Meet our Members: Joseph Fireman

By | Healthy Living

Joseph Fireman, aka Joey, is a native Cree from the community of Chisasibi, Quebec and the owner/trainer of SOOK Training. Joseph opened SOOK Training in 2009 to inspire others in the Cree Nation to achieve success in their health by getting active.

Joseph has had many set backs including alcoholism (sober since 2000), severe illness, and a mild stroke in 2018. Despite these trials, he has gone on to offer his SOOK Training method to the Cree School Board, for which he received a people’s choice award in 2016 for his program, and was hired as a fitness trainer and Cree consultant for the Eeyou Eenou Police Force (EEPF).

Joseph resides in Chisasibi with his eleven children, training, hunting and fishing!

Why did you choose canfitpro?

I chose canfitpro because it is the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry and they had more resources available to me to become a personal trainer.

What is your WHY? Why have you chosen this profession?

I chose this profession because of my passion, dedication, desire and love of being a personal trainer. GOD has given me this gift to help others with fitness.

What gets you excited to go to work each day?

Every day is gift and as soon as I wake up in the morning I thank God.  I’m happy seeing all of my clients with smiles on their faces, giving each other high fives and hugs, knowing they are stronger and healthier after their workout at SOOK Training.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I enjoy the people! I treat each individual, from young to old, of every gender, that shows up at SOOK Training with integrity, honesty, determination, respect and LOVE.

Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe

By | Nutrition

By Julie Daniluk, RHN

Not only are watermelons 92% water, they are also packed with magnesium and potassium. Magnesium and potassium are often lost in our sweat during exercise, along with sodium, and need to be replenished immediately. Potassium and magnesium are known as electrolytes because they help carry the electrical signals in the body and allow our muscles to contract and relax.

This recipe is perfect for a hot summer night! Remember that the soup needs time to chill before serving.

Makes 10 cups.


  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 8 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups English cucumber, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 cup organic olive oil, divided
  • pinch of pink rock salt or grey sea salt, to taste


  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced


  • Fresh herb such as basil


  1. Place all ingredients except oil and vinegar into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Transfer half the recipe to a blender and blend at high speed.
  3. Add half the vinegar and then slowly pour in half the olive oil. Salt to taste.
  4. Pour soup into a large bowl and then repeat the previous steps to make the second batch.

Recipe reprinted with permission by Julie Daniluk RHN and Random House

Canada / ©SlimmingMealsThatHeal2014. Check out Julie’s 100-Day Transformation Program.

Catch Julie’s incredible session “Anti-inflammatory Nutrition for Energy and Natural Performance Enhancement” at the canfitpro 2019 convention! Get your tickets before it’s too late!

About Julie Daniluk

Nutritionist, Julie Daniluk, RHN, hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show, now shown in over 70 countries. Her award-winning bestseller, Meals That Heal Inflammation, has helped over 100,000 people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great. Julie’s latest book, Hot Detox, was the #1 Canadian health book in 2017, with 11 weeks on the best-seller list.

She has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows, including The Dr. Oz Show, and is a resident nutrition expert for The Marilyn Denis Show.

Check out amazing recipes and nutrition tips at and connect with Julie on Facebook at Julie Daniluk, Instagram Twitter or email her at

Movement of the Month: ViPR Lateral Bound with Single Leg Landing

By | Movement

With Coach Kennedy

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been exercising, we all go through various phases of expanding our knowledge of the human body and movement. What sort of phases?  For myself I’m always searching for new ways to integrate the human body. I love feeling powerful, strong, agile and endurant!  So, I’ll go through phases where I won’t touch a weight for weeks on end, yet I feel stronger then ever. I’ll go through other phases where I’ll spend all my time moving on the ground like an animal (called Animal Flow). And yes, I’ll even go through short periods where I won’t attend the gym for weeks at a time as I find the need to just connect through daily movement at home, walks, hikes and bike rides.

This is one of the reasons I love using a tool called the ViPR  (

Unlike any other tool (I may be biased here), it allows me to integrate all aspects of training for strength, power, agility, core, endurance, balance, proprioception, stability, mobility and mostly…just a load of fun! Yes, it can have real purpose and function, and be fun. Let’s also not forget the muscular coordination that has to take place, intra and inter, and the amount of caloric expenditure required.

Which brings me to the Movement of the Month:  ViPR Lateral bound with Single Leg Landing.

Strength comes in all forms, in this case function, agility and endurance. There is movement in all planes of motion, that’s functional from a human movement perspective. Then the ability to load, explode and land during direction change is all about agility! And lastly, you have to have endurance.

Power is the ability to take strength and add speed. Power is a KEY component driven from a solid core, which you need plenty of in this exercise. And a stable core means the ability to drive more force.

We also have proprioception and mobility. Watch the ankle, the hips and thoracic spine, and it’s easy to see that mobility is a requirement in order to complete this lateral bound movement safely and efficiently. And, when we combine all of these benefits they contribute to our body awareness. I want you for a moment to imagine the landing: quick to balance while this weighted tool moves along carrying its own kinetic energy that has to be controlled and absorbed by you. If you’re not aware of where you body is in space, you can see how this would create an issue performing this exercise.

Lastly, it’s fun and totally different from what we generally see. Which means clients enjoy it, they think it’s cool and they come back for more!

Exercise Execution:

Begin in your athletic stance: feet hip width apart, soft knees, core braced, shoulders set (elevate, protract, depress) while holding the ViPR with both hands in a neutral grip directly in front of you. Drive your hips slightly to the right (this will create a preload effect) then safely, but quickly, drive the hips back towards the left and land on your left leg while letting the ViPR follow along as you imagine driving the ViPR into the ground with the right hand. The moment you land on your left leg, absorb the energy through the upper leg then explode quickly to the right side, repeat and continue for the allotted time.

Watch the video for an exercise demonstration.

Exercise Protocol:

Perform for 30 seconds per round. Apply exercises based on your client’s fitness level.  In other words, regress and progress as required.

Not sure how?  Contact

Special thanks to Rich Wigmore and Taylor Rawson, cofounders of RT Health Company, for allowing me to use their space for all of my videos and mentorship. Visit their website

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 27-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his CK Mentorships, CK Private Coaching sessions, and Fitness Educator of LIVE education to the fitness industry.

Before pursuing the role of Fitness Educator, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and Personal Training Manager. Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the year award, co-founder of the CFEA (Canadian Fitness Education Alliance), and master instructor for various industry companies including canfitpro and EBFA Global (Evidence Based Fitness Academy). For more information visit

A Possible New Treatment for Diabetes

By | Healthy Living

By Eddie Fatakhov  M.D.

A study released out of a British Columbia research lab in Canada provided a new possible treatment for one of the most rampant diseases in the world. The study found that manipulation of a specific protein within fat cells may not only prevent the development of, but also reverse type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes now affects over 30 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates 84 million Americans are prediabetic (majority of them being unaware). Long-term complications of unmanaged type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, uncontrolled blood pressure, and nerve damage leading to limb amputation, kidney disease and blindness. Obesity is a primary risk factor of type 2 diabetes. The steady incline of obesity rates is directly correlating with the number of people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Our bodies are designed to eat in order to produce the energy we need to survive.  Glucose (or blood sugar) is the body’s main source of fuel. We produce insulin in response to sugar consumption. Insulin is essentially the key that opens the doors for glucose to enter our body’s cells and fuel our body. When we regularly consume more glucose than required for the energy we expend, our body cannot keep up with the insulin demand and we can become insulin resistant. This results in an inability to use glucose for fuel. In turn, the glucose remains in the bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels over long periods of time, eventually turning into, you got it… type 2 diabetes.

Along with potential insulin resistance, eating more than our body needs results in the expansion of white adipose tissue, where excess energy is stored as fat. This study conducted by a group of researchers out of Canada and Sweden examined a specific protein and its role in fat cells. This protein is a glycoprotein known as CD248, a protein that has a known association with the growth of tumours and inflammation. CD248 had never been studied in direct relation with obesity or insulin resistance. Researchers found that CD248 was found in greater amounts within the white adipose tissue in people that were obese or insulin resistant.

In a laboratory setting, researchers then artificially reduced the activity of CD248 in the white adipose tissue cells. From experimentation with the activity of CD248 in the white adipose tissue, researchers were able to conclude that the protein plays a role in the process that leads to insulin resistance and a cellular hallmark of obesity and hypoxia.  Researchers next moved from the artificial reduction of activity to looking at the gene that codes for CD248 in mice. They used genetically-altered mice that lacked the gene that codes CD248 in white adipose tissue. These mice were fed high-fat diets and became obese, but did not develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Potentially the most beneficial find is that the mice that already had diabetes and had the CD248 levels within their fat reduced, showed improvement in their insulin sensitivity. This discovery suggests the possibility of a future target therapy for type 2 diabetes, especially considering the reduction of CD248 did not result in any adverse events. Researchers are careful to point out that this is a very early stage of discovery, but the results give them a new pathway to head down in the treatment and/or prevention of type 2 diabetes. The more the prevalence of type 2 diabetes increases, the more urgent new treatment options become.

About Eddie Fatakhov

Eddie Fatakhov, M.D., a.k.a. Dr. Fat-off, is a Board-Certified Physician, Nutritionist, and author of the new book, “Dr. Fat-Off: Simple Life-Long Weight-Loss Solutions.”

Email him at or visit his website Eddie Fatakhov, MD. You can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Understanding GMOs: No hype just the basics

By | Healthy Living

By Carol Harrison, RD

Genetically modified foods (GMOs) have become a real hot-button topic for consumers; but we’re all so busy, it can be hard for us and our clients to find the time to even get the basic information under our belts.

As a dietitian, I’ve had to research this topic because long gone are the days when consumers only ask about the nutritional merits of foods. How food is produced matters to us all. We want reassurances that our food is safe and healthy, and of course, we’d like to see it remain affordable too.

What are GMOs?

For thousands of years, farmers have been choosing seeds from plants with the traits they are looking for (maybe the sweetest apples or disease-resistant potatoes). With today’s technology, plant scientists can use precise genetic engineering methods to transfer a desirable trait from one plant to another, or alter a trait of a plant.

By using genes that help with disease or insect resistance or drought tolerance, the result has been that we can produce more food with fewer resources (land, water, fertilizer, and pesticides). Not only does that help to keep the cost of food down, but the environmental footprint is minimized as well.

Good to know: The widespread use of the “non-GMO” claim on labels may lead people to think there are many GMO foods available, but the truth is there are only six GMO crops produced in Canada:

  1. Canola
  2. Corn
  3. Potatoes
  4. Soybeans
  5. Alfalfa
  6. Sugar beets

Hooray for plant scientists! We may not grow papayas in Canada, but thanks to GMO technology we can buy them in stores. The ringspot virus threatened to wipe out the papaya industry in Hawaii until a local plant scientist used GMO technology to come up with a disease resistant variation.

Are GMOs safe?

The consensus on the safety of GMOs is very reassuring. The following scientific and regulatory groups have all reviewed more than 1700 studies on GMOs and they all conclude GMOs are safe for humans and the environment:

  • Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • The American Medical Association
  • Dietitians of Canada
  • American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine
  • World Health Organization
  • US Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Societies of London and Canada

Good to know: There is a tremendous amount of fearmongering about the safety of GMOs, and that really concerns me as a dietitian. Worrying about GMOs when there is no reason to limit or avoid them distracts us from healthy habits that can truly improve our wellbeing like making half your plate veggies and fruits, or following good food safety practices.

Find out more:

About Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. Follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram.

Cool Treat: NuTricia’s Dark Sweet Cherry Almond Nice Cream Recipe

By | Nutrition

By Tricia Silverman, RD, MBA

This is my go-to healthy indulgence. I love ice cream, but eat it sparingly due to the sugar and unsavory ingredients that are often added. NuTricia’s Dark Sweet Cherry Almond Nice Cream is a healthful and yummy treat that makes you feel like you are getting the real thing.

Serving: 1


  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ Tbsp almond butter (optional)
  • ½ cup soy milk or almond milk or skim milk


In a blender, blend all the ingredients, adding the milk slowly…you may need to add a little more or less milk depending on the consistency you desire.

Ideally, it should resemble the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

Nutrient Information

  • 210 Calories
  • 7 g Protein
  • 34 g Carbohydrate
  • 6 g Fat
  • 5 g Fiber
  • 0 Added sugar

About Tricia Silverman

Tricia Silverman is a registered dietitian, wellness coach, and fitness instructor.

She’s a canfitpro 2019 conference presenter, and 2018 SCW Fitness Florida Convention Presenter of the Year.

She created and leads the SCW Nutrition for Active Aging Certification.

Is It Too Late for a Summer Body?

By | Healthy Living, Movement

By Fyonna Vanderwerf, B.A, B.Sc, canfitpro PRO TRAINER

With 1,440 minutes every day until that first week of September, it’s never too late to get in shape and create some really great habits to keep as we move through 2019.

What is the biggest barrier? I can tell you right now, it’s the space between the ears on our head. It’s listening to that inner chatter that says you are not able to stick with a habit. That’s what goal setting is, planning a better you, whether it’s being able to say no to drinking too much at the backyard barbeque or deciding that it’s no longer exclusive territory of Michelle Obama to rock every sleeveless outfit she owns!

You have this in five steps. Note, I did not say ‘easy’ – nothing worth a change ever is, but I assure you sticking to these steps 90% of the time will get you to 90% of your success. That other 10% is up to that space in your head to do make up the difference.

What’s at stake here?

  1. A better mindset.
  2. A confidence that people see and feel around you that inspires them to try harder. That is the ultimate gift – the world gets a little extra help from you.
  3. A body that is stronger, more mobile, and less fearful.
  4. An ability to progress through change and make adjustments for long term results.
  5. The integrity and chutzpah that comes with achieving something you’ve worked hard on!


  1. Journal

It makes you accountable, either by an app or in a book. It reminds you of your path. It is also an extra way to gain resilience in the brain to follow through. You’ve thought it, you’ve documented it and by writing it down daily you are keeping accountability to yourself. Journaling the night before for five minutes gives your brain a reboot so you begin with success the next day by absorbing ideas and intentions. A few ideas to reflect on daily: three successful parts of the day, three ways you are grateful, two areas to work on, and a yummy quote to keep you going.

Action step: Find a blank journal/ app to record and start.

  1. Feed the Mind

Now is the time to make that noggin work for YOU. Start manifesting your success by reading inspirational and motivational content. Books that have given me the mental focus to follow through on my goals (competing at Worlds for bodybuilding and placing third in an Ironman triathlon for my age group) are; The Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow; Make Your Bed by William McRaven; and one of my most absolute favourites, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Not a reader? Try a podcast.

Action step: Google “motivating books” or find one in the library, online, book store, from a friend or co-worker.

  1. Find a Workout

I’ve had clients who wear their gym clothes to bed so when they wake up they are ready to go, with one less excuse. The challenge with finding that perfect workout is  the volume of ideas out there, along with every food plan known to the planet to shrink this, build that and eradicate that wiggly skin on your elbow. Listed below is a simple program using a dowel, broomstick or the floor. This program can be done as seen or elevated on a platform, if getting to the floor is not a fit. No gym required, just arms that want definition.


Each exercise is done in a circuit of 30-45 seconds each; repeat all exercises two to three times. Stay mindful of your breath.

Press Backs: Stand or sit, dowel behind your back. Find your power posture, shoulders down and back in set position, lift dowel and pulse to hit the triceps.

Triceps Dip and Taps: Posture tall, arms strong and steady, legs bent 90 degrees. Allow glutes to drop down, hinging begins at the elbow, engaging the triceps (Fig. 1). As you lift up, touch toes or knee with opposite hand while balancing (Fig. 2).

Do the other leg.


This is super functional and modifiable for many levels. It’s quite common to hold your breath while balancing.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

Moving Planks: Assume the typical plank position, using knees or on toes.

Place weight on elbows under the shoulders.

Move forward and backward as if you were sawing.

This targets the shoulders and core.

Happy Canoes: Standing in a lunge, either shortened or full lunge, dowel out in front at shoulder height (Fig 3).

Turn and dip dowel as if it were a paddle (Fig. 4) and then dip to the opposite side (Fig. 5).

For added fun, do this as a moving lunge across the room. It’s definitely harder than it looks, but it works everything well.


Fig. 1

Fig. 3

Fig. 2

Fig. 4

Fig. 3

Fig. 5

Triangle Pushups: On the floor or elevated surface, on knees or toes, turn hands inwards so your thumbs and first fingers on each hand resemble the outline of a triangle – it could also be a bigger triangle for more stability.

Lower down, keeping elbows pointing out, as low as you can go.

Push hands into the floor to come back up.


This is a fun way to work the arms and shoulders as well as the chest.

Action Step: Try the program above, email me to let me know what you think or email me something that worked even better to rock the arms.

  1. Food and Friends to Nourish

Eight out of 10 things that go in our mouth should aim to fuel cells, muscles, growth systems and rest patterns. Think about food neither being good or bad – just what you can pull from it.

You spend 75% of your time with the same four to six people. How are they nourishing you? If they knew you were focused on getting healthier would they encourage you to bring healthier food to that barbeque or would they offer to have more selection? Surround yourself with people that root for you. Let them know you are making some changes and I’ll bet that some of them will jump on board that train to be a part of it.

Simple food strategies in the summer could include hydrating more – lime in water is a quencher on a dock as much as we pretend that gin and tonic is. Pick crunchy rice crackers, fruits and veggies over chips and Cheezies. Reduce those highly processed items and go simpler – a cleaner protein over a sausage or store bought burger.

Action Step: Read through that journal and see what 10 items you have chosen to eat.

  1. Control is Not Just for Janet Jackson

As busy multi-taskers, we all love to tackle everything. Guess what? You’d be better at what you do if you did less and delegated more so you could focus on your game changing skills. Ask yourself these three questions: what do you do the same, what do you do less of, and what do you let go of.

Action Step: Look at three habit patterns you have that are keeping you from being healthier or not as strong and see which ones fall into each question.

So there you have it, five strategies that can help make your summer fitness goals easier to reach, just in time!

About Fyonna Vanderwerf

Fyonna Vanderwerf is a canfitpro PRO TRAINER for PTS, HWL, FIS, and FMA. She lives and works in Muskoka, Ontario as a coach and fitness instructor, with over 50 certifications. She is a Grandmaster competitor in body building at the Provincial and World level in figure and fitness modeling. She runs a successful personal coaching business.

You can reach her at or visit her website at Bee Fit With Fyonna.

Fat is Not the Enemy

By | Nutrition

By Kathleen Trotter, PTS

Listen as Kathleen Trotter, PTS, gives you a few good reasons why we should be eating healthy fat instead of sugar.

About Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter holds a Masters in Exercise Science, is the author of two books including the new book Your Fittest Future Self, and is a Personal trainer, Nutritionist, Pilates Specialist and Life Coach.

Visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Probiotics and Weight Loss

By | Nutrition

By Eddie Fatakhov, M.D.


What is a probiotic?

Probiotics are not only live microorganisms found in supplements and some fermented foods such as yogurt and pickles, but they have also been found to have a variety of health benefits. These benefits include vitamin K and B production, the breakdown of insoluble (indigestible) fiber, immune system support, the improvement of mental health, improvement of heart health, reduction of certain allergies and skin conditions, and (possibly one of the most sought after effects) the reduction of belly fat.

What is the link between probiotics and body fat?

There are large populated families of primarily friendly microorganisms (bacteria) living in your digestive system, two of which are families tied to the management of body fat – bacteroidetes and firmicutes. According to a wide variety of studies, body weight is related to the balance of these two families of bacteria.

These studies look at the difference between the gut bacteria in normal-weight people versus overweight or obese people. The major difference found was that obese subjects had an imbalance in their firmicute levels versus their bacteroidetes.

Which probiotics help you lose weight?

Not all probiotics are created equal. While there are many strains available, only a few have been proven to have positive effects on weight. One strain that studies have found to assist in weight loss is the Lactobacillus family. Studies have found the following to be true:

  • When paired with diet and exercise, eating yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus helped to reduce body fat by 3–4% over a six week period.
  • The effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements was measured on 125 subjects for weight loss and weight maintenance. The study found women taking the probiotics over a three month period lost 50% more weight than the placebo group.
  • Lactobacillus gasseri is one of the most productive probiotic when it comes to weight loss. This specific probiotic inhibits dietary fat absorption. This means the calories your body would otherwise “harvest” are excreted instead.

How can probiotics help you lose weight?

While research is still ongoing, here are some of the ways probiotics are thought to assist in weight loss:

  • They release GLP-1. Probiotics may play a part in the release of GLP-1 (appetite-reducing hormone). Studies have shown increased levels of GLP-1 may actually help you burn calories and fat.
  • They increase production of ANGPTL4. Levels of the protein ANGPTL4 may rise from probiotic use. This production might actually lead to decreased fat storage.

Are probiotics safe?

There are many types of probiotics available today. Because of this, it’s good to remember that some have a lot of research behind them and some do not. Here are some things to know before you buy a probiotic:

  • Mild side effects are possible such as gas or bloating within the first few days of use.
  • All foods with probiotics are not created equal. While these foods usually have good levels of live bacteria – “live and active cultures” yogurt, kefir, aged cheeses, brined pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso – products that claim to have probiotic benefits might not. Enriched juices, cereals, and snack bars may have less than promised levels or weakened forms of the organisms.
  • Probiotics might not be safe for everyone. People with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients in treatment, should avoid probiotics.
  • Expiration dates and storage are very important. Because probiotics are living organisms they have a limited shelf life. Using probiotics before their expiration dates and following the suggested storing advised on the product label maximizes their potency.

Before taking any supplements we recommend talking to your doctor to ensure you are taking one that is right for you.

About Eddie Fatakhov

Eddie Fatakhov, M.D., a.k.a. Dr. Fat-off, is a Board-Certified Physician, Nutritionist, and author of the new book, “Dr. Fat-Off: Simple Life-Long Weight-Loss Solutions.”

Email him at or visit his website Eddie Fatakhov, MD. You can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Meal Prepping Steps for Success

By | Nutrition

By Angela Wallace, MSc, RD, PTS

Are you busy? Do you sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in your day? If you answered yes, you NEED to start meal prepping! It might seem like another chore, but it will save you time, energy, and money (and once you get into the swing of it, it becomes so easy). Being a busy individual means you need energy to keep up with your busy schedule. In addition, if you are working with clients you need to keep them motivated, requiring some extra energy. Fueling your body properly and ensuring you take time to eat healthy meals can make all the difference in your energy levels and your overall health, which will ultimately help you serve your clients best.

How can you start meal prepping?

Step 1: Pick 1-2 days a week to shop for the groceries you need for your meals and snacks.

Step 2: Once you have selected those days, make a plan prior to shopping. For example, if you shop on Sundays, take 5-10 minutes to think about what the week ahead looks like (when will you be working late? when will you need meals at work? when will you be too lazy to prep or cook anything?). Based on your answers to those questions, you can make a plan of what you want to have each day. Know that it is OKAY to plan to eat out on super busy days; it’s the planning aspect that is key. When we don’t plan we end up turning to eating out way too often, and ultimately spending more money than necessary.

Tip: If this is completely new to you, I would suggest starting by planning one meal a day, perhaps your dinners. Keeping breakfast and lunch options simple (i.e., a smoothie and a salad). I still only plan my weekly dinners, my breakfast rotates between oats, smoothies and eggs, and my lunches tend to be leftovers (from my planned dinners). Decide which meal would be best for you to plan ahead so that you can avoid eating out as much as possible.

Step 3: Stick to your proposed plan at the grocery store and get the ingredients you need to make it happen.

Step 4: Set aside time to prepare your meals. This will look different for everyone. For some, it might mean prepping 2-4 meals in advance for their busy week, for others it might mean just prepping a few items to make dinner time super quick. I often cook a fresh meal every night, keeping it simple during the week. For example, I might make veggie burgers, grilled chicken and Greek salad, and tuna melts (all 30 minutes or less). Find what works for you and stick to it!

Healthy Eating On-The-Go Tips

  1. Prep simple foods at the beginning of your week. Chopping and portioning fruit and veggies can be a simple way to start out. This way you can grab these items before you run out each day. You could even prepare some protein or grains ahead of time – if you have planned to have quinoa during the week ahead, why not cook that beforehand?
  2. Make use of your home freezer. If you do get around to batch cooking, make room in your freezer to store pre-prepared options for super busy weeks. Whenever making soups or stews, it’s always a good idea to make a large batch and freeze it. This also works well with healthy muffins for a quick grab-and-go in the mornings!
  3. Just like you schedule clients, schedule time to plan your meals. Grocery shop and care for yourself.
  4. Start small, perhaps you only start by prepping your dinners or your snacks each day. Start with one area and keep building.
  5. Keep your fridge, freezer, and pantry well stocked. What items do you use most? Do you always need some fresh fruits and veggies, cans of tuna, oats, etc.? Figure out your common food patterns and make sure you have what you need to make meal prep and cooking super simple.
  6. Use your ingredients more than once. This can mean using spinach in a smoothie, salad, and stir-fry. Plan to include your produce in different meals to make your life easier and reduce food waste.
  7. When out, read the food labels. Pay attention to the calories and sugar in each of your choices. Try looking at the menu ahead of time, so you know what your best options are when dining out.
  8. Don’t stress if things don’t always go as planned, sometimes things get crazy and sometimes you won’t have any desire to cook. Being prepared and having the items you need in your home will help ensure you get right back on track.

Cheers to happy and healthy meal prepping and eating!

About Angela Wallace, MSc, RD, PTS

Angela Wallace bio pic

Angela Wallace is a registered dietitian nutritionist, family food expert, and certified canfitpro personal trainer. She specializes in women’s health, with a focus on weight loss and digestive conditions. She uses a ‘non dieting approach’ with her ultimate goals being to help people find a balanced lifestyle and healthy relationship with food. Visit her website


These introductions align with the guidelines found in canfitpro’s Heathy Eating & Weight Loss (HWL) certification program.  Learn more about how this program can help you and your clients fuel for optimal health.

The Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Coach course has changed my outlook on my lifestyle choices. I have a different mindset when I go grocery shopping and I am already making healthier choices, I can’t wait to use my new found knowledge to help my friends and family improve their lives as well. My PRO TRAINER was wonderful, she made sure that the course was very interactive and was able to answer all of our questions. The online course and manual are well structured and easy to follow.  I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone who is interested in making a positive change in their life.

—-  S Mackie

Why Train Mental Toughness?

By | Healthy Living

By Jeff Melis

Most health and fitness professionals spend countless hours devoted to mastering and training the physical body.  They plan their workouts for the week, carefully noting how many sets and reps they are going to perform, and what exercises are going to lead to peak results.  But when is the last time you sat down with a plan to train your mind?  Have you ever laid out mindset drills to train your brain in order to overcome negative self-talk, see adversity as opportunity, or rise after an embarrassing fall? This missing but vital piece of work is why, when many of us encounter a staffing problem, a tough revenue month, or an unexpected and unpleasant surprise, our business suffers.

Mental toughness is like any other muscle we have in our body, it must be trained if we want to be able to flex it.

Mental toughness is like any other muscle we have in our body, it must be trained if we want to be able to flex it. Have you ever met someone whose whole day is ruined if their cell phone battery dies?  This is a real disaster in their world.  That’s because they can’t flex their mental toughness muscles. In your business, you are going to face all kinds of problems on a much larger scale. If you cultivate the ability to deal with these problems efficiently and with confidence your business will flourish. People who make training mental toughness a regular part of their routine are better able to create thriving businesses and lives because their new perspective sees problems as opportunities. They can recover from adversity and are less effected by the inevitable ups and downs of running a business.

Whether you are trying to maximize your personal business or develop a winning team around you, the right mindset makes all the difference in the world.

Whether you are trying to maximize your personal business or develop a winning team around you, the right mindset makes all the difference in the world. In your business, and in life for that matter, the only thing that is certain is that you will be faced with challenges, obstacles and adversity. Is your mind tough enough to pull you up when the chips are down? To lead others when things seem bleak? To keep going when others would quit? To motivate your team to victory, even when the path is unclear?

At the Exercise Therapy Association, we believe in training the forgotten muscle, the mind.  Our mental toughness coaches not only help people to restore healthy thinking habits, but work through practical drills that strengthen the mind’s ability to deal with the adversity we all face.  Issues like self-confidence, self-worth, dealing with adversity in business and in everyday life, and being clear on your purpose.

We have found that it’s not good enough to read the latest self-help book or listen to the podcast of the week on self-improvement. Although these band aid solutions may seem helpful in the moment, there is no lasting impact because simply listening to something does not rewire the brain to deal with real life situations. It leaves business owners unarmed as they try to balance the many facets of their day, week or month.  The foundation of all ETA courses is practical application and that includes our mental toughness program. We not only share tested and proven theories on improving mental toughness. We will show you how to integrate them into daily practice so that you can train and strengthen your mental muscle; your mind.

Ask yourself; how much time and money have you spent on mastering your craft? Think about the countless hours you have spent on tackling effective marketing strategies or trying to stay current with technology.  You have all the potential you will ever need to do great things in this industry.  You just need to unlock that potential.  If you believe having a winning mindset can impact your success, is it not worth it to take the time and effort to train your mental toughness? When are you going to start?

If you believe having a winning mindset can impact your success, is it not worth it to take the time and effort to train your mental toughness? When are you going to start?

Make sure to register for canfitpro 2019 to hear Jeff Melis present his course, Training Mental Toughness!

Jeff will show you the link between physical and mental toughness, teach you the mental toughness pyramid and more!

About Jeff Melis

Jeff has run #1 club in Personal Training, achieving over 4 million in personal training sales, #1 in the world. Set industry records and won many top industry awards including “Top Fitness Manager” & “Top Company Personal Training Sales” for the largest fitness organization in Canada. He has seen why personal trainers struggle and what makes them thrive in their careers and has turned his passion to coaching others to succeed.

How Overuse Injuries Can Derail Your Fitness

By | Healthy Living

By Jamie Logie, PTS, NWS

Your training is going great. You’re getting stronger, fitter, losing weight and seeing results.

And then … Bam! You get injured.

Nothing derails progress more than an injury. It stops any pursuit of fitness in its tracks and leaves you stuck to deal with it. If you’re not able to be active, your progress goes backward and this can leave you frustrated and depressed. Let’s look at overuse injuries and the problems they can cause for your long-term training.

What Is An Overuse Injury?

It’s self-explanatory, but to be more specific, an overuse injury is caused by repetitive trauma. This can be any type of muscle or joint injuries such as tendonitis or a stress fracture. These are both things building up over time and then appear abruptly.

Some common types of overuse injuries include:

  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Swimmers shoulder (rotator cuff tendonitis and impingement)
  • Runners’ knee
  • Jumpers’ knee (infrapatellar tendonitis)
  • Little League elbow (comes from too much throwing and caused by repetitive stress to the growth plate on the inside of the elbow)
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Shin splints

The last two are the most common and familiar, and it’s important to point out that with all the other examples you don’t have to be playing sports to get them. They are common if you are constantly doing repetitive motions. They even show up in lower intensity movements. If you are using a keyboard and mouse all day, you know the toll it can take on your body over the long term.

What Causes Overuse Injuries?

They are caused by a combination of repetitive stress, but also training errors when you are engaged in fitness and workouts. They can also happen when you take on too much physical activity too quickly. Other causes include doing an exercise too fast, exercising for too long, or doing too much of one type of activity. This causes an unnecessary strain on your muscles, joints, and tendons.

The other big cause is poor technique. When you use poor form during an exercise, it can have a bad impact on your body. With poor form during a workout, you can overload certain muscles leading to an injury. Another big problem occurs when trying to lift weights that are too heavy. The form turns sloppy and you can end up putting more force and strain on your joints as they struggle with the weight. The muscle you are intending to train doesn’t get properly engaged as your ligaments and tendons are taking on the brunt of the weight.

If these overuse injuries hit you, it can derail your training as you can aggravate them further by trying to work through them. You will also need an extended recovery time to allow them to heal which derails any progress. To help avoid an overuse injury you want to focus on a few things:

  • Master exercise form before progressing with increased weight. Perfect your form and the weights will naturally go up.
  • Wear proper shoes. If you are always running in worn shoes you set yourself up for an overuse injury such as shin splints. You should replace your shoes every 400 to 800 km, even if they still look new.
  • Mix up your training. If you are always doing the same activity, you risk overuse injury as well as your body becoming accustomed to the workout, slowing down your results. Add in some low-impact activities such as swimming or biking to give your body a break, but still get a good workout.

About Jamie Logie

Jamie Logie is a personal trainer and health and wellness coach (PTS, NWS). He’s worked in gyms in Canada, U.S, England, and Australia. He runs and is a contributing writer on health and fitness for The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, LifeHack,, and has an Amazon #1 book called ‘Taking Back Your Health’.

Crickets: A New Superfood

By | Nutrition

By Kristina Nel

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report entitled Edible Insects – Future prospects for food and feed security. This report recommends integrating edible insects into our diet, in order to maintain a high-quality diet and reduce our environmental footprint. The publication of this paper had a catalyzer effect on the popularity of eating insects in North America. But why insects? Because they are nutritious, eco-responsible, and taste delicious! If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of adding crickets (the most commonly consumed insect in North America) to your diet, keep on reading.

Health Benefits of Eating Cricket

Cricket is truly what we call a “superfood” i.e. a nutrient-rich food with health-promoting properties considered to be especially beneficial for general health and well-being. This edible insect is packed with macronutrients and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, which are all crucial to support optimal health.

Did you know that cricket is 60% protein, whereas beef is only 20-30% protein? In other words, cricket contains 2X more protein than beef on a per weight basis! Not only is cricket high in protein, it is also a complete source of protein. This means that cricket protein contains all the essential amino acids that your body cannot synthesize on its own and that you must obtain through your diet. Protein is an important macronutrient. It is used by the body for muscle synthesis and muscle repair. Therefore, protein is crucial to maintain lean body mass, especially for active people whose muscles deteriorate during exercise.

Cricket is also high in calcium. As it happens, cricket contains 1.6X more calcium than milk on a per weight basis. Calcium is an important nutrient that plays many roles in the human body, including the formation and maintenance of healthy bones, as well as the insurance of proper muscle contraction. Calcium is especially important for athletes because they lose more minerals through perspiration, and because low calcium levels increases the risk of experiencing muscle cramps during physical effort.

Cricket is also rich in iron. Actually, cricket contains 2X more iron than spinach on a per weight basis Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning it must be obtained through the diet. It is a component of hemoglobin; the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Hence, it is particularly important for athletes because it ensures that muscles are oxygenated and working properly, and it helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy during exercise.

Another important nutrient found in large quantities in cricket is vitamin B12. As a matter of fact, cricket contains 7X more vitamin B12 than salmon on a per weight basis. Vitamin B12 is an essential B vitamin that participates in maintaining the body’s homeostasis and plays a crucial role in blood and neurological functioning. Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of nerve cells, DNA, and red blood cells. Therefore, it is important for athletes to have adequate levels of vitamin B12 to ensure that the oxygen carrying capacity of their blood is not compromised.

Environmental Benefits of Eating Cricket

It is estimated that the world population will exceed nine billion people by the year 2050. In order to meet the needs of this rising population, it will be necessary to almost double the current food production. However, this is not a feasible solution given that the current means of production are nearly insufficient to feed the present population. The biggest problem lies in the growing demand for animal protein. Farming animals requires lots of space, feed and water; it creates lots of strain on the Earth.

In terms of resources, crickets are much more sustainable than any other traditional animals currently being farmed. For instance, crickets require 12 times less feed, 13 times less land, 2000 times less water, and produce 100 times less greenhouse gases than beef. This is a huge difference considering the fact that the livestock sector generates as much greenhouse gases as the transport sector, and monopolizes two thirds of the cultivated surfaces on Earth.

With that being said, it is no surprise that edible insects are consumed more and more in North America. While there is a certain psychological barrier that must be overcome due to the lack of edible insects in dietary customs, there are lots of ways to consume crickets that make the transition to an entotarian diet much more comfortable. For instance, many companies are adding crickets to their products such as energy bars, protein bars, protein powder, chips, pasta, etc. In addition, you can start cooking with cricket powder, which can easily be added to all the meals you cook and the treats you bake!

Check out the Food and Agriculture Organization report for more information.

About Kristina Nel

Kristina Nel is the Product Development Manager for Näak. She joined Näak’s dynamic team in January 2019. Kristina graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and a concentration in Sports Nutrition in 2017. She also graduated from McGill University with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition in 2018, after completing research on endurance runners and their dietary habits. During her university summers, Kristina spent her time tree planting and working different jobs in the reforestation industry. When she isn’t busy coming up with new product ideas and creating content for work, she can be found rock climbing, skiing, or planning her next adventure!

Cricket Powder Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies Recipe

By | Nutrition

By Kristina Nel

Yields: 8 big cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 12-15 minutes


  • 1 ¼ rolled oats
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cricket powder
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Put the raisins in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak.
  • Add the dry ingredients (rolled oats, flour, cricket powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt) to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients (egg and melted coconut oil) to a small bowl. Whisk together.
  • Add the wet ingredients from the small mixing bowl to the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly to create the cookie dough.
  • Strain the raisins and add them to the rest of the cookie dough. Fold them in.
  • Cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 8 round cookies. Place them on the baking tray.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Make sure the cookies are golden brown and baked, but still soft on the inside.
  • Take the cookies out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

About Kristina Nel

Kristina Nel is the Product Development Manager for Näak. She joined Näak’s dynamic team in January 2019. Kristina graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and a concentration in Sports Nutrition in 2017. She also graduated from McGill University with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition in 2018, after completing research on endurance runners and their dietary habits. During her university summers, Kristina spent her time tree planting and working different jobs in the reforestation industry. When she isn’t busy coming up with new product ideas and creating content for work, she can be found rock climbing, skiing, or planning her next adventure!

Fuel Up for Fun

By | Healthy Living

By Carol Harrison, RD

Summer is here, and fueling up sporty kids to help them feel and perform their best is now easier with this resource: Fuel up for Fun. Designed for parents and coaches of kids 6 to 15 years of age, this resource fills a gap I noticed while raising my three sporty kids: what should I feed them, and how do I do that and still make it to practice on time! Parents and coaches who reviewed the resource agreed it addresses their top sports nutrition questions, and it is jammed with practical how-to tips. It’s now updated to include references to Health Canada’s new food guide, and multiple copies of this resource can be ordered at no charge.

Three key take-aways to share with parents and coaches:

Eat a variety of healthy foods each day (click to enlarge)

Eat a variety of healthy foods each day (click to enlarge)

  1. Back to Basics: replace ultra-processed food with nutrient-rich wholesome food

 It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of nutritional advice, but consider this: amongst Canadian kids’ ages 9 to 13 years of age, 57% of their calories come from calorie-rich, nutrient-poor, ultra-processed food like frozen pizza, french fries, sweetened cereals, candy, salty snacks and pop. Given that the number one nutritional priority for most families will be to help kids fill up on nutrient-rich, wholesome foundational foods, Health Canada’s new “Eat Well Plate” is a great place to start.

TIP: What to offer before, during and after physical activity, how to handle challenges like practices over the dinner hour, and how to handle treats and more are all covered in “Fuel up For Fun.”

Healthy eating is more than the food you eat (click to enlarge)

Healthy eating is more than the food you eat (click to enlarge)

Good to know: The nutritional value of foods represented in the protein group varies widely with omega-3s from fatty fish, iron from beef, calcium from dairy, choline from eggs, and fiber from beans and lentils. That old wisdom about eating a variety of wholesome foods still holds true, especially for the protein group.

  1. Hydration Basics: Water is still king

Getting enough water helps kids to feel energized during workouts, and to avoid cramps as well. Because thirst is not a reliable sign of dehydration, kids need reminders to drink before, during and after physical activity. Kids may not realize it, but they continue to lose fluids or dehydrate even after games and practices.

TIP: Wondering about hydrating with juice, sports drinks and energy drinks?  That’s all covered in “Fuel up for Fun”, including a recipe to make your own sports drink.

Good to know: Kids will drink more water when it’s flavoured. Try adding mint, orange or lemon slices to water.

  1. Plan ahead to work smarter, not longer in the kitchen

For most of us, time is the biggest barrier to helping our active kids get the good nutrition they need. Try to get ahead by doing some meal prep on Sundays:

  • Hard cook eggs, chop up cubes of cheese, fruit and veggies or make muffin-tin frittatas for breakfast on the go.
  • Make containers of dried fruit, nuts and whole grain cereal for a portable and energizing snack after practices and games.
  • Pan fry some ground beef with diced bell peppers and onions then add in a can of rinsed kidney beans. Use that as a base for a head start on a weeknight dinner of tacos, pasta with meat sauce or grab-and-go burritos.

TIP: Eat well during “away” tournaments. Pack up a cooler, book a hotel room with a fridge and organize family potluck suppers. For times when teams do eat out, “Fuel up for Fun” offers lots of tips for making better-for-you choices.

Good to know: Kids can get enough protein from food, and do not need to rely on protein supplements which are costly, highly processed and don’t offer the same nutritional benefits as whole foods. Animal foods like meat, fish, cheese and poultry are richer in protein than plant options like beans and nuts, but for optimal nutrition it’s good to include a variety of both animal and plant-based proteins.

About Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. Follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram.