Author: bonnie

Hey friends!

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I hope you’re having a great week! So far it’s been a good one here in Calgary… After a busy and awesome weekend rafting (more on that soon!), I am enjoying my clients, workouts in the gym and routine while perhaps not loving the rain… It’s been like a monsoon here! We received more rain in the month of July than Calgary normally gets in a year. The rain storms have been nuts, which is kind of neat (so NOT normal for this California girl!), save for the mosquitos… I could do without them. 😉

Lately I’ve been thinking about nutrition. I think most of us know by now how much food affects our performance in the gym and at work, our mood, our sleep and our mindset… MANY things boil down to what we put into our bodies. You guys know that I advocate #moderation365 and that I love the idea of eating to perform, but I wanted to get a little real with you today.

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(delicious food on our Kootenay River rafting trip!)

Here’s some plain talk to start things off: If you’re looking for a specific outcome in your body or performance, you need to get specific with your eating. It’s as simple as that. So while I do love the idea of being a little looser with meals and not stressing about macros or nutrient timing or bringing food scales with you to restaurants, you need to make sure that your goals match up with how you’re eating, because any amount of hard work can be derailed by how you eat outside the gym.

I’ve been thinking about nutrition lately partly because of my clients; so many people are so close to more change but don’t want to face the truth that their nutrition weighs so heavily on them achieving their goals. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been there too, and I’m still in a learning process in terms of how my body best works with movement and eating and am continually experimenting on myself. I see many of my clients doing what I’ve done in the past: self-sabotaging their progress. In other words, they will make some changes in terms of movement or other habits but then not commit to get diligent about their food for a short while so we can find a baseline to work from. It’s common for people to decide it’s not working and throw their hands up in the air too early, only to start over again the next week with making promises to themselves about their food and habits.

Would you believe me if I said that you could go from an entry level job in an oil company to the CEO in 6 weeks? Of course not. Then why do we often think we can change our bodies and habits in 6 weeks flat only to give up on our plans as soon as progress is stalled? If you want to see your muscle increase or your fat decrease, you have to play the long game and stay consistent with your food. Clearly this doesn’t mean never indulging, but you can’t give up on the process before you’ve really committed to it. Consistency ALWAYS trumps everything else!

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I read something on the Eat To Perform Facebook page that I loved from one of the members, who was reflecting on how far he’d come in his mindset. He said,

“My fats are blown for the day, and it is only 1:00 PM. I was frustrated because I feel like I have been blowing my fat number fairly consistently and just can’t seem to hit my numbers. Then I realized that a few weeks or a month ago, I just would have counted the day as a wash and not logged it, and I recognized that I am 100% more accountable for what I’m logging since I started really hitting this trendsheet game hard [what we use to log our data and watch our progress as an Eat To Perform member]. Sometimes improvement comes not with PRs and scale changes, but with getting honest with myself and acknowledging my weak areas so that I can actually change them.”

Getting honest with yourself…Maybe that’s you right now. If so, what’s stopping you from facing the truth about your eating habits? Don’t be scared of the process but rather enjoy the journey as you go. After all, it’s just food!

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So that’s the food part of your goals… what about the movement part? Other people focus too much on their workouts, feeling derailed if they miss a session or workout. But, as Joy mentioned the other day on the Girls Gone WOD Podcast, the reality is that: “If people are feeling guilty about not getting in the gym, it’s because their diet is not on par.” – Nicole Christiansen.

Let that sink in for a minute.

If you’re too worried about your workouts, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your kitchen game and put a bit more attention on how you’re eating, at least when it comes to how you feel about the gym (guilty, stressed, etc). Many of you need more movement, but not the intense kind, the leisure walking kind. Walking is so good for our bodies, our minds, our stress levels, and simply getting more steps in per day could be the thing that causes real movement in your direction toward your goals. Try it sometime! Get an activity tracker (I love my Garmin VivoFit!) and track those steps; you might be surprised how few you’re getting, even with met con CrossFit workouts or long lifting sessions!

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Let’s switch gears and think on sustainability when it comes to nutrition. I mentioned above that it might be time to start tracking, but once we have a baseline, are you supposed to track for the rest of your days? No, not necessarily. I do think it works for some people to keep them more consistent and honest about their eating habits, but for others it could become obsessive; the last thing I want is anyone to become a slave to My Fitness Pal. For more on macro (carbs, proteins and fat) tracking versus eating more intuitively, check out Paige’s recent post!

There are moments, like this last weekend, where I don’t even bring my phone because I’m not thinking about tracking (plus, there’s no cell service!). But tracking in the past (which, again, doesn’t work for everyone) has helped me to know what a balance of macronutrients looks like for my body and my goals right now. Did I worry about the s’more I had? Nope, I enjoyed it! Did I think twice about the glass of wine I shared with the crew on the river? No, but I was mindful of how much I took and didn’t have one every night. So when people say, “Let loose! Go live your life!” it makes me wonder what their definition of “living life” really means, because to me, going out and “living my life” SHOULD have a focus on my health! A bite here, a slice there, is no big deal in my eyes, but nothing too extravagant because it’s unnecessary. I’m learning to live in that place of abundance versus scarcity and appreciating the food that’s available to me while learning to focus more on the sustainability of how I’m eating rather than the immediate results. That’s what I’ve learned through tracking my food and macros and it’s actually been a really wonderful process for me, enabling me to also live WITHOUT tracking my food! It works both ways.

V-Type_Diet_WomenNow let’s think on mindset around our food and eating habits, because how you think about food makes all the difference in how you approach it and how that affects your life! We often view eating, especially around a goal like gaining strength or leaning out, in terms of what could go wrong: “I have a wedding this weekend – what horrible timing!” or “How can I cut down alcohol in the summer? It’s at every BBQ!” What if we thought about our superpowers when it comes to our nutrition, and asked ourselves instead, “What would work well about my current plan in my life” instead of “What could go wrong?”

Let’s start with an attitude of resourcefulness rather than despair and see what happens.

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Inevitably, we won’t eat perfectly, and I think that’s actually great! That’s life! I love how Bryan Khan put it on a Facebook post recently:

“To me, a ‘perfect’ food log is a big red flag. Unless we’re near the end of a long diet, ‘perfection’ tells me that either a) the client is fudging and creating a false reality; or b) being way too anal retentive and setting a standard that no one can possibly sustain, thereby setting themselves up for burnout. 

I’ll take a guy or girl who strings together week after week at 90% compliancy every time. Bonus points if they start at 50% and end at 90%. That’s real progress, and that’s how shit gets done. For life.”

Don’t you love that? That’s real life! And that’s how I want to live – mindful of how my eating affects my goals, mood, attitude, sleep and energy but not allowing food to become my focus and simply enjoying life along the way. Don’t worry about nutrient timing if you’re not currently eating any vegetables. Don’t fret about getting protein in within 30 minutes of your workout if you’re not consistent with your workouts. In other words, don’t major in the minor, just stay consistent and be honest with your goals and current habits and you will see the change you’re looking for.

I’d love to hear where you’re at in your own path with nutrition, fitness and mindset. I was inspired by many writing this post, including my own clients, numerous podcasts, and any own changes in nutrition and mindset over the last few years. Hopefully this is helpful to you in some way, and if you’re in the Calgary area I’d love to train with you in person at CityFit! Contact me via email at: bonnie.lang.fitness@gmail.com 

Eat to perform (not to shrink away!) and live well & be well, friends!

Bonnie

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Sometimes when I’m walking to work or out doing errands I listen to podcasts. Most of them are of the fitness sort, focusing on women’s health, workouts, interviews with coaches, and topics of that nature, but I also like listening to sermons. I’ve found that while I want to work on my ability to read and absorb information (because I think it helps us stay sharp to physically read!), I am an auditory learner, so I look forward to listening to the great information that’s available to us these days.

Tim Keller, a pastor in New York, is one of my favorites to listen to; I love how he explains Scripture and life as a Christian in a no-nonsense, honest way, and always brings us back to the truth of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? In Keller’s words, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope”  (source).

What a truth to hold on to, and a description of the gospel that’s maybe a bit different from what you’ve heard before. So I love to think about these things in between clients and while I’m driving our little truck that has no radio. 😉

Recently I listened to a sermon by Keller called “The Still Small Voice,” (you can listen here for free), and it so resonated with me for a few reasons in my life right now that I wanted to dialogue about it a bit with you. We are all at such different life phases; this has never been more apparent to me than this summer on our trips thus far! From the Owyhee River where there are people with different stages of cancer (and both younger, middle aged, married, single, divorced) to the Yampa River trip (which included some couples, one expecting and some trying, others not interested in kids), to camping with our Calgary friends, most of whom have kids.

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It’s easy to compare lives, phases and stages, and get discouraged or even dismayed that “we aren’t there yet” and wonder if we’re doing life the “right way.” We shared stories on all these trips about what God was doing in our lives, and it struck me again how everyone has their own story. Our journeys are SO incredibly different and yet God IS on the move in all of our lives, whether we can hear him roaring like a lion or whispering to us like a breeze.

Someone else in the Bible was feeling down after a tough time, and that story is found in I Kings 19:1-18

Elijah was despondent; depressed and tired and worn out and discouraged. He was a prophet and King Ahab had just killed all the other prophets, his wife Jezebel following up with a note to Elijah to say, “you’re next” (my paraphrase from verse 2). So Elijah ran into the desert, sat down under a broom tree, and said, ” ‘I have had enough, Lord…Take my life.’ Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep” (4).

Exhausted, worried, discouraged his work and purpose are for nothing, and now fearing his life, Elijah is at his wit’s end.

Are you feeling like Elijah right now in your life?

Obviously we’ve all been there for different reasons, both “big” reasons in life like illness, personal loss, dreams unrealized and for “smaller” reasons like missing family, rough days at work, or little feuds with friends. We find Elijah in this same place, kind of like when you browse “People” magazine and see the “Stars, Just Like Us!” section.

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So what did God do to Elijah in his time of need? Tell him he needed to buckle up because this was his calling? Send him off on a vacation to recuperate? Nope… He sent an angel to him who cooked him food, gave him water, and encouraged him to rest some more.

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Strengthened by food and rest, Elijah got up and made the trek to Horeb, the mountain of God, and spent the night in a cave. He was rejuvenated and in a place to recharge and listen to God, and it’s at this time that God asks him a big question:

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” (9)

I love God’s honest question to him and Elijah’s honest answer – “What’s going on?!” met with, “I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me and I’m left with nothing.” So God tells Elijah, still in his discouraged state, to go out and stand on the mountain in God’s presence, for the Lord is about to pass by (11).

A powerful wind shatters the rocks and whips by, but God is not there.

Then there is an earthquake, but God is not found in the earthquake.

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Next a fire roars by, but God is not found there either.

Finally, “after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave” (12-13). Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

THIS is where God meets Elijah, and how he does it. He doesn’t show up in a big, glorious way but in a still, small voice. He asks Elijah again to share why he’s discouraged again, and God encourages and restores him, sending him back on his way.

There’s so much richness in this passage that I’m seeing thanks to Tim Keller’s sermon I referenced earlier. First of all, we see how God responds to us in our own ways. When Moses, on this same mountain, went out to meet God he was in a burning bush, so glorious that he couldn’t even look at God. But just when Elijah expects God to show up with a bang, he surprises the man by meeting him as a whisper. We can’t put God in a box! Although God’s character is steady, he meets us differently based on who we are and what we need, reminding us that when we think we have him figured out he surprises us. Elijah needed rest, needed time to recharge, and food. Sometimes when life is hard and we’re discouraged we need this same rest and the chance to slow down, unplug and maybe even go out for a nice meal in our favorite city or take a walk in the sea air in order to recover.

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…Don’t you love the God knows our physical limitations and weaknesses?

Sometimes, however, we need to listen to what God’s trying to tell us; we need to know the voice of God to be able to recognize if he’s speaking in the fire or in the wind. And this requires time spent with him. So while there are moments when we need a rest and good meal, there are other times when we need to dig into God’s word and even perhaps fast from food to seek him when life feels overwhelming.

So… How does this all relate to our recent river trips with friends in different places of life? Well, it’s easy to compare journeys and get discouraged with where we are, and then feel disappointed in God’s work (or lack of work) in our lives.

BUT… It’s clear that it wasn’t that God had let Elijah down – God sees the bigger picture when we just see and feel and experience what’s right in front of us. Elijah was not actually upset because God wasn’t showing up in his life; when we dig a little deeper into the story we really that it wasn’t God who had failed Elijah but Elijah’s own plan that had failed him. He had attached God’s identity to his plan, was blaming God, and it was affecting his mood.

Have you ever done this? Thought you were meant for something and attached so much identity to the idea of running your own business, of traveling to certain countries, of being a mother, of being a runner, etc that when something DOESN’T happen you blame God? You become despondent and discouraged and can’t seem to find purpose anymore.

I’m reminded by this story of Elijah that God is always on the move, and that he knows what we need when we need it, even if we think that’s a sunny day and we get a storm. God restores us, picks us back up, and sets us straight when we need encouragement, urging us to set our eyes on what lies ahead. Maybe that’s NOT being a runner and dealing with an injury with grace; maybe that means adoption for those trying to have their own kids; maybe that means working a job you don’t love simply for money and with the best attitude possible, even if you haven’t got your big break yet.Will we still praise God even when we’re discouraged? Even when life isn’t going our way?

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Maybe you need to get out for a trip or just on a Saturday and spend time resting and recovering. A pedicure, a sleep in, a meal out with friends with no phones. Perhaps you need to wander in the wilderness a bit and spend time communing with God.

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Are you expecting a fire but only hearing a whisper in your life? Are you discouraged and feeling directionless or do you feel like you’re moving ahead with purpose right now? I’d love to hear if you connect with any part of Elijah’s story in your life right now and where you’re at.

May God meet you wherever this message finds you and may you listen for his voice whether it seems super obvious or hard to find. Live well & be well!

Bonnie

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Hey guys! I am back from two back-to-back river trips and a short camping stint with friends that I can’t wait to tell you about! First up, we had another amazing Owyhee River trip, guiding a great group of Survive & Thrive participants down the river for the 8th year in a row with YD Adventures Idaho.

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I wanted to recap the Survive & Thrive trip and share a bit about the Yampa in terms of how I approached my fitness on the trip, so if that’s your jam skip to the second half of the post. But in the meantime…

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard, so consistently, for quite some time and we had many meaningful, refreshing conversations as a group and had a blast on the river, testing our limits with more technical paddling skills, hikes and practicing vulnerability in community.

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We focused, as we’ve come to do with each Survive & Thrive Expedition in the last few years, on the idea of story, and once again I’m struck by how meaningful it can be to sit with un-rushed time and take in each others stories. As Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen says in her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, “Facts lead us to knowledge, but stories lead to wisdom.” There is so much wisdom to glean for our own lives when we listen to what others have been through.

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Soon the group begins to understand the rhythms of the day and we flow like water down the river together, waking up for coffee (!) and quiet time to reflect on a thought for the day, eat breakfast, pack up camp and hit the water. Some we paddle for a short while, other times all day, and sometimes we stop for a hike:

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After eating lunch on the water and paddling some more, we end up at a new beach, make camp, and eat dinner, ending the night with a circle discussion about the theme and question we all looked at in the morning.

Sometimes there’s desert storms that bring some bonding and Type II Fun and other times we lay out on our boats in the sunshine, swimming and chatting and laughing all together, but either way we learn, grow, eat, paddle and live as one group in a tight community for 8 days, and I’m so grateful for these moments to stop and savor life, learn from others and have a good adventure.

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Over the years as we’ve done these trips, I’ve struggled to balance my own fitness pursuits with the combination of sitting all day (and paddling, of course, but not for too many miles a day and at low water levels) and eating high calorie foods that don’t always support my goals (we warmly refer to the Owyhee Trip as “carbs on carbs” with hash browns in tortillas with cheese, pasta with cheese, and trail mix and fruit snacks galore). A big part of how I’ve learned to honor my body and goals while still being present where I am with the people I’m with came with some maturity; learning that my ultimate goal in life is to love God and love people, not to just keep my body healthy. I’ve practiced letting things go like worrying about how much protein I’m getting or not being able to run or move my legs much while on the river. There was a time I would wake up at the put-in before we got on the river and run 10 miles along the highway while people slept; I can’t believe I ever did that! There’s nothing wrong with running before a trip, but my intentions behind it were based out of fear, scarcity (“I won’t be able to do my usual workout routine!”) and some level of insecurity. So here are a few tips, inspired by SportChek as one of their summer ambassadors, that may be handy for you if you’re traveling or on vacation to help you #SweatBetter half way through the summer:

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Move When You Can:

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Take advantage of optional hikes or walks during the day or even after dinner instead of just plunking down in your chair if you’re camping. If you’re on a river trip, it takes some guesswork out of your fitness goals because you are paddling all day (especially on the Yampa River with long river miles and lots of upstream winds to fight against during the day!), but you’re still sitting all day. Don’t underestimate the value of walking even when you can’t workout – often you burn more calories with this kind of movement rather than an intense 30 minute workout, so don’t worry about it, just move as you can.

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Stand Rather Than Sit:

There’s a lot of sitting on many camping trips, and especially if you’re in a boat or on a long road trip! Instead of siting all day and then sitting again at camp around a fire or at your destination, choose to stand. Even the act of getting up at the gas station while someone else pumps gas and moving around will help those stiff hip flexors out! Stretch out those hip flexors and get your legs moving!

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(awkwardly standing with my brother-in-laws 😉 )

Stay Flexible & Be Ready At Any Time:

On our last day, we paddled 12 miles in the morning and then packed up the gear (which is in itself a lot of movement and work!) and parted ways – well, after we celebrated with Mexican food together. 😉

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We drove 7 hours, dropping the boats and gear we rented off part way through in Glenwood Springs with Blue Sky, and then headed to Denver to stay with our friend Julie (who was also on the trip). The next morning we planned to go to Red Rocks to look around before our flight, and from knowing several fitness bloggers in Denver and understanding the active community, I KNEW that if I wasn’t dressed for a workout I would likely miss a chance to workout at an incredible spot and regret it. So Instead of my only set of clean clothes, I got dressed in my river clothes and was so glad I did, for a workout with Julie (and Mikey for part of the time!) awaited me:

Being ready to move whenever you can is great. It doesn’t have to be a full workout like you’d do in a gym, but being flexible and able to move whenever, wherever, and however you can is valuable! Learn to let go of what movement has to look like in your life and you’ll find there are rocks to jump up on, places to do push ups on, areas to run around in that you might otherwise look past. So stay flexible and be ready to move if you can!

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Use Gear:

I loved having my Garmin VivoFit I received in partnership with SportChek on the river, because it surprised me how many steps I still took while paddling on the river. Those short walks down canyons and moments breaking down and setting up camp add up!

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(You can see the Garmin on my wrist above.)

Good gear makes a difference! And it actually made me feel more relaxed about how much movement I was really getting in – sometimes we move more and burn more calories while moving in general ways throughout active days as opposed to going for a run over a specific distance or completing a workout in the gym. Gear can help you see some of the data about these things and makes it fun to observe, too.

I also like to bring equipment when I can, like on our car camping portion of the trip, because it makes for some fun variety in a different context. For example, I brought along my TRX and some weights in the car and Mikey and I got 2 great workouts in together at the lake!

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For the above workout, we did:

4 Rounds of a 10/8/6/8/10 rep scheme of:

  • Goblet squats
  • Hand-release push ups
  • Pull ups
  • 1 leg deadlifts (per side)
  • Reverse Burpees with hop

Having some good workout gear always motivates me to suit up and get after it. Above I’m wearing this Nike top and Nike Flyknit shoes from SportChek, too!

And lastly,

Take Advantage of Your Time:

There’s a lot you can do in a short amount of time. If you wake up early, take advantage of that and move before your kids are awake. If you’re waiting on a road trip because of an accident or traffic, get out of the car, don’t mind the crazy looks, and do some mountain climbers and jump squats! You’ll feel so refreshed when you get back in the car and carry on.

Just before our road trip to join our friends camping post-river trips, I put 20 minutes on the clock and did a short workout using one set of dumbbells in our backyard. You can do this workout without any weight as well – just turn it into body weight movements!

5 rounds of 20 min AMRAP of:
  • 10 reps: Plank Rows, 4 Mountain Climbers, Clean & Press
  • 10 reps: Swinging Push Up + Row
  • 10 reps: Deficit Sumo Squats

Check out the video below to see the workout in action for more clarification:

At the lake after my first workout with Mikey, I decided to take advantage of a quiet morning the next day and hung my TRX for an all-TRX, total body workout:

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I loved this one! 10 rounds seemed easy at first, then like so many, and then it became doable again. Feel free to break this up into 5 rounds (which is about a 15 minute workout – so easy to fit in!) or change up the movements half way for your second set of 5 rounds.

And there you have it! A few trip recaps and some of the amazing scenes captured from the beautiful Owyhee and Yampa Rivers, along with some tips about movement while traveling (more on the Yampa River to come, but those pictures show a ton of the beauty and fun in the meantime). I hope it’s helpful for you, and I’d love to hear any tips you have or habits you’ve established that might be different on the road versus when you’re in your routine.

Catch you later this week. Live well & be well, friends!

Bonnie

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Hello, blog world! I know in the past few months I wasn’t as consistent in posting… I think my readership has dropped off because of it but if anyone’s still kicking around, I want to wish you a happy Canada Day and happy Fourth of July!
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It’s been another full week of training, enjoying s’mores with the neighbors (since school’s out for summer, baby!), and prepping for that time again – adventure time! Summer is here, and that means more Survive & Thrive Expeditions – for the 8th summer in a row. It’s hard to believe Mikey and I have been running trips for this long, and we are so thrilled for the connections, community and fresh experiences with a new group to come in the next few months. Saturday we leave for the Owyhee River, one of our absolute favorite trips, and go from that kayaking trip to the Yampa River in Colorado for a second inflatable kayak trip, this one with friends from university. It’s going to be a fun-filled few weeks.

As I prepare to leave, there are several main considerations on my mind:

My heart: On our trips we have a unique opportunity to love others in a real way – to listen authentically to those being vulnerable enough to share their stories and give them space to process their lives. This requires me to lean heavily into Jesus! Because I cannot love and listen and live well on my own strength. My mom sent me The 30 Day Praise Challenge book that I’m loving by Becky Harling and the simple act of praising, not just asking God for things (like strength or for the trip to go well or for my focus to be on others, but simply praising God) turns the focus from myself to God, and it’s been such a good way to prepare not only for our trips but for every day!

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My body: I’ve really been enjoying following a training plan (that I am doing with Mikey; John Romaniello’s Omega Body Blueprint) and eating according to my Eat to Perform macros. I’ve been feeling stronger and fitter than ever, maintaining my physique while eating carbs and drinking wine (although that’s only about 1-2 glasses a week) and also learning to eat just enough and keep myself in check more than I was a few weeks ago.

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(Having good gear helps you push hard in the gym, don’t you agree?! Pictured above: Adidas Stella McCartney Capri Trainers and my new favorite, lightweight Under Armour Run Streaker Women’s Tank).

I’m grateful for the focus I’ve had that has been simultaneously deliberate and yet seamless in terms of programming into my life, but now I’m entering 2, almost 3 weeks of no My Fitness Pal, no food programming, no official workouts, and eating at the whim of the guiding companies with whom we’re adventuring… So, am I stressed? Anxious? Nope! Here’s why:

My life is more than my body, my muscles, my progress, or my LOSS of muscle, progress and structured eating! Life happens, and I wouldn’t trade these weeks on the river for anything! I know I will likely lose muscle and perhaps gain a bit of fat, but I’m also moving all day in a less intense way but for more hours, and that kind of evens itself out. Plus, I’m doing it with people who will soon become good friends and the focus is no longer just myself. When I’m in my routine, it’s great to focus on fueling properly and training hard because I love it, but when I’m not in my routine I can enjoy those hard-won muscles and use them; I can get after life OUTSIDE the gym! Isn’t that what it’s all about anyways? I #SweatBetter IN the gym so I can go live life to the fullest outside of it!

And my only other concern? Whether or not my nails are going to keep their fun color over the weeks on the river. 😉

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And with that, we’re off on a few adventures! I look forward to reconnecting when I’m back, but it’s going to enjoy being disconnected for a while. Live well & be well, and enjoy your celebrating this weekend!

Bonnie

 

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Hello and happy Tuesday to you guys! I hope you’re having a great start to the week. Can you believe it’s the last week of June already? Crazy.

I’m just popping in on a busy day to share a great workout I completed at CityFit last week with fellow trainer and friend, Emma! It.was.awesome – we met at 4:00 pm for a great 12 min workout (inspired by Kindal!) and then finished off with Emma’s Crazy 8’s Workout… We went heavy (I used 25# for the workout) and were so tired after part 1! We’d love to do it again for time, but we laughed and chatted and pushed each other and had a good time choosing to #SweatBetter on a Friday evening! I wanted to share the love with you guys so I threw a few clips together of the workout and took a picture of Emma’s creation – let us know if you give it a shot!

This workout builds on itself, so you start with 8 plank rows/side; then repeat the rows, then add 8 push ups; repeat the first two moves and add the knees to elbows. Continue until you get to the very end, as outlined below (we turned the presses into push presses because we were dead; the video doesn’t quite get there):

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And here’s a visual for all you visual learners!

Have fun conquering this beast! Go as heavy as you can (25# dumbbells were maybe a bit aggressive after the first part of our workout but that’s why we took breaks and slowed it down!) and go #SweatBetter, friends! Hope to check in again this week and catch ya later,

Bonnie

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Haappppy Friday, guys!

I’ve come at you this week with a workout + gear review (not much interaction there – did you guys miss it?) and I thought today I’d check in with some Friday favorites! Side note: I always have to delete the “u” in words like “favourites” and “neighbours” up here in Canada because, well, as Canadian as I might be, I’m still American, and the “u” has no place in those words as far as I’m concerned. 😉 Just a little side note about the struggle of using a keyboard up north when you still bleed red, white & blue.)

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(my little American flag that our 4 year old friend, Peter, put in this soon-to-be-filled pot in front of our home!)

Enough rambling, right? On with the favourites favourites! 😉

Quick text run-down:

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I’m also on MyFitnessPal!

  • Succulents (and mainly, being our new place that’s a real home! I got mine at Plant in Inglewood!)
  • Standing (remember, sitting is the new smoking, guys!)
  • Girls Gone Wod (specifically their podcast)!

Let me know what YOU’RE loving in the comments below and have an awesome weekend! Live well & be well, friends!

Bonnie

 

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Hi guys! Happy first day of summer! Did anyone get outside today? The weather, despite a forecast that’s been calling for rain, has been beautiful in Calgary, and with some recent gear courtesy of SportChek, I decided to take my workout outside. I thought you might like in on the action, so I recorded my moves so you can try them at home in a field, park, open space in your gym, or even at home (you’ll notice substations for some of the exercises below if you can’t run).

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This is a 3 round workout, which you can modify to suit your fitness ability by adjusting the exercises or changing the amount of work. For example, you can turn this into an AMRAP (“as many rounds as possible”) in 10, 20, 30 min – pick a time and go for it! Or you can do 1 round of the workout and start there. If you’re feeling spicy, add a few sprints to the end of it like I did, or take minimal breaks throughout the workout. Let’s break it down, video style, with the exercises in sets of 10 and 20 reps:

*Workout Notes:

  • Step out instead of jumping in your “I” jacks; if you get confused, just start with your body up in the shape of the letter “I” and you’ll get back on track from there!
  • On the prisoner lunges, drop your hands if need be, but if you’ve got them up, squeeze your back, shoulders down! Think about keeping your torso tall and driving through your front heel rather than pushing off your back foot.
  • On the alternating “T” push ups, use an incline like a hill or a bench to modify the movement, making it easier, or take your feet up on an object to make them harder!
  • Do your best with those lizard crawls; they’ll feel awkward at first! But it’s great to get down on the ground and move in less static ways.
  • As far as the sprint is concerned: GO ALL OUT! That’s what makes a short burst count. Choose a chunk of field, go for 100 m around a track, or set your sight a few trees away from you and hit it hard!

What made this workout even better was that I got to do it on the first day of summer (wahoo!) AND in fresh gear (right on!). I was am thrilled to be a SportChek Ambassador for the summer and was stoked when I received a package from them (fittingly the day after my birthday):

I was decked out from head to toe in gear from SportChek, and I’ve tried most of the gear in a variety of situations (in the gym lifting heavy, outside sprinting and doing body weight moves, around town for errands and even hiking) and I’m super happy with the results! In the video I’m wearing the Nike Pro Hyperool 2.0 Women’s Tank in purple and the Adidas techfit Women’s Capri Tights, neither of which moved around during the workout and also held up to all my twisting and turning! I love the lime green on the capris as far as details go and the two-toned purple of the top.

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I was extra excited for the shoes and the activity tracker because I’d looked at the exact products for quite some time and simply hadn’t pulled the trigger yet, so receiving them when I wasn’t expecting them was incredible! I’ve been needing new training shoes and love the comfortable, minimal nature of the Nike Free TR Flyknit Women’s Training Shoes. In terms of running, I’ve done short runs and sprints in them, and depending on how much stability you need, they may or may not be the shoe for you. My one complaint is the shoe laces… They are so slippery! You must double knot them to get them to stay otherwise I was stopping every few minutes to retie them. But they feel great – more like a slipper – and I have found them to be good in the gym and outside of it at least for my feet!

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I first heard about the Garmin vivofit 2 Black Activity Tracker from Susan, a nurse and outdoor adventurer friend who had it on our backcountry skiing hut trip in the spring. I was intrigued then and have been thinking about it ever since! Not only counts my steps (you can customize it and adjust your stride length to your own body), but links up with My Fitness Pal, tracks your total mileage for the day, has a stop watch, and even tracks your sleep. The more I learn about sleep, the more I see how high up on the priority list it is for a healthy body, and I’m practicing making it a priority because of that! Sleep, stress, emotional health – these things are all so important, so if we can track some of these metrics we can affect our health on many levels, let alone our goals in the gym. It’s been great to use, and I’m still discovering all the elements about it and have more digging to do!

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Do you have an activity tracker? If so, which one do you use, and if not, have you ever thought about it? I’m finding it to be a pretty motivating little piece of equipment, and I love how low-profile it is on my wrist, too.

I hope you get the chance to get outside and #SweatBetter this week as summer is officially here! If you’re looking for motivation, maybe a new pair of capris will do it, or perhaps finding a friend to go sweat with, or a deal with yourself (“I’ll go out to a movie if I workout today!”). It’s different for everyone, but there are ways we can all move more effectively and efficiently to feel good bring change to our bodies. Take that fitness outside the gym and happy sweating, friends!

Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Hey you guys! It’s been a bit since I updated you on life after sharing about our new house, which is still amazing! I’ve done another load of laundry and need to cut the grass again with my push mower, we still don’t have furniture, but nothing else new besides that thus far. 😉

I have had a change since I last wrote though – I had a birthday! I turned 31 on Monday and felt extra loved all day with text messages, phone calls, Facebook posts, some cards and just a light, joyful spirit that God gave me that day. Mikey and I had a great workout together; here’s a snippet of the ending:

And I made us take a selfie afterwards and Mikey didn’t even fight it, because, #birthday. 

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And I enjoyed training my clients, who always work hard and are generally just pretty awesome. 😉 The in between clients I’d planned to get a pedicure, but one of my clients beat me to the salon and pre-paid for my pedicure! Can you believe that? It was such a gift and I felt so pretty afterward!

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After work we had our final business networking group meeting before we break for summer and went out to BLANCO Cantina on 17th Ave in Calgary and I enjoyed two margaritas, a half order of the chicken burrito, some guac (a must at Mexican!) and some salad – it was delicious after I hadn’t had much food that day!

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BLANCO was great; I’d always wanted to go so while it was technically for our last meeting (which is always more of a celebration than a typical meeting), I felt very loved with birthday greetings and the chance to hang out with some awesome people whom I look up to as entrepreneurs and good friends!

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(thanks for the pic, Amber!)

We had a great time catching up and lingered for a while, which was nice (I’m always thinking about my early mornings with clients but I just relaxed and enjoyed the bright sky and long nights we’re having as summer is here) and around 9 pm we parted ways. But what was missing on my birthday? Some ice cream! So Mikey and I hit up another local favorite spot, Village Ice Cream, for a tasty night cap:

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Later on, Mikey gave me a gift card for eyelash extensions (I mentioned them a few weeks ago for our summer trips – thought it would be fun since I’m always make-up free on them) and I can’t wait to get them! Any tips for me if you’ve had them before? We are also going on a mini-adventure this Friday (where we go out after work, hike up a mountain, sleep there, and then come down back to the city before lunch time Saturday!) and he has planned out a fun location that is top secret. A great way to celebrate!

In other news, I’m re-certified as a CPR provider (although I sure hope I never have to use it!) and had a pretty relaxing weekend besides my course and some housework.

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I also went to church on Sunday while Mikey was working (he taught a digital story-telling workshop for two days) and I was so encouraged by the message. As I turn another year older, too, I’m a bit more reflective, so join me in thinking a bit about who we are – our identity. Our pastor began a new series called “Perspectives” based on Jesus’ Beatitudes, and in the first week of this series he referenced where Jesus speaks about two groups of people: those who have NOTHING and those who have EVERYTHING. Well-versed in the Bible or not, you are probably somewhat familiar with the passage of Scripture from Luke 6:20-26:

Then he [Jesus] looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you[a] on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

Jesus does it again – being so counter-cultural and saying that it’s not those who have food and are well-fed (think: comfortable in life), are wealthy (think: secure) and are laughing (think: sneering at others as per the translation), but those who are the exact opposite of that! Jesus attaches blessings and woes to both sets of people, which is interesting because our culture loves to look for success stories – the “started from the bottom now we here” kind of story.

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We love stories about people rising from the ashes, coming from nothing, or overcoming a challenged or rough upbringing and then succeeding. The wealthy, the comfortable, the winners – those who are powerful and accepted – those are the ones we look up to! But Jesus flips this idea on it’s head and says it’s really the other way around. Why? Because those who have nothing depend on Jesus, look to him for their source of security, for their value, for their identity, not their lifestyle around them. In other words, when Jesus is all you have, Jesus is all you need. I don’t need to be worried about disaster striking, cancer coming back into our life, Donald Trump becoming president, or something happening to my family or to my business – because my hope does not lie in those things.

Now…don’t think that because you have a nice car or a retirement plan that you’re “out,” or that if you’re a college kid living on top ramen with $20 in the bank that you’re “in!” What matters is where your identity lies – do the external things of your life make you feel secure or is it in Jesus? It’s a hard question to ask, and a tough one to truly be honest about – we can say we’re not identifying with the things around us, but what about when they are taken away?

“Your identity establishes your lifestyle” – that’s one of the things that Pastor James said on Sunday and is worth dwelling on, especially as I turn another year older. I’m reminded that when comfort, satisfaction, and STUFF become what we live for, they define us, and ultimately disappoint us. With recently moving and de-cluttering, living with less but simultaneously being entrusted with more, and desiring to set my heart upon Jesus more and more with each passing year, I am reminded that I need to continually lay down the trappings of my identity daily before God. If he chooses to take everything away, what is left of me? If grief comes and I am no longer laughing but mourning; if I am hurt and can no longer work as a personal trainer to others or train my own body and my health fails; if poverty strikes and we are down to one income or must forfeit what we own; if my trust and identity are in Jesus I will be fine because HE defines me and not these things. What a great reminder on my birthday! And I hope it is a good reminder for you, too, wherever this word of conviction, curiosity or encouragement finds you.

So… Three questions for you:

  1. Have you experienced a timely reminder lately in your life?
  2. Have you ever struggled with or thought about your own identity in the way that I am above?
  3. …and if you could eat anything on your birthday, what would it be?! (Mexican and ice cream of some sort for me – which is what I had!)

Have a great week and stay updated on Instagram and Snapchat (username: buff bon) to follow my #SweatBetter tips and adventures with SportChek!

See you around the inter webs this week… 😉 Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

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Although it’s tough for me to make my mind up and order a meal while eating out and just about impossible for me to choose a color for my nails, I tend to make more major life decisions quickly, or at least without thinking too much.

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(totally out of my comfort zone and a BIG deal to get a design. I’m so-so about it but it’s fun for now!)

So after looking online for different houses over the last few months, Mikey and I landed on a little home in Inglewood and, after seeing the place, almost immediately decided to move. We said yes, went back to our beloved little apartment, and started packing at once! The last week was a flurry of packing up, taking many loads down the three flights of narrow stairs (old building, no elevator!) and being super grateful for my father-in-law’s daily help.

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Packing fuel! Dark chocolate in the kitchen.

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Our last meal in our nearly-empty apartment, sweaty and tired from packing and loading in between our normal work schedules!

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Taking the hibiscus over in the little truck – the second-to-last-load besides our cleaning supplies!

It was a whirlwind, alright, and as we were reflecting on how we moved into the apartment in the first place, where we shared so many great memories together and with friends, we realized we acted fast and jumped into that place, too. All of a sudden we said yes and were moving in, just like this little house in Inglewood. We are renting our small two bedroom house and it’s incredible to have a front and back yard, be able to walk to work (5 minutes, door to door! ) at CityFit and to be part of a neighborhood and community.

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We are so grateful for this little home and look forward to the conversations inside of it, the growth that will happen in our lives while living here, the chance to be part of a neighborhood and for the small things like getting to do laundry in our own space (I’m two loads in and it’s awesome!). Maybe sometimes it’s okay to be quick to make some decisions and slow to make others, but the main thing is trusting that God is leading the way and learning to wait on him rather than act in my own strength, and this feels like it’s a change right from him!

Are you a decisive person? What about with big versus little decisions?

Here are a few fun shots from our weekend – it was filled with finishing up unpacking (thank you, Mikey!), a young adult Wellness Day at Wellspring for me, church on Sunday, some time at Calgary’s Lilac Festival and having our first guests over!

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Everyone had fun trying out the long boards – even Emilie!

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We love this family!

Another new change is that I’m happy to announce I am a SportChek ambassador and am excited to spread the message of #SweatBetter with you all on various forms of social media!

Follow along over the next few months for workout ideas and inspiration as we all choose to #SweatBetter together! Hope you guys are doing well and enjoying your season as life as it continues to ebb and flow and change. Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

 

 

 

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We all know that in order to be healthy – truly fit and able – we need keep the long game in sight, keeping your life in perspective. But when we’re working on something specific, like a goal that’s focused with an end date or a goal that’s aesthetic like growing your biceps or losing a dress size, it can be hard to keep a bigger perspective in mind. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Last week I went to workout after a rest day. It was Friday and I was excited to workout before the weekend, but when I changed into my workout clothes and started warming up, I simply had no energy. I was disappointed because I had rested the day before and didn’t want to throw in the towel for my workout, so I gave myself a few minutes and, eventually, felt able enough to continue, just at a scaled pace. When I finished, I thought, “Better than nothing!” and didn’t sweat it. Later that dad I chatted with another trainer who mentioned his workout wasn’t the greatest that day and we bonded over our joint half-assed workouts. 😉 He said he gave himself a set or two, noticed the fire wasn’t there, and packed up and left! Geoff mentioned that it’s totally fine to listen to your body because fitness isa game of decades, not minutes – we’ve got to keep the long-term perspective of health in mind.

The game of fitness isn't a game of minutes. It's a game of decades and a marathon, not a sprint,

But the reverse is also true, we agreed: know when to call it day and allow your body to rest, but also know that when your body is ready to go, hit it hard and get after it! Both sides of the coin are true, and we certainly need to keep moving and pushing ourselves even when we don’t feel like it, choosing healthier foods when more convenient but less healthy ones are available, etc. I love that there’s a place for intensity and a place for rest, and that’s because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Sometimes when we’re working towards our ideal body, we lose sight of that bigger picture. I totally believe that aesthetic goals are fine – they have there place, they motivate us, and who doesn’t want to look and feel better? – and that there’s nothing wrong with wanting abs (right, Paige and Kindal?), but I encourage you to keep the bigger picture in mind. You’ve heard it before but maybe you need to be reminded of it again: one day of a missed workout (or heck – even two weeks!) or day of poor eating won’t significantly alter your physique just like one week of solid workouts and salads won’t give you the perfect body.

That being said, are you really working towards what you want? Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement to push a little harder. This quote says it best!

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Hmmm… Is that convicting to anyone? We can’t gripe about the body we don’t have (or, in that bigger picture, the health we don’t have, the fitness to keep up with our kids or the sleep to function at our best) if we aren’t working towards it, eating better, making sleep a priority. You get where I’m going with this. 😉 We all need sometime to kick our butts into gear from time to time!

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Lately I’ve been thinking about the long game and grateful that I’m able to move in a way that bring me joy, challenges me, and also gives aesthetic results! I’ve been eating more (especially carbs and especially on workout days!) and feeling like my muscles are happy about it!

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(sorry for the blur – both are post-workout and I was shaky from lifting!)

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I occasionally eat donuts, as pictured above, and licorice, but most often eat lean meats, a ton of greens and veggies, a daily banana (one of my favorites!) and try to only eat what I really want (i.e.: no mindless snacking if it’s not serving me). I am tracking my calories and macros in My Fitness Pal (you can follow me here!) for accountability and enjoying the process – it hasn’t lead to me restricting (quite the contrary, as you can see above!) but that with my studying Precision Nutrition has lead to a greater awareness of the bigger picture while simultaneously seeing changes in my physique.

I recently saw a menu of a weight loss retreat centre that only had about 1,250 calories on it, and for a place that’s meant to be one where you work hard and sweat all day, I was shocked! Your body needs more fuel! So another part of this idea of the long haul is saying no to gimmicky diets or anything that restricts so badly that you inevitably bounce back (and sadly, often gain more weight than before). Fuel your body well not just for better results right now (don’t believe me? ask my clients! eating more and feeling and looking better!) AND for the future – we want sustainability in your change, friends! Not something that is ultimately short-lived.

Challenges from friends like Kindal (I linked to her abs challenge above – and need to send her my accountability pics!) help me stay on track when it could be easy to just be so-so in my efforts. It’s an interesting balance between going hard and also pulling back for that bigger picture, especially because as a Christian my body is secondary to my heart and soul! It’s just a piece of the puzzle, but it’s fun to play with and continue to tweak.

Do you walk this line well, or are you more of an all or nothing person with fitness and nutrition? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic of pursuing aestethics while remembering the bigger picture – do you think they are synonymous or not?

Just some thoughts for you as the week begins – keep the marathon in mind, have fun along the way and wash every bite of donut down with some chicken and veggies. 😉 Have a great week ahead, friends! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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