Living With and Preventing Diabetes

Diabetes Photo

I used to think that people got diabetes from eating too much sugar – or so my grandmother used to tell me. I’m sure she did this so that I would stop eating candy! This is obviously not the reason why people get diabetes. (sorry Grandma!)  I became educated on diabetes when my Mom was diagnosed 3 years ago. Not only was this a stress by the shear medical implications of the disease, but also because it became a huge lifestyle change for my Mom.

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

Type 2 Diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children. In Canada, more than 3 million Canadians are living with diabetes and this number is expected to reach 3.7 million by 2020.

In my research, I found out that Manitoba is in a state of a diabetes epidemic. Manitoba has the second highest per capita rate of childhood Type 2 Diabetes in North America (not Type 1 – which is not linked to certain causes including lifestyle). Manitoba also has the highest rate in Canada – by a huge margin. This was incredibly alarming to learn. The questions then are why are people getting it? Can it be prevented and if you do have it, what do you do?

Apart from risk factors, you CAN do things to prevent Type 2 diabetes including maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical exercise and eating healthy.

If you are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, you can do things to live a long and healthy life. You need to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels in your individual target range. You can do this by:

  • Eating healthy meals and snacks
  • Participating in regular physical activity
  • Monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) using a home blood glucose meter*
  • Working toward and maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Taking diabetes medications if prescribed by your doctor
  • Managing stress effectively

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recognizes that people living with Type 2 Diabetes need help. They need resources and information in order to live their best lives. As such, they are hosting a CDA Expo on Saturday April 23, 2016 from 9 – 1 at the Wellness Institute – 1075 Leila Ave.

“The CDA Expo is for people living with diabetes and those who support them, as well as for those who are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes” says Laryssa Sawchuk, Coordinator, Public Programs and Services Canadian Diabetes Association This free event is headlined by keynote speaker Dr. Ali Zentner, MD. There will also be a presentation from Dr. Kevin Saunders, MD, who is a family physician and the Medical Director of the Wellness Institute of Seven Oaks General Hospital.

According to Sawchuk, “the event offers practical and up-to-date tips on how to live a full and healthy life with diabetes.” As the focus of the Expo is on healthy eating, there will be the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of local chefs and nutrition experts.

I love that the focus of the Expo is on healthy eating! I also love that this is free for anyone to attend. So if you or someone you know has Type 2 Diabetes or is at risk, please share this information with them. It will be sure to inform and motivate them to make healthy changes in their lives. To register for the event go to or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

At Fit Communications, we are on a mission to make Canadians healthier by spreading the word of health every day. We truly believe in community and supporting each other to be the healthiest and best we can all be. For more blogs about health and community please click here!

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:

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 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”  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!

Do You Need A Multivitamin?


Growing up in the household that I did, I assume everyone takes a multivitamin as a very least of supplemental support for overall good health. My assumption is obviously not reality. Aside from prohibitive reasons such as cost, there is the idea that there is “no point” to taking a multivitamin. For others, it isn’t even a consideration nor on their radar.

I am going to argue (based on my personal research and experience) that everyone over the age of two should be taking a multivitamin. That is, unless of course your diet is perfection and you are getting all of your daily nutrients through the foods that you consume – every single day.

It is recommended that the best way to get all of the nutrients that body needs is through whole foods. However, many of us don’t get all of the vitamins and minerals we need through our daily diet. A multivitamin fills in the gaps – to ensure you are getting all of the recommended vitamins (14 of them) and minerals (9 of them) to maintain good health.

Vitamins are organic and are required by our bodies for survival. Vitamins control the chemical reactions within the body to convert food into energy and living tissue. They are either water soluble which must be taken daily since they are not stored in the body or fat soluble, which are stored in the body.

The amount of minerals we need vary in dosages from trace amount to greater than 100 mg a day. Minerals are used to produce and maintain necessary hormones and bodily functions.

Aside from being simply a support for good health, some of the other benefits to taking a multivitamin include having more energy, better physical response to stress, improved memory and concentration, and a strong immune system.

Before you rush out to grab the first multivitamin you see on the shelf, wait. Not all multivitamins are the same. There are ones made specifically for men, women, teenagers and children given that each of these groups have different needs. There are even formulas specific to support heart health, those over 50 and even those with an active lifestyle.

Men’s multis are more than likely going to also contain ‘saw palmetto’ which may support a healthy prostate. Men’s supplements will also likely not contain iron as iron may accumulate in the body and cause organ damage. Also, some formulas for men will have ingredients such as ‘horny goat weed’ (yes, this is a real thing) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which supports testosterone (hence, a good name for the goat weed!).

Women’s multis have formulas which focus more on skin, nails, and hair health. There are also Pre-Natal multis for expecting mothers. The pre-natals have the recommended amount of folic acid to help prevent neural tube birth defects.

Children’s multis are made specifically for kids that are growing every day. Kids that take vitamins seem to focus better in school and be sick less often.

There are also teenager specific multis on the market since they need different vitamins and minerals as their bodies grow into adulthood. A lot of growth spurts occur during teenage years so nutrition is crucial for proper development.

Purchasing a high absorbability multivitamin is also key. Taking a vitamin that simply runs through your body isn’t getting you any further ahead. Ask your health food store associates or pharmacist for a suggestion for a multivitamin that is absorbed well by the body. This way you will feed your cells with the vitamins and minerals that it needs much better. It might be a bit more expensive, but it will do a much better job.

After you buy the vitamin that is best for you, ensure you are getting the most of it. Vitamins should be taken every day, at the same time each day and with a meal. I find that morning is the best time as it sets you up for the day with your best nutrition so that you are ready to go out to do what you need to do for the day.

As great as multivitamins are, they are not miracle workers. That is, you cannot take a multivitamin and hope it makes up for poor eating habits. You still have to eat well overall (80/20 or 90/10 rule) to be healthy and prevent diseases.

If you are not taking a multivitamin now, think about why. Ask yourself, and your doctor, if taking one would be an appropriate step for you given your circumstance to be a healthier you.


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If only I knew then…

Woman Lifting Weight

I wish I knew then what I know now. Many of us say this as we reflect on our past. What exactly do I wish I knew back then?

I have a list…

  • I wish I knew that sun-tanning was really bad for you. I wish I knew that sitting under the sun or in a tanning bed not only exposes your skin to cancer, but contributes directly to the pre-mature aging of skin. This is one of the things you can’t “un-do” from your reckless youth.
  • I wish I knew then all of the amazing things I know now about eating well and nutrition. With so many new discoveries over the past decade alone regarding “clean eating”, “superfoods”, DHAs, EPAs, olive oil, flax, saturated and unsaturated, supplements, chia seeds, quinoa etc… We are all much more equipped now to fuel our bodies with cancer-fighting, holistic and healthy goodness than even five years ago.
  • I wish I knew then that a smart, confident, athletic woman is a sexy woman.
  • I wish I knew then that sometimes men “just aren’t into you” and that is okay.
  • I wish I knew that planning for your future and your education is important.
  • I wish I knew then that no matter what you want to be “when you grow up” it is exactly what you should do if it makes you happy and allows you love what you do each and every day.
  • I wish I knew then that blue eye-shadow isn’t for everyone.
  • I wish I knew then that you should always dress for your body and not for fads or trends.
  • I wish I knew then that it’s okay, and even amazing, to beat your boyfriend at sports or games or be smarter or funnier than him.

Although I can’t go back and turn back time, I know I can take all of this incredible knowledge and know-how and do two things: First, continue to improve on myself – grow, blossom and evolve. Secondly, share this wisdom with my young daughters, nieces and all of the fabulous women in my life.

Fit Communication’s Runner Roundup


Fit Communications is proud to begin an inaugural “Runner Roundup” in the month of March. We are collecting gently used runners and athletic footwear for girls and women.

You may have noticed if you follow us on Twitter or from reading our weekly blogs, we are passionate about health and fitness and are committed to spreading the word of health every day. We are especially motivated to get girls and women of all ages active in order to lead healthy and happy lives. We don’t want a lack of footwear to be an obstacle to making this happen.

We have joined forces with Snap Fitness on this initiative. Snap Fitness has just announced its commitment to giving back to the community following reaching 300,000 Facebook likes.  Specifically, Snap Fitness will act as the collection/drop off locations for the footwear donations. Locations for donation include Osborne Village (206 Osborne Street), St. Boniface (249 St. Mary’s Rd.) and Selkirk (379 Main Street, Selkirk).

At the end of March, Fit Communications will donate the runners to local women’s shelters and groups in need.  Snap Fitness is generously providing free enrollment and free one month memberships to go along with each pair of shoes donated to the women’s groups/shelters.

So if you happen to have a pair (or two or three) of runners you’re no longer using, but are still in good shape, please donate them to our Runner Roundup.   It could make someone’s day and help to start a lifetime of fitness or move towards getting healthy!

Media Links:

Global News

Shaw Go Winnipeg

Winnipeg Free Press

Chris D

My Toba

The Carillon




Green Envy and Hemp Hearts – Two of My Faves

Green Envy and Hemp Hearts

In this week’s blog I am reviewing two products that I use daily – Green Envy – Daily Detox and Hemp Hearts. I will look at the benefits of each and how to use them. These two products each have their own positive impact on my personal health and are really easy to incorporate to your daily routine.

I purchase both products in large sizes at Costco. I have seen Hemp Hearts at local grocery stores and Green Envy at Walmart. I am sure that both products can be purchased at most health food stores.

Green Envy – Daily Detox

I know that eating greens are great for you. I also know that I don’t think I get enough on a daily basis. There are many supplements out there in a powder form that you mix with water to get your daily dose of “greens”. However for me, drinking an entire glass of this turns my stomach. Luckily for me, I found Green Envy! The daily dose is one 30 ml “shot”. This I can handle. Does it taste good? Nope! But I have certainly tried worse. It’s tolerable and well worth it for its health benefits.

Green Envy is packed with 23 vegetables, fruits and herbs. It also contains superfoods including barley grass, wheat grass and broccoli. It is non-GMO and gluten free.

In case you live under a rock and didn’t know that vegetables are good for you, here are a number of reasons why they are:

    • Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else
    • Plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens
    • They prevent constipation and acts as a natural diet aid
    • People with higher vegetable intake have lower risks of strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancers, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. They also have shown to score higher on cognitive tests! So they are brain food too!

Hemp Hearts

The variety of hemp hearts I regularly buy are a Manitoba Harvest product… #lovelocal! These raw shelled hemp seeds are virtually tasteless which means you can easily add them to any food or meal. I mix them in with yogurt, toss on top of salads, sprinkle on brown rice, quinoa or your favorite cereal.

The reason I love these little gems is because they are a complete and digestible protein with 10 grams in only 3 tablespoons. The combination of complex carbohydrates and protein make hemp hearts a source of long-lasting energy. They are also a good source of:

  • essential fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3 – think heart health
  • soluble fiber which aids in digestion to keep you regular and can prevent intestinal diseases and lower levels of LDL cholesterol
  • insoluble fiber, which lowers risks of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
  • vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, as well as the minerals calcium and iron

Do you have any morning health or nutrition rituals? We love spreading the word of health every day and always welcome hearing about your favorite products and services to keep the mind and body healthy.



Drink More Water!


Drink more water. We hear it all the time. I think by now we all know that drinking lots of water is good for you. But why? I’ve narrowed it down to 8 solid reasons why you need to drink up!

Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

Kidney function. Kidneys process nearly 200 litres of blood daily. Their job is to clear out waste and transport urine to the bladder. To ensure that they operate at maximum capacity, they need enough fluids – like water!

Bowel Function. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration – resulting in constipation.

Weight loss. The reasons for this are two-fold: one is that substituting water for higher calorie beverages can cut calories. The second is that drinking lots of water help you to feel full.

Improved workouts: When your muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired more quickly. So drinking water will provide your body with extra energy to make more out of your time at the gym.

Clearer skin. Drinking water can flush out the toxins in the body that can cause the skin to inflame resulting in clogged pores and acne.

Stay alert. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness.

Natural Headache Remedy – Drinking water helps to relieve and prevent headaches which are commonly caused by dehydration.

If you have a hard time getting enough water in your daily routine, try a few of these tricks:

  • Buy a water bottle. Have this bottle and fill it up in the morning. Set goals as to how many bottles to drink each day. Don’t worry about feeling water-logged or bloated. You will be surprised to see how quickly your body adjusts to your body’s new hydration.
  • Keep your water bottle at your desk. You are more likely to drink water if it is right there – easily accessible and ready to drink.
  • Drink what you like. If you aren’t a fan of “plain old” water, try adding either a sugar-free water-flavouring or lemon. An added bonus is that the lemon also flushes out toxins and improves your immune system.

So if you haven’t been convinced by this blog to drink more water, I have one more thing to add…drinking water is free!  (the good ‘ole fashioned “from the tap” variety at least!) Don’t we all like free stuff?  Cheers!



Long Term Athlete Development and the Canadian Sport for Life

kids in sportWhat the heck does Long Term Athlete Development mean? If you are in the world of sport like me or have children that are in sports, these words are thrown around a lot. However, many people use the phrases expecting that everyone must know what they mean! In this week’s blog, I try to give the “cole’s notes” version of what these are all about. There is so much to it all but hopefully this will give you a bit of an introduction and understanding.

In their own words, “Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada through improved athlete training and better integration between all stakeholders in the sport system, including sport organizations, education, recreation and health.  A key feature of CS4L is Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD), a developmental pathway whereby athletes follow optimal training, competition, and recovery regimens from childhood through all phases of adulthood.”

It breaks down ages and stages of physical, social, cognitive and emotional development in order to maximize the performance of athletes over their lifespan. This isn’t just for elite athletes though. This is a road map for all kids as they move into adulthood. There are a number of different stages and factors that are included in the LTAD movement. All have that have different focuses and components in each. The first key factor is Physical Literacy. Basically it is focused on developing basic fitness skills that ALL kids should know how to do. The goal here is to have all kids be “physically literate”. It all depends though on the age, maturation and capacity of the children. It also depends on the culture and environment in which children are raised.

This whole “movement” started because coaches of Olympic and international level athletes were noticing that although a downhill skier could fly down a mountain over 100 miles an hour, he couldn’t do a forward roll. The question arose then as to why? Perhaps one of the reasons we hadn’t been on the podium on the world stage in sport had something to do with the fact that our athletes were not “physically literate”?

But why are our kids not physically literate? Whose “fault” is it and where “should” are kids be at – physically? Is it because of the lack of overall physical activity of our kids today? Is it a reduction in gym classes as a whole across Canada? Whose responsibility is it to ensure our kids are physically literate?

I know for myself, I believe that as a parent, it is my responsibility to ensure my kids are active. But what do parents – or caregivers need to know? I am not a scientist or a personal trainer or child life expert! Not many people are so we all need help. LTAD makes is “easier” for me to have a look to see if my kids are on the right path. Not because I want them to go to the Olympics, but because I want them to be confident in sports and physical activity – not only growing up but for the rest of their lives.

Being physically literate means that kids should be able to be “move with poise, confidence, competence and creativity in different physical environments (on the ground, both indoor and outdoor; in the air; in and on water; on snow and ice).” Running, jumping, catching, kicking, throwing, swinging and hitting are the basic fundamental sport skills. They allow children to play several sports with ease. Missing out on them can lead to a lifelong disconnect from recreation and sport.

There are different levels of each physical skill – from learning specific physical movements to mastering them. Only then can they make the shift from knowing how to do a physical skill to knowing how to do a “sport skill”. For example: learning to throw a softball using a pitching motion and aiming over home plate.

CS4L and LTAD have identified 13 fundamental movement skills that all kids should know how to do. They are categorized into locomotor/body skills, sending skills and receiving skills.

  • Locomotor and Body Skills: Walking, running, balance, skating/skiing, jumping, swimming, cycling and skipping.
  • Sending Skills: Throwing, kicking, striking
  • Receiving Skills: Catching, trapping

Children need to develop fundamental movement skills in a wide range of environments. As a parent you should question not only yourself but daycare providers, schools and sport organizations to make sure your children’s needs are met – including if they are physically active at least 30 minutes per day (toddlers) and 60 minutes per day (pre-schoolers). Do they play with a wide range of materials – balls (various types and sizes), beanbags, hoops etc… and are there places to climb, room to run and jump, places to throw and kick balls?

If you would like to find out more about the Long Term Athlete Development, please go to their website where I have sourced my information – It includes all of the information above as well as all of the stages and great information for parents, teachers, coaches, caregivers and anyone interested in sport and healthy living!


Sugar Sugar


By now, most of us have heard that sugar is bad for you. But why? The evidence I have read to support why is staggering. We have all heard that sugar promotes tooth decay. However, this is only one of the tens of health problems sugar is linked to.

A hundred years ago, people consumed an average of 15 grams of sugar a day.  Today the average person consumes 73 grams of sugar, most of which is in the form of high fructose corn syrup – which is in most processed foods we buy.

Commonly used white sugar is bleached with chlorine bleach – which is an obvious dangerous substance to ingest.

Sugar has no essential nutrients. In fact, people who consume lots of sugar don’t have important nutrients they need, especially vitamins A, C, B12, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, copper, magnesium and iron. It also interferes in the absorption of minerals.

One of sugar’s main components is fructose, of which there is no physiological need. We can eat it in moderation – in fruit, for example, and our liver can metabolize it properly into glycogen. However, eating too much of it will result in it being stored as fat. This overload on the liver can result in fatty liver disease.

Diseases and Conditions Sugar is Linked to and Why:

High Blood Pressure: Sugar causes elevated uric acid levels which ultimately raise blood pressure (systolic/high number).

High Cholesterol: Sugar raises total cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing the bad cholesterol (LDLs) and decreasing the good cholesterol (HDLs) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

Inflammation: Sugar causes free radicals to form that cause inflammation in the body at the cellular level. This leads to changes in skin tone and appearance. Common effects include deep wrinkles, saggy skin, and dark circles under the eyes.

Immune system deficiency (arthritis, asthma and MS): Our immune functions are reduced after eating high sugar foods which makes the body more susceptible to infections. Sugar consumption lowers the white blood cell count, which in turn weakens your immune system.

Obesity:  By its rapid absorption, sugar promotes excessive food intake.  The body changes sugar into fat at much greater rates than it does starches.

Cancer:  Many studies have shown that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer. Having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress, basically setting the stage for the disease.  Cancer cells feed on sugar and need it to survive as cancer is uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells.

Additional Problems and Effects:

  • reactive hypoglycemia, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis
  • food allergies
  • cataracts and nearsightedness
  • gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins
  • epileptic seizures
  • emphysema, varicose veins, hormonal imbalance, kidney disease

How much is too much?

We all need some sugar to feed our body cells. However we need to limit our consumption of real sugar to less than 10 grams a day (over and above that which we normally get from fruits & vegetables). As mentioned above, with the development and overload of processed foods, most people’s intake of sugar is far above what is should be.

It can be argued that sugar is only one of the culprits of many of the aforementioned health issues. However this is one that we can do something about. It isn’t about uncontrollable environmental poison, heredity, or lifestyle. We can all afford to eat less sugar. We need to do this and ensure we help our children do this in order to prevent diseases and conditions and lead healthier lives.


Get Girls In Sport – Fast and Female


As you may have guessed from reading our blog, we are extremely passionate about girls and women in sport. We are excited and inspired by Chandra Crawford, 2006 Gold Medal winner at the Winter Olympics in Cross Country Skiing. She shares our passion for sport and is making the dreams of girls and women across our country into reality. Founded in 2005, Crawford’s not-for-profit Fast and Female ( will hold its first Winnipeg event on October 24, 2014 in conjunction with the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross Championships held at The Forks October 24-26. ( According to Crawford, ”we believe in the power of sport to improve self-confidence in girls. We believe in keeping girls healthy, happy and active through their teens.”

The Fast and Female Winnipeg event is intended for girls ages 9 to 19 involved in sport. The Fast and Female mantras are “spread the love” and “dominate the world”, which speak to both making the sport environment positive for girls and empowering them to unleash their full confidence and courage in anything they pursue in life.

The event will feature an evening of amazing inspiration, empowering physical activity (cycling or dryland), a fun dance, and autograph sessions with mountain bike world champion Catharine Pendrel and others. Parents and coaches are invited to attend the seminars that will address effective nutrition and sport psychology for female athletes. The event is open to individuals involved in ALL sports, and is hoping to attract up to 50 participants.

By age 14 girls are two times more likely to drop out of sports due to a lack of access to sporting opportunities, social stigma, decreased quality of experience, cost, and lack of positive role models. Chandra hopes to inspire girls across the country to stay in sport, and communities to further encourage program development for this age group.

There are specific ways to keep girls in sport. We need to change the attitudes about physical fitness. Girls need to know what it “really means” to be physically active – levels of intensity, duration etc… Also, they need to know that you don’t need to be an “athlete” to be fit. They need to learn about sports and games and rules of different sports so that they have more confidence to try different ones. Finally, it has to be challenging and interesting (keep it new and exciting) and that it’s not about being perfect but it is about having fun.

A few great examples of this happening in Winnipeg are Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing (WWK) program for girls ages 11 – 14. The kickboxing club started this program knowing that there was a lack of sporting opportunities for girls and is having great success. Another sport is synchronized swimming – a sport which both of these FitComm Girls have loved. It has introductory programs for tweens and teens. It is a great sport that encourages fitness, creativity and fun. It is never too late to join. For more information on each of these please contact WWK’s Trisha Sammons at 204-930-6780 or Synchro Swim Manitoba at

No matter what sport or fitness regime girls choose, it needs to be supported by friends and family. Know that not only will it increase their physical fitness and make them more apt to live a healthy adult life, but it will also improve confidence and self-esteem. These are all positives that every girl and woman should have in their lives.

Media Links:

Global News: www.globalnews/video

My Toba: www.mytoba/sports