The one on the exhale…part II

Asthma Story_0In my last post, The one on the exhale…, I spoke about my history of asthma and the frustrating judgement I feel when people immediately connect the limitations of my lungs with my overall physical fitness. As I mentioned in that post, I usually try to avoid doing cardio in public because of the embarrassment I feel looking weak and out of shape while struggling to keep up.

A coworker recently invited me to attended a new class that was starting up at the gym. She describe it as being a mix of spin and circuit training and I thought I might check it out because at least on a spin bike I don’t need to worry about falling behind. The class, which is mostly attended by experienced endurance athletes, is by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

Don’t get me wrong, challenging is a great thing. The first couple classes we went through a nine-station circuit including kettle bell swings, ball slams, battle ropes, Bosu hopscotch and a slew of other things, mixed in with 15-minute sessions of intervals on the spin bike. I didn’t in any way feel strong throughout that 90-minutes, but I finished and felt accomplished for having done so.

This week, things changed a bit. The class was taken outside, which is something I had been dreading. All day at work I prayed it would rain so we wouldn’t have to do the class outdoors. Breathing outside is an entirely different scenario compared to inside. I suddenly have to contend not only with my usual exercise-related asthma challenges, but also with the environment. Allergens in the air, the wind, the temperature, humidity (or lack thereof) and a host of other factors all irritate the delicate bronchial lining of my lungs, leading to increased mucus production and airway inflammation.

The plan for the class was a trail run to a steep set of stairs, followed by stair sprints, some flat sprints then a trail run back to the gym for a spin session and a bodyweight circuit. I had kind of hoped there would be at least one person in the class who was not a runner, like myself, and that I wouldn’t be the only person holding everyone back. The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to myself. Unfortunately, that’s what happened.

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The one on the exhale…

asthma_inhalerPicture yourself at the gym, on a treadmill next to someone else. The person next to you doesn’t appear to be exerting that much effort but is red-faced, winded and wheezing. Most people’s first thought would be to assume that person is out of shape, maybe even lazy, especially if they happen to also be overweight. A lot of people avoid going to the gym because they assume these thoughts are rampantly playing through other people’s minds as they work out. For me, it’s why I avoid doing cardio in front of other people.

Anyone who knows I am a regular to the gym would assume that I am in shape, given that I have been a frequent gym goer for more than a third of my life. When I do cardio though, I become the dictionary definition of what so many people think of as “out of shape.” I wheeze, huff and puff and get red in the face while doing something as simple as walking on an incline or pushing the stepmill up to level 2.

Like 3 million Canadians and 15 million Americans, I am asthmatic.

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The one with a touch of guilt…

I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation I’m giving tomorrow and much of the sound advice I plan on giving to the audience are things I have been unable to do myself in the past couple of months.

The presentation is about social media marketing and is for those attending the WBFF seminar in Halifax tomorrow afternoon. I’m very excited about having the opportunity to share some of my promotions and public relations expertise with an audience but as I was writing down tidbits of wisdom I thought ‘wow, I suck’.

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Vb6: The start and the finish

Greetings Blogville.

Apologies for my absence. I’m certain it went completely unnoticed. LOL

In case anyone has forgotten (since it has been FOREVER) when I last wrote, I was still using the summer to play around with various styles of eating to see what works – and doesn’t work – for me. I had finished up my experimentation with Intermittent Fasting (which you can read about in the last couple of posts) and began the transition into Vb6, or “Vegan before 6”.

One of the valuable lessons I have learned over the course of the summer is that it’s really important to experiment to find out what works best for you. I also learned that there are plans that work for your schedule, plans that work for your body and plans that work for your goals. You may think that the last two are synonymous, but they’re not.

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IF: The Finale

I will start this post with a disclaimer – every person is individual and what works and doesn’t work for one person may not be the same for the next.

I see a lot of posts on social media these days relating to the way that people diet and train, making it out as though their way is the only way that works and the only thing you can do to achieve your goals. It’s just wrong. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to support a variety of different ways you can eat whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight or stay the same (and the same goes for fitness.) Ultimately, you have to go by trial and error to find out what works best for you and when you find it don’t be afraid to stick with it even if someone else says their way is better.

That’s part of the reason I have dedicated this summer to experimenting with different meal plans, different styles of eating because I don’t feel as though I’ve found the diet that best suits me. Yes, some of them have been effective but I wasn’t happy on them so it wasn’t something I wanted to stick with for the rest of my life. Regardless of what my goals are for this year or the next, I want to be fit and healthy for years to come and that means finding something that I can stick with both now and 25 years from now.

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IF: Weeks 1 & 2

I am two weeks in to my experience with intermittent fasting and want to give an overview of how things have gone since I transitioned into my new meal plan. I’ll start off with a bit of back story and some details about IF and what it is – so expect this to be kind of a long one.

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The one about experimenting…

If I were an animal, I would be a guinea pig.

Not simply because they’re cute little balls of fluff with the tiniest ears ever, but because I love to experiment and be experimented on (I can’t confirm that real guinea pigs feel that positive about it). It doesn’t matter what it is really, I’ve always been keen to stick up my hand and say “I’ll try it!” when given the opportunity.

A couple of years back my hair stylist expressed that she had never put hair extensions in before – so I got extensions. Trainer Cathy was always learning new things at CanFitPro conferences, exercises that even she had just tried for the first time – so I was the first to have them in my plan. I got a juicer for Christmas and my kitchen immediately became a scientific lab, attempting to find the ideal combination of fruits and vegetables to make the best juices without ever using a recipe – needless to say, a lot of vegetables died valiantly during the process.

That’s just the type of person that I am. It worked quite well for me in my career as a journalist because I was always eager to try something new for the sake of a story. In the case of this blog it has lead to product reviews and some soon-to-be-published reviews of aesthetic services. Now, through the process of getting stage ready for the WBFF 2014 season, it has taken me down a path of experimenting with the way I eat.

After discussing it with all-knowing, wise and beautiful Coach Krissy, this summer will be an opportunity for me to try new things and play around with styles of eating. I’ve always strongly felt that you can’t truly give your opinion about something without facts to back it up and the best way to make a fact-based statement is by having your own evidence. Now, to clarify, this doesn’t mean I’m going to be trying a bunch of fad diets – quite the opposite. This experiment involves eating styles: ways of eating that people consistently use on a daily basis. If it has a snappy moniker that ends with the word diet and it was introduced to the world through a NYT bestselling hardcover – you likely won’t find me trying it out.

First on the docket deals more with nutrient timing and frequency … intermittent fasting. I’m about a week into the new plan and ready to start writing about my initial experiences. Keep an eye out for the first of what will (hopefully) be many blogs about my experiment-filled summer! 🙂