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Being Thankful For Family, Friends and Goals

Happy Thanksgiving to all my BodyPower fans!  Today is a day to be thankful for everything that we have…and boy oh boy do I have a lot!  Where do I start… I am soooooo thankful for my family, friends and students. I am thankful for everything that I have and do.

roundtoitWhile I’m being thankful, I was thinking about goal setting and how I am thankful for the gift to be able to set goals and targets to reach those goals.  You know…as I meet new people and reconnect with old friends, I have begun to realise that goal setting is actually something to be thankful for.  It is so easy to say “tomorrow” or as a wonderful deacon once said we often say “when I get a round to it” so he made a “round tuit” for everyone and said: “Now that you have a “round tuit” you can do anything right?”  LOL … So for everyone out there being thankful today… get yourself a “round tuit” and get to started on whatever it is you would like to accomplish!

As you know, I am training for a figure competition — which is about 6 months away!  Training for this is..well… I’m not going to lie… AMAZING yet difficult however, thank God for my amazing COACH – ALEISHA HART who is there for me every step of the way!  Aaaaaannnnddd…. thank goodness for my amazing husband for picking up the slack!

In the spirit of being thankful for goal setting, I went out today and accomplished my goal of conquering those damn stairs…

My goal was to go up 1,000 steps and back down the same…

50 minutes —

5KM —

10 flights up of 112 stairs per flight

======= 1,120 steps!

WOOHOO… goal accomplished for today!

Ladies and gentlemen… be thankful for everything that you have today and learn how to set goals for yourself… the feeling is amazing when you accomplish the small goals that lead up the end goal!

Thankful for Friends and Family


Today is Sunday and I have to say that I have had a wonderful weekend. I was able to spend time with my family and get my workouts done!  I am so thankful for the wonderful network of friends. There is no doubt that it is sometimes very difficult to get the workouts done – we would rather sleep, rest, read, play, etc.. The reality is that I have set a goal and I WILL get on that stage in May and WIN that figure competition — I am determined!  In order to do that, I have to workout…workout…workout (and eat clean of course!).  Anyway, so thankfully, I have amazing friends who call me and who I can call to work out with me.

Saturday’s leg workout was AMAZING!  I was able to squat on a bosu ball thanks to 2 great men that I workout with — Thanks for the spot Duncan and Dan — I sure feel it today!  Push and push… if you feel good, you are not working hard enough!  Then I started Sunday morning with a chest workout with Duncan, followed by 550 grueling stairs (up) and another 550 (down) with my amazing friend Sabrina who is very inspiring!  And….finished off with a 5.5 KM hilly run with my awesome friend Erika — who always motivates me to go out, even when we are both exhausted!  Of course, I cannot forget Martha – one of the smartest women I know.  Man can she run… I love running with Martha — it’s like going for coffee and being filled with a wealth of knowledge — except of course we are burning calories instead of putting them into our bodies!

It is so hard to get everything done in one day — especially getting together with friends and family and working out so the SOLUTION — incorporate the two!  Run and chat, workout and laugh — it is so great and at the end, you feel AMAZING, STRONG and I really want to say full of energy here…but really… you kind of feel exhausted — in a good way!

I am also thankful for the wonderful circle of positive energy I have around me — Christina Hayden Solomon, Katherine Glen, Crystal Kenny (because every time, I do those damn stairs I think of her doing 1,000 + — how inspiring — I can’t wait to take her up on her invitation to join her!) and of course my awesome coach Aleisha Hart – who is on her way to Ms. Olympia!


Food Prep

A big part of training is DIET! I am sure you’ve heard this before… ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN! Well.. I am about to put that to the test. Here is what 1 of my 6 daily meals looks like: (Now keep in mind that this is 1 meal, prepared for 8 separate days!)

What is in here you ask:  4 oz of chicken, 1/3 cups of rice and broccoli (which I am not too keen on!)


Here is a great video about the “BENEFITS OF WRIST STRAPS
with Dr. Jim Stoppani, PhD, Muscle & Fitness Magazine Senior Science Editor





Kickboxing Exercise



Are you looking for additional information on kickboxing exercises? Well this exercise article will give you several ideas about how to perform a number of kickboxing moves. Kickboxing is not only great for your physical conditioning it will also tone your mental muscles.

Kickboxing was first introduced to the world as a form of martial arts practiced for self defense. It involves the usage of both punches and kicks in vertical combat. Although there are several types of kickboxing styles, we sometime get a vivid picture of violent. This is the Muay Thai form of kickboxing where there’s a violent usage of elbow and knee strikes and throws to neutralize the opponent. Today, kickboxing has become a sport as well as a form of exercise for cardiovascular training and toning. Here are a number of kickboxing exercises you can try at home.

Warm up first
Before doing any strenuous exercise, it is important that you stretch out your muscles and warm them up. I find that doing 2 minute intervals of jumping jacks or skipping and 1 minute of stretching for a total of 6 minutes works great. So basically, you skip for 2 minutes then stretch for 1, then skip for another 2 and then stretch for another 1.

Front kicks
Begin by doing a squat and pulling your kicking leg backwards. This is known as the horse stance. Make sure your standing leg is bent while you use your other leg to kick. This will give you more balance and stability. Now as you kick, visualize that you are kicking your opponent in the chin or chest. Although optional, you can use a punching bag as an imaginary hit target. Kick with the balls of your feet. Do 25 kicks with the right leg and then the left.

Round house kicks
These kicks are more difficult as they require you to balance yourself. Begin as you would do a front kick. Do a correct stance and slightly bend your knees for more stability. The power in a round house kick comes from the hip so as you swing your feet to target, your hips should follow. Hit using the instep of your feet. Do 25 kicks with the right leg and then the left.

Round house knee strikes
The maneuver for roundhouse knee strikes is similar to round house kicks, only you use your knees instead. Again begin with a stance with slightly bent knees. Use your hips to swing your knee. Do 25 with the right knee and then the left

Cool down and stretch
After your kickboxing exercises, do some warm down stretches and remember to drink lots of fluids.

My Running Journey

Mark, Natale, Sabrina, Maria

Running can be an intimidating sport for someone who is new to exercise or who is overweight and not used to this type of rigorous activity. I can say this because I was that person. I began running 3 years ago, about one year after the birth of my first child and a 50 pound weight gain. I remember running for something like 30 seconds and it seemed like I’d been running for 5 minutes. When I checked my watch I was dumbfounded by how little I was actually able to endure. Nonetheless, I kept going. I’d run for however long I could, usually between 30 seconds and one minute and then I’d walk for 5 to 10 minutes. Looking back it was actually quite amusing!

It’s funny because I remember thinking how embarrassed I was running outside for fear that someone would see me and laugh at my form or the overweight person doing this run/walk on the side of the road. Of course, the biggest fear was that they would see my fat that I could feel jiggling under my arms, my belly and my inner thighs. People used to tell me to keep with it because my running would improve. Even though I didn’t believe them, I kept going. I was determined to prove someone wrong; them or myself. Every time I ran, I’d check my watch and realize that I was able to run a little longer and walk a little less.

Someone once told me that if you want to lose weight, running is the best exercise. The only problem was that running was so hard on me because I had the extra weight to lose. It’s sort of a catch-22! I came to the conclusion that I had to run hard enough to get my heart rate up into my fat-burning zone and keep it there. I would run and then walk about the speed of a turtle to catch my breath but what I didn’t realize was that I was actually lowering my heart rate too much so I wasn’t really burning very much fat. Because I couldn’t physically run long enough to stay in my target fat-burning zone, I decided to run and then speed walk. I was exhausted and remember feeling like I was going to throw up so I knew I was definitely working hard! Once I figured out that I wasn’t going to die if I didn’t walk like a turtle, I actually started to lose weight and become a faster runner.

After about a year of running and weight lifting, I was smaller and fitter than I had ever been in my life. The best part was that I could run about 10 km in less than an hour. I couldn’t believe it! I could even run pushing my baby in a running stroller. For those of you out there who are in a similar situation, I know you can appreciate that as a major accomplishment.

Let’s fast-forward to the present. I had my second baby 9 months ago and gained 65 pounds this time. I stopped running and weight training during this pregnancy; need I say more! I started running again at about 5 months. This time around I purchased a treadmill and ran at home until it was warm enough to head back outside. This time, I needed a major goal to get back into running and in shape. If you’ve had a baby, you know how hard it is on our bodies and how long it could take to get back into the groove. In March, I joined the running room aspiring to run in a 10K race in May. That gave me 2 months to train. Now let’s remember that I gained 65 pounds and did not do much exercise for 9 months.

I was determined to do this race. The first night at the running room, I was so nervous because I had never run with anyone before, even when I was in great shape after my first child. I had no idea how long we would be running for or how many people there were going to be or if I would be able to keep up. As scared as I was, I went to my first clinic and when I got there I breathed much easier because low and behold, most of the people there were in the same predicament as me. I couldn’t believe it, I felt so reassured. Everyone ran at different speeds and in fact, the clinic days were “short run” days so we didn’t run more than 4 km. However, during the 10K clinic they teach you how to run what they call 10 and 1’s. This means you run for 10 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. (Now keep in mind that the running room does have other clinics like learn to run, just women, 5K, etc…) The reason that I decided to join the 10K was because I ran before as mentioned above. I really wanted to challenge myself. 5K would have probably been a great challenge in itself but I believe that we need to push ourselves to the limit.

As I was training for the race in May, I also started kickboxing and increased my weight training. When learning to run, it’s great to do other activities as well because then you get full body conditioning and you’re getting in even better shape. While I was training, I started to experience some serious pain in my knees; that’s not good! After going to see my doctor, he told me that I had a displaced patella. That means that my knee cap was sort of loose and basically would move when I ran and would hurt like hell! I iced it, taped it, and stretched it…it still hurt! But, I was determined to do this race. I went for physiotherapy and my physiotherapist showed me how to do some exercises to strengthen the inside of my knee. She also showed me how to properly tape my knee without a tensor band wrapped all the way around, cutting off my circulation.

Of course, when doing any type of activity, you really need to check with your doctor periodically, especially if you are experiencing pain. It is one thing to push yourself to the limit, it is another thing to hurt yourself and do permanent damage. That being said, I am stubborn and I continued to run and kickbox. (I did have permission from my physiotherapist to proceed with caution!) However, I did slow down with kickboxing and did more punching than kicking. This seemed to help a little.

The week before the race, I developed some kind of chest cold and could not stop coughing and actually could barely move. I thought that maybe this was a sign that I should give myself more time to train for the next race. Then I looked into my children’s eyes and found strength. For that entire week, I did nothing but rest to prepare for that race.

I am happy to report that after all the training, I did it! I’m not going to lie; I struggled with cramping and minor pain. I took cough drops, carried lots of Kleenex, put a ton of tiger balm on my knee before taping it and finished the 10K race in May in 1 hour and 8 minutes. This is not bad for my first time, with all the obstacles I faced that day and not to mention carrying this extra weight which is yet to come off.

The ultimate reward was seeing my family and friends at the end of the race, cheering me on and placing my medal on my 3 and a half year olds neck. He was so proud of me and even though he is still a little young to understand, I just taught him one the most important things in life: “don’t give up”! He knew that I was sick and had a sore knee and at the end of the race, the expression on his face was priceless.

When learning to run or learning to do any new sport, you need to find motivation somewhere. You need someone to encourage you, especially if you are facing an obstacle. My obstacles were very miniscule compared to others facing disease and illness but nonetheless they were obstacles to me. I found a way to overcome them and accomplish my goal just like others who ran with diabetes, cancer, etc… just being there and moving is motivating to others and though we seek motivation from others, we actually are motivators to others as well. Remember that when you strap on your shiny new white running shoes and head for the side walk your first time. Hold your head up high and reach for the stars, it may take a while, but with determination, you’ll get there. Promise! And the reward is satisfaction, there’s no better feeling in this world!



Billy Blanks…TaeBo

Good Times Entertainment

For those of you who are not able to go kickboxing in your hometown…give TaeBo a shot.  I’ve been using TaeBo for years and beleive me it’s the next best thing to real kickboxing.  Billy Blanks is brilliant and worth every penny!

If you’re looking to transform your body, you’ll never get bored with TaeBo.  Billy Blanks is constantly coming out with new programs which is FANTASTIC because as soon as you feel like you need a change, you can try something new and then go back to your previous program.  I still have some of Billy Blanks first ever TaeBo videos from many years ago…and I still go back to them, even though I make a point of getting his latest.

 Good Times Entertainment

Family Kickboxing Rocks!


Family Kickboxing hosted Sudbury’s first ever Full Contact  kickboxing Spar-a-Thon May 17th 2009!

The Spar-a-Thon raised money for Heart and Stroke.

“We had a fantastic turn out, 20 students sparred and over 20 more raised money above those who also sparred. ” Al and Ray Blais ~ Owners of Sudbury Kickboxing. 

 Congratulations to Ray Blais for giving back to the community!




Blake Kassel, the inventor of the Bodylastics home gym…”Our unique super system is a complete home gym that fits in a 3 pound bag yet stands toe to toe with home gyms like Bowflex and even the most popular health clubs.”

Come see the system used by personal trainers

Family Kickboxing


Getting in shape is not an easy thing to do for most people out there.   As part of my commitment to you my readers, I continuously research the best and most effective programs and exercise activities out there.  In order for me to give you an accurate analysis, I, in fact need to try it out.

After extensive research, I have discovered the art of kickboxing.  I searched the local directories and found a wonderful establishment that offers cardiovascular activity and while teaching proper kickboxing techniques.  I felt comfortable from the moment I stepped into their establishment.  Family Kickboxing is a unique establishment because it allows families to work out together.

At first I thought that it would be intimidating working out with punching bags and boxing gloves on my hands however, it was all but that.  Everyone performs the same moves at his or her own pace.  Everyone is so caught up in focusing on proper technique that there is not time for intimidation.  Unlike working out at a gym, this is an instructor-guided activity.  There is no pressure and the workout is sensational.

At Family Kickboxing, you work at your own pace.  They have 3 different classes – beginner, intermediate, advanced.  The beginner’s class was designed for people who do not have any previous experience however it is a good workout and a beginner can continue with this if he/she wishes. 

Click on the banner below to go to the family kickboxing website to find out more.  They even offer 2 FREE weeks for you to try it out and see for yourself what a great workout kickboxing really is.


 Stay tuned for updates on my body transformation.  Along with training for my 10K race for diabetes in May, I will be weight training and attending kickboxing classes 3-4 times per week.