About Me

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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.

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!