F45 Challenge Week 1 is done! – F45 St. Clair West

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You know when she wraps her hair up like a pineapple it's about to go down! . . Why, yes! I HAVE gained some weight since moving back to Canada from Korea (25 lbs overall, some of which I've actually lost). These certainly aren't the most flattering pictures, but I thank @krayzeefitness a) for being quite possibly the loudest cheerleader at @f45stclairwest and b) for taking them so that once my #f45challenge (an 8 week multi-point system dedicated to turbocharge progress through dedication to fitness AND diet) is complete I can look back and see how far I've come. My only regret? Not taking them back in December when this journey began! 💪🍍 // #f45 . . . . . . . . . #f45training #girlswholift #lift #lifttillfailure #tabata #strong #strongwomen #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #weightlifting #weightliftingfairykimbokjoo #FITNESS #피트니스 #휘트니스 #헬스 #외국인 #cardio #toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #416 #workout #workoutmotivation #progress #progressnotperfection

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F45 Challenge Week 1

Week 1 of the F45 8-week Challenge started off with a bang!  Learning about the F45 Challenge 45-point system seemed daunting, but I made it through! I worked out both Saturday and Sunday and used that energy as fuel for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I had an event Thursday night and my Korean class Friday night, but I was back up and at ’em for “Hollywood” Saturday morning (crushing 700 calories before breakfast!)

F45 Food

As I mentioned, I’ve been getting my food delivered through a Toronto meal delivery service called SelFit Fresh Meals. Realistically, I’d rather cook the meals myself so they’re to my flavour preference (and so that they’re really, really fresh). That said, I’ve tried a few meal delivery services in Toronto and in Korea, and these meals pack a punch as far as flavour goes. I don’t really process fish/ seafood very well, so they send me the vegetarian meals (they have vegan too) in lieu when there’s a recipe that calls for tuna or salmon. Not having to think about what to eat makes this process a LOT easier. It almost evens out my commitment to no coffee (or caffeinated beverages) for the first 2 weeks!

F45 Feelings

The first week hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve limited myself to between 1,200 and 1,300 calories daily so that I have at least a 1,000 calorie deficit daily. I also cut out caffeine. By day 4, I was hungry, exhausted, menstruating, and dealing with some guy’s BS. I was beyond emotional. I was a total mess, to be candid. Friday the fog seemed to clear and I was back in the game mentally.  This week, my hope is to get into a lower weight category and actually see some of this work pay off.

The F45 Challenge 45-point Plan

The F45 Challenge follows a 45 point plan, where the target is to hit at least 30 (so on your rest days you’re supposed to hit all of the other points areas):
  • Exercise to Sweat 15 Points
  • Meals per meal plan 15 points
  • Magnesium supplement 2 Points
  • Lemon in Warm Water 2 Points
  • 2 – 3 L of water 6 Points
  • 8 Hours of Quality Sleep 5 Points

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Yesterday, I got to meet and celebrate a member of a not so secret tribe of women fed up and exhausted with the status quo and writing all about it. This absolutely darling party in @jordanquinnstagram's honour made me yell out on many occasions, "Guys, she wrote and published a book and it's in my hands RIGHT NOW!" Couldn't be happier for this fearless female and yes, she is just as quick witted, charming, and gorgeous in person. I'm so eager to see what's in store for @korkscrewed and very glad I got to bring my gals @deskotnala and @k8vbeast along for the ride (and the cocktails!). Congratulations, Jordan! 📚💋 // #sheisnotlost . . . . . . . #women #womeninspiringwomen #womensupportingwomen #toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #blogger #blog #doitforthegram #416 #the6ix #blondeshavemorefun #dametraveler #gltlove #girlslovetravel #whoruntheworld #beautybloggers #love #bumble #toronto_insta #torontolife #kingwest #traveltagged #imbibe #imbibegram

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Following F45

Did I follow the *no alcohol* rule to plan? Er – not quite, but I didn’t go to town getting late night eats so – win! I also don’t know anyone who really and truly gets 8 hours of quality sleep a night, but I’m making every effort to go to sleep early. Wearing my Fitbit to sleep, I average about 7.5 hours per night. Sadly, my neighbours consistently wake me up at insane hours of night, so it’s not ideal. The meal plan is included with the F45 Challenge, and I’ve been using SelFit Fresh Meals to keep me on the straight and narrow. The cost is about $140 per week for 10 meals. It’s not cheap, but it keeps me from buying snacks and meals which add up financially and calorically anyway. I’ve lost about 3 Kg since I first started the plan, and have another 19 kg to go to get to my ultimate goal weight (which won’t happen during the challenge – that would be too much, too quickly!)
Let me know all your tips and tricks to keep this challenge up in the comments!

Pumped-up Profile: F45 St. Clair West’s Welcoming Fitness Approach

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My weight has fluctuated most of my life. I’ve never had a very healthy relationship with food; either controlling my consumption obsessively or going to town on whatever’s available. Taking fitness seriously has been a successful, but solitary adventure up until this year. When I was in Korea, I didn’t take classes all that often because of the language barrier and because I didn’t feel like they were all that effective. The same goes for classes anywhere, in my experience – they just don’t burn as many calories (or so I thought).

This year I have ventured into various studios across the city in an attempt to meet people with whom I have common interests. If you’ve seen my instagram stories then you’ll know just how well Tinder has been going for me (spoiler alert: it’s a nightmare). Even just meeting new friends can be challenging. Most of my friends moved on without me, which one should expect having spent 3 years abroad. So – I like working out. Sometimes I think that I’m the fittest fat person in Toronto. That’s just it, though. My aesthetic isn’t what it once was. In Korea, I was thriving on 1,200 – 1,400 calories a day and working out an hour or two most days. I was only getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night managing 2 blogs in a competitive market while working 45 hours a week. Supercharged, I looked good and felt invincible. Now, I’m not the fit foreigner that gyms feature on their instagram. Hell, I’m not even featured on my partners’ feeds. I’m not quite so confident walking into a new workout environment.

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I’m falling in love with my gym. Earlier this year when I was solo travelling I did a value exercise and I recognized that ‘community’ and ‘connection’ were important to me and at that time, in SE Asia, by myself, with no plans, these were gaps and impacted my overall happiness. Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve made it for the F45 7:40am class 4 days a week. I’ve been raving to everyone I know about this gym and the people. In a conversation this week, I realized that F45 is both connection and community for me. I have never been a member of a gym or yoga studio where I’ve felt the connection and community I do here. The people here (staff and members) bring amazing energy… that is what creates this community… where we all get to know each other, we motivate and listen to each other (all while dying or recovering from a great workout). This is truly an amazing thing. #feelinggrateful #f45 #lovemycommunity @f45stclairwest @krayzeefitness @xuanfitness @a_yeunglegend

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Is F45 the New Starbucks?

A couple of months ago I noticed a new phenomenon in the city. Rather than Starbucks popping up on every corner, I was seeing people get their sweat on in every nook and cranny of downtown Toronto. These aren’t your grandmother’s zumba classes, though. Through steamy windows I was seeing people of all shapes and sizes crush workouts with kettle-bells, stationary bikes, rowers, and their own body weight. It looked all kinds of intimidating.

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#mood 😑 😄😁 . . 📸: @danherm3

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The F45 Community

The first time I walked into F45 at St. Clair West, the bubbly trainer asked me if it was my first time. I always advocate to communicate with your coach and get friendly with your teammates, but I felt apprehensive. As it was, she raised my hand way over my head and yelled that I was looking for new friends ’cause it was my first class. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die…until all my “new friends” cheered in a cascade of whoops and hollers and gave me high fives after my first Functional 45 workout. I’ve come to crave the knowing nod at the door, the coaches suggesting variations based on my lower back issues, and the encouragement from coaches and teammates alike making sure we finish the whole dang labyrinth of sets! The idea is for your body to burn the maximum number of calories in short spurts with a modest amount of recovery time in between (ie. running to the next station). One could say it’s similar to crossfit, but you’re not competing against others for the highest reps in shortest time, you’re competing against yourself and against previous goals.

The F45 Challenge

There are 17 days until the next F45 Challenge. This 45 point plan with its own separate app helps people achieve their fitness goals by kickstarting the process over the course of 8 weeks. 8 weeks from February 4, 2019 I’ll be on a beach in the Philippines. You had better bet your bottom dollar that I want the kind of results I’ve been seeing from the F45 Challenge! With daily meal plans, alternating various workouts focused on cardio and weights, and the support of the online and in house communities, I can’t wait to see my body change in healthy ways. Keep an eye out here for my meal prep, my workouts, and my results. I’m dancing with F45 St. Clair West now, but in 17 days it’s about to get real. I challenge you to take on the challenge with me!

Don’t you want results like these? I know I do! Let me know in the comments or on instagram if you’ll be joining me for this F45 Challenge (and if you’ll be coming to the F45 St. Clair West location in Toronto!)

 

Candidly Cartier: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

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What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve always holds a little magic for me. Call me childlike, call me whimsical, call me a bitch in sheep’s clothing – this is the time of year where I set all sarcasm aside and am genuinely hopeful. There are plenty of “New Year, New Me”, “New Year, Same Asshole”, and “New Year, New Memes” running around my Facebook feed, but I think it’s a great time to step back and take accountability for the year coming to a close and the opportunity to come.

New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog, Sparkler

Hard Reset

Some people say that special days set the tone for the next year. I think they’re kind of like hard resets to as close to factory settings as you can get. They make you assess where you are and are optimal as pivot points if you’re unhappy with particular elements. On New Year’s Eve, I make tangible goals. On my birthday, they tend to be more sentimental. Even on Valentine’s Day I make goals, but that’s usually to pick up as much chocolate as I can while it’s on deep discount!

Coconut, Camera, New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Planning for Paradise

If New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the year, December 31, 2017 was a very good indication. Last New Year’s Eve I spent the day updating my resume, applying for jobs in Canada from Korea, finalizing travel itineraries, and decided very last minute to go to this huge hotel ballroom party with one of the most entertaining friends I met in Korea.

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Step 1 – We can have lots of fun!

That evening we went to my friend’s bar for a quick sip of holiday cheer. When we arrived, the bar was completely empty. One and done, we hopped across to another’s friend’s restaurant which was picking up speed, and we were able to have a couple of cocktails and mingle with some people who, looking back, were really important to me over the course of my time in Seoul. We took a taxi down to Gangnam and the hotel was already insanely packed.

Kiss, Couple, Happy People, New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Happy New Year!

There were plenty of familiar faces. Some of these people taunted and tormented me the majority of 2017. I saw one fall on her face and welcomed the little bitch called karma to the party. I bumped into someone I dated right after ex Co-P when I was 100% not ready to be going out with anyone. Closure was good. I met some readers of The Toronto Seoulcialite and That Girl Cartier who ended up coming to my going away party in March. We all mixed and mingled and I got to hang out with a lot of  amazing friends I had made over the course of my 3 years abroad. At midnight, I even got my New Year’s kiss!

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Working Girl

If NYE 2018 was an indication of the year to come, I think it was pretty spot on. I continuously worked on my resume and interview skills. In Canada, I worked a contract position for a major non-profit before getting a job I love at a big Bay Street law firm. I am so incredibly lucky to have this position working under the management of someone I adore, and with two smart, strong, beautiful women who round out our part of the team. We have a host of characters in our department and each brings a magnitude of skills and swag to our dynamic. In 2018 I took trips to Borneo, Bali, Orlando, and Reykjavik. Landing in Toronto, I brought back the most important people (some I never thought I’d be so close to after 20 years of friendship <3). Anyone who had previously brought negativity to my life was ravaged by karma (see December 2016) or just didn’t make it back into my life.

New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Disappointing Dates

I dated a lot – whoa man, did I ever date. Like that NYE party in Gangnam, nobody was particularly special, however. I went on a lot of first dates which amounted to absolutely nothing. Even people from dating apps I’d never met assumed that (I guess based on age? I’m 31) I wanted to drop it all and get hitched right away. Nope, I’d like to have a connection with someone and would like to go on regular dates, but don’t really see that happening with someone in Toronto. 2019 – feel free to surprise me in that department!

2019 – Back to that Fitness Grind

In December I began a program called F45 which stands for “Functional 45 (minutes)”. It’s circuit training you take at your own pace with several trainers moving throughout the stations to ensure your technique is correct, you’re not getting injured, and you’re giving it your all. I’ve decided to partner with them (they call me an “F45 Ambassador” #fancy!) because I’ve tried a number of similar classes throughout Toronto in November and December, and this was the only one I felt was accessible to every body (skinny fat, big boned, bloated, or big and buff) and at every stage of the fitness journey. As much as I loved (and I LOVED) Big Hit, I need something that’s convenient to home or work, and these studios are popping up all over town. St. Clair West is convenient to get to from work then to head home, and I love the community that’s developing at this relatively new studio! I’ll be taking a class on December 31, 2018 and anticipate F45 will be a bit element in my personal growth (and physical reduction!) through 2019. FREE WEEK – CLICK HERE

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Peaks and Valleys

A concept recently brought to my attention is that our life should have peaks and valleys much like the lines on a heart rate monitor. When the line moves, we’re alive. When the line is a plateau for too long, our heart has stopped beating and we’re dead. The past few years have has such epic highs and deep, deep lows. I now find that I’m teetering awfully close to the plateau. Honestly, I’m kind of bored. I hope that this year I can find the beauty in the break, strive for more epic highs, accept any tragic losses, and keep this wildly passionate heart beating. If not for the simile, at least for the caloric burn.

New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Happy New Year

Love,

Cartier

Pumped up Profile: Communicate with Your Coach

I Get By With a Little Help

I’ve come to understand that fitness will always be a journey for me. I will always have ups and downs and times of amazing confidence or, like now, times where I just don’t feel like I’m at my peak. There are a gazillion reasons to get close to the person (or people, in my case) helping you on your fitness journey. When I started with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I was in pretty peak physical condition for my own standards. Beyond the obvious attention to my new additions, there wasn’t anything I was afraid to do nor was there much that could knock the wind out of me. Now that I’m well into my re-patriation, I’m not as confident or fearless. Plus I’m certainly not in the best shape anymore. I do, however, have help – and I want to encourage you to seek out allies on your fitness journey as well.

It’s Your First Time

If it’s your first time walking into a gym or walking into the ring, letting someone know you’re new isn’t embarrassing – it’s essential. More often than not, it’s expected that you’ll jump into a class and go with the flow. If your coach knows that it’s your first (or second, or even third time) they’ll make sure to give you that little extra bit of attention to ensure your technique is just right so you won’t get hurt. You may have signed a waiver before your class, but you’re part of the team now and nobody wants to see you injured!

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Not every hero wears a cape

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You Have an Injury

Speaking of injuries, if you’re just getting back to fitness you have to let your coach know. Hopefully you’ve given your body enough time to heal, but you might be a little rusty getting back in the game. I find a lot of coaches want to push you right to your limit. When I had my surgery anything chest related (from push-ups to lat pull-downs) was not on the menu. If your coach is aware of your limits, he or she will be more likely to give you an alternative motion to complete.

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If you want a rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain

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You’re Lacking Confidence

Hesitation is one of the most common causes of injury in sports and physical fitness. In an instance where your timing is off because of jitters you could really hurt yourself. Taking a step back and asking for help will sharpen your focus and take you out of a fog of confusion which could cause an injury or give you an ineffective workout (be it once or as a pattern).

You Need to Up Your Game

If you commit yourself to the community at your gym/ studio (or create one – especially if it involves Tanya Kim – duh!) then there will be a give and take with your workouts. When your coach knows you, he or she will be able to tell when you need to get out of your funk, or even if you need to be left alone. Sometimes when I’m at Big Hit, my instructor will get out the pads and work with people one on one. My energy is revved up to the max. I feel like I’m actually good at what we’re working on and I’m being rewarded for good work. On the flip side, when I’m not giving it my all you know nobody’s bringing those pads my way!

You may not be best friends with your coach/ yogi/ mentor/ instructor, but there’s a level of unspoken but always shown respect and discipline between the student and the master. Showing a little interest and a lot of initiative goes a long way. As it says on the wall of every Big Hit, “in 2 weeks you’ll feel it, in 4 weeks you’ll see it, in 8 weeks you’ll be it”.

I’ve mentioned Big Hit Kickboxing Studios a few times over the course of this article (and shared some pictures of some, not all, of my favourite coaches) because I’ve committed to a 3-month partnership with them to get back into fit fighting shape! For more Toronto Gym Alternatives, click here. For more on Big Hit:

  • Time Commitment: 30 – 60 Minutes (most classes are 45 Minutes)
  • Cost: $30/ Drop-in Class, packages vary, and $59 gets you gloves, wraps, and 2 weeks of unlimited classes!
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location(s): 4 Locations around Toronto/ the GTA and a new one opening up on The Danforth soon!

Candidly Cartier – Hit Back: Be Your Own Best Boss

 

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Photographer: Andrew Branch

Kicking My Own Ass Back to Sanity

Buckle your seat belts and take out your chips and salsa, ’cause it’s about to get real cheesy up in hurr.  If you follow The Toronto Seoulcialite (my other “less sarcastic” blog), you’ll have read about my issues finding a job, finding a man, and finding my figure through the mess of moving back to Canada.  I’ve finally found something which  could be the makings of a career, and a date with myself 3 times a week which gives me structure and an outlet.  Coming back home is like picking up an old, ear-marked book.  The characters are the same and the setting hasn’t changed, but you’re still not exactly sure what will happen to the protagonist next.

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Photographer: Scott Webb

Someone Else’s Story

My biggest fear returning to Toronto was that I would be reliving the same old story.  While I was away, several of my friends partnered up, a couple had kids, many got promotions, some went back to school, and my nightmare boss was finally arrested.  Beyond that?  A lot of the people I’ve left are ear-marked – frozen in time right where I left them doing the same old things and just banging their heads against the wall calling it happiness.  I knew I wasn’t happy back in 2014 when I made the decision to begin the arduous application (okay – it was long, but not that tough) to move to Korea.  I couldn’t come home and return to old habits.

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Photographer Scott Webb

Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Old habits die hard.  I ended up moving back to Queen St. West and was working in the events industry when, at last, I found work.  Getting into a rhythm took time, and my physical and emotional health took a hit.  I decided to hit back.  I bought myself a 2 week unlimited introductory pass at Big Hit Kickboxing Studios.  At that time, I was living with a disrespectful roommate who was a neglectful pet owner.  I had no autonomy in my own life.  Looking back, I think that I was committed to my 2 week membership, but not so much to myself.

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Be Your Own Boss (Without Working for Yourself)

I once read that you should treat yourself like the CEO of your own life, and that fitness was a meeting you set with your employees.  Good bosses don’t reschedule again and again.  I wasn’t managing my life properly, nor was I being a good boss to my mental and physical health.  At this point I needed to hit back, but not just for 2 weeks.  Big Hit Kickboxing Studios in Toronto has given me the schedule I need to succeed.

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Be a Good Boss

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.  I’ve set meetings with my very important sanity at least 3 times a week, which is honestly pretty manageable!  After work on weekdays I leave the office between 5 PM and 5:30 PM (I know – my job offers work/ life balance <3) and walk for about 35 – 40 minutes from the office to Big Hit Kickboxing Queen West.  The walk enables me to just zone out and enjoy constant, steady movement while listening to music.  The workout to follow is full of different combinations which challenge my mind and various muscle groups.  Over the next 3 months I’ll be sharing my highs, lows, pounds, and measurements.  Stay tuned for preparation and progress, not perfection.

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Photographer: Aral Tasher

Naked Back-flips

Since getting back on a regular schedule with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I haven’t actually lost any weight, but the rest of my body and my life has changed pretty drastically.  My clothes have started to feel different – better.  I don’t crave sweets like I did throughout my unsettled period between my old job and old apartment and now.  I have been on several dates with not one, not two, but 3 different men who actually want to see me again.

When you start physical activity with dedication, dedication spreads throughout your life in different ways.  My posture exudes confidence rather than that fear of failure with which I started.  I’m back to caring about a connection rather than having a fear that I won’t be liked (word to the wise – fear of someone not liking you crushes a connection right off the start).  I don’t really have time for people who aren’t adding to my life in a positive way, so when I make time to see my friends we’re connecting on a much deeper and more enjoyable level.  I also always seem to come back to that old adage: “You can do naked back-flips across his lawn, but if you’re not the one he wants, honey, you’re just not the one he wants”.

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Photographer: Matheus Ferrero

 

Strength, determination, and hope fill the pages of my novel.  I know what comes next in that old, worn out, dog-eared story because I’m writing it now.