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.

 

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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! 🙂

 

I Eat Chocolate Everyday

I don’t ignore my sweet-tooth, I embrace it…..on a regular basis. I each chocolate probably every day. I’m not kidding. I tell people this, and they look at me like I’m crazy. How can I eat chocolate every day and still be “lean” or “fit” and not “fat”. Body composition is math. If you eat the amount of calories your body needs, then you won’t gain weight. If you eat less, you’ll lose weight, if you eat more, you’ll gain. Simple. Because chocolate is deemed as “unhealthy” people automatically assume that you cannot eat it without getting “fat” or feeling guilty. I understand where this mindset comes from. I honestly used to deprive myself of sweets and I went crazy. I would refrain from any kind of craving and then once I gave in, I would get a large DQ Blizzard and then feel bad. I thought I ruined my progress and would regret the choice all together.

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Since then, I have learned to embrace my sweet-tooth everyday. By doing this I no longer EVER crave that DQ Blizzard, or feel like I need to binge on 75 cookies (okay I’m exaggerating, but you get the point). I’m not saying that eating chocolate is the healthiest choice every day, but I am saying that one portion of chocolate is not going to kill you. I would rather eat my “treats” everyday than deprive myself and feel the need to indulge like crazy. With that being said, I’m NOT saying that having a DQ Blizzard (or any kind of treat), is bad in moderation. And I’m also not saying that I personally don’t ever go get ice cream (or whatever), because I do. But my point is, that if you eat balanced and in moderation, you should be able to go to a buffet and be able to resist the temptation to eat every single thing on display (then feel like crap after). It’s called eating intuitively.

I know myself, I know what I crave.  I let myself have these “treats” because I know that I fuel my body with mostly nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. I also make sure not to let myself go super hunger, because that increases the chance of devouring that bag of not-so good cookies, or that container of ice cream that my mom hides in the back of the fridge 😉

Health, fitness and happiness takes work, takes practice, takes research and experimentation. Everyone is different. We all find various approaches to what works for us, for our personal goals and for what makes us happy. Sometimes you need to take a step back and evaluate what you’re doing, decide to make a change and then test it out. What you put into your body directly affects how you feel from the inside out.

White Chocolate Raspberry Questbar Protein Cheesecakes

Haven’t made a Questbar recipe in a while! Do you ever just sit and dream up all the possibilities that can be made from Questbars? I do. This time I decided I wanted to make something with a fruity bar instead of a chocolate/peanut butter flavor (my favourite). The White Chocolate Raspberry Questbar is one of my favorites! Especially heated up – that white chocolate gets all warm and gooey and delicious. Omg so good. I always wanted to try a version of a cheesecake recipe, so this is what I did!

Ingredients

  • 1 White Chocolate Raspberry Questbar (You can use any Qubestbar)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp protein powder of choice

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 and spray 2 muffin tins
  • Microwave Questbar for 10 seconds and then cut in half
  • Mold Questbar halves into each tin
  • Blend all other ingredients together and pour into each mold (I had extra leftover because I wasn’t sure how much would fit into the molds, so you can probably use less yogurt/cottage cheese)
  • Bake for ~20 minutes

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Macros (For entire recipe)

Calories: 265

Carbs: 26g

Fat: 9g

Protein: 35g

Buy Questbars to make recipes like this here! (You also get a free bar with your purchase :))

 

Quick Nutrition Tips

Happy Monday! 🙂 I love Monday, do you love Monday? New day. New week. New goals. New attitude. Happiness all around.

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I thought I’d share a few of my nutrition tips that have worked for me over my health/fitness journey! People always ask how to eat and it’s honestly so difficult to answer. I feel like sometimes people expect a secret answer, but in all honesty – eating healthy for me means eating balanced and a variety of foods. I eat foods I enjoy, that fuel and give me energy and make me happy. I’m not going to tell people what to eat and what not to eat because I believe all food can and should be enjoyed (in moderation)

1. Water for days!

Water water water. Drink it up. Flavor it with fresh fruits and vegetables. Lemons, limes, mint leaves, cucumbers, berries – the options are endless! Water is so good for you – it keeps you hydrated, it keeps you full, it flushes out your system. A lot of people are dehydrated and they don’t even know it. Also, people tend to mix up hunger with thirst. Keeping a bottle of water with you at all times is a great technique to make sure you are drinking lots throughout the day. Replace the sugary juices, sodas and highly carbonated caffeine drinks with water and not only will your digestive systems thank you, but so will your skin!

2. Say goodbye to microwave meals

When I was in university it was so easy to buy 2-minute microwaveable meals. Heck, they were advertised as “healthy”, low-calorie, cheap, quick and easy to make! Sounded great to me. But, when I actually took the time to look at the Nutrition Label and evaluate the ingredients, this option was not so good. These meals are small portions, so yeah they are maybe 200 calories – but they didn’t keep me full. Also, the sodium content was out-of-the-roof. Now, I cannot recall the last time I had a microwaveable meal. You can still prepare meals that are cheap, quick and easy without resorting to highly processed meals that basically taste like plastic.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new foods

Almonds, sweet potatoes, fish, oatmeal, yogurt, apples. Just to name a few of the foods that I only started eating in the last couple of years. Before, I would say no to sweet potatoes just because they were orange (LOL). I didn’t try certain foods for no reason. Since then, I realized there are some absolutely delicious foods out there that are healthy! Imagine that. Seriously, just try things. You might find a new favourite food! Also, this makes it easier to say goodbye to some of the not-so-good foods you eat on a regular basis. I used to eat ice cream after school every day. Now, I hardly crave ice cream because I can satisfy my sweet tooth using various healthier options (take a look at my recipes :))

4. Don’t deprive yourself

This is probably the worst thing you can do. Makes sense, if I eat breakfast and then don’t eat all day then I’ll lose weight. Wrong. You’ll get home and you’ll be so starving that you will eat your entire kitchen plus half of Africa. Seriously though, if you eat healthy snacks throughout the day then you won’t come home and binge (on probably junk food) at night. Bring snacks with you to work, to school, out shopping to ensure you always have something to eat when you get hungry. You’re less likely to indulge in something you really don’t need.

These are just a few tips/tricks that have worked for me. Making small changes will result into bigger changes in the future. I promise. I’m a living example.

Thoughts? What other issues do you guys find difficult to change?

🙂 ❤

 

Thoughts About Eating Out

Eating at a restaurant is one of my favourite things to do – and nope, it’s not because of the food, it’s because when I’m going out for dinner I’m usually going with my family and/or friends. It’s fun, it’s a ways of socializing, a way of enjoying each others company, it’s relaxed, you get to dress up, you get to enjoy the environment, you get to be served and catered to. Dining is an experience.

Years before I started my new lifestyle, I would hit up McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Burger King, etc. on a regular basis. I would order a Big Mac and fries and a diet pop (LOL). I did this 2, 3 maybe even 4 times a week. During the process of eating I was like “Omg this is so good”. 5 minutes later – all regrets. But yet I kept going back. WHY?

Because it was what everyone else was doing. Almost like I would let people down if I said “No, I don’t want to go to McDonalds” or I felt like I was being judged if I said no. Complete subtle peer pressure. Even at a restaurant where I could eat healthier options – everyone else was getting the huge entrees and in my mind I wanted a chicken breast salad, or the salmon with fresh vegetables. I was struggling to find the confidence to actually order it. WHY?

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Because again, no one else was eating it, so I felt like I couldn’t.

Looking back, I laugh. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I know what is good for me, what makes me feel healthy and I know what I want. So, I no longer get frustrated or dread going to eat out with friends or family. I love it because I get to spend time with people I love, but I also love it because I can be picky and I can order what I want.

This means if I want the dressing on the side, I’m going to ask for it on the side. This means if I want a cheesecake dessert, then damn right I’m going to get cheesecake.

Eating keeps you alive, yes. But it is a lot more than that. It is about feeding your soul with happiness and healthiness. It’s about trusting yourself and fueling your body with what it wants mentally and physiologically.

This goes for anything in life. Be strong and confident enough to do what makes YOU happy. Don’t ever do anything for someone else. Be your own person. Make your own decisions. Soon enough you might even positively influence others to do the same.

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