Category Archives: Personal Best

How to Motivate Your Child…

hockey boys of summer

hockey boys of summer

without comparing him or her to others

As a father, you have an important role in your children’s development. You can be a strong motivator when it comes to their intellectual, emotional and physical development.

Unfortunately, many dads go about motivating their kids in the wrong way. They are excited to help their children grow and rush in to the process without considering their words and actions. Often, they slip into comparing their child to others’ kids, not realizing that this can actually serve as a de-motivator.

If you’d like to help your child exceed but are unsure of what steps to take, here are some tactics you can use to motivate your kids without slipping into comparing them to others. These steps can be used to motivate your son or daughter for both school and extracurricular activities.

Model good behavior

Instead of telling your son to act more like the neighbors’ kids, show him the behavior you’d like to see by developing new habits for yourself. One important area you can focus on with your behavior is how you utilize your free time.
It’s highly recommended that you limit your inactive activities – like TV and movie watching – and increase your physical and intellectual activities. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents should limit their television time and choose appropriate programs that you would like your children to watch.

Set boundaries

It can be hard for your kids to be motivated to complete their homework or develop a new skill when they have the temptations of TV, video games and Internet. You can help take away those distractions by creating clear boundaries for your kids.

Provide your children with daily time limits for their electronic distractions. You may also want to set aside specific times that they are allowed to watch TV or play on the computer.

If your son or daughter has video games and TVs in their bedroom, you may want to explore moving them to other areas of the house. This is especially true if their bedroom is where they complete their homework and class projects.
Depending on the ages of your children, you may want to get them involved in creating the rules regarding entertainment. This will help get their buy-in from the start. They will also be motivated to show you that they can be responsible so they can work toward increasing their access to their electronics.

Have a heart to heart conversation

Dads are sometimes uncomfortable having one-on-one conversations with their children because they are unsure what to say. Take your son out for a snack and talk to them about the areas that you would love to see them exceed. Talk to him about what areas he currently struggles with and ask if he has any hesitations.
During your discussion you can devise a plan together on how he can tackle his homework and other areas that he needs motivation to complete. Compare each others’ expectations and explain to him why you expect certain behaviors from him.

You don’t have to be touchy-feely or flowery with your words. Just be real with your son and focus on making a connection with him. Your son will respond to this gesture of connection and will want to work hard to make you proud.

Do it together

If you’re hoping your kids will develop new hobbies and interests, you can motivate them by doing the activity together. If you’d like him or her to develop musical skills, enroll in piano or guitar classes together. If you’d like to see them involved in a physical activity, help them develop their athletic skills. If you are doing a group class, be sure to praise your kids for what aspects they are excelling at instead of using comparisons of them and others in the class.

Give an incentive

Many kids respond well to incentive systems. You don’t need to be elaborate with your rewards. Just focus on one or two things your son or daughter would like to do. This is something you can plan together so you can ensure the incentive is something that will motivate your children.

Once the two of you decide the terms of the incentive (what actions need to be completed to earn the reward). Remember to remind him about the incentive. Post a reminder on the refrigerator, their bedroom or bathroom door and in their school bag. Keeping it at the forefront of his mind will keep him excited and get him to work toward the goal.

When setting the goal, make sure it’s a goal that focuses solely on your son and his performance instead of comparing him to other children. For example, instead of saying you’ll take your daughter to mini golf if she gets the highest score in the class, you can say you’ll take her out if she gets a certain score on her test or if she turns in all of her homework on time for a month.

Daniela Baker is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey.

She blogs about credit cards and personal finance. Dads, read our latest article on the top 10 mistakes moms make.

Help for those confronting terminal illness…


Hike for Hospice…

is a national awareness and fundraising event which supports local and community Hospice and Palliative Care organizations from coast to coast. The exceptional thing about this fundraiser is that because this specialized care is delivered to those in need by teams of highly trained volunteers, 100% of all funds that are raised in this event go directly towards this fabulous cause and stay in your local community.

What is Hospice?

When you can not add more days to the end of someone’s life, why not try to add some life to the days that they have left?

Doctors, nurses, teams of specialists look after diagnosing the disease, managing the symptoms and trying to find the cure, but what if there is no cure? If the diagnosis is terminal, and the pain and suffering goes on until the end, how do you cope until then? Caring for an ill person is both a rewarding and a difficult and draining experience – emotionally and physically. In addition to providing a “friendly ear” to caregivers, having a hospice volunteer in the home also means that caregivers can take some time off and take care of themselves.

Most people think that helping a “terminal” patient is about death and dying, this is only one way to look at it. While death is in the cards, Hospice and Palliative Care work is about helping people live the fullest, most comfortable and stable life until the end, and at the end, dying with dignity. It is also about making the most of the time you have left.

Providing emotional support to both clients and their family members is central to everything that hospice does. This support includes supporting every family member in a way that responds to their particular needs. It also includes encouraging clients to take active roles in their own care, acting as an advocate by ensuring the clients’ wishes are respected and discussing illness openly with the entire family and with the client.

Hospice and Palliative Care is delivered by Volunteers

Hospice organizations across Canada train special volunteers to provide relief and facilitate access to compassionate care for people with life threatening illnesses. It is all about improving the quality of life for individuals and families confronting terminal  illness by providing and facilitating access to quality care and support that is not provided by the medical profession.

Hospice organizations like Hospice Toronto support individuals and families through Volunteer Visiting Services, Caregiver & Bereavement Support, Expressive Arts, Kit for Kids programs, and through Advocacy and Consultation Services.

Hike for Hospice

This weekend, me and my 3 very young kids will be hiking 5km through the urban jungle to raise money for Hospice and Palliative Care.

These are much needed funds as hospice and palliative care is not fully funded by the government—it relies on its teams of dedicated Volunteers and the generosity of people like you who support its work financially through private donation.

$25, $50 or $100 goes a long way to support the families of people suffering with a terminal illness. The more you give, the more volunteers we can train, the more families we can support in communities all across Canada.

Can you help us by donating a few dollars to support Hospice and Palliative Care in your community?

Anything you can do to help us raise awareness or donate today to help us raise money and deliver more care would be greatly appreciated.


Cardiovascular Health and You: How to shop for your Heart!

First Time in the Grocery Cart

Hey favorite Dad of mine… I thought I might start this post with a bit of trivia…

Most men love their stats right? But I bet you didn’t know that just over 30% of all deaths in Canada are attributed to cardiovascular disease huh?

Ok, stop the depressing me Shawna!! (I know… I can hear you from here!) I have to tell you. I want to make sure that you have a solid grip on a great heart smart shopping list so that you can drive that cart around the supermarket with confidence and plan for heart pumping wellness for years to come!

In addition to the items presented here, there are a few very integral supplements that you should consider taking daily for even greater vitality and heart support. If you have any questions, post a comment here or just reach out for me directly and I’ll help guide you through the better choices! I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, be sure to feed your body all the goodness that your heart relies on.

A grocery list that is good for your Heart:

The following foods are selected because of their tremendous ability as well as being backed by sound research to keep cholesterol levels at bay, decrease blood pressure levels, minimize incidence of stroke, to reduce any hardening of the arteries and to improve overall heart function!

Happy Shopping!


At least 50 % of your daily servings of grains should be whole grains. Healthy, soluble fiber is a MUST to eat every day!

  • Whole grain bread

  • Quinoa

  • Brown rice (Good for you, good for the environment!)

  • Unsweetened steel cut oats (never instant!)
    For an added heart boosting punch; combine your oats with ground flaxseeds and antioxidant-loaded berries!


Jammed packed with powerful antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins! The darker, greener and “leafier” the better. Kale, spinach and swiss chard are great choices and are full of magnesium! As well, consider carrots, squash and sweet potatoes, for beta carotene and antioxidant power. And don’t forget red grapes, apples, strawberries, and bell peppers too!


  • Rainbow trout, salmon

  • Pork tenderloin (much less fat than beef)

  • Lentils. Lentils are inexpensive and easily used for stews, salads and soups! If you buy them in a can, be sure to rinse twice with water first to let out the majority of the sodium!


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), it’s worth the price because the least pressed olives contain a greater level of antioxidants which are responsible for lessening cell damage in the body. Walnuts and flaxseeds respectively, are ideal for reducing cholesterol and deliver a bonanza of fibre!


Low fat 0% yogurt and skim milk are full of important proteins and vitamin D


Low fat popcorn and dark Chocolate (70% cocoa) did you know that compounds in dark chocolate have been linked to decreasing blood pressure and inflammation?


100% Orange Juice and green or white Tea are great examples of antioxidant heaven!


  • Chili peppers

  • Curry powder/Turmeric

  • Oregano

Interested in learning more about your health at the present? Unsure which body systems need more attention than others? Post a comment here or Email Me. I am happy to offer you a free personalized health screening questionnaire that is not only accurate, but quick and easy. We can discuss the results together once completed.

Did I mention FREE?

Just for you, oh dads of mine!


Stay well and let’s chant together shall we??? Train hard, eat smart, and be happy!

Oh, you know me so well!

3 safe and healthy ways to decrease body fat

Build muscle, burn fat, get fit with HeadsUpDad

This Dad from the fifties is no couch potato

Do you want a tight and ripped body?

Read on to learn 3 Safe and Healthy ways to Increase Muscle Mass and Decrease Body Fat

I purposefully did not include these “muscle builders” in my discussion of healthy supplement options for you, because talking about muscular performance, endurance and muscle repair truly deserves undivided attention. There is a lot of information out there and some heavy marketing for these goodies and it can get confusing. So I am here to help set the record straight, so that you can make your fitness supplement decisions with good, sound judgment! Your hard work during your workouts will show amped results by learning how to use whey protein, creatine and glutamine.

Half the weight of your lean body mass is protein. The structure of your muscles, organs, brain cells and even your genes are pure protein. Thousands of enzymes that control your bodily functions are protein and so is the hemoglobin that transports your blood! But none of these protein structures are fixed. Each are constantly being re-built, and your body has no protein store to draw upon. Body structure is re-built day by day solely from the proteins you eat. So if you eat garbage protein, you build a garbage body. It’s just that simple.

It takes a lot more protein for your body to build new muscle than to maintain the muscle that it already has, so you need to ensure that you’re eating quality protein everyday. Your best bet for great choices are whey protein, egg whites, cow’s milk, fish, extra lean beef and chicken. A good quality whey protein powder right after a strong workout is absolutely necessary. Invest in a tub of low carb protein powder and mix one scoop with 250-500ml of water post workout. Your muscles will thank you.

Muscle mags rave over creatine. Ads show bodybuilders bigger than bulls. Athletes declare their Pecs grow so big; they have to strap’em down so they can see to shave! Creatine’s revolutionary effects took the supplement industry by storm well over a decade ago. People were afraid of its immediate, gargantuan results, so it was often mistaken as a steroid. But you know what? The stuff really works, and it has NO relationship to steroids whatsoever. When taken properly and responsibly, creatine monohydrate will increase the amount of work your muscles can perform, it promotes lean muscle mass, increases muscle cell volume (“big pump”) and increases strength and endurance. Creatine is safe when taken as directed and in my experience powder form is better than capsules because it absorbs into the muscle much quicker. Just take the recommended dose with some fruit juice 30 minutes before your workout and watch your muscles have a mind of their own!

Glutamine is a non essential amino acid (an amino acid is a building block of protein and non essential means our bodies produce it) that plays a key role in protein metabolism. This means it prevents muscle loss by minimizing muscle breakdown and maximizing muscle repair as you rotate your workouts each week. Glutamine also increases your body’s ability to secrete human growth hormone which helps metabolize body fat, and support new muscle growth. There are no hard and fast rules on how much to take, but generally 10-15 grams of glutamine daily, broken down into 5g servings is a good rule of thumb. The best times to take L-Glutamine powder (or capsule) are in the morning, after a workout and before bed.

I hope this information helps you on your journey to the new you!

Is your job making you fat?

Next week, I’ll cover some answers to the latest fat traps in the workplace!

Mothers Day Gift Ideas at HeadsUpDad, originally uploaded by HeadsUp_Dad.

With Mother’s Day bearing down hard (this coming Sunday fellas) many of us busy Dads cringe at the thought of it. Not that we don’t love our moms and significant others, we all do, but the fear that grips us as we start to think about what to get is what makes us tremble.

Lets face it, even though we are very grateful for all of the gifts we have been given with and since the birth of our children, we sometimes are not very good at expressing how grateful we are. While some of you have it nailed, many of us struggle with this. How do we show how grateful we are? Well, there are many ways, and we do this all the time, but the truth is, on Mother’s day, unless you have a death wish you will never get away with a hug and a kiss and a box of chocolates from Shoppers Drug Mart.

It is easy to go for the obvious (Card, Flowers/Roses, Chocolate) then fun activities (yoga passes, Craft classes at the girly fun places like the Workroom, AGO memberships, Theatre Subscriptions for Buddies in Bad Times, a year of off the beaten path nights on the town, dinner for two at one of her favourite restaurants, a night at the movies) that you need to get out of the way, but we can never stop there. These are just the basics.

The part that strikes fear into our hearts and stops us cold is the fear about never finding that ever elusive perfect gift that sums it all up. The one that says, Thank You—No REALLY! I could not have done it without you! Even if we are not getting along, or we are divorced, separated, or just not agreeing right now, it is the right thing to do to demonstrate to your kids how to respect and value the sacrifice and contribution that their mom has made to get us here and continues to make every day.


How do we do that? What to get?

We do things every day that support our wives and let them know how much we appreciate them, (they might not agree with us, but we know we try) but this is different. Mother’s Day is their Day. It is the one day of the year that they actually can claim for their own. They deserve it. We should make it nice. They like presents. We know they expect them. That being said, we have this fear that we always get our wives, partners and girlfriends the wrong things. Mostly because we almost always do. Not that we do not try. I see six previous mother’s day “gifts” still hanging on a hook (expensive purse) or the hangars (clothes/sweaters/dresses/coats) not used or worn yet. Am I really that bad at choosing good gifts for someone? Am I not really paying attention? Do we need help? Maybe.

With each new year, the fear gets even more compelling…

I am sure that I am not alone. In this, I bet that all of us Dads feel the same way.

With Mother’s day looming, I could not let this date on the calendar slide without writing something about Mother’s day, because without Mothers there would be no HeadsUp Dad—I love my Mom and I love the Mother of my children, honestly I do, but there’s something about Mother’s day that strikes fear into my heart every year.

I am not going to write a post about the fear that grips our hearts every year at this time—No, I do not want this to be a negative thing—I do not want to comiserate with all of the other guys who may or may not share my fear in this regard—I do not want to lament my own shortcomings or our collective misgivings—what I do want to do is provide my community of Highly Engaged and Active Dads some honest to goodness solutions with just enough notice that they can actually use this advice to get them out of hot water before they even get in it this year, not next.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Many of us have already taken care of this. Many of us are still thinking about it and some, poor boys, will not be able to do anything until they wake up this Saturday. Good luck to you! That gives us a couple of days to think about it. Get going. There are all kinds of amazing tools out there these days that can make this easier than ever before. Don’t wait. If you have not taken care of this by now, find a way to get out of the office early today and take care of business. You will be glad you did.

I hope to post some more ideas here over the next day or so, please come and check back in for more great gift ideas and suggestions. Need some more inspiration? Start here.

Good Luck Everyone!

Debunking 3 common myths about physical fitness

BeerBelly171, originally uploaded by Heavy Duty Bear.

Time to get fit?

Confused by bombarding fitness information? What’s truth and what is myth?

I never knew my life as a trainer could be so rewarding and so much fun. I have incredible passion for my work, and after several years in the business, I can honestly say that there are a few questions that I am always asked, and I feel it’s my duty to set the record straight and offer you guys the truth. Helping you conquer some common fitness myths will allow me to better serve you and your fitness goals!

Let’s rid of a few misconceptions together…

Myth #1: “If I do hundreds of crunches a day, my flabby tummy will disappear right?”

Answer: This is something we call “spot reduction” pick a problem area and do every isolating exercise under the sun and pray it goes away. It never works. To help alleviate any “laundry” on your washboard, you have to clean up your diet, lessen alcohol consumption, do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio at least three days a week, weight train and add some resistance to your ab routine. One hundred crunches alone, just won’t “cut” it.

Myth #2: “How long will it take to turn all of my fat into muscle?”

Answer: Muscle and fat are two very different types of tissue. It is physically impossible for one to become the other. In order to stimulate muscle growth, you have to lift heavy things. To burn fat, keep your body moving, and trim your diet. Put both of these points together and you have a winning formula! And be sure to eat a healthful breakfast each day so that your metabolism is turned on and your body’s natural fat burning process has been set in gear.

Myth #3: “I guess I am wasting my time at the gym if I can actually walk after my workouts right?”

Answer: Always using soreness as a measure of training success isn’t a great idea. This could be your body’s way of telling you that you’re overtraining and overstressing your muscles. Hitting a plateau in your regimen isn’t ideal, but debilitating yourself each workout is going to slow you down to a halt soon enough. I’m not saying that some stiffness and soreness is wrong, because you want to feel that you have accomplished an effective workout, but I don’t want you on the market for walkers either! Change your workout routine about every 6 weeks to keep you on track and to offer some new challenges to your muscles.

I hope I have helped to clarify a few common fitness misconceptions for you.If you have any questions or other myths you would like to debunk, post your comments here. We’ll do our best to get back to you here in this space.

Remember to train hard, eat smart, and keep your eye on the prize! You CAN do this! Watch for the top vitamin supplements for men’s optimal health!

That’s coming up next on the Fitness Lab…

Shawna L. Hamilton B.A.,BKin.,H.D