Category: Rants & Raves

Class Review: KTX Fitness Cycling with Keith Thompson


If you’re active on social media, you probably might have come across this video of a hip-hop inspired cycling class:

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When I found out that KTX Fitness instructor Keith Thompson was going to be in Toronto, I jumped at the chance to sign up. Was it because I was an active spinner? No. Personally, I haven’t been on a bicycle in over a decade and I never even seen a spin bike up close. But I registered for the class because it looked fun.

Too often there is a monotony attributed to the gym scene. Even various fitness classes can become tedious with repetitive moves and the same drawn out down beat playing on the speaker.  When I saw the video of Keith’s cycle class, it looked like everyone was full of energy and his entertaining and positive attitude shown through (the twerking part in the above vid just sealed the deal for me). Here’s a video of him when he was on the Queen Latifa Show:

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The Cleveland, Ohio native led four classes this weekend and the guest instruction took place at the sleek Rocket Cycle spinning studio on St. Clair West, which opened a couple years ago. Rocket Cycle’s decor is very clean and modern The staff was very friendly. I loved the large lockers (no padlock needed), and the elegant-looking water station. Don’t have indoor cycling shoes? Rocket Cycle can lend you a pair for the class (though, I’m curing the guy who took the last size 10… I had to squeeze into a 9.5). Plus, they clean the whole studio between each class and provide a fresh towel on each bike. On the downside, Rocket Cycle is located right above World Class Bakery, so after burning which I think was 800 calories, I earned them back by buying a lemon shortbread cookie and a Nanaimo bar (you win some, you lose some).

Not used to the indoor cycling shoes, it took me a minute to figure out how to latch them on to the bike. When I realized I couldn’t dismount easily like if I were wearing regular runners on a bicycle, I worked up the nerve to innocently ask the nice lady beside me how to get off (excuse me for not wanting to break the shoes and use more force to dislodge them). Now that I knew how to make a quick escape and not be the sole person stuck to a bike in case the fire alarm went off, I was ready to warm up.

I made a few adjustments to the seat, but spinning seemed comfortable enough. Keith started the class with about 10 minutes of “warm-up”. I was cursing myself after the first 5 for actually signing up for this class, because my legs were already killing me.

Now I’m a pretty athletic woman. I’ve always been involved in sports and activities. But the older you get the more your body rejects the notion of you forcing itself to do work, rather than sit on your couch and eat a bowl of ice cream. So I haven’t been in my best shape, metabolism-wise, recently. So to go into this cold was an error on my part. But once I got into the music it actually became a lot easier. Keith also gave us lots of quick mini-water breaks while on our bikes, which was great (I think I downed almost a litre).

Keith’s playlist is awesome. A bunch of upbeat, hip hop tracks definitely make you forget that your muscles are tearing while riding a stationary bike and bouncing up and down. I personally enjoyed the R&B slow jams he played, during which I could catch my breath. There was enough body changing movements on the bike that allowed us to use more of our bodies and get a full workout. I was nervous at the fact that Keith was walking (I guess I should say dancing) up and down the aisle observing everyone’s spinning technique and positively motivating us. I surprised myself by actually keeping up with the majority of the exercises in the one-hour class that required us to stay up from the seat.

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It’s no surprise that KTX Fitness has become so popular. Keith Thompson’s passion and energy is contagious, and I can actually say that I would try the class again. The step classes he offers actually appeal to me as well, so I’ll be on the lookout for those if and when he comes back to Toronto, or if I even venture down to the Atlanta, Georgia area. KTX Fitness is highly recommended if you’re looking for a great workout that you will actually have fun doing.

Now I’m just waiting to see how sore my body will be tomorrow.

Eat It, Haters! Cheerios ‘Just Checking’ Parody


You’d think that with a biracial President that America would be a little more accepting of interracial relationships, but it not to be the case according to some people. Cheerios recently disabled the YouTube comments section of their “Just Checking” commercial that debuted on May 28th due to being inundated with racial backlash.

The commercial features a mixed-race family: an adorable, biracial girl asks her Caucasian mother about the health benefits of Cheerios, then proceeds to comedically help her Black father with the heart-healthy cereal.

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It’s sad that in this day and age that ignorance and bigotry still exist at this level (keeping in mind that there has been a large increase in interracial marriages over the last decade). It’s a cereal commercial for crying out loud, created by a company that hoped to celebrate the many different types of families that exist out there.

Watching this video made me think about if the roles were reversed (Caucasian father, Black mother) if the comments section would get as much hate as the original General Mills ad did. What if the parents were homosexual? Like in the following parody video by Kenji America:

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The young girl in the parody says it best:

In the year 2013 the way our family looks shouldn’t be a big deal…

The spoof ends with a slight surprise that’s sure to cause even more controversy among the haters–she runs into the living room and there’s a Black woman covered in Cheerios who then asks, “What? Now this is a problem?”

Thank You Telehealth Ontario


So as is the case when I usually sign up to play a new organized sport for the season, I get injured in the face. A few years ago it was an elbow to the mouth as a girl was going up for a rebound, last summer it was a fist to the nose as a girl was running towards home plate and I was waiting for the throw (why she didn’t use the safety bag is beyond me, and most recently it came full circle and I sustained ANOTHER elbow to the mouth in basketball defending a layup.

I should really start wearing a football helmet when I play any organized sport.

Anyways, I went down immediately on Wednesday night, but my primary concern was my braces. I really shouldn’t be playing with my Invisaligns in, but I didn’t think that I would get hit in the head again (I mean, what are the odds). Almost immediately after impact my upper lip started swelling and ballooned to double the size (I would post pics, but it’s gross). Taking out my top Invisalign I examined it and let out a sigh of relief that it wasn’t cracked (I really didn’t feel like forking over $250 for a new tray).

Then I rinsed out my mouth and made sure I wasn’t missing any teeth. Some slight bleeding along the gum-line of one tooth, but other than that the skin wasn’t broken on my lip (I’m pretty sure my braces acted kind of like a mouth guard in that sense).

After I got an apology from my perpetrator, I got a ride home from one of my team mates. Luckly I had some Ibuprofen on me, so I took two. I also had a ziploc bag handy and filled it with snow to ice down my lip on the way home, and iced it a bit more before bed.

It wasn’t until the morning when I saw that the swelling was still prominent that I called up Telehealth Ontario. I never called them before, but after remember seeing some commercials and some stuff on the government website, I decided that some help from a nurse practioner was needed.

The call went so smoothly. I was only on hold for about 40 seconds after the initial operator picked up, before a nurse took my call. After answering a few questions about myself and my injury she was able to give me some great advice on a remedy, and told me that it would be approximately 2-3 days for the swelling to go completely down, and to watch out for signs of infection if the swelling increased at all over 2 days. Also noted that I should rinse with some salt water, stay away from any spicy or hot foods while my lip was swollen.

Took the day off work obviously (as tempted as I was to tell my students that the reason for my busted lip was that I got in a bar fight), and continued to ice it (Freezies helped and were oh, so tasty) and take a couple Advil every 4 hours.

The swelling did go down a lot and as of 36 hours later I was able to back to work without looking like I was it a UFC fight.

So, thank you Teleheath Ontario for your super-friendly, quick and helpful assistance.

Telehealth Ontario offers free access to a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be reached at 1-866-797-0000.

Merry Christmas! (Yeah, I said it)


From everyone here at (which is just me), I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas! Don’t celebrate Christmas, you say? Well then, Happy Holidays to you. Hopefully you didn’t feel ‘offended’ with my non-politically-correct post title.

I honestly miss the days when I didn’t have to second-guess myself when wishing someone happiness during the holiday season, for fear that they’d wind up offended and stalk away (trust me, I’ve seen it happen). And renaming the “Christmas tree”  for a “holiday tree” is a bit like me renaming the Jewish menorah the “holiday candle stick” or the Diwali lanterns as the “holiday lighted objects”.

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In all honesty, as a Christian, I would not be offended if a stranger came up to me with a smile and wished me a “Happy Diwali”, “Happy Hanukkah”, or a “Happy Chinese New Year”.  Why not? Because I know that each culture’s annual celebration is grounded in positive thoughts, respect, happiness and spending time with loved ones.

I don’t want to feel ashamed about celebrating Christmas, due to all this unnecessary political correctness surrounding the holiday.Check out Conservative MP Nina Grewal’s recent statement in the House of Commons:

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As a Sikh, I am not offended when Christians celebrate Christmas in a traditional way. Rather, I am pleased to celebrate with my Christian friends. – Nina Grewal, MP

When it comes down to it, historically Christmas (for Christians) is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Over the years traditions may have changed, including pre-Christian influences of other winter traditions (e.g. Santa Claus, Yule logs) as well as other secular aspects (e.g. gift exchange  decorations), but the message is basically the same:  spending quality time with your family and friends, peace, being thankful for what you have, Golden Rule love and ‘good will to all men’.

No matter what you celebrate over the holiday season, remember to cherish your loved ones, and be kind to others this Chrismahanukwanzakah. Merry Christmas everyone!

Review: Natrel Dark Chocolate Milk


Natrel Dark Chocolate MilkWalking through the local Metro I had to do a  double-take when I noticed a dark chocolate milk. Why didn’t they think of this before? I just had to pick one up to try.

Compared to regular 1% chocolate milk, Natrel Dark Chocolate Milk is a lot more richer, more chocolatey, thicker and a wee bit sweeter. I’m not much of a milk drinker, but this dark chocolate milk may have me hooked.

At the Grocery Innovations Canada trade show back in October 2011, Natrel Dark Chocolate Milk was voted one of the top 10 most innovative products for 2012. I can see why. Containing real dark chocolate, and presently available in Ontario and Quebec, this premium chocolate milk hits the spot, and doesn’t make you feel too guilty because it contains your needed calcium, vitamin D and protein.

Thank goodness I’m not lactose intolerant.