Healthy Living

New Times, New Strategies

By | Healthy Living

By Kathleen Trotter, PTS

It is a new world, one filled with ZOOM, facemasks, heightened anxiety, home gyms… oh, and did I mention anxiety?

The conundrum is this: although our new normal has made “health” feel almost impossible, it also has made healthy living an absolute must—a non-negotiable. Exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining a nutritious diet not only supports immune and cardiovascular health, but these habits assist in the management of depression and anxiety, and improve everything from mood to energy, to mental focus. Plus, I know that when I “control what I can control” (exercise, nutrition, etc.) I feel more able to navigate what life throws at me. Maintaining my healthy habits gives me a semblance of control, a much-needed feeling in this new crazy world.

Instead of trying to use solutions that may—or may not—have worked pre-pandemic, find new and innovative ways to reach your health and fitness goals. Acknowledge that our world has changed, then adapt your strategies to the new reality.

New Strategies

In terms of exercise…

Try the “plug and play” solution

The plug and play solution is a tailored list of exercise options based on time and accessibility. Decide what activities you could realistically do in five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. When you find yourself with a chunk of “found” time, instead of wasting that block of time on social media or wondering what you should do, look at the list and go.

Think of the plug and play list as “exercise snacking.” Sure, you might not be able to prioritize an hour workout—a full “exercise meal”—but you can always fit in 5 or 10 minutes. Ten minutes of exercise a day is 70 minutes a week, and 70 minutes a week is better than zero minutes. All motion adds up.

Create the list in advance. Why? When you have to stop and think about what exercise to do, all too often you will end up doing nothing. The cognitive load of deciding is one thing too many. The list will help you take the guesswork out of fitness. That way you can make the best of all free moments.

How do you decide what goes on your plug and play list? Think about what you find fun, what is safe, what is realistic, and what can be done in the specific amounts of time you have.

Make it FUN… maybe get your family involved

Find things you enjoy, or at least that you don’t hate. This pandemic is hard enough; it might not be the time to make yourself suffer through exercise that you despise. Put on some music and dance around! Jump rope outside. Play semi-active games with your kids such as hide and seek—these types of games may not be a workout, but they require more activity than watching TV.

Make “dates” with your family to do online workouts, or to go for “fitventures.” Every Sunday I try out a different park around Toronto. My dog, Olive, loves it. I get time with my partner, James. We get our steps. Wins all around!

Consider a family challenge! Be creative. Base the parameters of the challenge on the number and age of your kids and their interests. Maybe each family member counts how many steps they take throughout the day. Everyone has to get creative to accrue steps — “forget” things upstairs, play active video games, pace on conference calls, etc. Or try a family pushup or squat challenge. The winner gets to pick family movie night or have their favourite meal delivered.

In terms of nutrition…

Procrastinate intelligently

Learn to delay your gratification. The next time you desire something that you know your future self will not be proud of, tell yourself you can have it, but not now. Delay the indulgence. Tell yourself you can have the treat tomorrow, or after you play a fun game or get going on a project. Future you will typically forget about the craving altogether!

Only bring food into the house that you want your future self—or your future family—to consume!

Control your nutritional environment; be vigilant about what comes into your house! Make your grocery list or order your groceries when you are feeling satiated and relatively calm—that is, when your rational brain is in charge. Then, don’t allow your emotional self to change that list.

The main takeaway is this: your workouts don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to happen. Think consistency—think daily, non-negotiable motion! Your food choices don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be conscious. Stop mindlessly snacking. Control your nutrition environment. Unhealthy food in your cupboards will eventually be consumed by you or someone you love. Equally, healthy food will eventually be consumed by you or someone you love. If you don’t bring it into your house, you can’t eat it!

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 at

Twitter: @FITbyKathleenT

Instagram: @fitbykathleent

Facebook:  FIT by Kathleen Trotter

Exercise Prescription for Mental Health

By | Healthy Living

By Igor Klibanov

As a fitness professional, you undoubtedly know how prevalent mental health issues are, and you may even work with people who have them. However, there’s very little specific information on how to make it better (other than “exercise is good for you”) and any improvements that come are simply a side effect of exercise. But what if there was a direct way to exercise specifically for improvement of mental health issues? That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article.

If your clients have noticed that they:

  • Have lost pleasure in activities that they really used to enjoy
  • Aren’t taking care of themselves as much
  • Are neglecting certain relationships
  • Performing worse at their work than they used to

Then this article is for you.

We’ll discuss the exercise prescription for mental health issues. I use that word, “prescription” very precisely. After all, when a doctor prescribes a medication, there’s a lot of precision behind it. S/he tells you:

  • The name of the medication
  • The dose
  • Whether you should take it with food, or away from food
  • Whether you should take it in the morning, or the evening

But, when the doctor recommends exercise, well, the recommendation is vague. You don’t know exactly how to do it. You need the exercise prescription for different conditions:

  • The type: cardio, strength training, or stretching
  • The frequency: how many days per week. It’s not always a “more is better” type of scenario. With some things there’s a “sweet spot”.
  • The duration: how long you exercise for, or how many sets and reps
  • The intensity: at what percent of your maximal effort do you exercise?

Cardio vs. Strength Training

Although the occasional study finds that cardio is more effective, most studies find no difference in effectiveness between cardio and strength training.

In one study, researchers divided participants into two groups:

Group 1 did cardio, three times per week, for one hour, at an intensity of 80% of their maximal heart rate.

Group 2 did strength training, three times per week for one hour. They did 10 exercises, in a circuit format, making sure their heart rate did not rise above 50-60% of their estimated maximum.

Group 3 was the control group. They did not exercise.

Both groups one and two had similar improvements in mental health (as judged by their depression score). After the study, around 80% of the people in groups one and two no longer met the diagnostic criteria for depression. But only 17% of the people in group three no longer met the diagnostic criteria for depression.

In another study, participants with mental health issues, whose average age was 71, participated in high-intensity strength training and, after 10 weeks, those who were in the exercise group had a 54% improvement in their mental health.


How many days per week is better – one, three, five? Or is it like medications, where if you don’t take it for one day, the effect completely goes away, in which case, you need to take it every day, seven days per week?

That’s what this study tried to answer. In here, researchers divided participants into five groups:

  • Group 1: control group (stretching)
  • Group 2: burned 7 kcal/kg/week, across 3 days
  • Group 3: burned 7 kcal/kg/week, across 5 days
  • Group 4: burned 17.5 kcal/kg/week, across 3 days
  • Group 5: burned 17.5 kcal/kg/week, across 5 days

In this case, there was no difference between the two groups that burned 7 kcal/kg/week, and the group that didn’t exercise at all. None of those three groups saw much of an improvement in mental health. However, both groups that exercised at 17.5 kcal/kg/week saw reductions in symptoms of mental illness that were similar to each other. After 12 weeks of following this program, the reduction in mental illness symptoms was about 47%.

From this preliminary evidence, it seems like there’s not much of a difference between three times per week, and five times per week, as long as you cross a certain energy expenditure threshold. Is there a greater effect for even greater calorie expenditures? Maybe. But, as far as I know, that research has not yet been done yet.


So, now that we know the type (cardio and strength training are about even), the frequency (not much of a difference between three and five times per week), what’s the intensity required to reduce mental health issues? Should you take it easy? Or should you really push?

That’s what this study tried to find out.

Researchers divided participants into three groups:

Group 1 was a control group (they didn’t exercise)

Group 2 did strength training at 80% of their maximum weight, three times per week for eight weeks.

Group 3 did the exact same exercises, repetitions, and frequency as group 2, but they did it with only 20% of their maximum weight.

The results:

  • 21% of the people in group 1 had a reduction in their mental health issues after eight weeks. Without exercise. Without medication. Without psychotherapy. It just happened.
  • 61% of the people in group 2 had a reduction in their mental health issues after eight weeks.
  • 28% of the people in group 3 had a reduction in their mental health issues after eight weeks

What’s our conclusion? High intensity (over 75% of your maximum) is superior to low intensity when it comes to mental health improvement. This study looked at strength training, but other studies saw the same effect for cardio.


Is this a case of “more is better”, or is this a case of “just right”? Unfortunately, this variable hasn’t been as well studied as frequency, intensity, and type. However, one preliminary study concluded that duration and intensity are much less important than frequency.

In terms of weeks/months, although small, transient reductions are seen with just a single exercise session. To see large, consistent, long-term reductions, you should exercise for at least 9 weeks, according to this study.

Exercise vs. Medications

And now, the million-dollar question: how do medications compare to exercise when it comes to mental health improvement?

One meta-analysis (a study of several studies), from the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology looked at this question in very significant detail and found that exercise is equally effective to medications in the treatment of mental health issues. And, when the two are combined, the medications work even better.

How Exercise Work on Mental Health?

It’s nice to know what works, but “why” does exercise help relieve mental health issues? What are the mechanisms involved?

Reason #1: Endorphins

When you exercise at a high intensity, it’s physically uncomfortable. You’re out of breath and your muscles are burning. Your body doesn’t like that, so it releases “pain-blocking” chemicals called “endorphins.” It makes sense why the high intensity is required for mental health improvement. It has to be uncomfortable enough to trigger the release of endorphins. Low intensity is too comfortable for endorphin release. It blocks physical pain, but along with that, it helps emotional pain, as is seen in mental illness.

Reason #2: Self Efficacy Hypothesis

Often, a person who suffers from mental health issues has the feeling like their life is out of control. Things are happening to them and they are helpless against circumstances. Exercise gives you a sense of control. You know that if you go for an intense 20-minute workout, you’ll feel better. And who controls when you work out? You do! Who controls how long you work out? You do! Who controls how hard you work out? You do!

Reason #3: Distraction

Sometimes exercise just works because you’re focused on how hard you’re breathing and how much your muscles are burning. You are able to forget whatever is stressing you out.

Reason #4: Sleep Improvement

It’s very well-known that people who exercise usually sleep better. People who sleep better have better moods.

Reason #5: Serotonin

Serotonin is the “happy chemical” and when it’s released you feel content and relaxed. Exercise helps increase serotonin in the brain.

About Igor Klibanov

Igor Klibanov is the author of five books on fitness and nutrition, including The Mental Health Prescription, as well as the CEO of one of Toronto’s premier personal training companies, Fitness Solutions Plus. He was selected as one of the top five personal trainers in Toronto by the Metro News newspaper, and has performed approximately 400 speaking engagements, many of which have been to some of Canada’s largest corporations (including RBC, IBM, Intact Insurance, and others).

Additionally, he has multiple programs for personal trainers to enhance their skills and is a regular speaker at various personal training conferences.


R.E.W.I.R.E. Your Brain for Success!

By | Healthy Living

By Jill Hewlett, Brain Fitness Expert

We often refer to our cognitive abilities as muscles, but did you know that your brain is actually a jelly-like substance that is malleable and modifiable?

Similar to the muscles of your body, your brain is designed to grow and strengthen, and thanks to a special ability called ‘neuroplasticity’ it can be sculpted too.

This means that with the right knowledge and tools you can impact how your brain functions, improving your physical, mental, emotional and functional states, currently and long term.

 One of the best ways to do this is by using the body you currently have to get the brain you want!  Your brain is neurologically wired throughout your entire body, so when you intentionally care for your body, you inevitably care for your brain.

As fitness professionals, you are practicing and teaching many practical aspects of neuroscience – perhaps without even realizing it. With the information and new awareness that I’d like to share with you, you can quickly leverage your current skill set and have an even greater impact on your results and the outcomes you provide for yourself and your clients. Here are six steps to get you started.


REPETITION – Whatever you repeat on a regular basis creates more neurons and neural networks that will support and engrain that habit and way of thinking. If you are happy with your results, then continue with what you are doing. However, if you are not satisfied, then it’s time to get some new habits into place and to fortify a new and improved brain network.

ENGAGE – In neuroscience terms: “how you fire it, is how you wire it!” If you are serious about making changes in your life, you need to engage in supportive actions that align with your goals. In other words, you can’t just talk or think about it, you need to DO something which will activate neural responses and resulting brain connections.

WHY – As with anything in life, there needs to be some degree of motivation to get us started. For example, you are hungry enough to make a meal, tired enough to go to sleep, smelly enough to take a shower…etc. This is the same with life goals, too. When you want a change badly enough you will let go of your current situation and move into new terrain. Take a moment and connect to the reason behind your desired life change or goal. What’s your motivation? How would your life look, feel, or be different if you were to achieve the change? Clarifying and anchoring your intention is the precursor to actually delivering on it.

IMAGINE – Did you know that visualizing yourself performing an activity is almost as powerful as doing it? Visualization works because the same brain regions are activated when you mentally rehearse something as when you actually perform it. If you want to improve your athletic performance, deliver a powerful presentation, talk about a delicate subject with a friend or co-worker, you can rehearse ahead of time and improve the likelihood of more positive outcomes.

RELEASE – In order to bring the ‘new’ into your life, you need to make space for it. For example, if your calendar is already packed with commitments, how will you schedule in new opportunities? If your cupboards are full of food that doesn’t nourish you, where will you put new items that will? If your mind is so busy analyzing and regurgitating familiar thoughts and material, how will you have time to imagine and invite new possibilities? Take the time to do some weeding out to lighten your load and shift your energy in the direction you want to go.

ELEVATE – As they say in show biz, “It’s a long road to an overnight success!” Every step is part of the bigger picture; and if you want to make the ‘long road’ fun and enjoyable, recognizing all your efforts will be worth it. Research has shown that as children are growing and developing, being acknowledged for their efforts plays a big role in keeping them motivated and anchoring each new skill. Adults are not much different. We all do better when affirmed for our efforts. There are many simple, quick, and affordable ways you can bring in an element of celebration on a regular basis. A high five can go a long way!

To your Fit Brain & Fit Life!

About Jill Hewlett

Jill Hewlett is a nationally recognized speaker, author, Brain Fitness Expert & Wellness Authority.

Combining user-friendly neuroscience and inspired common sense strategies, Jill draws out the natural leadership, resources, and resilience in individuals and organizations to support them in achieving greater levels of wellness, productivity, and success.

With her keynotes and training sessions, you will be equipped with the information, motivation, and tools to proactively build your Fit Brain & Fit Life!

Visit her website

Mino-bimaadiziwin (Live the Good Life)

By | Healthy Living

By Donna Mior, RN, BSCN, IBCLC

Niwiisoogawaananing Ashinaabeg chi mino bimaadizid

Ogimaawabiitong Kenora Chiefs Advisory (KCA) is committed and dedicated to providing culturally appropriate health and social services which address the needs and enhance the well being and capacity of community members in our affiliated First Nations.  KCA Communities include:

  • Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Whitefish Bay First Nation)
  • Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows)
  • Shoal Lake 40 First Nation
  • Wabaseemoong Independent Nation (Whitedog)
  • Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation (Rat Portage)
  • Northwest Angle 33 First Nation (Dog Paw & Angle Inlet)
  • Washagamis Bay First Nation
  • Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation (Regina Bay and Windigo Island)
  • Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (Dalles)

Our dynamic staff work within Health, Mental Health & Addictions, Min-O-Qwe-Ke-Ga-Bwe’in Social Services, and Niigaanning Bimaadiziwin (Future Life) programs.  With leadership of the chiefs, our nine community chiefs comprise our board of directors, and guidance from our elders and youth council, traditional ways are embedded in programming to ensure the survival of the Anishinaabe way in the present and future generations.

Manaa-siizabaakotaapinetaa (Together let’s reduce the risk for diabetes)

I started my nursing career in an Acute Care Hospital on a medical unit specializing in renal (kidney) disease.  Renal disease is one of the possible complications of diabetes.  It is known that the prevalence and incidence of diabetes in our Indigenous population is concerning.  Traditional lifestyles were active with healthy food from the land, nibi (water) and tea. Today’s lifestyles are not as active, with more processed foods and sugary drinks contributing to the increase in diabetes and other chronic conditions.  In my role with the Anishinaabe Diabetes Education Program, I can provide information and initiatives to reduce the risk for diabetes and diabetes related complications.  Our program consists of a Registered Nurse and Registered Dietitian.  We strive to provide practical skills and knowledge to promote health and optimal diabetes management.  This is done through a variety of initiatives, including public health fairs, community workshops, cooking classes, access to a lactation consultant, education in schools, resource development, physical activity sessions and capacity building.

First Nation Programs such as, Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative, Healthy Babies Healthy Children, Family Well-being, Prevention, and Right-to-Play collaborate with KCA to provide activities which promote health and wellness.  Physical activity is important for holistic health as it impacts mental, emotional, spiritual and physical wellness.   In February 2020, 14 community and KCA staff embarked on an exciting journey with canfitpro to achieve Fitness Instructor Specialist (FIS) Certification.  Anne Parr, canfitpro PRO TRAINER provided a 3-day training workshop.  For many, this was an introduction to the information and offered many new elements to consider when implementing and encouraging physical activity sessions.  We recognize how this material will enhance our abilities to create and offer programs for all ages to support healthy individuals and communities.  Although our journey, was delayed as a result of Covid-19, we are eager to resume our preparations to complete certification.  Our group appreciates Anne’s energy, knowledge, and expertise as she continues to support us to successfully achieve certification.

It has been stated that “sitting is the new smoking.” MAA MAA CHI DA  (from stationary to physically active).  Everyone benefits from regular physical activity.  Let’s get moving to inspire and motivate healthy active lifestyles.

Diabetes and The Seven Grandfather Teachings


Respect others and respect yourself.  The Creator has given us one body:  take care of your body.


Learn as much as you can about healthy lifestyles and any health concerns including diabetes. Wisdom is taking small steps to make positive change in your life.


Be truthful that diabetes must be managed every day. When you learn, live, walk with and speak truth about diabetes daily, it may change the way you look at it.


Achieve honesty within yourself: Recognize and acknowledge the effects diabetes can have on your body. Learn all you can about diabetes so that managing it becomes a natural part of your day.


Humble yourself (humility): Diabetes is an ever-changing disease, that affects your body. It is important for you to see your diabetes team at least every 3-4 months to live well with diabetes and keep healthy.


Bravery is making changes that may not be easy, but that you know are good for you. Many changes are difficult at first; they become easier to manage over time.


Give unconditional love; when people are weak they need love. When it comes to your health, you must take care of yourself; show love for yourself.

Submitted by Donna Mior, RN, BSCN, IBCLC
Community Diabetes Educator, Anishinaabe Diabetes Education Program
Kenora Chiefs Advisory

To learn more, check out:

Red Light, Green Light: Red Light Therapy and the Input-Output Equation

By | Healthy Living

By Marc Poirier

Most fitness journeys look a lot like that childhood game — one voice calling out ‘red light’ and ‘green light’ in alternation, the crowd running hard on green and coming to a halt on red.

In the gym, some weeks are green light weeks. The client achieves a personal goal, proves their commitment, and the numbers — on the scale or on the squat rack — echoes their efforts. Then, as if on cue, the voices of pain, injury, and burn out scream ‘red light’. Morale goes down, progress reverses, and the client is met with numbers that seem like the inverse of their efforts.

When an input-output equation doesn’t add up, disappointment and discouragement are inevitable. But, fitness professionals know progress is a delicate balance between training and recovery, commitment and knowledge, elbow grease and targeted solutions. Even professional athletes, who are paid to tailor and tweak this equation, aren’t able to do it alone. They use coaches to monitor their safety, biomarkers to understand their somatic signals, and expensive technology to optimize their recovery.

Recently, they’ve also been using red light therapy.

Red Light Therapy for Red Light Days

Red light therapy, known also as Photobiomodulation, refers to the non-invasive practice of using red and near infrared wavelengths to penetrate the skin. Originally tested as a strategy for growing plants in space, red light therapy has been recognized since the 1990s for its untapped potential, and the subsequent years have brought more testing and wider applications.

Today’s evidence proves red light produces a biochemical effect on mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, controlling energy production; to promote mitochondrial function is to improve muscle growth and repair. A recent grassroots study monitored a group of untrained individuals through eight weeks of training and found those that combined weight training with light therapy were able to double their muscle size gains.

Inflammation is both the antidote and the byproduct of progress; muscle gain often brings with it muscle damage. Researchers believe the ability of red light therapy to increase levels of CO2 can inhibit inflammatory cytokines and allow more efficient repair without scarring. Similarly, lactic acid is a loud voice when it comes to fatigue, making workouts feel infinitely harder. Red light therapy is known to reduce lactic acid, allowing clients to decrease recovery time and avoid the dreaded stiffness associated with leg day.

Beyond the production of cellular energy, the reduction of inflammation and the treatment of lactic acid, red light therapy has proven effective for skin rejuvenation, improved sleep, wound healing, arthritis, and fibrosis. Years of research has shown the benefits are hard to overstate.

Red Light Therapy in Your Practice

With the exponential advancements of technology, red light therapy has become an affordable addition to any health club or gym, and even a viable at home solution for clients looking to maximize their benefits. Gaining popularity at clubs like Planet Fitness, the treatment is a way to maximize both client results and company revenue.

Red light therapy is an addition that will differentiate your operation. After the recent shift in our understanding of public health, red light therapy will emerge as the only solution for group recovery. Saunas and steam rooms require intensive upkeep and thorough cleaning between uses, but red light therapy uses a different spectrum of light to achieve results, allowing guests to reap more benefits in a safer and more hygienic way.

As your clients await a return to business and carry out their fitness plans at home, red light therapy provides the perfect opportunity to stay in touch and extend your coaching. With affordable units that can be intuitively installed and used from home, you can help your clients make that investment on the recovery end of their health and fitness. When it’s time to return, enhanced membership packages can be offered with scheduled red light treatment, and guests can collaborate with their trainers to target their specific recovery needs.

The wealth of knowledge in the fitness industry is vast. New exercises, emerging theories, and continuing research makes the pursuit of health and fitness one that requires great commitment and collaboration. Red light therapy has been confirmed and reconfirmed as a jack of all trades when it comes to safety, healing, and recovery. Affordable treatments and portable panels are making it easy for fitness professionals to incorporate the treatment into their practice. When the health of your clients is your number one priority, investing in their recovery is a non-negotiable. Red light therapy is the safest and quickest way to have more green light days in your fitness journey.

About Marc Poirier

Marc Poirier is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Rouge Red Light Therapy, a manufacturer of medical-grade red light therapy devices. This professional level LED red light treatment penetrates the depths of the skin to treat joint pain, reduce inflammation, and promote muscle repair.

Equipped for Emergencies: Bug-in and Bug-out Bag Basics

By | Healthy Living

By SGT Ken®


Two tornadoes tore through our city in May of 2020. While our house was unscathed, one of the twisters trashed the power transformer three blocks away from us. Many people in our neighborhood heard it when it exploded in the chaos, putting us all in sudden darkness with screaming winds around us.

One of the many things that I have learned from being in the military for over 30 years is that very few battles were won under ideal circumstances. We had to face the unknown, time and time again, under tough conditions to complete our missions. It was those situations under fire that forced us to flourish or flounder.

We learned to love the process of preparing for the worst while hoping for the best! We equipped ourselves for emergencies and practiced dealing with disasters and deploying to safe surroundings, when needed.

There are two main categories for disaster preparedness: Bug-in or Bug-out. The bottom line is that bugging in is always the most preferred response for an emergency. Bugging out means that your situation is severe, forcing you to leave your home to seek refuge elsewhere.

Extreme Environment RULES OF 3 Survival Priorities

You can survive for:

3 Minutes without air

3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment

3 Days without water

3 Weeks without food

The main principle of the Rules of 3 is to simplify your priorities during a disaster.

Bug-IN Bags

Tech Case (Steel Case, Military Surplus)

  1. Restored Ammunition Box, Steel, Medium
  2. Faraday Sheet, Large
  3. Dry Sack, Large
  4. Lithium Battery, 2,000mA, Hand Crank, Eton
  5. Lithium Battery, 100Wh, Goal Zero
  6. Solar Panel, 20-Watt, Goal Zero
  7. AC Charger, 15.3 Volt, 3 Amp, Goal Zero
  8. Lithium Batteries, 1.5 Volt, AA
  9. Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries, NiMH, 1.2 Volt, AA and AAA
  10. Handheld 2-way CB Radios (2 each)
  11. Handheld 2-way GMRS Radios (2 each)
  12. Radio, Hand Crank, Eton
  13. DC Voltage Adapter
  14. DC Charger, AA
  15. Solar Charger, AA
  16. Light Kit with Lithium Battery and Goal Zero lights
  17. Emergency Kit, Small
  18. International Hot Spot, Solis
  19. Headlamp
  20. USB External Drive (Personal documents and back-up files)

Download the PDF!

Survival Case (Hard Case, Pelican)

  1. Pelican Case, Medium, with Foam
  2. First Aid Kit
  3. Rescue Breathing Mask
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Insect repellent
  6. Multi-tool
  7. Knife, Large, with blade sharpener
  8. Headlamp, or Flashlight (batteries stored separately to maintain power)
  9. Light Sticks, Cyalume
  10. Paracord
  11. Rations, Long-term Storage (MRE or similar)
  12. Camping Stove
  13. Camping Candle
  14. Hand Crank Generator, 12 Volt
  15. Mobile Phone Dry Bag
  16. Duct Tape
  17. Wind-resistant Lighter
  18. Water Purification Tablets
  19. Fire Extinguisher
  20. Super Glue

Stored Separately (Wrapped in Faraday Materials)

Generator, 2,000-Watt, with Sine Wave Inverter, Ryobi

Stored Separately

Water, 5-gallon bottles (1 bottle for each family member)

Download the PDF!

Bug-OUT Bags

72-hour Bag (Backpack, Large)

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Insect Repellent
  3. Sunscreen
  4. N95 or higher respirator mask
  5. Gloves, Heavy Duty
  6. Zip Ties
  7. Hat
  8. Water, at least 100 oz.
  9. Water purifier
  10. Rations, Long-term Storage (MRE or similar)
  11. Spork (Stainless Steel)
  12. Compass
  13. Storm Whistle
  14. Sunglasses
  15. Toilet paper
  16. Spare socks in a Ziplock
  17. Hand sanitizer
  18. Lip balm
  19. Wet wipes
  20. Duct Tape
  21. Super Glue
  22. Rain Poncho
  23. Bandana or Gator
  24. Blanket, Compact
  25. Headlamp
  26. Flashlight, Lantern
  27. Lithium Battery, 100Wh, Goal Zero
  28. Solar Panel, 20-Watt, Goal Zero
  29. Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries, NiMH, 1.2 Volt, AA and AAA
  30. Handheld 2-way GMRS Radios (2 each)
  31. Cash
  32. Passport and Driver’s License
  33. Birth Certificate (Copies only)
  34. Local and State Maps
  35. Survival Book
  36. Hygiene items
  37. Medicine items
  38. Prepaid Mobile Phone
  39. GPS
  40. Binoculars (optional)

120-hour Bag (Duffle Bag, Large)

Note: This is added to the 72-hour Bag, if expected to be remote for longer periods of time.

  1. Blanket
  2. Sleeping Bag
  3. Pillow, Compact
  4. Air Mattress or Cot
  5. Tarp
  6. Tent and stakes
  7. Hammer and Wrecking Bar Combination
  8. Cot
  9. Camping Stove
  10. Camping Candle
  11. Wind-resistant Lighter
  12. Water Purification Tablets
  13. Rain Poncho
  14. Spare Clothes
  15. Fire Extinguisher, Mini

Special Remarks: Keep your items dry by lining your backpack and duffle bag with thick garbage bags, before you place your items from your packing list inside. If you get rained on, the pack may get wet but the items inside will remain dry.

Get more free training and tips at @sgtkenw.

About SGT Ken®

Ken Weichert (aka SGT Ken®) is a two-time canfitpro International Presenter of the Year (2017, 2019), six-time US Army Soldier of the Year, Master Resilience Trainer and CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional™). Ken is the co-founder of Project HOPE: Help Other People Endure™, a non-profit program with comprehensive coaching services designed to encourage and empower people to push for positive perspective and become the champion of change. Ken has impacted and empowered over one million military and their families through Operations Family Fit, Fit to Fight, and Warrior Fit Camp, while supporting the Suicide Prevention Task Force. Ken’s personal mission is to help people turn stress into strength and obstacles into opportunities through physical and emotional resiliency coaching and leadership training. For more information, go to

Kinesiologists: Join the Movement

By | Healthy Living

WillKin is a company created for Kinesiologists, by Kinesiologists, inspiring them to stick with their beloved profession. And connect them to clients.

We understand Kinesiologists have a vital role to play in improving the lives of patients with chronic illness. As part of the broader medical community, Kinesiologists demonstrate daily their value and the positive impact of exercise, movement, education, and behavioral change on the day-to-day lives of their clients.

Three in five Canadian adults over 20 years old suffer from a chronic health condition, ranging from back pain to Cancer. There are millions that need our help.

We are beginning to see a change in mindset within the health care community. They now recognize the value of exercise professionals in helping their patients change their behavior, live a more healthy life, and better manage their chronic condition. However, there is still much work to be done in bridging this gap between healthcare and fitness.

Kinesiologists, where are our referrals? How many of you are working in a non-exercise related role, for an insurance provider, or still earning minimum wage? Are you fighting for a voice?

Change starts by ensuring that we follow programs that are science-based and thoughtful; that are written and endorsed by experts; that are progressive and lead to lasting behaviour change; that ultimately enables your clients to self-manage their condition.

We always need to be abreast of the latest scientific evidence and remember the principles of exercise physiology. We need to understand healthcare – its structure, the language, and the terminology. We need to be able to communicate to healthcare professionals, to those that run health related associations… and to patients.

We need to understand the importance of finding intrinsic motivation for long-lasting behaviour change. It’s time to get confident in our ability. Be sure of our place at the table.

During this pandemic, many clients are unable to attend their normal activities. This coupled with healthcare professionals and patients becoming more open to seek and receive services online / remotely means we need to pivot, adapt, and reach out!

At WillKin, we believe you are not defined by what you can do today. Our purpose is to improve our patients’ lives and enhance the value, impact and visibility of Kinesiologists across the medical community.

Visibility. Opportunity. Expertise.

We are building our community of Kinesiologists, healthcare partners, digital experts, and entrepreneurs – a network that will allow us to truly amplify the impact of kinesiology.

We have just launched our website. Take a look. Join us.

If you are interested in being a part of the future of kinesiology and want to lend your voice to the movement, you can start by signing up on our website.

We would love to hear from you.

About Becky Zucco

Becky Zucco (RCEP) is a Clinical Exercise physiologist, specializing in COPD and Cancer, with over 25 years in her field. She is the Interim Executive Director of Respiplus, along with being founder-director of WillKin. She has written and developed many educational courses on chronic disease prevention, which combine exercise, education and behaviour change tools to ensure best outcome for all WillKin’s clients.

Becky understands the powerful effect of movement on the body and mind, and how human behaviour can be influenced to achieve significant improvement in health.


We Are Unsinkable

By | Healthy Living

The canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series launched with its first of four events on August 14 and 15, leaving an incredible and unforgettable mark in history. In these two days we saw close to 2,000 of our members come together to learn and grow! “The Power of Connection” could not have been a more appropriate theme as this event was a true testament to the strength and resiliency that resides within our fitness industry. We demonstrated that nothing can keep us apart – although we are physically distant, we can still find ways to connect and empower one another on so many levels. For those who showed up, engaged in and helped make something possible for everyone to learn, grow and transform in ways that went far beyond anything purely physical, I commend you. In those two days we appreciated the importance of belonging to something greater than ourselves and realizing the difference we can make as a fitness community. Furthermore, we realized that the power of connection is not only about coming together to see one another, but it is also about realizing and strengthening our convictions in our potential and ability to make meaningful contributions by investing in ourselves and our knowledge, skills and experiences as fitness professionals.

I saw so many examples of connection, engagement, energy and empowerment in those two days. The closing keynote “UNSINKABLE: Building Resilience and Courage in a Changing World” delivered by Silken Laumann could not have been a more fitting and compelling end to the event. Silken reminded us that we all have a story and nobody’s story is more important than the others. Contributing our story takes courage, but in doing so you are sharing an authentic part of you and brings immense value to your contribution. As we connect with each other through our stories we are reminded that we are all going through these challenging times together. This is a truly universal experience we are having and we need to connect with one another to get through it. It is the power of connection that will keep us resilient and make us unsinkable. Resilient people have deeper human relationships. I am incredibly inspired and deeply respect Silken’s latest initiative and contribution to Canada – a platform called “unsinkable” which is a story-sharing platform. This is a platform that resounds with the power of connection! To learn more about the unsinkable platform, their important mission and vision, read stories and support go to

Recognition of ourselves and the contribution we and others make in our industry is important. Recognizing one another lifts us up and is an inspiring and an appropriate way to conclude the canfitpro event in August with the Fitness Professional of the Year awards at the closing ceremonies. Our winners this year were Tony Felgueiras – for Fitness Instructor Specialist – and Ruby Smith Diaz – for Personal Training Specialist. Both of these fitness professionals have incredible stories and they have made enormous contributions to improve the lives of Canadians. Tony’s contributions demonstrate the impact of creating powerful connections and how the foundation for this is built through your investment in relationships and connecting with others through your passion and purpose. Ruby’s contributions inspire us in how to confidently stand up and speak up for what you believe by contributing “You-niqueness” – what is unique to you – with how she is creating equal space and room for diversity and inclusiveness in our industry.

The power of connection is with us and surrounds all of us. We choose how we use our power that will make us stronger and resilient. How will you show-up and serve by using your unique gifts and talents as a fitness professional to serve and contribute as a leader in the different your roles in your life that make up your story?

-Mo Hagan
canfitpro Chief Operating Officer

Black Lives Matter

By | Healthy Living

Recently, we made a promise to stand up and speak out against racism—not just for the near future, but for the long term.

We at canfitpro believe Black lives matter and that each of us has a role to play in opposing racism, injustice and oppression. We are committed to listening and creating space for Black people and people of colour and in turn, we are firm in our efforts at being self-critical of our business, policies and processes as we continue to strive to be better.

Because we are committed to real change against racial injustice and discrimination we have pledged to the following as a starting point:

  • creating a Diversity & Inclusion Strategy within canfitpro
  • Creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Committee where specific goals will be set and measured. Across the organization, teams will be accountable to uphold these standards.
  • Review all processes including recruitment and hiring practices to ensure we are breaking down barriers that stand in the way of diversity. We are committed to evaluating these practices to make canfitpro a welcoming place to work for everyone.
  • Include practices and create resources that attract diversity to canfitpro and canfitpro’s community
  • Amplifying Black voices. That means increased diversification and representation of Black Creators & People of Colour in our events, videos, webinars, websites, magazines and on our social feeds
  • Create authentic and actionable steps for a more inclusive, long-term content strategy by ensuring diversity and inclusive standards are included in our corporate Culture and Values
  • Continue to make the time and space to learn how to be actively anti-racist.
  • Keep the Conversation Going!

When the hashtags stop trending, canfitpro’s commitment to standing against racism, injustice and oppression won’t end.

We know we haven’t done a good enough job of connecting with our Black community, and we’re going to change that.

If you want to be involved or share your ideas with us, let us know by emailing We want to hear from you!

Fun in the Sun

By | Healthy Living

By Dr. Tania Bhanji, MDCM, CCFP, Dip P Derm

With the sunny weather finally upon us, many of us will be getting outdoors for some much-needed fresh air. With increasing awareness of the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays causing photo-aging, sunburns, and skin cancers, sun protection is a staple in any outdoor activity. On cloudy days, 80% of the UV rays from the sun can still penetrate through the clouds to reach your skin. Even darker skin tones are not immune to the sun’s damaging effects. In fact, darker skinned individuals are more likely to develop aggressive forms of skin cancer as they are diagnosed at later stages.  Regardless of skin type or season, sun protection should be an essential part of your daily routine.

Sunscreens are one form of photoprotection to keep your skin safe from the harmful effects of the sun. Sunscreens come in two flavours: inorganic (physical) and organic (chemical).  Inorganic filters (or mineral sunscreens) contain compounds that are chemically inert and physically reflect and prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Organic filters (or chemical sunscreens) on the other hand, contain biologically active chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate that absorb light and create a chemical reaction whereby the light is converted to heat.

Recent studies have shown that approximately one to two percent of topical chemical sunscreens get absorbed into our bloodstream, but have been proven to be both medically and biologically inconsequential. What is more concerning is the effect that these chemicals have on our environment. The chemicals from sunscreens have been identified in treated and untreated water sources worldwide; have been implicated in bleaching coral reefs leading to their death; and affect our marine wildlife in a process called bioaccumulation, whereby the amount of chemical is higher in organisms than the water around them, causing additive detrimental effects to animals as we move up the food chain.

Mineral sunscreens on the other hand, do not get absorbed or affect the environment in the same way as chemical sunscreens. Given their inert nature, mineral based sunscreens are ideal for babies and people with sensitive skin, and offer immediate protection, unlike chemical sunscreens which require 20-30 minutes for absorption. Due to their non-absorbable nature, mineral sunscreens can be harder to apply and leave a thick film on the skin, but newer formulations have a smoother finish, such as Elta-MD’s UV Clear and LaRoche Posay’s Anthelios 50 Mineral.

What about SPF? Sun damage is mostly caused by two forms of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. UVA causes photoaging and indirect DNA damage through the production of reactive oxygen species by penetrating deeply into your skin. UVB has shallower penetration into the skin and causes redness and direct DNA damage. It is important to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB rays. Sun protective factor (SPF) only reflects the sunscreen’s ability to block UVB rays, so look for labels with “Broad Spectrum” which indicates protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Surprisingly, higher SPF does not always mean superior protection. Some studies have demonstrated higher risk of sunburns and skin cancers with higher SPF use, due to increased intentional sun exposure. So what sunscreen is right for you?  It is recommended to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and reapplying every 2-3 hours to ensure adequate sun safety.

Remember that sunscreen is only one form of photoprotection, and it is important to always seek shade when outdoors, especially during peak UV levels (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).  Photoprotective clothing is an excellent, safe, and inert form of UV protection and should be used regularly in the form of swimwear, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, etc.   Remember a few easy steps to being sun safe: slip on clothing, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and seek shade! (SunSmart Program, Australia).

About Dr. Tania Bhanji

Dr. Bhanji is a certified Family Physician with a focused practice in Dermatology. She provides Medical Dermatology Consultations through the Skin Disorders Clinic, as well as Aesthetic Dermatology Consults and Services at PureSkin Dermatology, which she owns and operates in South West London Ontario, next to the flagship Talbot Village Goodlife.