Beyond the Mask

“Stronger people are harder to kill”
Mark Rippetoe

A person’s Grip Strength is associated with overall health outcomes.  High grip strength is associated with a decrease in all cause mortality and a decrease in mortality from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, COPD, and all cancers. 

Stronger people are harder to kill!!

My husband and I joke all the time that whenever we do a workout together that we are making ourselves harder to kill (and younger next year ;)).  But seriously, we actually are, and science backs this up.  With the current health crisis around the world this is more important than ever before!

We all should be facing this pandemic defensively:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Keep hands away from our face
  • Avoid close contact with other people not from our own bubble
  • Wear masks
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Monitor your health daily

But what else can we do?  What can we do offensively?

We need to build our physical resilience and our physiological reserve. We do this through Effective Physical Activity.

In recent studies, adults who engage in leisure time aerobic and muscle strengthening activities at levels recommended by the 2018 physical activity guidelines showed greatly reduced risk of all cause and cause specific mortality.

The data suggests that the physical activity levels recommended in the guidelines are associated with important survival benefits.

What is Effective Physical Activity?

  1. Aerobic Activity

2.5 hours to 5 hours per week of moderate intensity (5/10 RPE).  An intensity level where you could talk but not sing.  A nice brisk walk.


75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity (RPE 7/10).  An intensity level where you are not able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

  1. Strength Training
    2 or more days per week of moderate or greater intensity (RPE 5-8/10) strength training involving all major muscle groups. This is NOT moving muscles in isolation around a single joint.

Tips for Meeting Aerobic Activity Recommendations

  • Go harder not longer
  • Intensity, Intensity, INTENSITY!
  • Variety is the spice of life, vary your intensity

Tips for Meeting Strength Training Recommendations

  • Aim for 7/10 RPE with 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Work on load and then range of motion – the strongest lived the longest, not the most flexible! Build strength in a functional range of motion then work on full range of motion.
  • Work on full body movements to increase IGF-1 in the body. Full body movements increase metabolism more and IGF-1 is a growth hormone that regulates bone density and muscle strength (bones and muscles grow!)
  • Routine is the enemy – use a variety of strength training exercises – routine leads to injury, variety prevents injury

So if you haven’t been to class lately, consider the benefits of building your physical resilience so you can approach life during this pandemic in the offensive position as we move into the fall.  

Keep up your defensive habits of washing your hands and wearing your mask and hopefully I will see you in class 2-3 times a week to help you with achieving your Effective Physical Activity goals.

COVID Alert – the app

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Together, let’s limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks.

COVID Alert helps us break the cycle of infection. The app can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.

That way, we can take care of ourselves and protect our communities.

Your privacy is protected

COVID Alert does not use GPS or track your location.

It has no way of knowing:

  • Your location.
  • Your name or address.
  • Your phone’s contacts.
  • Your health information.
  • The health information of anyone you’re near.

Nobody will get any information about you or the time you were near them. Learn more about how COVID Alert protects your privacy.

How it works

  • The app uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones.
  • Every day, it checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they tested positive.
  • If you’ve been near one of those codes in the past 14 days, you’ll get a notification.

Available for iOS and AndroidScreenshot 2020-08-03 16.19.44

Sanitizing to Stay Safe!


I am so happy to have found a great source for sanitizing and disinfecting all of our equipment!

Oceanfree is a leading manufacture of hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

Independent laboratory tests prove safety, efficacy and compliance with Health Canada requirements for Hospital and Professional Healthcare, Food Premises, Commercial and Domestic Uses.  Ocean Free products contain only Pharmaceutical grade 99.99% pure ingredients.  Technical, Petroleum or Lab Grade ingredients will not be found in their products.  Effective in killing viruses, germs, and bacteria, yet gentle on hands.

Oceanfree is manufactured in the UK and distributed locally.

Just one of the many steps I am taking for the health and safety of everyone I work with!

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Thank You!!



Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey and for your thoughtful comments.  Thank you to those of you who also sent me an email in addition to or in lieu of the survey.  This has helped me with planning and understanding where all of you are at after 3 months of being away from the gym.  

I also want to thank those who came out to class the last few days as we ventured back to training in person.  The weather was great and the rain held off for our morning sessions.  The shade at the NSA kept us all cool and it was sooooo wonderful to see some of your faces after so long apart.

I am technically on “Holiday” until July 5 and will be spending time with my family.  I will be sending out some information on how we will be moving forward with class Sign-In and updating the schedule for July at the end of next week.  Keep an eye on your inboxes next week!



I don’t know about you, but all this time away from the gym has increased my desire for my daily walk.  I have always been a big believer in the value of movement and especially a daily walk and now more so than ever!  It certainly has been one of my strategies for getting to see other people, even if it was just to give a friendly smile and say “Hi” as we passed (6 feet apart).  One of the reasons I love having dogs in my life is because they don’t let you skip this activity each day!

Here is a great article on the value of walking … so many great reasons to keep this as part of your daily routine!

Walking Is the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health

Back to Training in Person? Take the Survey!

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Well this has definitely been an interesting few months and I hope this finds all of you well.  I want you all to know how much I miss seeing all of your faces each day in the gym and I can’t wait to get back to doing what I love, which is helping all of you stay Strong and Healthy!

As you know, I have been closely following all the announcements Premier Ford makes each week on the “Re-opening” of the Ontario economy.  It is a slow process and one that must be weighed and measured carefully each week.  The province is in the process of working through “Phase 2” and the re-opening of gym’s will fall somewhere into “Phase 3” which could optimistically happen sometime in July.

The good news is that as of Friday June 12, Personal Trainers may work with clients privately or in groups outside of gyms and must follow COVID-19 protocols.

What that means is group outdoor training can take place and Personal Trainers may also come to your home (inside or outside).  Group training must be fewer than 10 participants and physical distancing must be maintained.

I understand that not everyone will be comfortable training with other people yet and some people may not yet be ready to have someone in their home.  Everyone will have varying comfort levels and just because we can now train with other people doesn’t mean you have to or should, everyone must decide what is right for them.

So in effort to provide the best services to meet you where you are at right now I am asking for your input on possible training options that I could provide as we progress through the stages of re-opening.

Please click here to answer a very short survey, it will only take a few minutes of your time:

Survey link

Keep in mind that for any training that takes place in person, we will follow COVID-19 protocols very carefully.

We all must meet the following criteria at each session:

In the last 24 hours we all and anyone in our households must be free of the following symptoms:

– no fever
– no shortness of breath
– no coughing/allergy symptoms

– no exposure to anyone with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days

– no travel outside the country in the last 14 days

We will all have to disinfect our hands at the start and end of each session (I will have hand sanitizer available).

I will be wearing a mask, you do not have to.

We will have to use the minimum 6 foot physical distancing rule.

There will be no sharing of equipment.

All equipment used will be thoroughly sanitized before and after each use, with time (15 minutes minimum) between each training session to allow for complete sanitization of all equipment.

These are just some of the protocols we will be following for any in person training regardless of the number of participants and the location.

Outdoor training locations may include the parking lot and lawn area of the National Ski Academy (all with great shade options) or your own home outdoor space.

So please be patient as we work through this process and your help identifying what your current needs are will greatly help me determine what I will offer as we progress through this next stage.

I thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this survey and I look forward to your responses and seeing you all again soon!

Here is the link again and it will only take a few minutes of your time.

Survey Link

Stay Active, Stay well, and Stay Strong!!


What a Dietitian Knows, that Others Don’t

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Here is some great nutrition information for everyone from Jennnifer Broxterman.  Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian from London Ontario.

Here she offers healthy eating and lifestyle advice to strengthen your immune system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whole food ideas, supplement guidelines, and evidenced-based nutrition and self-care advice to help you stay healthy.

Click Here to watch and listen to her nutritional advice for everyone:


Here are the links to the free PDF’s that she discusses in the video above:

Eat a Rainbow of Colours (PDF Download)

Whole Food Nutrition Guide (PDF Download)


  1. Shift your mindset to actions that you have TOTAL CONTROL over (vs. some or no control)
  2. Whole foods = preventative medicine
  3. Plan ahead (batch cook, but don’t panic buy or hoard food)
  4. Nutrients of focus: protein, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc
  5. Stay hydrated (hot liquids help break up the mucus in the lungs)
  6. Hand hygiene & frequently clean high touch surfaces
  7. Parasympathetic recovery (support your rest, digest, and recovery pathways)
  8. Sunlight & fresh air are natural germicidal agents
  9. Practice gratitude & stoicism
  10. Take action NOW and be proactive on what you have direct control over. Don’t panic, but be prepared.


Jennifer Broxterman, MSc, RD
Registered Dietitian, NutritionRx

Nutrition, Immunity and COVID-19

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ISIN Position Statement on Nutrition, Immunity and COVID-19

There is lack of acquired immunity in populations across the world to COVID-19, no vaccine, uncertainty about the true infection rate within countries and, the elderly are a vulnerable group (particularly those in care homes and similar institutions).

Nutritional advice is therefore, considered appropriate at this time. There is much evidence from animal and human studies that antioxidant nutrition and related nutrients support the immune system to function properly.

The general advice is to eat a diverse and well-balanced diet rich in coloured fruit and vegetables (to increase the intake of antioxidant and associated nutrients) to support immune function.

Specific advice in relation to the elderly is to increase the intake of Vitamin E (134 mg – 800 mg/day), Zinc (30 mg – 220 mg/day), Vitamin C (200 mg – 2 g/day) and particularly for those people with low serum vitamin D status, Vitamin D (10 μg – 100 μg/day). These nutrients have been shown to enhance T cell and B cell (antibody) immunity in human studies including in the elderly.

There is no specific evidence these nutritional measures can help protect against, or even lessen the effects, of, COVID-19 infection. However, it does make pragmatic sense to support nutritionally both normal health and the immune system (with doses unlikely to be harmful) before, during and after COVID-19 infection.


International Society for Immunonutrition (ISIN), Board members (March 2020). Laurence Harbige, Philip Calder, Ascensión Marcos, Mireille Dardenne, Gabriela Perdigón, Francisco Perez-Cano, Wilson Savino, Nora Slobodianik, Liseti Solano, Roxana Valdes.

How Poor Diet Contributes to Coronavirus Risk

As our scientists and researchers learn more about Covid-19, they’re discovering that poor metabolic health has made far too many people vulnerable to the disease.

“Clearly, when this pandemic subsides, a lot more attention to the American diet will be needed to ward off future medical, economic and social calamities from whatever pathogen next comes down the pike,” Jane E. Brody wrote in The New York Times.

Could this be the wakeup call people need to improve their health?  This article takes a brief look at the diet issues that contribute to Metabolic Syndrome, and beyond age, this is the biggest risk factor for illness and death from Covid-19.