Fitness Diaries // My Past + Present

When I was little, I was a nerdy bookworm who had little interest or use for healthy things or fitness. Athletic activities, such as running, tennis, and basketball, were reserved for my energetic brothers and father. However, as high school hit, I realized that I had better start taking my health and fitness seriously. I began running regularly with my dad and eventually began entering into fun races (I have run the Sun Run four times) when I entered into university. While I became pretty damn good at running, (my fastest times for the 10 km Sun Run were 45:06 and 46:16) I knew I was missing something in my fitness regime.

Vacation running in Miami.

I knew that weightlifting was supposed to be extremely good for you and burn more calories in the long run than cardio; however, I had no clue about how to begin! The extent of my knowledge ran to using dumbbells for bicep curls and bench rows... Sad stuff. Luckily, almost three years ago, I reconnected with my best friend from high school who had begun weightlifting the previous year. With her guidance and encouragement, I became a true gym rat! I began to understand why so many people are completely addicted to lifting-- the exhilaration you feel when you reach that new personal best or push through a particularly difficult set is incomparable.

Leg day at our local rec centre.

Presently, I have reached my previous goal of deadlifting 205 lbs and now can do three reps within one set at that weight. I can squat 165 lbs x 3 reps; however, I am working on perfecting my form and going as low as possible. In terms of calisthenics, I can do 5 reps of pull-ups at a time, 20 x 3 sets of push-ups, and 7 reps x 5 sets of body weight tricep dips. As well, I recently started working with a personal trainer to incorporate more upper body (chest, shoulders, arms, and back) work into my gym routines.

As is the case with many things in life, variety is key. While lifting is super fun, one needs to incorporate other activities into their fitness regime in order to stay well-rounded and avoid boredom. As a result, we started doing spin class every Sunday (which also introduced us to another best friend), 6 am boot camp when possible, and hiking whenever we could possibly go.

 On a related note, hiking became this trio of friends' biggest obsession-- I did a total of seventeen hikes in 2015, nineteen in 2016, and plan to beat that number this year. While intermediate hikes such as the Chief served as our introduction to hiking, it was the difficult hikes (Mount Temple, Mount Fairview, Black Tusk, Crown Mountain, Lone Cone, and Mount Brunswick) that were the most memorable and thrilling. Being fit allowed us to enjoy the amazing beauty of our province while fostering a new found appreciation for nature, friendship, and being unplugged from our phones.

After a spectacular hike up Mount Fairview in Banff National Park.

Even more recently, we three began climbing on a semi-regular basis to incorporate a more social, fun method of strength training. While we progressed quickly throughout our first 6 weeks of regular attendance, we found our ability to climb the more advanced walls stagnated by our limited technical skills. As a result, we would most likely have to invest in classes in order to push forward in this particular activity.

Beginner's bouldering at Climb Base5.

A typical week usually includes five days of working out and two rest days (since working full-time is no treat and the resulting exhaustion can take an undeniable toll on our bodies).

For example:
Sunday - Spin Class or Hiking
Monday - Chest/Arms Day (usually with 10-15 minute cardio warm-up)
Tuesday - Shoulder/Arms/Back Day
Wednesday - Rest Day
Thursday - Leg Day
Friday - Go for 5-10 km run depending on time constraints
Saturday - Rest Day

Fast forward to this weekend, my friends and I are spending our week in Jasper hiking three trails known for their breathtaking scenery and brisk elevation gains. I'm so excited to share our Canada Day week adventures with you all very soon!

How are you working towards achieving your fitness goals?


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