Have you met Stephanie yet?

stephanieStephanie started training at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre last Spring. It has been almost a year since then and she has come a long way. She started with personal training, only once a week. Then slowly moved into group classes. She now regularly attends two Kettlebell classes a week, and is working on fitting in a third.

When we asked why she chose VMBC this is what she had to say: “I have three young kids and when I have time to myself I want to relax, not work out. In order to successfully integrate a workout routine into my life, I needed a gym that was easily accessible. VMBC is close to my house, the classes are affordable, offered around the clock, only 30 minutes long and I could bring my baby!”

Remember climbing ropes in gym class? Stephanie does, and she finally made it to the top. “Rope climbing was a part of fitness assessments in elementary school. It was something I always wanted to do, but always failed at doing. One evening, a couple of months ago, after receiving a great tip for rope climbing, I attempted to climb the rope. To my immense surprise, pleasure and pride I climbed quickly to the top. Reaching the top made me feel strong, fit and glad I’d made the commitment to work out.”

Training should not just be about what you can do in the gym but rather how it effects your quality of life outside of the gym. Stephanie knows this well.

“After three pregnancies and very little strength training my body felt weak and soft. Since I’ve started training at VMBC I’ve felt so much stronger in my body, especially through my core. I can now easily do multiple sit-ups, whereas a year ago I could barely do one. And more importantly, I can more easily meet the demands of my three kids. I can carry them for longer, chase them through the park and throw them up in the air.” Isn’t amazing how taking just a little extra time for yourself, even as little as 1 to 2 hours a week, can help you interact with those around you better.

We look forward to helping Stephanie continue to move forwards with her health and fitness, and if she keeps consistent we are sure she can only get better. Are you ready to get started on your health and fitness journey? If so why not try a FREE class? If you have already started you may like to forward this on to a friend who needs a little inspiration.

Have you met Stephanie yet?

Have you met Tim yet?

timTim started training with Vancouver Mind-Body Centre (VMBC) in 2014. He is one of our most consistent kettlebell students and as a result, one of our strongest. It is a rare occasion that he misses our Tuesday/Thursday noon hour class, or a Sunday class. He was also one of our first members to participate in our popular Tabata Max program, and he is now a regular in our new Flexibility class.

The Snatch Test is one of the fundamental strength tests of kettlebell training. It involves completing 100 snatches within 5 minutes. Men are usually expected to use a 24 kg kettlebell, and women are to use a 16 kg kettlebell. This is a difficult test which requires consistent and diligent training to complete.

I remember the first time I was able to do 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a 24kg bell. I never thought I could do it and on the day it happened… well it was a huge boost to my confidence and the feeling of accomplishment was amazing.

What’s the kettlebell snatch? Click here find out

We asked Tim how his training has affected him outside of the gym and this is what he had to say:

I have been self-employed for 17 years. Training at VMBC has helped me ground my schedule in a way that gives me meaningful and rich touchstones in my days. It helps me get out of the office, which is always a victory, and has helped me to feel much more alive and vibrant. Even on days when I’m stiff and feeling yesterday’s workout, the rewards of getting more and more in touch with my somatic self has been enormously enriching to my life. I’ve experienced physical experiences I never thought would be possible and kettlebell training has played an important role in these experiences.

Tim is excited to continue his training throughout 2017. Here are just a few of his goals for this year:

  • To be able to keep going 🙂
  • Improve flexibility by 15-20%
  • Improve upper body strength (preferably without bulking up too much – I always prefer strength over size)
  • Do a bloody pistol squat!!!

As Tim continues to work on his goals this year, we will continue to periodically introduce you to our members and their stories. If you think there is someone we should feature, let us know and we will see if they would agree.

Have you met Tim yet?

Have you met Kar-Lai yet?

kar-lai-01Kar-Lai started personal training in 2014. Her 40th birthday was just around the corner and she had recently visited some childhood friends in Winnipeg. The voice of her friend Christina, a diet specialist, kept ringing in the back of her head saying, “At this age, you need to start eating to live, not living to eat.”

She started her training with Fitness Kickboxing and later dabbled in an all women’s Intro to MMA class. From there she began to explore Karate and started personal training regularly with our head Karate instructor Kyle Duske. She now trains up to 5 sessions a week at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre (VMBC).

Click on the image below to see Kar-Lai in action!

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Kar-Lai enjoys the inclusive nature of the teaching at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre and has even brought her young cousins to join in on some of her personal training sessions.

I remember when I was at the former VMBC location, my young cousins from Ohio came to Vancouver for Christmas. I brought them, and my nephew Rowan, to my personal training session. Kyle taught Sophia and Rowan a little karate and a little grappling. We played a game that involved a lot of running around (kids chasing me… I was so out of breath), which they absolutely loved. Gavin was still very young so he vicariously had a great time watching everyone. When I asked Sophia what the best part of her visit was, she said that day at VMBC!

We asked Kar-Lai how her training has helped her outside of the gym and this is what she had to say:

My training and conditioning has made it a lot more fun (and easier) to go for longer and more challenging runs, hikes, and bike rides! Overall, I feel more energized. Training also constantly pushes me beyond my comfort zone. Being outside my comfort zone now feels like a new normal and a way of life; as a result, I am more likely to try new things outside of the gym too.

Kar-Lai is excited to continue her training throughout 2017. Here are just a few of her goals for this year:

  • To better my nutrition
  • To heal a herniated disc (caused by poor posture at work and when reading)
  • To improve my sparring
  • To grade for my blue belt in Karate

As Kar-Lai continues to work on her goals this year we will continue to periodically introduce you to our members and their stories. If you think there is someone we should feature, let us know and we will see if they would agree.

Already know what your goals are and just want to get started? Then sign-up for one of our NEW introductory offers including Fitness Kickboxing 101, Fighting Arts 101 or Kettlebells 101. Click here to learn more

Have you met Kar-Lai yet?

Meet Ricky

meet-ricky-01Have you met Ricky yet? He started training with us in July 2015, and since then he’s made incredible improvements. To highlight all the great work he has done, we thought we would ask him to share his story with you:

Ricky attended his first Kettlebell class with our head instructor Natan Cheifetz in early July. Here is what Ricky had to say about his first class:  “I made a valiant effort to squat and then sit on my knees. I was really trying to fit in despite tremendous discomfort, I was totally faking it. If memory serves me correctly I couldn’t walk for the next three days but things gradually got better and easier.”  That was after just one 30 min class. Ricky now regularly attends three back to back classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Click on the image below to see Ricky in action!

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Ricky hasn’t just improved in the gym – his training has improved life at home as well. Just ask him: “It’s so much easier to bend, lift and move around the house. I never think twice about getting up and doing things. I used to experience sciatic pain but I haven’t had an issue since I started going to the gym regularly. Pants fit better too!”

Ricky has come a long way, but as we all know, health and fitness is an on-going journey. We asked him about his goals for 2017 and here is what he had to say: “Despite good progress… I need to improve my general diet and find a time slot for a third major workout each week. I am committed to Kyle’s Tuesday and Thursday night classes so a Saturday or Sunday workout would be ideal. My secret goal (Shhhh!) is to have a very flat stomach, maybe even a hint of where my abs are situated. Also, would like to give grappling or some form of Martial Art a try. I played football & hockey growing up so the idea of wrestling around on a mats appeals to me.”

We look forward to helping Ricky find his abs in 2017, and hope that his story has inspired you to reinvigorate your health and fitness goals. Send us an email and let us know what your goals for 2017 are for a chance to win a FREE 1-on-1 Goal Setting Session ($85 value). In this session, you will learn to put your past, present and future relationship with health and fitness into perspective and start to create a concrete and accessible plan to keep you moving forwards.

Meet Ricky

Confessionals of a kettlebell instructor: The Olympics, you and setting your bar a rung higher

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Love or hate the Games, the same phrase still remains the same when I’m watching athletes achieve greatness and world applause. “Damn. They must have worked hard for that.”

We need to remind ourselves – These athletes have chosen this path as their career. They spend their every breathing moment dedicated to the potential success of a gold medal let alone just being able to compete in the Olympics. They are masters of what they do regardless of their final placement in the ranks. On a Friday night when you and I are enjoying a cider at the pub after a week of 9-11 hour days sitting at a desk, these savants are not sitting in the booth next to us. They are at home, sleeping or preparing for tomorrow’s practice. Again.

I’m not discounting your hard work at the office. Goodness knows you have to work hard and smart to move forward in your life & career goals. The question is “Where is your bar? Not the drinking one silly. How high is your bar of standards for yourself these days?’’

What got us to our current success be it in career, family or fitness goals, we need to change our methods, habits, mindset & madness to enable us to achieve new success.

I have a couple of clients who are happy at their new found strength. After 6 months, twice a week practicing kettlebell their weights have become heavier, flexibility is increased, movement is much more fluid and a new confidence is shining through when they smile at me from the door when they leave…. Or maybe that’s them just happy to be running out the door…

So you can imagine my surprise when I heard “Nope. This is it. I just want to stay here. I never want a heavier bell.”

Eh? I says pardon?

I’ve learned from personal experience that the word NEVER, will eventually make a liar out of us somewhere down the line.

Time to check in with ourselves.

We all originally walked into Vancouver Mind-Body Centre because we weren’t happy with something or we had goals in mind to achieve. We sought out help from professionals because believe it or not – We had a standard that we were trying to realize and the avenues currently being taken were either not working or something needed to supplement the game plan. We didn’t lower our bar to make it easier on ourselves and accept that ridiculous phrase ”It is what it is”. We all made a huge first step of acknowledging something needed to change. So we did just that, stuck to our guns when it got tough and worked hard towards that gold medal.

Well congratulations buddy, you got this gold medal. We reached to top of THAT bar.

Now we need to maintain it and set the rung higher again. Maybe not heavier weight right away, maybe something different. Let’s try hold a hanging L-Sit from the bar with straight, locked knees or deadlifts with a 32kg. I know it sucks, we finally got to a place that is comfortable with less sweat than usual. You’ve been quiet since you turned that 8kg bell into a 12kg last month. Sounds like we need to work at your hamstring flexibility, work on your grip strength and cuss at the instructor all over again, because you and I are setting your bar higher. A new gold medal to produce for yourself with your classmates & I as your world audience cheering you on.

Sounds like it is time to start yelling and giving me dirty looks again.

Confessionals of a kettlebell instructor: The Olympics, you and setting your bar a rung higher

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instrutor. Part 2. Section 35 – Food Follow Up.

Challenge – Marcia vs. the vegetables…
(Or: I had a plan. Then the plan changed.)

A while ago I came up with a plan for how to enjoy veggies and make ingesting them as inevitable and natural as brushing my teeth.

Friends – My written plan was glorious. The execution… may have left a little to be desired.

I learned a lot of useful information:

  • I really do enjoy red peppers.
  • Check that your fancy salt grinder isn’t faulty…
  • Overcooked omelettes are completely unappealing.
  • I really don’t know how to cook properly.

So, for all my fine talk about easing into vegetable-love, it turns out that I did the same thing as those of us who see an uncomfortable number on the scale and make a sudden (and drastic) life decision on the spot (like starting a 45 day colon detox, or signing up for 4 months of 5 am daily bootcamps). I didn’t have the right approach or education on how to change a lifetime habit. I was too fast out of the gate and tripped over my feet instead of starting with small, careful and achievable steps.

When I called out for help, a wonderful friend came to my house and showed up with support needed: bag of groceries, bottle of wine and an easy recipe that just so happened to include red peppers. I didn’t have to grocery shop, pick a recipe, or figure out why a cheese knife is different from a paring knife (that was an actual conversation). Instead of trying to do everything, I was able to focus on doing one thing correctly (two, if you count pouring wine).

Previously I wrote about small achievements in fitness. This scenario is on the same path in a different medium: a small achievement in the culinary arts.

The successes (and lessons) that came from the grand red pepper challenge were:

  1. Figure out what your plan A is. Decide how you will know if it is working (clear deliverables are the secret to any successful project).
  2. Be prepared to change plan A if it does not appear to be working.
  3. If it is definitely not working, step back from what just happened. Ask yourself:
    1. What happened? (salt grinder exploded all over my food)
    2. What failed? (the salt grinder’s mechanism, apparently)
    3. Make a plan to avoid it next time. (note to self: purchase new salt shaker without fancy grinding mechanisms)

These three steps take any situation from an accident to a ‘learning experience’. You are learning.

  1. Be a sponge. Soak up any education and lessons from your first kick at the can. If you don’t know the first thing about what you are doing, it’s hard to know where to pay attention, and what things are less important. Ask questions! Now you’re more prepared than you were before.

This all being said – I can now make a badass quesadilla. Check out the progress.

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Tomato, red peppers, green onions, salsa, fromage, chicken thighs, small burrito wraps.  And most importantly – wine.

 

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No fingers were lost in the making of this dish. No foodsafe rules being broken by having a glass of wine in the same proximity as the green onion.

 

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Yes. I need a roll of the paper towel in place of napkins when I eat.

Written with love by Marcia Lucas
Edited with vigor by Megan Chalmers

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instrutor. Part 2. Section 35 – Food Follow Up.

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. Challenge – The Beach.

confessionals_03(Or: Summer is coming.  It is okay to love yourself.)

Summer is coming.  If you are like me, you likely have some painfully honest swimsuits in your bottom drawer ready and waiting to pounce on you like a spooked cat.  

Before you run off in panic to Whole Foods to purchase a 30-day raw diet cleanse, why not take a step back to breathe and assess the person looking back at you in the mirror.  You can do this fully clothed or in your swim suit.

We’ll start with the basics:

Are you standing up straight?

  • Check your hip placement – Hips over knees, knees over heels.
  • Roll your shoulders back to help work out the kinks from a long day at a desk.
  • Pull your belly button in and up to the back of your spine.
  • Breathe. (You have permission to briefly release your belly button while this happens)
  • Smile.

Who’s looking back at you?

If it’s a rockin’, can’t stop me now hottie: Fantastic! You keep doing what you’re doing.

If it’s someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, someone with flaws you dislike, or someone that doesn’t look the way you feel inside, please take a couple of minutes to think about what you’ve accomplished lately.

Are you able to hold a solid plank that you couldn’t do 6 months ago?  Have you recently increased your kettlebell size from 6kg to 8kg?  Did you realize last week you can keep your heels on the ground while in a squat?  What’s going on at work? Are you grinding hard to earn a promotion? Did you parallel park the car in front of your boss in one shot?  

It’s easy to dismiss both big and small accomplishments: when the hard work is over, it can be difficult to remember how much effort you had to put in. You may even have moved on to your next goal without even taking a minute to appreciate what you have just achieved!

We all have big goals, but each one of them must be broken down into many small, short term accomplishments to get there. It’s trite but true: a journey of a million miles must begin with a single step. And often step #1 feels a lot harder than step # 3, or #15, or #12,569. Think back to those moments  when you successfully jumped to the chin-up bar unassisted.  I remember a client’s face brightening up with surprise like a kid at Christmas.  That was a big deal for both of us; a moment to be savoured and remembered. It’s a memory to keep, even when it’s outshone by a new accomplishment.  Remembering your success might help you look at the person you are and the bikini or board shorts in a different way.

So, back to the mirror. You’ve taken a minute or two to savour your achievements; to appreciate the work that you’ve put into both your physical and mental self. Do you see someone physically different looking back at you?

Are you still looking in the mirror?  Standing straight? How about that smile — does it look a little more natural now?

Written with love by Marcia Lucas
Edited with vigor by Megan Chalmers

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. Challenge – The Beach.