ELITE Heart Challenge

Sunday, Feb 1 – Saturday, Feb 28

February is American Heart Month. This year Jamieson is letting all of Canada know how easy it can be to start taking steps towards reducing the risk of heart disease. Heart disease remains in the top three leading causes of death among adult Canadians, many of whom accept it as an inevitable condition of age. However, with emerging research, medical experts say heart disease is largely preventable through diet and lifestyle changes. There are a few factors such as age and family history that cannot be controlled, but managing other risk factors of heart disease such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess weight can help in its prevention.

This month Jamieson is asking Canadians to join their #ChangeofHeart challenge, a 28-day challenge consisting of simple things you can do each day that, over time, may help lower your risk of heart disease. This is a great challenge to participate in but if you want to go the extra mile and Test Your Limits, we strongly encorage you to join our ELITE Heart Health Challenge.

If you have any questions please send them to challenge@sxsfitness.ca

Register Now

Instructions - WEEK 4

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Set S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

I am sure you have often set goals for yourself and perhaps you have been able to achieve some while some have never. The reality is that setting goals is easy while actually achieving them can be another story. Taking some time to think about your goals and writing them down can help.

Make sure that you are as SPECIFIC as possible with the goal you would like to attain. For example "I want to eat healthier" vs. "I want to eat 5 different servings of vegetables every day" demonstrates how being more specific with your goal makes it easier to know if you have achieved it.

This brings us to making your goals MEASURABLE which means that you need to come up with a way to monitor your progress towards your goal. Taking the above example, place a chart on the fridge or at your desk that you can use to count the servings of vegetables you eat over each day, week and month.

Do you have the means to make your goal ACHIEVABLE? Try and make sure you have all the tools you need to make your goal as easy as possible to reach. For example make sure you buy enough vegetables in order to have 5 servings a day for two or three days and then schedule when you will be going to buy more.

Is your goal REALISTIC and TIMELY? Setting big goals can be ok but you need to make sure that the time line associated with the goal is appropriate. If you currently don’t eat any vegetables then trying to eat 5 servings every day may be tough. Perhaps starting with 3 a day for the first 3 weeks and then setting a date to work up to 5 a day within 6 weeks would be better. This allows you time to adjust to your new diet, learn how to cook certain recipes with more vegetables in them and then also allow you to push yourself to the bigger goal in time.



We all know that water is good for us, unfortunately most people still don’t drink enough of it. Water is the most abundant and important substance on earth and in the human body. It is involved in almost every bodily function: circulation, digestion, absorption and elimination to name a few. Without enough water we become dehydrated- this can lead to many chronic conditions such as: arthritis, asthma, back pain, heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney stones…the list goes on. For heart health water supports an overall healthy body and more specifically regular water intake keeps our kidneys working optimally. When our kidneys start to malfunction it leads to cardiovascular risk due to increased blood pressure, heart failure and arrhythmias. There is also the other side of fluid intake (water, soups, coffee, ice cream - anything that quickly turns to liquid) and heart health. If you have heart failure, too much fluids in the body can make the heart work too hard. Talk to your GP or cardiac specialist if you are concerned about too much fluids. But in general, 2 liters of water is very safe and good for the body!

For the challenge we are asking you to drink 10 glasses of water a day (8 glasses a day if your body weight is under 100 pounds). A glass of water is considered 250ml. We recommend using a water bottle where you know the specific measurement of it (for example 1 liter). Fill it up and do not refill it until you have finished it so you know exactly how much water you have drank. Round down if there is any doubt and have a few extra sips of water. Included in this amount will be any herbal teas, milks, sugar-free juices and during workouts beverages. Add some flavor to your water by including slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, frozen fruit or mint. You may have to go to the bathroom more, but your body will thank you for the added hydration and detoxification benefits.

CAUTION: if you are engaged in prolonged exercise (over an hour) make sure to add a bit of sugar (2 tbsp) and salt (1/2 tsp) to your water (1 liter) to protect against hyponatremia - too little sodium (salt) in the body. Early warning signs of hyponatriemia are: feeling bloated accompanied by nausea, vomiting, swollen hands/feet, dizziness, throbbing head, rapid weight gain during prolonged exercise, cramping.


Being INACTIVE is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. By participating in regular exercise not only do you decrease the risk of coronary events, you ALSO DECREASE OTHER RISK FACTORS such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity.

45-minute morning/evening workoutno equipment needed (take only 10 seconds between each exercise.

Other ways to get bouts of activity into your day:
  • bike or walk to work
  • get off or on public transport one stop early or late from your regular stop or park at least 15 minute walk away if you are driving
  • commit to never taking the escalator or elevator OR take it half way up and walk the rest of the way
  • Whatever way you choose to get your activity in you should NOT be able to have a regular conversation while doing it! In other words make sure you are working at an intensity where your breathing will interfere with your regular conversation rate.

Sleep Hygiene (create your own sleep routine)

So many things play a role in getting a good night sleep. Sleep hygiene refers to several habits to implement to help improve your sleep. Some examples include:

  • Making your room as dark and clutter free as possible
  • Using low lighting in your bedroom and only use the bed for sleeping and sex
  • Establish regular sleeping hours and don’t change them even on the weekends as this will not allow your body to establish a regular circadian rhythm
  • Sleep nude or with light and loose clothing as heavy or tight clothing may prevent the natural drop on body temperature which will interfere with the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone
  • Develop a calming bedtime routine ➜ For example: no bright lights after 8pm, hot shower or bath at 8:30pm, calming herbal tea at 9pm, reading from 9-9:30pm, brushing teeth and getting into bed at 10pm, 15 min meditation, lights off at 10:15pm


De-Stressing your life doesn’t always mean sitting quietly and not doing anything. If you seek out activities that you LOVE to do, that can decrease your stress as well! The best approach to find things that you love doing that don’t take a lot of planning or leg work. Focus on simple thing that make YOU smile. A lot of women in the world are busy all day taking care of other people. When they decide to do something for themselves to have fun they fall into a trap of doing things that the people around her love. She will think “I love this because of the joy it brings to my partner/child/friend. This week we encourage you to BE SELFISH! Think about what you loved when you were a kid and had no responsibilities!

  • Going over to a girlfriends house for a chat
  • Taking a walk to the store and getting a magazine/novel
  • Playing a sport
  • Listening to music
  • Having a bubblebath with candles
  • Getting a pedicure
  • Watching a fun TV show
  • Cuddling with your pet
  • Whatever that may be for you- go for it!


Right-click to download these helpful files.


Tracking Sheet


10-minute Morning/Evening Workout
15-minute Morning/Evening Workout
30-minute Morning/Evening Workout
45-minute Morning/Evening Workout


Sleep Log
Gratefullness Chart
Office Stretches