Burn Baby Burn

barre_workoutWhat woman doesn’t covet sinewy arms, a high and tight derrière, lean legs and a regal posture? In search of this dancer’s shape, many of us are becoming regulars at the barre…the ballet barre, that is. Over the last few months, I’ve become obsessed with Barre Fitness! Hello, new favourite workout! After suffering a running injury earlier this year, it was the perfect way to strengthen my body and get back into action.

Barre classes are a breath of fresh air for fitness fanatics who are sick of traditional workouts, exercise newbies who prefer low-impact activity, yoga- or Pilates-lovers looking to mix it up, or ex-dancers who’d rather die than go for a run.

These classes take you through a series of exercise moves designed to target certain muscle groups with laser-like precision. Arms, abs, glutes and thighs all get special attention. Rather than big, sweeping movements, you’ll do tiny maneuvers that you’ll repeat so many times your muscles will shake and burn. (Nobody’s kidding when they use the term barre burn!) Simple, but deadly. The repetitive movements fatigue the muscles, which forces them to adapt -building new muscle fibers and getting stronger. Depending on the day, you can step it up and really sweat it out with Cardio or Power Barre, sneak in a quickie with an Xpress Barre class, or take the more traditional Classic or Barre Fitness classes.

Photos: Barre Fitness North Shore

On first impression upon arriving at the North Shore Barre Fitness studio,  I was stunned by the beautiful space- bamboo floors; big, bright windows; and floor-to-ceiling mirrors; a gorgeous locker room with showers and towel service; everything about it feels airy and relaxing. And what I’ve come to love about the studio over the months I’ve been attending classes is that it gives me an outlet for stress and bad days. It’s a place to feel comfortable, in my element, at home. Not only is the owner, Norrie  Zaplatynsky friendly and fabulous, her entire staff is absolutely wonderful too. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a phenomenal group of ladies who attend class there, making the environment a truly welcoming one.

Live nearby and curious to try out a class? Buy the new client special and get two weeks of unlimited classes for just $40. Trust me, you’ll want to be a regular at the barre.


Just Lose It

After thousands of pounds lost, and an infinite number of tears, this week was the inspiring and touching three hour season finale of The Biggest Loser. I have to admit, of all the reality shows on television, this one sucks me in the most. I watch the contestants each week, as they set out on a journey to radically transform their bodies and their lives.

I started watching the show when I was at the gym. It often seems to be on while I’m running on the treadmill or givin’er on the stationary bike. Tears roll down my cheeks during every single episode, as I relate all too well with what the people on the show are going through. Have I ever been obese? No. Have I had to worry about my weight for as long as I can remember? Absolutely. I’ve been up and down and all over the place with my weight. It’s always a struggle for me and I have had to accept that it just always will be.

I’m nine weeks off chocolate and sweets. I’ve been keeping a close count of my calories and working out like a maniac. I’ve dropped close to 20 pounds since I started this little “diet,” which I began without any solid weight loss goal in mind. I know I’m never going to be a bone rack. I’m 5’9″ and I just don’t have a narrow, little build. I’ve also got knockers that don’t seem to want to go anywhere, no matter how much I wish they would disappear. I suppose my goal is to feel healthy, strong and fit; but the fact is, I have to be (a little) neurotic about it or it won’t work. I have to literally work my ass off. And I am.

Last night the lady in hot pink, 48-year-old Helen Phillips, took the top prize; her 140-pound weight loss was a higher percentage of her starting weight than that of finalists Tara Costa and Mike Morelli. The transformations of all of the contestants on the show this season were, in my opinion, unbelievable though. How adorable is Mike?

Tara Costa was my favourite contestant from the beginning of the season. She’s a charming young lady who carries herself really well. She is very easy to relate to and I found myself able to identify with many of her issues and struggles. Through the show, she’s been able to discover a new, healthy lifestyle, and she has found the self confidence to go along with it. In my opinion, she won this show in every way, shape and form that counted – except that last frivolous stipulation, “weigh loss percentage.” Tara dropped a total of 135 pounds in the competition. She looks absolutely incredible.

The Biggest Loser definitely gets its share of criticism and has come under harsh scrutiny for its unrealistic standards of weight loss. Personally, I think that the show needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I mean, it is reality television after all, people. Somehow, I don’t think the average 150 pound woman is going to try to duplicate an obese contestant’s 10 pound per week weight loss. What the show does do is demonstrate to the average overweight North American that they can exercise, eat less, and lose weight; because if the 400 pound middle-aged slacker can do it, who are we to say it’s too tough?


Photos courtesy of NBC

"Up In The Gym Just Workin’ On My Fitness"

Would you look at that sweaty glow? One very good thing about being on the road is that although the days can be very loooong, a gym is almost always just an elevator ride away- which makes getting my sweat on rather convenient. My daily escapes to the fitness centre in the hotels that I stay in while I’m away have really become what keeps me sane out here. True, it’s not always easy to fit a workout into a busy and stressful day. Often, it means waking up extra early, but there’s no doubt about it being worth it- and let me tell you, it sure helps with the stress factor.

One of my biggest inspirations to shape up recently has been stylish NonSociety babe, Mary Rambin. I discovered her blog a while back and I was instantly drawn to her fab fashion posts and of course, I could relate to her serious shoe addiction. I adored her head to toe videos. Before I knew it, I was hooked to her lifecast and began following it avidly. Not only is she a handbag designer (check out her designs here), spinning instructor (sign up for her class here), and totally awesome blogger, she’s also a seemingly down to earth and totally cool chick. Her regular posts about her workouts, and weekly tips have encouraged me to punch it up, and tone my booty too. It’s totally easy to become burned out with your workout. What I love about Mary is that she’s always suggesting new elements that you can add to your routine to have more fun and stay motivated to be active.

The fun fitness videos and sweaty self photos that she shares on her blog always make me want to lace up my Nikes and give whatever she’s trying a go. Mary says that, “Fitness is part of living a stylish lifestyle.” I couldn’t agree more. Now, I better get some shut eye so that I can wake up for my 6am workout.

Some photos courtesy of Mary Rambin

Mary reblogged my entry on her site. I’m so honoured! Look!

Running, Running, As Fast As We Can

It’s super easy to lose motivation during these winter months, so I thought it was time to turn up the heat! When I heard about Team Hot Years, started by Fo’ Sho Shawna and a crew of other totally hot babes, I knew that I had to pick up a Nike+ iPod sport kit, create a mini (to look just like me) and kick my hinny into high gear. The sensor fits into your shoe, the other part fits into your iPod Nano and together they motivate you to get your butt out there and run like the wind by tracking your workouts, telling you how far and how fast you’ve gone, and how many calories you’ve burned plus allowing you to join up with teams and create challenges for one another. After each workout, you upload your results, and then voila!…you can share your progress with your friends and teammates on Nikeplus.com then celebrate your accomplishments (or trash talk your competition). You can even download Nike+ Coached Workouts on iTunes, and let a pro like Lance Armstrong tell you when to speed up or slow down.

I completed my first workout with my new Nike+ this afternoon. It was more of a “test” than an actual run. I wanted to figure out how it all works before our big challenge starts tomorrow, so I set out for a walk in the sunshine, which ended up being just over 6 kilometers. I’m going to become obsessed with this thing. I can feel it already. This was also my first workout in my new shoes. The air cushion support in them is absolutely awesome.

I’ve really missed running. For years, I ran religiously. I trained for races and set goals for myself, taking great pride in achieving them. In addition to Shawna, who killed it in her first half marathon back in December in Vegas, Miss Melissa has also been a serious source of inspiration to me as I follow her runs and workouts via her blog and Twitter. Nothing pushes you to get out there more than seeing your friends’ success. That’s the whole idea behind the Nike + program. And it works.

I’ve always loved running. It’s something you can do by yourself, and under your own power. You can go in any direction, as fast or slow as you want, fighting the wind if you feel like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs

You can meet the ladies of Team Hot Years over here in the mini aquarium on Shawna’s blog.

Meet my mini below: