Favourites Giveaway ! 

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…

Favourites, that is!

To celebrate reaching 500 followers I’ve decided to do my very FIRST giveaway! When I first started this blog, I had no idea how much I would fall in love with it – and how much I would enjoy connecting with all of you.

I would have to say that the community built with my readers and other bloggers is easily my favourite part of the entire process. So I want to celebrate each and every one of you and YOUR favourites too!

To enter the giveaway, here are the rules: 

First and foremost, follow me! If you do already, awesome. If not, just press the follow button on the side bar and subscribe either through email or through wordpress!

Then in the comments below, send me the link to one of your favourite bloggers, and tell me why you love reading their posts! I will be visiting each and every one – and I can’t wait to be inspired and enlightened by the bloggers that you absolutely love!

And for sharing your favourites, I’ll share my favourites with you:


Included:

  • Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein – Chocolate and Vanilla 
  • Praire Naturals Coconut Seed Snacks
  • Smart Sweets Gummy Bears
  • Lara Bars – Blueberry and Chocolate PB
  • “Dreams are Worth Chasing” mug
  • “Noteworthy” notebook
  • WOW Peppermint Relief Roll-on

I am not associated with or sponsored by any of the pictured companies – these are just items I enjoy day to day, and I wanted to share them with you!

This giveaway is open to Canadian and US Residents. The winner will be drawn on Sunday, April 23rd. One entry per person, but if you want to share more than one blog that you love, please do.

I look forward to seeing your favourites!

 

April Update 

Hey you, how have you been?

Oh me? Oh you know, I’ve just been hanging out here on my beautiful white chair, in this room this pristine decor, hanging out in a body suit. I’m pretty sure that’s what bloggers do.

Jokes aside, it was a pleasure to have my sister take these shots the other day. I am in awe of how well she captured me. I think there is something to be said about being able to be vulnerable around someone. During this shoot, I was able to be and embrace myself,; I felt completely comfortable. And isn’t it interesting how that can come across in a photo? It reminds me that energy transcends everything.

I have been feeling so comfortable in my own skin lately. They say that is something that comes with age, and now at 28 years old I can say I believe it is true. Even when my skin was fresher, or I was smaller, or my eyes were brighter – I never appreciated all that I was. But now I look at myself with the audacity to say “I’m cute” ( I am though).

I wish I could go back and shake the younger me – I wish I could just say STOP! You are beautiful! Stop criticizing yourself! But I guess that it’s all a part of growing up.


So I will do my usual fitness update but first I want to say: even if my cutting season didn’t go very well, I would still rock a swimsuit with pride. My eyes are nice and my butt is round and my stomach is cute… so take that, society!

I’ve been cutting for the last couple months, but only last week since Brittany left have I actually kicked it into high gear. You know how it is #fitfam – less carbs , more cardio. I’ve been doing at least 30 minutes of cardio with each workout – sweater on and sweating up a storm.

I’m trying to keep my carbs under 100g daily for my cut, with refeeds when I really feel I need them. And before you begin to believe that this means I am restricting myself, please remember that I eat in abundance. Ask anyone who has the pleasure of eating near me about the size of my meals. It’s ridiculous…ly awesome. At the same time, in this lifestyle, sacrifices must be made – I know this game. And I love to play it.

Although this is an important part of my lifestyle, I want you guys to know that I do this for me. I’m happy with who I am. No number on a scale can ever change that. And restricting carbs will never make you happy. Being skinny will never make you happy. So I urge you to be at a good place before you put any additional stress on your body. And as always: love yourself first (the rest will follow anyway).

 

 

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If you are wondering what has been on the menu lately, a day in the life of me eating looks something like this…

  • Meal 1 – Breakfast shake (fruit, veg, Iron Vegan protein powder)
  • Meal 2 – A banana and a handful of almonds
  • Meal 3 – A large salad with greens, vegetables, and nuts
  • Meal 4 – A bit of protein and greens (usually tofu or chicken)
  • Meal 5 – Raw fruits or veg with almond butter or a piece of choc, etc…

Does anyone else get mad sweet cravings before bed? I’ve been making my own chocolate with melted coconut oil, raw cacao, nuts and stevia. Then I just pop it in the freezer for a couple minutes – voila!

Oh one more thing – only 3ish months of school left! I can’t wait to begin taking on clients. I’ve learned so much and my passion for health is a fire burning hotter than ever before. We can all be healthy. We can all be happy. And we all deserve it.

 

Stay tuned for my next post – it’s coming up tomorrow and it’s going to be a good one!

I hope everyone’s April is off to a great start, and onto an even better end!

Catch ya later

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog on your way out, if you haven’t already!

Find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/standingstrongwellness

Watch me on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9XftlyYl711lf0o7MMt8MA/videos

What is Preworkout? + Recommendations

When I first got into the #fitlife , I found navigating my way around the gym to be difficult enough.

Then I started hearing about different products and supplements meant to enhance the workout and I was like : what the heck is preworkout? 

If you want to gain a better understanding of what preworkout is, or you are simply interested in some recommendations, then this is the post for you so keep reading!

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I work in a supplement store. So as a preface to this I want to say that my recommendations are going to be based on the stock carried there specifically. That being said, there are so many great products to choose from and I stand behind the selection here 100%.

So, moving on.

What is preworkout? Preworkout is compromised of two basic components.

  1. Energy – which is actually code for “caffeine” . Most (not all) preworkouts have caffeine to varying degrees, from 50 mgs per scoop and upwards. Preworkout selection should be determined based on your caffeine tolerance – I find for most people who can handle a little bit of caffeine that staying between the 150-200 range works well, which is just about the equivalent of 1.5-2 coffees.
  2. Pump – All preworkouts contain components meant to increase circulation and bring oxygen to the muslce , thereby creating a better pump during the workout. Examples of this are things like arginine and citrulline. This is what gives your muscles that bursting full feeling… of course if you’ve had it before, you already know.

 

Aside from these two basic components you might also find some b vitamins, which help your body metabolize and convert other substances into energy, and amino acids, which can help with muscle building.

I find many people are in one camp or another; they either want a stimulant based preworkout that hits them so hard their eyes bulge out, or they want a preworkout that will mainly enhance their pump during the workout.

I want the best of both worlds and typically aim to find one that is more well balanced. This is important because I do like a bit of caffeine (especially after those long hard days) but too much of it can constrict the blood vessels, thereby actually making it more difficult to get a pump going.

Recommendations: 

Most Popular


Cellucor C4

In my personal experience C4 has been the most popular preworkout 1.5 years running. I don’t say that specifically because so many people come into buy it (which they do), but also because so many who come in have typically tried it. I would consider this a well balanced preworkout with about 150 mgs of caffiene and other ingredients in there for pump as well. It also contains vitamins B6, B9, and B12. I do not reccomend taking this in place of a B vitamin but having those extras in there is a nice touch. So many people “graduate” from taking C4 because they have developed a tolerance for the amount of caffeine in it and need something stronger. Another option might be cycling off for a few weeks to build up that tolerance again.

Best Kept Secret


Dr. Jekyll

Dr. Jekyll is one of those preworkouts that just gets written off too quickly. It has a lower amount of caffeine than many of it’s counterparts sitting at 100 mg per scoop. Keep in mind that is still as much as the average cup of coffee. I can’t say that the flavour is anything to go crazy about – as comparatively it is just not as tasty as some others out there. However it is tolerable and since most people down their preworkout pretty fast I personally see this in large part as a non-issue. No b-vitamins in this baby but it does contain choline, which is thought to enhance brain function (among the various other processes it is responsible for). Why would I reccomend this preworkout? Hands down, best pump of my life. And I don’t say that lightly. As a smaller person, I think it has been much harder for me to get a good pump. So thank you Dr. Jekyll for helping me out.

 

Personal Favourite 


The Curse

I did not, based on first appearances, receive this product well – … I mean, isn’t  the labeling a bit silly? Despite that impression, I decided to give it a try. And I’m glad I did. The 155 mg of caffeine packs a decent punch, and I had great pumps using it. Best of all, they keep their ingredients simple and clearly label what each ingredient is intended for. No nonsense. I also want to add that some of their flavours use beet juice for colouring, and since I am trying to avoid artificial colouring dyes as much as possible it is nice to have that option with The Curse. I’ve turned skeptics into believers with this one so don’t be afraid to try it!

Whatever preworkout you decide to use, do yourself a favor and cycle off of it every now and then. Just like that morning cup of coffee, you can develop a dependency on it. You don’t want to have to need it. Take it for enjoyment, not because you can’t workout without it.

All this being said you don’t need a preworkout to have a great workout. All you need is a spirit of hard work and determination – and your inner drive to guide you. But I will say that with it, the workout sure is a bit more fun!

I did a video related to this – check it out here : The 3 Supplements I Can’t Live Without

Thanks for reading!

I tried SPIN for the first time and here’s what I thought of it.

Walking towards the studio, I feel pangs of excitement and nervousness. I guess that’s normal when you’re trying something new. Especially if you’re not sure you’ll make it out alive.

I was invited to try spin for the first time with a friend. I know it’s healthy to get out there and try new things, so I agreed.

Now I know what you’re thinking : What’s so scary Jen? Don’t you lift weights? This class should be a breeze!

Spin is so different though. Spin is endurance. Coordination. And a whole lot of legs. All of which are not my strong suit.

But in the spirit of challenging myself, I found myself in the studio and ready to make an attempt. My friend walked me through the basics, and the instructor came over before the class started to give me a few tips.

Because we are all in control of our own bike and resistance settings, the class is simply as hard or as easy as you want it to be.

I was in the back of three rows, which calmed my nerves because I knew I wouldn’t be seen. Then they dimmed the lights and I really knew I wouldn’t be seen. I thought to myself this class is an anxious person’s dream! I’m practically invisible back here! 

Then the pumped up dance music came on – and I was like yeah! This is my jam!

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You know what it felt like?

It’s reminiscent of the moment you are walking into the club, when the music is pumping and the lighting is just right. Only instead of alcohol, everyone’s drinking aminos. And instead of dancing, everyone is working their butts off (my kind of Saturday night!).

Pedaling to the beat of the music, we went up and down and imaginary trail that albeit had some pretty steep hills. But I smiled the whole time. The instructor was invested and encouraging. The other spinners cheered when they felt challenged.

The environment was so different than from that of any gym I’ve been to. It was energetic, electric, and best of all…. contagious.

Not only did I survive, but I will also be back again.

I would recommend spin to anyone who:

  • enjoys being encouraged during a workout
  • is looking for a high energy fitness atmosphere
  • want to get high on endorphins and doesn’t mind a sore butt

Thanks for reading!

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Body Positivity and the Fit Lifestyle

What I’m going to talk about today may stir up emotions for some of you, so please be forewarned!

This post is all about body positivity and body acceptance. I know this is something a lot of us are striving toward. I myself have been striving towards it for years, but it has only been this past one that I feel working towards it has truly payed off.

I know that the body positivity movement was brought about in support for body types that are marginalized. I am a slim, white female. But you know what? There are a lot of slim white females who struggle to love their bodies. You know why? Because loving your body has nothing to do with weight or aesthetics.

Loving your body comes from the inside. Not all skinny girls love their bodies, not all curvy girls love their bodies. Even the women that you think are beyond gorgeous struggle with body image.

It’s about loving and appreciating your body for all it can do.

But of course if I post a picture preaching about body positivity, everyone will wonder what the hell I’m talking about. If I advocate for it, is it going to resonate with people, or will they brush me off because I’m “toned”? Will everyone just think, “DUH – of course you love yourself. You’re fit”.

Guys, it’s not a given.

Because sadly there are lots of fit chicks out there who have unhealthy relationships with their bodies, and it doesn’t matter how good they look.

So maybe I don’t fit into the movement. But why? I learned how to love myself, from 145 lbs down to 120.  I can look in the mirror with confidence and say I’m cute with softer muscles, and I’m cute with almost abs. I’m cute. I love my body and it loves me. I accept my imperfections, in my skin and my face and my hair and my feet. I look in the mirror and I say good things to myself. I am body positive as fuck.

But I am still me, and therefore always working towards self improvement.

Wait, can I practice body positivity and still want to be “better” ; stronger, bigger?

I’m no expert on the movement, but it seems to me that many people feel that the two are mutually exclusive. You either love yourself just as you are and believe you never need to change, or you strive towards self improvement in a way that promises to change my body forever on?

I can love myself and want to work on myself at the same time. I can, you can. We all can. In my mind, self improvement is part of self love. It’s how I care for me.

In many ways it might seem that the body positivity movement and the fit lifestyle don’t mix. But I want to argue otherwise. If I didn’t appreciate my body for what it could do, I wouldn’t push myself for more. If I didn’t love my body, I wouldn’t fuel it with foods that make me feel good. I can be satisfied with my body yet still never satisfied.

I don’t have to be marginalized to understand what it’s like to not love myself and this body I was given. I know what it’s like and it took a lot of hard work to get out of that place. I am fit AND body positive.

 

I want to open up the floor and ask you guys, what do you think? Can I be a body positivity advocate and maintain my lifestyle? Comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Upcoming stuff I am SUPER EXCITED about

Hello all you wonderful people!

I decided to try something a little different today in my blog post – a video! Yup, this is me!

 

I think subconsciously the goal was to see how many times I could say “Super Excited” in one video (Hey, I can laugh at myself!). Honestly though, I’m feeling good and I just wanted to share the positive vibes with you guys!

If you enjoy the video, feel free to like and subscribe!

You can also find me on Instagram if you want to connect! I post there every day.

Thanks for being on this journey with me!

I haven’t been “out” in over a YEAR.

I ran into an old friend the other day. It was nice to run into him, and although I was in the midst of running errands we stopped for a second to catch up.

Reminiscing on what we had been up to lately, I recalled how low-key my life has been for the last year and mentioned that I haven’t been “out”(as in “out on the town”) in over a YEAR.

The last time I went out to a bar was for my big sister’s bachelorette party last summer. But prior to actually saying it out loud, it is not something I really thought of before. Is this normal for a 27 year old? I honestly don’t know – I’m not sure what everyone else is up to on the weekends these days. I can only relate to you guys my own experiences and my own personal reasons why I’ve made this decision, consciously and subconsciously.

First, I mean, obviously this is a health, wellness, and fitness blog because those are my passions in life. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about living a life of balance! But balance for me is not working my butt off and eating well six days out of the week so I can undo all that work in 1 night. I know myself, and I know if I’m up late partying all night I am not making it to the gym the next day. I’m just not! I’m gonna sit home eating pizza. And you know how I found this out? By fooling myself one too many times before! Yes, life experience has taught me a lot.

I am a truly ambitious and motivated person. I think about my goals every. single. day. Whenever I make a choice to do something, I go through an inner dialogue that helps me decide if that choice is good or bad for me down the road. And going out never really looks good. To be honest I just really want to be at the gym, eating a good meal, and in bed by 11. Yes I’m that person.

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It’s strange how much shame is associated with that. I want to make it super clear that I don’t look down upon anyone for what the decide to do to enjoy their free time! But when I tell people I don’t go out, it is hard for others to understand.

There’s not a lot of room for alcohol in my life.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you might be aware that my best friend is an alcoholic. This experience has completely changed my relationship with alcohol. I am damaged from it in a way, because I see what damage it can do, and it saddens me. If I thought that giving up alcohol for the rest of my life meant that she would also never drink again, I would have given it up a long time ago.

Spending quality time with my best friend used to mean a night on the town. That had to change. Now we spend time enjoying our lives and our health; we work out together, go for coffee, take walks, or just kick it and relax.

Same goes with my boyfriend; spending time together almost never involves alcohol, and has never meant going out. We have never been to a bar together. For where he is at in life, he is just completely uninterested in drinking in general. Because of this, I have a lot of respect for him. We are both ambitious and goal oriented, and we are similar in the activities we enjoy, so I guess we would just rather be lifting the bar then at the actual bar.

I guess to sum it all up, partying just isn’t conducive to my lifestyle anymore.

This doesn’t make me better or worse than anyone. But yes, I know it makes me different.

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I’m just simply doing other things.

Healthy things.

That all being said, I am not against drinking. But I am against drinking for the wrong reasons, and drinking for the sole purpose of drowning my sorrows. I believe that partying has it’s time and place. I am actually going to another bachelorette party in a month and I am excited to be there for the bride to be’s big night out! I can’t wait to cheers her on the special occasion. Not to be cliche but, there really is a time and a place for everything.

I still have a drink every once in a while, but you know what?

I don’t need it 🙂