6 Things Consistent People Do

November 27, 2015

Ohhh consistency, the topic I love to talk about the most. I think I love it because of how many years I spent struggling to get consistent with exercise. Don't get me wrong, there were many years where I exercised my butt off, but it was much more from the go hard or go home mindset rather than creating something that was consistently enjoyable every day. 

The years I spent exercising upwards of 20+ hours each week were actually not consistent years. When I went on vacation I was exhausted and rarely worked out (ummm, I needed a break, yo!). And during the weeks where I was exercising a ton, I wasn't consistent with eating well or dealing with stress properly because I was using up all of my mental energy on trying to out-exercise myself. 

Ugh. So not fun. 

We are not always going to be nailing everything at 100%. Nutrition will have better weeks than others, exercise may change a bit from month to month, but on the whole, consistency is the ability to execute day after day. It is creating habits that can weather the ups and downs of life. It is the adoption of a lifestyle that lasts over months and years.

Consistency is not over-exercising to the point that you *can't* make great food choices. 

Consistency is not all or nothing, it is do your best each day. 

Consistency is not an all consuming task. 

It's like you are chip, chip, chipping away day after day. 

And what is the point of getting consistent anyways? Don't we just need to try harder, exercise more and eat less?

Hmmm...nope. If you are looking for results that last, then we've got to hit this point home:

Being on and off the wagon constantly takes so much mental effort. Consistency happens when we can exercise regularly (not insanely) and eat well (not perfectly) with less mental effort. 

So how do we get to the point of considering ourselves consistent people?

We start with trying to be a little less perfect and a lot more consistent, and we look to those around us that are doing well in the consistency game. What are they up to? What are their daily habits? Which battles do they pick and choose? 

On the road to becoming a consistent person, we find that: 

We trust ourselves. 

The first step to getting consistent is to learn to trust that we can handle what life throws at us. Being consistent means that we are less likely to stress that we don't have a healthy lunch packed or that we've got a weekend full of parties and outings. By putting ourselves out there, we see if we can in fact make those great decisions we always think about.

Let's say you are like me and you've struggled to find balance with nutrition. Before I started making a true lifestyle shift in 2012 I didn't trust myself around any food. If there was candy, I would eat it. Pizza? I'd have as many slices as I could handle. My strategy for avoiding these foods was to not bring them into the house. Not a bad strategy until you'd like to have a social life, right?

My journey to self-trust happened very slowly. Lots of over-doing it on the treats at parties, followed by lots of figuring out how to get mindful and pick only my absolute favourite foods to enjoy. You can handle any nutritional situation, it just takes practice.

We practice everyday.

Consistency by definition does not happen overnight. It is a practice. We don't just get consistent and stay there, it is a constant working relationship. The best part? There are multiple opportunities to practice each and every day. Walk by the office kitchen where all the treats are and practice saying no or having a small piece of something you really love. Try not packing a lunch for once and see if you can find a health option (I know you can, try a sushi restaurant and go for a salad and sashimi). 

When it comes to practice, my business coach Jill Coleman says 'easy is earned' and it's the truth. We do not get good at making healthy lunch decisions at a restaurant without practicing a number of times. We do not get good at walking past the office treats without practicing. 

We do not wait for the perfect conditions to act. 

This is the biggest roadblock to getting consistent. Thinking that we need a time where life has calmed down, or when work isn't so crazy in order for us to start is just madness. This means we will only be conditionally successful! When the time is right, when life isn't crazy, when work isn't stressful, then we'll be able to eat healthy? How will that ever work in the long run? 

The time is never right. Life is always a bit crazy, and work stress will come and go. Start NOW. 

We lower our activation energy. 

The concept of activation energy states that certain tasks take a lot more effort to get started or activated. Consider the difference between having to travel 30 minutes each way to the gym and having access to weights in your garage. One option takes much more time, planning and preparation to execute. The other could happen in your pyjamas. 

When we understand how activation energy works, we stop taking on unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We work within the realm of activities that we can consistently do with more ease. I know that going to a 90 minute yoga class a few times a week is too much time for me to devote to one task. I'll go once a week and do mini practice in my living room in the morning. 

Stop trying to be a hero about everything. Find exercise and food preparation options that do not take up all of your mental energy. Buy some dumbbells for home or learn how to do shorter, more effective workouts. 

We focus on do-able and enjoyable habits. 

The most important thing that consistent people do is to prioritize the stuff they like doing and avoid stressing about the rest. Love going for outdoor walks? Obsessed with lifting weights? Do those things.

Exercise you love is exercise you'll do.  

It seems like we are far too concerned about if a certain workout or class will get us the results we want and we are far less interested in if we'll actually enjoy it. That is so backwards. Results come from repetition and consistency. Consistency and repetition happen when you like what you're doing so much that you keep it up. 

We know that simple is successful.

We do not need a complicated plan with counting calories and macronutrients in order to be successful. Simplicity is key because this means you'll continue onwards when you have a smaller amount of mental energy and focus to place on eating and exercising. My Dad had a stroke in August of 2015 and my life has changed a lot since then. I travel home to Vancouver multiple times a month to help my parents and I know that focusing on simple things like drinking 2 litres of water, getting a walk or some movement in each day, making sure I get protein and veggies a few times a day has helped me feel better and stay with my healthy habits as they are easy to do whether I am traveling, at home or under tough emotional circumstances :) 

I talk a lot about physical results here on the blog and I think it is important as there are far too many extreme plans touting hours in the gym and macronutrient counting are key for getting results. Consistency can get you great results with a very safe approach. But the real win with consistency is getting your life back. Not worrying about exercising all the time. Not stressing and spending every ounce of mental energy on your food for the next couple days, that is the stuff that is worth creating a consistent routine. 

Thanks for reading, 


My free #consistencycourse starts December 7th and will cover all the mindset tools, daily habits and mental shifts you'll need to drop the all or nothing game and get consistent. You can sign up HERE. 


What to do when other people make comments about your body

November 09, 2015

Have you ever felt frustrated by comments others have made about your body?

Ha! I love the question above, because yes I have certainly felt frustrated and as though other people were judging my body and the way it looks. I know many of you have experienced the same thing because you've told me during training sessions, workout classes or in emails. 

We're human and we all care about what others think, but it sucks when we feel judged or that someone else is drawing conclusions about the way we look. Take the title photo I've posted to go along with this blog. There WILL be judgements about it. Showing too much skin? Wearing too much make-up? Not muscular enough? Too thin/thick/whatever. For the record, it was from a shoot I did in January 2014 and I like it! So today I want to talk about where judgments come from and what we can do about them to feel confident in ourselves wherever we are at. 

I think it is normal to feel like we wish we didn't care so much about what other people thought about us, but we do because we care. It is this caring aspect of each of us that makes us heartfelt, considerate and loving. We cannot have one without the other. We cannot care for others and subsequently not care about what they think, but we can make some mindset shifts so we find freedom from the judgements other people will make. 

Comments that can get us all frustrated-shutting down-getting mad and perhaps negatively affecting our confidence:

"Have you been working out much?"

"Wow, you've really grown!"

"Got a few extra pounds there, don't you!"

"Oh, you're a personal trainer?"

I chose these because they are phrases I have heard or those my clients have dealt with. 

Freedom from feeling judged matters immensely because of what those judgements lead to mentally. What if someone makes a comment that you've gained weight? I see this all the time with my pregnant clients because guess what, sometimes they have gained weight and sometimes they haven't and both situations are completely normal. 

When a family member mentions, 'oh you've really put on some pounds!' we can feel hurt, frustrated or violated. It's our body, who are they to say anything about it? And then we put up walls, have conversations in our heads about how frustrated we are and tell others about what happened without talking to the person who made the comments. 

And the best part, what if you have actually gained weight? (pregnant or not!) Does taking someone else's comments and getting all hot and bothered by them help you feel good about yourself or not? I am not going to say we need to focus on weight loss because we don't always need to lose weight. We need to find a mental place where we can take care of ourselves regularly with exercise and eating well. This starts by feeling confident internally. 

Let's start off by saying this, judgement is normal and will continue. We cannot change how others view us because that is wholly up to them. We can change the way we react to what others say and do however, and you guessed it, it all comes down to how WE act and our inner dialogue.

Here are three mindset tools I use to combat any frustrations I have felt when it comes to comments other people have made about my body.  

Judgements come from someone else's insecurities. 

I can't even count the number of times I've been told 'well I would never have an overweight trainer' and while I can appreciate that we want people who can walk the talk, isn't a comment like this coming from our own insecurity? That, maybe, if we were overweight then people wouldn't take us seriously? 

It's important to know that judgements other people make are not based on you, they are based on them, their perceptions, experiences and insecurities. 

One memory I have about this happened only a couple months ago. I introduced myself to someone as a personal trainer and they stepped back and did a visual-full-body-glance. I chuckled to myself because it was not the first time I had experienced the 'sizing up' that occurs when people find out I work in the fitness industry. 

This is the type of thing that used to drive me mental. I would think: you're not asking about my certifications, about my clients, about my business that has been running for 8 years, about my approach, about my results...and these days I don't even go there. Why would I? To see if I fit into someone else's belief of what a trainer should look like? Waste-o-time.

I deal with this by practicing what I believe, that letting myself get down based on someone else's insecurities does not help me be better in any way. Sometimes I give myself a mental pep talk if I feel like any external judgements could be seeping in, causing me to question myself. Not on my watch! NEXT!

We twist what others say to fit our own insecurities.

Just as the judgements of others come from their insecurities, we can twist innocent comments made by others to fit our insecurities. 

Let's say we have an insecurity about our exercise habits. Maybe this is an area you struggle with and you're working actively to get more consistent in this area. So you are heading out for a workout and your partner makes a comment like 'you're going to workout? Oh, that's good!'

We can take this completely innocent comment and twist it into anything we please. We can make it mean 'I struggle to workout regularly and now you are noticing and drawing attention to the fact that I am finally getting to the gym' when really this person simply was trying to be encouraging. 


Knowing our own insecurities is important (we all have them!) and this helps uso call our own selves out when we are twisting the comments of others to fit what we struggle with.

If you think you're more than a body, BE more than a body! 

This definitely describes my journey in the health and fitness field. I've gone from spending tons of energy and effort on my body composition to working at striking a healthy balance so I can enjoy all parts of my life. I grew tired of focusing on body composition all the time when I knew that the most powerful things I've learned come in the area of personal freedom and ownership. 

If you want people to know that you're more than a body, then BE more than a body. Talk about subjects other than how you look or how others look, pay more attention to how you feel rather than what your body looks like in the mirror.  

At the end of the day, we can't judge a book by its' cover. Strength, health and being fit looks completely different on everyone. I've been slimmer and physically weaker and have also worn a bigger pants size and been able to lift more weight. 

I've experienced changes in my body composition over the years and it has been a long journey to truly believe that I am not worthy of more based on what my body looks like and neither are you. The sooner we recognize that body composition is not a reflection of worth, the easier it becomes to take care of our bodies with love, consistency and joy. 

Next time you find yourself in a situation where there are comments made about your body, do your best to forgive the other person right away (this can happen in your head, not necessarily aloud, haha!) they may be acting from their own insecurities, they are human, and we may be twisting what they say anyways! If there are words shared that are hurtful, do your best to see that hurt people, hurt people.  

Prioritizing our mental game is important for experiences just like this. Rather than develop a thicker skin, I think we need to be more compassionate with ourselves and with others. 

You get to decide your worth and it is certainly not based on the comments of others or else we would need a constant feed of 'you look great' to feel good about ourselves. 




10 Reasons Why Women Need To Lift More Than 10lbs

October 18, 2015

Last week I spent seven glorious days leading a fitness retreat in Nicaragua. There were 18 women in total and we spent our days sweating together, chatting mindset and enjoying the Nicaraguan culture. 

The topic of strength came up over and over on our retreat. We talked about inner strength, outer strength and even being grateful for the crappy stuff we go through that leads to deeper strength. 

I heard it loud and clear. Strength is important to the women in my life. 

The challenge is that as women we receive a lot of conflicting messages when it comes to being strong. We value our resolve and we also enjoy being physically strong, but we're told lifting heavy isn't feminine. 


The point is that I believe working on physical strength goes hand in hand with creating inner strength, and personal resolve is the most life changing trait we can attain.

So this is about our minds and also about our bodies. 

In the circles I engage in this topic is not something we talk about regularly. We've moved beyond the inaccurate fears that lifting heavy somehow makes us less feminine (we define our femininity and it's about more than body parts). We love our muscles and we work hard to get them, because lifting heavy does not ensure we grow huge biceps (I wish that weren't the case). Genetics plays the biggest role here. Just like doing bodyweight leg lifts will not create lean legs, lifting heavy does not have the same results for every woman. Strength looks different on everyone.

How many hours we spend in the gym, how much we're willing to prep and eat, and the style of lifting you follow will greatly dictate the amount of muscle mass we have. 

I think it comes down to this: I lift weights for my health, for enjoyment, for physical results, to gain muscle mass and for empowerment. 

Lifting weights heavier than 10lbs has a multitude of benefits, and if you are one of the women with a genetic predisposition to gaining muscle easier than others, let's celebrate it! The benefits greatly outweigh any misguided fears perpetuated by the pop culture industry that lack scientific support and represent the body types of less than 1% of all women. 

I've picked my top 10 reasons why women need to be lifting more than 10lbs while completing our sweat sessions each week. Women are strong and capable and it's about time we start owning that in the gym too. 

1. Bone Density

According to the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research in Queensland, Australia two thirds of women will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetimes. We know that regular strength training with weights that bring us to muscular fatigue can prevent osteoporosis. New research shows that bone density can improve in women with existing osteoporosis when they begin lifting regularly, doing compound exercises like rows, presses, squats and deadlifts.

Seriously, can we smarten up? Lifting more than 10lbs is important for our long term health.

2. Exercise, especially lifting weights is empowering.

I think all exercise is empowering to a degree. Exercise that has us focusing on self care, physical ability and improving strength is extremely empowering. Exercise that has us trying to be skinnier, smaller, changing specific body parts and to fit into an unrealistic ideal perpetuated by 1% of the population is limiting, not uplifting.

3. Functional Strength

Functional strength refers to our ability to complete the activities of our daily life. Things like picking up children, carrying groceries up flights of stairs, chopping wood and moving furniture are all examples of functions our body requires us to do. 

Do you have children or furniture that weigh less than 10lbs?

That’s what I thought. Training in the gym is training for real life.

4. Leading by example.

There is a dichotomy when it comes to women and the physical activities we participate in. We say we want to be strong, but are fearful of gaining muscle mass. We say we want to look feminine (whatever that ‘looks’ like) and also to be ripped. We are encouraged to be demure and also driven.

My fellow lifting buddy Emily and I practicing yoga after our strength class in Nicaragua.

I say enough already. Let’s lead by example. We cannot get strong physically by lifting weights under 10lbs. Yes, strength training is a metaphor for life so get out there and pick up the next set of weights on the rack, you never know who you’ll inspire. It took only one woman to see me lifting out there on the weight floor with all the men and say ‘I want to do that too’ for me to believe I could start a business sharing my joy of lifting with other women.

5. Improved self-belief. 

The number of women I’ve worked with who have taken on lifting and let their new found strength permeate other areas of their lives is in the triple digits. These women have found better relationships, had the guts to have tough conversations, have stood up for themselves and created the careers of their dreams.

Physical strength begets mental strength.

6. Improved Insulin Sensitivity

This is a lesser talked about benefit of regular resistance training, as research in this area has only exploded in the last decade. Insulin is a hormone created by our pancreas, and its’ job is to take sugar from our blood stream and store it in our cells.

When we are not insulin sensitive, we can be on the spectrum of insulin resistance which is created when our body needs to release more insulin to do the same job as someone who is more sensitive to insulin. The extreme outcome of insulin resistance is called Type 2 diabetes.

Lifting weights regularly helps us to become more insulin sensitive. Studies are showing that strength training can help improve insulin sensitivity in those with Type 2 diabetes more than cardiovascular exercise alone.

7. Muscles 

This is the most superficial point I’ll make on this list. I like having muscles. They are part of my healthy, and yes, feminine body. The other nine points on this list highlight the health and mindset benefits of lifting, but having muscles is important to me, and to get them you have got to lift more than 10lbs!


This photo was taken when I was probably the most muscular I’ve ever been. I was training regularly, lifting very heavy and I love this picture.

8. Healthy metabolism

Muscles are some of our most metabolically active tissues. They require calories for energy to create movement and this means they rev up our metabolic rate significantly.

More muscle = a healthier metabolism. Using weight training as a means to gain muscle mass helps us to be more effective fat burners and to create a metabolism that can be strong for years and years.

9. Injury Prevention

When it comes to preventing injury, muscle mass can help us a great deal. Let's take running as an example. I have all my clients who are running medium to long distance races incorporate regular strength training twice a week. We do compound exercises like lunges, squats and deadlifts. Running places a great deal of stress on our musculoskeletal system, and we need the strength and muscle mass to absorb the impact we experience each time our foot hits the pavement. When it comes to training for your next event, rather than loading up your schedule with long runs, tempo runs and hill intervals, add more strength training and reap the benefits in the injury prevention department. 

Another reason why lifting weights with proper form and control prevents injury is due to our muscles being able to control our range of motion. Flexibility is important and healthy as long as we have the strength to control our range. Challenging our muscles with resistance helps to develop muscle that controls our range of motion in yoga class, while playing softball and while chasing after the kids. 

10. Grip Strength

If you’ve ever added strength training to your weekly exercise schedule, you’ve likely felt the burning fatigue that goes along with taxing your grip. Even when working on a lower body exercise like lunges, holding dumbbells in your hands improves our grip strength. 

Grip strength is one of the biggest predictors of how long we will maintain our functional independence. Opening doors, being able to pull ourselves up from a seated position and opening jars are all possible when we have a strong grip. 

Lifting weights over 10lbs greatly improve our grip strength. 


"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."

I hope this list has helped you to come to some conclusions about strength, lifting weights and the ironic messages that many of us women hear.

After thinking ahead to some questions that may come up, I want to address this: 

Can we get some of the above benefits by lifting less than 10lbs?

For some of the points it's possible, but will take much longer, and for others, the answer is no. Many women will not see muscle definition without lifting heavier weights. Of course there are injuries and travel plans that take us away from strength training, but misguided fear is another reason altogether. 

Get on out there and get lifting! 






What the heck is efficient exercise?

October 02, 2015

As a trainer I believe one of the most important aspects of my job is to manage my clients' expectations. There are expectations of ourselves, there are expectations of the body change process, there are expectations on others for how they may need to support us. 

We've ALL got expectations. 

But expectations do not always lead to action. Oftentimes it's the expectations that stop us up the most. We add strength training into our exercise routine and we expect certain outcomes. We start eating healthier and we expect our family to get on the train with us. For anyone who has attempted change, you have a good idea that nothing goes exactly as you expect it to. And holding on to those expectations keeps us stuck. When outcomes happen differently than expected we get down on ourselves, we beat ourselves up and we stop doing the actions that would lead us to the outcomes we really want. 

Here's an example: You start exercising and you (understandably) expect that you are going to see some results physically via a decrease on the scale or a change in the fit of your clothes. Maybe you've been killing it in the gym and trying to stick to the healthy habits you've always known about. 

A couple weeks in and you step on the scale or put on your jeans and UGH, there's like, no progress. Or the progress is so little, and it's really not what you expected. 

So you're deflated. De-motivated. And thus your efforts suffer. Getting your workouts in is not as exciting as it once was.

This is so common. But man is it ever frustrating, right?

When I have clients living in the expectation-frustration loop there are a couple tools I use to help them break the cycle. 

We start with looking at what they are doing for exercise. 

We know that more exercise is NOT better for results. More minutes on the treadmill and hours of activity each week does not equal body composition change. Why? Because more movement often leads to more hunger. And I'm not sure about you, but an increase in hunger for me means an increase in the amount of food I eat. 

I move them to a more efficient exercise model.

I love strength training, cardio intervals and metabolic conditioning workouts for this exact reason. We can get into the gym, get a great total body workout that burns a ton of calories and makes use of hormones like testosterone and growth hormone for more muscle building and fat burning benefits, and get out in 30 minutes. 

Efficient exercise is movement that challenges you, doesn't take up a ton of time in your day and helps you get results.

The best part about efficient exercise is that it happens more regularly. We are less likely to skip workouts due to fatigue or cancel sessions because we can't commit to the full hour. As such, efficient exercise sessions support a much more consistent exercise habit, and consistency is what makes the difference to our results in the long term. 

Here's an example of what I mean by efficient exercise. This video is a total body metabolic conditioning workout that only requires a couple sets of dumbbells to perform. Including warm-up and cool down it takes under 30 minutes, and it is HARD. 


To help you get on board with efficient exercise, I've created a printable PDF of this workout so you can take it to the gym with you. Click here to download. 

Moving towards an efficient exercise model changed my entire relationship with exercise. There was less guilt, less motivational run around and it takes me less activation energy to get to the gym. 

Time to sweat, 


P.S. Want more efficient workouts? Grab your copy of Lift Weights Faster including 180 conditioning workouts just like the one above. 



But what do you do for cardio?

September 28, 2015
Earlier this month I had the chance to catch up with and interview my training mentor Jen Sinkler. In case you haven't met her virtually or in real life, here's a little bit about why she is the bomb dot com. I have attended two conferences where Jen was a speaker this past year and to say she has influenced my training style is an understatement. I have worked out with her on the beach in LA and taken in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina to hear her speak about creating an authentic social media presence. 


Jen, myself and Jill Coleman on the beach in LA. 

The woman is on a mission, and one I support wholeheartedly. Jen is out to lead by example that getting stronger on the inside and outside is far more important than shrinking to fit into a small ideal of what women's bodies should look like and how they should exercise.

During our interview we chatted all things training from what conditioning workouts are all about, to creating killer circuits and even the fact that when our quads get bigger it really means that our jeans become inferior, NOT the other way around.
My favourite question of the whole interview came when I asked Jen about the title of her conditioning library "but what does Lift Weights Faster mean?" 
She went on to say that she was asked constantly about her training regimen and 'what she does for cardio?' 
Her answer? I lift weights faster. 
Before we get entrenched in discussing my favourite way to sweat, I want to address a common question that comes up when we go deeper with training methodology and different types of workouts. 

What is the best kind of workout?

There is no perfect workout. 

Why? Because we are all so different. What works for me may not be the ideal formula for someone else. We have different body types, different goals, different stresses and different schedules. 

But what I do know is this, if you do not know what works for you or if you are frustrated or de-motivated with where you are at, you have got to try something. Having a plan or program laid out for you is the best way to go when you want to make a shift. 

And for women a few factors determine why we are frustrated with exercise and not seeing results. Either we are not working enough large muscle groups when we train so we do not create a stimulus for our body to change or we do not have enough intensity. 

The answer is to add metabolic conditioning to our weekly workout schedule. 
Metabolic conditioning is when we incorporate basic bodyweight or strength training exercises and add pace and intensity into the mix. Rather than traditional strength training where we focus on fatiguing our muscles only, metabolic conditioning challenges our muscles and our cardiovascular system. 
Unlike traditional steady state cardio, there is more load on our working muscles. 
You can think of metabolic conditioning as a hybrid of cardio + strength.

Or my clients would say the easiest way to explain it is this ---> Breathless + Burning

Get the picture?

We do metabolic conditioning for a number of reasons. It improves our ability to deal with lactic acid, it helps us burn body fat, we build muscle, it is an extremely effective and efficient way to exercise and um, it's fun! 

During our interview, I took the liberty of asking Jen all about metabolic conditioning (she is quite the expert on the subject) and how she uses it in her weekly schedule. You will not want to miss the part when we talk about fit girls and jeans half way through the interview.

The take home message is that you will do exercise that you love to do and if you do not love traditional cardio, then you can get heart healthy, fat burning benefits from metabolic conditioning tooDoing metcon workouts is not going to make you a great runner, but if you're not a cardio lover there is another way to get some of the benefits of traditional cardiovascular training. 

Many of you love to run and I am certainly not telling you to give it up, but am asking you to consider a sprinkle (or landslide amount) of metabolic conditioning in your life as you may just fall in love with it like Jen and I have!
Get on out there and sweat,  




Show Notes:


- Be sure to grab your copy of Jen's Lift Weights Faster conditioning library featuring 180 metabolic conditioning workouts HERE.


- Jen refers to a blog post about halfway through our interview and you can read it HERE