Do You Set Bad Resolutions?

I recently saw a social media post talking about bad new years resolutions. It got me thinking, what makes a new years resolution bad in the first place?? Is it that as a society we tend to set the same three to five resolutions every year? Or that it's more common for us to fail at our resolutions than it is to succeed??

I don't think that it's any of the above. The definition of resolution is
"a firm decision to do or not to do something."

If we go off that definition alone, then we are nailing the act of making a resolution. However synonymous  with resolution is plan and that's exactly what's missing from most resolutions, making them bad resolutions. The plan doesn't need to be elaborate or even extensive but there needs to be one. Not sure how to come up with the plan, here's an easy way to get started.
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Step One
Make your wish list. Here's where you are going to figure out what it is you actually want to accomplish this year. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and yes, it must be written by hand, not typed on a keyboard. Why? Because the act of writing has been proven to help you remember things better, clarify your thoughts and even help you achieve your goals! If you're someone who wants to keep this list with you at all times, you're in luck - write it down, snap a picture of it with your phone and carry it with you always ;)

Alright, back to the wish list. Grab that paper and pen and set a timer for 5 minutes. For the next five minutes dream big. What do you want to accomplish this year?? There are no obstacles in your way, no responsibilities and nothing that says you can't. Let your thoughts flow freely and write down whatever comes to mind.

Step Two
Look back over your list and narrow it down to 1 -3 things that speak to you the most. If you're not sure how to narrow it done, write down your whys for dreaming up that goal in the first place. The goals that you can an attach a strong why to are most likely the goals that you should focus on.

Now grab another piece of paper for each goal that you chose to focus on. You'll need to focus on one at a time now so you'll need a little bit more time. Write down your first goal at the top of the sheet of paper as if you have already achieved it. For example, if I currently weight 190 lbs and my goal is to lose 30 pounds in 2016 at the top of my paper I would write: I weigh 160 lbs by December 31, 2016. I have succeed in making my goal specific and timely but there is still no action.
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write down all the steps that you would need to do to achieve this goal, and I mean all of them. Using my example above, my list may look something like this:

- drink 3L of water a day
- no snacking after 8pm
- eat veggies with every meal
- resistance train 2-4 days a week
- cardio train 2-5 days a week
- core/mind body training 1-4 times a week
- find babysitter so that I can go to the gym
- talk to my boss about leaving 30 minutes early (cut my lunch by 30 minutes) so that I can make it to my fitness class twice a week
- wake up for the 5:30am class 2-3 times a week
- prepare lunches the night before so I don't have to do it in the morning
- meal plan every Friday night
- grocery shop every Saturday
- prep for the week on Sunday
- arrange a walking meeting with a colleague once a week (we discuss work and walk at the same time)
- talk to my personal trainer about my upcoming goals
- weigh in once a week or once every two weeks to track progress

Etc, etc.

Yours will be even more specific to you. Write down everything no matter how small or mundane the task seems! Repeat for goal 2 and 3 if you have them.

Step Three
Now the action truly begins. Go through your list and pick out two goals that you can focus on that day. Based on my list above, maybe I could schedule a meeting with my boss to discuss a flexible work day and I could track my water intake for the day. Then do them. It seems easy right? So easy that maybe you think you could tackle even more steps from that list. And maybe some days you can. But most days you won't. And that's ok. Why set yourself up for failure with too many to-do tasks?? Pick a couple and get them done. Be pleased with yourself that you moved closer to your goal.

If your action steps looks like it would take longer than 30 minutes to complete. Break down your action step. For example, if I simply listed meal plan, that might seem time consuming or overwhelming. But if I made my action step to chose two healthy recipes to try for dinner next week, I could likely do that in less than 10 minutes.

Work Towards Progress, Not Perfection
Small attainable action steps add up to big, mind blowing results. But not over night. Look over your action list at the start of every day. Chose where to focus. Need to revisit an action step, do it. Need to change your goals, do that as well. Remember this is your 2016 and your journey, you get to chose how you want it to go.

I'd love to hear what you have planned for 2016 and if this type of goal setting worked for you! Please feel free to leave me a comment below. 

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4 Winter Fit Tips For You!

4 winter fitness tips
We've put together some of our favorite fitness tips to keep you on track and motivated throughout the winter! And there's a little spoiler for something we have in the works, too! (created by Jenaye Lewis)

Fitness Fact - Halloween Tricks and Treats!

It's no secret that Halloween weekend usually means eating a year's worth of fun-sized candies and chocolate bars and drinking cocktails with friends at numerous Halloween parties. So, for this week's Fitness Fact Friday, we've chosen to ease your minds about ingesting some goodies and write a post in DEFENSE of cheat meals, cheat days, and, realistically, cheat weekends!

Cheat meals don't have to spell diet disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can actually help you surmount weight-loss plateaus. The secret, however, is to cheat smart.

As everyone knows, diets are a nightmare, and they don't work. It's always best to strive for a 90/10 ratio of healthy, lean meals to cheat meals, not only to maintain your sanity and happiness, but also because these cheat meals help reset hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy, and keep calorie-burning and fat-torching mechanisms high.

The science behind using cheat meals as a dietary tool revolves around the same hormones we discussed in the post about sleep: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin, a protein mainly produced by fat tissue, regulates appetite and energy balance in the body. It acts on the brain's hypothalamus to suppress food intake and stimulate the use of energy, or calories. Leptin plays a key role in regulating body weight and fat mass through its stimulating effect on the brain. In fact, studies have shown that within 24 hours of fasting, leptin levels decrease to 30 percent of their normal value.

Ghrelin, a peptide hormone mainly produced by the stomach, is an appetite stimulant that signals the release of growth hormone. Low-calorie diets and chronic exercise have been shown to result in increased ghrelin concentrations, which may lead to increasing food intake and body weight.

In addition to affecting appetite and energy use through leptin and ghrelin, sustained caloric-deficit diets also cause the body to attempt to conserve energy by decreasing levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which help regulate and maintain metabolism. Sustained low-carbohydrate diets deplete the body of glycogen stores and can leave you feeling sluggish and weak, which can negatively affect your training performance.

But keep in mind! This doesn't mean that gorging on 10 lbs of treats is beneficial to your fitness. The trick is to continue to keep track of cheat meals (schedule them if you can!) and to choose treats that are as nutritional as possible. Try choosing a few bites of dark chocolate instead of processed chocolates, or choose the protein-rich smoothie we posted earlier in the week instead of ice cream, etc. And if you just can't resist those adorable little candies and chocolates, remember that we're always here for you to burn off a treat or two ;)

Have a safe and spooky Halloween.

(written by Jenaye Lewis)ghosts&pumpkins

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When A Dinner Fail Turns Into A Lunch Win

The plan for dinner was spaghetti squash with a ground turkey, zucchini and tomato sauce. The sauce turned out great. The squash, well see for yourself...
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Yup, definitely doesn't look like spaghetti and I have no idea where I went wrong. It's not the first time I have made it but something did not go right tonight. Luckily the sauce went just fine on bow-tie pasta (and the boys were quite happy I didn't serve them this) but I didn't want to waste the squash. So Tristan suggested soup. Without a recipe, I decided to just wing it. It turned out delicious!! It was quick, the kids said the house smelled yummy and we now have a healthy lunch for tomorrow. It turned out so good, I thought I'd share...

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I boiled some veggie broth and threw in some onion, carrots, apples, cumin, curry and salt. I let them cook until the carrots were soft. Remember, I had already roasted the spaghetti squash for 40 minutes at 425-degrees and scooped it out into a bowl of mush. 

I then threw it all (squash included) into the Vitamix in batches until it reached this consistency. 

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And that's it. Easy hearty soup in less than hour. Perfect for a chilly fall day. Enjoy!!

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Be Proactive and Prevent Colds and Flus This Year

It's sad to say it, but as we enter into the first few days of fall, we also have to accept the oncoming cold and flu season! Luckily Jenaye has put together this handy infographic to keep the germs from settling in.

Here are a few of the most important tips to help prevent, protect against, and combat cold and flu symptoms! Tips 1-4 are for you to incorporate but we can help you with the fifth tip: Exercise! Generally you want to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Check out our class schedule, Pilates and fitilates Reformer classes and Personal Training packages to make this easy for you to commit to.

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Functional Fitness - the Why, What and How!

Functional fitness is a term tossed around in the fitness world, much like core training and HIIT. It seems like everyone’s doing it but we’re not always 100% what it means. Simply put, functional fitness is moving and training your body in a way that mimics the activities that you do in your everyday life. Breaking it down even further, there are activities that almost all of us do everyday – carrying things, getting in and out of vehicles, reaching overhead, bending, twisting and even squatting to sit on the toilet. Then there are the activities that may be specific to us individually – playing a sport, lifting and carrying small children, sitting at a desk, driving for long periods, etc. Any exercise that takes our activities into account can be considered functional!

So if we are already doing those movements, why train that way? Unfortunately our bodies are always looking for a shortcut to do repetitive movements, which means we set ourselves up for muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. Functional training can balance out these problems and be used preventatively and as part of a rehabilitation process. We of course, prefer you be preventative.
What should a functional exercise include? For an exercise to be considered functional, we look for it to include elements such as multi-joint, multi-directional, rotation, balance, proprioception and uneven loads. Of course every exercise will not include every element but at least one and some maybe more. We’ve created a video of six our favourite functional exercises. These can be completed by everyone and done almost anywhere; you may just need to be creative on what tool you use! Click on the video to watch now.

 



To start with we recommend that you do 2-4 sets of each exercise for 12-15 reps with a 30-60 second break for a beginner or 8-12 reps for intermediate to advance. Chose a load (weight) that allows you to complete the exercise with good form but is challenging.

Once you feel comfortable with the exercises and if trying to increase your intensity is a goal, we recommend that you complete each exercise for time, with little to no rest between exercises. An example would be to complete the exercise for 20-40 seconds, move to the next exercise with zero to 10 seconds of rest and continue that pattern till you have completed all six. Rest for a full minute and then repeat 2-4 times through.

If the thought of fitting in your fitness is overwhelming and you’re just not sure where to start, we’ve created our Fit in Fitness, seven-day program. This will take you from feeling overwhelmed to having clear and defined goals, as well as providing you with the tools you need to achieve them. If this sounds like something you need, click on the link below to sign up for this FREE (yes, completely FREE) program.



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Campsite Workout

That moment you are on vacation and you think it's time to take a break from everything... Well just wait, maybe not everything! Did you know you could keep up with your fitness with this easy to do, fast campsite workout. You need nothing more than a picnic table! Tristan and Jessica took the boys to Drumheller and wanted to show you just how easy it is to fit in a workout. Enjoy!

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