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ANDREW LUE - EDMONTON ESKIMOS COUPLES FITNESS, BEST OF YEG AWARDS + MORE!

ISSUE #22

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contents 10 FITTING IN FITNESS

BY ANGELA ROBINSON

jan/feb 18 32 LOW BACK PAIN

BY DR. CARLY PRESAKARCHUK

12 ANDREW LUE

34 LADIES, GET YOUR LIFT ON!

14 SELF-CENTERED

38 COUPLES FITNESS

18 BEST OF YEGFITNESS 2017 AWARD NOMINEES

53 MAKE TIME FOR YOU

#IAMYEGFIT

BY DANIELLE MURRAY

21 IN ALL THINGS EXCELLENCE

FEATURE

BY JACKIE LINDAL

BY BRIAN LEBLANC

BY JODY MCPEAK

ON THE COVER: KAETLYN OSMOND PHOTO BY CHAN RIN VIVID RIBBON PHOTOGRAPHY

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KAETLYN OSMOND

We can help you tell your story. ADVERTISE WITH US Contact advertising@yegfitness.ca for more information. Y EG F IT NES S

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WHAT IS PHYSIOTHERAPY?

HOW CAN I GET BACK TO CRUSHING WORKOUTS WITHOUT PAIN? HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY QUALITY OF MOVEMENT? WHO CAN FIX ME WHEN I’M BROKEN? These are very important questions that many people don’t know the answer to. We are here to help provide some clarity, and inform you exactly where we fit in the equation! First and foremost, what is your ultimate goal? If your ONLY goal is to decrease pain, then take some advil and lay on the couch! However, if you want to improve your overall function and feel better permanently, then seek the help of a physiotherapist to help guide you through your recovery. We aren’t going to sugar coat this for you. If you expect to come in, lay down for ten minutes, have your body adjusted or realigned, jump up and walk out of the clinic feeling 100%, then you are in the wrong place. This isn’t how the rehabilitation process works. Even if you feel great immediately following some manual therapy (as you probably have in the past), this is only the beginning. As physiotherapists, our role is to kickstart your rehab with the use of manual therapy and modalities. We will then provide you with a detailed exercise program which will include some combination of stretching, mobility drills, and strengthening exercises. From this point the responsibility is on YOU! Take the movement corrections and strategies that we equip you with during each physiotherapy session and apply them to your life! This will ensure you are able to minimize pain and prevent injury in the future! Optimize Physiotherapy does not offer “band aid” solutions that don’t actually fix the cause of the problem. So if you are interested in being humble, having patience, being dedicated, and are willing to work your butt off, then we will do everything in our power to help you achieve your goals. If you are struggling through a nagging injury, just starting to recognize some mobility restriction, or having some performance issues then give us a call! You can trust our therapists will be there for you every step along the way. Let us help you, help yourself to optimize your body, and optimize your life!

780-455-5068 www.optimizephysio.com mobilize • stabilize • optimize


editor’s note W

hen it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, most people shoot for the moon. We tell ourselves that this will be the year we’ll give up carbs, go running every morning, become a vegan or quit drinking. Inevitably, three weeks later, we find ourselves right back where we started. What gives? When it comes to health goals in particular, all-or-nothing goals - which are usually based on unrealistic expectations and don’t leave any wiggle room - are a setup for failure. Only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic. There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures. Setting overly ambitious and restrictive goals - like quitting sugar when you haven’t already been making small changes to improve your diet - is one major cause of failure. While you might initially feel inspired and energized by setting blowout goals for 2018, the luster of these resolutions fades quickly when we realize how difficult they are to keep. Small, incremental lifestyle changes may feel less sexy, but they have a much greater chance of creating real change. When resolutions are too ambitious, we struggle to change our habits, become discouraged when we fail and ultimately give up altogether. So instead of making hard-line resolutions this year, we suggest increasing your chances for long-term success by approaching your health goals as a “reset.” January 1 signifies a new beginning. However, each day allows for a new beginning, and hence it is a reset. What’s the difference? While a resolution represents a firm decision to do or not do something, a reset is an opportunity to “set again,” or set your habits differently. With a reset, you commit to moderate, realistic goals and making small changes every day - not just on January 1. A reset also allows for flexibility as you progress and figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. Whatever you decide to commit to, the important thing is to use the energy of the new year as an opportunity to make important changes for your health. 2018? We got this.

EDITOR TJ Sadler tj@yegfitness.ca DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Chan Rin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Joel Verhagen SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Patricia Doiron SALES MANAGER Jay LaPlante jay@yegfitness.ca ACCOUNT MANAGERS Chris Liddle chris@yegfitness.ca John Bass john@yegfitness.ca Keri Bauer keri@yegfitness.ca Meaghan Becker meaghan@yegfitness.ca PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeff Kelly Patricia Doiron COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR Cody Yano EDITORIAL INTERN Melissa Lilley Printed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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

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.

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WELLMANIA:

MISADVENTURES IN THE SEARCH FOR WELLNESS BY BRIGID DELANEY

Cold-pressed juices, hot yoga, quitting sugar, Paleo, mindfulness … if you embrace these things you will be happy, you will be well – just ask Instagram. From celebrity vegan chefs to sleep gurus, there is no shortage of people trying to sell us the wellness dream. Wellness has become a billion-dollar industry. But what does wellness even mean? Does any of this stuff actually work? Is there any science behind it? Feeling exhausted and a bit stressed and flabby, journalist Brigid Delaney decides to find out – using herself as the guinea pig. Starting with a brutal 101-day fast, Brigid tests the things that are meant to make us well – yoga classes, colonics, meditation, Balinese healing, silent retreats and group psychotherapy, and sorts through what works and what is just expensive hype. She asks: what does this obsession say about us? Is total wellness possible, or even desirable? Where’s the fun in it all? Wellmania is an in-depth, entertaining and insightful exploration of one of the most fascinating trends in our culture. Her columns on the wellness industry for the Guardian have gone viral, with more than 100,000 page views in the UK, Australia and the US.

guest contributors JODY McPEAK

JACKIE LINDAL

Jody McPeak earned her B.Sc. in Nursing and worked as a pharmaceutical representative for 17 years. She had four children in the span of four years creating a busy household. For the last seven years she has enjoyed being a stay-at-home mother. Jody has always recognized the importance of fitness for the promotion and maintenance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and wellbeing. Her past fitness milestones have included ten marathons, multiple half-marathons, a triathlon, a Spartan race, various Beachbody® programs, and a commitment to a practice of yoga and Pilates. Her most recent passion is powerlifting.

Jackie Lindal is a Certified Personal Trainer with a diverse experience in both strength training and martial arts. Jackie began her own fitness journey in 2015 as a way to better her own health then later decided she wanted to help others reach their goals! She obtained her Personal Training Certification in 2016 and started her own company called Fit Like a Girl. As a trainer, her mission is to help her clients gain strength and create healthy, sustainable habits for life.

DANIELLE MURRAY

DR. CARLY PRESAKARCHUK

Danielle Murray offers the practice of yoga with the intention of enriching and empowering others so they may connect with the self, the inner teacher. She was drawn to this practice and teaching by the desire to offer others the same tools that help her cope with depression and anxiety. She hopes that through yoga and mindfulness practitioners can find contentment, peace, acceptance. She is an E-RYT 500, Empowered Yoga Facilitator, and lululemon ambassador.

Dr. Carly Presakarchuk is a south Edmonton based chiropractor at Performance Chiropractic and Sports Rehab. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Alberta, and her Doctor of Chiropractic at University of Western States in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Carly enjoys treating a range of patients from athletes to general population using a variety of techniques such as joint manipulation, Active Release Therapy, Graston, movement correction and rehabilitation exercises.

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Visit Edmonton’s new Downtown Community Arena – part of Rogers Place. Schedule and programs at edmonton.ca/DowntownCommunityArena

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SKATING FUN AT CITY OF EDMONTON ARENAS Free Public Skating is available year round for everyone at arenas around the city. During our high season from September to April, we have additional opportunities including: PUBLIC SKATE For everyone.

PARENTS & TOTS SKATE (INCLUDING “STICKS & PUCKS”)

For parents and their 3-5 year olds. Half the ice is for Parents & Tots skating, and half for “Sticks & Pucks” (practice shooting at the net)

OLDER ADULT SKATE

Forolder adultsto skate and socialize.

EARLY MORNING FITNESS SKATE (ADULT ONLY)

Early morning fitness skating opportunity for adults (18 years +)

EARLY MORNING FIGURE SKATING

An opportunity for individuals to practice figure and choreographed free skating. Figure skates required.

OUTDOOR LEISURE ICE

Skating for everyone at the Meadows Outdoor Leisure Ice. Outdoor accessible change rooms are available 8AM-11PM daily and 7AM-9PM on Statutory Holidays.

ADULT SHINNY

18+ offered year round

MEMBER SKATE

Enjoy this public skate opportunity for City of Edmonton Recreation Centre members of all ages. Valid admission/membership is required. Shinny/Open Hockey is an admission-based program. Patrons may arriv e up to 45 minutes early to purchase admission for a spot to participate as we have a maximum capacity of 26 participants.

CHILDREN’S OPEN HOCKEY

Drop-in opportunity for children to use sticks and pucks. If participant numbers and demographics allow staff will provide organized play opportunities.

ADULT/CHILD STICKS & PUCKS

Designed for children ages 6-12 to have the opportunity to practice basic hockey or ringette skills. Children must be accompanied and actively supervised on ice by a parent/guardian. Minimum of a CSA approved helmet and gloves required for adults and children. The City of Edmonton also offers a Learn to Play Hockey program in partnership with NCHL (Non Contact Hockey League), which teaches the fundamentals of playing fun and competitive hockey through 12 on-ice sessions and 2 classroom instruction sessions. This is a registered program for adults 18 and over who want to learn how to play hockey. Costs $399+GST

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Fitting in Fitness FINDING BALANCE IN OUR BUSY LIVES BY ANGELA ROBINSON

1. CREATE A LIST Writing it down on paper makes it easier to simplify and organize. The first thing you will write down in the first column is your top priorities. Priorities are identified as being “MUSTS” and are non-negotiable. These are things like work, meal planning & prepping, household chores, children’s school and their pre-registered extracurricular activities. Secondly, you will create a list of “WANTS” in the second column. This list will include things like your workouts, date nights, and eating meals outside the home. I also recommend including your precise fitness goals in this column such as weight training three times a week, a long distance run on Saturday mornings or anything like that.

Lastly, look at the past two weeks and write down the things that are “TIME WASTERS”. This list will include the activities you do to pass the time such as scrolling social media, shopping without a purpose – really anything that you do with time that can be spent productively doing something else. Now, take a hard look at these lists. Most people will see that their “TIME WASTERS” column is more full than either of the other columns. That is great news! This means that with some strategic scheduling – you are on your way to finding more balance! 2. MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND GET IT DONE Now, I suggest purchasing either a monthly or weekly calendar and picking a spot to display it so everyone in the family can see it. First, write all the “MUSTS” into their corresponding day with times on the calendar. Then fill in the schedule with your “WANTS” and the time period for all of them. Make sure you put your fitness schedule on the calendar and make a note of the days where it doesn’t seem to fit. Incorporating fitness into busy lives is a common challenge and unfortunately, one of the first things that gets omitted. It starts with pressing the snooze button in the morning too many times, or skipping your evening workout in favor of social events. Once you have mastered your ability to schedule your workout time and commit to it, you can focus on making the most of each workout.

PHOTOS BY PATRICIA DOIRON

A

chieving balance between family, work, fitness and the daily grind is not impossible. Life today can be downright chaotic, juggling demanding work schedules, children’s extra-curricular activities, household chores, and family. But what about your personal fitness goals? These sure don’t become a myth just because you have decided to have a family. It is possible to balance it all! It is going to require that you take a hard look at your life and become a prolific scheduler, but I have a few strategies that can help make this transition easier.


Here are some ideas to ensure you are on the right track: 1.

Get up early and get it done. Some of my best workouts are first thing in the morning. My mind is clear and I have less distractions. Purchase a piece of cardio equipment for your home so you can literally roll out bed and get exercising.

2.

Become a fitness family. Instead of heading to the gym on a Saturday afternoon, take the family to the park and play a game of soccer or do a mini boot camp where your kids can participate. Involve the whole family in learning to cook healthy and nutritious meals.

3.

Make your workouts efficient. A lot of time can be wasted waiting around between sets at the gym. Adding circuits and supersets can help make the most of your time plus has the added benefit of burning more calories.

4.

Be flexible. Some months will feel easy to incorporate fitness into your life while others will be a challenge. We all know that life happens and we can’t control everything. My advice is to roll with it. As long as you remain committed to your fitness goals, the little speed bumps that life throws at us are not significant in the long run.

5.

Remember that getting fit is not a final destination. Fitness, just like finding balance, is a journey.

These tips are just the beginning, but they will provide you with a solid foundation that will help you achieve balance for the long haul. Taking a more organized approach to scheduling your family’s week will pay off by allowing you some more time for fitness for yourself, and more time for the family to come together to explore the opportunities of a new lifestyle.

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PHOTOS BY JEFF KELLY - ARCHIVE FOUR FORTY FOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

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Andrew Lue Defensive Back – Edmonton Eskimos 1. IT'S SUNDAY MORNING. WHAT ARE YOU HAVING FOR BREAKFAST? I try to keep my breakfasts consistent throughout the week. It’s usually a veggie smoothie with a couple of eggs. Quick and easy! 2. WHEN YOU'RE HEADED TO THE GYM, WHAT'S ON YOUR MUSIC PLAYLIST? I usually have hip-hop playing. Sometimes for a change up I’ll play some electronic music! 3. IF YOU COULD ATTEND ONE SPORTS EVENT (OUTSIDE OF THE GREY CUP) THIS YEAR, WHAT WOULD IT BE? The Super Bowl! Especially if the Eagles are in it! 4. WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT THE FITNESS SCENE IN YEG? There are more outdoor activities available here than a lot of other cities, which is really cool. I haven’t had to deal with the snow yet but I hear that doesn’t stop people from getting out there and staying active! 5. IF WE WERE BUYING, WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING? I’m a big fan of a “Dark and Stormy". It can be hit or miss because a lot of places don’t carry ginger beer. Second round is on me! 6. WEIRDEST FITNESS ACTIVITY OR TREND YOU'VE EVER TRIED? I don’t know how weird it is, but I’ve done a couple of aqua-fit classes. Water training is a nice change to ease up the load on the joints every now and then! 7. WHAT'S ON THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? I would really like to try pufferfish or “fugu”. It doesn’t look like I’m going find that in Canada though. I might have to take a trip to Japan soon. 8. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO ON YOUR NEXT SUMMER VACATION? We don’t get summer vacations because of the timing of the season. But for my winter vacation I’m heading to Belize! 9. WHAT'S IN YOUR GYM BAG RIGHT NOW? In my gym bag I keep a pair of running shoes, cleats, extra socks, a lacrosse ball, and a bunch of woody bands for stretching and muscle activation. Most of the other essentials are taken care of by the club or my performance centre! 10. WHAT WORDS DO YOU LIVE BY? Don’t just ask questions, look for answers.

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Self – Centered BY DANIELLE MURRAY Danielle Murray Yoga

“Re-aligning the body and mind by getting grounded in a world that’s anything but.” Being in a state that is in balance, grounded, or alignment is a practice. This quality of centering the self is constantly in state of flux. The only thing that is certain in life is change. Our Yoga practice is an opportunity to learn how to move with challenges, boundaries, and the ever evolving sensations and fluctuations of both body and mind. However our yoga practice is also an opportunity to find a way back to stability, simplicity and connection to the self. The upcoming season can carry us away and disrupt our routines, and leave us feeling anything but balanced. November and December are actually one of my favourite times of year.

POSE 1: Tadasana / Mountain Pose

Parties, social gatherings, and family events are something to cherish and enjoy. Our yoga practice can be a wonderful tool to re-ground and stabilize ourselves in the midst of what can be chaotic. Returning to simple postures and taking time to connect allows yogis of all experience levels to cultivate steadiness.

Did you know that mountain pose actually teaches you all the basic alignment foundations you need to know to practice any yoga posture? To begin come to a standing position. Close your eyes or find a single point of focus. Begin by observing your natural posture and way of being in your body. Connect to your breath by first allowing it to flow naturally, and gradually deepening the flow. Notice where your body connects to the earth, observe where the weight is balanced in the soles of the feet. Take a moment to track through the body and become aware of the placement and weight of the legs, pelvis, spine, shoulders, neck and head.

The following postures and practices are tools that can be utilized to ground yourself, and come back into alignment in all senses of the word. Use them to get yourself centred.

Drawing your action back to your feet, begin to deepen your connection to the earth by lifting your toes, spreading them wide and rooting them down into the earth. Remain grounded and press down through the feet and initi-

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ate the action of wiping the feet apart as if you were trying to rip your mat in half. Draw energy up your legs and activate them, feel the thighs lift. Find neutral pelvis by aligning your pubic and hip bones in the same plane. Draw length up your spine by extending the crown of the head toward the sky. Lift the collarbones which will allow your chest to broaden. Soften the shoulders and perhaps even feel the shoulder blades slide down your back. Maintaining this posture, take at least 10 deep breaths. As you breathe take a moment to observe any sensations or thoughts that are arising within you.

POSE 2: Uttanasana / Forward Fold In this variation of forward fold our context for the posture is to create grounding sensation as opposed to directing our attention to the deepest expression of a forward fold. To practice this pose you may want to keep two yoga blocks nearby. If you don't have blocks then cushions, books or any two stable objects of the same height are great options. From standing bring a gentle bend into your knees to allow for more space in the hamstrings (word from the wise, bend your knees more than you think you need to) Take a deep inhale breath and reach your hands toward the sky. As you exhale the breath from your body fold forward maintaining length through the spine as best you can, drawing your belly and chest to your thighs. If the chest doesn't meet the thighs a great option is to place a folded up blanket between the two. Maintaining the deep knee bend in your forward fold place your hands on either the earth or your chosen props. On an inhale breath see if you can bring more length into your spine extending forward through the crown while still remaining in the depth of the fold. As you exhale press into the floor, blocks, or chosen prop, and pull your chest closer to your thighs. Let the back of the neck extend and the he'd hang down toward the ground. Notice the weight distribution in the feet, see if you can move it toward the balls of the feet. Take at least 5-10 deep breaths and observe any changes in sensation. Perhaps explore the power of the breath to create space to both expand and find length as you inhale, on the exhale what do you feel?

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or bolster. Remember our intention here is to create a deeper grounding sensation, so if the pose feels unstable and propping doesn't help perhaps switch into a figure four seated variation of this posture. Once you have found a position that feels secure notice if you can move the hips into alignment by drawing the hip of the front leg back, and the hip bone of the back leg forward. Think neutral pelvis, although that expression may not fully be realized. Now instead of flopping forward, as best you can move your shoulders back overtop of your hips and move energy down toward the ground. Placing blocks under the hands can assist those of us who are not blessed with long arms (myself included). Take a 5 full rounds of breath here and once completed maintain this position and downward energy in the hips take as much time as you need to transition the upper body into a fold. Hold in that variation for another 5 -10 breaths. POSE 3: Table Top with Core Stability Come into a table top position by planting the hands on the ground below the shoulders and drawing the knees below the hips. Take a moment to link breath and movement. From table top position on an inhale draw the belly down toward the earth by tilting the pelvis forward, drawing the tailbone up, broadening the chest at the collarbones and drawing the shoulders away from the ears. As you complete the inhale, allow your gaze to move upward as well. As you exhale move the pubic bone forward, draw the belly back, feel the shoulder blades speed wide apart as you press the upper back toward the sky. As you complete the exhale tuck your chin toward your chest and gaze toward the belly. This is cat/cow flow, repeat this cycle for 3-5 rounds and perhaps add in further movements that feel organic to you in the moment. It’s OK to explore within your yoga practice and body. Colour outside the lines. After you complete your cycles draw back to table top position. Find a neutral pelvis (align the pubic bone and hip bones in the same plane) and on an exhale activate the abdominals by narrowing the waist and drawing the low belly back and up. Think more of an awakening sensation and awareness of the midsection and less of a flexing action. Gripping through the fingertips push into the hands, maintaining the alignment of shoulders over wrists, and feel the shoulder blades spread wide on the back. Wipe the hands apart as if you were trying to split the mat in half. Directing your attention to the upper arms initiate external rotation action, elbows draw back. Notice if you can maintain these actions while moving the collarbone forward to maintain an open quality in the chest. Hold and maintain this posture for 5-10 breaths and then release into child’s pose and again observe the shift in sensations physically and mentally. You could repeat this process of alignment and stability for 3-5 rounds or if you desire more of a challenge repeat the same steps but hover the knees by pressing into the tops of the feet in table top position, or again repeating alignment cues hold this posture in a full plank position with legs extended back.

POSE 4: Kapotasana / Pigeon Pose Come onto your seat at the top of your mat, extend one leg across the top of your mat and then placing your hands either in front of the shin or alongside the hips begin to square the hips and extend the opposite leg back. As you first enter the posture take a moment to pause and check in. Begin to explore your personal expression. Notice if your hips are quite elevated and there is a great deal of space between them and the floor. If they are, take time to explore either deepening by using the back foot and leg to start to pull back and create some extension back or if you are already at your end range of motion, propping up and supporting the hips with either a block

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To leave the posture slowly lift the chest with an inhale, using your hands to support you, tuck under the back toes and lift the knee transitioning back to a downward facing dog position. Observe what unfolds with in your body as you shift positions and notice any areas that you may have become more conscious of through the practice of this posture. After taking some time to connect with your experience through stillness in downward facing dog, rest in child’s pose, or make your way back to seated to practice the pose on the other side.

POSE 5: Savasana / Corpse Pose For our practice of this posture perhaps have a cushion, yoga bolster, pillow, and possibly a heavy blanket nearby. I also recommend having some cozy socks or a sweater nearby to prevent feeling chilled thus distracting you from the experience of the posture. Come down onto your back. Begin by shaking your toes from side to side before allowing the feet to fall out toward the sides of the mat. If you feel any tension in the hips or low back perhaps sliding a bolster or blanket below the knees for more support will help. You may also wish to place a rolled blanket under the low back and / or neck as well. Once you feel your body is supported begin to draw your mind into the experience of the posture. Feel your body pressing into the floor below you and the ability of the floor holding your body. Can you consciously observe each part of the body with your inhales and with each exhale can you intentionally relate any tension you are carrying within that area. Beginning at the toes and working your way up the legs, through the hips, pelvis, core, arms, fingers, chest, shoulders, neck, face and through to the head. As you first begin your practice perhaps focus on broader areas and then fine tuning your awareness by even drawing attention to things as subtle as fingernails, eyelashes, or even your skin. Once you have cultivated a connection to the physical body, start to draw your attention inward. Allow your breath to flow naturally but continue to notice how the breath feels moving in and out of the body. Our intention is to become more grounded, as we lay in savasana and meditate, the mind may have a tendency to wander and offer up different stories and narrations to draw you away from the moment. In yoga we call these distractions or fluctuations “vrittis”. When these distractions of the mind arise, notice if you can first be aware that it is happening and then as best you can draw yourself back into the present moment by reconnecting to your body or breath. It is inevitable that these fluctuations of the mind arise. We can allow ourselves to follow the thoughts and be carried away, or we can practice the art of presence by learning to come back over and over again. Practice this posture for 10 minutes (or as long as you like) I like to set a timer if I have a limited amount of time so I can fully relax. When you feel ready to leave the pose take your time to re-awaken the body with a breath and some gentle movements before slowly making your way out of the pose.


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FAVOURITE CITY OWNED GYM Clareview Commonwealth Kinsmen Meadows Terwillegar

BEST PERSONAL TRAINER Mike Clark Zita Dube –Lockhart Anthony Harder Jordan Jeske Shane Kokas Tony Nguyen Laura Poburan Ryan Vigneau Shara Vigeant

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FREE FITNESS GROUPS City Fit Shop - Run Club FREE Fitness November Project Run Collective Running Room

BEST ALTERNATIVE FITNESS Aradia Fitness CircoFit City Fit Shop (obstacle course) Rock Jungle Climbing Soar Bounce Fitness

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FREE FITNESS EVENTS Edmonton Marathon Fight Of The Fittest Mud Hero Spartan Race XWarrior

FAVOURITE FARMER'S MARKET 104 Street City Market Callingwood Farmers' Market St Albert Farmers Market South Common Market Old Strathcona Market

FAVOURITE PHYSIOTHERAPIST Tina Carter Tyer Gamblin Adam Giesbrecht Arri McWatt Miles Morgan

FAVOURITE CHIROPRACTOR Andre Breault Brett Klesko Kara Otuomagie Peter Shipka Ashely Todd

FAVOURITE MASSAGE THERAPIST Natasha Chalupa Reese Miranda Yvonne Sanche Stephanie Stephen Camille Wallach

FAVOURITE RESTAURANT Cafe Mosaic Chopped Leaf Freshii KB & Co Noorish

Our Best Of YEG Fitness Awards are selected by our readers. This year over 6800 readers cast their votes for their favourite fitness and wellness categories. We’ll be announcing the winners at the Best of YEG Fitness Awards Night on February 7, 2018 at Yellowhead Brewery. Check yegfitness.ca to get your tickets and join us as we celebrate the best companies in the city.


Single Mom’s Fitness BY MARY-HELEN CLARK When realtor and mom of three Shannon Schilvert separated from her partner of 10 years in spring 2017, she knew her life was going to get more difficult. But she didn’t anticipate finding less and less free time for the things she enjoyed, like her fitness classes. The YMCA she attended her Zumba classes doesn’t offer childcare for children over the age of four, and she found that juggling her work schedule, as well as her middle son’s hockey schedule, let little time to squeeze in her workouts. “I have found it so hard to keep up with my fitness routine because my kids always come first,” Schilvert says. “Now that they are all in school again I am hoping to keep more of a schedule going, but I can't imagine I'll be able to juggle it all once I am working again. There just isn't enough time to myself in the day to get everything done that I need to. On top of it all, having one in hockey means that I'm even busier!” Schilvert is one of many single parents who struggle to find time to work on themselves while caring for their families. Between work commitments and raising a family, finding an hour a week, or even half an hour to work out at home can feel impossible. For Schilvert, the time she intended to go to her Zumba class may need to go to a client meeting, or a hockey practice. However, she wants to set a good example for her sons, ranging from five to ten years of age, so finding time to work out is a constant battle. With all of her sons leading active lifestyles, she feels it’s important to do the same. “Fitness has become increasingly important to me in the last few years. I'm trying to find ways to incorporate it into my routine in other ways in hopes of keeping up,” she says. Fortunately for parents, there are some places that recognize the constant struggle to live active lives and set a good example for little ones and offer solutions. Capital City Athletics recognizes that attending the gym requires time and money, so they allow parents to bring their kids, as long as they stay off of the gym floor during classes. You’ll often find kids turning the dressing room into a pretend dance studio, or on their iPads, playing Super Mario Run with their new friends while mom or dad get their sweat on. “We recognize that not everyone has access to a babysitter and we want them to be able to come out to the gym,” says Jalene Anderson-Baron, a coach with Capital City Athletics.

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“We wanted to make going to the gym as accessible as possible, especially because it’s not easily accessible for some people because of the cost, so we try to make it easier so that people from all walks of life and all situations can come out. We want them to be able to come and work out, so we make it a little bit easier.” “Also, I think it’s really good for kids to see their parents exercising. It’s a good way to role model for them and help promote positive body image.” Some tips for parents who might be struggling to balance include: 1. Call around to various places before deciding on a gym/workout program. Double check times, location, and if it is child friendly. You don’t have to go to the gym closest to home if another facility meets your needs. 2. Be prepared. If your child is coming with you, remind them of the rules. Bring your tablet, or some books and games. Also, pack a snack and their own bottle of water. 3. Set a routine. Kids thrive on routine. Pick a time and make that “gym night” or “sitter night.” 4. Do not beat yourself up if you miss a day. The great thing about lifestyle changes is that they take your entire life. If you missed Wednesday, don’t stress. There is always next Wednesday. Take the family for a walk to get some activity in. The most important thing for parents to remember is that raising a family can be hard. Single parents are doing the job of two as one person. Self-care is just as important as child care, and don’t be afraid to be selfish and take that time for yourself. But Anderson-Baron encourages everyone to focus less on their fitness level or their own insecurities about taking that time, and just focus on getting there. “The hardest part is just getting there, and getting in the door, but once you take that step, it’ll be so much easier.”


KAETLYN OSMOND

in all things excellence PHOTOS BY CHAN RIN VIVID RIBBON PHOTOGRAPHY Y EG F IT NES S

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I

t’s tough to compare the two. Individual sports vs team sports. Everything from the planning and game play to the mental and physical requirements are unique to each.

In the case of team sports, you need to do your part to be prepared both physically and mentally. You are part of a team and your teammates are counting on you to pull your weight to ensure success. But if there is a misplay, or miscommunication on the court, field or ice, you can count on a teammate to back you up and bail you out of your error. This is something no individual sports player has at their disposal. It’s all on them. Mentally and physically, they need to work their way through the game or event to pull themselves up from a mistake and continue to work towards the end goal. Kaetlyn Osmond chased perfection for an entire season last year to regain her Canadian ladies figure skating crown and began 2017 with a brilliant silver medal performance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki. Her coach, Ravi Walia, has worked with Osmond for over a decade and knows the importance of focusing on excellence rather than chasing perfection on the mindset of a skater. “Perfection, is hard when you’re out there’” he says. “Last season, she was getting close. The next step was perfection and that’s when she hit a roadblock. Of course, you want to be perfect. That’s every athlete’s goal. It just wasn’t working.” Make no mistake, Osmond is as tough as they come mentally. She works with a sport psychologist and there is no questioning her mental toughness and dedication to her training and her sport. But chasing perfection was taking a toll on her. “We learned when she was focusing on perfection, it wasn’t working. It was creating issues with her results and her success, so we just changed her mindset,” said Walia. “The focus is now on excellence and it seemed to really help. She knows that if she just focuses on excellence, more likely the perfection will be there.” The 22-year old from Marystown, Newfoundland began skating at the age of two following in her sister’s footsteps. Coming from a family that valued the importance of fitness, her parents were firm believers that their kids would take part in sports as they grew up.

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“Skating has given me many obstacles to overcome and achieving that silver medal proved to myself that I can comeback from anything.�

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“My family didn’t push us to be the best at our sport,” she says. “They just wanted us to stay active and healthy.” This upbringing has certainly helped her to reach many of the goals she has set for herself and has given her the mindset that only that of an individual athlete possesses. It doesn’t matter if it’s a National or World Championships, she approaches each event with that same mindset, focusing on excellence every time she steps onto the ice. With this being an Olympic year, she has a lot of goals that she’s working for. Including capturing a medal for Canada in women’s singles. “I think about the Olympics, but I think of it as just another competition, because essentially it is,” said Osmond. “I never dreamt of the Olympics growing up. It’s not something that I watched on TV, it’s not something my parents ever talked about.” But she’s excited about the opportunity to represent her country on the world stage and as the reigning world silver medalist, she is one of the top contenders to chase rather than the outsider doing the chasing. “My main goal this year is to improve on my last season. I came away last season with a dream year ending with a world silver medal,” she says. "But I want to be able to continue that success. More specifically, my goals are to defend my Canadian title, make the Olympic team, and work as hard as I can to make the podium at both the Olympics and World Championships.” The three-time national champion is making amazing strides towards reaching those goals after recovering from a potentially career ending injury in 2014 where she broke her right fibula in two places. "When I heard the severity of it, I thought that was it," Osmond said. She sustained the injury when she swerved to avoid hitting someone in practice and the X-ray showed that the bone snapped. After two surgeries to fix the break and then to remove the plate and screws holding the bone together, she took some time to recover and then rehab. "I was scared to even step on my leg, let alone even try to skate again," Osmond said. "And when I got back on the ice, my first couple of steps, my blade just shook underneath me. It took me about two weeks before I could even do a three turn (turning from forward to backward) again.” She credits coach Walia for his role in what has been a stunning comeback. “Ravi kept pushing me even when I didn’t want to be pushed or couldn’t be pushed or didn’t even know if I wanted to skate,” she said. “He reminded me of what it was like to skate.” Although she is on her own when she’s on the ice, she realizes that she has a strong team around her that supports and pushes her to be and do her best. “I have a different type of team,” she says. “I work with a team of coaches and trainers to make me feel like I am not alone out on the ice. Though it is a different type of motivation than what I believe being part of a team would be. I need to motivate myself to work hard because only I can skate my program. I need to work on a series of mental skills to help keep focused because I don’t have other people keeping me in the moment.”

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“My life is better because I feel proud of myself and have built so much self-confidence. I feel strong and capable of anything I put my mind to.”


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Functional Fitness to Make Life Easier BY SERHAT YAYLA (BPE, CSCS, UEFA-B, FMS, PES, CWPC, CSAC) Director of Sport Performance at Propel Performance Institute

Functional training has become quite the buzz these days as people are looking for new ways to train and get better at what they do. But what exactly is it? Is it just a fad? Although the phrase “functional fitness” is tossed around and labeled on top of everyone’s training programs from crossfit to yoga, it can be the most important part of everyone’s training. Functional fitness, in essence, are full body exercises that challenge the whole body and use movement patterns that we use in everyday life. Nothing we do involves just one body part but rather a series of body parts moving in coordinated ways activated by specific muscles to achieve a specific movement – such as carrying groceries, getting the kids in and out of car seats, and swinging a golf club. Although the body is quite remarkable and gets most things done without much thought, there is an efficient way to move and use the body. If not used efficiently, over time the body starts to compensate by using movement patterns that are too taxing on certain joints, muscles or tendons. This can lead to overuse injuries or inflammation of certain areas of the body. Eventually, performing everyday tasks starts to feel painful. The good news is that with proper training and movement education, we can learn efficient movement patterns. Through functional training, the body’s movements become more efficient, making the tasks of daily life easier and reducing the chance of pain. Also, learning proper movement mechanics will allow the body to perform at its best without the risk of injury. Not only can the general population benefit from functional training, but so to can athletes who will be able to increase their performance by correcting their movement patterns.

Bear Crawl Start in the quadruped position: hands under the shoulder, knees under the hips. First, lift the knees off the ground 2-3 inches. Balance yourself on your hands and toes. Keep your ribcage tucked in while in this position, it will help to engage your core and keep your spine straight and stable. In this position, move forward by stepping with the left arm and right foot and alternate with the right arm left foot. The goal is to move the body forward with minimum side-to-side movement without lifting your butt.

Farmer Carry Grab 2 free weights; one on each hand. They can be dumbbells, kettlebells, or sandbags. Bring your feet underneath your hips and get your body weight on the midfoot. Weights in your hands, arms straight down at your side, get as tall as possible and get in a perfect posture. In this position, keep walking forward by controlling the weights without letting them move around too much. The goal of this exercise is being able to keep your perfect posture under a heavy load.it will also challenge your grip strength. It needs patience.

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Suitcase Deadlift This is a variation of a conventional deadlift. Grab a free weight. I could be barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or sandbag. Keep the weight lateral to your body on one side, keeping the weight on the ground and stand tall. Keep your feet underneath your hips and you’re your body weight on the midfoot. Hinge at the hips, reach down and grab the weight with the hand directly above the weight. Make sure your body is aligned and not leaning to one side. Your nose stays in line with your belly button throughout the movement. Check your shins. They need to be perpendicular to the ground. The goal is to pick up the weight up without compensating side-to-side.

Overhead Walking Lunges The movement can be performed a variety of ways. Start the lunge by stepping forward with one foot, keeping your upper body upright and keeping your ribcage tucked in. Bring your rear foot forward to meet the lead foot in a standing position before lunging forward again. Alternate your legs with each step. The knee of your rear foot will be touching the ground or almost touching the ground with each step. This can initially be done with just your body weight. Once you feel confident with the movement, you can add 2 dumbbells by your side. And then to progress it even further, lift weights up to an overhead position. Make sure your elbows are locked, shoulder blades elevated, and arms internally rotated; creating a stable overhead position. Make sure you keep your upper body upright by keeping your rib cage tucked in. This movement can be performed with different equipment. You can use a barbell, a sandbag, or two dumbbells or kettlebells. If you want to make it more challenging on your shoulder stabilizers use dumbbells or kettlebells. From a standing position, lift the weight up to an overhead position. Make sure your elbows are locked, shoulder blades elevated, and arms internally rotated; creating a stable overhead position. Bring your feet underneath your hips. While keeping the weight overhead, lunge forward with one foot keeping your upper body upright and keeping your ribcage tucked in. Bring your rear foot forward to meet the lead foot in a standing position before lunging forward again. Alternate your legs with each step. The knee of your rear foot will be touching the ground or almost touching the ground with each step. The goal is being able to keep a stable spine and overhead position.

Heavy Sled Push Load the sled with heavy weights to your ability. Stand behind the sled and grab the handlebars on the sled. Bend your elbows around 90 degrees. Set your shoulder blades back and down. This will create a stable upper body position. Keeping your elbows bent will allow you to stay more upright and force you to take small steps, which is what you want when you push heavy sleds. Keep your body weight on the balls of your feet. Tuck your ribcage in, brace your core, keep your back straight, and push the sled forward putting pressure on the balls of your feet. As you push, your heels will come off the ground. The goal is to be able to keep your upper body stable as you push the heavy sled and make your legs do the work.

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5 Smarter Ways to Train Your Heart

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he words “big, strong heart” likely bring to mind examples of suffering through emotional breakups, offering kindness to strangers, and giving out the perfect cards on Valentine’s Day. Of course, the heart has more value than just providing a fictional center for all things love-related. It plays a crucial role in our overall health. Since the heart is responsible for transporting blood and nutrients throughout the rest of the body, a weak or untrained heart can mean problems down the road. To keep the heart in tiptop shape, you might think that means miles upon miles on a treadmill or a grueling hour locked away in a spin class. While those are certainly excellent examples of training methods that can strengthen the heart, cardiovascular training (training meant to improve the heart and lungs) actually incorporates much more than meets the eye. “Traditional methods of developing the cardiovascular system are commonly limited to cyclical exercise,” says Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MS, CPT, personal trainer and owner of JK Conditioning in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “Resistance training circuits are my go-to cardiovascular workout for the average user because trainees not only develop their cardiovascular system, they also develop proper movement patterns, improve mobility and full-body coordination, and lastly develop muscle and strength,” Kawamoto says. In fact, a newer method of training, heart rate training, that bases intensity levels off of an individual’s heart rate, is now making it possible to get the same great workout from a run, ride, or even a lifting session. According to Kawamoto, “Heart rate training provides more focus, structure, guidance and potentially more motivation for your cardiovascular workouts.” For slackers, they now have an exact method to determine when it’s time for the next set. And for the overachievers, a heart rate monitor may provide the perfect tool to help them reign in their enthusiasm and pace themselves throughout a workout. Here are six training methods to get a great cardiovascular workout that will kick your heart into high gear.

Heart-Healthy Workouts 1. INTERVAL TRAINING Perhaps one of the most popular cardiovascular training methods on the market, interval training combines short periods of rest with max effort bursts of activity. Benefits include getting in a quick workout and building up your capacity for intense work. On the bright side, these workouts tend to be short and sweet. On the other hand, they’re usually extremely tough (so maybe not so “sweet” after all). 2. GROUP FITNESS CLASSES If the thought of pushing the limits by yourself isn’t enough to get you going, group fitness classes provide a perfect opportunity to elevate your fitness level using motivation from others. Plus, class variations ensure there is something for everyone. Kick, spin, jump, and yes, even dance, your way to a stronger heart. Good instructors can usually tailor a class to fit any ability level, and there’s always the opportunity to meet a new workout buddy! Get Moving: To find the perfect class for you, check with your local gym to see what types are offered, then drop by a few that fit into your schedule.

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Be sure to try out several instructors before settling on one (or more) to frequent. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, both to the instructor and other participants. The goal is to find a group environment that makes you feel comfortable while getting in a great workout! 3. ORGANIZED RACES Looking for a way to kick-start a cardiovascular training program? It’s hard to beat the motivation of a race entry fee, finish line, and a stopwatch. Races, including running (road and off-road), biking, swimming, and a combination of all three, are a great way to get moving. Alongside a friendly dose of competition, races also offer a huge element of camaraderie and an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and potential training partners. Get Moving: While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of racing, doing too much too soon could lead to injury. To pace yourself, check out the Couch-2-5k. By taking users through a progressive plan, the program ensures that participants don’t push too hard, too soon. One caveat: the training mainly provides distance guidelines so it’s up to participants to monitor their heart rate and intensity levels. 4. LIFTING WEIGHTS Get a cardio workout in while lifting weights! The idea seems a bit out of whack, but by planning rest periods appropriately, lifters can get a significant cardio boost from their weight session. To amp up heart rate in the weight room, incorporate total-body movements with limited rest in between sets. Get Moving: Whether you’re familiar with weight training or brand new, the best option is probably to get some professional help. Working with a certified trainer will help make sure that you’re doing the exercises correctly and pairing them appropriately. 5. LONG, SLOW CARDIO Slow doesn’t always equate to ineffective. Occasionally, an easier workout is just what your body needs. Although it will take a longer amount of time to burn the same amount of calories as an interval session, lower-intensity cardio still offers important benefits like building the aerobic system and promoting recovery. And while it may be tempting to go hard all the time, don’t eliminate this important form of cardiovascular exercise from your workout altogether! Get Moving: To find the right combination of long and fun, consider checking out local running or riding groups. Most towns have a group of link-minded individuals that head out in the mornings for a sweat session complete with great company. These clubs usually also get discounted entry into local races and potential discounts at local retail stores (new workout gear!). As with any workout program, it’s important to experiment with different variations to find out what works best for you. However, with the availability of heart rate training and the numerous workout tools at your disposal, cardio training shouldn’t mean mindless hours spent on workout machines. Open your routine up to an endless variety of exercises, any of which can give you a great cardiovascular workout — when done with enough intensity, of course!


Blueberry Almond Chia Seed Pudding Whether you're obsessed with chia pudding or are just hearing about it for the first time (oh man, are you in for it), the magical dish that can be eaten for both breakfast AND dessert is a top contender in the delicious, healthy snacks category. Not only is it crazy simple to throw together (mix two to four ingredients, throw in the fridge overnight, voila!), but it's also an ideal make-ahead option for people who just can't be bothered in the a.m. Chia seeds—the same magical things that turn sculpture pets into overgrown, sprouted topiaries - have found themselves in the health limelight in recent years for good reason. Packed with fiber, omegas, potassium, and magnesium, the superfood seeds are great for boosting energy, improving endurance, and even helping regulate digestion. And while it’s simple to toss them in smoothies or on top of salads, we prefer adding them to recipes that taste like dessert (but are secretly super healthy). Don’t worry, they won’t make you sprout plants from unexpected places. INGREDIENTS 1 cup almond milk (or any other preferred milk) 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 2 tbsp. chia seeds 2 tsp. honey (or any other preferred sweetener) 8-10 raw almonds, roughly chopped INSTRUCTIONS 1. Using a 1-pint mason jar, or any other resealable container, add the milk, yogurt, blueberries, chia seeds and honey. Stir ingredients to incorporate. Place lid on container, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. 2. Just before eating, chop almonds and add to the pudding. 3. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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Why Fixing Low Back Pain is Not a One Size Fits All DR. CARLY PRESAKARCHUK, DC, BSc Kin You wouldn't take one type of medication for any ailment. Physical medicine is the same. It needs to be tailored to individual and injury. There are endless factors to consider in assessing and treating low back pain so keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, but here are a couple of major points to bring to attention: 1. Work capacity 2. Directional preference 3. Stability vs Mobility 4. Flexibility 5. Motor patterning 1. WORK CAPACITY Every back has a certain capacity for work. This means we have a threshold of the sum of activity over time (for example a workout, day, week). When we exceed this threshold, pain and injuries occur. The first thing that may pop into your mind is someone working out at the gym deadlifting or squatting, lifting a lot of weight and “throwing out” their back. You may even imagine a gardener bent over

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their flowerbeds all day and waking up the next day with a sore back. One scenario you probably did not think of is someone sitting all day. Or standing. That's right, your back is still working and using up precious capacity doing these mundane things. Poor sitting or standing posture can use up all your work capacity leaving your poor tissues to fend for themselves… and soon enough you may end up in your chiropractor’s clinic. It's important to be aware of this accumulation of stress that can occur on your tissues. Sitting in a desk all day (or using a coveted standing desk with less than ideal posture) then going for a 10km run after work may be a recipe for disaster. We can't simply equate sitting or being stationary as bad and being active as good. It is all about the quality of the stance, posture or movement. 2. DIRECTIONAL PREFERENCE Does standing for long periods, laying on your back or cobra position tend to irritate your back? Did you also do gymnastics or dancing as a youth? Do you tend to stand with an anterior (forward) pelvic tilt? You may have an extension intolerant low back. Does sitting for long periods or repetitive forward bending irritate your back? Do you have a tendency to slouch in your seat? Do you happen to work in a profession that's causes you to bend forward constantly such as a plumber or tiler? You may have a flexion intolerant low back. Everyone’s body is different, and thus needs to be treated so! What may be therapeutic for one back may be quite stressful for another.


3. STABILITY VS MOBILITY Countless times patients will come into our offices having hurt their low back, and claim that stretching forwards to touch their toes feels good and relieves the pain. Often this is just tugging at the already injured tissues and perpetuating the issue. The lumbar spine is meant to stabilize; it's meant to withstand forces in a neutral position that are primarily endurance based. In other words, it's not meant to create a lot of power! That's where our hips come in. They are our mobile, powerful friends. Because I'm a weightlifter myself (and just a tad biased), I will use a weightlifting example. Think back to the Olympics… the amazingly athletic and powerful Olympians were able to transmit enough force to cleanly and with extreme control, lift the barbell overhead. Weightlifters create a ton of hip power while lifting but virtually no spine power. The spine remains in a static position. The take home point here is that the lumbar spine is for stability, and hips are meant to be mobile and create power. 4. FLEXIBILITY The best way to rehab a low back is to stabilize the trunk with a neutral spine while moving more through the hips and knees. People who claim they have “bad backs” tend to use their backs more and their hips less. We just learned that our hips are our big power producers. Most great athletes are able to create power from, their hips. Think of MLB pitchers or PGA golfers. As quoted in the movie Happy Gilmore, “it's all in the hips”! The next time your low back is bothering you, instead of trying to stretch away the pain, stretch out your hips and do some core and back stability work. 5. MOTOR PATTERNING One of the best fundamental movement patterns you can learn is the hip hinge. Guess what we do with lumbar spine? You guessed it, we lock it in neutral, and rotate almost entirely at the hips. This is spine sparing! It will decrease the stress placed on your spine and the chance of injury. For those with chronic low back pain, they can actually lose endurance capacity (meaning you have less overall capacity before injury). This is why post-injury rehab is very important. They need to work on their ability to stabilize the low back for periods of time again, to prevent future injury and decrease ongoing pain. This can be a lot of information to take in. It is recommended to visit a professional to assess your specific issue and give you an individualized treatment protocol molded to your needs. Happy Stabilizing!

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BY JACKIE LINDAL

PHOTOS BY JEFF KELLY - ARCHIVE FOUR FORTY FOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

Ladies, Get Your Lift On! WEIGHT LIFTING GUIDE FOR NEWBIES

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eight lifting! It sounds like an intimidating feat. When most people think of weight lifting, they picture large men in a gym with weight belts, clanging plates, chalk hands, grunting and sweating. That doesn’t exactly paint a picture of a motivating, invigorating workout meant to build muscle as much as it builds confidence! I hate to admit now, but I was one of those girls who was worried that lifting weights would turn me into a she-hulk. That was until I started following some seriously inspirational women on social media like Nicole Wilkins, Pauline Nordin and Dana Linn Bailey. I realized that these women were strong, smart, and powerful-the type of person I aim to be. As boring as picking heavy stuff up and putting it down seems, it not only gives you an effective workout, it really gives you a sense of accomplishment. As time goes on, I can look back at where I started and see how far I've come in only two and a half years. When I first started lifting, it seemed I would never be able to squat or deadlift my own body weight, never mind exceed it. It brings me a great feeling of confidence to see how far I have come in the past few years. As a personal trainer, I regularly incorporate weight lifting exercises for my clients. Most of my clients are women, so when I mention weight lifting as a part of their exercise program, I see doubt in some of their eyes. However, once they begin my programs and see their progress, the doubt turns into confidence! Here are some tips and tricks for those who are new to weight lifting and want to learn more about it! Let’s start with the why? What benefits are there to weight lifting. There are dozens of published, peer reviewed studies on the benefits of weight lifting as well as many personal testimonies. To summarize, weight lifting speeds the metabolism, shapes your body, builds bone density, improves your coordination and balance, burns fat, lowers blood pressure, lowers stress levels, maintains muscle mass as you age; I could honestly go on, but you get the idea. There are many logical reasons why, but for a lot of women, it is surpassing the stig-

ma that weights make you bulky or manly. The real science is that women do not have enough testosterone to become huge shehulks. Most women aspire for the “toned” appearance, well to get the look of toned muscles, you need to lift weights, heavy weights! So, what exercises to start? It is important to remember to learn to walk before you run. If you've never done weight training before and are unfamiliar with proper form, I would not recommend going straight to barbell squats or dead lifts. There are places you can start to get yourself there. For example, when it comes to squats, start with exercises that will help you learn form and build those muscles such as dumbbell squats and weighted lunges. Starting with basics helps build your muscles while learning to perform the exercises with proper form to prevent injury. Just because an exercise is complicated, does not mean it is better than another. Warm up is key before starting. When starting a weight training regimen, you don't want to start lifting with cold muscles, that will lead to strained muscles and injuries. Take 5-10 minutes for a warm up on a cardio machine to get your heart rate up and muscles ready. Then take a few more minutes to do a stretch while your muscles are warm. Don't make the stretch hard or forced, just enough to "feel it" but not enough for it to hurt. What are reps, tempo and sets? So, you want to start weight lifting, but what is with the lingo? Reps, tempo, sets? What is all of that? Reps are the amount of times you perform a specific exercise and sets are the cycles of reps you do. A common example is 3 sets of 8-10 reps. You perform your reps, take a quick rest, then repeat for 2 more sets for 3 total sets. Reps can range depending on how much weight you are lifting. For example, you can do heavy weight for 4-8 reps, medium weight for 8-12 reps or light weight for 12-15 reps. Same can be said for sets, you can do 4-8 reps for 3 sets or 12-15 reps of light weight for 5 sets. You don't want to do the same exercise for 15 sets, but between 3-5 is average. For exercises that are easier for me, I typically will do fewer sets than exercises that are more challenging for me.

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Rest between sets is important to allow your body to regroup itself and you can catch your breath for the next set. Rest time can vary depending on your experience and goals. The average is a 1:3 work rest ratio. If your 8 reps take 30 seconds to do, then you can rest of 90 seconds. Again, this can vary. The better condition you are in, the less rest you need. I would say the average rest period can be between 30-90 seconds depending on the exercise. For me, if I am doing lower intensity exercises like shoulder shrugs, I only do 30 seconds of rest; if I am doing dead lifts or squats, I rest closer to 60 seconds. You can use a timer if you feel you would get off track; but personally, I try to keep track in my head best as possible Tempo is how speed of which you perform the exercise. When starting, slower is better to make sure you are doing the exercise properly. If you are looking at an exercise and you see these four confusing numbers 3010, it is referring to the tempo of the exercise. For example, when doing a bicep curl, the lifting can take 3 seconds, no pause, and the lowering takes 1 second and then no pause again back to the second rep. Another example could be 3121: lifting takes 3 seconds, pause for 1 count then lower for 2 and pause again for 1 count before going to the next rep. You can speed up the tempo for intensity or slow the tempo down for muscle control and focus on the "burn". How much weight should I lift? This depends on you and where you are starting and everyone is different. 5 lb dumbbells might be challenging to one person and not enough for another, so giving specific numbers is impossible. A good key is lift enough weight that your last two reps of your sets are difficult, but not impossible and you can execute with proper form. If you can easily do 10 reps with a weight, then you need to increase it to keep challenging your muscles. You should be increasing your weight on average every 3 weeks by at least a couple pounds depending on the exercise to continue challenging your muscles. If you cannot increase the weights, then changing your amount of reps and

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sets can switch things up to keep your muscles guessing! How many times per week should I lift? How many times per week depends on your goals and your experience levels. As a baseline, it is recommended at least 2-4 strength training workouts should be done per week according to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults ages 18-64 years. Most serious fitness individuals aim for 5 or 6 days per week so they split their workouts into individual groups (i.e. chest on Monday, legs Tuesday, etc.) and 1 or 2 full rest days. However, for most beginners committing to 6 days a week of 1-hour workouts is unrealistic to start. A good place to start is 3 days per week of a 45min-1 hr workout session. As you become more experienced, you can add in more days of the week for workouts. Rest is key for building muscles, and when starting it is very important to allow enough rest. 48 hours between workouts is a good rule to follow when starting or at least 48 hours between working muscles groups. For example, if you are doing 3 workouts a week, day 1 can be upper body, day 2 lower body, day 3 core and abs. This way you aren't overtraining the same muscle groups. What about Cardio? Cardio has its benefits and is very important. However, despite popular belief, cardio does not build muscle. Cardio primarily trains the heart and lungs, which helps lower blood pressure and reduces resting heart rate. These things combined leads to improved stamina and efficient oxygen delivery. When it comes to fitness, it is not that cardio is less important than weight training, they do different things. It is recommended to do at least 3-4 cardio sessions per week. Length of time also depends on your experience. Aiming for 10-15 minutes to start is a good tool to try and then you can build from there.


Your body adapts to cardio very quickly so remember to change the intensity and length of time frequently. For example, you could do 20 minutes of steady state run or elliptical one day, then 15 minutes of higher intensity intervals run or bike the next workout, and swimming or dancing another day. Change things up to prevent boredom and plateaus. Changing your routine every few weeks is necessary to keep your muscles guessing and keep you from dying of boredom when working out. You don't have to completely overhaul your routine, but a few things can be done to switch it up a little. Adding a couple of new exercises, changing your rep ranges and your weights can do a lot for progress. I would recommend changing things up every 3-4 weeks. So, there you have it newbies. Remember don't be scared to be a beginner and feel intimidated by not knowing what to do. When you see all the experienced people in the gym, remember they all started somewhere too! Look up some simple exercises to get started, make yourself a list of them and what reps and sets, then you can go in with an idea of what to do. You don't need fancy machines to get started, just some weights and a body will suffice. Don't want to go do a gym? You don't have to, you can buy yourself some simple things like a few dumbbells and workout at home. If you comb through second hand sites or buy and sell pages, you can find some great workout stuff for cheap! Don’t be discouraged if the scale isn't changing as much as you thought it would. Look for how your clothes are fitting, how easy it is to carry in all your groceries, how much easier it is to climb a flight of stairs or play with your kids without getting tired. Those are the changes you should be focusing on!

Hair by Jessica Melanson www.facebook.com/jessicaadelhair Location: Kamikaze Punishment www.facebook.com/kamikazepunishment Fit Like a Girl www.facebook.com/fitlikeagirlca

Are Your Goals Authentic? New Years Resolutions. Goals for 2018. Intentions for the year. January is the time we reflect and reset for the new calendar year. But why is it that even with all the best intentions, we seem to set the same goals every year? We swear it’s going to be different this time and yet as the new year rolls around, those very same goals top the list again and again. Let’s stop the insanity. Break the cycle. Instead of just creating a wish list for 2018, let’s dive a little deeper and create some goals that work for you, not against you. You’ve likely already heard of SMART goals; a goal setting tool that breaks down what you want to achieve into a specific, measureable, actionable, realistic and time-sensitive goal. For example, let’ say your goal for 2018 is to lose weight, here’s what it would look like as a SMART goal: By June 30, 2018, I will lose 20 pounds of body fat by working out 4 times a week, keeping track of my

Jackie Lindal is a Canfit Pro Certified Personal Trainer and started her own company Fit Like a Girl in 2016. Jackie is also a passionate martial artist and teaches Ju Jitsu at Kamikaze Punishment in Edmonton.

diet every day, drinking more water and less wine and sleeping 7-9 hours a night. We can see that the goal is specific and measureable to how much body fat you want to lose. It’s actionable as you lay out the steps that you need to take to achieve the goal. Lastly, you have set a deadline to make it timely and realistic as you’ve given yourself 6 months to achieve it (average healthy weight loss is 0.5 to 2 pounds a week). You may have even done this before and yet still fall short of your carefully crafted goal. But why is that?? My guess is your goals aren’t authentic. They don’t mean enough to you to cause you to follow through on the behaviours required to actually achieve them. Once you have chosen one or two SMART goals, I want you to run them through the AUTHENTIC test. A = Ask yourself why this goal is important to you. You will want to come back to this reason whenever things get a little hard; you just don’t feel like working out or the cookies are calling your name! U = yoU. Sometimes you are just going to have to put yourself and your goals first. You may have to turn

down a social engagement or two because you have goals and they are important! T = Trust the process. It’s not going to be easy. There will be bumps along the way and times when you think nothing is working. Seek out the advice of a professional to ensure you are on the right path and then stick with it. Commitment and consistency are more than half the battle. H = Hear what others have to say. Surround yourself with like minded individuals who are on the same path or have already achieved a similar goal. E = Exude Enthusiasm! Get excited about your goals (this comes back to knowing why your goal is important). The more enthusiastic you are, the easier making changes will be. Even the tough changes - trust me. N = Be in the Now. Reaching your goal is awesome but the journey to getting to your goal is the best part. Take time to enjoy the moments and opportunities that arise because of this goal. Enjoy the experience! T = Take what you need, discard the rest. Everyone and their dog is going to have an opinion on how you should reach your goal and it’s easy to get distracted in this information-overloaded world. Take the

advice that works best for you and leave the rest, no guilt. Don’t get distracted by new and shiny; stay focused! I = Inspire those around you. Don’t be afraid to share your goal with others and inspire them with your action. This doesn’t mean you need to document every meal and workout on Insta, but talking about your struggles and successes makes you real. Think of the people in your life that have inspired you and who you never told changed your life: you are that person to someone else! C = Fill your Cup! Take time along the way to keep yourself excited, focused and committed. Read books that inspire you, meditate, journal, take a hot bubble bath, or get a massage. Do anything that leaves you feeling recharged and refreshed. No goals are met without commitment and consistency. If you start with a SMART goal and then remember to keep them AUTHENTIC, I am confident that success will be within your reach.

BY JESSICA ZAPATA, BSc. Kin, CSCS Co-Founder Infinite Fitness – infinitefit.ca Creator of fitilates – fitilates.com

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Living Life To The Fullest BY BRIAN LEBLANC My wife Erin and I lead a pretty ordinary life; we are in our early 30’s, live in Edmonton and have professional jobs. Two and a half years ago, we decided to make some lifestyle changes to improve our health and wellness. While many people view our story as extraordinary, we want you to know that anybody can make this kind of a change.

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Achieving weight loss and fitness goals are very simple. For weight loss goals you consume fewer calories than you burn. For fitness goals you set a realistic goal and work towards it on a consistent basis. While achieving these goals are very simple, they are by no means easy. When Erin and I first started on our journey towards a more healthy and active lifestyle, every day was a struggle. Old habits die hard and it took a lot of dedication to change how we ate and how we viewed exercise. There were many days along the way when it would have been very easy to fall into old habits. But over time, we formed new habits and a new outlook on life. We now feel like we are living life to the fullest and have never been happier or more in love. Together we have lost just under 200 pounds and found a passion for fitness along the way. Erin discovered weight lifting and loves how it helps her meet fitness goals, while making her feel strong at the same time. She took her first weightlifting class two years ago and has been going steady ever since. I discovered endurance running and it has become my drug of choice. I started running just over two years ago and have progressed from finishing a half marathon in 2 hours, 26 minutes to finishing the Edmonton half marathon in August, 2017 with a time of 1 hour, 36 minutes. A transition to a more healthy, active lifestyle is a hard one, but our story is proof that anyone can do it. Below are our top tips for anyone thinking of making this kind of a change.

Top food tips: 1. Calculate how many calories you should be eating each day to maintain your weight. If you want to lose some weight, eat less and track the calories you are eating using an app on your phone or in a food journal. This will create a calorie deficit and if this deficit is maintained, you will see results! 2. Don’t think of certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The beauty of counting calories is that it gives you the freedom to eat whatever you want, so long as you maintain a calorie deficit. I lost weight eating a balanced diet, but made sure to save calories for potato chips and ice cream, because I love those foods. 3. Buy a kitchen scale and use measuring cups to make sure your portions sizes are accurate. This is especially helpful when dealing with calorie dense foods.

Top fitness tips: 1. Find an activity you love. For me it was running and for Erin it was weight lifting. The best kind of exercise is one you do consistently. 2. Leading a more active lifestyle and incorporating exercise into your daily life will help if you are aiming to lose weight, but don’t lose sight of the many other benefits that exercise has to offer such as assisting with stress management and improved self-confidence. These non-scale victories can be just as rewarding as shedding that extra weight. 3. Sign up for a race or join a class. I found that having a race to train for was a great way to keep myself disciplined. There are many days that I don’t want to lace up my running shoes and head outside for a run, but if I have a goal race in mind, my training is important to meet that goal. Most importantly, remember that a transition to a more healthy, active lifestyle is a process, not an event. One sunny day does not make a summer, so don’t get down on yourself over one day where you go over your calorie limit or one missed workout. What matters is forming new habits and that takes time.

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Staying Active in your 30s, 40s, 50s and Beyond IS 30 THE NEW 20? BY DR. KARA OTUOMAGIE “Wait until you are older” they said. Suddenly you roll over one morning and your weekend warrior- self is sore, even though you literally did nothing the day before. It’s no surprise that as we age, exercise as we know it, can have both positive and negative effects on our bodies, especially if we over-do it. Many Canadians are unaware of the physical activity guidelines and recommendations for activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines indicate that adults aged 18-64 years old should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more (Tremblay et. al 2011). This is a stark change from the previous recommendation of 30 minutes per day, and allows individuals to build their exercise regime and schedule their lives accordingly. So if time is an issue (or an excuse), by doing a little bit every day, as long as 150 minutes is accumulated per week, you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing incidence of disease later in life. Additional recommendations include muscle and bone strengthening activities that use major muscle groups at least two days per week (Tremblay et. al 2011). For those who are over 65 years of age, in addition to the aforementioned recommendations, the inclusion of balance activities to prevent falls is an absolute must.

IN YOUR 30s Between juggling a career, maintaining a family, and just getting ‘through it’, life can be challenging enough - let alone to even think about exercise! For those athletes who only performed one sport during their younger years, your thirties are a perfect opportunity to try new things with cross-training. One of the most efficient methods of cross-training is with High-Intensity Interval Training or ‘HITT’. It is a timely way to get in exercise, and research indicates that its effects are far better than prolonged cardio training (Zhang et al. 2017). So whilst marathon feel-good run sessions will get you towards your 150 minutes, they simply won’t cut it anymore as they would in your 20s. Strength training for this age group is of utmost importance as well. In your thirties, major changes can still be made to maintain overall bone density - especially for women prior to their menopausal years. Yoga and its added benefits of reducing anxiety and stress are also fantastic for overall flexibility; however, it does not substitute cardiovascular or strength training exercise. At best, it is should be done in addition to the 150 minute physical activity guideline (Tremblay et. al 2011). With still feeling like you can bounce back as though you were in your mid-twenties, over-training is most commonly seen in practice for this age group, along with minimal warm up and recovery. Classically, this is where injuries start to set in when all of a sudden something ‘hurts’ due to repetitive strain and the same motion of activity over and over again. EXPERT TIP: Proper Warm-Up and Recovery

PHOTOS BY PATRICIA DOIRON

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IN YOUR 40s The middle age crises for some, as we say hello to the infamous ‘good year’ tire; fat distribution drastically changes as our metabolism slows and we start to notice an accumulation of fat around our midsections, more specifically around our abdominal organs (Brooks et al. 2016). Even if your weight does not drastically change, your body mass shifts to these not so nice areas. Practically speaking, the scale can be deceiving. Increases in the added weight in these areas can lead to reduced core strength, leading to pelvic tilt changes (anterior pelvic tilt) and ultimately increase your risk for low back pain (Brooks et al. 2016). Essentially, the kangaroo pouch of abdominal fat causes your pelvis to tilt forward and increases the stress place on your low back muscles. Most commonly, seen in practice is a lack of awareness of the core due to a sedentary lifestyle; long hours at the office can do this, so strengthening your core can aide to reduce incidence of low back pain and improve your overall performance. EXPERT TIP: TA exercise, Cat –Cow, Sphinx

IN YOUR 50s Sag, saggy, sagging. Profound changes with the aging process take place after age 50, with leg lean body mass loss of 1-2% per year and a strength loss of 1.5-5% per year (Keller and Engelhardt 2014). Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle atrophy is common in this age range and results in declining overall strength, leading weakness and ultimately injury (Keller and Engelhardt 2014). With muscle mass continuing to decline, we start to droop with a forward posture as the weakness sets in. Classic presentation of this in practice occurs with an increasing incidence of shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff tears sans trauma. While certainly, it is not ‘all downhill from here’ remaining active with aerobic exercise including running, cycling, swimming is crucial to maintain muscle mass. In addition to daily training to combat muscle atrophy, research indicates that consistent protein ingestion after training will assist in building muscle (Keller and Engelhardt 2014). Pair this with maintaining adequate bone density by including weight-bearing activities and you will maintain good shape, literally. While swimming seems easy on the joints, don’t skip the walk and or run around the block or supplementing with Vitamin D and Calcium regularly. EXPERT TIP: Postural Strengthening / Deep Row

IN YOUR 60s AND BEYOND

Age-related changes in postural alignment, dynamic balance, functional mobility and back extensor strength are associated with mobility limitations and an increased fall risk in older adults (Granacher et al. 2013) While the groundwork has been laid in prevention of high-risk diseases in the years before, as our bones become more fragile we are at risk for great injury with a fall. Practicing balance is key. EXPERT TIP: Single Leg Stance

Regardless of your age, staying active is crucial to staying healthy, warding off disease and maintaining a mentally and physically well-balanced lifestyle. While certainly we all may get older, you don’t have to stop doing something because it ‘hurts’. Modify your activities and find the root cause of the problem: Is it your form? Are you overtraining? Do you need to modify your eating habits? 30 is not the new 20. 30 is simply 30. By embracing your age and by being mindful with exercise, you will reduce the incidence of injury and maintain your weekend-warrior self for years to come. The content is not intended to substitute the medical advice of your regular health care provider. If you have an injury or medical condition, seek consultation with a health professional for personalized recommendations based on your health history.

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BY ANNE TANG, Owner of Black Tusk Athletics Personal Trainer Prenatal Postpartum Trainer CF-L2

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s a society, we are getting busier and busier, constantly adding more to our already long lists of to-dos. We spend a big portion of our day working, commuting, running errands and executing daily tasks or chores. For most of us, the last thing we want to do is spend countless hours at the gym, with very little tangible results. We want to maximize our time the best we can. When we are short on time, working out using muscle specific movements is not efficient because you only focus on a single muscle group at any given time. In contrast, when you train using dynamic compound movements, multiple body parts are utilized at the same time, burning more calories and strengthening more muscles. As a Personal Trainer and a CrossFit Coach, I am often asked “what about cardio?� When you ramp up the intensity of your workout and perform dynamic compound movements with speed, your cardio endurance is being trained as well. CrossFit centers around this concept; we train using constantly varied functional movements (which are typically dynamic and compound) executed at a high intensity. So, for those of you who are looking to add a few more easy to learn movements to your library, here are a few exercises, varying in degrees of difficulty, to get the ball rolling:

Burpee (Beginner) Begin in a standing position. Drop down so that your body is flat on the ground (chest, stomach, quads all on the ground). Pop back up onto your feet. Jump and clap overhead.

PHOTOS BY CHAN RIN - VIVID RIBBON PHOTOGRAPHY

MODIFICATION: step back onto the ground and step forward onto your feet

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Thruster(Beginner) Weight is on your shoulders. Descend into a full squat, standup explosively and pop the weight off your shoulders with fully extended arms, keeping your biceps beside your ears. As you lower the weight back onto your shoulder, keep the elbows in front. Once the weight makes contact with your shoulders, descend into a squat again and repeat. Be mindful to keep the movement as fluid as possible MODIFICATION: Lower the weight or use dumbbells.


Kettlebell Swing (Moderate) Starting holding the Kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip, arms and legs fully extended. Keeping your core braced throughout the entire movement, hinge at the hip with a soft knee bend. Allow the kettlebell to swing between the legs while keeping your chest up. Squeeze your glutes and extend your hips to swing the weight up overhead, pushing up into the kettlebell with active shoulders, stopping the momentum. MODIFICATION: Lower the weight and swing only to eye level.

Push Press (Moderate) Hold the barbell with an overhand grip, hands just outside hip width. Feet are firmly planted on the ground, under the hips. Keeping your core braced throughout the entire movement, place the barbell on your shoulders with your elbows slightly in front of the torso. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your back vertical. Squeeze your glutes and extend your hips, driving through your heels explosively as you press the weight overhead with fully extended arms. As you lower the barbell onto the shoulders, bend the knees to absorb the weight, repeating the sequence. MODIFICATION: Lower the weight or use dumbbells

Although our group classes at 60 minutes long, majority of the actual workouts in our classes range from 10-20 minutes (we spend time warming up, working on mobility, building strength, learning skills and cooling down as well to if you are wondering what we do for the other 40-50 minutes). So if you are ever in a bind and just need a quick full body workout, try mixing up your workout routine with some dynamic compound movements. Here’s an example would do if I was on holidays and had limited time, space and equipment: Moving quickly through each movement, see how many times you can complete this sequence in a 10 Minute window:

10 Thrusters 10 Kettlebell Swings 10 Burpees

Give it a try. Good Luck!

Hang Power Clean (Advanced) Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, hands just outside hip-width, wrapping your fingers over the thumbs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your gaze forward. Keeping your core braced, back and arms straight, bend your knees and hinge at the hip so that the bar is mid thigh with your shoulders ahead of the bar. While keeping the bar close to your body, explosively extend your legs and hips, shrugging the bar upwards. Immediately pull your body under the bar by quickly rotating your hands and elbows around it, catching the bar across your collarbone and shoulders, allowing your hips to shift back and down slightly, as if you were sitting in a chair. Stand up. MODIFICATION: Lower the weight.

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1. Jabra Elite Sport - $229 Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds feature superior sound quality for music and calls, and advanced wireless connectivity to ensure true performance. With a battery that delivers 4.5 hours of play time, coupled with a portable charging case you have a total 13.5 hours of power at your disposal. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just trying to get fitter, you can train smarter, not harder, with their integrated fitness app, Jabra Sport Life. 2. Running Room Extreme Shell Mitt - $44 Whether cool, windy or cold, the Extreme Shell mitt has you covered. Wind and water-resistant fabric insulates the hands and the gripping palm print allows for functionality with mitts on. 3. Lorna Jane Nothing 2 C Here - $99 We love transparency, but not in our tights and now you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you’re always fully covered thanks to the Nothing 2

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See Here Tight. Featuring innovative technology that ensures zero transparency, you can downward dog and deadlift with nothing but confidence. Moisture wicking for long-wearing comfort and anti-pilling properties for long lasting wear you can sun salute and downward dog with confidence. 4. Reebok Floatride - $180 Your runs take you farther than just around the block. The Floatride running shoe from Reebok allows you to go the distance. Superior cushion means reduced impact and the knitted upper breathes and adds a unique visual. The seamless upper molds to your foot for superior comfort. 5. Running Room Women’s Extreme 3-In-1 Jacket - $169 This 3 in one jacket features wind and water-resistant shell and a detachable zip off primaloft vest that can be worn as a unit or as a stand-alone piece. Works great when out for a run in warmer winter weather or with the full package when skiing or tobogganing.


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1. Women's Burton GORE-TEX® Rubix Jacket - $399 From midwinter whiteouts to sunny spring laps, the women’s Burton GORE-TEX® Rubix Insulated Jacket will easily find its way into your everyday wardrobe. Fully GORE-SEAM® taped GORE-TEX® 2L fabric keeps wind, snow, and rain at bay, while eco-friendly THERMOLITE® insulation and the climate-controlling Living Lining™ maintain ultimate warmth and comfort. Add clean and simply styling and a full suite of essential features and it’s no surprise this is one of our favorites. 2. Running Room Bright Beanie - $29 The Bright Beanie is a pinstriped reflective cuffed acrylic beanie designed with reflective yarn technology such that the beanie actually lights up when hit with a beam of light. This makes you extremely visible and safe at night. In addition, the beanie offers 360° visibility to ensure you light up from every angle.

4. Burton [ak] Oven Mitt - $185 By combining the collective heating powers of Triple Goose Down, 15 ounces of PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation, and a Hydrofil™ wicking fleece liner, the Burton [ak] Oven Mitt is basically the warmest snowboard mitt on the planet. It fights moisture on both fronts thanks to ultra-breathable WINDSTOPPER® fabric from Gore. The super ergonomic fit ensures total dexterity when strapping in or grabbing. Under mitt styling means a low-profile cuff that easily slides underneath your jacket’s sleeves.

1. Men's Burton GORE TEX® Radial Shell Jacket - $379 When weather rolls in, there is no substitute for GORE-TEX® performance. That’s why the shell version of the Burton GORE-TEX® Radial Shell Jacket is made with fully taped seams and GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® GORE-TEX® 2L fabric. On the inside, their exclusive thermo-regulating Living Lining™ provides the ultimate in adaptable warmth and consistent comfort. Select colorways are bluesign® approved for environmentally-friendly construction and materials. Fully loaded and backed by a LIFETIME WARRANTY, this truly is the last jacket you’ll ever need.

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2. lululemon - T.H.E. Sock - $19 Ultra-light, high performance socks designed to feel like you’re wearing nothing on your sweatiest workouts. The Silverscent technology inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria and the micro-cushioning strategically placed at the heel and toe offers added comfort and support. 3. Running Room Men’s Extreme Primaloft Hybrid Half Zip - $109 The Extreme Primaloft Hybrid Half zip was designed to deliver a superior blend of warmth and mobility. Featuring primaloft insulation and water resistance fleece for protection from the elements. This was great to throw on after a workout, or go for a walk in the river valley. Was also awesome as a base layer when hitting the slopes.

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1. Arc’teryx Trino Jacket - $270 A versatile, streamlined jacket for high-output training in cold, windy and mixed conditions, the Trino combines windproof, water resistant, breathable GORE® WINDSTOPPER® with the air permeable stretch performance of Atreus™. GORE® WINDSTOPPER® is utilized on the chest and tops of the arms for focused weather protection, and Atreus™ is used under the arms and on the back to optimize temperature regulation and freedom of movement.

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4. 2XU MCS Cross Training Compression Tights - $160 A 2XU compression tight designed for all sports. Cross training involves a range of dynamic movement that are physically demanding. The 2XU MCS Cross Training Compression Tights have been designed to support key muscles under impact from high intensity interval training. Providing anatomically mapped muscle support for greater performance and recovery.

T he new year is the perfect time for yoga at Bliss! • Clean facility • Two studios: one hot, one room temp • Knowledgeable instructors • Change rooms with digital lockers & stocked showers • American Clay walls produce negative ions • Moodspace moving art • Far Infrared Red heat panels • Instructor available 15 minutes prior to & after class • Stocked yoga lounge and retail selections • Access to medi-spa services • Easy access off Anthony Henday at Rabbit Hill Road

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5954 Mullen Way • Edmonton • 780-432-1535 blissyogaspa.com


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4. Saje AROMAOM® Ultrasonic Diffuser - $89 Infuse your air with the vitality of nature, enhance your well-being and create a soothing atmosphere by bringing the power of 100% natural essential oils into your home. 5. Saje Antibacterial Yoga Mat Spray - $12 The natural way to ensure your senses are as balanced as your poses. Complement your practice with a refreshing and grounding mist for your yoga mat and accessories. 6. Saje Refresh Energizing Mist - $12 Stay sharp and maintain positivity with this deeply hydrating and invigorating mist, perfect for any time you need a little pick-me-up. 7. Saje Apres Sport Bath Salt Soak - $24 Get back in the game and reward your hardworking muscles with this calming bath salt soak.

1. Revo SLATER- Matte Tortoise with Terra lens - $250 Meet the new everyday sunglass that gives you more choices than ever. The modified rectangle, easy-towear shape fits and flatters both men and women. The high-contrast polarized lenses come in Serilium and Crystal. Designed for on or off-trail activity, this lens actively filters the light spectrum to provide clear vision from trailhead to viewpoint.

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2. Revo CUSP S- Black/Blue with Blue Water lens - $250 Runners and cyclists, this style is for you. Featuring a lightweight semi-rimless frame, Cusp S stays in place even when you’re breaking a sweat thanks to the Elastomeric nosepads and rubber pads on the inside of the temples that comfortably hug your face. But what separates Cusp S from other performance sunglasses is the lens. The panoramic lens shields your eyes from all angles, ensuring that you have a crisp, clear view of the road ahead. 3. Oakley Crossrange Shield Prizm - $230 This durable O Matter™ frame offers an extended range of view through its single lens, and its swappable nosepads and temples let you change it from a performance configuration that keeps up with an active life to a lifestyle look. Plutonite® Lenses offer top UV Protection filtering 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400nm. Y EG F IT NES S

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What’s With The Buzz About Matcha? About three months ago after returning from a trip to Europe, my wife decided to give up coffee. Actually, any and all caffeine, but coffee was her main stimulant of choice. Being a good husband, I decided to do the same so as to not have any vices around the house for her to be tempted by. I’ve tried giving up caffeine many times before, but always fall back on my trusted friend in a warm cup to help me get through early mornings or to make it through until bedtime after a busy day. I knew I couldn’t cut it out altogether, but wanted to try something that would eliminate the peaks and valleys of the coffee caffeine roller coaster. As with most trends, you see the posts on Instagram and Facebook about the benefits of this food or that and have to take some of the claims with a grain of salt. However, I’ve seen the claims about matcha being a more leveled out caffeine stimulant so decided to give it a try. After a visit to a local organic food store, I picked up what I thought was a good quality matcha (I just picked the priciest one assuming that cost must mean it was the best….) The next morning, I boiled some water and stirred in a teaspoon of the green powder. Then I took a sip… Probably one of the worst tastes I’ve ever had. Green tea bitterness on steroids is the best way I can describe it. With the wonderful chunky texture of undissolved matcha. I think most of the drink went down the drain that morning. Now as a matcha virgin, I had no clue that you needed a bamboo whisk, could use almond milk or add honey or other great tasting stuff to your drink. A quick post on my Instagram brought me about a dozen new recipes to try. I’m not normally someone to give up on anything but after my first matcha experience, I was close. I gave the almond milk and honey a try the next morning after picking up a bamboo whisk. A cou48

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ple minutes later after steaming the almond milk and mixing in the honey and matcha I sat there looking questioningly at my cup of the frothy, green concoction. My wife had a quick laugh and said, “good luck”. I have to admit, it wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. No longer chunky thanks to the bamboo whisk. No longer the watery hot chocolate type flavor you get at a hockey game. It was pretty damn good. And the best part was that my caffeine buzz wasn’t the crazy, jittery, Kramer (from Seinfeld) buzz, but rather a nice steady alertness that lasted most of the day. I’ve made matcha my go to in the morning ever since. I’ve tweaked the recipe and included different ingredients from time to time, but like every coffee connoisseur, have come to rely on my tried and tested version. Matcha serves up approximately 25mg of caffeine per serving (a rounded half-teaspoon), which is roughly a fifth of what you get in a small coffee from Starbucks, which has about 125mg. This is by most standards a very small amount of caffeine, and it is gentle and easily tolerated by most people for whom coffee makes them jittery. Because matcha’s components in effect slow down the release of caffeine into the body, it typically takes a good three to six hours for this minimal amount of caffeine to be fully absorbed into the bloodstream, in contrast with the caffeine in coffee, which hits the bloodstream in minutes. And yet, you may feel awake (but not jittery) almost immediately upon drinking matcha due to the combo of minimal caffeine and the various phytonutrients in both the soluble and insoluble fibers of matcha leaves. In other words, matcha doesn’t make you “wired” — it’s a very different experience than the one coffee gives you. 5 Reasons to Give Up Coffee & Drink Matcha 1. Matcha has a better caffeine high. By “better” I mean that coffee’s caffeine high wreaks more havoc on the body. It starts off with a blast, and ends in a crash. Coffee causes spikes in adrenaline glucose and insulin levels, which in turn create jitteriness, nervousness, and, at least for me, often crazy hunger pangs.

Matcha, in contrast, does a better job of creating a calm alertness, with just a quarter the caffeine. There are no spikes and crashes, it just comes on gently and leaves just as gently. No adrenal weirdness, no glucose spike, and no need for pastry; it satiates like nothing else, making it the perfect treat for anyone worried about their weight. 2. Better breath. There really is no comparison here. Matcha is also better for your teeth: it thwarts the bacteria that causes plaque, making it a powerful ally for everyday oral hygiene. Coffee breath and enamel staining? This is a no brainer. 3. Better skin. Ever notice the skin of hardcore coffee drinkers? Matcha helps clear up acne, and has been used for centuries by Japanese women as a facial mask. Matcha’s antibacterial properties help to give skin a natural glow. 4. More antioxidants. Matcha is ridiculously full of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, especially the mighty epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to so many health benefits and has therapeutic applications to the treatment of so many disorders, including cancer. 5. Great Matcha is WAY easier to make than great coffee is. Matcha has the reputation of being difficult to make, but seriously: scoop sifted tea into cup, add hot water (or almond milk), and froth. All of 60 seconds to sweet perfection. Great coffee should be measured (20 grams seems to be the most common weight), freshly ground, then steeped or steamed, using a variety of complicated and expensive machinery. And then there’s the waiting for the machine to do its thing. Needless to say, matcha is not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any disease; it’s just green tea, albeit a very special one that has all kinds of interesting health properties. And because there are no known downsides or side effects to regular consumption of matcha, there is little to lose in making the switch from coffee. You needn’t give up coffee altogether (unless your doctor tells you to, of course), but do give matcha a try; you have nothing to lose but stained teeth, bad breath, and heart-pounding jitters. And you might have a whole new world of wellness to gain.


“PB&J” ENERGY BALLS recipe

Nope—there’s actually no peanut butter or jelly in these bite-size “PB&J” energy balls, but their nutty crunch and sweet strawberry flavor never fail to bring back fond memories of munching on my favorite after-school snack. In fact, I created this recipe for our latest cookbook, Ready or Not!, because I wanted a portable and crave-worthy bite that’s easily made in a flash. Unlike the PB&J sandwiches I used to make for myself, these homemade no-bake treats are made with just nuts and fruit (and a pinch of salt). So when you need a pick-me-up after a long run, a hard workout, or an afternoon of gardening like a maniac, just pop a ball or two in your mouth, and I guarantee you’ll feel like a kid again. And yes, your kids will love them, too! Feel free to substitute another freeze-dried fruit of your choice for the strawberries to mix things up. I’ve had great success blitzing up these energy balls with freeze-dried blueberries and raspberries. Also, if your dates have been hanging out in your pantry for a while and are no longer super moist, add a few drops of water when you’re blending them together, and your balls will form beautifully! Makes 15 balls INGREDIENTS: ½ cup (10 grams) freeze-dried strawberries ½ cup (60 grams) dry-roasted unsalted almonds 1 cup (150 grams) pitted and chopped dried Medjool dates Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted in a 300°F oven until golden, about 3 minutes INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Pulse the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until it forms a powder. Let the pink dust settle. 2. Toss in the almonds. 3. Pulse to roughly chop the almonds. Transfer the chopped almonds and strawberry powder to another bowl. 4. Throw the dates into the now-empty food processor bowl, and pulse a few times to roughly chop up the pieces. Then, pulverize the dates until they form a sticky ball that thwacks against the side of the work bowl. (If your dates are especially dry, you can add a few drops of water to get the right consistency.) 5. Add the strawberry powder, almonds, and a pinch of salt to the sticky date paste in the food processor bowl. 6. Pulse a few times until combined. The result should be a dense mass that comes together as a nutty dough. 7. Pinch off about a tablespoon of the dough and roll it in your palms to form a smooth ball. Repeat ’til you’re out of dough.

From Nom Nom Paleo

8. Put the toasted shredded coconut in a shallow plate or a piece of parchment paper. Toss each of the balls into the coconut, making sure to coat the entire surface. 9. You can refrigerate your balls in a covered container for up to 1 week, or freeze ’em for up to a month.

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THE BEST FITNESS VACATIONS TO TAKE IN 2018

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f it suddenly seems like all of your coworkers are using their vacation days to go on yoga retreats or sign up for destination races, you’re not mistaken. So-called "fitcations" have become a major travel trend: according to the Global Wellness Institute, there was a 14% increase in global wellness tourism from 2013 to 2017, and Pinterest reports that searches for “fitness travel” jumped an astounding 618% between 2016 and 2017. In other words, more and more people are using their PTO to master Downward Dog or check "Run a half-marathon" off their bucket list rather than sip piña coladas and avoid the hotel gym. Here, a month-by-month guide to the best wellness trips to take in 2018, from Sedona to Seattle to an island in the Gulf of Thailand.

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January: The Sea of Cortez, Mexico Reset your New Year’s health and fitness goals with an experience that is equal parts physically challenging and seriously relaxing. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic and exhale are teaming up for a new wellness voyage along the Sea of Cortez islands Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, a region in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur known for its beautiful beaches and abundant wildlife. The Base Camp Baja expeditions depart from the Baja California Sur city La Paz on January 1, 4, 7, and 10 for three- or four-night voyages aboard the 30-cabin National Geographic Sea Bird, which will serve as a "floating base camp" to explore the pristine Sea of Cortez coastline. In addition to a long list of outdoor activities (think hiking among pink volcanic ash and snor-


keling with sea lions), travelers will have access to exhale’s popular Core Fusion Barre Bootcamp, HIIT, and Power Yoga classes, plus SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga and assisted stretching. End the day with a Chill Yoga class, or indulge in relaxing neck and shoulder massages before cocktail hour.

February: Sedona The Antelope Canyon 50-mile, 55K, and half-marathon race in Page, Arizona boasts views that are nothing short of spectacular. Although only the 50-miler passes through the much-photographed Upper Antelope Canyon, half-marathon runners will catch glimpses of gorgeous Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. After the race, recoup in Sedona, a three-hour drive from Page. Spring and fall are the most popular times of year to visit, but the city has four mild seasons, and February sees lower hotel rates and fewer visitors. If your legs are too sore for a hike to the iconic Red Rock Crossing, book an appointment at one of the town’s many spas.

March: Koh Samui Island, Thailand Although you can certainly go with other people, Kamalaya Koh Samui is a solo traveler’s paradise. The luxury health resort on Koh Samui (a Gulf of Thailand island) encircles a cave once used by Buddhist monks for meditation. The resort offers a variety of curated wellness programs, including some specifically focused on yoga, emotional balance, and stress. If you prefer, you can also create your own "a la carte" experience by scheduling individual sessions that interest you. Between wellness activities, soak up some culture at the onsite art gallery, go for a dip in one of the resort’s two swimming pools, or visit the Monk’s Cave for quiet reflection.

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April: Seattle A scenic race immediately followed by brunch? Sign us up. Seattle Magazine’s popular Brunch Run will be held on April 7 in 2018. The 5K through Magnuson Park and Lake Washington ends with unlimited brunch fare from local restaurants at the finish line. Even better? The post-run "Boozy Brunch Garden" with Bloody Marys and mimosas.

May: Brooklyn With its mild temperatures and relatively low number of tourists before the summer onslaught, May is ideal for visiting New York City. Another draw: the Airbnb Brooklyn Half—the largest half-marathon in the country—is held at the end of the month. Registration for the race, which begins in Prospect Park and concludes in Coney Island, typically opens in late January. But you’ll have to act fast: the New York Road Runners–hosted half-marathon sold out in a mere 26 minutes in 2017.

June: St. Lucia For a getaway that will refresh both mind and body, you can’t do much better than BodyHoliday, an adult-only spa and resort on the Northwest tip of this Caribbean island paradise. The resort’s Wellness Centre boasts a huge selection of treatments ranging from facials to body scrubs to aromatherapy to ayurvedic massage, plus activities like yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and water sports. Select 50-minute daily treatments are included in rates, as is access to a personal trainer. When you’re not being pampered or working up a sweat, attend one of the guided morning walks, explore the nearby tropical gardens and Cariblue beach, or lounge by the 50foot infinity pool.


July: Huntington Beach, California

October: St. George, Utah

Often ranked as one of the best surf towns in the U.S., this SoCal beach has no shortage of surfing schools. Two for new surfers to consider: Learn 2 Rip, popular for its affordable rates, and HB Surf School, which offers 90-minute lessons to adults every Saturday (both schools provide complimentary boards and wetsuits).

The Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah is a short two-hour drive from Las Vegas, but might as well be in a different world. Booking a stay at the luxe oasis will give you access to amenities like massages, nutrition seminars, black lava gardens, personal training sessions, and a to-die-for spa. But the resort truly specializes in wellness packages, offering up themed retreats focused on topics such as weight loss and emotional fitness. In your free time, explore the Instagram-worthy red and white Navajo sandstone vistas just outside the front door.

August: Miami You’re forgiven for not associating Miami with wellness, but 1 Hotel South Beach might just change your mind. With an impressive fitness center (including ropes, obstacles, and dedicated trainers), an onsite SoulCycle studio, and complimentary yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes, there are plenty of ways for guests to keep active. It’s easy to stick to your diet here, too. The hotel’s restaurant, Plnthouse, dishes out vegan and vegetarian fare from James Beard Award-nominated chef Matthew Kenney.

September: Vancouver You won’t regret timing a visit to Vancouver with the lululemon–hosted SeaWheeze Half Marathon, which will be held on September 22. Although the race through Stanley Park is the main attraction, SeaWheeze is really a weekend-long event. Enjoy a variety of free fitness classes the day before the race, and recuperate at the Sunset Festival the following day for live music, complimentary yoga, and delicious food from local vendors.

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November: Ibiza, Spain Although not quite beach weather, November in the Balearic island of Ibiza is typically mild, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Yoga retreats at Cas Gasi, an idyllic resort in the Ibiza countryside, include two yoga sessions per day, one massage per day, and fresh vegetarian fare prepared by the in-house chef. The "bespoke program" option is perfect for guests wishing to personalize their stay even further; build your own experience with yoga classes, personal training sessions, a curated meal plan, and access to an onsite nutritionist.

December: Big Island, Hawaii When you’re not practicing Sun Salutations at the Kalani, explore the 40-mile Old Mamaloa Highway to Waipo Valley Overlook trail by bike. The incredible views of the Mauna Kea volcano will make the steep climb in the beginning of the ride well worth it.


Make Time For You BY JODY MCPEAK

I am never going to get off this couch. That was my thought as I breastfed newborn twins while watching a 2-year old daughter, and a 3-year old son; waiting for my husband to get home from work. I was tired. I thought my body had undergone irreparable damage. My biggest concerns seemed to be that my kids were flushing Hot WheelsŽ down the toilet and turning the blender on without a lid while filling it with red grapes. I would never again have a moment to myself, or for myself. This was it. To save my sanity, I realized that I once again needed physical activity, a break from my responsibilities, and some me-time. After the birth of my first child, I had joined the YMCA and attended regularly. Thank goodness for their child-care service. I looked forward to that each day. It got me out of the house and let me focus on myself. I’ll admit there were times I only showered and visited with other moms. Regardless, I created a healthy routine. I did it before; I could do it again.


I was a runner for many years prior to becoming a mother. I recalled how important goal setting was. It kept me accountable. Eight months after having my first child I completed a marathon. I felt exhilarated and proud of myself, not so much for running 26.1 miles, but for committing to a goal, putting in the work (when it would have been easier not to), and sticking it out. I wanted to feel that again, despite having three additional children. I needed another goal. I decided to move my body every day, one day at a time. Seemingly this was not a lofty goal, but getting the kids fed, dressed, and into their car seats or strollers for a trip to the gym or a walk was a major challenge in itself. Regardless, this was the beginning. Before long I was running again, and setting new goals. I began to feel like an athlete again. First, I committed to a 5-mile race, then a half-marathon, then a full marathon. I was getting faster. In 2010 I qualified for, and competed in the Boston marathon. I was a 40-year old with four kids between the ages of 7-11, yet I had accomplished something I never would have thought possible. Goal setting in health and fitness is so important. It makes me accountable to others and myself. Making exercise a priority helps with my self-discipline; I move my body whether I feel like it or not while telling myself that something is better than nothing. I also found that when I’m active I eat well, and when I eat well I feel like being active. Sadly, there have been times when I have learned that the opposite is also true. My husband is also very active. When we first became parents, we discussed and decided that one of our governing strategies was to parent by example in all regards, including self-care, nutrition, and physical fitness. I think this commitment has had a positive effect towards each of them finding their passions. Our oldest son now plays in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for Drayton Valley Thunder with the goal of a NCAA division 1 scholarship. Our daughter also plays hockey, enjoys snowboarding, and just completed a Jasper-to-Banff bicycle tour with my husband. Our youngest plays Bantam Prep hockey for Okanagan Hockey Edmonton while his twin attends the Royal Winnipeg Ballet professional division.

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I have enough obligations in life, so exercise is my recreation. I keep it fun. To learn new things, and to be challenged, I hired a Personal Trainer. One day while working with my trainer Robbie (Alligator Alley personal training) he suggested I try training towards a powerlifting competition. I have to admit, I had no clue what powerlifting was, but the very thought conjured up images of less-than-feminine women with large muscles and facial hair, presumably from anabolic steroid use. I did my research and found a diverse, inclusive community of athletes, dispelling my fear that lifting heavy weights would lead to large, unattractive muscles. Rather, I found a new venue to challenge myself physically and mentally. I found my passion. Powerlifting is a strength sport consisting of three main lifts including bench press, squat, and deadlift. Competitors get three attempts at each lift for maximum total weight achieved. Competitors are classed accordingly to age and body weight. My first powerlifting meet was the Oil Cup in May 2016. I loved it! The powerlifting community was like nothing I had previously experienced. Athletes were supportive and encouraging. I qualified for Nationals at that meet but had to compete in Regionals and Provincials first. I achieved “Best Overall Masters Lifter” and gold in the Masters I -57 kg weight class division at Regionals. I currently hold the Alberta provincial records for all three lifts in my age division and weight class. I will be competing at the Canadian Powerlifting Union National Championships this February 2018 in Calgary as a Masters II lifter (I will be turning 50 in 2018). I am now coached by Avi Silverberg (Team Canada Powerlifting Coach). Avi provides me with my training plans each week. Due to lifestyle constraints, I train four times a week at home by myself in my basement. It has become common place to be squatting over 240 lbs. benching over 135 lbs. and deadlifting over 300 lbs. I also still see my trainer Robbie once a week for a fun workout and usually a welcome break from the lifts! Avi feels that I am poised to the lead the charge at the National Championships in February, as being on the younger side of the new age bracket brings an advantage. My goal is to achieve gold. If successful, I will earn a spot on the Canadian National Team and have the opportunity to compete at World’s in June 2018. Representing Canada, with my friends’ and family support would be a fantastic 50th birthday present!

PHOTOS BY JEFF KELLY - ARCHIVE FOUR FORTY FOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

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12 Ways to Make Your Office Better for Your Health You spend about half of your waking hours at your job. While certain jobs like construction or manual labor have clear hazards, you can't assume that if you are clocking time in an office environment that it's a healthy place to be. Many occupations deliver stress, sedentary behavior, and unhealthy habits along with the paycheck, which can take their toll both physically and mentally. But whether you work from a home office or sit in a corporate cubicle, there are things you can do to make your workplace better for your health and wellbeing. Here's how to give your office space a health makeover, according to the experts.

Remind yourself to sit less

People who work at desks should stand or walk around for at least two hours a day to avoid health risks related to too much sitting, according to a 2015 British study. "Moving around throughout your workday is really important," says Robert Graham, MD, director of integrative health and wellness for Northwell Health System, in Great Neck, NY. "Not only is it good for you physically, but studies show that it can increase productivity and more likely to focus on the task at hand." Computer programs like Move for iOS or Big Stretch Reminder for Windows can remind you to take breaks at regular intervals; some even provide suggestions for stretches and exercises you can do at your workspace. Can't install software on your work machine? Download an app to your smartphone.

Clear the air

It's not unusual for office environments to trigger

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what's known as occupational allergies—sensitivities to chemicals in carpet, office furniture, or paint, for example, that can trigger problems like headaches and rashes. And even if you don't have physical symptoms, it's possible that stuffy air in your workplace could be hampering your brainpower: In a 2015 Harvard University study, offices with increased ventilation and lower levels of air pollutants were linked to better employee performance. You may not be able to change furnishings or ventilation system at your job, but perhaps you can let in some fresh air by keeping windows open while you work. If that's not an option, consider getting an air purifier with a HEPA filter for your desk.

Try a standing desk

If your workplace allows it, switching to a standing desk can help you sit less and move more during the day. But being on your feet all day can also lead to aches and pains, so look for a setup that allows you to adjust the height or your work station and use a chair when needed. You can even make a DIY standing desk if you don't have the space or resources for a real one; just be sure to keep your computer monitor at eye level, and your arms bent at 90 degrees to reach the keyboard, to avoid neck and arm pain.

Paint your walls green

Shades of green have been linked to enhanced creative thinking, says Sally Augustin, PhD, an environmental psychologist and principal at Design With Science. "And most of us have to be creative at work, whether we're coming up with a new advertising slogan or figuring out how to analyze

data on a spreadsheet in a different way," she says. To get the most out of your walls, choose a hue that's quiet and calming—like a sage or seafoam green. "Colors that aren't very saturated but relatively bright put us in the right sort of relaxed mental state to be doing knowledge work." Can't paint your space? Wallpapering your cube with a green backdrop or adding green elements to your desk may also be helpful, Augustin says. And whatever you do, she adds, avoid red; it's been shown to negatively affect analytical performance.

Add a plant

Bringing nature into your office can be a great way to inspire creativity and a feeling of wellness, says Augustin. "Plants are great from a psychological perspective," she says. "You don't want to pack too many into a small space, but it can be great to have a small plant on your desktop, or something a little larger in the corner of your office." Opt for green, leafy plants, rather than cacti— whose spikes can create the opposite of a relaxed feeling—or flowers with a strong scent, which can be distracting or irritating. Some plants, like the sansevieria, may even improve air quality in your office.

Display (a few) personal items

Decorating your desk can help you feel comfortable, which can reduce workplace stress and dissatisfaction, Augustin says. But to avoid a cluttered feeling, which can actually cause more stress, stick with just a few items. "Pick out three or four things that are significant


to you—like a family photo or an award you're particularly proud of—and make sure those are in your view," she says. "But remember that the more stuff you add to your desk, the more your brain has to constantly scan and keep track of. Working in a crowded space can be mentally exhausting, even if you don't realize it."

Use aromatherapy

The smell of citrus can lift your spirits and improve thinking and memory, says Augustin. "I like to keep an aromatherapy dispenser on my desk that makes my work area smell like lemon," she says. Skip candles and air fresheners that use artificial scents (and release potentially irritating chemicals), and opt for an essential oil diffuser that delivers a subtle, natural aroma. Keep in mind, though, that any scent may cause irritation or allergic reactions. If breathing in a scent all day bothers you, try sucking on lemon candies while you work, instead.

Stop eating at your desk

"One of the most important things you can do during the work day is to not eat at your desk," says Dr. Graham. "Have a dedicated area where you can go to get out of your own environment and have lunch, preferably with other people, so you can truly get that break during the day." Sitting down to lunch away from your desk won't just keep crumbs out of your keyboard; it can also help reset your brain for an afternoon of productivity. Plus, it can stop you from eating mindlessly while you work or surf the Internet. "We are not great at multi-tasking," says Dr. Graham. "If you're

eating while distracted, you are much more likely to overeat."

Pay attention to posture

Sitting all day isn't the healthiest thing for you, but slouching all day is even worse. "Posture is very important, both to health and to workplace performance," says Dr. Graham. "Sitting up tall gives you a sense of accomplishment, while slouching and slumping make you feel tired and lazy." On top of that, hunching over a computer is a leading cause of back pain. Invest in (or ask your boss to provide you with) an ergonomic desk chair that supports correct posture. You can also try a gadget like the Lumo Lift, a tiny sensor that pins to your shirt and vibrates when it senses you slouching forward.

Squeeze in mini workouts

Even if you can't fit in a full workout over your lunch break, you can still do some simple stretches and strength moves right in your office. Keeping small workout props, like hand weights or resistance bands, within eyesight can encourage you to take exercise breaks throughout the day. "And even if you don't have equipment, you can do things like chair yoga or standing push-ups, using nothing but your office furniture," says Dr. Graham. Sitting on an exercise ball can also help engage your core muscles while you work, but make sure you don't slouch forward while you're using it. To keep this trick from backfiring, swap out your desk chair for just 10 to 20 minutes at a time and pay close attention to your form.

Training To Your Genetics BY DR. MIKOLAJ RASZEK Genome sequencing, or decoding one’s entire personal DNA sequence to obtain information of significance, has already been well-established in the medical sector. Literally, hundreds of thousands of people have been sequenced to varying degrees, and billions of dollars have been poured into research to find the best medical value of this novel and complex technology. The big-ticket items include information on pathogenic conditions for which intervention or treatment is available; the carrier status of conditions that might not be apparent in you but could materialize in your child if your partner is also a carrier of mutations in the same genes; and pharmacogenomics information, or how your genetics impact your reaction to medications. These are items of medical utility, but there is also information embedded in your DNA that can be of personal use that your doctor would have nothing to do with, even if they might be related to your health. A couple of great concepts that are grabbing lots of attention are a genetic predisposition to nutritional influences on health, and overall athletic prowess. The notion that diet influences health is an ancient one. Food can impact how our genes are regulated, and genes can impact how food is utilized by our body. This concert between nutrition and the body’s molecular expression is now an emerging field of science thanks to genome sequencing

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Take your pet to work

Allowing people to bring their dogs to work reduced job stress and boosted employee satisfaction in a 2012 study from Virginia Commonwealth University. And it wasn't just dog owners who benefited from the pet-friendly policy; other employees who came into contact with the animals reported less stress, as well. "Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace," the study authors said in a university news release; it's also important to take into consideration coworkers who may be allergic to pets.

Adjust your lighting

Getting natural light during the day is ideal, so your best bet is to sit near a window if possible. In fact, people with windows in their offices get better sleep and are more physically active than those without, according to a 2013 study from Northwestern University. "Being exposed to daylight helps keep your stress levels and your circadian rhythm in check," Augustin says. If windows aren't an option, consider the temperature of your office lighting. "Cooler, bluish light is generally good for analytical thinking, while warmer bulbs are better for socializing and interaction with other people," says Augustin. Having a desk lamp you can turn on and off, rather than just one overhead light, can also help reduce eyestrain.

technologies. Nutrigenetics looks at the impact of our genes on the food we eat, while nutrigenomics looks at how food impacts the genetics in the body, but frankly, these terms are often used interchangeably. One example of this is the gene MTHFR, which is involved in the metabolism of folic acid. Specific mutations that compromise the function of the MTHFR gene can result in elevated blood levels of homocysteine, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, but can also be linked to birth defects and pregnancy difficulties. In such circumstances, dietary folic acid supplements might be recommended. So, by interrogating an individual’s genome for mutation details, we could understand the precise nutritional requirements for that individual and accordingly craft a personalized diet that is most beneficial to them. And that sounds appealing to a lot of consumers! In a similar fashion, another area of genome impact that has been receiving increasing attention is sports genetics. In this burgeoning field of science, the impact of an individual’s genetic mutations is assessed for their effect on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and performance, adaptation to training, or propensity to sports injuries. One study using twins as subjects estimated that genetics of athletic status as a heritable trait account for 66% of the outcome. The remaining impact is due to environmental factors such as training and motivation level, diet, equipment choice, and even sleeping patterns. Overall, more than 200 genes have been linked to physical performance, and as with nutrigenomics, one desired goal is to be able to link such specific genetic predispositions to a personal exercise regimen that is most effective to individual athletic performance.


But are we there yet? The scientific data (or lack thereof), suggests not. While the data continues to emerge, there are huge limitations to being able to achieve such lofty goals at the moment.

Nutrigenomics has not fared as well. In one of the largest meta-analysis of over half a million cases involving genes typically offered in commercial tests, common conflicting findings were revealed, along with a great inconsistency of genetic associations with diet impact on health.

One of the problems is that many of the discovered genetic associations to these traits of interest are very small in impact, at best accounting for 1-2% towards the trait being studied (and this can also be said of some of the complex diseases in medical genomics). Furthermore, these associations have often been discovered in studies with a small number of participants and an inexact characterization of the trait, which can be difficult to achieve for such complex events as nutritional impact or athletic performance. As a result, such small isolated studies can be biased, and even suggest a wrong association between a genetic marker and the trait.

But despite the complaints about small effect sizes, underpowered studies to demonstrate convincing results, and the overall inability to effectively predict the outcome associated with complex traits, there is still more to this story that makes these genetic risk scores very interesting.

The problems do not end there. Due to the limited number of studies dedicated so far to this area, there are likely many more genetic variations that impact these traits that are yet to be discovered. This means that the known impact of the current genetic associations to these traits is likely overestimated and will need to be revised in time. This has already been demonstrated in the medical genetics of complex diseases. Finally, such multifactorial complex traits are also influenced by additional factors in a complex, and sometimes unexpected, manner. For example, your personal bacterial composition (referred to as microbiota), can influence your health, and your gut microbiota will also impact the effect of your diet on your health and, most likely, even on your athletic status (you just wait).

A recent study looked at the impact on athletic performance with a training based on genetic information. One group of athletes matched their training style as suggested by their genetic testing outcomes (high-intensity resistance training for those with a genetic power bias, and low-intensity training for those with an endurance bias), while another group did not match their genetic profile to their training style. After 8 weeks, the athletes who followed the genetically guided training program showed greater improvement than those who did not. This was the first such study of its kind, demonstrating performance improvement based on genetic information. Once again, the research was based on a small number of individuals and faced some criticism, but in sports where fractions of superiority can distinguish winners, this certainly is an exciting trend that future athletes could potentially be tapping into.

In consequence, the current available data is inherently limited and not validated, leaving it without sufficient statistical power to truly showcase and replicate with confidence the genetic impact on these traits of interest. As a result, complaints have been presented that the growing industry offering genetic tests based on such data cannot predict either the athletic performance or the impact on personal diet. Therefore, providing such data to consumers is potentially scientifically unsound, as it is simply not ready for a commercial service.

In a similar fashion, one massive research project that followed thousands of subjects for about 20 years and scored them on cardiac events in that time span, categorized individuals into low or high genetic risk groups using many different low-impact genomic variations previously associated with these complex traits. And while one can argue about the predictability and utility of such genetic scores, the individuals in the high genetic risk group had a higher chance of experiencing a negative cardiac event in that time span than those with a low genetic risk. What was even more exciting to discover was that no matter what genetic group you fall into, following a favourable lifestyle based upon a quality diet and exercise could dramatically reduce your chances of such negative health outcomes. If you ever needed scientific convincing before, or to understand the environmental influence on complex traits (in the form of your lifestyle choices), then this is it.

To overcome these limitations, further research and funding into this exciting area of genomics is required in order to produce sound and consistent scientific evidence on the scale that has been observed in medical genomics. Another approach could be to pool the existing data of single studies together to produce larger data sets with potentially greater statistical power (called meta-analysis).

So, while the story might still be far from complete, this certainly is an exciting area for further research! Both nutrigenomics and sports genomics should take valuable lessons from medical genetics, moving forward as a field by increasing scientific research rigor and channelling greater funds and attention to this discipline. The beneficial outcomes just might surprise us more than we expect.

In one such example, data from a total of 366 articles was combined to demonstrate the involvement of ACE gene mutations on physical endurance, and from 88 articles to implicate the ACTN3 gene in athletic power. These happen to be some of the most studied genes in sports genetics, providing some of the best evidence yet regarding the genetic influence on physical performance.

Dr. Mikolaj Raszek is a founder and owner of Merogenomics Inc., a consulting company based out of Edmonton helping clients with private access to whole genome sequencing and related technologies. Merogenomics Inc. specializes in cancer DNA profiling, DNA testing for undiagnosed diseases, prenatal screening and sequencing in healthy asymptomatic individuals for preventative assessment.

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