Tropical Burst Smoothie

Smoothies are a great option for breakfast, a snack or as a way to get in those oh so important veggies and fruits. This one has a bright and delicious flavour, sure to please any palette. Ingredients  1 chopped banana  1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)  1/2 fresh orange 2 basil leaves  1/2 cup Greek or Coconut yogurt  3/4  cup coconut milk (or liquid of choice)  ** A few ice cubes if fruit is all fresh and you prefer your smoothie a little colder** Directions Mix all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth. Pour, sip and... read more

The Benefits of a Training Partner

Finding motivation can sometimes be the biggest barrier to achieving a consistent exercise routine. Most often when we speak about motivation we are talking about motivation that is self-driven, meaning it comes from within. This is called internal motivation. Something that is important to note is internal motivation can come and go and can be stronger or less apparent in different areas of our lives. For example internal motivation to do well in university and study for exams maybe very high but internal motivation to go to the gym three times a week after you have finished your lecture might be very low and a more difficult task to accomplish. Luckily motivation does not always have to come from within to result in lifestyle change. Motivation that comes from outside sources is called external motivation and can motivate us to achieve goals. When it comes to exercise, external motivation in the form of a training partner can be extremely beneficial. Having someone who knows what your goals are, potentially shares similar goals and at the end of the day wants you to be successful and happy can be a huge source of motivation. In this blog post I explore the benefits of having a training partner, and things to consider when picking a training partner to join you for your next session at the gym. A Training Partner Keeps You Accountable Accountability is a large factor in staying on track with a goal. If no one knows you are working towards something, it can become easy to slack off. A training partner can keep you accountable to get your workouts... read more

Maintain Your Fitness & Nutrition Goals All Summer Long!

Hooray! The sun is shining! If you are like me and live in a city where many months are cold and snowy you definitely want to spend every second of summer soaking up the sun. Patios, beach days, long walks, BBQs… the list goes on. This can make staying active and eating well over the summer somewhat of a tricky balance. Personally I found myself stumbling through this a couple years back. For many years I spent my summers in competition prep. This means I was living the brown rice and chicken breast life with little room for fun foods like ice cream (my all time fave!) and patio bevies. During this time, I was hyper focused on my figure competition. The thing about competing is it involves a lot of sacrifice, including food. When I decide to compete I accept this and find the best balance that I can. There may be an occasional treat meal here and there, but overall I was not spending my summers enjoying patio cocktails. Then everything changed. About two years ago I competed in May and decided to take the summer off of prep life. Beyond deciding not to compete I didn’t really think of what this would mean for me nutritionally. It took me a long time to realize why I was experiencing so much stress and anxiety over friends inviting me out for patio drinks when I hadn’t yet trained that day. I felt like I was choosing between getting my workout in and spending time out in the sun. It took a little bit of time but I finally figured out... read more

Healthy Eating and Active Living on Vacation

It can be difficult to find the right balance of fitness and fun when away on vacation. The first thing to remember is – you are on vacation! Your focus should be relaxing, having a good time and enjoying the destination you have traveled to. With a bit of planning and incorporating the tips below, you will not only enjoy your vacation, but you will do so all the while being able to balance good nutrition and exercise! Stay Active Exercise on vacation may look very different than what you regularly do at home. Be open to that; do not feel you are not doing enough because the activity is different from your normal workout. It can be fun to find workouts and activities that easily fit into your vacation, and help you to explore the beautiful country you’ve travelled to. You might decide, for example, to go for a hike or a long bike ride. Or perhaps you will play beach volleyball or do a zip lining adventure. The goal is to maintain the frequency of physical activity you complete at home. If you’ve worked up to exercising 3 days a week, then you should be active a minimum of three days a week on vacation. For me, that usually looks like 1 hike, 1-2 full body weight training sessions at the hotel gym (I only book hotels with fitness centers) and 1 good stretch/yoga session. If you will not have access to a gym or fitness facility while you are on vacation, I suggest packing a skipping rope and resistance band to get a workout wherever you... read more

Thriving Through the Holidays

In the past 4 years that I have been working as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, the season of holiday parties has always created a unique barrier for my clients. Whether it is a work party, a best friend’s holiday get together, a family dinner, or a New Year’s party, holiday parties tend to get in the way of healthy eating and active living. This barrier is also not short lived as some holiday parties start as early as mid November and carry on into the New Year, which is at the very least, 6 weeks of holiday merriment! When you also factor in that many people belong to various social groups, these holiday parties tend to be never ending and occurring quite frequently. Now there’s nothing wrong with a good holiday party, but often people can feel derailed when presented with treats and “once in a while” foods at every corner. It can feel impossible to stick to your nutrition plan and also challenging to find time to keep up with fitness goals. I have 8 tips that you can use to help maintain (key word moving forward!) the progress you have made so far. 1. IF weight loss is your current goal, set a goal to maintain your current weight during the holidays. Weight loss can continue once the hustle and bustle of the holidays is done, and when daily structure to your life has returned. Use this time to relax, and enjoy family and friends. 2. Maintain physical activity up to Christmas Day (at least). Have your personal trainer ensure your current training program ends... read more

Happy Birthday Momma!

Photography by Bree-Ann Merritt Photography Design  September 29th is my mother’s birthday. This year, she surprised me when she said she wanted to host her birthday party in her home. Why was I surprised? Well you see, my mother typically avoids attention on herself, and she has always had a hard time accepting gifts, praise, and offers of assistance or help. She is a giver, but not much of a taker. For the last 30 years my mother’s main focus has been on her 5 children; she made sacrifice upon sacrifice for me and for my siblings. How much she has done for us and how much she has forgone for herself, is something of which, I’ve only come to realize in my adult life. My appreciation for my mother has grown immensely and, yes, I do wish she would allow people to do more for her, but at the same time I also admire her for her independence and strength. So now you can see why when she asked me to help her with the party she was planning, I was more than happy to help. To be able to do something for someone you love dearly and for someone who deserves it as much as my mother does, was a wonderful feeling. The task of planning the party was quite simple, because all my mother wanted was a small group of friends and family gathered in her home. She wanted to cook and have loved ones come to share delicious food, good company, music and laughs. I’m happy to report that her party ended up being just... read more

I Don’t Lift Weights! I’ll Get Too Big!

It has been a long time fear of many women (not all) that including weight training into their exercise program will result in them looking masculine or bulky. In reality it is quite the contrary. Trust me ladies, (and gents) I wish it was as easy as one might think for a woman to build muscle through weight training. As a figure competitor (a division of the large umbrella more known as bodybuilding) putting on muscle is the main focus of my training, and it has not been easy. Using myself as an example I have been weight training for over five years now, and continue to work to improve the shape and size of my physique. As women it is just not possible to build muscle mass naturally like a man. Our bodies do not produce the levels of testosterone as men, so the result from weight training is not the same. The true story is that weight training can help you build and maintain bone strength, lose weight, burn fat, change your shape creating those sexy curves you might be after, and improve your overall fitness level too. Many women spend countless hours on cardio machines hoping to make changes in their physique. Don’t get me wrong, cardio machines and cardio in general has its place in a balanced fitness program. BUT it will only provide so much; it can never replace a well-balanced weight trainingprogram.  How does building muscle improve your fitness results? Training your muscles helps burn fat, so in creating more muscle your are increasing this fat burning potential. As well building muscle can... read more

Client Spotlight

Spotlight on: Mike Cullen Mike and I first met at the Assiniboine Athletic Club where he is a member. I noticed Mike right away as he was always so friendly! He exudes a love for life and fitness, oh ya and the Winnipeg Jets (Go Jets, Go!). I also quickly noticed Mike’s efforts in his training. One day Mike and I got to talking about nutrition and that’s how we began working together. It has been a joy and enriching experience working with a person who is so dedicated to improving his health. Here’s Mike’s story.  Q. What was your lifestyle status when you first decided to make a lifestyle change? ‘After suffering a major knee injury 12 years ago, my activity levels dropped significantly and my food choices became exceptionally poor. As a direct result I developed Type 2 Diabetes. Being in my 20’s and at nearly 400lbs, this diagnosis was the trigger I needed to make big health and activity changes in my life’.  I had my knee surgically repaired and worked with my doctor to get back into better physical shape. While my doctor was able to prescribe diabetes medication, I was left largely on my own to make nutritional and physical activity changes. Through these changes I was able to lose 170lbs. I maintained the weight loss through participation in sports, regular cardio training and overall increased activity in my day-to-day life. In that time, my blood sugars were also normalizing and eventually I was able to maintain healthy blood sugars without medication.  Q. What prompted you to seek out the support of a Registered Dietitian?  Almost two years ago my blood sugar... read more

Nice to Meet You!

To those reading this, and who are meeting me for the first time, let me introduce myself. My name is Chinweoke Asagwara; many people call me Chinwe, and even more people, lovingly, call me Chi. I come from a large family; I have 4 siblings in total with 2 older sisters, a twin sister and a younger brother. My mother and father emigrated from Nigeria to Winnipeg over 30 years ago. I grew up outside the city in St. Norbert in a Nigerian influenced home. This cultural influence mainly came from food as my mother cooked traditional Nigerian meals throughout my childhood. The essence of these meals, traditions and values were all instilled in me from an early age and they continue to seep into my daily life today. I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. I share my expertise in nutrition to not only help my clients improve their health status, but also to increase their nutritional knowledge, and to enrich their health, wellness and emotional connection with food. Food is deeply engrained in social relationships, culture, family, friends and love. I feel this aspect of food and nutrition cannot be ignored. On the other spectrum, I also teach my clients to strengthen their bodies by learning to incorporate exercise as a natural part of their everyday lives. I want to connect with all of you on a personal level, and my new blog, Just Being Chi, is my way to do just that. People often ask me how I got into fitness competitions as a physique competitor, and where my passion for fitness and nutrition stems... read more

The Perfect Pre-Workout Meal

Proper nutrition is essential for the body to complete daily tasks. When it comes to exercise, nutrition is even more important because we are asking our bodies to go above and beyond its typical workload. Planning a meal before a workout might feel like a confusing task. Do you find you are always asking yourself… ‘What should I eat before my workout?’ This is a great question, and not always an easy one to answer. Read on to find out how to decide what the best pre workout meal for you should be. The primary source of fuel for the body during exercise is carbohydrates. What type you choose to eat before a workout, will be influenced by the moment of the day you choose to exercise. Is it in the morning? Will it be during your lunch break? Or maybe later in the evening after work? Here are the details: Morning Workout If you workout in the morning you will need to have breakfast before hand. This can be easier said than done for many people. Exercising immediately after eating can cause many people stomach upset if there is not enough time allowed for digestion. It will be important to allow yourself enough time to prepare and eat a fuelling breakfast before hitting the gym. So what should you do? You will likely have a smaller portion than a typical breakfast meal when eating before a workout. To save time choose a breakfast that can be prepared the night before. Overnight Banana and Cinnamon Oats is a perfect pre workout meal for a morning workout! Click here for... read more