Double the Workout Fun With Your Valentine

Whether you have a valentine or not, hitting the gym with a friend  is a great way to hold yourself accountable, stay motivated, and have a whole lot of fun!

Here are five moves for you to try while getting a sweat on with your sweetie!

I shared these moves on CH Morning Live, so if you’d rather watch, check the video here!

1. Partner Squat.

img_7022Facing each other both of you lower together holding right hands. Keep arms tight pulling towards each other, strong through the arms. As you return to stand continue to pull arms as if trying to complete a row, by pulling your right elbow back behind your body. Complete 12 repetitions with the right arm, followed by 12 repetitions on the left arm twice.

2. Plank with Dead Lift.

img_7024Partner A holds a plank position on their hands while partner B holds their ankles. Partner B folds at the wait completing a Dead Lift, lowering Partner A’s legs to just below Partner B’s knee height. Partner B returns to stand. Partner B completes 10-12 repetitions 2-3 times alternating positions with Partner A.

3. Leg Pushes.

img_7026Partner A begins lying down, face up, with their head towards partner B. Partner A extends their legs up straight towards Partner B who pushes them away. Partner A engages their core, controls their legs as they lower, returning them up towards the ceiling and to Partner B. Complete 10-12 repetitions, 2-3 times before switching positions.

4. Plank High Fives.

img_7029Partner A and B face each other in a plank position on either their hands and knees or hands and toes. Partner A and B simultaneously clap right hands together, then left as if playing “patty-cake”. Complete 10-12 claps 2-3 times.

5. Forward Fold and Chest Opener.

img_7030Partner A and B sit on the floor back to back. Partner A completes a forward folding reaching towards their toes bringing their nose down towards their shins. Partner B leans back onto Partner A with their arms extended out towards their sides, opening their chest. Hold for 10-15 seconds before switching positions.

4 reasons to get students active this winter!

The following post is one I wrote for the Ophea Blog published January 13th. View the original post here.

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Photo via Ophea Canada

Winter is here! With the days shorter and the recess colder, even the best of us [or our students] can get a little blue.  Did you know that “more than one in five boys and one in three girls report feeling depressed or low at least once or more on a weekly basis?”[i] Luckily, moving more and sitting less can help to prevent the blues and help our students get back to their normal self. To help ward off those winter blues, this month’s #FactFriday brings you four reasons why it’s important to encourage your students to get physically active this winter and all year long:

  1. Physical activity has been found to improve mental health conditions, particularly anxiety, depression and general well-being.[ii]
  2. Physical activity was associated with a decreased likelihood of depression in a survey of 9,938 school-age children.[iii]
  3. The rise of mental health challenges faced by Canada’s children and youth is matched by a decrease in physical activity participation levels.[iv]
  4. Physical activity, sport and exercise is positively associated with mood, emotion and psychological wellbeing.[v]

Getting students physically active and to engage in regular daily physical activity not only decreases their risk of chronic illness but also supports their emotional well-being. The four reasons listed in this blog are mere examples of the positive impact regular physical activity has. It’s important to reflect on these benefits with students and help them to better understand the impact it has on their health.

Furthermore, by supporting student well-being through daily physical activity, the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum explains that, “behaviours promoting mental health are not always correlated with the prevention of mental illness. However, learning about mental health and emotional well-being helps students understand and manage the risk and protective factors that are in their control so that they will be better able to build and maintain positive mental health.”[vi] As such, supporting student well-being and promoting regular self-care where physical activity takes lead can help students beyond the walls of the gym or classroom –It prepares them for life.

Looking for resources to help encourage reflection and start conversations? Ophea’s All About H&PE resource is a free online resource developed to support educators implement the Health and Physical Education curriculum (1-12), and provides the tools educators need to strengthen understanding and knowledge of the five Fundamental Principles.

Check out All About H&PE today!


[i] The Health Of Canada’S Young People: A Mental Health Focus. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2017. Retrieved January 10 2017 from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/dca-dea/publications/hbsc-mental-mentale/assets/pdf/hbsc-mental-mentale-eng.pdf

[ii] Schmitz, N., Kruse, J., and Kugler, J. (2004). The Association between Physical Exercises and Health-Related Quality of Life in Subjects with Mental Disorders: Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey. Preventive Medicine, vol. 39, pp. 1200–1207.

[iii] Goodwin, R.D. (2006). Association between Coping with Anger and Feelings of Depression among Youths. American Journal of Public Health, vol. 96 (4), pp. 664–669.

[iv]  Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Ottawa: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_Guidelines_Handbook.pdf

[v] Physical Activity and Mental Health. Toronto: Physical Activity Resource Centre, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from http://slideplayer.com/slide/6630417/

[vi] Ontario Ministry of Education. (2015). The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1 – 8 (revised): Physical Health and Education Curriculum. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/health1to8.pdf

Sweat It Out: OHSO Fitness

Last week while in Hamilton I hit up a personal training/small group training studio, OHSO Fitness, twice! I came to this studio through my friend and coach Kim Agostino, whose son Jon works at OHSO. Kim, along with her husband Ang, and my sister Nancy have been training here a couple times a week for the past year, so I was very excited to give it a try. (and also because it’s referred to as “Oh Sore” so I wanted to try it for myself.)

img_6403OHSO thrives on a philosophy of mindful movement. At OHSO, they claim to “sculpt a lean physique while instilling a life-long relationship with exercise and nutrition.” Their Locke Street studio is open-concept with five work stations each with their own set of equipment including rowers, free weights, resistance bands and TRX trainers. This means there are never more than five participants in each class.

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The studio operates Monday-Friday 6AM-8PM, and Saturday mornings for specialized supplementary programs. Week day classes run every half hour, with a new program each day. Each session will perform the same workout throughout the day, with modifications made depending on the group or individual. 30 minute classes are $15 for a single class fee.

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So far I’ve been twice and the workouts were very different. Both times I was greeted by their studio manager in a very personal way. I feel they really get to know their clients and stand behind their community claims as the class sizes are small. The first workout I did involved a lot of rowing and leg strength training during the 30 minutes, while the second workout had more of a focus on abs, arms, and back with only a few meters of rowing. All of the workouts are designed to challenge the body and mind, ensuring that all clients at any fitness level work with extreme focus and achieve maximum results. Workouts often include compound movements in combination with resistance training, high-intensity interval cardio, all while challenging core and stability.

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OHSO also offers personalized nutrition consultations, Mauy Thai, and yoga. The studio space includes showers and washrooms, but no specific change rooms. It is located on the second floor or a former church, so great windows bring in lots of nature light. Be sure to arrive a few minutes early during your first session to complete your waiver and intake information. To book at the studio you need to text 289 880 0727. You can also email contact@ohsofitness.com.