Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Back in December, I wrote a blog post listing my favourite lower body exercises. Since then, a lot of my friends have been asking about what upper body exercises I do, particularly for toning my arms. And, because so many of you have kicked your workouts up a notch in anticipation for an early summer (or spring beach vacation, whichever), I thought I'd share with you my favourite arm exercises that target the biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Aside from the tricep dips and push ups, these exercises will require a set of dumbbells. Depending on the exercises, I use between 5 and 15 pounds.

Hammer Curls

Tricep Kickbacks

Tricep Dips

Tricep Push Ups

Standing Shoulder Press

Lateral Raises

Upright Rows

Complete three sets (aim for 12-15 repetitions per set) of these upper body moves 2 to 3 times a week every other day. Combine with cardiovascular exercise and a nutritious diet, and you'll be sporting tank top-worthy arms in no time!

Try This: For quicker results, I might use a heavier weight than I'm used to and/or comfortable with, yielding fewer reps. That said, sometimes I like to do a different workout that consists of less weight, more repetitions, and smaller, slower movements. The idea here is to use slow and controlled movements to exhaust the muscle, similar to Pilates.

What are your favourite arm exercises?

image via fitness magazine

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 28 January 2013


Here are a few bits from the kitchen that I think you outta try:

Apple Chips - my parents own a dehydrator and make the best beef jerky. However, their most recent concoction using the dehydrator is apple chips. When I was home, I got to try theirs - so delicious (and addictive)! I devoured an entire large freezer-size Ziploc of them, and my Mom sent another bag back to Toronto with me. Since then, I've made my own using this recipe.

Veggie Fritters - last autumn, I had some leftover spaghetti squash and so I decided to make veggie fritters. They were tasty, but I'm still working on perfecting my recipe as mine was lacking that wow-factor! Do you have any good recipes that you'd recommend? How about using carrots and zucchini instead of spaghetti squash? What other vegetables could you use?

Kale Pesto - within the past couple of years, I have fallen in love with kale. I never used to like winter produce in Canada but since discovering kale, I've changed my mind. Not only is kale a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, but it's delicious, too! Plus, you might be surprised to find that there are tons of ways to use kale - in salads and soups, baked as chips, in place of tortilla wraps, and my personal favourite, in a simple sauté with garlic. I recently purchased a Paleo-approved kale and oregano pesto from Whole Foods, and it was simply delicious. However, at $5 for a small container, I took it upon myself to make my own using arugula and cashews - stay tuned for the recipe!

What's one new thing you made in the kitchen recently or are planning on making?

images and info via a beautiful mess, homegrown, and world's healthiest foods

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


After running my first half marathon last spring, I never thought I'd ever want to run another race. Period.

But, when you take 21.1 km and package it up all pretty with a race route that includes views of the mountains and the ocean, a post-race brunch that's not just a banana and bagel (I've heard things), and yoga and more yoga, there's really no denying such an experience.

Registration for The SeaWheeze Lululemon Half Marathon officially opened last Friday! I usually head back to BC closer to the end of summer to visit my parents, so I thought what better opportunity than to take part in what looks to be a very exciting weekend!

I've heard a lot of fantastic things about The SeaWheeze - everything from a guided training program and regularly updated runspiration on their Facebook page to being treated like a rock star all weekend and cashing in on awesome swag (I suppose you pay for it in the registration fee, but swag nonetheless).

Aside from all the perks, I'm also looking forward to running alongside my eldest brother, whose fastest time might as well be half of my best time.

And finally, this race will be a great way to experience Vancouver like I never have before - running! 

Do you have any races coming up? Join me in Vancouver!

image via the seawheeze

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 21 January 2013


All right, team: we're three weeks into the New Year.

How's everyone doing with their New Year's resolutions? Or, maybe they aren't resolutions at all. Maybe it was just a matter of getting back into your regular routine.

Whatever the case, it's time to check in.

For some, it may feel too soon to be checking in on your progress. For others, this is your personal lifesaving device, because let's face it...someone out there is on the edge of physical (and mental) burnout and struggling to keep their hand out of the cookie jar.

For me, returning to my usual diet after the holidays wasn't that difficult. I assume it's because I didn't fall far off track from my usual diet - other than when I insisted on poutine for my recent birthday breakfast, followed by homemade nachos and gluten-free brownies for dinner, oops! That aside, it was tough getting back into a workout regime where I felt challenged, yet capable. I took a lot of time off of my regular workouts during (and before) the holidays, which had a significant impact on my fitness come the new year.

So, this check-in isn't only for you. It's also for me.

I think that so many of us get excited/inspired/eager about our New Year's resolutions, particularly those having to do with diet, fitness, and overall health that we often set goals that are unrealistic. We eventually lose sight of these initial goals and therefore, set ourselves up for failure. Of course, this isn't everyone. Some of us do set short term goals and move at a pace that makes long term goals more easily attainable.

Whether you chose to dive head first into a new workout plant that's far beyond your starting fitness level or you attempted to quit smoking cold turkey (the rookie), or you're completely confident in working towards achieving your health and fitness goals for 2013 that a "check-in" hardly seems necessary at this point, because it will take at least 4 weeks in order to see any results (the veteran)...

Aside from drinking tons of water and getting lots of sleep (R's incredible 95-year-old grandfather's claim to good health), here are some of my tips for tackling your New Year's resolutions three weeks later:

Re-write your goals. If you haven't already written down your health goals for 2013, do so right now. Write down bigger (long term) goals, and smaller (short term) goals. If you have already written down your goals, write them down again in a different place. Maybe you  keep a journal, maybe a day planner, or maybe you type and save everything into your phone. If you've saved your goals to a note on your computer desktop, now write them down on a piece of paper and put that paper somewhere that will remind you every day why you set that goal in the first place. Seeing this written goal is intended to inspire you. If it helps, compile different images that also inspire you and construct an inspiration board - you can make one on Pinterest, or in real life.

Add daily challenges. For the rookie, you  may be overwhelmed. Perhaps, you underestimated the amount of effort it would take for you to wake up at 6am every day and go jogging. After all, you really enjoyed sleeping in until 10am during the holidays. Set daily challenges until you achieve your goal. In this case, if you're used to waking up at 8am, try getting up a half hour earlier than your used to, and maybe skip the early morning runs until your body is well adjusted. After a few days of waking up a half hour earlier, try moving your alarm clock to another half hour earlier (the half hour is just a guiding point - find what works best for you!). For the veteran, you have a handle on your workouts and your diet. Now, you're looking for other ways to aspire to your best self this year. Well, no one's perfect, so you must have something you need to work on, huh? For me, it's to drink more water and to remember to take my vitamin supplements every day. It's simple, but it's something.

Make your changes last. I don't just mean for 2013, but for life. I realize that as we get older, our bodies change and we therefore may have to make changes to our diet and activity levels. Our beliefs in lifestyles and different approaches to our health might also change. But, even for the health goals you might set out to achieve this year, my advice is to approach them with the intent that they must be maintained for life. Rather than see any successful changes to your diet or exercise regime as temporary, view them as long lasting - something to hold on to and to cherish. Again, I'm not saying that the changes you make today have to stick around forever. My only suggestion is to approach them this way insofar that this so-called approach - based on my experiences, at least - is a healthy one. Be realistic in your healthy choices and changes. Before you decide to start drinking all of your meals for effective weight loss, perhaps reconsider.

Be adventurous! So, you're following this rigorous workout plan and maintaining a healthy diet, but you didn't think about how bored you'd get from enjoying the same menu week to week and going to the gym the same days every week and doing the same boring workouts. Not only is it important to constantly change up your exercise in order to see physical results, but it's also important for your mental well-being. Instead of going to the gym today, why not go for a long hike? Instead of working out alone, try a group fitness class. Or, do your usual workout, but try some new exercises at the end. Maybe it's just a yoga pose you've seen done before, but have never been able to do yourself - why not give it a shot? The same goes for your diet. It's important to have variety, and depending on the diet that you follow, it's also important to indulge every now and then. No, your love handles won't get bigger if you have an extra scoop of ice cream - if you have an extra scoop of ice cream every day? Then, maybe. Bottom line: play! Switch up your workouts, add variety to your menu, and most importantly, have fun! 

Here's to a year full of health and wellness bests - may all your goals be achieved for a healthier, happier you! What goals have you set for 2013?

images via inspire fitness, make it count, and pinterest

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.