Saturday, September 17, 2011

White vs. Whole Wheat Flour

I found an article on I was looking for more information on white flour and white sugar. I know whole wheat is better, I have baked with it for years. I know my sugar cookies have a slightly different texture than most, but besides that, most people can not even tell that I use the whole wheat flour. I actually prefer the difference. But, I have always wondered why people are so set on using white flour. What is the reason?

My first search took me to . Here is the beginning of the article...

In the manufacture of white flour, manufactures first remove the wheat seed's bran, its six outer layers, and the germ (or embryo) which contains 76% of the vitamins and minerals. 97% of the dietary fiber is also lost.

Then it gets worse. What little is left is then bleaches, preserved and aged with chlorine dioxide. It is further whitened by adding chalk, alum, and ammonium carbonate to make it look and feel more improved and appealing to the consumer. An anti-salting agent called sorbitan mono-saturate is added in the the final stage.

A few synthetic nutrients are then added back into the white flour and it is then called “enriched” In actuality, there has been no real “enrichment” of the original product, but deception and destruction of the life-giving properties of one of the many perfect creations we find in nature.”

You should also check out for more information.

So, if this is true, then why would I ever allow white flour back in my house? I clean with vinegar and baking soda, I use phosphate and chlorine free dish soap, I use all natural deodorant... why would I bake with white flour and allow my children to ingest a bunch of chemicals and not reap any of the benefits that are found in the grains natural state?

But, is whole wheat flour perfect? Well, no. Whole wheat flour is better than white flour, but it could be even better if it were whole grain. Here is what I found on the Health Canada website (

Is whole wheat flour whole grain?
In Canada, when wheat is milled to make flour, the parts of the grain are usually separated and then are recombined to make specific types of flour, such as whole wheat, whole grain, white cake and pastry flour, and all purpose white flour. If all parts of the kernel are used in the same relative proportions as they exist in the original kernel, then the flour is considered whole grain.
Under the Food and Drug Regulations, up to 5% of the kernel can be removed to help reduce rancidity and prolong the shelf life of whole wheat flour. The portion of the kernel that is removed for this purpose contains much of the germ and some of the bran. If this portion of the kernel has been removed, the flour would no longer be considered whole grain.

Is my 100% whole wheat bread whole grain?

Whole wheat bread is made with whole wheat flour. As sold in Canada, whole wheat flour may have much of the germ removed. Therefore, 100% whole wheat bread may not be whole grain - however, it remains a nutritious choice that provides dietary fibre not found in white bread.

How do I know if a product is made with whole grains?

Look for the word "whole grain" on the label and in the ingredient list. Many foods containing whole grains will have the words "whole grain" followed by the name of the grain as one of the first ingredients. Products labelled with the words "multigrain," and "organic" are not necessarily whole grain - the flour or grains in the products may be made with or consist of little or no whole grains.”

So, what are we to do? Buy Whole GRAIN as much as possible. Avoid white bread and pasta's as much as possible. Read labels and be aware of what you are putting in your body. When you have food choices, just take a moment and read the labels. Take some time to learn about what you are putting in your body.

When I go up to the cottage, one of the things I look forward to the most is my moms peanut butter... you know, the crap that is filled with icing sugar. We only buy the all-natural peanut butter. I have learned to like it, but there is just something about spreading that creamy, sugary, yummy crap on a piece of toast... for a treat. What I am trying to say is, treats are ok, having refined sugar or white flour every once and a while is ok... but if you have a choice and you are the one baking, why not use whole wheat flour? I have been baking with it for years now and I have managed to tweak my recipes and make it work. In most recipes, you can not even tell the difference anymore.

Next, I will be looking into the brown vs. white sugar thing... stay tuned!

Twitter - @BeachesFitness

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diastasis Recti – What Is It and How To Correct It?

Diastasis Recti is also known as abdominal separation and is most common in postpartum women and newborn infants. I am really only going to get into the postpartum women for today. The two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle are normally attached down the middle at the linea alba... the midline of the body. During pregnancy, due to the stretching of the abdominal muscles from the growing uterus, these muscles can become separated. Some women have such a small split, they can go through life not even knowing it has happened to them. Others, like myself, can end up with a split going from the xiphoid process (bottom of your sternum) to the belly button. This may be gross for some of you... but, I was able to stick my hand through my stomach muscles after the birth of my second little girl. No fun. I also ended up with two hernia's. So, until these hernia's were corrected by surgery (I highly recommend the Shouldice Clinic in Toronto... but, that could be a whole other post), I could not even correct the split. I had to make sure I did not strangulate the hernia's. Once these corrected, I was able to begin the rehab for my abdominals. Although the two sides will never re-attach, you can train the muscles back to be side by side again.

So, how do you know if you have split your abdominal muscles? Start by laying on your back with your knees bent. Place four fingers of one hand above your belly button and the other hand below your belly button. Raise your head and shoulders off the floor and feel to see if there is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle. Is there a gap or bulge? Is it above or below your belly button? Lower your head and shoulders back down to the floor and start the next part of the test... if there was a separation. Stay on your back with your knees bent, place four fingers of one hand across the separation, pointing down towards your feet. Raise your head and shoulder off the ground. How many fingers can you fit in the separation? Being able to place one or two fingers in the gap is normal, any more than that, you have diastasis recti.

So, now what? It may seem like it is impossible to correct this split and at times, you will get discouraged. That is natural with any kind of rehabilitation. Here are just a few things you need to know...

What to avoid...
Crunches... that's right, DO NOT do crunches to correct an abdominal split. This will force the muscles out to the side and train the muscles incorrectly.
Anything that jack-knifes the body – v-sit, straight leg lifts, some pilates, etc.
Getting straight up from a laying position – turn onto your side and push up from there.
Laying on your back over a Stability Ball.
Yoga poses that stretch the abs – up-dog, cow pose, ect.
Core exercises that require you to lift your head off the ground – modify these to keep your head down
Anything that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out.
Lifting / carrying heavy objects.

What to do...
Example Exercise for the Transverse Abdominis
Tummy Vacuum – there are many different versions of the tummy vacuum. This can be done on your hands and knees, with a ball behind your back, while standing and brushing your teeth, etc.
Table Top Single Leg Lowers – just be sure to hold your belly button in your spine. Do not let your lower back and abdominals release.
Leg Slides – begin with feet on floor, then work up to lifting them 2”-3” off
Side Plank
Side Plank Raises
Crunches with Stability Ball or Bender Ball ***depending on the stage of your rehabilitation***
Table Top
Reverse Crunches
Plank ***depending on the stage of your rehabilitation***

With all of the above mentioned exercises, it is EXTREMELY important that you are constantly aware of your abdominal wall and you make sure that you are pulling your belly button up and back, into your spine. This will ensure that you are actively engaging your Transverse Abdominal muscles and that you are on your way to a speedy rehab.

There is some question out there as to whether plank is safe to do with Diastasis Recti or not. All the research I have done comes down to this... as long as you are doing plank properly, yes, plank is safe. I personally did plank daily as part of my abdominal rehabilitation and it worked! That being said, you should make sure to properly support your stomach and really think of pulling your belly button up into your spine. This ensures that you are engaging the Transverse Abdominis. Plank will actively engage all the muscles of your midsection, including the rectus abdominis, external & internal obliques, transverse abdominals as well as the lower back... not to mention the glutes, lats, delts and pecs! This exercise truly a full body workout and I highly recommend it be added to all programs... again, as long as it is done properly. This is where a trained professional becomes necessary. Certified Personal Trainers are able to help you maintain proper posture and ensure safety throughout your workout. When dealing with Diastasis Recti, make sure you find a trainer that has the experience dealing with this specific problem. Not all Pre and Post Natal Specialists have dealt with Diastasis Recti and without the knowledge and experience necessary, they could cause more damage to the abdominals.

I am constantly researching Diastasis Recti and Postpartum Fitness. At this time, I am actively researching the affect of plank and diastasis recti. If I do find any strong evidence that plank should not be done while correcting an abdominal split, I will add a new post right away. The world research on postpartum fitness is still so new. Recommendations are changing constantly. It is important that you find a trainer that can work with you and is actively up to date on all things related to postpartum fitness. It is too easy to get certified and then just fall behind the times. If you are thinking about getting a personal trainer, meet with them first. Talk to them and see how you feel at the end of the meeting. Go with your gut and make sure they are properly qualified. This can be a whole other post... maybe it will be one day!

If you have questions, feel free to contact me. If you like my little tips and blogs, follow me!


Twitter - @BeachesFitness

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back Pain - As Simple As Stretching?

So, your lower back is sore and you can not figure out why... you have not lifted anything heavy lately, you have not been sitting in an airplane, you have a wonderful mattress and your kids are no longer in those awful car seats that weigh a ton.  So, what is causing all this pain?

It could be a lot of things, but more and more lately, I am finding clients with tight and / or twisted hips.  This can cause a lot of discomfort in the lower back.  The best solution for this problem is stretching, strengthening and maybe even a good massage.

Obviously, there are a whole list of reasons your back could hurt, but this is just one cause with a very simple solution.  By stretching out the muscles in the hips, glutes, legs and lower back, you can release the tension and allow your back to move freely, allowing you to move pain-free.

Here are some simple stretches to try.

1. Hip Flexor / Iliopsoas Stretch - Kneeling on one knee with the front leg at 90 degrees, push forward with your hips until you feel a nice stretch down the front of your hip.  Hold 30 sec - 1 min.

2. Hamstrings - Seated, with one leg straight out front and the other leg bent, lean forward (with your lower back straight) until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg (you may feel it behind your knee).  Hold for 30 sec - 1 min.  Repeat other leg.  ***Do not allow your lower back to round as stretching, this will place more pressure on an already vulnerable area.  Keep your back straight for this stretch and only go forward as far as you can comfortably.***

3. Gluteus Minimus - Laying flat on your back with your legs flat on the ground, pull one knee up to your chest and then, slowly and gently, pull the leg across your chest with your opposite hand.  Be careful to not over-twist your body.  You should feel this one in your outer hip.  Hold 30 sec - 1 min.  Repeat other leg.

***I can not find a picture of this one... I will draw one (badly, I am sure) and add it soon.***

4. Gluteus Maximus - Laying on your back, bend your first leg and place your other foot across your knee.  Pull the first leg towards you by the upper leg.  Keep your hips straight.  Hold for 30 sec - 1 min.  Repeat other leg.

5. ITB Roll-Out - Using a foam roller (or 3 tennis balls duct taped together), roll up and down, massaging and stretching out your ITB from your hip, down to your knee.  This is usually tight in runners, causing knee issues, but even without knee problems, it does not hurt to keep this band limber.  Roll for 30 sec - 1 min each side.

Hopefully, after a few days of stretching, you should feel a difference in your lower back.  Again, I am not saying this is the solution to all your back issues, but this is a simple first step to correcting / avoiding back issues.

Stretching is something we could all add to our daily routine.  It would be so simple to take 20 minutes each night and stretch before you go to bed.  Remember, when you stretch, do not over stretch.  You should feel the stretch, but it should never hurt... ok, the ITB Roll-Out may hurt (a lot) the first few times, depending on how tight it is... but, other than that, stretching should not hurt.  Breath while you are stretching and allow your body to enjoy and react to the stretch.

Hope this help with a few of your back problems out there!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Breakfast - Why Is It Important?

If it is that you are trying to lose weight, or just that you are always running late and cutting out breakfast is the only way you can make it out the door on time... skipping breakfast is never a good idea.  You have heard it over and over again... "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"... I am not sure I completely agree that it is the MOST important meal, but it definitely is the one most people are willing to skip, and really, no meal should be skipped.  Our body and brain need to be refueled through-out the day, so in order to keep sharp and on track with a healthy lifestyle, why would you skip ANY meal???

I am not going to get into how you should eat all day, this post is all about breakfast, so lets just keep it simple.  Why is breakfast so important?

Some experts believe that if you skip breakfast, your body goes into "starvation" mode... others believe this is not true.  Apparently, it takes days of not eating for your body to slow down and go into "starvation" mode.  I am not sure which is true, but either way, if you are not eating from dinner time and then you skip breakfast... you are looking at 18 hours of not eating!!!  That only leaves 6 hours to fit in all the nutrients you need.  So, do you then eat every hour from Noon - 6pm... or are you eating until midnight and then getting into bed?  This is also not a great idea... for many reasons, weight gain just being one of them.

They say that people who eat breakfast have a better chance of losing weight.  This may be because their metabolism is working properly, or this may simply be because these same people who are willing to take that 15 minutes in the morning and eat a proper breakfast, are also eating healthy and balanced meals through the day and not overindulging in poor food choices.  If you skip breakfast, there is a really good chance that by the time your lunch break comes along, you are so hungry, you grab the quickest thing available.  As we are all aware (if we want to admit it or not), the quick and easy food is not the healthy and balanced food.  One day I will do a post on packing a lunch and planning your dinners... this is the only way to ensure you are going to make proper choices and not the easy choice.

Now, if you are like me, you can not eat a big breakfast within an hour of waking up.  My body just does not process it well and I end up feeling like garbage.  So, why not split breakfast up?  Some days I will have a hard-boiled egg when I am getting started and then about an hour or so later, I will have some yogurt and fruit.  There is no rule saying that you have to have 3 large meals at 8am, Noon and 5pm... this is just what the norm is... that does not make it right for everyone.

Your breakfast should include protein and lots of fiber.  This will satisfy your hunger longer and keep you satisfied to lunch time... helping eliminate that mid-morning muffin... don't get me started on muffins.  The protein is easily attained from low-fat meat, eggs, nuts or dairy products.  Good high-fiber foods include fruit, vegetables & whole grains.  It is easy to have hard-boiled eggs in the fridge already prepared, add some fruit and a piece of whole grain toast to it and you have an easy, healthy breakfast.  Not so hard, is it?

Generally, I tell people to stay away from cereals.  I mean, the high-sugar cereals should be obvious bad choices, right?  But, if you really like cereal in the morning, there is nothing wrong with a bowl of whole-grain cereal, topped with fruit and low-fat milk.  Just be aware of artificial flavors and colours and the preservatives.  None of these are good for you, if you are trying to lose weight or not.

So, what are some healthy choices for breakfast?  Here is a great list I found at, just to get you started...
  1. Cereal. Have a bowl of high fiber, whole grain cereal, with low fat milk. Add some freshly chopped fruit to it if you like. Bran cereals are high in fiber and will help you feel fuller for longer. Fruits such as kiwi fruit, apples or berries add a fresh, sharp taste to cereals.
  2. Eggs. Have an egg for breakfast - poached, boiled or scrambled for a high protein meal. If you have the time, make an omelette, with fresh vegetables such as zuchinni, mushrooms and tomatoes.
  3. Oats. instant oat porridge is an excellent quick way to have a healthy breakfast. Instant oats come in a variety of flavours, and can be jazzed up with flaxseeds, berries, nuts and honey for a delicious breakfast ready in five minutes.
  4. Whole Grain Toast. 2 slices of toast spread with low fat dairy spread or cottage cheese makes for a simple way to start the day. If you have sweet tooth, you can have honey or jam with your toast. Have some sliced grapefruit on the side.
  5. Smoked Fish. Try some smoked salmon or cod with a slice of whole grain toast, or a wholegrain roll. Add some grilled tomatoes or cottage cheese for flavour. The high protein content and healthy fats in this meal will keep your appetite under control.
  6. Yoghurt. A huge range and variety of low fat yoghurts are available today for an easy and healthy breakfast. Add your favourite fruit to a bowl of yoghurt, or add yoghurt to your cereal for a healthy and tasty way to get the calcium your bones need. Yoghurt also help with weight loss.
  7. Fruit Smoothie. A simple, fast and nutritous way to start the day is to make your own fruit smoothie, by blending non fat milk with two of your favourite fruits. Try a mix of frozen raspberries and banana, or orange juice and blackberries for example.
  8. Protein Shake. For an instant and filling breakfast, have a protein shake. Add fruit or yoghurt to your shake for extra flavour.
  9. Muffins. While most ready made muffins are high in fat and calories, you can bake your own muffins on the weekend, with wholemeal or bran flour for a healthy breakfast treat.
  10. Baked Beans. These are high in protein and low in glycemic load, and are a fantastic way to start the day. Have baked beans on whole grain toast for a healthy and filling breakfast.
Hope this helps you understand why breakfast is so important and how easy it is to include it in your morning routine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Packing Fitness into your Travel Plans

So, I was recently interviewed for Canadian Living Magazine Online for how to continue a workout routine while traveling.  The article is wonderful, but just because of the layout of the article, I wanted to expand on a few of my quotes and points made in the article...

If you are planning a trip in the next little while (which most people are), here are a few easy things you can do on the road...
  1. No need for equipment...
  • I base entire classes and programs on very little to no equipment. Lack of equipment is the worst excuse for not exercising! As a personal trainer, I have heard a lot of good (and not so good) reasons for people to not include exercise in their daily routines. The toughest to work around is no time... the easiest, is no equipment. There is no equipment required for crunches, push ups, tricep dips, squats, lunges, planks (and their many variations), jumping jacks, burpies, mountain climbers, hip blasters, alternating lunges jumps... should I bother going on? I started Beaches Fitness in my basement. I had a 10 x 10 space and the big gym machine took up 5 x 10 of that (and I have never used that machine much)... I was not left with much room to work in, but I made it work. I still had great results from my clients and I was still able to change their fitness routines up on a regular basis and keep them motivated. There is so much you can do without machines and in very little space! You do not need a lot of space or equipment to get in an effective workout. I have put together plenty of routines for clients to do while they are away for business or pleasure. Some clients are happy to go down to the hotel gym, but others would much rather workout in their hotel room.
  1. Take advantage of what your travel plans have to offer... hotel gym, pool, scenic walks!
  • Hotel gyms are usually wonderful. The equipment is kept clean and in great working order and they are never too busy. If your hotel offers a gym, take advantage of it! Exercising while on vacation will help keep your energy levels up and help burn off the extra caloric intake you may experience at the restaurants or while out on the town! Exercising while traveling for business will also help with the above mentioned issues, but most importantly, it will help manage your stress level and gives you that hour to yourself and away from your work.
  • If you are able to walk places while traveling, do it. Pack a comfortable pair of shoes and plan some extra time to get from your hotel to your destination. This is a great way to see the city, safe some money and get in some much needed exercise. If you are really looking to burn some calories, but are not into the idea of jogging, why not power walk? Just lead with your hips and push your body to walk a little faster than you normally would. You do not need to speed walk or anything, just push yourself forward a little quicker than you normally would. Let your heart rate increase a little and your body will thank you in the long run.
  • Pools are another great perk to staying in hotels – if you like swimming. Swimming is a great low-impact form of exercise. If you really enjoy swimming, do a few laps. Get in your exercise and decrease your stress all while doing an activity that you enjoy!
  1. Pack a gym... that would fit in your purse!
  • For my clients going away on travel, I have put together a travel fitness pack. Packed in one of my Beaches Fitness totes is a resistance band, resistance loop, a Bender Ball and their workout routine.  None of this takes up any room in a suitcase... most women could fit these in their purse. A yoga mat would be nice, but not at all a necessity. A hotel towel can make floor exercises more comfortable than the being directly on the hotel rug. Everyone knows what a resistance band is... a long, flat band that come in different colours. Resistance tubing is also fantastic and I use that for all my classes, but the bands pack up so much smaller, they are great for travel. The resistance loop is a small loop – much like the resistance band, only a little thicker and about 12” long. This small little loop can do so much! Hips, thighs, inner thighs, biceps, triceps, upper back, calves... the list goes on. I use these loops with all my clients and in all my classes. I love them. They pack up so small. I carry at 30 with me to every class and they take up a very small portion of my backpack. There is no excuse for not taking them with you for your vacation or business trip! Last year, this was the only piece of equipment I used for my Stroller Fitness classes. They are a lot tougher than they look! The final piece of equipment I think it terrific for travel is the Bender Ball. This little ball is inflated by a straw in a few seconds and then deflates to be flat again in a few more seconds. There is so much you can do with the Bender Ball, it has become my favorite piece of equipment for my classes and with my clients. It changes core work, helps with lower back issues, creates great stability exercises and also offers great modifications for lower body and upper body exercises! I could design a full body workout with just the Bender Ball! As for the cardio portion of your workout, you could take a skipping rope, if you love to skip and have a place that you are able to do it, why not? Obviously, jogging would be the simplest answer for cardio, but not everyone loves to jog and if you are working all day, most people do not want to go jogging alone at night in a new city. Some great options for in the hotel room are jumping jacks, jogging on the spot, mountain climbers, burpies, hip blasters, or penguin jog (which includes the resistance loop and works your hips at the same time... so wonderful!).
  • Fitness apps on a smart phone can be great. If you can find an app for your phone that will keep you accountable to your workouts, even better. Most people are quick to say, “I will workout tomorrow”. This is very easy to keep doing and in general, tomorrow never actually comes. There is a reason people have more success with a Personal Trainer; yes, we have greater knowledge of how to safely workout and how to see more results, etc, but the main reason people need a personal trainer is motivation. I am not a cheerleader with my clients and I am not a drill sergeant... but, my clients are accountable for their actions. If they have not worked out for 2 weeks and then come back to me, they then need to tell me why they did not workout and they can see the punishment on the scale. I do not need to say anything to my clients to make them feel bad about not working out, they do that to themselves when they find themselves having to explain to someone else why they had no time to workout. Really? Anyone can find 2-3 hours a week to workout. It just needs to take priority over watching “Big Brother” or what ever show it is for that season... believe me, I watch tv, but I have to record it and watch it later. I am a mother, a business owner, and a wife and I still find time to exercise. It is possible.
  1. Make sleeping part of your travel plans.
  • Needing a proper nights sleep is important for everyone. If you are traveling or if you are at home, we should all make sure we get enough sleep. Our bodies need this time to process our day, recover from our day and prepare for the next. Exercise also helps to promote healthy sleep, so it is a great circle... you need enough sleep to make sure you are working out safely and efficiently, but working out will also help ensure you are sleeping soundly. Our bodies and minds go through so much while we sleep, it is imperative that we allow our bodies this time to recoup and prepare.
  1. Include "exercise" in your day to day travel experience.
  • Stuck sitting in meetings all day? Why not walk to and from the hotel? Sitting in presentations all afternoon? Why not do some “Tummy Vacuums” in your seat? Just pull your belly button into your spine, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat this 10 times and you have just worked your transverse abdominis, which will help reshape (or maintain) your belly. If you have a day off, why not rent a bike and find some bike trails. Even the most metropolitan cities will have some beautiful bike trails. Any hotel concierge should be able to help you locate a bike rental shop and the bike rental shop will be able to lead you to some great trails. Walking is one of the best ways to experience a new city, so do not be afraid to walk instead of taking transit. You will be thankful in the end and see so much more of the city instead of seeing the underground tunnels!
  1. Indulge yourself, but do not overindulge.
  • Counting calories is never fun, but it is a good idea when you are out of your normal routine. It is really easy to over eat and eat the wrong things while you are away. Why not write down everything you eat? You do not need to track the calories, but writing things down tends to lead people away from poor eating habits. If you feel guilty writing it down, there is a good chance you will not eat it. Going out for the evening and having a few drinks? No problem. Why not have a glass of water between each drink? Not only will it help you drink responsibly, but it will also ward off any hang over you may have. Drinking will increase your calorie count more than most people realize. This does not mean you can not drink, but maybe just limit how much you drink.
  • If you are going out on the town for the day, why not pack yourself a healthy lunch? You will save money and have more control over your portions and will be less likely to over indulge.
Why is it important to continue your workout routine while traveling?

The biggest problem with taking time off from exercise, is the chance that you do not return. It takes 3-6 weeks to get your body into a great workout routine and get yourself motivated to allow yourself the time to exercise. It can take as little as a week to lose that momentum and very quickly end up back where you started... if not worse. As a personal trainer, I have seen this first hand. Clients come in 3 times a week, get themselves in a great routine and are on track to meeting their goals... then they get called away on business and way too soon, their weight is creeping back up on the scale and they get discouraged. This can be a very slippery slope. There are so many reasons why you need to workout 3 times a week (minimum), but the the most important reason is routine and momentum. Do not allow yourself that chance to put it off to tomorrow, why not today? In today's society, it is very easy for people to feel that work is more important than exercise. Really, is your job more important than your health and happiness? Everyone needs to take a look at their own lives and decide where their priorities fall. If your own health and happiness is at the bottom of a long list, there is a good chance you need to take some time and re-evaluate what is important to you in the long term.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Benefits of working out with your baby.

I started working out with my 1st daughter when she was about 3 months old.  We did Stroller Fitness through the summer and then baby & me fitness (with her in a carrier) until she was a year old and I had to return to work.  We both loved it.  She was an active part of my workout and got most of my attention for that hour.  I got a great workout in and did not have to worry about finding someone to watch her.  Plus, if she got hungry, all I had to do was stop and feed her.  It was a group of moms, there was no worry about breastfeeding as needed.

The stroller fitness class that we attended was great.  I signed up for morning classes, so it would get my day started off the right way and it lined up with my daughters morning nap, so she would sleep through most of the class.  She was a pretty easy-going baby, so she was good even if she did not fall asleep.  I have been teaching Stroller Fitness classes myself now for 4 years.  After my 2nd daughter was born, I decided to start offering the classes in my neighbourhood (this is before I moved to The Beaches in Toronto).  She was not as easy-going as my 1st daughter, but she still seemed to be happy just to get out in the fresh air and always enjoyed the stroller ride.  My girls are older now, but they still come with me to a class or 2 each week.  They no longer stay in a stroller, but they are good at staying close by and entertaining all the babies.  I still continue to teach Stroller Fitness classes, even if my own kids are not in strollers, just because I love it. It can be a great workout and it is a great way for the moms to meet some new friends while the kids get a bit of fresh air.

I also offer indoor Mom Fitness classes.  These are great for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.  As my kids got older, I really noticed the lack of classes offered for moms with more than 1 child and for moms with older kids.  These classes can sometime be chaotic, but they are all worth it!  The moms manage to get in a great workout (most days... all kids have their bad days)... and the kids get a chance to have a playdate with the other kids.

So, there are the obvious benefits to working out with your baby... the exercising itself is great, the time with your baby is wonderful...but there is more.  There is the mental benefits that are specific to new moms.  Exercise reduces stress and decreases the chance of post-partum depression.  For anyone that has experienced this or has been close to someone who has, you know how traumatic it can be for everyone involved.  Life with a new baby is filled with stress, sleep-deprivation and loneliness... a exercise can help with all of these, especially one that is geared to new moms. Exercise can actually help mom sleep better!  Plus, if you join a class for new moms, you are sure to meet at least one other mom that you become good friends with.  In my classes, over the past few years, I have seen so many strong friends grow and continue long past the maternity leave.

Babies benefit from the exercise as well.  If it is a class that actually includes the baby in the workout, the interaction is wonderful... it is also a change from the day to day routine.  There were days when my girls were so cranky, I would be going insane... just getting out of the house and getting into a new space where they were getting my attention would be all they needed.  The interaction in these "babies included" workouts builds confidence, self-awareness, human connection and love... all these intimate interactions are vital to your babies emotional growth and development.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Parts of the Body Should You Exercise After Giving Birth?

If you want the simple answer... all of them!  Each area of the body should be exercised, but all in their own way and for their own reasons.

The upper body is important to strengthen, now that you are going to be carrying around an ever-growing baby as well as their car seat, diaper bag and don't forget your purse!  Also very important to strengthen and correct the posture in the upper back for the hours and hours of breast-feeding or bottle feeding.

The core, well, besides the obvious reasons of toning up the stomach muscles that have been stretched and sometimes separated during pregnancy, this is also the fact that the core supports your entire body and weak stomach muscles are going to lead to poor posture and a sore back.  Each case has to be looked at individually though.  After my first pregnancy, I had split my rectus abdominis muscle, this is called Diastasis Recti.  After my second pregnancy, this split was worse.  The muscles were split from top to bottom and I could stick my entire hand in my stomach.  I also had 2 hernia's to deal with.  I could not do any crunches or any other abdominal that required that same action.  But, through research and years of experience, I found the combination of exercises that worked and my muscles are now side by side again.  they will never re-attach without surgery, but as long as I maintain them, you would never know the difference.  If I had gone to a post-partum class or personal trainer that did not know about my issues, I could have done far more damage and possibly strangulated my hernias.  So, again, the exercises for the core section are determined more by the clients pregnancy, delivery and recovery.

The lower body is extremely important to exercise, not only for aesthetics, but also for weight loss in general.  The larger muscle groups require more energy and therefore burn more calories.  The larger the muscle group worked, the more calories burned during a workout.  The more muscle mass a person develops, the faster their resting metabolic rate... so, they will burn more calories at rest than they would if they did not have toned and healthy muscles.

While breastfeeding, the body is still releasing a lot of the same hormones as it did during pregnancy.  One of the main ones being relaxin.  This hormone is intended, by your body, to relax and open the pubic bone in preparation for birth.  But, the hormone can not zone in on just one area and it affects all joints in pregnant women as well as breastfeeding moms. So, the one thing you do need to be careful of is over-stretching.  Stretching is still important, but you have to make sure not to hold the stretch for too long or push too far.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How Soon Can a New Mom Return to Exercise?

Wondering how soon you can return to an exercise program after giving birth?  The standard answer is 4-6 weeks, but research is constantly changing and expanding in the field of pre and post natal exercise.

An athlete, that enjoyed a healthy pregnancy and a complication free, vaginal birth, could return to training after as little as a week.  This is the extreme case, and should only be done under the supervision of a professional.  But, for the rest of us, it all depends on your pregnancy, your delivery and your recovery.  Every woman is different, and so is every pregnancy.  

Generally, after a healthy pregnancy and a complication free, vaginal birth, a new mom can return to exercise after 4 weeks.  After a c-section, the soonest I recommend is 6 weeks.  For both cases, it all comes down to if the doctor or midwife has cleared you for exercise and how you are feeling.  Please, listen to your body!  I offer modifications to all the exercises in my Mom-Friendly Fitness classes, because every case is different and the most important thing to remember is to listen to your body.  I ask that all my moms (well, all my clients), communicate with me openly.  If something feels uncomfortable or hurts, we can always work around it and still get results.  Any trainer should be able to offer modifications, but especially anyone that works with pre and post natal clients.

I have had clients start with me 1 week post-partum, and I have had mothers that have waited well over a year.  Each case, the mom has done what works for her.  The sooner you return to exercise, the easier it will be to loose the baby weight.  It is important for each mom to decide what is best for her physically and mentally.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spot Reduction - Will Crunches Burn the Abdominal Fat???

So, you are looking to lose some weight... and your main concern is your abdominal area. If that was flatter and firmer, you could accept the little extra around your hips and on your arms, right? I am sure you have all heard of "spot reduction", the idea is to work muscles in a certain area of your body and burn the fat off from there and there alone. There are ads out there for endless products that offer this as well... even if they do not use the term "spot reduction".

The problem is, this is not how our body works. We can not burn off abdominal fat by doing crunches any more than we can decide where to deposit the fat cells when we eat those extra treats. Our body burns fat for fuel (along with carbs and protein), so with the proper plan, you can burn fat from your body. You can not decide which part of your body the fat will be burned from, that comes down to where it is stored, how much is stored, if you are burning calories through diet and / or exercise and your body type. If fat tends to go to your abdominals first, it will most likely be burned from there last.

The most important thing to remember that no diet and no exercise alone will help you lose weight. You need to make sure you are eating a balanced diet and doing the proper exercises to burn fat. You need to keep your metabolism going strong and build muscle in order to lose the weight and keep it off. If you did not gain the weight over night, chances are, you will not lose it over night either. Be realistic with your goals and get help when you need it. Even personal trainers hire personal trainers... we all need some help sometimes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moms Getting Fit??? (article I wrote for Yummy Mummy)

Can a mother really find time to get healthy & fit with a kid on each hip? If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have agreed with most of you and said “NO”.

I worked professionally as a dancer in Vancouver and Toronto until I was 25. I never had to worry about my weight and I had a body that could have been an anatomy lesson... but I never really appreciated that until I had children... then it was gone (I thought). I could still feel the stomach muscles... somewhere, but now they were split to the sides and hidden under layers of extra skin, and yes, extra weight. I bought the stability ball, the weights, the resistance bands, the yoga mat... anything that was going to help me lose the weight. But, they all either gathered dust in the corner of my family room, or became great toys for the kids. The stability ball was actually a great way to get my 2nd daughter to sleep... but not used very often for exercising. Even with all the paraphernalia, it was impossible to find time to exercise as a mother! How was I ever suppose to lose the weight and feel comfortable leaving the house ever again??? To top it off, my abdominal muscles had split pretty badly during my first pregnancy and no one could tell me what to due to correct it.

Near the end of my maternity leave with my first daughter, I finally decided to take some courses and learn more about my split abdominal muscles for myself. After my maternity leave, as many mothers do, I decided to make a career change and I became a personal trainer. I managed to correct my muscle split and return to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Once I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I decided to study more about pre & post natal fitness and I began teaching Baby & Me Fitness classes. With this pregnancy I was better educated and I was able to keep in great shape. I continued to train, workout and instruct right up to the end of my 8th month. The entire pregnancy was more enjoyable and I had more energy and less discomfort. I was also able to enjoy the comfort of a drug-free home birth.

I felt that there was a huge void in the fitness industry – there were no easy and affordable options for a new mom to workout and keep her infant or young toddler close by. As a result, I have opened Beaches Fitness – a private, personal training studio geared towards mothers. There is an attached playroom for kids and younger infants are kept safe and entertained while mom achieves her goals. I offer a flexible schedule and discounted rates for new moms. I find there are so many women that have a hard time loosing the weight and they do not have the support system they need to take care of themselves. We are so busy taking care of our kids and the households, we forget to put aside 3 hours of the week and get fit! Not only is this important for our health, but for our self-esteem and emotional well-being.

Now, I am not saying that I have the body I had in my early 20's... but I am proud of my body and I truly feel like a Yummy Mummy.

Stroller Fitness - How good of a workout can it be?

Looking for a great workout that you can bring your baby along to? Wondering if you can actually get results with a Stroller Fitness class? Well, the answer to that, really depends on which class you are taking. I have taken classes in the past that were not so great, and I have taken classes that have kicked my butt! I started teaching Stroller Fitness classes 4 years ago when my first daughter was just over a year old. I have learned a lot over the past 4 seasons and have designed a class that is both fun & social as well as a great full-body workout. I am even more excited for this coming season as I have new idea's and I am ready to get outdoors again!

Most Stroller Fitness classes are only offered to moms with children 16 months and under. I have always kept my classes open to kids of all ages. There are so many moms out there with toddlers that want to continue to workout with their children. There are also a lot of moms out there with more than one kid... what about them? My rule is that as long as you are happy and getting in a workout, I am happy. I do my best to help all the moms get in a great workout while keeping the kidlets entertained.

For the past 4 summers, I have brought my kids with me to all my classes. Last year, by the time Friday would roll around, my girls would be sick of the classes and be begging to not go. So, this year I have signed them up for some camps and some time at the cottage with Grandma and Grandpa. They will still be with me every 3rd week, but at least they will have a few weeks off in between to keep us all sane. This is going to be a very different experience for all of us. I am so use to having my girls with me for these classes... dragging them and all their entertainment for the morning in the wagon as we haul our butts across Queen St. E... a long 45 minute walk each direction some days. Ok, so that part I will not miss so much.

My Stroller Fitness class has evolved to a full body workout with cardio bursts between in order to maximize the calorie burn. We use fitness loops, resistance bands, benches, hills, and our own body weight for the exercises. It is amazing how great of a workout you can get with so little equipment. I do not expect my moms to bring their own weights, like a lot of the other classes... really, they have enough to worry about and I can not imagine adding another 10 lbs to my stroller when my girls were younger. No fancy stroller is required. I do not have the moms running laps... although I may be introducing an extra cardio "add-on" for those interested... but, for those interested, they can get the fancy stroller. I actually did the class with the wagon most of the time last summer.

So, if you are interested in checking out a Stroller Fitness class this year, check out for more information. I will be updating the website soon with a full summer schedule and pricing.

Good luck and enjoy the beautiful weather... when it gets here...


Monday, January 31, 2011


...and with that; the eager, beckoning call for Monster Jammers every where, we went! And oh what a time we had! Now to set the scene a little, myself and my man-date, Jordan, are not you're typical Monster Truck fans. Well, at least not since we were ten! But we found ourselves quickly sucked into the high voltage energy and we hungrily took in all Monster Jam had to offer! Ah, the sights, the sounds, the smells! All of it potentially lethal if consumed at too great a volume, in too short a time, but it is also electric with intensity and truly entertaining! At least once we smartened up and bought some ear plugs!

Being Monster Jam virgins, we had no idea as to what the evenings itinerary would entail. I mean, we had SOME idea that stuff was going to get crushed and we were going to cheer and “Boo” until our throats we hoarse with hot exhaust! But I enjoyed the variety of events which lead to an over all kick-ass night!

The first event is one on one, short-track racing in which all the competitors get two laps and two jumps to prove their worth in the shortest amount of time. This is where we discovered that after three or four starts, in the front row, your ears turn into a centre of white, hot pain! (Ear plugs people! I can't stress this enough!) Right away you could notice the distinct line between the meek and the masterful! AMSOIL SHOCK THERAPY, driven by Rick Rabb, and Tom Meents' MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION, and of course the only monster truck EVERYBODY knows; GRAVE DIGGER driven by Charlie Pauken were clear crowd favorites and already showing the guts and determination needed to dominate in this sport. When the fumes settled, MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION was declared victorious!

Event number two is the free-style competition. This is where the hotter the transmissions got; the more the crazier the Monster Jam fans frenzy would become!! And when GRAVE DIGGER THE LEGEND (I know, totally crazy; There are two kinds of GRAVE DIGGERs! I don't really get it.) came crashing down after a seriously gutsy jump and nearly destroyed the entire back-end of his '51 Ford Panel Van Monster Truck, he was crowned the winner, though his close relative GRAVE DIGGER forfeited his points to wow the crowd with yet another GRAVE DIGGER in a duet with fellow driver Tony Farrell.

And just as it seemed the Monster Truck fun was coming to a close, into my life strolled ROBOSAURUS! That's right, the 42', 30 ton fire breathing half robot, half dinosaur, enjoyed what I can only assume is a small snack for such a beast. He ripped through two cars (literally in half!) and, all the while, you could feel the heat on your face from his fiery breath! And as if this evening wasn't already chock-full with sensory overload, we were also introduced to JET QUADS! These half ATV, half jet engine beauties couldn't even get up to speed inside the Rogers Centre, but the few showy laps they did were loud enough to make you wish for some more bare-ear Monster Truck action! The evening was nicely topped off with a good, ol' fashion smash up derby where we picked the winner right off the hop! What appeared to be some sort of mid-'80's station wagon driven by Mitch Clark son ripped through his competitors and claimed his broken, tangled metal victory!

All in all, this was a super entertaining night of everything you'd expect from Feld Entertainment's Monster Jam with one pleasantly unexpected exception. The professionalism, sportsmanship, and showmanship of all the driver's really shone through in all the events and even after when it was announced that they would stay until the last autograph had been signed!

Bravo men and women of Monster Truck! I take off my mesh-back hat and salute you! Thank you for fulfilling my inner ten year old's dream of seeing stuff get crushed by trucks with huge wheels! It was AWESOME!

***Again, this was written by Grant... he is loving the reviews.***

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Group Fitness Classes with Toddlers and Preschoolers

After having my first daughter, I signed up for Stroller Fitness and Baby & Me Fitness classes. I loved them both and continued them until I had to return to work. I lost all the baby weight before returning to work and I had enough energy to get through the day. My daughter also loved the classes, and it was nice to have that time with her since it was benefiting both of us.

Once I returned to work, I also starting working part-time as a personal trainer. I introduced Mommy & Me fitnuyouess classes to the club I was working at and continued to workout through my 2nd pregnancy.

It was not until after I had my 2nd daughter that I had a hard time getting back into shape. I could not find a class that would allow me to bring both kids to the class and my daughters hated the gym daycare... and they would go ANYWHERE but there! That is when I realized that there were no classes for moms and their kids once the kids turned 16 months old! Even Stroller Fitness classes would not allow toddlers! So, I decided to start my own business and offer the classes myself. It enabled me to work with my kids by my side, but it also gave a lot of moms the opportunity to exercise with their kids close by. I started by offering Baby Fitness classes in a local church basement, and added Stroller Fitness classes in the local park once the weather warmed up. I designed the classes so that the moms with young babies could wear and incorporate the kids into the workout or so the moms with the older toddlers and preschoolers could get in a great workout, while their kids played in the attached playroom. The classes slowly gathered interested and I am now offering classes in the Beaches, Upper Beaches and Leslieville. I am looking to expand into other parts of the East End of Toronto, but it all takes time to gather enough interest.

I still have my youngest come with me to the class once a week, but the rest of the time she is in Nursery School. I am lucky enough to be able to keep my kids with me while I work and I love it. My oldest is in JK now and only gets to come to the classes on PA Days, and she asks constantly if she can come. They both love playing with the other kids and babies.

I love teaching the classes. Some moms are more determined to lose the baby weight than others, but they are all looking for a welcoming, social atmosphere and I try my best to offer that. All the kids (my own included) have good days and bad, but overall, it is a mom and kid-friendly class and we all have a great time!

I started my business as a way to help moms that have a hard time finding the time, energy and money to exercise. My own kids are growing quickly and soon I will not have either of them tagging along to the classes, but I will continue to offer these classes in order to help the moms out there with kids over 16 months of age. Of course, babies are welcome as well. I have moms that started with me 4 weeks postpartum with their first baby and are now still with me with their 2nd child (some still on the way)! It is great to see the babies and families grow!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam - coming to Toronto

Looking for something to do this weekend? The Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam is coming to the Rogers Centre this weekend (January 22nd & 23rd) and it promises to be a fun show! Filled with roaring engines and plenty of crushing, the top trucks from the Monster Jam line-up will entertain fans with jumps, stunts and thrills! Some of the line-up includes...

  • Grave Digger driven by current Monster Jam Freestyle Champion Charlie Pauken
  • Maximum Destruction driven by 8 Time world champion Tom Meents
  • Grave Digger Legend
  • Ironman
  • Shock Therapy
  • Excaliber
  • Black Stallion
  • Iron Warrior
  • Rap Attack
  • Michigan Ice Monster
  • Ground Pounder
  • Meet ROBOSAURUS, a 40 foot tall 30 tonne mechanical dinosaur. Feel the heat of 20-foot flames.
The show is family-friendly and I have a feeling kids of all ages will love it (even the big ones). For more information about the show, check out


Monday, January 17, 2011

Mickey & Minnie's Rockin' Roadshow... ROCKED!

Disney's Mickey's Rockin' Road Show, well, ROCKED! Full of Disney magic, energetic fun, and a great story line that kept the kids and parents entertained! Oh and watch out for Donald's big “KA-POW” finish (he gets it right eventually!!)

We were lucky enough to meet Mickey and Minnie before the show, at least most of us did as our 2 year old is still a little wary of larger than life costumed characters, and our oldest daughter's only question was as to why they weren't talking with any one? I thought it was to save their singing voices for the big show and told her as much, but I thought their faces would remain motionless during the performance, but somehow, once on stage, they came to life! With eyes and mouths that moved to the music and brought some added magical realism to the already action packed show! With scenery that moved with the characters and Donald's a fore mentioned “KA-POW” finale, we were all really impressed with the Disney magic brought to the stage! Though, I must say, with two Disney on Ice performances under our belts, we weren't really all that surprised!

The other element I really liked about Mickey's Rockin' Road Show was the energy Mickey and all his friends brought to the audience. I mean, shows always boast about bringing crowds out of their seats to clap and sing along, but this one really hit the mark! Well not for OUR kids, they were all to happy to sit back and let the magic come to them! We did our best to entice them by making fools of ourselves, but we certainly weren't alone as the whole rest of the venue was alive with interactive singing and dancing (including a 10 minute active warm up to get every one's wiggles out!). Kids were encouraged to answer questions and shout out things that they noticed to help Mickey, Minnie and friends gather what that they needed to put on a talent show for all to enjoy! This left no room for attentions to wander or bums to squirm!

The Road show included lasso, juggling, and other circus style tricks with Toy Story's Woody, Jessie, and, of course, Buzz Lightyear! Winnie the Pooh's pal Tigger entertained every one with what Tiggers do best: BOUNCING!! Cinderella sang her way into everyone's hearts and she even brought her step sisters along for some tone deaf comic relief! And, of course, Mickey Minnie, Goofy and Donald, with some guest hosts to help all the fun along, brought all their own special talents in a truly Rockin' Road Show! And watch out because when Donald gets his “KA-POW” right, you may be pulling it out of your hair for days! Depending on where your seats are!

We can't wait to see what Disney has to offer in next season's line up of shows as we hope to enjoy these events as much as possible while our girls are still young enough to freak out at the mere mention of Mickey (or maybe more so Minnie) Mouse! Our only tough decision will be with Ice or without! Maybe both!

**Disney's Mickey's Rockin' Road Show, well, ROCKED! Full of Disney magic, energetic fun, and a great story line that kept the kids and parents entertained! Oh and watch out for Donald's big “KA-POW” finish (he get's it right eventually!!)

We were lucky enough to meet Mickey and Minnie before the show, at least most of us did as our 2 year old is still a little wary of larger than life costumed characters, and our oldest daughter's only question was as to why they weren't talking with any one? I thought it was to save their singing voices for the big show and told her as much, but I thought their faces would remain motionless during the performance, but somehow, once on stage, they came to life! With eyes and mouths that moved to the music and brought some added magical realism to the already action packed show! With scenery that moved with the characters and Donald's a fore mentioned “KA-POW” finale, we were all really impressed with the Disney magic brought to the stage! Though, I must say, with two Disney on Ice performances under our belts, we weren't really all that surprised!

The other element I really liked about Mickey's Rockin' Road Show was the energy Mickey and all his friends brought to the audience. I mean, shows always boast about bringing crowds out of their seats to clap and sing along, but this one really hit the mark! Well not for OUR kids, they were all to happy to sit back and let the magic come to them! We did our best to entice them by making fools of ourselves, but we certainly weren't alone as the whole rest of the venue was alive with interactive singing and dancing (including a 10 minute active warm up to get every one's wiggles out!). Kids were encouraged to answer questions and shout out things that they noticed to help Mickey, Minnie and friends gather what that they needed to put on a talent show for all to enjoy! This left no room for attentions to wander or bums to squirm!

The Road show included lasso, juggling, and other circus style tricks with Toy Story's Woody, Jessie, and, of course, Buzz Lightyear! Winnie the Pooh's pal Tigger entertained every one with what Tiggers do best: BOUNCING!! Cinderella sang her way into everyone's hearts and she even brought her step sisters along for some tone deaf comic relief! And, of course, Mickey Minnie, Goofy and Donald, with some guest hosts to help all the fun along, brought all their own special talents in a truly Rockin' Road Show! And watch out because when Donald gets his “KA-POW” right, you may be pulling it out of your hair for days! Depending on where your seats are!

We can't wait to see what Disney has to offer in next season's line up of shows as we hope to enjoy these events as much as possible while our girls are still young enough to freak out at the mere mention of Mickey (or maybe more so Minnie) Mouse! Our only tough decision will be with Ice or without! Maybe both!

***This post is courtesy of Daddy... he loved the show so much, we wanted to write the blog post this time!***

Working... and working out... with my kids

I am a personal trainer, a group fitness instructor and of course, a mom. I was lucky enough to be able to start up my own business and include my kids in my work. Since my youngest was 10 months old, I have been training clients in my home-studio. There is an attached playroom for my girls (and any kids that come with my clients) to play in while I work and they have always come with me to my classes. My oldest is now in school, so she no longer comes with me, but my youngest is still there on the days that she does not have Nursery School.

We have our good days and our bad days, but overall, the kids are great for me. They understand that when I am with a client, I can not be as focused on them as they would sometimes like, but I am still close by to help them if needed. When I first meet with my clients, I explain that my kids will be with me during certain times of the day and I have been very fortunate with all my clients being very understanding with my kids. Some clients only come in the evenings, so they rarely even see my kids, but in general, my kids like to know who is with me, so they will come down for a visit every now and then, even if Daddy is home.

The hardest part of my day is trying to get paperwork done with the kids around. As great as they are if there is a client here, they just do not understand that when I am working at the computer, it is just as important. Getting my programs done, researching new exercises and, going through food logs, bookkeeping, marketing, creating new classes, finding good music to workout to for the classes, paying the bills and keeping up with the day to day office work that comes along with running a small business just does not seem important to kids. I can not blame them, but at the same time, it can be frustrating when I am trying to get something done in my office and they become needier than any other time of day! Even trying to have a conversation on the phone with a potential client can be close to impossible. Not sure why the phone is such a trigger for kids, but my youngest can not stand it when I am on the phone!

As for trying to get my own exercise in, it is tough. Since I teach classes and demonstrate the exercises for the participants, I do manage to get some exercise in, but it is hard for me to get the workouts done at home. Since I do not have a client with me, my kids feel it is crucial that they are all over me for this time.

Overall though, I would not change a thing. I love working with the women I work with, I love having the ability to schedule my work around my kids, and I love the fact that I am in control of where my career and business are going. I am happy with the small home studio I have in the Beaches for personal training and I am happy to rent spaces in Leslieville and the Beaches for my group fitness classes... for now. Once my kids are both in school, I am excited to spend more time expanding the business and hopefully getting a space somewhere in the Beaches or Leslieville.

I would love to hear from other "mompreneurs" about how they manage to get their paperwork done with kids around! Being a work at home mom and running your own business is a whole other world and I am still learning the tricks to making it run smoothly on a personal and professional level... any advice would be welcome!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mickey & Minnie's Rockin' Roadshow... another great show with all our favorites!

Well, we have done the Disney on Ice thing (twice) and the girls loved it! The question now is, are they going to love a Disney show that is not on ice? I am pretty sure they are going to love it. We have the poster on our fridge and they both start bouncing up and down, begging to go, every time they see it. The fun part is, we are going this weekend... and we are not telling them until we are at the venue! We are even driving there, just to throw them off a little. We have always taken TTC there and that is half the fun for them, but we have decided to drive this time and make the surprise last a little bit longer.

Feld Entertainment presents a Live Stage Production staring Mickey Mouse and Friends!

Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show, will take your family on a fun-filled journey with Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy! As the crazy cast of characters embark on a talent search, adventure is inevitable. Your family will sing, dance and laugh along with all their favorite characters... and for the first time in Disney Live! history, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and friends from Disney/Pixar's Toy Story join the show!

"Families will feel like they are traveling alongside Mickey and Minnie as they set off on an exciting theatrical excursion, right in their hometown," Producer Alana Feld comments. "Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show is a combination of hilarious escapades, hip music and modern choreography that fuse together to present the Disney characters like you've never seen them before."

As a special bonus, fifteen minutes before every performance, families are treated to the Playhouse Disney Pre-Show Party. This interactive experience features a live host as she gets the audience revved up for the show with fun video highlights from Playhouse Disney favorites "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," "Handy Manny," "Imagination Movers," "Special Agent Oso" and "Jungle Junction." The Pre-Show party is free to all ticket holders.

Of course, their is an offer for you moms out there to help you save some money. Use the code BLOG and save $5 per ticket!

The show runs from Friday, January 14th to Sunday, January 16th. It is a short run, so do not miss your opportunity to see it!

We are going to the Saturday morning show, so I will be back again on Saturday afternoon to let you know if it was a hit with the girls or not... I think we already know the answer to that!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Disney on Ice - Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey

Well, it may have been in the middle of the Christmas craziness and my oldest may have had the worst sinus infection I have ever seen... but we made it! We took the girls to see another Disney on Ice Show this year. Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey was great! The girls, again, sat on the edge of their seats the entire show! They are now almost 3 and almost 5, but the show managed to keep their attention from beginning to end!

Goofy was a favorite from early on in the show... of course. The show included scenes and characters from The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch, The Little Mermaid... and the main event... Peter Pan! My youngest has not seen or read The Lion King yet and neither of them know the full story of Lilo and Stitch, but of course, they know the characters and the show is done is such a great, entertaining way, that it does not even matter if you know the full stories.

I figure that these shows will eventually no longer appeal to my girls. So, in the meantime, we try to take them as often as possible. Luckily, there are always great offers out there... you just need to know where to look. I have been lucky enough to have been provided these offers, so if you continue to follow my blog, I will always post the offers for these and any other shows affiliated with Feld Family Entertainment in the Toronto area.

Like I mentioned, my oldest had been sick at the time. She had been fighting a fever of 104 for 3 days leading up to the show. We were so worried we were going to have to miss the show... but, she woke up the morning of and seemed to be on the mend, so we decided to take her. She sat up through the entire show with a huge grin on her face (the most she could muster as her poor lips were so chapped from being sick and dehydrated). By the time we got on the streetcar to come home, she fell asleep on her Daddy's shoulder, but she was still happy that she had gone. All her energy went into the show and she slept most of the afternoon away, but none of us regret going. It was a great family outing for all of us and we even had the pleasure of meeting up with some friends there and having them over to the house for dinner.

I wish I could go into greater detail about how great the show was... but, my house has been under attack by the flu for the last few weeks and my version was mostly in the eyes, so it is taking a lot of effort to even write this post... but flu season with children in the house is a whole other post!

There is another great show coming up, Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show! This is not a ice show, so this will be a first for my girls. They have only ever gone to the Disney on Ice shows... and my oldest had the chance to see The National Ballet of Canada perform The Nutcracker last year... a perk to having friends in the company. I am excited to see the show... and the girls do not even know we are going! So exciting!

I will be back again soon... as soon as my eyes recover and it does not take me an hour to get through a small post!

Hope you are all healthy! Keep taking your vitamins C & D and get enough sleep!