Five Fun Fitness Fads

Posted: February 24, 2012 in Workout

Bored of the same old workout? Well, these days you’ve got a lot to choose from. It’s not just about treadmills and push-ups anymore!

1. Bar Method

Based on the training methods used in traditional ballet classes (some of which you may remember from your childhood ballet classes), this method not only builds strength, but flexibility and grace, too.

2. Antigravity Yoga

Have you seen Cirque du Soleil’s ribbon dancers? This is along those lines. But not as high off the ground (to start with, anyway). It comprises elements from a few disciplines, including dance, Pilates and calisthenics, and is great for relieving pressure on the joints while still providing a great workout!

3. Zumba

Fancy trying out those latin dance moves? Then this is the workout for you. It takes classic salsa, cumbia, merengue and samba dance moves and puts them together to create a music-based workout that, hopefully, you’ll enjoy so much you won’t even notice that you’re getting in shape!

4. Piloxing

Piloxing is a combination of Pilates and boxing (and a little bit of dance). Developed by Swede Viveca Jensen, it builds your core, arm muscles while at the same time getting that cardio in. And it’s a lot more graceful than it sounds!

5. Roller Derby (or Derby Lite)

If you saw the movie Whip It a few years back, you might have been inspired to pull out those old roller skates and give it a go. But if you weren’t quite ready for the bruises and potential to become roller-roadkill, Derby Lite might be more your speed. It’s a recreational Derby league founded in 2007 by a retired derby player as a way to have fun in a more relaxed setting. If you can call whipping around on skates “relaxed!”


From big hair to combat boots – the next big craze to hit the fitness world was boot camps, based on military training techniques and often taught by ex-military instructors. These hit it big in the ’90s, but are still prevalent today for anyone who is willing to get up ridiculously early and get yelled at. Now drop and give me 20!

Aerobics was, of course, the biggest fitness fad of the 1980s – complete with neon leggings and leg warmers! Though the real birth of aerobics (the word and the practice) can be traced back to Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D. in 1968, it was Jane Fonda who turned it into the biggest fitness craze of the ’80s.

Thanks in part to Olivia Newton-John and the invention of polyurethane wheels, roller skating was the biggest fitness craze to appear in the ’70s. This was also the decade that brought bodybuilding to the forefront thanks to –  you guessed it – Arnold Swarzenegger.

When it comes to exercise, variety is very important. It forces your body to adapt to different types of stimulus, thus preparing you for more types of activity! Don’t just walk on the treadmill; increase the incline. Don’t just go for a run outside; challenge yourself on a hill, or climb the steps in your apartment.

If you regularly lift weights, go see a trainer for a few sessions to get a fresh look at your program. Do you always run outside? Try taking a small group session at your local gym, a boxing class or a spin class. Whatever it is that you do for exercise, each day try to modify it just a little bit to make sure you are constantly adapting and improving.

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The biggest fitness craze in the ’60s? Why, the vibrating belt, of course! Many women’s spas featured these, and the idea was that the vibrations would disrupt fat and cause it to “melt away.” Sounds a bit like some of the exercise products you see on late-night infomercials, doesn’t it? They were about as effective.

I’m Climbing for My Dad

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Meet Brian McKendry (pictured above, right), who is making the climb in honour of his father, Jim (left & below).

Why did you sign up for Stairclimb ?

My Dad, Jim, is my inspiration and motivation for participating in Stairclimb 2012. After a 16-month struggle with cancer on the lining of his lung, he passed away on October 29, 2010. Participating in the Stairclimb seemed the obvious choice to raise money for a cause near to my heart.

Your Dad was a great source of inspiration in your life – what made him so special?

His greatest pleasure in life was participating in physical activities – everything from hiking to skiing to weight-lifting and running. He was committed to staying fit. Even through two rounds of chemotherapy, Dad continued to run and lift weights and maintained an unwaveringly positive attitude about his situation, and life in general. On our last visit to the gym together, I remember thinking to myself, “How can he DO this?” He was tough, my old man!

You’re currently our top individual fundraiser. How did that come about?

I’ve actually been quite surprised! I started out with a goal of $500, which seemed like a reasonable amount to try for. Before I knew it, I had to adjust my goal upwards – not once, but twice! – to $1750, which I’m very close to reaching!

Given your father’s legacy of physical fitness, you must be training hard! What’s your secret?

I live in a 12-storey building, so I’ve been running the stairs regularly. I don’t enjoy running in the rain (and let’s face it, it rains a lot in Vancouver!), so it’s the perfect solution. I expect Stairclimb will be a challenge, but it’s one I’m looking forward to.

I’m shooting for a 7 minute climb time. Wish me luck!