Calgary, Alberta

Saturday, April 21, 2018 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Sunday, April 22, 2018 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Big Four Building, Stampede Grounds

Calgary, Alberta

Author Archives: Erika Holter

February 27, 2018 0

After a decade working for big corporations, and getting his MBA along the way, Chris finally found his calling as a health & wellness entrepreneur. He’s turning his passion for healthy, mindful eating into a food startup business. Brain Bar, is a plant-based protein bar fortified with nootropic nutrients. It’s due in stores Spring 2018.

Competing in his first fitness show taught Chris a lot about setting daily goals and practicing self-discipline to achieve them. At the time, he was broke and unemployed. He learned to develop tasty and nutritious recipes in his home kitchen with affordable, quality ingredients. Many of those he created for Muscle Insider’s Best Protein Chef Challenge. Chris shares his favourite (and easiest!) recipes on his personal blog,

Chris is a new brand ambassador for Oranj Fitness. He draws a lot of strength and inspiration from Calgary’s health & fitness community. He practices hot yoga, is an avid volunteer for local arts & culture, and considers himself a capable outdoorsman. Through his work as an ambassador for Modern+Mindful in 2017, Chris developed a deeper appreciation for the benefits of meditation. His favourite places for meditation (in no particular order): in the sauna after a workout, camping in the mountains, or watching the sunrise over the prairies.

Thanks to Chris for answering a few questions for us:

If not birth, then what brought you to Calgary?
I came to Calgary in 2013 to help the city get back on its feet after the devastating floods. I loved it so much that I decided to stay and make my home here. After nearly a decade in downtown Toronto, I was ready for a change. Since I was born in Edmonton (cue the boos…), moving to Alberta after decades in Eastern Canada was like returning to my roots. I was drawn to Calgary by its mixture of energy, enthusiasm, resilience and resourcefulness. I want to help this city reach its world-class potential. Calgary offers many of the things I enjoy: a booming health & wellness community, a vibrant arts & culture scene, an abundance of food options, and diverse neighbourhoods to explore. By the way, we also happen to have the most impressive “backyard” in all of Canada: the Rocky Mountains.

What are the best books you’ve read in the past year?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ben Horowitz. Every entrepreneur should read this book because it offers blunt advice on the struggles of startup life. The author talks about all the messy stuff you don’t learn in MBA school.
12 Rules for Life by psychologist and cultural critic Jordan Peterson. The author (who was raised in Northern Alberta and has appeared multiple times on Joe Rogan’s podcast) draws on ancient texts, scientific research, and his own clinical practice to offer wise advice for everyone in the modern world.
Rising Strong by sociologist and thought leader Brené Brown. When life knocks us down (as it inevitably will) how do we find the strength to get up, own our story, and write a new ending? The author provides an incremental process to do just that. Her work has added a powerful word to the mainstream vocabulary: vulnerability.

What are your success habits?

“Win the morning, win the day.” I believe that having a consistent morning routine is critical. When my alarm goes off at 5:00 am (even on weekends), I get up, have a quick stretch and make my bed. Then I make a big cup of coffee and cook a stack of protein pancakes while listening to a podcast. Nourishment for body AND mind. After that, no matter what the day may throw at me, I know I’ve already had some small “victories” to put me on the right track.

Thanks to Mark Bilodeau for the photos!

Category : Celebrating Local

January 29, 2018 0

The lovely Ashley Veenstra will be a major fixture at YYCfit….and we’re thrilled to tell you more about her!

Ashley has made some waves on the fitness show market, having won her first show post-baby when her son was one year old. Next up was ‘turning pro’ in 2014 and hitting the world stage in Las Vegas in 2015. All told Ashley has done eight shows so far, taking first or second place in her category in the majority of these shows. She is also a Pro competitor in “Superleague” competing in this new sport with legendary names where Pros all over the world compete in lifts and get points based on their physiques. Ashley has placed top three in all events qualifying for Team USA first, and now representing Team Canada at the Worlds taking place this upcoming September in Las Vegas.

Ashley is a published fitness model making The Hot and Fit 100 list two years in a row with Inside Fitness, and has been featured in numerous magazines, including being nominated as a Status Athlete for Status Fitness Magazine.

Aside from running Veenstar Fitness training clients in and online, Ashley and her son travel as much as possible. Ashley has a passion for writing and inspiring others along her fitness journey.

Thanks to Ashley for answering our questions!

Do you have a favorite quote to share?
“Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

What are you most proud of?
Being a single mother and raising my son. We are very close, and he is my inspiration everyday, to be a better person.
Developing trainers and helping inspire them to help people. Changing lives. I was one of the top fitness managers at Goodlife Fitness across Canada. Helping my team grow to the top and the success stories from client transformations. Overcoming a lot of my personal fears and doubts with my own journey. I used to be afraid of public speaking and now I have a voice and followers. I used to be shy with my body and now I am published in magazines and am a proud fit role model for women. I used to have a lot of excuses for the reasons I couldn’t accomplish things and now I never let anything hold me back. I believe you are wiser than you think, braver then you are, and stronger in every way.

What’s your favorite way to break a sweat?
Along side of the gym and body building I love to go snowboarding in the mountains, I love wakeboarding and boating in the summer months with my family. I grew up riding horses and I really enjoy being outside, it makes me feel more grounded.

Category : Celebrating Local

January 24, 2018 0

It’s January, gyms are busy, machines are at full capacity, classes are packed….all in all an appropriate time to revisit a little ‘sweatiquette’ (Urban Dictionary defines sweatiquette as: the act of cleaning up gym equipment after use so the next person is not subjected to sweat and other bodily fluids).

Here are some basics:

• Spray, wipe, repeat. No one wants to hop onto a chest press machine that is drenched from the prior user, so work together with your fellow gym-goers to keep machines dry and clean

• Cell phone usage – a big no. If your phone is your source for workout tunes or for timing purposes, then set it to airplane mode, and get your sweat on, but otherwise, just put it away. If you’ve ever waited patiently for a machine while someone sits there texting away, or had to endure listening to someone on the elliptical next to you recounting last night’s date in remarkable detail, you can understand the frustration.

• Put your equipment away. Is that where the kettlebell was when you found it? If not, you know what to do

• Group fitness class newbies – arrive early and get a spot up front. Cool kids at the back of the class definitely does not apply here. You’ll get more out of the class, and the instructors will be in a better position to help you along.

If you have some treasured tips to pass along, we’d love to hear them!

Category : General Fitness

December 19, 2017 0

Amber Romaniuk is an Emotional Eating, Digestive & Hormone Expert and speaker dedicated to educating the world on healthy eating and overcoming self-sabotage with food. Through corporate workshops, media appearances, “The No Sugarcoating Podcast” and her own “Amber Approved” digital magazine and cookbook, she is committed to globally changing the way people eat and promoting healthy lifestyles that support energy, mood balance, and personal happiness.

Amber combines her training and her own experience of food addiction, digestive issues, body image, weight loss and management to support others trying to make massive life transformations. She works privately with women and men, high level entrepreneurs, and those committed to overcoming emotional eating and self-sabotage so they are free to create the success they desire in the world.

Thanks to Amber for letting us get to know her a bit more:

Describe your ideal day and night in Calgary
Spending the morning out for a walk in a park, an afternoon float session, an evening salt cave session followed by dinner at Yellow Door Bistro at Hotel Arts.

What are you most proud of?
Having the courage to embark on the journey of overcoming my food addiction, which created my business and the gift of supporting other people to overcome theirs without restriction, diets or quick fixes.

What are your success habits?
Always listen to myself and honor what I need.
Stay motivated, balance work and life, and grow my business from my heart and passion to help others.
Get enough sleep, eat well, move mindfully, and love every minute of it.

Check out Amber’s website for more information on one-on-one coaching to build a healthy relationship with food as well as great recipes.

Category : Celebrating Local

December 19, 2017 0

If you were in attendance at YYCfit 2017, then hopefully you had a chance to try out the Megaformer, at the Lagree YYC booth – if not, make sure to give it a try at this year’s expo. Lagree YYC’s Megaformer is a moving platform manipulated through a system of springs, straps and pulleys, employing body weight to provide resistance. Lagree YYC owner Kim Rothenberg was a certified personal trainer with a lifelong passion for fitness when she visited New York City in 2014 on a hunt for a new, leading-edge workout to bring to Calgary. As Kim describes, “I walked into my first Lagree workout in NYC confident that I was fit……….and I was quickly humbled! The Lagree Method used muscles in my body that I did not know existed, hitting me in a way that no other workout or piece of equipment ever had or could.” Kim opened the doors to Lagree YYC in February 2015, immediately attracting a diverse clientele from athletes to the formerly fitness phobic.

The Lagree Method is the best core-strengthening, calorie-burning workout designed for full body conditioning available in Calgary. Using the patented Megaformer, all of your movements are slow and controlled encouraging maximum exertion in a low impact workout, allowing individuals to stay in tune with their bodies at all times, thus reducing the risk of injury. The Lagree Method strengthens the body, tones and lengthens muscles, improves endurance, jump-starts the metabolism, burns fat, increases flexibility, improves posture, and restores the body’s natural balance.

Now with two studio locations in Calgary (Brittania and Signal Hill) and a combined total of 100+ weekly classes, ranging from Introductory to Xtreme, Kim feels blessed to be able to do what she loves on a daily basis……….helping people get or stay strong and healthy through such a meaningful workout!

Category : Exhibitor

November 28, 2017 0

Like our October influencer of the month, Andrew Obrecht, Devin is a born and bred Calgarian. A hockey player from a young age, Devin was able to parlay his love of hockey into a WHL stint with the Prince George Cougars, University of Lethbridge Pronghorns and then played in the East Coast Hockey League with the Kalamazoo Wings.

Devin’s desire to start a family led him back to Calgary, where he joined the fire department. While Devin considers this his perfect career move, he was still looking for something to fill the hockey void. Enter trail running. Followed by ultra marathons, where this seasoned hockey player and firefighter experienced a whole new level of pushing his body to the limit.

In February 2016, Devin and his wife Elise welcomed son Kai into the world. Devin heard time and time again how this new addition would limit his adventure days in the mountains. Devin was committed to staying active, but made a pact to find ways to make it a family activity. From the time Kai was introduced to his first family hike at the age of six weeks, Devin kept this pact by logging an average of 100 km per week with the Thule chariot stroller running with Kai. Other ways the family plays together: yoga, travelling, climbing, biking, skiing and more!

In addition to serving an important role in helping to relieve stress from an intense job, running has also led to some awesome travel opportunities for Devin, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hawaii and other various places in the USA.

In his spare time, Devin helps others with their running and strength with personalized programs, through his company Sharp Conditioning.

Thanks to Devin for letting us get to know him a bit more:

If you could spend an afternoon with any Canadian, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Terry Fox – to truly understand the mental and physical push he had and dedication to his goal. Trying to overcome a terrible disease and being an inspiration for so many Canadians.

What is a skill you’d love to master?
Being able to fix vehicles and do more home renovations.

How do you chill out?
Watching a favorite TV series (The Punisher, Shameless, Big Mouth), board games at the cabin, listening to music.

Thanks to Mark Bilodeau for the great photos! If there is someone you would like to see profiled, please let us know!

Category : Celebrating Local

October 26, 2017 0

Introducing….Andrew Obrecht, our October health and fitness influencer of the month!

Andrew Obrecht, part owner of YYC Cycle Spin Studio, is a born and raised Calgarian. Born to two passionate and hardworking parents, he inherited the entrepreneurial spirit instilled in him from an early age. Following his university athletics career as a Defensive End with the University of Calgary Dinos Football Team, at a playing weight of 260lbs, he graduated with a BComm in International Business. He undertook a number of business ventures – facing no shortage of challenges along the way. In 2012 he had his first encounter with teaching spin. After discovering a deeply rooted passion for it, he was determined to make it his purpose.

In 2013 he was approached to by two graduates of the University of Calgary School of Business, and was asked if he would like to join together to start a new spin studio in Calgary. Andrew took the leap, and less than 3.5 years later has taught over 1000 classes in front of over 30,000 riders. YYC Cycle now has three locations in Calgary, and two locations in Edmonton, called YEGCYCLE, and the culture of community and motivation shows no signs of slowing down.

Andrew and YYC Cycle have raised over $250,000.00 for various charities through their Give’r campaigns and charitable initiatives through the studio. Outside of the studio, Andrew strives to inspire through giving back to the community by actively supporting multiple charity organizations; including, ATBX (mentoring young entrepreneurs), Prostate Cancer Centre, JDRF, United Way Canada & Prospect Human Services where he teaches spin classes for adults with developmental disabilities.

Thanks to Andrew for letting us get to know him a bit more:

Do you have a favorite quote to share?
“Momentum is almost impossible to start, but once you have it, it’s almost impossible to stop”

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the impact that our Bikergang in YYC and YEG have created for our communities that surround us. In the last 3.5 years, they have helped us raise over $300,000.00 through our GIVE’R charity campaigns and charitable/fundraising classes.

What are your top three favorite books?
• Good to Great – Jim Collins
• Scaling Up – Verne Harnish
• The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

What is a skill you’d love to master?
Leadership – It’s something that I’m absolutely obsessed with learning more about, and continuously seek growth in! We can always be better leaders.

Category : Celebrating Local

October 24, 2017 0

Calgary Corporate Challenge (CCC) is where work comes to play! Every September, CCC brings together over 15,000 participants from approximately 150 Calgary companies to go company vs company in a range of Olympic style events over the course of two weeks. A truly fantastic team-building experience for participating companies!

This past September marked the 22nd Calgary Corporate Challenge September Games….and it did not disappoint! 2,344 games in 22 sporting events over 16 days! But it’s not all fun and games at CCC, they also serve to support Calgary charities and hosted seven charitable challenges in conjunction with year’s Games, which resulted in the following:

• $465,150 being raised for the seven CCC-supported charities (Calgary Food Bank, Calgary Reads, Canadian Blood Services, Heart & Stroke Foundation, KidSport Calgary, Ronald McDonald House and The Mustard Seed)
• Over 4,000 new and gently used children book donations to Calgary Reads
• 7,660 pounds of food, valued at roughly $20,000, donated to the Calgary Food Bank
• 4,710 units of blood donations for Canadian Blood Services, and 310 new donor registrations
• 70 CCC companies rode the “Big Bike” bringing in more than $300,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation
• Over 300 sports equipment items and more than $50,000 in funding was raised for KidSport Calgary
• Ronald McDonald House was treated to 145 new toys and 98 nights worth of stays for families at the House
• 3,500 meals, 50 winter jackets, and 70 backpacks filled with vital supplies were donated to The Mustard Seed

As whirl-wind as September is for those involved in the CCC Games, the fun actually goes on year-round, with a number of off-season events that are available to the general public. The 2018 events include:
• Human Bonspiel (yes, you read that right, it is as awesome as it sounds) – February 2018 (in support of KidSport Calgary)
• Brain Freeze Trivia – March 2018 (in support of Branch Out Neurological Foundation)
• CCC Stampede Party – July 2018
• Softball Tournament – Summer 2018

Make sure to connect with Calgary Corporate Challenge at YYCfit and find out how to get your company involved in the fun!

Category : Exhibitor

October 17, 2017 0

It is a pumpkin-heavy time of year, what with Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, so what better time to get your pumpkin baking on! Big shout out to Christopher Boyse, creator of the blog Do You Even Cook, Bro? which is chock-full of yummy high protein recipes, for this tasty treat, High Protein Pumpkin Loaf.

• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
• 1/4 cup egg whites (2 egg whites or 1 whole egg)
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/3 cup cold water
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 1 cup oat flour
• 2 scoops or 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (whey isolate is best for baking)
• 1 ½ tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp pumpkin spice (nutmeg, ginger and allspice)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• Pinch of black pepper
• Optional: oats, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds or dark chocolate chips.


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, egg whites, coconut oil, honey and water. Whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine oat flour, spices, salt, pepper and baking soda. Carefully stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.
4. Pour the entire mixture into the loaf pan. If desired, sprinkle some oats, walnuts or mini dark chocolate chips on top.
5. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Bread is ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.
6. Makes 8 generous slices.

Nutritional data per serving:
Calories 204
Total Fat 8 g
Cholesterol 8 mg
Sodium 438 mg
Potassium 110 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 2 g
Protein 11 g

Category : Recipes

September 30, 2017 0

While there is no shortage of stunning spaces to get your Calgary fall fix, the peaceful beauty of a tree-lined street this time of year is a must-do. Aside from sheer splendor, canopy trees bring a host of other benefits to a neighbourhood, including shelter from the elements (hot and cold) for pedestrians and bikers, reductions in stormwater runoff and increased property values. Here are some areas in Calgary well-known for their tree-lined streets – definitely worth checking out at this time of year:

• Riverdale Avenue (and the houses here aren’t too shabby to look at either)
• Mount Pleasant
• Bridgeland
• Westgate
• Willow Park
• Brentwood
• Chinook Park
• Bowness

Be sure to bring a camera!

Category : Staying Active


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