Upper Body Workout

Usually I like to schedule posts for first thing in the morning, but this one is a bit late because I had my exercise physiology midterm this morning. I was busy studying when I normally would have been putting this post together. The midterm was easier than I was expecting (yes!), and I’m pretty sure I let out a sigh of relief as I walked out of the classroom once I was done. It’s a big weight off my shoulders.

It’s time for another workout here on GFF. This one is an upper body workout, focusing on the arms and shoulders, along with a little back and chest as well. I tend to gravitate towards creating lower body ones, so I made sure to create an upper body workout this time. The only equipment you need are dumbbells so it’s a great one to do at home if you have a pair or two.

Remember to keep good form throughout the entire minute of each exercise. If your form is compromised, move down to a lower weight. It’s more important to do the exercise correctly than it is to lift heavier.

Upper body workout

While I think most of the exercises are pretty common, here’s are links to all the strength moves in case you want a refresher:

And here are the cardio ones:

I did this workout to test it out, and I have to admit that my arms were like jello by the time I was done. The cardio bursts kept my heart rate up throughout the strength portions too. If you’re interested in other workouts I’ve made, check out my newly created workouts page to find them all in one spot.

As always, honor your body and modify as needed. Talk to your doctor before starting to exercise. 

Recently Discovered Beers and Ciders

Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian readers. I hope you’re enjoying the day off from work and the first unofficial long weekend of the summer! While the weather here in Calgary has been less than fantastic (rain for the last few days and even snow yesterday morning), I’m making the most of my extra day off and studying for my exercise physiology midterm on Wednesday. It would be a lot harder to be inside sitting at my desk if it was beautiful outside. Not as exciting as I’d like a long weekend to be, but school is the priority right now.

Recently Discovered Beers and Ciders

Since I noticed I had quite a few photos of beer and ciders on my phone that I haven’t shared yet on the blog, I thought I’d do a whole post about them. I’m a huge fan of ciders so there will be quite a few of them along with the beers.

Angry Orchard Cider

I thought this one was perfectly crisp without being too sweet. Although I have a sweet tooth, I don’t particularly like my ciders to be too sweet. I’ll definitely be picking this one up again.

Crabbie's Raspbeery Ginger Beer

I’m typically not a big fan of ginger beers. I keep trying different kinds, trying to like them, but it’s a flavor that’s just not for me. When my boyfriend tasted this one he encouraged me to try it too. Surprisingly there wasn’t much ginger flavor. The sweetness of the raspberry covered it up. I ended up really liking it and stole quite a few sips from him.

Phillip's Dark Sour Grape Must

Sour beers are hit and miss for me. Sometimes I really like them, and sometimes they’re too overpowering. This one had a good balance of the sour and grape flavors. If I see it again at the liquor store I’ll be buying it again.

Savanna Cider

While Savanna cider isn’t technically new to me (I first tried it last year), it’s definitely been awhile since I last bought one. It’s from South Africa (hence the name), and is a perfectly dry cider. It’s right up there with my favorites.

Tempt Elderflower Cider

While I’ve never seen this cider in stores, my boyfriend managed to find it for me, thinking I would like it after falling in love the Strongbow elderflower cider. He was right and I really enjoyed it. The elderflower balanced out the apple perfectly without being too sweet.

Watermelon Lime Ale

My dad and brother tease me for liking fruity beers. This one was utterly delicious and right up my alley. The watermelon and lime were great together, and not a flavor combination that I would have thought of on my own. It definitely worked though.

What’s the tastiest new beer or cider that you’ve tried lately? 

Weekly Workouts

It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of these posts, so I thought I’d share my workouts from the last week.

Monday afternoon was my first Zumba class in quite awhile (maybe a few months?) I actually can’t remember the last one I went to, so it was good to get back at it. Since I took the Zumba Basic Steps 1 certification I see classes differently than I did before. It was a fun class with an instructor that I’d never had before so I got to workout with some new music and choreography.

Tuesday night I took a spin class. While they generally aren’t my first choice for group fitness, they always seem to fly by – probably because I’m working so hard. It was a relatively small class (there was only 6 or 7 of us). Apparently there’s usually quite a few more people who come to the class, but they must have been outside enjoying the nice weather. We did a speed section as well as a hill section. The instructor played a great variety of music – everything from Foo Fighters to Oasis with a little Steppenwolf in there too.

Wednesday was a rest day because my legs were toast after the spin class.

Thursday also ended up being a rest day. Between school and getting in my internship hours I was beat by the time I got home and a workout just wasn’t going to happen.

Upper body workout weekly workouts

Friday morning I did an upper body workout. I did the arm workout from the One on One Training with Jackie DVD (affiliate link). I didn’t include legs because they’re still sore from the spin class earlier in the week. Apparently I worked harder than I thought. I like this DVD because the different body parts (upper body, lower body, and core) are split up into 20 minute sections and you can do one, two, or all three.

I’m considering going to a restorative yoga class tonight. Although it won’t be much of a workout, I always feel so relaxed afterwards – which is a great way to start off a long weekend.

Now that you know what my weekly workouts were, share a favorite one of yours from the past week. 

This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

School and a New Workout Playlist

School has been kicking my butt lately, but in the best possible way. I’m really enjoying my internship. As important as I think it is to have book knowledge, there’s some things that you can only learn while being in the gym and actually training. I’ve been learning so much from the great people I’m able to be with. And they’re so generous with their knowledge. I’m very grateful I lucked out with such a good placement. It’s a big enough facility that there are all kinds of clients. There are also lots of trainers so I can learn all different styles as well.

I knew before the semester started that exercise physiology was going to be a lot of work. It’s a really dense science based class, but it’s probably my favorite one so far. It’s so interesting to learn how and why the body does what it does. Knowing the science behind things will give me the confidence to tell clients why I think they should do things a certain why, or why I’ve designed the workouts the way I have.

Biomechanics has been pretty dry so far (lots of physics), but we’re slowly but surely translating that into how the body moves. While planes and axes are relatively easy to understand theoretically, I’ve been really working on figuring out how to apply them to real life situations. It’s definitely harder than it looks.

Usually when I’m at the gym I’m busy with my workout and I don’t really pay too much attention to the people around me. However, since I’ve been doing my internship I’ve noticed that a lot of people workout with music. Unless people are there with a friend and talking, there’s a lot more ipods than I ever realized before. I’m one of those curious people who loves to know what people are listening to, so I’m going to share another one of my workout playlists today.

Workout Playlist Big May 28 2016

Almost all of the songs are ones I’m hearing on the radio at the moment, except for the Britney Spears one which is from a few years ago. I generally like to put newer music on my workout playlists because they get me more pumped and excited about my workout, though I do have some older favorites.

Leave a comment below with one song from your current workout playlist. 

Fort McMurray Fire

As I’m sure my Canadian (and some American) readers have heard, there’s currently a massive wildfire burning in Fort McMurray, which is in northern Alberta. It’s about 650 km north of Calgary, where I live. It’s been absolutely devastating. According to this article from the CBC, the fire is expected to burn for months. The fire has steadily grown over the last week. It’s even reached the Saskatchewan border.

Close to 90,000 people have been evacuated from Fort McMurray and surrounding areas. I can only imagine how scary it would be to leave. Countless people have lost their houses and all their possessions. All they have is what they took with them. The Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, has said the people evacuated won’t be home in days, that it will take longer. The power grid in Fort McMurray has been damaged by the fire. The gas supply to the town has been shut off. The water isn’t safe to drink. As this video shows, the damage is extensive. It doesn’t even look real – more like out of a movie.

In the midst of the heartbreaking destruction though, there’s hope. Firefighters from all over Alberta – even Canada have volunteered to go to Fort McMurray to help fight the fire. When Fort McMurray was evacuated people were running out of gas on the highway trying to leave. Other Albertans loaded up as much gas as they could in jerry cans and headed north to give it away for free to people who were stranded. As of last night The Canadian Red Cross has received $44 million worth of donations. If you want to donate, you can here on the Red Cross website. People have been opening up their homes for evacuees. People with acreages has been welcoming people to stay on their land who managed to leave with their trailers. Post secondary institutions across Alberta have opened up their residences so that evacuees have somewhere to stay. In under a day the Calgary Humane Society had  600 kennels donated to send to evacuation centers and to use to get pets out of Fort McMurray.

Once again, if you’re able to donate, it would be greatly appreciated. This link takes you directly to the Canadian Red Cross.

And a New Semester Starts

Fiasco Gelato Lemon Raspberry Beer Sorbetto

Over the weekend I found this lemon raspberry beer sorbetto from Fiasco Gelatto. They worked with Village Brewery (another Calgary business) to make it. It doesn’t get much more local than that. I wasn’t quite sure if I’d like it with the beer, but it totally works with the lemon and raspberry. If you happen to find a pint of it, give it a try.

Rekorderlig Apple Cider

I also gave this limited edition Rekorderlig a try on Sunday. I’ve had Rekorderlig ciders before (and really liked them), but I this was the first time drinking this one. While I drank it cold, I think it would have been interesting to give it a try hot.

Biomechanics Notes

Two days into the spring semester and I already know there’s going to be a ton of work ahead of me. I’m not complaining though because the two classes I’m taking (exercise physiology and biomechanics) are super interesting to me. I’ll get to learn all the little details about how the body works while exercising and exactly how it moves. I’m also looking forward to being at my internship site and learning lots from the trainers there.

All of our classes are in the same classroom this semester. It was interesting trying to find it for the first time yesterday. The way I went led me to a small floor half way between the second and third floors. It was really strange to find 5 or 6 offices there and that was it. I eventually managed to find the classroom. The way that the university has been built over the years means that there’s all kinds of little hallways and stairwells and hidden classrooms. I’m still trying to figure out the most efficient way to and from the parkade to the classroom.

I have a much anticipated massage appointment in a few hours. I’ll get my upper back and shoulders worked on – they’re always so tight! Because it’s a student run practice we can’t request a specific person, but everyone I’ve had so far has been great. They know what they’re doing and I end up feeling amazing afterwards.

Tonight I have a YYC Pizza Week planning meeting. I’m helping to organize it this year. While I’ve participated in previous years (aka eaten pizza), as a volunteer this year I had no idea how much hard work going into making it happen. We always meet at a local coffee shop or restaurant for our meetings, and tonight’s is going to be at Roosevelt. I haven’t been there before so I’m excited to check it out. The special today is half price flat breads so I have a feeling I might be getting one of those.

What’s your favorite locally made food? 

Road trips, Indian Food, and School

It’s been a few days since I last posted. Whoops. So today I thought I’d catch you up on what I’ve been up to lately.

Since I finished my finals on April 7 I’ve been trying to work as many hours as I can before the spring semester starts on Monday. With no school to worry about during the break it’s amazing how much extra time I have to devote to making a bit of extra money.

I also had to take a first aid and CPR course for my upcoming internship. It was a long two days (going over first aid stuff isn’t very exciting), but I’m glad it’s done now. I’m good for three years now.

I also took a few days away from Calgary and drove up to Stoney Plain to visit some friends of mine. They moved up there almost two years ago now, but I hadn’t been to see them yet (though they’ve been to Calgary lots of times). They have three little ones who are always fun to spend time with. We read a ton of books as well as visited more parks than I’ve been to in the last year. Once the kids were in bed for the night we watched The Big Short. It was really good – really how can you go wrong with Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Steve Carell all in one movie?

The second night we ended up playing Settlers of Catan. We played it twice and I won the second game! My strategy was to build settlements and then upgrade them as quickly as I could to cities to get more cards. It was a pretty night race though cause we were all within two points of each other.

I was only there for three days, but it was so much fun to spend some time with them. Even getting out of the city for a few days felt great.

Yesterday my boyfriend and I got together for lunch. I was craving Indian food, so we walked over to Mango Shiva. We ordered the samosas and butter chicken and shared it. I’d never been there before, but the inside is gorgeous and the food was really good. I’ll definitely be back.

Spring semester starts tomorrow. While I’ve really enjoyed having a break between semesters, I’m ready to get back at it. I’m taking exercise physiology, movement mechanics, and doing my internship. Since the semester is only two months long all of out classes are three hours long. Thankfully they’re all in the morning, otherwise I think I’d have a hard time concentrating that long in the afternoon. It’s going to be a busy semester with lots of work, but I’m really excited about the classes, as well as getting to be out learning at my internship site.

What’s the last movie you watched? Board game you’ve played?

April Workout Playlist

I’m pretty pumped this morning because last night was my very first soccer game of the season! I think it’s been two years since I last played in this league, but it was so much fun to be back. I requested to be put on the same team I was before, and there were even a few people I remembered, so it was great to catch up. Needless to say I was a bit rusty, but I’m sure I’ll get back in the swing of things before I know it. Games are played twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but with a semester of summer classes and an internship, I’m hoping to get to at least one game per week.

It’s time for another workout playlist here on Get Fit Fiona. Not only is it fun putting together these playlists for you guys, but it also gets me out of my music ruts that I get in more often than I’d like to admit.

I can’t get enough of My House and Never Forget You, which is a good thing because they’re on the radio non-stop here in Calgary. I also included some older favorites like Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone and Timber by Pitbull. For some reason I still confuse Ellie Goulding with Lights (a Canadian artist). I have no idea how I started mixing them up in the first place as they look nothing like each other.

April Workout Playlist

By the way, am I the only one who thinks of Jimmy Fallon now when I hear Zayn’s Pillowtalk? If you haven’t seen the lip sync battle, take a look at the video below (Pillowtalk starts about 4 minutes in if you want to skip right to it).

I love hearing what other people are currently listening to, so leave a comment below with a favorite song on your workout playlist. 

Zumba Certification – Basic Steps 1

Zumba Basic Steps 1 Certification

A few weeks ago I took the Zumba Basic Steps 1 certification. I’d been checking the Zumba website periodically to see when they were having a training near me. I tried to find info on what to expect with the Basic Steps 1 certification, but unfortunately I couldn’t find much. I thought the topic would be a great blog post for others who are also looking into getting certified in Zumba.

Luckily I found out about one early enough that I could get the early bird price when I signed up. You can’t go wrong with saving money. I was talking to one of the other ladies during the training, and unfortunately she didn’t realize that even though she was registering for a training in Canada, the fee was in US dollars. Needless to say with the current state of the Canadian dollar she had a bit of a surprise when she got her credit card bill. Make sure you check out the exchange rate if you’re Canadian when you register so you know what to expect when your credit card bill arrives.

The instructor for the full day training was Andrea Sandhu (check out her site here). Right away it was obvious that she had a lot of energy and that she was going to keep us on our toes. We started off the day with a preview Zumba class, where we went through a warm up, a few songs for the meat of the class, and then a cool down. It was great to go through a class looking at it as an instructor instead of as a participant.

Zumba Basic Steps 1 DVD

Afterwards we spent some time with out instructor manuals while Andrea explained everything from how Zumba was created and it’s founder to how songs are made up. We then got back on our feet and dived into learning the merengue. We spent the most amount of time on the merengue, because it was the first of four that we learned that day. With each successive dance (salsa, cumbia, and lastly raggaeton), we spent less and less time on it. I really liked that approach because the more we moved the easier the different steps were to pick up.

We broke for about a thirty minute lunch. While a few people left to go buy something, most of the people brought a lunch from home, which is what I did. It was great to have a bit of time to talk to the other people taking the class. Honestly there wasn’t a lot of time otherwise to do it because it was such a jam packed day. I actually ended up chatting with a lady I’d done the group fitness certification with back in February. Sometimes Calgary seems like such a big city, and other days it feels so small.

Once Lunch was over we once again alternated between learning the steps and listening to Andrea go through the manual. I thought she had a lot of great tips and ideas as far as leading your first class. She definitely had a lot to add to the manual. She also spend time going over ZIN, which is the Zumba Instructor Network. For a monthly fee of $34.95 (USD again, so check the exchange rate if you’re Canadian) per month you get access to a new playlist along with choreography. I can see how it would save your a ton of time because you don’t have to come up with your own choreography, plus you can download the music to your phone or ipod and use it during classes. I didn’t sign up for it, as I’m not taking my group fitness certification exams until August, so I can’t teach until then.

Zumba Basic Steps 1 Certificate

So what am I qualified to do now? I can teach a Zumba class, and I have the certificate to prove that I can! I’m certified for a year. If I let it expire I’ll need to take Basic Steps again or I can join ZIN, and I’ll be certified for as long as I’m a member. I’d love to teach Zumba once I’m group fitness certified. I think it’s a really fun workout with great music. Like Andrea mentioned during the training, “Zumba is exercise in disguise”. I’ve always had fun at every class I’ve been to, though I end up leaving a sweaty mess too.

I also left the training with a 4 DVD/CD set with music and choreography. I have yet to go through it all quite yet, but I did check out part of it and it looks like it’s going to be really helpful when it comes time to put together my first class. It’s also nice to be able to take something home to review what I’ve learned. As helpful as the manual is, when it comes to dancing, being able to watch something comes in pretty handy.

To be entirely honest the only thing I didn’t like about the Zumba certification was how much ZIN was pushed. I wished we’d spent more time going over the steps instead of hearing about the benefits of ZIN and why we should sign up.

Have you ever taken a Zumba class? Do you teach any fitness classes? 

5 Reasons To Grow a Garden

5 Reasons to Grow a Garden

If you’ve been reading Get Fit Fiona for any length of time you’ll know that I’m a gardener and plant person. I’m surrounded by native plants at work. During the summer I grow a garden. Plants and flowers are my thing. Today I thought I’d share 5 reasons to grow a garden.

1 It’s environmentally friendly. 

If you don’t use pesticides or fertilizers, growing your own food in incredibly environmentally friendly. Plant the vegetables that do best in your part of the world. Find out how long your growing season is and plant things that will grow in that time period. When the growing season is over, make sure you put the plants (minus the seeds of course) into your compost pile to create compost for the next year to nourish your garden.

2 It gets you being active outside. 

Anyone who’s spent time gardening will tell you that even though it looks deceptively easy, it can get tiring. Just preparing the garden for planting can be a lot of work before you even get one seed into the ground. It also gives you a good excuse to spend time outside. Plus there’s something therapeutic about digging around in the dirt and caring for plants.

3 It doesn’t get any fresher. 

There’s nothing better than picking basil five minutes before you use it in your spaghetti sauce for dinner. Tomatoes are the absolute juiciest the day after it rains. Although you can get fresh produce from the farmer’s market, there’s something about growing it yourself that just makes it taste better.

Zucchini August 30 2012

4 Your vegetables are bigger and taste amazing. 

The zucchinis I grew last summer were two or three times the size of the ones that were at the grocery store at the same time. Grocery store tomatoes can sometimes have no flavor, but the ones from my garden were delicious. My peas are incredibly sweet, and once I start eating them straight from the pod I can’t stop.

5 It’s affordable

Since I had so many seeds leftover from previous years, I only spent $20 on seeds last year. I would have spent that much just on the tomatoes I grew if I’d bought them at the grocery store, not to mention the zucchinis, beans, peas, carrots, radishes, and greens that I also grew. This year I’m not planning on buying any seeds because I still have so many leftover. Don’t let the seed companies tell you otherwise, seeds from previous years are still good. You just might have to plant a few more to get the same germination rate.

Do you grow a garden?