5 Ways to Think Beyond Weight Loss

It’s no surprise, the majority of people who start a new exercise program do so because they want to lose weight – weight loss goals are often the first – and only – fitness goal set. If your only motivation to exercise is weight loss, you can easily find yourself frustrated and wanting to give up when progress is slow or hits a plateau. The scale is just one indicator of how healthy you are becoming, and it can sometimes overlook the changes happening in your body. That is why setting goals beyond weight loss are important if you are going to stick with a fitness or weight loss program for the long term.

Setting goals that don’t focus on weight loss can actually help you reach your desired weight-loss goal. For example, if you focus on getting stronger, you will likely gain lean muscle mass, which will speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight.  Or setting a goal like walking with a friend a few days a week or taking your dog hiking every weekend will keep you active and does not rely on what a scale says to keep you motivated. Over time, you’ll be more consistent with exercise, burn even more calories and, of course, lose more unwanted fat.

Here are five types of goals that often lead to weight loss and better health, without focusing on the scale.

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Stair Lunge

Summer time is the perfect excuse to get creative and take your workout outdoors. Kick up the intensity with a stair focused sweat session! Use these exercises to supplement cardio intervals for a challenging, fun workout that can be done pretty much anywhere, no equipment required! Incorporate one set of each exercise between sets of stairs running. Modify the workout for your abilities by increasing or decreasing the intensity.

Exercise #2: Lunges Up Stairs (Front/Side)

Equipment Needed: Stairs; optional weights.

Main Muscle Groups Worked: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings

How to Perform:

  • Hold onto railing for safety, step up 2-3 steps (increase steps for more difficulty!).
  • Keep weight focused through heel on lead leg to return to standing.
  • Alternate leading leg up 1-2 flights.


  • Make it Harder – Hold weights down at the sides for increased difficulty. Increase number of steps per lunge.

Check out Exercise #1: Stair Jumps.

Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training.

For the Love of the Game and Life

Why register for your kids for sport camps this summer? It’s easy to say skill development and for most people that could be enough. It gives their daughter or son an opportunity to spend dedicated time working on skills for their sport of choice. The goal may be different- make the team, become a starter, be the best I can be, and Jr Griffins Summer Sport Camps will definitely help lay the foundations for helping young athletes work toward achieving their athletic goals, but the subtle results will have more of a lasting effect in their overall development.

Physical Skill Development

With Jr Griffins Sport Camps, focus is placed on individual skill development and integration of broad team concepts. Our camps are designed and run by MacEwan University coaches and athletes and adhere to the standards outlined in the Long-Term Athlete Development Strategy.

Social Skill Development

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5 Benefits to Archery

Thanks to the mega-block buster movie series, the Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games, and the Avengers, archery has seen a massive spike in interest by people around the world. A skill that was traditionally used for hunting, and has been an on and off Olympic sport since 1900, is now a fun activity for everyone.

Here are 5 benefits to participating in Archery:

  1. Strength – Arms, core, hands, chest, and shoulders are all engaged when practicing a proper draw. While the archer draws the bow, this muscle tension is maintained for several seconds; thus, increasing strength and muscle tone.
  2. Balance & Coordination – this activity requires us to hold the body still to increase aim and precision in our shot. It also trains our hands and eyes to work together, which is great for your brain.
  3. Mental focus – concentration is key! The archer needs to be able to tune out all distractions and focus their full attention on the target in front of them. Releasing the arrow, watching it fly, and hearing it strike the target can be relaxing and stress relieving.
  4. Social – there are very few sports in the world where a beginner and an elite level athlete are on the same playing field, all shooting at the exact same target. This sport encourages friendship and good sportsmanship.
  5. Inclusivity – archery can be done by both able bodied and people with disabilities. People of any age and from many walks of life enjoy archery.

Recreation’s Learn 2 clinic offers 10 lucky participants the opportunity to try this intriguing activity. Over the course of two hours in the beautiful Victoria Park, participants will learn proper archery form and techniques from qualified instructors. Participants will walk away with confidence for drawing and shooting the arrow; maybe even stick a couple bull’s eyes!

Who is your cinematic archery hero!? Legolas, Katniss Everdeen, Hawkeye or Merida? Strap on your bracer, draw back the bowstring, and let that arrow fly with Recreation’s Learn 2!

by Jess Walker

Jess is a certified a Group Fitness instructor, teaching Barre and Older Adult Cardio here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. She is also our Recreation Special Event Coordinator.


Get Portable this Summer

While a gym is typically the first thing that pops into peoples’ heads when they think of exercise, having a fitness facility membership is certainly not the only way for us to get active and healthy. Especially with our warmer months here, an easy and free way to get moving is to take brisk walks through your neighbourhood!

Canadian guidelines for older adults recommend 150 minutes of moderate – vigorous aerobic activity per week, so taking a half an hour walk daily is a fantastic way to build up to that recommendation, while also providing social opportunities if you can round up a friend or two to join you!

It is also crucial as an aging individual to incorporate resistance, mobility, and balance work into your daily routine. Portable equipment offers an affordable option that is easy to store at home, such as resistance bands, medicine balls, and weights. Some equipment you may already have without even knowing it – for example; soup cans are a great substitute for weights, or you can use a paper plate or dish cloth on the ground to mimic a gliding disc that can be used to exercise leg strength and mobility. If balance is an issue, or you have mobility limitations, a seated workout is a great option for building strength without excess strain on the body.

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Cook, Hang, Play, Reminisce this Father’s Day

Dad. Father. Pop-pop. Whatever you might call the ol’ guy is irrelevant, this is finally his day! Often buried in the holiday hierarchy somewhere near the bottom of the list, correction: after looking through Canadian holidays, it’s the clear ‘winner’ for last place overall. It’s not that we don’t care about Father’s Day, but it has this natural unassumingness to it, similar to many of our dads. But this year remember a few things he deserves- time and that feeling of importance. They both go hand-in-hand.

In my opinion, Father’s Day shouldn’t be just another cliche. One of the best parts of it is stirring up old memories. Think of a few ways your dad has influenced your life, more than just superficially ­– maybe some really good advice he may have given you. Or think of some situations where he has done something that left a lasting memory. Share those with him. That’s the kind of things that will make him feel important.

Maybe take him out for a round of golf, tell him his drive was great even if he’s 30 yards behind you. Grab some groceries and fire up the BBQ (and make the burgers below), get some lessons from the guru, slide in a few Bobby Flay comparisons. Head down to a baseball game, soak up some sun and reminisce. Ultimately, it’s not what you do, it’s simply doing it.

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Squat Jumps up Stairs (modify w/ Squat steps)

Summer time is the perfect excuse to get creative and take your workout outdoors. Kick up the intensity with a stair focused sweat session! Here’s the first of four exercises we’ll be sharing to supplement cardio intervals for a challenging, fun workout that can be done pretty much anywhere, no equipment required! Incorporate one set of this exercise between sets of stair running. Modify the workout for your abilities by increasing or decreasing the intensity – a simple way to achieve this would be running up either every step, or making it more challenging by skipping steps. Increase the number of flights you run over time to progress as you get stronger.

Exercise #1 : Squat Jump

Equipment Needed: Stairs

Muscle Groups: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves

How to Perform:

  • Begin in a deep squat position at the bottom of the stairs, use your arms to provide momentum and jump up two steps.
  • Landing heel-to-toe to cushion the impact as you return into a deep squat.
  • Jump up one flight of stairs and jog back down to repeat!


Make it Easier

  • Option to hold onto the railing for additional stability
  • Begin hopping up just one step at a time
  • Squat walk up the stairs.

Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training.

by Megan Denholm

Megan is a Bachelor of Kinesiology graduate from the University of Alberta. She is a CSEP-CPT certified Exercise Specialist with the MacEwan University Sport and Wellness fitness team.

Getting Green and Lean

If you garden for pleasure, you may not be aware of how beneficial this hobby is for your health. Gardening ranks up there with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise, like walking and bicycling. Approximately 300 calories an hour can be burned just by gardening! Working in the garden gives all major muscle groups a good workout whether from digging up soil, setting plants, carrying water, weeding, pruning, mowing, sweeping and even walking around the yard can increase heart rate – exercise is taking place!

Research is showing that gardening for just 30 minutes daily will help increase flexibility, strengthen joints, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lower your risk for diabetes, and slow osteoporosis. Additionally, gardening is beneficial for your mental health, allowing you to do something calming, creative and fun!

How much is enough? You can break up the sessions into short bursts of moderate activity throughout the day. For example, if you weed for 10 minutes in the morning, push a mower for 10 minutes in the afternoon, and dig up soil for 10 minutes in the evening you get similar health benefits as you would doing 30 consecutive minutes of comparable activities.

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4 Benefits of Playing Board Games

You have a few minutes of down time or are waiting in line for your coffee and need a mental break, so you bust out your Games folder on your phone and play some classics like Cribbage, Clue, Scrabble and Monopoly.

We get it, they’re more convenient, there’s no set up time, the cards are dealt for you, but your missing out on a lot of benefits.

It’s Social

You miss out on the fun of getting together with friends, family or coworkers and socialize while you take a break from your day. Getting together in social situations will help build comradery, reduce isolation, facilitate teamwork and help improve communication skills. Plus, you may end up with some bragging rights until the next time you sit down and play!

Mental Health Benefits

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The Beet Goes On

Athlete’s at all levels are constantly looking for that extra 1% improvement. Ergogenic aids can be difference maker, be it natural from food or processed in the form of supplements. Most supplements are derived and processed from everyday food we see in the grocery store. One root vegetable has become popular as of late with endurance athletes – beets.

Beets, particularly beet root juice, is being used by endurance athletes to enhance the effects of training and achieve greater performance benchmarks. Beetroot juice increases levels of nitric oxide (NO), which serves multiple functions related to increased blood flow, gas exchange, mitochondrial biogenesis and efficiency, and strengthening of muscle contraction[1]. Based on these biomarkers, improvements in performance may be achieved by supplementing with beetroot juice.

Benefits of Beets

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