IMPACT Magazines Inspiration Issue 2022

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Canada’s Top


BREATHWORK and Athletic Performance


JAHMEEK MURRAY Featured as one of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers

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Canada’s Top


BREATHWORK and Athletic Performance


KELSEY JACK Featured as one of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers

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Canada’s Top


BREATHWORK and Athletic Performance


PAUL ANTHONY Featured as one of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers

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What will you accomplish

We’ll help you eat more plants. And fuel your health through cooking. Because we believe a vibrant life starts with what you put on your plate. So come cook with us.


CONTENTS Cover photography by Emma E. Arsenault

Feature 46



Inside Every Issue


22 Nature Rx 24 IMPACT Book Reviews FINAL IMPACT

104 The Future Generation of Fitness WORKOUT

26 Body-Weight Workout for Everybody 30 Total Body One-Dumbbell Moves FITNESS

34 Test Your Fitness Levels 36 How to Make the Most out of the Climbing Gym



42 Posture for Performance 86 Blood Flow Restriction Training 88 Fuelling for Health and Performance H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

38 Take a Breath 44 Finding Calm for Better Health & Well-Being 82 7 Yoga Poses for Sleep 84 Morning Routines 90 Sleep for Better Performance 92 An Ounce of Prevention 94 Keep Moving to Stay Young AT H L E T E S W I T H I M PAC T

78 A Champion On and Off the Ice 80 For the Love of Running S U S TA I N A B L I LT Y

96 A Guide to Zero-Waste Living

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98 Cauliflower Steak with Chimichurri Sauce 100 Red Chili & Mustard Seed Apple Slaw 102 Vegan Strawberry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream



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DISCOVER CANADA’S NEWEST SPORTS EXPERIENCE Decathlon’s model of making sports accessible to all is creating waves across Canada


ecathlon isn’t your ordinary sports store, it’s a hub where sports enthusiasts of all ages can not only shop for affordable products but test them out before they buy. With over 65 sports and 7,000 products, the French company has been transforming sports and outdoor shopping habits since it opened its first store in Canada in 2018. Now with 11 stores in Canada, including their retail and automated warehouse concept store that opened in Calgary in November, sports have never been more accessible.

“As we design and manufacture our own products, we challenge teams throughout the supply chain to gain efficiencies through volume and innovation, all in the name of making sports more accessible.”

“The benefits of sports on physical and mental health are huge. So having a positive impact on society is also core to our mission,” adds Lee. This philosophy resonates from the ground up through their employees who are empowered to share ideas and take initiative, such as forming a Diversity JAYLONE LEE – DECATHLON’S CMO and Inclusion Committee in 2021.

Participating in sports shouldn’t be a luxury.

Decathlon is addressing the many barriers preventing people from being active; namely affordability, lack of equipment, little sport knowledge and access to a place to practice. Their team of sports specialists enthusiastically offer advice and all stores have test zones and offer sports classes in their gymnasia – known as “Decadiums”.

“Participating in sports shouldn’t be a luxury,” says Jaylone Lee, Decathlon’s CMO. Their fair pricing policy backs that up.

Sponsored Content

From the company’s commitment to inclusion and accessibility in sports came the idea to create ability signs. “We wondered what would happen if we could make the traditional static wheelchair symbol more active,” says Lee. The result was a series of modified symbols depicting various sports. When the symbols were launched in August 2021, the response was overwhelmingly positive. “We were honoured that Plaine Commune,

All Decathlon stores offer test zones and sports classes in their gymnasia – known as “Decadiums”.

the territory North of Paris where the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics will be held, decided to deploy ability signs across some of their parking spots,” adds Lee. Despite their popularity Decathlon has no intention to market the symbols commercially and all of them are available for free download at “We are just at the beginning of a journey to change our perception of disabilities, and we invite anyone and everyone to partake.” Decathlon plans to continue its expansion across Canada. Its next confirmed store opening will be a Decathlon City store at Union Station in Toronto in Summer 2022, with additional GTA store openings expected to be announced throughout the year.



14 ST SW





1.2KM • 5KM • 10KM • 21.1KM • 42.2KM • 50KM

Photo by A Barrett Photography

Get off the beaten track.

For the ultimate adventure head to Golden, B.C.

In the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, sitting at the confluence of two historic rivers and surrounded by six of Canada’s most stunning national parks you will find the mountain adventure town of Golden. Golden is a paradise for those seeking unrefined adventure and a wide variety of outdoor activities, including some of the best hiking opportunities in Western Canada. Choose from easy trails to challenging overnight hikes, all with spectacular scenery. Use the interactive ‘My Golden Experience Finder’ to help you to uncover your own unique Golden adventure. Help keep our community and visitors safe: Remember to check the latest public health advisories and follow the protocols. Find more hints and tips on travelling safely and responsibly at

Start planning:









Enjoy four films about trail running, thru-hiking and fat biking on some of the world’s most demanding trails, and be inspired by these great feats of endurance. The North American Premiere of Dear Pippa explores confronting fear, discovering vulnerability, and an evolving definition of bravery; and the Canadian Premiere of Journey to 100, follows small-town elementary school teacher, Jason Hardrath, on his journey to set 100 FKTs.

This show is for those who crave stories of ice, snow and exposure. Journey to the highest peaks through these five films, which include the North American Premieres of I Am North, that follows alpinist, Caro North, to the icy heights of Switzerland where she feels most at home; and Journey to Jagdula a celebratory recount of an expedition completed by six women in the 1960’s to a remote part of Nepal.


BEST OF MOUNTAIN CULTURE SHOW Four films highlighting the diverse lives and characters that make up our mountain communities; from the Himalayas and Europe, to the Canadian Rockies. Including Durga: Forging a New Trail, about defying cultural, societal and familial expectations to pursue an independent life; and Rockies Repeat, where Indigenous and settler artists race to capture a disappearing landscape, as climate change threatens the future.


FEB 25 — MAR 27 / 2022

INSPIRATION ISSUE VOLUME 31, ISSUE 2 A leader in the industry for 30 years, 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.


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© 2022 Impact Productions Inc.



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.


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CONTRIBUTORS RICHIE BOSTOCK Richie is a leading figure and facilitator, author and speaker for Breathwork in Dubai, UAE. He works on employee well-being initiatives with companies such as Google, Amazon and Unilever. THEBREATHGUY WWW.THEBREATHGUY.COM

TODD DUNCAN Todd is a professional photographer specializing in commercial and fashion photography in Vancouver, B.C. His work has taken him from New York to Bogota including shoots for the NFL to Cirque de Soleil. TODDDUNCANSTUDIOS



ZUZANA FAJKUSOVA Zuzana is a personal wellness coach and author of The Vegan Weight Loss Manifesto and Plant Powered Athlete. She passionately lives an active and sustainable lifestyle in Vancouver, B.C. ACTIVEVEGETARIAN



DR. STUART MCGILL Professor McGill at the University of Waterloo knows backs better than anyone out there. Read his evidence-based approach to understanding the importance of posture and back alignment. BACKFITPRO WWW.BACKFITPRO.COM

PRIYANKA NAIK Priyanka is a self-taught Indian vegan chef, Food Network champion, TV host and author in New York, NY. Her globally-inspired original recipes come from the over 40 countries she has visited. CHEFPRIYANKA



DR. GENIEVE BURLEY Dr. Burley is an Internationally renowned chiropractor, fitness instructor, wellness expert and creator of Mobilization Nation in Vancouver, BC. She is passionate about building minds and bodies that thrive with age. DRGENIEVEBURLEY GENIEVEBURLEY.COM

CONTRIBUTORS Christina Acevedo, Richie Bostock, Genieve Burley, Jonathan Charest, Lucas Colleaux, Syl Corbett, Alain Couture, Julie Daniluk, Tracey Delfs, Zuzana Fajkusova, Zachary Joseph Fiorido, Louise Green, Danyael Halprin, Ida Heikura, Louise Hodgson-Jones, Mikaila Kukurudza, Jess LeBlanc, Stuart McGill, Chantelle McGivern, Priyanka Naik, Ty Pilson, Heidi Richter, Lauren Toyota, Dawn Thomas, Marissa Tiel, Chris Welner. PHOTOGRAPHY Jon Adrian, Adan Alvarez, Emma E. Arsenault, Barry Calhoun, Sewari Campillo, Jessica Carolina, Patrick Clark, Copper Wire Images, Victoria Costello, Destination BC/Ryan Creary, Rhonda Dent, Todd Duncan, David Dworkind, David Good, Kevin Green, David Ford, Vairdy Frail, Thomas Fricke, Melissa Hom, Harder Lee, Ronald Lee, Chris V Linton, Matt and Marie Photography, Jessie McNaught, Jana Miko, Bryce Murdock, Amanda Palmer, Cassidy Penney, Alan Smith, Snap Photo Studio, Michael Tenaglia, Tourism Vancouver Island/Ben Giesbrecht, Adrian Van Leeuwen, Aleksandra Was, Katy Whitt, Alia Youssef.

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Welcome to our Inspiration Issue and the 2022 edition of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers


e have all made it through another year of the pandemic, and the fitness industry is officially open for business. Amen. Our industry has been transformed over the past two years but what has remained constant is the tenacity and camaraderie of the professionals working within it. This is one inspiring Elaine Kupser, Publisher community and I’m so proud & Editor-In-Chief to be a part of it. Opening and closing of fitness clubs and studios has had a profound effect on all of us. We’ve relied on – and enjoyed remote workouts from the best instructors and trainers until that time when we could return safely to our favourite clubs. They have helped us maintain our physical and mental fitness during the most stressful of years. We have all longed for the in-person time with our trainers, and the social interaction and motivation of others surrounding us. You just can’t replace the energy of people. We are ready to be together again. Rest assured that clubs have gone to great lengths to keep you safe. For fully vaccinated individuals along


with updated safety and health precautions, returning to the gym is considered a low-risk activity. Let’s show our support and get back to it! I am thrilled to bring recognition to the nominees and featured trainers in this edition of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers 2022. Many months and countless hours went into compiling this year’s results, and as always this was an incredibly difficult task. Along with our professional panelists we were moved and inspired by every nominee and a mere one or two points separated each of the trainers this year. It is a great privilege for me to have this platform to celebrate each and every one of you. By now you may have noticed our SWEAT Across Canada workouts which have been showcasing Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers, Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors, and nominees with a weekly live workout on Instagram. It was initially our answer to helping our community stay fit during the pandemic, while elevating and supporting the careers of our industry professionals. Now it’s become a great place to simply work out wherever you are. If you haven’t had a chance to train with Canada’s best, tune in live every week – and you can also go back and check out any of our classes which are still all posted on our website since the very beginning. Meanwhile … enjoy this issue of inspiration for 2022.

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Nature Rx Need to spend more time outside? There’s a prescription for that. DESTINATION BC/RYAN CREARY


octors in parts of Canada have another tool in their nature prescription kit. They can now prescribe Parks Canada’s Discovery Pass to patients as it joins an existing initiative designed to get more people outside. Park Prescriptions (PaRx) is a BC Parks Foundation initiative that began in 2020 as Canada’s first national nature prescription program. It has since expanded to Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The new agreement means doctors can prescribe a national park pass that grants access to more than 80 locations including national parks, national historic sites and national marine preserves. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2022 than being able to give the gift of nature to my patients,” says Dr. Melissa Lam, a family physician and director of PaRx. “There’s a strong body of evidence on the health benefits of nature time, from better immune function and life expectancy to reduced risk of heart disease, depression and anxiety.” Studies have shown that people who spend at least two hours a week in nature report better health and well-being. A dose of nature for one, please.

Two hours in nature each week boosts health and well-being. SOURCE: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS

DOES YOUR RUNNING ROUTE FEATURE TRAFFIC LIGHTS IN A STARRING ROLE? Try shifting the spotlight to a route in nature, like a riverside pathway or a trail. More nature exposure can lead to more satisfaction on a run. SOURCE: URBAN FORESTRY & URBAN GREENING

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MAY 28-29


42.2K // 21.1K 10K // 5K // 2K KIDS MARATHON 3 CHALLENGES



The Strange Science of Perspiration BY SARAH EVERTS 2021, W. W. NORTON & COMPANY $36, WWNORTON.COM

IMPACT Book Reviews Five reads from Canadians you’ll love


rom the kitchen to the forest, to the lab, to the arena, these books dish out both knowledge and entertainment. IMPACT reviewers offer their take on five new titles from Canadian writers.


Writing Your Way to What Matters BY LORRAINE WIDMER-CARSON

Why do we sweat? Are some people sweatier than others? What’s with the smell and, occasionally, the colour? Science journalist Sarah Everts answers these questions and more in her new book The Joy of Sweat. In a well-researched and engaginly written prose, Everts takes readers on a sweat-soaked journey around the world from meeting a sensory analyst in New Jersey to “Mr. Sauna himself” in Finland. Along the way Everts shares what she discovered about the secrets of sweat.— Marissa Tiel


Reflecting on Purpose, Passion and Growth from a Hotbed of High Performance BY DUFF GIBSON 2021, SELF-PUBLISHED $35, DARKHORSEATHLETIC.CA


As a writer I have often thought of having a journal but have never actually started one – until now. An Ecology of Gratitude is entertaining and provides useful tips on putting pen to paper in a clear and meaningful way. The writing prompts make you think about your life and why we should be thankful for even the smallest things. This is definitely a book for today. — Louise Hodgson-Jones


Lessons from the Ice

Duff Gibson has a unique perspective on sport as an Olympic Champion, nationallevel coach, participant and parent, which enables some great insights. Using a storyteller-style Gibson shares experiences and thoughts from 30+ years in sport, alongside relevant research, and stories from other athletes (Olympians & non-Olympians alike). The content is superior in that it’s relatable, entertaining and memorable. A valuable addition to the toolkit of any coach, parent, athlete, aspiring professional or sport enthusiast. — Chantelle McGivern


Simple, Balanced Cooking for Real Life BY ANNA PIPPUS







Hayley Wickenheiser has once again struck gold. In Over The Boards, Wickenheiser shares many valuable insights that anyone can benefit from no matter what league they're in. The reader is brilliantly taken across the D, neutral, and O zones with compassion, intensity, authenticity, and humor. She may have left the ice, but in true style, Wickenheiser continues to lead in the big game. Thankfully many more may now learn from and enjoy the road less travelled. — Syl Corbett

This cookbook is the perfect go-to for over 100 simple, delicious and nutritious plantbased recipes that every member of your family will love. Anna’s practical tips – such as daily cooking themes or how to pack a kid’s lunch box (including a brilliant mix and match guide) take the guesswork, time and stress out of meal planning. With easy-to-follow instructions, uncomplicated ingredients, and beautiful photography, this book is for everyone looking for new ways to bring more plants and amazing recipes into their diet. — Elaine Kupser

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26th Annual


SEPTEMBER 11, 2022

w w w. c a n m o r e h a l f m a r a t h o n . c a



FOR EVERYBODY You don’t always need a gym to get your sweat on

BY LO U I S E G R E E N VA I R DY F R A I L VAIRDY_PHOTOGRAPHY Celebrated author, influencer and one of Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors 2021 in Vancouver, B.C. LOUISEGREEN_BIGFITGIRL



ith the uncertainty of gyms and people resorting to staying home to do their workouts for ease of mind, body-weight workouts have been a long tried, tested and true way to exercise when the added bells and whistles of equipment aren’t options. Whether you are doing body-weight workouts or prescribing them to your clients, an important factor to consider is, the more you weigh, the more difficult it can be. Some body-weight workouts simply aren’t suitable for higher-weight folks or for those with injuries. There are ways to add adaptations to avoid excessive joint loading on the wrists, shoulders, or knees and to make body-weight options available to those who may have challenges getting up and down off the floor. Body-weight workouts, when done right, can be for every body.

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Low Impact Warm-up: 45 Seconds Each / 2 Sets • Jumping Jacks or Half Jacks • High knees • Fast feet • Speedskaters • Cross Country • Airplane (wall assisted right / left)



10 reps/side / 4 sets For some people, core stability and joint loading can be an issue when moving to any split-stance exercises. If you are struggling for balance in split-stance moves, you lose the purpose and benefit. Having an anchor to hold on to will train the brain to develop strength and balance slowly and will assist in keeping sound form while lowering your body. An assisting anchor, such as a railing or chair, can also remove some pressure from the knee joint. 1. Stand with your feet together and rest your hands on stabilizing rail or chair 2. Step your foot backward about two feet now on the ball of your foot keeping your heel elevated. 3. Bend your knee and slowly lower your body until your back leg forms a 90-degree angle. Pause, then return to the split stance.



30 - 45 seconds / 4 sets Performing plank taps from an elevated position can do two things: it allows for individuals who are challenged getting up and down off the ground to still enjoy this exercise and performing the exercise from an elevated position can reduce joint loading in comparison to the more challenging prone floor position. By having the feet wide apart you can create a bigger axis point to alleviate joint pressure in the shoulders. 1. Place your hands on an elevated surface, keeping your core strong while gazing forward so your neck is aligned with your spine. 2. Part your feet for a wider axis and hold a plank position. 3. Every 2-3 seconds, while keeping your hips square, lift one arm and tap the opposite shoulder for 1-2 seconds. Repeat for the duration. ➝

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12 reps / 4 sets Performing squats down to a base is a great way to execute with good form. For some people, it helps to have a touch point to bring the hips back while keeping the knee to ankle alignment. For those just starting off, you may consider a more elevated base to reduce joint loading and squat to 45 degrees instead of a full 90 degrees. 1. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. 2. Bend your knees and slowly lower your hips backward until your legs form 90-degree angles and your seat touches the bench base. Keep your chin parallel with the ground and avoid facing down and tension on the back. Pause, then return to standing.



12 reps / 4 sets Incline push-ups are a great adaptation from prone, floor push-ups. Starting from an elevated base and wider stance position will alleviate joint loading to the shoulders and allow time for someone with higherweight or injury to develop muscle strength to potentially progress. Incline push-ups are also great for those who have challenges getting up and down off the floor. 1. Place your hands on an elevated surface, with straight arms, widen your stance on the balls of your feet. 2. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body, in this case, only half-way down for beginners or full range for more advanced. 3. Engage your core to prevent sway back, then push into your hands to return to starting position.

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Total Body One-Dumbbell Moves Master the art of using one dumbbell for a total-body routine

BY Z AC H A RY J O S E P H F I O R I D O TO D D D U N C A N Award-winning fitness instructor, entrepreneur, film /TV actor and one of Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors in Vancouver, B.C. ZACHARYJOSEPHFIORIDO




raining at home and even at the gym with limited equipment can get boring fast. That’s why these exercises, which incorporate unique strength-training moves, only require the use of one dumbbell. Some of these one-dumbbell exercises work both sides of the body at once, while others target one side at a time, which may reveal what parts of your body are weakest. One-sided moves also require you to focus on your balance, which automatically fires up the muscles in your core and other stabilizing muscles. These moves are not intended for one workout; you should mix two or three into your regular strength training routine.

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8-10 reps Start with feet in a split-stance lunge and dumbbell out long in front of you. Row and drive your dumbbell past your back, keeping your elbow high to sky. Pivot your toes parallel as you catch the dumbbell close to your shoulder. Squat and stabilize core as you rise to stand and press overhead with bicep close to ear. This counts as one rep.



12-15 reps Start standing with the dumbbell in your hand and your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Hinge (bend) at the hips, keeping your spine long, with a slight bend in your knees. Keep your core engaged and drive your elbow back as you perform a wide row. Try not to rotate open from your torso. Maintaining your form, return to the starting position. ➝

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12-15 reps Start standing with the dumbbell in your hand and feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Curtsey and cross back foot behind, bending at the knee low to the floor (try to keep hips straight ahead parallel). At the same time perform a bicep curl, rotate to an overhead press, back to curl and rise to return to starting position.



12-15 reps Lie on your back with knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and heels on the ground. Keeping your core tight, contract your glutes to lift your hips up, forming a straight line with your thighs and torso. Support yourself on your upper back with shoulder blades retracted. Hold the dumbbell in one hand with palms facing the center of the body. Extend both arms upright above your chest. With your elbows slightly bent, open your arm with the dumbbell to lower until they almost touch the ground. Have a slight bend in the elbow. Hold for a brief pause, then return to the starting position and transfer the dumbbell to the opposite arm.

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8-10 reps Start standing with feet hip-distance apart, dumbbell held at your chest. Starting at 12 o’clock, step your leg to roughly 4 o’clock. Hinge your hips as the dumbbell hovers over your shin, rise and come back to the starting position. Halo your dumbbell around your head from one ear to the other. Alternate and repeat on the other leg.

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Test Your Fitness Levels See how you measure up with these four fitness tests BY MIKAILA KUKURUDZA Fitness writer, marketing nerd and complete brunch enthusiast in Toronto, ON. MIK AILAKUKURUDZA



ow fit are you? Regularly testing and recording fitness levels can help any athlete stay motivated and set more realistic goals, along with answering the much-needed question: are my workouts working for me? We spoke to the industry’s top trainers for their tried-and-true fitness assessments:


With the pursuit of building muscle or shedding a couple pounds, flexibility is often a fitness component left behind–or let’s face it, skipped altogether. Adding flexibility assessments such as the sit and reach test, can help keep you accountable to keeping the performance-boosting habit of stretching in your daily routine. Along with measuring lower back and hamstring flexibility, regularly completing this staple flexibility test coined in 1952, can help reduce injury and improve posture. To complete this test, sit on an even surface with legs stretched out in front

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Measure the muscular strength and endurance of the upper body with this non-stop, push-up test. Keep a steady pace throughout the repetitions as you complete as many push-ups (with good form) as you can without stopping. To modify this test, complete the push-ups from your knees. However once you can complete 10 knee push-ups, switch to push-ups on your toes. Frequency: 2-3 per year SCORE: Push-Up Test (Men) Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-60 Above Average 24 21 17 13 Average 15-19 13-17 10-14 7-9 Below Average 4-8 2-6 1-4 1-2 Push-Up Test (Women) Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-60 Above Average 20 16 12 8 Average 7-9 5-7 3-5 2-4 Below Average 1-3 1-2 1 1

of you and soles of the feet against a box. Palms should face downwards aligned with either leg and the back of your knees should remain pressed flat into the floor. Reach forward as far as you can. “Keep your back straight throughout the movement, no jerky movements and never force the stretch,” says Paul Nam, Certified Personal Trainer and Owner of The Workout Loft. “Go only as far as your body will let you.” Frequency: Daily

“The idea here is to improve on your own score,” says Nam. “If you're a beginner, try to find a workout buddy you can do the test and train with. Having someone else to talk to and train with will work wonders with motivation and reaching goals.”


After a brief warm-up, test your cardiovascular health and endurance by rowing two kilometres as fast as you can. “We like this test because it's a great way of evaluating cardiovascular fitness through a full-body physical challenge,'' says Innovative Fitness Trainer Sean Allt. Frequency: Every 90 Days SCORE:


• Below Average = Shins • Average = Below Ankles • Above Average = Toes Results can be measured based on the area that is able to be reached (and held) for 2-3 seconds. To accurately track your improvement, also record what type of warm-up (if any) preceded testing. Traditionally, testing is done without any warm-up.

• • • •

Below Average = 9 minutes Average = 8 minutes Above Average = 7.5 minutes Elite = 7 minutes

Along with recording your time, wear a heart-rate (HR) monitor to record max HR during the test, HR immediately upon completion, HR one minute after completion. “When it comes to evaluating one's fitness level, first and foremost, we

encourage our clients to compare their current score to their own previous score as a means of evaluating the progress they're making,” says Allt. “For those who need a little extra competitive motivation, Concept 2 maintains worldwide rankings on their website that can be used as targets to shoot for.”


The key to proper plank testing is proper form. Start by lying face down with your legs extended and your elbows bent. Push your forearms and toes into the ground to raise your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heel. Keep your body aligned by keeping your gaze down and not allowing your hips to rise or sag. Frequency: Every 8-12 Weeks SCORE:

• Below Average = 10 seconds • Average = 20-30 seconds • Above Average = 60 seconds or longer “Although 60 seconds has often been an industry standard of good, ‘good’ for whom?” says Dione Mason, fitness and lifestyle coach who reminds her clients to take generalized scoring with a grain of salt. “I prefer to have an individual approach in training since it's not a competition.”

MIND THE MENTAL GAINS While these four trainer-approved fitness assessments can help you test your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility, there is one more key component to fitness that should be consistently monitored–your mental fitness. Testing with these four methods should be motivating, not discouraging. If you’re feeling good physically and mentally post-workout, your workouts are likely working for you. “I encourage people to focus on their mental health over physical results,” says online fitness trainer, Emily Thorne. “I always ask clients how they feel after each workout. If they’re exhausted, great. They’re done for the day and achieved a killer workout. If they feel like they could have pushed harder, then they know they can step up their workouts.”

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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE CLIMBING GYM Improve strength and balance through bouldering BY LUCAS COLLEAUX JON ADRIAN Real estate agent, former competitive climber and routesetter based in Kelowna, B.C. LUCAS.COLLEAUX

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he secret is out! Climbing stormed into the fitness scene with three disciplines debuting at the 2020 Olympics: bouldering, sport climbing and speed climbing. You don’t have to be an Olympian to feel the benefits of climbing and more people are getting into the sport than ever before. Bouldering is quickly becoming the most popular discipline in North America. It’s a simple and pure form of climbing: no ropes, no harnesses, nothing but a pair of climbing shoes and some chalk to dry the sweat. In bouldering, it's all about bagging the send—getting from the bottom of the route to the top without falling. The boulders are rated by difficulty and the intermittent reinforcement of sending a hard boulder makes this an incredibly addictive sport. By focusing on having fun and climbing a large variety of boulder problems the byproduct can be incredible fitness. After a few months of climbing, climbers are sometimes surprised with new abilities their bodies have. People have gotten their first ever pull-up, or their first pistol squat without even training for these traditional fitness goals, simply by climbing consistently. For beginners, like trying anything new, walking into a bouldering gym can feel intimidating, but rest assured that there are fun boulders for everyone to try. Despite being an “individual” sport, bouldering is incredibly social. Going to the gym for the first time with a great crew of encouraging friends will certainly help maximize your first experience. If you don’t yet have anyone that is stoked to try climbing with

you, the climbing community generally is very welcoming and it won’t take long to start recognizing some familiar faces and making new climber friends.

DIFFICULTY RATING When you’re starting out, understanding the gym’s grading system can help you progress and find climbs you like. The most common North American grade scale is the V scale; boulders start at V0 and can be as high as V17, and some gyms might have their own grading system. In competition climbing the start of the boulder is usually marked by four pieces of tape, one for each point of contact (two hands and two feet). Sometimes part of the challenge is figuring out where each point of contact needs to go to successfully establish control off the ground; the finish is also usually marked by a piece of tape. That being said not every gym utilizes the international standard, they might have their own system, regardless of the system used they are usually designed to be highly intuitive. Modern bouldering gyms often hire professional routesetters; these setters combine a technical craft with an artistic representation of climbing moves to create boulder problems. The types of movement in bouldering are infinite and unlimited. Every boulder problem is different and getting the send might require balance, flow, power, endurance, body positioning, tension, explosive dynamic jumps, laser-accurate foot work and sometimes perfect timing. Most modern boulding gyms set routes by hold colour. Routesetters generally try to create routes to showcase one of the above mentioned styles where the most elegant solution is the path of least resistance. That being said, climbing is all about finding your personal strengths. Sometimes the solution is unique to every climber. If you’re having trouble, you can watch other climbers for clues. There is something for every ability. Regardless of the grading system used, progressing on the scale can feel exponential. The best thing a beginner can do to accelerate the learning curve is to first focus on improving footwork and implementing better climbing technique. Getting a good pair of well-fitting climbing shoes will help you stand with more confidence on the ball of your foot, this

helps take weight off the arms and prevents over-gripping. Many new climbers will find that after a few visits to the gym, and simply trying a variety of boulder problems they will have already rapidly improved from their first attempts.

NEXT STEPS For the advanced climber the sport truly becomes an endeavor in self mastery. It is very common that climbers will eventually experience a plateau in their improvement and increasing performance will require focusing on weaknesses or double-downing on strengths. Usually at this stage climbing can be broken down into the following: finger strength, core strength, mobility/ flexibility, power, endurance, contact strength, body tension and strength-toweight ratio. At this stage climbers should familiarize themselves with popular training tools like the campus board, hang boards, system walls, etc. These tools, when used correctly, can dramatically improve contact strength, finger strength, power, endurance and body tension. Regardless, the most important aspect of training is always enjoying the process and having fun. With good habits climbing can be the perfect lifelong sport! As legendary climber Alex Lowe said, "The best climber is the one having the most fun.”

CLIMBING LINGO BETA: A very detailed and specific breakdown of the solution to the boulder problem SPRAYING BETA: When someone shares the solution when it isn’t wanted, it is bad etiquette to share unsolicited beta, despite climbing being social it is important to respect other climbers' desire to discover their own sequences SEND: Getting from bottom to top without falling FLASH: Doing the boulder on the first attempt PROJECT: A route that takes multiple sessions to solve/send. In outdoor climbing “projects” are routes not yet sent PUMPED: Extreme fatigue in the forearms CRUX: Hardest move on the climb

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

Take a Breath

We take thousands of breaths each day, but are we breathing correctly? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. BY RICHIE BOSTOCK CECILIA CRISTOLOVEAN-CSIKY “The Breath Guy” is a leading figure and evangelist for breathwork, the next revolution in health and wellness in Dubai, UAE. THEBREATHGUY


ichie Bostock hasn’t always been a globetrotting teacher of breathwork. After his father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease with no widely accepted cure, he was constantly on the lookout for lifestyle changes and alternative treatments that could be useful for his dad. Bostock eventually came across Wim Hof, a Dutch man commonly known as The Iceman, during a podcast. Hof spoke about a method he developed and it caught Bostock’s attention. “The method seemed to be really effective in helping people with autoimmune diseases, including MS,” says Bostock. He did some more research and discovered there were two main elements to Hof’s method: cold exposure and breathing techniques. Bostock decided to learn Hof’s method during a week-long training session and shared it with his dad whose MS has not progressed since incorporating the breathing techniques and cold showers espoused by Hof into his daily routine. Bostock became “obsessed” with finding out what else people were doing using breath. He has since travelled across the world to learn from modern breathing masters. IMPACT caught up with Bostock to learn more about the breathwork he teaches around the world.

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Why is how we breathe important?

Richie Bostock is known as 'The Breath

The way you breathe affects just about every system in your body, such as your cardiovascular system, endocrine system, digestive system, nervous system and immune system. Because we have conscious control over our breath, by simply learning how to use your breath as a tool (the way nature intended you to), you can quickly affect the systems and functions in your body, improving your physical and mental health and performance and emotional wellbeing. Think of your breath as your body’s built-in Swiss Army knife that, when you know how to use it purposefully, can, within minutes, help you to reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy levels, re-balance hormones, heighten focus and concentration, improve sleep and digestion, heal emotional trauma, alleviate chronic pain and improve cardiovascular health and even improve athletic performance. For our sport readers, how does breath affect physical/athletic performance?

Oxygen is the primary fuel that our cells need to create energy for our bodies to function and to move. Therefore, placing your breathing at the very front of your mind during athletic endeavours is crucial to ensure that you are maximizing your body’s ability for athletic output. There are

Guy' and teaches breathwork around the world.

many different techniques and frameworks for breathing before, during and after your athletic performance to make sure that you prepare, perform and recover at your best. How often should one practise a breathing routine and how long should each session be?

I define breathwork as anytime you intentionally become aware of your breath and use it to improve your physical and mental health and performance and emotional well-being. It can be as simple as learning how to breathe more optimally day-to-day, learning quick and easy techniques that can quickly change your state or mood to deeper practices that can be used as an incredible form of emotional therapy. So it really depends on what you want to try to achieve as a breathing "session" can last anywhere between one minute to three hours. What I would say for someone just beginning is that the best place to start is to begin to notice how you breathe day-today. Most people average 19,000 to 27,000

What I would say for someone just beginning is that the best place to start is to begin to notice how you breathe day-to-day.

breaths a day. However most people are not aware that they are breathing poorly and fewer are aware about how poor breathing habits may be affecting their health and happiness. The most frequent dysfunctional breathing pattern I see is a chest or clavicular breathing pattern which is very common in people who are chronically stressed. This pattern is obvious when a person inhales and their shoulders travel vertically significantly and their chest puffs out. Here you are using your neck, shoulders and upper chest muscles to expand your chest to breathe in air. These muscles are what are called “secondary breathing muscles” and are designed to be used in short bursts when we need to breathe quickly (e.g. catching our breath after sprinting). They are not designed to be used 24/7 and will fatigue and can cause neck, shoulder and back pain. On top of that, this style of breathing is neurologically linked to sending the body into a stress response by activating your sympathetic nervous system, so even if you had no reason to be stressed, breathing in this way would cause your body to go into a stress response - doesn’t sound so smart does it?

When it comes to correct breathing, the only place to start is with your diaphragm. This most important muscle in the movement of breathing is fibrous and parachute-shaped. It separates your thoracic cavity – the space your heart and lungs occupy – from the abdominal cavity, where your digestive organs live. It attaches to your spine, the lower ribs and the bottom of your sternum. As you inhale, your diaphragm contracts and descends, pulling air into the lowest parts of your lungs. As the diaphragm descends, your organs underneath are pushed to the front, back and sides. This causes your abdomen to expand, giving the appearance of breathing into the stomach, which is why diaphragmatic breathing is often referred to as belly breathing. As you exhale, your diaphragm relaxes and ascends, forcing the inhaled air out of your lungs. Here is a simple technique that will help you to learn to breathe diaphragmatically. The slow cadence of breathing for a few minutes will also help to shift your body into your parasympathetic (also known as ‘rest and digest’) response, promoting

functions such as digestion, helping you sleep better and to feel more calm. The technique is called coherence breathing. Research on this technique has shown how breathing at a rate of five to six breaths per minute can help you to balance your nervous system in just a matter of minutes. • Place your hands on the bottom of your ribcage (just like when you put your hands on your hips but instead resting on the bottom of your ribs) • Inhale through your nose for five seconds, keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed and relatively still and feeling an expansion through your mid/lower ribs and abdomen. • Exhale through your nose for five seconds. • Repeat this cycle for at least three minutes, but there really is no limit as to how long you can go. • If five seconds feels like a struggle, reduce it to four seconds and get comfortable breathing at that rate first. You can then gradually build it up to five or even six seconds. ➝

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Breathwork can help us change how we think and feel.

BREATHING FOR ENERGY I call this one The Energizer Bunny. The next time you are itching for that late afternoon coffee, save yourself the money and just breathe, it’s free! This breath can be done seated or standing: • Exhale completely. • Take three quick and powerful inhales through the nose, progressively filling up your lungs more and more (The length of the inhales are equal and on your final inhale your lungs should be completely full of air). • Exhale with a big sigh through your mouth. • That completes one breath cycle. Aim to complete 36 breath cycles per minute, so each breath takes a little under two seconds to complete. • Repeat this pattern for one minute and notice the difference in how you feel! This breath may make you start to feel a little light-headed. This is completely normal so don’t stress, everything returns back to normal within a matter of seconds of finishing the breathing except that you will now feel far more energized.

BREATHING TO DECREASE STRESS This breath calms down the nervous system in times of stress. I call this technique 5pm Breathing because 5 p.m. is supposed to be that joyous moment where most of us get to knock off work, relax, let our hair down and have a cocktail. It also stands for five breaths per minute and is designed to help you wind down and de-stress your internal systems. Start in a seated or lying position: • To start, put one or both hands over your belly button so that you can feel the movement of your abdomen. • Inhale for four seconds through your nose and feel your hands rise or move outwards a few centimetres. • Exhale for six seconds through your nose and feel your hands fall inwards a few centimetres. No need to empty your lungs all the way, just exhale slowly until your lungs feel comfortably empty. • Hold your breath for two seconds. • That is one breath cycle. Repeat this breath cycle at least ten times, however you can keep repeating it until you have reached your desired state of relaxation.

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Tell us about ‘the sigh’ and what is happening physically and mentally?

Research has shown that sighing acts as a physical, mental and emotional reset. Physically, a sigh is a break of the constant pattern of breathing that helps to reset your respiratory system. It is defined as an inhale that is twice as large as normal, therefore stretching the alveoli (the air sacs in your lungs) and giving you a sense of comfort and relief, hence the common term "a sigh of relief." What are the emotional and mental benefits of breathwork?

Our breath is so intimately linked to our nervous system that it unconsciously changes depending on the state of our nervous system, which we usually experience as emotion. We can also use our breathing to be able to change how our nervous system is functioning, therefore changing how we think and how we feel. As an example, if we are feeling stressed or anxious, we can breathe in certain ways to soothe our nervous system to feel more calm and relaxed. Additionally, one of the very exciting possibilities of breathwork is how certain styles of breathing can be used as an incredible form of therapy. I have had clients say that a single 90-minute session of this style of breathwork is equivalent to six months of talking therapy.

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Posture for Performance

A strong core offers a solid base for all movements

BY STUART MCGILL Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, Chief Scientific Officer, and author of Back Mechanic, Waterloo, ON. BACKFITPRO


tand up straight, sit tall and stop slouching.” How often have we heard this from our parents and teachers? Turns out, they’re right. Posture influences psychology, comfort, pain, and performance. Good posture results in minimal stress on your joints and supporting tissues while poor posture results in local tissue stress, pain and can eventually cause injury.

WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE? The definition of good posture needs context for relevance. Consider age, injury history, and current fitness level. Do you have physical stress resulting from an overactive or a sedentary lifestyle? Do you have sufficient rest to mitigate cumulative stress developed from a particular posture? Experiencing pain while sitting slouched at the computer for half an hour is an example of poor posture. Yet a cyclist flexed over their bike frame to reduce windage is a non-negotiable posture to win. Context is everything. Standing with the chin protruding and rounded shoulders causes a chronic contraction in the low back extensor muscles. Discomfort, and eventually pain, will result. If you see your family doctor complaining of muscular backache you will most likely get a muscle relaxant and possibly a drug cocktail including an analgesic. But if you saw a postural expert, you’d be coached on how to align the ears over the shoulders, the shoulders over the hips, the hips over the knees and shown how this eliminates the low back muscle activation and pain. But the standing slouch was also a habit. Conscious effort is needed to form a new default habit

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to avoid the pain mechanism. This is an example of what I call “spine hygiene.” Visit for many examples of reducing stress and pain.

TO LOAD, OR NOT TO LOAD Loading a joint at the end of its range often constitutes poor posture. But here not only does joint position matter, but the load matters too. But, what is load? Load increases with escalations in applied magnitude, the number of repetitions, the duration of the load application, but decreases with rest.The greater the load, the more important posture becomes. Consider an office worker, slouching in their office chair. This may be a good way to relax for a few minutes as long as a disc bulge is not present. But if this posture is maintained for a period of time, eventually they’ll report low back discomfort. Time spent in this posture is the variable that leads to their discomfort and pain. We’ve all seen someone in the gym performing a deadlift with their spine in a fully flexed position and excessive load on the bar. This singular exercise performed with joints loaded at the end of range of movement is one of the most common causes of why back-pained people are referred to me. How you respond to load is a variable that is influenced by training. All biological systems have a tipping point. Exposure to the load below the tolerance level of the individual encourages healthy adaptation as long as adequate rest is given to allow the adaptation to occur. But exposure to loads exceeding the tipping point creates microtrauma that will eventually result in injury.

Athletes need to be aware of their posture when their back is in a vulnerable position, like during a deadlift.

Biological systems are also subject to tradeoffs. In the case of the back and spine, the greater the range of motion, the smaller the amount of load is required to create pain and injury. Good posture—avoiding end-range posture—increases the capacity to safely withstand load; it enhances your training capacity. Most of the time an instant transformation can be achieved with a sitting and standing posture familiar to anyone who’s ever taken an acting class: the power position. Stand like you own the world, now modify that position to eliminate muscle activation. Biomechanically, body segments are aligned and stacked to reduce muscle tension. Relax with the ears over the shoulders, the shoulders over the hips, hips over the knees, the knees over the middle of the foot. We call it the standing hover. More often than not, this posture will decrease pain.


DOES POSTURE AFFECT PERFORMANCE? The well-performing athletic body has strategically-tuned joint mobility and stability throughout the musculoskeletal linkage. Core stability enables full power transfer through the hips and shoulders for greater limb speed and application of strength. This is known as the principle of Proximal stiffness enables distal athleticism. This effect can only be documented with case studies since the modification to enhance performance is different for everyone. Over the years we have catalogued extensive case studies in a wide variety of athletes. Thus posture combined with specific muscle activation patterns influence pain-free capacity and athleticism. But what about awkward postures? Should they be trained, or not? Consider a road cyclist with the spine fully flexed over the bike frame. Assume the athlete would benefit with leg strength and power

training and the training exercise of choice might be a back squat with a bar on the shoulders. I choose this specific example because we have dealt with it several times over the years with very highperformance cyclists. Having the athlete adopt their cycling position with load on their back in the gym creates a very poor risk/reward ratio. Specifically, adding load to a fully-flexed spine increases the risk of spinal disc bulges. Thus we enhance the risk/reward ratio by adopting a beltsquat device with the load applied around their waist. This de-loads their spine as they adopt the cycling low-windage position. In this example of cycling, the athlete gets sufficient exposure to spine flexion due to their sport. Adding more exposure to flexion in their training rarely produces a better result. Instead avoiding the vulnerable posture allows a greater training capacity and ultimately higher performance.

Feet are shoulder width apart. Try and stack the ears over the shoulders, shoulders over the hips, hips over relaxed knees. Feel the low back muscles – they should be relaxed. If you become a peacock lifting the chest it will activate these muscles as will chest slouching. Push your toes down into the floor and become a forward-leaning tower through the ankles; shift your weight back to your heels, leaning the tower backwards; now come back, finding the middle ground, and have a look at yourself in the mirror; smile.

In conclusion, a discussion of posture needs context, but within that context good posture increases the capacity to train, reduces pain from overload, and tells the world that you are confident, have a positive outlook and are instantly more attractive.

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Finding Calm for Better Health & Well-Being Seven ways to take Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings into your life BY TRACEY DELFS Mindset, mental wellness & mindfulness coach & virtual speaker to organizations & clients around the world based in Calgary, AB. BALANCE_QUEST


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n the late ‘90s I read a book called Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. After I finished the book I decided I wanted to meet this world-renowned Zen master, who is often referred to as The Father of Mindfulness. I cancelled a surf trip to Costa Rica and instead hopped on a plane to France to a meditation retreat centre called Plum Village to study with him. As soon as I arrived I knew I had met my teacher and there began my journey of studying with him on a regular basis over the next couple of decades. Thich Nhat Hanh is referred to by his students as Thay, which means teacher in Vietenamese. Therefore, moving forward I will refer to him as Thay. Thay died on Jan. 22, 2022 leaving millions of his followers grieving the loss of one of the world's greatest spiritual leaders of our time. He was 95. Now I want to share with you a handful of my favourite teachings of Thich Nhat Hann’s, hoping that they can have a postive impact in your life as well.

Don’t hurry, enjoy the present moment. SEVEN WAYS YOU CAN INTEGRATE THICH NHAT HANH’S TEACHINGS INTO YOUR LIFE WAKING UP IN THE MORNING As soon as you wake up in the morning instead of laying there worrying about your day, Thay taught me to say a morning mantra and then to get up right away. You can write out this mantra on a sticky note and place it on your bedside table. As soon as you wake up, repeat it and then hop out of bed. “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” — Thich Nhat Hanh The way we begin our day sets the tone for the rest of our day and the way we live our days is how we live our lives. How are you going to begin your day tomorrow?

THE POWER OF THREE MINDFUL BREATHS Anytime throughout the day if you find you are having trouble focusing, are worrying or feeling anxious, it is important to remember the power of three deep mindful breaths to bring you back to the present moment. Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and breathe in deeply saying, “breathing in I am aware that I am breathing in” and with your out breath say, “breathing out I am aware I am breathing out.” Repeat this two more times. You will feel your mind come back to the present moment, your body will relax and you will be back in the here and now, ready to handle whatever task is in front of you.

The informal practice of mindfulness is about creating more awareness in whatever you are doing in the moment throughout the day. It could be brushing your teeth, eating your lunch or even washing the dishes. One of the best ways to become more present with any task you are doing is to consciously become aware of your senses. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, smell? As soon as you become aware of any of your senses you are back in the present moment.

MINDFUL WALKING To practise mindful walking, start by becoming aware of your feet touching the ground and walk slower and lighter than you usually would. Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Imagine that you're kissing the ground with your feet." Feel a sense of gratitude for Mother Earth and the beautiful world around you. Walk with an attitude of peace and joy versus one of stress and worry. Focus on your breath along with your steps. As you breathe in the oxygen from the trees around you, feel the connection to them. Practising mindfulness helps us feel more connected to the world around us. Walk in silence while you listen to birds, the sound of the river, and the children laughing in the distance. Feel the warmth of the sun or slight breeze on your face. Notice the clouds passing by. When your mind wanders off into the future or the past, just let the thoughts go and bring your awareness back to the sensations of your next step and breathe. An essential part of any mindfulness practice is to find joy in it. Enjoy your walk.


One of my favourite teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh’s is that there are enough conditions of happiness in this moment. It’s a good reminder to keep training your mind to keep looking for what’s right versus what’s wrong. I encourage my coaching clients to keep a sticky note by their computer that says, “what’s not wrong?” I encourage you to do the same. That way if you are having a bad day you can look at your sticky note to remind you to pause and think about what’s good in your life versus what’s wrong. There is always something to be grateful for.

Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit with your tea. Put away your phone, computer, or any other distractions. When you pick up your tea, you may like to take a deep breath to bring your mind back to your body and become completely present in the here and now. Let go of all your worries and anxieties and give yourself this gift of time to 'just be' and enjoy drinking your tea. Feel the warmth and smoothness of the cup in your hands. Take your first sip as you feel the warmth of the tea in your mouth, then feel it move down your throat and into your stomach. Savour your tea as you sip it, drinking your tea with a feeling of presence and gratitude.



Thay taught me that there are formal and informal practices of mindfulness. The formal practice of mindfulness is a seated meditation practice and the informal practices of mindfulness is when we learn to bring mindful awareness into everything we are doing throughout the day. If you’d like to have a calmer mind, be more focused and manage your stress and emotion better, then I highly encourage you to get into the habit of a daily meditation practice. It is the keystone to living a more mindful life.

Every morning when I wake up, I see the calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s on my wall that says, “Don’t hurry, enjoy the present moment.” It’s a gentle reminder to slow down and savour the moments of my day. Remembering that life is precious, and that each day is a gift. I hope that you feel inspired to take some of Thay’s mindful living tips and begin to integrate them into your daily life, so that you can enjoy the present moment more. As Thay would say, "A cloud never dies." He continues to live on through all of his teachings and through everyone who chooses to live a more mindful life.


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fter many months of anticipation we are proud to present to you Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers 2022. Each year gets increasingly difficult as we received hundreds of nominations for the best in their fields and we could have easily featured triple the number of finalists this year as the scores were literally only one or two points apart. Every single trainer has given back to their community in a unique and positive way. Congratulations, respect and recognition goes out to all nominees this year - we celebrate you! All nominees were once again scored by merit. This included areas such as education, certifications and accreditations, years in the business, philanthropy and community service. Additional topics included success stories and personal fitness philosophies

which were ‘blind-scored’ by our professional, expert panelists who spent many hours reading these inspirational stories. What wasn’t part of the scoring criteria was how many social media followers one had, or how many nominations one received. Fitness trainers have a wealth of education and expertise to share, but above all they are genuinely passionate about helping others live their healthiest lives. After two full years of intense change to the fitness industry it has remained resilient, stayed open against all odds, and, most of all, continued with fierce determination to help others. The pandemic has heightened the importance of our health and fitness and that is one shining light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for your passion and dedication. Roll out the red carpet.

Congratulations to all nominees Adriana Sartori, Alan Horkoff, Allie Bendus, Andrea Tam, Andrew Greenidge, Andrew Alcalde, Andy Drakopoulos, Anita Ivic, Annie Lisi, Austin Catalano, Bahareh Bakrani, Benjamin Paradis, Bess Bodewitz, Bianca Liberatore, Brandon Hughes, Cassandra Schock, Cassie Day, Catherine King, Chad Halford, Cherise Munkoh, Christa Chasse, Christina Relke, Claire Madin, Connie Beaulieu, Corey Scott, Cresswell Hamilton, Curtis Howden, Dani Parks, Dawn Joseph, Deanne Keller, Denise Beatty, Devon Chang, Ed Stiles, Eliza Moreno, Emily Green, Eva Redpath, Fyonna Vanderwerf, Geoff Starling, Haley Fanning, Hannah Fletcher, Heather Gardner, Ian McWalter, Jacqueline Martin, Jacqueline Owens, Jahmeek Murray, Jared Tholl, Jared Pearson, Jeanette Moratillo, Jeff Cody, Jenna Maxwell, Jennifer Abbott, Jennifer Neil, Jennifer Moore, Jess LeBlanc, Jessica Hastings-Lesperance, Jessie Thomas, Jodi Barrett, Jordi Cocks, Justina Bailey, Kalan Anglos, Kalyn Swihart, Kelsey Jack, Ken Kotyk, Kim Tilander, Kristen Seaton, Laura Flood, Leanne Zdebiak-Eni, Lisa Gervais, Mark McCormick, Mark Fitzgerald, Matt Zasidko, Matthew Taub, Max Larocque, Melissa Rowe, Micaela Whitworth, Michelle Hennebery, Michelle Roots, Monique Rondeau, Natalia Lecours, Nathan Skoufis, Naz Tabibi, Nick Mueller, Paul Anthony, Paul Nam, Quinn Lee, Rachel Carscadden, Rachel Seay, Rafal Matuszewski, Ray Recto, Rez Ghafori, Rich Hesketh, Richelle Love, River Beattie, Rosalie Walsh, Rosalie Brown, Ryan Grant, Saman Munir, Scott Salling, Sean Allt, Spencer O’Brien, Steve Carter, Susan Simpson, Susan Scarlett, Suzy Kaitman, Tammy Buck, Tanya Knight (Rutherford), Tanya Rutherford, Terese Pratt, Tommy Europe, Tony Nguyen, Vanessa Klassen, Wendy McCormick, Yana Hempler. FUELED BY

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Professional Training Coach, & Director of Operations, Innovative Fitness VANCOUVER AND CHILLIWACK, B.C. SEANALLTCPT




here is nothing one-size-fitsall when it comes to Sean Allt’s approach to working with clients. He empowers others with the tools and skills to take control of their own lives. Sean’s vast knowledge of fitness and nutrition allows him to provide sessions that support clients on a physical and emotional level, achieving long-term goals and a healthy sustainable lifestyle. He brings out the best in people.

I want to help as many people

as possible experience a quality of life that leaves them feeling fulfilled and happy by optimizing their physical and mental health through exercise, nutrition, nature therapy and mental skills training.

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Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist & Owner, KFit Conditioning VICTORIA, B.C. K ALANANGLOS



o matter what happened during the pandemic, Kalan Anglos’ goal remained the same: keep people moving and exercising. He believes that anything worth doing is worth doing right. Anglos’ speciality is taking complex concepts and communicating them to clients in a way that is easy to understand and practise. “Through training and teaching higher education, I also emphasize proper exercise prescription, movement patterns, muscular recruitment and above all else, falling in love with the process,” he says.

Whether you are trying to get stronger, lose weight, rehab an injury, or improve physical and mental health, movement is medicine and I believe exercise is the best prescription.

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STEVE CARTER Co-Owner & Head Coach, Drive 365 Fitness & Health

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s a young athlete, Steve Carter loved to coach. “I just loved seeing people improve and have that light switch go on,” he says. Carter would offer advice to anyone who wanted to listen. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that he’s found his calling in personal training and sport performance. During the pandemic, Carter decided to go back to his business’ “bread-and-butter” of one-on-one training.

I develop relationships rooted in care and trust while listening with empathy, respect, acceptance and support. … My favourite aspect of personal training is the ability to impact the journey of our client’s life mentally and physically in a positive transformative way.

HANNAH FLETCHER Owner & Head Coach, Hannah Fitness

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rom a young age, Hannah Fletcher learned that movement gives energy and a positive mindset. When a bout of inflammatory arthritis hit the award-winning fitness leader during a difficult time, she was reminded of what she already knew: “Exercise is a hero for our bodies and minds and we can do hard things,” she says. “How powerful is this?”

Personal training embodies nourishment and connection. By being in service to others, I feel aligned and on the path of purpose. People want to feel seen, heard and understood and I am her for it. … When clients achieve small goals through fitness, their confidence grows and they begin to believe that they have the ability to achieve the larger goals in their lives, too. My mantra is: ‘You are you and that is your superpower!’


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Head Coach & Personal Trainer, Hybrid Athletics LANGLEY, B.C. KELSEY.JACK HYBRIDATHLETICS.CA



hen the pandemic started, personal trainer Kelsey Jack added two more adjectives to her title: mobile and virtual. Every morning, Jack would load up her truck with equipment and travel to her clients’ homes so they could continue to receive the high-quality coaching and programming that they were used to.

My fitness philosophy is to meet people exactly where they are at and take them to where they want to go in the safest, most efficient means possible. I believe that every single goal is meaningful. There is no goal that is too insignificant or too grandiose. With improved fitness, people will achieve incredible feats and surpass even their own expectations.

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Core Specialist & Fitness Trainer, Simply Core Fit KELOWNA, B.C. SIMPLYCOREFIT




solid base for a training program starts with proper mobility and stability. It’s a particular speciality of Dawn Joseph. Following an Olympic sailing campaign, the core specialist and fitness trainer now helps clients re-pattern their core muscles to reduce pain and improve performance. “When you re-pattern the body to move efficiently and effectively,” she says, “you decrease injuries and pain and increase performance.”

I started training because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted them to feel like superheroes and have purpose; I wanted them to shine like they were meant to, and they do.

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Kinesiologist & Personal Trainer, Jenna Maye Fitness VANCOUVER, B.C. JENNAMAYEFITNESS




itness did not come naturally to kinesiologist and personal trainer Jenna Maxwell. But in her first year of university, she found herself working at a pilates studio and became interested in movement and the human body. This led her to study kinesiology and has turned into a fruitful fitness career. Maxwell’s journey means she has a unique perspective on the industry. “I became a trainer to help others like me who have had a bad experience with organized fitness in the past,” she says. “I challenge my clients to get out of their heads and look beyond self-limiting beliefs to see what is possible not only for their fitness level, but also their life.”

My passion is coaching people into better lifestyles one habit at a time. My training method is designed to progressively transform what you know or think you know about your limitations and challenge your limits.

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Personal Trainer & Strength Coach, Elite Performance VANCOUVER, B.C. IANMCFIT




toicism, the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint, has been a guiding principle in Ian McWalter’s life. So it’s natural that it extends into the work he does with clients. “I teach them to acknowledge how they feel, not to give up, and to channel their frustration, grief or anger into inner strength,” he says. “To my delight, this leads to Hulk-like power and motivates them to actually finish their last set of squats.”

Despite all of its struggles, COVID has helped me grow into a better person and a stronger professional. Life will always throw you unexpected twists and turns, but it’s how you turn limitations into opportunities that ultimately matters most.

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Owner & Director of Performance, MC Sport Kinesiology SURREY, B.C. COACHMUELLER MCSPORTKINESIOLOGY.COM



ick Mueller was born to coach. Given the chance to do it all over again, he says he would choose the exact same path. As a kinesiologist, fascial stretch therapy and golf performance specialist, Mueller is uniquely-positioned to help athletes in golf. “Even though health and fitness has exploded in recent years in professional golf, many recreational golfers and teaching professionals struggle with basic health and fitness and nutrition,” he says.

It has been my mission to leave a positive mark on the industry and help as many golfers as possible play the best gold of their lives, play relatively pain free and allow them to enjoy the recreation of a sport that will keep them fit and active for the remainder of their lives.

SCOTT SALLING Founder & Owner, F.I.T. Academy

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or Scott Salling, the best parts of personal training are the life-long connections and the relationships you build. “There is this moment when you realize that your clients are so much more than just clients,” says the founder and owner of F.I.T. Academy. “They really do become a part of an extended family.” In addition to working with clients, Salling has created a world-class training environment at his gym that is supplemented with a business-coaching program for fitness professionals. Through the pandemic, they’ve supported each other. “It has been so important to listen and respect one another as we embark through this journey,” he says. “Sticking together as a team and supporting each other has been a crucial factor in creating a healthy and positive work environment for our trainers as well as clients.”

This profession is more than just working out for an aesthetic look or performance in sport. This career has the potential to change people’s lives for the better and give them the gift of health.

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Personal Trainer, Core Club Fitness

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ndustry veteran Paul Anthony takes his knowledge as a champion bodybuilder into changing his clients lives. Like many trainers, Anthony spent part of the pandemic developing a new program. It’s the fruition of 25 years of development and will be delivered virtually. “My goal is to break apart and rewire your inner world into a recharged brand new outer world,” he says.

My beliefs and philosophies are aligned with personal training. My approach is to achieve true balance in all four quadrants: mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This is where true happiness lies. To lack one of the four quadrants is like driving your car with one flat tire. … My goal for my clients is to always keep their tires filled up.

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D E N I S E B E AT T Y Owner & Head Trainer, The Fitness Fix Studio

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hen she was 21, Denise Beatty thought her career had ended before it had even begun. She was hit by a truck while riding her bike and then had two car-totalling accidents the same year. “I felt depressed. I was in so much pain I couldn’t run for a very long time,” she says. “I decided then that I wanted to work with people through their entire process of healing, to be an advocate for them and be a trainer that understood injuries so I could support treatment and not make anything worse.”

I want people to feel safe, to learn through their injuries, feel empowered in every class and session and to understand their limits and the necessary techniques and adaptations to keep them healthy and progressing.


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Online Coach & Personal Trainer, Howden Movement Academy CALGARY, AB COACHCURT.H




urtis Howden leads by example. Following a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis in 2019, the 17-year fitness industry veteran revamped his diet and exercise routine. “The experience has reinvigorated my goal to help people overcome their limitations and thrive using exercise and diet,” he says. “Now I consider it my job not only to help people in their journey, but to lead by example in the way I deal with my own limitations.”

Remote programming allows me to work with clients across Canada, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. This has shown me that everyone is dealing with challenges this year and now more than ever we need to come together.

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Personal Trainer, Group Fitness & Yoga Instructor EDMONTON, AB DKELLERFITNESS



ith more than 22 years of experience, Deanne Keller enjoys getting people outside for fitness training. “The value of sunshine, fresh air” and “the healing aspect of nature, being among the trees” are driving forces for Keller to get clients outside. Her goal is to make training fun and accessible and she takes a holistic whole-body approach incorporating nutritious food, daily movement, sleep hygiene, hydration and mindset. “Work at it day-by-day,” she says. “Consistency is everything. Never give up.”

I became a fitness trainer first and foremost to be the catalyst to create lifelong lasting lifestyle changes to help inspire people to better improve themselves mentally, physically and sometimes emotionally.

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Personal Trainer, Owner & Founder, MMC Fitness EDMONTON, AB MMCFIT



24-year veteran of the fitness industry, Mark McCormick has continued to give back to the community. He offers by-donation virtual fitness classes, hosts a twice-weekly virtual meetup for Edmonton’s West End fitness community and speaks with a team of healthcare professionals to provide health and wellbeing support.

I believe there’s an innate ability and desire in all of us to move our bodies and express ourselves through movement. Regardless of our differences in life, we can connect through movement and activity. It brings us together and the benefits are boundless.

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ennifer Neil didn’t always want to be a personal trainer. She thought she would have a career in a field like medicine. But she chose to be a personal trainer because fitness has always supported her through life. “Growing up as an athlete it taught me grit and hard work,” she says. “Fitness has always given me a sense of true health and release.” She also loves taking clients through a transformation and being able to stick with them every step of the way.

Train like an athlete, eat like a sports nutritionist, sleep like a baby and win like a champion.

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Certified Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer & Fitness Instructor, The Riverside Club CALGARY, AB MELISSAROWE.FITNESS MELISSA ROWE FITNESS



hen Melissa Rowe realized she had to embrace becoming an online trainer at the start of the pandemic, she was scared. “I knew I needed to connect with people and work out to bang out my stress and to get us through the lockdowns,” she says. While her inner voice was “loud and judgemental,” towards herself, the personal trainer with more than three decades of experience kept showing up. Today, she works with clients both in person and online.

Health does not look one specific way and fit does not have only one body type. … I love adapting my programs to meet my clients’ specific goals and help them find the enjoyable side of movement. I love witnessing when they see and feel progress and progress is one of the best feelings of all.


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Exercise Physiologist & Founder, Every Body STRONGER CALGARY, AB EVERYBODYSTRONGER




eoff Starling uses strength training as a tool to provide people living in bodies of all sizes, ages and abilities the freedom to engage in the world the way they want to. Before the pandemic, Starling’s business had a 5,000 square-foot space and a consistent group of clients. He operated out of a temporary space for a bit, and then his garage. The feedback was great so he renovated and “completely reimagined” how he runs the business.

My approach is that everyone deserves to feel fit, strong and capable regardless of their size, age, colour, ability or identity. I became a trainer when I saw a need within fitness for folks who wanted to become active for the first time, or the first time in a long time, to have a safe, predictable and judgment-free environment to learn how to do that.

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Fitness Coordinator, Exercise Physiologist, & Personal Trainer, City of Medicine Hat’s Big Marble Go Centre MEDICINE HAT, AB PEAKPERFORMANCEFITNESSSERVICES.COM



d Stiles’ love of people, connection and movement is the reason he became a fitness trainer. With 30 years experience as an exercise physiologist, Stiles has trained clients of all ages and abilities. Clients have ranged from young emerging athletes, to pro athletes, people with cancer, heart disease, new hips, disabilities and people just learning to walk again. Stiles continues to share his love of a healthy life, movement and its countless benefits with as many people as he can.

The easiest thing to do in this industry is crush people. I prefer to meet them where they are at…. Getting to know what motivates and energizes a client, their needs and goals, further determines the path we follow.

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MICAELA WHITWORTH Personal Trainer & Founder, Love Your Bod

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icaela Whitworth was two weeks into living in a new city when the world shut down in March 2020. “I had to rebuild a new personal training business from the ground up at the beginning of the pandemic,” she says. “To say I hustled is an understatement.” Without access to any facilities, she trained people in parks. Through a roller-coaster ride of industry shutdowns, Whitworth converted a spare room into a film studio where she creates full-length workout videos and exercise demos.

No more comparing yourself to others. No more body shaming yourself every time you look in the mirror. No more all-or-nothing approach when it comes to exercise and diet. I want to help people find a sustainable level of fitness in their lives.

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onnie Beaulieu’s passion for fitness has taken her through many roles in the industry before she fulfilled her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and fitness business owner. Now, as the owner of S.W.E.A.T® Inc. and the founder of ACTIVATE Academy, she offers a non-intimidating, welcoming and professional environment in which to train. “I love how I can positively impact someone’s life in order to help them find joy, resilience and strength,” she says.

With over 25 years in the industry, I’ve realized that it’s not just about weight loss and intensity, metrics and measurements. It’s about creating a healthy balanced lifestyle for all stages of life. It’s about wanting more for our health, and not settling for less. I help people who want to move better and feel better from the inside out by offering an effective, time-efficient and manageable solution to fitness.

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Personal Trainer & Owner, Rosalie Brown’s Fitness Club RICHMOND HILL, ON ROSALIEBROWNFIT




osalie Brown enjoys creating programs for her clients that aren’t just effective, but also enjoyable. “My goal is to create programs my clients can feel confident doing without me continuously monitoring them,” she says. Her background in group fitness makes the fitness professional a better personal trainer. “I am better able to create programs that flow and work with music that many of my clients enjoy,” she says.

Early on I discovered the adrenaline rush of movement and wanted to encourage others to get this feeling. As I turn 60, I realize that health keeps one active in the game of life. I love inspiring others to feel and be their best at any age.


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Head Coach & Founder, All Day Fit TORONTO, ON CASSIEDAY Y Y




eople are so much more than their physical body. That’s the message trainer Cassie Day has for clients. “Our worth is not a number,” she says. “It’s not how much we can lift, the number on the scale, the number of steps we take or calories we eat or the size of clothes we wear. It’s the moment you stop chasing how you look that everything changes and it’s that moment with each client that keeps me going.” Day doesn't tell her clients what to do; she educates. How do you perform the movement and why? “The goal is to empower my clients to be able to do it without me.”

Training makes us happier, healthier, more energized and confident humans. When we feel our best, we get the most out of our lives and have the ability to give and connect deeper with those around us.

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Owner & Founder, Imprint Pilates TORONTO, ON IMPRINTPILATES




nita Ivic became a trainer to help people discover the tools they need to form healthy habits that are already within themselves. “I love sharing my passion for movement, self-care, healing and overall self-improvement with the people I teach,” she says. “Seeing each person progress in strength, ability and fortitude on this journey of life equally gives me immense satisfaction in our mutual accomplishment. Ivic has helped thousands of people reach their personal fitness goals including elite athletes like Canada’s most decorated Olympian, Penny Oleksiak.

I believe you need to practice what you preach. Everyone should be training for everyday living, for life, and build the muscle of self-resilience and self-reliance. I want to teach people how to strive for their personal best, whatever that version of them is today, to train their mind to focus, train their body to move and their soul to be fortified.

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Co-Founder, All Day Fit & Creator, All Day Athlete TORONTO, ON JAHJAHBANKS ALLDAYFIT.COM



ahmeek Murray has been an athlete for his entire life. Being part of a team has shaped who the exprofessional football player is. He created All Day Athlete, an athletic training program for everyday people that mimics being part of a sports team. “You won’t always have the motivation or time,” he says. “That’s why having a system in place is important. Follow a program, schedule your workouts as the most important appointment of the week and hire a coach.”

I want to show people that they are capable of building strength and athleticism, not only for their health and longevity, but for their entire being. Confidence in the gym or on the field directly translates into their lives and relationships.

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Owner & Head Trainer, The Workout Loft TORONTO, ON PAULNAM.LOFT




aul Nam abides by the KIS principle: Keep It Simple. His training is focused on basic functional movements and nutrition. “I teach all my clients how to isolate their muscles properly and how to track their calories. They understand the exercise easier and this gives them greater confidence,” says the trainer. “This also results in very few injuries and a stronger mind to muscle connection which creates more body awareness.”

I decided to stay in the industry because with my years of knowledge and experience, being a fitness instructor was second nature to me. … Seeing people become physically and mentally stronger makes me happy.


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Owner & Head Instructor, Guelph Family Martial Arts & Guelph Fitness Kickboxing GUELPH, ON GUELPHFAMILYMARTIALARTS




hen you enter Nathan Skoufis’ gym, you won’t feel judged or intimidated. They’re both feelings the 23-time world champion and fifth degree black belt experienced when he was getting into fitness. “I wanted to make sure I had an impact on making students develop confidence, perseverance and determination so they could carry these messages with them the rest of their life,” he says. “It truly is my passion and there is nothing else I have ever wanted to do. When you make a positive difference, there is no better feeling and something I can never repay.”

I try to make a connection and difference with everyone I work with, as just training someone to get more physically fit is the tip of the iceberg. To inspire and motivate them to be their best self, in whatever they are doing, to be a friend and help them reach whatever their goal is. To offer a beginner-friendly environment with no intimidation.

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Owner & Head Personal Trainer, Tamfit Canada VAUGHAN, ON TAMFITCANADA TAMFITCANADA.COM



he pandemic has disproportionately affected women. They have taken on many roles over the past two years, but have often neglected to take a moment for themselves. Andrea Tam’s virtual training community offers that respite. “As new members began joining the team, they were welcomed by existing participants and a rapport began to grow amongst the community,” says Tam. “It was as though they had been best friends forever.”

My workouts are customized to prevent you from plateauing and to ensure your body gets a challenging workout every time….I will motivate you, challenge your limits and hold you accountable…. My purpose is to continue to help you achieve your wellness goals and inspire you to live a healthy lifestyle.

M AT T H E W TA U B Senior Trainer,

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t the end of every class or session, Matthew Taub thanks his clients. “When a person reaches out to me to work with them, I take that very seriously,” he says. “They’re letting you into something very important to them. Knowing what my fitness journey was like, it humbles me every time.” Taub is empathetic to the challenges people face in their fitness journey. He’s been there; he gets it. Taub started his own journey weighing 258 lbs. He’s also 16 years into recovery from addiction. “Because of my journey through weight loss and my journey through addiction and recovery, I see fitness a lot differently.”

It’s not just about the exercise. It’s about the mind. It’s about making changes that will forever make people feel better. Exercise hard. Live easy.

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essie Thomas was working at a large gym when the pandemic first hit in March 2020 and facilities closed. “I needed to find a way to keep my community moving and mentally strong,” she says. “So I decided to turn my family’s farm into a fitness facility, to get people moving outside, socializing and grounded in nature.” She converted the 16-stall horse barn into two indoor studios and the round pen, which was used for horse exercise before, became an open-air facility for Thomas’ business. “My business was borne out of COVID-19 restrictions, so adapting to ever-changing conditions is not new for us,” she says. “It’s actually what we’re known for.”

I first became a fitness trainer because I knew what it felt like to feel lost in your own body, but the thrill of the comeback…. I believe that if people can find their confidence, learn to love themselves and their movement, they are on their way.

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2022 Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers Panelists

Thank you to our expert Michael Bentley, Vancouver, B.C. President of SierraSil Health, Inc. Michael is President of SierraSil Health Inc, a company focused on restoring ability and joy for customers with chronic aches or soreness. He has been recognized with the Canadian Health Food Association Leadership Award and as one of Canada’s top 100 wellness influencers. He has served on numerous non-profits including the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Council for Responsible Nutrition and is a graduate of UBC and Stanford Universities.

Jaylone Lee, Toronto, ON CMO at Decathlon Canada Jaylone joined Decathlon Canada as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer in January 2020. She has spent the last twenty years in Canadian retail in a variety of roles with a focus on digital transformation, e-commerce and marketing. In her role at Decathlon, she is pleased to promote the company’s mission of making the pleasures and benefits of sports accessible to the many. This mission includes an expanding network of experiential stores, as well as helping local communities get and stay active.

Louis J. Stack, Calgary, AB Founder and President of Fitter International Inc. Louis J. Stack is a former national-level athlete and the founder and president of the award-winning Fitter International Inc., a multimillion dollar company. Founded in 1985, Fitter is recognized worldwide for supplying premium professional and personal products that help people recover from and prevent injury, maintain balance and fitness and keep moving at work. Throughout his 30-plus years’ experience as a business owner, athlete and father, he has built a foundation of integrity and quality in everything he does. Along his journey, Stack has been an advocate and industry expert, often leading the way in the physical rehabilitation world and setting precedents in the way we approach our office environment.

Cynthia Watson, Calgary, AB CEO of Vivo for Healthier Generations Society Cynthia Watson is Chief Evolution Officer of Vivo for Healthier Generations Society, a charity on a mission to inspire a wholistic mindset for healthy living. She is on a lifelong quest to embolden others to make a bigger difference in the world. In her parallel universe, she is also co-chair of the ActiveCITY Collective. The Collective is made up of passionate individuals and organizations committed to connecting the active economy to help all Calgarians live healthier, happier and more active lives.

panelists for helping us select Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers 2022

Barbara Brodowsky, Los Angeles, CA Chief of Staff at WRKOUT Barb is currently the Chief of Staff at WRKOUT, an online training platform that has created a robust market place for both trainers and clients to experience the best of everything in the health and wellness space. She has worked tirelessly over the years to find pathways for people in the fitness industry to make a living, or at least a great side hustle. Barb was formerly the Senior Director of Fitness and Global Field Operations with Beachbody. As the former Regional Manager with 24 hour Fitness, she managed the operations of 20+ clubs and 500+ instructors. Barb is an international speaker, master trainer and thought leader in fitness for over 25 years.

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Kelly Hrudey stopped more than 20,000 pucks during his NHL career. Now as a mental health advocate he is stopping the stigma. BY TY PILSON TRUDIE LEE Director of Digital Content and Social Media for Calgary Sports and Entertainment in Calgary, AB. TYPILSON


hen Kelly Hrudey retired after 17 years in the NHL, he stayed front and centre in the limelight, becoming a fixture on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada intermission panels, and working as a TV colour analyst. His profile and high visibility have given him a platform more powerful than hockey, and as a champion for Anxiety Canada he is an outspoken advocate for mental health.

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Late last year, the 60-year-old Hrudey talked candidly and honestly about his mental health struggles with fellow hockey commentator Gord Stellick on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast. The conversation led to a groundswell of support on social media and, perhaps most importantly, revived an ongoing discussion about mental health in the Twitter hockey universe and beyond. Many people continue to be moved and motivated by Hrudey’s honesty on the subject.

Quite simply put: when a former professional athlete with his stature talks, people listen. It shines a bright light on a subject that is still often taboo, even today. “I know it does have an impact because I know when I go on the radio, or I put something on social media, I get direct interaction with people and they share their stories with me,” says Hrudey. “We’re all in this together and I feel the love and connection with people and so I think it’s very important we continue this

Kelly Hrudey is unshrouding the stigma around mental health.

It doesn’t matter what your job title says, it can affect anybody and everyone, and at different times in your life.

conversation just so everybody knows they don’t have to deal with this by themselves. We can share our strength together.” Hrudey’s advocacy started back in 2005 when his daughter Kaitlin was diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Since then, through being educated more on the subject himself, he’s faced his own personal battles, and came to terms with past issues he didn’t recognize at the time.

“Nobody is immune from it,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what your job title says, it can affect anybody and everyone, and at different times in your life.” Hrudey said his first bout with mental health issues came back in 1992 heading into the NHL season, but at the time he didn’t know what he was going through. Now, in hindsight, he can recognize all the signs for what it was. “And then it started again in the summer of 2019. Kind of unexpectedly and my thoughts, again, started off concerning but probably rational if you really look at them, and they went from concerning and rational to irrational to making my life really, really difficult for a long time until I decided to take the step to get the help I needed.” His courage to openly chronicle his journey resonates with people, making many feel like they are not alone in their own personal mental health struggles. “What’s really encouraging for me and so exciting, is that five or ten years ago we wouldn’t have had these conversations

and all of us are talking about it now, at least a lot of us, and I’m just excited what the next five years might bring and the conversations we might have,” he says. He is hoping in the future we can open up and aren’t afraid of really asking how friends are, rather than saying ‘Hey, how are you?’ but not really meaning it. “Eyes don’t lie, and I’ve always said that if you look somebody in the eye you can tell if they are OK or not OK. So, when you ask the question,’ Hey, how are you?’ and they look at you with those eyes that are troubling and you go, ‘No honestly, how are you doing. Are you OK? Do you need to chat? What’s up?’ That’s kind of the world I see us living in in five or ten years.” While not everyone is comfortable opening up to friends or family, Hrudey has one important piece of advice he’d like to give everyone: “You don’t have to share your story if you’re not able to,” he says. “The only thing I would encourage you to do is get the help that you need. You can’t do it alone and it’s way too painful to do it by yourself.”

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For the Love of Running

Filsan Abdiaman creates safe spaces for moving your body BY DANYAEL HALPRIN ALIA YOUSSEF Danyael Halprin is a writer-editor in Calgary, AB who pens lifestyle features for a number of magazines. DANYAEL


ancouver’s Filsan Abdiaman came to running eight years ago as a means of denial and distraction from her eating disorder, which she was using to deal with difficult emotions. She was literally running away from her problems. “Exercise and running are helpful tools to cope with mental health issues,” says Abdiaman, 34, “but what happens if you get injured and you can’t run anymore or the gym is closed, like it was during the pandemic, and you can’t exercise?

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“It’s important to find more than the movement piece to deal with your mental health.” Suffice to say that bingeing and purging while increasing her kilometres for ultra trail races ultimately took its toll on Abdiaman’s body. She lost her period for two years, she was experiencing erratic mood swings, and it was affecting her endurance performance. She only confided in her older sister, too ashamed to tell the rest of her family about her bulimia.

Vancouver's Filsan Abdiaman has created a safe space for womxn to move their bodies in Project Love Run, which now has chapters in Montreal, Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver.

It’s important to find more than the movement piece to deal with your mental health. Abdiaman noticed a heavy emphasis on training in running culture yet not enough attention on proper fueling and rest and recovery. People are not talking about eating disorders or disordered eating in the running world because of the stigma and the shame associated with it, she says. “Disordered eating is partaking in restrictive behaviours and seeing food as either good or bad. It’s the mentality of ‘I’m going to eat this much because I’m going to run this much tomorrow.’ Those types of thoughts are very problematic.” Dieting, disordered eating and eating disorders exist on a spectrum, Abdiaman explains, and if you’re not careful it can go to the extreme, which is what happened to her. She eventually sought professional help and stopped looking to relationships and other external sources to find love and determine her self-worth. Abdiaman continues to do the self-work to enjoy running for what it is to her: her passion. In fact, what draws her to ultra running is the discovery of self she experiences when being with her mind for all those hours. That’s when epiphanies happen. “The love you are seeking is the love within,” became the mantra for the running group she founded in Toronto in 2016. Project Love Run (PLR) spread like, well, love, creating chapters in Montreal, Toronto, Victoria, and Vancouver, where she moved in 2017. “I wanted to create a safe space for self-identifying womxn to connect with others, move their body intuitively in an inclusive environment and have a safe space to talk openly,” she says. The monthly runs are no longer than five kilometres and conclude in a thematic conversation over brunch. Past topics include sexual health, the diet culture and weight stigma, fertility, and beauty standards. The spelling of womxn with an “x” allows for multiple definitions and identities of women. No individual is only an ethnicity, a gender, or a size. Abdiaman describes her own identity as complex — born Muslim in Somalia, growing up in Kenya, and living in Canada since the age of 18. She is a strong voice in the many communities she

belongs to, expressing herself through her poetry on her personal and PLR Instagram posts. She writes about her relationship with running, physical and mental health, friendships, and being Black. She wants other Black runners who are struggling with an eating disorder to feel they are not alone. In her own personal training practice, she strives to change the toxic weight-centric messaging in the fitness world, instead looking at health holistically, not only as an objective or outcome. “Still out here running in very White Spaces. Only difference now is I have the confidence And endurance to keep Talking about Being Tokenized by Brands, Being Minimized to make others comfortable in my presence, Being Dismissed, Ignored & yes, Censored. I’m still Running.” (August 20, 2020) As part of her healing, Abdiaman’s therapist encouraged her to write love notes to herself, to blossom the self-love that was absent. She wrote the notes, 100 of them, and also signed up for her first 100 kilometre race in April 2018. “I ran that race to celebrate my journey of self-love and what I had accomplished,” she says. “I run ultras because I know I can be a better person at the end of the run.” In Somali, Filsan means someone who stands out from their peers; an athlete with impact.

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

7 Yoga Poses for Sleep Decompress your body before bedtime

BY JESS LEBLANC JESSIE MCNAUGHT One of Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors 2021, yoga teacher, public speaker, and founder of Embodied Living based on Vancouver Island, B.C. JESSSSLEB




leep is the elixir of life but we are a chronically sleep-deprived society. The way we prepare for sleep is very important because the quality of sleep we receive shapes our emotional, mental and physical health. A mindful movement routine can be a gentle and restorative way to regulate your nervous system, consciously process the day's events and shift from a state of chaos into calm. These seven postures are a great remedy for anyone feeling stress, anxiety or tension in the mind, body or both. Use this relaxation practice to decompress, release and nurture your nightly habits so your sleep helps you thrive, not just survive. 1


Begin by connecting to your breath, centering yourself. Take knees wide and lower hips towards your heels. Ease your torso down onto a pillow in front of you (place one also under bottom to alleviate knee tension if needed). Stretch, soften, hug, bend or straighten your arms. Turn your head to one side, hold three to five minutes and switch. 2


Expand throughout your torso, neck, shoulders, back, and obliques. In cross-legged position or any seated variation, inhale to lift up tall, lengthening the spine. Exhale, extend your arm overhead, palm down, fingers spread. Place the opposite hand either on your knee or resting on the bed. Repeat on both sides. 3


Shimmy into this for the restorative break your body (and mind) craves. Get yourself close to the headboard, positioning your legs vertically up the surface to form an L-shape with your torso. Place a pillow under your head or pelvis for extra comfort or try bringing the soles of your feet together for more stretch. Breathe! 4


Alleviate pain and stiffness in your upper body and posterior chain. Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Bend knees, generously hinging at the hips and place hands actively on the bed. Lengthen your arms as you walk backwards stretching from hands to hips and hips to heels. Let tension dissolve in the neck, jaw and face.

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Draw your knees together into your chest. Exhale, lower to one side, either guiding knees with your hand or stretching arms out wide in line with your shoulders. Add a pillow between or under your knees for increased comfort. Soften and unclench. Repeat on both sides, moving slowly as you transition. 6


Stiff hips with a side of lower back pain? Lay on the floor (or in bed) bending both knees to 90 degrees. Place right ankle over left thigh. With the tailbone pressing downward, hold your crossed foot with one hand and knee with the other. Exhale, bring your shin closer to your chest. Repeat on the left. 7


Laying on your back with a pillow under your knees, rest your arms and hands wherever they feel comfortable. Let exhalations be longer than inhalations, notifying your nervous system that you are safe. Inhale for a count of four, hold breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Sweet dreams and namaste.

Interested in trying this fully guided, full-body relaxation with Jess? Link here to listen to Jess as she helps you ease into a deep slumber:







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

Morning Routines

How you start your day has great influence BY MARISSA TIEL ALEKSANDRA WĄS MARISSATIEL


Arianne Jones enjoys a coffee in the morning, which was a shared indulgence for those IMPACT interviewed.


ot all mornings are created equal. How you start your morning can have a profound effect on how you feel the rest of the day. From cold showers, to pre-dawn runs, to that perfect cup of coffee, professionals at the top of their game share how they get going in the morning. THE CHEF


The first thing chef Matthew Kenney does upon waking is drink a big glass of water. He follows that up with a few minutes of stretching. “Yoga is a big thing for me,” he says, “so even though I don’t have time to do a full practice in the mornings, I like to get some quick movement in.” Kenney says his day doesn’t start until he’s taken a cold shower. “I’m following the trend; it’s true,” he says. “I like to do 30 seconds of freezing cold at the end of my shower. It really wakes me up and keeps me feeling young.” Favourite part of the morning: Green juice. He has a juicer at home and makes his own. THE PHOTOGRAPHER


When photographer Paul Zizka wakes up in the morning, he takes a look outside. “I glance out the window to see what the mountains look like and whether they are lit up or shrouded with fog or clouds,” he says. “The view is never the same two days in a row, which is something I love about living in Banff.” The best part of Zizka’s morning is when his three-year-old daughter comes into his room exactly at 6:50 a.m. “Her bright spirit helps me get out of bed,” he says. “Gosh, if only I could be so cheerful and talkative in the morning.” Day doesn’t start until: Zizka has had a cup of coffee. “A double shot Americano, to be exact,” he says.

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Fitness trainer Pete Estabrooks starts his day the same each morning. Before heading to bed, he lays out the running clothes he’ll don in the morning in the order he’ll put them on. He gets up between 5:30 and 5:50 a.m. each morning, meeting dogs Luna and Billie on the way to greet his partner. From bed to running is seven to 12 minutes. “What follows is a moving meditation,” he says. “Five to eight kilometres of easy running, connecting with my partner, comfortable conversation, fresh air and a communion with nature that leaves me grateful for the moment and another day. “I can tell you the adage is true; you will never regret a run that you just finished.” Day doesn’t start until: Estabrooks has run with the dogs and kissed his girl. THE OLYMPIAN


When Olympian Arianne Jones wakes up in the morning, she drinks a glass of greens with lemon to rehydrate from sleep and takes her dog Blueberry out for a walk to enjoy the fresh air and movement. Then comes her favourite part: coffee. What doesn’t Jones do? “Check my phone. I keep my phone out of the bedroom and try not to check it until I am at my desk,” she says. “This digital boundary helps me show up for my day clear, productive and creative. It makes a huge difference on my mindset for the day.” Favourite part of the morning: Coffee. “I am a total snob and really enjoy a great coffee with some oat milk,” she says. Jones usually enjoys it in her infrared sauna while listening to a podcast. “Detox, coffee and good vibes to start the day.”


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Blood Flow Restriction Training BFR is an effective training and recovery strategy

BY ALAIN COUTURE, CAT(C), RMT, CSCS, RSCC, ROT THOMAS FRICKE Director of Health and Performance - Head Athletic Therapist for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club in Winnipeg, MB.


hether you’re interested in a different way to get results in the gym, trying to keep up with strength training after an injury, or you are a pro athlete looking to get to the next level, blood flow restriction training is one way to bio-hack your muscles. Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) involves low-intensity exercise that provides similar benefits to high-intensity training. The technique has been thoroughly researched and studied for decades, but has only been gaining popularity in the world of sports over the past few years as athletes like fitness influencer Ben Greenfield, downhill skier Mikaela Shiffrin incorporate it into their routines. As head athletic therapist with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club, I oversee the health and wellbeing of every player on the roster. After receiving the appropriate training through KAATSU Global Inc., I started using BFRT on athletes in 2019, and have noticed several benefits throughout the last few seasons. ‘Kaatsu’ is a Japanese term meaning ‘added pressure,’ and is a patented exercise method developed by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato. The process includes wrapping the extremity being exercised with an inflatable cuff, slightly restricting arterial inflow. This slows venous outflow at the top of the arms or legs while exercising either arm, leg or core muscles with very low weights but high repetitions. Using this technique creates a low oxygen environment that causes early fatigue for your slowtwitch muscle fibers during exercise. This activates your fast-twitch muscle fibers, leading to neurological fatigue and an increase in growth hormones, which then leads to a muscle-building effect.

By using very light weight or no weight, you’re fatiguing the muscles, creating an increase in strength and muscle size, without causing the stress you would with traditional exercise. This means you get the benefits of increased muscle-fibre recruitment, hormonal response, strength and muscle mass while doing roughly half the work. This method works well on injured athletes who can’t typically resume their regular exercise programs. Since BFRT involves very light or no weight, an athlete can work on regaining strength and muscle mass while limiting the effects of muscle wasting and preventing further injury or stress. This results in faster recovery from injury, which can be the difference between wins and losses in the world of pro sports. BFRT should not completely replace traditional weight training because you won’t develop the same level of connective tissue strength or the neural drive that is created by lifting heavier weight. Beginners should work with a certified health practitioner trained in BFRT and start with a couple of sessions per week. Regardless of experience, BFRT training should be held to a maximum of 20 minutes on legs and 15 minutes on arms. Is this safe? Yes, but if you choose to pursue this style of training, it should be under the supervision or consultation of a professional trainer with appropriate training. Almost anyone can try this method, including the elderly and people with injuries or disabilities. Blood flow restriction training may not be suitable for someone with circulatory problems, so consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head athletic therapist, Alain Couture shows how athletes can lift lighter weights but still get the benefits of heavier weights.

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Fuelling for Health and Performance

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) is a common challenge in female and male athletes BY IDA HEIKURA PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and University of Victoria, B.C. IDAHEIKURA


RED-S commonly affects athletes in endurance sports and can affect both male and female athletes.


n average, up to half of all athletes fail to consume enough calories to meet the body’s daily energy requirements. Most of these athletes are likely unaware of the presence and consequences of long-term underfuelling. How do you know if you are one of these athletes, and why is adequate fuelling so important for your health and performance?

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Athletes and active individuals are at a risk of low energy availability (LEA), which means that there’s not enough energy coming in through diet to cover the energy output during exercise, ultimately failing to cover the energy cost of other important body functions (reproduction and bone health, to name a few). Prolonged LEA can lead to the development of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), a

syndrome with a range of negative health and performance outcomes. Some of these outcomes include impaired endocrine function, bone health as well as increased illness and injury along with decreased performance. For example, research has shown that elite runners with long-term LEA are 4.5 times more likely to develop bone stress injuries than runners with optimal energy availability. In another study, female swimmers with irregular periods—a common sign of prolonged LEA—experienced an approximately 10 per cent decline in performance as opposed to an approximately eight per cent increase in performance seen in those with regular periods (and as such, optimal energy availability). While athletes can develop LEA by restricting calorie intake (disordered eating behavior or attempts to lose body weight), it is not uncommon for athletes to experience LEA by accident. In fact, research has shown that only 25 per cent of the athletes with LEA present with disordered eating behavior. Instead, many athletes may develop LEA due to an inability or lack of knowledge to consume a sufficient amount of calories to match high training loads. This is especially common in endurance sports or team sports such as soccer, where daily energy requirements can be several thousand calories. The development of some of the health and performance impairments takes time, and often, by the time RED-S is detected, the athlete may have been experiencing LEA for several months or years. Some of the outcomes of RED-S (including decreased bone density) may be irreversible, which highlights the importance of early detection and intervention.



RED-S only concerns female endurance athletes. Both females and males, across all sports, can be affected, although females in weight-sensitive sports (distance running, cycling, cross-country skiing, triathlon, rowing, figure skating, gymnastics, ballet) appear to be more susceptible to LEA. In female athletes, missing the period is a normal sign of heavy training. Absence of three or more consecutive cycles in female athletes is a potential sign of LEA and RED-S. The athlete should consult with a physician as long-term amenorrhea is linked to poor bone density and subsequently, increased risk of bone stress injuries. In female athletes with amenorrhea, use of hormone replacement therapy in the form of estrogen and/or progesterone pills will support bone health. Research has shown that oral contraceptive pills (a combination of estradiol and progestogen) impair the hormone insulinlike growth-factor 1 (IGF1, an important bone building hormone) and as such, provide no bone health benefits. Instead, transdermal 17β-estradiol patches in combination with cyclic progesterone have been shown to bypass the IGF-1 route thus leading to increased bone density in individuals with menstrual dysfunction.



Due to its ability to widely affect athlete health and performance, RED-S is currently recognized as one of the biggest challenges among female and male athletes, over all ages and across all sports. While anyone can develop RED-S, females tend to be at a higher risk than males, and weight-bearing or aesthetic sports (running, triathlon, cycling, high jump and long jump, figure skating and gymnastics) tend to pose a higher risk than sports where body weight is a less important determinant of performance (team sports, field sports in track & field). Anyone involved in sports (athletes, coaches, parents, physicians, physiotherapists, etc.) can educate themselves on RED-S to prevent the development and long-term consequences of RED-S in athletes. If you or someone you know is at risk for or experiencing symptoms of RED-S, seek help by talking to your dietitian, physician, coach or a member of your support team. Early detection and intervention are key in preventing more severe health concerns arising from prolonged LEA.


Only athletes with disordered eating can have RED-S. Anyone can develop RED-S even if they don’t intentionally aim to create a caloric deficit. This is especially common in endurance sports or in individuals who lack knowledge to consume enough calories to manage daily caloric requirements. In fact, research has shown that appetite poorly tracks with energy expenditure when activity levels are high, which means that eating only when hungry can be problematic especially for those engaging in high levels of physical activity. If an athlete is normal weight, they can’t have RED-S. Weight loss can indicate LEA and RED-S. But you can be normal weight (or have stable body weight) and still suffer from RED-S. This is because at times, the body metabolically adapts to a caloric deficit by reducing the amount of calories it expends during activity and at rest (i.e. calories in = calories out). This has been shown in studies on starvation (the Minnesota Starvation Experiment) as well as weight loss research (including the 2016 paper on “The Biggest Loser”). A low body weight is beneficial for performance, thus mitigating the potential negative effects of RED-S. While in the short-term, athletes especially in weight-bearing sports (running, jumping, climbing) may perform better with a lower body weight, the long-term consequences of LEA and RED-S are most likely to be performance hindering.



SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF RED-S RED-S can present in many forms and symptoms can vary from one person to the next. Research is developing to confirm the best markers for identification of RED-S. Based on the current evidence, some of the indicators of RED-S are:

1 2 3 4 5

In females, absence of three or more consecutive periods (functional hypothalamic amenorrhea) or no menarche (primary amenorrhea, i.e. a female who has never menstruated) without an underlying clinical condition are often indicative of prolonged low energy availability In males, blood testosterone concentrations within the lowest quartile of reference range and/or low libido can be a sign of RED-S Low bone mineral density (Z score <-1.0) or frequent bone stress injuries (≥2 injuries) can be a sign of prolonged RED-S Other symptoms include: decreased blood triiodothyronine (T3, a thyroid hormone concentrations within lowest quartile of reference range may indicate risk), decreased resting metabolic rate, elevated total or LDL cholesterol, and low blood pressure (<90/60 mmHg) Signs to look for in the field: low body weight or recent substantial weight loss (BMI <18.5 kg/ m2 or >5% weight loss in a month), increased frequency of illness/infection, poor sleep, poor mental health, unexplained fatigue, increased irritability, as well as disordered eating behaviour. * Note that not every athlete with RED-S will present with all these signs; instead, RED-S is likely to include a combination of indicators.

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

Sleep for Better Performance Build up your sleep bank to support recovery and optimum fitness

BY D R . J O N AT H A N C H A R E S T Director of Athlete Sleep Services and a behavioural sleep medicine specialist at the Centre for Sleep & Human Performance in Calgary, AB. CENTREFORSLEEP



leep is a normal and reversible behavior that is an essential part of the human recovery process. Several studies now recognize the fundamental role that sleep plays to optimize health and human performance. Results have demonstrated that sleep will not only help an athlete optimize their performance, but will also act on every aspect of physiological and psychological health in humans. Athletes of all levels are now paying attention to the quality of their sleep.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? It has been suggested that athletes may require a greater amount of sleep (eight to 10 hours) to recover from intense training loads and avoid injury altogether. Not only will sleep function as a protective factor, it also enhances performance. In elite basketball athletes for example, a prolonged period of sleep not only improved mood but significantly enhanced sport-specific features such as an increase in 3-point percentage by nine per cent and faster sprint times. Moreover, a subsequent study with collegiate tennis players demonstrated that a single week of sleep extension resulted in a six per cent improvement in serving accuracy.

CAFFEINE CONUNDRUM Coffee is one of the preferred drinks consumed by athletes but make no mistake, it cannot replace sleep. That has been demonstrated elegantly by a research study conducted with tennis players. Wellrested tennis players were compared to sleep-restricted players and the latter group could consume as much coffee as they desired. The well-rested players outperformed the caffeinated group on every sport-specific aspect, showing that you can sleep your way to better performance, but you cannot replace sleep with caffeine.

COUNTING SHEEP Given that sleep represents the best natural enhancer for recovery and performance, athletes should dedicate great care to protect it. The first step is to figure out how much sleep you need each night and ultimately each week to create your “sleep bank.” Ultimately it would be strongly suggested that high performance athletes sleep between 70 and 80 hours per week.

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Sleep environment is a critical factor that greatly influences sleep quantity and quality. In order to achieve the best sleep possible, athletes’ bedrooms should be completely dark (e.g., blackout curtains) and the temperature should be kept as much as possible around 17-19 C. The bedroom should also be considered a device-free zone. Remove all cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices even if they have a blue light filter. If you have enough energy to use an electronic device, you’re not sleepy and shouldn’t be in your bedroom in the first place. In an effort to avoid electronic device usage, you should develop a pre-bedtime routine that includes relaxation, breathing and mindfulness. Check out the bedtime yoga routine on page 76. Lastly, keeping your bedroom clean and in order will also help your sleep. Your bedroom should be the most prestigious room in your house, so show it some care.

TO NAP OR NOT TO NAP? Considering that 70 to 80 hours of sleep per week may be unrealistic for certain athletes to achieve at night, learning how to nap is a fundamental skill to increase your sleep bank. Not only does napping reduce sleepiness while increasing alertness, but it also enhances the physical, cognitive, and perceptual states (e.g. fatigue) that are critical factors for athletes. You should plan naps as often as possible in your week. While naps have a positive influence on a number of factors, the length of naps will have a different influence. On competition day, aim for a 20- to 30-minute power nap whereas on off-days or training days, try for a longer 90-minute nap. These naps should be scheduled during your body’s circadian low, which would typically be between 1 and 4 p.m. Sleep also plays a crucial role in immune response and if the past two years have taught us anything, it is that we should do everything in our power to protect our immune system. In this Olympic year, it is important to highlight the importance of sleep and well-adapted strategies to protect your sleep when faced with long-haul travel, jet lag and amplified stress for competition. Ideally, every athlete should ask themselves simple questions such as: am I doing all I can to optimize my sleep? Is sleep one of the reasons for my underachievement lately? Could a better sleep help optimize my performance?


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

An Ounce of Prevention Alzheimer’s disease begins 20 years before symptoms appear BY CHRISTINA ACEVEDO Red Seal Chef, Nutritionist and Author of Two Little F Words based in Vancouver Island and Mexico. HONEYANDVANILLA


o you know what increases your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease? Your first thought, like most, is probably genetics. But really, our genes play a much smaller role than we think. Research shows that epigenetics is the biggest factor when determining your risk for Alzheimer’s, not your genes. Epigenetics means “above our genes” and is the study of how your behaviours and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. This is encouraging news because it means that we have more power over our health than we think. This is not to disregard the fact that if you have one or two alleles of the ApoE4 gene, that it does not increase your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, it does but the powerful little gem I am offering to you is that your everyday lifestyle choices are much more powerful than you think when it comes to decreasing your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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If this disease starts twenty years before symptoms occur, wouldn’t you agree that learning about the root causes and what you can do right now should be a priority? According to Dr. Dale Bredesen, a leading Functional Medicine Doctor in Alzheimer’s disease, there are many reasons why someone develops Alzheimer’s disease and it is not the same reason for everyone. Following one of the laws of functional medicine, there is probably more than one imbalance in the body that is causing a person's unique symptoms. Dr. Bredesen explains the risks/subtypes in his book, The End of Alzheimer’s, as follows: • Inflammatory This can be due to how our body reacts to certain foods, stress or environmental sensitivities as well as ApoE 4 gene status. • Glycotoxic This is due to high insulin and blood sugar imbalance, type 2 diabetes.

• Atrophic Cells and systems degenerating due to lack of trophic factors such as BDNF or hormones such as lack of estrogen in menopausal years. • Toxic Can be due to exposure to mycotoxins from mold, stealth infections such as lyme, heavy metal burden, environmental toxins. • Vascular Due to reduction in blood getting to the brain from “leakiness” in vascular tissue. • Traumatic Due to traumatic brain injury/concussion. Your brain swells and causes inflammation to protect itself when it gets injured, this can cause long term damage. All of these above subtypes have one thing in common, their root lies in inflammation, specifically in the brain. So what can you do with this information, how do you reduce your risk now that you know what increases your risk?

TOP HOLISTIC TOOLS FOR DECREASING YOUR RISK AND DECREASING INFLAMMATION 1. Practice TRE (time-restricted eating) Become metabolically flexible in order to balance insulin and blood sugar. 2. Eat a whole foods diet Remove oils, refined sugar and processed food and begin eating quality protein, more vegetables and good quality fat. 3. Sleep We detox, balance blood sugar, reduce inflammation and reset our brain while we sleep. It is highly underestimated in maintaining optimal health. 4. Exercise and build muscle This increases BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), hormone balance and insulin sensitivity. 5. Sweat This removes toxins and increases heat shock proteins and build resilience. 6. Remove toxins from your home Start with removing plug-in fragrances, use real essential oils instead; use natural laundry detergent, stop using fabric softener, and use cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans instead of non-stick pans.


Every little lifestyle change can make a difference, we must start taking responsibility for our health and realise we have so much more power over our health than we thought.

BLOOD TESTS FOR DETERMINING YOUR RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Ask your doctor for certain blood tests and refer to Dr. Bredesen's optimal ranges • Fasting insulin • Fasting blood sugar • C Reactive protein (CRP) • Homocysteine • B12 • A1C • Hormone panel including a full thyroid panel

OPTIMAL SLEEP M E A NS O P T I M A L P E R F O R M A NC E SLEEP IS THE FOUNDATION OF AN ATHLETE’S INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE Get your personalized sleep recommendations to help improve your athletic performance for free with the Athlete Sleep Screening Questionnaire - an online tool that is accessible and easily completed in under 15 minutes. The questionnaire provides an individualized treatment plan and 1-click access to a sleep physician. Suite 106, 51 Sunpark Drive SE, Calgary

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

Keep Moving to Stay Young Tips from an anti-aging expert BY DR. GENIEVE BURLEY Internationally renowned chiropractor, fitness instructor, wellness expert and creator of Mobilization Nation in Vancouver, B.C. DRGENIEVEBURLEY



have had two parallel careers in my life: one as a yoga and fitness instructor and one as a chiropractor for over 15 years. There have been many moments over these years where I have felt burnt out and questioned why I do both, but I have been getting closer to the nugget of why these two careers have been a mainstay in my life. With the beginning of the pandemic giving me more time, I was able to refine something I had been seeing in research, in my patients and in my own body for decades. From watching bodies move in my classes to working on common injury patterns in my patients I started to see where “lack of movement” was causing accelerated degeneration in the body.

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Movement alone can light up new connections in all areas of the brain.

ANTI-AGING BENEFITS OF MOVEMENT Movement will also affect the rest of the body, encouraging anti-aging processes to take place. This is why:

The developing brain of a child is constantly active. Nerve cells are budding as they make new connections in all areas of the brain. The brain is also “pruning,” removing connections that are no longer needed as skills are refined. There is a hive of activity in a developing brain and these branched unions of axons connect things we know as movement, senses, language, emotion, balance, decision making, and spatial awareness, among many others. As the brain ages, the areas that we aren’t using become smaller and less connected. For instance, if you are not using the part of the brain that is “musical,” it will decrease in size and activity compared to the areas that are active on a daily basis. The problem with this is that we are not stimulating new connections. For the most part we are doing the same tasks with our brain on a daily basis. This pedestrian use of our brain is where “aging” happens and the brain goes from a hive of activity to a basic level of “as needed” functioning. The great news is that you can—and should—teach an old dog new tricks, especially to keep your brain and your body young. This does not mean you need to pick up the clarinet and learn sheet music. Movement alone can light up new connections in all areas of the brain. Here are some key suggestions to keep the optimal stimulation of the brain through movement.

VARIATION We are creatures of habit and tend to do the same type of movement as adults. If you are a runner for instance, you will spend the majority of your week lacing up your shoes and taking to the open road. What would be great, not just for the brain

but also for the body, is to have at least one other form of movement during the week; one that activates different muscles and joint movements. Running and cycling take place in one plane of movement (sagittal) and introducing something with more side to side movement would be a great compliment (skate skiing, jumping jacks).

TEMPO CHANGE If you are doing a certain tempo of movement for your dominant form of exercise, try either doing the same exercise faster or slower, or another form of movement that has a different tempo. For instance if you are doing cardiovascular exercise most of the week that involves a high heart rate, try to complement this exercise with a slower practice such as yoga or pilates.

LEARNING A NEW MOTOR PATTERN This may have the greatest impact because learning a new motor pattern requires the most amount of new connections to be made, and we see this not only in the motor cortex of the brain, but all areas, which shows how complex learning a motor pattern is. You don’t need to learn a highly choreographed dance, you just need to try something new. Some of the most impactful types of new motor skills involve reacting to something. Which makes team sports and ball sports such as tennis, and squash real contenders. All of the above suggestions are for changing the way neurology is working in the brain, and making new connections. At the end of the day, all movement is good movement that will benefit the body, and the mind.

Activating the autonomic nervous system

When we exercise, we get to “move” out the stress of the sympathetic (fight or flight) system and move into the parasympathetic system (rest and digest). The net result is stress reduction. Stress, be it emotional or physical, causes more oxidative stress to the body, which is aging.

Lymphatic flow

Lymphatic fluid transports white blood cells and liquid waste within organs and between tissues. This fluid helps regulate swelling in the body and is moved primarily through the contraction of muscles. Increasing joint movement in all ranges of motion will help regulate blood pressure and water retention.

Strengthening the heart

Whether you are doing cardiovascular exercise or resistance training, the heart and vascular system are strengthened. When we strengthen the cardiovascular system it works less at rest, which increases its lifespan. It will also help infuse all the organs with oxygenated blood, including the skin.

Joint health

Doing movement in all ranges of motion for the joints will break up adhesions that can build up overnight and keep the joint lubricated and the nerves that line the joint in good relationship with the supporting muscles.

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A Guide to Zero-Waste Living Simple lifestyle changes that will reduce your carbon footprint BY ZUZANA FAJKUSOVA TO D D D U N C A N Personal Wellness Coach, author of The Vegan Weight Loss Manifesto and Plant Powered Athlete, Vancouver, B.C. ACTIVEVEGETARIAN



aste! It has become such an integral and seemingly natural part of our daily lives that we rarely stop to think about it. We toss the empty salad container into the trash can. We bring out the trash. The moment the bag filled with waste leaves our home, it is out of sight, out of mind. It is estimated that the average American makes 4.4 pounds of trash per day. That’s 1,600 pounds of waste per year!

Zuzana Fajkusova shopping at NADA, a package-free grocery store in Vancouver, B.C.

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Beyond our overconsumption problem, landfills are toxic, responsible for 11 per cent of the global methane emissions. Toxins from our daily waste leach into the soil and pollute our oceans and groundwater. A lot of trash doesn’t even make it to the landfill. Instead, it clutters the sides of roads and swirls in the ocean. Plastic is especially dangerous to the ocean, marine life, and our health. It doesn’t biodegrade, it photodegrades which means it only gets smaller and smaller. Plastic breaks down so small that it’s in 90 per cent of drinking water both bottled and tap worldwide. I believe that we deserve better. You. Me. We are the solution. We have all of the power within us to create a healthier planet for us, and our future generations.

WHAT IS ZERO-WASTE? The simple answer: We aim to send nothing to a landfill. We rethink our relationship with resources. We begin to change our lifestyle in a way that we produce a minimal amount of waste.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? It comes down to these five Rs! • • • • •

REFUSE what you do not need REDUCE what you do need REUSE what you consume RECYCLE what you cannot refuse REDUCE or REUSE, and ROT (compost) the rest

WHAT CAN I DO? What follows is a list of small but impactful changes you can do right now to begin your journey to minimize waste. I am intentionally offering simple changes, so they don’t seem out of reach. The key point here is don’t feel like you must do everything all at once. Implement one idea and when that feels like second nature, go to the next and so on. In the wise words of the zero-waste chef Anne-Marie Bonneau: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Visit for a listing of zero-waste stores in the Lower Mainland, Calgary and Toronto.


• • •

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Buy whole fruits and vegetables instead of prepackaged varieties: pre-packaged apple slices, baby carrots or salad mixes may be convenient, but they are expensive and create a lot of unnecessary trash. Instead, cut your own apples or mix your own salad. Eliminate paper towels: this may seem drastic, but it’s not difficult. Replace paper towels with rags for cleaning counters, mirrors and other household surfaces. Cloth napkins can be used in place of the paper variety, too. Swap sandwich bags with kitchen towels or stainless containers. Buy in bulk and bring your reusable bags to the store. If you cannot find it in bulk, find an online supplier, also experiment with bringing your jar to the ice cream shop, a pillowcase to the bakery for your bread, or your bottles to the winery/brewery… or make things from scratch (mustard, salad dressing, hot sauce, jams, orange juice, hummus, cookies, tomatoes sauce). Shop the farmer’s market: they’ll take the berry baskets back for reuse. Your veggies will also most likely be free of plastic and stickers. Ditch the bottled water. Instead learn to filter your tap water or better yet, find a local natural spring. Pack your reusable coffee mug and stainless steel straw when you leave the house. Turning down single-use plastic and disposable cups has never been easier. Buy a set of inexpensive silverware, plates, bowls and cups and stop using plastic ones. Favour whole plant foods! Not only is a plant-based diet better for both your health and for animals, but it also has the lowest carbon footprint of any dietary lifestyle.

ZERO-WASTE GROCERY SHOPPING If you don’t have access to a local farmer’s market, I encourage you to take some zero-waste action steps in your local grocery stores. Some things to consider: • Take reusable produce and grocery bags to the store. Pro tip: keep a few in your day bag so when you decide last-minute to get groceries on your way home, you’re stocked and ready to go. • If you forget or don’t have reusable bags, use the paper or compostable bags provided and reuse them at home for composting. • Bring your glass jars to fill with different dry goods, nut butter etc. • Use mesh produce bags for fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, etc. • Avoid buying single-serve items (individually packaged) – sure it’s convenient, but it’s also more plastic. • For the olive bar, salad bar, or hot food bar – bring your containers (ask to have them weighed by an employee beforehand). I dare you to care! Your health and the health of our planet depend on your daily choices. Together let's set ourselves and younger generations up for success.

IMPACT MAGAZINE I Inspiration Issue I 97


Cauliflower Steak with Chimichurri Sauce Pan-seared cauliflower steaks served with an addictive and herbaceous chimichurri sauce RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAWN THOMAS Co-founder of Rouxbe Cooking School & Swich & professional chef from Pender Island, B.C. THEBIGSWICH


Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS Chimichurri Sauce • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 tsp. sea salt 1/2 cup warm water 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, small dice 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground in mortar and pestle 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika 1 Tbsp. dry oregano 1 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 1/4 cup white vinegar 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

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Cauliflower • • • • • • •

1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem trimmed* 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups stock 1/2 cup vermouth 2 bay leaves 2 slices fresh lemon 1/2 tsp. sea salt

*Do NOT core the cauliflower. The stem is needed to keep the steaks intact. With the cauliflower sitting on its stem, cut in half through the middle. Trim the outer edge of each half to form a thick steak-like piece of cauliflower. Each piece should be approximately 1 & 1/2 inch thick.

DIRECTIONS Chimichurri Sauce

1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the salt and warm water together to dissolve; set aside. 2. Once the salt has dissolved, combine all the ingredients. Gently whisk in the olive oil. 3. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as desired. 4. Place in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.* 5. Bring to room temperature before serving.

* Note that you likely will not need all the chimichurri sauce, so you can either halve the recipe or store and use the leftovers for another purpose. Alternatively, you could easily double the amount of cauliflower steaks.


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 2. In a 9 x 11 baking dish, mix the garlic, stock, vermouth, bay leaves, lemon, and salt. The amount of salt you add will depend on how salty your stock is. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. 3. Place the cauliflower into the liquid and cover tightly with foil. Carefully transfer to the oven and let bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Ultimately, the time will depend on how thick the steaks are and your oven. 4. Test the steaks periodically. When a knife goes in somewhat easily the cauliflower is done. Note: The cauliflower should be cooked through, but still a bit firm. If it’s too soft, it will fall apart during frying. 5. Remove the steaks from the liquid and place onto a plate lined with paper towel. Blot the top of the cauliflower with paper towel as well. This step helps ensure you get a golden crust. 6. Heat a large frypan—or better yet, a cast-iron skillet—over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp. oil, followed by the cauliflower. Let the cauliflower cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on each side. Try not to fiddle with the pieces too much, otherwise, the steaks will start to fall apart. 7. Once done, toss the red-pepper strips with a bit of the chimichurri sauce and place a small handful of the strips on top of each piece of cauliflower. Drizzle the plate with a bit more sauce and serve with additional chimichurri as desired.

Garnish option - 1 roasted red pepper

1. Preheat the grill to high heat. 2. Brush the grill with oil. 3. Alternatively, peppers can be roasted in a 500 F oven or cooked under the broiler. When cooking in the oven, the oil is not necessarily needed, so feel free to omit. 4. Once the grill is hot, place the peppers onto the grill and close the lid. 5. Let cook for a few minutes until the one side starts to char. Turn and continue to cook—with the lid closed. 6. Keep turning and cooking until the peppers are charred all over. This should take around 15 to 20 minutes. 7. Once done, remove and let sit, until cool enough to handle. 8. Peel off the skin 9. When you remove the peppers from the grill, check to see if they feel quite firm. If so, place them into a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap to sweat. Not only will this continue to cook them, but it will also make them easier to peel. 10. Once the pepper has been charred and peeled, cut into somewhat-thick strips. Nutrition facts per serving Calories 529; protein 6.5 g; fat 29.5 g; carbs 17 g.


Much of this dish can be made ahead of time—including the baking of the cauliflower.

IMPACT MAGAZINE I Inspiration Issue I 99


Red Chili & Mustard Seed Apple Slaw Bold flavours combine in this light dish BY PRIYANKA NAIK MELISSA HOM Self-taught Indian vegan chef, Food Network champion, Quibi Dishmantled Winner, TV Host, and Author of The Modern Tiffin in New York, NY. CHEFPRIYANK A



like koshumbri (a light, crunchy and refreshing dish) a lot. One may think I am obsessed, and I am not ashamed of that. How can you not be obsessed with a dish that is all about texture and bold flavors, and versatile enough to be paired with anything? If I told you the number of koshumbris my family makes, you might be astonished. We make a koshumbri out of everything—raw mango, tomato, gourds, beets, coconut— you name it, we koshumbri it. However, there is one item I have yet to see a koshumbri for, and that is the classic American apple. So, you know I had to create something that combined both of my worlds, and thus this Red Chili & Mustard Seed Apple Slaw was born. It's a dynamic combination of crunchy and sweet apples with spicy red chilies and bold black mustard seeds. Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • • • • •

2 Red Delicious apples ¼ wedge fresh lemon 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or neutral oil, for cooking ¼ tsp. black mustard seeds 2 dried red chilies Small pinch (less than ⅛ tsp.) of hing/asafetida (optional) 4 curry leaves (optional) Pinch of kosher salt Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (stems and all) 1 tsp. grated fresh coconut

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DIRECTIONS 1. Prep the apples: Using a sharp chef's knife, julienne the apples. You want to do this by first cutting the apple in half, then in half again lengthwise. Once the quarter of the apple is at an angle, carefully use your knife to discard the middle core. Place the palm of your hand on top of the skin side of the apple to cut the apple into thin side rectangles. Once those are cut, you can julienne your rectangles into thin strips. Set the apple strips in a small bowl on the side. Give one small squeeze of the lemon wedge over the apples so they don't oxidize. 2. Temper the spices: Place a small nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add the oil and allow it to heat up. Once it is shimmery and you see ripples, it's hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the mustard seeds. They will pop, so be careful! Next, break up the red chilies into the skillet and, if using, add the pinch of hing. Lastly, add your curry leaves, if using, these pop aggressively! Once the popping subsides, swirl the mixture around until everything is coated, remove from the heat, and immediately pour over the apples and toss. Add the salt and pepper and squeeze the remaining juice from the lemon wedge. Toss and taste, adding more salt if necessary. 3. Garnish and serve: Toss in the cilantro and grated coconut right before serving or, if travelling, toss in the coconut and cilantro and place into your tiffin (lunch box) and get goin’; enjoy! Nutrition facts per serving Calories 211; protein 0.5 g; fat 8 g; carbs 25.5 g. Courtesy of The Modern Tiffin: On-The-Go Vegan Dishes With a Global Flair. Published by Simon and Schuster. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.


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IMPACT MAGAZINE I Inspiration Issue I 101


Vegan Strawberry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream A new take on a classic recipe RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY HEIDI RICHTER Vancouver, B.C.-based food photographer and recipe developer who fuels her passion for food, gardening and photography with copious amounts of matcha tea and sourdough bread. THE_ SIMPLE_GREEN


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ombucha maceration adds both sweet and tart flavours to the strawberries which are then piled high atop a whole wheat shortcake dolloped with smooth dairy-free coconut whipped cream. Advanced chilling for the coconut whipped cream is needed (12 hours or overnight) or use your favourite prepared non-dairy whip to save on time. Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Cook Time: 14 minutes Chilling Time: 12 hours Total Time: 1 hour 29 minutes Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS Strawberries • • •

4 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch thick 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar 2 cups unflavored kombucha (see notes)

Shortcakes • • • • • • • • • •

2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds 4 Tbsp. water 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour ¼ cup almond flour 2 ½ tsp. baking powder 2 Tbsp. sugar plus more for sprinkling ¼ tsp. salt ½ cup unsweetened almond or soy milk ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Coconut Whipped Cream • • •

2- 398ml cans full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (12 hours) 2 Tbsp. maple syrup ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS Strawberries 1. In a large glass bowl, mix together the sliced strawberries, sugar and kombucha until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes (the longer they sit, the more flavourful they become).

Shortcakes 1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water and let stand for five minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, almond flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center and set aside. 2. To the flax mixture, add the milk, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Portion the mixture onto the prepared baking tray into six even mounds and roughly form each into a circle about one inch thick. 3. Sprinkle about ½ to 1 tsp. of sugar on top of each mound. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Coconut Whipped Cream 4. While the shortcakes cool, prepare the coconut whipped cream. Remove the cans of coconut milk from the fridge and invert them. Open the cans, then drain off the coconut water (you should be left with thick coconut cream at the bottom of the can). Scoop the coconut cream into a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and maple syrup. 5. Using an electric mixer, whip the mixture for two to three minutes or until light and fluffy. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Remove and whip again for another one to two minutes. Repeat this process until the cream holds a peak. Assemble 6. Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully slice each shortcake in half. Spoon some macerated strawberries and coconut whipped cream onto the bottom halves, then replace the tops. Serve right away. RECIPE NOTES

If you prefer not to use kombucha, simply omit and use an additional 2 Tbsp. of sugar for the strawberries.

Nutrition facts per serving Calories 422; protein 4.3 g; fat 19.8 g; carbs 26 g.

IMPACT MAGAZINE I Inspiration Issue I 103


The Future Generation of Fitness P.E.I. CrossFit queen inspires girls to muscle up BY CHRIS WELNER PATRICK CLARK From Calgary, AB, Chris is a writer, editor and entrepreneur with over 30 years of journalism experience, and was editor of IMPACT Magazine from 2010 to 2018. CRYSWRITING



rett Roberts has a teen CrossFit class in Charlottetown, P.E.I. that’s filled with girls. Oh, boys are welcome to train, but these young ladies have been inspired by the exploits of Anikha Greer, a teenager herself and an emerging CrossFit champion who trains at this very gym. They push-up, pull-up, lift and squat. They sprint and jump and sweat. And they get strong. Not quite as strong as Anikha, but strong. Greer began right where these girls are when she was just 12. Gymnastics wasn’t cutting it for her and when she stumbled into CrossFit 782, it was love at first lift.

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“When I was in gymnastics, I liked being strong and fit and being able to beat the boys in an arm wrestle,” says Greer. “I liked being stronger than the guys and I kind of wanted to keep that. “I always got made fun of for being muscular, but now girls think it’s the best thing ever.” According to Statistics Canada and ParticipACTION, less than one percent of children aged 12 to 17 were meeting Canada’s 24-hour activity guidelines during Covid-19, a precipitous drop from a modest 15 percent pre-Covid. But Greer is a young woman in overdrive, setting an example for young and old alike to get moving.

The 18 year-old from Bonshaw, P.E.I. was one of 40 elite women competing in the prestigious Wodapalooza fitness meet in Miami in January. Fatigued by illness, she wasn’t pleased with her overall 12th placing in the multi-discipline event, but she did win one of the individual workout sessions of her first major pro event. A CrossFit WOD, (workout of the day) comprises a circuit of designated functional exercise movements. In competition the routines are timed. Greer’s winning workout, the Celebrate 10, included five rounds of 15 handstand push-ups followed by five overhead squats with 125 lbs. on the bar, five ring muscle-ups – and 15 overhead squats at 85 lbs. She completed her circuit in 10 minutes 39 seconds. “People were asking how are your arms and I was like, ‘fine … don’t feel a thing’. The adrenaline was so high you could have asked me to run a marathon after and I would have been OK.” A former competitive show jumper, Greer is focused fully on CrossFit as a career. She trains six hours a day, five days a week, and takes self-directed philosophy courses online through the University of Prince Edward Island. Her training day begins at 8:30 with a long aerobic session, running, biking or rowing. Metabolic interval workouts include lots of lifting and strength work. After a huge carbs lunch, it’s more of the same for afternoon workouts. This young powerhouse is 5-foot-2, 141 lbs. and cleans 250 lbs., squats 325 lbs., and can deadlift 350 lbs. She’s good with being a role model. “One of my whys is to show young girls that being strong and muscular is not something they need to feel ashamed about,” says Greer. “If you love soccer, that’s great. If you love running then do it. Find what you enjoy doing physically and fall in love with improvement. It’s what keeps you motivated.”

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