kierstyn

New day, new beginning

I always talk about how I’ve learned a lot of things over the course of my fitness journey… and I have- without a doubt. But I’ve also learned a lot over the course of my life’s journey- one I’ve been on for 22 years. The one thing everyone always warns you about is not to wear your heart on your sleeve. To be honest, it’s in my very nature and I can’t help it. To give 110% no matter what. To do everything in love. The only problem? By doing that, you leave yourself susceptible to getting hurt. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.

No one is ever going to prepare you for the things life will throw at you and until you are fully comfortable with yourself and who you have become, you most likely won’t be able to handle it like you want to. Life is deceptive- things can seem perfect and all of a sudden you’re hit with the truth. You’ll never be fully prepared for that.

I’m still learning about myself. I’m still working on being the best me I can be. I made a post this past week about being a work-in-progress and sometimes it feels like I will always be one. You know what? That’s okay. I’m not perfect, nor can I be moulded to be. This past week has been a very hard week for me… but I’ve become such a strong woman which has helped me deal with it better than I ever thought I could. I am most definitely still struggling and I still have lows- very low lows. I don’t want anyone to think that I have my whole life together because I most definitely do not. I’ve found though, that if you live every day truthfully to yourself, the end result will always be inner happiness.

The moral of this post (I know it always seems like I’m rambling about some random life philosophies or nonsense of that sort) is that when life throws something at you, try your best to be prepared. How on Earth am I supposed to do that, Kierstyn? Focus on yourself. Focus on being the best person you can be and always live life to the fullest. You can’t stop things from happening to you BUT you can choose how you view everything that does happen to you.

I’m choosing to view my current circumstances as opportunity. Opportunity to focus on myself. Opportunity to follow my heart and my passions. I know what I need in my life better than anyone else and the only way to get to the root of that is to spend some quality, much needed time with myself. I still have so many uneasy feelings right now but the most important thing is not to run away from them. There is no use burying those feelings only for them to resurface later. I just constantly remind myself that each day things will get easier and I will get stronger.

Every day is a new day, a new beginning.

kierstyn

I’m not perfect. I’m a continuous work-in-progress.

When you constantly try different things but find you’re unable to do them, it’s incredibly disheartening. Having an injured knee has affected me in more ways than just physically and that is something I am working on every single day.

It took me 21 years to finally start caring about my physical health which then lead me to begin caring about my mental health. 21 whole years. Then when I found it, I became so passionate about it. More passionate about it than pretty much anything else in my life. What I didn’t realize was that I was pushing myself too hard, wasn’t stretching properly and thus I ended up injuring myself. Now, it hurts to walk, let alone do squats and burpees (which believe it or not, I love so much). You don’t realize how lucky you are to be able to do the things you do until you can’t anymore. Every day is a constant battle between trying to find exercises that work for me as well as sticking to my healthy eating plan. It’s super difficult when you have no motivation to eat healthy because you can’t workout to the extent you used to.

Luckily for me, this has given me the opportunity to experiment. Experiment with new recipes (I just made the best lemon chicken I have ever made for dinner last night!) and new exercises which accommodate for my injury. I’ve surrounded myself with people who consistently support me. I continue to do the things I love- like going to axfit- because Danielle helps foster the motivation I have inside me and gives me the tips I need to help accomplish my goals. I made the decision not to give up the things I love the most because those are the things that keep me going.

If I told you that I wasn’t struggling, I would be lying. I struggle every single day. What’s more, I’m not perfect. Not even close. I’ve just made a commitment to loving myself, taking care of my body and working on my goals. I know it seems like I’m the woman who has it all together and everything is just peachy… but don’t for one second think I didn’t bust my ass to get here. I’m a continuous work-in-progress, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve set the building blocks in place for living the best life I can, I just have to continue to work at it and do the best thing I could possibly be doing in any given situation.

No two people are alike, and your fitness journey isn’t going to be like anyone else’s. I learned this really quickly when I had to change up everything I knew to accommodate my circumstances. BUT this doesn’t mean you can’t change your life… every day is your day. Make the most out of it. Ask questions. If you REALLY want it, it will happen.

– K

kierstyn

My Project 333

No only was Squats Over Sweets an opportunity for me to document my fitness journey (which is all that it was at first), it became an opportunity for me to show my growth and evolution in life. I learned more about myself in the last 11 months than I have learned in my whole life. I started focusing on what was important to me. I started focusing on my relationships with others. I started focusing on me.

Part of this lifestyle change came a new way of living: minimalism. Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom according to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (who some of you may know as The Minimalists!) It’s an opportunity to get rid of the excess in your life. Learn all about what they have to say here.

While researching minimalism, I came across a concept called Project 333 which all started with a woman named Courtney Carver. Essentially, you choose 33 clothing items and you wear only those 33 items for 3 months. HOLY CRAP. ONLY 33 ITEMS. THAT’S CRAZY. At first I thought so too, but I’m about to finish month three and I would never go back.

We get so caught up in materialistic items that we forget what’s important. We become so engulfed in this consumer world of ours that we tend to feel overwhelmed and fearful. By getting rid of the things in your life that don’t provide you with value, you no longer worry about things you don’t have to.

The rules of Project 333, which are directly from the Project 333 website, are as follows:

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

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When I did this, these were the items I kept:

  1. White lace dress
  2. Black dress
  3. White and black dress
  4. Blue dress
  5. White tank top (casual)
  6. White tank top (dressy)
  7. White polka dot blouse
  8. White sweater
  9. Grey 3/4 length sleeve shirt
  10. Blue button up
  11. Light purple blouse
  12. Black t-shirt
  13. White blazer
  14. Grey Blazer
  15. Black Blazer
  16. Black cardigan
  17. Black sleeveless blazer
  18. Grey skirt
  19. Black skirt
  20. Black dress pants
  21. Black leggings
  22. Dark blue jeans
  23. Winter Jacket
  24. Tribal scarf
  25. Casual grey pants
  26. Black boots
  27. Running shoes
  28. Grey casual shoes
  29. White flats
  30. Black purse
  31. Black shorts
  32. Tan shorts
  33. White capris

The amount of relief I felt when getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in years was incredible. It was so refreshing!

On top of this, I have also taken on the challenge of reducing my room to only the things that provide me with the most value. It meant getting rid of a lot of items that were just….. stuff. I don’t have a worry in the world about making sure my life is organized because it feels like it is 100% of the time.

I’m not saying everyone should be a minimalist, but I am saying you should give it a try or do research on it. Education is key. Let it help you see the value in your life. Let it help you make a positive change! For more information on minimalism, check out the Minimalist’s website. For more information on Project 333, check out that website too!

– K

 

Dominika

Perspective & Prioritizing

Life, as we know it tends to get busy sometimes, or all the time. When it gets really busy we often hear the phrase “I don’t have time for it/that/them etc.” I too would often use this phrase, until I saw a phrase online that said, “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘It’s not a priority’ and see how your perspective changes.”

Since reading that (little over 6 months ago) it truly changed my perspective on what I prioritize in my life. Anytime I would think “I don’t have time for that” I caught myself and said “It’s not a priority.” And then I would ask myself “Should I make it a priority?” Believe it or not, this simple saying made me realize what I DO need to make a priority in my life. It helped me to make time for important aspects including fitness, studying, family time, work and blogging. More importantly, it helped me ensure I am not wasting my time on unproductive things. It made me focus on my goals and work hard to achieve them.

Sometimes reading a simple phrase online can truly improve your life for the better. You don’t need to purchase a new workout guide, fancy equipment or luxury items. All you need is to put things into perspective, sit back and ask yourself, “What is my priority in life?” Write all of these things down and from there you will realize what you put the most time and effort into. If you feel you need to put more time and effort into another aspect of your life (family time, significant other, healthy lifestyle, traveling etc), then cross some things off of your list.

You can truly do anything you set your mind to. Sometimes all the motivation you need is as simple as changing your thinking.

Happy Sunday and remember to take care of yourself.

-D

kierstyn

SOS Let’s Talk: Valene Walters

Hey everyone! It’s Kierstyn! I have had the honour of knowing and working with Valene Walters for the past five years and I can tell you right now… she is one of the most optimistic and encouraging people I know! I asked her the same questions I asked Santo and Joe in their interview here and these are her answers!

  1. How did you start your fitness journey and what made you want to start?

My fitness journey formally began 2 years ago, January 2015, prior to the gym I was active in sports. It was January when I officially committed to a workout routine (BBG)/ the gym in general and have been addicted ever since!

  1. How long have you consciously been leading a healthy lifestyle?

Over the past 5-7 years, since being done post-secondary education and realizing the true importance of eating and being healthy, I have worked towards a healthy lifestyle. A lot of things have changed in my life since high school, including my body and my metabolism. People don’t realize that you can be a “fat” “skinny person” contradicting right? But what is most important is the fuel we give our bodies. I didn’t change everything all at once, over the years I have maintained changes, reduced processed foods, sugary food/ drinks etc. and reverted to old habits to only begin again, but it is this mindfulness that keeps me on my journey.

  1. What would you say has been the number one change in your body physically? Mentally?

Fitness, and the gym has been a significant stress reliever for me. I cannot even begin to explain the positive mental benefits completing a workout program, that extra 10 minutes on the stair master or that work out you didn’t think you would make it through initially. Not to mention my new love for hot yoga! I feel so balanced when my food and fitness plans align. When I am sick or unable to commit fully to both, my mind and body feel the difference. Physically I am more confident, I am strong, and I am a reflection of my effort, energy and hard work. I am proud!

  1. What does a normal day in the life of you consist of?

I work a full time job as a Human Resource Training and Development Assistant, I have been a part time student for the last year, currently completing my last semester to obtain my Human Resources Certificate.

My days begin with my workouts at 6:45am (this morning thing is completely new to me, 13 weeks since I have switched…but who’s counting?) I work 8:30am-4:30pm but optimize the time I have during breaks and lunch to fit in those 15 minutes of cardio. I have class on Wednesday nights 6:30pm-10:30pm. What free time I have left is currently spent making dinners and lunches, focusing on my online class as well as night class, spending time with family and my boyfriend and trying new things!

  1. Is there any one thing you wish you could throw into your workout routine? A new hobby?

I am always open to trying new things but fear I do not have the extra time. I have a passion for Hot Yoga, but unfortunately due to the expense I reserve this as a “treat” where I wish I could incorporate it into my lifestyle. I know I need to stretch more, I feel this is often a reactive choice after an injury or strain in your muscles. I unfortunately have not found a routine to add into my daily workouts to improve flexibility but this is an ongoing effort for me.

  1. Who has been the most influential person in your life in terms of your fitness and health journey?

I would have to say the internet and Kayla Itsines. Most people who read your blog will recognize her name as she is the creator of BBG (Bikini Body Guide). The way she creates the workout plan, has created this community full of other empowered women, and supports you along the journey has been instrumental in my success.

  1. Do you have a favourite song that gets you in the workout mood?

I wouldn’t say a favourite song, I love a wide variety of music but electronic dance music is my favourite to run to as it is intense and I focus more on the beat than my breathing.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your view on taking supplements. How do you know which supplements are the right ones to take?

This is an area I know a lot of people get intimidated. I cannot stress how important it is for you to do your own research and become knowledgeable on your own before consulting others. It is also important to be aware of your fitness goals and the journey you are on, and what phase of the journey. For me I use multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Whey Protein Powder, Omega 3 Fish Oils, Amino Acids (BCAAS) as well as CLA. Each of these provides different benefits for my body. Below is a link for an explanation of the benefits each of these provide. Again I cannot stress the importance of doing your own research, I reviewed many sites before I established my supplement plan and have modified these numerous times based on my goals and progress or even brands.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/girls-guide-to-supplements.html

  1. How did you get into a healthy eating routine? What advice do you have for people who want to adjust their everyday diet to reflect healthier choices?

I decided to have a healthy eating routine before I committed to the gym, but once adding the gym to my routine it only got easier to want to eat better. It’s funny how they end up going hand in hand. For me, again knowledge is power. A friend explained to me “macros” a form of counting your food intake, but focusing on the breakdown of Fats, Carbs and Protein (macronutrients) with the focus shifting from calories only. After I began looking into this, it gave me a greater understanding that processed food, and junk food become empty calories, I was unable to reach my macros with balance and awareness. For anyone and everyone, all you have to do is start. Begin by cutting out sugar, reading nutritional labels, drinking more water, being truly mindful and aware of your body. I found a tremendous difference when logging my food, this gave me awareness of portions, of the real value each item I ate in a day would provide etc. I am not suggesting you change everything at once, for me I used to drink 1 pop every day, now I can’t even tell you the last time I had pop nor do I crave it. With time it gets easier, ask friends and family or coworkers to do a challenge with you! There are many options on the internet but if you have other people supporting you, encouraging you and empowering you, you are that much more likely to succeed. If I feel I am slipping and eating worse than usual, I will do a 3 day detox to reset mentally as well as a reset for my body.

  1. Why do you think that people today want to be healthy but don’t?

We live in a fast paced environment, 9/10 people will say there is not enough time in a day, that they are on to go, and without planning ahead the only food choices on the go are unhealthy ones. It is easy to make excuses than to put in the effort even if you have the best intentions. You have to WANT this, and work towards it every day. We think we cannot afford to eat healthy, but if you sit down and crunch the numbers it’s almost the same, if not cheaper to eat healthy. People become addicted to sugar, fast food and processed food from a very young age, I ask anyone to cut out all fast food for 21 days, no chocolate, no sugar, no cake, no donuts or muffins or pastry’s, no chips, no pop, no ice cream. If you do so, I guarantee you will feel better and upon reintroducing these things you will realize you don’t really enjoy them!

  1. Can you give two pieces of advice for someone who wants to change their current lifestyle into a healthier one?

As I have stressed a few times already, knowledge is power! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, learn more and do your research. Having an understanding of a balanced diet, a reasonable workout plan and changes to your body will help support you along the way. We have endless information to us available at our finger tips!

Establish your goals, and make sure they are realistic. Have areas you can benchmark and celebrate the little victories. It only takes 21 days to form a habit, create a plan and go!

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kierstyn

Sometimes you just need a little support

The best advice I could give to anyone who wants to change their life would be to surround themselves with a positive group of people. I have made a conscious effort to distance myself from negative people and attach myself to positive ones. When I’m feeling discouraged or want to give up, these are the people I turn to and they help pick me back up.

First and foremost, my mom encourages me to live healthy and supports all of my endeavors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her continued support. (Although she keeps a lot of junk in the house and temptations kill…..) She always asks me, “Should you reaaaaally be eating that!?” It’s that reassurance I need that she always provides!

Second, I believe it is truly a blessing to be able to share your love of health and fitness with someone. To be able to work towards leading a healthy lifestyle together. Finding someone who believes in you and supports your lifestyle is so incredibly important. A lot of what I have learned over the past 11 months came from Santo. Since we’ve started dating, he has enriched me with so much knowledge. He continuously supports my fitness journey and gives me the encouragement I’ve always needed. I will forever be grateful for his love and kindness.

Lastly, friends who share the same values as you are the exact kind of friends you need. Dominika and I started this blog because we have the same interests. She is the most positive and encouraging person and I am so grateful for our friendship. She’s given me so many tools to help me live a positive and productive life! Valene has been a constant support for me for 5 years. She reminds me that life is a blessing and that no matter what it throws at you, you can handle it. She helps give me the motivation I need to stick to my workouts and try new recipes! Smo makes sure I don’t eat “da bad sturf” and shares his knowledge with me about health and fitness related topics. I’ve learned so much from him in such a short amount of time!

Most of these people don’t realize the impact they’ve had on me. Most things they do may seem small, but to me, they are what keep me going. It’s the “I worked out this morning, when are you working out today?” The “Did you meal prep this week to help keep yourself on track?” It’s the “Okay, so you ate something bad. Tomorrow is a new day. One small set back isn’t going to derail all your progress.” These small things are what drive my motivation. I’m not just in this for myself, I’m in it for them too because although they support me, they have my endless support as well.

These kinds of people are those that you need to surround yourself with. Through everything you conquer in life, make sure that you have a few key people around you that support you endlessly. It’s their support that is going to keep you going.

support

– K

Dominika

Motivation

Many people think that motivation comes from reading quotes on Instagram and looking at recipes or workout videos on Pinterest. And true, these may lift your mood or give you inspiration on what to make for dinner Friday night- but before you know it, you’ve been scrolling for over an hour and you’re still lying on the couch in your sweatpants.

I found that the best mindset to have when it comes to being motivated is to just do it (nike reference?).

You need to clean your room? Do it. You want to cook a healthy meal for dinner? Get up and go to the grocery store. You want to workout and get active? Go put your running shoes on. With this mindset you get your goals accomplished quicker and more efficiently.

Motivation starts from doing. You can write a list of goals you have for the week/month/year and keep looking at that list day after day or you can just tell yourself “get up and do it now.” Once you start telling repeatedly telling yourself this, you will realize how many of those goals you can check off on your list. It can be as simple as starting to read a book. Just tell yourself to pick up your book and read the first 10 pages. Before you know it, you’ve read 10 chapters. Another example is cleaning your room. Tell yourself to put music on and just dust your dresser. Before you know it, you’ve vacuumed, mopped and dusted the entire house.

When you’re dreading to go to the gym for your daily workout, remember how energized you feel after and to just do it. Maybe try a new fitness class? Go with a friend? Buy new workout gear? Whatever will make you want to go- just do it. You will not regret going but you will regret not going.

Try applying this principle to your daily life and see where it takes you. See what you can accomplish.

The only person who can make you get up and do it is yourself. No one else- just you.

-D