Rebecca’s Fitness Story

Note from Oonagh:

I’m posting Rebecca’s Fitness Story at the end of 2017.

I’m literally about to publish this and attend one of those workshops on how to make 2018 the BEST. YEAR. EVERRRRR!!!

But I’m no sure that anything in that workshop is going to effect me as deeply as knowing Rebecca this past year.

In the picture above she is holding bags of rice that represent the 65lbs she has lost since January.

She posted the first in this series in May:



And this one in June:


(One of my favourite facts about ^^that one^^ is that she also mentioned that it was her first time in 15 years wearing pants that weren’t black 🙂

But that slow and consistent weight loss is just fraction of what she’s accomplished this past year.

Because she gave herself the challenge of trying something new every single month. Something scary.

And what she has done will blow you away.

Read below to find out how Rebecca conquered her mindset, her fears, got her family involved and now has so much fun that she literally glows from within (I can personally attest this to be true).

You are going to love Rebecca’s Fitness Story.

Tell me where you started from:

 I am a classic sandwich generation woman – kids, aging parent with a stressful job. 

I had made my life smaller and smaller and was not coping with stress properly. 

I didn’t move much at all. My life was going to work, coming home, cooking, eating, and sitting on my butt, watching TV and eating more. 

I think the major obstacle was my own mind and my own inner dialogue, basically telling me that this was my life and it was too hard, too late to make changes. 

Before I joined the 28-day challenge in January 2017, I was completely stuck.  I had gained a lot of weight  – and weighed more than I ever had before.

What made you decide that it was finally time to get in shape?

Honestly, I don’t really know! 

It was after Christmas and the New Year and I had been eating and drinking like a wildebeest!

I saw a friend on Facebook post about your program and she looked amazing – fit and strong.

I knew I wanted to try again and see if I could make some changes.

What happened after you made that decision?

I have made so many changes in my life;

I have not only lost a lot of weight and gotten stronger, I have worked on my mental game as well. 

I have gained so much confidence in myself and now push to try new things all the time. 

I started writing a bullet journal in March and decided that I would try at least one new thing each month – scary things!!

Some of those things include:

  • working out in the park with strangers (who are now friends),

  • joining a dragon boat team,
  • going to Essentrics classes at a studio,

  • going to those classes ALONE (<=====this is HUGE!!),
  • doing a C25K running program,

  • heading up a team at work to climb the CN Tower,

  • going to a hip hop class,
  • joining a Zumba class,

and more!!

I am so much more active now and have gotten my kids and husband on board with workouts. 


Instead of sitting around on weekends, we head to the boardwalk, go bowling or play laser tag! 

I feel great too – both physically and mentally!

I am not even close to being done, but I am confident I can get it done!!

What makes you push through when you really. don’t. want. to. ?

It’s all about the support from the group. 

I try to post every single day – the positive reinforcement I get is amazing – you kind of get addicted to it! 

And when things go sideways, someone picks me up and sets me straight – either with a good ass kicking or a sympathetic ear. 


The sharing and the openness and honesty in this community is like nothing I have ever experienced before.

It’s not just about getting healthy or losing weight – this community is about life – the ups and downs, struggle and successes and you know that someone is going to be there for you – whatever you need.


Where do you think you would be at now if you hadn’t made that decision to get in shape?


I think I would still be miserable – honestly, that is what I was before – miserable.

What is the best thing about your new life?


I am genuinely happy! 

It glows from the inside and I can’t stop smiling!  I love that I have an amazing group of people that I can go to for help. 

I feel strong and confident.  I think this shift will bring other good things to my life as well since I am now open and willing to try new things.

What are your major goals now?

I still need to lose more weight and get stronger. 

I will continue to try new things – December is the month to try a combat class!

I plan to run a 5k race and I am determined to climb the CN Tower again next year in under 30 minutes.


What is your best advice for someone who is in the same position you were at a year ago?


Do something – one thing, just get a little out of your comfort zone and try. 

I have gone from working out in the dark so no one would see me to joining classes and working out in the backyard! 

Small changes can lead to big things; surround yourself with a support system that won’t let you down and you will find success.

No one is too fat or unfit to start.


Were you inspired by Rebecca’s Fitness Story? Would you like to create the kind of year that she did? Leave a comment below!

Diane’s Fitness Story

This is how funny Diane is: Not only did she clearly just crack up our PM Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie in this pic (above) – when she sent it to me she captioned it,

“Sophie won’t be laughing the next time I get my hands on JT.”

And this photo isn’t just a gratuitous celebrity shot – It represents the catalyst moment for Diane’s Fitness Story.

It was taken at the Broadway premiere of Come From Away.

(In case you’ve been under a rock, Come From Away is a documentary musical about the planes grounded in Newfoundland on September 11th 2001.)

Diane was flown in from Gander to walk the red carpet for this premiere because one of the characters (Beulah Davis) is partially based on her.

Her fitness story started because she wanted to look good in a dress for that moment – but has turned into a lifestyle transformation against all odds.

Like, check it out –  you think you got fitness problems?

Diane described herself as a “52-year-old obese non-exerciser with degenerative discs and diabetes.”

She was also exhausted from sleep apnea – and a busy schedule that includes caring for multiple Syrian refugee families.

Never mind that getting fresh vegetables in Gander, Newfoundland is hard.

(And even if it weren’t – her husband Leo didn’t want to eat them.)

Seriously? Most people would say screw the fitness thing.

Read on to find out how Diane lost 30lbs, got her husband on board, adapts our healthy meals with limited fresh food and now finds herself exercising ‘by accident’.

This is Diane’s Fitness Story:

(In her own words)

Diane in the kindergarten classroom she taught in for 30 years


Oonagh asked me to answer a few questions to help her write a blog post.

Personally, I think she’s trying to get out of work out.

Anyway, last October I was invited to a dinner and Toronto actress Astrid Van Wieren was sitting at my table.

Assigned seating.

We were seated together BECAUSE SHE PLAYS ME IN A MUSICAL!

Um, hello? What?!!!

They hadn’t mentioned it to me before.


Diane meeting the actor that plays her in the show


We were quickly invited to Toronto for the Mirvish opening of Come From Away.

And I really hadn’t caught on to how big a deal it was until I was standing on a stage in front of a full standing ovation and a hell of a lot of cameras.

I did not anticipate walking on to a stage with a standing ovation.

I sure didn’t expect to be on the National News.

And I did not feel comfortable in my clothing or my appearance.

That whirlwind almost settled when we got an invitation to New York City to attend the Broadway opening and the shit got real.

The outline mentioned a cocktail party  – but the more formal event was the opening the next night.


As they say in Gander –  holeeey shit!

I was dress shopping online, praying for something that might hide a multitude of sins and make me free comfortable in NYC –

– when my sister Sandi shared another spam post about this crazy fitness plan stuff.

I hesitated about the cost of the program. And then looked at the price of the dresses in the online shopping cart.

I cancelled the shopping cart full of dresses and signed up for the program.

Then I broke the news to my husband Leo.

We started the challenge in January. Leo played along as long as he could have Catalina dressing on his salads.

(We also learned that if I shred the lettuce rather than leaving it leafy, we get more greens in and he likes it more. We now actually miss salads when we haven’t done one in a few days. Weird, eh?)

In the first 28 days we lost almost 10 lbs each. Without exercise! (I have a litany of excuses, just move on…)

I didn’t need new dresses for Broadway by February because all the dresses that didn’t fit for my retirement 8 months earlier looked great on me


While we were in NYC, we ate on plan by eating at Pret a Manger and at a Korean take out for many of our meals.


I left 2 pairs of pants and 3 tops in NYC because they didn’t fit or feel good any more due to being TOO BIG.

We’re 11 months in now and each have about 30 lbs each gone. It hasn’t always been easy but it certainly hasn’t been hard either.

I live in Gander, Newfoundland. Unless it’s carrot, turnip or cabbage, all of our produce comes here by truck.

The nearest (and only) Costco is a 4 hour drive –  and don’t even suggest a farmer’s market or buying “sprouts”.

Some of the food is more expensive (we pay $4 to $6 for a cauliflower and cut off the brown bits) but because we eat less of it, it works out the same.

We have a freezer full of cod that Leo caught and filleted so I will often sub fish for chicken in some dishes. It’s the asparagus at $6 for a tiny bundle that pisses me off.


Living in rural Newfoundland is difficult and wonderful too. I wouldn’t give up my Fogo Island view for a Costco for sure.

I’ve also learned that I like quinoa and we have some quick and easy go to recipes.

We both like curries and a proper Newfoundland pea soup is on plan.Even our cheat meals are not crazy because we enjoy the food we eat now.

Our last cheat night was to split a plate of nachos. A year ago, we would have had wings and fries on the side.

I feel the program has been life changing in a year that has been life changing.

We both get lots of compliments and we both  feel much better with another 30 pounds gone.

And I don’t feel like I’m doing without. We eat really delicious food, just a lot less of it and we feel satisfied rather than stuffed and bloated.  We feel good.


I have less pain in my back, I’m not winded when I walk or climb stairs…

We have more energy and have found ourselves accidentally hiking trails when we go on holidays.

Where we might have sat at a picnic table and admired before, we are now climbing stairs and following trails around ponds and over hills.

After, Leo looks at me and says, “We wouldn’t have done that a year ago.”

 If I hadn’t made the decision to abandon that shopping cart of dresses and sign up for the program a year ago –

– chances are good I would be feeling unwell and medicating that with more food.

Best story so far:

We were at Leo’s brother’s house and offered some soup. Leo told him we’d just ate.

Pat: What did you have?

Leo: Sweet potato, Filet Mignon, and quinoa.

Pat is still wondering what we ate…..



(Note from Oonagh: Do you love Diane as much as I do? Leave a comment below to congratulate her on all her fitness success! )


sarah’s fitness story

Have you had this experience yet  – where you realize that something you always thought was mega lame is actually pretty cool?

In my case, I’m talking about…structure.

You see – I’ve always been someone with a kind of asshole-y tendency to question rules, defy even well-earned authority and demand absolute freedom.

But after 17 years of personal training, I’m realizing that most people (myself definitely included) kind of suck when they are given too much freedom.

In this interview, Sarah says that she had a gym membership before she started Bootcamp, but she never went.

Which is counter-intuitive, right?  You would think that a gym membership allows so much flexibility. You have all these different classes, you can show up anytime that’s convenient for you and get your workout done….

But the thing is, when people are given too many options, they often…don’t do anything at all. 

Trust me on this.

In my years of teaching fitness classes, I’ve realized that this is one of those situations where people really benefit from structure.

Bootcamp starts at 6am. Rain or shine. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  That’s it.

If you can embrace that structure, make it AUTOMATIC, then your fitness is taken care of. Easy peasy.

That’s what Sarah did.

And this is her Fitness Story!






TV Researcher/Producer

How long have you been training with us?

A year in May

Were you always an exerciser? What did you do for your fitness before signing up with FFG?

I’m always into something. I grew up doing ballet, moved to hot yoga, then spent about three or four years into long-distance running. Before I started with FFG, I had kind of fallen off with my fitness. I had a membership at a local gym but wasn’t very consistent.


What made you sign up for a FFG Bootcamp?

I had a friend who was doing the East End bootcamp and she looked great. She was getting some serious results and said Oonagh was awesome. It was an added bonus that Christie Pits was (and is) right beside my house. It seemed almost too perfect.

How has being an FFG Bootcamper changed your life?

It’s made working out automatic for me. I’ve become stronger and faster and it’s also a nice way to start a day.


What do you do when you are not Bootcamping?

In the summer, I head to the cottage, play softball with friends, and dine out; in the winter, I go snowboarding as often as I can. I also like to travel when I can.


What about coming to Bootcamp makes you jump out of bed at 5am singing the Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music?

Knowing I can get a workout out of the way in the morning.

When answering this question, Sarah clearly forgot about the time I gave her a weird carrot as a treat for our Halloween Trick Or Treat Bootcamp.

What exercise or drill makes you cower under your bed covers and pretend you don’t hear your alarm?


What makes you get up anyway – even when you REALLY. DON’T. WANT. TO.?

I can pretty much see Christie Pits from my house so Oonagh’s voice and visions of hill runs haunt me when I sleep through my alarm.

Best/funniest bootcamp moment?

When a fellow boot camper — she knows who she is — did a 30 min. wall sit so she could avoid hill runs and fitness testing. My hero!

Anika would have sat there all day to avoid hill runs. I threatened to sit on her lap and she was all like, ‘bring it’. #quadsofsteel

What advice would you give someone who feels like they are unfit and they don’t know where to start?

Make working out as automatic as you can and, as you start to get stronger and more confident, you’ll realize you’re taking better care of yourself.


What is the accomplishment or personal milestone you are most proud of?

I solo’d my first canoe last summer up a portage called The Devil’s Ladder in Algonquin. It was pretty much straight up, with steep stairs for over 500m. I realized how much stronger my legs were than they had ever been.

(note from Oonagh – I found a video of this situation online. ^^^ OUCH. )

What’s your next goal?

Work has been busy, so I’m just trying to stay consistent. Beating my old records would also be nice.

Sarah’s amazing consistency over the winter won her the Most Improved Bootcamper Trophy this Spring. Each winner has added a special touch and it’s aging like a fine wine. Now this lucky lady gets to feature this object d’art in her home until some other superstar Bootcamper rips it from her hands in September.


Leave Sarah a comment below to congratulate her on making her exercise routine AUTOMATIC (isn’t that the dream!?!) – and getting the results that come with that kind of consistency!

Also, I’d love to know – what is one small thing YOU could do to automate your healthy lifestyle?

Good Food For Good

Every now and then I meet someone who is so cool that I need everyone to know about them IMMEDIATELY.

Richa Gupta is one of those people.

One of my clients met Richa at a food fair and played matchmaker between us.  Her company, Good Food for Good, makes healthy sauces and when I learned that she does a Butter Chicken curry that is only 80 calories per serving (as opposed to 200 +) and includes hemp protein, I was about to storm her warehouse to get my hands on some.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to because Richa invited me to come and check it out. This is a quick video about the day we met and why I was so impressed with what she is doing to make the world healthier.


Wondering what to do with all that healthy delicious?  Here are some ideas from Richa’s site:

Massala Cauliflower Steak



  1. 1 head Cauliflower, sliced into two steaks
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1/ 2 tsp sea salt
  4. 1 jar Good Food For Good Tikka Masala Sauce


Heat the oven to 400 degrees, on a sheet pan place the two steaks and rub them with oil and salt. Bake for about 20-30 minutes till fork tender and brown on edges

If cooking on stove top, take a heavy bottom skillet and pour 1tbsp of oil. Once pan is hot, add the steak and cook on each side till it turns brown about 5 minutes if the cauliflower is still not fork tender, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for another 10 minutes.

Once the steaks are done, plate them and drizzle with warm tikka masala sauce and garnish with pommegrante seeds and cashews.

Delicious! Serve with basmati rice and salad or a warm naan.

Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes


  • 4 Sweet Potatoes, washed and brushed
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 jar Good Food For Good Ancho Chile Enchilada Sauce or if you like spicy try the Chile de Arbol Taco Sauce.
  • 2 ripe Avocados
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup diced deseeded tomato
  • Fresh lime juice


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Poke several holes into each sweet potato and place on the baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes.
  • Bake sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes till they are fork tender.After baking let the potatoes cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are roasting, prepare guacamole and black beans.
  • Black Bean Sauce: In a shallow pan pour all the Enchilada sauce and black beans with 1/4 cup of water and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Guacamole: Prepare guacamole by dicing the Avocado, add onions, tomato, salt to taste and lime juice.
  • Assemble sweet potato: Slice each potato in half lengthwise like a hot dog bun leaving the bottom intact. Pour the saucy black beans in the middle and top it with fresh guacamole.
  • Garnish with chopped pepper and cilantro.

Did you like this post? Want more healthy recipes and features on other people doing cool, healthy stuff? Leave a comment and let me know!

can you get fit in a way that is good, fast and cheap?

Most of you know my friend Joe from his incredible before and after pics and the story of his incredible 80lb weight loss.

What you don’t know is that Joe and I originally met as theatre artists about fifteen years ago.

I was producing my first show and described the set I wanted – a cross between Miss Saigon helicopters and Phantom of the Opera crashing chandeliers but I had no budget and needed it by the end of the week.

Joe sat me down and told me I could have a set that was good, fast or cheap – I could pick two of those but couldn’t have all three.

Since then, I’ve learned that this rule applies to pretty much everything. And in this video, I’m telling you which are the most important TWO things to pick when you are trying to get fit:

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!