workout

8 Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You To Know

1. Our time together cannot undo a week of poor decisions.  Are you willing to make health and fitness a lifestyle? A full-time commitment? If not, training is an expensive waste of time. Regardless of how hard you workout in the gym a few hours a week, it won't make up for the other 163 hours you spend eating, sleeping and living poorly throughout the week. A good trainer encourages you to make good decisions both in and outside of the gym.

2. "I don't like vegetables" stopped being an acceptable answer after age 5. 

I mean, really? Have you tried all of them? And you hate every single one? …or do you just hate the idea of eating something green? Even if you do, part of being an adult is doing things not because we always enjoy them, but because we know we have to in order to get the results we want. Case and point: veggies. Try eating like a grownup and you just might be surprised at the outcome.

3. "More" doesn't always mean "better". 

A wise man once said, "anyone can make you tired, not everyone can make you better". So those two-a-days, Crossfit workouts at lunch and training at night, and those of you who think rest days are for sissys…you couldn't be more wrong. Depending on your goals and exercise intensity, doing too many workouts can be counterproductive. Make sure your trainer knows how you're cross-training when you're outside the studio to ensure that every workout brings you closer to your goals.

4. Stop saying you don't have time. 

Because I don't believe you. We are all blessed with 24 hours in each day, and it's up to us to decide how we spend that time. What you mean to say is that proper nutrition and exercise aren't priorities. And that's okay. That's your choice and I can't argue with that. But then perhaps it's time to re-evaluate what you think you're getting out of your half-assed training sessions. Be honest with yourself and be honest with me.

5. Working out while undernourished is counterproductive…and stupid. 

Expecting to have a great workout when you're not hydrated or properly fuelled is absolutely absurd. You certainly wouldn't expect your car to get you very far if you hadn't filled the tank, so why should your well-oiled-machine-of-a-body be any different? As your fitness level and strength increase, so do your nutrition needs. When you come to a standstill in your training the answer is not always to restrict calories, but sometimes just the opposite. Keep a food log and review it with your trainer.

6. Stop making excuses. 

Before you text/call me with why you can't make your workout, think about issuing your doctor the same excuse. "Sorry ma'am/sir, I won't make my appointment today - you know, the one encouraging a better quality of life, longevity and lasting motor control - because I…forgot my sneakers at home…slept in...have a headache…got stuck at work…" etc. Those things happen, yes, and there are days you just don't want to work out, but when you truly value what it is you're skipping out on, those excuses become teeny tiny obstacles that are easily squashed by a little motivation and determination.

7. Ladies, bend over and do the butt check. 

Those workout leggings you love so much, put them on. Make sure the seam in the back is slightly off center (you'll see why). Find a mirror, turn around and bend over to touch your toes. Look behind you. Can you see Paris and France? If so, toss 'em. I've seen a lot of beautiful butts over the course of my career, but I've also seen a lot more than I've bargained for due to sheer spandex.

8. It doesn't matter where you're starting from. 

Whether you are new to fitness altogether or you're just looking for a challenge. Maybe you have 100 pounds to lose, or maybe just a few…it doesn't matter. Don't let intimidation of the gym, equipment or other "super fit" people stop you from reaching your goals. We all struggle with weight gain, body image issues and emotional eating to some extent. A good trainer will never judge you for where you're starting from, because it just doesn't matter. Our only concern is where you want to be and how we can help get you there.

Ask yourself the following question, "Is what I'm doing working for me?" If yes, keep calm and carry on. If no, talk to your trainer about making some moves. Change begets change and all that.

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

"I don't want to get bulky"

Ladies, this is akin to saying, "I don't want to get prostate cancer". Well, yeah, that might suck, but just like you don't have the right bits to get prostate cancer, you don't have the right hormones to get bulky either. So unless you accidentally find yourself double fisting anabolic steroids, that just isn't going to happen. But you know what will happen? Training and eating like a healthy athlete will make you look like (and perform like) a healthy athlete. If that's not something you're after, then by all means, put that barbell down!

Can women develop strong, powerful looking muscles? Yes. Have you ever seen Stacie Tovar? Lindsey Smith? Christmas Abott? I promise you that those women work their assess off for every teeny tiny muscle fiber, killing themselves day after day in the gym. Not to mention, they eat like vikings. They have earned those muscles! Will you look like that after strength training a few times a week. Psht. Not a chance. Unless it's your career, the volume of your training couldn't begin to compare, not to mention they eat your days worth of calories for breakfast. No one ever became a weight lifter or a bodybuilder by accident.

If you want to look skinny or achieve the "thigh gap", well then, perhaps strength training isn't for you. Feel free to hit up the recumbent bike or the elliptical for 3 hours a day and let me know how that works out for your bone density a few years from now. Looking like a 13 year old girl is great…if you're a 13 year old girl. Looking like a strong, fit and capable women sounds like a much better goal for most of us to have, don't you agree?

"But I just want to get toned" 

Toned isn't a thing. Someone made it up. Muscles change as a response to exercise. That's it. There's no secret. Your muscles do not become more defined without one of two things happening: a. fat loss, b. lean mass gains. So when you say you want to get toned, you're really asking for BIGGER MUSCLES. The second half of the battle is pristine nutrition.

"I don't want to get too muscly"

Ladies, listen up. You do not possess the necessary hormonal profile to bulk up under heavy weight. Do you know what the 1st ingredient is in BULK? Testosterone. Part of what makes us female is the absence of one hormone in particular. Testosterone. Without the use of some secret supplements, it can't happen. Men have 15-20x more testosterone than women. Women who sport strong muscles are that way BY INTENT. They care more about the number on the bar than the number on their pants. They care more about functional strength than the size of their waist. and they lift heavy things with the intention of lifting heavier things. It's powerful. It's invigorating. and it's not something everyone will understand. I'd rather have muscular quads that allow me to squat, lunge and box jump over a thigh gap that allows me to…well, yeah. Strong isn't the new skinny. Strong is just stronger than skinny. But even if squatting your bodyweight isn't a goal of yours, that's no reason to avoid functional movements like squats, lunges, pushups and pull-ups in lieu of colored dumbbells. Put those down.

"My boyfriend/husband doesn't want me to get any bigger" 

Lose him. Seriously. If he has an issue with something that allows you to feel confident, strong, healthy and fit, he's not the one for you. A few years ago, I went out on a date with a friend…around the same time I decided that being strong and fit was a better goal for me than being frail and thin. Midway through our conversation he paused and said, "but you're done right? I mean, you don't want your muscles to get any bigger, do you?" That date was over faster than you can say D-BAG. He's since moved on and found a fairy of a wife who allows him to feel strong, and I've continued lifting. I guess we both won.

Here's the bottom line girls - if you think you have too much muscle, you don't. If you're using words like "bulky" and "muscly" as deterrents to avoid the gym, stop. Lift something heavy and allow yourself to feel like a badass. Heck! Forget how good it feels for a second and do it because it will decrease your risk of osteoporosis and improve your insulin sensitivity, encourage better posture and a healthy blood pressure. Forget body composition and physical appearance altogether (it's vain anyway - Proverbs 31:30), do it for the feeling you'll get when you realise you just did something you couldn't do years, months or even weeks ago. Chase performance. Learn dedication. Be strong.

Eat real food. Lift real weights. Get real results.

PS. If you're a guy reading this and you don't want to get bulky, please don't ever say that out loud.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Working Out For More Than Weight Loss:

I like the way I look so I don't need to workout.  I'm not as big as some people. 

I've never struggled with my weight and haven't ever needed to exercise. 

I don't go to the gym thanks to my fast metabolism. 

Just a few of many, these statements are absolutely absurd. Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons, least of all, weight loss. Because we live in a world where "overweight" and "supersize" are household terms, working out has been pigeonholed as a solution for extra adipose tissue (i.e. fat). Yes, exercise burns calories and can therefore aid in the weight loss process, but what about all the other great reasons we should exercise? Regardless of how big, little, wide or thin we are!?

10 Super Great Reasons to Workout That Have Absolutely Nothing to do with Weight Loss:

1. It improves your mood. A natural anti-depressant, exercise boosts the production of brain chemicals that ease stress and anxiety, resulting in a happier, more relaxed state of mind. The world would be a better place if we were all physically active!

2. It helps you get more zzzz's. Research shows that individuals who exercise regularly have better quality sleep than their counterparts who are too cool for physical activity. So forget the Nyquil, just go for a jog. Sleep is way too important to be skimping!

3. It boosts your memory. Keep popping the blueberries (they help with memory), but you should also consider squeezing in a workout if you have an upcoming brief or exam. Research shows that aerobic activity boosts hormones associated with stronger memory.

4. It makes you more creative. No joke. Studies show that regular exercisers who workout score higher on creativity exams than those who don't. So grab a jumprope or join a spin class to get those creative juices flowing!

5. It reduces your risk of cancer. NEED I SAY MORE!? This is a no brainer. Exercise and lower your risk of breast, endometrial and other kinds of cancers. Or…don't. And, well, yeah. Just exercise.

6. It energises you. Skip the coffee and get your butt to the gym. Working out has been shown to increase energy by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65%. Sweating increases metabolism and increases the production of dopamine in your brain, a feel good hormone.

7. It grows confidence. Let's set your sexiness aside for a second. Being strong and capable contributes to positive self-esteem and confidence. I don't care if you're 20 or 60, being able to lift heavy, run fast and fight hard  is empowering.

8. It strengthens your immune system. People who workout at least 2-3 times each week take fewer sick days. I don't know about you but I'd much rather take a 'sick day' to play hooky and go rock climbing (insert whatever your idea of fun is here) than be forced to call into work cause you're stuck in bed with the flu.

9. Gentlemen, proceed to #10. It helps with cramps. Ladies, hold the Midol! Those days when you really don't feel like working out are the days you should. Exercise releases endorphins, natural opioids, that relieve pain. Score!

10. It improves job performance. Infrequent exercisers are less productive than those who regularly schedule their sweat sessions. Whether it's 20 minutes on your lunch break or an hour before work, make. it. happen. Pushups…productivity…promotion…just saying!

Don't believe me? Read the full slide show over at Women's Health Magazine.

In summary,

People who exercise function better, feel better and look better (because confidence is sexy).

People who don't make time to exercise have a higher risk of developing cancer, suffering from insomnia, chronic bad moods, fatigue and cramps.

But, you know...it's totally your call! Don't let my opinion sway you.

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

 

 

Winter Workout + Healthy Hot Cocoa = Best SNOW Day Ever!

Shoveling and sledding are both great calorie burners, but if you're stuck inside or you have one of those husbands who shovels for you (I hear some of them do that), here's a great, quick, at-home plyometric workout for you: 200 Squat Jumps 

+ 10 pushups every time stop

GO! Your quads will be on fire after two dozen squat jumps, so imagine how they'll feel after 200! Remember that you can take a break and shake out those legs any time you need to…as long as you drop down and crank out 10 of your best pushups.

Are you up for the challenge?

--------------------

After you get your sweat on, be it from squat jumps, shovelling or sledding, enjoy this tasty treat:

Mexican Hot Chocolate according to MinimalistBaker.com:

Serves: 2

Prep + Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk (I use a combination of unsweetened coconut and almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (you can use more or less depending on your chocolaty preference)
  • optional: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • optional: 1 Tbsp stevia, agave or honey, depending on your taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, bring your milk to a simmer over medium heat.

2. Add cocoa powder, protein powder, stevia (because my protein powder is sweetened with stevia I find that I can skip the extra TBSP of sugar) and spices. Whisk vigorously.

3. Serve as-is or topped with a non-dairy coconut whipped cream (see below).

 

Easy Coconut Whipped Cream according to Detoxinista.com:

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk (cream only)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

** Maple syrup can be substituted for honey, liquid stevia or coconut nectar instead

Instructions:
  1. To get started, you’ll want to chill your can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferable overnight (or in the freezer for 30 minutes if you're short on time). When you remove the chilled can, be careful not to shake it - you want the cream that floats to the top to stay separated from the liquid portion at the bottom.
  2. Carefully open the can of coconut milk and scoop the thickened cream into a mason jar. Reserve the remaining liquid in the can for a morning smoothie!
  3. Add pure maple syrup and vanilla extract to the heavy coconut cream, then screw the lid onto the mason jar. Shake vigorously for 3-5 minutes, until the cream is thickened and fluffier in texture. (You can also choose to beat your coconut milk with a mixer in lieu of shaking if your arms are tired from all those pushups).
  4. Serve immediately over your cocoa or favorite fruit! Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

 

The Best HIIT Workout

The best way to get a great workout is to keep your heart rate jumping, i.e. the Interval Workout! An interval workout involves quick bursts of high-intensity work, asking your heart rate to jump in order to meet the rigorous demands you're placing on your body, followed by short periods of rest where you briefly allow your heart rate to come back down. I recently did this workout and was impressed by how much it challenged me. The BEST part about any interval workout is that it can always be catered to your level of fitness. You push as hard as you can for 45 seconds, knowing that a 15 second break is right around the corner. Let's say the exercise was pushups - for some individuals that might look like 10 pushups in 45 seconds, whereas, other individuals can crank out double the amount of pushups in those same 45 seconds. It doesn't matter! As long as you feel yourself being pushed, challenged and changed from your high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

This interval workout can be done without any equipment, however, if you want the added challenge grab a jumprope, a kettlebell (12-16kg), two moderate-heavy dumbbells (#12-#25) and two lighter dumbbells (#5-#8) as well as a phone with an 'Interval Timer' app or stopwatch.

**Feel free to ignore all the videos unless you're unsure of how to do an exercise.

Round One: 

Complete 3 circuits: 10 reps each for the 1st round, 15 reps for the 2nd round and 20 reps for the 3rd round.

No rest. 

- Burpees

- Mt. Climbers

- Jumping Jacks

Once you've completed 3 circuits, jump rope for 3 minutes (you can pretend if you don't have a jumprope). 

Rest 1 minute. 

Round Two: 

Complete 3 circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break in-between each exercise and circuit.

Set up those timers! 

- Weighted Walking Lunges (hold heavier dumbbells at your side - can be modified by using body weight)

- Pushups (can be modified by dropping to your knees)

- Jumping Lunges

- Walk-outs (inchworms)

Once you've completed 3 circuits, jump rope for 3 minutes. Rest 1 minute. 

Round Three:

Complete 3 circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break in-between each exercise and circuit.

- Kettlebell Jump Squats (can be modified with body weight)

- 1 Arm Dumbbell Rows

(use one of your heavier dumbbells: L arm for round 1, R arm for round 2, switching half way through for round 3)

- Box Jumps (beginners, start on a small box - 6 or 9" and work your way up)

- Stability Ball Knee Tucks

Once you've completed 3 circuits, jump rope for 3 minutes. Rest 1 minute. 

Round Four: 

Complete 3 circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break in-between each exercise and circuit.

- Goblet Side Lunges (L leg for round 1, R leg for round 2, switching half way in round 3)

- Triceps Dips (can be done on a bench, chair or box)

- Speed Skaters (e.g. lateral jumps)

- Plank to Pushup Row (using your lighter dumbbells - can be modified by using body weight)

Rest. Hydrate. Feel Awesome. 

Eat well. Live well. Be well.