An Ode to the Legend

When I look through my Instagram feed, I see a lot of posts of women flexing, working out, doing handstands, push-ups and pull-ups. I truly love it. To see women becoming strong, eating clean with defined biceps is a refreshing change from the waif movement years ago. There is a strong revolution happening in our midst and being unrealistically skinny is no longer the new sexy. (Thank goodness.) However, where did it all begin?

Before these squatting, pressing and lifting ladies on social media feeds, there once was a powerhouse named Rachel McLish. She was one of many female bodybuilders who dominated the body-building world of the 80’s. Rachel McLish was the first ever woman to win the coveted title of Ms.Olympia. She did so twice in her bodybuilding career.  Cory Everson won the title an outstanding SIX times in her career. I tried to find Rachel McLish (one of my fitness idols) on various social media outlets for my own motivational purposes, but couldn’t find her anywhere. It appears she is as elusive as she is strong and beautiful. She must be in her late 50’s today, but I read in a bodybuilding forum somewhere that she still works hard and eats well. In her hay-day, there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Lady lifters put in the work at the gym and went home to practice posing instead of posting posing.

This phenomenal lady paved the way for the Monica Brants, Jamie Easons and Trish Stratus’. So when I see people showing off their strong backs, biceps or quads on Instagram, respect and acknowledgement must be made to the first lady of flexing, the original beauty with barbells, the original lady who lifts, and mademoiselle with muscle (ok, I’m having too much fun with this.)  Her accomplishments empowered women across the globe to see and believe that strong is certainly beautiful. Weight lifting women do not equate looking masculine, but do equate looking beautiful.  She started this movement for you. She started this for me. When I do that next flex, or shameful gym selfie, I will always remember who to thank before posting, sharing, tagging and liking became the norm.

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Strong and sexy, Rachel McLish poses in her glory days.

photo source

other sources: www.bodybuilding.com

Workouts Lately and the Kindness of Strangers

My workouts and energy-fueling eating plan have been going great. Going to the gym is becoming easier and easier, as I feel excited to meet new challenges.  Food prepping is consistent to ensure I’m getting enough protein, fats and carbohydrates to train effectively.

My schedule looks like this:

Monday: Upper body strength + pull up training

Tuesday: Cardio/lower body. I choose one activity:

Zumba Tone

HIIT

Tabata

Spin

Jogging/sprinting drills

Nike or TFG App- Cardio drills

Wednesday: Upper body strength+ pull up training

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Upper body strength

Saturday: Cardio with lower body strength and resistance training (lunges, deadlifts, squats.)

Sunday: Kundalini or restorative Yoga, along with active rest injury prevention exercises.

I am still doing Dr. Lynn’s program, along with some challenge strength routines from The Fitness Games app. Today I did this workout:

IMG_0866My back was annihilated for sure!

Pull-up Progress:

Still assisted, but now I am rotating between doing my pull-ups from assisted machine to the actual bar with the resistance band and I think this is proving to be more auspicious in helping me to reach my goal of one unassisted pull-up. It felt odd using the resistance band at first. Putting my foot in the loop didn’t feel very secure and I was wobbling all over the place. As I was doing the pull-ups I kept thinking the band would snap and I would go tumbling down. Once I got to my third set, it felt a lot more comfortable and I got into a good tempo.

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Bar with resistance band

My back is getting a bit of a taper from all the pull-ups.  On Friday, a woman I have never seen before at the gym really started my weekend off on a high note. She told me my back looks muscular and asked me what I do. To say I was gushing is an understatement. More importantly, I have to remember to be less critical of myself and be proud of what I have accomplished. Sometimes it takes a nice compliment from a complete stranger to remind us that we are doing pretty good after all.

Progress pictures are coming soon. First I just want to order this outfit from Fabletics to pose in. Hey, girlfriend wants to look decent. Holla to Kate Hudson for reasonably priced shipping to Canada and a whole outfit for only $24.99.

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Have a wonderful week. Work hard, eat well and take care of yourself and one another.

To Canada, With Love

fromtrextotigress:

Please have the family of Captain Nathan Cirillo in your thoughts and prayers. A young father who lost his life in this senseless attack.

Originally posted on Amberly Ever After:

As a Canadian and a citizen of Ottawa, the events that transpired yesterday were both shocking and tragic. My heart goes out to all of those affected and especially to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was killed while representing his country by standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The world we live in is full of terrible things, and no matter where you go or who you are, sometimes these bad things just cannot be ignored. However, this doesn’t mean that any of us should stop living the way we want. Should we be more vigilant and protective? Perhaps, but by no means should we ever allow fear to paralyze us.

My Ottawa will always be a beautiful city, one that I am proud to live in and one that I am proud to call my home. My Canada will always remain a beautiful country…

View original 209 more words

Flavourful Food

Since making adjustments towards eating healthier, I have reduced a lot of salt in my cooking and have turned to other ingredients to add flavour to my food. Those pre-packaged seasonings for meat dishes are often very high in sodium, so I always try my best to use fresh culinary herbs and root vegetables.

What I use to reduce salt:

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…

Dill-This herb has a light almost minty taste. Fresh dill pairs nicely with salmon and various fish. I also steam it and add it to rice dishes and garnish for my salads.

Health benefits- Some studies suggest that dill helps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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Thyme- I always make time for thyme and it is now a staple on my grocery list. I use it in many dishes, including, adding it in ground meat for sauce or meatballs, to stews and soups, to season chicken, as well as my vegetable rice pilaf. I remove the tiny green leaves from the stem and into the pot they go.

Health benefits- Thyme can help prevent colds and flu and is an anti-oxidant.

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As Rosemary is to the spirit, so lavender is to the soul…

Cilantro- With its unique taste, I use cilantro in dishes that require no cooking. It adds a rich green colour and delicious taste in salsa and goes especially nicely with a mango salsa. Cilantro also pairs brilliantly as a garnish to your fish tacos and on your fresh salads.

Health benefits- Not just a pretty garnish, cilantro is an immune boosting, anti-oxidant that can aid the body in removing toxins.

IMG_2290Rosemary-Thanks to Rosie, I can add a certain something to my marinade rubs. I add olive oil, rosemary, fresh garlic, pepper, a little sea salt and rub over my roast. I let sit in fridge overnight before cooking. I also use rosemary to season poultry or add to grilled vegetables.

Health benefits- reduces inflammation and can lower the risk of heart and liver disease.

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Honourable mentions:  Fresh garlic, red onions and ginger cannot go unnoticed. All of these vegetables are a must to enhance the flavour profile in stir-fries, soups and stews. Sprinkle your diced garlic over grilled vegetables to enhance flavour.

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Herbs for the Wine…

You cannot go wrong with red wine paired with red meat.  I drizzle red wine over roasts, steaks and beef medallions before cooking to marinate. A cap full of vino tinto is a fantastic addition in meat sauce and beef stew.

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What are your cooking essentials?

Resource: Health benefits found in the book Healing Foods- Eating Your Way to Better Health.

How to be a Zen Kat

I love, love her blog. Hence the reason I was thrilled when Alex Katzen said she could fit in an inspirational story this month in her busy schedule. Her blog, The Zen Kat, is an exquisite celebration of family, friends, food, travel and fitness while making room for desserts (and handstands.) More importantly, Alex has taught me a valuable lesson. It’s important to slow down in this crazy, fast-paced life to engage the senses, spread positivity or come out of a comfort zone. With Alex you never know where life will take you, from a bakery in NYC or the Dead Sea, but I can guarantee you will enjoy the journey.

 

Was the Foodgasm Worth it?

To keep myself accountable, I have to be honest. I indulged too heartily this weekend and I was not happy with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against indulgences and believe it is important to treat yourself in moderation to live a balanced lifestyle. I have come from a place of obsessive, restrictive dieting in my past, and it’s never helped me to become healthier, but in fact it did just the opposite.  My approach now is 80% clean to 20% not-so-clean.  My diet has evolved a lot over the past year. Greens and lean proteins are huge parts of my meal prepping, and I have reduced (but not omitted) starches. I feel more energized and feel full due to these changes.  So what was the problem?

I over did it. I know, I know. I can’t beat myself up over treating myself, and I don’t. The thing is I did not treat myself, I overate throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. Starches, sugars, exessive caffeine and alcohol. How many pumpkin spice lattes did I throw back? Too many to mention. My alcohol limit went out the window. (Insert I’m so ashamed face here 😚)  However, a valuable lesson did prevail. I know why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. The splurging was not worth it. Throughout the weekend, I felt lethargic, dehydrated, had a dull headache, felt bloated, gassy and was constipated. However TMI, this must be shared.  Protein and veggies make me feel great. An excess in starches, sugars, caffeine, wine and not enough water make me feel all of the above. (Which does not warrant repeating. Insert I’m so ashamed face once again 😚.)  To sum it up, crappy.  It felt great while I was doing it (like any addicting substance) but the after effects truly are not worth it.

My evening after splurging:

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As the holiday season approaches, I am confident to stick to my balanced approach. After all, Marie Anoinette said, “let them eat cake!” Not cakes. The Israelites ate unleavened bread at Passover, not eleven loaves of bread. So kale, spinach, swiss chard and beets will tip the scales, and a little Christmas cake will balance it all out.

What is your approach to healthy living, my lovelies?

I’m Thankful For Stretchy Pants

This Monday will make a total of two Thanksgiving feasts I have enjoyed. This is why God created stretchy pants. My Thanksgiving dinners usually contain alotta starches. Rice, potatoes, potato salad and at times pasta salads. I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving potluck at work on Thursday. Everything was so tasty and we even had a bird.

Four year old Piper shows me her turkey-lurkey.

Four year old Piper shows me her turkey-lurkey.

 

No, not that bird, a real turkey.

Mary’s mom made a delicious chorizo stuffing. Delicious does not do it justice. It was out of this world delicious. My contribution was a Thanksgiving pear and feta salad. It is very festive in colour and you can find the recipe right here. Oh, and I always save room for pumpkin pie. Gotta have that pie in the sky! Here lies the dilemma. Now that my diet is primarily light and protein-filled, anytime I gorge myself silly on these occasions, I feel lethargic and bloated. My stomach balloons up, and I go into sloth mode in my elastic waist pants. I guess my body is not used to over-indulging these days, but oops I did it again. Thanks goodness holidays come only once a year.

Here are a few more scenes from the fall:

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Andy’s bridge over troubled-waters

Fall constitutional with mom and dad.

Fall constitutional with mom and dad.

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Wishing all my fellow Canadians a blessed Thanksgiving. May your meals be stretchy-pants worthy and always save room for pie.

IMG_2278What are you thankful for?

My Harvest Prayer for you

I bumped into an acquaintance at Walmart tonight. I asked her what she has planned for Thanksgiving, and she replied, “not much. I find holidays depressing.” After wishing her well, we parted ways, lost between hoards of busy Thanksgiving shoppers.

On the drive home, a melancholy mood took over as I thought of this brief encounter. Not everyone enjoys the holidays for many reasons. Job loss, financial woes, family estrangement, fighting addictions and personal demons, illness, grief, break-ups and breakdowns can lead to hopelessness.  Not everyone will be carving into a turkey come Sunday. Not everyone is feeling blessed tonight.

If you are feeling lost, I pray for your direction.

If you are feeling weary, I pray you find rest.

If you are lonely, I pray you know you are loved. Loved by God and loved by me.

If you are feeling hopeless, I pray that you discover the answer.

If you are physically or mentally broken, I pray for your healing.

If you are feeling angry, guilt-ridden or sad,  I pray that peace takes over your heart, mind and soul.

If you are encountering difficult paths, know that this too will pass. You are going through hardships to build strength and resilience. God has not abandoned you and knows your plight.

 

Amongst the leaves, dotted in colours, beyond the winding dirt path and over the rushing stream, you will find an old bridge. This bridge though has another side. You will make it across the bridge, this I promise you. It may be difficult and seem so daunting, but this bridge is strong.  On the other side, the sunlight reflects off the stream and shines through the leaves on the trees. A woodpecker’s swift beak is echoing through the forest.  On the other side is hope, love, peace and purpose.

 

Cross this bridge and don’t look back. This I pray for you.

 

-C. Longsworth

 

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Trex to Tigress Spooky Halloween Confessional

I think I have a case of arrested development when it comes to Halloween. I simply love Halloween and refuse to declare it just for children. Besides, I’m young at heart.

So I decided it’s time for some Halloween confessions……

1. If it was socially acceptable for 40-somethings to trick or treat, I’d be all over that. Trick or treating is a great physical activity. For one, you do a lot of walking. Secondly, you walk holding heavy bags of candy.

2. When I was 21, my sister had a nasty sinus infection on Halloween. Her husband hated taking their kids trick-or-treating, so it became her parental responsibility. I happily volunteered to take over the trick-or-treating duty so my sis could remain in her sick-bed. What a nice auntie. However……I had my own selfish motives. I seriously considered dressing up and pretending to be an “older sister” to my nieces and nephew, so I too could collect candies. When my sister told me that was a crazy idea and don’t even try it (she was friends with all the neighbours) I decided against it. So instead I just told my nieces and nephew that if they didn’t each give me 5 mini KitKats and an addition 5 bags of chips that Freddie Kruger would pick the lock of their house with his knife fingers and break in at midnight. Wow, it feels great to get that off my chest.

Coming for your candy, kids!

Coming for your candy, kids!

3.  One year my bro waited last-minute to plan his costume. (I started planning my cossy in late August. Insert tooting horn here.) Sure enough, all the good costumes were taken at Woolco. Bro had to settle for the dreaded “sheet ghost.”  I hid our only white sheet for a joke and he couldn’t find it to cut the eye holes in it. My bro had to wear a flannel sheet with pink flowers on it. (Lol-ing right here. Man, it felt great to get that off my chest.)

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4. Which segues nicely into my next confession. My favorite Halloween show is It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I never miss it. (Where poor Charlie Brown was a sheet ghost and only got rocks when trick-or treating.) Reminds me of my poor bro, because I think someone did give him a rock with his flowery sheet ghost costume. “I got a rock.”

5.  One year, I wanted to make my house look extra spooky. I used all the TP to make those Kleenex ghosts because we didn’t have Kleenex. I made about 100 and hung them all around outside, on trees, on the door handles, on the mailbox. When my dad went to the throne ( with his National Geographic) I started to shake in my boots. When he bellowed, “Esther (my mom) are we completely out of toilet paper!?” I ran to my room and hid. Unfortunately, poor dad had to use paper towel. Ouch!  (You know, coming “clean” is feeling really good, unfortunately not for dad that day.)

How to make a Kleenex ghost with Andy’s soft, scented Kleenex, while he takes a nap, with easy step-by-step instructions:


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If your parents are angry you’ve used all the Kleenex kids, tell them The Tigress made you do it. I’ll take one for the team. Okay, back with the confessionals.

6. While visiting The Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City, a German tourist said I reminded him of Frida. That’s when I decided, I shall be Frida for Halloween. It was early September at the time and to make my costume authentic,  I let my mustache and uni-brow grow in for almost two months.

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7.   Whether invited to a party or not, I still dress up and will continue to do so if I live to a ripe old age. This year I hope to be the black Lagertha. #shieldmaiden #vikings

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8. I was one of those annoying teenagers who was way too old to be trick-or-treating, who would show up at your door after 10 pm with a pillow case as my treat bag.

So ends my Halloween confessionals. Any confessions to share? I highly recommend it. It feels like such a weight lifted off my shoulders. Speaking of witch which, time to get to the gym.

Go Take a Hike

Happy October! I think many people would agree with me when I say that nothing beats a Fall hike on a gorgeous sunny day. The thing with happy trails is that you can take it anyway you like, a light jog, a relaxed stroll, a power walk, or a marathoner’s stride. Nature is waiting for you; for you to enjoy however you choose. The foliage is not quite in its full colour spectrum, but it is getting there. Some leaves are still stubbornly fighting on to stay green, while others have already made the transition to turn red, orange or gold. It was supposed to be a lazy rest day today, but the great outdoors was beckoning my name and it was a call that could not go unanswered.

I will stop babbling now, and let the brook do it for me:

 

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imageTrue or false? The couple who stretches together argues less often?

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

-Lucy Maud Montgomery

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