Monday, 23 December 2013

How much weight should I gain in pregnancy?

Hey everyone,

As discussed in a previous post, excess weight can definitely hamper your fertility and increase your chance of miscarriage (to read the full post, check out:  For this reason, I always encourage my patients to bring their weight into a healthy range prior to conceiving.  Ideally, your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is in the normal range to optimize your success.

But, now that you're pregnant, you need to slowly start to gain weight to create a healthy environment for your baby.  However, being pregnant does not mean you get to eat anything and everything you want!!  If you gain too much weight, this also can have a negative impact for both you and your baby (higher risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, cesarean section delivery, to name just a few).

So, how much weight gain should you be aiming for?  This is dependent on your pre-pregnancy weight.  Essentially, underweight women need to gain more weight than the average person, and overweight women need to gain less.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) developed guidelines in 2009 on gestational weight gain (for a singleton pregnancy - weight gain goals are higher for multiple pregnancies):
  • BMI <18.5 kg/m2 (underweight) — weight gain 28-40 lbs (12.5-18 kg)
  • BMI 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2 (normal weight) — weight gain 25-35 lbs (11.5-16 kg)
  • BMI 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 (overweight) — weight gain 15-25 lbs (7-11.5 kg)
  • BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2 (obese) — weight gain 11-20 lbs (5-9 kg)
To calculate your personal weight goal, check out this Health Canada link to see how much you are recommended to gain. Keep in mind, these are general recommendations, and you should always discuss what your weight gain goals are with your health care provider.

Keeping your weight gain in check will put you one step closer to a healthy pregnancy and delivery!


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Pregnancy Workout C - Weeks 12-15

Hey everyone,

Here is another workout possibility that is ideal for 12-15 weeks of pregnancy.  This is an intense 5 round FGB workout using both upper and lower body. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Pregnancy Workout B - Weeks 12-15

Hey everyone,

Here is another great full body workout, suitable to perform between weeks 12-15 of pregnancy.

As a reminder, you should always get approval from your health care provider prior to starting any exercise program, especially during pregnancy. Also, keep in mind, we do try to describe and demonstrate the exercises, but there are obvious limitations to providing this information over the web. If you unsure how to perform an exercise or worry you are doing it incorrectly, you may wish to modify with another exercise you can safely perform.

Weeks 12-16 - Pregnancy Workout B
This workout includes four exercises, performed in 2 supersets.  Complete 3 sets of exercises 1 and 2, followed by 3 sets of exercises 3 and 4.  Take breaks between sets as needed.

Superset A
  1. Overhead Kettlebell Stepback Lunges
  2. Double Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlifts
Superset B
  1. Jungle Gym Reverse Pushups - you can modify with some type of rowing movement if you do not have a Jungle Gym or similar apparatus.
  2. Pushups

Video Demonstration

During a recent trip, Tannys also performed this particular workout, and modified some of the exercises based on available equipment. For Superset A, she performed the lunges holding 2 dumbbells by her sides (you could also hold the dumbbell overhead), and used a single dumbbell held in front for the deadlifts.

For Superset B, she performed bench rows, as well as pushups.

This is a great example of how you can modify your workout to suit where you are and what equipment you have.  No excuses to not fit in a workout!


-Tannys & Alex

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Pregnancy Workout A - Weeks 12-15

Hey everyone,

Over the next several months, we will be posting workouts that are suitable to perform during pregnancy. Types of exercises that can be safely performed change throughout your pregnancy, and you must adapt to this.

Most women are able to continue the same types of exercises they were doing pre-pregnancy during the first trimester.  You do not want to start intensely exercising, however, if your body is not used to this.  In this case, I recommend starting out with low-impact and lower-intensity exercises such as walking or swimming.  You may need to modify your workout routine depending on how you are feeling.  Many women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester and are generally more fatigued than usual. If this is you, you might need to scale things back until you are feeling better.

The second trimester is typically when women start to feel less nauseated and fatigued and can potentially increase their exercise regime again.  It is important to still pay close attention to how you are feeling however, as you do not want to overdo it.  At about 12 weeks gestation, the uterus starts to grow out of the pelvis.  As the uterus grows, it can press on the blood vessels returning blood back to the heart when lying down, which can lead to a lightheaded or dizzy feeling or potentially restrict blood flow to the uterus. Most women can still safely do exercises lying on their backs until about 16 weeks.  However, everyone is different and you may need to stop sooner. Assess how you feel to determine if exercises lying down are tolerable during this time frame.

As discussed in previous posts, there are some contraindications to exercise during pregnancy.  You MUST check with your doctor prior to following any fitness regime to determine if exercise is safe for you.  Please also remember that there are limitations to providing exercise information online.  I can provide you with demonstrations of how to perform exercises, but executing the exercises in a safe manner is your responsibility. Any type of exercise has the risk of injury, so be careful when exercising and know your limitations.

Over the next 4 weeks, I will post a few different exercise routines that are suitable for weeks 12, up to week 16 of pregnancy.  Most exercises will be using your own bodyweight, or with kettlebells or a JungleGym suspension trainer.  Most exercises can be modified based on your available equipment and skill level.  

Weeks 12-16 - Pregnancy Workout A
This workout includes four exercises, performed in 2 supersets.  Complete 3 sets of exercises 1 and 2, followed by 3 sets of exercises 3 and 4.  Take breaks between sets as needed.

Superset A
  1. Bodyweight Pullups - can modify as needed with a spot or band-assisted
  2. JungleGym Pushups - can modify by performing against a wall, or regular pushups on the ground (you can perform the movement from your knees as an easier variation)
 Superset B
  1. Double kettlebell squats ( I am using 2x12 kg kettlebells) - can modify with lighter kettlebells or bodyweight-only
  2. Kettlebell swings (I am using a 24 kg kettlebell) - can modify with a lighter kettlebell   
Video Demonstration

Use modifications and rest periods as needed to customize the workout to your abilities.  Always make sure to listen to your body as to whether you should exercise that day, and how hard or long.

Stay tuned for more pregnancy workouts!

-Tannys & Alex

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Exercise during pregnancy to improve your baby's brain development

Hey everyone,

A recent article in The Globe and Mail caught my attention, as it discussed yet another benefit of exercise during pregnancy.  This article discusses an abstract presented at the Neuroscience 2013 conference in San Diego, California.  Researchers from University of Montreal examined exercise in pregnant women to assess its impact on newborn brain development.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

New Workout Program: The 10,000 Swing Kettlebell Workout

Hey everyone,

Recently, we came across a really intriguing workout program, called the 10,000 swing kettlebell workout (  It was featured on the Strongfirst website and seemed like it would be challenging and effective.

One line at the outset of the article really caught our eye, "Every person who has completed this 20 workout plan has increased lean muscle mass while dropping body fat."  The thing that solidified our decision to try it was seeing that the author was Dan John.  He's a bit of a legend in the strength and conditioning world.  We figured, what did we have to lose if we tried it out for a month?  It seemed that we had a lot to potentially gain...

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Take Your Workout Outdoors!

Hey everyone,

To take advantage of the beautiful fall weather this past weekend, we did our workouts outdoors (in our backyard).  There was lots of shade and a refreshing breeze, making the workouts quite enjoyable.  For those of us who work indoors, it's important to find opportunities to get some fresh air and natural vitamin D.  The next time you're planning your workout, consider whether you can do a portion or even all of it outside.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Running With Makoto

Hey everyone,

In a few weeks, Alex will participate in the annual government charity (GCWCC) 5km run.  To prepare for this, we have started to do a weekly 5km run.  Although Alex's goal isn't to run with a fast time (~25 minute pace estimated), he wants to be comfortable during the run.

Since we have a dog (Makoto; or Mak, for short), we wanted to include him in our training.  He normally gets daily walks of 5-10km.  Thus, we weren't worried about the distance, although we weren't sure if he would be able to maintain the pace...


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Training for Strongfirst & a New Upper-Body Workout

Hey everyone,

We haven't been posting very frequently over the last few months (sorry!), but we have at least been consistent with our own fitness.  We have been doing, on average, four workouts a week, as well as some swimming, yoga, and long walks with our dog.

We have also started training for the Strongfirst kettlebell instructor certification (, which is a challenging 3-day course.  There are strict requirements for your fitness level, technique, and coaching ability.  Attitude and 'grit' is also important, since it is essentially a 3-day-long workout, with the testing performed on the final day.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Keeping Track of Your Fitness

Hey everyone,

One of our readers has asked: "In some of your posts you refer to fitness logs. Never having used one, I'm not sure what information is important to include in them. Are there any that you would recommend, keeping in mind that I'm a newbie to exercise and don't want to spend all week charting what I've done (or didn't do!!). Thanks."

This is a great question, as it is often something that is overlooked when starting a fitness regime.  We ensure to keep track of each workout we complete.  This helps us remember what we have done, as well as monitor for progress (or lack thereof...). You don't need anything fancy. We use a small notebook that is easily transported with us for travel, etc. We also use a calendar to track our activities (including workouts, walks, bike rides, swims, etc.).  This helps us keep track of how active we are each week. 

For each entry, we include the date and type of workout we are doing that day (for example, Lower Body Circuit Workout).  We weigh in before each workout (measuring weight, body fat percentage and muscle percentage).  Keep in mind, however, that your numbers will fluctuate daily and it is best to use these numbers to track things over the long-term.  Frequently, we'll flip back in our notebook to look at trends in our numbers.

Before each workout, we plan what type of workout and the specific exercises and number of sets we will be completing.  You can even plan your workout ahead of time (we do this if we are doing an early morning workout, so we can get up and already have things planned out). We generally record weights used and number of reps (unless we are doing timed workouts, such as density or FGB).  This allows us to monitor our progress in weight lifted or number of reps over time. Be sure to add in comments of how the workout went that day, any injuries, etc.

Recording your workouts should not take a lot of time. We choose to use a notebook, but there are also many fitness apps available to track your progress.  You need to choose whatever works best for you!

We hope these tips are helpful!  Let us know if there is anything else you do to track your fitness!

-Tannys & Alex

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Having Trouble Developing a Well-Rounded Fitness Program?

Hey everyone,

Recently one of our readers asked an important question: "So here's the deal. I joined a 'no frills' gym. Great cardio and strength training equipment and lots of other stuff (free weights, medicine balls, bench presses, etc.) but what do I do with it all!! It's somewhat overwhelming and I have no idea where to start. Any pointers on how to begin to put together a workout schedule/plan? How much cardio, how much strength training? How often should workouts be changed? What exercises should I be doing? How often should I work the same muscle groups etc. There are so many different workouts on the internet, it's hard to know how to put together a well rounded fitness program. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!"

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Another Great Lower Body Ladder Workout!

Hey everyone,

It has been awhile since we've completed a ladder workout, so we decided to add this component into our lower body workout a few days ago.  Ladder workouts are excellent for both strength and conditioning.  If you take only very short breaks, they can be completed fairly quickly as well, giving you a great workout in a short amount of time.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Another reason to not skip breakfast!

Hey everyone,

We've always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, here is another reason that you should not go hungry in the morning!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Car Pushing and Kettlebell Swings

Hey everyone,

Over this past long weekend, we decided it was time to do a killer strength and cardio workout, including one of our favorite types of exercise - car pushing!  Combining this with some kettlebell work, gave us a great full body challenge.

Monday, 29 July 2013

CoupleFit Back in Action - Upper Body Workout

Hey everyone,

As we continue to get back into the swing of things with more frequent workouts, we put together this upper body circuit.  This workout includes four different exercises completed circuit style x 4, for a total of 16 sets.

Here is what we did:
  1. Parallel Pullups (Tannys - bodyweight, Alex - weighted)
  2. Kettlebell Boxer Press (or Incline Bench Press)
  3. Kettlebell Rows
  4. Alternating Kettlebell Shoulder Press

This is a great upper body workout, that targets all of your large muscle groups.  Give it try!

-Tannys & Alex

Thursday, 25 July 2013

CoupleFit Back in Action - Lower Body Workout

Hey everyone,

After a brief slow down in our workouts, we are back in action!  Things have gotten pretty busy for us over the past couple of months, so we have had less time to exercise and thus, no time to blog!

 Despite our lack of time, we have still managed to fit in 2-3 workouts each week to try to maintain our gains.  But we are excited now to really get back into things.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Great travel workout in under 30 minutes!

Hey everyone,

Tannys was recently travelling for work.  As she did not have a lot of time to complete a workout, she put together a density workout, comprised of just four sets (eight exercises in total), that she completed in her hotel room.

Each set of two exercises is performed for 5 minutes, alternating between the two exercises as needed. Take 2 minutes of rest between each set.  The entire workout can be completed in less than 30 minutes!

The only equipment needed is a chair or surface that you can rest your shoulders on for hip thrusts and a sturdy desk or table that you can suspend from underneath for reverse pushups. 

Here is what she did:
1. Jumping lunges + Pushups

2. Shoulder-elevated hip thrusts + Sleeping crabs

Completed with shoulders elevated on a couch or bed

3. Speed squats + Reverse pushups

4. Bulgarian split squats + Mountain climbers

Although the exercises are all body weight, you can really break a sweat by pushing the pace with the jumping exercises.  Give it a try next time you are travelling, or just need a quick workout at home!

-Tannys & Alex

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Are your kids getting enough exercise?

Hey everyone,

A recent report published by Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) confirms that 95% of kids are not getting the exercise that they need.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Gutsy Walk 2013

Hey everyone,

On June 9th, we had the opportunity to participate in the Gutsy Walk to raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.  This was our 2nd year taking part in this event. 


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Legs, Swimming and Sushi...

Hey everyone,

During our long weekend trip to Montreal, Alex completed a lower body workout.  He really enjoyed this workout, as he was able to use some equipment that we do not have access to in our home gym.  We also had an opportunity to swim in the hotel pool, which is always a treat when we are travelling.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Full Body Travel Workout

Hey everyone,

Over the Victoria Day Long Weekend, we planned a shopping trip to Montreal.  We try to do this about once a year, to celebrate Alex's birthday and our anniversary.  The shopping is amazing there and we always come home with more items than we planned...

Of course we ensure we stay in a hotel that will allow us to complete our workouts.  This is a great opportunity to try some different equipment that we don't have access to at our home gym. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Support Infertility Awareness Week - May 19-26

Hey everyone,

This week is Infertility Awareness Week - a cause that is very important to me.  I see patients everyday who are suffering with fertility issues.  Infertility affects approximately 1 in 6 couples.  I guarantee you know someone suffering from infertility, even if you are not aware of their struggles.  Many couples suffer in silence because they are embarrassed or ashamed by this diagnosis.  However, infertility is a medical diagnosis, just like any other.  We need to continue to increase the public's awareness of infertility and the impact it has.

IAAC (Infertility Awareness Association of Canada) is a great resource  for Canadian couples suffering from infertility and they are organizing some amazing events this week to promote infertility awareness.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New Full Body Workout - Workout A

Hey everyone,

Tannys has recently gone back to doing full body workouts.  Although the exercises she is performing are the same ones that she has done the past, she is placing more of a focus on glute exercises. She has been completing this particular workout (Workout A) twice a week for the past several weeks. It is alternated with two different workouts that we will also try to record and post soon.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Book Review: Strong Curves

Hey everyone,

We recently purchased a great new book and learning tool, Strong Curves, written by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis.  This book is geared towards strength training for women.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Lower Body Ladders

Hey everyone,

This past week, we completed a lower body workout using two different ladders.  Ladder workouts can be very intense, especially in the first few sets of 10, 9 and 8!  However, once you get through these long sets it becomes much easier!

For those of you new to ladders, you complete 10 reps of an exercise, followed by 9, followed by 8, all the way to 1 rep.  We have superset two different exercises to complete each part of this particular workout (10 reps  of exercise 1, followed by 10 reps of exercise 2, 9 reps of exercise 1, followed by 9 reps of exercise 2...)

Here is what we did: 

Ladder 1 

1. Trapbar Deadlifts

2. Kettlebell Goblet Squats

Ladder 2

1. Kettlebell Swings

2. Double Kettlebell Stepback Lunges

This is an efficient, but challenging workout if you minimize your rest between sets.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!

-Tannys & Alex

Monday, 15 April 2013

Another Terrific Travel Workout!

Hey everyone,

This past weekend, Tannys travelled to Toronto for work, so she modified her usual workout routine.  As she did not have much time, she put together a fairly short (but very demanding) workout that she completed in her hotel room.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Try the 100 Squat Challenge!

Hey everyone,

Are you looking for a quick fitness blast?  Check out one of Men's Health Fitness Challenges - the 100 Squat Challenge...

Monday, 1 April 2013

Fitness Challenge: 500 Jump Ropes

Hey everyone,

Last weekend we came across a terrific fitness challenge posted on the Men's Health website.  All you need is a jump rope and timer to complete this challenge.  Read on to see what's involved!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Switch it up: A lower body circuit workout!

Hey everyone,

We have decided to go back to upper and lower body split workouts, after trying full body workouts for over a month.  While full body workouts were a refreshing change, we felt we could only really do them every second day to allow for sufficient recovery time.  There is a bit more flexibility in timing with the split workouts, however, where we can do back-to-back workouts depending on our schedules.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Caribbean Workout #3

Hey everyone,

For our third Caribbean Workout, we decided to change things up a bit and try a Tabata Workout.  Tabata is a very efficient, yet challenging way to workout.  After this quick workout, we headed back out into the sun...

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Caribbean Workout #2

Hey everyone,

Here is the second of our travel workouts we did in the Turks & Caicos.  Again, we used a time-based workout, completing each exercise for 5 minutes, with 2 minutes rest between each exercise.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Scuba Diving - A New Fitness Challenge!

Hey everyone,

During our recent trip to the Turks & Caicos, we decided to spend some of our time scuba diving!
Tannys had never tried scuba diving and Alex had previously been PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water diver-certified in the past, but it had been several years since he had gone.  So, we both completed the Open Water Diver certification together.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Caribbean Workout #1

Hey everyone,

While we were away in Turks & Caicos, we made sure to fit in a few workouts.  While there was not a huge selection of equipment in our resort's gym, we were easily able to put together some full body workouts using dumbbells and a cable machine.  All of our workouts were full body and time-based, so we could get them done and head back out into the sun!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Are You Aging Successfully?

Hey everyone,

We came across a recent article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that we thought would be of interest to you.  This article looked at healthy behaviours that can increase the odds of aging successfully.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Try a Breathing Ladder Workout!

Hey everyone,

For a recent workout, we decided to try out a new workout style - breathing ladders.  We first heard of this type of workout when we attended our HKC certification and decided it was time to try something new...

Saturday, 23 February 2013

A Great Workout Finisher!

Hey everyone,

At the end of our workouts, we will often complete a bonus set, or 'finisher'.  These final challenges are often focused on conditioning and provide a good metabolic boost.  In a recent workout, we used a ratio set as a finisher.  It was definitely a challenge, after having already completed a full upper body workout.