Tag Archives: challenges

Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Three Nutrition Tip

5 Tips to help balance your blood sugar

The following are some tips to help you control your blood sugar and avoid the ups and downs during a workout, and all day long!

  1. Eat every 3-5 hours, regardless of how healthy your previous meal or snack was. If you go longer than 5 hours without eating, your blood sugar will crash and so will your energy.
  2. Every time you eat, the snack or meal you consume should contain a source of protein. Protein slows down digestion and prevents your blood sugar from spiking and then crashing. 5-8 grams of protein is a good minimum target. For example, spread some peanut/almond butter on your banana, have a small piece of cheese with an apple or pair some fruit with your yogurt.
  3. Fiber – it helps to control blood sugar by slowing down your digestion. High fiber foods will keep you fuller longer. Examples of high fiber foods are: high fiber cereals and breads, legumes such as edamame (soybeans), chick peas, black beans, lentils, etc. Some fruit also have higher fibre such as pears, apples and raspberries. Try adding ground flax seeds, wheat germ or oat bran to your yogurt, salads or smoothies.
  4. Choose less processed foods, the more basic, the better. Regular converted rice or brown rice will affect your blood sugar a lot less than minute rice. Large flake oats/oatmeal will affect your blood sugar a lot less than processed quick oats.
  5. For some other great snack ideas, visit http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Recipes/Snacks/

Sweet ’16 Challenge – Week Three Fit Tip!

Goal Setting, and re-evaluation

So, here we are week three already! And it is time for our mid challenge check in!  Book your appointment with your trainer today!

Why are we asking you to check in half way through? It all has to do with goal setting the relation to goal attainment.  One of the keys to success, is to set very specific goals, as well as to create a plan of attack to help you reach these goals.  Without specifically defining a goal, and laying out the steps of how you’re going to reach it, all you have done it just make a wish.  To say “I want to be more active”……and that’s it, you likely won’t know what specific steps to take next (e.g. on Wednesday I will attend a tabata class) or, have a baseline to which you can compare your “more active” (e.g. more active than what?).  Just like cooking or baking, when there is a step by step recipe, dinner is more successful as you have had a solid plan to follow.

So, in week 1, you set some goals with your trainer, and now that week three is here, it is time for you to review your plan and see how it is working out. Remember that a fitness plan isn’t set in stone.  We start on our path to achieve a goal and sometimes the steps we’ve laid out are perfect and fit in to your schedule well, and sometimes that plan didn’t work like we thought it would.  So…..we re-assess!  Hence, the mid-challenge check-in!  Compare where you are this week, in reference to where you thought you would be when you put your plan together in week one.  Likely, you are rockin’ it!! WAY TO GO!

But maybe, just maybe, things didn’t go the way you wanted. What to do?  Let that week go!  It’s not the end of the world!  BUT, it’s also not an excuse to let it all go and give up!  Re-commit to the next three weeks and make it happen!

Lifestyle change isn’t easy-if it was, everyone would do it!! It’s work for sure….but you are worth every minute!


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ywcaencore fall dates are up!

The ywcaencore program, an after breast cancer exercise program is now accepting registrations for the FALL 2013 session:

LOCATION: YWCA 75 MacNab St. S. In the Studio

ORIENTATION: Thursday September 26th, 2013 12:45pm

8 WEEK SESSION: Thursday October 3rd – Thursday November 21st 12:45pm – 3:00pm

Please contact Anne Marie Collingwood, ywcaencore Coordinator at 905-545-6249 ext. 24 or at acollingwood@ywcahamilton.org.

Run, Run, Robin!

Our fearless leader Robin ran the Chilly Half-Marathon in Burlington today, along with thousands of others, on a fast, flat course along the lakeshore.

All smiles on her way to the starting line

All smiles on her way to the starting line

Still smiling after 21 kilometres!

Still smiling after 21 kilometres!

and here she is in action:

Stuck in that mid-winter hibernation???

We all have those days – yes, you know which ones I mean. Sometimes when I hear that alarm go off, I’d like to press snooze repeatedly. Maybe curl up on the couch with a tea and a movie, while managing to avoid the gym and all that jazz.

Sometimes we just have those negative days. I’ll be the first to admit that our weather switching from warm to cold, and back again has really messed with my sense of self-motivation. I can feel my resolve crumbling the later I leave going into the gym. So hopefully some of these simple tips will help us break out of that mid-winter hibernation.

1. Visualize your goals, which means visualize your own personal success

2. Appreciate yourself for making that effort even though it felt like the opposite of what you wanted to do

3. The whole 6-8 hours of sleep, really does work, if you need to, set a back-up alarm (or three)

4. Don’t picture exercise as a chore but an opportunity to develop skills and have some time to unwind

5. Use self-talk – be stubborn and stick to your guns, guaranteed it will feel better to get out and devote some time to your body rather than stay at home

It happens to us all, the internal avoidance tactics we use to try to convince ourselves not to do something. “I’m so tired,” “I really don’t want to go,” “I won’t perform my best,” and finally – “I wish I was in Cuba.” Realistically while we are self-talking ourselves out of going, we should focus more on how we feel after exercise – like feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and satisfied.

Good work out there ladies!


If you want to be happy for the rest of your life…

I heard about this Youtube video earlier this morning and thought of you instantly:)  Pay attention to how big a difference a little effort makes.  Then give yourself a pat on the shoulder for already treating your body and your self right.  And if you haven’t started yet … well, here’s another dose of information but in a fun and interesting format! Enjoy!

Start the new year with new moves!

I bet you can’t wait to see our new class schedule for January 2012!

You will be pleased to see that we are offering a variety of classes throughout the week; from early morning to late evening classes!  Stay tuned for our winter schedule.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Starting January, the Ottawa street location will begin offering Zumba on Tuesday nights.  If you used to take Zumba at Ottawa with a certain brunette spunky lady, then you don’t want to miss out on her return to the Ottawa branch this January!

And if that one night isn’t enough to get your fix of cardio – or Zumba specifically, MacNab has even more Zumba in the mornings and evenings.  Come by this Thursday at MacNab for a holiday inspired Zumba class at 5:30 (also Holiday Zumba is offered on Christmas Eve 8:30am)!!

If Zumba isn’t your thing, then try out our Fitness Mix Up classes – brand new for January.  We’re going to keep it different and interesting every time you try it.  It will be offered throughout the week at various time periods to try and match your availability!

As always, we still offer our classic cardio and muscle conditioning classes: Jump Start, Muscles & More, Completely Cardio, Kickboxing, Step N Tone, Morning Motivation, Pilates, Yoga, and Spin, among others.

If you have always been interested in trying out these group classes but are intimidated by the choreography that comes with some of them, then look no further then Basic Blast.  If you’re new and interested, this class was designed with you in mind.

Basic Blast is an introductory level class to help you transition into some of the classes mentioned above.  It will be offered on Tuesday nights at Ottawa Street and on Saturday mornings at MacNab.  We will cover hi-lo choreography, steps and intervals.

So come out and try this very basic 30-minute class offered for just six weeks.  In no time you will get the hang of a grapevine, a step touch, a basic step, a v-step, an x-step and just a few more to get you started!!!

Starting off a new year learning something new is a GREAT idea, so I hope to see you there.  I’ll be there every Tuesday and Saturday to help you get ready!


Are you afraid of the GYM?

We all agree: exercise is good for you.  Everyone needs to exercise – no matter how skinny or overweight.  Some of us are exercising to lose weight, get toned, increase fitness, reduce health risks, mitigate symptoms or side effects of illnesses and to simply stay active and feel happy!  Whatever the reason — exercise is a prescription for all.

Excuses are cyclical and intertwined.  Everyone’s well aware of the time factor, the financial factor and the laziness factor – but how aware are you of the fear factor?  In other words, people that prefer to lose a bit of weight at home (or by dieting)  in order to feel confident enough to exercise in public – especially within the fitness centre environment?  If you are afraid to exercise in the gym or too embarrassed to exercise in public – you need to do something.  That fear will never diminish as long as you remain its hostage.

Most people that fear exercising in public are overweight women.  They’re embarrassed by the look of their bodies during exercise – they’re consumed with the idea that their attempt to exercise in public is a spectacle.  They’re plagued by questions: How awful does their body look?  What if their doing the exercise wrong?  What if they start sweating too much too fast? What if they break something? What if they fall off the treadmill? What if somebody laughs?

If you are afraid to exercise in a gym or outdoors – you are not alone.   It’s a common fear.  While you can take comfort in that common experience for now – you need to do whatever you can to get out of that peer group.  As with any anxiety, a dose of information is powerful ammunition for a lifelong combat (perhaps).  It’s not easy, and I hope this helps:

– If you have not started working out yet, remember that you are BEGINNER — everyone begins as a beginner!  Everyone gets taught what they know.  Try not to let those fit bodies in the gym or in the trail intimidate you out of your workout.   Focus on your own exercise – your breathing, your form, your reps, etc.

– Don’t try to do too much too fast.  In fact, at our gym, you will get a one-on-one with one of our instructors as part of your membership.   This will give you a chance to learn basic exercises using specific equipment and machines.  You get to practice those exercises while correct form is signaled throughout.  We will prescribe the reps, sets, and weight to lift.  So don’t worry about where or how to start – we’ll tell you what to do!

– Every gym has their peak and quiet periods.  To diminish your fear of embarrassing yourself, find out when the quiet times are, then come in and practice those moves on your own.  Work out with less people around, build up the nerve to do some of your free weight exercises in front of the mirror to keep watch on your form.  If you’re not sure of your form or the exercise on your program, just ask one of the fitness staff to review.

– If you’re interested in classes but not so keen in the idea of other people watching your reflection in wall-to-wall mirrors as you fumble your way through the class—no worries!  Our aerobic classes are held in the gymnasium—no mirrors!  Everyone fumbles in these types of classes – even the instructor!  So please, muster the courage to come into the gym, pick a spot and follow the leader!  Group classes make your workouts a breeze!  Don’t give up after your first try, or even your second try, just keep coming back for more – practice makes perfect!

– If you’re afraid to exercise because it just seems too hard, let me remind you: exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous in order to produce results!  You can exercise at a manageable level and still do your body a lot of good.  Sure, you might get a little uncomfortable—with increased heart rate, increased breathing, increased sweat and maybe even a little muscle burn—but that’s the idea.  However, you should NEVER feel pain during exercise.   If you feel pain during any exercise, you need to stop that exercise immediately.  Otherwise, exercise can be done at a comfortably challenging level.  Remember, we’re exercising for better health – not training for the Olympics – so don’t let those professionals intimidate you.  While we’re at it, don’t let The Biggest Loser scare you either – it’s not that brutal around here!!!

I hope I have given you something to think about if the subject of this post hits close to home.  You need to make peace with your body.  It is what it is.  You’re not going to make a change without exercising in spite of fear.

Of course if you have underlying health condition that you feel disqualify you from exercise, talk to your doctor about your interest in exercise.  She/he will applaud you, then list precautions and recommendations that you can then bring to us.  We’ll welcome you with open arms because our gym is a place just for you.  Our members are composed of a variety of experiences, fitness levels, body types and ages.  We are a friendly bunch, and I encourage you to just visit for a tour—no strings attached! (Also, if your anxiety is preventing you from doing other things which further reduce your quality of life – you need to talk to your doctor about strategies to combat the various degrees of anxiety that debilitate some more than others.)

Still not convinced that you can join a gym???  That’s okay.  You can exercise outside of the gym – start with walking.  Don’t undermine the power of walking, it’s a great exercise.  If you are already doing it – great!  Cover more distance and increase your speed a bit if you can.

If you don’t walk much, try walking around more often throughout each day for a total of 30 minutes.  Take a longer route to your house or get off one-stop early from the bus – do that until you’re practically walking all the way home!

If you are not able to get your dose of cardio outside, then you’ll have to do what you can in your own home.  Workout videos are in abundant supply in the library.  Get those to help motivate you to increase your cardio.  For muscle, you can easily exercise at home.  Stay tuned for a post on Working Out at Home!

Whatever route you take – the point is that you have to take initiative.  You have to act now in order to initiate change in your life.  It has been proven repeatedly that exercise increases your quality of life – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.  You can exercise for free everyday.  It’s up to you!


Effects Of Aging On Exercise Performance

As we get older do we get slower? Are we weaker? As we age, must we accept that we’ll have less energy? The answers are not necessarily black and white. First, the rate of decline in endurance varies from person to person. Our genetics play a big role here. Second, the different systems in our body age at different rates.
Current research shows the following effects of age on an active healthy human body:

Cardiovascular System
– heart becomes less efficient
– decrease of 8 -10% per decade in it’s ability to supply oxygen to muscles
– decline in maximal heart rate and maximal cardiac output
– aerobic capacity decreases moderately as a result of decline in max heart rate and stroke volume

Respiratory System
– less efficient due to loss of elasticity
– maximum breathing capacity decreases by about 60% from age 30 to 80 (breathe deeply everyday!)

Muscular System
– progressive loss of lean tissue from about age 40
– rate of muscle protein synthesis is reduced
– changes in muscle fiber composition: loss of type II in both size and number after age 50

Body Composition
– lean tissue declines and fat increases
– 8 – 12% decrease in basal metabolic rate

– connective tissue becomes more rigid

These are some generally accepted changes that can be expected as we journey through our life. However, many exercise scientists currently claim that we can drastically slow the rate of decline by staying very active and in some cases implement higher intensity training! To be clear, this higher intensity/lower volume prescription is for individuals who are consistently active and have been given the green light by their doctor.
The good news is that we can reduce the rate of decline of our VO2, VO2 max and stroke volume by staying consistent and adding appropriate intensity changes to our weekly routine.
Additionally, never has it been more important than as we notice age-related changes to stay focused on our strength and flexibility.
A clean, nutritionally supportive diet is critical to the success of any healthy body.
Talk to your physician, other health care provider and/or personal trainer for more tips and guidance.
In closing, try thinking less about a chronological age and more about how you feel when you are active and engaged in the enjoyment of your life!

Happy Training,
Kim Agostino