Category: Balance

…you need discipline. What do you think about that? As Jim Rohn famously said, “Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going.” Habit. Discipline. Maybe in a season of resolutions and goal settings, we don’t need to look for passion, motivation and drive as much as we need to buckle down and be disciplined. Hear me out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to un-complicate and demystify all things fitness and food related for my clients and for myself. There’s something very appealing to me about keeping these pursuits of health simple, and as I’ve blogged about before, “discipline = freedom.” This idea comes from a retired Navy SEALS director, Jocko Willink, and you can read about the concept behind this idea here, but to paraphrase (and from the article),

“‘…what’s interesting,’ he said, ‘is that the more strict we were with our standard operating procedures, the more freedom we actually had to operate faster and more efficiently because everyone knew what to do.’

Willink said that he was inspired to take this approach as a new SEAL when he observed that the highest performers were those who had the most disciplined morning routines, waking up to prepare for the day’s missions while others slept.”


(photo by Jeremy Fokkens)

Isn’t that a neat concept? It’s not that discipline makes us not have fun at birthday parties with food, or never go out with friends on a Friday night but instead stay at the gym and lift weights; it’s more that when you’re disciplined, you’re able to live life more freely. Discipline displayed through consistency throughout the year in the gym means I’m able to hike hard, to ski on any given weekend, to jump in the bouncy castle with my friends’ kids and in fact enables me to take some time off now and again from the gym and not worry about it. Discipline with my nutrition means sticking to the good ol’ standby that works for me: 80% real food, 20% whatever-fun-food! It means eating a majority of vegetables, proteins and fruits and being mindful of my fat and sugar intake most of the time, while still loving my almost-weekly licorice fix, some handfuls of chocolate chips when they happen to be in my cupboard, and a glass of wine with friends at someone’s house.


(or bubble tea with ice cream and chocolate sauce!)

But it’s discipline for the majority of the time that enables this balanced approach and freedom.

What kind of fitness routine are you willing to commit to in order to see change while still giving your life flexibility in and out of the gym? What type of meal prep and actions do you need to take in order to set yourself up for success nutritionally so that you can have freedom from time to time with friends or enjoying your favorite meal at a restaurant? You see, we can’t commit to something for a week, 21 days, 3 months, or even a year to see change and be able to live in that freedom; it needs to be the result of repeated, actionable commitment that happens consistently and then freedom is gained.

There are far too many ways we make this discipline complicated when it comes to fitness and nutrition. You might follow one Instagram fitness guru who is a powerlifter and love her confidence but also love the body of a girl on Facebook who is a bikini competitor. Maybe you travel a lot and want to use resistance bands, but then you see a new program in Men’s Health and think you’re doing it all wrong and change your game plan. You got a cookbook for Christmas full of paleo recipes because you’re a Crossfitter but then discovered that vegan girl on YouTube who is so skinny but eats like 6 bananas at breakfast alone, which from paleo you know are very high in carbohydrates…


It can be a confusing space when you’re trying to navigate how to make change and get disciplined, so here are some basics and what discipline can give you in these spaces:


It takes discipline to get up in the morning and not skip your workout when it’s cold out and the sun doesn’t rise for 3 more hours.

It takes discipline to go for a walk at lunchtime to get some more steps in to your daily total, or to take 20 minutes for a workout while on vacation.


It takes discipline to know when to take a rest day when your body is fatigued from your routine.

It takes discipline to do your workout well, focusing on each rep and not half-assing your way through your movements. It also takes discipline to do the not-so-glamorous things, like foam rolling and stretching (ahem, Bonnie!).


It takes discipline to order a side of broccoli more often than a side of fries.

It takes discipline to spend 2 hours on the weekend meal prepping so that you’re set up for success during the busy week ahead.

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(It doesn’t have to be pretty for it to be healthy, quick, tasty and nourishing! 😉 )

It takes discipline to not finish off your husband’s plate of food or nibble the rest of the cookies that your toddler doesn’t finish when you’re full from your own lunch.

It takes discipline to learn how to track your macros (protein, carbs and fat) and then it takes discipline to understand portion sizes and find a sustainable way of eating longterm.

The Rest of Life:

It takes discipline to not just flop on the couch at the end of the day, but to [insert what you need here: play with your kids, ask your wife about her day, go for a walk instead, cook dinner instead of ordering out…].

It takes discipline to read your Bible in the morning rather than wasting your pre-work time working your thumb out while scrolling on Facebook (guilty!).

It takes discipline to listen in conversation with others and really hear them, to make them feel known and loved, and not just consider your own answer or get lost in your to-do list.

It takes discipline to create the career you want instead of complaining about the one you have.

It takes discipline to not let Netflix roll on but to create an evening routine so that your sleep hygiene is top notch!

Discipline. It takes discipline. And in the discipline? FREEDOM! Freedom to play rough house with your kids without getting breathless; freedom to get dessert when on date night with your husband without any guilt of indulgence; freedom in choosing time worshipping Jesus rather than your phone and not because of a sense of duty; freedom to sleep in occasionally because you need rest and not worry about losing gains at the gym. Freedom. But it all starts with discipline.

So let’s keep it simple. Maybe tracking your food isn’t the best because you feel overwhelmed by the numbers and barcodes. Okay then, let’s start with whatever meal is your “weakest” and make it stronger. Make your own lunch daily, then worry about that daily Tim Horton’s double double and chocolate croissant. Make a rule to “say no to free food” at the office and stay disciplined; a lot of needless, extra calories (mainly from free muffins or those candies that Sherry has on her desk) are gone from your day with that one simple discipline. Maybe you need a bit more structure in the nutrition department, so find a friend who can get on board with you. But keep it simple: keep your foods mainly real and you’ll be okay! I promise.

When it comes to fitness, let’s keep that simple too. Remember that so much can be accomplished with just your body weight. Focus on the big movements: push, pull, hinge, squat and core (rotation or stability). A quick way to hit all of those with just body weight? A push up, a row on a TRX or with a broomstick between two chairs, a one legged deadlift (perhaps while picking up your boy’s Legos), a squat (maybe with baby in the Ergo!) and a plank or side plank with a twist. Keep it simple.

Bands provide amazing resistance for your muscles while being incredibly easy on your joints, you can always use your body to walk (check out my ideas for and the value of LISS – low intensity steady state movement – here or below!) and you can swim if you love being in the water and enjoy class with friends.

Don’t overwhelm your body with choices or try everything available, but shoot to be consistent and you WILL see change. I promise.

How will you keep it simple, simple enough to stay disciplined, in order to see change, create new habits and live in freedom? Maybe it’s something spiritual in your life, unrelated to fitness and nutrition. Or maybe it’s more interpersonal and you want to commit to calling a friend once a week or writing a letter of encouragement to a family member once a month. Whatever it is, let’s commit to keeping it simple and staying disciplined together as time continues to march us forward into 2017. I’d love to hear about it if this post resonates with you in any way and what area you want to forget about motivation and see some disciplined action take place!

Keep it up, and remember that in the midst of discipline there needs to be a clear WHY. Why do you want to stick with your gym routine? Why feed your body healthier foods? It has to be more than to look a certain way or because you know the alternative, junk food, isn’t good for your body and health. Dig deep, find out why, and let that help drive your discipline. And in the midst of your why, and of discipline? Grace. Always grace for yourself and the process. It’s not about perfection! Keep the bigger picture of life and reality and eternity in mind because at the end of the day, a workout is just a workout, choosing frozen yogurt for dessert is actually okay, and life will go on. Really believe that.

Live well & be well, friends! With discipline and in grace and freedom,


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It’s still the first week of January, and while people are setting resolutions and adding more to their lives, I’m wondering how many people (myself included!) might need to simplify their lives, or at least look at their goals in a different way. What prompted these thoughts is a hashtag you may have seen on social media right now: #gainingweightiscool Women all over are chiming in with their before and after photos of them having GAINED weight and how much healthier they are now having let some ideals go and gained weight (many moving from an eating disorder or disordered thoughts to more acceptance and balance). While there’s nothing wrong with abs and many people are genetically lean, I think it’s a more healthy-than-not trend, and while listening to yesterday’s Girls Gone WOD podcast, in which they chatted tracking macros with Adee Cazayoux from the nutrition program Working Against Gravity (WAG), I started thinking about how our image around our bodies often holds us back from letting go. Let me explain.

Maybe you’re the girl with the great arms. Everywhere you go, people comment on your biceps or shoulders. Have you ever gone on vacation without hitting the gym or sustained an injury and worried that that portion of your identity would disappear too?

Perhaps you’re the girl with the long hair. You received a cancer diagnosis and as your life started changing from your work routine to trips to the doctor’s office, your hair began falling out. No longer do people comment on your beautiful brown hair, but instead flit their eyes to and from your thinning head.


(Mikey during chemo! …different for a man to lose his hair, especially when he never lost his beard, but it’s still a change in identity and the thinning hair does look different than a shaved head on purpose…)

Or maybe you’re the guy with the abs – you’ve had them as long as you can remember, but it’s getting harder to keep them as you age and you’re finding you have be pretty strict with your nutrition to keep them. Is it worth it? You think so, because you’re afraid of what others might say when you take your shirt off at the beach and no longer have them.

…you get the point. It’s an interesting conversation, as I’ve seen friends lose or gain weight rapidly due to steroids with their chemo cocktails and often thought about if I were to lose my dreadlocks, my defined arms, etc – what would people think? When I started consciously eating more (carbs and food in general!), my muscles responded so well; many people were commenting on my arms. That felt great!


BUT… Then I’d go away, not hit the gym, and wonder what people would think when they saw less definition. Or when I go home to visit California, I must admit it crosses my mind that people will compare my current fitness physique to what I used to look like. Oh, how these thoughts can hold us back (and “How ridiculous,” you’re probably thinking, at the same time)!

A few thoughts on this:

  1. No one really cares. It’s true! And who knows, maybe if you’re always posting ab selfies someone will notice when you’re shirt’s not on, but how often are you shirtless around everyone you know? And how much do they really care? Not much at all…It’s just the truth. I don’t see someone and think “Oh boy, his arms have shrunk!” or “Yikes, she’s put on weight.” I just don’t think that way and I don’t think anyone does. Maybe you’re the girl who has always been tough and kept up with the boys, but you reached a point where you don’t want to compete, or don’t want to be a raft guide despite loving the outdoors and wanting to be known as hardcore (not that this resonates with me on any level whatsoever)… 😉 Who cares if you’d rather sit in the raft than guide it, or opt out of a weekend ski trip in favor of sleeping in and resting at home (because this is exactly what I did 2 weeks ago before Christmas)? You don’t have to prove yourself to others. And remember, people don’t care as much as we think they do – they’re too worried wondering what YOU are thinking about THEM!
  2. People change, and it’s okay if your body goes through phases. You might be softer right now after the holidays than during the summer season, or a perhaps you find yourself in great shape after having kids and finding your routine again. Maybe fitness is your priority right now, but the reality is that it might not be if you hit a crisis next month or if something happens in life and fitness takes a backseat. And that’s really okay! You might actually WANT to weigh a bit more and have more curves but are afraid to get out of “fat loss mode,” or you might be afraid of shaking your image of being “the fat girl” because it’s who you’ve always been and it’s a comfortable role to play. People change. You can change. Give yourself room and permission to change.
  3. Discipline = Freedom. Allowing yourself the chance to change doesn’t mean that everything goes out the window in terms of your routine. Create some structure, nourish your body, move as you’re able and enjoy life; do so with enough regularity and focus that you’re not floating or backsliding with your goals. But while you’re being disciplined, remember that it’s that discipline that enables you to be free to live and live well – so you can go skiing or chase after your kids or eat birthday cake at a party all while not being worried about the outcomes.
  4. Ask yourself in what, or whom, is your identity placed. If your identity is in your body, guess what? It’s going to change. Even the most fit physique isn’t sustainable forever. Our bodies change and sometimes it’s more than the inevitable years that change it – you might get in an accident and not be able to use your legs again. I don’t say this to be morbid, but to remember how much stock we place in what we can’t control, and in the external circumstances or roles we play (our financial status, our jobs, being a mom or grandpa, being a runner or CrossFitter or a couch potato). Ask the tough question of who are you and define yourself by something that cannot change. I know that despite my body or ups and downs in life, I’m forever a beloved child of God and my security is found in Jesus; there is so much stability there! Go to those tough places and ask who you are without “______” in your life – it’s a dialogue and discussion I always love to have with people!

So who are you? The girl with ____ or the guy who is ____ ? Is there anything in your image that you need to let go of? Let’s let go and move on together so we can be free to live life fully without worrying about holding the line when it comes to your body in other people’s eyes. Now that’s a resolution I can get behind! 😉


(stronger arms, thicker legs, and I’m okay with it! part of my own image I’m letting go!)

I would love to know your thoughts on this idea of attaching yourself to one part of your body if you’re down to share. Goal setter or not, needing to let go of something or not, Happy New Year, friends! Live well & be well,


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

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

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


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


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



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

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(thanks for the pic, Amber!)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

So… Three questions for you:

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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Hey you guys! Whew – been a while since I blogged! More and more I see this blog as a place for me to reflect and don’t feel compelled to write if I don’t have much to say…I share snippets of daily life, workout ideas, and easy meal ideas (because we all know I’m not an amazing cook or baker!) on Instagram so you can see more here! But in terms of the blog, I’m reserving this as a place to think, write, process and share – and that’s exactly what I’m going to do with you today!



This has been a busy season of life for us; I’ve alluded to this in recent posts but life feels pretty full-on right now. We are both in our 30’s, work full time, are involved in a few capacities with our church, work with our own non-profit (Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs) and others in Calgary for cancer (Wellspring) and are social with our community of friends. I’ve always thought that’s just what life is like at this point in our lives, but I’m slowly learning that we take on more than most people, and not in a brag-worthy way! I’d say it’s safe to say that we are burned out right now, and as a team Mikey and I are being hit with this realization in a way we can no longer ignore.

This weekend was the end of a busy string of weeks and culminated in the 6th annual Survive & Thrive Bonspiel, our fundraiser for our non-profit! We always look forward to this event but it’s also a very full, busy day that leaves us feeling pretty wiped out (and usually in the best way!). This year was fun, included several new faces, was a blast seeing old friends, and was at a bigger venue (the Calgary Curling Club) – so it was a step out in faith for us to dream bigger!



Love this creative team!


Robin looking fly…


(Looking good, Prince Charming and the Sweeping Beauties!)

This, coupled with lots of presentations this last week for Mikey and a last minute sub for an exercise class for me the day of, meant we went into the event feeling pretty drained. I’m grateful for amazing people, incredible young adult cancer survivors who shared their stories at the event, and help from Elisha at Mint Event Management for contributing to such an amazing day!

But today at church, feeling tired and noticing the effects of a few long weeks’ worth of strain on us, I realized something big: I think this is what it looks like to do life in your strength. As a Christian, it is always my desire to live God’s story for my life, not my own story. That doesn’t mean I don’t act, step out, and live my life, but it does mean that I turn to God for strength, seek his guidance and direction every day, and do things ultimately for his glory. Lately, although life is very (very!) good right now, it’s also very, very full and I’m realizing the impact that has on our marriage, bodies (stress presents itself in so many ways – food choices, physical symptoms like canker sores, etc), and emotions. It hit me hard: we’ve been doing it on our own. This weekend was a good reminder to turn to God and to think about how we can better give our lives, our income/finances, our direction, our dreams to him rather than us try to juggle everything and run the show.

April is Stress Awareness Month, so it’s fitting I’m reflecting back and realizing things need to change right now as mid-April is upon us! Casper, a company that created a new type of mattress to help with all things sleep, made this infographic about napping and how it can help with stress reduction – thought it was worth sharing!

Casper_napping101_LRG (1)-2

I learned about the value of naps from my 2XU Ultimate Training Performance Camp experience last spring and know of their value – yet I’m not a big napper! Something I should learn to listen to my body better about for when I am feeling ow energy and down…

This leads me to reflecting…



A good friend (whose stuff you should read and whose music you should listen to!) reached out to us and encouraged us to reset our days, slow down our lives and live with more margins. I can’t thank him enough for reading between the lines in our social media posts and seeing how we were crying out for help, for less, sinking form the busyness. What a gift to have a man reach out to your man and encourage him by being honest, saying he’s been there before and wanting to help us in our own time of stress management. It’s crazy how the calendar can be hit and miss and then one day you wake up and realize that you are at full capacity (or at least your husband is and therefore, you are too)! So we are resting more. We got through this weekend and now have less on our calendar, are actively practicing the Sabbath (resting on Sundays!) and praying about what to let go of and learning how to rest in Jesus’ strength. It’s a huge relief, and I’m grateful that we’re no longer saying, “Oh, it’s just a busy season of life right now” and are learning this valuable lesson to give our lives more margins.

Two weekends ago, we kept a commitment on the calendar that had been there for four months, even though the timing couldn’t have been worse: a friend stayed with us all week helping Mikey edit his recent film, I was working, Mikey had other work commitments apart from film editing, and we hadn’t packed for this commitment or gotten ready at all for a weekend in the mountains with good friends. Conditions were variable, we were tired and stressed, and I was worried that post-trip we’d come right back to the intensity of our schedules, but we went anyways, meeting our good friends Ryan and Susan in BC for a 4 day hut-to-hut excursion of the Bonnington Traverse. Even though we’d left Calgary at 10 pm (!) the night before, were emotionally drained from a full week, and had only about 4 hours of sleep, we were SO EXCITED to join these guys for some time in the backcountry, because we’ve learned how we recharge best and because we were anticipating great community with some amazing friends who “get us” on so many levels.


I can’t even describe how the laughter, the hut experiences (oh, the mice on night three!), the evening wine (can you see how these first three went together?!), the sunshine, the days of fresh air, the great conversations, the route finding, the joy of being outdoors in community left us feeling recharged!




It was a very full 4 days, complete with a few small slides due to warm weather (which sure kept us on our toes!), about 10 km of hiking some huge ups(mainly ups!) and a few downs, and lots of bacon (how did we not get a shot of Ryan’s 5 lbs of cooked bacon that he brought?!) that contributed to us really slowing down, enjoying life, embracing good friends and being refreshed in body and spirit.





Then there are days like Sunday of this weekend, where we truly didn’t do much! We relaxed at home after church, saw a movie, cooked meals at home and had some Oreos in the evening. 🙂 We’re learning to pack our days and also to pull back, and this concept of rest (not only from workouts from the stressors of life!) is such a good one to learn and relearn constantly.

Do you connect to the busy days at all? What about creating margins – any helpful tips?

I hope you feel encouraged if you’re busy too by reading this and can learn from some of the hard ways we’ve been learning from to make changes before you burn out. Join me this week in creating and embracing margins and keeping your eyes open for what God has in store for us! I have more reflections this week to come (namely, on FOOD!), but I think that about covers how I’m feeling right now: learning, growing and (hopefully) changing as life marches on and my desire is always to place myself ever before my Heavenly Father and his plan more than for my own life plan. Until then, live well & be well!



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Hey guys! How was your weekend? Ours was very relaxing…We had booked two nights in a new Alpine Club of Canada hut down in Waterton Lakes National Park (near the border – a stone’s throw from Montana and the site of my first (and only) ever solo marathon!) and were excited to get away. However, when we looked at the webcam down there, we noticed there was NO SNOW! Our backcountry ski trip wouldn’t work so well without snow, and we debated not going, but after realizing we couldn’t get any of our deposit back so late, we decided to stay in Friday night, take a slow moving Saturday, and then enjoy the 2.5 hour drive south and go read in the hut.


(My kinda Friday night balance!)

Armed with new books, minimal food (after all, we weren’t skiing!), limited gear and coffee (because, hello, road trip!), we drove down under sunny, gorgeous skies and finally arrived in Waterton.

The Cameron Lake cabin is small but beautiful – a perfect little hut that sleeps 8 people but would be most comfortable for 6 (that’s what we had – 4 others were there when we arrived). Here’s a little tour (with some pull ups, of course):

A video posted by Mike Lang (@mikelangyyc) on



We decided to leave our skis in the car when it was raining when we got there and the road to the cabin was packed down pretty hard, so we set off, on foot, for what was supposed to be a backcountry adventure! 2 km later (about 20, 25 min of walking) we were at the hut! A far cry from our last hut experience, which included 16 hours and 30 km of hiking through the dark… 😉


Yep! A short hike and some great down time. There was lots of sitting, only 4 pull ups or so done in total (we did it for the INSTA!), no squats or push ups and no recon trip to the mountains. We were all about the rest this weekend – and we both needed it and loved it.


Sometimes what we need is a relaxing weekend away, or even just a moment in a day to catch our breaths. It’s not climbing peaks and shredding powder for us, nor is it all work and no play! We strive for balance, which for me means going to work, coming home, and NOT working, and for Mikey that means working hard for 2-3 weeks then getting away to take a break. No cell service, no extra toys, no worries about all that we “should” or “could” be doing. I think we strike this balance pretty well most of the time, but this was a needed get away weekend that had to happen. And you know what? We didn’t feel guilty for the lack of movement or desire to explore (the spring-like weather and avalanche slides further up on ridges kept us from feeling too bad for not heading out)… The furthest I ran to was to the outhouse!

There were TONS of people out Sunday, which was so neat, because the sun was shining as light snow fell, the temperature was warm and it’s so accessible from the road that there were tons of kids cross country skiing to the lake. Although we love real wilderness and getting out to where others don’t venture, it’s neat to see so many people enjoying a day outside with friends and family – that’s what it’s about!

When we got home Sunday we had planned to see a movie or go out to dinner to continue the restful weekend but ended up unpacking gear, doing laundry, making dinner at home, and reading some more. 😉 Not a bad way to end the weekend!

How do you recover? Do you fight the urge to DO more or feel guilty for resting and days of non-activity? 

Now I’m ready to hit the week hard with some fun training sessions in the gym, hopefully outside (the weather’s been gorgeous!) and in the kitchen with real foods! Along those lines, here are some articles you might enjoy…

– – – – – – – – – –

How to Answer the Basic Nutrition Questions (from a personal trainer’s perspective but great for people looking for answers to questions you’ve likely had, too!)

This article, also by Precision Nutrition, explores how to eat for your body type WITHOUT calorie counting, describes how to carb cycle (with some common sense) and discusses how to fix your diet – I love PN’s approach to nutrition and life! So balanced. I think I’m going to try out the portion sizes with my hand this week and see how I feel! Get away from the calorie counting apps and give it a whirl (anyone care to join?).


And now for two sides of the coin: great points made in the Case For Clean Eating AND the ultimate guide to Flexible Dieting.

Looking for Motivation? Here’s how to get it

Vector set of design elements and icons for motivational sport posters and banners - signs for gyms and crossfit trainings

Very straight-forward approach to why SUGAR isn’t what’s causing weight gain as well as why it’s okay to pursue fat loss. Great stuff here!

I always like reading articles from Girls Gone Strong; here’s another good one about loving yourself (…but not too much).


Hope this post finds you well, doing what you need to rest and recover while also striving towards health. It’s possible to do both!

Cheers to the week ahead. Live well & be well, friends,



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Hey guys! Well, I’m breaking my internet silence and absence of a few days to share because I simply enjoy connecting with you in this space. Isn’t that neat? It’s a community – a small one, an online one, and one that serves me well as a place to process, share and explore ideas – but a community nonetheless!  Today I wanted to share some tips and tricks (no, not a “hack” – I’m done “hacking” my way through life!) that are contributing to my health and invite you in to the conversation to share ways that you are living well. I am slowly realizing that I enjoy writing about life in a broader sense because I’m so interested in pursuing balance and coaching others to live in such a way that facilitates, simply put, fuller life! I think I’m moving away from sharing my meals (which I never did much of and wasn’t very original with) and workouts (which will always be a part of this space) and stepping into how to live well. I want this to be a place of encouragement, motivation and growth for us and not just a place to share content that others are sharing in more complete ways.


Bear with me as I explore the root of this shift… Perhaps it all stems from my favorite verse, John 10:10, “I [Jesus] came that you may have life and have it to the full!” I’ve always been about “full life” ever since I started blogging about our cancer journey 8 years ago and it continues to fascinate and inspire me as I see so many others, with so much success, wealth, opportunity and connections living such dull, meaningless or negative lives. What about full life? Isn’t there something more? I thought about this the other morning while driving to work. We live near the Alpha House, a half-way house of sorts that is a place for people to come down off their high, and we often see people passed out or stumbling along in our neighborhood. It’s hard to see and hard to know how to help; the food I’ve often offered is passed over in favor of beer or money so sometimes I feel like my hands are tied in terms of helping in a tangible way.

So…back to the story. As I was driving, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk with his legs crossed, and as I got closer I realized that in his hands was the face of another man, seated facing him. It was such a striking image to me of (likely) addiction, homelessness and pain and yet also of deep love, care and community. These men understand the importance of community, of walking through life with one another, of loving others in a profound way because they rely on each other daily. That picture stuck with me all day and brought me back to a recent sermon I listened to by Tim Keller called “Blessed Are the Poor.” The rich – or the middle class, comfortable folk like me – hear the gospel (literally, the “good news”) and aren’t always excited by it; why do we need a Savior? What am I really being saved from? But the poor…The poor hear the good news and they GET IT. They are given hope, given love, given acceptance and redemption which they so desperately need – the same things we need and are offered while simultaneously not seeing our need for them.

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Mikey and Misha – community in action at our recent Wellspring skating event!

Those guys sitting there at 6 am, one face resting in another’s hands, eyes locked and still, get this need for community. I wonder how much we get that, or sense our need for it? How often do we spend lost on the internet in communities that may provide some connection but don’t necessarily fill us up, check in with us or care for us deeply?

These are some of things I’ve been pondering after taking a break from being online.


Emails and texting with clients, yes, but no social media including Facebook (my biggest time waster), tweeting, blog reading and Instagram (my favorite). I’ve found myself wanting to pop online for no real reason at all or thinking, “I should snap a photo!” and then realizing I simply didn’t need to and found other things to do. I can honestly say I’ve wasted less time and haven’t felt disconnected from people. I am breaking this technology fast early because I feel like my reset button has already been set, and it feels great. I’ll be keeping Facebook (and possibly Instagram?) off my phone and eliminating that opportunity to go online just for the sake of using up time. I’ve read my Bible more, connected with people for coffee, gone on more walks and even started a new book (for a non-reader, this is a big one for me!), and it feels great. I do use Facebook to connect with people for my business (both fitness-wise and with Wellspring as the young adult team lead for cancer programs), so I’ll hop back on for those purposes mainly and because it IS a good way to stay connected, but I will have more parameters on how long I allow myself to browse online, and that focus feels good!

So now that I’ll be limiting my online time, here are a few other ways I’m cultivating health in my daily life:

Relaxing about food. You’ll remember from my last blog post that I’m practicing If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) right now (Kindal has an awesome blog post about this if you want more info on what IIFYM is and how it works!) and I’m relaxing how good real foods make me feel! I’ve also been reminded that I truly enjoy that once-a-week licorice snack I have Fridays or a glass of wine and piece of dark chocolate throughout the week. I’m not practicing IIFYM to lose weight (although I do want to reduce some bloat and feel stronger in the gym!) and am not practicing it as much as I am understanding my protein needs, not going overboard on fat and enjoying good carbohydrates. It’s more of an awareness thing and it’s working for me – and that, coupled with intermittent fasting (refer to last post), is allowing me to relax about my intake, enjoy life and be fueled primarily by healthy, voluminous foods! I like that. 🙂


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Supplementing my diet. While a solid foundation is the main part of eating well (with real, whole foods), I also take a few supplements that do just that – supplement my diet. This includes a greens powder (right now it’s Amazing Grass’ gogi and acai berry flavor) for the day that I’m running around or don’t have vegetables in the fridge:

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Vitamin D (I DO live north in Canada, after all – all of us northerners should be taking it!) and a fish oil (because I don’t get those Omega 3’s from fish 2x/week – it’s just not my favorite thing to eat or prepare!):

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And occasionally an additional supplement like SierraSil, which supports healthy cartilage, pulls heavy metals out of the body, and helps fight inflammation. I was sent this via my partnership with Social Nature, and it’s been great to incorporate into my routine.

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SierraSil promises results in 14 days or your money back, so while you can’t tell taking it once or twice, you do feel a change over time with aches, pains and stiffness! This is especially great if you have joint pain, are training hard, and even for pets with problems!

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I’ve noticed quicker recovery in between workouts and a general sense of feeling good going from the gym to the backcountry for long ski days to the running trails. If this sounds like something you’d benefit from and want to give SierraSil a go, click here for 20% off on this product! And thanks to Social Nature, if you’re interested in looking at more products to help you #trynatural, check out this link for many other free sampling opportunities.

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Walking more. I’ve read (and told people!) for so long about the benefits of walking. It’s the not-so-secret for weight loss (low intensity, do-anywhere, burns fat not muscle, good for your mind and emotions) but I’m often found home at night without having moved too much that day besides a short workout. Simply because it’s good for me, there’s so much research about it, and it’s relaxing, I’ve been getting out and waking more. To work, to the store for a few groceries, in between clients even if it’s for 20 minutes. I’ve had some amazing moments of worship and prayer times, watched the sunrise and sunset, chosen to walk rather than even do a weight workout for that day (many days lately, actually!) and been listening to some great podcasts. A few I’m enjoying these days:

Girls Gone Wod

Harder to Kill Radio

The Paleo Women Podcast

Timothy Keller

The Model Health Show


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Seen on a recent walk; I took some time to kneel and pray and then look out over our city and enjoy the view and quiet.

Are you walking much? It offers reductions in diabetes and heart disease, decreases in high blood pressure, increases in bone density, is good for cognitive function, helps alleviate symptoms of depression, improves fitness and physical function (source).  It’s not a waste of time, is great to do with other people, is great alone time, and can be used for leisure or fitness. …go walk! 😉

Not fighting myself. I’ve realized that I’m not a reader or book person as much as I desire to be. So, instead of fighting that and getting disappointed in myself, I listen to audio books, read on my phone (NOT Facebook any longer!), and listen to fun and educational podcasts (I like a mix of both). So now I go with it! Might as well make life easier for myself and set myself up for success!

Another way I do this is by buying pre-chopped foods like broccoli slaw or cauliflower heads. Little things like this go a long way in me being successful in the kitchen, so again, it’s about making life a little easier and setting myself up to do well. I make my coffee the night before, I do what can be done in 1 minute right then rather than procrastinate and keep the house tidy. Not necessarily clean, but tidy! 😉 I think better and live better in that space, and a few minutes here and there sure goes a long way.

Make time for people. From quick text messages to friends to let them know I’m praying for them to in-person coffee dates; from sitting and talking with Mikey at night BEFORE we watch a show to staying at the end of the day to talk with clients about what’s going on their lives, making time for people is something that contributes to my health and a better way of life for me. I know Tina just sent some “stay well” packages (such a neat idea!) to family and you can invite someone over for dinner. Being involved in a weekly group, like our small group (you know us as “Fat Tuesday!”) from church, is something that keeps us connected and, while often a struggle to get there weekly after full, busy days, is ALWAYS such a positive commitment in our lives because of the community. What’s one thing you can do to stay intentionally engaged with others in life?

Prioritize sleep. Man, is this ever important. There are resources aplenty about the value of sleep (Shawn Stevenson’s new book Sleep Smarter is one of them!) and all I can say is, don’t keep running on all cylinders. Your relationships will suffer, your brain won’t function as well, your energy will eventually run out, you might lose your sex drive, and your fat loss AND strength gaining goals will stall out.

At this moment, these are the things that come to mind in terms of living a healthier lifestyle. It starts with community, branches out to managing technology well, hits my food and movement (not even necessarily “working out”) and lands on sleep. There’s more to the list, sure (value of living a more-than-one-dimensional life, stepping out of your comfort zone, staying accountable to friends or a professional of some sort for your goals or life direction, not ignoring your spiritual life, etc), but this is a start!

What’s one thing you’ve done in the last while that’s made a difference in your health in some way? I’d love to hear what you would add to the list and please feel free to leave any links and discuss more in the comments below! And remember, if you’re looking to try some new products, join the Social Nature community and #trynatural for FREE! 😀

Live well & be well friends!


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Hey guys! Well, it’s a Monday AND a new month – that’s a nice feeling. Although I’m not a huge proponent of “starting over Mondays,” it’s always great to have that feeling of clean, fresh slate on a new week and month to boot! If you follow my blog, you know that I Instagram a lot more frequently than I blog these days; I want to write but I’ve not really had anything that felt of much consequence to say! I don’t want to blog for the sake of blogging and just add more noise to your life, yet I miss the act of writing. So I thought I’d share a few of the things I’m processing these days to kick off my writing this week – hope you find it interesting and helpful in some way (and if there’s anything you’d LIKE me to blog about, perhaps it’s time I ask you, the readers!). Today I’m talking about living in a way that’s “good enough.” Maybe you can relate.

Life is such a journey, and while that may sound cliche, it’s so true. We learn as we go and hopefully adjust our course thanks to experience, the wisdom of others, and direction from God in terms of open doors or closed ones. And I really don’t think our fitness and nutrition journey is any different from our life journey – it evolves and changes as we learn and grow. I sure HOPE I don’t believe all the same things about God when I first became a Christian as a young girl as I do today after life experience, time in His Word, and people encouraging me along. Similarly, I don’t hold to the same thoughts as a trainer when I first started 8 years ago as I do today, and that’s because growth and change (and research! ha) have contributed to me evolving as (hopefully) a better trainer.


(Hi! It’s me – in my new Qalo hat!)

In short, I really feel like these days I am living in a state that is “good enough” as I move forward in my own journey. Brad Pilon’s recent post explains it perfectly (you can read his article that resonates with me so much right here!), but in short, I’m eating and working out and being social and being alone in what seems to me to be just the right amount that is, simply put, good enough. It’s nothing extreme, but it works for me! And that’s why it’s sustainable.

Before I share how I’m practicing being good enough, take a look at what Brad Pilon has to say in terms of extremes and his advice for being good enough from his article:

Could I do more for my health? Green smoothies every day, no alcohol, only raw organic local produce? sure. But I’m OK with where I am.

Bottom line – there are lots of experts who can help you with the extremes. So if extreme is what you want, there are lots of options.  I’m a master of ‘good enough’. If looking good and being healthy is important to you, but not at the expense of consuming your life, than I have some pretty simple, time tested advice.

  1. Fast once or twice a week – it doesn’t have to be 24 hours, it could be 16, or 20, must make sure you’re taking a break from eating occasionally.
  2. Stress less. Do your best to only stress about the things that are actually worth stressing about.
  3. Lift. As little as twice a week can do wonders. Three to four times per week is great, just be careful as you’ll start to see diminishing returns after a while.
  4. Move. Do something that makes you breath a little harder each and every day. I like climbing, but do something that you find fun.
  5. Eat. PLEASE EAT. But eat responsibly. You don’t have to be a saint with your food, but you can’t eat like every day is thanksgiving either.
  6. Sleep – Get a good nights sleep. If you’re doing the first five things properly, this should be a little bit easier.

Solid, solid advice. I am grateful to have found what works for me (key words here!) and am happily practicing being good enough:

  • Intermittent fasting (IF)
  • Moderation 365
  • Move for strength and happiness
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Enjoy a mix of play and rest physically and socially

Intermittent Fasting: I basically practice a flexible, intermittent fasting daily routine, and it works for me! My mornings are full with clients and I simply am not hungry in the mornings, so while I used to coach people to always eat breakfast, even those who never naturally wanted it, my tune has changed! While some people need to eat something first thing, and women often do better with food in their system as compared to men, not everyone needs it to function well! There is research on both sides of the coin, but I used to not talk about IF because I didn’t want people to try something too unconventional or think I was trying to simply skip meals (not the same). If it works for me, it might for you, too! Do your research but don’t be afraid to use your body as an experiment within reason; stick to something for at least a month to give it a good shot before making up your mind. Please remember that I am not a doctor! But try something different if what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked for you in the past with your goals. Browse Brad Pilon’s site for lots of information on IF – perhaps some of the myths (yes, myths) about keeping your metabolism revved and eating every 3 hours don’t apply to you, but you don’t know until you try a new method. The awesome thing is you can always go back to small meals – there’s no right or wrong, and I’m learning to coach people on what works for their bodies and not just on what we hear preached from the fitness industry.


(a very typical meal for me: greens, veggies, meat and some kid of fat like goat cheese or avocado)

So where’s the “good enough” part to my fasting practice? I don’t worry about the details or follow it to a “T.” Once a week, sometimes twice, I do a 24 hour (or close to it) fast and fast most mornings, but some days I go out to breakfast with friends or I eat if my hunger strikes early at 10 am. I don’t worry about the specifics but incorporate some fasting principles but it’s “good enough” for me. Either way, I fast enough to allow my body a break from digestion and mind a break from planning life around food. 😉

Moderation 365: This concept comes from Jill Coleman, and I’ve blogged about it before, but I’m happy to be eating in a moderate way. In other words, if I really want a donut, I’ll get one, but it’s not a regular or consistent occurrence. At the same time, it’s also not a big deal if I do choose to have a donut! I enjoy a glass of wine on a weeknight and sometimes never on a weekend – nothing changes simply because it’s Tuesday or Saturday. In fact, some days I won’t have more than a piece of fruit in terms of sugar and then I will have liquorice for dinner – it’s moderate, it works for me, it keeps me feeling satisfied and also healthy and is “good enough!”

I actually just started tracking my macros (carbs, proteins and fats) to see where I’m at and aim to be within a certain range, and some days I hit my numbers while other days I don’t (sometimes I track everything and other days it’s loose!). It doesn’t define or control me but does provide some structure – it’s good enough for my nutrition and goals right now!


(currently enjoying as I type – and yep, I tracked all 4 servings of this!)

Brad Pilon says in another post, “Deprivation kills consistency, and consistency is where your results come from.” So for me, liquorice and the occasional glass of red wine are mandatory (yep!) to help keep me from going overboard on good food like peanut or almond butter or from diving headfirst into a bag of cookies when someone opens them.

Move for strength & happiness: There are times when I’ve followed a program (either something like a push/pull program, a follow-along with my online BFF Kindal, or a kettle bell program with a specific goal. But more or less, I try to move often and enough to keep my fitness level up (always be able to do 5 pull ups any time, run a 5 km easy, hike without getting too breathless and keep up with the boys in the backcountry) and do what makes me happy. This is a mix of movement and sustains my goals while keeping me content and consistent in and outside the gym!


Prioritize sleep: The more I learn about sleep, the more I’m shocked by how valuable it is and how much it impacts my life. I think this is one area where we all “know” how important sleep is but still celebrate doing more and resting less. Our culture continues to pride itself on being busy, “only sleeping 4 hours last night because I had so much to do,” and it’s one area that can truly help with stress, relationships, food choices, will power, brain function, sex drive, workouts, recovery, fat loss… The list goes on! I try to be in bed between 10-10:30 pm most nights, make it a practice to not use my phone in bed (which is tough!), and start dimming the lights before I go to bed to get ready for that process. It’s just not worth it for me to stay up late and be groggy at work or over the weekend when I want to be up and out and enjoying life! I don’t beat myself up if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep but I also have some boundaries to help facilitate better rest – all in all, it’s good enough even if it’s not perfect!

Enjoy a mix of play and rest physically and socially. Speaking of weekends, sometimes they’re booked up, sometimes they aren’t, and I vacillate between busy and unscheduled, active and rest. The other weekend was booked from Friday night on and included meeting with friends over dinner, training clients on a Saturday morning, connecting over coffee with some cancer survivors who had non-profit questions, and taking new friends out to back country ski all day Sunday.


It was all great but I was beat by the time Monday rolled around; this last weekend, while social, was much more of a rest with no work Saturday, church Sunday, leisure time by myself at home and connected with friends throughout the weekend. A better balance, but some weekends are heavy on the activity and others on the relaxation – it’s never perfect! – and that rounds out to make it good enough for me.


(grainy but fun – Nicole and I out to dinner at the Boxwood Cafe in Calgary after a movie; we enjoyed EVERY bite and sip of wine we had!)

I’m in a good spot right now, enjoying life, work, movement; food and my community; church and rest time; the mountains and the gym. While I’m always looking ahead (What’s next? How is my balance in all these things? Am I honoring God in how I’m spending my time?), it’s a good place to be. Good enough for now, until my goals or focus, job or life circumstances, tastes or preferences change again!

How are you living “good enough” right now? Do you struggle to be perfect (or close to it) in any one area? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Have a great rest of your start to February and I will connect with you guys soon! Live well & be well,


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Hey guys!

Checking in during the middle of the week to see how everyone’s doing! How’s life? How’s training? How’s your heart these days? I know there are many walking through trials right now and others enjoying a great start to the New Year; just wanted to note how much I appreciate your stories and lives and am grateful for being able to share my story, with all it’s ups and downs, with you on this blog.

On that note, and because it is a new year, after all, I thought I’d turn my attention to talk of habit change… The longer I train and the more I see people in all phases of their health journeys, the more I’m interested in the value of looking at your habits and living in a way that’s sustainable. Thankfully, I think people are slowly moving away from crash diets and fitness fads, but I think sometimes we still have this idea in the back of our minds that we need to lose a few pounds (or at least “we should…”) and I wonder how many of are still striving for fat loss rather than strength or health. A client of mine wants to lose about 15 lbs and is tall and 150 lbs…We chatted recently about how that’s actually a healthy weight! And if we want to pursue goals like getting stronger together we sure can; aesthetic goals are certainly not wrong but as long as she’s not attached to a scale number and she knows she is in a healthy range.

So what happens when, like my client, you want to simply look better? What if you want a more lean, chiseled appearance? That’s great! But keep in mind you need to be willing to do what it takes to get there. There’s a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. What are you goals?
  2. How motivated are you right now?
  3. How mentally tough are you?

When it comes to deciding what foods you want to eat or pass on, when it comes to whether or not you want to sleep in or get up to go to the gym, it’s important to be honest with yourself and ask the three questions above. I stumbled on these thanks to a video by Jeff Cavalier of Athlean-X about Cheat Meals (it’s so worth watching!). I love this guy! He’s honest, says it like it is, and is inspiring because he walks the talk!

One thing he says in the video struck me:

“It isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. If it was easy, everyone would be walking around feeling like they want to feel.”

…isn’t that profound but true?! We *know* this but we so often don’t really believe it. If this is your time to really make a change, take some responsibility and do what it takes to make it happen – it WON’T be easy!

Personally, I’m in a place where I’m not focusing on restriction or fat loss – just getting smaller all the time doesn’t interest me, and I’m grateful to focus on being strong and mobile and being able to keep up with the guys in the backcountry! But at the same time, it’s easy for me to think about how certain workouts will help me “burn off those extra Oreos” because it’s been a pattern of thought for too long. Breaking that habit takes time, and while my focus continues to be on my overall health in a much broader sense of the word, it’s still an effort to cultivate habits that move me in this moderate, more realistic and sustainable direction for my fitness and life.


(at the hockey game where we enjoyed chicken wings and Mikey had a beer and I even had a diet Coke – very rare for me!)

(taken yesterday post-workout)


(what part of my diet includes weekly – my favorite Red & Black bites nearly every Friday)!

My focus right now is on nourishing my body with real food and enjoying bits of the fake stuff too, because that’s what I want in my life right now! Am I able to hike strong in the backcountry on my skis? What about complete 5 pull ups at any time? Run a half marathon just because it sounds good? Fit into that one pair of jeans that easily can get a liiiittttle too tight? These are my goals, and I’m not willing to make more restricted ones at this time (thinking back to the three questions Jeff asks above), and that’s okay! But I know that I can’t complain about my body or movement or food if I’m not willing to put the time in and make some changes.

…but it all starts with our minds and how we speak to and view ourselves!

Negative internal dialogue what might be what is holding you back as you look down another year:

“I can’t stick to a diet.”

“I can’t build muscle.”

“I’ll never lose weight.”

These thoughts impact us and create inaction in our lives! So let’s start with an awareness of what’s going on in our minds and how that’s powerfully affecting our actions and acknowledge it. Then, ask yourself why you’re saying those things.



Why CAN’T you stick to healthy foods? Why CAN’T you build muscle? Why CAN’T you lose weight?

Don’t let these thoughts creep into your head and start to change the course of your one-time motivated 2016. This doesn’t mean you can do or be anything you want to be or accomplish (my short, more muscular body will simply never look long and lean like Gwyneth Paltrow no matter how much I believe it!) But what if you started saying, “Why can’t I do it?” Or, as Jen Sinkler and her husband David ask, “Can I do that?” Big, big difference between those questions and the doubts above.


Also of interest might be these articles:

An interesting one discouraging diets and detoxes entitled, “How to Relearn the Art of Eating” – there’s some great stuff in here!

How to create your own total body workouts; check it out here! (and thanks to my mom for sending this my way!)

I would love to hear your thoughts on your goals, your level of intensity and motivation right now (not what you want it to be, but right now!), your expectations of yourself, and how you’re feeling on a total body/mind/spirit level as 2016 is underway!

Stay connected via Instagram (where I’m sharing lots of short, effective workouts via video these days!) and Facebook and find me over at CityFit these days if you’re ever in Calgary. Live well & be well, friends,



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Hey guys! WOW…Long time no blog! It’s been since November, and lots sure has happened since then, but I never thought anything was exactly blog-worthy in terms of new fitness content, life updates or quality content, so I simply haven’t been blogging! But it’s been long enough that I wanted to check back in, partly because my blog is back on my fitness site,! So, it’s a new year and a new blog, in a way! While I do a lot of work with young adult cancer survivors with our non-profit, Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs, and with Wellspring Calgary and their young adult program, my blog isn’t exactly cancer-specific, but more fitness, wellness and life-focused, so back we are!

So, officially, Happy New Year!

(Running on a frozen river near Jasper in my IceBug shoes – incredible!)

Since we last chatted, lots has happened! We went down to California for an unconventional Thanksgiving in California with my family in the desert. We rented two yurts and had a blast playing in the beautiful landscape near Joshua Tree National Park; I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

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It was just so good to all be together for Thanksgiving, and I think it will become a new tradition for me to head down at this time of year – Thanksgiving is just so special for Americans and it’s more nostalgic for me than Christmas! Great conversations, lots of sunsets and sunrises watched together, lots of games of catch and, as happens with my family, lots (and lots!) of coffee. 😉

I’m super thankful that my business continued cranking through December, so from the end of November through the end of the year I was back at CityFit crushing workouts with clients! In between Thanksgiving and Christmas break, there were icy runs, good workouts, lots of training clients, Star Wars (so good!) and routine days around Calgary. Before Christmas, Mikey and I took off for our annual backcountry ski trip together, which was…epic.


We overuse that word easily, but it really was epic in all senses of the word! You have to watch the video for this one – it’s hard to describe hiking 30 km in one day to a hut (starting and ending in the dark) and the video captures me crying better than me writing about it. 😉

Yep! It was one hell of a trip. 8 years together and we tested our limits physically, mentally and emotionally – and came out pretty happy on the other end!


Another great hut trip (this time to the Fryatt Hut near Jasper, Alberta) and some wonderful, unrushed, quiet and disconnected time in the backcountry.


Then it was back to work! …and then back to break. We had a great time back country skiing with Mikey’s sister and her husband and had some fun skating, playing hockey, and enjoying time with Mikey’s parents too back up near Jasper in a hostel.





Sadly, Mikey lost his phone (we think it fell out of his pocket at a gas station and someone stole it – went back afterwards and it was no where!) and so our footage of our sweet turns are also gone. 😉 But the memories are there! The conversations were great, the weather freezing (but sure makes you feel intense to be outside all day making turns) and the moments were meaningful.

We drove straight from the Beauty Creek Hostel to Invermere, British Columbia, where we were meeting up with friends for New Year’s!


(Ash fell asleep with his son Sage and is therefore represented on New Year’s by the baby monitor :D)

We don’t always get to enjoy trips with friends because we are gone for our Survive & Thrive trips (which are awesome!) all summer, so having fun over holidays with these guys was such a treat! We had a kids’ house and a non-kids’ house, which was great for sleeping in and eating pancakes in our house. 😉 But hanging out with the kids was so fun! This is a group that we love and appreciate – they truly are our family in my home away from home. Over the few days we hung out, we cooked good food, played hockey, went skiing (Mikey and Ash did – and both got frostbite in the back country!), went skating/Ice Bug running, and played a lot of games!


I even managed a rather impromptu half-marathon run in my IceBug shoes, clad in 2XU layers…seems to be how I run my half-marathons! I felt awesome and loved the movement after some backcountry ski days – something different always feels good for your body.

I love these people (and their kids!)… What a great few days celebrating New Year’s with a group of people (even a sleeping dad represented by the glowing monitor 😆); so grateful for community in Canada that feels like family.

In between all these trips, Mikey and I were back in Calgary working hard and both feel so grateful for work that we truly enjoy. I’ve had some of the fullest training days of my career and appreciate consistent clients so much! It felt great to work hard knowing we were away for our anniversary and New Year’s, and we came back to work this week feeling ready to get after it. 

I’ve been logging workouts on my Instagram and Facebook pages, so feel free to follow me there for some workout ideas and to stay connected – these days I seem to be most active on IG rather than anything else!

So…fill me in on your holidays! Were they traditional by your family’s standards? Solo? Memorable? Sometimes it’s a tough season and other times it’s filled with joy, but I hope you are finding beauty in your life even in small ways.

I hope you’re having a great start to 2016! Looking forward to blogging adventures and sharing fitness tips and inspiration with you again this year! Live well & be well,



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