A 5'3 Perspective


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What’s Better Than A Weekend?

The answer to that question should be pretty obvious, the only thing better than a weekend is a LONG weekend! Having an extra day to relax and spend time with family and friends is always such a treat, but before we can celebrate the holidays (it’s Thanksgiving in Canada), let’s take a moment to appreciate the past seven days. High Five For Friday

1.  On Sunday I ran for a cure for breast cancer along with my family and friends. Thanks to you guys, I was able to raise almost $1600 to donate to the cause!
2. Do I even need to explain why this is awesome? Whiskey and fried chicken… You better believe I had a sore stomach the next day. It was worth every bite!
3. Just a tiny selection of my product sample collection. I love trying new products and these mini packages are just so cute. I’m already dying to splurge on the full size NUDE ProGenius Treatmeant Oil.
4. 5 AM elevator rides. My man is heading out west for a few days (actually a lot of day :(). I miss him already but I know he is going to have an amazing time!
5. Enjoy nature and each others company before Neil’s trip – I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thanks again to Lauren for hosting this appreciation party! If you want to link your post of Friday reflections, head over to TheLaurenElizabeth.com. Have a wonderful weekend!

xo Lauren


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Here’s To The Weekend!

High Five For Friday1. Okay, okay – PUMPKIN EVERYTHING is delicious. Still doesn’t beat out apples, but it is pretty awesome! Over the weekend my girlfriend and I went on a raw baking spree – these are chocolate, pumpkin cheesecake bites, without the cheese though!
2. Enjoying my runs again now that the training pressure is off!
3. Ottawa always gets a bad reputation for being a boring city – stop and look around for a minute and I dare you to try to deny it’s beauty.
4. Cover your eyes – it’s yolk porn! But really, spinach, roasted potatoes and eggs are the best combination.
5. This weekend I will be running for a cure for breast cancer research in memory of my mom. The support and generosity I have witnessed over the past week is incredible. I truly appreciate every penny donated. If you’d like to contribute please visit my fundraising page, if you already have, thank you – I am so grateful.

If you want to link up your post of Friday reflections, head over to TheLaurenElizabeth.com. Have a wonderful weekend!

xo Lauren


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So You Finished Your Race, Now What?

I’ll be the first to admit that after a big race, I always feel lost with my training. Getting back into the swing of things without having a goal to work towards is a different feeling, no more scheduled distances or paces, heck – no more running if I don’t feel like it. post race bluesFirst thing’s first, take some rest. Whether it is a day or a week, let your body relax and celebrate your accomplishments. Next you’ll want to make a new plan, try to incorporate workouts you longed to do during your training but didn’t have the time. For me, this includes more high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting. Here is what my new workout schedule looks like:

MONDAY: Rest Day
TUESDAY: Body Shred (HIIT Training)
WEDNESDAY: Run and Legs
THURSDAY: Spin and Back/Chest
FRIDAY: Run and Triceps/Biceps/Shoulders
SATURDAY: Body Shred (HIIT Training)
SUNDAY: Long Run

I am keeping Sunday as a long run day since I plan to sign up for a few 10k fun runs throughout the year. I always really enjoy embarking on weekend long runs because they give me time to decompress and reflect on my week.

Remember, finding a new training plan that works for you isn’t always going to be easy. It is okay to test out a couple different options until you find something that you love. Don’t give up, exercising without a race goal can still be a lot of run and extremely rewarding. My advice is to turn your motivation inwards and focus on achieving your healthiest body on your own terms. What works for others, may not be right for you – trust yourself and you’ll succeed!

xo Lauren


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Clean Apple Spice Muffins [and the CIBC Run For The Cure]

Lately Pumpkin everything has been the go to flavour for Fall, but what about Apple?! For me, Fall is about layers, crisp air, and apple picking. As a kid I remember heading out to the orchard at least once a year to bring home bags full of delicious local apples. As the old adage goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away – so why not eat your apples baked inside a delicious and healthy muffin? Apple Spice MuffinsIngredients

2 cups oats
1 cup quinoa flour
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup almond milk
2 droppers of liquid stevia
2 tbsp softened coconut oil
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey
1 apple (finely chopped)

Optional: 1/3 cups nuts (walnuts or pecans are best)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients (except for the chopped apple and nuts) in a large mixing bowl. Once the batter is well uniform, fold in apples and nuts. Spoon the mixture evenly into a muffin pan (silicon or lined) and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!

On an unrelated note, nest weekend I will be participating in the Ottawa CIBC Run For The Cure to raise money for breast cancer research. As many of you know, this is a cause that is near an dear to my heart. If you are able to, please visit my fundraising page and donate to this worthy cause – anything and everything helps. I would really appreciate if you could share this link with your friends and family to help raise as much money as possible to further cancer research and bring us closer to finding a cure.

If you are in town on the 6th of October and would like to join Team Esther, please let me know, I would be happy to have you!

Have a wonderful day friends!

xo Lauren


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Running Remorse

As most of you know, this weekend I will be racing in my second half marathon (ever) of the year. I still remember the feeling of relief that came across me when I finally made it to the finish line of the Ottawa Race Weekend half – yes I said relief, not accomplishment. At that moment I had absolutely no intentions of signing up for the Army Run, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like i should sign up for a second half. I had already built up my endurance and maintaining it would be much easier (not true). After wavering on whether or not to race again, I finally decided to do it – having something to train for would force me to be accountable with my running throughout the summer.

I don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy, there are more than a handful of reasons why racing and training is great – which I’ve shared with you here, here, and here – but I am starting to realize that running for yourself and for pleasure is much more enjoyable. Running your first race (of a particular distance) is exciting, the main goal is to finish strong. I am noticing that a second race is different – I always have that nagging voice in my head telling me that I have to beat my last time. As competitive as I am, the pressure to PR is driving me insane – it has been detrimental to my training and my well being. I cannot think of a single run since the race where I have finished feeling satisfied. I am always disappointed with my time, my pace, my walk breaks, the list goes on – there is always something I could have done better.

Now that I have had some time to reflect on my training, I know I am being too hard on myself. I stuck to my schedule and ran each run to the best of my ability, despite negative thoughts. I really do love to run – and I love being a part of the running community, but after this Sunday I need to change my training up to remind myself why I started in the first place. No more forced 16km (or longer) Sunday runs. If I want to do a long run I will, if I am not feeling it – that is okay too. This isn’t an excuse to stop exercising, it is merely a reminder that I need to be a little more conscious of how my body feels. I still plan to run three days a week, two short and one long, but on a much less rigorous schedule – running is supposed to be fun, and I have every intention to return to a place where I look forward to doing it.

As for this race, of course I hope to PR, but I have to remember that completing a half marathon (no matter the time) is an accomplishment. My plan is to be positive – no more self doubt. I know I can run the distance as I have done it many times before.

I am done running with my head – this Sunday is all about running with my heart.

xo Lauren


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What I Ate Wednesday [And A Recipe]

Remember when I promised to share the recipe for those coconut lemon balls I raved about? Well I’ve tweaked them just a tiny bit over the week and decided that they are ready to be revealed, but first, let’s take a sneak peek into my photo food diary. WIAW

Breakfast – Green [Brown] Smoothie. During the summer months I always crave something cold and refreshing for breakfast. To make this beast of a smoothie I used about a cup of frozen berries, a huge handful of spinach, a scoop of protein powder and water.
Snack – Goat Yogurt with blueberries and pecan pieces.
Lunch – Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce.
Snack – A big bag of veggies. This is my go to afternoon snack, usually consisting of carrots, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
Dinner – Steak, a couple pieces of chicken, roasted asparagus and zucchini, and homemade sweet potato fries.
Dessert – Coconut Lemon Goji Balls!! As promised – head over to I’m Fit Possible, where Tara was lovely enough to host me as a guest, to see my recipe.

Have a lovely day friends!

xo Lauren


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What I Ate Wednesday [And A New Breakfast Recipe]

Lately it feels as though I have been going grocery shopping on a daily basis but rarely have any meals to make. Over the past week I have been using the clean out the fridge mentality. For today’s What I Ate Wednesday, I unintentionally went with a meatless theme as well – which is very atypical for me. I also came up with a delicious and simple new breakfast recipe – banana, egg white and oat pancakes – the name says it all but I’ll share the specifics at the end of this post! WIAW

Breakfast – Healthy Pancakes [scroll down for the recipe] topped with fresh blueberries.
Snack – A handful of almonds.
Lunch – Homemade bento box of cucumber, hard boiled eggs, lactose free cheese, yellow pepper and hummus.
Pre-workout Snack – Goat yogurt with blueberries and pecan pieces.
Dinner – Grain free, vegetarian enchiladas

Recipe: Veggie Filled, Meatless, Grain-Free Enchiladas

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Dessert – Lemon Coconut Balls – I’ll share the recipe for these soon, I promise!

On weekdays, my go to breakfast consists of either egg whites and spinach, or goat yogurt and berries – but lately I have been feeling so uninspired by the choices. Last week I came up with a new and extremely simple pancake recipe that I have been cooking non stop – it even gets the boyfriend seal of approval!

Banana, Egg White, Oat Pancakes

Ingedients
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup gluten free oats
1/3 cup egg whites
cinnamon [use as much or as little as you like]
dash of vanilla

Directions
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Cook on a skillet/pan as you would a typical pancake. For me it takes approximately 2 minutes per side, sometimes less.

What was the best thing you made or ate this past week? Did you try any new recipes?

xo Lauren


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The Time That Jillian Michaels Kicked My Butt

Last Friday I experienced the opportunity of a lifetime. I worked out with celebrity trainer [and drill sergeant], Jillian Michaels. It is quite uncommon for me to enter big contests because I always get discouraged when I lose, but when I saw a chance to workout with one of the most iconic fitness professionals, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to give it a shot.

Let’s make a long story short. I won – I was going to workout with Jillian Michaels, and I could bring a friend to torture as well! Off I went to Toronto to get my butt seriously kicked by the most intense trainer I know of. a day with jillian michaels body shred with jillian michaelsSince I was only in town for one day, I packed as much into it as possible; registering for the workout bright and early, grabbing some Starbucks [and a banana] for workout fuel, a quick pit stop at Anthropologie [a quite successful one too], and then finally – the moment I had been waiting for –  a Jillian Michaels “ass kicking” [her words, not mine]. JMWith my best friend in tow, we secured spots near the front of the class. I was in for a surprise – I figured that the room would be filled with contest winners like myself. Boy was I wrong. About half of the attendees were actually fitness professionals… and there we were, right near the front. I wish I could have gotten a closer/clear/one on one picture with Michaels, however, just breathing the same air as someone so motivated and influential in the fitness world was unbelievable!

As soon as Jillian Michaels emerged from backstage things got serious. She began to walk us through the exercises we would be using for the class, explaining the structure as she went. If you aren’t familiar with her workout program I’ll give you a quick run down. Body Shred, which is offered through Goodlife Fitness in Canada, is a high intensity interval training class. It follows a 3-2-1 format, with only 24 minutes of work. Sure it sounds easy when you type it out, but in practice, 24 minutes without breaks, while your heart rate is between 90 – 100% of your max is no laughing matter. During the half an hour class you will warm up and cool down [3 minutes each] and complete 4 rounds of circuits in between which are comprised of 3 minutes of resistance, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of active recovery [which actually means intense ab workouts – not break time]. I highly recommend visiting a Goodlife Fitness near you to try this class for yourself. You’ll love me and hate me all at the same time! before and after bodyshredWorking out with such an intense instructor [and a huge group of fitness professionals and enthusiasts] was one of the most motivating experiences I have ever had and it allowed me to push myself harder than I thought possible. Although the workout Jillian Michaels led us through was challenging, I must admit that my Tuesday night Rideau Center instructor Sarah, works her class ten times harder – she is ruthless, but awesome. It didn’t surprise me when I found out that Jillian Michaels was one of her idols – they definitely have that drill sergeant thing in common! I loved that options were given so that first time shredders and veterans could choose their levels to intensify [or not] the workout. canfit pro conferenceMy guest, Sarah, had never tried the class before – you can see our pre workout faces here, she was terrified. I however, was on top of the world! Sarah was an awesome sport and made it through the half hour HIIT workout like a champ, she even admitted to enjoying it afterwards. Unfortunately as soon as the workout ended Jillian ran off the stage leaving no opportunities to get a group photo, let alone individual pictures. Not to worry though, a life-size cut out was waiting outside to pose with after we finished the class. If you look quickly it almost looks real!

Working out with the tiny dynamo only fueled my admiration and appreciation for her even more. The entire experience was something I could only ever dream about and I am still pinching myself to make sure it really happened! Thanks again to Goodlife for hosting this contest and giving fitness enthusiasts and professionals the opportunity to meet such an influential trainer in the industry – you better believe my motivation to workout has sky rocketed after this class!

Have you ever tried BodyShred or any other Jillian Michaels workouts?

xo Lauren


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What I Ate Wednesday

If you follow any full fledged healthy living blogs, you’ve likely seen this type of post a million times. If not, here is a quick run down – What I Ate Wednesday, also known as WIAW, was started as a once a week food diary which allowed people [healthy living bloggers] to show off their beautiful and nutritious meals through pictures. Since then, WIAW has transformed into a weekly social event for bloggers worldwide.

Although I have been hesitant to join the movement since I know people will compare their diets to mine, but that isn’t the point. I love reading What I Ate Wednesday posts from others because it gives me new recipes and meals to try – that is the reason I am sharing my eats with you. This is a pretty typical day for me, except for dinner… that was a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it!

Thanks to Jenn of Peas and Crayons for hosting this Wednesday party!WIAW

Breakfast – Tea and Oats In A Jar, made using gluten free oats, unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, strawberries, pecan pieces and stevia].
Snack – Big container of veg!
Lunch – Baked Salmon, Sweet Potato and Broccoli with a bit of lemon juice.
Snack – White Chocolate Raspberry Quest Bar – one word – UNREAL.
Dinner – Homemade Gluten Free Pizza Chicken Pizza with Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers, Broccoli, and Lactose Free Cheese.
Dessert – A Maple Coconut Ball. When these bad boys are in my fridge, I just can’t resist.

Happy hump day friends!

xo Lauren


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Aveda Madder Root Colour Conditioner Product Review

Becoming a redhead was one of the best choices I’ve made. I get to standout from the crowd, while still sporting a natural hair colour. The number of compliments I receive in regards to my red hue is incredible! I love everything about my hair colour, except one small annoyance – red hair dye fades faster than you can imagine. Within days of a salon visit, my colour rids itself of almost all vibrancy which leaves me longing for another appointment to give it a boost. Sure regular touch ups are necessary when maintaining a colour that isn’t natural, however, monthly visits are just not an option for me – or my credit card. So I turned to the only option I could find – a colour depositing conditioner.

Fading that occurs between salon visits. First picture is pre-salon, second is after a fresh colour.

Fading that occurs between salon visits. First picture is pre-salon, second is after a fresh colour.

After a bit of research I settled upon the Aveda Madder Root Colour Conditioner. A shampoo to complement is available too, however, I prefer to use a thickening product instead. At first glance, this conditioner looks terrifying. It is bright red – which is exactly what I wanted, but it looked like it would make a huge mess of my shower. On the bright side, it smells amazing, a subtle mint aroma.madder rootThe first time I used the colour depositing conditioner I assumed it wouldn’t make much of an impact. I started with a large palm full and ran it through the top of my scalp, slowing moving towards the ends of my hair. I left it in for about five minutes to really allow it to work. After a thorough rinse, I was able to wash out all of the product. When my hair eventually dried,  you could see the places I had focuses on. I had streaks of bright red popping through my brassy orange. It didn’t look bad, but it wasn’t really what i was going for.

The second application was much better, I used slightly less product and started from the ends of my hair and worked upwards, combing through my locks with a wide tooth comb during the application. I felt like I had applied the conditioner much more evenly than my first attempt. After a good rinse I eagerly awaited the drying process to see the results.

I have noticed with repeated use I have a much more vibrant red colour than ever before. I do still see a few spots that I have missed, however, they don’t look odd or out of place – more like natural highlights. I think the more I use the conditioner the more even the results will be. For me, the colour depositing formula keeps my hue fresh enough to save me at least one salon visit. The conditioner itself leaves my hair smelling great and looking healthy. I just have to remind myself that a little goes a long way.

If you’re a brunette, the madder root colour conditioner would likely give you a nice auburn shine. if you’re  blonde – STAY AWAY – your hair will turn pink. For my fellow redheads – if bright is the colour your aiming for, I highly recommend the Aveda Madder Root Colour Conditioner. I plan to try it on dry hair soon, saturating each strand thoroughly and leaving it on for a while (as though I was dying my hair) to see if it will deposit even more colour. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out!

If you’re considering going red (or any other unnatural colour) here are a few lessons I’ve learned that I’m happy to share. First, don’t wash your hair within forty-eight hours of a salon visit. You want the colour to really set in your hair before getting it wet. Secondly, use cooler water in the shower. For me, the cooler the temperature, the less fading I experience. Yes it is terrible to take cold showers, so I tend to wash and condition my hair in the cooler water and then turn up the heat for the rest of the cleansing. Finally, don’t over wash your hair. The more shampoo and conditioner you use, the faster the colour will disappear. If you can get away with bi-weekly hair washes, you’re set. I typically will wash my hair three times a week because I frequent the gym a lot. Don’t be confused – this doesn’t mean you only have to shower a few times a week, I am just saying skip the hair washing every day. Not only will you notice less fading, you’ll also experience healthier and shiner locks.

Aveda also offers colour depositing/enhancing products for blondes, brunette and black hues.