Sometimes you feels inspired and creative and can’t wait to rock your workout. And sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do. This workout was inspired by a beautiful morning when I couldn’t stand the thought of going to the gym. Instead I hit the beautiful Cedervale Ravine and along the way I designed this workout for you. It’s got: Continue reading The Cedarvale Ravine Challenge
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)
- 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.
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…
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!
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.
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
- 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.
- 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!)
So now we are deep into the summer and many of my Bootcampers and clients are off the cottage. So because I love you guys, I’ve designed a wicked full body strength training circuit here for you so you can stay fit and feeling good while you aren’t under my watchful eye. And the only equipment you’ll need is stuff you will find around most cottages:
- A Muskoka chair (or an Adirondack chair, for my American friends 🙂
- A strong paddle
- A hammock
- Something heavy (rock, a stump, a cooler full of beer, etc)
- A lifejacket
Download your PDF here and take it with you before your next weekend at the lake!
Make sure you warm up first – a 5-10 swim or a jog would do the trick. Alternatively, do 20 jumping jacks and 20 alternating lunges four times each to lubricate the joints and get the muscles warm and ready for action. Do 20 reps of each exercise in a circuit, keeping the transitions between the exercises quick so your heart rate stays elevated. The whole thing should feel like cardio. If you can repeat the whole circuit four times, you have definitely earned your cocktails on the dock! Check the videos for tips on form and proper execution and click here to download a PDF that you can tape up at your cottage for a summer of keeping fit and feeling good!
Station 1: Push- Ups:
Station 2: Paddle Pull – Ups
Station 3: One Legged Get Ups
Station 4: Jump Squats
Station 5: Hammock Abs
Station 6: Weighted Squats
Bonus Cottage Abs:
What do you think of the Cottage Workout? Leave a comment below! Don’t forget to download your PDF and make sure to share with any friends you think would like to stay fit and feeling good at the Cottage this summer!
Meet your Glutes!
Welcome to our first post in the ‘Meet a Muscle’ series! In this series, you can expect to be introduced to one of your muscle groups. You will learn:
- Where the muscle is
- What it does
- Why you should CARE
- How to train it
Why? Because knowledge is POWER.
And studies show that:
the more educated you are about exercise,
the more likely you are to adhere to exercise throughout your life.
So we are starting with that most trendy of muscle groups, our glutes!
What is it?
Your ‘glutes’ are actually a group of muscles; gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. The glute maximus is the largest muscle in your body and the primary player here.
Here’s the anatomy:
And here’s the
What do the the glutes actually do?
Your glutes are responsible for hip extension (ie. standing up, deadlifts), hyperextension (ie. kick your leg backwards, supermans) and abduction (ie. kicking out to the side, clamshells).
Why you should care
Many people don’t realize it but your glutes are considered part of your ‘core’ (pretty much anything that isn’t an appendage is part of your core). As such, they help balance and stabilize the body during almost every activity you do. At least, they should….
….But alot of people are suffering from ‘gluteal amnesia’
The term gluteal amnesia was coined by my favourite core training expert, Dr. Stuart McGill (he’s the reason we don’t bother with sit ups at our Bootcamps). It basically means your glutes have forgotten how to activate due to lack of use. Because we spend so much time sitting on our bums and not enough time walking and climbing stairs, our brains – those amazing computers of efficiency – decide to let those huge glute muscles go dormant. Which means that our hamstrings and lower back take over the job of extending the hip and stabilizing the pelvis. Which can lead to:
- lower back issues, ( including Disc Herniation)
- knee issues (including Patellofemoral pain Syndrome, IT Band Syndrome)
- hip pain (including Piriformis Syndrome)
- a challenge in pulling off the short shorts trend with dignity and grace:
I think I have gluteal amnesia! What do I do?
To address gluteal amnesia, we want to wake that lazy ass UP.
We do that through isolated glute activation exercises. These will remind our brains to fire off those awesome powerful muscles and reinforce the neuromuscular pathways that activate the glutes. The idea is to do these exercises before you train and really focus on how it feels to actively engage through the glutes. This way they get ‘switched on’ for the remainder of your workout. Here are a few exercises that will do the trick. Try 20 reps on each side for 2-3 sets as part of your warm up routine.
Then once you’ve activated the glutes, you can move on to more compound lower body movements (like squats and lunges and deadlifts, oh my!) and your glutes will be firing off like the fourth of July.
You’ll be all like
And if you really want to work your butt off (or, um, on) check out my signature GLUTE CHALLENGE. It’s a Fit Feels Good Bootcamp favourite!