Top 7 Reasons to Have a Healthy Lifestyle

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the CanFitPro World Expo with one of our Fit Communications clients. He was looking to connect with the best of the best in fitness trainers for his business, so what better place than to head to Toronto for the biggest show of its kind in Canada.

We honestly didn’t know what to expect in terms of who was really going to be there, what they would be looking for, and what was going to happen over the course of the six day expo. But I was truly blown away by it all. There were sessions for trainers to learn new classes, new techniques, about new equipment and nutrition. There were classes ran by some of the biggest names in the fitness industry like Tony Horton, The Brutes and Jillian Michaels. Walking the aisles of the expo you would see all shapes and sizes of people, from all walks of life, with all different fitness goals in mind. It got me thinking more and more about what motivates me to live a healthy life. In this week’s blog, I wanted to give my top seven reasons why I live a healthy lifestyle, with hopes that one or two will inspire you to live the same.

  1. There is a saying in yoga, ‘if you can, you must’. While at first I was taken back by this sentiment, I grew to love it. Perhaps I am putting my own spin on things, but my take is that if your body is able – you are able to run, walk, jump, swim, dance, kick – then do it. Do it as well as you can. Do it because your body is able. Do you know how many people wish they could that can’t? Maybe they are in a wheelchair, or perhaps dealing with an injury, or maybe just their age has limited them on what they can do. They WISH they could run, walk, jump, swim, dance and kick. Do it because you CAN.
  2. The healthier I am, the more energy I have. This sounds obvious, but how often do we hear people say the reason they don’t go to the gym is because they don’t have the energy? Or perhaps the reason they eat an unhealthy diet it because they don’t have the energy to cook? The cleaner I eat and the more consistent I am with my workouts, the more energy I have. This past weekend I spent with Sharon Delbridge who is over the age of 50 and has more energy than any human I have ever met. She teaches about five classes a day and is an absolute energizer bunny all the time. Healthy moves energize you!
  3. I set a goal in my twenties to live into my 100’s. I read a lot about centenarians and find their habits to be quite fascinating. Two things they always recommend is a lot of sleep and staying active. Maybe 100 isn’t for you, but I bet you want to live as long as possible in a healthy body. Treat your body right and you will.
  4. It’s fun! Running for an hour on a treadmill is my personal version of hell. Definitely not my thing! Instead, I do activities that I find enjoyable and fun so that it doesn’t seem like work to do it. Whether I am walking my dog, lifting weights, hitting pads at kickboxing or stretching it out at yoga, I truly enjoy it. Many activities I do solo, but I also have a few terrific friends that like to try new activities. Instead of doing the typical hang out sessions of drinks on a patio, we head to a fitness class, get sweaty, have fun and enjoy life. It really is what you make of it.
  5. Physical appearance. I can’t say I mind the benefit of the way it makes my body look. Of course it is more than that, but it sure is a terrific bonus. When you look good, you feel good. I can be proud of my body at the age of 40 in a bathing suit, and am not shy about it. I work hard at the gym and am mindful and consistent with my healthy nutrition. Whether you have a six pack at forty or not, you should be happy with the way you look when you look at yourself in the mirror. And that is different for everyone. Just be happy with where you are. It’s not a competition.
  6. I honestly think the biggest reason for me working out and eating healthy is because of the benefits to my mental health. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, it was the hardest time of my life. I maintained going to the gym every single day. I had to. It was the only place for 45 minutes that I could feel good. Sometimes I left there and cried my eyes out in the parking lot, but for 45 minutes I was doing something positive. It keeps my stress levels low and my happiness high. No matter what is happening in my life, when I finish a workout I always feel better about things and have a clear sense of the best next steps.
  7. To set a good example for the people in my life. Practice what you preach I suppose. Whether it is the little girls in my family, a close friend or even just a social media friend, I want to help inspire people to live their best lives. Part of that is to exercise, eat nutritionally dense food, sleep lots and laugh more. I love hearing that something I posted on social media or said in a conversation with a girlfriend inspired them to make a healthy life choice. Be the change you want to see – and I want to see everyone living their healthiest self.

What is your favorite reason for living a healthy life? Comment below and help those in your life stay motivated to live their best and healthiest life!

 

Best Booty Workouts

booty-workout

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!

confident

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.

 

 

 

Healthy Meals Under $20

HEALTHY (1)I heard an ad on the radio the other day from a grocery chain advertising that they have family meals for under $40 – hence “affordable”. I am not sure who is doing the grocery shopping for these families but I am pretty sure that most people would agree that a meal at home should not cost $40. In addition, I highly doubt that these meals are nutritious. I decided to challenge this $40 meal with making my meals for my family for under $20. This, of course, requires me to do all of the planning, preparation and cooking. However, I would argue that most of us have to do some level of planning, preparation and cooking when eating at home.

I have come up with my week-long “healthy under $20” meals that I am sure will meet the nutritional needs and taste buds of even the most picky of family members. I have tried to keep the meals fun and interesting and sight a bit of what makes each meal healthy.

Monday – Chicken Dinner:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – chicken is packed with protein, phosphorus to keep bones healthy, niacin to help lower cholesterol and amino acids to help kids grow stronger and taller.
  • Steamed broccoli/brussel sprouts/cauliflower – anti-aging and cancer fighting superheroes! They are packed with antioxidants and selenium, immune boosting phytonutrients, vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid
  • Baked potatoes – Potatoes, if cooked healthily, are good for you! They are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Potatoes and sweet potatoes fight cancer, control diabetes and help you maintain bone health.

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday:

  • Ground turkey or chicken – choose one of these two options instead of the traditional beef variety. Add low sodium taco season and it will be just a yummy as beef and a lot better for you.
  • Shredded choice of dark leafy green lettuce (instead of iceberg) as these high in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and B, C, E and K.
  • Diced red or orange peppers – great sources of potassium, manganese (collagen production, blood sugar control, and bone production supporter), fiber and vitamins A, B, C and K. They also happen to have twice the vitamin C content of oranges and are packed with antioxidants.
  • Tomatoes and salsa – tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant that may reduce cholesterol and protect against advanced-stage prostate cancer.
  • Whole grain wraps or hard shell tacos and shredded cheddar cheese.

Wednesday – Spaghetti Dinner:

Whole grain spaghetti or spaghettini with tomato sauce – choose a tomato based pasta sauce instead of cream-based. Not only will this be better for your waste-line but also for your health. When tomatoes are cooked, their antioxidant power is increased as it increases the amount of phytochemicals they contain. Add a side salad with choice of colourful toppings.

Thursday – Breakfast for dinner:

Eggs and ancient grain toast, grilled tomatoes and orange juice or a veggie packed omelet.

Eggs have been given a bad rap but they are really an amazing food – they are loaded with nutrients – you can even get omega enriched eggs now. They contain vitamin A, folate, vitamin B5, B12, B2, D, E, K, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.

Ancient grain breads have more protein, folate, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, fibre, and calcium than wheat.

Friday – Fish & Chips:

Your choice of fish and preparation – you can even do homemade and healthy “battered” fish. Fish is loaded with important nutrients such as omegas, protein, vitamin D and iodine.

Serve with baked yam fries. – very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C (helps heal wounds, cancer prevention, prevent cataracts, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar and even treat Parkinson’s disease!), potassium, iron and fiber.

Saturday – Pita Pizzas:

  • Start with whole wheat pita bread – The “whole wheat” label means the wheat in that product hasn’t been refined so healthy components like endosperm and bran are left intact. Unrefined products also have many more nutrients like B vitamins and trace metals like iron, zinc, and copper.
  • Top with tomato/pasta sauce, mushrooms (contain selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more), chicken, peppers, tomatoes, pineapple (contains a natural enzyme called bromelain, which helps digestion and may also help prevent blood clots, inhibit growth of cancer cells and speed wound healing), ham etc…and top with your favorite cheese.

Sunday – Stir fry:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen stir fry veggies – frozen veggies are just as healthy as the fresh variety as they are flash frozen and all of the nutrients are preserved. Serve over and rice noodles or brown rice

 

Other ideas include roast chicken dinners, homemade soups, salads topped with chicken and baked whole wheat garlic toast. There are so many options. You are only limited by your imagination and, of course your family’s preferences.

So this week, challenge yourself to take the time to prepare some or all of these healthy meals for your family. You will be giving so much more than your gift of time, but the gift of health.

If you enjoyed this blog, you may be interested in reading some of our other blogs focusing on nutrition or sign up for our newsletter!

GMO 101

gmo

A breakfast consisting of corn flaked cereal with low fat milk and a side of cut up papaya sounds pretty darn healthy doesn’t it? Well, think again. Thanks to GMOs you are likely eating herbicide and pesticide-laced foods wrecking havoc on your health. But what are GMOs? GMO foods or Genetically Modified Organisms are foods produced from organisms that have had changes to their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits than previous methods such as selective breeding.

GMO crops were first introduced in the 1990s with the Flavr Savr tomato. It was supposed to have delayed ripening properties. This invention of GMOs was thought to perhaps be the answer to end world hunger. This is because the crops could be made to resist pesticides and therefore could increase their yields and decrease costs. However, as we still have world hunger, this was obviously not the case. Instead, the bugs and weeds, like many organisms through time and evolution – learn. They learned to become resistant to the chemicals that were dousing on the crops. This then led to increased use of the chemicals to try to battle these enlightened bugs and weeds. And as I’m sure you know, the more chemicals sprayed on our foods, the worse they are for our health.

Genetically modified foods (GMO foods) have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environment, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. The harmful health effects vary from increased allergic reactions to increased direct and indirect cancer rates. They have also shown to cause birth defects, infertility, accelerated aging and immune problems.  They may also reduce antibiotic effectiveness due to consumption through both vegetables and milk. Each year there are many more studies and results published that contribute to the evidence that GMOs are harmful to humans.

“The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on ‘Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.’ They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling.” (Institute for Responsible Technology)

With all of this undeniable evidence stacking up, there has been mounting pressure for Canada to, at the very least, have mandatory labeling of GMO foods and to even ban GMO food production and imports altogether. Unfortunately, Canada is behind the 8-ball on this one. We are one of only a few developed nations in the world that don’t have either of these yet.

Because we have no laws requiring labelling of GMO foods, we are left to fend for ourselves. Without education, how would you know if you are eating a GMO or not? For example, the corn you are buying at the grocery store, unless organic, is probably a GMO. Same goes for your zucchini, squash and papaya! And here you thought you were doing great buying fruits and veggies! Well, so did I.

The only sure way to ensure you are eating non-GMO is to look for the certification and logo “Non-GMO Verified Project” and/or it is certified 100% organic – this is different from simply being labelled “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.” You can find these at some of the big chain grocery stores. Another option is to check local farmers’ produce or markets where you can be ensured that the crops aren’t GMO. Finally, your best bet is to start organic gardening to grow your own produce.

If you can’t do any of the above options – whether due to cost, time of year or your location, then you can at least avoid the products that are the worst GMO foods for you. Here is the list:

Corn – It is one of the most prominent GMO foods. GMO corn has been tied to a number of different numerous health issues including weight gain and organ disruption. You can’t simply think about corn as the corn on the cob you buy at the store. Also remember that these products are based on GM corn: corn flakes, corn chips, cornstarch, corn syrup, corn oil, corn ingredients in processed foods, glucose, fructose, eggs, milk and meat (as these are fed to livestock and cows).

Canola – One of the most chemically altered foods and the second highest GM crop in Canada, canola oil is obtained from grapeseed through a series of chemical actions. Included here are products such as canola oil, margarine and some honeys.

Soy – It is modified to resist herbicides. Monsanto (GMO superstar) still controls the soy market and approximately 90 percent of soy is being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, there was 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate sprayed on soybeans alone. Included in this list of things to avoid are: tofu, soy oil, soy protein, soy lecithin, soy beverages, soy puddings and egg, milk and meat (as GM grains are fed to livestock and cows).

Sugar – Almost 100% of all of the white sugar beets grown in Canada are Monsanto’s GM herbicide-tolerant Roundup Ready sugar beets. I’m OK with losing this one – as white sugar is cancer feeder anyhow.

Aspartame – Aspartame is a toxic additive and it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

Papayas – GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Although imported to Canada and the U.S. they can’t be sold to countries in the European Union.

Peas – Peas that have been genetically modified have been found to cause immune responses in mice and possibly even in humans. A gene from kidney beans was inserted into the peas creating a protein that functions as a pesticide.

Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes – these have all been modified to resist viruses and have longer shelf-life.

Dairy, Eggs and Meat – Your dairy, eggs and meat products may contain growth hormones – this is aside from GM grains the animals are fed. Purchasing these items as organic is key.

Finally, steer clear from pre-made canned soups and frozen foods.

So there you have it. Scary, isn’t it!? I know that I have had my eyes opened to just how important it is to know where your food comes from. My hope is that the more people know about this, the more likely we will have pressure put on our government to work on protecting us from harmful GMO foods and in turn work on making the organic healthy foods more affordable for all.

As with previous blogs about health, we have to be in the driver’s seat of our own health and wellness. That includes learning as much as we can in order to make informed decisions for us and our families. If you feel that this blog has helped you in your own journey toward healthy living, you may be interested in ready more of our blogs on nutrition and health or sign up for our newsletter!

Sources: naturalnews.com, naturalsociety.com, gmoinquiry.ca, Institute for Responsible Technology

 

Wellness Mission

Life's enjoyment

Most of us in today’s modern society have come to the realization that in order to live long and have a good quality of life, we need to be focused on our personal wellness.  Wellness is being is a “state or condition of being in good physical and mental health”. It’s a holistic view of health.

At Fit Communications we are passionate about the promotion of health and wellness for all Winnipeggers, Manitobans and Canadians.  As such, we are happy to share some ideas of things you can do on your own personal journey toward wellness – all in your neighbourhood, no matter where you live.

In my research, I was pleasantly surprised by how many “wellness” focused activities, groups and events there are in every corner of our great province. Great job Manitoba! In addition, some of the items discovered are free! So you it proves that you can be living well no matter where you are or how much money you make.

1)      Exercise – not only will exercise improve your physical condition.  Exercise will also reduce stress, release endorphins to create feelings of happiness, and increase relaxation. One fun way to exercise includes swimming. The City of Winnipeg, Steinbach, Thompson and most communities throughout Manitoba have public swimming pools. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to partake. You can leisurely lap swim, jump off diving boards or take an Aquafit class. Many pools even have “free swims” to make it an affordable event for the whole family.

2)      Yoga – Although it has been around for centuries, its popularity has risen steadily in North America since the 1980s. Today, yoga studios both big and small can be found in nearly every community. Yoga is both a physical exercise as well as a form of medication and spiritual growth.

3)      Winter outdoor activities – staying active in the winter months does amazing things for our mental and physical wellbeing. A few local Winnipeg favourites include tobogganing at “Garbage Hill” in the west-end, snowshoeing at Fort Whyte Alive, skating on the rivers at the Forks or building a snow man in your backyard. Get outside and embrace winter!

4)      Events! Educate yourself and do your homework.  In order to know what options are available in your area, you have to do your homework. If you have the internet, it’s as easy as a Google search for your interest and your area. Check out these websites that post local wellness-type events:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/manitoba-events

http://attachmentnetwork.ca/events/

http://www.manitobainmotion.ca/news/media/?id=79

5)      Cooking. Whether taking a formal cooking class from the town’s best restaurant’s top chef or a community centre class, taking a cooking class is a great way to learn how to choose, prepare, and eat nutritionally sound and healthy foods. This will help your physical self as you attain or maintain a healthy weight, as well as prevent and treat certain diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. Taking one with a friend also makes this a great outing and bonding experience to increase your social wellbeing.

6)      Take an art or pottery class – unleashing your creative side. Express your emotions in a different medium. Locally owned galleries may offer classes or check your local community centre or City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide.

7)      Gardening. By gardening you are getting back to nature. This is probably one of the greatest things to improve your overall wellness. Much research has been done and shown that the benefits to gardening are multiple and cover a wide spectrum. Gardening and participating in community food growing projects can help yourself and your community. They can “contribute to improved social interactions and community cohesion…reduce the occurrence of episodes of stress…reduce physical pain and improve attitudes to healthy eating”. This is especially helpful in northern communities where fresh produce is costly to bring in. Visit http://ahta.org/news/benefits-gardening-and-food-growing-health-and-wellbeing for the full list of benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing.

8)      Get connected with like-minded people to do a variety of activities while building your social wellbeing.  Join a few Facebook groups – or join or create a “Meetup Group” http://www.meetup.com/  The website is all about “neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something…”If neither of those are really your thing, look to a local studio, store or community group that hosts workshops, events etc… You can join anything from walking or cycling to photography or parent groups.

I am sure there are many more ways to get fit, inspired or centered. If you have other ways, please share them – with us and your circle. Let’s pass on the positive energy!

Committing yourself to your own wellness isn’t a selfish or self-centered act only about you. It’s about building your community and being “present” with those close to you. Strive for constant self-improvement to live your best life – for life is short and we only get one chance to make the most of it!

Wanted: Female Athlete Role Models

Sports-Girls-09

Sadly, girls are six times more likely to drop out of sport than are their male counterparts. We need to change these statistics as there are so many benefits to participation in sports. According to the Women’s Sport Foundation, girls who are in sport do better in school, learn life skills such as teamwork and goal setting, build self-confidence and have lower levels of stress.

Part of what we, at Fit Communications, think needs to change in order to change these statistics are more positive female role models in sport. Our girls need women to look up to, to strive to be like in order to motivate them to work harder, go faster and be better. Not only in sport, but in life.

So what is a role model? Wikipedia defines a role model as “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”  There are so many positive effects a role model can have on a young girl including body image, self-esteem and participation. According to SIRC (Sport Research Intelligence sportive) “studies have shown that girls as young as 9 can develop a self-consciousness about their bodies that can contribute to them dropping out of sport. Exposing girls to successful, confident, strong athletic female role models with a healthy body shapes helps to create a positive image for young girls to look up to and can also drive young women to want to participate in their respective sports.”

Unfortunately, when you search Google for images of “female athletes” a slew of images of nearly naked women pop up. It looks more like photos taken out of Playboy rather than Sports Illustrated (and I don’t mean the swimsuit edition!) Within these photos are some legitimate athletes but unfortunately they have chosen to strip down to skimpy bikinis or even naked to pose with their sporting equipment. Is this the role model I want for my daughter or I would want as an athlete myself years ago? No! I want to see real girls and women training. Show me the real sweat and angst of hard work painted on their faces. Show me muscles. Show me real bodies of real athletes – not a photo-shopped spray tanned pose.

It’s not that there is a lack of female athlete role models. Quite the contrary. There are many athletes – both professional and amateur that are doing amazing things both on and off the field.

The issue isn’t that they don’t exist. The issue is that we don’t know about them. The reason for this is two-fold. First, they don’t get enough media attention. The media, generally speaking, cover female sports and athletes staggeringly less than their male counterparts. Part of the reason, arguable is that other than in Europe and the WNBA, there are no professional sports leagues for women. The sports that are the exception to this are tennis and golf. But other than Eugenie Bouchard, do you know any of these athletes by name? Even when Bouchard is covered by the media, they ask her about her outfit or if she has a celebrity crush! Do they ask the same questions to Dustin Byfuglien or Tom Brady? So then if we don’t have professional females, then why not cover more amateur female sports? When was the last time you saw women’s sports – professional or amateur – covered by TSN or CBC?

Secondly is sponsorship – or more specifically, a lack thereof. Again, there are countless number of men and men’s professional athletes and teams sponsored by businesses. What about women’s? What about amateur female athletes? Is it because businesses think that sponsoring female athletes won’t be seen as high profile or as popular as the men? (this can be linked back to the lack of coverage by the media). I would argue that a business would get a bigger “bang for their buck” by sponsoring a female athlete over a male. Young women NEED more role models – more heroes of sport and life. Parents know this. Any parent of a young girl knows how important it is for our daughters (or nieces or granddaughters) to have strong, positive, inspiring, athletic women to look up to.  I would truly respect and support a company that chose a strong female athlete as their spokesperson or person to sponsor. And I do the shopping in my household.

In addition, choosing a female athlete stands out. I hear countless radio ads of different hockey players promoting everything from car dealerships to insurance sales. Hearing from a successful local female athlete would get attention. It’s not status quo.

So if you are a business, rather than spending $230,000 on a rink board panel ad of the Jets that I’m betting no one even notices is there, why not spend that money on making a real difference in some of our female athletes. They need help with training. They train 30-40 hours per week and have part time jobs to make ends meet. At the moment they are sweating it out or giving back to their community and their sports. They go to schools to talk to kids about their experiences and provide inspiration. They will be fantastic ambassadors for your business. You will not be disappointed if you get behind them. Impress those of us that are waiting for a hero.