off it at the moment!

But first, here is a picture of our new house:

And here are the things I've learned:

1.  Always Pay Credit Card Bills on Time!

I had about a 3 month period of time that my husband was in school and I couldn't pay off my entire credit card on my own income.  What I did terribly wrong, though, was to not even make the minimum payment ($10 or so) on time.  Instead I figured I'd just pay it all off once he was back to work.  Which I did.

Well, long story short, I kinda wrecked my credit rating just by this short period of not paying my minimum payments.  Credit card companies don't seem to care if you carry a balance, AS LONG AS YOU MAKE YOUR MINIMUM PAYMENTS!  So for just a couple $10 payments my credit rating would've still been intact!  What a joke.

2.  Start Saving Early

As much as we managed to scrape together what we needed in a very short time, things would have been much easier if we had started earlier.  Most employers are able to take a portion of your paycheque BEFORE you pay taxes on it and put it into an RRSP account for you, which can later be used for a downpayment.  Some employers even have an RRSP matching program to help you save!

Automatic savings are the most helpful, and if it's a small enough amount you usually don't ever really notice it leaving your account.  Just have it automatically taken out as soon as you get your paycheque.  If it's not there, you can't very well spend it, right?  With most banks you can also set up automatic savings plans (I like ING Direct for savings as I can set it all up and change it around whenever I like online).

3.  Keep Papers Organized!

Everything I've been through in the last month or so would have been infinitely harder if I wasn't able to easily find all the papers I needed.  Rental agreements, notices of assessment, paystubs, RRSP statements... anything you get in the mail that looks like it could be important probably will be at some point.

I keep all my important papers in an Ikea box with file folders, but I saw a neat idea on Pinterest recently as well.  Make up a small binder for each category and fill it with clear page protectors for any receipts, papers, etc.  I will most likely switch to the binder system within the next 6 months or so, as I think it'll make things a lot easier to find.

4.  Get Help!

I found a mortgage broker in Port Moody named Caroline Krilic.  She is amazing!  When I first contacted her, I thought it would be at least 6 more months of saving before we'd even be able to think about buying a place.  Well, here I am buying a place less than 2 months later!  Also, she has gone above and beyond to ensure that everything is approved and that we're not getting overloaded with things to do.

So if you're looking into buying a house, I'd highly recommend getting in touch with her.  This is her website:

If you're the do-it-yourself type, you can buy a place on your own and find a mortgage on your own... but having a realtor and/or mortgage broker on your side sure does make things go a lot smoother.  And buying is stressful!

5.  Buying is Stressful!

I know I just mentioned that, but it's worth repeating.  The stress is nothing compared with the joys of owning a home, though :)

That's about it for today!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The 2 Rules of Fat

Fat seems to have acquired a bad reputation, but with these two simple rules eating fat can actually help with your weight loss goals!

1.  Moderation!  

I try to include good fats in 2-3 of my 6 meals per day.  Usually my first, possibly second and last meals.  In moderation, the right fats will actually help with your weight-loss goals.  I was eating the same amount of healthy fats right up until the day of my competition, although other parts of my diet changed.

The thing most people seem to confuse about fats is the appropriate serving size.  Sitting around and finishing off an entire bowl full of unseasoned nuts isn't going to help you out.  A serving size is approximately 10 almonds.

2.  Good fats only!

So what is a "good fat"?  Here is a list of some of my favourite healthy fats:

-unsalted nuts
-natural nut butters
-coconut oil
-ground flax seeds
-flaxseed oil
-fish oil

Avacadoes and salmon have lots of healthy fats in them as well, but I tend to count them as a veggie or protein and eat them in moderation.

One of my favourite fats to add to an evening meal is homemade spicy peanut sauce.  All you need is natural peanut butter, water, cayenne and salt (although it can be improved if you also have soy sauce and coconut milk).  Just add a couple heaping tablespoons of the peanut butter and a bit of liquid (water or coconut milk) to a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until peanut butter is mixed into the liquid.  Then continue adding liquid (including a bit of soy sauce, if applicable) to the mixture until it's at a consistency you like (careful not to add too much liquid or it will thin out too much).  Add salt and spices (make it as spicy as you can stand it so you don't need to use too much of it) and you're done!  I eat it on veggies and quinoa, mostly.

Friday, 12 October 2012

You Do WHAT While You're Pregnant?!!

I tend to get a lot of flack from people about the activities I enjoy while pregnant.  Things like hockey, skating, lifting weights, rolling full 45G drums around at work, pushing helicopters in and out of the hangar, riding a motorcycle, going to Panama at 30+ weeks, etc.

But, in my defence, I DID run many of these things by my doctor... well, sort of.  He basically told me after about the 10th thing I asked him (during my first pregnancy) that I should just listen to my body.  As long as all of these things were a regular part of my life before becoming pregnant, I should be able to continue them as long as my body feels up to it.  With a few obvious exceptions, of course.  I'm not about to go out drinking or something that could obviously cause harm to my baby.

It makes me wonder why people feel it is their right to tell people what they should and shouldn't do as soon as a baby makes their way into the equation, though.  I rode my motorcycle plenty before I was pregnant without anyone so much as batting an eye, so why is it suddenly so dangerous because there's a baby involved?  Is my unborn child's life so much more important than mine?

And it doesn't stop when you give birth, either.  You are judged as a mother every time you turn around.  It is hard to see the positives sometimes, but just remember that everyone is looking out for the welfare of the child.  The maternal urge to protect an innocent is just too strong to stop from speaking up, sometimes.  Or at least that's what I choose to believe.

And the next time you'd like to offer some advice to a mom or mom-to-be... try not to phrase it as a judgement.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

When Life Gets In The Way

It doesn't take much to put a damper on even the best of intentions.

In the last week I played hockey twice, went to the gym twice, went for a jog outside once, and ate at least moderately well.  Until yesterday.

Amelia woke me up at 4am.  The trailer park I live in had run out of water (they truck water in), so no shower, washing up, etc.  Rob and I were both in bad moods.  There was fresh snow on the ground.  Amelia was grumpy and crying while I was trying to get ready for work.  I finally got her ready and dropped her off at the sitter's place at 7:30 and headed to work.  I got to work and my job got cancelled because of the snow.  Then my sitter called; "Amelia has a rash all over her body... has she had a measles shot recently?".  So I went and picked her up, took her home for a nap and then to the walk-in-clinic.  Hopefully just a minor skin irritation, but if she gets a fever or flushed cheeks take her to the hospital for some tests.  We went home.  I received an email from my realtor & mortgage broker about a kink in our plans to buy a house.  I ordered pizza.

Life can throw you all kinds of unexpected twists and turns.  And you know what?  It's completely normal to get derailed from whatever progress you've made.  The true test of character is how quickly you pick yourself up and get back on track.  Yesterday is gone.  The choices I made yesterday should have no bearing on the choices of today.  Each day, each moment is a fresh slate.  Use it.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Is Cardio Overrated?

I admit that I haven't always given cardio the credit it deserves.  If given the choice between hitting the weights or running on a treadmill, I'll choose the weights every time.

But cardio has a lot of benefits to everyone.  Here is a partial list:

1.  Increases your level of available energy.

So if you think you don't have the time or energy to do cardio, think again!  A good cardio program will actually give you extra energy.

2.  Reduces risk of many diseases.

Depression, cancer, stress and heart disease are just a partial list.

3.  Improves quality of sleep and mental sharpness.

If you're busy and not sleeping well, how can you afford NOT to do cardio?

Most people don't like running on a treadmill, and for good reason.  It's about the least interesting form of cardio there is (in my opinion).

But, thankfully, there are many forms of cardio.  I enjoy hockey and roller derby, or even taking my little one for a run outside (or inside in bad weather).

You don't need to have an athletic bone in your body to find a style of cardio that works for you.  Walking, running, jumping jacks, step class, swimming or rowing are just a few of your choices.

What's your favourite style of cardio?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Worked For Me #4 - Evening Snack Attack

Evenings are my nemesis.

I can go all day exactly following my diet and exercise program only to sit on the couch an snack all evening.  I've heard a lot about substituting better foods for the typical junk, but that never worked for me.  Simply put, in the evening I'm eating out of habit rather than hunger.

Evening snacking is a really tough habit to break.  But here are a few things I've found to work for me:

1.  Get out of the house.

Easier in the summer than in the winter around here, but even something as simple as heading out for a walk makes it easier for me to severely limit my snacking.

2.  Drink lots of water and/or tea.

Obviously juice, pop, beer and other sugary drinks aren't going to do you any good, but a big glass of water or unsweetened herbal tea to sip can really beat that snack attack.

3.  Spend time with heath-minded friends.

Invite someone over or head to a friend's place.  It's a good distraction as long as you're all on the same page when it comes to your health.

Have any of these ideas worked for you?  What are some of the ways you've beaten the urge to snack?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 5 October 2012

3 Reasons All Women Should Lift Weights

There are several misconceptions about women lifting weights.  People think that women will "look like men" if they lift anything more than a 2 pound dumbbell.  Or that lifting weights will just make them look bigger, whereas cardio is the only way to lose fat.

The truth is, weights are fantastic for women of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Here's why:

1.  Muscle burns fat.

The more muscle you have on your body, the quicker and easier it is to burn fat.  Muscles require extra food energy so a person with more muscle will require and burn more calories.

2.  Strength without bulk.

Strength is important for many everyday activities.  Think grocery shopping, hauling your kid around, household chores.  It will also help with any sports or athletic activities you may be involved in.  Women who are not taking steroids can lift as heavy as they like without every looking like men.  Truth be told, there is a real problem with steroid use in bodybuilding competitions and this tends to skewer our perceptions of weight training.  Rest assured, if you are female and lifting weights, you will NOT wind up looking like a man.

3.  Reduced risk of many injuries and diseases.

Heart disease, arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even depression to name a few.

Weight training has done wonders for my life.  If you've never picked up a weight before, I'd recommend finding someone who can help get you started.  And always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.  A personal trainer is great, but failing that start with a few basic exercises such as pushups, assisted chin-ups and squats for the first couple weeks, or until your body starts adjusting to the new routine.

Good luck!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Worked For Me #3 - Finding Time

A friend recently asked me how I find the time to fit everything in.  I'll let you in on a little secret; I don't.

This brings up something that has bothered me for quite some time.  Why do we as humans always feel the need to hide our humanity?  I'd love to be able to post on this blog that I'm always perfect.  My home is always clean, the baby always goes to the sitter properly dressed and without food in her hair, my job never suffers, I shower and style my hair every morning, I always manage to get that workout in, and I do it all with a smile on my face.  But it would be a big, fat lie.

Give yourselves a pat on the back.  You ARE good enough. It's human nature to want to show the world our best selves, that's why we manage to clean our houses more in the 20 minutes before someone arrives for a visit than in the last 2 weeks.  But don't expect to look at someone else's "perfect life" and see an accurate representation.

This is what my kitchen looked like this morning when I went to work:

Not exactly a "perfect homemaker", hey?

That being said, there are ways to get things done.  First, don't think about ALL the things you need to get done, think about what you need to get done right now.  Prioritize.  I didn't do the dishes today until I had finished work for the day and gone to the gym.  Actually, since I'm being honest, I still haven't finished all of them.  Because, for me, the gym is a bigger priority than dishes (unless someone is coming over).

Another thing that has made a huge difference in what I can get done in a day is my level of physical activity and nutrition.  Honestly, if I hadn't been to the gym today and eaten properly, I probably wouldn't have finished any of the dishes, made dinner, or packed my husband's lunch.  I actually find that when I get some exercise and fuel my body with what it needs, I wind up getting a lot more done in a lot less time.  I just have more energy.

What I'm trying to say is that if you make proper eating and exercise a priority, the rest will come.  Just don't beat yourself up if you're not quite living up to this myth of the "perfect woman".  Because none of us are.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Worked For Me #2 - Breakfast

Most people have heard the saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day", but is it really true?

I'm not sure I believe it's the MOST important meal of the day; each and every meal you eat has a huge bearing on how you feel and whether your body is nourished and burning fat or just storing it.  But breakfast has definitely played a huge role in my weight loss journey.

Typically I will eat breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up.  My usual breakfast consists of oatmeal with ground flax and cinnamon in it, and a scoop of protein powder mixed with water.  And coffee, of course.

I've experimented with a number of different oatmeals that I like, from pumpkin pie oatmeal (add a spoon of pureed pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves), to cinnamon apple oatmeal (add chopped apple and cinnamon).  Some things always stay the same for me, though.  I prefer the large rolled oats rather than the instant kind (and I can get a HUGE bag that lasts me about 6 months worth of breakfasts for $15 on sale!), and I cook it on the stovetop with 2 parts water to 1 part oats.  I usually throw some raisins in with the oats to cook, but occasionally I'll use blueberries or other fruit.

The protein powder I'm using at the moment is a whey protein isolate/concentrate blend that I get from the health food store.  I'm relatively paranoid about artificial sweeteners so I always look for a kind that is sweetened with stevia rather than sucralose.    The difference between isolate and concentrate is mostly the rate of absorption from what I've heard.  When you've just got up in the morning and haven't eaten all night, or you've just had a strenuous workout, isolate is generally preferred because it is absorbed quicker to aid in muscle building/recovery.  I'm being a bit less picky about that at the moment being as I'm not going to be competing any time soon.

As much as oatmeal is my breakfast of choice, there are certainly other options that would have the same effect!  Any kind of whole grain, such as quinoa, whole wheat, rice cakes, etc. would do the trick.  Just be sure to include some kind of fruit, whole grains and healthy fats.

A good, nourishing breakfast can set the pace for the entire day.  Definitely not something to be skipped or taken lightly!


I've made it to the gym 3 times in the last 1.5 weeks and feel so much better! I was right; the second I started eating better and exercising, my "pregnancy symptoms" all but disappeared.

Although it's been tough to get back in the swing of things (my last "cheat day" turned into a "cheat long weekend"), I finally feel like I'm turning things around. As much as I don't like to admit it, I hit 200lbs with my last pregnancy and had to work my butt off to get rid of that extra weight. But I refuse to let that happen again!

Yesterday I went to the local farmer's market and bought some beautiful produce. I had forgotten how good homegrown really is! There is a local hutterite colony near town which sells local chicken, eggs, and produce. I'm feeling inspired to eat lots of fresh produce and will probably go for a run today. Then it's back to the gym tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

First Trimester Update

I'm over 10 weeks along now and I've just realized something interesting.  As much as I've been moping around and whining about no energy and feeling "yucky" from morning sickness... it's really no different from every other time I've eaten crap food and not exercised.  Sure, I have a little bit of morning sickness going along with that, but I'm guessing the majority of my ailments at the moment have to do more with not nourishing myself properly and less with the pregnancy.

So, with that in mind, I really need to start eating properly and moving more again.  I know this is the time that it is the most critical for my baby and I know it's just going to make it easier to get back into shape afterwards... but it's really hard to overcome that little voice inside my head saying, "what does it matter, you're going to get fat either way".

Well, I'd better go pack up my gym stuff and a healthy lunch if I'm going to have a chance of actually making a change!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Worked For Me #1 - Cheat Days

After just 3 days of eating properly and exercising I decided to give myself a "cheat day".  So yesterday I gorged myself on cake and pizza.... and spent the entire evening with zero energy lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself.  May have overdone it just a tad.

Even with this experience well behind me (I went for a 30 minute run this morning before breakfast and feel much better now), I'm still a believer in cheat days.  Or, at least, cheat meals.  A full day of cheating is probably a bit excessive.  

Let me explain.  Anytime prior to having my last baby that I got on a "health kick" and starting eating right and exercising, I would get it in my head that I didn't need to eat that crap ever again.  And, invariably, I would wind up gorging myself when I finally broke down.  

When I started a program with a trainer last year, she gave me one cheat day per week.  One whole day that I could eat anything I wanted.  BUT the rest of the week had to be spot-on.  I was sceptical, but you know what?  By giving myself that cheat day, I found myself actually eating a lot less of the bad stuff than before.  If I was craving nachos on Tuesday, it didn't seem to bad to tell myself "On Saturday, I can have those nachos".  And the funny thing is that by the time Saturday comes along, half of the time I'm not even craving whatever it was earlier in the week.  And usually I'll wind up eating pretty well most of the day on my cheat day and just having pizza and beer for dinner or something like that.

Anyways, back on track for the week now.  My plan for this week it to make it to the gym at least twice and do legs, shoulders chest and triceps.  And no more cheats until Saturday!

Note (9 Sept. 12) - I'm going to start categorizing some of my posts into categories.  "Worked For Me" will be a regular post, outlining different ideas, plans or meals that have worked for me in my journey to get into the best shape of my life!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Gym Time

Okay I'll admit I didn't make it to the gym last week as promised.  My excuse is that I was lazy and unmotivated.  But I did finally make it yesterday and boy, am I feeling it today!

After just 2 days of eating right and working out once, my pants already feel looser.  Maybe it's just my imagination, but even though I know my size hasn't changed at all in the last 2 days, I feel like a million bucks!  So, to those of you thinking about getting to the gym or getting started eating right, DO IT!!! You'll feel so much better by tomorrow.

That's it for now.  Good luck!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New developments

I'm pregnant again.  5 weeks.  Here we go!

Also, I weighed myself today.  First time since my competition.  I've gained 13lbs from my competition weight.  Admittedly, my competition weight wasn't a really sustainable weight, but 13lbs sure seems like a lot!  And I know that's not just water weight... I've been eating like crap and not exercising.

So, I've made up my mind... today's the day I get back to the gym.  I really need to get my butt in gear if I'm going to keep from gaining a ton of weight again this pregnancy.

Exciting changes.  Hopefully they will give me that extra kick I need.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


The last time I posted, I promised to update this blog more often.  I have a confession to make.  I only feel inspired to blog if I can show my best self through that post.  I don't want to show my weaknesses, my stumbling blocks and my humanity.  Because, online, I can be super-human if I so choose!

But instead I'm going to be honest.  I'm struggling.  My competition was almost 3 weeks ago and I haven't been back to the gym, or even had a single day of halfway decent eating habits.  I'm drinking a beer as I type this.

The week after my competition, someone I know commented on my belly, riding out over my derby shorts, so soon after my 6-pack of competition day.  I laughed it off and responded with jokes about trying to make up for lost time and gaining as much weight as humanly possibly now that I was allowed to eat, but it still hurt.

I know I need to get back on track, but I'm a little lost as to what exactly I want to do now.  I'm back into roller derby full-force, but I need to figure something else out to work towards.  A new workout program isn't all that helpful to me without an end goal.  And that's what I'm struggling with.  I still haven't made up my mind for sure if I want to get pregnant right away again or wait awhile.

While I ponder what to do next, I will leave you with a picture from my very first roller derby game this last weekend.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


Well, it's been over a year since I started this blog.  I finally entered my first bodybuilding competition, just 2 days before my baby's first birthday.

Although I'm excited about what I've accomplished in the last year, I still have many challenges ahead of me.  We're planning on having another baby, so I'll be going through this all over again!

The biggest challenge for me in the baby weight loss journey is actually during the pregnancy itself.  I have a hard time wrapping my head around gaining weight no matter what I eat (I know I'm supposed to, but still!).

Here is a better before and after with the dates involved.  Pretty good for a year's work!

I am going to start posting at least weekly, and I hope to see a few people to share this new adventure with.