The CPR Rap

Happy Heart Month, everyone!

As a former CPR instructor, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to get you to brush up on your CPR skillz with this sweet-ass rap video!

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Here’s the story behind it:

I was watching my son play in the sandbox one day when I started to think up these dorky rap lyrics (it’s not the first time it’s happened, and it probably won’t be the last).

Later that week I had beers with my friend (and Canadian Comedy Award winning comic) Sara Hennesey and rapped it to her at the bar. This was her reaction:


Sara contacted her friend Jeremy Mersereau, who recorded it my vocals in his living room, laid down some sweet beats and added that awesome guitar riff (it’s actually from “All I Need is The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies. You see what he did there?).  The intro voice is from an old educational video about CPR. Probably this guy:


Sara then got her filmmaker friend Tristan Gough to direct and put a call out to her comic friends, asking them who wanted to donate their time to get dressed in silly costumes and be in a CPR rap video.

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So now I get to watch this video and recognize all these incredibly successful and talented people who agreed to spend a day FREEZING their butts off in the alley behind my house in exchange for some Tim Hortons coffee and bagels.

Who says that Canadian talent is underpaid?

(Torontonians – look for Dawn Whitwell, Helder Brum, Stephanie Kaliner, Todd Graham, Dan Galea and Phil Luzi)


About -22 degrees celcius that day.

The CPR manikin actually completely froze and therefore the compression shot didn’t really happen.

But you get the point. This is how you save a life, yo!




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!


When Oonagh tries Chef’s Plate

Guess what? I was once a Personal Chef.  You might be thinking “but, Oonagh – I’m on your LinkedIN profile all the time and I’ve never seen that!” I know. Because I wasn’t very good at it. I did, however, make off with this sweet professional-looking jacket. I wear this whenever I want to make an unholy mess of my kitchen and set off the smoke alarm:


The truth is that I find planning meals, having the right ingredients on hand, and then having 35 kid-free minutes to whip up a meal really challenging. Which is sucks because:

  • It’s sort of MY JOB to stay healthy (it’s sort of your job, too. Just sayin’)
  • I know that huge part of staying healthy is eating well.
  • I believe that eating well is mostly about making your own food (see the intro to the cookbook we created last year, where I talk about the immense value of home cooking)

So you see the dilemma. For me, doing one hundred burpees (like we just did in my 9:45am Bootcamp) is fun on a bun:



…but figuring out how to consume more broccoli, less beer

is a serious pain in my ass.

Enter Chef’s Plate.

Chef’s Plate is not like other meal delivery services where you get the cooked meal and your job is to reheat and serve. With Chef’s Plate, they send you ingredients and a recipe card. A local Toronto start up, Chef’s Plate nailed down executive chef Jason Rosso (formerly of Sassafraz) to design the yummy weekly menu. The clincher? They make an argument that you actually save money with Chef’s Plate because the pre-measured ingredients ensure that you aren’t over-buying – or wasting – food.

Their prices work out to $10.79 a plate and they point out that a consumer would spend 120% more in buying the ingredients from Loblaws. I think they are probably right.

So I put in my order for the two vegetarian options last week, the Traditional Korean Bibimbap and the Golden Cherry Tomato & Feta Rustic Tart. Here’s what happened:

  • It was very exciting to get the package and the recipe card and unpack them, imagining myself as a luscious Nigella Lawson type just cranking out these gorgeous meals for my family.


  • I actually learned a lot about cooking. The recipe cards are written for novices (or *cough cough* former Personal Chefs) so the instructions are very detailed.   I learned a whole new way of cooking rice that I will definitely use again. And it was easier to make pastry from scratch than I thought.


Tart about to go in the oven
Tart about to go in the oven


I still totally burned the carmelized onions, though:



  • Chef’s Plate expanded my food horizons.  Neither of these dishes have ever been on my weekly food rotation and variety is a good thing.
  • The food was delicious. For reals. For someone who likes to keep things basic, I was super chuffed with myself when I was finished.
Traditional Korean Bibimbap


For all these reasons, I totally recommend that you give Chef’s Plate a try. Best of all, you can get two FREE trial meals on me by entering the code below on the Chef’s Plate site:

Get my Two Free Meals From Chef’s Plate

Really. Do it. It’s a great service, you’ve got nothing to lose and I totally recommend it. One caveat, though:

the two meals that I made were calorie BOMBS,


weighing in at 740 calories per serving for the Bibimbap


and 875 calories per serving for the Tart.

IMG_3376 I emailed Chef’s Plate to ask about it and this is what I got back:

 “Please note that our customers (and your readers) are always provided with the caloric information before they order the meals so they can see exactly what meals fit their diet.”

As I mentioned, these were the only vegetarian options for that week. However, it’s worth noting that this week’s menu includes Miso Tofu Skirataki Noodles and Zucchini Fritters with Yogurt Dipping Sauce, which have a much more reasonable calorie count (350 and 380 per serving, respectively). There is also a Chicken Summer Crunch Salad and Baked Trout with Sautéed Leeks for my omnivores. Both have moderate calories and punch hard in the nutrient department. yummy   So go get those two free meals and share this post with your friends so they can get theirs.  Here is the link again. Then make sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think of  Chef’s Plate.

Happy carmelizing!

Seize the Summer

“Does it ever seem like summers are getting shorter?

Like time is moving faster?”

I said this to my friend Cam as we waited for the Dream in High Park to start in 2004. We had a picnic and some wine and liked to get into the deep stuff. He was a fellow actor but also a sciency sort, and he told me about ‘ratio theory’.
The idea, he explained, is that time is experienced as a percentage of our total existence.  
So for a four year old,  a year represents 25% of his existence. For a 50 year old, a year is only 2% of her life, making it relatively insignificant.
I’ve thought about that theory a lot since that picnic. When it seems like my kids are morphing before my eyes, when I’m still not used to writing 2016 on cheques and the year is half over. Thinking about that picnic also reminds me that we really don’t know how many summers we have left. My lovely friend Cam died in an accident when he was only thirty years old.

So here I am at the starting line of summer… that sweet moment we Canadians wait for during the months of grumbling and scraping our cars in the dark. And I’m thinking,
“Summer 2016, I’m gonna grab you by the balls.”
Because life is short. Because summer is sweet.

Here’s how to do it:

The key is to not wake up in September and realize you forgot to do the things that are important to you. The hard part is identifying those in advance. I tackle it with Persons, Places, and Things:


You know those people that you love being with but you realize you haven’t seen them since that Christmas party? If part of your perfect summer involves reconnecting with certain people, then take action now to make sure it happens. You might be surprised to find out that your next mutually available Saturday is in August.
And then look closer to home and think about your family. Here are some of my essential family experiences for the summer:
  • One big old family reunion. Parents, grandparents, cousins, a casserole that involves cheez whiz. Let’s do this.


  • At least one romantic summer night in the city date with my husband. Bikes. Sundress. Patio (check out this list of Toronto’s most romantic patios)



  • At least one lazy afternoon in the park with my kids per week. Sitting in the sun with my bare feet in the sandbox, watching all sorts of projects and kid drama unfold. Unfortunately, I have the kind of life where I have to schedule this. But it’s happening.


What are your essential summer destinations? I need:
  • A visit to Toronto Island. My husband finds those quad bikes embarrassing but the kids and I outnumber him.

quad bike

  • A visit to a farm to go berry picking. Every year I say ‘let’s go berry picking!’ and my husband informs me we are already into apple season. That’s how in tune with nature I am. Here’s a great list of what is in season in Ontario and here’s where to get it. Advance warning: Strawberries are over in July. OVER.


  • A trip. Sure, a Euro rail pass would be great, but I’m talking about even a road trip to Port Dover, Ontario (which, by the way, has a surprisingly delightful 1950’s seaside kitch vibe). Here’s a link to some other awesome options.  (Did you know there is an Apple Pie trail? Doesn’t that strike you as an EMERGENCY?)

apple pie

  • To just be outside.  This seems obvious but we are creatures of habit. What routines can you move outside? Your lunch at work? Your workout (cough cough Bootcamps) Meetings? Your commute? Dinner? Watching the entire third season of Orange is the New Black on your laptop in the front porch after the kids go to sleep?
This is actually a picture of my sister, Shannon Duncan, doing her SEO job in the forest using a car battery and a homemade stepper for exercise. I'll just let that sit for a bit.
This is actually a picture of my sister, Shannon Duncan, doing her SEO job in the forest using a car battery and a homemade stepper for exercise. I’ll just let that sit for a bit.


Another theory of why time seems to speed up as we get older is that we measure time in memorable events. (I talk about this in my blog trying to convince you to sign up for a race) Whereas childhood is marked by many ‘firsts’ and memorable experiences, adult life tends to be more routine and a lack of memorable events causes the time to smooth out and condense.
So what things can you do this summer to create memories?


  • Throw a party. I actually hate hosting parties like most people hate exercising but I’m always glad when I do it. My favourite low-key party is bringing pizza and sangria to the park and inviting a bunch of families for a 5-7pm type thing. Easy, cheap and no clean up. Perfect for a June school night.
  • Run a race. Or tackle a section of the Bruce Trail each weekend. Or join a Bootcamp and commit to going every day. Do the Ride for Heart. Learn how to salsa. Make Summer 2015 the year you accomplished something and made yourself proud.


Most importantly, in all this summer planning, schedule unscheduled time.
There is another theory that time speeds up as we age due to stress.
The feeling that we don’t have enough time to get things done can be reinterpreted by our brains as time passing too quickly. So whether you tick off everything on your perfect summer list or not, take the time to breathe and savour every minute of the summer you have. Like this one. 🙂

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