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Wellness Ambassador

Wellness Blog

Why Strength Training Is Important For Women

Canadians are encouraged to aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week.  That’s 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  I know that many find this number difficult to achieve and struggle with finding time to exercise.  I see many of my clients incorporating walking, running, hiking and other cardiovascular activities into their day.  This is excellent!  One important element to also consider is strength training.  This form of exercise has a number of health benefits and shouldn’t be overlooked.  Some benefits of include:

  • increased bone density & muscle tone
  • increased metabolism and after burn
  • improved posture
  • improved strength, balance, muscle endurance, coordination and stability
  • boosts immune system and mood
  • prevention of muscle imbalances/weaknesses
  • reduction of injuries
  • improves motor patterns and optimizes function

Often times, women feel that strength training will give them big muscles.  Women come to me and tell me they don’t want to get bulky, just toned.  Ladies, this is a huge myth!  It is very difficult for women to get bulky and in fact, strength training builds muscle, muscle is dense and takes up less space than fat.  More muscle = a leaner look.  Just take a look at this picture, comparing five pounds of muscle to five pounds of fat.  Which one takes up less space?

So, what is strength training?  Do you have to be in a gym for hours at a time?  No!  Strength training includes:

  • Body weight exercises like push ups, squats and planks
  • Band exercises like rows and extensions
  • Ball exercises
  • Dumbbells
  • Machines

Where to start? If possible, find out what’s weak/tight/imbalanced from an educated professional.  Ensure your strength workout is balanced and includes hip, core and scapular stabilization work.  It doesn’t take much.  A few squats, push ups and planks can go a long way.  Even 10 minutes twice a week can have an impact.  Try sneaking in a few reps after a walk, when you wake up or when brushing your teeth (squats and single leg balances work well here).

Happy training!


Sarah is a Registered Kinesiologist, Certified Exercise Physiologist, NeuroKinetic Therapy Practitioner, Group Fitness Instructor and co-owner of Continuum Fitness in Westboro. She studies Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa and graduated with honours with a minor in Biology. Sarah is a former international fitness competitor and was fortunate to represent Canada at the Ms Fitness Worls competition four times. Sarah enjoys spending time with her partner and two girls.

Wellness Blog

Meditation Myth: Meditation Made Easy

By Maddalena Simms, CNP, RYT, PMI, CRM

There are so many people doing Yoga now than ever before, but there are not as many people practicing Meditation.  There is much information, and perspectives, out there about Meditating that might make this practice seem way too difficult to achieve.  Here are just a few myths that might be reasons why people choose not to Meditate regularly.


I have no time

This couldn't be further than the truth, Meditation can happen in one breath.  In fact, a minute of deep breathing in and out of your nose can drastically improve your mood and perspective.  It doesn't have to be a long practice, there are more benefits to a regular practice, consider quality over quantity!  Over time, a regular meditation practice will re-wire the brain to react less to the stresses that occur in everyday life, this gives us more time for the things that matter.


Its uncomfortable (to sit like a Yogi)

I'm sure that the mental image of meditation in most minds is a person sitting lotus pose, chanting in some language sitting on a mountain top, or something!  The truth is most people wouldn't be comfortable, and if your sitting in pain, you wont be able to relax!  The first thing you need to do before starting your meditation is find a comfortable seat, this can be in a chair, or even a recliner, wherever you are, get comfortable.  Avoid laying down, 9 out of 10 times you will fall asleep.  Allow yourself to become comfortable while still being aware.


I'm not a spiritual/religious person

Although there are many religious and spiritual paths that incorporate meditation, there are more and more people that don't follow any spiritual/religious path are adopting a meditation practice.  The fact is for many decades there have been a rise in scientific research proving the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of a regular practice.  As long as you can breathe, you can meditate. 


I cant silence my mind

We don't come to meditation because our minds are quiet and focused, we come to meditation because we want to practice quieting and focusing our minds.  Its not so much that we are trying to shut off our thoughts, we are training ourselves to observe our thoughts without dwelling, angering, or forcing them away.  Observe the thought, and let it go, and be ok if more thoughts pour in.


I have close my eyes

You don't have to close your eyes to be meditating, in fact, if your just starting  keep your eyes at half mass, gazing at a spot on the ground in front of you.  You want to limit eye movement as much as you can.  Eventually, your gaze will pass the focus point into a relaxed stare.  You can achieve the most peaceful meditation practice with your eyes open.


Meditation is difficult

Everything that is a new practice may be difficult at first, but with some practice it becomes easier, and desirable!   Mindfulness meditation can take place anywhere, anytime!  If your on a buss going to work or school, you can look down to the ground, or close your eyes (if your in a chair) and breath deeply and evenly through your nose for the duration of the trip - that is meditation!  Cant get easier than that!


There must be silence to meditate

You can meditate in silence, there are many different ways to meditate and in silence is just one way.  There are many meditations that involve listening to music, nature sounds, or recordings of guided meditations.  Some people gain much benefit from meditating with music, and others need silence.  The best thing to do is experiment with different variations, and go with what works for you!



If you don't follow the rules, your not actually meditating

There are some texts that date back 5000 years ago that have specific ways and rules to meditate, but the research shows that all kinds of meditation have the same results, and that is it re-wires the brain to react less to the stressors in everyday life.  However you chose to organize your meditation practice, the most import thing to do is to practice regularly.  Don't worry about seeing results immediately, just give yourself the chance to try, what do you have to lose?  Or better yet, what will you have to gain?

Wellness Blog

Amy's Healthy Quarantine Snacks Event

Thank you so much for those who attended our virtual cooking event with Amy Longard. We hope you had as much fun as we did. If you're looking to make some of Amy's healthy snacks, but can't quite remember how she did it, we've got you covered. Within this blog you'll find a recap of her video, few of her recipes, some healthy snack options, and a few tips she mentioned. 

In case you missed it, here is the video!

Cherry Chocolate Nice Cream 

Chili Roasted Chickpeas 

Amy’s Special Hummus

Want to try more of Amy’s recipes: click here

Looking for products she mentioned? Find them below!


Dulse Seaweed

Zengarry Cashew Cheese

Evive Smoothies

Camino Chocolate

Enerjive Crackers 

Rise Kombucha 

Oat & Mill Ice Cream

All products listed above can be found at any of our 7 locations. You can visit our stores, or call 613-224-1414 to place an order.

Here are some other tips Amy mentioned:

  • Apricots make a great snack, especially when they are paired with nuts
  • Looking for a change? Try dipping your apple slices in peanut butter or cinnamon
  • Want a creative recipe? Try out Chocolate Avocado Pudding!
  • Add some cocoa powder and maple syrup in your Hummus recipe for a chocolate taste
  • If you’re a coffee enthusiast, make sure to drink 2 cups of water for every cup of coffee to stay hydrated. You can also find substitutes like green tea.

We had so much fun cooking with Amy that we're working on another virtual event for you very soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you're looking for some more educational health content, check out our Wellness-blog:


Thank you so much for participating and we can't wait to see you again soon!