Introducing JustLift’s Paleo Food Blog Featuring Sarah McGregor

Hi! I’m Sarah. I feel like this week is the perfect time to start this awesome food blog initiative with JustLift, just days after the Thanksgiving Weekend! How many of us are in a post-Thanksgiving food haze, unable to focus on the tasks at hand, stomachs and digestive systems in havoc, and maybe a bit of a guilty conscience? I was hoping not to have to start my first blog post with an admission of having indulged in everything that was offered at my family’s rather non-paleo friendly feast, but I am. I COULD have gotten away with eating only paleo foods. There were lots to choose from. I COULD have skipped over that stuffing that my mom and I made together, full of wonderful butter, onion, celery and whole wheat wonderbread. I COULD have skipped over the gravy that my mom and I, with the assistance of my older cousin, laboured over, fiddling with the cornstarch thickener to get it just the right consistency. And I COULD have skipped dessert: pumpkin pie and strawberry rhubarb pie made lovingly by my Great Auntie Sally, who I describe as a Master 10th Degree Black Belt baker. But I didn’t, and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

In my everyday life I eat a Paleo diet. I buy locally raised and butchered meat as much as I can (I’ve almost completely switched to local). I eat from my garden and buy from the farmers’ market in the summer. And I love to cook! The guys at JustLift and I decided that I would start blogging about how I eat and my experiences eating Paleo here in Ottawa and in my home because I have a pretty busy life, and it’s a challenge everyday to maintain good nutrition. These posts will give a glimpse into my everyday Paleo eating. I’ll try to include as much about my challenges as my successess, and I am really looking forward to sharing with you. I take lots of inspiration from Paleo eating friends, and even more from online resources and cookbooks (Paleo and non-Paleo alike).

I started my Paleo journey about three and a half years ago, but I was quite lucky in that my parents had started eating pretty similarly when I was a teenager. When I transitioned to Paleo, giving up bread was hard but I had gone through it years before, and I was lucky in the sense that I’ve been allergic to milk since I was born so I never missed it. Sometimes I have processed dairy (cheese mostly) and my milk allergy is mostly a mild reaction that just reminds me why I cannot eat it, and sometimes it rears is ugly head on me when I dare to test it.

I started eating Paleo because honestly, I was getting fat. I wasn’t fat yet, but I was getting a little chubby (“in the face” – as my Grandmother lovingly let me know one day before I started Paleo!). I was training with headcoach Pierre back in 2008/09, Crossfitting and then transitioning to weightlifting. I was getting really frustrated because despite training hard my body was not responding. This was when Pierre and I sat down and talked about Paleo, sleep, stress, cortosol levels, etc. I remember telling him that I hated lettuce, that it was rabbit food, and he basically told me to suck it up, I was an adult and my taste buds would change. After a month of eating Paleo (with “cheat days”) I felt better, I had lost a bit of weight, my performance at the gym had increased, and lo and behold, my tastebuds had changed!

So, after 3 years of working on my Paleo diet, I am so pleased to be writing for the JustLift blog about Paleo eating!

To start, I’ll share what I had for breakfast and lunch the day after the Thanksgiving weekend – the day that I get back on the Paleo bandwagon! Most of my posts will be short, just a quick look at my everyday Paleo eating, so I hope you get a little something out of it and very much look forward to any feedback and discussion these posts generate.

3 sweet potato hashbrown patties
3 over-easy eggs fried in butter
Coffee – black


5 oz of left over Turkey (I usually don’t measure my food, but this morning I wanted to make sure I had enough protein in my lunch for weightlifting tonight)
Mash of sweet potato, turnip, and carrot


Later, I’ll probably have a Lara bar and coconut water to tide me over during my workout until I get home to eat supper.

I don’t normally eat so many carb dense foods, but I also don’t tend to shy away from them. This just happens to be what was in my fridge after not being home all weekend.

By |October 11th, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Introducing JustLift’s Paleo Food Blog Featuring Sarah McGregor

The Importance of Rest for Power and Strength Development

If you poke your head into one of our JustLift weightlifting sessions, you will probably see a lot of people sitting around doing nothing. You might ask, what are they doing? The simple answer is that they are getting strong.

Unlike circuit training or long slow distance training, the goal of training for power is to target the phosphagen (aka ATP-CP) energy system where the primary fuel source is Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP,e.g. three phosphates). This differs from circuit training (primarily glycolitic) and long slow distance (primarily aerobic). The ATP-CP system is high energy, which allows the athlete to generate maximal force for short periods of time (efforts much less than 30s).



Ideally, we will rest 2-3 minutes between sets to replenish our ATP stores. Much longer than that, and you’ll start to cool down and the body’s nervous system will go into recovery mode. Shorter than that, and we probably haven’t maximized our ATP stores. Occassionally, we have to be able to lift with less than 2 minutes rest in between sets, as this situation may occur in a weightlifting meet when there’s some shifty weight changes being made by crafty coaches. However, this isn’t ideal from a training perspective.



If you want the basic bio-chemistry lesson, the energy comes from ATP being broken down to Adenosine Di-Phosphate (ADP, e.g. two phosphates) and a free Phosphate. The breaking of the bond is what releases the energy. Now, to replenish the ADP and recombine it to ATP, another phosphate is needed, which comes from stored Creatine Phosphate (CP). So, if you’ve heard of the use creatine as a strength training supplement, this is the reasoning behind it. The more CP you have, the more ADP you can convert back to ATP, allowing you to do more work. So creatine doesn’t make you stronger directly (as far as neuromuscular activation), it just allows you to do more work. The cool part is that energy is required to recreate that bond, and that energy ultimately comes from fat!

So hopefully that gives you an idea of why a lot of us are just sitting around picking at callouses, checking our phones, or updating our status with our latest PR’s. We’re getting strong!

By |October 8th, 2012|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on The Importance of Rest for Power and Strength Development

Meet The Hard Working Sebastien

Meet Sebastien. He’s hard working, listens well, and is a blast to coach. We’ve had a lot of fun working with him and his sister, Nicole, since they’ve joined the family here at JustLift. Not only that, but he’s really strong too! We’re honoured to have their family choose JustLift as their place to train. Sometimes you just get lucky!



Watch out though, he’s pretty tricky! He sure keeps us on his toes. Glad to have you Sebastien!

By |September 30th, 2012|Blog, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet The Hard Working Sebastien

Weightlifting Shoes, Socks, and Shirts

I admit it, I’m a bit of a weightlifting slob. My shoes are pretty beat up and have a hole in the toe from me slamming my lead foot forward in the jerk. My socks get holes in the toe in the same spot. They also get holes in the shins from where the bar slides up close to me off the ground. My knee sleeves look like they’ve been used as a chew toy for the gym dog (where are you George? You need to come back! cough cough…Esther). I usually start with clean shorts and shirt, but it doesn’t take long before they’re covered in chalk. So when it comes to lifting in style, and matching your shirts and socks with your shoes, Matt and Nancy are the resident King and Queen.



I mean, anybody can put a weightlifting outfit together when they have black or white shoes, but pink and shock yellow? That takes some real talent! We’re still waiting for Matt to get some real weightlifting shoes though. His kryptonite infused weightlifting sneakers are sucking the power I gained from my Superman tape.

By |September 26th, 2012|Blog, News|Comments Off on Weightlifting Shoes, Socks, and Shirts

JustLift Announces Grand Opening

Ottawa, ON – Local strength and fitness facility, JustLift, will be having its grand opening on Saturday, September 29 starting at noon and ending at 3pm. Located at 1023A Merivale Rd., JustLift will be offering visitors a chance to see and try out its current service offerings that include: Olympic-style Weightlifting, Fitness, Kettlebell, and Sports Conditioning programs. Included at the event will be food, giveaways, and engagement with the local community and patrons interested in learning more about what the facility can offer them. JustLift staff will be available to meet and answer any questions people may have about its programs and services as they relate to strength, fitness, and health.



About JustLift

JustLift is the collective effort of owners Greg Chin and Ian Haya, to bring Ottawa residents a premium strength and fitness experience. They specialize in Olympic-style Weightlifting, and precision-engineered fitness programs, designed to offer clients the most efficient path to achieve their athletic and fitness goals. JustLift is a company founded upon a virtue of community and culture. They are a group of individuals who believe that strength and fitness are a worthy pursuit anyone should be able to pursue. Their community is one where camaraderie, accountability, and integrity are both the expectation and the norm. JustLift offers members an environment that is non-judgmental, encouraging all who participate, of all fitness/skill levels, to be the best that they can be.


To learn more about JustLift please contact:

Greg Chin
Just Lift
1023A Merivale Rd.
By |September 25th, 2012|Blog, News|Comments Off on JustLift Announces Grand Opening

Olympic Bronze Medalist Christine Girard in the Capital

Earlier today, Christine Girard, Olympic Bronze Medalist in the Women’s 63kg Weightlifting category, stopped by the Nation’s Capital for a visit as part of the Olympic Heroes tour.

She managed to have some downtime to have lunch with the MP’s:

Lunch with MPs!

— Christine Girard (@ch_girard) September 19, 2012

She held a conference at a local high school in Gatineau to speak about the Sport Etudes program, that incorporates athletics into the school’s curriculum. This is a great program and is in drastic contrast to the recent development in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board that sees many of the schools not offering extra-curricular activites this fall season.

It was a quick visit for Christine though, as the Canadian Olympic Committee had her on a train to Toronto by the end of the day. An Olympians work is never done!

Meanwhile back at the gym…



Brad is just starting to learn the lifts and is very explosive. Once he learns to properly harness that energy, watch out!

By |September 19th, 2012|Blog, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Olympic Bronze Medalist Christine Girard in the Capital

JustFit Free Trials

We’ve been trying our best to describe to the rest of the world just exactly what it is that we do here at JustLift. While many of us do Olympic Weightlifting, we are just as experienced and knowledgable in the area of strength and conditioning. Our JustFit program is a one of a kind program based on everything that we’ve learned studying other core strength and conditioning programs.

Of course, the best way to get a taste of what we do is by coming in for a free trial session. Our staff will put you through a structured and intelligent workout designed to get you stronger, faster, and on your way to building an athlete’s body.

We had a few people come in and give it a try today, and they left sweaty, smiling, enthusiastic, and feeling like they just had one of the best workouts in their life.

We work hard here, and hard work is what really produces results. Register for a free trial today! Aaron and Lans did, and here they are hitting the sledge!




By |September 17th, 2012|Blog, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on JustFit Free Trials

Make Sure to Say Hello

There are a lot of new faces starting to show up at the gym. Slowly everyone is getting to know each other, but if you see someone new, please, don’t be shy and make sure you say hello and introduce yourself! Even though there’s a few of us who have been around longer than we’d like to admit, don’t worry, we’re (mostly) harmless!

There’s nothing more exciting though than having new people come in, smiling, eager, and willing to learn. It’s a bonus when you get the odd naturals that come in and blow you away. Tonight was one of those nights, and newcomer Nicole was hitting positions in the snatch and clean that take months and sometimes years for others to get to. She’s also very strong at such a young age already. I’m glad that she was able to discover this sport at a young enough age that she’ll have a great chance of improving beyond her wildest dreams.



By |September 13th, 2012|Blog, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Make Sure to Say Hello

Bit By Bit, More Pieces Falling Into Place

Over the last couple days we’ve managed to get a couple other pieces of the puzzle solved and put into place. We got a nice new camera for the gym, and the girls (and Nico) had a lot of fun tonight posing for our future full colour calendar. They might think I’m joking, but I can see us putting something together that celebrates our awesome athletes. We’re hoping to get a lot of nice action shots now that we have a camera that can keep up with the incredible speed of the sport of weightlifting.

Also, after some careful deliberation, it looks like we will be switching our scheduling and registration service from MindBody to ZenPlanner. I know some people have had problems signing in to MindBody and the site wasn’t reliably working how we wanted it to. I have used ZenPlanner in the past and find it much simpler on our end, and just as simple on your end. It’s early enough that switching isn’t a lot of work and it will be better for everyone in the long run. This should reduce a lot of the headaches and allow you to do what’s really important, and that’s “JustLift”ing!

For now, I leave you with a preview of the JustLift 2013 Calendar…





We also put in an order for the first round of JustLift t-shirts. They should be in by the end of the month. Looks like Nico doesn’t need one though…

By |September 10th, 2012|Blog, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Bit By Bit, More Pieces Falling Into Place

It’s All Coming (Back) Together

We had our very first open-house/orientation session yesterday, and our turn out was better than we possibly could have expected. It was great to see so many old and new faces. For the first time in months, we had just about the entire gang of lifters from the old club back together again, playing with barbells just as we did months ago. On top of this, we had plenty of new people come by to checkout the new place. I don’t want to brag, but the reception we received from these new prospects was even better than any of us could have hoped for. I don’t think anybody, old or new, was anything short of enthusiastic about what’s going down at JustLift. For me, it felt like too much was going on to say that we’re finally starting to come together as a new club, or that, with all the original folks, we’re coming back together.

It’s something different, something I don’t think I have ever experienced before. I don’t know if there’s a word to adequately describe it. All I know is it seems to me that the best elements and attitudes of the old club are returning to us, and we’re starting to see something new and exciting emerge.

If you’re a returning member, I can promise you that we’ll be even better than we ever were before, and if you’re a newcomer, you’re in for something special.

By |September 9th, 2012|Blog, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on It’s All Coming (Back) Together