Getting Fit With ClassPass!

One of my top priorities going into 2018 is checking back in with my health and fitness.

As you may or may not know, 2017 has been a “bad” year in terms of my fitness; I left my job at the gym earlier last year and got an office job which has drastically changed my lifestyle from active to semi-active and putting on a few pounds. I couldn’t change my lifestyle from having the convenience of the gym right after I get work to having to make the effort and find the motivation to actually go down to the gym.

A few years ago, I heard of ClassPass for a bit and I recalled checking them out but quickly exited the site because there weren’t many studios available on the service. I haven’t thought about ClassPass since a few months ago when I saw an Instagram ad for ClassPass and I was drawn in by their wonderful Instagram account.

So, what is ClassPass? In short, ClassPass is essentially an “all-in-one” gym membership to your cities hottest studios and gyms. ClassPass acts as a gym membership to any gyms and studios that are partnered with ClassPass – yes, this includes worldwide locations where ClassPass operates – say goodbye to vacation weight!

ClassPass
ClassPass.com

I originally signed up for the $19 for two weeks promo and took my first Barre class shortly after. After raving about how awesome this service can potentially be, I got Dan to sign up for the promo as well, and together we took another Barre class and a kickboxing class. I ended up enjoying the service so much, I chose subscribed to their $55/month plan which is slightly more expensive than traditional gym memberships around town, but significantly cheaper than niche studios.

I absolutely love ClassPass because it benefitted me in so many ways. I’m more motivated to work out because I see all these fun classes available to me at the tip of my fingertips and no longer dread my boring weights routine. ClassPass has definitely helped shaped my fitness routine, thus getting me out the door and much more active than I previously was when I only had a gym membership. It also helped that I’m also cheap enough to not pay the $15 cancellation fee which “forces” me to commit to the class.

It’s also rad that ClassPass offers “gym time” which is exactly what it sounds like – gym time. When I miss my weights and want a break from classes, I’m free to walk into Steve Nash without paying for their ridiculous drop in fees or get a membership there.

However, it’s not to say that ClassPass is perfect. Yes, it helped me tremendously in getting active again and getting back into a fitness routine, but the policies tire you out.

After my initial hype and love for ClassPass died down, I started to see some flaws. The cancellation policy was a hit or miss – it’d help me stay committed to the class and keeping me fit, but it also felt like I was being “forced” to attend class or otherwise, I’d be penalized. There were nights when I didn’t want to do class anymore so I was stuck in the dilemma of forgoing $15 because it was a late cancellation (need to cancel 12 hours before class started) or stick it out and go attend class? I wish that ClassPass would offer a more realistic time frame to cancel with penalties – like serious, life happens within 12 hours! I wish they offered anywhere between 6 to 8 hours cancellation time frame instead of 12.

ClassPass Cities
List of where ClassPass operates.

To prevent users from cheating those expensive niche studios, ClassPass obviously puts a limit on how many times you can visit a studio per month. After visiting my favourite barre studio twice already, I either had to use more credits to take a class or my ClassPass plan or buy a membership at that barre studio (which I ended up doing). So, I ventured off to different barre studios throughout town because out of all the classes I’ve done, I enjoyed Barre the most.

I feel I should also warn you about their cancellation process. Dan had a horrible experience cancelling his trial pass and ended up paying for another month subscription he didn’t want. To cancel the trial, you need at least three days notice and you must email or call in – there’s no self-cancel button on their app or website (seriously, what’s up with that? It’s 2018!). That being said, for anyone who is renewing after the trial, watch out for which plan you choose because ClassPass will automatically select their highest plan as the default renewal plan.

However, despite the strict policies, I love ClassPass for what it is. It’s a great fun way to stay active and push yourself out of your comfort zone and try a new activity! I remember I used to be afraid of classes because I thought everyone would laugh at me because I didn’t know what I was doing but all the classes I’ve attended were fantastic! The instructors were helpful and welcoming, I was pushed beyond my limits, and I met amazing people on ClassPass doing the class for the first time. The idea of being the newest one in class went away.

ClassPass is for someone who wants it all… a little bit of gym and a few classes. It’s for someone that’s has a somewhat regular routine unless you want to pay $15 for everytime life throws something at you. It’s for those who want to try something new on a regular basis. It’s for those who need help getting into an active routine and those who enjoy meeting new people.

TIP: If you’re taking a class with a friend, book the class at least 48 hours in advance in case there’s only one spot left that you or your friend booked. This allows you to cancel the reservation without any penalties and find another class that has the available spots for you and your friend(s). This happened to Dan and I once when he took the last spot in a Barre class but was too late to cancel so we went anyways and I paid the drop in fee at that studio.

I wouldn’t recommend ClassPass if your life doesn’t consist of some sort of regular routine, and someone that enjoys one or two fitness activities. Trust me, you’ll hit your monthly limitation if you’re thinking of using ClassPass as a “cheaper” alternative to a studio.Have you given ClassPass a shot yet? Let me know!

*This post was not sponsored by ClassPass; Coffee with Claire or myself is not affiliated with ClassPass in any way. My ClassPass subscription is paid by myself and all opinions here are unbiased. ClassPass has no influence over this post. 

My Copper IUD Experience

*This post is most likely NSFW and TMI for those who are uncomfortable with sexual topics. This is my personal account with IUD and some readers may find it too graphical. I’m choosing to share my experience because during my research, I couldn’t find much personal details/experiences of copper IUD aside from the typical medical summaries of copper IUDs.

It’s been approximately two month since I got my copper IUD inserted in me aaaaaaaand…. I don’t regret it all!

A bit about my background:

    • 21 years old and have never given birth
    • Been on the pills and depo shots since being sexually active
    • This is my first non-hormonal contraceptive
    • My body responds well to additional hormones from other contraceptive methods
    • My periods have always been light and lasts about 5 days. I rarely ever use heavy/thick pads or super tampons
    • I do not get cramps or mood swings when I’m on my period
    • No known side affects (eg. acne, tenderness, dizziness, etc.) when I’m on my birth controls (pills and depo shots)

 

My experience with copper IUD
Prior to this IUD, I’ve been on Alesse pills and depo shots. They’re both great and gave me no side affects. Depo shots average about $45 and the Alesse pills about $15-25/box.

The copper IUD cost me $75CAD at Willow’s Women Clinic and that would last me 5 years.

The depo shot would have cost me… $45 x 4 times a year = $180 x 5 years = $900 for 5 years!

Soooooo… you can see why I chose to get a copper IUD at only $75. There were hormonal IUDs available for $310 or $380 but at that time I didn’t want to spend that sort of money whilst saving and I am still working on a few paper work to see if I can qualify to get it cheaper.

One hour before my appointment, I took one Advil painkiller. A lot of people recommend taking 2-3 pain killers before your appointment but I only took one.

They make you pee in a cup before they start to procedure. This is to ensure that you’re not pregnant. A copper IUD can also act as an emergency contraceptive provided that you have in inserted within 7 days of your unprotected sex.

If you had a pap test, the first part of the insertion is really similar. If not, the doctor uses a few devices to open you up while she does the work. At first, the doctor would take an ultrasound to ensure everything is healthy inside. After using the clamps to open you up, she’ll examine your cervix.

My doctor told me I have a smaller cervix than the average person. It could be because I have never given birth before OR because I’m just a small person and literally everything about me is small.

So, my doctor ended up poking (not literally) around my cervix until she realized it was smaller than usual. From here, she used a different method to accommodate my cervix. At this point, I just felt A LOT of pressure. It is not a painful pressure but more of an uncomfortable, ‘I-feel-like-farting’ pressure.

After inserting it into my cervix, my doctor trimmed the excess strings and pulled all the instruments out of me. The only thing that was nerve wracking about the procedure was hearing the clamps as my doctor adjusted her tools and everything.

This procedure will obviously cause you to bleed for the day (not heavily) so bring a pad. I felt cramping for the first few hours but it wasn’t bad. On a pain scale, the entire procedure was a 3-4 out of 10. The cramping afterwards was about a 5-6 out of 10. Now, keep in mind, I’ve never had period cramps before so this “pain”/discomfort was new to me! And, if I say so myself, my pain tolerance isn’t that high.

Since the insertion, I continued to have light bleeding for about 4 days. I wasn’t spotting but it was enough for me to use a regular sized tampon or a regular pad.

This is where it got bad.

Hella bad.

On the 5th day post insertion I was bleeding HEAVILY. I have never bled this much before so I was panicking. I had to use heavy thick long/overnight pads AND my bleeding would completely soak the pad and onto my underwear/pants within the hour or so… so you can imagine how many times I took a shower and change my pads throughout the day. I was also passing clots… major big clots. I felt a small pressure between my legs and next thing I know, a massive blood clot comes out of me.

There was so much blood, if soaking through multiple thick overnight pads isn’t enough, stream of blood would always trickle down my leg. When I was changing my pads, if I wasn’t fast enough, blood would come down. If I raised a leg to put it through my underwear, it would come down. In the shower it felt fine but the moment you step out and rinse, it’s running down your legs or soaking through your towel.

This heavily bleeding lasted for about 2.5/3 days. I went back to clinic and my doctor said this is one of the side affects and could take up to 6 months for my body to get back to normal.

On my last day, exactly a week after insertion, the massive bleeding stopped. Just like that, no more drops were coming out of me.

It took my body a full week to get used to the amount of copper in my system. I guess for some women, it may take longer. I was considered one of the “lucky” ones.

The first few days before the start of my first “IUD period”, I was nervous. I was extremely nervous about the amount of bleeding I might encounter. I was scared that it would be as heavy as the first week. We’re talking Kill Bill scene right here!

However, my period, with the IUD, was similar to my regular period. I didn’t notice it being any heavier as most doctors have warned me. I didn’t notice it being any longer either. Perhaps one day longer than usual but I can live with that. With an IUD, my period is about the same. I still use regular sized tampons and regular sized pads, even on the first few days where periods are supposed to be heavier.

I haven’t encounter any spotting either. The only spotting I got was two days before my period started as a warning sign. One of the side affects listed was spotting until your body gets used to the copper.

Overall, while I don’t enjoy getting my period, this was the cheapest and longest birth control option for me. I am looking into getting Jaydess because I absolutely HATE periods but I want to save the $300 and put it into my New Zealand funds.

Like any other thing, your experience with the IUD will depend on your body. Aside from those three days of heavy bleeding, all the listed side affects that came with the copper IUD did not apply to me. I am not complaining, I truly feel lucky.

If your period is light to begin with and your body is quick to adapt, your experience with the IUD may be similar to mine and not be a complete nightmare like what is described on the internet. If you’re already having heavy periods, a copper IUD would only make it worst.

For any fellow Vancouverites reading this, I recommend heading to the Willow Women’s Clinic to get an IUD. The doctors there are extremely helpful with any questions and concerns and friendly enough to put you at ease while you lie on the table. The nurses are friendly as well. They’re much more flexible in terms of booking and would get you in and out of there in no time!

Stop Making Excuses for the Gym

I do not have time for excuses in my life.

I know that sounds incredibly rude but I can’t stand people making excuses after excuses because they’re too lazy/unmotivated to make the change. As you can probably tell, I dislike people that asks for advice and not do anything about it. Or, people who complain and not make change. (But, I do understand some things are out of our control OR it’s harder said than done and takes a while).

Just a few days ago, I finally got my friend into the gym with me. I was beyond thrilled the morning of because he didn’t bail out last minute. My friend has probably given me every excuse in the book to avoid the gym until I finally got him to come with.

And, if you share the same excuses as him…

1. You don’t have enough time.

This is the number one excuse I hear all the time. You have 24 hours in one day. Granted, we don’t use all 24 hours but we use most of it. You don’t need more time in the day to stay fit.

Make time for the gym. Wake up on hour earlier – it won’t kill you. Go to sleep earlier – what are you even doing up at 2am in the morning? Waiting for a call from the CIA? If you’re a night owl, consider a 24 hours gym. I always believe that a quick workout is better than none. 30 minutes of training can benefit you in the long run!

Plus, don’t forget – there are hundreds of way to stay fit at home without workout equipment!

2. You don’t know what to do

This is why I purchased personal training sessions when I first went to the gym.  If you’re lucky, get a friend to show you the ropes. Alternatively, the gym staff would know how to operate all the equipments in the gym, and many machines have basic diagrams to get your started. Also, gym people are extremely friendly – ask that cute looking guy how to work the machine 😉

3. It’s too expensive

Are you joining the gym that first pops into your head? Do some research before committing to a big name change! I was paying $40/month for my membership and while I do have only a few months left of my contract, I regret jumping into the contract. I found out that the gym I worked at (which NEVER crossed my mind when I was looking to join a gym BUT I know of this gym) has memberships starting from $15 to $20 a month… that’s half the price with all the equipment! Do some research and don’t settle for a gym because of the name. Community centers are a great alternative as well. Also, check out if your workplace has discounted membership or free gym perks; works for students as well!

4. My diet is shit

Honestly, diet and gym goes together. It’s daunting at first but once you get into the habit of a gym, you’ll feel motivated to start changing your diet as well. You’ll lose your craving for junk food and McDonald’s. It’s not all about a strict diet to follow – treat yourself! I always treat myself but at the same time, I hit the gym more than I put junk into my body. Just balance it together and diet would come naturally.

5. I’m too tired

Working out gives you energy! You feel much more energized AND your mood is instantly lifted! Also, if you’re lacking energy and motivation, consider purchasing new active wear!

6. It’s boring

Your routine is boring. Period. Mix it up a bit – try cardio and weights, or hot yoga and biking. The gym offers big opportunities to find your perfect match of exercises BUT it doesn’t mean you’re stuck at the gym. You can take your exercising outdoors for a hike, biking or even outdoor yoga. I do not like cardio so I’m not going to force myself to run the treadmill for 40 minutes. I like weights and I do biking as a substitute for my cardio exercises.

5 Affordable Work-Out Gear Brands

Despite working in the gym and actively staying fit, I’m not in the Lululemon Club. In fact, I probably would never join that club.

Working out can be expensive. Luckily, working at the gym gives me free gym access but I understand the high cost of a gym membership. So, why should our workout gear be expensive as well?

I’m all about saving money on things I can save and clothes is definitely a big thing I can save on. I’m not big on brand names – as long as it does its thing at an affordable price, you’ve got me!

Sometimes, I feel clothes can influence your workout. For example, I would feel intimidated wearing all Nike gear. I feel as though Nike is the number one brand people think of when they think about workout clothes. Because I’m not training intensely or training professionally, I like my workout stuff to be more casual and “fun”.

Here are a few of my favourite active wear brands at a price where it wouldn’t break your bank 😉

1. MOVE by Ardene

Ardene is a popular teen store in Canada. Known for mostly having accessories, Ardene also carries clothing as well, including active wear. Both of my sports bra are from Ardene and they’re extremely affordable. They’re extremely comfortable and already padded (which is a must for me when I shop for sports bra). On top of a few sports bra from Ardene, I also enjoy their relaxed tees and hoodies. Ardene has a perfect mix of casual cute active wear and also something a bit more “professional” looking to say.

2. Active by Old Navy

Old Navy is so underrated when it comes to active wear. I absolutely LOVE their active wear section. If you’re asking me, Old Navy would be my first go-to place when I’m in search of new workout gears. When it comes to workout bottoms, I like my pants to be just a bit thicker to hide any underwear lines – I sometimes wear normal cotton underwear to the gym which is not seamless in any other active wear pants BUT Old Navy’s (and sometimes I wear seamless). I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect pants to match my criteria and finally found it in Old Navy. A lot of my work out tops are from Old Navy as well. Old Navy carries both fun and vibrant styles to plain black.

3. H&M Sports

I feel like the sportswear in H&M is new… is it? Anyways, I got one pair of pants from H&M Sports and while it looks AMAZING on me (LOL), I feel it’s more of a pair of leggings than actual active wear. I’ve only worn it once to the gym and I felt extremely awkward in it. Now, I recommend H&M Sports for those looking for more of a “serious” look while working out. This sportswear line is much more basic and toned down from the previous brands mentioned above. On top of it, most of their materials are made with spandex and they offer little to few cotton/similar items.

4. Forever 21

If you can make it through the mess of Forever 21, then you’ll be greeted with cute, bright and vibrant workout gear. Forever 21 has the most options available when it comes to affordable workout gear. I normally enjoy their jackets, shorts, and workout tops. Forever 21 is a great place for fashionistas looking to stand out in the gym.

5. Winners

I know this isn’t a brand but I love shopping at Winners when my favourite stores fail me. Winners offers brand new items at discounted (up to 60% off) prices. For those seeking to avoid these casual brands and want Adidas or Nike should check our Winners. They have Nike gear from $20! While it’s affordable, like I mentioned above, Nike as a brand intimidates me!

So, for all those feeling unmotivated to hit the gym, check our these stores at your local mall! Purchasing new workout gear tends to motivate a lot of people! And, don’t be afraid to strut in there with style! Many of my co workers are decked out in brand name workout gear but these “no name” brands does just as well!

5 Reasons You Should Invest in a Personal Trainer

I don’t like spending a lot of money on my services, I mean, c’mon, a girl gotta save for better things!
However, I do believe in investing on good services such as my education and yes, my personal trainer.

I feel extremely high maintenance to admit that I have a personal trainer but I know I need one.

I’m not particularly aiming to lose weight or change the way I look. I joined the gym because I realized how unfit I am and I wanted to gain weight (which in this case, is muscle) to be 110lbs so I can donate blood.

I have friends that are body builders and gym rats but they live mostly in Surrey and Richmond and they got a membership to their local gyms and don’t want to pay the drop in fee for Steve Nash ($20-$25). I mean, why pay an extra $25 when you’re already paying for a gym, right? Plus, not to mention the driving cost and parking for my friends.

I ain’t holding a grudge on them or whatever, but it would’ve been cool if they were willing to train me instead. And, training a newbie requires A LOT of sessions which I wouldn’t want them to pay and travel to my local gym for all those sessions.

Which is why I chose to invest in a personal trainer at Steve Nash and while it is pricy, I don’t regret it and here’s why:

1. I’m New
I’ve been the gyms but I don’t know what to do or how to use most of the equipments. On top of that, I don’t even know where to start. My PT showed so many workout moves that made my sessions fun! She also taught me how to use the machines and which machines to stay away from for my health and body. PT are there to be supportive and they’re patient, especially with newbies like me. I gained a lot of information on working out, nutrition and my body since training with my PT!

2. Motivation
I’m a lazy person. The fact that I already paid for my PT sessions makes me attend them to get my money’s worth. On top of that because I’m visiting the gym a lot, I feel motivated to attend even after my sessions with my PT. The motivation eventually turned into my love for attending the gym and it wouldn’t happen without a PT. She taught me how fun the gym can me, and how the gym isn’t intimidating.

3. Corrections
We can all go on FitSugar to get all the workout steps and there are videos and GIFs to demonstrate it but keep in mind these are professionals. No amount of details can make sure you’re doing your work out properly. I thought I knew how to do squats but it turned out I didn’t! I was doing one thing wrong which was throwing my entire squats off! My PT ended up fixing a lot of my corrections from lifting weights to push ups and even to my squats. A proper stance when doing workout makes sure you get the entire benefits of working out without straining any muscle or body parts. Really important that you don’t injury yourself!

4. Nutrition on the Go
When you start committing to the gym or any physical activity, you need the correct diet to provide energy. My PT helped me out with nutrition and what’s good for me and what’s not. I’m a junkie – I look candy, junk food and fast food. Since hitting the gym, I haven’t eaten fast food in forever! I opt for healthier choices and since exchanging numbers with my PT, she’s always there to guide me through my options and what’s the most beneficial for me!

5. On-going Support
Once your session with your PT is over, it’s not the end. You’ll form a friendship by the end of it all, trust me. You will get on going support from your PT whenever you stop by the gym. They’ll check up on you and even give you advice as friends and not as a coach!

I know personal trainers can get expensive so make sure you put a lot of effort into your sessions! If you’re dying to get a PT, consider asking for a payment plan. I’ve done it and split my session into two payments to make it more affordable for me.

For those who are workout queens, consider a free PT evaluation to ensure you’re having the correct posture for your workout! They’re only 30 minutes and free!

Personal trainers are an investment but if you’re serious about your body and health, it’ll pay off when you know how to workout correctly and safely. I honestly don’t know what to do for firmer arms and bigger butt but after some sessions, I feel confident enough to start working out on my own and even give advice to others!

Good luck for those who are starting a new lifestyle (for the new year, perhaps??)!

Weight Shaming

Have you seen/heard something like this?

 

Few things in life make me extremely angry and insulted, and one of them is women posting crap like this on Facebook, Tumblr, or whatever.

As a skinny girl all my life, I’ve heard everything thrown to me such as:

  • I wish I was a thin as you…
  • You’re so boney!
  • You should order a Big Mac and put some meat on your bones.
  • I want your body!
  • Do you even eat?

While I do receive “compliments” on how skinny I am, trust me, most of them is someone criticizing my (perfectly fine) eating habits, and I hate it. What gives you the right to question my eating habits and throw insults about how I’m “skin and bones”?

Weight shaming is a double standard. Women, especially those on the heavier side, feels that they have every right to insult skinnier women with comments like, “Geez, do you ever eat? Order a cheeseburger!” and sharing insulting pictures that only dogs wants us. But, as soon as we turn the tables around, the skinnier women will receive backlash for being a bully. Seriously, what’s the difference between a heavier women calling someone skins and bones, and a skinnier women calling someone fat? Nothing.

What these bullies needs to understand that just because I’m skinny, doesn’t mean that I’m not beautiful or unwanted. It doesn’t mean that I’m about to disappear through the cracks.

It means that I have a fast metabolism. It means eating healthy and exercising. It means maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It means that I still have insecurities. Naturally, I just have a fast metabolism, and you know what? It bugs me. It really does. I feel like no matter how much I eat, I can’t gain weight. It’s a personal goal of mines to donate blood, but I don’t reach the requirement of 110lbs to donate. It’s hard for me to even reach 100 lbs.

If losing weight is hard for you, just realize that there are some people that struggle to gain weight. As silly as that sounds, there are millions of people, myself included, that struggles to gain weight (without an eating disorder), and that’s due to our lifestyles, fast metabolism and/or food preferences.

 

Those three images are probably taken at my heaviest weight. Why? Because I was on vacation for a month overseas and like all vacationers, we gain weight away from home. I gain a lot of weight when I’m on vacation because I have relatives that spoils me by taking me out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because they haven’t seen me in ages. As the only Canadian in my extended family on my Dad’s side, you can probably tell how excited everyone in China will get when they hear that I’m stopping by. Everytime I head to China, believe it or not, but I don’t eat at home. My lifestyle in China consists of visiting restaurants on a daily basis about 2-3 times a day (and if you’re Asian, let’s not forget the late midnight street food vendors).

But if that’s roughly at my heaviest weight, and at the sight of those arms and legs, imagine how skinny I am on a regular basis. To have insults thrown indirectly at me, and people nagging me to eat cheeseburgers (newsflash, I live at McDonald’s… as disgusting as that sounds).

Women of every size, we need to stop this weight shaming and targets on skinnier women. We are beautiful, no matter what size we are. We are happy, we are comfortable, and we are healthy. You hear people say never judge a book by its cover, so why are we judging each other by our sizes? Men (and women) will love you no matter what. There are men that will choose heavier women, and men that will choose skinnier women. That’s just preferences, no different than being attracted to brown eyes than to blue eyes.