Category Archives: fitness

How to Improve Gut Health

Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

And while this may not be 100% true for every disease in every person, more and more research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role in many diseases than we used to think. And we’re not just talking about heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, etc. We’re talking about all kinds of issues like allergies, pain, mood disorders, and nutrient deficiencies.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is the portal to the outside world. It’s here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients (and toxins) through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. We’re just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain (have you heard of “the gut-brain axis”). Not just our gut per se; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health.

So, let’s talk about the roles that our gut and our gut microbes play in our overall health. Then I’ll give you tips to improve your gut health naturally.

Our gut’s role in our overall health

Our gut’s main role is as a barrier. To let things in that should get in, and to keep things out that should stay out. Think of “absorption” of nutrients as things we want to let in; and “elimination” of waste as things we want to pass right through and out.

This seemingly simple role is super-complex! And it can break down in so many places.

For one thing, our guts can “leak.” Yes, like a long tube with holes in it, it can allow things to get into our bloodstream/bodies that can wreak havoc (bacteria, undigested food, and toxins). You name it, whatever you put into your mouth can be absorbed by your gut and get into your bloodstream, even if it’s not supposed to. And when your gut wall gets irritated, it can “leak.” When this happens, you get inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases that don’t seem linked to the gut but have a sneaky connection there.

FUN FACT: About 70% of our immune system lives in and around our gut.

A healthy gut is not a leaky gut. It maintains its barrier and shuttles things through to be eliminated. Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first pillar of gut health.

The second main part of your gut are the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, make some vitamins for us, and have all kinds of other health benefits, like mental health benefits, reducing inflammation, and stabilizing blood sugar.

So, keeping your gut microbes happy is the second pillar of gut health!

How to improve gut health

There are a lot of natural ways to improve gut health. Let’s start with what to stop. It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving our guts junk to deal with. How about eliminating added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol? Try that for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at how much better your body (and gut) feels.

You may also want to eliminate other gut irritants. Dairy and grains contain common compounds known to irritate some people’s guts. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for your health.

By eating nutrient-dense foods, we allow ample macro- and micro-nutrients into our gut to maximize the chance for absorption. These nutrients help our bodies build and repair our gut, and every other body part as well. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods include dark leafy greens, colourful fruits and veggies, liver, and fish.

The second pillar of gut health is our microbes. By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, we can help to replenish our gut microbes. These are found in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Make these a part of your daily diet.

Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber plays lots of roles in our gut, including whisking away some of those pesky bad bacteria and toxins so they can be eliminated. Fiber also helps to feed our friendly resident microbes that help us absorb and digest our food better. What foods have a lot of fiber? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocado, and even cacao.

And don’t forget the uber-important lifestyle factors like getting enough sleep, stressing less, and getting the right amount (and intensity) of exercise for you. It’s easy to forget some of the simple, but key links there are between what we do with our bodies and how well they function.


The function of your gut is key to your overall health. There are two pillars of gut health: maintaining a good barrier and maintaining healthy gut microbes.

The main ways to improve both of these naturally is by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Foods filled with nutrition, probiotics, and fiber. And eliminating common gut irritants like added sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.

Recipe (Probiotic-rich): Fermented Carrots

Serves 12
1 L warm water
4 tsp salt
4 carrots, medium, peeled, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)


Make a brine by dissolving the salt in water.
Place carrots into a clean canning jar, packing them in tight. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space at the top.
Fill the jar with brine, making sure to cover the carrots completely. Weigh the carrots down to make sure they don’t float (you can use a “fermenting weight”).
Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-4 days. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop. Feel free to open and taste.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Use this as a side dish, or even a snack.



Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired 

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods aka REAL foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  Aim for 1 serving of 5 different colours per day.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe. Put your fork down in between bites. Eat undistracted at least once per day. Yes that means put your phone down and focus on eating one bite at a time!

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding a tbsp of nut butter and/or a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.


Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach

1-2 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 banana

1-2 tbsp nut butter

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

2 cups unsweetened almond milk or water

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit, fats or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they  contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.


Do You Need a New Workout Routine to Reach Your Goals?


Looking for a new workout routine?

Is a new workout routine the missing link? Is it the one thing that will finally set you up for success?

Have you thought about what you need to reach your goals in both the short and longterm? More often than not, what we think we need and what we actually need don’t entirely match up. What do most people need to not only get there but stay there?

This post will explore these questions and give you an answer that we think, might clear up a lot of confusion and hopefully in turn, provide an “aha” moment and set you on a path to success for the longterm.

We get many inquiries from people who are only looking for a routine or program to follow. It seems as though, in their mind this is all they need to finally get to the place they want to be.

As you may already know, we are coaching business. We’re coaches first and foremost.

Don’t get us wrong, we provide workout programs that are designed to get you great results, all while keeping you injury-free and allowing you to continually make progress for years to come. This is no small feat and it has taken us years of experience and loads of education and travel across North America to be able to provide the kinds of programs that we offer.

But we’re coaches, not program designers… For a reason.

When we tell these people about what we do and how we do it, we sometimes get resistance (which is completely normal and okay). They tell us that they don’t need the coaching, nutrition and even constant program updates. We often hear that they are very self-motivated (which is most likely true) and that they just need a simple routine to follow.

If we knew that a simple routine would get you to where you want, we would be giving out workout routines to everyone. If this was all you needed, we wouldn’t spend all the extra time and effort on providing the extra support and care that we do.
We pride ourselves in being a complete health, fitness and lifestyle solution that is committed to creating long-term change. You might want to call us lifestyle coaches.

(FUN FACT: This idea is why we chose the name Evertrain Lifestyles Inc., instead of Evertrain Fitness or Evertrain Personal Training.)

This is because we’ve seen time and time again, countless people go through the unfortunate cycle of “on-again off-again fitness failure”.

If this were us, it would drive us nuts!

Trying something over and over and getting back to the same place we started or sometimes worse would be pretty discouraging.

If this isn’t you, great! We are happy that this is the case. But we’re sure you know someone who has dealt with this common issue.

Why long-term success is so elusive.

It could be said that this concept alone of on-again off-again behaviour, was the driving force for us to start our business.

We wanted to ensure that people not only reach their goals, but have learned what it takes to actually maintain them for life! (and of course, this takes time and a whole lot more than a workout routine)

This is what we work so hard to provide people with. Seeing our members reach their goals in a healthy, injury-free sustainable way, then reach the point where they know they can maintain them for the rest of their life is what brings us the most joy.

So you may be wondering, do we provide workout routines?

Yes, we do.

  • We provide what we think are some of the best workout routines for men and women over 50.
  • Routines that constantly evolve to suit your ever-changing fitness level.
  • Routines that are easier when they need to be and are harder when they need to be.
  • Routines that are designed to get you from point A (where you start) to point B (your goals).
  • Routines that prioritize quality before quantity. Not the other way around.
  • Routines that will not only heal injuries and make you stronger, but they’ll help you unlock the potential you didn’t even know you had.

If it were about just that, we would provide just that. But even the best designed workout routine is incomplete.

In our time in this industry we’ve learned that; nutrition coaching (not a simple meal plan), lifestyle change (aka habit change), injury prevention/navigation and stress management/recovery are just as important IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT than the actual workout routine itself.

This means that, even with a good workout plan to follow many people;

  • don’t change their nutrition habits in a way that helps them reach their goals
  • aren’t managing stress well enough
  • are not recovering well enough to train the way they want (intensely)
  • are not sure how to deal with current or growing injury concerns
  • haven’t seriously addressed the appropriate lifestyle changes to reach their goals now and in the long run…

Since most if not all goals include more than just exercise, as you can probably see a workout plan isn’t enough to overcome all of these other factors.

“…even the best designed workout routine is incomplete.”

So we want to ask you some questions…

Is a new workout routine going to be the big game changer you need?

Or would you prefer a more complete solution that helps you not only reach your goals, but maintain them for life?

The Big Secret to Health and Fitness Mastery

We’re going to let you in on a big secret. One that a lot of people don’t necessarily enjoy hearing. Instead most of us would much prefer to find the new fitness trend/diet/piece of equipment that is going to solve our problems. (It’s a bit of a comfort zone thing)

But reaching your health and fitness goals for life is about 10% fitness and nutrition…

The other 90% of the equation is…

…your life.

Your food and your fitness = your life. The way you live your life will dictate your approach to eating and exercise.

  • If you are busy person who rushes around everywhere you go, you will probably rush eating and over eat, eat out a lot, etc. You’ll probably rush through exercise or not do it at all.
  • If you are a person who always puts others first, you will probably put others first which leaves little time for your food choices and fitness time.
  • If you’re a person who seeks instant gratification, you will probably try fitness or diet fads that promise a lot in little time and will struggle with longterm success.

These are merely a few examples of how your life effects your food and fitness. The point is the way you live your life will mirror your food and your fitness.

People often overlook key factors like;

  • your own identity (how you see yourself, this is a big one)
  • your environment (what’s in your kitchen or at your work place)
  • your social circle (how the people you spend the most time with impact you)
  • your stress response (what do you do when life gets stressful?)
  • injury history (how can you heal your body so that you can exercise injury free?)

Addressing factors like these (and others), will allow you to see success in both the short and long-term.

So let’s look at the question in the title of this blog post

Question: Do You Need a New Workout Routine to Reach Your Goals?

Answer: You might. But for most people who are not currently where they want to be with their health and fitness, what they really need is a complete health, fitness and lifestyle solution. 

“…reaching your health and fitness goals for life is about 10% fitness and nutrition…”

Addressing some of the bigger picture things in your life might take time. It might take more effort at first. It might get you outside of your comfort zone.

But it will, in the long run, save you time and effort with less failed attempts and allow you to grow more than you probably ever thought you could.

At Evertrain this is what we preach with our members. Fitness and nutrition are only part of the overall equation.

We hope that this blog post helps you to take the leap towards making the big changes you need to make to not only reach your goals, but maintain them for life!

Don’t know where to start?

Contact us today for a no obligation phone call. If you’d simply like get more information about our programs (including our upcoming FitAfter50 Kickstart Program) and how we can help you or you simply want to ask a few questions on how you can get started on your own, let us know. Call us at 613-295-8080 or email at

Yours in health,

The Evertrain Team


Getting Set Up: At-Home Fitness


By Evertrain Lifestyles Inc.

Improve workout consistency with this minimalist at-home gym set up

Making health and fitness a part of your everyday life in the long run requires versatility. Things are not always going to be perfectly laid out the way we want. In fact, this will rarely happen.

So if you already belong to a gym, go to group fitness classes or attend weekly sessions with a trainer, it’s important that you expand your fitness repertoire.

The ability to do a workout at home will make a big difference for you and your exercise consistency.

An at-home gym set up is crucial for;

  • when you are strapped for time and need the valuable minutes it takes to drive to the gym, get changed, shower, etc.
  • when you are having one of those days and would prefer to be alone.
  • when the weather is bad and want to avoid any extra commuting.
  • if you are following a ‘right when I wake up’ routine where you exercise first thing in the morning before your shower, breakfast, etc.
  • if you are having visitors stay at your home and you wouldn’t feel right leaving them to go to the gym.
  • and more.

Keep it Basic

You really don’t need the newest and fanciest equipment to get the job done. Here are the key features you want with your at home exercise routine;

  • simple
  • effective
  • emphasizes quality movement
  • promotes consistency (reduces justifications to not workout)
  • time flexible (i.e. can be modified for short, medium and long durations)
  • affordable (i.e. treadmills cost a lot of money)
  • small in size (i.e. treadmills take up a lot of space)

Your Most Valuable Tool

Your most valuable tool is your own body. If you master movement and learn to consciously contract the right muscles in the right movements you will have effectively mastered the most important tool in fitness.

Even the most fancy and expensive piece of equipment is only as good as the body that is using it.

Make sure to always keep this in mind no matter what piece of equipment you use.

Here is our minimalist at-home gym set-up.


Dumbbells are possibly the best investment you can make when it comes to fitness equipment. They can be used to perform exercises for essentially every movement worth doing and they won’t break or wear out.

Instead of getting a full set of dumbbells like you see at a gym, aim for 2-3 pairs. Ideally aim for a light pair (i.e. 8-12lbs), a medium pair (15-25lbs) and a heavy pair (25lbs+). The actual weight you choose will vary from person to person.

Why you want them;

  • durable
  • relatively cheap
  • don’t take up a lot of space
  • extremely versatile


We love Hex dumbbells.  They don’t roll around on the floor and the handles are good for gripping compared to some other styles. Oh, and they tend to be the cheapest available.


The kettlebell is a great piece of equipment. Although almost all dumbbell and kettlebell exercises can be done interchangeably, you may notice that you prefer using a kettlebell for certain movements.

The handle as well as the way the weight hangs makes the kettlebell a really nice option for things like, swings, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, push presses, front squats, etc.

Purchase 1-3 kettlebells of medium to heavy weights. If you are a beginner, try using your kettlebell for goblet squats and deadlifts variations.

Why you want them;

  • durable
  • relatively cheap
  • don’t take up a lot of space/easy to store
  • extremely versatile
  • good for more intermediate to advanced exercises


You may want to consider purchasing an ergonomically designed kettlebell. If and when you perform exercises in a front-rack position, the kettlebell can dig into your wrist/forearm. With an ergonomic design it can reduce the discomfort.


Resistance bands provide ‘progressive resistance’. This means that the more the band is stretched, the more resistance is provided.

These are great for adding variety to your workout, especially when focusing on the end range of a given exercise (i.e. rows, bicep curls, etc.).

These bands are also the perfect travel companion. They’re lightweight and easy to store.

Pick up 1-3 levels of resistance bands (ideally light, medium and heavy).

Why you want them;

  • lightweight
  • relatively cheap
  • don’t take up a lot of space/easy to store
  • great for specific exercises that can’t be done with dumbbells and kettlebells
  • provides progressive resistance


Aim for the looped resistance bands. They are more practical and easier to store than the bands with handles (although these are good too). Inspect your band before use, as they can wear out over time (causing them to snap).


A yoga block is great for making modifications to stretches and exercises.

Depending on your level of mobility, some stretches can be difficult to perform. Using a yoga block to shorten the range or to support your weight can make the difference between you modifying a stretch or not doing it at all.

We also like using yoga blocks to perform deadlifts in shortened ranges.

For example, if you are new to deadlifting, try placing a yoga block (or two) underneath your kettlebell. Not only will this shorten the range for you, it will give you a target to practice your form with.

Why you want them;

  • lightweight
  • easy to store
  • great for making modifications to stretches/exercises


Although it is worth purchasing a yoga block. You could just as easily find an object at home that you already own. Try stacking a few hardcover books or using a small sturdy box.


Stability balls are great for adding variety to your routine (namely, core exercises). The main benefit is in the name. Stability balls de-stabilize you and force you to improve stability. When used properly there is a lot of benefit.

As a bonus, stability balls can be used like a weight bench for things like presses, supported rows, push-ups, etc.


Here are some of our favourite stability ball exercises;

  • roll-outs
  • stir-the-pot
  • jackknife
  • hamstring curls
  • bridges/straight leg bridges
  • deadbugs
  • prone Ts, Is, Ys, Ls, Ws
  • slow mountain climbers

Why you want them;

  • lightweight
  • easy to store
  • great for core exercises
  • substitutes for a weight bench


Air can release over time, causing the stability ball to deflate.  Make sure to keep your stability ball properly inflated.


Don’t forget that your body is the most important tool you can use. We can’t say enough about the benefit of high quality body weight movements.

Make sure to always try to increase your pain-free range of motion for a given movement and aim to consciously contract all of the right muscles.

Here are bodyweight exercises you can include into your at-home routine;

  • lunge variations
  • squat variations
  • push-up variations
  • plank variations

Take Away

Having the proper at-home gym set up will remove many of the excuses we have for not doing a workout. Make exercise convenient and easily accessible. Instead of the ‘all-or-nothing’ approach of go to the gym or bust, why not adopt an “always something” approach?

You don’t need to spend a fortune to invest in your at-home set up. And remember, it’s exactly that. An investment in yourself…

If you’d like help setting up a fitness program that you can do at the gym or at home, let us know. We’d be happy to help you reach your goals. Call us today at 613-295-8080 or email us at

Committed to your success,

The Evertrain Team