Once upon a time, I was busy. I worked full time, participated in not one, not two, but three team sports. I walked the dog, I cooked, I cleaned, I did the laundry and grocery shopped, I prepped meals for days in advance, I did it all! I was Superwoman and conquering the world. And then it happened, I had a kid.
Once my daughter came along, the entire world as I knew it changed. At the beginning it’s all about the physical world around you. You’re no longer working and are suddenly up two, three, four times a night to feed this screaming little “bundle of joy”. You’re tired, you eat anything that’s easy to grab with one hand, and you watch horrible daytime TV without even realizing you’re doing it. What you may not see immediately is that your emotional world has completely shifted as well. You’ve put this new tiny person before yourself. Baby always eats first, sometimes two and three feedings go by before you even have time to drink your cold decaffeinated coffee. The fur-baby that was rapidly demoted to dog waits to go outside as patiently as she can, and when you stop long enough to notice what smells, you realize you haven’t had a shower in three days. Myself, I’d stopped working out regularly, ate fast, prepackaged and processed foods, and didn’t sleep nearly enough to get as much cleaning, laundry, etc… done in a day as I could.
Of course it gets better, but the theme stays the same unless you acknowledge and change it. The kid(s) is always going to be number one now, but part of making sure that you’re being the best parent you can be is to take care of yourself. That looks different in each of our individual lives. I chose to return to work on a part-time basis and I’m lucky that this was an option with my employer. Of course there are days where I’d do anything to be in a quiet office with a Starbucks, but overall I feel like I have found my balance.
My balance looks like this: I’m a full time parent with a little bit of help. We don’t have family living close by for assistance, so YMCA Child Minding sees my daughter twice a week. This allows me to get in two solid gym workouts a week, all my other workouts happen at home – that’s my “me” time. She participates in activities twice a week, and I try to schedule those on days where I’m already at the YMCA to give us some free time other days. We camp, hike, and bike as a family so she sees an active family lifestyle every day. Although she’s still pretty small (just two), I let her cook with me. I feel like this teaches her that we cook healthy meals together at home. I work three to four evenings when my husband gets home from work which allows me to still have time to be me instead of Mommy. I’m able to utilize my education and to socialize with adults and not have the conversation turn into whatever the heck Curious George got himself into that morning. I also let perfection go, I no longer live in a pristine house – it’s messy (not dirty!) and cluttered with toys. Now my home is filled with love and laughter, so that’s a trade off I accept happily.
What do you miss? What is it that you slowly gave up but didn’t even realize until now? What are you going to take time to do for you and only you?
Whatever your situation is, I’m here to tell you that you need, and I mean NEED to take that time for yourself. Life is really busy if you let it be, and finding balance is an absolute essential to having your life be a happy one.
As the summer winds down, a fair number of us we will be heading back into our favorite fitness classes. It’s going to be much busier than it has been all summer, and all of these people are going to be at different fitness levels. Pack your patience with your shoes and post-workout snack! We will have participants that have kept it up all summer, returning participants that enjoyed a summer off, and new participants that want to be the best version of themselves. As our classes begin to thrive, please take a moment to reacquaint yourself with five Fitness Class Etiquette Tips to make the experience smooth for everyone.
1. Arrive on Time – joining a class late* can be both distracting and unsafe. Please respect your fellow attendees as well as your instructor and arrive to classes a bit early or right on time. This will also allow you a proper warm-up, reducing your chance of injury. *If lateness is unavoidable, please go to the back of the class.
2. Choose Proper Footwear – closed toed shoes (running shoes, cross-trainers etc…) will provide a non-slip grip on the floor and any equipment utilized in your class. Ensure that your footwear is clean of all dirt and debris. If you wouldn’t wear it in your house, please don’t wear it in our workout areas.
3. Make your Workout Your Own – The instructor is there to guide you through YOUR workout; listen to your body and modify as you see fit. If you are going to modify your workout significantly from the instructor’s planned program, please move to the back of the room as to not distract others from the instructor’s guidance.
4. Socializing – should be done either before or after the class. Talking throughout the class can be viewed as disrespect to not only the other participants, but to the instructor as well. If you can talk, you’re not working hard enough!
5. Stay for the Whole Class – Flexibility is a large part of your overall wellness! Be sure to take the time to stretch out the muscles you’re worked. Not only will it reduce soreness in the day(s) after, but it will reduce risk for injury down the road.
We’ve all heard of the dreaded workout “plateau” but do we know how to avoid it? There are many different variables in every workout program that you can change to help avoid hitting that plateau and help your body continue to see the benefits of physical activity. The four basic areas in which you can change your workout come from the acronym F.I.T.T. – Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.
The body reacts differently to the different stimuli that you provide it. By changing that stimuli, you help the body avoid adaptation, thus continuing to achieve results.
Frequency – Changing the days you workout or how often
Intensity – Increasing weight when lifting, adding cardio intervals into your program, change your sets and reps to challenge your muscles in different ways and different energy systems
Time – Length of workouts; can work in conjunction with Frequency, try working out more days for less time, or less days for longer
Type – Change the style of cardio you choose (treadmill vs. bike), try a new fitness class, or learn a new piece of equipment
Remember, change is a good thing
Inspiration comes in many forms, for me music is a huge motivator. I’ve always been a musically inclined person, even if I didn’t know it. I started in elementary school playing the recorder, graduated to the clarinet for junior and senior high school, and I still play the clarinet today, mind you not nearly as well anymore. I have always been able to feel and move to the beat of the song but don’t be mistaken, I dance like Elaine from “Seinfeld”. There I go dating myself again.
Music is an expression of feeling or mood, even an expression of identity for some. I have several playlists that I listen to when working out, and they’re all based what my program of the day consists of as well as the mood I am in walking into my workout. I edit my playlists about once a month to update my motivation and keep from overplaying these delightful gems.
When I want to hit the cardio hard, I focus on pop music, whether it’s current top 40 or from another generation all together, if it makes me smile and want to dance, it makes the cut. This week’s current cardio-killer favorites include Justin Timberlake’s “Cant Stop The Feeling”, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears “Scream & Shout”, Nicki Manaj “Super Bass”, and Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”. Love them or hate them my friends, but they make me smile and move a little bit faster.
Weight lifting/resistance training is a completely different beast for me. My focus and mindset changes, as I suddenly have to pay close attention to my posture and form as well as breathing and core engagement. With so many more factors to be considered, I need something rock to focus.. My favorite lifting anthems right now include Rise Against “Prayer Of The Refugee”, Metallica “Better Than You”, and Social Distortion “Story Of My Life”.
Cool down and stretching are important components of fitness that are forgotten or skipped quite frequently. I have made my self an amazing chill playlist to enjoy at the end of my workout to inspire me to stay those five minutes longer and work on my balance, range of motion, and relaxation. Current favorites include The Gaslight Anthem’s “Bring It On”, Pearl Jam’s “Release”, and Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.
I’m pretty passionate about both wellness and music, so I’m elated that the two can go hand in hand for me. I feel like my musical tastes are a part of me and I’m happy to share a snippet of myself in the form of musical identity with you. Take the time to build a stellar playlist. Keep a list in your “notes” app on your phone of songs you hear and decide you love so you can download and add it later. Something that makes you want to dance, sing and have a great time. It’ll brighten up your day, kick up the intensity in your workout, and leave you feeling refreshed and in a better mood walking out of the gym.
Shake it Off!
Part Two – Putting One Foot in Front of the Other; the Beginning of Cardiovascular Wellness.
Getting yourself moving sounds like an easy step, but for someone who is beginning their wellness journey for the first time, or someone who is starting to work out again after some time off, it can be really daunting.
Try Different Things The first place a beginner heads to when they walk in the door is the treadmill. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different things you can try when getting started, but overall the best place for anyone new to the gym is the place that makes you feel comfortable, safe, and secure. I’m a fitness professional, and the idea of hanging out on a treadmill for an hour sounds absolutely dreadful to me. The key to finding a successful cardiovascular program is to change it up and find something that you like to do. The treadmill might be your favorite place in the gym, others will find the elliptical, track, or bike your happy place. If you want to try something and don’t know how or are intimidated by it, please ask us! There are staff working in the weight room at all of our facilities and as active people, we would much rather talk to and help our members than sit at a desk!
Not Everyone is Built to Run Every single one of us is different. Our body’s physiology and genetic code plays a great deal into what our optimal style of workout is. There are different muscle fibres in each of us that will make certain styles of physical activity easier than others. If you absolutely dread long distances, try inserting some higher intensity intervals into your workout. An example of this is to run a lap, do a set of jumping jacks, running stairs, or jump rope etc… in-between resistance training (weight lifting) sets. So of you don’t like to run, don’t stress! There’s always something else to try!
Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone, and Stay Within It! An individual’s target heart rate zone (THRZ) is based on age. The easiest way to figure out your THRZ is with this basic equation: 220-(age)= Heart Rate Max (HRM) This is a number that we should aim to never surpass when doing cardiovascular activity. Multiply that number by .6 and you will get 60% of your HRM. Multiply that first number again by .8 to find 80% HRM. During your cardiovascular workout, you would want to monitor your heart rate and keep it between 60% and 80% of your HRM For example, if you were 25 years old, your math would look like this:
- 220 – 25 = 195 beats per minute (BPM) as your Heart Rate Max
- 195 x .6 = 117 BPM
- 195 x .8 = 156 BPM
This would mean that you want your heart rate somewhere in between 117 and 156 BPM during your cardiovascular workout.
Other Options Hiking groups, team sports or group fitness classes are an amazing way to sneak in a little cardio without even noticing it! It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you can meet new people who are living a healthy balanced life to help keep you on track. Here at the YMCA there are numerous different options to get involved in both aspects. There are registered and drop-in group fitness classes offered at every branch in the city. We also offer climbing wall classes, swim and aquatic fitness classes, as well as some sport options. These can differ from branch to branch, so check what is offered at your home branch. A lot of towns and cities have different recreational organizations to help people get involved with team sports as well. In Calgary, a great resource to check out the Calgary Sport and Social Club. You can join a sport by registering a full team, partial team, or an as individual to make up a full team.
Build the Habit If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged! It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes a stumble will happen. This is where you need to pick yourself up, dust off those hands and take another step. Think to yourself the number twenty one. 21. XXI. It takes twenty one days to build a habit. Twenty one days to notice a real difference in your physiology. Twenty one days. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll hit your stride. You’ve got this.
Step up your game with one of our new fitness & wellness classes at Saddletowne YMCA in 2016:
Obstacle Race Training
This is a great class to take whether you are looking for a program that will challenge you in different ways, push you past a fitness plateau or help prepare you for an actual Obstacle Race for the first or fiftieth time! This class will cover muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility and grip strength with a variety of drills that will take you out of your comfort zone and drive your fitness to the next level. In addition to studio, track and weight floor work, certain classes may include workouts on the climbing wall, in the swimming pool or outdoors to improve your fitness in a range of environments and modalities.
Mondays | Starts Jan 11 | 5:30-6:30pm | M $90 NM $126 | 9 classes | Barcode# 107157
Wednesdays | Starts Jan 13 | 6:30-7:30pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107158
Fridays | Starts Jan 15 | 10:30-11:30am | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107159
Are you passionate about sports? Do you want to build strength and stamina to improve your game? This class will provide sports-based exercises and drills to help you increase muscular strength & endurance, coordination, agility, quickness and stability to improve your sport performance. Exercises and drills will be determined based on the interests and needs of the group, according to their sport(s) of preference.
Thursdays | Starts Jan 14 | 7:00-8:00pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107161
Fridays | Starts Jan 15 | 5:15-6:15pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107163
Sundays | Starts Jan 17 | 5:30-6:30pm | M $90 NM $126 | 9 classes | Barcode# 107162
Are you tired of machines and dumbbells? This class will teach you about different training techniques and equipment that can be used to take your workout to the next level. Learn how to use things like Kettlebell, TRX and Battleropes with proper form and apply principles of HIIT (high intensity interval training) for optimal efficiency. Step out of the rut with Advanced Conditioning!
Tuesdays | Starts Jan 12 | 7:30-8:30pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107121
Wednesdays | Starts Jan 13 | 9:15-10:15am | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107160
Nutrition 101: 7 Keys to Eating for Good Health
Are you wanting to make changes to your eating habits but are unsure where to start? Have you tried dieting and found that you were left feeling hungry and unsatisfied? Are you aware of the changes you want to make but just need a bit of extra support getting there? Are you confused by all of the conflicting nutrition information and advice being dished out by the media?
If any of these situations apply to you, this is a course you won’t want to miss! Facilitated by a Registered Dietician, this course will introduce you to simple dietary changes you can adopt that will make the most difference to your health, along with practical strategies for doing so. The science behind the information will be explored to help clarify nutritional advice and dispel the myths. In addition, you will have the opportunity to keep a personal food journal and receive weekly feedback and support on your progress and challenges over this 8-week program to give you the best chances for success in reaching your goals.
Saturdays | Starts Jan 16 | 9:30-10:30am | M $80 NM $112 | 8 classes | Barcode# 111873
This Winter, make sure to reserve spots in our wide variety of Programs and Winter Break Day Camps!
You can always rely on YMCA Calgary programs to help promote healthy lifestyles and build spirit, mind and body for children, youth, adults and families.
Our Winter Programs will be available online by the end of the week!
Registration for Winter Programs begins:
- November 23 for YMCA members
- December 7 for the general public
Winter Day Camps – Need something for your child to do during Winter break? Winter Day Camp registration has begun! Sign-up your child for a week of fun at your YMCA location.
The kids had requested being able to make healthy chicken nuggets, made with home-style ingredients and no preservatives. They really enjoyed the outcome!
After splitting into groups the kids each got to try cracking eggs (only one went on the floor!), cutting up the chicken and using the oven.
Our NSTEP Healthy Eating workshop will be returning next month on march 14th 2015 and is open to all grade 6 members, to register simply email me with your name, phone number and any food allergy’s!
Youth Coordinator Shawnessy YMCA
Now that January is almost here, it’s a great time to resume a healthy active lifestyle. YMCA Calgary offers a variety of programs for all ages and fitness levels. You can still find all of your favourite programs plus get inspired with some new choices to keep you moving towards your 2015 wellness goals!
- Self Defense at Crowfoot YMCA
- Bellyfit® at Saddletowne YMCA
- Western Dance at Eau Claire YMCA
- Tae Kwon Do at South Health Campus YMCA
- Preschool Yoga at Shawnessy YMCA
Please call Member Services at your branch for more information and to register.
Fall is here. This means your family adventures need to have a little bit more preparation. May you be hiding behind that business suit, video game console, or TV screen, here at the YMCA we feel that you need to get out and experience new things first hand. At the Saddletowne YMCA, we want to help to prepare for the season of adventures ahead.
Will you accept our mission of adventure?
Let us help prepare you for your latest adventure through the Family Swim to Survive this Saturday, September 27 for our Community Wellness Day at the Saddletowne YMCA.
Family Swim to Survive is an introductory swimming program in which we will teach you how to: Roll into the water, complete a front and back float, and swim 50 metres. All with the help of a qualified instructor and a handy lifejacket!
Make sure to register for your adventure training: Family Swim to Survive by visiting Member Services the day of the event.
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