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Soccer players and distance runners share similar training

Over 28,000 fans attended the Canada vs. USA Women’s soccer game held at BC Place, Vancouver, BC. It was the largest crowd ever at a national women’s match.

After watching the game, I decided to revisit the similarities between soccer players and runners, specifically the need for athletes in both sports to move for long periods of time without rest. It could be argued that soccer requires more stamina than other team sports because 120 minutes of play, including overtime, is common before a shootout decides the winner.  By comparison, a regular season NHL hockey game is 65 minutes, including five minutes of O.T. before the shootout, and NBA basketball games are 48 minutes before unlimited mini-halves of overtime – rare in basketball – decide the outcome.  MLB baseball, with its superb athletes, does not operate on the clock at all, though a typical nine-inning game takes about two hours and 30 minutes to play, with mega-stops and delays added in.  Even the tiring effects of physical contact from football, hockey and basketball don’t balance because of rest time that’s built into the stoppages.  Soccer, which has its own share of contact, rarely stops play.

Runners, like soccer players, are challenged by speed and the need for stamina and endurance. A world class runner can complete a marathon between 125 to 130 minutes — roughly the time it takes to play a soccer match.

Soccer players do a lot of sprinting in addition to their constant running back and forth on the field. Overall, to be competitive and on top of their game, they need both speed and endurance.

Interval training for marathoners and running drills for soccer players helps increases speed and can benefit both athletes. Running downhill is good for developing strong quads.  Running uphill will increase lung capacity and stamina.  When you add strength, focus, and mental toughness to the mix, you get a clear picture of what soccer players and runners share every day.  All athletes need to stretch every muscle group before and after a workout or match.

As for where the similarities end, soccer players explode for bursts of speed, which requires balance, control, and strength. These factors are what separate the soccer platers from runners, who simply have to focus on a singular task. It’s a sport that is up tempo and uses considerable physical and mental reflexes…and lots and lots of running. I was incredibly impressed.

Photo credit:  D. Laird Allan

CONTEST: Barre class with 889Yoga

CONTEST CLOSED!

Women’s Post has partnered with 889Yoga to reward our rewards with some free Barre Class Passes! What is a barre class you ask? It’s a ballet-inspired fitness class that mixes dance with strength training and balance. By the end of the class, not only will you have completed a full-body workout, but you will feel more grounded. After a few classes, you may even see an improvement in your posture and energy!

889 launched their barre classes in June of this year, and are eagerly looking for new recruits. There are eight different class times to choose from, which means they should be able to work with everyone’s schedule! To find out more, go here.

Sign up for our newsletter by Oct. 15 and enter to win a pair of class passes. Women’s Post has three pairs to give away, so make sure to tell your friends!

Sign up here:

Love will conquer all

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary and my husband, Greg Thomson, started our day by playing a video on his Iphone of the Flintstones singing “Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary.”  Like our wedding day, today started with reckless giggling.

My husband is an amazing man. In that quiet time just before we get up in the morning, I sometimes feel as if there is an angel beside me.  He is man who has made it his goal to balance compassion, tenderness, strength, wisdom and grace — and he has succeeded.  Greg has never chased after power or fame, and he doesn’t need social status or wealth to define him – but he makes allowances for those who do.

Greg is rarely critical of people or ideas, he doesn’t possess the arrogance that too often develops in men who achieve success. Greg believes in human potential – in that ability people have to achieve things that others think impossible.

Greg would never hurt anyone and he would never try to limit or undermine someones confidence. He is wise and knows that those who think they know best are fools (although he’d never say that to them). He is a man who feels a duty to give back the world, to tackle mediocrity, and conventional thinking. In his work, he studies the social impact of charities hoping that he can help the small charities who have a large social impact. He gets frustrated over the amount of funds that get wasted by charities that have little social impact, but are filled with influential board members.

When I think about our marriage, I believe our happiness rests on our willingness to give up our individual selves to become part of something bigger. I remember when we were just married, I used to write about my love for him; about the things he did that inspired me, about the awe that I had over this man who chose to share his life with me. Today, I realize that my love is now weaved together with the love Greg has for me. It is constantly expanding. It encompasses our children, and, like a warm breeze, it spreads out over our family and friends. I think our love grows with the choices we make, with the friendships we have, and the experiences we gain. By living up to the people we want to be we are able to feel more deeply, and experience things more richly.

When we were first married we talked about what we wanted in our future. Greg wanted to feel more, to do more and to make a difference in the world. Back then I couldn’t understand what Greg meant by ‘feel more” because I had been raised to put both my heart and mind into everything I do. At the beginning of our marriage I realized that Greg put his head and thoughts into what he did, but not his heart.  He learned to be cerebral, to hide his feelings, but part of him knew he was missing out on something. Over time as our love weaved together Greg let himself feel more, he put his heart and not just his head into everything he did. He allowed himself to go beyond just thinking about the world to sensing it. I learned to see the world through Greg’s eyes just as he learned to see it through mine. Our world became much bigger, more vibrant, sensual, and beautiful. We are soaring above the ground we walked as individuals.

A few months ago a man told me that I should be much more afraid of failing than I am. I’ve thought about his words a lot since then; about what he thinks is failure, and about the limitations his kind of thinking has placed on him. In the world of keeping up the Joneses he’s succeeded, but in the world that Greg and I live in, he seems shackled by fear, limiting his involvement in things that might expand his world because he fears failure.

The love that Greg and I have has allowed us to embrace the world. Together we can take on any challenge. And the only true failure that either of us could have is to fail to live up to the moral code that guides our lives. Our love has made us free, and has given us confidence. Together we experience life, we set out to achieve our dreams and we live every moment to the fullest.

When our eldest son was born, I remember sharing that moment when we both realized that our duty extended beyond just what we could give to the world, but to provide our children with love, compassion and a value system that will allow them to find the love we have managed to build.

Everyday I wake up and I know how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life. Greg is the strongest man I have ever met. He would never compromise himself for gain, or use “business” as an excuse for hurting someone. I think he would actually be physically sick if he thought his words had hurt someone. He is kind, compassionate and every day he defines what it means to be a gentleman.

The vision of who Greg wants to be captures all the qualities that go into making a true hero.  He is a part of how I define myself, the pulse inside me that drives me forward and makes me want to put everything I have into everything that I do —  so that one day I just might be good enough for him.

Why is everyone talking about Wonder Woman’s thighs?

Warning: possible spoilers below!

Apparently, Wonder Woman’s thighs are a big deal. Or rather, the fact that her thigh jiggled during the fight scenes inspired a tumblr post that has since gone viral.

“There were absolutely NO eye candy shots of Diana,” tumblr user creativepowerfulideas said. “There were Amazons with ageing skin and crows feet and not ONE of them wore armour that was a glorified corset. When Diana did the superhero landing, her thigh jiggled onscreen. Did you hear me? HER FUCKING THIGH JIGGLED. Wonder Woman’s thigh jiggled on a 20-foot tail screen in front of everyone.”

 

http://creativewordspowerfulideas.tumblr.com/post/161378925721/watching-a-super-hero-movie-directed-by-a-woman-is

 

I saw the movie last week, despite my earlier reservations, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The DC Comics universe has finally seen the error of its ways and developed an action-packed super hero film that doesn’t base its entire storyline on explosions and dark music. There was actual character development, comedic relief, and a storyline that made plausible sense.

Fans were introduced to Gal Gadot’s fierce portrayal of Wonder Woman in the film Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice. Her role was small, but enough to make an impression.

Wonder Woman — the first standalone female superhero movie AND first female directed superhero movie — picks up where Superman vs. Batman leaves off; although, you don’t have to watch that disaster of a movie to make sense of this film (thank goodness). In this origin film, the viewers get to watch Princess Diana (later to be given the alias of Diana Prince) grow into her destiny on an island full of Amazons. She chooses to leave home with an American pilot and spy, played by Chris Pine, to kill the god of war, Ares, whom she blames for the First World War.

Suddenly, Diana finds herself in a man’s world, being told not to speak, not to show her skin, and most importantly, not to fight — rules she breaks as often as she can to the amusement and frustration of others. The movie is full of quirky conversations about power, sex, and ice cream in addition to the intensely epic battle scenes.

And all the while, Wonder Woman is portrayed as a strong leader with an even stronger heart.

What stood out the most in this film was the women were not quite built like the average size zero models you generally see in super hero movies. The Amazons were fit, with big muscular arms and thighs. They were beautiful, but they weren’t dressed up for the eyes of men. They weren’t sidekicks or love interests. They were warriors. And when warriors fight, they jiggle.

Director Patty Jenkins fully embraced the idea of a film that didn’t just portray a strong woman, but a film that was MADE for strong women. My only hope is that when Wonder Woman returns in the Justice League series, she maintains that strength and power.

What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comments below!

It’s 2017! God, it’s gotta be better than last year, right?!

Thank goodness 2016 is over! Am I right?!

It’s been a rough year. A lot of crazy stuff happened around the world and, personally, I’m feeling the weight of it all. But, the best part about a new year is that that last one is over. There is no need to think about it or wonder what could have happened to change things. Instead of dwelling on the past, it’s time to look to the future. And that is a refreshing thought.

The only problem with a shit show year is that people may feel pressured to overreach, maybe even try to make up for 2016 all at once. Trust me, there is no need to change your entire life in the month of January. You have an entire year, let’s not rush things.

You aren’t going to listen to me, are you? That’s okay! Starting anew can be a wonderful feeling. What I worry about is the February crush, when everyone realizes the goals they’ve set are unattainable, and all of the bad things that happened the previous year have consequences that could last until 2020. What happens then?

First thing first. Let’s tackle THIS year before we worry about the next one. Here are some tips for setting those New Year’s resolutions and planning for that high-expectation 2017:

Take time to reflect: I know you would rather not think about the past year, but it’s important to do so. Reflection offers insight into who you are and who you want to be. Think about the decisions that led to happiness and the decisions that led to that depression. Use this time to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Also find out what is within your control. The results of certain elections and the needless deaths around the world may influence your unhappiness, but there may not be much you can do about it. Maybe you need to get involved in a charity or nonprofit? Make some donations to the causes you are passionate about? These decisions can only happen if you reflect.

Forget physical health: You will always want to change something about your appearance. Whether the goal is to lose weight, get rid of that muffin top, or simply put more effort into your wardrobe — this type of New Year’s resolution never lasts and always leads to disappointment. Instead, why not focus on mental health and feeling happy. This will still include going to the gym, but you will be going for YOU and not for those few pounds you still have to lose. Spend more time outdoors, meditate, think about your own happiness for once. Be selfish this year. I promise it’s okay to do so!

Start small: Pick one thing per month to do or change. That way, your body and mind are able to adjust. For example, say you will go to the gym two days a week in the month of January. In February, you can start eating less sugar. In March, maybe start a weekly dinner with friends and family. Start meditating for 10 minutes a night in April. If you keep this up, by the end of 2017, all of these habits and new traditions will come naturally to you.

Spend more time with friends and family: Nothing incites depression more than loneliness. Everyone is always “too busy” with work, kids, and commitments. Make 2017 the year of re-connecting and/or making new friends.  Plan a monthly dinner with friends so you can catch up and break from the craziness of regular life. Use this opportunity to vent about work and ask for advice about personal problems. And laugh. I’m a firm believer that laughter is the natural cure to everything!

Be active: No, this doesn’t mean spend more time in the gym. This means do more outside of your home. Get rid of your daily work-home-television routine and put down your phone. Go for more walks, go skating, or visit a museum on their “free” days. Get to know the city you live in. Plan a trip somewhere. Travel or plan a staycation. Nothing lifts spirits as much as a new experience.

Ultimately, focus on yourself this year. I hope these tips help make your 2017 a hell of a lot better than 2016.

And remember to walk away from 2016 like this….it will not hold you back!

 

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Newsgirls boxing club is a knockout as trauma based therapy

Violence often leaves women feeling numb. That is how it felt for me. Slowly but surely, some people learn to feel normal. Others feel constantly hurt and then one day, they may not feel at all. Though emotions can be cumbersome, not having them is hauntingly worse. The moment arrives when you have finally found a safer place in your life, escaped the violence you once lived in, and you want to feel emotions. It becomes essential to feel again, but how can you?

Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club gives women a safe way to take control of their body and begin the process of feeling again. Located in one of the industrial buildings on Carlaw, just north of Dundas, the boxing gym features images of strong-looking women boxing in a modest studio, with a a ring and several gym bags surrounding it. Immediately upon entering the gym, the coaches and participants are welcoming and warm. I felt at home right away.

Three women began Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club 10 years ago to help those who had experienced violence using trauma-based boxing. Owner and coach Savoy Howe, along with Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Brock University Cathy Van Ingen, and Opportunity for Advancement Executive Director, Joanne Green, founded the Shape your Life program (SYL) within the club.  This program is designed to help women who have experienced trauma find a connection to their bodies once again through exercise and empowerment.

“The big thing is it is a safe space. It is a space to ensure everybody is welcome and everyone is safe,” Van Ingen said. “That is the biggest thing and we know that women need to feel that their bodies are in control.”

On Nov. 25, also known as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Newsgirls announced that the SYL program would be receiving $420,000 from the Public Health Agency of Canada.  The Prime Minister himself sent the boxing studio a video of congratulations and support.

@newsgirlsboxing I’m sorry I couldn’t be there today. I’m in your corner & hope to train with you soon! À bientôt. pic.twitter.com/AiZtkAUsDS

One of the rare and amazing things at Newsgirls is the community and support network that Howe has managed to create with the other coaches and women who participate. The gym is not only a place to box, but it is also a safe haven where these women can really be themselves. Women participating in the SYL program will learn boxing techniques, which can help reconnect them with their bodies in an empowered way. Being able to embrace anger in a controlled manner using your own body is a helpful tool in the healing process from domestic violence. The program also provides TTC tokens, free food, and endless amounts of support from the coaches and women who attend.

Program Coordinator, Tania Jivraj began SYL 10 years ago as a participant in the first pilot program and now helps to run the program today. Jivraj is one of many examples of women that are forever changed from taking part in the trauma-based boxing program. “It turns out I like hitting stuff. It turns out I’m good at hitting stuff. It turns out I am angry, I’m a fighter, I am vulnerable, and I am strong,” Jivraj said. “Ten years later, I was hired as the program coordinator and I get to work every day with strong, vulnerable women.”

Owner and Coach Savoy Howes speaking on November 25 at $420,000 funding annoucement. Photo by Kaeleigh Phillips.
Owner/Coach Savoy Howes speaks on Nov. 25 at $420,000 funding announcement. Photo by Kaeleigh Phillips.

Newsgirls will use the federal funding to collect data from the next six groups of SYL and then create a trauma-based boxing manual to be implemented in other gyms across the country. “Our goal for Shape your Life is to implement in other regions of Canada as well as around the world,” Howe said. By researching and collecting the stories of women who participate in the program, it will allow the women at Newsgirls to make an effective and life-changing program to combat the damaging impacts of violence against women.

On a personal level, the program’s new funding allows me to continue attending and growing as a recovering woman who has a desire to reconnect with her emotions and body. I have a long way to go to deal with my own inner battles and boxing is the first step. It takes courage to put on boxing gloves, and it is truly empowering to see other women show their anger in such a constructive and open manner. I look forward to continuing my journey in learning to fight for what’s really important in life.

Celebrating Women: Ann Kaplan

Have you ever met a beautiful woman who seems to grow even more beautiful when she speaks? Ann Kaplan is a woman like this. She has an elegant business look and exudes a strong grace that I’ve only seen a few times in my life.

The more time you spend with Ann, the more her sense of humour and intelligence shines through. I was fortunate enough to meet her over a decade ago and since then I have watched as she built her business – iFinance – from the ground up in a predominantly male industry.  As I grew to know her,  I developed a sense of awe over the way she could think and handle hard, emotionally-exhausting life events and yet keep her sense of humour and desire to put others first. Her strength shone through at a time when others might have collapsed under stress of illness and family losses that saw her move from having six children to suddenly having eight.

When Olympic athletes talk about inner strength and endurance, my mind always turns to Ann, who seems to gain strength with each hurdle she jumps over.  I remember having lunch with her while she talked of all the pain and loss she had to cope with, and yet she could still smile and care about what was going on in my life. She draws strength from giving to all those around her.

Now, add to all of this the fact that she is one of the smartest women I have ever met and you start realizing that there are some great lessons you can learn from Ann. Just a few things I have learned from her are:  laugh as hard as you cry, focus on what you can give and not what it takes out of you, and always be able to laugh at yourself.

Ann Kaplan has become a success in business because she understands what is important in life.  She is the perfect example of someone who gives more than they receive, who values what she can do for others over what they will do for her. When thinking of what makes a woman beautiful, I think of Ann’s grace, her intelligence, and how her inside beauty seems to shine all the way through her.

I am lucky to have her as a friend. I think of her often and find myself thinking… now what would Ann do in this situation? I’ll never have her grace, but if I can try to come close to her level of kindness, I may just capture a small part of the beauty that surrounds her.

How to want him without needing him

When to walk away, is wisdom. Being able to, is courage. Walking away with your head held high is dignity.”

There it is; Wisdom. Courage. Dignity. More often than not, we confuse the three. And every once in a while, you’ll find yourself immersed in someone else’s idea of these values. All of a sudden, they come into your life with such ease, becoming so important to you within such a small amount of time, you begin to question why there was any confusion in the first place. It’s what makes life worth living- and sometimes so challenging.

But while its worth living, this someone is like a plate of deep fried chicken wings- both mouth watering and unhealthy. You enjoy the moments you spend together, not realizing the consequences. At first sight, he’s a real looker, one with a smile that can make you palpitate. Except unlike the plate of fried chicken, he can’t be packed away for later. And the damage he will do to your heart cannot be fixed with healthy diet or exercise.

***

After coming out of a serious but rather mundane and loveless relationship, I had sworn off any emotional attachments for the time being. I began to approach men with a casual attitude, shutting them down when they began questioning ”our future”.

He was no different on this list — until I realized that I couldn’t shut him down. Although we’ve never met in person, mutual connections brought us together and we took it from there on social media. Through frequent texting and flirtatious exchanges, it was apparent that our common interests, combined with his suave demeanour and my distinctive personality had us both intrigued.

The late night phone calls began – and after a lot of persistence on his part and a lot of reluctance on mine — mostly due to his mysterious ability to always say the right thing at the right time — I soon found myself in an emotional relationship. Our feelings were addressed, dreams were discussed, and our goals and ambitions for the future were encouraged. I would play along, knowing fully well there was a slim chance of it becoming a reality. It was just all too good to be true.

But he made me happy.

His passion towards his unconventional career choice made him sexy and different from the men I’ve previously been involved with. He didn’t just slip into his profession. He chose it. And although it was difficult to picture myself actively adapting to his unpredictable lifestyle, I could never let his priorities change because of me. I wouldn’t.

However, being so different, yet so incredibly similar left us with a compatibility and chemistry that I had always craved for. And although we had our share of turbulence along the way, I genuinely cared about him. His straightforward personality and way with words left no room for speculation. He loved me. And I loved him.

But hearing him whisper “I’m not the right guy for you” every other night made me wonder what I was getting myself into. In the midst of our twisted games and ability to toy with each other’s emotions, I grew accustomed to his doubtful pursuits. It was soon after that I realized I needed more certainty in my life- certainty that wouldn’t come from him.

I’ve attempted to take the high road and walk away. Be a ‘wise’ person. And because I even considered it, I guess, made me ‘courageous’. But its walking away with ‘dignity’ that I’m still working on.

Too often, we choose the idea of settling in fear of never meeting someone like him again. We break under the pressure that the man we’re destined to be with won’t be in the form of the handsome, charming, and alluring man that we first fell in love with. The intensity of our relationship was one that was reminiscent of the sappy films we watch on rainy days. And no matter how many obstacles come in front of the love struck couple in these films, you sit and hope that they’ll somehow end up together in the end.

But most of the time, they don’t.

It’s not going to be easy coming to terms with the absence of him in my life. And even more difficult once we meet in person. The memories of his arm around my waist, the smell of his cologne, or the way he looks at me will probably linger in my mind for years to come. But it’s a step I’m willing to take to remind myself of my individual strength and my ability to see him as a desire and not a necessity.

Because he’s something I’m going to have to learn to live without.

How do you handle difficult relationships? Let us know in the comments below!