Dallas Ludwick – A Strong Female Coach that “Gets It”!

I had the privilege to interview Dallas Ludwick, head coach of Revolution Diving in Winnipeg.  After interviewing Dallas, I think that any athlete would be lucky to be coached by her for more than just her technical coaching skill and knowledge.  She is so positive and she inspires me and I’m sure many others out there – coaches or not.

Ludwick says she learns from and is inspired herself by all kinds of coaches as she feels that there is something to learn from all of them. Having been a diver herself, she was also inspired by athletes including Annie Pelletier.  Pelletier’s incredible comeback from 17th position in the prelims to win a Bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games is what Ludwick sees as the perfect example of “never giving up!”

Ludwick has been coaching for over 25 years and 20 of these in the competitive level.  She is now one of only two female coaches coaching at the Senior International level in Canada. Her accomplishments include medal placements of her divers at international competitions such as the Pan Am Games in 2011 and Junior Pan Am Championships.

It is easy to see why Ludwick has had great success as a coach. I know next to nothing about the sport of diving but as a coach myself, I know what I think greatness looks like and she exemplifies this in so many ways.  She totally “gets it”!

She is athlete focused. It’s not about her. It’s about the athlete. Her goals for her divers are for them to achieve theirs. “Whatever their dream is… that is my dream for them.  I just want them to be ambitious and happy at the same time.  Set their sets high, and enjoy the ride (appreciating the ups and downs and everyone that helps them along the way) in the process.”

She is inspired by seeing the constant improvement of her athletes and helping them set and achieve their goals.  “It is very rewarding when a diver attains something that they have been striving for for a long time, no matter what the level.  The look of joy and pride on the athlete’s face in those moments is priceless.”

She knows that there is more to life than diving. She equates many of the skills it takes to be a great diver as life skills that will allow the individuals to achieve success outside of and after their diving career. Divers face fear on a daily basis. Learning to face and conquer fears is just one of the skills she hones. Her motto is ““Don’t dive to avoid mistakes, dive to go for it!”  She wants her divers to live life and dive without regrets.

She loves her job and is so much more than just a coach of diving. “The thrill and adrenaline of high level competition is exciting, but overall I think the biggest motivation is knowing that the athletes that you are working with appreciate the role you play in their lives as a coach [and mentor] who helps them to get where they want to go, and also as a person who helps them through all kinds of challenges in life.” To this day, she has former athletes call her up for advice and to discuss current challenges they face either within their new teams or life in general.  She even had athletes put together frame boxes with all of the sentimental items that remind them of exciting/pivotal moments they’ve shared. You can tell by these examples that Dallas goes above and beyond her technical coaching duties. She gives all of herself to not only make great divers but great people.

She’s no push over.  Don’t let her sentimental side and reflection fool you. You don’t get to the level of coaching she is and results achieved without being tough. She has high expectations. She recruits and trains only athletes that have demonstrated and proven strong work ethic and internal motivation.

She is a female coach in a male-dominated coaching world. As amazing as it is to travel and get the incredible rush of adrenaline of big competitions, it does come with a price. Early morning practices and evening practices along with the administrative tasks that go into coaching high performance athletes make it challenging to “have a life”. Ludwick sites these as reasons more women don’t stay in coaching or coach at the highest levels. The travel and before and after school hours make it difficult for women to have a family and be around for children.  That said, she sees that it could improve if there was more support given to coaches on an administrative level.  Female coaches are expected to “do it all.” It is a full time job to plan all-encompassing training programs, travel and be hands-on coaching athletes. Add to this the club registration, board meeting, competition planning, finances, website maintenance, social media maintenance, advertising, fundraising etc.… and it’s simply too much. Something will have to give. At this point Ludwick doesn’t have children. However, I have a feeling that because she knows the challenges and has a probable solution, if she does decide to have a family, she will make it work – for her family while continuing to be successful at her coaching career.

Many career coaches don’t choose this career for the hefty paycheque. So you have to ask…why do it? Why work what can sometimes be eighty hours a week, at a job that takes you away from for weeks at a time, working ridiculous shift hours, with high stress and high demands? Ludwick, like many athletes, does it for the addiction and satisfaction of the emotions. “The thrill of having all the adrenaline in your body pulsing through your veins in stressful competitions, where everything is on the line at a very high level (making international teams, winning national and international medals, as examples) is an amazing sensation that I don’t think many people get to experience very often.  In my job I get to feel that sometimes several times a year!  I’m sure some people would rather do anything than feel that amount of adrenaline and stress… but I love it!”

When asked what words of wisdom she can give all of us, she replied…”Just be you.  There isn’t one way to do it.  No matter how awesome your mentors are, you aren’t them.  Take good ideas from them, but be you.  Only you can be the best version of you.”

If you want to read more about inspiring coaches, click here!

If you have a coach that you want us to feature, please email us at info@fitcommunications.ca.

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Best Booty Workouts

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In the 90’s we wanted no butt. In the 2000’s we wanted a bit more shape. In 2016 it seems that people will go to any lengths to increase the size of their booty. But there is more than just having a great butt than simply aesthetics. It’s actually really important for your body’s overall health and injury prevention. Many North Americans sit all day in front of a computer screen, and when doing so, you turn off your butt muscles. These muscles consist of the glute maximum, glute medius, and glute minimus. There are four major benefits to working out these muscles groups:

  1. Reduced back, knee and hip pain
  2. Increases your body’s overall power to jump, lift, sprint and climb
  3. Can increase your ovulation and stabilize your menstrual cycle
  4. Strong glutes can help ensure proper form during weight training

Now that we know why it is important, here are a few great workout routines you can do anywhere to strengthen all three parts to your glutes:

Workout #1:

Try to do the following routine without a break in between exercises. For added difficulty, add weights:

  • 10 alternating front lunges
  • 20 plie squats
  • 30 sumo squats
  • 30 dead lifts
  • 30 donkey-kicks (left leg)
  • 40 donkey-kick pulses (left leg)
  • 50 pelvic raises
  • 60 pulsing squats
  • 50 pelvic raises
  • 40 donkey-kick pulses (right leg)
  • 30 donkey-kicks (right leg)
  • 30 dead lifts
  • 30 sumo squats
  • 20 plie squats
  • 10 alternating lunges

Workout #2:

Repeat the following routine 2 to 3 times, pending your fitness level. Rest for two minutes in between sets. For added difficulty, try adding weights:

  • 40 alternating back lunges
  • 40 pelvic raises
  • 40 donkey kicks
  • 40 squats
  • 40 jumping lunges (or front lunges)
  • 40 step ups onto a bench

*Source: www.expertrain.com

Workout #3:

Repeat the following routine 2 to 3 times, pending your fitness level. Rest for two minutes in between sets. For added difficulty, try adding weights:

  • 60 pelvic raises
  • 50 donkey kicks (25 each leg)
  • 40 squats (or squat jumps)
  • 30 curtsey lunges (15 each side)
  • 20 deadlifts
  • 10 single leg squats (5 each leg)
  • 1 minute wall sit
  • 30 second lunge holds (30 seconds each side)

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Basketball, Synchro and More!

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87% of Canadian medal winners from the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics were women. Let’s be honest – our women KILLED it this year! One of the top six reasons for girls in Winnipeg dropping out of sports by the age of 14 is due to a lack of positive female sport role models. Other reasons include issues with safety and transportation, cost, lack of access or options, social stigma attached to being a girl in sport (think ‘tomboy’) and decreased quality experience. By the Rio showcase, it is apparent that this can be fixed if we put the right energy and resources towards sport.

This tremendous showcase by our Olympic team has provided girls and women across Canada numerous role models in sport to look up to and inspire them to achieve their goals. Whether your dreams are to stand tall on an Olympic podium or to simply try a new activity, there are tons of great options for girls in Winnipeg. In this week’s blog we look at three activities and sports for girls in our city to try.

AthELITEs & Beyond Basketball Program:

AthELITEs and Beyond Camps aim to allow young athletes to benefit from the instruction of skilled university and provincial basketball team players. They will be taught the fundamentals of basketball and play games suited to their age and skill level. Whether the athlete is a beginner or advanced player, AthELITEs and Beyond will challenge them to improve their basketball skills in a fun and energetic learning environment. Two Fall camps are available – September 15 – October 6 and September 11 – October 2. For more information or to register your child, contact Taneesha Greaves at 204.583.2697.

Synchronized Swimming:

Winnipeg Synchro (www.WinnipegSynchro.mb.ca) and Aquatica Synchro Club (www.aquaticasynchro.com) have introductory programs for girls ages 5 and up, including programs for teens new to the sport. A fun, fresh learning environment that combines the creativity of dance, the cardio of swimming and develops strength, flexibility and teamwork. Allison Gervais, one of the Founders of Fit Communications, swam nationally and internationally in synchronized swimming. To this day she is still involved from a judging and volunteer perspective. The sport brought so many incredible things to her life that she has managed to take with her into her present day. From time management skills to team work ability to knowing the value of hard work, this sport brought her tremendous learning and experience.

Fitness Journal for Girls

The Fitness Journal for Girls is aimed at girls ages 5 – 15, which provides girls with coupons/offers on 20 different sport and activities in Winnipeg. From kickboxing to gymnastics to synchronized swimming to basketball, there is something for all girls to try. The Journal allows girls to try new sports and activities they perhaps didn’t know where available to them, all at a free or discount price. It allows girls to join a community of healthy activity, have tons of fun and motivate each other through positive action. There are many activities in the Journal that parents can do with their kids, and many moms have found it to be a great source of bonding for mom and daughter time. It is more than just sports, it’s a movement. More information on this city-wide initiative to get girls more active can be found here – www.FitCommunications.ca/FitnessJournalForGirls

We would love to have you as part of our community! Sign up for our newsletter here and find out about more great health and fitness initiatives happening in Winnipeg.

 

 

 

How to Stay Active Going Back to School

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School is back in session! Many, ok likely all of us, parents are relieved that the pressure is off to keep our kids entertained and active. Chances are that your kids, as a part of a camp or not, have been pretty active this summer. Whether it was playing at the park, biking, swimming, soccer or canoeing with friends, they’ve been moving lots to stay healthy.

Now that school has started, what’s your plan to keep that activity level up? Did you know that Health Canada recommends that children need to do 60 minutes of activity per day for optimal health? Did you also know that only 2% of girls and 8% of boys are achieving this number?? This is a shocking statistic!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your kids are getting the 60 minutes a day at school or daycare. Gym class is likely only twice per six day cycle and when they do have the class, it will at most be 20 minutes of continuous activity. Although recess totals 60 minutes a day, what are the chances that your kids are sweating it out at all recesses? Could they be that kid trying to catch that frog they saw at the end of the yard or hitting a stick against a tree or sitting chatting about Shopkins, YouTube or which Marvel character rules the roost? Or they may be learning the latest hand shake or “stella ola ola.”  Chances are they aren’t running amok for even 20 minutes, let alone 60.

I know that in my house, I have things planned for the kids to stay active. There is, of course, the fear that you are over-scheduling your kids with after-school classes and activities. However, I would argue that if the kids aren’t doing something scheduled that is active, they will be sedentary – vegging out on their iPad, TVs, smartphones or video games. So one hour of activity a day is not going to be interfering with incredibly important intellectual developmental progress! In fact, kids that are involved in sports will gain much more than being fit. They will do better in school, learn time-management, and build confidence.

I am sure by now you are thinking that scheduling all of these activities must cost a fortune. To be honest, yes – some classes and activities do cost a big chunk of change. However, there are so many opportunities for free activities that you can take advantage of. Whether you only do free activities or add them as a compliment to your weekly fitness schedule, there are many quality and fun programs available.  Here are some examples of some good ones:

Free Swims: There are free swims at every City of Winnipeg swimming pool. Have a look online or call 311 to see when your local pool hosts theirs. Take advantage of Tuesday free swim right after school from 3:30-5:00 pm at Pan Am.

Free Skate: There is a free skate every day of the week at various City of Winnipeg facilities. No skates? Buy used skates! Try looking online on a buy and sell website, Play It Again Sports or garage sales!

Go for a walk or a run with your kids. It’s free and there is no scheduling required. Just get up and go! Not only will this be good exercise, but it will be an opportunity for you to connect and actually “talk” with your kids. Just make sure you leave your smart phone at home!

Go for a bike ride – until it snows! Same as the walk – no advanced preparation required! Ensure you are properly equipped with safety gear. i.e.: helmets and reflectors and bright clothing.

Fitness Journal for Girls – The Journal has loads of discounts for year-long or term sessions for new participants. There are also lots of free classes to take advantage of. Try a sport that you or your girl may not have considered. There are free boxing and CrossFit workouts, free basketball sessions, 50% off snow tubing, free teen fitness classes or kickboxing workouts, BOGO diving and many more discounts! You can get your pass here – they are BOGO this week too!

Take advantage of first FREE classes – do a mother/son, father/daughter or cross fit, kickboxing, or yoga! Not only will it be free, but it will be a fabulous way to spend quality time with your kids! If you both love it, you can sign up for a session! Kids see their parents as role models for life. It is a proven fact that if a parent has an active, fit lifestyle then their children are more likely to adopt the same habits for life.

Faith groups are “getting it” too. Youth for Christ on King Street has numerous of Free – $1 and $2 single sessions and $10/year activities for kids including drop in skateboarding, fitness programs and soccer. Amazing value!

School activities – There are a slew of before school, lunch break or after school activities to sign up for. Most are free for the kids that go to the school. Think gymnastics club, Zumba, running club, cross-country skiing, etc…

Finally, there are many associations and gyms that have special pricing for kids and families that want to join but may be in financially difficult positions. Best bet is to simply ask your local facility to see if they have such offers.

So if you haven’t book or scheduled your kids to the max this fall, don’t worry. As you can see, there are so many activities you can take advantage of so that your kids (and you too!) can get fit and make this the best and healthiest school year ever!

 

 

 

 

Winnipeg’s Emma Gray Heading to Row at World Championships

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Emma Gray (Winnipeg, MB) and Ivy Quaintance (Victoria, BC) are training in Winnipeg at the Winnipeg Rowing Club Riley Boathouse with their sites set on a World Title at the 2016 World Rowing Championship in Rotterdam, Netherlands. These two athletes are representing Canada in the Women’s Junior Double Sculls August 22 – 28, 2016.

At the young age of 18, both Emma and Ivy have already accomplished so much in their rowing careers. Emma, who has been rowing for just over one year, has been ranked the fastest Junior female sculler in Canada through the Rowing Canada Aviron selection process. Gray’s 2 km and 6 km rows are not only the fastest in Canada for Junior female rowers, but she is also ranked second in the world on her 2 km and third on her 6 km row.

Quaintance, who has been rowing for five years, won the Gold medal in the Junior Women’s Pair at the CanAmMex Regatta as she represented Canada and won two gold medals in the quad and double at the Junior Women’s Henley Regatta. She is training in Winnipeg for six weeks from the Victoria City Rowing Club, where she typically rows on Elk Lake, home of the Men’s Canadian National Team.

Due to Emma ranking first of all Junior scullers in Canada, the pair was sent to Winnipeg to coach under the Manitoba Rowing Association Head Coach Antony Patterson, Emma’s year-round coach. The last time a national squad for the sport of rowing trained in Winnipeg was in 2005, when the Under 23 Lightweight Men’s Double (Morgan Jarvis and John Haver) trained in Winnipeg, and placed second overall at the U23 World Championships.

On August 5, 2016 Emma and Ivy will leave Winnipeg for London, Ontario for the opportunity to train with the Women’s Senior and Under 23 National Team for one week, then head off to Hazewinkle, Belgium. From there, they will represent Canada as the Under-19 Women’s Junior Double Sculls at the World Championships Regatta in Rotterdam.

Post World Championships, both Emma and Ivy will return to their home cities to continue their rowing training and attend university. They are currently training 3 – 6 hours per day at the Riley Boathouse under guidance of Manitoba Rowing Association Head Coach Antony Patterson.

Fit Communications is honored to work with athletes like Emma and Ivy. If you are interested in promoting yourself as a female athlete, email us at info@FitCommunications.ca

Kickboxing For Women & Children in Need

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Martial Arts has been a part of my life since I was six years old. As a young girl in a heavily dominated male sport, I learned from an early age that girls can do everything and anything just as well, and sometimes even better, than boys. I learned that being true to who I was and what I wanted to do was immensely important. I learned how to utilize every muscle of my body for a purpose – whether I was doing sweep kicks, round houses or mastering a few form or weapon, I was gaining confidence. I truly attribute much of my self-confidence today to my life in Martial Arts. In such, at Fit Communications we love supporting girls and women in sport, especially combat sports. We are proud to partner with Winnipeg Kickboxing and Muay Thai on their upcoming fundraising initiative.

On July 19, 2016, Winnipeg Kickboxing & Muay Thai, located at 1777 Portage Avenue, will open their kickboxing school doors for a fundraiser in support of the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre (FGWRC). Two, one-hour open classes will take place, the first one at 4:30pm followed by the second at 5:30pm. All drop-in fees for this class will do directly to support the FGWRC.

The Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre is a not-for-profit, feminist organization supporting women to engage in healthy life choices for themselves and their families through innovative and responsive programming and excellence in service. Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre is committed to creating a community where women and children are safe, healthy, valued and empowered.

Trisha Sammons, two-time Canadian kickboxing champion and now Head Coach of Winnipeg Kickboxing and Muay Thai, wanted to bring a different type of fitness class to Winnipegers while supporting the FGWRC. “Kickboxing is not only a great workout, but it allows people of all ages and fitness levels to get fit, learn self-defense, increase self-esteem and have a ton of fun while doing it,” Sammons says. “At Winnipeg Kickboxing we provide a fun, safe environment for people to workout, and felt there was a strong tie to the FGWRC with their mission of safety and health for women and children in our city.”

Event Details:

Where: Winnipeg Kickboxing & Muay Thai, 1777 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

When: Tuesday, July 19, 2016. 4:30pm and 5:30pm (each one hour classes)

What: Beginners kickboxing class open to all women, men and children in Winnipeg

Cost: By donation only. Suggested donation $10 per person

For more information or to sign up, join the movement on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/1086578908096878/

Media:

Winnipeg Free Press

Team Canada’s Archery Coach – Joan McDonald

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With less than seventy days until the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, I had the absolute pleasure to interview Joan McDonald – Team Canada’s National Recurve Coach for the sport of Archery. At the age of 73 Joan will be attending her 6th Olympic Games as a Coach, and honestly has me more enlightened about sport for women in Canada than ever before.

Joan started her coaching career when she was still a competitive international athlete in the sport. Helping the younger or less experienced athletes she trained with on a daily basis. In 1985 she officially retired from competition, and in 1991 began to think of herself as a coach. Until 2015 when Joan was appointed, there was not a national coach for archery. Throughout her time as an athlete she had numerous mentors to look up to and learn from including Ken Archer Brown, Clarence Shred and Dick Tone. In fact, today she works along side Dick Tone coaching the female archery athlete heading to Rio in August.

Joan really opened my eyes to how one can learn, and in turn, become a better coach when she spoke about her current mentors in sport. Often coaches look to those with more experience or perhaps to coaches who have produced exceptional athletes. But when asked about her mentors today, Joan said ‘I learn most from the experiences with other sports high performance coaches, such as Andy Higgins from track and field or my learning opportunities at the National Coaching Institute or seminars run by Own The Podium coaches and High Performance Directors.” While Joan notes she takes every chance to attend such opportunities, in Canada there are far from enough.

At the 2012 Olympics, only 11% of coaches were female. Joan attributes much of this issue in Canada to a lack of a set path shown or provided to up and coming female coaches. Moreover, Joan notes, “No matter how much we improve for worldwide women’s rights, there are still some things that don’t change. We are still raising the families of the world and most having to work full time on top of it”.

Not identifying a clear path for coaching combined with a lack of female mentors or role models in coaching is making this career a difficult one to choose. Moreover, Joan says, “If Canada puts a pile of money into one athlete, we get one athlete. If we put a pile of money into one coach, we get unlimited athletes.” The combination of increased salaries and coach development opportunities are a must for Canada to continue to develop strong athletes who are successful internationally and at the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games is a fairly small tournament for the sport of archery in terms of athlete participation. Sixty-four men and sixty-four women compete. In fact, Canada has not sent a full team to compete, rather single athletes only, since 1996. Joan is quite confident these Games might be different. For the first time in 20 years, Team Canada might send a men’s team to shoot as well as one-woman shooter.

The training regime for Canada’s archery team is different than any other sport I know. The team trains five to six days per week, twice a day. Their morning routine consists of the physical training including cardiovascular and weight training, as well as sport psychology, nutrition and other non-sport specific training. The afternoon session is on the range where they are often hoping for bad weather. A windy or rainy day is excellent training conditions. In fact, the only weather condition that will ever stop a tournament is lightening, otherwise, the competition will always go on. For Joan’s team, it is imperative to be able to shoot with immense accuracy no matter the weather conditions.

Leading up to the Games Joan is really excited! When asked what excites her most about the Olympic Games she answered, “Everything! It is the greatest show on earth! I get to work with the best people on the planet!” Staying focused and having a day-to-day itemized plan while in Rio will be a key point to her team’s success.

This excitement carries over to her love for the sport. Joan finds herself inspired every day by her team. Seeing people improving, getting people out of their comfort zones and seeing them feel excited about their achievements is what she lives for. In fact, her greatest successes as a coach have had nothing to do with high performance. Joan sometimes works with athletes who have mental disabilities. “To see them do things they never thought they could do and be called successful, then to see their parents see this too…this is success as a coach for me.”

Joan is the type of coach I want to have around me and the young girls in my family. Although I only had the chance to talk with her for one hour, I could sense her ability to help girls feel confident in their own skin and in their abilities as both an athlete and as a human being. Her grace and wisdom as a coach was a true honor to listen to and learn from. I want to wish Joan and the entire Team Canada Archery Team the very best of luck on the 2016 Summer Olympics!

If you enjoyed this blog, read more from Fit Communications on sport here.

Fitness Journal for Girls

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The Fitness Journal for Girls launched Monday, May 16, 2016 in support of girls in Winnipeg being active in sport, fitness and health. Over twenty local businesses and sport organizations have come together in the Fitness Journal for Girls to help girls in Winnipeg curb the national trend of dropping out of sports. The Fitness Journal for Girls is a year-round guide to everything fun and fitness in Winnipeg.  The Journal is geared to girls ages 5 – 15 to try new sports and activities throughout Winnipeg, have weekly summer challenges to get active and win prizes, and Journal about their healthy lifestyle, increased self-esteem and positive outlook on health.

As founders of the Fitness Journal for Girls, we (Allison Gervais and Andrea Katz) created the Fitness Journal for Girls after learning that girls are up to six times more likely to drop out of sport in Canada than are boys (according to the Women’s Sport Center). Reasons for this include lack of positive female role models in sport, cost, transportation and safety issues, lack of access, social stigma of being a female athlete (‘tomboy’ or ‘butch’) and a decreased quality experience.

Mark Arndt from Tennis Manitoba and proud supporter of this initiative says, “Tennis Canada is in the process of rolling out a nation-wide campaign that focuses on increased participation among kids – especially girls. A participation gap exists among girls aged 8 – 16. Tennis Manitoba is confident this [Fitness Journal for Girls] initiative will help reach goals and, more importantly, increase and maintain activity levels for girls.”

There are over twenty local businesses and sport organizations within the Journal providing summer challenges and discounts on their programming to girls who purchase a book. Activities within the Journal for the girls include kickboxing, tennis, triathlon, swimming, wakeboarding, snowtubing, crossfit, ringette and many more.

The cost of the Journal is $20 and can be purchased on-line at fitcommunications.ca/fitnessjournalforgirls or at Aevi Boutique – 1580 Taylor Avenue. The purchase price includes all taxes and shipping. It is a great gift to give a young girl in your life – whether for a birthday, a grad or just ‘because’. What other gift provides the gift of fitness, health and self-esteem? Get yours today!

Ten Reasons To LOVE the Gym

Every day I wake up and tell myself three things that I am excited about, am looking forward to, or make me happy. This can include the little things like planting my summer garden to having a fun night out with friends to all the great things we are up to with Fit Communications. One thing that constantly comes up in my list is my time at the gym. I crave it. I need it. It makes me so happy to have such a healthy habit part of my life every day. So this week’s blog I thought I would share my Ten Reasons to LOVE the Gym.

  1. Days can be chaotic. I find that no matter what is happening in my day/week/life, heading to the gym for a workout makes it all better. Maybe it’s the endorphin release. Maybe it’s the time away from the choas. All I know is that after an hour doing physical activity, my perspective becomes clear. Everything is going to be alright.
  2. It’s FUN! Whether I am working out on my own or with my favorite gym buddy, it is always a good time. I manage to blast my gangster rap for one hour a day, dance in my head and pump iron. How can an hour be better?
  3. Me time. We all have tremendous obligations – work, kids, family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, pets. You name it, there is usually someone or something needing you. This one hour allows for you to concentrate on just YOU. Making YOU the best you possible.
  4. Sometimes with outer strength, the inner strength appears. Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where you feel like things might be crumbling? I have. And here is what I know. When I go to the gym and spend an hour on getting my physical self stronger, my mental game becomes sharper. I am more focused. I am stronger. I feel I can take on whatever is coming my way.
  5. Increased energy. I often here people say they just don’t have the energy to workout. The fact is, the more you workout, the more energy you will have. If I miss a few days of the gym, I am sluggish. I have a renewed sense of energy – both physically and mentally – to keep the game on the go.
  6. Getting a hot bod. Let’s be honest. Working out (combined with good nutrition) makes your body look better. Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up – the gym is where you can do it. You can literally change the shape of your body at the gym. No eating regime can do that. And who doesn’t want to look and feel hot in their body? Everyone has their own self-definition of what that looks or feels like, and as long as you feel great about you, that’s all that counts.
  7. Your health. Your health is up to you. If you want to live a longer, healthier life, being physically active is a key part to this. It has been shown to help with everything from cardio vascular disease to diabetes to cancer prevention. Choose YOU.
  8. Being a role model to those in your life. Do you know how good it feels when someone tells me they go to the gym more or lead a healthier lifestyle because I have motivated them in some way to do so? THAT is worth it all. To have family or friends or sometime complete strangers tell me that I am part of the reason for their motivation to live a healthier lifestyle?? Wow. The ultimate compliment. It is so true that to be inspired is one thing, but to be the inspiration is another. Try and be THAT to your circle.
  9. Being proud of yourself. I really am proud of the fact that I make my health, and therefore my workouts, a priority in my life. It makes me feel really good about myself. That might not be the secret to self esteem for everyone, but I know it helps. When you set your mind to making positive choices for yourself, you feel good about it. The universe has away of rewarding you. Be proud of what you do every day.
  10. A place to bond. I’m definitely not one to chat it up at the gym. But I do find that when I surround myself with like-minded people on a similar mission to me, I am continuously motivated. On any given day I can ask a number of friends or family to workout together. My social media feed is full of people working towards their healthy lifestyle goals. This is a way for us to feel connected. When you connect on a positive level with people, it allows for a continued sense of motivation.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, let us know! We would love to hear your favorite reason for working out in the comments below. Or to read more blogs on sport, follow this link – http://fitcommunications.ca/category/sport/

The Issue with the Word ‘Tomboy’

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I have recently started taking issue with the term ‘tomboy’. I was always called one growing up, and never really saw issue with it. I was in Kung Fu, an obviously male dominated sport. The sport brought so many amazing things to my life from confidence to strength to friendship. I remember training with a girl named Jennifer who had short hair and was extremely strong and talented. So often new people would come to our dojo and ask if she was a boy or a girl. It got so frustrating to her and she tried her best to keep calm when people would be so ignorant to her. Short hair in a “boy’s sport” somehow equated to being a boy.

By definition, a tomboy is “an energetic, sometimes boisterous girl whose behavior and pursuits, especially in games and sports, are considered more typical of boys than of girls.”

Personally, if someone used the characteristics of energetic and boisterous to describe how I am with regards to activity and sport, I would not take offence. In fact, I would welcome it. My larger issue is that apparently there are activities that are for boys and activities for girls. So what exactly is a ‘girl’s activity’ versus a boy’s?
I decided to Google ‘Girl’s Activities’ to see what we as the female race are supposed to be doing. Here is what I found:

  • Dress up like a fairy princess
  • Tea parties
  • Dollhouses and dolls
  • Gardening
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Baking cookies
  • Arts and crafts

I couldn’t make this up! That is literally what is suggested for girls to do. Not one mention of anything physical or sport related at all. And not that there is anything wrong with little girls doing these activities, but why can’t they also play soccer, hockey, basketball and dodgeball? Well of course they can, but if they do, they are seen as boisterous and ‘too energetic’.

So the issue with the term ‘tomboy’ becomes that we are automatically associating girls who do the typical ‘boy activities’ as non-feminine. Does it make me any less of a woman because I like watching Kung Fu movies? Or because I like going for a super-sweaty kickboxing workout? HELL NO. In fact, I think it makes me more of a woman because I am diverse in what my life experiences are all about.

Moreover, why can’t it be ‘girlie’ to be in sports? Be it a female dominated sport like synchronized swimming or gymnastics, or a male dominated sport like football or hockey. Did you know that in Winnipeg alone there are over 16 women’s football leagues? There is such a desire for girls to be active and involved in sport in such a huge way, but we still feel the need to label these girls and women as ‘tomboys’.

Can we not simply address these sporty girls as GIRLS? A girl who loves being active. A girl who loves finding out what her body is capable of doing through sport. A girl who gains confidence in herself each time she steps into the ring, does a lap around the ice, or hits her best personal best in weight lifting.

So I challenge you to do away with the word ‘tomboy’. Girls are up to six times more likely to drop out of sport than their male counterparts by the age of 14. One of the reasons for this is the social stigma attached to being a female athlete. For being labelled as a tomboy. This is something we need to shift. If we want to see our girls participate in sport to help them gain confidence, increase their overall health, meet new friends, set goals, do better in school – we need to uplift them and encourage them to stay in sport. Stop labelling them for doing so, and rid ourselves of the term and ideology behind being a ‘tomboy’.

If you feel as passionately as we do on this subject, we think you’ll love what we’re doing with the Fitness Journal for Girls.