Blog

The January MOVE

December 28, 2019

Fitness   Goal Setting   Goals   habits   Health   intentions   lifestyle  

To kick off the year, and #makemoves, join me for a months worth of committing to a new challenge, goal, habit, whatever you make of it. Our very first #makemoves ever is just that: MOVEMENT.

For the entire month of January (however cliche), we are riding the wave of the fresh start and all the fuel of resolutions and goals to stick through this first month together. The goal is to move your body every day for the entire month.

Now the first thing most people want to do is start by going big, as in going hard every single day. Which may work for some. However, I encourage you to think broadly about what movement can mean for you. The idea is to make this sustainable so that you make it through the whole month and can feel good about what you committed to: YOURSELF.

A couple tips for this month, if I may:

  1. Make it count - I don't mean, when you choose your movement for the day, make it something really intense. In fact, I mean the opposite. I am guilty of the inner dialogue that if I didn't get through the whole workout, or if I didn't break a sweat, that it doesn't "count". I myself have shifted to include things like walking the dog, dancing and playing with my kid, stretching etc. to the column of "it counts".
  2. Work it in - consider the things that you already consistently do in a day that you can pair with movement. Could you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Could you stretch while Fiona Gallagher's life falls to pieces? (Shameless reference - go watch it) Could you walk around the block a couple times immediately when you get home from work?
  3. Cut it in half - in John Acuff's book "Finish" he talks about this as a cornerstone of achieving more of your goals. Whatever you have in mind for the month, cut it in half. Success breeds more success and fuels your confidence. You can always add more in as you go and will be more likely to if you're feeling good about yourself. But committing to too much then "missing" a day and then having it all fall apart when you're not perfect is a recipe for feeling like a failure. I don't necessarily mean only commit to movement half of the days in the month (but you could if you wanted to!), what I mean is, think of the big picture of the entire month. For example. if you currently don't ever take walks and are planning on walking for 60 minutes, make it 30.
  4. Book it in - you know I love a good calendar! For me, if it's not in my calendar, it ain't gonna happen. Bust out your iCal or paper planner now and plan your week or month in advance so your commitment is laid out for you.
  5. Make it social - rope a friend in to this challenge with you, start a text threat, share on social media, whatever works for you. Friends = accountability.
Defining "movement" for the month is on your own terms. Permission to get creative, granted. I'm looking forward to seeing how you incorporate movement into your days in January!
xo Syd
If you want to jump into our private MAKE MOVES Facebook group, click here.

As 2019 wraps up and we begin to look forward to 2020 and our goals for the next 365 twirls around the sun, I myself have a goal of expanding my offering to include Personal Training and Program Design. If you have some exciting fitness goals you're ready to tackle in a more committed way, this may be the opportunity for you!
 
I'm looking for 5 women who live busy, full lives that want more ease and more results from their fitness. You're ready to commit to 3 workouts per week and have access to a gym. If this sounds like you, here's what I'm offering:

  • 1 Initial Assessment session to gather baseline information and discuss goals
  • 1 Personal Training session per month at my studio, to track progress and introduce the next months program
  • 3 personalized workouts per week, delivered to your inbox and via the TrueCoach App (HELLO high-tech!)
  • Videos of each exercise
  • Direct messaging with me to ask questions and seek guidance

This is a 3-month commitment and costs $389 ($129/mo). If you're ready to say yes to yourself and your fitness goals, please complete the application form at the link below. Applications will be accepted until Friday, December 13th and the 5 women selected will be contacted by Friday, December 20th.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your health and fitness goals for 2020!

xo Syd

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

As we enter April and welcome Spring, the longer days, better weather, and the energy of new beginnings has me feeling lighter and more motivated than the first part of this year. March passed quickly for me, and I believe it's partially because I was on auto-pilot for a large part of it.

Now that we have began to spread the news of my second pregnancy, and my work projects seem to be ramping up, I can feel the stagnant energy moving out and making way for creativity and execution. I'm looking forward to the next few months!

As I look back on last month, I am reminding myself what these commitments are about. What other larger-picture thing are they rooted in? What goals are they helping me work towards? Above all else: how are these commitments making me feel? Let's dig in to it.

  • One weight training session per week - This commitment is an important one, and perhaps the one I have struggled with the most. My training routine had fallen off in late 2018, and my goal for 2019 was to get back to 3 days per week in the gym, and a couple days of other activities in the week. And I'm still working my way back up to 3 and that is okay. More than anything, this commitment was about carving out time for myself, and trying to claim back some of my identity from before I had a baby. In March, I did train at least once per week, and it's important to note that I took more intentional time for self-care and for slowing down to check-in with myself. 
  • Get outside with the fam on Saturdays - I had wanted to commit to getting outside on Saturdays to ensure that we got some fresh air and did some activities throughout the winter. Now that it's nicer out, this is just something we do on Saturdays as a family, which I love!
  • 1 video per week - I really wanted to start sharing more openly and candidly and have experienced a lot of resonance with watching/listening to certain people I follow through videos. I'm still practicing, and trusting that eventually there will be some good moments of wisdom to share with you.
  • Bring lunch to work Tues-Thurs - The intention of this commitment was twofold: 1) to cook more of the healthy meals I enjoy in my beautiful new kitchen 2) to eat more consciously throughout the week (ie. less snacking on whatever is at or near my office). I've had better weeks than others, and overall, the commitment itself has led to better food choices overall.

For now, these commitments are helping guide my daily decisions in positive ways, so I'll stick with them. And I hold them lightly knowing they may need to shift and evolve throughout the year. Life, especially pregnancy, and work can be unpredictable, so I want to be solid enough in my values to weather storms, and also have room to go with the flow.

I hope you have an incredible month of April, I'm spending my first weekend of the month in beautiful Banff for the first MAVEN Retreat and I'm so excited!

Onward,

xo Syd

    One month (and a bit) in to the year and I have to say, it's been a slow start for me. Thankfully, I have these little monthly check-ins to hold me accountable and to stay real about how last month was. The truth: it was just okay. Turns out, I need to re-calibrate a bit already!
    Here's how my 2019 commitments went in January: 
    • One weight training session per week in January (anything above that is gravy!) - no gravy here. I did manage to keep this commitment this month (barely) and I am still having a hard time finding the space to train. I have this weird mental block about my workouts having to look a certain way or be a certain length to "count" or to be "worth it", but my mental practice these days is about doing small things more consistently so that I don't get overwhelmed trying to "find the time". My plan was to move to 2 per week in February, and I've decided to stick to one for now!
    • Get outside with the fam on Saturdays - Helloooo winter, we were wondering if you were ever going to come and you are very much making your presence known. We did manage to get outside on Saturdays, even if it was for a [very] short walk with the dog.
    • Post 1 video per week - another one I'm finding challenging since I can't let go of it being "perfect" circumstances. Here's my most common excuse: I'm never alone. Welp, expect some video footage from my (parked) car this month.
    • Bring lunch to work Tues-Thurs - I am proud to say I have stuck to this one! I am only at my office on Tues, Wed Thurs, so I have made sure to bring a lunch on those days. Working in an office can be ripe with opportunity to let my eating go sideways, so bringing a lunch has been clutch with keeping important things like vegetables and protein in my life. Another little "rule" I have for not falling prey to the endless treats scattered around the office: "if it's not my favourite thing, I don't eat it". So, unless someone brings in Crave cupcakes or Jelly Modern Donuts, I don't eat the treats!

    As I work to get a space built out, hold down a 9-5, be a rad wife, and raise a little one, my hope is to keep cool about it all and to find a flow in a season that feels full. If you've got any tips or tricks for managing, let a mama know in the comments!

    Onward,

    xo Syd

     

    What you do proves what you believe - Simon Sinek

    I believe in YOU.

    The you who knows you have unique gifts you want to share with the world.

    The you who wants to use your time here to make a positive impact.

    The you who knows you have boundless potential and will do the work to max it out.

    The you who is open to learning and growing, forever.

    The you who knows the power of choice and exercises it.

    The you who wants to create a full life, on your own terms.

    The you who wants to experience the magic of life.

    I believe in ME.

    The me who provides you with tools to identify your unique gifts and help make a plan for you to use them in the world.

    The me who knows your time is precious and won't waste it.

    The me who holds you capable of doing the things I know you can.

    The me who is open to learning and growing alongside you, forever.

    The me who can set an example of the power of choice.

    The me who can give you tools and coaching to help you create a full life, on your own terms.

    The me who creates magical experiences for us.

    Each time you bring yourself to one of my offerings, you are investing in yourself, and you are investing in me getting to realize my own goals. So thank YOU.

    I believe in us working together to make moves in this life.

    xo Syd

    For years I have had a vision of hosting a retreat for women that serves to give them the opportunity to take some time for themselves, move their bodies with intention, eat some nutritious food, and set intentional goals.

    The vision has been so clear for so long, and I can't tell you how many times I have chickened out for fear of no one being interested, or of saying or doing the wrong thing. I had been waiting for the "right" or "perfect" time, for someone to give me permission to do what I know in my gut is going to make an impact. I want to share with you what's at the root of of this retreat - the "why". Here goes.

    1. I have felt the chaos, pressure and overwhelm of everyday life and the need to take a real break

    There have been times in my life where I wish time would stand still for just a few moments so I could catch my breath, or even take a breath. The pace of life has often left me weary, shrunken, and disheartened. It’s when I realize I am living in prison walls of my own construction, trying to abide by the social rules of the world, that I can find some levity and remember that I have choice. I get to decide what works for me. I get to demolish those walls (even if it is one brick at a time). I am determined to not have my life look like anyone else’s or to get caught up in comparison chasing someone else’s ideals. I have found it challenging to find clarity while also keeping up with my daily responsibilities. This is an opportunity for you to lean on your support network and trust that things won’t fall apart if you take a couple days for yourself.

    This retreat is not about running away, but rather finding space to move toward the things that really matter to you. Give yourself a break.

    2. I have experienced the power of rest

    When did rest get all tied up with laziness? Or is that just me collapsing the two on each other? I doubt it. So many of the women I know want to do all the things, and rightfully so, because they are capable. However, I have also witnessed that we aren’t very good a resting. Like, really resting. When was the last time you slept in? Or did something with the express purpose of winding down? I ask because I have a tough time with truly disconnecting myself. I’ll go to lay down for a nap and end up spending twenty minutes scrolling through my Instagram feed (not resting). I have had a massage and spent the entire time feeling guilty and/or thinking about all the things I have to do the rest of the day (not resting). I have sat down to read a book and picked one called “Side Hustle” only to wind up frantically taking notes and feeling like I’m not doing enough with my life (not resting).

    When I have allowed myself to truly rest, I have felt my body loosen up, my mind unhook, and a general sense of calm settle in. It’s magic. Take rest.

    3. I have seen how cathartic speaking and writing our truth can be

    We have all kinds of thoughts rattling around in our brains and we have a lot that goes unsaid. I have felt the choke hold of not saying something I should have. I have also experienced getting it out and felt the release and space it opened up. You know how a weed won’t die unless you pull the entire root out? Same goes for the mind. So we work it out together.

    4. I know the power of movement

    I have never felt more alive and self-expressed than when I move my body. This has evolved from being a competitive athlete to now moving my body in ways that make it feel good. Getting blood moving through, flexing your muscles and organs, all helps to move things out of the body and mind that you may have been holding on to. Not to mention the high of endorphins coursing through your veins. We’ll move together.

    5. I know how time in nature can provide perspective          

    You know that feeling of fresh air in your lungs, space to explore, no distractions. Nature has a way of grounding and humbling like no other. We’ll get out into nature, explore some beautiful scenery, and perhaps gain some new creativity and perspective.

    6. I have experienced the potency of women coming together

    In this busy world we live in, it’s easier than ever to believe we are separate. We see edited versions and highlight reels and can easily assume we must be the only person who doesn’t “have it all together”. When we take time to connect in person, outside of the context of daily life, we often experience that we are more alike than we are different, and how interdependent we are. Groups of women in particular possess a certain magic.

    Above all else, I designed this retreat to help you elevate your experience of life. You have everything you need to curate the life of your choosing. Together, we'll make space for you…

    To PAUSE, and take time to appreciate this precious life.

    To CONNECT with each other, nature, and yourself.

    To RESET your intentions and create some new goals.

    I can't wait to share this experience with you.

    xo Syd

    Click here for more info on the MAVEN Mountain Retreat in Banff, AB on April 5-7, 2019.

    Lately I have been interested in learning more about the concept of minimalism. I've been listening to The Minimalists Podcast and really taking a look at what is truly important to me.

    In conversations with my hubby, I have asked questions like: "If the slate were wiped totally clean, if we owned nothing, and had no ties (job, location, etc.), what would we choose?" It's a question that is difficult to answer, especially when you are 30-something and own a home in the city you grew up in, have a job you enjoy, run your own business whose clients are from a specific location...and the list goes on. Trying to think about choice from the lens of not having any roots is challenging.

    Over the last 2-3 years, I have been downsizing in some really tangible ways like giving away things we don't need or use. It's become pretty easy for me to let go of material possessions, curb the urge to buy more, and live with less. For example, I just got back from a 10-day trip to Croatia with our baby and we didn't check any bags!

    But what about the intangible excess and waste? The conversation about social media and it's place in my life has gone in all different directions, and my addiction to my phone is for real. And what about my TV consumption? I am a part of the "Netflix and chill" generation and admit I watch TV every night before bed.

    This Minimalists Podcast introduced me to the concept of "pacifiers", the things we use to distract, avoid, numb and kill time. Becoming more aware of my own pacifiers hasn't necessarily impacted my behaviour in major ways. I'm even afraid to get that one app that tells you how much time you spend on your phone because I would probably be sick about the facts it would present. Whatever your relationship is to screens, I know what's true for me is that my screen time is more than I would like, and it's cutting in to time for fully living my life in the ways I want to.

    So my spring cleaning project is focused on cleaning up how I spend my time. Less time on social media and watching TV are at the top of my list. I'm still working through what this will look like, but I'll be sure to report back as I move through this process. The overall aim is this: more creation, less consumption.

    Onward,

    xo Syd 

    Meet Your Class Subs

    September 12, 2017

    Fitness   Training  

    So I'm having a baby! In just a few weeks I'm taking on a new role (momma bear), and have found some incredible ladies to take over my indoor classes to ensure you are in good hands! I wanted to introduce my MAVEN community to these lovely, talented, and seasoned fitness professionals who will be leading you this fall.

    Leslie Keats

    Jack of all trades, Master of none is how I would describe myself when it comes to the fitness industry. I get bored fast so variety is my MO. Eight years of personal training and group fitness instructing has taught me that balance is key when it comes to your health and well being. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, then don't do it. Working out should be fun when your quads are burning and lungs are blasting.

    Likes: good music, sweating, challenges, dogs, wine, carbs, stampede, and sleep.

    Dislikes: two hour gym sessions, fad diets, swimming, Donald trump and pulp.

    Now come and get your butt kicked!!! :)

    Leslie will be teaching the Tuesday evening classes 6-7pm October 3rd to November 7th - REGISTER HERE

    Karleen Samson

    Whether she’s leading a SURFSET or TRX class at Studio Revolution or Barre at the Sweat Lab, sweating alongside you around the city, keeping up on social media, or showing you the latest at Kit and Ace – Karleen thrives off of authentic connection, creativity, and a sense of community (…and maybe a little bit of fomo).

    Karleen is passionate about Calgary and has always been fascinated and driven by the people that continually elevate the changing face of the city. As such, she looks for unique opportunities to collaborate or contribute in order to be apart of new, innovative experiences. Because of this, Karleen so excited to work with the Maven crew this fall!

    Karleen will be teaching the Thursday evening classes 6-7pm October 5th to November 9th - REGISTER HERE

    Classes for this 6 week session are at North Glenmore Park Community Centre in Lakeview [MAP].

    If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out! sydney@themavenlife.com

    xo Syd

    Give First

    February 15, 2017

    Fitness   Goal Setting   Goals   lifestyle   Training  

    This thought process all began over the past holiday season when I was on a flight home from Phoenix and picked Love the Coopers as my in-flight entertainment. There is a scene in the movie where Marisa Tomei's character has an epiphany about how she is constantly keeping track of what she is getting from people and experiences and only ever gives in return exactly what she feels she was given.

    This moment in the movie really struck a chord with me. Was this internal "measurement" of what I was getting out of people, experiences, jobs etc. prevalent in my life? Upon becoming aware of this notion, the answer was a resounding 'YES'. Not consciously, but almost automatically I think 'what's in it for me?' (ya, you do this too).

    I had never realized how I - and many others in the world around me - always wanted to know what they would get out of something before they put in anything. How much will I get paid for that job? (before they have even applied) How much fun will I get out of that trip? (before it's even booked) What will I get out of this deal/relationship/agreement? (before ever having a conversation with the others involved) What I found this thought process did was limit what was possible for me within these situations. It made me think only about myself (read: small).

    What if we turned this on its head and asked instead: What can I give in this situation? What are my unique strengths to share? What ideas do I have that could make this really awesome? What if I lead with love first? What if I brought the fun to this trip and gave to the experience instead of trying to take, take, take? #gimme

    As I thought more about this concept, I reflected on my own goals - in life and fitness. I quickly realized I am so programmed and conditioned to think about what I would get out of achieving something, that I won't even start or get involved if I don't think it's "worth it" - rather than giving of myself for the sake of the experience. Even if the experience is trying something and failing.

    As a coach I ask people outright what they want to get out of their training. I do still believe there is value in having goals and being clear on what you want. But what if we all trusted something with a little bit of "blind faith" and gave first? What if our goals became about the experience and not the finish line? When I think about my own training, this new perspective makes me more encouraged for each individual training session, rather than the big daunting - sometimes seemingly impossible goal - sitting on the horizon. I can think about what I can give in my training session first, before thinking about what I'm getting out of it. Whoa. Game changer.

    I have no doubt that this shift in perspective can and will help you towards your fitness (and other life) goals. Give first. Give often.

    Bring it.

    xo Syd

    Have a little faith, sign up for 6 weeks of training

    2016 Gift Guide

    December 14, 2016

    Fitness   Goals   Health   lifestyle   Training  

    This year I committed to supporting local small businesses in Calgary by picking up gifts for friends and family from some of the best [FEMALE] local entrepreneurs and brands (ALL of whom I am fortunate enough to call friends).

    Calgary's health and wellness scene, as well as the number of small businesses has grown so much in the last few years that there really is so much to choose from. I wanted to share my 2016 gift guide to a bringing health, wellness, and purpose to you and your peeps so that you have the best of the best selection!

    The Gut Lab

    #loveyourguts in 2017! This sister duo produces "liquid gold" nutritious and delicious bone broth and herbal potions that contain a ton of ingredients offering massive health benefits. Check out Bone Broth 101 for more info on all the benefits. If you live in Calgary, you can even order online and have it delivered right to your door. 

    Parts & Labor

    If you've ever met the force behind this brand, you know the magic that is Jennifer Mehalko. Her first capsule, the JOURNEY collection, is made with the best quality fabrics, and so many wonderful details you have to see to believe. Choose from tanks, a sweatshirt (pictured above) and sweatpants that will inspire you to move. Available only at Junction 9 Yoga & Pilates in Inglewood. She's just getting started, so you'll want to follow along to see what's coming next!

    Junction 9 Yoga & Pilates

    Give the gift of yoga and/or pilates with a gift certificate from J-9! This studio in Inglewood is beautiful inside and out all the way to the heart of the ladies who own and operate it. Junction 9 is second to none offering both yoga AND pilates classes, as well as a retail space and full serve coffee bar complete with Phil and Sebs, True Buch, and Little Tucker treats. Hell yes.

    Wrinkle & Crease

    For the planners in your life, you will NEED to pick up some Wrinkle & Crease paper products! The lovely Kayley's got everything you need for the holidays and onward including cards, planners, notebooks and more! Order online and get it shipped to you in time to put it under the tree.

    MAVEN (DUH)

    Last but certainly not freaking least, gift your friends and family the experience of training with yours truly! Sign them up for online programs, 6 week registered classes at The Commune, or the 4 Week Reset to make moves in their training goals in 2017. Or you can grab non-fitness products like a Smartfuel 5 Day Meal Plan or Goal Setting Starter Kit to kick start nutrition and personal goals!

    Here's to a happy, healthy, and abundant 2017!

    Big Love,

    Coach Syd