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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

Before I get into my April Commitment Check-in, I wanted to take the time to celebrate a couple of "firsts" that happened last month. When I was first reflecting on the month of April, I was only considering it through the lens of these commitments and almost forgot to give myself a little pat on the back for two major accomplishments. 

The first weekend in April, I led my first ever retreat and by all accounts it was a success! It has been something I wanted to do for years and had been afraid to commit to. In spring 2018 I booked a venue for Fall 2018, I got a bit spooked, and moved the date to Spring 2019. So I'm proud to have truly committed to it, followed through, and I learned a lot throughout the process of planning and executing it. Self high-five!

The other "first" I am celebrating, is the first class hosted at my new space, Rogue Studio. Although the "grand opening" looked different than I had imagined - I didn't feel totally "ready", I'm still figuring out equipment needs, not to mention the doubts that can consume us in a new venture - I am so happy with the turn out, the ongoing support from my clients, and for jumping in before I felt "ready" (no such thing, really!).

As for my 2019 commitments, I have been working with my coach Jacki Carr, and it's been great to have the accountability around taking action steps in my business and life goals. I have been struggling much more in 2019 with these commitments than I did with my 2018 commitments and I am working to meet myself where I am at, while still building in some things that stretch and challenge me. Through this work, I am re-calibrating and may just end up shifting these commitments to better align with some of the new goals I am beginning to think about. 

In the meantime, the commitments I laid out for 2019 were still on my radar in April, so let's see how it went:

  • One weight training session per week - Last month I read Jon Acuff's book, Finish (game changer btw, highly recommend), and he talks about cutting your goal in half as a strategy for achieving more. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but it works. The perfectionist in me wants to say 3-4 weight training sessions per week or bust, and I know the result of that may end up being zero per week. Instead, when I do my one weight workout each week, I really go for it and feel successful and proud of myself. 
  • Get outside with the fam on Saturdays - This is now just part of our weekend routine, we have a dog that needs walking, and a toddler that we gotta get out of the house, so we walk! In the past, I would have put pressure on us to plan something bigger, more action-packed, for our weekend outdoor time, as though a walk in our neighbourhood didn't "count", and the simplicity of strolling out our front door is really working for us at the moment. Nothing fancy, but still quality time as a family without the stress of loading up the car, getting snacks prepared etc.
  • 1 video per week - This is an area where perfectionism is also impacting my follow-through. If I don't feel like I have something mind-blowing to convey, I just won't record anything. One of my mentors, Ally Maz, has been working with me to just get my reps in without feeling the need to put things out there. So I am still practicing, and much like my retreat goal hesitations, I refuse to give up on this just yet!
  • Bring lunch to work Tues-Thurs - Wow, did this ever fall off in April! May is off to a good start, and I'm going to shift this one to be "eat a homemade lunch 3 days per week". Again, meeting myself where I'm at and being flexible, while still building in some stretch and challenge!

In May, I am looking forward to working on more clarity in my vision and goals, and getting my support system aligned to move forward with more intention. I am taking two weeks off this month which includes a cycling trip to Ireland without our son (yay adult time!), and am looking forward to connecting with my husband away from the every day hustle. I wish you a wonderful month of May!

Onward,

xo Syd

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

    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

    When considering and setting goals, it's tough not to get caught up in the allure of the finish line. That shiny point in the future where things may be changed, different, improved. That point is an unknown. Will achieving that thing make you any happier? If you've set it from a place that's true to you, it likely will. What I do know is that any journey has it's setbacks, detours, and delays and is never linear, and it's important to focus on what is in your control. Realize what you have choice over, and consistently keep your eye on that finish line, but also see every day as a new starting line.

    The starting line is just as important. It's a powerful place to be. It's ripe with possibility, butterflies, and excitement. It's really a mindset of looking at the challenges of your goal and seeing them with new perspective at every step. Once you've determined what it is you want to achieve and you're standing at the starting point, that first step can be the most overwhelming. While you're waiting for the start gun to go off, precious time is passing you by. What you must realize is that you are the one holding the gun, you are the only one with the power to choose that first step, and the next, and the next. So what's it going to be? Any small act that moves you forward will do.

    And with every step and each day that passes, you step up to another starting line. Because what I know is that achieving what we want in this life is an exercise in consistently starting over. As sexy as the finish line is, give the starting line it's due.

    With the new year right around the corner, the messaging about making 2017 "the best yet" and "your year" will be all up in your face. And that's okay. Many fitness and health professionals may even tell you "resolutions don't work", "why wait until the new year?", etc. And those are all fair points, there are no quick fixes, and you can start any time. But if you choose to start something new in January because you are motivated and excited, there is nothing wrong with that #doyou. In fact, starting toward a new goal in December is definitely possible, and you can certainly get a head start on your 2017 goals, you just may need to be even more aware of some of the limiting factors and increased potential opportunities to make choices that are not aligned with your health goals, and extra willpower may be necessary. 

    As you look forward to 2017 and begin to think about all you'd like to achieve in the year. Take the time to really stand at the starting point, take in the view from the beginning, know that it takes kahunas to start. And take comfort that each day you carry on is another opportunity to stand there again and again and consider your next step.

    If you've got fitness and health top of mind for 2017, the starting line of my next 12 Week Online Training Program is January 2nd, 2017. Workouts delivered to your inbox daily, weekly e-mails for goal setting and additional tools to keep you on track, nutrition lessons [like how to build a healthy grocery list] throughout, and access to a coach [me!] for support and assistance. Every day you get that workout in your inbox is a new starting line. Let's take those daily first steps together and make real progress.

    Onward,

    xo Syd

    Sign up for the next 12 Week Online Training Program

    Get it at the early bird price of $159 [regularly $199] until December 5th!

     

    We get it. Not everyone is a gym rat or has a home gym. You have a full schedule and perhaps limited resources. But you still want to get in shape, or stay in shape without it getting complicated. Bodyweight exercise is a great [and simple] way for you to get your workout in, even with all the other stuff you have going on. Bodyweight movements are great for seeing progress in strength, flexibility, and overall health. If you're still not convinced, here are our top reasons to add bodyweight training to your repertoire.

    No Excuses. Probably the most notable thing about bodyweight training is that it eliminates so many of the common excuses you may have to not train. No gym membership needed, no equipment to buy, no travel time. Just you and your body doing it's thang.

    Efficiency. Because you aren't using any equipment, you can get a lot of work done and move quickly from one exercise to the next. Fast transition times mean maintaining higher heart rates and intensity and getting more work done in a shorter amount of time. Boom.

    Afterburn. Higher intensity workouts continue using your body's fuel stores beyond the time you are actually moving. Unlike long duration, slow paced aerobic work, after intense workouts, your body will continue to use energy for up to hours after your training, allowing you to achieve the same energy output as a long duration, slow paced workout in far less time.

    Indoor/Outdoor. Because you don't need any equipment, you can take your workout outside to a local park, your basement, or your hotel room or the beach when you travel.

    Mix It Up. There is so much you can do with just your body, you can get very creative with the structure of your workouts. We had a ton of fun designing the 4 Week Online Bodyweight Program for this exact reason.

    Challenge. Typically, bodyweight training is challenging no matter your fitness level. This does depend on how hard you are going (rate of perceived exertion), but generally speaking, bodyweight movements performed in the right way with the right volume are challenging for anyone.

    Results. The thing you all wanna hear. Bodyweight exercise usually involves compound movements (multiple joints and muscles being used at once). Compound exercises like push ups and lunges have proven to be very effective in gaining strength and overall performance.

    We'd like to note here that throwing together some bodyweight movements on your own may not be the safest or smartest thing to do. We believe in working with a coach to ensure you are performing movements properly and have a program that is designed with some intention so that you aren't just dicking around spinning your wheels doing random workouts. We don't want to waste your precious time!

    If you're looking for a new workout program with the added accountability of access to a coach, and you don't have access to a gym or equipment, or travel often for work, we've got you covered. Check out our 4 Week Online Bodyweight Training Program and get started as early as Monday, October 3rd!