Tag Archives: YMCA

How Parenting Changed Everything

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.


Clean It Up

Eating clean means different things to different people.  For some clean eating may mean a vegetarian or vegan diet, switching to gluten free, removing processed foods, or choosing organics.  For some, eating clean can be as simple as removing junk food like chips and candies from our diets.

Eating clean is subjective, and is based on what our current diet is.  For me, clean eating is all in the pronunciation.  Being able to pronounce all of the ingredients in what I eat, and knowing what each ingredient is.  When I think of clean, I always think of water, water washes away the dirt and grime on our cars, our floors, our clothes so it stands to reason water will wash the toxins out of our body as well.

Any change that you can make towards cleaning up your dietary intake is a positive one.  Remember that it doesn’t have to be a huge change, and that small steps forward are more successful changes than making a drastic change all at once.

Drink up!


The Four Core Values in Fitness

Weight-Room etiquette is basically the same at every gym or club.  At the YMCA we like to base our etiquette on four core values displayed prominently in every location across Calgary and Canada alike.  Following the basic idea of these core values both personally and within the facility allows all members to show one another the kindness of these core values in our workout areas.

Honesty – Personal – Listen to your body and acknowledge what your limits are; push yourself to those limits.  Hitting below won’t give you the results you desire, and above may lead to injury.  Facility – There isn’t a sign-up for our cardio machines as there once was, but we do ask that members honor the 30-minute maximum during busy or peak times when someone could be waiting.

CaringPersonal – Care for yourself by eating well, sleeping well, and creating a wellness balance in your life.  Facility –  allow others to work-in between your sets.  Working together can help build new relationships and friendships within our YMCA community.

RespectPersonal – Acknowledge that you are being the best version of yourself and stop comparing yourself to others.  Cherish the uniqueness that is you!  Facility – wipe down equipment after use, no one wants to use equipment that hasn’t been cleaned!  The staff and volunteer team has a cleaning list that covers all equipment in the gym and we do our best to keep things are clean as possible for member use.

ResponsibilityPersonal – Hold yourself accountable, don’t blame external forces if you stumble.  It happens to everyone; own it and move past it.  Facility – Clean up after yourself; put weights away, cable attachments back to where they belong, and take pride in being part of our YMCA community.

The YMCA prides itself on delivering four core values in our every day engagements.  As a member of the YMCA, we hope that you feel those core values every time you are in our facilities, as well as paying it forward to one another.

Be Well

 


YMCA Kids in Motion Food Drive 2016

YMCA Kids in Motion Food Drive

Each year, YMCA kids and youth collects thousands of pounds of food donations in multiple Calgary communities for the Calgary Food Bank. This summer marks the 16th Annual YMCA Calgary Kids in Motion and Day Camps Food Drive.

This year’s food drive will take place the week of August 8-12, 2016.

Pick-up dates:

  • August 10: Connaught, Millican/Ogden, Vista/Mayland Heights, Marlborough Park, Falconridge
  • August 11: Rosscarrock, West Dover, Inglewood, Albert Park/Radisson Heights, Huntington Hills, Arbour Lake, Sunnyside, Altadore, Somerset, Martindale
  • August 12: Auburn Bay

For more information, contact Blake Hinchey, Community Outreach DIrector at blake.hinchey@calgary.ymca.ca


Body Shape 101

Not all Fat is Created Equal.

There are two main types of body fat found in our bodies.  Ironically, we tend to focus on subcutaneous body fat, which is the softer fat found beneath the skin.  This is the fat that we can grab with our hands or skin-fold calipers.  Subcutaneous fat is less damaging as it is superficial (closer to the surface), and is less likely to result in major health issues.  Visceral fat is the unseen fat in your body.  It is found deeper inside the body, around your internal organs. It’s a harder fat and has been linked directly to chronic diseases like heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and some cancers.  Visceral fat hides well beneath the surface, we don’t see it, most people don’t know about it, and it’s the body fat we should actually be more concerned about.

Lucky for our health, visceral fat tends to be targeted first during weight loss.  Unlucky for our esthetics, the subcutaneous fat we all see is targeted second.

Wellness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

We’re all wonderfully unique.  It needs to be known that fitness doesn’t look like anyone or anything in specific.  We all have a “best” version of ourselves, and we can’t ask for any more than that.  In this delicious fruit bowl we call life, the three basic body shapes are apple, pear and banana.

Apples – you are identified by the majority of your body fat stored in your mid-section.  This puts you at the highest risk of visceral fat accumulation, as well as the health risks associated with that.

Pears – you are identified by an accumulation of subcutaneous fat around the hips, buttocks and thighs.  Not to say that you shouldn’t be concerned with visceral fat within your body, you are simply at a lower risk than your friend the apple.

Bananas – you are identified by your long and lean frame.  Don’t be fooled with the lack of subcutaneous fat, visceral fat may still exist but hidden deep and unseen on your body.

Where your body carries weight naturally can be a factor in determining a lot of things for you.  What doesn’t change is how to work with and manage your body type.  Put down the junk food and grab an apple, pear, or banana – and get moving!


One Step at a Time

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.

Happy Trails!


One Step at a Time

What a great day to change your life.  So where do you start?

Part One – Overhauling Your Dietary Habits

This is a huge piece to the wellness puzzle, and oh my goodness is there ever a TON of conflicting information out there.  It’s impossible to be able to tell the good information from the not-so-good sometimes, especially with all the different “fad” diets, cleanses, and restrictions that affect our eating habits.  The resource that is recommended by Health Canada is Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating which includes examples of what foods fit into each of four food groups.  It also offers tips on how to eat optimally for your age and gender, beginning at age two (younger children should follow the advice of their family physician to ensure all health requirements are being met). 

Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating also gives examples of proper portion sizes.  The reality is that we could actually be over or under-eating certain foods and not even know it.  Did you know that one bagel is actually two servings of grain products?  That two eggs is one serving of Meat and Alternatives? That half a cup of pure fruit juice is one serving?  I have personally found it helpful to have a food scale in my home.  Having the visual really helped me to learn what a single portion looks like, and has helped me to ensure that myself as well as my entire family is eating a healthy and balanced diet.  So much information is available just by going to:

www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/order-commander/index-eng.php

Real change takes work, commitment, and willpower.   Dietary habits are life-long habits which you have become accustomed to from a young age, and it can be difficult to learn a different eating culture.  Changing small things (to start!) can help to find long-term success.  A few tips that you can do to get started are:

  • Choose whole grain bread products over white, it will help you feel full longer
  • Increase water consumption – drink a glass of water before you eat a meal
  • Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice
  • Trim visible fats from your meat and remove the skin from poultry
  • Try something new!  Tofu, quinoa, soy, brown rice, lentils etc. might sound bizarre to you, but you might amaze yourself with the items that you actually like!

It is important to note that that specialized diets do have a place in wellness, however if you are restricting anything from your diet (ie: dairy, gluten/wheat, sugar) My advice is to have a registered dietician or physician’s recommendation and guidance to do so safely. 

Bon Appetit!


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