Hi Koda!

Today, my brother and I drove out past Hamilton, to bring home Koda, a 8 week old labradoodle 🙂

The family named him “Koda”, based off a family favourite Disney movie “Brother Bear.” Upon some research, Koda actually means “friend” or “companion” in the Native American dialect of Sioux.

On the drive home he whimpered a bit, but calmed down 20 minutes into the drive, as he lay in my brother’s arm.

Once we got home, for about 30 minutes Koda wandered around the front of the house and garage to get a sense of his new home. Getting into the house though was pretty challenging. The little guy isn’t quite strong enough yet to make it over the big steps from the garage to the mud room, so actually getting into the house on is own 4 feet didn’t happen. Once inside we played with him and his new toys, before a big nap (not just for Koda… 😉 )

Once up, we were able to get Koda to eat and go relieve himself outside, and not on our parents nice hardwood floors.

We did a lot of playing in the backyard today; “fetch” (at least some form of fetch), 1-on-1 soccer and what seemed to be a form of tag…

Not sure what the night holds for us, but hopefully with all the playing outside and excitement of the day he isn’t too bothered sleeping in a new house away from his normal surroundings… but we shall see, fingers crossed.



Exercise and COPD: A spin on traditional training

Throughout my four years at McGill, studying kinesiology, you come across courses you just don’t like, and others you love. This past year, I took a particular interest in exercise physiology and pathophysiology. As many of you may or not know, kinesiology is a very evolving field of study, used by the vast majority of undergrad students to branch off into different professional fields. Having said that, the research and knowledge coming out of this area is really “mind blowing”. In these classes I was constantly searching articles on “PubMed” or “Google Scholar”, further researching some of the findings being presented in these courses. Naturally, I want to share some of these articles and really highlight the significance of these findings. In the following paragraphs I am going to highlight some cool research by Bjorgen et al. (2009), a study that was presented in my exercise pathophysiology class. In their study they prescribed two aerobic high intensity interval training programs, one was performed by alternating legs (single leg cycling), the other performed by using two legs simultaneously. Oh, and this was prescribed to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


COPD diagnosis is based on a reduced FEV1/FVC value (<0.7), while severity is based on reduction in FEV1 (Image: http://www.advaceweb.com)

It is widely explored and understood in the scientific literature that COPD is a multi-organ process that’s results in poor physical activity and exercise performance due to the ventilatory restriction experienced. This restriction causes a state of dyspnea, which is understood to limit a patient’s exercise tolerance, lowering their ability to respond to a metabolic stress (i.e. activities of daily living, exercise, etc.). Additionally, it is understood within the scientific literature that a reduction in the exercising muscle mass reduces the ventilatory drive of an individual. Therefore, Bjorgen et al. (2009) tested whether a high interval training program with the reduction in muscle mass (single leg cycling) could increase the whole body peak VO2 in subjects with COPD, in comparison to two leg cycling high intensity interval training. Bjorgen et al. (2009) hypothesize that one leg high intensity cycling training will challenge the working muscles without inducing a ventilatory limit. Therefore, further hypothesizing that these individuals doing one-leg high intensity interval training will reap greater metabolic adaptations, resulting in a greater whole body VO2max training response than high intensity two-leg interval cycling.


Single Leg Cycling (Dolmage & Goldstein, 2008)



It was concluded that upon the completion of this 8-week intervention study that all patients, independent of the training group, where able to accomplish the training within the desired training range. Supporting that both modalities of high intensity interval training are feasible for COPD patients. As well, both the single leg cycling and two leg cycling interventions were found to increase the individuals’ peak whole body VO2 and work load/power output. However, the one-leg training (OLT) group improved their peak VO2 and workload/power output significantly more than the two-leg training (TLT) group, from pre to post training (Table 3). Besides these major findings, two thought-provoking findings developed from this study, concerning the groups training progressions and qualitative analysis of the patients limiting factor to training. The OLT group had a significant training progression, to the point where at the end of the study they were training at the same absolute workload as the TLT group, WITH ONE LEG (Figure 1)! Upon qualitative investigation as to what was the patients limiting factor to training, the TLT group said ventilation, while the OLT group said leg fatigue.

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Table 3: Parameters Measured (Bjorgen et al., 2009)

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Figure 1: Training Progression (Bjorgen et al., 2009)

These findings suggest that reducing the exercising muscle mass (OLT) stresses the individual’s muscular metabolic function to a greater degree than traditional training methods (TLT). This greater metabolic stress occurs however at a reduced ventilatory drive. This is important to such a population like COPD patients, because the patient is able to avoid entering a state of hyperinflation. Therefore, COPD patients are able to stress their muscular metabolic system enough to cause adaptations, which are greater than traditional two-leg interval training. These adaptations increase the individual’s ability to do physical activity, as their muscles are in better condition. Therefore, healthcare professions can increase their COPD patient’s quality of life and adoption to doing physical activity by using such a training protocol as seen in this study by Bjorgen et al (2009).



Bjørgen, S., Hoff, J., Husby, V. S., Høydal, M. A., Tjønna, A. E., Steinshamn, S., . . . Helgerud, J. (2009). Aerobic high intensity one and two legs interval cycling in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. European Journal of Applied Physiology,106(4), 501-507. doi:10.1007/s00421-009-1038-1


Dolmage, T. E., & Goldstein, R. S. (2008). Effects of One-Legged Exercise Training of Patients With COPD. Chest, 133(2), 370-376. doi:10.1378/chest.07-1423


Relationship Status: “It’s Complicated”

The relationship between car drivers and cyclists is… complicated. Upon returning to the Greater Toronto Area, I’ve had the opportunity to escape the day and ride out into the countryside. Ahhhhhhhh, its peaceful, the roads roll over the farmland and you can catch your thoughts. Return back to the city limits, and you better be alert or you may be caught in a hard spot. Yet, no matter how many espresso energy gels you shoot back, you’re often left yelling at vehicles as they whip by, just inches from clipping you.

Sadly, these events happen a lot, majority of time it ends with the cyclists sprinting after the car to no avail, or throwing water bottles at the passing car. However, a seemingly close call can turn devastating; road rash, broken bones, a trip to the hospital… coma… death?

Ellen Watters, 28, a rising Canadian cycling star from New Brunswick (N.B.), sustained devastating injures while on a training ride near Sussex, N.B., December 23rd 2016. Ellen was not only a rising star, but was an advocate for better laws to protect cyclists. Following her death, the community orchestrated a campaign to make the one-metre rule a law for motorists in N.B. Currently, the call for the one-metre rule to be implemented is receiving its first legislative reading and is expected to be enacted by June 1st, 2017. If passed N.B. will join Ontario & Quebec, to have a one-metre rule, protecting cyclists.

But, is it enough, seriously?

I rarely (never) see officers enforcing this rule; watching how close vehicles come to cyclists. How can the government policy makers protect pedestrians (i.e. cyclists), reducing the likelihood of injury? I feel having government policy makers and cycling clubs meet together, is good starting point. The clubs can offer data showing which roads are typical for cyclists in the area. This data can then be used to incorporate better protection for cyclists (i.e. bike lanes, or wider road shoulders). Additionally, it is an all too often occurrence to be riding on a bike path, then all of the sudden it will end, throwing you into traffic. Or, you’ll be driving through an area and notice bike lanes… when really no one would ever dream of riding there. Therefore, these bike paths/lanes need to be implemented better.

Of course it is a two way street. It’s very easy, being a cyclist to “trash” drivers. However, cyclists need to respect drivers, as well as the rules of the road. There’s not much more to say to that. If we’re (cyclists) to ride on roads, we must respect the rules of the road.

What can we do in the mean time; advocate for greater public awareness, include cycling paths into road redo’s, implementation of bike lanes, the use of bike lights, even bike bells/alarms…?

Come 2020, in New York there will be a 750-mile long path for pedestrians/cyclists, completely isolated from motorists. The path will stretch from Manhattan to Northern New York, across to Albany and Buffalo. Personally, I believe this is a step in the right direction. Government’s should additionally be placing designated bike lanes on the surrounding roads, allowing cyclists/pedestrians to get to these bike paths safely.

This piece is a personal opinion. I’m very aware of both sides of the story. I simply write this to advocate for greater awareness for cyclists, but also to call fellow cyclists to be safe.


Empire State Trail


Ellen Watters & One-Metre Rule




For my first blog post, I wanted to just give you all an idea what you can expect from my postings;

  1. Gear and race reviews for Running Free, as well as Muskoka Woods, Gears Bike Shop, Specialized Bicycles and Crupi Law.
  2. Journal Article reviews concerning the advances in the exercise physiology field (related to my area of study in Kinesiology).
  3. My progression through training, racing and studying. Specific to this summer (2017), I will be studying for the MCAT.
  4. Race results and photos.

I am sure this whole idea of writing/posting will take some gettAAEAAQAAAAAAAAqYAAAAJDAzZTRmYTc3LWFhMTQtNDliNi1hMWFmLWI3ODcwNDIyZDNmMAing used to, but I’ll do my best to keep you informed and hopefully entertained 🙂

Today was pretty eventful.


This season, I will be an athlete ambassador for Gears Bike Shop and Specialized

Bicycles. And today, I drove down to the Gears Canary District Bike Shop to pick up my new Venge and some Specialized gear 🙂 Their support, and the support from Running Free, Muskoka Woods & Crupi Law, really means a lot to me.

I can’t wait to represent you this season, during and outside of competition.