Fitness Focus

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June Boot Camps

This summer's second round of Boot Camps start next week! Open to members and non members of the gym.  So far the Monday evening Boot Camps with Robin have been great!  They're out there busting their butts, rain or shine.  Starting Tuesday June 5th, the morning Boot Camps with Jen start for the following 6 weeks and will run on Tuesday and Thursday Mornings at 6:00am.  There are still a couple of spots available for the morning Camps that we expect will be filled by next Monday; so don't miss out!  Morning workouts are a great motivator, they make you feel more energized for your day, and even help control your metabolism and appetite for the day.  Even if you aren't a morning person, there are so many reasons to take advantage of a fun time and a great outdoor group workout.

If you have any questions or if you want to get your name on one of the final spots, please contact us at Fitness Focus (306) 244-6413 or by email

Fitness Focus Saskatoon

TRX Suspention Training


Try adding a component of TRX to your training in the gym.  We offer TRX based group classes as well as one on one personal training.  TRX Suspension Training was born in the Navy SEALS, develops strength, power, endurance, balance, flexibility, mobility, durability, and core stability.  The TRX Suspension Trainer is a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity the user's bodyweight to enable hundreds of exercises that can be instantly scaled for any user to reach any fitness or training goal. whether you're young or old, out of shape or a beast, injured or at the top of your game, TRX Training meets you where you are and takes you where you want to be.

Weight Training Myths

Many myths exist in weight training, and conventional wisdom can sometimes take you far off track from your goals in the gym.  For example, training with weights will make you oversized and inflexible or if you train with heavy weights will make you heavy and slow wheather you are a man or woman; or that squatting below parallel will lead to nothing but injuries.  None of these statements are completely truthful.  Training regularly in a shortened range of motion will likely keep you a lot less flexible or bouncing your body through the bottom of a full squat leads to a good possibility of injuring yourself.  Weight training performed in proper and an appropriate manner could likely put these myths to rest.

Full Range of Motion?

A common area that people neglect or misunderstand is Range of Motion and how it can be related to injury prevention (ROM, the full range that a weight is moved from the bottom of the exercise to the top). It depends on the individual and the particular joint, but for the most part, you should practice moving through the full ROM; the way our joints are designed to move. Most people don't appreciate how powerful a tool weight training can be to increase flexibility.  Olympic weight lifters are the second most flexible athlete next to the olympic gymnast.  But weight training can also be a powerful tool to decrease flexibility; when you take the traditional muscle-bound bodybuilder type who constantly trains with shortened range of motion.

by John Catanzaro


Try a Boot Camp for Ultimate Results

A boot camp is a type of group physical training program conducted in the gyms typically with a personal trainers.  At Fitness Focus we offer both indoor in a studio setting and outdoor as a special class. These programs are designed to build strength and cardiovascularity through a variety of intense group intervals over a 60 - 90 minute period of time.
Boot Camp training often commences with dynamic stretching and running, followed by a wide variety of interval training, including lifting weights/objects, TRX Suspension Training, pushups/situps, plyometrics, and various types of intense explosive routines. Sessions usually finish with yoga stretching. Many other exercises using weights and/or body weight, similar to CrossFit routines, are used to lose body fat, increase cardiovascular efficiency, increase strength, and help people get into a routine of regular exercise.  It's called "boot camp" because it trains groups of people and may or may not be similar to military basic training.  Boot camps provide social support for those taking part. This provides a different environment for those exercisers who get bored in a gym and so find it hard to develop a habit of exercise.

Check for the next scheduled boot camp on our group fitness scredule

Fitness Focus Saskatoon

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

We lead busy and hectic lifestyles, and we need to take care of ourselves.   If you find yourself skipping meals, eating fast food on the run, and generally not making the time to take care of yourself then try incorporating 1 or 2 of the tips below.

1. Eat breakfast daily! Start the day off with a healthy breakfast to have the energy necessary to get through your busy day.  Not eating breakfast increases your risk of overeating later in the day, and often selecting the less healthy options.  Make a point to have 20-25% of your daily calories at breakfast and ensure there is some protein and healthy fat included to help provide longer lasting energy.  If you are pressed for time in the morning, then try a smoothie, which you can even make the night before and drink it on the go.  Try blending:  1 cup berries, ½ avocado, 1 handful of spinach, 1 tbsp chia seeds and about 15-20g of protein powder or ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt with 1-2 cups water.  Now you’ve got an energy dense, slow digesting power breakfast that will keep you moving until your next break.  Look for un-falvoured Whey protein isolate, or an un-falvoured vegetarian protein powder to avoid any artificial sweeteners or flavours.

2. Add water!  Water is one of the best places to start to keep energized, not coffee!  You tell clients about the benefits of water and the importance of maintaining proper hydration, so start listening to yourself.  Water is critical for the transport of nutrients and elimination of wastes from the body, maintaining energy levels and burning fat. Make water your primary liquid, and you’ll also be saving the cost of those $5 coffees.  As active individuals aim to drink at least 2.5-3 litres of water per day.  Remember, that starting a workout dehydrated is a quick way to get injured, and impair recovery.  

3.  Pack Snacks!  I know, we are all busy and on the go, who has time to eat snacks.  However, a little preparation can go a long way.  Packing snacks that are quick and easy to eat will help keep energy levels high for hours and will stop the reliance on energy bars or coffee.  Try bringing a container of raw nuts or seeds to snack on throughout the day.  A serving of 24 almonds have around 160-170 calories and 6g of protein and carbohydrates, a total 14g of healthy poly and monounstaturated fats, as well as some calcium and iron.  These are easy to keep in a bag, purse or pocket and eat a few between clients.  Other great snacks are fresh cut vegetables and hummus, or Greek yogurt and berries.

4.  Schedule lunches or dinner and brown bag it!  Most trainers don’t get paid if they don’t work, however skipping meals will cost you more in the long run.  Make sure you’ve got a mix of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables and healthy fats.  Invest in an insulated bag to keep your meals cool during the day and prepare things that are easy to eat on the run.  For example, quinoa salad, with peppers, beets and broccoli with some cut up chicken breast or fish, fits in a bowl and can be eaten with just a fork.  Or find a healthy choice near where you work such as fresh salad and source of protein or a sushi roll and dark green salad.

5. Schedule your workouts!  Begin active is a big part of being a trainer or group exercise instructor.  Plan the time to get your own workouts in there so you can stay healthy and fit and on track of your own goals as well.

Maintain a positive attitude towards nutrition and health and lead by example. Your clients will see first-hand how effective good food and exercise choices are and as a result your business will also have positive results.

Written by  Tara Postnikoff

Food for Thought, What's the Deal with Diets?

Anytime someone is unhappy with their shape, they automatically think of diets first. I certainly can’t blame them, since they consume good portions of television programming, from news of post-pregnancy starlets returning to athletic shape in record time to late night infomercials that prey on our exhausted minds to facilitate an impulse purchase. And then there are those who always ask: will dieting work for me? The answer is yes. They were actually conceived to work for everyone. But there’s a catch.

 Diets are designed to work in the short term. They’re not intended for sustained weight loss. This means that within a month or two your body has lost all it can lose and you’ve plateaued at about 85-90% of the original mass. This naturally comes with all the side-effects of hunger: grumpiness, weakness, chemical imbalance, low energy and the instinctive knowledge that you’re doing something wrong. That’s just your body’s way of telling you that without an actual lifestyle change, things just aren’t going to change. A reduction in the number of calories ingested is not the same as calories burned. In effect, it’s practically the opposite, since fasting brings with it fatigue, which makes it difficult to exercise enough to burn calories in the first place.

But the biggest reason for avoiding diets is their effect on muscle. They not only cause it to atrophy during periods of caloric restriction, but they destroy it by reducing the metabolic rate. This doesn’t cause muscle to turn into fat, but for all intents and purposes, once muscle mass has been reduced, the arrival of fat is a natural reaction to the panic mode that the body has been forced into.

According to a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the relapse and cravings suffered by dieters are not only behavioural but physiological. The body simply keeps producing hunger hormones even years after the diet, eventually leading to relapses. What’s more, according to a new report published in the journal Cell Metabolism, during caloric restriction certain hunger inducing neurons actually consume one another, further boosting the hunger signal and prompting the urgency to consume.

According to a UCLA study, dieting often has the opposite effect of the desired weight loss. Whether it is a fad diet, crash diet or other abrupt caloric restriction, your body will react negatively to it. In fact, several studies now show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain. The answer is simple: moderate consumption and regular exercise. It works. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that prevention works even better. This is why efforts should be focused on preventing weight gain initially – in particular for young people - rather than counting on the ability to lose it later.


Written by  Claudiu Popa, in Canfitpro Magazine


Saskatchewan’s Best Figure — Melissa Leier

Beyond The Weight Room
From Contest Prep To First Place

 Melissa Leier, Saskatoon-based Figure Competitor and cover model for Saskatoon Well Being Magazine’s debut January 2012 issue, takes us through three weeks of contest prep and her experiences at this year’s Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association (SABBA) Provincials in Regina through excerpts from her journal.  

March 17, 2012

3 Weeks To Go

After a solid off-season of trying to make gains in muscle symmetry—especially to fill up my legs and glutes to balance with my wide upper body—it is now time to lean out to see what lies underneath.

As of this week, there are no more supersets and high reps. Down to 6-8 reps of heavy training, with 45 minutes of cardio in the morning and 20 minutes after weights.

I have regular check-ins with my coaches now (almost daily) for them to track my progress and adjust as needed to dial my body in to exactly where it needs to be.

I have consistently gotten up at 4:30 a.m. to start morning cardio at 5 a.m. The key is routine. Same every day. Just get up and go and make the time in the gym as effective as possible. I don’t get up at 4:30 a.m. for nothing!

Hitting the shower after and having some oatmeal and egg whites is always THE BEST feeling. And then I’m refreshed, wide awake and ready to take on my day.

I notice that I am feeling wiped out by 8 p.m. now. Ideally, I try to do my round two training either over my lunch break or right after work at 4 p.m. Earlier the better. Need to keep workouts effective and intense.

My routine is pretty much the same every week day: gym, work, gym, home to pack up for next day and get in bed as soon as I can to do it all over again next day. Doesn’t really leave room for much else!

All cooking, cleaning and family time happens on the weekends when I have a few extra hours.

I have cut out all social events or commitments to focus just on this last few weeks getting ready for showtime. I’m way too busy right now for anything else to be on the mind.

I’ve started to surround myself with motivation wherever I can. Posting motivational posters and quotes on my Facebook, looking at my role model’s achievements and even looking back to previous years’ progress and seeing how I’ve grown. I try to avoid looking at other competitors’ photos that they share on social media. Some people peak early and look stage ready right now and it can make you think OMG, she’s in better shape than me. Stay away from playing that head game.

Tanning seems to take up a lot of time. I’m going about four times a week. This is something I know isn’t great for skin (exposure to UV), but it is relaxing. Makes me feel like I’m lying on a beach. I always save it for the end of the day.

Posing practice daily now. Going through quarter turns (the four mandatory poses that figure athletes do on stage), ensuring posture, turning on the right muscles, angling your body just right to showcase or highlight your best and hide or cover areas you don’t want the focus to be on. In addition, having smooth transitions, confidence, demonstrating attitude, building up endurance to last while holding these poses for extended durations that happen on stage and smiling while doing it! Posing can be really exhausting.


March 24, 2012

2 Weeks To Go

 No change to the training program this week, except I have now progressed to 30 minutes of cardio after weights. I’m still feeling good. Haven’t lost any strength.

I have been working on altering my posing suit, making adjustments as my body changes. The fit, style and cut can make quite a difference in a competitor’s appearance. You want to use your suit to your advantage as much as possible to shape your physique. I’ve had to learn to be a little “artsy and craftsy” with my sewing kit.

Yesterday I made a trip to Swift Current to meet with my coaches for body measurements (I’m at 8.3% body fat at 128 lbs. with another four lbs. to go), posing practice and a team get- together to discuss the next few weeks’ preparation.

I woke up to find that my boyfriend, Chris, had cut up, weighed, measured and packaged up all my chicken and veggies. WOW, this was an awesome surprise! I am so thankful to have this support at home!

It is amazing what a good supportive environment can do to enhance sustainability of a commitment to this exact science of fitness for competition. The first year I competed, I remember my family wondering why I was doing this. They had the perception of the old school women’s bodybuilder look— unfeminine and all muscle and huge, unnatural looking. But, after I did it the first time, my family realized that figure athletes have an athletic look while showing muscular definition, poise and the beauty of the human body in exceptional health and fitness condition.

Last time I went home my mom had stocked a fridge full of at least 10 kinds of veggies, washed, cut up, put in Ziploc bags and ready for me. And my dad had cooked a full BBQ of plain chicken breasts for me to eat over the weekend. WOW, how’s that for support? I couldn’t ask for more!


March 31, 2012

7 Days To Go

I’m looking forward to some extra time on the weekend to get some final details into my posing suit (fitting and adjustments, adding more “bling”) and get my nails and toes done.

My water-load plan starts this Sunday with up to eight litres of water and increasing one litre per day to a maximum of 10 litres of water a day up until before the show. I normally drink four to five litres per day all year round, but once you get up past the eight litre mark, you better try your best to get most of it in earlier in the day so that you can sleep at night! I always map out washrooms no matter where I am. If I walk by one, I take the chance to stop whether or not I feel I need to, because guaranteed once I get five minutes past it, I’m gonna wish I had!

Staying Fit Before And After Baby

Saskatoon Well Being Magazine article of the month.  This is something we see around the gym far too often; a mother-to-be giving up on her workout due to pregnancy.  True, under some circumstances it is not safe for an expecting mother to put the extra demand on her body.  The bottom line is that the rules don't change; to maintain optimal health, positive mental state and desired physical appearance, exercise is your best bet.  To take better care of your family, you need to take care of yourself first.
Staying Fit Before and After Baby
By Andrea Deopker-Gavidia  


Exercise will give you a sense of control of your changing body throughout pregnancy and boost your energy levels by releasing endorphins, which increases your feelings of well being. Establishing a regular fitness routine before becoming pregnant may help you maintain a consistent plan once you become pregnant, as well as when you return to exercise after having your baby. However, if you have not been active in the past, there are still many physical activities that you can safely begin now that will help you stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your exercise priorities will change to adjust to the emotional, physical and hormonal changes that occur in your body.

The Prenatal Mother

Exercising while pregnant can be beneficial to improve your posture, strength and endurance, as well as help to relieve stress and prevent excessive weight gain. Consult your doctor throughout your pregnancy regarding your physical activity level and discuss any concerns should any complications arise. If you were active before becoming pregnant, continue with your program and listen to your body by making modifications as you need them. If you were not active before becoming pregnant, begin slowly and build gradually as you become more fit.

Use the “talk test” to determine your level of intensity while performing aerobic activities; if you cannot talk during your exercise, you are working too strenuously. Pay attention to your temperature, since overheating can cause problems for your developing baby. Use fans or air conditioning while exercising and avoid over exertion on hot days outside in the sun.

To help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, Kegel exercises can be performed throughout your pregnancy, which will help with bladder control. During your second and third trimester try core-strengthening exercises on all fours, by simply contracting and relaxing your abdominal muscles and avoid lying on your back, which decreases blood flow to your baby. Avoid rapid changes in direction and bouncing, as your joints are more lax with an increase of hormones during pregnancy. A focus on balance exercises is important as your center of gravity changes, especially during your last trimester.

During pregnancy, some effective forms of exercise include yoga stretches and Pilates movements, which use your own body weight, as well as resistance training using dumb bells and resistance bands. Using a body weight suspension training system, such as TRX, may also be useful since you can adjust the intensity of your strength training as your body and center of gravity changes. Using a TRX Suspension Trainer may also help you maintain balance for exercises such as squats.

Take action! Create a list of five positive affirmations such as “My core strength is helping me to maintain great posture and a healthy back throughout my pregnancy.”

The Postnatal Mother

If you had a Caesarean delivery, begin with light exercises, such as walking and stretching, slowly based on your comfort level. Your 6-week postpartum evaluation is an opportunity to discuss with your healthcare provider a safe reintroduction of exercise into your lifestyle. If you were active during your pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, you may typically begin walking and stretching within days after giving birth. You may have a gap in your abdominals and exercises like crunches should be avoided until this gap closes, usually 4-8 weeks postpartum. You may then begin strengthening exercises such as plank, side bridge and leg lowers lying on your back, which will help you regain posture and develop core strength.

Listen to your body and slowly introduce aerobic and strength training activities that you enjoy and are familiar with. Develop a realistic plan of incorporating 30 minutes of activity three days per week. Remain flexible so you can adjust your workout intensity or length of exercise sessions with your unpredictable schedule and the added fatigue of caring for your newborn. If you are uncertain where to begin and would enjoy the company of other new parents, search for postnatal fitness classes that are led by a qualified exercise instructor.

Take action! Write down any barriers to performing your workout and make a list of how you are going to overcome these barriers.

Naturally, your main focus is going to be caring for your baby, but it is also important to look after yourself. As you remain fit, healthy and relaxed, you will be better able to care for your baby. Continuing to exercise after your baby’s birth will also help you regain your pre-pregnancy shape and fitness level more quickly. Having a focus on core exercises both during pregnancy and after birth will assist you in staying strong while giving birth and then carrying your baby afterward. The key is to listen to your body and increase your exercise intensity gradually to return to your pre-pregnancy exercise routine.

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Fitness Focus
1250 Ontario Ave
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1S5
Ph: 306.244.6413


Monday - Thursday: 5am - 11pm
Friday: 5am - 10pm
Saturday: 8am - 8pm
Sunday: 8am - 8pm