Guest Post by Karelle Edwards – On the Road to Rio

Hello!

My name is Karelle Edwards and I am a Canadian 100m hurdler training for the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 World Championships. My ultimate goal is to represent Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Everyone has a story and Sarah and John Zahab have given me the opportunity to share mine with you. I am thrilled to be a guest blogger!

My track career in a nutshell…At the age of 17, in my first year of hurdling, I competed for Canada at the World Youth Championships. In 2008, I was the Canadian Junior National Champion and a semi-finalist at the World Junior Championships. I was set to compete at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games when I suffered a back injury, a bulging disc that took me out of the sport for 3 years. My dream of being a student-athlete was crushed. I had to come home after two years at Syracuse University to get the medical care I needed. A doctor told me that I would probably never hurdle again and that I should consider picking up a new “hobby”! I admit to feeling down for a few days but refused to admit defeat. I used this bad news as a source of motivation and after a 3 year-absence from the track, I was a finalist at the 2012 Olympic Trials. In 2013, I represented Canada at the Francophone Games. Although I was back on the track, I had to modify my training to avoid unduly loading and compressing the spine. It is only now that I feel completely healthy and able to train full on! I am now “On the Road to Rio,” a dream I’ve had for many years.

The countdown to the 2016 Olympics has begun, and everything I do is aimed at turning my dream into reality. In order to reach my goal, I need to devote most of my time to training. I train several hours a day, six days a week and travel to meets on weekends. My schedule makes it impossible for me to work full-time. This is why I recently launched my On the Road to Rio fund-raising campaign. This campaign will enable me to remain focused on my training, receive the medical care I need to remain healthy and travel to national and international meets.

The support I’ve received to date from the community, friends and family has been absolutely amazing! I am so thankful to have people with me on my journey. It may take a village to raise a child but it takes a community to raise a champion!

To learn more about my journey, watch my video at http://makeachamp.com/karelle and visit my website at http://karelleedwards@wordpress.com.

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The Gift of Warmth

We’re hit with our first cold snap of the winter and we wanted to let you know that continuum fitness will be a drop off location for the gift of warmth campaign, offered by GoodGuysTri.  We are accepting donations of used clothing such as mitts, gloves, hats, jackets, snow pants, wind breakers, sweaters, and sweatshirts – any clothing offering insulation.  These pieces will be collected and handed out to those in need this winter.  Please have a peek in your closets and feel free to bring them in anytime.

For more information on GoodGuysTri and the campaign, please visit http://www.goodguystri.ca/events/gift-of-warmth-2015

On another note, many of you will be starting new exercise programs.  For a peek at our top crunch free core exercises, click on this link http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=525027

Guest Post by Emily Gold (Little Lotus Yoga)

Benefits of Prenatal and Mom and Baby Yoga.

Most people rarely have one word to describe their pregnant or postnatal period.   Often they are both times of mixed emotions with highs and lows, stresses and joys.   For many women they aren’t a time of balance and often don’t allow for much time for self-care! Prenatal and postnatal (mom and baby) yoga with Little Lotus Yoga at Continuum Fitness are a great way to take some time for yourself and your baby. Read on to learn about some of the many benefits.

Improved posture and positions: Did you know that some body positions during labour and delivery can lead to faster labour progression as well as reduced pain? At prenatal yoga you will learn numerous positions that can be utilized to encourage baby’s movement and reduce pressure and pain. At a mom and baby yoga class you will learn restorative stretches and poses that can help reduce the aches and pains associated with breastfeeding and wearing or carrying a baby! Both prenatal and mom and baby yoga focus on refining posture to strengthen back and shoulders that may be slouching during pregnancy, or when wearing a baby or pushing a shoulder.

Increase strength: Yoga is a safe and effective exercise you can do throughout your pregnancy and during the postnatal period. Prenatal yoga is adapted to meet the specific needs of pregnant women, and sequences work to strengthen the entire body, to prepare it for the physical work involved in labour. Mom and baby yoga is designed to meet the specific needs of the postnatal body, revitalizing, gently toning and strengthening to help a woman safely return to physical activity.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness, the practice of remaining aware of the present while remaining non-judgmental, is an invaluable tool for birth and parenthood.   By remaining mindful during your labour you can improve your confidence, reduce stress, find space to relax during labour and develop skills to cope with pain. Mindfulness means less stress and relaxed parents have more relaxed babies, by practicing such techniques you can pass on these invaluable skills to your baby. Both prenatal and mom and baby yoga classes with LLY at Continuum Fitness include a mindfulness component for reduced stressed and improved focus.

Awareness of Body and Self: Being able to listen to your body is one of the greatest skills a woman can bring to her birth, and yoga helps us sharpen this skill.   Society often asks us to ignore our body; sit when our back aches to stand and stretch, awaken when we want to turn in and sleep, keep moving when we want to be still. Yoga, on the other hand, asks you to listen to your own body, discovering your own limits and moving into a pose in a way that feels beneficial to you.   At a prenatal yoga class you will develop techniques to listen more clearly to the cues your body is telling you now, so that when labour begins you can hear those cues and best respond to them.

Bonding with your baby- Whether you baby is in your belly, being worn, in a carrier or on your mat, yoga is a great opportunity for bonding! Prenatal yoga classes focus on breathing techniques to enhance your connection with your baby. Mom and Baby yoga classes include lots of opportunity to interact with you baby, working with them during poses and focusing on breathing techniques they will respond to and enjoy. Plus there is time for yoga and massage for baby too!

Whether you are a novice yogi or have been practicing yoga for years prenatal and mom and baby yoga with Little Lotus Yoga at Continuum Fitness is a great addition to your prenatal and postnatal wellness and self-care!   Both classes will be taught by Emily Gold, a registered yoga teacher and trained Doula. You can learn more about Emily at: http://www.birthbreathbeyond.com/ and sign up for classes at:   http://www.littlelotusyoga.ca/schedule/

Fall and Winter?

As fall comes to an end, some of us are looking forward to winter and others are cringing at the sight of snow.  Winters can be tough, but the key to surviving an Ottawa winter is to embrace it and find an outdoor activity that you enjoy.  It doesn’t have to be downhill or cross country skiing, it can be as simple as building a snowman, snowshoeing, tobogganing with the kids, skating or walking outdoors.

If motivation is lacking, try signing up for a class, finding a workout friend or joining a recreational sports team.  We have a week of free classes to try starting January 12th.  Have a peek at our schedule and let us know if you’d like to drop in http://continuumfitness.ca/classes.php.  We also offer one on one training if you’d like some guidance on a safe exercise plan.

If you missed us on CTV, here is a link to our segment on falling back into fitness http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=431180.  You can also catch us on Rogers Daytime on Thursday, December 18 at 11 am, 2, 5 and 11 pm.

Did you know that the average 1 hour TV show has up to 13 minutes of commercials?  Why not try some of these exercises during the commercial breaks http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=493587.

We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tips for Exercising Safely in the Heat

Summer is finally here!  We’ve been dreaming of this season for months.  We want to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather but sometimes, the heat can be overwhelming.  It can be difficult to train in the hot, humid weather, especially when we have a race on the horizon.

Here are our top tips for Exercising Safely Outdoors in Hot/Humid Weather:

1. Get ahead of/ Remain/Re: Hydrate – drink before, during, and after workouts.  My homemade electrolyte drink: 1L Water, 1/2 tsp unrefined grey sea salt, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1-2 tsp maple syrup

2. Adjust workout times: Early morning or evening works best

3. Reduce/Monitor intensity: watch for signs of heat exhaustion (dizziness, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, nausea)

4. Bring your workout indoors: If you find cardiovascular machines boring, try strength training or join a new indoor class

5. Cross train: Swimming and biking will be less intense and cooler options

6. Dress appropriately: Wear cool, wicking and light coloured fabrics.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!

7. Plan ahead: Look for cool, tree lined, shady routes

8. Weather watch: Before you head out, check for local heat advisories and warnings

Guest blog by Sylvie Gouin

Meditation Classes 

A friend once said:  “If I meditated half the time I think about meditation, I would have mastered it by now!” I think many of us can relate to this statement. We know that meditation is gaining in popularity because it works, yet we still face many of the same issues that somehow prevent us from implementing the practice. Aspects such as: finding (or making) the time, moving beyond distractions and understanding what it is that we are trying to do or not do remain some of our biggest obstacles to daily practice. These reasons are very common and most of us highly benefit from getting together with a group once in a while to clarify our understanding, ignite and keep our interest awake and generate momentum. And, this is what these four-week sessions are designed to do. One, they provide you with an opportunity to deeply relax and release tension. This in itself is restorative and therefore, energizing. Two, they offer structure, which encourages commitment and supports motivation.  These classes are open to all levels of experience and non-experience. Everyone is welcome, and the only belief required to benefit from the classes is that we each have the potential to let go of tension and experience a little peace. 

Hope to see you at class!

Sylvie Gouin

Next four-week session begins Sunday May 25th from 6:45-7:45PM. Visit this link for details http://continuumfitness.ca/classes.phpImage

Spring!

We’re all pretty excited about the arrival of spring here at Continuum.  We’re also pretty pumped about our spring session starting March 17.  We have some new offerings and our regular sessions are also returning.  You can check out our schedule and calendar here http://continuumfitness.ca/classes.php.

Sylvie Gouin is returning with a new Smoothie Workshop.  This interactive session will give you some great ideas!  Discover how tasty eating healthy can be and learn how to sneak in those veggies for the kids.  My two year old unknowingly drinks her veggies 🙂

Sylvie will also be offering a 4 week meditation session on Sunday evenings.  Wind down and prepare for the week ahead.  I’ve been practicing meditation for the last few years.  Just 2-10 minutes each night has helped to improve my sleep, reduce tension and stress and help clear my mind.  

Véronique will be offering Performance Stability for Runners and Endurance Athletes, Core Training and the new Foam Rolling Connection and Stabilization.  Use the foam rollers to improve posture, connect with your core and release unwanted tension.

We hope to see you at one of our workshops or for one on one personal coaching soon!

Happy Spring!

 

Holiday Food Drive

We’re happy to be a part of the Holiday Food Drive again this year and hope to be able to collect items for the Ottawa Food Bank.  Feel free to bring in non perishable food items, household items or diapers the next time you’re in for a class or a one on one session.  

There are a number of other sponsors participating in the Food Drive.  Have a peek at the other locations and please consider dropping off donations at any of the participating locations.  We’ll be collecting items until December 2.  Thank you!

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Fall classes

We’ve been busy over the summer with one on one appointments and we’re excited to start our fall session of group classes.

All of your favourites are back: Zumba®, the Elemental Workout®, Stability and Mobility for Runners, and Posture Improvement. We’re pleased to be offering new sessions such as Power Walking, Meditation with Sylvie Gouin and Circuit Training (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) with Véronique Roberts.

You can view our full schedule here http://continuumfitness.ca/classes.html and register online here http://goo.gl/IhiJca.

We also have a couple of workshops if you would like to try something new such as Whole Food Rejuvenation and Introduction to Meditation with Sylvie. For all of you with kids at home on PD days, check out our fun Zumbatomic® class on Friday, October 11.

We hope to see you soon and are eager to help you all move forward along your health continuum!

Summer and Fall

Where to begin?  It’s been a busy summer at Continuum and although we’re taking a break from our classes, one on one training has been filling up our time.  Did you know that you can book your sessions online?  Check out the link to schedule your session https://www.schedulicity.com/Scheduling/Default.aspx?business=CFAMEH#/services

We’re pleased to announce that both John and I will be presenting at this year’s Canfitpro conference in Toronto again.  The conference is the largest in the world with over 7000 delegates attending including a keynote address from Jillian Michaels.  John will be presenting two sessions (Activation Before Loading and Preparing an Individual for a Natural Running Style) and Sarah three sessions (Prenatal and Postnatal Exercises, Diastasis Recti – Prevention & Correction and Partner Strength Training).  You can find all the details here http://canfitpro.com/

Continuum has also been featured on CTV morning live a few times!  Here is the most recent segment on tips to incorporate exercise into the workplace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df7kWwz5H0Q

Here is another segment on staying fit while you travel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciNShVqesSU

Finally, here is another fun segment we did with Jenn and Khari demonstrating exercises you can do with your baby http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwZvurkyjgA

We hope you’re enjoying your summer!  Our fall classes will begin the week of September 16 and the schedule will be up on our classes & workshops page by August 9.  We have a lot of exciting events planned for the fall … stay tuned!