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Keep your Eye on the Prize!

1 Feb

New years resolutions will come and go, but REAL transformation has no season. 

It’s February and as much as I love the fact that I’m now alone in the gym at 6:15 am I’m urging you resolutionites to hang in there! Don’t let yourself go this winter – spring will be an uphill battle – it is way easier to maintain than it is to gain and try to lose it again … trust me I’ve tried this theory!

If you’re looking to slim down, eat better or get ripped, here are a few essential guidelines to follow to keep you on track:


What is your target? What is your dream goal? Start setting specific measurement goals … I want to fit into my size 8 pants again, I will weigh 145 lbs, I will have a 50 inch chest like Arnold.


If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I’m a big planner, even though I’m a trainer I still plan every single workout I do. I write down what I plan to do before each workout and commit to following that guide. If I have nothing in front of me I dilly dally around and get nothing done. Make a list of workouts you would like to do at the start of the week and check them off as you go, like to do lists – it’s fun!


Picture yourself completing that half marathon, wearing your wedding dress, popping the sleeve on your dress shirt because you’re now the Hulk, etc. Think Big! Imagine your friends and family surrounding you with their congratulations and support. Visualize in every single detail and expect change.


Now believe you can. If you don’t … nobody will. You have to desire change and know that it will be very difficult, accept that reality and see yourself moving beyond that.


Plan to exercise every single day. Life will get in the way once or twice a week but for the most part you will find the time to fit it in. When you plan to exercise 2 or 3 times per week if you miss one session you’re not likely to see progress. Even if it’s only for 20 minutes that will go a long way.

We still have 11 months left this year. Why not make the rest of 2012 the best of 2012? Carpe 2012! 

You Are Your Own Gym

24 Jan

Use the body you have to build the body you want!

I am a bona fide lover of bodyweight training. This love began around three years ago now and I’m so grateful I discovered this thought pattern in training.

I am naturally muscular. Years of super competitive sports conditioning left me with a solid physique but not a very feminine one. In my athletic prime I was running 5-7 days per week and lifting heavy weights on a progressive load schedule 3x per week. I was absolutely miserable with my body image. I’d scummed to the thought process that unless I was running 90 minutes a day I would not be able to keep my weight down. Then everything changed.

I discovered this website:







and was given this book:











In a world where everyone is jumping to the latest fitness trends I’m kicking it old school with bodyweight interval training circuits.

My program now consists of 95% bodyweight only training. I use supplementary equipment like chairs, benches, TRX, the odd medicine ball, and pull-up bars. I haven’t weight lifted in five years and I’ve never had a lower body fat percentage than I do now.

My workouts are NOT easy. Plyometrics, or “jump training” are very difficult for even the most elite athletes. It took a long time to build up my functional strength to actually be able to complete the exercises. Training with bodyweight exercises is an advanced form of exercise, and it’s far from boring! The awesome thing about bodyweight exercises for me is they allow me to stay lean and not get bulky which I’m very prone to do. I’ve found training within your own body allows you to sculpt your own ideal frame.

Most weight training exercises, think bicep curl, isolate only certain muscles, requiring fairly small portions of your body’s total muscle mass, unlike bodyweight exercises that incorporate many muscles. Bodyweight exercises are therefore much more demanding on your core strength (6-packs for everyone!) than weight machine activities.

Also something that I’ve come to love about bodyweight training is how injury free I’ve been! Bodyweight exercises use motions that keep you safe from many chronic injuries that come overtime with weight lifting and other unnatural exercises which have little to no use in our functional lives. The performance demands of the average person consist mainly of manipulating their own bodyweight throughout the day. So what could be more functional for developing better strength in day-to-day activities than bodyweight movements? But, right now, between couch potatoing and bench pressing – sitting on your bum and lying on your back we’ve got a nation of functional weaklings.

So give it a go! Checkout BodyRock and Mark Lauren’s You are Your Own Gym!

The Model Regression

20 Jan

A couple of weeks ago I decided it would be a good idea to watch part of the Victoria Secret fashion show. Instead of leaving me envious of the models the show left me feeling hungry. I figured I might be able to feed the models through osmosis so I had some ice cream … don’t think that works.

Here are the three most popular angels right now at a swimwear launch. I mean come on! Eat a sandwich and do some burpees!

The twig-thin ideal was famously launched by Twiggy in the 1960s. From there supermodels’ sizes have gone up and down.

For awhile in the modeling world it seemed like role models were starting to get back on track…
















And by the looks of things now we’re in a model weight regression.

I have many female clients who are absolutely gorgeous and still think they need to lose weight despite being underweight for their height. It’s just nuts!

I must admit it has taken me 23 years to get comfortable with my body and appreciate it for what it is. Now I focus on physical function and less on appearance. In the words of my wise dad, “life isn’t a dress rehearsal”. With this in mind I appreciate what my body does for me on a daily basis and love it for that. It’s no use spending time dwelling on our body image woes, life’s too short and ice cream is too sweet! Exercise and eat clean (90% of the time!) and your body will love you for that.

Mayor Rob Ford’s Weight Loss – Owning it!

18 Jan

Yesterday our 330 lb Mayor Rob Ford, kicked off his “Cut the Waist” weight loss campaign challenge.

Rob Ford and his brother both pledge to lose 50 lbs by June 18th, 2012. I think that this is a realistic goal, losing 2 lbs per week is an achievable target. He will need to have the right team behind him and really up his output and cut back on his admitted nightly ice cream routine – I do feel for the guy here, ice cream is also my weak point.

Media outlets and individuals have been very harsh on Ford for launching this campaign. Hours after the campaign was launched his website was hacked. The website encourages participants to pledge $$ to their chosen charity for every pound the Fords lose. Hackers created joke charities, such as “save the libraries” and pledged their donations.

For some reason these hackers really got to me. Weighing yourself in front of an entire city takes huge gusto. Rob Ford, like 30% of Canadians, is obese. He’s taken the first step to changing this by publicly owning the fact that he has a problem and that he plans to do something about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a huge Rob Ford fan. But this weight loss challenge has allowed me to see him in a different light. I hope he’s successful, carrying the weight of Toronto on his shoulders is enough of a challenge! I couldn’t imagine doing the job with 100ish excess pounds on my frame. Business tycoon, Sir Richard Branson apparently agrees with me here.

In Branson’s book “Losing my Virginity” Branson is asked in an interview about his productivity secrets. Branson said the single most important factor in his daily productivity is unequivocally working out.

So good luck Mayor Ford! I’m looking forward to your two-fold increase in productivity. Maybe once you’ve completed this challenge we can get a better subway!

Interval Running Playlist

16 Jan

I LOVE interval running.

Intervals have been proven to burn up to 9x more fat overtime than continuous running training.

If intervals are not part of your regular routine, you’re wasting your time!

For those of you who are new to intervals, a great way to inspire you to pick up the pace is to have some really great, fast music to follow along to.

Honestly, anything Madonna gets me to move my groove thang … but below shows some balance! Here is one of my favourite interval running playlists:

1. More Water – Zoelah

2. Edge of Glory – Lady GaGa

3. One (know your name) – Sweedish House Mafia

4. Hung Up – Madonna

5. Don’t Let Me Get Me – Pink

6. Escapade – Janet Jackson

7. Forever – Chris Brown

8. Crazy – Alanis Morissette


New York Times Debate: Can Yoga Wreck your Body?

11 Jan

The New York Times recently ran an article called, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”. The Times Interviewed Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent gurus. The article points out the fact that yoga can harm as well as heal. This statement seems to incite many yogis around the globe.

Summed up: The Times suggests that the intricate architectures of yoga poses are potentially destructive if the body is unconscious of its own blind spots or minor injuries.

My Two Cents: I believe this argument can be made for any type of physical activity. Whether it be a new runner who pushes their stride length out just a little too much and tears their hamstring, or a first time step class participant who improperly judges the height of their stepper and face plants into their mat. Yoga is no exception to general exercise.

Guru Black believes that, “yoga is for people [already] in good physical condition.. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.” He makes an interesting argument here. When Yoga was invented 3,000 years ago, human beings were living very differently than the majority of us are now. Contrary to the popular paleo diet our lives now pose different demands and therefore have different exercise and dietary needs. News Flash: We are no longer cavemen. We therefore shouldn’t crave out an hour or two a week of our lives pretending like we still are. Most people after a yoga class will go back to their offices or homes and sit for hours, later they will likely go to the grocery store or down the street for dinner instead of hunting for it. Instead of only doing a yoga class here and there we would be better off working on general fitness before attempting some of the more difficult postures.
I agree with Black here: yoga for beginners, on it’s own without a general fitness base, could be harmful without proper instruction. Yoga is very difficult to do properly, the instructor plays a major role in the safety and enjoyment of a class. As I have become more fit over the years I’ve noticed more benefits from my yoga practice then when I started. It took me about a year of practice to actually understand the nuances of each posture and I don’t think I’ll ever master it! With yoga, the devil is certainly in the details.

Bottom Line: Yoga is a great addition to a training regime but it is important to mix it in and have other sources of exercise to create a balanced, injury-free, beautiful body.

If this video doesn’t inspire you to get fit and do yoga nothing will!

Here are some FREE Yoga class video links that I like to do when I can’t get to a class.

When you are at home resist the temptation to have your blackberry on your mat, I’ve tried and it’s totally throws off your chi!

Go Global!

10 Jan

When I was 8 years old Whoopie Goldberg had some great advice for me in Sister Act 2. She told me that, “If when you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, than you’re suppose to be a singer girl.”

When I wake up in the morning the absolute first thing I think about is training. That is my truth and I’m going after it, so should you!

Ask yourself, like Whoopie asked me – what’s the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?

Is it…

Fashion, “what will I wear today?”

Travel, “when’s my next trip to South East Asia?”

Food, “what’s for dinner tonight?”

Unicorns … I can’t help there!

Whatever it is start to listen to that voice now and go for it! Don’t wait until you’re 65 to start doing what you want with your life – let’s start now.

Following my passion wholeheartedly is not easy. Some days (like yesterday, having a camera crew in my apartment with an hours notice) passion hunting can be down right nerve-racking!

I know firsthand following a dream is difficult because the thought of failure is just devastating. But what I know will make me successful, and those of you that follow your passion, is the fact that failing just is not an option, I care way too much and so will you.

Finding your passion is the key to finding your life. Start small – listen to that morning voice and sister act on it!

My 10 seconds of fame!