Category Archives: Exercise

Why Exercise Should Be Your Top Priority in 2017

Last year, I decided to go on a journey to the best health of my life. Looking back at 2016, I didn’t do a very good job. As a homeschooling mom of three kids six and under, plus trying to run a business on the side, I ignored my health a little too readily and a little too often. The problem is, while nothing bad happened this year, I know that I can’t continue on this downward spiral.

I wasn’t nearly as active as I should or could have been last year, and that’s both ironic and sad, considering I’m a former personal trainer and Registered Kinesiologist (inactive)*. I know that I need to exercise more, and I need to put that knowledge into action. I’m hoping that I can inspire you with the action I’m going to be taking this year. My goal is to move every single day, and to accumulate 150 minutes of exercise each week, as recommended by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. And I’m doing it for my health, not for looks.

Unlike many New Year’s “resolutionists,” I’m not committing to exercise so I can lose weight. Firstly, I don’t make New year’s resolutions, as I believe they’re the most ineffective way to reach a goal. Secondly, as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, I really do believe that beauty is on the inside, and that it comes in all shapes and sizes. Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds. But I’m more concerned about the arthritis pain the extra weight is causing than by the size of my pants.

Here’s why exercise should be your top priority this year, and it has nothing to do with fitting into any unrealistic ideal of beauty.

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How to stay motivated to exercise in 2017

Although I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, there’s no denying that come the last week of December 2016, #resolutions will be everywhere on social media. “Losing weight” and “staying fit” top the charts for the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Yet, very few people who make resolutions of any kind actually see them through to the end of the year. If one of your resolutions is getting fit or exercising more, here are some ways to stay motivated to keep that goal going all year-round. Continue reading

Get Fit in 2017 – 5 Ways to Achieve Your Fittest Year Ever!

Get Fit in 2017!

A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions to get fit. Unfortunately, a lot of these resolutions end up in a drawer and don’t actually happen. Some folks exercise all through January, a few times in February, and lose steam by March. Others don’t even get started at all.

To make your fittest year ever happen, you need to choose exercises that you actually enjoy.  Remember – the most effective exercise is the one you’ll actually do. If you choose exercises that you can do anywhere, you’re even more likely to stick to getting active. If you need some ideas, here they are 🙂

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5 Lessons Learned from 500 Kilometers on bicycles (with 3 children 6 and under)

At the end of May 2016, my husband and I decided (somewhat spontaneously) to go on a 560-kilometer cycling trip with our three children (ages 6, 4, and 2).

My husband and I are adventurous people, but there’s no denying that adding children to the mix puts a bit of a damper on how adventurous people become. Recently, my husband and I started thinking, however, that this damper is imposed by society, rather than by any real circumstances.

After all, people all over the world live without the luxuries and routines to which we have become accustomed, and their children seem to fare just fine (as do the parents).

So, despite negativity from some, we packed up our things and set off on the road. It was a wonderful adventure, and we learned a great deal.

Here are five life lessons learned from 557 Kilometers on bicycles (with three children six and under).

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Cycle Touring with kids in beautiful Prince Edward County

Cycling beautiful Prince Edward County

One of the most rewarding things about setting out on a cycling adventure with my family was seeing the beauty of the natural Ontario world, which escapes us when we drive down the 401. We live next door to gorgeous Prince Edward County, but rarely take the time to visit it or to truly take in the beauty of Lake Ontario.

Me, my husband, and three children (ages 6, 4, and 2), left Kingston, Ontario, on May 28th, and started riding our bicycles. On May 28th, we cycled from Kingston to Bath, On, and enjoyed the little town of Bath on May 29th, before continuing to Picton, where we spent the night.

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Small town markets and pirate playgrounds – Bath, ON

 

As most of you know by now, me, my husband, and our three children (ages 6 and under) set off on a cycling adventure on May 28th, 2016. We decided to see how far we would get, with a possible lofty goal of getting to London eventually. The reason doing a trip like this never stressed me out of overwhelmed me is that I looked at it as a 30 kilometer outing. Then the next day, I looked at it as another 30 kilometer outing, and so forth.

It’s now been 17 days since we set off, and we’ve cycled about 375 kilometers. We have seen some wonderful sights, learned some great lessons, and met some amazing people. I’ll be writing a post later on about all the lessons learned, but for today, I thought it was about time I wrote a little bit about the places we have visited thus far.

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Minimalist Packing for a Cycle Tour With Kids

On May 28th, me, my husband, and my three children (ages 6, 4, and almost 2) set out on the road for a 700-kilometre cycling adventure. We had never done any cycle touring in our lives, did not plan this trip out very well (on purpose), and are having an absolute blast nevertheless.

On June 9th, we rode through Toronto and decided to stay at a hotel, since a house that can accommodate 5 cycling tourists downtown Toronto is sort of non-existent. We stayed at a fairly nice little hotel apartment with a fully equipped kitchen, so we did enjoy some freshly cooked dinner (we’re basically surviving on tortillas, canned food and protein bars (plus more junk food than I think I’ve eaten in my whole life put together at this point, but hey, it’s all good. You gotta live a little).

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4 Things we should have brought on our cycling tour with kids

4 Things We Should Have Brought on Our Cycling Tour With Kids – No. 4 is the most important!

 

As most of you know by now, me, my husband, and our three children (ages 6, 4, and almost 2), are on a crazy cycling adventure. We decided to ride our bikes from Kingston, ON, to London, ON, a 700-kilometre trek along beautiful Lake Ontario (and sometimes highway 2). We already sharedwhat we’ve brought on our trip, but we thought you might be interested in what we didn’t bring – but wish we had.

What most of you might not know is that we are total cycle touring newbies. My husband is more of a cyclist than I am – last year, he commuted to work virtually every single day (a 15-Kilometer ride each way). I used to do sprint triathlons, but since my youngest kiddo was born, I’ve been embarrassingly inactive. So my most recent long bike ride was a 30 Kilometer ride during a sprint triathlon (in which I came last in my age group), way back in 2013. I did these triathlons for fun, so I didn’t have proper gear – I just rode my little hybrid bicycle and wore my running shoes. Alas, things are different when you’re cycle touring. You need proper gear. Trust me.

We are learning lots as we go, and here I’m sharing the 4 things we should have thought of bringing before we set out on this trip. Number 4 is by far the most important.

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FREE Beginner Bodyweight Workout #4

FREE Beginner Exercise Programs

 

How many times did you get to the gym this week? None? I totally get it. Life gets busy, and sometimes exercise goes down to the bottom of the priority list. But there are some workouts that make it hard for you to find an excuse, since they can be done anywhere.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been giving you just that – exercises that can be done anywhere, any time, with no equipment. Here’s the 4th workout in the series. If this is your first time here, don’t forget to check out Workout #1, Workout #2, and Workout #3, since they are meant to be progressive. Start at #1 and move on from there.

If you try any of these out, I’d love to hear how it went for you. Leave a comment or send me a message at mcdougallmariana@gmail.com. Interested in learning a specific exercise? Get in touch. I might just write a post about it (or link to someone who has).

Here’s workout #4!

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FREE Beginner Bodyweight Workout #3

FREE Beginner Exercise Programs

How are you doing on your quest to become more active? As I always say, mindful eating is superior to any restrictive diet, and you should concentrate on the amazing things your body can do, rather than on what it looks like.

If the thought of going to a gym turns your stomach, or if you feel like you just don’t have the time or money to add yet another thing to your day, these beginner bodyweight workouts may help you to become a bit more active. They can be easily done in about 20 minutes, and you’ll become stronger as you work through them.

This workout has one exercise using a stability ball; however,if you do not have access to a stability ball, simply replace this exercise with the non-stability ball version (found in workout #1) and you’ll be just fine.

Please keep in mind that these workouts are meant to be progressive, so if you haven’t yet tried Workout #1 and Workout #2, try those first, and progress to the one on this page.

Here’s Workout #3!

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