Rekindle the romance with fitness

I’ve been married for 9 years so I understand that sometimes the spark fades and the romance wanes. My official relationship with fitness has existed for 19 years so just like my marriage, I need to nurture that relationship, too. This past weekend I rekindled my romance with fitness by attending a fitness conference.

I’ve been a CanFitPro member since 2005 and I’ve attended several of their annual conferences before, but this was my first one since focusing my event planning business on fitness and wellness only, so it was a special weekend for me. (And by special, I don’t just mean the fact that I had a hotel room and two whole days all to myself while my husband and the kids stayed home, either.) I attended the Vancouver Fitness Expo and I came home all jazzed up and excited with a renewed commitment to the goals of my business and to myself. It’s kind of like when you make out with a new partner for the first time.

I attended a few sessions on running with the ever-entertaining Dr. Jason Karp (I have goals to pursue his run coach certification in the next 5 years), and one of the workshops was an 8k run along with seawall. There were about a dozen of us and we stopped along the way to look at the leaves, take in the beauty of the harbour, and really remember why we choose to run for fun. I really and truly LOVE to run and it’s not just for fitness. Jason’s workshops and lectures ask us to ask ourselves why we do what we do. Why have we chosen health and fitness as our careers? When you encounter someone so obviously passionate about what they do it’s hard not to feel excited yourself.IMG_3067[1]

 

I attended a session on sugar addiction and one on goal setting. I really enjoyed the session on body image and social media in the fitness industry with Amanda Vogel. There was some good discussion surrounding fitness selfies and how we portray ourselves online: we could have spent an entire day looking at hashtags and sweaty selfies and debating the sexualization of fitness. This session really awoke in me the need for fitness professionals to recognize how important the role we play in inspiring or shaming potential clients really is. IMG_3041[1]

I took pages and pages of notes and shared photos to social media. I fan girled a little when Chad Benson of the BC Personal Training Institute walk by (seriously: this guy knows his stuff) and I chatted about struggling with depression and motherhood with some other runners and I debated the selfie phenomenon with other trainers. I learned about breathing and posture from the CHEK Institute. I was tired by the time I got home but even my ferry ride back to Vancouver Island was a new experience: I enjoyed reading a book with a coffee. I took pictures of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen and I appreciated that so many other passengers did the same. IMG_3079[1]I had blog post ideas running through my mind and I want to get #Canada150WarmUp going again for 2018 (look us up on Facebook and commit your business or organization to participating!) I felt empowered and energized and content. I fell in love with fitness all over again. I urge you to get out of your gym or studio or clinic and attend a fitness conference. Connect with other fit pros and learn from industry experts and return to your clients with a renewed passion for what you do!

Sometimes life forces you to take a break

My little family has been fighting off cold and flu for the last week (including my hubby who’s overseas without his lovely wife to care for him) and it’s been a doozy. There were fevers and chills and aches and copious amounts of cough syrup. We’re done with the worst of it and even though my head is still congested, I’m feeling a little clearer about some things.

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  1. I don’t like water. It’s boring and I have to force myself to drink it because I know it’s good for me but I really don’t enjoy it. I will never be a 3 litre a day kinda person, but some is better than none and I’m working on it.
  2. Rest is good. Our time back in Nova Scotia was busy. I had a big event to work on and follow up meetings and visits to squeeze in. Flying across the country isn’t much fun by yourself, let alone with 2 busy children. Being under the weather forced me to go to bed early (every night for a week!) and it was glorious! I missed my daily workouts and I cannot wait to go for a run, but I don’t regret the extra snuggles with my kids and all the extra sleep.
  3. I’m a better person when I exercise. I only got in 2 workouts last week and while I could wallow in fitness guilt, I won’t. I recognize that I enjoy getting sweaty and out of breath and I love feeling stronger and faster. Exercise helps me feel in control and it’s an important part of my self-care and health routine. Everyday that I can get even a short workout in is a great day.
  4. Guilt and shame need to take a hike. Missing workouts, not eating as many veggies as recommended and maybe eating more pie than recommended build up this wall of guilt and shame and I start chastising myself with “shoulds”. I should’ve had more water today. I shouldn’t have had that beer. I should’ve eaten more veggies.Should, should, should. How is this helpful? It’s not. Yes, I’m in the middle of a fitness and nutrition program where I’m encouraged to eat TONS of veggies and drink 3 Litres of water a day and I’m not killing it the way I’d like to. I’m going to stop feeling guilty about it and instead focus on the healthy choices I can make today, like all those beautiful beets I’m going to cook up for supper instead of making pasta. And that HIIT workout I’m going to do before my daughter comes home from school. Just because I had a piece of amazing key lime pie doesn’t mean I have to beat myself up for it. Eat the damn pie and carry on.
  5. Judgement. Moms judge each other and themselves a lot. Being yucky for a week had me sporting sweats and messy hair and opened my eyes to how quickly we snap to judgement. Yes, my kids is wearing his pjs…he’s not feeling great and they make him feel comfy and cozy. No, we didn’t go to church or Sunday school last week. We were all feeling gross and decided to spare the congregation our germs. When I see a mom out there in the world doing her thing, I’m reminding myself that we’re all doing the best we can and maybe she feels awful and her husband is away on an unexpected trip and she’s doing it by herself. Maybe her kid is having a bad day and she’s just trying to survive it.

 

I’m really going to make more of an effort to get back to work and out of cozy-stay-at-home mode, but at least my week wasn’t wasted. I got lots of snuggles, spent a lot of time with my children, and even gained some clarity on some things. Well, it’s clearly time for me to drink some water and get that workout in. What are you clear on?

Celebrate World Mental Health Day

It’s World Mental Health Day and I’m celebrating.  There won’t be any gifts exchanged or special feasts or tv specials but I’m celebrating that I’m happy and healthy and alive.

I’ve always been an anxious person and if you ever encountered me during exam time, you’ll understand how my anxieties often took over and ruled my life for days at a time. My time away at university was amazing and fun but stressful and had me dip into a pool of depression I never want to swim in again. No, it wasn’t sadness or being homesick, it was illness as worthy of treatment and compassion as cancer or any other disease.

I consider myself to be lucky to have studied health sciences, so I was surrounded by tons of research and knowledgeable people. I spoke with my doctor and began anti-depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy.  I was also lucky enough to have been surrounded by supportive friends and family who listened and encouraged and loved, like the biomechanics professor who told me to be good to myself and offered his help.But I also had people in my life who didn’t understand quite so well. I can remember my boyfriend at the time referring to me as crazy during one of my crying spells. Not too helpful. (He is NOT the man I’m married to today, by the way.)

Since university I’ve had a few battles with the black dog (I love that video, by the way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc ). I ended up losing a job indirectly because of depression. I was also judged and misunderstood by another employer (in the health industry, if you can believe it). Not everyone understands and even though the campaign to end the stigma is out there, we still have a longgggggg way to go. I am ever vigilant and have a stack of resources on hand to refer to. I have a light therapy lamp. I take vitamin B. I exercise regularly. I make time for friends. I pursue things I enjoy.

I’m a military spouse and over the last 10 years I have seen significant changes in the how the Canadian military address mental health. But I’ve also seen serving members not seek treatment or hide it because of fear of being posted away from the jobs they love. I’ve seen families suffer because of lack of support or fear of their spouses’ job being impacted. My sister is a public health nurse in a high school and she copes with students suffering on a daily basis. Can you imagine what it’s like to counsel a suicidal student on Tuesday, refer them for medical intervention that night only to have them back in class the next morning because of a bed shortage or waiting lists? The state of our mental health system is not something to celebrate but the strength of people who are sick is.

We cheer celebrities and athletes for their accomplishments and I’m saying it’s time to celebrate the accomplishments we all make. Accomplishments like getting up out of bed in the morning or making time for self care or making the decision to seek help. I celebrate that I’ve learned strategies to cope with harmful thought patterns and that I’ve learned to recognize my triggers and that I make time for exercise and relaxation. I celebrate others who make the decision to start counselling or cut unsupportive people from their lives.

There is so much chaos and negativity in the world and it can be hard to sort through it all without losing your joy. I was horrified at what happened in Las Vegas last week, but I know my own limits for news coverage and I choose to focus on the stories of heroism and compassion. Do what you need to do be healthy and happy. I encourage you to ask for help even if you’re not sure you need it. Learn about anxiety and depression and educate yourself (https://cmha.ca/document-category/mental-health/). Show compassion to others and yourself. Talk about it. Journal about it.  Life is tough at times but I believe it’s always worth living. Celebrate that you’re working your way through the struggles. You’re alive. Celebrate that.

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IN BC Mental Health Support Line: Call 310-6789

Call 911 if you need help right away.

 

What does your shirt say about you?

I was grocery shopping yesterday when a lady shouted out “That shirt is awesome! Seriously, it’s great.” I was wearing my I’m not strong for a girl, I’m just strong thsirt from the #IAmStrong Workout in Honour of International Women’s Day. I get positive feedback on this shirt every time I wear it. IMG_2049[1] I make a conscious decision to wear it when I go meet new potential clients or when I know I’m going to be around a group of young girls. I understand how important this message can be and my heart is filled with joy when I see other women proudly wearing their shirts, too! Put that strength and self-affirmation out there, ladies!

I am the face of my business and what I do and say and how I act are all part of the image I want Meraki to convey. So I choose my shirts carefully…you won’t see any “I’m with stupid” and you certainly won’t ever see my kids wearing “Too cool for school” or “homework is stupid” type shirts, either. I believe the words we carry around on our bodies have power to influence and inspire others and ourselves. So when I saw a line of “fitspiration” tanks from Walmart I immediately wanted them! (Didn’t hurt that they were only $5 each, either!)

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I want people to be inspired by the events I work on and if what my shirt says adds to that motivation and inspiration, take my $5! When someone passes by me at the park and all they remember about me is “mind over matter”  or to “be u” or that sweat leads to strength, there’s the potential for that to be their mantra for the day (I know it’s mine!) What we say to ourselves sinks in and becomes reality so go put some good out there in the world with a t-shirt!

Denim: the anti-active wear

Remember my post about how adults seem to have forgotten how to play? Well, I’ve been thinking more about this and as I watched my 4 year old squat effortlessly, I had a thought. It’s not getting older that does it: it’s our pants! (He was wearing sweatpants while squatting.)

Let me take you deeper into this train of thought. A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through my son’s clothes and came across a pair of jeans. I tried them on him and he fought against them “No! I don’t like them! They’re hard!”  EUREKA! It’s the hard pants! Jeans are stiff, restrict movement and therefore reduce the comfort of play.

Think back to when you started wearing jeans. How much swinging around on the monkey bars did you do? No more playgrounding for me. Have you ever tried to run in jeans? (I actually saw a guy complete a 10k in denim this past weekend and I’m in awe.) I can remember trying to get used to the stiffness and tightness of denim in about Grade 7 or 8.  It was a weird feeling to get used to back then and even now that I’m at home or fitnessing it up 99% of the time, I’m all about comfy active wear.

I won’t force my kids to wear jeans because I completely understand how much easier it is to run and play and jump and swing in active wear. I just came home from being out in public and I changed out of my skinny jeans within 2 minutes of walking in the door.

yogapants I used to judge moms who spent all day looking they were ready to head to the yoga studio (we’ve all seen that video, right?) but I have willingly joined their ranks and I’m PROUDLY and PUBLICLY announcing my love for active wear as my unofficial-official uniform!

So, does my theory about denim being the death of play make sense now?

Post-event blues

The Falmouth TrALE Run was on Saturday so I spent yesterday feeling the way I assume many event planners feel the day after a big event: kinda bummed it’s all over.

 

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After spending hours at the computer or on my phone speaking with vendors and sponsors and promoting the event on social media and answering participants’ inquiries, and after the rush of runners arriving, starting then crossing the finish line, things slowed down around 6pm and we could take a deep breath. It was over for another year! The event host and I packed up while her dedicated search and rescue volunteer hubby took care of  all the heavy lifting (thank you, Mr. Isenor!) We grabbed a quick bite at her house before heading off to the after-party a friend and fellow Junkie hosted, but I took off for home before I curled up and fell asleep in a corner somewhere. The day was over, all of that hard work paid off and our TrALErs had a great time.crazyTrALErs

Now what? No emergency emails or last minute changes to the race list or event schedule. We’ve sent out thank yous and are sorting through feedback and I finalized the finances earlier today.  I guess all that’s left to do to cure the post-event blues is to get to work on the next event;-)