Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First workout of 2015

Happy New Year's Eve! Here's a workout for tomorrow if you're looking to start the year out right. Perform twice and try beating your first round time

Cheers to a fun, healthy and fulfilling 2015!




Join me at www.facebook.com/rachelsfitnessandwellness for more!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Healthy living vs. Orthorexia

I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now, as I have time and time again come across this assumption from others that my diet is perfect. I strive to be healthy. I alter recipes to include healthier choices and more nutrients. I share Facebook posts about my smoothies and juices, and yummy snacks (mmmm black bean brownies). There are certain foods I refuse to buy such as pop, cookies, processed crackers, juices etc. I read nutrition books for fun. I have multiple boards on Pinterest related to Holistic Nutrition, Alternative Health and Fitness. I go to the market every Saturday morning, giddy when I see fresh batches of kale and juicy honey crisp apples. Yes, this is the picture you all have of me, and it isn't an untrue one.

Let me now paint for you the other side of my life. Before I do though, let me bring up a new buzz word you may have been hearing lately: orthorexia. Huh?? Orthorexia, as defined by Wikipedia, is "a proposed eating disorder or mental disorder characterized by an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy"

Last year I was with a group of people talking about chocolate bars, when I piped up that Wunderbar was one of my favourites. The shocked look on one girl's face took me by surprise, and she quickly exclaimed "YOU know what a Wunderbar tastes like??" I'm not sure I even found the opportunity to answer, but my thought was "ugh yeah, of course I do!" When I was pregnant with my third child, I confessed to a group that I had been eating a lot of crap, and her response was "yeah but your definition of crap isn't really crap."

I suppose my Facebook following only has access to the events and moments I post. I run a health and wellness business, of course I'm not going to post the indulgences I have or what I consume when I'm hangry and not prepared. I want the focus to be on health and nutrition and motivation, but I certainly don't want people to think I am perfect (we all know the word perfect is just a subjective term that nobody can ever attain anyway)

If you run into me at the grocery store, yes, my cart is full of organic produce, natural organic foods, grains, natural nut butters, raw nuts, wild caught salmon and so on. BUT I don't eat this way ALL the time. I know what chocolate tastes like, I know what Doritos taste like. I consume these things on occasion and don't feel guilty about it at all! Well...there was that time I was pregnant with my third and went to Burger King, immediately followed by Dairy Queen - a royal feast. Yes, I felt guilty about that one, and the thought today makes me grimace. I love pizza. It doesn't love me, but I eat it, dripping grease, processed white crust and all. I eat Timbits and cheese popcorn. I've gone weeks without working out. I've had moments I just want to go out and buy a giant chocolate chip cookie to enjoy with hot chocolate - regular, processed, crap filled hot chocolate. I am a sucker for cupcakes. I have eaten to the point of feeling awful. I have binged on junk food. I have eaten an entire pizza on my own. I have polished off my kid's Halloween treats. I am human after all.

I eat really healthy at least 80% of the time, and definitely allow for junk. I do think my definition of unhealthy differs from others, but all the same I do indulge. Sometimes that indulgence includes a square of dark chocolate, sometimes it's a bowl of sprouted grain cereal topped with unsweetened almond milk, sprinkled with hemp seeds, and sometimes it's a cheese/tomato/green olive pizza from Pizza Hut.


I don't believe in extremes. I don't believe in restrictions (unless it's for something such as an allergy). I don't believe in guilt after indulging. I don't believe in strict dieting. I believe in freedom and choice and a guilt free lifestyle as far as diet goes. If you spend the majority of your day filling your body with nutrients and the things it needs to run smoothly, eat that cookie you desperately want, and ENJOY it. Don't make it your norm, but there is NOTHING wrong with straying from the path you have carved out for yourself. There is no need to follow an all or nothing plan.

Everything in moderation, that's my motto. For me, guilt leads to unhealthy habits and a self worth that is tied into food, and I know better than that. So I take care of my health and pride myself in that, but also allow for extras. Life is all about balance, and I hope you are able to find that freedom in the balance of your diet as well.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday gifts for the health lover

I think I am the easiest person in the world to buy for. I live & breathe everything to do with health. Endless options right? Not everyone agrees, so I have compiled a list I feel covers anything a health nut could need or want

1. Workout Clothes


Time for a confession. My closet is stuffed with workout bras, tanks, shirts, sweaters, pants, capris, etc. etc. etc with a teeny tiny section of "normal" clothes. Us Moms fitness buffs can't get enough of the comfy, cute workout clothes. My favourites come from Lulu and Under Armour. I find the quality of both companies great, they both hold up through rigorous workouts, constant washing and vent well when I'm a sweaty mess (HINT: If you're unsure of a woman's size, buy a size smaller than you think. Trust me on this one)

2. Basket o' goodies


Who doesn't love getting a basket full of goodies? Throw in the receiver's favourite things and cover it all! Healthy snacks, books, fitness accessories, home made treats, tea....the options are endless and makes a thoughtful, personalized gift

3. Books


I am obsessed with health books. From nutrition, to fitness, to aromatherapy to yoga and everything in between. It wasn't too long ago I cleared my shelves of the fiction and "easy" reads (okay maybe I left a few Nicholas Sparks books,I mean who doesn't need a good sob fest every now and then???). The Oh She Glows cookbook is just about the only cookbook I use and it's #1 on my gift giving list. Every single recipe I have made of hers has turned out delicious

4. Salt lamp


Salt lamps emit negative ions (similar to nature) which help purify the air, providing many health benefits, such as improved respiratory functioning. They are extremely relaxing and a beautiful addition to any home!

5. Diffuser


A diffuser has been one of those additions to our home that I am just smitten with. See #6 for what exactly to put in it

6. Essential Oils


Essential oils have been life changing for my family and I when it comes to being empowered with our health. I have so many oils and I use all of them in a variety of ways. The Family Physician kit from DoTerra is where I began, and has all the oils most commonly used. DoTerra is my go-to as they are certified pure therapeutic grade, I wouldn't use anything else on my little ones!

7. Vitamix


If you have an unlimited budget, or a group of people contributing to a gift, a Vitamix is a must! I use mine daily, mostly for smoothies, but also for a variety of soups, baking, grinding oats and flax seeds, nut butters....the options are endless! Any recipe that calls for a food processor can utilize a Vitamix, and it's cute sitting on the counter!

8. Steamer


Don't settle for less than 3 tiers when you purchase a steamer! Steaming veggies is the BEST way to cook them as most of the nutrients remain in tact and available to your body, unlike other cooking methods. Cook a variety of foods at once or cook in bulk to prepare you for the week.

9. Juicer


Yet another appliance I use on a regular basis. I enjoy this one from Breville, I've been using it for a few years now without incident. Juices are a great way to get nutrients straight into the cells.


10. Gym Membership or classes

There's a fine line between the perfect gift and a complete insult when it comes to this one. If the person you are buying for wants to get into shape or try something new, a gym membership or passes to a fitness class (ahem BOOTCAMP!) or yoga is the perfect gift. Don't blame me though if this ends up being an insult - decide wisely!


11. Fitness Equipment


The top of my list for fitness equipment is dumbbells. These adjustable ones are my favourite, as you don't have to store and pull out a zillion different dumbbells, they're all in one.
Besides weights, some of the best equipment to incorporate into a home gym include:

- Exercise ball


- Resistance bands


- Pilates bands


- Medicine Ball (a 10 pound ball should be good for most)


- Kettle bells (I like the option of 3 weights. If I had to pick I would stick with a 10 pound one)


12. Cute training shoes


Seriously, how cute are these shoes, I'm in love! While I wouldn't recommend buying someone shoes for running (they should be specially fit to avoid injuries), I'm all for gifting someone shoes for a general purpose. This specific pair are meant for weight lifting. I'm one of those women who would prefer a cute running shoe over heels any day!

13. Loose Leaf Tea


I am a huge fan of herbal tea, especially through the winter when I'm cold ALL day and night! I start my day with hot water, lemon and honey and continue on with a variety of herbal tea - green, ginger, licorice root to name a few. There are so many health benefits with herbs! One of the issues though is not knowing what's in our tea. So many of them are full of toxins and artificial ingredients, which you can read about here. Loose leaf tea is a better option and the brand linked above is one I would trust wholeheartedly. I haven't tried them (YET!) but I have followed the blog from the beginning and know that Angela only accepts the healthiest options, and is very meticulous in what she chooses to put into her own body. An added bonus to loose leaf tea? Having cute little things like this guy to enhance the tea drinking experience:


14. Gift Cards

See above for your options!


Good luck on your holiday shopping, I hope this list helps make the experience a little less stressful!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Full Body Plyo

I did this workout yesterday and my butt is really feeling it today!


Let me know how this goes, I was done after round 2!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thunderstruck Workout

Here's a warm up exercise I do at my Bootcamp. It's a tough one, but fun! (at least in my opinion!)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

AMRAP workout

AMRAP = as many reps as possible. This is a workout term relatively new to me that I have been thoroughly enjoying! With 3 wee ones at home, I need to make my workouts as quick, yet as efficient, as possible. This is one of 3 cardio workouts I have been enjoying lately, it's a quickie but a toughie, I was sweating like mad when I finished up - enjoy!


Friday, September 5, 2014

A Day of Food

I get requests on a regular basis from people wanting to know what I eat. What does someone studying Holistic Nutrition eat all day? So I thought I would share what a day of eating looks like for me. I will be blogging more in depth specifically about the choices I make when it comes to food, but for now, know that my food choices all have a purpose for my body specifically. I am studying Holistic Nutrition at the Canadian College of Natural Nutrition (which I am utterly obsessed with). I used myself as a case study recently and was surprised at what I found, considering I pride myself on being a healthy eater. Turns out those little indulgences here and there have added up, and when you combine that with a sensitive stomach and 10 months of pregnancy (read: being overly careless with food choices) well...I was a bit of a mess. Again, I will go into more detail in an upcoming post about the functions of these foods but here are the basics:


I recently found out about Crio Bru and had to try it. I am sensitive to caffeine (amongst other things) so I can't do coffee ever, which is fine since it's acidic in the body, but sometimes I need a lift (especially since adding in a third baby). Crio Bru is made from cocoa beans which are full of antioxidants, contain magnesium and zinc and other minerals, produces a natural high (think chocolate!) and provides a natural boost in energy. I start my day with a cup of this on an empty stomach and add in 1T coconut oil



Next, I juice fresh vegetables and fruit. I have been juicing every day for the past few weeks and I wasn't sure I had noticed a difference until one day I was running late and couldn't be bothered to juice or worry about the clean up. Boy did I pay for that! I had no energy for much of the day! My favourite is a large handful of greens, half a lemon, a chunk of ginger and a green apple. So refreshing and now I crave it as soon as I wake up




About half an hour later I make breakfast, which may not look like a "typical" breakfast. This day was 2 hard boiled eggs sprinkled with sea salt, a handful of Mary's Crackers with hummus and guacamole as a dip, and a kefir smoothie made with 1 cup organic kefir, a banana, 1T hemp seed, 1T chia seed, 1/2 cup frozen cherries and my probiotic powder.




The last meal was a bit much for me, so I didn't eat until 3 hours later (which is the max I'll wait before eating again). This was my lunch - some organic baby tomatoes, half a yellow pepper, a carrot pulp muffin and a mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I ended up adding a banana too since I was still hungry after all this




My afternoon snack was around 3:30 and was a black bean brownie, full of fiber and totally satisfies my sweet tooth.




Dinner was just before 6:00 and consisted of this mix of grains I found, a piece of local corn on the cob, and some falafels (not shown)


I also had a snack later that I didn't take a picture of, which was Skinny Pop popcorn

And there you have it - nutrient dense meals that make my cells happy

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Achieving your Fitness Goals

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something” (Randy Pausch)

When I ask my clients to write down at least one fitness goal, they do so quickly, confidently and enthusiastically. When it comes to execution however, they are overcome with doubt and uncertainty. Fear takes over and they start to regret setting such a seemingly unattainable goal in the first place. It is much more comfortable to let go of a dream rather than put forth the mental, emotional and physical effort it takes to achieve it.

Here are 10 strategies I use for myself and my clients for successfully reaching any fitness goal:

1. Change your self-talk That voice that continually creeps up, trying to convince you that you aren’t worth it or that you are incapable of achieving your goal needs to be silenced. Replace it with a gentler, empowering voice that confidently whispers “you can and you will do this.” You are worthy of success.

2. Find your motivation Think about all the reasons you want to achieve this goal. Do you want to heal after a broken heart? Do you want to feel strong or capable? Are you wanting to cross something off your bucket list? Whatever the reason, keep it in the forefront of your mind and remember it during those times of doubt that will inevitably arise

3. Write down clear mini goals It can be overwhelming when you focus on the “big” goal. Breaking that goal down into smaller goals with clear steps will allow you to instead focus on those mini accomplishments. Rather than feeling a sense of defeat and uncertainty, you will feel pride and satisfaction through your journey.

4. Create a vision board Having a visual reminder in plain sight is a great way to reinforce your motivation. Hang up a poster with inspirational photos or quotes in your gym, insert a motivational picture on the background of your computer, or create an online vision board. Surround yourself with images of your goal and you will be less likely to quit.

5. Focus on the benefits Don’t complain about your workouts or look at them in a negative light. Instead, do them, appreciate them, and be thankful for the benefits you are receiving not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Relish in the joy you feel when you perform better than your last workout. Hold on to the pride you experience after running a quicker pace than you ran last week. Notice how much stronger you are getting, how better able you are to deal with stress, the abundance of energy you have through the day. Grab on to those moments and focus on them.

6. Gratitude Don’t focus on setting goals with the idea of punishing your body (I ate too much pasta for dinner last night, so I better spend 2 hours on the treadmill today). Keep your focus on honouring your body and appreciating it for what it is capable of. Set goals as a way to celebrate your body and its ability to rise to your expectations

7. Focus on how far you’ve come not how far you have to go If you continue to focus on the road ahead, you will be missing the beauty and quality of the journey you have already traveled and are currently on. Keeping a journal or fitness log of every workout you have done allows you to go back and see the progress you have made. Find pride in that.

8. Find your mantra Mantras are a great focal point for your energy and provides power behind your desires. Some of my favourites include “if you want it prove it,” “tell me I can’t and I’ll show you I can,” and “she believed she could, so she did.” Find one that resonates with you.

9. Share your goal When you set a goal, you will be much more successful if you garner the support of those around you. By sharing your goal with friends, family, or an online community, you are giving power to that goal and holding yourself accountable.

10. Make no excuses Instead of saying “I’m too tired” or “I don’t have enough time today,” try saying instead “this just isn’t a priority for me.” It’s true, if you make something a priority, you will find a way to achieve it regardless of the obstacles in your way. Don’t give excuses any room or power in your life , just do what needs to be done.

Spring Into Health Challenge - Day 15

Spring Into Health Challenge - Day 14

Spring Into Health Challenge - Day 13

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Into Health - Day 3 challenge

Today is an important challenge, eating within an hour of waking. Watch the video to find out why. Another breakfast idea that I didn't mention in the video is a smoothie which is always quick and easy. Add milk of your choice, some sort of greens (spinach, kale), fruit (frozen banana adds a decent amount of sweetness), high quality protein powder, and if this is your breakfast, add in 1/3 - 1/2 cup of oats (depending on your activity level for the morning) to sustain you longer. Make sure you add in a healthy fat too - chia seeds, flax seed oil, avocado or coconut oil all are great choices! Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

30 day Spring into Health Challenge - Introduction

Yay Spring will be here tomorrow! Or so says the calendar anyway. I love everything about Spring -  from the warmer weather, to budding trees, blooming flowers and the sunshine! In nature Spring represents new beginnings. Everything that has been dormant during the colder months comes to life and fills the environment with splashes of colour - hello beauty!

Just like nature, we too, tend to retreat during the winter months. We venture outside less (haven't seen many of our neighbours in months!), tend to lack on caring for our bodies and generally get by in a Vitamin D deprived funk.

This is why I am beginning my 30 day challenge on the first day of Spring. It is time for you, too, to experience new beginnings when it comes to your health.

Over the next 30 days I will be sharing a video each morning pertaining to a new topic/challenge for that day. They are however, not meant just for that day, but for you to carry forward for the duration of the challenge.  The idea is to start out laying the foundation with some very basic concepts and build upon them as we go. Gradually introducing new habits to you will (hopefully) take the overwhelm out of changing your lifestyle. Even small steps in the right direction can produce significant changes in how you feel and look. The challenges are varied - some topics include nutrition, fitness, healthy habits and emotional well-being.

After the 30 days are up, I hope you will have a renewed sense of self care and I am sure at least a few of the challenges you undertake will have resonated with you. It is my hope that you will continue putting your health as a priority, well after this challenge is complete.

So join me for the next 30 days. I would love you to share your experiences and struggles, and as always I am here to answer any questions you may have. So check back every morning (here or Facebook) to see what your challenge is for the day, I will post them early!

Cheers to your health!

xxoo
Rachel

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Health Challenge!

Just a heads up that I will be hosting a 30 day "Spring into Health" challenge beginning March 20th. I will provide you information and daily challenges relating to health and wellness. Join along via Youtube, Facebook, or here on my blog! It's time to commit to your health!