Category: Fitness

I feel like I’ve written this a million times before…

Losing weight is hard

  • It takes some serious grit

  • It takes more than motivation day after day after day

  • It takes the realization that it took you years to get to where you are now, so why should it take any less time to get to where you want

  • It takes the realization that you may need new friends

  • It takes the realization that you may have to dissociate from your unsupportive family until you have a handle on knowing how to deal with their button pushing

  • It takes the realization that you may need some serious therapy to deal with trauma (this trauma can be anything by the way – not just some major thing that happened or happens in the movies)

  • It takes the realization that you may need to leave your unhappy marriage

  • It takes the realization that you may need to leave your unhappy job and find a new career

  • Its realizing that your sick and tired of spending one more minute uncomfortable in your own skin 

  • It takes the realization that you want to live a long, healthy life free from diabetes or heart disease

  • It takes the realization that you want to climb the stairs (or mountains) with a full set of lungs not weighed down by the extra weight your carrying (physically and emotionally)

  • It takes the realization that you need to stop making excuses for yourself (you are NOT too busy, you DO have time)

  • It takes the realization that YOU ARE WORTH IT

  • It takes determination, commitment, and major soul searching

…and all of that is fucking hard.

BUT…Once you make all of those realizations you can put a plan in place. You need to review that plan over and over and over again.

  • When you don’t feel like it, you have to

  • When you don’t have time, you make time

  • For every single thing you have in your life that is holding you back, you need to let go

  • For every thing you let go, you will gain something so much more


This is why we need coaches. We need someone who knows how to hold you accountable. Someone who will hold your hand but not be afraid to call you on your shit. I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to be your coach. Coaches know the excuses, they know you have time, you know you need to adjust your priorities, quit using your past as an excuse, quit using the present as an excuse, quit with the poor me attitude. Either you want it or you don’t. Plain and simple. Simple – but no not easy – at least not in the beginning. 

Losing weight takes consistency and patience. We are a society that gets instant gratification from everything. Including the food we eat. Guess what? Your tastebuds also need patience. They get used to not being exposed to fat, sugar, salt combinations designed to leave you craving more. 

I preach enough about the plans, the powders, the quick fixes. What a coach has that none of that does, is true knowledge and education. They are there for you to teach you new, forever lasting habits. How to navigate social situations and travel. They are there to call you on your bullshit when you derail yourself. When you self-sabotage. They are there to help you repeat, repeat, repeat through the grit while you lose… and also to teach you how to maintain. They are a neutral party when no one else “gets it”. They are there to help pick you up when you’re down. They are there for accountability. 

You have to be 100% ready to commit. Because, its going to be a long haul. Its not always going to feel like sunshines and roses. Its going to feel downright miserable sometimes. But that grit is what helps build you mentally – for all things in life – not just nutrition. Learning how to control will help you succeed in so many other areas – in ways you never imagined possible. 

When you’re ready to live your best life, I’m here! 




You become what you believe…

Ever notice how things go in threes? What can I say, I’ve always been a bit superstitious. I blame it on my Grandma and Mom. Don’t whistle in the house… it calls the devil! Don’t touch the (I forget what they were – some sort of sculpture) – or you will get pregnant! haha!

Ok – time to get serious, because this is serious – and it pulled on my heart-strings very hard – three times this week.

By now, if you havbelief2e been following me or have trained with me or know me – you know my mantra and the one main lesson I try to teach women who work with me. Self-love. What a task… its something that takes days, weeks, months, years, decades of practice.

This week, my youngest daughter had a rough week with dance. She is at a new studio this year, new group of girls, new instructor, new surroundings and expectations. So far, things have been wonderful, but competition season is approaching and things are getting hard. For my daughter, if things get hard and she can’t “get it” right away, she shuts down. She calls herself down, says she can’t do it, its too hard, cries and gets frustrated. We had a lot of talks this week as well as a meeting with her dance instructor, to whom I was very grateful for as she re-iterated these very same things that I am about to say.

We all have strengths, we all have weaknesses. Something that comes easy to person A might seem almost impossible to person B and vice versa. However, rather than continually tell yourself that you are not good at whatever task it is at hand, you MUST re-structure your thoughts. If you are constabelief1ntly and repeatedly telling yourself that you are bad at something or can’t do something – it has been proven time and time again – that you will train your brain to actually believe that you cannot accomplish the task.

So, as my daughter’s dance teacher said, rather than say, “I suck at choreography”, tell yourself, “Choreography is difficult for me, however, not impossible. These are the things I can do to work on it to help it become easier.”

A couple days later, one of my clients posted in our private Facebook group, “I quit, just like I knew I would.” My heart sank. This client is so special to me. She is one of the most loving, funny, hard-working people I know. However, again, she truly does not believe in herself. She fails to see all of her strengths and she gives every last little piece of herself away to everyone and everything around her so that not much is left for her. When I first started with her, she told me, “I quit everything, I’m NOT quitting this.” But, I think deep down, she kept telling herself that she was a quitter and low and behold – she quit!

The third thing that happened just yesterday as I was running errands all over town with my eldest daughter, who happens to be the complete opposite of my little one. She has an abundance of confidence and is a figure skater. She was asking if she could skate in Calgary again this summer because she wanted to skate with her friends there. We ended up talking about her jumps and her frustration about not getting some of her double-jumps. I asked, “Why do you think you are having difficulty?” She said, “Because I suck at toe jumps.” I almost came unglued… but rather, I calmly stated, “Hunnbelief3y, just the mere process of you stating that you suck at toe jumps is training your brain to believe that you can’t do them! If you keep thinking and telling yourself that you “suck” at something – your brain changes its chemical pathways to condition your body to believe it!” She looked at me – and I really could see in her eyes, that she had an “ah-ha” moment. So we came up with some thought restructuring. “Toe jumps are difficult for me, but I can do them and these are the things I need to work on in order to get them done!”

I won’t deny that I can be the queen of negative self-talk. But for some reason, whether I was born with it or given the nurturing from my parents, teachers and mentors, I have a lot of confidence. I’m fairly stubborn too! lol! Tell me I can’t and I will try a hundred times harder to prove you wrong! I know that changing our thoughts and beliefs in ourselves works but its HARD work. I believe we just everything too fast, we are too impatient. Re-training our thoughts takes long, hard, work. But I can guarantee that it will be worth it. You just have to be willing to put in the work.

This pertains to so many things. Our society is so used to looking for a quick-fix. But those quick fixes are never sustainable and almost never realistic. Commit to the work. Do it for you. When a negative thought pops into your head… tell yourself (and no I’m not kidding), “thank-you for sharing, however…”. Re-frame the thought.

You are what you believe. You can accomplish anything you want. You can also fail at anything you tell yourself. One takes a lot more work that the other. Work for it, or give up. The one common denominator is that its all in YOUR control.


Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (that’s Happy new Year in Hawaiian)…

“Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!”.   

Our family decided to “skip” the Christmas festivhawaii4ities and spend almost the entire duration of the school break in Hawaii. Oh do I feel blessed! My heart belongs in Hawaii – its my most favourite place on Earth and one day, I plan on living there! Heck, I was contemplating just becoming a trainer there – teaching pool aerobics like the very tanned 65-year-old lady we splashed around with where we stayed!

I thought it might be fitting to tie in a New Year’s rambling with my Hawaiian experience as I had challenges from start to finish.

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions as they don’t seem to stand for very long. However, I’m always about setting new personal goals and bests and using the start of the year for a re-fresh and re-assessment of what you want to work on personally. Hawaii was definitely a good place to realize that I am light-years away from reaching a lot of my goals still. The biggest one being body-confidence.

With the Canadian dollar being so low, we opted for more beach and pool time this time around… our one big adventure was Zip Lining – sooo much fun! hawaii2We did a lot of walking, hiking, swimming, etc. There was a fairly decent gym at our complex – so I hit that all but two days. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had only gained three pounds while I was away! We also ate all but 4 out of 16 dinners “at home”. I brought my good old Quest Bars with me, stuck to wine for my drink of choice (I did have 4 margaritas over the duration – I know I know – its Hawaii, not Mexico – but I love me some tequila!). We packed our own lunches to the beach etc. So, all in all, we did a good job of staying on track with that.

The problems for me came in with my body insecurities. I found this strange however. The beaches that we frequented were packed with people. ALLLLLLL kinds of people. I had commented on my personal Facebook page to friends and family that I had a whole new vision of thongs at the beach! There were women (and men) all around me who appeared to not give a f**k! In one thought I was thinking, “Wow, good for them for being so comfortable an confident!”… but then I was thinking, “How the f**k can then be so confident looking like that in a [insert various revealing or pretty much next to nothing beach attire]”?? I like to think that I am not a judgmental person – but I would seriously be lying if I said I didn’t judge… In my opinion no one’s arse belongs in a thong at a “family” beach… although, I think my husband and father-in-law were certainly enjoying some of the scenery.

So there I was, in my one-piece, feeling so uncomfortable every time I got up to go into the water – thinking that the ENTIRE population was watching my butt jiggle its way into the ocean, feelinhawaii5g as if I wanted to shrink and hide inside one of the tiny sea-shells that my daughter had found. But why??? Were other women (and men) feeling that way (except my mother-in-law who admitted she did). I’m sure that 80% of the women definitely felt that way, but it seemed that there was a portion who definitely looked relaxed at secure and truly did not give a F**k.

The six months leading up to our trip I kept thinking – “OK! Time to get these 10 pounds off for Hawaii!”, four months, “OK! Still have LOTS of time to tighten up the diet”, 2 months, “hmmmm… I should start to look at buying some swimsuits – but gotta lose those 10 pounds to expose my abs – so I shall wait!”, one month, “OK – seriously Olivia! 4 weeks – YOU CAN DO IT!!! – oh but nah…”. Sound familiar? So, I ordered one one-piece.

Interesting thing, one of my besties was over on Oahu at a different resort on the west side of the Island. We Skyped one night and I said, “uh… so most people are chunky here – there are not many fit bodies on the beach… why do I feel so insecure?”. Then she said, “Oh, just the opposite here – I’ve never seen so many tight bodies on vacation in my life!!” She then said that she looked up the housing prices there and the demographics and it was a very “ritzy” area. Sheesh – so I’m on the fat beach and she’s at the rich, fit people beach… well, I’d rather be at my beach…

hawaii1SEE???? OH EM GEEEEE!!!! What is that???? Why am I having these thoughts? My ENTIRE mantra is to be empowering women!!!! To feel strong, and confident, and beautiful no matter what their size or shape in the state that it is in NOW – not in 10 pounds less than from now – not to let it take over all the thoughts about your holiday – even obsess because I had no scale to check-in with… and CERTAINLY NOT to let my two daughters see my insecurity and have them feel insecure about themselves. My youngest daughter was commenting about her tummy rolls… there I was lecturing her about being confident and feeling beautiful no matter what. HOLY HECK!!! What ahawaii3 hypocrite of a mother!!!

So, here I am at the beginning of 2016! I’m getting ready to take on a whole new adventure training clients in my VERY OWN studio and to start back with my crazy-amazing bootcamp ladies! This year is the year that I will focus on goals such as:

  • increasing my PRs on my squat, deadlift and bench press
  • getting back to running (a little bit – heh – not over board)
  • increasing my endurance training
  • reading 8 personal growth books
  • reading for pleasure every night before bed
  • growing my personal training business
  • EMPOWERING MYSELF FOR REAL and shadowing that to all of my amazing women who I look at each and every day and see such amazing, beautiful people!!!

All I can say, is this is me, once again coming clean. I’m a personal trainer, coach, nutrition coach, bootcamp instructor, friend, wife and mom. I’m real and human. I’m not perfect – but I know my weaknesses and I will continue to bust my butt this year to get stronger physically, mentally and emotionally!

Most of all – I hope to take (and continue) with many of you on the very same journeys!!!


~xo Olivia

A year of growth and gratitude…

dec15dDecember is a trainer’s quietest month and a hairdresser and beauty tech’s silver pocket! As much as we try to remind our clients to stay on track through the holiday month, which seems to be getting longer and longer each year, we know that we may have a few unrealistic expectations of what might occur! An average of 1-10 pounds are gained through the holiday season from the time of the American Thanksgiving, to the New Year! However, we know its our job to get everyone back on track in January and hope that our hard working clients hear our little voice on their shoulder when they are about to have their 4th sugary cocktail of the evening or all those appies before a big dinner!

Lecture done!

This past year I have witnessed so much growth in so many of myDec15b clients and I’ve experienced a lot of growth as well. My “Mantra” has been and continues to be, “Power from Within”. My clientele is primarily women and I’m almost sure its through the “Law of Attraction” that my ladies and I come together. I train with them anywhere from several times per week, to once every couple weeks for a “check-in”. During our sessions a lot is confided in me and sometimes I’m shocked at how much trust is given to me so quickly. It is never something I take lightly and over time, some of what is confided helps my clients and I realize that there may be other obstacles in the way preventing them from reaching their goals. What I’ve learned the most is that when these amazing women find empowerment, things start falling into place.

One of the best ways I have found in achieving this is through setting new personal records at the gym. Lets take the focus off of looking a certain way, losing a set amount of weight, going on a vacation so you have to look good, etc. etc . Lets focus on lifting heavy, improving time on conditioning rounds and getting strong on the outside. Just today, one of my clients hit a new personal record of a bench press at 175lbs!!! The men at the gym were looking on and cheering – in complete AWE! Most men can’t lift that amount of weight. Through that session, she was able to vent to me about what was hapdec15cpening in her life. We channeled that energy through her lifts – and look what happened.

One of the biggest things I see in these women is that once they start taking time for themselves, getting that physical activity in, they gain a sense of control back in their life. When everything seemed to be spiraling out of control for perhaps months,
years or even decades… those heavy lifts, those tabata drills or metabolic conditioning workouts take them to a place for just one hour where they can let everything go and focus on their strength. There is not only a physical after-burn effect but also a sense of accomplishment. Once this becomes routine, that sense of accomplishment becomes self-confidence and self-love. When we love ourselves and start respecting our selves, we give our body what it needs. Proper nourishment to fuel those new goals, sleep, massage, chiropractic, regular medical check-ups, etc. etc. Its a wonderful wheel and I am so completely grateful for getting to witness this with so many. I couldDec15an’t have a more amazing job!

Of course, I can’t win them all. Some I try and try and literally bang my head trying to think of what I might be missing. What the missing link may be. However, I know that like anything else, you have to be in a place where you are completely ready to surrender and trust the process, know that its not going to be all gumdrops and roses and lots of days its going to feel down-right impossible. There may be weeks and weeks of no progress but it takes picking yourself up and repeating the process week after week to convince yourself that you’re completely worth it. I need them to know that I will never give up on them and when they need me, I will be here for them!

So on a final note, I want to express my gratitude to all of my clients. For letting me share in your life, for trusting in me as a friend, for letting me kick your butts and make you sore and cranky and tired. For letting me lecture you on your nutrition and most of all for teaching me sooooo much! I love each and every one of you and I’m so blessed!dec15e

May you all have a safe, relaxing, healthy holiday! I’m so excited to work with you and everyone new in 2016!



Hiring a Personal Trainer – What to look for…

First off – ya gotta watch this... my pro-trainer showed it to our class the first day… flipping hilarious…

This topic seems to be popping up a lottrainer2 lately and seeing as sometimes our community can feel a little “small”, I thought I’d take the opportunity to clear a few things up!

Hiring a trainer can seem a little luxurious. I know that for most people this is something that will be scratched off the list as soon as times get tough and for many something that would never make sense to spend disposable income on, that is, if anybody has any disposable income these days.

I wrote a while back about ideas to help save for a trainer, if it is something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. But today, I want to focus on getting value for those hard-earned dollars. You work hard for your income and I make sure I go the extra mile so that my clients feel that their time with me is well spent.

Does Certification Matter?

I just had someone say to me yesterday, “no disrespect, but having certification doesn’t mean much without experience.” I believe this to be very true. Anyone can get their personal training certification. You take a course for 30 hours, write a theory exam, do a practical exam, get your first aid ticket – and – BAM! Welcome to the world of fitness! – you can put someones health and fitness into your hands… right after you figure out how to do your first bicep curl… ok, well maybe that is a bit exaggerated – but there is some truth to it. I studied very hard for my theory exam, I actually ended up with a 96%. I took it seriously – the anatomy, physiology, energy systems… I wanted to know it inside out and backwards. But when it came right down to it, the three hours in the exam room – I just placed myself in the gym. It was a lot of what I already KNEW… I’ve been in a gym since I was 13, I already had my Fitness Theory from Canadian Fitness Exercise Services, as well as my Group Instructor Certification. For me, it wasn’t rocket science. It was a lot of personal and practical knowledge. It was also something I was extremely passionate about.

So to answer – yes, I do believe certification is very important. It gives a trainer credibility. If you can’t write and pass your theory and your practical – then you definitely shouldn’t be training. You need to know your anatomy and physiology. You need to know when NOT do things with your clients even more than what to do with them. What movements are they contraindicated to? What if they have high blood pressure, are diabetic, have had previous injuries?

Also, certification ensures you stay up to date. With my certification through CanFit Pro – you need yearly continuing education credits, annual first aid re-certification and a professional membership. As with anything else, fitness changes, there is always new research, new ideas, new methodology, new studies… if your truly passionate about something – you NEVER stop learning and investing in your knowledge.

Certification and professional membership also adheres you to a code of conduct. There are certain ethics and standards that personal trainers should adhere to. You can read the ones I am bound by here.

So what else should you look for in a trainer?

First Aid
They should have a current first aid. There should be comfort in knowing that if someone who has a history of heart disease or heart attack – or not – is in good hands if heaven forbid trainer4something terrible were to happen during your session. Do they know how to perform CPR? What if you hurt yourself? Its definitely a must.

Well, we all have to start somewhere. But when you have your initial consultation with a trainer – your “interview”, you should be able to get a pretty good feel for their knowledge. If they start spewing a bunch of technical terms and fancy terminology – it could be a cover. Experience is definitely something you should look for.

Are they Genuine?
This one kind of takes a bit of that “gut” feeling. Do they sound like they care? Do they seem excited about the opportunity to work with you? Do they ask you more questions about YOU than you have for them? I know with my sessions – I try to keep the focus 100% on my client. How their week has gone, how they are feeling, their weekend, their stress levels, their work, their family, their kids, their frustrations. Its a bit like a therapy session. But they’ve paid for this hour with me – its all ABOUT THEM!!! It has nothing to do with me. Of course, my clients are interestedtrainer1 about my life as well – but I definitely NEVER portray any negativity or spew my own personal stress to them during our sessions.

Do they discourage you from other activities other than the time they spend with YOU?
This one makes me chuckle. Sometimes trainers feel threatened when their clients want to register for someone else’s bootcamp or take someone else’s class or go to a yoga class outside of their gym. Really? If your trainer truly cares about YOU… they will be encouraging you to take part in ALL types of physical, emotional and spiritual activities that you are able to commit time to. We can’t be specialized in EVERYTHING… I always encourage my clients to partake in classes or recommend yoga or other activities to round the whole person. Its a bit egocentric to lead your clients to believe that they should only train with you!

Other Qualifications
Is your trainer a well-rounded individual? Have they only ever worked out in a gym? Have they worked anywhere else? What is their life experience? Again, when it comes to training people in fitness in health – each and every client is completely individual. No cookie cutter program will do. Also, a lot of times trainers are asked for nutritional counselling. This comes back to the Code of Ethics we follow as trainers. Without other Nutrition Certification, personal trainers are NOT to give meal plans to clients. The guidelines and regulations here are very loose but if your trainer takes their job seriously and wants to give nutritional counsel, they should have some sort of Nutrition Certification. They should also know when to refer out to a Registered Dietitian. Does your client have diabetes? Kidney issues? What if they go into renal failure because you’ve prescribed them too much protein… again, you are putting your health into someones trust – make sure they know what they are doing AND if they don’t, they are humble enough to send you to someone who does.

Word of Mouth
Nothing gives you a better idea of who a trainer is, what they do, and if they are good at what they do than word of mouth. Ask around, see what others experiences are… keep up with their social media. Again, if your trainer is passionate and serious, you’ll see a reflection of that through what they post. Is their Instagram full of half-naked selfies showing a six pack or their new hair or their latest muscle growth? Or is it of motivational quotes, recipes, REAL LIFE???

A last piece of advice:
Trainers have variable incomes. When the economy is up – our income is up, when its down, we may not see a paycheck. Most trainers need a more secure, secondary source of income. A lot of times, trainers are linked to some sort of multi-level marketing company that they then try to convince their clients to buy into. I personally believe that this is extremely unprofessional. I was just asked last week, if I had heard of or tried a certain brand of nutritional supplements and if so, why didn’t I use it for my clients. While this topic is a whole other post, I strongly believe that trainers should not attach themselves to any brand. If anything were to ever happen with a company and you had seventy-five percent of your clients enrolled “under you”… what happens to your credibility if it goes wrong? Yeah… not the best thing for your business model.

I have clients come to me each week asking me about the latest and greatest trend. My response is always the same. While I do not believe in “systems” for nutrition, I tell my clients to research them to death, I ask them how they think they could see themselves far into the future using this same system, and how much of an investment it would require as opposed to shopping for real, nutrient-dense foods. If its something that will work for them – go for it… if it makes them think a little deeper – all the better – they are now engaging in the process of taking the best care of their entire person.


I always have such a hard time starting my posts. My brain synapses fire in 8000 different directions and I’m not sure that everything that I want to say will end up coming together in a conclusive matter… but here it goes…

I’ve been pondering people’s struggles… a lot. I’ve even talked at length with my mentor about it. This past week, after finishing another couple of books with eight others on the go (I seriously have book ADHD – its amazing I ever finish a book!), watching a documentary last weekend (I have an exciting life!), and a whole whack of client cancellations (some weeks go like this), I have felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

The problem is that no one can solve the problem. Seventy-eight billion dollars are spent on the diet and weight loss industry every year in North America (53% of Statistics are made up on the spot – and while I’ve tried to find the EXACT number – there are too many variables – one indicated if you include bariatric surgeries – it soars to close to $140 Billion in the US alone). So I keep asking myself, “Can anyone actually ever change?”. One book I have finished, titled, Body of Truth, by Harriett Brown does not seem to think so. I read this book twice. I agree with some, but not all of what she had to say.

There are a ton of factors that go into why I feel we are not successful on our weight loss journeys. The first, quite obvious from the dollar expenditure above is that humans (in this generation) want instant gratification. We don’t really want to have to work for it. I don’t mean this as an insult but its one-hundred percent true (and yes, I made that statistic up!). The thing that comes to mind here is all the multi-level marketing companies out there promoting their “lifestyle” changes through various supplements and shakes. My clients come to me at least once a week asking about the “newest” system on the market. I then go research it and find another dozen out there. There are literally hundreds of these systems out thstruggle1ere. I have had clients show up for their workouts with me on their second “cleanse” day so depleted that we couldn’t make it through a workout. I always discourage clients from any of these systems. At first, they can have great success but I don’t know very many who want to bring their tubs of meal replacement to the Bahamas with them so that they can stay on track.

Another big problem is our perceived sense of reality. I need a huge kick in the ass about three times a week from either my husband or a friend when I whine and snivel about how I look. Who the hell am I comparing myself to? Well… of course then I have to research it to death (that’s my original trade after all…). Here is a great video I found (by the way – this gal is super cute and has a great, common sense approach). Well, I compare myself to those asshole Instagram pictures of girls twenty years younger than me who have rock hard abs and huge muscles!!! I have been told many times that I may be a bit “naive” about how these women are achieving their bodies. I do think our expectations of how we should look are slowly changing with things such as the Dove campaigns and the Special-K campaigns – LOVE this video!

One of the BIGGEST problems is our food, what we eat, how the food industry produces and mstruggle2arkets our food. Its awful, shameful, should be illegal… I recommend this documentary to EVERYONE!!! Its on Apple TV and Netflix. It should be shown in our middle/high schools. I almost blew a FUSE when my oldest daughter brought home homework on the Canada food guide. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. I know the teachers have no control over this, as its required curriculum – but seriously even the US is ahead of us now with their rendition of the food guide, although the grains is still way out of proportion. Our food is being created to be addictive. There are great books out there explaining this phenomenon as well. Moreover, while our food is being created to be addictive, there are some people who are genetically predisposed to be more addicted to certain types of foods (mainly white, processed foods – aka sugar and flours). Some people have the same types of addictions to food as those with a drug or alcohol addiction. I also recommend the book, Food Junkies, by Vera Tarman. She even goes into talking about how so many people who have bariatric surgeries (another instant gratification solution) turn to alcohol and become alcoholics or drug addicts. The problem with the bariatric surgeries most of the time is that these people still have not dealt with the CORE reason of for their obesity. This could be emotional trauma or chemical trauma such as food addiction.

Other problems include our emotions and our lives in general. We are too busy and too sleep deprived. Don Saladino – a celebrity personal trainer in New York stated on a TV program I was watching (I do occasionally make it past 8:00pm) that his biggest secret to weight loss is SLEEP. One of his male clients lost 9 pounds in ONE MONTH by adding 90 minutes of sleep to his night!! There is a TON of research out there on sleep and weight gain. I know myself, if I am tired – LOOK OUT CARBS – oh my word… I will devour any sort of sugar left in my path… My Mom (who is a part of the generation that did all the latest diets – along with all of my clients her age and now have damaged metabolisms and are stuck on the 1200 calorie a day regimen – side bar: you should see the look in their eyes when I prescribe them 1900-2200 calories – they almost pass out!) often talked about how she would tell her weight loss clinic or group or whatever – about the tiredness and always felt “silly” or that she was alone in that problem and how she couldn’t control her appetite if she was sleep deprived. Flash forward 20 years – OH we have HORMONES that get f#*ked up if we don’t get enough sleep and we eat like there will be no tomorrow (now they just have to figure out how to get these hormones in control – common’ science people!!!).

Emotions. I wrote about this a while back. You have to deal with your shit before you’ll get anywhere. Again, Brenda Turstruggle4ner in her response to the huge ass Nicole Arbour (may karma come to you bitch)… she talks about how so many people wear their battle scars on the outside in the form of obesity. I don’t believe that all obese people are obese due to emotional issues. I see there being a HUGE problem with food addiction, which I believe to be more chemical but can certainly be an emotional issue in and of itself. In this video however, she is talking more specifically about abuse, etc. I have clients who deal with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-esteem, self-confidence issues… the myriad of emotions that create toxicity within our body. Toxic thoughts create toxic chemical reactions within our body. If you are constantly telling yourself that you are worthless, fat, ugly, stupid, etc. Your subconscious does NOT know the difference, it may as well be the person standing across from you yelling these things. I’m a firm believer in that you become what you think or believe. Trust me, I’m a work in process as well…

So back to how I will pull this all together… I often hear the statement, “Why am I not seeing results?”. My answers can be summed up as follows:

  1. Are you working hard enough? That is, are you putting in the time at the gym or with some sort of exercise routine? We are so much more sedentary than ever before. One hour of exercise at the gym is NOT enough… walk – move around… park further away, go for small walks – keep your body MOVING… 1 hour at the gym is only 4% of our day!
  2. Are you being consistent? This relates to number 1. You can’t exercise 5 days one week and 1 the next and expect results. You need to be CONSISTENT!!
  3. What TYPES of food are you eating and HOW MUCH?? We always under estimate how much of what we are eating. Try using a food tracker for a few days to see where your macronutrients are falling (calories, fat, protein, carbs)
  4. BE CONSISTENT!!! Again, you can’t eat clean all week and then binge on the weekend… you’ll ruin ALL of your dedicated eating. Instead, as I’ve said before follow the 80/20 rule. 80% clean and 20% for joy and pleasure – whether you plan that on a micro level (80% of your daily meals, 80% of your week, month… ).
  5. SLEEP!!! Get enough – if you don’t your hormones will be out of whack and you’ll not burn fat the way you should and your appetite won’t be regulated the way it should.
  6. Deal with your SHIT! All the emotional baggage. Divorce, affairs, abuse, cancer, death, special needs, children, depression, anxiety, eating disorders… the list goes on. Until you deal with what is holding you back in your life emotionally, change will be almost impossible to achieve. Mental, emotional and spiritual health is paramount to fix first before you can be consistent with all the rest.

… But mostly I want people to know that they are not alone in their battles. Each and every one of my clients battles – I become so attached to them and want to take away their hurt and solve their problems as if they are my own children… it keeps me up some nights. I want to find THE ULTIMATE solution to the very problem I opened with. But for now, I don’t have all the answers… just the ones that are close to my heart. Knowing that hopefully if I can provide them with enough easy to digest knowledge, the right tools, the best support that I can, a place to vent or cry to that is not attached to them in other ways such as a family or friend – a place of “unconditional support” and confidence, that everything will be ok. Not perfect, but ok. We can achieve great things through small steps, common sense approach, long-term changes, and mostly through finding even the smallest of things to be grateful for when the world seems to be crashing down on us.



Are you giving too much away?

I was parked outside my youngest daughter’s school a couple weeks ago. You have to practically be two hours early to get a parking spot anywhere close to the school if you’re lucky. This day however, the stars were aligned and I was within sight of the school parking lot.

Being the extrovert that I am, I love to people watch. I was watching all the new parents to the school picking up their little kindies – I’m pretty sure my kids were never that little – how does that happen? Anyway, I’ve spent some time observing Mom’s over the years picking their kids up from school. There’s the Mom who is always on her phone with her kids 10 steps behind, there’s the Mom completely engaged with her kids asking them everything about their day super interested and excited, there’s the Mom who is frazzled beyond the point of no return – you just know she needs 5 o’clock to roll around so she can hit that bottle of wine… except she probably has to run them to hockey, or dance and doesn’t need a DUI to add to her very long list and then there’s me – who is to the point where I just wait for my kid to get in the car – ahhh… sweet bliss…

Its always the frazzled ones that catch my attention. On all accounts I had the easiest babies and toddlers ever. I think the universe knows what buttons she can and can’t push – so I was blessed with kids that wouldn’t test my patience… the teenage years are becoming another story – ask me in five years how I fared.give3..;-)

I have walked in many, MANY shoes… constantly feeling the inner pull of trying to balance and justify every single decision. When I had my first daughter, I knew I wouldn’t want to work full-time but at that point, financially it was necessary and I was also very young – I didn’t want all my university to “go to waste”. I went back part-time for a while, again always feeling the guilt of being away from my baby. I am almost positive that the second baby came along so quickly because I needed an “excuse” to be back at home full-time.

I didn’t enjoy being at home. I was constantly agitated, my anxiety was horrible I was sleep deprivedgive1 and basically just not a nice person. When my youngest was close to two, I decided to try medication to make me feel better. I also went back to work again, part-time, enrolled them in pre-schools and gymnastics, baby ballet, preschool skating – we were busy. Although I was out of the house way more, I still felt pulls from every direction. Just never content, so I thought maybe working from home was the answer. I was graciously allowed to move my office from work to my home. No more worrying about daycare, sick kids, not being home… but still something wasn’t right.

I continued for several years to work from home sometimes part-time, some contract, some full-time. I also volunteered a lot at school when the girls were little. I became the PAC chair and us ladies had such great times doing great things for the school. I loved getting out and being with people.

I thought a lot about my Mom, who worked from home. I often tease now how I knew nothing when I moved to university begive2cause she did EVERYTHING for me and my brother… and by everything – I mean EVERYTHING! I rarely made a bed, seldom helped with dishes, never packed my own lunch – heck – she even made our lunches when we came home for the summers! That was her job – and she took it VERY seriously. Her job was to raise the best two humans she could – and I think she did very well. My brother is a Doctor of analytical chemistry and I have a degree in commerce – and have had many great jobs and many different paths… we both live very happy lives with our families.

However, I also remember my Mom when my brother and I left home one year after another. Her home was now empty. No beds to make, no meals to prepare for four anymore, no laundry, no hustle and bustle of our friends roaring in and out looking for baking and snacks. Her job was ripped right out from underneath her and she wasn’t prepared.

My Mom was the one who encouraged me more than anyone to become my own person. While she definitely thought being a stay-at-home Mom was best for my kids, she knew my personality and that I wouldn’t be completely satisfied staying at home. It doesn’t take away that constant guilt we feel though or more so the pull – the desire to be who we need to be but yet provide for our families. Throw into it all of the over-thinking and emotions – no wonder us gals are half-nutty!

What happens when we can’t fulfill our passions and our needs? What happens when we can’t find that balance? I believe we lose ourselves, our spark and even our motivation and drive. Sometimes, we go looking in the wrong places. We try and find affirmation or acceptance through actions that might jeopardize our true self or even our families. Through losing ourselves we might just end up pushing away the very ones we love the most.

This is the point at which I “receive” many of my female clients. So many have given so much and continue to give until they have nothing left to give themselves. They’re emotionally drained, perhaps overweight, depressed, tired and at rock-bottom. “What happened to me?”, they often ask.

Somewhere along the line – you forgot about you. We all have an inner-most need to nourish ougive4r spirit. As women we need to strive to find enough balance in our lives so that we have room to give ourselves the time to take care of US! How do we care for others if we can’t take care of our needs? Keep ourselves healthy on the inside and out? We need to stop saying “yes” to the over-time, the volunteer work, being the super-mom, the doting wife for at least one hour a day. Do yoga, go for a run, bike, take a class, or go to the gym. Take the time to nourish your body with healthy foods, read a book, do a craft, find a hobby. When your kids have left, when you have retired, all that’s left is you and you want to be around for a very long time to enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in.

Don’t get me wrong. Its never going to be perfect. The pull will always be there, but what I’ve learned much before my Mom did (thanks to her) is that when my kids leave, life still happens. I’ve also learned that while they are here at home, I am a happier, better Mom when I take care of myself. I’ve also learned that my passion revolves around people. I can’t work behind a desk as I did for years. I need to be up on my feet and helping others. My family knows I need my fitness and my job. They also know when I’m with them, I’m 100% all theirs.

Its not easy. It takes practice to say no, it takes time to make time for yourself. So whether you’re a stay at home Mom, a woman who works 50 hours a week, retired, a Grandma, sister, friend, wife… take that time for you… make you healthy inside and out… I can guarantee you will be 100% happier


Don’t judge until you’ve walked the walk…

addiction1 I totally get T-Swift. I can totally relate to her, something happens and you just have to write about it. Too bad I can’t sing although I’m sure what I write about wouldn’t make the billboard 100. However, when my emotions run, I love to write. In fact, I have quite a few “un-published” blog posts…

This summer on a visit to my friend Andrea’s, I mentioned that I would love to write a book one day (Andrea is about to publish her second). She said, “fantastic – so what’s it about?”. I said, “well, that’s the problem… I don’t have anything exciting or new and fantastic to write about.” She said that writing a book usually comes from a place of pain and the more I thought about it, the more I know she is right.

I don’t have any Earth shattering, traumatic experiences to write about. I had an amazing childhood, I have amazing parents, in-laws and husband that support me to no end. I have two beautiful and perfect (well almost, lol) daughters. I have a life that a lot of people would love to have and yes, I am truly grateful for it each day.

Sometimes our pain comes from a place of “hard-addiction3wiring” in the brain. This is my battle. This is SO many of our battles. Chemical imbalances causing depression, anxiety, negative self-talk, etc. that continue to tell us that we just aren’t enough or just not good enough, despite what those who love us say and what the logical parts of our brain say.

So, today, I’m sitting here writing because I’m in pain. Emotionally and physically. I’d way rather be at the gym working out right now. But, I’m on a forced rest day. One out of two rest days that I’ve taken since June 23rd.

Since June 23rd, I’ve worked out every single day except two (including today) because I hurt my hip two days ago. Yesterday, despite being in so much pain I could hardly walk, I decided to go do a “light” back workout. Despite my massage therapist (who is also a friend) tell me the parts of my body that need to be rested, I HAD to get my workout in.

So I went. I did my workout. I then came home, took my 4th ibuprofen of the day and laid on the floor with an ice pack. My daughter then rubbed physiotherapy strength cream into my hip and back, helped me off the floor and I went to bed. I was awake all night in pain.

Today, my plan was to go to a meeting first thing, then an appointment, then to the gym for my workouts, which last anywhere from an hour (minimum) to two hours. This didn’t happen obviously and I’ve now cried a total of three times due to the anxiety I’m having about not getting a workout in – and probably due to the realizationaddiction2 that my addiction has been creeping up on me again this summer. The signs are all there but an addict chooses to look away.

I know those of you who physically see me are probably thinking – she certainly doesn’t LOOK like she has an exercise addiction! Well, you’d be right… the signs are often not obvious, which is why it can be one of the easiest forms of addiction to hide. So what are my symptoms? First, weight gain. I’m not gaining weight because I’m eating donuts and pizza. I eat a very well balanced diet, I watch what I eat, I do indulge occasionally but I am not gaining weight because of what I’m eating. I know, I know, I know… I joke about my wine habit – but I honestly don’t drink as much as I let on… When you over-train, your cortisol (stress hormone) goes way up to a point until its completely depleted and then its drained and you have to heal your adrenal glands and its a lot of work. Over-training actually slows your metabolism and you also tend to eat more… my diet is good – but most likely I am taking in additional calories because I am over-training my appetite too. This is why people training for marathons gain weight – or people think that they will sign up for a race to lose weight – often don’t or even gain… more exercise – more hunger.

Other signs – I can’t sleep, I’m tired ALL the time and my joints hurt. This time around, my small joints – something I’ve never experienced before. Two weeks ago, I was at the lake and I couldn’t pull up my pants because my fingers and forearms were too sore. Despite being sore – I still did a heavy workout and was beyond frustrated when I couldn’t hold onto the water-ski rope for more than 5 minutes.

I would never prescribe the amount or intensity of exercise to my clients that I give to myself. I know all the reasons why I shouldn’t be doing what I am doing. I also know that I would make a heck of a lot more progress in my physique – heavier lifts, more definition and fat loss – if I CUT BACK. So why can’t I just do it?

Well, its no different than the woman who can’t give up purging after her meals, its no different than the people going through drive-thru windows and eating upwards of 2000 calories hidden away in their car. Its an addiction, we know better, we know we need to stop we know what we need to do to be successful – but something inside just doesn’t let us stop.

I phoned my Mom this morning and cried. She gets all “Momish” with me and says, “grow-up,addiction5 you ended up in the hospital once because of this – you have two kids to raise – quit being so selfish” – me feeling like I’m 17 instead of 37. My friend says, well, its an “easy-fix – train two days, take one day off”. What they don’t realize is its not just a matter of stopping. The anxiety that triggers LACK of the addictive behaviour is what the problem is.

So, here I am once again wondering if I should be posting such personal issue. Some will think, “well, she is not equipped to be a trainer if she can’t take care of her own shit.” But to me, I hope for just the opposite. I am inspired and learn SO SO SO much from my clients. I form such an emotional attachment to all of them – even the skinny ones who are trying so hard to PUT ON weight… imagine that! lol… My biggest hope is that I can help my clients because I understand their battles – I live them myself. I want them to have a place of non-judgement – a place and person to help them feel safe when they are entrusting me with one of the most vulnerable parts of their lives – their body-image, self-esteem, health and fitness. Its truly my passion – I read countless articles, continually update my education, chat with other coaches and trainers and health professionals. Like I said at the start, we KNOW what’s right and what it takes. I teach all of my clients the right things, I talk to them about what their body needs… its almost as if I’m trying to teach myself over and over again. Its through this that I continue to search for answers for myself and my clients… we all have different needs and different battles.

So please, never place judgement on any of us until you’ve “walked the walk”.

xo ~Oliviaaddiction4

Why ya gotta be so mean?




I suppose we have all experienced it… feeling a little bit of joy from someone else’s failure or misfortune… Did you know that there is an actual term for that emotion? Its called Scaudenfreude!  It is defined as pleasure derived from someone else’s failure or misfortune. Its sad that as humans we feel these sorts of things toward each other. There have actually been some studies on why people feel this. It comes down to having low self-esteem, feeling threatened by someone else’s success or perhaps feeling that a certain person deserves to fail or have something bad or unfortunate happen to them.

I’ve heard this from a few of my clients who have lost significant amounts of weight. They say that even their best friends are just “waiting for them to fail and gain all of their weight back”. Some people even take action as if to try sabotage their friend or loved one’s weight-loss/fitness journey. How? By putting them in positions that cause temptation or social pressure. It could even be an insecure partner or spouse who feels as though their relationship might fail if their partner becomes more attractive by losing weight or becoming fit.

I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve written in the past about my own weight loss. Fortunately, I have never been a yo-yoer… I lost weight once and have maintained – well I have now achieved what I consider a maintainable, healthy weight. I’ve been within ear-shot of women in the gym who feel that I don’t fit the “personal-trainer” mold. Does it bother me? I’d be lying if I said no. It has definitely made me feel insecure at times… but never for very long. A few self-reminders that I am in this business to help others become fit and healthy are all I need to make those feelings dissipate.mean

Three years ago, I was at 17% bodyfat and what it took me to achieve that was not something that was healthy nor maintainable for ME. What it takes for one person to achieve a certain physique and leanness is not the same for all. There are genetic factors, medications, lifestyle factors and many other variables that make it less maintainable for some. I’ve come to a point in my life where I am very comfortable and proud of my strength and fitness levels. My focus has changed from being as lean as possible to being as fit as I can be cardiovascularly and in my endurance and strength as I can possibly be.

I’m also a huge foodie as are all my friends in our social circle. We love to travel to different places and the first thing we do is research the hottest places to eat and drink! I’ve even taken my level one sommeliers! I love to sit down at the end of the day with a glass of wine and some dark chocolate to unwind… for me, its therapeutic… and I’m at a place of self-acceptance where egg whites and rice crackers are not going to do it for me. Some take pleasure in will-power and dedication to a very strict diet and achieving a very lean physique. I admire them whole-heartedly and often stand in awe. I never look at them and wish they would drive down a jar of Nutella or 10 pounds of poutine or just go get a life… that is THEIR life and they are living it the way they choose.

So what can YOU do if you feel as though you have no one on your side? Well, talk to your trainer! So many of my clients will email me, text and just plain vent during their training sessions. This is one of the main reasons that I won’t train friends and family. It can get too personal. When I have a client whom I have no previous personal relationship with – its easy for me to stand back and be objective about a lot of situations. The client then also feels safe and in a place of non-judgement. If your best friend keeps asking you out for wine and appies and knows you are trying to lose weight… she may not be your best friend. If your Mom invites you over for dinnmean2er and serves all of your “favorites”… you may need to have a talk. If your spouse tells you that your workouts are a waste of time or stupid…well… that is certainly not a supportive partner and you may need to do some serious soul-searching.

The other thing that you can do and that I do daily, is remind yourself how blessed and fortunate you are. I thank the universe daily for the path its led me on and ask for guidance. I wish the best for people no matter what they may wish for me. I choose to place my energies at a higher place than those who wish evil on me. You can only control your own thoughts and actions. You can do nothing to control the thoughts and actions of others. So to spend time worrying about the thoughts of others is simply a waste of your own time and energy.

Focus on your goals. Decide what you need to do to achieve your moderation and don’t feel guilty or bad about doing what you need to do to stay on track. Practice self-love affirmation. To get my clients started, I will often print and decorate a little sentence each week and have them place it where they can read it over and over. State out-loud each day what you are thankful for in your life. As my clients and readers know, I am a firm believer in the law-of-attraction… if you continue to practice positive self-affirmations and focus your energies toward the positives, you WILL attain your true place and the best possible you.mean1

I don’t believe in workout partners. Here is why…




Sometimes I hear some of my clients say that they want to encourage their friend to sign up at the gym or for sessions with me so that they have someone to workout with. I always cringe a tiny bit when I hear it… sometimes I will voice how I feel, sometimes not.

Don’t get me wrong – I love to train on occasion with a friend and I absolutely LOVE to workout with a group. It keeps you on your toes – pushes you a little harder and usually there are

At times it can be therapeutic and fun!

At times it can be therapeutic and fun!

a lot of laughs involved. Its when you begin to rely solely on that ONE workout partner things can unravel for YOURSELF quite quickly.

Its a lot easier NOT to workout when you have a workout partner. Well, she’s sick or her kid is sick or she has to work late or she has another commitment… so I will just skip today and wait for her tomorrow. When you ARE together – the dynamic might work well – but other times –

You may never get to the gym if you rely on a partner...

You may never get to the gym if you rely on a partner…

maybe not. Some times too much chat and not enough work, some times she doesn’t need the modifications you need and you do moves that you might not be ready for or that are contraindicated for you. Basically, its not

You may be led in the wrong direction...

You may be led in the wrong direction…

complicated – relying on someone else to get your workouts in most of the time will work against both of you and not for you.

Learn to enjoy your workouts as time JUST FOR YOU! Time to stick the headphones in – get into your own groove and push your body to YOUR own limits. Time to take your thoughts off of the rest of what is happening in your life. As I’ve said before – if you’re focused on your workouts – engaging your muscles and really

At times a friend can definitely motivate you to get there... just don't rely on it all the time.

At times a friend can definitely motivate you to get there… just don’t rely on it all the time.

closely paying attention to your mechanics – there is no room to think about the argument you had with your spouse, no time to think of the other eight MILLION things you have to do before you pick up the kids or finish before you get home from work. You can go to the gym when its convenient for YOU – not for someone else. Its your time to be selfish and focus on you!

Of course, do enjoy workouts wit h your friends… go to group classes… go for a walk, run, bike, golf, whatever it may be with your bff! Its great to workout and incorporate social time, the lesson here is just not to rely on one workout partner – or even multiple workout partners or group classes just to get your workout in as it just becomes one of those other great excuses to not get your fitness in!

Of course pets are a whole other story... always reliable... maybe even allowed in a certain gym at times (heh heh)

Of course pets are a whole other story… always reliable… maybe even allowed in a certain gym at times (heh heh)…