If you gained weight during COVID, you're not alone
Katelyn Sander

If you gained weight during COVID, you're not alone

Living Well...together, while apart

A year into pandemic, a few of us have noticed our jeans don’t fit quite as comfortably anymore.

It’s understandable. Expected even. A recent study provides evidence to show the pattern is a reality for a variety of individuals across the border. Individuals gained ½ a pound every 10 days. Such a seemingly innocent amount. Almost not worth noting. But 12 months later, you might have inadvertently gained 12-20 pounds.

We don’t need a study to know there’s been a negative impact on some Canadians too.

Stress can be a huge contributor to weight gain. Increases in cortisol and disrupted sleep patterns encourage fat storage. And since high carbohydrate, “comfort” foods boost serotonin and make us feel calmer, happier – who can be blamed for reaching for an extra nibble or two?!

Alcohol consumption is higher for some. Extra empty calories. And then the decrease in restorative sleep – especially in women – decreases metabolism, increases fatigue, and raises cortisol.

Walking is up for some, but down for others, for whom getting to and from work acted as short bursts of activity. 

And all the elastic bands and burpees in the world don’t make up for the extra motivation and burned calories that coming to the gym provides for so many. We know that once you walk through our doors you are more committed and determined. You stay longer, work harder, make full use of our state-of-the-art tools and toys, and enjoy the inspiration and confidence that comes from being coached and pushed by our expert instructors and trainers.

Wonderful reader, we are ready to open. As we mentioned last week, we’re buoyed by evidence that Toronto workers are ready to return to their offices. And as soon as enough of you feel safe enough to come back to enjoy the vibe, energy, and culture of the downtown core, we know coming to our Clubs will once again be the highlight of your day.

Until then, taking care of your health and wellbeing remotely remains our focus and passion. 

We – and you our well-read reader – know that making healthy, permanent alterations to your current dietary practices is the most powerful way to shave off those unwanted pounds. Just like they crept on with little slides, they can fall off with small, certain steps:

  • Decrease alcohol. Try to limit the days in the week when you consume these types of beverages.
  • Increase water
  • Chew slowly, put your fork down between bites and be mindful of the taste of your food
  • Increase consumption of vegetables. Especially raw.
  • Increase sources of lean protein and fiber in your diet. This will make you feel more satisfied and keep blood sugars stable for longer. Adding things like chia or hemp seeds, ground flax, chickpeas, or quinoa to your plate accomplishes both these benefits.
  • And keep exercising. We know that exercise and healthy weight consistently go hand-in-hand. 

Exercise boots metabolism, and is protein sparing; especially resistance type training encourages your body to hang onto muscle in favour of shedding fat and carbohydrate calories for energy. Exercise has an insulin like effect on the body – keeping blood sugars healthy and shuttling calories into the muscle to facilitate rebuilding. Exercise reduces stress, decreases depression, and makes people feel better about themselves and their body. For many, this then encourages people to make heathier choices in terms of how they feed themselves throughout the day.

If you need some inspiration, please check out our Trainer Moves. Lauren Fernandes has put together five simple, effective exercises that will challenge your muscles, boost your metabolism, and give you a reason to smile.

Today’s Inspiration

“Your legs are not giving out. Your head is giving out. Keep going.” – Jillian Michaels

Today’s Live Workouts

Happy Monday! Ready to get moving to start your week off right? We’ve got TWO classes on the schedule for today!


Join Robert S today for a Total Body Conditioning workout! Challenge your cardio and strengthen your muscles from head to toe with this incredibly effective no-nonsense bodyweight training.

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 12:00pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 864 5295 2847
Password: 991724


Join Robert Y today for our new Yoga Fusion workout! A combination of hatha, ashtanga, and kudalini yoga techniques. This class will engage your muscles, open your joints, calm your mind, and lift your spirits. (All levels)

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 5:15pm (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 899 4248 0739
Password: 624126


Click here to view our weekly schedule.

If you have questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.

Today’s Trainer Moves

For those of you who know me, you know that I am determined, to stay effective in my strength training workouts while keeping them short and sweet. Depending on your goals, this may not always be the best strategy but for keeping strong, fit, and healthy, these types of workouts work. 

Here are five exercises that hit multiple muscle groups. In the video, I have structured them so that if you follow the sequence, it is a great full body workout.  

  1. Plank with alternating leg lifts: 10-12 each leg
  2. Single legged bent over row: 5-8 each leg
  3. Wide squats: 10-16 reps
  4. Single legged lunge/Shoulder press: 5-8 each leg 
  5. Hip bridge/Chest press: 10-12 reps

Repeat the sequence 2-4 times.

Ensure that the weight and rep ranges you choose for each exercise, keeps the workout challenging with the ability to still keep your excellent form.

Try them! Also please reach out if you are not sure of the best ways to keep your workouts safe and effective for your goals on your own.

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Lauren here.

Today’s Bite

One-Skillet Steak & Spring Veggies with Spicy Mustard

Super easy and delicious! The veggies will be a hit with the carnivores and vegetarians alike. This recipe is super versatile and easily adaptable to whatever vegetable you have on hand. Feel like adding mushrooms, broccoli? Your imagination will be your limit. The mustard sauce is meant to have some zing, but if you want less heat, swap smoked paprika for the cayenne. It looks fabulous and tastes even better, with a minimal prep and kitchen time.

Want more recipes like this? Check out our Spice of Life Recipe Book.


  • 1 lb boneless New York strip steak, patted dry
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves; 1 grated, 4 thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 - 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 10 oz bag frozen peas
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces


  • Season steak all over with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk 1 grated garlic clove, 1/3 cup mustard, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp honey, a couple pinches of cayenne, 1/3 cup oil, and 1 tbsp water in a medium bowl to combine; season spicy mustard with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a dry medium skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Rub steak all over with 1 tbsp oil and cook, turning every 2 minutes or so and making sure to get colour on the fat cap, until medium-rare (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centre will register 120F), about 10 minutes. Transfer steak to a plate to rest. Pour off oil from skillet, leaving crispy bits behind.
  • Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in same skillet over low. Add 4 sliced garlic cloves and all but about 2 tbsp scallions (save those for serving) and cook, stirring often, until translucent and softened, about 3 minutes.
  • Add peas and a splash of water and cook, stirring and mashing to break up slightly, until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Slice steak and shingle over vegetables in skillet.
  • Drizzle some mustard sauce over steak and top with reserved scallions. Serve with remaining mustard sauce alongside.


Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.

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