Drop of Knowledge

First things first...we don't know everything.

So for that reason alone, we want to continue to educate ourselves and in turn help enlighten you with what we discover.

We would like to officially announce our commitment to providing you with quality content to inspire, motivate and educate you on a variety health and wellness topics. You will see content here through email, facebook, instagram and on the website, so please click on the icons at the bottom and follow us!

You can expect to see posts from your very own SMC team as well as guest material from people we think are super smart.

Speaking of peeps who are super smart, this inaugural post comes from our very own Kevin Coates, a trainer here at SMC.

Let's see what his work playfully labelled as his 'Drop of Knowledge' is delving into this week


Foot, Ankle, and Hip

Why do you need to pay more attention to these areas?

Feet are the foundation upon which your entire skeletal structure is carefully crafted. Just like the foundation of a house or a skyscraper, if it is weak, shifting or crumbling, the integrity of the entire structure is compromised. It will not be able to withstand the forces it was designed to take and could potentially collapse.

Our foot and ankle joints evolved in an environment that required the foot to be a stable, strong, pliable, dexterous, and mobile, resulting in a foundation which functions effectively and efficiently and with minimal protection from a variety of surfaces. If your feet do not have these qualities, every single step you take through your life time will transfer stresses and forces through your joints, skeleton, and muscles in an ineffective and inefficient manner. This may lead to a breakdown of structures that are not designed to take the stress. It may also limit the range of motion of some joints, leading to compromised movement, muscle weakness and instabilities.

In this blog post series on foot, ankle and hip function, I will explain how these three body parts can have a serious impact on your posture and your ability to move correctly and pain free. I will also help you understand why and how certain shoes and orthotics may be contributing to your lack of quality movement and may be putting you at risk of injury if they are not used wisely.

Part 1-Support

“I thought supportive shoes and orthotics were supposed to be a good thing”

Well, I’ll put it this way: Our feet are very complex so that our shoes don’t have to be. Our feet have 33 joints, which makes up approximately one quarter of our entire body’s joints. There are more than 100 moving parts in the foot and ankle, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Our feet are designed to support, balance, and cushion without the need for modern shoes.

Unfortunately, from the time that we are able to walk as toddlers, we are put in a tight, narrow, supportive shoe with elevated heels. This alters our gait and changes our posture at a critical time of motor development and growth. A life time in shoes does not provide the stimulus needed to develop pliable, strong, stable feet that function well.

Even if you are active and moving your legs, it does not mean the joints in your feet are moving enough, or are loading the muscles enough. All those joints and muscles in our feet need to be moved, torqued and stimulated with a variety of surface shapes, textures, and loads of work. Without this level of stimulus, we become adults with feet that cannot support our own body weight.

There is a time and a place for support, heel lift, cushioning and some of the other technologies that come with modern shoes and orthotics, however; all day, every day is not appropriate.

Why don’t we brace, cast or support any other joint or group of joints for our entire lives? For the same reason it is not a good idea to sit on a couch to support your body or to lie in bed your entire life. The body adapts to the stresses and stimuli that you give or don’t give it. The simple concept that the body needs movement to stimulate growth and development of your bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments applies here as well as with feet. Without enough stimuli the body adapts by breaking down bone and muscle.

When it comes to general injuries, you may need to use a brace or cast in order to give that limb/joint the rest that it needs to heal. Once the brace/cast comes off, you have to rehabilitate that area to regain the mobility, strength, and stability you had prior to the injury. The treatment plan for foot injuries, even simply the maintenance of the feet, doesn’t usually get this kind of care. Most treatments for foot injuries and collapsed arches consist of a couple stretches, perhaps an exercise or two. It does not end there; orthotic devices and supportive shoes are also recommended for the rest of your life. This goes against the principal that splinting or bracing is meant to be used temporarily.

In conventional practice, little thought is given to try to mobilize the stiff joints of the foot and ankle, splay out the toes, strengthen the muscles, and rewire the nervous system which controls the function of all that hardware. We can make the changes necessary to rewire our nervous system to promote healthy feet and ankles. This will take some work and attention but the results may surprise you.

With all of this in mind, transitioning to more natural footwear requires slow, progressive loading, time and consistency. PLEASE DO NOT THROW OUT YOUR SHOES AND ORTHOTICS!!! This is especially important if they have been prescribed. Logically, if you were going to a gym for the first time, you wouldn’t try to squat 300 lb because it would likely cause a debilitating injury. The same logic applies to feet…DO NOT go for a five kilometer run barefoot on your first day without shoes/orthotics!

I would like to help you learn how you can get healthier, stronger feet and ankles. My new Foot, Ankle, and Hip class at Serratus Movement Centre will begin in January 2019. Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on foot, ankle and hip function and further details on the new class.

Team SMC

Ps. If you have questions, concerns or you agree to disagree, we want to hear from you! If you have feedback or ideas for future blog posts, we are listening.

Moving On

Serratus Personal Training launched in 2007 with the goal of helping people improve their lives through fitness, strength, and wellness. Over the years, an extraordinary community has developed, as people came together to achieve their goals in a fun and supportive environment.

We introduced new techniques and concepts in getting the most out of life through functional movement, and our Serratus Movers spread the word. Our family grew. And now, it's time to move into our new home.

In Spring 2018, we'll be relocating to 55 Henlow Bay. With this move comes an exciting expansion of services and amenities, including: 

  • A state of the art fitness facility, with 8,300 sq/ft of space

  • An exhiliating obstacle course, ideal for OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) training, parkour, and aspiring ninja warriors

  • Massage therapy, Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy 

  • Specialty training, including olympic lifting, strongman, mace, and parkour

  • Personal training and group fitness classes

Coffee - Should I Avoid It?


Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.). 

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it! 

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking.

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.

Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine Metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain

  • Boosts metabolism

  • Boosts energy and exercise performance

  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol

  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and Health Risks

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)

  • Increased sleep disruption

  • Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases

  • Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality")

  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.

Should you Drink Coffee or Not?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)

  • People who often feel anxious

  • People who have trouble sleeping

  • People who are pregnant

  • Children and teens.

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?

  • Increase anxious feelings?

  • Affect your sleep?

  • Give you heart palpitations?

  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?

  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.

Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte
Serves 1

3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred)

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.
Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.










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).  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.  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.

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 in 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 tablespoon chia seeds

1 banana

1 chopped peach

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

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 or seeds to match your preferences.

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







What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).

  • Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).

  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.  

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate. How big you are counts too!  

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!  

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.  

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate! Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF). You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.  

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

dash salt & pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper.  Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!



Announcing...Serratus Movement Centre!

We're thrilled to announce that we have secured a lease on a brand new space, and we'll soon be opening a fitness facility like no other!

Serratus Personal Training launched in 2007 with the goal of helping people improve their lives through fitness, strength, and wellness. Over the years, an extraordinary community has developed, as people came together to achieve their goals in a fun and supportive environment.

We introduced new techniques and concepts in getting the most out of life through functional movement, and our Serratus Movers spread the word. Our family grew. And now, it's time to move into our new home.

In Spring 2018, we'll be relocating to 55 Henlow Bay. With this move comes an exciting expansion of services and amenities, including: 

  • A state of the art fitness facility, with 8,300 sq/ft of space
  • An exhiliating obstacle course, ideal for OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) training, parkour, and aspiring ninja warriors

  • Massage therapy, Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy 

  • Specialty training, including olympic lifting, strongman, mace, and parkour

  • Personal training and group fitness classes