It feels like it was just yesterday that I was learning how to skate on outdoor rinks in Sudbury. Time has sure flown by as it was 20 some years ago that I got this first little taste of the game. The only thing that ever crossed my mind while I was on that ice was playing for one more hour or taking one more shot. These memories are something I will never forget.
Although it has taken me a while to accept the fact that my competitive hockey career has finally come to an end, today is the day that I will officially say goodbye.
This game has given me more than I could have ever asked for and has shaped me into the person I am today. It has taught me that there are no shortcuts and that hard work and perseverance are the way to accomplish your goals. It showed me the importance of leadership and how it can take on many different forms.
Out of all these lessons it has taught me, the one that has stuck with me the most is how hockey has shown me that failure is just a bump in the road. No matter how many rejections and setbacks you may face, the only person that decides when you quit, is you.
When I was ten years old my family moved from Waterloo where I played ‘AAA’ hockey to Woolwich which was only an ‘A’ centre. Therefore, I was still eligible to try out and play in Waterloo if I wanted to, so I did the next year. This was a painful year as I was the last player to be cut from the ‘AAA’ team because they told me I was too small and that I wasn’t fast enough. I still remember walking through the lobby crying as parents and other friends watched.
Over the next four years, I continued to try out for other ‘AAA’ teams in Waterloo, Guelph and Kitchener, but there was always something about me that they said wasn’t quite good enough to play at this level. During the summer after grade nine, I had lost most ambition to pursue my dream of playing hockey. The fear of playing on a different team, high school, parties, my friends and just being a teenager led me to be content with finishing my hockey career as a single ‘A’ player in Woolwich.
However, this summer was also when I was introduced to Richard Ennis who completely changed my perspective. He helped me realize a valuable lesson that I still live by today. He helped me to understand that once a door opens and an opportunity presents itself, you better take advantage of it as once that door closes, it may be closed forever. There is always the option of turning away from that opportunity, but the fear of not knowing will always trump the fear of not trying.
This lesson that Richard Ennis taught me is so important for young athletes to remember, because these opportunities will not pause and wait for you, so it is best to get out there and give it your all. After continuing to meet with him, he encouraged me to try out once again for Waterloo ‘AAA,’ because even if I didn’t make it, I would still know that I tried. With his advice, I ended up making the team and that year I also got called up ten times by the Elmira Sugar Kings Jr. B team. I went on to play three seasons with the Sugar Kings where I won a Cherrey and Sutherland Cup and received MVP and leading scorer honors during that season. This success resulted in being awarded a partial scholarship to play hockey at SUNY Plattsburgh, where I graduated with a B.S in Accounting and Finance.
After being turned away for five straight years by three different teams, a 30-minute meeting at Tim Hortons, where I decided to take the leap and try out for Waterloo ‘AAA’ changed the course of the next decade of my life. I would not trade this decade for anything, as it showed me to never quit, never stop believing and taught me to not hesitate at taking opportunities as you never know how they can impact your life.
Hockey is so much more than just a sport, it is a lifestyle. It is about creating memories, friendships and everlasting bonds with teammates that can only be understood by the players. Now that it is all over, the things I miss the most are spending countless hours with my teammates in the locker room, at the rink or on the ice. The things that felt the hardest at the time like getting up for 6 a.m. workouts, bag skates, or continuous spin classes, are something I look back on now and wish I could do all over again.
I want to thank all the players and coaches that I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. Especially Geoff Haddaway who developed me into the player that I am today and all the boys from the Cherrey and Sutherland Cup Championship team. Thank you to the Fifty Ninety boys and Bob Emery for an amazing four years at SUNY Plattsburgh. Thank you Nicole for spending a minimum of five consecutive birthdays at the rink watching me play and for always supporting me through all the ups and downs I have faced. If I did not mention your name, that does not mean you did not have an impact on my playing career and I want you to know I am forever grateful for your support.
Finally, thank you mom and dad for the love and support you have shown me throughout my hockey journey, as you two were the main reason I was able to accomplish all that I did. You spent endless hours waiting in the freezing cold to pick me up at the pond, drove me to 6 a.m. practices where I would get car sick every week and would drive 14 hours to come watch me play in Plattsburgh. These are things that go underappreciated as a hockey parent, but I want you both to know that it means so much to me and is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Getting on the ice won’t be the same without you behind the glass cheering me on, but I will continue to look behind it to see if you’re there.
Although it has been hard for me to say goodbye to being a hockey player, I am ready for new opportunities. I am so excited to find out what hockey has in store for me in the future and I look forward to continuing to have a part in the game by coaching and mentoring young athletes.
Hockey, I will forever miss you, but I cannot wait for the next door to open. When that door opens, you best believe I will not hesitate to follow the next path life has in store for me.
A special thanks goes out to Alana Thoman for editing this blog post!
Some days you simply do not have time for your usual workout. Perhaps you are traveling or you have meetings from morning till night. Or maybe something totally unexpected comes up and your workout time disappears altogether.
When life steals your exercise time, however, you do not have to abondon your workout. If you have just a few minutes, you can burn off 100 calories, get your heart pumping fast and redeem at least a little of your workout.
Here are 10 ways to torch 100 calories Use them on busy days or even to supercharge your normal workout days. Most estimates are for a person weighing approximately 130-150 pounds. If you weigh more, you can probably shorten the duration, but if you are lighter, add a few minutes to ensure that you burn at least 100 calories.
A valued Nexus Member
These are a great snack for any party or an amazing side dish. Great healthy alternative for the spicy foodies out there!
Frank's Buffalo Style Wing Sauce is a must for this recipe.
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
- Olive oil to drizzle
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon melted butter. Use coconut oil for a healthier option
- 1/2 to *3/4 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Style hot sauce or other hot wing sauce of choice
- Other: 1 gallon or larger size plastic bag
1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
2. Place cauliflower florets in a plastic bag. Drizzle olive oil over florets to coat lightly.
3. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Close bag and toss ingredients around so all florets are coated.
4. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or baking pan and bake on middle rack for 15 minutes, turning florets once during baking. Check them at the 10-minute mark for desired tenderness. You don't want them to be soggy!
5. Remove florets from the oven. Melt butter in a medium glass bowl. Add hot sauce to butter.
6. Toss cauliflower and stir to cover all florets with hot sauce. Start with about half the sauce and add more to your taste.
7. Return to oven and cook for additional 5 minutes.
8. Serve with any dip you like, ranch dressing or blue cheese dip.
Fitness starts in your mind.
Ask any athlete or fit person what the number one secret is to his success at fitness, and he will tell you it is commitment.
Commitment means that you are in it for the long haul. Commitment rises above bad days, hectic schedules and volatile emotions. Commitment hangs in there when you don’t want to do it, when you don’t feel like doing it and when you don’t have time to do it.
True commitment doesn’t depend on how you feel. It depends on your integrity and on living for the purpose you have set for yourself.
Are you committed to get fit?
No Weekend Warriors
Committing to be fit eliminates the weekend warrior syndrome. You may know a weekend warrior. He is the person who does little physical exercise during the week, but when the weekend arrives, he blasts out of the gate like a stallion on Derby Day. In a desperate attempt to make up for his sedentary behavior all week, he goes to the gym or hits the pavement, pushing himself to the limit.
The result, however, is not what he expects.
He will likely end up with an injury, because his muscles, tendons and joints are not conditioned for the intensity of his exercise.
But he is also not getting in shape, because he is not committed. Physical fitness depends on consistency. And consistency requires commitment. It takes consistent, near-daily exercise to cause your body to make the changes that bring about fitness. For example, your joints and tendons will strengthen, your aerobic base will improve as your body becomes more efficient at utilizing oxygen and ridding itself of carbon dioxide, and your endurance will increase.
In fact, that you do something consistently is as important, or maybe even more important, than what you actually do. Even if you are just doing low intensity walking, doing it every day is infinitely better than doing something more strenuous only occasionally.
But the real rewards come when you not only commit to intense workouts, but you also commit to being consistent with those workouts.
In order to get fit, you do not need expensive clothes, fancy home-gym equipment or a complicated workout plan.
What you need is commitment.
If you are committed, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
You can start today. Don’t overthink this.
Just start, and commit to doing something every single day.
I would like to share with everyone my personal experience I've had in doing the Nutritional Medicine Profiling protocol that we offer here at Nexus. Eating healthy is something that I've always had a passion for and has always given me an edge in my health and fitness journey, or so I thought.
One afternoon I received an e-mail from the owner of GOALS Training Academy, Marc St. Pierre. He requested that we meet to discuss potentially working together to provide our clients with personalized nutrition programs. We agreed to meet Marc here at Nexus to show him our newly renovated facility and to see what his nutrition programs are all about. At this point I thought I had a good handle on my eating and overall nutrition, I was meal prepping every weekend to prepare for the upcoming week so things would be quick and convenient. When speaking to Marc, I was quick to realize that this guy KNEW what he was talking about, not to mention he is one of the best in the area and has worked with over 8,000 clients. Marc touched on many different topics of nutrition, but two things stood out to me.
Both of these points make perfect sense when you think about them. Everyone is different and unique on the outside, and that goes for the inside too.
So I decided to try out the Nutritional Medicine Profiling protocol for myself, I mean what did I have to lose? Marc forwarded me the initial digestive questionnaire along with the suggested supplements. I quickly discovered how specific this process was and that these questionnaires are very detailed and specific.
I decided I should take some progress pictures of my journey.
The picture below is the night before I began the protocol.
I was very excited and ready to follow my new plan! Part of the protocol is you have to follow it nearly 100% for the first 14 days, and you cannot have any alcohol, and after the 14 days, you're allowed a cheat meal. And let me tell you, it's worth the wait!! Keep in mind that the foods I was eating did not change a whole lot. I did, however, have to let go of my precious morning overnight oats which I thought would just about kill me (but I thought, what the heck it's only 14 days, I can manage).
The plan allowed me to eat 4 meals instead of 3, which helped me get over scraping my oatmeal. I was also sent 4 suggested supplements to take at certain times of the day to make up for the current deficiencies that I have.
The first 1-4 days were surprisingly quite manageable. I did not have cravings for the foods I would usually eat, which surprised me. I had increased my protein levels throughout the day, and I found that this helped crush the cravings. It was the 5-8 day period that was the toughest for me since I started on a Monday, that meant day 5 was Friday. Sticking to my plan was tough, but I managed to make it through the weekend with no alcohol or treats and stayed on track.
By the time Monday came around my confidence level had skyrocketed, I had made it through the first week, and I felt fantastic. I noticed I had much more energy than usual, my 3-4 coffee's per day downgraded to 1-2 per day. I started to notice that I could focus far better than before working on the computer, which has always been a struggle for me. By staying busy with work and reffing lots of playoff games, the week flew by.
Day 14 came, and I was extremely excited because I could have a cheat meal. I opted in for one of my favourites, all you can eat sushi.
Before my cheat meal, I decided to take another progress picture.
I was amazed at how much my body had changed in the first 14 days of this program.
The picture is below:
Pretty crazy right?
After only 14 days of switching my meals up, my body had changed SO much. Most of my inflammation around my abdominal muscles had disappeared, and I was feeling FANTASTIC. I lost a noticeable amount of access fat off of my entire body. My usual brain fog in the morning had vanished, I was sleeping better, my mood had drastically improved, and I had a ton more energy! I should also mention, I was working out at my usual 4-5 times per week. I did not ramp up my workouts or change anything. These changes were directly from what I was putting inside my body.
After the 14 days, my protocol allowed me to have a cheat meal once per week going forward. This was mine, but everyone's is different! As I came into my third week of the plan, I kept things fairly similar from the two weeks before. I was meal prepping my whole week on a Sunday so that there was not a chance I could slip up and get food I shouldn't be having.
At this point, I was down 8 pounds, and I was feeling pretty good about everything. I kept the plan going for week 3, I started having cravings for the foods I usually ate before beginning this program (oatmeal, bananas, cereal, rice), but I stayed strong mentally and pushed through. When day 28 came around I took another progress picture. This one amazed me yet again!
The picture is below:
DAY 30 - PRESENT
Another significant change from the 14-day mark.
I finished the first 30 days of the nutrition program, and I think the results speak for itself. I'm down a total of 12 pounds, and feel fantastic! My energy levels had continued to climb, I was having better workouts and noticed that cardio was easier to perform as well!
Going forward, I've made this my new lifestyle change. I don't think of it as a diet or a cleanse; it's just what I do now.
I believe in this program, and I am lucky to have experienced this first hand. The results show!
We currently have about 15 members on this program, and they are getting some serious changes, most of them are getting better results than what I've had! Mel Lambert, our new in-house nutritionist, has been amazing with the members that have committed to the program. Mel is your first point of contact when you choose the Face to Face program here at Nexus. Mel works hand in hand with Marc to ensure you succeed in your GOALS!
If you would like to make a positive change in your life, I challenge you to take the leap of faith and do one of our programs. You won't regret it.
Co-Owner and Founder of Nexus Health and Training Inc.
A lot of people use the gym to lose weight, get stronger and more toned physically. Although, working out has a lot of benefits for your mind as well. I know it seems a little cliché, but it is true! Working out is a great way to free any stress you have or problems that have been really difficult. Often times when we’re sad we isolate ourselves and want to stay in bed all day. Although it is okay to do that sometimes, working out is an excellent alternative. Exercising can remove physical and mental stress. It also increases levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress.
Working out can also help improve your self-confidence, which is HUGE. Noticing little changes such as; toned muscles can be incredibly self-rewarding (at least it is for me!). How you look on the outside can often reflect how you feel on the inside. So, if you start noticing these little changes, it can really make a difference with how you perceive yourself on the inside.
Mental health is something that is becoming much more prevalent in our society. This is super important because although there is a focus to become healthy physically, we have to remember to take care of ourselves mentally as well. Working out is a step in the right direction. Sometimes things in life come up that we have no control over, and they can cause a lot of pain to ourselves. It is important to recognize that pain and try and find an outlet for it. Whether that be running on a treadmill, doing yoga or even just walking your dog...it can really help alleviate stress and anxiety.
So...try and remember this if you’re ever feeling down, because working out might be what you need to feel a little better.
A Valued Nexus Family Member
This month's Nexus Nibbles are on Egg Muffin Cups. Egg muffin cups can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a hearty and healthy breakfast all week. These cups are loaded with delicious and simple ingredients like eggs, spinach, and red pepper.
7 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped spinach
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional!
Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 12-cup cupcake pan with cooking spray. This recipe yields 8 muffin cups so you will only need to spray 8 of the cupcake spots.
Be sure to use lots of cooking spray, so they don't stick.
In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, milk, salt & pepper and whisk together. Add the chopped pepper and spinach, and the cheddar cheese if using. Stir together. Pour the egg mix into the 8 muffin cups. The cups should be almost full.
Cook for 18-22 minutes. The center should set, and they should be puffy, however, once you take them out of the oven to cool, the cups will go back down.
Eat right away with some salsa or cool completely and store covered in the fridge for up to one week.
To reheat, microwave for about 45 seconds or enjoy cold.
As we near the first day of Spring, our feelings towards the winter weather tend to loosen up. We've made it through the worst months known for the unforgiving weather, and by this point, we're daydreaming about those warm, sunny days. Soon, we'll be tucking away those wool socks and swapping them out for sandals, ditching the jeans and thick sweaters for shorts and tank tops... that sounds really nice until you try on said shorts and tank top only to realize they seem to fit a bit more snug than you remember from last year. If that's the case, have no fear. You've caught yourself in time to be able to drop some weight healthily so that when it's time to step out in those shorts, you'll be feeling maybe even better than you did last year. It all begins with making simple, but effective changes. Everyone leads busy lives, and here at Nexus, we get that. By operating as a 24-hour training facility, we hope that it helps our members to be able to make time for the gym, whenever their schedules can allow it. While staying reasonably active is one way to drop some pounds, making some healthier alternatives to the foods you may already be eating is a simple and effective way to kick-start your summer body.
Veggies and Dip:
If you find yourself snacking on veggies and dip and you still can't seem to notice a difference – take a look at the nutritional label and see what the fat contents are in your dip. Often, cream based dips are loaded with fat and don't offer too much nutritional value. Hummus is a fantastic alternative to veggies and dips and also contains a lot more protein (and less fat) compared to traditional vegetable dips. You can find hummus in a variety of flavours, like original, roasted red pepper, garlic, and sweet potato that we are sure anyone can find a hummus that best suits their tastebuds! If you still insist on a cream based dip, opt for selections that have Greek yogurt in them to increase your protein intake; this tends to lower the amount of fat you consume as Greek yogurt is typically lower in fat and offers more protein per serving than regular dips.
Another healthier swap in your diet is ditching the beloved sour cream. I know, taco night is coming up and what will you use as a substitute that won't make you feel as though you're missing out, or depriving yourself?! The answer, my friends, is Plain Greek yogurt. Yes, I agree with the majority that on its own, Plain Greek yogurt is very bitter tasting. But, used as a substitute for sour cream, you will hardly notice the difference! It still offers that creamy taste that goes perfectly with tex mex cheese and salsa while providing yourself with less fat and (depending on which Greek yogurt you choose) fewer calories per serving. You'll be eating more protein without even realizing it! Don't stop at taco night for making the switch; if you're into baking and a recipe calls for sour cream, swap it out 1:1 for Plain Greek yogurt. This minor adjustment will hardly make a difference in the final taste while treating yourself to some freshly baked goodness.
Pre-Packaged Oatmeal Packets:
We understand that convenience is key to eating healthier, but you may unintentionally be eating way more sugar than you wanted. If you like your morning oatmeal and use those pre-packaged flavoured oatmeal packs, have a look at the sugar contents. A simple and cost-effective tip is buying a bag of old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick oats either as these are processed). You can prepare your breakfast ahead of time, cut up fresh apples or berries and throw in some cinnamon for an equally delicious breakfast. If the sweetness is not quite there yet, try drizzling honey on top instead of adding sugar as it is a more natural form of sugar, rather than being processed. The only thing you will need to do in the morning is boil water and pour over the bowl, let sit for a couple of minutes and enjoy as you normally would!
If you are an orange juice lover, well, we've got some bad news for you. A typical grocery store orange juice contains 24 grams of sugar per serving – twice the amount found in an orange. Try switching to an orange and reap the benefits, aside from its natural vitamin C, you will also be getting an extra 3 grams of fiber while reducing your daily sugar intake right from the start of your day.
You know where I'm going with this one. Bacon, while I admit is delicious, is killing your attempts at having a summer body. It is high in fat and sodium, which leaves you feeling bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day. If you insist on having eggs and bacon for breakfast, have no fear, there is a healthier alternative! Many grocery stores offer regular pork bacon, but there is also turkey and chicken bacon available too! Turkey bacon is a leaner option by providing 25 fewer calories than pork bacon and has less sodium per serving. If you're curious to learn more about pork bacon versus turkey bacon, click here.
A better option would be to ditch the bacon altogether as it is not a lean cut of meat. Instead, fry up some chicken with mushrooms, onions, and spices along with your eggs for an equally full flavoured breakfast that could become your new favourite.
There's nothing like a good plate of pasta, but are you eating enough vegetables in your day? Next time you're planning a pasta night, consider using spaghetti squash or zucchini as a substitute! Many adults are not meeting the recommended daily dietary intake of vegetables, and by replacing pasta with vegetables, you can eat more food and worry less about your caloric intake for the meal. According to an article in Readers Digest, squash contains 42 calories per cooked cup compared to 221 calories per cup with pasta. By switching to squash over pasta you will also be reducing the number of carbs per serving – squash only contains 10 grams to traditional pasta's 43 grams of carbs per serving while also giving you an extra helping of nutrients such as vitamins A and C and antioxidants lutein and zeananthin. If you are a lasagna lover but aren't quite sure how to make this classic dish healthier, try slicing the zucchini to mimic the length and thickness of regular lasagna noodles for an easy swap. Here is a recipe that I have personally used, and have loved! It is a definite must, especially if you are still looking for a good hearty meal to get you through the cooler days.
If you're not so good with your knife skills and are still looking for fun ways to cook with zucchini, a spiralizer is the best option. Many big box stores such as Walmart, Canadian Tire and Bed Bath and Beyond carry these fun kitchen gadgets offered at affordable prices.
A valued Nexus member