Category: Spirit

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!

xo

~Olivia

Struggles…

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.

xo

~Olivia

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)…

Me? Melodramatic? No way…!

I love when people get to know me well enough that they feel comfortable using certain adjectives to describe me. Whether it be a friend, acquaintance or even a client. Family members don’t count – that’s completely unfair… however, the title of this post definitely came from a family member – my husband. I’m pretty sure he thinks I should head to Hollywood some days. Besides melodramatic… most of the descriptors make me chuckle… a few – may be a little shocking. One thing is for sure I am definitely an extrovert to my core – which shouldn’t surprise too many as one probably should be very comfortable around people when you have your ass backed up to a room of them instructing on exercise to corny top 40, 128 beat per minute re-mixes of Taylor Swift and One Direction or is that 1D…?

I had a bit of an “incident” this past week and it got me questioning my “self” again. When the wheels start turning, everything spirals from there. I started to think about my reaction to things and how I deal with them and how my clients react to certain things and how I want them to deal with them and how they actually do. Sometimes I see myself as being hypocritical for sure… I expect something different from those I work with – mostly – more rational thinking! (was that a run-on sentence…?). lol!

I usually think that I’m very “in-tune” with my body and often wonder if most people are that in-tune… my guess would be no. I say this based on my experience working with people and the type of questions I ask and the answers I receive. I feel fortunate and blessed to have been brought up with alternative beliefs about self-care and I also just have a keen interest on reading and researching about the mind, body and spirit as I know that they are so completely connected that if one is out of balance, everything is out of balance.

My “incident” involved hurting my back. Not just a tweak but something that made me wince in pain every time I twisted or pulled or moved. It had been bothering me for a couple weeks but because I was so busy with clients and my kids, I figured I would ignore it and it would fix itself. Well, that was until I attempted a seated shoulder press. One push and I think I saw stars! Crap… this one is a bad one.

So… I called in the reinforcements – a trip to the chiropractor. I don’t think I had evechiror had such a painful adjustment. I got up the next day after a horrible sleep and knew I wouldn’t be able to workout that day. THE WORLD HAS COME TO AN END! Oh my god… what if I can NEVER workout again??? What if I’ve impaired my back so bad that I can never move again? I’m going to be fat BY TOMORROW! This may be where my husband gets the melodramatic part as this was not a series of thoughts in my head – it was a full-blown meltdown in front of him and my two girls. Of course, they know me well, so they just sat there rolling their eyes while I proclaimed the end of my life.

No… this isn’t it – my fitness and my career IN fitness cannot be over! I must do EVERYTHING I can in order to fix myself… patience not being an option of course.

My beautiful friend Danielle just happens to poke needles in people for a living. She has superpowers. She can feel energy flow in the body, she can feel where pain is coming from and going to and she also has all sorts of amazing remedies. I have seen her for my immune system, for pain, for sleeplessness, for my adrenal glands and I even sent my husband to her for his snoring… apparently her super powers aren’t strong there. So, as it accupuncturewould be she graciously took time out of her weekend not once but TWICE to poke me full of needles – oh and I also laid on her rollerbed while our other friend Kristi came over and we had coffee and I whined about my life being over to them… she also rubbed some lovely Chinese lineament on me… heavenly.  Kristi just happens to be married to a Chiropractor who is Mr. Crossfit himself – so he knows the toll that fitness can take on the body. He also knows how I quite frequently ignore my pain until I’m in the state I am in. So he came over too and had coffee and a cinnamon bun with us and then he crunched and cracked me around. My massage therapist also happens to be married to Danielle (and works at Kootenay Health Centre – where I will also see Dr. Mark when I have a massage) – but he was out of commission himself due to his insane schedule andcoffee coaching the girls volleyball team – what was that about ignoring our bodies and stress and injury?? Thank GOD its not just me!?!? So… I couldn’t get a massage unfortunately with my coffee, needle poking, spinal crunching, roller bed, counselling session. Maybe next time!?

So by now, I was on day three of no workouts. I was miserable and my family was at the brunt of it. Dr. Kevin says, “move, the body is designed to move”. So I went to the gym and I walked on a steep incline for a half hour and then did some body weight walking lunges and that was it. It was definitely a very light workout for me but what it did was get my blood circulating through my body and it elevated my endorphins  , which I feel are paramount to a positive mind and healing the body.

By the evening, I definitely could feel some relief but again, I’m not the most patient person and I was thinking back on what I could have possibly have done to have ended up this way in the first place. The curse of an inquisitive, over-analytic mind… I need to know WHY! I knew there was a piece of the puzzle missing – and where to find it… as luck would have it Mr. Geoff Dakin was in town and he had ONE opening (just for me – lol!). Geoff is very unique as he is a RMT (registered massage therapist) but he specializes in postural imbalances and using self-corrective exercises to restore function (and a lot more cool stuff that you can read about here).

I happen to have a fairly significant anterior pelvic tilt (my back arches)… part of this is just my make-up – part of this is my lazy muscles not supporting my pelvis properly. When I first saw Geoff almost a year ago – my pelvis was seriously out of whack. Geoff gave me some exercises and stretches to correct and strengthen my posture. I was diligent with these… for a while… then I slacked off – then things showed up again… then I started using them again… and then it was January and WHAM! I hadn’t done my exercises or stretches in WEEKS! I was almost back to square one when he saw me again. So what happens is when my pelvis is not aligned properly – everything else is essentially over-compensating to stay aligned and then you do a shoulder press when you’re misaligned and the body snaps back. After my treatment with Geoff and doing my exercises and stretches only ONE time… I’m feeling significantly better.

So to get back to where we started… knowing your personality and your body is a key element to the mind, body, spirit connection. Knowing your thresholds, your shortcomings, what makes you tick… you need to learn that about yourself so that when you feel like sitting on the couch when you should be working out – you can talk yourself into it. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum – if you’re hurt or unwell and need to take some time off – you need to know how to talk yourself out of your irrational thoughts (I think I gave Kristi the visual of me in a wheelchair at 600 pounds whale watching in Mexico) – lucky that I have friends who can tell me to get over myself…

However, I also believe that you can’t “give-in” to every little ache and pain you get. There is usually always a work-around – I had to walk instead of do sprints – I couldn’t use weights but I was moving – lower body with no compression. You can’t let every little sniffle and sore muscle hold you back. But you need to learn your limits and shortcomings – as there is a fine line in deed!

AND – I cannot strongly enough recommend having an arsenal of alternative therapies for times when your body, mind and spirit are out of balance. Whether its meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturo-pathic counselling – there are some amazing people with amazing education and techniques to help keep you balanced and healthy. We are so hard on our “selves” in so many ways… do a self “check-in” – where are you at? Are you balanced? If not… take some time to re-evaluate!

 

 

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

 

 

 

Gratitude…

I know I’ve said this before but I believe in nothing more strongly than the law of attraction. Today, I think of all the amazing connections with people I have. How blessed I am to have my family, friends, co-workers, clients, parents from my kids’ activities and schools – even if its just a smile and a hello, it warms my heart.

One of my best friends is fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer. We found out only at the beginning of the summer and what an emotional time it has been. Today, I stopped in to drop off a little care package for her. How wonderful that I can come unannounced, walk right into the house without knocking and whisper a soft hello (as to not scare the shit out of my best friend with cancer!). There she was, laying on the couch snuggled up with a big smile on her face less than 24 hours after her fourth round of chemo. How are you I ask? She says, (all peppy I might add) – pretty good! Her eyes were bright, her voice was strong and I could feel her positive energy. Then she hops up and shows me her youngest daughter’s (she has FOUR daughters) project for the fall fair. So proud and unwavering, she is truly the strongest woman I know. If the roles were reversed (and I have questioned the why’s a zillion times over the past few months) I honestly do not believe I could have a fraction of the strength she has. I am so grateful to have her in my life and through this fight she has taught me more than she can know.gratitude3

It amazes me sometimes how much one day can hold and all the experiences you can have, all the feelings you can feel – just in one short day. I have the honour and privilege of training an amazing young woman who suffered a massive brain injury at the age of eight in a car accident, which also claimed the life of her mother. She has beaten all odds and is now training to compete in the para-olympics for swimming in Rio in 2016.

A short while back, I would see this girl at the gym, working incredibly hard. I had heard murmurs of her story and her drive and determination always kept me in awe. So now – to be TRAINING her – like I said, what an honour. She is always early, she busts her butt and as I look for ways to continue to challenge her, I ask – how was it – that was tough hey? She says, meh – it was alright. I then think – what the hell? She is a machine! She has also just recently written a book. It’s called, “An Unexpected Miracle”, by Jennifer DiPippo. I encourage EVERYONE know to read it – its an account of what living with a disability is like. The emotional brutality that someone endures due to a disability and that all they crave is respect and normalcy. Of course, this is not a huge revelation for someone like myself as I have an incredible sister-in-law with a mental disability who has also conquered mountains through special olympics and athletics. But I have seen for twenty years now the emotional heartache that ensues from worry to protect and provide that sense of normalcy with my mother and father-in-law. For people on the outside, there is mostly a sense of fear, which Jenn talks about in her book. I am extremely guilty of this – even with my own sister-in-law. Some people have a natural talent to connect with these incredible people, I unfortunately do not – believe it or not, I tend to feel intimidated – which I know is very silly. I am one of the ones who has fear. But once I learn HOW to connect, it becomes effortless. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to do so.

Today was a hectic day. I was ALMOST thankful that the kids were not in school today (yikes – did I say that???). But training clients, connecting with scrambling parents at skating registration and participating in Jessica’s awesome new Tabata class and Josee’s Zumba (oiy – now that was quite a sight – I’ve lost all dance capability – I was as stiff as a board and was the most uncoordinated of all) – I had an exhausting day but I’m grateful for every waking minute of it today.

AND… since I’m babbling on… I just have to add in here a point about social media. Some people balk at the idea. But its an extroverts best friend. I love love love connecting with people and SHARING, I just do. I wear my heart on my sleeve and many times that leaves us extroverts very vulnerable but to me, its worth the risk. Each time I get a message like a “way to go”, or a… “I can braid hair if you need help”, or a call from a friend, or texts, or whatever, it fills me with energy and I love it.

Anyhoo… this post doesn’t really have to do with personal training or nutrition but I felt like I just had so much to be grateful for and I am so very grateful to share it with you!

~Olivia

gratitude1

Fitness, Raw Chocolate, Elixirs and Essential Oils…

Oh my goodness – BEST WEEKEND EVER!

Over the past couple of months I have had the honor and privilege of creating an amazing new network of fitness friends and fellow health nuts! I mean truly, I feel so blessed to have had my path lead to such warm, passionate, and incredibly knowledgeable people. Through my courses I have become friends with some amazing women. The thing is when you become part of the fitness profession world things can get a little competitive. But not once, have I felt anything but encouragement and complete positivity from everyone! I get so excited when I see that one of my fellow classmates has officially become a certified trainer and I know they have been cheering me on as well! They have a wealth of knowledge to share and it excites me to see the “web” expand so we can all reach out to others and help make this world a healthier and more amazing place.

This weekend I made another trek back to Calgary and I was super excited – coincidentally my timing was perfect! I was able to attend a session with my ProTrainer, Andrea Thatcher AND the beautiful Eva Sefcova-Gustafsson, holistic practitioner, Reiki master and fitness model – google her – seriously she is gorgeous on the inside and out! Our session was about essential oils. Many of my friends know that I’ve used oils since my girls were little. Actually, another Mom at school introduced me to their powerful immune boosting properties because my little nose miners were sick all the time, which meant I was a crabby mama! Anyway, I was super excited about this because I got to learn a million, zillion more ways to use the oils that I already have as well as add a bunch of new ones to my collection! I even got a new cacao1bottle of wild orange – and let me just say, these aren’t just any essential oils – they are therapeutic grade – it makes a HUGE difference in the way they work. Before we went out for dinner on the town, I made Chris breathe some in and then I smeared some on him – he has learned to embrace my inner modern hippy chique  – or at least that is what I will call it.

I also learned how to make my very own raw chocolate and superfood elixirs! Oh my… I was in CHOCOLATE HEAVEN!!! The elixir we made was also made with raw cacao – various forms and all sorts of other superfoods! I am super excited to be taking a raw food certification course through David Wolfe as well. I will write a whole other post on that at some point. But incorporating all sorts of ways of nourishing our bodies – AND our souls with foods closest to mother nature comes with practice. It takes time at first and experimenting, but after a while – you tune into your intuition and let your body and soul lead you to what nutrients we need based on the day!

So the only thing better than learning is SHARING! I’m so excited to bring all of my new knowledge to YOU! Within the few weeks I will be hosting my own session on how to make-over your medicine cabinets and cleaning closets with the gifts that we are given from mother nature herself rather than the toxic, disease causing chemicals most of us use! We can eat some raw chocolate and drink elixirs and have tons of fun learning about superfoods! If you’re ever interested in hosting your own event, do let me know! It would be my privilege to help you and your friends learn too!oils1

On a training note – WOW! September is going just as I thought it would! Everyone is getting back to their routines – our classes are super full at the gym and full of wonderful energy! LOVE IT! We have some amazing new instructors at the gym and I’m just dying to try their classes! My clients are booking up too. If you haven’t had a chance to read my last post, I suggest giving it a read – time to get back to those routines and give yourself the time to find a healthier you! Also, my promotion will still be running with my beautiful friend Christine, from the Dot Mobile Boutique (find her on Facebook!) – anyone who signs up for a 10 sessions will get a gift certificate to use on themselves (or to give to their wife, girlfriend, mom, etc.) for a FREE manicure or pedicure. Check her work out! She is a seriously amazing artist and full of laughs!

Here’s to YOU having the best week ever!

~Oliviasuperfood