4 Keys to Fitting Exercise Into Your Day and Keep Your New Year’s Resolution!

By Sarah Mulaner, President Imagine Fitness

Was your New Year’s Resolution to exercise 30-60 minutes most days?  I know it’s a matter of time, but you will notice the difference in your body, your mind and you outlook.  Here are 5 Keys to make it easy to achieve your goal:

  1. Go out for a brisk walk, sign up for a spin class or a running program, take your kids out for a bike ride.  Zumba is an option for those who love dance workouts and music!


  1. Make it convenient, make a space in your house for exercise equipment, weights, an exercise DVD.  Skipping is an inexpensive way to get amazing cardio.  You may hire a trainer to keep you on track and show you how to get the most out of your program.


  1. Find a buddy to go to the gym with, encourage and motivate each other.  Those who work out with a friend or a trainer will see 5x better results that those who “try” to exercise on their own.  You won’t waste time, energy or enthusiasm and you’ll see the body composition changes you’re looking for.

4.  Practical Exercises, no equipment needed!  Try the plank on your elbows, squats/walking lunges with body weight or hand weights if you have them, pushups off the stairs or on the floor.  Make it a daily habit and you’ll feel great in no time.


Remember that exercise releases feelings of stress and improves sleep.  The rush of endorphins that occurs when you exercise intensely helps improve your sense of wellbeing and improves your body’s ability to burn fat.  You will lose weight, feel more energetic and sleep more soundly.

Sarah Mulaner has enjoyed working in the wellness industry since ’91 and is an avid runner and yogi.  Sarah is a personal trainer, nutritionist, holistic healer and BIE practitioner who loves helping  clients with stress management, digestive issues, allergy symptoms and more.   She specializes in yoga, reflexology, aromatherapy and other natural methods that relax, heal and pamper the mind and body.  Imagine Wellness, together let’s make it real! 

For more information about our natural wellness solutions please see www.imaginewellness.ca or call (905)483-1024.

Valentine’s Day Love: Sex as Exercise?

Get Some Love on Valentine’s Day

  With Valentine’s Day approaching here are a couple of things you might want to keep in mind:

If you have sex 3 times per week, you’ll burn an extra 7,000 calories per year. 

According to healthcentral.com, that’s equivalent to jogging 1.4 miles per week!

(January/February 2008 issue of Canadian Fitness Professionals Magazine)

  Although sex can’t be used to replace regular cardio workouts, it helps to reduce stress and burn extra calories.    Both men and women should practice their Kegel exercises, which are done by contracting your pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop urine, and hold it there for 3 seconds.  Inhale as you squeeze and exhale as you release.  Start out by doing 10-15 squeezes per day and build up to about 100 per day.

  The bridge exercise is an effective way to improve sexual control and gratification.  It can be done by simply lying on the floor and pressing the pelvis up in the air.  Hold for about 10 seconds and then lower as you exhale. 

According to the Daily Stanford, these are the top 10 health benefits of sex:

1.       Helps you live longer.

2.       Strengthens your heart.

3.       Reduces stress and depression.

4.       Strengthens bones and muscles.

5.       Improves your memory and keeps your mind sharp.

6.       Helps you look younger.

7.       Improves your sense of smell.

8.       Provides pain relief.

9.       May reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

10.   Boosts the immune system.

This is a great way to have fun while staying in shape. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Are Plyometrics for You?

Plyometrics are exercises using explosive movements to develop power, speed and increase the metabolic demand of your workout.If you’re “injury-free” you may find that plyometrics add intensity to your workout and shape to your body.  After a light warm-up, here are a couple of movements to try:

Squat Jump:  From a standard squat position (feet shoulder width, athletic ready position), prepare the body by bending at the knees.  Start by taking a small jump, leaving the ground a couple of inches and landing gently on the balls of the feet.  As you become comfortable with the movement you can add a bit more depth to the jump as well as height to leap.  Remember, it’s quality and intensity that we’re looking for so go hard and strong but limit your time to about 20-30 seconds.  You’ll be able to complete about 20-30 jumps in that time and should be winded at the end of that interval.

Plyo Squat Jump





Split Squat:  Once you’ve mastered the squat jump you can take it up a notch and do the split squat.  You’re in a lunge stance to start and then quickly jump to switch feet from the front to the back.  Lunge a couple of inches to start until you get your balance then add depth to the movement.  This is a tough one so you may need to start with 5 each side and then increase to 10 each side. 


Plyo Split Squat

3 Best Tips for Maximum Energy!

Here are my top 3 tips to help optimize your energy levels throughout the day:

1. Start your day with protein and fat to minimize blood sugar and insulin spikes through your day.

Breakfast can be eggs, leftover chicken from last night’s dinner or even a protein shake.  Preferably not cereal, muffins and the like as these tend to be simple carbohydrates that initiate the blood sugar roller coaster over the course of the day. Listen to your body and notice how sharp you feel when you have fat and protein to start the day.

Turkey, chicken or salmon patties or meatballs that can be cooked the night before and are portion controlled by nature.

2. Have veggies with every meal:

Grilled vegetable are a great option to provide colour, interest and great taste to your meals. Choose zucchini, mushrooms, peppers of various colours, tomatoes, eggplant along with onions, fresh parsley, garlic etc. To create a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Chilli and stews are great comfort foods that can be made lower in fat and high in vegetable content. Try not to have bread with them, it’s empty calories that won’t fuel your body.

3. Include fats at every meal to help stay full and minimize “cheating”.

This could be a small handful of nuts, ¼ of an avocado, olive oil on your salad dressing.

Choose grilled fish, seafood, greens, chicken, turkey, vegetables when possible. Avoid soups as they can be very high in fat and calories, minimize of eliminate bread, crackers and deep fried options. Otherwise split your entree before eating it so you can manage how much you eat and it gives you leftovers for tomorrow.


Shunning Wheat will make you skinny

Dr. William Davis on why it is so addictive, and how shunning it will make you skinny

by Kate Fillion on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:40am

William Davis, a preventive cardiologist who practices in Milwaukee, Wis., argues in his new book Wheat Belly that wheat is bad for your health—so bad that it should carry a surgeon general’s warning.


Q: You say the crux of the problem with wheat is that the stuff we eat today has been genetically altered. How is it different than the wheat our grandparents ate?

A: First of all, it looks different. If you held up a conventional wheat plant from 50 years ago against a modern, high-yield dwarf wheat plant, you would see that today’s plant is about 2½ feet shorter. It’s stockier, so it can support a much heavier seedbed, and it grows much faster. The great irony here is that the term “genetic modification” refers to the actual insertion or deletion of a gene, and that’s not what’s happened with wheat. Instead, the plant has been hybridized and crossbred to make it resistant to drought and fungi, and to vastly increase yield per acre. Agricultural geneticists have shown that wheat proteins undergo structural change with hybridization, and that the hybrid contains proteins that are found in neither parent plant. Now, it shouldn’t be the case that every single new agricultural hybrid has to be checked and tested, that would be absurd. But we’ve created thousands of what I call Frankengrains over the past 50 years, using pretty extreme techniques, and their safety for human consumption has never been tested or even questioned.


Q: What extreme techniques are you talking about?

A: New strains have been generated using what the wheat industry proudly insists are “traditional breeding techniques,” though they involve processes like gamma irradiation and toxins such as sodium azide. The poison control people will tell you that if someone accidentally ingests sodium azide, you shouldn’t try to resuscitate the person because you could die, too, giving CPR. This is a highly toxic chemical.


Q: Can’t you just get around any potential health concerns by buying products made with organically grown wheat?

A: No, because the actual wheat plant itself is the same. It’s almost as if we’ve put lipstick on this thing and called it organic and therefore good, when the truth is, it’s really hardly any better at all.


Q: A lot of us have switched to whole wheat products because we’ve been told complex carbohydrates are heart healthy and good for us. Are you saying that’s not true?

A: The research that indicates whole grains are healthy is all conducted the same way: white flour is replaced with whole wheat flour, which, no question, is better for you. But taking something bad and replacing it with something less bad is not the same as research that directly compares what happens to health and weight when you eliminate wheat altogether. There’s a presumption that consuming a whole bunch of the less bad thing must be good for you, and that’s just flawed logic. An analogy would be to say that filtered cigarettes are less bad for you than unfiltered cigarettes, and therefore, a whole bunch of filtered cigarettes is good for you. It makes no sense. But that is the rationale for increasing our consumption of whole grains, and that combined with the changes in wheat itself is a recipe for creating a lot of fat and unhealthy people.


Q: How does wheat make us fat, exactly?

A: It contains amylopectin A, which is more efficiently converted to blood sugar than just about any other carbohydrate, including table sugar. In fact, two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar does. And then, after about two hours, your blood sugar plunges and you get shaky, your brain feels foggy, you’re hungry. So let’s say you have an English muffin for breakfast. Two hours later you’re starving, so you have a handful of crackers, and then some potato chips, and your blood sugar rises again. That cycle of highs and lows just keeps going throughout the day, so you’re constantly feeling hungry and constantly eating. Dieticians have responded to this by advising that we graze throughout the day, which is just nonsense. If you eliminate wheat from your diet, you’re no longer hungry between meals because you’ve stopped that cycle. You’ve cut out the appetite stimulant, and consequently you lose weight very quickly. I’ve seen this with thousands of patients.


Q: But I’m not overweight and I exercise regularly. So why would eating whole wheat bread be bad for me?

A: You can trigger effects you don’t perceive. Small low-density lipoprotein [LDL] particles form when you’re eating lots of carbohydrates, and they are responsible for atherosclerotic plaque, which in turn triggers heart disease and stroke. So even if you’re a slender, vigorous, healthy person, you’re still triggering the formation of small LDL particles. And second, carbohydrates increase your blood sugars, which cause this process of glycation, that is, the glucose modification of proteins. If I glycate the proteins in my eyes, I get cataracts. If I glycate the cartilage of my knees and hips, I get arthritis. If I glycate small LDL, I’m more prone to atherosclerosis. So it’s a twofold effect. And if you don’t start out slender and keep eating that fair trade, organically grown whole wheat bread that sounds so healthy, you’re repeatedly triggering high blood sugars and are going to wind up with more visceral fat. This isn’t just what I call the wheat belly that you can see, flopping over your belt, but the fat around your internal organs. And as visceral fat accumulates, you risk responses like diabetes and heart disease.


Q: You seem to be saying that aside from anything else, wheat is essentially the single cause of the obesity epidemic.

A: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all obesity is due to wheat. There are kids, of course, who drink Coca-Cola and sit in front of video games for many hours a day. But I’m speaking to the relatively health-minded people who think they’re doing the right thing by limiting fat consumption and eating more whole grains, and there’s a clear subset of people who are doing that and gaining weight and don’t understand why. It causes tremendous heartache. They come into my office and say, “I exercise five times a week, I’ve cut my fat intake, I watch portion size and eat my whole grains—but I’ve gone up three dress sizes.”


Q: You write that wheat is “addictive,” but does it really meet the criteria for addiction we’d use when talking about, say, drugs?

A: National Institutes of Health researchers showed that gluten-derived polypeptides can cross into the brain and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors. So you get this mild euphoria after eating a product made with whole wheat. You can block that effect [in lab animals] by administering the drug naloxone. This is the same drug that you’re given if you’re a heroin addict; it’s an opiate blocker. About three months ago, a drug company applied to the FDA to commercialize naltrexone, which is an oral equivalent to naloxone. And it works, apparently, it blocks the pleasurable feelings you get from eating wheat so people stop eating so much. In clinical trials, people lost about 22.4 lb. in the first six months. Why, if you’re not a drug addict, do you need something like that? And of course there’s another option, which is to cut wheat out of your diet. However, and this is another argument for classifying wheat as addictive, people can experience some pretty unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.


Q: For how long?

A: Generally about five days. And once you’re through withdrawal, your cravings subside, your calorie intake decreases and your alertness and overall health improve.


Q: So do you believe food manufacturers are putting wheat into more and more food products, not just bread and crackers, because it’s addictive and stimulates appetite?

A: These are not stupid people. The research showing that wheat stimulates appetite didn’t come from some little alternative health practitioner. It comes from the NIH. It stretches credibility to believe they have no awareness of the evidence.


Q: If there’s all this evidence, why does the government encourage us to “eat healthy” by upping our consumption of whole grains?

A: That’s the million-dollar question. Wheat is so linked to human habit, it’s 20 per cent of all calories consumed by humans worldwide, that I think there was the presumption, “Gee, humans have consumed this for thousands of years, so what’s the problem?” I don’t think the misguided advice to eat more whole grains came from evil intentions.


Q: Wheat is a huge industry. What do you say to all the farmers who grow it?

A: To me, it’s reminiscent of tobacco farmers, who would say, “Look, I’m just trying to make a living and feed my family.” Nevertheless, tobacco is incredibly harmful and kills people. It could turn out that if we wind back the clock 100 or 1,000 years, and resurrect einkorn or some of the heritage forms of wheat, maybe that would be a solution. Of course, wheat products would then be much more expensive. Instead of a $4 loaf of bread, maybe it would cost $7 when grown with a heritage wheat. To me, it’s similar to free range eggs or organic beef 20 years ago. Everyone said, “No one will pay a premium for those.” But people do. And when it comes to wheat, my main goal is to inform people, including farmers, that the prevailing notion that cutting fat and eating whole grains will make you healthy is not only wrong, it’s destructive.


So guys, this article is an dramatic illustration of why we shouldn’t eat wheat…give it a try and see how you feel!


Reiki Principles


The secret art of inviting happiness.

The miraculous medicine of all dis-eases.

Just for today I give thanks for many blessings.

Just for today do not worry.

Just for today do not anger.

Honour your parents, teachers and elders.

Earn your living honestly.

Show gratitude to every living thing.


Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes energy healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s”life force energy” is low, then we care more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.


Please see www.reiki.org for additional info about this treatment.


Sarah is a Reiki Level 2 Practitioner and has truly enjoyed working with clients in this energetic manner to help them heal and move forward towards optimal health and wellbeing.