Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You don't have to exercise...

Happy Wednesday!

Excerpt from Fit & Free: Seven Steps to Achieving Fitness for Life

Chapter 6:
Creating your Personal Action Plan

You may or may not have noticed by now that I do not use the word ‘exercise’ very often. I have managed to write nearly 6 chapters in a fitness book without using the word exercise more than a handful of times. Instead I refer to the term ‘fitness’ or ‘activity’. I do this for a very good reason and it relates specifically to the following Fit & Free™ Principle:

You do not have to ‘exercise’ to be fit. 

Stop thinking about physical activity as exercise and start thinking of it as freedom to live your life as you please.

Most people have negative images, feelings and thoughts around the term ‘exercise’.
Physical activity does not have to be in the form of traditional exercise to be effective and the Fit & Free™ steps will help you think outside the gym ‘box’. The steps in this program will teach you that you do not need to ‘exercise’ in a traditional way to gain the benefits of physical activity.

I stopped speaking about ‘exercise’ many years ago when I realized that many people experience negative thoughts and feelings when they hear this term. Many of us have experienced failed attempts at various ‘exercise’ program and associate this term with these negative experiences in the past. People often associate the term ‘exercise’ with the following thoughts:

Exercise is hard work.
Exercise hurts.
Exercise takes time.
Exercise is something other people do.
Exercise is not for me.

Take a moment to think about the thoughts and feelings that you have around the term ‘exercise’. How does this word make you feel?

Additionally, many people have preconceived ideas about what ‘exercise’ actually looks like. These ideas are based partially on past experiences, but also largely on images that we see in the media. We are told that in order to get fit we must ‘exercise’ and when we think ‘exercise’ we often picture traditional activities such as:

Going to the gym.
Playing team sports.

Now these are all great activities and it is very true that many people find fitness success and happiness by engaging in these classic forms of ‘exercise’. This is because their needs are met through these types of ‘exercise’. But what works for Betty may not work for Bob and our activity preferences are as individual as our taste in music or movies. Forget about what ‘Bob’ is doing and throw your preconceived ideas of ‘exercise’ out the window. It is time to identify your own lifestyle needs and activity preferences.

I have seen too many people fail to reach their fitness goals because of one simple mistake. They did not choose an activity that met their needs. Or, we could back up a bit further and add that they did not even know what their personal needs were before beginning.

We are in such a rush to get fit that we often miss one of the most important steps to securing our fitness future: identifying our personal needs and preferences.


Do you have negative emotions in your heart and images in your head when it comes to 'exercise'?  What activities have you done in the past that did not feel like 'exercise'?  What activities do you find joy in?  What are your personal lifestyle needs & preferences?  Now is the time to ask the big questions so that you can reach your big dreams down the road!

Happy Trails,

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Epic Adventures

Happy Monday!
I am excited to announce the details of 4 BIG ELM Adventures for 2013! Registration for all of these adventures opens on Friday, February 1st but I wanted to give you a special heads up:)

If you are looking for an epic fitness or trail running adventure this year then read on and register early to save your spot!  I am super stoked about all of these adventures and hope that you will be able to join me for one of these experiences that you won't soon forget...

Comox Valley Fitness Camp: April 2013

Are you ready to improve your lifestyle and live the life of your dreams?  Do you want to learn how to make long lasting changes to your health, fitness and nutrition?  If you are ready to immerse yourself in all things health and fitness then this Fitness Camp is right for you!  

Join Kinesiologist and coach, Sarah Seads, for a weekend or weeklong Fitness Camp designed to motivate, inspire, educate and challenge you.   This camp will combine daily outdoor fitness with workshops on nutrition, weight management, fitness & lifestyle change.  All participants will leave with a personalized fitness plan and new tools to take home and begin working with right away.
Read on...

Ultramarathon Training Program: Begins April 2013

If you are ready to go the distance and seeking professional coaching support to help you reach your goal then ELM's new Ultramarathon Training Program is for you! 

The human body is an amazing endurance machine and you are capable of successfully completing an ultramarathon with smart training, patience and desire.  Train and race in the ultramarathon event of your choice this summer and let ELM help you reach your dream this year!

Ultramarathon Training Program Includes

  • 20-week training program for either the 50k or 50mile (80k) distance. 
  • Entry to 15-weeks of group coached trail running clinics twice weekly (up to 30 sessions!) all spring and summer including Advenure Running & Endurance Running.
  • 1.5-2hour ultramarathon prep workshop with Sarah Seads including a group run and on-trail technique coaching.  Nutrition, pacing, injury prevention, equipment, mental training, race day strategies and more!
  • ELM Running Manual
  • Team ELM Tech Shirt or Visor 
Read on...

Tyax Resort Trail Running Retreat: September long 2013

Do you dream of running free under big skies, along endless valley paths and and over supernatural mountains?  Are you ready for a trail running adventure of epic proportions?  Let ELM take you and your trail runners where few have ever been before this summer!

This special trail running retreat will take you well off the beaten path and into some of North America's most pristine mountain trails.  From Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa you will 'fly-in' by float plane to approximately 5100 feet then run out on close to '25kms of rolling scenic singletrack through spectacular meadows of wildflowers and ever-changing landscapes all the way back to Tyax Resort'.  How does that sound? 

Oahu, Hawaii XTERRA 21K Trail Running World Championship: December 2013

ELM is planning the trail running trip of a lifetime for you this year.  Train, travel and compete as part of Team ELM in the crown jewel of the XTERRA Trail Run Series on the beautiful island of Oahu this December!   

"The race will take place over some of the most scenic and diverse terrain on the planet at the majestic Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii.  The 4000 acre ranch reaches from the steep mountain cliffs to the sparkling sea and the terrain varies from dense rainforest to broad open valleys, with close up views of beautiful white sand beaches and awesome verdant cliff faces.  The epic nature of Kualoa Ranch has served as a scenic backdrop for numerous television shows and films such as Jurassic Park and Godzilla."

Friday, January 25, 2013


Hello and Happy Friday!

Here is a little inspiration to kick off your weekend adventures:)  Next time you think you 'CAN'T' do something...remember what humans are actually capable of...

Thanks to the Adventure Blog for sharing this one: People are Awesome 2013 version... have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Friend Al

WHY do you want to live a healthier, more active life?  And I don't mean to lose 10 pounds for your trip to Mexico this spring...

This sums it all up for me.  

I run and ride and push and climb and challenge my body 'because I can'.  In times of low motivation, painful workouts or mental fatigue this is what drives me onward, upward and through.  This 'pain' that my body is experiencing is a gift, not a punishment as so many see it.  Without a healthy body and legs that can climb I would never have these experiences.  Many others do not have this gift and one day I will not either.   Our health is a gift, not a given, and one that is time bound.  This is my 'WHY' - it resonates powerfully and connects with something deep inside my core.

I feel so grateful to not only have the gift of health but also the gift of this perspective.  Up until the summer of 2000 I had lived my life with the invincibility perspective.  Well, maybe that is too dramatic.  It may have been more like living in a bubble of youth and an ignorance of reality perspective;)  Which, don't get me wrong, is a powerful perspective in itself and one that is also the engine behind pushing the limits of the human experience. 

But in the summer of 2000, my reality shifted and I became sharply aware of the delicate fragility of the human body and the precious gift of health.  The following is an excerpt taken from my book, Fit & Free: Seven Steps to Achieving Fitness For Life.  I also shared this story at TedX Comox Valley in 2011 as part of my 'Human Potential' Ted Talk.  I hope that you find as much inspiration from this story as I do.  I also hope that it helps you begin to uncover your own 'WHY'.  Because once you truly know 'WHY' your want to live a healthier more active life, you will honestly be unstoppable.


If I told you “There are no obstacles in life,” would you believe me?

I truly believe that there is a way around, over, under or even through every obstacle. We may need patience and dynamic perspective but I believe we can find a way around any obstacle with determination and perseverance. Our planned journey may need to change course but we can all reach a more fit and vital lifestyle in our own way regardless of what obstacles life throws at us. This is how I live my life and I am inspired everyday by others who do the same.

I would like to share an inspiring story of determination with you about my friend Al. In 2000, while working as a British Columbia Forest Service Firefighter with Rapattack, one of my co-workers, Al Bergman, suffered a life altering injury that nearly cost him his life.

Al was based in McBride, BC with his crew and had gone out on a training run while he was on standby for work. He decided to go for a run on a trail that climbed to the top of beautiful McBride Falls.

While standing atop the Falls, Al fell 60 feet to the rocks below. He suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in his low back and was paralyzed instantly from the waist down. It took hours for his crew to find and rescue Al before he was taken to medical aid. He was lucky to survive but now faced life in a wheelchair.

Before his accident Al was a competitive cyclist who was up-and-coming in both road and mountain biking pro-elite rankings. He was 26 years of age when he lost the use of his legs.

Al worked relentlessly at the provincial rehabilitation centre to regain strength and to improve his post injury abilities. He turned up at the fire base later that summer and I will never forget it. He stood in the doorway with braces under his arms and took a few steps under his own power. Although Al never regained full use of his legs, he continued to work tirelessly on his rehabilitation and focused on his abilities rather than his disabilities. He traded his bike for a racing wheelchair and began training to compete at a national level in a new sport.

In 2004 Al represented Canada as a wheelchair athlete in the 400 meter event at the Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Just four years after his life altering accident, Al was still reaching for the stars.

And he didn’t stop there. After his accident, Al also met and married his physical therapist, went back to school to learn the trade of bike building and welding, then started his own company building custom bikes. All this after suffering an unimaginable injury just a few years prior.

I get goose bumps each and every time I share this story. Al’s courage and determination fill me with awe and inspiration. I selfishly draw on this energy in my own personal times of need. When I feel I have come to an obstacle or when life throws wild cards my way such as injury or illness I think of Al. When I remember his story I know that there are no true obstacles in life.

Al’s story also reminds me of the most important mantra in my life:
“Your health is a gift, not a given.”

Perspective is everything and when you remind yourself that your health is a gift and not a given your obstacles will not seem so great. There are no guarantees in life and we must take advantage of each and every day. You have your body and your health today but you never know what tomorrow will bring. Use your body and challenge yourself today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Some Great Things

Here are some GREAT things to help you start your week off...

Great point!   
Think running will kill you?  Or maybe you know someone who feels this way?  Share this one with them for a laugh:)

Great information: Risks of using anti inflammatories...great information for those of you who may be using vitamin 'I' a bit too frequently... 

Great race reflections: This is a sweet set of 20 images from the 2012 MOMAR Adventure Racing series...

Great reminder from Scott Jurek , the worlds super uber ultramarathon runner, about why we should run all winter long... 

 Great things coming your way: I posted this image on facebook this week as a teaser before releasing the details about some supernatural trail running travel adventures that ELM will be offering in 2013.  Can you picture yourself running here?  If so, stay tuned for 3 amazing road trips to some of the most spectacular trail runs around...

Great workshop: I was in the big city this weekend for an awesome 'muscle imbalance and functional movement assessment' workshop,  with Essential Kinetics, that filled my brain with new ideas with inspiration for your functional assessments and corrective exercises...

That is some of my inspiration from the past week...what has inspired you?
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Does Your Health Mean to You?

The human body has limitations; 
the human spirit is boundless. 
-Dean Karnazis

Got a savings account?  RRSP?  Pension?  Retirement Plan?  If yes, good.  If no, best get on that one peeps;).  We all want to have enough money to live our lives as we envision them.  We all want a roof over our head and then some.  We work and work and save and save with the goal of coming out on top.  We know the value of saving for our future.  But why do we lose sight of saving for a 'healthy' future also?  We can have all of the money in the world...but without our health it is of little worth. 

Living the life of your dreams now and in the future requires a healthy body and mind.  If your body is limiting your ability to live your life to the fullest then it is time to make a change.  Set yourself up for success my friends.  Take the time to lay a solid foundation and you will be able to build skyscraper of health that reaches up to the sky.  Taking the time to determine what your health actually means to you is a critical step in this process.  Uncover what you truly value about your health and you will find a solid rock that you can lean on in times of low motivation along the way.

The following excerpt is taken from my book, Fit & Free: Seven Steps to Achieving Fitness for Life.  Enjoy:)

Chapter 1
Step 1: Making a Connection

Before taking any steps towards improving your fitness you need to identify what living a healthy lifestyle truly means to you.

Many people fail to take the time to identify their core values around active living before launching into a new activity or program. It is fantastic that they are motivated to get started but also unfortunate that they do not realize the importance of this first step.

Without answering this critical question many people will end up discouraged and disappointed when they find themselves in a period of low motivation, struggling to stay active. Those who do take the time to investigate this question find it much easier to maintain an active lifestyle over the long term. It is our personal values that will help motivate us to carry on when the going gets tough.

When meeting with a new personal training client, uncovering the answer to this question is a very important step. Before taking any actions toward improving their fitness or changing their nutrition habits they must first identify what living a healthy lifestyle will truly mean to them now and in the future. Once they identify their personal values and how they relate to physical activity they are ready to move onto the next steps in the process of becoming fit for life.

In order to answer this question correctly you need to make the connection between your fitness, your future and what your personal values are in life.

What do my values have to do with my fitness? 

Your activity choices must help you improve your quality of life in a way that is meaningful to you. Activity choices that do not support your core values are less likely to motivate you over the long term. This is a critical point so be sure to let it sink in. In fact you have just discovered the secret to achieving fitness for life!

Motivation ebbs and flows and we know that obstacles will always be a part of life.
By making a connection between your values and the role of fitness in your life you will find it easy to stay motivated during even the most difficult periods.  When your activity choices are in line with your values you can be confident that they will keep you motivated and on the right track when you need it most.

Some examples of core values are:
Happiness or Joy
Personal growth
Connecting with others
Making a difference in the lives of others
Helping others
Self-actualization (reaching your potential)
Personal Challenge


What does your health mean to you?
What values do you connect with your health and fitness?
WHY do you want to be a healthier you now and in the future?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Inspiration

Happy Monday!
Personally I love Mondays;) The start of a new week and the promise of getting way more done than is actually humanly possible!  A fresh sheet of paper to begin the first of 50 lists for the week.  A deceivingly wide open calendar with endless possibilities to complete half done projects and launch one of the thousands of new ones on my list.   I wear my (most tinted) rose coloured glasses on Mondays.   It's Friday afternoons when the sand dial is down to it's last grains that stress me out lol:)

Need a little inspiration to kick off your week?   
Here are some links, images and ideas that inspired me or made me smile recently.  I hope they help you overcome inertia and climb onward this week!

This resonates like crazy with me.  I think failure is the best thing that can happen to us all.  Without it we have no idea what we are truly capable of.  How do you see failure? 

Awesome Video:: 'Moon Walking' with Dean Potter via the Adventure Blog.

Awesome Video:: 'Kayaking Greenland' beautiful promo video via the Adventure Blog

I shared this image from 'I am Endurance' on my blog this week in relation to the topic of 'Limiting Factors' . This is a quote that rings true so to me.  Life is so short.  Make it yours.  Make it sweet.  Make it deep

Short TED Talk: 'Your Gene's are Not Your Fate' a 3 minute TED talk that gives us all hope

Great read:: 'I only have one pair of legs' blogpost by Ultramarathon top dog Ellie Greenwood via irunfar

I just love this little guy and included him in my recent Fit & Free blogpost...might have to make him my screen saver to remind me what it is really all about...

What stories, images, videos or quotes have inspired you?  I would love to see them!

Have an awesome week:)

Friday, January 11, 2013

What's Your Limiting Factor?

After our run at the Need for Speed clinic last night we had a little 'heart to heart' about our personal 'limiters'.  

In sport, a limiter is any performance factor that is holding you back.  Any factor that has stood in the way of you reaching your performance goal.  This could mean your climbing strength on the bike, your endurance in a long run or your skill on a technical mountain bike course.   I love this definition...

Limiting Factor: a factor or condition that, either temporarily or permanently, impedes mission accomplishment.
When looking at your goals for the coming year it is critical to analyze which factors are holding you back the most.  These are the areas that you should be shifting your focus towards.  In reality most of us gravitate to the things we enjoy most...which are nearly always the areas we are strongest at.  They feel good and make us feel good about ourselves so we do them more, there by strengthening the cycle.  The strong get stronger and the weak get weaker.
Well...let's face it folks, we all have weaker cogs in 'the machine' that could use a little more attention;)  When we train specifically to elevate these weaknesses we increase the strength of the entire machine exponentially.  We need to stop avoiding our weaknesses and start looking at them as portals to increasing our performance and reaching our dreams!  
This year, I challenge you to increase the amount of time and energy you spend on your limiting factors each day, week and month.  This focus will ensure you see positive changes that help you reach your performance goals for 2013.

We also looked at the complex concept of 'performance'.

Too often we become all consumed with the 'fitness' or physiology aspect of our sport.  This is, of course, an very important component.  But, it is in reality only one variable in the great performance machine!  
  • Physiology
  • Psychology (can you improve on this one?)
  • Skill (or this one?)
  • Tactics
  • Equipment
  • Environment (how about preparing better for this one?)
Each of these are powerful factors that have a huge impact on your performance.  And each of these factors is made up of a list of sub variables (of course:)  Many people forget that their physiology is not solely a product of their training sessions.   It too, is the result of many other variables such as:
  • Nutrition
  • Health
  • Rest
  • Fatigue
  • Travel
And each of these is a result of many variables...and so on... And you thought all you had to do was run faster to reach your goal, didn't you?  HAHAHAHAHA!

Feeling overwhelmed?  Don't think you have time to train all of these things?  How will you ever do it all!?  Don't fret my friends!  This is good news!  This giant list means that you have many many different variables that you can manipulate in your personal experiment to become a stronger, faster, fitter version of you;)  Have fun with it...AND be brave...try something different this year...

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein 

Didn't reach your goal last year?  Well, don't you think it's time you changed something? 

  • Do you take the time to consider all or very few of the variables listed above when it comes to your training program?
  • Which ones have you spent the least time on?
  • Which ones would you consider limiting factors?
  • Do you have personal experience / success from working on your limiting factors?  Please share your story!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Are YOU Fit & Free? someone left the gate open.

If you aren't, then now is the time to change that my friends.  It is YOUR life, after all.  How do you want to live it?  Stuck under the weight of inertia in an unhealthy body or living life to the fullest by being fit & free?  Look at this little guy in the photo above...feel the sheer joy ripping through him as he leaps into life!  I hope you can feel it and that you want to live a life as vital as that too.

Over the coming weeks, I would like to share some excerpts from my book, 'Fit & Free: Seven Steps to Achieving Fitness For Life',  that I hope will inspire you to make the changes you so desire in 2013. I wrote this book as a way to share the MOTIVATIONAL tools that I have learned over the years with as many people who need them as possible.  These tools come both from working with thousands of clients at ELM and from overcoming my own obstacles in life and sport along the way.

The following is taken from the Preface: Choosing to be Fit & Free:

Once you choose to live a healthy and active life you will find it easy to move through the steps in this book. To do this, you must first believe that health is a choice; you are responsible for your health now and in the future.

You can choose to become a vibrant, healthy and active individual with the ability to live the life of your dreams. Or, you can choose to live an unhealthy life that contributes to illness, disease, physical limitations and the many negative emotions that accompany poor lifestyle choices. You must realize that your future is in your very own hands and that the potential within you is limitless. I promise that once you choose to be Fit & Free™ you will become free to live a life full of energy, vitality and longevity.

When I meet with new personal training clients for the first time, they are generally experiencing a range of emotions associated with starting a new fitness and lifestyle journey. Clients often report feeling both excited and anxious about getting started with a fitness trainer. I attribute these mixed messages to the little angel and little devil that often sit atop our shoulders throughout life. On the one hand, it is extremely exciting to anticipate the positive changes and envision the new healthier you: ‘The possibilities are endless and the sky is the limit!’ On the other hand, they may shudder at the thought of a failed attempt:

‘What if I can’t do it?’ ‘What if I fail?’ Many, many people feel so overwhelmed at the possibility of failure that they never actually begin in the first place.

This fear of failure is often the result of unfinished business in the past. Failing to plan adequately and not taking the right steps to ensure your success can often result in a failure to reach your goals which can crush your self-confidence. Some people just seem to naturally have more confidence than others. In reality, self-confidence is the product of many small successes or perceived failures over the duration of our lives. Getting cut from the basketball team in grade 4 or not being picked first by the captain in gym class may not seem like life changing events, but these perceived ‘failures’ can shape our identities and do significant damage to our self efficacy, confidence and self worth in the future. Addressing long term feelings of low self worth is very important if you have found this to be a recurring obstacle on your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. However, serious psychological issues are beyond the scope of this book and I strongly encourage you to speak with a professional who can help you work past these very challenging and very real issues.

The Purpose of this Book
The seven Fit & Free™ steps are based primarily on my experiences working with thousands of individuals as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor through my business, Equilibrium Lifestyle Management. Over time I have developed effective strategies for assisting my clients in reaching their fitness and lifestyle goals. I have witnessed many amazing journeys of success along with failed ventures; each one had valuable lessons to be learned from. The steps in this book have been proven time after time to assist individuals of all backgrounds in reaching their fitness goals.

Although each and every one of us is a unique individual with very specific needs, preferences and personalities, I believe there are key steps that we all must take to ensure success on our personal lifestyle journey. The goal of this book is to share these key steps with you so that you can implement them into your own life and, in fact, become your own personal trainer in the process.

Following these steps will help you break the patterns of short-lived success and repeat failures that you may have experienced in the past. These steps will change the way you think about fitness and inspire you to be active everyday.

This book is designed to encourage success and, in turn, increase your confidence by taking small but significant steps towards reaching your lifestyle goals. By adopting small changes over a period of time you are more likely to reach your goals and create meaningful lifestyle habits.

This seven-step program offers a combination of education, motivation and practical tools within each chapter. Each chapter will discuss a key step of the Fit & Free™ program and you will learn how to incorporate these simple steps into your own life. This book includes valuable tools that compliment each of the Fit & Free™ steps and personalize your experience.

Thank you for choosing to join me on this exciting fitness and lifestyle journey. I have seen thousands of individuals successfully adopt the principles of this program and I am confident that you, too, will reach your personal fitness goals by following the steps in this book. Let’s begin.

If you would like to purchase your own copy of Fit & Free, you can do so by visiting the ELM Online Store anytime.  Stay tuned as I share motivating tips and tricks from my book in the coming weeks.


Monday, January 7, 2013

"Of course it's hard.  It's supposed to be hard.  If it were easy, everybody would do it.  Hard is what makes it great." 
- A League of Their Own
ELM's 10-week Winter Challenge begins this week!  The Full On Fitness & Nutrition Challenge includes before and after fitness testing, body composition, nutrition tracking, weekly feedback & accountability, results and a personalized fitness & nutrition plan that will get you where you want to be for spring!  
Your Challenge is personalized to your needs and preferences.  Tack on the Challenge services to your favourite ELM program or work out on your own- it's YOUR Challenge.  Check out the details below and give me a shout if you would like to join the Challenge!
Included in the 10-Week Challenge:
Fitness & Nutrition Services with Sarah Seads, Kinesiologist, Certified Personal Trainer and Coach.
  • Before and after body composition & fitness assessments including norms, results and targets.
  • Before and after one-on-one fitness, lifestyle & nutrition consultation.
  • Personalized fitness & nutrition program to help you reach your goals.
  • Post challenge follow up and future recommendations.
  • 1.5hour Grocery Store Tour with Stacey Blouin, Registered Dietician!
  • Detailed ELM Training Manual packed with the latest fitness & nutrition information.
  • Weekly health & fitness e-education with homework to keep you on track.
  • Accountability to yourself and to your ELM trainer with weekly nutrition, goal and exercise logs.
  • ELM T-shirt!
  • Over $300 in services for a fraction of the cost!
Winter Dates:  January 7-March 21, 10-weeks 
Grocery Store Tour with Registered Dietician: DATE TBA
$99 - less than $10/week!
$119- less than $12/week!