Fun with Fitness Friday

It has been a while since I posted about fitness. At the beginning of the summer I began swimming 4km of lengths most mornings but by mid-August my exercise regime was more or less non-existent as I was staying active in my everyday life and didn’t prioritize time for fitness. I’m not about to say that my leisurely swims in my backyard or nighttime walks were a replacement for the gym, but they were good enough for my standards. Just by looking at me you can easily tell I am not the gym type as dresses are skirts aren’t exactly athletic attire. In fact, the high membership prices and competitive natured individuals used to intimidate me out of even joining a club.1236506_341717389297379_1768538522_n 1305438_341709929298125_1728167817_n

Of course all of this changed when I  came to Western because within my tuition fees I was provided with access to aerobic classes, athletic courts, and a full range of equipment at the Mustang Recreational Centre on campus. The gym has offers televisions for entertainment but because it is a new facility it has floor to ceiling windows which is where I prefer to workout because the morning sunrise is much more motivating! Coincidentally my first week back I was also invited to be a SweatPink ambassador. I could not have asked for more perfect timing since I was already trying to incorporate a fitness component into 4-5 days per week. This was added incentive to stay committed. For those of you who do not know, SweatPink is a  movement, where tough and girly come together. Sweat Pink™ is all about sharing the joy that comes from living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a celebration of hard work and well-earned rewards. Our pink shoelaces are a proud demonstration of all we’ve achieved, and all we plan to become. 

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Although I have difficulty falling asleep, my body naturally awakens by 6:30 a.m.. Unfortunately at this time it is still in it’s “groggy” phase so exercising is the perfect way to get myself going. I am already noticing a positive correlation between productivity, mood and exercising in the morning. It feels good to be done a workout at 8:00 a.m. and it allows me to have minimal wait time for machines since not many students enjoy working out before class. I can’t even begin to explain how many machines Western has, from a rotating rock climbing wall to circulating ladders, rowing machines to stationary bikes, free weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, yoga mats and just about a machine to work every muscle in your body. It helps that the machines are well labelled with instructions as to which part of my body the machine targets and how to use the machine properly! I tried the manual treadmill for the first time which was neat (and hard) but my favourite remains the elliptical. I’ve also been enjoying the fitness classes my favourites being Spin, Sweat and Sculpt and Pilates. I find it motivating being around instructors especially when I am unfamiliar with certain movements. I never knew just how tough Pilates was but boy is it relaxing and fun! It keeps me coming back because each week builds upon the last. My core strength has noticeably improved since I started!1369179_341709919298126_449645190_n 1372868_341709932631458_1586076928_n

I know everyone has different outlooks on fitness, mine being everything in moderation, so I know that how I sweat might be extremely different from your preferences. If I am doing strength components I prefer to target upper and lower body on different days so that I am not working the same muscles two days in a row. If I do a high-intensity cardio class one day (Spin), I usually do a slower pace workout the following day (Pilates). I’m definitely not aspiring to be the next body builder or marathon runner, so I have learned to set attainable goals so that I feel accomplished when I achieve them. There is no sense in asking myself to run on the treadmill for 1 hour when recently I have only been doing 30 minutes. It feels much better to end on a good note than to push my body past it’s limits leaving me dreading returning the following day. I find that if I overwhelm myself or tire my body out too much, I am less likely to enjoy myself so I start seeing exercise as a chore versus self-care. After all that is really why I exercise. I don’t run so I can eat cake because I can (and will) eat cake even if I don’t run.  Of course my physique and appearance is somewhat important but exercising gives me time to step back and assess where I am in terms of my values of life. It allows me to do something for myself and I don’t feel guilty taking a break from studying because exercising is just a different form of productivity.1241276_341709922631459_1059657912_n 380290_10150833258448428_1958867863_n

Gyms can be intimidating because there are unconscious comparisons. We’ve all run beside someone who feels the need to consistently be at an increase of 0.1 in their speed, incline or time than you just so that they can be “better”. I’ve had unwanted advice from individuals who believed their tactics were more efficient than mine. Especially for females, gyms can be a place where one feels inadequate or worries others are watching their every move.  I’m learning that everyone is so invested in their own regime that they aren’t paying attention to your form and if they do happen to feel the desire to workout longer, faster or harder than you than that is a reflection of their own self-consciousness. I don’t compare myself to others because I do not know what they did before they came to the gym or what they will do after when they leave. It’s all about finding what is right for my body and being satisfied at the end of your workout. Rest days are said to be equally important for your body to repair and I find it gives me time to rejuvenate. I’ve never been interested in sports nutrition but I am starting to dabble into some readings so that I can perform my best during my sweat sessions.

All round I have really enjoyed my exercise regime and I hope I can keep it up throughout the year.  I have downloaded a Western iPhone app that reminds me of the gym hours, fitness classes, pool lengths,  intramural or sports games, and neat events that are happening on a daily basis such as free health seminars. The variety of classes offered or different machines available should help to prevent me from getting bored! What is your favourite form of exercising? Do you prefer weight lifting or cardio? Are you biased towards indoor or outdoor activities? ♥ Molly

“I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ” – Legally Blonde 

MIMM #1

This summer I am not working, so I am able to live a more relaxed lifestyle. While I do love a schedule to keep me on task, it has been nice to make last-minute plans with friends. Despite not having a set routine, I still seem to be keeping pretty busy. From the upbeat “Color Me Rad” race, to low-key Strawberry picking, I’m so thankful for everything that I’ve had the privilege of doing this summer. My life has been pretty “marvelous” so in appreciation, I’ve decided to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous In My Monday” link-up.

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Marvelous is sitting down for a family meal, cooked by someone with love. It’s learning about what is going on in the lives of your parents or siblings, because you are truly interested in hearing what they have been up to.

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Marvelous is for the moments when you wake up to the sound of birds chirping in time to see the sunrise and for the times when you sleep in unexpectedly. It’s for falling asleep while reading a good book, but also for the times when you wake up energized for the day ahead.

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Marvelous is being able to get together with a friend who you haven’t seen for a while, without it being awkward since you share so many similar passions and interests. It’s for having friends like Chelsea, who you can ask for good recommendations when it comes to television shows, books, restaurants and foods.

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Marvelous is trying a new restaurant or a new dish, and eating until you are completely satisfied. It’s being able to pick an item off of the menu that you truly want or are craving, able it’s being able to enjoy every mouthful without regret.

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Marvelous is staying active in your every day life, whether walking to get the mail, biking to the library or completing a workout video. It’s being able to go to the gym five days in a row because you enjoy exercising, but it’s also being able to take several days off without guilt.

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Marvelous is catching up on a TV series with a cup of tea in your hands. It’s being able to watch an uneducational show without feeling lazy, because you find yourself entertained by the humour and suspense.

Marvelous is spending time smiling and laughing with family. It’s watching your niece learn and grow, as she discovers new things each and every day.

photo-95I have so many great adventures to come this summer, but already, I’ve managed to make my day to day life pretty marvelous. Thank you Katie and everyone else, for reminding me how marvelous my life truly is. Be sure to check what other bloggers find marvellous in their life, as it is a great way to find favourite products, DIY projects, new recipes, motivating quotes, fun songs and of course fitness tips. I bet Katie has had a lot of marvelous moments this past week, as she recently delivered a handsome and healthy baby boy named Rocco. He is definitely a bundle of joy and my best wishes out to their growing family.  ♥ Molly

“It is always the simple that produces the marvellous.” – Amelia Barr

Summer Solstice

Yesterday marked the first official day of summer. Hooray! I can’t say I enjoy any other season more than this one. Here in Ontario, Canada the rhyme  “April Showers” came true for the entire spring season. While May brought flowers, it also brought torrential downpours. I am hoping that summer brings warmth and sunshine so that those threatening clouds get the memo to head elsewhere. (I am thinking positive thoughts for those currently struggling in Alberta that search to find dry land and  escape the flooding.)

I love summer for so many reasons. It tends to be the warmest season, the days are longer, it’s the perfect time for summer “reads”, clothing prints are always brighter and the materials are lighter (Hello Summer Dresses), my birthday falls within it, bike rides are more enjoyable, popsicles become more popular, as a student I get it off from school and it is typically the month in which my family travels. My parents must have had a hectic job coordinating summer day trips and weeklong vacations when I was younger. As one of four, not only were vacations expensive but very busy! I have fond memories of driving to the east coast, visiting Montreal and touring Ottawa. As I have gotten older however, we’ve caught the “Travel bug” and have gotten out of Canada more often! I’m fortunate to have ventured through California, gone to New York City, and have even seen a fair bit of Europe. Last summer we spent a few days in Paris France before heading to the South of France where we rented a house. It was the perfect opportunity to experience french living and culture.

I wonder what is in store this summer!  My hope is for a sandy beach covered in seashells, warm water for swimming and interesting boutiques. I think I’ve had my fair share of museums and site seeing these past summers, so my wish is to go to a relaxing location with minimal walking. Lazy? Maybe! Peaceful? Definitely! To be truthful I don’t know if I am the type of person that can read by the ocean but I am definitely willing to test my patience and try! Someday I hope to stay in a resort in Hawaii so in the meantime I will have to work on lounging by a pool (coated in SPF 50 sunscreen of course).

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Officially 4 months old!

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Emma and Lottie!

Of course the first day of summer wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t swim in our pool! Yesterday was also special as it was Lottie’s first time swimming. She was so brave and loved the water. I think it reminded her of a big bathtub. She is already following in my footsteps and becoming quite the water fish. Summertime is just asking for memories to be created. ♥ Molly

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” – Kellie Elmore

Friday Fitness

Even as a child, I loved to swim. My brother and I would race to see who could be the first one in the water and of course the last one out. (We thrived on competition!) I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents in the summertime as they had a pool. I don’t think it was heated much, but I didn’t mind. While the adults conversed on the deck eating cherries, crackers and pâté, the kids would become shriveled up raisins. My siblings and I would dive to get rocks, pretend we were lifeguards, talk under water and help each other float. Remember that game Colours? We were all over it! Our imaginations would run wild as we called out shapes and foods (Such as spaghetti and meatballs) for someone to reenact as they jumped into the pool. Noodles, Floating devices and goggles were part of the drill.

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Over the years my swimming has been less about games and more about fitness. I never would have realized how great it can be for your physique. Swimming firms almost every muscle in your body without straining your joints. The water neutralizes gravity making humans virtually weightless, again minimizing any potential stress on your joints.

While lifejackets and water wings aren’t part of the drill anymore, I still have my favourite gear. Goggles make it possible for me to swim in a lane without running into anyone else. My H20 Audio device is a recent purchase, but one that I truly value. It’s neat to be motivated by music while you are underwater. Not only do swimming caps keep your hair from absorbing chlorine but they also reduce resistance created when hair drags against the water. Of course you can’t swim without a bathingsuit. My favourite one that I currently own was created by Speedo. At the recreational centre that I belong to, we are allowed to bring water bottles to the edge of the pool. My Camelback allows me to stay hydrated and gives me a valuable excuse to take a break! Lastly, I use a pool buoy when I am focusing on working my arms, a flutter board when I am improving my kicks and flippers when I am trying to increase my speed. I am fortunate to be able to borrow the last three items from the centre but you can find them for reasonable prices at your average sport store.

These photos were found through Google Images.

These photos were found through Google Images.

I usually try to swim for about an hour to an hour and a half. Here is a sample of what one of my workouts might look like.

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While I am no expert, I am definitely enjoying the learning process of swimming. I find that I swim alongside a lot of trained athletes and personal coaches. They are always willing to give me suggestions and feedback. I am also considering purchasing a book to spark some new training ideas. Given that I only completed swimming lessons until I was in Level 4 or 5, I think I am doing all right. Maybe one day I will learn to do the dolphin kick.

For my body, swimming is definitely a “no pain, plenty of gain” type of workout. It is a place where I can “Sweat” without actually “Sweating”. I am hoping to be swimming (and tanning with sunscreen) in my own pool soon, when the weather finally heats up. A streak with “no rain” would be nice don’t you think? That’s all for now. Happy Friday! ♥ Molly

Fun Fact: When my dad would drive me to swimming lessons, he would play “Every Breath You Take” by the Police because I got nervous about dunking my head under the water. Whenever I hear that song it reminds me of my dad and swimming lessons!