Archives for posts with tag: health

Meet Jessica. Jessica is 47 years old and has one of the busiest schedules I know. She is self-employed and has 2 boys that both have demanding schedules for their sports and activities.

I first met Jessica in my bootcamp classes back in 2014. From there she hired me as her trainer and we have been working out twice a week ever since.

She had a very difficult time losing weight despite how much activity she was doing.

I’m happy to say that after some hurdles (which will be addressed in a future video) she has lost 88.1 lbs and 57.25 inches!

I first took her measurements on September 8, 2014. Here are her stats:

Weight: 267.6 lbs
Body Fat%: 51%
Total Inches: 245.75
Clothing Size: 20/22; 2XL

Her measurements now, as of November 29, 2017 are:

Weight: 179.5 lbs
Body Fat%: 40.7%
Total Inches: 188.5
Clothing Size: 8/10; medium

Congratulations Jessica for overcoming your obstacles and setting time aside for yourself to create a healthier and fitter you.

Honestly, if this woman can set aside 2 hours a week for herself, anybody can.

Jessica before and after

Commercial gyms have a variety of small and large equipment but most people don’t know what to do with them or how to achieve an effective workout. Fitness staff are not going to give you free workouts every 6 weeks to make sure you’re seeing results. So what are you paying for? Variety of machines? Ability to go any time of day? Let’s be realistic, most people aim to train at the same time every day because it fits with their schedules which have become very limited due to jobs, commute times and family’s. So training any time of day is a reason we make up in our head because it sounds appealing and seems like a better bang for our buck. Also, knowing you can train any time of day ends up coming with excuses. It may seem nice at first to know you can go morning, evening or late at night but when push comes to shove if you don’t have it booked in your calendar you’re likely going to put it off for other things.  Think of your workout appointments as important meetings.  It’s slated and can’t be erased or rescheduled.  You may not look forward to going but you will love the payoff.

Having access to that much equipment is nice only if you know what to do with them. Most people go in, warm-up on the elliptical or treadmill for 5 to 10 minutes and then go and use random pieces of equipment because they saw it in a magazine or YouTube video (not always a credible source).  Sometimes you’re even provided with a free workout when you have your free fitness assessment (by one of their personal trainers) but the workout can either go one of two ways; the first is that it is a very basic workout to get you started but will be something you outgrow eventually if you’re consistent with your workouts. The second is that the workout has some partner work involved in hopes that you purchase personal training because you can’t do those exercises on your own. Either way the workout is not tailored to you, it’s tailored as a sales pitch.  And for most people a monthly membership and personal training can be pricey. 

After a couple of times of working out on you’re own you’re probably not seeing the results you were hoping for.  You get discouraged and you stop going. Now you’re paying for a $60 a month membership and only going once or twice a month.  Break that cost up over two visits and it works out to be $30 a visit. Eventually this becomes a once a month visit ($60 per visit) and in some cases once a quarter ($180 per visit).  Joining a gym is not going to get you the results; just showing up for a workout will not get you the results; working out efficiently and the correct way for your goals and body type will. You need to be realistic about how often you’re going to go and you need to have a plan. This method doesn’t work for 80% of the population. Instead of spending $720/year (total based on the $60/month example) why not allot that amount to something you will use.  This is why personal training and boutique facilities are thriving. It gets you results, is a ton of fun and what keeps you going back. Transformations are happening more and more with personal training and boutique fitness then at a commercial gym. The secret? Because there’s a method. There’s planned out workouts that are geared towards all fitness levels that will get the results done. Periodized programs that are planned out for the entire year is what gets you the results and educated personal trainers and  fitness coaches know how to do this. For me personally, I always have an end result in mind where I would like my clients to be but of course I’m not going to start them with those exact workouts. They just aren’t ready for it yet. But I know with the exercises I prescribe to them that they will eventually get there. You need to respect the process and get it out of your mind that you’re going to see a significant change in 2 weeks. Quick Fix’s don’t work. These have been around for years. Our parents’ were taking part in them in the 80’s and it led to yo-yo dieting and exercising. If it didn’t work for them what makes you think it’ll work for you? They are known as fad diets for a reason. Fad means it comes and goes and that’s exactly what’ll happen with your weight.  You’ll lose but then you’ll gain it all back if not more which will make you more miserable and moving onto the next quick fix.  When you work with a trainer you get counselling as well as training.  Having a trainer is not just showing up for a 60 minute session. It’s collecting your goals and figuring out how to get you there, it’s coming up with a game plan and seeing what type of habits will work for the individual because everyone interprets and executes tasks differently.  

I’m not trying to bash commercial gyms because for the select few who already have a full program tailored to them and they know how to progress with it on their own. But for majority of the people that just joined because it’s their New Year’s resolution need to be realistic. Ask yourself, is this the first time you’ve attempted to join a gym and make fitness your New Year’s resolution? If the answer is no you need to change the habits that you had in the past because you’re already setting yourself up for failure.  Everyone’s lifestyle changes and so do your habits so choose a method of fitness that is going to work for you. Your health should not take a backseat to other things that you may spend money on such as trinkets for the house, daily coffee at a high end coffee shop, a bottle of wine or two on a weekly basis, etc.  These are vices.  Substitute these for your health and you will have money for personal training. If you pay for the positive things that will keep you healthy now you won’t have to pay for the medications and rehab later. Why is it that we wait until our bodies hurt or a doctor orders us to workout because of high blood pressure that we take action? Why do we only take care of our bodies when there is something negative happening? Why not start taking care of it when we are not hurting and we’re feeling great about ourselves to prevent the onset of illness and injuries. You only have one body. Don’t you want to be around to play with your great-grandkids?  This is a brutally honest post but when it comes to your health you can’t lie to your body and expect to see change.   Find your why….your “a-ha” moment and once you do you’ll start seeing results.  

I was so happy to be able to fit my own workout in today before enjoying my facial at Stillwater Spa. Everyone’s body reacts differently to pregnancy but the important thing is to remember that it took 9 months for your body to grow a miracle so it’ll take some time to get back to pre baby weight. Yes, your body parts have shifted around a little and you may have stretch marks (I know I do) but that is all minor to the wonderful blessing you have. Everything your body went through is a badge of honour so wear it proudly. Be thankful you had the experience of being pregnant and delivering a healthy baby. Not every woman has that opportunity. So stop beating yourself up on how long it has taken you to lose weight or how your body proportion just isn’t the same. Focus on the positive and stop being hard on yourself. Chances are the “flaws” you see in your own body is not how people perceive you. Workout because you enjoy it and want to stay healthy for you and your family, not to be a size 0. Every body is beautiful in its own unique way. Stop judging and start embracing.

As a women and mother myself I know how important regular check-ups are.  Keeping one’s health in check and ensuring you take every precaution possible to make sure you’re on this planet for as long as you’re meant to be on it will not only benefit yourself but your friends and family surrounding you.  As a Mom you are most likely the one that needs to make sure the household runs so that means getting sick is out of the question.  Ok, a little unrealistic of a statement but we need to ensure we are healthy in order to keep the rest of our family healthy and make our day to day tasks happen.

I discovered this infographic from Hi Oscar and wanted to team up with them to promote how important it is for women to get regular check-ups. Oscar is a technology based health insurance company that has taken the stress out of health care with their tools like the Oscar app. They have services like their personal health care timeline that list out your entire health history on the Oscar app to help their members stay up to date and on top on their health. You can find out more about Oscar’s health insurance information here. I hope you have or plan on having some of these checks done in 2015.  If not, book a physical with your doctor or specialist and make sure you’re getting your entire body checked out.

Oscar Women's CheckupsLRG

Blood tests are a great start to knowing what’s going on in your body.  You have the right to ask for your results.  Do your research and check out what the normative values are for each category but also listen to what your doctor has to say.  Always try and get your levels up via healthy food but in some cases you do need to supplement with medication/vitamins.  Always consult your GP or Naturopathic Doctor before prescribing pills to yourself.

Stay healthy and have a fit day!

This weekend I had the privilege of participating in the Toronto Fitness Challenge in support of Sick Kids. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had working out. Being led by some of Canada’s best was a dream come true for me. I wouldn’t have been able to get this type of experience at any conference so am so excited that Sweat Equity Magazine and Fit Factory Fitness were able to make this happen. The staff that were helping out at the event were amazing and super helpful with any questions we had and with registration.


The event started with an opening ceremony where Erica, a SickKids ambassador, shared her inspiring story about beating bone cancer and having her leg amputated because of it. She is now a National Rowing Champion and you can tell that nothing holds her back from striving for more. Her courage to get up on stage in front of all of us and speak was so humbling.


The great thing about the 2 days is that you have options. You can participate in sweat sessions, workshops or take a break and see all of the vendors at the Pro Show. I have to admit I didn’t last all day, partially because I was waiting in line to meet Trish Stratus (which I’ll get to later) but from the sessions I did participate in I learned a lot and sweat a lot.

Jock Yoga was the first session I participated in and what an amazing workout it was.   Michael DeCorte, who is the founder, is a fabulous instructor. Reading his story on their website is very inspirational (I highly recommend you click and read).   Not only are you getting the benefits of the poses but you’re also getting some body weight conditioning too. Removing upward dog from our flow and replacing it with some push-ups made it more interesting and more challenging. Both men and women can benefit from this athletic yoga method, a term used to describe the workout on their website. It was refreshing to take such a unique class and the instruction to get you into the poses was fantastic. His team is quite remarkable and it was a pleasure to watch them on the side of the stage doing their yoga tricks.

Sgt. Tony Austin co-founder of Fit Factory Fitness is a former U.S Marine Corps Drill Instructor. His workout and approach to teaching was my favorite session from the entire weekend. He definitely raises the bar for any instructor in the city of Toronto. From reading his about section of his website you can tell he doesn’t stand for any garbage. I love how he calls out the bootcamp instructors who are following a trend and getting their certification from a weekend course. He speaks my language and preaches exactly what I do about the industry. I love this man already and have only met him once. Even though his workouts are fierce he is the kindest and most humble person I have met. I asked to take a photo with him and his response was, well can I take a photo with you? How humble is that! My favorite line he said during the workout was when a girl was fixing her hair and he said, “Don’t fix your hair. This isn’t a club. Nobody’s buying you a drink.” Hilarious right? Work hard and get sweaty doing it. Now that I’ve sung the praises of Sgt. Tony Austin let’s get into the workout. There were 4 stations led by his team and Marc Lebert (the humble, generous and kind man that gave me a pair of Equalizers for free). They consisted of multiple functional exercises which were fantastic. Each station was as if you were doing 3 different exercises but they were combined into 1. It may take a bit more coordination to get your flow going but knowing you were doing so much more in a short amount of time actually made it easier than pumping out as many push-ups as you can in 30 sec. The hardest part was when we would come together as a group and hold a specific exercise, for example, a straight legged v-sit. We had to count down to 10 but he wouldn’t start counting until everyone was holding it for a bit. If someone from the group dropped we had to wait. Brutal, but so worth it! If you live downtown and have the chance to attend a class I highly recommend checking Fit Factory out.

sgt. tony


I wish I had stayed for the Battle Arts Academy sweat session (partially because WWE Superstar, Santino Marella, is a co-owner) but was really itching to go and check out the vendors at the Pro Show. I did watch from afar and I have to say that Steven Wong is very educated and has great guidance and leadership skills. The workout looked amazing and like it targeted every part of your body. I will have to go and visit their stomping ground in Mississauga one day.

While browsing the vendors I came across this awesome Vegan chocolate company that is based out of Orangeville. Giddy YoYo is made from cacao, not cocoa and is free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, refined sugar and all other nasty funk and is certified organic. I tried both the sweet and vanilla with salt and they were equally delicious. They didn’t taste heavy like a milk chocolate bar. They have many other products so click here to check out this awesome local company. You can purchase their products online from their store or from health food stores.


Now that I’ve tried many samples and watched some of the fitness model competitions it was time to work out again with a Zumba session. The instructors they had for this session were phenomenal. I’m not usually a fan of Zumba because of the non-verbal cues but Nile Said and Amanda Grant were outstanding. They definitely made the party super fun and are natural leaders. I love the energy they both had and the fact that they have different teaching styles is what made it fun and interesting. You could tell that Amanda has been a dancer her entire life and loves to perform which shone through when she was leading us. She had the animated face and all which makes you want to keep moving. I could see Nile being the guy at a local salsa club being the first one out on the dance floor and tearing it up.  He knows how to have a good time and is very motivating when he’s leading. The short segments that Zumba teaches makes it easy for anyone to attend a class; not like a typical dance class where you’re learning a bunch of steps over 8 classes to make it into a full dance routine. As long as you like to move and have fun then Zumba is for you.

Tommy Europe is well known and his workout should be as well. SHRED Abs & Butt focused on just that but keeping the movements slow and controlled which I can appreciate. Many times instructors are focused on speed and fitting in as many reps as you can within a set amount of time when they should be first and foremost concerned about form. Tommy’s class focused on just that, form first and keeping the movements controlled so you isolate and target the area you want to work. I appreciate this type of approach and was a nice change from the previous sessions I attended. I particularly loved the fire hydrant with leg extension to really target the glutes and abductors. There were some great alternatives to some already existing exercises too.  A great way to repackage a classic exercise. His no screaming at you demeanour was a refreshing approach to teaching and I thoroughly enjoyed the portion of the class that I took.

I had to duck out early though so I could get a spot in line to meet Trish Stratus. This made me miss Eva Redpath’s signature Equinox class, Stacked however I did watch it from line and was doing some of the exercises which felt awesome! I work very close to Equinox Toronto so know I can drop in one time to attend her class. Her instructing is phenomenal and she kept reminding everyone that they are sweating for Sick Kids. A great motivator to keep you moving. Eva is very well known in the fitness industry , is the creator of BCBD and is the first Nike Master Trainer in Canada. She also does a ton of charity events which makes you love her even more. The Stacked format is to keep adding exercises to the format which makes the workout very challenging. I am really looking forward to attending a class one day.

Waiting to meet Trish Stratus was interesting. She has a lot of dedicated fans which kept me entertained while waiting in line. I have been a fan of hers since her WWE days. She proved that you can kick ass and be sexy all at the same time. She was the face of the Women’s division and her athletic ability and character proved that. She could make you love her and hate her all at the same time which many talent now a days cannot do. The group of ladies she was with were the cream of the crop and in my opinion no other group of Diva’s can ever come close to that. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year where she announced her pregnancy. She had a baby 8 months ago and looks like this:


What an inspiration to mom’s out there that you can do it. She has a very busy life running a studio, media appearances, mommyhood, family life, etc and still makes time to work out while spending time with her son, Max. You can see her workout routine in the May issue of Sweat Equity Magazine. She proves there are no excuses to fitting in even the smallest workout to keep your blood flowing and body moving. I didn’t have very long to chat with her at the autograph session so I was able to get our photo taken and have her sign a photo of her and my son from 2 years ago at the CanFitPro conference. She is very down to earth, kind and beautiful on the inside and out.

Day 1 of the Toronto Fitness Challenge is now over and time for me to head home to see my family and go out for dinner to celebrate my husband’s and my wedding anniversary.

Stay tuned for my experience with Day 2 of the event and the amazing workouts I participated in….and a much longer one on one chat about business with Trish Stratus.

To be concluded….

Experience one of my HIIT workouts that will have your heart pumping.

High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to fit an awesome workout in, in a short amount of time. You will burn more fat than a weight training workout, increase your metabolism, improve the function of your heart, increase your VO2, improve your strength and the best part is that the only equipment you need is your body.

After you’ve completed the workout comment below to let me know how you did or if you have any questions.



The Spring issue of Fizzique Magazine is now available for download.  It can be viewed on your computer, mobile device, tablet or eReader.

Check out 5 butt lifting exercises for bikini season, 8 superfoods, recipes for your Easter meals, spring hair and makeup trends courtesy of The Alcove Hair Studio and an interview with Dr. Millar of Renew Integrative Health.

Thanks to PNTCreative for once again making our vision to come to life. For all of your creative needs (logos, branding, e-mail blasts, commercials, etc) contact Phil today.


Have a fit day!




We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Fizzique Magazine, a free downloadable PDF that you can view on your computer, mobile device, tablet or eReader.

Check out 5 waist cinching exercises, how to keep active in the winter and a special article from Spine+, a new chiropractic/massage wellness clinic that is opening this month in Markham. To book your appointment contact Farzana or Lily today.

Thanks to PNTCreative for making our vision to come to life. For all of your creative needs contact Phil today.


No More Excuses

If you think you’re too busy to exercise, try this experiment: For one day, schedule a time to work out, and then stick to it—even if you can exercise for only 10 minutes. At the end of the day, ask yourself if you were any less productive than usual. The answer will probably be no—and your favorite excuse will be gone.

Sit to Save Your Back

These typically are the weakest muscles due to the fact that we sit at a computer for most of our day.  Be conscious of your body alignment.  Sit up straight, both feet on the floor and your knees should be at a 90 degree angle.  Engage your core muscles, pull your scapula (shoulder blades) together and keep your shoulders out of your ears.  It may feel awkward at first but over time you will notice a difference.  You don’t want to end up with a humped back so be conscious of it now.  In conjunction with poster, work out your back and stretch your chest.  This will improve your posture drastically.

Your Abs Are a Muscle Too

Some people think its ok to train their abs every day but in reality, they are a muscle group just like your biceps and triceps.  These muscles should be worked out a maximum of 3 times per week giving them a day or two of rest in between each workout.  They fatigue the same as your other muscles groups so give them a rest.

Keep Muscles Limber

Stretching is one of the most important parts of daily living.  Each stretch should be held between 30-60 seconds and the best part about it is that you can do this all at your desk.  Sit at the edge of your chair, extend one leg and lean forward.  You are now performing a hamstring stretch.  Take that same leg and rest the foot on the opposite knee.  You are now stretching your hip muscles.  Feels good right?  Perform these 2-3 times a day to maintain your range of motion and relieve joint stiffness.

Louder is Not Better

When working with machines or free weights the lighter you can be with them the better.  Making the weights crash on top of the weight stack isn’t safe for your joints.  When you come crashing down you have now lost all control of the exercise.  Your down phase/in phase is just as important as your up/out phase.  Each rep is important so make sure you lower/come in with as much control as you did to lift/push the weight.  Your body will thank you in 20 years for taking such good care of it.

Ditch the Weight Belt

Don’t train with a weight belt. Over time, regular training in a weight belt actually weakens your abdominal and lower-back muscles. Wear it only when attempting maximal/Olympic lifts in such exercises as squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses.

Treadmill Incline Matters

When you run outside, even if there doesn’t look to be a grade there is still resistance from the ground.  For those that train on a treadmill you can notice the difference from a belt moving under you vs. a stationary road.  It’s more challenging outdoors.  A way to simulate this terrain is to increase the incline to 1.  Running at 0 incline simulates running downhill and can promote the onset of shin splints.  Next time you go for a run keep in mind your minimum incline.

Replace Your Shoes (Not Your Knees)

To avoid injuries, write an “expiration date” on your shoes as soon as you buy them. Shoes last about 500 miles, so simply divide 500 by your average weekly mileage to determine how many weeks your shoes are likely to last.

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