Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to the Motherland

the full English complete with black pudding.

farewell peameal - hello rashers
farewell ketchup - hello red sauce (and brown!)
farewell freshly brewed java - hello freeze dried instant (urgh)
farewell lipton - hello yorkshire tea you can stand a spoon up in
farewell brunch - hello afternoon tea
farewell hersheys - hello galaxy
farewell niceness - hello sarcasm
farewell double cheek kisses - hello to a nod of the head and an 'alright'
farewell poutine - hello fish and chips

If you hadn't worked it out, I am exiting Canada in a few hours and going back to England for 10 days.  Keep moving, keep healthy and be strong.

See you when I get back!!

PMS and Exercise

Men get pms too!! ha ha 

Do you workout in with a group of friends? Have you noticed some synchronisity happening? During one of my workouts recently, I was feeling pretty fatigued and realised that my period was due, so we did a sweep of the room and all of us who were exercising had our periods due at the same time.  So does menstrual synchrony really exist? 

How do you feel when you exercise? I feel pretty tired and have to adjust my workouts accordingly, but I don't stop going to the gym. I read great advise about exercising from Rachel Cosgroves book The Female Body Breakthrough, she suggests planning your workouts like this; the week before your period and into the week of your period, plan a lower-volume week. Whereas in the following 2 weeks you can ramp up the work and really push yourself.
This is general advise and I think it depends on each individual, I for example don't feel the need to do lower-volumes for 2 weeks, but definitely 4-5 days suffer!!

I am hopeless at keeping track of my periods, then I found that there are great apps for your iPhone, I use iPeriod. It records everything you need to know, including when you are likely to suffer from mood swings, which is helpful for your partner!

And finally here are stills from a 1950's menstruation film where one of the classic pieces of advise is that the girls may partake in dancing during their periods, just so long as it isn't square dancing.

(image from

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Do you have a Fitbook yet?

When I started working with Judy to help her lose the last remaining pounds after her second pregnancy, I wanted a way for her to record her food intake, exercise workouts and how she was feeling each day.  I normally just grab a journal and record things in there, but then I was introduced to fitbook. So I bought her a one and she just loved it.

Now I am a sucker for nice books and this one is just great. It is superb quality and so much thought has gone into making this the perfect journal for fitness enthusiasts.  It allows you to have a game plan, track your progress and reach your goals.  Check out their website and see why I think its such a great product.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Urban Warrior Winner

I intended to use to select the lucky winner for this great prize, when my 6 year old boy asked if he could help pick it.
So we put all 26 numbers into a hat and he closed his eyes, pulled out a number and 'randomly' selected Natasha.

Congratulations Natasha, you have won 3 Urban Warrior Classes and a cool I heart to sweat tank.

Urbanfitt is giving all participants a $15 Urbanfitt Gift Certificate, so you can still get yourself to an Urban Warrior Class.

Feel free to email me if you don't think I have all your details from your comments.

Thanks everybody!!

high fructose corn syrup is more fattening than sugar.


I can't say I am super shocked at this research, but its always good to have these things substantiated. This product is in so much of the food we eat, read your labels carefully!
see below for full report:
As if you needed another reason to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS): researchers at Princeton University have found that HFCS is actually much worse than regular sugar when it comes to causing weight gain.
The study found that rats with access to HFCS gained significantly more weight than rats with access to table sugar -- even when their caloric intake was the same. A second study by the researchers found that HFCS lead to long-term increases in body fat, obesity, and a rise in body fats called triglycerides.
Said Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel, "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
This new study contradicts earlier beliefs that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar were similar in that they both contained high levels of fructose. Instead, say the Princeton researchers, they now believe that fructose -- in HFCS -- and glucose -- in table syrup, may be processed by the body differently. Fructose is metabolized to produce fat, they believe, while glucose is processed as energy or stored as a carbohydrate in the muscles and liver.
Researchers also pointed out that since high fructose corn syrup was introduced 40 years ago, U.S. obesity rates have skyrocketed. In 1970 15% of the population was considered obese, and today around 1/3 of American adults qualify as obese.

(info obtained from

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alive and Kicking

I have had a terrible week, my whole house was laid out flat with Norwalk virus, which is pretty brutal and high contagious. We have all woke up today feeling tons better and ready to take on the world again!  Hope you have enjoyed the blog this week and if you haven't already make sure you enter the competition for 3 Urban Warrior classes and a tank, courtesy of Urbanfitt valued at $105.  And as a bonus everybody who enters will automatically receive a $15 Gift Certificate for Urbanfitt - Thanks Jane Clapp!!

I have a busy weekend planned which includes packing for our upcoming trip to the UK, we leave on Wednesday and I am very excited about it.  Hope you all have a great weekend, and please enjoy some extras from this weeks web.

Its all about the smell, apparently your man is not going to be interested in you unless you smell good!!

I bet this smells good though - we have been invited to my friends for dinner on Saturday evening and think I will make this caramelized onion and lentil dip, it looks delicious!  

Do you have a saggy bum? HA HA not me, I have the opposite! but if you desire a bot like Jennifer Lopez maybe this new contraption could be the answer? looks a bit uncomfortable to me!

Don't forget to look in the right-hand column of this blog, where I will be posting my free-printable-workouts each Thursday.

And lastly a friend of mine from the UK has discovered a fantastic exercise programme.
- First take a Weetabix and then an Aero bar,
- next sprinkle the Aero bar over the Weetabix
and VOILA!! There you havie it.......AEROBIX!! 
(thanks for that Dotty)

Have a great one! 

(image from /

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Take-away Thursdays.

I am flying home to the UK next week for 10 days, so have already started planning how I can exercise or at least stay active when I go back home.  This gave me a great idea, how about I start producing weekly workouts that I will post on my blog, in printable pdf. that you can 'take-away' either on the road, on holiday or just to incorporate into your workout schedule.

So my intention is to keep these workouts short and intense, use little or no equipment and make them fun!!  I have created them as 5"x7" a nice portable size, print these on thick paper or card.

click here for your first Metabolic Mixer workout.

let me know what you think of this workout, and send suggestions if you want me to include a favourite exercise of yours.

And don't forget to enter the competition to win 3 Urban Warrior Workouts and a free Tank valued at $105!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Be The Ultimate Urban Warrior

We are 83 days into the year today.  I am sure we all made New Years Resolutions or other fitness/health challenges to reach our goals in 2010. And I am also sure that some of you may have slipped in your focus and maybe fallen off your challenge altogether - sometimes all we need is to try something new, give ourselves a new boost and set new challenges.

How about trying the Urban Warrior class at Urbanfitt?  Personal Training meets group classes. Numbers are kept small so that everybody receives personal attention. These classes are challenging but FUN!!

Want to win 3 Urban Warrior Classes and a I Heart To Sweat t-shirt? 

Just leave me a comment and I will pick a winner on Monday 29th March using

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Get Moving with Flaxseed

(image from

Did you know that flaxseed gets you moving?  Ground flaxseed is full of fibers called lignans that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber to keep you regular. You only need to sprinkle a couple of tablespoons on your cereal to get your daily dose.  Remember to grind the flaxseeds though, as your body cannot digest and process the whole seeds.

Also storing flaxseeds is important as they will easily become rancid after you grind them.  I buy a tub of whole seeds, grind them in a coffee grinder then store them in the freezer.  That way you can use them straight away, I sprinkle some on my oatmeal every morning and use it all the time in baking, especially in banana bread.  Want to try my easy peasy recipe, click after the jump.

Keep regular folks!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Running Resources

(image from
I have always enjoyed hitting the pavement (weather dependent) and have done so many races I have lost count.  Its only in the last year or so I have stopped running so much.  A little bit of knowledge can be a problem I have found.  Its basically an excepted fact that running is not the optimal exercise to do to build up lean muscle mass, use your time effectively and to see physical results in your body.  And its true for me, now I do more resistance training with weights and pump out the metabolic work, my body has totally transformed. BUT now that I don't run so much anymore, unless its interval training or sprints, I find that my goal fix has diminished!  When you are a runner its easy to say 'ok my next race will be the 10k in 2 months time', or '4 month training plan for that 1/2 marathon' - now I struggle to have something to get fit for - and getting fit for no reason, for me, is a bizarre concept...........regardless, I still do enjoy running and there is something liberating about going out for a long, slow run and clearing the mind (and escaping the children too!)

Are you a true runner? Test yourself on this quiz and see if you make the common mistakes lots of us have!
Want to track your progress? Is your pace improving, the number of miles or distance - then check out Runstoppable, its free and will do all this and more! Its a great resource for those of you that don't own the Nike system or can't afford the Garmin with its fancy GPS technology (which I might add doesn't work on a Mac - phhfff!!) and fancy price tag.

Despite the little debate that goes on in my head about running, I may start clocking in more miles, especially now the weather is good, but I will make it just a small part of the system I use now - that really works for me!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring has Sprung - and Friday is here!

(image from

I have had a pretty hectic, but fun week with the kids off school for March Break.  The weather here in Toronto has been averaging 15 degrees,  so our days together have been very enjoyable.  We have spent most of the time outside riding our bikes, playing tennis and  ball-hockey and today going on a big hike in Caledon, Ontario.  Its great to see the kids running freely and unrestricted - not complaining about walking, this is how kids should enjoy activity.  Has spring has sprung in your part of the world?

I have had a deliberately quiet week away from the computer to enjoy March Break, but have still pulled together a few snippets for you to enjoy from the weeks news.

I have had a pretty flat week exercise and food wise. I broke Lent!! ARRRGHHHH - totally by accident I stuffed a huge piece of banana-bread down my throat and realised too late - and that has just sent me on a spiral of bad-eating habits!! I need to pull myself together quickly - and reading inspiring stories often helps.  This story of a blind man who is attempting to complete a triathlon in truly inspirational.

And there is a good chance I will check here for some new food ideas to get me back on track.  And just one day after Pepsi announced it was cutting sugary drinks from schools around the world, Kraft Foods, the largest food maker in N.America says it plans to cut sodium by 10% from its products over the next 2 years. Every little helps I suppose!

Anybody who knows me, knows how I like a good curry, but worryingly some spices imported from India may contain lead that is harmful to children.

This is my big year for turning 40 and I was discussing with friends recently how turning 40 in this day and age, is so different to when our parents were 40 - we all seem younger, more vibrant and confident with our lives.  But what is the future of 40?

Hope you all enjoy your weekend -  see you Monday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Online Workout Resources

time to pick up your skipping rope.
love this image from
With so many people now offering workouts online, I thought I would list a few of my favourite places to go if I need some inspiration.  Many of these fitness experts provide workouts that are based on bodyweight exercises, requiring little or no equipment - so if you are unable to get to the gym, or off on your holidays, get yourself some great ideas right here!

Womens Health Magazine could be your one-stop-shop for all your workouts.  Great ideas to give you the tools to build your own workouts - or use one of their ready-designed routines by the likes of Rachel Cosgrove.

Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training, has produced loads of youtube videos of wide ranging workouts from 12 minute workouts, bodyweight training, fat loss programs - you name it, he has taped it.

Freaky Fridays with Coach Dos Remedios and Frank Addelia are great to watch and very inspiring, using everything from Valslides, TRX, Kettlebells and Ropes.

Robertson Training Systems specialises in High Octane Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement, and has produced a series of instructional videos which are just great.

If you don't mind having her bum and boobs thrown in your face - then is the place for you.  She is clearly selling her body to you (which is awesome I might add),  once you get past that there are some great bodyweight workouts that will definitely challenge the average bear.

Over the following weeks, I will be posting downloadable workouts to print at home and take on the road.  These will be workouts that I have designed and performed myself, maybe using my friends as guinea-pigs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

May The Luck Of The Irish Be With You!!!

Happy St. Paddys Day!!  

It's amazing how big the celebration for Irelands Patron Saint has become, I am still waiting for the day St. George is granted a National Day in England!  We lived in Boston for a few years where St Paddys Day is a huge celebration, in fact having the first ever parade in the USA in 1737! Our favourite pub was called The Littlest Bar, which has since been pulled down to make way for condos, still we made sure the Guiness flowed and watched our only Irish friend get drunk enough to do a few rounds of River Dance!

Maybe you want to try some Traditional Irish food today (not just potatoes!) so how about Grilled Steak n Cauliflower from The Healthy Irishman?  And if all that food doesn't spoil your figure you should check out these lovely St Paddy inspired swimwear - (actually this is a great online swim outlet.)

So enjoy the festivities, bake a Guiness cake, maybe try your hand at this Green Quiz and definitely raise a glass to those fine folk of the Emerald Isle

I will leave you with an inspired quote from a dear Irish friend of mine;

As you slide down the banister of Life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction

ps.  just a final wee word to remind you that St Patrick was indeed British :)

(image from

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meet Sista Shirts

I love this t-shirt called Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder.

While surfing around on the web and checking out other fitness blogs, I came across two sisters, who have created a great line of sports apparel called Sistas Shirts. 

It was founded in 2008 by two sisters, Heidi Hamels and Dawn Strobel, both marathon runners. They wanted to provide women designer apparel that could be worn casually that still shows off the fact that you're an athlete and runner. Sistas Shirts offers tank tops, short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, sweat pants, and sweatshirts. All of their apparel has a fun athletic-inspired saying on it, many of which are running related. 

Until a few months ago, there apparel could only be found on-line and at various marathons across the country. There apparel is now available to wholesalers and is featured in running stores and health/fitness stores. 

The Sistas continue to challenge themselves physically and can catch them at their next race, the Rock n Roll Nashville Country Music Marathon on April 24th.

A cool fact about one of the owners, Heidi Hamels (nee Strobel) is a former Survivor: Amazon contestant.  I wonder how she felt eating all that disgusting food!! urghh

Check out the cool apparel at Sistas Shirts, and they have kindly offered a 15% discount to my readers, just enter the code: RUN15.

And now that Spring has arrived, you may even see me pounding the streets again, if only to get an hour away from the kids!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ever had a 'Coregasm?'

I read with interest an article that has been hopping around the internet for a while, that claim women who workout really hard eventually experience an orgasm in the gym.  Well let me tell you, that I must be doing something drastically wrong, as it has never happened to me, or anybody else that I know (well nobody has admitted as much!)

The other day on the bike doing Tabata, I do know I was making strange grunting noises and yelled out at one stage - "This is really hard!!" - which sent my workout buddies into hysterical giggles, but thats as close to a coregasm as I have been.

Anyway Womens Health were inspired enough by this story to produce a list of exercises that will hopefully allow you to have an orgasmic workout!

I wonder if any women out there will be brave enough to tell me if this works for them!!

And sorry men, but to date I can't find any workouts that are going to satisfy you in the same way :(

Turkish Get-Up


No I am not talking about the clobber worn by the Turkish, I am referring to an exercise technique.  Frank from Frankies Training Lab, has produced a brilliant instructional video, breaking down the components of this exercise.

I hardly ever include this in my workouts, but know that it is a super benefical exercise to do.  Check out this video and let me know what you think.  Yesterday I did a few sets of these in the house, using dumbbells as I don't have any kettlebells (yet!) and it felt intense and awesome!!!

Make sure to start including this in your workouts!  And don't forget to check back on Wednesday for a great giveaway.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tis' Friday Again.....

I love pulling together some of the interesting and fun articles from the weeks news.

Which is healthier, being Fat and Fit, or being Thin and Unfit?

This exercise is going in my next routine - it looks awesome!!!

I don't have a TV but wish I did so I could tune into Jamie Oliver trying to change the eating habits of the unhealthiest city in the US.  He did it for the children with school dinners, can he do it here?

You are either in the Love It or Hate It camp (or maybe in the 'what the hell is it? camp) I LOVE IT - yes I am talking about Marmite.  The wholesome jar of sticky gunky healthy loveliness!  And the marketing team over at Marmite keep coming up with some really cool products (last year I bought a Vivian Westwood designed Marmite t-shirt).  Check out some of their cool stuff, I especially like their oven gloves.

Stick with your friends and you will live longer!  And chose your food wisely, here are 5 foods to help you lose belly fat!

And finally, sorry to do this to you fellas, but women fake it, YES WE DO!!!! 
The truth hurts, so get over it because its for your own benefit.

enjoy the weekend and see you next week where you should stay tuned for another FABBY GIVEAWAY!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

what is kipping?

well where I come from kipping was something we did in front of the tele after Sunday Dinner! - "don't wake Dad up, he's kipping".  But in fitness terms, kipping, is a form of pull up that some people consider cheating. It uses multiple muscle-group and requires a hard cardio output, its something akin to how gymnasts would train for the rings. So how to do a kipping pull-up? Starting in the pull-up position using your hips and feet to rock yourself in a continuous movement up and down - basically using momentum. I have tried to do kipping and the results were unfortunate - embarrassing and that was only in front of the kids, not ready to try this at the gym yet.

Here is a video that explains the full technique, people doing up to 100 of them!
The reason I have seen this exercise promoted is to encourage you to use your whole body to increase your work capacity, which in turn increases your power output. 

Do you think its cheating - have you tried it with any success? I am still on the fence with this one as I don't really think I can comment until I actually achieve one!!

go nuts over coconuts!

(image from
Coconut is definitely the 'in' food to try at the moment.  For the longest time people avoided eating this fruit for fear of high saturated fat content - but now the coconut oil is considered to be 'The Healthiest Oil on Earth' so why is it now cool to eat it, here are a few facts I have uncovered;

  • Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but not all saturated fats are alike and coconut oil in fact has a unique structural make-up making a it vital ingredient for a healthy body.
  • This oil has antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal properties and, like all whole foods, contains nutrients for a healthy body.
  • cooking with coconut oil creates a more favorable HDL/LDL ratio
  • It has a high percentage of lauric acid the most important essential fatty acid which is essential for boosting and maintaining the body's immune system.
  • I can attest to this that it is great for the skin, use as a moisturizer on face and hair, also being shown as a benefit to anti-aging.
  • is great for the digestive system
  • strange but true benefits of coconut water;   is an isotonic solution which replaces lost  fluids and minerals, can reduce urinary problems, can be used in blood transfusion and it is antibacterial.  Read more benefits here
  • Apparently, Madonna loves coconut water investing $1.5 billion in the next trend to hit the streets.
  • here is another great article on all the health benefits of coconuts.
I love the taste of coconuts and I often make this very simple lemon and coconut tart, the recipe is compliments of my son's school cookbook - see after jump for recipe.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

its been validated: start interval training NOW!

Slow steady-state cardio - forget it!! thats what the experts have been saying for ages now. Interval training is a must in your workout for optimal use of your time and to see positive fat loss results.

and if you are interested, check out this article confirming again how interval training can help you with fat loss which provides you with the tools and information to build your own program!! this is a great resource!

Its time to introduce 'Fats' into your life

(triglyceride molecule from wikipedia)

For years people have been eating and buying 'low-fat' products in the vain attempt that it will make them thinner, but statistics and nutritional experts have proven this to be false.

Our body needs fat just to function and here are some other reasons you need them in your everyday diet;

  • Helps regulate hormone imbalances
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Protects every cell of the body
  • Makes cells “communicate” better with each other (thus assisting in anti-aging)
  • Protects against common health problems such as heart disease, arthritis

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

People do the craziest things

Thanks to fellow blogger Truth2BeingFit for this great video for an inventive workout on the treadmill.

I love doing my interval training on the treadmill (pre-broken-toe!) but would never think of doing this crazy stuff - I have visions of making a total arse of myself, but still think I might give it a go when the gym is nice and empty.

What do you think?

I'm Listening..... I'm Listening....

(image from
What tunes are in your iPod?  What type of music motivates you in your workouts?

I thought I would list the tracks I am currently listening to, then realised I have way too many, so here are some of my favourites (in alphabetical order).

Woke Up This Morning by A3 - if its good enough for Tony Soprano, its good enough for me.
Paranoid by Black Sabbath - the rock chick in me still hasn't died.
Not Nineteen Forever by The Courteneers - an indie band from Manchester. I really like them.
Ain't That A Kick In The Head by Dean Martin - this is 'our' song, gotta love Deano.
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors by The Editors - I like dark, dingy music and this band from Birmingham fits into that mould.
Daddy's Gone by Glasvegas - pure genius! 
Down In The Tubestation At Midnight by The Jam - Paul Weller is still the Modfather.
Canned Heat by Jamiroquai - happy memories of fun times in London, UK.
The Age Of The Understatement by The Last of The Shadow Puppets - for those who loved The Artic Monkeys you will love this band.
Time Is Running Out by Muse - a newly found favourite for me, in fact I went last night to see them in concert.  Brilliant!!
Rat Race by The Specials - rude boys at their best.
Space and Time by The Verve - this is most definitely not a workout out track, in fact the whole album hasn't got the right beat BUT Urban Hymns one of my all time favs.

Tell me what you workout to - I am always looking for new tunes!

Monday, March 8, 2010

my chocolate challenge?

so I am 20 days, halfway, through my 'Lent' challenge - where I decided to give up chocolate, cakes and biscuits (cookies), but continue to torture myself by baking with my kids.

I love cooking and baking, plus its something the kids enjoy too.  Today I made chocolate chip cookies,  just the standard Hersheys recipe, but its a favourite in our house because they always turn out so chewy and chocolately (just shame I couldn't eat one though).

How are you doing on your lent challenge, I know a few of you decided to join me?

ditch the crunches

(image from
Its widely accepted now that doing a hundred ab-crunches is not the most effective way to obtain a flat belly.
Over the next few weeks I will post some alternative methods for working your abdominal area more effectively using functional (full-body) movements that will strength your core and stabilise your spine.

This week we will look at Mountain Climbers - of which there are a number of variations to suit all levels.

Basic Mountain Climber

Mountain Climber using TRX of course you need TRX suspension rings to do this, and its one of the products on my list to buy. You can check out the product here.

Valslide Mountain Climber again this is another product I must buy, portable and inexpensive, great for on-the-road workouts.  This would be a great exercise to do as Tabata or 30:30 splits.

Stability Ball Mountain Climber this comes from a great video from Craig Ballantyne at Turbulence Training. 6 minutes ab workout without a single crunch in site.  This exercise doesn't look as challenging as it feels - try to cheat on this exercise and you will just fall off the ball.

Cross Body Mountain Climber I use this exercise loads in my workouts - I normally time myself to see how many reps I can do in 1 or 2 minutes.

Let me know if any of this work for you.  Or do you have any other favourite Mountain Climber exercises?

Friday, March 5, 2010

the best of the week

So here are my favourite articles from the weeks news, hopefully you will find something fun within!

(image from

Most swimsuits these days are based on the 1950's standard 'hour-glass' figure which researchers believe was a product of the rationing years. Speedo have done their research and found that only 19% of women these days fit that shape, 49% of us falling into the 'bottom-heavy' category. M & S have listened to the results and have produced 3 new swimsuit that fit these new categories.

Before putting on your running-shoes, think carefully about the surface you are running on, it maybe be doing you more harm than good.

Picking the names of my two boys was really hard work, but at least I didn't chose any of these Terry Bull names!

And just before you shun the treadmill as a dying fad - how about you consider using the new Anti-Gravity treadmill engineered by NASA.

and just for fun, did you know that most peoples ear lobes are in line with their nipples!

Ok thats me signing off for the weekend, have a good one folks

Thanks crunchy its Friday

Its my friend Sheila's birthday on Saturday and I thought I would get her some of her favourite things.
She is a bit of a foody and I know she loves home-made granola, so I whipped her up a batch of my yummy recipe. Its so easy to make with simple, healthy ingredients.  I haven't bought commercially-produced granola for years, why would I when they are full of hydrogenated oils and refined sugar, that  don't even taste that good.  See below for recipe.

I also bought her my favourite book of this year, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  Its an amazing story set in Nazi Germany in WWII, told through the eyes of Death. We see Death follow the life of a young girl,  Liesel Meminger who after the death of her brother goes to live with foster parents. I don't know why I liked this book so much, but its one that I couldn't wait to read each night and left me pretty emotional at the end.  

Have you read this book? What's your favourite book so far this year? I am always on the lookout for something new.

And finally of course a bunch of flowers, the tulips are in the flower markets already!! Does this mean that Spring is going to be early?

Granola Recipe:
6 cups whole rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup sunflower oil
2/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla

add to granola when cooled:
cranberries and toasted slivered almonds

Preheat oven 350.
Combine dry ingredients.
In a saucepan heat oil and honey at low until honey melts.  Add vanilla and pour this over dry stuff.  Toss to coat.
Spread mixture onto baking sheets and bake until golden, stirring every 20 min.   Takes about an hour.  Cool completely before storing.
Munch away!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

working out when you are sick

I am going to touch wood and say that thankfully I haven't been sick for ages! That's probably a jinx right there.  But what happens when you get sick and you still want to work out, what are the rules - are we allowed?
Common sense screams out that we should fully recover before doing a strenuous intense workout, but would it be ok to just show up and go through the motions with a lighter load? Here is how I would approach it;


  • I had a fever
  • was highly contagious
  • if I  had the trots or nausea
  • I had a mild cold and the worst was over. For example a runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing - but I would keep the workout low-intensity.
The worst thing to do is to do a crazy high-intensity workout and hamper your recovery.

How do you deal with sickness and exercise?

Did you know?

Stress-free Breakfast: Start your day with a breakfast which is low in fat (saturated fat may aggravate your digestive system), rich in complex carbs (which raise serotonin levels for a relaxed calming effect) and high in protein (which boosts brain chemicals that help you focus).  For example: plain oatmeal with low-fat milk and strawberries will help you off to a great start.

Or why not try combining the following ingredients for a delicious and nutritionally filling breakfast:
1 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp ground flaxseed (which I grind up and keep in the freezer)
1.5 cups water
1/2 grated apple
nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla essence
handful of raisins and chopped dates.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat low, cooking for about 20-30 mins.  I love to serve this with honey and toasted almond slivers.

(info from Womens Health fitness journal)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The future of personal training

Bang Fitness in Downtown Toronto are offering an amazing new semi-private training membership for a trial offer of only $100.  This is a great facility to exercise in, they believe in training you as an athlete to become leaner, stronger and faster. They offer a number of services including personal training, group conditioning classes (inc. a kettlebell class) group strength classes and nutritional counseling.
Go down and check it out!!

Geoff, the Director at Bang, writes some pretty good articles that are worth checking out on their blog.  The most recent, first get fit, then run, is definitely worth reading.  So many newcomers to exercise believe that donning a pair of trainers sneakers, running shoes is the most effective form of exercise for results in fat loss.  They also undertake the activity unfit causing themselves injuries.  Geoff outlines here the best approach to exercise for results and the ranking of running within that structure.
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