Exercise Improves Academic Performance

A few months ago, I was asked to contribute to the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business’ blog. Having graduated from there 4 years ago, I’m grateful that I was asked to write about the impact that keeping fit and healthy has on your academic career. It was definitely an honour for me to be contacted by this high profile educational institution to contribute content.

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is a top-ranked business school in the world.

In my article, I discussed some of the challenges I faced during my academic years, particularly when it comes to health and fitness. If there is one thing that I wish I did more of in my first and second year of university, exercise would be it. For the first two years of university, I didn’t exercise as much as I should have and did not make much time for myself.

Although focusing on assignments, term papers and tests is a good thing to be doing during your university years, it’s very important to focus on yourself and your health. Being active in university and making about half hour a day to exerice will pay off big. The healthier you feel, the better you will be able to handle the day-to-day stresses of being a student. This, in turn, will improve your academic performance significantly.

I also shared ways in which students can incorporate exercise into their day without spending too much time or money. At a minimum, all you really need is half hour to an hour a day for exercise, roughly three times a week. There are 168 hours in a week and all you need to do is dedicate 1.5-3 of those hours to exercise (less than 2% of your week).

Many studies have shown that physical activity improves cognitive function and memory. Being physically active also stimulates the growth of new neurons. Therefore, the better your brain functions, the better your academic performace will be. This, in turn, will also help you do better in the workforce after you graduate.

If you would like to read the article, CLICK HERE.




EXCITING NEWS: I’m Blogging for The Q Academy

I originally approached Manny at The Q Academy because I wanted to learn new skills in order to attract more participants to my new event called Run4Dreams, which is a Virtual 5k Race in order to raise money for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

After my injury in 2016, I was not able to be a full-time personal trainer anymore. However, my love for running and my knowledge of the sport never went away just because I got a new career in the corporate world and was no longer a sub 41 min 10k runner due to the injury.

Now that I’m able to resume training and running more again, I am looking forward to making another attempt at a sub 40 min 10k. I know exactly what needs to happen for me to accomplish that goal and I will certainly be more than happy to share that too.

However, most importantly, I’m hoping that my story and experiences will simply inspire anyone who is leading a sedentary lifestyle to get out there and run a block. Then, run a mile. And then, run a few more miles. I promise you that although not every run will be easy, it will be worth it. You will see an improvement in your quality of life over time.

I’m very excited that I can share my passion for running and charity fundraising using fitness and technology with the readers of The Q Academy’s blog.

Technology is a wonderful thing. In the right hands, it can connect people who are passionate about a certain subject as well as create opportunities that never existed before.

I’m thrilled that I was asked to guest blog for The Q Academy. I love running, helping charities and producing content that will hopefully inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle.

Check out my first post on how I will be using technology and digital marketing in order to inspire people to run and at the same time help out a great cause. I’m excited that I can share running tips, wearable fitness technology reviews and posts on corporate wellness on The Q Academy’s blog.

The first post is called Using Digital Marketing For Charity.   


Photo by: Ian Simpson at IMS FotoGrafix. Clothing: Public Myth.


EVENT!! Run4Dreams: Virtual 5k Race for Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Are you looking to do a 5k race without having to commit to a particular race day? Are you training for a bigger event and are interested in doing a time trial?

Are you a beginner who feels unconfortable in huge crowds?

Do you own a Garmin or are you on Strava?

Do you want to make a difference in the lives of children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their Dreams and assisting their families with care and financial support?

If you have answered “YES” to at least one of the questions in the above paragraph, then please read on…

Run4Dreams is a Virtual 5k Race, where the net proceeds from registration will be donated to Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Help Fill A Dream provides hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands’ children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their Dreams, improving their Quality of Life and assisting their families with care and financial support.

Help Fill a Dream Foundation has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many children who are suffering from critical illnesses. One of those people is Jerry Hughes, who grew up to serve as a huge inspiration to many people. Jerry was born with a rare genetic disorder called Gardner’s Syndrome. He overcame it and became one of the top ultra marathoners in Canada. Help Fill a Dream Foundation has made a huge positive impact on his life when he was younger. He has two young kids of his own now and there is a chance that they might have inherited the disorder too (too young to find out) and the thought of them having it breaks my heart.

How does Run4Dreams work?

REGISTRATION. Register before Sept 18, 2017.
Included in registation: a FREE pair of high quality Run4Dreams Endur Officials Ankle Socks; shipping costs; all applicable taxes and transaction fees. There are no hidden charges and the registration is $24.99 CAD.


Above: Actual photo of the socks that come with your registration. Submitted by a participant who received his! 🙂

ONCE REGISTERED: Submit your name, shipping address and Garmin/Strava/MapmyRun/etc data from the run to run4dreams1@gmail.com Run (or walk) must be completed between date of registration and final submission deadline of Oct 1, 2017. Optional: Submit a post-run selfie along with your results 🙂 You can run (or walk) anywhere in the world as long as the proper data is submitted.

A $75 CASH PRIZE will be awarded for the fastest submission All submissions faster than 19 minutes will be carefully reviewed and dishonest entries will be disqualified. WINNER with the fastest submission will be revealed October 15, 2017. Winner must agree to have their image, name and time published in order to promote upcoming events. All socks will be shipped to the participants before October 15, 2017.

By signing up, you have read and understood the Disclaimer & Disclosure.

Your information will not be sold to any 3rd parties. However, your images may be used to promote upcoming future events. The information will not be shared with any third party, other than as necessary to fulfill your request, e.g. to ship an order or prize winnings. From time to time, you may be contacted to be a part of future virtual race events organized by Yana Hempler Fitness if they occur. You may opt out of any future contact at any time.

Prize may be changed at any time without notice depending on the number of registrants. By signing up, you agree to accept the results and the determined winner as final.

Paypal is used to process your payment for your registration and I do not collect or store your credit card information. You can pay with any major credit card.

No refunds are given for registrations.

These terms and conditions are subject to change.

SUCCESS STORY: Jerry Hughes’ SECRET to Sub 40 min 10k and Much More

A little over a year ago (December 2014), Jerry Hughes hired me to be his running coach. It all started because I had a Christmas special on my “fly solo” online training plans. When we first started working together, we have only met each other once or twice in person before that.

What’s amazing is that after about a week or two of following my running program, Jerry bought a training package with me for his wife. To me, this meant a lot because he originally started out as an online client and he trusted me with his family after such a short time of knowing each other.

I knew that Jerry, just like the clients before him, would improve significantly as a result of my training plan. I predicted that he would be a lot faster.

Prior to starting his training program with me, Jerry’s best 10k time was 44:53 at the 2014 TC 10k in April and best half marathon time was 1:36:12 at the Goodlife Fitness Half Marathon on October 12, 2014.

When he started training with me, he was just getting over a few injuries that kept him from running  to his full potential, which at the time, neither of us were fully aware of.

The one thing I knew about Jerry is that he works very hard, he’s not afraid to ask questions and he knows how to follow instructions. That, to me, is a prerequisite to success.

Jerr Hughes and Yana at Mile O after completing their 63km run fior the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Photo by Ian Simspon

Jerry Hughes and Yana at Mile O after completing their 63km run for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.
Photo by Ian Simpson.

Fast forward to April 26, 2015, which is about 4 months after he started training with me. Jerry ran his first ever sub 40 min 10k, finishing the TC10k in 39:41. At that moment, I knew that bigger personal victories are ahead of him.

Shortly thereafter, Jerry ran a half marathon personal best of 1:27:45, which is over 8 minutes faster than his previous best time. JerryHughesHaldMarathonPB2015

As we continued to work together, his list of accomplishments continued to grow exponentially.

Together, we have raised thousands of dollars for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

Help Fill A Dream is an immediately responsive charitable foundation based in Victoria, British Columbia. They provide hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their dreams, improving their quality of life and assisting their families with care and financial support.

We also ran from Duncan to Victoria together in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

I witnessed him come within 2 minutes of qualifying for the coveted Boston Marathon. Jerry ran his first ever marathon in 3:11:48, which is a significantly faster pace per km than he used to do for his 10k.

Most recently, he has been achieving one personal best after another in all distances across the board. His new 10k PB is 38:46.


Above: Jerry on his way to a new 10k personal best. Photo by Lois DeEll

His 10k time is now officially ~6 minutes faster than it was when he started training with me. This equates to about a 40 second per km improvement as a result of my training and his continuous dedication and commitment to excellence.

Jerry’s story is very remarkable in that he takes away all the excuses people make when it comes to working out. On average, he works over 60 hours a week. He works as a chef, which means that he spends his entire work day on his feet. Not only that, but he and his wife also have 2 young kids.

However, that’s not all he had to overcome to get to where he is. Jerry was born with a rare aggressive genetic disorder called Gardner’s Syndrome. When not diagnosed early enough, the prognosis is not very good. It claimed Jerry’s dad’s life when he was very young.

Despite all the challenges that Jerry was facing, his results speak for themselves. He never ever complained and he always put in the work that I told him to do. Jerry had every reason to make excuses, but he never ever did.

I created a plan that was tailored to his work schedule and circumstances and it worked.

What was his secret? It was a combination of a proper training plan and a genuine desire to achieve his goals no matter what curveballs life throws at him. He persevered in times when other people would have given up.

This is what Jerry had to say about our journey so far:

“Rarely in life do you meet someone that will change the course of your life forever. That day happened to me when by chance I saw a running coach that was super passionate about training runners. That was Yana Hempler. She was the first person that really believed in my abilities. Her encouragement and programs have changed me and inspired me to follow my dreams. I’m now able to talk in front of people live or in front of the camera. We have done charity work together and will continue to do so forever. There have been so many things I have accomplished due to her training from climbing 40,000 stairs, ultra marathon 55km, 12000 ft elevation, 2 marathons. One of the marathons I did was 8 days after doing the 40,000 stair challenge. Participating in Yana’s program has really changed me. My future with running has evolved into crazy marathons, ultras, and biking all to raise awareness for Gardner’s Syndrome and conquering cancer. I really believe if I never met her none of this would have happened. Thank you, Yana Hempler.”


I’m extremely proud of everything that he has accomplished so far. It has been amazing to watch him develop into a confident individual who thrives on public speaking and inspires many to follow their dreams. Jerry’s dedication, hard work and persistence deserves to be recognized.

People often say that the trainer inspires the client. That’s not always a one-way street. Jerry inspires me in more ways than I can express in this post.

From the bottom of my heart, Jerry, thank you for trusting me to be a part of your journey and I look forward to seeing what you will do next.

Want to achieve amazing results too? Let’s connect and I will help you get there.

SUCCESS STORY: Duane Mundy completes Spartan BEAST and much more

When I first met Duane, he told me about how he wanted to complete the 20km+ Spartan BEAST obstacle course race, which, in addition to being super long, also has 26 challenging obstacles.

Duane’s biggest barrier to achieving his fitness goal was his knee injury, which resulted in weight gain and a decreased level of cardiovascular fitness.

Now, as a runner, all I can think about is how important it is to take care of the knees.


Above: Duane’s before picture, side shot.

I made it my mission to help him complete the obstacle course race. I knew that weight loss would be a by-product of the training rather than the sole focus. This ensures he enjoys the process, which will in turn lead to results.


Above: Another before photo. Front shot.

First, we did a lot of rowing and elliptical training. Both rowing and elliptical training help improve cardio while minimizing impact on the knee joint. Man, those were tough. I kept on pushing him to go faster and week after week he continuously set new records for himself.

After a while, we were primarily focusing on improving upper body, glute and core strength. All of the aforementioned would help him perform better in the Spartan Beast race.

Additionally, we worked on pushups and pullups. When he first started training with me, he managed to do 34 pushups in 3 minutes. By the time he completed his training program with me, he was doing over 100 pushups in 3 minutes. Not only that, but he also learned how to properly do pullups.

Duane’s glute and core strength improved significantly and his knee also started to feel better. We also worked on stretching his tight muscles, particularly the hip flexors and hamstrings.

When he completed the Spartan Beast Obstacle course race, I was so happy to get the good news.


Above: Duane post-race proudly showing his finisher medal and Spartan Beast swag package. He sent me this photo along with a text that said “Thank you, Yana! I couldn’t have done it without you.” It truly meant a lot to me. 

When we first met, it was overwhelming to think that doing a 20km+ obstacle course is possible, especially because he hasn’t done any running due to his knee injury.

I was overwhelmed with joy when he overcame his challenge and not just survived that obstacle course, but thrived.

Here is what Duane had to say about his fitness journey with me:

“About 6 months ago, a friend of mine told me about Yana and how Yana had helped her reach her goals. I had seen Yana at the gym on numerous occasions and took notice, not only of her chiseled physique, her smiling face and contagious laughter, but more importantly, to me, I noticed how focused Yana was on her clients. I met with Yana and we struck a deal to work on my physique and prepare me for a 20km+ Spartan Beast Obstacle Course in September 2015. Due to a knee injury, I had stopped exercising and managed to gain a few pounds around my midsection as well as deteriorated my cardio fitness. Yana provided me with various exercises and techniques which allowed me to exercise without aggravating or causing further injury to my knee. After 12 sessions with Yana, although gruelling and limit pushing, not only did I lose weight and inches, my cardio increased an amazing amount and I felt FANTASTIC!! I had so much fun with Yana that I looked forward to every session and completed the Sun Peaks Beast Spartan Race with loads of energy and pep leftover afterwards. I continued my training with Yana until I had to relocate for work in January. Thank you, Yana, for your inspiration, motivation and for inviting me and your other clients to your ab-aliscious and stair-aliscious fitness parties!!”  

I thoroughly enjoyed watching him achieve various milestones throughout his fitness journey. He was able to do all the things that he didn’t think were possible. Most importantly, he had fun during the entire process.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Duane for allowing me to be a part of his journey and for giving me permission to share this story.

Wishing Duane continued success, health and wellness as he embarks on a new journey in a new city.

If Duane’s story inspired you, I can help you achieve your goals too.

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