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Saskatchewan Amateur Body Building SABBA 2015

posted by Fitness Focus    |   May 29, 2015 15:56

Fitness Focus, we make it our mission to empower everyone in the gym to challenge themselves everyday.  A dedicated gym routine, no matter how casual or how intense can affect so many other aspects of our lives. So many reasons keep us coming back day in-day out; some people are trying to get in better shape for health reasons and some people need to burn off extra energy.  Lots of people are even training for a competitive event like a marathon or sanctioned fight, and a lot of the time we walk past them in the weight room without even knowing it. 

Here is a group of members from Fitness Focus that we usually do notice when they are training for their event.  We notice that their clothes might be fitting a bit loose, or their faces have leaned out from 2 weeks ago when we last saw them, or maybe the jug of water they've been toting around with them.  The body builders and physique competitors; we may not fully understand them, but like any other competitive athlete we know they are giving 100% to do what they love to do. We want to take a moment to recognize the members that represented Fitness Focus on May 23rd at the 2015 Saskatchewan Amateur Body Building Association Provincial Championship (SABBA 2015). Their dedication to training and diet for the past 16 weeks is a prime example of what challenging yourself everyday can accomplish.

 ROHAN BARNETT Men's Physique










 NANCY MONTEITH Physique Short

 PETER NGUYEN Body Building


 EVAN SHOUT Body Building


 JESS FRIESEN (Personal Trainer) Figure Short

 SHERRI HUNCHAK Women's Figure Tall

 JOHN GOERTZEN Body Building



If you have photos from any sport you do that you're proud of, please share them on our Facebook Page tag us on your INSTAGRAM (@fitnessfocussaskatoon) or email them to

New Equipment for the Gym in 2015

posted by Fitness Focus    |   February 26, 2015 18:32

Members' workout requirements are always changing, which means we need to add new equipment to the gym. A must-have was a third Squat Rack, the Atlantis Half Rack. More people are starting to incorporate functional (and fundamental) exercises like deadlifts, lunges and squats into their training which necessitated us to add another Squat Rack into the weight room. In the past people would stay clear of exercises like squats because were under the impression they were only beneficial in a competition setting with the sole purpose of lifting a maximum amount of weight.  Now people are starting to realize that squats are the perfect exercise for both shaping the legs and glutes while complimenting a variety of other body parts. It's great to see people are now challenging themselves with these types of exercises.

New gym equipment added to fitness focus for 2015














 The leg platform is a very diverse piece of equipment.  It looks very simple as it's just an adjustable step; but it would take more than your 2 hands to count the amount of exercises you can do with it. Step ups, lunges, reverse lunges, box jumps, box squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, incline push-ups, and the list goes on.  Get creative with the leg platform, it's durable and build for a serious workout.

New gym equipment added to fitness focus for 2015










Most machines work front-to-back. The Helix turns tradition on its side— literally. With lateral (or side-to-side) movement, you use more muscles, which means you burn more fat than during a traditional workout– in the same amount of time.  Plus Helix’s patented motion tones your butt, core and inner/outer thighs better than old-fashioned cardio machines.














posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 2, 2014 14:55

Ever thought about getting a trainer to because you are a bit lost in the gym?  Or maybe you've changed your fitness goals and need a bit of direction. Whatever the case, here are some great fundamental reasons that a personal training might be right for you.


1. A Trainer Provides Expertise through Experience

A good trainer will watch you during your exercises to make sure that you are doing the exercises correct; but an experienced personal trainer can give you great tips and add subtle changes to your workout that make a big difference to your results. For example, when targeting a specific muscle, a simple twist of the wrist at the top of certain exercises can develop that muscle in ways it otherwise wouldn’t.


2. A Trainer Provides Accountability

There are other ways to get accountability, like a training partner or a spouse who keeps on you to get to the gym; but a good personal trainer knows that they succeed when you succeed. They have built a program specifically for you, so your victory also becomes their victory; they want to see you succeed.  Whether you have one-on-one sessions with them or do monthly follow-ups, since no one likes failing you want to show them you've made progress.


3. A Trainer Gives You Direction

Goal setting is the key to the success of any journey, and sometimes we become conflicted about just where it is we want to go with our personal health and fitness journey. A person may have the urge to get stronger but not necessarily bigger, or increase their endurance but don’t want to sacrifice any muscle. We don’t always know how to start identifying attainable goals, especially when it comes to subject as complicated and diverse as health and fitness. A good personal trainer can help you identify you significant strengths and weaknesses, then help you set attainable goals and objectives that will lead to your eventual success.


4. A Trainer Increases Your Intensity

Having a personal trainer will empower you to raise the intensity of your workout, this equates to better results.  A training partner can increase your intensity too, because you’re both there for mutual benefit but it’s the job of the personal trainer to be there, keep your cadence and tempo right where it needs to be. 

Personal Trainers at Fitness Focus Saskatoon

Common Misconceptions About Working Out

posted by Fitness Focus    |   July 16, 2014 19:06

Common Misconceptions about the weight room

So many people that are both new to the weight room or long time users become deterred from the gym because they haven’t achieved the results they had expected from their weight routine.  There are many common misconceptions about lifting weights that cause people to start on the wrong track and are then left feeling discouraged.

Lifting weights will make you big and bulky; false.  The primary benefit of lifting weights is increased lean muscles, but increased lean muscles doesn’t mean enormous muscles.  For men it is a lot easier to get big muscles, but still takes years of heavy training.  In the case of women, they just are not genetically programmed to build thick and bulky muscles.  Other benefits of weight lifting include increasing metabolism and lower body fat, a greater resistance to injury and improved overall health.  So don’t ignore the weight room, embrace weight training and use it to build the body you want.

Fitness Focus Saskatoon Fitness Saskatoon GymDoing Ab exercises everyday will result in a flat stomach and well-defined 6-pack Abs; false.  Abdominal (Ab) exercises are resistance training and like weight training, are used to develop the targeted muscles.  We need to remember that muscles and body fat are two completely different things, so once we develop our Abdominal muscles it does not change the fact that there still might be some fat lying on top of them.  Spending a majority of a workout everyday training Abs will become very repetitive and boring; dedicating some time twice a week Ab exercises is lots. 


It is possible to spot reduce fat from one area of the body; false.  Repeating an exercise over and over will do nothing more than condition that particular muscles to perform that exercise.  To reduce body fat, we need to adjust what we eat so that the calories we ingest are slightly lower than the calories we burn, signalling the body to start burning fat for energy.  On the extreme end of this, when we begin to starve ourselves our body goes into survival mode and will begin to store fat in the body for future requirements.  We have no control over what area the body fat will accumulate; it is all genetically predetermined.  For some people it is in the stomach, for others it’s the hips or butt.  Just as we have no control over where it will end up, we have no control over where it will come off.  


The key to success in health and fitness is the understanding that it takes patience in the process and the willingness to always learn, to change old habits and adapt.

Saskatoon Ask The Experts Magazine

posted by Fitness Focus    |   April 8, 2014 14:45
Group Fitness
Group Fitness is the perfect way to overcome a workout plateau or add some variety to your routine. The Instructor isn’t there to force you past your limits, but to motivate you and challenge you. Add a new dynamic to you workout routine with Group Fitness; we offer everything from Yoga to relax and strengthen to Spin Classes that challenge your cardio.




You love your kids, but sometimes you need to get away to take care of yourself. Take advantage of our childcare while you’re working out.  Our Childcare Workers are First Aid & CPR Certified; with no age restrictions, easy Parent access, a private Kids Washroom and activities for Kids of all ages. 
Open Weekdays 9:00 am - 1:00pm & 4:00 pm - 8:00pm
Open Weekends 9:30 am - 1:30pm


Weight Room – Resistance Training
Did you know, resistance training is a more efficient way of burning calories than cardiovascular training? No matter what your skill level, it is important that every experience in the gym be a great one. The weight room offers you an essential selection of equipment in a friendly and mature atmosphere with plenty of natural sunlight and open space so you will never feel crowded.Fitness Focus Saskatoon Gym Weight Room Arm Curls Gyms







Cardio Theatre


Fitness Focus Saskatoon Cardio Treadmill Running GymsCardiovascular Training is an important part of everybody’s regimen for maintaining overall health, but not necessarily the part everybody looks forward to. No sign-up boards or time limits, ample TV screens and endless music will help make your cardio seem effortless.



Juice Bar


Nutrition is a key factor in maintaining your healthy lifestyle; you can grab a quick bite or protein shake to compliment your workout.  The Fitness Focus has a convenient selection of food and drinks available at the Juice Bar. Tab service is available in case you forgot to bring some spare change.

15 Minture Free With a Personal Trainer

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 17, 2014 14:02

Now is your chance to jumpstart your training. It's the New Year and a great time to take your training in a different direction; 15 minutes free with a Personal Trainer is an excellent opportunity to get answers to those questions you have about your training.  Maybe there are areas of your workout that are missing something or maybe there's a part of your routine you could work on.  Have questions about diet and nutrition?  Ask a Trainer about ways to improve your diet and weight management.  If you have been planning on meeting with a Personal Trainer, why not setup a 15 minutes meeting to get the ball rolling?

Contact Fitness Focus at (306) 244-6413 or by email to to reserve your spot today.  Free training sessions will take place Friday, January 24th at Fitness Focus. If you Prefer Specifically a Male or Female Trainers Please Let us Know.

Beyond The Weight Room: Standing Straight With Back Basics

posted by Fitness Focus    |   November 6, 2012 14:21

by Melissa Leier

can help create a nice, shapely V, but aside from the muscular definition, developing these muscle groups effectively can have a significant impact on your posture.
Melissa Leier Fitness Training SaskatoonWe’re constantly moving in a forward direction or using pushing movements in day-to-day activities and there are rarely any backward or pulling movements to balance it out. Gradually, your upper back posture will suffer as your shoulders become rounded forward, you slouch or develop a head-forward posture. This posture can then lead to tension in the upper spine, shoulders and neck.
A little fun fact for you: every inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.


Frequent forward movements in daily activities or even exercising pushing movements in a strength training program, such as chest presses or push-ups, without the balance of exercising the muscles that create pulling movements, can cause strength development to be disproportional anterior to posterior. In addition, the chest muscles can become very tight and start to pull the shoulders into this rounded forward posture, which not only looks less than aesthetically pleasing, but can also cause discomfort. This can even result from the constant or frequent movements we do day to day, such as pushing doors open, working at a computer, driving a car or relaxing into the couch watching TV.

Slouching and head-forward posture can lead to long-term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis and pinched nerves. Long-term sustained posture like this can lead to bones moving position and losing range of motion, creating a more permanent hunchback posture.

So what can you do to improve your posture?

Strength training exercises, such as deadlifts, lat pull-downs, barbell or dumbbell rows, wide pull-ups, rear delt lateral raises; all done properly, of course.

Chest stretches and lots of them! Even doing a ‘chest in the doorway’ stretch every hour would help. Extend your arms out to your sides at a right angle and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Place both of your forearms against a doorjamb and lean forward. You can stagger your stance with one foot forward if it feels more comfortable. Hold the stretch on each side for about 30 seconds.

Exaggerating perfect posture and always being aware of your posture, including trunk alignment and chin position.


There was a time in my training history when I was boxing competitively. Aside from throwing hundreds of punches, I was doing hundreds of push-ups daily. When I would consider my own posture, I thought, “Of course it’s great. I’m young and I’m an athlete.” But then why was I starting to get a lot of stiffness and feeling the need to be constantly stretching to feel at ease? I looked in the mirror sideways in a standing posture that I had thought was relaxed and neural, and it was not even close. My chin wasn’t tucked back where it should be and my shoulders were quite rounded forward. Not only did the muscular tension cause discomfort, but also my posture was nowhere near looking tall, poised and confident, the way I wanted it to be. I decided it was time to make a change.


1. Mind-Muscle Connection

To balance out my physique, improve strength and correct my posture, I started strength training my back with twice the frequency of my chest workouts, stretching regularly and using frequent postural awareness. I started to increase strength by increasing the weight I was using somewhat, but felt my lower arm and bicep muscles taking over and fatiguing before I felt my back really engage.

Working with my professional coach, I learned to use little grip strength in my hands and to pull from the larger muscle group (lattisimus dorsi) in the back while visualizing the muscle I was actually using through its range of motion. In less than a year, I had made significant progress to balance out my physique and it did wonders to reduce my muscle stiffness.

The concept of the mind-muscle connection means getting to know your own anatomy and connecting the feeling of specific muscle contraction with a visual for yourself. You should be able to know you’ve contracted a certain muscle with your eyes closed without having to look in the mirror. The more in touch you can get with your own body, the better.

 2. Patience And Persistence Pays Off

Progressing from an exercise using the cable lat pull-down machine regularly, I went on to try the body weight wide grip pull-up. I started off barely able to do one body weight wide pull-up and an ugly one at that! It was difficult and frustrating trying to do these, but I stuck with it and over several months worked my way up to more than 20 at a time for several sets. Not only did this feel great as the muscles grew stronger and the exercise became a smoother movement, but what a sense of accomplishment to motivate me to continue!

 3. Practice Perfect Posture

You need to purposefully think about your alignment, not just in back- specific exercises, but all exercises. Don’t let your back or shoulders round forward when sitting in the leg extension machine or doing a bent- over dumbbell rear delt raise. Even at home or when you’re going to be working at a desk, before you even dive into the activity, take the time to set yourself up first. Even small and light activities throughout the day count towards your overall spinal health. Focus on maintaining neutral spinal alignment when bending to pick something up, when setting up your pillow for sleep and while driving, keeping your chin tucked under and shoulder blades tucked back.

 Put Your Excuses Aside

I once heard someone say, “Well, I don’t exercise my back. It’s sore already.” I would challenge anyone to question themselves on the decision to not exercise the back. Often, a sore back is the result of a lack of effective utilization and exercise of the back muscles. As long as you are medically cleared to exercise, the back should be one of the most important muscle groups to work to improve!

Trusted Saskatoon Gym, Fitness Focus: The Perfect Arm Curl

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 9, 2012 19:47

At Fitness Focus, the goal is to offer a fitness center with a welcoming,fun and safe environment that all ages can enjoy. They are a forerunner in the fitness industry in Saskatoon . With the ever changing fitness demands of new and improved classes, training; and nutrition. They are your TRUSTED SASKATOON FITNESS EXPERTS!  

Chris from Team Wawryk Pro Trainers who are only based out of Fitness Focus Shares a Tip on doing the perfect Arm Curl -

Print a Free 2-Week Trial Membership for you and your friends. If you're looking for a gym in Saskatoon and have never tried Fitness Focus, this pass is for you to come experience the great atmosphere, people and all the major ammenities Fitness Focus offers. For 2 weeks you will have access to The Weight Room, Cardio Theatre, All Group Fitness Classes, Unlimited Tanning, Free Towel Service, Free Lockers and more... click HERE to print yours

Find Fitness Focus Health & Athletic Centre at 1250 Ontario Avenue, or check out their listing here in the Saskatoon Fitness & Gyms Category on THE Saskatoon directory of excellence. They are YOUR Trusted experts right here in Saskatoon!


Beyond The Weight Room With Melissa Leier: Compeition Nutrition

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 7, 2012 19:50
How Dieting Impacts The Body And Mind

HOW WE FUEL OUR BODIES and our brains has a significant impact on what we can achieve during a major physical transformation as well as how we function day to day. Athletes who train for physique competitions fuel up for a purpose and have specific goals in mind to reach the desired outcomes. Nutritional plans are different for short-term phases, like a leaning-out phase of preparation for a physique contest, also called the “diet down”, and longer terms, such as building lean muscle mass in an off-season. When it comes to the sometimes extreme practices of contest preparation nutrition, there can be negative impacts on an athlete’s body and mind.

What We Do And How We Do It

Competition preparation varies from athlete to athlete, but generally starts 16 to 20 weeks before the contest date. To sculpt that chiselled, competition- ready physique, competitors do more than adhere to a gruelling workout schedule. Following very specific nutrition protocols makes all the difference while preparing for a contest. The goal of competition preparation is to reduce body fat while preserving muscle.

Food selection, meal timing and calorie intake vs. expenditure each play a role in achieving winning physiques for competitions. The right nutrition plan essentially helps eliminate subcutaneous fat, making the skin appear thinner and allowing muscle striations to emerge, showcasing your lean physique. Then competitors can show off the art of a muscular physique resulting from all their hard work in the gym.

Competition nutrition plans aim to trim away fat and this is only done by burning more than you’re consuming to create a calorie deficit. During contest prep, frequent meal times, clean eating and sufficient protein content help preserve lean mass. This allows athletes to reach body fat percentages as lean as six to eight per cent for women or two to four per cent for men without a significant loss of muscle mass.

It Works, But…
Although following an exact and strict plan will achieve the desired physique results for a contest, it should be considered temporary and should change post-contest. A contest prep diet does restrict or limit certain food choices and it may not be wise to eliminate nutrients our bodies may need in the long-term. Some physique athletes go two to three months without fruit or dairy, with limited essential fats/oils, high-sugar foods and starch carbohydrates. All athletes are impacted differently. Some will breeze through a contest preparation and not have anything change with their systems during the different phases of nutrition. However, others may experience dry skin or hair, irregular digestive systems or even emotional ups and downs as a result of a restricted content prep diet.

Carb Depletion And Mental Fog

Reducing certain carbohydrates in the short-term runs the risk of producing a metabolic condition of ketosis, which can potentially cause an athlete to feel lethargic, sluggish and tired. The problem with this is that it can decrease the intensity of training and activity level, which is needed to burn calories. In addition to the physical impact, some athletes report that the lack of carbs creates a “mental fog” or an impact on cognitive performance. The mental fog could result in little things like forgetting where you set your keys down or putting the dry oatmeal back into the refrigerator and the eggs into the cupboard. Therefore, it is important to find a healthy balance of nutrition with sufficient macronutrients to fuel workouts and brain function, while allowing your body to burn more calories than you’re consuming.


Some athletes find that having nutrition plans high in protein and low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates, while avoiding excessive sodium and dairy, can lead to the body storing less water. This can reduce the appearance of bloating and help with showing muscularity striation, but sometimes the skin can look less full, showing wrinkles and looking dry. This tends to be even more apparent the day of the competition when water intake is reduced. Often you’ll see athletes with “shrunken in” cheeks or more apparent shadows under their eyes. I find that this look leads to some people’s perception of the bodybuilder athlete as looking “unhealthy,” but this effect usually only lasts a day or two.

Digestion Regularity And The Cheat Meal

The temporary reduction in certain nutritional options can also impact some athletes’ digestive systems—bowel regularity in particular. I recommend staying well hydrated and consuming sufficient fibre from celery, cucumbers, asparagus, spinach and more. I describe it as a reduction rather than an omission because many have found that a strategy that includes a “cheat meal” once in a while can be helpful. This can not only get the digestive system moving again, but can refuel the body full of energy when certain things have been limited. Having one cheat meal every few weeks throughout contest preparation or as needed means you’re not depriving yourself of cravings, making it more do-able to go the distance with super clean eating over the course of several months and not feel like you’re missing out.

The Houdini Abs Effect

The post-contest period can be disappointing to those new to the sport of competition. When an athlete has unrealistic expectations of maintaining the look of the physique they had on stage, it can seem like the weeks of work they put in to lean out can all disappear within one to two weeks. But they are not necessarily “gaining it all back.” It can be the body’s skin cells filling back up with water content from post-contest nutritional and hydration changes, which creates a softer look on top of the muscle. I call this the “Houdini Abs Effect”—there one day, gone the next! For me, it takes several months to shed the body fat to have my abdominal muscles showing, but within three days of re-hydrating they’re gone. Don’t let this play mind games with you. As long as you practice regular exercise, clean eating and healthy lifestyle practices year- round you are doing great, whether you have defined, chiselled abs or not!

Positive vs. Negative

Yes, there are some potentially negative impacts on the body in the short term from the strict dieting necessary for competition. However, more often than not, the positive impacts outweigh some of the negatives. Emotionally, endorphins released from exercise will boost our mood and we will feel great. Regular exercise paired with a clean eating nutrition plan is the key to vitality.

Why We Do It

So, with all of the potential downsides for athletes during contest preparation, why do we do it? Well, it is the personal challenge, experience and sense of achievement that we love. It is the visual confirmation of our hard work. You get to see the curves, cuts, striations and bulk of muscle hypertrophy built up in the gym. It is the sense of accomplishment that we’ve taken our fitness to the next level and the personal motivation that separates us from those who don’t compete. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!


Photos by Tyler Harris

Sweat The Technique: A Few Words On Weight Training

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 6, 2012 12:41

Here is Our Favorite Article from the October Issue of Saskatoon Wellbeing Magazine.

Saskatoon Wellbeing’s debut issue back in January featured professional bodybuilder Kai Greene, a noted positive thinker, in a piece we called Kai Greene and The Power Of Mind. As an inspiration to the magazine, we thought it was time to revisit the man, who, aside from being the master of his thoughts is also the master of his physical movement inside the gym. As he likes to say, “The physical you is a walking manifestation of your mind.” So it’s time to focus, all of you men and women who lift weights.

Proper form is essential. It allows you to load and maintain the stress of the weight on the muscle you are attempting to build. Instead of perfecting their form on each exercise, many people add more weight as soon as their strength progresses and then their form begins to fail. That’s assuming they had any to begin with. When the stress is diverted from the targeted muscle area to the joints and the joints start to assist that muscle group, muscle becomes stubborn to grow, even if you are still taking sets to failure and staying within the correct rep range. You may get a bit stronger. You may even see positive changes at first. But, over time, you will not see the gains in the mirror that you could be seeing.

As much as anyone in the world, Kai Greene has made the most out of his physique through an intense and focused connection between his mind and his body. The biomechanics, form and almost three decades of increasing poundage has allowed Greene to generate complete fibre recruitment of every muscle in every workout. No action goes to waste. Every contraction of the muscle is deliberate and a by-product of intense visualization. It is a fluid orchestra of movement.

 > When Greene is doing t-bar rows or seated pulley rows he visualizes not just on the pull toward his chest, but on meeting his hands with his chest halfway through the movement. The result is more lat recruitment and space for contraction. If you can imagine pulling your elbows with your back instead of pulling the weight with your elbows you will begin to understand his visual process.

> When Greene is doing lat pulldowns, he is not just going through the motions of keeping his elbows forward and pulling the bar down to his chest with his lats. He is subtly rolling his scapula back at the same time and rolling it forward on the way up. This creates maximum recruitment and full range of motion, also helping him stay loose and impingement free.

> When Greene is doing a bench press or narrow grip press he is pressing the weight with an arc, driving it back and slightly over his eyes, while maintaining a slight arch between his shoulder blades and glutes. All of these actions contribute to taking the stress out of his front delts and moving it into his pecs.

> When Greene is performing straight-legged deadlifts he is focusing the tension on his glutes and away from his lower back, something that is very difficult to accomplish. He pushes the outsides of his feet laterally into the floor, flexing his entire lower body, then commences with the stiff-legged movement.

> When Greene is walking on the treadmill during his daily warm-up, he is flexing his glutes and hamstrings on the back end of each step. This consistent, detailed focus enhances his mind to muscle connection, creating pathways that allow him to more efficiently stress his muscles with the resistance to come.

        Read more of this article from Kai Greene at

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