The Cottage Menu by Joyous Health!

**note from Oonagh: I met Joy backstage at the Steven and Chris show and was struck by her sweet personality and total commitment to providing the world with healthy deliciousness. Her recipes are a go-to for me and I was really pleased when she agreed to create a menu to match my Cottage Workout. PS. These tahini cookies didn’t last a day in my house. Enjoy! ***
 Joy Website HeaderJoy McCarthy is a certified holistic nutritionist, founder of popular website and bestselling author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting. Joy is an international speaker, featured TV nutrition expert on “The Morning Show” and her expertise is featured in several publications across North America including the Globe & Mail. Joy is fiercely committed to clean beauty and has a line of natural and organic, non-toxic personal care products. She is the founder of Eat Well Feel Well, Toronto’s first and longest running integrated yoga and nutrition program.

You can find Joyous Health on Twitter here, Instagram here and Pinterest here and Facebook here.


World’s Easiest Pancakes

Pancakes and cottaging go hand in hand. You will love how simple the ingredients are and it will make you feel good knowing that you are putting food in your beautiful body that is absolutely whole, real and nutritious, even while up at the cottage!



Guacamole Devilled Eggs 

Two of the perfect cottage foods — guac and devilled eggs combined into one delicious dish (this post includes an easy-to-follow recipe video).


Quickie Quinoa Salad Bowl

Enjoy the guac devilled eggs with the Quickie Quinoa Salad Bowl because who wants to be slaving in the kitchen all day?



Chocolate Chip Fudgsicles

These delicious frozen treats are made with coconut milk and sweetened with maple syrup.


Sweet Pea Hemp Dip with Mint

This appetizer is always a huge hit, whether you’re entertaining a crew of friends and family at the cottage or just having a quiet weekend, this dip is refreshing and delicious. Enjoy with your favourite crackers.

Chopped Kale & Beet Salad

You might need to give your liver some love while cottaging. This easy salad recipe is crunchy, flavourful and detoxifying.

Grilled Chicken/Tempeh with Best Ever BBQ Sauce

Grill up some chicken or tempeh strips on the BBQ and top them with the Best Ever BBQ Sauce:

Dessert: Chew Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies


So what did you think of the Cottage Menu? Let Joy and I know which recipe you want to try most by leaving a comment…or share this page with the person you want to cook for you! 🙂

Best FREE Fitness on the Web

So the first question you might be asking is, “Why the hell would someone who supports her family by selling fitness services point us to where we can get it for free!?”.

And there are a couple of answers to that.

  • I genuinely want you to get fit and feel good. And by ‘you’ I mean all of you. Even those of you who will never come to one of my Bootcamps. And by ‘feel good’ I mean alive and strong and confident and ferocious and clear headed and kick ass. Like this:


So I want to give you as many tools as I can to make that happen!

  • I don’t really feel a big sense of competition with other fitness professionals. We are all so different. I  hope my clients try on all kinds of awesome fitness offerings. It’s one of the reasons that I love inviting guest instructors (like Obstacle Course champion Jesse Bruce and International Trainer of the Year Marc Lebert) and taking my Bootcamp groups on ‘field trips’, where we visit other fitness facilities (like Legacy Cycle and Bikram Yoga)
Some of the Riverdale crew visiting Legacy Cycle
Some of the Riverdale crew visiting Legacy Cycle
Marc Lebert with the Christie Pits crew
Marc Lebert with the Christie Pits crew


  • On my ‘About’ page, you’ll see that my mission is to

    to change lives by creating communities that foster healthy living and lots of laughter.

It’s not to run you guys through a bunch of push ups and sit ups” because really…who cares about that.

I care about feeling amazing. And nothing makes you feel more amazing than the kind of results you achieve when you’ve got a good trainer and a community of people who support you living a healthy life.

You might notice that whenever we feature the monthly Fitness Stories, everyone mentions that the other people on the team as their favourite part about Bootcamp. And that’s something you can’t get online.

But here’s what you can!



Whenever I take on new clients who are struggling with their weight or their energy levels, the first thing I will ask them to do is start to track their food intake. Even for those of us who THINK we eat mindfully, chances are (between 50-60% according to some studies) that we are drastically underestimating our caloric intake.  Don’t be afraid to find out and get real with yourself.  There are a bunch of free trackers but try Lose It or My Fitness Pal.

For awesome healthy recipes, try Oh She Glows (try to talk to a vegan without hearing about this site) and my friend Joy over at Joyous Health also does a lot of delicious mostly plants type stuff.  Clean Eating Magazine gives really nice seasonal 2 week menus with shopping lists and everything and World’s Healthiest Foods has a nice search engine where you can input the ingredient you want to use and exclude anything you are avoiding and all the corresponding good stuff will pop up.

Online Fitness

Remember that week when Netflix had fitness videos? Until that happens again, here some great options.

BeFit is a Youtube channel that has a huge variety of videos with various focuses and lengths. The Jillian Michaels ones are deservedly popular.

Fitness Blender is another good option for high quality, full length videos. There’s nothing super creative here but they get the job done for sure.

Remember Billy Blanks and the Tae Bo craze of the 90’s? He’s generous enough to allow all his full length videos on Youtube and they can be good to get your retro kick boxing fix.

If you need something quick and dirty, Tony Horton of P90x has a tough free 30 min Bootcamp style thing here. He’s got his folksy-yet-slick-American-trainer thing down.

If you want to supplement your regular routine with some extra abs or glutes, you could try some of the stuff at Blogilates. The host, Cassey is popular but she’ll be pretty girly for some of you.

If I’m working at my desk at home and need a quick energy burst, I like to rock out to a  Just Dance video (this is video game but I don’t really care about the points). This is obviously totally dorky but also totally awesome to shake off your desk life. This is a great option to do with your kids who need to burn off some energy as well (they have Just Dance Kids too – “I’m a Gummi Bear” – but I can’t deal. Better dance options for kids are listed here on ABCkids.). This past Christmas I insisted on Just Dance parties at each of my three Christmases and it was a fun way to take a break from stuffing ourselves and get off the couch.

But my favourite family dance party is to watch this video and we all try to copy the guy in the front (who makes me want to go back in time so I can ask him to be my boyfriend. Check it:)


If you are in the ‘baby steps’ phase of getting active, a ‘Couch to 5K’ program could be a great place to get started. This is a gentle 3 days a week program designed to help newbies gradually build up to running a 5k.

If you need a little motivation to get off that couch, you could try Charity Miles, which will donate to a charity to reward you for your mileage. If you are totally selfish and more about preserving your own life, you might want to try the cult favourite, Zombies Run. I haven’t tried this yet but it’s supposed to be highly…terrifying motivating.


If you are on the road and need a bodyweight challenge, try Sworkit (although it might have some in-app purchases; it’s got good reviews). If you have a set of dumbells handy, the Nike Training Club app is awesome.

If you want extra abs here’s Runtastic Abs.

Of all these, though, my most-used apps are Yoga Studio and Headspace, which I use to supplement my Bootcamp and dance classes for a well rounded fitness program. (Note – these ones aren’t exactly free. Yoga Studio is $3.99 and Headspace is free for a bit and then charges a subscription fee.) Yoga Studio has great pre-made yoga classes for all abilities and with different focuses. Headspace is described as ‘Meditation for Skeptics’ and it’s sort of like a Couch to 5K for meditation.

So maybe you’ve done the Cottage Workout to death and are about to go on vacation to Seize the last of Summer 2015. If so, I hope you download one of these apps or bookmark this page for a free workout and let me know which one you like best!

Thanks for reading!


Did you find this post helpful? Did I miss any awesome free fitness sources? If so, leave a comment. Feel free to share with friends and make sure you let me know if any of these help you get fit and feeling amazing!


It’s Party Time!

I’m talking about deep Summer; a time of year where schedules are all over the place and there are no ‘school nights’. The patio opens at 3pm and the weekend starts on Thursday.

This is totally you right now:


And guess what?

That’s ok!

I’m not even going to preach at you today to stay on track with all your fitness goals.

Yup, you read that right. You know why?

Because I actually think one of the most dangerous fitness myths is ‘Go Hard or Go Home’.

Have you ever heard that:

  • You must sweat at least three times a week to see any benefit
  • You really shouldn’t eat any sugar
  • You must meditate for 20 mins every day or there’s no point.

The Go Hard or Go Home mentality is dangerous because when people can’t meet those expectations (for example, when it’s Summer time/Party time), they DO NOTHING.




Or –  they oscillate between extremes that wreak havoc on the body and the spirit.

Does any of this sound familiar?

“I’m too tired to do a full workout so I’m going to skip it”

“I blew it this weekend. I’m starting a cleanse/detox/food challenge on Monday”

“I broke my no drinking streak so might as well have another beer”

“I can’t make it to every Bootcamp class in August so I’m not going to bother to sign up”



^^^Guys, this doesn’t have to be your August. ^^^

Party away, my friends, seize your summer and if you have to abandon your regular fitness routine, that’s ok – but:

Instead of trying to repair massive damage in September,

give yourself some small wins every day.


Studies have consistently shown that even small amounts of exercise are better than no exercise.

The classic example is that if you can’t go for a run, at least go for a walk around the block.

If you missed the first half of Bootcamp, come to the last half.

If you can’t leave your desk until the project is done, at least take three deep breaths.

When you keep track and celebrate small wins, you will enjoy your Summer more  – and build towards your larger goals.

This is why those baby steps are so important:

  • You break a pattern of inertia


  • You start a snowball effect. That walk around the block may turn into two blocks. Or even a jog.


  • You are reinforce a habit of health-positive behaviours, and more importantly, your self perception as someone who cares about their health.


But here’s the important thing

instead of thinking of that walk around the block as a failure to go for a run,

think of it as a success in getting off the couch.



So I get it. It’s Summer.

Your relatives are in town and you have to pack for your vacation and anyway, it’s sweaty enough without getting on a spin bike.

But can you give me a few small wins?  Stuff like this:

I don’t have time to make a week’s worth of healthy meals in advance

Could you boil a few eggs to have on hand?

Or maybe check out my 5 Minute Healthy Meals?

My kids won’t eat vegetables and I’m not the kind of mother that has time to make happy faces out of everything and then post it on Pinterest.

Could you throw a few leaves of spinach into a blueberry smoothie?


I slept through my Bootcamp class

Could you do the 7 min Workout at home? (do each exercise for 30 secs, with 10 secs rest in between)

I can’t commit to going for a run every day.

Could you walk around the block tonight?

I’m going away for a few weeks in August so I don’t want to commit to a program now.

No program needed. Just commit to doing SOMETHING every day that makes you feel good.

If you need some ideas for stuff to do on the road, check out my curated list of the Best Free Fitness On The Internet.

I didn’t sleep last night and I can’t handle doing a hard core workout right now

Could you do 20 mins of stretching and deep breathing?

Cool down 1

I said that one of the most dangerous myth of fitness is ‘Go Hard or Go Home’.

The other one is:  ‘I’ll be Happy When…”

I’ll be happy when I lose 10lbs

I’ll be happy when I can run as fast as I used to

I’ll be happy when I can feel confident in a sleeveless dress

I’ll be happy when I complete my marathon.

All those milestones are awesome and worth celebrating… But what if you celebrated your small wins every day?

When you choose the salad instead of the fries,

When you go for a summer evening bike ride instead of logging another hour in front of Netflix

When you remember to pack healthy snacks for your road trip and fly past the drive through line up at Tim Horton’s

How would that change how you feel TODAY?

And, just a reminder, it’s all about feeling good. NOW.


Happy Partying!



Leave a comment below and let me know about your small wins. And please share this post with any friends that could use a mid-Summer fitness boost!

Exercises for Better Sex

Most of you know that I have the very fun job of being a Fitness Expert on the Steven and Chris show. As you will see in the video below, I absolutely love it. The silliness of the show is totally my vibe and Steven and Chris are just as hilarious to work with as you’d imagine.

So the way it works is that the producer will call me and say “Oonagh, we’re doing on show on stress reduction. Can you do a segment on exercises that help with stress?” And I’ll say sure and send the producer a few ideas. We’ll work together to come up with content that is entertaining enough for viewers to sit and watch on their couch but also gives them very practical and usable fitness tips.  I’ll memorize a loose script, get my hair and makeup done and then then a couple of months later, my aunts who live in the prairies will be excited because they saw me on TV and I pretend to be all cool about it.

But I’ll be honest; when the producer called me and asked me to do an segment on exercises for better sex, I was immediately struck by a horrific premonition of  me doing Happy Baby Pose on international TV.

happy baby

Not to diss the producer’s idea; exercise in general is actually awesome for your sex life. Like, for example, committing to one of my awesome programs.Check it out:

  • Regular exercise creates lean muscle, increasing your testosterone and therefore your libido
  • Exercise can help prep you for the physical demands of sex. For 180lb man, 1 hour of sex is equal energy expenditure to 21 mins of boxing

lover fighter

  • Activity improves blood circulation to ALL areas of the body



  • Exercise reduces your ‘sexual age’. Sixty-year-olds who exercise frequently report having the same amount of sex and sexual pleasure as people decades younger.

60 year olds


  • Being fit increases confidence



  • Exercise itself can be very sexy. It’s thought that 5% of women orgasm during exercise. Sometimes called ‘coregasms’ (clever), most of these women report it happening during abdominal exercises. Like this:



I wasn’t super keen on demonstrating the coregasm on Steven and Chris.  Instead, we went for an approach of specific exercises that would train the muscles primarily working during sex. Obviously, it got goofy…

(Let me know what you think in the comments below and feel free to share with all your sexy friends!)


Meet Kaitlyn, our July 2015 Fitness Story! (prev. Bootcamper of the Month)

Meet Kaitlyn! According to Riverdale trainer, Trevor Pickett  “Kaitlyn has missed the 6am class about 4 times in the last 10 months. She always shows up with a great attitude and ready to go. She pushes herself and encourages everyone else around her too. Kaitlyn also makes sure everyone, especially new people know they are part of the team. She cheers everyone on and contributes to our fun group dynamic. Kaitlyn is totally deserving to be boot camper of the month. She rocks! “




Office Manager

How long have you been training with us?

10 months

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

A little yoga and jogging

What made you sign up for a FFG Bootcamp?

My friend Charlotte asked me to join to help get an east-end group started. I thought I would give it a try.

How has being an FFG Bootcamper changed your life?

I love mornings even more now.

I am in probably the best shape I have ever been, no lie.

I can feel it when I go out dancing now I never get tired.

I just dance the night away.

(PS. This is one of Oonagh’s favourite testimonials EVER 🙂


What do you do when you are not Bootcamping?

I love to eat pizza and going to see live music.

What’s your major fitness goal right now?

Maybe start to like running a little, so the whole group could do a 5k sometime.

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

In all seriousness I am in love with the east end crew.

We have had such great times at 6am,

but we work our butts off too.

 Never a wasted morning for my mind, body, or spirit.

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

Since we have been outside definitely the hill, but BURPEES could just disappear.

The Hill at Riverdale Park

Best/funniest Bootcamp moment?

Oh my god this is a hard one.  I love all the themed workouts.

I really had fun on Family Day watching the kids trying to keep up with their parents.

Bring Your Family To Bootcamp Day


Recently we worked out under covering to get out of the rain. There was a man sleeping close to us but Jesse Bruce did not turn down the music. I could go on and on..

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

For me exercise is hard

and I live with a disability that makes it even harder some days.

But with Bootcamp there are no excuses and you always try your best.


This is Kaitlyn doing lunges wearing a WEIGHTED VEST. No biggie.
This is Kaitlyn doing lunges wearing a WEIGHTED VEST. No biggie.

Just come out and meet us!! You will get use to waking up I promise!

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

Better squats and a longer plank.

I beat my sister in a plank challenge. Never thought I would do that in my life. 

Kaitlyn and some of the Riverdale crew
Kaitlyn and some of the Riverdale crew


Are you inspired by Kaitlyn’s Fitness Story? Leave a comment below to congratulate Kaitlyn or to say what part of her story you liked best!