Your Brain On Exercise: the Catalyst January GO! Newsletter

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Before I get into the brain and exercise stuff, it's that time of year: people want to "get fit." They may call it by different names : weight loss, 'toning,' exercise – but what they really mean is that they have to create a HABIT. No one believes that they can become the person they want to be overnight – there's no pill, vibrating machine, or shake that will magically do it FOR you – and if we can show them a way to LOVE exercise, they'll eventually succeed.

This is the OnRamp philosophy: show you HOW, push you THROUGH, bring you BACK. Hundreds of people have succeeded through OnRamp in Sault Ste. Marie. 6 sessions, small groups, a great start on a lifetime path. Call 705-256-1344 to register (or shoot us an email at

Enrichment Groups

The potential of the human brain to learn, build and rebuild is tremendous. We haven't reached anywhere NEAR our limit yet. Exercise helps build stronger connections to memory; helps recall information faster; helps build NEW connections between bits of knowledge; helps you keep memories LONGER; and helps make learning FUN. In fact, we wrote a book about it.

To make opportunities for EXTRAcurricular learning in the Sault, we started the Ignite! Academy. Starting January 9th, we have kids' classes in math (Move-A-Matics,) public speaking, drama, creative writing, money management…and more to come. The full schedule is here: Enrichment Programs For Kids.

 After a lot of conversation with parents of kids who have had concussions in the last few months, and a LOT of research, we've developed the ConcussionPro program. Jeremy Paquin, OT, has put together a pre-concussion testing package. Before the season starts, an athlete is tested to establish cognitive baselines; if he or she sustains a concussion (heaven forbid!) during play, they can be retested right away and those scores taken to your doctor. You'll KNOW how injured they really are; you'll KNOW how much their brains have been affected. From there, you can choose to do Ignite! one-on-one training to help them recover their lost cognitive abilities (or not) and retrain their brains as they prepare their bodies for play again.
Pretesting is only $30, and post-testing is free.Book a time slot with Jeremy Paquin, OT to take the baseline test here.
We've been talking to behavioural analysts, MDs, PhDs, chiropractors, and other OTs and physiotherapists about concussion, but the urgency to act – to help, any way we can – has meant that we're starting this program three months early. We'll have more testers by June; in the meantime, it's worth the effort to get in, either with your team OR individually.

Stew Blake

A few years ago, while volunteering to help with the St. Joe Island Triathlon, I was lucky enough to share a truck cab with Stew. In those few trips, he told me things about the REAL triathlete lifestyle and experience that I've never forgotten.

Stew suffered a head injury of his OWN, recently, and a big group of his friends have banded together to help him out. They built a facebook group – now almost 250 members strong – to keep people updated about Stew's progress (his therapy is REALLY interesting to us!) 

On January 27, they'll be hosting a benefit for Stew and his family. Tickets available at the park, or through some of the group members. Catalyst will be donating some prizes, so get in there and bid high! 

AntiAggression Seminar


In the last few months, Ty and I have been speaking to a lot of community groups about Ignite!. One of our most interesting collaborative discussions was with Algoma Family Services, where we were besieged after the presentation with caseworkers who wanted to apply Ignite! to their case families.

The AntiAggression Seminar addresses one of their chief concerns: how do we help people learn to AVOID the downward spiral of frustration, rage, and overt aggression? We know it's possible, using a combination of Ignite! coaching and physical activity. This isn't the same old, "burn off stress!" model, but a practical, step-by-step long-term plan for overcoming the cycle of violence and aggression FOREVER.

The one-day seminar is on January 14th; includes the Ignite! Anti-Aggression Handbook; and is for treatment providers and caregivers only. Participants will become Certified Ignite! AntiAggression Specialists upon successful completion of the exam. There are three spots left at time of writing. Register by calling 705-256-1344, emailing, or online at this link.

Kids' Jiu-Jitsu

One of the most productive sports you can put your kid into is Jiu-Jitsu. There's no striking, but all the discipline (and 10x the fun) of a traditional martial arts class for kids. Mitch Fryia has done a tremendous job of creating a fun program (starting with Rumble/Tumble, ages 3-5, and building to Youth Jiu-Jitsu) that incorporates grappling, wrestling, escapes, and games. Kids NEVER call it 'exercise,' but most show up several minutes early to run and roll on the mat before class! Parents tell us their kids HATE missing Jiu-Jitsu!

Tuesdays at 4:30, Thursdays at 7pm, and Saturday mornings at 11am. Register monthly online here, or by calling 705-256-1344.


Quick Links…

Steel City MMA
Catalyst Varsity


The Park (our CrossFit gym)

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The science of brain training, healing, and excellence is blooming quickly…but it's still in its infancy. We predict that soon, we'll be able to conclusively identify different exercises that help with specific areas of cognitive development. In the meantime, we encourage parents and educators to incorporate as much 'play' – exercise – INTO the learning environment as possible. Move while you learn: it's fun, it makes learning easier, and helps you learn things BETTER. It's not just about kids burning more calories. It helps adults, too: do some squats before your lunch meeting, and you'll notice results right away!



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Catalyst Fitness Inc. | 498 Queen Street East | Upstairs | Sault Ste. Marie | Ontario | P6A1Z8 | Canada