How You Can Make Cardio Less Hard-io

If you’re like me, you may not like cardio as much as the rest of the fitness universe does. If you do like cardio, I applaud you and truly wish I had the same drive as you, but unfortunately I was not designed that way. It’s not that I hate the feeling of cardio, I do love sweating and feeling the endorphins kick in. I love how alert and refreshed I feel after a great cardio session, and I definitely love feeling the burn and powering through it.

So it sounds like I do like cardio right? Well, I love the benefits of cardio. I love the after the cardio part. The part I do not enjoy as much, is the actual act of doing a cardio workout. I find it boring. I cut the time in half, then quarters, then eighths. Then I count down the seconds until it’s over. I absolutely hate running on a treadmill, the stair-master will be the cause of my premature death and nothing on the TV screens above at the gym can take my mind off how badly I want to get off the elliptical. I’ve tried cardio classes at the gym and I’ve tried talking to a friend while I workout, but both have left me winded and no where closer to loving cardio.

I’m not proud of loathing cardio so forcefully, I fully understand cardio and its benefits. I WANT to do it! I just can’t get around the fact of how utterly dull I find it. So, with that being said, I started to step out of the conventional cardio box and really think about it. What was I possibly doing wrong? The answer to that question was, I was not choosing a method that was enough to keep me engaged.

The good news is, cardio exercise is roughly defined as any exercise that increases your heart rate. Cool! So, I started researching and figuring out activities I could do outside of a gym setting to raise my heart rate (and still reap all the benefits of cardio) without me actually hunkering down and doing a cardio workout. Below, I have compiled a list of activities that I found challenging and still increased my heart rate (and caused a little sweating to go on) without making me feel like I was even doing exercise in the first place.

Going for a Hike/Walk

The hillier the better. Find trails near your location and just go out for a walk! Grab a few friends and make a day of it. You don’t feel like you’re even exercising and you get the added bonus of being surrounded by nature.

Going Rollerblading

This activity is not just for kids! Head out for an afternoon and see how far you can get. Go around your neighbourhood a couple of times. Rollerblade home from work. You’re using your legs to propel you, and it has the added bonus of it being faster than walking!

Go for a Bike Ride

Same idea as rollerblading. It might not feel like much exercising, but it still counts for more than sitting on the couch the entire afternoon. Swap your other method of transportation for bike riding and sneak in a few extra active minutes per week!


Sign up for a class or hit the town with your friends. Even just boogying alone in your room is enough to get your heart rate up. Make a playlist and dance your way through it and you may be surprised how out of breath you are at the end!

Clean the House

This is a 2 for 1 special my friends. Not only do you get a clean house out of the deal, but you also get moving! Great if your house has multi-levels, utilize the stairs. Move the furniture around. Vacuum. You would be surprised how quickly you can work up a sweat.


It is technically an activity and it gets your heart rate up!


More and more rock-climbing gyms are popping up every day! It takes real upper body strength to scale up the wall like that! Definitely an interesting way to get moving.

Indoor Trampoline Park

Again, increasing in popularity, these are popping up all over the place! While bouncing on the trampoline may have felt like nothing as a child, it will get your heart pumping to bounce from trampoline to trampoline! You will feel the added bonus of having worked out your legs the next day!


I can’t talk enough about how much I love swimming. Not only is it great cardio, it’s easier on your joints! Many pools offer open swim for relatively low prices, or you can enroll yourself in a class! My personal fav is doing laps, but I am not opposed to any games!

Back-yard Games

Badminton, volleyball and or tossing a ball/frisbee back and forth are great ways to get moving even if you’re at a barbecue. This is something you can do with family or friends, and requires minimal equipment.

Taking your Dog on a Walk

OR if you don’t have a dog, offer to walk a neighbour’s or go with a friend! Going out to walk the dog is the easiest way to get moving, and it benefits both you and your furry friend! If you already do this, switch up the route and take the long way! Take a hillier route! There’s so many ways you can adjust your regular routine to incorporate more activity.

Join a Beer League

Baseball, football, soccer. It’s the adult version of exactly what you did as a child. Get out with your friends or make some new friends and go have fun! Theres also usually the added bonus of drinking beer whilst in a beer league, so that’s always something to remember!


I am not a fitness expert, however, these are some of the things I did to get more cardio-type activities into my day-to-day life without wanting to cry from doing conventional cardio training. The idea behind this post is to get moving outside of a gym setting. These ideas can be added onto a regular gym regime! I’m hoping I inspired you to try something out of your comfort zone or find something you enjoy more than conventional cardio!

Do you have any other activities you do outside of traditional cardio? Did you try out any of these and love them? Let me know in the comments!



The SIMPLEST Thing You Can Start Doing to Increase Your Level of Fitness

I did not start this blog to preach to anyone about becoming active. In fact, I didn’t start this blog to preach about anything! I started this blog to inspire, to spark a fire somewhere within you to want to make your life better. My posts are filled with tough love and things that make you think because I want you to improve your own life, but I want you to do it because you’ve found that desire within yourself.

As a society, we don’t put much of an emphasis on moving. Depending on your line of work, you may sit at a desk for the majority of your shift. Driving a car requires sitting, and we also do a lot of that. Conveniently, a lot of the activities that we like to do (such as binge-watching a series while laying 4 blankets deep on the couch) are sedentary activities. We don’t strive to become slow-moving, we just happen to find more comfort in wearing soft fuzzy pyjamas than we do in lifting a barbel repeatedly over our heads.

The good news is, we don’t have to lift a barbel repeatedly over our heads. Nope, you read it right. You can if you want to, don’t let me stop you. However, my goal today is not to guide you in the direction of picking up a cold metal plate and beginning the hardest performance of your life. No, no, no.

I just want you to stand up and stretch. Yep, right out of your seat. Feel your shoulders fling back behind you. Let your spine curve like a cat, feel all your little muscle fibres stretch. Moving shouldn’t be looked at as a chore, but something you truly need to incorporate into your life.

You don’t need me to sit here and preach the statistics of what happens to your body when you don’t move (cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, muscle atrophy, etc.) You can surf the web and draw your own conclusions for your own viewing pleasure, but the fact of the matter is that we as North Americans are not moving nearly as much as we should be. We sort of kind of run into problems with this because the human body was designed to move. Our design does not permit hours of sitting on end or countless hours spent in bed (not sleeping, just lounging).

Now here I come in, with the simplest task of all to get you to move. Go for a walk. Just go. I know, a little anticlimactic but bear with me. If you are lacking in the fitness department and don’t even know where to start, just go for a walk. Seriously. It is the simplest thing you can do and the first stepping stone into getting into a regular routine.

Go for a ten minute walk around your neighbourhood. If you can tolerate that, go for another one tomorrow. Do this a few times a week until you can work it up to every day. Then go for twenty minutes. Take the second lap around the block, bring the dogs, venture out onto a street you’ve never walked along. Do that everyday until you feel like you can take on more. Then try thirty. What is half an hour of you day? Half an hour of getting your blood pumping around your body, getting your heart rate up and releasing the feel-good endorphins that happen when we exercise.

If I’ve lost you and you think that a walk isn’t going to solve all your problems, then let me shed a light on what is really happening. The first day you walk, you’re spending ten more minutes moving than you were yesterday. That’s already an improvement from yesterday. When you keep doing this ten minute walk, day after day, you build endurance. This means you will be able to go on longer walks without feeling like your body is going to be overly taxed. Okay, so in addition to improving our bodies each day and building endurance, we also start the process of creating a habit.

Creating a habit is what I really want you to take away from this. A ten minute walk one day isn’t going to solve your problems for tomorrow. But, it puts you one step closer than it did the day before. By consistently repeating a small increment of exercise, you will gradually increase as you naturally become accustomed to that level of exercise. If you keep at this everyday, you will continue to improve your mental and physical well-being.

So, if you were at all thinking of starting a new fitness regime (it is that time of year where those thoughts creep up), then definitely by all means go for it. But I’m telling you to start small. Doing one super intense workout and then being too sore to go back to the gym for a week is sort of defeating the process. Taking one big leap and overshooting our abilities not only leaves us depleted, but also often deflated. We take on too much too fast and then end up disappointing ourselves when we don’t quite achieve the results we wanted to.

If you takeaway anything from this post, I want you to takeaway the significance of one small action turning into a lifelong habit. Take the one step today to improve your physical health and well-being by literally taking the first step out of the door and around the block. Marathon runners don’t happen overnight, they started with one small step out the door.


What do you think of taking one small step to change your life? What small step did you already take that changed your life? Let me know in the comments!


Why You DON’T Have to Break the Bank Christmas Shopping & How You Can Do It

As that time of year rolls around again, it’s hard not to feel our blood pressure spike at the mere mention of Christmas shopping. A lot of times when we think about stress related to Christmas shopping, we associate it with a time constraint, and less often associate it with a financial constraint. The holiday season is a financially taxing time of year that not only places strain on our budgets, but our emotional and mental well-being.

I have 100% been there, as I’m sure many others have. Perhaps it was a financially taxing year and the budget falls short of what we need it to be. The list of people we have to shop for seems to have grown exponentially and we don’t have anything started yet. This opens the door to over-spending on gifts because we are in a rush, and perhaps need to be rush ordered in order to make it on time. This leaves us feeling rushed, overspent and drained, feelings which linger long after the holidays and trickle right into January (especially once we see the bills).

As a society, we have turned on the materialistic view of Christmas to full blast, and instead focus less on the time we get to spend with family and the memories we will be making. As the obvious answer to saving the most amount of money would be to boycott gifts altogether, it’s not exactly the most feasible solution.

However, this does not mean you have to go out and spend more than you make and stress yourself out entirely. The holidays are a time of joy and we shouldn’t be sacrificing our emotional well-being to provide joy to others. Below I have created a list of suggestions you can use to cut your costs and not overspend this year that I hope you find helpful.

Create a Budget (and Don’t Go Over it)

I know, groundbreaking. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one many times. Perhaps you may have created a budget in the past and maybe still went over it. Creating a budget is the key no-nonsense way to save money during the holidays (and everyday life, but we’ll just focus on the holidays for this post).

A budget is going to look different for each person, but it really is best to sit down and look at what you can truly afford to spend this Christmas. Can you find a way to allocate more money from other areas without creating trouble for yourself? Can you pay your bills and still have money left over to shop this year? If your state of living (i.e. food, rent, bills) are going to be compromised, then the budget for gifts will not work. You will need to be reasonable with yourself and set a realistic budget based on what you can afford to spend. From there, you will be able to allocate money accordingly to how many gifts you need to purchase from your list.

The key here is to not go over the budget. As soon as you do, you are borrowing money from other areas that it was not originally allocated to in the first place. This is where you run into problems for next month, as you will be shorting yourself this month.

Create a List

Again, groundbreaking. But seriously helpful in the long run. Sit down and gather all of your information needed to make one master list. By creating a list, you can roughly assess whether you will be able to stay within your budget. It’s also handy to have your information all in one place so that when you do start shopping, you won’t miss anything and you will be able to keep track of your purchases.

Ask for the Details

When asking the people on your list what they would like as a gift, ask for specifics. Is there a specific website you need to purchase this from? Do they have more than one gift idea? What do they really need this year?

Personally, I have started asking two simple questions each time I gather information for a gift. 1. Is there something you need or would really like to have 2. Can you give me 3 gift ideas. These questions sort the wants from the needs, and also give you options. By asking for at least 3 ideas, you aren’t stuck with one gift choice only. By asking for 3 ideas, you can choose one that fits within your budget, and it will take the guesswork out of you having to find them the perfect gift as it is something they will actually use.

The more details you can get the better. This ensures the gift will not go to waste, and that you will be able to find out exactly what they would like and how to go about purchasing said gift.

Start Early

Start asking for gift ideas in November. There’s nothing worse than getting down to the wire the week before christmas. In addition, this gives you time to look for upcoming sales (including Black Friday). The more time you have to plan, the more flexibility you will have with finding the price that fits into your budget.

If November is still too late for you, ask your family and friends to update you with gift ideas throughout the year as they have them. This will also give you flexibility with watching for sales and price changes with plenty of time to spare before Christmas (and depending on the store’s policy, you may be able to take the receipt and item back for a further discount if the sale begins after you’ve purchased it).


Put in the time and effort to research the product across many different platforms. Although time-consuming, you can see variances in prices simply from scouring fliers on your everyday purchases. Gift shopping is no different. Use your research to look for who’s hosting the lowest price, or whether you will be able to get a lower price through price matching. After learning this trick, it feels irresponsible to my wallet if I purchase something in the first store I see. I usually check a minimum of 3 websites before making a purchase to ensure I’m getting the best price.

Sales, Store Loyalty Programs and Open Box

Sales are self-explanatory. Simply watch the sales of the product and jump when the price is right. This can be tedious but if you want the lowest price you’ll have to pay attention to prices. Most stores have weekly price changes and mark-downs so it’s key to keep an eye peeled if you have your sights set on an item.

Store loyalty programs are a great way to earn points that later save you money off later. Although it’s a tempting mindset to save the money on yourself, it really makes no difference if you use the money towards a gift for someone else or a purchase for yourself. If you end up using the money back, you can extend your budget for Christmas, or even end up saving some money. This is a great trick for if you happen to be hosting a dinner or party. Use store loyalty points at grocery stores to get free groceries (in addition to coupons and flyer searching) for your party. This will keep your hosting costs low and allow you to allocate that money somewhere else into the budget.

A lot of electronic stores have ‘open box’ items (someone opened the box and returned the item, but they must sell it as an open box). Often the product has been minimally, if at all, used and comes with a warranty that guarantees coverage of your item. The ‘open box’ items are a great way to get a lower price on electronics (especially since they’re essentially risk free due to the warranty).

Go Halfsies

One of my personal favourite tricks to saving money. If there is a high-priced item a family member or friend is desiring, attempt to get a sibling or a friend to go in half on said product. This way the person still gets the product they desire without you breaking the bank to do so. At the end of the day, the person receiving the gift is not going to be upset that you personally didn’t spend the full amount, but they will be thrilled about the amazing gift they are receiving.

Opt for a Gift Exchange

For those with large friend groups or families, gift giving can get pricey if you are expected to give gifts to all 12 of your aunts and uncles and umpteen cousins. Instead of breaking the bank and spending a ridiculous amount, suggest to your family or friends  the option of holding a Secret Santa or a gift giving exchange. This way everyone will receive a gift, and people can swap gifts as they so please. Set a budget everyone is comfortable with and end up saving by only purchasing one gift.

Do What Makes You Comfortable

At the end of the day, you are your own referee when it comes to your budget and how you spend money. Only you will be able to know how your feeling in regards to spending, and whether you are personally able to afford it. Sometimes this means saying no, such as saying no to being included in your 5th Secret Santa, or saying no to a holiday party where you need to provide a dish. Set your own limits and say yes to what you can afford. Be honest with yourself, because come January you will still be responsible for your everyday expenses. It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday spending craze, but planning and diligently sticking to your budget can help prevent the typical overspend.

I hope this helped ease some of the holiday stress. Did any of these tips make you think? What tricks do you use to keep your spending in check around the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

The Ever-Growing MUST Read List

Hi my name is Cyn and I have a problem. And that problem is I cannot stop reading books! During university I didn’t have a lot of spare time to read, and now that I do, I’m pretty much reading everything under the sun. Below is a list of books that I want to read, have just finished, and are currently reading. This list will get updated over time, as I cannot stop finding books I want to read. Some are in my bookshelf already, so I’ll try and read those first! If you have any recommendations PLEASE post them below! I always love a great read!

Currently Reading

  • The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson
  • Unraveling Isobel – Eileen Cook

Personal Development

  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Noah Harari[bookshelf]
  • You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero  [bookshelf]
  • Grace not Perfection – Emily Ley
  • The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy
  • Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

Books I Probably Should Have Read by Now

  • Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
  • Because of Winn Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
  • Sisterhood Everlasting – Ann Brashares [bookshelf]
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky [bookshelf]
  • Looking for Alaska – John Green [bookshelf]

All the Other Books I Want to Read

  • Beautiful Day – Elin Hilderbrand [bookshelf]
  • The Best Things in Life are Free – The Lonely Planet [bookshelf]
  • The Shift – Theresa Brown, RN [bookshelf]
  • On the Island – Tracey Garvis Graves [bookshelf]
  • The Wisdom of Sundays – Oprah Winfrey
  • This is Me – Chrissy Metz


Leave your book recommendations in the comments section!

Takeaways From The Slight Edge

I started reading this book out of recommendation from a friend who could not stop raving about this book. The Slight Edge is written by Jeff Olson and essentially walks you through the secret to success, beginning with “Mastering the Mundane” in order to create simple habits, that in turn, create success.

I have only reached chapter 9 so far (page 126), however I already feel the power behind this book. This book can be described as the tool you need to utilize every other personal development book you have already read/will read. Without discounting the power of other personal development books, I often find myself swimming in an overflowing pool of wisdom. When I read these books, I’m looking for a sign to point me in the right direction to be able to actually utilize all of the information I have gathered.

The Slight Edge offers you the power of teaching you how to harness all this knowledge and wisdom and turn it into something that can enhance your life each and every day. Below I will discuss a few takeaways from this book that have helped me and continue to shape me in making every day lifestyle changes

  1. Your Philosophy: The Slight Edge highlights this quite often, making it apparent that your philosophy dictates the actions you do to get you where you want to be. Having the proper philosophy allows you to manifest the lifestyle you want. The Slight Edge teaches you how to create said philosophy so that you are in the appropriate mindset
  2. “Mastering the Mundane”: In this book, there is a chapter dedicated to this. The gist behind this is that you create habits and recognize tasks that need to be completed pretty much every day. Although these tasks seem boring and minute, over time, they compound into large successful results. The Slight Edge goes over the importance of continuing these tasks, and also the importance of what happens when you don’t continue to do the tasks.
  3. There is no overnight success: Success does not happen overnight. Success must be cultivated through “Mastering the Mundane” and continually working at achieving your goals. Success is gained in the long-run, but the overnight instant success our society craves does not actually exist.

So far, since I’ve only completed about half of this book, these are three components that I have used in my every day life to create small changes and build habits that will lead me towards long-term success.

Me before The Slight Edge: I truly believed success was an overnight thing. It always seemed like everyone around me was creating the life they wanted overnight. I know this is truly not the case, as social media plays a hand in portraying the highlight reel we choose to show of ourselves. I expected to win the lottery and get the dream job and just move on with my life, skyrocketing myself into success, hanging out in an atmosphere sprinkled in star dust.

Me, being humbled by The Slight Edge: Success really is the collection of small, everyday habits and tasks compounded over time. Expecting instant success is not only detrimental to completing these tasks, but it clouds your judgement into believing that success is only achieved by luck and circumstance. Creating a successful life (whatever that means to you: financially, emotionally, physically, etc) is a series of repeated tasks. For example: financially. By storing away $50 of your weekly pay cheque may feel stupid and useless. However, you will have $2600 at the end of the year. In 5 years, you will have $13,000. All from repeating the same, mundane task of transferring $50 out of each pay cheque. This practice applies to any area of your life that you are trying to improve. By working towards a goal continuously and diligently, you will achieve a successful lifestyle.

I am barely halfway through this book and I have already incorporated changes into my lifestyle. The power this book possesses is truly limitless. Once I have completed the book, I will add a few more takeaways from the second half. I truly hope this was enough to spark your interest of this book, because I truly cannot rave enough about this book.

Have you also read this book? Are you thinking about reading it now? Let me know in the comments!

Currently Reading +Book Wishlist

Although being a university student is bitter sweet, when it comes to an end the sweetest thing by far is having the time to pleasure read. Out of sheer guilt (from not even being able to finish all the assigned readings) and lack of time, I didn’t have time to do one of my favourite activities – reading. This was also extremely annoying because I have TWO bookshelves in my room that are half full of books I haven’t read yet.

My love of reading definitely came from my mother, but it doesn’t end there. Although we differ on genres (she’s into murder mystery and crime, while I’m into romance, biographies and autobiographies, and personal development), we can both agree that it doesn’t take us much time to get through a great novel.

I plan on using the ‘Currently Reading’ tab on my blog as space where I can write about what I’m reading at the moment, how it’s affecting me, and what are the takeaways. I will also be posting a book list broken down by category (genre, purchased vs. not yet purchased, etc) so you can see what I’m reading and how I’m making my way through my current book list.

I’m very excited to finally be posting in this tab. If you know me personally, you would know that I can’t keep quiet about a good book. I get so excited and will chat about it to almost anyone that will listen. I truly love reading and sharing the knowledge that I gain from reading books, and I hope you use these small blurbs from the books I’m reading to be able to add books to your own ‘must read’ list.

Stay tuned for more to come in this tab!



What Happens to us When We Neglect Self-Care?

This past Sunday I wrote a blog post about becoming acquainted with self-care and why it is important to include it in your everyday life. In case you aren’t familiar with the term ‘self-care’, self-care is described by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health’.

Self-care is a practice that should be included in each and every day, and can rage from a wide variety of activities. From stretching, to breathing, to showering to going to the gym to cleaning out a room in your house, self-care has a variety of different meanings for different people, as well as for different levels of functioning. Self-care is meant to preserve your well-being and add value to your health.

Just as easy as self care is to incorporate into your day, it’s also just as difficult to not do. Often from my own personal experiences, I have noticed that it’s easier to neglect self-care when I am tired, stressed or sick. Under those conditions, I may not want to go the extra mile for something as simple as some stretching, or I may not want to go to the gym if I’m overly stressed out.

Missing one day at the gym isn’t the end of the world, nor is pushing cleaning aside and letting it all pile up. The problem arises when it’s a compounded effect. Missing the gym for weeks on end, letting the laundry pile up, not using techniques for stress management and continually growing more stressed. The compound effects of not performing regular acts of self-care can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being. Frankly, you are cheating yourself of the benefits achieved from performing these activities of self-care.

Really, the only person you’re cheating is yourself. This should be enough of a reason to sit back, assess your current lifestyle, and look for the holes and cracks you appear to be slipping through. Is it a time constraint? Is it a mental or emotional constraint? Are you even able to pin point what it is that’s holding you back from taking care of yourself?

Often we are diligent about completing tasks for other people and ensuring the people we love are cared about. You may find yourself going to work and putting in 8 or more hours, to come home to a family that needs you to be present with them up until it’s bedtime. Perhaps you are the sole caregiver for a loved one. Perhaps you have many commitments outside of your job that all require a high level of presentness. Whatever the case may be, you may find that you just don’t have the time or willpower to give yourself the care you desperately need to preserve your well-being.

This is where I want to change that mentality. You deserve the love you give so freely to other people. Yes, you heard me right. You deserve to love and care about yourself as much as you love and care about everyone else. In fact, you need to make yourself a priority because in order for people to rely on you, you need to be ‘you’. If we don’t take care of ourselves and set boundaries and limitations, we can’t be the best us we can be. If we don’t put our foot down and take time to improve our own well-being, we can’t fully be there for someone else.

It is so important to take time out of our daily lives to nourish ourselves and our well-being. This may include, but not be limited to food itself. We need to nourish ourselves with nutritious food. We need to nourish our souls by taking time to do things that set our souls on fire. We need to nourish our minds by challenging ourselves to make the time for ourselves, to make ourselves the priority. All of this can be achieved through sitting down and really looking at our own lives. Do you make time for yourself to complete tasks that make YOU feel good? Do you make time for yourself to do activities that PRESERVE your well-being, instead of overtaxing or straining it? Do you take the time to get in touch with yourself and find out what it is that you need to reset?

It may be as simple as going for a daily walk. For some it’s a hot shower, for some its half an hour alone with their thoughts. Some find solace in cleaning and organizing, others through sweating it out at the gym. What brings you peace of mind? What brings you closer to a calm state of mind, and are you incorporating it into your schedule? Are you making time to do the things YOU need to do to provide yourself with the self-care you NEED and DESERVE?

Through reading this I want to ignite a spark of inspiration. I want you to sit back and look at your current life. I want you to be honest with yourself and really determine whether you are incorporating self-care into your daily life. It’s not a test or a quiz, more of a challenge to yourself to see whether you are giving yourself the best care you truly deserve.


What techniques do you currently do for self-care? Do you need some ideas for self-care? Let me know in the comments!