About Me

My photo
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!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Home Gym Equipment -SIMPLIFIED!

~Written by Chad and Kate

Balls, bands, chin up bars, Equilizers, ropes, balancing boards etc, etc, etc...

The list for home gym equipment can be very extensive and very confusing, but it doesn't have to be. In this blog we are going to fill you in on our top 8 pieces of home gym equipment. And over the next few weeks we will be showing you different exercises and workouts using the equipment we feature.  Sound good?  Okay, let's begin.

Our Top 8 
1. Stability Ball
2. Resistance Bands
3. Lebert Equalizer
4. Medicine Balls
5. Skipping rope
6. Gliders
7. Bosu
8. Foam Roller

In a category of it's own, is Chad's favourite piece of equipment: the TRX. This thing is awesome. Anything designed by a Navy Seal would be. If you are already super-fit and looking to really push yourself with some tough workouts, you NEED one of these.  More on this piece of equipment later.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at the stability ball and show you just how awesome this piece of equipment really is.  We say it's awesome and we mean it! Why you ask? Good question...to start with, it's relatively inexpensive.  On top of that, the stability ball is virtually limitless in exercise options. Perhaps the best thing about it, is the level of core training that it brings. Every single exercise you perform on the stability ball requires a significant level of core muscle recruitment.

Stability Ball

Before we get into some stability ball exercises, we want to make sure you're getting the right ball for you.  Stability balls come in various sizes. If you look at the height measurements located on the box when purchasing your stability ball, you will see they suggest that your thighs should be parallel to the floor when sitting on the ball. The problem with this, is that unless you are using the ball as an office chair (which isn't a bad idea) you will rarely be sitting on the ball. We find that a 55cm ball has the best overall use when exercising. Be sure to buy a higher quality ball, the cheap ones are just that - cheap.

Now that you're all set with your ball, let's get into some exercises.  The following video shows 15 ball exercises to get you started.

Exercise Notes

Hamstring Roll-ins: Keep your core tight and arms out to the side for balance. Don't over arch your back. The wider your arms are the more stable you will be. Keep your arms off the floor for an added challenge.

Hamstring Curls: Same as the roll-ins, but be sure to keep your hips up!

Jackknifes:Keep your core super tight! The movement is in the knees and hips, not the back. The greater the distance between your hands and the ball the tougher the exercise will be.

Jackknife Pikes: Same as the jackknifes, except you keep the knees straight. the entire movement comes from the hips and shoulders.

Rollouts: Keep your core super tight and your arms as straight as possible. Toes off the floor with the weight always on your hands. Push your hands down into the ball and drive your shoulder up to return to the starting position. Do not drive your hips back! The entire movement comes from the shoulders.

Military Plank: Keep your core tight. The movement comes from the hips. The greater the distance between the ball and your feet the tougher this will be.

Plank Rollouts: Keep your core tight and reach out as far as you can. This is one of the very best ways to get a super strong core!

Stir-the-Pot: Keep your core tight and make the circles as big as you can. Be sure to do the same number of reps in each direction.

Push-ups:  Keep the core tight. Don't bounce off the ball, touch it under full control.

Inverted Push-ups: Keep your core very tight and get as close to the floor as you can. Always try to look in front of your hands. You are trying to get your chest to the floor, NOT your face!

Inverted Press-ups: Same as the Inverted Push-ups, except this time your face is leading the way. Still try to kep your face in front of your hands, not between them.

Superman: Keep your abs tight. This is not ONLY a lower back exercise! Focus on keeping your glutes and hamstrings tight. Keep your body line straight. Keep the arms straight also and reach as far up and away (I couldn't help it) as you can.

Back Extension: Keep the abs, glutes  and hamstrings all tight. Think of crunching over the ball, not collapsing into it. Try to limit the amount of ball you touch. Further your hands are away from your hips the tougher the exercise is.

Side Crunch:You want your entire upperbody off the ball to start. Don't collapse into the ball, think of crunching over the ball, touching the ball as little and as gently as you can.

Crunches: Don't let your hips drop as you crunch up. This is a small movement, really think about squeezing the abs.

If you've purchased your ball but aren't ready to jump into these exercises yet, then we suggest you have some fun together. Use your ball to sit on while watching your favourite tv show.  During the commercial breaks, see how long you can balance on your ball. At first you may only be able to lift one leg off the ground, but over time you'll be able to sit atop your ball with both feet and hands in the air -FUN! Once you've mastered this, try balancing on the ball in a kneeling position.  It's always best to have a spotter around (or cover the surrounding area in blankets and pillows) just in case you REALLY lose your balance and the ball goes firing out from under you sending you face-first to the floor.  If this happens, don't get discouraged. Get back on the horse (or ball in this case) and try again.

The stability ball is a wonderful workout tool making exercises both fun and challenging.  Your core muscles will thank you!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Quick Fit Challenge

~Written by Chad

Today is the last day of February. It's hard to believe, but spring is right around the corner and we will all be outside again soon. Time to step up the workouts a little so that we are ready to take full advantage! Speaking of workouts, I hope you all are feeling the benefits from the 2 minute workouts that we did for the February Quick Fit Challenge. I know that the exercises got a little old by the end of the month. Hell, I didn't do any of the quick fits for the last couple days. That's okay! Overall I only missed 4, and I am certain that the consistent exercising helped in my, to date, 9 pounds lost this year. Not to mention I feel considerably stronger than 4 weeks ago.

Outdoor workouts -LOVE THEM!

For me, it's all about finding a healthy lifestyle that I can successfully maintain. The two main factors that I'm working on are quick and intense workouts and eating my junk food at the best possible time, minimizing weight gain. So far so good. I have by no means given up chocolate, and I haven't really spent much time in the gym. An equation I am happy with.

If you enjoyed the February Challenge, you are going to LOVE the March version! New exercises, longer challenges, all-in-all bigger and better than last month.

Here is the link to the March Quick Fit Challenge Calendar.


I will post the links to the exercise demonstrations on facebook, so be sure to check our page.

These challenges are a little tougher than last month, but the benefits are much greater! We are taking things to a new level here, I hope you are excited!!

The nice thing about the March Challenge is that no day's workout should take longer than 15 minutes to complete and the majority of the challenges involve less than 10 minutes of working out.

Please remember that you DO NOT HAVE to complete EVERY day of the month. Just try to complete as many as you can. You can always add a couple days together to make up for missed ones, or just catch the workout the next time around. Obviously, the more days you complete, the better your results will be.

March 1st starts with 2 minutes of squat hops, as many as possible. A squat hop is a exactly the same as a squat except that you have to leave the ground an inch or two each time you thrust up. After that, take a 1 minute break then complete a 20:10 X 6 push-up challenge. This means that we will do as many push-ups as we can in 20 seconds, then take a 10 second break, then as many more push-ups as possible in 20 seconds and again a 10 second break, repeated a total of 6 times, which totals 2 minutes of push-ups. Count the cumulative push-up total.

Enjoy, and remember that it is always more fun if you are going thru the pain with a friend, so bring someone along on this journey with you.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

10 minutes of %#@& $!# workout

We are almost 8 weeks into 2012. If you have been following along then you are likely feeling both stronger and bored of the workouts. Excellent! Time to switch things up a little.

The goal is still to complete the February Quick Fit Challenge, but I want to show you all a new and quick workout. I hope that you can give it a shot by the end of the weekend.

As it often is, our goal is to complete as many repetitions as possible in a specific time. For this workout, we are looking at 10 minutes.

There are 3 exercises that we are going to cycle thru in our attempt at maximum repetitions.

The exercises are...

1. Burpee Blaster (5 reps)
2. Alternating Lunge Jumps (10 reps)
3. Up and Down Spiderman Planks (10 reps)

Please see the video for the exercise demonstration.

This workout is tough. Add it onto one of your 2 minute challenges and you've got quite a workout.

Both Kate and I did this workout the other day. She was able to complete four full cycles plus a fifth cycle of the burpees.  Due to my, slightly above average, competitive nature, I was able to complete four full cycles plus a fifth cycle of the burpees AND the alternate lunge jumps :)

Even if you only get thru once, it will be worth it. Try it and repeat every 3-7 days, you'll be amazed how quickly you improve. Always be sure to give at least 2 days to recover before repeating. 

The key to success is pushing yourself. Try hard and you can only get stronger! 


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2 Minutes of Calm

~Thoughts From Kate

For the month of February we have been conducting daily Quick Fit Challenges that are 2 minutes in length.  We have challenged participants to complete their maximum number of repetitions in 2 minutes of various exercises (push-ups, squats, etc...).  As we near the end of February, I am completely shocked and delighted at the improvements in my strength and cardiovascular system with only 2 minutes of intense daily exercise.

This got me thinking....what else could I do for only 2 minutes a day that would have a positive impact on me personally and the way I live my life.  Immediately I thought about meditation.  For years I have wanted to learn to meditate -easier said then done.  I have read several "learn to meditate" books and have yet to succeed.  I just can't seem to sit still and quiet my mind for any significant length of time.  It takes all of about 15 seconds for me to start thinking...

What should I make for dinner tonight...

Does my butt really look good in those jeans or was Chad just avoiding a fight...

Ryan Gosling was so hunky in his last movie I saw...how and when will I be able to watch another one of his movies...

And that's when I realize that I'm supposed to be meditating -oops!
Ryan Gosling -looking good!

In my quest for 2 minutes of quiet meditation, I turned to Google.  I stumbled upon an amazing website that challenges you to do nothing for 2 minutes.  When I clicked on the link to the site, I was transported from my basement playroom covered in stuffed animals, art supplies, and two cranky children to a picture of an ocean with the sun setting behind some clouds, and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.  There is a 2:00 minute timer in the centre of the page and the instructions to "do nothing for 2 minutes. Just sit and listen to the waves. Do not touch your mouse or your keyboard".

I cranked up the volume on my computer and got sucked into the hypnotic sounds of the waves.  The picture on my screen was so beautiful that I literally just sat there staring at my computer for the entire 2 minutes. It was amazing! Once the 2 minutes had finished, the site congratulated me and told me about another website www.calm.com.  This site doesn't have a timer, but does have various scenes and water sounds to choose from (I'm feeling more relaxed just thinking about it!).

I went back to the site two more times that day, and every day since.

I've found that, for me, 2 minutes of calm a few times a day does wonders for my mood, my outlook on life, and my stress level.

Maybe one day I'll be that Zen Mamma walking through the grocery store with my *perfect* children in tow.  But for now I'm elated to be me...a slightly frazzled, sleep deprived Mamma who worries about her kid cursing at the top of her lungs while in the grocery store checkout line.  Getting to meditate for a mere 2 minutes each day,  I'll take it!  In fact, I'm going to take it right now... bliss...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Live happy and exercise smart.

Do you ever just have one of those days? One where virtually nothing positive happens. For us, that's been today.  Unfortunately, part of today included some heart-breakingly bad news about a family friend. The sort of news that really makes you look at things differently. Makes you weigh the importance of situations differently and makes you appreciate all of your 'little' problems.

Tonight we are starting sleep training with our 6 month old. For those of you who don't know what this means, I'll just say that it involves very little sleep and lots of tears (not just from the baby!).  I have been dreading this for the past few days, but after our recent news, I find myself oddly appreciative of the opportunity to go through this little adventure with my 3 girls. It's guaranteed to be memorable!

This is what I WANT Olivia to be doing for the next 12 hours

Chances are, this is what will ACTUALLY be happening

For most of us, health is one of our 'little' problems. We all worry about losing a couple pounds.  We all feel somewhat guilty when a muffin or cookie finds its way into the car with the coffee. We are stressed about going to the gym, or maybe I should say not going to the gym. The fact is, when it all comes down to it, we aren't going to look back and wish we had eaten a few more carrot sticks, but we will all want a few more nights out with friends. We won't be wishing for more workouts, rather a few more movie nights with the family and of course some popcorn and Junior Mints. I guess what I am trying to say is that we truly don't need to worry about every little decision regarding food and exercise. As long as we make good decisions more often than not and try to minimize the damage of the not-so-good decisions, we can be healthy. It is possible to fit into your favourite jeans and eat chocolate EVERY day. It is also possible to have a drink (or two) a day and reap only positive benefits. You just have to know how to balance things out.

My brother Troy and his girlfriend Lisa enjoying a glass of vino

Feeling happy and healthy involves much more than eating well and being active. Live your life in a way that makes you happy, whatever that means, and then develop eating habits and a fitness routine that fits into your lifestyle. There is no need to dread your meals or your workouts.

For me, a happy life involves watching TV. I love TV. There are some awesome shows out there. If I need to balance out some less than good decisions from earlier that day with a little exercise, and don't want to miss a show on TV,  I combine the two with a series of '5 minute repeats'.

What does that involve? I'm glad you asked...

Set a timer to 5 minutes or keep an eye on the clock.

Start timing.

Do 10 squat jumps and 10 push-ups... that's it!

Repeat the 10 squat jumps and 10 push-ups every 5 minutes until you have completed 10 rounds. It takes approximately 45 minutes, but each set should take less than 45 seconds.

If by the 10th set you can still perform 10 good reps of each exercise, then the next time you try this workout, do sets of 11. If you couldn't manage 10 good reps at the end of the workout, stick with 10 repetitions until you can.

Kate and I will be doing the '5 minute repeats' tonight as we are watching Survivor, and keeping our fingers crossed that our girls don't wake up. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kate's Blog!

I've been wanting to jump in on this blog action for a couple weeks now but couldn't come up with the right topic...until now.

Valentine's Day is a mere two days away and I have yet to plan anything special for Chad -crap! The truth is that neither one of us have ever been over-the-top Valentine's Day kind of people. We don't buy each other gifts, or make reservations at over priced restaurants, but we do love spending the day together.  We also use Valentine's Day as a bit of an excuse to pig out over indulge a wee bit.

In the past we have ordered and eaten an entire pizza while watching movies in our pajama's, gone for brisk walks and then home for some chocolate (both hot and drizzled over ice cream), and even spent the day at the zoo. But my absolute favourite Valentine's Days are the ones that we decide to do something active together. Working up a good sweat alone can be fun, but when you're joined by your partner it's sure to produce some great motivation, laughs, and a closeness created by your shared experience. And hey, who knows what you'll get up to once you're both sweaty and high on post workout endorphins...

We've come up with a fun, 8 exercise, couple's workout for you and your special someone to try. Don't take yourself or this workout too seriously.  It's meant to invoke fun, laughter, and be some sort of combat against all the extra chocolate calories you're bound to ingest on Valentine's Day.

After performing each exercise, switch positions with your partner.  Run through each of the 8 exercises once and if you're up for more, then do them again and again... Enjoy!

High Knees/Squat Hold -60 seconds
 Exercise tips: Partner 1 will be holding a static squat with arms out straight.  Partner 2 will be doing high knees trying to hit their partners hands

Plank Tap Claps -10 repetitions
Exercise tips: Each partner will perform a plank. When you are both set, you will each reach forward with one hand and 'clap'. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite hand

Rows -10 repetitions
 Exercise tips: Partner 1 lays down on the floor while Partner 2 straddles Partner 1.  Clasp hands. Partner 1 will lift hips off the floor and contract their core. Partner 2 will lift Partner 1 off the floor by rowing back their arms and squeezing their shoulder blades together. If you can't lift your partner, have them bend their knees. 

Leg Press -10 repetitions
Exercise tips: Partner 1 lays down on the floor with feet up in the air. Partner 2 leans back on Partner 1's feet and contracts their core.  Partner 1 will bend and straighten their legs (leg press).  

Shoulder Press/Plank -10 repetitions
Exercise tips: Partner 1 kneels down. Partner 2 starts in and holds a plank. Partner 1 picks up Partner 2 by the ankles and does a shoulder press while Partner 2 holds their plank position.  

Dips -10 repetitions
Exercise tips: Partner 1 lays down on the floor in a bridge.  Partner 2 places hands on Partner 1's knees and does triceps dips.  Partner 1 -squeeze glutes and core.  Partner 2 -ensure elbows point straight back as you lower yourself down.  

Push-Ups -10 repetitions
Exercise tips: Partner 1 lays down on the floor with knees bent. Partner 2 places hands on Partner 1's knees and does push-ups.  Push-ups can also be done from your knees

Back-Back Chair Hold -60 seconds
Exercise tips: Start standing back to back and lower down into a squat position -hold.

Depending on the physical make up of you and your partner you may or may not be able to complete some of the exercises...but an attempt may result in serious laughter.  I tried to do the shoulder press with Chad and couldn't budge his legs...not even an inch! We had lots of fun doing this workout and hope you do too.  

Happy Valentine's Day Y'All!

Cheesy post-workout photo!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Putting it all together

It's hard to believe, but we are almost 6 weeks into 2012. Doomsday is getting closer and we are going to need to be fit in order to save the world. Kidding. I hope that you are all feeling, at the very least, a little stronger now than you were when this year began. We have been getting our bodies good and ready for some more serious workouts and we are about to have some fun!

We are going to be putting out some 5 - 30 minute workouts over the next few weeks and I hope that you will enjoy them. The idea behind our series of workouts and challenges, is that you can design a workout to fit into any available time slot. If you only have 2 minutes, and we all have 2 minutes, take advantage of it!! If you have 20 minutes or even more, link a few workouts, challenges and quick fits together and create a workout that fills the time. Or do one of our longer workouts (coming soon). Any choice is awesome.

The workout below is a little mix-up of many of the things we've been working on so far. If you haven't been with us, now is as good a time to get going as any!

Part lunge/push-up burnout, part mini-pyramid, and filled with the exercises from the Quick Fit Challenges this little workout will take about 12-15 minutes and will give your whole body a nice once-over. The only variation that is new, is that we are taking the push-up out of the thrust-up. Just do the legs. This makes it a squat thrust instead of a thrust-up.

jog on the spot for 2 minutes (lift your feet 8" off the floor)

30 seconds of plank-jacks

lunge/push-up burnout - rounds 1, 2, 3, 4

45 seconds of squat thrusts

lunge/push-up burnout - rounds 5, 6, 7

60 seconds of mountain climbers

lunge/push-up burnout - rounds 8, 9

45 seconds of squat thrusts

lunge/push-up burnout - round 10

30 seconds of plank-jacks

The link below is to a video that is the 3 minute exercise demonstration and workout description.

I will also be posting the video for the workout soon and will also post my results so that you can try to beat me.  You can do this workout all by itself or add it into any other workout that you do. It is guaranteed to make you more fit, make you sweat, and make you utter a few curse words.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's NEVER too late!

Five days into our Quick Fit Challenge. I know that there is a group of you already doing the challenges, and doing them very well I might add,  and I assume that there is another group of you who thinks that because you missed the start of the month, it isn't worth it to jump in late. Wrong! Luckily,  today is the perfect day to get started!

There are 8 exercises we are working on this month. We have seen 4 of them. If you double up the ones you missed with the next 4 new ones, you will be all caught up and ready for the second round of the exercises. For example, today you should do 2 minutes of jumping jacks, take a 1 minute break and then do 2 minutes of squats. Tomorrow do 2 minutes of mountain climbers, take a 1 minute break and then do 2 minutes of thrust-ups.

If you ever miss a day along the way, you can always double up and get caught up. If you miss a day and don't double up, no worries, you'll get another chance at that exercise soon enough. Ultimately, our goal this month is to accumulate as many total repetitions as we can in the 58 minutes of exercise. Simply put...the more reps you can do, the fitter you are.  Once you have numbers to improve on, it starts to get fun!!

On a side note, Happy Super Bowl! One of the best days of the year. Enjoy! In fact, indulge a little, just try not to lose total control.

Our Super Bowl cake from 2009 -it was delicious! 

And don't forget, today's challenge is squats. 2 minutes of them. Push hard. The ultimate goal is 100. You will get there!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Quick Fit Challenge - Daily updates on our facebook page.

Okay, we've been friends long enough. It's time to raise the bar! January, and all of it's negative energy, is gone. February is here and it's a clean slate. The beauty of it all, is that all we need to do is a little more than we did in January and we will be moving in the right direction. Of course, doing a lot more is also an option, but let's be realistic. In order to facilitate things, we have designed a month-long challenge for February. Complete a 2 minute quick fit challenge every day for 1 month. That's less than 1 hour dedicated to your fitness for the whole month. You will get back much more than that in strength gains...guaranteed! There are 8 different challenges so you will get to have a third and sometimes fourth chance to improve at the challenge. I have attached a copy of the month's challenges and I suggest printing it out and tracking your numbers as you go. To get more out of the month, a few times each week, the challenge should be a component of a bigger workout. Give it a shot, you will NOT be disappointed! We are starting with jumping jacks. As you will see (once I get home from taking Ayden to her 'sea turtle' swimming lesson and can load the video), I got 140. Remember when doing these...be bouncy!

Here's the proof...
 day one : 140reps