Archive for April, 2009

Tofu Salad

Tofu Salad
(Gluten Free, Vegan)

Many non-vegetarians steer well clear of tofu, even some veggies I know don’t eat unless someone else prepares it for them. This is an ultra easy, mega delicious way to have tofu and be ridiculously health conscious at the same time.


Image courtesy Vegan De Novo

What you’ll need:
– 1/4 of a brick of firm tofu (Liberty brands herbed tofu is awesome for this salad)
– Cut tofu into thin rectangular pieces
– Place the pieces in a frying pan on medium heat and cover with your favourite salad dressing
– Mix up salad greens, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, celery etc. while tofu is cooking
– Flip tofu after about 5 minutes (it should be somewhat crispy)
– Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until both sides are crispy throw on top of your salad and you’re ready for your scrumptious meal vegans, vegetarians and even tofu haters will like


Swim Workout

Swim Workout
By Stephanie McEnery

Swimming is a great way to get fit and workout your entire body. If you already know how to swim find a local pool and follow the workout located below.

For the experienced swimmer:
All workouts are counted in meters.

Workout 1 – If you’re getting back into the pool after taking some time off and want to boost cardio and build muscle. This is a 1000m workout. It can be doubled for more of a challenge.

200 free – easy
100 pull
100 free – hard
50 kick (flutter kick, or whip kick)
200 free
100 pull
200 free
50 kick
200 free – easy

If you are familiar with swimming but you’re not a freestyle champion start out slow and follow these instructions to perfect your strokes. “Free” or “free style” is swimming lingo for front crawl. Watch the video below to see an example.

Here are some key things to remember when swimming front crawl or free style

• Keep your fingers together, not apart. If fingers are apart your arms won’t pull you through the water nearly as fast.
• Flutter kick must be continuous; a lot of people take a pause in kicking when they breathe. This is slow you down and won’t be as effective.
• Blow bubbles. After drawing a breath in and putting your face back in the water, make sure to blow out as much of your air in the water before taking the next breath.
• Breathing should occur on every third stroke.
• The head should remain pointed facedown, with the nose pointed toward the bottom of the pool. When taking a breath roll head to the side so ear is resting on the arm.
• Breaths should be taken quickly and arm movements should continue.

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

If swimming seems like a foreign idea and you’re not quite sure if it’s for you try taking swimming lessons. Many people are intimidated by the idea of taking adult swimming lessons, but it is a fun way to get in shape and learn a new skill. Most pools offer adult swimming lessons and your instructor can tailor a program to suit your needs. Call around to your local pools and see what they have to offer

Race Season Training

Race Season Training
By Stephanie McEnery

The Season is Upon Us. Race season that is. With the weather getting nicer each day it’s time to stop hibernating and start gearing up for spring time race events. Running, biking and triathlons are all great ways to stay in shape and have fun throughout the spring and summer. Looking forward to participating in any one of these activities can also keep you motivated while you slug away in the gym or slip and slide down icy sidewalks.

The first step is finding a suitable event. Here is what to look for:

  • Distance. How many kilometers can you run/bike/swim right now? How long will you have to prepare for the race?
  • Location. Are you prepared to travel? How far?
  • Gear. Do you have the necessary equipment to participate? Can you afford to buy a bike? What type: road or mountain? Running shoes are an easy purchase as is a swim suit if you’re opting to do a tri.
  • Date. Make sure you’ll be available on race day and will have ample time to prepare and get in shape before hand. It would be ideal to have a friend who isn’t racing accompany you, have them drive you home after the race in case you sustain an injury, intense muscle cramping, or most likely are just plain old tired!Once you’ve considered all of these details it’s time to pick your poison. To find the race that suits your needs start with google. Searching the internet is the easiest and fastest way to find an event. Here are some great options in the Burlington-Hamilton-Oakville area.
  • Around the Bay Road Race. The 30k is currently full, but the 5k race is still available. This is North America’s oldest road race.
  • Binbrook Triathlon/Duathlon & Give-it-aTri. HSBC series race.
  • Toronto Island Triathlon Weekend. Another HSBC series race.

    Once you’ve picked the race, it’s time for the tough stuff. TRAINING! If you’re going to be doing a triathlon you have a lot more training to take on than if you’ve chosen a run or bike.

    The best source for information is a personal trainer. Paying for numerous personal training sessions doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget, but paying for a single session to have a workout plan designed for you can be very beneficial. If you’ve stayed consistently in shape and have raced before you should be fine on your own. If this will be your first race talking to a professional, especially someone who has triathlon experience can make your training less confusing and more effective.

    Consulting websites is also a great way to find workout plans and learn more about the sport. Figuring out common pit falls of training, possible injuries, and signs of over training are a must for any of the three sports.

    Websites dedicated to triathlon training provide a wealth of knowledge about all three sports.

  • Beginner Triathlete
  • Manitoba Triathlon Training
  • Ontario Woman’s Triathlon Series are several great opportunities in Burlington-Hamilton-Oakville area for training. Many recreation clubs offer triathlon training. The Swim Academy in Oakville has a program dedicated to training for the swim portion of a tri. The Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington YMCA’s all host similar programs that focus on training for each leg of a triathlon.
  • The Swim Academy
  • YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington joining a club isn’t for you get outside and practice. Each city has a long stretch of trails with some hills and stairs that are perfect for prepping for a tri or running or biking event.

    Other links : Oakvile Cycling Club
    The Running Room
    HSBC Triathlon Series

  • How to cut gym jitters

    How to cut gym jitters
    By Stephanie McEnery

    It happens to everyone, that nervous, unsettling feeling. You want to be fit, you know you need to go to they gym, but there is always that worry that you’ll be leaving the gym, sore, possibly bruised from some freak accident, and probably embarrassed.
    When you’re new to a gym it’s easy to get confused or feel lost. No one likes to be out of their element. The worst part is first getting to a new gym. You look around at all of those crazy workout machines and feel completely lost. “I felt awkward and out of place. I was so worried that everyone was going to judge me and they could tell I wasn’t overly gym savvy,” said Brock student Jessica Charbonneau.
    There are ways to curb these gym anxieties and make your trip to the gym easier and stress free. Working out is supposed to be good for you after all.

    Bring a buddy
    • Working out with a friend is a sure fire way to feel more comfortable at the gym.
    • Creating a work out ahead of time will give you a goal and will eliminate standing around and feeling lost.
    • Try starting out with some light cardio and then move on to some weights you are comfortable with.
    • If weights aren’t your strong suit check out the workouts posted on the site for some easy ideas.

    Get suited up
    • Go out and get some nice work out gear. Looking the part will help you feel more confident
    • If excessive sweating is a concern, bring a towel or wear dark clothes or dry fit shirts that will absorb sweat.

    Take a tour
    • Gyms want you to be successful and have a good time. Take a tour when you first sign up. That way you will know the lay of the land and will know how to use the stationary weight machines.

    Buy a personal training session
    • If you can afford the sometimes pricey training sessions get as many as you can. Trainers have valuable knowledge and information that will make your gym experience great.
    • If getting multiple sessions isn’t an option, purchase just one session. Make sure you know going into it what your workout goals are and inform the trainer of any injuries. They can show you around the gym and help you create a plan that suits your needs.

    Be confident!
    • Remember that most of the other people at the gym feel the same way.
    • If you feel awkward about working out in front of members of the opposite sex opt for a female’s only gym.
    • Know that it’ll get easier every time you go and stick with it.

    You should also remember that everyone has been there. No matter how silly you make think you look at the gym, the other people around you probably feel just as awkward.

    Long time YMCA gym attendee Katie Blasko has had some pretty rough gym moments. “I once fell off an exercise while in front of the entire cardio section of the gym. Therefore I felt it necessary to bring the ball back that had flown out from under me and do some really intense looking sit ups as fast as I could. I figured that way I could show everyone I wasn’t just the idiot who fell off the ball, I was someone fit who fell of the ball.” It happens to everyone, so please try not to worry and just have a good time.