Archive for November, 2009

Book review: Choosing You, by Cliff Harvey

November 24, 2009

How often do we hear ourselves making excuses for not seeing things through? Whether it’s exercising regularly, eating well or climbing the career ladder, as soon as the early enthusiasm fades we’re quick to create believable (and quite compelling) reasons for not completing many of our tasks.

Age, money and time are personal go-to favourites of mine, but we all have our own handy list, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice to justify why we’re discharging ourselves us from our dreams.

How disappointing then to look back years later at unfulfilled goals and potential that remains undiscovered, knowing that there isn’t going to be a second chance.

But life is about choices. We can stay on our path and see what lies ahead or we can detour and reach for something else instead.

Cliff’s book, Choosing You, is about consciously choosing to stay on that path. It’s about identifying your dreams (or goals) and continually reaching for them, no matter how tough the journey or how many wrong-turns you take.

Through his advice, anecdotes, personal stories and purposeful exercises Cliff demonstrates the depth and reality behind his positive messages and the practicality of making it work. But more than just optimistic thinking, he encourages positive and decisive action that ensures the one life we do lead is as full, happy and satisfying as it can possibly be.

Within just 24 hours of starting to read Choosing You I was putting more thoughts and words in to action than I remembered doing in a long time. Cliff’s inspiring words were motivating me to dream big and capture life’s every moment.

What makes this book really stand out from other self-confessed self-help books is that Cliff isn’t just a writer armed with research; he’s also a do-er. He lives and breathes his principles and re-enacts them daily. And knowing the man behind the book is what makes Choosing You so inspiring. 

My own dreams have now started to take shape as a result of reading Cliff’s words and I have a new sense of determination and staying-power. But, quite possibly, more important than that is my new-found awareness that there’s no race to get to the end of my path; there’s no-one else on it but me and I’m in it for the long-haul.

Choosing You is available from Amazon for $14.95

Choosing You!: How You Can Choose To Live The Life Of Your Dreams…Right Now!


My Thai trainer….at 19yrs old

November 23, 2009

Keep your eyes on the guy in the blue shorts. It’s Sinbi, my soon-to-be trainer in Thailand, when he was just 19 years old. I feel humbled and inspired.

Fewer than four months to go!

The chicken run

November 19, 2009

In a rather theatrical and dramatic, personal interpretation of Chicken Run, I braved Vancouver’s lashing rain to shop purely for protein. (Having raided the fridge on a protein purge the night before, I was left with little option.)

Dashing between shop awnings, I tried my best to dodge the cascade of puddles whipped up by speeding cars that now sloshed down like waterfalls on to the pavement. All the while battling with my ineffectual umbrella that swooned inside out with the wind, like a Victorian lady affected by the charms of a handsome man.

Several blocks later, looking bedraggled and ragged, I stormed in to the local well-heeled supermarket to be greeted with looks of bewilderment from prosperous punters wearing suede boots (in the rain!), their BMWs parked outside ready to whisk them away from this dreadful weather.

Tracking down the meat section with the fervour of a scent-seeking hound, I was delighted to find a two for one offer on sliced chicken. While filling up the basket enthusiastically I noticed a lady to my side giving funny looks. I looked down at what I’d gathered and can’t even begin to imagine what she must have been thinking. Nutter perhaps?

I had the equivalent of half a chicken in my basket and two more packets of the sliced stuff in my hand. I hesitantly placed these last two packets back on the shelf, with the pretence that I’d had a change of heart and didn’t actually need to consumer my entire weight in white meat that night.

Cutting my losses I thought the next best stop would be the check-out, where hopefully the assistant wouldn’t think it too weird that I max out my credit card on meat.

I arrived home twenty minutes later cold and wet but satisfied that, should there be a shortage of chickens over the next few days, I at least have enough to keep me going until the weekend. Needless to say, my husband thinks I’m bonkers. 

Do I consume protein or does it consume me? I’m steadily beginning to wonder.

Women’s self-defense seminar

November 18, 2009

Ladies, it’s time to get pro-active about our safety.

Elements Academy of Martial Arts in Vancouver is holding a beginner-level Women’s Self-Defense Seminar on Sat, Nov 21st between 3:00pm and 5:00pm.

In just two hours you’ll gain powerful skills with which to defend yourself as well as learning how simple changes in behavior can reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

This seminar will teach you:

  • Avoidance and awareness tactics
  • How to assert personal space
  • Escapes from common holds
  • Self-defense strikes (punches and kicks)
  • Self-defense on the ground
  • Voluntary live sparring in a self-defense scenario

To register simply contact Elements Academy

  • Members – $50
  • Non-Members – $60
  • For Ages 16+
  • Max Capacity – 12 women

Women: Are you doing enough to minimize the chances of being attacked?

November 17, 2009

As winter creeps in, women increasingly find themselves carrying out their daily activities in the dark. Whether it’s attending a fitness class, walking home from work or just picking up the groceries, being alone in the dark just becomes part of our routine.

Although the darkness increases our fear of being attacked, few of us take steps to ensure our safety much beyond carrying a personal alarm in the bottom of our bag. Instead of relying on the assumption that it won’t happen to us, all women should be taking pro-active measures to minimize their chances of being attacked.

Here are five tips that will help you reduce your chances of being attacked

Never wear headphones or speak on the phone while walking alone: The distraction of using a phone or wearing headphones provides an attacker with the ideal opportunity to sneak up on you. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t give someone the upper hand by not being able to hear them.

For example, we are all creatures of habit who automatically respond to phone calls and text messages without a second thought. Try to break this habit when alone in the dark and save your response or reply for when you’ve reached a safe, well-lit area. Or, better still, for when you have reached your destination.

Note: The responsibility is on you to take pro-active steps to ensure your safety. Decide how important that phone call, text message or piece of music is before automatically responding.

Never wear your hood up while walking: You may still be able to hear quite well with your hood up but it acts a physical blinker, allowing you to only partially see your surroundings. By wearing your hood up you are providing a potential attacker with the perfect opportunity to approach you unseen. Consider always carrying an umbrella so that you shelter under this rather than relying on your hood for cover.

Be vigilant when loading up your car at the grocery store: Believe it or not, parking lots are one of the most common locations for attacks on women. Our purse and cars keys tend to jostle around loosely with our bags and we are so focused on loading up the shopping and getting the kids in to the car that our attention is completely distracted from anything else nearby. Don’t let your actions in a parking lot tempt an attacker. Be aware of your surroundings and park in busy areas rather than in isolated spots.

Always close and lock your front door behind you having entered your house: Attacks in homes unfortunately occur far too frequently. Make safety your priority when arriving home and always lock the door behind you before starting any other tasks. You can never be sure who is watching you. It’s not worth taking a chance.

Learn where your boundary is and take control of your physical ability: Women are typically very forgiving and often allow strangers in to their physical space without any repercussions. Most of the time the situation is harmless, but you have to accept that it’s never okay for someone to make you feel vulnerable. Determine where your boundary is and establish it with confidence. If someone crosses it, be prepared to draw attention to yourself and the situation, and to use physical defense if necessary.

For example, if you hear someone behind you and you feel afraid, as frightening as it might be, you must turn around and face them. Do not allow them to them cross your boundary and take your back.

Note: Say to yourself, “I am not afraid.” Just holding your head high and appearing confident makes you a less likely target.

Huge thanks to Emma Lynds and Jordan Lawrie at Elements Academy for their input and continuing support. Visit Elements Academy for more information on how to register for their upcoming Women’s Self-Defense seminars.

Personal greats continued

November 16, 2009

Emma LyndsEmma Lynds – Hapkido black belt and owner of Elements Academy of Martial Arts

Eminem – Lose yourself

Rage Against The Machine – Wake Up

Pearl Jam – Given To Fly

Nine Inch Nails – Discipline

Personal greats continued

November 13, 2009

Jordan LawrieJordan Lawrie – Chinese Kempo Brown belt and Head Instructor at Elements Academy of Martial Arts

Converge – Eagles Become Vultures

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Panasonic Youth

These Arms are Snakes – The Sh*t Sisters

Himsa – Dominion

Doomriders – Darkness Comes Alive

Personal greats continued

November 12, 2009

HapkidoEric Nerland – Hapkido red belt and instructor at Elements Academy



Mandoza – Nkalakatha

Lil John – Let’s Go remix (language warning)

Darude – Sandstorm

AC/DC – Thunderstruck

Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

Personal greats

November 10, 2009

You know the feeling when you’re in the gym or you’re training hard and you just haven’t quite got enough energy to pull off that last lift or to make it through the next round. And then a song kicks in that taps in to your previously plunging energy reserves, shakes them around a bit and fires you up way beyond what you thought you had left.

We all have our own personal favourites that rescue us in these moments, but here a few from just some of the great people I’ve met through training.

Wilf Betz

Wilf Betz – Professional MMA fighter and Muay Thai trainer



John Frusciante – Murderers

Opening Song to Pride FC

Wilf’s very own entrance music (two songs):

1. Tomoyasu Hotei – Battle Without Honour or Humanity

2. Jimmie’s Chicken Shack – Lazy Boy Dash

And finally…

Joe Esposito – You’re the Best Around

The go-to-girl for strength training

November 4, 2009

Strength trainingFor all those women out there involved in strength training, Carmen Bott, strength and conditioning specialist and founder and owner of Human Motion Inc, is a lady you need to know. With over 15 years of experience in training clients one-on-one from elite athletes to soccer moms and everyone in between, she is the go-to-girl for individuals and sports teams interested in reaching their optimal performance.

She also works alongside the equally skilled strength and conditioning expert Cliff Harvey (my own strength coach) who I can’t recommend highly enough.

If you’re in the field and would like to get to know a little about Carmen, here’s a recent interview by Nick Grantham (performance and strength coach from the UK).