This is 29 {GIVEAWAY}

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat

I hinted last week that something pretty darn awesome was coming to the blog today, and the time has come! But first, we need to get all deep and feely for a few minutes.

Last Tuesday I turned 29. While spending a really lovely weekend visiting my dad in Victoria, I had a chance to look back on the past year at how I’ve changed. It seems that in this latter half of my 20s, every year seems to be an even bigger learning experience. 28 was no exception. There have been a number of new influences that have entered my life, altering what I choose to think and do, what I choose to be a stand for and who I spend my time with.

Looking back, there were also some key realizations and mindset shifts that have happened. Due to the fact that much of what I’m passionate about falls under the health and wellness category, it won’t come as a surprise that the learnings are about those topics.

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat

Goals to gain instead of goals to lose

At the beginning of 2017 I set a goal to become my strongest and fittest yet. After a number of events (chronically low iron, a few injuries, etc) made me challenge whether or not continuing along the endurance sports road was the right thing for me, I decided to make a shift. I put lifting weights as my primary focus. It’s an area I’ve understood the importance of, yet still put on the back burner as an endurance athlete.


For so many years I was all about cardio – mileage numbers, times, heart rate monitoring, calories burned, and sufferfests – long bouts of training that left me feeling completely exhausted afterwards. I think a lot of long-distance athletes use the fact that more time doing cardio = more calories burned as justification for eating ALL the time – sometimes the right foods, and sometimes the wrong foods. Admittedly, I used to take comfort in knowing that as long as I was getting my morning miles in and achieving that oh-so-familiar runner’s high feeling, I could pretty much eat however much I wanted. I was burning plenty of calories to compensate – my heart rate monitor told me so. Combine that mentality, constant stress on the gut due to exercise AND repeated bombardment with huge quantities of high-fibre fruits and vegetables, and it’s no wonder my digestion was a disaster. More about food in a second.

Back to the strength training thing. In my own experience described above, and in the experiences of so many other people I know, fitness has become about a reductionist outcome. It affects both genders, but particularly women Pushing our bodies harder and harder to lose an inch off the waist. To achieve slimmer thighs. To lose 10 or 20 pounds. We get trapped in a mentality of wanting more, doing more, buying more, burning more – all for the desired outcome of looking and weighing less. This isn’t the way things should be!

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat

That whole reductionist mindset has had me doing a lot of thinking. Having personally fallen victim to it several times during my 20s, not to mention my own 60lb weight loss in my late teens, switching to an opposite approach of setting goals related to gaining something rather than losing something was partly what motivated my 2017 goal of being my strongest ever. What would what life would look like if I focused on gaining? Gaining strength, mobility, power, and the ability to do things my body couldn’t do before like chin ups, snatches – even something as simple as a below-parallel squat.

We still have 4 months to go in 2017, but so far I’ve seen my own body transform into one that is so much physically stronger than it was last fall. I’m logging far fewer miles, have seen the weights I lift increase significantly, witnessed positive changes in my body composition, and the limited mobility I used to have in my hips and hamstrings from so much running and cycling has improved tons. The former cardio junkie in me would never have believed all this would be possible without training harder and longer. But it turns out that actually giving something new a chance and trusting the process for a while can lead to some pretty impressive results. Oh, and taking rest days (really taking them). Humbling? Absolutely.


As I mentioned above, the combo of decreasing my cardio time and being more careful about fibre intake in order to let my digestive system really do its job was a game changer. Other nutrition shifts included reintroduction of red meat and chicken (the sustainably-sourced, organic + hormone/antibiotic-free kind). What didn’t feel right about those things once upon a time actually seems to be serving me better now. I’m sure that the additional iron intake is partly responsible for my much healthier lab results as of late, as well as my improved energy and alertness.

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat

Gut health, sleep and stress

We all know that holistic health extends far beyond fitness and food. In my 28th year, I truly noticed the impact of sleep, relaxation, stress reduction and social connection on how I felt. With digestive health being such a hot topic right now, studies are showing that things like sleep and stress have direct impacts on the gut microbiome. In the past year I’ve made some solid efforts to evolve myself in all these areas, as opposed to just thinking about health in terms of working out and what I eat.

I have to say that I truly feel healthier, stronger and more energetic than ever. Of course, not every day is an awesome day, but at least now when I’m feeling less than ideal, I know that I’ve probably let one of these less-sexy-but-just-as-important things slip.

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat

What I know to be true (at least for me in this moment)

To sum up my learnings as a now-29-year-old:

  • Exercise should enhance who you are, not deplete you. The motive behind it shouldn’t be purely to lose or become smaller, because that just makes us less of who we are and we were all made to live great big, exciting, fabulous lives! Instead (or perhaps also) we should ask what it can help us to gain.
  • Don’t be afraid to give something new a chance.
  • We use labels because the human brain likes to categorize things into boxes as a memory tool. Runner, vegan, Crossfitter, triathlete, paleo, yogi etc. But no matter how long you’ve had a label, don’t be afraid to shed it if it doesn’t feel right any more.
  • Nutrition is simple. Regardless of whether you’ve got weight to lose or some other nutrition goal, choosing MORE real, whole foods will eventually crowd out the ones that are probably slowing progress.
  • If gut health and digestion are a problem, chronic cardio and doing high intensity training too frequently could be the culprit. If you think those areas are dialled in, consider sleep, stress and your social connections. The gut needs rest to do its job, and no amount of expensive probiotic supplements or juice cleanses are going to change that.

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat


Now that I’ve had you reading for long enough, let’s have some fun, shall we?

I wouldn’t be as excited about all of the things I’ve just talked about above if I didn’t have people like you to share it with. Having you along to share these experiences with is THE BEST, and I’m so thankful that you guys take the time to join the conversation. So in the spirit of self evolution, holistic health and being our best selves, I’ve partnered with some of my favourite companies to bring you one of the biggest giveaways in Eat Spin Run Repeat history.

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

(Note that the photos aren’t reflective of the exact products in each package because I didn’t have everything at the time of taking these.)

Vega Sport Prize Pack (1 winner, CA + US residents eligible)

Vega Sport Performance Protein, Electrolyte Hydrator and Sugar Free Energizer - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Navitas Organics Prize Pack (1 winner, US residents eligible)

Navitas Organics Essential Blends and Daily Superfood Boosts - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Raw Elements Prize Pack (1 winner, CA residents eligible)

  • Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Cordyceps and Chaga (1 box of 10 packets)
  • Four Sigmatic Hot Cacao with Reishi (1 box of 10 packets). This stuff is so amazingly relaxing, I’m sure it will quickly become part of your night time routine!
  • Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage with Dandelion (100 servings). I’m not a coffee drinker, but Dandy Blend is a fantastic alternative to coffee, and I looooove this first thing in the morning with breakfast! Dandelion is amazing for detoxification and this powder dissolves instantly in water.
  • Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (1 bag classic, one bag golden blend). As the name suggests, monkfruit is a fruit and this calorie-free natural sweetener is made by extraction from the fruit. It’s has zero impact on the glycemic index and can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for sugar. I love that it has no aftertaste, and also comes in a golden version which works in any recipe that calls for brown sugar.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixirs and Hot Cacao - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Anti-Inflammatory Eating 101 Guide (3 winners, open to anyone!)

3 winners will receive a free downloadable PDF copy of my latest guide, Anti-Inflammatory Eating 101. This includes all the must-know info about inflammation, why an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is beneficial, a meal plan and easy recipes to try.

Anti-Inflammatory Eating 101 - Your Essential Guide by Angela Simpson, Eat Spin Run Repeat

Here’s what to do to enter:

  • Leave a comment below telling me about one of the big learnings or mindset shifts you’ve had related to health and wellness this year.
  • Bonus entry: Follow me @eatspinrunrpt, @vega_team, and @navitasorganics on Instagram. Be sure to comment below and tell me you did.
  • Tweet about this post and leave a separate comment below with the link to your tweet. Something like…

[Tweet “Celebrating all things health, wellness + life lessons with @eatspinrunrpt’s bday #giveaway”]

Angela Simpson - culinary nutrition expert and blogger at Eat Spin Run Repeat

This giveaway will be open all week until Friday August 25th at 7pm PST. All winners will be contacted via email. Good luck, and thank you again for your amazing support!

72 thoughts on “This is 29 {GIVEAWAY}

  1. I have struggled for years with thinking all my workouts need to be intense- whether that be running or HIIT training. I am learning to listen more to my body now and I feel a lot better!

  2. I’ve learned how important sleep is, that’s one thing I won’t sacrifice. Im in my early 40s and my body needs time to recover; not just from workouts but from day to day life too.

  3. Happy Birthday Angela! I’ve been reading your blog for years, I love the stuff you do. This past year I’ve realized that 80/20 is truly enough. I used to aim for perfection which only led to wild swings, but the more I focused on consistency versus compensation the better I feel.

  4. After a pretty serious injury this year that left me unable to do any activity for 2 months, I am truly grateful to move my body however i can!

  5. I love your emails and blogs! Reading them always gives me so much energy! I’m entering the birthday prizes…but I don’t know what a tweet is so cannot follow through with that LOL (I’m old). Hope you got to enjoy your birthday with amazing surprises. By the way, I love your balloon and rainbow wall photos! So pretty.

  6. I’ve changed my diet, focusing on eating more plant based foods and ones with little processing. None of us are getting any younger, but if we treat ourselves right we can feel younger. Hitting the 40s hasn’t been all that bad. I’m more focused and actually may be in the best shape of my life! As a distance runner it seems as though I always toe the injury line. I’ve found benefits in limiting speed work and at the same time focusing on strength training and stretching. Happy Birthday!

  7. Well said Angela! I totally agree with you regarding the mindset of losing weight and inches and becoming smaller. After years and years of cutting calories I finally increased my calorie and food intake this year and feel so much better in myself. I too am trying to focus more on strength!!! Happy belated birthday!!!!

  8. I’ve started running more and am training for my first marathon, and have changed to make sure I am fueling my body with the right foods. I definitely used to have the ‘I run so I can eat whatever I want’ mentality but by doing that, I wasn’t feeling great. I’ve followed all three instagram accounts. Thanks and happy birthday!

  9. I can totally relate to your shift this year. I too was a cardio junkie – logging high heart rates and calories burned during exercise on my fitness tracker, but not really progressing in terms of strength. I made the switch just recently to strength and eating better, and have found myself changing more in this past month of doing so, than in all my years of cardio. And it feels great! My goal is to keep this up, and get better at this to really tone and strengthen my body.
    Happy birthday!

  10. I can completely relate to your “more is more” workout philosophy. I have scaled back my hour long, bootcamp style “sufferfests” (love that term!) and now alternate between 30-45 minute moderate cardio and strength workouts. I have added long relaxing walks and bike rides. Workouts are now about stress relief and making my body strong, not pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion just to see if I burned more calories that yesterday. I feel better than ever!

  11. Hope you had a great weekend on the island! This week has been such huge one of learning for me – after I kicked it off being injured, over-trained, and just exhausted. Other than the importance of rest, I’ve realized the importance in seeking out help from professionals! Seeing a nutritionist and physiotherapist that I trust have been huge for my health, fuelling, and running.

    A big learning or health shift for me was not just eating well but cooking at home, from scratch. I eat way less so-called healthy convenience foods and it’s made a big difference!

  13. I read Brene Brown’s Rising Strong earlier this year and it has led to many mindset shifts for me. Most importantly was understanding the stories that we tell ourselves and how to consider that in different situations.

  14. A HUGE lesson I’ve learned while training again for a marathon is hydrating and diet are huge. Last time I trained was 2 years ago and I thought just because I was running so much I could fuel my body with anything and now I’m focusing on whole nutrient dense foods that will keep me healthy and injury free !

  15. I absolutely understand everything you spoke about regarding the excess cardio for years. I, too, have tried to turn my focus away from all those grueling hours of cardio. I started crossfit last Sept. And I see a difference in my strength and mobility as well and body composition. When I am stressed, I resort back to the cardio as it tends to relax/calm me better unfortunately. I have also had the digestive issues you mentioned and have made some positive gains in dealing with that as well. You are lucky to be figuring this out now, at 29. I am in my mid 40’s and have only recently started to treat my body a little better and listen to it instead of constantly punishing it!

  16. This year I have learned to be kinder to myself when I get off track of my fitness or am distracted by other stuff in my life. Working on balance and losing the all or nothing approach.

  17. What a great giveaway! This year, I’ve started to focus more on enjoying healthy living (exercise, training, healthful eating) rather than punishing myself. As a result, I had so much fun training for my 4th SeaWheeze half marathon and got a new personal best as well!

  18. Happy belated birthday! ??

    Over the last year I’ve learned to let go of expectations. I am trying to live a balanced lifestyle for me, not doing things because I think I SHOULD be doing them or because I think those things will make people respect/admire me. It means having fun while exercising and choosing foods that make me feel good and not worrying about judgement. Definitely still a work in progress at times, but a positive and exciting shift in mentality for me nonetheless. 🙂

    I am already following all the accounts you listed on Intstagram. Keep up the awesome blog reads and recipes!

  19. The biggest things I have come to learn this year surround becoming a mom. I am more focused on functional movements that make lifting, bending, twisting and reaching with a 8 month old that much easier. I am also taking advantage of more rest that ever before, everyday is different with a baby and if I am not feeling my best I am not able to provide him with opportunities for growth and fun.

    Following all those above on Instagram

  20. I’ve also begun that mind shift from calories, miles, heart rate to strength and eating clean instead of dieting.

  21. I moved across the country last year and fell behind in my fitness and nutrition. This year I learned that that’s okay, and nothing blossoms year round, including you! Becoming settled takes time, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Of course i’m already following 🙂

  22. I’ve learned to really embrace where I am, rather than worrying about where I think I should be or where someone else is.

  23. I have struggled with an all or nothing approach if I wasn’t running 90km a week, weight training daily and eating very strictly I was sedentary there was no in between. I have come to a more balanced approach I am kinder to myself lately accepting that sometimes yoga is a nicer way to go for the day, and maybe a short slow run is better for my head than a long gruelling one to improve my butt.

  24. After some health set backs earlier this summer I have learned to appreciate what I can do and be patient for what is to come as I get better.
    I already follow you and am excited to follow the other two!

  25. Meditation. A broken ankle has forced me to slow down. Instead of getting up early to run, I meditate. It has been a game changer for me.

  26. This year I turned 30! I’ve learned this year that everything I put into my body has an impact, whether it’s immediate or not. I’ve learned to pay more attention to what is in the food I’m eating, and what nutrients I’m giving myself.

  27. My big lesson learned this year is to accept where my body is at – whether it’s due to stress, injury or other life factors. Recovering from an appendectomy and managing the stress and grief of losing a loved one were important lessons in slowing down and being patient and accepting with my body, no matter where it is at.

  28. Such a great post! I have undergone some of the same realizations as you, and I agree that you really can’t be afraid to shed the labels that no longer work. My family STILL can’t get over the fact that I eat some meat now (“GASP! What are you eating?? Aren’t you vegetarian?” “So you eat meat now…why are you turning down the hotdogs?”), but I feel so so much better. You’re the only one who can feel what’s going on in your own unique body, so do what you need to do to nourish it and feel your best!

  29. I’ve had a lot of mindshifts related to health this year. First, I went vegan. Being vegan helped me think more mindfully about what I eat, which empowered me to shift away from the desserts and sweets to which I was addicted to whole foods and plants. Now I feel much better and am on a steady weight loss trend, with the implication that I will be in the normal weight range by November after being overweight for most of my life. 🙂

  30. What a lovely post and an incredible giveaway! Something I’m really starting to take note of and implement is what a difference starting my day with time in nature can be. I’m grumpy about getting out of bed when I just want to stay in my PJs but once I’m out in nature my head instantly gets clearer and I start my day so positive and recharged!

  31. I subscribe to all 3 on instagram. What I have learned the most this year is the mind muscle connection and how to listen to my body.

  32. I am down 34 pounds this year by cutting out junk and incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet! I love my new lifestyle. My cart at the grocery store is always chock full of produce.

  33. Happy Birthday! I have come across your blog and have enjoyed reading our journey what a movation you are! I have now started following you on instagram and your FB page. I have to agree with you low iron has caused me a great struggle to remain concentrated on my fitness and health journey. I have learnt over the last yea pr that my body requires a lot more protein then I have been consuming. I’m in my middle 30’s with 2 young girls at home who I want to set a good example for that being healthy is important and that taking care of yourself health wise is both mental and physically is extremely good for you. I will continue to follow and I’m sure enjoy your blog. Your blog was a great accidental find for me!

  34. I’ve learned to face my fears when it comes to my health and wellness. What that meant for me is working up the courage to book that appointment with the doctor, to talk to my family about things I have been struggling with and to seek support where it was needed.

  35. I have learned to listen to my body and take a rest when needed, but have also pushed myself out of the box and have had fun with new workouts! I am now working on meeting with my dr and talking about some minor health things that have me frustrated to try and find solutions.

  36. This year, I’ve learned the importance of pacing myself. I’ve learned to trust the process and understand that change does not automatically happen overnight!

  37. One of the biggest shifts for me was a little similar to yours! I am working out way less than before but much more intentionally. I’m sure to do dynamic movements that combine more elements of my body than just a single isolated muscle. I’m also trying to practice mindfulness and see what it is my body actually needs in a particular moment. Instead of sticking to a rigid, pre-determined schedule, i try to figure out what my body is telling me. Maybe I planned on attending a strength class, but if my body is sore and tight, I do yoga instead. If I feel an itch after sitting all day, I sneak in a walk. It’s been so helpful to be more in tune with my body and surprisingly the results are better than any workout routine I’ve ever had.

  38. The biggest thing I have learned this year is the importance of disconnecting and taking time to relax. We live in such an active environment it’s important to relax and read, do yoga, or hang out in nature.

  39. I’ve learned the importance of relaxing! I’ve been learning to be at peace with myself and my own company.

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