Realistic Resolutions

Here we go again, New Year, New Me, this year I’m going to….

Be Better

Do Better

Live Better

Eat Better

Sleep Better

Move Better……

I have never been a New Year’s Resolution kind of person, I don’t believe in big resolutions, I believe in small steps, but that’s me.  Other people find the start of the New Year refreshing, they feel like they are getting a clean slate, that it’s time for a do over.  December is a kind of no man’s land, it’s a buffer between the old and the new where we fill up on cheese, wine and tourtiere and our exercise is stomping through shopping malls carrying bags of gifts and wine and cheese! 

We repeat that New Year New Me mantra in our heads out loud, “January I’m going to get back in the gym, January, I’m going to fill my fridge with healthy food, January I am going to get my arse to bed by 9pm. “  And many of us do start the year off right, the gyms are full, your belly feels nourished with loads of veggies, and you power through that 30 day challenge and feel super empowered for about 2 weeks and then old habits start to call your name, winter drags and chocolate is too delicious, that tv show begs to be watched and you start to slip off the wagon.  

Very few people ever end up sticking to their New Year’s resolutions through the long haul and that’s usually because the approach is overwhelming and unrealistic and you didn’t have a support system in place to make it through the tough times.  Many people think they have to start something new on a Monday or the New Year, because it feels like a new beginning. There’s also the tendency to think that once all the stressful stuff is out of the way, that’s when you can get back on track.  This idea that starting has to be done at a certain time, or that your life has to be settled before you can successfully do something has some merit to it but at the end of the day, if life being messy means you can’t adjust your habits, then you won’t be able to stick with those habits when life gets messy again.. And it will get messy, stressful, and busy again. 

Let’s talk specifically about exercise because that’s my area of expertise, there’s a lot to unpack here.  

How do you succeed in creating a healthy exercise habit?

With exercise, it takes discipline to succeed through the long haul.  There is no point starting a 30 day challenge and then going back to doing nothing afterwards, exercise must become a habit, a non-negotiable and part of your life for the rest of your life.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs, of course there will be times where you get to the gym 4 times a week every week but then life comes up and you have to reduce that to 2 times a week or take a little break entirely because of illness or injury. Discipline is your ability to do the hard work in less than optimal conditions.  Maybe it means reducing the time spent at the gym one week because you have a lot to juggle but it doesn’t mean abstaining entirely.  

How does this apply to the New Year’s Resolution Mentality?

Most of the time, resolutions are too big, too unrealistic, they are viewed as a quick fix sprint to the finish line, not a long haul marathon.  You need to start slower so you can finish strong but most people start out sprinting and burn out quickly.  

So how then, do you make a New Year’s Resolution that you might actually stick with?

STEP 1:  Understand that improving any area of your life is not a temporary fix.  Stay away from the 30 day challenge and just concentrate on building on what you are already doing. Break your goal up into manageable steps or progressions.


You haven’t exercised since Jane Fonda leotards were the height of active wear fashion.  Telling yourself you are going to start going to the gym 5 days a week for an hour is just not a sustainable goal.  Instead start with 1 to 2 days a week and get that habit ingrained into your routine.  It may take a few months but that consistency and discipline will help you add on when you are ready.  

STEP 2:  Make a resolution that is fueled by internal success rather than external acceptance (weight loss for approval-not for health).  Exercise because it will make you feel better both physically and mentally not because you want to achieve a certain body type or look good for someone’s wedding, etc.


You have anxiety/depression and are a little overweight; your doctor tells you to start exercising to help with your mental health and weight loss.  You make yourself go to the gym because losing weight is your main motivation but within the process you discover that your symptoms of depression and anxiety are drastically reduced.  You discover that the best part about exercising are the endorphins and the blast of confidence you get from finishing a workout and getting stronger.

STEP 3: Find the right kind of exercise for you.  You don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill each week or go to every HIIT class available. Try out many options and choose the one that feels right for you. Strength Training is an optimal place to start, because it prepares your body for other activities that might help you reach your goals.


You hate all things exercise and can’t be arsed to go to gym, you need to look for alternative types of movement.  For example, did you know there is a drumming fitness class called POUND?  There is no shortage of dance cardio classes, or even get yourself into an adult karate class.  Think about the sport(s) that you enjoyed the most (or hated the least) when you were young, and revive the hobby.In Montreal, we are blessed with parks a-plenty for skating and skiing throughout the winter and easy access to cheap equipment rentals. You just have to get off your butt.

STEP 4: Get yourself some professional help.  No really, the worst thing to see at a gym is someone using youtube or tiktok as a means to learn how to strength train.  While there is a plethora of excellent information out there, if you don’t know how to weed out the good vs the bad advice or demo videos, you are setting yourself up for an inefficient workout and/or an unsafe workout.  As a trainer, going to a commercial gym, I have seen many very fit looking people doing very incorrect/ineffective movements, so don’t assume that someone who looks like they know what they are doing, actually knows what they are doing. Invest in Personal training or Small Group (Semi-Private) training, that way you get individualized workout programs and the attention you need to thrive in the gym safely.


You’ve read that strength training is beneficial to premenopausal women and you want to start lifting weights but you have never lifted more than a 2 lb dumbbell in your life.  Find a trainer or a small group training program that specializes in strength training. You want a trainer that understands your starting point and how to gently ease you into this new activity rather than one that forces you into doing things that are uncomfortable/painful solely for gains. 

STEP 5: Find a support system to keep you accountable.  Accountability will help with discipline and that is the number one factor for success because when the New Year New Me motivation wears off, discipline and accountability will see you through.

Example: You and a coworker decide it’s time to get fit, so you join a gym or studio together and make exercise dates each week to help each other go.  You walk/drive together and enjoy the conversation, you commiserate over the tough workout together and share laughs throughout.  You leave each workout fueled by endorphins from the workout but also the social interaction.

The best support system I ever had were a few exceptionally awesome gym buddies.  Trying to force yourself to class after a rough day of work can be too much to manage but if you’ve made plans to meet a friend there, you don’t want to let them down (and yourself) so you go and the more you go the easier it becomes to eventually get there by yourself. 

**If you don’t have a coworker or friend to workout with, hiring a Personal Trainer can help immensely with accountability and your success.  Joining a small group training program where you set your schedule and pay for a month in advance can also help keep you on track.

Whether you resolve to become a better version of yourself this year or next Monday, use these steps to make it worth your while.  At the end of the day you just have to get out there and do it!   Don’t worry about failure, if you don’t like the gym, try something else, just make sure you make your activity resolution a non-negotiable in the most realistic way possible.  Find a support group/friend/community of people who have similar goals.  Remember that in the long run, the things that are hard today will most likely be what you cherish the most later on. 

Finally, understand that most people don’t initially LOVE exercising, and we don’t love it all the time.  Today, I am struggling with the motivation to do my workout even as I write this but will I do it? You Bet! Because the reward for doing the workout is a better attitude, a stronger body and an overall better quality of life and the consequence for skipping it is a smidge of guilt and a little less patience with my kids today but over time…it adds up to slower progress, a more negative perspective and a less healthful existence.  

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.

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!

Preparation and Motivation

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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, pack 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.


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 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 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!