Posts tagged with exercise:

How I Became a Morning Person

I used to hate mornings! Getting out of bed was a chore in itself some days. I remember trying to ‘get a run in’ before class and by 10 am my mind was just done. I’d be sluggish throughout the day and since I’m not a coffee drinker, I never relied on caffeine for a pick-me-up, but I’d resort to fast, cheap foods to numb me or alcohol (not in moderation) practically every evening. My morning’s sucked. And so the rest of my day suffered. I’ve come to believe that the way you start your day can have a huge impact on how you spend your next 23 hours.

When I started changing a few things, a few habits and behaviors, I began to notice that my morning’s got a little brighter, a little less painful and as a result my positive mood and actions carried on into other aspects of my life during the day. And no -  I did not start drinking coffee! ;) Check below for why coffee is not a healthy addiction. I started incorporating these 5 things into my life and suddenly instead of just rolling out of bed each morning, I noticed there really was some shine to my rise that continued throughout the day. 

  1. Stretch - Usually our first instinct when we wake up is to stretch out a little bit. Don’t you? For some people it’s the mega-yawn accompanied by full, wide arm and leg extensions (with or without sound and/or hair ruffling) and for other’s it’s a quiet squeeze of core, chest and back muscles before rolling out of bed. It feels good and gets blood flowing. I decided to focus on making stretching a part of my wake-up routine. I began by practicing a minimum of 10 sun-salutations every morning and it not only improved my flexibility, but it gave me this serene, calm awareness as I continued my morning. (For those who don’t know what a sun-salutation is check the beginner’s video by Kino, here to learn how to do this properly.) Maybe just start out with 5 every morning for a week and see how you feel - I guarantee you’ll feel a difference! 
  2. Drink More Water - This sounds like a no-brainer, I know. But I cannot stress enough the significance of water for weight-loss, health and just general happiness. Nearly 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated and that’s a serious issue. Water is our life force; it’s essential to all aspects of our digestion and absorption of nutrients. It deters hunger cravings, and makes our hair, skin and nails look healthier and juicier! To start the day off on the right foot, I began drinking a minimum of 1L of water (preferably lemon-water or a herbal infusion of some sort) within the first 15 minutes of rising. It’s not as much as you think, and I’ve seen frat boys who can chug-a-lug way quicker than that! ;)  Now let’s talk toilets for a second: take a peek at your wee a couple times a day, if you’re hydrated, it should be clear or very close-to. When you first start increasing your water intake, you will probably have to visit the bathroom a little more frequently, depending on your body and level of toxicity, activity level etc etc. Get used to it, a frequent flusher is a healthy flusher! 
  3. Move That Body - Turn on some beats, pick-up some weights, do a few push-ups, walk, run, whatever! Just get the blood flowing! You’ll be nice and warmed up after those sun-salutations and if you’ve got a passion for dance or a goal to hit in the gym, there’s no better time than the AM to focus on what’s important. For me, it’s different nearly every day. This morning I took my dog for a 20 minute jog, yesterday I tried learning how to bellydance via youtube and the day before that I threw around some dumbbells. It doesn’t have to get boring and stagnant, pick something you enjoy or have always thought you should try. There are countless workout vids online and if you liked the sun-salutes, try a morning yoga class or a full at-home practice!
  4. Eat Fruit For Breakfast - If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: fruit is the best food you could possibly eat to start your day. Smoothies and/or juices are fantastic ways to get more nutrients and more calories into your belly. I aim for a minimum of 700 calories from fruit for breakfast to feel satisfied and energized. Some days it’s just a bowl full of 7-12 pieces of fruit, and other days it’s a mega-smoothie or a funky green juice! Fruits and veggies digest so clean and quickly in our bodies,  immediately fueling the cells in our brain and body with glucose. If you want to kick-start your day with clean, healthy food that will GIVE you energy and not take it away, then start eating fruit for breakfast and notice how quickly your whole day improves! 
  5. Maintain a Positive Mind - This can be as simple as writing an affirmation on your bathroom mirror and repeating it to yourself, or making a quick list of the things you are grateful for each morning. Do you ever notice how stubbing your toe or losing your keys in the wee hours of daylight can totally change your attitude for the rest of the day? Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take each moment as it comes and let it go. Maybe take 2 minutes to check yourself out in a mirror and take note of all the things you love about yourself. What can you look forward to? What awesome creation can you come up with today? 

If you try to incorporate these 5 tips into your morning routine I personally guarantee that you will notice a difference, probably lots of little differences, even in the first week! If you’re just sick and tired of being tired all day long, a morning-makeover is just what you need! Give it a shot, worst case scenario is you lose a little weight and learn how to touch your toes! ;)  Let me know how it works for you and what your morning habits are! 

Why You Should Give Up Coffee

"Think about how widely accepted it has become that people need coffee to wake up. You should not need anything to wake up. If you can’t wake up without it, it’s because you are either addicted to caffeine, sleep deprived, or a generally unhealthy slob… But it’s not heroin and you’ll learn to live without it!" - Rory Freedman

It seems like everyone I know is addicted to their coffee. Their Tim Horton’s double double or the Starbucks syrup concoction of the season, there are so many options in today’s fast food world. I’m here to give you a few reasons why you should give it up, for GOOD! 

Caffeine increases stress hormones and causes indigestion and digestive discomfort. Not to mention heartburn, dehydration, decreased insulin sensitivity and elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Does that sound like a healthy way to begin your day? Pissing out nutrients and giving yourself a stomach ache? I don’t think so! If there are other natural ways to be bright-eyes and bushy-tailed in the mornings and throughout the day, then the negative side effects and health problems caused by coffee really outweigh the claims of "but it tastes good" and "I’m addicted". Need more reasons to give up the ‘jo? How ‘bout peptic ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headaches, anxiety and depression? And you’re PAYING for it! Ditch the caffeine for water, juice or herbal tea and watch how quickly your mood lifts and body brightens! If you’re worried about withdrawal, don’t sweat it, after the first 3-7 days you’ll be through the worst of it and you’ll never have to have a caffeine headache again! ;) 

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Work It Out Wednesdays!

I’m starting a weekly themed post series of sorts: Work It Out Wednesdays! I’m not the type of person who likes to post everything I eat and every exercise I do all the time, but I think a weekly workout update is a good way to show you guys what I’m up to without assaulting your eyes too regularly. I’m a big advocate of what some might call "lazy-girl fitness". Meaning I don’t like to bust my ass to the gym for 2 hours every morning, but I’ll do squats in the shower, crunches before bed or hop on the stationary bike while watching a chick flick, that kind of thing. I like to make sure I get a good sweat on at least once a day!

So what am I up to this week? Well for starters, since I’m doing Operation: Abby Gets Abs I’m all about core strengthening exercises! Planks being at the top of that list since they are so effective for workin’ my lil abdominals. I will admit, I missed a few days of #plankaday over the weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving & a wedding in NY so I was crazy busy) but I’m back on board and my last few plank times have been: 1:14, 1:16, 1:12. Nothing spectacular but I know if I keep at it my times will only get better. I do side planks about every other day and I can’t hold them for quite as long: ~ 45 seconds each side.

As a side note: it is considerably difficult to get a photo of yourself while planking without a tripod of some sort. But having a playful puppy to distract you from the pain seems to help a fair bit! ;) After my plank sessions I usually do 3 to 5 sun-salutations to stretch out my mid-section and loosen up my shoulders just for good measure. 

Other exercises I’m including in my daily workout:

  • Inspired by the reviews I’ve read of the p90x ab ripper I’m including fifer scissors  seated bicycles and mason twists (weighted).
  • Some friends on Facebook had a few suggestions for core-work: 
  • Sara Turner from Life in a Lab Coat reminded me that diet plays a serious role in revealing abs as well - so I’ll be taking extra care to keep an eye on what I eat. Especially limiting my sodium intake (to reduce water retention) and eating (as I always try to) as much raw foods as possible for quick and efficient digestion.
  • And as always, 20 minutes of any kind of cardio or play: walking the dog, jogging, stationary bike, ridiculous dancing etc. 

How often do you work out? Are you a gym-rat or a work-it-at-home kinda girl like me? What is your favorite exercise of all time?

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Operation: ‘Abby Gets Abs’ has commenced!! 

Yeah, I’m liking the way I look and feel these days: I love the new found energy, the way my butt now slides nicely into those skinny jeans and the compliments I receive… But what I really, really want (did Spice Girls just pop into your head too?) is more ab definition! I used to (way back in high school) have this cute little 4-pack and dammit I want it back! Screw that actually I want a six-pack! I want to go jogging and wear only a sports bra with pride. I wanna be in conversation with some jacked up guy at the gym and be able to flash him my abs with confidence. I want some muscle baby! 

To put the plan into motion I am going to do the following at least 5 times a week:

  • Plank-A-Day - don’t really know how or when this started but I’ve seen people tweeting their times and I want to join in on the fun! Right now my plank time is sitting around the 1 minute mark. I figure I’ll do side planks as well for good measure! 
  • 100 crunches a night. I know some people hate crunches but I really don’t mind them. I used to do 100 a night back in high school (Jeezus that was forever ago!) and it worked then for me! 
  • Work on engaging my core when practicing yoga and incorporate more abdominal-targeted poses into my routine.

What are some of your favorite ab exercises? Have any suggestions or words of advice for me? How do you work on your abs? :)

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I am not a good climber, but man it is fun! The rocks on the Bruce Peninsula are perfect for a little playing around. We did have a couple close-calls however, so I definitely want to take a few rock climbing classes at some point soon! 

If you’ve tried rock climbing before, what would be your best tip for someone just starting out? :) 

Happy Monday Everyone! 

I am not a good climber, but man it is fun! The rocks on the Bruce Peninsula are perfect for a little playing around. We did have a couple close-calls however, so I definitely want to take a few rock climbing classes at some point soon! 

If you’ve tried rock climbing before, what would be your best tip for someone just starting out? :) 

Happy Monday Everyone! 

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