Exercise vs. Nutrition

On Saturday I attended another canfitpro virtual conference which was yet again, amazing. My favourite seminar this time around was Dr.Marc Bubbs presentation on stress and thyroid function. I’m not going to dive deep into his teachings on this subject here but would like to break down some facts he addressed.

This information in particular I have learned time and time again. The main message being that the ONLY way, we as a species can lose weight, is through calories in/ calories out. BUT there are sooo many complex details to this that I am going to attempt to break down. Hoping to make things easier to understand, and also so you know what you need to do!

I’m going to focus on the “calories out” portion, as these things are VERY important to know so you save yourself from the exhausting “over exercise” sessions, or the “I will just walk these calories off later” mental talks.

Here we go!

Fact: There are four ways that humans burn energy

  1. Resting metabolic rate – the energy our bodies need to operate all vital organs

2. Intentional Movement – exercise, walks, yoga sessions, bike rides etc.

3. NEAT -all other movements that are not meant to be intentional (for more info read my blog on NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)

4. TEF or Thermic Effect of Food – protein being the macro that burns the MOST calories through the digestive process

So what are the ratios in which we can utilize these things to effectively get ourselves into a caloric deficit for weight loss? (Keep in mind these are approximate and not exact numbers).


10% of calories burned comes from TEF. Not a significant amount but, there are 101 more reasons to eat more protein so get your protein in!

About 20% of calories are burned from NEAT which is almost a quarter of our energy. Still doesn’t seem like a lot but here is the shocker…

Only 10% of calories are utilized for intentional exercise. So while many of you may believe the more exercise you do the more food you can eat this is not a great mindset to have. This does not mean that exercise isn’t important but from this fact alone to me proves that NUTRITION is more important than exercise (in my opinion based off of my own research).

Here is where exercise comes back around to prove to be an important factor:

60% of our calories are allocated for our resting metabolic rates (RMR). When we have a higher RMR we essentially need more calories to operate our bodily functions, more so to operate muscle tissue. This is where we can justify eating more food, to keep our lean body mass (muscles).

So how do we increase our RMR you ask?

Building muscle through resistance training!

In the wise words of Jen Widerstrom “muscle pays for the party“. These means the more muscle we have, the more fuel we need to operate the muscle.

So based off of this information, here is what you need to think about when trying to lose weight or improve your overall fitness for that matter:

  1. NUTRITION FIRST – focus on improving your nutrition and hone in on portion control. Not only will this help you with weight loss goals but it will improve your overall health, energy, brain function skin etc. Reading your labels and keeping a food diary are two ways you can start.
  2. Eat your protein! 1.2g/kg per day is a great place to start.
  3. Resistance Train – I know not everyone likes to lift weights but doing SOME form of weight lifting or resistance training (using bands, machines, step benches etc), is important not only for improving your physique but for preventing aches, pains, and injury.
  4. Park your car in the furthest spot from the door, do an extra set of stairs bringing up the laundry, play with your kids more. Increasing NEAT or your daily steps can really impact your goals in a positive way.

Last but not least… Enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing! FIND healthy ways you can be compliant with when it comes to food and exercise. After all compliancy and sustainability are the name of the game.


Life Hacks

Exercise at Home!

This is exercise at home… me putting my slippers on after my workout to stretch it out! Got to keep those toesies warm.

In all seriousness, right now going to the gym is highly frowned upon and in many areas around the world, banned. There is a lot of body fluids swarming around the gym, even when wearing a mask. Keep yourselves safe and exercise at home!

I know it is hard. When I first started doing it I struggled. I still do struggle but kind of in a different way that I’m finding beneficial. It may not benefit my workout to take extra time between sets to sweep the floor but my house benefits from it! I’m finding though too that I’m burning extra cals between sets doing little chores here and there haha

I’m always about finding the positives in not what is negative about a situation, but what the possibilities may be! For me the possibilities have turned into:

-as mentioned, a clean house

-dance parties between sets

-my partner becoming motivated by seeing me workout

-playing with my dogs in between sets (keeping them entertained)

-wearing whatever I want (no pants dance some days)

-blasting whatever music I like with no headphones

-taking selfies and videos when I get inspiration (without the embarrassment)

-going the extra mile due to extra time (save time on the commute)

I know many of us lack the heavy weights which we loved or utilizing our favourite machines but this also causes us to mix things up, to increase volume, and to try new exercises hitting different muscle groups.

My favourite at home equipment:

-glute band!

-long band


-good quality yoga matt

-stability ball or bosu ball

Surprisingly you can do a whole lot with just these things. Even better if you can get a good universal set of dumbbells or a barbell with some easy take on, take off, weights.

The most important concept with working out at home is doing the exercises you like, picking the equipment you like to use, and making every workout your own and making it fun!

If you are struggling with what to do or where to go for new workouts that you will enjoy, seek out a personal trainer! A lot of us are highly motivated, right now especially, and committed to put our all into making great programs for our clients especially in this time of crisis.

Hope your making a new at home workout playlist as we speak:)



Mushroom Quinoa

Made a delicious turkey at thanksgiving but have no turkey left for soup? This is me right now. But it’s no reason not to make some delicious broth with the bones and leftover skin:)

Use your home cooked broth to make this delicious mushroom quinoa. Packed with nutrients both quinoa and mushrooms are a superfood! Quinoa has double the protein compared to other grain products. Mushrooms are rich in the B vitamins, riboflavin and niacin.

Makes 4 servings:

Cals per serving 228

Carbs 37g

Protein 12.5

Fat 4g


1 cup tri colour quinoa

2 cups chicken or turkey broth

450g or 1 small package of mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook quinoa in instant pot or stove top in the chicken broth. Chop up mushrooms until fine. Once quinoa nice and fluffy stir in mushrooms and microplane garlic into pot. Stir well until mushrooms wilt a bit. Add additional seasonings if preferred or top with your favourite cheeeeese:)



Booty Booty Booty Booty Supporting Everythang

Popular to current beliefs about the booty, having big strong buns can be super beneficial. With all the #bootygainz tags and posts about how aesthetically having a big behind can be appealing, the glutes and surrounding muscles pay a big role.

I learned this not only through my education as a personal trainer but through my own experience and injuries from other clients as well.

  1. I have been diagnosed with a hip impingement myself. After a sports doctor recommended some physio, much to my surprise the exercise prescription was glute work. I workout my glutes… a lot, is what I thought as she was teaching me exercises. But what I was failing to work on were the little high repetition glute movements that work the little muscles around the big gluteus maximus. I also wasn’t warming my glutes up enough before cardio sessions which I never knew was important before.
  2. Scenario two was a client of mine with bad sciatica and lower back pain. This wasn’t only one client though as I’ve been out in the nursing and personal training world I’ve come across a ton of people with lower back pain and sciatica. From my education on human movement and injuries I have learned about how much the muscle systems are connected through our fascial system. To put it in plan terms a chronic sore muscle is usually caused by a tight muscle and an opposing weak muscle. That being said the exercise prescription for a lot of lower back pain is building the glute muscles and stretching the abdominals.

I’ve learned through all of this just how important buns of steel may be. The glutes are considered one of the big muscle groups in the body. For this reason and for preventing injury sake, you should all make sure you have glute work in your resistance training programs (whether you’re male or female).

Some of my favourite glute exercises include:

-glute band side steps in squat position

-monster walks

-cha chas

-Side lying clam abductors

-Hip thrusts in various forms

Now go get your booty build on!



Lentil Tacos

So a couple months ago Blair came to me and said he is sick of meat and would just like to take a break on eating meat for a while…

My initial thought was “ohh god how am I going to manage this going into a shred phase“. A big part of going into a diet phase after weeks of reverse dieting is keeping your protein high high high.

The problem with plant based proteins is that for whatever protein you’re consuming you are probably consuming twice or sometimes three times the amount of carbohydrates as well. Not that carbohydrates are a bad thing but now you’re taking in twice the amount of calories.

I will admit though I have been doing well and have been very compliant with my protein intake. I’ve been supplementing ATLEAST one whey isolate protein shake and one casein protein shake per day to keep up with the protein intake.

This here has been my FAVOURITE plant based protein recipe, replacing our regular ground turkey taco Tuesdays. To add more protein to the recipe I’ll make sure I have enough fats available with my macros to add cheese to the tacos. If my fats are too low for cheese I will have a chocolate protein shake or protein pudding for dessert!

I honestly don’t think I will go back to ground turkey tacos… These have been SOOO good and have lots of options for topping mix ups as well. In the picture here you will see raw chopped mushrooms but I’ve done them with sautéed peppers, chopped scallions, roasted cauliflower, chopped lettuce, or spinach.

Here is the base of this recipe:

Calories per 1 taco 135

Carbs 16g

Protein 5g

Fat 6g


1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry lentils

3 tsp cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp garlic salt

1 taco hard shell

Cook shells according to package. Heat a sauce pan to medium heat and pour olive oil into pan. Toss lentils in olive oil so coated and sprinkle in seasonings and toss and roast a bit until starts to sizzle. Pour in 1/2 cup water, stir and simmer until lentils balloon up/soften. I like my lentils a little chewy but can cook until desired texture.

Scoop lentils into shells and add whatever you like! Salsa, greek yogurt, cheese, veggies, avocado etc. Get creative and enjoy!:)