Schedule at a glance

Saturday sessions

Sunday sessions

1:30 - 2:30 pm

Fraser Quelch

The real deal of muscle function - MT KIDD

We know what our muscles do “anatomically” but does this change when we stand and move in a functional environment? Understanding how our body’s neuromuscular system is driven to react to our actions and how we can harness this incredible proprioceptive power is re-defining the way we train our clients. Learn how to use this powerful approach to create functional chain reactions that will increase muscle activation and bring your clients and athletes to their peak.

Dr. Jamie Burr

I have news about your health - you may not want to sit down for this!- BRONZE

In this session Dr. Burr will explore the ways in which sedentary time effects human health, with a particular focus on the cardiometabolic alterations that occur in response to a prolonged single exposure. We will explore the physiological adaptations which occur in the context of individual and population health, the current state of the research in this area, and practical solutions to off-setting sedentary time in today’s world.

Dr. Stuart McGill

Lessons from the great athletes - GOLD

Measuring the great athletes reveals the mechanisms that create their outstanding performance, and injury resilience. It is not always what is commonly thought. Being stronger can be a double edge sword. Speed and power often competes with common weight room practice. Discussion will broach anatomy, neurology, physiology, mechanics and the spectrum within biological adaptation.

2:45-3:45 pm

Chris tse

Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - Oh My! - SILVER

The world of social media can be a confusing place to navigate: from selfies to high quality cinematic footage, we are constantly producing and consuming media. What makes a great online presence? How do you gain clients and potentially sponsorships by using social media as a part of your networking arsenal? This session explores how to build an online brand and effectively use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to gain clients and attract sponsors. 

Dr. Marc Poulin & Dr. Veronica Guadagni

Exercise, sleep & cognitive function in the older adult - GOLD

With a global dementia epidemic on our doorsteps, this symposium will address the important and emerging role of lifestyle interventions such as aerobic exercise, cerebrovascular regulation, sleep and cognitive activity for healthy brain aging and the potential impact of these interventions for the prevention and/or delay of Alzheimer disease and related dementias. This session will bring together speakers who will address the latest findings on preventive/intervention strategies to promote healthy brain aging. Further, it will examine evidence from animal and human research supporting the hypothesis that physical exercise has a beneficial impact on brain health and the underlying physiological mechanism will be discussed. Finally, other factors such as the role of sleep as potential mediator in the relationship between exercise and brain health will be discussed. The session will conclude with a panel discussion on the role of exercise and cognitive activity in delaying and/or preventing Alzheimer disease and dementia. 

Michael Cook, MSc

Programming considerations in the daily training environment - MT KIDD

This session is designed to provide a historical perspective of periodization concepts and paradigms in relation to  today's fitness and sport environments. In particular, discussion shall be centred around accommodations for unique individual differences within group/team settings, and where applicable, examples of daily monitoring to inform the daily training environment shall be presented.

4:30 - 6:00 pm


Trevor Ragan

JUNGLE TIGER: Using a growth mindset to become a better learner - OLYMPIC

Tigers are a symbol of strength and courage, yet endangered. This metaphor has real meaning in what holds us back from achieving our goals. Join Trevor as he shows you how to open your mind to the learning opportunities all around you. Whether you are an athlete, teacher or change maker, being a learning machine will allow you to reach your capacity, grow and develop.

6:00 - 10:30 pm

Poster Presentation & RECEPTION - EXPLORER

Take in the #PEHF poster presentation showcasing innovative new research and programs in exercise, health and fitness. Network and nosh on some hearty snacks with your peers, and just for fun, we've booked a magician to wander about, and play a few tricks. Cash bar will be open. 





Saturday sessions

Alex Hutchinson, PhD.

Endure: Mind, body and the curiously elastic limits of human performance - OLYMPIC

When you push until you can’t go any farther or faster, what exactly is holding you back? Whether you’re climbing mountains, running marathons, or hoisting weights, a surprising body of recent research suggests that in most cases, limits that feel physical are actually controlled by the brain. That doesn’t mean that physical limits are simply “all in your head,” but it does suggest that we can learn techniques to alter those brain-imposed limits.


Dr. Adam Upshaw

A sweet take on health: Sugar can't be that bad...can it?- MT KIDD

One of the more common currently held nutrition beliefs is that sugar is a very dangerous dietary substance for many chronic health conditions including obesity. This session will put this claim into perspective through an open forum style discussion. Further, a more generalized discussion on dietary carbohydrates and weight management will be included.

Michael Cook, MSc.

Age & stage appropriate plyometric training - GOLD

This session is designed to provide insight into the concept of traditional and non-traditional plyometrics and how to appropriately include them in an athletic or recreational athlete’s physical training program. A framework with appropriate progressions and regressions, along with practical examples is discussed. Finally, maximal strength and other key physical components is discussed in relation to appropriate progressions of plyometrics for various ages and stages.

Dr. Margie Davenport

Prenatal exercise: Guidelines for better health - EXPLORER

Habitual physical activity is associated with substantial health benefits including improvements in physical fitness and mental health, as well as decreased risk of chronic disease and mortality. Pregnancy is a unique period of a woman’s life where lifestyle behaviours, including exercise, can significantly impact her health, as well as that of her baby.  This session will provide an overview of the physiological adaptations of pregnancy on the body. Margie will discuss the considerations and potential benefits of exercise during pregnancy, and present current evidence-based guidelines for prenatal exercise prescription.


Trevor Ragan

Fear: How to overcome fear and spend more time in the jungle. -BRONZE

Fear: how it works, where it comes from. It helps us when we're in danger but hurts us when it comes to learning and developing. Fear of failure keeps you from trying—or from trying again. But becoming better is messy; it takes time and practice—it’s about balancing at the edge of your abilities and dancing with the fear of the unknown. 

Dr. Jamie Burr

Going against the flow: Blood flow restriction for augmenting human performance - EXPLORER

In this session we will examine the novel technique of manipulating blood flow using tourniquet cuffs for human health and performance. We will explore the rationale and effects of manipulating flow both prior to competition, and during an exercise training session for rehabilitation and strength training purposes.

Dr. Vicki Harber

Physical literacy is more than physical: Developing executive functions and social-emotional skills through quality sport and physical activity - MT KIDD

Physical literacy continues to evolve yet remains largely focused on executing and assessing physical or technical skills.  We celebrate physical activity for its ability to improve fitness, support weight loss, and advance athlete performance while ignoring a wealth of other evidence-based benefits associated with quality sport and physical literacy experiences. In particular, building executive functions (EF) and social and emotional learning (SEL) skills THROUGH physical activity are overlooked. Becoming socially aware, learning to manage emotions, and developing responsible decision-making skills are but a few of the attributes that are shaped through quality physical literacy experiences. This talk will discuss these essential elements and describe how to build a comprehensive physical literacy experience for your participants.

Dr Loren ChIu

Applying anatomy and biomechanics to enhance exercise outcomes - did our anatomy textbooks lie? - GOLD

Human muscles have complex features that are not fully described in traditional anatomy courses and textbooks.  Biomechanics principles will be explored to provide a foundation to examine how muscles are designed and integrated with the skeleton to create movement.  Specific examples are discussed to illustrate how better understanding of muscle actions can be used to modify resistance training exercises.

1:30-2:30 PM

Trevor Ragan

Learning Like a Scientist: How to find learning opportunities in obstacles and failure - EXPLORER

Maybe we didn't learn everything we needed to learn about life in kindergarten, maybe we learned it from our grade 5 science teacher. Scientists learn the hard way; they have huge goals–curing cancer, colonizing Mars–and everything they do when they walk into the lab reflects that goal. Do something, screw up something (how many times did Edison fail before he successfully invented the light bulb?) – reflect on the process and try again. That’s learning like a scientist. 

Torstein Eriksen Dæhlin, PhD.

Examining squat variations for targeted muscle strengthening - GOLD

This session will explore how biomechanical principles may be applied to gain a deeper understanding of the squat exercise and its variations. Particular attention will be given to the use of biomechanical principles to understand the muscular demand of the squat. Moreover, how different variations of the squat changes the muscular demands of the exercise will be examined, and how different squat variations may be used to strengthen specific muscle groups discussed.

Dr. Tish Doyle Baker

Training the menstrual cycle: optimization or periodization - MT KIDD

The aim of this presentation is to review the current research examining the effects of the menstrual cycle on exercise and consider the challenges of female-specific research. Begin with, describing the menstrual cycle and propose methods for use in research (stress and heart rate variability). Second, explain oral contraceptive use and its influence on exercise and training adaptations (fat and protein). Finally summarize the current knowledge and research gaps in the investigation of hormones in exercise science.

Dr. Randy Dreger

The evolution of an occupational fitness test - BRONZE

The development of valid and reliable fitness assessments require a number of steps from concept to practice. This session will discuss various steps involved in the development of an assessment. A case study of a single assessment and its evolution over the past 30 years will be utilized as a model.


Trevor Ragan

How to build a growth mindset culture - EXPLORER

Great learners (jungle tigers) can do serious damage in ANY arena–including politics, education or health care. And the key to being a great learner is to first believe that you can. In this session, we'll outline research and case studies about how to create a safe place for learning.

Alex Hutchinson, PhD.

The Science of Running: Lessons from the Two-Hour Marathon Chase - MT KIDD

When Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge ran an unprecedented time of 2:00:25 last year in Nike’s Breaking2 race, observers were left wondering how he had run 2.5 minutes faster than the world record. Was it the high-tech shoes? The team of pacemakers blocking the wind? The bioengineered sports drink? As a reporter for Runner’s World, Alex Hutchinson had behind-the-scenes access to Breaking2’s scientific team, and he shares the crucial takeaways about what worked, what didn’t, and what it means for the rest of us.

Dr. Marc Poulin, Veronica Guadagni & Alia Bharwani, MpH-Hp, BSc-Kin

Perceived and actual barriers to physical activity participation in the older adult - GOLD

Exercise interventions are often successful at helping older adults increase their physical activity levels. But when interventions end, these gains often fade without the intensive instruction and support typically provided in interventions. Furthermore, most people experience barriers that limit their participation in physical activity, and make it difficult to translate increased physical activity levels into their everyday routines. Most individuals need support and strategies to overcome those barriers in their daily lives and make the transition to a sustainable, active lifestyle. Given that older adults are a diverse population, and may experience unique barriers to physical activity from the general population, behavior change support interventions are needed that are designed for older adults and can be tailored to individual needs. In the Brain in Motion II study we have developed a theory- and evidence- based behavior change support intervention to help older adults increase and maintain physical activity in their daily lives. In this session, we will introduce types of barriers and challenges that older adults may encounter when trying to increase and maintain physical activity (results from the Brain in Motion I study), and examples of techniques and a strategy to overcome them (proposed approach to be used in the Brain in Motion II study).



What comes first: Mobility or flexibility? What's more important: Function or range of motion?  - GOLD

Dr. Dennis Valdez, Dr. Loren Chiu, Michael Cook, MSc.

Details to follow.

Top 3 worst things Canadians are doing for their health - MT KIDD

Alex Htuchinson, PhD, Dr. Adam Upshaw, Dr. Tish Doyle-Baker, Katherine MacKeigan

Panel details to follow

Sport performance testing; from recreational youth to professional hockey player - EXPLORER

Dr. Randy Dreger, Dr. Jamie Burr, Dr. Stephen Norris, Alex Game MSc

6:30-11:00 pm

reception - Casino, Murder Mystery night


Reception, Casino and Murder Mystery - OLYMPIC

The money is fake. The mystery is real. And the fun. This year, kick back after a full day of sessions at our casino and murder mystery night, with a retro Las Vegas theme, (think mob-controlled Vegas of yore or DeNiro in Casino). Get out your dress black and whites, and don your lucky bling. Check out the tradeshow, play a little blackjack, watch for bodies under the tables, anything with fava beans, and have some fun.

Free reception with cash bar.  Wear black & white (tie, bling,  big hair, optional)

Sunday sessions


8:30-9:30 am

Alex Hutchinson, PhD

Post-exercise recovery techniques: What does the evidence say? - EXPLORER

From ice baths to compression tights to high-tech cryosaunas, devices and techniques that promise to accelerate your post-workout recovery are a huge industry. But which techniques actually deliver measurable benefits? The scientific literature offers some helpful guidance, along with an important warning: faster recovery may not always be better for you.

Dr. Adam Upshaw

Fake news or bad reporting? Either way, nutrition is confusing! - BRONZE

For those looking to fully understand and appreciate nutrition media headlines and subsequently discuss with clients, this session is for you. We will explore various nutrition claims, statements and advertising ‘bombshells’ with the end goal of being able to decipher through the fluff and hype and take hold of the ‘meat and potatoes’. If you just feel really confused about the ‘latest’ nutrition advice, this session is for you!

Dr. Dennis Valdez

Foam rolling, flexibility and fascia: Myths and misconceptions - GOLD

The use of foam rollers has increased significantly outside of traditional rehabilitation clinics due to the user-friendliness, portability, diversity, and versatility of the instruments used. The number of commercial tools available for purchase has also significantly increased. The rationale used to explain the utility of these tools and methods might be easy to understand; however, there may be some misunderstandings. This session discusses fascial treatments related to the goals of “improving” flexibility.


Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed

Communication in a fitness setting: Applying motivational counselling principles - GOLD

In this session, you will learn about motivational counselling (background/overview), the evidence for application in physical activity settings (i.e., impact on behaviour change), and how to apply motivational counselling strategies in practice.

Dr. Stephen Norris

Sport performance training and development; An international (& personal) perspective - EXPLORER

In this session, Dr. Stephen Norris discusses trends that he has observed or been involved with over the past 5 years internationally, as well as allow time for discussion. Additionally, Stephen has been tasked by the ‘Perspectives’ organizers with sharing a little of what he, as an applied sport scientist, does from a career perspective. To this end, Stephen will provide an overview of his academic and practical career path to date, including where he sees himself ‘going’ over the next decade. Unafraid to touch on personal experiences and life lessons, Stephen hopes that the audience will gain from the sharing of professional successes and mistakes he has made to date.

Dr. Tish Doyle Baker

Curious or Spurious bone health findings: A Sport Scientist Perspective - BRONZE

Sports science is the study of the body as a performance machine. Understanding the interplay between training diaries (self-report bias), DXA scans (objective results), and clinical outcomes (higher baseline in athletes) can be confusing when performance is the ultimate goal and health plays second fiddle. Yet, we know that maximum bone loss probably occurs with amenorrhoea onset, so treatment should start as early as possible. This session will tell the story of investigating bone loss in female athletes.


Dr. Gavin McCormack

“You are where you live.” Neighbourhoods, physical activity and health - BRONZE

This presentation will include a discussion of current scientific evidence on the relationship between the urban built environment and physical activity, followed by an in-depth description and presentation of findings from several local studies that have investigated the relationships between the perceived and objectively-measured neighbourhood built environment, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and weight status in Canadian adults.

Dr. Chris Sellar

Exercise for cancer survivors: A review of the evidence and practical applications - EXPLORER

Exercise has been shown to improve health-related fitness, psychosocial health, and disease outcomes in cancer survivors. The current evidence supporting these benefits will be reviewed. Additionally, guidelines and strategies for providing safe and effective exercise programs for cancer survivors will be discussed.

Lorraine Glass

The Pain interrelationship: Physiological, psychological and environmental factors - GOLD

Pain, a physiological response, but to what?  Our brain is amazing! Learn the interrelationship between factors that impact the pain and recovery process. See how beliefs, thoughts, emotions, past experiences, stress, lifestyle and yes, coaching impact ‘pain’.  Learn how to reduce the perception that movement is threat. Explore strategies such as graded exposure to help the ‘client with pain’ manage.