MORFIT Downtown!

If you haven’t heard yet, MORFIT is expanding! We are taking over the space formerly occupied by Urban Wellness in Cityplace in downtown Winnipeg.

MORFIT Downtown will be a full service fitness centre offering the same services as our St. Boniface location: Memberships, classes, personal and small group training, physical therapy, and nutrition services.

While we’ve been waiting to get our hands on the space, we’ve been quite busy with all kinds of planning. We’re playing around with floor plans to see how we can maximize the space to get a little more out of it. We have to decide where to put the sled turf down, where to stick enough spin bikes to run a class, where to set up the rig, what equipment to keep/add, and how to make everything fit comfortably so the gym has a nice flow and welcoming layout. Oh yeah, and we need to get the word out that we’re coming to Cityplace!

We’re also figuring out what to do behind the scenes with our membership software and website(s?), finalizing membership rates, and looking for quality staff and class instructors to add to the MORFIT Team.

We’ll be getting our hands on the space this week and will have a few things to do before we open including painting, rejigging the power and flooring to accommodate the new layout, setting up all the equipment, and making a few other changes.. When that’s done we’ll open the doors!

We’re planning on having everything ready to go for June.  We’ll keep you posted as we get closer and things come together!

On Developing Healthy Eating Behaviours

At MORFIT we try to help our clients develop positive relationships with food. This can take a bit of work – mainly because as media consuming humans, we are constantly bombarded with what seems like continually changing evidence about the “healthiness” and quality of food. This information is frequently presented out of context in order to create a more attractive headline, soundbite, or clickable item. Eggs are bad! Eggs are good! Fat is bad! Fat is good! Sugar is evil! Stay tuned to find out if/when sugar will be vindicated…

(Check out the Fat and Sugar series on Ideas (Part 1, Part 2) to learn more about how our opinion of fat and sugar has changed with time.)

Take this video, for example. It tells you when and why to eat or not eat certain foods. Eat a banana at lunch because it will strengthen your immune system and improve your skin. Don’t eat a banana at dinner because it will lead to mucus formation and disturb digestion. Eat nuts at lunch because it lowers your risk of [high] blood pressure. Don’t eat nuts at dinner because it will lead to weight gain. Thinking critically, this leaves many questions on the table: Do these positive and negative effects happen at any of time of day or just at lunch and supper? What would happen if you had a banana at breakfast? Why would mucus formation and disturbed digestion after lunch be any more desirable than after dinner? Why does eating nuts at dinner but not at lunch lead to weight gain?

We could posit that mucus formation and disturbed digestion could be worse after dinner because they reduce your ability to get quality sleep. Hopefully these effects don’t affect your ability to do your job after lunch. Perhaps there is data to show that people who eat nuts at dinner tend to eat more during the day than people who eat nuts at breakfast or lunch, but if this data exists we are not presented with it.

All the foods in the video (bananas, apples, yoghurt, tomatoes, nuts, and oranges) are foods we would typically consider to be foods that could be eaten as part of a balanced diet while pursuing goals related to improved health and body composition – aka “good” foods (more on “good” foods later). For some people, including more whole foods like the ones in the video is a big step forward, regardless of what meal they are eaten at. Unfortunately, a video like this might make people hesitate about changing their eating behaviours. “I was going to have yoghurt for breakfast, but I’ve heard yoghurt at breakfast is bad because it makes my stomach very acidic. I will stick to drive-through breakfast instead.” “I was going to pack an apple for a snack today instead of chips, but I’ve heard apples are hard to digest and I didn’t want to ruin my afternoon so I stuck with chips.”

We can give the video producers the benefit of the doubt and say there may be something to the assertions in the video, but is this the type of information we should be sharing with the average person trying to improve their eating behaviours? Probably not. It is often more productive to start with big picture ideas and explore the finer details over time as interest and need increase.  We often get caught in the minutia of eating behaviours when we should be looking at the big picture.

So if we’re starting with the big picture, where do we begin?

If we’re looking at food in the context of health and weight management, the most influential factor is the amount of food we eat*. If we consistently eat more than we need, we can typically expect to gain weight. If we consistently eat less than we need, we can typically expect to lose weight. This is a slight simplification, but it tends to hold true most of the time for most people.

*NOTE: We are excluding the effects of physical activity, exercise, stress, NEAT, metabolic rate, etc to keep the conversation on our relationship with food. How we relate food and exercise, how these other factors can help with health and weight management, and determining how much/what kind of food to eat are subjects for other blog posts!

The next piece to look at with respect to health and weight management is food quality. Is the food we’re eating providing us with the nutrients we need to be healthy? Sometimes efforts to manage our weight can be thwarted by nutrient deficiencies, regardless of whether we maintain a caloric deficit or surplus. Getting adequate nutrition from our diet is normally taken care of when the majority of our diet consists of a variety of nutrient dense, whole foods.

After we’ve figured out how much total food to eat and how to eat this quantity of food in a way that gives us the nutrition we need to function well as humans, we can start looking at more detailed aspects of eating. These more detailed aspects of eating include things like how many meals to eat per day, what times to eat them, whether bananas are better at breakfast or dinner, and whether we need any kinds of nutritional supplements.

Looking at the more detailed aspects of nutrition before we’ve found a way to consistently eat an appropriate amount of food and get the nutrients we need can be detrimental to developing sustainable, health promoting eating behaviours. If we start with fine details instead of big picture considerations, we put the cart before the horse. We’ll get more into this big picture idea of finding out how much to eat in another post.

We should also consider eating in the context of our happiness.

This can be related to weight management, but doesn’t have to be. Our eating behaviours, in addition to supporting our health and allowing us to manage our weight, should also contribute to – or at least not detract from – our happiness. It is in our interest to develop a positive relationship with food. The more positively we can relate to food, the more likely we are to adhere to eating behaviours that support our health, fitness, and body composition goals in the long term.

Does this mean we should be bff’s with our food? Well, maybe, but it doesn’t have to get weird. It means we should have positive or neutral associations with food rather than negative associations. This means not being scared to eat foods because of their sugar/calorie/fat/protein/carb/etc content and not feeling guilty for eating something (unless you are stealing your coworker’s lunch) or for having a drink. Foods are neither inherently good nor inherently bad and should not be labeled as such; you can have too much or too little of almost anything. Remember that when pursuing a health or body composition goal, it is the quantity and quality of foods eaten over the course of time that is most important, not whether you had a cheeseburger or a butter tart on the weekend.

We got a little bit of heat for having a birthday cake in the gym on Saturday (thanks for making us a cake, Melisa!). How could we, a gym, have bad food like cake on hand! Are we trying to torture our members by waving cake in their faces while they’re running on the treadmill?

Firstly, cake is not inherently bad. It is certainly a calorically dense and nutrient poor food that when consumed in large enough quantities can put the eater in a positive energy balance, increasing the likelihood of weight gain, or can displace other foods from the eater’s diet, decreasing their likelihood of meeting their nutritional needs. It is true that the more cake you eat, the more difficult it becomes to control your body composition and/or achieve adequate nutrient intake for health. However, a piece of cake here and there can easily be accounted for in the scheme of a person’s weekly caloric/nutrient intake in a way that still lends itself to weight management and metabolic health.

Secondly, once we’ve accepted that cake is not inherently bad and can be included in a healthy diet, having cake in our workout space doesn’t live up to the definition of torture. As our relationship to food becomes more positive, we start to understand how quantities of different foods can be manipulated to ensure healthy nutrition and support body composition goals. We also start to realize that a single piece of cake (or handful of broccoli) will not make or break our weekly nutrition.

So how do we develop a positive relationship with food? Here are a few strategies:

  1. Recognize that in the food industry it is someone’s job to make food more palatable, eatable, and sellable so that food companies can earn profit. Food products and commercials are engineered to make you over-consume. This is accomplished through manipulating salt, sugar, and fat content; food consistency; calorie density; emotion; food association memories; and many other factors. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the book Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss, reviewed here and here.
  2. Discover your food triggers. Sometimes we eat due to stress, social pressure, or habit. If you’re trying to decrease the total amount of food you eat or change the quality of the food you eat, pay attention to the environment in which you eat. Do you eat more or particular types of food when you’re stressed, hang out with friends, or watch tv? If you notice a pattern, you can start making more informed choices.
  3. Having difficulty saying no? Replace “I can’t” with “I don’t”. Saying “I can’t” implies a restriction. It undermines your sense of power and personal agency vis-à-vis your eating behaviour and creates a negative relationship with a food or eating behaviour. “I don’t” implies a choice and empowers you. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. Shifting from “I can’t” to “I don’t” is a shift to a positive, empowered mindset that you can use to your advantage in developing sustainable, healthy eating behaviours.

Halloween Candy: to Indulge or Not to Indulge

Halloween is coming up and that means candy and Christmas decorations are filling up the displays in all the stores.

So what do you do about all this candy if you have a fat loss or physique goal? You have a choice! Read on for some brain candy that will help you make an informed decision about what to do about all that candy.


1) You could abstain from candy altogether.

This might work for some of you. If you tend to do better with either/or, all-or-nothing decisions, then choosing to eat no candy might be better for you than choosing to eat all of the candy.

The Pros: -Not eating any candy means avoiding extra calories from low nutrient food that don’t contribute to your nutritional needs and don’t help you attain or maintain a leaner physique.

The Cons: -Avoiding all candy creates a good food vs bad food dichotomy that causes feelings of guilt, shame, or failure when you eat “bad” food or if you break down and have a bit of candy after all.  This is a false dichotomy: foods aren’t inherently good or bad.  No single food is going to cause you to become more or less healthy.  It is your overall, long term food choices that impact your health and body composition.


2) You could eat some candy. As they say, “everything in moderation-including Halloween candy.

The Pros: -You can eat candy. Aside from enjoying the eating of your favourite candy, you also get to participate in the social customs and events in which eating Halloween candy occurs.
-You avoid the good vs bad food dichotomy that often leads to feelings of guilt, shame, or failure after eating foods labeled as “bad.” Eating some candy can fit into a healthy eating style where you eat mainly whole, unprocessed, nutritious food and leave some space for processed, refined, or low nutrient foods.

The Cons: -If you can’t stick to moderation you run the risk of eating more candy than you planned. Depending on how much you overdo it, this may temporarily slow, halt, or reverse your fat loss progress.


3) You could eat ALL the candy.

The Pros: -You’re likely going to really enjoy it while you go nuts over Halloween candy!

The Cons: -You might feel sluggish if you come down off your sugar high. You might also feel sluggish if your rampant candy consumption causes you to skip a meal or two or replace your normal healthy snacks with candy. If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs, it will not perform as well.
-The extra calories will most likely slow, halt, or reverse your fat loss progress while you’re binging.


But can’t I just work out more?


If you have the room in your programming to work out more frequently or more intensely, you could try to offset your increased caloric intake with more exercise. Extra exercise can make a small dent in your candy calories, but probably won’t offset it all. Have a peek at how many calories are in a handful of Halloween candy or a small Halloween bag of chips. Now take a peek at how long you would have to work for to burn that same amount of calories. Spoiler alert: It is a lot easier to eat Halloween calories than it is to burn them off.


So am I doomed?


If you have been the same weight or body composition for a while i.e. a few months to years, a small amount of candy will probably only cause a slight blip in your body fat level. This is because your body is resistant to change. A short duration increase in calorie consumption will not be enough to cause a lasting change in body composition, just like a short duration increase in exercise or food quality won’t cause a lasting change in body composition.

This is called Set Point Theory – your body wants to remain the same and will make adjustments to compensate for acute increases and decreases in physical activity or caloric intake in order to maintain its current state. Your body is pretty good at resisting change in the short term, but if you maintain your exercise and eating habits over the long term, your body will allow itself to change (towards either higher or lower levels of fitness, lean body mass, or fat).

It takes a consistent stimulus to overcome the body’s set point and change body composition. This is why most people don’t start dropping fat immediately when they start exercising and eating well. Once you have attained and maintained a new body composition for a while, your body will adopt it as its new set point and the same rules for making body composition changes apply. How long it takes will vary from person to person.  The longer you were at your previous set point, the longer it will take for your body to adopt a new one.

This is why it is important to take the long view to health and fitness instead of chasing fads, trends, and rapid weight loss protocols. Practicing sustainable nutrition habits and exercising with progressive overload will effect lasting body composition changes. Quick fixes typically don’t last long enough to move your body’s set point. You can still have fun experimenting with fads and trends, just don’t expect them to give you long term results.


Bottom Line


If you want to eat some candy this Halloween, eat some candy! There is room in most people’s diets for a little bit of candy if the rest of their diet picture is sound i.e. they’re eating mostly whole, nutrient dense, unprocessed foods and consuming the right amount of calories to support their body composition goals. Understand that eating a lot of candy in addition to your regular diet will probably slow or stop your fat loss and might even cause fat gain, but eating a little bit is probably just fine.


Yoga is back!

yoga class


Well, the votes are in and we’ve decided on a Yoga schedule! We’re going to be hosting Sunrise Yoga on Tuesday mornings at 7.  Classes will run for 10 weeks starting October 4, 2016.  We invite you to join us for 2 free classes on September 20 and 27!

Sunrise Yoga 

Wake up the mind, body, and soul with an early morning vinyasa flow. One of the surest ways to ensure you make it on to your mat is to practice first thing in the morning! Move through gentle and refreshing sequences to start your day off right.



$40 for members*; $80 for non-members (+GST)                                                             *MORFIT Members attend free with their non-member friends who register!

Expanded Massage Therapy Hours

Hot Stone MassageGreat News!

Jenna has expanded her availability and is now also taking bookings on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Did you know Jenna is equipped for hot stone massage?

Call Jenna to book your appointment: 204-599-6720

Wellness Living

Screenshot 2016-08-03 14.54.41

We’ve upgraded our member management software!  We’re now using an online program called Wellness Living.  If you’re a member, you should have received an email from us with a username and password on August 2.  Sign in to the Wellness Living site to manage your membership at MORFIT.  You can schedule classes and appointments through the website, buy membership/class passes in the online store (we’ll have this set up by Winter), check your account status, write reviews, and more.

If you’re having trouble figuring it out, don’t worry – you can still take care of everything in person with us at MORFIT.

We’re also starting a rewards program.  You’ll earn points for things like writing reviews, participating in events with MORFIT, attending you training sessions, referring new members, going to classes, etc.  You’ll be able to redeem your points in the online store to buy memberships, class passes, etc.  Collecting points is eay: just scan your membership card when you come in and Wellness Living will take care of the rest.  If you don’t have a membership card, please inform the MORFIT staff when you arrive.

We’re still getting to know the program ourselves and anticipate ironing out some kinks over the next couple months.  Please be patient with us as we work on increasing our efficiency!

MORFIT Member Appreciation Potluck

Dear valued members,

We’re holding a Member Appreciation Potluck in the park on Sunday, August 28th, 2016. Come down and have some fun in the sun with us while enjoying good company, games, and food! This will be taking place at Coronation Park (corner of St. Mary’s Street & Tache Ave) at 11am-2pm. Please feel free to bring family, friends, and food to share. There will be various games/challenges along with prizes — stay tuned to our social media pages and the front desk whiteboard for more details.

Hope to see you there!

Sport Conditioning Camp for Young Athletes


MORFIT is running a multi-sport conditioning camp for young athletes this summer and so far it’s been a blast!

Lisa and Tom put the athletes through drills and exercises to improve their overall athleticism and to reduce their injury risk.  Specific attention is paid to speed, agility, and quickness; strength; safe, effective exercise technique; conditioning; and developing athletic movement patterns.  The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am during July and August.

Participants can sign up to attend 16, 14, or 12 classes, so it’s not too late to register!

Contact the gym for more information.

Website Interruption

Page not found

Have you seen this recently?  We had a glitch in our website hosting and lost a few recent posts and updates on  Not to worry: we’re working on getting things back to normal!

Let us know if you find a dead link or see something that looks off/old so that we can fix it and give you the information you’re looking for.

MORFIT at the Spruce Woods Ultra


Time to spread a little love for the MORFIT members and staff who were a part of the Spruce Woods Ultra this weekend!


Congratulations Becky on completing the 50 mile distance. We’ve had some fun with Becky because she accidentally ran 7 extra miles, but she did great.  7 extra miles is a lot to add onto an already gruelling distance. Super good job sticking it out, Becky! Now we know you’re ready for a 100 km race!


Also congratulations to Laura who completed the 50 km distance and to Arielle who did the half marathon!


Finally, a big shout out to Terry, Myrna, and Megan who volunteered making sure the racers were safe, hydrated, and fed out there on the course.  Hopefully you had as much fun as I did!


Well done, everyone!