Almost to the Top, Reaching for Self Esteem

Comments 13 by Rebecca Bollwitt

A staple of Canadian television when I was growing up were those short Body Break spots featuring Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod – brought to us by ParticipACTION. The catchy little Body Break tune would chime in and you’d see Hal and Joanne eating right, power walking and telling us what we can do to live a healthy lifestyle. They were always cheery and wore matching pastel coloured track suits.

Starting in the early 1970s, the non-profit agency encouraged Canadians to get fit. The program included a series of television ads that encouraged people of all ages to “keep fit and have fun.” The program ran for three decades, until its funding was cut in 2001. [CBC]

It was announced today that the Federal government pledged $5 million (over 2 years) to renew ParticipACTION to help Canadians develop healthier lifestyles.

shuttle-run.jpgNot sure if the two are related, but when we were in elementary school we had the Canada Fitness Program. It was a check-list of tasks to complete including (but not limited to) long distance running, push ups, sit-ups, and of course, the all-time most-feared – the shuttle run.

Recently in an episode of Corner Gas one of the cops, Davis, was tricked into thinking there was a fitness requirement for the force so he got Brent’s dad to whip him into shape. Oscar went old-school and used the Canada Fitness program to get Davis going. It brought back so many memories, especially of the dreaded shuttle run.

Once a year the older grades would have a list of fitness activities to complete. Depending on the level of difficulty you were able to accomplish, you were given a Canada Fitness Award. They were little badges ranging from bronze, silver, gold and the BEST you could achieve was ‘excellence’. This was a most-coveted badge and in my grade 7 year I reached it. Unfortunately due to a teachers’ strike in the spring, I was never awarded my badge. Go figure.

Current Contests on Miss604
*All contests are open to residents of Canada only, unless otherwise stated. Contest timelines are published on each individual post along with entry methods. Some contests may only be open to those 19 years of age and older. Winners are announced on the contest blog posts. Contest policy »

13 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Gi@nTMonday, February 19th, 2007 — 5:39pm PST

    I too remember Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod! I wonder if they’ve been resigned with the program? Something tells me that’s unlikely; they were good and all, but they seemed a little dated, even in their heyday. If they even had a heyday…

    Oh and I’m pretty sure the best I managed was a silver badge – I was sort of chubby in Junior High – I wonder if I kept it somewhere??

  2. wynTuesday, February 20th, 2007 — 12:59am PST

    I think I got Gold only once ever in the 6 or so years I had to do the Canada Fitness Test. It was the slow sit-ups that killed me. And it was the push-ups that I swear built the upper-body strength that I carried through post-adolescence to still be able to do now.

    I’m curious to see what the new ParticipACTION ads will be like – they were kind of hokey even for the time.

  3. KathrynTuesday, February 20th, 2007 — 8:44am PST

    Reading that totally brings back the absolute dread I had at the prospect of the flex-arm-hang. Everything else I was able to do at the “excellence” level. The arm thing? I sucked. Still do.

  4. Miss604Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 — 8:49am PST

    I think they used to let girls to “girl” push-ups but I always wanted to do “real” push-ups cause I thought I was all tough.

  5. JennyTuesday, February 20th, 2007 — 2:41pm PST

    I don’t remember the flex-arm-hang but apparently the girl I work with was ‘school champ’ 😐

  6. Miss604Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 — 7:10pm PST

    I remember one task being completely unattainable… maybe it was the arm thing. There was a rule on the way you were supposed to do it – the wrong way was really easy but the right way was really hard. Maybe our teacher let that one slide for us…

  7. zanstormWednesday, February 21st, 2007 — 1:13pm PST

    I always wondered if Johnson and McLeod were married, or lovers, lol.
    “Doo doo-doo doo doo doo…Body Breaaak….oooooo yeah!”

  8. melThursday, February 22nd, 2007 — 11:34am PST

    I think the two of them would be an *awesome* halloween costume.. I just need to convince a buddy one of these years 😉 OR.. the golden girls.. no one wants to do that one with me either ….

    Did u guys ever do Countdown 26? We’d get to school *early* and run 26 laps around the entire school. I should be a little more supportive of recreation and atheltics since my mom actually worked for parks and rec but man oh man… did I hate forced things like that 😛

  9. RodThursday, February 22nd, 2007 — 6:42pm PST

    I used to LOVE the shuttle run. When I was 7 I was posting times that they said a 12 year should be able to score. I agree about the flexed-arm-hang, though. That one was HARD.

  10. Miss604’s Canuck Life :: A Vancouver Blog » Blog Archive » The Kidstreet ClapSunday, June 17th, 2007 — 7:49pm PDT

    […] Sometimes I’ll make a totally old school remark that John just doesn’t get. This can usually be explained by the fact that he grew up in Iowa, and I was born and raised in Surrey. Some things are purely Canadian or even West Coast. For example, he has no idea who Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod are [Ms604]. […]

  11. Monday Morning Link Fest: Welcome to Movember » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittMonday, November 3rd, 2008 — 7:56am PST

    […] to a BodyBreak ParticipACTION announcement from Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod I discovered that 2008 is the UN’s […]

  12. BrookLS | bodybuilding programsTuesday, April 13th, 2010 — 3:26am PDT

    I think the two of them would be an *awesome* halloween costume.. I just need to convince a buddy one of these years 😉 OR.. the golden girls.. no one wants to do that one with me either ….
    Oh and I’m pretty sure the best I managed was a silver badge – I was sort of chubby in Junior High – I wonder if I kept it somewhere??Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog and you are so beautiful too.

  13. JonSaturday, June 19th, 2010 — 9:58am PDT

    When I used to work master control for Rogers Cable in Abbotsford back in the day, the Body Break ads were the best. They were exactly 90 seconds, and all our shows were 28:30, so one Body Break ad would get you to the top of the clock and on to the next show.

    Hal and Joanne are a married couple, although they never really mentioned it. Hal was a sales guy who put the whole program together and got the funding. I wonder if he’s involved in the latest incarnation?

Also on