It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The real one. Because we are moving from our winter indoor locations and back to our home parks to:
Watch the sun rise as we storm the hills and feel the burn in the glutes
Use the monkey bars to finally get that pull up
Lie in the grass and look at the clouds during our killer ab routine.
Exercising first thing in the morning outdoors is what’s called a ‘keystone habit’…something that will cause a positive ripple effect through the rest of your day (but don’t take my word for it; ask Maija, our featured Bootcamper).
But, ok: if you CANNOT deal with the 6am factor, we have got you covered with a 9:45am and a 6:30pm. Excuses? Gone. Summer 2015? Awesome.
PS-Did you know that every FFG Bootcamp membership comes with a six-week whole foods clean eating meal plan? It includes one of my favourite recipes, Deconstructed Sushi. Check it out!
Featured Bootcamper: Maija Malinen
What made you sign up for a FFG Bootcamp? How long have you been training with us?
Haha! I never had any intention of signing up for a bootcamp. I was volunteering with an organization that held a silent auction at a fundraising event. One of the items up for auction was a month of bootcamp. Soon Oonagh emailed and informed me that not only was I starting the next day but that it would be before the crack of dawn. And that was the first time Oonagh made me sweat.
This was October of 2013, 18 months ago.
Yummy Feel-Good Recipe!
Toss 1 cup brown rice with ingredients except for sesame seeds. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour on top or bowl, mix well. Top with sesame seeds. Reserve remaining cup of rice for lunch tomorrow!
Want to know the secret to eating healthy food? Planning! Do you think that kale is going to fall into your mouth? No.What is more likely to happen when you are HONGRY and haven’t prepared healthy meal options is this:
- The 5 rules of Meal Planning
- The Best Places to Find Healthy Recipes
- The Healthiest Convenience Foods
- Best Batch cooking ideas
I’m (sort of) famous! I’m now a regular ‘expert’ on the Steven and Chris show on CBC. Click the pic to check out some of my recent episodes and stay tuned on March 26th for my upcoming segment on ‘Exercises for Better Sex’. Saucy!
What keeps Bootcamp interesting and fun during the long cold months where we are indoors and not in our beloved parks?
- Holiday Party Bootcamp with fingers lights!
- Team field trips to boutique Crossfit, Spinning and Yoga and Boxing Studios.
Huge thanks to all of our studio friends for hosting us and kicking our butts!
This is my inspiring food-instagramer friend Penny doing her weekly meal planning. Doesn’t that look exactly like the life you want? Click the pic to get Kristen’s awesome meal planning cheat sheet!
January 15 2015
After a year of working on it, I’m so excited to have finally launched our Fit Feels Good cookbook! This was an enormous collaborative effort with many FFG clients contributing their best recipes, our Holistic Nutritionist Kristen Spencer, the amazing design skills of Jenny Gitman, illustrations by Sarah Lazarovic and photography and recipe testing by Alex Wesson Photography, Penny Pantazopoulos, Raelene Ernst, Sharlanne McStay, Joshua Hind, Sarah Oleksinski Jamal and Kristen Spencer. Free for you to download here! Enjoy and let us know which recipe is your favourite!
January 14 2015
So what’s going on with Bootcamp in 2015?
I’ll tell you what’s going on with Bootcamp in 2015. It’s going to be awesome!
1. We are going to get crazy buff…starting tomorrow.
Starting tomorrow, we are starting a 2 month split training program. What that means is that we will be dividing up the muscles groups and focusing on specific muscles on different days. We are going to be working with a ‘Push/Pull/Legs’ split. What that basically means is that on Monday we will be focusing on resistance training that pushes resistance away from the body. Wednesday we will be pulling resistance towards the body. And Friday is all about the legs. Every day we will do core and cardio. (Tuesday and Thursday people, you’ll be doing Upper Body on Tuesday, Lower Body on Thursday). If you google ‘Push/Pull/Legs’ you’ll see that it’s a really classic strength training program, based on the fact that it allows for balanced time spent on each muscle group, much higher volume than we’ve been doing and adequate recovery. In thinking about whether you are pushing or pulling you are also tuning into the athletic and real life advantages of strengthening these muscles. You guys know that I love to switch things up and this is going to give us some awesome muscle toning and metabolic kick to start off the New Year! The only disadvantage is that you really don’t want to miss a day because then you won’t hit that muscle group for a while (if that MUST happen, email me so I can send you the workout to do at home :).
2. We are going to train for wicked events
So far, I’ve had some interest in the Sporting Life 10K on May 10th, The Urban Mud Hero on May 22/23 and City Chase (August date TBD). We should probably hit up another Alpha course as well (that cinder block isn’t going to drag itself through the sand). Any other suggestions?
3. We are going to be re-branded!
We all know what we’ve got going on is better than a “bootcamp”. I’m thinking we might be a FIt Club. Stay tuned! (and if any of you are branding/marketing geniuses, lend me your wisdom!)
4. We are looking into a summer excursion!
Amanda from Riverdale and I were talking about this last year and now Maija from the Annex is doing some research as well. Would anyone be into a Muskoka or Algonquin bootcamp (uh, I mean ‘Fit Club’) weekend? I could organize some chill yoga/hiking type stuff and/or a serious Kayaking/Paddleboarding/rock climbing/burpees on the dock obstacle course of champions… Kids and families? No kids and families? Beer? Kale? Beer AND Kale? Let me know what kind of experience you would be interested in, what your budget would be (could range from dirt cheap camping in Algonquin to pricier family resort cabins type thing..)
5. We are going to have a celebrity guest instructor in March!
I’m so excited because I’ve just nailed down Marc Lebert from Lebert Fitness to come and visit us in March!
6. We are going to have ‘Bring your Family to Bootcamp’ day!
On Friday, February 13th with a guaranteed fun and awesome workout for kids, adults and spouses who want a glimpse into why you are so sweaty and energized at 7am.
7. We’ve got some fun field trips coming up!
East enders, you are going to get a taste of the crazy greek guy who taught me how to spin at Legacy Indoor Cycling and West Enders, we are going to check out the new United Athletics at Bloor and Dufferin. Dates TBD!
8. I’m going to stop bugging you for money every 6 weeks!
Stay tuned for more flexible and convenient pricing options with a-la-carte payment or year-long pricing with automated billing every month.
I’m happy and grateful to get to work with all of you! Here’s to an incredible year!
Dec 4 2014
Why you should NEVER skip a Bootcamp…
Consider how much discipline it takes to workout three days a week. Think about how hard it is to keep stretching beyond our comfort zones and how challenging it is to exercise at high intensities. Consider the self-resolve required to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water every day when temptations surround us everywhere we go. But if you have the courage to respect your body – the temple that houses your mind and spirit – personal mastery will not be far away. It says a lot about who you are as a person when you invest the time to take care of yourself. It says you respect and love yourself enough to do the things necessary for you to be at your personal best. Each time you get into the gym for a workout on a day when you just don’t feel like exercising, you grow a little stronger as a human being. Each time you get up to go to Bootcamp on a cold winter’s morning when you just feel like staying under the warm, cozy covers, you strengthen your character. When you endure a tough workout, it enables you to persevere through any other challenge in your life. Working on improving your physical conditioning will not only enrich your life and make you a better person, you’ll also become a better parent, a better spouse, a better and more productive worker, and a better friend.
Exercising regularly, eating well and taking the time to relax and nourish your body will make you feel happier. It will provide you with more energy than you have ever known. It will give you greater stamina and mental toughness and make you a clearer, stronger thinker. It will make you more patient and loving. There are 168 hours in a week. Surely each and every one of us, regardless of our hectic schedules, can carve out three of them to care for our bodies and work on mastering our physical state.
You’ve got to remember that a missed workout is much more than just a missed workout! When you miss a workout, you don’t just stay at the same level you were at – you actually take a few steps back. Every time you miss a workout, you have done something to strengthen the habit of NOT working out. When you’ve made the promise to yourself to exercise three times per week and then you break that promise, you start to lose trust in yourself. With each missed workout, you start to lose self-confidence and begin to question whether you can actually stick with it at all. A missed workout fuels self-doubt and makes that negative habit stronger. Miss enough workouts, and eventually that negative habit of not working out will replace the positive habit of exercising that you have worked so hard to cultivate. Every time you fail to do the right thing, you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing. So the next time you’re trying to justify pressing the snooze button and skipping your workout, or working through lunch instead of taking a walk break or heading right home after work instead of stopping at the gym, just don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even allow yourself the opportunity to talk yourself out of doing what you know you need to do to be at your best. Just remember that you’ll feel like a million bucks once you’re done. The real challenge for most people is not the workout itself, but actually overcoming the negative thoughts that try to sabotage very good intentions.
“The greatest irony of our physical life is that when we are young, we are willing to sacrifice every bit of our health for wealth, and when we grow old, we are willing to sacrifice so much of our wealth for just one day of health.” Don’t let this happen to you. The little things in life are actually the big things and the quality of success that you will experience in your life ultimately depends upon the tiny choices you make every minute of every hour of every day. It’s the small daily acts and habits that define how big we end up living. So set your alarm clocks, lay out your workout clothes and get ready to start feeling good!
Adapted from Robin Sharma’s ‘Family Wisdom’ plus a little bit of our own wisdom
October 3, 2014
Nutrition tips for new Bootcampers!From Kristen Spencer, Fit Feels Good Trainer at High Park and Registered Holistic Nutrionist.
Sometimes when people first start an exercise program, they hear buzz words like “carb loading” and “protein shakes” and think that they automatically need to be adding all of this stuff into their diet. The thing is, these kinds of nutritional strategies are only needed when in very intensive training. In terms of bootcamps, you are likely not training for more than an hour, which means that you don’t really NEED anything extra (provided you are eating a balanced diet throughout the day) except for water! Once you hit the hour mark, we’ll start talking about carbohydrate supplements. Super long training (like 5+ hours) and our focus shifts to fats!
How much water, though? For all workouts, you’ll want to consume 4-6 ounces of water for every 10-20 minutes of activity.
Watch out for:
– you’ll want to avoid eating immediately before a bootcamp. Food will just sit in your stomach, and when you exercise, digestion shuts down to focus our energy efforts on the activity at hand. This can lead to some not-so-good feelings.
– commercial drinks and gels (or at least – check to make sure they aren’t full of artificial sweeteners and colours)
-The more you sweat, the more you need to replace electrolytes (which is what Gatorade is trying to sell you on). So for summer bootcamps in humid weather, we’re sweating a lot. You may want to think about a natural alternative like coconut water which contains electrolytes. You can also eat dulse (a seaweed), or check out some of the higher quality supplements like nuun tablets (you just dissolve those in water)…
– Eat properly throughout the day. If you aren’t doing that, you may get HANGRY when you start bootcamping regularly and end up binging on whatever you can find in the moment. Prevent this by putting a big focus on protein and fat in all of your meals.
15-60 minutes after a workout, your muscles are primed to receive fuel to begin the repair process. Your meals after a workout should be easy to digest! The perfect meal will hit all of your macronutrient groups. A great meal: avocado (healthy fats) with sea salt (electrolytes), eggs (healthy fats & protein), and a plantain cooked in coconut oil (simple, easily digestible carbs and more healthy fat!)
Listen to your body: Go to sleep when you are tired! Especially if you are doing an early morning bootcamp, your body will need extra rest so try to get to bed early! Human growth hormone is essential for muscle repair, and when sleep is interrupted, levels of this hormone decrease.
Severe cramping? This could be due to an electrolyte imbalance. It could be potassium (in which case try 2 tsp apple cider vinegar in water… if this helps, add more potassium rich foods to the diet like apples, banana, avoado, mushrooms, yogurt, spinach). It could also be calcium/magnesium (you can get this from raw cacao which is my personal fave, but also dark leafy greens, broccoli, Natural Calm magnesium supplement). Green smoothies can help get all of these minerals in quickly and deliciously.