Julianna Yu's Blog


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Introducing Fitset, Toronto’s Fitness Pass

Quad Spinning East

Photo courtesy of Fitset.Taken at Quad

In January, I was asked to be a Brand Ambassador for Fitset – Toronto’s Fitness Pass. It kind of made my day. I remember the subway ride into work that day (before I got asked) reflecting on what I wanted to do this year and one of the main things was to seek out activities that will help me grow. So, when I got asked later that day… It felt like magic. :) I have been a supporter since the start and am over the top excited about trying out different types of workouts and getting involved with spreading the word about Fitset.

It’s easy for us to stick to what we know when it comes to fitness – big gyms and whatever our current routine is. I am currently a member of a gym (made use of my corporate discount) but I am also a studio pass owner of a Yyoga and Studio Lagree. Although I enjoy having access to all three, there’s a part of me that always wants to do and seek out other activities to shake up my routine and get me out of my comfort zone.  If you’re like me, Fitset can help you reset your current routine by getting you to go out and try new workouts, which can only be good. Maybe you’ll find another workout (or workouts) that are complimentary to the one (or ones) you currently participate in. Maybe you’ll realize, what has been missing in your routine all along. And maybe you’ll meet people with similar interests and make new friends while you’re at it.

Moksha Yoga  (5 of 18)

Photo courtesy of Fitset.Taken at Moksha Yoga.

 
Fitset’s mission is to make fitness more accessible and to make fitness more exciting for those living in the city. They want to get Torontonians moving while having fun and living an active and healthy life. There are tons of fitness options in our city and Fitset has hand picked the best speciality studios.

In this way, we can try out studios without the pressure of having to commit to a membership or studio specific class pass. It’s kind like dating before committing to someone exclusively. I like the sound of that and I cannot be the only one.
There’s an indoor surfboard class, boxing, Muay Thai, spinning, obstacle training to name a few.

Photo courtesy of Fitset.

Photo courtesy of Fitset.Taken at Krudar Muay Thai. 

The Fitset pass allows you up to three workouts per month at each of their specialty studios. Have fun finding your ideal workout routine without worrying about committing to a studio exclusively. If your needs change and you need to cancel, you can do so at anytime and there are no hidden fees.

Whatever your reason is for joining

  • a NY goal to be more active
  • wanting to break up your current routine (all the time),
  • get out of your comfort zone (heck yes!),
  • meet other people (always),
  • get out of the house (off the couch)
  • explore the city in a whole new way (you can workout in a neighborhood you might not otherwise find yourself in and try a new restaurant or coffee shop while you’re at it.
  • wanting to try a fitness style you haven’t tried before
  • revisit something you tried in the past – some things are worth a second try.

To purchase the Fitset pass or get more info.
https://fitset.ca

Connect with Fitset

  • Fitset on FB: Fitsetpass
  • Fitset on Instagram and Twitter: @Fitsetpass
  • Fitset Blog aka “Fitfeed”:
    https://fitset.ca/blog/

What are your favourite fitness activities? How do you keep fitness fun?

Please share your workouts and how you keep them interesting.🙂


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Fitset Studio Partner: Big Hit Studios

Have you heard the exciting news about Fitset and their UNLIMITED MONTHLY FITNESS pass? They are currently in Montreal and Toronto. If you missed my last post about Fitset and my ambassador role start here

After 3 weeks of rest (no exercise whatsoever), coupled with long days at work and missing being active, it felt great knowing that I was about to get back into the groove of things again. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling heavy, lethargic and fatigued because since I got back from vacation in late December, I haven’t been as active as I was in November prior to going. The result of this is a break in routines – not eating at regular times, not snacking well, not having restful sleep (worrying about my mental to-do list), and not exercising on a regular basis.  One thing I know for sure, when I’m active a few times a week, it helps my mood, I sleep better and eat well.

A close friend of mine and her friend were excited about trying out studios in the city with Fitset, after I had dinner at her place one night and told them about it as well as my ambassador role. They both hadn’t ever taken classes from fitness studios before so they were intrigued by it and motivated to explore along with me.

Meet the B.O.B. I can't wait to beat you up. :)

Dear B.O.B. I wish I could beat you up daily. :)

The first studio we tried out was Big Hit Studios. They offer cardio boxing and kick boxing classes. I got there about 10 minutes before the 11am class started and was greeted by Adam. He helped me register for the class and gave me a tour of the space. When I walked in, I was surprised to see all the B.O.B’s in the classroom about ten it looked like. I had a very full week and I was soo excited to be able to kick and punch something without worrying about hurting anyone (myself included).

After I got changed, I noticed four to five more people had made it into the classroom and then my two friends joined. It was a good sized class. The room was quiet. The other students sat on the ground quietly with gloves and water next to them. Perhaps, they were getting themselves mentally ready for the cardio boxing that was about to ensue.

The Sunday morning 11am class was called the “Beating The Weekend Cleanse” and is described as an “All round kick ass boxing with the majority of moves based on intensely beating the B.O.B. Body weight exercises, waking up all the muscles, incorporated throughout.” It sounded perfect to me. Class description says it all. I wanted to wake up everything in my body and being able to beat up B.O.B. appealed to me.

After a few minutes, Adam turned on music, which wasn’t too loud so we could still hear him without him having to shout and we started our warm up and all the pre-workout nerves I was having slipped to the background.

Within five minutes into this workout I felt my heart racing and I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. I could feel my breakfast jumping around inside of me and regretted the decision to eat 10 wonton’s for breakfast. They were delicious in the moment but will not make this mistake again.

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Workout essentials: water bottle and sweat towel.

Adam was a great instructor. He was consistent about doing a quick demonstration (repeating it at least twice) and then very quickly moving around the room to observe us, give us pointers on technique and reminding us to breathe. I liked that his moves were not complicated and were one to three steps at a time. For example: Lift your right leg up knee bent 90 degrees and kick out while jumping on your left leg. Do not put your right leg down.

He made sure to walk around the room for every move and side we were working on. This made me feel I was in good hands. He saw that I was drinking water often and reminded me the filtered water was behind me if I needed more.

He never raised his voice (he told me later it’s just not his style), instead he would ask us questions: “Are you getting tired yet?” throughout. I wanted to say yes every time, and I remember wondering if the words made it out of my mouth or whether they were stuck in my throat which felt like it was dry even though I was drinking constantly.

"It's You VS You" - YESSS!  Adam, my friends and I.

“It’s You VS You” – YESSS! Soo true.🙂
Adam, my friends and I.

We all had plenty of room to drop and do many rounds of squats, pushups, burpees, mountain climbers which was mixed in after rounds of beating up BOB. This is why I love group classes, I always end up doing wayy more in a group setting then I would on my own. Feeling the energy of everyone else in the room working hard motivates you to keep going as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed punching BOB in the chest and abs, pounding my fists into his shoulders and kneeing him in the stomach. My favourite punch was probably the uppercut. I felt the hardest kick for me is the side kick. When I first did it, I was hitting BOB with my ankle, Adam was very quick to catch that, he corrected me after my first kick and reminded me to use my shin. This became my favourite kick after that because I felt stable and firm in my standing leg.

If you’re looking for a way to get the stresses of your week out or maybe you just want to get your heart rate up.  This would be my kind heart racing cardio and maybe it could work for you too. Give it a try!

What kind of cardio activities do you enjoy? Have you tried cardio boxing or kick boxing? Let’s get the conversation going. 

Check the Fitset site regularly as they are constantly adding new studios and workouts. 


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Halloween at The ROM

Last friday was Halloween and this year I was invited to go to Friday Night Live at the ROM. Being at the Musuem at night with food vendors, drinks, people in costumes, live music and exhibits to explore sounded like a fun way to spend Halloween. Although most Halloweens I’m good with just watching a scary movie and staying in.

Friday Night at the R.O.M: Boo!

Friday Night at the R.O.M: Boo!

We spent a good chunk of our evening getting ready and trying not to rush ourselves because we both had long weeks and felt like we needed to just slow down before heading out again. It was the weekend after all and didn’t want to stress ourselves out with trying to get there early. We got there for the last 2 hours or so. If you’re planning on going, I would recommend going earlier so you can check out all the different rooms and levels.

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A good friend had asked me a few weeks earlier and I didn’t figure out my costume until 2 days before. A costume wasn’t necessary but I figured it was Halloween, so I might as well wear something I might not otherwise wear for the fun of it. My only two criteria was I wanted to feel comfortable and I wanted items I could use again. My 80’s inspired aerobic costume came about while tossing around ideas with a friend one day and getting lots of great advice from a sales associate. I decided not to do the headband because although classic it would probably bug me. So, I opted for a scrunchie and high side ponytail instead.

Close up of my makeup. My favourite feature is the eyes. I used a new bright blue eyeshadow my friend got as a gift from Sephora because my regular makeup was too plain for this costume and just put it on real thick.

Close up of my makeup. My favourite feature to dress up is the eyes. I used a new bright blue eyeshadow my friend got as a gift from Sephora because my regular makeup was too plain for this costume and just put it on real thick.

 

One sided high ponytail with a scrunchie. Do you remember wearing scrunchies? ;p

One sided high ponytail with a scrunchie. Do you remember wearing scrunchies? ;p

 

White leotard was a last minute change in decision right before I paid. I was suppose to go with grey but then I looked at the grey bodysuit and thought it just seemed kind of plain in contrast to the other colours. And yes, I was also self conscious because white makes us look bigger right? eeeek.

White leotard was a last minute change in decision right before I paid. I was suppose to go with grey but then I looked at the grey bodysuit and thought it just seemed kind of plain in contrast to the other colours. And yes, I was also self conscious because white makes us look bigger right? yeeeek. After weeks of snacking on chocolate and chips and working at a desk for long hours, the last thing I probably thought I would feel confident in was white. But for some reason, once I got my costume on, I felt pretty super. My incredible tight jeans I wore that day probably made this costume feel soooo much better.🙂

Me.n.u Food Truck station

Me.n.u Food Truck station

There were many wonderful creative costumes which made the night feel even more magical. Lots of Mario and Luigi’s, little red riding hoods, Chung Li, Cops and Swat agents and lots of more.  We both felt inspired by the sea of costumes we saw and want to prepare earlier for next year’s Halloween festivities.

There were hot foods stations catered by food vendors. Naturally, that was highest on my list along with exploring as many rooms as we could. The first vendor we saw was selling fried chicken on a stick but after I got the R.O.M. food/drink tickets, we went to the bar first and then I saw ME.N.U food station so I wanted to try their food too because I remember reading about them before. It was delicious! The combination of the soft roti with crunchy cabbage, onions and pulled pork. They had me at roti and pulled pork…MMM. I want to try more of their foods next time. Check them out, they run a food truck in Toronto.🙂

This was Me.n.u Food Truck's pulled pork roti.

This was ME.N.U Food Truck’s pulled pork roti.

Dance floor

Dance area on main floor. Love the lighting.

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What did you do for Halloween? What did you dress up as? Any scary movies?


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DIY Ice Cream In Five Minutes

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One Saturday, this past spring, my friend asked me over to make ice cream after we had lunch together. She had me at ice cream. My favourite flavours are cookies and cream, green tea and Kawartha’s dairy moose tracks (vanilla base with fudge swirled through and small peanut butter cups). If given the choice between vanilla and chocolate though… I’d choose vanilla.🙂

We made two types: vanilla and green tea. I’ve included photos from both in this post.

Matcha Green Tea Powder & Sugar

Matcha Green Tea Powder & Sugar

 

small bag of cream, sugar, & matcha green tea powder sitting on top of ice and salt and covered with ice and salt.

small bag of cream, sugar, & matcha green tea powder sitting on top of ice and salt and covered with ice and salt.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Voila! Green Tea Ice Cream

My favourite step after SHAKE SHAKE Shaking… is eating. :)

My favourite step after SHAKE SHAKE Shaking… is eating.🙂

I asked her how we were going to make it and what we needed. She told me all we needed was cream or half and half, vanilla, sugar, ice, a yogurt cup, some zip lock bags and salt. I was intrigued that this didn’t involve a fancy ice cream machine.

My friend is a high school teacher and she had her grade 9 science class do this. It was a very quick and delicious DIY activity and I would definitely see this as a fun experiment to do with kids or basically anyone that likes ice cream or single serving sizes of ice cream.

DIY Ice Cream

Davies, L. (2011). Neilson Science Connections 9. Scarborough, Ont.:Thomson/Neilson

Ingredients

  • 1 small sealable bag
    • (optional: double up to prevent bag with cream from opening up and having salt seep in)
  • large clean empty yogurt container (or large sealable bag)
  • 1/2 cup of cream or half & half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla flavouring (or other desired flavouring)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 2 tbsp of salt (preferably large crystals)
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cup
  • timer
  • oven mitts or kitchen towel

Method

  1. We put the sugar and the vanilla extract into the small sealable bag. Then added cream and squeeze out extra air and seal it up.
  2. Then filled the yogurt containers halfway with ice and 1 tbsp of salt.
  3. Then we put our small bag and filled up the rest of the container with ice and 1 tbsp of salt and cover with the lid.
  4. And now set a timer for 5 minutes, put on those oven mitts and start shaking the container. Stop at the 5 minute mark to check to see if your cream is becoming more solid. If your cream isn’t as solid as you’d like but you still have plenty of solid ice, add more salt. Otherwise, add more ice and salt to the container.
  5. Once your cream is looking more solid just carefully remove from the container and carefully open the small sealable bag.

How could this be?

When we add salt it lowers the freezing point of water and when the ice melts it starts to absorb heat from the ice cream which causes the ice cream to solidify. I might’ve enjoyed science class more if there were more food experiments that ended with the class eating.

Results

The texture isn’t as hard as hard ice cream straight from the box or your neighbourhood ice cream shop it’s on the ice-y side but both were delicious. I did get a bit of salt water that seeped into one and hence my recommendation to double up on the small bags. We used the half size small bags but that’s just because it’s what she had on hand. I’m sure the regular small size bags would work fine and might have less chances of opening up during the shaking as long as as much air as possible is squeezed out.

Vanilla Extract and Sugar

Vanilla Extract and Sugar

Half & Half, Vanilla Syrup, Small sealable bag.

Half & Half, Vanilla Syrup, Small sealable bag.

Ice cream is ready

Ice cream is ready

Vanilla Ice Cream for One. :)

Vanilla Ice Cream for One. Some cream fell into the yogurt cup during shaking resulting in less ice cream😦

Have you made ice cream before? How do you make it?

If you decide to give this a go let me know how you enjoyed the process and end result. Also, let me know if you come up with some delicious flavour combinations.

 


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My No Poo Update

8ZzOUHeyyy! I’ve been keeping you in suspense for months. Hope you had an incredible summer and great kick off to the fall season.

Does she still no ‘poo? Has she done more experimenting? What is she washing her hair with?  So many changes ya’ll.. mm..not really..but sorta.. hang on tight. I’m going to address all of that.🙂

First of all, I went into this alternative hair washing method for mainly these reasons:

  1. To go longer without hair washing
  2. Reducing my exposure to harmful ingredients
  3. Neat DIY

And most importantly, I went in with an open mind. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy transition but I wanted to make an effort to try this routine out. I knew that as my routine and life circumstances changed, it might make more sense for me to buy shampoo (cleaners with low toxins of course).

I can’t believe I started making my own rinses since the end of April 2012 – That’s 2 years and 5 months. Whoa.

Early on this spring, I tried a few shampoos from the health food store with mixed results. I tried a few bottles but I still felt my hair felt cleaner with no ‘poo and could go longer without washes with no poo. My hair tended to feel oilier after a day of washing. I’d use dry shampoo to stretch out my washings by another day or two and style my hair in braids. As with no poo, I could usually go 3 days from wash day to my next wash. So naturally, I went back to no poo after I finished a bottle.

A couple of changes I made since my No Poo series was I swapped ACV for lemon juice this summer, mainly to just see if it would work and so I wouldn’t have to refrigerate it. The latest change I made was stop using baking soda for my washes… Let me explain.🙂

unIHS

Baking Soda, ACV Rinses & PH levels

The last time I washed my hair with baking soda might’ve been a couple weeks ago. *sigh* here it goes. I read Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair by Kanelstrand (Her blog goes into detail about the PH level with diagrams too! Definitely good to check out if you’re currently no poo’ing) that highlighted the effects of raising your scalp/hair’s PH level ((baking soda is alkaline and ACV is acidic) and lowering it in a short amount of time isn’t good for your hair in the long run because it makes your hair prone to breakage and dryness. And hence the importance of looking for a PH balanced shampoo.

The more I read, the more it made sense for me to try another alternative. I was experiencing some dryness and decided to try a shampoo recipe with aloe vera and glycerin from a blog post about no-poo alternatives by Sara at My Merry Messy Life. The mistake I made was that I read the post really fast and missed the part where Sara says she likes using it to freshen up her curls. She has curly hair but I don’t…and I didn’t realize this until after the 2nd wash. Regardless of my mistake, I really appreciated the insights from her post.

I happily mixed up a concoction of vegetable glycerin with aloe vera and some essential oils and I washed my hair. My hair felt heavy but I figured I was probably transitioning. So, I waited 3 days and used dry shampoo for the 2nd and 3rd day. On wash day, I washed it and it felt kind of greasy but I figured once again it was probably the transition. The next morning I looked like I had just slicked my entire scalp in gel.. So, I put my hair in a bun. I looked like I was ready to ready for a ballet exam or recital. GROSS.

I had no time for tears. My hair looked absolutely disgusting but it was clean and I was going to work out that day so I would deal with it in the evening.

I tried a PH balanced coconut milk and aloe vera gel recipe. I loved how simple this recipe was but given the state of my GREASY scalp, it wasn’t cutting it. I felt I needed baking soda. It’s a hard habit to break. I tried to mix a little bit in my palm with water and I scrubbed my head. It was still heavy with the residue/grease. I reached for the last bit of Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Shampoo by Live Clean from my pre-no ‘poo days. It was the best decision in that moment but I also felt defeated to be honest. I knew I needed something to remove all the buildup in my hair. There have been different times that I have returned to using this clarifying shampoo – a couple of weeks in June 2013 and a few times during my mom’s treatment this fall and this instance.

I had revisited the curly hair shampoo recipe post after I woke up with the really greasy ballet bun hair and realized the mistake I had made.

HS5oP

My Current Routine.

I decided the day of the greasy ballet hair bun to pick up a couple of new products to try from the health food store because I had no time/energy/patience to devote to tweaking hair recipes on top of my current routine. I probably spent about an hour in the store reading labels and checking the handy Good Guide app on my phone that scores the product based on the health concerns, the environmental and societal impact of the product. I can easily scan the product’s barcode with my phone to pull up this information while I’m shopping.

I have been using TheraNeem Gentle Therape Shampoo for the past two weeks (washing every 3-4 days), I am loving the mild scent and the lather was a surprise. I wet my scalp and scrub it as I normally would before adding rinses, and then I add in the shampoo and scrub really well all over. I wait a few minutes then rinse out the shampoo and towel dry as much as I can then blow dry.

I brush with a boar bristle brush everyday and I use my own dry shampoo (another recipe for another post) when my the crown of my head looks a bit oily (usually 2-3 days after a wash) or I’ll just put my hair up or braid it.

I will likely experiment with DIY shampoo recipes again – I would love to use more pantry items like herbs and tea. But right now, I’m going to use up what I’ve bought so far. I am not too ecstatic with the higher price tag.

Are you a no poo’er? Do you wash with baking soda? If you’re a no poo’er have you experimented with any baking soda free recipes? Do you have any PH balanced shampoo recipes to share?

Hope you have a great weekend!

If you’re interested in reading about the No Poo series: start with My No Poo Secret followed by the Transition Phase & Method and if you want more, Resources & Solutions 


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Lagree Fitness at Studio Lagree

Journey to Lagree

I am a big fan of the TV show Suits. So much so, my daily ritual included listening to music playlists on YouTube from the first two seasons. Yep, that kind of dedicated fan. This past summer, I watched a Shape Magazine interview with Meghan Markle, who plays Rachel, the paralegal on Suits. If you’ve seen the show, you can’t help but adore Rachel. I’m envious of her stylish wardrobe and all those pencil skirts she looks absolutely stunning in. Naturally, I was wondering what she did to stay fit. She runs, does Tracy Anderson workouts and yoga but when she’s in LA, she goes to Pilates Platinum. When I searched for Pilates Platinum online, I learned that it utilizes the Megaformer, a machine designed by Sebastien Lagree.

When Lagree designed the megaformer he took the reformer from pilates and changed it up so 1000’s of exercises can be performed on it. He wanted to help people make the most out of their time so they could achieve more in 40-50 minutes without having to do separate workouts for cardio, strength training, and body conditioning. There is no need to have any pilates experience and is accommodating for different levels of fitness. It is very low impact so it’s good if you have any joint pains. It sounded good to me!

After reading about the Megaformer and testimonials, I searched for Megaformer classes in Toronto and found Studio LagreeWoohoo!!  I read reviews of the Lagree workout and decided to take the summer to revisit Mat Pilates before I tried out the Megaformer, even though it wasn’t a pre-requisite, I wasn’t ready yet to take the plunge. Prior to this, I had taken Pilates on a drop-in basis for 2 years in my early 20’s. Yep, I’m at the age where I can say that now.

I spent most of the summer doing independent workouts at the gym using free weights and body weight exercises and mixing it up yoga and mat pilates classes. I enjoyed the variety at first but knew I wanted something more challenging and structured.

My First Class at Studio Lagree

In the last week of August, after a Saturday where I did 2 pilates classes back to back (2 hours), I wasn’t feeling satisfied with how I spent that time and I decided I needed to just try Lagree.  So, I signed up for a first timer’s special – a one week unlimited class pass and went to four classes that week.

I took this picture before my first class at Lagree. Those machines were definitely intimidating to me from afar.

I took this picture before my first class at Lagree. Those machines were definitely intimidating to me from afar.

I was nervous about being on a machine. When I’m at the gym, I don’t gravitate towards machines at all (cardio included). I prefer body weight exercises and props AND if possible an instructor. I’m also afraid of heights and one of my fears, was of losing my balance and falling off the machine, or feeling like the machine is really far away from the ground. Luckily, when I got on the machine and got to stand next to one, this fear quickly went away. I’m not THAT high off the ground. *phew* So, if I do fall, it won’t be that far. HA!

I went to my first class on my own. I got to the studio early, purchased some toe socks, which felt weird (it’s the fabric BETWEEN my toes thing) but so did my Five Fingers toe shoes when I first put them on. Once you start exercising though, you don’t notice them at all.

My first pair of Half Toe Bella Toe Tox.

My first pair of Half Toe Bella Toe Tox.

I got to chatting with the gentlemen at the front desk when I was signing into class. He told me about how he use to be a former football player and has lost 65lbs since February. His face lit up as he was talking about the workout and how it achieves long lean muscles. He reminded me that everyone was really friendly there so to not hesitate at all about asking questions. I couldn’t help but smile and nod. I later learned the gentlemen I spoke with, Carm, was also one of the owners of the club.

My first class started off with plank to pike which totally set the stage for the intense workout ahead.  The instructor reminded us to go slowly with each move taking four seconds to go out and four seconds to go in and reminding us when to breathe in and out. This was very helpful & important because I often get that mixed up.

I liked that the class had a variety of moves that we would only do for about 30 secs or so. It sounds like a very short amount of time but it feels painfully longer when you are moving slowly.  I was very focused throughout and didn’t take many breaks because I didn’t want to miss out on anything.

When we were working on our inner thigh muscles, my glutes started to shake uncontrollably. I don’t believe this has ever happened to me in any other class, where I can’t actually control the shaking. This was hilarious, I couldn’t help but look at my reflection. In my sister’s first class with me, she noticed my shaking and said “you had stripper butt”. Bahaha!

I was completely drenched after my first class. It felt sort of neat to be as sweaty as in a hot yoga class but without a heated room. I felt sore after my first class and every day that first week but really happy. I could feel muscles in my glutes I hadn’t ever felt before. The class lived up to my expectations and I thought “YESSS, this is it! This was what I was looking for.”

Post First Class at Lagree. Notice how drenched my shirt is.

After my first Class at Lagree. Sweaty Mess. Happy.

Lagree is my Zen Space

I’ve been going to Studio Lagree about 2-3 times a week (other than a few weeks due to set backs – colds/schedule conflicts/injuries) since that very first class. When I rave to my friends about it, I usually say “It feels like I’m slowly tearing myself a new body from the inside out.. and that’s a good thing”. Basically, I might not see the physical changes on the outside right away but the inside, I can feel that there’s changes happening.🙂

After my intial weeks at Studio Lagree I found my sleep to be more restful, I’d wake up with more energy and my abdominal muscles, obliques, inner thigh and glute muscles were sore unlike any other exercise I’ve ever done.  I’ve lost some pounds, gotten some compliments from others about me leaning out. But like most things, I know I would see more physical changes if I was more consistent about my diet + my fitness regimen. Since starting Lagree, I haven’t been to any mat pilates classes or to the gym to do independent workouts, my schedule’s been more hectic than ever. So, it’s saved me time! I enjoy the variety in classes, that regardless of how often I go during the week, no two classes are the same and I feel challenged throughout class.

Every class is different and the weights can be adjusted based on your preference (more or less resistance) depending on if you are facing the front or the back of the machine (moving with the weight vs pulling the weight). The instructors I’ve had have all been great. They’ve been consistent about reminding us about correct form, keeping us focused and letting us know how to modify an exercise. Most of my classes have been with Leila, who’s encouraging, funny, friendly and always finding ways to keep us feeling challenged.

I’ve been going to Lagree a bit over 6 months now. I get pretty bummed when I can’t make it to class. Lagree is my zen space. When I go there, I feel like I leave everything behind and when I come out, I have more clarity. My mind rarely wanders in class. When you’re executing plank, spider, teasers, bear, newspaper, catfish, mermaid and the like, all you can do is focus on stabilizing your core and trying to maintain good form as you move slowly. I usually leave feeling refreshed and calm, ready to tackle my day.🙂

Are you interested in trying Lagree? If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? What’s your current favourite way to exercise? What do you look for in a exercise class? Let’s chat it up.


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Bravery Bell

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Happy New Year Everyone!

This blog has been pretty quiet these past few months, heck for most of 2013. This post will shed light on what’s been going on in my world that I wasn’t comfortable sharing until now. Hope this fills in some blanks if you’ve been wondering about me.

In the summer of 2012, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. It’s hard to read that sentence. It’s even harder to say that out loud to people. It was easier to just not say anything unless I had to.

I still remember how hard it was to hear the news and after the initial shock, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the hospital pamphlets and info.

My sister and I took turns accompanying my mom for doctor appointments, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and when we got the surgery dates in January 2013 and October 2013 we coordinated our schedules to make sure we had time to spend with mom and took turns cooking for her.

The first surgery in January 2013 was absolutely nerve-wracking. We knew she would come out with a temporary ostomy which we all learned to care for. Her diet changed too. She needed to increase her sodium intake, cut back fibrous foods and eat foods that were more easily digestible like bread, meat and pasta. She also needed to chew her food many times to prevent any clogs (that would result in running to the nearest Emergency) and drink more fluids. We were nagging her on the regular.

The second surgery in October 2013 reversed the ostomy and restored the use of her colon. She is doing well and in good spirits. Her recovery this time around was comparatively much better than her first surgery. Everyone who sees her says she looks good. It’s funny because I’ve seen her throughout the process, sometimes when someone else says that I look at her and remember how far she’s come and how many hurdles she’s overcome.

People closest to me, who had come to know about my mother’s treatments/surgeries were very sweet. Offering to help me with groceries or rides. Although I didn’t take anyone up on their offers, just knowing that they were thinking of our family was enough. It was nice just to know that we were in people’s thoughts.

I’ve been told by others that I’m strong. Especially when they come to learn about what’s been going on. There were times when I was scared, sad, overwhelmed, irritated and fatigued, which is of course absolutely understandable and only made me appreciate moments where I found something to laugh about or some kind of funny distraction. I tried to be as calm as I could around my mom especially before she began her chemo/radiation treatments and before and after her surgeries. Her attitude has been good for the most part. She’s always been focused on getting better, getting stronger, becoming independent again.

These big scary life changing moments made me feel completely stretched (mentally, physically, emotionally) and at the same time made me appreciate things more. A big one for me, because my favourite time is meal time, is being able to eat anything you want and knowing that that in itself is a gift because not everyone can.

Our family was particularly thankful for a close family friend and one of my sister’s closest childhood friend who was there during many challenging moments and who is close enough to us that we have arguments right in front of her (yup, that kind of VIP). My mother was really thankful for her because she explained things really well because she has gone through the process herself my mom valued her input that much more. We were all so thankful to have someone like her around despite her own health challenges she still came to check up on my mom and check in with her regularly. Thank U VIP.🙂

To respect my mother’s wishes, I didn’t want to share this online unless she was comfortable. We learned about the bravery bell early on in my mother’s treatment. She said she didn’t want to ring it until she was done with chemo. So, after her second round of chemo, she rang the bell. We took pictures and made a short video. Minutes after, I asked if she was okay with me sharing her story and she said yes, that she wanted people who are in similar shoes to remember to be brave. This conversation happened in late June but I didn’t feel comfortable sharing until my after my mother’s second surgery and until I felt like I could put this into words.

Hope you enjoyed this post.