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TAR Canada 1 Contestants - Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod - Married Fitness Icons

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TAR Canada Contestants - Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod
No Spoilers Please!
Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod Married Fitness Icons

Hal Johnson

Age: 57 (June 14, 1956)
Nickname: n/a
Occupation: TV Personality – Fitness Promotion
Hometown: Oakville, ON
Place of Birth: Newark, NJ
Couldn’t live without: Protein shake
Good luck charm: “I rub the number 23 on the side of my hat, my daughter’s hockey number, so she is always with me.”
Strengths: Health and fitness, athletics, salesmanship
Fears/Phobias: Heights, claustrophobia
Favourite travel destination: San Diego, CA
Joanne McLeod

Age: 54 (Sept. 18, 1958)
Nickname: Jo
Occupation: TV Personality – Fitness Promotion
Hometown: Oakville, ON
Place of Birth: Toronto, ON
Couldn’t live without: Ear plugs to sleep
Good luck charm: Hal
Strengths: Health and fitness, athletic, media production
Fears/Phobias: Unconventional foods, confined spaces
Favourite travel destination: Cruise ship to anywhere
Hal and Joanne are Canadian icons – for 25 years they have been on television in self-produced fitness interstitials that promote healthy and active living. Joanne notes that they are “huge fans” of THE AMAZING RACE, while Hal adds, “You might say that we’ve been training for this all these years.”
They are eager to show audiences another side of their partnership on THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, and  just like any couple they have moments of tension and moments of laughter.
Their energy is unquestionably infectious. They are also no strangers to competition; as amateur athletes, Hal played baseball for Team Canada, while Joanne represented Canada on the national track and field team.
“People tell us...that they’ve grown up with BodyBreak,” said Hal, “and that could be a big advantage, but it also could put targets on our backs.” Adds Joanne, “It could be a liability, but I think we can use it to our advantage.”
Hal and Joanne have seen so much of Canada, but hope to see parts they’ve never experienced on the Race, such as the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, or reach the highest summit of Canada (Mount Logan, YK).
Motto: “Keep fit and have fun.”
How will they plan to win The Race: “Our strategy is to be as patient as possible, not get ahead of ourselves, allow for each other’s strengths to be utilized, listen, and be persistent.”
Number one roadblock as team: “The biggest challenge will be to keep the intensity and focus for the entire day and race.”

READ MORE: Hal and Joanne plan to use 'BodyBreak' experience to their advantage on 'Amazing Race Canada'

Team photos

Local Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

In conversation with... Hal Johnson
By: Oliver Sachgau

Amazing Race Canada competitors Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod.

Whether you were a couch potato or a fitness nut in the 1990s, you would be very familiar with Hal Johnson. Together with his wife, Joanne McLeod, the two were the stars of Body Break, 90-second vignettes that would air on Canadian television between shows, aimed at trying to get people moving. Johnson and McLeod have remained active in trying to get Canadians into shape through their website, The two will also participate in the TV show The Amazing Race Canada, the first episode of which airs Monday.


FP: Why did you decide to enter The Amazing Race?

Johnson: We've been doing Body Break for 25 years and we thought it was a great way to celebrate. On Dec, 3 we were watching the last episode of the Amazing Race, and they announced there was going to be a Canadian Amazing Race, and we immediately both looked at each other and said "Let's enter," because we're big fans of the show, and we're big critics of the contestants, and we thought 'Oh, we could do a lot better than them.' Little did we know how tough it is even though we'd seen every episode of The Amazing Race.


FP: You're competing against younger people and age can play a role in these competitions. How will you beat them?

Johnson: Age does play a role, and it's called experience. I think the way of looking at is: How are they going to counter for the lack of experience? There are times when your physical ability is needed, but there are also many times where it's how you think, if you stay calm, if you stay focused.


FP: All the new pictures of you are sans-moustache. Is the iconic moustache gone?

Johnson: I got tired of grooming it, actually. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. It was just a moustache. But when I shaved it off, there was a reaction. I may grow it back and have people go to the website to vote whether they like me with moustache or without.


FP: You've been advocating for fitness for a long time. Do you think Canadians are fitter now than we were before?

Johnson: No, I actually think that Canada and all of North America has gone down, specifically our lifestyle has changed. We're not nearly as active. We don't walk around as much. We've got so many things that are automated for us, to get people up and get them going is difficult. But a huge factor is what we eat. The food that people are eating today, the junk foods, the Cokes, the Pepsis, the Gatorade kids are drinking, as much as we know more than we did before, they're consuming more because the sizes are getting bigger. It's an epidemic on any scale you look at it.Childhood diabetes has tripled in the last few years. Our work is not yet done.

What we're going to be doing is going after the companies that do misleading advertising. We have a whole section on misleading advertising that we're going to be shooting this summer. Obviously, we couldn't do that when we were on regular television but we can when we're on (our website).


FP: You have a lot more freedom getting your message out today. How does that change things?

Johnson: We're going to be a little bit more vocal and radical, I guess you could say. A little while ago, I sent out a little tweet saying that the $5-million ParticipACTION is getting from Coca-Cola isn't right. I don't think ParticipACTION should be taking that money from them. I think (they) have an excellent reputation and they're tarnishing it, giving their health halo to a company that's selling sugar water. It's very similar to the Lung Association taking money from the tobacco industry. The reason I tweeted it out, we're often known as the ParticipACTION people, and I wanted to distance myself from ParticipACTION and from their relationship with Coca-Cola.


FP: How do you find all this energy to do the things you do?

Johnson: I don't know. I just get up, get out and do it. It's a lot of fun. I'm enjoying it. We started in '88, and I said 'If we can do this for one year, that'd be great. If we could do it for two years, three years, and five years.' Every year we've said if we could only do this for one more year, wouldn't it be great? We've enjoyed what we do.

These two on CP24 Breakfast today

In the middle of the video there is scenes from episode 1!


Team BodyBreak breaks down in shock Amazing Race Canada elimination.
Amazing Race Canada competitors Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod have been a relentlessly cheerful presence in Canadian homes through their brief BodyBreak fitness vignettes.
By Ruth Myles.

If viewers of The Amazing Race Canada placed bets on which competitor would tell another racer to eff off, we’re guessing there wouldn’t be a nickel wagered on Joanne McLeod.

But Team BodyBreak broke down on this week’s episode of the reality competition, and that not-so-nice phrase escaped the lips of Ms. McLeod when a fellow competitor wished her and her husband Hal Johnson good luck.

How did the country’s beloved first couple of fitness – they’ve been together for 25 years, ever since Hal spotted her lookin’ “great on the pec deck” – fall to such depths? Let’s rewind to the start of the episode. Six teams are still in the hunt for the grand prize of $250,000, two Corvette Stringrays and a year’s worth of executive first-class travel anywhere Air Canada flies.

Despite digging deep, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod could find no trace of the clue in the lentil challenge on The Amazing Race Canada.

In Whitehorse, the Yukon, Jet Black and Dave Schram are the first out of the gate. Onboard the S.S. Klondike, they find the first clue on this leg of the race. It directs them to the airport to book a flight to Regina, Sask., and warns of an upcoming double U-Turn. This means that two teams could possibly have to complete both tasks in a Roadblock. Holly Agostino and Brett Burstein are at the boat at the same time, and the lads call for two taxis. The two lead teams snag the last seats on a flight that puts them in Regina 40 minutes earlier the rest of the field.

But don’t count out Hal and Joanne. Once they arrive in Calgary, where the rest of the teams are to overnight before flying on to Regina, they finagle their way onto the same flight out of Edmonton as the first two teams. This savvy game play comes up red flags on the other teams’ radars, and Team BodyBreak is officially the one to target with the upcoming U-Turn.

Any time advantage from the earlier flight falls by the wayside, though, at the first task in Regina. Teams must sift through a tractor trailer’s worth of lentils to find two small stuffed moose, which compose the next clue.

While Jet and Dave, the two Tims and sisters Celina Mziray and Vanessa Morgan find the stuffies and leave for the next challenge, Holly and Brett and Hal and Joanne search fruitlessly for two and a half hours. Holly and Brett decide to take a two-hour penalty and move on. Hal and Joanne see this, and follow suit. Brothers Jody and Cory Mitic, meanwhile, keep pawing through the sea of lentils.

At the next task, one team member has to assemble a cadet room, known as a “pit,” to the exacting standards of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police training academy. Despite Jet’s edge — dude is a police officer, y’know – it takes him five attempts to pass inspection. (And the commanding officer is none to happy with Jet’s delivery of “Sir,” which is more suited to the movie Stripes than the RCMP. All Jet hears, though, is “Bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah” a la an adult talking in a Charlie Brown cartoon, he says to the camera.)

Still, he and Dave maintain their lead, followed by Hal and Joanne, Holly and Brett, the two Tims, the sisters – “In the Mounted Police, we don’t cry!” Celina is told when her eyes start leaking during a stern talking-to — and Jody and Cory. (The brothers make up for lost time, though, with military man Jody passing inspection on his first try. It took others hours to get it done right.)

Jet and Dave showboat at a challenge held at Taylor Field in Regina during an episode of The Amazing Race Canada.

After receiving their next clue at City Hall, teams move on to the Roadblock at Taylor Field. They select either Brawn – a series of football training exercises under the watchful eye of Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback coach Khari Jones, – or Beauty – performing a routine with the Riders’ cheerleaders.

While Jet and Dave power through their Brawn challenge with a minimum of fuss, Hal and Joanne are bogged down by the demanding choice. Holly and Brett, meanwhile, struggle with Beauty. The two Tims rocket past both teams. Second to the U-Turn, the father-and-son duo are the first to use it, singling out Hal and Joanne to perform the other half of the Roadblock. Team BodyBreak narrowly beats the doctors in reaching the U-Turn in the stadium, and target Holly and Brett.

The doctors manage to nail the Brawn challenge on the first go, but Hal and Joanne fumble the dance routine. As Holly and Brett leave the stadium, Brett wishes the pair good luck. In reply, Joanne drops the F-bomb, although I don’t think Brett will know what she said until he watches the episode.

At the Pit Stop, Jet and Dave are awarded two tickets anywhere Air Canada flies in Canada for their first place finish. They are followed by the two Tims, then Holly and Brett. The doctors, however, have that two-hour penalty to wait out, so they stand aside as other teams arrive. The sisters are next, then the brothers. Hal and Joanne pull in last, and are eliminated from the race.

Next week sees the teams in Quebec City, where Holly and Brett’s being from Montreal should come in handy, language-wise.


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