Monthly Archives: February 2014

Client Testimonial: Katie Boone

This warmed my heart (and made me cry, thanks Katie!)  This girl has come a long way since we started training a few years ago and she is currently 15 weeks out from her first fitness competition!  Here is her testimonial! 🙂 Also check out her blog post to learn more about her personal health and fitness journey, this woman is amazing and learning so much about her body through this process…

Friend first, trainer second

………..the reason why I heart Leslie Robertson

 This started off as an email that I was sending Les regarding our group blog that then progressed into a demonstration of my super love for my good friend. So, I thought I would turn into a client testimonial for her…


 I really want you to know (jokes aside) how grateful I am to have you in my life. I truly don’t know where I would be right now if you weren’t around and if I didn’t have you to trust in me, encourage me and laugh with me. No joke, you have been one of the most important people in my life this year in helping me in my personal life and being my partner in crime and incredible wing woman ;)…. And a voice of reason. Thank you for letting me bounce ideas off of you, unload my anxieties and confusions, and address my underlying insecurities. 

 I’ve realized over the last week that not only do I love myself more because of the experiences I have had in the past year, I’ve accepted and learned to appreciate the things that always drove me to be disappointed in what I saw in my reflection. You truly are such an incredible, positive force in my life and so many other people’s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to my mom and sister and told them how easily you can switch my mood from being negative to positive and truthfully it’s rubbing off. 

 I appreciate you so much and don’t tell you enough how important you are to me. Thank you for everything. I am so happy to see YOU so happy and in love 🙂 You deserve it more than anyone.

 Now – lets build me some muscle (particularly in the booty region!)



She is one of many dedicated clients that I train every week!  My clients continue to amaze me with their progress (physically and mentally) and are the number one reason why I LOVE my job and look forward to coming to work EVERY SINGLE DAY!



Les’ Healthy Advice to Live By….

Being in the fitness ‘industry’ for quite awhile now and being on my own journey of health and improving my fitness I have learned quite a bit about nutrition, from my own experiences or from my many friends and clients!  I thought I would share my ‘top 10’ tips with you in today’s blog post as these are the 10 commandments that have helped me get to where I am today! 🙂

1. Set aside time in your day to workout-NO MATTER WHAT! If you can, make sure it is the same time everyday!  If your life isn’t that organized and predictable make sure you set aside at least 30 minutes a day to exercise, it’s the best gift you can give to yourself everyday! If you’re having a hard time finding enough hours in a day, try tracking how many hours you spend in bed, on facebook or watching television/Netflix and you might find some extra time to get in a good workout 😉 Learn to love working out and it will become much more enjoyable instead of working out because you think you have to!

2. Give yourself enough time in the morning to make a good breakfast!  And no a shake does NOT count as breakfast!  Cook an omelette, make a quiche/strata the night before, cook up some protein pancakes (lots of ideas in this blog post or this one) or if you really hate cooking, you can make a complete meal in your blender and create a delicious smoothie-add a liquid of your choice (preferably water), fruit, greens, plain greek yogurt, oatmeal, protein powder, flax seed, fish oil or peanut butter and VOILA!) Make protein (25-35 g) the lead role in your breakfast, followed by carbs and/or healthy fats. It has been proven that people who eat breakfast are leaner,more productive and have more energy throughout the day!

3. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours.  Depending on how many hours you are awake during the day (i.e. 7am-10pm=15 hours/3 hours between meals=5 meals per day) you should be eating 5-7 meals!  The reason I encourage people to eat multiple times throughout the day is to rev up your metabolism (every time you eat your body has to work hard to break the food down) and to ensure that you control your insulin/blood sugar levels by never being super hungry (no cravings!).  Your meals should be protein dominant (yep snacks too!) and should include LOTS of veggies, healthy fats and carbs (but limited depending on your body type and activity level).

4. Cut back on your TV watching time!  You’ll have more time to exercise, prep food, be productive and most importantly, less chances of mindless eating! Besides, if you’re like most people, you have a job that requires sitting down all day, why would you want to continue to sit on your butt when you could be cooking your meals for the next day in the kitchen or working out at the gym or running outside!  Call me crazy but it’s just a thought 😉

5. Eat real food! 100 calorie packs, low fat, no fat, Weight Watchers, gluten free, dairy free, no calorie, shakes for meals, supplement this etc etc blah blah blah….EAT FOOD! Lean protein (variety of meats, eggs, legumes), all colours of vegetables, healthy fats (nuts, oils, avocado, fish) and healthy carbs (oatmeal, rice, sweet potato, fruit, quinoa) are your best options.  You are what you eat…literally!  Some people complain about the price of eating healthy but guess what? You’re worth it!!  And all those crazy diet pills will never work unless you eat healthy everyday! I cannot stress this enough, proper nutrition is the key to weight loss! EAT REAL FOOD!

6. Stick with it!  Yes, there will be days when you skip the gym, you will eat something you shouldn’t, drink a little too much wine, have a bad night’s sleep etc but remember that consistency is the key to getting results!  I’m not talking a week, 2 weeks or a month, but months and years of healthy living is when you will truly start to feel and see the results of your efforts!  So be patient, your better body or fitness goal can’t be achieved in a few weeks of working out and eating healthy (or what you think might be healthy;)…) It took years to get your body to the state it is in now so it will take at least a year of solid and consistent effort to make a difference in your current physique and lifestyle…ask someone who you think is in great shape how long it took them to get there, I’m sure they will tell you YEARS!

7. Surround yourself and make friends with people who have similar interests in health and fitness!  If you’re hanging around people who make you feel bad for eating healthy or not going out drinking with them every weekend or don’t understand why you spend so much time exercising, or why you spend your money on a personal trainer,this makes it harder for you to stick to your plan!  I’m not saying to get rid of the people who aren’t supportive of your lifestyle but maybe spend less time with them and more time with people who can relate to your lifestyle and fitness goals and will bring you up and support you instead of making you feel bad about your new and improved life!

8. Hire an experienced trainer!  The only way to be held accountable and learn how to do things properly is to meet with someone who has experience teaching others about working out and proper nutrition that lead to results.  It doesn’t have to be a big investment, even 1 session a week or corresponding with a trainer via email/Skype/online once a month is worthwhile.  Your trainer will help get you on the right track by sitting down with you to set goals, break them up into weekly or monthly goals and then design a plan to help you get there!  Make sure you do your research though to make sure that you trainer has the proper knowledge, training and experience to help you reach your goals!  Do a background check! Ask for testimonials of current and former clients to get a better idea of the type of service you can expect.  Once you find a trainer perfect for you, CONGRATS!  You have just made the best investment and commitment you could ever make….investing in your health!

9. Follow healthy fitness and nutrition blogs/Facebook pages/Instagram for workout or recipe ideas and inspiration!  And don’t just read them, take notes and try them!

10. Get ready to spend a lot of time in the kitchen as you must prep all your own meals…accept the fact that losing weight is 80% nutrition so cooking and grocery shopping will take up the most of your time! Find a day (or 2) during the week when you aren’t busy and COOK UP A STORM!  Bulk cooking is best!  You will also spend a few days a week at the grocery store, this is normal!   Ask my clients who have gotten excellent results or who are competing in fitness competitions what the easiest way to prepare their food is.  They will tell you to cook as much of your food in advance!  Plan out your meals and have them ready or you’ll be stuck grabbing food on the way home (bad!) or not eating at all!  You can eat out (if you must) but be sure to make healthy choices…here is a blog post from my Naturopathic Doctor, (Dr Ellen Simone) with some tips for eating healthy when eating out.

These are just a FEW tips I thought I would share with you….I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information!  Remember you can’t change everything at once so pick one or two things to focus on each week and once you master those, add another healthy habit!

You can do it, you just have to be willing to make extra time for yourself and do a few things that require a little extra effort! (ie cooking and working out!)

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks…and feel free to share some of your own that I may have forgotten!

Les 🙂

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Healthy Hangouts

Lately I have really made an effort to see my friends more regularly!  In the past, when I was super busy training for a competition or working crazy hours or was in a relationship (with someone who lived in Ottawa!) I wouldn’t see my friends nearly enough.  Also, when it was time to plan a get together with a friend we would plan a night out and go out for a drink, or grab a bite to eat.  I’m not saying I don’t still do this once in awhile but now I prefer to plan a healthy activity with my friends!  The best part about this is we have fun while working out and we get to catch up at the same time!

Last week I did a body pump class with my friend at Goodlife and while at first I was skeptical (I have a few hesitations about the class) but once we got started with our amazing instructor Joe (check out his blog)  I was smiling and having a great time.  And while it wasn’t the toughest workout I have ever done (other than the burning triceps track and the endless planks at the end!) Lucie and I couldn’t help but cheer each other on and laugh while we were dancing along (when our muscles weren’t screaming at us) with the tracks that were playing.  So that was a success and so much fun!

I also love yoga dates with friends!  Last night I met a friend at Yogatown for a special chocolate yoga class (YUM!) I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I knew that with Laurie leading the class it was guaranteed to be a sweet practice 😉  A woman had brought her own homemade chocolates for us to try (Trufflishi) and Laurie would cue us to ‘reach forward and take a bite of your chocolate and let it melt in your mouth as you melt into your pose’.  It was hard not to go ‘MMMM’ out loud with every bite! What an amazing idea 🙂  Another great way to spend time with a friend, enjoying chocolate while doing yoga!  I have so many funny stories from doing different yoga classes with friends, but too many to share, but a couple of times I fell asleep and yes, I was caught snoring!

Lately I have been doing my strength training workouts with friends, co workers, clients and I find it makes a HUGE difference in the effort I put into my workout. There is nothing more encouraging than a little healthy competition right?  The best workout partner is one who is just as strong or a little bit stronger than me as they are usually trying to tell me to ‘do 1 more’ or ‘come on let’s add 10 more lbs’ and that makes it really hard to say no!  But I know my limits so proper form, alignment and muscle activation always comes before lifting heavier weights, hopefully you follow the same rule!!

Doing cardio with a friend can also be fun, but remember, if you can talk the whole time then you probably could work a bit harder.  Push your cardio buddy to do intervals (go as hard as you can for 30-60 seconds) and you can chat (or try and catch your breathe together) during your rest periods!  In the past when I have trained for a half marathon I always enjoyed doing my long runs with a friend as it made the long (slow) runs go by a lot faster and having a friend to meet with made it really hard to not get out for my run! 

Working out with a friend is not only a good way to catch up but it is the best way to hold yourself accountable!  I find I have the best workouts when I am training with a friend so thanks to all my friends who have been pushing me in the gym! Thanks to you I will always be in great shape AND more importantly be surrounded by wonderful friends!

Have you ever tried working out with your friends?  I must say, I am lucky that most of my friends are very active and workout regularly.  I can see how this could be challenging if your friends don’t exercise as much as you do, but maybe you can encourage/inspire them to start!? After all, most people who don’t workout say it’s because it’s boring or they don’t know where to start, help a friend out and show them how working out can be fun!

Les 🙂


Common Fitness Myths

While most of my clients are women, I’d have to say that I hear a lot of these ‘myths’ from my male clients as well.  The best one is, “I eat really well during the week but I need to have my ___________ on the weekends”.  People want results and the ‘perfect’ program but they don’t want to make any changes to their current lifestyle….sorry, not gonna happen!  If you are 100% dedicated to your goals, then you must be dedicated 100% (which means all the time) to put in the time and effort it takes to get there, if not, well you simply aren’t ready yet!

Here are a few myths I most commonly hear….

Lifting weights will make me look bulky: I have lost count of the number of times I have heard this! LADIES LISTEN UP!  Women have nothing to worry about in terms of bulking up. It requires very intensive training that most people won’t do and more importantly women lack the testosterone levels to build bulging muscles. Unless you start taking steroids you will NOT become bulky from lifting weights.  Weight training builds muscle and with proper nutrition you can see muscle definition, which is something many women want.  Therefore, resistance training is essential for ‘toning’ as it helps to increase a person’s metabolism.. So ladies, stop being scared to lift weights!!!

Hours of cardio will help you to lose weight: Yes, to a certain point but generally, the harder you work, the more fat you burn.  But before you can work at the most intense levels — i.e. sprints or interval training— you have to build up to it.  It’s progressive. You have to build some aerobic endurance before you can start working at high-intensity levels. In other words, walk before you run and run before you sprint — pushing the body progressively. It is also much better for your confidence and sticking to your plan if you start slow and build progressively instead of going all out all at once.

Doing crunches will get me abs: While the devices they sell on late night infomercials may promise to “help strengthen the muscles around your midsection and improve your posture,” being able to “see” your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat.  If you don’t lose the belly fat, you won’t see your ab muscles.  So how do you lose the belly fat? Not by doing crunches! The best way to burn fat in ALL areas of your body though is to follow a workout routine that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content, including the area around your mid section.  On top of lifting weights you must also eat clean (for more than 2 weeks! It takes months and months!), reduce your stress, avoid sugar, control your hormone levels, get plenty of sleep…the list goes on! There is no secret to getting a 6 pack…it just takes hard work and serious dedication!  Even when I am at my leanest (on stage when I did a fitness competition) I don’t have deep abs showing, and to be honest, I don’t really care! All the women and men you see in magazines are usually extremely dehydrated or photo shopped to have abs.  Besides, don’t strive for perfection or you’ll never be happy! 

If you put your time in the gym and the kitchen you will achieve your goals aka losing weight is easy: There is more to it than just the training and nutrition! Especially women! We are complex creatures and many times I have had clients follow through on everything I tell them to do and their progress is very slow. This is when hormones, stress, thyroid function and lack of sleep can affect a person’s results.  Many times I can only help a person so much, and when it gets to this point I usually refer my clients to a  hormone or naturopathic doctor or holistic nutritionist.  Losing weight is so hard and involves so much more than eating healthy and exercising.  Your emotional fitness can affect your progress (see my previous blog post)  Most importantly, everyone is different so what works for one person might no necessarily work for another.  It is crucial to find out what works best for you and don’t forget to switch things up, don’t always eat the same thing or do the same workout as that leads to boredom which can lead to skipping the gym.  I find that on days I eat better I feel better, therefore I want to eat nothing but healthy food, which also helps me feel better, and  I always sleep better and am less stressed when I eat clean and exercise which leads to a better night’s sleep. It’s a cycle that is so easy to break but also easy to keep continuous!  The main thing to remember here is to be patient…it takes time to overcome bad habits and to develop new (and healthy) ones.

Fat will make you fat: Sort of true, if you eat the WRONG fats and too many of them but healthy fats are ESSENTIAL for weight loss, proper brain function, healthy skin, nails and hair, bowel function, energy and they taste good!  You can get fats from fish oil supplements (1ml per % body fat), nuts, seeds, coconut oil, animal fat and fish, nut butters, egg yolks and avocado.  If you are they type of person who requires less carbs to lose weight then you should definitely substitute your carbs with fats and vice versa (if you are eating more carbs, reduce your fats).  Check out the serving size for each source of fat before you go and eat an entire bag of nuts or devour a whole avocado!

Once you reach your goal weight/body fat you don’t have to do as much training or watch what you eat as you’ll just have to maintain what you’ve worked for: Ummmmm no, don’t think so!  Fitness is a lifestyle, not a destination (cliché I know) and it never stops! Once you reach your goal, set new ones!  And when you reach that goal you set more!  Personally, working out and eating clean and living a happy and productive life is an ongoing process for me and is one that I thoroughly enjoy, why would I ever want to stop improving myself and helping to inspire others?

These are just a few of the most common fitness misconceptions I have heard but trust me, there are WAY more!   If you still don’t believe me after reading this post, feel free to ask a few of my clients who have implemented most, if not all of these ‘rules’ and they will surely convince you to think otherwise!

Please comment below if you have any questions or comments or maybe you have your own myths you would like be to debunk!

Les 🙂