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Following Us On Facebook Can Get You a Free Membership

posted by Fitness Focus    |   June 5, 2012 01:37

You can win a free month gym membership; just for following us on Facebook you will be entered to win a free month here at the fitness focus.  For every 50 new likes to our Facebook page, all of our followers will be entered to win even if you are a member.  If you aren't already following us, just go to our page and click "like" and you're done. If you are already like us, then you are automatically entered.  You only need to like us once.


Staying in touch on Facebook has other advantages too!  You can keep up with current events, be notified about holiday hours, view pictures, start conversations, and much more.

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Fitness Focus is your No Contract Gym in Saskatoon

Our Saskatoon Well Being Magazine Favorite For June

posted by Fitness Focus    |   June 4, 2012 18:05

Our favorite Article Saskatoon Well Being Magazine for June.  Well being going well beyond what you eat and what you do for exercise.  Financial security is a major part of mental and physical well being

Babies and Money

What do new parents typically overlook in terms of finances related to their baby’s arrival?

The one aspect that often gets overlooked is the need to budget for saving for the child’s post-secondary education starting from a newborn age. At one time it was considered acceptable if parents chose not to save for their child’s post-secondary education, but today, with the rising cost of tuition, the need for post-secondary education and the lack of funding resources available to students, it is very much a responsibility that each new parent must consider and include as part of the monthly budget.


Why do people tend to avoid discussing the financial aspect of having a baby?

It’s often considered a private matter that will get discussed behind closed doors. I also believe it has to do with the fact that the financial knowledge of the majority of first-time expecting families is lacking. In our culture, financial knowledge is typically acquired over time through life experiences. A new parent starting out is not often financially savvy, unless they have an interest in finances and have educated themselves. Many realize it’s important, but find the material somewhat dry and mundane to read up on.

What kinds of government incentive programs are available to help parents?

We are very fortunate to live in Canada. The Canada Child Care Benefits (once known as the Family Allowance) are available to each Canadian family. They consist of a tax free income called the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and a taxable income called the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). The National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) is often included in the CCTB for those with lower income. Qualification for the CCTB is dependent on the family net income. Every family with children aged six or younger qualifies for the UCCB of $100 per month.

It is this income that the majority of young families attribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for their child, which then qualifies them for an additional incentive, called the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). The CESG is a top-up of 20 per cent on subscriber’s contributions matched by the federal government. Every family who saves in an RESP will receive this educational grant of up to $500 per year per child.

For mid-lower income families, the Additional CESG will provide a 30 to 40 per cent top-up on the subscriber’s first $500 contributed to an RESP annually.

Also, the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is offered to those that qualify for the NCBS and amounts to a start- up of $500 per child for opening the RESP and an additional $100 per year if they qualify.

There are also talks of a Provincial RESP Grant coming to Saskatchewan, but we don’t know the details just yet.

 How have the costs of having a baby changed from previous generations?

It seems to me that having babies today is more costly than it was in previous generations. I remember that it was the norm for a mother to stay home to look after the children. To be able to cover all the responsibilities of parenthood today and meet the cost of daily living requires a dual income in most cases. Having both parents working means that there will likely be daycare costs.

The other major difference is the need to save for the child’s post-secondary education. It’s a great financial responsibility that families have to endure today. As baby boomers are aging and retiring, there is less money available in the budget to help offset the costs of tuition. So we see tuition costs rising at a rate of two to three times that of inflation, making it impossible for the average student to fund their own education. I suppose this is why we see the RESP program being heavily funded by the government to motivate and award families for saving early.

Are all registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) generally the same? If not, how do they differ?

An RESP is an investment registered with the federal government. All RESPs have Education Savings Grant incentives such as the CESG and CLB attached and the investment is tax sheltered.

The difference lies in the vehicle used for investing the RESP. Group Plan/Scholarship Plan RESPs typically invest in diversified lower risk investments and offer consistent and competitive returns due to the pooling effect of the funds. These types of RESPs have a long track record. The principal savings are 100 per cent protected. The Individual RESP is typically invested through mutual funds and is exposed to fluctuations in the stock market. The principal in these types of RESPs is not typically protected and the return is unpredictable.

There are fees attached to any RESP. Some charge their fees upfront and have a flat fee, while others have a built-in, hidden fee, called a Management Expense Ratio (MER) that grows as your investment grows. The key is to ensure that the lifetime fee does not take away from your child’s future savings. The Group Plan charges their fees upfront from early contributions and has an option to return fees as a bonus upon maturity of the plan. This fee is about one-fifth on average that of a mutual fund investment (based on an average Balanced Equity Fund in Canada). The Group Plan RESPs are also administered by not-for-profit foundations and can offer enhancement payments to the student’s Educational Assistance Payments.

Often the type of RESP offered will be dependent on the license that the advisor holds. If they hold a mutual fund license, an RESP invested through mutual funds will likely be the only type you’ll hear about. Personally, I hold a license that can offer both types of RESPs. Both types offer flexibility to increase or decrease your contributions if need be, as well as flexibility upon payout. The Family Plan and Group Plan RESPs can be transferred between children in the situation that one child does not use the money. The Group Plan also offers the option of withdrawing funds in cash and rolling monies into a RRSP if the child does not carry through with a post-secondary education.

 What do new parents need to know about maternal and parental benefits?

You need to apply for EI benefits from the day you stop working. It’s a 60-minute online application. Don’t wait for the Record of Employment from the employer. If you delay applying longer than four weeks, you risk forfeiting your EI benefits. EI is now available to the self-employed as well as the employed if they chose to pay into them. Maternal benefits of 15 weeks are only given to the birth mother. Parental benefits of 35 weeks can be shared by either or both parents and may include adoptive parents and caregivers. The two-week delay period in receiving your EI is like the deductible that needs to be paid to the insurance agency when making a claim. Only this time, it’s to the government.

By Well Being Team on June 3, 2012 in Babies & Children, Pregnancy, Wellness

Christie Sondergaard
Founder and Director of Planning For Baby,
Agency Director for Saskatchewan for Heritage Education Fund Inc.

June Boot Camps

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 28, 2012 14:44

This summer's second round of Boot Camps start next week! Open to members and non members of the gym.  So far the Monday evening Boot Camps with Robin have been great!  They're out there busting their butts, rain or shine.  Starting Tuesday June 5th, the morning Boot Camps with Jen start for the following 6 weeks and will run on Tuesday and Thursday Mornings at 6:00am.  There are still a couple of spots available for the morning Camps that we expect will be filled by next Monday; so don't miss out!  Morning workouts are a great motivator, they make you feel more energized for your day, and even help control your metabolism and appetite for the day.  Even if you aren't a morning person, there are so many reasons to take advantage of a fun time and a great outdoor group workout.

If you have any questions or if you want to get your name on one of the final spots, please contact us at Fitness Focus (306) 244-6413 or by email

Fitness Focus Saskatoon

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TRX Suspention Training

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 23, 2012 17:30


Try adding a component of TRX to your training in the gym.  We offer TRX based group classes as well as one on one personal training.  TRX Suspension Training was born in the Navy SEALS, develops strength, power, endurance, balance, flexibility, mobility, durability, and core stability.  The TRX Suspension Trainer is a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity the user's bodyweight to enable hundreds of exercises that can be instantly scaled for any user to reach any fitness or training goal. whether you're young or old, out of shape or a beast, injured or at the top of your game, TRX Training meets you where you are and takes you where you want to be.

Weight Training Myths

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 21, 2012 13:42

Many myths exist in weight training, and conventional wisdom can sometimes take you far off track from your goals in the gym.  For example, training with weights will make you oversized and inflexible or if you train with heavy weights will make you heavy and slow wheather you are a man or woman; or that squatting below parallel will lead to nothing but injuries.  None of these statements are completely truthful.  Training regularly in a shortened range of motion will likely keep you a lot less flexible or bouncing your body through the bottom of a full squat leads to a good possibility of injuring yourself.  Weight training performed in proper and an appropriate manner could likely put these myths to rest.

Full Range of Motion?

A common area that people neglect or misunderstand is Range of Motion and how it can be related to injury prevention (ROM, the full range that a weight is moved from the bottom of the exercise to the top). It depends on the individual and the particular joint, but for the most part, you should practice moving through the full ROM; the way our joints are designed to move. Most people don't appreciate how powerful a tool weight training can be to increase flexibility.  Olympic weight lifters are the second most flexible athlete next to the olympic gymnast.  But weight training can also be a powerful tool to decrease flexibility; when you take the traditional muscle-bound bodybuilder type who constantly trains with shortened range of motion.

by John Catanzaro


Try a Boot Camp for Ultimate Results

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 19, 2012 01:43
A boot camp is a type of group physical training program conducted in the gyms typically with a personal trainers.  At Fitness Focus we offer both indoor in a studio setting and outdoor as a special class. These programs are designed to build strength and cardiovascularity through a variety of intense group intervals over a 60 - 90 minute period of time.
Boot Camp training often commences with dynamic stretching and running, followed by a wide variety of interval training, including lifting weights/objects, TRX Suspension Training, pushups/situps, plyometrics, and various types of intense explosive routines. Sessions usually finish with yoga stretching. Many other exercises using weights and/or body weight, similar to CrossFit routines, are used to lose body fat, increase cardiovascular efficiency, increase strength, and help people get into a routine of regular exercise.  It's called "boot camp" because it trains groups of people and may or may not be similar to military basic training.  Boot camps provide social support for those taking part. This provides a different environment for those exercisers who get bored in a gym and so find it hard to develop a habit of exercise.

Check for the next scheduled boot camp on our group fitness scredule

Fitness Focus Saskatoon


Personal Training | Weight Loss

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 19, 2012 01:42

We lead busy and hectic lifestyles, and we need to take care of ourselves.   If you find yourself skipping meals, eating fast food on the run, and generally not making the time to take care of yourself then try incorporating 1 or 2 of the tips below.

1. Eat breakfast daily! Start the day off with a healthy breakfast to have the energy necessary to get through your busy day.  Not eating breakfast increases your risk of overeating later in the day, and often selecting the less healthy options.  Make a point to have 20-25% of your daily calories at breakfast and ensure there is some protein and healthy fat included to help provide longer lasting energy.  If you are pressed for time in the morning, then try a smoothie, which you can even make the night before and drink it on the go.  Try blending:  1 cup berries, ½ avocado, 1 handful of spinach, 1 tbsp chia seeds and about 15-20g of protein powder or ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt with 1-2 cups water.  Now you’ve got an energy dense, slow digesting power breakfast that will keep you moving until your next break.  Look for un-falvoured Whey protein isolate, or an un-falvoured vegetarian protein powder to avoid any artificial sweeteners or flavours.

2. Add water!  Water is one of the best places to start to keep energized, not coffee!  You tell clients about the benefits of water and the importance of maintaining proper hydration, so start listening to yourself.  Water is critical for the transport of nutrients and elimination of wastes from the body, maintaining energy levels and burning fat. Make water your primary liquid, and you’ll also be saving the cost of those $5 coffees.  As active individuals aim to drink at least 2.5-3 litres of water per day.  Remember, that starting a workout dehydrated is a quick way to get injured, and impair recovery.  

3.  Pack Snacks!  I know, we are all busy and on the go, who has time to eat snacks.  However, a little preparation can go a long way.  Packing snacks that are quick and easy to eat will help keep energy levels high for hours and will stop the reliance on energy bars or coffee.  Try bringing a container of raw nuts or seeds to snack on throughout the day.  A serving of 24 almonds have around 160-170 calories and 6g of protein and carbohydrates, a total 14g of healthy poly and monounstaturated fats, as well as some calcium and iron.  These are easy to keep in a bag, purse or pocket and eat a few between clients.  Other great snacks are fresh cut vegetables and hummus, or Greek yogurt and berries.

4.  Schedule lunches or dinner and brown bag it!  Most trainers don’t get paid if they don’t work, however skipping meals will cost you more in the long run.  Make sure you’ve got a mix of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables and healthy fats.  Invest in an insulated bag to keep your meals cool during the day and prepare things that are easy to eat on the run.  For example, quinoa salad, with peppers, beets and broccoli with some cut up chicken breast or fish, fits in a bowl and can be eaten with just a fork.  Or find a healthy choice near where you work such as fresh salad and source of protein or a sushi roll and dark green salad.

5. Schedule your workouts!  Begin active is a big part of being a trainer or group exercise instructor.  Plan the time to get your own workouts in there so you can stay healthy and fit and on track of your own goals as well.

Maintain a positive attitude towards nutrition and health and lead by example. Your clients will see first-hand how effective good food and exercise choices are and as a result your business will also have positive results.

Written by  Tara Postnikoff

Food for Thought, What's the Deal with Diets?

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 15, 2012 00:34

Anytime someone is unhappy with their shape, they automatically think of diets first. I certainly can’t blame them, since they consume good portions of television programming, from news of post-pregnancy starlets returning to athletic shape in record time to late night infomercials that prey on our exhausted minds to facilitate an impulse purchase. And then there are those who always ask: will dieting work for me? The answer is yes. They were actually conceived to work for everyone. But there’s a catch.

 Diets are designed to work in the short term. They’re not intended for sustained weight loss. This means that within a month or two your body has lost all it can lose and you’ve plateaued at about 85-90% of the original mass. This naturally comes with all the side-effects of hunger: grumpiness, weakness, chemical imbalance, low energy and the instinctive knowledge that you’re doing something wrong. That’s just your body’s way of telling you that without an actual lifestyle change, things just aren’t going to change. A reduction in the number of calories ingested is not the same as calories burned. In effect, it’s practically the opposite, since fasting brings with it fatigue, which makes it difficult to exercise enough to burn calories in the first place.

But the biggest reason for avoiding diets is their effect on muscle. They not only cause it to atrophy during periods of caloric restriction, but they destroy it by reducing the metabolic rate. This doesn’t cause muscle to turn into fat, but for all intents and purposes, once muscle mass has been reduced, the arrival of fat is a natural reaction to the panic mode that the body has been forced into.

According to a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the relapse and cravings suffered by dieters are not only behavioural but physiological. The body simply keeps producing hunger hormones even years after the diet, eventually leading to relapses. What’s more, according to a new report published in the journal Cell Metabolism, during caloric restriction certain hunger inducing neurons actually consume one another, further boosting the hunger signal and prompting the urgency to consume.

According to a UCLA study, dieting often has the opposite effect of the desired weight loss. Whether it is a fad diet, crash diet or other abrupt caloric restriction, your body will react negatively to it. In fact, several studies now show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain. The answer is simple: moderate consumption and regular exercise. It works. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that prevention works even better. This is why efforts should be focused on preventing weight gain initially – in particular for young people - rather than counting on the ability to lose it later.


Written by  Claudiu Popa, in Canfitpro Magazine


Saskatchewan’s Best Figure — Melissa Leier

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 13, 2012 18:41
Beyond The Weight Room
From Contest Prep To First Place

 Melissa Leier, Saskatoon-based Figure Competitor and cover model for Saskatoon Well Being Magazine’s debut January 2012 issue, takes us through three weeks of contest prep and her experiences at this year’s Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association (SABBA) Provincials in Regina through excerpts from her journal.  

March 17, 2012

3 Weeks To Go

After a solid off-season of trying to make gains in muscle symmetry—especially to fill up my legs and glutes to balance with my wide upper body—it is now time to lean out to see what lies underneath.

As of this week, there are no more supersets and high reps. Down to 6-8 reps of heavy training, with 45 minutes of cardio in the morning and 20 minutes after weights.

I have regular check-ins with my coaches now (almost daily) for them to track my progress and adjust as needed to dial my body in to exactly where it needs to be.

I have consistently gotten up at 4:30 a.m. to start morning cardio at 5 a.m. The key is routine. Same every day. Just get up and go and make the time in the gym as effective as possible. I don’t get up at 4:30 a.m. for nothing!

Hitting the shower after and having some oatmeal and egg whites is always THE BEST feeling. And then I’m refreshed, wide awake and ready to take on my day.

I notice that I am feeling wiped out by 8 p.m. now. Ideally, I try to do my round two training either over my lunch break or right after work at 4 p.m. Earlier the better. Need to keep workouts effective and intense.

My routine is pretty much the same every week day: gym, work, gym, home to pack up for next day and get in bed as soon as I can to do it all over again next day. Doesn’t really leave room for much else!

All cooking, cleaning and family time happens on the weekends when I have a few extra hours.

I have cut out all social events or commitments to focus just on this last few weeks getting ready for showtime. I’m way too busy right now for anything else to be on the mind.

I’ve started to surround myself with motivation wherever I can. Posting motivational posters and quotes on my Facebook, looking at my role model’s achievements and even looking back to previous years’ progress and seeing how I’ve grown. I try to avoid looking at other competitors’ photos that they share on social media. Some people peak early and look stage ready right now and it can make you think OMG, she’s in better shape than me. Stay away from playing that head game.

Tanning seems to take up a lot of time. I’m going about four times a week. This is something I know isn’t great for skin (exposure to UV), but it is relaxing. Makes me feel like I’m lying on a beach. I always save it for the end of the day.

Posing practice daily now. Going through quarter turns (the four mandatory poses that figure athletes do on stage), ensuring posture, turning on the right muscles, angling your body just right to showcase or highlight your best and hide or cover areas you don’t want the focus to be on. In addition, having smooth transitions, confidence, demonstrating attitude, building up endurance to last while holding these poses for extended durations that happen on stage and smiling while doing it! Posing can be really exhausting.


March 24, 2012

2 Weeks To Go

 No change to the training program this week, except I have now progressed to 30 minutes of cardio after weights. I’m still feeling good. Haven’t lost any strength.

I have been working on altering my posing suit, making adjustments as my body changes. The fit, style and cut can make quite a difference in a competitor’s appearance. You want to use your suit to your advantage as much as possible to shape your physique. I’ve had to learn to be a little “artsy and craftsy” with my sewing kit.

Yesterday I made a trip to Swift Current to meet with my coaches for body measurements (I’m at 8.3% body fat at 128 lbs. with another four lbs. to go), posing practice and a team get- together to discuss the next few weeks’ preparation.

I woke up to find that my boyfriend, Chris, had cut up, weighed, measured and packaged up all my chicken and veggies. WOW, this was an awesome surprise! I am so thankful to have this support at home!

It is amazing what a good supportive environment can do to enhance sustainability of a commitment to this exact science of fitness for competition. The first year I competed, I remember my family wondering why I was doing this. They had the perception of the old school women’s bodybuilder look— unfeminine and all muscle and huge, unnatural looking. But, after I did it the first time, my family realized that figure athletes have an athletic look while showing muscular definition, poise and the beauty of the human body in exceptional health and fitness condition.

Last time I went home my mom had stocked a fridge full of at least 10 kinds of veggies, washed, cut up, put in Ziploc bags and ready for me. And my dad had cooked a full BBQ of plain chicken breasts for me to eat over the weekend. WOW, how’s that for support? I couldn’t ask for more!


March 31, 2012

7 Days To Go

I’m looking forward to some extra time on the weekend to get some final details into my posing suit (fitting and adjustments, adding more “bling”) and get my nails and toes done.

My water-load plan starts this Sunday with up to eight litres of water and increasing one litre per day to a maximum of 10 litres of water a day up until before the show. I normally drink four to five litres per day all year round, but once you get up past the eight litre mark, you better try your best to get most of it in earlier in the day so that you can sleep at night! I always map out washrooms no matter where I am. If I walk by one, I take the chance to stop whether or not I feel I need to, because guaranteed once I get five minutes past it, I’m gonna wish I had!


Staying Fit Before And After Baby

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 3, 2012 18:10
Saskatoon Well Being Magazine article of the month.  This is something we see around the gym far too often; a mother-to-be giving up on her workout due to pregnancy.  True, under some circumstances it is not safe for an expecting mother to put the extra demand on her body.  The bottom line is that the rules don't change; to maintain optimal health, positive mental state and desired physical appearance, exercise is your best bet.  To take better care of your family, you need to take care of yourself first.
Staying Fit Before and After Baby
By Andrea Deopker-Gavidia  


Exercise will give you a sense of control of your changing body throughout pregnancy and boost your energy levels by releasing endorphins, which increases your feelings of well being. Establishing a regular fitness routine before becoming pregnant may help you maintain a consistent plan once you become pregnant, as well as when you return to exercise after having your baby. However, if you have not been active in the past, there are still many physical activities that you can safely begin now that will help you stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your exercise priorities will change to adjust to the emotional, physical and hormonal changes that occur in your body.

The Prenatal Mother

Exercising while pregnant can be beneficial to improve your posture, strength and endurance, as well as help to relieve stress and prevent excessive weight gain. Consult your doctor throughout your pregnancy regarding your physical activity level and discuss any concerns should any complications arise. If you were active before becoming pregnant, continue with your program and listen to your body by making modifications as you need them. If you were not active before becoming pregnant, begin slowly and build gradually as you become more fit.

Use the “talk test” to determine your level of intensity while performing aerobic activities; if you cannot talk during your exercise, you are working too strenuously. Pay attention to your temperature, since overheating can cause problems for your developing baby. Use fans or air conditioning while exercising and avoid over exertion on hot days outside in the sun.

To help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, Kegel exercises can be performed throughout your pregnancy, which will help with bladder control. During your second and third trimester try core-strengthening exercises on all fours, by simply contracting and relaxing your abdominal muscles and avoid lying on your back, which decreases blood flow to your baby. Avoid rapid changes in direction and bouncing, as your joints are more lax with an increase of hormones during pregnancy. A focus on balance exercises is important as your center of gravity changes, especially during your last trimester.

During pregnancy, some effective forms of exercise include yoga stretches and Pilates movements, which use your own body weight, as well as resistance training using dumb bells and resistance bands. Using a body weight suspension training system, such as TRX, may also be useful since you can adjust the intensity of your strength training as your body and center of gravity changes. Using a TRX Suspension Trainer may also help you maintain balance for exercises such as squats.

Take action! Create a list of five positive affirmations such as “My core strength is helping me to maintain great posture and a healthy back throughout my pregnancy.”

The Postnatal Mother

If you had a Caesarean delivery, begin with light exercises, such as walking and stretching, slowly based on your comfort level. Your 6-week postpartum evaluation is an opportunity to discuss with your healthcare provider a safe reintroduction of exercise into your lifestyle. If you were active during your pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, you may typically begin walking and stretching within days after giving birth. You may have a gap in your abdominals and exercises like crunches should be avoided until this gap closes, usually 4-8 weeks postpartum. You may then begin strengthening exercises such as plank, side bridge and leg lowers lying on your back, which will help you regain posture and develop core strength.

Listen to your body and slowly introduce aerobic and strength training activities that you enjoy and are familiar with. Develop a realistic plan of incorporating 30 minutes of activity three days per week. Remain flexible so you can adjust your workout intensity or length of exercise sessions with your unpredictable schedule and the added fatigue of caring for your newborn. If you are uncertain where to begin and would enjoy the company of other new parents, search for postnatal fitness classes that are led by a qualified exercise instructor.

Take action! Write down any barriers to performing your workout and make a list of how you are going to overcome these barriers.

Naturally, your main focus is going to be caring for your baby, but it is also important to look after yourself. As you remain fit, healthy and relaxed, you will be better able to care for your baby. Continuing to exercise after your baby’s birth will also help you regain your pre-pregnancy shape and fitness level more quickly. Having a focus on core exercises both during pregnancy and after birth will assist you in staying strong while giving birth and then carrying your baby afterward. The key is to listen to your body and increase your exercise intensity gradually to return to your pre-pregnancy exercise routine.

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