Taranis Referee Call

In conjunction with the launch of the Taranis House League team competition, we will be launching a new program to develop referees for our unique sport and competition format. One of the struggles with hosting or running competitions within our new and developing sport is the ability to have consistent professional level referees during events. We are hoping to develop a system that allows the referee in our sport to earn some money for their time and to also have more accountability at the officiating and athlete level. We are anticipating challenges in developing this program but believe we have excellent candidates within our community that can rise to the occasion and become leaders in officiating. This is an excellent way to be involved in the fun times that is the competitive side of our training without actually competing if competing feels overwhelming or is not your interest.  


  • We need people who are confident, and comfortable in a position of authority
  • We need people who can be loud when it is warranted
  • We need people who aren’t afraid to call a penalty
  • We need people with a strong moral fiber
  • We need people who are open to constructive criticism
  • We need people who are punctual and reliable
  • We need you to be able to attend the referee clinic on April 28th, 2019 at 2:00PM 


  • Ideally you will have completed the CrossFit online judges course within the last 3 years 
  • Ideally you have refereeing experience in any sport 
  • Ideally you have at least one year of CrossFit experience
  • Ideally you have been a member at Taranis and regularly attending classes for at least six months
  • Ideally you have competitive experience in our sport at any level
  • Ideally you have your CrossFit level 1, 2, or 3
  • Ideally you have CrossFit coaching experience 


  • You can expect support from the oversight committee when needed 
  • You can expect feedback and performance reviews 
  • You can expect to be involved in some level of controversy at some point 
  • You can expect to be paid at least minimum wage for your time (hopefully more but we don’t exactly know the pay structure yet) 

We believe this a very exciting opportunity for anyone who is interested in this in-house competition or the sport as a whole. Please don’t feel overwhelmed with the above list and if you are at all interested, sign up and attend the clinic on April 28th, 2019. We are aware that it is not a lot of pay initially but are hoping that this can evolve into something more (even if it only evolves in-house) There is no requirement to continue after the clinic so if you want to learn more about what this is all about, come out and try some things! We will have a tentative schedule for the season done by the clinic date so people know the required time commitment but it can be amended if you decide not to continue so please come out! 

Anticipated time for the clinic: 2 hours. The clinic time WILL NOT be paid time. 

Taranis House League Team Info.

We are excited to announce that starting the weekend of May 4th and 5th 2019 we will be launching our first “season” of the Taranis House League! This league is being designed to be fun, inclusive, and have a good level of competitiveness and sportsmanship. One of the things we pride ourselves on at Taranis is enforcing quality movements, clean reps, and well-organized events. We will be bringing this same level of quality to you during our in-house league!  

The details of the league will be somewhat organic in nature and may change season-to-season based on what works and what doesn’t work but rest assured, any changes throughout time will be undoubtedly better for the overall experience of the athletes and referees. Here are some main points to get you started: 


  • Teams will be comprised of two-to-three athletes. Two athletes will compete per game. 
  • There are no sex/gender requirements per team 
  • Games (matches) will take place on Saturdays and Sundays. The MOST LIKELY times will be 11:30AM-1:00PM on Saturdays and 2:00PM-4:00PM on Sundays. 
  • Seasons will last between 5 and 7 weeks that will include round robin play, playoffs and finals. 
  • The number of games and number of weeks will be dependent on the number of teams that register. You could be scheduled for multiple games in a weekend. 
  • Teams can make substitutions game-to-game but NOT during a game. You must be able to field two athletes to play that game but the third athlete on the team DOES NOT have to be present. 
  • Games will be in a head-to-head format resulting in a win/loss record 
  • Win/Loss record will determine the SINGLE KNOCK-OUT playoff bracket. 
  • Depending on the number of teams registered you MAY be put into pools and/or divisions for ease of match-up scheduling. 
  • You will be placed into the divisions/pools based on the opinions of an oversight committee.  


  • The Oversight Committee will be in charge of workouts, schedule, rules, dispute resolution, and any other administrative duties of the league. 
  • All games will be officiated by a paid referee and a member of the oversight committee will supervise all game days. 
  • You ARE permitted to participate in the league and also be a referee, however referees will not referee in their own pool or division. Bear in mind that the time commitment for this could be quite demanding if you are doing both. 
  • Any disputes arising from refereeing or other issues will follow a dispute resolution process. 
  • League fees will be approximately $150 per team and will go to cover referee fees, oversight supervisor, division winner prize money, facility/league administration, insurance and overhead. League fees are subject to change depending on actual operating costs and prize money. 
  • Division winner prize money will be dependent on number of teams registered. 

Once your team is registered and you have determined a team name and established who will be the team captain, you are ready to go for the competition. The Team Captain must attend an information session on April 27, 2019 at 11:30AM at Taranis. At this meeting we will go over the rules and expectations of teams and athletes. Our goal is to try and have the schedule of games and workouts completed for the Captain’s meeting so teams can begin to plan their strategies and to deal with any potential scheduling conflicts. If all of the workouts are not ready for the captain’s meeting, they will all be ready by the first game day in May. 

Team registration deadline: April 22nd, 2019.

Team Captain’s meeting: April 27, 2019 at 11:30am

League fees due(cash): May 1, 2019.


Zen Planner Launch FAQ’s

Here are some basic FAQ’s that have come up in the last few weeks. 

Why do I have to provide my financial information again? Don’t you have it on file already?

Yes we do however:
1. We want the very latest information from scratch for everyone. I am unable to enter banking or credit card information in the new system without postal codes. A large number of you are missing postal codes on your waivers and financial forms.
2. Payment option types! We are now offering EFT, VISA AND Mastercard! I know some of you will be thrilled to move to mastercard. We want you to have the payment option that works best for you.
3. There is expediency in having you enter your information while you complete the membership agreement. It just makes sense.

Will I still be able to cancel or place my membership on hold with 30 days notice?

Yes! In the fine print blah blah blah of the membership contract, it says “If the student and/or co-signer wish to cancel this agreement, they may do so by sending a 30 day written notice, delivered to CrossFit Taranis at least 30 days prior to the cancellation date desired by the way of registered mail, electronic mail, personal delivery. Just send us an email and we will take care of you!

What are the Phases to this Zen Planner launch?

Phase 1: financial, waiver, agreements and personal profiles set up and running. On the back end of things I want to make sure families are grouped, accounts are being processed appropriately and everyone is set up and happy with the new system.

Phase 2: Scheduling, athlete class check kiosk and other behind the scenes functionality for the coaching staff.

Phase 3: automations for things like birthday’s, monthly newsletter, athlete goal reviews, waiver renewals and other general good business practice and community building items.

Phase 4: Possible WOD tracking functionality.

Why will I have to check in for class?

We will be asking athletes to check in(2nd phase of the ZP launch) for every class because we would like to see the numbers, the trends, the business side of things. How do we know what’s working or not if we don’t have the numbers to back it up?

Will you be limiting class sizes?
This is a consideration for certain classes, yes. We have done everything to avoid having to do this but as we do with all aspects of our business, we look at what do we need to do to evolve and serve our community the best way possible. Then we do it. We have been in this business for 11 years come March. We know change can be disruptive for some but we do hope you’ve learned you can trust us to make choices and changes for the best experience possible.

Will we be using the WOD tracking portion of Zen Planner?
Possibly. I think it’s a part of ZP functionality that we are keen to play with a bit but it’s not the reason for moving our admin to membership profile software. We will test it and keep you updated.

If I have a Zen Planner profile with another gym or club do I need a new one with Taranis?

This depends on the email you use to build your profile with. If it’s the same one, you will be given a choice of your locations to sign into and you will have a password for each club. If your various clubs have different emails on file, you will have a different sign process. Everything is figureoutable, so if you’re running into issues, come see me.

Can you help me?!? I can’t set this up because: It’s too hard! I’m technologically freaked out! I lost my glasses! My dog threw up on my computer and I dropped my phone over the railing into the Grand Canyon while on holiday last week so I don’t have online access to set up my profile!

Whatever the issue is, yes, I will help you get set up. You will see “Sully’s Open office Hours” in the schedule. Feel free to pop into the office, I’ll be there just for this reason. You can also email me vanessa@taranisathletics.com with any questions or to set up a time before or after the class you want to attend and I will meet you.

2018 Taranis Nutrition and Lifestyle Challenge

Join us!

The TNLC is a challenge over the course of 6 weeks. We will provide you with a weekly challenge in the area’s of nutrition and lifestyle designed to honour our Mission Statement:

“To provide an environment of education and support for all Taranis Athletes with the intention of guiding them to make educated, conscious choices for a future of sustainable nutrition and lifestyle choices.”

Start date: January 8
End Date: February 18

The goal for participants is to implement these challenges each week for the entire 6 week experience.

Your TNLC Leadership group is passionate about bringing health and wellness education and awareness to our community of athletes at Taranis. We will be in this with you for the 6 weeks. We will share our own experiences and do our best to give you the support you need. It won’t always be easy, but like a good day at the box, it will be satisfying to the soul. TNLC side effects include: feelings of empowerment, increased physical performance, and a growing fixation with mirrors.

Vanessa Sullivan: Co-owner of Taranis Athletics.
Dr. Marie-Ève Gagné: Owner of ReNu Wellness and WoD Nutrition
Reed MacKenzie: Co-owner of Taranis Athletics and Victoria City Firefighter



Register Now!

Taranis Athlete of the Month – October 2017

When Morgan Rozon contacted me and mentioned she wanted to feature a Taranis Athlete for her September Fit Balm Athlete Story, I was inspired to relaunch the long lost Taranis AOM program. Morgan and I pooled our questions and are thrilled to be able to present:

Dr Leigh Anne Swayne aka Dodger

Before we get into the Q&A fun I would like to speak to qualities that made Leigh Anne an easy athlete to feature. I am inspired every week watching Leigh Anne train. She is dedicated, directed and in constant pursuit of personal development. Leigh Anne also happens to be one of the most positive people I know. Her voice can be heard on any given day in the gym encouraging other athletes. I personally have been mid squat, grinding out a deadlift or in the depths of burped hell and I hear her voice ring out with belief and it fuels me with a desire to dig deeper. Leigh Anne is pleasure to coach and we feel damn lucky to have her in this community and Taranis Family. I am pleased to share this Q&A with you so that you can get to know Leigh Anne better for yourselves!!

What are 5 quick facts that your best friend would use to introduce yourself in a concise but well-rounded way to a diverse group of people?

is a goofball and has as sense of humor

-is concerned about world events

-is an academic

-speaks 4 languages

-is an athlete

What is your occupation and what inspired you to pick this profession?

I am a Professor of Cellular Neurobiology in the Division of Medical Sciences at UVic. I was drawn to this profession from an innate curiosity about how the brain works 🙂

What motivates you to stay healthy? 

Hmmm….  A combination of a few things – past experiences, healthy people, and making progress. 

For past experiences: About ten years ago, or so I went through a period of a few years where I didn’t prioritize my health very well.  Paired with with poorly managed work stress and some chronic sports injuries, I was starting to feel pretty terrible. I was fairly overweight for my frame, had bad knee and hip pain that was becoming pretty prohibitive and starting to be uncomfortable in just regular day to day activities. Back then, looking forward I saw a long road of painful joints and feeling unwell and that wasn’t the future I wanted for myself. Although I’m generally a positive person, I often felt pretty hopeless about it. I remember often thinking “this is pretty crappy and it’s only going to get worse the longer I do nothing about it”.  I knew it was going to be an uphill battle. But I also knew I was going to have to just suck it up and start somewhere. It took a lot of patience and commitment to get where I am in my journey right now (because it’s still on-going!). So part of my motivation comes from wanting to stay on the road I’m on now and not wanting to find myself back on that other one with the terrible future 🙂

For healthy people – I find role models everywhere and draw inspiration from them. One of my favorite things is reading about or seeing videos of older athletes and seniors killing it at a variety athletic endeavors and really enjoying the golden years. That’s what I want my future to look it. It also just feels so much better to work out and eat healthily. Life is much more positive and fun when you’ve set your body and mind up to enjoy it to the fullest. 

Making progress – The return on the investment is motivating. I find motivation even in the incremental progress of things like gaining a bit more mobility in a joint or improving at a body weight movement. I have seen that the work I put in pays off and so that motivates me to keep going.

You have an accomplished athletic background, can you expand on your background for us?

Long version: Sports have always been a major part of my life in large part because my parents and sisters were all really active. As a little kid I was fortunate to be involved in a bunch of different sports like ski racing, swimming, gymnastics and tennis. In high school, between grade 9 and 10 a group of older girls lobbied for my school to create a girls’ rugby team – which looking back was totally badass of them and I am so grateful.  Rugby is an exhilarating sport and I loved it right from the first practice in the melting spring snow. My younger sister Seanna and I also started playing for a local rugby club in the summers. I continued playing rugby as well as basketball and volleyball throughout high school and I ended up being  female athlete of the year in my graduating year. I decided to continue with rugby in University because it was by far the most fun and made a great counter for the pressures of academic life.  Guelph, where I went to University, happened to be an established women’s rugby dynasty with multiple previous provincial championships. I was fortunate there was an opening in the starting 15 in my rookie year that my club rugby experience had prepared me for. The next year was the very first national University Championships (then called CIAU) at McMaster University, which, crazily enough we ended up winning – this team was recently inducted into the University of Guelph Athletics Hall of Fame a couple of years ago. We won several provincial championships and returned to the National Championships again each year (now called CIS), medaling or narrowly missing. Anyways, it was an awesome bunch of ladies and we had a great time. I was able to manage to keep good grades during this time and was awarded the President’s Trophy  for athletic and academic performance (1999-2000, 2000-2001) and also Sportwoman of the Year in 2000-2001 for athletic leadership.  I was surrounded by several amazing National 15’s team players and one of my coaches was also on the National Team, so it was an fantastic environment for a female rugby player. From there I also played some representative rugby for the Ontario Women’s team during the summer and later when I moved to Calgary for my PhD studies, I played for the Calgary and Alberta rep teams and with Alberta we ended up being national champions one of my last years I was there in 2003. I was also really fortunate to be selected to Canada’s team for the first FISU (world university) rugby sevens championship in Beijing China in 2004. We had a great team and ended up taking home the gold. I am also grateful to my PhD supervisor for being so supportive in giving me the time off to travel to these tournaments!  Having both sports and academics created this amazing balance that I didn’t fully appreciate until it wasn’t there anymore 🙂

Do you have a life-changing experience related to your athletic background/experience that shaped your future self or future direction?

The summer I got married, I also had a team Canada tryout camp (for 15s) and was moving to France to pursue postdoctoral studies in the fall. In the span of a few weeks I had to hand in my thesis, get married, go on a honeymoon, attend a team Canada tryout and then defend my thesis so things had to go fairly smoothly to go well. At a practice a couple weeks before my wedding, my face and my teammate’s knee met at high velocity. There was a tremendous amount of blood, and my face blew up with swelling, which ended up leaving a lasting impression on my research colleagues 🙂 I remember applying copious amounts of Arnica gel and by wedding day, the double shiner and swelling had resolved. It did however throw me for a bit of a loop in rugby, because now I had a concussion to deal with. We didn’t have the same type of management and guidance for concussions as we do now. It wasn’t my first concussion either, and for previous ones, I hadn’t taken the requisite rest. Needless to say the rest of the rugby season was a struggle. But my wedding was awesome!!  🙂  While I had originally been excited at the prospect of playing rugby in the South of France (a rugby hotbed) during my postdoc, the concussion gave me pause and I decided not to play rugby.  Although I played on a local women’s basketball team, I wasn’t prepared for the hole in my life caused by the abrupt departure of rugby.  I had been at peak physical condition that summer and over the course of the next few years – which coincided with a ton of French cheese and wine – I ended up in the condition I described above.

What brought you to Taranis?

Haha so kind of it all comes back to rugby again. After not having played rugby for many years, when I first moved to Victoria, I joined the Velox Valkyries, because what my life had taught me thus far was, the best way to meet people in a new city is to join a team and also because Island rugby, including the Valkyries are pretty famous in Canadian women’s rugby. In hindsight it was a bit crazy. Despite being massively out of shape, I managed somehow to make it up to the first 15 and we even made it to the provincial finals. However, I was seriously out of shape, with multiple new injuries on top of chronic injuries and literally held together by athletic tape by that time. I was a walking bruise and mildly concussed – so not a great situation for a new Professor. I also had a crappy, inconsistent diet. That’s when I sat down and decided something had to change.  My older sister had been trying to convince me for some time to try CrossFit. I had also joined a women’s basketball team and one of the other players said I had to try Taranis. She said it was the best in town and thought I would like the culture and atmosphere there. I decided to focus just on CrossFit called up Taranis. I was super fortunate to do my on ramp sessions with Chris Schaalo who is now at CrossFit North Van and Squamish and never looked back 🙂

What would you say to someone nervous about starting CrossFit at Taranis?

OMG I was so nervous too!  But it’s going to be OK!! Everyone is new at CrossFit at some point – and everyone has been new at something at some point in their life, so everyone knows how you feel. Plus, everyone is rooting for you!  Every time I see new people come into the gym, I’m like “Awesome, great life decision”.  You really do have to just suck it up and leave your ego at the door, as they so wisely put it.

What are you currently working on as a Taranis Athlete? Do you set goals? Will you share those goals with us?

I am currently focused on strength and gymnastics. I do set goals, and I find these are necessary to keep me focused. I set some general goals and then specific goals to help me reach those general goals. My general goals are to become stronger and to become more proficient at bodyweight and gymnastics movements (through a combination of increased mobility and strength through range of motion). 

The specific goals I have right now for strength are to be able to back squat, bench and deadlift specific numbers consistently and with good form. For snatch and clean and jerk, I am also looking for small increases, but right now I am more focused on trying to achieve consistency. My gymnastics goals include being able to do multiple strict handstand pushups, a side aerial and a back walkover.  I break all these things into smaller pieces and appreciate that it takes a really long time. For example, it took me months of focused work to rework my squat form and another almost year to go from setting my back angle up first before squatting to a full fluid movement.   It’s amazing to me what you can achieve with a little patience.

What is something that you have done recently to help others?

That’s a great question! I like to think that I help the students and trainees I mentor 🙂  I am currently supervising 8 people in my research lab.  Not only do I provide guidance on their research projects, but I also make a concerted effort to provide advice on career development and help them work on things like time-management and communication strategies so that they will be successful wherever they end up. I also work on a lot of committees that help run the University and partake in various outreach activities for community learning and engagement. 

Favorite… if you can list just one!

Podcast Channel?

Barbell Shrugged

Book or Author?

Too many to list – most mystery (e.g. Ian Rankin). Am currently looking for a good book, taking suggestions


Mad Max Fury Road

Snack Food?

Dark Chocolate

Article of clothing?

Jeans – what would we do without them?


Never give up – Winston Churchill said it in a more complicated way, but essentially the same message


Lydia Valentin

What do you think the world needs most at this time in history?

Love and Empathy

The 2017 Open at Taranis

The most chaotic time of year for a CrossFit affiliate is here, Games Season, kicking off with the CrossFit Open.

At Taranis, we work extremely hard to ensure that we run a top-notch Open competition and at the same time we want to ensure that everyone’s fitness goals are being met. ALL OPEN SLOTS WILL BE SIGN UP ONLY. You may not just “show up” to the gym and expect to do the Open. We will be running 12 people an hour during all the designated sign up slots. This will allow our athlete’s competing to have a set up do give their best effort but also honour the space and routine our non competing athletes are entitled to. To add to that, please note: Saturday’s classes will be SIGN UP ONLY and ONLY FOR THE OPEN WOD. If you want to train that day and are not competing in the Open, you MUST still sign up for a WOD spot on Saturdays.

What is the Open?

The Open is a worldwide online CrossFit competition that is also a qualifying event for the CrossFit Regionals. It is an excellent opportunity to test yourself against the world and your peers to see your current level of fitness regardless if you are attempting to go further in CrossFit competitions. You do not have to be an RX’d athlete to take part, this is a competition with scaled divisions and Masters categories. Play with us! Register for the Open here.

The competition is 5 weeks long with a new workout being released every week on Thursday at 5pm. You will have until the following Monday at 5pm to submit a valid score. A valid score is one that has been judged and validated at a CrossFit affiliate like Taranis.

How do we accommodate all the events and judges?

Monday to Friday: our class schedule from remains the same with the exception of the addition of 4 Open time slots; Thursday night at 6pm, Friday night at 6pm, Monday at 10:30am and 3:30pm. You must sign up to attend the Open session but you do not need to sign up to do the regular class time from Monday to Friday.

Saturday: ALL of the time slots are designated for the CrossFit Open ONLY. Classes will run at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm.

Sunday: there will be CrossFit Open sessions at 10:30am and 1:00pm. You must sign up for the Open session but not in you are taking part in the regular WOD the class.

All of the Open sessions will be 12 person time slots MAXIMUM. The events will be run with 6 person heats 6 people will do the event, the other 6 will judge. Depending on athletes in attendance and based on numbers and workout requirements, we may adjust how we operate during the hour. If you need extra time to warm up and mobilize, this is obviously fine but please stay out of the way of the judges and athletes that are doing the Open in that time slot!!

How does the hour work?

You will be briefed on the workout and movement standards for each event prior to the event starting. This happens right sharpe on the designated class start time. Don’t show up 10mins late thinking it’s personal warm up time your missing. You must attend the briefing and please give the coach your undivided attention. Once the briefing is complete, you will decide which athlete is going first and which is going second. Each heat will be given an appropriate amount of time to warm up prior to the start of the event for each heat. You must fill out a scorecard and submit the appropriate portion to the affiliate for validation. BE SURE NOT TO LOSE YOUR PORTION of the scorecard and that both portions say the same score.

Note about judging: We will fully brief you on the WOD standards. As a Taranis Athlete most of these standards will sound familiar to you but we cover them thoroughly at each briefing. Not how to do them but how to judge them. You are also welcome and encouraged to take the CF JUDGES COURSE. This give you even more understanding of most movements from a judging/coaching point of view and likely make you a better athlete!

Then what??

Log into your CrossFit Games account and submit your score for validation. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Even if you believe you may re-test the event, submit your current score as you can always withdraw a score later and enter a new one for validation.

Train hard between Open events and rest accordingly!

We always have a plan for the Open when it comes up (this our seventh year running it) but hiccups do arise. We are working on all of our members behalf and ask that you please understand that this time of year is complicated and we will do everything in our power to keep the gym running smoothly and on time!

In the event that you absolutely can not do your Open workout during one of the designated time slots, please contact Vanessa ASAP. vanessa@taranisathletics.com

If you haven’t done so, you have until Monday to register so it’s not too late. 

Have Fun!

Healthy Habit #5

Here is our last Healthy Habit for you leading into our Nutrition and Lifestyle Challenge launch this Saturday!

Most people are ready to get going and make some major change at this point with holidays wrapped up for another year and dreams of warm summer days dancing in your heads while getting through this cold snap! Dr. Gagné has written this excellent information packed post for you so please read, learn, commit and shift your thinking to “I can. I will. I am.”  


FOCUS Avoid added sugars or sweeteners

AKA: Don’t put splenda in your coffee or honey in your smoothie!


  • Learn to not rely on added sugars or artificial sweeteners for taste and recalibrate your palate to the taste of real foods
  • Focus on whole foods for added sweetness or flavour: e.g., 1/2 banana in smoothie, coconut milk in coffee


Many people consume an astounding amount of sugar on a daily basis, not aware of the fluctuations in insulin that it causes, which leads to energy roller coasters, mood swings, and weight gain.  Can your afternoon low, morning grogginess, or “love handles” be a consequence of too much sugar in your diet?


What is insulin anyways and why is it important to stabilize it?  Insulin is like the air conditioner in the blood.  This hormone, secreted by the pancreas when carbohydrates (“carbs”) are consumed (think vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, and sugars like maple syrup and honey), is responsible of many basics functions, including maintaining your blood sugar level, balancing the fat-burning and carb-burning metabolisms, and controlling hunger.  Once you ingest carbs, insulin is secreted in the blood to mobilize the sugar into storage, in the liver and in the muscles as glycogen, which is your body storage of energy.  Once needed, glycogen is broken down to produce ATP, your cells’ fuel!

When you eat a lot of carbs during the day, insulin is constantly secreted in the blood to reduce the blood sugar level.  Once the maximum amount of glucose (sugar in the blood) that can be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles is exceeded, there is a problem!?!  The liver then converts the excess of glucose into fatty acids (read fats)!  When the system is regulated to burn sugar due to the excessive consumption of carbs, the metabolism does not use your fat storage as an energy source, but rather accumulates more fat in your cells while being too busy burning that excess sugar!

Hence, to prevent that vicious cycle that leads up to gaining fat mass and, ultimately, insulin resistance, you need to control your carb intake and the type of carbs you eat.  The Nutrition Challenge focus’ on this nutritional aspect by eliminating all sugar intake, as well as artificial sweeteners.  You therefore need to get your required amount of carbohydrates from whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, that contain fibre, which slows the release of insulin into the blood, as well as being packed with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals!


Sugar is very addictive to the brain, and some studies have even shown that it is more addictive than cocaine!?  We recommend going “cold turkey” on this one!  Cut the sugar out now!  But what about artificial sweeteners Dr. Gagné?  Well even worse.  Not only did it fail at solving the American obesity epidemic since their insertion in the food industry in the 1980s, it is now considered to cause “diabetes of the brain” – by that I mean they increase the chance of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis!?

The rules are simple:

  • No simple sugars like sucrose, fructose, dextrose
  • No natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar
  • No artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium

You might want to look at:

  • Sugar alcohols, for example xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol or erythritol: sugar alcohols are naturally occurring in fermented fruits and don’t raise insulin levels and might be beneficial for your good intestinal bacteria
  • Stevia: stevia is extracted from plant leaves and does not have any impact of insulin and it is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar
  • Fruit purees: make applesauce, berries compote, and dates paste to use in recipes as a replacement for sugar

Things to consider:

  • Check your workouts supplements!  For natural supplement brands, I suggest looking, for example, into Paleoethics or PVL essentials
  • Check your energy/protein bars!  For good protein bars brands, I suggest looking into, for example, Elevate Me or Quest Nutrition (the stevia-sweetened ones, not the ones with sucralose)



Looks at food labels and search for added sugars!  It takes some practise to get used to spot these easily!


FOCUS/GOAL: Avoid simple sugars, and natural and artificial sweeteners

BONUS CHALLENGE: Avoid fruit and vegetables juices (devoid of fibre), and dried fruits (really just simple sugars!)


Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,

Sully and Marie-Éve

Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.”  You can read more about her here

Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here

Healthy Habit #4

Happy 2017!


FOCUS N.E.P.A. or N.E.A.T.

Non Exercise Physical Activity or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

AKA: What do you do for movement outside of your gym or sport time.


GOAL/FOCUS is either A or B

  • A. Track Steps: Minimum 7500 – 10,000. Your number for this goal really depends on your current baseline and job activity. Will discuss further below.
  • B. Minimum 40 mins of NEPA added into your daily routine.


Possible reality

Many people work a desk job and don’t have the same opportunity to get large volume of NEPA in their daily life. We have given you the range in steps, 7500 – 10,000 to take this into consideration with the overall goal of time conditioning yourself to have a daily minimum of 10,000 steps. Start slowly by looking for small areas to get extra steps in. See the strategies below.



Working out 5 x a week for 1 hour, working a desk job, going home to take care of home chores, kids, pets etc followed by an evening in front of the TV is actually considered a sedentary lifestyle. You might say, “but I train at your gym 5 days a week Sully, I’m active!”. Yes you do and I am thankful you choose Taranis to get after building your strength, CRCV and General Physical Preparedness but we need more non exercise activity in our lives for balance and the overall picture of wellness.

Think about this equation for calorie burning: BMR calories + Calories spent digesting food +  WORK OUT Calories + NEPA = total calories used in the day. Science tells us that investing more time in non exercise activities (read low stress) adds to the benefits of the time we spend in exercise specific activities. So where is the easiest place to get that? Walking. And now you understand why we have a walking goal.

Walking is a great way to combat the hours we spend sitting at desks, on couches and in cars. You know how sitting in chairs has been tagged as the new smoking regarding our health. Low back pain, tight hip flexors, poor neck posture, poor breathing patterns… these all lead to chronic unhealthy movement patterns and then possible injury or chronic pain.

Walking is great for your state of mind and thus it helps lower your stress and cortisol.



Places you can add walking into your life are all around you. A bit of effort needs to be made but once the habit is formed, you will wonder how you ever thought it would be a hard thing to add to your routine.

  • Park further from the office or store entrance.
  • Pick a location to eat your lunch away from your desk
  • Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators
  • Book walking meetings or coffee dates. I know people in the corporate world that use this strategy for meetings and i personally ask friends to go for a walk these days.
  • Fill up your water bottle from the neighbour’s house… hahah just kidding! But perhaps use a fountain at work that is further away or make a lap around the office 3 times before you fill the bottle?
  • Walking dogs and taking kids to the park are the norm for some people but if you don’t have either of these as a reason, borrow someone’s! Or just go for a walk yourself without any destination in mind.

You will be amazed at how quickly your steps increase when you look for these moments to increase them.

Here’s an example for you: In September I committed to walking to and from my dance class as a way to increase my NEPA. My studio is downtown so I park around the Delta and walk 15 mins each way. This gives me an extra 4000 steps in my day! Based on my heart rate while walking (I’m not going slow) my Fitbit tells me I’m burning an extra 225 cals just by doing that. It gives me mental time to let go of my work day, review my dance steps and then on the way home I get to walk and enjoy all the beautiful endorphins that are rolling from the 60 mins of flamenco stomping and clapping (additional 350 cal burn).


Fitness tracker

Smart Phone. Most phones these days have step counters built in. Of course you might not have your phone with you non stop. Perhaps for the next week see if you can make it happen just to have a look at the reality of your steps.

No tracking device? That’s ok, we have included the 40min goal for you! Break this down any way you like but the accumulated total should get you hitting a target. 


FOCUS/GOAL: 7500- 10,000 steps per day as a minimum OR 40mins of NEPA in your day.

BONUS CHALLENGE: Surpass 10,000 steps per day! 

Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,

Sully and Marie-Éve

Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.”  You can read more about her here

Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here

Healthy Habit #3

For those that are just joining us on the healthy habit chalenges, please feel free to jump in on any week. We do encourage you to go back to the previous Healthy Habits and bring them into your life. Our objective is to get people building some habits that will contrbute to over all wellness and help with goals during the Nutrition Challenge we will be running mid January. 

Dr. Gagné and I sat down for a coffee and a chat last week and recorded a video so we could release this healthy habit to you on Boxing Day, yet somehow I deleted to video and so here we are, two days late, no video but charging ahead anyway!

The focus to add to your health habits is a sleep goal: 8 hrs per night.

We know, this one is hard for most people because you often feel like you are doing just fine on you 5-6hrs a night or you think you simply don’t have time to get more sleep in. Are you still trying to fit into those jeans you bought on sale as motivation? Are you battling a building list of injuries, being under the weather and general lack of thriving? Would you actually rather watch Netflix than “watch Netflix”? Are you just a clumsy person? You might just need more sleep!

Play along with us and strive for 8hrs of sleep a night, you might love the results!

Possible Reality

You might currently only be sleeping 6 hrs a night or less and find the 8hr challenge daunting. Start by adding 30mins over the span of a week or two building up to an 8hr sleep. Simply adding 3mins a night will get you there and feel less daunting. Naps can count towards the cumulative time as well if this is a struggle for you but make the long term life goal to get the 8hrs in one shot.

Let us start with WHY

Research shows that less than 8 hrs of sleep per night(or day of you work shifts) will have a negative impact on the following:

  • Decision making
  • Mood
  • Coordination
  • Recovery Process
  • Weight
  • Sex Drive
  • Our Children’s sleep habits

Dr. Gagné had a wonderfully scientifically explanation for you (the video was awesome!) but my layman’s language translates it very simply for you like this:  Sleep deprivation impacts your hormone balance and this leads to the body having to borrow from a “line of credit” and if you are consistently short changing your sleep, you are driving yourself deeper into debt. Down the road this leads to bankruptcy in the body. Bankruptcy takes a long time to recover from people!

Here’s HOW to create a healthy sleep environment:

Light, get rid of it!

Your room should have the ability to be total darkness when sleeping. Invest in blackout blinds. Those little lights on the TV, smoke detector, alarm clock, charging cell phone, computer or other electronics have blue light that disrupts your melatonin production.  Take the devices out of the bedroom and cover up the nonnegotiable ones with tape, this will help your sleep quality and your love life!

BONUS CHALLENGE: stop all screen time 60mins before bed

Stay Cool

Keeping the temperature cool but comfortable in your room will help you stay asleep. Use blankets that keep you warm but not hot. It might feel chilly getting into bed but with the right blankets you will warm up soon enough and stay comfortable all night.

Set a bedtime to serve 8hrs of sleeping time!

Something that Dr. Gagné hears often is that parents get the kids off to bed and they end up staying up past what they intend because it’s “me” time and that usually consists of getting ready for the next day (laundry, kitchen tidy, making lunches etc) followed by sitting down to watch some TV and getting caught in the loop of repeat episodes. I don’t even have a kid at home anymore and I get caught in this trap! Use your phone or your fitness tracker to set a bed time reminder and commit to honoring it. Don’t treat it like the alarm clock and hit snooze repeatedly. Have your bedtime reminder pop up 60 mins before bed. Turn off the TV/computer/social media scrolling, get ready for bed and then read a book, meditate, do breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or do a body scan. With the number of apps on the market these days it’s easy to find one that works best for you.

Trouble shooting tools

Phone in the bedroom – use airplane mode or I personally use Do Not Disturb and Night Shift(blue light adjustment) to customise my phone. I don’t have a landline and want my phone in my bedroom incase I get an emergency phone call regarding family or the gym. I also use my phone as my alarm clock.  So using these features I can silence all alerts after 9:30pm except phone calls. I leave all calls on because if you’re calling me past 10pm I’m assuming it’s an emergency. You can have it specifically filter for certain contacts or enable the repeated calls, a second call from the same within 3 mins will not be silenced. Anyone sending emails or texts past then will not get a reply until the next day and that’s ok.

Waking with a racing mind

Start with slow breathing and meditation. Having your body scan app ready to go with headphones is an option(make sure your phone is set up with Do Not Disturb and Night Shift for minimal disruption.

But I NEED to watch TV to fall asleep!

No you don’t. You like to watch TV to fall asleep. Stop it. Do any of the previously mentioned activities or find something else relaxing to do… Just stop with the TV. Did we mention less TV will be beneficial to your love life for several reasons?

Partner Disruptions

Sleep masks and ear plugs. Seriously. If your partner honestly can’t help disrupting your sleep then use these tools.

Noisy neighbourhood/neighbours

White noise. We are doing some more research into the kind of noise because there is some talk of having the right kind of white noise frequency. Overall I find my air purifier blocks out most things that would wake me up as a light sleeper.


Well… Perhaps if you can create optimal sleep hygiene for them they will sleep better too?? I know this is the toughest one to troubleshoot. Do your best to get them into bed at a healthy time so you can enjoy a bit of your own time before bed and get to sleep on time your selves.



FOCUS/GOAL: 8 hrs of sleep per night

BONUS CHALLENGE: Stop all screen time 60mins before bedtime


Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,

Sully and Marie-Éve

Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.”  You can read more about her here

Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here

Page 1 of 212