The Benefits of a Training Partner

Finding motivation can sometimes be the biggest barrier to achieving a consistent exercise routine. Most often when we speak about motivation we are talking about motivation that is self-driven, meaning it comes from within. This is called internal motivation. Something that is important to note is internal motivation can come and go and can be stronger or less apparent in different areas of our lives. For example internal motivation to do well in university and study for exams maybe very high but internal motivation to go to the gym three times a week after you have finished your lecture might be very low and a more difficult task to accomplish. Luckily motivation does not always have to come from within to result in lifestyle change. Motivation that comes from outside sources is called external motivation and can motivate us to achieve goals. When it comes to exercise, external motivation in the form of a training partner can be extremely beneficial. Having someone who knows what your goals are, potentially shares similar goals and at the end of the day wants you to be successful and happy can be a huge source of motivation. In this blog post I explore the benefits of having a training partner, and things to consider when picking a training partner to join you for your next session at the gym. A Training Partner Keeps You Accountable Accountability is a large factor in staying on track with a goal. If no one knows you are working towards something, it can become easy to slack off. A training partner can keep you accountable to get your workouts...

Maintain Your Fitness & Nutrition Goals All Summer Long!

Hooray! The sun is shining! If you are like me and live in a city where many months are cold and snowy you definitely want to spend every second of summer soaking up the sun. Patios, beach days, long walks, BBQs… the list goes on. This can make staying active and eating well over the summer somewhat of a tricky balance. Personally I found myself stumbling through this a couple years back. For many years I spent my summers in competition prep. This means I was living the brown rice and chicken breast life with little room for fun foods like ice cream (my all time fave!) and patio bevies. During this time, I was hyper focused on my figure competition. The thing about competing is it involves a lot of sacrifice, including food. When I decide to compete I accept this and find the best balance that I can. There may be an occasional treat meal here and there, but overall I was not spending my summers enjoying patio cocktails. Then everything changed. About two years ago I competed in May and decided to take the summer off of prep life. Beyond deciding not to compete I didn’t really think of what this would mean for me nutritionally. It took me a long time to realize why I was experiencing so much stress and anxiety over friends inviting me out for patio drinks when I hadn’t yet trained that day. I felt like I was choosing between getting my workout in and spending time out in the sun. It took a little bit of time but I finally figured out...

Healthy Eating and Active Living on Vacation

It can be difficult to find the right balance of fitness and fun when away on vacation. The first thing to remember is – you are on vacation! Your focus should be relaxing, having a good time and enjoying the destination you have traveled to. With a bit of planning and incorporating the tips below, you will not only enjoy your vacation, but you will do so all the while being able to balance good nutrition and exercise! Stay Active Exercise on vacation may look very different than what you regularly do at home. Be open to that; do not feel you are not doing enough because the activity is different from your normal workout. It can be fun to find workouts and activities that easily fit into your vacation, and help you to explore the beautiful country you’ve travelled to. You might decide, for example, to go for a hike or a long bike ride. Or perhaps you will play beach volleyball or do a zip lining adventure. The goal is to maintain the frequency of physical activity you complete at home. If you’ve worked up to exercising 3 days a week, then you should be active a minimum of three days a week on vacation. For me, that usually looks like 1 hike, 1-2 full body weight training sessions at the hotel gym (I only book hotels with fitness centers) and 1 good stretch/yoga session. If you will not have access to a gym or fitness facility while you are on vacation, I suggest packing a skipping rope and resistance band to get a workout wherever you...

Thriving Through the Holidays

In the past 4 years that I have been working as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, the season of holiday parties has always created a unique barrier for my clients. Whether it is a work party, a best friend’s holiday get together, a family dinner, or a New Year’s party, holiday parties tend to get in the way of healthy eating and active living. This barrier is also not short lived as some holiday parties start as early as mid November and carry on into the New Year, which is at the very least, 6 weeks of holiday merriment! When you also factor in that many people belong to various social groups, these holiday parties tend to be never ending and occurring quite frequently. Now there’s nothing wrong with a good holiday party, but often people can feel derailed when presented with treats and “once in a while” foods at every corner. It can feel impossible to stick to your nutrition plan and also challenging to find time to keep up with fitness goals. I have 8 tips that you can use to help maintain (key word moving forward!) the progress you have made so far. 1. IF weight loss is your current goal, set a goal to maintain your current weight during the holidays. Weight loss can continue once the hustle and bustle of the holidays is done, and when daily structure to your life has returned. Use this time to relax, and enjoy family and friends. 2. Maintain physical activity up to Christmas Day (at least). Have your personal trainer ensure your current training program ends...

Happy Birthday Momma!

Photography by Bree-Ann Merritt Photography Design  September 29th is my mother’s birthday. This year, she surprised me when she said she wanted to host her birthday party in her home. Why was I surprised? Well you see, my mother typically avoids attention on herself, and she has always had a hard time accepting gifts, praise, and offers of assistance or help. She is a giver, but not much of a taker. For the last 30 years my mother’s main focus has been on her 5 children; she made sacrifice upon sacrifice for me and for my siblings. How much she has done for us and how much she has forgone for herself, is something of which, I’ve only come to realize in my adult life. My appreciation for my mother has grown immensely and, yes, I do wish she would allow people to do more for her, but at the same time I also admire her for her independence and strength. So now you can see why when she asked me to help her with the party she was planning, I was more than happy to help. To be able to do something for someone you love dearly and for someone who deserves it as much as my mother does, was a wonderful feeling. The task of planning the party was quite simple, because all my mother wanted was a small group of friends and family gathered in her home. She wanted to cook and have loved ones come to share delicious food, good company, music and laughs. I’m happy to report that her party ended up being just...

I Don’t Lift Weights! I’ll Get Too Big!

It has been a long time fear of many women (not all) that including weight training into their exercise program will result in them looking masculine or bulky. In reality it is quite the contrary. Trust me ladies, (and gents) I wish it was as easy as one might think for a woman to build muscle through weight training. As a figure competitor (a division of the large umbrella more known as bodybuilding) putting on muscle is the main focus of my training, and it has not been easy. Using myself as an example I have been weight training for over five years now, and continue to work to improve the shape and size of my physique. As women it is just not possible to build muscle mass naturally like a man. Our bodies do not produce the levels of testosterone as men, so the result from weight training is not the same. The true story is that weight training can help you build and maintain bone strength, lose weight, burn fat, change your shape creating those sexy curves you might be after, and improve your overall fitness level too. Many women spend countless hours on cardio machines hoping to make changes in their physique. Don’t get me wrong, cardio machines and cardio in general has its place in a balanced fitness program. BUT it will only provide so much; it can never replace a well-balanced weight trainingprogram.  How does building muscle improve your fitness results? Training your muscles helps burn fat, so in creating more muscle your are increasing this fat burning potential. As well building muscle can...