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BCRPA Weight Trainer * BCRPA Group Fitness Leader * BCRPA Personal Trainer * Cory Holly Institute Principles of Sports Nutrition Education Program * Body Training System Group Power Instructor *Body Training System Group Centergy Instructor * CORE Conditioning Instructor * TKO Fitness Instructor * Boot Camp Leader

Friday, October 14, 2011

FOODY FRIDAY : Mocha Snack Bites, recipe

Here's a great, easy recipe for a delicious and nutritious snack, enjoy!

Mocha Snack Bites
Makes 4 servings
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup oat bran
6 egg whites
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (30g)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground coffee
Pinch of stevia
2 apples, diced

1. In a blender, mix everything together except for the apples. Blend until the mix gets thick and pour into a bowl.
2. Add diced apples, then pour into a baking dish. Bake in oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit until cooked (about 30 minutes). Let cool, then cut into 8 equal bite sized squares.

Until next time Team, who says we can't still snack on something chocolatey that also gives us a nutritious boost during the day??

Health respect & happiness,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WARNING WEDNESDAY : “I *heart* Me” Mini-Series on Heart Disease

I really appreciate it when I have readers who inquire or request specific topics that make me think and research for more information. Keeps me on my toes you know?

You asked for it, and here it is!

To really take these tips to heart (ha ha, pun intended?), you need to understand heart disease and the different optimal cardiac numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, homocysteine). That way, you can see why it is so important to eat certain foods that can protect your heart and exercise to make it stronger and healthier.

I have decided to break this up to a short mini-series so I don’t throw too much information at you all at once. But what I plan on revealing is such powerful ammunition against heart disease that I hope you are able to pass this weapon of knowledge to as many people as possible! Why do I care so much? Because HEART DISEASE IS THE #1 KILLER AMONG CANADIANS. Yes, it beats cancer, diabetes, car accidents..etc.

Let me stress that again. Heart disease is the #1 killer among Canadians. And yet, it is probably the easiest one to prevent by educating yourself with a few things and integrating some healthier lifestyle changes. The key is to start NOW, before you get the warning signs from your body or the high cholesterol results from your doctor! Once you are in the “high risk” range, you have begun digging your grave already- PUT THE SHOVEL DOWN! Don’t even consider picking it up! Run away Team, run as fast as you can! I mean that literally. ;)

Understanding Your Blood Test: Optimal Cardiac Numbers

Don’t you hate it when you visit your doctor and they start throwing out this number and that number and 4 syllable words that you forget the minute it comes out of their mouth? Then, when you start to ask questions, they shoo you out because they have their next patient to see? That is when you need to take accountability and do the research Team! Lucky for you, I’m here. =)

There are different categories and each have their own optimal numbered ranges that you should fall under. Key players include the cholesterol ratio, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine, and your blood pressure.

Total cholesterol (TC) levels should be less than 200 mg/dL. It’s borderline to high risk when it’s 200-239 mg/dL, and you’re considered at high risk when it rises to 240 mg/dL and above.
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a vital part of the picture and the lower it is, the better. LDL levels, which greatly affects your risk of heart attack and stroke, should be less than 100 mg/dL. 100-129 mg/dL is considered near optimal/above optimal while a reading of 130-159 mg/dL is borderline-high. 160-189 mg/dL is considered high and anything above 190 mg/dL is VERY high.

One the flip side of the scale, your high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol should NOT be too low. In fact, low HDL levels put you at high risk for heart disease! HDL cholesterol that is less than 40 mg/dL is considered low. Typically, a woman’s HDL cholesterol ranges from 50-60 mg/dL and a man’s ranges from 40-50 mg/dL. You should strive to be higher than 55-65 mg/dL.

Triglyceride (TRG) level is yet another reading. Levels should be under 150 mg/dL, since high trigylerides can contribute to heart disease. If you’re between 150-199 mg/dL, you are borderling-high, if it’s 200-499 mg/dL, it is high, and a reading of 500 mg/dL is considered extremely high!

Other readings include your cholesterol ratio, homocysteine level, and blood pressure. I will continue to look at each category as well as shed more light on the ones mentioned above in part 2 of the mini series next week.

Until next time Team, when you hear the saying “getting to know yourself”- maybe it means it’s time to learn about your heart. =)

Health respect & happiness,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Today we are going to take a look at the shoulder joint. It engages the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and back. It seems to me that everyone is more concerned about having a stronger, toned chest, but strong shoulders and back are important too. They mean better posture, a better core, and more flexibility.

The shoulder joint is referred to as the "ball-and-socket joint", which is the most mobile joint in the human body. It can abduct, adduct, rotate, and raise in many places. It has an incredible range of motion, but because of this, it tends to be one of the most injured joints.

The shoulder joint muscles moves and works a variety of different major muscle groups: the chest, shoulders, and back. More specifically, there are the deltoids (anterior, lateral, and posterior), which provide flexibility and range of motion, and enables you to move your arms forward, back, up, and down; the trapezius muscles, which form the triangle of your shoulder and upper back; the rhomboids, which pull your shoulder blades inward; the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), which enables you to move your shoulder without any pain; the pectorals, your chest muscles, which flex and adduct your upper arm; and finally, the latissimus dorsi, which are large muscles on the outside (lateral side) of your trunk, and which extend, adduct, and internally rotate the shoulder joint.

Some examples of shoulder joint movement exercises that will work the muscle groups mentioned above are: shoulder presses, push-ups, pull-ups, dumbbell presses, shoulder flys, lat pull-downs, bent-over rows, and lateral arm raises.

Because of its incredible range of motion, the shoulder is often the source of pain at some point in one's life. For the most part, however, this pain can be prevented through proper maintenance of the rotator cuff muscles, which internally and externally rotate the arm (through shoulder flys and internal/external rotation).

Until next time Team, don't neglect those little muscles and chances are you'll live with pain-free shoulders for many years to come.

Health respect & happiness,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Foody Friday - Healthy(er) Thanksgiving Dishes!

Three times out of the year, I literally let myself stuff my face with all the delicious goodies that the meal has to offer.
Thanksgiving is one of those times. (The other would obviously be Christimas! And the third, not so obvious, would be Chinese New Year)

I always encourage my clients to not hold back so much during holiday feasts because I do believe that your life should still be enjoyed. That being said, let's not let ourselves go overboard and have all the hard work and sweat that we have done go to waste either.

So I have found a few Thanksgiving recipes that will NOT cut on taste....but WILL cut on calories and your beloved waist line! Enjoy Team!

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Salad
Serves 4, Prep Time: 25 mins, Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 sugar pumpkin (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds arugula (2 to 3 bunches, thick stems removed), washed and dried
6 ounces feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread pepitas on a large rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
2. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss pumpkin with 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until pumpkin is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Remove garlic cloves from sheet pan; set aside. Drizzle pumpkin with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; toss to coat. Return to oven and continue roasting, tossing occasionally, until pumpkin is glazed, 5 to 10 minutes more; let cool.
4. Meanwhile, cut off root ends of garlic cloves; squeeze out garlic and mash to a paste with the side of a knife. Transfer to a large bowl. Add lime juice, mustard, and remaining maple syrup; season with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, add remaining oil in a steady stream; set aside.
5. Add arugula and pumpkin and toss to combine. Serve salad sprinkled with toasted pepitas and crumbled feta cheese.

Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup
Serves 4, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut or kabocha, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
Chili powder, for seasoning (optional)
4 cups Vegetable Stock
Cilantro Walnut Pesto, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, toss squash, onions, garlic, and apples with oil to coat. Season well with salt and chile powder. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
2. Transfer half the vegetables and 2 cups stock to a food processor; puree until smooth. Repeat with remaining vegetables and broth. Return pureed mixture to pot, thinning soup with stock, if necessary. Season with salt and chile powder; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Serve immediately, garnished with Cilantro Walnut Pesto, if desired.

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Serves 12 (1 cup each), Prep Time: 25 minutes, Total Cooking Time: 50 minutes
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, (about 4 links), casings removed
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 pounds prepared cornbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 1/2-3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add onion and celery; cover, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cornbread, parsley and sage.
3. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour 1 cup over the stuffing mixture and toss gently (the cornbread will break into smaller pieces). Add as much of the remaining broth as needed, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stuffing feels moist but not wet. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared pan and cover with foil.
4. Bake the stuffing until thoroughly heated, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Until next time Team, please bring me any leftovers!! ;)

Health respect & happiness,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Therapeutic Thursday - 10 Simple Steps to Help Combat Flu Season

The weather is starting to get chilly which means flu season is right at it's heels. Here are 10 simple steps you can take to ensure you and your loved ones are not caught unprepared.

10) Eat a well balanced diet including immune boosting foods such as ginger, garlic, onions and shitake mushrooms and avoid immune-suppressing foods such as sweets, soft drinks and even juices.

9) Do deep breathing exercises like Yoga and Tai Chi.

8) At the first sign of a cold, increase your vitamin C intake.

7) Rest! Sleep is a vital sleeping tool for your body. Without adequate rest your body cannot efficiently fight disease.

6) Wash your hands thoroughly... and frequently and be careful when touching public places like door knobs, shopping carts, taxis, elevator buttons, remote controls, keyboards, telephones,...etc. By doing so, contamination and spread of infection can be limited.

5) Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve when coughing or sneezing to avoid germs spreading to your hands. Also, avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.

4) If you feel ill, stay home!!! This will help you to avoid spreading disease and by resting, you will give your body the time it needs to re-cooperate.

3) Drink plenty of water! Water not only helps to flush toxins from your body, but a hydrated body is like a well-oiled machine -- it runs better!

2) Balance your physical activity. Physical activity helps to boost your immune system, but if you are feeling unwell, ensure you get the rest you need!

1) Provide your body with the support it needs to fight off disease. Some of you may choose to go with vaccination. If so, please make sure you are well informed. If you prefer to choose other safe and natural immune boosting therapies, there are such as: IV treatments, immuno-therapy, or other special immune boosting herbs and nutrients that may help to ward off infection. If you are interested in finding a Naturopathic Doctor, please leave me a message, I have a highly qualified Doctor who I can refer you to.

Until next time Team, lets try to leave the kleenex for happy holiday tears rather than mucus this year!
Health respect & happiness,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Training Tuesday - The Barbell Chest Press

Never done a chest press off a bench with a barbell?

Here are a few key pointers: (see picture above fore visual reference)

1 - Hand grip is a little wider than shoulder width apart.
2 - Have the bar rest just above the 'chest line' (for women, it'd be the bottom half of your bra line). Be careful NOT to let it rise towards the neck or chin area!
3 - As you bring the bar towards your body, your elbows bend outwards (to the left & right) and should stop at a 90 degree angle beside your shoulders.
4 - Keep the wrists locked during the entire exercise (No flimsy wrists!).
5 - Inhale as the bar comes towards the body, exhale when you press the weight upwards.

Some big No-No's:

1 - Do not let the back arch at any time, keep a flat upper back, shoulder blades on the bench.
2 - Do not hyperextend the shoulder joint (pulling elbows/shoulders way beyond the height of the bench or shoulder)
3 - Do NOT ever ever hold your breath!

Want to feel the intensity? Try these little tips to focus more on the muscle group:

1 - Grip the bar a little tighter than normal (so squeeze the hands around the barbell).
2 - Holding that grip, now squeeze the hands towards the center of the bar (without actually moving the hands).
3 - You should now feel the entire pectoral muscle engage just a little more, go ahead and hold that grip with the hands and do your chest press.

Until next time Team, focus on the little subtle changes to see and feel the biggest improvements!
Health respect & happiness,

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mommy Monday : Don't Diet

Pregnancy is not the time to jump on the latest diet trend. Dieting during pregnancy can be detrimental to the baby, being known to cause brain damage and metabolic problems. By not eating enough, your body doesn't produce enough glucose to burn for energy, so it starts to burn fat and then protein tissues like muscles and organs instead. The metabolic process that transforms fat or muscle during weight loss produces ketones, a toxic by-product. Ketones are chemically related to acetone, which is found in solvents such as nail polish remover. If ketones levels are excessively high in your body, it could be fatal to both you and your child.

Furthermore, if you are underweight with very low body-fat levels, your level of estrogen production may decrease, which could cause miscarriage and infertility. In cases of severe fat and carbohydrate deficiencies, protein is used for the mother's energy, which inhibits the proper development of the baby.

Eating too little during pregnancy can be more harmful than over eating. Don't ever restrict yourself of food intake, except under a doctor's direction and close supervision. Do not limit carbohydrates and fiber-rich grains such as brown rice, whole grains, and especially fruits and vegetables.

Even when you're not pregnant, dieting slows down your metabolism, putting you on a sometimes never ending roller-coaster ride of yo-yoing up and down weight fluctuations. Protein speeds up your metabolism; excess fat and carbohydrates slow it down. Maintaining a diet consisting of high protein, medium carbohydrate, and low fat intake - combined with exercise - should keep you on a healthy balanced track.

Until next time Team, never completely eliminate fat or carbohydrates from your diet-every nutrient has its own function in maintaining overall health.

Health respect & happiness,