Author: bonnie

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. 😉 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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Lately I’ve been finding myself surrounded by confident, successful people. From the fitness industry and other trainers at CityFit to fitness professionals online to fellow entrepreneurs in Calgary who are working hard despite the recession here to deliver quality products and services, I am surrounded by those who are striving and succeeding.

I often wonder myself if I’m truly a driven person. I want to be busy, to service my clients well and to feel like I gave everything at the end of a work day, but I don’t have a real driving focus or vision for 5 or 10 years down the road when it comes to my work and career. This can be a bit embarrassing for me to admit when my circles contain people who are driving and pushing forward with such focus and determination!

But the truth is, I’m okay being kind of mediocre in my life. Don’t get me wrong – I want to be all I can be and not be living under my full potential, but I also like having balance and being mindful of the different dimensions of my life. Part of it is my personality – I’m quite honestly okay to do my job, come home at the end of the day, and NOT pursue something else (like school, classes, or learning new hobbies). My husband, on the other hand, who just started his PhD (congrats, Mikey!), is a man driven to learn more and keep absorbing information and experiences, and I love that about him!

So how do I strike a balance between simply being me (and being okay with not being the #HUSTLE type of woman) and also wanting to make the most of my time and not waste my extra hours or days? Well, I’m trying this idea:

JUST SHOW UP.

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Now, I haven’t always been a proponent of this idea, partly because that can mean just doing the bare minimum and sometimes being met with lacklustre results due to poor planning and just showing up. However, I think it’s beneficial for someone like me, who is far from a Type-A personality, to just say, “I’m going for it!” and get my planning done, just clean the house, just get that workout going, and simply just.show.up.

So here’s how I’m planning on just showing up this week:

  • When I know something needs to be done, I’m just going to do it. Examples: if it only takes a minute to do 2 dishes, do it then. When I notice the toilet and think to clean it, do it then and not wait until it’s more of a chore. When I catch myself thinking about mowing the lawn, pick a time THAT DAY to do it (today it’s at 7 pm!).

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  • Don’t overthink my workouts. This is not normally an issue for me, but I’ve been struggling in the motivation department this last week and have been lax at getting movement DONE. So instead of over-thinking or planning my workouts, I’m just going to change into my workout clothes and start moving. (Here’s what I did today and just got it done! Felt great even though I put it off until the afternoon…)

  • For personal growth, keep it simple. Rather than keeping my Bible nearby when I wake up in the morning – next to my phone and coffee and workout plans for clients – I’m going to ONLY take my Bible (well, and my coffee!) for morning reading. If I don’t have my phone and other options or distractions around me, chances are I’m going to do a lot better at actually only reading my Bible or journalling when that’s my goal. Keep it simple and clutter-free so my mind also can be!
  • Keep the sleep up! I’ve been doing great catching more z’s and want to be someone who always prioritize rest and sleep, which means being firm on how I spend my evenings and continuing to shut ‘er down sooner than not!

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I also liked this little list that someone shared on Facebook about just showing up and just doing it! …maybe you connect with some of these thoughts?

Sixteen Small Steps to Happiness

1. Push yourself to get up before the rest of the world – start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. Go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.

2. Push yourself to fall asleep earlier – start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. Wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.

3. Erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. Use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.

4. Get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. Fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.

5. Stretch. Start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. Roll your head. Stretch your fingers. stretch everything.

6. Buy a 1L water bottle. Start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.

7. Buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. Write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. No detail is too small.

8. Strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. Put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. Make your bed in full.

9. Organize your room. Fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. Light a beautiful candle.

10. Have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. Lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.

11. Push yourself to go for a walk. Take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. Bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. Realize you can learn from your dog.

12. Message old friends with personal jokes. Reminisce. Suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. Push yourself to follow through.

14. Think long and hard about what interests you. Crime? Boarding school? Long-forgotten romance etiquette? Find a book about it and read it.  There is a book about literally everything.

15. Become the person you would ideally fall in love with. Let cars merge into your lane when driving. Pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. Stick your tongue out at babies. Compliment people on their cute clothes. Challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. Then two. Then a week. Walk with a straight posture. Look people in the eye. Ask people about their story. Talk to acquaintances so they become friends.

16. Lie in the sunshine. Daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. Open your eyes. Take small steps to make it happen for you. (source: www.EmmaElsworthy.com)

Some of these make me roll my eyes a bit, but I think that idea of just pushing yourself to go for it is really great advice. If you want to be that early bird, just DO IT! Get up early and get after it. If you want to be a stronger Christian and someone who identifies with Christ, what’s holding you back from spending time with Jesus and making him your priority (I’m saying this one to myself!)? If you want to see change in your body, stop making excuses and start making it part of your day to go to the gym after work, no exceptions.

Sometimes we all need a little tough love and that kick to just show up and see what happens!

Is there an area you need to just show up regularly in?

What do you think of that idea of “just showing up?”

I’d love to hear your tips to get stuff done!

Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Home again. It’s good to be back, despite the very late arrival in Calgary and quick turn-around for work on Monday! The sailing trip was…full! We experienced rain for 4 days (some real type 2 fun), and some unplanned moments that all made for a few tough experiences along the way (and the pictures that represent the trip so well are from a conglomeration of folks on the trip! The more professional looking ones are from our friend, Nick – thanks for sharing!).

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But, there was also a ton of laughs, some great moments of sailing, a real appreciation for the sun and subsequent skinny dipping in the ocean (what memories!) and some solid talks about what matters in life. Hard things, beautiful things, unplanned things, better than expected things – just like life!

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We saw hundreds of dolphins that just played with the boats on the day it wasn’t raining, had some great campfires – even in the rain at times! – and breathed deep the chance to get away from regular routines and work lives, cancer appointments and technology. Mike and I always say a trip is only as good as the people who come on it, and I’m so grateful for those who came and invested, dove in, had incredible attitudes about the weather, were extremely helpful and shared so much wisdom with me through their stories. I do not for one second take for granted that Mikey and I are able to interact with people on such a real, deep level – my heart is full! But now that we’re home, I’m ready to be home. This trip was tiring as I was the cook/co-land director and Mikey the co-land director/skipper/program director – too many roles for both of us with our minds going in too many directions. Many take-aways for us and also so many beautiful moments to remember and take forward.

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Here’s what I’m looking forward to we move into September and get back to routine:
Eating on track again! Although we ate well on the sailing trip, I’m always more liberal with s’mores, candies on the boat, and typically am not drinking as much water as I need, especially with the rainy, cold days. I’m actually looking forward to tracking my macros again; I never want to become attached to or obsessed with this but for me,  I feel better when I’m more aware of how I’m eating. I didn’t track anything while away, but it will be great to get back to it!
Regular workouts! I love taking time off and not feeling guilty about working out – I really don’t feel an iota of a desire to workout while on our trips – and after a break I can’t WAIT to get back at it! I am anticipating training again in the powerlifting the sphere and also have a half-marathon on September 24th; clearly I’m not going for time since I haven’t trained but I’m going to be getting a few runs in between now and then. I did get out for a run before our trip on Quadra Island and afterwards in Campbell River on a gorgeous, sunny and windy day – a day that would have been perfect for sailing! …turned out to be perfect for a run.

So that will be fun – back to training and routine. You guys know that I love getting away from it and then getting back to it, and I’m already sharing some of the fun on my Instagram page!

Building my clientele at work. September is a natural time for me to get back to work and fall – spring is rally the time for me to put my head down and work hard. And you know what? After a fun summer of adventures I’m ready for it! A lot of my clients were away for chunks of the summer so I’m excited to flush out my schedule again.

On that note, I’m looking forward to…
Our Wellspring Calgary young adult events. We have some fun stuff coming up and my goal is to be more organized with my planning and promoting of events. Time to get my Type A hat on! 😉
And a few fun updates?
New shoes! I got these Native shoes on our sailing trip at the little harbour called Refuge Cove. It’s a beautiful and unique little place to grab extra food supplies, fill up on water for the boats, and have a fun stop to explore a bit. I’ve seen these Native shoes before but found a different model at the Refuge Cove store and though they’d be perfect for work! These are the Apollo Moc in black – hard to tell in my photo – and are light, super comfortable and so neat looking – I love them! My Nike Fly Knit shoes have holes on each bunion (they just busted through!) so it was time and these are a fun option for training my clients in the gym.
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Let’s continue on the theme – with a new ring! I decided to buy this neat ring at the same place I got the Native shoes and just absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, very “me,” and my friend and the nurse on our trip said, “Bonnie, just get it! This is one of those things in life you just get! You’ve worked so hard this week – if you don’t get it I’ll buy it for you.” So… I did! A fun impulse buy and very “me.”

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Fall. Yep. I love summer, the sunshine, and all the adventures that come along with it, but now that the weather’s changing in just whole-heartedly embracing the change in seasons. It means pumpkins, crunchy leaves underfoot, steady work and a trip home for US Thanksgiving! Lots to look forward to.
So… What did I miss last week? Anything you’re looking forward to or any fun recent impulse purchases? Let me know!
Have a great week and I’ll be back to connect soon with a workout!
Live well & be well,
Bonnie
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Good morning, friends!

Well, half way through another week and a little closer to our Survive & Thrive sailing trip this weekend!

We still have more prep to do before we leave, and I’ve really needed to learn how to get in the zone and get work done. Mikey was away at a conference and I didn’t want all the tasks to be left for him to come back to, but so often I get distracted when I’m trying to do work. I’ll put a YouTube video on, talk to my mom on FaceTime, have 4.2837 million tabs open on my browser…You get the idea. I know in my mind that we don’t multi-task well, but the temptation to flit around between too many things is very real and the distractions very present. I finally closed (most!) my tabs, turned some wordless music on, and got to work finishing up the menu for the trip, and it felt great!

I listened to a podcast I just discovered called Side Quest Podcast with Robbie Farlow and have only listened to a few self-selected episodes, but I recognized one of his guests and listened in yesterday to see what wisdom Jason Helmes of Anyman Fitness had to say. It was a really great interview (you can check out the podcast here) and my two biggest takeaways were this:

Get systems in place to work for you rather than you working for your systems

Get disciplined and go for it

The systems part of my takeaway is somewhat similar to what I was referring to in the opening of this post. It’s very easy to work on a website, client programs, chores around the house, etc and get distracted and move onto something else, leaving jobs half finished and leaving a pile of work that seems to get bigger and more unmanageable every time you turn around to look at it! I was inspired by how Jason would write articles when his kids napped, and soon he became more efficient and effective in his writing. He set time aside during certain days and hours of the week for specific tasks and did NOTHING besides those tasks in that time-frame. This is a great takeaway for me because I’m often not very streamlined in my work.

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Some tips for productivity?

Block off time, like Jason does, for different tasks and don’t deviate from them! Sounds simple enough, but I’m working on practicing this myself!

Practice the Rule of 1 – 3 – 5. I got this one from Pat Flynn (you should subscribe to his newsletter if you don’t already!), and I love the concept of it in fitness and eating and work for daily life! The Rule of 1 – 3 – 5 says everyday we should do “One big thing, three small things, and maybe some other stuff.” The idea is to identity what effort is most important to your goal and get it done no matter what. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable and just focus on the one big thing you prioritize for that day; the rest are a bonus! My challenge to you is the same challenge that Pat gave in his email:

“My challenge you to, reader, is to take five minutes to figure your One Big Thing. Then fill in the rest of your 1 – 3 – 5.

Ask: What is my goal? Then: What is the most important thing I can do everyday that will advance me toward my goal? That’s number one.

Number three should be other big hitters, but if you skipped them they wouldn’t ruin your game. The final few (usually) 5 things should be meaningful, small little tasks. Brisk walking, or swings, for example.”

Can you do that today? Tell me your BIG ONE in the comments below!

As a bonus to the productivity tips, I’d encourage you to remove distractions and temptations. I just yesterday took Facebook and Twitter off my phone (Instagram and SnapChat work with a phone, so I left those on, but I made them only available for use on wifi and not just on data), and quite some time ago I took all notifications off my phone. The phone can be SUCH a distraction, which is one reason why I always look forward to our expeditions – it’s a chance to be disconnected for a while. 

My second big takeaway about discipline, was also a good kick in the pants and hopefully will be an encouragement to you guys! Jason shared about his 7 month diet cut to bring him from about 20% body fat and about 268 lbs down to 220 lbs and 6% body fat, and how he just decided to be disciplined even though the summer months were upon him and there were weddings and BBQs all the time. He’s also a teacher, a father of two, and runs an online coaching website, so he did all this with focus and determination. If he could focus on his cut and be mindful of his food, hitting his macros and just really committing to his goal, why can’t we do it?

If you’ve been on the fence about a goal or only halfway committing to your goals by hitting the gym hard but not working on your nutrition, what’s really stopping you from getting serious? Life doesn’t have to be about your fitness or body goals, but if you’re in a place right now where you’re trying to put your health first OR have hit a plateau, why not FULLY commit, jump in with two feet, and go for it?

Maybe it’s the fitness portion you’re struggling with and you just don’t view yourself as an athlete or someone worthy of a goal in the gym. You know what? We are ALL athletes; we just need to start treating and viewing ourselves that way so we take our training and our nutrition serious. Athletes value performance over appearance, they fuel their bodies for performance, and they get into a solid mindset while they’re training.

Most of my personal training clients are focused on personal fitness goals such as weight loss and overall appearance, which definitely isn’t wrong. But what if we switched our mentality and thinking a bit? Athletes focus on improving key fitness indicators such as strength, stamina, flexibility and agility and adopt a mindset that keeps them moving forward despite setbacks. My desire is to teach clients to value athletic rather than aesthetic gains, to fuel their motivation to keep going.

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I, myself, need to treat my own workouts and my nutrition like that of an athlete. As I’m learning about powerlifting I’ve definitely adopted a “beginning mindset” and have allowed the weight on the bar to drop as I’m learning new movements and have been taking my workouts more seriously. I’m taking longer rests in between heavy sets even though it’s not heavy compared to others; I’m following a program and also eating according to my workload, not skipping meals or calories to try to cut down or lose that belly bloat. That’s no longer my priority.

Of course, I’m still having fun in the gym (working on my handstand progressions!) and with my food (did you see I’m on a kick of eating 2 double stuffed Oreos a day? Hey – they fit my high carb days just fine and I love them dunked in my afternoon espresso! More of those adventures on SnapChat: buff bon), but I’m trying to bring that athlete mindset into everything I do and stay intentional.

Rather than dwell on your extra belly fat, let an extra beer here and there sneak in, and just “get through” your workouts, I encourage you to embrace the mindset of an athlete and get disciplined with your goals.

Some encouragement for you midway through your week to get serious about what you’re willing to commit to and to get your work done in a productive, efficient manner! My BIG ONE today is to put my final stamp of approval on the sailing trip menu and be DONE with it! And in terms of my nutrition I just might skip those Oreos today and opt for something more wholesome. 😉

Have a great day you guys! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Don’t you love fall? Okay, maybe I’m a liiiitle early to proclaim this, especially because it does mean that summer is over, but when your summer has been rainy, stormy and chilly, you’re ready to embrace a new season (thanks, Calgary). 😉 But there is something refreshing about September – kids are back to school, the air is crisp, vacations and travels are over and routine is back. I think for many people September is a great time to reset our eating and exercise habits, routines, and

Spry September. Don’t you like the sound of that? “Spry” means active and lively, and I think those words embody a wonderful way to enter a new season. I wanted to share a few ways that I’m bringing a spirit of spry into my life as September approaches, and I hope that they spark ideas in your mind to do the same in the coming month!

This post is partly inspired by SPUD (sustainable produce, urban delivery), with whom I’ve worked in the past (I first learned about how to juice via SPUD and loved getting their produce boxes!). I received a $50 credit to shop online with SPUD and instead of just getting food, decided to explore more that this website has to offer to help promote health! It was fun clicking around the site and took me ages to pick a few products out because they have everything from beauty and skin care to supplements to products for your pets to local fruit and vegetable boxes.

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I think the idea of utilizing a produce delivery service might seem like an “extra” in life to some, but here’s what’s so amazing about SPUD – it’s not just groceries! SPUD offers an incredible variety of safe, healthy products for kids, animals, your home, AND your belly. 🙂 There are amazing deals, especially considering the products are organic and often local, and the website includes recipes, substitution ideas for healthier items like energy drinks, and even DIY ideas. (For more info on SPUD, check out the website links and be sure to read to the end of the post for $20 of free purchases!)

So tip #1 comes at you from SPUD! My first tip to make September spry is to:

Take care of your skin

I’m not a big make-up wearer, and my skincare routine looks a little like this:

  1. Wake up, wash face with water.
  2. Put on coconut oil as moisturizer.
  3. Mascara and blush on.
  4. Out the door!

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I figured that it’s time to take care of my skin more intentionally; after all, health is not just eating vegetables and working out, it’s being mindful of the other areas of my life like my skin, too! So I decided to order something more specific for my skin.

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I chose the all-in-one beauty balm from Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Science. This product blends superfruit antioxidants, nourishing moisturizers, and broad spectrum protection with natural mineral-tint color for clean coverage in one easy step, which you can tell from my above beauty steps is perfect for me. I’ve worn this several times now since I received it and love the sheer, mineral-tint color (that you can wear alone or under make-up) that still looks natural.

I decided that Mikey needed something for his skin, too, and had him pick out a scent of beard oil because I know he lost his in the move recently. He picked out the Argan Beard Conditioning Oil in the Cedar and Mint Scent, which is from Calgary-based Mammoth Beard Company. They use the finest quality ethically sourced ingredients and no cheap filler oils, synthetic fragrances, or preservatives, which is important because he needs to take care of his beard just as much as anything else for his skin and hair health.
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We both love the scent, although Mikey commented that it was mintier than he was expecting and would go with the cedar wood or tobacco scent next time, but he loves how it feels – and I love how it looks being less scraggly and cleaner.

Here’s another no-purchase-needed, simple way to make your September more spry:

Up your steps

Yep. That’s it. Get more steps daily for better health, better stress management, a healthier body (less sitting = less health complications and more calories burned!) and weight loss. As I mentioned in my last post, getting more steps could be what you need to get you through a fat loss plateau and is a magnificent way to get more low intensity movement in that gives you a chance to breathe, listen to a podcast, relax during a walk or just pray as you move. Get up a few minutes earlier and start your day with a walk or head outdoors in the crisper air after dinner to help you digest and prolong the couch flop that happens to us all at the end of the day!

Manage your stress

On that note, another way to manage your stress besides walking is via supplementation. With routine and busier schedules often comes the onset of stress after a care-free summer. We all know how stress can affect our health in some major ways, and that while some element of stress is actually normal and good, stress can also make us more susceptible to illness, promote poor sleep, affect our mood and cause us to make less intentional food choices.

Through my partnership with Social Nature, I received a (complimentary) supplement called Flora 4 Health. This product helps to support a healthy response to stress and helps to temporarily relieve the symptoms of stress by supporting cognitive health, mental focus and working memory – something that sounds pretty good for September! 🙂

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I checked with my friend and acupuncturist about the ingredients in this product and she gave me the go-ahead to try it! It includes American Ginseng root extract, rhodiola root extract, ashwagandha root extract and schisandra berry extract. Ginseng helps boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation and treat diabetes (source);  rhodiola helps with fat burning, enhancing energy and boosting brain power and is part of a group of plants that can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, and environmental stress (source); ashwagandha has shown incredible results for lowering cortisol and balancing thyroid hormones (source); and schisandra berry helps to boost liver function and aids with adrenal functions to help prevent adrenal fatigued helps with inflammation (source). I’ve been taking it for a few weeks now with no ill side effects and am feeling great! Hard to say how much this changes your stress – especially as I’m not a very stressed out person, generally, but I think it’s helped keep me balanced and free from sickness with busyness going on with our last Survive & Thrive expedition coming up this week and clients coming back in full force for September!

To my Canadian friends, anyone living in the Greater Vancouver Area, and the Greater Toronto Area can try this product for FREE thanks to Social Nature! I you don’t live in this area, Social Nature has a deal going on Canada-wide right not for free super fruit snacks available in 3 different flavors and full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. Just click here to get started with Social Nature – you pick a product you want, try it and then share about your #trynatural experience. 🙂

Speaking of trying something new… My next tip for a Spry September is to:

Try a new food

Do you get stuck in food ruts? Mikey always jokes that every night is stir fry night…and it’s kind of true. I eat fairly routine foods, which I don’t think is a bad thing – I know what I’m getting, it’s quick and easy, and is healthy! – but sometimes it’s good to introduce more variety in your diet. At the very least, it’s important for not only me but for my spouse. 😉

So via SPUD I decided to pick up two things I’ve heard about but never tried: micro greens and a red kuru squash, which is a thick skinned winter squash that looks like a small pumpkin without the ridges. The micro greens, or seedlings of edible vegetables and plants, are easy enough to get into my daily diet, packing a nutritional punch of nutrients like vitamins, C, E, and K, lutein, and beta-carotene, 40 fold than the mature leaves of the same plants (source).

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I threw the micro greens on some nachos (made with kale chips for something new, too!) and love their mild but distinct flavor:

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The squash I’m currently using as decoration (perfect for the gray and stormier days we’ve been having, which sure makes me think about fall!) but am excited to try out in a recipe soon! According to a wikipedia page, red kuri squash is full-flavored and sweet, often cooked with butter and herbs in a variety of soups, stews and casseroles (source). It can also be used for cakes, quick breads, muffins, cookies, jams and pies because it has a nutty-tasting flesh and in terms of cooking can be baked, boiled, microwaved, steamed, sautéed or fried… Anyone have any ideas for this or special uses for micro greens?!

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Shop local

Now that we live in Inglewood, I’ve been enjoying shopping more local, and I think it’s a neat practice to be in if you can make it happen. Supporting local businesses makes you feel more connected to your community and is investing right where you’re growing in your own life! Which is why, instead of picking out a kombucha that you can find in any store around the city, I decided to try a kombucha (another good option for something new for you to try like the above option!) from a local company via the SPUD website.

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Kombucha “is a uniquely delicious bubbly fermented tea elixir with Asian roots dating back over 2000 years. It is full of living probiotics, enzymes and amino acids that are all beneficial for the digestive system.” An easy way to think about it, is that Kombucha is to tea what yogurt is to milk (source). I love that this is a local Calgary company (check out the nutritionals and the cute little logo at the bottom); this is the first kombucha from a local company I’ve tried before and it did not disappoint; this one was SO TASTY! I loved the slight ginger taste – I put it in a wine glass and enjoyed it as a treat, knowing that kombucha has so many health benefits!

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Set a new goal

As you know from some previous posts and my Instagram feed, I’m loving powerlifting! It’s a new=-to-me sport and I’m learning so much as week by week, workout by workout I’m adopting the beginner mindset and practicing form as I watch my strength grow.


It’s been fun to have something to focus on in the gym and has given me a new direction. Maybe you also need a focus and could benefit from a plan, whether that’s with a trainer, a workout partner, or a new program. Want to get that first chin up? Hoping to put more weight on your squat? Want to learn how to properly swing a kettle bell? Use September to focus on something and set a new goal!

So there you have it! A few ways to make your September more spry. We are off this week for our last Survive & Thrive expedition of the summer, our sailing trip in BC, and are starting September off with an adventure! I’d love to hear how YOU are going to make September spry in the comments below. 

And, if you’d like to try SPUD out yourself, you might as well save some money and enjoy $20 of free groceries on SPUD when you spend at least $50 on your new SPUD account – simply sign up with SPUD to have your $20 discount automatically applied to your order. My referral code is CRCAL-LANBON. Remember to check out fruit snacks and stress supplement via Social Nature to check the links above and take advantage of those complimentary offers while they last!

Have a great last week of August, friends, and let me know what you’re planning on doing to make September a spry month! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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SufferFest 2016… It was a great day full of lots of walking, some good talks with my husband, achy feet and burning legs and a little bit of, well, suffering, as the name implies! I wanted to share about the idea of SufferFest, why we do it every year, and why I think you should do it in your own way, too.

I think most of us in North America would say we lead fairly comfortable lives. There are bumps in the road, sure, and we expect those on some level, but for the most part many people live in coast mode, moving from air conditioned homes to comfortable cars and temperature-controlled offices, only to repeat the process on the way home before crawling into bed. Sure, there’s a lot in between – kids and pets and relational ups and downs at work; meals eaten and workouts crushed; vacations here and laughter there; and some level of pain and suffering mixed into the lot. But more or less, if you are reading this blog, you are probably doing so from a more (rather than less) comfortable place in life.

And so, we bring intentional suffering into the mix. Not the kind where you pray for hardships or create difficult life circumstances for yourself, but the kind where you decide to challenge your body, to push it further, to see if you have some girt when you’re out of those climate-controlled environments and to see what you’re made out of. Partly because Mikey and I don’t always book a permit far enough in advance, partly because we like the idea of pushing, we decided a few years back to pick a classic backpack in the Canadian Rockies and do it in a day.

 

We’ve done the RockWall Trail in a day, the Iceland Trail in a day, and the Skyline Trail in a day…it was time for something else!

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No permit needed, no one else to schedule around, just pick a hike, get up early, and go all day.

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We know before we begin hiking it’s going to be a tough day; it’s a lot tougher than just going for a long walk because the classic backpack trips mean a lot of elevation lost and gained so that you can spend beautiful time hiking among mountain passes and surrounded by beauty! So we prep – we prep our gear, prep our food and pick our fuel sources carefully, and prep our minds to get ready for some pain.

This year we decided to tackle Mt. Robson in Jasper, only to be foiled by a 4-6 hour delay on the way there. So, knowing we wouldn’t arrive until 1 am and not wanting to only grab 4 hours sleep, we turned around and found another epic backpack to do (that’s easy to do in the Rockies!) and prepared to hike out to, around, and back from Skoki Mountain.

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There are many ways to choose to (temporarily) suffer – you can go for a long bike ride, try something new that scares you like rock climbing, try a two-a-day workout, or enter a local competition for a sport. Why would you do it? To see if you can! To find a way to #SweatBetter and take your body and mind to the next level. It will require some level of sacrifice (hello early morning when we wanted to sleep in!), some tenacity and the drive to overcome, but it will be worth it.

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Who knows – you might even smile when you’re doing it. 😉

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Mikey and I walked and walked and walked all day, starting in our Chacos (sandals) and eventually switching to some compression gear (I used my 2XU compression tights earlier in the day and socks in the afternoon) and running shoes (I used my Nike FlyKnits that I received in partnership with SportChek). Good gear can help SO much with your own SufferFest – it makes you realize how truly hardcore the pioneers and explorers were with big, heavy boots and no GPS or step trackers. 😉

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The compression really helped us feel better half way through the day, as did the lake stop/swim, handstand shot, and picture ops! I loved being able to track my steps with my Garmin and feel like, at the end of the day with over 60,000 steps, I could fully enjoy a big Mexican meal out and then go to bed very happy. While I don’t believe you have to “earn your food,” it feels good to work hard for it sometimes!

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When you’re preparing your own SufferFest, choose something you like – there’s go to be SOME element of fun involved! – and be wise about it. It’s great doing something with others because you know you’ve got a back up system and a friend to not only help if anything happens but to suffer alongside. 😉

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Mikey basically went from 0 – 27 miles (or 44 km) in a day! While I wouldn’t recommend that, I WOULD recommend taking an ice bath or finding a glacier-fed lake afterwards to soak in for some good recovery. He was stiff the next day (as anyone should be after not training for more than a marathon distance + ups and downs, but hey – that’s SufferFest for ya), but I was still wondering if I could push my body the following day. So after a good sleep in and recovery breakfast, I went out for 12 miles. It was hot, I was barely chugging along by the end, but I DID IT.

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I wanted to know if I could!

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So my challenge to you is this: find something that you can struggle through, choose a way to #SweatBetter that is a bit outside your comfort zone, and go for it. Get uncomfortable and suffer through something to see if you can. This could be on any level or scale but it can’t come too easy. There’s not much more time left in summer to tackle a fun outdoor adventure, take a half day kayaking trip, go camping, hit the trails, or try your own mini triathlon, so take advantage of the weather and long days before diving in the usual busyness that is September.

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And when you do, let me know how it goes, what you learned, and how you felt before, during and afterwards. Go on, choose a bit of physical suffering, and see what happens! Until we chat again, live well & be well!

Bonnie

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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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(source)

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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