Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer

To The Roof of Africa!

8.12.2010 | 3 Comments

On January 1st, 2010 I started my journey with this blog entry:

I am going to climb a mountain. Well, I’m going to walk up one, anyway.

I haven’t done anything like this before. In fact, I can probably count the number of times I’ve gone hiking, and I know I haven’t been camping more than half a dozen times. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I’m getting into. I’ve watched videos about climbing this mountain. I’ve submitted questions about the climbing of this mountain to semi-popular websites. I have bought (although not yet read) books about this mountain. I feel about as prepared as someone who listens to a song on the radio and then starts hiring roadies to prepare for a world tour.

In August of 2010, I am going to fly to Tanzania, Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a way to raise money for the Delta Hospice. The Hospice holds a very special place in my heart, and it is my absolute honour to take on this journey to fund raise on their behalf. But this will be no simple journey. Oh no, this will be a flat-out epic.

Aside from the parent-induced membership in Brownies and Girl Guides, I have managed to avoid the outdoors quite sufficiently for about 30 years. I am the anti-camper. I do not like being cold. The sound of rain drops falling on a tent is nearly trauma-inducing. I would rather be in prison than a sleeping bag. (Some of you more astute readers may be able to pick up the subtle hints I am dropping in regards to my views on outdoor life). To climb Mount Kilimanjaro means that I will need to… oh, man… camp for 10 days.

And so, purely for your entertainment, I am going to allow you into my world as I train for this adventure. For the next seven months, I will allow parts of my life to become an open book, and permit you to laugh, cry and shake your head in total disbelief as I attempt to turn myself from Robyn the Indoor Princess, into Robyn the Sobbing Mess of Outdoorsy Semi-Competence.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!

And today, on August 12th, 2010, I am boarding that flight to Tanzania, Africa knowing that $10,000 $11, 850 has been raised (so far!) for the Delta Hospice Society.

I hiked once, twice, three times and four, five times, six times, and seven

I trained

I attempted to camp

I ate, ate, ate, and ate, and ate, ate, and happily ate, and ate, and ate, shamefully ate, ate, ate and attempted to explain sarcasm, ate, and ate, and ate, and tried to avoid eating, and thought about what to eat, and ate.

I fundraised, and had help with fundraising

I was sponsored and sponsored again

I was humbled

I remembered.

This has been an incredible journey on the way to having an incredible journey. I learned a lot about myself in these past eight months, and I learned a great deal about the power of human nature and the strength of community kindness. This whole experience has left me awed. And I am grateful for it. Thank you for letting me share it all with you. This became such a personal blog, and I’ve met some very wonderful people because of it.

And so today, I leave this blog in the capable hands of Chris, who will update it as often as he hears from me. I’m not sure how or when I’ll be able to make contact, but please know that it’s a priority for me to be able to keep you posted.

I want to thank you all so very, very much for following me and for reading this blog. It means more to me than I could ever express to know that I’m carrying your support and kindness in my heart as I scale that mountain.

And guess what?

I’m crying.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!



Malaria, Zanzibar, and Chris hates me…

7.15.2010 | 0 Comments

You know what’s great?   Not getting Malaria.

You know what’s not so great?   Spending $150 to not get Malaria.

I went and picked up my wee traveling pharmacy yesterday and it included my Malarone, which I was hesitant to pick up because I knew it was going to be expensive. But hey, I guess it’s worth it, right? Malaria doesn’t sound like it would be all that fun, so I’m content with skipping the experience altogether.

Oh hey! While we’re on the subject of things being great, Amanda was looking at us staying here while we’re in pre-climb Zanzibar.   Not too shabby, eh?  Hopefully we can book a room there and spend some time lolling about and being all drunk and fat.

…Ummm, I mean, spend some time swimming in the ocean, doing yoga on the beach every morning, and running in the sand for 4 hours a day to prepare for our climb.  Yes. That’s what’s I meant.

Not a whole lot new to report today, aside from the fact that I’ve doubled-up on my training with Cara. I do one group class a week and I’ve  suckered convinced Chris to do a private training class with Cara and I. Our first class with her was yesterday afternoon, and it was not easy. Cara was working Chris and I very hard in the sun, and we were both putting all we had into it.  Funny thing, I could have sworn that as Chris ran past me during sprints, he said something along the lines of wanting to leave me… but it could have been the dehydration effecting my hearing. I’m sure that was it.

Things are getting very exciting as the date of my departure approaches. Exciting/scary… same thing, right?



Run, Robyn, Run!

6.20.2010 | 1 Comment

I’ve started running again.

Yes, it hurts my hips the next day, but it’s worth it.  Besides, I know my hips are going to hurt on my Kili climb, so I’d better just get used to it now.

Training for pain.

Well, that’s new.

I’ll be taking it easier on myself this time around, and won’t be doing my 10km 4x/week. That’s too much right now. Maybe I can work up to that again, but for now I just need to work on my cardio and my stamina, and the best way to do that is to run. Because I know I’ll run.

I have a bike that I rarely use, a swim pass that collects dust, and a bamillion work-out DVDs that pretty much still have the plastic covering on. But I’ll run.

I’m going to be stubbornly defiant about this, and I’m sure I’ll pay for it, but I’m just in this rut of non-exercise. I don’t care right now. I don’t want to train. I’ve given up, and I’m trying to justify my slovenly self in any way I can: “I need to have extra weight on! I’m going to need it for the cold… for energy… for the inevitable weight loss that will occur on the climb…”  I’m getting quite creative.

But I’m also getting scared. What if I don’t make it because I wasn’t physically ready? I would never forgive myself.

So… I’ll run.

I’ll try to keep my griping and complaining to a minimum.


Rly? Ya Rly!

5.08.2010 | 2 Comments

As a way to relax after a long week, I booked myself an appointment for a massage with Laura at Better Still Day Spa. Best. Idea. EVER. I am SO relaxed. Laura really is fantastic… I can’t wait to go back. I need a pedicure in the worst way.

Ali and I received confirmation yesterday from our Professional Mountain guide that he’s on board to drag our butts up Kili. Ok, maybe he didn’t say that exactly. However, he *did* tell us to go hike The Chief and The Grouse Grind more often. I think he’s spying on us somehow. Thankfully he didn’t mention anything about our post-hike snacks.


It’s ok Mr. Kili Guide, we’re going to be in GREAT shape when we get there, we promise!!


Speaking of being in shape, how about I reveal yet another raffle draw prize that will be available at The Kili Gala on June 5th?

Quick recap for those of you just joining us: Kili Gala on June 5th at the Ladner Community Centre (where the evil wonderful outdoor pool is) – a fundraiser benefiting the Delta Hospice Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by contacting me through this site, or you can go to Open Space Yoga or Evolutions Hair Salon and purchase them there (cash or cheque only, please)… DJ, dancing, snacks, drinks, entertainment and a FABTASTICOUS raffle draw!!  100% of net proceeds go to charity, so come on out and have a great time for a great cause!

Ok… here we go…

The Kili Gala raffle draw will have three gift certificates from my FRIKKEN RAD personal trainer Cara Thien!


Yah, you heard me… THREE.



No, really?


Cara is a dedicated, passionate and skilled trainer who knows exactly how to get you looking your best. She has her own in-home studio in Tsawwassen where she holds group training classes, does one-to-one personal training, and she also creates meal plans, on request, for clients that want to look and feel their best. She’s the greatest. I mean it.

The gift certificates that she’s donating are worth over $300, and even if you DID have to pay that amount, it’s totally worth it. But hey, lucky for you, these prizes can be yours if your $2 raffle ticket gets pulled at the Kili Gala.

You want to get in shape for the summer?  This is your chance. Come to the Kili Gala on June 5th, and throw some raffle tickets into the draw for this really, really, really… ummmm… really, really smashtastic prize.


(I totally love this photo of Cara, don’t you??)


Bark Mulch and Power Beans

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but making fun of my lunch will never hurt me.

I’m getting ridiculed at work.

Y’see, I’ve been on one of Cara’s personalized Nutrition Plans for a couple of weeks now, and although it’s serving my body well, it certainly opens my world up to more wide-eyed gawkers and fascinated head shakers.

I eat about six times a day. It’s not a ton of food at each meal, but it’s enough to make people laugh at me when I stuff the fridge at work with multiple containers labeled with pieces of tape that say things like, “Friday3pm”, and “Monday12pm”. I usually take in a minimum of 4 containers to work each day. Yesterday one of my colleagues popped her head into my office and said, “are those all YOUR containers in the fridge?!” (LOUDLY. In front of multiple other colleagues).

“Yes”, I sheepishly replied, feeling slightly bad that I’m taking up so much room in the mini-bar sized refrigerator.

“Where do you put it all?!”, she asked incredulously.

As I futilely began to explain that ‘it’s not that much, food… REALLY!’, she had already walked away shaking her head and laughing.


These Nutrition Plans are crazy. They absolutely, 100% WORK. After just four days on this one, the results were already easy to notice. I feel so much better, too. It’s about ‘eating clean’, not putting ready-to-eat, pre-packaged, chemical-infused STUFF into my body. Lots of fresh veggies, lots of fish. No bread, no sugar. It is not easy to follow this thing at all, but it’s really worth it.

And so, as I chow down on my 4oz of grilled tofu, 1c of long grain brown rice, and 2c salad (with tomatoes and cucumbers!) with 1tbsp of olive oil & red wine vinegar dressing, at 1pm today, I’ll let the “how’s the bark mulch and power beans?” ridicule bounce off me. Because I know that after work today, I need to go shopping for new belts, as the ones I have are far too big for me, and actually hang off my waist now.

Well, well. Look at that.

I (heart) you, bark mulch.


The Last of The Brunch-hicans

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

This morning I am going to meet Ali for brunch at my favourite restaurant in Vancouver: Twisted Fork! We are going to talk about the Kili Gala and other Kili-related things while drinking coffee and eating really, really, really good food.

Twisted Fork is a relaxed French bistro on Granville St. (at about Davie). It is owned and operated by business-genius siblings Mike and Andrea Leslie, and full-of-win chef Corey Sullivan. It’s a fairly new place in Vancouver, but was transplanted from Fernie, BC where it was the award-winning restaurant The Wood. The food is great, the people are lovely, and the atmosphere is laid-back and funky. I love this place so much.

I chose Twisted Fork for brunch today, because it is my last gastronomic hurrah for four weeks. Y’see, I have been given a meal plan from Cara, and I start it tomorrow morning at 6:30am. The meal plan is designed to trim the sugar from my diet (I am seriously addicted to sugar. It frightens me), and to get my body in a nice, lean shape. I’ve done these meal plans before, and it really is amazing how quickly the body changes when you only put clean, healthy food in it.

*sigh* no more popcorn for dinner. No more mini Snickers bars before bed.

Hello oatmeal, basa, green beans, quinoa, brown rice, egg whites and (*shudder*) protein shakes.

Oh Twisted Fork, I love you. Thank you for your help in sending me to Dietary Blahville with delicious memories of your fantabulous menu.

Off I go!


My Trainer Kicks Butt!

3.03.2010 | 0 Comments


Hey hey, check it out! My personal trainer Cara Thien is in the Optimist today!


She’s been training very, very hard to compete in the Arnold Classic – she’s also been stuck eating green beans and chicken for about 3 weeks, so she’s a little grumpy. Trust me, an unhappy personal trainer is not fun to work with: “Only 320 sit ups, Robyn!? C’MON! GET WORKING!”

Naaaah, she’s not really like that. On the contrary, when she trains hard, I train hard. I’ll walk into her home gym and see her standing there all buff and in amazing shape, and it really inspires me. And then she flexes, and I get all overwhelmed and depressed. I’ll never look like that.

But that’s ok! She and I have very different bodies, and very different goals. I’m really glad that she’s around to help me out – physically and mentally. She keeps my perfectionism in check as best she can, and encourages me to do what I can, and not get upset when I fall short of one of those unrealistic, impossible-to-acheive goals that I tend to set for myself. She really is a good trainer, and I am so glad that I stumbled across her (thanks Google!).

However, that being said, I’ll be very happy when she gets to chow down on cheesecake, Big Macs and Dairy Queen Blizzards again. She much nicer when she’s hopped up on fat and sugar.



Lean Mean Fluffy Machine!

2.10.2010 | 0 Comments

It really is remarkable how a few days off of exercising can make one feel rather puddle-esque. I’ve been laid up for a couple of days now, taking time off of work, running, yoga, and life to just heal. About a week ago my arthritis started giving me problems, and for the past three days I’ve been on crutches and taking medications to allow me at least a little sleep at night.

That being said, as I look down at my wee muffin-top flopping over my pants, I shake my head in wonder at how little time it takes to go from lean, mean, hiking machine to puffy, round, love-lump. I’m really looking forward to getting back on track with my exercising. I know that I’ll be going hiking this Sunday, but to ensure that actually happens, I need to take another night off. No yoga for me, I’m afraid.

I’ll admit to you now, that I really haven’t been eating well of late. I’m eating too many processed foods, and it makes a huge difference in how my body looks, works and feels. It really is remarkable how all those easy-snacky foods that are stuffed in the bottom drawer of my desk at work make such a large impact on, well… my butt. My love handles are getting pretty over-developed, too. This is not a good look for me.

I think I need to ask my personal trainer, Cara, to make up a new eating plan for me. That could help. The first time she made me one, I felt amazing after only three days on it. After about a week, I noticed that my pants were getting quite loose. About three days after that, my belts didn’t fit. And so when I went to see Cara the next day, she added a couple ‘cheat meals’ to my eating plan, because she really wasn’t expecting my body to react so quickly to the new eating regimen. I have to admit, it was kind of frightening how much weight I shed in so little time. Just goes to show that filling up on bad stuff, leads to bad stuff filling you up.

I think I’ll call Cara right now…



1.08.2010 | 0 Comments

I survived my training session last night – kind of. I can walk today, but that’s only out of sheer determination on my part to deny any type of pain whatsoever. I figure this could be helpful when it comes to climbing Kili.

My trainer Cara,( is crazy. I mean incredible. She gets to know her clients really well, and so is then able to know what motivates them best. For example, I am *not* a bootcamp kind of gal. If someone yells at me I will cry. It is very hard for me to do push ups when I’m crying.

Cara does not yell at me, but she does push me quite hard. She is enthusiastic and supportive, and always positive about the work I have done that session. She doesn’t poke my belly fat and giggle saying, “hey there Stay Puft!”, she doesn’t send spies after me when I go grocery shopping to make sure I stay out of the cracker aisle, and she doesn’t roll her eyes, throw her hands up and walk away in a snit when I only do 47 sit-ups instead of 50.

That being said, working out with her is not easy, even though she’s really sneaky and makes it seem like you’re going to be doing really simple exercises. For example, last night she had me walk up and down her hallway in a crouching position (with my chest and chin up high). Pfffft, whatever. It’s crouching, how hard can that be? I fell over three times, found out EXACTLY where my quads are, and at one point I think I started grunting like a constipated gorilla. I’m not sure, though. That could have been the dog. (Always blame the dog.)

Anyway, my first workout after seven weeks away went pretty much as well as I expected. I have resolved to walk around my house in a crouchy-type position from here on in, as I want to build up my stamina and quad strength. I figure this too, could be helpful when it comes to climbing Kili.


I (heart) ICBC

1.07.2010 | 0 Comments

The last time I saw my personal trainer was on November 12th, 2009. I got into a car accident 3 days later, and since then I have been working with a really fantastic kinesiologist (how DO you spell that?!) from KARP Fitness named Elsa in order to get myself back into shape so that I can go see my trainer again… to get back into shape.

Before I continue, I just want to say one thing about ICBC: They have been incredibly supportive and amazing throughout my whole accident/injury/car write-off/settlement ordeal. I don’t have a single negative thing to say about them, and I will no longer gripe and complain about paying my auto insurance. That is all.

Anyway, tonight, after seven loooooong weeks of not working out, I am going back to have my butt kicked by a very driven, but very supportive She-Ra type woman. I am sure she will take one look at me and start crying, given that in seven weeks I have turned from Lean-Mean-Awesome-Machine (not really) into Fluffy-Christmas-Gorging-Tubby-Clunker (or something). It’s a good thing my workout gear is black, as I hear that black is slimming.

*dons workout gear, looks in mirror*

Or not.