Fit Chick Friday - Ginel Stephenson

We are an amazing community of Fit Chicks right here in Edmonton and I want to highlight that community. Each week I'll be featuring a new new Fit Chick on Friday's. Learn about trainers, teacher, instructors or you ladies who are just into a good ol workout!

This week I had to have my friend Ginel Stephenson on. We met in a moms group when our now almost 6 year olds were tiny 4/5 week old babies! She is one fit and fun mama!



Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, CSEP CPT and CEP CrossFit Level 2

Where to find Ginel:

She has a garage converted into a amazing home gym where she takes clients through True Shape Fitness.

What are your specialties?

CrossFit style training, general nutrition, nutrition for endurance athletes, weightloss and chronic medical conditions. 

What got you into fitness?

Being a kid that couldn't sit still, I realizes that there was no way I could work in a career sitting behind a desk or behind a counter. I love moment and how it makes you feel.

What/Who is your biggest motivation?

Challenging myself is my biggest motivation. I am able to go out to my gym and work out on my own no problem, but there needs to be a reason for me to work out so it doesnt become mundane. Whether its getting a few kf's on a lift, decreasing my time in distance training or getting one more pullup. I enjoy fitness as a sport and tracking improvements and gains. I LOVE CrossFit competitions and ultramarathons. I have yet to complete one solo but am working on 120 km this year.

What got you into to training people?

It was a gradual process and many other instructors and coaches along the way. Wach different niche was foudn through different passions of others that I have been honoured to work with and for. 

What are some of your favourite exercises or equipment?

Olympic lifting, the squat rack and my incline trainer treadmill that goes 40% incline.

What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Trail running.

What is your favourite indoor activity?

Baking and reading the newspaper. (She said she's lame, but that sounds glorious to me)

Any advice you'd like to give to other women?

It's most imperative that you do NOt compare yourself to others. If we were all alike, earth would be a pretty boring place to be! You need to set your own goals and have accountability for those. 
Also, listening to our body. Mother Nature is pretty damn smart and had got us this far. Some days it's okay to sleep in past your 5am alarm set for a workout and just rest and recover. We actually don't make any gains in the gym, it's the rest, recovery and rebuilding time where that happens. 

Find Ginel at on Facebook or her new Instagram account!

A shot of Ginel and her husband running together. 

A shot of Ginel and her husband running together. 

7 Days of Self Care Giveaways

February 1st-7th we are doing 7 days of Self Care giveaways. Ways to find some time for yourself. Each day we will be featuring a new self care on Facebook and Instagram and all you have to do is follow along and tag your friends that you think need some self care! 

Couch To 5km in 8 weeks

Last week on my Facebook page I posted a video about how I "got into" fitness. My journey mostly started with a couch to 5km program. I set a goal in mind to run a 5km run that was being put on and I followed a program I found on the internet. I don't have that specific program anymore, but I put together a version similar to the program I did. 

A few tips:

Make the runs on alternate days, so for example if you run on Monday, don't run on Tuesday, but run again on Wednesday or Thursday. 

Spend 5 minutes doing a warm up walk ahead of time.

Stretch afterwards.

Drink water.

Enjoy yourself! Each time you lace up, think about how excited you are to be on your journey and imagine yourself crossing the 5km finish line! 

Also, check out the awesome Yoga For Runners workshop I am running Febraury 25th! We will chat about about breathing techniques, do a yoga class specific to running and end in some restorative postures to help the body recover. Check out the Facebook event here:


Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

Chopped Leaf Turn Over A New Leaf Contest

New year, new leaf to turn over. I don't care what anyone says about resolutions and "New Year, New Me". I love a fresh year, fresh start with the intention of changing something for the better. 

January 1st The Chopped Leaf, launched their Turn Over a New Leaf program. For the month of January, offering healthy tips on their Facebook Twitter and Instagram pages with a chance to enter daily to win $15 gift certificates as well as be entered to win the grand prize worth $2500 including  $1000 Chopped Leaf gift card and a year membership to Goodlife and a spa and wellness package! 

So head on over to follow them and get in on the daily draws and  enter to win for the grand prize HERE.

Self Love & Self Improvement

The world is full of mixed messages and we are in a time in the world where FINALLY marketing to us women isn't 100% about telling us that we are not good enough unless we are thin/pretty blah blah blah. We still have lots of work to do of course, but I feel like it leaves us in  a great divide. 

Recently I've seen some images shared by fitness mamas I admire Mama Lion Strong and Wendy Powell. I agree with both of these images.


Reads "If you ever wander into that mindset of thinking that to take care of your body + your emotional + physical well-being is somehow shallow or vain or not important, please think again. You have every right to feel good about yourself." 

Reads "Those extra 5-10 pounds, that place where your body naturally wants to be -that's your life. That's your late night pizza with your man, that Sunday morning bottomless brunch, your favourite cupcake in the whole entire world because you wanted to treat yourself. Those extra 5-10 pounds are your favourite memories, your unforgettable trips, your celebrations of life. Those extra 5-10 pounds are your spontaneity, your freedom, your love. 

I whole heartedly agree with both of these statements and adore these women sharing them. That said, it seems confusing right? A message of "if you want to change, that's okay." and a message of "love those things you may wish to change."

The struggle is real my friends. Finding the balance between these two is very hard. And I will let you in on a little secret. I don't know the answer or what to tell you. I feel this struggle all the time. I don't have a tip or a trick to help you with this one. I just want to let you know you are not alone. 

I've been working with my own nutrition coach because I feel like yeah, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make some changes. Then much to his annoyance I'm sure, I see the other side of the coin and think to myself that I should just eat the thing or enjoy the wine and my body is perfectly imperfect the way it is, this moment will not last. 

So what do we do?

The only advice I offer is sitting with ourselves to see where things really come from. This is a practice of something we do daily, hourly, weekly whatever. I assure you it is not a one time sit down thing. Sitting with ourselves (also known as meditation) and discovering what we actually feel behind these thoughts. 

I wish you look in your journey and know you are not alone. 


Jen the Bitchin' Housewife

Fitness Gear Review - MY Zone Heart Rate Monitor

I've been teaching yoga at the RVX gym all summer and they have all their athletes wear these heart rate monitors. There is a big t.v up on the wall so the trainers can see their efforts in real time. Pretty cool. I enjoyed watching the heart rates go up and slow way down from the yoga I was teaching them. 

I was so intrigued that I just had to get myself one of these My Zone Heart Rate Monitors. I have to admit, I'm a little obsessed with it. 

Since it goes around the torso, rather then the wrist as in a watch there is constant contact getting the results of monitoring to be %99.4 accurate. 

It's easy to wear and you can't even see it under a shirt. 

It shows you on an app on your phone your effort. Showing where your heart rate is in different "zones". Where I am assuming where they get their name from. 

The brilliant thing about these zones is that you are rewarded points or as they call it MEP's for every minute you are in a different zone. The harder you work the more points per minute you get. Hence their slogan "Effort Rewarded". These points can be added up for challenges, personal goals or competing against friends. You can add your friends and see where they are at with their workouts. You can help motivate them by a little friendly competition. Not that I know about this or anything........ Oh and they just added an update where you can post a photo to your feed with your workout!

Since you also plug in all your personal info, including your age and weight etc it tracks your caloric burn during a workout. It's fascinating to see the difference from what the cardio machine at the gym is telling you and your actual amount. 

I have found myself pushing a little harder in workouts, if not because I see my heart rate in a lower zone, but because I want more MEP's! Either way I'm motivated!

The thing that super impressed me about this monitor is that I wore it during the Spartan Super race I did, running through mud and swimming across a river and it stayed in place AND it still works! I wasn't near my phone, but it will track up to 16 hours of your workout for you and upload it when you are near your phone again. 

Overall, I'm super happy with my purchase and continue to love my new workout gear. I believe you can get them online at the My Zone website or you can buy them through a local retailer like I did at RVX Factor Gym here in Edmonton. 


Jen the Bitchin' Housewife

22 Pushups for 22 Days Challenge

I've seen a few friends post about this challenge and finally a good friend said she wanted to do it and well... here we are. I donated my $22 at (you should too) and today I start the challenge. 

Suicide is a real threat to our Armed Forces personnel, veterans and first responders. Let's show them some love by having some fun and spreading the world. The more people that share what they are doing, the more exposure the people have to it, eventually prompting them to engage! Just like I did. You, as the one single human being you are can always make a difference.

To keep it fun, check out my Facebook page everyday for a new style of push up to try! 


Jen The Bitchin' Housewife

What's That Barre About?

Every thought about trying out a barre class? Yeah that was me. A friend and I have thought about it for a while and weren't sure. I figured I would try and blog about it so you can see if it's something you wanted to try! I'll experiment on my body for you like that. We cool.

Thursday night my two friends and I went to Xtend Barre in south Edmonton and tried out a class! First of all this brand new studio is super gorgeous and the people that work there are amazingly friendly and inviting! I mean I know I have tried many different things in fitness, but always embarking on a new journey can be a little intimidating and these guys treat you like a best friend the second you walk in the door.

So we walk in and fill out our forms and get ready for class. Fist thing is we grab some equipment. Some straps, mat, ball and choose our size hand weights. Now, let me tell you a bit about my ego. There are 2, 3 and 5 lbs weights. And I'm all like, "I lift weights, where's the 15 lbs weights?" and Cheryl is all like "3 lbs is challenging and 5 lbs is like hard core". I almost grabbed the 5lbs, but last second thought, I'm a newbie I'll go 3. *Insert rolling laughter from everyone ever who has taken a barre class*.

We get all set up and start on some warm up movements. It was pretty good, I felt loosened up and got a grasp of hand placcement and footing. I had concerns about how complicated it was going to be, especially after I saw the equipment we needed, but the moves are simple and easy to follow.

After warming up we grab our weights get to some strength. Yeah so I'm a weightlifter..... I can hip thrust a whopping 270 lbs. These 3 lbs weights kicked my ass. Well shoulders, but you get the idea. I seriously part way through had to put those suckers down and do just bodyweight. Which is a wonderful option for newbies to fitness too. It's totally still a good workout. 

We got to some more bodyweight stuff......

Happy Chris doing her favorite move, tricep dips. With a pointed toe twist of course. 

Happy Chris doing her favorite move, tricep dips. With a pointed toe twist of course. 

Then we hit the bar. Where I learned, it doesn't matter how fit you are, you can ALWAYS learn something new. I'm totally proud of my capabilities to perform a very good squat with my butt back and low. But Cheryl had to keep correcting me to tuck my pelvis the other direction. Not a squat but a plie! Let's talk about using new muscles! yowza!

Then my FAVORITE, core work!!!!!

Overall we had a total blast. Chris and Melissa proclaimed to be very sore yesterday. I wasn't as sore since I taught 7 hours of yoga and stretched all day, but I can feel it still in some parts of my body!

My overall take on barre:

  • Great workout, with something available for all levels to get a challenge.
  • Very simple to follow, with easy transitions between exercises. 
  • Fun upbeat music.
  • What I liked best was it was almost like a taste of being a dancer, without the intimidation or seriousness. We were just some friends hanging out and having fun, while learning a new way of fitness. My friend Melissa was actually a dancer as a child and she said it reminded her of her dancing years and she will definitely go back. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Grip socks are required. This particular studio offers them for sale, but I see them all the time at Walmart or Shoppers or places like Keylime Athletic Wear.
  • Keep within your limits and rest if needed.

Overall, I'm a fan and will go back for sure! Have you tried a barre class? Will you?