My experience with HelloFresh

Disclaimer, I should start off by telling you I am a terrible cook. I burn rice, I overcook fish, don’t even ask me what sauté is. My go to meal is mac and cheese.  I am hopeless in the kitchen, or at least that is what I thought.

This year, I decided that even though I am no Gordon Ramsey I wanted to start to develop some basic cooking skills. With an upcoming wedding I wanted to start eating healthier, with a new house I wanted to save money by cooking at home, and with a fiancé that is a whiz in the kitchen I wanted to contribute more. It was time.

However I was off to a bad start when I realized how overwhelming the dark web can be. Millions of “simple” recipes that require dozens of ingredients and endless marinating hours. Just when I had accepted that Uber Eats would continue bankrupting me monthly I was told by a friend to check out HelloFresh.

Discovering HelloFresh

HelloFresh delivers “cook from scratch” fresh meal plans straight to your door. What I liked about the idea of their meals, is that they also provide you with easy-to-follow recipe cards. The cards have step by step instructions and all the delicious ingredients pre-portioned ready to go. I also loved that the meals were quick to make (the ones I chose took about 30 minutes), and you know everything that is going into your meal so you know that it is not just delicious but also healthy.

So many options to fit your needs 

After doing some more research I found out that there are so many different options with HelloFresh, so it is easy to find something that fits your food preferences and budget.  You can order the Pronto Plan, which provides you with 3-4 quick, easy, and delicious recipes for 2-4 people. For the vegetarians there is the Veggie Plan, which offers three amazing vegetarian recipes. The third option is one for the kids too, the Family Plan makes sure the little ones will enjoy their meals and maybe even want to help out in the kitchen. It offers 3-4 recipes for four people. 

I decided to give the Pronto Plan a try since I was planning to cook for just two people. Even though I don’t eat red meat, there was such a variety of options to chose from. Some of the options were a little outside of the box like the Roasted Veggie Tagine. Others, more simple like the Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan.  I ended up choosing these two along with the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice.

A few days later there it was right on my doorstep, a HelloFresh box. Inside the box I found icepacks that were there to keep the food fresh as well as all three of my meals. Just as advertised it came with simple instructions and perfect food portions ready for cooking. 

The Experience 

Meal #1 Roasted Veggie Tagine 

The first meal that I decided to make was the Roasted Veggie Tagine with Nutty Couscous Pilaf. While the cooking level for this one is only a 1 it was such a unique dish with such amazing flavours. I can’t say that slow cooked stews are my go to in the kitchen so I loved that I had a chance to try something new. The combination of the sweet potatoes, homemade fig jam, and the nuts was so different but they all fit together so perfectly. The best part of it all was that the portions were so big I had left overs for days.

Meal #2 Chili Chicken 

Next up was the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice. I knew I would love this dish because it was described as ‘a spicy food lovers dream’ and I sure love spice. This dish consisted of the perfect combination of fresh peppers, chicken, ginger, and garlic to add a little extra flavour. The homemade sauce was mouth watering and the best part when you break it down the actual cooking time was only about 10 minutes.

Meal #3 Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan

Last up was the Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan. I loved the twist on this traditional meal. As I had mentioned one of my main goals was to start eating healthier and so by switching up the ground beef meatballs for turkey ones I could enjoy the pasta guilt free. The homemade tomato sauce was simple yet delicious.

I absolutely loved cooking with HelloFresh. Not only did it help keep my busy life a little less busy by delivering the food right to my door and providing me with easy and fast recipes, but the food was also delicious. I never thought I would be able to make a tasty Tagine dish, but thanks to the easy to follow directions of HelloFresh and their ever changing unique menu options I now feel like a bit of a whiz in the kitchen.

For more information and to check out some of the delicious recipes make sure to visit their website at HelloFresh.ca

Happy cooking my friends,

xo

Mia

My experience with Pure Barre

My Experience with Pure Barre

I have been an athlete my entire life, but as a tennis player a lot of my focus was on speed and endurance. Since quitting tennis, I have been trying to keep my fitness up, but to me a  workout always meant cardio. That is why I was a little skeptical when a friend of mine invited me out to a barre class at Pure Barre fitness in Yaletown.

When I thought of barre classes, I thought of them as a sort of ballet class that wouldn’t really be much of a workout. I was completely wrong.

While I might not of gotten the sweat that I get in cardio classes, I got a workout unlike any other. The barre class was so much harder than I thought it would be because the class focuses so intensely on specific areas like core strength, stabilizing muscles in the shoulders and hips, and enhancing flexibility. This is reached by isometric exercises and continuous small moments that “burn out” the muscles. Because you are constantly moving and engaging small muscles you that you are really working deep in the muscle and targeting trouble zones like your hops, thighs, glutes and core.

Within just minutes of my first class my legs were shaking uncontrollably and the next day my body was so sore. As I said, it was so much more of a workout than I originally expected.

After a few weeks of combining barre into my weekly cardio routine, I started to notice a difference. I was already looking more toned in my arms and thighs and my posture was noticeably better (something that I thought was impossible). I have really fallen in love with my barre classes.

What to expect from class

You start the class with a light cardio warm up that targets everything from your toes to your fingers.

Once the warm up is done, it is straight to weights to target your arm muscles. You use one set of lighter weights and one heavier and again constant movement targeting shoulders, triceps, biceps, and upper back, while also moving into lunges and squats to make sure your entire body is engaged.

After weights it is straight to thigh work. To really “burn out” your thighs you use a combination of band work, ball work, and resistance against your own body weight.

This will be the moment when your legs really start to shake as you focus solely on one side of your body for several minutes before giving it a break.

There isn’t much rest for your legs as you transition quickly into seat work, targeting the glute muscles again using the band and ball for resistance.

Once you have really got a shake going in your legs (and as they say, embrace the shake), you make your way down to the floor for a very intense ab workout.

While it might be short, it is anything but sweat. You will once again use the ball to target both your lower and upper abs.

Finally you end the class with some back work and bridges before a very thorough stretch.

Types of classes 

Pure Classic 

The class that I have been doing the most and what I described above is the classic barre classic. The classic class is the original barre class that utilizes the ballet barre to perform the small, isometric movements I spoke about which are good for burning fat and sculpting muscles.

Pure Empower 
Looking for a bit more of a cardio workout? Look no further than the empower class. This is a more fast paced and dynamic workout that is 45 minutes long. It is definitely a challenging class that is more cardio centric but at the same time there are modifications for all fitness levels.
Pure Reform 
This really is a total body workout and is focused on more resistance based strength training as oppose to just body weight. I loved that it combined elements from Pure Barre classic, but had the added element of resistance bands and sliders to just give you a bit of a different workout.
Overall I am really loving my Pure Barre classes. After just a month of taking these classes I am seeing a difference when it comes to my arms and glutes. I am seeing my body becoming more toned and lean, and again my posture has improved ten folds. I am excited to see where these classes take me as I continue to mix them into my weekly workouts.

For more information about their classes make sure to check out their website;  http://purebarre.com/bc-yaletown/

Happy workouts my friends,

xo

Mia

 

New Years Resolution with the Practice Studio

I know that a few of you followed along as I shared by journey with the Practice Studio. For three months I worked with the amazing during my Whole Life Practice Journey. The journey, as I have mentioned in a few of my previous blogs focuses on four main pillars; fitness, nutrition, meditation, and life coaching.

The Journey 

While I shared the journey along the way, the lessons I learned, the changes I made, and the obstacles I overcame. I have yet to share the actual results of the experience. You know, sometimes life gets in the way and all.

Pillar 1: Fitness

When I started my fitness journey I was taking three to four classes a week and one day of personal training. Before we started the journey we set aside some personal goals that we were going to work towards over the next three months.

  • Loose 5 pounds
  • Loose 2% body fat
  • Work out at least 4 x a week
  • get involved more in outdoor activities and workouts
  • tone arms and abs

During the three months we mixed up our training routines so that I wouldn’t get bored (something that tends to happen when I go to the gym). We did workouts outdoors in the sunshine, different classes, and cardio & weight training.

By the end of the experience not only did I find workouts that I enjoyed, get a variety of training through incredible classes, and find more confidence in myself but I also reached the majority of my goals.

By the end of the three months, I lost 3 pounds, was down 1.7% body fat (the majority of the weight loss was in my arms and abs), was working out 4 to 5 times a week,  and was doing more outdoor hikes and bike rides.

While I didn’t reach every goal, I came close and was definitely taking steps in the right direction. Most importantly though, I gained confidence that I never had before and learned skills that I can apply to my everyday workout routines.

Pillar 2: Nutrition 

Before starting my journey with the practice studio I can tell you I sure struggled in the nutrition department. Of course I would order french fires with my burger, and yes I will have the dessert menu.

I knew that this was going to be my biggest challenge of all, but in my first meeting with Jackie I was surprised that instead of telling me what I can and cannot eat, she told me to create a food diary and also helped me come up with some goals for our journey.

  • Cut down on carb and sugar intake
  • Loose 5 pounds and 2% body fat
  • Become more confident with my eating habits
  • Cook more meals at home

One of the most memorable moments of my experience was going to the grocery store with Jackie and actually reading the labels and ingredients. I have always been a visual learner and so going through the store and learning how to make better choices was a big part of my journey.

It was also amazing to have an entire team holding me accountable, but in the most positive way possible. I would keep my food journals, and when I would slip up or cheat I wasn’t yelled at, instead I was told it was ok to indulge as long as it wasn’t every meal.

This was the biggest change in my lifestyle. At the end of the day I came close to my weight loss goals, but I have been cooking more at home, making healthier choices, and feeling better about my overall well being. I have more energy and am once again more confident in myself. Oh and about the cooking, it has become one of my biggest hobbies.

Pillar 3: Mindfulness & Meditation

As someone who is constantly on the go between work, my blog, vlogs, and then trying to have a social life in between, I struggle to find a healthy balance. Focusing on mindfulness and meditation has never really been  a priority for me.

Through the practice studio program though, I realized how important it is to focus on this aspect of my life more. During the three month period we came up with a few goals when it came to mindfulness and meditation.

  • Meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes
  • practice breathing exercises to help keep me calm and relaxed in stressful situations
  • Journal daily

I was able to reach all of my goals that I set and I must say I saw an incredible difference in my lifestyle and overall health. With the help of calming meditation practices and breathing techniques I have found ways to relax even when I have stressful events going on in my life.

Pillar 4: Life Coaching

When I first sat down with Jackie for our coaching sessions, it was a huge wake up call for me. I had never really taken the time to evaluate my life and what I was doing and if it was making me happy.

In just one sessions, I realized it wasn’t. I was working none stop to make ends meet while neglecting relationships with friends, family, and myself. We started to come up with goals on how to change this.

  • See my parents at least once every two months
  • Spend time with friends at least once every two weeks
  • Take at least one full day off a week for myself (while freelancing)
  • Try and find a job that allows me to do what I love, but also have quality time for myself.

Right away we started working towards those goals by creating schedules and calendars and really allocate my time to the right areas of my life. I was practicing better communication skills, and taking the time to figure out my true passions.

By the end of my coaching, I was having a better time with my partner, I was feeling more rejuvenated because I was acually taking time for myself, and I landed my dream job with the Weather Network. It is amazing what you can achieve if you actually set your mind to it (cliche I know but oh so true).

Next Step: New Year’s Resolution 

Now that I have shared my results, it is time to share my goals, and there is no better time to set some new goals then the new year right?

Goal setting was a huge part of the Practice Studio Whole Life Program because it truly holds you accountable to reach your goals, and it is something that I want to continue to focus on now that my time in the actual program has ended.

With an upcoming wedding and career as a national weather reporter, my physical appearance is really important to me. My goals are of course to continue to be healthy, eat right, and hey if I do lose some body fat along the way that would be great too.

My true goal though is to continue to focus on my fitness more so for my overall confidence. When I am staying active, working out, and feeling healthy I feel better about myself overall. I tend to have more energy, and that confidence shines in other aspects of my life.

I want to continue to push myself in my fitness and in my career. Strive to continuously be a better version of myself. Continue to grow strong relationships, and learn to love and forgive myself even on tough days.

And the best part is, I won’t be working on reaching these goals all alone. I am excited to announce I will be working once again with the Practice studio. Hey, pushing yourself to workout harder and to be the best version of you is always more fun with friends by your side right.

Cannot wait to continue this journey in the New Year, but in the meantime would love to hear some of your New Year’s resolution.

Fab fall workouts around Vancouver

I know that it is time to kiss summer good-bye and say hello to PSL, cozy sweaters, Halloween candy, and everything fall but that doesn’t mean it is time to say good-bye to our summer bodies. How I look at it, this is my time to shine at the gym so that I can have that extra slice of Thanksgiving pie, am I right.

I get it though, as soon as you put those bathing suits in storage the couch potato comes out in full force. The good news, I have found some incredible gyms in Vancouver that will help you stay motivated and in shape. They are fun, intense, and will make sure those abs will survive the winter.

Here are my top five workouts and gyms in and around Vancouver

1) Soulcycle 

I have absolutely fallen in love with Soulcycle recently. This isn’t your average spin class. It is a dance party on a bike but it is also a motivational and meditative workout that gets you sweating but also thinking about all the things to be grateful for in your life. The 45min spin class plays some amazing music, mixes different choreography, and has a weight track to make sure you work your entire body. It is also in a dim lit room so even if you cannot figure out the sexy corners, no one can see you so you can just have fun with it.  While you will be dripping with sweat by the end of this class, you will also feeling motivated and inspired thanks to the amazing instructors that really make you think about the positivity in your life. While the amazing workout will have you feeling great about your body, the class will have you feeling gratitude all day.

2)  Barre Fitness 

This is Canada’s original barre class and by far my favourite barre class in the city. What I love about Barre Fitness is that even if you aren’t a professionally ballerina with amazing co-ordination like myself, you can still have an amazing workout. Don’t expect intense cardio, instead this class focuses on working every inch of your body through movement with light weights, a bar, and bands. You will honestly tone muscles you didn’t even know existed, and will be feeling amazing after an hour long class.

3)BOX at Studeo Vancouver 

Every since I moved to Vancouver I have been trying to find a great boxing class and my prayers have officially been answered. This class is not for the faint of heart but it will get you moving and sweating instantly. The instructor will take you through a series of punches and then call out different combinations to target both strength and speed. In between your boxing sets you will do other cardio that targets legs, arms, and abs. It is a full body intense workout and I am officially obsessed.

4) Moksha Yoga

I must say I have never really been a fan of yoga. As a former professional athlete my coach used to make me take yoga for stretching, but I never really considered it a workout until now. I started taking the Moksha Power class and it has really changed my outlook on yoga as an exercises. The Moksha practice combines therapeutic and traditional yoga and the power class in particular really challenges you to keep you flowing with breath and observe your body and mind.  The hot part helps your body detoxify. It is an amazing workout.

5) The Practice at the Practice Studio 

I have talked about my love for The Practice Studio before. This gym really helped me change my life through their whole life practice. While they offer some amazing classes, The Practice is by far my favourite. This is their signature class and basically it consists of about 40 different stations of exercises that target your entire body. Everything from burpees to squat jumps will be covered. This truly is the perfect full body workout.

I hope that you will enjoy these classes as much as I do and be inspired to stay fit even during the winter.  I would also love for you to share some of your favourite workouts with me. I am always looking to mix up my fitness routine.

xo

Mia

 

 

Real Talk: Let the Personal Training Begin

FullSizeRender-49

The wake up call. The moment of truth. The moment where everything I had been trying to hide, throw under the rug, put off until tomorrow can flying directly towards me for a face to face encounter. It was week one of my Whole Life Practice at the Practice Studio call and it was a very rude awakening.

We started the journey with a scan. A full body scan to tell me my body fat percentage, where I carry my weight, and areas I need to target. The test came back with a sad reality. I was 20 pounds heavier then when I played competitive tennis. I was still under average for body fat, but in North American. I wasn’t my best self. I had a lot of work to do and now it was all on paper. There was no more hiding.

My first session with my personal trainer, Simon, was more about setting goals and coming up with a game plan. After the scan, the number one goal was evident, I had to bring my body fat down. We made the target 5% in three months. Some of our other goals were building up my endurance for my upcoming Ride to Conquer Cancer, and working on getting in more weekly fitness classes. However, our goals kept coming back to a common theme; feeling positive about my body again so I could be more confident in myself.

FullSizeRender-48

“I want to get my bikini body back”

“I want my jeans to fit properly”

“I want to be comfortable in a dress again when I go out”

“I want to feel comfortable going out”

“I want to love my body and myself again”

FullSizeRender-47

It was saying this last goal out loud that broke me. I started crying in the middle of my session. There was no more hiding how unhappy I had become with myself. It was all out in the open.

Working on camera and as a host, people seem to see one side of me. They see the happy enthusiastic side. They see the confident side. They see the professional side. What people don’t see is how hard it has been to look back at myself on camera lately. Looking it my overweight arms and my thick legs. I had lost my self confidence and in this personal training session it was my first step at taking it back.

Simon made some light of the situation and actually got me to laugh through the tears. Yet his confidence in me and in my ability was relieving. He never said these goals were unreachable or unachievable. He took them all in, he made notes, and he said “we can do this.”

FullSizeRender-45

We started the actual workout this week, focusing on high intensity rounds with rest in-between to maximize fat loss. Already today I beat two personal records. It felt good to get the ball rolling.

Already I have made my goals a priority. Three workout classes in one week has already got me feeling a lot better, healthier, and stronger. I didn’t use the, “I am too busy”, or “I will do it tomorrow” line. I got the job done. But this is just the start. The journey is going to be long. There will be twists and turns, and mountains to climb along the way, but I know Simon believes in me, and I know deep down I believe in me too.

To anyone who is having a similar struggle and a similar journey, just know you are strong enough. You can do this. We can do this together.

xo

Mia

FullSizeRender-46