Body Reset with “Body Revolution”

     So, I’ll start by saying that I’ve been feeling the need to get my personal physical activity back on track for years. For my entire life as a student, I’ve had good weeks and good days, but have not been as consistent as I’d like to be. The exception would be when I was overweight through to age 15, and at 16 first started working out consistently and noticed the amazing changes taking place in my body, such as weight loss and leaner body composition (and faster metabolism to add), a lot more energy, and an increasingly positive body-image.

     Personal is a very important word here because I’ve been physically active for most of my life – always walking or taking the bus to school/work/social events, walking to get errands done, and have taught (and since restarted) teaching fitness classes. Yet, I’ve had goals I’ve wanted to achieve in my personal fitness, most important of which is creating a routine that I stick with for most days out of the year. Another goal involves seeing growth/strength in certain areas of my fitness whether it be improved flexibility, fiercer cardiovascular health, or a wider range of functional strength. It’s like my Clinical Nutrition II professor Dr. Philip Rouchotas (ie. Dr. Phil) said…”if you’re not losing or maintaining weight by exercising, you’re gaining weight.” And the same relationship goes for other aspects of fitness – if you’re not maintaining or surpassing your flexibility, functional strength, etc., you’re going to lose it.

It's now or way way later! Source:

It’s now or way way later!

I feel that now is a more perfect time than ever to address this and start working towards it in some way. I’ve moved into more of my own space, am more open to the efficiency of working out at home using workout DVDs, am more settled in my program, and with my turn of becoming a 1/4 of a century in age in several months, the urgency is a positive stressor to get this ball rolling.

Back in summer 2012, there was a tiny attempt at generating this regular pattern of personal physical activity and it involved attempting the 60 day program Insanity*but that proved to be too “Insane” for me at the time! Yet, I’ve come across a program that I feel is the right fit for me at this moment in time: Body Revolution**

      Unlike Insanity, this was not an impulse purchase for me. I actually developed a profound respect and admiration for Jillian Michaels (creator of Body Revolution) last summer. My female crush started in August when I volunteered at the Toronto CanFitPro conference to obtain continuing education credits to  maintain my fitness licenses, but also in the hopes of being inspired to get back into teaching fitness since my decision to retire/take a break. Luckily, my volunteering schedule allowed me to attend the opening ceremonies, of which, Jillian Michaels was the keynote. I was blown away and so inspired by her speech: her honesty about her journey and seeing who she has become and made herself into is incredible! I love her attitude, commitment to helping others and continually learning about herself, along with the way she expresses herself  – she won me over!

Through building a personal fitness library containing some of Jill’s DVDs, and through reading some of her books, and listening to her podcast, I’ve really come to admire her stance and tactics, and have a deep respect especially because she’s lived what she’s saying. I look up to her and just want to support her! That is how I came to decide upon purchasing Body Revolution and am excited to get my daily dose of Jillian 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, for the next 3 months!

Now, in studying Naturopathic Medicine and through my previous education in fitness and nutrition, the importance of tracking baseline status, along with what is going on throughout one’s day and environment (such as what one is eating, emotionally experiencing, triggers, motivators and demotivators), are crucial for understanding where one’s starting point is. Also important is identifying how one is affecting the process of reaching their goal, what behaviours are impeding the process, and what helps that process move more smoothly.

Jillian Michaels Source:,,20671046,00.html

Jillian Michaels

For the purpose of initiating this process, which will hopefully lead to a long-term habit, my main goal involves focusing on completing the workouts 6 days/week for the next 90 days. My goals at the moment are not aimed towards the specifics of calories in/calories out, however, I do intend on eating very similarly to how I currently am. I am hoping to see changes in my measurements, but am not setting any firm goals other than to complete the program and be consistent.

As a way of being accountable to myself, I’ve decided to make public my measurements, body fat metrics (based on using skinfold calipers), and pictures*** of my starting point as extra incentive to stick with this and not pull another Insanity  flop. I hope to check in several times throughout the next 90 days to talk about how this experience is feeling (especially when lacking motivation) and to post the results at the end. Please feel free to check out all of the above, below. And here’s to day 1!


Starting weight: 151.8 lb



Bust: 34.5 inches

Waist: 32 inches

Hips: 39 inches

Mid-thigh (left): 21.5 inches



Back of upper arm: 16 mm

Front of upper arm: 8.5 mm

Back below shoulder blade 15.3 mm

Side of waist: 12.3 mm

% Body fat: ~27% (calculated by adding up the measurements of all 4 locations, and cross-referenced with a chart – provided with the skin fold caliber – to the coinciding age group)

March 3 - front

Day 1 (March 3, 2014) – front view


Day 1 (March 3, 2014) – back view

Day 1 (March 3, 2014) – left side view

Day 1 (March 3, 2014) – right side view

*Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to mention nor use the Insanity workout program

**Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to mention nor use the Body Revolution workout program

***Thank you to my music soulmate for helping me by taking the pictures, body fat measurements, and for inspiring me to go out of my comfort zone to challenge my body along with initiating the cultivation of this very important new habit! I couldn’t have done it without you 🙂


Retiring From Fitness


This summer I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting about my teaching and fitness interests. I’ve had days where I would be incredibly inspired and grateful for the teaching opportunities I’ve had thus far with an appreciation for what I’ve begun to build. Other times I’d question if I really want to do this. As of late, my disinterest in teaching has outweighed my interest in teaching and becoming a better instructor. There are many reasons for thais, and things which have opened my eyes:



I’m teaching bootcamp twice-weekly my current job. My first class was taught in February; I had my own teaching style and choices of exercises, but felt the participants weren’t enjoying it. A few weeks ago, one of my co -workers was awesome and stayed after her shift to give me lots of advice in terms of class structure ideas and exercise choices. I was rejuvenated again, and the participants commented on how much they loved the class – I was so satifisfied inside! However, after 2 weeks, my stress and anxiousness before each class returned. I then realized I was doing the class completely for them – to gain their approval, not because I love doing it.

I felt inadequate because the other staff I work with, who used to teach the classes, whom of which the participants are used to, are kinesiologists.  I feel that my even though I have multiple certifications (Group Fitness instructor, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Wellness, Zumba, Yoga), I get nervous when people ask me questions. Do I embody this knowledge? No. Is this knowledge an intrinsic part of me? No.



In May, a few co-workers kept discussing the benefits of the Insanity program. I was so caught up in the hype that I purchased it. After attempting 4 times to get through the first week, I gave up. Even though I was inspired from all of the before pictures I took and the possibilities of who I’d emerge as in 60 days, I still gave up.

The program was tough, and painful, so I justified my quitting by rationalizing the program as being too intense, as I enjoy exercise that isn’t torturous.If I really want to lose weight and tone up, I’ll do it in a way I enjoy even if it takes longer than 60 days. (It also didn’t hurt that a personal trainer I look up to mentioned that it’s not a program for the general public, and he almost threw up while progressing through the program).

Yet, my brother started Insanity after I had given up, and he finished his last day yesterday! There were times he would be really exhausted, but after an hour of making excuses, would trooper on through. Even though I worried that he wasn’t taking his exhaustion seriously enough, I was so proud of him. My brother caused me to reflect upon myself to ask why did I spend all of that money and not follow through?



As of this post, I’ve been in email contact with YMCA to find out the process of teaching at their facilities. I would need to complete 6 weeks of training to learn about the YMCA’s philosophy, a police reference check, and an interview to possibly substitute. Have been trying begin this process, but doing so legitimately overlaps with my shifts at work (and saving for school is my #1 priority at the moment). With that, my motivation is wearing…I don’t even know if I want to complete those 8 hours anymore – or at least during what is remaining of this summer.

Originally, this summer would’ve been the best time, but I am still not ready. I’m kind of laughing at myself because I haven’t even finished reading the instructor’s manual, nor have I watched the DVD received at the training.

Fitness goals:

Although I didn’t post them here, in June I had a goal of losing 10 lbs by the last week of August (giving myself room to do it in a healthy way, and leaving room to still accomplish my goal if I slipped up). My main motivator was a nutritionist I’ve had since January – she is awesome, passionate, and lives what she teaches. I had 10 weekly sessions with her, and had more downs than ups. I continually made excuses for falling off the wagon – school was stressful, work was stressful, my life was stressful. The stress was responsible for my poor meal planning, poor sleeping schedule. Between January and April, even though I was exercising, I gained weight (and trust me, it was not muscle).

I saved my last session with her for August, as I want to prove to her that I do have willpower and discipline – I want her to be proud of me. Yet, between  May and August, I can only recall 4 steady weeks of consistent workouts and healthy eating. I shall prepare to get scrutinized at my appointment this week…

A sign?

The final situation which propelled me in my decision to take a hiatus from teaching is that the facility I have taught at since 2010 posted the fall schedule without asking about my availability. I substituted a few times during the summer, and each time my supervisor mentioned her excitement for me to return in the fall. I also expressed, each time, that I really do enjoy teaching my regularly scheduled class. Yet, without taking a moment to ask me, my supervisor assumed I would like to stay as a substitute instructor due to the program I will be starting in September.

I thought I was upset because it was rude to assume (you don’t want to make an ass out of u and me!), and not clear up the assumption by sending an email, like was sent to all of the other instructors. But maybe the honest reason I was upset was because it felt like even though I enjoyed teaching my class, she was just playing along and knew my real intentions. It’s a blessing in disguise and I feel lighter when I think of the situation from that angle.

Consolation from other fitness instructors:

The fitness instructors at my gym are awesome because they are so personable. I’ve spoken to several of them and asked them about how they knew they wanted to pursue a fitness careers. They teach multiple classes a day, and left other careers such as nursing and real estate. Some even use this as a side job and teach a couple classes a week (which was my original intention when I became an instructor).

I found (and more times than I’d like to admit, find) classes to be stressful. Before every class I teach, I get nervous, and really only wanted validation from participants. I don’t derive much self-pleasure from teaching – I might be desperate for compliments.

This is not a career for me. Looking back I wish I looked more into the time and financial commitments of being an instructor. Before becoming certified, I didn’t educate myself about the annual fees or continuing education requirements – I just thought to myself, I’m passionate about fitness and want to help others be the same. Never did I think I’d feel threatened in my classes, or feel pressured to look a certain way, or to teach a certain way. It’s gotten to the point where my passion for my own fitness is gone because I’m too worried about impressing everyone else.

While reflecting about two instructors who retired/stopped practicing real estate and nursing, I’ve chosen to stop practicing my fitness certifications for my own personal reasons. I plan to keep my certifications current by paying the membership fee and fulfilling my continuing education credits – and who knows, I may want to return to teaching later, or a dream opportunity may come up in the future.

For now, with the pressure to become a better fitness instructor turned off, I’d like to rediscover my passion for my personal fitness by focusing on myself.

Give Me My Money

Earning and saving money have always been interesting processes to me. When I was 15, I started my first paper route, as my sister from another mister got me a job with delivering the Sunday Sun around my neighbourhood. I have been fortunate to be working ever since, albeit different jobs, different roles and responsibilities.


When I decided I wanted to further my career and education, I first learned that ever so expensive price of tuition and incidental fees (which just keep increasing…). That’s when I was introduced to OSAP, and savings and investment options. Luckily my winter and summer before university, I earned enough as a cashier at Wal-Mart to pay for my first year’s tuition on my own, so was advised to put the usused OSAP funds into a TFSA until I needed them.

I thought TFSA’s were amazing! However, I didn’t read the fine-print. After withdrawing from my TFSA multiple times, I had forgotten that the space in that savings account was no longer available to me until the next year, after which my contribution room would increase by $5000, in addition to the space taken up from my withdrawals.

Long story short, that tax year I had to pay a hefty tax fee just shy of $500, because I overcontributed. I was infuriated…come on, I’m a student, and shouldn’t the bank have emphasized these things to me when I opened my account, or even when I’d come in to make cash withdrawals? These were the questions I asked the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), and submitted a formal letter stating these arguments. But the response I received – sorry, but no.

Needless to say, I was quite upset – I was mad at the government for not forgiving my ignorance, my bank for not looking out for me, and myself for relying so much on these institutions. I thought the TFSA was too good to be true – but it’s actually not, if you follow the rules.


After that experience, I’ve become more skeptical about where my money is going, especially during the tax season. Curiosity fuels education, and throughout my search I came across an amazing resource – the CRA’s website! The website on its own has a plethora of information, I really wish I had accessed it before! The link that is attached brings you to a free course where you can learn about taxes – awesome! I took the course, which includes 4  modules touching upon the topics of why we need to submit income taxes, consequences of not doing so, history of taxes, and of course, how to submit your taxes on your own along with support along the way. To add, throughout the module there are direct links for other sections of their website that may be of interest to you.

That being said, I plan to submit my taxes by NETfile for the 2012 tax year – before April 30th of course! I’m a DIYer at heart, and now that I have some understanding of the process, would much rather do it myself. I’m also trying to convince my parents to let me do theirs (for free!) so that they can save their money, and hopefully become inspired to do it themselves in 2013.

As I said before, money has always been interesting to me. If I wasn’t more interested in health, and intimidated by the corporate world, I may’ve primarily studied business. However, last year I learned about tax school that’s offered through H&R block every fall. I was ready to sign up last year, but with my last year of university, and a few part-time jobs, my plate was full. If I wasn’t starting professional studies this fall, I would’ve signed up in a heart beat! Even if I’m not able to take the course anytime soon, I do plan to look more into volunteer opportunities for those who aren’t able to prepare their income tax and benefit returns on their own, as this is something that is really interesting!

Step Two

With everything in life, we have to take the first step,  mentally and actively. Before that first step, we may experience excitement, hesitation, and/or anxiety. These feelings may intensify, or change after we’ve allowed our heels to roll to the balls of our feet. With every step, we evaluate how we felt with the steps we took prior, and consider which directions our next steps will lead if we move ahead, and at what pace we feel comfortable.


Last week I took my second step within my yoga teaching journey. Back in May, I took my first step by participating in the class portion of my level one yoga certification, and decided to chill for a bit, as I wasn’t sure that I was interested in pursuing the teaching journey any further. However, upon stewing for a bit this summer, coupled with an encounter with an awesome yogi, I’ve acknowledged my deep yearning to be an influential, multi-dimensional instructor. I also have to accept that will be a challenging journey, that will test my commitment, willingness to learn and to be persistent.

In order to complete my level one YogaFit certification, I must complete 8 hours of voluntary teaching to a group of individuals who otherwise would be unlikely to experience the benefits yoga can provide. After feeling overwhelmed from the training, I perceived my requirement as a positive challenge along my journey. As I rationally thought about what is stressing me out, I’ve decided to take a systematic approach towards addressing my roadblock:

My fear of teaching –> not completing certification = wasted money, wasted time, and future regret

The main components of my fear = participants not liking my teaching style, and that I will be viewed as a moronic instructor

To address my fear of participants not valuing my teaching style, I have adopted a new attitude:

  • I will aim to always be professional, respectful, positive, have a sense of humour and make efforts in life to practice my teachings
  • I’m not aiming to change myself to fit a perfect “teacher mould” as participants have different preferences, which may’ve been stemmed from instructors seen on TV, online, or from participating in other classes they really enjoyed. I hope to offer something positive in addition to that.

To address my fear that I will seem I’m lacking in knowledge, I have accepted that I am not flawless, nor will I ever be perfect:

  • I plan to be as prepared as possible by practicing and knowing the routines I make, and consider modifications along with possible questions.  Also, I’m going to be honest with my particpants from the beginning to inform them that I am a student as well, and welcome any questions as finding the answers will also help me to grow as an instructor.

In addition to talking my talk, I took action and walked by contacting an agency that would host me, and starting to devote time towards learning the yoga poses. To add, one of the perks of my current part time job is free access to fitness classes (so awesome!). I’ve met a yoga instructor who embodies yoga, and plan to attend a scheduled class that I can commit to for 6 weeks.

I currently feel that the second step is harder than the first, because it means you’ve committed yourself to keep pushing through ….like at the end of run, you’ve got to push yourself!

Jill of All Trades; Master of None

Yesterday and the day prior I attended the first annual Holistic Mental Health Conference: Pathways to Empowerment, which was hosted by my future school, CCNM. I originally signed up because I figured it would get me excited for beginning studies in September, and I was geniunely interested in many of the workshops. However, I didn’t imagine how inspired I would leave!

We are at a state and time in our society where the field of Naturopathic medicine and holistic health is blooming and becoming more accepted. At this conference, the focus was on finding relief for mental health issues, which was very relatable to my undergrad majors, Health Studies and Psychology. I thought that a lot of the information would be comprised of things I’ve heard and learned before, but I was quite impressed that the information was delivered in such a digestible and practical manner.

I aim to speak about the workshops I specifically attended in a future post, but overall, my inspiration flame has been reignited, and self-reflection is taking place once again.

In this blog I never felt the need to address my educational background because I didn’t, and don’t want readers to get the vibe that I’m boosting myself, especially since there are so few articles to truly understand my electronic voice. Yet, I’ve always been open to seeing what direction(s) this blog directs itself, and naturally as of now, it’s a place for me to reflect upon my experiences. I also hope that it will become a place where people feel they can relate, and are comfortable providing their respectable input, as the Internet is a way for us to interact on a worldwide scale!

However, I digress. Along with emerging from the conference feeling empowered and excited about all the ways I will be able to enforce positive change in lacking areas, along with contribute to ongoing positive efforts, I also felt kind of useless. You see, beginning in 2009, I have begun to accumulate muliple fitness certifications as I’m certified in the following ways: fitness instructor, personal trainer, nutritional wellness specialist, zumba instructor, and yoga instructor.

For those who have an appreciation of linguistics, accumulated is not a good word to describe becoming more educated since it lacks the feeling of passion. Yet, before and immediately after achieving each certification, I was incredibly inspired to learn more about becoming great in my role, and about how to integrate all of the knowledge gained from other certifications to provide my clients and participants with a phenomenal experience.

Regarding my numerous certifications, yesterday and for a long time before, I felt like I wasted my money (and should have instead put it towards paying down my students loans). And I feel that way because I’m not tapping into my potential…I’m too scared that people will have incredibly high expectations of me, and that ill first impressions will never change, but instead will diffuse to others. In an effort to gain some more practical experience to help me grow and gain confidence in my abilities as a personal trainer, I’ve done a few personal training shadowing sessions at different gyms. Instead, I felt overwhelmed. But, after this conference, I started thinking in a different way.

In particular, I attended a session about Yoga and Trauma, facilitated by Farah Jindhani and Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa. In the past I read about the calming effects of yoga, and was so uplifted by what I read that I decided to complete the classroom portion of a level 1 training with Yogafit Canada this past May. Yet, from then and now, I haven’t looked through the book to teach myself the poses, nor have I attended a yoga class at my gym, or made any efforts to voluntarily teach 8 hours of yoga to complete my certification. I’ve had intentions to do all of the above, but I haven’t followed through because I’m de-motivated, scared that I’m going to do a horrible job, and am just starting to see myself as a lazy, excuse-making blob.

As I delve into my reflective process, I’m remembering that working hard to obtain a certification is only the beginning, then comes the real work of staying up-to-date on the everchanging information, and practicing what you preach to your clients – so that you are both an internal and external representation. Having these certifications is a priviledge and a source of future potential, but it doesn’t guarantee that I will genuinely be respected. For example, I’ve been teaching fitness classes since 2010, but I still get nervous that participants won’t enjoy my classes. In fact, my confidence shattered more upon hearing a changeroom conversation referring to me, stating that my class was too easy, and that the participant is more fit than I am, and would teach a better class without even being certified. But as the saying goes, let your haters be your motivators. So, in conjuction withmy internal motivation, I will do just that. I will be posting my goals and plan of action on this blog, to make it official, and hopefully be connected with others who can relate, either directly in indirectly.