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!

 

 

 

 

Protein My Way

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Three things I love: Winnipeg, Family and Health! Apparently I am in good company.  I am so excited to hear that a local Winnipeg family – Bryce, Graham and Erin Folster, along with Derek Penner – have created something truly unique and needed in the Canadian – and world-wide market. They have created Protein My Way – a protein shake vending machine company to bring healthy and nutritious beverages to the masses. I think that this is exactly what is missing in so many places – schools, hospitals, community centers, and anywhere you have vending machines.

So, of course when I hear about a new company or product, my question is always “Why”? Why this idea? Why now? How did this idea come about? The answer starts from a simple car ride. These hockey playing Charleswood brothers were driving home from the gym one day when they wanted to get a protein shake. There was nothing convenient that was not only packed with protein but also low in sugar. This discussion inspired the future and development of Protein My Way.

What fueled the inspiration was that both Bryce and Graham noticed a lack of healthy and convenient food items in many of Winnipeg’s local fitness facilities. “The frustration I came across was the lack of nutrition in facilities that promoted healthy living.” So instead of sitting around and wishing for change, they sprung into action.

The Folster family is not alone in wanting change. Although vending machines are synonymous with offering products such as cookies, candy, chips and sugary beverages, the last ten years has seen a shift. Vending machines have been diversifying their offerings following a change in consumer snacking preferences coupled with technology advancements in the vending industry. More consumers are wanting healthier alternatives more readily available and are willing to pay more for those alternatives.

The family has poured their blood, sweat, tears and funding into Protein My Way (“PMW”). They must be on the right track with something unique and innovative because the Canadian National Research Council has also supported the funding to make this product a reality. It has brought together two mega industries, health and wellness and vending machines. There is no other like PMW on the market – providing a convenient, healthy, high protein drink 24/7 in any location.

In keeping with their commitment to health, Protein My Way has gone one step further. They have created their own protein powder used in all machines, which is one of the healthiest on the market. It is no wonder with all of this uniqueness coupled with consumer trends, that machines have already began selling in Canada, the United States and the Middle East in gyms, hotels, airports, offices and schools.

Not only do I love this company for its innovation and its strong family base but also their values when it comes to sport and fitness. “We truly believe any child in sport has a way better chance in growing up to be a more confident, and healthier-minded individual.  This is where my brother and I knew we could make a difference,” says Bryce.  So cool.

I am so excited about this technology and extremely proud that these are Winnipeggers and Canadians that are making strides in the area of healthy living. I can’t wait to try my own PMW at my gym! If this is something you’d like to see in your kids’ school or your gym, contact them at www.proteinmyway.com or let us know in the comments below and we’ll help start the conversation.

Check out the article about Protein My Way in the 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/

Top 15 Favorite Thoughts on Bringing Positive Vibes Into Our Lives

FitnessMarketingHappy

At Fit Communications we are two women on a mission. We are an inspired strategic marketing and communications team dedicated to spreading the word of health every day. Whether it be on our personal profiles online, our Twitter feed, our Facebook Group page, our newsletter, or just our daily lives, we are truly dedicated to spreading the word of health and happiness daily. Happiness and positivity have to be a dedicated, daily effort if we want to see it manifest into our lives. And some days that is easier than others, so this week’s blog is my Top 15 Favorite Thoughts on Bringing Positive Vibes Into Our Lives.

  1. You can have, be, do and create every single thing you can imagine. If you can think it – go get it. The universe or God or energy or whatever you want to call it, LOVES you and wants to see you succeed. Remember that and then create your own opportunities.
  2. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Surround yourself with people who make you feel amazing, strong, smart, challenged and whole. When you put out the positive vibes, they come back to you tenfold. Don’t worry about when, because timing isn’t the important part. Just know that it is all on its way for you.
  3. Aspire to be a giver. Give love. Give good vibes. Give hope. Give strength. Give positivity.
  4. Believe good things will happen, and they will. Start every day by preparing your mind to receive the best that life has to offer.
  5. Be grateful. Even when it feels like you have nothing, find something. Every single day before I get out of bed I say three things I am currently grateful for. Every. Single. Day. Gratefulness and happiness are a HABIT.
  6. Be in love with your life – every single minute of it. Remember that your life is what your thoughts make it.
  7. Be so happy that when others see you, they become happy too.
  8. Once in a while, blow your own damn mind. Shock yourself at how great you are, or what you can accomplish. It will build confidence and inner strength.
  9. When you start to make terrific decisions for yourself the universe rewards you. Why? Because God/Source/the Universe LOVES YOU and wants to see you do, be, create and have so many incredible things in life. Make those decisions so you feel blessed, and POOF! You will be.
  10. The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.
  11. Believe in what you want so much it has no choice but to materialize. Envision it. Feel it. Work for it. Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
  12. Remember that you always get what you focus on. If you are focused on being broke, you will be broke. If you focus on being sad, you will be sad. If you focus on abundance, you will be abundant. If you focus on being happy, you will be happy.
  13. Love yourself. Like really truly LOVE yourself – all the parts and pieces, the good and the bad, the fabulous and the not-so-fabulous. Love truly can conquer all.
  14. You attract what you are, not what you want. So if you want it, reflect it. If you want to feel more love in your life, send out more love. If you want to feel more compassion in your life, be more compassionate.
  15. Choose to shine. Remember everything in life is a choice. So choose happiness. Choose positivity. Choose love.

I hope that this blog has served a purpose or need for you today. Next time you’re feeling like you need a boost, come back to this page and read again.

Fit Communications Top Ten Favorite Health Tips

Media Relations

At Fit Communications we definitely live our brand – every day we try to do our best to make healthy decisions for ourselves through nutrition, fitness and overall health and wellness. It takes time to get to the point where it is a lifestyle and you seem to naturally know what to do and how to do it. It takes lots of time and practice and being your own “guinea pig” often to see what works best for you and your personal system. This week’s blog is a look at our Top Ten Health Tips that we adhere to each and every day.

  1. Workout for 60 minutes, five times per week. I know this seems to some like a lot, so start where you can. If that is 45 minutes, three times per week at the onset, great! The point is to get moving. Your body and mind will love you for it. For us, the gym is almost like meditation. We both feel at our very best, my most confident and at our best mental state during and post-workout.
  2. Take supplements. Each person is different and has different needs, so there isn’t a fool proof list of what you should be taking. Depending on your age, health, sex, activity level would determine what you should be taking. At minimum we would suggest a multi-vitamin and a fish oil supplement. Along with that, between us we take calcium, vitamin C, D and B-complex, green tea supplement, immunity boosters, pro-biotics, CAMU-C, magnesium and milk thistle.
  3. Have some turmeric every single day. It is great for everything from anti-inflammation to anti-cancer. For more information on turmeric and a few of our other favorite spices, see here – http://fitcommunications.ca/healthy-spices/
  4. Eat a plate of raw veggies every single day. There are so many to choose from with tremendous benefits. Try to get these anti-cancer “superfoods” on your plate each and every day: spinach, broccoli, carrots and red pepper.
  5. Eat some seeds! We both have a minor obsession with Manitoba Hemp Harvest and their Hemp Hearts. Seriously – have you tried these things? UNBELIEVABLE! But there are other terrific options out there as well, all with tremendous health benefits. For more information about seeds and what might be right for you, read this – http://fitcommunications.ca/seeds-broken-down/
  6. Get lots and lots and LOTS of sleep. Easier said than done – I’m sure some are thinking. If you are having trouble sleeping or something about your life just doesn’t allow for that now, talk to your doctor. Sleep is our bodies’ way of cleaning itself and reviving our energy. After reading much about centenarians, they always say they had a great relationship with their bed – some would sleep up to 12 hours a day. Do your body and your mind a favor and get adequate sleep.
  7. Drink more water. This can be a tough one as most of us usually wait until we are thirsty to drink. However, experts say that thirst is the first sign of dehydration. The magic ‘8 glasses a day’ rule is no longer, but try to get a glass in every time you pass your kitchen sink.
  8. Keep it clean. We personally don’t believe in cleanses. We would much prefer to do something daily to keep our systems clean and running at its best. To do that, try two things. For starters, partake in intermittent fasting. Secondly, take a few things in the morning that naturally cleanse the system – aloe vera (by the spoon) and chlorophyll added to your water (see #7!).
  9. Meet with your doctor regularly. It is way too often that we hear of people finding out they have a disease or sickness when it is too late to do anything about it. Getting routine checkups, pre-screening and testing regularly and discussing any health concerns you may have with your doctor is imperative.
  10. The 80/20 Rule. Try to make nutritionally-wise decisions 80% of the time, and the other 20% they can slack off a bit. Now that doesn’t mean in the 20% you smoke cigarettes and eat salami! Just don’t think that you have to be perfect. Once it feels like you have a hang of that, bump it up to 90/10. We promise it will become easier as time goes on.

Those are our Top Ten Health Tips. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Kick up your summer fitness!

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2015 is the Year of Women In Sport! This is music to our ears at Fit Communications. We are passionate about getting young girls and women involved in fitness and sport for life. As such, we are excited to promote other organizations that are doing great things in this area. Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing (WWK) is one of those organizations. WWK is on a mission to get girls back into high-level fitness and sport.

Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing, Winnipeg’s ONLY all-women’s kickboxing gym, is opening its doors to girls ages 5-16 for an 8-week summer kickboxing program beginning July 2, 2015. Trisha Sammons (two-time winner of the Canadian National Muay Thai and Kickboxing Title) found a gap in fitness opportunities for young girls in Winnipeg and set forth to do something about it.

Girls are two times more likely to drop out of sports by the age of 14 than their male counterparts. This is due to a lack of access, lack of positive role models, social stigma, cost and decreased quality of experience (Source: Fast and Female). This gap has motivated Sammons to create a fitness and self defense program for girls with hopes in changing this trend.

This 8-week program not only increases overall fitness and health, but also teaches self-defense and increases self-confidence. This program has been running since the Spring of 2014 for girls in this age category. Sammons, as Head Coach, has seen exceptional improvement in the skill-set and overall self-confidence of the group.

If a young girl or teen in your life is looking for a new, fun and challenging way to be active this summer, try this kickboxing class. Join with a friend or on your own and meet new friends! Registration is now open!

Class Details:

Boys and Girls Ages 5 -10 years old. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4 – 5pm
Girls ages 11 – 16 years old. Monday through Thursday, 6 – 7pm and Sundays 11 – 12pm
Cost: $200 per student for both above programs
Location: 1777 Portage Avenue – St. James

Contact Trisha at 204.930.6780 to register.

Visit WWK on Facebook at Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing – WWK

Media Links:

Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg Sun

MyToba

Fitness in Winnipeg

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I love trying new fitness ‘everything’! Be it a new piece of equipment, a new gym or a new type of class, I love seeing what is new, what I can learn and how I can add pieces of each to my personal workouts. So it is not surprising that only three weeks into the new year, I have already tried three ‘new to me’ places. This week’s blog I will tell you about each and why I loved them all.

Prairie Roots

Located at 562 Academy Road, this second floor space has a wide variety of wellness and fitness options for the whole family. Five local Winnipeg women are on a mission to bring wellness and showcase the physical, mental and spiritual side of health. They have everything from Yoga to Zumba to Ass Class. I tried the Guided Mediation class with Janet Lewis. As a meditation virgin, I was intrigued. Janet took the group through a 45-minute meditation where she assisted us in calming our bodies and minds. Similar to yoga in the idea of always coming back to your breath, she made me feel at ease, mellow and relaxed. That was a terrific way to start a Sunday, with a calm mind and soul. For more information about Prairie Roots find them on Facebook or check out their website at www.prairierootswpg.weebly.com

Shinobi Fitness

Located at 328 King Street with lots of free parking in the Exchange, I must admit I was slightly scared to try crossfit. It has an intimidation factor for some reason to me – not sure if it’s the people or the hardcore fitness factor, but I was scared. I tried an introductory course lead by owner Rich Thomas, which consisted of a group of eight women and two men, ranging in all ages, sizes and fitness levels. If you want to get in great shape, this will do it. Tons of squats which I love, and a workout that has a fitness-centered approach – strength, conditioning, speed, core. And without a doubt, I must say that owner Rich is perhaps one of the best trainers I have ever worked with in the gym. He really knows what he is talking about! He not only tells you what and how to do the moves but why. I have been doing squats for over 30 years and he gave me hints to make them better and in turn, cause less stress on my joints and increase my strength. Thirty years of working out and one hour with Rich made a difference. For more information about their classes and boot camps, find them on Facebook or check out their website at www.crossfitshinobi.com

Pilates Manitoba

Located at 390 Academy Road, I found Pilates Manitoba when looking for a pilates instructor for the high performance team with Manitoba Rowing. The Head Coach needed a program to increase the core strength of his athletes and build the base and stability muscles of the team. Owner Annabel Scott is really dedicated to her facility, pilates and her clients. Our one-hour classes lead by Tom for a ten-week session, started this part weekend and let me tell you – two days later I can still feel the workout over my entire core and upper body. The slight movements in pilates allow your body to focus on the smaller muscle groups that aid your larger muscle groups to be big movements. All high performance, dynamic athletes in the group – and we were all blown away with the difficulty of holding particular moves. An exceptional core workout, using various portable equipment pieces, including TR-X. I am really looking forward to these weekly classes. For more information about Pilates Manitoba and their wide variety of classes to suit all fitness levels, check out their website at http://www.pilatesmanitoba.com/index.html

Seeds Broken Down

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Are you as confused as I am regarding “seeds”? What type should you eat? What are the benefits? Do you eat them whole or ground? How do you store them?

I did some quick research to find out some of the claimed health benefits of flax, hemp and chia seeds. I hope that this helps alleviate a bit of the confusion. I know that it did for me!

One of the things that all three seeds have in common is that they are all rich in essential fatty acids like Omega 3. So if you want to keep your heart healthy and lower cholesterol levels, you should try to consume a lot of any one of these seeds.

Other than this, all three seeds tend to have slight differences in storage and health benefits.

FLAX:

Flax seeds come from the flax plant and come in two varieties: brown and yellow. They both have very similar nutritional benefits.

Flax contains 8 grams of fiber per one tablespoon. Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diets.  Eating fiber helps regulate your bowels and helps to keep bloating at bay.

Flax reduces the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men because flax contains lignans. Lignans alter the way your body metabolizes estrogens into safer forms.

Storage: Ensure that you purchase flax seeds in the pre-ground variety as the whole seeds don’t break down when you eat them. You can also purchase them as whole seeds and grind them yourself easily in a coffee grinder. This will be a more cost-effective method. Whole seeds can stay fresh for up to a year. They should be stored in a cool dry place. If you do buy the ground version, it should be stored in your freezer.

 

HEMP:

Hemp seeds are produced by the hemp plant.

Hemp seeds contain high amounts of protein, which helps in strengthening the immune system. This reduces the instances of disease and helps excrete toxins from the body.

Hemp produces phytosterols, which helps reduce cholesterol.

Hemp contains all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.

Hemp seeds are very rarely allergens, unlike many other nuts and seeds.

Storage: Hemp can come in the form of seeds, oil or meal. Unlike flaxseeds, you don’t need to grind them to reap their benefits. Unfortunately, the down side of hemp is that the seeds can quickly go bad and so are best kept cool and used quickly. One other thing to note is that you shouldn’t heat or cook the seeds as it will destroy the nutritional benefits of the fatty acids. So it is best to add hemp seeds to foods that do not require cooking or sprinkle on after cooking.

 

CHIA:

Chia Seeds are derived from the flowering annual herb in the mint family.

Chia seeds contain many antioxidants and are a complete protein. They balance your blood sugar and give you steady, long lasting energy.

Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber and have both soluble and insoluble fibers.

Chia seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein. All of these nutrients are essential for bone health.

They can also be helpful in losing weight as the gel that is formed around the seed has no calories and makes you feel full.

Storage: Chia seeds easily store for 2 – 4 years without refrigeration, and even longer if refrigerated. They only require a dry, cool location. Even chia meal still has a long shelf life of 1 – 2 years. All 3 varieties of these seeds tend to be readily available at local grocers or health food stores. What is nice is that you can add these seeds to pretty much anything – salads, yogurt, and smoothies.

 

If you decide to add one (or many) of these tiny gems into your diet, I am confident that it will benefit your health. Remember though that this is just my opinion based on my own research. If you are on medication, definitely consult your health professional to ensure that the seeds won’t interfere with your medication. If you would like more information on any of these seeds, I would urge you to do some research of your own or consult a nutritionist or alike. Remember that you are only given one body and likely the only one looking out for your own health. So make sure you respect your body and treat it as best as you can.