Monthly Archives: November 2010

Weekend Wisdom

You are your own masterpiece.”


Use your favourite colours. Stroke your brush in any direction you desire. You are in control of how it turns out. Your life will be your life’s greatest work.


Fitness Friday: “Ellipticizing”

Happy Fitness Friday friends!!

Today’s post is a slightly recycled post from August 24, 2009. But I think I’ve collected a handful of new readers since then (hi!) amongst my long-time followers (hi and thank you!).

I originally wrote the post on elliptical machines to point out the differences between the slew of cardio machines you’re confronted with at most gyms. To some people, an elliptical is just an elliptical. Well I am here to tell you they are all very different! Learning these differences will also help you find the machine that best suits you. I know, because that’s how it worked for me :)

We’ll start with the basics:

Rear Driven


I like to think of some ellipticals as almost a standing exercise bike. What I mean by this is that there is a wheel that spins based on the movement of your legs. On the rear drive elliptical, this is in the back. It’s meant to mimic running and walking without the high impact that strains your joints.


Front Driven


Because of patents on some of the ellipticals, other companies had to design their own. The wheel on this one is in the front. The main difference between this and the rear driven model is where your power comes from. On the rear driven model, you’ll notice you often lean backwards to force that wheel around. On this front driven machine, you’ll lean forward slightly. Your joints and muscles will respond a little differently and one will likely feel better than the other.


Center Driven


This is my personal favourite model. The motion here is coming from directly under your feet. Personally, I find the stride length on these machines matches my individual stride better. Finding a machine that matches your stride is key! Otherwise it will just feel awkward and could even hurt your joints.


Those are the basic elliptical designs and ones you’ll likely spot in your gym. There are however a few other kinds that offer different movements and resistance.


Precor Crossramp


A rear-driven machine with a “crossramp” in the front that moves up and down to add incline to the exercise. It’s almost like a smooth stair climbing motion. You also don’t get that slight bounce in the feet that you get on the other machines.


 Arc Trainer


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The arc trainer offers a slightly different motion, one I would compare more to skiing (or the Gazelle!) It’s supposed to take the pressure off your knees that happens on other ellipticals, with more work in the quads and glutes. This one also has an incline.


Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT)

Precor AMT 100i Elliptical Trainers 

This is probably the coolest elliptical I’ve tried yet. As someone with freakishly long legs, I have trouble finding machines that move well with my body. On this machine, you can make your strides as small or big as you want to. You can rotate your feet in that classic elliptical motion, swing them back and forth like the Arc trainer, or step up and down like on a stair climber! If you push yourself hard enough on this machine, you can get a great workout without getting bored.


It’s also worth mentioning that as a trainer, I prefer putting people on machines that move their arms as well. Your posture is better when you don’t have a stable surface to lean on. It’s more natural to get upper body movement in there, and it’s a great way to warm up your whole body and not just your legs.

Now that it’s getting cold and snowy, you may find yourself retreating to the gym more often. Hopefully this will help you tackle the cardio area with more confidence. And let’s face it, December is just around the corner. A little extra “ellipticizing” can’t hurt ;) Have fun!

Winning Teams + A Winning Breakfast

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

I suspect around half my readers come from that big ole’ nation to the south, so I will keep it light today. I know how mass quantities of mashed vegetables can make you drowsy ;)

Secondly, I went to my first NBA game last night!


Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers. To be blunt, Toronto teams suck. You don’t see them in the playoffs very often. The Raptors recently lost their star player Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat. The Blue Jays are in a division against top teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. The Maple Leafs are just smelly (go Senators!). And who watches the CFL??


But would you believe it, the Raptors actually won! Even more, they won with over 100 points, which means all the fans got free grub from Pizza Pizza. I gave mine away though, as I’d like to leave Ontario having a clean Pizza Pizza slate.


We also got free toques! For you drowsy Americans, that’s pronounced “toooook.” It’s a knit hat.

It’s kindasorta my goal to see all the Toronto teams play while I’m here. But apparently the NHL tickets are near impossible to get.

Anyways. Enough about sports for now. Let’s get to the food.


I’ve quickly shared a version of this recipe before, but I’ve decided it deserves its own proper post because it’s something I eat several times a week!


Stove-top Chocolate Chip Breakfast Oatcakes


Start with 1/2 cup dry rolled oats.

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Add in 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder + 1/4-1/2 tsp baking soda. I like my oatcakes more soda-y so I use 1/2 tsp, but I know some people are really sensitive to that taste.


As for the protein powder, I use Purely Bulk brand, which is Canadian made. I need protein in my breakfast, so this is why I add it. If that’s not important to you, by all means sub it out with 1/4 cup flour. You can use soy flour, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, peanut flour, coconut flour. You get the point, the possibilities are endless!

I also add 3 stevia packets to sweeten it up – totally optional.


Mix in 1 tbsp almond butter + 6 tbsp hot water. I used almond here because it doesn’t stand out as much as other nut butters. But peanut butter would be good too!

The mix should be just moist enough to stick together. But not gooey. You may need to adjust the water, that’s why I like adding one tablespoon at a time.


Finally, sprinkle with chocolate chips. I try to keep it around 1/2 tbsp.

Form into three palm-sized patties and cook in a greased frying pan at medium heat.


Cook for around 5 minutes each side, until each side is browned and patties are firm.


Aaand you’re done! I make these in batches every week for grab-n-go breakfasts. Usually gobbled up on the streetcar with an iced coffee on my way to work at 5am. A more “balanced” version of the traditional oatcake that’s more like a cookie than anything else. Call it handheld oatmeal if you will :)

The essentials:

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder or flour of your choosing
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 packets stevia, or sweetener equal to 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 6 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips

Mix, patty n’ fry!

With that, I bid you adieu. I’ve got a Jack Russell terrier to cuddle with.


Shhhh! Don’t tell the poodle! (who I’ll be reunited with bytheway in 3 weeks!)


Question of the Day: Let’s talk sports. What’s your favourite one? Fave team? My Papa was a die-hard Blue Jays fan, so the Jays + baseball will always hold top place in my heart!

P.S. Don’t forget to click here and share your favourite cookie recipe. I’m doing up a special one-stop-shop cookie post for the holidays!