What to Pack For An Active Back to School!

Thanks to ParticipACTION, it’s know easy to know what to pack for an active and fun back to school experience.

Low res Backpack Infographic - EN

There are lots of great ideas in this cute infographic, but I love the idea of a ball. So simple and cannot only lead to active play, but also social interactions. Great for students entering a new school or class. The use of two little words “wanna play?” can lead to new friendships and an active recess.

In order to make this back pack even better, I would suggest the addition of a reusable water bottle. As both a classroom and phys.ed. teacher I believe it is so much easier for students to stay connected to the learning when they have everything they need at their fingers tips, including hydration.

As we enter the final weekend of summer, I wish students, teachers, and parents an awesome start to school week one!

The #ALSicebucketchallenge, For Me, It’s Personal

group shot

With my parents before my university graduation, the summer my mum was diagnosed.

The summer of 2001 I was a university student enjoying a break from school and a summer of employment at the YWCA in Hamilton. My mum, Jill Rumble, was the CEO and I loved to hang out and chat with her in her office during my breaks. I was no longer a kid or irritating youth, I had my own opinions and we were finally at that great place where we were becoming friends. Today was a little different. She was sitting at her desk, appeared a little stressed and asked me to listen to her voice mail which she played out loud. I listened to her phone greeting smiled at her Aussie accent and she asked it I thought her voice sounded different. A weird question and I laughed it off saying no, she sounds like she always did – Australian.

A few weeks later my mum was sitting at the computer desk in our kitchen area and shared with me that she had been diagnosed with ALS. Something both her doctor and Google had told her was horrible and deadly, she wanted a second opinion and would be seeing someone else. Again the response came back as ALS.

Over the next three years our family traveled, made the best of the situation which wasn’t great. She would trip and fall as a result of her lack of balance and muscle response, get cut up and once even knocked herself unconscious. She would later walk with the support of a cane (which she hated) and then the use of a wheelchair. She developed blood clots and my father and I had to give her daily needles of thinners, not an easy task but one we had to do. She also tried countless trial medications with toxic side effects, including a muscle relaxant which one time left her completely immobile, a functioning brain with a broken body. Something that near her end would be the norm.

My family was pushed to our limits we were challenged daily with our new normal, but we banded together, we loved deeper, and we became stronger, together.

When I first saw posted on Facebook of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I refused to learn more. I was angry that someone on my feed would dare to trivialize something so close to my family. They didn’t know anything about ALS, so how dare they get involved. And after a few days of it not going away, infact only growing stronger I did my research. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has done amazing things for the American and Canadian ALS society with the American association raising almost $80 million at time of publish, and the Canadian association with near $8 million. Sure it has created awareness for the disease, but then people, regular people, who two weeks ago knew nothing about ALS are putting their money where their Ice Bucket is and have helped raise (in the case of the American association) over a years worth of donations in less than a month, and that will make a difference.

If you continue to be skeptical like I had been than let this post put a face and family to ALS. Please share it with those who might be interested and please donate here to ALS Canada.

Fitness Trends from CanFitPro Toronto

CanFitPro is one of my favourite weekends in Toronto. Thousands of fitness professionals from around North American invade the Metro Toronto Convention Centre sweating, and laughing, and having a fatiguing good time all in the name of healthy, active living. An epic star studded line up including Jillian Michaels, Tosca Reno, and Hayley Wickenheiser helped kick of the rad weekend and keep the energy high all conference long.

The convention centre was buzzing, and the trade show was hopping – or Zumbaing. Here are my top 5 trends from this years CanFitPro.

1. Dance Fitness: Barre was huge this year. I’ve blogged previously about Barre workouts and moves you can do in the comfort of your own home, now many new (and American) brands are sharing their version of barre and making it more mainstream. Want to try it at home? Check out my post with the leaders in Toronto Barre, Barreworks, here.

Zumba continues to hold a significant place in the professional learning at CanFitPro. This year they offered a certification courses on their Zumba Step (think 90s step aerobics with a Zumba flair) so I’m sure those classes will be shaking their way into a studio near you soon.

2. Technology: Metrics matter and most manufacturers of fitness equipment have figured that out. The hottest metric is the new Schwinn MPower Echelon Console which takes your traditional indoor cycling bike to the next level by allowing the users to monitor calories, distance, revolutions per minute, and watts. Watts is a significant metric as it allows the user to monitor their intensity through the technology by putting numbers to their perceived levels of exertion.

Apps also continue to be popular with many free apps becoming available through big name brands such as Nike, Strava, and Schwinn, as well as other independent apps including Tabata Timers which allow the user to complete intervals (see trend 5) in an easier way.

3. Bright Colours and Bold Patterns: Fashion is always a key part of the CanFitPro expo with many big brands showcasing their gear. This year a common theme between big athletic brands like New Balance, Asics, Sketchers, and Zumba, as well as many small independent retailers was neon brights and funky bold patterns. Pants, tanks, tees, and shoes of every colour of the rainbow were available – A trend I personally love and hope continues. What am I loving now? Check out these Oakley Printed Strength Tights, available online for $90.

tights24. Functional Fitness: Strength training that uses your own body weight continues to lead the strength and conditioning field. This is great news for people wanting to get fit from home (or in the park) without needing lots of equipment to do so. I believe much of this comes from the added interest of obstacle races. These mass fitness events are challenging the “average Joe” to get after it and they are doing so on their own, at home, and these functional moves are giving them the results they need to rock their race (and live a healthy lifestyle), without a significant financial investment. Looking for moves you can try at home? Check out my Fit From Home Tab for ideas to get you moving and building strength in the comfort of your own home.

5. Interval Training: Whether you’re out on a run, in the pool, on a bike, or integrating strength training, intervals (including Tabata timing) is hot! Two styles of intervals were all over the conference this year and those included the ever famous Tabata, and the Copenhagen.

  • Tabata includes :20 seconds of hard breathless effort, followed by :10 seconds of easy recovery. This is completed for 8 rounds which takes a total of 4 minutes. In it’s authentic form it is so challenging (hard & breathless will do that to you) that it should only be completed once, so can be book ended by a 15 minute warm up and 15 minute cool down to give you a solid 30 minute sweat session.
  • Copenhagen includes :10 seconds of hard breathless effort, :20 seconds of hard effort, and :30 seconds of moderate effort repeated 5 times for a total of 5 minutes. This interval is followed by a two minute recovery and then repeated in it’s entirety for another 5 minutes. Add a 10-15 minute warm up and cool down and you’re set!

As above, these intervals can consist of either a single exercise, such as a run, or bike, or can be alternated with various  activities including a Tabata of burpees and squats or a Copenhagen of burpees, jump squats, and regular squats.

Tune in to CHCH Morning Live Monday August 11th at 9:15 am to see the Copenhagen interval and hear me chat about my favourite fitness trends.

Have a funky interval set you love? Leave it in the comments!