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Save $$$ on your gym membership

With summer officially here, many people want to step up their fitness level by joining a gym. But gym memberships are expensive and many gyms abuse your credit card / bank info and keep charging you after you cancel your membership. So how do you save money but still get access to a gym?

Here are some good ways to get a gym membership without burning a hole in your pocket.

Campus Gyms

University and college fitness centres are often much cheaper than a regular gym and they won't rip you off by overcharging your credit card like a big box gym will. If you're an university or college student, you probably already have access to a gym on campus that you might not have realized is available. Admission might already be included in your student tuition, or you might qualify for a hefty discount. If you are a former student then graduates can also qualify for an alumni discount, so don't be afraid to ask.

Ask your Employer

Some companies offer fitness benefits - such as discounts on gym memberships or fitness equipment, exercise classes, or they might even have facilities in your office building. Take advantage of these employee discounts and freebies.

Negotiate with a Local Gym

Some gyms are willing to negotiate a better rate if you can prove that there's a cheaper, comparable gym elsewhere. Do your research by checking out your local gyms to compare membership fees, contract length, early termination penalties, hours of operation, types of equipment and classes available, as well as the little things like locker and towel fees.

Always Pay Cash

Never give a big box gym like Extreme Fitness, GoodLife Fitness, etc your credit card or bank information. No matter what discount offer they might give tempt you with. Just tell them you prefer to pay with cash and if they insist on getting your credit card or bank info then start walking for the door.

Ask for a discount

If you are a student, a senior, a family of 2 or more, or a foreign visitor then ask for a discount rate. eg. If you are just visiting Toronto for 6 months, ask for truncated rate on the regular 12 month contract. A shorter term contract will save you money in the long run and you won't be locked into a contract - and remember, pay cash even on a contract.

Don't pay for what you don't use

Gyms often offer a wide range of amenities, such as dance classes, martial arts, pools, saunas, hot tubs, massages, towel service, personal trainers, and more. The more that a gym offers the more expensive the membership will be. However if you don't need all that go to a gym that has only what you need and see the huge price difference.

Try the gym before you buy

Get the free membership for 1 day, 3 days or 7 days - whatever the gym is offering. If after the trial period you don't like the gym and / or feel it is overcharging then you can always buy fitness equipment for yourself and train at home.

Use the gym as an add-on to your routine

Your gym should not be your only means of exercise. It should compliment your jogging, cycling, rollerblading, home exercises / weightlifting, yoga, sports and whatever else you do. Thus if you only go to the gym once every two weeks you can save a bundle by only getting one-day passes at your local gym - and only paying for the days you use. If you start to go there more often - like every day or 3 times per week, then get the monthly membership.

Splitting an Arrow Down the Middle

Splitting an arrow down the middle is something usually only seen in movies. It is very for archers to do it. Usually it is by accident, not on purpose.

What is more likely to happen, especially with modern arrows, is for an arrow to damage the nock of another arrow and then keep going. Or the arrow might strike another arrow on the shaft, possibly denting or breaking the shaft.

Or, like in the photo below, it might hit the nock and drive in far enough that it stays there.

In order to actually split an arrow lengthways - down the whole shaft - it would need to be following:

#1. The arrow would need to be made of wood.

#2. The arrowhead would need to be razor sharp (typically made for hunting).

#3. The shot would have to go not only at the right spot, but also drive inwards at the right angle. A degree or two up or down and the arrow which just damage the arrow it is hitting without driving its way down the shaft.

Fixing a Crooked Nose using Nose Exercises



I found your nose exercise page this morning. Cannot wait to try them. Are there exercises for my crooked nose? Picture attached. 
Thank you.




Hey Steff!

Is it the bone or cartilage that is crooked or just the muscles that are imbalanced? Usually it is just the muscles that are imbalanced (one set of muscles on one side is stronger than the other). However if you've suffered and injury to your nose (such as being punched there really hard) it could be the bone or cartilage that is the problem.

If you feel the bone with your fingers in the top of your nose and anything feels off centre, you will know which it is.

With crooked noses its usually the nose tip area which is crooked, which means it is the muscles that are too strong on one side and too weak on the other. So what you need to do is "equalization exercises" to correct those muscles. It is a bit like weightlifting / resistance training for your nose.

The exercises I recommend you do are:

#1. Squinting the Nose <-- This is the really important one for fixing a crooked nose, although the others help too to keep things "balanced".

#3. The Nose Shaper

#4. Nose Narrowing

And nose wiggling wouldn't hurt either.

Do #1 twice per day, #3 and #4 once per day, nose wiggling will help too, although that is easier to do with a mirror. Keep doing all of them every day for a month and you should start to see results. Keep doing that for several months and the nose muscles on each side should balance themselves out.

Note: If you underwent nose surgery very recently I would wait 2 weeks before starting the exercises. Your nose will need time to heal first.

Charles Moffat

Want to learn more on this topic? Visit the NOSE EXERCISES post.


I am getting a lot of requests from people wanting personalized advice about their nose and what nose exercises they should do, how often they should do them, special circumstances,  etc. My advice is to follow the instructions listed above and on other posts I have made about nose exercises.

If you are contacting me asking me for personalized help - basically asking for my services in aiding you with your nose exercises, then I will need to charge you my personal training rate ($50 per hour) for my services.

I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for. I have already answered many of the frequently asked questions in the comments section of various nose exercise posts, and answered many emails from people asking for help with their nose exercises - but I am a busy person and the emails have reached a point where I need to start charging for this service because I cannot answer all of them.

Best of luck with your nose exercises!

DIY Fusion Workout

Lots of Toronto gyms offer fusion workouts.

But maybe you don't feel comfortable exercising in front of other people.

Maybe you have time constraints.

Maybe you just prefer to workout at home for any number of reasons.

Thus being able to create your own fusion workout at home - instead of going to a Toronto gym - means that you can control which exercises you are doing and the environment you are doing them in.

Fusion workouts are great for trying more than one style of activity at a time, but they are also used to maximize results in one of the most time efficient ways available.

Focusing on a single exercise all the time gets boring and gets very little results because there is only so much muscle tissue your body can grow in one body part during a night's rest - but a variety of exercises allows you to grow muscle tissue in multiple locations by focusing on different muscle groups.

It makes the workout much more enjoyable because you have more variety with what you are doing, it raises your endurance level, and improves the speed of your progress by using exercises which double or triple up on different muscles groups.

Examples of Fusion Style Workouts:
-Strength training and then running every five to ten minutes. for example, work out your chest and back, then run. Go back to strength training and do some squats and lunges, then run. Next, work biceps and triceps, then run again. This will allow a great weight workout, cardiovascular training for great fat burning, and it builds endurance. Do some stretches afterwards to maintain your flexibility.

-Weight Training and Yoga. It's great to stretch after every strength exercise, so use yoga poses to get stretching in, and improve your yoga practice.

-Alternate Skipping or Jumping Jacks with Pushups, Situps, Chin-ups and other body weight exercises. No equipment necessary and you get both cardio and weight training. For fun add in shadow boxing or dancing with the music on your stereo turned up really loud. :)

You can really do almost anything you want with fusion workouts because they're very flexible. Just get out all of your exercise equipment and spend 5 to 10 minutes on each exercise.

Swagger while you Walk

An 150 lb person walking on level ground, at a slow pace of less than 2 mph burns 136 calories per hour.

However if they swagger while they walk (swinging their arms a lot more, moving their sides and shoulders with their arms in a macho swagger) they will burn 150 calories per hour.

The reason is because swaggering engages the obliques side muscles as you twist your body every step you take. It is a small twist, but it shifts the weight of your upper torso on a constant basis - and thus counts in a small way as resistance training, as the obliques are effectively being used to twist the weight of the upper torso.

A person who walks with a swagger 2 hours per day will burn 10,199 extra calories per year compared to a person who doesn't who doesn't swagger.

That is a difference of roughly 2.9 lbs of fat per year.

Over a 10 year period a person who constantly walks with a "confident swagger" in theory, assuming two hours of "swaggering" per day, will be roughly 29 lbs of fat lighter than a person who doesn't swagger at all.

And they would have stronger obliques, and to a lesser extent stronger abs, shoulders and arm muscles.

The big thing really is whether a person can use those oblique muscles while they walk and get used to having a constant swagger. In the beginning it would be difficult to walk like that all the time (because your obliques would get sore), but after a week or two of walking like that regularly your oblique muscles would grow stronger and your body would become more accustomed to it. So yes, with regular practice a person could develop a constant swagger.

I will note however that deliberately swaggering while you walk at first feels a bit silly. (And you might wonder if other people are watching you and thinking if you are doing that on purpose or if you really do walk around like you own the place.)

Honestly, who cares? It is your body! If you want to lose fat, grow stronger obliques over a longer term period, then absolutely go ahead and do this as an exercise. Another side benefit to obliques is that they improve your balance and flexibility. Useful for many activities.

The end result is that you gain a lot of physical benefits from swaggering - and losing weight and becoming stronger, you will likely feel more confident and feel like swaggering anyway.

Using Playground Equipment as your Personal Gym

Tired of paying gyms to exercise there?

Playground equipment is free.

Better yet some parks now have playground equipment designed for adults who want to exercise. Use them! Or encourage your local politicians here in Toronto to support adding more adult exercise equipment.

I think someone should create a charity dedicated towards collecting money to add more adult exercise equipment to Toronto parks and recreation areas. And if successful, the charity could expand to the rest of Ontario and Canada so people can all benefit from such exercise equipment.

The photos below are just a sample of what you can do.

Exercise Wisdom from Bruce Lee

"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them."
-Bruce Lee

"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of."
-Bruce Lee

"If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
-Bruce Lee

"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at."
-Bruce Lee

"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done."
-Bruce Lee

"Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick."
-Bruce Lee

"It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential."
-Bruce Lee

Preparing Nutritious Meals with Little Time

Diet is a huge part of controlling your weight.

One of the most common obstacles is preparing healthy meals - and finding the time to do so. Many of us don't have the time to fuss over recipes in the kitchen. After a long work day many people are starving and don't want to spend the extra time chopping vegetables, cooking rice, etc - and thus reach for unhealthy fast food. It's completely understandable.

However I can give you tips on how to make better use of your time so you can food prepared in less time / optimizing your kitchen time, so it is there ready for you.

Tips For Preparing Meals / Snacks When You Lack Time

#1. Optimize Your Boredom

Even when you are really busy most of the time there will always be gaps in your schedule wherein you are bored and waiting for something else to happen. eg. The movie doesn't start for another 20 minutes, so why not chop veggies while you wait and then stick then in the fridge to stay cool.

#2. Rewatching Old TV Shows

Are you the type of person who loves rewatching your favourite TV shows and movies? Chances are you've already seen the show a dozen times and can recite the script - which means you can do other activities while watching it. (Note: You might just as easily use this time for exercising instead of healthy food preparation, both are good for.)

#3. Reading Time

Do you make time in your schedule for reading? Try an audiobook instead so you can listen to the audiobook while you have fun in the kitchen making healthy food.

Secondly, try reading some healthy recipe books for fun instead of the usual books you read for fun. They will give you more ideas for things you can make in the kitchen which take less time - or foods that can be made in advance and stored, making it easier to just warm it up later.

#4. Canned Soups and Stews

If you are going to make any kind of "fast food" at all I recommend healthy soups and stews. Open the can, pour in contents, add some extra chopped veggies (or peas, beans, pre-cut carrots), heat, stir continuously, cool and consume. Yummy and healthy!

#5. Peas and Beans

Seriously. They require no cutting. Just rinse with water and boil.

#6. The Sunday Night Action Plan

What do you do on your Sunday nights anyway??? Instead of relaxing and dreading Monday take ten minutes or so and create a work week meal plan. Aim to make something for dinner each night that will make good leftovers for lunch or even the following day's supper. You can even plan part of this in your head while driving or on the subway.

#7. Off from Work Early

If you get off from work early take that extra time to make a healthier meal. Plan for more time spent on a meal when you get off work early, and a really quick dinner when you get home late (soup and stew is great when you get home late).

#8. Make Food in Advance

Breakfast foods like Swiss Muesli can be prepared in advance and then stored. Certain kinds of soups can also be made in advance and stored (eg. Lentil soup).

#9. Ask for Help

It's so simple but if you have a teenager at home before you, ask them to chop vegetables. If they are too lazy to chop peppers then there is something wrong with them. You can also ask them to pick up healthy items at the grocery store, create the meal themselves (make a rule "You can make whatever you want as long as its healthy."

Nobody cares if the peppers look like they were cut by a blind woodcutter. Praise your teenager for a job well done.

#10. Use Frozen Vegetables

Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh - especially if they are flash frozen. The freezing process does remove a bit of the taste, but all the nutrition is still there. If you're not entertaining then its no big deal to use frozen instead. Canned beans, legumes and chickpeas are also handy.

#11. Invest in Appliances

Handy things to have: A rice cooker, food processor, vegetable chopper, hand blender, pressure cooker, and crock pot. Or even just a big old stew pot - good for making one big soup which lasts multiple days.

#12. Combine Your Exercise and Cooking Time

One of the things I like to do - and you may find this silly - is that I will boil something in the kitchen and then do a series of weightlifting exercises while I wait. This saves me time overall and helps build my appetite.

#13. Make Smaller Meals

If you get home and are feeling starved drink a glass of milk first (or juice). It will fill up your belly part way so you don't feel as hungry. Then make a small or medium sized meal.

If you get home and are starving chances are more likely you will want to make a BIG meal - and making a big meal takes more time. By making something smaller you are doing yourself a favour by eating something that is more balanced size wise - and saving yourself time in the process.

#14. Make a Quick Caesar Salad

Another thing to do when you get home and are feeling starved make a quick caesar salad. A handful of lettuce, some croutons, some pre-chopped carrots, a little caesar salad dressing and that will sate your hunger.

While you eat your salad you can make something else that is nutritious that goes with it, eating while you cook. Saves you time and guarantees that you are eating a healthier balance. Combine #13 and #14 and you can - drink a glass of milk, eat a quick salad, make the healthier meal while eating your salad - and you will save both time and feel less hungry during the process.

#15. Buy Fruits and Berries Regularly

For snacks try buying fruits like apples, oranges and grapes regularly. Berries are also great, especially with yogurt.

Do Hot Saunas burn Fat? Myth Busting


It is true that people lose weight while in the sauna. But it mostly water weight and sodium, which your body quickly replenishes when you drink water and eat anything with salt in it.

Sweating, by itself, does not burn fat. It doesn't even burn calories.

It is true that many people exercise, their muscles overheat, and they get very sweaty because their bodies releases sweat in an effort to cool them down.

The problem however is that excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, heat stroke - and even death. What happens is once a person sweats out a lot of their water reserves they have so little water left in their system that if they overheat they will start to feel the effects of heat stroke. Mild heat stroke causes confusion, headaches, dizziness. Severe heat stroke can cause a person to faint, and if left untreated it can kill them.

The problem with saunas is that due to the heat and humidity sweating doesn't actually cool the person down. So a person can overheat in a sauna very easily - and fainting is not uncommon.

All of this is exacerbated by the myth that people can lose weight by sweating a lot in the sauna. Sweating doesn't burn fat. It removes water and sodium ( and it is good for the pores ), which the body quickly replenishes later when you drink and eat - often causing the dehydrated person to over-drink and over-eat.

The Benefits of Saunas

- Good for cleaning the pores.

- Kills bacteria (the sweat kills bacteria on the skin).

-  Sweat flushes away toxic metals from the skin.

- A good way to heat up after being outside in the winter.

But burning fat is not one of the benefits.

YMCA free one week gym and pool membership

Want to use the YMCA facilities in Toronto free for a week?

Go to

Print the document, fill it out, take it to the membership desk of your local Toronto YMCA and get a free week.

Offer expires June 30, 2013, so if you want to take advantage of this act quickly. :)

Attacking the Excuses: Fitness Tips

Are you one of those people who looks for excuses not to exercise and then later complains that they don't feel motivated enough to exercise and stick with a fitness routine?

It happens to a lot of us. We all make excuses due to lack of motivation.

Even us personal trainers sometimes catch ourselves making excuses (my personal Achilles heel is the weather conditions).

Excuse #1: I’m too tired!

When does any of us feel properly rested? Almost never. But what you might not know is that exercise will energize you and make you feel invigorated by boosting your metabolism! Follow the Nike slogan and "Just do it." Ahem. Do or do not, there is no try. Schedule all your workouts. If you don't give yourself an option, you’ll always exercise at the time you should be.

#2: I’m sore!

If your body is sore it means you need to be exercising more, not less. Focus on lighter exercises, stretching and jogging to help loosen up. Once you feel warmed up you won't notice the soreness. Exercise also removes toxins in the blood that cause soreness in the muscles and joints. Light exercise does the body good when you are feeling sore!

#3: I ache from exercising!

Achy joints are a sign that your body needs help repairing, and that your body lacks specific nutrients. Start by taking multivitamins on a daily basis to help your body heal faster. If you ache from starting a new workout program, you back off the intensity a bit, but don't stop the exercise entirely. Your boosted metabolism from regular exercise will heal the aches faster.

#4: I hate working out!

Then pick exercises you actually enjoy doing. eg. Swimming, boxing, cycling - whatever suits your fancy. If you’re doing lots of cardio and eating properly you will see results within two weeks and by the third week you’ll even start to enjoy the workouts and the fact you are seeing results, feeling better about yourself, becoming stronger, faster, and building endurance. If you can't find an exercise you enjoy then any exercise is better than no exercise. Take the dog for a walk, go for evening strolls, take up a sport.

#5: I get too bulky / gain weight!

If you are gaining weight when you want to be losing it then you’re not training right! Most likely you are lifting weights, eating the wrong foods and bulking up when you should be doing cardio and eating a low carb diet. If you combine cardio exercises with lifting weights, you’ll tighten and tone but not bulk up.

#6: I don’t need to exercise; I’m active all day!

You may feel active from whatever you do for work or chores, but that is not the same as exercising. Everybody needs to work out and challenge themselves regularly. Physical challenges keeps our bones and muscles strong and our circulatory systems healthy. Low levels of activity provide no challenge, resulting in the body slowly becoming weaker and slower.

People who sit too much and severely lack physical activity in their lives, and thus need more movement during exercising in order to reach a balance when it comes to keeping their bodies healthy. They might be walking for an hour or two every day, but that is comparatively nil. Having an exercise workout every day is to balance your lack of exercise.

Five Superfoods worth Eating

So-called Superfoods are called that because they are extremely healthy for you and good for balancing your diet out so you store less fat, burn more calories, and achieve a great nutritional balance.

1. Berries

Blueberries especially are packed with antioxidants. They prevent all kinds of disease and are known for creating age-defying skin. They have high amounts of vitamin C, E and B, and a ton of minerals. Strawberries and pomegranate also rate high. Buy frozen blueberries and mix into oatmeal or mix with low fat / zero fat yogurt. Berries go well with almost everything.

My favourite? Strawberry milkshake with fresh strawberries.

2. Beans, Peas and Pulses

Low in fat, high in protein and fiber, beans, peas and pulses are incredibly healthy, versatile and make a great entree on their own or as part of your favourite pasta dish, soup or new culinary experiment. Black beans go great with burritos, chickpeas are nice spiced, and almost any bean tastes great made into a heated or cold salad with some tomato and corn.

3. Broccoli and other Green Veggies

Broccoli is particularly notable for being nutrient dense, containing vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate and vitamin K. Frozen greens are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Frozen spinach is really convenient if you like spinach. No picking through the stems and spoiled pieces, just heat and cook!

4. Nuts and Seeds

Use nuts and seeds in your cooking, for snacks and even healthy baking of oatmeal cookies. Many people are wary of nuts and seeds because of the high fat content (which to be fair, is Omega-3 fat so you want that anyway), but in moderate doses, they are full of fiber, protein, Omega-3's, vitamins and minerals. Raw almonds and walnuts are proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent cancer, diabetes and they give you great hair and nails! The best seeds are sunflower and pumpkin when it comes to the nutritional value.

5. Oats

Oats! The breakfast of champions! Filled with protein, fiber, Vitamin E, thiamine, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc and many others, oats have amazing health benefits: Reduced risk of coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol, and they keep you full for a very long time! I personally like my oatmeal as a cookie with granola mixed in, but that is just me. Homemade Oatmeal Granola Bars!


You weren't expecting just five were you?

6. Green Tea

Although all tea have antioxidants, green tea is less processed and has more flavonoids (the antioxidants). Green tea has been reported to assist weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate. Green tea has also been shown to reduce gum disease, prevent kidney stones, and reduce the risk of stroke and cancer.

7. Tofu and Soy

Packed with protein, minerals, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acid. It's known to prevent cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and ease menopausal symptoms. It also makes a great dairy alternative if you are lactose intolerant.

8. Orange Veggies. Carrots, Squash and Sweet Potato

Very high in beta-carotene. These antioxidants boost cell communication and strengthen the immune system. They protect the eyes from degeneration, and ward off cancer and heart disease. They also contain a ton of useful vitamins and minerals your body needs anyway!

9. Yogurt

Plain, no fruity stuff, and with live bacteria. Just don't leave it in the sun or a hot place for a long period or it will go bad. Yogurt heals the digestive tract, lowers cholesterol, boosts the immune system, clears skin and fights osteoporosis and arthritis. It's high in vitamin B6 and B12, in addition to calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

Five Steps Toward A Beach Perfect Body

If your goal is to lose weight and attain a "Beach Perfect Body" then you need to get your fitness program off to an effective start, or make modifications to your existing exercise regimen and diet, to achieve the body you want with these five steps:

#1. Know Your Goals

The first question you really should ask yourself is, "Do I want to lose weight, or build muscle?"

Because if you don't know the answer to that you won't be able to go after that goal properly. It's best to focus on just one goal at a time because if you try to do both at once you will feel demotivated when you don't see immediate results in terms of weight loss (plus muscle weighs more than fat, so you will actually gain weight as you put on muscle). Muscle gain takes time, but in the beginning you can actually gain muscle faster than the speed you lose fat. So in an one month period you could actually gain 10 lbs - from gaining say 15 lbs of muscle and losing 5 lbs of fat. This speed of muscle gain is mostly due to muscle memory and the fact you are just starting. It will slow down dramatically within the first year. To avoid all the confusing aspects of trying to gain muscle and lose weight simultaneously you are better off focusing on your weight loss goal FIRST, and then adding the muscle later when your body has become a more effective machine. Your ultimate goal will depend on factors such as food consumption, time spent doing cardio exercises, time spent in the gym weightlifting, and your workout intensity will effect how quickly you reach your primary goal. Then once your primary goal is reached then you can focus on secondary goals. It is simply more efficient to focus on one goal at a time.

#2. Don't Focus on Losing a Specific Weight

This goes double for trying to gain "10 lbs of muscle". Stop thinking about measuring things that way. Instead just focus on doing your exercises and the feeling you get during and after the exercise when you know you've had a good workout. Don't worry about lifting a specific weight either or trying to beat your record time for jogging around the block. Muscle fibers are most effectively stimulated for growth at fatigue around 8-10 reps. That means that sprinting for 10 seconds or lifting a single weight 10 times will cause muscle growth. Additional sets of reps is to ensure that you rip extra muscles so you can bulk up a bit faster and jogging further than a 10 second sprint is so you can burn additional calories. Focus on your goals and the positive feelings you get from exercising / having fun, and stop worrying about how quickly you can bulk up or how quickly you can lose weight.

#3. Exercise according to your Schedule

Don't go on a program that requires five days in the gym, if you know you're only good for two days per week. It's great to be ambitious but without being realistic your dreams are just a fantasy. If you're short on time plan for an intense 30 or 45 minute workout - even if it is at home. If you only have a pair of dumbbells, plan to use exercises that only focus on what you have available to you and explore different ways to use those dumbbells to get better results and use different muscles.

#4. Remember that Good Nutrition is over 70% of Results

The attitude that "I can eat whatever I want because I work out!" isn't helping you. Sure, it will help you maintain your current weight - but if your goal is weight loss you are really shooting yourself in the foot by binging on junk food after you workout. Eat healthy, eat smart and you will see much faster results. You won't just see physical changes like more toned muscles and shiny hair but you will also notice mental results such as more energy, feeling more clear headed, and being happier.

#5. Hire a Personal Trainer in Toronto

What do athletes do when they train for a competition? They hire a coach. If you know you are making mistakes with your exercise routine and need to correct your bad habits, your form, etc then you really need a coach who can tell you what to do, how to do it properly, and stay motivated so you keep doing it.

With safe and efficiently organized workouts, accountability and privacy, a personal trainer is the way to go for fast, long lasting results. If you live in Toronto hire me as your personal trainer. I offer custom exercise programs for every client based on their individual needs.

Hot Dogs are Bad for You - But how bad are they?

Everyone knows hot dogs, cigarettes and greasy food is bad for you.

The Questions

How bad are hot dogs?

Is it possible to buy a healthier hot dog?

The Answers

Hot dogs aren’t nutritious – not even remotely. They’re made of processed meat and cholesterol-raising saturated fat and sodium.

The good news is if you read nutrition labels, you can find some hot dog wieners that are easier on your waistline and arteries. They're still not healthy, but they are better than the junk you are currently eating.

The average beef or pork hot dog (38 grams or kid’s size) contains:

110 calories
4 grams of saturated fat
350 milligrams of sodium

That is before the hot dog bun and any condiments.

“Jumbo Size” franks (75 grams)

approx. 230 calories
9 grams of saturated fat
740 milligrams of sodium

Shopsy’s All Beef Quarter Pounder (113 grams)

310 calories
11 grams of saturated fat (half a day’s worth)
1,120 milligrams of sodium (nearly a day’s worth for adults)

Indeed most hot dogs, buns and sugar-filled ketchup and other condiments are pretty bad for you. They raise your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers in an hurry. The heavy intake of processed meat – such as wieners, sausages, bacon, cold cuts – has been directly linked with a greater risk of colorectal cancer. So unless you want a doctor probing your bottom you might to avoid processed meats.

Also cooking meat to high temperatures (e.g. grilling hot dogs or frying bacon) forms heterocyclic amines, compounds shown to cause colon tumours in animals. Doing that with processed meats such as wieners also contain sodium nitrite, a preservative that helps prevent botulism food poisoning and gives cured meats their characteristic red colour, well its basically cooking your chemicals before eating them.

During cooking nitrite can also react with compounds naturally present in meat to form nitrosamines and nitrosamides, several of which cause certain cancers in humans and animals. Some weiner companies add sodium erythorbate (a form of vitamin C) to processed meat to inhibit this conversion and help minimize the risk - so they know their products are harmful, but they are trying to minimize that particular risk a bit... but what if the hot dogs you are buying don't contain vitamin C?

Even if you switch to chicken or turkey wieners you’ll still save saturated fat in the hot dogs. However most chicken or turkey wieners contain no more than two grams of saturated fat per serving so that at least is reducing the fat content. However it will still have lots of sodium.

Butterball Turkey Frank (56 grams)

470 milligrams of sodium, one-third of a day’s worth.

In contrast veggie dogs made from soy protein have no saturated fat and are much lower in calories than their meat and poultry counterparts. But they're still relatively high in sodium. However veggie hot dogs contain ZERO sodium nitrite.

Yves Veggie Cuisine Veggie Dog (46 grams)
60 calories
1.5 grams of fat (from canola oil)
390 milligrams of sodium

There are some companies which sell beef, pork or chicken wieners without sodium nitrite - including Life Choices Foods, Schneider’s, Maple Leaf and Loblaw - but you need to check the label to be certain.

Also, just a warning if you reading any labels that say "organic" or “natural” hot dogs, they often have similar or even higher levels of nitrites than normal hot dogs.


Read the nutrition labels and don’t make hot dogs your regular fare this summer. An old fashioned hot dog once in awhile won't kill you, but eating them constantly will surely give you cancer.

Try to choose a wiener (38 grams) with no more than three grams of saturated fat and less than 400 milligrams of sodium and zero nitrites. At least then you are minimizing your risk.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day, especially roduce rich in phytochemicals called flavonoids such as berries, cherries, red grapes, apples, citrus fruit, broccoli, kale, onions – are known to alter the harmful effects of heterocyclic amines that form during grilling. So try to eat a balanced diet when you are not eating hot dogs.

The Exercise Regimen of a Personal Trainer in Toronto



I am looking to make my own exercise regimen. I am curious as to what you do for your own physical regimen?

Lisa P."


Hello Lisa!

Honestly, I exercise as often as I have time and energy to do so. Which is a lot since I am often exercising with clients.

However there are days when I am not meeting clients and I do have a regimen that I do at home that mixes cardio with weightlifting, stretching and yoga.

My Personal Exercise Regimen

Music - While exercising I turn my special exercising playlist so I can exercise while listening to music. My musical tastes for exercising is a mix of the 70s, 80s and 90s... and includes songs like "Eye of the Tiger" and "Gonna Fly Now", two songs from the Rocky films. I deliberately choose songs that make me feel energetic.

#1. Stretches and yoga - Varies between 1 minute to 10 minutes, depending on what I feel like doing that day. Sometimes I skip the yoga entirely.

#2. Pushups. 100 of them. Typically I divide them up into 20 pushups at a time, 5 sets of 20. If I am feeling particularly energetic I may do more than that, but always in sets of 20.

#3. Jumping Jacks. I used to do 100 jumping jacks at a time, and aimed to do 5 sets of 100. But these days I am often doing 150 to 200 jumping jacks instead - and 4 or 5 sets of them. My endurance for jumping jacks has grown over time.

#4. Headstand Pushups. I do this upside down with my feet against the wall. Typically I do 20 at a time. They're very difficult and not for beginners. Sometimes I will do 2 or 3 sets of 20.

#5. Bicep Curls - How much weight I use varies. My lightest dumbbell is 15 lbs and the heaviest is 30. If I am lifting the 15s I will sometime do 50 reps or more. If I am using the 20s / 25s then I might do 30 reps. With the 30 lb dumbbells it is 20 to 25 reps. How many sets of reps also varies, depending on how tired I am, how energetic I feel. But usually I will aim to do at least 2 reps of each different type of dumbbell.

#6. Shoulder Lifts - Using the 15 lb dumbbells I lift up my arms sideways to a 90 degree angle and hold. Then I lower my arms slowly. I do this 20 times for 5 sets.

#7. Situps - I used to do a lot of situps but these days I have grown bored of them. When I do do situps it is 100 situps at a time, usually once in the morning and once in the evening before 8 PM.

#8. Tricep Lifts - Using the heavier dumbbells I start with my arms in a raised L position and then lift both dumbbells above my head and hold for a second. Lower them down slowly back to the L position and then repeat. 30 times, both arms at once. I aim to do this for 5 sets.

#9. Behind Head Tricep Holds - Using 1 dumbbell and holding the weights at both ends I lift it over my head and then lower it behind my head. When doing this you should feel the muscles in the backs of your arms (the triceps) straining. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Do 2 to 5 sets of this, or until you feel you've strained those muscles enough.

#10. Football Twists - Holding a football between both hands I twist left and then right 100 times (50 each side), twisting as far as my obliques will let me. This is more of a cardio / stretching exercise for the obliques, but I find it also increases muscle tone.

During the Winter I often increase how often I do my exercise routine because I know I don't go outside as often in the Winter. The intensity of my workout likewise goes up in the Winter.

After I complete all of the sets and reps I usually take a multi-vitamin and chase it down with a whey protein shake.

Now I should also note that during the day I also do a lot of other random things for exercise. Some of these random things include:

  • Fixing bicycles (restoring old bicycles is my hobby).
  • Woodworking and Sculpture (another hobby)
  • Boxing
  • Cycling
  • Rollerblading (in the Summer)
  • Swimming and Snorkeling (in the Summer)
  • Ice Skating (in the Winter)
  • Archery (Spring to Autumn)
  • Rock Climbing (Spring to Autumn)

I hope all of this has been helpful!

Charles Moffat
Toronto Personal Trainer

The Free Gym Business Model + Investment Opportunity

This is somewhat off topic.

I have an idea for a Free Gym Business Model that I think has merit. Let me explain how it came about.

Yesterday while I was shopping in Canadian Tire I overheard this woman talking to customers from a display table where she was showing off a new product that got investment from the good folks on Dragons Den.

Meanwhile I have been playing with idea for years of a place similar to a gym called "The Workshop" where people could go to use power tools, welding equipment, etc - things that are too big to fit in their apartment or condo because they live in Downtown Toronto. For all intents and purposes it would be a workshop for people who like woodworking, sculpture, carpentry, welding, etc. It would follow the same basic business model as a gym - technicians instead of personal trainers, welding and carpentry classes instead of yoga and pilates, and people would pay a monthly fee to use the facilities just like you would at a gym.

Listening to the woman at Canadian Tire (who kept mentioning Dragons Den every so often, to the point it was annoying) I continued my shopping... meanwhile my brain was starting to work overtime as I thought of ways people could expand on the investment model. I must admit my thoughts were influenced by the recent Rob Ford Crackstarter campaign.

Amongst my ideas I came up with the concept of what I call "The Gym" - but unlike The Workshop idea, the focus of "The Gym" would be to make a workout place that is FREE to use.

Let me explain this concept.

#1. Don't hire any personal trainers. If personal trainers want to work there, fine. They are free to use the facilities just like they are free to use public parks.

#2. Use crowdfunding / crowdsourcing websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to raise the needed money to buy the building location, renovate it and buy all the exercise equipment.

#3. Part of the location is a protein bar - with 1 staff person who mixes protein shakes and sells them during peak hours of the day. The profits from the protein shake bar go towards buying new equipment, repairs, etc.

#4. Lots of natural lighting from skylights and windows. Cuts down on energy costs for lights.

#5. Equipment is designed to be durable and is basically bolted / welded to the ground so they cannot be stolen.

#6. Donation supported.

#7. Minimal janitorial staff.

#8. Energy drink machines. Powerade, Gatorade, etc.

#9. Showers and lockers are all coin operated.

#10. Buy stationary bicycle equipment and other resistance based exercise equipment that uses generators which feeds into a battery supply for the lights and air conditioning (which is set on low so it uses less energy).

Essentially you follow the premise of "less is more" to create a gym that is essentially free to use, but is donation supported and offers extra services like lockers, showers, protein shake bar, etc for a fee. Similar to how some libraries now have cafes in them so people can read a book while drinking a cappuccino.

When you think about that many gyms out there are charging people $70 to $100 per month (roughly $2.33 to $3.33 per day) and have hundreds of customers who are basically getting ripped off because gyms are overcharging for their services (and stealing from customer bank accounts / credit cards even when you cancel your membership) then the concept of a free gym starts to become a lot more appealing.

Even the YMCA in Toronto has a minimum fee of $47 per month depending on the location and the type of membership.

I should note that some recreation centres do have gyms already - but their hours are weird and not very convenient. And they do charge a fee for using their facilities. See for more details.

Now you might think "Hey, you said this was a business model?!"

Yes, I did call it that. The reason why is because I think a so-called free gym still has the potential to turn a profit. Especially if you are the personal trainer who gets the ball rolling, starts a Kickstarter campaign, buys the building, gets all the equipment, etc... and then the gym is just there. And you are the personal trainer who is there all the time, offering your services.

If worse comes to worse you start charging a $2 daily fee for people to use the building - It would still be better than the gyms who are overcharging people and making millions in profits because then people are only paying for the days they actually use the facilities.

Speaking for myself I am busy expanding my personal training business right now, so I am not going to be opening a free gym any time soon. But I wanted to write this idea down for the future in the case I ever want to open my "dojo". (I don't want to open a normal gym for the general public. I want a private dojo for personal training sessions where I can also teach archery, boxing, etc. The reason is because some clients feel more comfortable working out in a setting where other people cannot watch them exercising.)


Earlier today I created a new page on asking for investors in my personal training business. You can read about the details of how I am intending to do it, as I am using an unusual crowdfunding approach to getting investors. If you are familiar with Indiegogo or Kickstarter you might think this idea has merit.

You can read about my crowdfunding or "crowd shares" approach to investments by clicking investment opportunity. Feel free to post comments on the idea.

So far I already have three friends who have agreed to become my first investors. My goal is to reach $50,000 so I can expand my business.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


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