Sorry for being so M.I.A. ~ What I learned from a much needed break

Truth talk: I am struggling to write these words right now. It is like all my creativity was sucked up with the turkey and eggnog over the holidays. It is always a little hard to get back to work after a long break and it has been some time ( my last blog post was early December). I am finding it hard to find the words, the time, and the ability to focus.

… And alas I turned to the internet 

Google “why is a break good for you”  the answers I got were typical. It helps productivity, lower stress and better mental health.

Yes that all makes sense, but if I just spewed out what I found on the internet, what would be the point of me sitting here writing and you sitting and reading this blog. So let’s go back a little in time shall we.

Before the holidays I was feeling drained. I hadn’t taken a vacation in quite some time, I was traveling a lot for work, I took on a few freelance projects, I was working on my blog, I got sick, I was tired (all the time), I felt overwhelmed.

This lead to me forgetting things, losing things, and running late for things. And so the cycle would continue, the more I forgot and lost the more stressed I would be and then the more I would forget again.

…It was time for a time out

And as usual, the first thing that was cut from my schedule was this blog. The blog has always been a passion project, a place where I can share my experiences, my enjoyments, my travels, and also a place where I can hear from you but it is not my job, it is not how I make a living, it is not my top priority.

Instead of taking the time to write, I took the time to sleep, to play with my new puppy, to clean my new home. I took time to myself.

And then came the break, a week off for the holidays to relax, recovery, and reconnect with myself (and my blog ) so I hoped but instead friends were in and out staying at our house, instead of writing inside I wanted to be outside skiing at Whistler or hiking on a sunny day. And while it was busy with such a full house, I was able to relax by taking time to myself.

…Fast forward to now 

Break is over it is back to reality, back to work, and finally back to writing, but during that time off I realized something very important, how valuable a break truly is.

Sure, I felt all of those things the internet told me I would feel, less stressed, more productive but something the internet didn’t tell me I would feel. I felt relieved. I realized that even if I do take a time off, weeks, months, or longer without writing or posting here it wasn’t going anywhere.

My blog isn’t about the followers, the readers, the subscribers, it is a place for me to be me and it is important to realize that when “me” needs a break, I can take that break and come back feeling inspired, rejuvenated, and while it might be tough to sometimes find the write words, ready to write.

While I am not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions as they usually include more trips to the gym, eating healthier etc and usually last a month or two into the new year, I decided instead to make some birthday goals ( I mean it is just a day later than New Years).

My goals for myself this year is to not let myself get to a point of exhaustion and recognized when I need a little time out. I am allowing myself to say no if I need to, to be better at scheduling so I am not feeling overwhelmed, and to wake up 10 minutes earlier so I am not constantly rushing out the door.

And so here you have it. Why taking a break for yourself is a good thing, and not just a because google says so.

Did you make any resolutions for this new year or take some time out for yourself over the holidays? Would love to hear your experiences.

Here is to a healthy and happy 2020 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

 

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