Live to Inspire

Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for your kind words on my Spring Blogcation! I’ve been truly enjoying these past few weeks, living the life I’ve blogged about for the past year. I started switching up my workouts and fell in love with the Nike Training Club app. If you haven’t tried it out I highly recommend! I started running again when the weather warmed up and I’m still loving my Les Mills classes. I’m eating clean and trying recipes from all around the blogosphere and I’m especially into the Oh She Glows Cookbook right now. I have no problem eating clean 80% of the time but also no problem treating myself to maintain the balance that’s taken me years to find ❤

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I’ve been spending lots of quality time with friends though its the craziest time of year for work andddd we just bought a house! So really it was the perfect time to step back from the blog. Trying to maintain regular posting during the past few weeks would have me pulling my hair out.

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After taking some time to think it over – the blog, my career, my priorities, and what really serves me, I’ve concluded that I’m better off just living to inspire than blogging about it. Know what I mean?

Blogging was starting to stress me out and was taking up all of my free time. Many of the things I used to love doing started to feel like things I HAD to do. By the time I got home from a long day at work, went to the gym, cooked dinner, got stuff ready for the next day and tidied up, it was time for bed. I was often up blogging way past my bedtime or through my lunch breaks. Forget reading, forget making that batch of protein bars, and if a 5 am workout is in the plan, prepare to be zonked for it.

During my blogcation I found I had more time to actually enjoy the life I blog about. I’ve always been a promoter of quality, not quantity. I think I can more effectively inspire the people around me by being relaxed and happy… by exercising regularly and contributing a healthy dish to family dinners, by voting with my dollar and making greener choices when possible, by cooking delicious vegan food for my family and friends and showing them how easy it is to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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When I started the blog I said that if one post could inspire just one person to live a healthier lifestyle than my intentions have been met. My family and friends were my number one concern and I know I’ve inspired many of them, along with many strangers too! I am so grateful for that but I feel I’ve done what I set out to do. To take the blog further requires a lot of time and effort and as I said in my last post, I want to focus my energy on my career and my family & friends. I want to get back to enjoying my hobbies and having the time to enjoy working out and being in the kitchen!

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One of the personal things I’ve been trying to focus on is mindfulness and to not always be rushing; to prioritize and let go of the things that no longer serve me. I think the blog is one of those things. This little space on the internet will be here as long as WordPress allows so my readers can still find my content on juicing, fitness, and stories of the ups and downs during my first year as a vegan.

I’ll be removing my social media accounts but if you want to follow me personally on Instagram and Twitter you can find me @elysegiselle.

Thank you to everyone who followed and supported me over the past year. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers and met so many great people through the blogosphere. You’ve all inspired me in return more than you could know ❤

Stay healthy. Stay fit!

Liz xo

There’s More to Fitness Than Muscles

Hello lovely friends 🙂

How are you all this week? I am finally recovered from Ryan’s birthday {week} celebrations. Does any one else believe in Birthday Week? One day just isn’t enough…. lol

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On Thursday we went back to Brewbaker’s, a favourite for special occasions. I was going to try their other vegan option, a couscous salad, but I couldn’t help myself and cracked for the Thai Vermicelli again… insert foodgasm face :0

Saturday night we had friends over for food, drinks & games and I wanted to do something to make Ryan’s bday more special that any ol’ Saturday night. I organized for group party shirts: “Out for a Birthday Swim”. Get it?

He was equally as surprised as embarrassed but I’m pretty sure he loved it 😉

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Today I’m talking about something that’s been a frequent conversation over the years: why I value fitness so much. Not just for myself, but for the people in my life as well.

We all know the main reasons why physical fitness is important: decreased risk of disease, reduced risk of injuries, feeling better mentally and physically, etc. But in addition to that, I am very attracted to a fitness-focused person and it’s not just because that type of person is physically attractive. Yes, a lean, toned body is definitely a plus, but there is so much more to it than that.

So what else do I see beyond the physical?

First let’s take a look at the definition of fitness. According to Google Define, fitness means “in good health, esp. because of regular physical exercise”. So I’m not solely referring to ultra-marathoners or bikini models; just your average Joe/Jane who lives an active lifestyle and eats a balanced, healthy diet.

Fit = Dedicated

“Fit” is state of being that must be achieved and maintained. It takes work, it takes time and it takes dedication. A fit person is probably not lazy and will be dedicated to his or her other obligations in life as well. I think anyone can agree that being dedicated is a great quality in career life, relationships, etc. No one wants a flaky friend or a partner with commitment issues.

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Fit = Health Conscious

I am very concerned with my own health because I feel best when I’m treating my body & mind to the best of my knowledge. I love this life and want to be around to enjoy for a very long time. My number one wish for everyone on this planet is that they too can discover how amazing their bodies are designed to feel. We aren’t doomed to experience the illnesses or rely on the drugs that our society has come to accept as a part of life.

I appreciate my friends and family making health & fitness a priority because it gives me peace of mind knowing they are doing something to help keep them in my life for many years to come! I tell my mom all the time, “Drink your greens! I need you around for a while yet.” 😉

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Fit = Strong

Physically: A balanced fitness routine improves functional strength. This allows you to easily carry out everyday activities like lifting heavy objects without straining yourself. Cardiovascular training keeps your heart strong and improves endurance which allows you to take the stairs without losing your breath, keep up with your kids or pets, and enjoy outdoor activities.

Mentally: It takes focus and willpower to lift one more rep or continue running to your goal even after you think you’re spent. It also takes some serious willpower to make a healthy choice when your surrounded by fast, cheap, & convenient options. Yoga is the ultimate way to develop mental strength. It’s not easy for everyone to shut out their busy life for an hour to just “be”. In yoga, we focus on our breath to hold and transition into poses. This practice can be applied to everyday life to help deal with stressful situations.

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Fit = Happy

I would say 99% of fit, healthy people are generally happy with themselves and their lives. Exercise is known to improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Fit people are confident in the way they look, have good energy levels, and probably have regular sleeping and eating habits. When you are happy with yourself you can be happy for others and from that stems a whole lot of good 🙂

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There is so much more to fitness than muscles or being a certain size or shape. There are qualities that any of us would be happy to possess or to have in a partner or friend. If you haven’t already, check out my post on 6 Ways To Make Exercise a Habit. Set your sustainable goals to make fitness about dedication, health, strength and happiness 🙂

I’d love to hear from you guys…

Why is fitness important to you?
What qualities attract you to a fit and healthy person?

Liz xo

6 Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Exercise.

Habit.

Two words that most people don’t see going in the same sentence. How can exercise be something you “just do”? If you’re not one of those people who enjoy exercise (there are more out there than you may think!) how can it ever not be a forced activity in your day?

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I remember when my workout felt like a chore. It was painful to drag myself to the gym (or in front of a P90X video) and get started. Once I did start it was fine, but getting started was the worst part of my day. I would so rather be sleeping, watching tv, shopping, eating, ANYTHING but working out.

But we all know that exercise is good for us. It’s not necessary to workout 7 days a week but according to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, you should get at least 150 minutes per week (source).

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (18-64 years) #
To achieve health benefits, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.
More daily physical activity provides greater health benefits.

So how can you make this a habit; something you just do without thinking about? Here are my 6 tips for making exercise a non-negotiable part of your day:

1. Have a Clear Vision

There is a difference between a goal to lose weight or be fit vs. losing weight or getting fit to reach your goal. I’m not exercising to lose weight or to look good for a specific event. I’m in it for life. I want to feel sexy and confident every day. I want to have energy and regular sleeping & eating patterns.  I want to live long enough to see my children’s, children have children. And I want to be the best possible version of myself so I can be my best for others.

I think being fit and healthy will allow me to be all of these things.

Having my priorities straight is what keeps me going back to the gym day after day. Shallow goals are too easy to make excuses for. For example, I strength train because I want to have functional strength for everyday activities. If my goal was to be able to squat 100 lbs, it would be a lot easier to put that off for another day, and then another…

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2. Plan Your Week

Every Sunday I take a look at the upcoming week and my work/personal commitments. I schedule my workouts from Monday-Saturday around those plans. For example, on a travel day I may need to work out a little later in the evening or if I have dinner plans with friends, I’ll hit the gym in the morning before work.

I have a to-do list for each day which includes my meals and fitness for that day. It doesn’t always have to be perfect; some nights are busy, canned soup nights (Amy‘s are the best!) and sometimes the best workout I can squeeze in is 30 minutes on the elliptical. Regardless, having a plan keeps me on track.

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3. Prep The Night Before

If I know I’m taking a yoga class the following day, my mat, towel & yoga bag are sitting by the door. If I’m working out in the morning, I’m sure to have an on-the-go breakfast ready like these vegan overnight oats!

Laying everything out the night before saves a lot of time and stress in the morning. Plus, you will be less likely to forget your socks or headphones and you’ll show up with the right gear! I’d prefer not to do BodyAttack in a Free-To-Be bra 😉

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4. Choose Workouts You Enjoy

If you hate spin (like me), don’t spin. Just because it’s amazing cardio doesn’t mean its for everyone. I’d rather do 10,000 burpees. If it’s a gorgeous day out and you’re dreading the gym, go for a run outside. When it comes to exercise, there  is something for everyone. Just to name a few:

  • Organized sports – Join a basketball team or a dance club
  • Casual sports – Have a tennis match with your bestie or go snowshoeing
  • Running/walking – Go solo, with a friend, join a running group, or go all out and start marathon training
  • Group fitness classes – Both Les Mills and the YMCA offer something for everyone who thrives in a group atmosphere
  • The gym – TRX, weight lifting, cardio machines
  • Home workout videos – Beach Body videos (i.e. P90X), Jillian Michaels, TIU
  • Online fitness – BlogilatesYou Tube videos

The list goes on…

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5. Commit to Friends

If you tell someone your going to be there, you probably will. When I was in university I always worked out with my friend Britt. I remember a lot of mornings wishing we hadn’t made plans to be at the gym first thing, but I wasn’t about to be the one to back out. Afterwards, I was always SO glad I dragged myself out of bed. Usually once our weekly schedule was set, we rarely missed a workout.

Meeting friends to workout can be a bit of a social thing too. I love having company for a yoga class or a circuit and you wouldn’t believe the cool people you meet through healthy living 😉

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6. Acknowledge & Celebrate Progress!

Of course doing something over and over will get frustrating if you aren’t seeing any results, but remember your weight is not the only indicator of progress. There are a number of factors that can prove you are making headway:

  • Body measurements
  • Body fat percentage
  • Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol
  • How your clothes feel
  • Energy levels
  • Strength
  • Endurance

Remember to set realistic, sustainable goals (see #1) and celebrate even the smallest successes! If you beat your 5k time, maybe buy yourself a new pair of running shorts. If you’re at a plateau, reassess your routine and make some changes.

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Exercise needs to be fun and enjoyable or it will never be a habit. It can be all of these things if above all, you want it to be. You need to decide for yourself that you want to live a healthy, active lifestyle; that you want to be fit & healthy and are willing to work for it.

You are the only person who can make those things happen. Not your gym buddy, not your trainer, not Jillian Michaels… YOU! So get out your to-do list, plan your week, and pack your gym bag. There’s no time like the present… 🙂

Here’s to healthy habits!

Liz xo

Fit Friday: Stability Ball Plank Circles

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday 😀

And here I am with another Fit Friday move from the stability ball series. Sorry I just can’t help myself, the ball has so many possibilities!

Speaking of stability…

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Have you ever heard of a core balance cushion? Superstore (Loblaws) has a new line of yoga and gym gear called Jogi. They have everything from kettle bells to athletic gloves to yoga mats. This cushion is partially inflated and most comfortably used when sitting upright, with good posture. If you try to slouch you kind of fall off the side. It can be used anywhere but is recommended for yoga and Pilates to add a balance challenge.

A co-worker showed me this yoga “seat” last week and said she uses it to encourage active sitting at her desk. She’s had two hip transplants and gets really stiff after sitting for a while. Using the ball apparently really helps!

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Of course I had to try one out…

I’ve been a fan of my homemade stand up desk for a couple of months now but I can’t stand all day long. Now when I sit, at least it’s active sitting 🙂

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Fit Friday: Stability Ball Plank Circles

AKA: Swiss, Balance, or Exercise Ball (Plank) Circles
Weight/Equipment: Stability Ball
Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

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Method: Start in a low plank position, with your forearms on the ball, elbows directly under shoulders. Keep your back flat, hips down, & core engaged.

Begin to make a circle with your forearms, moving them to the right, out in front of you, to the left, then back to start. That’s one rep.

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Keep your entire core engaged, and your knees locked to help your balance. Try making 10-12 circles clockwise, then repeat counter-clockwise. Perform at least 3 sets in sequence or as part of a circuit.

This is honestly one of the best core exercises you probably aren’t doing.

For more from the stability ball series check out these moves or head straight to the Fitness page:

Have a fit & healthy weekend 😉

Liz xo

Fit Friday: Leg Death

Happy Holidays 🙂

Did you all make it through Christmas alive?!

I’m sure more than most of us had one too many cookies (or one too many glasses of wine), so how about a killer leg workout to kick a few a lot of those Christmas calories and make room for some New Year’s indulgences?

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When I say killer, I mean this workout will leave you spent. You know that feeling when you leave the gym and you know you worked hard? Yeah, you know. And you know its the best!

But don’t be intimidated… You can tame it down with lighter weights (I lift heavy) or fewer reps to make it your own. On the other hand, if you want to seriously kick your own butt today, go all out!

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*Note: For moves like lunges, do 10-12 reps on EACH leg.

For more workouts to get your sweat on over the holidays check out yesterday’s Holiday Fitness Round-Up. None of these bloggers will go easy on you!

Liz xo

Holiday Fitness Round-Up

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Let’s all take some time to rest and enjoy each other’s company this holiday season, but at the same time let’s not forget about our fitness altogether. I usually do really well for one week but if I’m off for two… well, things tend to get a little lax.

Thankfully I prepared a list of holiday workouts so I’m never without a plan during my vacation! I’ll be busting out some of these in my mom’s basement & at various gyms across the province. Pin or screenshot some of these now so you don’t fall off the wagon between Christmas & New Year’s!

1. Elf 4 Health Tabata from Nutty for Life 

Confession: I’ve never tried a tabata workout until this one! I think I found a new love…

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2. Triple Threat Holiday Circuit from Slim Sanity

If you follow my Fit Friday posts, you know I love Alysia’s workouts. I’m sure this circuit won’t disappoint 😉

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3. Frost HIIT from Fitnessista

This is the perfect at-home workout: 100% bodyweight! No excuses!

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4. Medicine Ball Ab Attack by 9toFit

For those of you who hate doing ab work (that’s you, Cat!), just check out Elise‘s rock hard abs an you’ll be motivated to do this workout! Switch up the medicine for a weight if you don’t have one.

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5. Holiday Butt Blaster by Olive to Run

Legs & butt are my favourite muscles to work, especially when I’m pressed for time. These big muscle groups give the best bang for your sweaty buck, burning loads of calories and getting your heart rate up.

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6. Sweatin’ Under The Mistletoe by Hol-Fit

A great mix of cardio and strength to get your heart rate pumping. Check out the link for some tips on making a healthy holiday game plan.

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7. Fit and Fab Holiday Workout by This N That Cat

Every workout I’ve tried from Cat has been ridiculous. They always look a little easier than they actually are so I end up working harder than planned 😉

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8. Hot Holidays Super Sweaty Workout buy PB Fingers

I’m sweating just looking at this one. You can perform the first box in sequence followed by the second, or alternate between the two. Try not to rest for more than 10 seconds between exercises and lift heavy to burn major calories and get back to enjoying the holiday fun 😉

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Now it’s off to the gym to bust out one of these gems!

Merry Fitness my friends 🙂

Liz xo

Boost Your Burn

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Now that the hustle & bustle of the season is in full swing, we may not have as much time for exercise as usual and our diets get a little more flexible. Knowing that, we need to make every second of our workouts count! I’m all about efficiency and I know a few secrets to maximizing your results.

Burn more calories in less time with these 5 tips to improve the efficiency of your workout. My keys to success are less rest time and more muscles targeted per workout. Hi-ya!

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HIIT 

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is the most effective form of interval training. HIIT sessions alternate between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest (source). HIIT improves your athletic ability, boosts your metabolism and increases fat burn. These workouts can run anywhere from 4-30 minutes and haven been proven to be more effective than longer, steady state workouts.

Try my Arm Sweat HIIT workout on any piece of cardio equipment for a quick & sweaty 20 minute cardio session. The Daily HIIT (former BodyRock) is an awesome resource for at-home HIIT routines.

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Supersets

Performing two exercises back to back means less rest time which means a shorter workout. It can also result in extra calories burned if you’re achieving more reps per session. For example, maybe you can do 5 leg exercises and 5 arm exercises with supersets, where if you worked only legs, you’d be wiped after just 5 exercises. If you’re working the same muscle back to back, supersets also allow you to overload your muscle & increase intensity without adding weight.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves a series of strength and/or cardio exercises repeated two or three times with little or no rest between sets. An all-strength circuit burns 30 percent more calories than a typical weight workout and offers more cardio benefits (source). If the circuit includes cardio moves at max reps, you’re reaping the HIIT benefits as well!

Here is one of my favourite circuit workouts to sculpt muscle & burn fat!

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Two in One

Also known as four limb exercises, performing an upper body and a lower body exercise at the same time demands a higher energy output. Squats with a shoulder press for example works the legs AND shoulders, in addition to challenging your core to keep you balanced. Cut your workout time in half by doing two exercises in the time it takes to execute one!

Spiderman pushups are one of my favourite multi-tasking moves 😉

Change It Up

Your body is an efficient machine. If you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, your muscles get pretty good at it. Changing up your routine constantly challenges your body and prevents plateaus. Alternate between low rep, heavy weight workouts & high rep, light weight workouts plus incorporate a variety of exercises moves per muscle. Change up your cardio intensity with HIIT and steady state, try a new group fitness class or choose a different cardio machine.

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Cardio is great for burning calories & fat but strength training builds muscle that will burn calories when you’re at rest!

For more fitspiration, check out the Fitness page for exercise moves & workout routines. If you’re really struggling to find time to workout, check out my post on how to fit more fitness into your day without hitting the gym.

Merry Fitness 😉

Liz xo