Category Archives: Tips On Living An Empowered Life

How Can We Make This Last Forever?

What she can do: Offer him more trust than he deserves and keep offering more trust daily. Trust his actions, his impressions, his direction – not from a place of helplessness or weakness within you, but from a place of fanning the flames of nobility in him. Show him your devotional strength in little things you do; how you greet him from a long day of work. Look deeply in his eyes, seeing the part of him that’s the weary warrior feeling burdened by all his responsibilities. Look at him with every part of your being – with your gaze, with your words, with your touch.
Find ways to make him feel his efforts in the world mean something – that they’re valid and significant – that his direction and his intention in the world are paying off and will continue to pay off. Do that through your touch and words, offering him praise for who he is, what he’s doing, and how he does things.

What he can do: Offer her daily appreciation. Praise who she is and what she does from the depth of her being, her inner beauty and radiance – the light of her heart. Notice in her eyes something that’s bright and alive, full of life, shining, and radiant. Offer her continuous praise from your deepest, authentic heart – praise that may even make you feel shy and reveal a little bit of yourself. Go to the edge of your vulnerability, and from that place offer your deepest devotional praise and love to her. When you offer her praise for who she’s being and what she’s doing, she starts to feel bubbly and lighter inside. Now create a spontaneous excursion to surprise her. Constantly keep her guessing about what you’re going to do next. And remember – lots of humour.

Keeping steamy alive

What they can do: One of you take on the dominant, claiming, ravishing role. The other one take on the opposite role, the one being ravished, taken, pressed into surrender, and embraced with strong, deep, penetrating love. Play these poles. Replay them not just in the bedroom, but throughout the day. When one of you is doing dishes, rather than keeping it neutral, one of you take on the game of playing Casanova. In the ravisher’s role say things like, “You’re mine, I love you, I’m taking you fully.” Let your strong words and strong grip of love be sourced in the part of you that’s most tender and loves your partner deeply. Feel each other: what will make your partner open up moment by moment? What would bring them pleasure? What would deepen their trust in you? Take each other to the edge of trust in a loving, edgy way. Once you’re able to establish this level of trust with each other, play consciously back and forth between ravisher and ravishee. Sometimes, go really wild like animals: sweating, kicking, biting, pinching, yelling, screaming, and clawing. Growl from the animal within you. Another time move to the lighter scale of things where you touch each other and share beautiful words of praise and love and stroke each other for hours with poetry, music, tenderness and gentleness. Be willing to play the extremes from the side of gentle, light, tender and delicate to ferociously wild, intense, gripping, and heart wrenching and soul searing.

What they should know:
There is something bigger than your vows. That is your big WHY. Your WHY is more important than any vow that’s dictated by something outside of you or by convention or tradition, or just sourced in a feel good moment. Deeper than a vow is a commitment to something that’s more fundamental than any superficial pact. And that is the biggest WHY. Find out and investigate, and always share with each other what you want with this relationship. “Beloved, how do you wish to create this relationship, my dearest? What shall we create together? How can we create more joy together?” Cleave to each other when the foundations of life get shaky. Recognize those as the times to temper, to strengthen any weaknesses within you from your love for each other, from your commitment to something bigger. Find that big why. Allow the yearning within you to have a relationship that is beyond just this personality – this person who is slowly fading year after year. The biggest why is found in knowing that this one, your most beloved, will pass. Be able to envision the end of your life, and look back to the beginning of your love affair. Know that you gave each other more and grew each other more in this union than you could have alone. You learned to give and receive in ways that continuously marvel yourself and sweeten the love that’s possible.

Top 9 Reasons People Don’t Achieve Their Fitness Goals

It is a fact that most people who “try” to get in better shape or “try” to become healthier and fitter have a hard time doing it and mostly never succeed. There are several reasons for this:

1) Fear of failure. People are so conditioned to be afraid to make mistakes that they are turned off by even the notion of temporary defeat. Temporary defeat, especially by mental blocks and old habits creeping what causes people to quit. These temporary defeats are necessary. They cause people to grow stronger in character. If it were easy, then everyone would do it and therefore most people do not do it. The enjoyment comes after having this temporary failure and breaking through it to the next level.

2) Not feeling good enough and comparing oneself to others. Many people look outside for what they should be doing. This is called external locus of control. You will never win this way. Most people should look inside or simply stated, internal locus of control, to see what they want to achieve for themselves.

3) Many people do not have specific goals that they want to achieve. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Goals must be written down and reviewed everyday to have a clear picture.

4) No accountability. People do not have anyone that will motivate them and be on their case to get the job done. Most people fail completely because they only have to answer to themselves. Nobody is there to know. It is important to involve someone to answer to when the going gets tough.

5) No program to follow. I see this all the time. People think that training can be learned from a Muscle magazine. It took me 5 years of University, years of study and a ton of practice in the field to know that I still know very little. Many people copy other programs that are designed for other people and often hurt themselves in the process. Stop it and get help! Feed your ego on your own time.

6) Inconsistency in doing their plan. Small steps even if they are small are better then many steps at a time and then no steps repeated over and over. There is something called the Compound Effect, that states that small consistent steps and actions over time yield great results. I believe strongly in this, except I believe in massive momentum to get results in record time. So big steps over a long time will yield even better results. Stay consistent my friends.

7) No lifestyle changes and relying solely on going to the gym. Health and fitness is a holistic beast. You have to implement great eating patterns, sleep patterns and stress patterns to name a few. There are results that come from training, but to magnify them people need to get everything else on board as well. Most people think that by just going to the gym, they will see massive results. I always say, 80% Nutrition, 20% Exercise. We don’t just look and feel great by lifting weights.

8) People dread going to the gym. Lets face it, it can be boring. Most people do exercises that they hate. The reason is that they do not have enough knowledge to make training fun and interesting. You couldn’t pay me enough money to jog on the treadmill! Training has to be fun because having a good time is good for your health and that is why you are there in the first place.

9) But the most important reason that stumps all the above reasons is that most people do not have a strong enough “why”! If you do not have a strong enough reason for what you are doing, then anything that deters you from your path will do so with little effort. Most of people’s physical results are based down deep in their deep unconscious thoughts. Their thoughts lead to feelings, which is the “why”. The how, which is the action leads to results. In fact people do not have to know the how. If the “why” is strong enough, then the how will present itself. The stronger the “why”, the easier the how! Therefore, people’s health and fitness goals are all rooted in their mental thoughts. As people begin to appreciate and then develop this though systemized training, then the path is written in stone.

After we accomplish the “why” power, then my job is to provide the how. The how will lead to massive action, which always will lead to the amazing result. Integrity is saying what you will do and doing it no matter what. This is the accomplishment that you get when you reach your goals. Doing what you said you would do. It is necessary to learn the specifics of how to train your unconscious mind to go after your desires no matter what. It should feel like you are already there. We would come up with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals to keep you accountable every day to achieving them. You need someone else to keep you accountable. There is no question about it. Inside the gym or at home. It doesn’t matter; you need to be 100% accountable in all areas of your lifestyle from your mental focus to your nutrition to your sleep to your stress and to your training. Having a systemized and custom plan will make the experience fun and it will reap huge results. Therefore, you do not “try”. You do or you do not do! Simple? Do it!

- Simon Bialecki To view more articles or contact Simon go to www.progradefit.com 

What, ME Worry?

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened”

 

– Mark Twain

In today’s world, there are plenty of things to worry about and the list seems to grow everyday. And every day, I meet people in my personal and work activities, who demonstrate through their words and their actions that they spend far too much of their time worrying. What do they worry about? Well that depends on the person, however inevitably their worries fall into one of two catergoris…THINGS I CAN CONTROL and THINGS I CANNOT CONTROL.

Before we delve into these further, let’s define worrying. According to the Websters Dictionary worrying is defined as “To feel or experience distress or anxiety”. The act of worrying is nothing more than a mental and emotional way to cause ourselves unhappiness, stress and anxiety. It is bad for our health and wellness and leads to a great many physical and emotional illnesses.

1) Things I cannot control

If you find yourself spending any time at all worrying about things that you have no control over in your life, you need to STOP NOW. By definition, you have no control over these things and whether they happen or not, hence worrying about them is accomplishing nothing positive in your life. Let’s face it, from time to time circumstances or events will occur that will be of an unpleasant nature. Tragedy and misfortune are a part of life.

“Sunny days wouldn’t be special, if it wasn’t for rain
Joy wouldn’t feel so good, if it wasn’t for pain”
50 Cent

Being prepared for the inevitable rainy day is always a great idea. Take a few minutes to plan and prepare for things that may concern you. If you live in a an If you live in an area where natural disasters may occur, stock up on items that would be useful if one takes place. An ounce of prevention is equaled to a pound of cure. However, after you have done this, do not spend another second of your life worrying about whether this tragic event will or will not take place. The time you spend worrying will only add negative energy into your life, and take away from the time you should be spending focusing on the wonderful things you do have.

2) Things I can control

I have a friend, who everytime we meet up, talks about his difficulty making ends meet. We live in a world where a great many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes, in the absence of a solid financial plan, paying the bills can be a challenge. Even with a plan, as the cost of living rises faster than our salaries, we should be regularly examining our plan to see if yesterday’s plan meets todays needs. So as I sit and listen to my friend, I asked him a simply question. “You seem worried about money. How is that working for you?” He replied not so well. Here was my advice to him. I told him I wanted him to book an appointment with his wife for a couple of hours within the next few days, and schedule a time to sit down and look at his plan. I then added that I wanted him to set up a weekly appointment time, one that must be kept, to discuss the financial needs and challenges they faced. I then finished by asking that he not think about his money problems for one second outside of this regularly scheduled time. Nowhere in the Websters Dictionary does it say “Worrying: A proven technique to resolving ones problems” All it does is lead to more problems. Follow this step by step analogy of exactly how this happens.

Step 1 – The decision to worry

Worrying is something we choose to do. It is not forced upon us. Worrying is a conscious decision to focus on a negative part of our lives. We choose to spend time thinking about these issues that worry us.

Step 2 – Thoughts lead to emotions

These thoughts directly drive our emotions. These emotions consist of fear and anger amongst others. These emotions can be described as that knot in your stomache, and they manifest themselves into physical symptoms such as headaches and nausea. Hence the term “Worried sick”.

Step 3 – Emotions lead to actions

These emotions and the physical symptoms they produce directly lead to our actions. Whether you are someone that smokes when stressed, pops pain killers to deal with the headaches, takes a sick day from that ulcer that is acting up, eats junk food to feel better or drinks to escape, these emotions are directly related to whatever coping mechanism we use.

Step 4 – Actions lead to results

Actions based on negative emotions such as fear and anger give us negative results in our lives. When sick we do not excel at our jobs or our lives. When drinking or on pain medication or sleeping in we are not putting out that effort that is needed to accomplish great things…our results are directly impacted by our actions and negative actions will lead to negative results.

Step 5 – Negative reults lead to more worry and more negative thoughts

This cycle is nothing short of toxic and it consumes us and drags us into a rut. When we perform badly due to the fact that we spent all of our time worrying about our problems instead of doing something about them in a productive manner, we will produce nothing more than MORE WORRIES.

The good news is that this cycle of worry and fear and anger and resentment does not have to continue. You can choose TODAY to make positive change in your lives, by choosing NOT to worry. Instead, book an appointment with yourself and your loved to sit down and discuss in a constructive manner how to solve this problem. The amount of time and frequency of sit downs will depend on the scope of the issue itself. Outside of that scheduled time, spend NO TIME OR ENERGY thinking about this problem. Replace these negative thoughts with positive ones and experience the exact opposite cycle in your life; where positive thoughts lead to positive emotions and positive actions and positive results and more positive thoughts. Find something you love, be it your children, a family pet or your favorite hobby and focus instead on things that put a smile on your face.

When we choose to stop worrying and stop focusing on the negative things in our lives, we unlock the power of positive thinking, and with this power, we can overcome any obstacles and begin that process of positive change in our life.

SHAME: The gremlin behind most dysfunction!

Shame is something we start to carry within us from an early age. “You shouldn’t have taken an extra cookie” “Did you break that vase?” “Your sister is good at math….why do you have such problems with it?” Parents, Teachers, Siblings and Friends mean well, but you’ve heard the comments that cut like a knife, and sadly, stay with you for the long haul. They create a new story in our heads, like “I’m not good at things like my sister” or worse, “I’m not good enough” period. The thing is, that’s a lie.

When Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW and research professor interviewed thousands of patients seeking counseling, she discovered SHAME was at the root of most dysfunction. I’m sure most of us realize that the reason for the shame is almost always NOT your fault, especially when you’re a child. And even if you exhibit bad behavior, isn’t that only human?

So how do you lay the shame in your life to rest?
1) Identify it – become aware of whatever story is holding you back and put it out in the light
2) Decide and Accept the fact that it’s not you fault
3) Let it go – recognize that this lie is not serving you anymore and FLUSH IT!
4) Replace it- with a positive confession. Whenever you purge something negative, you MUST replace it with something new that is functional or supportive. So say, “I am enough, just the way I am”. “I love myself, I love my life”. And say it proud. Say it dozens of times per day.
For information on Jo Clark or to follow her nteresting blog post go to:http://beautrition.wordpress.com/ or her network marketing website which is www.rfskincare.net

Also view Oprah and Brene Brown’s online class on Scrubbing Your Shame at: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Oprahs-Lifeclass-Dr-Brene-Brown-on-Vulnerability–Daring-Greatly

Flab vs. Fit & Fab

Staying fit & fab is more fun than having flab and running is a great way to get rid of flab!

(Malou Sana, a Nike Women’s Marathon Legacy runner, is no stranger to the importance of fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. After running marathons for a decade she shares some of the joys and benefits to running as well as some simple ‘How to Steps’ for beginners).

It’s free! It’s fun! For me, it’s an awesome way to decompress after a long and stressful day working with attorneys. I started running a decade ago. I am one of the Nike Women’s Marathon Legacy Runners in SF. Being outdoors soaking in lots of sunshine is the best (but don’t forget your sunscreen). I ran my first half marathon in Maui in 2004 with Team In Training and was hooked! I’ve run 30 half marathons, three marathons so far and I’m nowhere near finished.

It’s so easy to get started. First, I highly recommend you get a gait analysis done at any good athletic shoe store for the best running shoes suited to your feet. While you’re deciding on the shoes, be sure to pick up some wick socks to prevent blisters. Start slow and easy and, more importantly, listen to your body. Have fun! If you get a side-stitch or a cramp, keep moving and it will go away. I enjoy listening to music when I go for my two to three hour runs and, if you do too, PLEASE make sure you hydrate and are well aware of your surroundings. Stay safe always, especially when crossing busy streets

Last, and most important for me, is what you eat before and after a run. I’m so thrilled to share the best products I’ve found! I call IsAgenix products my “magic food!” I love our “IsaLean meal replacement shakes”, “e-shots”, “Want More Energy” and more! Having no pain, no cramps, during and after a long run, no headache is an amazing feeling and allows for quick recovery! I’m so blessed a friend of mine shared these amazing products, truly the best out in the market, super healthy and they really do work like magic!!!

Stay Fit & Fab and don’t have Flab!

4 Tips to Overcoming Addiction

4 Keys to Overcoming Addiction

  1. Admit that you have a problem – this is the first step to any change.
  2. Find your Why – what is the main reason you want to overcome this habitat? For me this was my family. I visualized how heartbroken they would be without me. Keeping this in mind gave me purpose, motivation and the drive to stick with it.
  3. Positive Confession – constantly confess that you are strong enough to overcome this challenge. Write these confessions out and post them around you as a reminder that you can overcome this!
  4. Accountability – find an accountability partner or group that believes in you and is not afraid to be stern with you when needed.

Hung describes his whole journey to victory over smoking and life changing techniques in his upcoming book “Curve Balls of Life – Inspirational Stories and Steps to Rise to the Top“. For more inspiring tips and information about Hung Please check out Hung’s website www.docoaching.net or contact him at: hungdoyn987@gmail.com

Top 5 shocking reasons why staying positive is hard

Why is it hard to stay positive all the time?

Being positive is very important because it contributes to a healthy mindset and lifestyle. But there are still many people in this world that have negative mindsets. However, they ought not to be blamed. There are a number of factors that contribute towards negativity. A person’s negativity can only be reduced based on how much willpower that person may have towards staying positive. This also requires a good amount of mental exercise.

Here are the top 5 reasons why staying positive is hard:

1) Television
We can’t stay positive when the news constantly reports on current events that involve war, violence, crimes, death, illnesses or diseases, and poverty. There is also an increasingly number of reality shows that are being aired that do not give much value to today’s generation.
Instead, read books and listen to audios for at least an hour on a daily basis that gives a good dose of motivation and inspiration. While it is important to stay in touch with current world events, it is also important to NOT indulge in too much negative news that can bring negative emotions. Perhaps, make sure that you watch only TV shows that bring value.

2) Environment or surroundings
There is a certain good amount of negativity that can exist in our own surroundings or the environment that we live in. This can come from the behavior of others in the society or perhaps the laws or regulations that the government imposes that some of their people may not necessarily agree with, all of which that can cause people to indulge in them and develop opinions of. This can spark emotions that involve sadness, anger, jealousy, and hatred.
While they can’t change these situations, they can definitely try to remove or limit their own negative response to these types of events by surrounding themselves with only the good things and people.

3) Family
It can be fairly difficult if you have a family member that continues to degrade, demoralize, or discourage you in some ways that can potentially have an impact in your life.
There is so much negativity a person can take in a household, that when it is too much for any person to handle they would have every right to remove themselves from the family or cut off all ties.
But on the other hand, there are ways to dissolving negativity in a family. It may take a little bit of time and effort, but if it means saving a family, it can be worth it. This could involve more communication amongst family members and making efforts to encourage one another, or even seeking help from a family therapist. It is definitely more important to salvage family relationships than to flee from it.

4) Social influences
The friends that you hang out and mingle with can have a great impact on staying positive. People who are constantly gossiping and backstabbing can hurt a person’s mental and emotional health. Eliminating or extracting yourselves totally from this group of people can help to resolve the situation. It is important to choose your friends or even acquaintances wisely, if you want to stay positive. It is recommended that you pick friends that are like-minded and share the common traits because that way you will be able to maintain positivity.

5) You
Did you know that YOU can be your own worst enemy?
Sometimes you listen to two voices in your heads; one that agrees with you, and the other one that disagrees. If you have a mentality that is always consistently negative, it is impossible to stay positive. You need to remind yourselves that you are responsible for your own thoughts. You are your own demons as much as you are your own inspiration. However, you have the ability and the power to choose.
Surround yourselves as much as you can with people who will continue to encourage you and teach you the virtues that are necessary to empower your life. Make a “ripple” effect on the lives of others through the power of teaching and education. The only way you can continue to stay positive is through encouraging others to do and think the same.
Written By: Amylia Faizal

To receive inspiring updates from Amylia on living a positive life, go to http://eepurl.com/PWOB5

Follow her on:
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/amylia.chiew
Twitter – @YAYOInspiration

The 7 golden rules of fitness

Regardless of their weight, fit people live longer, according to recent research from the American Medical Association. Yet we’re falling short of the fitness levels recommended in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living, with only one-third of us getting enough exercise daily. So come on, Canada! Stop putting it off—and follow these fitness rules from Vancouver’s Geoff Bagshaw, a Can-Fit Pro-certified trainer who has been helping people get fit for 24 years. (Of course, check with your doctor before starting a fitness regimen.)

Fitness rule #1: Keep hydrated

WaterHydration affects energy levels and is essential to your workout performance. Why? Proper hydration regulates body temperature and heart rate. In one hour of exercise, you could lose more than a quart (1 L) of water, depending on exercise intensity and air temperature. Without enough water for the body to cool itself through perspiration, you could become dehydrated—you’ll lose energy, and your muscles may cramp.

The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking one cup (250 mL) of water 20 to 30 minutes before exercising. (Tip: If you work out first thing in the morning, keep a glass of water on your bedside table and drink it when the alarm goes off.) For every 15 minutes of exercise, drink an extra cup of fluids. The harder your workout, the more fluids you’ll need. Hydrate afterward to replenish the body, ideally having another cup of water within 30 minutes.

As for sports drinks, says Bagshaw, if you’re on a weight-loss program, the calories make your workout almost redundant. “They may help replace electrolytes if you’re exercising for a few hours, but most gym-goers don’t need them.”

Fitness rule #2: Eat before—and after

“Think of your body as a furnace,” says Bagshaw. “If you start by throwing on big logs, it might not burn as well as if you put in small amounts regularly. We want to keep our metabolism stoked all the time.”

Before your workout, have protein and slow-burning carbohydrates together, such as a piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter. Ideally, you’ll eat one to two hours before a workout, but if you work out first thing in the morning, grab at least a glass of juice first. Don’t work out on an empty stomach.

Afterward, refuel quickly. “Research suggests there is a 30-minute window post-workout when you want to consume a certain amount of carbohydrates and protein to fuel muscle growth,” says Bagshaw. (For more on protein, see Fitness Rule #7.) Have a snack, and then within an hour or two, a larger meal.

Fitness rule #3: Do your cardio

Oh, the excuses: I hate cardio! I can’t do cardio! Bagshaw has heard them all. But you should aim to do cardio training three to five times a week for 30-60 minutes each time—and you have to get your heart rate up. “We used to talk about a ‘fat-burning zone’ but today the consensus is to work out as hard and as long as you can; you’ll burn more calories overall.”

Fitness pros like Bagshaw determine intensity with the Borg Scale, which is based on your own perceived exertion and uses a scale of 20. Research states you should be exercising at an intensity between “fairly light” (10) to “somewhat hard” (13). Some research has shown that exercising at high-intensity intervals can be beneficial as well, if you’re fit enough to handle it. Whatever you choose—an aerobics class or the treadmill—get sweating!

Fitness rule #4: Do weights

“As we age we lose muscle mass, and it is imperative to replace it,” says Bagshaw. He recommends you weight-train two or three times a week and target all major muscle groups.

One of the biggest motivations? Whether you’re using weights, resistance bands or your own body, having more muscle mass generally means you have a higher resting metabolic rate, so you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out. Beyond looking fitter and trimmer, you’ll shift your fat-to-muscle ratio. Resistance training can help you reduce fat mass (and abdominal mass), which is related to risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fitness rule #5: Change it up

You start going to the gym, you lose a little weight—and then, it seems, you stop making progress. This happens to hard-core gym addicts too, says Bagshaw. The solution? You need to add the “confusion principle” to your workout. “Your body adapts to what you do, so you should switch your program regularly. This can mean changing your entire regimen, or factors of it.” When weight-training, try upping repetitions or load. For cardio workouts, gradually increase duration and intensity. And if you always head for the treadmill, try the elliptical or the bike instead. A trainer can help keep your workout interesting.

Fitness rule #6: Stretch after your workout

Stretching is important for many reasons: It improves flexibility and circulation, may help prevent injury and helps relieve stress. While the start of a workout should involve light cardio to get muscles activated, you should never stretch muscles that aren’t thoroughly warmed up. So, stretch only at the end of your workout. Be attentive to problem areas—if you’re prone to back injury, for example, stretch out the hamstrings, which affect the lower back. The best thing about stretching, says Bagshaw, is that it feels good and is relaxing.

Fitness rule #7: Don’t forget protein

Protein is a major building block for muscle, and is broken down and used to fuel muscle recovery after your workout. “You actually get stronger after the workout,” says Bagshaw. While working out, you break down muscles, and rebuilding occurs in the recovery stage 24 to 36 hours later, which is why protein after a workout is essential.

If you’re working out regularly, try to get protein with every meal or snack. “It’s slow to digest, and will keep you full for longer,” says Bagshaw. But watch serving sizes: One portion of chicken, for example, should fit into your palm.

It’s important to get protein from a variety of plant and animal sources, but Bagshaw says supplementing with whey protein powder is a good idea for a quick fix. It scores high on the biological value scale (a rating used to determine how the body uses the nutrient) and is an easily digestible form of protein. “A fantastic re-builder after exercise is a whey shake with fruit.”

A couple of fun tricks to stay fit

Bored with your same old gym routine? Doing an activity that’s both physical and fun, such as dancing or indoor rock climbing, is a super way to get in shape and stay motivated to exercise. “When a physical activity has fun aspects you’re more likely to make it a habit because it doesn’t feel like exercise,” says Ottawa exercise specialist Jennifer Greger. “Trying a new activity will also work your body and your cardiovascular system in a different way than your regular routine so you’ll see better results, especially if you do it at least twice a week.”
Whether you want to kick off a brand-new fitness regimen or add a little variety to your current routine, you’ll have a blast while burning calories with these eight fun activities.

1. Zumba

If you like to dance, you’ll love Zumba. This aerobic workout blends choreographed footwork and body movements from salsa, merengue, flamenco and other dances to sculpt your body and burn fat. When you’re grooving to the spicy Latin beats during a Zumba class you won’t even realize that you’re toning your abs, thighs, glutes and arms. Find a class near you at or pop in a DVD and try Zumba at home.

2. Hula-hooping

This 1950s craze is no longer just child’s play. Hula-hooping, or “hooping,” has re-emerged as a great cardio workout to slim your waist, hips, buttocks and thighs while toning your abdominals and lower back muscles. Hooping can be done indoors or out, on your own or with a group in a class setting.

To get started, you’ll need the right hoop, preferably a heavy, large one that is about waist high, says Montreal hula hoop instructor Rebecca Halls. “The children’s hoops sold in toy stores are too small and light.” Here’s the basic technique: hold the hoop at your waist, keeping your legs shoulder- or hip-width apart. With one foot in front of the other and your knees bent, spin the hoop around your waist, using small back and forth or side-to-side movements. Get hooping tips from instructional videos on YouTube or watch Hoopnotica: Hoopdance DVDs.

3. Pole dancing

You might feel a little silly walking around a brass pole for the first time—and you’re guaranteed a good giggle—but pole dancing can be a great way to get fit and boost your confidence. Usually done in a class setting, pole dancing is an aerobic workout that builds upper body strength, because you’re lifting your body off the pole, which tones your arms and shoulders and improves posture. “Sensual” fitness classes like pole dancing usually incorporate dance routines, spins on the pole and a floor routine for resistance training for the lower body.

4. Indoor rock climbing

Indoor rock climbing is an anaerobic workout that builds strength and balance and can burn up to 800 calories an hour. “It’s like doing yoga on a wall because you’re constantly shifting your weight so it builds muscles and strengthens your core,” says Maria Richardson, owner of Climber’s Rock in Burlington, Ont. “You’re using your legs to push yourself up the wall and your arms to pull yourself up, so you work muscles you didn’t know you had.”

At indoor climbing gyms, beginners usually start with bouldering (climbing shorter walls without a rope or harness) and top roping (climbing with an instructor or spotter using a harness or rope). Visit indoorclimbing.com to search for a list of indoor climbing gyms in your province and around the world.

5. Rope jumping

This full-body cardiovascular workout will make you feel like a kid again while strengthening your muscles and bones and improving your coordination. And just fifteen minutes of jumping rope burns about 200 calories.

To get started, you’ll need a good pair of cross trainers to absorb the impact in the balls of your feet and a thin plastic or cloth rope from a sports store. Before you skip, always start with a short warm-up. Here’s the basic technique: With your body slightly bent forward, your legs together and your arms close to your sides, jump over the rope. Make sure you land on the balls of your feet and don’t kick back; your knees should come up front. Aim for three 10-minute rope-jumping workouts every week.

6. Fencing

En garde! If you want a fast-paced aerobic workout and you love to compete, sign up for a fencing class. Like a physical chess match, where you learn to anticipate your opponent’s next move and react to it, fencing is an exciting mental and physical exercise. With its intense arm and footwork, fencing burns calories and improves speed, flexibility and coordination while toning the buttocks, stomach and thigh muscles.

Your local fencing club will provide the epée or foil, a mask and a jacket to protect your face, chest and arms during each fencing match or “bout.” Check with the Canadian Fencing Federation to find a fencing class in your area.

7. Teaming up

If there’s a sport you enjoyed as a child or have always wanted to try, such as softball, for example, find a local league and join a team, or organize your friends and family for regular pick-up games. You’ll be more motivated to exercise when you’ve got teammates waiting on you for practices and games and you’ll get so focused on the game and social aspects of playing on a team that it won’t feel like exercise.

Feeling unsure about your skills? Check with your local community centre for classes to learn the basics of the sport you’re interested in.

8. Skating

A super alternative to running because it’s easier on the joints, skating is a good aerobic workout that tones your lower body and builds leg strength. Both ice and inline skating are good calorie burners: a 143-pound woman burns about 330 calories during one hour of continuous skating.

Check with your local ice rink for public skating hours. If you don’t know how to ice skate, learn the fundamentals through classes for beginners of all ages.

Max Lucado Quotes

“You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman.”
― Max Lucado, The Christmas Candle

“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning… Face it, friend. He is crazy about you! ”
― Max Lucado

“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner!”
― Max Lucado

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” 

― Max Lucado