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How I tackled Tough Mudder: Part 1

Alexandra Davies | posted Tuesday, Jul 22nd, 2014

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a superstar athlete. Though I competed eight years competitively in synchronized swimming (and no, synchro is not anything like what you saw in Austin Powers), I was a strong swimmer, but pretty much a weakling in everything else. I was able to eat all the bread/pasta/pastries I wanted without gaining any weight—in fact, I didn’t even know what refined carbs were, or that they don’t do any favours for your waistline. My practice would burn it all off anyways, so I was set. But then the worst thing that can happen to an aspiring Olympic athlete happened: I was forced out of my hopeful synchro career thanks to a wonky lunge-twist that resulted in a herniated disc. Major buzzkill.

With being pretty well immobile for a couple weeks, and forbidden from practising with my team, the carbs moved in and decided to stay. With university just around the corner, I did what I could to keep myself in decent shape (and mainly to avoid gaining 300 pounds). I got a GoodLife membership, bought all the Jillian Michaels’ fitness videos, and even took up running. I was determined as ever, and there was no way I was gaining any more weight.

But alas, I did exactly that once I hit university. First year proved to be where my fitness regime died a slow painful death. From the alcohol to the copious amounts of tater tots conveniently placed inside my residence’s cafeteria, I was on a one-way trip to Fatville with the dreaded freshman 15 (okay, 30…) to keep me company.

THE PLAN

Something had to be done. In what physically and mentally felt like a slump, I started jotting down things I knew would make me happy. This resulted in the creation of my very own bucket list. The first thing on the list was to compete in aTough Mudder race. I figured that a healthy body and Tough Mudder went hand in hand, so it would be a two-bird-one-stone type of deal. On November 12, 2013 I took the plunge and signed myself up to compete in the Toronto Tough Mudder on August 16, 2014.

Now, if you do not know what Tough Mudder is, I’ll sum it up in a few words: omg, mud, dirt, fire, pain, ice cold water. Sounds dreamy, right? You’re probably questioning my sanity at this point, but there was something about this specific race that lured me in—I needed that rush, I needed that Tough Mudder headband, and I needed to feel the accomplishment of fulfilling my dream.

Before I began training, I knew two things had to change: my eating habits and my workouts. A Tough Mudder course incorporates more than just running for countless kilometres on end. All together, the course runs for 18-20 km with various types of obstacles you and your team must conquer. And I’m not talking ‘run through these tires’ type of obstacles—I’m talking trudging through trenches caged by barbed-wire, jumping through flames, and crawling through muddy water dodging electric wires that feel as though you are getting a jump start. CLEARLY I had to up my exercise game so my body could endure all of this madness, but first I needed to clear up my diet.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Cityline.ca where I cover my training and diet plan!

2014 Summer reading guide: 12 hot new books!

Chatelaine | posted Monday, Jul 21st, 2014

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Whether your summer plans include a vacation to the beach or a "staycation" in your backyard, 'tis the season for relaxing and reading.  Chatelaine book editor Laurie Grassi takes us through her picks for top summer reads.

Click below to see the full list:

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Canada’s Richest Neighbourhoods 2014: The Top 25 Wealthiest Neighbourhoods in Canada

Canadian Business | posted Thursday, Jul 24th, 2014

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Canadian Business magazine partnered with market research firm Environics Analytics to map out out exactly where Canada’s wealthiest people live. Unsurprisingly, they flock together, choosing leafy enclaves where they can spread out to make room for wine cellars, art collections, luxury cars and more.

Click or tap through the gallery to see where Canada’s wealthiest people call home »

So you’re moving out — now what?

Cityline | posted Thursday, Jul 10th, 2014

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The weather is heating up and so is the real estate market which means moving season starts bustling from coast to coast. The great thing about moving is that you have the chance for a fresh start, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy everything new. Depending on the stage of your life you are in – and we often move because our needs and stage of life is changing – you will need to refocus your décor to reflect those changes.

Two major moves in your life are First Digs and Coupling Up. We’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to help movers of all stages get settled into their new homes, plus some essential packing tips for that first night!

First New Digs

Moving out of a family home and into your very own place brings with it many firsts – like being responsible for cleaning and cooking! While decorating a new apartment is important, so are the basics:

KITCHEN

  • When shopping for the kitchen, don’t overspend on complete dinnerware sets; one or two plates, bowls, cups and mugs will meet your everyday needs.
  • Look for pieces with colour and pattern that reflect your style, because even a tiny food prep area can be chic. You’re only one person, so if it’s a funky mug, it’s just one funky mug, etc.
  • This is also the time to buy a few versatile kitchen utensils such as wooden spoons (stash them in a cute canister) and even a small French press will meet your coffee needs without taking up the amount of counter space that a full-size coffee machine takes up.
  • You may not even have your “own” cleaning products yet. Create a cleaning kit or caddy with all of your supplies in one bucket or metal caddy.

BEDROOOM

  • A lack of storage space is no excuse for disorder! Look for items that serve double duty like a garment rack and hamper that provides a place for both clean and dirty laundry.
  • Especially if you are in a bachelor suite, the bedroom sometimes is your living room. Consider using a twin bed as a daybed, and choose bedding that will also look great with cushions on it functioning as your living room sofa. The other thing with bedding is that it’s a great way to add colour and pattern to a space, on a budget. And it’s also something you can take with you if you move to a new apartment.
  • Storage pieces, boxes, baskets are also always key for tucking away items that would otherwise have nowhere to go when space is limited.

LIVING ROOM

  • People assume that small spaces require small furniture, but that’s not always the best approach. If you have space for a regular sofa, you won’t regret it. Plus it won’t be something temporary that you will only use for a few years, you can grow with it.
  • Sometimes landlords restrict painting in a rental unit, so artwork becomes more important than ever and doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are tons of options and this will really make your new home away from home feel more personal. If you’re not allowed to hammer in nails, adhesive hooks are great in a pinch.
  • Scatter rugs or a sophisticated cowhide are a great way to cover up unsightly broadloom.

Coupling Up

KITCHEN

  • When two spaces merge into one, creating cohesion is key. Edit and purge mismatched duplicates and upgrade items like cookware and dinnerware to complete sets that will have you ready to host your first dinner party as a couple.
  • Perhaps your style is evolving and you want dishware that is a bit more grown-up. There is a lot of casual dinnerware that will feel chic and mature even though it doesn’t need to be fine china.
  • Similarly, you may not yet be in the gravy boat stage of entertaining, but could use a few great platters and or salad servers.

 BEDROOM

  • Sharing a home with your partner also means sharing precious closet space! Avoid a war over the wardrobe by switching out wooden hangers for super-thin felted ones to maximize closet capacity when combining clothing.
  • He may have had man bedding (Star Wars?) and you may have had something frilly. Now is the time to create a soothing couples retreat with gender neutral bedding that will appeal to both of you.

 LIVING ROOM

  • It’s all about balancing masculine and feminine details as you merge your belongings. He may have had a mod, navy blue sofa, but you can soften it up with more feminine accent pillows. The same theory could apply to a creamy tufted sofa and you add more masculine cushions.
  • Now that you are flat-mates, celebrate your shared life together by displaying photographs of places you’ve been as a couple. This may also be the time in your life, pre-mortgage and kids, when you have disposable income to spare for travel.

Packing a First-Night Box

  1. Bed linens for each bed that needs to be used that night
  2. Cleaning supplies
  3. Paper plates and cutlery
  4. Flashlight
  5. Paper napkins
  6. Non-perishable snacks
  7. Toiletries (including hand soap)
  8. Towels
  9. Toys for children and pets

A few other things that you would want: trash bags, tools, one change of clothes for each family member, light bulbs, and don’t forget your cellphone and charger!

 

Courtesy Tamara Robbins Griffith

@Tamara_Robbins

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