We gave $1000 in $50 bills to random people in Ottawa

See the video below for their reactions.

A big reason we started Free Form Academy was to be able to take some of the money we make and give it back to the city we are serving. We previously supported the charity OPIN concept because we loved it’s generosity and transparency but when they shut down we decided to go out and give the money ourselves. We will continue to give back in this way because we feel good knowing 100% of the money is going straight to the people in the neighbourhood.

A big thank you goes out to our students for allowing us to do this. We could not do it without you or your desire to help people.


Featured on: 13010 news, hot 89.9, Live 88.5, CFRA, Magic 100 and CTV

Eating well without stress

123RF/Markus Mainka



You just opened the fridge to get a small snack. Suddently, you are gripped by mild anxiety.  What should you eat?  It seems that today, eating well has become a stressful endavour frot with dangers.  Omega-3, fibres, sugar content, carbohydrates, whole or processed food.  Is it possible that we are just overwhelmed with too much information about food?  Let’s explore how to eat well, without stress.


In its August 2015 edition, the magazine “L’actualité” is exploring the issue of overinformation regarding food.  The phenomena is called (loosly translated) the nutritional white noise.  Claude Fischler, a French sociologist and anthropologist, contends that a crisis exists between humans and their relation with food, thanks to the ever present preoccupation over what we should eat, and the always expanding choices of food.  Valérie Borde, author of the featured article, researched her preferred guilty food – chocolate. She found that in the last 10 years, almost 3000 studies have been published about the effect of chocolate on health.  Overall, she found more than 80,000 studies dealing with nutrition!

Over the years, researchers and scientists have established a clear and unassailable link between poor eating habits and chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease or cancer.  In fact, they have been so successful in their messaging that nutrition is now seen almost as a religion.  Today, your self-image is linked to what you eat, as much as to how you look, what you do or how you interact with others. Some researchers feel that the science of food may be over exploited  or, at least, can no longer provide useful help to consumers.  There is so many recommendations on eating habits and nutrition that we, as receivers of that massive quantity of information, tend to oversimplify. Veronique Provencher, nutritional professor at Laval University, is studying this phenomena.  She contends that, as we have too much information and not enough time to process it, we unconsciously categorise food in two “buckets” only: what is good for us and what is bad for us.  We then proceed to eliminate completely what we perceive as bad, and overconsume what we believe is good.  Yet, food is more complex than that.  Chocolate is an example.  It has been dubbed as a good food for the heart, hypertension, anemia or to prevent cognitive loss. Yet, it is full of sugar and saturated fat.  So depending of where you sit in the nutritional debate, chocolate can be a miracle food or a poison….

And the field of nutritional research may be overcrowded….It is occupied by genuine scientists, but also by pseudo specialists.  There are 4,250 books registered at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec dealing with nutrition!  Some of these books have been authored by people who have simply tested some kind of regime on themselves and have decided to write about it.  Nutrition is a lucrative business…

As personal trainers, you are in the line of fire regarding nutrition.  Your clients are often seeking your advice on what to eat, or not to eat. Your expertise carries weight, and responsibility along with it.  The article of L’actualité offers some advice about eating well, without stress. Let’s consider some key points, critically:

  • Physical activity is not a remedy to poor nutrition.  If you eat poorly, no amount of physical activity will aliviate the effects of bad eating habits;
  • Bio and organic is better and we, at Free Form Academy, are promoting it. But incidence of organic food on health is still being researched.
  • All calories are not the same.  They also provide more than just energy. So let’s be careful about blanket condemnation.
  • Lots of studies out there, but few of them are authoritative.  Meta analysis are best, because they compile many studies together.
  • Intuition is good!  Instead of listening to everybody, we should trust our instincts about what we eat.
  • No food should be banished.  A piece of cake can be good, but not the whole cake, every day!
  • Detoxification or fasting is controversial.  There is a debate about its benefits. Be aware of it.

The joy of training introverts

123RF/Bjorn Alberts


Introverts tend to have a bad reputation.  They are often seen as shy, reserved, uncommunicative and sometimes, arrogant.  This reputation is undeserved.  Training introverts can be a source of joy and discovery, if you know how to interact with them and learn to appreciate the unique qualities of their personality traits.

Susan Cain wrote in 2012 a New York Times Best Seller titled Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.  In this book, the author first charts the rise of an extrovert culture in the twentieth century to explain how we have come to undervalue introverts.  She outlines the main differences between extroverts and introverts and in doing so, breaks the preconceptions we may have about quiet people.  Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not anti-social.  Instead, they recharge their batteries by being alone, in opposition to extroverts, who need to recharge them when they have not socialized enough.  It is a matter of how you replenish your energy supply, not about how you interact with people.

We have come to associate extroverts with success and energy.  We perceive big talkers as leaders.  In opposition, introverts are seen as less intelligent and socially handicapped.  Cain is able to demonstrate how these perceptions are false and how heritable traits play an important role in how we develop as introverts or extroverts.  So it may be, as the author suggests, that cool is overrated….

But how is this information helping you as a trainer? Let’s examine some key personality traits of introverts and propose ways to deal with them.

Forget social talk after your training session…

It is not that your introvert client does not like you.  In fact, introverts are as likely as extroverts to engage with you, be likable and provide you with good feedback about the work you are doing with them. But don’t expect them to linger in the gym after their training session to talk with other people. It is simply that introverts tend to expand energy in social settings, which requires quiet time by themselves to replenish their energy supply.

Get comfortable with silence…

Introverts prefer to work independently. They concentrate on the tasks at hand and are likely to negatively react if you are constantly cheering their every move during their training session.  Instead, provide them with clear and concise instructions about the exercise they need to perform and just let them go.  You don’t have to talk to them.  The added bonus is that introverts pay more attention to the progress they are making then to the end goal.  They will create a great partnership with you if you can engage on the process of their training, instead of talking about the ultimate results that their training may achieve.  Use a language that is process-oriented instead of goal-oriented. But more importantly, use less words than more.

Don’t push…

Introverts tend to be very disciplined.  They have well developed abilities to make plans, and to stick to them.  They are also more sensitive to their environment and more attuned to others’ feelings and behaviours.  In your interactions with introverts, you will likely find it easy to build an exercise program with them.  Once done, introvert clients will find inner motivation to engage in their program.  However, introverts also tend to be more sensitive to other’s feelings and behaviours. It means that they will monitor how you react to their progress.  The strategy that works best is therefore gentle encouragement.  Don’t get the brass band out when they have reached an important milestone in their program; instead, just low key, quiet praise will support them tremendously.


And what if you are an introvert trainer?  Well, you know what to do.  Just go home and relax after you day’s work.