Fit Commitment

4th March
2012
written by Sarah Loewen

This morning I was asked to speak to a Times Columnist Running Clinic group about nutrition. I tried in a very quick twenty minutes to do a 30,000 foot fly by version of what is needed to fuel our essential vehicle for life.

I decided to focus on four key cornerstones to good wholesome eating.

The first is to keep it simple. If I have to hear about yet another complex elaborate diet book, I really will scream. As boring as it might seem the Canada’s Food Guide really has all the information you need.

The second is to focus on what you need to eat more of, rather than obsessing about what you can’t. Deprivation doesn’t work. Hungry people do not make good food choices. Load up on fruits and veggies of assorted colours (nutrients create colour, so varying colour is a great way to get a variety of nutrients. Eat lots of whole grains – quinoa, millet, bulgar. Make low fat dairy selections and when it comes to meat, the faster the animal, the leaner the meat.

The third to grocery shop wisely. Make a list, never go when you are hungry and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store as that’s where all the essentials are.  The inner aisles are really a bit more evil.  Ramona Josephson, in her book The Heartsmart Shopper suggests segmenting your cart to help you buy proportionately. The biggest part of the cart should be filled up with fruits and veggies, while the much smaller child seat area helps you contain your meat and dairy selections.  Save the difficult to reach under section for sugar and oil, which provides a natural pause for you to consider your choice as you stow it below.

My last simple ‘feed me right’ cornerstone is to eat mindfully – something I am not particularly good at. Thoroughly chew all your food, and savour every bite. Try to avoid eating while doing other things, taking some time to become aware of how eating a certain food makes you feel. Today’s ultra plugged in lifestyle isn’t very helpful when it comes to paying attention to the wisdom of our bodies.

Trying to propel ourselves through life without eating well is much like trying to drive a boat when you have water in the gas line. It doesn’t much matter where on the horizon you have your sights set if your coughing and sputtering along. I hope these simple reminders help give you some ‘food for thought’ when it comes to fueling your life.

27th November
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

Today I am giving thanks.  Not because its American Thanksgiving and by some freak of nature I am a US citizen, but because I am really truly brimming over with gratitude for the generosity of those who support my work – the work I love as much as breathing.

This past summer, in a moment of what some called complete and utter insanity, I decided to buy five Pilates Reformers and set up shop in my garage.  And then you came.  You didn’t just come once, you’ve kept coming and you’ve brought your friends.  In two short months you have proven that I wasn’t so crazy after all.

I want to thank you all from my heart and soul for the joy you have brought to me and my life by supporting this passion. Thank you also to my true blue friend Christine who made the epic road trip to Seattle and loaded the entire contents of my new studio in her truck.  And a special thank you to my amzing daughter who not only endures our house being taken over by fitness equipment, but gets dinner on the table so many nights whilst I’m getting y’all to crunch that transverse abdominus just one more time.

Thank-you.  Thank-you.  Thank-you.

16th October
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

We all know the story.  Diets don’t work.  There are a million reasons not to exercise, yet deep inside we long to be more fit, more active… healthier.  What we aspire to and what we are remain miles apart.  We say one thing, yet keep repeating the same old patterns, producing the same old results.

I’ve been delving into a new approach: Coaching, and its remarkable.  I’m looking for for eight people who truly long to lead a healthier more active life, but after repeated attempts have been unable to sustain. I am offering a package of six sessions at a significantly discounted rate, $25.00 per session or $150 for the package.  For this particular offer, you need to be available for half an on Saturday afternoons in late October and November, and be able to connect via Skype, so yes we can do this from anywhere!

If you, or anyone you know is interested, please let me know ASAP by emailing me at sarah@loewenbehold.ca or call me at 250.733.0763

19th August
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

I’m hosting a Pilates Party, much like an Open House, on September 10th to welcome my new Pilates Reformers, and you. :)  Come and try a free class, watch a demo and pop a party balloon for your chance to win a free five class pass. I’ll also be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Yoga, Pilates or Fitness.

Plus… its a party, so I promise some lovely non alcoholic bubbly, or lemon water, and a healthy indulgence of my favourite treat, but you’ll have to come to see what it is.

Space is limited to five for the free classes, so do let me know via email sarah@loewenbehold.ca, or phone (250)733-0763 if you would like a spot.

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

2838 Gregory Road, Shawnigan Lake, BC

Free Sampler Classes (30 minutes each)

Pilates Reformer – 10 AM and 2 PM

Pilates ARC, and Small Apparatus 11 AM and 3PM

Reformer Demonstration – 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM

Check out my ad in the Shawnigan Times:

Loewen Behold – August 28 _78-1

Pilate on!

19th August
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

For all of you in the vicinity of my Shawnigan Lake Studio, here is my class schedule for the Fall.

Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
9:00 – 10:00 AM Reformer
10:00 – 11:00 AM Better Your Bootie +
Awesome Arms and Abs
6:30 – 7:30 PM Reformer Yoga Pilates Body Blast Reformer Reformer
7:30 – 8:30 PM Better Your Bootie Reformer Reformer Yoga Pilates

Reformer (Small Group Personal Training) –  Re “form”yourself.  Literally. The Reformer makes a dramatic impression when you first see it, and an even more dramatic change in your body when you use it. Lengthen and tighten muscles from top to bottom like never before in this small group personal training session.  (Max 5 people)

Better Your Bootie
Everything you’ve asked for! This strength based class will include exercises for your whole body, but promises to target where you want it most. Be prepared for balls, bars, bands and pretty much everything we can dream up to ensure you feel these muscles in new and enlivening ways.

Body Blast – Only time for one class in the week?  We’ve put everything into this hour and promise not a moment will be wasted. We’ll blast every muscle you’ve ever wanted in ways you’ve never dreamed of, using all sorts of equipment. Results, results, results.

Yoga Pilates Blend– We know how busy life is, so we’ve combined the very best of Yoga and Pilates into one class.  Strength, flexibility, stress relief and abs of steel.  This truly is one stop shopping.

Rates

Drop in – $10.00 Class

10 Class Pass – $75.00

Reformer  (Small Group Personal Training) –
$20.00/class  (Group Maximum is 5)

10 Class Pass – $150.00

One on One sessions are also available.  Inquire for prices and schedule.  For further info call or email Sarah at (250)733-0763 or sarah@loewenbehold.ca

4th June
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

Help me out here. I’ve been working with many of you for over twenty years, yet after endless squats, crunches, curls, and copious amounts of kale, lettuce and spinach you still tell me you don’t feel like you don’t measure up?  Why?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m right there with you, Together, we must stop measuring our fitness levels with measuring tapes, scales and calipers, or comparing ourselves to others, and instead guage our health by how we truly feel.

At the end of the day no one cares what we weigh or what our percent of body fat is.  We all want those we love to be healthy, vibrant and happy, so why can’t we want the same thing for ourselves?

10th April
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

I was asked to speak to a group of Times Columnist 10K clinic runners early this morning. They wanted some strategies for keeping moving beyond race day. Here’s a summary of what I think I said. :)

1.  Be whole in your approach. Consider body, mind and spirit. Maybe bootcamp or kickboxing isn’t the best choice after a day of traffic and tension at work. Stress and our ramped up lifestyles have a profound physiological affect on our bodies. Yes, those activities are great, but find ways to also soothe your soul and quiet your mind.

2.  Variety is the spice of life. Your body physically needs a variety of activities including cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. By mixing it up you can prevent boredom and help keep yourself moving, uninjured, in the long term.

3. Be active for all the right reasons – because of how it makes you feel, not how you HOPE it will make you look. If you are sweating and grunting in the hopes of looking like one of those perfect genetic freaks of nature you see in a magazine, then you’ve got a lifetime of disappointment before you. Exercising to feel great and improve the quality of your entire life is a guaranteed route to success.

4. Use the KISS (Keep It Simple and Sensible) principle when it comes to nutrition and weight management. I once had a client come running up to me proudly pronouncing how a certain diet forbade eating carrots because of their sugar content. Pleeeease, I think we all know carrots are not the problem.

Eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink lots of water. Chances are the rest will fall into place. Let go of the complicated, nonsensical, fad diets. They don’t work.

5. Remember the Fun Factor. I don’t know about you, but running on a treadmill indoors while watching CNN does not bring me great joy. I love gyms when I am injured (like now), or when there is a foot of snow outside, but if this is all I did, I’d loose my marbles. Okay maybe I already have.  Running it the forest, beams of light piercing through the branches of Douglas Fir, varied thrushes calling to each other… the feeling of my feet on the earth… that brings me great joy, and keeps me coming back, time after time. Take the time to find something you love and give up on the things you don’t.

6. Pay attention to your body. It has all the answers.

You know those times when you ate too much? Sitting there wishing you could undo a button, or change into some sweats? Had we really truly listened to the signs earlier, we would have known we were about to overdo it. Or for me its those times I am running down the road with an ache in my IT band, insistent despite the discomfort.

Why is it I don’t hear the signs until my body screams so loudly I am stopped in my tracks? When you figure out how, let me know.

7.  Your commitment to a healthy balanced life should be a way to build not berate. NEVER use exercise as punishment for something you ate or didn’t do. You will inevitably turn it into something to dread, a penance for your sins.

8. Make sure to balance action and performance goals. Performance goals, like running a 10K in an hour, can be great motivators, until your performance is less than what you hoped. Twice I have missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by less then 2 minutes and both time the fact I had just run 42.2 KM was lost in my disappointment. How stupid is that?

9. Use the ‘argument’ as a cue to get moving. How much time do you spend arguing with yourself about whether or not you should exercise? Oh I have to. But its raining. It will be good for me. But now its pouring. This is important for my health. The puddles are ginormous and my feet will get wet.

The very instant you find yourself doing this is the exact moment you need to lace up your shoes and head out the door. You will never look back and regret the fact you exercised. Expend your energy moving, not debating.

10.  Move Your Body, Move Your Life. Your body is the vehicle for living your life. It is the home of your mind and your soul, without it you have no life. Its the greatest gift you’ll ever own. Use it every chance you get.

24th March
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

My daughter makes the yummiest chocolate chip cookies in the whole World, and pretty much everytime she bakes them I ask her to throw in some ground flax seed. She raises her eyebrow, like only a teenager can and proceeds to make them her own way.  Invariably they turn out better than ever before.

Today I had a hankering for a chocolate chip cookie, but my healthy fitness pro (used-to-be, -want-to-be-again, maybe still-on-the-side-fitness-pro) voice, you know the one in your head (well maybe its only in my head), insisted I find something with flax seed in it.  After all heart disease is rampant in my family.

So, I bought some ultra healthy thing that really was some form of cardboard masquerading as a cookie. Terribly dissappointing. Not at all satisfying. And it cost like four bucks. What a rip.

I have come to the conclusion there are times for flax seed, like in my morning smoothie, or in bananna bread. There are even times for hemp hearts, particularly on yogurt, or cereal. But there are also times for purely wonderful delicious, ultra satisfying cookies sans flax, or other grains.  And if I have a yen for one of those, then I best eat one and enjoy every crumb, rather than trying to turn it into something it isn’t.  (Isn’t that a good metaphor for life?)

There is an 80/20 rule in eating. If you eat the right things 8o percent of the time, then letting ‘er rip a little 2o percent of the time is probably not going to kill you.  In fact it might even save you from devouring an entire chocolate cake, or something like it, at two A.M.

I am coming to believe the solution to satisfaction is three fold. Pay attention to the signals.  What do you really want?  Ask yourself, how are you going to feel after?  Pick the very best of whatever it is and enjoy.

Look at it. Touch it. Smell it. Hold it. Bite it. Roll it on your tongue soaking up every delicious moment of having it in your mouth. Revel. Save the flax for another time and let go of the guilt.

Life is precious, and all too short.

15th March
2011
written by Sarah Loewen

Its Spring here.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  In part because I spend inordinate amounts of time preaching about how winter here is really only a couple of days, not an entire season, but mostly because the snow has thankfully changed to rain.  Perspective is interesting; Isn’t it?

And so today I’m walking (No, that’s not a misprint.  Will someone please convince my Illiotibial Band to stand down from its valiant protest) through the forest tiptoeing on rock islands in a running steam of water that’s normally a trail, when it occurs to me this avoidance dance is ridiculous.  Particularly given rain is falling from the sky, and dripping from the canopy of Douglas Fir.

So I decide to screw it and begin walking like I normally would in the absence of liquid sunshine.  I feel myself smiling, and not just my face.  The feeling of grinning way deep inside is soooo worth the wet socks and shoes, and far surpasses any sterile satisfaction I have found whilst pumping away on indoor cardio equipment.

In what ways can you use fitness as a training ground for fun and play in your life?  Go ahead – tell me. :)

12th December
2010
written by Sarah Loewen

I completely fell off my yoga mat in September. As in falling off the wagon kind of falling.  I started a new job with a commute long enough for two travel mugs and a thermos, consequently somehow over 20 years of practicing nearly every day just vaporized. 

I have to tell you it hurts in ways I never imagined.  It hurts in my hips, the sides of my legs, my neck and my back.  Its as though I aged 10 years in three months.  I swear.  I have come to believe all people over 40 should do some sort of yoga every day, and so today is my first day back.

Coincidentally, I had two different conversations with two different people today about beating themselves up over falling off of the exercise wagon.  I am here to tell you it happens, and its no big deal, you just get back on. Life is not over.  You are still a good person and people will still love you.  Just stop the berating voice in your head, you know the one (and if you asking yourself which one, that would be the one) and get back at it.  Channel the energy you want to use to beat yourself up into building yourself up.

On that note, I am about to go unroll my mat…

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