Keep fit and have fun; For 20 years Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod have been Canada's fitness gurus
This is story is in full text.
The Edmonton Sun Mon 21 Apr 2008 Byline: BY CARY CASTAGNA
They're known as Canada's made-for-TV fitness gurus.
For the past 20 years, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod have been doling out
fitness advice in 90-second television snippets as the smiling and affable hosts
of Body Break.
Much has changed in the fitness industry over the last two decades.
couple's message hasn't: Keep fit and have fun.
"That's been the whole mantra of the show," says Johnson, 51. "If you have
fun with what
you're doing, consequently you're going to get in shape. It's really that
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Keeping their message simple has been vital to the husband and wife's
long-running mainstream appeal.
They've also strived to keep their advice practical.
And most importantly, the national icons - who live in Oakville, Ont., but
will be in Edmonton this weekend - have never come off as intimidatingly flawless fitness
freaks. That's because they're not perfect.
McLeod, 49, admits there are days when neither of them wants to exercise.
"You go through periods when you have more time to focus on taking an hour
here or there to work out. And other times, you're just not motivated," she
explains, adding life is often a "juggling act" between home, work and family.
"We're like everybody else."
While not perfect, they certainly practice what they
Johnson, a fit 225 pounds at six-foot-three, plays hockey three days a week
and coaches their nine year-old daughter Sierra Johnson's hockey team.
"Hockey is a sport that doesn't get me in shape. I've got to get in shape to
play hockey," he says.
So Johnson hits the treadmill five times a week for 60 to 90
And most days, he pumps iron - concentrating on different bodyparts each
session for up to 40 minutes - to maintain his strength and muscle mass.
In the summer, Johnson enjoys about 100 rounds of golf, which he says is "not
a walk in the park, quite literally" because he usually opts for a rather hilly
course close to home and always refuses to take a cart.
"I never want to go in a golf cart. When I get in the cart, just put me in
the pine box," says the former college baseball standout and seventh-round draft
pick of the Cincinnati Reds who played in the Alberta senior men's baseball
league in the late 1970s.
Johnson also likes to go inline skating during the warmer months for up to 50
km at least three times a week.
Meanwhile, the other half of the venerable down-to-earth duo recently
enrolled herself in a weekly hour-long hockey clinic.
McLeod, a fit 155 pounds at five-foot-eight, had never been on hockey skates
until this year.
Growing up as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan with posters of Frank Mahovlich and
Dave Keon adorning her bedroom walls, McLeod says she had always wanted to play
Now with their daughter enrolled in hockey, McLeod decided to give it a go,
"I thought if I don't do it now - turning 50 - I never will," she says,
adding she plans to play in a women's league next year.
A track and field standout who was nominated as Canadian Female Athlete of
the Year in 1974, McLeod runs at least twice a week.
She completed her first marathon in January. Typically, she goes for a
40-minute jaunt during the week and a longer run on the weekend.
Like her hubby, she's also an avid golfer. She hits the links for about 60
rounds each summer.
And in addition to frequent inline-skating outings in the warmer months,
McLeod also likes to cycle for 40-60 minutes a couple times a week.
That's in addition to weekly trips to the weight room.
As for nutrition, both say it's all about making healthy choices - which
individually may seem small but add up over time. That could include drinking water instead
of pop, having a salad or chicken pita for lunch in lieu of a cheeseburger, or
reaching for a piece of fruit rather than a chocolate bar or bag of potato
chips, Johnson explains.
"You're the one in charge of what goes in your system," he adds, admitting
even he relishes the occasional piece of pie among other treats.
and healthy couple launched Body Break on June 8, 1988, shortly after a chance
meeting at a Toronto gym.
Since then, they've created more than 300 episodes of Body Break, which included a two-year
relationship with ParticipACTION.
The entertaining and educational spots - complete with the familiar Body
Break ditty - are aired up to 800 times a week on more than 100 TV stations
across the country. They're also played in 400 doctors's offices from coast to
Johnson and McLeod are currently producing a new series of episodes, while
also developing a full line of supplements and food products, such as energy
bars and cereals, set to hit shelves next year.
In the meantime, they're bringing their fitness message to the Edmonton
Health and Wellness Show this Saturday at the Mayfield Inn Trade Centre.
It's the latest leg in their lifelong journey to help make Canadians
"It's been a good 20 years and hopefully in another 20 years
we'll be like Jack LaLanne," McLeod says, referring to the 93-year-old Godfather
She adds with a laugh: "But Hal won't be wearing spandex."
HAL AND JOANNE'S FITNESS TIPS
1) To tone muscles, perform three to five sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. To
develop size, perform three to five sets of six to eight reps.
2) When you exercise one arm or leg at a time, you'll ensure that the weaker
so that both sides are equally strong.
3) Stretching can improve flexibility at any age and can also
reverse joint stiffness.
4) Breakfast eaters tend to have a higher metabolism and therefore burn more
calories during the day.
5) Being active with your kids can help their eye-hand co-ordination,
concentration and memory. It can also help them form positive attitudes and
increase their self-esteem.