Live Out There Exclusive: “How to hit the gym before work”

Any veteran reader of Rant and Roll will know that I have a storied history with the gym. In fact, the first time I was freshly pressed (way, way back in 2012!) it was because of a post about how I both loved and loathed my (then) gym.

However, when I suffered a small tear in my right calf muscle last fall, and rejoined the land of the gym dwellers, I had no idea how much I would love incorporating the gym into my early mornings! This month on Live Out There, I wrote about how you too can learn to love hitting the gym before the sun rises, and how to get the most out of your workout.

I used to balk at the idea of getting up and exercising before work. My line of reasoning? I had to wake up early enough, so why the heck would I ever choose to rise before necessity strictly demanded it of me? Sleep, after all, is a hugely valuable commodity and I was fiercely proud of my ability to distill my morning routine down to the bare minimum. At my best I could get my (very presentable) self out of the door in twenty minutes or less.

But then I moved to the lovely little Hamlet known as New Westminster and began taking the skytrain into my job every day. At the station closest to my house there is Dynamic Fitness, a lovely, evenly priced gym, and last autumn, as I nursed a torn calf muscle, I took out a membership. I thought I would give a pre-work workout a try, just to see if I could hack an early morning sweat. I could use the gym’s showers and leave my stuff in a locker during the day. What did I have to lose?

Continue reading my top tips for transitioning to early morning workouts here.

Live Out There Exclusive: “4 West Coast Winter Essentials to Keep you Active, Warm and Dry”

There are so many things I love about living on the West Coast of Canada. Chiefly among them, the fact that I am able to run outside all winter long! But that doesn’t mean I don’t need good gear. In fact, I am a huge proponent of quality running duds that keep me both warm and dry. For my second post with Live Out There, I highlighted four beautiful pieces any runner would be lucky to have!

4 West Coast Winter Essentials to Keep you Active, Warm and Dry

Here on the West Coast of Canada, it’s not just about staying warm in the winter, it’s also very important to focus on staying dry. Good, water-proof or water-resistance clothing is essential for those long training runs, day-hikes, and bike rides. Plus, when you look amazing in your active-wear, it’s much easier to get out, stay motivated, and feel great doing it.

Continue reading about my 4 must-have pieces here.

Live Out There Exclusive: “Go Your Own Way: The Best Kept Secrets of a Solo Adventure”

Hey kids! I recently started blogging with the awesome outdoor apparel and adventure company Live Out There and I am very excited to share with you my pieces as they are being published. I recently penned a post about why sometimes adventuring “bear by yourself” (as my mother would say) trumps grinding it out as a group. I hope you enjoy!

Go Your Own Way: The Best Kept Secrets of a Solo Adventure

There are many great things about adventuring with a loved one.

A plus-one means having a companion in arms for when the going gets tough; it means greater variety in food and snacks; and probably best of all, it means having someone to share in the epic views of a crested peak or conquered valley.

But the thing is, trekking and exploring solo is just as awesome and awe-inspiring as going out as a pair. In fact, I would argue that it is actually better.

Find out why here.

These women. These women.

A very happy International Women’s Day to everyone!

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This year’s UN Theme is: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

I encourage all of you – everyone reading at home, as well as those on transit (or in-transit!); everyone hunkered down, or waking up; everyone navigating this amazingly complicated conundrum of a world we call home – to picture all of the brilliant, powerful, and brave women in your lives.

How have they impacted the world? How have they changed your life?

How do they impact? What do they change?

What makes them extraordinary?

And how do you picture an empowered humanity? What can we all do to ensure that these visions are no longer just visions, but reality?

Here are some of the brilliant, beautiful, and brave women in my life.

My amazing mum Donna, who, as an arbitrator for the federal government, wrote and oversaw many ground breaking decisions in the early 1990s on pay equity and discriminatory labour practices across Canada.

My sisters: Jessi – newly minted red seal chef, business owner, and new mum-extraordinaire; Kate Woznow – dedicated activist, non-profit director, and triathlete.

My sister in-law Mel, who is so very incredibly strong (both on the inside and outside) and who is unflinching in her belief that we can all make impacting strides to better our world.

Her mother, Valerie, valiant and fearless feminist whose work continues to support and inspire academics the world over.

My formidable mother in-law Cheryl, who in light of the discrimination she faced as a teenager after her family immigrated to Vancouver from India in the 1960’s is now one of the greatest champions of multiculturalism I have ever met, and who in 1973 co-founded the The Door Is Open – a drop in centre on the Downtown Eastside, that is still open today at its present location at 255 Dunlevy Avenue, in the heart of East Vancouver.

I would be remiss not to touch on my great aunt in-law, Flo Curle, who was the first of my husband’s family to immigrate from India in the early sixties. A single woman, she moved to Vancouver and sponsored every single member of her family’s residency to Canada.

My sisters in-law Veronica and Vanessa: two women passionately dedicated to our environment and education, as well as the high-seas (Veronica) and circus silks (Vanessa).

My step-mother Susan, who as a conscientious and exasperated American does what she can to move her birth county in positive direction.

To my amazing colleagues at Big Sisters, who fight tooth and nail every day to ensure that young women all across the Lower Mainland have the opportunity to be matched with a life-changing friend and mentor.

My own Little Sister Melissa, with whom I have been matched for almost seven years. This young women has grown into a confident, excited, hard-working young women, who takes the world by storm each and every day.

To my outstanding, heart-bursting friends who transform and deconstruct; who build, breathe, and believe in a better today and even better tomorrow.

And finally, to all of you reading. To every woman who wakes up every day and makes change, kicks butt, loves herself, loves others, smiles brightly, laughs loudly, dances madly, cries freely, jumps blindly, catches discretely – for all who are unapologetically her, and her, and her.

This is for you.

Such precious cargo

Waiting in the departure lounge, I shift my weight from my right foot to my left.

My duffle bag is looped loosely over my shoulder.

I glance up from my book.

Everyone else sits.

Everyone else stares.

Outside, the sky is seaweed green, like the sunset is stuck, struggling at the bottom of an empty wine bottle.

Like we are viewing it from the bottom of the ocean.

I look back down to my page number.

“Remember 78,” I tell myself, and close the book.

I don’t like to dog-ear pages. But sometimes I forget.

I notice a few older men eye me wearily.

Perhaps they are sizing me up as an over-zealous pre-boarder.

Perhaps they are excited by the length of my dress.

By the height of my socks.

A part of me feels like I want to stake a claim on one of the few remaining seats, but overwhelmingly I want to remain standing.

I want to stay upright forever.

I have already been travelling for five hours, and another five and a half hours await.

Once I get on to a plane, I devolve into a tangled mess of too-long legs, poor posture, and deep sleep.

Resting on planes has never been a problem for me.

I do it quickly, and with ease.

It’s just my mouth.

It hangs wide open, and I am always afraid that someone might drop things there.

Like pennies.

Or cherry pits.

“You should eat a sandwich,” I tell myself. “And fill up your water bottle.”

Instead I look at magazines and daydream about making out with Ewen McGregor.

Instead I take a photo of myself pretending to dance with a giant, fake stuffed bear.

I think about opening up a chain of airport gyms.

I think about how showers would be integral to the success of this business venture.

And then I walk the length of the terminal.

Twice.

Departure levels are such strange beasts.

So many people in transit, lives in flux. No one speaking, everyone just focused.

On making it to their destination.

On just making it.

I think about the people who work at the restaurants and cafes; the gift shops, the newsagents and the duty frees. Dealing with thousands of bleary-eyed, bumbling travellers, acting as gatekeepers of People magazine and double mint gum, suppliers of double doubles, and venti extra hots, always ready to ask “like another?” or “fries or salad?” and dreading the possibility of “I think you’ve had enough?”

I always want to talk.

Talk to everyone I see.

Find out their stories.

Ask them.

From where are they coming.

Where are they going.

Who do they love. Who do they loathe.

Who do they want.

What do they want.

What do they want so much more than just to make it.

But instead I just open my book to page 76, and re-read those last two pages.

And shift my feet.

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