Category Archives: YWCA Hamilton

Nordic Pole Walking!! Give it a try!

Looking for a new activity for Spring?  Why not give Nordic Walking a try!  You may have seen this all around the city, and if so, many of those groups may have been YWCA Hamilton!

Click here for our upcoming program information:  NPW Classes blog

Here are a few shots from our wonderful Nordic Walkers throughout the city!!  Come and join in the fun!


Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Six Final Post!

As we finish up our “Sweet ’16 Challenge”, we would like to thank you for joining us on this journey! We have seen lots of our participants achieve the goals they set in week 1! Congratulations!

And, at the end of any journey, the question often arises…. “What next?” Well, stay tuned for our next member appreciate event, but for now, we will leave you with a challenge to work away at for the next 6 weeks!!

The Plank Challenge!

See how long you can hold the plank today, and then add on to your time over the next 6 weeks. Let us know where you end up!  Good luck!

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER: Breathe throughout the exercise. Draw belly button in. Maintain straight line from knee/toes to top of head. Align your shoulders and elbow, keep neck straight. STOP if your form starts to deteriorate. STOP if you feel pain in your lower back.

Option one, from knees

plank knees week 6

Option two, from toes

plank toes week 6


Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Time
Week 2 Time
Week 3 Time
Week 4 Time
Week 5 Time
Week 6 Time



Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Six Recipe Idea!


6 Servings

Preparation Time: 10 min


Tahini Dressing
3 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste) 45 mL
3 Tbsp rice vinegar 45 mL
1 tsp grated ginger 5 mL
1 garlic clove, minced
canola oil
3 Tbsp boiling water 45 mL
3 Tbsp salt & ground black pepper, to taste 45 mL
Bowl Base
2 cups cooked brown rice 500 mL
1 cup cooked black (Beluga) or green lentils 250 mL
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp chopped dill 45 mL
2 cups thinly sliced baby spinach 500 mL
1 cup thinly sliced red peppers 250 mL
1 cup grated carrots 250 mL
1 cup enoki or other mushrooms sliced 250 mL
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds 125 mL



Step 1 WHISK tahini, vinegar, ginger, garlic and canola oil together until smooth. Add boiling water to thin out. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.

Step 2 TOSS hot rice and lentils with dill in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide into serving bowls.

Step 3 DIVIDE spinach, peppers, carrots, mushrooms and pumpkin seeds on top of lentil blend in bowls.

Step 4 DRIZZLE dressing on top of veggies and serve immediately.

IWD Event!

English IWD Poster_2016.Final1

Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Six Fit Tip!

5 best benefits of walking

The next time you have a check-up, don’t be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this simple activity that you’ve been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a boon to your overall health. But walking in particular comes with a host of benefits. Here’s a list of five that may surprise you.

  1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
  2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.
  3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
  4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
  5. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

So, lace up those shoes, and get walking!


Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Five Fit Tip!

Variety is Key!

As we enter week 5 in our challenge, we wish to remind you how important variety is in a workout program. If you have been doing the same workout for the last year, your body has adapted to this, and will not be challenged to make any changes, or become stronger and fitter.  How can you change things up?  In your current YWCA membership, you have included 2 appointments with a fitness staff.  During this appointment, your trainer can add a few new exercises to shake things up.  If you’re looking for something more, on an ongoing basis, we have fully certified personal trainers that can create programs specific to your goals, current fitness level and schedule.

Other options? Try a new piece of machinery-if you’re use to the treadmill, try the rower or the stepmill.  If you’re a die-hard tabata participant, try a Barre class or Zumba.

Share with us what new option you tried this week? And, have fun!



Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Four Nutrition Tip!

You Bite It, You Write It!!

Week four’s nutrition tip, suggests you create a food log to help you be more mindful of your nutrition choices. So often, people think that they can eat whatever they want, and the work it off at the gym.  It simply doesn’t work that way.  If you have a few handfuls of nuts, there are 500 calories consumed! That would take you about an hour’s hard RUN on the treadmill to burn off.  And it is not only calories, but the quality of what you are putting in your body that counts.  Choosing something like a Big Mac not only brings a ton of caloires, but also deadly fats and a whack of sodium and other chemicals.  Proper nutrition is equally, if not more important than the exercise we choose. One can’t be maximally successful without the other.  So, this week’s strategy is to keep a food journal.  Journaling has been well documented in making better choices, losing more weight and keeping it off! So, incorporate the ideas below to start your own food log.

  1. Write down EVERYTHING that you eat and drink each day. Include the amount, time of day and reason you ate (i.e. were you really hungry or were you tired, bored or upset?).
  2. Take a good, honest look at your log. We know what we should and should not include. Do you have at least 7 servings of fruits/veggies, more whole food than process, and are you including extras like alcohol, chips or sweets often? There are areas where you can start making changes immediately.
  3. Set nutrition goals like you did your fitness goals in week one. Review your log, and pick one goal per week (e.g. “this week I will add one more serving of veggies per day”).
  4. Focus on adding healthy food. The more we exercise and make healthy food choices, we realise that making poor food choices, just isn’t worth it!


Nutrition and exercise must work together to give you the best results. Keep in mind how you feel when you are being active and eating well.  Know that it is just not worth it ruining that great, energetic feeling for that “Big Mac”

Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week 2 Exercise Ideas!

Challenge yourself to try something new this week!

Try something completely different this week, that your body isn’t use to! Below is the link to our fitness class schedule-there’s lots to choose from-try something new! If you’re thinking you may not be able to keep up in a certain type of class, arrive a few minutes early to connect with your instructor to let her know this is the first time you’ve tried this class.  Our fitness staff instructor team is amazing and can offer you lots of options!


Or, if you can’t make it to a class this week, give this quickie program a try:

20 Butt Kickers

butt kicker picture for week 2

20 Hamstring bridges

hamstring bridge picture for week 2

20 Jump squats 

jump squat picture for week 2

20 bridge with leg lift (R then L leg)

single leg bridge picture for week 2

Plank hold for 30-60 sec.

plank picture for week 2

Comment on the blog, and tell us what new exercises you tried this week!!

Great job!!  You rocked it!



Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week 2 Nutrition Tip!

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition Advice:

What should I eat before and after my workouts?”

Numerous studies have concluded that consuming carbohydrates before exercise results in improved performance when compared with exercising on an empty stomach. Many experts recommend a low GI (glycemic index) meal before exercise to supply sustained energy during your workout. Low GI foods are, for example: apples, pears, oranges, grapefruits, most vegetables, whole grain bread and pasta, nuts and seeds, fish, lean meat, cheese, yogurt and keifer. Try consuming one or more of these before a workout.

“When is the best time to eat before an exercise?”

Ideally, you should eat a meal between 2 and 4 hours before working out because this leaves enough time for your stomach to settle so you don’t feel uncomfortable, not too full and not too hungry during your workout. And then, perhaps a quick snack about 45 mins before, to keep you well fuelled and keep hunger at bay during your workout.

Pre-workout Meal and Snack Ideas

Pre-workout Meal Ideas (2-4 hours before workout)

  • Sandwich filled with chicken, cheese, egg or peanut butter
  • Protein-filled Salad
  • Pasta with tomato-based pasta sauce and vegetables
  • Chicken with rice and salad
  • Vegetables with noodles or rice
  • Whole grain cereal

Pre-workout Snack Ideas (about 1 hour before a workout)

  • Fresh fruit – example: apple, orange, pear, etc.
  • Dried fruit – example: dates, raisins etc.
  • Smoothie
  • Energy/Protein bar
  • Banana bread/muffin
  • Diluted fruit juice

What about hydration during a workout?

For most activities lasting less than an hour, water is most necessary to keep you hydrated. However, during exercise that is long distance (over an hour), or high intensity training you may want to include other drinks including water, such as coconut water or diluted fruit juice.

“When is the best time to eat after exercise?”

It is best to start refuelling your body as soon as possible after a workout. Try to consume both protein and carbohydrates after a workout. Together, they promote more efficient muscle tissue growth and refuel your energy sources much faster.

The best time to start refuelling is as soon as possible after exercise, during the first hour replenishment to muscles is most rapid (and particularly in the first 20 mins after exercise finishes). Therefore, eating carbohydrates during this time speeds up recovery time.  However, when you consume protein and carbohydrates together immediately after exercise they promote more efficient muscle tissue growth as well as faster refuelling of the bodies energy stores.   Many people believe that it’s protein you need most after your workout.  But if for example your exercise consisted of running for at least 1 hour at moderate intensity, you’ve burned a lot of your body’s fuel.  If you only consumed protein, you are not restoring the bodies fuel tanks, remember that carbs are the fuel for the body.  So, when you go running tomorrow you’ll find you won’t have as much energy and will feel fatigued much faster. You have depleted the body’s fuel and haven’t filled up.  Just like a car, you can’t get very far with an empty gas tank.  Therefore, the optimal post-workout meal or drink should include protein and carbohydrates in a ratio of about 1:4.

Post-Exercise snack ideas (consumed within 1 hour after exercise):

  • Cheese and whole grain, high fibre crackers
  • Chocolate milk
  • half of a peanut butter sandwich (whole grain bread with natural nut butter)
  • half of tuna fish sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with a handful of almonds

A final thought: begin to record your fuelling around the time of your exercise, and how you feel the next day. Each individual will need to fuel differently.  By recording your intake, you can start to identify what helps you feel the best during and after your workout!

Great job! Keep at it in this second week!

Wanna dance? YWCA Zumbathon is coming!

On Saturday, February 6 from 1pm-3pm, we will be holding a Zumbathon at the MacNab street YWCA!  Hope you can join us for this FUNdraiser for ywcaencore!