Body Image: The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful

Stop and think of something you don’t like about yourself. Now what about something you do like about yourself. Easier to think of the negative things, right? We can more easily put ourselves down with all of the things that are less than perfect before we get excited about the things that we do feel confident about.  What types of things did you just think about beforehand? Because more often than not, we usually think of our physical appearance much quicker than our personalities.  Body image is such an interesting topic. Our perceptions and love for our bodies can change day to day, and even after just a simple encounter with someone else or a quick swipe through our Instagram newsfeed. 

Now more than ever comparison to others is the biggest factor affecting one’s body image. I know we all read and share about stopping the comparisons to others and loving our bodies but it can be a challenge when all we see online and in ads are what seem to be perfect portrayals of what most of us will never be able to attain for ourselves.  All it takes is one quick negative thought to take you on that downward spiral.

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We talk a lot about accepting flaws - but in my opinion, they are only flaws because someone else is telling us this. Again, we are influenced by those around us telling us that we have to accept being less than perfect because how we are isn’t good enough. I don’t often listen or follow the fads and trends because they are just that, trends that will be ever-changing.  Just remember, at one point being thin was what people were striving for and now we are celebrating women who look strong, powerful, and are more full figured.  It is funny to me how although our body shapes might not change, the perception of whether or not it is ideal does. For me, more people celebrate my legs now than ever because apparently it is trendy to have a more full lower half of your body. I feel sure enough in my own body to not allow the thoughts of others to sway my thoughts of myself, but lots of others can fall into that trap.

I have personally not struggled too much with body image compared to other women (and men) I know but one thing that I have always been self conscious of is my skin. I struggled with acne since grade 4 or 5 which is a long time since I am only 24! It has only been in more recent years that I finally feel confident about it. Regardless of a body part, skin, or hair, if we don’t feel 100% sure about ourselves, of course we are going to be less confident when interacting with others.  Despite what we want to believe about not judging a book by its cover, appearance will always be the immediate first impression you give off. When we walk into a room we not only want people to listen to what we say but see that we feel confident in our body image and how we carry ourselves.

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Loving our bodies can be a difficult thing at times. Throughout a lifespan our bodies change and adapt to puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes, menopause, stress, and everything in between. The most important thing to remember is that our bodies are just like trends, ever-changing.  I truly believe in the power of loving ourselves from the inside out. When we can be more confident of who we are and what we stand for, we can more easily withstand the outside pressures as well as the changes that life can throw our way. Leading a healthy, active lifestyle with foods that fuel and movement to promote health, our bodies on the outside will reflect exactly how our bodies will be feeling on the inside - AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

*Discover You is offering a panel discussion on Body Image on November 27th. Find more information here.

 

From Head to Toe

Personal training and group fitness instructing differ on a few different levels. The most obvious is the personality and energy you bring to one client versus a group of people all at once.  Regardless of the amount of people you train at once, you should always be energetic, encouraging, and enthusiastic in helping your clients reach their goals. The tough part of training a group all at once is that you can’t always make it around to correct the smaller details of the movements.  At the end of each workout I always try to give a tip so that way when clients come back they have at least one thing to improve upon for their next workout.  Especially with group fitness, instructors often spew lots of information and clients don’t always know what applies. My hope is that the one extra piece of information I can break down helps to make sense of the movements they performed in the workout.

Lately head position has been a big discussion for me. The set-up of every exercise is important.  Often times it isn’t the way we perform the movement itself but the way we set up for it that can dictate the success or difficulty of the movement.  I encourage clients to begin at the head and work their way down.  This not only ensures you don’t miss any body parts, but our head position, when corrected, can usually fix and adjust the other issues below.

Things I often see include:

  • looking at yourself in the mirror when in a bent over position
  • leading with your head for a push up
  • shooting your head forward when standing to use resistance bands
  • dropping your head in between your hands during a plank
  • staring upwards as you do a back extension

Form usually breaks down when the exercise becomes difficult to continue to perform. But, in other cases, people sometimes aren’t aware they are doing it or realize that the way they compensate for the movement might hurt their bodies and make the exercise more difficult to perform.

So what is the ideal position?

Ideally, we want our head to remain neutral with the rest of the spine and body. When we cue for proper alignment, trainers say to keep your shoulders, ribs, and hips stacked, implying that they all fall below the head, parallel to each other.  I know that the ideal position is not always what happens in real life, but in order to protect our spine and joints, we want to practice neutral.

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What can happen if we don’t focus on head position?

All of the above scenarios will ultimately affect the rest of the body below the head and neck.  Poor head position can enhance rounding of the spine and a sore neck and lack of mobility through the shoulders and scapula. When our head or other body parts compensate, it can, in some instances, mean that the right muscles don’t get the work because the wrong ones are moving instead. 

How to correct it?

Every person performing every movement will be different but a few key things to think about include:

  • head, shoulders, ribs, hips stacked like building blocks
  • paying attention to where your gaze is, for example on a deadlift we want the head and gaze to move up and down with us, but for a pushup we want the gaze above the hands slightly to avoid leading the nose too deep in between the hands
  • checking in before you begin the movement to ensure proper set up position
  • breathing properly to avoid carrying tension in the wrong body parts
  • engaging your core to give your body a strong base of support in hopes the head and other body parts won’t want to overcompensate in a movement 
  • ask questions to your trainer or fitness instructor!

I hope this week’s tip on head position will be something you can bring with you to your next workout too!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


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Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

How I moved on after athletics

If you are like me and played sports from a young age, people immediately categorize you as an athlete.  For some reason we like to divide up the world based on the things we are good at, making us feel confident when things are really going our way.  For athletes, that means we are more often than not placed on a pedestal for our successes in the world of sports and looked up to as role models.

But what happens when the curtain closes and you take your last bow? What happens if that occurs before you are ready for it to be over? As much as life as an athlete can carry lots of glory, it may carry a lot of hard times and a loss of identity when making the transition when your career is over.

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For those of you who didn’t know, by the time I entered high school and then into university, my main sport of choice was field hockey. I played varsity field hockey at the University of Toronto and was a co-captain in my final year on the team.  We were extremely successful, winning an OUA banner 3 times when I was on the team and placing 2nd at the CIS Championship twice.  Definitely nothing to complain about! However, my career ended in a way that is different than most.

My last season of field hockey although on the field went well was a challenge off the field for a variety of reasons and so I came to the conclusion that I would no longer be part of the team heading into my fifth and final year of school. Many people were surprised I didn’t just “stick it out” and play my final year but I knew it wasn’t serving its purpose any longer. When I made my decision to stop playing, I knew that my fitness career was going to now take centre stage so my transition was not as hard as I have seen it be for others.

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As an athlete you invest countless hours, your blood, sweat, and tears into your sport, often sacrificing many other things. Of course moving on after will be difficult when sport is the one thing that took up the majority of your life.  

Although I knew where my energy and attention would be directed after athletics many athletes are left feeling lost and unsure of themselves. Physically and emotionally our bodies are changing and it often takes time to find new passions, new uses for our countless hours of free time and a new place to focus our energy. 

The best advice is to take the qualities you possessed in sport and channel them elsewhere. As athletes we have a strong work ethic and are good at sticking to our plans to achieve results and reach our goals. Although it may not be for sport and a win or best time anymore, those qualities can be put to good use in other ways. For me, fitness instructing allows me to use my passion for movement and educate others. In terms of my competitiveness, I enjoy running. Racing allows me to be competitive with myself - definitely a trait acquired from sport.

Transitioning from sport will never be easy, but no change that happens in life is.  It is a change. It will upset the norm you are used to. Take the lessons learned and the work ethic developed in sport and translate it into other places. Our bodies will change but it is up to us to learn to accept the changes and love our new bodies, new goals, and new identities.

I know this experience is unique and different for everyone. I am excited to be hosting my third panel discussion next Monday November 6th on the topic of Finding Your Identity After Athletics. Click the link here for more information. My hope is that you can join us to hear from the panelists, share your insight and learn from each others’ experiences to help us all develop a stronger identity after sport.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

 

#MeToo

#MeToo.  I know, I know, it has already been a few weeks since the scandal of Harvey Weinstein was released to the public, but I have been letting my thoughts brew on the matter before delving into a post about it.  I also think it is valid to remember that although we may share online of our own struggles for the first 24-48 hours after learning of the news, this nonsense continues to take place and the conversations should remain long after this scandal fades.

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Sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and whatever other words you want to describe your experience as, have been going on for far too long.  I guess as you become older, lose your childhood innocence and move to the big city of Toronto, you begin to realize that not everyone has good intentions and you won’t always feel safe.  I was naive to the fact until a few years ago in university.  I never noticed men looking at me until someone pointed it out one day. But let me tell you, since that day I have noticed it more and more and it truly has changed the way I walk on the streets, most often times alone.

At first I thought maybe I was being a dramatic 20-something female, overreacting to the situation.  But as this trend began to happen almost, if not, daily when I am outside on the streets, I have realized that although it is NOT okay, it is unfortunately the current reality.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think twice about at least one person, in my case, male, making remarks in my direction or staring at me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable.  If you aren’t sure what sexual harassment entails, browse this list for yourself.

The purpose of this post is to not make it about me.  I am simply sharing as a way to best illustrate the magnitude of the situation.  Below are the top four incidents that stand out in my mind, but the more I think about it, the more I am reminded of the many situations I have experienced.

  1. I was rushing from the mall to catch the Greyhound bus home attempting to maneuver my way amongst the people coming out of the revolving doors. I noticed a man looking at me.  I assumed it was because I had bright tights on so didn’t think much of it. Next thing I knew, he was walking at me and attempted to put his hand in between my legs. All I could do was push him away and keep going because I was more worried about making the bus on time. Once on the bus, I truly realized what had happened.
  2. This summer I was walking with my friend and her baby on the street in the middle of the day. It was warm and I wasn’t working so I had a dress on. A guy came up to me out of no where, up-close in my personal space to tell me just how hot I looked in the dress.
  3. A noticed a man in the grocery store who I happened to see in a few aisles before leaving. The store isn’t big so you definitely see the same people a few times upon buying your groceries. While walking on the street after leaving the store I felt someone behind me. I moved over thinking I was walking too slowly only to realize that the guy was trying to catch up to me. He began to compliment me and kept asking me weird questions while I waited at the light, never making eye contact. He noticed and asked me if he made me feel uncomfortable.  I actually had the courage to tell him, YES! I continued to say that he shouldn’t be making people feel that way and he walked away.
  4. After too many encounters, I began to put my headphones in so less people would try to talk to me. But let’s not forget, often times we can still hear even when the music is on. As I walked by in a sundress two workers outside yelled at each other, “hey, look at the ass bounce!” not thinking I could hear. Embarrassed I walked away quickly and never looked back.

I always seem to think I know what I will say when the moment happens next time. That I will stand up for myself, have courage, be brave, say all the things that are wrong about the situation. However, the reality is, I am baffled each and every time it happens. I continue to be stunned at how disrespectful some men can be.  Instead, I usually stare, dumb-founded that it has happened once again.  My new reality is to walk with my headphones on, avoid eye contact, and be thankful for the running shoes on my feet in hopes I could outrun any danger or threat.

I recently mentioned my experience on the street to some young men around my age. Thinking they would maybe get it, they instead tried to explain to me that “guys can’t help but look at pretty girls”! I will never look at those guys again in the same way. I will not tolerate someone sticking up for actions that are not acceptable. I have even written about my stories before on my blog. If you want to reread click here.

I’ve shared my experience now but so unsure as to where this goes from here. On one end I support the #MeToo movement. We need to share to display just how big of a deal this really is. But, I respect those who haven’t and won’t share as these experiences can alter your life and relationships with anyone in the future, forever. We don’t all want to share and be reminded of it. I also like the movement around teaching your boys about respect. But, I have grown-ass men disrespecting me and making me feel uncomfortable and what are we doing about them? Their mothers aren’t there to teach them.  We can support women all we want and unite together, but unless we change the way men behave, the principles and protocols in the workplace and elsewhere, should we expect any real change to occur.

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As a female or anyone experiencing this, don’t belittle your situation. Don’t think it isn’t AS bad as someone else’s because it is still happening.  I used to think it is because I am constantly smiling and look friendly on the street or because I absolutely love bright coloured and patterned leggings. But the fact is no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It is my body. My business. Step off.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Recapping Panels 1 and 2

Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to offer a panel discussion series for women on a wide range of topics because I don’t truly feel there are enough physical spaces for women to share, connect, and learn from one another.  My goal was to bring topics to the table that definitely need more awareness and attention while at the same time celebrating the successes of other women who I have been fortunate enough to have on my panels.  We are at the half way point and so I wanted to share with you the key take aways from our first two topics so far, Relationship with Food and Women in the Workplace, respectively.  

When creating the panel series, I knew that the topics would not always be light as we discuss the tough stuff, but I have been overcome by emotion during both nights listening to the panelists share their personal stories and provide insight, and while attendees are able to open up and ask questions.  

On September 25th, Sarah Berneche, Jamie Snow, and Shauna Mann discussed in depth their relationship with food.  The major takeaways from the first panel included:

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  • disordered eating can come in all shapes and sizes and often times the ones struggling are the ones who seem to look “healthy” and can manage the rest of their lives
  • if you are a friend or loved one of someone struggling, be there ready when they are - you cannot help someone who isn’t ready to receive help and support
  • social media isn’t always what it appears to be - ignore the negative influences and stick to following accounts that truly inspire you in the most positive way
  • food is not just consumed for fuel - it can be consumed from emotions, convenience, social gatherings - all sorts of reasons that we should not beat ourselves up over
  • it is okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to stop trying - not every day will be perfect, but we need to give each day our best energy

On October 16th, Lynette Lewis, Penny Wilson, and Nikki Huffman shared their experiences being a woman in more male dominant industries.  The major takeaways of the night included:

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  • circumstances are never permanent - positive or negative, circumstances will always change
  • there is no such thing as work-life balance - it is all about work-life integration - some days might be more of one than the other and that is okay
  • never apologize for knowing stuff - if you know more than someone else, that is on them
  • be so excellent that they can’t ignore you - regardless of you being a female or not
  • empowering women is only the beginning, systems need to be changed and men also need to be properly educated on how to lift women up

My hope is that these panels are just the beginning of what should be a deeper discussion on the topics.  Life is not always easy but that doesn’t mean that these issues and struggles have to be ignored and never spoken about.  Be kind to one another because you never know what someone else might be going through.  Lift other women up whether it be a compliment, offering advice, listening, or acting as a mentor. 

Thank you to all those who have attended the first two panels. Walking away from each evening, I hope you can take some inspiration or motivation into your own lives, use it to help lift someone else up, and continue to work hard in discovering your best self.

We have our next upcoming panel on November 6th on the topic of Finding Your Identity After Athletics. See you there!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Welcome back to Discover You!

Hello! It has been a LONG while since I have written - the longest break I have ever taken from my blog in fact - and I apologize for this. My website is currently being revamped to be even better and I have rebranded completely so lots of new things to share! Stay tuned in the weeks to come as I get back into weekly Sunday posts as well as some special posts throughout the week to keep you motivated!

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Welcome to the new and beautiful space for Discover You! I have created Discover You with the mission to foster a community of women by generating awareness for positive fitness habits, self-care rituals, and confidence for everyday life. I want to help lead you on your own path to self-discovery.  Although my expertise and formal education is in Kinesiology, I recognize that fitness is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to leading your best life.

Since we last connected on the blog, I have run an event in Kitchener centred around healthy habits and prioritizing yourself and I am currently in the middle of a panel discussion series in Toronto.  Later this week I will share a recap of our first two panels, Relationship with Food, and Women in the Workplace, respectively.

I want to personally thank each and every one of you for following along on this journey as I navigate what it means to create a space for women where we encourage realness, vulnerability, and growth.  Your encouragement and feedback is what keeps me excited for what is to come. Keep following along as more opportunities will be revealed in the weeks and months ahead.

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For now, the Women in the Workplace panel is happening tomorrow. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.  

As the weather gets cooler and days seem darker and grey, make a commitment to yourself this week. Despite how the dropping temperatures make you feel, remember the feeling you have after accomplishing your workout or meal prep (or whatever it might be this week!), and use that as motivation.  Not every day is easy, but if we can remember the feeling we get coming out on the other side, it will keep us wanting to come back for more.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

 

*Thank you for your patience as we finish up the final touches on the website!


Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

 

 

#SelfCareSunday

Leading a well-rounded life is easier said than done.  Either our professional or personal life ends up taking over and we can often be left feeling burnt out, run down, stressed, and exhausted.  For me, my professional life is taking priority right now.  As much as I love everything about it, the last few weeks have gone by in a blink with my to-do list still seeming full when I head into the weekend.  Although my life is busy and I am often hustling from one place to the next, doing admin work whenever I get a chance, I pride myself on making time for me.  The way I see it, no one is going to give you a gold star for doing more, especially when you come out on the other side, burnt out and needing a break afterwards.

#SelfCareSunday has blown up like every other trendy thing on social media these days.  I really like this.  For me, Sundays are my day off so they are normally spent catching up on sleep, lounging around while I do work, going to the cottage, reading, watching the Blue Jays and being with my family.  I try my best to at least give myself one day a week where everything I do is decided based on me.  I choose to do it all rather than doing it out of obligation.  I get more joy out of what I do on Sundays and it leaves me refreshed and ready to head into the week ahead.

Although we as a society are talking more openly about taking time for self-love and self-care, I think it needs to be practiced on a more regular basis.  Not just when we feel burnt out and at the end of our capacity, and not just because it will make a good Instagram post about whatever it is you are doing for self-care.  From talking with others and from experience, people often only decide to choose ‘me time’ and self-love practices when they are exhausted, overworked and overstressed.  

Instead, these activities and choices should be made more regularly to help us stay on track, reenergize our bodies and minds, and reduce the chances of getting to the state of being burnt out.  Whether it is 10 minutes every day (especially for those with families), or an entire day allotted to you, setting time aside will leave us all feeling refreshed and able to be more productive and efficient when we do work.

My favourite self-love and self-care practices include:

  • escaping the city and spending time on the lake at my cottage 
  • reading
  • watching sports
  • spending time with family
  • going to bed early and waking up with no alarm set (happens only once a week!)
  • going for a walk while listening and dancing to my favourite tunes
  • staying in my pyjamas all morning
  • regular skin care routines and pedicures 

If a full day is something that doesn’t seem to fit into your lifestyle, I challenge you to choose one simple thing each day for you.  Whether it is meditation when you wake up for 10 minutes, reading a few pages of a book before you sleep, or choosing to lounge around one afternoon and enjoy the summer weather, make the effort.  You will thank yourself later when you are feeling refreshed rather than burnt out and needing more time off to recover.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Find the spark to keep you motivated

Motivation. Some days we have it and some days we don’t.  At times we want to do all of the things and the next day we waste away watching Netflix (or the Blue Jays if you’re me).  Why is it that some people seem more easily motivated to practice healthy habits, when others seem to lose the motivation much more quickly?

This week I asked on my Instagram story “what makes you motivated to accomplish your health/wellness/fitness goals”? I had a great number of responses so stay tuned for more questions related to this topic.  Today’s post is just a starting point for where I see this going as I feel motivation is a huge part of what makes some of us successful and others not able to get past the start line.

Some of the things that motivate me to accomplish my health/wellness/fitness goals include:

  • the mental break from other components of my life when working out
  • finding like-minded individuals who also value health and keep me accountable - I don’t want to let them down either!
  • the way my body feels after a workout or eating a nourishing meal

On the other hand, below is a list of things that may lead me to feel less motivated:

  • the weather! In the winter it is dark ALL the time and I sometimes don’t want to leave my condo. In the summer, when it is too hot I also am left feeling tired and lazy.
  • injuries! I am less motivated to workout even within the restrictions of my injury because I can use the injury as a crutch and excuse that I don’t need to work out today.
  • when the people around me don’t value practicing the healthy habits I do

I have been feeling stuck lately on how to approach this when it comes to inspiring people to join my classes, hire me as a trainer, and get moving.  I know I am knowledgeable and experienced.  I am accessible for most people financially.  I send reminders out. People say yes or seem interested but I still never see them.  I have come to the realization that as much as I can do my job well it ultimately takes the motivation from within someone to really make a change.

Take a moment to answer some of the these questions:

What makes you motivated to stay on track to achieve your goals?

What leaves you feeling unmotivated, leaving your goals by the wayside?

What is the tipping point to make you realize, “wow, I need to step it up!”?

Everyone experiences better days and then days where we feel less motivated to do things.  It is totally okay to take a break, give yourself some rest and recovery, indulge, and have fun.  However, we want to hope our motivation to lead healthy, active lifestyles is the priority overall.  In my opinion, we also need some fun and indulgences in order to feel balanced.  

As a trainer and fitness instructor, I have experienced that people come to you when they have hit a wall, or rock bottom, and can’t seem to get out of a rut.  Great! I love inspiring and motivating others to be their best selves.  However, what if we could find things we enjoy so the motivation is almost always genuine, natural, and second nature?  I challenge you to start finding things that you enjoy.  Exercise and movement should be fun and it might look different for everyone.  Healthy eating doesn’t always mean hours of meal prep - maybe searching up a new recipe to try once a week. 

In my eyes, motivation to lead a balanced, healthy life is just like comparing a diet vs a lifestyle change approach.  Diets are temporary and the motivation to keep them up can come and go.  But, when you practice a healthy lifestyle, although setbacks are inevitable, we should be actively choosing meals we like to eat and taste good, and moving because we want to and it is fun.  Nothing should feel like a chore.  The next time you are feeling unmotivated, ask yourself why.  Challenge yourself to do the things that make you wake up and excited for the day ahead.  A diet is like a sprint.  Short, sweet, but doesn’t last long.  We want to run a marathon, leading a healthy lifestyle, lasting a lifetime.

If you are in need of some motivation lately, check out my weekly outdoor bootcamp AND the Fully Fearless Summer Series.  Both amazing ways to connect with like-minded individuals, in a welcoming community. 

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

It's better to be alone than in bad company

 

“It’s better to be alone than in bad company.”

 

A bold but true statement… at least for me.  I have been single now for a year and a half and let me tell you, I am not one to waste my time on people who I don’t feel deserve it.  A few weeks back I was discussing with a single, female friend how we feel about being single.  I couldn’t help but feel the need to write my thoughts down as it has been consuming my mind in my free time.  Not because I am desperate to find ‘the one’ today, but because I am sure there are more people out there feeling the same way as me.

My friend expressed how she is tired of being single and would really love to meet someone who she can go on adventures with, experiencing the world.  She wants someone to come home to at night and tell about her day. I, too, would love for that to happen, but I made a strong point to say that looking hard doesn’t bring those people to you.  When you are confident, hard-working and busy in the right ways, you will attract people who admire those qualities in you – or at least that is what I am hoping for!  Fingers crossed! As for coming home to someone, my parents might like that, seeing as right now I will call them a million times a day to share everything that goes on!

I have had two boyfriends; one in high school and one in university.  Both relationships lasted roughly 3 years.  In hindsight, neither relationship was giving me what I needed.  Sounds harsh, I know.  But I guess it is what I felt I needed at the time.  When my boyfriend broke up with me somewhat abruptly last February I was devastated – for a week.  That is all I gave myself.  I told myself, “Rachel, you have so much going for you that one boy who doesn’t value your importance is not worth your time”.  From that day on, ironically Valentine’s Day, it was all about me.

What I have learned that comes with being single is that everyone now tries to set you up with fellow single people they know. AKA my Aunt Monica’s friends (who I know read this and I love! haha).  I totally appreciate that others try to give me a push to meet someone.  However I really find this whole dating thing weird, challenging, and gives me a strange anxiousness.  I think I am quick to assume the worst, and try not to let people in so quickly, because in my past experiences that hasn’t gotten me too far.  

I have the tendency to be my mother’s daughter (in more ways than one).  With myself, I’ve noticed that I am always willing to bend over backwards for my partner and be there to support them wherever I can. With my ex-boyfriends, I am not saying that they did not support me, but it is possible that I might have put in so much energy into our relationship that they did not know how to reciprocate. Bottom line is when I enter a relationship, I like to be all in, but for it to be successful, I’ve learnt that it has to be a two way street.  Now, my approach is more hesitant and reserved because I have also learned that not everyone has the same intentions when sparking a conversation as you might assume.

As this post seems like I am a sad sack over here whom is on the verge of being single forever – cue the dramatic music – what I am realizing is that this year and a half has taught me to appreciate the little things.  I love spending time alone, truly understanding what I want, what I don’t, and how that has changed from my past.  The time I have spent single has allowed me to do my own thing.  It may happen soon or it may happen months away from now but I know that the next relationship I am in will be different because I love myself and all the unique parts that make me who I am. The way I see it, I’d rather be alone and succeed than with someone who doesn’t truly value my aspirations and want to support me all the way.  I want to be pushed up, not pulled down.

 

“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”

 

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Getting the most out of your group fitness class

As a group fitness instructor it can be difficult to get all cues delivered and provide all the information needed to correctly perform each movement in a class – given the time and the number of people.  We can say as much as we have time for, but more often than not, I know it can leave people’s heads spinning with questions on whether or not they are doing it correctly.  What I like to do at the end of each class is to try and provide a tip.  It is usually chosen based on my observations in class.  If I notice a lot of people struggling with a particular movement or consistently creating less than ideal form, I will target that.  Have you ever felt overwhelmed or confused about a movement in a group fitness class?  I have created my list of top tips to improve each workout, especially in a group setting.

  1. Ask questions after class.  I always welcome questions or feedback after class from my clients.  The workout is for you – not me – so if you need clarification on form or feedback on format, music, or setup, ALWAYS let me know.  Things can happen quickly in a group setting with less time to explain than a personal training session.  When you ask questions, you can then master the movements at home, in between classes.
  2. Stand where you can see and hear best.  A group setting can be intimidating.  I’ve also been the person who stands in the back corner for fear of others seeing me.  But, the best advice is to not only stand where you feel comfortable, but also where the instructor is most visible and easy to hear.  You are only setting yourself up for greater success when you can understand and view the demonstration before trying it for yourself.
  3. Figure out where you are feeling it.  Listen to the instructor’s cues about where you are supposed to feel each movement on your body.  For example, depending on how we shift our weight, we might feel it in the quads rather than the hamstrings.  Many clients can become confused because we feel a ‘burn’, when in reality we aren’t actually targeting the correct muscle group.  Again, if you don’t feel it where you are supposed to, ask after class.
  4. Do your homework in between.  If you notice an imbalance in strength or flexibility, or a movement that is more challenging to you, practice in between!  By doing more repetitions or improving range of motion in between classes, you feel better and go into classes feeling more confident.
  5. It’s you vs you.  There is no need to compare to others in the room.  If I am in a new class I may look around to know what I am supposed to be doing, but after that I zone in on me;  I check in on my form because it is MY workout.  You are only trying to improve your own self so there is no sense feeling anxious that you aren’t up to someone else’s standards.  It might be your first class while they have been coming for two years!  Another tip if you are worried about other people watching you – they aren’t!  Take my word for it because everyone is more worried about what they are doing than what anyone else in the room is.

Training can become overwhelming whether it is a new movement or adding pieces to a movement that has been mastered.  It doesn’t matter if you work out daily or you are new to the whole process – we can all make improvements.  The best thing to do is to set a goal and intention for each workout and at the end, leave feeling confident in one thing and choosing a new goal to work on an area that needs improvement for next time.  I hope to find you all in my outdoor bootcamp or at one of my other group fitness classes this week! Let’s work hard together to have you reaching your goals!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.