Top Posts of 2020

Today I’m sharing some of my top posts on my blog all in one spot.

When I was going through my analytics to put together this post I was happy to see that some of my favorite posts to write made it into the top 10 most popular posts on Get Fit Fiona. The posts on this list include food, fitness, and workout playlists.

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal Premium: Is It Worth the Money?

This post is by far the most popular post on my blog. If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to pay for the premium version of My Fitness Pal, I answer all of your questions in this post.

Tracking Food in My Fitness Pal

If you’re just getting started tracking your food intake with My Fitness Pal, this is a great post to start with. I’ve broken down the basics and share how I use the app to keep track of what I eat.

Online Workouts

My Favorite Barre Workouts on YouTube

Since Covid shut down gyms, fitness studios, and gyms here in my city. I’ve turned to the internet and apps to get in my workouts. In this post I share some of my favorite barre workouts on YouTube.

Barre 3 Online Workouts Review

I subscribed to Barre 3 Online Workouts for awhile awhile a few years ago. I loved that their workouts were super easy to do at home. They don’t require a lot of equipment and you don’t need a ton of room either.

Workouts

Group Power Class

I almost always research new to me group fitness classes online before I take them for the first time. I wanted to share an introduction to Group Power classes. I had a hard time finding information about them online. It makes it a bit less scary to walk into a new class when you have an idea of what to expect.

Cardio and Upper Body Workout

I wasn’t surprised to see a few workouts in my top 10 posts. This one is great because it combines cardio and upper body exercises.

Full Body Deck of Cards Workout

I remember creating this workout a few ears ago – it was inspired by a workout that I did with a client at one of my internship placements. It’s one of those workouts that feels hard doing it, but by the time I’m done I’m so impressed with myself that I stuck it out and finished.

30 Minute Interval Bike Workout

I don’t think I have very many bike workouts on the blog. Honestly it’s not my favorite form of cardio. I’d much rather spend 45 minutes on the elliptical. Maybe I should be adding more bike workouts though if that’s what you like to read about!

Workout Playlist

40 Minute 80’s Workout Playlist

It wouldn’t be a great workout without some good tunes. The 80’s were both a great and not so great time for music. I put together a workout playlist with some of my all time favorite songs from the 80’s.

Girl Power Workout Playlist

This is probably one of my favorite workout playlists that I’ve shared on the blog, so it’s not a surprise that readers like it too. I included artists such as Katy Perry, Aretha Franklin, and Lizzo.

What’s your favorite kinds of posts to read? Any suggestions on posts you’d like to see on Get Fit Fiona?

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify workouts as needed to work for you.

My Favorite Books of 2020

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite books that I read in 2020.

As I was putting together this list I was surprised that I didn’t have more historical fiction books on it. It’s one of my favorite genres but for some reason I didn’t read a lot of them. I typically read ebooks that I borrow from my library, but at the end of the year I borrowed a stack of psychical books. I hadn’t done that in years. I love the convenience of ebooks but for some reason I was craving being able to hold a book in my hands. If you’re looking for some recommendations for books to read, check out the rest of my post.

Non-Fiction

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

I read Catch and Kill (affiliate link) early in 2020 and it’s stuck with me since then. It was shocking to me how many ways Weinstein was protected. Ronan Farrow was able to clearly share what happened. If you’re looking for a book that explains everything that happened I highly recommend Catch and Kill.

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

I’m a yoga teacher so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m a big advocate of meditation. I picked up Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics (affiliate link) because while I’m all about meditation, I’m not into the woohoo stuff. Jeff brings a very straight forward and science backed approach to meditation. I use meditation a lot to deal with anxiety and to help me fall asleep, so I was able to really relate to how Jeff came to meditation. He had a panic attack on national TV that brought him to it.

Anti Diet by Christy Harrison

This was a book that I had seen on Instagram a lot. I finally got to read it after having it on hold at my library. Anti Diet (affiliate link) was eye opening for me to really learn about how much diet culture and fatphobia permeates so much of our society. Being someone who works in the fitness space, I’ve found that it’s especially pervasive in gyms and fitness studios.

Fiction

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

This was the first book of Elin Hilderbrand’s that I read. I don’t why it took me so long to read her books because I’ve really enjoyed them. Beautiful Day (affiliate link) was about a family getting ready for a wedding on Nantucket. Elin does a great job at bringing her characters to life. It’s one of the things that I like most about her books.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Another new to me author that I now really enjoy is Jojo Moyes. The Giver of Stars (affiliate link) was an ebook that I borrowed from my library. I leaved learning about a part of the US that I didn’t know a lot about before. It’s also not a time period that I’ve read a lot about. If you’re new to Jojo’s books like I was, I would really suggest you check out The Giver of Stars.

Emily Gone by Bette Lee Crosby

I had randomly found Emily Gone on the Kindle store. Typically I’ll read books that have been recommended to me, but I’m so glad that I have Emily Gone (affiliate link) a try. It was a really great read that pulled me in from the very first page.

Historical Fiction

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

One of the few historical fiction books that I read in 2020 was The Gown (affiliate link). It follows the lives of the women who made then Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress. I know a little about sewing, but have never attempted to make clothing. I know it takes a lot of skill, and I can only imagine the talent that’s needed to be able to create a wedding dress – especially for a monarch. It was interesting to get a peak into how the dress was made and realize how many countless hours went into creating it.

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

This was a book I read at the end of the year and I have to admit that it was one of my favorites of 2020. The Winemaker’s Wife (affiliate link) follows story of a vineyard in France – from 1940 to present day. It focuses mainly on the people who lived that during World War II. I honestly didn’t know a lot about how wine is made so it was fun to read about how that’s done (or at least was done back in the 40’s). I really enjoyed reading about the characters Kristen created. They all seemed so real. I definitely didn’t see the twist at the end coming.

Thrillers

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I read The Silent Patient (affiliate link) because it was recommended to me. I’m so glad that I took their advice because I really enjoyed it. The Silent Patient follows the case of a murder. The woman accused of killing her husband is sent to a psychiatric hospital where a criminal psychotherapist tries to get her to open up about what happened. I thought the pacing of the novel was great and Alex managed to keep my attention through the entire book. It was hard to put down!

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

If you ever went to summer camp as a kid – either as a camper or a counsellor – I think you’d really like this book. The Last Time I Lied (affiliate link) takes place almost entirely at a summer camp. The book has two storylines – one from years ago when three campers disappeared, and again in the present day when it opens up again for the first time since the disappearance. The main character was the last person to see the three campers when they disappeared and comes back when camp opens again as a counsellor. I loved the way that Riley brought the two timelines together. This was one of those books where I kept telling myself I would only read one more chapter. Three chapters later I would finally put it down.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Another book that I had a hard time putting down was The Family Upstairs (affiliate link). There were lots of twists and turns and even though I thought I had it figured out more than once the plot took a twist that I didn’t see coming. There were a bunch of creepy characters in this one that I definitely wouldn’t want to meet in real life. The book is written from three different points of view which I really liked.

Now that you know what books I enjoyed reading in 2020, leave one (or three) of your favorites in the comments below.

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

How to Find the Right Pair of Running Shoes

Today I’m sharing some tips on how to find the right pair of running shoes. With all of the New Year’s resolutions being made at this time of year, I’m sure that there are some people who are looking to get shoes. Hopefully this post will help!

If you’re jumping onto the fitness bandwagon in 2021, welcome aboard. It can be tough to get started when you’re new to working out and fitness. Getting started is the toughest part (at least it was for me). I’m hoping that the tips in this post will help. Just like going into the gym for the first time can be intimidating, so can knowing how to find the right pair of running shoes. If you’re looking for more fitness gear and advise for beginners, check out my at home workout equipment post and my fitness tips for beginners post. If you follow me on Instagram, share your favorite pair of running shoes with me over there.

Go to a running store

It might be tempting to order a pair of running shoes online or go to a big box store. However, I would highly recommend that you try out a local running store. The employees who work at a running store will be able to give you some really helpful advice on finding the right pair of running shoes for you. It can be overwhelming looking at a wall of shoes in front of you. They’ll be able to help you narrow down and options and tell you how they should feel when you have them on. They’re also more likely to know the in’s and out’s of the different brands. For instance, if you have wide feet like I do, they’ll be able to tell you which makes and models of shoes run a bit wider.

Ignore what the running shoes look like

While it might be tempting to choose a pair of running shoes based on what they look like. Instead, you should instead go by how they fit. If you end up with an uncomfortable pair of shoes you won’t care what they look like, especially when you’re dealing with blisters. There’s nothing worse than a run that isn’t fun because your feet hurt. And blisters have a way of making running or even walking pretty miserable.

New Balance Cross Training Shoes

Try on more shoes than you think you’ll need to

It’s not uncommon for me to try on 6 or 8 pairs of shoes when I’m buying a new pair of running shoes. It takes longer and takes more effort, but it’s worth it when you can confidently say that you found the best fit for your feet. That last pair that the sales associate pulled for you to try might be the ones that fit the best. Shoes that start out “just a bit too narrow or short” in the store will end up being pretty uncomfortable while running. It’s worth it to spend more time finding the shoes that fit you the best than be disappointed with them after a few weeks.

Get your feet measured

Running store employees will probably start off by measuring your feet, but if they don’t ask them to. It might sound kind of silly, but it’s worth it to get an accurate measurement even if you’ve “always been a size 9”. A few years ago when I got my feet measured I discovered I’m not actually an 11 like I had thought, but actually a 10.5 wide. It might not seem like a big difference, but they 10.5 wides fit so much better than the 11’s.

Share where and how you’ll be using your running shoes

If you have an idea of where you’ll be running and what distances, it’ll be helpful to share that with the sales associate who’s helping you. Will you be running outdoors on dirt trails? On pavement? At the gym on the treadmill? These are all very different and it’ll be helpful to pick a running shoes in mind with where you’ll be running. Also be sure to share what kind of distances you’ll be running. A 5K is different from a marathon. Having as much information as possible helps you find the right pair of running shoes.

New Fila Shoes

Take socks with you

If you have socks that you like to wear on runs, be sure to take them with you to the running store. Trying shoes on with the socks you’ll be wearing on runs helps you find the perfect fit. I personally prefer thinner ankle socks. Thicker socks then to get bunched up in my shoes which can lead to blisters. And in terms of length, ankle socks are the most comfortable ones for me.

Shop later in the day

Finally, try to shop for your shoes towards the end of the day instead of first thing in the morning. Feet tend to swell a bit throughout the day, so you don’t want to try on shoes in the morning only to find out that they’re a bit too tight for your post-work run.

What’s one tip you have for how to find the right pair of running shoes? Share it in the comments below.

2020 Recap

Today I’m sharing a recap of the year that was 2020. I don’t think it turned out how anyone expected, but I still wanted to look back over the past 365 days.

All I can say is oof. So many things have changed dramatically in the last 12 months. I didn’t think that it would be normal to wear a mask going out of my house. Washing my hands and using hand sanitizer as much as I am when I don’t have access to a sink. So many things that I took for granted before (being able to go out for dinner with friends, spend indoor time with my boyfriend unmasked) I definitely won’t be again.

Yoga classes

I had big and exciting plans to get my yoga classes off the ground in 2020. I had created my small business, rented space in a super cute building that’s a hub for the surrounding community, advertised my classes on Facebook and on flyers, and got business cards made to pass out to people who were interested. While I did get one 6 week session of classes in, I’m pretty disappointed that that’s all I was able to teach. Towards the end of February it became clear to me that it wasn’t safe for me or my yoga students to be participating in in person classes, between the small studio size and sharing props. I thought I would only be putting classes on hold for 6 months or so, but here we are 10 months in the pandemic and the province I live in is in another lockdown.

I’d love to get back to teaching in person yoga classes. I have absolutely no idea when that will happen though. I have a feeling all kinds of fitness classes will look different than they did pre-pandemic. I’ve been looking into hosting online classes, so there’s a possibility that I’ll be offering those in 2021. Be sure to book mark this page to keep up to date on when and where I’ll be offering yoga classes.

Everyday life

I’ve only been in a grocery store twice since the end of March. I’ve been ordering groceries online. I had never done it before, so I was surprised at how easy it ended up being. If you haven’t given online grocery ordering a try yet, I highly recommend it. I’ve done it at a few different stores and they all work pretty much the same.

Back in April I spent a bunch of time at my sewing machine making reusable masks. I hadn’t used my sewing machine in a long time, and thankfully it wasn’t hard to pick back up where I had left off. I had converted the dining room table into a fabric cutting station for a week or two. Who would have thought that elastic to sew onto the masks would become such a hot commodity? I still have some of those masks left, so if you live in Calgary email me.

Spending time with people has really shifted too. Everything from appointments to hanging out with friends has moved online. While I love that I don’t have to drive to nearly as many appointments, it still feels a bit weird to have phone appointments with my doctor and therapy appointments on Zoom. One thing that’s been really tough has been spending time with my boyfriend. We don’t live together, and right now with the current restrictions, we’re not able to spend any time together, even if we’re outside, masked, and socially distanced. I get that those restrictions have to be in place to protect everyone, but it doesn’t make it any less easier. I miss him (and his dog Winston) a lot. Hopefully the rules will be relaxed mid-January and we can resume our walks with Winston. My fingers are crossed.

Fitness

For a long time I was never very good at working out at home consistently. The gym was my favorite for everything from cardio on the elliptical to group fitness classes. The last time I went to the gym was the very beginning of March. Gyms closed down mid-March here in Calgary and since then I’ve been sticking to at home workouts. For the first few months I stuck to free workouts that I found online. Finally I took the plunge and signed up for the Peloton app. I had talked to a few people online who used it and assured me that I wouldn’t need the bike or treadmill to be able to do a lot of the workouts. I’m so glad that they encouraged me because I’ve really enjoyed using Peloton. For a fraction of the cost of my monthly gym membership I get access to a ton of workouts (from boot camp to yoga to strength) and I’ve only needed a few pieces of equipment (dumbbells).

I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into the gym at some point. I’ve really missed it. There’s just something about having someone else push me in a group fitness class that makes me work harder than I would on my own. I love being able to put on a playlist or podcast on my phone and just zone into my cardio workout for the day. I also miss the people. It’s felt like I’ve lost that whole community I used to have.

In the spring I also took advantage of the pathways near my house and spend time outdoors walking. While I wasn’t necessarily counting the walks as workouts, it still felt really good to be able to get some fresh air and spend time moving. I’m so grateful that there’s lots of space along the pathways and trails so it was easy to stay away from other people.

How was your 2020? How did things change for you? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Christmas 2020 Recap

Happy holidays! It’s that weird time between Christmas and New Year’s when I do absolutely nothing and I’m constantly unsure of what day it is. If you celebrate Christmas I hope you had a good one. I know it was very different for us, and I’m sure it was for everyone else as well. We were able to make the best of it, and even though some traditions weren’t done exactly as they have been, it’s still been a fun Christmas.

Even though I’ve only been in a grocery store once since March, we’ve had a few delicious meals. Every Christmas Eve my dad makes lasagna. I didn’t get a photo of it this year, but it was delicious as always. For the most part he only makes it once a year so it’s always a treat to be able to eat it. I had actually forgotten how good it tasted. It’s hard to go wrong with pasta, tomato sauce, and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses!

My brother ordered a charcuterie box from YYC Food Trucks. They did a great job putting it together. It was full of different kinds of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts/seeds, and fruit. I was really impressed with it. It was also a ton of food so no one left the table hungry. It’s definitely something that I would order again. They delivered it, so it was great to have it dropped off at on the front steps. One less errands to run.

I usually take over stocking duty. It definitely looked a bit different this year. I filled stockings for my dad, brother, and myself with things that I could order online. Typically I’d go shopping and find small gifts and chocolate, but shopping in person wasn’t going to happen this year. I managed to get a good assortment of goodies for everyone though. I made out pretty good with the Kinder and Lindt chocolates. These will last me for quite awhile. My brother makes sure we always have Life Savers in out stockings. It’s something that my mom would always get for us. Remember when they had more than just the original flavors in them?

Christmas morning I baked up some cinnamon buns that I had bought frozen from Manuel Latruwe. It’s a Belgian bakery in downtown Calgary that has the most amazing pastries and baked good. I just had to defrost them and let them rise before putting them into the oven. They turned out perfect as usual.

Santa was very good to us this year. Once again we avoided shopping in person this year, so that meant lots of online shopping purchases arriving at our door throughout December. It was definitely different from past years but also really nice to not have to deal with the crowds at the mall. The older I get the more fun it is to pick out gifts that I know my dad and brother will enjoy. My dad and I watch Oak Island together, so I got him an Oak Island book (affiliate link). My brother likes to go camping and spending time outdoors so I got him a book all about survival skills. I figure he can try some of them out this summer when he’s out camping. They both seemed pretty happy with their gifts.

We’ve gotten a ton of snow here in Calgary over the last week or so. For awhile it felt like it just wouldn’t end. I spent an hour the other day clearing snow from the street between the end of the driveway to the middle of the street where the snow had been driven over. There’s no way that I would have been able to get my car out of the driveway otherwise. Residential streets are still a mess from the sheer quantity of snow we got, but once you get out of the neighborhoods the roads are a lot better.

Before new restrictions were put in place a few weeks ago, I stocked up on library books. I’ve been slowly making my way through them. It’s perfect timing to be spending more time reading right now. There’s fewer places to be out because things are closed down as well as with all the snow all I want to do is stay warm and cozy inside. I’ve really enjoyed Sally Hepworth’s writing before, and The Secrets of Midwives (affiliate link) was no different. I didn’t really know much about midwives before I started reading it, so it was fun to be able to learn more about them. Each chapter was focused on one of the three main characters. It was an interesting way to structure the book.

I’ve become a big fan of Riley Sager over the past year or so. This is her third book that I’ve read. Lock Every Door (affiliate link) was part thriller, part mystery, and part haunted house. It’s hard to come up with just one word to describe it. If you like her other books I would recommend you try out this one too. I had a hard time putting it down.

Finally, I’m currently reading Grit (affiliate link). I usually prefer to read fiction, but I had heard about this book from a few different people so I thought it was worth checking it out. Unlike some non-fiction books that can be dense and hard to get through, Grit is really easy to read and the author, Angela Duckworth, is great at explaining the science and psychology behind what makes some people have more grit than others.

I wanted to make sure that I acknowledged how tough this Christmas has been for so many people. Whether it was grieving for a loved one, not being able to celebrate with family like you usually would, or anything else that makes the holidays tough, you’re in my thoughts.

Was Santa good to you this year? What’s are you reading right now?

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