Author: bonnie

Sometimes, we all need it. Whether it’s a reminder from those snug jeans, your FitBit beeping at you because you haven’t moved from your office desk in two hours, or those moments when we get sick and realize stress and poor nutritional choices have been taking their toll, we all need a little tough love from time to time. I was chatting with a client recently who mentioned that her life seems kind of “meh” right now, and I knew exactly what she meant. No real changes in work, relationships, personal growth… Sometimes life is just “meh.” While it’s so okay and we all feel like that occasionally, we had a great chat about WHY the MEH’s were taking over and came to the conclusion that this type of apathy or complacency can creep in when we feel overwhelmed about the things we can’t control. The good news, though? There are a few things we CAN control:

  • Attitude
  • Movement
  • Nutrition
  • Stress/Sleep

I want to focus on the first three points as sometimes the life stressors are too much or we have late nights due to different schedules and we aren’t always able to control these two “S’s.” That being said, very often we are choosing to look at screens or start a project late at night or allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel and therefore the stress compounds – but that’s for another post. ūüėČ So… Attitude, movement and nutrition. Let’s apply a little tough love to all these areas (and read to the end where I share some good news from my last post!):

Attitude

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This is one of my¬†favorite quotes because there is SO MUCH truth in it. We ARE in charge of our attitudes, and there’s not much more I need to say except to reference this quote and encourage you to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Movement

You guys, we always have a choice. I know some people have crazy work hours and working around them or their families brings up many obstacles to movement, but you can always get up for a 15 min walk, squat while you brush your teeth, or do a few push ups before bed. I know it’s easier for me – I work at a gym, can squeeze my workouts in between clients, and genuinely love to move, but I want you to know that there are still times I make myself take the long way home while walking, or choose to drop off a letter at the nearest mailbox on foot instead of driving. I still have to make myself do workouts when I don’t feel like it, and¬†choose to focus on lots of walking when I’m not feeling in the mood to lift.

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The bottom line? Do what you can. I taught a bootcamp with an amazing group of young adult cancer survivors at our recent Survive & Thrive Weekend Hang Out and there were people with limited mobility, different bodies than they used to have pre-treatment, some who were recently in accidents and in pain, and another girl who had part of her back muscles removed for her stomach. And guess what? Even if the exercise was greatly modified, they did it!

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Get yourself to the gym, guys. Get up off the couch and go for a 20 minute walk after dinner in the fading light. Jam out to some fun music in your house and get those steps in!

We always have a choice.

Nutrition

This is a tough one, isn’t it? Especially as holiday baking begins and the fun of Thanksgiving seems to kick off an endless streak of eating, eating and eating! Here’s the thing – you know i”m a proponent of enjoying life and community (which often means enjoying food!) and using food as fuel (post-thanksgiving squats, anyone?!), but if you’re wanting to see results, you are going to need to be mindful of how you’re choosing to eat.

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Don’t settle! Practice moderation but be really honest about what your goals are; they may or may not be aesthetically-minded, but if they are, you can do this! It’s just food.

Stay the course, enjoy nourishing your body and keep those goals front of mind. If they’re not, you can loosen up a little (more of the camp I tend to fall in), but do what makes you feel your best, fuels your attitude and spirit and body to live well!

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Well friends, Mikey and I are off to California tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving¬†with my fam! We can’t wait – for the fellowship, the obscene amounts of black coffee and constant conversations, some oceanside hikes and good food with family! I wanted to share an update – after a few weeks of praying for an earlier appointment (as I referenced in my last post for my probably septate uterus) and learning how to truly WAIT on God, he answered my prayers! I received an appointment in a small, neighboring town for early December – much better than the anticipated 6-12 months for an appointment with a gynaecologist in Calgary. I am so thankful and anxious to have the appointment and learn more about what’s going on in my body. Thanks for allowing me the space to share some life updates as well as encourage you to get after it in the gym, on the trails, in the kitchen and with your attitudes. ūüėČ

Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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November 10th already, so hard to believe. The year is closing out and the days are marching on. Change is inevitable on many fronts – the weather as winter draws nearer, the changing of the light in the morning and evenings, the changing of my client load as we approach the holidays, and so many changes in our world since my last post! It’s a new day in so many ways – in the US with Trump as President¬†and around the world as a result; a new day simple because the sun rose again and we live another day. In the midst of change, regardless of if you think in’s good or bad change, here’s what I’m focusing on: when we woke up this morning, we were¬†still the same as we were the day before. We are still broken people, people who are tired, overwhelmed, addicted, suffering, lonely, discouraged and conflicted. No one person can fix or cure us except for the God-Man Jesus Christ! I feel so overwhelmed and “heavy” by the onslaught of media, opinions, and¬†intense reactions that make me want to breathe deeply and take a break from consuming so much information. With a heaviness not necessarily for the future of the US but for the state of upheaval in my home country on my heart (it’s always hard to see protests and riots for ANY reason), I’m choosing to¬†fix my eyes on¬†Jesus. I know this¬†doesn’t obliterate fear or change what others might say or how they will act, but it’s still a different focus to keep. Let’s fight for each other, love well, and look after the widow and orphan – exactly¬†how we should have been living before November 8th and hereafter!

I find myself turning back to I Thessalonians 5:16-24:

“Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. DO not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. These everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and will do it.”

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I know this focus and some Bible verses don’t automatically fix or change anything, and I write and think and act and live as a white, middle class woman in Canada, but it’s all I can do to turn to Jesus in the midst of so many changes. My encouragement stems from last Sunday’s sermon – let’s be ready, sober people who are awake and looking for ways to bring God’s Kingdom to earth as we wait for Jesus to return! Let’s be people who engage with one another, with culture, with our world actively while also not placing our identity or hope in it.

So¬†now…

WE WAIT.

There are many things I wait for, like coffee to brew, clients to show up, the snow to fall after Halloween; but they all have different levels of anticipation. In the waiting, there is hope: a promise of an outcome like a good cup of coffee early in the morning, or my smiley 4:30 pm client arriving at the end of her work day, the brisk feeling of the cool air on my cheeks.

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I’ve more recently been dwelling on what it means to wait on God – to truly rest in and sit with him. I’m still learning about this, but it struck me that I haven’t really needed to wait for his presence in the same way I am waiting to conceive. I found out last week that I most likely have a septate uterus, which more or less means there isn’t a lot of room in my uterus for a baby to grow. It’s pretty hard for an egg to implant, which is (most likely why) it has taken this long. I was told to wait for an appointment with a gynaecologist, and after a week of eating, I decided to call and ask about how long I can anticipate to wait. The response kind of shocked me – 6-12 months – for an appointment! Let alone a surgery date, then surgery, then the possibility to conceive, then pregnancy… You get the idea. So I’m waiting, and learning the value of adjusting my expectations. Instead of being hopeful every month, I’m going to try to look a year or two ahead, and even then I have to really let my own expectations and hopes go and just keep embracing where I’m at right now. There have definitely been tears and some days are tougher than others, but I’m going to embrace the body I currently have and move well, hard and often!¬†I’m going to embrace the freedom that Mikey and I have by sleeping in and being spontaneous, and I plan to¬†adventure and travel as much as we can and keep loving other people’s kids in the meantime!

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And so, we wait.

What are you waiting for in your life right now? Reconciliation with someone? A promotion in your job? Your body to finally start showing the results of the changes you’ve been making? Waiting for a change in scenery with a vacation coming up? Waiting for a spouse, a partner, a friend? I pray that you’re able to wait in joy, while praying without ceasing and giving thanks in ALL your circumstances. It’s hard, but I’m trying to do it too, and embracing life as fully as I can in the meantime – which doesn’t always mean hucking myself off cliffs. ūüėČ Sometimes that means just getting up and being faithful with my habits, my work, my daily choices and engaging in the community around me. But other times it means heading out and looking for adventure, and I hope you have an adventure of some sort to look forward to on the horizon.

As I wrap up this post, I wanted to share a few good reads from around the web that I really loved this last week:

Also, we just released our latest film on our website, free! I’d love for you to check it out and spread the word to anyone walking through a cancer or chronic illness diagnosis, especially anyone with a young family. Follow our friends Brock, Kristen and their son Ben¬†as they strive to live full, meaningful lives despite the metastatic cancer diagnosis they are navigating;¬†watch “How to Win a Tickle Fight” online here for free.

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That’s it for this week! Haven’t been writing much as I’ve been more in my head, in prayer and with people than having many words to contribute online, but if you ever have any topics (health and fitness or life-related!) you’d like me to write about, please share in the comments below! Have a great weekend you guys.

Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Hey friends! Wishing you a very Happy Halloween today on my favorite day of the year! I have the BEST childhood memories from this time of the year and appreciate being able to run around with friends and neighbors, sorting candy on the living room floor, and eating candy for breakfast on November 1st – that was always mandatory! So today I’m thrilled to be in our own house and pass out candy (with lots of guests hanging out with us this evening!) to trick or treaters and will be so happy if we get a handful of kids in our little Inglewood neighborhood.

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This year…I’m a lion. Or a tiger. Or a liger. Just happy to dress up! PS – for all those parents who aren’t sure what to do with¬†the sugar on Halloween, I think this is an awesome article about learning to have a healthy relationship with food and sugar!

To that end, I certainly won’t tell you to only have 1 fun size piece of candy today, or to do a certain number of burpees per candy bar ingested. Nope! I’m a proponent of enjoying all kinds of food, especially on the holidays. Will a day of going overboard make you gain fat? Not at all. BUT…Lately I’ve been eating a little too freely. I’m still tracking everything in My Fitness Pal as per my Eat to Perform¬†(use my link and the discount code “1mofree” to get a free month of nutrition coaching!) so I’ve been still mindful of my carbs (within range), fat (sometimes over, sometimes under) and protein (too often under my goal), but I’ve been hitting these numbers with some junk. The reality is that even though your calories matter, you don’t want to fill up your macros for the day with junk – at least not all the time. ūüėČ So I will plan to have a few of those little candies tonight, but I’ve already had my fill leading up to Halloween, and I don’t want to go nuts eating more just because it’s here. I’m ready to clean up my diet for a bit – no restrictions, no off-limits, but boundaries set – as we move into November. Who’s with me? Just a little bit of extra accountability to fuel and nourish my body well.

On that note, I’ve noticed that my recent heavier lifting and embracing attitude towards carbs has not only helped to increase my strength and performance in the gym and flushed out my upper body muscles, but it’s grown my lower body as well. I’ve been thinking about learning to embrace the body you’re in, because as I’ve upped my food and changed my lifting I’ve seen changes to my body. I have 3 options:

  1. Complain about it and compare my body to others (yep – my jeans are tight and squeezing into them doesn’t make me feel great).
  2. Change my style of moving to complement a different look or aesthetic.
  3. Buy new pants and embrace my new shape.

I’m leaning towards number 3, although sometimes I fall prey to number 1. In many ways, I lovely body! It’s so much stronger than it used to be and people who see me after a few months of not seeing me tend to comment on my arms – they never say, “Oh wow, your legs sure are meatier¬†now!” or, “Well, sure you’re strong, but you’re looking a bit thick…” No way! They say, “Your arms look awesome!” and someone event complimented my butt, which made me feel awesome, as my lower body is the larger part of me. ūüėČ Lifting weights WILL change your body. Will you “bulk up,” like so many women are afraid of? Not exactly…that’s pretty hard to do unless you’re supplementing and eating a LOT; many powerlifters are actually smaller and defined, but typically with some strong legs. There are ALL types of bodies out there and the way you move will, to some degree, contribute to how your body looks (taking into consideration that your metabolic type and genes play a large role in the kind of body you have):

I love Camille Bazinet-LeBlanc. I think she’s an amazing CrossFit Games athlete, is incredibly strong and cute, and is a “real” person! Sure, her strength is off the charts and she’s got the muscles to prove it, but she’s also not unrealistically lean. I like what this article has to say about her:

“What set Camille apart, though, was that she looked real. By that I mean – and I need to walk gingerly here – she looked normal. Not overly ripped, not overly muscular. She has the build of someone who is interested in performance over aesthetics, in strength over cut. By choosing not to lean out to a scant 10% body fat, she allowed herself to remain strong. You don‚Äôt see every last vein in her arms, abs, and traps. You see a normal, strong, confident woman.”

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(source) Strong and fit to be sure, but not the skinniest or leanest.

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(source) Those strong quads won’t be tamed to fit into non-muscular kind of clothing, amIright?

Now compare her body with Tracy Anderson’s body:

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(source) A very different body type and shape, right? Her legs would look awesome in skinny jeans!

And you know what? Both bodies are fine! Both bodies are healthy! But both bodies are very, very different, and we can’t expect the same things from them strength-wise, cardio-wise, clothing-wise or ability-wise. I really think that every body type is fine, and if you’d rather look like Tracy than Camille, that’s okay (barring, like I said, your genetics – they will to some degree affect or limit how you look). The types of workouts you do and the way that you eat will also affect how you look, and I’m learning that I love not only being strong but looking strong, too, and that comes with a different set of challenges in terms of how I view myself and why I think looks strong and beautiful.

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(source)

More articles/videos of interest on this subject:

Why I Encourage Women to Be Bigger – by Noelle at Coconuts & Kettlebells,

and, from Self Magazine:

Just thought it would be neat to start a dialogue about your bodies too – not in terms of comparing them to mine or Camille’s or Tracy’s – that’s not the point of this post! – but in terms of how you view yourself, what you struggle with, and if you’re going for option 1, 2, or 3! Let’s embrace strength and own who we are!

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(photo by Jeremy Fokkens)

Here’s to strength! Own your body and use it to the best of it’s ability.¬†Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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It’s a gray day here in Calgary – very foggy and misty and unlike typical Calgary weather. It feels more like a day on the coast,¬†like my beloved San Francisco Bay days, and is¬†perfect for this Halloween time of year. But it brings with it pressure changes in the weather and therefore slight headaches for me as I’m one of the many who are affected by the frequent¬†barometric pressure changes that Calgary experiences, especially in the winter months. This weather has me feeling a little down and a bit¬†groggy with my headache, and that coupled with some emotional ups and downs of life has me feeling discouraged today. To be less cryptic and more specific, Mikey and I have been trying to start a family for over a year now, with (clearly) no success. This has not been a secret from friends or family, but I haven’t really thought about blogging or sharing about it because it’s something that comes up every month, and what would it do to share it? I could tell you how much it’s on my mind and how there are reminders every month of what’s NOT working, and I do know that many of you would resonate with this same struggle. Many of our friends in Calgary got pregnant on their first try (and some when they weren’t even trying), zeroing in on a set time when they wanted to conceive and did. So at times it can be discouraging when your heart is so set on something that simply is out of your ultimate control! So we’ve been carrying on, waiting on God’s time for something we aren’t sure is his desired¬†plan or not.

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Despite knowing and trusting God’s bigger picture, I still struggle with the emotional roller coaster of this journey; one minute I’m fine, keeping this larger focus of my life and purpose in mind and realizing how intensely GOOD my life is, and other times I weep because I’m disappointed it hasn’t happened for us (yet?). I’ve embraced those ups and downs and found people to share the downs with who understand, but I’m continually brought back to a place of hope because of my faith in Christ and the promise of his love.

Someone at the gym asked me the other day, “Do you ever NOT have a smile on your face?” To which I replied, with a smile, “I guess I have a lot of reasons to be joyful.” – and I do! Despite my circumstances (which are hard for me in this phase of life, yet small in comparison to harsh realities around the world), I recognize that my joy depends on something that is steady, consistent, and doesn’t change with the weather or the experiences of my life. I am¬†still surrounded by lavish love from God and so many gifts, and I wanted to share a short, sweet¬†way that I stay reminded of this truth even when my heart is discouraged.

It’s simple, really.

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I re-read these verses that I’ve read so many times in 1 Thessalonians this week, and they hit me in such a fresh way that I decided to make them my new life verses. I can ask if it’s God’s will if we have a family, or pray about work situations or family relationships, all seeking God’s plan in difficult, searching moments. But you know what? God’s will for me is laid out right there in those verses – I am to be joyful always (regardless of how I’m feeling), to pray continually (not just when I need God) and to give thanks in all¬†circumstances (how’s that for a challenge today?)! This is how I change my attitude – I focus on these three things.

You guys know not to read into these verses¬†the wrong way – I’m certainly not advocating for “all positivity, all the time,” because that’s just not realistic (or that fun to be around). Look at Jesus as our¬†example – he wept! He cried out to God! He wasn’t just full of “happiness,” but was real in his emotions. However, his purpose was bigger; his reality was based in God and not in his current circumstances. Mikey talks about the “tyranny of positivity” in the health care system, specifically in cancer care, when people are encouraged to “just be positive” which often hurts more than helps them through their experience. Why? Because that black and white thinking leads them to stuff down the truth of how they’re really feeling in an effort to be happy and they don’t end up dealing with real issues or hardships. And you know what? Those hardships (be they cancer-, fertility- , or money-related issues), are all part of life.

We’ve learned from our own cancer journey and specifically our friendship with Brock, a friend of ours whose life we followed with a camera for almost 3 years,** that life isn’t good OR bad, it’s good AND bad.

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It’s both things at once, and we can hold them at the same time¬†and be doing okay in life. But a big part of how I come back to a solid foundation and place of contentment despite hard circumstances or gray, foggy days is being reminded that I am God’s beloved child and that I’m here to live for him – not to be a mother, not to amass wealth, not to become a celebrity trainer, not even to be the best daughter or wife or friend I can be. All those things are important and parts of life, but I’m here to love God and love people, and in so doing bring him glory.

I’m not asking for advice on what to do for fertility or planning on going into much detail there, but I just wanted to share some of the behind-the-scenes of life lately and also why there is hope, hope, always hope. You are loved! And have so much to live for with great joy. Live well & be well, friends!

Bonnie

**¬†Survive & Thrive is¬†very excited to announce that on November 7th, you’ll be able to stream our latest film “How to Win a Tickle Fight” right on our website! Watch the trailer:¬†http://ow.ly/1lZe305uZvW

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(cover photo: Jeremy Fokkens)

How often do you really believe what others say about you? Whether it’s compliments on your performance in the work place, or comments about your sense of style, humor or work ethic, it’s easy to brush things off and change the subject when others offer nice words to you. I think women are particularly notorious for this; even as I talked with a client about this a few weeks ago, someone walked by and complimented my clothes. I made a comment about how they were “on sale, no big deal!” and brushed them¬†off – then caught my mistake because it was so glaringly obvious! It’s easy to respond this way, whether it’s out of true humility, a false sense of humility, or simply habit.

So when was the last time you believed something someone said about you and truly took it to heart?

As part of the Eat to Perform family via Facebook, we are given optional challenges to interact with the community and share stories – it’s more than just learning about fueling your body well for performance. One of the current challenges is to share how you are strong, so I thought I’d expound on it in a blog post and share a little more, building on what others have said to me and what I know to be true about myself!

In a word (or two!), I am strong because I am wild and free.

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‚ÄúHer messy hair a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit. As she shakes it free she smiles, knowing wild is her favorite color.‚ÄĚ

‚Äď J. Iron Word

Sure, my consistency in the gym and resulting strength makes me strong, but being strong is about so much more than physical strength. Pulling from a few unconventional definitions, “wild” means:

“Living or growing in the natural environment,” (1)

“Going beyond normal or conventional bounds,” (2)

“Indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion,” (3) and

“Deviating from the intended or expected course” (source) (4).

I connect in some ways with all of these definitions – I’m a native Californian living in Canada (1); I (along with my husband) have not lived a very conventional life with our journey through cancer and subsequent adventures that have¬†opened up in our lives (2);

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I’m characterized by a strong desire to live and love well (3); and I have not followed the expected course of life – marriage, explore, wander, go with the flow – vs – marriage, job, house, baby (4)! I love the quote above, about wild being “her favorite color” because there’s something so enticing that calls to me about the wilds that God created, and that is part of me (and, I’d argue, US) as well. I am wild…and I am free.

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My freedom comes not just in being confident and content in who I am as a person, but more specifically in whose I am – I am God’s beloved daughter. There is freedom in knowing whose I am and not needing to prove myself or be someone else for others, and there is freedom knowing that I don’t have to be perfect because I made forgiven and made whole in Christ. I am free!

‚ÄúShe is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.‚ÄĚ –¬†Proverbs 31:25

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My future is in God’s hands, and I am tasked with living fully for him as I love others and pursue Jesus daily! I can laugh at the future because it’s ultimately up to God’s plans and I get to live out the story he’s writing for me one step at a time in strength and not fear. These things¬†contribute to my quality of life and strength as a woman. There are many stories to share – from the daily ups and downs of life to our cancer journey specifically; from family hardships to navigating relationships in Calgary – that make me strong, but ultimately I’m strong because I am wild and free, and I am only these things because God¬†created me wild after his own heart and free in Christ.¬†Moreover, it’s being surrounded by a supportive community via family and friends that keeps me strong – on my own? I don’t have much to stand up on.

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(photo credit: Jeremy Fokkens)

What¬†makes¬†YOU¬†strong?¬†Who makes you strong? Why are you strong? I’d LOVE to hear in the comments below – let’s celebrate our strength!

Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

 

 

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I love Monday mornings. I don’t have to work until 9 am, which means I start my work week off without rushing and with time under a blanket on the couch with coffee in hand. These are the mornings and moments that I don’t take for granted, and I’m so grateful for our little home and the luxury and having things like pumpkins, good music, strong coffee and cozy atmosphere around; I’m just so aware that I am living the 1% life compared to most of the the people around the world.

I am listening to Fernando Ortega’s recording¬†of a classic song, “Give Me Jesus,” and I’m reminded that the only thing I truly desire – and want to desire – is Jesus. I’m not here to build a career, grow a family, accumulate savings or travel the world; I’m here to glorify God, and that begins with loving him and desiring him! I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and while of course all those things I listed aren’t bad in and of themselves, and are actually important parts of our lives, they aren’t my purpose. It’s in the still, slow moments when I sit and read my Bible or listen to words like this that I’m reminded of this truth that holds so much freedom and grace for us!

So Monday morning? I welcome you – with another cup of coffee – with arms wide open.

Here’s a glimpse of the last few days – full of fall fun and good moments with people!

Saturday morning we had our board members over for our AGM with Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs. It was a very productive meeting and we all left with a clear vision of 2017, mine and Mikey’s roles, and action items for everyone. We appreciate this group of volunteers who all have great gifts and abilities that we do not; they round out our weaknesses and on top of that are just such quality people! Isn’t it cool when you actually love your own board members? ūüėÄ We also love donuts, and enjoyed these mini guys together with strong coffee in our home!

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(thanks to Modern Jelly for this little box of happiness!)

We then headed to the mall to take some photos for my sister-in-law and her family’s next newsletter – nothing professional just nicer than a self-timer. They looked so good all together! It was fun to walk around with them and then be able to take my niece Annelise on the “scary go-round!”

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(blurry, but you can see that we were having fun!)

Then, it was off to the annual Slater Ping Pong Tournament! We always have fun with our friends at this once-a-year event, and it was good to reconnect with those there – all my documentation of the night is on Snapchat, and is now gone forever (those 24 hours snaps, though!). ūüėČ [Follow me over there at: Bonnie Lang or buff bon for little glimpses into my days.] Thanks for the fun once again, Craig & Mandi!

Sunday was all about getting out of the city, and we headed out for a quick hike up Heart Mountain with Vicky & Craig – an amazing couple we don’t see often enough! It was great to reconnect with these guys and we chatted the entire way up and down. We forgot how much exposure this ridge hike has – it’s a true scramble and a fun one with views almost from the moment you start climbing until the top.

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There was snow but not enough to hinder us that much, but crazy whipping winds that made it feel much more intense! All in all we had a great time with these guys and came home with enough daylight for the three of them (banker, med school student, PhD. student) to get some studying in (while I made applesauce in the crockpot and lounged around). ūüėČ

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This is my second batch, cooking now, in the crockpot! All I did was add some apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and chopped apples up. I put it on high for a bit and then let is stay warm and stir it occasionally. No real recipe but no sugar added and it’s great in oatmeal, with Greek yogurt, or on ice cream – I know because I’ve tried all three!

I also chatted with my mom while munching on sweet potato chip sandwiches from the oven with guacamole and pineapple salsa! DELISH! You gotta try this little creation:

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…how do hand models make their hands NOT appear wrinkly and just odd-looking? Not sure how they do it, but I’m okay accepting that this is not one of my strengths. ūüėČ

And that about sums up our weekend! I’m off to work now for a string of 5 clients + a workout of my own + my business networking group meeting tonight and looking forward to the day. Tell me a bit about your weekend – a food highlight, a workout or outdoor adventure, some family fun!

Have a great start to your week, you guys. Be grateful, thankful humans today and live well!

Bonnie

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Hey you guys!

First of all, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all my friends and family north of the border! I’ve been in Canada for about 12 years now if you count my time in university, and it’s safe to say I’m pretty Canadian in many ways now. While there’s nothing like a Thanksgiving in the United States when you know everyone is sitting down to a meal on that last Thursday of November (and we’ll be doing the same¬†with family in California next month!), Canadians do it pretty well too, celebrating any day of the long weekend, eating the same familiar, traditional foods like in the US and maybe even greeting this time of year with…SNOW!

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That’s right! We’ve had three days of snow now, so Thanksgiving has really felt more like Christmas here in Calgary! It hasn’t been super cold (obviously cold enough to snow, though!) and the snow has melted daily but we’ve woken up with more snow each day since Friday. Hard to believe! It’s early this year, but it actually has me excited about winter and ski season.

We got together with Mikey’s family and had a great day with everyone celebrating family and eating delicious food.

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We also celebrated our friends’ commitment to raise their beautiful little girl in the knowledge of Jesus and his love for her at her dedication service on Sunday! It was so great to see a lot of friends and connect with them.

Working backwards in the weekend, we went to a locked room with two other couples Saturday and also enjoy a beautiful Italian meal out and some bubble tea to finish the day. What a fun evening – and again, so fun to connect with people we haven’t seen in ages!

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It’s been a fun-filled weekend of friends and food, and Monday I trained a client (very quiet load on a snowy holiday Monday!) and got my own workout in. I wanted to share a few short, effective workouts – some you may have seen online via Instagram and some I haven’t shared yet!

Here’s a Tabata¬†Workout that’s short and fun – use a medicine ball, a slam ball, a weight, a pumpkin or just your body weight! Give this a go: 20 sec on, 10 sec off, 2 rounds of:
– skaters
– groiners
– plank MB taps
– explosive jump slams

Here’s a fuller workout that consists of 3 rounds. For the weighted movements, complete 10 reps for round 1, 5 for round 2, then back to 10 reps for the last round:

So that’s:

The Kitchen Sink Workout: 3 rounds

  • 200 m run (~0.13 miles)
  • 10 (then 5, then 10) reps double kettle bell clean & press
  • 25 yards walking lunges, weighted
  • 25 yards gorilla crawls
  • 10 (then 5, then 10) reps pull ups
  • 10 (then 5, then 10) reps burpees

Here’s one I had Mikey and our friend Ash do together this week:

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Got a pair of dumbbells and can’t make it to the gym? Try this home workout when you’re stuck at home or if you usually workout there:

#SweatBetter Home Workout: 5 Rounds, 10 reps each of:

  • Plank Row + 4 Mountain Climbers + Clean & Press
  • Swing-Through Push Ups + Triceps Dips
  • Deficit Sumo Squats

And one last workout for you, a Battle Ropes Tabata:

Have fun with some of these, modify as needed and get after it! Oh – and one more fitness-related thing – I had a fun surprise last week.¬†I received¬†a $50 cheque for getting second in my age group for the Melissa’s Run Half-Marathon!

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Just a fun thing to celebrate. What are YOU celebrating in your life lately? Got any good workout links to share?

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I rediscovered on a cup while browsing some shops in the neighborhood of Kensington on Saturday:

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Live well & be well!

Bonnie

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Ahhh, Friday, long time no see! It’s been a long week for me and having a cold and feeling run down hasn’t helped. But, regardless, I’m happy when Thursday’s roll around because they are busy and signal the end of the work week! So, because it’s Friday, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from the week; please share any fun links to good articles, workouts, recipes, or your favorites from the week as well in the comments below!

So…On to the favorites! When it comes to food,¬†I’m eyeing up Lindsay’s¬†Blender Paleo Sticky Coffee Cake Muffins. They look so good! And in reading her post, I also learned a lot about if traditional coffee cakes contain coffee or not… (read on for the answer!)

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(source)

On the food note, I was given the opportunity to make my own cereal thanks to Chris from Mix It!

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Mix It, originally launched in Quebec a year ago and now expanding to the rest of Canada, offers healthy, customizable cereals delivered right to your door. I love local and¬†national companies so I was very excited that they reached out to me, especially because I have oatmeal almost daily! Their website provides a fun, easy-to-follow format¬†that allows you to¬†create your own hot or cold cereal with a few clicks. It’s self-explanatory (I appreciate that!) and you can choose from different types of either pre-made cereals or you can create your own.

If creating your own, you start with a base cereal (oatmeal, quinoa or rice flakes, all bran, etc), add your dried fruits (dates, figs, mangoes, papayas), pick¬†your nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, chia seeds) and finish with your toppings (cinnamon, protein, organic dark chocolate popped quinoa, organic maple chunks, and more!). I was shocked at all the options – things I wouldn’t pick up on my own but have always wanted to try, or would only want in small amounts – check out the website and see for yourself!

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They are now launching it to the rest of Canada and I’ll be trying another mix again.

I always have fun oatmeal toppings at home so I created a pretty basic mix that I could add anything to. Oh – and you get to pick the tube (like my little fall¬†animals eating their warm oats! Thought it was a good transition into the new season when I’m warming up bowls of hot oats for breakfast!) AND title it yourself…I really liked that:

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You can see what was in my mix: a base of organic rice and quinoa meal, cinnamon, hulled hemp seeds, pea protein isolate, dates and rice flour. Like I said, mine wasn’t too adventurous just starting out but I like it – there’s very little sugar and fat but it’s a great source of carbs with 7 g of protein per serving.
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Mikey loved the idea of Mix It and looked on the website; he might create his own next. Thanks so much to Chris for the complimentary chance to try it out!
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Here are some articles I’ve been enjoying around the web this week:

Shoe Fit has some solid stuff, like why you should pursue a certain look rather than a number on the scale if you have¬†physique goals. Also, I really liked her post about willpower and how it’s not the answer to sustainable weight loss.

I really liked this no-nonsense, tough love, all truth video from Jeff at Athlean-X (language):

I finally visited Believe Fit in McKenzie Towne in Calgary and bought a few new clothes¬†for a photoshoot soon. It’s definitely not one of those “show your stomach” or “hold a barbell and flex” kind of shoots – just some headshots and a chance to update my website with the awesome Jeremy Bokkens! I’m thankful for a fitness professional discount (helps so much!) and also scored a few sale times. Here’s what I got:

Lorna Jane catch me 7/8 tight: These fit so well (despite their longer length on my short legs!) and have a secure feeling; I love the pink accents, too!

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Public Myth bamboo racerback tank: SO soft, so cute, and very flattering! (I’m wearing it in the photo above.)

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Lorna Jane Muse Excel Tee: Comfortable and super light.

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I thought I’d end with a question for you that I asked Kindal on our chat yesterday: If you could go anywhere for any fitness-focused vacation, where would you go and what would you do? I think I’d love to do an extended river kayaking trip in a warm weather spot! That or explore New Zealand via hiking, climbing and paddling, or climb in¬†South America… There’s a lot on my fitness-focused vacation wish list. ūüėČ And you?!

And that concludes this Friday’s favorites post! Share some of your favorites with me and I hope you have an awesome weekend, friends! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

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Do you like surprises? I do! I can remember when I had a surprise birthday party in 4th grade… I remember seeing Alex Kirk standing behind my kitchen door and wondering what he was doing in my house – of course I came in the wrong door for the “SURPRISE!” to really hit home. I like surprises as an adult, too, even though those don’t seem to happen as often. But when’s the last time you surprised YOURSELF?

This last weekend, I did just that in a half marathon race. Let me back up for a bit more context first…

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As most of you know, summers are full for Mikey and I with Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs – that’s when our expeditions run and when we are out of town most often. It’s fun and busy and we’re often in different settings, like on kayaks or in sail boats, which doesn’t allow for my personal fitness goals to hang on like they can in the rest of the year. This is something I’m totally okay with, but it also is part of why I don’t commit to races or training programs that require more consistent focus in the gym over the summers.

At any rate, two of my friends had signed up for their first ever half marathon that, at the time, seemed like a ways away: Melissa’s Road¬†Race on September 24th. The race was over our girls’ weekend, and I knew that if I went to watch them and cheer them on, I would regret not signing up because of that electric race atmosphere and because of how much I still do love running that distance. So, I signed up too!

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Ashley, Elisa and Nicole – our cheering squad and some of my best girlfriends!

Over the course of the summer, I exchanged texts with Clare and Rachel about their training for the half and we encouraged each other along, even though I wasn’t running much alongside them (Rach in Canmore and Clare in Vancouver). “I’m comfortable with the distance,” I kept saying, “but won’t be¬†in shape to actually race the event. And I’m totally fine with that!”

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a beauty day for a run!img_2552

pre-race jitters in full effect right here…

Well, come race week, I started feeling like I wish I would have squeezed training in around the times I was free and on solid land over the summer. But an interest in power lifting and playing around with random workouts – including a few runs here and there – left me feeling very inadequate in the running department! Not to mention my last run had been horrible – I felt weak, tired and nothing felt smooth. I had resigned myself to just enjoying the run even though I really wanted to show up in top racing form. The truth is, the only race I’ve actually trained for is the marathon that almost wasn’t – my first marathon that was canceled due to the flood in Calgary and that I ran on my own with my mom and Mikey on bikes around me in Waterton! But that’s another memory for another day. ūüėČ

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All week leading up to the race, my workouts were lackluster, my energy low, and my motivation almost non-existent, so coming into the race I had pretty much zero expectations other than to have fun and support my friends – your first half marathon is a big deal, and I was really there for them! This is why, at the last minute, I decided that since I hadn’t trained I really didn’t need my phone for anything and just wanted to soak in the beautiful views. I knew that I could enjoy the run without music and that I only would have used it for selfies and scenery shots, but at the risk of dropping my phone decided it wasn’t worth it. So I left my gear in my bag at the bag check, ditched my layers and we went our separate ways; I lined up in the area of 5 min per KM, or 8 min per mile, and the race was off!

I felt very unlike my entire week of workouts – fresh, excited, full of life, and ready to move. I tried to reign it in, knowing that often the race atmosphere, adrenaline and excitement busts people out faster than they want and I didn’t want to crash later. I felt good so I kept moving and just thought, “Maintain this pace, Bon; you can do it!” For the first half of the race, I was noticing those around me and thinking about who I wanted to keep up with, but occasionally I just had to exclaim to someone around me, “Isn’t this so beautiful?!” The mountains were clear, the fall colors in full effect, and the course rolling or flat and absolutely beautiful in the crisp air. My motto for the first half was “light and fast, smooth and strong” and I kept reminding myself how strong I was – love that that idea was my focus without thinking about that beforehand! As I heard watches beeping around me, I realized I was keeping pace, maybe even speeding up, and I got in the groove and decided to see what I was capable of. This is when my motto switched to¬†“stay uncomfortable” as I was pushing my pace, just going with how I felt and picking people off around me.

Before I knew it, I saw the 18 km sign and realized this thing was almost done! I took the last hill head on and started picking up my pace, and when we got closer to the finish I wish I had started going for it sooner – I didn’t realize how fast it would come! The result?

Well, I finished with my fastest time ever and totally didn’t expect it! I had told the girls to be at the finish around the 2 hour mark, even though I would have liked to run 1:5o, and I finished in 1:42:16. Had I actually looked at the map I would have paced differently and gone for sub 1:40, but it was also very freeing to run without a pace or clock, phone or headphones.¬†I was shocked… And SO HAPPY when I came across the line because I was just having so much fun!

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Race outfit details: 2XU shorts, compression socks, Nike shoes and top.

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Rach and Clare crushed their goals and finished faster than they anticipated, too, and we celebrated with post-race bananas and donuts (times two on the donuts for me – they went down the hatch VERY easily).

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I ran my fastest half when I wasn’t expecting it – both at my heaviest weight and absolutely untrained – with so much left at the finish; I felt like I could have kept going and was jogging everywhere afterwards (to the food tent, to get my bag and stay warm, to cheer on the girls). Just goes to show there’s so much more to health than the scale. Next time I might train, but having no expectations and running in a gorgeous setting with an amazing crowd (and cheering squad!) allowed me to have fun and also run with a mindset of just seeing what my body could do. I think¬†knowing what it feels like to suffer helped me keep that mentality to keep pushing and not let myself¬†get comfortable; I was constantly reminding myself that this would be done soon and I wanted to finish having felt like I pushed my pace rather than just ran through it.

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The race was very well done; this was the 37th year of the event (although they haven’t always had the half marathon) and it was smooth, had great post-race food (bananas, donuts, cheese packs, yogurt, apples and bars), the bag check was easy, the pre-race warm up on the stage was fun and there were a few bands along the way! We were also told that whenever we saw a yellow flag to beware of wildlife in the area and that a red flag meant to stop. There were a few yellow flags (a bear in the area and rutting elk) – but that’s just life in the mountains! It was an incredibly stunning course because of the setting in Banff and is a race I would highly recommend; in fact, it’s one of the top races in Alberta.

After the race, my friend texted me that I actually placed, which I also didn’t expect at all;¬†apparently I¬†finished 2 out of the 249 in our division and was 56 out of 963 and 12 out of the 642 girls who raced. That was just the icing on the cake of a great day with friends – from our cheering squad and photographers (most of these beautiful shots are thanks to Elly!) to the girls killing their first race to the post-race massage and dinner out afterwards.

One of the neatest things is that I really surprised myself – I had no clue that was inside of me and now, for the first time, running a half marathon in the 1:30’s seems doable, something I never thought was possible before. To be surprised by your own strength, speed, power or endurance is a very cool thing, and it just shows that continuing to live a healthy lifestyle matters more than even what you’re doing specifically, what the scale says about your body, how you feel in the moment or how you are compared to others.

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(post-race hot tub; I was clearly VERY excited for this at Rach’s house!)

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The rest of our girls’ weekend was filled with delicious food, lots of amazing talks and laughs, and good encouragement to one another about all kinds of issues and life events.

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Everyone all together! Rachel, Nicole, Ashely, Clare, me and Elly.

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I left the weekend grateful for good friends, fellowship and thankful¬†for a capable, strong body as my bottom line; what gifts to be reminded of these things. Back in Calgary, I capped off the weekend with a delicious meal at my in-laws’ house and a visit to see the newest member of the family – pretty great. ūüôā

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When is the last time you surprised yourself? Did you do a set of stairs at work without breathing as hard, or cook a meal when you’d normally opt for a dinner out on the way home from work? Maybe you caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and saw the strong, beautiful, capable person that you are staring back at you. I hope you surprise yourself with something soon, and that God surprises you this week with his lavish love and grace in a unique way to your heart.¬†

I’d love to hear your stories! Thanks for reading, friends! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Hey guys! Can you believe it’s Friday? It’s been a long one for me – a good one but a long one!

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(Having so much fun being my corny self over on SnapChat… You can follow me under username buff bon!)

Well, as you know, it’s the first week of fall, and it’s sure felt like it here in Calgary! Beautiful, crunchy leaves, rainy weather and gray skies, and definitely cooler temps. It’s been a week that’s honestly made me feel like staying under a blanket, and for much of my time in between clients, I have! It’s also weather that makes me want coffee multiple times a day, so I thought for this Friday post I’d do a virtual coffee date! So grab a cup of joe, however you please, and catch up with me!

Mindfulness Dining Experience

On Wednesday night I attended a Mindful Dining event held at Market in Calgary. ¬†The setting was beautiful, the food works of art, and with each course (and subsequent kombucha pairing from TruBuch – I talked about them here), we learned tips for a daily eating routine from a psychologist, Sally¬†(follow her website at the link or her IG!)¬†and a nutritionist. It was incredibly fun and I’m so grateful my friend Amanda joined me – the $55 fee for 5 courses (plus a surprise dish!), kombucha and the 7 – 10:30 pm long, lingering chatting and eating was well worth it!

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Every dish was delicious, and we learned about mindful eating with each course we were served. This mindful practice brings us insight into the root of a healthy mind and body and can help cultivate a more loving, nourishing relationship with food. I wanted to share a few pictures as well as the 9 take-away tips from the night:

  1. Name your hunger: is it a physical need or an emotional desire?

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2. De-clutter: remove distractions and clutter from the kitchen. A clean kitchen can help you enter a more mindful state!

3. Set the mood: turn the TV off and put on relaxing music!

4. Breath: before you eat, take 3 deep breaths. This relaxes your body and shifts your parasympathetic nervous system into a resting state – rest & digest rather than fight or flight!

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5. Slow the fork down.: eat slowly and put your utensils down in between bites. Chew, chew, chew so your body can start the digestion process!

6. Tap into your senses: look at your food and take note of the colors and scents; feel it on your tongue and follow it as you swallow it.

7. The full factor: check in with yourself; on a scale of 0 to 10 (empty to overstuffed), where are you? Aim for a 7/10.

8. Reflect: when you’re satisfied, take 3 deep breaths and reflect on your eating experience.

9. Give gratitude: for all those who’ve had a hand in your meal, give thanks!

It was SO fun, and Amanda was the perfect dining and conversational partner, who got right into it and participated fully – how fun to have a friend like that as well as such a kindred spirit about so many things.

Have you ever practiced mindfulness in the eating arena? It’s so difficult for me to slow down and think through my hunger levels and appreciate my food!

Workouts

These haven’t been quite so mindful this week! I am running a half marathon on Saturday with friends in Canmore (it’s going to be a blast!) that I haven’t trained for one iota. Whoops! I’m comfortable with the distance and it’s going to be so fun running in the mountains, but without the training I’ll be running it, not racing it. Not wanting to go too hard on my legs coupled with the weather and just a general sense of the “blahs” made for very lackluster workouts all week. I did get a deadlift/step up workout in on Monday, a 20 min dumbbell HIIT session in one evening as well as a short kettlebell/burpee workout in Thursday.

Here’s what I did for the KB workout:

20/18/16/14/12 KB Swings

10/12/14/16/18 Burpees

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We’ll see how Saturday goes! I’ll be rested, that’s for sure! Plus, it’ll be a fun girls’ weekend in the mountains with some movement either way, which makes me happy!

Family

I got to meet my niece, two days after she entered the world in a short 30 minute labor from start to finish! Here’s what else is crazy: Sarah had a baby, yes.¬†At home. She didn’t make it to the hospital in time (aka she’s an absolute rockstar!) and¬†just like that, Eliana Grace was born! 👶🏻¬†Her name means “God answers with grace,” and it was very fun to meet this little one and see Sarah and Craig doing so amazing! We love you three (and their now not-so-baby girl, Annelise)! 💕

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Sadly, Mikey is out of town and will meet her this weekend, but at least there’s FaceTime to keep us connected while he’s traveling for work!
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…err… Maybe not. ūüėČ Oh brother. I sure love that man though!

Clients

I’ve been inspired by hard working clients all week, even if I haven’t been cranking out my own workouts like they have! My Young Adult Bootcamp started up again at Wellspring Calgary and the group did awesome! I am so proud of their first workout back at it, and some of them very new to exercise in general or post-treatment.

I also was proud of my three meet-in-a-park-clients who met on a chilly evening, after work at the end of the week, while it was raining, and did bear crawls up the hill, skaters, stair jumps, planks with their feet on trees… “Weird and awkward” – that described some of what I made them do, but they did it with smiles and coming off of difficult weeks. So proud of them!

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And those are the things I’d catch you up on if we were having coffee together! I’d love to hear how your workouts are, how work is going and what your family is up to, and thoughts on your nutrition these days. I hope you have a great weekend! ¬†Live well & be well friends,

Bonnie

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