Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013!

2013.  Wow.  What a wonderful and wild year that was with ELM!  

I had WAY too much fun with you all this year to actually call it 'work':)  I got to spend the year cheer leading, adventuring, running, biking, laughing, hi 5ing, sweating, fist pumping and woohooing with you all!   Thank you all for joining ELM on our crazy adventures this past year.  I am grateful for the opportunity to know you all and for all of the awesome memories we have shared over the past year!  You say we inspire you...but the truth is...YOU inspire us:)  Thank you.

Here are some of the highlights from ELM in 2013! Be sure to check out the Best of 2013 album on our facebook page and tag away if you see yourself or your friends in action!

 Team ELM takes on the YETI in January!  Woohooo!

ELM Members celebrate a beautiful day for our annual Snowshoe & Feast at Coastal Trek Lodge!

Our Two ELM Teams rocked the Snow to Surf- coming one and two on the podium woot woot!

 ELM Members celebrate the Summer Solstice with an Orienteering adventure at Comox Lake!  Rain and all!

 Our Sunrise Run and Stretch at the Beach: Lole Meet Up didn't disappoint!  What a summer we had!

Ahhhhh Tyax Retreat...so unbelievable that we might just have to return in 2014...

 ELM went to HAWAII for the XTERRA Off Road Half Marathon World Championships!  What a dream event it was...and yes...we ARE planning to go back in 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Climb a little higher.

It turned out to be a beautiful Friday afternoon:)  10 degrees in the sunshine on December 27th...my kind of winter weather (sorry skiiers!).  I managed to escape from hours of troubleshooting on the computer (crawled out of my pjs) and headed out to the lake with a running buddy.  We pointed our sneakers up to the sunny bluffs above.  

You can do it!


Here are some inspiring words from our awesome ELM friends who have reached their personal goals!  I hope that you find part of yourself somewhere in them...along with inspiration motivation and energy to help you reach for your own dreams and goals;)  Cheers to a healthy and happy 2014!  You can do it!


I just wanted to say thank you for the encouragement and the great training. In my wildest dreams I never thought that at 56 years I would run a 10 K in 57.33…running across that finish line was as rewarding as walking across the stage to accept my MA diploma. Next year…yes there will be a
next year…I plan to beat my time.
Thanks, D

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reach a New Running PB this year!

Do you have a Need for Speed??

ELM will be offering our second and final 6-week Need for Speed RunningClinic of the season beginning January 2nd, 2014.  This specialized running clinic, led by coach and Kinesiologist Sarah Seads, is for any runner who has a desire to improve their running fitness, skill or speed. This clinic includes weekly coached training sessions designed to improve technique, speed and strength as well as education and support in creating a personalized training plan for the coming year.

Runners who think that more mileage and longer hours are the only ways to improve often end up frustrated or sidelined with injuries. Making small but specific changes in strength, flexibility, technique, and program design will help you reach a new level of performance and without nearly as much effort.” Sarah Seads

Runners will also learn the benefits of mid-foot running technique and how to incorporate barefoot running into their training programs along with the key training principles for program design, heart rate training, injury prevention and fuel for optimal performance.

Immediately following Need for Speed, ELM is also offering their popular Yoga for Athletes class instructed by Birgit Nilson. This class is specifically designed to address muscular imbalances and release tired, overworked muscles and tissues. This yoga class is the perfect compliment to an active fitness program.

These programs take place on Thursday evenings with Need for Speed from 5:30-7:00pm and Yoga for Runners from 7:05-8:00pm following the run. Participants may register for one or both as space allows. For more information or to register before the December 31st deadline, go to www.elmhealth.com.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Christmas Wish For You

Merry Christmas Friends!

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday with your family and friends during this magical time of year:)  I have had the pleasure of joining so many wonderful people on their health journey's this year... Words cannot explain the joy I feel watching my ELM friends reach their personal dreams and goals.  I feel ever grateful to be a part of their journey towards living a healthier, more joyful life.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anything you set your mind to, you can do!

It’s 5:30 am.  I can’t sleep.  My mind and heart is full of the events of yesterday and I just need to share.
It’s incredible when you set you mind to do something… you can do anything!!

Yesterday, I ran a half marathon in Hawaii.  In some of the most breathtakingly beautiful surroundings I have ever seen.   It was amazing.  It was hard.  It was emotional. The terrain was rugged.  It was hot.  It was fun.  And it was something I had never even dreamed I could do prior to this year.

In January, I signed up to do Bootcamp two times a week with Sarah Seads from Equilibrium Lifestyle Management. A google search for ‘fitness challenges Comox Valley’ lead me to her and I am forever greatful!   I had committed to twice a week, and a full on fitness challenge where I recorded what I ate, how much I slept, how much water I drank and how often I did cardio, resistance training and stretching.  That first 5am alarm rang, and I was ready to go.  Excited for my first class.  Excited to see the changes that I could make in 10 weeks.  That 10 weeks would end just before I turned 40 and that in itself was a motivator for me.  Turning 40 had me a little bit afraid, I am not going to lie.  But, I knew that committing to this challenge would lead me to that ‘day’ and I would be too busy thinking about taking care of me, to worry about the approaching “40”.

The challenge was amazing.  I loved it.  I loved bootcamp and I started to love early mornings.  5am alarms.  And, if you know me AT ALL, you know simply how crazy that in itself is.  I’m a night owl.  Typically working till 2 or 3am.  But this all switched for me.  I saw great results during that 10 weeks, both physically, cardiovasularly (that’s probably not even a word!) and emotionally.  I had accomplished something great and I was proud.  Turns out there were 4 other amazing people who were incredibly proud of their Mommy, and they got me something GREAT for my birthday to show me that!

I remember exactly where I was standing when Sarah mentioned it in early February.  “Team ELM will be travelling to Oahu to take part in the XTERRA World Championship Trail Race this fall.”  My ears perked up.  There was a 5k, a 10k and the championship 21k course.  My first thought was, I could go as the official team photographer. :)  I told Andy about it when I got home.  Since doing the Great Walk the first time, I had always wanted to do a ‘destination’ event.  I mean who wouldn’t love to go to a wonderful place to complete an event.  Then you just enjoy your time there afterwards.  As time passed, I thought, I could totally do the 5k! (I was also taking the ‘learn to run clinic’ at the same time and 5k seemed totally doable to me at that point.)  Time passed, I got stronger and more fit, and couldn’t stop talking about this event.  But, I was afraid.  Afraid that I couldn’t do it.  Afraid that I would let my ‘team’ down, because I was so slow.  Afraid to even think I was strong enough to do it.  So I talked about it as a ‘wouldn’t that be fun if only I wasn’t a slowpoke who can’t run’ event’.  And even the day before my birthday when I sat on the deck with my beautiful aunt having tea, I mentioned it, but never actually thought that anything would come of it.  I mean, I couldn’t run.  I could maybe run 5k, but that’s a long way to travel to run 5k.

But, in the meantime, my sweet husband was making a call to Sarah.  Telling her that I kept talking about this event. Asking her if she thought I could do it.  And signing me up.  BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!!  40 didn’t seem so scary now!  I had a renewed love for fitness, a 5k training plan that had just finished and a super exciting race to look forward to in Hawaii!!  :)  And at that point, quite honestly, I was going to do the 5k.
As time passed I thought ‘maybe I could do the 10k.’  That was stretching it for me.  The day in May I paid Sarah for the balance of the training program for Oahu, I said “I’m thinking I’m gonna do the 10!  And Sarah replied, “I’m totally signing you up for the 21… you can do it!”  That day, on the way home, I had tears in my eyes.  But those were greatful tears.  Thankful tears.  And tears of disbelief.  I had Andy and Sarah and so many others around me who believed in me.  Much more than I believed in myself.   That’s a pretty powerful thing.  Pretty amazing thing, and something I am so greatful for.

Fast forward to August 17th.  The first offical Team Oahu meeting and start of our training plan.  Oh goodness I was nervous.  And excited.  We had a 14 week training plan to follow.  As I read down the page and saw the long runs getting progressively longer my heart started to race.  ‘What on earth am I doing here?’  22k?  That’s a long way to run!  And the disbelief started to creep in.  But as Andy reminded me on many, many occasions over the coming months… ‘Sarah is a great trainer, and she is going to train you and prepare you to do this… don’t be afraid, just do the training and you will be ready!’  And, I was!
Race morning came.  Team jerseys were on.  Tummy butterflies were flying around like crazy.  And I was excited/ nervous/ scared/ happy/ overwhelmed/ and every other emotion you could feel.  We got our numbers pinned on, took our team photo, and got ready for our warm up.  As we stood on the road, ready to head out for our pre-race run, music started to play.  It was the Biggest Loser theme song, (which gets me everytime I hear it) and when I heard the phrase “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” my eyes welled up with tears, I got choked up and I felt it.  Felt the most amazing chest swelling sense of pride ever.  I was so proud of myself.  I had done all the training, the preparations, and here I was standing, on Kualoa Ranch getting ready to run a half marathon with a team of amazing women.  I was PROUD.  Just to be there.  It was incredible!  And when I turned around Sarah said, “Why are you crying? Are you okay?  Are you having fun?”  To which I replied, “Yes.  I’m okay, and this is amazing.”  I was totally okay, not scared for one second, I just stood there and took it all in, the sights, the sounds the smells, the feeling of being a part of an amazing team, and the enormity of it all.  THIS was huge!  It was a pretty great feeling!  And, yes… I cried all over again as I wrote that!  It’s pretty cool.  Cause now, I’ve actually finished the race, and there’s a whole gamut of emotions that I feel following that!  That will be another post!  :)

I could go on forever about this process.  The event and all of it.  And I just may.  In another post.  But, what I was feeling as I woke at 5:30 was nothing short of amazing.  My heart is full, and I am excited to share.  Excited to tell you that anything you set your mind to, you can do!  Believe in yourself, and if you aren’t quite there yet, know that you have an amazing network and support crew of people around you that will, and already do, believe in you.  You really do!

Make a goal, and say it out loud.  It may be a whisper at first.  For me it was… I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had signed up for a half marathon, because I didn’t believe I could do it.  And I definitely couldn’t handle if someone said, or even thought, “What??? That’s crazy!  You’re not a runner!”

So I whispered it to one person, and then another, and another, and before I knew it I had this amazing group of people cheering me on.  Not one of them said “You’re crazy”  every single one of them said “Good for you, go for it!!”  And then I started saying it out loud, “Yep, I’m a new runner, and I am travelling to Oahu to run a half marathon!”  and the cheering got louder.  And stronger.  And I believed more and more.  So, know that if there is ANYTHING you want to do.  However crazy it may seem.  Just do it.  And know that you are braver, and stronger and more amazing than you believe you are.  You are incredible and I am cheering for you.  So if you need someone to whisper to… I’m here!

Love to all… thanks for sharing this with me!  Once I get home, I will post photos for sure!  For now, I’m off to enjoy the beach with the 4 greatest supporters of all!
Niki  xoxo

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas!

Hello friends of ELM!

Need some help with your holiday shopping?   Give the gift of health and you will be supporting your loved ones on their own health journey!  We have some great gift ideas for everyone on your list...


For the NEW MOM:  Baby Bootcamp!  Choose from one or two days per week and give her the gift of getting her pre-baby fitness back!  This 10-week program has our moms raving and returning with each new addition;)

For the NEW EXERCISER: Fresh Air Fitness!  This low-impact outdoor fitness program is designed to be supportive, fun and inclusive for all levels- including those just getting started!  Choose from 4 classes per week and get fit in the fresh air while meeting a great group of new friends:)

For the RUNNER: Need for Speed & Yoga!  This specialized running clinic is the perfect gift for the runner in your life who wants to run faster or further without getting injured!  The 6-week clinic includes  weekly coached runs,  education sessions and the option of weekly yoga for runners.  This session takes place in January only so don''t miss out on this great ''performance enhancing'' program!

For the FOODIE: NRG Foods that will move you!  This great little cookbook is jam packed full of natural, whole food recipes that will keep you energized all day long.  Healthy breakfasts, mobile energy and sports fuel recipes are included in this unique cookbook crafted by coach and endurance athlete, Sarah Seads.  Great gift for teens or university students as well- get them away from processed products and in love with real food!
energy balls 2

For the SELF HELP BOOKWORM: Fit & Free, 7 steps to achieving fitness for life!  This is an awesome resource for anyone who would like to live a healthier and more active life now and into the future.  It includes a step by step program designed to help anyone and everyone identify and overcome obstacles to successfully living a healthy life.  This book will provide you with a giant toolbox full of useful and practical tips, tricks and tools to help you reach your fitness dreams and goals!

For the BUSY BEE: Online Training Plans & Home Equipment!  Download ELM''s home training video series or sport training plans and they will be delivered right to your computer instantly!  Or,  purchase a few simple pieces of equipment  to create an instant home gym!   Training doesn''t need to be complicated, expensive or time consuming to have an impact.  ELM has skipping ropes, exercise bands, balls ready and waiting for you!

For the GOAL SETTER: Monthly Coaching!  Know someone that has a race or performance goal for 2014?  Give the gift of personalized monthly coaching with Coach Sara!  Monthly coaching is the most effective way to reach a new performance goal or race PR because it is based on scientific training principles and is personalized to match your needs as an individual!

Team ELM

And if all else fails...AN ELM GIFT CERTIFICATE will be sure to put a smile on the face of any health nut on your list! 

PS: Be sure to get your holiday orders in before Friday, December 20th to ensure Santa get's them on time!


Friday, December 13, 2013

My life has changed dramatically

It's time for another awesome success story from one of our ELM Challengers!  If you have a story you would like to share about your success and adventures with ELM please send it my way!  You never know who you are inspiring...

Joe, you made record changes to your health and fitness during your first 10 week Full On Fitness & Nutrition Challenge.  You lost 27 pounds, 9 inches and dropped 8% body fat...moving from the 'Obese' body composition category to the 'Fitness' category in the process!

Monday, December 9, 2013

XTERRA Off Road Half Marathon Race Report

Team ELM from left to right: Donna, Me, Emily, Niki, Kim, Trina

I am back from sunny Hawaii and in total shock going from bikini to boots in 6 hours.  OMG I didn't think it could get this cold on the Island!

My first trip to Hawaii was amazing and I fell head over heels in love with Kauai:)  Read on for my first annual XTERRA Oahu race report! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

I feel proud that I completed the Challenge!

It's Friday and that means another inspiring story from one of our ELM friends:)  Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration to help us launch upwards!  Enjoy!

During the ELM 10-Week Full on Fitness& Nutrition Challenge you lost 8 pounds, 3.25 inches and 3% body fat...moving from the edge of the 'Overfat' category to the 'Fitness' category for your body composition in the process!  WOW!

How were you feeling before you started the ELM Challenge?

I felt stuck in my routine. I enjoyed getting involved in fitness but couldn’t do more than “dabble” in it. I wanted to make real changes in my health/fitness routines and make it a consistent part of my life.

How do you feel now that you have successfully completed the ELM Challenge?

I feel stronger each week, mentally and physically. I feel proud that I completed the challenge and gave it my best effort despite a few setbacks.

How did the ELM Challenge help you achieve these changes?

Participating in the boot camp classes was a big step for me. It has helped me to feel a part of something that is positive and encouraging and also effective!
The weekly nutrition challenges were good for me to stay accountable to myself for the amount and quality of food I was consuming.

What specific changes did you make to your nutrition during the 10 weeks?

I paid attention to keeping my food “real” and watching portion sizes. I also never really thought much about the whole Carb/Fats/Protein ratio in my day before the challenge.

How difficult were these changes?

I didn’t find these changes too difficult. I always feel better knowing I’m putting healthy food into my body. Logging my food each day was a good way to keep on track and see where I might be lacking that day.

What specific changes did you make to your fitness during the 10 weeks?

I worked out 6 days a week. 2 boot camp days and 4 workouts at home. I would have loved to do more running but it wasn’t to be. Getting up early (5 AM) to do workouts has been a big change for me as well. I like the feeling of knowing it’s done for the day!

How difficult was it to make these?

It was only difficult for me when other area’s in my life got busy and I was struggling for time to do the workout. Again another good reason to complete the workout early.

What obstacles did you face during the ELM Challenge and how did you over come them?

The biggest obstacle for me during the challenge was dealing with the flare up of shin splints over and over again. I had to adjust my workouts at home to be low impact and try other cardio exercises to keep up cardio levels.  I also was modifying the boot camp workouts to compensate for the injury. I did feel very frustrated at times but Sarah was able to always remind me that there was still many things I could do! I will keep working on getting this injury fixed!

How did you stay motivated during the ELM Challenge?

My motivation came mostly from my positive state of mind I was experiencing most days after completing a workout. I could feel changes in my body quite soon after starting. I love feeling the muscle in my arms and seeing the definition get better all the time.

I also wanted to feel the pride in being able to tell other people that I stuck to it. I feel like I can inspire others in my life to try and be a little more active and possibly start to feel the positive in it as well.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to make changes to their fitness?  Any tips or tricks that helped you?

Planning your day around an early workout is an effective way to get the workout done without giving too much opportunity for something else to come up and take away your time. 
Nutrition wise, I think everyone should get on the Green Smoothie Train, LOL. Such a great way to incorporate some of the essential greens / fruits / vitamins etc. etc. into your diet. And so fun to experiment with!

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience?

Thank you Sarah for the encouraging words during some of my frustration days. I do believe that I will beat these shin splints.  I feel confident that I can stick to my fitness plan and keep making improvements.
Glad I signed up!