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