Heather’s Healthy Lifestyle Makeover

Note from Oonagh:

When I first read Heather’s story, I thought her lifestyle would be hard to improve on!

As you’ll see – she is kind of a straight A student when it comes to fitness.

But then I spotted a few areas that could be tweaked that will give her much better results…

Let me know if you spot them before watching the video! – O

The Stats








My fitness goals are focused on endurance cycling. Being able to travel and ride with my boyfriend. Right now I am only able to ride with him on his recovery days. Due to my weight climbing hills is a struggle and huge effort. It would be nice for us to plan a vacation where we can do 100km rides together not worrying about terrain or location. This summer we are going to Portugal and I fear riding won’t be part of my trip due to the hills.


I am a person who works hard, I think in terms of challenges right now its losing weight. Weight loss would increase my overall fitness. In January 2017 I have done Moksha Yoga every day and spent over 10 hours on my bike (on a trainer). I have seen improvements in my strength, my endurance and my performance. No weight loss, very little change in my body and clothes. Its the struggle of working hard with little to no results that is my challenge.

Typical day:

Wake 5:30, Ride my bike for 30mins, Eat breakfast drive to work at 7am, leave work 4pm Yoga at 4:30. Home. Make dinner, eat 7:15pm (due to husbands training schedule) get ready for bed between 9-9:30


Coffee, Muesli Pita with Natural peanut butter and skiff of creamed honey


Salad with olive oil and vinegar, half a chicken breast, 1 slice of homemade sourdough. 1 cup homemade soup. (this is often eaten in stages over a couple of hours)


Daytime Buckin eh oats around 9:30 am 1/3 cup.

Sometimes an orange at some point in the morning or afternoon.

0% greek yogurt with 4 tbsp of homemade granola (chia, flax and wheat germ)

Night 250 ml of almond milk with vega protien and greens powder


Chicken breast, Pork Chop or Cod, basmati rice and broccoli. occasionally we add a salad


How happy are you with the state of your health? (scale of 1-10)


How happy with how you look?



Anything else I should know?

Last year I put 2500 km on my bike 2000 of those outside on the road.

I did not see a significant change in my body and my weight remained relatively the same.

I am wearing all the same clothes with really no change in fit.

I have hovered for the past few years between 180 and 190 pounds, with no significant difference regardless of the changes I have made.

I am frustrated, everything I do and have done would result in change for the average person.

I have had blood work done, I have had the celiac test, other than high iron everything is normal.

I don’t need to be a stick just need to be a healthy weight. Right now I am carrying and extra 30-40 pounds and its really difficult.

So….what advice would YOU give Heather?

Oonagh gives Heather a Healthy Lifestyle Makeover!

Resources for Heather:

Online bike training classes she can do from home:

Zwift  (classes you can stream at home to your TV or computer)

Peloton (an app)

Online yoga:

Yoga with Adrienne (a Youtube Channel)

Gaia (a paid streaming service)

Alternative breakfasts

Oonagh’s Favourite Smoothie

1/2 banana

2 cups kale

1 cup almond millk

1/2 cup blueberries

1 scoop Vega with greens

1 tbsp chia or flax seed

Simple scramble breakfast

2 eggs

1 handful of spinach

1 slice of Ezekial sprouted bread

Must reads:

What everyone ought to know about cycling for fitness. (This goes into more detail on how to get the most out of your cycling training and includes a workout for cyclists)

How to not exercise (this will explain more about why it’s so important to take time off!)


Leave a comment!

Did any part of Heather’s story resonate with you?

Do you have any tips for Heather that have worked for you?

Want to tell her that you are rooting for her and her upcoming trip?

Leave a comment below! 🙂


The 6 things I did to lose 25 lbs in 9 months

Last week I asked some of my most successful clients:


I’m a personal trainer  – but there is something pretty awesome about tapping into a hive mind of normal people (with jobs and kids and social lives) who have collectively lost hundreds of pounds and completely changed their fitness trajectory.

They had a lot to say – and I’m so excited to share it with you in a series called Transformer Tips, starting with Holly.

Holly was actually our Fitness Story a few months ago. Since then, she’s reflected on the 6 things she did that actually delivered the results:

The 6 Things I did to Lose 25lbs in 9 months

by Holly Best

Scrimmaging through the storage closet for the only power cord we apparently own in the entire house, I stumbled upon our family scale.

Odd – as I had sworn I had thrown that sucker under the nearest bus this past spring, after it accurately informed me that I had gained 2.5 pounds.

Punch drunk from the paint fumes leaking out from the under a pile of skates, I recklessly decided to give it a go.

And it is at this point we all freak out when I reveal that  I most definitely have lost 25lbs.

Nine months ago, this plump, completely unhealthy, happy Momma (me) decided to get fit by joining all the things that Oonagh has put her name on.

And now with the holidays squarely in my face, I am THAT GIRL – the one who has A Weight-Loss Story.

That’s great, you wonder, but most probably shouting, how the hell did you do it?

Do these 6 things – and you too will be approaching strangers, yelling at them that you lost 25 pounds.


Nothing begins without a willingness to do something, anything.

Just do it for god’s sakes, who cares if

  • your clothes aren’t hip
  • your sneakers are sneakers, not trainers
  • that you tend to turn bright as a tomato after running half a block.

No one, truly cares, NO ONE.

But you will, trust me on this, you will every single time the endorphins hit and that little pride button starts shining.


2. Sweat:

Walking for 2 hrs –  while great – isn’t really going to burn the sweet muffin top off.

After working-out you should be an uncomfortably smelly version of yourself, vindicated by what you have accomplished but disgusted by your own body aura.


3. Support:

Find a support group, a work-out buddy, someone who will make you accountable because guess what losing 25 pounds healthfully is not going to happen after two weeks.

We are talking months people. MONTHS.

Personally, I enjoy having a trainer at hand, and a community of like-minded Transformers who will kick my butt while patting me on the back when things seem impossible.

Go figure, I am human.


4. Ignore:

Ignorance is bliss. Or at least it is with me.

The scale is my enemy, rather than showcasing a slow, positive decrease in poundage, the scale forever triggers my inner demon who whispers,

“you’re so fat”

“what the hell, only 2 pounds”


To replace the scale, I use the clothing perspective, when a pair of pants I had in the closet for 3 years, FELL OFF my body in August, I realized that this shit was real.

Screw you scale.  The pants don’t lie.


5. Reduce:

Guess what? I ate too bloody much. All the bloody time.


The only way I learnt this was by joining the 28 Day Transformation Challenge.

It forced me to portion control, eat my veggies like some type of guru, stop snacking on my kid’s uneaten meals, and finally instructed me that sugar is not my boyfriend. My gawd, I wish I had a sugar boyfriend. Wait, I’m married.


6. Enjoy:

With all things in life, you should enjoy yourself, as these annual trips around the sun, are finite.

Once I realized that I hated lettuce, I stopped munching on it like some sad, depressive bunny.

The same can be said of running: it sucks.

Kickboxing and Bootcamp for some reason do not – hence my continued commitment to do both for close to an entire year.


There are a myriad of healthy options out there, folks – find what makes your heart sing, and you too will have a partner call you a gym rat (happily).


My name is Holly and this is my weight loss story. I still can’t believe it.


Holly Best – @GirlsSciFi

Holly Best, stay-at-home momma by day, voracious sci-fi reader by night, is taking over the world, one book review at a time. Her blog, Thank the Maker  is her perspective on all things sci-fi, and how it all ladders back to being a doting mom. Acquiring full geek status (and keeping it) isn’t easy and it’s one task Holly takes seriously, as she curls up with her favourite space operatic tome, quietly avoiding the laundry.

Did any of these tips resonate with you? Or what would you like to know about losing 25lbs in 9 months? Leave a comment below!


Maury’s Fitness Story

My favourite thing is when people show up to Bootcamp who really



had any intention of


going to


Because, as someone who avoided high school gym class the way that smart girl avoided drummers, I can relate.

It also always reminds me of this awesome bit by Jerry Seinfeld where he talks about how ‘The luge is the only sport where you could have people competing in it against their will – and it would be exactly the same.’

Maury was one of those people –  he was a bit of an involuntary luger/Bootcamper (and also probably a drummer, since he plays every musical instrument).

Here’s Maury’s Fitness Story:




Musician / Music Producer

How long have you been training with us? 

Since Fall 2013

Maury was one of the founding members of the Not So Early Risers. They love fitness.

Were you always an exerciser?

I dabbled in the 2003-2005 range but nothing stuck.

What did you do for your fitness before signing up with FFG?

Ahem. Does cleaning the house count?

What made you sign up for a FFG Bootcamp? 

My wife asked me to join as a gift for her birthday. I said “I do”, I mean “I will”.


How has being an FFG Bootcamper changed your life?

Well, for one thing I feel better (less shame) about my crazy musician lifestyle now. 

I also now understand how long it takes for my muscles to tighten up and be sore, instead of wondering aloud “what did I do?”.

My cardio has improved and that’s been a blessing.

So yeah, I’m thinking I’ve added 5 years to my life expectancy.


What do you do when you are not Bootcamping?

I play music professionally. Which these days, can mean anything from playing upright bass at a concert to hundreds of people to writing music for a documentary film or producing an album for Lori Cullen! (Oct 29th release!!!!)

Maury with the Barenaked Ladies and a banjo

What’s your major fitness goal right now?

To be able to do more than three pull ups without taking a break

and to break through 40 pushups in a row without taking a break.

Also, I had some pretty serious abdominal surgery nearly 20 years ago and I feel like I’ve never had abdominal strength, but a girl can dream ya know?

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

Not a !@#@!-ing chance.

I am allergic to early morning wake ups and as a result,  I will always come to Late Risers.

You’re always telling us that we are kicking the Early Risers’ asses

(Note from Oonagh to Early Risers: I never said that. x)

so I am comfortable with that decision.

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

Again, I will never wake up early to exercise. 9:45 Am is just fine. The Burpee is an all time hated exercise for me but I also heard that they hate us as well. SO there.

Weirdly enough. One of our Not So Early Risers went to school with this guy's daughter.
Weirdly enough. One of our Not So Early Risers went to school with this guy’s daughter.

Best/funniest bootcamp moment?

It is a tie: Drake Carlyle in a full camouflage suit (with jacket and mathing pants) in summertime heat/ humidity. He is a soggy inspiration to us all.

more of Drake's incredible camo suit worn at 2014 semi formal Bootcamp
Drake’s incredible camo suit worn at 2014 semi formal Bootcamp

My wife constantly using female genitalia as a reference point in conversation between exercises. She is a salty inspiration to us all. 

(Note from Oonagh: A guest trainer texted me after leading the Not So Early Risers: “I will never think of box jumps the same after that class”)

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out with FFG Bootcamps or just thinking about it?

Come and join the group of misfits. We are just like New York City: All Sins are forgiven. 

The Not So Early Risers in a ball pit. I swear this is legit fitness.
The Not So Early Risers in a ball pit. I swear this is legit fitness.

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

Ongoing attendance. What club could stand to have me in it for three years? Victory!!!!!

For someone who is almost always on tour or recording, Maury has been amazing about getting to Bootcamp. Which is why he earned the very coveted Fit Feels Good trophy for Most Improved Over the Summer. (check out his sweet shirt as well ).


Who’s impressed with Maury’s gift to his wife of committing to getting fit despite his rock and roll lifestyle? Leave a comment below –  and send Maury’s story to someone you love who needs more burpees in his life. 🙂

I met Holly on the first day of our sons going to Junior Kindergarten. Our perfectly prepared kids shattered my momstagram intentions and immediately set about trying to destroy each other. Holly was super calm about it and smiled at me comfortingly and said ‘just ignore it. They’ll let us know if there’s blood’.

She was like a Zen Master to me.

And then I noticed that she always showed up at Drop Off wearing sneakers and looking kind of sporty. I asked her about it… and she was quick to assure me that she just likes to walk. Period.

I invited her to Bootcamp and she laughed in my face.

Here’s what’s happened since then. This is Holly’s Fitness Story.






Stay-at-home parent


How long have you been training with us?  

Since May, 2016, moving into 4 months now

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

I was a walker.  Fortunately not a White Walker –

white walkers

but rather that person you see puffing around the streets for an hour, clearly thinking she is doing something but in fact, only walking.

As for more structured forms of excercise, there is a treadmill at home that serves as a wonderful jungle gym for my child


and for a year I practiced yoga… the when – as well as the flexibility – have escaped me.

What made you sign up for the FFG Bootcamp and the 28 Day Challenge?

Trainer pressure: Luck on my side, my child happens to attend the same school as Oonagh’s; after two years of her encouragingly bellowing from her car window for me to join Bootcamp, I acquiesced.

Me at drop off. Every. Day.
Oonagh at drop off. Every. Day.

My commitment to better health truly began once I acknowledged my resistance to join.

With an irrational unease of trying new things, compounded by a fear of change, I had to step out beyond my personal comfort zone to finally register for the Challenge.

The 28 Day Challenge offered an on-line support system with guided meal plans and exercise regimes that rang true.  Once graduated, I assessed how far I had come in one month and committed myself to better health by joining Bootcamp in May.

I went from a “I don’t do excercise classes” to a Bootcamp freak.

How have the programs changed your life?

I cannot stress enough how much both programs have altered not only my physical but my mental state.

Being fit truly does make you feel good. Thanks to the Challenge I broke up with sugar, banned white flour from the house and happily put my Kitchen Aid into a cupboard .

(My Kitchen Aid recently apologized for sulking once I learnt how to bake with healthier flour options).

Joint pain and a general malaise have disappeared.

The best is my outlook to life. I am better able to handle stress, more accepting to the realities of situations, and no longer falling on food to get me through, but my state of mind.


What do you do when you are not Bootcamping? 

Beyond ‘getting huge’, I am an avid reader of science fiction with the humble goal of taking over the world one SF book review at a time through my blog, Thank the Maker, girlsguidetoscifi.blogger.ca.


This Fall I plan to re-enter the workforce as a content writer, moving firmly away from my ESL days of teaching. I also have a son and husband who both manage to keep me away from my books far too much.

What’s your major fitness goal right now? 

To jog 30 minutes self-motivated without taking a significant break and/or being chased by vampires.


What about coming to Bootcamp makes you jump out of bed at 5am singing the Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music? Or what did you love about the 28 Day Challenge?

Nothing can get me to jump out of bed at 5am singing anything, not even Duran Duran.


…Thus my commitment to the “Not So Early Risers” Bootcamp.

What I absolutely loved about the 28 Day Challenge is that it woke me up, ground me to the present moment, allowing me to focus and become the person I always knew I was.

The Challenge became less a weight-loss means and more a transformative process. The program provides all the avenues to success: on-line support, grocery lists, recipes, at home excercise programs, informative, motivating staff.

I finally had the tools needed to make healthy choices.

The 28 Day Challenge

What exercise or drill makes you cower under your bed covers and pretend you don’t hear your alarm? Or what was the worst moment of the Challenge for you?

Planks used to be the devil, but I have overcome that beast and have only the dreaded burpee to slay.

Let me just say at no time does anyone really need to do a burpee and I cannot for the life of me figure out why Oonagh Duncan continues to make me do them.

As for the 28 Day Challenge, it was week 3, realizing that I wasn’t losing the weight I had anticipated I would, comparing my gains to others and fraught with anxiety.


Once I stopped comparing, communicated my fears with my on-line group of Challenge members, I was able to redefine my personal goals, move forward and continue to adapt my relationship with food.

Best/funniest bootcamp/Challenge moment?

Bootcamp: Feeling the need to roar like Hulk, and then ROAR. I am quite the bad-ass.


Challenge: Subsequently moving from the 28 Day Challenge to the Alumni program realizing that my month long Challenge had a become a lifestyle.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out with us or just thinking about it?   

Don’t hesitate.

I am the queen of hesitation; having spent 2 years fretting about joining Bootcamp; thinking:

I wasn’t in shape enough
Not owning excercise clothes
Unable to jog

…all that crap bouncing in my head.

Guess what?
No one can suddenly jog.  You have to train.
Exercise clothes are clothes you sweat in – who cares what they look like?

Holly is now able to run but hasn't managed the gym clothes yet...
Holly is now able to run but hasn’t managed the gym clothes yet…

You join to get in shape not because you already are.

As for the 28-Day Challenge, my entire life has changed.

Being 20 pounds lighter, with a body that weekly becomes stronger and a new mental relationship with food, I am Holly 2.0.

When you are feeling tired, anxious, stressed, achy..the 28 Day Challenge will sort you out. It is remarkable how a proper diet with proportioned meals with a regular fitness regime can and will change your life.

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

Graduating from the 28-Day Challenge and then committing myself to the Lifetime Challenge is my most accomplished moment. The mental shift from completing the Challenge to making it a lifestyle took weeks of self-negotiating.

Finally admitting that I could be fit, and that wanting to be a healthy, sexy 45 year old by November was plausible.

My greatest accomplishment is believing in myself.


I love Holly’s final words – and it’s been so much fun watching her become such a jock! If any of Holly’s story resonated with you, leave her a comment below!

Liz’s Fitness Story

I am on vacation this week! So I asked our West End trainer, Scott Bussel, if there was anyone on his team who is blowing him away lately with their awesomeness.

Scott emailed right away and told me about Liz:

“I can remember Liz’s first introduction to Bootcamp in our indoor Roncesvalles space this past January. Slightly intimidated but equally determined she wanted to cover everything from how much sleep she needed, what to eat before coming to bootcamp, and how to do those pesky walking lunges we covered during warm-ups.

Since day one Liz has worked hard and improved every single class – whether it’s been a morning of upper body destruction, squat madness, or death by burpees – she exerts herself  and pushes hard right till the end.

She has even requested workouts for life on the road and a resistance band to pack in her travel bag on business.

Liz is a gem for the West End crew I can only see her getting better during the remaining summer months.”


This is Liz’s Fitness Story:







Partner & Consultant


How long have you been training with us? 

Since January 2016.


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


I absolutely love being active – so I hike, swim, walk, and bike – but I can’t lie and say I was working out regularly.


What made you sign up for a FFG Bootcamp? 


I have a career that keeps me busy and on my toes and I also have a lot of energy – I was looking for something that I could do regular that would keep me interested and fit.


How has being an FFG Bootcamper changed your life?


I am happier and generally more balanced.

I am also proud to be a bootcamper, and its kind of fun to tell people that I get up at 5:30AM on a regular basis.


(note from Oonagh: I LOVE this testimonial. Because if it’s not about being happy, what’s the freaking POINT!?

Also – she should be damn proud. This shit isn’t easy. And when I see my clients show up, week after week, to be uncomfortable and challenged and push past their boundaries at SIX A.M., I am truly in awe. )


What do you do when you are not Bootcamping?

Work, play, sleep, repeat. I just took almost a month off of work for a much needed vacation and break, I went to Amsterdam, Portugal, Vancouver and Pemberton.

I am also working on a trifecta of music festivals this summer – some people call me “Lizstomania”. Oh, and who can forget my healthy addiction to my Fitbit.


What’s your major fitness goal right now?


I want to start running regularly.


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


Not much when the alarm goes off – but I do love the people (especially the high fives) and I enjoy (almost) every second of our workout.

some of the High Park crew
some of the High Park crew with trainer Scott looking all GQ

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

One word: BURPEES! #bootcampproblems




Best/funniest bootcamp moment?

My best moment has to be when I could finally do a push-up…


What advice would you give someone who is just starting out with FFG Bootcamps or just thinking about it?

It is well worth it, and it really does change your life.

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

I ran a 10K this year which I did not think I could do.

Also when I was in Vancouver I biked up a lot of hills which would have been much more difficult a year ago.



Do you ask your trainer for workouts to do on your vacation?  Leave a comment below to give Liz some props for all her dedication! 🙂