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North of extraordinary With great technique, your fitness goals are just around the corner. With great Technik, an Audi gives you the perfect driving experience at Audi Edmonton North. The Audi Q5 achieves a class of its own. With its distinct profile, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, the 2017 Audi Q5 has carved its place on Edmonton roads as the SUV that has it all. Sporty, progressive, spacious and functional. And fit. The 2017 Audi Q5 is the perfect fit for Edmonton streets. Visit Audi Edmonton North for the perfect Q5 experience that is truly north of extraordinary.

On Stony Plain NW at The Henday

Audi Edmonton North 18855 Stony Plain Road NW Edmonton, AB (587) 772-AUDI (2834) local or 1 (855) 642-AUDI toll-free for more details. NORTH OF EXTRAORDINARY

Image shown is a 2017 Audi Q5. Dealer #4991570










sept/oct 17





contributors ANNA STEEN


My Name is Anna Steen, I am originally from New Brunswick but came here on vacation 13 years ago, absolutely fell in love with this beautiful city and I’ve called it home ever since. I love being outdoors in the summer and you can usually catch me running in the river valley, walking my dog Vinny or hitting a spin class. I have always been very passionate about fitness and I love reading YEG Fitness because It keeps me up to date with what’s going on in the fitness industry in my community.

From buying a road bike to impress a guy, to creating and managing Edmonton's largest women's road cycling group, Tiffany is proof that you don't need to be an elite athlete to be a leader in sport. Her passion to grow women's cycling led to the creation of the Women of ERTC, an arm of the Edmonton Road and Track Club. Her vision to simply have more women to ride with has grown into a thriving recreational and racing group who share much more than simply hours on a bike.





THE BEAUTIFUL EDMONTON SUMMER IS WINDING DOWN. You’ve spent the last four months ripping around the river valley trails, chasing various sized white balls around grass fields and hiking in the rocky mountains. How has your body held up? After countless hot summer days you are likely feeling the effects. Tendonitis develops from overuse of a particular muscle group due to repetitive movements. The most common tendon issues we treat are achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and supraspinatus tendonitis (rotator cuff tendonitis). If left untreated, these injuries can become chronic and are much more difficult to rehab. If you have ever wondered how we manage this type of an injury then this article is for you!

frictioning’. It will be uncomfortable but will increase blood flow and break down scar tissue at the tendon. The shockwave treatment has a similar effect, but uses mechanical energy sent through an applicator at high pressure and speed to help break apart volatile scar tissue.

minimal, and full range of motion is restored, it’s time to load up that muscle group with eccentric exercise. This form of contraction directly loads the tendon and helps to increase its tensile strength.


AND INFLAMMATION RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), activity modification, and electrical modalities. We will educate you on how to modify your movements instead of stopping completely. Electrical modalities such as IFC and TENS are used for pain control (the “zap machines” as they’re called at OPT).

STEP 2: REDUCE SCAR TISSUE Once pain and inflammation are controlled, it’s time to optimize your mobility. Our clinic’s approach is to use a combination of manual therapy and shockwave. The hands on work can suck as we perform a technique called ‘transverse



TIGHTNESS This can be done by deep muscle work from our therapists, acupuncture, dry needling and home exercises to smash and stretch those muscles.


STRENGTHENING Once the pain and inflammation are under control, scarring is

AND FINE TUNING MOTOR PATTERNS We will teach you what muscles to use during what movements and how to train functional movement patterns to make your movements safe and efficient!

The leaves will fall and summer activities will slow to a halt, don’t let your body do the same!

mobilize • stabilize • optimize

editor’s note Ahh, September — my favourite month of the year. I love how the River Valley explodes in vibrant colours, and the brisk morning air melds with the unexpected warmth of afternoons. It’s back to school or back to work for many of us and it’s a time to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones after a busy summer of vacations and late patio nights. Our schedules are finally becoming familiar and the routines are more predictable. It’s a time for me personally to reflect on what’s to come during the next few months leading into the busy holiday season. I don’t wait until New Year’s to make these reflections, rather start planning these changes now so I’m already in full gear by the time the next year rolls in. An essential element of this annual review is a deep dive into the values that shape and inspire my life: What’s most important to me? What lights me up? What brings true peace, joy, and satisfaction into my life? As I began to contemplate these questions recently, a few key ideas quickly rose to the surface, offering a preview of my year: To connect more often with my wife, family, and friends. To play with my kids more — the yard work and vacuuming can wait. To do things with people who bring joy to my life. To stay fit in ways that bring me joy and support optimal health; to focus less on measurable results and more on feeling strong and healthy To feed my body (with good nutrition), my mind (with a good book instead of social media), and my soul (with more yoga and self-care). To balance the personal and professional by setting boundaries (no work email after the supper!) that respect my family and my team. For me, these words and statements come together to create what’s essentially my mission statement: to live a healthy, meaningful, joy-filled life. When was the last time you revisited your values? What lights you up? Jot down the words that come to mind. Find images in magazines that speak to you. These exercises may just help you make forward progress, too.


In the meantime, settle in, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy the latest edition of YEG Fitness. Printed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

CONNECT WITH US @yegfit /yegfitness @yegfitness For advertising inquiries, contact

No part of this publication may be copied or reprinted without the permission of YEG Fitness. The fitness and nutritional information in this publication are not intended to replace professional medical advice. Readers are encouraged to consult a health professional before beginning or changing in their fitness or nutritional activities. Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributor and not those of YEG Fitness or its employees and associates. Advertising in this publication does not indicate an endorsement by YEG Fitness.





SPORTFIT sports performance training programs use the TEST, TEACH, TRAIN approach to building strong, efficient athletes. With advanced techniques and technologies, our trainers analyze and correct movement patterns and muscle imbalances, places where athletes “leak energy” helping to build strong, efficient athletes that are less likely to be injured.


Our trainers are physiotherapists, athletic therapists and kinesiologists - health professionals that understand the body and how it’s supposed to move.


Every year we help hundreds of athletes return to activity after surgery or injury. If you’re not feeling physically or mentally ready to return, SPORTFIT training will help you gain the strength, conditioning and confidence to bridge the gap allowing you to make a full return and prevent re-injury.

We are here to help, book with one of our therapists today!

Terry Fox Run – September 17, 2017

The Terry Fox run happens in multiple locations on the same day. There are no entry fees, and while donations are encouraged, there are no minimum donations required. The simple act of support and continued awareness keeps the spirit and goal of the run alive.

The Cupcake Classic – September 23, 2017

The Cupcake Classic is a family oriented event will take participants on a route around Edmonton's beautiful Fort Edmonton Park and through some of the pristine River Valley. This event is a 5km fun run/walk for all levels of fitness. All proceeds raised will go towards opening a Girls on the Run Council in Edmonton. Every participant is awarded a cupcake at the finish line!

Night Race – September 23, 2017


You know that “glow” you get from running? This is your chance to enhance it! Light it up as much as you like, we encourage you to dress up with glow necklaces, bracelets and face paint. Don’t be shy! There will be a Brooks Run Happy Station set up at each event to help the glow un-initiated with all the necessary trinkets and paint to make you shine!

CIBC Run for the Cure – October 1, 2017

The Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure is a trailblazing partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society, CIBC and communities across Canada that is changing the face of breast cancer. In February 2017, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) merged with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to increase efficiencies and amplify the impact of donor dollars. All proceeds from the Run will continue to benefit the breast cancer cause at CCS. submit your event listings to


Making The Years Better BY ANGELA DEJONG In 2011, Terry Thachuk gave up fitness and diet trends, and started doing what he should have done all along—he listened to his favourite (only) daughter, Edmonton fitness trainer Angela deJong. deJong’s program, detailed in her book Reality Fitness, netted Terry a 40lbs weight loss that he’s kept off ever since. Terry, who provides his blunt and honest take throughout the book, answered a few questions for us about his experience. What was your biggest challenge with the Reality Fitness program? For sure the time. I worked long days and was on the road so much. Frankly, the last thing I wanted to do was make my day longer with exercise. But with this program I only needed 30 minutes. That I could make work.

What surprised you most about the nutrition plan? The quantity of food. At first my meals seemed small compared to what I used to eat, but then I realized that I got five of these meals, and that ended up being plenty of food for the day. Was the process worth it? Stupid question—of course it was. Making these changes doesn’t just prolong your life, it can make the years better. There’s a lot of fun to be had if you are healthy enough for it . . . especially after you retire! Anything to add? You didn’t ask what I didn’t like. I hated the lunges! I did them, and still do, but they hurt. Bad! Reality Fitness is available now at




Clear Lanes Ahead For many Edmonton cyclists, this has been a long time coming. For years, it seems Edmonton has been playing catch-up with other major cities when it comes to creating a bike network that allows its 2 wheeled citizens safe, easy transportation through the city streets. But that’s all starting to change. Previous attempts at bike lane implementation were nothing more than painted lines on existing roadways and signs letting drivers know about the shared lanes in those areas. It was a start that was not well received and many drivers felt it caused added congestion and confusion in already busy areas of the city. This past year, the city removed many of those painted bike lanes due to congestion and non-use issues in preparation for a new system of protected lanes that have been recently unveiled. “Our new direction was to construct high quality, all season bike routes for all ages in population dense areas,” says Olga Messinis who is the downtown bike network project manager for the City of Edmonton. Focusing on areas of the city where there is already a high bike ridership including Old Strathcona, Oliver and Downtown, the project would build protected bike lanes separated from the vehicle lanes by concrete curbs, bollards and planters. The separation is an additional level of protection in higher traffic areas to provide a safe, all ages and abilities bike route. The bike network is adaptable, meaning the bike lanes do not require extensive construction or major roadway changes to be implemented rapidly. Materials used in the project are relatively available and cost effective to achieve the desired separation. The only permanence in infrastructure is the traffic signal upgrades throughout the downtown core. “Once Council approved the implementation of the bike network in October 2016, we hit the ground running as we really only had about nine months to plan, design and implement the project,” says Messinis. In that time, a team of partners had to develop a monitoring and evaluation program. They also wanted to encourage public engagement and communication as well as develop an education program. Preliminary design work was planned with Stantec before actually beginning production and finally opening the bike lanes in phases.




Since it’s launch, there have been some complaints and growing pains regarding the safety and transportation in the areas with the protected lanes. Some feel that there is already too much congestion in these areas and that the lanes just provide another obstacle that slows their travel time and make turning difficult or confusing for some of the larger delivery vehicles. “This is a very new type of bike facility in Edmonton and there is always a period of information uptake until all users get used to the new facility and the order at intersections,” says Messinis. Members of the group studied best practices across North America and worked with Calgary on lessons they learned one year into their operations. Although European cities are well known for their bike networks, they didn't look at specific European cities but rather referenced CROW for unique perspective on bicycle friendly streets. CROW is the technology platform for transport, infrastructure and public space from the Netherlands. “We've seen seniors, young families, commuters in suits/ office wear, couples riding to date nights and parents commuting into work with their really small children in tow,” says Messinis. It's a testament to how comfortable people feel in the new protected bike lanes. SAFETY TIPS REGARDING BIKE LANES 1. All modes of travel need to be more aware of each other. Particularly at locations where pedestrians/bikes/motorists can interact frequently (crosswalks, alley crossings, driveways). 2. Most left turns across bike lanes have been designated and protected to avoid left turn conflicts between motorists and cyclists. 3. Motorists are cautioned to pay attention to traffic control sign changes at intersection points and to always shoulder check. 4. Most right turns crossing the bike network are not permitted on red lights. This has added safety benefits for both cyclists and pedestrians as it eliminates right turn collisions at intersections. 5. Motorists and cyclists should be aware of each other and motorists are encouraged to not encroach into bike lanes.



Growing up I was taught that one of the most important things I could be, was skinny. The females in my household worshipped at the shrine of calorie burning and restriction. Where fitting a pair of decade-old “skinny” jeans was the ultimate redemption, and feeling hungry was morality. I watched the beautiful women in my family yo-yo diet for decades, always in pursuit of this elusive goal of shrinking. But I wanted more. I wanted a life with second helpings, riveting physical endeavours, and professional conquerings. I loved playing sports, I was damn hungry, and I wanted to be a female version of Michael Jordan. I vowed that dieting and fixating on weight would NOT be part of my psyche. I wanted more than to just watch myself shrink. I wanted to be a Strong Woman and I still do.

Four decades later the message to women - painted with the lipstick of female empowerment, hasn’t changed much. Trendy tank tops read “Strong is the new sexy” but only if you don’t get TOO bulky. And “Liver detox” is the pretty wrapping on a 30 day restriction diet - masking the true goal, weight loss. Here’s the problem, when we put weightloss or attainment of a certain body size as the goal before anything else, it becomes unhealthy. Period. We stop considering natural body type, aptitude, energy levels and true health. When we inevitably “fail” in the diet and restrict cycle (which we always will) it erodes our self-esteem and ability to trust ourselves with food and exercise. Our zombie-like mantra becomes “Eat less, workout more”. There is nothing strong about this.

Over the years in my own health and fitness journey through team sports, marathon and triathlon, dance and ultimately teaching fitness, Spin and CrossFit. My attitude and message for myself and other women has become clear. Be a Strong Woman: Discover and develop your strengths, adore your body, challenge yourself and find out what you are truly capable of. If women channeled all the energy we put into worrying about dimpled thighs, how our tummy looks in that dress or the number of calories we consume in a meal… we would take over the world! After all, confidence is our most magnetic feature, and we’ll never achieve that if we’re constantly criticizing and forcing ourselves into a (really small) box. Have you had enough? What if we stopped asking “How much do I weigh” but instead asked “What is my body capable of?”

It’s an amazing feeling when you achieve something you never dreamed you could do. Lifting a heavy weight well, climbing a rope, mastering a pull-up, running a new distance, or doing a push-up. You work to achieve it and you build the strength over time to execute. It translates into your life. Something amazing starts to happen as we develop a Strong Woman’s perspective: • We choose activities we find challenging and thrilling. We stop fixating on how many calories we will burn. • We start to eat what our body truly craves - ditching the restrict and overeat cycle. We trust ourselves to know when and what to eat to feel our best. We get off the food guilt rollercoaster. • Our body weight levels out to a healthy, sexy way of being.

Imagine if we no longer focused on “How much have I eaten?” but rather “how do I feel in my body?”

• We become supportive of ourselves and the other women in our lives, self-criticism and jealousy start to melt away.

How amazing it would be to change thoughts from “My thighs are too big” to “Damn I’ve got powerful legs - wonder how much they can lift?”

• Our peace of mind, confidence and self acceptance soar.

It tastes like freedom.

• We show up confident and capable in our lives.

Strong Women love themselves -- just as they are, right now.

The strong woman in me, sees the strong woman in you. Let's do this!

Our bodies will carry us through a lifetime of physical pursuits and changes, from hiking, lifting weights, skiing and skydiving to carrying babies and breastfeeding. This body is hopefully going to take us into our silver haired years with grace and style, that’s worth our attention and adoration.

Jessica Doody is an athlete, entrepreneur, Fitness coach, Life Coach and proud mom of two daughters. She is the Co-Owner of Forged By Fire CrossFit, Founder of WomanStrong Training Club and GirlStrong Training Club.






Blueberry Basil No added sugar in any of our smoothies. Ever.

Visit us at Clareview Community Rec Centre, Commerce Place, Edmonton City Centre, Kingsway Mall, Southgate Centre, The Currents of Windermere, West Edmonton Mall, West Edmonton Mall Ice Palace FEATURE SMOOTHIE AVAILABLE SEPT. 6 - NOV. 14






Love it or hate it, there are some amazing things about Instagram. You keep up with your friends. You can find out what’s happening in your city. You can spend hours looking at funny French Bulldog videos next to your wife making you late for that dinner with friends (no offense babe ). Or you can be entertained and pick up some great cooking tips from Edmonton Oiler’s defenseman Eric Gryba. I first started following Eric during last years Stanley Cup playoffs when the Oilers were playing the Ducks. After the dominating 7-1 Oilers win in Game 6, he threw a whole duck on the BBQ and posted photos of the meal online. As part of his #grillingwithgryba segment on Instagram. Looking back through Gryba’s feed you will see that he’s a huge outdoorsman who enjoys fishing and hunting…. And apparently is an amazing chef. The Saskatoon native shares his cooking lessons (sometimes including guest appearances by his wife Cate) in his Instagram Stories. We think the Food Network star and host of BBQ Blitz Eddie Jackson might have some competition for that job someday.





Flank Steak And Green Salsa INGREDIENTS


Flank steak 2lbs

1. In a zip lock bag combine all marinade ingredients and toss flank steak in. Best to marinade overnight, flipping bag every so often.

Green Salsa 2 large sized shallots 2 garlic cloves minced Salt to taste Pepper to taste 1 TSP Dijon mustard 2 anchovy 2 TBSP capers 1 TSP of crushed red pepper flakes (optional) 1 lemons juice 1/2 lemon zest 1/3 cup olive oil 1/2 cup fresh parsley 1/6 cup fresh mint 1/6 cup fresh basil 1/6 cup fresh cilantro

2. In a food processor, combine all green salsa ingredients and pulse until chucky but still blended. If you don't have a food processor, chopping by hand works, just takes a bit longer. This can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. However, should be served room temperature. 3. Preheat your grill to 400F and lightly oil your grate. Grill until internal temperature reaches 130F for medium rare. Approximately 2 1/2 minutes per side depending on thickness of steak. If you've got a cooler, remove steak, wrap in tin foil and let rest in the cooler for 20-25 minutes. Thinly slice steak against the grain before serving. 4. Top steak with green salsa and enjoy!

Marinade 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup red wine 1/4 cup olive oil or Three Farmer's Camelina oil 1 medium diced white onion 3 garlic cloves smashed 1 TBSP honey 1 TBSP fresh thyme 1 TSP dried oregano 1 TSP pepper





Everything Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad INGREDIENTS - serves 4 3 large heads of romaine lettuce 10-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs Your favourite blacking spice 5 shallots 3 heads of garlic 2 lemons 2 TBSP of capers Fresh pepper to taste Parmesan Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette 2 cloves of garlic 2 TBSP of anchovy paste 1 TBSP of white wine vinegar 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil 1 TBSP of fresh lemon zest 1 lemons juice 1 TBSP of Dijon mustard Couple drops of Worcestershire sauce

PREPARATION Prep all ingredients before grilling because it comes together fast! 1. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and evenly coat with blackening spice. 2. Cut romaine in halves from North to South keeping core intact. 3. Cut garlic head in halves from East to West and drizzle with olive oil 4. Peel outer layer of shallots and cut North to South 5. Combine all dressing ingredients, whisk and set aside for later. 6. Heat your grill to 375F. Begin grilling chicken, garlic, lemon and shallots at the same time. 7. Add capers to a saucepan, coat with oil and cook on medium heat until blistered. 8. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove from grill and begin grilling the halved heads of lettuce. 9. Grill lettuce for 3 minutes per side. 10. While the lettuce is grilling, slice the chicken thighs into strips. 11. Once lettuce is done, remove all vegetables from the grill. 12. Construct salad starting with lettuce heads. From there you can get creative by layering the rest of the vegetables and chicken in any order. Finally, drizzle dressing to taste and top with capers and coarse black pepper!








Protein + greens


Sabrosa avocado toast

Tokyo chicken

Trick your taste buds into thinking every day is a cheat day.

Edmonton #100 – 10909 Jasper Avenue


St. Albert #280 – 525 St. Albert Trail


Losing My Hair And Gaining A New Perspective On Life BY ANNA STEEN When I was in high school I watched the movie “The Craft” with some of my girl friends. There is one scene where one of the main characters is in the shower and somebody decided to play an evil joke on her by dumping out her shampoo and putting hair removal cream in the shampoo bottle in its place. She is standing there going through the motions of washing her hair, only pulling out clumps of hair every time she runs her hands through it instead of washing it. The scene ends with her standing in the shower holding a handful of hair and screaming. In 2013 that nightmare became my reality. I guess I have had alopecia my whole life; it had just gone dormant for a very long time. When I was younger I used to lose little coin shaped patches of hair every year and they would grow back with no treatment and no explanation. We did so many blood tests but never found anything. It was a mystery at the time. My doctor said I was perfectly healthy and we chalked it up to allergies. My mom then ripped out all the carpeting in our house and it never happened again after that. Fast forward 15 years and here I was again, this time the hair was falling out more rapidly. However, I thought it was just history repeating itself and figured a little bit would fall out and then just grow back but that was not the case. December that year I practically had to do a comb over on myself and hold it into place with bobby pins. I was in hardcore denial that anything was wrong. Finally one of my friends spoke up and told me that it was getting pretty noticeable and people were starting to wonder. Accepting that something was wrong was really hard for me. Everything else in my life was going so well at that time. But I was freaking out inside, I was terrified. What was this?




I had so many questions and didn’t know where to go to ask for advice and had never seen or heard of anything like this before. Finally that summer, after trying some treatments that didn’t work throughout the winter, I went to go see a dermatologist. I took Prednisone until the hair grew back then stopped. A month after I stopped taking it, my hair started to fall out again so around that circle I went again. This time I was halfway through the bottle when I went to my doctor for my annual physical and we were chatting about how everything was going when I told her that I was experiencing some major side effects from it. My hands were so stiff and sore that it hurt every time I picked up weights. As somebody who loves to workout and who works at a gym this was a major issue for me. My feet hurt to stand on in the morning, my skin felt thin and delicate, my blood pressure was spiking and my face would flush red so often that I got the nickname “ red face Anna” in a playful manor from some of my co-workers. With the advice of my doctor I stopped taking the pills and with the support of my family and friends, I decided to shave off the rest of my hair. I went out and bought a wig that week and on Feb 4th 2015 I went home after work and cut off the tiny ponytail that I had left. That was a defining moment for me. That was the moment I claimed my life back. The two years before that I spent so much time stressing, crying, saying terrible things to myself. I could barely look in the mirror without bursting into tears, and here I was, standing in my bathroom holding onto all that self hatred, and fear…in the form of a ponytail. I took it and flushed it down the toilet with great satisfaction. As I looked in the mirror and felt my smooth bald head for the first time a big smile spread across my face. One of my

favorite quotes is: When a girl is about to change her life… she will change her hair first. Very cliché, but I did just that. The next day when I came to work for the first time with my new look I was greeted with open arms. Two of the girls I worked with at the time snuck off on their lunch break and went and did side shaves to their hair. It was one of the most touching things I have ever experienced. They made me feel like I could just be myself. That winter I became a spin instructor, something I have always thought was way out of my reach, and that fall I quit my job to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a massage therapist. Being front and center while teaching spin helped me to build my confidence. I am so thankful for that. After two years of feeling like I was hiding, and being ashamed of what I looked like, I got the opportunity to help others feel great about themselves again. How cool is that? One of the biggest misconceptions about alopecia is that people think it is cancer. Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder (I really don’t like the word disease) that causes one to lose a little or all of their hair depending on the type that you have. Other than losing your hair, your body is usually perfectly healthy. To this day, I still have many people ask me if I have cancer. Instead of being hurt by it, or feeling insecure and thinking that I look sick, as I did in the past, I have started to use those moments to educate people on what alopecia is.

ter how hard life gets sometimes to always look for that silver lining. It has allowed me to help others struggling with the same thing to not be afraid to just be themselves and it has brought some truly inspiring and remarkable people into my life. I think in life we have two choices: We can chose to use these situations like a crutch, to hold us back and to have an excuse for why we can’t succeed or be happy. Or we can take things and situations like this and use them to help others feel more comfortable in their own skin. My goal in writing this is to do just that. Whether you have alopecia or maybe are just going through something in life to be patient with yourself and to stop and realize that you don’t need to be perfect, and that it’s okay to talk about the bad stuff too. In a world where we display only our best via social media, you never know who you may be inspiring from afar. So let your guard down every once in a while and don’t be afraid to let others see you struggle, because they just may be going through the same thing and you may be the one that will change their outlook on life.

Alopecia has changed my life. I would say that it has definitely changed it for the better. It has made me realize that I am much stronger than I ever knew I could be, and no mat-

REACH for the



780-758-9999 @fireflycircusacademy /fireflycircusacademy @fireflycircusyeg | #fireflycircusyeg




Leave The Prep To The Pros As busy Edmontonians, we often take the easy route by grabbing fast food or ordering takeout for dinner when what our taste buds are really craving is a home-cooked meal made from fresh, quality ingredients. Thankfully, a number of local food subscription services are making it easier to whip up something we desire, offering home delivery of fresh, nutritious meals. Here’s a sample of some that are gaining legions of hungry fans.

1. MealKraft MealKraft is a food preparation service based in Edmonton. Sean Chai, Greg Curran and Quentin Archer take away the stress, save you time, and prevent you from wasting your money by adding the convenience of having fresh food ready for you for every meal of the day. With the belief that no matter who you are (athlete, business professional, student, or an everyday busy person), having a healthy and balanced diet is crucial to your success. Understanding that you don’t want to pay for the same tasteless food everyday, no matter how healthy it is, they will fuel your lifestyle with unique, healthy and great tasting dishes. The meals we received were Meatball Linguine, Jambalaya, Chicken Caesar, Salmon Caesar and Oven Baked Salmon Have to say, that for a food prep service where they are doing a large number of meals all at once, a lot of attention was given to the presentation. The food was well seasoned and the portions were perfect. I’m not a food blogger so can’t come up with creative, fancy sounding foodie words, but as a guy who likes to eat, these were DAMN GOOD! As a bonus, the nutritional information was also listed on the bottom of each serving which is great for those of you who are tracking their nutrition.

2. The Backyard Basket The Backyard Basket was founded by Ryan Sieben. As a retired professional athlete, Ryan always maintained a healthy lifestyle but found old meal plans boring and dated.  With a young family at home, Ryan wanted to find an easier way to feed his family on a busy schedule without sacrificing quality and nutrition.   By providing pre-cooked meals with all natural ingredients, The Backyard Basket helps everyone eat better and live better. The meals we received were the Turkey Meatballs, Maple Soy Salmon and Sesame Chicken One word…. Meatballs… I like to cook at home and my wife loves my veal meatballs. To me, turkey meatballs typically are really dry and you need to smother them with sauce to give them flavor. Not the case here. Salmon is always a tough one since I like mine medium, but the maple soy sauce on them made for a tasty meal. Portions too were a great size for someone like me who doesn’t like to feel like they need to eat again within an hour of a devouring a store bought portion.

Both companies are local which is great and use locally sourced brands (as much as they can living in the sub-arctic). They are also affordable for those of you on the go and looking for the convenience of quick healthy meals. They are certainly more expensive than a meal from your fast-food chain, but you can feel great about what you just ate and that you’re supporting a local company at the same time.








ver heard of cyclocross? No? You’re not the only one. Imagine this: a road bike frame (think curly handlebars), mountain bike disc brakes, and oversized road tires with knobs. The love-child of a mountain and road bike. The best of both worlds. Looking for the flexibility to ride pavement, gravel, smooth single track, or even something more technical? Want to extend your riding season into the early spring and late fall? A cyclocross bike affords you that flexibility in a far less industrious package than a mountain bike. Often called “cross bikes,” they are tailor-made for our river valley pea-gravel trails. They’re also perfect if you want to get out of the city and explore the endless maze of “Alberta pave” (aka gravel). Those aren’t even the best parts of the intriguing sport of cyclocross. Did you know that most autumn weekends see an Edmonton area park turned into an obstacle course for cross bikes? Imagine criss-crossing through your local park on a bike, following a maze-like course that includes barriers, sand, twisty corners, stairs, and challenging quick ascents and descents. Sound like fun? Or at least intriguing? Like that distant cousin you didn’t know existed, cyclocross is the long-lost member of the cycling family. It may surprise you to learn that the sport has been around since the early 1900’s originating in Europe. Some say it began when road racers were allowed to cut through farmer’s fields and over fences when racing each other from town to town. The cyclocross scene in Edmonton is alive and well, and is about to follow in the footsteps of this year’s road cycling season with an influx of enthusiastic beginner women. We’re approaching cyclo-cross just like we’ve approached road riding/racing: together with others who share our butterflies, fears, and excitement. Some women are veterans, ready to impart valuable wisdom to those less experienced. Some caught the cross bug last season and are eager to hone their new skills. And some, like me, are “nervouscited” to try our first races and break in our new steeds purchased in anticipation. Not sure you want to jump right into racing, but still want to give it a try? YEG has a great option for that too: mid-week cyclocross fun races. Every Wednesday starting in September, you’ll find an informal course set up in a city park where





participants choose from three different ability groups. The cost is nominal (usually $5-10), and the atmosphere encouraging. I tried my first mid-week cross race on a mountain bike and got lapped by everyone, but still had a blast! Riders ranging in age from pre-teen to senior take part in this weekly fun, challenging themselves to better their time or technique from the previous week. Looking for something even more epic? Head down to Calgary for the wildly famous Dark Night Cross (Nov 4th). Imagine everything described thus far, but in the dark, with fire, costumes and surprises for spectators and riders alike! Epic! And the CX fun doesn't stop when the leaves do. Yes, cross in the snow! We are Albertan, so a little snow just adds to the “crossiness” of it all! There is an art to true cyclo-cross, an art that we’re going to learn. I certainly wasn’t born with the ability to jump off my bike whilst moving, hoist it over a two-foot barrier, and then hop back on with all the grace and power of Wonder Woman.  I’ve made it to professional cross spectator status over the last few years; now it’s time to hang up my cowbell and give it a try. Jump on-jump off, wasn't that what Mr. Miyagi was getting at? Why don’t you join us? For more info, email me at and I can connect you with those in the know for anything mentioned in this article. Tiffany Baker Women’s Cycling Manager, Edmonton Road and Track Club

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BY BRIANNA MEGHAWACHE, BSc, RD, PTS Disclosure: I'm a full-fledged, passionate-about-work Dietitian, but really, my dream job is that of a world-travelling professional food critic. What a delight to my senses it would be to see the world AND to taste it! My mother chose "travel agent" as her second career, but has written about food in her travel journals with such precise detail that you could relive the flavours again and again. Through her continually chatting to family  about various exotic places she's been or has sent clients, finally the travel bug is getting to me. My love of good food has always got to me. The combination of the two would be just too much. For the time being, I settled quite comfortably on Baijiu Bar - an Asian Fusion fine dining bar located in the Mercer building in Edmonton (although looking back on the experience, I wouldn't call it settling).  My sister's best friend  provided the intel on this place for my sister's bachelorette party, and we provided the hungry appetites. What a ride!   Baijiu's site defines itself as, and I quote: " 'Baijiu'  (pronounced “Bye Joe”) which translates to BOOZE in Cantonese is a cocktail bar & eatery that dishes out Asian inspired plates. Like all Chinese joints, our foods meant to be shared amongst a table."   The ambiance in the restaurant suited our needs quite well, with antique-looking wood tables and bar, low lighting, louder more current music, and a somehow quirky yet amiable oversized print of The Notorious B.I.G. hung next to our circu-

lar booth. We were greeted immediately by a Francophone server "Joel", pronounced "joe-el" (think: soft "J"?), who was ever-attentive to our insatiable need to (slightly) booze up the party of eight before going out dancing. Our group settled on ordering the "Family Table" - a chef's choice menu, for which we needed at least 4 tasters (on the website it says 6), and our various dietary restrictions and dislikes (including pesco-vegetarian, dislike of fish, and gluen-free) were met with gracious accommodation.   The cocktail list was at first glance both extensive and expensive, but dare I say rightly so. I was not feeling the sweets that day, and so ordered a Pisco sour - just the right amount of sour, offset by sweet simple syrup and smooth egg white. My fellow diners ordered a few pitchers worth of the Sakura Spritz between them, which had sweet Umeshu plum wine complimented by citrus flavours of grapefruit, orange Cointreau, and notes of sweet rose and sour hibiscus flowers. Sometimes, something is delicious beyond wanting to keep it to yourself - and that drink was one, so everyone sampled and enjoyed.   Our first appetizer dish was a devilled egg with an Asian flavour twist. The egg had been soaked in black tea, filled with creamy wasabi egg yolk, and topped with crispy fried shallots and pickled chilis. Perfect amounts of spice, savoury, creaminess, and sweet played catch with my senses. Never have I consumed something so interesting and different in texture and taste. Despite it not

being everyone's favourite dish, my sister and I exchanged a "THIS IS SO GOOD I CAN'T EVEN" glance more than once. Next arrived a Mi Krop Salad. Their shredded vegetable and bean sprout salad had a generous amount of roasted peanuts and cilantro with a lime and fish sauce dressing,  finished off with a surprising garnish of sliced strawberries. Also the perfect marriage of flavours, and a nice lead-in from creamy and savoury to light, crisp, and fresh, in order prepare us for the meatier dishes that came next.   Our vegetable tempura was done in a gluten-free batter, which I in fact prefer to regular tempura batter! Crispy on the outside, ever so slightly gummy near the vegetable, and vegetables on the soft side of tender-crisp. Delicious dipped in their house Ponzu sauce.    Phew! Still with me? Mouth watering yet? Then came the baos. A bao or baozi is a gummy, puffy, almost sweet steamed  dough that we North Americans might call "steamed bun", and is usually filled with meat or other savoury or pickled food. While the table enjoyed BBQ pork-filled buns, I chomped down on a savoury miso mushroom bun, sprinkled with fresh sliced shallot  a small amount of crispy fried rice.   I enjoyed a vegetarian version of Lap Cheong Fried Rice, hold the pork and chicken sausage. This was the crowning glory of my diving into PHOTOS: BAIJIU BAR




memories of cheap Chinese buffets, but instead of feeling run down by MSG, heavy oils, and lack of nutrition, it was the taste of fresh squeezed lime, crispy bean sprouts, pan-fried rice and soy-sauce-sprinkled tofu that lingered. I cleaned up this bowl to the last rice grain. Last on the dinner menu was the ocean perch for me and the slow-roasted pork for the girls. The pork was passed around in lettuce wraps multiple times and slowly disappeared, while the whole fish didn't go as fast since all of us from European descent and Canadian upbringing don't like looking into the eyes of the food we eat. Nonetheless, it was the sauce that made it so good. The perch was presented in a thin crispy white batter, and drizzled with a "sweet and sour peanut emulsion". Most surprising but delightful was the pairing of fresh red peppers and skinless grapefruit pieces dropped on top, giving a very pleasant sour complement to the savoury and sweet peanut gravy.   Pause here for a moment... I felt like I was the food critic in Ratatouille -  humour me if you've seen it -  taken on a trip through memories, not of "maman's kitchen", but instead  memories of greasy savoury Chinese food outings  and brought out on the other side through a meal with fresh and healthy ingredients, exciting flavours, and a satisfying  visual experience. Now that I can relive it by writing my experience, and sharing it with you, I love this dream job even more!   And so, on to dessert. We were enlightened to an enticing arrangement of Cinnamon Toast Crunch  ice cream sandwiched into a puffy deep fried bao, a combination this bar called "Deep Fried Ice Cream". Forgive my continual raving, but this was the BEST THING I've had all year. It's safe to say it served as my favourite dessert of LIFE, having developed a strong affinity for breakfasting on Cinnamon Toast Crunch ever since gramma allowed me to include it in my cereal bowl if I also had AllBran Flakes. The accompanying flavour to the Cinnamon Toast ice cream was a green matcha tea ice cream of the same deep fried arrangement, dusted in matcha powder. Equally sweet and delicious. The friendly chef came out to thank our group, and we thanked  him for the  fabulous and tasty artwork that was put on our table. I would highly recommend this place for groups of 6 or more.

Ratings please!


6 / 10

TASTE: 9.5 / 10 (gotta leave room for the sake of healthy competition!) ACCOMMODATION TO FOOD RESTRICTIONS: (my own little dishes! Thanks!)

10 / 10

AMBIANCE: 8 / 10 (better for a night out on the town than intimate chats with your partner) EXPENSE: 7 / 10 (probably more worth it in a larger group for the chef's choice menu) OVERALL: eat here?


Brianna Meghawache, BSc, RD, PTS Nourished by Bri - Nutrition and Fitness Coaching

To Be Or Not To Be, That Is The Question… BY SUSAN AGRIOS


y adventures with yoga began when I was about 8 years old hiding in the trees with my friends. We were spying on my mother, a yoga instructor who was meditating. I told my friends my mother was in a trance and when she responded, “no” we screamed and ran away. Somewhere along the way the torch was passed from my mother to me as I made many trips to India, New Mexico and California to study with some of the world’s greatest Yoga Masters, Swamis and Gurus to become a Level 2 Internationally Certified Yoga and Meditation teacher (500+ hours) with advanced training in Yoga Nidra (guided meditation). I have been a competitive elite athlete most of my life and a fitness trainer for more than 20 years including being President and CEO Agrios Mindfitness. Before I went on this “yoga journey” I had this “gut feeling” there was more to the picture than just getting everyone physically fit. As I listened to my clients tell me they were stressed out, anxious, depressed, not sleeping, not able to focus, concentrate etc., I realized there were many unanswered questions. This fueled me to want to learn more, to go deeper and explore yoga and meditation. I felt this could be another tool to offer my clients and perhaps find some answers to some of my questions as well.

While travelling to these places to learn more about yoga and meditation was an exciting new adventure it was also a very foreign experience for me. What I was about to embark 26



on couldn’t be more opposite than what I was doing. At the beginning it was quite a struggle to go from an extremely competitive environment of speed, strength and power to sitting for hours meditating, still, quiet, slowing down my breath and heart rate, silent yoga & meditation retreats and chanting mantras with yogis in turbans, long beards, orange robes etc. In essence I went from this fast paced go go go “doing” lifestyle to just “being”. In fact, one of the yogis I met in India commented, “In North America you are so busy doing, you do this, you do that and here in India we just be”. I must admit on numerous occasions this comment has resurfaced as I question what it is that I’m really so busy doing and it kind of keeps me in check. At first I had a great deal of difficulty sitting still for even a few minutes and on top of this the more I sat in silence and meditated the more questions I had. In fact my questions were often met with more questions and my thoughts often led to more thoughts. I actually remember thinking when I was meditating, I must be doing something wrong since isn’t the purpose of meditation to not think, clear your mind, not have more questions and go into a thoughtless state. I thought meditation was supposed to be relaxing and calming yet my mind was racing. What I didn’t realize was that my mind had always been racing, but I just wasn’t aware of it since I was so busy “doing” like the yogi from India said. Fortunately over time, my mind quieted and there were less questions, in fact sometimes no questions at all. My thoughts lessened and I was able to sit still and meditate for extended periods of time sometimes over 2 hours. I began to go into these deep states of relaxation both physically and mentally and somewhere along the way the dots started to connect. Overtime I began to find the balance to compliment my competitive Type A athletic personality and my athletic performance also improved. As well, I was able to help my clients deal with stress, anxiety,

insomnia, depression in a better and more effective way and improve their mental focus, concentration, memory etc. As a result, many of my clients went off their medications under the supervision of their physician and psychiatrists, as their new “meds” became meditation as opposed to medication. How did I do this and get to this place? The simple answer is through meditation…breath (breathing techniques). The great thing about this is you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is you and your breath. I also learned it’s important to be still and quiet so you can listen to what your body, mind and spirit are telling you otherwise you just continue repeating the same ingrained habits and patterns over and over again and miss (override) the “true message that is being delivered”. These ingrained habits and patterns are much like a record that gets stuck in a groove. Through meditation (sadhana, daily meditation practice) you can find balance, relaxation and focus on what really is important to help you lead a healthier and happier life. Things that may have bothered you before or caused you a great deal of stress or anxiety no longer bother you to the same degree, like “water off a duck’s back” and you can be “in the eye of the hurricane”. I’ve often said you can’t control your external environment, but you can decide what you bring to your environment, how you perceive it.


LONG DEEP BREATHING (Yogic Breath) Sit tall with a straight spine, chin in, chest lifted, relaxed shoulders or lie down with eyes closed. The breath is through your nostrils and you want to slow it down since simply slowing down your breath to 8 breath cycles can be calming and relaxing. On the inhale the abdomen fills with air (relaxes and expands), then the chest expands followed by the upper ribs and clavicles lifting. The exhale happens in reverse order with the clavicles relaxing, then chest emptying followed by the abdomen pulling in and up forcing out any remaining air (navel point pulls in and up toward the spine). Practice: Find a quiet space in the morning, afternoon or evening to practice your long deep breathing for 3-11 minutes. If your mind wanders try counting backwards from 27 to 1 (Inhale 27, Exhale 27, Inhale 26, Exhale 26 and so on) or mentally say the following mantra Sat Nam (pronounced Sut Nom…Nom sounds like mom). Inhaling Sat, Exhaling Nam. *Check in throughout the day to see if your breathing is shallow and in your chest or expansive and in your belly. You can set your watch to go off every hour or two as a reminder to do this.

HERE C OM ES THE ZA C K ATTAC K Edmonton has always been that blue-collar town where we value hard work and people showing up day in and day out to get the job done. We expect it at our place of work and we expect it from our sports teams. Nowhere else in Canada, if not North America do the fans place more pressure on their teams to perform than in Edmonton. We’ve faced a decade of tough times and after this past season for the Edmonton Oilers, there is definitely a buzz again and a level of excitement not felt for the past ten years. With names like Connor, Leon and Patrick in the lineup each night, Edmonton is no longer a place visiting NHL teams come to counting on picking up two points in the standings. But with all the star power the team now has, it’s the guys behind the scenes that allow for the talent to shine through. The Oilers have always had tough guys. Guys who would come to the aid of the stars or play a tough grinding shift to give the first line players a chance to recover and come out for their next shift energized. Players like Laraque, McSorley, Brown and Semenko are household names in the city, and while the league has changed over the years where players are expected to be more than just enforcers, a new breed of tough guys like Hendricks, Lucic and Kassian have become fan favorites for their hard working play. PHOTOS BY CHAN RIN - VIVID RIBBON PHOTOGRAPHY




When Peter Chiarelli made the trade with Montreal for Zack Kassian two years ago, it left a lot of Oiler fans scratching their heads. He was public enemy number one for many fans here after a vicious high stick on Sam Gagner a few years back that caused the former Oilers forward to miss 13 games and receive some new dental work. We’ve heard the stories of his battles with alcohol and many fans were not sold on his joining the team. But we’re done talking about that time in Zack’s life. Over his past two years here, he’s earned the




respect of Oiler fans and it’s time to put that part of his life to rest and focus on what he brings to the team. He was looking for a fresh start, and he found it in Edmonton and we couldn’t be happier that he did. If I’m sounding like a fan-boy, then guilty as charged. I’ve always been a fan of the guys who could score. They energize the arena and get us jumping up out of our seats. Eberle’s first goal against

the Calgary Flames. McDavid’s goal back after injury splitting the defense against Columbus. The list could go on and on. But I’ve always been a fan of the guys who grind it out in the corners. They make the big hit happen to energize the team (and the fans). The ones who will jump to the aid of their teammates when there is a dirty hit dished out by the other team. For me, the love for Zack started after a hit by the Coyote’s Oliver Ekman-Larson on Oilers

“You have to be there for your teammates,” he says “ so that other teams know they won’t be able to do that against us.” Players today need to build strength and also have speed. The league is much quicker than it was in earlier generations. You can no longer hold, hook, or interfere with players to slow the skilled guys down so just being a tough guy doesn’t cut it anymore. You have to be a player the coach can depend on in certain situations to be able to go out on the ice to create a big hit, while not being a risk defensively. “In the offseason, I like to take a couple weeks off just to recover from the grind of the year,” he says. With the extra month of hockey they played this year with the exciting playoff run, it’s needed even more. The first phase after this recovery period for Zack is to build strength. He needs to create that foundation and spends a couple weeks with some power and speed work and some plyometrics before ending the offseason building back up his cardiovascular endurance. “A hockey player needs to be good at everything,” he says. “It’s not like a football player where you play for 20 seconds and then you stop. You need to be as agile and quick as you can so there are multiple things you need to work on through the summer.”

Matt Hendricks. Oiler fans felt it was a dirty hit and then with Hendricks down on the ice, Ekman-Larson gave him another crosscheck in the back and stood over him almost daring him to get up. Seconds later, in comes Zack to his teammates defense. Team toughness has been something that has been lacking for years and team management has begun to address this. The addition of Kassian and his recent three year contract extension have shown their commitment to this. “I think you need a mix to your team,” says Kassian. “You can’t do it with all speed or all skill, or even just toughness. You need a good mix of players to be able to jell well and bond the team.” Gone are the days of the “Broad Street Bullies” in Philadelphia where you could win games simply based on intimidation and toughness. You need a mix of team toughness and skill. “Teams that play our team know now that they aren’t going to be able to run around and hit our tough guys,” says Kassian. “They know that they will have to answer.” Throughout an 82 game season, it’s important for the top guys to not have to worry about those types of hits so that they can focus on their own contributions on the ice. Something many of us fans don’t realize is how fast the game is. We watch from our couch or bar stool and we see a player make a pass or hit another player and wonder how they missed that open guy, or if the hit was borderline dirty. When Hendricks was hit by Ekman-Larson, it was a quick decision by Kassian to respond. While he felt it might have been borderline dirty, he knew he had to come to the aid of his teammate regardless of the consequences.

Zack has worked over the summer on keeping up his strength while dropping weight. This allows him to be quick since that is a huge part of today’s game, while still allowing him to create those big hits and tough in the corners on the forecheck. Working out has become a habit for him rather than a job, but he also understands that in order to prolong your career in the NHL, you need to take care of yourself physically. Mental fitness and decompressing is something that is tough for many professional athletes. Trying to get your mind off the game is tough when you have a game every second day or occasionally play back-to-back games. You’re always wanting to be prepared mentally so that you don’t lose your focus. “To unwind, I don’t do a lot during the year,” he says. “We tend to hang out with our friends on the team and our families. I don’t watch hockey on my days off. I like to unwind in the summer since you’re in the grind during the season and you can’t take your foot off the gas. If I come in to a game relaxed, that’s not a good sign for me.” Boating and motorcycling are his two main ways of getting away from things in the summer. Heading back to Windsor with his fiancé and his dog get his mind cleared and a long ride on his Harley-Davidson help put life into perspective. Kassian recently bought a home in Edmonton and is looking forward to making the city his home. The city has become a destination that other NHLers WANT to play in now rather than a place they get traded to and are looking for a way out as soon as they get here. Let’s admit it, the city is darn cold in the long winters. But with the new arena and the addition of some talented players over the past couple years, we no longer have to overpay free agents to want to come here. They see the benefits of playing on a contending team. “Everything is coming together in Edmonton,” says Kassian. “ I really can’t think of a better place to play with the players, the new arena, the fans and the buzz that has built around this team. If you’re a player and you want to win and play with a highly competitive team, Edmonton would be up at the top of your list now.”







Q+A 1. IF YOU WEREN’T PLAYING HOCKEY, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? I’d be a firefighter or a police officer. 2. HOW WOULD THE GUYS IN THE LOCKER ROOM DESCRIBE YOU? It depends who you ask. I’m a jokester. I like to keep it light, funny and goofy before a game. 3. WHO WOULD BE YOUR TOUGHEST GUY IN THE NHL TO GO UP AGAINST? There’s not one specific guy and I don’t want to give away my secrets (laughing). I want to keep my mental edge. 4. GORDIE HOWE HAT-TRICK OR REGULAR HAT-TRICK? Gordie Howe. Not even a question. 5. ANY GAME DAY RITUALS THAT YOU LIKE TO FOLLOW? I go get a Starbucks coffee with a shot of espresso 6. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE GOAL SCORED AS AN OILER SO FAR? (Long pause) I don’t know why it’s so hard. I haven’t scored that many. I’d have to say the playoff breakaway goal against San Jose. It was a meaningful goal and there was a lot of energy in the building. 7. HAS IT SUNK IN YET THAT YOU’RE A FAN FAVORITE IN EDMONTON? No. Everywhere I’ve played, fans always seem to like the way I play. We have a lot of good players on our team. The fans are great and very passionate. I don’t consider myself a fan favorite. I know they like the rough and tough stuff. It’s nice being liked on a team for sure. It’s nice to know that people appreciate what you’re doing out there.

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Robert Clark AGE - 38

OCCUPATION - DELIVERY COORDINATOR FOR SHERWOOD PARK TOYOTA/OPERA SINGER (OILERS ANTHEM SINGER) 1. FAVORITE FITNESS ACTIVITIES? Recently I have really been enjoying my weight training routine. I go twice a day (before and after work), 6 days a week. Before work is when I do weights on a 3-day rotation of a push day, a pull day and a leg day. After work I do my cardio (usually treadmill or elliptical). I'm full on addicted to it now. 2. WHAT'S ON YOUR ITUNES PLAYLIST? Well, mine might be a bit different than your typical playlist, haha! I LOVE choral and classical music so there's some of that. I've always been a big U2 fan and have several songs from their old and new stuff on there. Also Mumford and Sons. I'm totally geeking out here but I also LOVE video game music written for orchestra. 3. WE'RE BUYING. WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING? It's called a Crown Float or a Black Velvet, depending on where you go. It's Guinness on top of Strongbow and it's amazing.   4. FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL? Ribs. Every time. I have yet to find some that are made better than my wife's ribs.  5. GAME DAY RITUAL? ANYTHING YOU DO TO WARM UP YOUR VOICE BEFORE GOING OUT? I do most of my warming up in the car on the way to the game actually. I'd get strange looks if I did my warm ups at Roger's Place. It's a combination of open mouth humming and scales and it's very loud. Also, I always run through the words of both anthems several times. I'd rather my "Youtube fame" be for how well I sang and not how horribly I screwed up! 6. BEST STRESS RELIEVER? Massage, time alone on my screen porch (I have 4 kids...alone time is very precious!), and my two dogs, Bruno and Dexter. 7. WHAT'S YOUR DREAM VACATION? Either a cross-European tour or a 2-week cruise to anywhere. Cruise ships fascinate me. 8. BEST THING ABOUT OILERS FANS? Oh man, there are so many things. I guess if I had to pick one it would be their absolute love of every aspect of the game. The fact that we sold out all of our AWAY games at Roger's Place during the playoffs says something. They love hockey and they LOVE their team.  9. WHAT'S IN YOUR GYM BAG RIGHT NOW? Because I go before and after work, I pack a LOT of things in my bag. 2 pairs each of shirts, shorts, socks and underwear. I also pack my gym shoes, water bottle and shake bottle. Perhaps the most important are my grooming products from Rust and Pine Co, a local men's grooming products business. Keeps me fresh and manly smelling! 10. BEST MEMORY OF LAST SEASON? This is easy. There were some pretty sweet moments during the regular season but I would have to go with singing the Canadian anthem for Round 1, Game 1 of the Playoffs. The energy, excitement and anticipation in the air was tangible. Apart from marrying my wife and the birth of my children, this was the best moment of my life.  YEGFITNESS



Rest & Recovery for Athletes BY DR. MECCA FAYAD DC Whether you’ve been working hard on your fitness, starting a new routine or hitting the gym for the first time, recovery and rest are essential parts of any strength and conditioning program. Sometimes it can even be more important than the workout itself. Muscles can’t repair themselves or grow without proper rest. Overdoing it doesn’t just lead to injuries, but it can leave you lethargic and irritable hindering your physical goals.


Why is R&R so important? It’s important to remember that when we workout effectively we are breaking down our bodies. When we lift weights for example, our muscles incur microscopic damage in their fibers making them fatigued and sore. This is where rest and recovery is key. It allows our bodies to begin the healing process. Specialized cells attach to the damaged tissue and promote fusing. From there, new protein strands are formed. These new protein strands result in an increased amount of muscle mass and size.



Not only is rest and recovery key for building muscle but it also helps to prevent burnout. We’ve all had those days where we don’t feeling like exercising. Ensuring you have enough days off from working out allows for more productive sessions. Rest days are dependant on the person. For most people of average physical fitness—two or three days off is recommended but the main rule is to listen to your body. If you are feeling sluggish and tired likely your workout will suffer. Get some rest instead of exercising and start fresh the next day. Ways to Rest & Recover So we’ve determined why rest and recovery is important, but how exactly do we execute it? With the vast amount of


knowledge available to us it can be confusing to know what exactly to do. There are two different types of recovery—active and passive. Active recovery occurs when we are physically doing something to assist our bodies in recovery. Examples include stretching, cooling down on the treadmill or using a foam roller. Passive recovery occurs when a therapy or treatment is done to us that doesn’t require our energy or efforts. Examples include massage, heat, ice, Epsom salt bath etc. Lets start from the beginning. You’ve just smashed out a great sweat session at the gym.--now what?

Active Recovery DON’T FORGET TO STRETCH AND COOL DOWN: Often we race out of the gym after our workouts because we are strapped for time or because we do not think stretching is important. This is the first most common mistake. Gradually returning our bodies to their natural resting state is the best way to prevent cardiovascular and muscular mishaps. Try yoga as the cherry on top of your boxing, indoor cycling or boot camp sessions. Research shows that a single bout of yoga can reduce post-workout muscle soreness thanks to improved flexibility. Perhaps yoga just isn’t your thing? Try a post-workout light walk instead. MYOFASCIAL RELEASE Self myofascial release (SMR) is all the rage right now. It involves using tools to massage tight muscles and it helps to improve circulation and reduce stiffness. Luckily, there are several gadgets on the market to help with this. From foam rollers to lacrosse balls to massage sticks all can be used to promote blood flow to tight areas as well as to decrease adhesions/tightness. The process is similar no matter what tool you choose. Locate the area of tightness and apply light pressure to those spots. If you use a tennis ball for example,

you can easily place a ball on the wall and roll up and down on an area of tightness to release it. Alternatively you can hold the ball on the tight spot until the pain dissipates. The lacrosse ball is the most preferred tool in my rehabilitation closet because it is not too hard nor too soft. It can be used to release several muscles although the hip and gluteal musculature seems to be the area where I find the greatest benefits. This is because we are often in sedentary postures for most of the day. We then expect our bodies to perform like professional athletes during our fitness routines. As a result of this, our gluteal muscles can become tight and sore. To release these muscles, gentle roll on a lacrosse ball in a figure 4 position.

Passive Recovery NUTRITION To promote proper muscle recovery we must also look at our nutrition. I’ll state the obvious first. Protein. Consuming a protein rich meal after a workout helps to build muscle. Try a hard-boiled egg or adding a scoop of protein to smoothies. But lets talk also about the not-so-obvious. Anti-inflammatory foods. When we exercise we actually stimulate micro-damage in our muscles and inflammation occurs. It’s all part of the process. Foods like tumeric though, which contain the active ingredient curcumin, will help to decrease inflammation rapidly. A recent study evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin & ibuprofin are least effective while curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatories in the world. Other anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your diet include pineapple, chia seeds, and salmon (for the omega 3’s). HYDROTHERAPY Hydrotherapy is a fancy word that translates to “water therapy.” AKA a warm bath. The physiological effects of heat are to increase circulation, expedite the healing of injured tissues, decrease muscle tightness & decrease joint stiffness. The evidence is limited, but there is also some support for adding Epsom salts to your warm bath. Try adding about one cup into your bath water and soak for 10-15 minutes. Whatever the case, take a few minutes to unwind before bed in your bathtub. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE In Edmonton especially, there are many well-trained practitioners that can help you reach your fitness goals. From chiropractors to massage therapists to acupuncturists to physical therapists, you might want to enlist professional help to aid your body in the recovery process. Your conservative care health practitioner can help to reduce muscle soreness, make sure your body is functioning properly and even help to identify imbalances that may be hindering your workouts. As an example, all too often I treat individuals who have started new fitness routines but experience a great deal of soreness due to past injuries. In these situations, often extensive scar tissue has formed and this prevents patients from performing their exercises properly. Their range of motion is typically affected and they often cannot do more than a few repetitions of an exercise without pain. In these circumstances, as treatment, areas of scar tissue are broken down, muscles are released and adjustments are performed to joints that are restricted or stuck. In most circumstances it makes the world of a difference and patients report more intense exercise sessions and even finding range of motion they didn’t know they had. Instagram: @drmeccafayad Email:








It's very possible you've seen a few students playing around after class or watched a few videos online. Maybe you've seen some photos in a yoga magazine of two smiling yogis balancing effortlessly on each other's feet or hands in some exotic location. Perhaps, upon seeing this, you've thought to yourself, "That's impossible! I could never do that." Like any physical practice, AcroYoga is a dynamic activity that can seem both simple and complex. If you’ve never tried it before, check out our tips before taking in your first session so that you will be able to enjoy the practice.

1. AcroYoga combines yoga, healing arts, and acrobatics It's good to mix things up, even if it sounds like an odd recipe. All three styles truly balance each other out. The website describes it as a “blend of the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts. These three lineages form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness, and community.” Who can say no to that?

2. You don't need a partner to find partnership Flying solo? No worries—you’ll find someone to soar with once you arrive! While you are welcome to train with a dedicated partner, there is a great deal of knowledge to be gained by mixing it up from time to time. This partner-based practice develops your skills to work with a wide variety of people... no matter the personality, shape, size, or skill.

3. AcroYoga is for every body You need not be a master gymnast, circus acrobat, or seasoned yogi to enjoy. Can’t do a handstand, or even touch your toes? No big deal. AcroYoga is a practice of substance, not flash. You’ll learn necessary building blocks to literally take whatever physical skills you have to new heights.

4. Size matters not You may think big people do the lifting, and tiny people do the flying. This is not the case. AcroYoga doesn't defy gravity, it honors it. Technique is more important than strength. You’ll quickly learn that muscles tire while bones don’t— whether lifting someone above your head, pouring weight through hands for a healing touch, or counterbalancing someone twice your size.

5. Trust Communication = Community Amazing things happen when one steps outside the box, and there is no coincidence that a yoga mat is rectangular. Don't confine yourself to the soft routine of this non-slip comfort zone. AcroYoga creates a tangible sense of tribe and celebration, which is hard to find anywhere else. Remember, it is entirely up to you how high you want to soar or how slow you want to enjoy the process of getting there.







Our bodies along with minimal tools and strategic programming can create a challenging and effective workout. These Valslide exercises will force you to check your ego at the door. A Valslide is essentially two plastic ovals that reduce friction on the ground when you apply load with your feet or hands, allowing you to slide your arms or legs. It allows you to slide into various positions while combining mild instability with controlled, low impact movements. These movements challenge your body's stabilizing muscles—core, lower back, and hips. Working on these stabilizing muscles will improve your ability to absorb force and create tension in the body, leading to more strength overall. Add these exercises to your current training regime, or use in a circuit. Circuit style: perform each exercise below for reps indicated, resting 30-60 seconds between each exercise, and 2-3 minutes between sets. Perform 3-6 sets, based on goals and time.

1. SLIDING REVERSE LUNGE WITH ISO-SQUAT HOLD (x10-20 PER LEG) Place one foot on the Valslide, lower into a half squat position with a braced core, chest upright and neutral spine. Push the Valside back into a reverse lunge, pulling back into the half squat position.





2. PUSH UP REACH (x5-10 EACH ARM) Start in a regular push up position with one hand on Valslide. On the descent reach out in front with the Valslide, and pull Valside back in on the push upwards. Keep spine neutral and hips high when arm is extending out in front.


3. PIKE UPS (x8-12) Place both feet on Valslides in a plank/push-up position. Pull your feet into your hands, forming an inverted ‘V’ position. Slide legs back to into plank position. Keep glutes tight and core braced.

4. SINGLE LEG LATERAL LUNGE (x8-12 PER LEG) Place one foot on Valslide, and slide out to the right and shift your body weight over your right leg, squatting to a 90 degree angle at the right knee. Try to sit down with your butt, keeping your back as upright as possible. Slide the foot back into standing position.





5. PUSH UP FLYS (x8-12) Start in a regular push up position with each hand on Valslide. As you lower in push up position, slide both Valslides slightly out to the side. Pull the hands in as you push back up. Perform this exercise from the knees (modified push up position) to decrease difficulty.



Lay on your back with both heels on the Valslides. Lift your hips into a bridge position and keep them up as you pull both heels in to your butt and then push them back out again. Ensure that you straighten the legs at the end of the movement to fully lengthen the hamstrings while keeping hips up.

These exercises only require the Valslides and your EFFORT. However, you can add load to the leg exercises with dumbbells and kettlebells when you have mastered the movement. Remember, the more pressure you put on the Valslide, the more friction (tension) and more challenge.

5 TIPS FOR A SUCCESFUL SPACE CONVERSION BY SEAN SOLON From trendy boutique style fitness studios to the big box fitness clubs, there is a common challenge that all fitness facilities face. These facilities are constantly looking at innovative and creative ways to offer more varieties of fitness to their members. One of the hottest fitness trends of 2017 involves space conversions. The days of cramming as much equipment into a facility are long gone. In today’s day and age, fitness goers are much more educated and creative in the ways they want to train. They are looking for the ability to train freely while having open space for their functional fitness training, core training and stretching. Whether you’re considering converting a space or maximizing an




existing space, follow these 5 tips to ensure your space conversion is a success! 1. SURVEY YOUR MEMBERS It seems so simple, but this step is often overlooked. Every 6 months to a year, you should take the time to get feedback from your members on the experience you are providing. This step can be a valuable tool in gauging whether you should make changes to your facility based on the pulse of your existing member base. This task doesn’t have to be a chore for you or your members. Try entering members that complete the survey into a draw for a prize as incentive. 2. DECIDE WHAT THIS SPACE WILL BE USED FOR Now it’s commitment time. Decide if your space conversion will be used as a multipurpose space, serving diverse groups or will it be designat-

ed to one user group. If your goal is to offer a wide variety of fitness to your members in this space, you will need to plan on how to best equip that space to serve all of those goals. 3. CREATE AN EXPERIENCE The experience is everything! This is the take away that is going to create a buzz about your new offering. When you have a clear picture in mind of what you want to deliver to your members, the decision on equipment, design and layout will become much clearer. 4. CHOOSE SPACE SAVING AND VERSATILE EQUIPMENT Tips #3 and 4 will go hand in hand. You will want to look for fitness equipment that will go to work for you! These equipment solutions should be either portable, versatile or both. If you plan on having a multipurpose space, then choose

equipment that is portable, and can easily be moved and stored away between uses. 5. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX This is your opportunity to be creative and differentiate your new space from the rest of your facility. Whether you’re creating a stretching zone for yoga, relaxation and recovery or a circuit training zone that will be loud and energetic, you have the ability to match the design of your space with the experience that you want to deliver. In addition to the equipment selection, there are 4 important details to consider when designing your space. They are the paint, graphics, lighting and flooring. Sean Solon Sean is the Northern Alberta Account Manager for Stak Fitness/ Matrix Canada.

Getting YEGFit - A Couples Journey Dean George (47)

Power Engineer/Process Operator Born and raised in Newfoundland in the small town of Heart's Content and the youngest of 7 siblings. Food was the typical meat and potatoes or of course the Jiggs dinner which is basically cooked in Salt. As a shift-worker, takeout and convenience were always a priority due to the long hours. I have always struggled with nighttime snacking as well. I too signed up for the surgery at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, not to have the surgery but to support Mandy and learn healthier ways.


Mandy George (36)

General Manager of Fort Cinema Married, working mother of a fifteen year old son, Caleb. Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta by a single father and two older brothers. Life was sometimes all about takeout food and convenience. Into my adult years my father remarried and we had a whole new family and he followed a new meal plan with his wife, but we were all grown and had families of our own so I kept this as my normal and I never broke that habit. Once I reached 306 lbs, I knew something had to be done. I have tried many fad diets over the years. Some worked temporarily, some failed. But all of them ruined my metabolism and I ate very restricted or ate too much of one thing and not enough of others. I decided that my only success would be bariatric surgery.  For three years I was in the program with the Royal Alexandra Hospital, I even got to the point where I was approved for surgery and just was waiting on a date. Then CTV Healthier You Challenge happened and changed my life!  My dad was a fantastic cook and cooked often but he was also a shift worker. I don't blame my childhood eating habits on the way I am now or was 6 months ago. As we got into our teenage years; we learned to cook to help our dad out more. So although we still ate out, it wasn't as much. From the lessons from our dad, we are all fantastic cooks now.




WHAT WAS YOUR BACKGROUND REGARDING FITNESS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY/HEALTH? Mandy - I have always been active, but just over weight. My Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis has never really held me back. I play Roller Derby and I am always working out or walking. But the weight just does not come off. Having hypothyroidism does make this struggle hard! Any suggestions? I'm all ears and willing to bust my butt to succeed ;) Dean - my only activity really was walking at work and a few rounds of golf a year where I rode the cart. Life was pretty bland for me. As for my health, I became a Type 2 diabetic. I also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure because of my habits and weight gain.  WHAT WERE YOUR YOU CHALLENGE?





Mandy - my goals were to lose weight. That was my sole goal. However I haven't lost a whole lot of weight YET but I feel amazing and much healthier! We have changed my plan a lot from the beginning and it's still a struggle as life is busy. But I am lost without my balanced meals now :) Dean - Become a healthier eater with a designed meal plan just for me. Also to become more fit and active.  WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN YOUR CHALLENGE? Mandy - I had my plan changed a lot. My journey was very up and down. Lose 5 lbs, gain 3 and so on. I have learned so much on this program. Firstly that the scale is not my friend and I have learned to not weigh myself twice a day anymore. I’ve also learned to be kind to myself and to have patience. It’s important to eat balanced meals and there is no such thing as a cheat! I also recognize that I need a trainer full time or I won't stay diligent in my activity as much as I should... so I'm looking for someone to help me! I have big goals to hopefully reach next year.




Dean – The biggest thing for me is the realization that what I used to consider healthy was not necessarily the case so it's been a great educational tool on that aspect. WHAT WAS THE RESULT FOR YOU BOTH? WHAT TYPES OF HABITS/LIFESTYLE CHANGES CAME ABOUT AS A RESULT? Mandy - In 3 months I was down 10 lbs, 8 inches around my body and felt a world of difference!  I used to nap daily and be so moody and now everything just seems to gel better. I have an abundance of energy, laugh more and ALWAYS make sure veggies are part of our meals.  Dean - in 3 months I was down approximately 20 lbs and 14 inches. The biggest thing for me was portion control, times to stop eating, how important sleep is during this journey, and helping each other out as meal prep is a lot of work. What are your goals from here? Mandy - I'd love to say to lose 70 or so more pounds, and I will eventually. But my goals are just to stay on this path and not give up. Health is number one now as we have a full life to live. During the next year and a half I want to reach my 70 lb goal so I can compete in Femsport and try out for the Edmonton Police Service - a dream of mine since high school but my weight always held me back.  Dean – Just to continue eating healthy and stay off the medications - yes I'm off most of them, and to hopefully lose some more weight. 

Mandy and Dean were offered an opportunity by CTV and their Healthier You Challenge where they were introduced to Revive Wellness and the My Viva Plan. They also had training provided by Body By Bennett. A psychologist and a doctor also followed along in our journey.

Get Moving, Keep Moving

The Importance of Exercise in Parkinson’s BY BRANDI LA BONTE, Operations Manager, Parkinson Alberta Exercise is important for everyone. For millennia, medical evidence has provided overwhelming support for the benefits exercise provides. In ancient China (2500-250 BC), for example, philosophical teachings encouraged participation in regular physical activity as well as noting that inactivity was associated with certain disease1. Today exercise is recommended as part of most daily routines for all people and for almost every condition from depression to arthritis to Parkinson disease. In fact, for people with Parkinson disease, exercise is even more important. Research indicates that people with Parkinson’s can benefit from exercise in one, possibly two ways. The first benefit is symptom management, and the second is the possibility of slowing down the progression of the disease. In regards to symptom management, research shows that regular exercise can improve many aspects of the physical decline of Parkinson’s such as gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, and motor coordination. And, it’s not just the physical, motor symptoms of Parkinson’s that benefit from exercise. Studies show that regular exercise reduces stress, anxiety and feelings of depression. It can also have a positive effect on cognitive, sleep and constipation issues. In regards to the possibility of slowing down the progression of Parkinson’s, new research suggests that exercise may offer neuroprotection; which could potentially slow the progression of Parkinson’s in the brain. While there are many different kinds of exercises; there are three basic types of exercise. The three types of exercise are aerobic, anaerobic and, flexibility and balance. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that raises one’s heart rate to a target heart rate. Aerobic exercise improves and strengthens one’s heart, lungs and circulation; it can also help people lose weight and reduce the onset of some diseases (ie: diabetes, heart disease, etc). Some of the most common types of aerobic exercise include running, walking, bicycling, and dancing, but can also include swimming, skating, tennis, or any type of exercise that raises one’s heart rate.

Anaerobic or strength training exercise helps make one stronger and increases a persons’ endurance. Anaerobic exercise provides significant functional benefits including increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and endurance. It can also help improve joint function, reduce one’s potential for injury and help decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Common types of anaerobic exercises include the use of weights, strength bands, sit-ups and push-ups. Flexibility and balance exercises enable a person to continue stay limber and enjoy a greater range of motion. Flexibility and balance exercises stretch your muscles, improve balance and can help prevent falls. Flexibility and balance exercises can range from simple, seated stretches to yoga, tai chi, martial arts, and many forms of dance. A combination of all three types of exercise is best for overall health and well-being. When should I begin? Experts recommend that people with Parkinson disease, particularly young onset and/or those in the early stages, exercise with intensity for as long as possible, as often as possible. In fact, the sooner after diagnosis you begin exercising, the greater your physical reserve and self-motivation are likely to be. As the disease progresses it can become more difficult for a person with Parkinson’s to find the motivation to begin – especially if apathy sets in. Signing up for a group program/class or enlisting a “fitness buddy” can help get and/or keep one motivated and hopefully make one’s exercise experience more fun in the process. What should I do? For people living with Parkinson disease (or any mobility issue for that matter) oftentimes the thought of engaging in exercise can be intimidating. There are a lot of options and it is not always clear which ones are safe or who to turn to for advice. Before starting any exercise program it is always a good idea to your doctor or neurologist as they are familiar with your medical history and can help provide guidance on what options may be best for you. Your doctor (or Parkinson Alberta Client Services Coordinator) may also suggest

speaking with a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist is a specialist in treating mobility issues; he/ she can perform an assessment and provide specific advice tailored specifically for your needs. When possible, it is best to see a physiotherapist who has had special training and/or experience with Parkinson disease. So what exercise option is right for you? With input from your health care provider, that is entirely up to you. Some people like to find one thing and stick to it; while others like to engage in a variety of options. Oftentimes with exercise programs if it becomes too easy or too boring a person can find themselves less inclined to take part. It is key to find something that is not only beneficial, but fun to do! In conjunction with physiotherapists and others familiar with Parkinson disease, Parkinson Alberta offers a wide-range of exercise opportunities across the province, including our largest fundraising event of the year…our 5th Annual Flexxaire Parkinson Step ‘n Stride taking place this September 9 and 10!!. To find out where and when these programs are available please visit our website at FIVE TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND 1. Start slow and work your way up – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in solid effort, but by overdoing it you could seriously hurt yourself. 2. Mix it up – if you find yourself becoming bored or uninterested try something new. Try yoga or an aqua class, or simply take a new walking path! 3. Everything is better with a friend (or friends) – keep motivated by exercising with a friend/loved one or in a group setting! 4. Raise a glass (or exercise friendly water bottle) – staying hydrated is imperative when undertaking any exercise regime. 5. People with Parkinson’s who exercise do better than those who don’t. 1 The History of Fitness – Lance C. Dalleck, MS & Len Kravitz, PhD – University of New Mexico (2002)





Fuelling The Vegan Athlete


nlike the brand of shoes you prefer, or your favorite color, choosing to eliminate meat from the diet is a lifestyle that many individuals and athletes choose to make for reasons other than what’s hot, new, or popular. Because it is a lifestyle, it requires commitment and knowledge to make the diet work for personal health and performance goals. All athletes must understand the importance of consuming a balanced, wholesome diet and there is often a lot of concern regarding how a high performance athlete (or a weekend warrior) can achieve this leading a vegan lifestyle. With so much research connecting diet to health, a plantstrong diet is heavily acclaimed for its many health, performance-promoting, and disease-preventing benefits. Former Edmonton Oiler heavyweight Georges Laraque is one of those athletes who made the switch to living a vegan lifestyle. Many athletes today are choosing a plant-based diet, but he took it a step further and removed ALL animal products from his diet adopting a pure vegan plan. As an athlete, you place a tremendous amount of intentional stress on your body in order to meet your fitness goals. Therefore, it is important to have an appropriately planned diet to support your athletic development. There are many apprehensions by athletes, coaches, and outsiders who question the athletic potential (or lack thereof) of vegetarian athletes. Within a restrictive diet, there will always be concerns for nutritional deficiencies, so it would appear that vegans are undoubtedly lacking key nutrients by not eating animal protein.

GEORGE’S DINNER TABLE “I eat quinoa every day. Vegan quinoa pasta is awesome. When I eat pasta, it’s always quinoa. When it’s hot out and I don’t feel like cooking, I like a kale salad with avocado, mushrooms and all types of vegetables. When you mix in flax seed and goji berries, it makes it a complete meal. But my favorite meal is chili. When I mix in the beans and quinoa, it makes it really thick and tasty. When my non-vegan friends come over I mix some tofu in there and they don’t even notice. They love it.”




For Georges, the change to living a vegan lifestyle began not out of a health related benefit but as an animal rights issue. After watching the movie “Earthlings” which documents humanities use of animals as pets, food, clothing and for scientific research, a light went on for him and he decided at that time to never touch another animal product again. “Prior to watching that film, I used to eat a cow a day,” says Laraque. “I ate a ton of meat. I did the Atkin’s diet because I played in the NHL”. As a crushing force in the NHL, George was dependent on eating meat to keep his weight and strength up to be able to battle with the league’s best. It was just prior to his

last year in the league when he was playing in Montreal that he saw the film and decided to make the lifestyle switch. “I’m a very intense person,” he says. “When I decide to do something, I go all the way. “ George’s first thoughts, however, were similar to most peoples regarding how making a switch to veganism would affect their physique and strength. He thought he would loose all his muscle mass and strength and that he would be sick all the time. But he felt that making the switch was necessary, as he could no longer support the industries that were abusing animals. Georges went about educating himself and also hiring a dietician to work with him to build a new diet plan that would show him what he could eat to retain his athleticism. “They took me to the grocery store and introduced me to foods I had never heard of before,” he says. “ Things like kale, foods to introduce iron and calcium into my diet.” He also went to the Heart Institute and did tests before and after his switch to see if the myth of athletes not being able to lead a vegan lifestyle were true. “Before I started my diet change, I went in for physical testing,” he says. “I had asthma and high blood pressure and when I went back again four months later, the symptoms were gone. My strength and cardio were also much stronger. At that time I was sold.” Because of his size, people would always question how he could possibly lead that lifestyle. He became a strong ambassador of veganism doing public speaking and narrating the French version of the Earthlings documentary. “When I started talking about it, people saw an elephant talking to them about veganism not a guy who looked like they could levitate and they took notice,” he says. “It really created a strong trend in Montreal.” If you are choosing to avoid or limit your intake of animal protein, it’s important to prioritize the most ideal sources of plantstrong protein to help support your individual health and fitness needs. Be mindful that every time you eliminate a food (or food group) from the diet, it’s in your best interest to seek an alternative food to replace the nutrients that you eliminating.



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YEGFITNESS - Sept/Oct 2017  
YEGFITNESS - Sept/Oct 2017