Reflections and Happy New Year!

Wow… its hard for me to figure out where to even begin. For myself, 2014 was amazing. It was jam-packed with a lot of joy, personal growth and emotion. I don’t say this without some guilt however, as I know for many, some near and dear to my heart, 2014 has been one of the worst years ever.

Its amazing really how much happens in twelve short months, especially if you have children. The daysNY5, weeks, months… go by so fast. Sometimes, you wish you could freeze time for just a little while to hold on to moments that are so very precious.

Its also incredible how much ones health can change in twelve short months. Whether it be from finally making the commitment to dedicate yourself to a healthier life to the opposite spectrum such as a setback due to an injury or even more devastating, an unexpected illness. What I have learned in these past few months is that the human mind is completely in control of our outcomes. The way you choose to approach any situation largely determines how successful you will be, how healthy you will be and how strong you will become.

My year started off with a brand new position as Client Coordinator at Genex Marketing. I was so excited as this position fit me to a “T”. Requirements were: Type A and OCD personality! (haha – JK – not really!). The learning curve was so steep and I loved the challenge and I soaked up everything I learned. Chris Botterill and Lance Smith are the two greatest mentors, teachers and pure technological and design geniuses I know. Well, just take a look at my amazing website! If you are in the market for digital marketing – they are your people.

While I was working away at my new job, running my kids all over the place, working on the school board, teaching group classes at the gym and volunteering for the skating club, all my spare minutes went into soaking up fitness. I enrolled with Canfit Pro to do my Personal Training Certification through home study. I would still have to write the exam and do the practical – but I thought it best to study on my own. Summer came and I wasn’t making progress, I wasn’t making studying a priority. So I enrolled in the course toNY4 give myself a push. Who knew how one small decision like that would lead to the most amazing people and opportunities.

The summer months brought complete chaos. I’m not sure how much stress one can endure in a short period of time, but I suppose I’m here to tell the tale. My work on the school board became a complete train wreck to say the least. I am someone who wears my heart on my sleeve and while I definitely developed a thick skin, a stiff upper lip and found my voice, my heart was essentially broken by politics. A three year investment… you think you can change the world, but sometimes you just can’t. I don’t fail – ever – EV-ER. So much red tape, so many conflicting views and no progress. I feel as though I failed. I failed the children, friends who are teachers, parents, my own kids… I have told many that I absolutely do not regret my time as a trustee at all. It made me stronger, braver and able to publicly speak in front of large crowds! But it also pulled me away from my children. The conflict of interest pulled me away from volunteering at school and being with my children toward a losing battle trying to advocate for everyone else. So my decision to not run again was very easy. I credit any person who puts themselves in the political arena. I’m pretty sure those three years created more age on my face and scalp than all of my prior years combined.

At the end of June, one of my best friends was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Everything I knew was turned upside down. Cancer is all around you – but until its right beside you – right inside of your flipping heart – you have no idea how it actually feels. She and her husband are who I credit to and speak of in my beginning paragraphs. From these two amazing people I have learned what strength, belief and perseverance truly are. Watching the way this woman approached each and every step of this horrible battle has kept me in complete awe. People have said, if it were me, I would be the same. But I am not so sure. For the past six months I have asked myself each day, how someone could have such incredible strength and positivity. She had it all scheduled out – how long it would take after each treatment until she could go run like a crazy woman with her four beautiful daughters. I mean, she didn’t let this hold her back at all… she would have chemo and then be off to a conference 8 hours away, she would have another and be helping her kids submit their projects for the fall fair, another and she was off to Christmas shop in the states. I don’t have that kind of stamina on a normal day!

If you want a real life fairy tale romance you need not look any further than this couple. If you haven’t seen this story – read it here and here.

With the way my journey unfolded this year, I often think that I wasn’t there enough for her. But we shared some very intimate moments, which I am so grateful for. When we shaved her head, I had to swallow the tears back so hard I almost puked – and she just finally got ‘firm’ and told us to move our asses and get it over with after stalling for an hour. She smiled each time I sent her a hokey-pokey article I found… or when I brought her crazy natural concoctions to sample. She always laughs at her crazy friend as we sat to learn how to draw on eyebrows and I totally stole her thunder and wanted to pluck and shape and pencil mine to make them pretty like hers! Here is a shout out to Christine from Dot Mobile Boutique – amazing nails, make-up AND eyebrows!!!

September I began training new clients. Had I known for one second that this job would bring me so much joy, I would have done it years ago. But, I also believe that everything happens for a reason… One path leads to another… and stars align just the way they are meant to. The people who have come into my life through this job, what I have learned from my clients is truly a gift. Each of these people have a story, a story that they’ve chosen to share with me. For that, I am blessed. I don’t see myself as someone who is just there to helpNY3 my clients get fit or to get into shape. For that one hour I am with them each session, I want them to have that hour to be all about them and what they need and what they are striving for to become a stronger, healthier person not only physically but I think, even more so mentally. My hope is that my clients feel a trust with me, that they can open up to me and share what is possibly holding them back. I’ve had very personal moments shared. I’ve shared tears, I’ve shared excitement, joy, victories and celebration. When someone entrusts me with this job, its an honour and I want nothing more but to see them successful.

So although this post has very little to do with fitness and personal training, my hope is that you have been able to read between the lines to capture what I’m saying. Each new year brings new beginnings, new goals and also many new challenges along the way. Often we play the “I’ll do it tomorrow” card, or “Poor me” card. But, if we stop for just a few minutes to reflect – ask yourself whatNY2 you would do if just one day you accidentally came upon a lump in your breast and your world was turned upside down, if you lost a child or a loved one, if you had an injury that made you physically incapable of having the option to active… how would you handle it? I know that after the year I’ve had, I would approach it a lot differently than I would have even five years ago. I’ve learned from someone special that each day is precious and that you can’t wait for tomorrow and you must be positive despite dark days. We have one short life to live and as each new year slips by waiting for tomorrow we lose precious opportunity to be our most amazing selves.

Go out and be amazing this 2015! Whatever dreams you have be them big or small – stop waiting for tomorrow!

Happiest New Year my friends!

xo

~Olivia

Something is holding you back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I read an article (which I will post when the link becomes public) on mental health and weight loss. Over fifty-percent of Canadians deal with some sort of mental health issue, whether it be chronic stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar and the list goes on… most of my followers will know that I too, suffer from an anxiety disorder which, has been under control now for seven years. Prior to that, I coped, but not well. It wasn’t until I saw my anxiety affecting my children and my marriage that I decided to seek help. For myself, my anxiety led to disordered eating which, for me – was simply not eating. Whenever I feel anxiety, I feel nauseated and I lose my appetite.

I believe that for the majority (disclaimer: this is not a medical fact or proven in literature – just MY opinion) – that most, if not ALL mental health issues lead to some sort of disordered eating. If this were scientifically proven – then that would mean mentalthat over fifty-percent of us also suffer from disordered eating.

We know this to be at least somewhat true. When looking at people with anorexia or bulimia or binge eating disorders, people do not suffer from these disorders because they love food. They either have experienced something traumatic in their life, they have a chemical imbalance of some sort or they are trying to control some part of their life when everything else seems out of control.

I have had quite a few clients come to me and state that no matter what they do, they just can’t lose the fat. They are working out, they are eating right, getting enough sleep – the whole nine yards. As a trainer, if someone is telling me this then I believe they fall into one of two categories: A) Bullshit B) Something out of their control is preventing fat loss.

Ok – now I know (A) sounds harsh. BUT… I can call bullshit because I call myself on it all the time. We have some ladies at the gym who are fitness/physique competitors and they look amazing. Sometimes, I whine and snivel to myself, “I work hard and I don’t look like them…”, or “I’m a trainer and I don’t look the part.”  Whah whah whah… but I then I say to myself, “bullshit – if you want to look like that – you have to get real about it – be honest with yourself” – I’m obviously not willing to let go of my wine and chocolate habits – so I won’t get that lean until I clean up my diet. For my clients who are looking to lose fat, I am able to confront them and most of the time… they know the answer before I even ask.

Sometimes we forget our portion sizes… this means we have to go back to tracking – track EVERYTHING for three or four days in a week. Fitness Pal, Spark People – whatever. Are you really only eating 2 ounces of cheese or is it more like 3? Half a cup of oatmeal or 3/4 of a cup? Usually, we aren’t eating as tightly as we think we are and when you are starting out -or even just trying to tighten up five pounds – unless you are truly tracking – you won’t REALLY know what you are doing unless you hold yourself completely accountable – myself included.

One of my clients last week asked me why her workouts are always harder when she is with me. I said, “well that one is easy! You are working harder FOR me!” Often, we don’t workout as hard as we think we do – another factor to get honest with yourself about.

Now for (B). This one is the tough one. If you are suffering from any type of mental health issue, then that issue MUST be dealt with in order to lose the fat. It just simply will not happen otherwise.

First, you have to admit that there is a problem (not to sound cliche) but its true. It took me many years of suffering with horrible anxiety before I would “admit” that I needed professional help and medication. Throughout my university years, I was a basket case… in overdrive all the time… ok – well – that still sounds like me – but lets multiply it by 100!

mental4Looking back I feel like I lost a lot of my fun “younger years” due to the fact that I did not want to be labeled as having a mental illness. Doctors tried to tell me for years that my insomnia and exhaustion was due to anxiety… but until I faced the truth – I continued to suffer.

I have tried on three separate occasions to come off of my meds. But then I came to the realization that I am no different than a diabetic who needs their insulin to keep their blood sugars balanced. I have low serotonin – so in order to keep it level – I need medication. Its not my fault that my hormones are this way – its just the way I am. So, the medication makes me function normal (well most of the time! haha).

Some people might go through events in their life (death, divorce, job loss, injury, etc.) where they might need medication to help them through. Others may realize that they’ve been dealing with a mental health issue for years in denial such as I was! Some, may not need medication at all – but perhaps just some therapy or counselling or even yoga or meditative practices to help them cope or come to an understanding and recognition of the underlying issues. Sometimes there might even be an underlying medical issue that is found such as thyroid or a digestive issue that is causing stress TO your body, holding the fat on.

A lot of you probably already know about the stress hormone, cortisol. When we are in a state of stress, our cortisol remains constantly elevated and this causes us to hold on to fat. Especially around the mid-sections. When you’ve been under prolonged stress for many years, you can even deplete your cortisol entirely and then its an even tougher job to rebuild those stores. There are a ton of physiologic factors that go into weight loss and mental health issues. Until those issues are dealt with properly, your weight loss will be at a stand still.

Sometimes, training with a trainer can be enough. We hold a code of ethics similar to a doctor or any other health practitioner. Any type of personal matters you discuss with your trainer should be 100% confidential. So sometimes a good hard workout and a vent session once or twice a week will be all you need. However, if you’ve recently gone though something difficult such as the loss of your marriage, the loss of a loved one, your job, etc. I strongly suggest seeking out help from your doctor. At that point, the two of you can decide wmental5hat your course of action should be in conjunction with your fitness regime.

For those of you experiencing chronic stress, whether job stress, raising kids, marriage or partner difficulty, the same applies. You must seek help from your doctor to discuss the best plan of action. Again, this might be therapy, this might be yoga, this might be some medication… it all depends on your situation.

Last, there may be a small portion of you out there who simply need a “Realty Check”. I have lots of personal friends and clients who may need this – and for you lovelies… the action won’t happen until you get real with yourself. Questions to ask yourself: Are you a people pleaser? Do you know how to say “no”? Do you take more and more and more on, leaving no time for yourself? If you answer any of those as yes… the next question to ask is the big “WHY?”. Is it because you are afraid of rejection? Are you trying to avoid something? Do you feel like you need to control every situation?

This one is tough I find myself battling this all the time – finding the mental3balance for yourself – making TIME for yourself to exercise, eat right, and de-stress and de-clutter your life is HUGE when trying to lose that weight. All of this translates into that stress, cortisol, and retention of fat – no matter how hard you workout – the fat will not drop until you lose that stress.

So, if you find yourself in one of these situations, where you THINK you are putting in the hard work or you actually ARE putting in the hard work – and nothing is working… then its time to re-evaluate. You deserve physical and mental health – nothing less!

~xo

 

December Madness…

 

 

 

 

The title says it all really. I am feeling a major crunch right now with the busy-ness of the season. This weekend my daughter’s skating club, which I happen to chair the board for – is hosting a huge invitational skating competition to over 140 kids from all over BC and Alberta! I can’t even begin to explain the amount of work it has been the past few months. We have such a generous and amazing community and without everyone’s help, these types of events just wouldn’t be possible. So here is a huge shout out to all the local businesses and organizations and volunteers who have helped us out.

You might be thinking… “if you’re so darn busy, how do you have time to write a post???”, well, I’m a sucker for squeezing in as MUCH as possible into my days. I just had a cancellation so I thought I would use that time to do this, since its been a while – and I’ve wanted to write about December craziness for a couple weeks but haven’t had an opportunity – so here it is! DecMad1

December has seen a pretty big drop off with clientele and people at the gym in general. Its normal because everyone is so busy getting ready for the holidays and running their kids to concerts and a million other activities. But again, what happens? We put ourselves last on the list. Our workouts, our food prep, our vitamins and even our water intake suffers (chapped lips anyone?). I know for myself, as soon as I start missing my workouts, I find that I’m even more stressed and I can’t seem to sleep and I can’t seem to manage my time! So even if I THINK that by not spending that 45 minutes to an hour in the gym I am saving time – I am actually not – I’m hurting worse for time. The body needs the release – the endorphins to kick in – to help us through the stress of finances at this time of year, finding the perfect gift for friends and family, for finding an outfit for the 25 Christmas and holiday events to attend, to get the baking done and the house trimmed and still do all of that on top of our work and taking care of our families. Its so much! I totally get it.

Make sure that you give one gift to yourself – TIME FOR YOU! I’m not going to preach to you about how easy it is – because that would be terribly untruthful. But… my biggest suggestion is to download a calender such as the DecMad4google calendar or one that can be seen on your computer and phone or even one that you can pack around with you. Then if you have a spouse, or partner, or kids – share that calendar with them. Slot in times for your workouts – treat them as if they are a serious doctors appointment. Two or three days a week is what you deserve to keep your mind and body healthy through the holiday season. What better gift can you and your loved ones give to YOU except the gift of health (an sanity!) – and if you do have a wee bit of extra time – make yourself a poppy, fun, holiday playlist to workout to! That will hopefully keep you feeling festive and fun during your workouts! Take your mind off of all the gift wrapping for just a couple hours a week!

January and the new year are just around the corner. The time when most people start ALL over again with how they are going to be better to themselves and improve themselves. I challenge you to start NOW – if you can start or keep going during the holiday season – you will certainly have the strength and dedication needed to be successful in the long term!

If you’re struggling – please feel free to ask me for help! If you can’t commit to yourself – you can book appointments with a trainer such as myself – to hold you accountable and see you through the stress and all of that wonderful holiday grub! Trainers and stylists alike – we give you a workout and let you vent all of your frustrations at the same time – therapy and exercise all in one! Now how is that for a holiday deal!

Stay tuned – I am planning another post for how to plan for those outings and how to manage the calories and food intake… and all that eggnog…and rum…and wine… and chocolate… ok – I will stop now – its obviously time for lunch!DecMad3

Ok – and if you haven’t watched any of these videos – they are SURE to give you some good chuckles!

XO

~Olivia