Getting Fit

Half Marathon – Crossing It Off The Bucket List

Yes, you read it correctly, I am planning to cross running a half marathon off my bucket list this year.  Let’s be honest, it will probably be a lot of walking but you get the idea.

This isn’t a New Years resolution, it’s something I signed myself up for back at the beginning of November.  I’m just saying it out loud here and making it really “real”.

Running a half marathon is something that has been on my bucket list for years and years, but I’ve always had one excuse or another as to why I couldn’t do it.  But then last fall when it seemed like it was prime marathon season, I saw quite a few people that I know through social media taking the leap and running their first marathon and it really got me thinking about it.

I had a really good friend that passed away many years ago and the last time I ever saw him, I passed him as he was running on the side of the road training for the Toronto marathon.  At that time I remember thinking how admirable and amazing it was that after beating non-Hodgkins lymphoma early in high school, and here he was training to run another (not his first) marathon.  I think that was probably one of the moments that led me to this point.  After being so sick at one point in his life, he was given mere days to live, and here now he was running marathons.

Truth be told, a full marathon has never interested me, I’ve always only ever thought about a half.  And my hat goes off to those that run marathons time and time again.  And a half marathon at 13.1 miles (21.1 km) is no small feat in my eyes but yet a distance that I have always felt as attainable to reach with enough training and commitment.

And I know, because I’ve already gotten the reaction, that some people will take a look at me and my current size and think that I am crazy and will never be able to do it.

Am I at an ideal weight to do this? No.  Would it be a lot easier if I lost a bunch of weight?  Yes.  Do I give a sh$t about what others think?  No.  Do I want to prove them wrong? Absolutely!

I watched other runners that didn’t fit the stereotypical runner type this past year conquer half marathons and marathons better than those with you’d think could easily run a long distance race and it this pushed me even more to sign up and finally cross it off the list.

I think the tipping point for me was watching Katie Crenshaw run the New York City Marathon, who had started her training later than most people, has always been a supporter of body positivity, cross that finish line and proving all her doubters wrong.  The very next day I signed up for the half marathon.

I know I have a lot of things working against me.  I’m going to be 48 years old at the time of the race, I’m no where near the weight I would like to be and carrying all the extra weight makes it much harder on my body but I am done listening to what others think about me and doing this for myself and proving to myself that I am worthy of this adventure.

Another thing that had stopped me in the past and been the excuse I could use to justify not running was the race would fall on a weekend that I had my son.  I’d always thought it would be easier to run when I didn’t have to figure out how to have him there at the finish line.   I had a conversation with him about registering at some point for a half marathon and he abruptly told me that if I ran one and he couldn’t be at the finish line cheering me on, he’d be mad.  Cue the tears.  So luckily with the help of friends and family, when I cross that finish line with the tears streaming down my face, I will be greeted by my favorite supporter.

So there you have it.  It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment, but  I hope you’ll follow along with me as I finally get to cross this item off my bucket list.

Getting Fit

I Did a Juice Cleanse – And It Wasn’t That Bad

Disclosure:  Although the juicer I used for my juice cleanse was provided to my by Hurom, all comments, opinions are strictly mine.

In the past, when I heard the words “juice cleanse”, admittedly I did not think kindly about it.  I imagined gagging down gross juices and pretty much being miserable the entire time.

Recently, after having a conversation with a friend about him adopting the habit of drinking celery juice and actually seeing results from it, I thought I would check it out.  I remember at the beginning of the year celery juice was all everyone seemed to be talking about.  I didn’t hop of the bandwagon at the time as again, I imagined it tasting awful.  I was completely skeptical about the whole thing but my friend, who’s opinion I trust, made me give things a second chance.  I figured if I was able to conquer the celery juice, I could take it a step further and do a juice cleanse.

The juicer that I have been using is the Hurom HP Slow Juicer.  And it has been perfect for my needs.  It’s compact, so it doesn’t take up a ton of space on my counter.  It uses a patented Slow Squeeze technology which basically mimics the motions of being squeezed.  This method ensures the juice stays fresh and in it’s most natural state.  The auger squeezes out every drop of juice resulting in bone dry pulp.  This was something that I was actually impressed to see.  I was worried that it would be noisy but it is surprisingly quiet and the best part it is it super easy to clean.  I knew that if it was something that took forever to clean afterwards I wouldn’t end up using it.  I have been using it daily since I got it.

Hurom juicer juice cleanse

So the first thing I tried with the juicer, was the celery juice.  The friend who started me down this path, said that he used an entire bunch of celery each day for his juice.  That seemed pretty overwhelming to me, so I started with half.  I was surprised how much juice only half made and glad I started small.  The juicer kept it’s promise in delivering a pure tasting result.  I can’t describe what I was expecting celery juice to taste like but it really tasted like a liquid version of super fresh celery.  It was actually really good.  Of course there are conflicting theories on the benefits of celery juice, but I can say I have started trying to incorporate it into my daily morning routine and it seems to be making a difference to me.

 

Celery juice juice cleanse

With that being said, after about a week or so, I thought maybe the next step would be to try a juice cleanse.  I’ve really been struggling with my weight and as much as I have been trying to work at it, I found I would be on track for a day or two and then one bad choice and I would revert to my old bad habits.  Restricted style “diets” have never worked for me, I like to be able to make choices for my meals, so I wasn’t sure how well a juice cleanse would work for me.

I knew I wanted just something that would give me the kickstart that I needed to continue down the road to making healthier choices.  My thought was if I saw some results from the cleanse and it made me feel even remotely better I would continue to make better choices.

Not knowing where to start, I decided to look on Pinterest to see what I could find.  With 3, 5, 7 and 14+ day cleanses there were a lot of options.  I knew that a 3 day cleanse would be my best option and perhaps less chance of quitting partway through.  I stumbled across a three day cleanse that looked fairly easy to follow, was easy to make and wasn’t going to cost me a fortune in supplies.

The basic premise was you made a different juice each day for 3 days.  You drink a cup of the juice once an hour for 8 hours, with water in between and then a dinner of lean protein and greens for dinner.  The first day was a green juice, day 2 a colon cleanser, and day 3 a liver and kidney flush.  I had trouble finding the original owner of this cleanse so I have no science behind it to see if the claims are true as to their combination and resulting areas of cleansing.  All I know is it looked like it was chalked full of healthy items combined in a juice and that was something my body needed.

So I wrangled up my friend April to do this along with me to do the cleanse.  And here is what I found.

PROS

  1. 1.  It was easy to make.  Having a good juicer and April to help me with preparation definitely made a huge difference.  Making the daily batches for the both of us took about 1/2 an hour.
  2. 2.  It contained items that were easy to find and all things that I liked.
  3. 3.  The juices were tolerable.  Out of the 3 juices, day 2 was my least favorite.  I think the apple juice in the other 2 made a huge difference.
  4. 4.  I didn’t feel too hungry and having an actual meal at the end of the day really helped.
  5. 5.  The constant inflow of nutrients each hour helped me avoid that 2pm slump I always seemed to get.
  6. 6.  It appeared to clear the brain fog.

juice cleanse juice

CONS

  1. 1.  Having to drink every hour was a bit cumbersome if you planned to go anywhere.  Either you were out for less than an hour, or you took it with you.
  2. 2.  Drink the juice + water meant you spent a lot of time going the the bathroom.
  3. 3.  It got kind of boring drinking the same drink all day.  I think I would have rather changed it up throughout the day.
  4. 4.  If you don’t like a particular day’s drink, it became a very long day.
  5. 5.  If says to avoid caffeine.  If you have a caffeine addiction, you will probably get a wicked headache.

CONCLUSION/RESULTS

I was able to follow through and complete the cleanse as the directions stated with one small change.  I had a coffee each morning. I know my limits and knew that by end of day one, I’d have a raging migraine so I avoided the inevitable.

At the end of the cleanse, I was down 6 lbs.  I am sure a lot of that was water weight but it was definitely the kick start that I needed and I haven’t gained the weight back.  So far so good.

It was actually much easier to follow than I had anticipated.  On day 2 of the cleanse, I had made plans to have dinner out with a friend.  Finding lean protein and greens was easy to find on the menu and was able to stay on track.

Since the cleanse, I have started each day with either a celery juice or a carrot/apple juice combo and I plan to continue doing so.  It seems to be helping with energy levels and the brain fog.

Is this something I will do again? Yes.

Did I learn a lot about my current eating habits?  Yes.

Will this experience help me make changes to my diet? Absolutely!!

juice cleanse carrot juice

 

Getting Fit · Parenting/Life

My Experience with an Internet Troll

It’s one of those messages that I wish I had saved instead of immediately deleting.  It wasn’t my first message from an Internet Troll and it definitely won’t be my last.  I should have saved it to remind me that haters are going to hate but instead of bringing me down it, it will push me to do better.

If you follow me on social media, you know that I often post about going to the gym, trying to eat healthy and trying to lose weight.  And you would also know that I’ve fallen off the wagon more times than not, gained weight and eaten unhealthy.

And I know that people probably wonder why I even bother posting, if I am constantly going to fail.  The internet trolls have asked me that on more than one occasion.  And it was one particular comment just recently that made me really think about why I post and why everyone needs to ignore these type of people.

It was a day I had posted in my stories about going to the gym in the morning and then another story about indulging in snacks and a few drinks with friends.  I was enjoying life.  The next day, I was checking in on Instagram and there was a message request.  Obviously a message from someone who didn’t follow me but wanted to send me a message.  We all know that 9 times out of 10, those messages are usually some sort of spam.

My curiosity got the best of me and I opened the message.  The long and short of the message was they couldn’t understand why I talk about a healthy lifestyle and then turn around have a night of eating and drinking crap.  I should stop posting and give up.  No one wanted to hear it.

This was someone I didn’t know, I didn’t follow and they didn’t follow me.  They must have found me via a hashtag that I had used on my posts.  At this point it made think about a lot of things about this person and myself.

At first it made me think about my posts.   In one thought, I agreed with him calling me out on my shit (pardon my language).  I try to be healthier and I fall off the wagon.  And a lot of times, I fall hard.   Sometimes it is more of a 1 step forward 2 steps back instead of the other way around.  BUT, eventually I brush myself off and start again.  And at one point, hopefully it’s only continual steps forward.

The reason I post about my life and my successes and failures is that is what my blog is all about.  My life and the journey.  Keeping it real. Maybe it reminds people that we all are human and everything isn’t always perfect and we all have our struggles.  Even if one person reads it and it makes them smile or feel better about their own life, then my job her is done.  I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do.  I know that others have done the same for me.  Reading blogs of others on similar journeys have helped me tremendously.

I’m not going to lie, those unkind comments stung a bit.  It wasn’t the first time someone had reminded me of my failures.  I know I need to try harder some days.  Absolutely, no questions asked.  But when it comes from someone I don’t know, I’ve never met (or ever want to) it is a different kind of hurt.

And this is not a oh boo hoo, poor me type of post.  Having an open social media profile opens me up to anyone seeing my posts and commenting as they please and I’ve accepted that.  I’ve see other bloggers have way nastier and hurtful comments flung at them on almost a daily basis.  And we all know that there are people out there that aren’t the kind and sincere person their social media profile leads everyone to believe.

But then I thought about the person that sent the comments.  If they didn’t follow me, then they had to have intentionally sought out my profile and others like mine by searching through countless hashtags.  What I can’t understand is why?  Why do people or these Internet Trolls feel the need to search out others just to bring them down?

I was brought up with “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate constructive criticism but people being down right insulting for no reason other than to make themselves feel better, is not acceptable.  If you feel that bringing others down makes you feel better, you aren’t the type of person my content is aimed at.   There are a million other blogs, and social media profiles out there that I am sure you can find something out there that interest you and you enjoy instead of criticizing others.

It’s a conversation that I’ve already had with my son on more than one occasion.  He’s seen the likes of Internet Trolls when watching videos on YouTube.  He’s seen the nasty comments and we’ve discussed why it needs to stop.  Bringing others down just to make yourself feel better about yourself isn’t the way to go about things.

So that being said, I will continue to blog about the things I want to blog about.  I will share on my social media as I see fit to share.  And to those that don’t want to read it or like it, that is your prerogative.  But don’t waste your time or mine with your nasty comments and messages.

Getting Fit · Parenting/Life

The Desk Converter that Saves My Back

Disclaimer:  Although the AnthroDesk – Sliding Standing Desk Converter was provided to me, all opinions and comments are strictly mine.

Working from home has a lot of perks.  I can work in my pjs until I have to face the outside world, coffee is always available at a moments notice and it’s just generally a more comfortable environment overall. But I am still sitting at a desk all day.

I know of others that are able to work from home and sit on their couch or in a comfy chair and work.  That doesn’t work for me.  I just don’t find myself as productive and I don’t always have the tools I need at an arm’s length.  Even when working on blog posts such as this, I need to sit at my desk.  Although I do get up often to stretch my back  and move around a bit, I find that sitting for a full day working can often end up bothering my legs and back.  And as I have said in a previous post, I need to be listening to my body

So when AnthroDesk asked me to test out their Sliding Standing Desk Converter, I was happy to give it a try.   I was also happy to find out that they were a Canadian company – I am always happy to support Canadian businesses.

The desk converter was super easy to assemble, it took me less than 15 minutes to get it ready for use.  And the actual process to convert it from sitting to standing involves a few levers and back to work in under a minute.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about standing at my desk.  I wondered if I would tire from standing all the time.  However, I am noticing significant less stress on my back by the end of the day.

Desk Converter Side View

I have found that I need to be very particular about adjusting my desk as just an inch here or there can really make a difference.  I definitely notice it in my neck and shoulders when it’s not quite right.  But that is the good thing about it being so easy to adjust, I can always bring it up or down without anytime productivity time lost.

Not only is my back not as achy but I am finding I am more productive because I am not constantly having to get up and stretch.  So overall, I have to say that for anyone that works at a desk for a majority of their day, this is something you should look into as part of your desk set up.

Getting Fit

Making the Buddy System Work

So with January coming to a close, this is usually the time that I start slacking on my fitness goals and it becomes a downward spiral until it’s a complete fail.  This year, it has been different.  I am feeling more on track and focused than I have been in quite a long time.  And I am pretty sure it’s due to the fact that I have a buddy system in place.

One of my besties decided to start her own journey at the same time as I did and conveniently joined the same gym that I go to, so we have been able to motivate each other to try and stay on track.   I don’t know about her but I know that the buddy system is definitely something that I need.  I need someone to be accountable to and give me the motivation to keep going.

Buddy System 1

Having someone else on a similar path as yourself, in my opinion, is something that everyone needs.  Someone that can relate to your struggles and your successes. This person should also be someone local to you, if at all possible.  Sure, I have followed some other very motivating people on their own weight loss journey, but it’s not the same as having someone right there with you.

It’s having someone with you, that you can sit down with face to face and discuss your journey,  someone who can bring out that little bit of competitive side of you in a class,   someone to literally slap that piece of cheesecake out of your hand when you really need it.  The buddy system has really helped me this time and I am hoping it will continue through the dreary, cold month of February that often finds me wanting hibernate more than getting out to the gym.

I am not saying if you don’t have a ‘buddy” you won’t be successful, I am the furthest thing from any sort of “diet expert” but I just know what seems to be working for me.

Buddy System April

My “buddy” April and I have started an Instagram account @MomsFromTheBurbs that will be documenting our journey and also using as a place for others to share their tips, tricks and struggles on their own journey.  So please feel free to follow along with us!  There will be no judgement and will be keeping it real!

Featured on MovingBabies

Getting Fit

It’s Not About Being Skinny

Last week I posted about my new hate for leggings.  I told you about how my once friend was now my sworn enemy and my plight to get back on track and was ready to lose the weight that I had gained over the past few years.  But after a few comments from my readers, I need to clarify that I didn’t mean to portray was that is was all about getting skinny.

However, I am not going to say that I don’t want to lose weight.  I absolutely do, but I want to do it for reasons much more than being skinny.  Now well into my 40’s, I have come the realization I will never be one of those people that are considered “skinny” nor do I care.  What I care about is being healthy and happy in my own skin.  And right now, I am not at that point in my life.

My clothes that once fit comfortably are no longer comfortable. Most days I feel like a stuffed sausage.   I don’t feel even remotely as fit as I used to.  The thought of even running a kilometer makes me cringe when at one point I was able to run almost 10km.  My skin feels completely dehydrated from not drinking enough water.  My sleep has been suffering and mentally it has been taking it’s toll as well.

But I woke up on New Years day with new found excitement to get back on track and so far I have been staying true to myself.  I have been making much more healthier food choices, I made it to the gym almost every single day and been drinking so much water I feel like I might float away.  And already I am noticing results. And not just on the scale either.

I think one of my biggest problems was not enough water.  I have been keeping this huge glass on my desk and continually filling it throughout the day.  And my skin is thanking me for it as this horrendous winter weather has been playing havoc on it as well. It’s also helped flush out some of the bloat.  My stomach doesn’t feel like I just ate a 10 lb burger all the time anymore.

Skinny Water

I have gone back to tracking what I eat and I know that will make a huge difference.  Not only am I making healthier choices but it’s also making me accountable for how much I am eating.  I can eat all the healthy food in the world but if I am eating too much of it, it isn’t going to help. I am also making use I am using my FitBit to actually count my exercise and not just using it for the watch function.  LOL

For further motivation, I treated myself to some new trainers this weekend. I have returned to a gym I used to have a membership at and can’t wait to get back into the swing of attending classes that will push me out of my comfort zone instead of mindlessly walking the treadmill with nothing to push me to do better.  I attended my first Zumba class in over a year and although by the end of the class my face was beat red and I was completely wiped, it felt amazing.

Skinny Trainers

So regardless of that the size says on the label of my clothes, I just want to be a happier, healthier me.  The best version of me, the me I was meant to be.

Skinny Zumba
Red faced still even an hour after Zumba.
Getting Fit

Leggings are the Devil – My Weight Gain Story

Up until a year ago, I had a 9-5 job that required me in the office every day wearing office appropriate attire.   Something about having to fit into a skirt or dress pants on a daily basis somewhat worked with me as part of a weight management program.  If they still fit, I was doing ok.  If they started to feel tight, time to get to the gym more often and cutting back on what I was eating.  And then leggings came into my life.

Last year my job changed and although, I was still working from 9-5 for the same company, I was relocated to my home office.  I am not going to lie, it’s been a pretty sweet gig.  No more having to figure out what outfit to wear to the office, no commuting hassles and no office politics to deal with.  However, up until that point, I was not a leggings wearer, it was almost always jeans during my personal time.

Having always had larger thighs, I never felt comfortable in leggings.  Then a friend somehow convinced me that because they were most almost always black, they were slimming and any shape could get away with wearing them.  After getting up the courage to start wearing them, I was hooked and never looked back.  I was wearing them pretty much on a daily basis now, but sadly I think this is one relationship that I must sever in 2018.

leggings

As much as leggings are comfy and easy to wear, they are really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  They don’t feel restricted, you can eat as much as you want and you never feel like you are stuffed into them and as a result gaining wait without too much notice.  And stupidly, I didn’t pay any attention to what these leggings were hiding until recently.

Let me go back a bit in time.  After I had my son, I was at my highest weight in my adult life.  I was sluggish, completely out of shape, and it was playing havoc on my health and my self esteem but having a newborn, I didn’t have the time to focus on myself.  Then my husband left me.  And although I would never recommend it to anyone, it definitely was the easiest weight loss I had ever had.  I didn’t have to think about it at all.  My life was consumed with 2 things, taking care of my son and dealing with a nasty, horrible divorce.  Food was no longer a “live to eat”, it was only “eat to live”.  I had no appetite and nothing in me to actually make myself meals.  It wasn’t healthy, I won’t even dare to say it was but in the end, I had lost over 50lbs and was now at my lowest adult weight.

At that point, I swore up and down that I would never EVER get back to my previous weight.  And for a few years, I kept that promise to myself.  But then when life started to settle down, the weight was slowing coming back.  A few lbs each year hear and there.  I would step on the scale and be up a few lbs but then tell myself that my clothes still fit, so I was ok.  But that is probably the worst mentality I could use….it was NOT okay.  A few lbs turns into 10lbs which eventually turned into too many lbs.

And then last year, when I started working from home and leggings came into my life.  And even though I was trying to stay fit and was even posting on the blog about it, the weight still seemed to be adding on.  No longer was my clothing holding me accountable to my eating and lifestyle sins. By the time fall came around, I was unmotivated, no longer tracking my calories and barely making it  to the gym.  And now here was are, starting 2018 and I am pretty much back to my pre-divorce weight.  I feel constantly sluggish and miserable and completely disappointed in myself.

leggings
Completely disappointed in myself!

I got to that place that I swore I would never get back to.  And yes, leggings are somewhat to blame.  Really I have no one to blame but myself but they sure didn’t help my situation. There was nothing restricting me and giving me that extra push to say “Put down the donut”.   So I told myself that starting January 1st, there were no more excuses.  This was not the life I wanted to leave and not the example I wanted to set for my son.  I have started tracking everything I put in my mouth and even though I was completely exhausted after New Years eve, I hit the gym.  I can’t keep saying I will “do it tomorrow” because tomorrow will never come.  I need to do it today.   And as for the leggings, they will no longer be an every day occurrence.  if that means I feel like a stuff sausage in jeans, well that will be a bit of motivation.

leggings back at gym

It’s not going to be easy, it won’t happen over night, but if I want to be the best version of me, I have to do the work to make it happen.

Getting Fit

My 30 Day Challenge for a Happy Stomach

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

I was doing some updates on my blog recently and I realized it has been quite a while since I posted anything in my Getting Fit section. Then I took a step on the scale and realized that not only was I neglecting that section of the blog, I was also neglecting myself.

No wonder I had been feeling so sluggish and just generally low lately. And my stomach, l can’t even begin to say how much my stomach had been bothering me lately. I have always had stomach issues (IBS) but recently things had been getting much worse.  And let’s be honest, when your stomach is off, everything seems to be off.

I know from the past that when I am neglecting my diet and not exercising my stomach issues flare up and it reminds me to get back on track. This time with the gluttony of the holiday season upon us, I knew I needed to really focus on getting my stomach back on track, so I could actually enjoy the holidays.   Most people wait until the New Year to start fitness and eating right again, but I knew that I needed to start now.  There was no need to wait.

I decided to start a 30 day challenge to get back to a happy stomach by incorporating Renew Life Flora Ultimate Critical Care 50 Billion daily probiotic into my daily routine.   I’ve always heard about how probiotics are a beneficial bacteria in your stomach and aid in a healthy digestive system but truth be told, I had never really tried it.  Having IBS, I know that I should have really been focusing more on aiding my stomach, but up until now I just focused more on avoiding trigger foods and trying (and not very well) about staying active., as that seemed to keep things at bay.

Stomach probiotic

Skeptical at first, I didn’t expect to see much improvement but after a week, I was already noticing some subtle changes above and beyond those I see when I am eating better and exercising more.  I felt less bloated, was more regular (sorry for TMI) and the achy feeling I often get in my stomach wasn’t appearing as often.  I have been taking the probiotic daily, trying my best (and it’s been hard) to eat better, and trying to be active each day.  Using an activity tracker is key with me, as it keeps me accountable.

Stomach needs

Now that I almost completed the full 30 days, I have a much happier stomach and it has given me that boost to keep going to improve my eating and exercising habits.  And with the holiday season in full swing, I feel like I will be able to enjoy the festivities and not be gaining even more weight thru the season.  I will be happy just to stay the same and once the New Year hits, I will focus more on the weight loss side of things.

Of course taking a Renew Life probiotic is extremely helpful for stomach health but I also need to ensure I am drinking lots of water and trying to cut down on my caffiene (aka copious amounts of coffee) intake and reducing the sugar in my diet as all of these can contribute to an unhappy stomach.  Priobiotics are the beneficial bacteria in your stomach and aid in digestion but has also been linked to our immune systems.  If you are taking antibiotics, for example, they can deplete the “good” bacteria, so taking a probiotic can help get things back on track.

In addition to my stomach feeling much happier these days, I am noticing my overall self just feeling better.  As I mentioned, starting in the New Year, my fitness will be a major focus for me and will be posting about my progress if you wish to follow along.  If you want to join me and stay accountable to each other, please drop me a line.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Paddle boarding with East of Six SUP.

Disclosure:  Although I was provided items in this post, all comments and opinions are strictly mine.

 

Paddle Boarding we're both up
Photo Cred: @eastofsixsup

When the summer weather is upon us, there is nothing more that I want to do than get outside, have some fun and try new things.  This past weekend due to last minute change in scheduling, my son and I got the opportunity to do some stand up paddle boarding thanks to East of SIX SUP.  I had tried paddle boarding once before but never actually had a lesson and was thrilled to have the opportunity to get my son out on the water as well.

East of Six operates out of  Pickering, Whitby, Port Perry and Toronto which is great for those of us out in the Durham region.  We aren’t having to go all the way into the city  and are able to enjoy the water we have right at our doorsteps.  They have group lessons and paddles available but will also do all sorts of private events on request.  They have morning paddles as well as Sunset paddles, which I am hoping to do later on this summer

From the minute we got to the lake I was impressed with the company.  The instructor was so incredibly nice and had so much patience with us.  I loved the fact that he let my son right in on the action when he was inflating the paddle boards and getting things ready.  It was interesting to see that they used blow up paddle boards.  Until then, I didn’t even know they existed.  I just assumed they were hard plastic like a surfboard.  That is what I had used previously.

And our safety was a number 1 priority with them.  He made sure my son had his life jacket on properly and I had mine in place as well.  They also made sure we were tethered to the board with an ankle strap.  Which now that I think back to it, we didn’t have those when I had gone previously.  It made me feel a lot better about it in case we were to fall off.  We wouldn’t be stuck out in the lake with the board floating away from us.

After a few on land instructions and safety in check, we were ready to hit the water.  I appreciated that they showed us on land first a few concepts in theory instead of on the water first so we had an idea and weren’t falling off all the time.  It was a bit windy and wavy that day, so we paddled out to a cove area to try and avoid the bulk of the waves.  My son struggled a little bit at the beginning just getting the hang of maneuvering the board, so the instructor tethered himself to his board and helped get him on track.  This allowed my son to get used to paddling and going in the right direction with less chance for him floating off away from us.  (I think this calmed my anxiety more than anything.)

Paddle Boarding one up one down
Photo Cred: @eastofsixsup

Once we got to the cove area, it was only a few minutes and my son was up on the board and loving it.   And before long, I was up as well.  I found the wind and waves definitely made it more of a challenge to get up and stay up, but I did it.  Truth be told, I did get dumped into the lake once.  My biggest fear about getting dumped in was not being able to get back up on the board.  With a little effort I got back up, can’t say that it was graceful, but I got back on.

Paddle Boarding and he's up
Photo Cred: @eastofsixsup

Once we got our sea legs, we were able to enjoy paddling around and enjoying the lake.  We were out for probably close to 2 hours and I know that by the end I knew we would both sleep well that night with all that fresh air and paddling effort.  I couldn’t have asked for a friendlier, patient and kind instructor for our day.  On the way home, into the evening and even the next day, my son kept going on about how much fun he had that day and how much he wanted to be able to go again.

Paddle Boarding we're both up
Photo Cred: @eastofsixsup

I know several friends have asked me about paddle boarding and expressed interest in doing so.  I have to say, it does take some effort but it was definitely a lot easier than I had originally anticipated and so much fun.  We are planning to go again this summer and I highly suggest you book your time with East of SIX SUP soon as I know they will book up quickly.

You can learn more about East of SIX SUP on their website and Instagram account.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

How Aquamermaid let me be a Mermaid for a day

I am a mermaid

I was already 17 when Disney released The Little Mermaid, but there was just something about that movie that I loved and still love today.  I even remember buying the soundtrack on cassette (totally aging myself here) and listening to it non-stop in my car at the time.  It really doesn’t matter what age you are, there is just something about wanting to be a mermaid.

That is why when I asked to participate in a class with Aquamermaid, I jumped at the chance.  Even if just for a morning, getting to swim like a mermaid was definitely something I wanted to try.  I have seen the mermaid tails on social media but being able to actually learn how to swim and use the tail was quite intriguing to me.

Upon arrival at the class, the first thing they asked us to do was a swimming test to ensure we could participate in the class.  I feel like I am a fairly proficient swimmer but it was comforting that they ensured our ability before giving us a tail.  After the test, we were given our tails to put on.  The flipper portion is basically like 2 scuba style flippers fused together and the remainder of the “tail” was a spandex type swimsuit material.  It is made to fit quite tight so that your legs aren’t prone to splitting.

Mermaid poolside

After getting our tails on and now in full mermaid mode, we shuffled over to the pool and started our mermaid adventure.  The class started with us being taught the basics of how to swim with the tail on using a flutter kick and getting comfortable in the water.  The class continued with some activities we were able to do alone and then with the others in the class.  It was quite enjoyable but definitely a good workout for both the arms and the legs.   At the end of the class, we had to show off our skills that we had learned with a little routine to perform in front of the others.  It was fun to see each others creativity.

Mermaid in the pool

While our class was on,  there was another group there for a mermaid party.  It was basically a private class for their group.  I would love to get a group of friends together and do another class together.  Aquamermaid offers classes, parties as well as free swim times at their locations across Canada and the US and they seem to be adding more locations all the time.  If you are looking for something different or have always wanted to be a mermaid, if even for one day, I would definitely suggest Aquamermaid.

Although this class was provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.