Block Fusion Yoga Classes - March 6 -May 8,2018


In this class we target the fascial spaces of the body with a wooden block, balls or rollers to reach deep in to the tissue to unwind the life that has tightened within it. Our goal is to live more fully in each of the small moments, take deeper breaths so we can be filled with deeper joy. Each week will have a different focus. Bring an eye pillow or if you do not have one, a clean sock will do! 

This class is a perfect addition to all regimes. Integrate Block Fusion into your week to open up your body and slow your mind and breath.  

This class is perfect for:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Runners
  • Weekend Warriors
  • Athletes

Join us for a 10 class series

February March 6  to May 8  - 7:00pm - 8:15pm
Every Tuesday for 10 weeks
10 class pass/ $190 (199.50)

Minimum registration of 10 classes required.

Blood Flow Resistance Training


If you've seen someone with an elastic band or cuff around their arm or leg while working out, then you've seen it without realizing it. BFRT is starting to catch waves in the realm of strength and conditioning and rehabilitation realms.  

Blood Flow Restriction Training is a training method involving the use of cuffs or wraps placed around a limb during exercise, to maintain arterial inflow to the muscle while preventing venous return. BFRT can be used with resistance training, or with other modalities, including walking.  

Resistance training with BFRT at low loads (20 – 30% of 1RM) appear to increase strength and muscular size. BFRT programs appear to increase strength more than resistance training without BFRT when using matched (low) relative loads but are either similar in efficacy or slightly less effective than conventional resistance training with unmatched (high) relative loads.

BFRT has shown to improve strength and size in the quadriceps and hamstrings in pre-operative anterior cruciate ligament surgery, as well as keeping the strength and size of the quadriceps and hamstrings post operative surgery.

Sweet & Hot Baked Cauliflower


Looking to get vegetables into the diet but want a sweet and hot kick as well? Try this recipe out!


4 cups cauliflower florets

2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey

2 Tablespoons sriracha

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the prepared cauliflower on a cooking sheet lined with foil. Give space to each piece of cauliflower.

2. Place in oven at 350 degrees.

3. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly brown.

4. Take out of oven and let cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!


Buttermilk Tarragon Dressing With Butter Lettuce, Apple, Shaved Pecorino & Almonds

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This is a dish jam-packed with textures and flavours. Let the magical touch of our mustard transform your salad into something so unique that it is sure to impress.


1 head of butter lettuce

1/3 cup salted, roasted almonds, coarsely chopped 

1 apple, Pink Lady (or something crisp and similar!) cut into matchsticks 

2 cups Pea shoots, cut into bite-sized pieces 

Shaved Pecorino, about 1/2 cup or more (any hard cheese would do!)


1/2 cup homemade mayo (see recipe)

1/4 cup sour cream- 14%

3/4 cup full-fat buttermilk

1 clove garlic, finely grated

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

2 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped 

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp SMAK DAB White Wine Herb Mustard

1 tsp SMAK DAB Hot Honey Jalapeno Mustard 

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow mixture to sit in the fridge for a few hours for the flavours to meld together. 

For assembly, tear the butter lettuce into bit sized pieces, and place in a bowl. Add the pea shoots, half of the apple matchsticks and almonds. Drizzle about 4-5 tbsp of the dressing, and lightly toss. Taste before adding more dressing. When the salad is dressed enough, sprinkle with remaining apple, almonds, and a generous amount of pecorino shavings. Serve immediately!

Recipe provided by Smak Dab Mustards.
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Asparagas Pasta Salad With Sundried Tomato Dijon Vinaigrette

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Good ingredients made better is what this recipe will bring to your table. A beautiful summer salad for all your senses.


4 cups dried pasta, penne or rigatoni

2- 2 1/2 cups asparagus or green beans, trimmed, and chopped into 1” pieces

2 small tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup plus more for garnishing, grated asiago cheese

1/4 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp SMAK DAB Hot Honey Jalapeno Mustard

1/2 tsp SMAK DAB White Wine Herb Mustard

1 glove garlic, finely grated

1/2 tsp each sea salt and pepper 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped basil, for garnishing  


In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the green beans or asparagus. Cook until the pasta and veg are tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sundried tomatoes, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Add pasta mixture and toss to coat. Fold in ¼ cup cheese and tomatoes. Garnish with more cheese and herbs. 

Recipe provided by Smak Dab Mustards.
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Pomegranate Molasses + Dijon BBQ Ribs

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Impress your guests with the sizzling ribs glistening with the dark red pomegranate Molasses. A must-have for your summer recipes collection.


1-4 St. pork back rib racks, membrane removed, cut into 4-5 rib chunks

kosher salt + pepper

1-2 cans of light beer (depending on how many racks)


2 cups ketchup

3/4 cup pomegranate molasses

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp liquid hickory smoke

2 tbsp SMAK DAB Hot Honey Jalapeño Mustard

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tbsp SMAK DAB Mustard, any flavor will do

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

5 turns on a pepper mill

1 tsp sea salt


Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F. In a roaster, season the ribs with salt on both sides. Place the ribs in the roaster with the meaty side up and pour in beer. Cover the ribs with a lid, this will ensure the ribs will be super moist. Roast in the oven for around 2 hours. (You can also use a slow cooker, add ribs and beer, and cook on low for 4 hours) 

While the ribs are roasting, make the bbq sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then turn down to low and simmer for 25 minutes, or until reduced and thick! Cool. (This sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge)

Slather the ribs, meaty side up, with a generous amount of the bbq sauce. BBQ on medium-high heat on the meaty side first for about 4-5 minutes, until the sauce begins to bubble and caramelize. Slather the bottom side with sauce. Flip so the meaty side is up, and slather generously again with sauce. Once the 3-4 minutes is up on that side, flip and grill the meaty side again.

Serve with extra bbq sauce on the side. Enjoy!

SIDE NOTE: Try this method if you want to prep everything a day in advance… Once the ribs are tender and cooked through, remove from the oven and cool. In a heavy duty plastic bag, combine ribs and enough sauce to cover. (You will have some leftover sauce!) Allow to refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, for best results! Follow instruction above for grilling the ribs.

Recipe provided by Smak Dab Mustards.
Check out more recipes at


Pea Shoot Salad


Pea shoot are quite possibly the most delicious veggie out there. Bring out the unique flavour and texture of this lovely greens with our invigorating Smak Dab dressing.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice, rice vinegar, cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar

1/2 small garlic clove, finely grated

2 teaspoon SMAK DAB Mustard (any flavor will do!)

Pinch of sea salt + pepper


In a small jar, combine oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Screw on lid and shake well. Toss into your pea shoot salad.


Recipe provided by Smak Dab Mustards.
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SMART Fall Fitness


A change in the season brings a feeling of starting fresh. With kids going back to school and new programs starting – it’s the perfect opportunity to find time for you and your fitness goals, and to begin to establish a SMART routine that truly focuses on those goals.

Setting goals and achieving them! 

Only 8% of people actually achieve what they set out to on January 1st, each new year. So what can you do to succeed? SMART goal setting is a way to set goals that are truly attainable.

What exactly do you want to achieve?

M= measurable:
Measurable goals mean that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal.

A= attainable:
Is your goal attainable?

R= realistic/relevant:
Is reaching your goal relevant to you? Do you actually want to do what you’re setting out to do?

T= timeline:
Set a timeline to achieve the goal, keep the timeline realistic and flexible.

September is the start for new activities

September is the month to register for new fitness/activity classes.  Programs for kiddies start at this time of year, and now that they are back in school and getting into their activities it’s a good time to look at adult classes as well. At the very least, the weather is still perfect for outdoor running, biking, hiking, walking and even paddling! Very little equipment is required and there’s only so many more days left before many head indoors to get out of the cold.  

Schedule time for yourself

It is likely that you don’t cancel an appointment if it is scheduled in your day planner.  Schedule time for fitness! If you set aside a half hour, 45 minutes or an hour each day and actually write it in your schedule you will be more likely to participate then if you just say to yourself you’ll get your workout in sometime in the day. If you have the time before, during or after work schedule it in, plan ahead and get it done!

Classes at Advantage Conditioning are offered 6 days a week! (See schedule and descriptions on Zen planner). All classes are appropriate for all fitness levels! We are trained to be able to modify all programs to best suit your needs.  We can accommodate first-timers, advanced level gym-goers, and participants who are working through injuries.  The classes are designed to make you feel accomplished based on your abilities! Don’t hesitate to come and try a class – we love seeing new faces and you may just surprise yourself with what your body can do!

Signing up for classes and showing up is a way to challenge yourself to stay accountable to yourself and your goals. There are 60 classes per month to choose from. Put the classes and times you want to hit the gym in your calendar and follow through with your appointment. These should be the most important “meetings” of your day!

Program Plans and Personal Training

If you’re more of an independent gym-goer, we offer personal training either at our facility (Portage Ave at Ferry Road) or in-home.  We also offer individual program designs.  Based on your goals, we will set up a program for you to do on your own time, at home or even at another facility, wherever you are planning to workout.

Buddies, Accountability Groups and Challenges

Finally, if you still need a little nudge to get you to focus on your health then find a friend to do this with you.  Having someone to help keep you accountable really does help! If you can find someone who has similar goals as you, work together to plan to achieve them.  If you are the competitive type, set up a mini competition with your co-workers/department/ work-out buddies (Who can attend 3 classes a week for an entire month? Or who can run/walk a total of 20km in a week, each week for a month?) If you need help with competition ideas and motivational tips, we can help!

Do it for Your Health

Health Canada suggests that we get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.  How can you increase your weekly activity outside of your scheduled fitness program? Take the stairs, park further from the entrance, cycle to work, or get off a stop earlier or walk to the next stop if you take the bus.  The little things do add up!

What are the activities you are participating in during the week?
Think cardio for longevity, resistance training for quality of life, mobility and flexibility for prevention of injury and increased agility and balance.


Choose colour. Add more fruits and veggies. Choose foods that have minimal packaging i.e., foods that state that they have 18g of whole grains, likely have 18g of added sugar as well.  Stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store for the majority of your shop and you’ll be eating mostly unprocessed, nutrient dense foods.

Increase fiber while reducing added sugar intake (watch for “tose”) – lactose, fructose, glucose, and limit alcohol.  September is also a fabulous time to invest in containers and lunch bags as they are on sale for back to school at this time.  Plan ahead, pack your lunch, and ensure snacks are pre-made to avoid the mid-afternoon cravings/slump.  

Set September as your start to a new year.  Plan to invest in your health, determine your goals, set out to achieve them and challenge yourself to move your body every day. If you have any questions, we’re here to help! Hope to see you in the gym soon!

Horseradish + Mustard Potato Salad

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A simple potato salad made sophisticated with our mustard and a lot of imaginative flavour bending. 


2 1/2 lbs baby white potatoes, cleaned and scrubbed

4 large eggs, room temp. (optional)

1 tsp. prepared horseradish

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. SMAK DAB Mustard (any flavor will do!)

1 tsp honey (if not using Honey Horseradish, Canadian Maple)

1/3 cup olive oil 

1 cup parsley leaves, chopped 

3 tbsp. coarsely chopped dill pickles

3 tbsp. chopped chives


Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 20-30 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and cool. 

Optional: Meanwhile, cook eggs in a pot of boiling water until yolks are still soft, but whites are set. About 7-8 minutes. Gently drain eggs and run under ice cold water until they feel cold to the touch. Peel the eggs and set aside. 

Whisk vinegar, mustard, horseradish, and honey (if using) in a bowl. Slowly add in oil, whisking continuously. Whisk until emulsified, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside 3 tbsp. for drizzling before serving. 

Halve potatoes and add to the bowl of vinaigrette. Add parsley and toss to coat. To serve, add in halved or quartered eggs, and drizzle with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with chopped pickles and chives. 

Recipe provided by Smak Dab Mustards.
Check out more recipes at

Shredded Carrot Slaw With Curry Dijon & Pistachios

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Coleslaw has never been this exciting! Our twist on the all-too-common coleslaw will open your eyes (and appetite) for what is possible for this familiar dish.


1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp group coriander

1 tbsp. SMAK DAB Curry Dijon, White Wine Herb, or Hot Honey Jalapeno Mustard 

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp honey

1 cup mayo (homemade or Hellman’s)

1 small head Savoy cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons (about 12 loose cups)

2 carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons (about 2 loose cups)

1/2 cup chopped mint

1/4 cup toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped 

Sea salt and feshly ground black pepper


Soak the red onion in ice cold water to mellow, about 20 minutes. Drain.

In a bowl, combine spices, mustard, honey, mayo, a good pinch of salt, lemon juice and zest. Stir until well combined.

Put the cabbage, carrots, mint, and onion in a large bowl, and toss the salad with 2/3 of the dressing. Let sit for about 10 minutes to mellow, and drizzle remaining dressing. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately! 

Recipe provided by Smak Dab Mustards.
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Perfecting Squats & Athletic Therapy

One contributing factor to an undesirable squat pattern is ankle mobility – particularly the ability for your lower leg to move towards the foot while squatting in an unrestricted manner. There are many reasons and contributing factors as to why your ankle may not move optimally. Perhaps it is from a series of old ankle sprains that have left a plethora of gunk (scar tissue) in the joint; tightness in the calf and/or achilles from reduced full-range movement on a daily basis; or your foot is collapsing inward (pronating) and not allowing for full range of motion, creating a knee collapse. 

Assessing ankle mobility in a weight bearing position – as you saw in our previous blog “Debunking the Squat: From the Ground Up”, is my go-to test, as reduced motion here will affect many parts of the body. If the ankle can not achieve its full range of motion while squatting, you may see or experience the knee collapsing inwards, the inability to squat to your full depth, or instability (falling backwards) when trying to squat to your depth.

Determining which one – or all of the contributing factors that affect dorsi flexion, which is responsible for your altered pattern, can take some time. Here are a few tricks and exercises to try to suss out the issue.

Try one or all of the above for a week and then check your squat again. As always, if you have questions please feel free to ask. 


Stand in front of a mirror and squat (barefoot) as low as you can. If you feel like you are going to fall backwards, try elevating your toe box (place a small lift under your toe box). If this improves the depth of your squat and you don’t feel as though you will fall on you bum, then tight or shortened achilles and calves may be the culprit. 

To improve this function perform calf stretches with the knee bent and with the knee straight daily as shown above.

Tip: make sure your toes are pointing straight ahead, and that you are shifting you whole body forward to increase the stretch, not just your torso. Hold both stretches for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times. If you do not have a wedge board you can place your toe box on a wall or old text book.


If you feel restriction or a blocking in the front of your ankle when performing the bent knee calf stretch (soleus), then there may be restriction occurring in the ankle joint itself. In a lunge position (barefoot), with a broom stick/dowel/hockey stick placed by the big toe (this is to prevent your knee knee from collapsing inward), lunge forward (for this exercises it is ok for your knee to come past your toe) while keeping your heel in contact with ground. Hold the end range for 5-10 seconds, move back ever so slightly then return to the end range. Repeat 5-10 times per ankle. You can also use a band to assist you in this position – it should be placed at the ankle crease. If you still experience restriction at the front of the ankle, then you may want to chat with you Athletic Therapist to see what else can be done – sometimes the ankle needs a little manual convincing.


Foam rolling and/or lacrosse balling the lower leg can be helpful in reducing muscle tension, restriction in the calf, it can help improve ankle range of motion, and also aid with stretching. Try this exercise: Roll the calf on the lacrosse ball for 60-90 seconds. Rotate the leg in and out to find the tighter spots and hold these areas for 30 seconds or until you feel a change in tension. Make sure to maintain good alignment through the spine and shoulder. I like to place to ball on a raised surface (yoga block or book) to give the foot more clearance. 

How posture effects our body, by Chelsea White

Our Athletic Therapist, Chelsea White shares her insight on common injuries caused by poor posture, and offers preventative measures that she recommends to her patients, in order to help them enjoy a pain-free life. 

We’ve all heard it a hundred times from our parents; sit up straight, stand tall, don’t slouch. But really what was all the fuss about? Although annoying at times, they had our best interests at heart. Posture has an overall effect on our bodies from contributing to tension headaches, upper and lower back pain, shoulder issues, disc pathologies and nerve impingement. Exactly how does our posture effect the rest of our body?

The Hydration Challenge

Did you know that it is recommended for women to consume at least 2.7 L of water a day, and for men to consume roughly 3.7 L? You also require more water the more you exercise (about 180-360 ml for every 15-20 minutes of exercise).

If you’ve come to the realization that you’re probably not pouring enough H2O, then we invite you to try our HYDRATION CHALLENGE! This week, we challenge you to drink more water throughout the day and to monitor your body’s reaction as the days go by. You will likely notice feeling much more energized! We’ve provided some tips and benefits for staying hydrated to help you succeed in this week’s quest.


90% of our blood is water! If you’re suffering from dehydration, blood will thicken due to loss in volume, which requires the heart to beat faster. Staying hydrated also helps keep joints lubricated, and reduces the effects of pain from inflammation and arthritis. Staying well-hydrated also helps the body recover more rapidly from cell damage, which means your skin may brighten, tighten and any injuries may heal faster than if you were dehydrated.



Are you finding that you have A LOT of water to drink after 4 pm? Try portioning out your litres and drink each portion within a certain amount of time. For example:


Wake up- 8am: 250 ml 

8am- 10am: 500 ml 

10am- noon: 500 ml 

noon- 2pm: 500-750 ml

2pm-4pm: 500 ml 

4pm-6pm: 500 ml 

6pm-8pm: 500 ml 

8pm- sleep: consume remaining




If you're feeling bored with all of this water – mix it up! Add slices of fresh lemon, lime or cucumbers; fresh berries and even mint leaves to add flavour to your sips. Enjoy and know you are doing your body good!



Being adequately hydrated helps to move things along in the gut, and helps the liver and kidneys process toxins in order to eliminate them from the body. Drinking a glass of water when hunger pangs or cravings hit, will help to keep you feeling "full" until your next meal or snack. This is not to advocate for drinking water in place of eating – this is just a tool to fend off hunger out of boredom, as well as to beat cravings.

Let's talk about HIIT

Let’s talk about HIIT (Hight Intensity Interval Training).HIIT training has reached a new peak in 2017 fitness trends, but unlike some odd diets and quick-fixes, this trend actually gives you results. 


Engaging in 40 minutes of non-stop cardio burns the same amount of calories as a 15-minute HIIT workout. This isn’t magic – a high intensity, ever-changing exercise routine makes your body thirst for oxygen and ultimately helps burn body fat. Long evening runs are great, but your body quickly plateaus and becomes used to the repetitive motion. With HIIT, you surprise your whole body, and it definitely responds. 

Wondering if you’re doing it correctly? A good rule of thumb is that you should not be able to talk and workout simultaneously during a well programmed HIIT. This means that if you’re able to go for even a second longer, you probably didn’t go hard enough. Most people aren’t used to pushing themselves as hard as this due to discomfort, and our response tends to be to prolong our workouts to make them more pleasant. HIIT is efficient and impactful when you are committed to it.

You should not be doing HIIT workouts every day – the same rule applies to weight lifting. You wouldn’t work the same muscle group two days in a row –  you need to give that poor muscle time to repair! With high intensity cardio, it isn’t any different. Make sure you give your sore body at least 24 hours to heal before you blast through your next HIIT session. 

Our Athletes: Rhett Lough

Rhett Lough representing the Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) at Virden Oil Capitals

Rhett Lough representing the Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) at Virden Oil Capitals

Recently I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Devon Lyon and Advantage Conditioning. I began off-season training at Advantage with a few friends in the spring of 2015 in order to get ready for the next hockey season. Devon's experience training Junior and Junior A players has helped to create a hockey specific training program designed to work on player weaknesses, both on and off the ice. The results proved themselves this season as I felt stronger and faster and has led to my number getting on the score sheet much more often this season. I would highly recommend Devon Lyon to all aspiring hockey players, whether you're just getting started or playing high level hockey.

The Importance of Strength Training

The Importance of Strength Training

There is no greater feeling of accomplishment and empowerment than to achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself! For some this may be to run a faster mile or to complete their first half marathon, for others it may be to drink more water in a day, for me it is lifting heavy! I realize that this is not necessarily an appropriate goal for all of our members, but strength training is not just about bench pressing your body weight or deadlifting double that, it is about increasing and maintaining optimal health.

Strength training is also referred to as resistance training; it is defined as the body utilizing force to move against a resistance. The resistance can come from a variety of equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, cable machines and body weight. Strength training programs can be extremely varied depending on the athletes’ goals and abilities. This is key when developing a strength training program as not everyone is comfortable with lifting weights. It is my job as a trainer to educate clients on the importance and benefits of strength training as well as the variety to program designs in order to meet their personal goals. Not everyone is interested in increasing power through explosive Olympic lifts performed with minimal repetitions, and not everyone is interested in increasing muscle endurance through high volume sets. Listening to the needs and goals of the client is how we are able to design the most effective, well-rounded program for optimal health. 

So what are the benefits to strength training?

Osteoporosis runs in my family and as a woman I am concerned about this. Women tend to lose muscle mass and bone density at a higher rate than men do as we age, due in part to hormonal changes and increased inactivity. Strength training is the most effective way to increase both bone density and muscle mass. The denser your bones are, the less incidence of developing osteoporosis later in life. 

Strength training also decreases the incident of muscle and joint injury and pain, helps to promote healthy body composition, increase self-esteem and confidence in athletic ability and activities of daily life, increase the energy stores used for activity, and increases metabolic health.

Strength training for optimal health

Strength training is the basis for quality of life. I have said so many times to clients that aerobic activity provides you with longevity of life through increased cardiovascular health, but strength training will maintain your quality of life as you age. 

Challenging your muscles to resist force will increase strength in those muscles allowing you to maintain your independence while continuing to live an active, healthy life as you age. I realize that for some of us we may not be thinking of the implications our fitness has on our aging process, but trust me, the work you put in now will pay off in the future! Having a strong core and lower body will help you to maintain an upright posture and be mobile without assistance from a walker, having a strong upper body will mean that you will be able to carry your groceries into your home and pick up your grandchildren. Strength training allows us to participate in our lives as we age and not simply observe from the sidelines, which to me, is the definition of optimal health.

MJHL to the WHL: Success Story

Darren Gisti: Portland Winter Hawks

Darren Gisti: Portland Winter Hawks

This young man has been a patient of mine and client of AC since he was 13. He has been signed by the Portland Winter Hawks in the WHL (Western Hockey League) and I could not be more thrilled.

Over the years I have worked with many of his injuries, for the minor “Chelsea my shoulder hurts” to the more involved ones that can happen when playing elite level sports.

When he was thirteen he would join his dad Kevin for personal training with a Gill Chitty and join in on our boot camps including off-season hockey with Devon.

He has been a joy to work with, always sporting a bright smile and a fun loving disposition.

This is one of the moments that makes me so happy to be an Athletic Therapist. Not just the rehab of bringing them back to the high level of sport they love, but to have watched them grow athletically and as a person.

It is a beautiful thing to work with kids like Darren.

Posture Check: Your Shoulder Blade Stability

Since you are reading this from your computer or phone right now, I am going to guess that you are probably not sitting/standing with perfect posture. Here is a quick 5 step guide to a simple yet effective exercise that you can hold while you read the rest of it:

Posture Check

1. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears

2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, like you are trying to pinch something between them

3. Push your shoulder blades down (think the opposite movement of shrugging)

4. Nobody actually stands like this, so relax your shoulders forward about 50% toward where you would normally hold them

5. Great! Now try to hold this position for the rest of this article. If you feel any pain or discomfort, relax and gently repeat from step 1.

This action is known as setting the shoulder blades, or scapulas, and is the fundamental movement for many shoulder strengthening and rehabilitative exercises. The ability to maintain this position while moving is known as scapular stability, and it is a crucial component of a healthy shoulder.

Most people tend to sit and stand with what we call rounded shoulders or a slouched posture (picture a person slouching at their desk.) This position puts the rotator cuff muscles on stretch, which is a very poor position to function from. This greatly increases their likelihood of injury. Most of the shoulder injuries that we see in the clinic directly involve these muscles. Many people have heard the term rotator cuff, but what does it mean and why is it so important?

The rotator cuff is a group of four small shoulder muscles that each have distinct actions, but work as a unit to secure the shoulder any time we use our arm. There are 2 main structural reasons that these muscles are often injured:

  1. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body, which means it is also one of the least stable. The stabilizers of the shoulder have to work harder than most other muscles to secure and protect the joint.
  2. The rotator cuff muscles are drastically outsized and overpowered by the primary movers of the shoulder like the pecs and deltoids.

Hopefully these reasons illustrate the importance of proper scapular stability during movement and the importance of proper scapular posture while sitting or standing. The more often this position is encouraged throughout your day, the more likely you are to avoid injury while placing demand on your rotator cuff muscles.

How are you holding your shoulders right now? Performing posture checks throughout your day is a great way to make this position feel natural and keep your shoulders injury free!


Poor posture position

Poor posture position

Proper Posture

Proper Posture

Boxing: Has much more to offer!

Although many peoples’ first thought of boxing is often the combative side of the sport, it has much more to offer!

Being involved in the sport competitively over the past 11 years has given me the opportunity to see the many benefits of non-competitive boxing for many different people. It was important to me as a boxer, trainer and athletic therapist to come up with a program that was fun, accurate to actual boxing training, and safe for people from all fitness levels. It doesn’t matter if you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior, or someone just starting to exercise, boxing can be a great addition to your fitness program.

What Muscle Groups Does Boxing Training Work?

You may be thinking that boxing is an upper body activity, but one boxing training session at Advantage Conditioning will change your mind. Between the strength work, footwork drills, core work, and punching exercises it is truly a whole body workout. I have yet to meet one person that has put a solid effort into a round of punching a heavy bag that was not sucking wind by the end of it!

What Makes Boxing Training Burn Fat So Well?

The premise of “HIIT” or “high intensity interval training” refers to short bursts of activity that generally use large muscle groups or whole body movements at a high level of effort. This “burst” of activity uses something called your anaerobic energy system.

The anaerobic energy system is used to produce muscle contractions during the first few minutes of exercise prior to the aerobic energy system taking over. By using a high level of effort over a short duration followed by intermittent breaks, the body is pushed to consume more fat than it will during traditional “cardio” or “aerobic” movements like slowly jogging or biking. This form of exercise has been widely popularized in recent years as the ultimate fat burning and conditioning system, but it is not a new concept. In fact it has been around for as long as boxing has been a sport.

Boxing training is typically comprised of a series of “rounds” with a set time frame. For example, a given station will be 3 minutes long, followed by a 1 minute break. This keeps the body in a high fat burning state throughout the workout.

Why Boxing Training?

Boxing training is a great form of exercise for all of the above listed reasons, but one of the most important reasons is that it is FUN! I cannot think of a single person that I have worked with over the years that did not enjoy putting on a pair of gloves and throwing some punches. It is a satisfying skill set to pick up, you can get a great workout in a short period of time, and is unlike anything you have tried before.

Besides, hasn’t everybody wanted to punch their trainer at some point?

Ryan Walkoski

Certified Athletic Therapist

Debunking your squat: From the ground up, why ankle mobility is important

A common phase I hear as an Athletic Therapist and Trainer is “I can’t squat, it hurts” or “this is as low as I can go”, these statements always lead me to say, “well let’s take a look.”

Squat form is very important for not only exercise but also life. The squat is one of our functional movement patterns, it’s how we strengthen our thighs, butt, and how we pick up our kids. Squat form has many variables that will affect why we feel pain or when asked to do it a certain way, we feel like we are going to fall backwards. Through this series we are going to look at the many areas of our body that are major players in squatting.

Starting from the ground up: the ankle.

“The ankle?” you ask? “Stretch it for squatting, but it’s nowhere near my butt.”

Here’s the scoop, your ankle needs to be able to go through its full range of motion, particularly the dorsi flexion (toes towards your shin) to achieve your full squat depth. Having a tight Achilles tendon, calf, or restriction in the ankle joint will affect your squat. Often when assessing patients with knee, hip, or lower back issues I will see changes in the squat form. Common occurrences are feelings of instability, or a weight shift to one leg, or their knees collapsing in. Among other tests, I go to see what the ankles are doing. If there is limited range of motion at the ankle then our body is going to find a path of least resistance to achieve the movement demanded. To get squat depth, our weight may shift to the more mobile ankle, the knee may collapse in to gain more range at the ankle or it will hit the joint barrier and our weight will shift back and we will feel unstable. This is just one example of the many players in squatting, we will get to the others throughout this series.

A quick check:

Place your foot against a wall (depending on how wide your foot is, approximately 5 inches) and make a little measure mark with tape. Now turn around and place your big toe at the inside edge of the tape, kneel down into a short lunge position (cushion under the knee if you have issues kneeling), keeping the heel of the front foot in contact with the ground. Now shift your weight forward in a straight line and try to touch the wall. Ideally, (everyone is different) you should be able to touch your knee to the wall or come fairly close. Compare side to side – if there is a big difference or you’re more the 1-2 fingers from the wall, then working on your ankle mobility would be a great venture.

Wall Test

Wall Test

Proper Squat Form

Proper Squat Form

Knee Collapse

Knee Collapse

Weight Shift

Weight Shift

Stay tuned for the next Step, Tricks and Tips to improve your ankle mobility.


Learn • Move • Live


Certified Athletic Therapist