My first personal training conference

I attended my first personal training conference last weekend!

canfitpro hosted the conference, which is the organization I got my certification through.

They hold events in all of Canada’s major cities, with the biggest event in Toronto each summer. Apparently Toronto’s conference is one of the largest in the world for fitness professionals with over 10,000 delegates and 400 sessions with speakers like Jillian Michaels.

I was quite impressed with Edmonton’s and learned so much in one day. I went to four amazing sessions. Despite there being four sessions at each time, I went to the same speaker three times in a row. I wish I could have attended many more sessions!

I wanted to share a bit about each session so put a blurb of what they were about under the title then listed the three top tips or lessons learned. I’ve listed the sessions in the order I attended them.

The gentlemen I listened to are experts in their fields and were big on research and citing other professionals and studies.

Effects of strength training on weight loss. By Alexandre Pare
Proponents of strength training have long claimed it to be a crucial part of weight loss programs. But is that true? This workshop may shock some of your training concepts.


  • If you gain one pound of muscle mass, you only burn an extra 20 calories per day at rest. (Cardio is a better option for weight loss; however, strength training is important and there are so many health benefits.)
  • Lactate production is crucial to elicit a growth hormone (GH) response, which burns fat. Large, multi-joint exercises produce lactate.
  • GH increases during the night, so adequate rest and sleep are essential.

Women’s symposium. By Scott Josephson
Muscle strength, body composition, metabolism, peri-menopausal challenges and the hormone roller coaster can play an enormous role in cardiovascular and weight training programs. Learn how to create a superb training program for women, and determine the appropriate dietary intake and energy expenditure guidelines.

  • Genetic variations influence energy metabolism. (Studies show that genes explain approximately 50% of weight. Also consider hormones, age, body shape, etc.)
  • Females tend to restrict calories, which contributes to BAD (bone loss, amenorrhea and disordered eating) and a lower metabolic rate.
  • When your hormones lose balance, your body acts in unpredictable ways (increased fat storage, poor thyroid function, cravings, etc.) The body strives for homeostasis.

Eating for energy. Eating for performance. By Scott Josephson
There’s a fundamental difference between regular fitness and athletic intake – training like a pro requires eating like one. We’ll cover several steps for specific nutrient timing, calorie intake and caloric quantities, helping hormones, and the role of phytoestrogens, probiotics, and antioxidants. Sports nutrition is the core component to any program.

Fuel for IM Canada 2013

Fuel for IM Canada 2013

  • Training as an athlete requires eating like one to maximize performance, recovery, and repair. (What you eat and what nutrients your body absorbs today prepares you for tomorrow.)
  • Nutrient timing – 65% of carb intake for the day can fall into a five-hour window around workouts.
  • Eat protein with a high biological value (the quality of a protein- how well a body can use and absorb it). He cited whey proteins or Sunwarrior as a vegan option.

If you don’t already read Cotter Crunch, check out Lindsay’s blog. She’s a Nutrition Manager and Fitness Consultant who keeps her professional triathlete husband well nourished! She often writes about eating for performance.

No bones about it. Osteoporosis programs and prevention. By Scott Josephson
Over 30 million Americans have osteoporosis and 80% of them are women. Learn about practical preventive treatments, functional techniques, bone physiology, risk factors, and dietary and pharmaceutical supplementation.

  • People at high risk for osteoporosis: small or thin-boned Caucasian or Asian women, family history, consistent amenorrhea (loss of period), early menopause, excessive exercise, and eating disorders.
  • Prevention programs: high resistance training focusing on hips, spine, and knees (bone loading), and proper vitamin absorption.
  • If someone has it, maintain their bone density levels with multi-joint movements with a focus on functionality, mobility and balance.

Remember, I’m not a dietitian or expert in this field! This information is for interest. If you want to learn more, here are some resources:

Women have unique needs, especially if they’re active. Find a sports nutritionist or dietitian to help ensure you’re fuelling your body the right way.

Have you seen a nutritionist or dietitian? Do you have any healthy links to share?

Work Free Wednesday movement

I’m thinking of starting a movement: Work Free Wednesday.

I took a Wednesday off from work a few weeks ago. I got 10 hours of much-needed sleep and woke up refreshed. I had an awesome workout followed by a healthy breakfast (that I had time to enjoy). Then I went for groceries and ran a couple errands.

Once I got home, Harold and I went out for a lovely hour-long walk in the sunshine. I followed that up with baking cookies, making treats for Harold, and a little house cleaning.


Harold’s dehydrated sweet potato treats

After Kelly got home from work and went for a run, I had a delicious and nutritious dinner cooked and waiting. I also made our lunches for Thursday during this time.


Lastly, we took Harold for another walk, I did 20 minutes of relaxation yoga, and had time to read.

I felt refreshed and ready to put my all into work and everything else for the rest of the week.

I have zero science or research to back it, but I swear employees would be more productive, homes would be cleaner, relationships would be stronger, and people would be healthier if Wednesday’s were work free!

I think I’d even choose four, 10-hour workdays to get every Wednesday off!

Are you in?! Do you work Monday to Friday or a different schedule? 

The walk of shame

You know what I’m talking about…
…things didn’t go as planned.
…maybe you feel sheepish or a bit embarrassed.
…sometimes you even have to swallow back tears.

I’m not talking about that walk of shame.

I’m talking about when you go for a run only to find out you’re hurt or sick and have to walk the rest of the way home.

I’m no stranger to it: I’ve walked for long distances, I’ve called family to pick me up, I’ve walked in the middle of winter when my clothes are soaked with sweat and not nearly warm enough (one of the main reasons I always try to run with a phone now!).

It’s happened to Kelly, and I’ve run home to get a vehicle, we’ve called family, and he’s even hopped in a passing cab.

With the exception of one time (gut-wrenching cramps), it’s always due to injury-related pain that stops me from going any further.

I’ve had the walk of shame a few times in as many weeks.

Luckily I haven’t made it more than a block from home, so it’s been a short walk. That doesn’t mean tears of frustration don’t threaten to bubble out. Unluckily, it means I wasn’t able to go more than a block without intense pain.

After my IMS treatment, pain moved into the upper calf muscles of my left side. It was so sharp and severe I had to stop immediately. It felt like something was going to explode.

I talked to a few people about it. One physiotherapist thought it was just really tight calf muscles, so he gave me stretches to work it out. (Unfortunately, those gave me knee pain!) Another person thought it was a bursa sac bothering me.

I stretched the best I could, tried to roll it (so painful), used tiger balm, and wore compression socks.


I’m not out of the woods yet, but it’s been feeling much better. I ran on the treadmill last weekend so I wouldn’t have to walk home dejected (again) if the pain came back. It was a success! I ran again on Wednesday on the treadmill, incorporating six miles into a circuit.

On Saturday I rode long (and at better watts than ever before for 80km/50 miles). I’ve been itching for a good run in our spring weather, so Kelly and I planned a Sunday morning date.  We went for about an hour and 20 minutes and my calf felt awesome!

My left hip and hamstring got pretty tight, but I’m going to baby them for a few days and stick to strength and cycling.

I miss doing all my workouts in the fresh air!

Kelly’s gone mountain biking the last two weekends, but I’m not brave enough to go in freezing temps. Hopefully soon.

Have you experienced the walk of shame? (Either definition…no judgment!)
Tell me about it! 

Eat Sleep Ride: a book review

I read Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide by Paul Howard in California.

Click for image credit: Amazon

Click for image credit: Amazon

It wasn’t my typical beach read (meaning it wasn’t chick literature that I could read in one sitting) yet I really loved it.

The story is Howard’s personal account of a mountain bike race, the Tour Divide, running from Banff, Alberta, Canada to the Mexican border. It’s 2,700 miles long and includes more than 200,000 feet of climbing.

Howard had never owned a mountain bike and could only recall two off-road cycling misadventures. That didn’t stop him from buying a plane ticket from the UK to Canada, signing up for the race, and leaving his wife and toddlers for four weeks to attempt the adventure.

The book goes into detail of some bitterly cold days, rides that seem insurmountable, stops in forgotten towns, food in countless diners, and the spirit of riders who are in it for the long haul and all that comes with it.

I just can’t imagine sitting in the saddle each and every day for hours. I also can’t imagine riding up to 135 miles a day on a mountain bike, and then getting up the next day to do it all again.

The journey through Howard’s eyes is a tale of friendship, challenges, and adventure- all with that dry British wit!

The style of writing had me cheering along the riders; it felt like I knew them and I wanted them all to succeed.

I’m not a mountain biker (more of a wannabe!), but this story made me want to take on the 2,700 mile bike tour!


I wonder if I could talk Kelly into doing it alongside me (instead of hundreds of miles ahead)?!

Do you mountain bike? Would you consider a multi-day race?

Other book reviews:

Wednesday web links – warmups, race transfers, beaches & the office

I haven’t shared any interesting links/reads with you guys in forever! Here are a few sites that caught my eye lately.

Best warmup
I’ve been having serious issues with my left leg (from the top down)! I went and saw another physio therapist last week, and he thinks by strengthening my hips and loosening my calf muscles I should be ok.

He also gave me an awesome warmup to do, which will really help to open my hips and prepare my legs for a workout.

It’s actually from Lesley Paterson, the bad-ass beauty who races (and often wins) XTERRA events. It takes 10 minutes and focuses on dynamic stretching.

Ironman transfer program
One of the scariest things about signing up for an Ironman (in my opinion) is not knowing if you’ll make it to the start line. Will you get injured? Will life events come up preventing you from participating? An Ironman is not a cheap entry fee ($750+), and it would be a hard pill to swallow to lose it.



(Thank you KT tape for helping me get to two big finish lines last year!!)

I was so happy to read Ironman has implemented a North American transfer pilot program. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s an awesome step in the right direction, allowing people to transfer Ironman races or move down to a 70.3! Read the fine print for all the details.

(The Challenge Family offers a decent cancellation policy and is growing a ton!)

Best beaches
I’m a beach lover through and through. The tables at our wedding were actually beach names of places we’ve visited together.

We’ve only been to two of Tripadvisor’s best beaches, so it looks like we need to plan a few beach vacations!


Whitehaven Beach, Australia in 2004

Office plants
I’ve had a few different plants at work, all of which die in my care. I want to get another one and remembered an old article I read, The 6 Best Plants for a Healthy Office, from Men’s Health.

I have direct sunlight, so I’m thinking peppermint since they say it’s easy to care for!

Do you do a proper warmup before a workout? What’s your favourite beach? 

Highlights from our California Coast adventure

We drove 7,165 km (4,452 miles) through eight states and two provinces, stayed in nine places and four states, and were gone for 28 days.

Our jaunt down the California Coast was our best holiday yet.  I spent over three weeks by the beach with my husband and dog- who can complain about that?


We decided to power through Washington and Oregon since we’ve been a couple times and get to California. We hopped on the Redwood Highway in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, which is where our holiday truly began!



Here’s a list of all the places we visited with asterisks by where we stayed overnight:

  • Tacoma, Washington (travel night)
  • Crescent City
  • Eureka*
  • Avenue of Giants
  • San Francisco*
  • Santa Cruz
  • Carmel*
  • Monterrey
  • Santa Monica
  • Hollywood and LA
  • Newport Beach*
  • Huntington Beach
  • Laguna Beach*
  • Del Mar*
  • La Jolla
  • San Diego
  • Las Vegas*
  • Great Falls, Montana (travel night)


Nothing I write (nor the photos we took) will do the trip justice, so I thought I’d highlight some special places.

San Francisco
It was fun to drive the iconic Golden Gate to kick off a fun couple days in San Francisco.

We scored an awesome dog-friendly hotel a block from Pier 39. We walked countless miles over our two days and stuck to the tourist spots: Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero, Ferry Building, Chinatown, the crookedest street, Union Square, and Golden Gate Park.


And what’s a trip to SF without Ghiradelli’s? I ate a delicious sundae and have been craving their marshmallow topping ever since!


Carmel by the Sea
We heard that Carmel was one of the most dog-friendly places in North America (thanks, Mary!), and it certainly lived up to its reputation.


Carmel is an upscale village with European architecture, art galleries aplenty, and a beautiful beach.

Everyone we met in Carmel, from store workers to people who wanted to meet Harold, was incredibly friendly. We loved to walk on the beach and take in the town.


Laguna Beach
We ended up spending 13 nights in Laguna Beach, seven our first stop and six on our second. It was our favourite stop.


We fell in love with the area. It had a small town feel, the beach was dog-friendly, the ocean was perfect to SUP, and there was amazing Mexican food! We both had fantastic runs here on the road, Crystal Cove State Beach, and the trails. (see my previous post about keeping fit on our holiday including a race in Del Mar.)

Del Mar
Del Mar is in San Diego County. We weren’t sure where to stay in the SD area, but Nicole gave us some great tips! We chose Del Mar because dogs are allowed on their beach any time of day, it has a nice laid-back vibe, and there was perfect surf. Kelly surfed there every day we were in town!


I also had a chance to meet Nicole! It was my first blogger meet up and I loved talking to her in real life.

Huntington Beach
We didn’t stay in Huntington but did spend two days there. It was a fun place and we had a blast cruising on the beach sidewalk.


Kelly also surfed; after all it is called Surf City USA for a reason!

Cruising California’s iconic highway
It was the first holiday since we backpacked in 2004 that we didn’t have a real itinerary or plans other than a date we wanted to be home. We booked hotels the day of or the night before and decided on our next destination a couple days before we moved along.


Santa Monica

While driving the 101, we’d pull over if we saw anything that caught our eye.


Mavericks on an extremely calm day!

I absolutely loved a driving holiday and would highly recommend the California Coast to anyone! It was nice to go in the off-season. It enabled us to book accommodations late notice, and we still had fantastic weather. (It only rained half a day throughout our entire trip and was hot in Southern California!)


A driving holiday also allowed us to take Harold, our dog. We love camping with him in summer, and have had him with us on various trips to British Columbia and a couple times in Oregon. It was wonderful to include him on our winter holiday this year.


My favourite thing about travelling with Harold is spending so much time outside. With him we generally get take out (Mexican!) and eat on the beach. We would time it right and caught dozens of gorgeous Pacific sunsets.


I must admit, we’ve talked about doing California again for next year’s winter getaway!

What’s your favourite road trip? Do you like to have a holiday planned out or play it by ear?