Thursday, August 21, 2014

Insanity - My 'Why'

I finished up week two of Insanity over the weekend and started with week three on Monday. Week three meant my second Fit Test and measurements. I'm happy to report that I saw an increase in all of the exercises in the Fit Test (woo!) and in two weeks I'm already down inches in my waist, hips, thighs and arms which is incredibly motivating!! As I finish tomorrow's workout, I will reach the furthest I've ever gone with Insanity and I'm pretty stoked to pass that mark. It hasn't been easy and the workouts have been tough, but I'm proud that I've stuck with it.

Even with all of this exciting progress and general good feelings as a result of working out regularly again, part of me keeps asking myself, why the heck am I doing this? (This usually happens right before I am going to do a workout or in the midst of Shaun T telling me to do something ridiculous)

Before starting this crazy journey, I had recently gotten to a place where I felt really good about my body. I'm happy with the way that I eat and feel comfortable with how I look and how my clothes fit. I feel good when I look in the mirror (win!) Things are looser than they have been in the last two years. A pair of jeans that didn't fit for a long time are now becoming too baggy for me to wear. The scale hasn't mattered for a long time and the nagging negative thoughts went away a long time ago. Also - Insanity it NOT EASY and it means finding the time to work out 6 days a week. So why bother?

  • It feels AMAZING to have a juicy goal and be taking measurable steps each day towards reaching it.
  • I almost always feel better after a workout than before I started. Love those feelings
  • I can feel myself getting stronger every day. Even seeing the progress over two weeks in the Fit Test was encouraging. 
  • And even for the exercises where I made small strides, I know that I'm doing them with better form than I did the first go round. 
  • I've been sleeping like a baby and find myself being extra conscious of my food choices (without obsessing over 'good' and 'bad' foods)
  • I would love to get back to my fittest and feel AWESOME there (and not be concerned about losing "the last five pounds" -- what was I thinking?!)
  • I mostly want to prove to myself that I CAN do this, FINISH it, see RESULTS and OWN it
Three weeks into this program and all of these reasons really resonate with me. I am excited to continue on this journey and keep adding reasons to the list. 

Even when it gets tough. 
Even when I feel like I 'don't have time'
Even when it's frustrating or hard. 
Even when I don't want to. 

As I said in week one, I am determined to finish Insanity this time around and my list of 'whys' are keeping me motivated to continue pushing through and reach my goal!!

dancing through life quote

What's your 'why'? What keeps you motivated to stick with working out / working towards your goals?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Love List - August

The CNE has started in Toronto and the temperatures are getting chillier - where is August going?!? Does anyone else get those feelings that inspire you to buy new school supplies around this time of year (even if you're not going back to school?) Maybe I just love new pens and post-it notes a little too much. Other than school supplies (including a shiny new owl whiteboard) here are the things I'm loving right now:

Bloomer's
It's wonderful to see great people doing awesome things!! My friends Alex and Kelly have opened a storefront for Bloomer's bakery at Ossington and Bloor.

Bloomer's Toronto, gluten free, veganI've been a fan of Kelly's cookies for a long time, so it's very cool to now have a place to stop and enjoy them regularly. So far the menu consists of some amazing treats which are all vegan and some gluten free. The cafe has a great vibe and it's slowly becoming one of my favourite places to sit with a tea (& treat) and get work done. A full menu is soon to follow and I couldn't be more excited to have another stellar option for gluten free vegan food in the city. Try the zucchini chocolate chip muffin. TRUST ME.

Bloomer's Toronto, vegan, gluten free

Lovebot Kickstarter
Speaking of friends doing awesome things... Almost a year ago Corbin and I went on our Lovebot adventure which led to us going to Lovebot HQ and getting to spend more time with Matthew Del Degan, the creator of the Lovebot Invasion himself! The Lovebot team has an awesome Kickstarter happening right now for the DIY Lovebot toy. The campaign has just 11 days left to reach it's goal of $30k and was chosen as a Kickstarter staff pick. Donate and get yourself a sweet DIY Lovebot!

Love invasion Toronto, Lovebot

Getting mail that isn't a bill
I received a beautiful bracelet and sweet card in the mail last week and it made my day! I had been waiting on it for awhile (getting things from the US can be a nightmare sometimes) but there's something really charming about getting things in the mail from sweet friends in a world that relies on email and texting. I'm waiting on a sweet tank that I ordered, which will probably make it into September's love list. Stay tuned!

quote, inspiration

Recipe Testing
Lindsay and I are getting ready for another year of Vegan Mofo coming up in September after last year's hummazing extravaganza. This year we're focusing on 'Foods to Fuel Your Body' and we've got some yummy things planned! I love any excuse to try some new foods out and spend more time with one of my very favourite people. It's going to be delicious and I can't wait to see what so many other amazing bloggers will be doing for the annual Vegan Month of Food!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Insanity - My First Week

As of Saturday, I have completed my first week of Insanity! This is the second furthest I have gotten in this journey and am determined to make this attempt the time that I FINISH IT!! Here's a glimpse at how the week went for me... 



Monday - Fit Test
Straightaway, the Insanity Fit Test reminded me of just how tough Insanity really is. I was sweaty. I was tired. But I was thankful that my starting numbers weren't all lower than a previous attempt (documented on my Insanity poster). I was also reminded that Power Jumps are totally ridiculous and I'm really hoping that the next 63 days are going to help me with my sad, sad pushup (which will be helpful for the Push-Up Jacks in the Fit Test. I recorded my measurements, weighed myself and took some before pictures. I will be sharing my results as the weeks go on!

Tuesday - Plyometric Cardio Circuit
This workout is my least favourite. By far. I realize that it has plyometric in the title, but wowzers is there a lot of jumping!! Also, the Insanity 'warm up' is essentially a workout in itself. I was dripping sweat by about minute 5. I had to take a nap to get through the day following this workout.

Wednesday - Cardio Power & Resistance 
Woke up feeling pretty sore and after this workout, required a hot bath AND a nap to get through the day. I somehow don't mind this workout. It's certainly not easy, but for whatever reason it's less difficult to feel motivated to finish it. I had forgotten how much Shaun T makes me giggle and how much of a BEAST Tania is!

via Buzzfeed '24 Things that Happen when you Decide to do Insanity'
Thursday - Cardio Recovery
Recovery. Thank heavens. I NEEDED this workout to a) recover and b) feel GOOD at something in Insanity. I feel like there are a ton of moves I need to modify / can only do a few (if any!!) reps / are supremely hard and a lot of the Cardio Recovery workout involves balance (thanks yoga!) + squats and lunges (thanks boot camp / personal trainers!). I found this really motivating and exactly what I needed in the middle of the week to help me push through.



Friday - Pure Cardio
I did this workout in the morning, before worky, which is new for me! I'm usually better after at least one meal, later in my day but my schedule just wasn't going to allow for that with this one. Part of getting into the routine of working out 6 out of 7 days each week is figuring out where to schedule it in. It was great to get this workout done and over with in the morning. The title of this one doesn't lie - the core of this workout is 15 cardio moves for a minute each done consecutively. So. Much. Sweat.

Saturday - Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Gah, this one AGAIN?! Due to a crazy day, I didn't get to my workout until late and wanted to push stop SO MANY TIMES. I realized that I would be letting myself down if I gave up after a strong first week and persevered. It wasn't my finest workout, but I did it. And then slept like a baby.

Sunday - Rest Day
I LOVE RESTING!! IT FEELS SO GOOD!! MY BODY SAYS THANK YOU SO MUCH!!



I focused mostly on my workouts this week while maintaining the way I normally eat and drinking lots of water. I want to pay more attention to my eating for week two to make sure that I'm nourishing and fueling my body while getting the most out of the program. My challenge group is keeping me incredibly motivated and it's awesome to watch the other participants' success as well! I'm excited to get back at it today with Cardio Power & Resistance and work up to next week's Fit Test. I've still got a lot of work (and 53 days) ahead of me, but this week pushed me and I'm feeling good about the results I'm determined to see!

How do you stay motivated when you're doing something new (and difficult!)?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Insanity - Let's Do This

I'm super proud to have been knocking my 2014 goals out of the park. Two commercials have been shot. Signed with an agent last week. Constantly creating balance. Things are looking pretty great around here and I'm so proud to be living the life I want to live!

One of my goals was 'nourish my body and feel great in it'. I've been feeling good in my body lately thanks to eating well, riding my bicycle and practicing yoga. It seems that I've lost some weight and am in a place where I feel good in my own skin. With all of that in mind, I decided that it was time to kick things up a bit and get back into great shape. 

Enter: Insanity

I've started Insanity at least twice, possibly three times.  I've never gotten past week three?! I loved the results that I started to see the first time around and with a little encouragement decided it was time to really give it my ALL. So I'm doing this. 

Today I'm taking my measurements, snapping some before pictures and prepping for my first Fit Test. One of the things that I really like about Insanity is that the Fit Test is a sweet way for you to quantify and measure your success as you progress through the program. It's motivating to see those kinds of results, especially if the scale isn't moving or the inches aren't decreasing right away. 

I'm planning to stay accountable by checking in with a weekly blog post. I know I'm not the first person (or the last!) to do Insanity and talk about their journey, but this is going to be my journey and my version and blogging about the whole process is certainly going to keep me on track!! I'm also committed to posting in a private accountability group with a bunch of other gals who are doing Insanity (or another Beachbody program) on their own. I know it's going to be tough, but I'm COMMITTING to this challenge and I'm going to finish 60 days with Shaun T. 


I'm smiling now, but probably won't be after the first power jump and I'm a sweaty mess... 

Anything you're working towards crossing off your list of 2014 goals??

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Confidential Music Theatre Project

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to be a part of something magical.

It started 6 weeks ago, when I walked into my voice lesson feeling kinda bummed out. It was mostly due to 'a change in direction by the producers'  resulting in me losing a singing gig that I was really excited about. I was also feeling run down in my ongoing hunt for an agent and disappointed that I hadn't gotten times for a couple of auditions that I was stoked about. These are totally normal occurrences and feelings in this industry, but everything had just piled up and I was feeling a bit disheartened. I told my voice teacher about how I was feeling at the start of our lesson. We had a great session together and she mentioned that there was a project she was working on that may need someone like me. SO nice. The offer + the lesson was a definite pick me up, and just what I needed.

The next day I was contacted by Robert, one of the organizers of The Confidential Music Theatre Project. He told me that they were assembling a cast who would learn well-known (but not done often enough) show on their own and then put it on for an audience, who wouldn't know what show they were seeing until they arrived at the theatre. The cast would gather an hour before the show and then perform. It was the very first time they were going to be doing this and were really excited about the show choice. I was intrigued and excited so of course I said yes!

Then I learned what the show was.

I found out that I had agreed to play the Nurse / Harriet in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. Not only was I excited, but now I was mildly terrified. I am confident in my singing and acting abilities, but I had just signed on to learn a show by STEPHEN FUCKING SONDHEIM on my own to be performed with a group of unknown people for the very first time in front of an audience. (For those who aren't musical theatre aficionados, Stephen Sondheim is an amazing composer who has written shows like Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and Follies and writes incredibly difficult (and brilliant!) music and harmonies). I equated it to having sex for the first time - you have an idea of what you're doing before it happens, you've practiced on your own and then you jump in head first with another person not really knowing how it will really go. Except my first time was going to be with a cast of others AND an audience. How's that for pressure?

I slowly started to put the pieces of the puzzle together and had fun keeping the secret of the show's identity. I realized I knew some people in the cast and poured over my script and score as much as I could. In the days leading up to the show, I could hardly believe what we were about to do. Tickets were selling well and it became apparent that this crazy, secret, theatrical experiment was going to be a real thing!








The day of the show arrived and I needed to trust that I knew everything as well as I was going to know everything. My role wasn't huge, but I still had some solo bits and was certainly challenged learning harmonies on my own. The cast met 90 minutes before the show, quickly went through the Act Two finale and that was it! I posted a video that joked that I was distracting myself from puking, when really the whole thing just felt surreal. The Berkeley Street Theatre was pretty much sold out and we learned that the audience wasn't actually going to be told what the show was - we were just going to start after an introduction from Robert. With scripts in hand, we took our seats on stage and James Woods (our George) began.

One of my very favourite moments of the whole night happened as soon as James uttered his first few words, and it was then that I realized the magic of this project. He started, and I watched a gal in the audience visibly LIGHT UP and gasp. I later learned that it was her very favourite show and she was over the moon thrilled to be seeing it onstage.

The cast was incredible. It was beautiful to watch James and Blair Irwin as George and Dot/Marie. There were awesome demonstrations of spontaneity that you often see at first reads for shows, but everyone did an amazing job at building relationships and familiarity without really having met one another previously. As the Nurse in act one, I had a blast playing with Qasim Khan in our few moments together (and hilariously asking backstage, "what's your name again?!") I can identify one noticeable moment where the whole thing went off the rails (somewhere around part 396 of 'Putting it Together). The whole thing went by in a blur, with our audience generously giving us a standing ovation after both act one and act two. When it was all over, we were all exhausted, exhilarated and generally in awe that we had done it.

After a very late night (considering we previewed, opened, closed & cast partied all in one night), I woke up the next day feeling very inspired. The fact that I was a part of something entirely unique and incredibly special was not lost on me and I was so grateful to have had the chance to be onstage with a such a generous, brave and talented group of performers. I was thankful for the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and do something mildly terrifying and mostly thrilling in front of an audience.

And while Sondheim's melodies are complex and his lyrics can be wordy, I can't stop humming the songs and revisiting moments in the show. The music and lyrics resonate pretty deeply and the entire experience has been a reminder that I'm on the right path with so many possibilities to follow.

"White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities..."

- George, Sunday in the Park with George