Annette is shown in three poses on aerial silks.

Taking stock of the semester: what is there to celebrate?

If you’re as prone to self-deprecation as I am, the end of the term may inspire some troublesome realizations and painfully remind you of all the goals you set in September. As the year winds down but exams wind way, way up, it’s hard not to take stock of the past few months – if only to procrastinate.

It’s really easy to identify the goals we didn’t realize and the plans we didn’t follow through with, and the associated negativity is not something any of us needs right now. So, I’m looking back and while I can’t ignore my “areas for improvement” I am sandwiching my criticisms of myself with silent celebrations of all the things I did well and accomplished.

Annette is shown in three poses on aerial silks.
As well as some flashy, Instagram’ed celebrations.
Text reading "Keep calm and kickbox".

Feature: Cardio kickbox at Goldring

I’ve never really participated in a group fitness class that wasn’t a quiet, restorative yoga session. As such, I had no idea what to expect from the “Cardio Kickbox” drop-in fitness class offered at the Goldring Centre. I came into the class without expectations, exhausted after a long day on campus, and somehow I walked out energized and uplifted.

Woman seen frolicking through a field of flowers with a text overlay which reads "This is me after signing up for kickboxing!"
Basically.
Source: memeshappen.com
A doodle demonstrates alternate nostril breathing in a series of images.

A mindful moment: yoga and meditation at U of T

Let me start this off by saying I am not a yogi, nor am I a master of the subconscious – or any other level of consciousness for that matter. U of T’s new yoga and meditation programming is inclusive and inviting, and all you need in order to participate is your presence.

Yoga and meditation are available across campus five days a week at a variety of times to suit our crazy schedules. It’s drop-in programming so you can go as often or as seldom as you like. If it’s Wednesday, 5:15 p.m. and you’re thinking you’re done for the day, you can pop over to the Goldring Centre and join the “Yoga and Meditation” session which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It’s flexible – in more than just the obvious sense.

That’s the session I had the pleasure of attending this week. It was held in the dance studio/multi-purpose room on the top tier of the Goldring Centre’s strength and conditioning centre. I’d never been in that space before and oh how I wanted to dance! It’s so bright and open, with a wall of mirrors that I could think of many ways to exploit.

The doors to the Goldring fitness studio.
This is the site of all group fitness at the Goldring Centre, for future reference!

Keep calm and skate on: an update

As much as I enjoy putting a mouth guard in and my fists up, I’m a princess at heart. A clumsy princess, but a princess nonetheless.

Annette is shown participating in Jiu Jitsu with a crown drawn over the photo.
That’s supposed to be a crown…

Only two sessions remain in my Skating Level I class at Varsity Centre. I’d say I’m going to miss it, but I already know I won’t be able to resist picking up where I left off in the new year. I registered in the class in September because my skating could only ever take me in one general direction and my favourite – and only – way to stop on skates was body-checking the boards. I’m happy to announce I’ve not only developed my skating skills and feel much more comfortable in my skates, but I’ve also gained a new appreciation for figure skating and have enjoyed my chance to be an awkward ice princess.

A picture list of complex carbs (sweet potato, whole grain bread, oats) and simple carbs (soda, donuts, white bread, cereal) is shown.

The not-so-sweet truth about sugar: Healthy habits at Hart House

This week, I dropped into the Healthy Habits program that runs every Monday in the Hart House Reading Room from 12 to 1 p.m. Healthy Habits is a laid-back discussion about nutrition and tips for eating well and is led by a holistic nutritionist.

What I really liked about the event was that it was informal and thereby unintimidating. We all sat in the corner of the Reading Room on the couches and, in essence, had a chat. The topic varies week to week and you’re welcome to attend just one session or as many as you like, whenever you can. This past Monday, we talked about sugar – very timely if you ask me, given that Monday was also Halloween.

The word "sugar" is spelled out using table sugar.
Source: healthbubbles.com

How do they do it? Juggling academics and athletics

As a campus tour guide, I receive a lot of questions surrounding student life and whether a school-life balance is something one can expect to manage at the renowned U of T.

Seeing everyone’s defeated, exhausted expressions on campus, I thought it’d be a good time to share some of my tips and tricks of the trade that have helped me to juggle three jobs, three sports and a full-time course load.

A drawing of a woman with many outstretched hands to juggle different life responsibilities.
Disclaimer: I don’t usually look quite so glamorous while doing it.
Source: yummymummyfitness.com.au

1. Sometimes you need to downsize. Sure, juggling five balls looks really cool but if you’re exhausted and you’re about to see them all fall to the floor, consider whether you might be able to take one out of the equation. I know it’s hard, we’re very ambitious students and we prefer to be able to persevere and to succeed without giving anything up, but I encourage everyone to critically evaluate whether the cost is worth what you’re gaining.

Take an active break! : A small gym exercise routine

October is a terrifying time of year – and that has nothing to do with Halloween. I have never before been so overwhelmed with things that need doing/studying/writing. But we’ll get through this… right?

I’m kidding of course, we always do and we will again – that thought has always been helpful to me when I’m swamped and feeling hopeless.

When there’s so much to be done, it can be hard to squeeze in some physical activity. As many of us live in residences and apartment buildings with small exercise rooms, I thought I’d put together a simple small gym study break as a perfect addition to my self-care routine!

Try 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions of each of the following exercises for a fast, full body workout between textbooks!

Annette is shown in 3 stages of a pushup.

Finding Fitness at U of T (Without Joining a Single Organized Sport)

When I entered university, I was determined to take advantage of all the physical fitness resources available and undo the drastic drop in athleticism that had occurred during my teenage years. In grade six, I had found joy in doing laps at the U of T Athletic Centre pool every weekend. However, when puberty hit, and sports teams became increasingly ‘exclusive’, I grew self-conscious and made every effort to skip out on gym. Throughout high school, I only voluntarily participated in two sports: fencing (a one week long U of T summer camp) and archery.

Girl practicing archery

Skating Level I at Varsity Centre

Last week, I started my skating class at Varsity Centre. I LOVED it.

In addition to registering for the class, I registered to rent skate – which I’ll have access to every week for the hour I spend in class. I haven’t put on a pair of my own skates in a long time, so I imagined any pair I could dig up at home would be four sizes too small. I really appreciate the option to rent because not only is it inexpensive ($20 for the duration of the class) but it also means I’m not lugging skates to and from campus on top of my course materials.

When I got to Varsity Centre, I swiped my TCard and made my way to the arena (a familiar route, having attended a couple of MoveU skating events there already).

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This is the entrance to Varsity Centre where you swipe your T-Card.

It wasn’t long before I ran into my coach, whom I identified right away (she was wearing a big headband with the word “SKATE” across the front so… lucky guess). Shannon later explained that what she was wearing was a concussion headband with significant padding to protect her head. “Cool!” I thought.