Inside and Out Challenge update

Hey everyone!

It’s just halfway through the month of June and time for an update on the Bad Ass Beautiful challenge that Clara at Southern Thintellect and I cooked up!

I’ve been failing rather miserably at working out this month. I have a bunch of excuses, none of which are truly valid. What’s more is that I leave for Europe tomorrow (!!!) and I don’t think I’ll be doing many circuits while I’m there. I fully plan on making up for that by walking E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. Once I’m back, I’m going to try and make our workout circuits an integral part of my every day workouts.

As for the other little challenges, I’ve been doing pretty darn well! Here’s what I’ve completed:


Spend 60 minutes by yourself with no technology

I took this one to the next level and spent a full four hours with zero technology! I cannot tell you how refreshing this felt! I read a book, took a nap, and didn’t bother with my phone, television, or computer. I left all my technology in my bedroom upstairs and trekked down to my cozy basement for my hiatus. This way there was no immediate temptation to check my emails or texts. I highly recommend doing this challenge at least once a week.

Hike a new state trail park

It wasn’t exactly a ‘state trail park’ but it was a 10K hike on a trail that I had never been on before! My company organizes a walk for charity every year. Employees get to choose between a 5K and a 10K and I enthusiastically talked 4 more people into doing the 10K with me! It was a beautiful day and the trail was gorgeous. We went through cool, shady paths as well as beautiful and quiet neighborhoods. Here’s a picture!


Volunteer for a new charitable cause

Speaking of the 10K, I thought I had killed two birds with one stone there because the walk was for charity and I had organized it. Sadly, I realized that I have volunteered for the same charity in the past. I forgot the charity had to be a new one. Does this mean I failed? I’m going to take it as a half success because I volunteered for something that was a really good cause! We walked to provide funds for First Book Canada, which is an organization that provides books to children in need across Canada. Children’s literacy is a cause very dear to my heart and I’m always happy to help First Book Canada out in any way.

Get a cardboard box, fill it up with clutter, and donate it

Done, done, and done! Except I used a plastic bag instead of a cardboard box. While packing for Europe, I decided to simultaneously clean out my closet and dresser. I also managed to get rid of some items that I was holding on to for absolutely no good reason! In addition, since it’s my last day at work today (quitting a full-time job to pursue a Masters program…hooray!), I cleared out all the clutter that was on my shelves and desk. I donated anything salvageable! Look at that efficiency…

Make a healthy recipe you’ve pinned on Pinterest

This one was SO much fun! I had flown to Chicago a couple of weekends ago and was staying with an old friend from IU (go Hoosiers!). She had some work to be done in the evening and so, to pay her back for her hospitality, I offered to make dinner: Spaghetti Squash. We were both utterly fascinated by it as neither of us had ever made or eaten spaghetti squash before. Check out my recap here.

Indulge in a bike ride at dusk or dawn

I love working out in the mornings and sometimes instead of a run or a session of Pilates and strength, I like to take off on my bike and ride a trail. I got the chance to do this at the very start of the month and saw the most beautiful pink and gold sunrise. Check!

Do a No Spend Weekend

This one is questionable. During the first weekend of June, I managed to spend nothing on Friday or Sunday. Saturday, however, was my friend’s birthday and she was hosting it at a bar in downtown Toronto. My mom decided to give me a treat by letting her pay for my dinner/drinks/parking. Note: I did not ask for this, it was her spontaneous offer. So I took it. Since I didn’t spend my own money…does it still count? If she hadn’t made the offer, I was going to go and simply not order anything. What do you guys think? Can I still cross this one off the bingo card?

Make a list of “10 Positive Things to Remind Myself Daily”. Frame it



Special thanks to a lovely co-worker for helping me with this beautiful layout!

Write and send a handwritten letter

I actually plan on doing this tomorrow! So, check in advance and rest assured it will be done!

What does that leave me with?

  • Abstain from food with >5 ingredients on the label for three days (utter fail as I will be in Europe for the rest of the month)
  • Try a new yoga or Pilates session (fail for the same reason as above)
  • Read a book you’ve been meaning to read for over a year (Totally. Happening. I plan on reading one of the classics that I’ve never read before but have had on my Kindle with good intention for years.)

That’s all for me! I’m not stressed out over the challenges I couldn’t complete because:

a)      this is supposed to be all in good fun

b)      I plan on making this more of a routine for myself

I know Clara at Southern Thintellect has been doing an amazing job of both the fitness and wellness challenges! Be sure to check out her updates too! That southern belle needs to teach me how she manages to take and post such gorgeous pictures….

Have you been participating in the #InsideandOut challenge? Share your progress with us here, even if it was just one of the bingo squares!

Until next time!


Challenge Yourself Inside and Out!

Clara, over at Southern Thintellect, and I got together as fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors and fellow IU Alumni (GO HOOSIERS!) to create an exciting fitness challenge for the month of June. We know that it’s just as important to do something a little special for yourself as it is to treat your body right. That’s why our challenge focuses on a total ‘Inside and Out’ approach! A shot of cardio, a boost of strength, and a treat for the soul is what we got:

BAB Inside and Out

No time to exercise every single day? No problem! Since the challenge is in the form of a Bingo card, you have 24 opportunities to get a little frisky with your routine. Plus, you get to feel the immense satisfaction that comes with crossing something off a list!

We knocked our heads together and created two workout circuits that combine several of our favorite strength and cardio moves to help you build muscle, burn fat, and keep that heart rate up!

BAB InsideandOut Circuit 1BAB InsideandOut Circuit 2

Stick with us by posting in the comments section and let us know how you’re doing. We’ll also be posting some fun updates as the month goes by. Do you have a suggestion for our next challenge? Throw it up there in the comments!

What are you waiting for? It’s time to feel Bad Ass Beautiful!

It’s All About the Attitude

About seven months ago a rather drastic change occurred in my life. To some it may seem really trivial. What it was, was a break up. I won’t go into the details of how or why I consider it to be a drastic change; safe to say it felt like one. I was stuck in a rut for several reasons that were triggered both during and after the parting of ways and I was at a loss on how to turn anything around. I adopted the Fake It Till You Make It method, but that was unsatisfying and counter-productive to actually moving on.

In January 2013, a week or two after the new year had rung in, it dawned on me how incredibly lethargic I felt. My body felt mistreated and my mind was weary from running in circles. I decided to go for a long walk. Later that night I resolved to wake up an hour early, for a change, and do a bit of light exercising. The next morning gave me one of the best hours I had spent in months. My chest felt lighter and my mind felt alert and excited. I heard a chirpy blonde voice in my head exclaim, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. (Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.)”. I looked forward to having that time to myself again the next day. And the next. Each bead of sweat felt like a victory. With each minute shaved off of the last workout, my body felt stronger. I actually caught myself grinning like a lunatic on the treadclimber! After what seemed like years I was finally doing something entirely for me. I wasn’t out to impress anyone, challenge anyone, or reach a particular goal. It was not pressure to lose weight or a forced New Year’s resolution. I was just spending time with myself in a new, productive way.

The exercise led me to become more conscious about what I ate. I don’t believe in quick-fix diets, cleanses, starvation tips and tricks, or deprivation. I tried one or two of those things once and let’s just say I became a very angry panda. It’s a bad scene for all involved, including the poor bag of Cheetos that I savagely attack with indecent greed once the “diet” is over.  What I learned to believe in is moderation. I realized it was important to listen to my body and agree to stop when it says, “Hey lady, I’m full. Quit sending delectable treats down here!”. I became more actively involved in my eating–not only was I enjoying what I ate, but I understood what I was putting into my body. I started paying attention to conversations about exercise and wellness and stumbled across a hashtag, #sweatpink. It taught me an important lesson–It’s all about the attitude.

Following along with #sweatpink and #sweatpossible conversations on Twitter led me to discover amazing women who balanced careers, families, educations, goals, and their bodies. I learned that if there’s a will, there will always be a way. If not, there will always be an excuse. Even better were the conversations sparked among those who #sweatpink and the support I got every time I shared some progress. These regular women proved to be extraordinary role models. I started to shed my misconceptions and misgivings and just encouraged myself to be the best I can be. It extended from my workouts and my eating habits all the way to my train of thought. Instead of only seeing things in a negative light, I found ways to extract that little ray of sunshine. There was now a choice available to take a step back from an unpleasant situation and redefine it in a more mature, understanding manner.

My biggest milestone was when I looked at the (rather large) collection of baggage I have been carrying around for months and declared “Well you’re here. We can walk together, sure. But I refuse to let you weigh me down”.

And then I ran 7 miles.

For the first time in my bronchial-asthmatic, shin-splint, picked-last-in-gym-class life.


Today I became a #SweatPink ambassador, which means a lot because I hope to be the same source of inspiration that these wonderful strangers and friends are to me every day. Most importantly, I’ve discovered that the first step to Believing in Yourself is to BE the best YOU. I know, that sounds corny. But really. Once you start treating your body right and believing in your own strength, you’ll surprise yourself every single day. And you’ll smile a whole lot more! It’s all about the attitude, ladies and gents. It’s not about running 40 miles or reading every label on the box. It’s about treating yourself right, mentally and physically. Once you start, you’ll expect better from yourself and from those around you. It’s never too late. Be kind to yourself (and others) and have faith that you’ll slowly find the things that define you and make you truly happy.


What are you waiting for? Get after it.