My Favorite Podcasts: February 2020

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite podcasts that I’ve been listening to lately. Like most people, what I’m listening to changes over time, so I thought it was time to write a post about what I’m enjoying right now.

I have to start off a post about podcasts by saying that I listen to a lot of them. I typically download a bunch of them to my phone on Sunday and then listen to them throughout the week. I had a friend ask me how I manage to listen to so many. To be honest it’s all about taking advantage of the little chunks of time throughout the day. I listen to them when I’m driving in my car, at the gym during cardio workouts, when I’m cleaning, and even when I’m working.

In terms of apps that I use, I love Spotify and Pocket Casts. I typically use Spotify when I’m at home and listen to them on one of the Google Home Mini we have in our house (I have one in my room and one in the kitchen/living room).

When I’m at the gym or in the car I use Pocket Casts on my phone. You can subscribe to podcasts and then when they release new episodes you can download them to your phone. It’s super easy to do on the app. I really like that I don’t have to use my data to listen to them when I’m out and about, and I can delete the episodes after I listen to them so it doesn’t take up a ton of space on my phone.

I figured I would categorize the podcasts so you can find whatever interests you. I know it’s kind of an eclectic mix of topics!

Yoga

M. B. Om

Amanda Kingsmith is the host of M. B. Om and talks about the business of teaching yoga. There’s so much to cover during a 200 hour yoga teacher training, that it’s hard to fit in everything. Needless to say, I wish I had learned more about the business behind being a yoga teacher. I think we spent one afternoon talking about that stuff during my teacher training and that was it.

There’s so many different ways to set yourself up as a yoga teacher – I honestly had no idea until I started yoga teacher training and really thought about what I wanted my teaching to look like. Who did I want to teach? Where did I want to teach? A studio? On my own renting space? With other teachers? In person or online? The options are nearly endless and it can be a lot to think about when you’re trying to figure out where you fit best.

Amanda is Canadian (and is even from my province), so it’s really great to not only listen to someone local, but also a fellow Canadian.

The Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast

This podcast is hosted by Mado Hasselink. I’ve been listening to it for a year or so now and it’s a podcast that I really enjoy. Some episodes are on air coaching calls with yoga teachers that she works with one on one and others are interviews with people in the yoga community like Leslie Kaminoff, Amanda McKinney, and even Shannon Roche who is the CEO of the Yoga Alliance.

The Connected Yoga Teacher

Shannon Crow hosts The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast. It’s another one that I’ve been listening to for awhile now and I always learn something from each episode. Shannon is also a fellow Canadian (I think she lives in Ontario), so it’s nice to get a Canadian perspective on things when so much of the media even here in Canada is American based.

Shannon covers all kinds of topics of interest to yoga teachers – from how to plan a workshop to making money as a yoga teacher to the business of opening a yoga studio.

Being a yoga teacher can be a very lonely job – you don’t really spend much time with “co-workers”, so it can sometimes feels like you’re doing it all alone. Having these three podcasts as resources to fill that gap and almost be like a kind of continuing education after finishing my 200 hour yoga teacher training has been invaluable.

Current Events

Planet Money

I started listening to Planet Money a few years ago after multiple people recommended it to me. I’m glad that I finally took their advice because I really do enjoy listening to it! Planet Money episodes usually clock in at between 20 and 30 minutes long.

The general theme of this podcast is economics. While I know that you might think that it’s a super boring and dry topic, the way that NPR covers it definitely isn’t. They always manage to bring whatever story they’re covering back to money and economics. They’ve done episodes on employees selling snacks at baseball games, how restaurants can make little tweaks to make a lot more money, and the fairness of wealth taxes. Most episodes I listen to I learn something and am always impressed at how they can make abstract ideas come alive with real life situations.

Up First

Just like Planet Money, Up First is another NPR podcast. I usually play it first thing in the morning when I’m getting up, making my bed, and getting dressed. It’s the shortest podcast I listen to and it usually between 10 and 15 minutes long.

Since Up First is produced by NPR it focuses on the latest news from the US, though they do occasionally do stories on international stories too, such as Brexit, the corona virus, and even the Canadian federal election because Canada and the US are such big trade partners with each other.

It’s a great way to hear about the latest big news stories at the beginning of each day. There’s a new episode of Up First everyday except for Sundays.

Throughline

Also by NPR (are you noticing a theme here?), Throughline takes a deeper dive into current topics to get into the history and nuances of it. I’ve listened to episodes about Putin, vaccination, planned obsolescence, mass incarceration, and even the electrical grid.

As you can tell from the topics, they’re pretty eclectic but it’s so interesting to get a more in depth look at those topics. It’s one of those podcasts where you’re never sure what the next episode will be about but they’re always interesting to listen to.

True Crime

The Vanished Podcast

I’ve been listening to The Vanished Podcast for years now – so long in fact that I can’t even remember how I started listening to it or who recommended it to me. Every week Marissa covers the case of a missing person. She tries to take on cases that haven’t gotten a lot of attention which means that there’s a lot of older cases as well of those of people who live lives that would put them at risk. Marissa always treats the families and the stories of the people that she features with respect and dignity, which doesn’t always happen.

If you like this podcast be sure to follow The Vanished Podcast on Instagram, where Marissa will post teasers about new episodes and updates on previous cases when there’s new developments. She posts new episodes weekly and she has an archive of over 200 episodes, so there’s lots to listen to if you’re going on a road trip or traveling and want to download a bunch of them.

Casefile

A friend recommended Casefile to me a few months ago, and all it took was listening to one episode to get me hooked. Casefile is definitely on the longer end of podcasts and typically clocks in at about an hour.

The host covers a new case each episode. I’m usually drawn into them pretty quickly. Although the podcast is made in Australia, it covers cases from all over the world. Just a head’s up that I would recommend listening to this podcast with kids around. Some episodes can get into details that wouldn’t be appropriate for little ears.

Creepy/Mysteries

Lore

Lore is another podcast that I’ve been listening to for years now. Aaron Mahnke brings a story, person, or incident from the past to life in very creepy and mysterious ways. There’s been a couple times when I’ve listened to an episode and been creeped out by the time it was over.

If you enjoy history and like scary or mysterious stories, this is definitely the podcast for you. Aaron also does a few other podcasts including the Cabinet of Curiosities and Unobscured, both of which I really enjoy.

Conspiracy Theories

These last two podcasts are both by Parcast. I’ve listened to quite a few of their podcasts, but these are the two that I enjoy the most.

Conspiracy Theories is a weekly podcast that has two episodes on each topic. The first one usually goes into the details of a topic, person, or event like the death of JFK or the Illuminati. The second episode then covers the different conspiracy theories that exist about it. The hosts then also rate each conspiracy theory on how likely it is that it’s the truth.

Conspiracy Theories has covered all kinds of topics and is pretty good at keeping my interest. It’s really well produced so it’s easy to listen to too. I love hearing about all the out there theories even though I’m pretty skeptical of them.

Unexplained Mysteries

Similar to Conspiracy Theories, Unexplained Mysteries looks at topics that haven’t been explained completely or are a little bit out there. Just like Conspiracy Theories, it also takes on two episodes per topic, giving the facts (as much as they can) during the first one, and talking about the different explanations on the second episode.

Most of the episodes are between 40 and 50 minutes so you get a fair bit of detail in each episode. This is actually one of my favorite episodes to fall asleep to. It probably explains some of my weird dreams, haha.

What are some of your favorite podcasts? Leave them in the comments below.

Full Body Circuit Workout

Today I’m sharing a full body circuit workout that you can do at the gym or at home with a few pieces of equipment.

Good morning and happy hump day today. As usual this week is flying by. Today I’ll be at the gym taking a yoga class. The last time I went to this class there was a sub. I talked to a few regulars after that class and found out that the usual teacher is really into alignment, so I’m really looking forward to taking the class with her this morning.

And now onto to today’s workout! I put together a full body circuit workout which doesn’t take a lot of equipment, so it’s a great for those busy mornings when you’re not able to get to the gym or are travelling and only have access to a hotel gym.

If you’re looking for a different kind of workout (from strength training to cardio to one for beginners), be sure to check out my workouts page. All of the workouts that I’ve shared on Get Fit Fiona are organized by category so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

You can do this workout at home if you have a set of two of dumbbells (affiliate link) and something sturdy to step up on like a bench that you’d see at a gym.

You’ll do one set of the specified reps of each exercise, working your way down the list. Once you’ve completed the last exercise, rest as much as you need to recover before starting over from the top. Complete the circuit 3 or 4 times through for a full workout.

I haven’t prescribed any weights for this workout because it’ll be different for each person who does it. Pick a weight that you can complete all reps with good form and still challenges you. Below the graphic I’ve listed descriptions of all the exercises.

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the front leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for 20 reps.

Push ups

Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

Bodyweight squats

With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Bicep curls

Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.

Step ups

Find something that when you put your foot on it, your knee is at a 90 degree angle. This could be a chair or bench. Step up with your left foot, and pushing off that heel step your right foot off the floor and onto the bench. Immediately step back down with your left foot, followed by your right foot.

Bent over rows

With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing each other) bend forward slightly at the hips so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, letting your arms hang straight down and keeping your back in a neutral position. Bring both dumbbells up towards your armpits while contracting your shoulder blades towards each other (kind of like pinching your shoulder blades together). Move dumbbells back towards starting position. 

Talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. As always, honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you.

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How to Eat Healthy Consistently

Today I’m sharing some tips on how to eat healthy consistently.

With all of the New Year’s resolutions that are made at the beginning of the year, it can sometimes be tough to keep that motivation going throughout the year. Today I thought I’d share a few tips to eat healthy over time. It can be easy to do when you have lots of motivation, but harder to do with you’re faced with temptation.

The 80/20 rule

I think it’s important to start off by saying that no one (and I mean no one) is able to eat perfectly all the time. To be honest, it sounds kind of miserable to never have a treat when celebrating something, or allowing yourself to order take out when you’re tired and have zero motivation to cook. Life is all about making memories and having fun, which means that it’s okay to treat yourself.

I find that when I’m making healthy decisions for myself 80% of the time, I can allow myself to splurge 20% of the time. By making healthy decisions the majority of the time I can eat things that are less healthy without guilt.

I’m sure everyone has tried to “eat perfectly” without “messing up”. And we’ve all failed at it. It’s impossible to make healthy decisions 100% of the time. Celebrating a birthday or going out for dinner is going to happen. Allowing yourself the grace to embrace those occasions and not feel guilty about them allows you to eat the slice of cake or drink the beer and then go back to making healthy choices. Having the mindset that a couple cookies or an indulgent meal isn’t going to “ruin” your diet allows you to enjoy it and then move on.

Be prepared

Planning ahead and knowing yourself will really be helpful in eating healthy long term. If you know that you get hungry mid afternoon at work, make sure you have some healthy snacks available to avoid the chocolate bars in the vending machines. If you have a long day at work on Thursday, make extra for dinner on Wednesday night so all you have to do is heat them up on Thursday so that you’re less tempted to stop and pick up food on the way home.

Spending 15 or 20 minutes at the beginning of the week looking at my calendar and planning out what I’ll be eating throughout the week has been really helpful. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.

Meal plan

Speaking of being prepared and planning ahead, I’ve found that meal planning has been a really good way for me to make the healthiest choices that I can. Here are a few of my meal planning posts: Top 5 meal planning tips, How I Simplify Meal Planning, and 6 Benefits of Meal Planning.

When I know that I have the ingredients in my kitchen to prepare a few different meals, I’m much more likely to cook at home than I am otherwise. Going home to find a recipe, go to the grocery store to get ingredients, and then going back home to cook after working all day isn’t likely to happen. But if all it takes to eat a healthy meal is to cook it because I already have all the ingredients, it’s a lot less effort.

Exercise

I find that it’s easy to build on healthy decisions if I’m already making them in other parts of my life. If I workout a couple times per week, it’s easier to pick the side salad over the fries when I’m eating out. If I’m spending time and effort to be healthy in one part of my life, it’ll spill over into other parts of my life too, like eating.

I’m also more likely to make healthier decisions with my food when I’m getting enough sleep, spending some time each day for myself, and writing in my gratitude journal regularly. All of those little decisions build on each other and they become easier over time.

I typically workout first thing in the morning and it’s such a great way to start off my day on a positive note, doing something good for myself. It sets the tone for the day that it’s worth the effort to be healthy and make smart decisions throughout the day.

Don’t get discouraged

It’s so easy to let one less than perfect decision lead to a whole day’s worth of unhealthy decisions. If you forgot your packed lunch at home, that doesn’t mean that you have to go get fast food. You can still make a healthier decision than a burger and fries.

Enjoying one or two more alcoholic beverages than you had anticipated at a barbecue with friends doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy eating all the treats that are available. You can still choose to get seconds of the salad or veggies instead of the chips.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the “I’ve messed up so I might as well give up” mindset, but that doesn’t get you any closer to your goals. It’s definitely taken a lot of practice, but I’m slowly but surely getting better at not letting one or two imperfect decisions ruin the entire day. Getting back on track as soon as possible and not allowing those decisions to dictate the rest of my day has been such an important part of healthy eating. It’s so easy to be hard on myself and feel like I’ve messed up. But giving myself grace and forgiving myself and moving on instead of dwelling on it has been huge for me.

What are some of your tips for eating healthy consistently? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Weekend Highlights: Book Shopping + Puppy Yoga

This past weekend was a really fun one for me. Between a date night on Friday and puppy yoga on Sunday it was a great weekend.

I wanted to check out a used bookstore on Friday to see if they had some books that I was looking for. I’m planning on doing a yoga book club in the coming months, so I wanted to get a few books for that as well as check to see if they had some yoga philosophy books that I wanted to get. Eat, Pray, Love (affiliate link) will be a yoga book club book.

I’ve heard lots of good things about Meditations from the Mat (affiliate link), so I got that too. I’ve started reading it, and I’m really liking how short each day’s reading it. The last book I picked up was Yoga Mala (affiliate link) by Pattabhi Jois, the founder of ashtanga yoga.

They ended up having three of the books that I was looking for. Because I had a credit from selling them some books a few years ago, I only paid %7 for all three of them. I ended up getting an even better deal than I thought I would.

Friday night I spent with my boyfriend. We walked over to Vagabond for dinner. I ordered the chicken and side salad. It’s hard to go wrong with anything that comes with cheese and guacamole.

After dinner we walked over to pick up my boyfriend’s dog, Winston, from daycare. He was pretty excited to see us when they brought him out. He was also very tired though. Running around with all other dogs always wears him out. He’s pretty stubborn about admitting when he’s tired though, so by the time we got back to my boyfriend’s place he got a second wind of energy and had fun playing with the new toy that I brought him.

It’s not very often I get to see a sleepy Winston. He has a hard time sleeping when I’m there because he has a major case of FOMO and doesn’t want to miss out on anything.

I split one of these lemon radlers on Friday and really liked it. I still like the original grapefruit the best, but it was a nice change. I would definitely buy it again.

Saturday night a storm blew into Calgary and brought with it strong winds, a bunch of snow, and low visibility. Thankfully I didn’t have to leave the house, but when I woke up on Sunday I was met with a bunch of fresh snow on the ground.

It would have been really easy to just skip the gym because of the snow, but I went and I’m really glad that I got in my workout. I always feel better afterwards.

I took a 60 minute Group Power class. The instructor brought a lot of great energy to this morning’s class. The gym was actually pretty quiet, so it was a nice treat.

Sunday afternoon I headed to the Yoga Shala for a karma class that involved puppies!

All the donations were benefitting ARF, who brought a bunch of puppies who are available for adoption. They were a litter of 10 puppies who all had Star Wars names. It was a sold out class with over 40 yogis. One of the volunteers told me that she was surprised how calm the puppies were with all the people – apparently yoga was good for them too!

I was definitely distracted by all the fluff balls and took advantage of them wandering by to get in some pets. I even got a bunch of kisses from one of them at the end of class when I was in savasana. This was my third puppy/dog yoga class that I’ve been to so far and I have to admit that I think it was my favorite.

This coming week should be less busy than the last one which I’m grateful for. It felt like I was constantly on the go. I have a bunch of blog things that I want to get done this week, so I’m going to have to be pretty focused if I want to get my to do list done.

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Friday Favorites: Lindt Chocolates + Planning Yoga Classes

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite things from the past week.

I hope you all had a great week and you’re looking forward to your weekend – I know I am. I have my car back from the autobody shop and it’s looking as good as new now. Someone hit my car in the gym parking lot a few weeks ago and it’s taken awhile to get it fixed. Apparently it’s not the first time people haven’t left their info after causing damage to someone else’s car in that parking lot. It’s even happened to gym staff.

Tonight I’m looking forward to date night and Sunday I’m signed up to take a puppy karma yoga class. I’m pretty sure my focus will be on the adoptable puppies and less so on the actual yoga, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Lindt chocolates

I was at Costco earlier this week and I couldn’t pass up a huge box of Lindt chocolates. Lindt truffles are my absolute favorite kind of chocolate. The box came with a couple different kinds for flavors including dark chocolate, almond, white chocolate, and of course their original milk chocolate.

Whisper Network

I started reading Whisper Network (affiliate link) this week and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m only 100 pages or so in so far but it’s sucked me in. It was recommended to me by someone (I can’t remember who), and I finally got to the front my the hold list at the library.

Here’s the synopsis from Good Reads:

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita are four women who have worked at Truviv, Inc., for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Ames is a complicated man, a man they’ve all known for a long time, a man who’s always been surrounded by…whispers. Whispers that have always been ignored by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching Ames’s latest promotion differently. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough.

Sloane and her colleagues set in motion a catastrophic shift within every floor and department of the Truviv offices. All four women’s lives—as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries—will change dramatically as a result.

“If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened.

Planning yoga classes

This past weekend I attended the Sunday session of the yoga teacher training that I graduated from last year. The morning was devoted to sequencing and learning to put together good classes. We followed it up by spending the afternoon discussing yoga philosophy, specifically the kleshas (5 afflictions or poisons) and the 5 vrittis (patterns).

We started off the day by talking about some of the different lineages of yoga including Desikachar’s viniyoga, Iyengar, and Pathabi Jois’s ashtanga yoga. Some of them have a set sequence, and others don’t.

There’s a couple different ways to plan a yoga class and we spent some time on Sunday morning talking about them. From having a theme that you weave throughout the class (like gratitude or hip openers) to having a peak pose (like crow or bird of paradise).

After talking about sequencing we took some time to get into small groups to create our own hour long yoga class and practice sequencing. It was so good to be able to do it in groups because everyone has their favorite poses and it was good to get out of my comfort zone.

Once we had out class planned out we then took an hour to go through it. We split the class up into three parts so each one of us in our group could have a chance to teach it. It was so great for me to hear and experience how my group members taught the class everything from describing where you should be feeling the pose to hearing different cuing.

This week I’ve been spending more time than usual coming up with new yoga classes and sequences that I’ll be including in upcoming classes. It was really great to get a refresher on the basics of class creation and spend some extra time doing it this week.

What was a favorite of yours from the past week? Share about it in the comments below.

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