All posts by Lisa Kingston

November is Good Nutrition Month

November each year is ‘Good Nutrition Month’! It is a great month to bolster your own efforts to eat healthier, a great time to try out new nutritious recipes and to teach your kids about eating better.

Why not set a goal of eliminating one of your food addictions this month? Commit to looking up nutrition tips each week and trying out a new healthier dish that you can add to your regular meal plan. Use this month to educate your kids about eating right. Remind them about the My Food Pyramid and find something they are passionate about to motivate them to join in your Good Nutrition Month mission. Perhaps they want to be better at a sport, may be they want to fit in to some new clothes or even get stronger or just feel better. Help them look up the healthy foods that will help them reach
their goals or even try out recipes from different types of diets like vegan or
raw food diets.

For example –

if you like Milkshakes, why not subsitute with Smoothies containing fresh fruit,yogurt and almond milk.

Try subsituting low fat varieties of dairy products and if that doesn’t work, why not try 1/2  your regular choice and 1/2 a low/no fat choice.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:  1/2 low fat and 1/2 regular fat cheese in your next grilled cheese sandwich – your kids won’t know the difference. (Grate the cheeses together and mix before putting them on the bread.)

Add one more serving of vegetables to your dinner menu.

– See more at:


Why not try adding water workouts to your routine this fall…

The buoyancy of water can reduce your weight by as much as 90 percent, according to the American Council on Exercise. This means that stress on weight-bearing bones, joints and muscles is reduced, resulting in fewer injuries or sore muscles. Despite this, a water workouts can provide plenty of benefits, encompassing cardiovascular fitness, increased flexibility and muscular strength training to reduce body fat.

Aerobic Workout

Deep-water aerobics reduces the heart rate by as much as 17 beats per minute compared to land exercises, according to the American Council on Exercise. Because of your reduced heart rate, your body might think it isn’t working very hard, when in fact you are getting a strenuous workout. The low-impact exercises in deep-water aerobics is useful for those who find movements on land, such as kicking, running or dancing, too jarring or painful.

Resistance Training

Resistance training adds muscle mass, which in turn burns more calories. The resistance of the water acts as weight, similar to a strength-training workout. An easy way to increase the resistance of the water is to cup your hands, pushing or pulling the water away from you. You can also use hand-held paddles or water chutes to provide a more intense workout.


The buoyancy of the water helps your body perform stretches it might not be able to do on land. Thanks to this decrease in gravity, your joints will be able to move through more motions to achieve long-term flexibility.

No Age Limitations

Thanks to the water’s buoyancy, water aerobics can be performed no matter your age. This decrease in gravity causes less stress on your joints and muscles, which is particularly important for the elderly, who may suffer from arthritis or joint pain. Water aerobics is non-weightbearing, so the water, not your lower body, supports your weight and you are allowed to work all of your muscles and joints at the same time.

Rehabilitation for the Injured

The water provides resistance in all directions to help strengthen and rehabilitate muscles and joints that may have been injured. Because you are not placing your weight on your lower body, and the water is holding you up, this low-contact exercise won’t re-injure you and it can help your current injuries heal. Deep-water aerobics can be conformed to suit your injury by simply adjusting the size and speed of your movements.

Burns More Calories

Water aerobics helps you burn calories more efficiently than traditional exercise. According to Diabetic, during a 30-minute workout, you will burn 135 calories by walking on land and 264 calories with deep-water walking.

Read more:

Why not try our Aqua Bootcamp – Tuesdays 12:05pm -12:45pm at the Eau Claire YMCA.  Please call 403-781-1684 or visit for more information.

Aqua bootcamp uses the Aqualogics equipment to create additional resistance for both arms and legs. A great addition for any fitness level!

Friday Night is Teen Night at the Eau Claire YMCA

From 7-10pm, our facility is open for teens to come down and use. Basketball, swimming, open studio space to jam are just a couple of examples of activities available for your teen to experience on Friday nights.

Free for members. Non members guests $3.00

Ages 12-17

For more information please call Fan at 403-781-1686

Join us for a safe, active place to be on Fridays!

Book a Wellness Appointment and Find your Inner Cowboy/girl

By Rita Gore – YMCA Volunteer Writer

“Nobody’s ever listed rodeo as one of their activities” said Wellness Coach Daryl Landiak as I completed the computerized assessment part, of my Wellness appointment.

“Don’t suppose it counts, that I was once bucked off a horse?” I say.  Landiak grins, and then with a shake of his head and a firm “No,” skillfully moves me on to the next section.

Our little “back and forth” was just one of the bits of good-natured conversation that took place between Landiak and me. My appointment with him came to pass, after Lisa Kingston; Eau Claire YM Program Manager requested a blog about Wellness Coaching, how it linked to Coach Approach and Fitlinxx.

All I knew was that these one hour appointments were free, available to all members and ‘till recently, underutilized. Being hands on, I signed up.

Right from the beginning what hooked me was the interaction with Landiak, his individual attention, non-judgemental attitude and humour.  Landiak’s approach, let me relax, “admit” I’d slacked off from formal exercise then get help developing a come-back plan.

Geoff Starling, Strength and Conditioning Director at the Eau Claire YMCA, is a believer too that these personal interactions with Landiak are linked to a recent surge in Wellness Appointments, Eau Claire’s experienced.

“We made Daryl a champion of the program, since then it has taken off. Having one person in that role has made a difference. He’s very good at assessing people’s needs and knowing how to steer them” says Starling.

What‘s Changed?

Front Desk’s mantra for one. It’s become: “Welcome to the YMCA, as part of your membership you are entitled to engage in our Wellness program and have a free appt with one of our Wellness coaches. When would you like to book in?”

Offering “one-off” Wellness appointment said Starling happened because YMCA staff learned,” not everyone fits neatly into a box.”The appointments provide a “generic booking” which allow YM members to receive one-on-one help from qualified coaches to find the best program fit.

Starling says qualified Wellness coaches like Landiak,” can usually tell in few minutes whether the member will need a single appointment, a series of appointments, or neither.” In fact maybe they just want a zumba class or help prepping for tri”.

Coach Approach and Fitlinxx are but two options offered during that initial Wellness appointment. Landiak says first off though, he works to build trust and rapport.

“I give something of myself, examples from my life, because if people hear something about my life often they feel less intimidated. Just because I look fit now, does not mean that I have not had some difficulties. It works both ways though he points out, “If people don’t give me a few details about what their life is like, I won’t be able to help them as much as I could.”

Landiak is open but without crossing a line. He briefly shares that he’s experienced depression and credits exercise with getting him back on track. It’s obvious that maintaining his health and keeping fit are priorities in Landiak’s own life. His work as a Wellness Coach allows him to “transfer that belief” to others.

Landiak reports of  50 Wellness appointments booked last month- 1/3 were Coach Approach appointments, others simply a tour of the facility, or a set up on FitLinxx.

If Coach Approach is the route, Landiak helps the member identify 3 long term goals that are SMART-specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific. Based on these goals and particular interests, the two develop a contract.

By the second appointment, two weeks later, Landiak’s created an individual exercise program linked with Fitlinxx, an “in-house” computerized tracking system is connected to the cardiovascular equipment and a selected group of the resistant training equipment.

Exercise machines are networked into a central database, providing exercisers and staff access to a wealth of information on individual progress while it logs and records member’s fitness activity. It’s great for people who like “gadgetry.”

To monitor progress, tweak goals, review routine, and provide encouragement though, four shorter follow-up Coach Approach sessions happen monthly over 4 months.

Varity and Awareness Key:

If none of the above options fits, Landiak takes the time to figure what will, sometimes it’s how to stretch or a couple options for a certain muscle group. Once, it was a bride to be and her bride’s maid who wanted “toned arms and backs” for the wedding day.

It’s the variety of people who show up Landiak enjoys. “Some are happy go lucky, super talkative, some shy or timid or “deadly serious” -just give me the meat and potatoes, get it over with.” Those with no exercise knowledge and starting from scratch he appreciates too, “because they’ve formed no bad habits yet.”

Coach Approach Landiak believes is particularly beneficial for people who have not been exercising regularly or who are returning to exercise after a long period away. Sometimes too, he sets up fitness routine using only the Fitlinxx method, a program Starling believes is” highly underutilized.”

For more information on the Coach Approach program, please contact your YMCA branch.

Landiak believes it’s important to predict there might be obstacles to maintaining a regular exercise routine “so people don’t think they’re alone, when they experience setbacks.”

That’s why, by the second session of Coach Approach, he’s already talking relapse prevention.  Goal setting and rewards are part of the discussion too. When people don’t show up” which happens about 30% of the time with no phone call to cancel, that’s frustrating for Landiak.

In my view, they’ve missed a golden opportunity. A Wellness appointment at Eau Claire YM can provide a flexible and powerful entry point to a wide range of resources. It’s an important early intervention for new YM members and those like me, who need a “tune-up.”

Though I won’t be qualifying to compete in the 2014 Calgary Stampede rodeo, what I will take away is much better; an individualized and realistic work-out program, structured and designed by staff who care, can make me laugh and who’ll be around for support.

Want to become a group fitness instructor?

YMCA Calgary has the Cycle leadership designations running this Fall!

YMCA Keyser Cycling Certification – Learn to lead indoor cycling classes.  You will receive the Keyser Cycle manual as part of the course.  You must have completed the YMCA Basic Theory or AFLCA Fitness Theory course as well as the YMCA Fundamentals of Group Fitness course to participate.  Currently group fitness certified instructors also qualify to participate in this course.

November 16th – 8:30am-5:30pm – course code 85311 – $150.00

For more information on becoming a fitness instructor, please talk to your branch fitness director. or call 403-269-6701 to register.

Fitness Flex Pass

Do you work shift work? Trying to work around your children’s schedule?

Why not try a Fitness Flex Pass with the YMCA – this flexible option allows you to drop in to specific registered programs at our Branches. (Please see your nearest branch for program options.)

1 time pass – $15

5 time pass – $70

Non Members:

1 time pass for – $17

5 time pass –   $80

Prices include GST

Please see member services for more information.

Resistance Training exclusively for Women at the Eau Claire YMCA

Join Elysia on Wednesday evenings 6:30-7:30pm to experience the benefits of resistance training, designed specifically for women.

Improve bone density, increase metabolism – the benefits of resistance training are many!

Starts TODAY!. Visit member services today to register.

October is National Popcorn Month

Popcorn was first discovered thousands of years ago by the people living in what is now Peru. It is one of the oldest forms of corn; evidence of popcorn from 3600 B.C. was found in New Mexico, while even older evidence was found in Peru. It is estimated that these remnants date from as early as 4700 B.C.

During the Great Depression, popcorn was fairly inexpensive at 5–10 cents a bag and became popular. Thus, while other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived and
became a source of income for many struggling farmers. During World War II, sugar rations diminished candy production, and Americans compensated by eating three times as much popcorn as they had before.[4]

Each kernel of popcorn contains a certain amount of moisture and oil. Unlike most other grains, the outer hull of the popcorn kernel is both strong and impervious to moisture and the starch inside consists almost entirely of a hard, dense type.[8]

As the oil and the water around the kernel are heated, they turn the moisture in the
kernel, which has a moisture-proof hull, into a superheated pressurized steam.
Under these conditions, the starch inside the kernel gelatinizes, softens, and becomes pliable. The pressure continues to increase until the breaking point of the hull is
reached: a pressure of about 135 psi (930 kPa)[8] and a temperature of 180 °C (356 °F).
The hull ruptures rapidly, causing a sudden drop in pressure inside the kernel and a corresponding rapid expansion of the steam, which expands the starch and proteins of the
endosperm into airy foam. As the foam rapidly cools, the starch and protein polymers set into the familiar crispy puff.[8] Special varieties are grown to give improved popping yield. Some wild types will pop, but the cultivated strain is Zea mays everta, which is a special kind of flint corn.

Air-popped popcorn is naturally high in dietary fiber and antioxidants,[20] low in calories and fat, and free of sugar and sodium.[21] This can make it an attractive snack to people with dietary restrictions on the intake of calories, fat, and/or sodium. For the sake of flavor, however, large amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium are often added to prepared popcorn, which can quickly convert it to a very poor choice for those on restricted diets.

Adding to popcorn’s wholesome reputation, researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania reported the popcorn has more antioxidant substances called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols have been linked to a reduction in heart disease and certain cancers. And, since it’s 100% whole grain, popcorn is also a great source of fiber – you get 5 grams in a 4 cup portion. That’s pretty impressive for a snack food.

Popcorn will never be a replacement of produce, which is brimming with essential nutrients and antiozidants not found in grains. But it’s still a terrific, low0cal munchie. You do have to steer clear of the varieties doused in butter, oik, and/or salt, ingredients that negate the health perks.

One particularly notorious example of this first came to public attention in the mid-1990s, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest produced a report about “Movie Popcorn”, which became the subject of a widespread publicity campaign. The movie theaters surveyed used coconut oil to pop the corn, and then topped it with butter or margarine. “A medium-size buttered popcorn”, the report said, “contains more fat than a breakfast of bacon and eggs, a Big Mac and fries, and a steak dinner combined.”[22] The practice continues today. For example, according to, a small popcorn from Regal Cinema Group (the largest theater chain in the United States)[23] still contains 29 g of saturated fat,.[24] the equivalent of a full day-and-a-half’s reference daily intake.[25]

Your best bet is “naked” air-popped popcorn, made with a hot air popper. Popped without any oik, this diet-friendly snack “weighs in” at just 30 calories per cup. That’s a steal in the snack workd, considering a cup of potato chips will cost you 150 calories and the same portion of “snack mix” clocks in at 220.

Microwave popcorn is convenient, but it has its drwwbacks, even if you choose the light or low0fat varieties. Diacetyl and related compounds used in “artficial butter flavoring” can cause lung disease when inhaled in large quantities, such as by factory workers employed at microwave popcorn manufacturing plants. And most bags are coated with PFCs )perfluorinate compoounds), chemicals that have been shown to suppress immune function in children and cuase cancer in animals. In fact, most manufacturers are working on phasing out use of this chemical.

For your own microwave popcorn simply pour 3-4 tablespoons plain kernels into a brown paper lunch bag, fold over the top of the bag twice to seal it closed, and microwave for about 2 minutes or until the popping slows to a few seconds between pops.  (cook time will vary depending on the microwave, so it may take you a few tries to figure out the perfect pop time for your unit.)

If you are looking to add some personality to your popcorn, experiment with these ideas:

– Lightly mist with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and black pepper.

– Sprinkle with chili powder and a dash of coarse sea salt

Top with nutritional yeast, a vegan source of vitamin B-12 for a cheese-like flavor

Make traditional air-popped corn into a modest-calroie sweet treat by mixing one cup of popcorn with dark chocolate shavings and a dusting of cinnamon.



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    Was Popular in Ancient Peru, Discovery Suggests”
    20 January 2012.
  2. Jump up ^ “Study
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    . BBC News. 19 January
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  3. Jump up ^ “History
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  4. Jump up ^ “Encyclopedia
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  5. Jump up ^ “United
    States Department of Agriculture – 1982 Popcorn Report”
  6. Jump up ^ Reports
    for other years also available
  7. Jump up ^ Office
    of the Governor: Rod R. Blagojevich — Governor (2003-08-04). “Governor
    Signs Official Snack Bill: School Project Becomes Law”
    release). Illinois Government News Network. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
  8. ^ Jump up to: a
    c Lusas & Rooney, p. 388.
  9. Jump up ^
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    . Wyandot Popcorn Museum. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
  11. Jump up ^ “Making
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    . fissionchips. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  12. Jump up ^ “Popcorn Hammer”. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
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  16. Jump up ^ “Popping
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    . The Popcorn Board. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  17. Jump up ^ Hallauer, p. 213.
  18. ^ Jump up to: a
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  19. Jump up ^ Smith, Andrew F. (1999). Popped
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    . Univ of South
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  20. Jump up ^ Hills,
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  21. Jump up ^ Nicole
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    Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  22. Jump up ^ Grimes,
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    . New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  23. Jump up ^ “Regal
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  24. Jump up ^ “Regal
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  25. Jump up ^ “FDA Daily
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  26. Jump up ^ “Prevent
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  27. Jump up ^ Geis,
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  28. Jump up ^ “Popcorn
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    . Martha Stewart Living. 12 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  29. Jump up ^ “How to
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  30. Jump up ^ “Pop
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  31. Jump up ^ “Real
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