Pre-Workout Eats

yogurt and berries
Pre-Workout Eats

Forget about soda, chips, and fried foods. Give your body fuel for your workout by eating the right things before you hit the gym. The right snacks can provide you with the right balance for fuel, building muscle, burning fat, satisfying hunger and aiding in recovery. Eat your snack 30-60 minutes before your workout.

Some of my favourite pre-workout eats are:


Parfait Okay!
Plain yogurt with strawberries and whole grain cereal or unsweetened granola will give you healthy (and sweet!) boost.


Oatmeal Mania
A small bowl of steel cut oats with some dried or fresh fruit and sliced almonds. Especially great when it’s chilly outside. Mmmm….


PBA – Peanut Butter and Apple
Slice up an apple and dip in PB. Yum.


PBBT – Peanut Butter Banana Toast
For a slightly heavier snack (or the perfect breakfast) try 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with sliced banana on whole grain toast. Banana and PB go so well together.


A hard-boiled egg spread with hummus gives a boost of protein.


Did you notice anything about this snack list?

Simple food.

Natural food.

Small servings.

Protein powder and supplements can be useful. But sometimes your best bet is to stick with simple snacks made of simple ingredients. Fruit, whole grains and the like. They provide tasty combinations of carbs, proteins, fats and various nutrients your body needs. Small servings will help you avoid the dreaded stomach ache and cramps during your workout.

banana PB toast
*Photos: Flickr – Penn Waggener & Jen Waller

Fran – Why the ‘Y’

Why I like the ‘Y’

As a former Master Swimmer/competitor for over 35 years, my passion for the water has resulted in a rotator cuff injury which grounded me for about a year and one-half.  I’ve learned that sometimes a negative can turn into a positive and it did in this circumstance.

I moved back to Calgary in May 2013 and joined the Shawnessy YMCA in September of that same year. Initially, my pool work-outs were restrained for fear that I would do additional damage to my shoulder.

In January 2014, I joined the FitLinxx Program at the South Health Campus where I combined cardio work-outs and added weight work-outs to my daily routine.  I met with Wellness Coach Sydney Taylor who developed a program designed to help me work through my injuries. She was extremely knowledgeable and encouraging and in a short time I rapidly gained strength, energy, and lost weight which has resulted in an immense improvement to my shoulder and has significantly improved my swimming ability.

Swimming and keeping fit have been vital components which have kept me grounded due to the inflexibilities and pressures of a military wife worrying about the safety of my husband while being deployed in conflict zones and several moves across the country and to Europe.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, I was a YMCA member in Calgary, Kingston, and Owen Sound.  In the smaller communities such as Chilliwack, Petawawa and in Germany, the Military Fitness Centres were my comfort zones.  The YMCA family relates in essence to the Military family as it provides a sense of belonging and the parallels are similar. I return to the YMCA for social connections, building my immune system, enhancing mood, and to gain more strength, balance and flexibility.

On the social side, a fun-filled and competitive friendship developed with my work-out buddy Richard. We’ve encouraged each other in our pursuit to become healthier senior citizens and in doing so we have shared many stories, jokes, and banter.  The richness forged from our friendship has resulted in me gaining more knowledge about the Stem Cell Transplant Program.  He has shared his journey about his brush with cancer and his commitment and dedication to his fitness regimen, in his words, have provided him with a reprieve.


Pushing the envelope is a common characteristic of Richard’s, which has translated into my desire in trying to achieve the same level that he has accomplished.  His work ethic and positive attitude have been key elements in raising the standard of fitness that I would like to attain.  I’m not quite sure whether I’ll ever catch up to him on the FitLinxx Program, but the chase, the fun and mirth that we have shared along the way in trying to out-do one another has been exhilarating.

Fitness should be fun and it is, especially when working-out with a cherished friend!! The YMCA is truly a delightful place to make friends and to stay active, fit and healthy.

And that is why I like the ‘Y’.

South Health Campus YMCA
August 2014

10 Ways to Exercise as a Family

family fitness_43973329

Your kids have energy. Lots of it. Kids take up your time. Lot of it. You want to get in some exercise too. How do you fit it in?  Whether your goal is to build fitness, tone muscle, lose weight, or just get moving to loosen up the kinks in your back and neck from sitting all day – fitting that exercise in when you have kids can be a little challenging at times.

But what if you could exercise as a family? Your kids can burn off their excess energy before bed. You can work toward your fitness goals. And you get the added bonus of spending quality time together, laughing and making memories.

Try these 10 ways to exercise as a family and make healthy living a fun habit:

Go Outside

It may sound simple, but just heading out to the backyard or a nearby park with a soccer ball, a frisbee, or just the intention to have some fun can give you and the kids a great workout. Playing tag, throwing and catching balls or Frisbees, somersaults, swings and slides can all give a great cardio workout while also giving kids opportunities for important physical literacy development.

Family Walk-a-thon

Go for an after-dinner walk and see what you can discover. This can be fun for even the youngest of toddlers. Check out some ways to make a family walk fun here.


Hit the trails on a family bike ride. Convoy around your city’s bike paths and take rest stops at newly discovered playgrounds for games of tag or even monkey bar pull-ups. Find tips on bicycle safety here.

Obstacle Courses

Create obstacle courses inside or outside with tasks that each family member must complete before moving on. Hopscotch, 2 basketball baskets, 5 push ups, 10 burpees, 20 jumping jacks, 15 seconds balancing on one foot – a lot of exercises can be incorporated into a fun game that everyone can play.

Child Free-Weights

Turn your kids into free weights like this dad. It’s fun for them and an even tougher workout for you –real weights don’t giggle and squirm.

Race Training

If your kids are older and interested, why not train together for a 5K or 10K race? Lots of charities plan fundraising funs and this can turn into a great bonding time for parent and child while also being a positive learning opportunity about hard work and helping others.

Fitness Challenges

Allow each family member to pick an exercise such as 10 jumping jacks, 20 crunches, or 6 flights of stairs that each person will try to do every day for the competition timeframe. You can create a fun chart to track everyone’s totals. Don’t forget to agree on a prize beforehand!

Birthday Activities

Turn birthdays into activity-focused adventures instead of stuff. Go to the zoo, go skiing or tobogganing, try a new sport, go for a hike or a canoe ride. The gift will last a lot longer as – and the adventure will include everyone.

Get Your Groove On

Crank up your favourite tunes and take turns teaching each other your best (or craziest) dance moves.

TV Workouts

Have a favourite family TV show? Make it into a workout with jumping jacks, push-ups or running in place during the commercial breaks. Or, if you record or watch on Netflix, make the show your workout guide. Every time character A cooks or character B laughs, do 10 push-ups. Every time the theme song plays, do 20 jumping jacks. You can find lots of guides online for various TV shows, or make up your own.


How do you exercise with your family?

6 Tasty & Healthy Snacks for Kids


Forget cookies, granola bars and regular chips. Here are some fun, tasty, and healthy snacks your kids will love.

Frozen yogurt strawberries

For the sweet tooth, dip strawberries in vanilla-flavoured greek yogurt and lay them on a tray lined with wax paper. Place in the freezer for a few hours so the yogurt hardens. You can coat and freeze them once or twice. It’s pretty, it’s fun, and it’s packed with flavour!

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches

As long as there are no nut (or banana) allergies, slice a few bananas into medium-sized coins. Lay them out in pairs and add a ½ teaspoon of peanut butter on one row. Stack the remaining slices on top to create little sandwiched. Place in a wax paper lined container and freeze. Pop them out for a bite-sized sweet snack.

Apples and Cheese

Slice up some apples. Slice up some cheese. Simple. Tasty.

Fruit Kabobs

One of my favourite snacks when I was a kid. Mom would slice up fruit and my brothers and I got to slide the slices onto wooden skewers in as many different patterns as we liked. Apple slices, banana slices, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, orange slices, watermelon cubes. Tasty, all natural, and fun! Draw some patterns for your kids to follow and make it a contest to see who can follow the pattern.

Homemade Popsicles

Make your own flavours without the added sugar. Again, another great one for kids to get involved in. Allow children to pick their favourite fruits, puree them in the blender and pour into molds purchased from the dollar or grocery store. Add some coconut water if the mixtures are a little too thick. Then place in the freezer and wait a few hours. If you know the day will be scorching, make popsicles in the morning just after breakfast and they should be ready by mid-afternoon!

Homemade Potato Chips

For those who prefer a saltier flavour, try four ingredient homemade chips. Ingredients: potato, salt, garlic powder, onion powder. Microwave thin potato slices for 6 minutes between sheets of parchment paper. It can take some time to make a good size batch, but the fun of making your own potato chips can definitely make it worth it.


What are your kids’ favourite snacks? Tweet them to us or share them on our Facebook page.

Food Drive Time


This summer will mark the 15th Annual YMCA Calgary Kids in Motion and Day Camps Food Drive!  This year’s food drive will take place the week of August 11th, 2014.  Keep your eyes open for enthusiastic YMCA kids and youth who will be collecting food donations in your community in support of the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank.

We will also be accepting nonperishable food donations in our branches, so keep a look out for a box in your branch’s lobby. 

Kids in Motion and Daycamps will be collecting in the following sixteen communities on the following days:

Wednesday, August 13:
Connaught, Millican/Ogden, Vista/Mayland Heights, Marlborough Park, Falconridge

Thursday, August 14:
Rosscarrock, West Dover, Inglewood, Albert Park/Radisson Heights, Huntington Hills, Arbour Lake, Sunnyside, Altadore, Somerset, Martindale

Friday, August 15: 
Auburn Bay


What is Kids In Motion?

YMCA Kids in Motion (KIM) is a summer outreach program that gives elementary school aged children (ages 9-12) the opportunity to volunteer in meaningful community projects in their neighbourhoods such as the food drive, community gardens, working with community organizations or older adults. As a reward for their work, the participants get to enjoy recreational activities they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do like swimming, outdoor activities and visits to local attractions. KIM lets participants learn about community responsibility and encourages community involvement, caring for others and teamwork. Children also gain community service experience, have a chance to meet new friends, and gain increased self-confidence knowing they have helped to better their communities.


Our Sponsors

We would like to recognize and extend a big thank you to our Food Drive sponsors this year. Without their efforts and continued support the Food drive would not be possible!


Eagle Well Servicing operates a fleet of 65 mobile, freestanding single, double and slant service rigs from centres throughout Western Canada. With an industry leading operations team and state-of-the-art rigs, Eagle rises above the rest when it comes to safe, efficient, functional well servicing.

Staff from Eagle Well Servicing will be donating their valuable time to helping the food get from the communities to the Food Bank.  In addition, they will be donating a considerable amount of food themselves.

Southland Transportation Ltd. is committed to safety and service in the people transportation business. Southland operates school, charter, commuter and specialized transportation buses throughout Alberta and in Saskatchewan.

Southland Transportation Ltd. will be the main form of transportation for a Kid’s in Motion group during August 13, 2014. The busing company will follow a group of children through the Connaught community and pick up any donated food. Southland Transportation Ltd will then drive the kids to the Food Bank to participate in the festivities and help unload and weigh food.

50 Reasons to Get Active

Inspired by Neila Rey’s 50 Reasons to Exercise list and Participaction’s 52 Reasons to be Active in 2014, I’ve challenged myself to a new project.

Why not try to inspire people to develop healthy habits by creating appealing images displaying different reasons to get active and exercise?

So, for the next few months, a new inspiring Reason to Get Active will be released via our social media every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Follow  YMCA_Calgary on Twitter or Like YMCA Calgary on Facebook to follow along.

Let’s begin!

Here is our very first of 50 Reasons to Get Active:


Feel free to share on your own Facebook and Twitter accounts.
#moreplayeveryday #movemore #getactive

Tabata for Weight Loss

Dance Fitness Group_98284244

Tabata Bootcamp is a 9-week program designed to help you achieve your goals of weight-loss, toning, fitness & increased energy through 4 components:

  • Exercise Program
  • Nutritional Guidance
  • Social Support & Motivation
  • Assessment &  Results Tracking

Exercise Program

Attend 3 group classes each week and do daily 7-minute workouts at home using the Tabata Bootcamp website.

Nutritional Guidance

Attend 4 group sessions with a Registered Nutritionist to learn how to:

  • complete a food journal
  • make healthy choices and understand why they are healthy
  • track your calorie intake
  • manage your portion control

Social Support & Motivation

Motivation and support from others is a key part of reaching your health goals. Connect daily with your coach and your peer group. Get to know other participants who have similar health and lifestyle goals.

Assessment &  Results Tracking

Get help assessing and tracking your progress so you can really see the difference your hard work is making.

Space is Limited. Register Today!

9 Week Program begins Monday, September 15, 2014
Crowfoot YMCA- 403-547-6576

Cost: $300 for YMCA Members $399 for General Public

Members can register online (Course Code# 96028)

Contact Bogi for more information.

Reach for your goals today!

Richard – Why the ‘Y’

Why I like the ‘Y’

I became a senior member of the YMCA in April 2013. I was sixty-nine. My wife persuaded me to join because she thought that I needed more physical activity and social interaction. Or did she just want me out of the house? Regardless of her motives, it was great advice.

A staff trainer, Laura Byford-Richardson, got me started. She balanced my goals with my age, physical abilities and state of health. Three years earlier I had a deadly form of cancer that went into remission after a blood stem cell transplant. So my main goal was to remain healthy and avoid other problems that occur with aging like heart disease and diabetes. She designed an initial program for me and showed me how to use the equipment. And so it began. By last July I was hooked. My body now craved exercise. And then I discovered FitLinxx. It goaded me to do better. It got my dormant, competitive juices flowing again. I actually wanted to beat the monthly performance of other members. And I did occasionally earning words of encouragement and praise from Laura.

It is now fifteen months later. My physical goals have been met. I have lost substantial weight. I have lowered my blood pressure and cholesterol to safe levels. I can sustain long, strenuous workouts. I feel more alive. I have no new health issues and my cancer is still at bay.

But how have I done socially? The staff and the community atmosphere of the gym gave me the confidence to meet other members. After all, we shared a common interest, the pursuit of physical fitness and we saw each other frequently. Our brief hellos have led to conversations and in time, to friendships.

And that is how I met Fran. We ran into each other when we were both headed to the same weight machine. Somehow this encounter led to war stories about shoulder injuries and the beginning of a new friendship. We wound up doing our cardio together in a corner of the gym with Fran on the Cross Trainer and me, beside her, on the Stationary Bicycle. Like a typical male, I thought she was going to slow me down. Then I found out that she was a former Masters competitive swimmer, still swims two miles per week and spends hours at the gym using most of the weight machines. It was I who was going to be the laggard. But Fran is gracious and she always makes time for our cardio workouts.

People on Cardio Machines
When we exercise together we have conversations on a wide range of subjects: life, family, health, etc. These conversations inevitably descend into moments of breathless laughter. Fran is very funny. We also encourage and advise each other. And so the time passes quickly and the physical exertion seems less demanding. Exercising with a partner like Fran adds fun to an experience that sometimes can feel like work.

And that is why I like the ‘Y’.

Richard Cross
South Health Campus YMCA
July 2014

Skip the Line and Register Online!

It’s time for Fall Program Registration!

YMCA members can register starting Monday, July 28. Non-member registration begins Monday, August 18.

 Enjoy great programs like:

  • children’s & adult swimming classes
  • wall climbing
  • deep water running
  • basketball
  • outdoor bootcamp
  • floor hockey
  • belly dancing
  • fitness instructor training
  • sport conditioning
  • martial arts like capoeira and hap ki do
  • yoga
  • pre and post-natal fitness classes
  • power lifting
  • and more!

Check out our Program Guides for descriptions, dates, and times.

3 Ways to Register

You can register by phone, in person, or online on Member Zone (YMCA Members only).

Member Zone is your online hub to register online, print receipts, and view or change YMCA account information.

Online Registration Tips:

        • As a YMCA member, you already have a Login account.
        • You need to know your Login ID and Family PIN.

Get your Login Information

Call your YMCA Calgary location to get your LogIn information OR:

1.  Visit Click on Login.


2.  Click on Forgot Login Information?


3.  Enter your email address and your Login info will be sent to you. If you do not know the email address you signed up with, contact your YMCA location and they will be happy to send you your Login ID and Family PIN.


A Waterfall


When was the last time you went for a walk in nature? Just walked for the sake of walking? of observing the leaves and the rocks? the light and the sky?

The other day I did just that. Went for a walk in nature. My husband and I were on Vancouver Island and were exploring. We went to Goldstream Provincial Park to walk to a waterfall.

We walked along the trail.

We didn’t talk very much.

We just looked.

We looked at the rocks at our feet.

We looked at the trees and leaves around us.

We looked at the moss.

We looked at the light filtering through the forest.

We looked at the waterfall.

When we arrived at its base, I sat on a rock and just observed. Just listened to the sounds of the water,  the wind, the leaves.

It was peaceful.

It was relaxing.

It was refreshing.