12 Days of Healthful Holiday Tips – Day 5

To App or not to App?!

Our time is precious at this time of year, and really at every time of year so if there are options to help streamline such areas as fitness and nutrition, then why not give them a try! There are a multitude of apps available provide workouts to follow (and many many for weightloss/nutrition tracking, which we will review in another post!).

There are so so so many apps out there that have some sort of fitness or workout component, but they are NOT all created equal! Some are absolute fluff, some are ridiculous, and there are far too many for the ‘ladies’ that target just one area. As a general rule if you are looking for an app for home or gym workouts that is for general fitness, look for one with workouts that are well balanced (ex. include cardio, strength and core training) and that use compound movements (multiple joints acting at the same time during the exercise). Don’t be lured in by pretty pictures of rock hard abs or super toned legs, just because they have nice pics doesn’t mean their workouts will produce that!!

Here is a run down of some of the better apps out there, and better yet these are all FREE!


Workout Trainer – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skimble.workouts

This offers free workouts (with pictures and a ‘trainer’ to cue you); there is a decent list of workouts at the free level (you can upgrade to ‘Pro’ if you want to pay). Most of the workouts, however, don’t include a warm-up, so be sure to do 5-8 minutes of warm-up first!


Nike Training Club – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nike.ntc

Another option for free workouts; sign up process takes awhile as you have to download all of the workouts, but workouts are decent and there are options depending on your goals and current abilities.


Virtuagym Fitness Home & Gym – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=digifit.virtuagym.client.android

There are workouts for at home and in the gym; workouts are fairly rudimentary, but would do in a pinch


Sports Tracker – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stt.android

Great app for tracking performance and seeing progress.


The Fitness Ninja’s


12 Days of Healthful Holiday Tips – Day 4!

Holiday Potluck – What should I bring?

Written by: Instructor Stasia (aka The Optimistic Ninja!)

I love holiday parties! I love eating the different, rich and delicious appetizers and desserts that go along with attending these events. The problem for me is that sometimes I have hard time moderating what I eat because it is all so very delicious.

Tonight I am going to a potluck. I know that my mom is also attending and making butter tarts, one of my favorite desserts of all time. All week I have been running through possible appetizer recipes but nothing sang to me until I thought of this… I need to bring the healthiest thing I possibly can that I absolutely love to eat because I am assuming that everything else will be rich and heavy. What popped in my head after this thought? Veggies and hummus! At first it sounded sort of boring but this is something that is easy to prepare and is speaking to the way I have been trying to eat lately. I am not saying I won’t be sampling the other delicious food, but with a stomach full of veggies and hummus, I know I will eat less of the more calorie heavy treats. By the way, any time I have brought veggies and hummus to a gathering, other people have been thankful for the opportunity to eat something healthy as a break from all the other rich food.

I feel that making everything fresh (including cutting my own veggies) is surprisingly quick and easy. There are a million recipes for this but my partner and I have made this so many times that we have adapted the recipe to suit what is in our cupboards.

Here is my idea for tonight:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can of chick peas

1/4 cup of tahini (sesame seed butter – we have also tried it with peanut butter and almond butter)

1 whole roasted red pepper (you can roast your own or buy them in jars in the pickle aisle)

2 tbsp. of olive oil

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (to taste)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Cayenne pepper (just a dash – this is optional if you like it a little bit spicy)

I am allergic to garlic so I always leave it out. Most recipes will have you add a clove or so of garlic, to your liking.

Put the chick peas, tahini and red pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend it all up. Add lemon juice gradually (start by adding 1/2 and then go from there), mix and taste after each addition as you don’t want it to be too sour. Add salt and pepper to taste. It should be a nice balance of tangy, salty and smooth. You can add more roasted red pepper or omit it all together. Experiment with it from time to time to see what you can come up with as your own favorite recipe.

Prep time: 5 minutes – honestly! 

For veggies, choose whatever you like to eat but make it easy on yourself. Today I will cut up cucumber, carrots, celery, bell peppers and cauliflower. If this was just for us at home, I actually wouldn’t use cauliflower because I never have it in the fridge. Since this is for a party, I thought I would add one other choice. Broccoli, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes are really good suggestions too. Whatever works for your time and budget.

Prep time: 20 minutes 

I am actually making a double batch because this is something that will get eaten in my house this week. Hummus is great from a nutritional standpoint. It is an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Most often, it is served with pita or some other flat bread but I like serving it with veggies because I figure that you can never have enough raw vegetables in your diet!

12 Days of Healthful Holiday Tips – Day 3!

Fa La La La Lunge!

The holidays can be hectic, crazy, and incredibly busy (unless of course you’re lucky enough to have figured out that perfect formula of organization, early shopping and how to say no to overscheduling! Sadly I’m not one of the lucky, yet!). All of this craziness fosters the perfect opportunity to forgo your regular workouts for holiday cheer and shopping, shopping, shopping (wouldn’t it be great if shopping counted as a workout….. hmmmm maybe the next great MIJO Sport program, a shopping workout?!) But these are the barriers/obstacles that you should plan ahead for, having solutions for all of the great, mediocre and down right lame excuses you might like to use at this time of year. Here are some standard lines you might tell yourself throughout the holidays:

Line: “I just have no time because the holiday’s are so busy”

Solution: Schedule your workouts/activity into your day just like you would other appointments. Set a reminder in your phone, or highlight it in your daytimer. And better yet, book in a workout partner so that you are even more accountable! Also remember that you can split up your activities into smaller increments if you are pressed for time. 15-20minute segments 2-3 times a day works just the same as one longer workout!

Line: “I’ll relax now because I’m making it my News Years resolution to lose weight/exercise/be more healthy”

Solution: WHY WAIT!!!! Just because it is a New Year doesn’t mean you need to fall in to that trap of planning New Years resolutions that, lets me honest here, will likely never get accomplished. Make every effort and intention to start a more healthful lifestyle NOW. Make simple and small changes, like opting for more greens throughout your day, or choosing not to eat that fast food meal, slowly adding more healthful choices to your days. But get going NOW!

Line: “I’m travelling over Christmas, and it’s just too hard to fit in a workout”

Solution: Is it really that hard to pack a pair of sneakers, t-shirt and workout pants, really?!? There are so many quick and easy ways to sneak in a workout, whether you have access to a gym, or need to workout in your parents living room, or a hotel room. And you don’t even need any equipment, body weight and motivation will get you a kick butt workout! Check back on Day 4 for a list of great FREE fitness/workout apps that you can use on the go.

No matter what your obstacle, try to break through it, prove it wrong and stay active, healthy and fit throughout the holidays!

– The Fitness Ninja’s

12 Days of Healthful Holiday Tips – Day 2!

Think Outside the Sock!
Written by: Instructor Stasia (aka the Optimistic Ninja!)
The other day my spouse said to me, whilst conversing about shopping for stocking stuffers, “lets try to not get too much unnecessary stuff for each other, especially candy and chocolates.” I said, “okay, so no candy?” The response was, “well, candy is okay, but just a little.”
My brain works in funny ways, and usually it is at about 5:30am when I come up with the most interesting thoughts. That was the case this morning. I started thinking about the types of healthy stocking stuffers I could purchase that we both would like. For example, have you been down the cereal aisle of the grocery store lately, there are so many interesting types of granola. There are your typical brands which are pretty delicious…. and then they have these “fancy” artisan granolas as well, with interesting mixes and flavors. I personally love yogurt and granola! I sometimes spend a good 15 minutes at the store selecting the perfect type for my mood! Instead of overstuffing the stockings with unhealthy stuff that you know will get gobbled up first thing Christmas morning, what about tantalizing your loved one’s taste buds with a bag of “fancy” granola?!? Personally, I would love it! It would be something different and it wouldn’t hurt to try it once.
What about dried fruit? They have so many different types beyond your typical apple rings, apricot slices and raisons…. Lifestyles, the Market and Planet Organic have amazing selections of dried fruit. My favorite bag of dried mangos, no preservatives added, is a little expensive, but no more than a bag of chocolate bells at Purdy’s. I would be pretty happy with a selection of dried fruits in my stocking, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, INSTEAD of my chocolate bells!
Again, I am not saying that I would totally replace all goodies in the stocking with these options, and I am not sure kids would totally go for this. However, as adults, I imagine that receiving something a little different could be pretty fun! In addition to all of this, we are very fortunate on our island, to have a great number of people that create delicious things like homemade granola and fruit and nut mixes. If you are trying to purchase locally, check out your next holiday market and see if you can’t find interesting, healthier snacks to put in your loved ones stockings and then mix in less of the goodies. Try it! This might just change the way you do Christmas morning!
Think outside the sock!

12 Days of Healthful Holiday Tips – Guilt be Gone!

The holidays are here! Which means that nutritional temptation lurks around every corner, and indulging in any way will surely ruin all of the hard work we put in during the rest of the year, right?!?

Well not quite…. we all spend far too much time feeling guilty over, beating ourselves up about and generally feeling conflicted about what we should and shouldn’t eat during the holiday season. The bottom line is this, indulgence is OK, eating things that are good is OK, and enjoying said things is definitely OK! Ultimately a calorie is still a calorie, whether it comes from a healthful (but not always appealing) piece of broccoli, or from a delicious (but not always healthful) butter tart. If you are enjoying your holiday treats within, or nearly within, the construct of your normal nutritional allowance no harm will come of it. For example if you normally consume 2400 calories a day, having some of those calories coming from some of the sweeter things in life (and oh so many good things come to mind!) won’t ruin you or your health goals.

Yes we should all aim for less processed, more fresh and whole foods, but extreme restriction, ex not allowing yourself any of the  foods you really enjoy even when you really really want them, will only lead to problems down the road. How long can you sustain this restriction, for a month, a year, can you really say no to the things you enjoy for the rest of your life?? And why? Enjoying foods you like in moderation is far better than going to the extremes of attempting to cut them out entirely, better for you mentally and ultimately physically as it will decrease the likelihood of binge eating later on and hopefully help you avoid the disordered eating that has so unfortunately become the ‘norm’.

Now it isn’t to say that these very enjoyable foods can’t also be healthful at the same time, I recently met a very very tasty vegan chocolate pudding made from avocado’s, we’ve become lifelong friends very quickly. So if you can turn your indulgence into a partially healthful experience at the same time you’re even more ahead of the game.

Bottom line don’t restrict yourself unnecessarily, don’t make yourself victim of your own guilt trips and don’t stress so much over the small moments of nutritional joy you have over the holidays. So go forth, eat, be merry and above all enjoy the moments that really matter (and these moments do not include guilt over one cookie you ate earlier today!).

In health and training,

The Fitness Ninja’s



2013 BCRPA BCFit Conference

We’re happy to announce that we have been invited back this year to present on Sport Combat at the 2013 BCFit Conference, held at Capilano College in September 2013. If you are a fitness professional, this conference is a fantastic way to earn CEC’s as well as learn and experience from trailblazers in the industry. Join us this year to learn how to effectively incorporate punching and kicking drills into your clientele’s training.

Spring Cleaning!

Spring has nearly sprung, and while you may be busy doing spring cleaning around your house it’s also a great time to think about ‘cleaning-up’ your fitness and nutrition routines!

Start by cleaning up those bad habits, you know the ones, those sneaky habits like eating too much at dinner, or skipping your workout because it’s raining out! Make simple changes that are not hard to keep up, here are a few you can try:

– stick to reasonable portion sizes at all meals


– Drink water, water and more water!

– Workout when you’ve got the most energy, so it won’t be a struggle to do it

– It’s light out longer now, so get outside and go for a walk or jog, it’s free and the fresh air will do you wonders

– Quality always wins out over quantity! A short but intense workout is always better than a long drawn out leaisurly workout, so make the most of your time!

– Ditch the junk; we believe in having everything in moderation, so keep the ‘junky’ food to a minimum

So as you clean out every nook and cranny at home, also take the time to clean up your health and wellness routine, come summer you’ll be thanking yourself!

In health & training,

MIJO Sport Team


Join us for the first MIJO Fitness Challenge of 2012!

Put Away the Scale until February 15th!!

Too often we get caught up in the weight we ‘should’ be and become far too focused on the dreaded number on the scale. So lets move away from the choke hold that our scales often have on us and track our fitness the old fashioned way… by how we feel, how our clothes fit and the energy we have. We’re not saying that you should never check the scale, but that society has placed so much emphasis on your ‘number’ that we lose sight of our overall health and become fixated on the scale.

Lets see how many of us can last until Feb 15th without so much as a peek. Find us on Facebook and post about this challenge, how it makes you feel etc etc. Those that complete the challenge will be entered in a draw for some great prizes!

Remember, you’re NUMBER does not define you or your fitness level, so this month embrace your number and put that scale away.

Good luck!

MIJO Sport Team