How to Improve Your Sleep

How to Improve Your Sleep

Sleep provides amazing benefits to the body.

  • It lowers stress
  • Improves our mood
  • Helps maintain and promote a healthy body weight
  • Improves our athletic performance and coordination
  • Increases our ability to pay attention and remember new information

But, not a lot of us are getting enough sleep.

In 2011 researchers from the Université Laval released their data that revealed that 40% of Canadians suffer from a sleep disorder.

Our brothers and sisters south of us aren’t doing any better either. The National Sleep Foundation (along with two government agencies) estimated in 2012 that 40 billion Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder.


Dr. Heli McPhie, naturopath with The Village Clinic, chatted with me about the best ways to fall asleep and stay asleep.

She covered:

  • Why we aren’t sleeping?
  • The one thing you can do RIGHT now to help you sleep better.
  • What are DHEA levels and why they are important to help you sleep?
  • Sleep hygiene – how this plays a HUGE role in falling asleep.
  •  What tests should you be taking if you have problems sleeping.
  • What natural products are there on the market that will help us sleep, and do they really work?
  • How does she coach her clients to better sleep?
  • PLUS, she answered some great questions from the audience.


Dr. Heli McPhie - Fitness with PJ Blab/Blog

Dr. McPhie’s passion for medicine and healing began at a young age growing up in southern Africa. Building on her love of the natural world and science, Dr. McPhie completed an undergraduate degree in biology at McGill University in Montreal.

She then went on to complete a further four years of study in Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

After two years of clinical practice in Toronto, Dr. McPhie returned to Vancouver in 2000.

Since then she has operated a successful family practice, seeing patients of all ages on the west side of Vancouver. She opened her own practice, The Village Clinic, in 2011 in Tsawwassen.

The Village Clinic has since expanded into a collaborative interdisciplinary clinic.

Dr. McPhie treats a wide variety of conditions and ages including digestive disorders, allergies, anxiety, depression, sports injuries, immune disorders, skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, and many other chronic conditions.

The clinic caters to walk in clients and holds flu prevention clinics. Dr. Mcphie utilizes many modalities of practice including nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, use of vitamins and minerals and acupuncture.





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A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 10

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 10


 Would you like a template to help you plan your meals for the week ahead? Let me send you my Weekly Meal Planner. Fill it out each week and then post it on your fridge and begin reaping the benefits of meal planning.

 Click Here to gain access to the menu template.


Well, my 2-week vegan experiment is complete. I have been 99.9% vegan for 14 days to see if my energy levels and skin improve – I couldn’t pull a 100%.

 I kept using half and half for my coffee. I tried though, for 48 hours I tried really, really hard.

 You see lately I have been feeling less than energetic (okay, let’s be honest, all I feel like doing in the evening is sitting on the couch and binge watching NetFlix), and just out of the blue my skin has been acting up and pulling a temper tantrum.

 This temper tantrum has come in the form of dryness and oiliness (is that even possible? Oh yes it is!), with zits and all. I truly thought I was done with this shit at puberty.

 Apparently not.

 Apparently in mid-life we also hit a rough patch.


Funny over 40 quote - Fitness with PJ


99.9% Vegan – Did It Work

 After 2-weeks I can honestly say I… don’t feel much different. I had a feeling I wouldn’t though.

 I do not eat a lot of meat to begin with and I enjoy fresh veggies and fruit everyday. I also (as you may know if you have been reading my blogs), prepare a lot of the meals that I eat and avoid sugar, bad fats, refined carbs, packaged foods and eating out for a majority of my week – yes, I said a majority of my week.

 I still eat the aforementioned. I am not one of those trainers who lives the perfect healthy lifestyle. I envy my counterparts who do and who can maintain it 24/7, but I stopped a long time ago trying to aspire to perfection. Age does have its benefits and not giving a damn is one of them.

 But, I wanted to try vegan because I am not a girl who sits on the sidelines and whines about the hardships that I am going through (like a few zits and sitting on the couch is a real hardship anyways – jeez PJ, get a grip).

 Instead, I make changes to see if I can correct what is happening to me and then I move on.


Will I Stay Vegan?

 Will I stay vegan? No, I will go back to adding eggs and Greek yogurt to my weekly menu, as well as cheese to spice up some of my meals, but I really don’t have a craving for meat.

 And this is freaking poor loving husband.

 He loves meat, but since I do all of the grocery shopping and all of the cooking if I don’t do meat his chances of doing meat are very slim too.

 Lucky for him he knows how to dial for *take-out.

 [* Loving husband just read this and said I usually do that too, so he’s screwed.}

 Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

PJ's Pathetic Christmas Tree - Fitness with PJ

Our Christmas Tree

Week 10 Menu Plan




  • Egg frittata with a side of mixed nuts which I will prep today (Sunday)
  • I find just a piece of frittata does not completely fill me up, but add a 1/4 c of mixed nuts and viola – stomach, brain and energy levels are all happy and humming along smoothly.
  • I will use my slow-cooker frittata recipe, but bake it in the oven for 40-minutes at 375 degrees and use whatever veggies I have in the ol’ crisper.




  • Today, Sunday, I will prep Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and a BAS (big ass salad) for my lunches for Monday through Thursday. Friday is a free for all cause it’s STAR WARS!
  • This amazing recipe is from the rockstar of the recipe/blog world, Angela Liddon AKA, Oh She Glows. Her blog and her cookbook are a few of my favourite things and I think I would freak out waaaaaaaay more meeting her than I would meeting Han Solo (Harrison Ford, for you non-Star Wars readers).
  • She is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen and I have NEVER had a bad recipe from her. I. Adore. Her.
  • Now, back to STAR WARS. As of today, Sunday December 13, it is only 5 more sleeps until the movie that I have been waiting for since I was seven years old comes to theatres. I have had tickets for weeks, and I have already warned loving husband that I may shed some tears of happiness when the opening credits start. I’m not joking. I openly weeped when I first saw the trailer.


Maple Baked Lentils – Oh She Glows





  • I work late and will not feel like cooking when I get home so we will enjoy the White Bean Turkey Chili that is in the freezer.
  • It is now 4 more sleeps until STAR WARS.




  • Baked salmon with lemon juice and dill with a side of rice for loving husband, quinoa for me and some sautéed green beans with garlic.
  • It is now 3 more sleeps until STAR WARS.


FIT TIP: Have bad knees and wondering how to strengthen them? Try my No Squat, No Lunge Leg Workout – it’s the perfect program for you.






 Sesame Orange Beef with Bean Sprouts and Green Beans from The Everyday Maven

  • It is now only 24 hours away from STAR WARS. OMG.




  • It’s here! STAR WARS is here! Today! Finally!
  • I have my tickets printed and a back up pair also printed and in my coat AND another copy on my phone!
  • I also will bring a spare set of eye contacts just in case somehow the ones in my eyeballs mysteriously pop out and I have to put in a fresh pair.
  • I have our seats assigned! I have my Darth Vadar tee clean and ready!
  • We will be leaving a couple of hours before the movie starts so there is enough time JUST in case:
    • We run out of gas
    • There is traffic
    • We hit every red light
    • The BC government applies a new law that morning that cars can only drive at 30 km/h
    • There is an accident
    • We get in an accident
    • The car breaks down
    • A natural disaster happens (in which case I will ride my bike there)
    • Zombies invade the Lower Mainland (in which case I will ride my bike even faster there)
    • There is a line up of other Star Wars dazed geeks like me at the theatre
  • Only my own death will stop me from going to this movie today. I have all contingencies in place for anything else that could happen.
  • As for food, I will probably be way too bloody excited to eat.






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10 Tips To Avoid The Flu

10 Tips To Avoid The Flu

If there is one thing we can all universally agree on, it’s that getting sick bites. (That, and Donald Trump needs to take a long walk off of a very short pier… and soon.)

No one likes getting sick, no one has time to get sick, and no one chooses to be sick.

But, getting sick is like the schoolyard bully. Pretty soon, one day or another, it will pick on you.

Right now we are in the thick of the flu season and if the schoolyard bully has not kicked your butt yet, you probably know someone who has had theirs kicked.

The Stats

In Canada the active influenza season starts in November and ends in March (Public Health Agency of Canada). Flu viruses constantly change, with a new and fresh seasonal flu appearing each and every flu season.

It’s like the latest fall fashion, minus the Instagram account.

The flu seems to be picking up steam too. During the past five years, incidents of people being admitted to the hospital due to influenza-associated problems have increased at a staggering rate.

During the 2011–2012 flu season there were a total of 1,151 adult hospitalizations in Canada (an adult hospitalization is classified as anyone over the age of 20 years).

Flash forward to the last year’s flu season and there were 6,720 adult hospitalizations. (Public Health Agency of Canada).

That’s a 484 percent increase in less than five years. Wow.

To help you avoid the flu, I recruited naturopath Dr. Heli McPhie of The Village Clinic in Tsawwassen to provide us with her best tips to fight back and stay healthy.

10 Tips to Avoid the Flu

1/ Keep yourself fit.

First and foremost flu prevention starts with a healthy body and mind. So exercise regularly (my personal favourite tip), take your supplements, eat well, laugh often (in other words, don’t let stress get the best of you), quit smoking (if you smoke), and rest.

Funny getting sick quote - Fitness with PJ

2/ Keep it clean.

Her next tip is one we hear from all health professionals all the time: wash your hands.

Because we touch our faces an incredible number of times in a day, it is vital to constantly keep our hands clean.

In addition, she also recommends that you teach your children to wash their hands before eating.


How to wash your hands - fighting the flu Fitness with PJ

3/ Sneeze here please.

If you do happen to catch a cold, or the flu, be sure sneeze into your “sneeze pocket” – that’s your elbow, not your hands. This will reduce the spread of the flu virus, which is an important part of flu prevention.

You can also help reduce the spread of the flu virus by not sharing food or drinks, straws, and utensils. Also, say no to double dippers and remember to toss those tissues.

4/ Oh thank you for coming to work sick today! We appreciate it – said nobody ever.

If you are sick, make sure you stay at home, too. Don’t be a hero and go to work. You are only spreading the virus to those around you, which is not as appreciated as you may think.

I'm sick. Looks like I will be laying in bed all day. Oh wait, I'm a mom. Click To Tweet

5/ All you need is love.

Take the time you need to care for yourself. Being a wee bit selfish is okay because if you aren’t well, you cannot be there for those you care for and who may need you.

6/ MD or ND.

If your symptoms are severe, or you are worried, check in with your doctor or a naturopath and then rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy (such as clear veggie and/or chicken soups).

Also chat with your MD or ND about other ways to prevent the flu, such as the flu vaccine.

7/ Sleep.

Sleep well and rest.Sleep and rest is vital for maintaining good overall health and, in turn, a healthy immune system.

I learned this one the hard way myself. Last Christmas I was not resting properly and was burnt out and stressed out, and by Christmas morning I was sick as a dog.

And, big tip, if sleep is an issue for you, book an appointment with Dr. McPhie; she’s brilliant with sleep problems.

My 3 unconventional tips to sleep better.

8/ Chill out.

The next step to fighting the cold and flu is to simply relax. Reducing stress levels will keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Find time, every day, to relieve and reduce your stress. Your body will reward you and it will be strong enough to fight the cold and flu virus.

The BEST tips to beat stress.

9/ Get a protein fix.

Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. Make sure you get protein-rich foods throughout the day, such as fish, eggs, tofu and yogurt.

Click here to discover my top protein powders.

10/ Care is absolute. Prevention is ideal. 

And, Dr. McPhie’s final takeaway: prevent first because it is always easier to prevent than cure.



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PJ ox

30 Minute Total Body Strength

30 Minute Total Body Strength

30-Minute Total Body Strength

Join me in this weight loss, workout for women extravaganza.

In this workout we work on building your lean muscle mass with dumbbell exercises – and all in under 30 minutes!

1) Chest press with bridge
2) Single leg glute presses (bridges)
3) Lunge & row
3 x 45 sec work/10 sec rest
4) Tricep press
5) Goblet squat
6) Renegade row to tricep kickback
7) Bicep curl to shoulder press
3 x 45 sec work/10 sec rest

30 Minute Total Body Strength



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15 Minutes to a Stronger Low Back

15 Minutes to a Stronger Low Back

15 Minutes to a Stronger Lower Back is a workout that I created for people who sit a lot during their day and could use a little strengthening and lengthening of the spine. Strengthen your low back with this little workout. Enjoy!

1. Cat & cow
2. Lunge with twist
3. Deep squat, shoulder ROM
4. Child’s pose to cobra
5. Plank with reach
6. Side plank with reach
7. 4 point opposite arm and leg lift
8. Leg drops
9. Airplane

15 Minutes to a Stronger Low Back



15 Minutes to a stronger lower back - Fitness with PJ



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