Friday, December 15, 2017

Client Stories: "My Life Is Immeasurably Better..."

My thanks to Sarah, for creating a holistic fitness education program that encompassed eating, sleeping and moving and for being the first person who told me that my injury wasn’t going to finish me. - Karen Cummins

Health, belief and 'stoke' are all extremely contagious.  I know that you will be inspired by Karen's story, so I asked her to share a bit of her journey with you all.  She has inspired me with her belief, enthusiasm, willingness to learn and dedication to her new lifestyle and longterm health.  Well done Karen.  I am beyond grateful to have crossed your path and to have the chance to support you on our journey.  I can't wait to see what you do next!

1. What obstacles did you face when beginning your new fitness program?

I had some fear around not being athletic or skilled with gym equipment. Would I be able to do what was expected? I have never really liked the gym environment so wasn’t looking forward to that. I didn’t know how I was going to make the time at first.

2.  How did you overcome these?

My fears about not being athletic were eased by Sarah’s confirmation that I could do the fitness work and her corrections were always gentle. I realized that the program was just for me and that there was no competition. My program was tailored for my needs, to do at home or outside which I love and I have become comfortable going to the gym once a month or on bad weather days when I can’t bike outside.

3.  How has your fitness program positively impacted your life?  

I began the program just short of one year ago when I could barely walk and was in severe pain from a back and knee injury. I could only go down stairs backwards. I didn’t know how I would be able to continue working in my career as a horticulturist, walk downtown or hike. I felt abandoned by the medical system, old and totally discouraged. The positive aspects of the program began before it started when I followed Sarah’s instruction to visualize my fitness outcomes. I was encouraged. Within the first month of her assessment and giving me my program I felt more alive, energetic and confident that I could recover. At 3 months the back pain was gone. I was working 2-3 days a week. At 5 months I regained my normal walking gait and lost the limp. At month 7 I suddenly realized that my knee felt stable when I walked as if it was supported again and there was little discomfort. At month 8 I could actually walk FAST again and I could hike up and down hills with poles without pain. At month 9 I could walk down my stairs normally. I recovered without pills or surgery using active fitness therapy.

These are breakthrough moments physically but just as important were the big lifestyle changes: better attention to food, drinking lots of water, reducing stress, working less, sleeping 7-9 hours every night and being grateful for it all. My life is immeasurably better than before the injury.

4.  How do you ‘find the time’ for fitness on a consistent basis?

I decided right at the beginning that the fitness program had to be a top priority and focus in my life and that all other commitments, including work, had to be planned second. This was a big step for me and one my body had been waiting for me to take. Sarah gave me a body weight training program that was more casual and flexible that I could do during business trips or family holidays.

5.  What keeps you motivated to continue with your program over the long term?

Feeling alive, energetic, healthy and strong is enough for me to stay consistent. I also just love doing it. I loved the biking right from the start and now it is the preferred vehicle in my life just as I had visualized. I look forward to whatever part of my program I have planned for my day. I just think of it as something that makes me feel good.

6. What would you like to tell the world about your fitness program?

If it was a pill or a surgery you would get it prescribed in a heartbeat. I believe in active therapy.

7.  Please share anything else you like!!

My thanks to Sarah, for creating a holistic fitness education program that encompassed eating, sleeping and moving and for being the first person who told me that my injury wasn’t going to finish me. I feel blessed that you are continuing to help me progress and realize new fitness goals and especially for encouraging me to live in the present, be in the moment.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Your Plan?

BIG goals, deserve GOOD plans!

Goals, dreams, passion, energy, excitement...all key ingredients in creation of performance and success!  But...what is the best recipe?  What are the steps to take, the moves to make and the cues of when to make them?  A training plan is like a recipe for your goals.  Without one, you are left flying by the seat of your pants, with a loaf of bread that didn't rise and wondering where it all went wrong;)

  • Have you started training for a goal with enthusiasm, only to quickly feel the wheels come off and lose your focus and motivation?
  • Are you unsure if you are doing the right training type, amount, intensity and frequency to reach your goal?
  • Do you bounce around between ideas and plans, making things up as you go?
  • Do you get injured, burnt out or frustrated with lack of results?

These are all very common symptoms of training without a sound plan.  They are also, very easily overcome.  Read on!

Let me begin by saying: there are no perfect training plans.  Nuh - uh. Don't let the super insta gurus try and convince you otherwise.  There are, in fact, many different ways to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.  The best plan, however, is one that meets your needs, fits your lifestyle and gets you to your goal feeling strong, happy, healthy and stoked.

While there are a variety of approaches and plans that will get you the results you seek, there are a few key components that an effective training plan should include, to ensure you are on the right path to reach your goals safely and efficiently.  A professional training plan is one that is based on the science of exercise physiology and incorporates key training principles.  The ultimate training plan is, of course, completely customized, personalized and adapted to your personal, preferences, abilities and lifestyle.  Working one on one with a professional coach that you connect well with is the gold standard for slaying your goals, but you can also achieve greatness by following a training plan that is built by a professional and based on sound training principles.  Here are my suggestions for what to look for in a solid training plan to make sure that you are making the most of your time with the lowest risk of overtraining and injury:

1.  Progressive Overload - a training plan should build gradually, with no huge jumps in volume, intensity or  frequency.  Variety, yes, but within the framework of big picture it must be designed with progressive overload to avoid 'too much too soon' and 'staleness'.
2.  Periodized Training - peaks and valleys should be included to allow for recovery, progressive overload, recovery and phases of training.  These are designed to ensure you are peaking for your event feeling health, happy and as strong as possible, while decreasing the risk of overtraining.
3. Recovery - Weekly, monthly and seasonal recovery time must be incorporated to allow the body to adapt and grow stronger.  Without sufficient recovery, the body will not be able to adapt and the risk of injury, illness and burnout is great.  We don't get stronger during training.  We need recovery for that.
4. Options for Personalization- Of course, a Customized Plan is tailored exactly for you, but a Self Directed Training Plan should also give you options for adapting the plan to meet your personal needs.  Your plan should teach you how to adjust the starting point, which key workouts to prioritize, how to know if it is time to back off or increase, etc.
5.  Specialized - your plan should include specificity/workouts that are designed to build your fitness for your specific goal.  Run, hike, bike, specific distances, disciplines etc - your plan should include specialized workouts and exercises that are designed to help you prepare for your goal as specifically as possible.
6.  Support - having the expertise of a professional coach is an invaluable service for anyone training for a goal.  The opportunity to ask questions and bounce ideas off a coach is a powerful tool for making the most of your training time and reaching your goal efficiently and safely.  Training plans that offer the option of support- being able to connect with the person who created the plan, allow you to relax and focus on your training, knowing you are on the right track and doing everything you need to be doing.

Watch for my next post - Are you ready for a Coach?  to learn more about the benefits of working with your very own Coach for your next big goal!  

And so...
What is YOUR plan??
Be sure to check out all of my Self Directed Training plans or send me a note if you are looking for ideas!

Cheers and Happy Trails!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Perseverance Trail Run 2017 Race Report

Image: Deb Karlstrom

The 13th annual Perseverance Trail Run was a huge success this past Sunday with 475 registered racers, more than 70 volunteers and hundreds of supporters coming together to raise funds for the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS). Following the race the CCFS hosted a fun, community ‘Party in the Park’ featuring live music by DJ Lady K and the Luke Blue Guthrie, a tasty BBQ, craft beer, kids scavenger hunt, screen printing and more. The CCFS is a local society working to purchase and protect forest lands in the Cumberland area. Over the past 12 years the Perseverance Trail Run and After Party for the Forest have raised well over $500,000 for the CCFS.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lost Soul Ultra 100K Race Report

Well that was a wild ride! 

I've got a 100k hangover but I wanted to jot down my race report while it is still fresh in my foggy brain:).  Spending the weekend eating in bed haha so I've got lot's of time to write.  Here goes!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Time to Persevere!

Vancouver Island Peeps...


Registration is filling up for the 13th annual Perseverance Trail Run, taking place on Sunday, October 29th in the Village of Cumberland! This years race will once again feature two classic trail run courses: A 3k Cross Country Romp and an 11k Mountain Run. The 3k XC Romp showcases the protected Cumberland Community Forest trails including a few ups and downs, twists and turns and maybe even a little water. This course is perfect for those looking to sample cross country running, including walkers and the little ones. The 11k Mountain Run is for those looking for a running challenge complete with steep climbs, flowing descents, technical single-track and breathtaking vistas. If you are ready to challenge your trail running stamina, this course will surely take you to new 'heights'.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Getting High in Colorado: Trans Rockies Run 2017 Race Report

Team ELM TRR 2017! L-R: Marion Bryan, Lynn Swift,  Erika Spearmann, Lisa Perry, Crystal Mather and Coach Sarah

These girls tho. I am so honoured and proud and beyond grateful to have shared this journey with these amazing, strong, resilient women. Big mountains and thin air are no match for these big hearts and magic smiles. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey and to support you as your coach and friend. My heart is full of love and you have inspired me more than you will ever know.πŸ’•Way to kick ass up high with those strong sea level legs, girls! You da best!

Team @elm_health rocks 🀘🏻🀘🏻🀘🏻

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Should I Exercise In This Wildfire Smoke??

Are you wondering if it is safe to exercise with so much smoke in the air from forest fires around British Columbia?  You are not alone!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Solo Camping Safety Tips

Hi friends!  Please read entire post and share with your friends who solo adventure!

✨S O L O✨
There is magic in solo adventure.   Peace, presence and free flowing introspection.  I have solved nearly all of my life problems on a long solo walk or jog about in the wild.  Peace lives on these solo journeys, for me.  Sometimes we want to be in solitude and other times we just cant find a buddy to join us, but either way, solo adventure is a big part of life for many of us.  As you read in my recent post, last week I had a close call with violence while camping in the Hampton campground in Manning Park and although it was a terrifying experience, I also see it as a gift.  This close call is a chance to prevent something worse from happening to us and others in the future and an opportunity to learn and share.  I am a very safety conscious adventurer and as a rule I go above and beyond managing risk and putting 'safety first!'.  But I was caught off guard by the sense of security I felt camping in a well established Provincial Park.  I got a serious reminder to keep personal safety at the top of the list in all scenarios.  I want to share the solo camping safety tips that I usually take and a few more that I have since added to my toolbox.  Please feel free to add any that I have missed or that you use as we can all learn from each other.  These apply for all solo adventurers but also small groups in certain situations as we were targeted even in a pair.  There are risks in all walks of life and we can only do our best to manage them.  Put your safety first and then you can relax and have fun!  
•Carry personal protective equipment with you: Bear spray, knife, whistle and communication in an easy to reach spot.  Carry an inReach or other satellite communication device where there is no cell coverage. Keep your car key/panic alarm on your person when near your car and others are in the area.  Carry a personal alarm (screamer) on your person when away from your car.
•Camp in areas with other campers wherever possible.  Get to know your neighbours. Sleep in your car if you are even remotely uncomfortable.  Do not ever wear earplugs while sleeping when camping.
•Contact the campground in advance to find out if there is an onsite attendant, security or others camping in the facility.  Do not assume.
•Never assist a stranger in the night or in a secluded area (a call for help, broken down vehicle, hitchhiker etc).  Protect yourself first, go for help and send it back.
•Make a scene/noise if you are even remotely concerned about your safety- to alert others that may be in the area.  Panic alarm on your car key, screaming, whistle, loud crazy voice, bright light etc. Resist the urge to freeze!  
I also believe learning self defence is an important and very empowering tool to add to your toolbox if you don't already know how to fight.  
Always let someone know your plans and update them if you change them, and set up a regular check in (once a day if possible) if you can.

Believe in the goodness of humans, live free, run wild, do not live in fear...but always put your safety first.  Hugs and happy trails, friends!  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Canada's Toughest Mudder 2017: My First OCR Experience

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
I did it!  Post 8 hour, 50k TM, after being awake for 28 hours lol

Last weekend I got a little dirty.  And wet.  And cold.  And scared.  And tired.  And invigorated.  And  giddy.  And humbled.  And...maybe even hooked on a new sport?  Oh boy.  Why oh why do I have to love crazy?  At least I know I'm not the only one.  I may have just found my tribe;)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Top 3 Reasons Endurance Racers Fail to Cross the Finish Line and How to Avoid Them!

The more mistakes we make in a race, the more we learn...but that is a hard way to learn!  It is much more enjoyable to learn from the mistakes of others;).  After two decades of endurance racing, I have seen (and made) nearly every mistake in the book.  And through all of them, the same 3 issues float to the top year after year in all disciplines of endurance racing.  

The human body is an amazing machine.  With a strong driver at the wheel (mental strength-another topic!), it will literally keep moving forward for an infinite length of time so long as we support it optimally.  So, what do we need to do to achieve relentless forward progress?  Read on to learn the top 3 reasons racers fail to cross the finish line in endurance events and my tips to help you avoid them!  *Note: These tips apply to any endurance event- not just races- such as big day hikes, paddling adventures or any other event lasting more than 2 hours.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kiss Your Fears Goodbye

Ohhhhh Myyyyy Gaaaaaawd!  Along for the ride with Jump Master, Daryl of Pacific AirSports in Campbell River.

This weekend, I kissed one of my biggest fears goodbye.  Skydiving.  It was one of the scariest and most amazing kisses of my life;).   Watch my video at the end of this post!

"Nope. Never, ever, ever.  Not even going to consider it.  Don't even ask me.  I. Will. Never. Skydive."

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Cumby 23k Race Report

This is going to be a quick and dirty race report (for real!)- because the sun is shining and there are more adventures to be had!
And we're off!  Great shot of the 23k race start from Kathy Campbell

The Cumby 23k Trail Run

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dream Cookies

Finally...after years of licking spoons and testing cookies I have created the ultimate...the perfect...the most amazing...the 'Dream Cookie'.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Zion 50K 2017 Race Report

"She believed she could.  So she did."

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I was last in the desert, to run 50k. And yet, so much has happened this past year that the Grand Canyon Ultra feels like an eternity away. A year ago, I was just beginning to recover from my crash and whiplash and the timing just wasn’t right for a 50k run. I spontaneously combusted and dropped at the first aid station after running only 5kms and then limping on one leg another 15kms, to get myself out. First time for everything, including a DNF.

Friday, March 17, 2017

How To Become An Efficient (and fast) Runner

Whether it is your first 10k, faster 21k or an ultra adventure, the key to your success in endurance training and racing is not simply adding more miles.  Nope.  The key, to moving faster and further without as much fatigue is training your body to become:

adjective: efficient
(especially of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

Friday, March 3, 2017

How To Transform Your Body

Are you ready to roll?
You have body composition goals.  I am here to help.  Step 1: Education.  Step 2: Action.  Step 3: Patience.  Let's get to work on Step 1...

Gaining Muscle

Gaining muscle takes work. In order to build muscle, the body needs an overload stimulus, sufficient calories, optimal protein and carbohydrate macro ratios, nutrient timing and adequate recovery. Gaining muscle not only increases muscle tone and strength, but also improves metabolism so that we are burning a higher amount of calories every minute of the day. Strength training itself also burns a great amount of calories and results in a significant ‘after burn’ of increased metabolism for the hours following a training session. This combined increase in metabolic rate results in an improved body composition (as more fat is lost). If you want to lose fat- don’t underestimate the power of pushing hard in the gym- cardio alone is NOT the best way to do it. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Favourite Winter Gear

I just got home from a long, chilly, hard, sweaty, steep, snowy ultra training run and dropped my kit on the floor in the foyer.  Thump.  'I wonder how much my pack weighs?', I think.  I can't wait until I am running free of the load and the layers and all of the gadgets in my upcoming race in the desert.  But, I sure am grateful for all of the gear I have that keeps me happy and comfortable during winter training!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weight Management: How to Create Your Nutrition Budget

Imagine for a moment, the feeling of running with a 20 pound backpack.  Then imagine, you slip the pack off and run free from the extra load.  Can you feel the lightness?  The ease and freedom of movement?  I'll bet you can.

This is the same sensation of running with or without an extra 10, 20, 30 or more pounds of body weight to carry with you.  Increased body mass, specifically fat, as it is 'non-functional weight',  increases the workload of locomotion.  It is harder for the muscles to propel you forward, harder for the blood to circulate to greater areas and harder for the body to thermoregulate during exercise when you are carrying a significant amount of extra weight.  All of this increased effort, results in a higher energy and oxygen requirement and the result is a feeling of greater fatigue at any given pace (movement is harder).  This is most evident during running, as there are no toys to assist in forward motion (skii's, boat, bike etc) but is still noticible in all activities.  Those extra 20 pounds above a healthy body weight increase your effort while decreasing your pace...but...I'm sure you already knew that;) 

So how to lose those 20 pounds?  More on that in a moment.