Monday, October 31, 2011

Try Something New: Tabata Drills

You may have noticed something new in the sidebar. -------->

Many of you have been asking about my weekly workouts (I have gotten seriously slack at posting, thanks for the gentle reminders :), so I decided to put it here so you don't have to dig through the posts to find it.

Speaking for workouts, I have been looking for ways to mix up my own exercise regime and I am going to take my own advice.  Every week I will be changing one day of my workout by trying something I have never done before, which will be highlighted in the sidebar.

Pretty exciting, eh?  (There is the Canadian in me coming out :).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Favourites: Halloweeen Blogs

I love Halloween.

It has been my favourite holiday since I was a kid.  Dressing up, parades at school and getting candy.  Yes, please! I went trick-or-treating well into my late teens and am darn proud of it. :)

I am breaking from the norm today and going to share with you a few fantastic Halloween blogs. Yes, blogs that are dedicated this holiday all year long!.  What could be better, right?

If you are looking for some last minute costume ideas, crafts or treats, these blogs are right up your alley.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hobbies For Your Health

Did you know that enjoying any leisure activity  is just as important to your well-being as exercise?

Having a hobby is good for your health and here's why:
  • It can help reduce stress and reduce blood pressure
  • It keeps your mind sharp and engaged
  • It fosters a sense of accomplishment
  • It can help you find inner happiness

We often are trying to juggle so many things at once that we forget to do activities simply for the joy of it.  We put hobbies on the back burner using excuses like, "I don't have time" or "I can't afford it." 

I am absolutely guilty of this.

I have been wanting to take a cake decorating course for a few years and (as you know), just recently signed up.  I am loving it so much I am now wondering what took me so long to go for it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

30 Minute Workout: Bootcamp

Bootcamps are very hot right now and for good reason:  They give you the intense workout of a personal training session with the teamwork and social benefits of group fitness. They are also a pretty cost effective option, usually about quarter of the price of a one-on-one session.

(Check out this post to learn about Bootcamp Basics)

However, there may be some of you who do not feel comfortable in a bootcamp class or just don't have the time or means to commit.

This post is for you.

Here is a 30 minute bootcamp style workout that you can do at home.  Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes, running shoes and have a bottle of water handy.  (Also check with your doc before you start any exercise program).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fitness Gimmicks: What to Ask Before You Buy

I have written quite a bit on some of the ridiculous fitness products out there.  The weight loss industry is a multi-million dollar one and people will try to market just about anything to get a piece of the pie.

However, not all products that hit the selves are useless.  Many of theme started out as gimmicks (think: the step) and prove to be very effective and popular fitness tools.

So how do you distinguish the good for the bad and the ugly?  Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you run out and purchase the latest fitness fad.

Don't let you purchase end up like this poor Ab Lounge :(

Who designed this product?
Is the creator a certified fitness professional?  Are any of the product claims backed up with true exercise science?  Many infomercials are endorsed by a celebrity who may not be in the fitness industry and/or include paid testimonials.  It is so important that you research the product before you buy to verify any claims made.  Look online for real reviews.  Ask your friends and make an informed decision before you buy.

Can it really deliver on it's promise?
"Lose 6 inches in 6 days!"  "Eat whatever you like and still lose weight!"  Most fitness gimmicks promise very dramatic results in a very short time.  Ask yourself if it is really possible for this product to do everything it claims it can.  If the answer is "yes", can it be done safely?  Some of the systems may be able to produce the desired results in combination with vigorous exercise and a near-starvation diet.  Step as far away from these products as possible.

What makes this product different?
All new gadgets are are marketed to look like the best thing to ever hit the fitness world, but are they are they really that revolutionary?  Is this DVD/equipment/system any different than the one that your are already using (or have collecting dust in the basement)?  Do your research.  (See point 1).

What other questions should you ask when considering the latest fitness fad?

Stay Healthy,

Monday, October 24, 2011

4 Misleading Food Labels

Have you ever noticed that names and descriptions often make a product sound healthy, even when it isn't?

I came across a product that was touted as "organic veggie chips".  When I picked up the bag and looked at the label, I noticed that the chips were deep fried.  Hmmm.  I am pretty sure that any of the organic goodness that may have existed got lost in the hot oil.

It is easy to fall for this marketing tricks when you are trying to make healthy food choices for your and your family.  To help you out, I have rounded up a few of the misleading food labels that you should be wary of.

Source.  What does "100% Natural" mean exactly?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Favourites: Music for Relaxation

Music and relaxation (or yoga, pilates and meditation) are a perfect combination, in my books.
The right music can set the mood, help improve your focus and relax the body.

I thought I would round out my work-in week by sharing a few of my favourite albums, which I hope will help you in your practice.

(You could most certainly put together your own playlist, but I find the flow is much better in pre-made albums, especially for yoga.  However, if you are doing a short meditation, one song may be all you need.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Make Your Business/Blog Stand Out

There are hundreds of healthy living blogs out there.  If you are running a business, I would also bet that there are at least that many like-services acting as your competition.

So, how do you make your blog/business stand out from the rest?

While there is no surefire way to guarantee that you will get thousands of followers, there are a few things you can do to make your brand/business/blog the best it can be.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Work-in Wednesday: Meditation

I have decided to work-in this week.

Working-in is very similar to working out, except the focus is inward.  You take the time to give the body a rest from intense exercise and do things that help calm and relax the mind, body and spirit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 60 Minute Workout: Pilates/Yoga Flow

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.  From the sounds of it, it looks like everyone has had a cold/flu in the last few weeks. I am feeling better today, not 100%, but the show must go on!

I have decided that I am going to have a work-in week and give my body a break from vigorous exercise.  I think it is good for the mind and the body to do this a few times a year.  This week is my time (guilt free :).

However, just because I am taking the week off, doesn't mean you have to. :)

A few weeks ago, I shared with you a full-body, high intensity 30 minute workout.  Today, I am going in the opposite direction: A 60 minute, lower intensity workout with a focus on breathing, strengthening and stretching.

This pilates and yoga inspired workout will leave you feeling stronger, more relaxed and refreshed.

Note:  Remember to modify exercises as needed, drink plenty of water and check with your doc before you begin any exercise program.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cold Vs. Flu

I had every intention of posting a recipe of the most delicious muffins today, but they were a complete and utter fail.  The taste and texture were just all wrong.

So it is back to the drawing board for me and hopefully I will have a fantastic recipe to share later this week.

I also had every intention of starting this week by tacking my to-do list head on, but now I find myself fighting off the flu.  My list has changed from working, laundry and writing to resting, fluids and oil of oregano.

I have talked before about feeling guilty when we are sick.  My biggest guilt usually revolves around not being able to exercise.

Depending on your illness, it is perfectly fine to do a light workout.  In fact, it might even help you feel better. For me, not today.  I am giving my body the rest it needs, guilt free. 

Today, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the difference between a cold and the flu and some natural treatments you can try. 

Note:  I am not a Naturopath or Doctor.  Remember to check with your health care practitioner if you are unsure about any of of your symptoms and/or before you start any treatment program.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Favourites: Fall Recipes

I decided that my Friday posts needed a better name.

I am also going to start mixing it up by featuring some one-on-one interviews so "My 3 Favourite..."  won't always fit. (More information about that to come!)

Fall is all about comfort food and I love it.

Last week, I shared some of my favourtite cookbooks with you and today, I am going to share some specifc recipes I have stumbled upon in my travels.  I hope you find them as scrumptous as I do! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

Grocery shopping, much like doing laundry and washing dishes, is something that we will always have to do.

Whether you go everyday or once a week, making the most economical and healthy choices are probably on the top of your to-do list.

From the moment we enter the store, we are bombarded with colourful displays, prominent "for sale" item and impulse buys at the checkout.  It is easy to get overwhelmed and end up with a cart full of groceries, which may or may not be the healthiest choices.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way around the store and make better picks for you and your family.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Exercise Review: Power 90 Sweat Cardio 1-2

You may recall in the spring, I scored some pretty cool yard sale finds.  Amidst my haul, was this DVD:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today, I Will...

I hope you had a great long weekend!

I had a wonderful time at the cottage and my belly is still full of ham and pumpkin pie ;)

The weather was unseasonably fantastic this weekend and I found myself in complete awe of views like this:

Friday, October 07, 2011

My 3 Favourite Cookbooks

I love baking.  I love making healthy (and not-so-healthy) treats, playing with recipes and just getting dirty in the kitchen.

I also enjoy cooking and trying to find creative ways to spice up old favourites and try new ingredients. The internet has made doing this easy.  There are over 50 variations on any given recipe on blogs and websites.

However, I prefer to use a good, old-fashion cookbook.  There is just something about opening a book and trying not to get it covered with flour as I try to recreate the gorgeous recipe before me.  I don't have as many cookbooks as I would like and am really working on building up my collection.

Today, I honour the cookbook and am sharing 3 of my favourites. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The 30 Minute Workout: Interval Training

The title of this post made me think of the 20 Minute Workout

It was a Canadian exercise program, which featured women doing their thing in slinky leotards on a rotating platform.  If you haven't had the pleasure, then you need to check out this video.

Well, you won't have to wear leg warmers or spin around in a circle to do this workout (unless you want to ;).  The only thing they have in common is that they are both fast.

I am all about exercising more efficiently.  You can get more done in a shorter amount of time if you amp up your intensity.

This is what I like to call my "no excuses workout".  If you have a half an hour to watch TV, you have time for this workout.

The routine consists of three circuits with 1-2 minutes of rest between each circuit.

Remember to drink water (go for sips instead of gulps), take a break when you need it and consult with your doctor before you start any exercise program.

The 30 Minute Workout

Equipment Needed:
Resistance Band
Step Platform or Workout Bench
Stop watch or clock with a second hand

Recommended Music
Make It Pop, Best of 2010

Each exercise is performed for 1 minute w/o rest.

Warm Up
5 minutes (Walk, knee lifts, even on a stationary piece of cardio equipment)

Circuit #1
Squat Jumps
Plie Squats
Front Raise
Bent Over Row

Rest 1-2 minutes

Circuit # 2
Chest Press
Bench Dips
Active V Sit

Rest 1-2 minutes

Circuit # 3
Mountain Climbers
Bicep Curls
Calf Raises

Rest 1-2 minutes

Floor Work
Cris Cross


Give this workout a try and let me know what you think!

What is your favourite way to workout in 30 minutes?

Stay Healthy,

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

How to Make the Perfect Icing

Or frosting, as my American friends call it. :)

If you have been following me, you know that I recently signed up for a cake decorating class.  It is something I have been wanting to do for some time and I am so glad that I finally did it.

I am also very proud of my very first cake!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Resolutions Revitalized

A new month is here and it time to reflect of those resolutions (goals, plans, images or whatever you want to call them).

You may remember at the beginning of last month, I updated my inspiration board to better reflect what is currently important to me.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

9 Rules for Connecting with Brands

I had every intention of blogging from the She's Connected Conference yesterday, when my laptop decided it did not want to be connected to the Internet anymore. (Love the irony.)

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, so here I am with a Saturday post!
(Friday favourites will be back next week, I promise.)

At the conference, I made some fabulous new friends, learned from some amazing brands and bloggers, and got some pretty cool swag.

Katia, Morgan, Danna, Me, Megan

The main focus of the conference was to learn how bloggers and brands can work together to form mutually beneficial relationships.  This could include sponsorships, product reviews and revenue for your blog.

The last session of the day involved a discussion of some the main themes of the conference.  It really hit home for me and I thought it might for you too so I wanted to share.

9 Rules for Connecting with Brands

  1. Be authentic, be relevant, be you.
  2. Align your personal brand with professional brands that fit in with your values.
  3. Understand how brands value your service.
  4. Leverage your connections and your community.
  5. Be proactive.
  6. Have patience, work hard and be persistent.
  7. Learn as much as you can about the brands you would like to work with.
  8. Brands must be a part of the conversation.
  9. Follow the golden rule.

Do you work with any brands?  How did you form the relationship?

Stay Healthy,

P.S.  Don't forget to vote and tell me your favourite way to stay connected!


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