Today’s routine

(5R iso row superset 10R push ups) 4 sets
1 min calf raises
(7R iso row superset 10R push ups) 4 sets
1 min toe taps

7min run

(5R iso chest press superset 10R pull ups) 4 sets
1 min calf raises
(7R iso chest press superset 10R pull ups) 4 sets
1 min toe taps

7min run

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No classes tomorrow, May 20th

Sorry my community, everyone needs a rest it seems. Classes will be back to normal Tuesday the 21st, enjoy your family time:)

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I’m on vacation (YAY). I’ve taken a couple weeks off to go home to Africa, and what a change. 98% humidity and constant 35 degree temperatures tend to slow everybody down and put a little perspective on how we live our lives and why. As we ring in the new year, most of us have made our resolutions and promised ourselves that, while we may have eased up just a little bit last year, right around January 3rd, THIS will be the year that we REALLY stick to our guns. It’s an old joke, but many of us do make our intentions in good faith.resolutionsWell, here in Cameroon, they do things a bit differently. You can forget all your fancy, well intentioned New Years resolutions and get down to the real business of living as though you’re smack dab in the middle of a tropical paradise 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So here I am, on the beach, belly distended by an “American breakfast” of eggs, meat, croissants, butter, tropical fruit and fresh squeezed juice. The day is pretty well shot as the water is freezing (28c) and the sky is overcast (still 35 degrees, though i may have to concede the tanning contest to Tatiana). I’m totally going to have a nap at 10am. Deal with it.

What did I have to do today? Oh, yeah, who cares.

What did I have to do today? Oh, yeah, who cares.

My brief foray into the slow motion world where I grew up has made me think a lot about my life in Canada, and how it’s veered so drastically from the way I used to roll as a native African. An 80 hour work week, fitting in time for loved ones whenever I can, and being constantly vigilant about diet and nutrition in a culture devoted to tricking us into eating calorie dense, pre-packaged garbage in order to maximize profitability from commodity crops. Tell all that to a native of Cameroon and you’ll either get a blank stare or a lecture on how you’ve basically gotten everything wrong and they’d be more than happy to spend a few hours telling you exactly how to get it right.

Our resolutions to focus less on work and spend more time with our loved ones will earn us a fair amount of confused looks around these parts as the typical day revolves around visiting with friends and family with some work thrown in for good measure. Three hour lunch breaks are not uncommon, and the concept of take-out coffee has zero basis in reality.



One of the most common new year’s resolutions is the commitment to eat right. It’s a noble concept and a decent starting point, but back in the western world we run up against some pretty difficult obstacles. Ours is a world of convenience, where most of us eat alone while staring at a television/computer/book because the focus has been taken off the social aspect of the sharing of food. We’re bombarded with fad diets and false information. It’s getting so that we need a degree in nutrition just to navigate the arcane encryption of an ingredient list. It all leads to the question: “What, exactly, do you mean by ‘eat right?'” Most people won’t be able to answer this question correctly, and it’s not hard to see why. We shop at supermarkets which contain THOUSANDS of food products, of which about 5% are OK to eat on a regular basis. This “lost in the wilderness” aspect of nutrition sort of falls by the wayside when you can grab whatever you want off the shelf around here, and chances are pretty good that it doesn’t come in a fancy box with 100% whole grain! Source of 9 essential nutrients! emblazoned on the front while being a vehicle for 14 chemically induced by-products of corn. Shopping is a markedly different experience around here.



To my family and friends here, I obviously don’t get it, and they’ve been more than happy to explain the why and how of it (every Cameroonian I’ve ever met is an expert on pretty much everything). With my return trip to the hectic, media saturated western world fast approaching, I’ll have to smile and nod at the well intentioned instruction and go forward with my original plan, perhaps spiced with a dash of reinvigorated African wisdom.
Work like a Canadian, socialize like an African
Train like a Canadian, play like an African
Eat like an African (seriously, they have way better food than we do)
*Sigh*, here I go again. My new to-do list is started already. I don’t have to do this, the ocean is waiting for me, we’ll talk again next week:)

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Getting Better with Age

With age comes many things. The wisdom accrued through years of experience.  A few more wrinkles, oops, I mean laugh lines. A few extra well-earned pounds around the mid-section. Wait, what? Age may bring many things, but it certainly doesn’t mean we need to bow to the evil machinations of gravity. If I’m going down, I’m going down kicking and screaming, clutching feverishly to a protein shake in one hand and a 24 kg kettlebell in the other.

Team T.o.M. has been expanding, and with new competitors come a new set of eyes. A and K did a phenomenal job this weekend at the Sandra Wickham Fall Classic, and they are an inspiration to all of us currently struggling against the unholy ravages of time. Both of them are  mothers, 40 years old, wait, 40 years experienced, and ready to push themselves one step further. One rocked the training, one drove me crazy, and I learned or reaffirmed many fundamentals from them.

1)Reach your goals before you have to. If you’re ready long before your due date, you have the luxury of time to tighten up loose strings before crunch time actually falls on your head and you realize that there’s no way you’re actually going to squeeze your way into that wedding dress/bikini/competition suit/whatever.

2)Listen to your coaches because they know you better than you do. How objective are we when we look at ourselves? My guess is that most of us have a self-image viewed through a filter created in our brain which is based on the way that we’ve always seen ourselves, the drugs flowing around our synapses, the way your breakfast is influencing you, and so on. Your coach is the one with the scale and the measuring tape.

3)Cardio doesn’t build an ass. Squats do

4)If your environment is hindering your progress, cut it off. Dinner parties, drinking games, family gatherings. Most of our social events bring us to the dinner table, and that’s really tough when you’re eating tuna and broccoli 6 times a day. Either get the whole family on track or hide when they get ready to huddle around the pizza box and then go for a walk with them later.

5)If they drink have a shake. This is actually from a real life thing. The woman felt pretty silly when she headed out to the bar with a ridiculous protein shake in her bag. The bouncer was impressed : )

6)Repeat after me “I don’t eat that.” If it isn’t on the diet, you don’t eat it. PERIOD!

Obviously there’s more to it than that, but those are just a few of the rules that came back and stuck with me from this experience. Getting older and having your body rebel against you may seem a little unfair, given that our accumulated wisdom and experience make us more able to fully appreciate it, but if we stick to our guns and broccoli and sweat it out, then just like A&K, we just may surprise ourselves with what we can do.

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No 10am or 8pm classes tomorrow (cause you don’t want to be around me when I fast) and What’s cool about Yom Kipur

I never really had a problem with the no washing, moisturizing, leather/sex thing. My biggest challenge was always food and water. I become a monster on Yom Kipur. So hungry I sometimes even forget to think about my wrongs, just asking to get into more trouble. However not long ago, while struggling between the provincials and nationals CBBF competitions, I had to go on a 5 days fast and cleanse and it really worked for me. I realized that being hungry is not always a bad thing and that it feels really good to give a break to your system.

The concept of intermittent fasting is not a new one (Yom Kipur). It is said to prolong lifespan, accelerate fat loss, make you healthier.

Like all professional dieters I’ve tried it, loved it, recommend it. And when the Paleo wave is over, I’ll tell you  more about it. In the mean time, have an easy fast, (right…).

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What’s so hard about the paleo diet? It’s the Spartan Way!

It’s been an interesting week. Some started, some adopted and modified, some did not get it, and, well, some gave up…already. I’m talking about the Paleo diet 30 day challenge by Robb Wolf. Funny how we are so deep in our habits that anything different seems unsurmontable. No grains, no dairy, no processed foods, no simple sugars; I thought I was doing you a favor – planned menu, recipes, direction, and variety to satisfy your spouse and kids.

I like the Paleo diet. I find it really easy to follow and I welcome the direction knowing that if I say to myself “you can’t have ice cream because you can’t have milk”, the good Martina will reply “huh ok”, done deal, easy breezy, what?

Us News ranks the Paleo diet #24 out of 24 and I have to question why?!?! Besides what the author of the book claims, it’s a balanced diet and, at the very least, the beginning of something good. You are encouraged to eat clean, nutritious, non-processed, low-glycemic foods (YES, foods that help “ward off” the many chronic illnesses we face today – that’s right, it’s not just about WEIGHT LOSS!!!) . I think “nutritious” is the key word; our food is quite depleted these days and wild plants are not easy to come by. But seriously, give me a break though – #24? Clearly, and with good reasoning, I disagree entirely.

And, I should clarify with the following…no calorie counting does not give you the right to eat nuts, fruit and/or meat by the pound. You’ve got to learn portion control.

Organic vegetables and fruit, grass fed meats, and free range eggs are a good start up. Oh, and about heart health??? Simple sugars have actually got the bad rap – that’s right – SIMPLE SUGARS and not saturated fat!

Hard to follow they say?! You seem to agree?! I don’t! The most difficult part of all diets is the planning and the cooking; it is, however, a lifestyle change you need to make – the era of fast food is over (I don’t have time) and your mom no longer cooks for you (I don’t feel like it) so spend a few minutes organizing your week; select a couple of hours for prep, prepare in bulk, stop spoiling your family with multiple meals, and make food a priority because it is the ONE!.

On the physical end of things, the Super Spartan race in Squamish is happening tomorrow (the 22nd) so good luck to Leslie, Joey, and Jessica who I’ve grown fond of training; they came with a short goal in mind and they continue setting new and more challenging ones as they go. They persist in growing stronger and hungrier – it’s not just my way, it’s the Spartan Way!

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September / October Xtrain classes, the paleo diet and why it’s going to cost you

Xtraining: I don’t even have to think about it – it’s a proven fact – “Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and reduce boredom that creeps in after months of the same exercise routines. Cross training also allows you the ability to vary the stress placed on specific muscles or even your cardiovascular system. After months of the same movements your body becomes extremely efficient performing those movements, and while that is great for competition, it limits the amount of overall fitness you possess and reduces the actual conditioning you get while training; rather than continuing to improve, you simply maintain a certain level of fitness. Cross training is also necessary to reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.”  –

So for the next 8 weeks, you will run, swim, cycle, row, stair climb, rope jump, strength train, perform Calisthenics, weight train, use medecine balls, and bands. In addition, you will improve flexibility, speed, agility, and balance via circuit training, sprinting, plyometrics and other forms of skill conditioning.

The Paleo diet: I love the concept – no calorie counting, no grains, no sugar and no processed food. Just another diet you say?!?! I think you’ve heard me say before but the Dalai Lama gets it too “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively” So here, learn something!

We are an overweight chronically diseased generation; lactose and gluten intoleranance challenge our bodies. You can and will function on less carbs than you are used to and burn fat in a process called Ketogenesis. Sugar is not your friend and fat is no longer to be feared!! So, here are your Paleo Food Choices.

Take 30 days and give it a shot – cut out the grains and dairy, start eating more vegetables and fruits, eat more humanely raised and naturally fed meat, cut out the liquid calories and refined sugars, and see how you feel after the month is up. Check out for more info.

About the money, how much again? $20 Most of you have complimented me on my arms and shoulders and asked me how I achieved it. “Just tell me how and I’ll do it” you say so I did and you … failed.

According to Tim Ferris, there are 2 reasons why one fails at achieving his/her desired physique: (1)An insufficient reason for action and (2) no reminders. This said, here are a couple reasons for you! You may be unhappy with your energy levels, looks, eating, training and sleeping habits…you need help, directions, ideas, change, focus, you want more…

The reminders? Before/after pictures and measurements, $20 less in your account, weekly weigh-ins, a monthly diet plan (including recipes). Check out the hard copy at the studio next time you come in and enroll! 1 personal training session or a month membership in exchange for combined higher Total Inches + Weight loss.

See you at 6am!

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