Thursday, 16 August 2018

My "Social media vacation" 2018

Nearly 8-weeks ago, I decided to take a "social media vacation" and from the time I did until now, I've felt great! 

This has been an idea in my head for quite a long time leading into it.  My main concern for not doing it for so long was my business page and my music page on Facebook. My presence won't be out there to the same extent.  But when I continuously would catch myself, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, for no reason at all, and I would even feel stressed or moody for no reason when I did, I decided to finally TAKE A BREAK! 

But what about my Facebook pages for business and music you ask??  

Before I started my "vacation" I began really focusing on what my business page did for me.  Does it get me new clients often? No.  Do the majority of my clients follow the page? No (several aren't on Facebook at all).  So why do I do it?  I do have a good amount of followers and supporters and honestly it's often for brand recognition and to share stories and information.  It's not a means of bringing in new clients, that's just a bonus if it does.  So what's the big deal if I don't post as often? And my music page (which doesn't have nearly the amount of followers my business page has) is more to be a place my followers can go to see where my next gig is around the area.  So again, what's the big deal if I don't post as often? 

What were the "rules" of the social media vacation?

  1. Twitter and Facebook are off limits.  Period.  No need to check them. If something is important to me, someone will share it with me in person or via text, email or messenger.  
  2. Facebook messenger is ok.  It's personal. It's not needlessly sharing thoughts, stories or things with "the world", it's like a text message;  private and directed to someone specifically so that's ok. 
  3. Business services updates are allowed to be posted during my "social media vacation" (music gigs included).  I decided that I would still post business updates regarding services to the Facebook business page but that is all. No random posts. No pictures, no stories etc... Just service update. 
That's about it. Pretty straight forward.  :)

How have the nearly 8-weeks made me feel?

Amazing. I've learned a lot about how social media impacts our mind (and body for that matter).  It truly is an addiction, and yet I know for a fact I wasn't as bad as others.  But there would be times I would come home from work, and the first thing I did was pop on Facebook to see "what's going on with everyone".  Why!?!?  Nothing is private anymore. Nothing is personal.  I kept saying to myself;  

Why do I feel the need to share my opinion on something? 

Why do all my followers need to know I'm not happy or that I'm happy about the performance of my favourite soccer team? 

Why do I feel the need to share a cool article I read on my Google News with all my Facebook friends?  If it's that good of an article, I'll remember to talk about it those who might care later, right?

Why do I feel the need to mindlessly scroll through these social media sites instead of doing something I truly enjoy;  play a game, be present with family/friends, read, draw etc...?

For whatever reason it clicked with me. The memory of life BEFORE we suddenly felt the need to share everything with.... well, everyone practically.  

From the time I began my "social media vacation" I've truly felt life become simpler.  Weird I know. But the world just got a whole lot smaller again, like it used to be before social media was a thing.  I truly felt like a weight was off my shoulders.  Only the things I care about are the things I'll read about, talk about or listen to.  I don't get caught up in other people's battles (not that I would comment often, but you read them and feel anxious or stressed in doing so).  Life got a little bit more simple again ..... and I love it!!! 

Where to after the "vacation" is over? 

When I announced the "vacation" on my Living Energy Facebook page video, I said I'd be doing this until September 2018 (which is a couple weeks away).  However, my plan is to do the following before then or at that time.... 

  1. My personal Facebook page will be become a lot emptier.  I plan to delete most pictures etc and make my account pretty basic. Minimalist if you will.  I have all these pictures myself, so if I ever feel the need to share them with anyone, it'll be with people who are with me or who I message directly. 
  2. My business page usage will change. I can see myself posting random tips, stories etc to my business page again, as I enjoy getting good information out there to share.  However, I see myself utilizing the scheduling feature more often and more or less having a set day where I do all my posts for the week (be it 1 or a bunch) and after that, not worry about it until the following week. 
  3. My Twitter account will change. My main love of Twitter is the connection with professionals I admire and look up to.  There I can find research articles, blogs and information that other professionals share that I may not have found otherwise. But other than that, I see myself again, cleaning up my account (minimalist again) so that I am only following those accounts that benefit me in what I do. 

**This "vacation" is like everything else in life;  you get a "boiling point" where you're so fed up with certain habits, you finally just say "#@$% it!!!" and move on.  Honestly it feels incredible.  It goes along with one of my aspects of my Living Energy philosophy, "Live Now" and easily helps me do so.  We've had trips and vacations as a family this summer (for once in our busy lives) and the need to share things with the world is non-existent. If I took any pictures, they were for us or to share with people I'm in contact with - but not social media.  

I'd recommend this to ANYONE who has social media and who wants to simplify life more to the way it should be.  Personal. Simple.  Less (needless) stress.  **

Harsh reminders

Currently, I'm writing this post on day 3, post injury....

During my soccer game Monday night this week, later in the first half, I jumped to intercept a ball and clear it with a header.  I was running back toward my own 18-yard box as the ball was coming over my head, so to clear it I had to jump and twist a bit to head it away from my goal.  I did that and got the ball away, but as I landed, I came down awkwardly on my right ankle and that was the end of my night.

I used to roll my right ankle often when I was younger. From my second year of U17 rep soccer, through my regional years and into college.  I wore a brace for some of those years to help prevent re-injury.  Since then, I've been fortunate and haven't had ankle injuries.  This one however, is my worst ever.

The past several years my only concern in soccer has been not straining my hamstrings. I've had one minor episode this season that kept me out of one half of soccer due to my hamstrings and that's it! Which is a record, and I attribute to my, Chiropractor for sure! This latest injury (if we have to find a positive in the situation) is just one of those fluky things, and risks that come with playing any sport. In hindsight I've done great with soccer this season;  playing lots in games, feeling good out there, and to date, I've missed 1 game worth of play (granted, I'll be missing at least the next 1 or 2 I'm sure). But that's pretty good in comparison to my past 8-9 seasons!  (Thanks again to my Chiropractor!)

I've currently had two treatments with my Athletic Therapist, and the initial diagnosis is a bad sprain and most likely nothing broken.  However, here I am on Day 3, still not working (because I can't drive - still can't put enough pressure on my foot to do so, and on crutches at home).  I'm waiting for a call to go get an x-ray and ultra sound to hopefully confirm I'm just dealing with a sprain as we figure.  To be on the safe side. My Athletic Therapist thinks it's a good idea as well since then we'll confirm the direction of rehabilitation. Granted, there's been minor improvements each day, but I am still hobbling around on crutches and still dealing with swelling, discomfort etc.  I'm in the typical stage of "injury depression" people go through and of course, it sucks!  But it's really made me think and given me harsh reminders, which is why I felt like writing this post today.

Here's a few things that have been floating in my mind during my injured state....

  • There are always others who are worse off.  Whether my ankle has a break/fracture or is just sprained, there are plenty of others suffering worse things.  I can't imagine having a permanent disability or condition that would force me to have use of only one leg permanently. The strength and perseverance of these people is incredible, and you can't truly respect it until you (temporarily) go through a similar time in your life.  Then there's the loss of a family member a client has had to deal with this week;  while I feel sorry for myself and feel useless at home not working, my client and her family are dealing with the loss of a loved one.  Sure makes me tell myself to "suck it up!"
  • We take for granted being healthy and mobile way too much.  It's always the way - until we can't do something, we don't truly appreciate being able to do it.  All I can think of (besides being able to play soccer again soon) is; I want to go for a walk or a hike, I want to go for a run, I want to squat, lunge and workout. Not to lift 'x' amount of weight, or to run 'x' amount of kilometers in a particular time... just to move and be healthy. This makes me ask myself;  when I am healthy and uninjured, why do we (I) stop doing these things sometimes? why wouldn't I do these things regularly and never stop? Why would anyone not appreciate the ability to do these great things that make us healthy in both body and mind?
  • I am so lucky to be surrounded by loved ones on a daily basis.  No matter how crazy life gets, what stresses are happening around us, it's so important to have loved ones with you and supporting you.  My daughters are amazing, and my wife is amazing.  I'm stuck at home, unable to work, meanwhile my girls are waiting on me if I need help, and my wife is working her butt off (as usual) and then coming home to do the same for me.  It sure makes you appreciate how you've raised amazing kids, and how incredibly strong and helpful loved ones can be when it's necessary, without a second thought.  
Maybe this is a "sob story", or me "being whiny", but my entire athletic career (since I was 4-years old) I've never broken a bone, or had many injuries that have kept me away from work or out long term.  Granted, I hopefully only have a bad sprain as we suspect, but regardless, as an entrepreneur it's incredibly hard to take time off for something like an injury. And in my line of work as a Fitness Coach, my ability to move is "kind of important".  

Thankfully in addition to my support at home, I have an incredibly supportive client roster, and practitioners who are helping me get back to work and hopefully back to healthy function again soon! But until then, my mind will continue to remind me to appreciate the little things in life that so many of us have the abilities to do and enjoy. 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Gift of Injury: Book Bucket List

A professional I follow, fellow Canadian and world wide leader in spine and back mechanics and understanding, is Dr. Stuart McGill.  He recently came out with a book called, "The Gift of Injury" he co-wrote with one of his clients, Brian Carroll.

I haven't read the book yet, but it is high on my "Book Bucket List" without a doubt.  Just the title alone (aside from the amazing content I hear about) catches me, as it's something I'm experiencing myself.

I've been a lifelong soccer player (literally). I've played the game for 32 years now, since I was 4-years old, including the regional level (the former CSL) and college level (OCAA).  It has always been my biggest passion.  In addition to playing, I was a referee for a couple years, and enjoyed coaching for 21-years.

However, since 2009 I have been plagued by recurring hamstring strains.  To the point where retirement has been contemplated several times since turning 30yrs old. Some seasons unfortunately were knocked down to a handful of games, combined with pain, frustration, anger, and a whole host of emotions athletes feel when they can't play the game they love.

As a Fitness Coach I couldn't figure it out, which then of course made me question my own knowledge at times.  Every year brought new research, new findings into what maybe is the root cause of my injuries, and gearing my training towards being able to play pain free and reduce the risk of re-injury.  Every year when I thought I found the solution, I was disappointed once again. I saw multiple professionals;  Athletic Therapist, Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist, Osteopath.... But none seemed to get to the root cause.

To make a long story short, even last season, playing my first season in "old timers soccer" (35yrs and up) and strained my hamstring and my season was over.  I went to my doctor (who is also a sports medicine doctor) to see if I'm doing any permanent damage and if retirement should be considered.  We had an incredible conversation, and he told me there was no permanent damage being done and that he highly recommends playing as long as I can.  He recommended seeing another professional to help; chiropractor, physio etc... but to approach my training holistically, as a whole, rather than focusing on one particular issue.  Prepare the body (and mind) to play.  We discussed how when athletes stop doing the sport they love (for whatever reason), that's when health issues can arise. So it's important to do what you love, as long as you can.

From there, I began to consider chiropractic help (which I've always been leary about my whole career through experiences with clients). Thankfully, a client of mine (whom I've known for many years) is a Chiropractor (Sean Girduckis of Bridge Street Chiropractic in Belleville, ON). He and I had a great conversation in what my chronic issue was (which he knew right away and was not too concerned), but also discussed his approach to his practice.  I loved it. I loved his explanation and his mindset when it came to his practice, and better yet, it was a great reminder to not judge a profession on "the bad ones".  Just like any profession, there's good practitioners and not so good practitioners. But it doesn't necessarily mean the practice is bad itself.

With his help, my client has helped me get back to loving the game, enjoying playing full time again, and playing without fear of injury or playing through discomfort.  Granted we're early in the season, and I have 9-years of injury to rehab, but so far (knock on wood), it's been a great start to the season.  In the past handful of seasons, playing 40min a game would be a "personal win" for me without pain, discomfort or injury.  This season, I'm playing 70-80min a game and feeling fantastic! In addition, my workouts have been positively impacted as well.  Not only because I have no discomfort, imbalances etc, but also because my body is responding as it should.  Muscles that are being targeted, are being worked and felt as they should (unlike my years during injury). Meaning, my workouts are having a much more positive impact on my strength, endurance etc.

Let me just say that it's made such a difference, that at 36 years old, after a game, when I get out of the car back at home, I feel like I can play another one!  I had forgotten this feeling.   For 8-9 years leading up to this season, I would get out of the car after a game, and literally hobble into the house,  immediately feeling fatigue, soreness etc... Proving that we have gotten to the root of the problem.

So why tell you all this? What's my point?  Well I have a few.....

  1. For the first time I'm looking at my history of the same injury issue in a different way.  It's now not the cause of potential retirement, but instead it was a learning experience.  Granted, a much too long one.  But without the injury, I couldn't have learned so much about the lower back and hip region, rehab practices etc... 
  2. It's re-confirmed my "team approach" to health.  I've always believed that there is a place for doctors, naturopaths, physios, fitness coaches etc... Having a few professionals working to help you gives a greater chance for success.  
  3. Like in all professions, there are good and bad professionals. Find one you trust and you're comfortable with.  
**Since drafting this post a couple days ago, I played my fourth game of the season which was our toughest yet (more like a first division game);  higher pace, hard tackles, hard runs, lots of work.  I played 85min that night.  Again - for too many years before this season, this wouldn't even be possible physically due to pain, discomfort and/or injury. **

Monday, 18 June 2018

Carbonated water or regular water?

The Living Energy blog took a back seat the past week or so, as I've been busy with several different things going on;  2 workshop presentations, music gigs etc... It's been a busy, but good couple weeks since my last post.

I had the pleasure of being a part of the L.I.F.E conference at Loyalist College here in Belleville, as a guest speaker, doing a workshop on day 1 and 2 of the faculty conference.  I was totally pumped to be a part of it, for a few reasons:

- I love to speak at workshops / seminars
- I was excited to do a new workshop on breath work and meditation, and to expand on my Shift the Focus seminar.  
- It was my first guided meditation/relaxation session done with more than 10 people (there were 38 participants) 
- I feel honoured when my old school supports me, and asks me to be a part of things (especially to this scale).  I am a proud alumni and I'm always happy to give back to my school where my career began. 

Carbonated water or regular water??

Following my "Shift the Focus" seminar on Day 2 of the conference, a nice lady came up to ask me a question.  She asked if carbonated water instead of regular water is ok to drink (in general) because she really doesn't drink a lot of water otherwise.

I mentioned that providing the carbonated water is not flavoured water, she should be fine.  It's just
additional carbon dioxide.  By "flavoured" I mean the artificially flavoured garbage you buy at the convenience store or grocery store.  If she desires flavour I suggested adding her own by adding lemon, cucumber, mint leaves etc...

My colleague, and former teacher was with us as well, and he was asking if she meant during a workout or in general? She did mean in general, but mentioned she also drinks nothing when she works out.

Typically, it's probably a better habit to be sipping some water at least a bit during workouts. Of course, it all depends on the weather, intensity of the workout, etc... But as a general rule, having some sips is probably a good idea.  In the workout case though, carbonated water wouldn't be the better option due to the fact that the carbon dioxide could make you feel bloaty and gassy.

 She did acknowledge that it's a problem and she needs to work on drinking water during her workout routines.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to expand on what we discussed on the "Shift the Focus" seminar, and building new health practices slowly and progressively.  I suggested during her next workout....

- Have a bottle of water, but aim to take 1-2 sips during the workout.  If she feels like more go ahead, but don't worry about it if she only takes 1-2 sips.
- Start with that target for a week or two, and then add a few more sips.
- Progress like that every couple weeks, and within a couple months, she'll be drinking enough without a doubt.

We all rush to be "perfect" or reach our goal before our body-mind are even ready for it.  What's the rush!?  Progress slowly. Chip away at it.  As I mentioned earlier, if currently this woman is drinking nothing during her workouts, and in a couple months she's drinking a 500mL bottle...... That's fantastic!!!!

Keep your health goals and practices SIMPLE.  Drinking water, enough water, on a daily basis is a perfect example of a simple target to hit that will have a massive impact on your health and energy levels. 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Nothing works for Everyone

Nothing works for everyone. There is no perfect program or form of exercise. There is no perfect eating plan or "diet". 

So stop being such an ass about it!!! 

17-years in the fitness industry allows you to see and hear a lot of things.  One of my pet peeves is when people try to push their routines/habits on others, because "they're way is the best".  If that was really true, we'd all be doing the same thing by now wouldn't we?  With the internet and how quickly word travels world wide;  if the perfect program or eating method existed we would all know about it.  

Reality is it doesn't!  And there's so many ways to achieve the life and goals YOU want to achieve.  But you have to be ok with doing it your way.  I have some fitness and health professionals I follow and trust. All of whom are at the top of their game.  Despite there being some similarities in what they teach, guess what?...... There's some differences too!  Would you say they're wrong??  

Uh.... NO! 

There are elite level athletes who are vegan, those who are crossfitters, those who are paleo, those who run endurance races, those who are sprinters etc.... None of these people are wrong for how they choose to train and perform.  We, as the general population, need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or telling us and start listening to our own bodies to figure out what works for ourselves!! 

NO ONE has the right to say their way is better than another.  My approach to health and fitness is not everyone's cup of tea, just like crossfit or bodybuilding isn't mine for example.  Get over it! Much of our fitness and health approach needs to be focused inward rather than outward. And within that thought, we need to learn to listen to our own body, rather than what a book says or our neighbour who lifts weights 3-days per week.  

What works for one, will not necessarily work for another. Too many life factors contribute to everyone's daily lives that impact how they need/should approach their own health habits.  Also, because we all do different things within our daily lives, it leads to different methods of training creating success for ourselves.  For example;  A football player will train differently than a soccer player.  A gymnast will train differently than a powerlifter, an office worker will train differently than a junior hockey player  and so on.  

STOP looking and worrying about what everyone else is doing.  The way that is healthiest for you is what you can do consistently and makes you feel good.  

Thursday, 24 May 2018

YOU have to make & take time for YOU

It's come up in a few instances for me this week, in dealing both with family and clients.  It makes me think of myself in the past 5-years, and how 2018 has really changed my mindset towards my health.  That is;

YOU have to MAKE & TAKE time for YOU

In my experience, it's a trend that lacks in a particular type of person who often puts others before themselves.  This is a great quality to be one of those types of people! However, it is also your worst enemy. It's easy to get caught into taking on more than we can handle, focusing our attention on others needs/wants more than our own, and spending most of our own energy on dealing with those other people (which inevitably leaves very little energy left to put into our own health and well being).  

My line of work is very easy to grab you and trap you into that way of thinking.  I care for all my clients equally and have had most of them for a very long time.  This makes it incredibly simple for me to put them first before my own mind and body health.  In turn, that leads to my own poor health, stress and burnout (which has definitely happened a few times in the past).  

Over the past few weeks, I've seen this in a couple other people;  putting everyone else before themselves.  In some cases worrying about things that they have no control over.  And in some ways, worrying about things that are a side-effect of the underlying issue.  I had a great conversation with a client last week about this.  2 weeks ago she mentioned some of these concerns to me, and so I sent her a sleep questionnaire to get to the bottom of things, and to see if we can start to attack the issues progressively; 

She can't sleep.
She wakes up feeling low energy. 
She's feels she needs to please everyone, and therefore sometimes takes on more than she needs to. 
She is constantly stressed out. 
She is concerned about her weight gain. 
She eats habitually before bed at times. 
and so on... 

I get it.  I think many of us are either there, or have been at some point in our lives.  I tried to help her understand that it's ok to slow down, step back for a bit, and solely focus on one step at a time (not to mention focus on herself).  I reminded her how some things are side-effects of another;  The poor sleep is most likely the underlying cause of things like weight gain, low energy and stress for example.  This can't be rushed and it definitely will not fix itself quickly. We need to chip away at it, slowly and ideally in a way that causes as little stress as possible.  

We reviewed 3-main areas of concern that I found from her questionnaire answers, that would potentially be a root cause of the side-effects.  From there, I gave her the option;  "Which one do you want to attack first?"  In doing so, we don't worry about the other stuff.  They will come in time.  We have one sole focus on a daily basis, and it's to attack the issue that you choose to change.  

I wanted to remind her that, without her own health, without her own energy, she won't be able to take care of those she cares about.  With trying to please everyone all the time, she will only burn herself out and in turn put a much greater risk on her own health.  No one can please everyone. 

I've done it, many people I know have done it (or are doing it).  I learn more and more through these experiences the importance of taking time to slow down, evaluate your priorities and evaluate your own daily practices that will lead to better overall health and daily energy. 

There will always be an excuse not to do something for yourself;  

Get rid of that mindset. 

 Make YOU a priority and fit in time(s) throughout each day to focus on YOU.  

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Shark Habits: One bite

Those who follow the blog and Facebook page know that I'm a HUGE fan of, Dan John.  He's a brilliant mind, and it's not even just his technical fitness knowledge, but even more so I love his approach to fitness, health and life. 

2018 has been a good year for me in taking back control of my self care.  Owning businesses, especially ones where your energy is often devoted solely to your clients to give them your best, it's easy to get away from taking good care of yourself.  5-years of business ownership has helped me learn the importance of creating habits of simplicity in my daily life. 

Dan John's "Shark Habits" is something that is on my mind constantly since reading his article and listening to some of his interviews on my favourite podcasts.  We've heard similar advice before, but somehow, Dan always makes the basics of life seem so amazing.

This morning was an example of what a "Shark Habit" is.  You have something you know you need to get done. Often, they are things that really won't take long, but for whatever reason we procrastinate, put them off and then get stressed because our to-do list has piled up. Then that task lacks focus and quality because we rush through it to get the rest of the stuff done.  Shark habits are, "One bite and done".  Have an email to send - send it.  Phone call to make - do it.  Daily exercises to do - get them done.  You get the hint. 

So this morning, with a client away, I had 20-25min between clients.  I have my daily workout to get in before I leave the studio later today, but I have soccer practice tonight and music to practice and prep for my weekend gig, so time is limited.  Rather than spend time on social media etc... I got in my daily movement work. 10min or so.  Done!  Now after my last client, I can get the rest of my workout in (20-25min) and head home for the rest of my day.  It's a simple way to approach your days, yet we all fall into the "time wasting / procrastinating trap".  But just like a workout, when you do it and it's done, you feel SO GOOD to have just got it done!

Take a read of, Dan John's article to really understand "Shark Habits" and start to put this into practice in your daily life. 

Dan John: Shark Habits

Monday, 16 April 2018

5-years in business: Lessons

This past Friday, April 13th was the 5-year anniversary of Living Energy.  In some ways, it's seemed to fly by, and in others it seems longer.  Here's a few things I've learned as Owner & Fitness Coach at my studio over the past 5-years that I can take with me moving forward.... 

Clients make the business

Rob Waite (owner of All Access Music) and his son, Adam
working out at the old studio. 
I think this really started to become ingrained in me about 11-years ago (which was 4-5 years into my post-college career).  Since opening Living Energy, my priority has always been my clients.  Every day my goal is always to be a positive part of their day.  Make them feel good. Make it known that they're important.  Because they deserve it and they are.  I've prided myself on client retention and focusing on what/who I have, rather than constantly seeking new clients. It makes sense. It works.  And the relationships you develop in the process are fantastic!  Sometimes a client is in need of a "therapy session" and just need to get things off their chest (in a place they know it will stay) or sometimes the conversations are silly or there's good fun trash talking back and forth... Whatever the client needs, I'm happy to be able to provide a friendly ear and comfortable place they can do so.

Simple is good

I've always approached, Living Energy with simple in mind. Don't complicate things, don't bombard people with too many things... just provide a comfortable, friendly atmosphere where people can be active, learn and have fun at the same time.  A few times over those 5-years, I think I started to drift away from simplicity in the effort to "grow the business".  If it's not broke, don't fix it right?

YOU, the owner, are the only one who knows what's good for YOUR business

I learned this in my first business when I was 23yrs old, and it pops up every so often still. I mention it often when I speak to the first and second year Fitness & Health students at the college; People love to offer their advice (whether you ask for it or not), even when they have no entrepreneurial experience
themselves.  Granted, some of this advice is good and welcomed at times, but other times it's exhausting and frustrating (especially when you don't ask for it).
In addition to that, YOU (the owner) are the only person who will truly put everything they got into the business and making it work.  YOU have the most to lose. No one else.

Listen to your gut

This sort of ties in with my last point.  There have been times over the past 5-years where I have a feeling about something or that I'm not the kind of person for a particular role, and I've been caught not listening to my gut and trying it anyway.  Sure, taking a risk and trying something new is good.  But eventually, you need to listen to your gut and go with it.

Taking care of yourself SHOULD be a priority

I know more entrepreneurs who suck at this than who are good at this.  As great as my 5-years at Living Energy have been, my own health has been on the back burner and has declined quite a bit.  These 5-years have been the most unhealthiest of my career (and possibly my life). Illness, stress, and injury have set me back big time in my own fitness and health.  It's very easy to put your clients and businesses first before anything else. It's very easy to find time to do other things that are not taking care of yourself.  But (as we all learn eventually), if you don't have energy and health, you can't provide the best service possible.  Tied in with this I think is time with friends and family.  Time to just hang out, relax and have fun with those people.  It's easy to say "I'm too exhausted" or "I'm too busy" and miss out on time well spent.

New life chapters can be a good thing

Sometimes we turn the page and begin a new chapter in life, and think, "Uh-Oh!".  Other times we turn the page and get a breath of fresh air.  Over my 5-years I've done this a couple times, and it's truly turned out to be a great thing.  Things change, new chapters begin and it can often be a very good thing.

Without love and support of those close to you - it would be even tougher

Living Energy could never be possible without the love and support of many people;  my wife and kids, my parents, my in-laws and some of our good friends.  In whatever way they've lent a hand or an ear, they've helped make everything possible.  I could not be celebrating 5-years without them.

It's been a good journey so far.  I've learned things, some things have worked, some haven't... that's the joy of business ownership.  Simplicity and not losing who you are and what YOU want will always guide you in the right direction.

Thank you to all my clients, friends, family, colleagues, and supporters who have made Living Energy's first 5-years, very special!  

Where it all began.  My little 650sq ft studio. Our home for 2-years. :) 

Our current home.  It'll be 3-years this June since we expanded into this space. 

My client of 8-years, Tyler Donaldson presenting
me with a gift as we opened the current studio location;
his jersey from his last year with the Trenton Golden Hawks Jr A
Hockey team, and my first year as Fitness Coach with the team. 

Client of 8-years going on 9, Matt Loveys
(former Jr C goaltender and World Ball Hockey Gold medalist)
is a regular face at Living Energy. 

If it's not fun, it's not worth it

Our clients and friends range from young to "non-young".
This is, Faryn who's mom, Joan has been my client for
11-years! Faryn has grown up visiting a couple days
per week.  And sometimes, she offers to let me take
a well deserved nap. 

Monday, 9 April 2018

The "Habit" is more important than the "What"

The habit is the most important element
to your health; even more so than the "what".
It doesn't really matter "what" you do; there's really no right or wrong. Everything out there works for certain people. And in the same respect, everything out there is not for everybody.
The main factor is, you need to do something! Don't force things on yourself you don't want to do, because it won't stick and therefore won't become a habit.
The "what" can vary each day if you want. But by doing something daily, you'll ensure the habit is in place. That will ensure you end up with some pretty awesome results in terms of your health.
Don't worry about the "perfect routine" or "program" - they don't exist. Do what feels good that day, for you. This morning I woke up, and typically I will hop on the stationary bike and do a light 5km ride to start my day with some light movement. This morning I just wasn't feeling it, so instead I enjoyed a 20-min yoga session. Mentally and physically it felt great to change it up, and I was able to start the day with a good positive feeling rather than forcing myself to do something I just didn't feel up to today, which would've started my day in a negative way. The habit of some morning light movement wasn't impacted at all though - because I just did something.
Don't complicate something that really can be simple....
No overthinking. No complication. Just do something.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

"Nine Lessons I learned from my Father"

Available on

Funny how things go sometimes isn't it?  A client of mine mentioned this book to me (left), last fall during a conversation.  I liked the sounds of it,  so I saved it on my Amazon wish list for sometime down the road. 

 A few months later at Christmas, my kids had bought it for me (without me telling them it was on my list I might add)!!  

Last week leading into Easter weekend, for the first time all fall/winter, I caught a bug that's going around. My perfect streak had ended unfortunately (9-days later I still feel the remnants of it).  At least one positive out of being sick and not being able to work was that I had ample time to read some of my "non-work books".  

I finished off, "99 Stories of the game" by Wayne Gretzky (which I would highly recommend), and so I decided to crack open "Nine Lessons I learned from my Father" by Murray Howe next.  I knew I would enjoy it;  I love hockey, I love hockey history, and I love learning the "behind the scenes" aspects of players/former players lives that really give us the human perspective.  But I was not anticipating the power this book has had on me right from page 1. 

I'm 3/4 of the way through the book now (a "reading speed record" for me only 5-days later).  But I just can't get enough.  Honestly, you don't need to be a hockey fan to appreciate this book.  What makes that even more the case is, Murray Howe (the legend, Gordie Howe's youngest son) was the only, Howe male of the family to not play hockey professionally.  Murray is a doctor by trade.  So the entire book is written from the perspective of the youngest child, who although loved hockey and played when he was young, didn't make his name by doing what his Dad and brothers did.  That makes the book more special and pure in my opinion.  

The purpose of my post today, is because my wife and I are people who, enjoy helping others learn to lead healthy lifestyles, but mostly we just love when people feel good (be it for moments or longer).  The human element in what we do gives me a high that you just can't explain.  It's the interactions, the conversations, the stories, the laughs, etc... that make my job so special to me ...  more so than the amount of weight lost, or how fast someone can run.  

This book by, Dr. Murray Howe about his Dad is absolutely incredible. Maybe it's special to me because my friendship and bond with my Dad is very strong as well, or maybe it's because it makes the legend, Gordie Howe even more legendary because of WHO he was, as oppose to what he accomplished on the ice.  Here's an excerpt from the book to explain what I mean:

Just imagine for a minute, what our towns, cities, countries and world would be like, if this was the approach to life we all took.  Imagine the incredible feeling we could bring out in others if we were all treated this way by people we meet and interact with.  

Being truly healthy includes our relationships and goes well beyond fitness and nutrition.  I am so proud to say that my parents share this same view that the Howe's shared with the world. I have friends who work paycheck to paycheck (hell, so do we!), and then I have friends who are doctors and lawyers. Neither mean any less to me than the other.  It's the person themselves that is important to me. Not their title or how much money they have.  

On another note, Gordie Howe and his wife lived without prejudice or bias. They avoided events or places that left out certain types of people, or certain "classes" of people.  They were legendary in my mind not for what Gordie accomplished in his career, but as a human being we should all strive to be!  

We live in a world of stereotypes;  "You own a business, so you're rich", "You're a Doctor so you have it easy", "You have a minimum wage job so you're not as important as someone making more".    If overall health and well being is your goal in life, make sure you have the right mindset and approach to those you interact with;  be it for minutes or on a regular basis - we're all human and we all have our stories, talents, ups and downs.  

No one is more special than the next person.  

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Add it all up; The "Accumulation Approach" to health

Maybe it's due to me being at the "ripe old age" of 36 now.... 

Maybe it's due to being an entrepreneurial family and keeping busy most days... 

Maybe it's my career experience coming into play....

Or maybe it's simply the chapter of life I'm in now...  

One thing is for certain, 2018 has brought back consistency in my activity;  and with my busy lifestyle, it's come back in the form of little bits throughout the day.  

Science has shown us that we can reap excellent health benefits by accumulating exercise throughout the day, and that it doesn't have to come in the form of a 1-hr killer workout straight through.
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines suggests for adults;

"To achieve health benefits, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150-minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10-min or more,"

*Think about that;  that's the same amount of time 
as a chat at the office 
water cooler or a coffee break*

In addition, the guidelines recommend at least 2 days per week of strength activities.  (Take note of the "at least" in both recommendations.)

Like I said, the timing is really not much.  Rather than standing around during your coffee break (or sitting), why not go for a nice walk for your 10min... and ideally outside in the fresh air.  Believe it or not, you can still chat with your colleague at the same time! 

Here's an example of my day today to give you an idea of how breaking up your bouts of activity can be done;

6:45am  - Morning 5km on the bike (it's starting to get light out at that time so soon I'll be outside for a 15-20min walk to start my days). 

8:45am - Walk to school with my 9-year old.  We usually stop in to see my wife at our cafe (The Artizen Cafe) on the way.   And to grab a coffee for the trek.  :) 

9:10-9:15am - We get to the school, hugs and kisses before she heads over to see her friends, and then I pop in my headphones and a podcast or audiobook for my walk home.  

12:15pm - Workout after my morning client(s).  Followed by my post-workout meditation.  

If we total up the duration spent active, it works out to 62-80min of activity by 1pm.  

Is there any way I could find an hour straight to do activity in my days???  NOT A CHANCE!!! 

This is what has finally clicked for me (and it only took 15+ years of doing this... LOL) Workouts / activity don't need to be "unbelievable, ground breaking, instagram worthy, hashtag producing puke fests" in order to feel great!  They need to be consistent, some challenging, and they need to be simple. 

I'm enjoying the "accumulation" approach very much for a few reasons;  

  1. It's easier to fit things in, and to fit it in with less pressure to "hurry up"
  2. My longer workouts are planned in my calendar during times in my week where I know I have a buffer zone both before and after my workout (just in case).  
  3. It harmonizes with life.  Life is a balance of work/play and rest.  By doing various bouts of activity throughout your day, you're doing exactly that;  Active... Rest...Active ....Rest. 
  4. It seems easier mentally to chip away at improving your health. It may just be me, but when my days are full of accumulative bouts of activity/exercise, it balances with the premise of doing small changes to get big results.  My runs increase ever so slightly each week, my weights and volume in my weight routines work the same, my habits pre-bed time change gradually and not all at once...
We're not elite athletes. We're every day people working to build a happy and healthy life, while providing for our family.  Stop seeking the "crazy" and being stressed for your lack of success.  

Seek balance, consistency and enjoy.