Sunday, 31 March 2013

March Assessment and 90 days!!

90 days COMPLETE. WOO!! *dances*

So that's one of my new years resolutions crossed off. Which in all honesty, when I decided on it, I actually laughed at myself, thinking that I was not going to make it that far, I mean I had done 34 days as my longest stint before this one. There is nothing more awesome feeling than accomplishing a goal you thought you wouldn't actually achieve (at least on the first try). This makes me feel so great, and validates my year's goal of pushing myself to heights that I sometimes believe impossible (give new meaning to the whole I'm possible line).

I'm planning on continuing with it, but I do have an attitude of not depriving myself of something that I really want, as long as it stays in live with the whole high carb vibe. I think that having a all or nothing attitude has not contributed to my success in the past, and even with this 90 days I was going in with this attitude, and it has served me very well. I think that not telling myself I can't have something makes much easier, even if I don't really want it that much. This whole 90 days, every time I had a craving, I would ask myself two questions:
How bad do I want this?
Am I okay with feeling how this food will make feel?
Most of the time, the answer to the first question wasn't bad enough to warrant me even asking myself the second question. I think that this is how I am going to continue on, as long as I can budget it reasonably.

Okay, onto my March Goals assessment:

Food wise, I absolutely held up my goal of keeping raw and adding in more juicing. I juiced almost everyday of the month and I certainly felt the difference. I plan on doing another green juice fast soon, maybe even staring this week. I've had a few digestion issues, which I attribute mostly to the tons of stress I've been under because of my semester ending and the ton of work associated with it. Green juice usually fixes me up and I've made sure to have at least a liter everyday this past week.

I've kept up pretty decently with my calorie intake, keeping it over 2500 cals basically every day, with many 3000 calorie days. I established a new system where I almost always bring 2000 calories with me when I leave the house, that way I never get caught without food and I can easily achieve my goals. I just have to make sure I eat a 500 cal breakfast and a 500 cal salad and I'm set.

My exercise system worked really well for about half the month, the other half being overwhelmed by 60 hours school work weeks and too little of any thing else. I'm just reallyyyy happy this is the last week of classes, I have no issues finding balance during exams because my study breaks become exercise/meditation time.

As for my sleep schedule, I am getting up earlier and getting more done, but I have been having issues falling asleep, which resulted in most nights being under 7 hours. I think that the days I didn't exercise definitely contributed to the problem on top of stress.

Meditation has become a bigger part of my daily schedule, where I often find myself meditating during my commute and before bed. Yoga on the other hand, I'm still having difficulty implementing on a consistent basis.

I think that my blogging goals were relatively well attained. I'm going to keep the juicing post for during my juice feast. The anxiety post is proving a tad bit difficult to write, more so to get the right wording for what I want to express in it.

All in all, with the added workload from school, I feel like I've done decently in regards to this months goals. I am hoping to push harder in certain areas next month.

Much fruit and love! <3

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder and New Fitness Goals

This year seems to be all about setting high goals and achieving them. I think that my fitness regiment, although improving consistently from the beginning of the year, needs a shake-up.

I've been thinking for quite a while about doing those crazy intense obstacle course designed by ex-military. They look crazy intense and hard as hell. They scare the heck out of me to be honest. On the other hand, they get my heart pumping with excitement! I want to push myself to levels that I still think are basically impossible.

So I've tentatively chosen two to participate in: The Warrior Dash in Barrie, ON on July 20th 2013, which is a just over 3 mile (5k) race with 10-15 obstacles. It's one of the smaller races, perfect to start with from what I've heard. You can check it out here.

Next, I'm going more hardcore with the Tough Mudder race on September 28th or 29th. It's a much longer 10-12 mile course with 20-25 obstacles. This one seriously has me doubting my sanity. The finish time is around 3-4 hours on average. You can check this one out here.

On top of these two crazy things that I still can't quite believe I'm setting myself up for, I want to complete a 10k and a half-marathon before the end of the fall.

Training for all of this isn't going to be much different from what I'm doing now, although running hasn't been high on my priority list because of less than spectacular weather. I'm going to have to start intensifying upper body and core workouts, which with the help of rock climbing shouldn't be difficult to implement. Basically, I'm going to have to be much more consistent and spend more time training. I'm thinking lot's of HIIT, lots of cardio and more strength training.

Once I've set up a workout regiment I'm happy with, I'll share it here!

*Deep breath*

This is next level stuff.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ditching the Scale: Why Numbers Don't Matter.

Numbers. The ones that we set some much importance to like they define who we are, our worthiness and our self-value.

When you think about it, weight is just the force that gravity has on an object. It's a simple physics equation. It changes in different environments, it's not even a constant.

Yet, we are influenced all our lives to think of our weight as a very important factor. Society has deemed that there is a norm that we should aspire to. Never mind that it doesn’t take into account the beautiful diversity of ethnicity, body types and lifestyles. Women should all be blonde, blue-eyed, tall and thin. Men should all be tall, dashing and ripped. Wait, this sounds vaguely familiar, eugenics anyone?

I'm going to make a few things clear before I continue. Yes, being healthy and fit is important, not for esthetics but for the wellbeing of the person. I don't agree with the movement that advocates overweight women being "real". But I do think that positive body image is extremely important. Everyone should have access to the same levels of health. A balanced life.

Everywhere we look, we see a new program, a new diet that tells people that they can achieve their weight loss goals in ridiculous amounts of time that just cannot be healthy or sometimes even safe. I've been there, many times. It was not only damaging to my body, but also to my mind because it kept me in the quick fix mindset and always looking for the wrong methods.

What needs to be done is a massive shift in focus.

Focusing on HEALTH. On living well, on abundant, plentiful life.

Focusing on LIFESTYLE shifts, on lasting change that can be maintained without a sense of deprivation.

Social conditioning is hard to break. Let's stop taking the "easy" ways out that never last. A true long lasting change may not always be easy, but it's the only way to get over this crazy idea of one true ideal.I still have massive issues with body image because of many reasons, one of them being that a certain image has been so deeply ingrained in my head that it's difficult to shake.

I also hold myself to very strict ideals. I am very hard on myself and most days  it keeps me from being able to enjoy the successes that I've had so far. This is probably because I've constructed such a strong image of what I want that until I achieve it, I've put massive blinders on myself.

One way that I've found to rip those blinders off, is that I don't weigh myself. Especially when I'm undertaking a bigger change, like I have been in the last few months. The scale is not my friend because I associate so much value to the number that shows up that it hinders my progress because if it's not what I want it to be or what I think it should be, I get demoralized, even if physically I've noticed a difference.

I used to measure myself to keep up with my progress, but then I found that I was transferring my bad number habit to that.

The truth of the matter is, weight fluctuates, throughout the day, throughout the month and throughout different life changes. Muscle is also denser than fat, so if you gain muscle you might lose volume but not weight. So how it a valid tool for your progress if it's so unreliable?

So I say, screw numbers. They do not define you. Your progress should be measured in sweat, in laughter and in feeling.

We are not made of numbers. We are made of experiences, of emotions and of stories. Instead of making yours about a scale, make it about your journey, your story. Because it a much better story to tell than looking at a graph of numbers.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Fun Fitness: YOGA.

So many people are discovering the beautiful effects of a regular yoga practice, that it's no surprise how mainstream it has become.  There are very little places in the city that don’t have a studio within accessible distance. It's a great activity for people of all backgrounds fitness wise, even when injured.

I absolutely love the atmosphere of a yoga studio, invigorating yet relaxing. It's a place where I can easily find balance and just be. It's both a challenge and a familiar way of moving, where your muscles remember all the different ways they can move, stretch and hold. It's definitely something you will be feeling the next day if you've never done it before! 

Navigating through all the different types can be a challenge, but really they just have different flavors. From difficult to very relaxing and deep, there is definitely an array of choices. These are the most popular types given in studios today.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga classes are open to all levels. Hatha yoga classes will strengthen stretch, tone and relax your entire body. Hatha yoga is the classical form of yoga postures and breathing that revitalizes the body physically and mentally. It is an uplifting practice that increases muscle tone, improves flexibility and concentration, detoxifies the vital organs and allows you to relax deeply.

Ashtanga Yoga:   

Ashtanga Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga focusing on deep strength and endurance using breath to link the postures fluidly together.  There is a high level of focus on precision within postures and intentionality of breathing.  The Basics class is designed for students just starting out with an Ashtanga practice.

Vinyasa Yoga

  Power Vinyasa yoga focuses on using breath to connect to the body, mind and practice. Using an energetic vinyasa flow as foundation, combined with specifically sequenced set of flowing yoga postures. It has the ability to build strength, increase endurance, release tension, and create more flexibility in the entire body. Suitable for students who have previous yoga experience, this class is taught in either a heated or regular temperature room to help facilitate the integration of sweat, strength and spirit. (This is my absolute favorite, although Flow Vinyasa is what I love the most)

Yin Yoga:  

Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other school of yoga; however, it directs the stimulation normally created in the asana portion of the practice deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues .Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice.
Suitable for almost all levels of students, Yin Yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine

Bikram or Hot Yoga:  

Bikram Yoga is a demanding series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises suitable for all ages and levels of ability. Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments and joints needed for the next posture. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a very hot room, so be prepared to sweat and to work hard. Why the heat? It warms your muscles, and allows for a deeper workout and cleanses the body by flushing out toxins.

 Gentle Yoga:  

Gentle yoga is a style of yoga that is far less strenuous than other forms of hatha yoga.. It is less intense, so it can be very useful for anyone who are not capable of fulfilling the demands of other practices, such as seniors, women who are pregnant, practitioners who are recovering from injury, practitioners who are in very poor physical condition or even those who are simply looking for a more relaxed workout. Gentle yoga also can be beneficial to those who are quite fit but who lack the overall flexibility to be able to do some of the more intense yoga poses.

 Yoga for Runners:   

Yoga for Runners will help you feel more agile and flexible, give you greater strength and stamina, and will encourage the right frame of mind needed to reach your full potential. Runners have different needs than the typical yogi. The combination of active and passive stretching will help to strengthen and stretch muscle groups that tend to be the tightest and most frequently strained by athletes. Improve your performance and avoid injuries! No yoga experience required. Suitable for runners of all abilities and experience.

There are also many other specialized yoga classes for different types of Athletes, Injuries, and different levels of those mentioned above. If you've never done yoga before I’d definitely say to try out Hatha yoga courses first, or even better to register for a series of courses designed for beginners to explore many different types over a few weeks. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Monthly Goals: March 2013

March is always a very busy month in my world. With tons of birthdays, including mine on the 7th, term papers and assignments due, spring around the corner and an imminent move to prepare for before I get swamped by exams in April so that I'm ready for it come May, there is tons on my mind!

So let's get to March Goals!

First and foremost, let's talk food. I am still 100% raw (woo!) and loving it, despite still having some random cravings and having a few bumps here and there. This month I want to start incorporating more juicing into my daily routine. I used to juice a ton and got out of the habit a bit. I find juicing to be amazingly beneficial and plan on writing a post entirely dedicated to it this month. Green juice is definitely my favorite,a nd with greens FINALLY getting cheaper, it'll be much easier to do.

Another food goal, is to try to be more consistent with my calorie intake and up it back to 2800-3200 calories a day. I've been keeping it a little low for my liking around the 2300-2600 mark and I know that I thrive even more when my calorie intake is higher. Also, my water intake has been less than it should be, so with 2.5 liters a day my new goal, I'll be getting enough to stay hydrated.

As for fitness goals, I'll be continuing with the same system I set up (picture below) but with a little more intensity. I'll be rotating all the categories by choosing 2 or more per day, at a minimum of 4 days a week with an ideal goal of 6 day a week. With the weather getting nicer, I might be able to attempt some outside runs!

A big one that I'm more or less introducing this month concerns my sleep schedule. I've always had difficulty balancing this one with all the others. Either I sleep tons, or not enough. I want to concentrate on getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep everyday, ideally it would be 10, but I want to be realistic and work my self up to my ideal. This means being much more organized and time efficient with everything that I want to do. Less procrastination means more zzz's!! By establishing a specific morning routine, I'll be getting up earlier and exercising more, which means getting to be earlier and actually being tired is much more likely.

Let's see...what else...

Spiritual goals are basically the same, meditation every day for a least 15 minutes and yoga a few times a week, usually at home but I would like to get to a few classes as well to vary it up since I'm doing all of my workouts at home now. I want to explore some new methods of meditation as well, guided, new techniques and positions. 

I wanted to add one more category in these posts as well, a blogging goals section! So this month I want to write another Fun Fitness post, this time about Yoga. I also want to write a post about how raw has helped with my debilitating anxiety and lastly I want to write a post about letting go of the numbers aka the scale. I might have a few more ideas, but those are my must do's for March! :)

Here's to yet another amazing month!!