Category Archives: Workout

Bahama Mamas

Ahoy ahoy! I am back! We arrived home from the Bahamas (or The Pajamas as Evan likes to say) on Thursday evening and I immediately showered and slept for nearly 12 hours. It was back to work yesterday for me so I wanted to make sure I was in tip-top condition for that. It’s a busy time of year and I had a ton to catch up on.

Our trip was really great. We were only gone for four days, and technically only had two full days there, so I knew going in that it was just going to fly by, and it did…but I found there was still ample time for adventuring.

I think I am going to keep with my standard vacation blogging protocol. I like to ease you into things with the highlights and then get into more detail on our resort, the food, the shenanigans, etc. It may have been a quick trip but I still have a ton to talk about. And yes I sure will milk it for blog content.

As I mentioned, I was vacationing with all my coworkers and their spouses/friends. Our entire trip was a Christmas present last year from my CEO to us.

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Because we look like the type of group who you’d want to give a very fun Christmas present to.

He must really like us all to want to hang out with us for four days straight (he is the one holding the wine bottles). We all became very close on this trip. My fellow coworker and turquoise twin in the front with me just started with us two weeks ago and we are already clutching hands. And before our trip I didn’t even know who this person is.

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But now she is my new bff. That is what happens when you take an all-inclusive vacation with your coworkers and their spouses/friends. Not to mention all the food and all the alcohol. You have much intensified bonding time. And EVERYTHING will be hilarious. Watching my boss with his two brothers who were also on the trip (they are very involved with our company and I have met them many times before) was like watching a comedy show. Actually, the one-liners from everyone in attendance were a’plenty. It was impressive. We were all comedians and I loved it.

At first I wondered what the protocol was for hanging out with your coworkers outside of work. Did they want to? Are we excited when we see each other at the airport, or do we try to avoid each other? I learned pretty quickly that yeah, we wanna hang out and get to know each other, because this is not work and we’re all pretty cool people and we might never again all be together in a place like this in this sort of situation, so we better take advantage. Or at least that is how I felt.

The trip is hands down the most extravagant gift I have ever received and believe me I know how lucky I am. I am not sure I can even put into words how grateful I am that this happened to me. I probably thanked my CEO a million times, and I doubt I am even close to being done with the thanking yet.

Anyway, let’s get to some details. We stayed at the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas and it was as beautiful as you would expect a Sandals in the Bahamas to be.

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The photos look like professional resort photos, but that is from my phone. It is just that nice.

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Paradise and a half. But more on that later.

My boss also, as a surprise, got us all gift certificates to use at the spa while we were there. A Sandals spa, which I will probably never have the opportunity to visit again so I was pretty excited. And also apprehensive, since I have never actually been to a spa before (I am not really a spa person and to be honest I feel weird about strangers touching me)… Evan was in the same boat so we had a hard time deciding what to do. I knew I had to get something besides a pedicure though. Eventually we decided to go with the 60-minute “Scents of Love” couples massage because why not?

It was interesting. I felt weird at first and for the initial 10 minutes I wondered how I was going to last through another 50 of a stranger vigorously rubbing me. But I relaxed pretty quickly and actually at one point was enjoying it so much that I started drooling.

The most awkward thing was in the beginning before the massages started we were instructed to light candles and to “make promises to each other,” which may be the cheesiest thing I have ever been asked to do. But I promised that I wouldn’t laugh during the massage, and I kept that promise and did not even let out one tiny giggle when my masseuse was essentially tickling my feet (I am VERY ticklish).

And near the end of the massage our masseuses tried to get us to hold hands while we laid on our separate tables, but we were both blindfolded and they just started mashing our hands together and we didn’t know what was happening and I thought my masseuse was trying to get me to hold her hand so I was all stiff and awkward… And then they said “So we are putting your hands together right now…” Ohh, okay. We get it. We’ll hold hands.

Anyway, it was an experience, and we received those promise candles as keepsakes so we can “scent your bedroom” (direct masseuse quote) so I guess that’s a good thing. Who doesn’t enjoy a well-scented bedroom?

Um, what else.

We ate a lot.

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Enough for an entire post about food? YUP.

In four days we squeezed in a significant amount of beach time…

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Pool time…

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I may be a bad influence… and no we are not peeing, there is a yellow design on the bottom of the pool.

Social time…

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Evan and his new buds.

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Me and mine. Again I might be a bad influence.

And also alone timone.

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We had absolutely perfect weather, and I was never at any point the drunkest.

It was amazing and I feel like I love everything right now.

I will be back with some more deets on Monday, but in the meantime have a great weekend!!!

All Aboard the Gill Train

Sadly, I have officially finished my sessions with Gillian. For anyone who missed my first post about this, a personal trainer in the midtown Toronto area, Gillian Thomas, contacted me a little while ago and asked if I would be interested in complimentary personal training sessions with her twice a week for four weeks.

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I said yes please. So I had eight sessions in total (it ended up being over five weeks), four times in her studio, Inspira Athletica, and four times at the track near both of us. The studio is just north of Yonge and Lawrence, so just a quick subway ride away from me. It was pretty convenient.

I really enjoyed my sessions with Gillian, a lot more than I thought I would. And I was surprised how much I still liked her while she was making me do exercises that made me want to cry (I almost did cry once, though she told me I must have a pretty good poker face because I kept looking at her and smiling so she thought I wanted more). I didn’t know it was possible to hate what she was making me do while liking her so much. She was just really awesome to hang out with. Sometimes I was just excited to see her, so then when I got there and she put me to work it was a rude awakening that I actually had to work out. Rude, Gillian. Rude.

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I have also definitely been seeing some improvement over here. I still can’t do a proper push-up (all in good time, my friends), but I am getting better. And the first time I did a plank for her I could only hold it for 36 seconds. By the time I finished my sessions with her I could hold my plank for a full two minutes!

I think 2.05 was my longest time. Not too shabby! I was very proud of myself, and it’s motivating to see results like that.

I have also discovered that I have a new least favourite exercise. The inchworm. You start standing, then bend over and walk your arms out until you are in a plank, and then you bring your arms back in. If you are a visual learner like myself, perhaps pictures will help you. It basically looks like this.

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I was supposed to do 12 of them and I could only do 8 before I nearly collapsed. When Gillian did it she made it look so easy.

I have also discovered that kettle ball swings make me feel like this:

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I don’t hate them, but by the end I wanna die.

I was sore after each workout (which I always think is a good sign because to me that means it’s working) but I was never as sore as I was after the first time. Which, good thing, because not being able to walk properly for three days wasn’t very practical. But all of her workouts were intense, and there was one particular studio workout where I was the sweatiest I have ever been in my entire life. I left Evan at my pad while I met with Gillian and I came back all red-faced and sweaty and he looked at me and said “I feel like Gillian is taking your workouts to a whole new level…” I felt like that too.

So I guess the two main questions here are, can I feel/see a difference in myself, and am I going to continue with it?

First of all, yes to the difference. I haven’t weighed myself in about two years because I really don’t care to get obsessed with that number, and I am tall and big boned anyway so I am always going to weigh a lot. When I was at my most fit I didn’t really lose any weight, I was just noticeably more toned and I dropped a couple sizes. So in that regard, I have definitely been feeling more svelte lately. I seem to be fitting into my clothes better and my muffin top has not been spilling out all over my pants quite as much. So good news! I think the most noticeable differences are in my limbs though. I thought that might be my imagination, but the other day I was wearing shorts around the house and out of nowhere Evan said that he could tell my legs were looking more muscular. I hadn’t even asked his opinion. It was nice that someone else noticed and confirmed what I thought might be happening. I may have started strutting around after that.

And I can notice a difference in my strength. I mentioned the plank thing, but my squats and lunges were far better by the end, and I could lift a lot more weight with my legs.

Now…will I keep up with it? Many of the circuits Gillian put me through used only body weight resistance, so I can do them right in the comfort of my own home, which is very awesome. In theory. Have I done them in my own home? Nope. Apparently it only works for me if someone makes me do it. I may have been cursing Gillian’s name during my workout, but after each session I would feel so incredibly motivated that I couldn’t wait until my next one. But then that feeling faded and the next day I just wanted to leisure. It’s difficult to keep that motivation going. I’ve had a lot going on this week, but when things simmer down a bit my plan is to regularly start hitting the gym.

The personal training thing is nice because all you really have to do is show up and someone is there to kill you in the best way possible. If you are in the area and are looking for one, I highly recommend Gillian. She really was awesome.

Gillian does have drop-in boot camp classes on Sundays at 10am at her studio ($15 or 10 classes for $100), so I want to start going to those. If anyone wants to come along with me I am all for that! We can have a bootcamp party.

Overall it was a really great experience and I am sad it’s over. But I know Gillian and I will remain friends.

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So I am looking forward to seeing her in a more leisurely setting!

Push-ups and a Playlist

Big surprise, I haven’t gotten any better at push-ups since not attempting them in about a year.

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I didn’t expect to suddenly be good at them or anything, but I thought maybe I wouldn’t be so horrible. Nope. I had my second session with Gillian last night and this was pretty obvious when I tried to do my first push-up on a small step (so my body was inclined, which is apparently easier) and my arms buckled and I nearly fell on my face. I  did get slightly better, bit definitely nothing impressive. So it would appear this would still be me:

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I drew this a while ago. If you like you should check out my cartoon stories.

Luckily, Gillian doesn’t judge like the musclemen at the gym. And to be fair I have a pretty heavy chest region. I would say it’s probably the heaviest part of my body. Whenever I gain weight that’s the first place it goes! So we will just say that is the reason for my lack of upper body strength. The good news is there is a lot of room for improvement, so hopefully I can step it up. I will keep trying.

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Last night’s upper body party with Gillian wasn’t quite as hardcore as the lower body stuff on Monday (lower body is always harder in general I find). Lots of push-ups and push-up-type activities and resistance and core work going on. It was still tough, and my arms are very sore, especially when I attempt to lift them over my head. And my legs are still sore, so just hurting everywhere over here.

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But the good kind of hurt. The kind of hurt that means it’s working.

Anyway, I mentioned that I have still been running once or twice a week, and I have mentioned many, many times that a good playlist is very important to my running. And also that I try to save all the songs on my running playlist to only listen to while I am actually running, that way I am excited to run because I am excited to listen to those songs. It works in theory. I am constantly on the lookout for new songs to listen to, so I thought someone might be interested in my playlist. If you dig my jams the rest of my playlists are conveniently located on my playlists page.

Clicking on any of the songs will take you to the YouTube video:

Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Demons – Imagine Dragons
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons

(best video I have seen in a while, just kills me)

I Love You – Said The Whale
If So – Atlas Genius
Infinitesimal – Mother Mother
Out of my League – Fitz and the Tantrums
Pompeii – Bastille
Safe and Sound – Capital Cities
Stubborn Love – The Lumineers
Tiptoe – Imagine Dragons
Trojans – Atlas Genius
Wake Me Up – Avicii

Again, I am always on the hunt for new music so feel free to leave me suggestions! Any push-up advice is welcome also.

I’m having a hard time walking this week, and this is why

Last week I was contacted by Gillian Thomas, a personal trainer in the midtown Toronto area, who said she was a fan of my blog and noticed that I had written recently about wanting to work out more regularly. She asked if I would be interested in complimentary personal training sessions with her twice a week for four weeks.

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I know, right? Huge score! I was so excited to receive her email because I have still been feeling very unmotivated this summer when it comes to exercising. I do try to squeeze in active activities like walking around the city and hiking, but I have only been running one to two days a week, about 5k, at a pretty leisurely pace. I know it’s better than nothing, but strength training? Forget it. I haven’t picked up a weight or done a squat in at least six months. Gillian seemed like just the motivation I needed.

So on Monday after work I headed to a park close to both of us with a pretty awesome track (Gillian’s suggestion) to meet up with her for a session. She was a stranger, but don’t worry parents, I googled Gillian and confirmed she was who she said she was and her plan probably wasn’t to murder me.

But she may as well have. My lower body has been dead since.

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Sitting down, getting up, and stairs are just the worst.

You know how when you hire a maid you pre-clean your house before the maid comes because you don’t want the maid to see your house all messy? Well I thought about pre-training before I met up with Gillian so she wouldn’t see how horribly out of shape I am, but our appointment happened so quickly after her original email I didn’t have time. After really slacking on exercising over the past year, I feel like I’m starting over from square one, am now a weak fool, and I am pretty sure Gillian got me at my worst. Well, four years ago probably would have been my worst, but it still wasn’t ideal conditions.

We mostly worked on my lower body, with a bit of running, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and core work thrown in. I struggled with absolutely everything.

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It probably didn’t help that I was eager and running late so I half ran/half speed-walked to the park so I was already tired, but my legs were jello after about 3 squats and my lunges were shaky to say the least. Near the end of the workout she got me to sprint for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat twice more, and by that point my “sprint” was a slow jog. I could barely stand.

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I have also never really had a personal training session before (once when I signed up for my gym, but they didn’t seem into it and they didn’t really push me). I have only done group exercise classes and a few bootcamp classes. With Gillian, it was really noticeably obvious that I could not slack. In group classes I am embarrassed to say that I am sometimes a bit of a slacker because there are so many people that the instructor can’t pay attention to me all the time. When they’re not looking I tend to half-ass things. Or just lay on the ground when I am supposed to be doing pushups.

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No one sees me slacking…

But of course, the only person I am hurting by slacking is myself. Gillian was ON me. She got me to do things that I never, EVER would have done myself. Never. I never would have pushed myself that hard. It was the hardest and best workout of my life, and during I felt like I might die several times and I did debate just quitting right there and telling Gillian thanks, but forget it, I’m not coming back, and then running (or slowly hobbling) away.

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See ya, sucker. I’m outta here.

But somehow I powered through, and I am so glad I did because I felt amazing afterwards. Like instantly more svelte. I know it doesn’t work like that, but if it’s possible to take inches off your thighs in one workout that workout would have done it. So I walked home afterwards feeling really happy and proud of myself. And kind of like an invincible beast. And then I got home and I immediately faceplanted into my bed of pain.

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Gillian herself was extremely cool and friendly. I liked her instantly. She was the type of person I felt like I could be friends with, so all good on that front.

I am meeting Gillian again tonight to do the upper body thing. Thank God, because my butt is on fire and I can still barely walk. I told her that lunges are my weakness, but I conveniently left out that I can barely do a pushup, so…tonight should be fun. I’ll let you know how it’s going over the next few weeks.

If you live in Toronto and are looking for someone to kick your ass workout-wise, hit Gillian up. I know I’ve only had one session, but my thighs will vouch for me here…she knows her stuff.

Oh, and Cely, Gillian said she originally found my blog through you linking to me, so I am blaming you for all my pain. Muahahaha. My buns of steel may be thanking you in a month though…

Oh, and Gillian…THANK YOU!

Chobani Workout Parfait Party

Tuesday evening I was invited to a blogger bootcamp thing at BarreWorks downtown, hosted by my favourite Greek yogurt company Chobani.

And I am not just saying Chobani is my favourite because they invite me to fun events, actually talk to me, feed me, and give me free stuff (like those sensual workout shirts). Wait, yes I am. That is basically the way to my heart. How could I not love them? I think companies need to take note here, because Chobani does the social stuff extremely well, and I believe that is why they are so incredibly successful. Well, and they really do have great yogurt, which is of course helpful.

But seriously, I really appreciate that even though Chobani is an American company, they make an effort to include us Canadian bloggers. We usually get shafted on things like this, so it’s refreshing.

Anyway, I met up with my bloggy pal Stephanie on the subway so we could go over there together. We originally met at the last Chobani Toronto blogger party in June.

We had been blog/Twitter stalking eachother for a long time before that though. I wasn’t sure who was going to be there, so I was excited to arrive with someone I knew.

We know eachother even better now, as we had quite a bonding experience on the way to Barre Works. I was perfectly on time to meet Steph, and I was late for the last Chobani blogger party because I had trouble finding the restaurant, so I was excited to actually be on time for this.

Too bad we walked for 25 minutes in the wrong direction. Neither of us had been there before so we didn’t know where it was, and when we got off the streetcar we walked for about 15 minutes down Queen street. The wrong way. I don’t even know how that happened. I am not the most directions savvy, I will admit, but I had my trusty iPhone (I would never find anything without it) and it has never let me down. But alas, it did. Once we realized we were going the total wrong way, we turned around and started speedwalking back where we came from. And then again, I don’t know what happened, but my silly iPhone AGAIN gave me the wrong location, so somehow we walked about another 10 minutes PAST BarreWorks. Totally missed it.

So, late again. We arrived at BarreWorks technically about 25 minutes late, but only five minutes after the warmup started. It was alright though. We had just been practically running, so we were pretty warm. And I was already sweaty.

Chobani’s instructor Tiffany led us through a pretty intense bootcamp workout. And I do mean intense. Intense as in zero breaks. One thing after another; squats, pushups, burpees, crunches, and exercises I have definitely never even done before. All with balls and bands.

And of course incorporating the bar.

I love that Chobani has hired a workout instructor for their employees. I work in a building full of sports organizations and we don’t even do that. Well, we did have office yoga, but we organized that ourselves.

The workout was super intense and I was extremely sore afterwards. My legs were especially dying. It’s two days later and stairs are still a bit iffy. Tiffany was no joke. Steph even said that she just finished eight weeks of bootcamp and it was nothing like this. I liked it though, the hour flew by and I desperately needed an ass-kicking after all the ridiculous things I have been eating lately.

After our sweat session, Chobani had the perfect post-workout snack waiting for us…

Ah, that beautiful Chobani parfait bar.

I packed my jar with as much deliciousness as I could. I don’t think I could have squeezed any more in it…

And then I went back and did it again. And I took a third jar home with me for breakfast the next morning…

You see?! You see why Chobani is my favourite? Chobani yogurt also has double the protein of regular yogurt, is fat free, and made with all-natural ingredients. So I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about my three jars. Not even about all the toasted walnuts, chocolate chips and dulce de leche I jammed in there.

The event was also catered by The Food Dudes who made some pretty delicious appetizers for us that were Chobani-inspired.

I don’t even know what that is, but there is Chobani in the crust, and it was really, really good.

Two other Toronto bloggers who I originally met at our first Chobani party were also in attendance, Morgan from Life After Bagels and Gillian from Battle of the Bites. Steph and I had fun re-meeting and catching up with them.

The four of us closed the place down!

I also had a really good time talking with the cheeky minx Lindsay from Chobani, and the girls from High Road Communications. I love being included in things like this. Thank you to all of you for having me, I had such a great time! Please come back to Toronto!

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My friend Hannah and I bought a Groupon about a month ago for a stand-up paddleboarding (SUP!) lesson in Toronto. Paddleboarding seems to be all the rage around here these days, so I have been intrigued to try it out for a while. When Hannah alerted me to a Groupon for it we snatched that baby up!

We figured it would be a good workout and a fun new thing to try, so yesterday we cashed in our Groupon and hit up SUPGirlz on the beaches in Toronto for a 90-minute lesson.

We were excited.

And I just need to say that the beach in Toronto is beautiful! I do not go there very often because it’s not that close to me, but there are cute little shops all along the strip and the waterfront is gorgeous.

Now about the paddleboarding. I don’t have experience with it per se, but when I was growing up my bestie Lisa and I used to spend our summers on her windsurfers. We would take the sails off and grab canoe paddles and use the windsurfers to paddle across the lake. Sometimes standing up. Sometimes we would even attach the windsurfers to the boat and stand on them while holding a waterski tow rope and just cruise around the lake on them (not leisurely though, we were basically waterskiing on windsurfers).

So paddleboarding was not a completely foreign concept to me. But I have never been paddleboarding like this:

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It is similar to canoeing, but you are standing on a board while paddling. I was slightly apprehensive about it because I do not have the best balance. My bestie’s dad, Daddy Brook, used to call me the Watermelon, because whatever water sport we were doing I seemed to kinda just roll off the equipment all off-balance like a giant watermelon. It was a flattering nickname.

There were seven people in our class, and our instructor did some fake land paddling with us before we were ready to take out our boards and hit up the bay. The paddleboards were basically like surfboards, only more wide.

After we got the paddle motion down, it was time for the real thing. We took our boards into the water off the beach and just paddled around for about an hour.

Our instructor was so helpful, and I’m really glad we took the lesson and didn’t just go out on our own. She kept mentioning that it was normal to feel unsteady on your feet when you stood up, and I’m so glad she did because my leg muscles felt so shaky and weird at first I would have assumed that something was wrong with me and I was going to collapse.

She also taught us how to do yoga on the paddleboard!

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Just a few basic poses, nothing too crazy. But even without the yoga it was a pretty crazy core and upper-body workout.

I am happy to report that both Hannah and I seemed to be naturals! I was definitely the first one to fall in the water though. I like to think I was just breaking the ice for everyone else so they would feel safe falling. Hannah fell second, and actually, we were the only two girls in our class who fell off their boards. Two other guys in our class fell also, but the other girls stayed upright. I think this is because Hannah and I got a bit cocky and tried to go really fast and lost our balance. And one time I fell because a bee was after me, so that was obviously not my fault.

Also, I need to just take a moment to apologize to Lake Ontario in Toronto, because yesterday I mentioned that I thought it was sketchy. It was genuinely beautiful, and the swimming conditions were perfect. The water was calm and clear and I didn’t see anything funky in it. My office bestie Lexy pointed out yesterday that I should probably give Lake Ontario a break, as she grew up swimming in it and does not have any extra limbs.

So my mistake. It was fine. All is good, and I am not currently growing a third arm. I’d swim in it again.

And I am definitely going paddleboarding again. I really loved it. It was so much fun. I wish it wasn’t so expensive or I’d go all the time! Hannah and I left the beach wet and happy, and already making plans to go back.

Have any of you guys ever tried it?