Showing posts with label Beauty. Show all posts

My Winter Skincare Products

Last November I worked with Langdon Hall's Spa Director to share some winter skin care tips. I have taken much of Julie's advice and have been trying out different products to help my dry skin. Today I am happy to report that I have found quite a few winter skincare products that work for me, so I thought I would share with all of you!

Winter Skincare

Each new season is an opportunity to asses our skin care regime. With winter quickly approaching, right now we need to focus on how that will affect our skin. Open windows have been replaced with blowing hot air and that shift can cause our skin to dry, making it look less vibrant than it should. This season is unique in that almost every skin type deals with some degree of dry, itchy skin during the winter months. I myself am a near constant sufferer of dry skin and while I do love winter, I dread what it does to my skin. I started to do a little online research and then quickly remembered that I have a fabulous resource, the lovely Julie, Spa Director at Langdon Hall! I reached out to ask if she wouldn't mind taking part in a Q&A on the subject of winter skincare and she happily obliged (thanks Julie!).   

AER Blowdry Bar

Today I am getting all nostalgic for my time spent in London this spring. Could it be I'm craving a return trip? The fact that The Youngest is headed to London next week (lucky kid)? Or...could it be that I am missing the best blow dry bar that I have ever been to? Yup, that's it. The last one. AER Blowdry Bar has been on my mind for a little while and since I can't visit them in person, I thought I would relive my experience! 

Rollerball Fragrance

My summer16 scent Tory Burch // Fall scents Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black & White

I am a fragrance lover. I remember asking for my very first bottle of perfume, Cher's Bob Mackie, it was Christmas and I was 8 or 9 years old. I remember being even younger than that and smelling the bottle of Polo Ralph Lauren (the big green bottle) of cologne my mom bought for my dad. The smell of musk and leather always makes me feel like a little kid. I wear perfume even if I am just getting up to do laundry. It's a habit, part of my morning routine and for a few seconds of everyday I have a little moment of luxury all to myself. I like to change my scent with the seasons and it has been an expensive habit, until now. Enter Rollerball fragrance.

Fall Polish

While I don't get out for manicures as much as I would like, I do make an effort to paint my nails every week. I don't have a set day for changing my polish but rather I make time when the need arises (meaning last week's polish is all chipped). Last night was just such a night and while removing my summery pink, I reached for one of my all time favourite fall polishes, Essie's Bahama Mama. It's such a deep plum and absolutely perfect for fall. It works well with white, black and grey clothing (standard fall neutrals) and I love how the colour changes slightly from a vibrant plum in the sunlight to a deep, almost black shade in the dark. It's a very moody colour and perfect for those of us that are wishing fall weather would hurry up! But, dark shades are not the only fall polish colours I wear and this season is bringing us many light coloured offerings!

Langdon Hall Spa

On the Canada Day holiday I spent the most luxurious morning at the newly opened Langdon Hall Spa. I visited my IG friend Julie, the spa director at Langdon Hall, for a tour and was then treated to a much (much!) needed mani/pedi. 

Interested in a tour of the new spa space? Of course you are! Let's go! 

For those who remember the old spa space (still pretty, but small) this new space is large, bright and calm. Every detail has been meticulously chosen to enhance your sense of relaxation.

 I'm starting our tour with the room I was most excited to see - the couples massage room! AMH and I had a couples massage at our resort in Cuba and I've been itching for another one ever since. At first I thought it might be weird to have massages laying beside each other but when it comes right down to it, I would prefer he be there! I know my fellow couples travellers out there feel the same. It's a quiet moment for the two of you to relax and connect while a certified RMT does their work. There are also rooms for individual massages for those days when you want to Treat Yo' Self. 

Moving to the next series of rooms (interesting fact - all the rooms are named after types of birds) is the facial rooms (another room I need to visit in the very near future!). As you might expect, Langdon Hall uses only the best products for their clients. The spa uses Valmont products from Switzerland to illuminate, and moisturize the skin. There are also several anti-wrinkle treatments including a Valmont collagen eye mask (I need that in my life!). 

The first thing out of my mouth was "Julie, what does this thing do?". It is quite the apparatus! Julie informed me that this is the Vichy aroma rain scrub and I've never wanted to try something out so much in my life. You receive a full body exfoliation while lying under the Vichy waterfall. A lovely moisturizing cream is then gently massaged into your skin. How incredible does that sound?!? They even include a relaxing hair treatment. Now that really peaked my interest. A few salons I have visited over the years offer a quick scalp massage during washing and I swear it is the greatest feeling in the world. The spa offers a head relaxation treatment that I am seriously considering as a treat to myself after I get through the next few extremely hectic weeks. 

Next stop on our tour was the water therapy area that includes a whirpool, steam room and sauna. All spa visitors are welcome to enjoy these areas, including an exercise room, walking trails, tennis courts and croquet lawn and the vegetable and flower gardens, that I previously toured and highly recommend. 

I caught a lucky break and was able to snap a photo of the whirlpool during a quiet moment. There were a number of guests enjoying this whirlpool and I'm happy to report that I spent a solid half hour relaxing in the water while enjoying the view. The outdoor space just off the water therapy area is equipped with loungers to sunbathe (never forget the SPF friends!)

The sauna and steam rooms were fun to use for a few minutes, but they are much too hot for me. I have been known to have my hands swell in extreme heat so I only stayed in each one for a few minutes. My husband loves saunas and I just know he would get a lot of use out of this room!

Our tour was coming to an end and Julie asked if I would like to see the new event space, The Firshade Room. I jumped at the opportunity to see this space, especially since it was all set up for an event later that day. Can you picture this space with soft candle light? What a perfect place for a special reception! I turn 40 in a few years, this make the perfect place for a birthday party! 

We ventured outside to the see the Summer House. It was being set up for the Canada Day BBQ later in the day. It rained in the morning but luckily for all the party guests, the sun come out just in time to celebrate this special holiday. 

Our tour was over and it was time for my treatments. I changed into my swimsuit and used the available spa robe and slippers. The change room had lockers to store your belongings, two bathrooms, two showers and any toiletries you night need including an assortment of hair care products from the much loved hair care line, Living Proof. 

After spending some time in the water therapy area, I grabbed my robe and headed to the spa waiting room. There are many chairs and loungers in the room along with water, tea, coffee and little nibbles to enjoy while you wait for your treatment to begin. 

I made myself right at home by sitting under a blanket with a nice cup of coffee and a magazine. 

Time to see the space that I spent the majority of my time in - the manicure and pedicure room!

Now earlier I said that I was in much need of a mani/pedi and that was true for two important reasons. The first, my last mani/pedi was when I got married 13 years ago (I know, I know, for shame) and the second is while in London we managed to walk a million miles and I had blistered every part of my feet. I know, TMI, but that's real life people. I have to say, now that I know what I am missing I may just have to turn this into a regular visit. At the very least I will from now on have a pedicure at the beginning of the summer and before tropical vacations. The foot and leg message, the scented bubble bath, the nail polish application that was perfectly applied. It was so indulgent and I loved every minute of it!

The manicure seats are just beside the pedicure space. Perfect for those looking for a full treatment day! My manicure was as excellent as my pedicure and they sent me home with my nail file and two bottles of nail polish. 

I feel so lucky to live near Langdon Hall, it makes visiting so easy! And since its only a little over an hour drive from Toronto, it's an easy visit for you too! Even Drake loves to visit Langdon Hall. He had his photo taken for his new album Views during the winter and the staff are still buzzing about his visit (yet they won't spill any gossip. Good for Drake. Bad for me). If you are looking for a weekend getaway, or a day at the spa (which I highly recommend) contact the Langdon Hall team at 1-800-268-1898 and I promise they will take care of everything. 

I want to thank the Langdon Hall staff, including my very talented esthetician Lisa, for a wonderful day. And to my dear friend, the lovely spa director Julie, for taking me on a tour of your beautiful new space and hosting my visit. 

{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health -Your Choice - Finding Your Motivation After Vacation

Our favourite guest blogger, Crystal Reia from Your Health -Your Choice, has returned from her sun filled vacation in Florida, happy to have you back Crystal! Today's blog post is something I know we can all relate to, jumping back into the swing of a health lifestyle after an indulgent vacation. It's so difficult to get back to working out and eating healthy after spending a week or two relaxing and drinking pina coladas! But it has to be done, so without further ado, here is Crystal sharing her advice on Finding Your Motivation After Vacation. xx Rox-Anne

As you all know, I was away last week on vacay with my hubby! It was way overdo (like 8 years overdo!) and I definitely indulged til my hearts content (ate and drank things I do not normally) and had a lot of fun and much needed rest. We travelled to New Smyrna Beach, Florida and met up with our good friends at their condo. We did managed to get in some beautiful 10k walks on the lovely beach there too so I wasn't completely sedentary. It was amazing being able to just walk to most places instead of driving. We even did some yoga on the beach one day and did a fun plank challenge to see how long we could hold for! LOL My friend and I held 4 minutes! Woot! Woot! WTG Brian!

Now we are back home and yes I have to admit I am dragging a$$ mid-week. Monday I had talked myself into getting back to the grind and going full speed ahead. Honestly I felt good despite being tired from the travel – I went right back to my healthy eating, prepare some awesome meals and I taught 5 classes that consisted of some outdoor activity (walking, jogging, hill sprints, bench lunges, push-ups) and some indoor activity (weights, HIIT and stretch) as well as ended my day with my yoga-stretch class... all felt great until the next day! LOL Yes I CAN BARELY MOVE! Haha

I love a good sore – but it was definitely extremely intense and I’m still feeling the aftermath today. So it seems that I jumped the gun a little too quick after my break!?! Aghhhh!

I thought it was important to share with you all that when you take a break from training and come back, you should really ease back into it. Be careful not to overdo it your first week back. If you have the motivation to jump in (which is awesome – because many do not right away) be careful of the superman/superwoman syndrome – which is what I had Monday! If you lift too heavy or overdo it physically you could find yourself injured rather quickly and then have to take a step back...In my case I think it was just the intensity I went at my first day back. So even though I don’t let my age dictate the things I can do, I need to remember that even I as a trainer can overdo it at my age... it’s not like it was when I was in my twenties!!

And if you find yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum where you just can’t seem to drag yourself to the gym or your workout after your holiday... maybe you need to call a friend and go for a walk to just get active again or invite a friend to a fitness or yoga class. I find that going it alone can be hard, but if you have support around you it can help you get back on track again. I am that support for many clients – so it was nice to hear them say they were happy I was home again :)

Short and sweet post today but thought it was important to share nevertheless!

Hope you all have a fun and fit week!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice


Yoga Videos

If you are following our favourite health and fitness guest blogger, Crystal from Your Health-Your Choice, on Instagram (@urhealthurchoice) you know she is on vacation enjoying the Florida sunshine (smart girl ran away from the snow and ice storms we keep having in Southern Ontario). So today I thought I would share a few of my favourite yoga videos.

Crystal convinced me to try a yoga class after I complained about being tense all the time. I begrudgingly decided to take one of her classes. I have always been an active person, playing sports and running, so I thought yoga was only slightly more difficult than a nap. Boy, was I wrong. Now yoga is the only way for me to feel centered and comfortable in my own skin. I love yoga so much I even take my yoga mat with me on vacation! When I am not able to take classes with Crystal (like right now because of my school work load) I turn to a few yoga videos and I thought I would share them with you all!

Mandy Ingber is probably best known as Jennifer Aniston's, and other big name celebrities, yoga instructor. The video has two options, one with Mandy walking you through the poses, and the other without any instruction. I used the instruction version until I knew the moves and now I play the DVD on mute while playing an Apple Music chill playlist. 

This Jillian Michaels yoga video is designed to make you sweat! There are days when I just want a nice stretch and then there are days I want to work hard. This DVD is perfect for those days! I can't confirm the "lose up to 5 pounds a week" comment but I think if you stuck to this video everyday and tracked your calories, you probably could! 

Are there any yoga videos that you are currently loving? 

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

My new Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
I have never been a make up girl. In fact, I didn't start wearing make up on a daily basis until my mid 20's. It's not that I didn't want to wear make up, quite the opposite. I wanted to wear make up but I found it to be intimidating. A trip to Sephora would overwhelm me and I would leave empty handed. There was so much to know (what brand do you like, what products do you need, what is your skin tone and type) and everyone there was always wearing a ton of bright make up. Not exactly the simple, natural look I was going for.

So what's a girl to do? Well this planner did research. And lots of it. And you know what I found? The Internet is an incredible place with You Tubers teaching simple make up techniques or masters teaching the art of contouring and strobing (that's the new thing). I have tried different cosmetic brands and for years I wore Dior (I still swear by Dior's DiorShow mascara). After more than five years with Dior, I was thinking of expanding my make up knowledge and wanted to learn a few more techniques. Enter Bobbi Brown.

I was looking for a new blush and highlighter so I started with Google. Lo and behold Bobbi Brown's You Tube channel popped up. Bobbi Brown is a well known make up artist and a celebrity favourite. I was familiar with her but not so much with her line of cosmetics. I spent a good hour watching her how-to videos (I'm including my two favourites below) and knew I found the make up that matched my skill and style. Simple applications with elegant results. "For Bobbi, makeup isn’t about changing how a woman looks, it’s about celebrating and enhancing her natural beauty. Bobbi believes that with the right tools, skills and products, every woman can become her own makeup artist." I just love this quote from Bobbi's You Tube channel!

I still continued my research of new make up brands to try but I inevitably found my way back to Bobbi Brown's You Tube channel. There are so many videos meant to educate you on different techniques with varying results. So feeling confident that I knew what I wanted, I headed into Sephora (don't worry, I don't feel intimidated in there anymore...until they ask me a question that I haven't researched :) and purchased...

Bobbi Brown Blush Nectar is the perfect flush colour for my cheeks

and Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Rose I love the pinky-golden look it gives my face.

I am on day five of applying these products, along with mascara and eyebrow pencil, each morning and I love them. I like wearing foundation but during the week I am usually running out the door to get to work so I skip that and just apply blush to the apple of my cheeks with a kabuki brush, brushing upwards to my temple. Then using a very cheap powder brush (I've got my eye on this upgrade) I swipe a light amount of the Shimmer Brick on top of my cheek bones. Then I mix a little and apply to the spots of my face the sun would hit - forehead, bridge of nose and chin. It adds a touch of colour and some luminosity. 

This is the first video I watched and it made me want to buy Bobbi Brown products. Such an easy to follow video!

This video convinced me to buy the Shimmer Brick. I have added a little of the Shimmer Brick to my eyelids in place of eye shadow and so far I am loving the look!

I'm so pleased that I found a cosmetics brand that understands that make up is designed to enhance your natural beauty. And I'm quite pleased that I no longer feel intimated going into a Sephora and (gasp!) I actually kind of like it in there now! I do like that they give out little freebies and the aestheticians are able to make recommendations. I will be back this summer to check out one of their recommendations, Bobbi Brown's bronzer to add a little sun kissed glow to my skin. 

Have you tried Bobbi Brown Cosmetics or watched her You Tube videos before? What do you think? Please tell me I'm not the only one that was once intimidated by make up application. How did you overcome this fear? Let me know in the comments below!

{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health -Your Choice - Move of the Month


You do not need a bunch of fancy equipment to get a great workout! Did you know that many of your regular household items can be used to aid in a good home workout? No excuses right?!?

Today I’m going to show you a few of my favourite towel exercises that you can do right in the comfort of your own home with a small hand towel or two to give yourself a great full body workout. All you need is a slippery surface, such as a hardwood floor, a couple of small old hand towels and a yoga mat. Many of my clients can tell you how intense these can feel; you will be surprised what a great workout it can be!

1. 1-Legged Squat with Straight Leg Towel Slide to the Side (Right and Left)

Standing parallel with one foot on the towel, squat and slide the foot sideways keeping leg straight. Tips: Keep weight mainly on the side that is squatting (supporting leg) and back into your heel as much as possible (you should be able to see your toes if you peek down); engage your abdominal muscles to support the lower back; ensure hips stay square to front and sliding leg is in line with your other foot; use your supporting glute, hamstring and inner thighs to pull the straight leg back up to standing position again. Try a set on the Right and then a set on the Left for 45-60 seconds each side.

2. 1-Legged Lunge with Towel Slide to the Back (Right and Left)

Same as above only slide foot back behind the hip – heel will lift naturally off the towel and ball of foot will push back.

Tips: Ensure your weight is back into heel as above and knee is directly over the ankle on the supporting side when lunging; engage abdominal muscles and squeeze your glute, hamstring to pull straight leg back to standing position; watch your posture throughout. Try a set on the Right and then a set on the Left for 45-60 seconds each side.

3. Towel Push-Ups / Chest & Tricep (Sliding Right and/or Left)

Kneeling on a folded yoga mat, place one hand on the towel and the other on the floor. This exercise can be done modified on the knees (as per video) or on the toes in full plank position.

Tips: As you slide the hand outwards, bend both elbows into a chest push up position and then pull back and squeeze chest muscles as you return to start position. Then complete a tricep push-up keeping elbows tight into ribcage; Keep abdominal muscles pulled in away from the floor and breathe naturally. Try a set on the Right and then a set on the Left. 8x each.

4. Towel Mountain Climbers

In full plank position, put the balls of your feet on two separate towels.

Tips: Maintain and isolate your body very still in the full plank as you move your legs back and forth sliding in and out; keep abdominal muscles engaged and pulling in away from the floor. Try a set for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then repeat.

5. Moving Planks (Single & Double Split Slides, Tucks, Pikes)

Like #4, these moving planks may be done from full plank on the hands (as in video) or modified plank on the elbows if too much pressure on the wrists. I have demonstrated three of my favorites here.

Tips: Same as above, isolate the body as you try the different movements; you can slide the feet separately to the side (out and in) or split both legs at once; just be careful not to arch the back or drop hips and maintain a strong straight alignment through the body; if you lose form it is best to come down and rest.

Tucks: As you pull both knees towards your tummy, be sure to contract the abdominal muscles.

Pikes: Keep both legs straight as you draw your seat up to the sky (like you are folding in half) and contract ab muscles; a great one for lower abs!

Try a set of 30 seconds of each exercise with 15 seconds rest in between sets or more depending on your fitness level.

6. Hamstring Curls (Singles and Doubles)

Lying on the floor (you can fold your yoga mat in half and place both feet on two towels on the floor.

Tips: Engage glutes and come up into a bridge for your start position; do not over arch your lower back – only go up high enough to feel your hamstrings and glutes; try sliding one leg at a time keeping your seat off the floor in bridge – if this is challenging stay with the singles and do a set of 10 on each side. If you want it more intense, try sliding both feet out at once. You may find less is more in the beginning for sliding distance outwards. As you pull the feet back in engage those glutes and hamstrings. This is one intense hamstring curl! You will be surprised at how hard the doubles are! When doing doubles try a set for 30 seconds at a time and then lower pelvis and hug knees into chest and stretch lower back out in between sets.

As you can see there is so much variety you can do with a towel – and these are just a few!

Just need a smooth surface and a yoga mat for your knees or elbows to provide some cushion when needed. Protect those joints!

Have a great week everyone and I’d love to hear from you below if you decide to try out any of the towel exercises above! P.S. I am leaving for vacay this Friday; so I will not be sharing a post next week... we are so excited to be getting out of the cold and into the sun! Talk to you all when I return and I wish you all a wonderful fit and fab week!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice


{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health -Your Choice - Mentality & Attitude Will Make Your Workout

Putting on my coach hat today to talk to you all about mentality and attitude. We can definitely be our own worst critics at times, but are you hindering or helping yourself with these thoughts? Let’s face it, we are hard wired most times to think negatively – if 9 out of 10 people give you a compliment, and one person says something negative to you – what do you tend to focus on? I'm willing to bet you’d be focused on that one negative comment. So I challenge you to turn this idea around - what are you telling yourself before, during, after a workout? Are speaking words of positivity? Or negativity? Are you talking yourself up? Or putting down your efforts?

Our own thoughts can have such a huge impact on how we approach a workout, start our day, eating choices etc. etc. So using exercise as an example (which most people hate to do) your attitude and mentality is the very force that will drive you, motivate you, push you through and keep you going when you want to quit or stay home on the couch. Some will go with the intention of “well I will just show up – that’s half the battle”... and yes showing up is great! LOL but if you are only halfway committed in your mind – guess what? Your workout effort will be too. As I tell my clients, we do not “half-ass” anything. Pardon the pun.

So - are you all in? Not everyone has a coach to talk them through it when things get tough – so re-think the things you are telling yourself. Stay positive, get excited! Because taking the time to get pumped up can give you extra energy – My clients who come in to see me with a positive attitude always give me the most energy and effort and get the best workouts. It’s not about being perfect. If you are 110% committed in your mental awareness, your body will follow suit. Instead of saying “I can’t”... start saying “I can.” Sounds cheesy I know. But try it! Our words / language are very powerful, whether you speak them out loud or internally.

So, next time you are on your way to the gym or getting ready for your workout, why not practice a little self positivity; a little pep talk if you will. Go in and be “in the present”, leave your work day or problems outside the gym; commit to the process and know your “why”. Purpose and meaning is everything. If you are “in it” 100% in your mind – I guarantee it will make your workout wonderful and give you a grateful and positive attitude each and every time. Who know’s? Maybe you’ll even fall in love with exercise again! Well a trainer can only hope can’t she? ;)

Short and sweet today! Have a great week everyone!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice


{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health- Your Choice - Proper Planking

Today we are welcoming Crystal Reia, owner of Your Health- Your Choice back for her weekly #WOWWednesday guest post here on Celebrating this Life. Her post, Proper Planking - The Do's and Dont's, is such an important one as almost every workout includes plank at some point and it is imperative that we are holding our plank correctly. I've worked out with Crystal for years now and when she says plank is her favourite exercise, she is not kidding. When I started working out with Crystal I could plank for roughly 15 seconds and now, I can hold for at least two full minutes. I encourage you to try Crystal's advice below and let us know in the comments how long you can hold your plank for! Rox-Anne, Celebrating this Life

Proper Planking - The Do's and Dont's

All my clients know that planking is probably my favourite exercise to do and to give them during sessions and classes– no matter what variation – stationary or moving – beginner or advanced - I still think it’s one of the most effective exercises you can do! But there is a right way to plank and a wrong way to plank... so it’s important that you understand proper technique when performing one.

1. Alignment – When I say alignment, I’m talking in both directions - up and down and front to back. When in doubt, your joints should always line up. Whether you are planking on your hands or elbows ensure that they are lined up directly underneath your shoulders (shoulder width apart); making a straight line from wrist to shoulder or elbow joint to shoulder. This is your base – ensure it is strong and solid. If you have wrist issues, always plank on the elbows. You also need to think about the alignment of your body from head to heel. Think of drawing a straight line from your head/neck, to shoulder joint, to hip joint, to ankle joint. Do not allow the lower back to sag or arch or allow your hips to droop down towards the floor. Instead draw in your abdominals muscles, keep the core tight and the spine as straight as you can.

2. Weight Placement – Weight should be evenly distributed front and back between arms and feet. Feel as though you are pressing your heels away from you and maintain the alignment as talked about above.

3. Lengthen – Feel your neck, spine and legs lengthening in opposite directions. Keep eye gaze down and slightly forward so that your neck can stay in line with your spine. Tucking the chin or lifting the head too high can cause strain for the neck and shoulders. Lengthen your chest muscles and try not to round out your shoulders (this rounded position shortens the chest muscles and can cause problems down the road - this seems to be the sneakiest faux pas I see most often with clients; so it’s one to really be aware of) Instead of putting the tension there, draw it down where it is most effective and put into your abdominal muscles. Engage your glute and quad muscles and lengthen the back of your legs (hamstrings) and do not allow knees to droop down or cave inwards. Feet may be together (I find planking with feet together harder) or about hip width apart. Feel long and lean throughout your plank.

4. Breathe – Do not hold your breath in plank. As you perform the exercise, breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth and focus on a nice fluid breath. It will help you to stay calm and focused during the exercise and get you through the tougher moments when trying to hold for longer durations.

5. Draw In – Your abdominal muscles that is. Do not allow your belly to sag to the floor. Feel as if you are pulling your belly button into your spine as you lengthen your body. Those internal muscles are called the “transverse abdominal muscles” and are your most inner core muscles which are essential in aiding in proper posture and will help you with force or lifting heavy objects in everyday life.

6. Pull the Plug – If you lose form at all, rest, rest, rest. Stop immediately. It takes time to build up strength. Planking must be done with good form, or you can end up with a sore lower back or tense neck muscles to name a few things.

7. Evaluate – Unsure if you are still performing your plank correctly? Ask for help! Ask a trainer at the gym to watch you and give correction if necessary. Once you learn you will be way more body aware and should be able to perform safely on your own if you follow the rules above!

Have a fit and fab week all! What is your favorite type of plank to perform? I’m a huge fan of moving planks. I’m the crazy girl who loves to add plyometrics (jumping) into her planks LOL. I’d love to hear from you!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice

{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health-Your Choice - Good Shoes for Good Training

Hi all! Okay! Let’s talk shoes!! I felt the need to talk quickly today about the importance of selecting good supportive footwear for training. I know we all like to save a buck or two when it comes to shopping, but in the case of your footwear for training, it can either help or hinder your whole fitness experience!

Having the proper type of shoe for not only the activities that you do but also for your foot type or the way you walk is of the utmost importance! If you have the wrong shoe, you can have pain in your feet, which will quickly trickle up into your legs, causing knee issues, hip issues, etc.

Most people understand that there are many different types of shoes to purchase... and it can be quite confusing or overwhelming for most who walk in and look at the wall of shoes before them and wonder what the heck the difference is between them!?!

The majority of my clients typically purchase Running Shoes and / or Cross Trainers. These shoes are typically divided into 4 categories:

1. Motion Control: Typically the most rigid and heaviest of shoes available. They have more support and cushion then other running shoes and they're typically recommended for people with flat feet, or who are heavy runners.

2. Stability: These are recommended for people who over pronate; which means your foot tends to roll inward slightly when you're running/walking.

3. Cushioned/Neutral: These are designed for people with a neutral gait. Typically they have a little bit of cushioning.

4. Minimalist/Barefoot shoes: These shoes tend to have little to no cushioning or support. They're meant to mimic barefoot running as closely as possible while still providing the protection many people need.

The most common problem I see with clients and even myself is the “pronation” problem. I used to get awful foot and ankle pain until I found the right show for my gait. Once I found the right shoe to correct my “rolling in” problem, my foot pain vanished and made my training much more enjoyable! I learned that these shoes typically have markings (as in the picture above) on the inside of the shoes to indicate that they have extra cushion and are built up to stop people from rolling inwards.

When in doubt it’s best to talk to the shoe experts in the store when trying on shoes. They are there to help you understand your options. Some stores such as the Running Room, will watch you walk and assess your gait type to see what type of shoe is best for you. There are different types of pronation (inwards, outwards) and it’s important that you find the right shoe for will help save you money from buying shoe after shoe; not to mention how frustrated you can get when you start training and realize you’re feet are killing. Remember you are on your feet for many hours in a day; they take the most abuse so invest in your health!

My favorite brand? The Saucony Guide series has helped me immensely and feels like heaven on my feet when running and teaching bootcamps and classes to my clients. Great for jumping and all sorts of activities. I currently own The Guide 8’s and 7’s. Each year they find slightly new ways to improve the shoe and will come out with a new one. Guide 9’s have been released and are a little more pricey... but if you stick with the 7’s or 8’s they will most likely be on sale because they are from the previous seasons.

Asics are also a great lasting shoe and well built and many of my clients love this brand of shoe as well. Ultimately, it’s about comfort and does it correct/help/support your natural gait. Some are lucky and have no issues with pronation, but it is a more common problem out there than most people realize... And if you are a woman who has had children, know that pregnancy can also change the sizing of your feet; arches tend to drop and flatter feet or pronation can occur there as well.

The last point I will mention is that depending on how often you train – you will need to replace your shoes most likely each year. I wear mine almost every day... so as a trainer I find I need to replace mine every 6-9 months depending. The minute I feel any foot pain creep back in, it’s time to get a new pair of shoes pronto because the support will break down over time with everyday use.

I hope these tips will help you to be a little less confused on your next shoe shopping trip! Still wearing the same pair of shoes you bought 5 years ago? It’s definitely time for a new pair ladies! And I find any excuse for shoe shopping is a great excuse to go shoe shopping!! Haha! #shoeholic

Have a fit and fab week all and feel free to comment and share below on what you’re favorite training shoes are!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice


Dry Skin Care Tips

I have suffered from dry skin and my entire life and throughout the years I have been searching for products that will ease prevent dryness and soothe the itching. To matters worse, I also have very sensitive skin and most products will aggravate my skin; itching, burning and turning my skin bright red. Not a pretty sight.

Dry skin happens when your skin is low on moisture. Indoor air, and heaters, have a lot to do with this but you also need to take a look at your water consumption. Good skin starts with what you put into your body (green drinks are popular for adding brightness and helping to clear up acne concerns). Always make sure to drink your 8 glasses a day. Also, super hot showers (which I have always been a fan of) rob your skin of its moisture, further drying your skin.

The products here are my part of my dry skin busting team! Spring is in sight and I can't wait to start wearing dresses and shorts but I want my skin looking its best first. So, what do I rely on?

Curel Itch Defense - I don't know where I would be without this moisturizer. My legs itch at night so I put this on before the itching starts. That way I don't wake up in the middle of the night scratching, which I did regularly before I started using this.

Dove Sensitive Skin soap - I swear by Dove soap and have used it my whole life. I used to buy Baby Dove until they started making soap specifically for sensitive skin. Dove and even Olay make great non-drying soaps.

Dove Body Wash - Shaving strips moisture from your skin and I shave everyday. To help add some moisture back right away, I lather with Dove body wash. No loofah, I just squeeze a quarter sized amount in my hand and apply it all over. I started this in the fall and I find that it really helps prevent itching throughout the day.

Ole Henriksen Power Peel & Sheer Transformation - I tried a few Ole Henriksen products based on the recommendation of the girl at Sephora. I absolutely love the line and plan on trying out a few more of their items. The Sheer Transform is a super nourishing and light moisturizer making it the perfect base for foundation. It does not contain any SPF so make sure your foundation does (I use Smashbox which is SPF 15. NEVER go outside without an SPF on!), It's a little on the pricey side, but you only need to use a dime sized amount to cover your entire face. The Power Peel comes in a package of 2. It contains 3 steps to exfoliate and moisturize, which is exactly what your face needs when it's dry! You need to remove the top layer of dead and dry skin before applying a moisturizer. That way the moisturizer is able to do what it was intended to do and your face is left glowing!

The Body Shop Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream - A very thick and super moisturizing cream, that is much cheaper than the Sheer Transform. It is so thick, it feels like a sleep mask! Vitamin E is able to penetrate deep into the skin to stimulate natural cell growth. This is helpful for anti-aging and to minimize the appearance of any facial scaring. I use this nightly.

Orofluido - Having the furnace running 24/7 not only dries out my skin, it dries out my hair! I have been using Orofluido for years, long before I saw that Gwyneth Paltrow posted about it on Goop! I add a dime sized amount to my hand and apply evenly to the top layer of my hair just after I blow dry. It helps to keep my hair shiny and soft but more importantly, it helps with the little frizzes.

Bare Foot Foot Scrub - Pedicures are the best way to keep feet looking their best but this (very cheap, like $4 at WalMart) foot scrub is the next best thing. Keep it in the shower and scrub feet, focusing on the heel, each morning for a week. I promise you will see a big improvement in the condition of dry feet.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 - Another Body Shop favourite is the Vitamin C daily moisturizer with SPF 30. When I choose not to wear foundation this is my go to facial moisturizer. I love that the SPF is high, since I turned 20 many (many) years ago, I have not gone outdoors without SPF on my face. The only draw back to a high SPF is it can feel a little greasy as the day wears on. That's not a problem right now, but this summer it will be. I'll be switching to the SPF 15 in this brand for the summer and if I plan on being outside for any extended amount of time, I will use my favourite sunscreen, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist with SPF 30. Vitamin C is also great for the skin. It is known as an excellent anti-aging ingredient and contributes to brighter skin. Plus it smells amazing!

What dry skin cures do you have?

{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health-Your Choice - Move of the Month

Celebrating this Life's favourite guest blogger, Crystal Reia, owner and personal trainer of Your Health-Your Choice, is back with her ever popular series, Move of the Month! We are in the third month of the new year and whether you have been sticking to your New Year's resolutions or not, give this move a try and add it to your fitness routine! This full body routine only requires some weights and some room, so let's get to it! ~RH, Celebrating this Life~

Feeling like spring is in the air lately... and here comes March roaring in like a lion! Speaking of beast mode – here is a great full body combo move that can be done with a pair of weights (I like to use 8’s, 10’s or heavier depending on what you normally lift) right in your own living room!

Combo Fly alternating with Skull Crusher & Double Straight Leg Extension

Starting Position: Lye on the floor with arms above chest holding dumbbells (palms together, weights together) and both feet raised in the air. Lower back and core engaged, pushing downwards into the floor.

Exercise Part 1: Fly: Start by executing a nice wide fly (Keep elbow joints soft) just kissing the floor with your upper arms; then come back to the top ensuring hands are above the chest and squeeze/engage those pec muscles. Be careful that both arms are working together at the same time.

Exercise Part 2: Skull Crusher/Double Straight Leg: Then complete a skull crusher (bending elbows and keeping triceps isolated and still) and at the same time lowering one or both legs to the ground without touching the floor. (one leg would be for beginners, two legs for more advanced) Ensure you really engage your ab muscles and push them and your rib cage down into the ground as you extend a leg or both legs forward. Your lower back must remain on the floor at all times. No arching the back. Then return to your start position.

My girls usually do a 60 second set. See video. Really works your chest, triceps, quads, hip flexors and core/back! Give it a try and let me know how you like it! This could also be done with a narrow shoulder press in lieu of the fly as well to mix things up!

Have a fit and fab week all!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice

{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health -Your Choice - Rest & Recovery. Are You Getting Enough?

When we begin any new exercise regime, it’s very easy to get carried away and want to go gung-ho in the beginning. Most go full throttle...“I feel great! I’m working out again tonight! Let’s run another 10k!” C’mon, I know you’ve all been there. I’ve been there!

I love enthusiasm. I think it’s great when I see a new client come to me and they are ready to kick butt and take on the world. But at the same time, we need to use common sense when it comes to our body’s and our ability to withstand stress to them. Exercise is physical stress to the body.

Rest & recovery includes much more than just allowing the body to rest and your muscles to repair in between sessions. If you are working out 3-4x per week for let’s say an hour per session - what are you doing with those other hours in your day to aid in your recovery? Nutrition, hydration, stretching, posture, sleeping, hours spent standing vs. sitting - can really aid in proper recovery between workouts.

The majority of us are not elite athletes who train and sacrifice for hours and hours each day with their exercise and diet. So for those of us who are working out 2-4x per week you would be much happier following the 80/20 rule when it comes to workout/life/health balance. Instead of focusing on perfection, spend 80% of the time putting a conscience effort into both your training and healthy eating and 20% of the time enjoying life and having fun. You will still get awesome results with your fitness goals and be more inclined to stick with it for the long term. Nobody can maintain strict daily diet rules 100% of the time, you will go crazy after awhile and could crash hard.

So here are my quick tips for the best rest & recovery so you don’t have a pre-workout crash like this guy! (lol)

1. Time Management: Stay devoted to your workout schedule and be sure to get at least a minimum of 24 hours of rest in between workouts depending on your schedule. For beginners this time period could be anywhere from 24-72 hours depending on the intensity of your workouts. Most experience (DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) when they start up a new workout program, therefore you might need more rest in the beginning. Take things a little slower. Not every workout needs to be intense. You should feel pretty much fully recovered going into your next workout.

2. Hydrate: Water, water, water! Drink it up! Staying hydrated will help all of your body functions before and after training. It helps your body circulate and pump blood, aids in liver function and detoxing, flushing out the bad, nutrient uptake, helps with energy and recovery. To ensure you are getting enough, just check the colour of your urine. It should be light to clear in colour. If it is darker in colour you are definitely dehydrated. Also sipping on water throughout the day is better than gulping it down when you are thirsty. Because if you are feeling thirsty? It’s too late, you are already dehydrated. If you are lacking in this area, increase your water intake gradually in the beginning and work up to drinking about 2-3 litres per day depending on how often you exercise. If you are highly active your body will require more.

3. Nutrition: Nutrition can play a big part as you know – you can either help or hinder your performance and recovery! It’s best to eat whole, natural foods. Stay away from processed foods that will put toxins into your body. If you keep overloading your body with these toxins, after awhile it won’t know what do with them and then it just stores it to fat. In order for your body to run like a well oiled machine, you need to provide it with the best cleanest fuel you can. Be sure to get plenty of lean protein to help muscles repair and recover. Also inflammation is a terrible culprit of slowing down weightloss endeavors, but there are many foods/spices that can help fight inflammation. Cherries, turmeric and cinnamon to name a few, can help! Watch dairy and wheat products – they tend to be processed. Try to eliminate processed sugars from your diet as well, which will kill your energy and slow down your progress.

4. Stretching: After a workout it is better to keep moving and stretching on your off days even though you probably want to just hit the couch. Reduce the amount of sitting time vs. standing time can help you with this. A good brisk walk or light bike ride can help get stiff/sore muscles moving again. Do dynamic (moving) stretches to start and when your body is a little warmer try some static (held) stretches. Your legs are your largest muscle group and tend to take the brunt, so focus there. If you don’t know how to stretch properly seek the advice of a trainer or try some yoga classes on your off days. They are fantastic for muscle strength, range of motion and recovery. Rolling out with a foam roller can also help too! Ashley Borden Fitness has an awesome “Guide To Rolling Out” that will take you through a bunch awesome rolling out stretches.

5. Sleep: As stated in last week’s blog post, you know how important sleep is to your general energy, well being and recovery. Try and get in your 7-8 hours, wake up with natural light. If you’re able to, wind down a little earlier with a nice Epsom salt bath to soothe tired achy muscles.

Take care and have a wonderful week everyone!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice


5 Things That Could Be Slowing Down Your Weight Loss

More often than not, we often get frustrated when we don’t see the results we think we should be seeing right away. We start a new exercise or healthy eating plan and expect miraculous wonders the first week we start! Then a month or two later we start questioning everything because we haven’t given the process enough time to work.

Sometimes you can be doing most things right and I agree if you have been following a good plan for about 6 months and you aren’t seeing any change at all then it’s time to re-evaluate and see what’s wrong or where you could improve. And sometimes, it’s something else you might be missing altogether that’s not necessarily your fault at all!

Here are 5 things you may or may not have thought about that could be slowing down your progress:

1. You: You’re probably not going to want to hear it but unfortunately when things are NOT progressing the way you want them to go; 8 times out of 10 it’s you who is holding you back.

When you want good solid weight loss results (like anything you put your mind to, it takes time and practice) then you have to put effort into it every day. You can’t eat well Monday to Friday then blow it every weekend and expect to see results. Practice means putting a conscience effort into your endeavor every day. That means mindful healthy eating (get rid of the sugars, starches aka: bad carbs & packaged processed foods). Focus on whole foods, lean proteins and healthy fats. Wheat, starch, sugar will slow you down fast. Even just start by first examining your breakfast? What is the first thing you are putting into your body each day? This will set the stage for the rest of your day. If you are loading up with bagels, bread and carbs, you are slowing yourself down right from the get go.

Make a date with yourself to be active each day. This does not mean that every workout needs to be super intense, but being active each day (picking different activities: walking, jogging, biking, strength training, a fitness class or bootcamp etc.) will up your calorie burn. I’m not talking about a 10 minute stroll through the park though. You do need to put some intensity / effort into your workouts to see improvement in your physical fitness. Use the talk test while working out. You should be at least talking in broken sentences (6 or 7 out of 10) to ensure it’s challenging enough for you. Also finding activities you enjoy that get you moving and challenges you is where it’s at. If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you. Period.

The reason most people don’t stick with it, is because it takes hard work and dedication. People want the easy way out. Sorry no unicorns and rainbows here - you need to do it each day until the new habits stick and are a part of your lifestyle. Plus it’s not about how fast you lose it. It’s about how long you can keep it off! It’s about the journey and enjoying the activities you choose. Don’t be expecting to lose all your weight in the first month. It can take up to a whole year for some. Not everyone’s body reacts the same to exercise. Be consistent and focus on how the healthy changes make you feel, rather than the number on the scale. It will drive you crazy. Keep a diary and note how different activities and foods make you feel. Some people need a little more monitoring than others. But for the most part if you focus on all the awesome changes that are going on, how much stronger you’ve become or how much more energy you have, the weight will come off. Even if your progress is slow, it’s still progress. (Just like the little picture I posted above) Have specific goals and stick with it. Figure out what your personal motivation is. Usually it’s not a number on scale that motivates you – it’s something much deeper than that. Figure out what that is and write it down and keep it visible each day.

2. Sleep Deprivation: Sleep can make or break your whole day. Some of us need more hours than others to function properly. Usually 6-8 hours is normal. If you have a hard time shutting down at night, try a warm bath (not too hot) or reading a book. We are so driven by our electronic devices. Try shutting it off and unplugging for a little while. Did you know reading off a tablet can keep you awake? The back light can keep you up for hours. Also eating too close to bedtime doesn’t allow your body and digestive system a true rest at night. A few relaxing yoga stretches or meditation before bed can also help you wind down. If you have a habit of hitting the snooze button in the morning, try opening your curtains/blinds and letting in that natural light. It can really help with mood and to wake you up a little.

3. Thyroid: Many out there struggle with thyroid and don’t even know it! I’ve had some clients struggle with Thyroid. It is harder to diagnose for sure, but it is treatable. I’m no doctor, but hormones are such an important part of regulating our system. When we are imbalanced it can be impossible to lose weight if things are out of whack. A proper diet can help in this area for sure. Unclog the system. But the only way to know for sure is to get tested properly by a doctor for Thyroid issues. Here is a link that lists some possible signs for thyroid that is not functioning the way it should:,,20723100,00.html

If you have been trying for 6-8 months to lose weight and you’ve been consistent in your endeavors and are still not seeing any results? Thyroid might be the culprit here.

4. Stress: We all have it! But learning to cope with it definitely helps. Stress triggers all kinds of nasty hormonal changes and imbalances. It ups your cortisol levels and if they stay high for too long they can trigger your brain that you are hungrier and you can end up eating more. Some people “stress eat” – I’m usually one of these people! Ugh... But recognizing the signs and finding ways to cope can help here. Know your triggers and do your best to reach for something other than food. Yoga is an awesome way to de-stress; deep breathing; reading; music; dance and exercise. Find a creative and healthy outlet for your stress.

5. Age: Unfortunately we can’t do much about our age – and I am the first one never to use my age as a crutch for progress or physical ability. I feel age is just a number! It’s your own ability that determines your overall physical fitness. But for women the ugly of it is, is that we do have a more difficult time in our later years as metabolism starts to slow down and work against us. This is where strength training is so important! Creating strong lean muscles, joints, ligaments etc. in your younger years will help your metabolism run better now and in the future... screw aging! This is definitely one way to help slow it down and take 10 years off!

Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful week! We can be fit and fabulous at any age!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice


{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health- Your Choice - 5 Ways to Beat the February Blahs

Celebrating this life guest post

Yes you know exactly what I’m talking about. February is a tough month for most; and because we live in a cold climate with not as much sunshine we can feel a little lack lustre!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to beat those February blah’s and stay on track with your sanity, healthy goals and just plain feeling good!

1. Embrace the Season: I tend to be more of a fair weathered exerciser, but even I like to get out of my comfort zone and embrace some awesome winter activities available to us where we live! For example - this is me above - skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. If you haven’t been, it’s a must! Great fun for the whole family. There are 6 kilometres of amazing skating, free buses that will take you back to your car. Go for fun or the exercise? Either way it’s a great way to beat those blah’s. Winterlude is on for a whole two weeks every February in Ottawa. There are ice sculptures and outdoor activities for the whole family. You definitely need to check it out!

Other Activities: Chicopee in Kitchener has skiing if you’re into that, but I love to go tubing with the family. Anyone can do it, no skill level necessary and you’re out and enjoying the fresh air and getting some exercise in the process.

There are also many trails around that you can still go hiking or snowshoeing on sunnier days. It has been kind of a weird winter here this year (we haven’t gotten near the amount of snow we usually do – I’m not complaining lol) but there are also plenty of outdoor and indoor rinks to take advantage of skating on here as well.

2. Get Moving: Exercise is great for the mind, body and spirit! It creates endorphins, endorphins, make you happy! If you are a runner and hate the cold? Try and indoor track instead! Uptown Waterloo has a great one to try, plus a pool for swimming.

If you are a biker, join a spin class! Or try something new like inviting a friend to join you for a new fun class or bootcamp! Make a date with yourself to do this throughout the winter. It will do your mind and body good!

3. Vitamin D: We lack a tonne of Vitamin D. Be sure to check with your doctor that you are getting enough. Health Canada has upped the recommended intake for adults and children.

4. Plan a Holiday!

Still just want to escape the cold? Then save up and plan a mini-getaway. In this society we are usually overworked and never take enough time away. If you have some holidays saved up get away and give your mind/body a true rest. There are so many places to try and even many now incorporate a spa like experience offering treatments, yoga classes etc. My annual favorite retreat is our getaway to Quebec to The Spa Nordik! We love this place... one our favourites while we visit Ottawa. Tonnes of services offered here from massages to underground salt water pool and the hot & cold pools outdoors are nestled into beautiful nature and forest, trees – dry and wet sauna’s – outdoor fires, heated blankets and hammocks – dining and more - a true spa experience. (Weekends can get busy, so plan accordingly)

Collingwood/Blue Mountain is also another option and is closer to our area and has the Scandinavian Spa which is similar to Nordik.

5. Focus on Daily Healthy Eating: In the winter months, most tend to reach for high starch, high carb comfort foods. These will make you even more sluggish and crawling for the couch. Instead opt for plenty of protein, non-starch veggies and healthy fats. You won’t be overloading your body with sugar and you will feel energetic and amazing.

Have a fantastic week all! Get moving, plan something fun... the end of February will be here before you know it!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice