Fifty Shades of Fit

Indulge

I have been known to be easily seduced by the charms and promises of a new fitness regimen. I have a wandering eye. Although dance has always been my first love, I’m a woman of the world with a lot of experience in the sweat and muscles department. And although on the surface I may not seem to have a type, my forays into alternative fitness regimens all seem to have something in common – they are challenging, require thinking on your feet, distract me from real life and make the time fly by – like those hours-long phone calls with someone who so engrosses you that you lose time. And music. Yes, there is almost always music, or the sound of a soothing voice.

Rather than preventing me from falling asleep, like those all-night phone calls, these activities have helped me sleep better, sending me to the pillow exhausted. In my early years, dance, horse-back riding, gymnastics, and musical theatre were my passions. I wasn’t a smash into people, high impact sports type of gal, however, I played field hockey, soccer and, briefly, volleyball, where physical contact was rare, but well earned when it did happen. I’m not averse to a good slide tackle, eyes on the ball, of course. And I was fierce with a field hockey stick, mouth guard in… splattered with mud and grass.

Running, on its own, never did it for me. I go out of my mind, but not in a good way. I wonder what I’ve done to deserve it – the whole time – and I count the minutes til I can stop. I never have that gleeful ‘burn’ and satisfaction people talk about – but instead have that ‘can I please not be doing this, can I please be done now’ feeling, followed by a wheezy sense that my lungs will come out my mouth if I bend forward. I was a long distance runner in grade school, but I also didn’t have J-Lo’s butt to carry around with me.

Strangely, I can dance for hours, while running for ten minutes makes me want to die. It’s partly the lack of motivation (why run?) and since I get no joy out of it on its own (except if I feel like running spontaneously and can stop when I feel like it), I really struggle to make myself do it for the sake of my health. The only time way I can reconcile the objective-less ‘running’ with my goal-oriented, performance-competitive side is to imagine what might provoke me to feel that running would be worthwhile. Answer: running AWAY from something. I’m seriously considering one of those zombie obstacle course races – where the undead chase you. That is a motive I can get behind.

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So, all of this is to say, that I am newly smitten. After spending time enjoying long-term, non-monogamous relationships with hula hooping, circus school, yoga, hot yoga, salsa, contact improv and other completely engaging fit-but-fun ways of getting my body moving, once again I’m at the pole studio. It has all the challenge and reward of the other activities I love. The learning curve is hugely motivating. I feel an incredible burn and giddiness when I notice my own improvement. It has music and creativity, technical skill, problem solving (ever try getting your hips above your head by inverting onto a pole from standing?) and I get to dance around to music while sweating my ass off.

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Pole Fit is a lovely balance of ‘muscles and mascara.’ And anything that can get me to put on a pair of shorts and not feel hugely self-conscious is getting an A+ in my books. I’m too busy wondering where my hand goes, fumbling with sweaty palms and hoping I look confident and cool to worry about how my butt looks. And when I’m smiling, it’s because I just did an awesome boomerang, diamond, hang ten or ballerina… even though my arms are burning and my abs hurt from laughing at the last five times I didn’t quite get it.

So, of course, I’m making another date.

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Fit Girl Challenge – Surprise Guest

Indulge

And now for something completely different. I was reading a lifestyle magazine and raised an eyebrow at the latest craze “Figurerobics”.

This new South Korean fitness trend is spearheaded by the Korean equivalent to a ‘hot mom’ – the delightfully fresh and motivating Jung Dayeon. If this is what moms look like in South Korea, barely out of high school and rocking short shorts (well!), count me in. If I look half as good as this for an investment of 30 minutes a day, I am willing to try it.

So, what is Figurerobics?

One of many coordinated fitness getups.

One of many coordinated fitness getups.

In their matchy-matchy fitness outfits, reminiscent of Christina Aguilera in her “Genie In a Bottle” days, this is a quick 30 minute workout series, with a whole bunch of different video options, that would be a perfect fit for days when you are not feeling like leaving the house, but want to move your body.

Genie in a Bottle.

Genie in a Bottle. Christina’s style is a definite inspiration for the Figurerobics look, which heavily references the 90’s cropped tops and cargo pants. 

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Figurerobics is this video multiplied to the length of 30 minutes.

Looking a little like the extras from a Justin Timberlake video, these infinitely peppy and good looking workout folks made it very easy to forget the minutes rolling by.

Looking a little like the extras from a Justin Timberlake video, these infinitely peppy and good looking workout folks made it very easy to forget the minutes rolling by.

Deceptively small movements actually produce quite a good arm burn and get your heart rate up with a combination of dance (jazz) warm up, traditional workout class and sexy K-Pop moves (lots of hip rolls and encouraging winks from Jung as you complete your 8 counts of each movement).

All in all, this is a fun way to spend thirty minutes and I can see this becoming my go-to quick fix for snowy days this winter.

This summer has been all about trying new things. What is your favourite workout regimen?

Fit Girl Challenge: Day 7

Foodie

So, the tortilla chips won. It was too much for me. I caved and ate more than a handful; fortunately the guide prepares you for this and advises that if you get off track, the whole day isn’t a write off. Basically, you’re already doing great, so allow yourself some slip ups and congratulate yourself for being human.

The food has been delicious and we’ve overcome some serious hurdles, namely a visit to my parents’ house (in wine country), a trip to the theatre, and a baby shower. Phewf! Success. And we spent last night (by we I mean my amazing wife) getting our food ready for today, day 8, week two.

The past few days have seen no end to my enjoyment of Cherry Pie Fridge Oats. Seriously, yummm.

Cherry Fridge Oats, with fresh Ontario cherries.

Cherry Fridge Oats, with fresh Ontario cherries.

The food we’ve enjoyed has had colour, variety and lots of great textures. Here is a sampling of some of the yummy lunches and dinners.

Pizza Party and Tempeh on the side. I'm LOVING this.

Pizza Party and Tempeh on the side. I’m LOVING this. Mini pizzas with cheese, artichoke and olive, spinach, a side of apple and green peppers.

I joined Allia at work, taking our lunch and dinner for a full day of activites: Film screening in the morning (of Mistress America – very funny and well-written). Herbal tea with a friend. (Hi, Katey!)

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We went to browse the books at Indigo/Chapters. Here are some of our faves. There is a lot more time for reading when you don’t have to worry about what’s in your fridge. Now that we spend less time looking in the fridge there is more time a lot of things. wink wink.

At work, Allia got some stuff done while I read a book and drank my water. We ate our delicious lunch on the patio, located on the Much Music Roof.

Downtown Toronto, skyline from the Much Music rooftop garden.

Downtown Toronto, skyline from the Much Music rooftop garden.

Patio picnic.

Patio picnic.

Studio's in Bell's building - E-Talk, The Social and the Marilyn Dennis Show, Breakfast Television - they all film here.

Studios in Bell’s building (the Much Music building) – E-Talk, The Social and the Marilyn Dennis Show, Breakfast Television –  all film here.

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The Marilyn Dennis Set.

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The empty set.

It was easy enough to travel with our pre-prepared food and to enjoy taking time to eat slowly.

We had a similar approach for the time we spent in Niagara on the Lake with my family. We treated it like a restaurant, choosing protein and grains carefully and eating lots of greens. I had one of my two servings of alcohol for the week in the afternoon, sitting by the pool. How can you come to wine country and not partake? (I can think of a few ways, but that’s not very appealing). Then I gave myself a pass and had a second glass at dinner, before we headed to the theatre to see The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Guide to the Scriptures  at The Shaw Festival http://www.shawfest.com/playbill/the-intelligent-homosexual/story/ . The play, by Tony Kushner, was brilliantly acted and intense. We enjoyed tea at intermission and a stroll in the gardens.

Shaw Festival's IHO (Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...)

Shaw Festival’s IHO (Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide…)

The Shaw is one of Canada's premiere theatre companies and always has a wide variety of beautifully rendered drama.

The Shaw is one of Canada’s premiere theatre companies and always has a wide variety of beautifully rendered drama.

The Shaw gardens are perfect for stretching your legs at intermission.

The Shaw gardens are perfect for stretching your legs at intermission.

This week’s reward was a mani-pedi in a style/colour you don’t usually get. I did my own nails, but chose a shade from my mom’s collection. At the end of week two, we get to treat ourselves to a new workout outfit. I have my eye on Titika’s Dip Crop (which is on sale!), and one of these stylin’ workout tops or bras.

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Dip Crop

Titika Workout Top

Titika Workout Top

Titika Workout Top

Titika Workout Top

Titika Workout Bra

Titika Workout Bra

Titika Workout Bra - not your average sports bra.

Titika Workout Bra – not your average sports bra.

Wish us luck!

Fit Girl Day 3: Definite Cravings and Some Sore Muscles

Foodie

I sidle by the fridge. I peek into the pantry.

I’m having a really hard time staying away from the half finished bag of chia seed tortilla chips on top of the fridge. The meal plan is satisfying, yes, but my snack habit is hard to break. I had a delicious breakfast of cherry parfait oatmeal. Definitely not tired of that, yet.

Lunch is looming, but so is my desire to eat. I can feel some soreness from yesterday’s hike and glute-focused targeted toning exercises. Drink more water. Ask if you’re hungry or… bored.

I’ve been keeping busy, going through my KonMari purging, very systematically. It happens every year once summer starts. I want to get all my projects done, and I’m super motivated, but part of me also wants to sit on my butt binge-watching Netflix. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

Our pizza party dinner of veggie-pizza was super yummy. Tonight, we have soft corn tortillas with grilled veggies and chicken, black beans, avocado, etc.

To busy myself I’m heading to the gym; off to sell all our old purses, or donate them; planning a clothing swap; re-hanging pictures on the walls; filling holes and touching up paint. Maybe I’ll clean all the baseboards…

Maybe I’ll take up my friend’s offer to go tubing down the Credit River. Wink. Summer is here.

Fit Girl Challenge: Day 2

Foodie

Day 1 was a breeze. We really enjoyed preparing and eating the delicious meals. Breakfast was cherry oatmeal with yogurt and chia. We had a snack. I felt satisfied and full. Lunch was a tremendously yummy roast veggie, hummus and grilled chicken.

Roasted vegetables with herbs from the garden.

Roasted vegetables with herbs from the garden. We prepared enough for several meals for the two of us.

Very satisfying and lots of variety in our lunchtime meal. We opted to skip the rice and used up some potatoes we had in the house.

Very satisfying and lots of variety in our lunchtime meal. We opted to skip the rice and used up some potatoes we had in the house. Steamed kale with garlic, roasted potato, sweet potato, zucchini, green pepper, grilled chicken and hummus. 

Plate clean and hunger sated. Water in hand. I think we are on to something good!

Plate clean and hunger sated. Water in hand. I think we are on to something good!

For dinner we had avocado and sweet potato corn tortillas with mozzarella and salsa. Best tips, eat slowly. Chew. Chew. Chew. And drink lots of water.

Fit Girl Challenge: Day 1

Foodie

Fit Girl Challenge, as proposed, starts today. Key ideas: get serious, and enjoy the process.

I have drank about two liters of water (I’m ahead of the game). The cherry oatmeal and yogurt parfait with chia seeds that I had for breakfast was SERIOUSLY delicious. If things are this yummy, I think I will be happy to stay focused.

Biggest challenge that I foresee? 2 servings of alcohol … per week.

Fit Girl Challenge: A Mediterranean Vacation Inspires a Summer Overhaul

Foodie

Fresh off the plane from a week-long Greek island vacation, so many stories to tell. More on that later, though. Allia and I are embarking on a new journey, a new challenge: Fit Girl. Three months of lifestyle, diet and exercise inspiration. We are going to try it, full-tilt, and see what kind of results we get. We are inspired.

We had a beautiful time on our vacation (more on that later). But, we are two girls who don’t like to say no – to baklava, to wine, to second helpings, to walking up moonlit cobblestone streets, to streetside vendors and to jumping in the ocean. We are looking for a plan and some balance. Right now we eat great food, with excellent ingredients and great taste, but with little mind to conscious portioning and calories. I never met a gelato I didn’t like.

Ready to hit the grocery store, fridge empty since we just got back from Greece. Let's do this!

Ready to hit the grocery store, fridge empty since we just got back from Greece. Let’s do this!

I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘skinny’ girl. Except in my tween years, when I ate whatever I wanted and danced 14 hours a week, played sports and did theatre after school. I was overscheduled and had the metabolism of a teeny bopper. So, given that lots has changed, I’ve broadened my horizons (and the horizon of my hips is now broad enough). I know more than most about proper diet and exercise. I have all the tools to get into great shape; I’ve never really believed, however, that the body I could have and the shape I could get into would truly be worth the sacrifices I’d have to make to get there.

Apparently, we'll look like this!

Apparently, we’ll look like this!

Without sacrificing pleasure and taste, we are pumped up to get into our best adult shape yet. We signed on for Fit Girl’s Guide- The Girly-Girl’s Guide to Getting Fit ( https://fitgirlsguide.com/ ). The program is a PDF you purchase and it’s recommended that you try it with a friend. Community and a goal. I love it already. Stay tuned for success (and hurdle) updates. Here is a picture of our first week’s groceries, approximately $120 (Canadian) for two people and we still need to head to the organic butcher to get some chicken.

A moderately full cart. Mostly greens and whole grains. Lots of re-usable shopping bags.

A moderately full cart. Mostly greens and whole grains. Lots of re-usable shopping bags.

Whole wheat pita, corn tortillas, brown rice, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, tomato, green peppers, apple, strawberries, zucchini, sweet potato, olives, sundried tomato, artichoke, olives, dark chocolate, cooking spray, Greek yogurt, eggs, goat cheese ... we are ready.

Whole wheat pita, corn tortillas, brown rice, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, tomato, green peppers, apple, strawberries, zucchini, sweet potato, olives, sundried tomato, artichoke, olives, dark chocolate, cooking spray, Greek yogurt, eggs, goat cheese, sea salt, smoked salmon (a few of our own faves)… we are ready.

We are starting with the July 6th Group Challenge:

The FIT GIRLS program includes …
* 40 all new recipes
* 400 calories and under
* Fit Girl Desserts
* Meal Planning charts
* Tips for weekly Meal Prepping and grocery lists
* Substitution lists
* Vegan, vegetarian & gluten-free options!”