Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that 77% of North Americans are not getting enough of (scary!).  The vitamin works with calcium in your body to build strong bones and regulate the immune system. We can all use a little extra help preventing the flu, right?  Common knowledge states the most common and easiest way to ingest vitamin D is the sun, but what about those cold dark Canadian winter days? Or when you’re stuck inside more than you are out?  The answer is… food!

There are various foods containing vitamin D:
  • Fortified milk
  • Fatty fish like tuna or salmon
  • Eggs

The development of your children’s bones occurs at a young age, so it’s important to have enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.  In children it will help protect against rickets and osteomalacia (softening of bones) as you age.  Post-menopausal women, who already have an increased risk of osteoporosis can slow bone loss by taking vitamin D.

Although there isn’t one set of recommendation of how long to be in the sun, to obtain the necessary levels of vitamin D is around 10-15 minutes. HOWEVER, the amount of absorption can depend on the season, time, length, cloud coverage, smog, sunscreen, windows, and skin type and colour.  To know how much you need you should contact your health care provider and for more information visit:




You'll hear us harp on at the studio about the excellent benefits foam rolling has on your body. We recommend you should roll out 10 minutes before and after a workout. Fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue, much like a spider's web, that surrounds muscles. If not addressed, this web can tighten around the muscles that stunt their growth. By foam rolling regularly we keep this fascia nice and loose so that when you do workout, you get the maximum work out of that muscle. Rolling also helps correct muscle imbalances, and is great at preventing injury.

In this blog, Thalia and Michelle, show us their top 9 foam roller exercises. If you find any particular tight, or painful spots you should hold the position until you feel the muscle loosen up. If your shoulders, and elbows get sore, you can use a bolster or cushion to support you. Enjoy!

Hamstring Massage

Start with your foam roller under your knees, and lift up onto your hands. Roll up your hamstrings towards your glutes, and back again.

Quad Massage

Lay face down with the foam roller just above the knee, Using your arms, move your body backwards, in turn, moving the foam roller towards the hip. Men, make sure you don't roll too far!!

IT Band Massage
(aka "The Screamer!")

Turn onto your side, and place the foam roller near the hip. Check that your hips are stacked on top of each other. Slowly roll forward all the way to the knee, and back.

Back Massage

Lie with the foam roller under your shoulders. Place your arms across the chest, and roll towards the hips. This targets the Erector Spinae. 

Shin Massage

Facing down, place the foam roller under your knees, heels to butt. Using your arms for support, roll forward  towards your ankles, and back.

Chest Stretch

Lay on the foam roller, face up with your neck supported. Bring your arms out to the side, and slowly try to bring them down to the floor. To make this harder, bring your arms further overhead.

Push Ups

Place hands shoulder width apart on foam roller. Bend at the elbows to lower your chest. Squeeze your pecs together and push back to the start. The instability of the roller makes this extra tricky.


Place your toes of one foot on the roller. Bend at the front knee, sitting into a lunge, as the roller heads towards your shin. Push off the front heel back to the start.


Lie on your back with your heels on the foam roller. Lift the hips towards the ceiling, forming a straight line, knee to shoulder. Lower under control. The instability of the roller really engages your stabilizing muscles.
With the festive season now in your rear-view mirror, turkey guilt amongst other things will drive many people towards resolutions for the New Year, intent on positive change. However, year-after-year, people fall off the wagon as early as February and slide back into the same old routine, with the same old habits. So here to help you out are 6 ways to stay on track, and adapt to your new routine.…

1. Know why you want to change your lifestyle?

The most common reason people decide to work out is that they’ve had enough of being overweight and out-of-shape, physically and mentally. They throw down a few hundred dollars on a gym membership with the goal of “getting fit". Unfortunately, “I just want to get fit” is not going to help you in the long run. You need to ask yourself “Why do I want this change?”, and you need to create a specific goal. Whether it’s to fit into a bridesmaid dress in 6 months or to sculpt a great body so you can get laid twice a week, a quantifiable goal is much easier to keep you on track. The clearer a path can be seen; the easier it is to follow.

2. Make specific time for exercise in your schedule

We say it over and over, and we’ve checked our stats - people who book classes ahead of time, come to our gym more often than those who don’t. We even have members who go old school and pull out a paper diary and mark the classes in their schedule. You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment or a finance meeting with the bank, so your training appointment should be no different. Once you adapt to that mindset it will be hard for you to skip out so often.

3. Commit to a 21-day trial

Research has shown it takes 21 days to make or break a new habit. So if you decide to work out 4 days a week, do it religiously for 3 weeks, let nothing get in the way. You’ll find that if you keep turning up, you will notice a mysterious momentum that will take the process way beyond 21 days.

4. Identify reinforcing habits

Habits do not exist in isolation. This is an area where exercising really excels. It affects you in such a massive, positive way that reaches out to other areas of your life. Those who work out regularly, also start to eat healthier, socialize more, get better at their job, etc... This is where people experience a complete lifestyle change. So identify other good habits to confirm what you’re doing is working.

5. Have a back-up plan

Hugely important! The number one reason people can’t stick to good habits is that life gets in the way, and they find an excuse to pull out. We have a number of cancellations on a daily basis. Some come to another class instead; others give in and skip a week. Have a back-up plan. If you miss a class, and can’t replace it, work out at home, or in your cubicle at work. Who cares if your colleagues look at you funny? You won’t be the one absent with chronic back pain.

6. Track your habits

I’m a fan of apps and websites that can track your workouts, calorie counts etc... but like everyone else I find it hard to keep it up-to-date accurately, and it can be boring. You want to concentrate on fitting that work out in and when that good habit sticks you can incorporate this into your routine.

So what else can you do? Do what a 15-year old teenager with acne would do, and keep a diary. Take 5 minutes on your way to work to write down positive notes on how you feel, what progress you’ve made and what you will do that day to maintain and progress your good habits. This may seem drastic to some people, even lame, but we all make task lists at work, so why not do it for you. Professional athletes in all sports do this. It’s part of sport psychology, which also incorporates a lot of positive visualization. Keep a checklist to score off your exercises when you complete them and mark down the times you hit personal bests or you reach the next step towards your goal.


This blog was modeled on a fantastic article in Business Insider. I highly recommend you read it as it’s relatable to all areas in your life, not just fitness.


If you follow us on Twitter you’ll notice that we regularly post quotes from professional athletes and coaches. While that awful, cheesy song from Savage Garden may come to mind, a lot of affirmations can be quite profound and inspiring, and can give you that added motivation to pursue your goals. Below are the best of the bunch from this year. Pick one or two, print them out and stick it above your bathroom mirror. You never know, it may start you off each day in an empowered way.

20 - "The hardest thing about exercise is to start doing it. Once you are doing exercise regularly, the hardest thing is to stop it." - Erin Gray

19 - "The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it's the opposition." - Nick Seitz

18 - "Practice as if you are the WORST, play as if you are the BEST." – Anonymous

17 - "Fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity." – JFK

16 - "When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

15 - "Be decisive. A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than indecision." - Bernhard Langer

14 - "Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first. They want it with all their heart & expect it to come true." - Joe Montana

13 - "Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way." - Satchel Paige

12 - "If you do what you've always done, then you'll get what you've always gotten" -Tony Robbins

11 - "When you're good at something you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something - they'll tell you" - Walter Payton

10 - "You can easily judge the character of a person by how they treat those who can do nothing for them." - James D. Miles

9 - "We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

8 - "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." - Anonymous

7 - "If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don't have enough goals." - Lou Holtz

6 - "It's repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen." - Muhammad Ali

5 - "Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness." - Earl of Derby

4 - "The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking." - Mia Hamm

3 - "They sleep, we grind. They dream, we shine"

2 - “I look into their eyes, shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, 'I am going to bury you.” Seve Ballesteros

and our completely biased favourite!...

1 - "Opportunity doesn't knock, you kick its f***ing door in!" – Team BOMB

Kevin & Victoria

Whether it’s already started with holiday parties invading your personal time, workout, time, and menu planning time, or you’re waiting for the big day to start the over-indulgence, that 4-5 pounds that the average person packs on over the holidays is hiding in plain sight.  Here’s how you can avoid your share of the Christmas blubber in 3 easy steps:
1.       Remember that the second bite of that sweet will taste exactly the same as the first.  It used to drive me crazy when I would open a box of chocolate that my oldest sister had been into before me.  I’d see little bites taken out of all of the most delicious looking chocolates and a sometimes very gooey mess left behind.  While her method really ruined the surprise of what’s in the middle of the chocolate and my mom was constantly embarrassed when she offered said treats to guests, my sister got to enjoy the best of that box without eating the entire thing.   
2.       Do mini workouts.  You’d be surprised what 5 inchworms, 3 times daily can do for you:  Inchworms are a great full-body exercise that can be done anywhere (but could also very quickly remind you of just how much food you’ve been trying to cram into your stomach as it inches its way back out).  A few years ago, my grandmother went more overboard than usual on the Christmas baking and stored a lot of the excess in the deep freezer beside the room I was staying in.   Every time I wanted to grab one of the melt-in-your-mouth ginger sparklers out of there, I willed myself to do as many push ups as possible off the side of the freezer.  For the most part, it helped me to keep the freezer lid closed.
3.       Go to bed.  Sleep is always an important key for weight and stress management, but this is especially true for the days leading up to the big show.  When you’re tired, you make poor eating choices and rely on sugary or caffeinated foods and beverages to keep you temporarily energized.  Lack of sleep can also lower your metabolism and let those holiday goodies stick to you more easily.  
Enjoy this time with family and friends, but enjoy your sweets in moderation and stick to your daily routine as much as possible to keep yourself in check.   Have a very merry Christmas and we’ll see you at the studio for damage control.

This is an end-of-the-week type of recipe.   It takes no time to prepare, it’s filling, and there are leftover for lunch the next day.   Perfect for the holiday season when you’d rather be making cookies than real food. 
Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 12 mini sweet peppers (the same mixture would likely fill 3-4 larger peppers)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (never made quinoa?  Click here for directions and more info about this super-versatile food)
  • 3/4 cup mild chunky salsa (presidents choice makes a sodium-reduced salsa that’s pretty great.  I’d also be inclined to try this recipe with a sweet corn salsa) 
  • 1 cup firm tofu, cut into small chunks
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1tbsp salt-free veggie seasoning

Here’s how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 350c
Wash peppers and cut the tops off and remove the ribs and seeds, then set aside.  In a bowl or the same pot that you cooked your quinoa in, combine all ingredients.  Spoon the mixture into the peppers and put the lids back on so that the mixture doesn’t dry out in the oven.  Pop your peppers into a muffin tin or casserole dish (just make sure they are standing up - use some aluminium foil around the edges to keep them snug) and cook at 350 for about 40 minutes.

I served the peppers atop a spring mix with some sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Kevin ate 4, but I think normal people would be happy with 2.

Over the past few months, I’ve heard a few of our members discussing the intensity of some of our classes as an excuse not to try something new.  Examples being, “I can’t do Bootcamp, it’s too intense for me,” or “I can’t hold even hold the plank in TRX, it’s too difficult.”  I feel like I’ve spoken this little rant enough that it’s about time I put it out for the world.

That’s too intense for me!

Hopefully, this won’t come as a big surprise to many of you, but YOU choose the intensity of your workout every time. Yes, that’s right, YOU, not the instructor, your workout buddy, or even that DVD you’re following when you don’t feel like going to class.   In class, we’ll encourage you to go faster, harder, or heavier to make sure you are pushing yourself to your full potential and getting the most out of the class.  Unless you’re a master of deception, we can usually tell when you’re taking it easy instead of trying to push yourself to the next level.  Many of our classes have a broad range of participants from dead beginner to advanced and we want everyone to leave feeling like they worked as hard as they were able to.   Don’t feel like you need to be performing the hardest version of a move or picking up the heaviest weight… listen to your body and work within your limits.  I’ll never forget the day one of our members flipped me the middle finger when I asked her to step it up.  You don’t have to listen when we offer harder suggestions...but usually when we offer a regression, it’s because your form is suffering and you will do more harm than good.

Seriously?  You want me to do what?

When we opened our doors a year ago and started teaching classes that weren’t offered anywhere else in the city, we started asking participants to do exercises that were way out of their comfort zone.  We worked our little army of members from the ground up and they’ve conquered exercises that seemed impossible and are still looking to blow their minds with harder exercises every now and again. 

Think you are going to pull off a super-advanced exercise your first time trying it? Not likely.  The solution is simply regressions and practice. If you can’t hold the TRX plank, kick your feet out and do a normal plank. Can’t do that? Drop to your knees. Can’t snake the Battle Ropes? Start with one rope. For every move there is an adjustment you can make to help perform an exercise to your level.

Practice is the other one. Keep trying. Go home and practice the plank every evening. Hold it for as long as you safely can.

But I don’t want to look like the weakest person in the class

I hear your cry. What I think our studio really excels at is providing a sociable, egoless atmosphere. Everyone checks it at the door, and our members actually encourage each other throughout the class.

Do you think someone wakes up one morning and thinks to themselves, “Wow, how funny it was that she couldn’t do that exercise last week.” Exactly. Nobody! People don’t care or notice as much as you think; they’re concentrating on their own workout.

Bear in mind, the only difference between a beginner and a more advanced person is that the advanced person has learned the basics. Replace all this “I can’t” negative mindset and instead, at least say, “I’ll try!” You’ll be performing TRX Atomic Push-Ups and the Battling Ropes in no time!


The holiday season is getting closer and closer, and whether you have friends and family crashing at your house to be closer to the best shopping or to celebrate the Christmas festivities, this baked recipe will help you to start the day off right without losing your mind in the kitchen or smelling like a frying pan.   
Egglets – Makes 6
6 Slices of ham (I used turkey once and it was equally as delicious)
6 Large Eggs

Preheat oven to 425.  Slice pieces of ham in half and use both halves to line the inside of your muffin tin.    They might cave in a little, but don’t worry about it.  Repeat for the other 5 tins.  Crack your egg into the ham-lined tin, making sure to hold the ham in place and crack the egg in the centre.  Once the egg is there, it’ll hold the ham in place.  Sprinkle with pepper and toss into the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on how you’d like your yolk to be cooked.   When the whites are nearly cooked, sprinkle some shredded cheddar over the top and toss it back in the oven until the cheese is bubbly.
Scuffins – Makes 12
I love this recipe because it doesn't end with my whole kitchen covered in flour, but the scones come out flaky and perfect to eat with jam or cheese.  They also take the same amount of time to cook as the egglets, so everything is hot and ready to eat all at once. (I usually half the recipe and cook all in the same tin)

2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
4 tsp Baking Powder
½ cup cold butter, cubed
1 large egg
¾ cup milk 

This recipe makes nice sweet dough, but you can also jazz it up a bit with ½ cup of raisins or even some chopped up sun dried tomatoes – my favourite.

Preheat oven to 425.  Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl, then cut in the butter with your hands until the mixture is mostly crumbs.

In a separate bowl, mix the milk and egg.  Set aside about 2tbsp of the mixture to use later and pour the rest into the dry mix.

Mix together with a fork until a wet dough forms.   From here, use your hands to scoop out a chunk of dough and roll it into a ball (it will be quite soft and gooey and fit in the palm of your hand).  Drop it into a bowl of flour and coat the whole ball.  Drop it into a muffin tin, and repeat.  

Finally, brush the left-over milk and egg over the top of the dough, pop it into the over for about 15 minutes, and enjoy!  You’ll know they’re finished when the tops start to brown.

Over the last 3 weeks, our Saturday morning running group (we leave at 9:20am if you care to join!) has endured drastically different temperatures and levels of precipitation.  As we move into the colder months and unpredictable weather, here are some tips for venturing outdoors for your run.

Cold Weather Running

Dressing for cold weather running can be a challenge. If you dress so that you are warm at the start of your run you will probably be over-heated by the end. When running in cold weather always remember one word - layers. The layers of clothing will keep you warm by trapping heat against your body. As you generate heat during your run you can remove layers to avoid overheating. 

When dressing for cold weather running, wear either two or three layers depending upon the weather conditions. Each layer has its own purpose.

Layer 1 
The purpose of the first layer is to wick moisture away from your skin. A long snug-fitting shirt is a common choice for the first layer. The best choice would be one made from a fabric that wicks the sweat away from your body. 

Layer 2
The second or middle layer should insulate your body and keep you warm. This layer should be made from an insulating material such as fleece. It should also be able to absorb a small amount of moisture so that it can assist your first layer in keeping your skin dry and warm.

Layer 3
Your third or outside layer is there to break the wind and keep rain or snow away from your insulating and wicking layers. This outside layer should be made from a waterproof material such as Gortex or nylon.  This outside layer includes both a jacket and running pants.

One rule of thumb when dressing for cold weather running is that you should be a bit cold when you step out the door. If you are comfortable or warm at the start of your run, you will overheat rapidly. 

Dressing for cool to moderate weather (5 to 15 degrees C)   
This is the most difficult weather to dress for. A single layer of clothing is the best bet. Wear either a long sleeve or short sleeve shirt depending upon the exact weather and your personal preference. Shorts are sometimes enough for these conditions while some may prefer to wear lightweight tights. Running gloves and a headband or hat will provide some added warmth, especially if it is windy. If it is raining add a water resistant outer layer and a baseball cap to keep the water off of your face. 

Dressing for cold weather (minus 9 to 4 degrees C)
You will want at least two layers of clothing in cold weather. Start with a long sleeve shirt and heavy running tights. Add a water resistant running jacket for the outside layer and if it’s windy or rainy, a pair of water resistant running pants. You will definitely want running gloves and a headband or hat. 

Dressing for very cold weather (Below minus 9 degrees C)
In this severe weather you will want three layers. Start with a long sleeve shirt and tights made of a wicking fabric. Add an insulating middle layer and possibly some heavy weight running pants. Use a water resistant running jacket as an outer layer. Always wear running gloves and an insulating headband or hat in the severe cold.  A balaclava may be useful in these conditions to protect the skin on your face.

Source: www.runningplanet.com


Our first SOGO Active Youth program came to an end last week, and we’ve met a number of promising teenagers and found it a delight to observe their approach to fitness. The youngsters’ greatest assets are their enthusiasm, energy, and their willingness to try anything at least once!  Unlike their older counterparts participating in the same classes, we noticed a big difference in the way some of our teens took part in the classes. 

The major hurdle we’ve noticed with youths, in general, is a reluctance to surrender to the process and a lack of real-world guidance.

Each year modern pop-culture dictates a shorter-and-shorter attention span, ranging from restricted-length tweets to 2-second editing cuts in TV programs. Youths are becoming lazy and always looking for the next quick fix. Modern pop-culture also falsely suggests that everything should come to you quickly and at no cost… Kids are growing up now wanting to be a reality TV star just as much as a world-class athlete… they don’t want to put in the work to reap the rewards.

With regards to fitness, the younger generation look around for the cool, new, insane workouts. The ones that leave your muscles aching for weeks and claims to give you a six-pack overnight… the “300” workout comes to mind. They look for these ridiculous YouTube videos and copy them with little to no one-on-one guidance and without taking the time to learn the basics. The prevalence of injury in these cases is so high that it’s almost not even worth the benefit of the physical activity. 

So what’s the solution?

Keep the effort on the process, not the outcome.  Famous athletes should inspire younger generations, but what is chronically lacking in the stories of these world-class champions is their journey to the top. An inspirational performance from Usain Bolt may help spark the fire but it’s the men and women in the trenches that they see every day that must guide and mentor them through the process of reaching their full potential through hard work and dedication.  Cut out that episode of American Idol and get them out to the park to run around.

While many kids won’t grow into world-class athletes, it's up to us to give them a chance. With regular physical activity, children will also learn discipline, patience, respect and how to live a healthy, active life... all the tools they’ll need to take with them into the real world (...and I’m not talking about the TV show!). 


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