A few of my Favourite Things

Last year around this time I picked up a book called the Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris. The book is phenomenal, sharing a series of 100 interviews with high achievers (some known to me, some not). Each interviewee was asked the same questions, and a selection of answers from each person were published. One of the questions asked was “what purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?” This question prompted me to think about my own answer to this question. Below I share some purchases that brought the most ease to my life and has had the biggest impact.

 
  • I mention this to many people, particularly as the days get shorter and darker. The Philips Sun Alarm Clock not only wakes you with a gentle increase of “daylight”, but the audio alarm also increases slowly as to not wake you with a startle. I found when using this for a period of time, my internal wake cycle adjusted and I found it easier to get out of bed even on those cold, dark mornings where it is much easier to stay cozy in bed.

 
rumina.jpg
  • Rumina Natural’s Totally Tallow. I am lucky enough to work with one of the brains behind the amazing Rumina line. One particular product produced is “Totally Tallow”, a clean multi-purpose moisturizer. I had heard great things about this product for months and it was only this past month I decided to give it a try and I quickly fell in love. The Fall and Winter months here in Calgary are very dry and I have struggled to find a product over the years that offers moisture without being waxy, greasy or too heavy. Warming the product in your hands allows it to apply smoothly and leaves skin feeling soft. It smells great too! *Apply discount code drkaren10 to receive 10% off your order!

 
podcast.jpg
  • Podcasts! I was trying to pick just one to put here but I couldn’t choose, so below I list my favourites at the moment. I started listening to podcasts 5 years ago when I had a long commute to work. I was tired of listening to the radio, and was lucky enough to come across “The School of Greatness”. From there I’ve listened to a variety of other uplifting podcasts offering perspective on everything from business, life, goals, relationships, health to finances. The best part? Its free. You can download them to your phone when in wifi so you can listen on-the-road and save on data. The information we feed ourselves is just as (if not more) important than the food we eat. Choose wisely, and expand what you know. Seeing the world through another point of view can be eye-opening and may just offer a simple solution to a problem you’ve been facing. Of course, sometimes I just crave entertainment and something less introspective and there are podcasts for that too! In addition to Lewis Howes’ podcast above, Some of my regularly played podcasts include: The Ed Mylett Show (growth, business, mindset), Oprah’s Masterclass (life, overcoming failure, growth), Heavyweight (life, regret, righting wrongs, undone and unsaid, revisiting the past, entertaining), Without Fail (life, reality, failure and success, entertaining).

 
H20-Audio-Waterproof-Headphones-and-Case.jpg
  • I used to run as an outlet. It was my activity of choice and it had few barriers to get out the door. All I needed was a pair of shoes. Over the years, my pull to run has been replaced with a desire to swim. Sometimes my motivation to get to the pool is the hot tub soak afterward, sometimes its the meditation that comes with the swim itself. other times though (and here comes an item that was worth every penny), it is a new playlist on my underwater mp3 player. There are far more sleek versions that I see out now, but I actually purchased this a few years ago and it has been great. It holds my ipod nano and slides onto my goggles strap without being overly bulky. Music has always been a staple in my life, and has the power to change your state in tremendous ways. If you swim and struggle to stay motivated or get bored with lanes, I encourage you to order some underwater tunes.

 
2019-Planner-Blk2.jpg
  • Through the years I have gone back and forth between digital and good old fashioned paper planning. I think I have found my happy medium, with keeping all things needing a reminder, or simple daily tasks I need to get done and can’t forget in my phone (i.e. bills, appointments, etc) and the big goals, and long-term to-do’s in a paper daytimer (i.e. work tasks, long term plans, etc). Last year I found the daytimer to rule all daytimers (for me anyway) and even better, it was made by a local Calgary company. I’m talking about Wrinkle and Crease and their yearly planner. With ample space for weekly planning, monthly snapshots and lots of space in the back for collecting ideas and jotting down info you want to keep nearby. I have yet to pick up my planner for 2019 yet, but I will be ASAP because I love love love this one!

 
  • Last and certainly not least, another Calgary-based company The Gut Lab and their superfood shakers! I have only tried a couple and am so pumped to try more of their product, but I was blown away by the flavour of the Super Q shaker. Plus I loved the name…super…Q? You know, because my last name starts with Q? Anyway, this one had an amazing BBQ flavour and paired perfectly over popcorn. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a popcorn nut, and after trying this product, this will be a new staple for me. Most importantly, their products contain “sustainably sourced natural ingredients, no sweeteners, preservatives, fillers or artificial flavours”. Cheers to that!

 

There you have it! A snapshot to some of my favourite things that keep me moving, motivated and organized. Here’s to a strong end to 2018 and a fresh start to continue the momentum!

Preventing Back Pain & Improving Posture...There's an App for That!

One of the best ways to prevent back pain is to keep moving. This can mean a lot of things to a lot of people though. With an estimated 1/3 of missed work in Canada attributed to back pain, being aware of preventive measures is an important consideration. Really, any position can be potentially harmful if repeated for long periods of time. Consider how many hours a day you spend sitting- reading, driving, watching television, using computers. The cumulative damage of these repetitive postures can sometimes go under the radar until pain or other symptoms surface. 

Canadian Chiropractors have developed an app to inspire daily mobility, improved posture and spinal health. It is a FREE resource with videos, printable materials and only takes 3 minutes a day. The program can be performed individually or is a great warm-up/ cool-down for daily activities.

Improving and maintaining good posture not only helps reduce or prevent back pain, but it will help to reduce daily joint wear and tear, improve spinal resilience and flexibility, and will help the body use less energy for daily tasks.

For more information and video content, click HERE or to download the app, click HERE.

 

SUp-webbanner-EN.jpg

 

 

Guest Blog: Combatting Scar Tissue w/ Lindsay Burns

I met Lindsay Burns in a Muscle Activation Technique seminar last year. We were table mates and it was there that I first heard of Endermologie. Her excitement and knowledge on the modality was evident immediately and I have since referred some patients to her. Endermologie, in the context she uses it, helps remove scar tissue which can be a big barrier for a lot of people in adapting and finding balance and ease. She approaches her clients with holistic goggles, recognizing the role of scar tissue as a stabilizer, and that once that is removed, a person must also have means to continue that stability through strengthening and muscle activation. 

I figured if I had never heard of this technique, many others probably were also in the dark, so I asked Lindsay to share more about what she does... For further information, to meet Lindsay or to schedule a consultation with her, her contact is at the end of the article. Of course you can also contact me directly and I'll be happy to connect you. 

What is Endermologie? This is a question I get asked all the time and honestly I feel like it’s the best - kept secret around.

An Endermologie machine is 100% natural and non invasive. It breaks down scar tissue, increases blood circulation and boosts the Lymphatic System. And that just scratches the surface of what it can do.

Does this sound too good to be true? You aren’t alone in thinking that. Wonder why you’ve never heard of this before? You aren’t alone in that either. The European designed machine has moved away from it’s original use in North America and is being used mostly for cosmetic purposes but luckily, I spent time in the US observing, learning and training on how the machine can be used for more restorative, recovery and mobility purposes.       

I see the results and changes on a daily basis. I often hear, “I’ve been like this for twenty plus years. I’ve tried everything and it just stays the same”. I completely understand the helplessness that an injury past or present can make you feel. I’ve been there myself. Recently, one of my new and very active clients came in unable to completely extend her leg. After multiple knee surgeries and a lot of scar tissue built up she often experienced residual pain and constant aching. After trying a variety of things with little to no improvement my client was referred to me. Not knowing what to expect she booked her first appointment and was surprised when she could feel a difference almost immediately. After a handful of treatments this client has a greater range of motion. The dull aching is less, if at all, and her knee feels better then it has in years.

Knees, hips, tennis elbow, shin splints, neck, shoulder and back pain can all be treated with Endermologie plus much, much more. Recovery after surgery can also be expedited once you have the okay from your Physician to aid in regaining mobility.  

Endermologie works great on its own while complimenting other modalities as well. I like to think of it as a tool used to clear a roadblock. It increases blood circulation by 400%, which promotes healing and is able to get deeper then deep tissue massage.

The founding principles of Endermologie were to break down scar tissue, reduce inflammation and increase mobility. The bottom line is, it works. My clients are pleased with their results and how quickly they’re able to resume their everyday and active lifestyles.

I would love for you to come and check it out!

Lindsay Burns practices out of Lasya Healing Alternative Wellness Centre in Calgary, Alberta. For further info check out her website at www.endotechnique.com or find her on instagram @endotechnique!

Guest Blog: Making a Sustainable Nutrition Plan w/ Max Caron

As a former athlete and strength and conditioning coach, I understand that many of us have a Love/Hate relationship with food. When most people think about their diet in relation to their training, the mind goes to 1 of 2 places; what we feel we have to eat to stay healthy and in shape…. and the delicious assortment of goodies that we will eat when we get there!

The reality is that having a plan in place for our diet is just as important as having a plan in place for what we do in the gym. Rather than close our eyes, crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, our time and effort is best served when we put a system in place that supports our lifestyle and fitness goals.

My #1 focus when building a nutritional plan to support my training goals is to make sure the plan is sustainable. When I have a training AND nutrition plan that support each other and function harmoniously with my life, then I can maintain the progress I make when life gets hectic. When I think of sustainable meal choices, I think of 4 elements; delicious, homemade, healthy and simple.

While making a nutritional plan healthy is self-explanatory, an emphasis on taste and flavour is sometimes neglected. When we enjoy what we eat, our motivation and commitment to the plan will stay high. Simply put, it is always harder to stay on the plan when our taste buds aren’t stimulated. 

Homemade choices are another important element because finding healthy choices outside of your own home is hard and often times the choices aren’t as healthy as they seem. It is very tough to get consistent results when we don’t know exactly what is going into our bodies. Furthermore, the healthy choices offered often come at a steep price, which gives us even more reason to save some money and learn to make home cooked meals.

So we need a home cooked meal that is healthy and delicious; the final piece to this is our meals must be simple to be sustainable. For many, the demands from work and our personal lives leaves little time to prepare meals. The best choices are meals that we can prepare in 30-45 mins max. We must anticipate that we won’t always have time to throw together the perfect meal. Meal prep strategies such as making extras, pre-cutting vegetables or making and bottling homemade dressings and marinades are great ways to help shave off some cook time.

I also recommend “mastering” the prep time for 1-3 meals that you love to eat; so when your crunched for time you will know exactly how long it takes to churn out your favourite choice. This can be tough if we try and learn 7 recipes all at once, so stick to just a few favourites. Remember, the whole strategy is to eat homemade, healthy, delicious and simple meals on a consistent basis. This is the key to a sustainable meal plan which will help deliver sustainable results. Happy Cooking!

 

 Max Caron is a strength and conditioning coach at OPEX Calgary Central.

As a previous CFL player for the Calgary Stampeders, Max was a 16th overall draft pick in the 2014 CFL Draft as well as a 1st Team All-Canadian and CIS Football Major Award Winner.

His playing career was cut short due to injury, but his proudest moment was returning to play after suffering 2 ruptured achilles tendons in back-to-back seasons.

With his professional athletic career behind him, he now gets to help others be their best selves and reach their health and fitness goals.

When not coaching, Max enjoys playing sports, training, cooking and spending time with his wife and their two kitties. 

IG:            @max.caron43
Twitter:    @MaxCaron43

Bike Philosophy: 4 Lessons from my Ride

I encourage my practice members to have an outlet of some kind. Something they love to do where time passes with ease and leaves them feeling more grounded. For some that may be running, or knitting or reading...anything that allows them to unload their day enjoy themselves. For me, that outlet is my bike. My bike is my happy place.

Yesterday, I went for a ride with the plan to bike to Chestermere. With path closures, and unexpected road race and detours, I decided to head back home instead where I then came across rough roads prepped for paving (bumpy and the opposite of fun on a road bike) and then almost nose-dived when my bike tire was caught in a sidewalk crack. I was in my head, negative and was spiraling because nothing was going as planned. As I was grumbling in my head I caught myself because usually I'm happiest on my bike. I reminded myself that I was choosing the dialogue and considered a different perspective. Here is what I came up with:

1. Sometimes on your bike (or in life) your path will change. This may very well be for your own well-being. Who knows what you avoided with the unexpected change of plans. It also may present an entirely new beautiful route you wouldn't have otherwise taken.

2. You may (or rather WILL) at times encounter a bumpy road. But you're still here, on it, moving forward. It may slow you down but whats the rush anyway? And when you get to the smooth parts, man do you appreciate it so much more.

3. Almost nose-diving is not the same as nose-diving..yeah core strength! The near misses remind us of how strong we really are...and there is no need to add drama where drama is unnecessary.

4. My last lesson/ reminder that came to me at the end of this ride was that I have the power to change my inner dialogue. I know this, I've done it before but there have also been many times I have chose to wallow in my negative thoughts. Like a muscle though, each time we flex a thought or behaviour (for better or worse), it gets stronger and we are more likely to do the same in the future.

I'm a huge believer that sweat, sunshine and thoughts heal. Get outside, get moving, do things that excite you.