Tag Archives: active

Active Exercise Recovery

You train hard and recovery is an important part of that program.  Recovery is important for many reasons.  Recovery allows the body time to adapt to a workout program.  It allows time for the body to repair tissue that has been damaged working out as well as replenishing depleted energy stores.  It also allows the body the rest required to keep from over training and eventually burning out.

Active recovery really means a day off – from your program.  That means that you take a day to live your life actively or doing a workout that is less intense.  This could be walking the dog, enjoying a yoga class, going for a swim or bike ride, hiking, stretching, or even grabbing a foam roller for some much needed self-myofascial release (SMR).

Rest and relaxation refers to the down time away from training altogether, allowing the body the needed time to do those tissue repairs, strengthen, and replenish.


YMCA Strong Kids 5K, 10K and Family Fun Run

YMCA Strong Kids 5K, 10K & Family Fun Run

Participate with your family and friends in the Strong Kids 5/10k and Family Fun Run! Sign-up as a team,support the YMCA and enjoy a fun and healthy event along the bank sof the Bow River. All proceeds help children and youth reach their potential!


Eau Claire YMCA | Saturday, May 2, 2015
5K and 10K Race 9:00am
1.5K Family Fun Run 10:30am

Adults $35 ($30 before March 1)
Youth (8Y –17Y) $20 ($15 before March 1)
Kids (7Y & under) $10 (includes t-shirt & medal)

Register Online Now!


Get a Good Start to September at the Saddletowne YMCA

friends workout-web_50748649

The first week of September is Demo Week at the Saddletowne YMCA!  Incorporate a free class into your weekly workout, try a new sport or fitness routine, and meet our amazing instructors.

Click here to see a full schedule of the exciting demo classes we are offering from September 1st – 7th.  Call your neighbors, siblings, parents and nephews and attend with a friend!

We look forward to seeing you at the Saddletowne YMCA this fall!

Steve Elliot- Program Manager

10 Tips for Biking Safely

Men with bikes

10 Tips for Biking Safely

Biking is a fun and healthy family activity, and a great way to get from A to B. But don’t forget about some basic safety tips.

1 – Wear a well-fitting helmet. Everyone should wear a helmet, even adults and toddlers in bike trailers. The helmet should be snug and cover the forehead, two fingers should fit between the chin strap and chin. By law, all cyclists under 18 need to wear a helmet. Four provinces in Canada have laws that all cyclists must wear a helmet.

2 – Know your hand signals. Let the cars and people around you know what you’re going to do. You can find hand signals here.

3 – Have a bell and use it. Again, let cyclists and pedestrians around you know what you’re going to do, especially when you are coming up behind them to pass.

4 – Know what’s around you. Be aware of possible hazards around you, including other vehicles, road or path conditions, pedestrians, pets, and even parked cars.

5 – Be cautious coming down hills or going around blind corners. Remember that the uphill cyclist has the right of way.

6 – Walk your bike on crosswalks. Crosswalks are for pedestrians, so become a pedestrian by walking your bike. If you would like to ride through the intersection, remember to remain a vehicle and cross the intersection on the roadway rather than in the crosswalk.

7 – Only ride on bike paths or the street and give way to pedestrians. When you are riding your bike you are a vehicle (ie. car). Sidewalks, like crosswalks, are for pedestrians.

8 – Obey the rules of the road. Again, when you are riding your bike, you are a vehicle. Stop at stop signs and red lights, stay in your lane, pass on the left, ride single file, go with, not against, the flow of traffic and give pedestrians the right of way.

9 – Wear bright colours so you can be seen. Cars, other cyclists, and pedestrians can’t see you if it’s getting dark and you’re wearing all black.

10 – Have a reflector or light if you plan on biking during dusk or dark. You’re a lot smaller than a car and drivers have a lot less visibility. Be seen.

CAA has a great Bike Safety website with tips for cyclists and drivers to share the road, a quiz and even a cyclist road test. If you ride on the road a lot, check it out.

Read our blog post about 6 Great Things About Biking here.

It’s YYC Bike Month!

Family Biking


The City of Calgary has declared June to be Bike Month. There are events throughout June all over the city.

Check out the City of Calgary’s website for events and a fun checklist of things to with your bike.

There’s even an iphone with maps of the City of Calgary’s Pathways & Bikeways! (I’ve downloaded it and it’s great!)


6 Great Things About Biking

1 — You can cycle alone or with a group. My husband and I love biking together on the paths along the Bow River, the trails in Fish Creek Park, or on trails in Canmore and Banff.

2 – It’s free! Yes, you need a bike – but the one-time cost opens up an infinite number of days of free activities.

3 – Anyone can go on a bike ride! Babies can ride in seats or trailers, toddlers can ride tricycles or bicycles with training wheels, and kids and youth can get their very own bikes in whatever colour they choose. I grew up going on family bike rides along the trails in Red Deer – a caravan of six bicycles in a row, Dad leading and Mom being a watchful rearguard.

4 – Biking is easy on the joints. My brother has had multiple knee surgeries and running is just too painful now, but biking he can do with ease.

5 – You get to be outside and see the scenery. One of the best parts of biking is discovering new paths, new neighbourhoods, and new areas of nature. You can enjoy warm weather and cooler weather alike, all you need is a light jacket and the exercise of pedaling to keep you warm.

6 – You can go fast or slow. Some folks enjoy the speed and the breeze, others prefer meandering along quiet paths or streets. I love seeing how fast I can get going, then tackling a big hill, and then I cool down with a slow meandering pedal through a neighbourhood and enjoy the scenery of nature and the always interesting diversity among the facades of older homes.


Before you head out on your family bike ride, check out our 10 Tips for Biking Safely blog post.


Short & Sweet

It’s that time again, Short & Sweet Programming is being offered, set to begin next week!
This winter, Shawnessy YMCA is featuring 3 Short & Sweet (6 week) options for you to try out:

Aqua Boot Camp (ABC) – Mondays at 9:30am – ABC will challenge your senses, pushing you harder than in any other Aquatic Fitness class you’ve tried before!
Pre-Natal Yoga – Thursdays at 6:30pm – Calling all Moms-to-be!  Pre-Natal yoga will teach you relaxation techniques, breathing, and centering for the big day.  It will also focus on postures and positions that have proven to be helpful for you when bringing your bundle of joy into the world.
Stress Reduction & Meditation – Fridays at 11:00am – Let go of stresses that affect your daily life and find peace within.  This class is designed to allow you the time to learn how to truly relax and take time out of your day for yourself.

Short Sessions, Sweet Prices!

Do You Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson Five

Lesson Five: Don’t be fresh from the Febreze factory

When a person is lifting weights there is a short period of time in between sets where it is good to take quick breather to rejuvenate your muscles. However, there are many who abuse this time and decide to turn a quick breather (30 seconds – 1 minute) into a time of shameless sloth and lounging. I speak of the people who sit on a bench for 5+ minutes just cruising on their iPod or talking with friends. Working out with friends can definitely be beneficial, especially for spotting and motivation but I want to see people enjoy themselves at the gym, but also be effective weight lifters as well.

A great way to burn more calories and get more from your workout is to simply speed up. Don’t speed up your reps as that will result in lower muscle development and a higher chance of injury. Instead, speed up the time in between sets. Give yourself enough time to recover from a set, but then hop right back into the swing of things. If you are working out with a partner, the time that the other person takes to finish one set is more than enough for your recovery time. Stay focused and keep hammering the weights.

At the end of your workout, if your muscles are not tender and your shirt looks and smells like you just purchased it fresh from the Febreze factory, you are doing something wrong. If there is not a bead of sweat on you and you don’t even consider a long, hot shower before your next class or meeting, you are doing something wrong.

Under Armour runs a beautiful campaign surrounding the phrase “Sweat every day”. This campaign involves striking visual images of men and women pouring their heart into their various workouts. The intensity shown in these commercials is what I always strive for. There is something euphoric about being in the gym, pouring sweat, music blasting and knowing that you have given everything you have. On a physical and mental level, there is a peace that is found.

Make the most of your gym experience and truly put in the work. You will get out what you put in – that is a promise.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned in January for, “Don’t let our health vanish into the smoke”

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Five-Part Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Five-Part Series

Do you Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson Four

Lesson Four: Rockin’ Slippers and a Coffee Mug in the Squat Rack

Some days you don’t get enough sleep. Some days the coffee is simply not strong enough. Some days your alarm clock awakes you with a devious smile spread across its digital face. I get it. Everybody gets it because we have all been there.

In the midst of the morning haze the last thing on your mind is the gym! Ugh! What a thought! How could I possibly run and jump and lift weights and do anything but lay in my bed at this current time! Then there is the spark. I have experienced the spark many times as I tuck myself in to have a lovely nap. Right as you start drifting off to the land of blissful laziness the thought rips you out of bed like a drill sergeant. “What are you doing soldier! This is no time for naps! According to my watch, it is time MOVE, MOVE, MOOVVVEEE! GET TO THE GYM SOLDIER!”

Fueled by adrenaline, you punch the gas of your vehicle or ride the bus with twinkling eyes and a fire in your heart. As you reach the gym, you jog in, scan your id badge and feel like flopping right down on the desk and doing 30 push-ups just to show the staff that this is your time! YOUR TIME! You load up the bench press with 350 pounds even though you only weigh 137, look at it ready to conquer the heft, only to realize you haven’t bench pressed in six and a half years and you are too elite to make poor decisions this morning. No worries! You move to the free weight section and start slingin’ around weights like Yosemite Sam throws around his mustache and cartoon guns on Saturday morning Looney Tunes programming. But as you roll into the 7th minute of your workout, you hear car crashes and sirens and screams of horror in the frontal lobe of your brain. Oh dear. The adrenaline has gone!

Everybody has seen this person and has likely been this person. The bleary, red-eyed lonesome soul sitting on a flat bench with a thousand mile stare. They didn’t have the time to get a sweat on before their brain jumps up and says, “Nope!”

Between yawns and deep sighs of growing angst, they drag themselves from machine to machine, dreading each moment of the work out. Crying silently in their head, they pull the pin from the weight stack, lift exactly zero and a half pounds and re-evaluate their life decisions.

Friends, this is no way to go to the gym. I am big on productivity and engagement and if you know for a fact that you won’t have that level of engagement on certain days, it is alright to have a day off! Remember that! Schedule in time for yourself to go to the gym throughout the week around a realistic schedule. If you have to work super late or have a ton of homework to do late at night on Saturday, maybe a 6 a.m. spin class is not what you need on Sunday. Do not get me wrong though. Don’t put off the gym for weeks because you are busy and tired, because the gym will give you more energy in your week. There is a difference between listening to your body and being just too lazy.

Plan your gym time around realistic goals and ensure that when you go to the gym, you enjoy it and get something out of your time there.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Five: Don’t Be Fresh From the Febreze Factory

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Series

Do You Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson Three

Lesson Three: Hey You! Get Off The Phone!

For the love of humanity, get off your electronic devices people! The gym is a place for self-development and fitness, not for cruising through your iPod for an eternity. What few people realize is that using over-using electronics during a workout abruptly curbs productivity in the gym.

At the YMCA, there is a no cell phone policy and I believe this to be a positive endeavor. This policy may limit your tweets and text messages, but it will greatly expand your fitness level. Utilize music players, but use your devices within reason. Find an album you like and stick to it. You are at the gym to workout, not to create your next party playlist.

Let me illustrate the negative aspects of over-using electronic devices in the gym with an experience I had a two years ago.

I was just finishing an awesome run/chest set and went over to grab a mat to stretch. I set up shop and began to work the horror out of my calves and arms. It was then that I overheard the beginnings of a hilarious conversation that I simply could not miss out on. I moved my mat about twenty feet over so I could eavesdrop. Yes, it may have been a poor decision and life choice. I proceeded to continue stretching within earshot of two teenage girls who were talking non-stop to each other. They didn’t make eye contact with each other as they were both pre-occupied with non-stop texting and answering phone calls. This following is the portion of the conversation that most amused to me:

Girl #1 “I just cannot understand why we can’t lose weight!”

Girl #2 “I know! This is getting ridiculous!”

Girl #1 “Seriously, we come here almost every day and workout for, like, two hours! How can we not be losing weight?”

Fun fact: when your thumbs are the sorest part of your body after a workout, there is a problem. I urge you to not follow in the footsteps of Texty-Loo and Texty-Sue. Leave your phone at home! It slows your productivity no matter the level of cell usage you have during your workout. I prove this fact with a test that I recently conducted.

I hated to be that guy, but I brought my phone to the gym to test a theory I had about cell phones and productivity at the gym. I conducted my test at a gym that allowed cell phones on the weight floor and soon realized that all gyms should have a no cell phone policy like the YMCA.

Entering the gym, I turned my phone’s ringer to the max, felt free to answer it when it rang and ensured that I responded to all texts, emails, and calls in a timely manner. In a 90-minute workout, I answered six text messages (as one conversation began via text), two emails, one phone call and checked Facebook twice. Think about your own cell usage – you know this can be a pretty average hour in our technologically consumed world.

Each text took me an average of 45 seconds to respond to. One email was quick one but the other was a more complex one from school, so email response time totaled 5 minutes. The phone call racked up another 4 minutes. My Facebook cruise added another 2 minutes. This brings my total time on the phone in one workout to 15 minutes and 30 seconds. In my 90-minutes, I devoted 17.2% of my workout to my phone. Furthermore, by starting text message conversations and dealing with important emails in the gym, I was thinking about my phone and my life, not about the workout at hand.

If you are a person that goes to the gym regularly, you always strive to beat your previous personal best. If I told you there was a protein powder, a new machine, or a new workout routine that could make you almost 20% more effective, you would demand I share my secrets. In the business world, if you told a corporation that you knew a way to increase their productivity by 17.2%, they would literally throw suitcases of $100 bills in your direction until you shared the information.

Every time you bring an electronic device into the gym, you tie a boat anchor to you ankle. When you are picking a pump-up song before you do the next set, make it quick and don’t search for a WiFi connection. The gym should be a place of refuge, a venue of solace and solitude away from the outside world.

Minimal usage of electronic devices will allow you to be substantially more effective in your workout and will positively develop your mental health as well. Fully focusing on your workout gives you a way to unplug for an hour. As human beings that are seemingly jacked into the social media Matrix and we need that chance to unplug.

When we attempt to multitask, we simply do multiple things poorly. If your electronic device is playing music, just let the band play and save Facebook for later. I promise you will be more productive and enjoy your workout more.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Four: Rockin’ Slippers and a Coffee Mug in the Squat Rack

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Series

Do you Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson One

Lesson One: Bad Things Happen When You Lose Focus

The story I am about to tell you happened in 2008. I was seventeen years old and my follies were due to my overactive teenage brain. Yes, this story does involve a pretty girl and me making a fool of myself. No, I did not get her number and, furthermore, she was less than impressed. I am sure I left her wondering, as she ran away shaking her head, “Do you even lift, bro?”

I was in a sports performance class in high school. I got to learn about health and fitness while getting the opportunity to workout at the YMCA for school credit. I was on my last bicep set and an angel entered the room, lights shone from the heavens. From afar, I could see this majestic woman gallantly striding towards me, choosing music on her iPod as she prepared for her run. “Surely, she must be listening to Beethoven or Chopin,” I thought to myself in the timid stillness of my mind. “Only the stringed quartets of Beethoven could express the elegance of my future wife.” As violins danced and flutes fleeted about my thoughts, I was in awe of the woman getting closer to me with each step. Her flowing hair delicately brushed her face and likely smelled of strawberries and playful kittens. It was in that moment that I made a grave error. I convinced myself that I had to get the attention of the woman in pink for she must tell the tales of my mighty manliness in the gym!

I decided to grab 50 pound dumbbells for my last bicep set in order to impress her. A little background on me, in high school I weighed about 120 pounds and had a problem curling 15 pounds, let alone 50. I could barely get dumbbells off the rack and I nearly burst a vein in my forearm trying to hold on to 50 pounds in each hand. I hobbled and wobbled across the free weight section to make sure that she saw me. It was then that I made eye contact with her. I smiled a smile that told her, “Yes, I am interested in marriage.” She saw me and awkwardly smiled back. Love at first sight.

I felt weak in the knees, my world started spinning and my hands seemed free of the weight I was carrying. I was falling, falling, falling in love.

In fact, what was actually happening was that my legs got abruptly taken out from under me as my kneecaps collided with a flat bench that I didn’t notice in front of me as I was flashing my ‘smooth’ smile. The weakness in my knees was a physical weakness as my legs buckled in the contact with the bench. I felt as if my world was spinning and falling because indeed it was. I fully face planted on the unforgiving gym floor. Not only did I epically fall on the floor, but I was so off balance with the dumbbells that were similar in size to my entire body mass, the weights rocketed out of my hands and rolled across the floor. After that toss, I briefly considered professional shot-put or joining the Team Canada curling team because it had some distance! Unfortunately, the weight rolled right on to the track, and directly in front of my pink princess. Gracefully, she hopped over it and looked at me on the floor with a look of pure disappointment and shame. I will just wrap up this story by stating that I am still single.

The reason I tell you this story is because I see gym antics like this all the time. I have seen guys go on exercise bikes with dumbbells, doing super-fast bicep curls when girls run by on the track. But hark! Men are not the only ones who do this. I see women who come to the gym in full make-up and hair like they are ready for a photo shoot. They smile at every good-looking person they are interested in while burning 6 calories an hour on an elliptical, cruising at a snail’s pace.

My advice: stay focused! Get healthy and well, and be safe on the weight floor. You can seriously injure yourself by using equipment incorrectly. Use weights that your body can handle and remember that it takes work to get results.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Two: Learn How to Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

Read more blogs written by Chad.