What’s your absolute favourite part about summer? For me it’s working out outside. It’s simple and there’s nothing better. I love feeling the sun on my face, the breeze blow through my hair, the smell of fresh cut grass, breathing in fresh, clean air and of course the smell of the BBQ trailing through the park. (Although it can be tormenting catching a whiff of the grill while I’m busting my butt at a True Form bodyfit class).
After a week of endless rainy days, a sunny day actually decided to grace us with its presence and I was determined to get out of the house and enjoy the day. In Alberta you have to jump at these opportunities because the weather can change in the blink of an eye.
Being Prepared is Key!
I love summer adventures but before I leave I always make sure I am prepared. For me, this means I leave the house with my gym bag packed because you never know when an opportunity to workout will come a knocking. In my gym bag you will find: runners, socks, 2 pairs of workout clothes, water bottle, at least 2 prepared meals, food journal and workout equipment. My workout bag is like my tiny little sidekick, where I go it goes.
I call them my leisurely summer drives but secretly it’s just a cop out so I don’t have to tell people how many times I get lost when I go on one of my adventures. On this particular day, I drove past a park, looked up at a tree and thought to myself I bet my TRX would look good hanging from that tree.
From that point on I was on a mission, I wasn’t thinking about what time it was or the work that awaited me at home. I was determined, focused, this was my time and I was going to make it count. I let go of everything else.
I hung my TRX up in the tree, laid down my mat and got started with a set of rows, v sit-ups, push-and side sit-ups.
It wasn’t long before my A.D.D kicked in and my thoughts started to wonder. I was thinking about everything but working out: gee I have dry legs, I wonder if those boys are being nice to that kid, man the mosquitoes are bad.
It just didn’t stop! Right then I had a decision to make, was I going to continue to let these thoughts take over my workout or was I going to nip them in the butt. I had to re-focus and with my 3 second attention span sometimes I need to re-focus more than once during a workout.
Right there in the middle of the park I closed my eyes and took a few deep clearing breaths. I shifted my thoughts, I thought about my long term goal and how in order to achieve it I needed to make every set, every exercise, every rep count. I used that to push me harder, faster. Now, that was just my first set. As I was walking over to the playground equipment for my second set I was planning my focus for the set I was about to do.
I started doing push-ups when I noticed a little girl who sat down beside me and was watching me very intently. That was it, she was my focus. I had to set a good example for her, I wanted to show her what hard work looks like. There was no way I was going to quit or slack off while she was looking up to me. I continued my set of push-ups, dips and monkey bar hangy things working harder, faster, stronger, for her. Before I started each set I established a new focus to move forward.
I felt great when I was finished my workout. At the end of any workout I feel refreshed and rejuvenated both physically and mentally.
My head is clear and my body is stronger but most importantly I’m happier. I always leave a workout more positive and upbeat then when I arrived. (This however is how I look which clearly has no reflection on how I feel).
Listen to Dorothy’s interview on Exploring Mind and Body on how she got incredible results in 10 days!
To truly benefit from your workout you need to do the physical and mental prep work. You need to take the time to figure out your goal. Make sure you have a focus and a purpose because if you don’t you’ll soon start to wonder why you started in the first place and most likely lose interest altogether.
These things aren’t just going to fall out of the sky into your lap, you need to spend some time with yourself and figure them out. I guarantee once you do you’ll optimize your workout and reach the success you were after when you began.
Don’t Forget About Nutrition
Exercise is just one piece of the puzzle. Moving forward towards a healthy lifestyle also means putting effort into your nutrition. Throughout the last two years, I’ve learned the importance of creating and maintaining a balance between exercise and nutrition. It wasn’t until I started focusing on food that I noticed changes in my health and physical appearance. Diet and exercise are a team and if one of the star players slacks off the team simply doesn’t win.
It’s taken me two years to get where I am today and during this time I started to notice people watching me eat. At first I thought it was a little creepy but I get it, people are just curious. Now, people ask me questions about my food and I’m very open to talking about it. My diet consists mainly of plant based food. I make a conscious effort to eat clean food that is gluten-free, dairy free, soy free and GMO free and I eat very little meat.
Why would I put all that effort into a workout regime and throw it all away with a poor diet. It doesn’t make any sense. It is also important that I fuel my body for pre and post workout with nutritious, chemical free food. Most supplements designed for athletes during pre- and post workouts are full of toxins. I find healthy alternatives such as my homemade post workout shake made with pineapple, dulse, coconut oil, filtered water and sea salt. No chemicals in that baby.
Keep that Metabolism Burning!
I eat small meals frequently throughout the day to keep my metabolism going and my energy high. A typical day for me would look like the following:
Meal #1: Raw, gluten-free, organic oats topped with banana, cinnamon and almond milk
Meal #3: baked beans, salad, sweet potato (leftovers from night before)
Meal #4: homemade trail mix, apple
Meal #5: Salad topped with farm eggs, quinoa, avocado
Meal #6: Vegetable stir-fry with quinoa
If you’re just beginning your journey towards a healthy lifestyle take it one step at a time. Start out with an end goal in mind and set small goals progressively leading up to it.
Break everything down into small pieces, this not only makes achieving your goal more manageable it’s more sustainable this way and healthier for your body as well.
Don’t feel like you need to change overnight but realize there is no magic pill, a lifestyle change takes time, effort, persistence and commitment. It’s hard work but it all starts with one decision, the decision to change.
Don’t settle, believe in yourself. Make the commitment to become a better, happier, healthier you!
More details on help living a healthy lifestyle from workouts to meal planning HERE.