About Me

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Hi! I am a fitness professional, a father of two gorgeous girls, a serious football fan and a LOVER of FOOD! I believe that to maintain balance in life we need to enjoy everything in moderation. But sometime during the past two and a half years, since my first daughter was born, I have lost my balancing ways. I'm addicted to food...my main addiction; chocolate. My workouts have taken a backseat to parent and tot gymnastics, crafting, and singing the ABC song. I NEED to find balance again. Please join me as I embark on this journey. I hope you too can find the balance in your own life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The best weight loss plan there is!

What did I learn over the past 2 weeks? Well, as it turns out, paying somebody to tear out your wisdom teeth is a decision you should not take lightly.

In what cannot be a gentle procedure, your dentist removes your, previously pain-free, teeth leaving you with holes filled with pain and regret. Aside from the lack of ability to open your mouth, the dull ache in your face, the interesting meds and the anger-invoking inability to consume any real foods, you also get the relaxing feeling that several of your teeth are simultaneously experiencing ice cream headaches. The crazy thing is that the best part of the day is the time you spend with a frozen bag of peas stuck to your face. On the plus side, if there is one, it is virtually impossible not to drop a couple pounds after getting your teeth out. Guaranteed weight loss!!

I quickly learned that the window for weight loss was very brief. The first 2-3 days, you really have no  desire to eat and if you do it's apple sauce and pureed soups. As a result you will drop a little weight. Days 4-5 come along and you find yourself starting to get a little annoyed that the pain is still lingering and more than a little angered because all you really want to do is chew something. This frustration resulted in trading the apple sauce for pudding and the pureed soups for tubs of cottage cheese. No guaranteed weight loss anymore. As you close in on a week, you are ready to snap and realize that chocolate Easter treats melt wonderfully in your mouth and require little effort, while providing so much pleasure. Now we are in weight gain. Moral of the story is that all drastic weight loss plans ultimately result in leaving you right back where you started. All that pain for nothing.

As I wasn't really overly interested in doing much the past week, I did spend some time thinking about the blog and I am excited to say that we are changing things up. We are hoping that the new design will allow us to get more frequent blogs out, which will get workouts and information out to you guys more frequently, helping us all get and stay healthier.

One of the first things we are going to introduce is what we are calling...

 The Chalkboard Challenge

The Chalkboard Challenge will show up on a regular basis. Not every day, not even every other day, but regularly. They will generally be shorter in length and higher in intensity. The idea is to create some good old fashioned healthy competition. Not to mention provide some tough workouts. 

Chalkboard Challenge #1: If you don't have a skipping rope, do jumping jacks. The total time for this challenge is 16 min.

The goal is 1000 reps in 16 minutes. I was just short!

the sequence

2 minutes of skipping : get over the rope as many times as you can.
1 minute of rest
30 seconds of squats : as many as you can
30 seconds of mountain climbers : as many as you can
30 seconds of rest
45 seconds squats : as many as you can
45 seconds of mountain climbers : as many as you can
45 seconds of rest
60 seconds of squats : as many as you can
60 seconds of mountain climbers : as many as you can
60 seconds of rest
45 seconds squats : as many as you can
45 seconds of mountain climbers : as many as you can
45 seconds of rest
30 seconds of squats : as many as you can
30 seconds of mountain climbers : as many as you can
1 minute of rest
2 minutes of skipping : get over the rope as many times as you can.

Here is the sheet I use to track my results for this workout.

*** Be sure to track your numbers and see if you can beat mine. ***

In case you need a little reminder, here is the video for the mini pyramid.

The second new introduction is a little something we are calling...

Know Sweat 

Know Sweat is the section where we discuss the plethora of, mostly misunderstood, fitness and health related facts and fallacies. I don't think there is an industry that can match ours with its frequency of new fads and crazy ideas. Some have lasting power but most should never be given a second thought. We intend to help you know the difference.

Fact : The brain is unable to differentiate between hunger and thirst. Assuming that you are eating on a regular basis, a great way to help maintain a healthy body weight is to always assume that your body is thirsty and not hungry. Try drinking water the next time you think you are hungry. If the perceived desire for food is eliminated, you have just saved many an unnecessary calorie. Of course sometimes you are hungry. If so, then you eat!

The third new component to the blog is what we call...

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat is the section dedicated to food. Helpful food facts and amazingly easy recipes that are both delicious and healthy. With little ones around, you simply don't have time to cook yet you still want to eat healthy foods. Our goal here is to provide you with helpful solutions. 

Food facts - The Banana:

There are over 500 types of bananas.
One medium-sized, 7-8 inch banana has just 105 calories.
Bananas contain significant amounts of vitamins C(3X more than apples) and B6(great for skin and hair). They are also rich in carotenoids and can increase vitamin A levels in those with deficiencies.
The average banana contains 3 grams of fibre.
A banana contains about 12% of the daily recommended dose of potassium for adults. Potassium helps maintain proper functioning cells, tissues and organs and helps to lower blood pressure.
As with all types of fruits and vegetables, bananas contain antioxidants.
Bananas are NOT fattening!
They are also the perfect pre-workout fuel source.

If you want to know more about this super food, check out the following link.

Last, but not least, I bet you didn't know that we open bananas up the wrong way! Check out this quick clip to see how the pros (monkeys) do it.

I hope you enjoy the new spin we are giving to the blog. 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Time Out" for Fitness

~Written by Kate

It's been a while since I've contributed anything to this blog, and for that I'm sorry.  Call it the time change, chasing after my two babes or something else. Whatever it is, I've been exhausted lately and as a result I have been missing my workouts.  Missing them in the sense that I have not been working out at all AND missing that alone time that I get granted while getting my sweat on.

I NEED to get back on the workout train!   

I realized that the above statement was extremely necessary when I was putting Olivia (my 7 month old) to bed the other night. She's teething, and it was taking her longer then usual to get to sleep.  I usually stay by her side and rub her belly or back until she falls asleep but on this particular night it was taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Instead of becoming an overly frustrated (believe me...I was more then mildly frustrated!), angry, sobbing mess, I decided to take this opportunity to add in a little fitness.  I did deadlifts.  Lots of deadlifts.  I didn't count, or have my workout clothes on, or any 'pump me up' music.  I just did them. When Olivia would cry I would start and when she stopped crying I would take a break.  I have no idea how many I did that night, but I do know that the next morning and well into the following day my hamstrings were sore!

I have decided to adopt this new approach with my older child too. She's two and a half and sometimes, after several warnings, finds herself in the "TIME OUT" chair.  While she's in her time out she sits patiently and quietly crying or whining and waits until the time out is over.  What a great time to do a few push-ups, or squats, or posture pulls. Once I started this, I discovered that it was a BRILLIANT plan. I was able to get in some random, unplanned exercise which made me feel great and I was less focused or concerned with the wall my child just coloured or the entire box of cereal that was sprawled out all over the floor.  Win/Win!

She was so proud of her artwork!

I have been able to incorporate small extra bits of exercise into my daily life, so even if I miss my normal workout I'm still able to do SOMETHING.  I challenge you to do the same. Find two minutes here or there, while you're brushing your teeth or during a commerical break to do something...anything.  You'll be happier and healthier for it!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Fitness is in the Cards - The Sudorific Workout

~written by Chad

A crazy thing happened to me yesterday. For the first time in months I found myself at home...alone...for about 4 hours. I think I felt just like this guy.

I can't imagine what he is reacting to

For anyone with kids, you know how rare this  type of event is. Although it sounds like nothing, it is everything! I love my wife and girls more than I can explain, but I also love some good old fashioned alone time. For me it was my first chance, in a long time, to spend more than 20 minutes in the gym. As a result I have a new and amazing workout for you.

I call this workout the Sudorific Cards. 'sudo' for short. "What does that mean?", you ask. Great question! Sudorific means "causing sweat". And trust me, this workout does! I weighed in before and after (don't ask) and I lost 1.1lbs in less than an hour. That's a lot of sweat! Many a glass of water later and I was rehydrated, but the effects of the workout continued for hours, burning more calories than I would have otherwise. The true test of a workout's calorie burn should be measured for 24 hours, not just the duration of the workout. A single workout can be responsible for some serious calorie loss. Boosting your metabolism is one of the most important ways to maximize your weight loss.
Right! Not mine!!

I digress...

For this workout, all you need is good old fashioned deck of cards. As long as there is a full 54 cards, including Jokers, you are okay.

My deck came from Walmart and cost me $0.93. I turned it into this ingenious system, because I like to do it outside and the wind can ruin the workout if you aren't careful.

For this workout, each of the cards represents an exercise and a quantity of repetitions. For the numbered cards 2-10 you will do the same number of reps that is on the card. 4 of diamonds equals 4 repetitions. For the cards 2-10, each of the 4 suits has it's own exercises. There is a specific exercise and number of repetitions for the Jacks, one for the Queens, and the same for the Kings, Aces and Jokers. In total there are 9 different exercises.

The full exercise breakdown is shown in the video. Mind the quality, not much of a techie but I'm working on it.

If you prefer, here is the exercise list.

Diamonds (2-10) : back lunge hops 
Hearts (2-10) : supine leg kicks
Clubs (2-10) : squat thrusts & push-ups
Spades (2-10) : squat jumps & narrow push-ups
Jacks : alternate leg drops
Queens : plank leg raises
Kings : high knees
Aces : mountain climbers
Jokers : burpees

Your goal is simple, get through the cards as quickly as you can.

The beauty of this workout is that with a quick shuffle of the cards you have a new workout. The exercises stay the same, which allows you to improve on them, but the order will always be different so you will never know what is coming next. Too exciting I know.

It took me 43:45 to finish and I felt like dying for a very good portion of that. I didn't die and I honestly feel awesome today. Ready for more!!! You will too, trust me.

Have fun with this one and please let me know your times. I know some of you can beat me for sure!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Run Faster, Farther and Injury-Free! Part Two.

~written by Chad

I hope that Part One of this series, at the very least, got you thinking about the importance of incorporating adequate recovery time into your running program. I'm not saying that the picture below is going to happen to you, but being better rested is guaranteed to lessen your chances.

OUCH! -understatement of the year!

Seriously though, overtraining is far too frequent amongst runners and a major cause of their injuries. Having a well rested body will, not only, reduce the chances of injuries, but will also allow us to put a little more into our training days and as a result,  get a little more out.

In order to maximize those training days, we need to ensure a proper warm-up occurs prior to all training sessions, whether it's a run or any other workout.

People always ask me, "What stretch should I do before I run?". To many an odd stare, I only ever answer, "None". Stretching is generally misunderstood and potentially dangerous. For those of you who know me, you know I am not a fan of stretching. I am not going to get into that right now, let's just say that I prefer to think of it as range of motion acquisition, as opposed to stretching. You have to earn the range of motion the joints and muscles give you. You cannot force it. I believe that flexibility is in direct relation to stability. Think about when you go outside in the winter and unexpectedly step on a patch of ice. Your body instinctively tenses up every muscle. It senses the instability and contracts the muscles to protect the joints in case of a fall. We all have joint instability, just some more than others. If you can eliminate the instability in your joints, you will discover that your flexibility will increase as a result. Again, more on the issues regarding stretching in another post. Back to the warm-up.

When we set up a warm-up, we have to evaluate what we are looking to gain from the warm-up. If we are going on a run, we need to cover a few things. We need to get the ankles, knees and hips ready and we need to wake up the core and postural muscles. The following video will show you how to do just that. It will only take you 5-7 minutes and I think you'll notice a difference in your runs immediately.

Okay, you are all warmed up and ready for the run. If you do try this warm-up before your run and find that it made for a better workout, please leave a quick comment.

Enjoy your run.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Run Faster, Farther and Injury-Free! Part One.

~Written by Chad

It's that time of year again...running season. When those who have been logging the miles on the treadmill finally get to take to the streets, or sidewalks hopefully. I hate running over runners when I drive, ruins my day.


Along with the year-long runners, there are always some newbies who decide that this is the year they will finally take up running. Who can blame them? You spend some great time outside, you get some excellent cardio and all you need is a pair of running shoes, and hopefully some shorts. There really is nothing worse than a man in spandex shorts. Seriously who decided that this was okay? IT'S NOT!!
Super Flex
Too much spandex!

Seriously though, taking up running is a big deal. There are a lot of factors to consider; training schedule, diet, rest, shoes, the list is long. The most important one of all is the rest. Runners generally DO NOT rest properly. Muscles need rest in order to rebuild and get faster and stronger. The first thing you NEED to incorporate into your routine is adequate rest. That does not mean doing nothing, it just means some of the muscles need a day off. Taking out one running day and adding in an upper body and core workout will serve only to benefit you. You will run farther and faster and the likelihood of experiencing an injury will be dramatically decreased. More on that workout coming soon...

As it may not be completely apparent, I must express that I love runners! You are hard pressed to find a more dedicated group of athletes and as a trainer there isn't much more that you can ask for. The problem with runners is that they are also, some of the most stubborn athletes. I won't say most, but many runners still believe that in order to improve your running, you must....RUN  4, 5, 6 days a week. This is not the case! A well-rounded training program will offer you the best results. Imagine someone going to the gym and only doing biceps curls 4-6 days per week. You'd call him a lot of things, but a smart exerciser wouldn't be one of them.
Not sure what to say about this...but yikes!

What you need to remember is that running adds up. By that, I mean that you strike the ground approximately 1000 times per mile. Each time sending a force up to 3X your bodyweight into your skeleton. Crazy amount of strain on the body. If you want to know more about the heel strike follow this link...

There are plenty of studies out there, each with slightly different numbers, but one consistent factor is that they have found that more than 50% of runners are or have been injured from running. Some studies say up to 85%. Personally, I would say ALL of them if they are honest. If not already, one day for sure. The studies have found that many of these runners have experienced multiple injuries in the same calendar year. Imagine if over 50% of the NHL or NBA or any other group of athletes were out with injuries. People would quickly determine that something had gone wrong and that change was necessary.  For some reason, this is not the case with runners. I will never underststand why.

There are a number of reasons that runners are the most injured group of athletes out there. It is our intention to help reduce that number by tackling one issue at a time. Issue #1 - lack of recovery time. Please make sure you are giving yourself time to get stronger. Taking a much needed day of rest will allow you to make the most of your next run/training session. Train hard, rest hard, repeat!

This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to keeping runners running. If you know anyone who runs, please pass this on to them as I promise it will serve them well.

Check back for Part 2...coming soon!

Happy Running, Chad.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Will Power? Cream Egg Combat

~Written by Chad

What a great time of year! The winter is almost behind us, we have the full spring and summer to look forward to, the days are getting longer and Cadbury releases a 'new' batch of Cream Eggs. I say new, because there are plenty of stores still trying to get rid of last year's selection. You've bitten into the ones from last season, with the almost solid middle. Brutal! But a fresh one...that's my weakness.

Am I the only person who can't walk past the Cream Egg and Mini Egg display without giving in? I don't know what it is about those perfect little chocolate eggs, but I simply cannot say 'No'. Oh well. If you should ever give in to temptation, and I suggest you do from time to time, know that the earlier in the day you do, the less chance of any of those calories finding their way to your hips, or butt or where ever they like to go. If you give in late in the day, chances are very good that they will stay with you.

In order to help balance out the added calories that always seem to show up around Easter, I have put together a longer and tougher workout for us all. This workout combines bodyweight exercises with stability ball exercises, adding some extra core strengthening into the mix. I call it the Countdown. 550 fun-filled reps completed as quickly as you can. Your goal should be under 25 minutes.

Here's how it works. Complete the following, in order, and don't move on to the next exercise until ALL the necessary reps have been completed. There are 10 exercises.

100 mountain climbers (50 each leg)
90 military plank - stability ball (45 each leg)
80 squat hops
70 hamstring rollins/curls - stability ball (35 of each, alternating 1 at a time)
60 side plank rollovers (30 each side)
50 jackknife/jackknife pikes - stability ball (25 of each, alternating 1 at a time)
40 lunge jumps
30 rollouts - stability ball
20 fullnburpees (with push-up)
10 superman bows - stability ball

Enjoy this workout! Chad

I got 28:20 for my first time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Get Your Groove On Giveaway

~Written by Kate

Who loves free stuff? Me...I do... ME!  But what I like better then getting something, is giving something.

I'm also a sucker for good music...all music. I like Janet, and Eric Church, and Matt Nathanson...I love all music.

I realized I needed to update my workout playlist when in the middle of a hard set of mountain climbers "Bust a Move" by Young MC ended and LL's "Mama Said Knock you Out" came on.  Now I'm all for old school tunes, but let's keep it real, an updated playlist to get and keep you motivated is the best!

As I was downloading all my new tunes and loving putting together my new 'Workout Tracks' playlist I was having so much fun...and thought that you guys should have some fun too.  So presto, we're giving away a $50 itunes gift card!

Here's how you can enter.  You will get one entry for each of the following that you complete.

1. Like us on Facebook
2. Share this contest on your Facebook page, Twitter, blog, or Pinterest page

Please leave us a comment and let us know which of the following you've completed and you'll be entered!  It's that easy!

Contest ends on March 12th 2012.  We'll notify the winner on March 13th 2012.

Thanks for entering and GOOD LUCK!