The Fall Fitness & Food Issue

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TYLER SMITH & KAT KASTNER Winners of The Amazing Race Canada






Amazing Winners Follow us


At the heart of it.

Jasper National Park

Photo by Jeff Bartlett

A heart of gold.


BRITISH COLUMBIA Glacier National Park


Banff National Park

Yoho National Park

Mt. Revelstoke National Park

Kootenay National Park Bugaboo Provincial Park

Hiking in the heart of the parks. From friendly trails to challenging overnight hikes, Golden is a hikers’ paradise. Surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and close to six national parks, Golden offers a wide range of scenic hiking opportunities. Ridge hikes at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are a breeze with the Golden Eagle Express gondola whisking you into the high alpine to enjoy stunning vistas and a range of trail options. In town, the 7km Rotary Trail system is a great, easy walk alongside the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers. Nearby Yoho National Park is home to one of Canada’s tallest and most magnificent waterfalls, Takakkaw Falls. The Iceline and Paget Lookout trails provide incredible hiking to spectacular viewpoints and natural landmarks, and powdered rock from glaciers creates the deep turquoise colour of Emerald Lake and Lake O’Hara. Known for its mountaineering history, deep snow and pristine wilderness, Glacier National Park provides inspiring adventures for every type of explorer. Discover some of Canada’s unique mountain history and tour self-guided interpretive trails, abandoned railway tracks, stone trestles and snow sheds. Though summer is a popular time to visit Golden, our favourite time to be on the hiking trails is fall. The summer crowds have left and there’s still enough warmth and daylight—not to mention autumn colours— to make the most of the outdoors. We hope to see you out on the trails.

Start planning:

Get the FREE Golden APP

Safety is your responsibility. Be prepared and always respect the environment. Find more hints and tips on travelling safely and responsibly at

CONTENTS Cover photography by Graham McKerrell

Feature 44 The Amazing Winners

The Amazing Race Canada winners Ty Smith and Kat Kastner, share their inspiring story

54 62

Inside This Issue FIRST IMPACT

14 Best Nutrition Apps for 2023 WORKOUT

18 The Complete Bodyweight Workout 22 Fitness for Two FITNESS

H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

26 32 34 36

58 Understanding Creatine and its Benefits 60 Mindfullness Meditation

Ready to Ruck Fit over 50 AI in Fitness Practising Wall Pilates


28 Eccentric Resistance Training



54 High Peaks and Big Thrills in the Colorado Rockies FOOD & NUTRITION


48 Leading the Charge from the Back 50 Pillar of Strength 52 Achieving His Dream

68 How to Beat Those Potato Chip Cravings 70 The Science of Nutrient Timing 72 Beyond the Bun RECIPES


62 Strengthen to Lengthen RUNNING

40 Introduciton to Plyometrics 56 Taking the Plunge with Some Heat M E N TA L H E A LT H

66 Managing Weight Through SAD

74 Spiced Blueberry Breakfast Cake 76 Creamy Sweet Potato Soup with Red Lentils & Hemp Hearts 78 Healthy Buddha Bowls 80 Sprouted Coronation Chickpeas 82 Roasted Sweat Potato Tacos 84 Paella with Sausage 86 Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars FINAL IMPACT

88 In Honour of Slow

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80 48

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M I SS ION is to empower individuals with a winning attitude and provide them with unparalleled opportunities to succeed.

We provide a path for athletes to learn, train, compete and promote continuous improvement.

FALL FITNESS & FOOD ISSUE 2023 VOLUME 33, ISSUE 1 A leader in the industry, IMPACT Magazine is committed to publishing content provided by the best experts in their fields for those who aspire to higher levels of health and fitness.


Gregory Forrest Dollco Print Solutions Group Media Classified Streetbox Media

CONTACT IMPACT Magazine Head Office 2007 2nd St. S.W. Calgary, AB T2S 1S4 403.228.0605 SUBSCRIPTIONS $45 for one year, or $70 for two years (includes GST) WEBSITE

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The opinions expressed in IMPACT Magazine are the writers’ and not necessarily those of the publication. IMPACT Magazine advises you to consult your physician if you do not follow a regular fitness program. All content is the property of IMPACT Productions Inc. and cannot be reproduced in any form without written consent of IMPACT Productions Inc. © 2023 Impact Productions Inc.

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or those of us in the frosty

Explore the expansive Harrison Cave by

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Yoga in Animal Flower Cave; Participants in the Run Barbados Marathon; Bushy Park racing circuit.

runners on a scenic journey through

north, the dream of an island

tram and marvel at its picturesque views of

historical landmarks and embodies the

paradise with white sandy

running streams, waterfalls, and magnificent

island’s festive spirit.

beaches and crystal-clear

stalactite and stalagmite formations.

aqua waters occupies our

With its year-round tropical climate

In 2023, the Run Barbados Marathon will celebrate its 40th anniversary, making it

thoughts during the colder months when

and welcoming locals, Barbados is the

outdoor activities are on hold. This year,

ideal playground for those seeking

a milestone event not to be missed.

escape the chill and book a trip to Barbados,

an active getaway that seamlessly

to various fitness levels, this marathon

an exceptional active travel destination

combines adventure, relaxation, and

is a celebration of the human spirit and

that beckons adventure enthusiasts with

the undeniable charm of the Caribbean.

the island’s commitment to health, unity,

its diverse range of activities set against

November is a perfect time to visit,

and unforgettable memories.

stunning natural beauty.

coinciding with

With multiple race categories catering

Barbados offers something for

the Barbados

everyone, whether you’re seeking soft

Open Water

adventure or a more exhilarating experience.

Festival from

Its warm waters invite water sports

November 8-12.

enthusiasts to surf, snorkel, scuba dive, or

Swimmers from

paddleboard to their heart’s content. The

around the world

island’s rugged terrain is a paradise for

gather at the

hikers and bikers, with lush trails leading to

magnificent Carlisle Bay, known for its

Barbados is more than a holiday

breathtaking viewpoints and hidden coves.

ideal open-water swimming conditions

destination; it’s a place where outdoor

Barbados also hosts numerous sporting

and historical significance.

pursuits, water sports, and cultural

Over the years, the festival has welcomed

experiences converge. Whether you seek

immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture

swimmers of all ages and abilities from

adventure or relaxation, Barbados promises

while participating in races and competitions.

more than 35 countries, fostering a sense

an invigorating getaway for body and spirit.

From the leading Caribbean racing circuit

of camaraderie among participants who

It’s time to visit Barbados:

at Bushy Park to the unique experience

share a passion for open water swimming.

of the Harrison Cave Eco-Adventure Tour,

Barbados also hosts the largest marathon in

Barbados guarantees an exciting time.

the Caribbean, Run Barbados, which takes

Sponsored Content

Barbados Tourist Board

events and festivals, allowing you to

Barbados is more than a holiday destination; it’s a place where outdoor pursuits, water sports, and cultural experiences converge.

CONTRIBUTORS DR. DARREN CANDOW Dr. Candow is professor and director of the Aging Muscle and Bone Health Laboratory in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, SK. He has published over 120 peer-refereed journal manuscripts and serves on the editorial review boards for the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Nutrients and Frontiers. DR.DARRENCANDOW


CHELSEA CLARKE Chelsea is a health and wellness writer with an obsession for sparking new perspectives on old ideas. Based in Toronto, ON she champions women’s health, separating fact from fiction on the latest wellness trends and digging deep to dissect societal norms. Her work has appeared in fitness and lifestyle print and digital publications across North America. CHELSEA _ _CLARKE

CHANA DAVIS Chana is a geneticist who loves helping others use science to make healthy choices. Based in Vancouver, B.C. she founded Fueled by Science in 2018 to share credible resources, fight misinformation, and teach others how to make healthy choices using science. Her interests span a wide range of health-related topics from nutrition to toxins, hormones, and vaccines. FUELEDBYSCIENCE

BLAISE KEMNA Blaise is a multimedia storyteller based in Calgary, AB. Words and sport, unique in their ability to unite people across the human experience, are his two passions. He completed his first marathon this spring; to his surprise—after several month’s debrief—he is open to a second! KEMNABLAISE

HELEN VANDERBURG Founder of The ACADEMY Powered by Heavens, Fitness, Cycle and Yoga Studio in Calgary, AB, Helen has over 40 years experience in the fitness industry. She has been recognized as Canada’s top fitness educator and 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient by CanFitPro, IDEA Program Director, Fitness Presenter of the Year and Global Top Industry Contributor. THEACADEMY_Y YC


MELANIE MCQUAID Melanie is 3x XTERRA World Champion, 2x ITU Elite Multisport Cross Triathlon World Champion, 6x IRONMAN 70.3 Champion and coach at from Victoria, B.C. At 50 she is the oldest professional IRONMAN podium finisher and will be competing in the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona in October. MELRADCOACHING



CONTRIBUTORS Dr. Darren Candow, Giselle Castro-Sloboda, Chelsea Clarke, Dr. Syl Corbett, Jean-Phillippe Cyr, Chana Davis, Caroline Doucet, Elizabeth Emery, Dana England, Pete Estabrooks, Zuzana Fajkusova, Joe Friel, Louise Hodgson-Jones, Russell James, Blaise Kemna, Carla Lalonde, Emily Meyer, Ty McKinney, Melanie McQuaid, Alex Patton, Nicki Rehn, Heidi Richter, Ocean Roberts, Dr. Norman Rosenthal, Scott Sailing, Hannah Sunderani, Marissa Tiel, Helen Vanderburg, Nisha Vora, Hana Weinwurm, Jessica Woollard. PHOTOGRAPHY Saige Carlson, Matt Cecill, CTV, Dominique Lafond Cyr, Mauricio Lozano del Valle, Klaudier Delmer, Caroline Doucet, Elizabeth Emery, Russell James, GORUCK, Trudie Lee, Nikki Lefler, Graham McKerrell, Stephanie Michalicka, Nicki Rehn, Drew Reynolds, Heidi Richter, Hannah Sunderani, Nisha Vora.

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Winners of The Amazing Race Canada, Tyler Smith and Kat Kastner; publisher, Elaine Kupser; photographer, Graham McKerrell.


very autumn, as the leaves change and the air turns crisp, we at IMPACT Magazine celebrate a momentous occasion—our anniversary. And this 2023 edition marks our 33rd year. How swiftly time has flown… Reflecting on the journey since the inception of IMPACT in the fall of 1991, I am filled with immense pride for all that we’ve accomplished. More profoundly, it’s the lives we’ve touched, the stories we’ve shared, the clients we’ve supported, and the vibrant community we’ve nurtured in the realms of fitness, running, sport performance, nutrition and health. Naturally, our achievements owe much to the brilliance, dedication, and loyalty of our talented team of professionals. I am filled with gratitude for the countless remarkable individuals I might not have encountered otherwise. The relationships forged during this journey are enduring, a tapestry woven with the threads of those who’ve contributed through business development, writing, photography, design, and the sharing of their personal narratives. This moment is a reminder to extend my thanks once more to our cherished readers and esteemed advertising partners—your love for magazines fuels our passion. I also value my involvement in another industry—the vibrant world of magazine publishing. Witnessing the tireless efforts of

my publishing industry colleagues, continually elevating content, raising awareness, and advocating for magazines, fills me with awe. There’s an unparalleled tactile pleasure to be had with your favourite magazine, something no amount of screen time can replicate. In this issue, I had the great pleasure of meeting our cover athletes, Tyler Smith and Kat Kastner, the triumphant victors of The Amazing Race Canada (Season 9), during our cover shoot with talented photographer, Graham McKerrell. Ty and Kat (Team TyKat), an inspiring and down-to-earth couple, faced their personal challenges head-on during the competition, capturing the hearts of Canadians. Their story is one of grit, perseverance, and kindness, elegantly written by guest editor, Louise Hodgson-Jones, and it’s an honour to showcase them in this edition. As we transition into the fall and return to our fitness routines, I’m confident that within these pages, you’ll find ample inspiration and motivation. Our experts’ advice and empowering stories are crafted to invigorate you. Our goal remains steadfast—to help you live your healthiest and most fulfilling lives. So, dive in and enjoy the content, and we hope you will find the fuel for your journey towards a better, healthier you. Elaine Kupser, Publisher & Editor-In-Chief

DIGITAL EDITION Didn’t get your hands on a favourite edition of IMPACT? Or maybe your best friend secretly borrowed it from you? No worries. Subscribe to our FREE newsletter and digital edition online at

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IMPACT MAGAZINE I Fall Fitness & Food Issue 2023 I 13


Best Nutrition Apps of 2023 Live your healthiest life with these top nutrition apps


o you feel overwhelmed by all the contrasting information on nutrition? IMPACT has complied ten of the best nutrition apps that may help users with information and advice on how to personalize their goals.

CALORIE COUNTER BY CRONOMETER This is a powerful nutrition app that goes beyond calorie tracking. It focuses on precise micronutrient monitoring, ensuring you get a well-rounded diet. With an extensive food database and the ability to log meals and recipes, it offers detailed insights into your nutritional intake. Ideal for health enthusiasts and those with specific dietary needs. Free, with in-app purchases APPLE | ANDROID

HAPPYCOW Less about nutrition itself and more about helping users find nutrition, healthy vegetarian and vegan restaurants, cafés, and grocery stores in 180+ countries around the world, this is the perfect app for those looking to keep on top of their diets even while enjoying a night out. As an added bonus, HappyCow also helps users find cruelty-free fashion and beauty boutiques when travelling. - $4.99 APPLE | ANDROID

LIFESUM A versatile nutrition app designed to help users achieve their wellness goals, it offers personalized meal plans, calorie tracking and exercise logging, making it easier to maintain a balanced lifestyle. With a variety of diet options and access to a wealth of healthy recipes, Lifesum caters to individual dietary preferences and needs. - Free, premium subscription available APPLE | ANDROID

LOSE IT! This is an app that has quickly become a favourite of those in the fitness industry and those looking to improve their nutrition. Lose It! offers a user-friendly interface with features like calorie tracking, meal planning, and exercise logging. The app sets personalized weight-loss targets and provides valuable insights into progress. - Free, premium subscription available APPLE | ANDROID

MEALIME A convenient meal-planning app designed to simplify your cooking routine aiming to make home cooking more accessible, enjoyable, and healthier. It offers personalized meal plans with easy-to-follow recipes tailored to your dietary preferences and restrictions. With a built-in grocery list feature, you can streamline your shopping trips and reduce food waste. Free, premium subscription available APPLE | ANDROID

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MY FITNESS PAL With an extensive food database and barcode scanner, this app simplifies calorie tracking and meal logging. The app offers personalized fitness plans, tracks exercise, and sets targets for weight management. Its user-friendly interface and community support make it a favourite choice for those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. - Free, premium subscription available APPLE | ANDROID

MYPLATE MyPlate by Livestrong is a holistic health and nutrition app that supports users in their wellness journey. It features intuitive calorie tracking, meal planning, and exercise logging tools so you can set your fitness goals. The app also offers informative articles and a vast recipe collection, ensuring balanced nutrition and a healthier lifestyle. Free, with in-app purchases APPLE | ANDROID

NOOM Noom is a popular innovative wellness app that focuses on a behavioural approach to weight management and improved health. It combines personalized coaching with goal tracking and offers a supportive community. Noom helps users make sustainable lifestyle changes by promoting healthier habits and providing tools for calorie tracking, exercise monitoring, and meal planning. - Free trial, subscription service APPLE | ANDROID

YAZIO Yazio is a versatile nutrition and health app that offers personalized meal planning, calorie tracking, and exercise logging to help users reach their fitness goals. With various diet plans, food tracking, and a user-friendly interface, Yazio caters to individual dietary preferences and needs whether you’re striving to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Free, with in-app purchases APPLE | ANDROID

YUKA This popular app empowers users to make healthier food choices effortlessly. With its barcode scanner, it provides instant access to detailed nutritional information and ingredient analysis for a wide range of products. Yuka assigns products a simple-to-understand rating, helping users identify the healthiest options. - Free, with in-app purchases APPLE | ANDROID


Drop in or register for a class today at


There’s no future in personal training!” In the eighties, unlike now, personal trainers were solely a luxury for celebrities and movie stars. People used to say to me, “You’re a personal what?” I went to my clients’ homes and fitness clubs. I worked seven days a week. Whenever a client wanted to see me, I went. I could not get enough of personal training. For those who are consistent, the payoff for better fitness is significant. From the gym and into the world, some clients have left abusive relationships, quit jobs, gone back to school, divorced, gotten married or remarried, and the list goes on. Facilitating their self-discovery and witnessing how fitness expresses itself in the lives of our clients is still a high for me thirty-four years later. Embarking upon my career path has brought meaning and purpose into my life unlike anything I’ve ever pursued!

Sandra Bueckert One On One Personal Fitness 403.244.9059 | Celebrating 34 Years!

PHOTO: Sandra Bueckert at Elbow Falls, AB

OIRon MEoM so ming —c

IMPACT MAGAZINE I Fall Fitness & Food Issue 2023 I 15

Vivo for Healthier Generations

Now Fully Open

After Massive Facility Expansion Embrace an experience of wellness like no other Calgarians now have better access to inclusive and accessible spaces and

age, ability or background,” says Cynthia Watson, Chief Evolution Officer, Vivo.

This expansion was made possible by the generous donations from the

programs for healthy living thanks to the

“This incredible community asset just

generosity of donors of Vivo for Healthier

wouldn’t have been possible without the

of Alberta, the City of Calgary,

Generations, a charity on a mission to

unwavering support of our community.

along with The Calgary Foundation and

ignite healthier generations.

We began fundraising for this project

numerous private community donations.

On Friday,

Government of Canada, the Province

October 6, 2023,

One of the jewels of the expansion is the one-of-a-kind

Vivo officially

indoor park with trees, rolling green hills, skylights to

welcomed Calgarians to explore the 135,000

showcase the beautiful prairie sky and an Outrace, a jungle gym for adults to practice functional, accessible fitness.

square feet of

These incredible donations are recognized on the Donor Wall featured inside the east entrance at the foot of the

LEED Gold Certified spaces that were

during the first global pandemic.

Caldwell Family Social Stair, which is

designed by community, for community

Despite the challenges, our community

an area intended to foster connection

to empower Calgarians to move and

saw the opportunity to do good and

and community.

connect more.

create a healthier future. They stepped

“Vivo creates opportunities for

Vivo’s expansion offers a more

up. As we celebrate this milestone,

inclusive, accessible and sustainable

individuals to unite in stronger physical,

we would like to express our heartfelt

community where all generations can

social and emotional health, regardless of

gratitude to the community.”

belong, learn and grow. “Every detail

Clockwise from main photo: The Vivo expansion’s incredible new indoor park; Six-lanes of expanded aquatic space; A sauna to promote wellness beyond swimming; Technogym equipment that offers instructions in 13 languages.

has been intentionally designed in collaboration with accessibility consultants and with the community in mind,” says Courtney Cathcart, Chair of the Board, Vivo. “The facility offers a blend of high energy spaces while also offering areas for quiet reflection to ensure a balanced experience throughout. From all of us at Vivo, we look forward to celebrating everything that we’ve been working the future.” From outdoor gathering spaces such as the Calgary Foundation Community

a unique and safe space for social

through the state-of-the-art cycle studio

connection and whole health.

equipped with disco balls and accessible

The expanded fitness centre offers

bikes, a yoga and meditation studio,

Hug to an expanded aquatic facility with

inclusive features such as all gender

a HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training

a six-lane, fully wheelchair accessible

change rooms and Technogym

Studio along with group fitness classes,

25 metre pool and an indoor lakeside

equipment that offers instructions for

personal training sessions and more.

experience for those who like to enjoy

proper use in 13 languages. Calgarians

the water from afar, Vivo has created

can enjoy a boutique fitness experience

Vivo cannot wait to welcome you back!

Sponsored Content

towards in the coming week and into



BODYWEIGHT W O R K O U T A timeless and intelligent exercise method to strengthen, tone and shape your body, without the need of equipment. BY CARLA LALONDE MAURICIO LOZANO DEL VALLE One of IMPACT Magazine’s Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors 2023 at Regymen Fitness in Calgary, AB CMLALONDE



odyweight training continues to be one of the most practical and enjoyable ways to exercise. Why? You can be consistent and drive results by being active at any time of the day and absolutely anywhere you want! Bodyweight workouts primarily focus on the improvement of our functional fitness allowing our bodies to move more efficiently, while reducing the risk of injuries. This purposeful type of training is also effective for all ages, body types and fitness levels, as each exercise can be easily modified. You can always increase or decrease your intensity and impact level while still feeling a solid burn in your muscles! Here is a perfect bodyweight workout that you can keep in your back pocket and pull out whenever and wherever you want! Complete this entire sequence once, take a short break, then master the moves for another three rounds (four rounds total)

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12 reps, 6 per leg Lunges are incredible to strengthen and shape the legs. Finish each lunge with a strong and controlled knee lift to challenge your balance and stability. Feel how the upper-and lower-body muscles are fully activated in this swift sequence of movements.

Step 1: Stand tall with your feet under your hips. Roll your shoulder back and away from your ears for a strong set position. Step 2: Place your hands on your hips and brace your core as you step your right foot back into a double-pulse lunge. Step 3: In the lunge, try to achieve a 90-degree angle in the front and back knee. Step 4: Lift and thread the right foot forward, driving the right knee up to the hip line while reaching your arms above your head. Step 5: Take the right foot back down to the ground and stand tall in the set position. Repeat with left leg. Harder: Lift onto the ball of your stabilizing foot while performing the knee lift. Easier: Take out the knee lift and/or reduce the range of your lunge.



12 reps Armadillo jumping jacks will have your heart pumping while you power through those explosive, fast twitch muscles in your glutes and quads.

Step 1: Stand tall with your feet set under your hips. Step 2: Squat down low and extend your hands down to the floor. Step 3: Keep your chest up, core braced and your back flat and engaged. Step 4: Clench your fists and jump up from the squat while driving your arms above your head into a jumping jack. Move continuously. Harder: Jump into an Air Jack ( jump higher and hang in the air for a longer period of time). Easier: Take out the jump and stand up tall after the squat. •



6-10 reps Good ol’ push-ups are a must if you want to efficiently train your upper body, whether you do them on your knees or your toes! Build your long, lateral and medial triceps muscles in the back of your arms in the triceps pulse push-up, and build the pectoralis major muscle in your chest and also your biceps muscles in the more traditional chest pulse push-ups. Step 1: Come down to a plank position on your hands and toes. Step 2: Lock your core and lengthen through your spine and legs so that your butt isn’t up in the air. Step 3: Take your arms out to the sides slightly wider than shoulder-width. Step 4: Press your hands firmly into the floor and squeeze your butt. Step 5: Triple pulse down and up in the chest push-ups with your chest targeting the elbow line. Step 6: While maintaining your plank position, walk your arms in narrow and under your shoulders. Step 7: Complete a triple-pulse triceps push-up, guiding your elbows back and brushing your inner arms along your ribs (armpits tight). Step 8: Walk the arms back out to your chest push-up position and repeat the sequence. Harder: Jump the arms wide and narrow as you transition from the chest push-up to the triceps push-up. Easier: Complete the push-ups on your knees.



6-10 reps This dynamic flexion movement challenges the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis, while using the obliques to stabilize the body. Embrace that burn in your upper and lower abdominals. Step 1: Roll over onto your back and lay on the ground. Step 2: Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Step 3: Place your hands on your temples and pull your elbows in narrow. Step 4: Lift up your upper and lower body, bringing your knees in towards the hip line while lifting your shoulder towards your knees (think about bringing your ribs into your hips). Step 5: Keeping your head and shoulders off the ground, dynamically shoot your arms and legs out long and wide into a star (your arms and legs should be hovering above the ground). Step 6: While maintaining the contraction in your abs, bring the arms and legs back into your crunch and repeat! Harder: Hold the crunch and extension for a longer period of time Easier: Keep the knees bent. Keep the head and shoulders on the floor.

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Four creative exercises to do with a partner to increase accountability and full-body strength BY SCOTT SALLING

SAIGE CARLSON One of IMPACT Magazine’s Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers 2018, 2020, 2022; founder of F.I.T. Academy in Port Coquitlam, B.C PARTNER TRAINER KATARINA HYNDMAN FITACADEMYCANADA




hey say if you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together. People tend to procrastinate less and work harder when they have someone they trust hold them accountable. Research has proven that your chances of achieving your goal is boosted by 95 per cent when you have an accountability partner. An inspiring accountability partner can keep you motivated when you lose sight of your goal, help you move past setbacks and cheer you on when you make strides towards your goal. So, link up with your fitness bestie, your favourite coworker, spouse or teammate and help each other succeed and accomplish your personal, professional and health and fitness goals.



15 reps / 3 sets You and your partner will be getting a workout with this one! Build your grip, core, and triceps while performing the towel triceps extension. Utilizing quality exercise variations can help with breaking through strength plateaus and lead you towards the results you and your partner are looking for. • Roll up a small towel and have your partner lay on their back. The individual performing the exercise will have their hands placed shoulder-width apart. The other person will place one hand on the towel to create the appropriate tension needed. The partner lying down will perform a triceps extension. • The person applying the tension on the towel wants to ensure that their partner is getting a quality, fluid and full range of motion. Communication is key. • Perform 15 reps, then switch positions. Pro Tip: Communicate with each other on how much tension feels right. We want it to be challenging, but not so much so that we compromise our joints. Safety first.



15 reps / 3 sets This bicep curl variation does more than just your train your biceps. This exercise will work your core and give your partner a little bit of a sweat. Stay strong with your grip, work together, and enjoy this challenging exercise. • One partner will take a half-kneel position slightly off-centred, while the other stands tall in a strong, slightly bent knee position. While performing the biceps curl your hands will be placed hip- or shoulder-width apart, while the individual applying the tension will have the same single hand position in the middle of the towel as previously. • The person standing should engage their core and begin to perform a biceps curl. Their training partner should apply the appropriate amount of tension so that the range of motion is challenging, yet fluid. • Perform 15 reps then switch positions. •

IMPACT MAGAZINE I Fall Fitness & Food Issue 2023 I 23



15 reps / 3 sets A strong core is royalty in any fitness program. Work with your training bestie on the partner-assisted double-leg swing and build a strong core that is extremely beneficial for improving your run game, your specific sport as well as building full-body strength. • Have one partner lay on their back, placing their hands on the heels of the person standing, then raise both legs up and into the training partner’s hands. • The training partner will push the feet downward in a safe and controlled manner and with just enough force so that your partner’s feet do not touch the ground. • The individual performing the double-leg swing will raise their feet back up to the training partner’s hands and repeat for 15 reps. Pro Tip: The person/trainer who is standing should confirm that the partner on the ground is ready for the force that will be applied. Keep the lines of communication open and work as a team.



1 min. set for advanced; 45 sec. for intermediate; 30 sec. for beginners As we know, the push-up and plank are great full-body strength training exercises. So, why not do both? Try this push-up and plank sequence to really challenge one another. • Have one partner in the high-plank push-up position (from knees for a modification) with hands either underneath the shoulders or slightly outside of the shoulder joint. • The other partner will be in a low-plank position (bear-crawl position is an option if you have a shoulder impingement) and holding the plank until the partner has completed as many push-ups as possible. • Keep track of your reps and try and beat your score each time through. Pro Tip: The hand position for the push-ups is important for the integrity of the exercise. Simple cues we use are " hands tight elbows tight" for the hands under the shoulder position. If you opt for the hands outside the shoulder position, your upper arm should be at a 45-degree angle.

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Ready to Ruck

Walking under load carries health and fitness benefits BY MARISSA TIEL GORUCK Award-winning adventure photojournalist and writer based in Vancouver, B.C. MARISSATIEL


n a bluebird day last fall, a dozen people met in a Regina park. Their goal for the day: to carry heavy objects. For six hours they traded loads: logs for sandbags; weighted backpacks for Norseinspired hammers, and travelled between parks, stopping only to perform more bodyweight plyometrics. The group was doing their own elevated rucking challenge, dreamt up by coach Riley Nadoroznick of Conviction Fitness. He was introduced to rucking nearly 10 years ago while looking for better ways to train for the Spartan Race World Championships. “Rucking is a really good way to train the aerobic system, train endurance without that beat down of running,” he says. On race day, he felt prepared; fresh. These days, Nadoroznick is training others in the community, and one of his favourite activities is rucking. From carrying a heavy book bag between classes to loading up a backpack for a night in the backcountry, it’s likely you’ve already tried rucking. Its definition is to move with a weighted backpack. Simply put, rucking is walking under load, and it’s considered by some of fitness’ leading thinkers to be fantastic for both fitness and health. When it comes to building an aerobic base, there’s no comparison to rucking.

“It’s a stimulus that allows you to get a ton of that zone 2 work (60-70 per cent of maximum heart rate) in that’s interesting, that challenges your tissues in different ways,” says Kelly Starrett, author of the Supple Leopard, and founder of The Ready State. Rucking works the aerobic system, while also taxing the musculoskeletal system, which means that not only will it get your heart pumping, but you will also see benefits more commonly associated with lifting weights, without stepping foot in the gym. Rucking has its roots in the military. For centuries, soldiers have been carrying heavy loads on their way to, and even in battle. Today, weighted marches remain part of their training. But rucking has surpassed its military origins, piquing the interests of the likes of Starrett, Peter Attia, Michael Easter, even Whole30 founder Melissa Urban. And many of them discovered the activity through GORUCK, a company that makes specialized rucking gear. Last year, during the Sandlot fitness festival, GORUCK’s founder, Jason McCarthy, was joined by Starrett, Urban, army veteran Richard Rice, and author Easter, during a rucking deep-dive panel. “The biggest mistake I see is people not doing it,” McCarthy said of rucking. “This is a great way for anybody on planet earth to be more active and to get stronger and feel better.”

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Science supports his thinking. In a 2019 study, a group of 15 men took part in a 10week rucking program. According to the study authors, at the end of the program, participants all experienced better physical performance. But what about injuries? It turns out that rucking is easier on our joints than running. Easter describes a study out of the University of Pittsburgh, where researchers tracked 451 soldiers for a year. Out of their 28 injuries, 18 were from running, seven from weightlifting and just three from rucking.

HOW TO START RUCKING Get geared up You don’t need any fancy gear to start rucking. A solid pair of shoes (blisters can derail the best-laid training plans) and a backpack are all you need to get started. Wrap up any weights (textbooks, dumbbells, kettlebells) in a padded material like a towel or a blanket. If you want to invest in ruckingspecific gear, Rucking Canada and GORUCK have a variety of options.

Start low

Don’t go crazy with weight on your first rucks. Nadoroznick says you want the weight to feel light when you first put the pack on. Start with 10 - 20 lbs for your first ruck.

Find your tribe

Rucking works your mind as much as it does your body. It’s a game of mental toughness. Find others to go with. There are clubs all over the country that offer group ruck meetups, just like Conviction Fitness in Regina.

Rucking works the aerobic system with benefits similar to lifting weights.

And when we think about building fitness for life: “There’s nothing more useful than being able to handle a load for multiple hours,” says Starrett. The pros are also using rucking in their training. For CrossFit Games athlete Emily Rolfe, rucking increases the load of her workouts, making those movements easier when she isn’t wearing her rucksack, or a weighted vest. Rolfe runs and does movements like rope-climbs, muscle-ups and pull-ups wearing a weighted pack. She notes that some workouts at competitions require athletes to perform skills with weight on them, such as a pack, a vest, a sandbag, so training this ability becomes important. “Like anything, if you make something harder, when you try the easier version,

you can do it better,” she says. “Even if I practice a movement with a ruck bag and it doesn’t show up [in competition] it still gets me stronger and anything bodyweight afterwards is much easier.” Take the five-kilometre cross-country run at this year’s CrossFit Games. Rolfe came in first at a scorching 17:48.62, more than a full minute faster than second place, as well as half the men’s field. That’s not to say everyone should be running with weight on their backs. Most are better off walking under load, even before they run, says Starrett. This is because running is a difficult movement to master. “What we tell people oftentimes is you need to go run to get fit,” says Starrett in a video clip from The Ready State, “and we’re

like hang on. Why don’t you just walk around your neighbourhood and then let’s get a little load on you before we talk about introducing this very complex running skill.” Rucking is also a social activity. Nadoroznick’s group in Regina is able to stay together during rucks and still get in solid workouts because they are carrying different weights. It will also make you tougher. Nadoroznick says some of the group’s favourite times to ruck is when the weather isn’t perfect, and the world hasn’t fully woken up. If there’s one thing in common between all ruckers, it’s the feeling of relief when you finally take that weight off. “Everything just feels awesome,” says Nadoroznick. “You’re calm. You know you’ve worked hard. Take the weight off and you just feel like you’re flying.”

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Eccentric Resistance Training

How the eccentric action of strength training can benefit daily activities BY HELEN VANDERBURG MAURICIO LOZANO DEL VALLE Co-owner of The ACADEMY powered by Heavens in Calgary, AB, internationally renowned fitness educator, instructor, and trainer of trainers. THEACADEMY_Y YC



esistance training has gained tremendous popularity among fitness enthusiasts. The benefits of strength training are highly researched and indicate the importance for a wide range of goals and needs from increased function for daily life to sport performance, rehabilitation, and weight loss. Resistance training, also known as strength training or weight training, is a method of training against an external force to gain strength, power, and muscle size. There is a wide variety of methods and philosophies of training based on goals and outcomes, but new research is shedding light on the benefits of eccentric resistance training. To understand these benefits, let’s begin with a brief review of muscle physiology. Muscle contractions are grouped into two categories, isometric or isotonic. Isometric contraction of a muscle generates tension without changing length. An example is holding a dumbbell halfway up in a biceps curl, like carrying your groceries! The muscles generate sufficient force to prevent the object from being dropped. Isotonic contractions can be eccentric, the lengthening of the muscle under tension, or concentric, the muscle shortening under tension. As we move, muscles provide both positive and negative external work. Positive work is a result of concentric muscle action, muscle tension is sufficient to overcome the load, and the muscle shortens as it contracts. This force occurs when the force generated by the muscle exceeds the load opposing the contraction. Negative work is when the muscle acts to decelerate the joint or otherwise control the repositioning of the load and protects the joints structure from damage. This is eccentric action. For example, the lifting phase in a biceps curl is the concentric action, while lowering is the eccentric action. In natural movement or locomotion, the muscle contractions are multi-faceted as they can provide changes in length and tension in a time-varying manner. Strength training involves both eccentric and concentric contractions to move the resistance.

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An emphasis on the eccentric-muscle phase of the movement in resistance training is being researched and shows positive results in speeding recovery and rehabilitation of weak or injured tendons. According to the research, the energy cost of eccentric training is very low, while the magnitude of the force produced is unusually high. Therefore, muscles respond to eccentric training with meaningful changes in strength, size and power. Muscles are stronger eccentrically than concentrically, which means you can lower a load with greater strength than lift a load. For example, doing a pull-up is a challenging exercise; however, it is easier to lower from the top of the pull-up than it is for the pulling phase. By practising the lowering you will gain strength to accomplish the pull-up. A simple way to bring eccentric training into your resistancetraining workout is to spend two to three times longer on the eccentric phase than the concentric phase of the exercise. For example, you may lift the weight concentrically for a tempo of one to two seconds and lower the weight, eccentrically for a tempo of three to six seconds. This increases the time the muscle is in a state of contraction—referred to as time under tension when training. The movements of daily life require eccentric control to decelerate the momentum of the body’s movement. Training eccentrically will give you more strength for everyday activities such as walking downstairs or downhill, or in sports such as pickleball and tennis where it requires you to stop and start frequently with changes of direction. However, the research concludes that eccentric and concentric action are both very effective and important for optimal development of muscle strength and size, and resistance training programs should include concentric, eccentric, and isometric training. Ideally you should vary your strength-training program periodically for the best results.

Renowned fitness expert, Helen Vanderburg.

SAMPLE TOTAL BODY ECCENTRIC TRAINING WORKOUT Warm up for five minutes with dynamic mobility exercises. Choose a resistance load that will create enough overload and fatigue in the repetition range recommended.








Front Barbell Squat



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Cable Pulldown



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Barbell Deadlift



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Dumbbell Chest Press



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Dumbbell Rear Lunge



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Standing Dumbbell Biceps Curl



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Triceps Dip



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

Single Dumbbell Full Ab Curl



4 sec.

1-2 sec.

60 sec. between sets

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Fast After 50 Masters athletes should consider adding high-intensity training to help them reach their potential BY JOE FRIEL Endurance coach and author of numerous training books including the Training Bible series, Your Best Triathlon and Fast After 50, from Sedona, AZ. TRAININGPEAKS




or athletes who have been in their sports for a long time, as in several decades, performance declines as they move north of 50 years of age. The research tells us that there are two reasons for this. One is that the aerobic capacity (VO2max) declines with age. This appears to be inevitable. The other is that most older athletes gravitate to long, slow distance (L.S.D.) training. This is not inevitable and fully within one’s control. In those 50+ athletes who continue to do High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.), aerobic capacity drops slowly, at a rate of about 0.5 per cent per year, until the mid-70s when it accelerates. Athletes training primarily with L.S.D. see a decline of about 1-5 per cent per year.

AEROBIC CAPACITY AS A PREDICTOR Something else we know from the research on aging is that the best predictor of endurance performance in older athletes is their aerobic capacity. The other two physiological determiners of how fast we are, lactate threshold and economy, don’t decline as much with aging as does VO2max.

HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING So, what does all of this tell us about what we should do as we age up? It’s clear: we need to focus on aerobic capacity in our training. That means H.I.I.T.—the stuff that is uncomfortable to do. It hurts. And that’s the reason so many shy away from it later in life. We seek more comfort and less suffering. The other common reason for avoiding it is that H.I.I.T.—is a risky workout. It’s likely to result in injuries and older athletes are more prone to injury than are young athletes. Runners are especially susceptible to injury, but then cyclists, swimmers, Nordic skiers and others can also experience breakdowns.

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DOSE AND DENSITY How can we reap the benefits of H.I.I.T. while avoiding the pitfalls of injury? The answer comes down to two training concepts called dose and density. Dose has to do with how hard a workout is. Density refers to how closely spaced the high-dose workouts are. You can make a H.I.I.T. session high-dose by doing something such as 5 x 4 minutes at zone 5 with 2-minute recoveries. Or you can make the H.I.I.T. workout low-dose by doing 5 x 30 seconds at zone 5 with 1-minute recoveries. When it comes to density you can do the H.I.I.T. workout twice a week, as many young athletes do, or once every nine days as I suggest in my book, Fast Over 50. The first is high-density; the latter is low-density. You have complete control over both dose and density. An overuse injury means that you got one or both of them wrong. So, start conservatively. Don’t rush it. You didn’t lose your aerobic capacity overnight and, by the same token, it won’t reappear by tomorrow just because you do one or even a couple of H.I.I.T. workouts. It’s going to take time. As in months. If there’s one thing older athletes tend to be good at, it’s patience.

THE PLAN Take your time. Start with a very low-dose workout such as just a few 30-second intervals with plenty of recovery between them as suggested above. Do this no more than once a week. Once every nine days may be better. You decide but be cautious to avoid injuries. Then gradually, and over the course of a few weeks, increase the durations of the five H.I.I.T. intervals to 45 seconds at zone 5 with 1-minute recoveries. A few weeks later bump it up to one minute on with one minute off, five times and so on. It may take months and months to get there but that’s okay. The longer it’s been since you last did such a workout, the longer you should take in getting back into it. In the example above, zone 5 refers to your lactate—or anaerobic —threshold. If you are using perceived exertion to gauge intensity, zone 5 would be about an eight or nine on a one (low) to 10 (high) scale. If using the swim or run pace system (as described in the Triathlete’s Training Bible) it’s zone 5b. For a power metre it’s Coggan’s zone 5. If you prefer to use heart rate it would also be by zone 5b. But understand that heart rate is the least effective way to do this workout as the heart responds too slowly to gauge intensity for such short intervals.

The best predictor of endurance performance in older athletes is their aerobic capacity. What will happen over time is that your aerobic capacity will gradually increase meaning that your aging body will become more effective and efficient. It will be able to deliver and use more oxygen to create energy in the working muscles. And that means you’ll race faster. Reprinted with permission by TrainingPeaks and Joe Friel –

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AI in Fitness

Here's how artificial intelligence could affect the way you work out in the future BY GISELLE CASTRO-SLOBODA Fitness & nutrition writer with online articles in CNET, Shape and Women’s Health, who enjoys reviewing the latest fitness gadgets and testing out activewear and sneakers, from New York, NY GCASTRO1116


nce upon a time, artificial intelligence was restricted to the realm of science fiction. Now it's a part of our reality and is making waves in the fitness industry. AI technology isn't particularly new to fitness. It's used in smartwatches, smart mirrors, e.g. Lululemon Studio Mirror, smart home gyms, e.g. Tempo Studio and Peloton systems. Apple is expanding its AI capabilities via Apple Watch software, allowing you to get nutrition, sleep, or workout tips. Fitness equipment companies have generated software to help you detect your reps, your speed, the weight you're lifting and even your form in some cases. With rapid advancements in automated technology, the question is whether AI could eventually replace personal trainers and group fitness programs.

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CUSTOMIZATION OF AI As someone who tests fitness equipment for a living, I have observed how AI has evolved. Fitness apps are adapting AI technology to create a more customized experience, making it easier for you to work out anywhere and giving you a personalized-training feel. In some cases, an app or subscription platform may be more affordable than joining a gym or hiring an in-person trainer. I've experimented with ChatGPT in fitness training and was surprised at how easily it generated a three-day workout program for beginners, separating it into full body, upper body, cardio, and rest days. The warm-up was mainly light cardio-based (jumping jacks) and didn't include mobility or stretching to start or end the workouts, and it lacked rest time between sets, which is important.

For the most part, ChatGPT appears to know its limits. When I asked it to create a prenatal workout program, it responded: "Before beginning any prenatal workout program, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that it's safe for you and your baby."

PROS OF AI "The best benefit of AI in fitness is the ability to adjust training programs daily to account for external factors: stress, strain, sleep, recovery and readiness level," said Amanda Capritto, a leading certified personal trainer on Garage Gyms expert panel. Rishi Mandal, co-founder and CEO of Future, a personal training app, says one of AI's greatest tools is data collection. "AI is helping with rep counting, form correction and, in particular, the use of biometrics to track if you're achieving a lower heart rate doing the same workout.” This is what makes AI stand out from a regular fitness app you download on your phone. "Apps have historically taken more of a walled garden versus open-source approach, which could be limiting in a world where data is key to unlocking the power of AI," explains Caliber app CEO and co-founder Jared Cluff. He predicts AI software will get better over time and become a reliable way for people to create a workout program on their own."AI is also starting to have more available options for evaluating and monitoring form," says Capritto. For example, AI products like Perch use 3D cameras you can attach to a squat rack to measure the velocity of a barbell when it's in use. "They then use this information to provide feedback on your form," she says. Other platforms, such as the app Juggernaut AI, can function as a powerlifting coach and create a program to improve your lifts. These programs are ideal if you want the personal trainer experience without having to hire one. "For most people the value of a trainer extends well beyond the tactical role they play and is much more about the motivational role they play, which won't be commoditized by AI anytime soon," says Cluff. In fact, AI can serve as a beneficial tool for trainers to better assist their clients. "Constructing training programs and giving feedback with more individualized detail is at the forefront of what AI can do for trainers, instructors and coaches,” says Capritto. Mandal says the Future app uses AI on the back end to improve the ideas and insights coaches have at their fingertips. "When a client says they're looking for exercises that can be done in their hotel room our coaches can search what regimens we have previously given to other clients looking for in-room workouts, and then coaches can weave exercise they like into the broader workouts they're creating."

CONS OF AI As with any new technology, there are some downsides. "As much as AI can learn about someone based on their inputs, it can't replace the human touch or understand anything about a person other than their physical body and performance," says Capritto. Clients can discuss stress and energy levels, and any work / home problems which can help the trainer modify a workout if necessary. Good trainers evaluate injury issues and rehab to determine whether clients are ready to take on new challenges or if they should take things easy.

FUTURE OF AI Mandal predicts AI will drastically change what fitness equipment looks like, for example, we might see multimodal workout machines that allow us to do new exercises in new ways. He also believes AI will help people understand their personal data, such as learning how their heart rate changes during various activities. Cluff believes AI plays a big role in fitness but isn't convinced that it will replace your personal trainer.

The best benefit of AI in fitness is the ability to adjust training programs daily to account for external factors "Research has shown that the single most effective way to influence adult behavioural change is through having a human accountability partner," he says. This includes having a gym buddy, attending a group fitness class, or using a personal trainer. Don't be surprised if you also see various fitness apps experimenting with AI. "I predict a number of applications of AI in fitness will be rushed to market and will ultimately fall flat with consumers," warns Cluff. He says that if fitness apps are going to use AI, they'll need to have a deep understanding of the needs of the user to provide them with something valuable. Remember that artificial technology is helpful, but it can also make mistakes, so it's important to approach it with caution. Whenever you're in doubt, ask an expert or consult with a professional in the field before following new advice. This article is edited for length and reprinted with permission by CNET and Giselle Castro-Sloboda.

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Practising Wall Pilates Combine a wall and Pilates to create an effective and dynamic total-body workout

BY HANA WEINWURM B.HKIN KLAUDIA DELMER LOCATION MARATHOPOLI, GREECE One of IMPACT Magazine’s Canada’s Top Trainers and Instructors, 2020, 2021 and committed fitness trainer, yoga and Pilates instructor, from Vancouver, B.C. HANA _WEINWURM




efine and enhance your movement practise this fall season. All you need is a wall and these four specific wall Pilates poses to create an efficient total-body experience that is both challenging and easy to follow. This wall Pilates routine works major and minor muscles throughout the body, from the arms and legs to the core. Begin with two stretches for the warm-up and then practise the wall Pilates poses one at a time repeating each pose individually two

to three times. You may create a full sequence flow, moving through all four movements in succession and then repeat the sequence again two to three times. Complete your workout and cool-down with the same two stretches that you warmed up with. Each pose has a modified and progressive version for you to choose from. Stay present and aware of what your body needs and what it is ready for as you begin your wall Pilates journey.


3-5 deep breaths 1. Face the wall and stand right up against it. 2. Feet hip-width apart and legs parallel. 3. Palms facing the wall, reach your arms up along the wall. 4. Push your feet down to the ground and reach your arms up the wall. 5. Rotate your triceps inward toward the wall. 6. Relax the shoulders down your back. 7. Inhale, lengthen your spine and waist, exhale maintain the length and engage the core.

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Wall Downward Dog

3-5 deep breaths 1. Facing the wall, place your hands shoulder height and width against the wall. 2. Place your feet and legs parallel to each other. 3. Walk back and hinge at the hips to straighten your arms and legs. 4. Feet are directly beneath your hips. 5. Line up your biceps with your ears and rotate them upward. 6. Push the wall with your hands and energize them to rotate inward. 7. Bend your knees and continue to work toward almost straight. 8. Square your shoulders and pelvis and maintain length throughout the spine. 9. Inhale, lengthen your spine and waist, exhale maintaining the length and engage the core.



POSES 1.Supine Hip Abduction and Adduction with Upper-Ab Curl

2-Wide Squat with Alternating Side Bends

12-15 reps—inhale and exhale consistently throughout the exercise Modification 1. Lie down in supine position with knees bent. 2. The closer you place your hips to the wall the more stability and mobility is required. 3. Maintain a long neutral spine. 4. Align your feet with your knees and hip distance apart and push your feet into the wall. 5. Open and close the legs (abduct and adduct), push and glide the feet along the wall. 6. As the legs separate, reach your arms straight ahead, draw in the chin, float your head and shoulders up off the ground and perform an upper-ab curl. 7. Reach your arms straight ahead and roll back down to the floor as the legs engage then zip up to return toward your centre. Progression 1. Bring your hips right up against the wall. 2. Straighten your legs up the wall. 3. Abduct and adduct with straight legs, push and glide the feet along the wall. 4. As the legs separate, add the straight-arm reach and upper-ab curl, as the legs return to centre, straight

12-15 reps per side—alternating, inhaling and exhaling consistently throughout the exercise Modification 1. Face away from the wall. Rucking works the aerobic system with benefits similar to lifting weights. 2. Stand with back against the wall and legs wide, arms by your side or hands at the back of your head. 3. Press your hips, mid-back and the back of your head into the wall. 4. Push your feet into the ground. 5. Lengthen the spine and your side waist up the wall. 6. Alternating sides, lengthen to side bend to the right, lengthen to return to the centre, lengthen to side bend to the left, lengthen and return to the centre. 7. Maintain your hips, mid-back and head pressed against the wall as you move from side to side and engage your rhomboids (squeeze shoulder blades toward centre). 8. If your hands are at the back of your head, push the elbows toward the wall and glide the elbows along the wall as you go side to side. Progression 1. Stand against the wall and squat deeply. 2. Press your hips, mid-back and the back of your head into the wall. 3. Hold the squat position while you alternate your side bends from right to left and left to right.

Works abductors, adductors, gluteus medius, rectus abdominus, internal obliques, external obliques, transversus abdominas. arms reach and roll back down through the spine.

Works abductors, adductors, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, rectus abdominus, internal obliques, external obliques, transversus abdominas.

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4-Inverted Straight-Arm Pike with Alternating Straight-Leg Extension 3-Standing Hover Plank to Straight-Arm Triceps Extension

12-15 reps—inhale and exhale consistently throughout the exercise Modification 1. Face the wall, stand with legs hip-width apart and slightly back from the wall. 2. Bend your elbows and push hands shoulder height and distance into the wall, elbows shoulder distance and in line with the lower ribs, forearms push into the wall. 3. Inhale — lengthen your spine and side waist, push palms into the wall, extend the arms to straight (feet flat or heels up), work the arms toward straight until the wrists and shoulders line up. 4. Exhale — engage the core, bend the elbows and place forearms back on the wall. Progression 1. Stand back further away from the wall creating a deeper incline plank. 2. Align your hands on the wall shoulder distance and height. 3. Elbows lined up with the lower ribs and shoulder distance apart. 4. Bend and extend the elbows from the wall (wrists and shoulders line up when the arms are straight). Works rectus abdominus, internal obliques, external obliques, transversus abdominas, spinal erectors, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, deltoids, triceps

8-10 reps per side—Alternating, inhaling and exhaling consistently throughout the exercise Modification 1. Plank with straight arms, shoulder-width apart, legs straight, hipwidth apart, ankles flexed, toes spread on the floor and heels up against the wall. 2. Walk your hands closer to the wall and pike your hips toward the sky until you are in a downward dog position (pike position). 3. Glide and scissor one leg up the wall, pushing the bottom heel into the wall. 4. Lengthen your spine and waistline. 5. Scissor your legs, spiral your inner thighs in and up, extend both legs, tone the quadriceps around the knee. 6. Push your hands into the floor, energize them toward centre, spiral your biceps toward the sky. 7. Alternate leg extensions with 2-3 breaths in between. Progression 1. Plank with straight arms, shoulder-width apart, legs straight, hipwidth apart, ankles flexed, toes spread on the floor and heels up against the wall. 2. Walk your hands closer to the wall and walk your feet up the wall, move your hips forward over your shoulders, walk feet up the wall until they line up with your hips. 3. Align your hips over shoulders, shoulders over wrists (letter ‘L’ against the wall). 4. Lengthen the spine and the side waist. 5. Alternate leg extensions with 2-3 breaths in between each side. 6. Try to extend your leg upward so the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and wrist are all aligned at the top of the extension. Push the other foot into the wall to deeply scissor the legs apart. Works abductors, adductors, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, rectus abdominus, internal obliques, external obliques, transversus abdominas, spinal erectors, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, deltoids, triceps.obliques, transversus abdominas.

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Introduction to Plyometrics How incorporating plyometrics training can improve running performance BY MELANIE MCQUAID MATT CECILL VISUALS Oldest professional Ironman podium finisher and Kona qualifier at 50, 3x XTERRA World Champion, 2x ITU Elite Multisport Cross Triathlon World Champion, 6x IRONMAN 70.3 Champion, from Victoria, B.C. MELRADCOACHING


lyometrics are a specific type of jump training. With clear strength and power benefits, this training features prominently in the speed events on the track. There is evidence this type of work also improves running economy leading to benefits for endurance performance. Executed correctly, plyometrics can improve every runner so here is how you can incorporate it into your training.

WHAT IS PLYOMETRICS? The strict definition of plyometrics is an exercise that couples an eccentric muscle contraction with a concentric one. When you strike the ground with your foot, muscles around your knee and ankle are lengthened as gravity pulls you toward the ground (eccentric contraction). As a result of this force your body activates a static stabilizing force in the muscles, so you don’t collapse (isometric contraction). Finally, all of this is reversed as the muscles shorten (concentric contraction) and your body pulls your leg back off the ground to achieve forward propulsion. The combination of eccentric and concentric contractions is called the “stretch shortening cycle” and plyometrics are used to maximize this reflexive movement. The starting phase of the pogo jump.

PLYOMETRICS AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM The Achilles tendon is designed to store energy during the concentric and isometric contractions. That energy is only stored for a fraction of a second. Plyometrics train the body to minimize the time the foot is on the ground so the energy stored in the Achilles tendon is maximized. Quick ground contacts require input from the nervous system. Small sensors, called proprioceptors, are in muscles and tendons relaying information about how force is being produced in and on the body. These sensors create reflexive muscle contractions in response to force on the ground. Harnessing this burst of reflexive force comes at zero metabolic cost and is the primary way plyometrics improves running economy. •


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A box jump is not a strict plyometrics exercise but is a good starting place for developing explosive hip extension with bodyweight. With less loading than any of the strict plyometrics described below it is a good bridging exercise. Most athletes jump on a box that is too high and exaggerate the knee flexion versus enhancing their explosive hip extension. Straight-legged landings ensure the hip extension is maximized during box jumps.

POGO JUMP (DOUBLE-LEG) The hop and stick builds single-leg power.

HOW TO PERFORM PLYOMETRICS There are two main technical cues when doing plyometrics: 1. Create pre-tension in your ankle. Pulling the toes toward the shin before the foot lands tightens all the tissues around the foot/ankle/calf. This means the isometric state is achieved earlier. Aim for your foot to be flat with neither the toe nor the heel pointed at the ground before landing. 2. Make contacts quick. Visualizing the ground as hot lava is a good cue. If contacts are long, the exercises are not going to achieve the objective of harnessing stored tendon energy.

INCORPORATING PLYOMETRICS INTO YOUR TRAINING A good starting point is one to two sessions per week with a total of 30 to 50 total foot contacts. A session should be broken up into sets of four to six repetitions with two to four sets total and two to three minutes of recovery in between sets. Nervous system fatigue is harder to quantify than other muscular fatigue markers. Since the main objective is to train quick and reactive movements, athletes should be fresh.

WHERE TO PERFORM PLYOMETRICS If a surface is too soft, like a grass field, the muscles and tendons work too hard compensating for the lack of stiffness on landing. Similarly, a concrete surface is too firm, and this excessive resistance prevents the tissues from adapting. A running track, a wood aerobic studio, gymnasium floor, or a turf field are all good surface options.

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These work on stiffness and elasticity in the Achilles tendon. The idea is to perform four to six vertical jumps minimizing time on the ground between jumps. Between each round, pull the toes up toward the shin to activate the muscles before landing and be very stiff at the knee and ankle when on the ground. Aim to jump directly up in the air with minimal forward displacement and maximum hip extension.


Hop and stick plyometrics build single-leg power and are good indicators of any imbalance between your right and left legs. Start by standing on one leg with a neutral posture, drop into a quarter squat and with a quick and explosive movement hop forward on the same leg. The objective is to move as far as possible and to stick the landing with clear stability. There should be only a slight bend at the ankle, knee, and hip on landing. Neutral back posture is maintained with the chest up. From the initial dip into a quarter squat through the hop there should be similar angles through the ankle, knee, and hip. Plyometrics are powerful exercises, useful in developing reactivity and explosivity in running. This is critical for sprinters, but can also be a powerful deliverable for athletes wanting to maximize the pace they can hold in a marathon. These introductory exercises are great for improving bounce off the ground.


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Tyler Smith and Kat Kastner competed in The Amazing Race Canada and won, not just for themselves, but for everyone going through mental and emotional challenges BY LOUISE HODGSON-JONES GRAHAM MCKERRELL COURTESY CTV IMPACT guest editor, communications and event specialist in Victoria, B.C. LOUISEHODGSONJONES




t was the toughest challenge of the whole competition and emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding, but Tyler (Ty) Smith dug deep and thought of the 16 friends he lost in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash and found the inner strength to master it. It was Season 9 of The Amazing Race Canada and the challenge was the OCAD pole climb in Toronto. “My physical side was going and that is when the mental side started creeping in and honestly, I was ready to be done,“ he says. “I was ready to accept the fact that I had ruined it for us, but it was more for me personally, as it was quite the test as I had to dig in and find that inner strength, but a lot of that strength also came from my partner on the ground.” That partner is Kat Kastner, Smith’s girlfriend and teammate, and together they took on the epic cross-Canada challenge in Season 9, which ended last month. The Calgary couple— both 25-years-old—but more mature beyond their age, decided to apply for the contest: “to challenge our relationship.” They met on social media five years ago and immediately became soulmates. “We both were athletes and the time seemed right for us, so we sent in a video application and went through the process,“ Kastner explains. “We didn’t know what it was going to be like or what the challenges were going to be—we just embraced it all.” Not knowing what to expect they couldn’t really do any prep: “We learnt how to tie some knots and brushed up on our French,” Kastner fondly remembers. And they watched re-runs of the shows but from a different perspective— from a competitive standpoint. They didn’t want to overprepare and they really didn’t have a strategy. “We wanted to stay true to ourselves, have a lot of fun and enjoy every moment as best we could,” says Smith. “We wanted to show the love and support and foundation we have as a couple.” •

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Their camaraderie and support for each other was evident in every challenge. They knew when to push each other, when to lean on each other and whose turn it was to take on a challenge. “Like the bungee jump in Whistler, Kat knew and understood when this needed to happen and that she needed to do it.” This trust and faith in each other grew as the season progressed, as did their strength knowing that: “16 angels were looking down on us.” On April 6, 2018, Smith was with his Humboldt Broncos teammates in that illfated bus crash that killed 16 players and injured 13. He was one of the lucky ones, coming away with a broken collarbone and shoulder blade and some nerve damage, and while the physical scars have gone, the mental ones remain. So much so that he is now a strong advocate for mental health and dedicated The Amazing Race Canada to his teammates. Originally from Leduc, Alberta, he played 10 games for the Broncos after the crash and regularly keeps in touch with all 29 families affected by the tragic accident. “Knowing they were laughing and crying with us throughout the contest made us speechless and created a lot of emotion. We were racing not just for us but for those supporting us. We are connected for life. That bond will never break.” That bond is always with them as the couple wore Broncos wristbands and hats throughout the episodes. Kastner also has had mental health challenges. A promising ringette athlete growing up, she suffered from depression and anxiety as a young adult and at university. At 19 she was able to get therapy and medication. Looking back, she says that her anxiety stopped her from doing anything physical, but being in the series changed all that. “In the race I didn’t have that option. It was eye opening and empowering for me to be able to accomplish the challenges.” While many challenges were extremely hard, there were also some fun moments. “I loved the tree dancing in Tofino and would do that again,” says Kastner. And there were some uncontrollable times. “The traffic in downtown Toronto on the way to Sunnyside Beach was something we couldn’t control and prepare for,” adds Smith.

They agree the most stressful challenge they faced was the last one—the crossword puzzle. Knowing from watching previous seasons that the last challenge would be about testing their knowledge and memory of what they had done over the episodes, they knew this challenge was crucial, particularly as they were in first place. “You get to the puzzle and it is hard for your mind not to go blank,” says Smith. “We knew we were in the spotlight and this would be the last challenge, and so we had to tune out and just focus, go from leg to leg and think about everything. Looking back, it was probably one of the most stressful things we have been a part of.” Smith and Kastner became quite close to the other couples competing, in particular their fellow finalists—Tyler Turner and Kayleen Vandervee and Ben Chutta and Anwar Ahmed. Over the weeks they shared touching, moving stories that will always resonate with them. “Everyone in the cast had an inspiring story and we have a special connection with them which

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will stay with us forever,” said Kastner. Smith agrees. “We were fortunate to race against them, they all have powerful stories, and we learned a lot from them.” They also enjoyed meeting host Jon Montgomery. The Olympian has been hosting The Amazing Race Canada for 10 years. “He is such a unique individual—I would love him to narrate my life,” said Smith, smiling. Montgomery has nothing but praise for the winners. “Ty and Kat are brilliant ambassadors for the show, their families, and the communities they represent. They were a lot of fun to watch this summer and the way they supported each other, dug deep, and had some fun while they were doing it all, is commendable.“ “Watching the racers approach and then push past their fears and boundaries that we all have is inspiring,” adds Montgomery. With the airing of the last episode also came the big secret reveal—who won? How did Smith and Kastner manage to keep the secret from their families and friends?

“It was really hard but we felt we had a power over them by keeping the secret.” Looking back at the series, its challenges and its highs and lows they both agree the experience hasn’t really changed them, although Smith did voluntarily bring up the million-dollar question everyone is asking—when are you putting a ring on her finger? “It will happen,” he says

Any tips for future contestants interested in applying for The Amazing Race Canada? “Choose a good partner and never leave your backpack in a car!” says Kastner. (In the final episode they left their backpacks in their taxi not realizing they needed ID for the next challenge). “Face it head-on, throw yourself into the experience, get as much enjoyment as you can. There are so many things you will never

It gave us opportunities that we wouldn’t have learned from in everyday life. We can hold that very close and offer that up to family and friends and say to them that they matter and their stories matter. do in your life that this race offers. It’s a unique journey bringing lifelong memories,” adds Smith. He knows contestants face their own challenges going into The Amazing Race Canada. His advice? Take one step at a time. “In life it is so easy to diminish your own story and to look so far ahead and forget the present. The race meant we were present at all times. You need to know you are not alone and will find ways to light your candle, even though it may flicker sometimes. Use your story to offer that light at the end of other’s people’s tunnels.” Season 9 of The Amazing Race Canada is available to stream on, the CTV app, and on Crave. CTV has announced that The Amazing Race Canada will be returning for a 10th season with casting details to be announced soon.

noncommittally. But they reflect on their journey and how much they have learned about themselves. “It shows how much you can empower your partner and it gave us opportunities that we wouldn’t have learned from in everyday life. We can hold that very close and offer that up to family and friends and say to them that they matter and their stories matter.” With becoming the latest winners of The Amazing Race Canada comes an around-the-world trip, $250,000 cash and two 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2s. “The win hasn’t quite sunk in yet but when I am behind the wheel of my new Chevy it will,” Smith quips. Their first trip though is to Portugal, Greece and Italy, a prize they won by winning one of the legs. They look forward to furthering their adventures and particularly want to visit Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Once everything is settled, they do want to continue to be mental health advocates—Smith is already an accomplished public speaker—using their experience from The Amazing Race Canada to share their story.

Jon Montgomery, Ty Smith and Kat Kastner stand at the finish line at The Amazing Race Canada.

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Leading the Charge from the Back Martinus Evans has turned his life-long weight problem into a solution by inspiring slower runners to explore their passion with Slow AF BY EMILY MEYER





artinus Evans didn’t set out to be a game changer in the sport of running, yet through the development of the Slow AF Run Club, that’s exactly what he’s doing. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Evans, 37, had an unconventional way of finding his path to running. Back in 2012, feeling some pain in his hip, he made an appointment to see his doctor to get it checked out. “That doctor said, ‘Mr. Evans, you are fat. You have two options: lose weight or die,” Evans recalls of his visit, explaining that the doctor told him he had to start walking to lose weight. “I responded, ‘Screw you and screw walking; I’m going to run a marathon.’” According to Evans, the doctor warned him that running a marathon could be dangerous at his weight (approximately 360 pounds at the time), but as he explains, that was the last straw in his experience with “fatphobia,” something he had put up with for much of his life. When he was in high school, he was not able to play football, something he was deeply passionate about, as he was over the weight limit. He was tired of being told he couldn’t do something because of his weight. “I started running and have been running since then,” says Evans. Since that appointment in 2012, Evans has run eight marathons, including New York City and Marine Corps, and he has competed in hundreds of races. However, his journey to his first marathon was not an easy one. It wasn’t just a matter of learning how to run, there were other challenges that Evans faced. “When it came to understanding what eating for fuel was or how to hydrate, it was very difficult because I had nothing to go off of for someone my size,” he says, adding that it was even a challenge to find running clothes and running shoes as a larger individual.

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Even after overcoming the numerous obstacles and challenging training regime, Evan’s first marathon was a bittersweet experience. On one hand, he felt proud and excited, his hard work paying off. On the other hand, however, it wasn’t the usual excited cheering from spectators that acted as the soundtrack to Evans’ race. As he ran, he experienced constant heckling from the driver of the sweeper vehicle. Many times in his last few miles, the driver would encourage him to quit and get into the van. But Evans was determined, and despite the heckling, no one could take away his accomplishment as he crossed that finish line in just over seven hours. “I had this sense of accomplishment; I still did it. I did it and I kept going, and I didn’t quit. So, I was very happy about it.” For Evans, running isn’t about being the best or the fastest, and in his experience being an atypical runner, he realized that there were others out there like him. So, he founded the Slow AF Run Club, a space for all types of people to feel included. As he puts it, there was a hole in the running community—no one championing the back of the pack. The group started off with around 40 people, but when the pandemic hit and the Slow AF Run Club began holding virtual

Running has given me so much. It brings me into spaces I might never have gone otherwise.

races, the numbers skyrocketed, with 4,000 to 5,000 people running their races. With a large uptick in people who wanted to run due to quarantine and isolation but didn’t know how, Slow AF Run Club became a safe haven for runners of all types to explore their passion on the pavement. “Running has given me so much. It brings me into spaces I might never have gone otherwise and has made me do things I’ve never done before,” says Evans. “I really just appreciate and love running. It’s my thing. It makes me feel free.” But Evans wasn’t done making an impact. In June of this year, he released his first book, Slow AF Run Club: The Ultimate Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Run. “I wrote the book because there was nothing like it—no resource out there for runners like me,” he says. As a run coach himself, Evans noticed when working one-on-one with new clients, they all had the same questions when starting out. “The funny thing was, they were all questions that I asked when I first started running too,” he says. “‘Should you run for speed or distance? Do you eat before a run? If you do, what do you eat?’ I felt there was just a hole in running literature that needed to be filled. Since my ethos is about being the change, I brought the change.” And Evans intends to continue to “bring the change” to the running community and encourage anyone who wants to run for the sheer joy of it.

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Pillar of Strength

After enduring a terrible accident, Nicole Rakowski redefines sport and success BY JESSICA NATALE WOOLLARD STEPHANIE MICHALICKA MAKE-UP BY ALEX PATTON Writer, teacher and communications professional in Victoria, B.C. JRWOOLLARD


gold medal around her neck, Nicole Rakowski beams at the camera clad in a sparkly blue string bikini, silver dangle earrings, and four-inch crystal “posing” heels. It was her first bodybuilding competition, but the Dundas, Ont., native took home the top prize in the bikini category for her class at the 2023 TorontoPro Supershow. The fact she could walk across the stage—let alone walk it in four-inch heels—was a milestone achievement. In 2017, at the age of 25, Rakowski suffered third degrees burns to her feet on a trip to Iceland. An intrepid traveller—she’s visited more than 60 countries—she and two friends hiked to the geothermal area in Reykjadalur (“Steam”) Valley, a 50-kilometre drive southeast of the capital Reykjavíc. The valley’s hot-water river is one of Iceland’s renowned natural attractions; every year, around 150,000 locals and tourists hike 3.8 kilometres to bathe in 40-degree water warmed by geothermal activity from Hengill, a nearby volcanic system. As Rakowski approached the hot water riverbank, the ground beneath her gave way. Her feet started sinking in hot, bubbling, acidic mud. Her shouts of agony drew immediate help. Her friends and several passers-by rushed to pull her out. She remembers seeing two black curtains close in front of her eyes before she finally lost consciousness. Volunteers took turns carrying Rakowski’s five-foot, eight-inch frame back through the valley to the trailhead, an hour’s hike from the hot river. A few people ran ahead to find cellular service and call an ambulance. “It was a sense of community that brought individuals together to help make the rescue mission happen,” Rakowski says. After receiving initial burn care in Iceland, she flew home to continue treatment at Hamilton Health Sciences, the hospital system where she has worked since 2016, currently as a patient experience specialist. “I was told at first that I may never be able to walk again,” she recalls. “It was absolutely devastating and heartbreaking.” For a life-long athlete—she played field hockey and soccer, ran track and field and road races, and wakeboarded— the prospect of losing the ability to walk, plus her athletic activities, was “absolutely gut-wrenching,” she says. After several painful procedures and daily physical therapy, Rakowski stood on her feet for the first time one month after the accident.

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Pushing through the acute nerve pain caused by the lightest touch—even air fanned on her blistered skin was excruciating—she persisted with her exercises and therapy and eventually could balance, then walk, first with a walker, then crutches, and then on her own, defying her prognosis. Though her feet were healing better than expected, Rakowski next faced a series of severe vision issues caused by years of playing contact sports, issues that put her at risk of vision loss. She underwent surgery for three retinal detachments, plus a vitrectomy—a surgery to counteract permanent vision loss and reduce the likelihood of eventual blindness. Her days of contact sports were over. But sport is a “central and a defining aspect of who I am,” she says. She would need to find a new way to engage in sport. “I had to change my paradigm and my focus,” she adds. She could walk, she could see, and she could lift weights. Rakowski began weight training, first for her own strength and fitness, but after a few years, she realized she could redirect her drive for athletic competition and need for team camaraderie into bodybuilding. “With bodybuilding I was able to re-establish that sense of purpose and identity again,” she recalls. “I was able to see myself as valuable with a different set of athletic abilities.” With several bodybuilding competitions under her belt, she is an athlete once again, with sponsors and a world-renowned coach, Serbian bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe Milos Sarcev. She hopes to obtain her pro card this fall. The bodybuilder also has brains—Rakowski is in the fourth year of her PhD in health policy and management at McMaster University’s DeGroot School of Business. Her research examines health engagement policies and strategies, such as digital health technologies, that may improve health and reverse complex chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. She hopes her research will help people use fitness to overcome hurdles. “We all go through various things in our life that may prevent us from succeeding, but success is not a final destination,” she reflects. “Success, I see as the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” “I told myself [after the accident in Iceland], I can’t quit; I have to suffer through the pain and live the rest of my life how I would have wanted to live with no regrets.” “The only way to define limits is by going beyond them.”

Success, I see as the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.


Achieving His Dream

Special Olympian powerlifter David Nicholson gives a solid gold performance on the world stage BY BLAISE KEMNA TRUDIE LEE A multimedia storyteller with a passion for words and sport and first-time marathoner who is planning his second, from Calgary, AB. KEMNABLAISE


ireworks illuminate the nighttime vault; beneath the spectacle, Brandenburg Gate; beneath the gate, a thousand-strong multitude; within the multitude, one David Nicholson; and, upon his neck, three gold medals and a single silver. Nicholson, a 26-year-old powerlifter from Calgary, leaps with each explosion, joining the swell of a new generation under a storied arch – formerly, witness to Napoleon and Hitler – now, presiding over markedly dissimilar festivities: honouring competition, achievement and belonging, here, at the Special Olympic World Games Berlin 2023 Closing Ceremony. A resilient city broken and rebuilt, broken, and rebuilt again is a lavish backdrop as Nicholson, who has cerebral palsy, celebrates similar metamorphosis, the breaking down and building up of muscle fibres and brain pathways through years of dedication until here, his quality emerges on a world stage. But despite impressive feats of strength and a mounting list of external accolades, it’s Nicholson’s positivity and inner character that continues to garner attention. Nicholson has been involved in sport for much of his life, playing soccer, golf, floor hockey, basketball, and baseball among others before discovering powerlifting in 2014. “I was quite nervous about it. I thought, ‘Oh, he’s going to hurt himself,’” says his mother, Barb Nicholson. Under the guidance of powerlifting coach and personal trainer Curtis Howden, however, Nicholson quickly put those fears to rest. He began to train and compete, learning to work within the unique challenges presented by his limitations while cultivating uncommon strength. “We have to autoregulate a bit, meaning we see where he’s at on the day and what his system’s allowing us to do,” says Howden. It appears to be working well. Nearly a decade later, and several months since his success at the Special Olympic World Games, Nicholson boasts personal bests of 440 lb. (squat), 242 lb. (bench press), and 462 lb. (deadlift). “If you were to compare David versus the average population, pound for pound, he would be stronger than at least 90 per cent of people, trained or untrained,” says Howden.

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It’s numbers like these that propelled Nicholson’s success as he developed in the sport. Beginning with wins in Special Olympic categories at RAW Powerlifting Federation Canada competitions, including the World Championships in 2019, he went on to place second at Alberta Powerlifting Union Provincial Championships in 2022 in an open category alongside all comers, special needs or not. Howden says, “He was like, ‘I don’t really want to have my own category—I’d like to just compete. There’s nothing wrong with my body. And I was like, ‘Man, that is higher truth. Let’s do it.’” Even with such victories on his resumé, it’s still for his participation at the Special Olympic World Games that Nicholson reserves the words, “My dream came true.” Reflecting the seriousness with which he approached the event, Nicholson increased training volume and added supplementary mobility and joint work to his preparations. He earned a worthy return on investment this June, earning three gold medals – in squat, deadlift, and overall (the total of all three lifts combined) – and a silver medal in bench press. Enter the fireworks, enter Brandenburg Gate, enter the crowds, enter the medals bouncing around his neck. Despite the fanfare, it isn’t ultimately overcoming specific special needs through the years, or their renunciation in the name of competitive ‘higher truth’ along the way, or finally the culmination of hard work in Special Olympic World Games gold that has friends and strangers lauding Nicholson. It’s his disposition. Nicholson carries himself with a positive bearing consistent across settings, whether the gym, university, one of the many places he has volunteered, or, finally, across the world in another country. “You find out a lot about a person when you lift with them. You find out exactly how willing they are to be uncomfortable, what their sort of resilience is when something’s hard. And that was the stuff I noticed in David right away,” says Howden. His coach notes the positive energy Nicholson brings to the gym and its members—his ability to brighten the day of those he encounters.

I don’t really want to have my own category, I’d like to just compete.

This ability has proven his companion at Mount Royal University, where he completed his Inclusive Post-Secondary Education and Employment Preparation certificates in 2019 and 2020, and where he continues to work as an intramural sports scorekeeper. It has also held him in good stead throughout the years as an active volunteer, with the YMCA, Youth Link Calgary Police Interpretive Centre, Calgary Police Youth Foundation, and currently the Trico Centre for Family Wellness. But would it make the 10-hour flight with him and hold true under the pressure of an international competition? In a word, yes. Nicholson’s positivity endured far from the home front, with volunteers, medical staff, and even his American competitor, Mitchell Betsworth, whom he defeated for gold and befriended post-event, expressing admiration for his character. This rather than any medal is the recurring theme when it comes to Nicholson. “It was wonderful to just get all those compliments of people seeing what I saw in David, that he’s a true athlete, [with] wonderful sportsmanship. He cares so much about other people,” says his mother. A care, it seems, which even extends to his competitors. “He was really worried that [Betsworth] would be disappointed that he got silver and not gold!”


High Peaks and Big Thrills in the Colorado Rockies

Colorado is a trail-running haven with thousands of feet of vertical to explore in aspen-lined forests and open meadows BY NICKI REHN NICKI REHN Calgary, AB-based ultra-marathon runner, orienteer, and adventurer who loves to travel the world doing crazy races, disappear deep into the mountains, and rip up the local single-track. NICKI_REHN


rail running is a great excuse to travel. I don’t know how to take a holiday just for the sake of it, so all my galivanting involves exploring new places on foot. The pandemic put a damper on my clinical wanderlust for a couple of years, but as soon as the world reopened, I started dreaming of faraway adventures again. The first faraway place I went to wasn’t that far away at all—Colorado. Her mountains are, of course, just an extension of mine, and I’ve always felt I had an obligation to go see what they were like down there on the other side of the border. For years I’ve heard of Colorado’s thin air, endless ridges, accessible peaks, and microbreweries. All it took to get me there, besides an end to travel restrictions, was my friend getting into the Hardrock 100

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Mile Endurance Run—one of the many iconic ultramarathons held in the state. She was the third name drawn in the lottery, and I texted her within minutes. “Do you have a pacer yet?” Pacing and crewing is one of the best ways to get to know a place, and I highly recommend it. I set aside most of July, got myself to the historic town of Silverton, and kicked off my trail-running vacation in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. I ran sections of the infamous course and talked to local athletes, studied maps, and caught a glimpse of what’s possible. By the time race weekend was over, I had amassed an extensive list of peaks and routes that I planned to check off, and I diligently set about doing so. I began with the sections of the Hardrock course I hadn’t yet seen. Race routes are a great resource

when first starting out in a new place because the GPX tracks are normally available, and these events often showcase the best views and trails. A quick internet search for trail ultras in Colorado provides a smorgasbord of ideas. The trail-running options in Colorado are truly endless. Ski towns connect, alpine bowls are open and runnable, and ridges extend indefinitely. Take for example, Anvil Mountain trail. I started right from the Silverton library and followed the ridge north for six glorious kilometres, at which point, I bailed before I reached the end. Had a nasty storm not rolled in, I’m pretty sure I’d still be up there. You could conceivably show up anywhere on the edge of the mountains with a backpack and tent and just start walking—something I plan to do in the future. Feel like a beer in Leadville? No worries—just follow that ridge for a couple of days! If ridges or multi-day routes aren’t your thing, there are plenty of high peaks, wellestablished alpine loops, and trails that weave through gorgeous aspen forests to keep you busy. Colorado is home to 58 peaks over 14,000 feet, of which 10 are considered an easy day hike into the clouds. My first 14’er was Handies Peak, on the Hardrock course. The previous high point of my life was Mount Cameroon, at 13,500 feet, way back in 2005, so I was curious to see how it would feel that little bit higher

Iconic views meet runners on the Hardrock 100 Mile race.

and seventeen years older. Running at this elevation isn’t easy, but if you start conservatively, drink plenty of water, and prepare for a few days of slower efforts, you’ll acclimatize in about a week. This worked well for me, and besides needing a little extra sleep, I didn’t suffer from the altitude. Once adapted, a drive up to Independence Pass (between Leadville and Aspen) lets you start your run at 12,000 feet. For those looking for high-altitude training, there is nowhere better or easier to access. Lower down, the aspen-lined Schneffels Highline Loop (23 kilometres) out of Telluride will delight. And for open meadows and flowers, I recommend The Maroon Bells Scenic Area near Aspen. Staging a trail-running vacation in Colorado is simple. Dispersed camping is free and abundant. Most nights I slept close to a trailhead, so I could start my run by 6:30 a.m. and be done by “thunderstorm o’clock.” Over the summer months, violent electrical storms slam into the western slopes in the mid-afternoon, turning the sky from bluebird to black in an instant. By then, it’s best to be sipping brews in the local pub rather than dodging lightning up high. Of course, camping isn’t the only option. I love dirtbag travel, but if river baths and ramen noodles don’t excite you, there are countless other options. Colorado is full of cheap motels, vacation rentals, and swanky hotels in ski towns like Aspen, Telluride, and Vail. No matter where you stay, the trails will always be out your front door. Colorado is truly a build-your-own-adventure trail running destination. All you need is a day pack, a topographic map (I use Gaia GPS), an early start, and a little imagination. It’s a place I intend to return over and over again.

Nicki Rehn at 14,000 feet - her first 14'er.

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PLUNGE WITH SOME HEAT Practising heat and cold therapy can reduce inflammation and boost recovery from long runs BY PETE ESTABROOKS One of IMPACT’s Top Fitness Trainers, ultrarunner and coach is happiest when running in the mountains, from Calgary, AB. FITGUY1959



t 64-years-young I have been running marathon distances and more multiple times a year for 30 plus years. And it hurts. I run slower now but hurt more than I ever have. Running long has consequences. My experience has shown that elation, confidence, inspiration, and pain are part and parcel of running. But that pain is a tiny price to pay for the days, weeks, months and years of joy running delivers me. Regardless, it still hurts and anything that alleviates that pain and coddles my aversion to discomfort is a boon to my continued running. I have found the ticket. Contrast therapy – alternating sauna and cold plunge – is a routine I have been practising for a year now and what began as hype has turned into hope. Individually these recovery modalities have significant and notable effects on my recovery and mood. Both significantly lessen the effects of postexercise muscle soreness. Not just kind of, but noticeably. My practise that quickly turned addiction is a four- or five-day-a-week routine now.

Pete Estabrooks alternates sauna and a cold plunge after long runs.

Monday through Saturday: a minimum 15 minutes hot (80 C) – four minutes cold (8 C) – 15 minutes hot (80 C) – two minutes cold (8 C). Sunday: three to five hours running followed immediately by four minutes cold (8 C) – 15 minutes hot (80 C) – four minutes cold (8 C) – 15 minutes hot (80 C) – two minutes cold (8 C). The times I use are set to protocols by Dr. Susanna Søberg’s (The Soeberg Institute) research on contrast therapy and Dr. Andrew Huberman (Stanford University School of Medicine) podcasts on the same subject who collectively recommend that 60 minutes of sauna and 11 minutes of cold plunge per week optimizes the benefits of both therapies.

After every plunge for one full minute I stand bare feet firmly planted on the earth, arms open to the heavens, reveling in my good fortune. BEHIND THE THEORY Heat Sauna after a workout can help relax and soothe muscles, as well as increase blood flow. Fifteen or more minutes at 100 C+ causes blood vessels to dilate, improving circulation and nutrient delivery to the muscles. This enhanced blood flow aids in flushing out metabolic waste products, such as the lactic acid that accumulates during exercise lending to muscle soreness. Saunas stimulate the release of endorphins, promoting a sense of relaxation and overall well-being. Cold Showers or cold-water immersion at temperatures below 15 C provide benefits for exercise recovery, constricting blood vessels, thus reducing inflammation and swelling in the muscles. Cold-water immersion decreases muscle soreness, speeds up recovery time, and improves overall muscle function. The cold water stimulates the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter

responsible for confidence, optimism and invincibility (that last one might be just me!) Also stimulated is the release of norepinephrine responsible for reducing pain and inflammation. Furthermore, cold plunges are associated with decreased oxidative stress and improved immune function. Using both saunas and cold plunges in combination, known as contrast therapy, can provide even greater benefits for exercise recovery. Alternating between hot and cold temperatures causes blood vessels to constrict and dilate, flushing out toxins and stimulating circulation. This enhances the efficiency of the lymphatic system, which plays a crucial role in removing waste from the body. Finishing cold is the recommended practise. The thermogenesis necessary to reheat the body post-cold burns calories, shifts white fat stores to metabolically active brown fat and allows you to bask in the glow of a ridiculous serotonin spike. You feel so good you won’t believe it’s legal. As a bonus, contrast therapy can help regulate body temperature and improve cardiovascular function.

WHEN TO SAUNA AND PLUNGE Sauna at night? Sleep comes fast and lasts long. Sauna in the afternoon? I am mentally sharp but relaxed. Sauna in the morning? I don’t sauna in the morning, chances are I would just go back to bed! Cold plunge is a gateway drug. The combined serotonin/ noradrenaline dump is staggering. After every plunge for one full minute I stand bare feet firmly planted on the earth, arms open to the heavens, reveling in my good fortune. Know if you are cold plunging at night it is 20 or 30 minutes before you are ready to sleep. As with sauna, post-cold-plunge sleep is deep and meaningful. Together, the benefits of sauna and cold plunge are greater than the sum of their parts and I have found them to be almost inexplicable in their ability to reduce inflammation, post-exercise soreness and the negative vibe that leads to skipped workouts.

CAVEATS If you are lifting weights with muscle growth as a goal, allow at least four hours after lifting to cold plunge. The post-exercise inflammation associated with lifting weights is an integral part of the repair and rebuild process. It’s best not to interrupt that. Sauna and cold immersion work and like exercise and eating well they work when practised consistently. The regular practise of both or either modality has a significant impact on recovery and continued performance. The occasional practise is good but does not deliver the lasting benefits of a regular practise. Just like a once-aweek run, it’s a great buzz but little effect on aerobic capacity.

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Understanding Creatine and its Benefits How creatine supplementation can improve exercise performance and recovery BY DARREN CANDOW, PH.D., CSEP-CEP Professor of the Aging Muscle and Bone Health Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies, University of Regina; author of numerous health and science publications. DR.DARRENCANDOW



reatine is produced in the body, in the liver and brain, through reactions involving three amino acids—the building blocks of protein. Alternatively, creatine can be consumed in the diet—primarily from red meat and seafood—or for those on a vegan/ vegetarian diet, through commercially manufactured creatine supplementation. While there are several marketed forms of creatine, creatine monohydrate is the most researched and effective form of creatine for improving exercise and sports performance. The vast majority of creatine research has been conducted on young healthy males, but creatine supplementation can also provide benefits to females across their lifespan, especially vegetarians, and during the aging process. Furthermore, emerging research indicates that creatine supplementation can improve measures of cognition and memory and treat symptoms from traumatic brain injury, including concussion. The vast majority of creatine – 95 per cent – is stored in skeletal muscle with less than five per cent stored in the brain. Creatine supplementation

typically increases muscle creatine levels by 20-40 per cent compared to only 6-10 per cent in the brain. This discrepancy is partially explained by the brain being able to make creatine, thereby blunting uptake from the blood compared to skeletal muscle. Creatine helps to maintain and replenish the energy currency of the cell (ATP or adenosine triphosphate) during and following exercise. Subsequently, this may allow an individual to perform more exercise over time leading to greater improvements in exercise and sports performance. Mechanistically, these benefits may be the result of creatine increasing processes involved in muscle growth and performance and by decreasing inflammation and cellular stress, thus improving recovery.

DOSAGE RECOMMENDATIONS Since creatine needs to accumulate in muscle and/or the brain to be effective, frequent ingestion has to occur. In general, there are a few established creatine ingestion protocols for improving measures of muscle mass and performance.

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The most popular evidence-based strategies are to ingest ~ 20 grams of creatine in the creatine-loading phase: 4 x 5 grams throughout the day for 5-7 days, followed by 2-5 grams/day thereafter (the creatine maintenance phase) or simply ignore the creatine-loading phase and consume 3-5 grams/day. However, this lower daily dosage will take longer (~ 30 days) to top-up muscle creatine levels. Alternatively, 0.10-0.14 g/ kg/day (~ 8-11 grams) has been shown to be effective over time. The requirement to consume creatine at specific times each day to produce muscle benefits is not supported. However, prior muscle contractions from exercise increase creatine uptake into skeletal muscle, so an ideal time to consume creatine is likely before, during and/or after exercise. Thus, creatine can be consumed as a bolus or as smaller, more frequent dosages throughout the day. Further, creatine can be consumed daily, including non-exercise days. Established creatine protocols for increasing brain creatine levels remain to be determined but there is some evidence that 20 grams/day for ≥ one week can be effective in healthy populations.

Creatine supplementation can enhance the benefits from performing resistance/weight training.

The response to creatine supplementation, from a muscle perspective, is primarily dictated by initial muscle creatine levels. Those with lower muscle creatine levels, such as vegans and vegetarians, will respond more favourably, thus seeing greater increases in muscle adaptations, compared to those like omnivores who have higher initial creatine stores. However, habitual dietary creatine intake—vegetarian vs. omnivore—does not influence brain creatine levels. Upon stopping creatine supplementation, elevated muscle creatine levels take up to 30 days to return back to pre-supplementation levels compared to ~ 90 days in the brain.

IMPROVES ENDURANCE-TYPE ACTIVITIES It is well established that creatine supplementation can enhance the benefits from performing resistance/weight training. For example, creatine supplementation improves muscle/lean tissue mass, bone mineral/strength, muscle performance, i.e., strength, endurance, power, and recovery. However, a misconception about creatine supplementation is that it will not provide benefits to endurance-type activities.

On the contrary, creatine supplementation can reduce markers of inflammation following long-duration aerobic exercise. For example, short-term creatine supplementation (20 grams/day for five days) prior to running a 30-kilometre race or half-IRONMAN decreased inflammation post-exercise in young, trained athletes. Furthermore, a recent paper evaluated all research pertaining to creatine supplementation and endurancetype activities and concluded that creatine supplementation can, but not always, enhance sprint performance, exercise time-to-exhaustion, particularly ≤ three minutes, and cycling performance. There is also evidence that creatine can improve ice-hockey skating and 100-metre freestyle swim performance and measures of athletic ability in soccer players. From a safety perspective, the International Society of Sports Nutrition paper on the safety of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport and medicine concludes that creatine, even at high dosages of 0.8 g/kg/day for five years poses no greater adverse effects compared to placebo.

In summary, creatine monohydrate supplementation is a safe and effective intervention for improving various aspects of exercise and sports performance across a variety of populations, especially vegans and vegetarians. For those needing to maximize muscle creatine levels quickly, i.e., high-performance athletes, a creatine-loading phase following by a low-dose maintenance phase – 2-5 grams/ day thereafter – may be considered. Alternatively, consuming 3-11 grams/ day (average ~ 5 grams/day) is a viable and effective strategy. While the timing of creatine supplementation is not a critical factor, ingestion in close proximity to exercise – before/during/after – is likely a good strategy. From a brain health and function perspective, emerging research suggests that creatine supplementation can increase brain creatine levels which may lead to improvements in memory and cognition. There is also the potential for creatine to help in the recovery from concussion. However, higher and longer duration creatine supplementation protocols are likely needed to produce these brain benefits.

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Mindfulness Meditation

How to use muscle memory to optimize exercise routines BY DR. TY "THE NEUROGUY" MCKINNEY Co-Founder & CEO, 8 Bit Cortex; Chief Science Officer, PeerX.AI; Solarpunk and nature enthusiast living in Calgary, AB TYTHENEUROGUY


hen I first started running, it was laborious. My legs and lungs were not used to the five-kilometre routes I had committed to, so I felt each and every run throughout my whole body. Especially my legs. But as I solidified this habit, each run got progressively easier. My body learned that I could always finish the route and develop a steady pace that was easy to maintain. I became very familiar with all the running routes I had established near my place and my brain realized it could complete those routes on autopilot. My mind began to wander as my legs engaged their “muscle memory” and my conscious awareness of the route itself dropped. Have you ever commuted home from work and realized that you don’t actually remember any of the trip? The same thing was happening with me while running. It was at this point I realized that my autopilot runs were not providing the satisfactory workout that I had previously enjoyed. As a neuroscientist, I couldn’t help but examine this phenomenon through the lens of neuroplasticity and brain networks. Through this exploration, I discovered an effective solution to this problem: mindfulness meditation. To properly understand this solution, let me explain how “muscle memory” works in our brain. I use the scare quotes because muscles are only an accessory in this story—most of the significant changes that occur in developing muscle memory actually occur in the brain. When we first start learning a new task like running, a brain network called the Fronto-Opercular-Parietal-Cingular System – I like to call it the FOCUS Network – is initially in charge, manually coordinating all our muscle activity to perform the task. In addition to developing athletic skill, the FOCUS network helps us coordinate our explicit attention towards our long-term goals and resist distractions. With some practice, the FOCUS Network learns which muscles need to be activated in which pattern to complete the task, and our performance improves. The FOCUS Network is very metabolically demanding, so our brain doesn’t like to use it if it doesn’t have to. As a result, once we start to develop the athletic skill we are looking for, our brain transitions this motor control to a different brain network better optimized for automatic movements: AKA autopilot. The main start of this autopilot network is the cerebellum, the mini brain that sits behind our big brain inside our skill. With the cerebellum now controlling our movements, we have achieved muscle memory

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and removed the need for explicit awareness of our actions. This transition to autopilot opens the door for the “Flow State”—the holy grail for athletic experiences where our actions are guided more by instinct than conscious control. It’s theorized that when our FOCUS Network coordinates with our cerebellum, we can enter the flow state, which is deeply satisfying to our brain, and achieve greater levels of performance. Where I left off in my story about running, I had not yet achieved flow state. Unfortunately, my cerebellum had found a slow and steady pace for running that didn’t push my body hard enough. However, armed with this understanding of muscle memory, I had a solution: mindfulness meditation. Typically, one tries to allocate 100 per cent of our attention to our breath when we practice mindfulness, which activates the FOCUS Network. I tried this exercise while running. To my surprise, I discovered that by focusing on my breath, my pace increased. It turns out my “most stable” running pace is substantially slower than faster paces that I could maintain for the duration of my run. Putting my FOCUS Network back in charge, instead of my cerebellum, allowed me to slip into flow state. By simply focusing on my breath, I could more easily calibrate my speed and push myself for a deeper workout. Not only that, but by meditating while I ran, my brain got an extra dose of rejuvenation from being in the flow state during my workouts. Using my FOCUS Network to bring my mind to the present moment gave my brain a much-needed break from the stress of coordinating my work duties and effort trying to plan my social life. Now things have come full circle. When I first started running, it was a whole-body activity that became more automatic as I developed muscle memory. Now, through mindfulness, I have returned to making running a whole-body activity, making the exercise both more restorative and more enjoyable in the process. If your workouts are becoming the domain of your cerebellum, consider incorporating some mindfulness to re-engage your FOCUS Network and leverage the flow state to make your muscle memory work for you.

When our FOCUS Network coordinates with our cerebellum, we can enter the flow state, which is deeply satisfying to our brain, and achieve greater levels of performance.


Strengthen to Lengthen

Resistance training can reap the same benefits as stretching if performed with a consistent range of motion BY DR. SYL CORBETT, DC, PH.D Endurance athlete, scientist and coach specializing in physical literacy and brain health; founder Athleticwise and Rock On, based in Calgary, AB. LIFE.ROCKS.FITNESS




f you’re among the many athletes that love training, but seldom take the time to stretch, you’re not necessarily doomed to a rigid fate. Resistance training is renowned for building muscle mass and enhancing strength and is often needlessly associated with tight muscles and joint stiffness. In fact, when performed with proper form, appropriate loads, and adequate recovery – assuming sufficient nutrition and hydration – resistance training may improve mobility and augment the involved joint’s articulation. Range of motion (ROM), including both passive and active elements, is the degree to which a joint can move within its physiological limits. Adequate joint ROM permits correct biomechanics, preventing movement-related dysfunctions and reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, it plays a vital role in muscle flexibility, proprioceptive feedback, and overall joint health. A well-maintained joint ROM is essential for promoting functional independence and enhancing sports performance. ROM is of fundamental importance influencing our physical abilities whether it be accomplishing regular daily tasks, fluidly executing a Turkish get-up or running a blazing 400 metre race. ROM is confined by diverse components such as neural control, the flexibility of muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and the morphology of the joint itself. Stretching has perhaps guilelessly been considered the lone method of ameliorating a joint’s range, yet resistance training may yield similar results.

NEURAL ADAPTATIONS A principal mechanism through which resistance training improves ROM is via neural adaptations. Joint movements caused by muscular contractions are governed by the nervous system. Resistance training provides a strong stimulus leading to neural adaptations such as improved motor unit recruitment, synchronization, and neural drive. Notable benefits of such would include greater muscular control and coordination, enabling a wider range of motion of the joints in the specifically trained movement patterns.

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MUSCULAR HYPERTROPHY Muscular hypertrophy – the remodelling of muscle fibres which in turn lead to an increase in size of skeletal muscle – may contribute to joint stability and support thereby allowing a more substantial ROM. However, it is important to note the hypertrophic response is highly dependent upon the characteristic length-tension curves of different muscles, the specific exercises and joints involved, the various ranges of training, site of assessment, anatomical attributes, etc.

MUSCULAR LENGTH Muscular length adaptations are vital for improved ROM. Conventional resistance training entails concentric, isometric, and eccentric muscle contractions. The latter, as it is capable of handling higher loads, may affect a greater stimulus to boost ROM. Incorporating eccentric muscle contractions and training at lengthened positions may influence sarcomere (functional unit of a muscle) addition and the lengthtension relationship within muscle fibres. This process allows muscles to tolerate greater stretching forces, likewise, potentially leading to a broader ROM.

CONNECTIVE TISSUE Connective tissues – tendons and ligaments – similarly play a determinative role in ROM. The mechanical loading on these tissues elicited by resistance training, triggers a series of adaptive responses. The synthesis of collagen and other structural proteins increase in number, size, and density, leading to greater tissue stiffness and strength. This phenomenon contributes to joint stability and improves functional ROM by reducing the risk of structural damage during extreme movements.

Resistance training may improve mobility and augment the involved joint’s articulation.



Like with any other training variable, specificity of training should be accounted for to best ensure the adaptations are directly transferable to the desired functional activities and target movements of the sport, e.g., a full squat to improve jumping ability in basketball, leg extension to 0 degrees to maximize force when kicking a soccer ball.

Of consideration is the modality of the resistance training with free weights potentially allowing a greater degree of movement and challenge as opposed to machines or body weight alone. For example, shoulder range of motion may be limited by the ground or chest circumference when performing push ups. Similarly, chest press on a machine will place less balance requirements than controlling dumbbells lying on a bench. In summary, all is not lost if there is a reluctance to traditional stretching. Resistance training is a versatile and powerful tool for bettering ROM, and its efficacy is supported by a solid scientific foundation. Neural and muscular adaptations, connective tissue modifications, and proprioceptive enhancements all contribute to the enhanced ROM. If resistance training is performed consistently in sufficiently broad and effective ranges, gym workouts may go beyond simply building strength and muscle mass, offering a sound and comprehensive approach to enhancing overall physical function, reducing the risk of injuries, and optimizing sports performance. If you love to train, but lack the desire to prioritize your mobility, you need not succumb to systemic petrification!

PROPRIOCEPTION Proprioception – the ability to sense the position and orientation of the body in space – is a crucial aspect of ROM. Resistance training can enhance proprioceptive feedback by activating sensory receptors in our muscles, tendons, and joints. This activation improves the feedback loop between our periphery and brain enhancing proprioceptive awareness. So too, controlling and stabilizing movements, balance, and coordination are all typically required in resistance training thus improving joint stability, which in turn aids proprioception. This heightened proprioception enables individuals to better perceive their joint positions and move within a safer and more extensive ROM.

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ASK THE EXPERT What is Cranialsacral Therapy?

What are the benefits of CST? • Stress reduction • Pain management, including: headaches, neck pain, and back pain • Improved sleep due to rebalancing of PNS and SNS



ranialsacral Therapy (CST) is a form of alternative therapy that involves gentle manipulation of the bones of the skull and the lower spine to purportedly improve

the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and promote overall health. Balancing the craniosacral system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding membranes, can alleviate various physical and emotional ailments. Since all the main nervous structures are protected by the osseous structures (bones), it is important to make sure that they have optimal mobility and function in a given circumstance. It is also important to consider the fact, that when the system is affected on one end, the symptoms might present themselves on the other. The best example for this would be cervical whiplash when patients who sustain it present symptoms in their lower back or hips. CST also has a relaxing effect due to the facilitation of

the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS, rest and digest) and an inhibitory effect on the sympathetic nervous system (SNS, fight or flight).

• Enhanced well-being including mood and emotional balance • Reduced symptoms of certain conditions like migraines, TMJ disorders, and fibromyalgia, although its efficacy depends on an individual case

What to expect during CST session? When you arrive for your appointment, your practitioner will ask you about your symptoms and any preexisting conditions that you have. You’ll typically remain fully clothed during the treatment, so wear comfortable clothing to your appointment. The practitioner may begin at your head, feet, or near the middle of your body. Using light pressure, the provider will gently hold your feet, head, or sacrum to listen to their subtle rhythms. If they detect it’s needed, they may gently press or reposition you to normalize the flow of the cerebrospinal fluids. They may use tissue-release methods, as well as structural mobilization while supporting one of your limbs.

Clayton Heights Sports & Therapy Centre 604-579-0105


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Managing Weight Through SAD Don’t let seasonal affective disorder railroad your healthy habits

BY DR. NORMAN E. ROSENTHAL World-renowned psychiatrist who first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy as a treatment at the National Institute of Mental Health, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. DOCTORNORM



ne of the most insidious and upsetting symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is winter weight gain. Often people with SAD are not energized to do anything about it because so many aspects of life feel like a struggle, from which comfort foods, as their name suggests, offer temporary reprieve. Craving sweets and starches is one of the cardinal symptoms of SAD. At the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), my group and I wondered what it was about carbohydrate-rich foods that made them especially tempting to people with SAD. We conducted a study in which we gave people with SAD, as well as controls, a carbohydrate-rich meal (cookies) on one day and a protein-rich meal on another day. People with SAD responded differently from controls. After eating the cookies, they reported feeling energized and activated, whereas controls felt sedated. We speculated that this activating effect on our patients might be one reason why people with SAD gravitate towards carbohydrate-rich foods, looking for any source of energy they can find to reverse their winter sluggishness and get them moving. Carbohydrate-rich foods are not, however, a dependable source of energy. Relatively soon after eating them people with SAD experience a return to their baseline fatigue, along with craving more sweets and starches. This pattern is not, of course, unique to people with SAD. Many people who struggle to maintain a normal weight level crave carbohydrate-rich foods, which lead to temporary satisfaction but are followed by more craving and more overeating. One biochemical mechanism that drives this pattern of yo-yo eating is the pattern of rising and falling sugar levels in the bloodstream. Simply put: Carb craving • carb binging • increased blood sugar • increased blood insulin secretion • drop in blood sugar • more carb craving. We don’t know exactly why this problem bedevils people with SAD, but one tempting hypothesis zeroes in on the brain neurotransmitter serotonin. Research by John Fernstrom and Richard Wurtman at MIT2 found that carbohydrate-rich foods boost brain serotonin synthesis by a mechanism that can be summarized as follows: Eating carbs • the amino acid tryptophan enters the brain from the plasma • increases serotonin synthesis in the brain (tryptophan is a building block of serotonin). Since various lines of evidence point to a winter deficiency of brain serotonin transmission in people with SAD, they might, without knowing it, have found a readily available but short-lived method for boosting their brain serotonin levels: sweets and starches. There is data suggesting that light therapy reduces carbohydrate craving in people with SAD. Nevertheless, as with many symptoms of SAD, light therapy alone, though valuable, is not usually sufficient for helping people with SAD lose weight and keep it off.

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CARBOHYDRATE ADDICTION Confession: I am a carbohydrate addict. I say that without shame. It is an accident of my biology, and the years have taught me that I have lots of company. I struggled with sugar cravings and recall going to the freezer at night to sample some frozen yogurt, low in fat but high in sugar. The solution, of course, was simple. I had to stop eating sugar-rich foods, which I did years ago. Almost miraculously, my nighttime cravings disappeared. It was a first step towards gaining some control over my weight. But before I recommend any dietary changes, let me suggest that you start with a simple step: measure your weight. Usually, people are stressed about measuring their weight because they don’t want to find out the answer. However, if you want to manage your weight effectively, it is best to measure and track it.

DAILY WEIGHT MEASUREMENTS Regularly weighing yourself is one of the many habits that make it easier to live a healthy life. It is the start of viewing your diet as a scientific study or, dare I say, an adventure! Make sure that you always weigh yourself at the same time of day, wearing the same clothes. First thing in the morning is often best, because that way you will have your weight in mind through the day as a source of inspiration. If you find it too stressful to weigh yourself daily, weigh yourself once a week. The more consistent the data, the easier it will be to manage your weight optimally. Write down your weight in a journal so you have a continuous record and will be able to infer what causes you to gain or lose weight and how successful you are over time. If you gain or lose weight make note of the likely cause, such as dinner at a fancy restaurant or an impulsive visit to a fast-food joint.

DISTINGUISH BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD CARBOHYDRATES Avoid pure sugars wherever possible. The most common culprits are cakes, cookies, candy, and sugary sodas. Other high-impact carbs include potatoes, pasta, and white rice. The main reason why these carbs are designated as “bad” or “high-impact” is that they have a high glycemic index, i.e. they are readily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, where they rapidly raise blood sugar levels. People vary with regard to how well they tolerate artificial sweeteners. Some find that they trigger sugar cravings and cause them to eat more, while others seem to tolerate them better. Determine what role, if any, such sweeteners have in your life. If you need some sweetness in your coffee but find that sweeteners trigger your cravings, consider adding cinnamon instead.

SEEK OUT HEALTHY CARBOHYDRATES There is general agreement that one of the healthiest diets is the

so-called Mediterranean diet, which draws on the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean. Healthy carbohydrates are a key part of this diet and include legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils, unrefined grains, fruits, and vegetables. In general, these foods have a lower glycemic index than those mentioned above. If your diet contains a minimum amount of refined carbohydrates and a balance between healthy carbohydrates and proteins such as you find in the Mediterranean diet, you are likely to experience fewer cravings without sacrificing flavour and variety.


There is some evidence that going without food for periods of time, for example more than twelve hours, produces healthy changes in the metabolism. Before this twelve-hour transition point, the body’s main energy source is the breakdown of glycogen in the liver. Thereafter we derive energy mostly from breakdown of fat, which produces chemicals called ketone bodies. There is evidence in animals, and possibly humans, that some degree of fasting, with its resulting metabolic effects, may be beneficial both for weight control and as an anti-aging strategy. If you want to try a very mild form of daily fasting, as I do, consider timerestricted eating. For example, not eating after dinner and waiting until say 11:00 a.m. or noon the next day before breaking your fast. That way, all your daily eating can be compressed into about eight hours. It may be interesting to experiment with this for a week or two and see how it works for you. January and February are the peak months for SAD in the northern hemisphere, so be aware of those carbohydrate-rich food cravings, which energize in the short term but are soon followed by rebound sedation and lethargy. Adopt the attitude of a scientist seeking to understand the workings of your body. No one diet is right for everyone, so you need to find which one is right for you. G&D Media grants permission for IMPACT Magazine to feature this excerpt from the weight management chapter of Defeating SAD by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.

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How to Beat Those Potato Chip Cravings Find healthy ways to satisfy your cravings for crunch BY OCEAN ROBBINS Author, speaker, facilitator and father who co-founded the Food Revolution Network, based in Santa Cruz, CA. FOODREVOLUTIONNETWORK


ood manufacturers and marketers have known about the importance of crunchiness for consumer pleasure—and addictiveness—for decades. In the 1960s, Lay’s potato chips slogan was, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” And they almost always won that bet. So what’s the deal? Why is crunchy food so appealing? And what are some crunchy, healthy alternatives to potato chips, Cheetos, pretzels, and other staples of the crunch-iverse? Through much of our history, our species survived on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and probably insects. For all these foods, crispness is a reliable signifier of freshness and a better nutritional profile. And a likelihood that the food is free from harmful pathogens like molds and bacteria. So, it makes sense that our brains still rely on crackle and crunch as shorthand for “good for us.”

THE PROBLEM WITH MANY CRUNCHY SNACKS If crunchiness was a reliable signal of healthy food back in the day, in the modern world, it’s pretty much the opposite. 1. They’re highly processed. Not to belabour the point, but these are not whole and fresh plant foods anymore. Most snacks like potato chips are highly processed, with pretty much all fibre removed. They’re loaded with excess sodium, unhealthy fats, flavourings, and sometimes added sugars. 2. They’re addictive. In fact, they’re engineered to be addictive. We have an inherited preference for energy-rich foods since our ancestors, who sought out and pigged out on foods high in sugar and fat, were more likely to survive famines and thus pass their genes (and preferences) on to us. In terms of addiction, puffed snacks like Cheetos may be the perfect storm. Not only are they calorically dense, but because they “melt” so quickly and completely in our mouths, our brains register them as non-caloric and don’t send out any satiety signals.

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3. They’re high in inflammatory oils. Most crunchy snacks are high in corn oil, soybean oil, or canola oil as well. These oils are used because they’re the cheapest; however, they’re often GMO, loaded with inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, and vulnerable to oxidation and the production of free radicals in our bodies. 4. They’re high in refined sugar and flour. Cereals, cookies, and crackers are also high in fructose corn syrup, or sugar made from GMO beets. Add in refined flours, and these snacks hit our brains like a drug, generating powerful dopamine releases that keep us craving and addicted. 5. They’re high in sodium. Excess sodium is another means of getting us addicted to crunchy foods. A little salt adds flavour, but the sodium content in many crunchy snacks is off the charts. A two-ounce bag of Cheetos contains 500 mg of sodium, which is about one-third of the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit. Too much sodium is implicated in hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and many other conditions. 6. They’re full of additives. Oh, and let’s not forget the additives that render these snacks shelf-stable for geologic timeframes. Preservatives, colourings, and other additives of questionable safety are turning many of our snacks into time capsules—if we can keep our hands off them, that is. Even so-called “natural” additives may never have been tested for safety, and there’s plenty of reason to suspect they may not be great for us. And although many processed crunchy snacks are originally made with plant-based foods (mainly potatoes, corn, and wheat), they lose most of their nutritional value during processing. In general, the further a food product is from its natural form, the less it retains its healthful nutritional properties.

Our brains still rely on crackle and crunch as shorthand for “good for us.”

7. Ingredients are often low-quality To maximize profits, manufacturers will source the cheapest ingredients for their products — many of which are low in quality and nutritional value. Thanks to government food subsidies, the price of processed foods in the U.S. has decreased by a whopping 20-30 per cent over the last four decades.

HOW TO MAKE CRUNCHY SNACKS You can “crunchify” some foods and snacks by how you cook them. Baking, roasting, broiling, and air-frying are common methods, although any heat that removes moisture without burning can do the trick. To add flavour to your crunch, you can use spice mixes and seasonings. For example, bake kale and other veggies into chips in your oven without oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, smoked paprika, and/or nutritional yeast on top for an umami and cheesy taste. You can also remove the water from fruits and vegetables by dehydrating them at low temperatures for a longer time, using your oven or a dedicated dehydrator. You can make your own crackers, too, giving you full control over the kinds and quality of ingredients: whole grain, nut flours, high-quality oils, and zesty seasonings in place of excessive salt. You may not think of cooked beans as crunchy, but it’s easy and quick and inexpensive to toss your chickpeas or white beans with spices and bake them until crispy. They make great snacks on their own, or as a mouth-pleasing addition to salads. And if you’re a fan of crunchy breakfast cereals, without the processed ingredients, there’s always homemade granola, with dried oats, nuts, fruit, and seeds coated in a sweet date paste and baked until crunchy. Crunchy snacks can be tasty and convenient. But most store-bought options can be addicting and loaded with concerning ingredients, and they lack nutrition. You can still get a satisfying crunch and crispiness without the negative effects on your health by eating a variety of whole foods, either raw or in some cases by baking or other preparation methods. Next time that crunch craving hits, reach for one of these healthy, crunchy snacks.

HEALTHY FOODS THAT ARE CRUNCHY Remember the notion that we like crunchy foods because crunch once signified “good for us”? Well, there are still plenty of opportunities for healthy crunch in the modern world. Here’s a short list of raw and minimally processed foods to turn to when you need a snap, crackle, or crunch in your mouth: • Apples • Celery • Carrots • Jicama • Peppers • Cabbage and kimchi • Brussels sprouts • Broccoli • Cauliflower • Radishes • Water chestnuts • Cucumbers and pickles • Snap peas • Nuts • Seeds • Popcorn (only healthy if you don’t put unhealthy things on it!) • Rice cakes

This article is edited for length and reprinted with permission of the Food Revolution Network.

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NUTRIENT TIMING How to plan your workout nutrition to optimize your performance BY ZUZANA FAJKUSOVA

NIKKI LEFLER Personal wellness coach, author of The Vegan Weight Loss Manifesto and Plan Powered Athlete, from Vancouver, B.C. ACTIVEVEGETARIAN


rawing from the wisdom of Bruce Lee, life's essence is woven from the threads of time, each moment a treasured building block. As we navigate the intricate landscape of nutrition and its synergetic relationship with our active lifestyle, we uncover a powerful strategy that can re-define how we approach peak performance. This strategy involves the precise timing of nutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats— before, during and after exercise. This deliberate orchestration of nutrients can reshape not only your athletic performance but also your overall vitality, recovery and results.

MASTERING NUTRIENT TIMING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE Nutrient timing is a science that goes beyond what you eat; it's about when you eat it. The concept revolves around consuming specific nutrients at specific moments to harness their potential to the fullest. This strategic alignment can support tissue repair, energy restoration, muscle growth, and overall athletic gains. Conversely, neglecting the power of nutrient timing can leave your training efforts lacking. Although this idea might seem complicated at the beginning, I want to assure you that it's well within your ability to understand and implement. Keep reading to gain a deeper understanding of the concept, explore the simple meal suggestions, and apply this knowledge to achieve exceptional results. Remember, nutrient timing is a flexible strategy, adaptable to your preferences and workout routines. Experiment with these suggestions, listen to your body, and fine-tune your approach to find what works best for you.

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Why eat? Supply the necessary energy to sustain physical efforts during the training session. What to eat? To ensure your body is well-fuelled before exercise, opt for easily digestible meals that are rich in simple unprocessed carbohydrates. Depending on the type of activity you are partaking in a hint of protein and healthy fats could be added. • Fresh fruit is the most convenient pre-workout food that comes straight from the earth. Plus, fruit is easily digestible and a great on-the-go option. • Dates with almond butter is a great pairing of high-glycemic, easily digestible carbs and healthy fats that give you both immediate and sustained energy. Plus, it tastes delicious. • Beet juice is rich in nitrates, so drinking it pre-workout will help facilitate more nitric oxide production within the body. That means you’ll be able to power through a workout more efficiently. When to eat? Aim to consume your pre-workout snack 30–60 minutes before your exercise session.

Why eat? Replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration and cramping, sustaining energy levels and protecting muscle tissue. What to eat? For longer or more intense workouts, keep your body hydrated with clean, electrolyte-rich beverages. If your session demands, consider easily digestible sources of carbohydrates such as: • Coconut water with a pinch of unrefined sea salt. • A homemade electrolyte drink made with chia seeds, lemon juice, filtered water and a touch of raw agave nectar. • Energy gels containing natural sugars (e.g., dates) and essential electrolytes are a good option for workouts lasting 90+ minutes. When to eat? Consume fluids and quick-energy sources every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise, adapting to factors like heat and intensity.



Why eat? Optimizing glycogen recovery, facilitating muscle repair, and supporting immune function. What to eat? Aim for a balanced ratio of carbohydrates to protein, between 3:1 and 4:1, to replenish glycogen stores and promote muscle recovery. Choices include: • A post-workout smoothie with banana, kale, hemp seeds, and coconut water. • Baked sweet potato with a drizzle of tahini and sprinkle of cinnamon. • A simple homemade energy bar made with whole food ingredients like dried fruits sprouted nuts or seeds, and some superfoods that support recovery such as maca or turmeric. When to eat? Consume your post-workout refuel within 15 to 60 minutes after exercising to maximize nutrient absorption.

Why eat? Supporting tissue repair, and muscle growth, reducing inflammation and promoting overall well-being. What to eat? Craft a balanced, nutrient-rich meal comprising complex carbohydrates, easily digestible protein, and healthy fats. Consider these options: • Quinoa salad with mixed vegetables, chickpeas, and a tahini lime dressing. • Red lentil dhal and a side of brown rice. • A smoothie bowl topped with chia seeds, hemp hearts, and sliced fruit. • Superfoods that support recovery such as maca or turmeric.

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Beyond the Bun How nutritious are plant-based burgers? BY CHANA DAVIS, PH.D Geneticist who loves helping others use science to make healthy choices. Based in Vancouver, B.C. FUELEDBYSCIENCE


lant-based patties that closely replicate beef are everywhere, from the supermarket meat aisles to fast-food drive-throughs and gourmet restaurants. These meaty products are nothing like the old school veggie burgers we know and love, and many people are unsure what to make of them. Should you embrace meaty veggie burgers? It makes sense that there’s a lot of confusion and controversy around whether or not these burgers can be part of a healthy diet. On the one hand, they come from plants, taste decadent, and avoid the many downsides of meat. Compared to beef, they are better for your health, cruelty-free, and friendlier to the planet. On the other hand, they bear little to no resemblance to the veggies that went into them. Due to their processed nature and long ingredient list, plant-based burgers have been challenged not only by the meat industry, but also by whole foods devotees, and labelled as “processed junk food.” For many, it’s clear that plant-based burgers are a better choice than beef. For vegans, it’s not as simple. It depends a lot on what you’d be eating otherwise, how you consume them, and how they fit into your bigger picture. Let’s take a closer look at what these burgers do – and do not – deliver. The main nutritional downside of faux meat patties is what they lack—they have lost much of the fibre, vitamins, minerals,

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and phytonutrients that whole plants provide, due to processing. A plant-based meat mimic usually only has a few grams of fibre, roughly half of what you’d get in a store-bought traditional veggie patty (such as Dr. Praegar), and far less than a bowl of whole legumes. These patties definitely don’t count towards your daily veggies! On the plus side, plant-based burgers deliver an impressive whack of high-quality plant-based protein. Most plant-based meat mimics contain around 20 grams of protein per patty (typically from soy or pea protein isolates), which is on par with a typical ground beef patty (80 per cent beef, 20 per cent fat). For anyone looking to dial up their protein to support muscle growth, this is an easy way to get a boost. Many meat analogues also provide valuable vitamins and minerals that vegans often need to boost, including iron and vitamin B12. (See nutritional chart). Other aspects of the nutritional profile, like fat, sodium, and calorie content, can’t simply be defined as “good” or “bad” because the right answer for you depends on a few factors. Meat-like plant-based patties typically contain a generous serving of fats, to the tune of 14 to 18 grams per patty. Most of this fat is from unsaturated vegetable oils (like canola oil), but a decent portion (5 to 8 grams) is from saturated fats (e.g. coconut oil), that give a richer texture and mouthfeel. The fats in these patties can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, but don’t fit well into an ultra-low-fat diet.







287 kcal

240 kcal

250 kcal

130 kcal


19 g

19 g

20 g



23 g

14 g

18 g


Saturated Fat




0.5 g





16 g



<1 g

<1 g








75 mg

370 mg

390 mg

250 mg


2.2 mg (12% DV)

4.5 mg (25% DV)

4 mg (25% DV)

1.8mg (10% DV)

Vitamin B12

2.3 mcg (38% DV)

1.5 mcg (25% DV)

1.1 mcg (18% DV)

0mcg (0% DV)

The sodium content of processed plant-based burgers is worth paying attention to. On the high end, some patties contain nearly 400 mg of sodium, about one sixth of the 2,300 mg that most of us should aim to stay well under. This amount of sodium is not a deal-breaker for most of us, but could be challenging for those following low-sodium diets. Sodium levels can also be concerning if we regularly frequent fast-food joints where plant-based burgers commonly deliver over 1,000 mg thanks to heaps of sodium in the bun and sauces (not to mention the fries!) Notably, store-bought bean patties and many other processed veggie products are not far behind when it comes to sodium. The overall calorie content of processed plant-based burgers is high compared to most legume-based patties, at roughly 240 to 250 kcal per patty. Calories are not inherently bad, but, for optimal health we want most of our calories to be nutrient rich. The impact of a plant-based patty on overall energy intake and nutrient density depends a lot on how it’s served. A patty served at home on a whole wheat bun with a generous salad can still be a nutrient-dense meal. On the other hand, a 1,000-calorie fast-food burger on a white bun with lots of sauce and a side of fries, is not. Whether or not the calorie count matters also depends on your energy needs and goals: are you a young, active person with high energy demands, or an older person who is trying to lose weight?

One final aspect worth understanding is ingredients that may be unfamiliar. These ingredients have all been tested and approved by regulators as safe (in moderation) and become a lot less scary once you understand them. For example, leghemoglobin is used to make burgers ‘bleed’ and cook like beef. It may sound scary, but it’s nothing more than a plant-based version of the hemoglobin that flows through our bodies and helps carry iron. In nature, leghemoglobin is found in the root nodules of certain legumes (like soy). For efficiency, leghemoglobin is often made using microbial fermentation. While we may yearn to label foods as "good" or "bad,” reality is often more nuanced. When choosing what to eat, we need to consider the health and nutritional profile of the whole meal, what we would be eating otherwise, and our overall dietary goals. Personal preference is another important factor. You may find the thought of meat disgusting, while someone else may miss the taste of meat (like my husband) and find that meat analogues help them happily abstain from the real thing. Finally, there’s something to be said for moderation, and for not letting perfect be the enemy of good. Remember, not all plant-based burgers on the market are created alike, and preparing your own versions with whole foods will always yield the healthiest results.

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Spiced Blueberry Breakfast Cake

This indulgent loaf is packed with protein and will keep you satisfied all morning long RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NISHA VORA The author of The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook and creator of Rainbow Plant Life, a vegan food blog, based in San Diego, CA. RAINBOWPLANTLIFE



ade with almond milk, applesauce and whole grain spelt flour, this is the perfect recipe to start your day with. You won’t have to worry about getting enough protein with this spiced blueberry breakfast cake as each serving provides 10 grams.

Prep Time – 20 minutes Cook Time – 1 hour

Serves 10



• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the paper extend by a few inches to make it easy to remove the cake. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, maple syrup, coconut sugar, almond butter, almond milk and vanilla extract until smooth. 3. In a large bowl, combine 1 ¾ cups of the spelt flour, the rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda and salt. 4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring to combine with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. 5. In a small bowl, combine the blueberries with the remaining 2 Tbsp. spelt flour, tossing to coat (this prevents the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Using a rubber spatula, fold the blueberries and chopped pistachios into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 6. Bake the loaf until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan on top of a wire rack, then lift the bread out of the pan using the parchment as handles. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1 cup unsweetened applesauce ¼ cup maple syrup ½ cup coconut sugar ½ cup almond butter or cashew butter 1 cup almond milk 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract 1 ¾ cups whole-grain spelt flour + 2 Tbsp., divided ½ cup rolled oats 2 tsp. ground cinnamon ½ tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tsp. ground ginger ½ tsp. ground allspice ½ tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. baking soda ¼ tsp. fine sea salt 1 ½ cup fresh or defrosted frozen blueberries ½ cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped

Nutrition facts per serving Calories 371; protein 10 g; fat 12 g; carbs 56 g.

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Creamy Sweet Potato Soup with Red Lentils & Hemp Hearts A great side or full meal for those chilly days RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY HEIDI RICHTER Food photographer and recipe developer on Vancouver Island, B.C. THE_ SIMPLE_GREEN



super creamy blend of sweet potatoes, red lentils and the flavour and nutrition of hemp hearts. This dairy-free soup has a slight sweetness rounded out with notes of garlic, ginger and optional cider vinegar. Plus, it’s also gluten-free.

Prep Time – 10 minutes Cook Time – 35 minutes

Serves 8



• • • • • • • • • • • • •

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the diced onions, garlic and ginger and cook until slightly browned and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add the sweet potatoes, turmeric, crushed tomatoes, red lentils and stir to combine. Add in the filtered water and stir to combine. 2. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and lentils are fully cooked. 3. Remove the pot from the heat. Add in the hemp hearts and coconut milk (and optional apple cider vinegar) and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired. 4. Serve with a sprinkle of hemp hearts for garnish and fresh cracked pepper.

2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1 small white onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced ½ tsp. ground turmeric 1 cup split red lentils, rinsed 1 can of crushed tomatoes 5 cups filtered water ⅓ cup hemp hearts 1 cup full-fat coconut milk salt & pepper to taste 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (optional)

Nutrition facts per serving Calories 213; protein 10 g; fat 10 g; carbs 23 g.

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Healthy Buddha Bowl

This veg-packed Buddha bowl makes for an easy, healthy lunch or dinner RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH SUNDERANI Founder and creator of Two Spoons in Toronto, ON. TWOSPOONS.CA



his vegan and Healthy Buddha Bowl takes 15 minutes to throw together. It's gluten-free and easy. Made with an abundance of fresh veg on a bed of quinoa with mustard paprika dressing.

Prep Time – 30 minutes

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS Buddah Bowl • • • • • • •

1 heaping cup quinoa, cooked* 1 handful baby greens (spinach or lamb’s lettuce) ¼ cup cucumber, chopped ½ zucchini, spiralized or grated 1/3 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced ½ cup edamame beans 1 avocado

Mustard Paprika Dressing • • • • • •

2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, finely chopped ½ tsp. paprika pinch salt

DIRECTIONS 1. Prepare the veg: chop cucumber, spiralize zucchini using a spiralizer (or grate with a cheese grater), and thinly slice cabbage using a mandoline or a sharp knife. If using frozen edamame, steam for 3-5 minutes until al-dente. 2. Between two bowls, divide cooked quinoa*, leafy greens, cucumber, zucchini, cabbage, edamame beans, and avocado.

3. Prepare dressing by mixing oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, diced garlic, paprika and salt. Stir well with a fork to combine. Pour dressing over the Buddha Bowl, using as much as desired.

NOTE: *To make 1 cup of cooked quinoa: combine 1/3 cup quinoa and 2/3 cup water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. I like to prepare a big batch of quinoa to last me through the week, so it's ready for Buddha bowls like this. Quinoa will keep in the fridge for up to one week. Mustard Paprika Dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. I've used a spiralizer to make my zucchini into noodles; however, it's not necessary for this recipe. If you don't have one, simply grate the zucchini using a cheese grater. I've used a mandoline to thinly slice my cabbage; however, it's not necessary for this recipe. If you don't have one, simply slice the cabbage very thinly with a sharp knife.

Nutrition facts per serving Calories 465; protein 11 g; fat 32 g; carbs 28 g.

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Sprouted Coronation Chickpeas An innovative take on a traditional curry recipe RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY RUSSELL JAMES

The Raw Chef, the UK’s leading raw-food chef has taught at culinary academies across the US and is known for his beautiful presentation and expertise in the gourmet raw food world. THERAWCHEF



oronation chicken is a very British creation by chefs for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s. It’s essentially chicken in curry mayo, so the idea lends itself well to doing a raw version… what could possibly go wrong with a bunch of cashews and curry powder?

Serves 1-2

INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • • • • • •

¾ cup cashews ¼ tsp. salt 1 tsp. lime juice 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 1 Tbsp. curry powder, mild 4 sundried tomatoes, halved and soaked until soft ¾ cup water, preferably the soaked water from the sundried tomatoes 1 ½ cups sprouted chickpeas 2 Tbsp. red onion, finely diced ½ tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. black pepper ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS 1. Blend the cashews, salt, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, curry powder, sundried tomato halves and water in a high-speed blender. Set aside. 2. In a bowl, crush the sprouted chickpeas with a fork, leaving some texture to them. Some people digest chickpeas better when they have been steamed for 5 minutes first. If this is you, sprout them, and then store them. 3. Add the onion, apricots, salt, black pepper and cilantro to the bowl and mix well. 4. Add the curry cashew sauce to the chickpeas and combine, ready for serving. 5. Serve on lightly dressed greens or enjoy with your favourite bread. Nutrition facts per serving Calories 1436; protein 69 g; fat 56 g; carbs 199 g.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos Transform your tacos with one simple ingredient

RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY BY ELIZABETH EMERY Recipe developer and creator of Vancouver with Love, a fully plant-based food blog, based in Vancouver, B.C. VANCOUVERWITHLOVE



hese Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos with refried beans are colourful, protein-packed and taste incredible. Plus, they're really easy to make, and they are gluten free.

I don't know what it is about the humble little ingredient of sweet potatoes but let me promise you, you won't regret trying this recipe.

Prep Time – 15 minutes Cook Time – 30 minutes

Makes 8

INGREDIENTS Roasted Sweet Potatoes • • • •

1 large sweet potato/yam, cut roughly into 1.5 cm cubes 1 Tbsp. coconut oil Sea salt to taste 1 tsp. chili powder

Tacos • • • • • • • • •

8 soft corn tortillas 1 ¼ cups heated refried beans ⅔ cup your favourite salsa ⅔ cup vegan cheese shreds (optional) ½ cup red cabbage sauerkraut (or just thinly sliced red cabbage) 1 cup sliced avocado or guacamole ½ cup cooked sweet corn kernels Small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped lime wedges

DIRECTIONS 1. Make the roasted sweet potatoes: Preheat your oven to 400 F. 2. Toss the sweet potatoes in the coconut oil and chili powder and spread across a large baking tray. Season to taste with sea salt. 3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping once midway through. When cooked, removed from the oven and set aside.

4. To assemble the tacos: Prepare all filling ingredients as described above. 5. Heat each corn tortilla as per package instructions (usually: add 1 tsp. water to a hot skillet and add your tortilla to it immediately. Heat for approx. 15 seconds per side, then wrap in a towel to keep warm and flexible). 6. Fill each tortilla with the sweet potato, refried beans, salsa, vegan cheese (if using), sauerkraut, avocado and sweetcorn. Sprinkle over the chopped cilantro. 7. Drizzle lime juice over just before serving and enjoy.

NOTE: Refried beans: I strongly recommend using refried beans and not regular as they are already seasoned. If you use regular beans, your tacos will taste a lot plainer. Feel free to use any type of refried beans though, as it doesn't really matter which you use. I like pinto beans myself, but black beans are also great. For vegan cheese, I personally really like Daiya mozzarella shreds. If you're not a fan, you could also omit the cheese, as it's totally optional.

Nutrition facts per serving Calories 203; protein 6 g; fat 8 g; carbs 29 g.

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Paella with Sausage A traditional Spanish dish with a plant-based spin BY JEAN-PHILIPPE CYR DOMINIQUE LAFOND CYR A classically trained chef who dedicates his time to creating simple and tasty vegan recipes for his website, The Buddhist Chef, and his bestselling book by the same name. Based in Quebec. THE_BUDDHIST_CHEF



ew varieties of plant-based meats are constantly appearing on grocery store shelves. Vegan sausages are one of my favourite products so far. Plant-based meat is practical, fast, and delicious. In short, “It does the job,” as my father used to say. In this paella recipe, I also add nori, the type of seaweed used to make sushi. Along with the vegan sausage, it creates the surf ‘n’ turf flavour that makes paella so delicious.

Prep Time – 40 minutes Cook Time – 65 minutes

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

6 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided 4 spicy vegan sausages 2 portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced 1 large onion, minced 1 orange bell pepper, diced 1 can hearts of palm, drained, rinsed, and sliced into rounds 5 cloves garlic, minced 1 sheet nori, minced ½ cup dry white wine 2 ½ cups vegetable broth 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed ¼ cup nutritional yeast 2 Tbsp. maple syrup 2 tsp. smoked paprika 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. dried oregano 1 tsp. dried basil ½ tsp. dried thyme ¼ tsp. ground turmeric ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper 1 generous pinch saffron threads Lemon wedges, for garnish Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

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DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. 2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat half of the oil. Add the sausages and cook for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the sausages from the pot, slice into rounds, and set aside. 3. In the same pot, heat the remaining oil, then add the mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the hearts of palm, garlic, and nori, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. 4. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the reserved sausages and the garnishes, and return to a boil. Transfer the mixture to a 10 x 15-inch baking dish. 5. Bake for 25 minutes. Arrange the sausage rounds over the paella and bake for 15 minutes. 6. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Nutrition facts per serving Calories 330; protein 11 g; fat 27 g; carbs 30 g. Excerpted from The Buddhist Chef’s Homestyle Cooking by Jean-Philippe Cyr. Copyright © 2023 Jean-Philippe Photographs by Dominique Lafond Cyr. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars

A quick and nutritious snack that’s packed with plant protein

RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAROLINE DOUCET A registered dietitian based in Vancouver, B.C. She has a private practice where she helps clients eat more plants and improve their relationship with food. She also shares simple vegan recipes and non-diet nutrition tips on her website NOURISHEDBYCAROLINE



hese easy and nutritious no-bake granola bars are packed with protein from sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter and hemp hearts. They’re also gluten-free, vegan and sweetened with dates. No protein powder needed. One small serving packs over 7 g of protein and a good dose of healthy unsaturated fats.

Prep Time – 15 minutes Total Time – 15 minutes

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • •

1 ½ cup rolled oats 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted ½ cup sunflower seeds ¼ cup hemp hearts ¼ cup sunflower seed butter, smooth 3 Tbsp. water (or melted coconut oil) 1 tsp. vanilla extract ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate, chopped

DIRECTIONS 1. Add the oats, dates, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, sunflower seed butter and vanilla to a food processor. Process until combined. The mixture will be crumbly. 2. Add water (or coconut oil), one tablespoon at a time and process until the mixture sticks together when pressed. You might not need all three tablespoons if your dates are softer and stickier. 3. Chop your chocolate into small-medium chunks and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate into the mixture. 4. Press the mixture at the bottom of a small dish. Keep covered in the fridge or freezer. They're great when eaten straight out of the freezer!

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NOTE: The bars will crumble a little if you try to cut them when warm. If you have the time, it’s best to chill the bars for at least one hour before cutting, but this is not necessary. Make sure to use vegan chocolate to make this recipe completely vegan. You can chop a chocolate bar or use chocolate chips if preferred. Feel free to substitute the sunflower seeds in this recipe with pumpkin seeds. If you don’t have a nut allergy, you can also use cashews, walnuts or other nuts of choice. You can substitute the hemp hearts for ground flax seeds or chia seeds. However, hemp hearts will have a bit more protein. I use original Sunbutter, which is a little sweet and adds a nice flavour. Unsweetened sunflower seed butter will have more of a bitter taste. If you don’t have sunflower seed butter, you can use other nut and seed butter. Keep in mind that it will change the flavour of these bars, so make sure to use a nut or seed butter that you enjoy.

Nutrition facts per serving Calories 384; protein 7 g; fat 20 g; carbs 49 g.



In Honour of Slow Life doesn’t have to be fast paced. You can still achieve goals by slowing down and enjoying the moment.

BY CHELSEA CLARKE A Toronto-based health and wellness writer with an obsession for sparking new perspectives on old ideas. CHELSEA _ _CLARKE


t’s a typical day. You race through the morning routine so you can race through the workday to race through your workout and race back home again. But in all this racing, are you really getting anywhere? Our society constantly demands more, better, faster. We strive to become the “best” version of ourselves—as athletes and high performers, setting and smashing goals could be considered a favourite pastime. But in climbing the never-ending ladder to “success”—a destination that has a preoccupation with moving its goal post—all this rushing around might be taking us further away from figuring out how to enjoy the ride. This season, we challenge you to implement the opposite of society’s relentless demand for more. We challenge you to slow down—in all things—and see if there’s joy there. We can’t give you more hours in the day. But there may be some pockets that you can intentionally slow down enough to practice being present. It could show up in your workouts. If you’re pressed for time or just aren’t feeling the workout you set out to accomplish today, maybe you opt for a short H.I.I.T. workout or try a new class at your gym. We’d bet that listening to what your body is asking for will

88 I Fall Fitness & Food Issue 2023 I IMPACT MAGAZINE

net you better recovery time, less susceptibility to injuries, and increased energy. You might even make a new friend or find out you have no coordination whatsoever in a barre class—but that being there brings happiness. These positives are worth more than any one skipped or modified training session. Or maybe you could make a point to slow down during dinnertime. It doesn’t have to be every night. Maybe there’s one day a week you find a recipe that looks delicious and take the time to prepare it. To taste as you go, to smell the fragrant spices, to sip a glass of kombucha as you admire your creation. Then put it on a plate. At a table. And chew. While you listen to your partner talk about their day, or read a few pages of your book, or maybe you do absolutely nothing at all besides savour each bite. Your digestion will thank you. Your stress levels will thank you. There’s no denying that our society praises a fast pace, and sometimes we need to be a part of that. But perhaps carving out slower moments to find peace, joy, and happiness in your day-today life is the simple rebellion that’ll bring you closer to achieving your version of success—and let you actually enjoy it.

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