New Title!

Well hello again!  It’s been a while (I seem to say that every time I post).  There has been some changes.  Let me bring you up to speed…

Sometime ago, I set out on a journey to remodel my life.  To one that surrounded me with positivity, strength and happiness and the void of too much negativity.  While this process will be never ending, ultimately I feel I’ve reached a point where I am able to maintain a life with a positive mind, happy heart and deal with the bumps in the road as they come.  Needless to say, I haven’t had much to write and share on this topic.

So instead of permanently deleting this blog, I’ve decided to change the title and start to share some of the amazing things I am learning to bring health and wellness into my life. Why hide these things from the world‽ (note: I am not discovering new things just things I, personally may not have know about before and you may not either so why not share)

Welcome to, Essentially Healthy and Fit a reboot of Remodeling My Life.  Here I will be sharing with you some of my passions and how they are bringing health and wellness into my life and maybe they can to yours too!

Life is about balance.  I try to eat healthy and clean but sometimes I eat a cone filled with cookie dough.  I try to use a reusable shopping bag but sometimes I forget and have to use the plastic ones.  I am here to share the things I do to bring a healthy option into my life to balance out the inevitable bad we are faced with daily.  Little changes here and there to a healthier option will only enhance your life in ways you never knew.

I am no expert and I am far from perfect but I am trying and having a ton of fun along the way!

I am essentially healthy and fit.

Work In Progress

When I started my journey to remodel my mindset, attitude and how I handled challenges and hurdles in my life, I honestly thought I would put in some work and tada I would be living this great, positive life and be spreading positivity to all those around me.  Just call me the Santa Claus of positivity.

Boy was I wrong!  This process in remodeling my life has proven to be a perpetual work in progress, kind of like trying to renovate your house by yourself with the help of Youtube (at this rate I’d be living in a tent).

Let me tell you, this has been my biggest challenge yet.  One that continuously throws me off my track and onto a path I’m not sure I want to be on but not sure how, when or why to get off.  I truly believed I could read some books, do some personal development work, look at things from a positive view and my life would have been remodeled, renovation complete!  But the phrase, old habits die-hard has proven to be the truth, times 100!  My negative outlooks on life, my “of course this happens to me” attitude and my old ways have come back with vengeance!

I’m not sure if it’s the negativity that I find myself surrounded by, be it with friends, family or globally.  If it’s being stuck in a job that I don’t enjoy (really really really don’t enjoy) or if it’s the never ending to do list that I am faced with everyday that is all consuming overwhelming that has gotten me here.  Whatever it is, I am finding that it is much easier to stick with my old attitude to make it through the day rather than trying to tackle these things with a positive attitude, learn and progress in my life and journey to remodeling my life.

So where does this leave me?  It leaves me at a fork in the road.  I know I have two options but I honestly don’t know which one to choose.  The easy path that contains an unhappy, go through the motions life or the harder path containing constant work towards happiness, health and better things.  Which path would you choose?  It seems like common sense doesn’t it.  But if you just look around you, everyday you will see that negativity is all around you.  So many of us have chosen the easy path because in a hectic life the easy option is just that, the easy option.

So while I stand at this fork in the road deciding which path to venture down, I will start with step one, write a blog to get my thoughts out.  Hopefully this leads to a step two.

Who’s with me?  I know there are people out there at the same fork in the road.  Which path will you choose?  How will you proceed?

Stay tuned as this is a work in progress.

Grass Isn’t Always Greener On The Other Side

Hello, it’s me.  I was wondering if after all…. this time you would like to read my blog. Ok, who get’s that?  Anyways, it’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post.  Life has been busy!  Life has been great!  Life has been challenging!  I hope to be able to write more in the coming weeks, as my journey in remodeling my life is forever ongoing.  So for now, here is a new post for you to enjoy.

I saw sometime online today.  Well, I see a lot online, but this one thing got me thinking.  It was of a man standing in a yard.  The grass he was standing on was grey and bleak.  On the other side of the fence, was a yard that was green and bright!  The kind that so many people wish for.  So, the man climbs the fence to get to this greener grass, only to have that green grass turn grey and the grass he was standing on turned green.  The man then climbs back to where he originally came from and, guess what?!  The grass, yet again, turns dull.

These days, people will often say to me, “you are so positive”, “I wish I had your strength” or “you inspire me” and I often wish I could convey to people that they too can have the ‘greener grass’.  They can take their lives by the reins, become positive, strong and inspire themselves and others to be happy and healthy.

It took me a while to get to this place and it wasn’t easy.  I didn’t wake up one day and all was right in my life (it still isn’t ALL right).  Just as you can’t just ‘climb a fence’ and expect things to be different, especially if you continue doing things the same way.  I wake up everyday and work hard to always find a positive attitude and to move past the bad times.  For each of us, getting to a place where you are happy, feel positive and have strength to always push forward, is going to take time.  You’ll want to try different techniques and have a lot of patience to allow the changes to happen in your life.

I’m not saying that I don’t have bad days.  I still get many (many!) days that frustrate me, upset me and bring me down.  Let’s get that straight, because I’m sure many people who meet me think everything is all butterflies and rainbows in my life.  FAR from that!  I still have a lot of things happening in my life that require daily courage and strength to not break down and I still have bad days at work, at the gym and in my personal life.  But I choose to take these days as lessons.  Sure sometimes I go home and “give up”!  I just go to bed to put the day behind me.  But all these things are still pieces of my life that make it whole.  These are part of my process and make me stronger, happier and positive.

For me, my journey started at a time in my life when there was a lot of negativity and negative experiences happening.  It was dragging me down a path that I didn’t care to be on for long.  I decided to take some time and do something for myself, which led me to crossfit.  Little did I know that crossfit would be the thing that gave me the push, strength and courage to start a change.  Not only did crossfit make me feel better and healthier, but it made me happy.  That is when I knew I wanted more happiness in my life!

Knowing I didn’t want to always be under a cloud of negativity, I decided to work to make MY grass greener (I am loving this metaphor).  Along with continuing to work out, I read books and blogs on how to bring more positive change into my life, started journaling and writing blogs, talking (and listening) to people, signed up to receive newsletters and joined groups with life coaches and happiness gurus.  I slowly changed my path into one with more positivity, happiness and growth.  I was able to get off the path of sadness, anger and negativity.  In doing so, I have also learned how to better handle the roadblocks that still arise, every now and then.

Along my journey, I have learned more about myself and things that I enjoy and want in my life.  I want to help people, to realize they too can have this.  The grass isn’t greener on the other side.  I want people to know that if they care and maintain theirs, they can have the greenest lawn on the block!  Wishing your grass was greener or climbing the fence to try to get to better things isn’t going to work because your behaviors, habits and negativity will just follow you over.  We need to make a change our ‘our side of the fence’.

Maybe, one day I can become a life coach and help people as much as I have been helped along in my journey.  Until then, I will lead by example (through my actions and continued work on myself), since there are still of a lot of changes I can make and want to make.  Who knows, maybe along the way I will inspire a few people to find their strength to make a change to a more positive and happy life.

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WON’T GIVE UP!

image4When I started this journey, a large part of it included a new health and fitness lifestyle.  Taking care of myself was going to be my number one priority!  I committed myself to an intense regular workout schedule, I started eating much better, and I have altered my life in ways that have enabled me to surround myself with the things I love and to be happy.  This change has led to such amazing things!  I have never felt better, stronger, I have met and made friends with some of the most amazing people, and I have done and am doing things I never thought I would do (just to name a few).  But recently there has been a drastic shift in the mental aspect that being healthy and fit has brought.

Up until now, this lifestyle has catapulted my mental strength.  I thought I was better able to handle things in life.  I have been able to work on moving away from the old things that have brought me down, move towards much better things and I try to see the lesson and growth in everything that happens (or so I thought).  However, lately my fitness regime has been taking one heck of a toll on me mentally and bringing up some past fears.  So much so that, I’m sad to say, I have thought about giving up.  WHAT‽

This lifestyle has become part of who I am and where I want to go.  I have goals of being in the health and fitness field so that I can help others achieve their goals, feel better, and be stronger (mentally and physically), and feeling like I want to give up has been a big blow to me mentally.

Recently, I decided to focus on building my strength so I started a pretty intense strength program.  The first two sessions on this program were great.  I did more squats, bench, and deadlifts than I could ever want to, and I left feeling great, like I did what I set out to do–increase my strength and get better.  Sure, I wasn’t able to walk well for a few days, but even after just a few sessions I was already feeling the benefits.

IMG_9254Then day 3 of the program was next, the dreaded Olympic lifting!  I arrived at the gym motivated to work on these lifts ( I am the worst at these!).  I was positive that if I worked my hardest I would be a step ahead from where I was.  I was eager!  So to say that this session kicked me down, chewed me up, and spit me out is an understatement.  This session was far from a positive experience.

Struggling so much with these lifts, that for the life of me I cannot seem to comprehend and execute, brought my spirits down.  As I sat in the corner dreading my next set which I knew would be just as horrible as the last, my positive attitude quickly changed.  I sat between sets, watching others working hard and having a good time, fellow gym members offered some words of advice (which in my mindset only made things worse).  So I did what I could do and finished the session and went home feeling defeated and upset.

image2I knew that even though I had one bad session that I wasn’t ready to stop.  So it was time to get back to the gym.  Just like the first week, the first two strength training sessions of this week went well.  Then, again, it was time for day three of that week.  I repeated to myself “You can do this! You got this!” and was off to the gym.  Arriving to the gym with the same motivation I have every other time, I warmed up, grabbed my bar and… got kicked down, chewed up, and spit out again.  Worse than the first time!  This time, however, I could not handle the mental blow this workout continued to give me, so I graciously put my bar away, grabbed my things, and left with the thought that this was it….I give up.

It’s crazy, because it isn’t like I haven’t failed at a lift or a WOD before.  But this time it feels very different from failing at a lift that I just added more weight to.  This time it feels like I have completely failed at what I am trying to do with my life, that I am back to where I once was, putting my heart and soul into something and trying so hard to make it work only to have it ripped away and leave me broken again.

 

image3This feeling saddens me.  Have I not been able to actually remodel my life?  Is it ok to feel like this?  Why am I taking this so hard?  Why do I continue to let these feelings take control of my life?  All of these questions I am slowly finding the answers to.  I seem to be running away from this in hopes that I won’t get hurt instead of facing it head on and seeing where it goes and what happens (because it could be wonderful!).  I am forcing myself to stay away from the gym because I’m afraid of what might happen and that my new path and dreams will be crushed, and this is crazy!

image1Instead of being afraid of failing again I now start a new phase of my journey…how to push through and keep
going.  I am learning that maybe this isn’t all about just a bad workout or two (or months of not being able to do these lifts), it’s a fear of my past.  I need to live without this fear and see where I end up and continue to embrace the journey.  Who’s with me‽   

Remodelling my life is an ongoing process.  I am a work in progress, and I am ok with that.

P.S. I miss the gym.

 

 

One Skip At A Time

Have you ever come across an exercise or movement or anything in life that just frustrates the heck out of you?  For me, there are many (thrusters, wall balls, snatches!), but my current nemesis is the dreaded double under, DUN DUN DUN!  Come on, I’ve been skipping forever so this really shouldn’t be this hard!  Little girls always skipped, with a rope, without a rope, heck I even had a rope, when I was a kid, that counted how many skips I did!  So how hard could doing a double under be?  Well I’m not a kid anymore, and thank you to double unders for pointed that out quite nicely (or not so nicely, by leaving welts on my body).

Picking up a skipping rope, in crossfit, was one of those things that I thought to myself “I totally got this!”.  It is probably one of the only things I truly felt confident in my ability, so I wouldn’t need to learn the movement (yay for all my childhood skipping).  But when it came time to doing the dreaded double under, the rope was literally ‘pulled out from under me’.

How hard can it be, to whip the rope under you twice before your feet hit the ground, you ask?  Very hard AND painful!  As you are trying with all your power to turn the rope quickly and jump high enough into the air, and you just don’t quite make it, landing mid way through the second time and that rope lashes you in the arms, back, neck and legs.  Sounds fun, huh?  You should try it.

Finally, try after try, I got one!  YES!  The rest will be a piece of cake.  WRONG!  Stringing double unders together is even harder than getting the first one, so I opted for my next best option, skip regular 5 times, do 1 double under and then back to 5 regular skips.  I then slowly progressed to 1 regular skip, 1 double under!  At this point I was feeling very proud of myself for being able to do a single double under with only ONE single skip in between.  However, when double unders come up in a WOD, this meant I would be doing double the amount of skipping to get to the allotted amount of double unders required.

I had been trying for months to string together double unders. Working with my trainer and coaches, flicking my wrists, holding the handles differently, jumping higher and so on.  Sure I was finally getting a few in a row here and there but nothing that was consistent enough to be able to say, “yeah, I can do double unders”.

Recently, when I was at the Crossfit Games, I visited the Rx Smart Gear booth, where they were fitting and letting you test their ropes.  While at their booth, they then gave me a correctly sized rope, with a thickness based on my current double under ability.  I skipped a bit with this rope and then did a few “air” double unders (without the rope), with some coaching from the Rx Smart Gear workers.  Then it was time to try a double under with the rope and immediately I got 7 double unders in a row!  If that didn’t sell me on the rope, the fun colour options sure did!  I am now the proud owner of a pink and teal Rx Jump Rope (I also have a yellow and orange replacement ropes that are thinner and lighter for when I am a superstar at double unders).

I am happy to report that my double unders (with my fancy new rope) are getting much better! I feel more confident when I see them come up in a WOD and I enjoy practicing them much more now (and I haven’t been ‘branded’ by my new rope yet).

Next step, trying not to pee while double undering (I’m not alone in this, I’m just alone is saying it out loud).  Clearly mastering the double under is an on going process.  Enjoy the process!  Take that “nemesis” on one skip at a time.

 

 

One Step Back, Leaps and Bounds Forward

‘It never gets easier, you only get stronger’, words I have been living by lately.  A great life lesson that Crossfit (and exercising in general) has taught me.  Just when you think you’ve got a move/exercise and it starts to get easier you add weight or increase intensity!  This also relates to my journey in remodeling my life.  I’m trying my best every day to learn, progress and embrace all my experiences, not so that life gets easier but so that I get stronger.  So when life adds weight or increases intensity I will be better able to handle it.  I want to continue to feel a sense of progress, accomplishment and pride in my life and with who I am.  This is something that I am not sure I would have learned had I not gone (and still am going) through some of my recent challenges or if I hadn’t joined crossfit.  Crossfit has taught me a bit of this lesson over the past year, but lately it has been drilling it in.

 
Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling like my workouts are getting harder and I am getting worse rather than better.  I feel my endurance is non existant these days and everything feels super heavy.  My body seems to not know how to work or seems to have forgottten everything it has learned.  I am not finishing WOD’s like I used to.  How frustrating is this? Extremely!  If this were “the old me” I might even take this as my opportunity to bow out or take a break.  I would have thought that I wasn’t good enough or cut out for this sport anymore.  But not the new me!  The new me is embracing this and taking it as a life lesson to keep trying, work harder and continue to get better (no matter how slow the process is).

I read a little quote the other day, “Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off excellent”.  This has really resonated with me the past few weeks.  I am learning (albeit slowly) to be happy with being a beginner in Crossfit and in life, while being humble and enjoying the process, rather than missing the journey in my strive for excellence.  I know that I will never be perfect at Crossfit because like I said there is always weight to add, increased intensity or adding of a new movement (did anyone see the peg wall at the Crossfit Games).  This is the same for life, I will always make mistakes but learn from them, I will get beaten down but get back up and I will sometimes take the wrong path or want to change paths and have to start on a new one as a beginner.  We start at the beginning of each new day as a beginner so embrace it!

A friend of mine commented and said something great to me, “If you are not learning (always a beginner) you never progress and you never get better.  Always treat those, as you get better, with the same patience and respect your teachers gave you.  Being humble is the secret to it all.”  Hmmmm.  Right‽  I am learning to love the fact that I will always be learning and a beginner.  I want to continue to embrace this and respect those that teach me (and help me when I need it) so that along the way I can lead by example and empower others to enjoy their learning and process.

It’s hard to imagine that crossfit coming into my life could hold such powerful life lessons.  But the truth is, the mental strength that it gives me, almost out weighs the physical.  I wish more people could see the powers that this can have on your life and give it a try.  The strength it gives you to be strong in everyday life (and of course the nice muscles and healthy lifestyle) has been one of the best journeys in my life.

If you are afraid to try something new, don’t be.  We are all beginners and always have to start somewhere.  You never know what lessons new things will teach you and if you don’t try, you will never know.

So there may be factors beyond my control (such as the intense summer heat or a change in my strength training) that are contributing to this feeling.  But a part of me still feels as though I am taking a tiny step back as it pertains to my work outs.  However,  I feel as though I am taking leaps and bounds forward in remodeling my life and  in health and happiness.  I continue to learn a lot about myself and look back on each day with pride and contentment that I have learned, lived and succeeded.  Each day is a new day, each workout is a new one and each one teaches me something.

 

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It’s more than S’well, it’s S’welltastic!

I’m going to do a bit of a product plug here.

Thanks to social media, I had been seeing many Hollywood celebrities using these bottles called “S’well”.  Not really familiar with them, but wanting an interesting new gift idea, I purchased a few for some family members as Christmas gifts last year.  My Mom was the lucky recipient of a 17oz bright orange one (birds of paradise).  And so our S’well bottle ownership began.

My Mom was using her bottle to bring hot water to work so she would be able to make a tea in the afternoon (yes, she watches Coronation Street).  We quickly learned how well this bottle worked for keeping the water HOT.  The water in the afternoon was still piping hot after being in the bottle for hours.

I was never a fan of stainless steel bottles.  I found that they changed the taste of the water and I didn’t like the taste of the spout.  I always used a glass bottle or ceramic mug for any of my beverages.  But I decided to give the S’well bottle a try.  So my Mom and I each ordered the larger 25oz. bottle.

This might be the best bottle I have ever used!  I started using mine in the winter months just like my Mom was using hers, to bring hot water to work to make tea.  The 25oz bottle is a good size, so some days I wouldn’t even use all the water and yet when I would get home after 10 hours the water was still piping hot!  I know this because I tested it and poured it on my hand and it was HOT, not luke warm, or kind of hot BUT extremely hot!

Lately with the heat wave we have been having, I was finding that my water was getting warm in my glass bottle at my Crossfit “box” and if you are anything like me, you need a good drink of cool/cold water after a WOD, warm water doesn’t cut it.  So finally after about 4 months I switched from my beloved glass bottle to my S’well bottle and all I can think of now is, why did I wait‽  This bottle not only keeps my water cold but there is no stainless steel taste to my water at all, in fact I swear my water even tastes purified and better!  These bottles are amazing!

S’well bottles claim to keeps liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 and I am now a believer!  They really do work!  They also come in such great and fun colour options (mine is bikini pink!) that you can find the flashiest one to the plainest one to fit everyone’s style!  Everyone needs a S’well bottle!  Why wouldn’t you want a great functional bottle that looks stlyish to carry and will increase your water intake because let’s face it, we all need to drink more water, so do it in style!10806334_10155256536135014_8172721612859552133_n

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Tip: People ask me how I get in my daily water intake and the answer is, I have my bottle(s) with me all the time. I carry them with me, place them beside me in my car, in front of me at work, everywhere I go and I sip all day.  I don’t wait till I am thirsty, I just sip throughout the day and before I know, it I’ve gone through two or three refills on my 25oz. S’well bottle.

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For my Canadian friends, we ordered ours from fenigo.com and they shipped very fast!