Your Life after Exercise

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Anyone who exercises regularly will joyfully tell you all about the benefits of exercise whether you want to hear it or not. As someone who falls into the active category, when someone asks me about exercise I will waste no time in telling them how much I love it, how great it feels, and why everyone needs to MOVE! It’s not because I think everyone should look a certain way, its not because I think everyone should act a certain way and I certainly don’t believe in a 1 size fits all, everyone should run, or lift, or bike, etc. It’s because I want everyone to feel as great as I do; as strong, happy, confident, and positive. I want the people I care about to have a chance at a high quality of life and one of the best ways to do that is to move your body, to sweat, to raise your heart rate, and to engage in things that help you achieve both tangible and intangible goals. Do I think exercise is a cure all for what ails you? Definitely not, but it will help.

When you think about the benefits of exercise, most people think about the big external changes like weight loss or muscle definition and we forget to think about how exercise can change us in the small, incremental ways that add up to big gains. When we only consider external benefits, we can easily get discouraged by the lack of fast results and we fail to realize that on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis, we are benefiting from consistent physical activity.

What kind of changes can you look forward to when you start a new exercise program? What are some things you need to take into account to truly appreciate your fitness journey? We all know that the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is usually inevitable after an extended period of inactivity, or after we ramp up the intensity of our workouts but how can exercise change us physiologically, psychologically, and how can exercise improve our quality of life? How can exercise affect us internally and externally? What are the short term and long term benefits of exercise?

This handy and informative timeline of your body responding to exercise will give you a more detailed look into the how but generally when you exercise you can:

  • Lower your Blood Pressure
  • Lower your Blood Sugar
  • Improve Bone Density
  • Increase your Metabolism
  • Improve your Sleep
  • Elevate your Mood and Regulate Emotions
  • Increase your Self-Confidence
  • Boost your Brain Power
  • Increase your Energy

Blood Pressure

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During exercise, your systolic blood pressure increases to keep up with the activity that is taking place, where your heart is now pumping out more blood to keep up with your oxygen usage. This rise in blood pressure is totally normal and once you go back to a resting state, your blood pressure will decrease; the faster your blood pressure decreases the healthier you are. If you’ve been in a workout class, you’ll notice some people bounce right back after a set and some people spend their rest period trying to get themselves off the ground. This process of increasing and decreasing your blood pressure leads to short term benefits like increased alertness. In the long term, it can help regulate your blood pressure so you decrease your risk of heart disease.

*if you have or are at risk of heart disease (high/low blood pressure, etc…talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program)

Blood Sugar

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Exercise is an important factor in the prevention of and treatment of diabetes. Consistent exercise lowers your body’s sensitivity to insulin and lowers your blood sugar level. When you exercise, your body burns your reserves of sugar stored in your muscles and liver and once they use that up, your body will replenish your stores with sugar from your blood. The more intense your workout, the lower your blood sugar will go. In my experience, after a rigorous hot yoga session, I often need to get to the nearest source of sugar in order to replenish what I’ve lost. You can easily go to far so if you are someone who falls into either end of the blood sugar spectrum you should first consult with your doctor, pack a snack in your exercise bag, and monitor your blood sugar before you exercise as well as after.

In addition to lowering your blood sugar, exercise can help reduce your risk of complications from diabetes and if you are someone who is at-risk of type 2 diabetes (for example women with PCOS), exercise can help prevent you from getting it altogether; (combined with a healthy diet of course).

Improves Bone Density

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Weight bearing exercises improve bone density by forcing your body to adapt to the increased pressure by building more bone (becoming denser). You need to back up your exercise program with adequate nutrition to support this process so consuming enough calcium and vitamin D also play a key role in optimal bone health.

Increase Your Metabolism

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Metabolism is the process of turning your food into fuel and how well your metabolism works will determine how efficiently you process the calories you consume. Most of your energy is burned at rest, every organ in your body uses your metabolism to keep it functioning. Your major organs use about half of your resting energy and your digestive system and your muscles use most of the other half. Your Basal Metabolic Rate (resting rate) accounts for over 60% of your energy burned and exercise or general activity burns between 10-30%. Your Basal Metabolic Rate depends on a variety of factors like age, gender (for women-the luteal phase), genetics, and how much lean muscle you have.

Unfortunately for cardio aficionados, the calorie burn you get from hours on the treadmill is actually a less efficient means of burning calories in the long run than strength training. Building lean muscle can have a direct influence on your basal metabolic rate because your muscles use energy even when you’re sitting on the sofa. Once you step off the treadmill though, your body is pretty well done burning energy. This is because the process of building muscle causes your muscles to tear and repair; after a strength training session, when you go back to your desk, your muscles will be using your energy stores to repair themselves. This is why, when you start lifting weights, you might find your food consumption increases.

If you are trying to lose weight, strength training will give you a major boost but if you over restrict your calorie intake you can actually work against yourself, slowing down your metabolism.

Improve Your Sleep

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There are studies that show that regular exercise can improve sleep quality, can decrease insomnia and that a lack of exercise can actually induce insomnia. There are 3 main theories that explain the exercise-sleep relationship; core temperature change, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, can reset your internal clock.

It’s no secret that many people’s mind will flip into hyper-drive when its time to lay down and get some rest, this can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety that can prevent people from falling asleep and staying asleep. Regular exercise can mitigate these symptoms through the release of endorphins which helps us think positive thoughts.

When you exercise, your body heats up, afterwards, at rest, it cools down; this process is similar to what your body does when you go to sleep. Thus your body will be triggered hen its time to wind down, to go to sleep.

Finally, studies suggest that when we are inactive, our circadian rhythm can be off, regular exercise can reset that internal clock, helping us get to sleep faster.

A lack of exercise has been linked to many factors of poor health like insomnia, stress, and the effects of ageing.

Rarely does exercise cause insomnia unless you exercise too close to bedtime since the endorphins you release after exercise pumps you up and it takes some time to settle down afterwards.

Elevates Your Mood and Regulates Emotions

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This is an easy one, exercise releases those super charged endorphins which has the power to make us happy, reduce irritability, and think positive thoughts. This is my favourite, most direct and immediate effect of exercise.

For those who may have difficulty regulating their emotions, exercise can be a powerful tool to help you deal with stressful situations in a constructive manner. Stepping away from the biochemical reactions we have to exercise, exercise can help focus your brain and provide a sense of accomplishment. Each time you make it through a workout is an accomplishment, kind of like the good feeling you get when you complete your ‘to do’ list for the day.

Exercise can help you better navigate negative emotions and stressful situations so that you react more constructively to difficult situations.

Increase your Self-Confidence

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Yesterday, I added 10 lbs to my back squat; I stared at the bar with determination, but at the same time questioning how this progression was going to feel, how many reps could I do at this weight, could I get to 10 reps, was I going to break form and hurt myself, would I have sore muscles the next day (YUP!)? I gripped the bar, got under it and lifted it off the rack, and got to work. Here is reenactment of what my brain goes through during a progression in weight: “Squat 1..ok this is heavy, Squat 2, my stance feels wrong..slight adjustment, there’s the sweet spot, Squat 3,4,5,6 I got this, Squat 7,8, this is tough, can I get 2 more? Squat 9…grunt…I can do it, Squat 10, mother of mercy…its over, I did it!

Training people is one of the most rewarding jobs because when you’ve been working with a client and they successfully do something that they weren’t able to do when they started, their joy is contagious and the victory is mutual. “That’s the first time I did 10 plank jacks without stopping” Victory! “I went from a 5lb to a 44lb Goblet squat in a year!” Victory! “I feel so great after working out with you!” VICTORY! These accomplishments help you gain confidence in the gym but that can translate to other parts of your life. When things seem hard you know it’s temporary and you can get through it. When you exercise you build physical and mental strength and determination.

Boosts Your Brain Power

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Exercise makes your blood flow stronger sending nutrients to your brain to help it do its job. If you’ve ever had a difficult situation and solved it while in downward dog or pounding the pads, you’re not alone. Exercise increases alertness and improves cognitive function. You can have brains and brawn!

Improves your Quality of Life

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If you haven’t figured it out yet, exercise has the power to greatly improve your quality of life. From preventing and treating disease, relieving symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression, to boosting you intellect, energy, and self-confidence; exercise is something that all able body humans should engage in. Perhaps it will require some trial and error to find a way you enjoy moving, but you owe it to yourself to get up and move consistently. Being able to exercise is a privilege and one you should not take lightly, it is a celebration of what your body can do and you should be proud of yourself for moving no matter how fast or strong you are today.

Rewiring our brains to include daily movement as a fundamental part of the day is no easy task but prioritizing our health has a tangible, long lasting, and deeply beneficial effect on our quality of life.

*MoFitness does not offer nutrition or medical advice, all information above is from research done for the purpose of this blog post and is in no way meant to replace medical advice from a doctor.

RECOVERY DAYS: Not Just For Your Muscles

What is a Recovery Day and Why is it Important?

At MoFitness, we know that you need to work hard to see results, you need to be committed to your goals and stay consistent through the process. We know that pushing your limits will create change but that you need to do it safely, progress steadily, and learn to rest when you need it. We also know that the fitness industry likes to tell you to go hard or go home, no pain no gain, and all that; and while there is a grain of truth to that, it does not mean you should be working out at maximum intensity 7 days a week and ignoring things that make you hurt.

What is the optimal weekly workout schedule?

First let’s discuss the optimal schedule for exercise; there is no one size fits all here. It will largely depend on your goals, your physical state/injuries, whether you are a beginner or advanced, and what your time constraints look like. However, the general recommendation is that you need 150 active minutes each week and that you should aim for 2-5 strength training days, and 3 cardio days per week depending on your fitness level. You should give your muscles about 48 hours of recovery, so you don’t want to do leg day 2 days in a row. Your cardio can be done on the same day as strength training and can be mixed into a strength training routine. For example, Kettlebell swings can be a cardiovascular exercise if you do enough reps to get your heart rate up. Lastly, you need 2 recovery days per week, and those days can be active recovery days or just plain old Netflix and nothing kind of days.

Why Are Recovery Days Important?

Recovery days are both mentally and physically integral to a balanced fitness regimen and overall lifestyle. Giving 110% everyday will certainly drain you, making you less likely to stick with your plan and much more likely to take extended fitness breaks to recharge. Scheduling in recovery days each week makes it much easier to get your workouts done when you know that tomorrow, you get to be a couch potato. However, you should keep your weekly workout plan somewhat fluid; if you are too sore to hit the gym, or feel overwhelmed, or burnt out; have an unscheduled rest day and appreciate every minute of it. Not only are recovery days essential but they are also supremely beneficial.

Rest Days Prevent Fatigue and Injury

If you are concerned that by taking a rest, you won’t be making gains, you could not be more wrong. Your muscles need time to rebuild. When you strength train, you create microscopic tears in your muscle tissue; the process of getting stronger is the breaking and repairing of your muscle tissue. Your muscles also use glycogen to fuel your workouts, during rest days, your muscles replenish their glycogen stores giving you more fuel for future training days. If you don’t give your muscles adequate time to recover you’ll end up over training your muscle groups which leads to injury and burnout. You are more likely to get injured if you overtrain because when your muscles are tired you are more likely to lose your form, compensate with the wrong muscles/joints or make a mistake.

Rest Days Are Mental Health Days

Sticking to a training regimen is not only physically demanding, but also mentally challenging. Maintaining the willpower to get to the gym, to do your best each time is exhausting. Some days our motivation can hit rock bottom and that is totally normal. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “today I just can’t”. The key here is to make sure you don’t have too many “can’t” days in a row, making it a weekly habit. Motivation comes and goes, the key to success in fitness training is to be consistent with your practice. We all need days at the spa, days on the couch, days having coffee and cake with friends, and you should never feel guilty about those days. Those days keep our life balanced between our responsibilities and leisure time and make the grind worth it.

Rest Days help you Enjoy Exercise More

Forcing yourself to exercise every day will certainly lead to resentment after awhile. You’ll get bored and won’t leave yourself much time to explore new things. Rest days can free up time to discover new ways of moving that you might enjoy. Rest days also give you perspective on why you workout in the first place. After all, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

What Does a Recovery Day Look Like?

Recovery or Rest Days can be anything that gives your body and mind time to regenerate. Sitting on the couch watching movies is a totally acceptable rest day if that’s what you need. If you need some time in nature, taking a light hike or going for a leisurely bike ride, playing with your kids, is all a perfectly perfect way to spend your rest day.

Getting a massage? You bet!

Eating your weight in tacos? Certainly delicious, but not highly recommended.

Doing a gentle Yoga class? Absolutely. We even have a class for that! Check out Flow & Yin on Saturday at 4pm.

Laying by the pool? Yes indeed

Meditating? Most definitely!

Watching 3 seasons on Netflix and eating snacks? Yup, just maybe take some stretch breaks and snack responsibly.

You get the point. Almost anything can be a recovery day as long as it feels good and you are enjoying yourself. Sometimes active recovery is what you need and sometimes, actively avoiding movement is your main goal for the day. Either works. Personally I aim to have 1 active recovery day and 1 “lazy” day….On my lazy day I usually do groceries and some meal prepping for the week.

It’s 2022 and we are finally starting to learn that we can’t do it all, we have to give ourselves a break now and then and not feel guilty about it. Because “time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted”. -John Lennon.

5 Steps to Getting Back on Track

The end of 2021 has come and gone but with Omicron throwing us head first into another gym lockdown, many of you may have scrapped your plans to getting fit in 2022. Maybe you need to get back on the fitness wagon or your present fitness routine feels just blah and you need to shake things up to stay motivated. Whatever your situation may be, here are 5 steps to take before you jump head first into something new.

Step 1: Find Your Why?

What’s your internal motivation? All too often we focus on external motivators like weight loss for appearance or to make someone else happy; but if you want to start a fitness plan that works for you and makes YOU happy, you need to identify your fundamental reason for being active.

What internally motivates you to move your body and seek a healthier, active lifestyle? For example: do you want to feel stronger, more confident, and energetic? Do you want to relieve aches and pains that come from leading a sedentary lifestyle? Or are you an avid endorphin chaser that has hit a wall and wants to make a change?

External motivators won’t keep you motivated for long because more often than not, goals like weight loss are too subjective and depend on a variety of other factors such as nutrition, sleep, stress, hormones, and much more. When we fail to attain these goals we get demotivated. However, once you find the root reason for being active and feel it working (energy, strength, mood elevation) you’ll be more likely to stick with your fitness goals.

Step 2: Baby Steps

You may have lofty goals but trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle (exercise, nutrition, sleep, water intake, etc) all at once will most likely leave you overwhelmed, drained and defeated. Start with what you can reasonably manage and add on from there. If you currently don’t exercise at all, eat a diet of processed foods and have a low water intake you shouldn’t start by buying a fridge full of whole foods, plan a 4 day a week gym routine and try to drink 2 L of water daily all at the same time. Try adding 2- 30 min walks to your week and cooking a healthy meal 1-2 times per week. Real, sustainable, and healthy change takes time because the outcome is to become more intuitively healthy for life. If you’re stressed about getting everything right from the get go; you’re more likely to fall short of your goals, feel like a failure and give up.

Ask yourself on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to stick with a goal (Ex. Exercising 3 times/week) if the answer is less than 8 out of 10, you will most certainly not meet your goal. Adjust your goal until your answer is 8 or higher and you will most likely succeed.

Step 3: Don’t Overcommit

If committing to an hour long session at the gym or Bootcamp class feels daunting, then start with 20 minutes a few times a week. Some studios offer 30 minute classes, or you could work with a trainer to write you a 30 minute workout program. Heading out for a 20 minute bike ride or walk is better than doing 0 minutes and you will feel much better physically and mentally for having moved your body. You can gradually work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes of weekly activity.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you feel like the only way you will commit to a fitness routine is to make it official, look for a 6 week training program that takes into account your fitness level, your personal goals, and keeps you accountable. 6 weeks is better than 30 day programs as the slightly longer set up is more sustainable than trying to do it all in 30 days and will help you build better habits over time.

Step 4: Recovery is Essential

Often when people jump into a new fitness regimen, they have an all or nothing mentality; this mentality is certainly fed by the fitness industry telling you that to be fit you have to be 110% committed. This mindset can lead people into dangerous territory, particularly when it comes to over training. Rest days, and active recovery are just as essential to your training program as your gym days. Cool down, stretching and recovery help your body heal and ultimately get faster and stronger more efficiently. Recovery looks like stretching, yin yoga, taking a walk, getting a massage, stretching, meditation, gardening, etc. Your body and your mind will benefit from these recovery activities, giving you time to enjoy other things which creates a more balanced lifestyle.

Step 5: Find What you Love!

Getting to the gym is half the battle; if you hate running on the treadmill and find yourself dreading it then DON’T run on the treadmill! If you absolutely abhor gyms, cardio machines and lifting weights then by all means abstain from doing these activities. The most important thing you can do to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle is to find an activity that makes you happy. Go hiking, skiing, skating, biking, rock climbing, or dancing. Join a soccer league or learn a new sport. If nothing truly interests you, don’t underestimate the power of a workout bud to make the gym or a fitness classes more interesting. Most importantly, keep an open mind; just because your high school gym teacher made you run beep tests and you hated it doesn’t mean you won’t like running now. Or you might think yoga is for hippies, cross training is for bros and biking requires far too much spandex, but you’ll never know what you enjoy most unless you get out there, lay down your heart and give it a go!

***Depending on your situation, you may want to get a doctors clearance before you start exercising and its always good to consult a professional trainer to ensure you are setting out on the right path.

Tips on How to Make Virtual Fitness Work for You!

I know, I know, virtual fitness is not for you, but hear me out; I didn’t think it was for me either, and then I did it and I liked it, not just as the instructor but as a participant and what we discovered last year, is that others liked it too.  There are some definite advantages to working out online but to make the most of it, you need to get yourself set up for it, mentally and physically.  This does not require loads of fancy tech and equipment, just simple adjustments and maybe a few purchases based on your budget.  

The Advantages of Virtual Live Fitness Classes:

Accountability & Commitment

  1. You must book your class in advance thus increasing the likelihood that you’ll attend the class.  If you don’t there will be consequences such as penalty fees, and losing booking privileges, etc.  Making this appointment gives you more accountability and helps to keep you committed to your goals.  If you are relying on yourself to turn on a pre-recorded class after a tough day of work, your success rate significantly decreases.  It takes a special kind of person to commit to home fitness regularly; if you’re that person, amazing, but many of us need to go to the gym, make the appointment, and look forward to the social interactions that come with group fitness.

Individualized Attention

  1. I have taken some online fitness classes from a few different places and certainly preferred the classes where the instructor greeted me by name, engaged with me while I was working out and where the other members were also engaged with each other.  It’s not the easiest thing to do when you have large groups, which is why I prefer small group fitness classes both in person and online.  With Studio MoFitness, even if we haven’t met you in person, we know your name when you sign up for classes and we learn about your strengths and weaknesses so that when you sign up for more classes, we know how to challenge you and what your limitations are.  Being a team of 3 Coaches, we share this knowledge with each other to make sure that every time you show up to class you get what you need from it.  

Safety

  1. With our small groups, we can check your posture and give you cues in real time tailored to you.  We can also answer any questions you have and address particular exercises that may not feel right for you.  We can also modify exercises based on the equipment you have at home.  

Social Interactions

  1. A Live Virtual class is more social; when you log in for class we usually have a few minutes to chat before we get started, last year we had members who had never met in person, start to engage with each other online.  Most everyone was working from home or just plain old stuck at home so this social interaction, however small, was something we all looked forward to each day.  PS…I’m open to starting an online drink and flow on Sat evenings where we can have a glass of wine or cup of tea, do a little yoga, have a little chat.  Let me know if that interests you!

Convenience

  1. A Live Virtual Class means you don’t have to walk your sweaty self home in sub-zero temperatures, you can go straight from workout to shower to pajamas with a cup of tea and movie without leaving the warmth and comfort of your home. 

It’s Just Better than the Alternative

  1. Finally, and probably most importantly, the gyms are closed for who knows how long and while it may seem easier to sit and do nothing, you will regret not sticking with your fitness regimen.  Winter is already a much more sedentary time; don’t give in to the sofa and the comfort foods without taking time to move our body in a positive and meaningful way.  It’s going to be hella cold this week, would you rather sit and complain about it or get up a move and feel great regardless?

Tips on How to Get the Most out of Virtual Fitness Classes

Screen Set Up

  1. It can be awkward to have to constantly adjust your computer screen so we can see you and you can see us.  The best option is to put your computer or tablet up in a high position that takes in as much of the room as possible.  If you can hook up your TV to act as a monitor, that’s a great system too!  My advice is to test out the placement of your technology so that you don’t need to adjust it throughout class.

Sound Set Up

  1. More on tech, sound can be an issue and depending on your home situation (roommates, kids, partners) you may not be able to have the sound on at full volume, in that case a pair of earbuds will be very beneficial.  If noise is not an issue, connect to a bluetooth speaker to increase the volume as needed. 

Space Set Up

  1. We know space is at a premium in our city apartments, some of you may be able to have a dedicated workout zone in your home but many of us have to push the coffee table aside and clear away the mountains of laundry, toys, paperwork, etc. First of all…no judgement on your clutter, we’re all living that life at some point.  For most of our virtual classes, you need enough space to lay down your yoga mat and put your equipment out of the way so you don’t trip over it.  You also want to be able to do jumping jacks without knocking things down.  We occasionally incorporate chairs and walls into our workouts so additional space for a chair is ideal.  I have had members leave the room to use available wall space, or have to go out of camera view to do an incline glute bridge, we just have to adapt as needed.

Noise Level

  1. Downstairs neighbours don’t like to hear you jumping around?  Another city living problem, one we try to rectify by reducing the amount of hard impact exercises we do online.  Don’t worry, you can still get a good sweat without shaking your neighbours photos off the wall. Some people may inform their neighbours of the potential noise if they are on good terms with them.  You can simply let them know (verbally or in writing) that you will be working out at a set time a few times a week and will try to keep the noise to a minimum but sometimes they may hear some banging.  Hopefully your neighbours understand and you can always invite them to join the workout too!

Equipment Set Up

  1. Finally, in terms of equipment; most of MoFitness Virtual workouts can be done with a pair of dumbbells and a resistance band.  If you can manage it, then a pair of light and heavier dumbbells will serve you well and you can use them like kettlebells.  An open end resistance band is the most versatile as you can tie it around your legs to use like a mini band or leave the ends open for pull and press exercises.  If you’re wondering where to get reasonably priced exercise equipment, our best suggestions are Decathlon (McGill Metro, Brossard, Laval, etc) and Canadian Tire.  Winners often has a pretty solid selection of resistance bands and most recently I saw a huge stock of bands, gliders, mats, dumbbells, and kettlebells at Provigo St Jacques (prices were a bit higher than standard).  I’ve seen resistance bands, small dumbbells, and yoga blocks at dollarama.  Some of our members last year used soup cans for dumbbells and that worked just fine so you don’t need a pile of fancy equipment to get a good workout.

Interact

  1. Engage with the instructor and the other members…we don’t really love to shout instructions at a screen all day long so interact with us with both verbal and non-verbal cues.  During group classes, we do ask that you keep yourself muted most of the time because the screen switches based on the noise being picked up and the other members need to have the instructor screen at full size. That being said, if you have a question, you want to compliment someone’s burpee or house plant, or just want to tell the Coaches that we’re crazy, unmute and speak freely!  Alternatively, you can use the chat feature to send us questions or encouraging messages to the group.

Challenge, Plan, Reward

  1. We know it’s hard to stay on track through these lockdowns and harder still to convince yourself to workout online so if you struggle with motivation, set yourself up a reward system (not food based).  For example, giving yourself a little leisure time post workout, or if you stick to your exercise goals for the month, reward yourself by buying a new pair of leggings or a weekly ‘me time’ session.  I quit smoking ‘cold turkey’ by setting up a reward system (after 3 days a small reward, after 3 weeks a medium reward, after 3 months a large reward, after 1 year do something to honour yourself). Sign up for a challenge or start one with a group of friends, a challenge should help you jump start a healthy and sustainable lifestyle change.   

Invite a Friend

  1. Lastly, if you feel like you might need some additional accountability or moral support, invite a friend to do it with you. The best part is that your friend doesn’t even have to be in the same time zone, so it’s a great way to stay in touch with a friend in another city.  Refer a friend and we’ll give you and your friend a free class to say thank you! 

Book a class here: http://www.mofitness.ca/bookings/

8 Reasons Why it’s Better to Workout with a Friend or a Group.

Over the past 2 years we’ve seen people drop off the fitness wagon soon after the gyms shut down and reemerge in Spring feeling tired and weak but motivated to move their bodies.  Why was it so hard to stick to a fitness routine from your living room? Pandemic stressors aside, for most of us, it’s simply not motivating to workout in isolation when the only person cheering you on is yourself.  I’d rather eat ice cream and watch Netflix than perform yet another bodyweight squat in my living room.

Let’s examine 8 reasons why it’s better to workout with others.

  1.  It’s WAY more fun

In addition to the jokes, laughter, and the high fives, you can also do super fun partner exercises like partner ball slams and high five planks! You actually release more endorphins when you workout with a group because you are having positive social interactions with others.

  1. Accountability and Commitment

Working out with a friend or a small group means you are more likely to show up for your workout.  It’s harder to make a commitment to yourself than if someone is waiting for you at the gym.  

  1.  Shared Agony

After a particularly grueling workout, you can commiserate together over a post workout smoothie, coffee, or beer (no judgement).  Having a friend to talk about the challenges and triumphs of a workout is half the fun!

  1.  Reduces Stress

According to this study, working out with a buddy or in a group reduces stress levels by 26% compared to working alone.  This is likely attributed to all the laughing and smiling you do when working out with others.

  1. More Motivating and Adventurous

Watching others power through a workout on days when you’d rather snooze on your mat, helps motivate you to get to their level.  You’ll feed off the energy in the room, making you work harder than you would if you had to face your treadmill alone. You’ll benefit from others cheering you on when you just want to give up and you’ll be more adventurous seeing others try new things.

  1. More Likely to Succeed

Whatever your personal goal is, whether it’s simply to establish a fitness routine, to build muscle, or perform a pullup; you are more likely to succeed when you workout with someone else.  Due to the accountability and commitment factor, simply showing up is half the battle; when you don’t show up, you don’t make strides.  You’ll also have someone to celebrate your successes with, even when you don’t notice them yourself!

  1.  You Always Have a Spotter

Maybe you don’t have a friend that you can workout with because your schedules don’t match or your friends aren’t interested in fitness.  Finding a group class or small group training program that motivates you can help you build relationships with those that share similar goals and lifestyles as you.  The healthy actions of others can rub off on you.  Working out in a group means there is always someone around to spot you, to help you out if you’re not sure how to use a machine, or to teach you something new and fun.

  1. A Break from Reality

When our days are filled with responsibilities; work, school, kids, errands, family, etc; working out can feel like another item on your ‘To Do List’.  When you look forward to meeting up with your workout buddy or group, it can feel like a well deserved break from reality.  During that 1 hour sweat session, you’ll laugh, commiserate, sweat, groan, and chat with others who have little or nothing to do with your ‘real world” life.

We’ve looked at the benefits of working out with a friend or in a group.  But are there any drawbacks?  Of course, but there are also solutions!

When you work out in a large group setting there is often an assumed fitness level.  Meaning, it is assumed that everyone can perform proper squats, lunges, pushups, etc.  Hiring a trainer can remove this danger, however many people cannot afford this luxury.  That’s why we (Studio MoFitness) developed a Small Group Training Program where you can reap the benefits of working with a trainer but share the cost with a group so you may also experience those super charged group exercise endorphins!

Send us a message to find out more about our Small Group Training Program starting January, 2021 and our Early Bird Discount!

EXCITING CLASS UPDATES!

We are starting our summer park class season off with a bang with all new classes in 3 different parks! We are incredibly pleased to an ounce that one of our original MoFitness members, Christina, will be leading Yoga and Zumba classes in the park this summer, starting Sunday June 6th. We have also started a Youth Kickboxing program to help get your kids off the screen and outside moving! Finally, we have added a Prenatal Fitness class in NDG Park, so join Coach Chelsie (6 months pregnant) for a safe workout to keep you healthy and happy throughout your pregnancy!

YOUTH KICKBOXING PROGRAM

In an effort to help parents get their children outside and moving more, we have started a Youth Kickboxing Program in Georges Saint Pierre Park on Saturday at 9am. At this time the class is full however we have the option to add classes depending on demand.

WHY KICKBOXING?

Kickboxing for anyone, is an incredible workout that helps to increase overall strength and cardio endurance. Combined with other fitness exercises (drills, strength training, etc), it is the best workout around. For children, kickboxing is a way to enjoy physical fitness on an individual level. Not all children wish to participate in team sports but there are few options available to those children. We do not teach competitive kickboxing, we teach children the basic techniques (kicks, pushes, blocking , and evading) but they do not spar.

BENEFITS OF KICKBOXING

  • Increase muscular and cardio strength and endurance
  • Increase agility, coordination, focus, and self-control
  • Improves mental, emotional, and physical health
  • Promotes confidence and self respect

Due to demand, at this time, the class is for children 7-12, however if demand allows, we would consider adding a class for older children (13-17)-Minimum 4 per group. Reach out if you are interested in enrolling your child/teen in Youth Kickboxing!

PRENATAL FITNESS

Group Instructor and Studio Manager, Coach Chelsie, is currently 6 months pregnant and decided to start offering Prenatal Fitness Classes in NDG Park, every Wednesday at 9am. The 30 minute class, focuses on safely maintaining your fitness level through maternity. We will work on upper and lower body strength, pelvic floor work, and mobility movements to aid with pregnancy symptoms, delivery, and recovery.

Benefits of Prenatal Fitness for Mom:

  • Reduce risk of pregnancy complications
  • Speed post-delivery recover
  • Lower odds of delivery complications
  • Boost your mood
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Ease back and pelvic pain
  • Fight fatigue
  • Improve sleep

Benefits of Prenatal Fitness for Baby:

  • Reduced odds of diabetes
  • Boost to brain health
  • Lower BMI
  • A fitter heart

Gearing Up for a Montreal Winter Weather Workout

MoFitness is super grateful that we can provide you with our outdoor Winter Boot Camp again, given the pandemic restrictions. In light of this, we thought it might be helpful for our fitness community, especially our new members, to have a quick rundown of helpful tips for outdoor classes.

Layer your clothing:

  1. Opt for a tighter fit, sweat-wicking base layer like tech or dri-fit shirts and leggings that are made of materials like polyester, which pulls moisture from your body, leaving you dry. Fleece lined and merino wool base layers are great for keeping you warm while wicking away moisture. Cotton will absorb your sweat and weigh you down, making you feel colder.
  2. Add a layer of insulation that will allow for full range of motion such as a performance vest or pullover.
  3. Finally, add a protective shell that is waterproof as it will be light and dry.

Consider the temperature and add about 20 degrees as this is closer to how you will feel while working out. Example: If it’s -10 degrees, you will feel as if it is +10 degrees. An added bonus to layering is you can easily remove items as you heat up and bundle up again when you’re done.

Protect your ears and consider investing in waterproof gloves.

Footwear:

Hiking boots are recommended and crampons might be helpful if it’s icy. You can wear sneakers, but know that they will get wet so have a warm pair of wool socks on and plan time to dry your sneakers out after.

Don’t forget to bring your mat and sunscreen!

Given that it’s cold outside the workout does not include a stretch or cool down period; instead MoFitness advises stretching at home post-workout. A good stretch in a warm shower after an outdoor workout feels amazing! 

There are plenty of perks that accompany an outdoor workout including: Vitamin D for your immune system, a boost in your metabolism, reducing symptoms of depression (being in nature helps in general), mental stamina (have you heard of Wim Hof?!), and the opportunity to socialize – safely distanced, of course.

Don’t let Montreal’s winter weather prevent you from meeting your fitness goals!

Winter Bootcamp Schedule: Saturday 10-10:45 am in Parc Georges Saint Pierre

Winter Bootcamp Officially Ends March 30th, 2021 at which point we will resume our SWEAT in The Park Class Series

Check out our Winter Bootcamp Promo Video

Winter Bootcamp Classes are held in Park Georges Saint Pierre (Upper Lachine/Oxford)

OUR TOP WINTER FITNESS GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS:

We are not affiliated with any brands, we have just found that these brands offer warmth, comfort and are generally affordable.

UnderArmour Cold Gear. Base layer long sleeve shirts are a staple for me biking to work and conducting Winter Bootcamp classes. Go to the outlet at Marche Centrale for the best prices. We also wear their gloves for class.

Baleaf fleece lined leggings. Available on Amazon for about 40$, I wore these for every Winter Bootcamp class and also just on regular walk around days. They mute the bite of the cold on your legs.

Icebreaker Merino Wool Neck warmer

Quechua Hiking Boots from Decathlon If you don’t want to spend a ton on boots you won’t wear that often, the Decathlon brand is great. I actually ended up wearing mine more than my other boots!

Decathlon is a great shop that provides a lot of awesome gear at an incredibly affordable price. The sizes for clothing run a bit small (European sizing) but if you want to participate in Winter Bootcamp but don’t want to invest a ton of money, you’ll be able to find a lot here.

I also bought a fleece jacket from Old Navy that I wear as my insulation layer under my Columbia hard shell. On really cold days I just wear my regular winter jacket (Burton snowboard jacket). You will remove at least 1 layer during the workout. I usually ended up in my Underarmour base layer after about 10 minutes.

STUDIO MO FITNESS MTL

We are over the moon excited about this new development with our small fitness business. Sometimes good things really do come to those who wait, just don’t wait passively! We’ve been keeping our ears to the ground, looking for a studio and we lucked out last weekend! The studio is located at 2023 Decarie Blvd (formerly Happy Tree Yoga), within a 2 minute walk to Vendome metro, close to the Super Hospital and easily walkable from lower and upper NDG as well as Westmount.

We will offer Personal training, small group training and workshops. The studio will also be available to rent to other trainers, yoga instructors, for events, workshops, etc… Contact Us for rates and availability!

Stay tuned for Early Bird Promotions for our classes and personal training!

SWEAT In The Park!


What : Group Fitness (HIIT, Cardio Kickboxing, Abs and Glutes, Bootcamp)

Where : Parc Georges Saint Pierre (Upper Lachine/Oxford)

When : Tuesday and Thursday 6-7pm, Saturday 9:45-10:45 am


Price : 5$ Trial Class 10$ Single Class 5 Card Class 45$ (40$ each if you buy with a friend/partner/family) 10 class card 85$ (80$ each if you buy with a friend/partner/family)

***As we don’t have the reservation system set up yet, we will take bookings for Tuesday via email (mofitnessmtl@gmail.com) and you can send us the payment via etransfer. Once we receive payment we will send you a confirmation! Choose your package and send us your full name and phone number in the email. You must cancel at least 3 hours in advance to avoid losing your class or to get a refund (single class).

Rules

You must bring your own mat or towel; we will not be lending mats.

Don’t forget a water bottle as the park fountains are not open.

Spaces are limited due to Social Distancing obligations.

We are capping the groups at 10 people.

Reserve your spot in advance to ensure you get a place.

We encourage you to bring your own dumbbells so we can avoid equipment sharing as much as possible, but we will have equipment to use if you don’t have any dumbbells.

All equipment will be disinfected before and after the class, and all participants will be required to sanitize their hands before and after the class.

Cones will be set up to show you where to put your mat, you must stay in that space, away from other participants.

If you are feeling unwell in anyway then you must not attend class.

If you need to cancel, you must do so at least 3 hours in advance or be charged for the class.

If you have an injury or limitation, please let us know in advance so we can modify exercises accordingly.

* Failure to respect social distancing rules will result in a verbal warning and you may be asked to leave class and not be permitted to return.

If you would like to arrange your own group fitness class in a different park or at a different time, please contact us and we can arrange something for you!

Music By : http://www.bensound.com

Preparation and Motivation

There are so many obstacles to getting to the gym, often they have to do with feeling ill-prepared for the class, or for the day to day things you need to get done.  Most of the time our own mind is our biggest enemy when it comes to making time for fitness; we can find a million excuses not to work out and that break in your resolve to get fit is what you need to condition yourself to overcome.  As a father of a 4 month old, with both my wife and I working; it is really easy to say, I’m too busy, I have errands, I need to wash diapers, I’m exhausted; sometimes those are very valid reasons and I do skip the workout but the best way to avoid these conflicts is to be organized. I wanted to share with you a few tips to help you get prepared for a successful and healthy week!  The following tips are from my personal life, what my wife and I do to make sure we both get in enough exercise throughout the week.

Meal Prep: Planning out your week’s meals means that you know exactly what you need to buy at the grocery store for the whole week thus eliminating multiple runs to the store.  You can chop and freeze your veggies ahead of time, prepare smoothie jars, prepack a few days of lunches, etc…weeks that we don’t meal plan are always way more hectic and I found that we don’t eat as healthy either.

Shakshuka!

Pack your bag :  Pack your bag the night before, that way it doesn’t feel as daunting or rushed when the time comes to go to your class. 

Don’t sit down :  Some days you can’t imagine leaving your sofa after you get home from work, the best way to overcome this mental obstacle is to power through and just do housework until you have to leave for class.  Clean the house, cook dinner…doesn’t matter what as long as you stay active.  Another way to motivate yourself for an evening class is to put your workout clothes on as soon as you get home.  

Drink a coffee/tea : My wife is a teacher and she says that at least once a week after lunch, she often feels like she knows she wants to skip the gym after work because she feels too tired.  On those days she will drink an afternoon coffee or green tea so that she has the energy to get to the gym.  

Drink water :  It’s a really good idea to hydrate through out the day.  When you don’t drink enough water, your body can feel sluggish, drinking enough water can keep you energized throughout the day and make sure you are properly hydrated for a sweaty workout.

Eat Properly :  Make sure you eat enough throughout the day to keep your body happy but don’t eat so much that you need a nap after lunch.

The 2 Hour Rule : Do not eat anything heavy within 2 hours of going to exercise…It’s best not to eat anything at all within that 2-hour period but sometimes with our chaotic life we can’t always plan things out so neatly. If you are STARVING then have something small and easy to digest like a banana, a handful of nuts, a piece of cheese. 

Get Enough Sleep : I know this is a tough one but getting 7 good hours of sleep consistently, lays the foundation for a successful day.  You’ll have enough mental and physical energy to accomplish what you need to do!

As with any good habit you want to adopt, consistency and frequency is key.  Prioritizing your health might feel like you have to sacrifice down time, or social time, but after a while it won’t feel like a sacrifice at all and you’ll find yourself looking forward to that endorphin rush.  Tell your friends you’ll meet them after your workout and they’ll admire you for your resolve and lament their inability to get to the gym.  On the days that it’s toughest to get to the gym, those are the workouts that will make you feel the best because not only will you have those happy exercise endorphins rushing through you but you’ll also have the knowledge that you put mind over matter and really earned an evening on the couch!

Moses