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

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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.

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“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”

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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.”

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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

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Real Talk: Falling off the wagon

IMG_6677This month I am taking a big leap towards a healthier lifestyle. I am committing to three months of Whole Life Practice at the Practice Studio. Whole life meaning my fitness, nutrients, mental, and physical health. If you follow my blog, you may have seen that I have written about The Practice Studio and their whole life approach before, but before this three month journey begins, I had only tried their incredible classes. I had only scratched the surface of what this program is all about.

Now I am taking the plunge and diving even deeper in order to improve my mental and physical health. I am going to be meeting with a life coach to discuss goals, stress, plans etc.  I am going to be planning meals with a nutritionist to make sure that my diet is on track and that I am getting the proper nutrients that I need. Lastly I will be meeting with a personal trainer regularly to focus on my specific fitness goals and areas that I feel I need improvement.

I am feeling a mix of emotions starting this journey. Nervous, scared, excited, curious, but most importantly relieved because this is a team I trust and a step I have been wanting to take for quite some time, I just didn’t seem to have the confidence to do it on my own.

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Since I am taking this journey to better myself. To focus on me. To improve my habits. And to create a healthier lifestyle I was inspired to start sharing some of the experience with you on here. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that to get the most out of this experience, I need to be vulnerable, open, and honest. I need to be ok with failing, I need to be happy with small victories, I need to believe in myself. It was this realization that made me want to start a little segment on the blog called “Real Talk”. I know this journey isn’t going to be easy, but it sure as hell is going to be real.

The first Real Talk blog I wanted to touch on something that got me into this situation in the first place; falling off the fitness wagon and losing a sense of self-worth. I feel like everyone can share an experience like this, especially us ladies who are so judgmental and hard on ourselves.

I started playing competitive tennis when I was seven years old. I won my first tournament when I was eight. I made my first national team when I was 11. I moved to Florida when I was 14. I got my first WTA point when I was 17. I received a full tennis scholarship to a division one school in the U.S. when I was 18.

To reach a high level of tennis, I had a very strict regimen. 6 am wake up calls. Four hours of practice a day, one hour of fitness. Protein at every meal, no complex carbs, limited sugar. I grew up fit and that was the only way of life I knew.

After my last year of university tennis, it all changed. I had one semester to go at school, and it was at this point I fell off the wagon. I would eat as if I was still working out six hours a day, but yet I was barely hitting the gym. I packed on 20 pounds. I was always tired. I wasn’t me anymore. 

I haven’t been able to get back on the wagon. I would go from one extreme to the next. I would eat healthy for a week and then turn to chocolate and carbs when I was stressed. I would work out every day for a week and then go two weeks without going to the gym because I was “too busy with work”.

This went on for years and years. Yo-yo diets, treadmills traded for elliptical. Or the old “I will just work out tomorrow”. I lost me and couldn’t get me back.

I was overweight, unhappy, unconfident, but yet somehow still unmotivated. I didn’t know what to do. I wouldn’t wear a bathing suit. In fact I wouldn’t even wear jeans. I stopped wanting to go out because I was uncomfortable.

When I was approached by the Practice Studio to take part in their Whole Life Program, I jumped at the opportunity. If I was unable to hold myself accountable, maybe I could get back on track with someone else doing that for me.

I start my Whole Life Program Monday. I am nervous, excited, anxious, scared, but most important relieved. Relieved to finally begin the journey to find myself again.

The three month program will be a journey of life coaching, mindfulness and meditation, nutrition, and fitness. I will work with expertise in all of these fields making concrete goals, working on my overall health, and finding myself again.

I can’t wait to share this experience with you, but in the meantime, I would love to hear if you have had a “fall off the wagon” moment and how you worked through it.

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Please share and comment below and join me on this fitness journey.

xo

Mia