Tag Archives: fitness

Getting fit for free: the battle between fitness and finanaces

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I have a confession to make – I’m a gym slut!

And by that, I mean I will go to whatever gym is giving me free drop-in passes. There are sweet deals to be had out there, people!

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This time of year, everyone is forking out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for exclusive memberships, signing their lives away on contracts, trundling off to Sport Chek to spend megabucks on the hottest new fitness duds…. NOT ME!!

Well, not this time anyways. I would be a huge hypocrite here if I did not ‘fess up that I indeed, in the past, have been on that very bandwagon. But this year, I am determined to have my fitness and financial goals in harmony with one another. And to that end, I am busy milking every gym in the city for free passes.

A quick Yellow Pages search of St. John’s came up with over thirty different fitness clubs and gyms. Almost every one has some kind of promo ‘freebie’ offer – ranging from a free daypass, to three days, or three classes, or a week, or a steal of a deal on the first week (Shakti Yoga – $20 unlimited drop-in trial for a week, etc). Right now, I am busy getting the most out of my Goodlife “Three for Free” pass. I’ve already been to two savage spin classes, and will hit up two more before it expires on the 12th. (Soooo….. really I will get Four For Free! And, if it was a drop in class, I would probably pay up to $10 for it, so that is like $40 I saved right there!).

I already got a sweet Groupon (I actually bought a secondhand Groupon — paid $30 for it, the girl I bought it from paid $50 for it, which was an epic deal to begin with, for two months of drop-in Muay Thai Kickboxing… two a week, eight a month, 16 in total, so if I go to every one, which I have so far, the cost to me is less than two bucks a class) So I have that to do this month as well. Once that is finished, I’m thinking – Hot Yoga! (Saw an ad for a free week there, too!).

 

I alloted $100 in my monthly budget for “Health and Fitness” but heck, I’d rather spend it on wine or clothes or shoes — and if I succeed in my Fit for Free mission, that is exactly what I’m going to do!

If anyone knows of any other great promo offers – let me know!

Just in case you want to be a gym slut, too, check out these deals:

  • Goodlife Fitness: (Canada-wide) Three-visit pass:

http://goodlifefitness.com/Memberships/FreeVisitPass.aspx

  • The Works (St. John’s only) Free 7-Day Prime Time Deluxe Membership:

http://www.theworksonline.ca/survey.php

  • Ches Penney YMCA (St. John’s) Free Day Pass:

http://www.ynortheastavalon.com/files/free_pass.pdf

 

Suck it Nutritionists: Christmas is for Eating

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Turkey too. Get it in ya!

Suck it, nutritionists: Christmas is not Christmas without ploughing an absurd amount of cookies, chocolate, caramel popcorn, booze; downing a copious quantity of rich cheese and all manner of savoury delights! Christmas is not Christmas without the table FULL of plates of tantalizing concoctions beautifully arranged on a tray with garnish and cranberries and lovely springs of dill. It is the season of phyllo pastry, mini-quiches, smoked salmon, cream-cheese EVERYTHING! It is the season of Chocolate; of advent calendars and Pot of Gold and Turtles and After-Eights.

I don’t know about you, but I am super sick of that age-old column that appears in every newspaper and magazine around this time of year, with a headline that goes something like this: “How to Stay Thin over the Holidays” where some scrawny grinch-bag goes on to tell me that I should eat a massive plate of raw celery before going to a party, limit myself to one appetizer, (or even worse, as I saw recently, a suggestion to eat ONLY one appetizer, and skip dinner altogether — blasphemy!) drink only one glass of wine (which should be daintily sipped over a four-hour stretch…. yeah right).

Christmas is a season of celebration, not moderation. And for me, celebration is inextricably tied to eating. I love food, and so does my whole family, and our family reunions are never complete without certain key items: Aunt Kate’s famous spinach and artichoke dip. My mom’s pineapple muffins. Uncle Jim’s quiche. All these things (and many more) are as much a part of the event as any of the actual people in attendance. A family that eats together, stays together.

And most of these columns, these guilt-inducing, misery-inspiring columns, say that the average person gains about a pound – ONE MEASLY POUND! – over the whole holiday season. A pound is approximately 3600 calories. That’s only like, ten runs in January to get that off. No big whoop!

Let’s just be clear here, that I am not endorsing a flat-out binge-fest on everything in sight – I’m just saying that, one time of year ladies, lets give ourselves a bit of a break. Lets stop mentally calculating calories and amount of time you’ll have to jog to get it off, let’s stop DEPRIVING ourselves, for only a few weeks of the year, let’s instead allow ourselves, give ourselves permission, to go a little nuts, to laugh and joke and sing and, yes, EAT, with our dearest friends and family.

Time to put some Bailey’s in my coffee….

Green Juice – You gotta try it

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It looks utterly revolting – a thick, pasty beverage complete with unblendable chunks. Oh yeah, and it’s green. But I have been drinking it every morning now for two weeks, instead of breakfast, and I am really noticing my energy levels and most importantly – my SKIN – being awesome.

So yeah, after getting sick of my facebook friend Helen posting about her epic mountain running “Ran 30 km today, straight uphill, feeling awesome!” followed by, “Time for some more green juice!” And then, looking at her pics and being embroiled in jealousy by her thinness and gorgeous complexion, I figured maybe I will try this (not the mountain trail running, but the green juice anyways). She is also vegan and eats only raw food – a step I am simply not willing to take – but hey, Green Juice is a start, right?

So anyways, every morning I have been choking back a concoction of spinach, coconut water, celery, hemp seeds, apple, wild blueberries, avocado, ginger, lemon, and cucumber, or some variation thereof. The idea is to just throw in there whatever you’ve got. (My idea anyways — I by no means am speaking for any kind of legit “Green Juice Movement”) sometimes I put in some lemon or some greens plus or whatever else is kicking around my fridge.

To say it’s delicious would be a pretty extreme overstatement. But it is at least palatable and not totally disgusting (although my boyfriend can’t even look at it without retching). I don’t think it’s that bad. And yes, I definitely have more energy, my skin looks better than it has in years, and it is something I am definitely going to carry on with here.

I am a ‘go big or go home’ type of gal. So I have always struggled, in the health department, because I can’t handle the idea of making small changes, it’s just not natural to me. I tend to make preposterous promises to myself that set me up for failure – following whatever regimen or whatever that is a virtually unachievable goal for all but the most disciplined Iron Man athletes. It has occurred to me of late, that it would probably do a great deal for my self-confidence and self-esteem, if I could make some small changes, and stick to those, and build upon the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that come from successfully implementing those changes…. rather than the misery and self-hatred when I fail at yet another weight loss, nutrition, or fitness strategy.

So yeah…. my green juice might not change my life, but it could definitely be a springboard to make other, healthier decisions.

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Muay Thai This!

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Hi there, well, it’s been literally ages since I added anything to this particular blog, but I feel like this train of thought belongs on this rail rather than my new Newfoundland blog. So yeah — being a twentysomething couple moving to a brand new place, one of the things we have noticed is that it is really NOT EASY to make friends at this age. Since we don’t have kids yet, we don’t have the benefit of the ‘instant social circle’ based on the soccer practices and school plays and all that; and although St. John’s has a legendary night life, I feel too old for the whole hipster bar scene. Makes me yearn a bit for that ten-year-old ability to brazenly walk up to anybody and say, “HI. WANNA BE MY FRIEND?” And that was it you had a new friend.

So anyways, in order to try and make some new friends, and fulfill a lifelong dream of being Jackie Chan, I bought a Groupon for Thai Kick Boxing. And it is freaking awesome. I have only been to three classes (going again tonight!!) And I love it. I am hooked! There is something incredibly, appallingly satisfying about kicking, punching, kneeing, or elbowing the bag with everything you’ve got. Over, and over, and over again! It is an incredible workout. After every class, I am sore for days, but feel fantastic. And it is FUN! A two-hour class breezes by in no time.

My instructor is the coolest. She is a total enigma – mother, sewing store employee, loves baking, and is a Muay Thai fighter. If I could ever be as accepting of my own anachronisms, I would have it made. I have to restrain myself from going up to her and saying, “HI. WANNA BE MY FRIEND?” It’s unfortunate that building adult friendships is such a more delicate and complicated dance. One I have never really been good at.

Where do you make friends when you are 27, and your entire workplace consists of aging men? Help me out here, people!

I can run! (And so can you)

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This one goes out to all the people (women, in particular!) who say or who have ever said “Nah, I can’t run,” because the proof is in the pudding, my friends: Yesterday I ran 10km (on a treadmill) in 47 minutes and 50 seconds. This is after approximately three months of pretty solid workouts, not quite every day but nearly, bringing me from Pudgy Smoker to Running Machine. I will openly admit right now that I paused in front of the mirror yesterday in my yoga tank top and was like, “Hmmm… not bad!” This is a big deal for me, since I have a) always hated the way I look, and b)always thought of myself as a non-runner. Even when I was in great shape, in high school, I would always say I “hated running” and avoid it at all costs, feeling gimpy and uncoordinated. Not anymore!! I have realized that — like everything — that was merely a mental block. (And, can I just add here, that there’s nothing like a treadmill on a rolling and pitching ship to improve your balance and coordination, trust me, try it sometime… definitely goes against the manufacturer’s recommended use, I would say). So yeah… I find myself looking forward to going ashore, not for a movie, or shopping, (although I love those things too!) but to go RUNNING!! Who knew. And the better shape I get in, the more I enjoy the speed, the ease, the feeling of power and energy running through my body as I cruise along the trail or street at Mach 0.0003 or so. Well it feels fast, alright!! And although I know I am not going to be setting any records anytime soon, I am pretty psyched, and, well, pretty proud of myself. This is another huge concession, since I am chronically and brutally hard on myself. I am proud though! I replaced smoking with running, which is like the karmic equivalent of replacing serial killing with volunteering at an orphanage. I feel great. Oh yeah — and I am going to run a half-marathon in October! That’s 13.1 miles, and my goal is 1:45 or less. I already forked out for the deluxest, shiniest, running shoes, and I am aware that it’s only a matter of time before I have msyelf in a pair of those dorky running shorts. Bring it! I honestly can’t recall a time when I have felt better about my body, despite the fact that I haven’t lost a single pound. (Although I think I’ve cashed in a few for muscle). For perhaps the first time ever, my self-image is more tied to health and lifestyle than jeans size. Wow.

Switching the focus: hot and strong vs. emaciated

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So, I had a bit of an epiphany there a few days ago about my body, and how there ARE things that I like about it. I really like that I am a strong girl. I always have been, especially since I was competitively rowing while I was a teenager and still growing, and even though I haven’t really been an avid fitness freak for many years, I still have really muscular arms, back, and legs. So, thinking of this, and then thinking of my “ideal body” (125 graceful, gazelle-like pounds of lean muscle and Scandinavian bone structure) I realized that, I am actually going against the things that I DO like about my body. Why?? Well, to fill the societal stereotype, of course. But the reality is, it doesn’t matter how many non-calories I consume, I will never look like the models and actresses that we all supposedly want to look like. I am, although not chunky, a pretty mannish-looking girl. And heck, I think I may actually be starting to be OK with that! This is all coinciding with my discovery of Crossfit. Since I’m way behind the times and fads and things, you all have already probably heard of it. My super hot and cool chick cousin Sara recommended it to me, and I have to admit, it took me several hours of browsing their website to figure what the hell it was all about, but now that I do, I am REALLY liking it. Basically they post a “Workout of the Day” and they are short, punchy, intense, workouts where you basically give it your ALL for a few minutes of each exercise. This is right up my alley! I totally despise, and get super bored, spending 45 minutes on a treadmill or exercise bike or rowing machine at a static pace. And I’m sure my mind’s boredom and lack of enthusiasm is shared by my body, who is really just saying, “Ok, enough already, when can I eat next?” And yeah, when I am doing that kind of stuff, the focus is always on burning calories, losing weight, etc…. whereas with this Crossfit stuff, it is all about your Personal Bests, breaking your own records, pushing through those walls and challenging yourself. Which, yeah, I enjoy a great deal. I mean, it is really Man-oriented, and specifically, Military-oriented, but you know what, there is no reason why you couldn’t do it to be a strong, hott, chick. And that is what my new goal is. Strong and hott. Rather than skinny and hot. Not Ms. Bodybuilder Canada Beefsteak, but lean and muscular and hott. I can already feel my body responding, after today’s “WOD” of 400m row, 21 jump squats, 15 pushups, all times 3, as fast as possible. And I was so HUNGRY when I was done, I must have burned a lot of calories. I immediately ploughed my favourite snack, a toasted english muffin with butter and jam, and some bran cereal. Not particularly healthy choices, but at the same time I don’t feel the usual self-deprecation that goes along with evening snacking, especially on such high-carb choices. Instead my body feels full and happy. So yeah. New stuff. I like it. Join me!

Regards,

M

Love, war, and food

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Ok, wow, so I am really excited about this whole blogging thing! Of all the wierd resolutions I have made over the years, I think this is one I could actually stick to! Which bring me to my topic of the day: resolutions. Otherwise known as, my entire lack of resolution. The main issue here, as I’m sure it is the way with many women, is food! God I love food! And although I have really never been more than about ten pounds of plump more than I should be, I have felt fat and hideous since I was old enough to look at magazines and then look at my myself, and back to the magazines, and realize that I simply did not – and never will! – look like those fragile, beautiful gazelles with their impossibly long legs, sculpted torsos, ridiculously round breasts! Oh no, I have pretty much resigned myself to being slightly chunky, a bit mannish, and entirely flat-chested. Now, that being said, I am not one to stop trying and wishing. And I have tried – and I emphasize the word “tried” here because my various goals and health routines are notoriously transient – to lose weight well, pretty much constantly since I was 14 years old. It all started innocently enough. At 14, I was a prodigy rower (like rowing, you know, with an oar, for you landlubbers!) and was even being scouted by universities from the states for scholarships and everything (arrogance will be the death of me! But it’s true). The thing was, I was, as I am now, about 140 lbs, and if I could only be 135 lbs, a mere five pounds lighter! I could race at the prestigious Henley regatta as a lightweight, and probably win. And so, the summer between grade eight and nine, I watched what I ate. I trained even more, doing long workouts to burn fat, avoiding white bread and rice and everything. In the end, I did lose the five pounds, raced lightweight, and came second in the country. It was fantastic! Exhilarating! But, that being said, I blame that experience for kicking off the next 12 years of food obsession. There is literally not a morsel of food that crosses my lips, where I do not mentally calculate the number of calories, think about how much I will have to NOT eat to make up for it, think about how much I should be working out, whatever, and it just starts this ridiculous spiralling snowball effect of self-doubt and hatred. If somebody knows the way out of this labyrinth, let me know! Because I am, quite honestly, completely sick of it. I have tried dieting, cleansing, working out, weight training, everything, with hopes of achieving the impossible, and it just seems like the harder I try to deprive myself, the more violently I rebound, and, you know, plough a whole box of Peek Freans Fruit Cremes. I think the tendency for women is to think about self-acceptance (in this case on the purely superficial level, like where you look in the mirror and go, “Damn, bitch! You’s hot!”) in terms of cause and effect, and I have come to the conclusion that it is the other way around. What do I mean? Well, I am always saying to myself, “Self, if only I had a perfect body, then I could be truly happy with myself.” But you know what, and I am slowly epiphanizing on this, a little more each day, (yes I know that’s not a word, but it should be) that it’s the other way around. If Ireally loved and accepted myself, JUST

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the way I am, if I could find something beautiful about myself, every day, instead of seeing zits and unruly, cowlicky hair, and fat thighs and ugly scars, if I could see that instead, I have a nice smile, perfect teeth, nice green eyes, elegant-looking ankles…. if I could pick out one

of those things to focus on each day, I bet my body would physically start to look better. What a bunch of cheezy schlock, you are saying! Heard that one before, you are saying! But you know what, I am going to try it. And I’m going to try it with a lot more OOMPH than I tried, you know, eliminating all wheat from my life, or swimming every morning, or never eating sugar, or any of those other, truly insane things. I would love if you would join me here! Anyways, I am technically working right now… but if you happen to be reading this, I challenge you to come up with one thing, just one, that you really love about your body. And tell me! I mean who cares right, it’s not like you know me.

Regards,

M