Zumba October 7 2015 350

The gym at my school offers a great selection of fitness classes – everything from spin to barre to yoga. Since it’s been awhile since I last belonged to a gym, I’ve been taking advantage of all the class offerings. I’d never been to a Zumba class until a few weeks ago. I kind of feel like I was one of the only people left who had never been. But now that I’ve been to a couple classes I thought I’d share my thoughts and what to expect for anyone else who hasn’t gone before.

First off, for some reason I thought the class was going to full of old people. I imagined people older than my mom. Maybe it’s because of the location (a university), but I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the room and found people my own age. There were also people who were younger, in their 20’s, all the way to their 50’s.


For the most part I like rock music. I’ll listen to the pop radio stations in the car for a song or two, but it doesn’t take very long before I’m back on one of the rock channels. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the Zumba music. Luckily I was wrong. While there is a lot of pop music, some of it was latin, and Vanilla Ice  was also played a couple times which brought me back to elementary school. The music was catchy and kept me going at full speed. I also liked the fact that I felt more coordinated with the music. Not only could I see when I was supposed to step right, but I could also hear it. Trust me when I say I need as much help as I can get when it comes to coordination.

Speaking of coordination, although I’m not much of a dancer, I really enjoyed Zumba. You go through the moves for each song at least a couple times, so I was able to catch on by the second time or third time. After that I felt like I knew what I was doing.  We’ve done some of the same songs in different classes, so that helped too. The teacher was awesome and emphasized that Zumba doesn’t have to be perfect. She said that it’s all about having fun and getting in a great workout. She mentioned that if you find yourself going left when the rest of the class is going right, don’t worry about it. And that if something doesn’t feel good for your body improvise and do something else. Having “permission” to mess up or do something completely different made me feel a lot more at ease.

To be honest I was surprised at what a great workout it is. Before I wasn’t sure how hard I would have to work, but by the end of the first song I was sweating. I didn’t bring my water bottle with me into the class (I left it in my locker) because I didn’t think I would need it. Big mistake because by the time class was over I was parched. After that first class I made sure to bring it in with me, and last class I went to I ended up drinking the whole thing by the time it was over. Don’t make the same mistake I did, and make sure you bring water bottle with you!

To sum up, I enjoyed  Zumba a lot more than I thought I would. The music was great, the choreography was fun to do while not being too hard, and the energy in class was awesome. Everyone was dancing their heart out on their way to a great workout. If you haven’t checked out a class yet, I’d definitely recommend it.

What’s one fitness class that you’ve only tried recently that you think everyone else has done?

October 2015 Goals

It officially feels like fall around here. The leaves are turning and are falling, we’ve had a couple mornings with frost, and the days are getting noticeably shorter. It feels like just last week it was the middle of summer – where did the time go? Before I got into my October goals, I thought I’d recap my September ones first.

My first goal for September was to take it easy on myself. I knew that transitioning from work to school was going to be tough, but I managed to do it. I feel like I’m in a school groove now. I’ve managed to stay up to date on my readings and get assignments done before they’re due (no procrastination for me thankfully). All in all I’m feeling like I nailed this goal.

My second goal was to eat as healthy as possible while at school. With the exception of one time, I brought my lunch/dinner to school every time from home instead of buying something to eat there. It definitely takes some planning and looking ahead, but it ended up being a bit easier than I was expecting. I’m pretty proud of myself because there’s a few delicious places to eat in the food court.

The Reflector September 2015

Getting involved on campus was my third and final goal for September. I did some volunteer training last weekend, so now I’m ready to do some volunteering with one organization at school. I’ve also been going to weekly meetings for the campus newspaper. I’ve written two articles so far. Seeing the first one in the paper was pretty exciting. I’ve met some great people so far and I’m really glad I got out of my comfort zone and got involved.

Now on to October!

Stop pressuring myself. Every once in awhile I think I’m one of those people who can do everything if I just try hard enough. Logically, I know that’s not true, but it rears it’s ugly head and I get sucked into trying to be Superwoman. As much as I’d like to do everything, I have to make decisions about what I can and can’t be involved in. Two weeks ago I double booked myself. It was a realization that what I was trying to do was impossible. I never do it, but I completely forgot about an appointment I made right in the middle of when I was supposed to be at work. I haven’t been blogging as much as I would have liked. While blogging is definitely a lot of work, it’s also fun and a stress reliever for me. I’ve taken a step back and now I’m trying really hard to only do things that move me towards my goals.

Bowmont September 10 2012

Get outside more. Before I know it winter is going to be here. It’s going to be freezing cold and snowy. I want to take advantage of the outdoors before it gets like that. There’s a courtyard at school that I walk through at least a couple times whenever I’m there. It would be quicker to go through the building, but I like taking in the plants and being outside for another minute or two is worth it. The park that I like to go walking in is amazing beautiful right now with the leaves changing colors and the berries coming out. I know how lucky I am to have such beautiful scenery so close by. I want to make sure I spend as much time as I can there.

Leave a comment with a goal of yours for October. 

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts 2


Since it’s been a few weeks since I Shared my workouts I wanted to make sure that I wrote a post about it this week. I have a membership to the gym at school, so I’ve been taking advantage of it – particularly the group fitness classes. Last week I went to my first Zumba and ViPR classes. Spoiler: I had a lot more fun than I thought I would have.

Sunday I checked out a gentle yoga class. It was my first time going to this particular class. First off, I was super impressed with the teacher. She had a room full of people at all different abilities and she managed to teach a class that was accessible to everyone. While it got me moving, the part that I really enjoyed (and needed) was the mind body connection and relaxation. The last fifteen minutes of class was spent laying on our mats in savasana. I think it was the first time since school started that I was present and not thinking about how I could have improved a paper or worrying about how I was going to get all of next week’s readings done. It was exactly the class that I needed.

Post Fitness Class Selfie September 2015

Monday I decided to give Zumba a try for the first time. The instructor was great – she got me excited while not being too over the top. I’m not much of a dancer, and I don’t have very good coordination for the most part, so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Luckily each song had some repetition in the moves so once I did them once or twice I was able to follow along better. For some reason I didn’t think it would be a tough workout, but I left the class drenched in sweat. I will definitely be going to more Zumba classes (in fact I’m planning on going to another one tomorrow night). I want to share my Zumba experience for others who may not have ever gone to a class before, so expect a post on that in the next few weeks.

Tuesday I took a rest day.

Wednesday I was feeling adventurous so I took another new to me class: ViPR. Honestly I had never heard of it before I saw it on the class schedule, but it sounded like fun. The video gives you an idea of some of the movements we did in class. The teacher took us through an hour of intervals. I pushed myself hard during the working periods and took advantage of the rests to get ready for the next thing. I didn’t take long for me to start sweating and breathing hard. I’m really glad I went because I’m planning on checking out this class again.

Thursday I was pretty sore from the ViPR class the day before so I took another rest day. My biceps and butt felt like they were on fire (in a good way!).

Friday My upper body was still sore so I decided to take it easy and go for a walk in my favorite park. I generally don’t have classes on Fridays, so after getting some homework done in the morning I figured a study break outside would be a good idea. I spent about 45 minutes enjoying the changing colors of the leaves and the fresh air.

Saturday I took another rest day.

Life Lately

How has it been almost two weeks since the last time I posted? I guess school has been busier than I thought it would be. Anyways, now that I have two weeks of classes under my belt, I’m hoping to find more time to blog.

Garden Mount Royal University September 22 2015

First off, a quick update about school….. I love it! My classes are all pretty interesting. All my profs seem pretty nice and friendly. Although I’ve been to campus a few times before classes classes started, I’ve realized how pretty the outdoor spaces are now that I’ve been there for a few weeks. The above photo is the view from the library. There are lots of little gardens like that hidden away between the different buildings.

I think the coolest thing we’ve talked about so far is what health actually means. Before I thought it meant the absence of disease. Basically if you’re not injured or have a chronic disease, you’re healthy. But I’m coming to understand that health has so many more dimensions than that. Are you eating healthy? Getting enough sleep? Have a supportive social network? Being active? There’s so many more dimensions that make up health than I realized before.

Most of the classes will be with all the same people, so I’m slowly but surely getting to know everyone and at some point I’ll even remember their names. It’s a great group of people from all kinds of backgrounds. There have already been a few interesting discussions in class, and I’m sure there will be many more.

I guess it’s been awhile since I was last in school, because I’d forgotten how much work it is. There’s always a chapter that needs to be read, research to be done, or notes to do. This is the third week of classes and I already have two papers due in a few days.

In addition to classes I’ve also managed to get myself a job on campus. I work with a great group of people so I’m sure it’ll be a fun year working together. I’ve also gotten involved with the campus newspaper. I’ve written one article (I can’t wait to see it printed in the paper!) and I’m currently in the middle of writing another one.

Leave a comment below with something new that’s going on in your life. 

Get Back on Track DietBet

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be hosting my very own DietBet! Now that summer is unofficially over thanks to the Labor Day long weekend, I for one am getting back into the groove of a regular routine again. After a summer of vacations, lazy days in the sun, and barbecues, I find it tough to get back into a regular routine when it comes to my workouts and healthy eating. This is where a DietBet challenge come in handy. The Get Back on Track DietBet starts on Monday, September 14, so make sure you sign up here.

Fiona's Get Back on Track DietBet September 2015

If you haven’t heard of DietBet before it’s a pretty fun concept. Essentially you commit to losing 4% of your weight in four weeks along with a group of other people. Everyone puts money into the pot (my Get Back on Track game is $35), and at the end of the game everyone who lost their goal weight gets paid out from the pot, minus DietBet fees. At the beginning and the end of the game all players are required to take photos on themselves on a scale to confirm that they have lost the weight and prevent cheating. If everyone in the game wins, DietBet forgoes their portion to make sure that winners don’t lose any money. For all the details, check out this link.

Before I shared this DietBet with my readers, I wanted to make sure that this was something that I would enjoy. Over the summer I signed up for two DietBets that other people were hosting to get a feel for it. Once I weighed in officially with my photos it was time to start making good decisions when it came to food. To be honest I didn’t make any big drastic changes. Losing 4% of your weight in four weeks is totally doable. I decided to go with vegetables or a salad instead of fries as a side at restaurants. I ate frozen berries as dessert instead of an ice cream sandwich. On days I didn’t feel like working out, I made the decision to anyways because I wanted to meet my goal. Not only was the money a motivating factor, but also the fact that I knew other people were also making changes as well.

At the end of the four weeks I beat my goal by just over a pound! Once my weight out photos were approved, it only took a few days before my winnings were in my account. I was pretty excited that not only did I lose some weight, but I also made a few extra dollars. Depending on the DietBet you join, there’s also a great community for the four weeks. You can post questions or congratulations to others you’re competing with. I was very glad to see that it had a very encouraging feel to it. In addition you can unofficially weigh in as often as you like throughout the game (I chose to do it about every week), which was really helpful to me in keeping me on track.

If this sounds like something you think you’d be interested in participating in, head over to dietbet.com/getbackontrack, check out the details, and sign up. The DietBet starts on September 14, so make sure you join while you can. I’m signed up and will be participating. I’m also planning on being active throughout the challenge on the page there, so you definitely won’t be doing this alone. If you have any questions about it feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Have you ever participated in a DietBet before? How did you do?

Since I’m hosting a game I will be getting a portion of the pot. As always, thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it!

University Essentials for a New Semester

University Essentials for a New Semester Septeber 7 2015 350


Since classes are officially starting for me this week, I thought I’d share a few of my university essentials. Since this is my second time (I already have a bachelors degree in health sciences), I already know what I wanted to get to start off the school year on the right foot. Thankfully I already had most of these things since I’ve been taking online classes for the last two years, but I did have to pick up a few things.

University Essentials September 7 2015 (2)


Since the binder I was using for my school work was on it’s last legs (the back cover was about to fall off), I decided to get two new ones. Although I’m only taking three classes right now, I’ll have 4 classes each semester for the next two years. My plan is to put two classes in each binder. I splurged a bit and went with more sturdier binders. I’m hoping they’ll hold up for my entire program. I got different colors so I won’t confuse them and bring the wrong one with me to school. My plan is to put the names of the classes in each binder on the front, though I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. I decided on these two inch binders (affiliate link).

University Essentials September 7 2015 (4)

Inside each binder I have 8 dividers (4 for each class), along with lots of paper. Unfortunately when I opened up the packages of dividers, they weren’t as sturdy as I would have liked. I’m not sure if they’ll last me the entire two years or not. I also got an extra two packages of paper which I haven’t put in the binders yet. I’m always surprised at how much paper I go through, so I figured that having some extra around the house would be a good idea.

University Essentials September 7 2015 (1)


My laptop is on it’s last legs, so I’ll be using my iPad mini (affiliate link) at school instead. I figure this will be handy when I want to see if lecture notes have been posted online or check something on Google while I’m studying. I’m hoping it won’t be too distracting in class and that I won’t find myself checking Twitter instead of paying attention to the professor.

University Essentials September 7 2015 (5)


I already had all of these school supplies already thanks to my previous classes. Although I was taking those classes online, I still took notes with a pen and paper. I like to use different colors with my notes to help break up the page and highlight different information. A pencil and eraser are essential when I’m drawing a diagram to make something easier to understand. I use highlighters to highlight my textbooks and make sure I focus on the most important information. I got the different colored post it tabs at the dollar store. They’re great for marking pages in my notes or textbooks. I use the square post it notes when I want to point something that I know will be on the test. I always find a calculator handy no matter what class I’m taking. A pencil case (also a dollar store buy) is a must have to make sure none of these small things get lost.

University Essentials September 7 2015 (6)

I’ve been using a day planner (affiliate link) since high school. I would be lost without it. I make sure to add classes, assignments, tests, work schedules, and social events in it to keep track of everything. I like having a daily view, as I can keep track of my schedule for each day as well as write a to do list with things I need to get accomplished. It also has a monthly view which is great to give me a general overview of what my time will look like.

University Essentials September 7 2015 (8)


I also like to keep track of assignments, readings, and notes that I need to get done in a small notebook. This was especially great for my online classes, as I wanted to make sure I stayed on track. It’s very easy to get behind when you don’t have an actual class to go to. I write everything that I need to do in a given week, and then divide it up into days. Once each thing gets accomplished it gets highlighted. I got this notebook from the dollar store.

What are your school supply essentials? 

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

Fit Friends Friday

Fit Friends Friday 350

It’s time for another Fit Friends Friday post. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer by email. I’m pretty excited to have a fellow Canadian healthy living blogger to feature today.

Could you share a little about yourself and your blog? ​My name is Jennifer and I write a blog called Montreal Runner Mom. ​It started out as a personal blog to chronicle my own fitness journey and has become so much more. Everything from a run club and book club to an accountability program for like minded moms in my community.

What are your favorite ways to be active? ​Running, Yoga, Dance​ either alone or with my kids!


What’s your proudest fitness accomplishment so far?​ ​Racing! I started out with a simple 2km just 2 years ago and by the end of this calendar year I will have completed my first full marathon.

How do you fit workouts and healthy eating into your schedule? ​Between running a business full-time (my husband and I own a dance & music studio) and managing our own kids and family life, it’s definitely not easy. I don’t work 9 am -5 pm like most people so I never have a regular schedule which means workouts can be all over the place. ​It’s all about carving out a little time here and there. Sometimes I run in the morning or teach a dance class in the afternoon. Other times I can only get in a quick 15 minute targeted workout in the evening. Then there’s times when all those things happen in the same day!


What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your healthy lifestyle journey? ​Trying to manage time for myself. ​I need to regroup with some quiet time and that is hard to carve out. I’m really big on self-development but it takes time and consistent commitment. I aim for early mornings before everyone is awake but if I don’t get enough sleep it doesn’t always happen.

What are three healthy living blogs you read for inspiration? ​Too many to count! I have met so many amazing people online who have become such a huge source of inspiration to me on my own journey. ​However my favorites are Zen Habits, Tim Ferriss and The Happiness Project -all 3 are not specifically about fitness but more about overall healthy and mindful living.


What’s your fitness philosophy?​ ​Balance and moderation. If you stray too far right it’s time to go left. Don’t get hung up on being perfect just have fun and enjoy each moment. Good health comes from good habits.

What are three of your favorite posts on your blog? ​Quitting Coffee Cold TurkeyRace To Find Time, and 5 Reasons Every Runner Should Practice Yoga.

How can people connect with you on social media?​ Instagram:@montrealrunnermom Twitter: @mtlrunnermom Facebook: Montreal Runner Mom Pinterest: Jennifer Florence

I love Jennifer’s approach to health and fitness. Moderation and fitting in workouts when there’s time is something I think a lot of people can relate to. Thanks to Jennifer for the interview and make sure you check out her blog

September 2015 Goals

September 2015 Goals September 1 2015 550


Another month has flown by and it’s September already. It feels like I’ve been waiting for September to come forever, so while I’m sad to have summer “unofficially” over now that I’m about to start school, I’m also really looking forward to it as well.

Take it easy on myself. I know it’s going to take a couple weeks to get used to my new schedule. It’s been 9 years since I was last in school full time. Spending my time in class and studying instead of at work is going to be a big change. Although I already did the university thing, going back to school has been more nerve wracking than I thought it would be. Final exams are way more scary for me now than they were years ago. Going to school is very different than working for me. When I’m done for the day at work, the evening is mine. I don’t have to worry about work related stuff. However, once I’m done classes for the day I still have reading, studying, and reviewing to do. With school there’s always something that I could be working on. I want to make sure I give myself some grace in the transition. Things aren’t going to be perfect right away, and that’s okay.

Eat as healthy as possible at school. Because I’m going to be spending so much  time at school, I know it’s going to be tougher to make healthy food choices. Will it be tempting to buy a hot chocolate and a donut when I walk past Tim Horton’s on my way to class? Absolutely. I’m planning on making it as easy as possible for me to say no to that though. I bought some Cliff Bars last week for snacks while I’m at school and I get hungry. I have a pocket on the outside of my backpack for my water bottle. I’m planning on making my lunches instead of buying them there.

Get involved. Just like the last time I was in university, I want to get involved on campus. Weather that means joining a club or two, getting a job on campus, or making an effort to get to know people and make some new friends, I want to make sure I take advantage of my time in school. I don’t want to just remember the studying and tests, but also the interesting conversations and fun events as well. I got to know some pretty amazing people when I volunteered at the Campus Women’s Center ten years ago, and I want to make sure that I make use of those same opportunities the second time around.

Now that you know my goals for this month, leave a comment with one of yours. 

Weekend in Review

Babysitting Cootie Game August 31 2015

My weekend started off on Friday night with a babysitting gig. I always try to bring a game or book with me to keep the girls entertained. I remember as a kid it was always more fun to play with someone else’s toys, so I figure the same goes for other people as well. This time I took Cooties with me. I remember playing with this game when I was a kid at my grandparent’s house in New Jersey when we’d go visit them. I’ve brought it before when I’ve babysat these sisters, but they were still pretty excited to play it again. To be honest it was a pretty easy night. Between wanting to catch bugs outside, a couple games, and two bedtime books, and some TV time on my own, it was a good night.

Farmer's Market Curry August 31 2015

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to head out to the farmer’s market. I picked up some of the curry that I always buy when I’m there. This time I decided to switch it up a but and I went with chicken and veggies instead of vegetarian. I’m trying to eat more protein, so I figured that would be an easy change to make. I also picked up half a dozen Montreal bagels (check out this link for details). They’re so good and infinitely better than any bagel you can find at the grocery store. On the way out I stopped by one my favorite vegetable vendors and got some arugula and tomatoes. I ended up coming home with a pretty good haul from the farmer’s market.

On Sunday I considered going downtown to check out Market Collective. It’s basically an independent market with all kinds of awesome vendors and artists. They all have to apply to get in, so there’s some really great stuff. I was feeling lazy though and taking transit downtown felt like too much work. Check out this post for more about Market Collective. I know this week is going to be crazy in terms of work and school, so I wanted to take advantage of one of the last days I’ll have where I don’t have anything scheduled.

Leave a comment with the highlight of your weekend. 

Fun Facts Friday

This week feels like it’s flown by. I can’t believe that it’s Friday already. It feels like the entire summer has sped by too. The mornings are cooler and the evenings are starting to get shorter. I’m actually looking forward to fall though because it’s my favorite season. I can’t wait for cozy sweaters, mugs of hot apple cider, and cool, crisp weather.

I know I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I was buying a new car. My Malibu was 13 years old (even though it doesn’t feel like I bought it that long ago), and I’d have to get a few things fixed on it if I had kept it. My dad convinced me it wasn’t worth putting money into, so a couple weeks ago I started car shopping. After narrowing it down to four cars, three test drives, and lots of thinking and considering, I finally decided on a Yaris. I’ve had it for a few days now and I’m really happy with my decision. While it’s pretty small, it gets amazing mileage so my bank account will be thanking me when it comes to getting gas. I wanted something that was reliable and would get me to school and work safely. While it’s not very fancy it’s still an upgrade from my old car.

Indian Restaurant Butter Chicken August 28 2015

There’s been a new Indian restaurant near me that I’ve been wanting to check out for a few months now. I finally checked out Raj Palace one day this week after work. I’m so glad I did because the food was delicious! Since I was there for lunch they had some specials on, so I got butter chicken, naan bread, and jasmine rice. The portions were generous, so I wasn’t able to finish everything, but it was so, so good. I know I’ll be back soon. I’m very happy to have found a good Indian restaurant nearby, as my two other standbys are a half hour drive away.

It’s been the summer of the dentist for me. I’ve been at the dentist 2 or 3 times a month since June. I was there yesterday for an appointment, and I was very happy to be done in just fifteen minutes. It sure beats the two and a half hour appointments I had back in June. I have one more next week and then I should be done until my next check up in six months. I’ll be very glad to not have to go back for awhile. It’s gotten to the point that the receptionists know my name when they see me walk into the office.

My first day of school on Thursday! While I’ve been taking classes one at a time for the last two years to get my prerequisites done, I’ll be starting school full time in a matter of days. Thursday is orientation and classes begin the following Tuesday after the long weekend. It’s felt like this day would never get here. I’m pretty excited to be in a program that I’m passionate about and looking forward to learning as much as I can.

New LL Bean Backpack August 28 2014


I’ll be at school today for a job interview (keep your fingers crossed for me), and my plan is to get my ID card and books while I’m there. I hope it won’t be quite as busy and the lines will be a bit shorter. I’ve already bought my school supplies – a couple binders, some lined paper, dividers, and pens. Along with my LL Bean backpack that I bought last year, I’m feeling prepared as far as supplies go.

Leave a comment with the highlight of your week.