Citius – Altius – FORTIUS

(Faster – Higher – Stronger)

It’s here. The XXXI Summer Olympic Games.

High performance at its best.  The ultimate goal for many athletes. RIO2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games – where athletes at the top of their game will join fellow country men & women to compete in this historic multi-sport event.

The excitement kicks off on 5 August with the opening ceremonies.  Team Canada will be lead by Canadian flag bearer, and Olympic Gold medalist, Rosie MacLennan.  The Canadian Olympic Team will consist of more than 300 athletes; and will be representing 38 of the 42 Olympic Sport Disciplines.

Here are some helpful links to find out more about the athletes that make up Team Canada, and to watch them doing what they do best:


Let’s show our support and cheer on our Canadian athletes.


GO Canada GO!

Internship Relflection

Written by Kile Cooke

After being hired this past May as an intern here at Fortius, I had a feeling I was in for a busy summer. What I’ve experienced working with the S&C staff is far beyond, and invaluable compared to what can be learned in the classroom (no offense to the post-secondary institutions). For example, I’ve been able to observe many good habits that I can begin adding to my own coaching tool-belt just from the opportunities of shadowing each trainer. Each member of the S&C staff has been extremely forthcoming with sharing bits of knowledge, or personal “tricks of the trade” – and while being in such a competitive and subjective field, I’m quite appreciative of each coach having given me some of their time.

Writing this with one month left, there are still many things I would like to learn about and explore while here. However, what Molly and the S&C team has packaged within the intern curriculum has undoubtedly given me the confidence to start working as a coach in this field.

On a final note, I am humbled to say that I have had an opportunity to work within the new S&C intern program, and wish nothing but the best for the team and future interns.

iceDOME 2016: Leppävirta and Oberstdorf

Coaching abroad at international skate camp iceDOME 2016!! 

This summer I had the privilege of coaching at the international figure skating camp, iceDOME.  Lead by world renowned figure skating coach Michael Huth, I was invited to lend my services as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, dancer, and Artistic Sports Performance Coach to a group of developing young athletes, world champions, and Olympic superstars.  At the Oberstdorf camp alone, we had 111 athletes from over 29 different countries (6 athletes from Canada, 4 of which are training at Fortius Sport & Health within the ArtisticSTRONG program).

To sum up my experience in one word: liberating.  Over 7 weeks I explored the culture, history, people, food (I ATE LIKE A BEAST!), and nature of Finland, Sweden, and Germany.  With only about 15 days of personal exploration in Stockholm, Helsinki, and Berlin combined, I spent the rest of my weeks working like my usual madman self with a multiple perspectives on youth athlete development and figure skating.  In particular, as Mr. Huth put it, this camp was where we supplemented the grind of the usual figure skating year with an emphasis in off-ice strength and conditioning mixed with the fundamentals of basic on-ice skill and technique.  I learned a great deal from figure skating experts, including how to apply basic on-ice drills to off-ice strength and conditioning, and what skills athletes need for optimal performance and execution of technical moves.

Alongside well respected figure skating coaches, technical specialist, dancers, world champions, and Olympians, we had the fun task of educating figure skaters in the basic skills of artistic expression, athletic competency, body and spatial awareness, technical skills, grace and poise, injury prevention, and strength & conditioning.  One thing about the coaches that truly appealed to me was our different approaches for the same end result – a positive athlete experience.  I asked a fellow coach and Olympian what he thought these athletes needed most.  He responded with “focus”.  I asked another coach and technical specialist what he thought the sport was missing.  He responded with “art”.  Another coach was asked about her experience as a world champion, she replied with “teamwork”.  The superstar coaches and international experts all highlighted the need for year round structure to “develop” athletes, while the most knowledgeable coach just wanted his athletes to know how to cartwheel.  Together we were able to provide an all-encompassing athlete experience for the development of young figure skaters.

All in all, it was a great experience at great international sport facilities with some of the best equipment and gadgets in the world at my fingertips.  However, what made the experience unique were the people I met, the coaches I worked with, and the athletes I was given the opportunity to help.  A special shout out to the Fortius ArtisticSTRONG athletes that were present: Leeza, Melanie, Romeina, Benjam, and Bela.  I’m unbelievably grateful for this year’s experience, and I’m extremely excited to be a part of this extraordinary camp next year.  Thank you iceDOME!!


Talia Tvergyak is a national athlete who will be representing Canada at the AFNA Netball World Youth Cup Qualifiers in St. Maarten this month.  Talia came to Fortius through sports medicine after suffering an ACL tear during competition. She worked with our physiotherapist Tricia McBride to prepare for her ACL reconstruction surgery. Post-surgery Talia continued to work with Tricia & also worked with S&C coach & hydro-therapist Abby Galenzoski. Tricia & Abby worked together to put together a truly integrated rehabilitation plan utilizing not only Fortius’s training floor & gym, but also our Hydroworx 2000 underwater treadmill & sport science services. Due to Talia’s hard work & dedication she has been able to meet her goal of returning to play in time to make the Canadian U21 Netball team & she will be leaving for St Maarten with the team later this month.

Talia we commend you for all of your hard work & we wish you & the entire U21 Canadian Netball team the best of luck in St. Maarten!

Written by Abby Galenzoski

Prepare to Climb

Written by Janna Mazzarolo

British Columbia is considered to be one of the world’s top climbing destinations.  Outdoor enthusiasts have access to a wide variety of climbing options, making the sport accessible to a spectrum of ability.  For a beginner, indoor climbing gyms are a great starting place.  For those with experience, the local mountains are a limitless playground.

For a safe and happy climb, it is essential that the climber’s physical capability matches the demands of the chosen route.  The ability to sustain mental focus and to move with creative freedom are also necessary for optimal performance.

The following Movement Practice has been created to get you thinking about the demands of rock climbing and to give you a tool to play with if you are inspired to explore vertical journeys this summer.

Movement Practice Intention

  • Move your core* through its full range in all planes of motion
  • Activate your core stabilizers
  • Develop multidirectional range of motion in your hips and your shoulders
  • Develop scapular and pelvic stability in both bilateral and unilateral actions
  • Balance the dominant pulling pattern of climbing with pushing actions
  • Become aware of the present state of your body and mind and bring your mind to a single point of focus to allow for peak performance

*For the purpose of this article, please consider the following definition of the term “core”.

  • The entire body, minus the arms and legs.
  • The spine and pelvis make up the structural support system of the core.
  • The inner unit, which functions to create stiffness in preparation for movement, is made up of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and multifidus.
  • The outer unit, which functions to create movement, includes four subsystems; anterior oblique subsystem, posterior oblique subsystem, lateral subsystem, deep longitudinal subsystem.


Movement Practice

For all of the following actions, stay within your safe, pain free range of motion.  Move slowly, maintain a steady breath flow, and observe the way that your body responds to each position.  Honor the feedback that your body is giving you and adjust or stop anything that feels like a bad choice.

Connection Breath

  • 10 cycles of breath
  • Tall standing position
  • Eyes open or closed
  • Inhale; create length and space in your body
  • Exhale; create a subtle sense of tension and stability in your core by lifting your pelvic floor and contracting your transverse abdominis (engage your inner unit)

Standing Spinal Flexion + Extension  Video icon

  • 3 repetitions
  • Exhale; slowly roll down, allowing your knees to bend as you go
  • Inhale; slowly roll up to a tall standing position, consciously pressing through your feet into the ground and extending the top of your head up to the sky

Standing Spinal Lateral Flexion + Lateral Extension  Video icon

  • 3 repetitions on each side (alternating)
  • Maintain length in both sides of your waist and an even connection between both feet and the floor
  • Consciously elongate your spine as you transition through center to your second side

Standing Spinal Rotation  Video icon

  • 3 repetitions on each side (alternating)
  • Keep your feet firmly planted and as close together as is comfortable
  • Maintain the length of your spine as you twist

Option to repeat the spinal mobility series with closed eyes.  Closing your eyes will increase the balance challenge of the movements.  It may also allow you to more closely observe the subtleties of each movement in your body.

Upward Extended Hands + Deep Squat with Scapular Stabilization  Video icon

  • 10 repetitions
  • In the low position, actively press the back of your hands into your inner thighs and your inner thighs into the backs of your hands (feel your core connect, your spine lengthen, and your shoulders broaden as you do this action)

Plank + Wide Lunge (reach to horizon) + Side Plank Variation (kickstand, reach to sky)  Video icon

  • 5 repetitions on each side (alternating)
  • Maintain neutral alignment of your spine and pelvis in both the front and side plank (option to elevate your hand position to ensure that your spine is being safely supported by your core system)

Lateral Lunge + Twist (reach to Earth and Sky)  Video icon

  • 5 repetition on each side
  • Maintain the length of your spine as you twist

Centering Breath  Video icon

  • 10 cycles of breath
  • Eyes open or closed
  • Notice the sensations in your body and the quality of the thoughts in your mind
  • Visualize a successful climbing performance
  • Smile


Taking the time to go through a preparatory movement practice before you start to climb will not only improve your climbing experience, it will also reduce your risk of preventable injuries.  Abby Galenzoski is a Kinesiologist, Hydrotherapy and Strength and Conditioning Coach at Fortius.  She works closely with the Fortius Physiotherapy department, helping people make the transition from rehabilitation to performance training.  She states that; “Movement preparation and pre-habilitation exercises help athletes prevent injuries, correct dysfunctions, optimize movement patterns, and improve performance. Both are effective ways to prepare the body for sport/training. This movement series increases circulation to the muscles involved, elevates tissue temperature, activates the central nervous system, and helps to create a state of mental preparedness.”

Choose your route.  Prepare your body.  Focus your mind.  Be strong.  Be creative.  Have fun!

Janna Mazzarolo, BSc. Kinesiology





HockeySTRONG – Why we run a Base Phase

Written by Molly O’Brien

Right around the two-week mark of our HockeySTRONG program, we expect to hear the same question – “when are we going to start lifting heavy?”  It is inevitable; at fifteen years old, even our youngest program members are used to starting day one with a loaded barbell on their shoulders.

Despite the lack of sex appeal, our HockeySTRONG program involves a slower buildup to the strength, speed, and power drills that are a little more Instagram-worthy.  In the first two to three weeks of our program each year we perform a base phase, a period of time during which we focus on a few key priorities:

  • Rehabilitation of injuries and minimizing other imbalances and restrictions
  • General flexibility and specific mobility of ankles, hips, thoracic spine and shoulders
  • Basic hip, shoulder and core stability
  • Rehearsal of movement patterns to be loaded later on use
  • Circuits and isometric holds using light loads
  • Basic speed and jump mechanics
  • Base aerobic capacity
  • Emphasis on importance of recovery, nutrition and mindset

Completing a session during a Base Phase rarely gives you that same pumped-up feeling as pushing a heavy squat or jumping over a hurdle that sits higher than your belly button, but it is no less important – some players might argue that it is even more so.  Talk to anyone in the league (NHL) over 25 with an injury that’s forced them to take time off – the rehab process often involves working through years of neglected joint mobility and stability patterns, and this can be quite the costly endeavor in many ways.

Essentially the base phase is the active transition between playing a long season and intense training for the next. Both sport and training are incredibly stressful on the body.  Performance of this base phase fulfills two main training objectives:

  1. Decreased likelihood of injury through training
  2. Increased ability to handle more a) varied movements and b) heavier loads, speeds, and forces in safe manner
  1. Decreased Likelihood of Injury through Training

Offseason training programs often involve drills that are not only intense, but also vastly different from the activities athletes perform in-season unless they have the benefit of working with a strength and conditioning coach. Sprinting and high-level jumping drills require incredible amounts of reactive strength in the hamstrings, calves, quads, and glutes – musculature that is typically underdeveloped in hockey players who have been skating for the last seven to eight months. Heavy strength work including squatting, pressing, and cleaning are common in many programs as well, and require stability through ranges of motion that often just aren’t there.

If we fail to respect that the demands of these activities, the likelihood of inappropriate preparation and eventual injury is undoubtedly present.

  1. Increased Ability to Handle more Varied Movements

One of the largest priorities in the base phase is to use mobility and stability work to help open up a larger realm of competent, coordinated, and connected movement to an athlete.

Hockey (and most sport) is rarely performed in segmented, rehearsed movement pieces.  Imagine this scenario: a player skates at top speed into the offensive zone, performs a sudden change of direction, receives a pass, withstands a check, has to battle on the boards, is able to break out and finally rips a shot (let’s say they score too, just to make this more exciting).  This is an example of a common string of movement that challenges many aspects of physical competence.

Many athletes arrive to train with defined objectives (I want to get bigger, work on my strength, get faster), but very few identify competent, coordinated, and connected movement as one of those trainable goals.  In my humble opinion, this is a vastly overlooked training objective with huge impact potential.

  1. Increased Ability to Handle Heavier Loads, Speeds, and Forces in a Safe Manner

The proper performance of a base phase will help build some key qualities that allow an athlete to endure more effective training all off-season long (boo-yah!).

  • Aerobic base conditioning will allow for enhanced recovery between working repetitions of drills and between training session – repetitions and sessions performed from a more recovered state are more effective; this may also allow for more working repetitions to be performed
  • Light loads allow for the enhanced development of tissues (muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, fascia) – loading connective tissues builds resiliency, which may assist in decreasing injury risk and in building the body’s tolerance for higher speed and heavier loads
  • Rehearsal of movement patterns will allow for more consistent, connected repetitions – if an athlete is familiar with a pattern, they are likely to display higher levels of strength, speed and power through it
  • Emphasis on recovery, nutrition, and mindset – if you want to train frequently, you must be recovered, fuelled, and mentally in it to win it


One of the hardest things to hear about, as a coach in this field, are those instances where bodies of skilled and hard-working athletes become broken down far too soon due to poor training practices and improper care of injuries.  I have the pleasure of working with many young and talented athletes, and most of these kids would take a shot at jumping over the moon if I told them that it would help them to become a better hockey player. As strength and conditioning coaches, our job is to direct that positive energy into the training that will allow young people to have longevity – even if that means enduring the impatient groans when we set up a circuit!

As one of our NHL vets always says … “There’s a lot of hockey left to be played.”

Scott Walford Q&A

Written by  Molly O’Brien

At Fortius, we have a great number of youth athletes training throughout the year and it is always satisfying to work with hard-working individuals with a positive attitude.

One such athlete is Hockey player Scott Walford who in addition to having a great year with the Victoria Royals, has been invited to play with Hockey Canada later this summer. He has a tremendous worth ethic – showing up early to training, giving his all in every aspect of training, including warm-up! Scott makes the most of his off-season by working with physiotherapy, performance specialists and nutrition professionals.

  1. What are your most notable career achievements to date?

My most notable career achievements to this point have been playing for Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence at the U17 tournament and being invited back to try out for the U18 team as well. This season as well, my team finished first in the Western Hockey League during the regular season which clinched us the Scotty Munro Trophy.

  1. What has been the highlight of this past season?

From this past season winning the Scotty Munro Trophy highlighted my team’s season. It was also an honor to compete at the World U17 Hockey Challenge for Team Canada Black.

  1. What are your goals for this coming season and beyond?

My goals for next season are to build on what my team accomplished last season. We had a great season but we have more to accomplish and I want to contribute however I can to reach our goals. Through playing well to achieve those goals I feel it will help me be drafted to the NHL which is another goal of mine.

  1. What qualities make a great athlete and competitor?

The qualities that make a great athlete and competitor are having a
good work ethic and having a drive to compete and succeed. The drive to compete and succeed will drive your work ethic and ultimately make you the best you can be.

  1. Are there any athletes you look up to and why?

The athlete I look up is Joe Hicketts. Playing with him this season
I’ve learned a lot from him. His work ethic and leadership are two of the many things I tried to take from playing with him.

  1. What are your training objectives to help you step up your game?

My training objectives through HockeySTRONG are to improve in all aspects. Playing against older and bigger players I always need to focus on getting quicker, stronger and faster over this off season.

  1. How has your Fortius HockeySTRONG experience been so far?

My HockeySTRONG experience at Fortius has been amazing! I love
training with my training partners and Molly and Adam! It’s always
easy coming to the gym when you are surrounded with hard working and dedicated people.




Written by Joanna (Jo) Irvine


⅓ – ½ cup         rolled oats

½ – 1 cup         milk or flavoured almond milk

1 – 2 tbsp        chia seeds


3 tbsp              plain or greek yogurt

½ tsp                honey

Toppings choose from:

  • Berries, shredded apple, kiwi, grapes, vanilla extract, cinnamon, almonds, hazelnuts, chopped banana, cranberries, raisins, nut butter 

Making It:

  1. Mix together the oats milk and chia seeds and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning stir the honey and Greek yogurt through
  3. Add whatever toppings you wish!

Amazing Volunteer Opportunity

We are looking for a handful of outgoing volunteers to help us with our upcoming “KidsMove” program.  Volunteers will be asked to assist with the following activities:

  • Setting up of registration tables
    • Sign in sheets
    • Name tags
  • Registering participants
    • Checking them in on sign in sheet
    • Handing out name tags
    • Directing to appropriate location in lobby or gymnasium
  • Assisting Fortius Strength & Conditioning Coach with activity stations
    • Helping with station set up if needed
    • Helping reinforce concepts and physical literacy skills taught by coach (mindfulness, best effort, skills)
    • Participating in activity with participating kids and/or helping teach or direct participants
    • Making sure the kids have fun!
    • Helping with take down of station and clean up if needed

The KidsMove programs are being held on the following dates/times (you will likely need to arrive 30 mins early for set-up):

  • Sunday July 10th 9-11am
  • Friday July 15th 6-8pm
  • Friday July 29th 6-8pm
  • Friday Aug 5th 6-8pm
  • Thursday Aug 11th 6-8pm
  • Thursday Aug 18th 6-8pm
  • Sunday Aug 21st 9-11am
  • Friday Aug 26th 6-8pm
  • Thursday Sept 1st 6-8pm

If you are interested in volunteering for this program please reply to  ASAP.  Volunteer spots will be given on a first come first served basis.

For more information about KidsMove, please click HERE.

DEVO: Endurance Cycling Camps

Spend a week riding your bike, playing games, developing your fitness and meeting new friends. Our endurance sports focus will introduce your child to cycling while also focusing on developing their understanding around related topics such as nutrition, sportsmanship, bike safety, making safe decisions and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.

The camp is designed to enhance your child’s passion for endurance sports such as cycling and is designed for kids who have already have some experience cycling. Each day campers will participate in a variety of activities and experiences to develop both their overall athleticism, physical literacy and more specifically their skill as a rider.  Activities will include cycling specific instruction from our certified cycling coaches, motivational speakers, games, cross training in the pool, theme events and a culminating day trip.  All activities are challenge-by-choice, which means campers are never forced to do an activity that they feel uncomfortable with but are encouraged to try new experiences and step outside of their comfort zone.

All camp coaches are certified through Cycling Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) as well as being certified in Standard First Aid.  Our program aims to offer activities which are safe, respectful, developmentally appropriate and meet the individual needs of each participant. We also strive to provide a fun-filled atmosphere designed to encourage making friends, growth and the development of self-confidence in each participant while promoting the lifelong enjoyment of cycling.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

For youth aged 9-13.

Location Fortius Sport & Health 

Fee: ($310)

Register Now button

Helping you turn motivation into action!


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