Monthly Archives

January 2018

8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

By | Interesting Articles
Lots of people get depressed in winter, or suffer from “the winter blues”. The medical name for this winter depression is seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If the short, dark days are getting you down, what can you do to feel like yourself again?

1. Keep active

Research has shown that one-hour of exercise in the middle of the day could be as helpful as a light treatment for coping with the winter blues. Even if you’re able to take a short walk during the day, that level of exercise will significantly help to improve your mood.

2. Get outside

Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.

3. Keep warm

It’s been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by as much as half. Being cold has a negative effect on your mood, and has been proven to make you more depressed. A great way to stay warm is to sweat it out in a yoga session or during a great workout.

Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 21C and 24C.

4. Eat healthily

A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

5. See the light

Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy at home in winter is to sit in front of a light box for up to two hours a day. Alternatively, you can set one up next to your desk at work. Light boxes give out very bright light at least 10 times stronger than ordinary home and office lighting.

6. Take up a new hobby

Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of the winter blues. It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, working out, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.

7. See your friends and family

It’s been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while. A great way to see your friends in the winter is to meet them at the gym for a partner workout.

8. Talk it through

Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health, so always be sure to prioritize it just as much. See your doctor for information on counselling and therapy.


Active Aging Series: Osteoporosis

By | Active Aging

Osteoporosis: The “Silent Thief”

When it comes to Osteoporosis, there is a lot to learn, and a lot more to consider. So to simplify it, we’ve broken down the top points you need to know.

  1. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin and porous, decreasing bone strength and leading to increased risk of breaking a bone.
  2. The most common sites of osteoporotic fracture are the wrist, spine, shoulder and hip.
  3. There is no single cause for Osteoporosis.
  4. Osteoporosis can strike at any age.
  5. It affects both men and women.
  6. Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent thief’ because bone loss occurs without symptoms unless one has fractured.
  7. It can result in disfigurement, lowered self-esteem, reduction or loss of mobility, and decreased independence.
  8. Osteoporosis is called a paediatric disease with geriatric consequences.
  9. As women approach menopause, they lose bone at a greater rate, from 2-3 percent per year.
  10. Risk factors include age, sex, vertebral compression fracture, fragility fracture after age 40, either parent has had a hip fracture, >3 months use of glucocorticoid drugs, medical conditions that inhibit absorption of nutrients and other medical conditions or medications that contribute to bone loss.
  11. Loss of 2cm (3/4″) as measured by one’s healthcare provider or 6cm (2 1/2″) overall from when one was younger may be an indicator of spinal fracture.

So, what can you do to prevent Osteoporosis?

Physical activity is one of the mainstream therapies to help to maintain strong and healthy bones, along with nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. Bones continue to remodel daily; bone cells are lost and new ones created. As we age the rate of loss increases and the new cell development slows. Bones respond to the stresses placed upon them, meaning if your stress the bone, the bone-building cells will continue to lay down bone material.

Weight-bearing activities such as running, walking and dancing all help to maintain or improve bone mineral density. Weightlifting, cycling and swimming are not weight bearing but can play a role in helping to maintain bone mass too. Postural exercises can help to maintain better postures, reducing the risk of vertebral fractures,  and strengthening will decrease your risk of falls and potential fractures. Your physician, dietician and physiotherapists can all help you to manage your risk of developing osteoporosis. Assess your risk by using the “Know Your Risk” tool on the Osteoporosis Canada website.

Bone FitTM

Bone FitTM is an exercise program designed by Osteoporosis Canada to help those at risk of fracture or who have had fractures to maintain or improve bone density. Many of our Coaches are trained to deliver this evidence-based program. So, if you have concerns about your bone density or have had a fracture of your wrist, hip or vertebrae, book a session with a Coach to ensure that your fitness program is meeting your needs to continue to decrease your risk.

Article Written by Laura Doyle, Registered Physiotherapist BHSc (PT), B.Ed., B. KIN

As a registered physiotherapist, Laura works at McMaster Family Practice. She sees patients while promoting healthy living and aging along acute and chronic health conditions. Laura is a Member of the Momentum community who makes time at lunch to workout. She is passionate about moving every day to maximize function and fitness throughout the lifespan.

You’re Not Alone! Most Embarrassing Gym Moments

By | Interesting Articles

We believe that embarrassing moments are meant to happen for 2 reasons:

ONE: To remind us that we’re not perfect.

TWO: To remind us not to take life so seriously. Embarrassing for you means laughter for others and laughter for you in the future.

Aside from laughing at other’s blunders, something else that’s funny is that we all get embarrassed by things that happen in the gym. So before you try to crawl into a hole, realize that everyone at some time or another has had an embarrassing moment during a workout.

The Balancing Act

I had finally worked myself up to using a bar to squat. The gym was really busy, and there was only one squat rack available, which someone had left weights on. It was my first time using it, and silly me didn’t realize if you take 135 lbs off one side, you’d need to do the same thing on the other side. When I went to lift the bar, the end with weight smashed into the cement floor and the other end went flying up towards my face, just skinning my nose.

  • Steph

The Toot

When I was a student at Mohawk College, I was exercising in their glassed-in yoga room. Now, I don’t know if you know this about core exercises, but they push on very specific parts of your lower abdomen. So here I was, minding my own business doing core exercises when I had a very loud and pronounced toot. It was the second week of school, and of course, a bunch of my new classmates were in there. They all turned and stared at me.

  • Cole


The first time was when I was at a gym and I was using equipment the wrong way. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time leaning back on this machine. It was supposed to be a crunch machine, but turns out I was using it backwards. I didn’t notice until much later when a trainer took somebody on it.

The second time was when I was at a spin class. The workout was really hard, and after about 10 minutes I started blacking out. I had to get off the bike, and I woozied out into the hall – where they had glass walls – and I vomited into a bucket. And everyone saw me.

  • Jackie

Target Practice

I played basketball my whole life, so needless to say, I’m pretty used to throwing and catching balls. I was training at Lebron James’ facility down in the states, and we were doing medicine ball throws up a wall. The trainer didn’t tell us to not to catch the ball so when it came back down I obviously tried to catch it – and I folded like a lawn chair. It was a 15kg ball!

  • Mark

Bottom Out

It was one of the first times I was using the squat rack. The weight was loaded up on the bar and I went down to do a squat and completely lost my balance, fell backwards, and landed on my butt. I didn’t get hurt, but it was still super embarrassing.

  • Alix

Nah, I’m Cool

I was doing close-grip bench presses using a bar. A guy saw me on the bench and asked if I wanted a spotter.  I told him I was good on my own, and literally, while he was still walking away, I dropped the weight and got pinned under the bar. I couldn’t lift it back up and I had to ask that same guy to help get me out.

  • Darren

All Eyes On You

I was teaching a group fitness class in front of 30 people. I was on a stability ball pressing dumb bells overhead when I lost my balance and went flying into the floor. It was like a scene from a movie. The group laughed so hard, they literally couldn’t contain themselves.


  • Sam

10 Ways To Not Flake On Going To The Gym

By | Interesting Articles

When January hits, you probably feel extra motivated to make it to the gym. Your New Year’s goals are fresh in your mind, and you’re ready to build new habits. At Momentum Fitness, we want to make sure that you feel that way throughout the entire year! We’ve fully-loaded this list with 10 tips and resources for you to keep that January motivation all the way until next year.

1. Keep Your Playlist Fresh

It really can be as simple as that. A study out of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse Exercise and Health Program reported that listening to upbeat music while working out can reduce the perception of effort and increase endurance by 15%. Whether you like listening to hip-hop, rap, techno, or pop, keeping your playlists updated is one of the major keys to steady workout motivation. So, with an updated playlist, your workout won’t feel like work —meaning you’ll go longer and harder. Each month, Momentum sends out a new playlist to keep you feeling motivated. Click here to subscribe.

2. Set Realistic Goals

If you set a goal, you have to ask yourself critically what you’re actually going to do in order to achieve it. Many people come into a gym saying that they want to get stronger, so follow up by asking yourself further about how you intend to achieve that goal. When setting goals, it’s important to think of them in terms of SMART goals. By setting a realistic goal, you set yourself up for success, as well as the opportunity to build off that goal. Want to know more? Check out our blog on goal setting.

3. Get An Accountability Partner

Enlist one of your trusted friends as an accountability partner (preferably a friend who’s driven and passionate about fitness). Text one another when either of you goes to the gym and push each other to stay consistent and motivated. Now whenever you consider skipping a workout, you’ll have to answer to yourself and your gym partner.

“On Wednesday, I didn’t sleep well,” said Michael O’Riordan, Momentum’s Member of the Month for January.  “I wanted to blow off my workout – and I would have. I would have just turned the alarm clock off if I didn’t have to meet someone here. But I can’t leave Cole hanging. If he came, I have to come.” Of course, that kind of accountability is huge.

4. Go To Classes

Motivation is one of the reasons why group fitness classes are great. Those who show up for group fitness classes are more likely to get motivated to engage in exercise when they see others doing it.

Participating in group classes with friends or making new friends in class encourages a person to show up and commit. It’s a great way to mix up your workouts and incorporate new exercises into your routine. Did you know that your Momentum Fitness membership includes 2 classes a month?  Check out the class schedule online.

5. Mix Up Your Workouts

Experienced lifters know, you’re not going to get continuous growth using the same program, week in week out. The human body adapts to the stress too fast, so regular changes in your workout are essential for long-term growth. Seeing positive changes will help to motivate you to continue hitting the gym. Things, like switching up exercises, and changing the order of your routine, are easy ways to mix it up.

6. Pick Something You’ll Enjoy

The best exercise routine isn’t going to do any good if it doesn’t inspire you to stick with it. And going to the gym doesn’t have to be a case of “take your medicine.” There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy or even look forward to exercising. Think about when you were a kid: You got tons of exercise, but you didn’t think of it as a requirement, it was play. So, whether it’s jogging, racquetball, Krav Maga, hiking, baseball or even lifting weights, find an activity you enjoy.

7. Get Competitive

Adding in a little bit of competition to your workout is a great way to keep you going back to the gym. A small personal goal like running a little bit longer than your last workout is an easy way to add competition into your workout. Get a fitness tracker and create weekly challenges with friends and family. Sign up for a race and set a personal time goal to work towards. Alternatively, you can try one of our group fitness classes that shows your performance in real time. Whether you set a goal to keep up with a friend who’s working out next to you or you create your own personal best challenge, just get competitive.

8. Add It To Your Calendar

From work meetings to kids’ activities, you’ll likely keep your most important appointments in a calendar on your phone, computer or day planner. So why not schedule your workouts? By carving out a specific time to work out and having a reminder alert you on your phone or computer, you’re more likely to make working out a priority.

9. Surround Yourself With Motivation

Hang up motivational images around your house, like motivational quotes or photos of inspirational people. Having inspiration posted everywhere — your car dashboard, refrigerator, calendar, etc. gives you a constant reminder to work towards your goal. Even something as simple as leaving your gym bag in a place that you can see will give you that gentle reminder to hit the gym.

10. Treat yourself!

Getting in shape takes work, and you should be rewarded for it! Set small weekly goals (like working out three times this week) and give yourself a small reward to reinforce your newfound good behaviour. Or, every time you meet your weekly goal, put $5 in a jar. Once you hit your longer-term goals, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair of shoes. No matter what, always remember to celebrate your achievements!

Michael O’Riordan Member of the Month

By | Interesting Articles

Congratulations to Michael O’Riordan, our member of the month for January!

Michael has been a member of Momentum for nearly two years and has become fully emerged in our community.

Michael moved to Hamilton six years ago, and his adventurous spirit led him to pick a neighbourhood at random. After conveniently landing in the Locke Street neighbourhood, he eventually became involved in a running group that runs out of Democracy on Locke. Of course, Michael quickly fell in love with the trails in Hamilton, and soon felt at home in his new city. “I was amazed at how green the city was! The impressions of the steel factories that everyone gets of Hamilton couldn’t be further from the truth.”

A Runner’s Tale

Since the age of 20, Michael has been an avid runner, blazing through the trails and competing in races. Michael first met Coach Cole through the running community and knew him as the go-to trainer for running in Hamilton. For this reason, Michael recently joined our Run Club as he trains for the Around the Bay Marathon in March, followed by a fast race in the fall. With Michael’s involvement in multiple run groups, he hopes to eventually merge these communities together. That mission is a true testament to Michael’s personality. He loves community collaboration and fostering new relationships. If you know him, you can attest to the fact that he truly is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

As a journalist for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, he sees hundreds of studies and he often covers heart-related stories. That alone would be enough to motivate someone to stay physically active, and it’s certainly one of the many reasons that Michael chooses to exercise. However, his primary motivation to come to the gym is to improve his strength and prevent injury. But of course, this runner finds extra bonuses from his workouts. “There are a lot of people who are big believers in getting stronger to run faster, so that’s the goal.”

Fitness Education

“I’ve always belonged to a gym, but never really got anywhere with it. I always assumed I knew what I was doing. I joined a big-box gym when I moved to Hamilton, but I wasn’t really getting much out of it. Over the last couple years when I was getting injured running, I figured that I had to get stronger. I joined Momentum with the intention of working with someone and actually getting physically stronger. I’ve always been a runner, but I didn’t have any strength, so I needed help in that regard. I wanted to learn how to squat and to deadlift, and I wanted to learn how to do things properly.”

Barriers to Exercise

Like so many runners, Michael has become prone to injury, over the years. He’s been dealing with stress fractures, calf tightness, and ankle mobility, just to name a few. In order to prevent injury, he trains at least twice a week with Coach Cole. This provides him with accountability that he wouldn’t otherwise have on his own. “I didn’t sleep well on Wednesday, so I wanted to blow off my workout – and I would have. I would have just turned the alarm clock off if I didn’t have to meet someone here. But I can’t leave Cole hanging. If he came, I have to come.” Of course, that kind of accountability is huge.

Big Gains – Literally!

Michael was in sheer awe as he reflected on the ‘numbers’ of it all. He’s now squatting 140 lbs and deadlifting 190 lbs. “It’s amazing! We started at nothing, with just barbells and movements. We started by saying, ‘Okay, what’s 90 degrees when I squat?’ I had to learn all those things from the beginning.”

Currently, Michael is working towards a goal of running his next marathon in less than three hours. He’d also like to run a half marathon in under an hour and twenty minutes, and ultimately, he’d like to be injury-free in 2018.

His Advice

When we asked Michael if he had any advice for new members or for someone who has never joined a gym before, he said, “join a smaller community-minded gym like Momentum. At the big-box gym, you can get lost in the crowd. There’s no accountability there, and it’s hard to get to know people. In small gyms, you can become a part of a community, you’ll get to know the trainers, they’ll all know you, and they’ll put back into their community. I like businesses that are putting back into Hamilton.”

Rarely do people come to the gym expecting the empowerment they find through increased strength, but that’s exactly what Michael found. He’s committed, motivated, and has set himself up for success by hiring a Coach who can educate him and keep him accountable. Through his extremely hard work, Michael is showing major improvements in both his strength training and running. We couldn’t congratulate him enough!

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your story with us, and congratulations again on being named our member of the month!