Tuesday March 10, 2020


A message from Bonnie Russel and her husband Pete who are getting lots of exercise while in Portugal:

“Thinking of the classes I am missing when I receive your emails and trying to keep active!

Below is a a photo of hiking here in the Algarve region of Portugal.  Many ups and downs on the cliff trails but so beautiful.

See you when we return.”


Today’s Work:

Strength Focus
Complete 5 sets, alternating between the two exercise:

A) Barbell Sumo Deadlift    5 reps
B) Bird Dog      15 per side

Conditioning Workout
Every 2 minutes complete the KB complex, adding 1 rep every 2 minutes.

1 Sumo Deadlift
1 KB Swing
1 Push Press
1 Thruster

Nature’s League

nature league

Have you ever wanted to explore the vast hiking and snowshoe trails that surrounds our beautiful area, right in our own backyards but are unsure where to start?  Maybe you don’t want to venture out on your own?  Well here is a great organization that might be of interest to some of you.

Judi Sheppard (pictured above) who has recently joined our group classes is an active member of the Nature’s League and led a recent snowshoe adventure for the Nature’s League.  She and the organization were recently featured in an article in Collingwood Today.  Click here to read the full article.

For more about the Nature League and information on how to join, visit the website here.

Anatomy of a Smoothie

smoothie 2

As we look to ensure we are eating a nutritiously dense diet to get all our vitamins and minerals, consider the smoothie as a great way to pack a whole lot of goodness into your diet.

Here is some great advice and tips from Gillian Bogden at GB Wellness:

Anatomy of a Smoothie

Smoothie’s get a bad rap.   And yet the benefits go far beyond  “they are good for me”.  Think food waste management, financial savings, convenience and of course, health.

So before your eyes glaze over, at least look at the list of benefits below, which highlight how smoothies have much more depth than we give them credit for.

Reasons I love my smoothie

  • Uses up vegetables and fruit that are “on the verge”
  • Leftovers serve as an easy pre-made snack during the day
  • Knocks off MANY of the 7-9 servings of vegetables and some fruits we should be having a day
  • Provides essential vitamins and minerals our bodies desperately need, that we may not get otherwise (for example, did you know kale is good for our eyes, with its high lutein content?)
  • Utilizes “food” I would be otherwise throwing in the organic bin, such as cilantro and parsley stems, and broccoli stalks
  • Uses up vegetables and fruit that I have previously frozen as they were “on the verge” and I couldn’t use them up immediately
  • There is NO recipe to follow!!!   You can add whatever you want.
  • It’s FAST to make in the morning,
  • It’s portable!  A road trip staple for me (as are my mason jars)

So what do I consider essential ingredients?

For me, personally, at it’s most basic (when the fridge appears empty), I always seem to have the following:

  • Greens (could be frozen, as I will freeze greens that are about to go bad)
  • A fat*.   This is KEY:  either half an avocado (my “go to”, as it acts as a thickener), or hemp seeds, chia seeds, or some other fat such as nuts, dairy or coconut oil
  • Banana (frozen if I don’t have fresh) or frozen fruit/berries or an apple or pear or orange… just something to sweeten it a bit
  • Water

*We always need a fat, as this ensures the maximum absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) from the other vegetables and fruits.

If my fridge and cupboards are full, the smoothie could include many of the following:

  • Variety of greens*
  • Half an avocado
  • Carrot + celery stalk
  • Celery leaves
  • Beets
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley and/or cilantro
  • Stems of parsley or cilantro, or a broccoli stalk
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric (add freshly ground black pepper if using… this makes the turmeric nutrients bioavailable (as does the fat))
  • Fresh herbs, such as rosemary (its good for your brain), mint or basil
  • Hemp seeds and/or chia seeds
  • Freshly ground flax
  • Yogurt, kefir or a splash of nut milk (on occasion)
  • Water
  • Ice cubes if you want it cold (I don’t bother)

*Greens could include:  swiss chard, kale, spinach, beet, turnip, dandelion, arugula or any type of lettuce.

I could get into all the minerals and vitamins and other benefits about the above ingredients, but I know how my eyes glaze over when I see too many lists (I’ve already given you three)… suffice to say you are getting lots of nutrients.   If you would like specifics, reply to this email and I will be happy to provide 🙂

In the meantime, here is a detailed list you can download and print off for suggested ingredients (broken into categories).

The biggest challenge? 

Finding enough protein.   Feel free to add protein powder, but for me that ruins the taste and in my mind, life is too short to eat things that taste bad.

Hemp and chia both contain protein, but not even close to the 25g or so that we should be getting.

So if I’m not pairing the smoothie with an egg or other protein alongside, I will usually add a combination of hemp, chia, nuts/seeds (it kills me to do this though, as I’d rather just eat them), nut milk or plain greek yogurt.   On that note, if you have any other protein ideas, please share.

Finally – it’s fast.   I can whip one of these babies up in under five minutes.  Seriously – what is NOT to like about them?!   Ha!  My mum will for sure respond to that question, but she is coming around 😉  Add more fruit if they seem too green for you.

At least try it… you might like it 😉.

Friday March 6, 2020


Strength Focus
Compete 5 sets of each exercise, alternating between each:
A) Deadlift    5 reps
B) TKE squeeze  10 each leg

Conditioning Workout

Working at a steady pace for 12 minutes

Bear crawl or Lunge walk to each station and perform 10 reps at each station
Sumo deadlift
KB Swing
Step ups

Thursday March 5, 2020

img_8957Thank you to Jack and Sue Marley for sending this great picture showing their rosey cheeks with a tummy full of some of the best cinnamons buns the mountains of British Columbia have to offer.  Skiing in Sun Peaks and feeling strong!!

If you are off traveling somewhere and being active feel free to send me a picture as I would love to share with everyone!

Today’s Strength Focus
Complete 4-5 sets of each exercise:
A) Ring Rows   6 reps
B) Pull aparts   10 reps
C) X-over symmetry shoulder press  10 reps

Conditioning Workout

15 minutes of:
4 alternating arm Dumbbell snatch
6 push ups
8 ring rows
10 squats

Staying Healthy in Cold and Flu Season – And COVID-19

As we hear more and more reports about the spread of the “Corona Virus” or COVID-19, it is important to keep ourselves healthy and follow best practices as provided by the Center for Disease Control.  The chart below lists the most effective ways of minimizing your risk of getting any cold, flu or virus and also applies to the Corona virus.

We are all getting very good at remembering to wipe down our equipment in the gym with the wipes provided.  In addition to this habit, I am encouraging everyone to wash your hands with soap and water or use the hand sanitizer I will have available when you arrive for class and again when you leave the facility.

img_8938What else can we do?  We can follow some very simple healthy lifestyle practices; eat nutritiously dense food to ensure we are getting all our vitamins and minerals to maintain our immune system, maintain our exercise routine and ensure we are getting enough sleep!

Here is a great article that reminds us of the importance of getting enough sleep to keep our immune systems working well.

“What we know from medical studies is that when we don’t get enough sleep, our cortisol levels actually go up the next day and cortisol is a stress hormone… It’s actually an immune suppressant. It has a number of negative impacts in the body.  We know from recent literature there’s about a 40 per cent increase [in cortisol levels] the next day if we deprive ourselves of sleep.”        –     Dr. Nathan Thakur – Copeland Healthcare medical director

There is no real need to get anxious or panic, but to do our best to keep ourselves healthy and follow the above guidelines.



Monday March 2, 2020


Strength Focus

3 sets of 10 each
A) Heel drops
B) Lunges – load if possible

Conditioning Workout
Working with a partner complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes
2 big laps – together
4 lengths KB farmer carry – one person carrying at a time
20 DB Push Press – one person at a time (5/5/5/5)
* KB and DB should be heavy