Do you benefit from your benefits?

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I always say – If I could turn back time I would have gotten in shape (or never let myself get out of shape) much earlier in life. I also would have taken advantage of all the benefits my previous employers gave me. Tonight I want to toot the horn of Massage Therapy which is only one of the amazing treatments I use in the ongoing battle of staying healthy and mobile.

First off if you don’t use at least your massage therapy benefits through the current company that you are employed with I have to say YOU ARE MISSING OUT! People think that going to massage therapy is only for people with achy backs, sore muscles and sports injuries – this is not true! Even if you are an avid yogi (is that the correct term?) or do nothing physical in your regular life your body can benefit from massage even if for nothing but a bit of stress relief.

Years ago I took a bad fall at the beach one day, I’m 5 foot 10 and went legs up in the air and came straight down on my right shoulder snapping my head back as I landed – I know it sounds awful but if I told you the story in person I would have you in hysterics, it was what I like to call “an ego check” (basically when your ego is getting a little big and the world needs to bring you back down to the ground). Anyways within a month or so I started to have a weird pain in my right shoulder, almost like a muscle pull/twinge. I then noticed a small lump in the muscle/tendon at the base of my skull. I got the lump checked out by the doctor and she said to keep an eye on it and if it got bigger come back. Time went by and it didn’t grow but about 6 months later I started having these odd migraines. Out of nowhere I would start to see this tiny pixilated half moon on the right side of my vision, it would be accompanied by an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I would watch the little half moon grow bigger until it disappeared from my sight, then the migraine would start. It was debilitating and I had no clue what was causing it. I went back to the doctor who recommended I go to the eye doctor to check for anything going on behind my eyes – possibly even a tumor – you could understand my concern. Luckily my eye doctor didn’t see anything and I went on my inconclusive way. I went back to my regular doctor and somehow I was whining about my shoulder being sore (funny just recalling it now I remember I could barely sleep on my right side cause of the pain in my shoulder joint) and finally we put two and two together. She realized my whole right shoulder “girdle” was balled up and the muscles were all brutally tight.

I sought out massage therapy from our family’s massage therapist Murray at Glover Road Massage/Chiropratic in Langley. This man is magic! My Mom, sister, friends and even tiny Grandmother will attest to my claims! Within two visits to Murray my headaches were gone, the pain I felt in my shoulder when I slept on it was gone and I could even throw a baseball pain free again! Unreal! Granted some of the treatment was a bit painful I couldn’t thank him enough!

To this day I still see Murray on a monthly basis usually to loosen up my shoulder as there’s a bit of nerve damage from the fall and it acts up once in a while and also to help with my left knee/hip that I injured years ago. If your company covers you for massage DO IT! Even if it’s just a chance to escape from the world for an hour and relax I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Note: You may need to pay up front then be reimbursed, if that’s the case check to see if your benefits plan has an app for your phone, some companies it’s as easy as taking a picture of your receipt! My company Great West Life has an app, I simply enter the amount of the visit, who the visit was with, amount of time of the visit and the date and within 3-4 days I’m reimbursed through direct deposit into my bank account – AWESOME!

So if you have aches and pains or are an active person you should ask yourself – Are your benefits benefiting you???????

Xoxo

Mel

It is Safe to Say that I Will Never be a Ballerina

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I hung up my tutu, leotard and dance shoes at the young age of 8 and it is safe to say that I should have left my dreams of being a ballerina there. However, for a quick delusional moment, I forgot about hours spent practicing my plies around the house as a young child and I signed up for a barre class with my coworker.

Barre class is a really interesting new class that combines pilates with traditional ballet moves at the barre. Who doesn’t want the legs of a trained dancer? Especially when you have the legs of a soccer player with multiple knee injuries and Hawaiian genetics. (Have you seen the movie Lilo and Stitch?) Yeah, thanks Dad! So I thought this class sounded perfect for me because it was low impact and would work on shaping those legs. I got into the class for awhile but my delusions of ballet fame were dashed when I would catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and be reminded of my lack of grace and rhythm (don’t worry this does not hurt my very stable self-esteem).

I am so envious of my friends and sister for their natural dance abilities. Our Grandma, affectionately called tutu which means grandma in Hawaiian, was a dancer. It skipped my genetics for some reason. Thankfully my parents put me in soccer and that was a better fit for me.

The class itself was fun but not the right fit for me. It is a great class for people who enjoy dance a bit more then I do. I was stuck with traumatic flashbacks of being a Seabird in our childhood dance studio’s presentation of the Little Mermaid. Mel will tell you endless stories of trying to teach me the moves to Backstreet Boy’s… Everybody, rock your body… yep, I still can’t do those cool moves. The point is to get out and try something new! You never know, you may fall in love with a new workout or you may be able to get an extra abdominal workout from laughing really hard at yourself. I think I will stick to my weights, paddling and stairs for now.

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Thanks for reading!

xx Mo

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Keto Breakfast and Lunch 

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Ever wonder what a keto work day looks like? This is what I consume on an average day at work. Now as most of you know I carb feed once a week (read about my way of eating here: https://sisteractfitness.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/another-narly-solution-to-my-battle-with-fat/ ) , I cut my gym training down a bit in an effort to correct my adrenal fatigue/hormone inbalance. This way of eating has worked well as I find it easy to stick with and although you would think eating whatever you want once a week is exciting, sometimes I don’t even want to cause I’m enjoying my flatter stomach more! The above picture is my food for work tomorrow. Before I leave the house I’ve been having a glass of warm water with a tbsp of apple cider vinegar. APV was suggested by my acupuncturist and I’m thankful for it, it’s appearing to help my digestion and is a quick cure for heartburn. Once I get to work I have my tablespoon of coconut oil melted in a cup of tea (or sometimes coffee) with a couple drops of liquid alcohol free stevia (I use the NOW brand). Coconut oil has been proven to increase energy and help your brain shift from its normal carb/glucose burning function for energy to burning fat/ketones for energy :) YES PLEASE! I can usually coast from my coconut oil tea until about 9-10am when I would eat the pictured eggs and chicken thighs. Some people consider this a bit of a morning fast but I’m just considering it not forcing myself to eat at 7am when I’m not hungry. This way of eating has taught me that we burn fat in the mornings and carbs are known to stop that fat burning process as soon as they are consumed. This may be fascinating to those who eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday!!!! I dare you to swap your oatmeal for eggs and see if the scale budges! Or see if your energy doesn’t dip mid-morning ;) Around 1pm I have lunch – tomorrow it’s tuna mixed with mayo over spinach with olives and artichoke hearts Mmmmmm. Overall the above food is approx 100g of protein, 80g of fat and approx 12g of carbs. I eat between 1800-2000 calories a day and am averaging a 0.3-1.0 pound loss per week. I’m still enjoying this way of eating and look forward to seeing more steady (yes slow and steady but a little patience never hurt anyone) results :)

Interested in a bit more information on Ketosis? http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/keto.htm

Interested in the exact way of eating I follow? Check out http://carbnite.com/

Want to calculate what your macros would look like if you tried a keto diet? http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/

Let me know if you try it and of course let me know if you have any questions :)

Xoxo Mel

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This I beg of you!

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Gonna try something a little different on here once in a while because, hey, nobody likes to be bored.

This will be the first of hopefully many editions of “This I beg of you” – basically just a random thought from my head that I hope places a new thought in yours.

PURCHASE AND LISTEN TO AN ENTIRE ALBUM OF ANY ARTIST YOU LOVE

I was recently driving home and a Chevelle song came up on my ipod that I normally skip, I don’t know why I normally skip it maybe the beginning of the song doesn’t appeal to me but wholy heck did I love the middle and end of the song. The song was on an album I bought a few years ago on itunes and it kind of saddened me that I hadn’t given the song enough of a chance. Then I thought “I wonder how many people just buy song singles off of itunes (or download them) and never give the rest of the artists’ hard work a chance”. This made me even more concerned. In a world where all we do is consume and consume it’s sad to think that musicians who pour their hearts and souls into their work are not only not given the chance to move you with the music that isn’t played on the radio, sadly they don’t even get paid for the music you do listen to.

So this I beg of you – When an artist puts out an album spend the $10-$14 and play it when you drive, give each and every song a chance to touch on your heart strings or make you think of a fun moment in your life.

Thanks for your time,

Mel

xoxo

Kicked my ASS!!!

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This is a little challenge for you guys!!! I tried to do this HIIT workout after work today and it kicked my ass. I managed to get 3 rounds done in 17 minutes with a 2 minute rest between rounds. Woof! That’s about all I can say! Going from burpees to squats was the hardest thing! If you are up for the challenge we would love to hear how many rounds your legs (or better yet how many rounds your mind let you do) and how long it took :)

Bring on 30!

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Happy birthday to me! As your read this, picture me sitting in Brazil relaxing on the beach after an early morning surf and spending some time reflecting on the past year.

29 was interesting. It was a year full of ups and downs and a lot of it I would rather not reflect on. However, there were some huge positives that happened for me this year. I met a lot of wonderful new people, strengthened many of my relationships, had some new opportunities at work and continued with my healthy lifestyle. There were many highlights this year but I am definitely excited about turning 30 today and embracing what is to next to come.

Last year I set some goals for my last year of my 20’s and here is how I did on them:

1. Travel to a different country- I am currently in Brazil with one of my best friends to celebrate our 30th birthdays. We are taking in as much culture, sunshine and waves as possible.

2. Get my body as strong as possible before my second knee surgery: I accomplished this goal but did not get my 6 pack this year. I will have to keep that one on the list for next year.

3. White water rafting- did not accomplish this goal yet but who knows what will happen on this trip while in Brazil.

4. Have 100 followers for our blog: We passed our goal of having 100 followers for our blog, from all over the world and that number continues to climb.

I want to say a big thank you for all the people in my life that showered me with love and support this year. You will never know how much that call, text, hug, cuddle, cry, drink, food and talk meant to me. I have the best people in my life and feel incredible thankful for each and every one of you. You have given me the gift of compassion, patience, gentleness, grace, positivity, humility, understanding and unconditional love. My goal for 30 is to be the kind of friend that each of you have been to me. Bring on 30!

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Staying Healthy on Vacation

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1/2 of Sister Act Fitness, Mo, is off to Brazil tomorrow. I am so excited about spending my 30th birthday with my toes in the sand and trying to remember how to surf.  I love to travel but travelling can be hard on you physically. Here are some tips I have learned over the years to keep healthy while on vacation.

1. Drink water: it is always recommended to drink water every day but you want to be aware of continuing your water intake while flying and upon arrival. Our travel time, including lay overs, is about 20 hours to Brazil. It is really important to keep hydrated to help curb off any jet lag that may occur. The water may also help to offset some of the dehydration from the beers consumed in the Air Canada lounge…. just saying.

2. Move as much as possible: vacations are meant for relaxation but relaxation doesn’t mean just sitting in a chair or laying on your towel all day. Get up and explore the city you are in, the beach you are laying on or do a quick workout. You can save quite a bit of money on transportation if you walk. Think about all the little hidden gems you may come across while walking.  It will also help to eliminate jet lag and sleep better at night.

3. Try something new: ever wanted to surf, kite board, sand board, try a yoga class, hike, scuba dive, etc.? Vacations are a great time to try something new because you are already outside of your comfort zone. When I went to Costa Rica we went to a surf and yoga camp and it was amazing! http://www.shakacostarica.com/shaka-surf-school/ Not only did we engage in about 3 hours of physical activity daily, we ate healthy and slept great. The instruction was great and my body felt amazing at the end of the week. Don’t worry if you aren’t going to be the next pro surfer or you can’t even get up on your board! You will at least have some good laughs and some great stories to come home with.

4. Eat your fruits and veggies: just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that you should pig out at every meal. Look for balanced meals that include fruit and vegetables. If you are travelling on a budget then these are always easy and cheap to pick up from the store. You may also find some new things you have never tried before.  Vacations should be a time to rejuvenate your body and come home feeling as healthy and relaxed as possible.

5. Curb stress: I am a planner and sometimes find it difficult while on vacation to relax and enjoy the current moment I am in. This vacation I am choosing to do my best to relax and let go. We are going to try to spend a few nights in each spot and not rush to see EVERYTHING in Brazil. The focus of this vacation is to enjoy as much down time in the sunshine and surf. Another thing we are doing to curb stress is to take internal flights instead of long bus trips. The flight only costs about $25 more and saves us about 16 hours of time. That is a lot of extra beach time!

What are your tips and techniques for staying healthy while on vacation. Sister Act Fitness wants to hear from you!

Mo xx

PS here is a good article on Jet lag:http://www.vagabondish.com/6-real-tips-to-beat-jet-lag/