Motivation

Lately I have been getting so many messages of people asking me where I get my motivation. “Hey Steph, just wondering how you stay motivated?” or “I always seem to fall off the bandwagon, how do you keep it up?”. Honestly, I think I’ve answered this question differently every time someone asked me because I don’t really know how to answer it. And is my little spiel about motivation really going to change your lifestyle and turn you into Mr. or Mrs. Motivation? I don’t think so. Everyone has different reasons for working out, or being into fitness. Some people want to lose 10lbs, some people want to gain muscle, some people want to run farther, some people want to do hold a handstand for half an hour. For me, initially yes, it was to lose weight. Then it turned into me wanting to gain muscle. But along the way I have fallen in love with so many types of fitness. Yes, I have physical goals such as wanting to build more muscle, but ultimately, the reason I am so motivated is because I love it. I love training. I love yoga. I love Pilates. I love lifting weights. I love sprinting. I love doing burpees. I love feeling stronger. I love feeling good. I am consistently active because I like it. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it. Simple.

So, instead of asking me how I stay motivated, why don’t you ask yourself? Why do you want to workout? Why aren’t you working out? What’s stopping you from working out? Why don’t you go get some pizza?

I don’t know the answer to the questions you need to ask yourself.

 

Reasons I workout (that have nothing to do with appearance)

1. Flow

Flow is a mental state where you are fully immersed in the process of the activity you are doing. You are so focused and so “in the moment” that you do not think of anything else. You forget what you are doing later. You forget your problems. You forget the stress. You zone out. Completely. I have never experienced this until I started working out. I experience it during weight lifting, during cardio, during Pilates and during yoga. It is the ultimate workout for my brain, my mental health, and for my happiness.

2. It gets me out of bed

I am a morning person. I will always be a morning person. But working out gives me that extra “jump” out of bed. It’s a great way to start the day. It gives me energy, it opens my mind and allows me to concentrate better on everything else I’m doing that day. The more you sleep, the lazier you become. Oversleeping makes you more tired. Get up and go.

3. I sleep better

So, I just finished preaching about getting out of bed, and now I’m talking about getting in it. Since I have been more active, I have had better night sleeps. By the end of the day I feel accomplished and need my rest to do the same for the next day. I sleep like a baby and I love it.

“If you wake up tired, you’ve been chasing your dreams. If you go to bed tired, you’re making your dreams happen”

4. Because I like it and I want to

I never dread a workout. I want to do it. I like doing it. It makes me happy. I always say if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it. A lot of people complain about not finding time to exercise. I ask them, do you want to do it? Because if you want to, you will. Don’t make it be something to dread, make it something that’s enjoyed. Health and fitness is not about doing something you don’t want to do, it’s about make yourself better mentally and physically. If  it’s really a huge burden to exercise, then save yourself the stress and don’t do it. (But really, suck it up and do it)

5. I talk about it with passion

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and she was asking me about my Pilates classes that I’m teaching and other plans I have in the health/fitness field. After I talked about it she said, “Steph, I’ve never seen you this excited and passionate about something.” This is how I know health and fitness has changed my life.

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My Favourite Foods

A lot of people ask me what I eat on a regular basis or what type of meal plan I follow. Well, I do not “diet” or restrict any food group. I eat whatever I want – in moderation. I do follow IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) closely, but not to the extreme. If you don’t know what IIFYM is, then I suggest you go to their site to educate yourself and see if it is something that you would consider. Basically, IIFYM pays closer attention the amount of macro-nutrients (carbs, fats and protein) that you need as a individual, instead of worrying about eating only “clean” or “healthy” foods. I find this is really good for people who are looking to make certain body composition changes such as building muscle, or losing weight. It really opens your eyes to how much you should be eating and from what types of foods, to accomplish your goals. With that being said, no, I do not strictly measure my food, or follow my macro-nutrient recommendation everyday because that is simply unrealistic.

Below of I have listed some of my favourite foods and why. These are foods I eat on a regular basis. No, eating these foods won’t make you “skinny”. I am not saying that you have to eat these foods to be “healthy”. I am simply listing foods that I love and why I like to eat them 🙂

My favourite foods and why.

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1. Bananas – I eat a banana every day. They are the perfect fruit because they are nutrient-dense. They provide me with a good source of energy, carbohydrates, and potassium  I like to eat them as either part of my breakfast, or as a post-workout snack (or sometimes both ;)) You NEED carbs to replace the glycogen you used during your workout.

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2. Peanut Butter –  I eat peanut butter everyday. Yes, peanut butter has a high amount of calories compared to its serving size, and it’s high in fat, but because of its density it keeps me full and satisfies my sweet-tooth. Peanut butter contains mono-saturated fat, which is linked to decreased likelihood of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Also, it tastes good on everything and I eat it from the jar.

3. Sweet Potatoes –  I eat sweet potatoes regularly, and hardly ever eat white potatoes. There is nothing wrong with eating a balanced portion of white potatoes. White potatoes aren’t unhealthy and they don’t make you fat. I honestly just like the taste of sweet potatoes better. Both white and sweet potatoes are close in terms of calories and sweet-potatoes have slightly less carbohydrates than white potatoes. They are a good source of carbohydrates to have with your meals. Sweet potatoes also taste great with peanut butter on top. TRY IT!

4. Oatmeal – When I tell people I eat oatmeal regularly, they think that it’s so “bland” and “boring”. Yes, if I was to just eat oatmeal cooked with water, I would describe it as bland and boring. But, who eats oatmeal alone? No one. I like to cook mine with egg whites (there is nothing wrong with a whole egg, I just don’t like a whole egg in my oatmeal), add berries, cinnamon and obviously top it with peanut butter. I usually have this as breakfast or lunch (which ends up being my post-workout food). Oatmeal is a fantastic source of carbs and fibre, and when you pair it with protein and fat, you have a complete meal that is satisfying and does wonders for the body. Seriously delicious.

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5. Spinach – I’m not really sure if people enjoy eating spinach. Like does someone ever crave a huge bowl of spinach? I definitely don’t, but I eat it regularly. The nutritional facts of spinach actually amaze me. It’s like 7 calories for 1 cup of spinach. I wish peanut butter was 7 calories/cup. Anyways, spinach is loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, iron and fibre. It’s actually like the perfect food. Basically, I make salads with spinach instead of other greens. I try to have spinach with my supper on a regular basis because of it’s amazing nutritional content.

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6. Questbars – I just had to add this one in here. I have a previous post on why I love Questbars -> QUEST-A-LICIOUS. Basically, they are delicious. They taste like heaven and they are a great snack, you can eat them a million ways and make so many recipes. Instead of going for 10 Oreos, you can have a Cookies and Cream Questbar and know that it is giving you a phenomenal source of protein and carbohydrates for your individual goals. You can buy Questbars here. And check out previous posts for recipes! 🙂

 

If you want things to happen, you need to make things happen

…Also, it’s okay to not know what you want to happen.

I’ve been in the place where I knew what I wanted, where I thought I knew what I wanted, where I had no idea what I wanted and where I didn’t care what I wanted. This time last year I was facing the most difficult decision I had to make. I had just graduated from University with my psychology degree and planned to go to Teachers College the upcoming fall. My entire life I had always planned on being an elementary school teacher. It just was. I never questioned it. I never gave it a second thought… until the summer before I was going to actually go to Teachers College. I remember sitting in my kitchen thinking about being in placement in a classroom.. and thinking about hating it.  I remember being so upset because that was ALWAYS my plan. I didn’t have ANOTHER plan. If I didn’t go through with it, what was I going to do? I was so scared to tell my parents I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. I felt like a failure. I was confused and lost.

I refused to do something that I would hate. I refused to work a 9-5 job that will result me looking at the clock the entire time. I refuse to be unhappy. This is why I followed my passion. I fell in love with health and fitness. I always knew this in the back of my mind, but I never thought I could do it, never thought I was good enough. I wasn’t the “type” of person. One day I had enough. I refused to hold myself back. I knew what I wanted, so I decided to do it. I decided to be aggressive and make things happen on my own. I have support of friends and family, but when it comes down to it, I make things happen for myself.  Here I am a year later…a Pilates TEACHER. Isn’t it crazy, I always planned on being a “teacher”, but never expected to be a fitness instructor. I am studying Dietetics. I live a life I love. I live a life I enjoy. Lately I keep thinking about how blessed I am to have gone through the experience of not knowing what I was going to do because it lead me to where I am today. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have and the people who inspire me to continue to learn and grow, to become better and stronger, to be a better teacher, to help inspire people to feel good about themselves.

It’s true, sometimes dreams come true you never knew you had (if you put in the work)

The point of this is, follow your dreams as cheesy as it sounds. Do what makes you happy. You’re going to struggle, you’re going to cry, you’re going to have amazing days, you’re going to have shitty days, you’re going to want to give up. But you’re going to do it. And one day it will all be worth it. Seriously, follow your damn dreams. Live your damn dream.

If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

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