Fitness for thought
September marks another new beginning. Summer has come to an end and it’s time to return to work and get the kids back to school. Our intentions to make big changes in our life have resurfaced and a new routine is beginning to take shape. Why do so many of us fail when it comes to establishing this new healthy routine?
You may not be focusing on the true issue.
In my experience as a personal trainer I’ve found that if any one of these areas are not well thought out, there will be a greater chance of disappointment.
Find a reliable friend to meet you at your fitness class. Knowing someone will be there waiting for you will be a sure way to get you out of the house! The social aspect of fitness is important, finding someone with common interests and sharing experiences with them will help develop a new lifestyle. The laughs, high fives and words of encouragement from the bonds people make are things money simply can’t buy. There’s a fitness squad for everyone.
Hire a professional and make a standing appointment. By working with a professional you are not only required to get in a workout, but they will ensure you’re exerting quality effort, while at the same time making it entertaining and enjoyable. Not only that, but most health professionals have a 24hr cancellation policy. Knowing you can’t cancel last minute without loosing a session can motivate you to get to the gym.
Make a plan
Rather than going to the gym and continually doing the same exercises that you feel comfortable with. Make a plan or get a periodized program made for you. This way you wont be wasting your time. You will know your making efficient use of your hour at the gym and that your continually progressing and moving closer to your goal.
This can apply not only to exercise but eating healthy as well. Making a plan is key to keeping your meals on track and your grocery bill at a minimum!
The type of goals you set for yourself is important. Specific goals related to your health or performance seems to have the most successful outcomes.
For example: You’d like to reduce the discomfort of your arthritis, or you don't want the symptoms related to diabetes to progress any further.
Another goal could be; I’d like to get up off the floor without using my hands, or I’d like to do a chin up.
These types of goals are usually accompanied with the side effect of weight loss (or weight gain if that’s what your body needs). The stress associated with the way we look can be overwhelming and the results are never fast enough.
Looking at more concrete outcomes will motivate you to pursue your new lifestyle.
Find something you enjoy and look forward too
If you find yourself bored or uninterested with your choice of exercise, chances are it wont last long. Try out every class and service your gym has to offer. You may surprise yourself as to what you enjoy!
Find a workout that makes you feel good and surround yourself with people that help build your confidence as much as your strength.
What’s the cost of putting yourself out there? Priceless!
Some smaller and more instantaneous motivators you could try:
Focus in on any one of these motivators and you’ll take a BIG step towards a new you!
Going on a summer vacation? Afraid you're going to miss your workouts?
Here's a full-body 50 min workout that you can take ANYWHERE!
No equipment needed and very little space required.
It's a great workout and you're guaranteed to feel it the next day
*Note: This is our first attempt at television, so, please excuse the awkward silences in the beginning segment. We get better as we go along and even get a little more witty*
"We often treat food like a one night stand. We don't want to know anything about where the food came from, and we don't want to think about it after your done with it."
I eat meat and I couldn't imagine my diet without it. In fact, my husband and I are good friends with our local butcher! But, after learning more about where my food comes from and both the pros and cons of vegetables vs. meat, I am more inclined to eat smaller portions of meat and bigger portions of vegetables and fruit.
Keep in mind that a plant based diet doesn't mean you need to give up meat entirely. It ranges from individuals who avoid meat all together, to those who eat meat but less than the average person, or they eat no red meat but they eat fish, dairy and eggs. Whatever type you are be sure your getting all the nutrients you may be missing when cutting out a certain food group.
There are several reasons why people choose to eat plant based diets. It could be because of environmental reasons, health reasons, religious or animal rights beliefs etc.
Lets focus on Health benefits from eating a more plant based diet:
It wards off chronic diseases like CVD, type 2 diabetes, High (bad) cholesterol, cancer and bowel diseases!
When people eat more plant based diets, they tend to displace more processed and sugary foods. Which can be a reason in itself for all it's health benefits!
Plants also provide higher amounts of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
Environmental benefits include reducing greenhouse gases and waste production. A study by the United Nations suggested that raising animals through conventional farming generates more greenhouse gasses than all the cars and trucks in the world!
On the other hand cutting out meat completely makes it tough to get adequate amounts of important nutrients. Here's a list of nutrients that may be low or missing in someone who doesn't eat meat:
Protein - Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Vitamin B12 - B vitamins play a vital role in the function of the nervous system, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and help build tissues.
Calcium and Vitamin D - These two work hand in hand to maintain healthy bones and teeth, and is suggested to supply a protective effect against multiple diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes
Omega 3 Fat - acts as an Anti-inflammatory and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Zinc - necessary for biochemical reactions and helps the immune system function properly.
It's important to note that you CAN get all these missing nutrients from non-meat sources. It would be beneficial to talk to a professional to guide you in the right direction before taking on a totally plant based diet.
My personal conclusion from reading this information is to continue to eat meat but in lesser quantities and increase my vegetables and fruits! Easy right?
Now if only Chocolate, Cookies and Wine had the same important nutritional qualities ... sigh
- Sarah Koeslag BHSc, CSEP
(Referenced: Precision Nutrition "The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition". By: John Berardi)
Often i hear people saying "I know i should drink more water but, I don't like the taste of water". I don't buy it! You DO like water, you just don't know it yet! :)
It's important to know that water makes up nearly 60% of our total bodyweight! Each tissue holds different ratios of water.
Bone contains 22% water
Adipose tissue (Fat) contains 25% water
Muscle Cells contain 75% water
Blood contains nearly 83% water
Now let's get science-y...
Water has many important jobs:
Solvent and Transporter
'In with the Good and Out with the Bad'
Water dissolves substances (such as proteins) that will then be transferred throughout your body. Water is the transporter that brings necessary nutrients to your cells that we need to carry out metabolic reactions (life sustaining transformations within our cells). Also, water will transport all the waste products away from our cells and out of our bodies.
Water lubricates your joints to ease our daily movements. It also acts as a shock absorber to our eyes and spinal cord. Water (Amniotic fluid) that surrounds a growing fetus will protect the fetus from forces throughout the mothers body.
Body water content and the movement of fluids throughout our body regulate our temperature. When our body temperature increases, we begin to sweat. As the sweat evaporates off our skin, we are able to cool down.
Make your skin glow
Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the colour and texture of your skin by continually building new cells.
Assists in losing weight
Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
Those are some pretty important jobs!
How much water do I need?
A safe recommendation for daily water intake is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces. A 130lbs individual would need 65 oz (2L) per day. Not all of our water intake comes from drinking. About 1L comes from our food! Mainly fruits and vegetables provide water in our diet. Fats are not high in water content.
There are outside influences that will effect the amount of water you need. If you exercise, if it's hot outside, if you're larger than 'normal', or if you're going through a growth spurt, you'll need to increase these water requirements.
So, if we are adequately hydrated our metabolic processes will be functioning properly and your cravings for sweeter drinks will diminish. And don't forget to eat more fruits and vegetables to help meet your fluid needs!
Sarah Koeslag BHSc, CSEP
*Referenced Precision Nutrition "The Essentials of Sport and Nutrition" *
You’ve just accomplished an exhausting workout and you're ready to go home and jump into the shower…but WAIT! Should I stretch? Nah, who’s got time for that?
Your stretching workout is equally as important as your resistance training and/or cardiovascular workouts.
Human movement is dependent on the amount of range of motion available in our joints. There are many factors and reasons for reduced range of motion only one of which is muscular tightness. Muscles can become tight and shortened through postural adaptation or scarring. They can also become tight due to spasm or contraction. Whatever the cause tightness limits range of motion and may create a muscle imbalance.
During exercise, whether it be a 10km run or a heavy power lifting session, your muscles are contracting, shortening and tension is elevating.
The re-lengthening process can only be done with warm muscles. Stretching with cold muscles will only relieve tension temporarily and could result in injury. When muscles are warm they are more pliable and can lengthen with ease creating a more lasting effect.
The most obvious benefit of stretching is improving flexibility (range of motion). By improving your range of motion your body requires less energy to perform the same movements. With more flexible joints the likelihood of injury acquired during your workouts will decrease.
Our posture! Stretching helps ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Keeping the spine and pelvis in alignment will help improve overall posture. Correct posture will relieve aches and pains and it will ensure your using the proper form and muscles groups during your workout.
By loosening the muscles and tendons during stretching this will increase your stamina, relieve muscle fatigue and increase blood flow. The longer you exercise the more energy you burn eventually leading to fatigue. With stretching you can delay the onset of muscle fatigue by ensuring oxygen is efficiently flowing through our blood.
Stretching promotes blood circulation. Not only could this reduce post workout soreness and shorten recovery time, but also it improves your overall health. Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth, organ function and helps supply our muscles with the nutrients they need to function at their peak!
Set some time aside at the end of your workout to relax and stretch those muscles. Your Body and mind will thank you.
Sarah Koeslag BHSc, CSEP
Not all Personal Trainers are created equal!
I've heard both horror stories and praising recommendations of fellow personal trainers. Ranging from "I was injured during my sessions" to "They completely turned my life around!". What the general public needs to know is that you need to do your own research before hiring a personal trainer. Education and expertise vary from gym to gym.
Things you want to consider before selecting your trainer:
Ongoing education requirements and CPR renewals to remain certified are important.
Although most gyms require proof of certification before they are hired, anyone could claim they are a Personal Trainer with no certification at all! Who's going to stop you? Technically you don't need to undergo any certification. A hobby in fitness is much different than a career in fitness.
A good Personal Trainer uses a great deal of knowledge and applies it to a wide variety of individualized cases. Everyone is so different, there is no one way to train and achieve results. Knowing peoples quirks, personalities, motivators and bodies takes experience to be able to diagnose.
So, remember ASK QUESTIONS! There is a lot of value in having an experienced trainer by your side to guide you towards your new healthy life. Make sure you're happy with your decision.
-Sarah Koeslag BHSc, CSEP