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!

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?

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!

How to Stop Overeating

Have you ever seen those diet ads that say ‘get a flat belly with this one weird trick!’ ?

I’m going to give you a weird trick.  You can eat whatever you want as long you apply this one weird trick.

Don’t eat unless you are truly hungry.

Duh, right?

Except a lot of us really suck at that.

Some cultures have definitely figured it out:

In Okinawa, Japan they have a custom of saying Hara hachi bun me before every meal – which means ‘eat until the belly is 80% full’. (Their low BMI is thought to be one of the reasons why Okinawa is a pocket of exceptional longevity.)

The Ayervedic tradition recommends eating until 75% full.

And in France they don’t say “I’m full” after a meal. They say “I’m no longer hungry”

This is where we want to get: No longer hungry. Not riding the standard North American cycle of stuffed and starving.


Here’s how to do it:

1. Eat Real Food

When you eat processed food, it messes with your natural hunger and satiety cues.

Those foods are engineered to release feel good hormones and block your sense of being full. That’s what’s happening physically.

Now add all the mental noise you might experience around that food if you are trying to eat healthy and it’s a forbidden food.

Thoughts like:  ‘I screwed up. I suck.  I might as well finish the bag of chips. That way it won’t be here tomorrow and I can start fresh’.

This mental and physical shitstorm is almost always going to trigger overeating.

You can make it much easier on yourself by just eating real food. Food that wasn’t made in a factory. Food that your grandmother ate.

When you eat whole, unprocessed food, your body’s satiety cues will kick in because you are delivering the nutrients it needs.

It’s really pretty much impossible to binge on vegetables. You couldn’t if you TRIED.

And here’s the deal:

If you aren’t hungry enough for vegetables, you aren’t really hungry.

Which brings me to my next point:

3. Know the difference between hunger and a craving:

  •  Cravings will go away if you distract yourself or wait it out. Hunger will return no matter what.
  • Cravings will usually be for a specific kind of food. If you are hungry, broccoli looks good.
  • Cravings are usually emotionally or situationally driven. Hunger is physical. You feel it in your stomach or sometimes it feels like a headache or lightheadedness.

(For more on cravings, check out my video on Should You Listen To What Your Body is Craving?)

The thing is that most of us give into our cravings so much that we don’t even know what hunger feels like, so:

4. Experience hunger

There’s a good chance that you rarely experience hunger. Kids these days are basically on an IV drip of Goldfish crackers

and even health-minded adults will graze all day under the pretence of keeping their metabolisms revved.

Allow yourself to get hungry ….and then DON’T PANIC.

Hunger isn’t an emergency. Diarrhea is an emergency.

Tell yourself you can have food anytime you want, but you just want to experience being hungry for a few minutes.

Once you get to know real hunger, you will start to become better acquainted with how it feels in your body vs. a craving.

BONUS:  Allowing genuine hunger before your meals will also make your food taste crazy delicious.  Check out the euphoria people experience while doing my 28 Day Transformation Challenge)

5. Design your environment for success.

Here’s the plan:

1. Chuck the all the shit in your house that you would be likely to overeat.

Do a reverse Marie Kondo. Hold the ice cream in your arms and if it brings you joy, chuck it.


Just kidding but seriously – you know which foods are the highway to the Danger Zone.

2. Do food prep so you have healthy, real food on hand THAT YOU LIKE.

I’m not talking about punishment diet food.

I’m talking about something that makes you feel satisfied (not stuffed) when you eat it. So that when you are actually hungry, it’s there for you. No feelings of scarcity and deprivation.

(For prep and easy meal ideas check out the Meal Prep Power Hour and 5 min Healthy Meals)

3. Pre-portion your meals.

Fill half of every plate with veggies and then add a palm sized amount of protein and a fist sized amount of carbs and a thumb sized amount of fat.

You can even cheat by using pre-portioned containers like this:

4. Eat slowly and be mindful.

Try chewing. Pay attention. Enjoy.

A general meditation practice will help in all things weight loss (more about that here) but if you have trouble with being mindful with your food, try these apps.

Eat Slowly
Am I Hungry?
20 Min Eating

5.Stop before you are full.

If you followed my portion guidelines, there is a really good chance that you will still feel like eating after your portion is gone.

It’s ok. You won’t die and it will pass.

Drink some water, maybe brush your teeth and walk away.  Wait 1 hour.

If you are still genuinely hungry, have more! No big whoop. Eat it slowly, appreciate it and stop before you are stuffed.

And then dab your cute little face, re-apply your lipstick and get on with your life.

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