First Post

Thoughts, ideas, and information


Hello! Welcome to my website and my first post. As all aspects of health and wellness are important to me, and I aim to use this site to share insights, build community, and offer support through my coaching and training services. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or concerns. I am always trying to improve myself and those around me. Looking forward to working with you to reach your goals and be your best!


1%, yes its important

Coaching is a science, and an art. The science is knowing that there are good ways to squat (proper form, reduce risk of injury and gain strength), and bad ways to squat (putting the body in a vulnerable position, increasing risk of injury).

The science is teachable, the art is how well a coach learns their athlete and can apply the science in artful forms to said athlete.

Part of learning your client is to know as much about them as possible. Work habits, sleep patterns, stress levels, etc. But the details can also add up. Things like what side of the couch they always sit on to watch TV or movies, how high the desk is in relation to the chair they use at work every day, how many peas were on their plate at supper that got eaten, if they are getting drunk and dancing naked on the tables at the club or keeping it to one or two drinks, how much time was spent wake boarding at the lake on the weekend including how many times they fell off and in which direction, if female-what kind of bra they use, the type of pillow you sleep on, etc.

You see, if I am able to improve your life in each and every area by just 1%, it will add up to a great improvement in your training. Take your pillow for example, if you test out 30 different pillows with different kinds and shapes and sizes, etc, and find the BEST one for you, use only that pillow instead of any that are not the BEST. It will improve your sleep by 0.1-0.5%. You may say that is not very much. True. But if you then go and find the optimum position to have the seat in your car, it adds another 0.1-0.5% to the quality of your ‘training’. I say training because everything you do in life will either help you reach your goal, or set you back further from your goal. Yes, everything.

If 10 aspects of your life can be improved by 0.1-0.5% each, that will add up to 1-5% improvement WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE. Not one added workout and up to 5% performance increase just by making a few small changes to your lifestyle. (see my post, Train smarter, not more!)

I have lost clients over this, asking “too much personal information”. I have also had clients become much closer to me as they see I really do try to understand everything about them and get the very best result for them. And I have had clients laugh at me and carry on as they were. Different people respond differently and that is part of the art of coaching. The science is only half of the training equation, the art side is a lot messier but can be a lot of fun! So be artful in your training approach and the science of improving every aspect of your life by just 1% will help lead you to your training goals! And that is awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

Seasons change, healthy choices should not.

With summer winding down and fall around the corner, it is almost time to get back into routine. For many people in Manitoba this includes school (for yourself or your children..or both), regular hours at the office, and trying to work off some of the ‘summer specials’ from the amazing and vast array of food and beverage choices here in Winnipeg!

So remember to pick healthy food options, like adding a banana or apple, for your lunch (and the kids too), get into the routine of regular exercise by finding a fitness class or hitting up a scenic running route. Keep stress down by planning ahead and getting your schedules organized. And check your schedule to see that it is not overcrowded. Consistent and regular sleep improves quality of life too, and a schedule that does not allow adequate sleep is not a healthy schedule.

As I prep for the fall season and the clients I will be working with, I cannot help but get excited to see the vigor of the athletes as they prep, the new goals of the running groups, and the renewed energy of the fitness clients! Bring on fall!

Healthy living leads to a happier life, so keep on making good choices ๐Ÿ™‚


It is hard to overstate the importance of water to humans, and to human performance. The majority of the human body is comprised of water. Water helps with virtually every component of the body, starting with the brain. It takes a lot of water to keep the brain functioning optimally.

Joints are lubricated by water, lack of water causes muscles to cramp. Skin needs water, kidneys require water to perform the task of cleaning the blood. The liver needs water to flush toxins out of the body. The list goes on. So keep hydrated, especially as we enter into the warmer summer months!

Warm weather running

With the warmer weather comes some new challenges in running. Hydration is very important, and taking precautions to avoid the heat of the day when running in summer is wise. Also, planning a route where you know water, shelter from the elements, and a safe place to rest/recover if needed would be to your advantage.

Water is best for shorter runs under an hour. Sport drinks are best for longer runs as electrolytes need to be replaced in the body.

Wear light, loose fitting clothing. With all the advanced clothing technology, something that wicks moisture away to keep you dry and cool would be optimal. Reflective gear is still important for visibility to others you encounter, and a well fitted hat can help keep the sun off your head and out of your eyes.

Train hard but listen to your body. When it needs to rest or slow down from possible overheating, do it. Your body will thank you for adjusting to allow it to recuperate better.

Train smarter, not more!

The more I hear from top training experts on training, the more a common theme emerges: ‘train smarter, not more’. Nowadays there are no ‘seasonal sports’ as year round camps and indoor, outdoor, summer, and winter leagues create year round competition schedules. As mentioned in a previous post, this creates more income for those who put on endless camps, clinics and leagues and sell you fear. Fear that your child might lose their spot if they do not attend each and every camp, clinic, practice, and league ย within a 3 hour drive of home.

This all appears to be great at first glance…more coaching, more playing time, more skill development… but a deeper look into the issue reveals some big problems.

Injuries. Injuries happen from one of two possible reasons. Trauma- instantaneous action leading to injury, like a tackle to the knee in football. Overuse- the gradual repetitive overloading of the muscular or skeletal systems that causes a breakdown over time, like a stress fracture in a runners leg.

More high school athletes are having surgeries for athletic overuse injuries than ever before. 25 years ago a high school athlete who had gone in for surgery was almost unheard of. Now its so common that most high schools have had someone have a surgery to fix some kind of athletic injury.

University coaches are having athletes come to them from high school, who already have college amounts of ‘mileage’ and wear and tear on their bodies.

So how does one deal with this? Train smarter, not more! Keep rest days rest days, and make sure rest days are in regular rotation (once a week for example). As a coach and trainer, I make sure to ask my athletes/clients “When does the body recover? Is it during workouts, or during rest?” Then I remind them that the rest must compliment the training they have just done. The quality of the work done in each and every workout should supersede the quantity of work done in each workout.

Train smarter, reduce risk of injury, and have better chances of long term success! here’s to training smarter for the win!!

Modern athletes and tech

How does one coach today’s young athletes? They are growing up in a world that relies on push buttons for all things, quick fixes, and instant gratification as a result of those things.

How do you suggest to a young athlete that long term planning is the way to go when in the rest of their short lives, everything has been instant? Quality is often compromised in the rush, but hey..it’s all great at the moment now so who cares, right?

The problem is, in training, bodies need time to adapt, time is needed to learn and hone skills, time is the teacher of wisdom (being smart is knowing a lot of stuff, being wise is knowing how to use those smarts in great and practical ways). Time is the enemy in a young persons eyes these days. Patience is not something worth waiting for, when instant glory and fame are out there for the taking.

As with many things in life, a compromise is probably the best solution. Use technology to enhance workouts, to give faster or more detailed feedback, or to motivate in a less direct way (“when you finish the workout, you can go play xbox again, so lets get through the workout”).

But there is also something to be said for elbow grease. Old fashioned hard work has benefits that compares to nothing else. Work does not have to mean working more, rather working smarter. (more of that in another post sometime..)

While technology has certainly changed the way we live and communicate and go about daily life, we are still talking about the human body that we are trying to extract the full potential from, and technology can only go so far. For instance, being the best video game fighter does not mean that the individual is the best fighter in real life. So use technology to enhance training and better allow adaptations, but not to replace training passionately. For not only does it take smart and balanced training, it also takes heart and soul to win, in sports, and in life ๐Ÿ™‚

Talking with top coaches

I had the great privilege of talking with a few amazing coaches this past weekend. Guy Shultz, Head Coach of the University of Western Ontario Cross Country and Distance program, along with Joel Skinner, who coached Derek Druin, the Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist in mens high jump in Rio 2016. Hearing them talk about training and how important all factors are in putting together a successful program, it just reiterated the things I have already posted about. Get good quality sleep, keep stresses to a minimum, train smarter-not more, less is more, rest is possibly the single most important key to long term success and to prevent overuse injuries, do NOT rush development, patience in training plans usually means a step back before steps forward can be taken, make sure speed work is functional, and a host of other great ideas that they talked at length about.

With so many great ideas buzzing inside my head, I went back to work this week coaching and training. Enthusiastic and optimistic, I shared some of the ideas and concepts talked about with a group I train. As we discuss the benefits of these ideas, they see how excited I am and it rubs off on them. As you the reader go through this blog, get inspired and get active! Great things await you with Penner Fitness Training!