The Wedding Workout 2

You seemed to love my first Wedding Workout, so I thought I would hit you with Wedding Workout 2. My wedding is a mere 7 weeks away, and that means it's crunch time in the gym. This workout session even applied during a recent jaunt to the cottage!

The Wedding Workout 2:

Repeat this circuit 3 times to feel the burn!

  1. Jump Rope x 1 minutes
  2. Push Ups (full or modified) X 20
  3. Jump Squats x 1 minute
  4. Bench Dips x 20 (I did these off the edge of a Muskoka chair while at the cottage)
  5. Jump Rope x 1 minute
  6. Walking Lunges x 20 per leg
  7. Bench Bunnies x 1 minute
  8. Mountain Climbers x 40
  9. Jump Rope x 1 minutes

Incorporate it into your exercise schedule once or twice each week. It fits perfectly into the original Wedding Workout schedule, too.

P.S. Don’t forget that exercise can’t undo bad nutritional habits.

How are you getting prepped for your wedding? Comment below.

Like this workout? I’d be grateful if you shared it with your friends and family using the links below

The Wedding Workout

Wedding season is upon us, and within these magical months, I too will be celebrating my wedding. Whether you’re prepping for your own celebration, or participating in or attending the wedding of a loved one, it is definitely a time to get fit! We all want to feel our best, and look our best in photos that last a lifetime. There is no doubt about the value of exercise. In fact, as an ND I tout the benefits of this to my patients on a regular basis. In my previous training as a kinesiology student and personal trainer I developed a strong background in exercise physiology. It’s a passion of mine to help people understand how to train smarter and feel better. I have been working extremely hard over the past few months to get myself in wedding shape, and I wanted to share one of my workout routines with you.

The Wedding Workout:

Repeat this routine 2-3 times each week for 4 weeks.

Intersperse this workout with steady state cardio like swimming, running, Cellercising, or  spin class.

Intervals:

25 minutes on the treadmill

4 minute warm up at a light pace (ex. 3.2 mph)

8 x 30 seconds at a rapid pace (ex. 7.2 mph) and 1.5 minutes at a moderate pace (ex. 5.2 mph)

5 minute cool down at a light pace (ex. 3.2 mph)

Weight Training: 

I like super sets to keep things interesting. Take a 10 second break between each set and 30 seconds between each superset.I choose multi-joint exercises to tone all over. **Be sure to use a weight appropriate for you & avoid exercises that may aggravate injuries**

A1) Box Squats: 4 sets of 8 - Lifts the butt to keep it tight in your wedding dress or suit.

A2) Lat Pull Down: 4 sets of 8 reps - Balances out the upper body to make the waist appear smaller, while defining the back and arms for strapless dresses. 

B1) Walking Lunges: 4 sets of 10 reps per leg - Tones the entire thigh and the butt for strong, but elegant legs.

B2) Push Ups: 4 sets of 6-10 reps (work up to 10)- Tones the pectorals, triceps, deltoids, and core. **Modify to knee push ups if needed**

C1) Sumo Deadlift4 sets of 10 reps - Tone up the back of your legs and glutes. 

C2) Dumbbell Suitcase Carry: 4 sets of 12 reps - Tone your abs while prepping for your honeymoon baggage ;)

If you're looking for an extra boost during your workout, mix 1 minute of jump rope between each super set.

P.S. Don't forget that exercise can't undo bad nutritional habits.

How are you getting prepped for your wedding? Comment below.

Like this workout? I'd be grateful if you shared it with your friends and family using the links below :)

NPLEx II Tips

Prep for Your Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination II It’s been about 4 weeks since NPLEx II and Ontario board exams and I have parted ways. It has taken me that much time to want to even think about it again, too. But, I feel it is important to share with you some of the tips I think are necessary to get through both the study period & the exams themselves. Keep these in your back pocket for your NPLEx venture, whether in February or August.


Pre-Study Prep:

  1. Attend a prep course. I chose Pass NPLEx offered by Chris Habib, ND. It suited my needs exactly. I know a lot of people benefit from Dr. Anderson’s course, too. It’s up to you whether you take one or both.
  2. Pick a study buddy (or group). My study buddy is the reason I survived!
  3. Make a study schedule. It took my study buddy and me about 3 days to put it together.
  4. Organize your study materials. I created a binder and divided it up into sections for the blueprints for NPLEx and the Ontario board exams, pathophysiology, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, manipulation, jurisprudence, etc. This helps because you always have a place to put notes, documents, drawings, etc.
  5. Take a SMV (social media vacation). Let everyone know you are embarking on a super intense study period and that you may fall off the face of the earth for 10 weeks. P.S. The SMV part is totally optional – I’d love it if you kept reading my blog, hehe.

Study Time:

  1. Stick to your schedule as best as you can. You may be surprised to realize this exam study is very different from your usual study technique that you employ for exams during the school year. You really can’t study all day and all night because you will burn out. It’s much better to stick to your scheduled hours and take time off when you need it. It will feel very much like a 9-5 job during the first few weeks of study. You can cram during the last 2 weeks.
  2. Take brain breaks to be entertained by funny things. I really liked small breaks for Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or Seventy Equals ND.
  3. Exercise. We all know why this is good for us. Just do it.
  4. Eat well. This may not be the time to try the latest detox or prep for a bodybuilding competition (although, I do know people who have done this during NPLEx study). Best to stick to the ND rules – whole foods diet. Some people choose to avoid alcohol during this time, too. I found a glass of wine in the evening helped me relax and turn off my brain, but it’s up to you.
  5. Supplement. My go tos were Medi Herb Bacopa Complex & Gingko ForteAscenta Omega 3 oil, Thorne Basic B-complexBiotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte (let’s face it – I wasn’t getting any sun), and SISU Ester-C 1000.
  6. Sleep. It’s important to make sure you are getting enough sleep especially during the initial study weeks. It can be really hard to sleep by the end of the testing period because you are so worked up. I created a routine each night – I drank a cup or two of Yogi Tea’s Bedtime tea, had 1 tsp of Natural Calm Magnesium, and then had 2 Pascoe Pascoflair tablets. If I was really struggling I used melatonin.
  7. Meditate. Your brain can definitely use a heavy dose of calm, and it doesn’t have to take all night. Take 10-30 minutes to meditate or do yoga. I liked options from Andrew Johnson (his Exam Support & Deep Sleep meditations work wonders). You can also try Get Some Headspace.
  8. Make a countdown calendar. Give yourself something to look forward to. I scratched out each completed day with major satisfaction.

Right Before:

  1. Day Off. Some people follow the rule of taking the day off before the exam. I took the Sunday off before the exam (it was a gorgeous day & I really wanted some pool time), and then I took half the day off before the exam.
  2. Pack Your Bag. Print off your ticket for NABNE, gather your earplugs, photo ID and clear water bottle. Pack your bags for your board exam based on what your board tells you you can bring to the test.

During:

  1. You’re going to feel really good going into your exams. And after the first day you will probably feel terrible. This is normal. This is how pretty much everyone feels. Crying helps.
  2. It’s going to feel like a marathon both during the test writing and then during the evenings when you are prepping for the next day. My friend and fellow ND, Christopher Knee, gave me a great tip: "Split the exam into 3 parts. Get through part I and then take a break to look out the window or use the washroom. Do the same after part II. Then you only have 1 part to go and it feels much more manageable."
  3. Bring lunch with you to the exam – no use having to waste your break searching for a meal or getting sick off something new.
  4. Try to have someone prepare your meals for you, or pre-prepare your meals for the week so you don’t have to worry about it.
  5. Try to sleep. This will be hard. See #6 above for some help on this.
  6. Decide ahead of time whether or not you will want to study during your breaks and whether or not you want to talk about the exams after you have written them. Choose your break-time groups accordingly.
  7. It is NOT fun.
  8. You will probably behave terribly towards your loved ones.
  9. You’re going to think that you have failed. You likely haven’t.
  10. YOU CAN DO THIS!

So – that’s that.

If you’re interested in my exact study schedule I would be more than happy to share it.

3 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

My mom and sister were packing for their business trip to Australia when they asked me how they should stay healthy while away for so long. I made a few suggestions based on a few common trouble areas.

Here are 3 ways to stay healthy while traveling:

  1. Sleep: Melatonin is a traveler's best friend. Using it before bedtime after changing time zones will help your body readjust its sleep cycle and ward off jet lag. Magnesium can also be used as a natural muscle relaxant to help encourage sleep, too.
  2. Digestion: Tummy troubles can be a scary thing while on holidays. They can easily put a damper on anybody's good time. I tend to be a bit too adventurous on holidays and have wound up with food poisoning too many times. Aside from encouraging you to play it safe, I will also let you in on a few secrets: Gentiana lutea is one of my favourite herbs and just a few small drops 15-20 minutes before a meal will get your digestive juices flowing to improve resilience and digestion. Magnesium (as mentioned above) not only helps you sleep, it also relaxes the bowels to ease the discomfort of constipation that often occurs when traveling. Shelf-stable probiotics are also extremely helpful for balancing gut flora so your tummy can fight off the bad.
  3. Immunity: A simple increase in Vitamin C with Emergen-C or Sisu to Go can help manage exposure to viruses while you're away on travels. Don't forget to wash your hands, too. But my favorite thing to have in my carry on is a bottle of St. Francis Deep Immune packed full of herbs to keep your immune system chugging along even in the face of travel.

What are your favourite ways to stay healthy while on vacation?

You can find more travel tips here.

 

Top 5 Hydrotherapy Aids for Colds & Flus

I've touched on a few easy hydrotherapy options for reducing the symptoms of colds & flus a couple of times on my blog, but since having just had an invasion of the flu in my house I thought it would be helpful to round up the top 5 hydrotherapy aids for colds and flus help you recover.

  1. Steam Inhalation - The inevitable headache and congestion that comes along with a cold or flu can really send you off the handle. No one like to breathe through their mouth for days on end. Using 3 dashes of eucalyptus or thymus essential oil in a bowl of steamy hot water can work wonders. Cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply. Just be sure not too burn yourself. You can also dash a few drops of the oil in a hot steamy shower, too. Repeat as needed throughout the duration of your cold or flu.
  2. Neti Pot - If your cold or flu comes with lots of nasal congestion it's time to employ your neti pot. This magic-lantern like tool drains yours sinuses with a steady flow of water in one side and out the other. Fill your neti pot with 1/8 tsp of sea salt and dilute with warm water. Run 1/2 the water through one side and then repeat on the other. Make sure your netty pot is cleaned thoroughly after use. For more details check out this informative video. Repeat as needed throughout the duration of your cold or flu.
  3. Warming Socks - Headaches, nasal congestion, and discomfort from fever aches can be remedied with a simple warming socks treatment. Prepare to do this before bed. Learn how here.
  4. Neutral Bath - Fevers can be managed with a lovely neutral bath. Fill your tub with tepid water. Sit in it for as long as you can manage. Simple, easy, and effective!
  5. Humidify - The dry air in our homes due to blasting furnaces can make colds and flus worse. Find a good-quality humidifier and put it to good use in your home each and every night. Better yet, dash more eucalyptus or thymus in the humidifier for easy breathing. Just be sure to follow the cleaning instructions that come with your humidifier - we don't want any hold outbreaks!

More advanced hydrotherapy techniques, like a constitutional hydrotherapy treatment or a wet sheet wrap can be done in the clinic by your naturopathic doctor. They are extremely effective & feel really, really good!

And don't forget the most basic hydrotherapy tool - stay hydrated! You can supplement your water with a dash of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to help rebalance your cells, too.

Looking for more help overcoming your illness? Check out these great posts for the Top 6 Naturopathic Cold & Flu Remedies and DIY Cough Syrup.

Sleep Soundly

What the heck is going on these days? No matter where I turn I have a patient walking in my door who just can't sleep soundly. Certainly daylight savings time can throw a wrench into normal sleeping patterns, but this should clear up after a few nights. If it's persisting there might be something else going on.

I'm here to remind that you it's not normal to not sleep. Sleep is a vital to life as food and water.

I'm sure you know most of the reasons why sleep is so crucial, from better energy to better hormone balance to better weight control and more. So let's investigate a few ways to improve your sleep hygiene (which means preparing for sleep):


  1. Turn off the Technology. The backlighting from your screen (whether it be iPad, computer or TV) messes with your brains understanding of night time. It won't produce as much melatonin, which means you won't stay asleep.
  2. Turn off the Lights. For the same reasons as above, it's best to turn off all lights, even the ones flashing from your alarm clock, and turn down the blinds. Things like black-out screens or eye masks can be helpful in brightly lit cities.
  3. Turn off your Brain.  Yet another reason to turn off the TV, computer and iPad is to avoid reading stressful things like news headlines before bed. Put yourself in a better state of mind with a light read.
  4. Turn Down your Temperature. Turn down the temperature of your room to a cool 68 degrees Celsius, and change duvets according to summer and winter temperatures. These will all help to encourage a restful sleep.
  5. Turn Up the Mood. Prepare for sleep with a restful routine including calming teas, proper supplements and even hydrotherapy treatments like Warming Socks. Botanicals like Chamomile, Hops, Oats, and Valerian can all be helpful, as can supplements like melatonin, 5HTP, GABA, and magnesium glycinate, but it's best to speak to your physician about the best options and doses for you. Even meditations, like this one from Andrew Johnson, can be helpful for preparing for sleeping.

In my opinion, the bedroom should undergo a name change to the S-room. Only Sleeping, Sex and Snuggling should happen in this room. Nothing else!

If things aren't getting better, it's time to consider visiting your physician. Things like waking up withs pains in the night, persistent night sweats, constant night terrors, and persistent insomnia all require a visit to the doctor to figure out what else could be going on.

Packing for a Triathlon

Obviously travel is a large part of my life - and adventure travel is certainly one of the best ways to accomplish my desire to GO GO GO! So why not race & travel at the same time. This weekend I will be travelling to Michigan to compete in the He Tried/She Tried triathlon. This is a couple's event & I will be joined by my significant other, Mat (poor guy - he was kinda' forced into it). My Aunt Tammy will also be racing (she's an Iron Woman) & we'll be cheered along by my uncle and cousins. How fun!

Mat & I will be able to race together and our times will be combined to determine the winning team. This is great since it is Mat's 1st triathlon (and my 3rd). We've chosen the Sprint Distance length - approximately 800m swim, 20k bike, 5k run.

Of course, like any other travel event - this requires a lot of packing.

Here's my list of must-haves for triathlon success:


Swim:

  • Goggles
  • Swimcap (it will be provided to us to separate our waves)

Bike:

  • Bike (I'm borrowing my mom's lovely Kuota & Mat is using my dad's Specialized)
  • Helmet (they won't let us race without it!)
  • Glasses (otherwise bugs fly in your eyes) - I like Oakley's

Run:

Overall:

  • Tri Suit (I chose this cute one from Craft) - it has padding in all the right places & it dries quickly so I can wear it swimming, biking & running without having to change
  • Tri Bag - love my TYR bag - it has nooks and crannies for everything!
  • Shammy for quick drying
  • Old towel for laying out my transition area
  • Water bottle in transition area & on bike full of Sisu Ester-C To Go Energy water (the race course will also have HEED)
  • Clothes to change into after the race (no one likes to hang around in wet clothes)

Nutrition: I am hoping to be done the race in 1.5 hours. Since it isn't too long I won't need a lot of fuel during the race, but I will need a good shake before. I've packed my trusty shake mix in my tri bag: SunWarrior Warrior Blend vanilla protein powder, Greens+ & Thorne L-Glutamine. I'll combine this with berries, almond milk and a scoop of almond butter a few hours before the race.

Recovery: I'll dose up on 30CH of homeopathic Arnica montana for accelerated recovery before & after the race & slather myself in Traumeel after a warm Epsom salts bath.


Interested in more race info? Check out this informative post.

Keep your eyes peeled for Team Tough Love!

I'll post next week with the results!

5 Healthy Travel Tips

Finally, vacation is upon me. I have 1  more shift in clinic and then I am off to Portland and Santa Monica for my summer vacation. I'll certainly be missing my patients, but 1 week of vacation is definitely what the doctor ordered for this tired intern! I'll be packing my things tonight and wanted to share with you a couple of my favourite, healthy travel tips.


  1. BYOP. Bring your own protein, that is. I purchased a new bag of Sun Warrior Chocolate Warrior Blend just for the trip. This will help me stay on track during my travels. I never want to wind up hungry!
  2. Double Up on C. I'm sure to get 1000mg of vitamin C each day, but with travel on the horizon I will be sure to double that dose. Little travel packets, like these by Sisu, are the perfect solution. They even include other important vitamins and minerals and taste yummy without added sugary junk.
  3. BYOO. As in - Bring Your Own Oatmeal. Once again, you don't want to get stuck hungry so bringing your own little oatmeal bags is a sure-fire way to make sure you've always got something on hand. Just mix with water & you're set.
  4. Boost your Immunity. Concerned about catching something while you're away? Take an adrenal support along with you. This will help you manage your sleep, better handle stressful travel situations (they're inevitable), and stay healthy. I like Deep Immune by St. Francis. They even have a travel-size bottle.
  5. Watch your Portions. Somehow vacation becomes an excuse to eat whatever, whenever, however. I see no harm in trying new foods (trust me, food-truck fish tacos will be on the menu in Santa Monica), but watch your portion sizes. Do your best to stick to your healthy eating plan and your system will thank you!

Interested in more ways to travel well? Check out this post on long flights and travel.

Bon voyage!

Chocolate is on the Naturopath's Menu

There is a little café down the street from my apartment that offers the best accompaniment to any hot drink – dark chocolate! Don’t you agree? But the best part about chocolate really has to be that it’s good for you. Before I move onto the health benefits, let me clarify – I’m talking about dark chocolate. Not milk and not white. These are impure forms of chocolate and sugar that do nothing but cause trouble. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, does wonders because it is full of antioxidants and minerals.

Chocolate comes from cacao – a seed pod harvested from deep in the tropics. It is used to make cocoa powder and chocolate after a process of fermentation and roasting. From there cocoa solids and cocoa butter are used in varying amounts to create different forms of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a very high amount of these solids.

Flavanoids, like theobromine and phenylalanine, and minerals, like magnesium, are the main special elements of chocolate providing benefit to your circulatory system, brain function and energy levels. The key is to use it in moderation. Try 1 square of dark chocolate each night.

Just be careful about the brand you buy. Chocolate has history of corrupt and unethical treatment of its farmers and workers. Here is a list of Fair-Trade, Slavery-Free Chocolate brands.

My favorite brand is Green & Blacks.

Chocolate – Just what the naturopathic doctor ordered!

Portable Exercises for Those on the Go

On-the-go is the way most people describe their days in our crazy, supercharged society. This often involves business trips to any number of locales throughout North America and beyond. Traveling like this can throw a wrench into many a burgeoning activity schedule. If you’re training for a specific event, like a marathon, triathlon or fitness competition, you have special adjustments to make, but for the average person just trying to stay fit, portable exercises are the way to go. Here are a couple of things to try while you are on your next trip:

  1. Morning Workouts. I think this rule applies to most activity routines, but it especially applies on business. Most evenings on business trips are filled with dinners out or late meetings. Don’t miss your workout by scheduling it in the morning.
  2. No gym? If a gym doesn’t exist be sure to bring along your therabands for quick resistance training in your room. They don’t take up much room in your bag and they provide a great work out.
  3. No excuses. Always remember that travel isn’t an excuse to indulge and get lazy. It’s a great time to try something new, enjoy new sites, and stay energized and healthy during your trip.