The Meanivator

Have you seen fitness coach John Burk’s rant about fat people yet? I have never heard of this guy until I saw HLN’s trending stories one day, and he happened to be one.

John Burk has very strong views about being overweight. He is done with the overweight population using excuses to explain their weight and fed up with the lack of action. So if you are saying, “my aunt Theresa on my dad’s side is big-boned and I take after her, so that’s why I’m this size,” John is not having it! He is also sick and tired of hearing such excuses and feels the overweight should be tired of feeling sick and tired.That’s another thing. Obesity only leads to disease. Heart disease, diabetes and joint pain just to name a few. The overweight population got this way from one simple problem. Laziness. The sloth-like behaviour of making poor food choices, and making your butt a permanent fixture on the couch is the problem. John is done with, “accept me as I am” and  “I love my body the way it is.” Nope. He won’t accept you as you are. You go to the drive thru and line the pockets of the fast food industry instead of home cooking fresh foods bought from the grocery store. You say you can’t afford healthy food, but you spend tons on processed foods and in restaurants.  What’s up with that? What is worse, you are passing down this terrible way of living to your children. He finds this disgusting and repulsive! You have a choice. You’re making the wrong ones.  You’re slowly setting yourself up for the grave.

What are my thoughts on Mr. Burk’s rant? Well, I agree with him on many points. It is proven that obesity is the cause of many illness. What you eat, and how often you move can prevent many of these ailments. I know I feel a lot better when I eat well and exercise regularly. I love his point that you don’t need a gym or fancy-schmancy equipment. All it takes is to get up. Go for walk, a jog, or anything that gets you moving. Dance in your living room. I like that. Not everyone can afford a gym membership, or running group fee. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get your exercise in.

Another point I agree with is passing down bad habits to your children. I know this to be true from experience. I worked in the industry of child and family services for many years in various environments. I was once working in an drop-in/parent resource centre. Adjoining this centre was a nursery school. Everyday at noon a very overweight lady would walk through my facility to get to the nursery school area. She would huff and puff on this two- minute walk. On the way out the door, her four-year old daughter would exclaim like clockwork, “Mommy, I’m so hungry! Can we go to____________? (insert fast food joint here.)  Every damn day! Sadly the mother would agree. This was a habit. This was now a lifestyle.

Where I question John Burk’s rant are his black and white views. “You’re fat, you’re lazy, and you just make excuses to be this way” is not always the case. I find words like disgusting and repulsive too harsh. We don’t know everyone’s history. From watching the show My 600 pound life, which documents the life and struggles of the morbidly obese after they undergo gastric bypass surgery, I have learned a lot. Many of the people sharing their stories have gone through some sort of trauma, be it a sudden loss of a loved one, physical, emotional or sexual abuse at the hands of another and experience feelings of worthlessness. These individuals used food to comfort themselves. They gorged themselves silly to take the pain away if just for a while with instant gratification. They did not know any other way to fix their despair and went deeper into hopelessness. So, everyone’s case if unique. I think one must fix the inside before tackling the outside. Interestingly enough, many once overweight people agree with John and said his rant was just what they needed to hear. One guy said, “Yup, I was the guy with the Buddha belly in sweats all day on the couch, eating the whole bag of Cheetos with my XBOX. I was guy who made all kinds of excuses. John is absolutely right.”

Well, those are my views on this trending story. Below is a Youtube link to John’s rant. Just be fore-warned, he drops the F bomb a lot. I found it too much personally, but listened anyway. If this may offend you, you may choose to pass on watching.

If you did watch, what are your thoughts?

The Rotary Outdoor Gym and New Fitness Classes

The lovely British Senorita and I had a wee online chat about outdoor gyms and working out in the great outdoors when I saw her rooftop gym on her IG account. She told me about an amazing outdoor gym in Australia. A few days later when I was packing my gym gear for the next day, I remembered there is an outdoor gym only about a fifteen minute drive from my home called The Rotary Outdoor Gym. I was there once, but found the equipment very challenging. Especially the chest press and the over head press machine. The equipment was either very stiff and needed a good dose of WD40, or I was just plain too weak to make the machines budge. I think I’m going with the latter explanation.  So, I convinced Andy to live on the edge and break out of our routine of using our condo gym and head to the outdoor gym. Besides it was a beautiful day and I love being outdoors and active and I wanted to see if my strength had increased.

IMG_2988IMG_2989I am also trying to mix things up this summer with my fitness routine. I have already tried two new classes, Pilates and Beat. I stretched and worked areas in my body I didn’t even know existed in Pilates. What the heck is an IT band? A computer part? Well, after Pilates I knew that this was no tech term. My hips were loosey goosey after stretching out this area and I left class feeling so good. Ahhhh, now I know the real reason hips don’t lie. They’re stiff!

Anyway, back to the outdoor gym. I am happy to report my strength has increased because many of the machines I found just too difficult at my first attempt, I could now use. There were also a few elliptical machines for me to get in a quick burst of cardio. We were also right by the shore. Who wouldn’t love a lake view workout?

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I approached the pull-up bars with much trepidation. Should I try a pull-up with no assistance in sight? No straps to help me out, no machines with pins to decrease my weight? Just me and a bar. I felt so alone without my tools. There were two bars at different heights, a high one and a low one. I tried the high one first, but could barely lift my feet off the ground. Andy suggested that perhaps I was being too ambitious and I should try the lower bar and see how I do. I couldn’t manage a pull-up on the lower bar, but I did manage 3, count ’em, 3 chin-ups!

IMG_2998IMG_3001IMG_2999After our workout we took a little walk on the beach to stretch and take in the sights. The weather was perfect. Bright and sunny with low humidity.

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Have you tried anything new this summer? Please tell me I’m not the only poor soul who didn’t know what an IT band was……

Pan Am Track and Field

Andy and I woke up bright and early to make our way down to York University where the Pan Am Track and Field events were taking place. The events started at 10:00 am sharp, and we made it with time to spare for me to grab a coffee and run a 2 metre dash to the washroom before finding our seats. (I won this event.)

Also time for a few photos ops while heading to the athletic stadium:

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Entering the stadium. It was exciting to be so close to the track where the athletes were going to be.

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There was a lot going on. Sometimes events were happening at the same time. I didn’t know where to focus because I wanted to see everything. While Canadian Shawn Barber was going for gold with Pole Vault, fellow Canadian Elizabeth Gleadle was going for gold in the javelin. Shawn Barber ended up winning gold in pole vault.  I wasn’t close enough to these events to snap quality shots, but I did catch Elizabeth’s victory lap. The excitement of the crowd was palpable. So electric!

What I really enjoyed watching was the 5000m race between the women competitors for the gold. Seeing these athletes circle the track again and again had me on the edge of my seat. Brazilian Juliana Paula Dos Santos kept a cool and controlled pace.  Dos Santos pulled ahead beautifully to win gold, with Mexico’s Brenda Flores earning the silver and United States of America’s Kellyn Taylor coming in third with the bronze. Great run ladies and go Brazil! I also caught the Dos Santos’ win! (Lots of exclamation points in this post. Can you tell I’m excited.)

More shots from women’s 5000m:

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The Men warming up for running long jump. Amazing athleticism:

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There were also three heats for the men’s and women’s 100 hundred metre dash. They were running on the opposite side of the track so my photo quality was too blurry to post. I only saw the heats. Thank goodness for the jumbo tron. The semi finals were happening later on in the evening and the track and field finals will continue on to Thursday. I really wanted to see the women’s hurdles as well. Love this event. By this time we had been sitting for so long, that we were getting very hungry and left our seats to grab some grub. While waiting for our food, Queen Harrison of the U.S.A won the gold in women’s hurdles. I will have to look at the news footage to see this event and Queen’s victory.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as too biased. Of course I was cheering for the home team, but I am so in awe of all these athletes. The dedication, sacrifice and hard work it took just to get here is truly amazing. I was very happy to share in the excitement of games.

Pan- Am-azing!

The Pan-Am games started on July 10th, with Toronto as the host city and I couldn’t be more excited. The city is busier and more vibrant than usual this summer with tourists from all over the world visiting by the day to  be apart of this huge sporting event. On Saturday, I headed on down to Nathan Phillips Square with my sister Francine, her husband Rick and my nephew Malakai, The Pan-Am playground, to meet our cousin Loma. It was just a hop skip and a jump on the Go-Train to get to the city. IMG_2944There were plenty of bands putting on free performances with live music from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Belize. Then band from Belize, The Garifuna Collective, hold a special place in my heart. Belize is the country of my parents’ birth. It was almost surreal to see musicians from this tiny jewel of a country, and from a remote fishing village at that, centre stage in Toronto. We get plenty of bands from Brazil and Cuba, but Belize? That is a rarity. We enjoyed the music thoroughly and even got in a few shots with some musicians from the Garifuna Collective.

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Me, my sister Francine and cousin Loma pose with some band members from the Garifuna Collective.

IMG_2934We weren’t the only ones with a flag to represent. The games are all about about diversity after all. So having Toronto as a host city was very “fitting.” IMG_2949IMG_2955It was blazing hot. When I found myself complaining about the heat, I quickly put a stop to that. I complain in 30 below zero, not 30 above zero. I love the heat and the day was so sunny. There were not many places for shade, but that didn’t stop everyone from enjoying the festivities. I just made sure to keep hydrated. IMG_2918IMG_2920IMG_2921 IMG_2930

IMG_2927 (1)My nephew Malakai enjoyed swinging on the Symphony of Swings. The swings play classical music when you sit on them and start swinging: IMG_2932I thought because of the intense heat, this would be the only sign of Pachi, the Pan Am mascot I would see: IMG_2917 (1) But no. The real Pachi came out to greet the masses. God bless the person inside this costume and I prayed he/she wouldn’t collapse from heat stroke: IMG_2951IMG_2952

A photo with Pachi. Now life is complete!

A photo with Pachi. Now life is complete!

Tomorrow Andy and I head off to see the Track and Field preliminaries at York University. I will be back with more from that event.

The White T-Shirt Debate of 2015

This morning I was getting ready to go to my condo gym with Andy.  We were having a torrential downpour here, so I decided to workout nice and close. Andy put on his old off-white T-shirt (that should be white) and grey sweatpants. He always wears this tattered old outfit to workout in.

I said,

“You really should consider getting some new workout gear.”

“For what?” he replied.

“Look at that old T-shirt,” I laughed, tugging at the base of his shirt. “It’s awful. I keep washing it and it’s not even white anymore. Get a couple nice T-Shirts that have sweat guard. Adidas has some really nice ones on sale now at The Bay.”

“I’m not spending my hard-earned money on clothes just to sweat in,” he chupsed (this is when West Indians exhibit a teeth kissing sound to show they can’t be bothered with something.) “I’ll leave that up to you.”

“No.” I protested, filling up our water bottles. “Sweat guard is so good. It keeps you cool during tough, sweaty workouts. It absorbs the sweat.”

“Listen,” he said. “I now have to pay money so I don’t sweat doing something that is SUPPOSED to make me sweat? What di a$# is this?” (insert Trini accent here.)

Now Andy questions almost everything. Sometimes, I can’t argue. Most of the times I can. Take his shoes for instance. He has had the same Nike cross trainers for the past three years! I have been telling him about proper foot support, and he has been saying the same thing, “Ain’t nuttin’ wrong with my feet. My shoes are just fine. You have enough running shoes for both of us.” Again, he thinks the fitness industry is telling us this so we will buy more of their products. “Look at runners in those African countries. You know what they train in?” he argued. “What?” I asked. “Not a thing. They run barefoot. My shoes are fine.”

Everyday on my Instagram feed I see such gorgeous workout gear. From Yoga tops, to tights, to sports bras, to trainers, fitness models are promoting a brand and linking where to buy their tights, shoes or tanks with fancy slogans. Then I say, what a cute outfit! I believe that many of it is just marketing madness sure, but as I told Andy some things are essentials. A runner, a Crossfitter and many other athletics I have not mentioned require certain gear to keep them healthy and injury free, such as a quality pair of running shoes and trainers. Andy is just a normal guy who works out regularly, as I am just a normal woman who works out regularly. However, there are certain things I need. I once bought a cheap sports bra from the flea market. Within two washes (on gentle cycle and line drying I may add) the elastic had come loose and it was not keeping the gals snug and supported during HIIT class or boot camp. Now, I bought an expensive sports bra from Nike. I have had it for two years and it is still doing its job. That’s because I paid for quality gear.

Just look at my lovely new Adizeros. They are so light weight and cushion my soles beautifully. Perfect for HIIT class and the treadmill and I love the pink to compliment the black (not going to lie. I think they’re pretty.) Now, look at Andy’s dilapidated old cross trainers. A recipe for an injury from lack of foot support: IMG_1473I know I have the tendency to get carried away with workout gear, and am now trying to scale back, but I will not stop buying the gear I like that is quality and makes me feel good. I found that as I fell more in love with fitness, my desire to buy gear increased. I don’t get manicures, pedis, facials, nor am I heel or boot crazy, so let me have this wee indulgence from time to time.

“Hey Andy,” I said, “coming out of the bedroom in a new pair of trainers. “Look at these. Aren’t they nice?” I tap the shoes from toe to heel. “They’re just running shoes,” he responded. “It doesn’t matter if you’re head to toe in Nike, Adidas or Lalalemone or whatever that store is, if you’re not working hard, you won’t get results. You can get in just as great shape in an old T-shirt and sweatpants if you work for it. That’s my bottom line.” To which I received a fist bump. Can’t argue here Andy. “But at least I look better sweating than you.”

No Gimmicks

This month’s story of inspiration comes from my sister Camille, and a little bit from me.

My sister, Camille, is trying to lose weight. She is about 5 feet, 3 inches, and would be considered petite in frame. Over the years her weight has been on a bit of a yo-yo pattern. She had lost quite a bit of weight, and not by the healthiest measures she will admit to. I have been there too. From diet pills, gimmicks, shakes as meals and not eating enough. I have tried it all. Because I have been sold by the diet industry in the past, I feel I have enough experience (completely personal) to write about this topic. This tigress has earned her stripes, although I do stress I’m not a professional. I was a slave to the weight loss gimmicks and always finding fault with my body and beating myself up for having big thighs.

Camille is on a mission to lose about 35 pounds. Her weight gain is mainly due to her crazy and sporadic work schedule in the ER at a huge, busy hospital. From grave yard, to crack of dawn shifts, her work schedule is forever changing. Lack of sleep, having no time to meal prep and buying fast food on the go after jumping out the shower and throwing on her scrubs, or trying to catch up on sleep in her spare time instead of exercising, Camille saw the pounds slowly creep up. She wasn’t happy, but refused to turn back to the diet gimmicks in the past. I was so honoured when she asked me for help. I told her about what works best for me. Eating and planning nutritious meals as my daily routine, and allowing myself to enjoy my favourite indulgences only on occasions. I advised her that there is no magic pill, or quick fix. It took her a long time to gain the weight, and it will take time to reach her goal weight. It’s a lifestyle change she will have to adopt forever. As for exercise, I told her a combo of strength training and cardiovascular training worked best for me, but essentially, I advised just finding whatever she loves to do and get moving! Biking, hiking, pumping iron or dancing. Get to it and do it consistently, as in at least 3 times per week. I emailed her a grocery shopping list filled with high proteins and fresh produce and she began to workout. Her eldest son Stephen has her on a regime of strength training, boot camp style drills and she has also discovered her love of walking and jogging with her supportive partner Glenn. She has been doing this regime for about one month now, and guess what? Her clothes are starting to feel lose around the waist.

I was so happy to receive this text from Camille the other day:

imageSee. No quick fixes. Just making changes to a healthier you and making the time to get it done. I have noticed the changes in her body too. I asked Camille to take a photo for this post to show a before photo, but she wasn’t having it. She said, “I don’t want everyone on the internet seeing my lumps and bumps!”  I told her to cut that out too. No negative self-talk. I was also a pro at this. Instead of describing yourself as lumpy, bumpy, flabby, fat, frumpy, dumpy or gross, just stop! No more verbal debasing of your beautiful self. Simply say, “I have work to do and changes to make and I will do it.” End of. You don’t need to go there with being your own worst enemy. She said she might consider before and after photos when she is closer to her goal weight.

So, in the absence of Camille’s missing before and progress photo, I am going to share mine. I love to see that my hard work is paying off. I finally have shoulders now. I finally have the posture I have always wanted. My abdominal region has always been flat, but now it is strong (thanks to planks.)  I finally feel confident in a tank top. I feel more stream-lined and balanced in my upper and lower regions. More than the esthetics, I feel good about myself. No more negative self talk. The power of exercise baby! There is still work to be done, and everyday I am striving to improve. I will do it!

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Thank you Camille for inspiring me. As you work hard, and turn to little old me for advise, you are pushing me to do better and work harder. Love you, sis! Now, how about those photos soon?

 

Real Housewives of O.C Recap

Hooray! My favourite ladies from Orange County are back. (and that means so are my recaps…..) I was going to write a post about diet gimmicks, but that will have to be saved for another day. This post will be all about the fun, frivolity and drama that is the Housewives franchise.

I’m so happy that Andy has band rehearsal on Tuesday nights because this is my Housewives night. The Trinidadian Ricky Ricardo better stay at de club because this Lucy just wants to be alone, unwind, pour myself a cold Pinot (last night it was just a sparkling water with lemon), concentrate on the episode and take my mental notes for my recap posts. I don’t need Andy jabbering in my ear “I am getting no mental stimulation and this show has no value” lecture and yadda, yadda while I am trying to watch the drama unfold in peace.

Anyway, with that wee hubby rant over, on to the recap. I’m so excited! Let’s begin with the Dubrows, Heather and Terry. Heather invited all the ladies and their spouses to Wine Country, Napa Valley, to unveil her new champagne, “Collette.” (named after her youngest child.) Actually it is not a true Champagne that is made in France, as Heather explains. It is a Method Champenoise if you please, as it is fermented in the bottle (or something fancy along those lines.)  What the heck is a Method Champenoise?  To me, if it looks like a duck, it’s a duck. Heather is just too fancy. If Heather was my friend I would be looking in the dictionary after every sentence she uttered.

Okay, so Collette was unveiled with success. Heather also sabraged the bottle (more from Fancy Pants) with gleeful applause and cheers, and proceeded to make her speech. Here is where I am kind of digging the Dubrows. They’re funny! They can joke with each other and their relationship seems secure enough to handle a joke here and there. Heather attempted to make her speech by saying, “Collette was named after our surprise baby,” in which Terry chimed in to say, “Collette was named after our mistake.” I was lol-ing right there. Heather just laughed and was kind of like okay honey, let me finish. She continued with, “Collette is…..” Another interruption from Terry ensued, with, “Collette is still mean.” (Haha! Collette does look like a mean kid! I thought that too.) Heather was able to finish her speech without further interruption from Terry by saying that their Champenoise Method (heck, let’s just call it sparkling wine) is one of a kind, just like their baby Collette. At the end of the speech, the couple locked it down and sealed it in with a big old kiss. Mean kid aside, the sparkling wine looks quite nice. I would like to try it, but at 38 dollars a pop, I doubt I shall be. If it’s in your budget visit http://www.bellofamilyvineyards.com/Collette-Sparkling-Wine for more details.

The opposite of the Dubrows to me are the Beaders. Shannon always looks so nervous and unhinged. I know her husband David was having an affair and her trust must be shattered, but sheesh, give the guy a break. He’s walking on eggshells over here. Any comment the guy makes, Shannon is like, “what did you say? Why did you say that? What’s that supposed to mean?” Again, the Dubrows score another point from me. When Heather, Tamra and the new chick Meghan (whom I am not too fond of thus far) were talking gossiping about Shannon over dinner, Meghan said she felt uncomfortable around Shannon because her and David had a shot of Tequila at the bar at Heather’s hoedown last season and David failed to introduce a nervous and unhinged Shannon when she approached said bar. I think that David was just afraid to make the introductions to a young hottie like Meghan in fear that Shannon would be jealous, so he just left well enough alone by avoiding any intros. Anyways, at this gossip session  dinner, Heather cracked me up. She said, “I would just be amused if a young, pretty woman was flirting with Terry. I would be like, have at it girl!” See, laid back and secure. But who knows, maybe David is not making Shannon feel loved and secure.

Let us take a look at Tamra Barney. Yes BARNEY. Oops she didn’t change her last name legally to Judge yet. Tamra and I have this in common. I agree with Tams on this one. You have to go to the DMV, the passport office, the town hall. It’s a pain. No Tamra, we’re not bad people, we’re just lazy people. Married names aside, back to Tamra. Tamra is a new  Christian. Tamra has new hooters. (not that there is anything wrong with that.) I just see a wee judgey-wudgey here (no pun intended.) A few seasons ago, she lambasted Alexis Bellino for having implants and being a Christian. Tamra even nicknamed Alexis, “Jesus Jugs.” Not cool Tamra. Christians can come in all shapes, sizes, silicone or Au-natural. Who is Jesus Jugs now, Tamra? You have huge implants and you found Jesus.

All joking aside, I truly feel it is wonderful that Tamra has a relationship with Jesus. In a poignant statement she said she found God at her lowest point (which often happens, I can attest to that) mind you, she could have left out all the expletives in this poignant statement.

Lastly Lizzie. Why is girlfriend a secondary character now? I like the young Sofia Loren look-a-like. I think she brought just the right amount of likeability and drama to the show.

Vickie was whooping it up I am sure. She could not make the Napa trip because she was accepting an insurance award in Florida for all her hard work in a man’s industry (and I hope to God above Brooks is not faking having cancer. Just had to slip that in there.)

 

So ends my intellectual and thought-provoking exchange. I do hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading. Cue music please! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9Uf1SYr7E4

 

The Yoga Collective

When I first started exercising consistently and seriously, I never gave Yoga much thought. I didn’t think it could help me achieve any of my goals in strength or endurance. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. Practicing Yoga has helped me in my cross-training endeavours in so many ways, but we will save that for another post.

I want to let you know about my wonderful prize. I entered a contest on The ZenKat’s blog for a yearly membership to The Yoga Collective and I won! At first I thought there must be a catch; contest open to only U.S. residents? Nope, I won!

You see The Yoga Collective is a series of Yoga practices brought to you from a studio in sunny California. The top master instructors offer you a variety of virtual Yoga classes for beginner to advance yogis.

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The choices are endless. Your practice can be as short as nine minutes or as long as one hour.

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They even offer classes that focus breathing and meditation.

So far I have completed three workouts. One was a meditation session, a Vinyasa core flow (that was very challenging) and a basic flow practice.

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It is great to have the option of practicing at home when I can’t make it to the studio and I love the variety of practices, whether I want to wind down before bed with meditation or get in a solid full body flow session.

If looking to practice out of the studio and in the comfort of your own home, I would highly recommend giving The Yoga Collective a visit.

I Feel so Good in my Neighbourhood so, Here I Come Again!

Trish and I started working out together yesterday. We did a back/bicep/core workout. We were supposed to do a leg workout today, but poor Trishie is having some car troubles that she had to deal with. Since I was working out solo, I decided to go to the little park in my ‘hood for a good old park outdoor workout. Why not? It’s a gorgeous day and the sun doth shineth yet again.

Here is a breakdown of what I did today, but first I hope the fine dog owners of Pickering are using this:

IMG_2868Lunging in poop ain’t fun!

Trex to Tigress Get off the Couch and Get Outside Workout:

Warm-up:

Four laps jogging around the park. This is about one mile:

IMG_286410-12 elevated push-ups: (on the lovely gazebo steps):

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IMG_2861Tree to tree walking lunges. This is approximately 50 Ft:

IMG_2858One minute full arm plank in the freshly cut grass. I love the smell. No forearm planks due to itchy forearm issues:

IMG_2860I repeat this cycle two more times, except for the laps around park.

Now, let’s add a little trivia question to this post. Who can name the song in which I entitled this post? The winner will receive a prize of mad accolades from yours truly. So, there is no prize.

Name that tune! Or tell me your favourite way to sweat outdoors.

5 Sugar Detox Surprises

fromtrextotigress:

Great post.

Originally posted on RUN WRIGHT:

It’s officially Day 10 and these are the 5 best (and surprising) things about the sugar detox:

  1. All the salads. All the options. All the health benefits.
  2. Cutting down on the processed sugar-laden foods gives this lighter, healthier feeling in your tummy. That’s quite an addictive feeling.
  3. Knowing your drink options are water, water, or more water sure simplifies things. No more sticking your head in the fridge for several minutes asking yourself what you feel like drinking.
  4. Going without added sugar is cheaper. It can be surprising how much money a sugar junkie can spend on candy, chocolate and sugary snacks.
  5. It might be the reduction in sugar, the fact that your water intake is up or a combination of the two but after a while, your skin starts to glow in a way it didn’t before.

It’s enough to bolster me to keep going for another couple of…

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