Short Video of my favourite and effective Stretches

I created a short stretching video demonstrating how to perform each stretch and what muscles each stretches as well as how long to hold each stretch for, check it out and let me know if you try it! and Be sure to like and subscribe for my future videos on youtube!

Watch video on youtube here!

New Supps and Pullups

 

Just a short video showing you my recent vegan supplement purchases. Raw Fusion Proteins in Banana Nut and Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge! Both are delicious! Then I also got some Creatine HCl and plant-based fermented BCAA’s from Kaged Muscle. FYI the BCAA’s smell and taste like crap but I guess thats what happens when you order vegan, unflavoured BCAAs 😦

Secondly, Pullups are something Ive been working on for the last year and a half. I initially found it very hard to make progress and then I injured myself, turns out you need to stretch your back and shoulders when your constantly doing pushups, burpees and pullups! DUH! Anyways so with the help of my amazing chiropractor and foam rolling and stretching my back and shoulders are slowly but surely getting better and are now more mobile. I was pretty happy with my assisted pullups today, this was the first set with the thinnest band which really just helps me on the initial pull which I find to be the hardest part of pullups. I was able to do 6 and lets count that last one as a 3/4 one 😛 I plan to make my next video a full upper body workout so stay tuned!

Strengthen and Tone Your Core

 

 

IMG_2677Here’s the workout:

20 Mountain Climbers with a twist

20 Plank Leg Lifts

10 Side Plank Dips each side

15 Second Low Plank hold

12 Dead Bugs (opposite arm and leg lowering)

20 Alternating Toe Reaches

Repeat circuit 3x total

Rest and Stretch in between exercises as needed. Make sure you have good form and concentrate on keeping your core engaged for the whole routine.

Let me know how you like it!

Find Video of Workout on my Youtube!

Goals!

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In November I made the goal that I want to be able to do a handstand by the summer. Well, I put in a lot of practice and patience and it wasn’t easy,  but I reached my goal! I can now hold a handstand for roughly ten seconds. That may not seem like much but to me it means a lot. Making goals are important in all aspects of life, but health and fitness goals are the most fun and rewarding 🙂 I challenge everyone to make a goal and take small steps everyday to achieve that goal, and make sure you set a reasonable, attainable time frame. I was worried I was no where close at the start of summer, but the body takes time to progress. I hope to be able to hold my handstands for 60 seconds come next summer! The work never stops, but it gets more enjoyable 🙂

The Thigh Gap: an Unhealthy Ideal and My Personal Story

 

Im going to share with you a very personal story, not a lot of people have heard this story, in fact probably none have heard it ever in full, so here it goes. Not even my family and close friends, because I have always been scared of being judged, until now. To family and friends please don’t be offended that I never told you about this sooner. Im putting myself out there now, hoping it may help others and shed some light.

 In my studies of holistic nutrition the topic of eating disorders has come up a number of times. There is a large stereotype and misconception with eating disorders. For example, in my sport nutrition text book the section on eating disorders in athletes is in the Female athlete section…

I will stop there and now begin my personal experience with disorder eating, or whatever you want to label it…

So my unhealthy obsession with food and exercise began in grade 6. I was very active, played basketball, danced, and ran in track and cross country and was going through a growth spurt (about the same height I am now). Being in puberty and being young I had a lot in my head, and one of those was my ideal body image. I had no problem with my tummy (it was very flat already) or arms, what I wanted was thinner thighs, and essentially I wanted a thigh gap.

I taught myself how to read and understand food labels and that’s when the problem started. I used to simply eat whatever I wanted when I was hungry, and my parents were good about keeping nutritious, healthy food in the house. I began to obsess over the amount of fat or calories in foods, I would rarely eat pizza, chocolate, other junk foods my friends ate in fear of gaining weight. If I did happen to eat more or eat something I didn’t think I should have, I would make up for it by doing exercise, usually via going for a run. I also started weighing myself… every day. I started having berries, granola and non fat yogurt for breakfast and wouldn’t bring any lunch to school except an apple and granola bar. My only nutritious meal was dinner, which my mom would cook. I started losing weight pretty quickly, because I was so active, and clearly I wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed.

The thigh gap started to show but I wanted to be even thinner still. Clearly because I was athletic I had quite a bit of leg muscle which I did not think about at the time, I just wanted lose fat and get super skinny thighs.

I had only recently started getting my monthly female reminder, and pretty soon after my period had started, it stopped. At first I didn’t care/ I was excited because who wants to get their period! Little did I know this was a red light that I was underweight and had such low body fat my body was not producing the amount hormones it should have been anymore: Amenorrhoea is the name for this condition. This can cause lower than normal bone density, and increase the risk for stress factures (which I did not know at the time).

I was more active than I had ever been. I think it was around grade 7 when I started to get knee pain during and after running, which I did a lot of! This frustrated me because I couldn’t do as much exercise as I wanted! This started to affect my performance in sports, dance, and gym class. I never saw a physio or anything for it because I just wanted to stay active and was afraid of having to rest it, and I didn’t think it was a big deal. I started also doing some pilates videos at home when I couldn’t run. ( I am not saying that my eating disorder caused my knee problem, but I think it was one of the main reasons it started, along with my high activity level and lack of adequate rest).

The obsession with food became worse when I felt good feeling hungry. Feeling hungry and having an empty stomach was an accomplishment for me, and I would often skip breakfast and lunch. Never mind having low blood sugar, I felt good about being starved.

 Obviously because I was curious about weight loss and health I started reading books and magazines on the topic, I remember reading somewhere that when women have such a low body fat percentage it can actually be unhealthy and one of the main signs is that they lose their period/ stop menstruating. At first I just thought it was just because I’m so active and young, no big deal right? Wrong.

At my lowest I think I weighed 95-97 lbs, which may not seem very low, but I am the same height now, with a little more muscle mind you, and weigh 130 lbs. 

Whats strange is I never looked like the typical girls you see in pictures in articles about eating disorders, I looked like your typical pre-teen, skinny, athletic girl. Although my nick name at school was skeletor, my thinness never alarmed anyone, because it didn’t look like those pictures or girls with supposed “eating disorders”.

I began to slowly realize I had a problem, and it wasn’t healthy to continue. I was deprived.

It took awhile to start eating normally again without being paranoid about the calories or fat in food. But I did this all without telling anyone, by myself. I think it was the summer of grade 8 that I got my period back and was a healthy weight again. It was in grade 8 also that I cut out dairy because it gave me stomach aches and gas.

So now, when I hear people talking about others and saying “Oh she must have an eating disorder she’s so skinny!” it makes me mad. Im not sure why, maybe its because no one thought I had an eating disorder when I did, and the fact that people are judging others, without knowing them at all.

I have learnt a lot from this experience, and it is one of the things that lead me into my passion for health, nutrition, and fitness. From an unhealthy obsession with food and exercise I now have a healthy balance of the two.

By sharing this I am not looking for sympathy, because I don’t need or want that, what I am hoping is that we will stop judging others based on their body composition. And know that not all people with an eating disorder or disordered eating are extremely thin like the models we see in fashion magazines. And that eating disorders don’t only affect women, they affect men too. Guys are equally as self conscious as girls about their bodies, but they don’t show it the way we do. One of the things I never did was complain to others about how I wanted to lose weight, I just did it. I was stubborn. I think that may be why no one ever thought I had an eating disorder, because I didn’t complain about my body to friends or family. 

I guess my point is that everyone is different, and if you think a loved one may be dealing with an eating disorder or have an unhealthy relationship with exercise, approach them and don’t assume anything, and please don’t go telling others what you think and spreading gossip.

And to all the girls out there who think they want a thigh gap or want to be super thin, please focus on your health. By being active and eating healthy we can look our best and be a healthy weight, and not look like some unrealistic version of skinny whose thighs have been trimmed down with a photo editing software. Everyone always tells us those photos are edited, but I think we keep forgetting.

The road to loving yourself is a long and windy one but it is oh so important that we find peace with our bodies and strive to treat them well by being healthy: eating well, being active, and feeling good.

 

If you read this all, thank you.

 

 

 

 

My top 6 Core Exercises!

No more crunches! Do these 6 exercises to work all of your abdominal muscles and get a strong, sexy core! A strong core is the foundation to a strong and healthy, active body. So if you’ve never done strength training, do these 6 exercises to get your body ready! Don’t forget to drink water and refuel with a yummy, healthy vegan meal like one of these ( Creamy Coconut & Date Oatmeal, Brown Rice Stew)

#1: Single Legged Plank

Perform on each leg, holding for at least 10 seconds, with the lifted foot flexed and your glutes tight, increase time as you improve.

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#2: Side Plank

Make sure your wrist is below your shoulder, hold your hips up for atleast 10 seconds, increasing each time. Repeat on other side for same time.

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#3: Single Legged Side Plank

This one is my favorite because it also works the inner thighs which are a hard to target area! Make sure you keep those hips up and keep the foot planted, Hold for as long as you can (with good form) and repeat on the other side.

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#4: Single Leg Raises

Start with both legs at 90 degrees and abs engaged, pulling your belly button to the floor with your head on the ground, inhale as you lower one leg, exhale as you bring it back up to 90, repeat with the other leg.Thats one rep, do as many as you can until it burns!  Breathing is important! A strong exhale as you raise your leg engages the core more!

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#5: Cat Plank

I am not sure what this position is really called, but I think this name is suitable. Essentially like a regular plank, but your legs are bent and your knees are off the ground! Hover with your knees just an inch off the ground and hold for as long as you can, keeping a strong and straight back.

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#6: Reverse Plank

We can’t forget about our back! Our “core” is not exclusive to the front of the body. This move helps strengthen the whole backside, make sure your feet are pointed and turned out (you’ll want a soft surface for this) and your butt is clenched! Try to keep your neck straight, looking up and not at your toes. Hold for as long as you can!

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Repeat this whole sequence 3 times for an awesome total core workout, perfect for pairing with a cardio, such as my 10 minute calorie scorcher one here (click this link) for when you are short on time.

The fantastic thing about all of these exercises is that most of the muscles in the body are acting as stabilizers, so your not just working your core! You will notice that  your shoulders and triceps may feel a bit tired after all of these planks, and thats the bonus! Who doesn’t want nice, toned arms and shoulders?

Got 10 minutes? Do this workout!

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No more excuses, this takes 10 minutes and will make you feel great, burn calories, and get your heart rate way up, now GO 🙂

45 seconds Jumping Jacks

10 seconds rest

45 seconds “Jump Rope” on the spot (jumping up and down, do whatever you like with your arms, i do little circles as if holding a skip rope)

10 seconds rest

45 seconds of Burpees (feel free to add in a pushup on each or some burpees, if your not sure how to perform a burpee you can look on youtube) 

20 seconds rest

and repeat it all 2 more times! Then your done! Make sure to take a minute or two to walk around and cool down after, and stretch any tight muscles. This is also great to tie in with the rest of your workout if you do have more time.