Tag Archives: goals

“I used to be am an athlete”

Last night I did 85 full push ups, rows with a 20lb weight, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, Russian twists, plank jacks, weight swings, and squat shoulder presses…for half of my workout. That statement may be super un-relatable, unimpressive, or arrogant in your opinion…Personally I think it’s pretty damn good considering that a month ago push ups quickly fell to my knees, I struggled with a 15lb weight, and took one (or two) breaks in 45 second mountain climber intervals.

I digress…The point of this is not to post all about the butch sweaty shit I fill my evenings with, but instead to speak about fitness from the perspective of a former ‘athlete’. It wasn’t until I was talking to my doctor before the holidays that I realized how far off the fitness trail I had gotten. I think those of us who grew up playing competitive sports consider ourselves [still] to be athletes…training the amount my peers and I did, the mentality becomes a fiber of your self-image.

We, the starlets of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ athletics may or may not have gone on to play varsity sports…hell, I ran a bloody marathon…or did something to keep the freshman 15 off….but now we’re men and women. Men and women who work, 8-5, which is really 6-6 when you consider getting ready and the commute, and then we go to happy hour because some days never end and we work now, so we can afford pretentious hipster beer to support local start ups run by 20 year olds making triple our salary. Then we go home and creep social media comparing ourselves to all of our other graduate friends while also watching Netflix and planning our next trip on our grown up vacations to motivate ourselves to go to the gym. But we’ll go tomorrow because we’re athletes and we get fit/lose weight/look great easily and naturally due to ‘muscle memory’. Then the vacation is actually soon, we check the weather to see how much we will need to be in a bikini, then pay too much for shadowed spray tans, cut out carbs and drink 4L of green tea a day.

Or something like that.

As mentioned, I had a moment of clarity when I went to my physician before Christmas. She asked what my fitness habits were like. I promptly said: “I’m fit”. She asked what I did to be ‘fit’, to which I got flustered and began reciting my athletic achievements from high school and college to have her so bluntly clarify what I had done in the last week, ‘’or month even’’. My response was “I walk to work…which is like 30 mins a day…and I go to yoga….sometimes…well….but not hard yoga”. Yes, my lack of evidence was a bit embarrassing… perhaps worse, she said I was ‘just an average adult’…I think I signed up for the Blitz Conditioning 30 day challenge that night.

I got to a point where I wanted to get fit. A point where losing weight was secondary to performance. I had been to Blitz’s HIIT (High intensity interval training) a few times. The first time I was sore for 5 days (also part of ‘I used to be an athlete’ syndrome….known as ‘5 years ago this was a joke, so obviously I can do it now’ complex”), so committing to 4 days a week for a month seemed extreme. Also, Blitz is pretty far from my house considering I commute by foot or transit, AND the challenge was 200 buckaroos. (Successful completion results in a ‘free’ February). So if, IF, there were days where my performance and restoring the facet of my identity that included ‘athlete’ weren’t enough…the mentality of it being a ‘$200 class’ got my ass to the gym.

30 Day Challenge: Nailed it!

30 Day Challenge: Nailed it!

A month, nearly a ‘stone’ lighter, and many inches slimmer I can say with confidence that the 30 day challenge was the best ‘diet’ I could have done. Why? Because I am going to stick to it. Why? Because my life is more fun, includes more great people, I don’t crave my old lifestyle, and I am achieving goals (fitness and otherwise) again. Having to get classes done by Friday has made me avoid procrastination in the challenge but in every part of my life. I feel like I belong to the Blitz community; seeing the familiar faces is my social fix and it keeps me accountable.

Four days a week is a lifestyle challenge not an ego challenge (like 30 day every day events). If all studios did 4 day a week challenges there might be hope to a healthier Edmonton (& society in general). How can people preach to make ‘SMART’ goals, then host challenges that represent unrealistic long-term outcomes?? Exercising 4 days a week should be a habit. It shouldn’t be ridiculous. It isn’t ridiculous. And by the end of 4 weeks—the time it takes to break a habit—you realize it. More importantly you enjoy it, and you want to keep doing it.

HIIT is a great workout, you can read that in any journal or health blog, and many places offer it. So why Blitz? Because I am an athlete: I train, I set goals, I crush them, I set goals, I fail, I re assess, repeat. I’ve come to the conclusion that being an athlete is a mindset rather than a level of performance, and Blitz has made that accessible to me when I thought it was lost with my ‘youth’. I think I have been through every single one of those phases in the last months and I have felt supported and inspired to continue both by the trainers and my peers at every step of the way. That is worth any commute or price tag in my opinion.


25 by 25

So there’s this post being shared incessantly about what to do before 23 besides getting married. I took a gander and decided that I had either accomplished the list at 5 years old (get a passport) or really couldn’t give two shits (join the peace corps)…and as any slightly arrogant 20-something I thought I would just write my own. So here is my list before 25 but really just how I think I’m a grown up…because writing to-do lists and actually doing what’s on them is honorary #26

1. Move out. You will not only learn how much your parents did for you growing up, but you will also get a rude realization as to the cost of actually living. Toilet paper is the hardest money to part with…but then you travel to Asia and it all sort of makes sense. You learn how empowering and lonely your independence can be and how to maximize the former.

2. Be Irresponsible. Often coming with #1, but sometimes (from what my younger sister says) very easily accomplished in high school. Get it out of your system. Everybody has an part of them that wants to see how cool 20 tequila shots and your head in the toilet at a rave really feels. So do it, then understand why it is (or should be) a phase. It will also make you way better at managing your time in the long run when you can go to bed on time when you have a real job because you know you aren’t missing out.

3. Be responsible. By responsible I am also implying learning how to manage your time. Responsibility never tasted so sweet as when you reflect to your less proud days. Doing laundry day more than once a month, actually buying groceries, having a bedtime, and everything else that has to do with being a ‘grown-up’ isn’t actually all that lame. Who knew the day would come when people would respect you for having only one beer because you need to go to the gym in the morning?

4. Be selfish. When else can you ever focus on you and only you. Soon enough there will be career, spouse, kids, and our aging parents. Savour the time to do what you want when you want. Be selfish to figure yourself out. What makes you tick? Do it, be aware that your doing it, and when you’ve taken what you need, carry on. Being selfish at least once (not a day, like a year) will not only refocus your life, it will make you accountable for everything in it…quite the humbling lesson.

5. Find peace with a regret. It all happens for a reason…right? Look back, think of the biggest rip-off you think life dealt you, or your most epic error….and think about who you would be had it hadn’t happened. Congratulate yourself on growing from it in the long run, and genuinely believe that it will all work out in the end.

6. Fall in AND out of Love. I’m laughing at my own cheesiness right now, but hey…25 is a long list… Live the cliche ‘young and dumb and in love’ to its fullest. Then feel yourself grow up a solid five years when the young and dumb over-power the ‘in love’. I mean that in the least cynical way possible…(and I know that this will spur controversy, oh well #7 Accept that you cannot please everyone.)

You can’t. And if it seems like you do either they’re all lying to you or you’re lying to yourself. There are ways to be unpopular for what you believe in rather than people just saying you’re a jerk…that is a fine line you should probably figure out by 25 too. The more you realize time is precious, the less you are willing to waste it appeasing to the desires of others.

8. Be the other kid. I’m sure that western schools have forced you into thinking you are a math/science kid or an arts kid. Even if you just try one thing…be the other kid and see how it goes. We live a lot of self-created stories because somebody once told us something and we held on to it for whatever reason. Test the theory, consider that you might just be OK at something else…or that doing it and not being great at it is OK too.

9. Say Yes. Not to drugs…unless still conquering #2…but to pretty much anything else to which you would have usually said No. It may go great, it may be horrid, either way you will have a first hand experience you wouldn’t have had if you had said no. And when you realize that that’s kind of how life works…that’s when the magic happens.

10. Do a diet fad. Maybe more women will agree with this than men, but regardless, being that aware of what you’re eating is actually a good thing, and while you’re at it watch one of those shocking food documentaries (if not for the skewed information, so you can converse AFTER dinner at social events). And when you realize why it is a FAD, hopefully you will have learned something about moderation as well as the value of good nutrition.

11. Learn how to cook. To pick up? Sure, Whatever floats your boat. You need to be able to nourish yourself, and eating out all the time isn’t good for your health or your wallet. Even if its a handful of signature dishes, know how to do more than use a microwave…not that also knowing how to use a microwave for anything isn’t a good skill too.

12. Go to a black tie event (other than graduations/weddings) So you can see what classy is. Not the lowest & shortest dress or having the date with one. Being able to drink a reasonable amount, and learning all sorts of staples to womanhood like double sided tape and your heel threshold are very important lessons…along with: Dancing like adults (ones that act it, not one’s who’s ID says so), having grown up –profanity free– conversation, and acting like everyone’s watching.

13. Learn your homonyms. The difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit… enough said.

14. Get Stay in shape. Did you know our hair’s peak is at 19 years old? Pretty sure that it’s the peak for our whole body. I used to live a beer drinking, pizza eating college lifestyle followed by a weekly 10km run (which was never hard) and still be a size 4. Not only do hangovers now last 2 days, but I also get food hangovers, and I need about 5 times as much physical activity to stay in shape. Find something, or many things, that work for you and commit to them. Make fitness a priority, because they really aren’t lying when they say it gets harder with age.

15. Get an appropriate e-mail. (This is for you sxxihunixox@hotmail.com/ footlong69@aol.com)…and entire on-line identity for that matter. The world is a creepy, creepy place. I might be one of the ‘creepiest’ people when somebody has a new love interest, but I like to look at it as the modern day street smarts needed to survive. If you are putting a kegstand picture on linkedin you are neither hire-able or datable.

16. Read a fiction and non-fiction book. Read in general. Do you know how many struggling authors there are? Imagine how decent somebody must have thought these published people are to have invested money into printing their work. Read fiction, get lost in a story supported by your own imagination. Read non-fiction, learn how many captivating stories of humanity remain untold.

16. Iron/Steam your clothes. 16 a. Learn how to do grown up laundry. Also buy grown up clothes if you ever worked at lululemon…god knows we own way too much stretchy stink free neon…Know how to iron your pants and suits, how to make silk look chic, and how not to shrink your $200 shirt. When you get around to having nice clothes you will want to make them last…and the first time you pay to have your $200 shirt dry cleaned you learn to either not sweat or start reading washing instructions like your mother told you to.

17. Invest money. (and save money). See how amazing it is to grow your savings, learn the insecurities of investing, and ultimately set goals and visions to the long term. You will notice that investing and saving often come hand in hand, the stock market can be just as addicting as Gossip Girl and eventually buying a house will seem more important than Apple’s latest money grab

18. Invest in your wardrobe. Power suit. You should own one. Begin to buy classic pieces you can wear to WORK. Dress for the job you want not the job you have, and stop turning a blind eye to the fact that your appearance will affect how far you get in life. ‘God’ or whatever (genetics if you ask me) gave us what we have and we have to work with, but actually doing your hair in the morning and wearing nice clothes with nice accessories is something we can control and should do. Not for the vanity but to be professional and respected. If you’ve been fortunate enough to begin your stint in the ‘corporate’ world in your early twenties, you know how important this is.

19. Thank your parents. I’m sure you’ll do this pretty quick after moving out and realizing how many fairies don’t live in your pristine childhood home. Whoever raised you invested immeasurable amounts of time, money, and worry to do so. A few moments of personal clarity that come to mind: my baby sister telling me what ‘those’girls now do in grade 7, cleaning floors and walls and every stupid surface houses have, how much weight I gain when food is ‘free’ again at home.

20. Go to post-secondary. Preferably finish it too. College, university, trades school…learn how you learn, invest in something you’re passionate about, if nothing else, realize how stupid high school really is. University taught me to ask questions, that ‘natural’ smarts aren’t everything, that you get what you put in, what hard work really is, and most importantly how little I know. I learned about myself, my limits, my learning style as well as a whole lot of stuff I will never use again–the pros still outweigh the cons, though.

21. Volunteer. Do something for the benefit of others over yourself. Be aware that there are causes and people that need more and have less than you do. Realize that you, as a young person, have time and that time matters, and that it can actually be just as needed as money. Volunteering allows you to be a part of something bigger than yourself and it is one more place to belong in this growing dog-eat-dog world.

22. Practice self-reflection. Set goals, achieve them, change them, fail at them…then think about it. Appreciate them all for what they are and be at peace with it. Be so wise as to consider how you impact other people and how you react to the presence of others. Reflect to become self-aware, to keep yourself accountable, and as the first step in winning a Nobel Prize for figuring out the meaning of life. This is my plug for yoga–try it at least 10 times. The first 9 suck for 50% of people (no, not a real stat, do it anyway)

23. Purge your friends. On Facebook and everywhere else. Learn who the real ones are (I hope for your sake it is before you get burned). Have enough self-respect to cut the people who don’t make you happy out of your life. Understand that we accumulate friends of circumstance over the years, and that’s OK, but there’s a time an a place for everything including friends. This will allow you to be a better friend to the good ones and eliminate the unneeded stress and drama that often comes hand-in-hand with the people no longer worth entertaining.

24. Learn to appreciate sentimentality. This is a new one for me…it comes along with gratitude, but ultimately what I mean, is to appreciate the tangible for their ability to remind us of the beautiful intangible memories. Value your ‘things’ and your ‘places’, screw ‘Landmark Forum’ and go tie whatever meaning you want to them. After all, in the end what do we have besides our memories (well not the actual end, nobody knows what happens then…) Example, my favourite night in Byron Bay…great people and conversation…I took a small stone from the beach to remember it by.

25. Travel. The younger you go the longer you will have the memories, and the more you probably will travel because of the oh-so famous travel bug. ‘Travelling’ will evolve for you over time, each place will be different, each trip will contrast the last… but every time you go, you will grow as a person, meet somebody you wouldn’t have met at home, humbly remember that life could be different, and be inspired. Need I say more? If you do nothing on this list, do this…and the rest of it might just follow.

Bonus: Work in the service industry. So you can realize ‘those people’ are people too, many of them just as educated as you, and so you can start being a respectful and polite customer.

That’s a wrap. (I’m sure there are more)…perhaps I’ve gained humility in my old age.

Writing to Read

If you had asked me a year ago if I was a writer, or if writing was a hobby, or even if I so much as like writing I would have said “no”. That response would be routed primarily from the fact that for somebody who loves systematic processes, I hate spelling, grammar, and every part of ‘writing’ that school gives you a score for. Luckily, I’ve discovered blogging…where my poor writing mechanics are overshadowed by my lack of filter and self-preservation as an art form. Somewhere in the last several months, this blog has become therapeutic more than a chore to let everyone know I’m OK. I’m not writing to make money or be ‘popular’ in the cyber community, but actually because it clears my always-overthinking mind better than anything else. So, here I am, writing…so that I can clear my mind and finish reading the last of my 3 readings for Yoga Teacher Training which starts in 4 days!

Anyway, a few entertaining happenings of lately:

At the night market getting an alarm clock and flashlight….combined price still less than a new phone, and as I’ve realized they were the only things I used my phone for other than whatsapp. I am talking to the lady, she’s delightful and for once not annoying. I explain that I need these items because I got my phone stolen (as part of bargaining and ‘i have no money). Her response “no lay-deeee you need tazor! I sell too!”…classic.

Also, purchased ‘Birkenstocks’. Yes, they will be good for India and Africa seeing as how my only shoes atm are runneres, hiking shoes and verge of breaking fake havaiianas from khao san. But also they will be great for squat toilets and walking post rain. Addressing the first, I think this is why women wear platform flip flops….so that when they are in squat toilets with an inch of ‘water’ on the floor it doesnt overflow onto their feet. And the second…up kicked mud from rain water with flip flops looks gross and requires me to both do laundry and shower–both are not my favourite.

My hostel at the moment is amazing. My Home is just off of soi 9 moon muang in chiang mai’s old city and they are lovely. Free bikes, coffee, tea, water, computers/wifi and the most friendly helpful staff. 100baht per night allows me to blow my budget on food. i.e. the ‘best eggs benedict in chiang mai’ as per trip advisor at smoothie blues, which was terrible and pricey. My favourite place remains blue diamond, right by my guesthouse. They sell every health food under the sun and have generous portions for great prices. They have amazing thai and western food alike and the owners are delightful.

In regards to YTT…

I have done an embarassingly small amount of yoga in the past month since my bike accident. in fact I’ve done minimal sorts of any activity, even walking, as my head hates the sun/heat. I have however been reading my books intently and somehow I feel better at yoga than I was before. Understanding the philosophy more in depth and holistically has helped me not only in seeing beyond the asana (physical poses) of my practice but also in my asana. The way I approach each pose, the breath, and my mindfulness has made me ‘better’ than when I was practicing regularly. I’m more flexible and focused than I was before. Perhaps the injury helped my psyche, and perhaps the literature has some truth in saying yoga is beyond the physical.

Last week as I finished up the Jivamukti yoga book (which has pretty much made up my mind that I will be a vegetarian after training…with the exception of a JUICY alberta steak and prime rib and proper eggs benedict cooked by dad upon arriving home) I had a moment of clarity. “oooooh ‘clarity'”…yes, maybe it was the increased vividness of my imagination/dreams caused by anti-malarials but either way I came to the realization that what I want to do with my life is exactly what I wanted when I was 17.

When I was 17 I wanted to help cancer patients and their families. I volunteered a lot at Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre from the age of 16 and always felt a huge connection to the work I did. I’ve been blessed to not have had any first hand accounts with the disease that affects 1/3 North Americans…which I think is why I started volunteering…out of fear—thinking if I knew more my fear would subside. What came from my time though was awe and inspiration from the resilience of people and their families. How volunteers were widows or widowers, how 30 year old women battled gynecological cancers while raising new borns, how at 80 a man cared for his ex-wife because it was ‘right’. How after hearing about a 4th recurrence a patient would console the nurses, and how I’ve never seen health professionals so emotionally invested in their patients. For the most part it is a disease that doesn’t discriminate. Yes, lifestyle and environment can increase chances of getting cancer, but 3 month olds, 90 year olds, rich, poor, every race, women, men, any religion or sexual orientation…we’re all at risk, and being in a cancer centre, knowing its largely the luck of the draw, is one of the most humbling experiences.

When I was young (‘young’…like 5 years ago…but a BIG 5 years)I wanted to help and figured, as all over-ambitious teens that I would just become a doctor and cure the disease all together. Then I went to university, partied a lot, didn’t feel like being a doctor–too hard, went in to Human Ecology because it seemed easier and was still a science degree if I re-kindled my motivation for med school by 3rd year.

Human Ecology studies how environments, from clothing to relationships to political-social, affect human potential. How ‘nurture’ can be [i]the[/i] difference. I studied everything from material culture to counselling, law to parenting, health care to organizational development. Most of my peers hoped of working with non profits helping youth and children but my interest remained in Death, dying, aging, and long term care facilities. The topics everyone else found depressing or ‘a lots cause’ were actually what evoked passion in me. Perhaps once again because I was afraid for myself and wanted to understand it–because to me fear is from the unknown…wondering will kill a busy mind.

Then I started working at lululemon athletica. A company routed in goal setting and ‘elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness’. My first goal frame for years 1-5-10 year goals surrounded yoga trainings, marathons, and ultimately creating a holistic cancer center in Alberta. Goals should be re-assessed every 3-6 months. The more I was immersed in the company, the more I saw the business side…and being a work horse and over-achiever at most things, I saw advancement in the company, and with the encouragment of others saw that perhaps business was my true calling (honestly who isn’t even partially motivated by money and power). My last goal frame was about how I would be a head-honcho in human resources making a ridiculous salary to build my pretentious house and afford overpriced health foods.

Being gone travelling has taught me a lot. It’s taught me how to budget toilet paper, that when it comes to dirty surfaces, bugs, and seeing your food prepared ignorance is bliss, that you can tell within 10 minutes of knowing someone what their ‘purpose’ to you will be (either not having to eat lunch alone or a long term friend), that insecure people will try to be the cool kids even when half way around the world, that coffee can be both more terrible and more amazing than I had ever imagined, that baby powder is more effective than washing my hair, that it really is all a matter of perspective (applying to market prices, have-have nots, humidity….etc). Most of all this particular trip has taught me that I don’t need things to make me happy.

‘Duh’…but it’s like I realized in Byron…there are lots of things we say because we know they should be, but until we actually believe them authentically we don’t realize we were only going through motions before. I’ve had my ups and downs but I’ve never been happier than I am now, I have also never had less. Once I pay for my flights to/from Africa, my tour, and my flight home my savings will be the lowest they’ve been since I was 14. (pretty much the last decade).

So, without the distractions of friends, shiny Michael Kors watches and nice handbags, I’ve been thinking about career. I’m going home in 4ish months, which is a while, but in comparison to the size of my trip it’s still soon. I’ve come to the realization that any income is income. And theoretically if I stayed in asia until I had $0 I could actually live here for another 2 years…so no matter what I do back home I will feel rich even with cost of living being about 5 times higher.

Returning back to the Jivamukti book…I think it was somewhere between Laos (which I hated) and Thailand when I was reading about how karmically terribly it is to eat meat when I realized that serving families with cancer is what I want to do. Without realizing I stopped reading completely and began to visualize my life teaching yoga, doing life coaching, hosting retreats in the mountains, and a continued thirst for learning everything about alternative healing methods not for me but for others…not to help them but to serve them. The yoga texts differentiate quite clearly between the two, as helping suggests a sense of inequality where serving puts you on the same level. Serving is the key of cancer care as cancer it self proves there is no true hierarchy.

Anyway, I’ve just realized how long this post has gotten, and likewise I feel ready to read the Bhagavad gita, the last of my readings. I feel like this post was a bit more for me than you…as I hope that once I’m re–imersed in the distractions of the western world I can read it and remember to stay true to what I want, because if there is any ONE thing to take away from it all its that basing happiness and fulfillment on actions (which you can control) rather than things (to impress others < who you can't control) is the only way you can actually guarantee your happiness. I went to a tarot card reader because it was 100 baht and I was bored, and for the first time I didn't care what she said, nor did I have questions to ask. She laughed and said I had figured it out. She said I knew that I could and would be happy and didn't need her assurance on the future of my love/career/posessions to make me feel better. That, might have been the best reading I've ever had, and best 100 baht spent (unless I purchase the tazor).