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8 Year anniversary!

8 years ago today I moved to Calgary and started Energized4Life Fitness again from scratch. This city has been fantastic to me. I have met so many great people and have had so many fantastic clients over the years. Some are still with me from my first year in business!

 

Over the years my business has evolved through education and practice to include nutrition coaching, lifestyle coaching and online coaching as well as still the grassroots of in home personal training.

 

This may sound like a lot of things but really it is still just me helping everyone be the best version of themselves…. I  am just a little better at it now :).

 

Thank you for another great year in business!

 

Crazy to think that I moved here for a boy and now I have three!


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Potty training and reaching your goals. What do they have in common?

About two months ago we woke up one morning and decided it was time to start potty training our 2 almost 3 year old(31 months). We didn’t make a plan or decide to start Monday we just decided we had a few days of down time so let’s give it a try. Now we were lucky and our little man picked it up almost straight away and the whole process caused us very few headaches and messes to clean up. What really amazed me was how much the whole process was similar to weight loss or any fitness goal. Please keep reading as I explain the numerous angles that this is true.

 

First we just started! We didn’t put it off again and again. We just jumped in and committed to consistency.

 

Consistency was and still is key. We asked the little man regularly if he needed to pee. We watched him to look for signs of weakness or distraction that would aid in an accident. And most importantly I think is we were consistent and continue stay consistent with the positive dialogue and energy surrounding the good and bad. We maintain positive energy and a positive dialogue when he is successful on the potty and when he has an accident.

 

How many of us could learn from this with the way we talk to ourselves? A little positive dialogue can go a long way on the road to goals. With our little guy he knows an accident is no big deal he just says he will ‘be better next time’(toddler speak for it is ‘okay we will try again next time’) and heads off to play.

 

Can you imagine if every time we fell off the fitness or nutrition wagon we just said ‘be better next time’ and carried on with our lives with no guilt or shame! We would all be crushing our goals and it would seem effortless without all the emotional baggage we attach to it.

 

We used rewards for highly reward and treat motivated toddler. If a prize works for you to develop a consistent system then use one! Some people thrive on getting their reward/cheat meal in a week. Some people thrive on working towards a new gym outfit or night out. If you are motivated by a reward then make a plan and get to it! I am sure some parenting books would say this system is bad for development. I know some studies have shown it doesn’t always work in weightloss but I am a big believer in do what works for you! If you haven’t found what works for you give this a try with the positive dialogue your foundation.

 

For some people rewards are not motivating so find what is and stick to it with a POSITIVE dialogue.

 

When we went out of our normal situation/routine there was a couple accidents. What I learned from this…I knew we were in a different situation and I should have been more prepared/diligent with my systems because they were easily interrupted. So what did I do? When we are in a new situation I go back to my extreme consistency and motivation that I started with to get to my goal of potty training. Just like our health goals it is easy to become complacent when things are going well. It is up to us to prepare for turbulent situations so we can be just as successful in them.

 

For example this week I know he will be sleeping in a different bed on the weekend and in a different environment so I will go back to some more treat motivation, I will monitor his water intake before bed closely(this is where accidents happen for him), if I hear him stir in the night I will ask him if he needs to pee and I will also remember to remind him regularly. He has developed good habits at home to not need all this help but good habits in every situation take time. Just like it is easy to eat well and exercise in our regular routine but when things are a little out of the normal we can struggle to stay on top of our healthy habits.

 

All of this was affirmed a few weeks ago when we were out of our normal habitat and a few accident happened. I of course tried to beat myself up for not helping him by doing all the things above but instead I learned from it. I used some positive dialogue and said to myself ‘be better next time’.

 

Hopefully you can have a positive and useful take away from this. Next time you feel like you fell off the fitness or nutrition wagon, instead of beating yourself up for the next day, week or month just say to yourself ‘be better next time’ and give yourself a positive chance at the next meal, next workout or next planning opportunity. Watch yourself for signs of distraction and remind yourself of what your goal is. Make a plan to incorporate your healthy habits when you are outside of your normal routine. Keep your chin up and love yourself enough to be positive!

 

Elaine


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Tips and tricks to make the best out of the second trimester

Tips and tricks to make the best out of the second trimester.

 

The beloved second trimester. I like to call it the honeymoon phase of pregnancy! Estrogen has stopped kicking the moms ass with nausea and tiredness, the baby is still small enough for the mom’s body to feel relatively normal and your due date is far enough away that you still feel like you have time before baby is born.

 

The second trimester is a great time to get back on track with your modified but relatively normal workout routine. If the first trimester stopped you from hitting the gym, head back and do your regular routine with ½ the weight and see how it feels. Head out for a walk and jog a few steps here and there and see how it feels, if your were a runner before the first trimester stopped you. If the first trimester just slowed you down a bit or not at all continue on by listening to your body. Do what feels good and cut back on what doesn’t. At this point in your pregnancy you should be starting to avoiding front loaded exercises like planks and pushups. You should also avoid anything with your arm overhead or a static hold(wall sit) if you have ANY history with high blood pressure. If you are unsure just avoid it and ask a fitness professional to give you a modification.

 

The second trimester is also a good time to find a Pelvic floor physiotherapist to start working with.  Physiotherapy is normally something that gets started after there is an injury or surgery but when it comes to pregnancy and the pelvic floor, an ounce of prevention can be worth so much! Just think how much weight and pressure your pelvic floor has to support in the next few months and then the changes that have to happen to get ready to deliver a baby, deliver a baby and then go back to the way it all used to be.

 

Another glorious part about the second trimester for most women is you can eat again without wanting to vomit! Use this time to get back into your healthy eating routines. Believe me it will pay off once baby is born. Prep your veggies at the beginning of your week, pre cook some protein and make some on the go snacks. Having these routines in place before your bundle of joy arrives to consume most of your time is valuable and of course be sure to let hubby and any close help you may have how you do this. If your well intended mother-in-law only knows how to make pasta and cookies some guidance is not only going to help her and her health but it will help her help you once baby is here. Having these conversations when no one is sleep deprived and hormones are not too high is also a beneficial piece of this puzzle. Hubby might be more open to the fact that you like carrots cut a certain way when he has had more than 3 hours of sleep.

 

And finally this is a good trimester to seek out some friends that have recently gone through this process for some honest opinions and experiences. Find those friends that are straight shooters. By finding the straight shooters you will get clear information not the sugar coated ”it is all worth it once you see baby” dialogue. Why do I think this is so very important? I think it is important because there are a lot of icky, gross, unconfident things about pregnancy and delivery that can cause a lot of insecure feelings especially in the postpartum days. Not knowing what to expect or even some of the possibilities can really freak a woman out and then make you turn to Google in the middle of the night and we all know how that will end! If you think searching Google about a sore toe can make you think you are dying try searching a pregnancy related symptom!

 

Birth stories are a great place to start but here are some topics that will only help you to ask about others going through and coping with. Talking brings awareness to a subject and someday you will be able to help another mom-to-be with your stories.

 

Some areas to think about asking about are:

 

Hormones – night sweats, tears, random bouts of happy or maybe even rage

Healing – Cesarean incisions and woohas…it all matters and can go awry between bringing babe home and your 6 week appointment

Pooping – This is an important topic that girls don’t like to talk about

Breastfeeding and formula – The mental challenges of persevering with breastfeeding as well as the feelings of judgement if you have to go with formula

Returning to sex – Obviously so important!

Support – Where did others find it?

 

Seeking out these conversations in the second trimester helps you prepare yourself, gives you time to chat with your doctor or midwife about any questions you may have and most importantly start a dialogue about any fears you may have and support you may be concerned about needing with your partner and health professionals.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading, please keep in mind all these suggestions and observations are my opinion based on the numerous moms I have worked with, talked to and of course my own experiences. No two moms are the same and please remember to take the advice of your medical professional before anyone else.


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Clear the clutter!

Let’s clear up some mental clutter and negative energy.

Do you believe that if you exercise it will hurt in a negative way? Do you believe that if you lose weight you will just gain it back? Do you believe there is no way to get your household to eat more real food? Do you believe that your close friends or family will sabotage your efforts?

What is your belief that stands in your way and how can you change it to a positive mantra?

I enjoy the feeling of a good workout! I am losing this weight and it is never coming back! My family is willing to try a new recipe and I will buy less of the convenient foods! I will surround myself with loved ones who encourage and support my goals!

Time for a little exercise.

For those of you that are part of my ‘Year to a new you’ program, pull out your Owners Manual. Everyone else find a piece of paper.

Now write down your negative beliefs. Now for the gratifying part…Scribble all over those words. Attack that paper like it is the true end to those words!

Now take a deep breath and write down your new beliefs.

Enjoy the progress of “I can”, “I will”, “I am”. Do your best to repeat these new beliefs to yourself daily.

Elaine


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It’s Monday!….again.

Who is starting over? Who is starting a new diet? Who is starting a new workout regime?

 

If you fall into any of these categories give yourself a big pat on the back for choosing to make a difference for yourself.

 

I want to share some helpful tips to help you succeed with your new journey but first let’s look at a few tips to recognize why a journey might not work.

 

Have a look at your plan, does it forbid any foods?

 

Have another look at your plan and see if you feel like you are allowed foods? Does being allowed foods in your adult life make you feel good inside.

 

Does your workout regime say do X , Y and Z but forbid W and W is your favorite thing to do?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions I suggest a few tweaks to your plan.

 

As soon as we allow or forbid anything in our lives we set ourselves up for failure. Our stubborn minds might start out with a I can do this attitude but eventually that stubborn mind says the heck with this I am an adult and some stupid plan is not going to tell me what I am allowed to eat or do!

 

Sure too much sugar is a bad thing, too much processed food is a bad thing, not enough vegetables is a bad thing, not enough protein or fat is a bad thing. It isn’t that these plans are wrong for the most part in their reasoning especially since any study can be twisted to match what you want it to say but that is an article for another day.

 

It is however how these plans are expected to be executed that lead to failure.

 

If running is your mental clarity and a program tells you to stop all long slow distance cardio because your should only be lifting heavy weights where is your headspace going to be after a couple weeks? If you aren’t allowed to get your mental clarity from a running fix their is a good chance you will become unmotivated and slow down or possibly stop with your workouts. So that leaves you with no exercise instead of a balance of both. Being told you aren’t allowed to do something isn’t winning in this situation, is it?

 

Now let’s take a plan that forbids sugar. Well first of all WTF does that mean? But again that is another article for another day. Now this plan likely includes eliminating your favorite coffee, your beloved glass of wine and your go to snack healthy or not. Stop and really ask yourself how realistic this is. From here you will likely go one of two ways :

 

  1. You will allow yourself one thing you just can’t give up. Again there is that allow word. You will decide you are going to have this thing daily or weekly because you are an adult and dammit adults are allowed to eat whatever they want. Okay great now the treats at the office get passed around in a few days and you decide well I already cheated with the item I allowed so what is the harm of one more thing…. And the spiral begins until next Monday or whenever you decide to start again.
  2. You will go all out. Not a particle of forbidden food will pass your lips! You will loose a few pounds in the first week and you are a Rockstar! Then you have a big family wedding with all your favorite forbidden foods and after a night of indulgence you will step on your scale, see you are up those few pounds you lost plus a few more! Not fair you will scream and settle in for the day or week of eating all those things you missed while you were being ‘good’.

 

Do any of these things feel familiar? If they do that is okay, you are not alone. Unfortunately all these plans that promise your goals and dreams are marketed to you by experts whose job is to suck you in again and again. Can you imagine if a plan worked for everyone the first try? There would no longer be a need for the multi billion dollar a year diet industry.

 

Here are some tips for a foolproof plan to success. No, it won’t happen overnight but if practiced regularly you will find long term success.

 

  1. Never forbid yourself anything
  2. Learn to listen to your body. Are you full? Are you hungry?
  3. Find a reliable workout partner or accountability. Feel free to join us here for some accountability. Energized4Life Fitness Accountability Group
  4. Don’t have the shiny object syndrome. In other words stop looking for the next best advertising of the next best plan!
  5. Learn what moderation is for you.
  6. Always have a rest day from your workouts.

 

Stick to exploring these 6 tips and what they look like to you and you are almost guaranteed to have some clarity of how you can accomplish your goals without the ‘It’s Monday’ revolving door.

 

Elaine


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Staying active in the first trimester of pregnancy

Staying active in the first trimester…

 

Is hell. Every women is incredibly different but for almost all women the first trimester is some version of torture whether she admits it or not. Maybe we don’t admit it because we are too busy hiding how icky we feel or maybe we don’t admit it because that will make it worse(this is my case!). If someone is feeling sorry for me I am more likely to feel sorry for myself and feel worse. Fake it till ya make it I guess. Good or bad but this is me.

 

Either way staying active through the first trimester sets the rest of your pregnancy and continued activity up for success. For some this may mean daily walks and for some this may mean strength training 3 times a week and a cardio routine. Neither end of this spectrum is wrong and neither is right. You have to do what you can do and push through a little of what you think you can’t push through if all you want to do is sit on the couch.

 

Whether it is your 1 st or 5 th there are always fears of what if I do to much and what if I do to little and what if, what if, what if! Clearing your mind of these what ifs can be tricky but necessary for your sanity. Mindset really does matter for your health and babies health. A great way to start this is by doing a five minute body scan. Take a few minutes in a quiet space and focus on all parts of your body one at a time. Focus on removing negative thoughts, focus on pains, strains and normal. From here you can build your plan with a clean mind. Does your back hurt? A walk will likely help loosen that up. Do you feel relatively A ok minus some nausea? A strength workout slightly toned back from your normal will likely make you feel improved. It won’t magically make your nausea go away but if you feel like puking anyway why not make your body and brain feel good from being active!

 

Next comes the wonder and fear of what can I do safely. The longer a couple spends trying to conceive seems to dictate how big this concern and fear is. During the first trimester there is no activities that are off limits or going to harm your baby if you are a healthy person but please read on for a few considerations.

 

There are a lot of safer activities in later pregnancy but in a low risk first trimester things are mostly the same. If you are unsure be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor and a certified personal trainer that has prenatal experience. As much as advice from well meaning moms is great their advice is based on personal experience and you will learn over the next few months that your personal experience is going to be a lot different than others. Be sure to dress in layers so you don’t overheat, use a fan for comfort, if you have previous high blood pressure concerns don’t lift anything overhead. Other than that do what feels tolerable and do your best not to beat yourself up when you can’t lift the same amount of weight as you could a month ago or  you don’t feel like doing burpees anymore.


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Motivation

What is motivation?

“I’m not feeling motivated” and “I just need to get motivated” are two comments I hear all the time. Lack of motivation can be a big obstacle for a lot of people, but there is no magic pill, there is only action! The first thing you need to do is sit down and think about finding your reason, your why, your deep down want. Is it short term, or is it long term? From there, break it down. Begin with asking yourself the reason you want to be motivated, and then ask yourself the reason for your answer. Repeat until you have an “aha” moment! Here is an example:

Why do you want to be motivated? I want to lose weight. Why do you want to lose weight? Because I don’t fit in my clothes. Why do you want to fit in your clothes? Because they are uncomfortable. Why do uncomfortable clothes bother you? When I feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel confident. Aha! We have found the true reason behind your desire for magic motivation. Confidence is the true reason for your desire to be motivated!

Now that you’ve found your reason, you have also found a resource to tap into for motivation. From here the challenge is simple: find strategies to remind you of your reason in situations where you’re lacking motivation.

Here are some examples:

  • You find yourself caving every time there is a birthday party with cake at the office. Keep a photo of a time that you felt confident on your desk to remind you that you want to be that confident person again.
  • You don’t feel like working out. Put post it notes all over your house, car and desk to remind you that you want your clothes to fit and that you want your confidence back. Plan to do workouts YOU like. If you don’t like something, don’t do it. Try new things until you find something you like. You may try 100 things before you find your like but at least you were active 100 times 😉
  • Adopt a lead by example attitude. This one is great for the mothering and role model types. If you skip dessert, then maybe you will motivate someone else who would have otherwise caved.

So you see, there is no magic motivation; there is just a system of steps to keep you moving forward, which help to keep you motivated. If you do nothing, then you will likely find yourself unmotivated, and chances are you will stay that way or be on a roller coaster until you put action steps into place.

Sit down and find your reason today. What is one small step that you can incorporate into your life immediately?

If I can help you find your motivation, please let me know. One of my programs is likely great for you, but if not, I will happily direct you to a program that I feel will most benefit you.


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A blog about kindness

Don’t be a jerk!

 

Common kindness can go a long way towards helping others and becoming a better person.

Next time you want to lash out at someone’s screw up, whether it be a waitress, a driver, or a co worker, please stop! Take a moment to consider the fact that you don’t know everything that is going on in their life. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to think what you want and have a mini swearing session to yourself in your car, but to actually lash out at another person and make them feel poorly about themselves is just you being a jerk. A polite conversation with a waitress can go a long way. She may be in training, or maybe a few of her colleagues didn’t show up and have left her in the lurch. Regardless, she doesn’t deserve to be belittled by an angry person.

If you are the waitress’ co worker, and she is having a difficult time with unruly customers, consider developing a system to approach these situations. Work should be a positive environment, shouldn’t it? If someone is repetitively doing something wrong, instead of immediately blaming them, consider that you may need to alter your teaching methods to match their learning style.

There is the flip side to this. You may be having a bad day, but that doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk. Be reserved, be quiet, be irritable, but find your therapy and don’t be a jerk just because you had a bad day. Get a workout in, go for a family walk, watch a funny movie or simply mope by yourself. All these coping mechanisms will make you feel better, and won’t hinder others. Being rude to others is not going to make you feel better, so why on earth would you want to make another human being feel worse?

No one is perfect, and I firmly stand by the quote below, but all we can do it our best to be polite and kind. In my opinion, you will notice that your environment can become a much happier place.

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Minister, Civil Rights Activist

Please be kind.

Elaine


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An email from a client results in an entertaining testimonial!

Elaine,

OK what have you been doing with your fitness training program?…. I’ve gone most of my adolescent and adult life without having strange/random men come on to me, and in the last months I’ve had 3!!!   I just got back from taking my foot for a walk, where a shirtless guy  sitting on a bench told me that I am a very pretty girl.   Granted he was slightly under the influence of something but really…..  3 times.

You had better warn your other clients about the side affects of your fitness and nutrition routine.  Hey, maybe this is proof that all those squats and planks are dangerous, LOL.

Slightly confused here 😀

CM


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Make Carbohydrates your healthy minded friend

Guess what?! Carbohydrates aren’t evil! They aren’t the reason for all our problems, and they don’t solve problems either. Believe it or not, popular media and fad diets have altered our perception of the facts!

I am going to get a little factual here for a moment, and then we will talk about why some carbohydrates may be hard to live with. If you want to get a little science-y, check out this article from Precision Nutrition. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-carbohydrates

The fact is that our bodies need many things to function, including carbohydrates. So what are carbohydrates? They are anything that breaks down into sugar in our bodies. What do carbohydrates (sugars) do for our bodies? The answer is many things, but mainly it provides us with energy. Without energy we have nothing; we need energy for the efficient function of our brain, muscles (including the ever so important heart), and cells, to name a few.

Okay, so we need carbohydrates. Now let’s talk about good vs. evil carbohydrates. The truth is that there is no such thing. All carbohydrates are needed and therefore good, but moderation is key, and a lack of moderation is where carbohydrates can become a problem.

When we eat the “unhealthy/evil” carbs, they are easy to eat in copious amounts. Think about the last time you ate cookies, cake, soda, beer, white pasta, or chips. Did you eat more than you thought you would? Maybe even to point that your stomach hurt because it was so full? Anything eaten in excess becomes unhealthy, and those “bad” carbs are easy to go overboard with. Now think of the last time you ate vegetables, fruit, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, or beans. Did you eat so much that your stomach hurt? Likely not. Why do you think this is? Why is one easy to overeat and the other easy to moderate?

When we eat the “evil” carbs, we scarf them down before our stomach even has a chance to tell our brain that it’s full and we should stop eating. Therefore, we end up overeating these foods. It really is that simple; they get the “evil” reputation because of consumption quantities. Yes, there are the facts that “healthy” carbs have more fiber and keep you fuller longer, but the big difference between evil and healthy is consumption quantity. So go ahead and eat whatever you wish, but please follow the tip below to develop healthy and well-rounded eating habits.

Tip of the day here is that the next time you decide to have “evil” carbs, make a decision to have them. Do you actually want it, or are you eating it because it’s there? Do your best to be conscious and mindful. Actually taste the food by eating it slowly and savour every bite. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying “extra yummy” food in moderation. Our goal is to eat to nourish our body at least 90% of the time, and the other 10% is to enjoy the finer things. By eating slowly and mindfully you will enjoy that 10% and be less likely to begrudge the other 90% of the time.

*This is not medical nutrition advice. If you have questions about your health please consult your physician or a registered dietician.