Category Archives: gym

Fight 4 The Cause 2015: A Ringside Recap

Fight 4 The Cause 2015 took place on November 21. It’s a charity social boxing event that benefits the community. Over 1000 people dress up to look their best and come out to watch it every year for the past few years. It’s always a sold out event and for a good reason. 🙂


Above: Team Ring girls and Ring Boy. Photo by Driven Portfolios.

Every year, 24 people who have never boxed before find their way into the ring. In doing so, they are definitely going outside of their comfort zone. What’s even more impressive is that they are ok with being watched by hundreds of people!


Above: Dressed up and feeling great. End of night shot. Photo by Driven Portfolios.

Prior to stepping into the ring, participants are properly trained for several weeks. In addition, the match ups are fair based on competitor’s size and weight. This ensures that everyone has a lot of fun and gets a lot of value out of the experience.


Above: Photo by Driven Portfolios.

I watched the boxers during their training and I have to say that they are a super inspiring group of people. I’m very impressed by the quality of the coaching that they receive and by the levels of effort that they put into their training.

Many people who participated in Fight 4 The Cause said that the event has had a hugely positive impact on their life. They felt very inspired to continue their fitness journey long after the event is over. Not only that, but they served as role models to their colleagues, friends, family and other members of their community.


Above: Just a few of us Ring Girls. I’m in the middle (cell phone photo). Thanks to Jodi Bryans at LE CHĂ‚TEAU, Monica at Brun Body Bar for the tan and the folks at GOLD HAIR Lounge and Deco De Mode Nail Spa for the hair and make-up. Of course, Kande Whitehouse for the hair colour and Darcy for letting me step into the ring again.

Since I’m a runner and that’s what I love, I have chosen to participate in Fight 4 The Cause in a different way (see above) than just stepping into the ring to fight.

I promote the event on my social media and I tell my clients to go buy tickets to watch it, in order to support the charities that benefit from it. There is also a silent and a live auction, as well as a 50/50 draw to raise even more money for the charity partners.

For the past 3 years, it was also super fun to be a ring girl. It’s the only day in the entire year where I’m wearing something other than running gear. HAHAHA. Most of the time, you will find me in the gym or on the roads with no make-up and my hair tied back.

I have sincere appreciation for all the challenges that the fighters have overcome before stepping into the ring. The challenges include anything from finding sponsors, to work schedules, to personal issues. I’ve talked to many of the contenders and I know that the road into the ring is not all roses. For that, I admire them for their strength.

Every single fighter has an inspiring story of hard work, dedication, discipline and resilience.

As I watch their fights, the only thing I can think of is how much work it takes to put on an event like this and how fortunate we are to have such a great, supportive community.

The total amount of money raised through the years for charity is approaching $100,000. This year, it was definitely the biggest and the best Fight 4 The Cause to date raising $35,000.

If you haven’t been to it yet, then I highly recommend you get your tickets next year. Buy your tickets early so you don’t miss out, as they sell fast.

Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets

People often ask me: “What’s the secret to losing 20+ lbs and (most importantly) keeping it off?”

Another question that they ask is: “Do I have to run 70+ miles a week and only eat salads to lose weight?”

First, the secret to losing 20 + lbs and keeping it off is no longer a secret and I don’t want it to be. That’s why I want to share these 10 weight loss tips with you.

Second, I have some REALLY great news. No, you don’t have to do endless cardio (if cardio is not your thing) and only eat salads to lose weight. In fact, the answer will surprise you.

These Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets will help you enjoy life while you are in the midst of accomplishing your fitness goals.

After all, if you are not enjoying your life, sooner or later you are going to quit and any progress you make in a short period of time will be nullified.

1. Create a plan. Not having a plan is like traveling to a huge, unfamiliar city without a road map and/or a GPS. You must have a clear idea of where you’re going and how to get there before you start your journey.

2. Be realistic. You will most likely not drop 20 lbs in 1 week in a healthy way without doing anything drastic. Set a safe and realistic goal, such as 1-3 lbs per week (range may vary depending on your starting weight, current activity level, metabolism and genetic factors).

3. Be reasonable with your diet. In fact, don’t diet at all. Don’t cut your daily caloric consumption to less than 1000 calories a day and don’t starve yourself. Eat everything in moderation, rather than completely cutting out food groups. Stay away from fad diets because they don’t work long term. Also, minimize your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar (ie. pop, candy, etc).

4. Exercise. The act of exercise burns calories. It can help you create that caloric deficit you are looking for, without having to starve yourself. It also builds muscle and more muscle=higher metabolic rate. Exercise=MOVE your body in a way that you enjoy. If you don’t like cardio, do something else. If you don’t like lifting weights, then do other stuff. Just move.

5. Identify your obstacles. Ask yourself-what’s keeping you from reaching your goals? Once you know what your obstacles are, you can focus on eliminating and overcoming them. If you can’t think of any, dig deeper or come to the conclusion that you have nothing stopping you.


Above: Shot by Armando Tura

6. Snack carefully. Look for a snack that has nutritional value, rather than just empty calories. For example, opt for raw almonds rather than a bag of Doritos.

7. Track your progress. Keep a workout log and a food log. Even if you are not seeing immediate weight loss, you will notice that you are getting stronger/feeling healthier overall. This should keep you motivated.

8. The liquid calories are pretty sneaky. Try not to drink anything with calories and if you must-then limit your intake. For example, instead of 6 beers, drink 2 and instead of a large pop at the theater, drink a small one.

9. Eliminate negative influences. Negative influences can come in many forms, from the friends who don’t understand the importance of your goals to your own negative self-talk. Spend more time with positive people who understand and support you. Find people with similar goals and encourage each other to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

10. Reward yourself for a job well done. Celebrate even the small victories. For example, if you make it to the gym at least 3 times a week for a full month, then go and buy yourself that new outfit you’ve been wanting. Remember that a great accomplishment is the sum of small victories repeated day in and day out.

What do you think?

What has been your secret to weight loss?

If you found this article helpful, please pass it on. 🙂


5 Reasons Why Small Group Training Is Awesome

Have you ever wanted to try personal training but thought it was intimidating or too expensive?

If yes, then read on to find out how personal training can be both fun and cost effective.

As a trainer myself, I always try to seek ways to help clients get in the best shape of their lives without breaking their budgets.

If I can find a way to give someone a break on the costs, I will.

This is where small group personal training comes in. Here are 5 reasons why it’s amazing:

1. It’s cheaper than 1-on-1 training. Bring a friend (or two) and your cost per session decreases drastically. Therefore, finances are no longer a barrier to getting fit.

2. It’s fun. Having a few extra people join you for a workout increases your level of accountability (you’re not in this alone), friendly competition, camaraderie and just plain good fun.

3. You get a lot of attention from the trainer. Small group training allows you to get more individual attention from the trainer because there are usually only 2 or 3 people in the group, as opposed to 20 or more (which is the case with some group fitness classes). Therefore, you get the best of both worlds.

4. It’s motivating. Seeing one or two other people working out hard with you encourages you to push yourself. It’s great to have supportive people around you who are also working hard to reach their goals.

5. You’re more likely to stay on track. When you are committed to doing small group sessions, you are less likely to miss them because apart from making a commitment to the trainer, you’ve made a commitment to the other person (or people) that is/are sharing the sessions with you. You’ll also have another person (or two) that can to the gym with you on days when you are not working with the trainer.

So, if you have a friend (or two) that have similar fitness goals and are at a similar fitness level to yours, then group personal training is a great option for you.

If you don’t have any friends/colleagues/family members with similar fitness goals and levels, then ask the trainer to match you up with someone who is. Therefore, you will save money and potentially make a new friend.

There is no way to lose with small group personal/partner personal training.


My Top 8 Short and Sweet Treadmill Workouts

Let’s face it. Running on the treadmill can be super boring, especially when you are trying to get your 30-60 minutes of cardio per day.

While long cardio sessions have their benefits, it’s important not to dismiss the short ones.

If you don’t have 30 minutes-no problem!

Below are 8 awesome treadmill workouts that can be done under 30 minutes. Prior to starting each of these workouts, warm-up for 3-5 minutes. Please note that the speeds provided in this article are only examples.

1. The 12-Minute Terror (my favorite!). Set the treadmill speed to the highest you can tolerate for the first 6 minutes. Then, with only 6 minutes left, increase the speed by 0.1 mph (ie. 9.0 mph to 9.1 mph). If you are up for it, increase the speed by another 0.1 mph with only 3 minutes to go. As you get fitter, you will be able to start at a higher speed.

2. The 10-Minute Countdown. Set the treadmill speed to the highest you can tolerate for the whole 10 minutes. The pace must feel challenging to you. Two weeks later, provided that you’ve done this workout at least 2-3 times per week, try increasing that speed by 0.1 mph and see how that feels for the entire 10 minutes. Keep repeating this pattern every 2 weeks.

3. The Fun 21. This workout lasts…you guessed it! 21 minutes. For the first 7 minutes, keep a fairly conservative pace. Then, for the next 7 minutes, speed up by anywhere between 0.2-0.5 mph. After that, give it all you’ve got for the last 7 minutes (increase speed by 0.2-0.5 mph once again). As you get fitter, you will be able to start and finish faster.

4. The 20-minute tempo.  Maintain a comfortably hard, but steady pace for 20 minutes. If you are looking to make this workout a little more challenging, then complete the last 10 minutes of the 20 minute workout at a pace that’s 0.1-0.2 mph faster. You should not be able to carry on a conversation while doing this workout.

5. Crazy 8. Start at a comfortably hard pace for the first minute. Then, increase the treadmill speed by 0.1 mph with each subsequent minute. The 8th minute should feel very hard, but it should also give you a sense of relief because you will be finished the workout shortly thereafter.

6. Intervals. It would be a crime not to include intervals on my list. Try doing 2 minutes of hard running (rate of perceived exertion should be around 7.5-8.5 on a scale of 1-10) followed by a 1 minute recovery. Repeat 6 times for a total of 18 minutes.

7. Hills and Thrills. Start at a fairly conservative pace but keep increasing the incline by 1 every subsequent minute for the next 10 minutes. Do not slow down during the whole workout (if you can).

8. The Ultimate Test. Start at incline 0 and at a comfortable speed for the first minute. As each subsequent minute goes by, increase your speed by 0.5 mph. If you get to the point where the treadmill is at its maximum speed, then start increasing the incline by 1 as each subsequent minute passes until you can no longer keep going. Make note of the speed you started, what speed you ended with, whether you had to use the incline, and how long you lasted. Try this every 2-4 weeks.

Please note that each of the workouts should end with a 3-5 minute cooldown and stretch.

I hope that these workouts will help you alleviate boredom during your cardio sessions. They are too hard and too short to be boring if done right.

Please keep in mind that this does not mean you should reduce your total cardio time. These workouts were designed to give you some new ideas to try.

As with any workouts, start easy and then speed up as you gain more confidence with each subsequent workout. Also, make sure you know where the emergency stop button is on the treadmill you are using.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me 🙂


P.S. Pass this on if you found it helpful.

Not All Gyms are Equal

A lot of times, when people are looking for a gym, they will phone a bunch of gyms in their city and ask for prices. Then, they sit there and compare all the prices without ever seeing the facility or finding out more about what is offered at each gym.

Some people will come into a fitness facility and just ask for a price list to take home, opting not to do the tour of the facility. Bad idea. That’s like opting to buy a mystery bag.

In my honest opinion, price is not everything. In fact, price is only a small part of the bigger picture. Now, I’m not saying go out there and get the most expensive gym membership but what I’m saying is that when shopping for a gym you should consider other factors besides price.

There is no point in having a cheap gym membership if you are not using it at all because the gym that you opted for does not offer the services that you want. Maybe it doesn’t have the classes that you like or maybe it doesn’t have the equipment that you need.

Below are 6 factors, besides price, that you should consider before joining the gym.

1. Do you like the atmosphere of the facility?

If the facility gives you “good vibes” every time you go there,  then you are more likely to keep coming back for more workouts.

Ever been to a gym where you just “don’t like it”? There is no real reason except that maybe the layout doesn’t suit your needs or maybe the types of people that go there are not the types of people you want to be around.

2. Is the location convenient for you? If the gym is nowhere near where you live or work, then you’re most likely not going to be willing to drive across town just to workout. At that point, it doesn’t matter if it only costs $20 per month if you’re not going to use it.

3. Are their hours convenient for you?  Maybe the cheap facility is not open long enough on Saturdays and Sundays for you to get your weekend workout in. Maybe the gym closes too early on weekdays because you work late every day and don’t necessarily like morning workouts before work.

There is no point in being a member of a gym that isn’t open at the right time for you.

4. Does it have all the equipment you need for your workouts? Yes, you need to see the facility before you join because you want to be able to picture yourself completing that workout using the equipment. Sure, all gyms have weights, treadmills and ellipticals, but what else do you need for your workout to be complete?

5. How busy is it? If the gym has all the equipment you need, but you have to spend an hour waiting to use some of the machines, it doesn’t matter what the price is.

The goal is to get in, do your workout and get on with your day. Waiting for machines, working out less than 2 feet away from the next guy on a packed gym floor is not conductive to a productive workout.

6. What about the classes? If you take group fitness classes and find them to be motivating, then you should choose a gym that offers the types of classes you are looking to do and at times that fit your schedule.

Gyms are like spouses. You must choose carefully and don’t get stuck in a contract that you can’t get out of.

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