Sunday, December 6, 2009

THE WINTER HOLIDAY SEASON

Weight Gain season starts now and runs straight through New Year's. Before you know it you know it you’re waistline has grown….

Whether you celebrate – Kwanzaa, Hannukah or Christmas –the Holiday season can create havoc on with your health regime.The work parties, family gatherings and tons of food and drink make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet.

Many people chose to overindulge because of the holiday season. Here’s an interesting statistic. Did you know that most North Americans will gain up to 10 pounds of weight during the holidays?

Here’s a Kicker:
The average person has about 30 billion fat cells. If you are overweight or obese you can have over 100 million fat cells!. When you eat all that great Christmas baking, chocolates and kielbasa, those fat cells can expand--up to 1,000 times their original size! Unfortunately a fat cell can only get so big and once it reaches it’s limit it multiplies. Plus, once you have a fat cell – you have it for life! You can NEVER burn it off. So remember this when you grab for that next short-bread cookie.

Here are some Tips for the Holidays

MAKE A PLAN
NOW is the time to plan for the weeks ahead. Once the holidays begin you will be too busy to put a plan into action. But people make the mistake of trying to fit their regular workouts into a busier and more unpredictable schedule. Outline a plan before the season starts – get into a routine now, because you won’t later.

EXERCISE
Since you’ve outlined a plan – make sure that you fit your workout in. Take some time off for yourself and exercise – you’ll be glad that you did.

MAINTAIN YOUR METABOLISM
Don’t starve yourself. Eat a good breakfast. Maintain a healthy eating schedule which includes protein during the day. Your metabolism slows down from the long absence of food. Avoid this yo-yo of starvation and overindulgence by carrying healthy snacks with you and eating something every three hours. With the holiday season, it’s easy to indulge in a high calorie meal.

EAT SMART
Aim for 5 or 6 evenly spaced meals a day. This isn’t just for the holidays. Not only is this the best way to burn fat but helps to maintain muscle, Eat a good portion of vegetables and stay away from the processed foods, white bread & pasta. Choose whole grain products. Limit the booze. Alcohol intake can quickly add hundreds of calories. And guys, it significantly increases estrogen and reduces your testosterone levels. Drink water. Along with your regular hydration requirements, drink a glass just before the big meal. Wait a good 20 minutes before going for a second helping. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize that the stomach is full.

Remember – all things in moderation. If your Aunt keeps hounding you to grab seconds – politely decline. Offer to take a goody bag home instead. If you’re hosting the party - present food in various locations to encourage activities and mingling as well as eating. Stick with your exercise program. Don’t fall into a rut.

The point of holiday gatherings is to celebrate. Mingle with friends and loved ones instead pigging out. Unless you have a high metabolism like myself, you are going to regret going overboard.

Not sure what to do when faced with temptations? – take the Heart & Stroke Foundation Quiz and see how well you fare Go to

: http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?src=healthline&c=ikIQLcMWJtE&b=4016859&ct=6345681


This is a special time of the year. Enjoy it with your friends and family.
Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

UNDERSTANDING BODY TYPES - Somatotypes

In the mid 1900’s, Dr. William Sheldon identified three fundamental elements – the somatotypes. He named his somatotypes after the three germ layers of embryonic development: the endoderm, that develops into the digestive tract, the mesoderm, that is to become muscle, heart and blood vessels, and the ectoderm that is to form the nervous system.

The three basic body types:

Endomorphic body type is characterized by an increased amount of fat storage, due to having a larger number of fat cells than the average person, as well as higher proportion of digestive tissue. They have a wide waist and a large bone structure.. Endomorphs often have great difficulty losing body fat.

Mesomorphic body type is characterized by a high rate of muscle growth and a higher proportion of muscular tissue. They have large bones, solid torso combined with low fat levels. It is also noted that they have wide shoulders with a narrow waist. Mesomorphs are the genetically gifted and are usually lean, muscular and naturally athletic. Mesomorphs lose fat and gain muscle with ease.

Ectomorphic body type is characterized by long arms and legs and a short upper body and narrow shoulders, and supposedly have a higher proportion of nervous tissue. They also have long and thin muscles. Ectomorphs usually have a very low fat storage; therefore they are usually referred to as slim and have a fast metabolism.

In his book, Atlas of Men, Sheldon categorized all possible body types according to a scale ranging from 1 to 7.

The pure Endomorph is 7–1–1,
The pure Mesomorph 1–7–1 and
The pure Ectomorph scores 1–1–7.

Although there are three basic body types, most people are a combination of two or more. For example, most football linesmen are endo-mesomorphs. There could be high levels of muscle, often covered with a layer of fat. Their body score may be 5-6-1.

To understand your body make up, it is best to analyze the characteristics that seem to suit you and plan around it.

The Endomorph

Most people fall into this category. An endomorph can store fat easily and regularly struggles with controlling body fat. Endomorphs have a difficult time losing fat by dieting alone. They usually have carbohydrate sensitivity and insulin resistance.
To have a healthy lifestyle, Endomorph’s must rely on exercise and nutritional discipline. Processed and refined foods must be eliminated. They need to boost their metabolism by adding resistance training. Cardio/Aerobic exercise is necessary to stay lean. Avoid over-sleeping .

The Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are considered the genetically gifted individuals who are the typical natural-born athletes. Most are lean and muscular who can lose fat and gain muscle without much effort.

Many mesomorphs never see their full potential as they tend to rely on their genetics through life. The lack of discipline will eventually catch up. The best thing for a mesomorph is to train hard to reach their potential. Watching what your nutritional intake but allowing for the occasional “cheat” meal is all that is needed.

The Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are usually tall and slim with a high metabolism. They are the usual long distance / endurance athletes who have a hard time gaining weight.

Ectomorphs must workout regularly in order to maintain muscle. Because of their high metabolism, ectomorphs must eat 5 or 6 daily meals of high calorie dense foods. Ectomorphs should get plenty of sleep and limit their cardio to shorter high intensity workouts (bodyweight & plyometrics). Exercise should focus on resistance training to build muscle – basic movements while lifting heavy.

To determine your body type

As mentioned before, it is hard to find a somatotype that is one pure type. You must understand your body. What were you like growing up? Were you a late bloomer? How quickly do you respond to training? To you gain weight quickly? Are you in the same shape as you were 10 years ago? 5 years ago? 20 years ago?

Although you can change your body composition, some aspects of a Somatotype cannot be changed. Bone structure helps to determine your actual body type more so than muscle and adipose mass changes. Many people complain of being “big-boned” citing this as a reason they are overweight. Surprisingly most people are small or medium boned and that joint size has nothing to do with the ability to lose body fat!

Remember the rating:
A pure endomorph is 7–1–1,
A pure mesomorph 1–7–1 and
A pure ectomorph scores 1–1–7.

I would consider myself a 1-4-6. I’ve always been slim with a fast metabolism and have to work hard for all the gains. Fortunately this has resulted in a disciplined approach to reaching my potential as a Fitness Leader. My weaknesses has become my strength – how many people do you know that can leg press over 700 lbs?

Conclusion

Just remember, these are generalizations.  Most of us have characteristics of two or even all three somatotypes. And although somatotypes have been long used as ways to define body types, there is much more to one’s genetic make-up. In Reality, only 5 to 10% of your body pertains to Genetics.  Programming – such as Diet, Lifestyle and one’s Physical Activity have a much more dramatic  effect on body type definition.

So, Heredity does influence your body type. However, no matter what body type you are it is YOU and you alone that creates the end result. If you are fat and overweight, or skinny and weak, it is your own doing. Take responsibility to change – to improve yourself. Make a lifelong commitment to a fit lifestyle. There is no reason that you cannot maintain the physical attributes 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

For many, age is just a number. If you want mental clarity, feel positive and live life to the fullest it’s never too late to start. Don’t let life pass you by and miss out on the joy of being fit and healthy. Get off the couch, take a walk through the park, go for a swim or start an exercise program. You CAN change!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Exercise in a Pill


Have the heard the latest news? Once again a pill to replace exercise has been toted as the next best thing in the news. Not only this but in desperation to lose weight, many people turn to fat burners for help. In the last year or so fat burners have become very popular – you now see them in most large stores and supermarkets. Most fat burners are pills claim to increase your energy or metabolism while others offer to suppress appetite.
Unfortunately most of the so called research done to produce positive results are from such large dosages of the ingredients that are no where near what they put in the bottle.
Because it's uncertain that fat burners work or if they're safe if taken over an extended time period I decided to revisit a past newsletter – Exercise in a pill.
Dr. Ronald Evans a molecular biologist/scientist with the Salk Institute have been doing tests with mice that “genetically reprogram” cells mimicking the effects of exercise.(1)
Even when the mice are not active, the chemicals GW1516 and AICAR activate the same fat-burning process that occurs during exercise.
The pill boosts endurance. It stimulates a protein that produces an enzyme that provides energy to muscle cells making the cells act like they belong to marathon runners. Treated mice ran 44% longer than untreated mice.
That may be great for those with joint problems but it sure doesn’t help the heart or lungs – so much for any cardiovascular benefits. Such a medication may even add stress or other ill effects to the body.
The drugs genetically reprogram muscle fibres to burn fat and contract repeatedly without fatigue. Great for all those coach potatoes – right?
 Hmmm....
 Maybe if you are the size of the couch…..
If a so-called drug can give unused muscles more endurance – it’s not the “be all to end all.” Don’t get this mixed up with actually strengthening your muscles. Muscles need more than endurance – it requires strength and power training also. Simply put, muscles require resistance under load and with intensity to see improvements. Intensity of effort is the key training variable for optimizing training results.
Ignoring the controversial abuse by athletes - similar to that from steroids, this exercise pill may have therapeutic potential – to those with illnesses that may be bedridden, have certain muscle diseases, or are frail or obese. Mind you, I’m sure there will be side effects.
Even if there was a magic pill – and you could afford it…there are much more benefits to exercise. Besides adding strength and tone to the muscles, exercise works your heart and lungs. An exercise pill won’t build your self-esteem and confidence you get from a good work-out. Resistance and Aerobic exercise can improve your mood, add brain power, help your sex life, and change your body for the better.
One of my favorite sayings is “Use it or Lose it.” The human body was meant to move.
There are no magic pills, no short-cuts, no special diets, machines or routines that will result in “getting into shape” Strive for an overall plan to increase your health, fitness, well-being and quality of life. And most importantly – have fun!

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GW501516
(2) Exercise In A Pill: Researchers Identify Drugs That Enhance Exercise Endurance". Science News. ScienceDaily. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-01.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Correct Posture

“Stand Straight" "Sit up”

When we were young we were told to have good posture. But, were we taught effective ways to proper posture?

Did you know:

Approximately 80% of the population will suffer from back pain in their life time.

Based on a UK Government study, one half work day is lost annually due to work-related musculo-skeletal absences.

70% of people in offices suffer postural problems.

Do you have a sore neck? Your head weighs approximately 3.5 kgs (8 pounds). If you are reading this at your computer your chin may move forward 6 cms adding another 1.5 kgs (3 lbs) for the muscles of your neck, shoulders and traps to support. That’s almost a 40% increase. Left untreated, the effect of chronic desk slump results in rounded shoulders or what physical therapists call upper-cross syndrome.

WHAT IS POSTURE?

Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. The earth exerts a pull on the body in a straight line toward the earth’s center. Good posture is a neutral alignment that occurs when body landmarks such as the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders are in line with the pull of gravity. The body is balanced front to back and side to side.

While standing, neutral alignment is when the pelvis is vertically aligned. If your pelvis was a bucket of water, no water would spill out to any side. With an anterior tilt of the pelvis (arched back), water spills out the front. With a posterior tilt (flat back) the water spills out the back.

POOR POSTURE

When poor posture sets in, the bones are improperly aligned, the muscles, joints and ligaments or take on more stress than intended. Fatigue, muscle strain, compression of blood vessels and pain can result. Besides stiff necks and rounded shoulders, faulty posture can restrict your breathing, and tighten up the thighs, legs and ankles.

Postural dysfunction can even affect the position and function of major organs and your leg length!

GOOD POSTURE

Good posture helps your body function at it’s best. Proper posture is also good prevention and good appearance, which contributes to an overall feeling of well-being.

Back – A healthy back has three natural curves that are in balanced alignment: (1) cervical curve - slight forward curve in the neck, (2) Thoracic curve – slight backward curve in the upper back, and (3) Lumbar Curve – slight forward curve in the low back.

Muscles – Strong and flexible muscles are essential to good posture. Abdominal, hip and leg muscles that are weak cannot support your back’s natural curves. Good posture prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.

Joints – Hip, knee, and ankle joint balance your back’s natural curves when you move making it possible to maintain good posture in any position.

HOW TO CHECK YOUR POSTURE

Do you have poor posture?

One of the areas that I look at when doing a fitness assessment is posture. Proper posture includes good muscle flexibility, normal motion in the joints, strong postural muscles, muscle balance on both sides of the spine and awareness of your own posture.

Here’s a couple of simple ways to check your own posture:

Have someone take a picture of you from the side. Wearing minimal clothing (like a bathing suit) stand as you would normal - tall but relaxed. Check to see if the middle of your ear is in line with the middle of your shoulder, hip, and ankle. If you can't draw a straight line through these points, then your posture needs improving.

Using a mirror, align your ears, shoulder, and hips. Proper alignment places your ears loosely above your shoulders, above your hips. Again, these points make a straight line, but the spine itself curves in a slight 'S

HOW TO FIX POOR POSTURE.

A long day at the office or a lengthy drive in the car can tax our abilities to maintain a healthy posture. Lack of movement causes shortening of the hamstrings, glutes (butt), and lower back muscles.

Standing, sitting or moving, your bones and muscles complement one another, acting in unison to form the musculoskeletal system. There are 206 bones and over 600 muscles that all interrelate with each other.

Posture can only be corrected if you are aware of your posture compared to “good” posture.

First, let’s look at some of the causes of poor posture:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Weak or tight muscles
  • High heeled shoes
  • Sitting on top of your wallet
  • Sitting at a computer for long periods.
  • Poor work environment.
  • Lack of abdominal strength.
  • Unconsciously standing or sitting improperly.

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING GOOD POSTURE

Poor posture can be changed consciously with strengthening, stretching and posture checks throughout the day. Good body alignment and flexibility is important.

  • Concentrate on keeping your three natural back curves in balanced alignment.
  • Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Sleep on a firm mattress. Avoid oversized pillows.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Exercise regularly. Incorporate functional strength training and core training.
  • Warm up and stretch before physical activity.
  • Use proper body mechanics – bend your knees when picking something up or carry heavy objects in two hands close to your waist and don’t twist when lifting..
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled, well-supported shoes.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
  • Walk with good posture. Head erect, chin parallel to the ground.
  • Try Yoga or pilates.
  • At work, take time to stand upright and retract your scapula (squeeze your shoulder blades together) regularly.

CONCLUSION

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has stipulated that despite the changes that occur naturally with aging, good posture can be maintained and poor posture improved.

To have good posture it is essential that your back, muscles and joints be in tip-top shape.

Posture can only be corrected if you are aware of YOUR posture and what is “good” posture.

Poor posture comes in many unattractive styles, all of which distorts the body’s proper vertical alignment and the back’s natural curves. If you have poor posture, it is recommended that you complete a postural evaluation from a physical therapist who can identify your particular problem and give you suggestions for correction that can then be incorporated into your fitness program. We all know that you have a fitness program right?

A great benefit of keeping your head straight, and your ears/shoulders/hips aligned is the improvement in your looks and attitude. You will appear more confident and your self-esteem and attitude will improve!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Abs - Got your 6 pack abs yet?

Now that summer is here people are wondering why their quest for a great body – those six pack abs are not anywhere in sight.

It appears that more people have opted for grabbing a 6 pack of beer from the vendor than from trimming down their waistline for those much cherished “Six-Pack”.

No muscle group is more noticeable for men or woman than their abs. In order to have the appearance of a six-pack, you must lower your body fat levels. Doing endless situps and crunches will NOT create a smaller waist or flatter stomach.

Getting “cut” is the development of the bands of connective tissue of the rectus abdominis muscle into deep grooves combined with low levels of subcutaneous fat (fat storage).

Your abdominals are like any other muscle in your body. They can be overworked. Doing endless ab work will not reduce the size of your waistline. On the flip side, it is unlikely that doing too much Ab work, especially with higher intensity/resistance, will result in giving you a big waist. Your ab muscles have a relatively small proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers and are smaller and less leveraged than other muscle groups.

What is required to get Killer Abs?

First, performing strength training for all of your major muscle groups with moderate to heavy weights. This includes strengthening your midsection with added resistance and honing in on core training. Not only will this tighten your abs, but will help to boost your metabolism making your body a fat burning machine.

Second, the best way to burn fat is by doing high intensity interval cardio/aerobic exercise.

Finally, and most importantly – THINK NUTRITION - you must eat smart. This is a must. You have to lose body fat, not weight, in order to “see” your abs and this can only happen when you eat high quality foods. This will help you control your blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and energy levels. Insulin management will help you lose fat and prevent you from gaining fat.

Some Ab Mistakes to consider:

1.Eating too big of portions – moderation is the key.
2. Spot Reduction does not work – you need to lose fat.
3.Having an unbalanced diet – focus on 5 or 6 balanced meals per day AND EAT BREAKFAST!
4. Lack of concentration – aiming for reps rather than technique.
5. Not drinking enough water – water helps flush out waste products.
6. No training variety – vary the exercises – keep your body guessing.
7. Poor Cardio Sessions. Moderate to High intensity workouts are necessary.
8. Working your Hip Flexors rather than your Abs – your trunk only flexes a maximum of 45 degrees, any more and you are using your hip flexors.
9. Too much alcohol – hey beer is great but drink in moderation if you want to get rid of the beer belly.
10. Lack of sleep – rest is a prerequisite for optimal results.

In conclusion, if you want a flatter stomach you must develop an intelligent exercise program and focus on smart nutritional choices. Simply put you need to lower your body fat levels by eating properly and exercising all of your major muscle groups and including an adequate cardiovascular routine. Trainer smarter not longer!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SPORTS DAY

Do you remember the days that you participated in a school “Sports Day” or being involved in “Track & Field”???

With summer finally here, most people curtail their fitness regiment. A lot of us want to be outside enjoying the nice weather while it’s here. Our time is valuable and you want to get the best bang for your buck.

Ever thought of….

A Family Fun Day?This is a fantastic way to get together with your close friends and family. Participating in a number of games, team challenges and topping it off with a BBQ or Picnic is a great way to not only be active but associate with those you may not have seen for a while.


Company Fun Day?
With the nice weather a lot of companies start having Corporate team building events – be it golf tournaments, slo-pitch tourneys, a Company Picnic or Company Sports Day. This helps to promote a feeling of team building and solidarity between employees. It’s also an excellent way of forging new relationships, creating a buzz in the workforce and can be used as a marketing tool to give the company a more positive image to its clients.

Fitness Challenge Day?Does your sports association, ball team, poker buddies, think they have what it takes to do something different? Why not get your teammates together for something different? A one day event playing laser tag, a fitness bootcamp or rock climbing could bring out some friendly competition.

Why not start a Sports Day with your co-workers, friends or family?
You could do a mini-Olympics.
Go a bit further and have a “Sports Day” of “Fitness Day” 3 or 4 times a year.
Send out a press release to participants. Have fun with it!

Summer is a great time to sit down at your favorite patio – but don’t forget to stay active. A lot of people fall off the wagon when the nice weather hits – don’t let it be you!
The first thing to consider when setting up a “Sports Day” is determining what type of event you want to focus on. Getting a team together to do the Dragon Boat Races may seem like a fun time – and it is, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Maxing out your heart rate is not a good idea for someone out of shape.

If you plan an outdoor event you will need to consider the space necessary, bookings done well in advance and don’t forget to make alternate plans if it rains. You can select track and field exercises such as long jump, sprints, medicine ball shot put, etc. Of course the three legged race, dodge ball, tug-o-war and egg race are other fitness “games” you can incorporate.
Fitness games are not only fun, but is great for all fitness levels and ages. You’ll find everyone is having a great time, laughing and using their muscles for fun as opposed to work.
I guarantee that a “Sports Fitness Day” will be a hit.
With summer here it’s a perfect time to utilize a never boring fun workout that you’ll talk about for time to come.
If you’d like more information on setting up your own “Family Fun Day”, “Company Fitness Day”, or “Sports Day” send me an email.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thanks to all Spring Bootcampers!

Thanks to everyone that participated in the Dynabody Fitness Bootcamps this spring!
Now that summer's finally arrived most people are hanging by the pool, going to the beach or enjoying a beverage at the patio. Don't forget to stay active! You know my motto - use it or lose it! You HAVE to burn off those added calories. So why not participate in my Fitness Bootcamp this summer? A one hour session will help burn fat, improve your fitness level and put a smile on your face.

Dynabody Fitness Bootcamp
Tuesday and Thursday Evenings
7pm to 8pm
starting July 7th & 9th
For 8 - 10 weeks
St. James Area

email me for more particulars.
Hope to see you there!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

IMPORTANCE OF FUNCTIONAL & CORE TRAINING

Some people just don’t get it.

A lot of us spend a great deal of time hunched over a computer, in a vehicle or slumped on the sofa. Prolonged sitting results in tight hip flexors, hamstrings and stiffness lower back and weak muscles. And this doesn’t have to be that way.

In addition, most people that exercise miss the boat.

Many people spend the majority of their time running to improve their aerobic conditioning, or lifting weights to build strength. Conventional weight training like bench presses, leg presses, etc. focus on isolating the muscle groups. Unfortunately, this does little to teach your muscles to work together – in a chain of movement. Even worse are those individuals that only focus on cardio and ignore resistance training all together. Talk about setting your joints up for injury…..

Short, burst interval workouts that emphasize multi-direction and multi-muscles are the best way to stay in shape and lose weight. To motivate you to move to a higher level of fitness, you need to recognize that training priorities must incorporate “functionality”.

Functional and Core Training is becoming very popular. Athletes have always been involved in functional training, yet only recently has the general public taken notice.

Functional training is a way that you perform exercises that closely resemble specific movements that you do in daily life or in sport. Functional Training is the principle of improving the strength and power of “MOVEMENTS” - by teaching your muscles to work together.

Functional training discourages the use of machines in favor of simple tools like body-weight exercises, free weights, medicine balls, exercise balls, resistance bands, agility latters, etc.

And one of the best way’s to train your core is by joining a Fitness Bootcamp. It’s no wonder, Bootcamp-style workouts, which were named the most popular workout in 2008 & 2009, will remain a top fitness trend.

Functional Training involves not only your major muscles groups but activates your core stabilizer muscles. This not only improves your strength and mobility but carries over into better posture and control which also helps to prevent injury. Functional training bridges the gap between strength, power and speed by using neurological functions to achieve peak performance.

Functional training emphasizes Core or Stabilization Conditioning. The Trunk or “Core” is the major link in the body’s musculosketal chain that connects the movements between the upper and lower body. Your upper body is supported by your spine, your abdominal muscles and your erector spinae (small band-like muscles of your back). Your abdominal and back musculature’s key function is to exert a muscular force so that spinal and pelvic position can be maintained during varying loads.

Your Core is the power center that allows for dynamic, powerful, coordinated and integrated responses of the whole body. Advantages of effective Functional and Core Training include:

  • Development of power and strength
  • Faster and quicker actions
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Improvement in skill level
  • Provides disc nutrition and inbibition
  • Reduced change of injury
  • Improved Posture
  • Prevention of Back Pain

Sorry gang, although it looks great, having a so-called 'six pack' or tight abs does not necessarily mean you have good core strength and stability. Some of the most important core muscles lie underneath the rectus abdominus and along with your small erector muscles of the spine and your oblique muscles which enhance low back health. Unfortunately, doing sit-ups or crunches won’t do much for core strength.

It is very important that you train in exercises that are multi-directional and incorporate all planes of motion. There are three geometrical planes of motion for the human body. The trunk can (1) flex forward and extend back, up and down (Sagittal Plane), (2) flex side to side (Frontal Plane) and (3) rotate about it’s center (Transverse Plane).

Unfortunately most weight-lifting movements focus on only two planes of motion. Functional Training changes this.

In addition to your major muscles, Functional Training works your smaller hidden muscles and your postural muscles including your shoulders, rotator cuffs, knees, and back (cervical and lumbar spine).

Core Exercises

As mentioned earlier, a properly run Fitness Bootcamp is the ideal way to develop you core. The emphasis is on functional exercises using a variety of tools, sequences and ranges of motion that improves pelvic stabilization and a neutral spine.

Here are a number of helpful exercises to strengthen your core:

  • Opposite Arm & Leg Raise
  • Superman
  • Prone Elbow Plank
  • Side Elbow Plank
  • Regular Push-up
  • Crunches (Trunk Flexion)
  • Oblique Crunches
  • Prone Trunk Extension
  • Supine Bridge on Ball
  • Gliding Plank on Exercise Ball
  • Kneel on Ball
  • One Legged Squat
  • Cable/Medicine Ball Woodchops
  • One Arm Dumbbel Bench Presses
  • Russian Twist with Medicine Ball
  • Balancing exercises
  • Jiu Jitsu Bridges
  • Hanging Knee Raises

By using unsteady surfaces, agility drills, trunk rotational exercises your body ensures kinesthetic body awareness. By involving balance training you can restore or improve the normal function of joints and muscles.

You will experience immediate results once you incorporate Functional training in your exercise routine. This principal focuses on neurological adaptation, emphasizing movement while activating your stabilizer muscles. Your body learns to adapt and skill level will increase, bringing a natural progression of your fitness abilities.

Chance of injury is reduced while burning a lot more calories than either regular aerobic or weight-lifting exercises. In addition, there is a never ending variety that will keep you motivated, challenged and the best of all – having fun!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Supplements & the Hydroxycut Warning

Well America’s #1 Selling Weight-Loss Supplement is now under fire


Both Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to immediately stop using Hydroxycut products.
Hydroxycut, a very popular fat-burner supplement sold under the Iovate and MuscleTech brand names, are promoted as a dietary supplements for weight-loss, energy-enhancers, low carb diet aids, etc.
 
Interesting thing is that I’ve seen them in various stores – including Wal-mart and yet currently no Hydroxycut products are authorized for sale in Canada.


Health Canada has received 17 adverse reaction (AR) reports associated with Hydroxycut products in Canada. These adverse reactions relate to the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems.
The FDA has received 23 reports of serious health problems ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes, to liver damage requiring liver transplant. One death due to liver failure has been reported to the FDA. Other health problems reported include seizures; cardiovascular disorders, kidney failure, to name a few. 


A lot of the so called “supplements” have a number of ingrediants that do not require FDA or Health Canada approval prior to hitting the shelves. It’s like playing Russian roulette – is it worth it?


Quick fix diet supplements, like quick fix diets themselves are all a scam. Talk about brain washing your easily-influenced consumer.
Walk down any supplement aisle of your pharmacy or health-food store.  Thousands of products that claim health benefits.  


According to the Nutrition Business Journal, the supplement industry reached an all time high of $13 billion in sales in 2000.
Americans spent almost $35 billion on diets and weight loss products!
There are over 1,000 manufacturers of over 20,000 different supplements consumed by over 100 million people.


To get a bit more insight read up on my May Newsletter: Supplements

Sunday, April 5, 2009

RESISTANCE TRAINING EQUIPMENT - What's Best?

Sick of spending money on a gym membership? A study in Boston discovered that members went to the gym an average of less than five times per month average users were paying $17 per workout (as opposed to the $10 pay-per-use option). I can see why many people are now looking at purchasing home equipment.


Whether you go to the gym or workout at home, when it comes to exercising people ask me what equipment is best. A few years ago they were inquiring about the Bow-flex, the exercise ball, and now it’s the kettlebell and bosu. Thanks to the fitness bootcamps, bodyweight and calisthenics are popular – but are they better than weights?


What type of resistance training equipment is best? Weights? Machines?


Honestly, No equipment is necessarily better than another. It depends on safety, load & technique. Your muscles cannot differentiate between the type of equipment you use. The principle of progressive overload needs to be applied.


Ultimately ask yourself…can I fatigue the muscle or muscle groups I want to isolate with 6-20 reps?


Now let’s look at the different types of resistance or weight training available:


FREE WEIGHTS – consist of Barbells, Dumbells, etc.

Free weights are a type of dynamic constant resistance equipment meaning that the resistive force (tension) remains constant throughout the exercise movement. Free weights work against gravity. They also help to engage the secondary muscle groups or muscle stabilizers.

Advantages

Better biomechanically correct

Inexpensive

Space friendly

Portable

Variety of options.

Disadvantages

Not great for beginners

Require proper technique (not momentum)

Requires a spotter

Cumbersome


MACHINES (MULTISTATION) – cables & pulleys with plates.

There are the individual machines that you would find at a gym as well as the multistation gyms for home. Many of these machines use dynamic variable resistance. The advantage of this type of equipment is that it applies variable tension when your muscle needs it, can isolate the muscle group you are working on, and helps to encourage good form.

Advantages

Beginner friendly

Easy set up

Quick set up

No instruction required

Disadvantages
not one size fits all

Expensive

Takes up room

Limited Variety


PULLEY / CABLE SYSTEM – Bowflex / composite resistance

Very similar to Multistation machines (see above)

Advantages

Many attachments

Easy set up

Limited range of motion

Limited weight available

Disadvantages

Expensive

Takes up room

Require Technique


RESISTANCE BANDS & TUBING

Also uses dynamic variable resistance. Great for starting out, or if you have limited time or space. Easy to pack in a suitcase for those business trips where you’re not able to hit the gym.

Advantages

Great for beginners

Inexpensive

Space friendly

Portable

Variety of options

Disadvantages

Limited progressive overload

require proper technique


BODY WEIGHT / CALISTHENICS

Considered the best cross-over to real life situations, this type of training is considered functional training. Another benefit of bodyweight training is that it can be used as a very efficient means of building tremendous lung power, which develops endurance at the same time as strength.

Advantages

Great for beginners

Inexpensive

Space friendly

Works all planes of motion

Variety of options

Disadvantages

Limited progressive overload

(limited strength adaptation)

require proper technique


When it comes down to what type of training equipment you choose – it really depends on what your goals are, the room you have available and of course how deep you wallet pocket or purse is.


For cosmetic purposes – like body building, free weights are king. For sports, Body weight along with Calisthenics movement are best. Ideally if you can incorporate a multiple of training equipment, you will get the best out of your fitness routine.



It is more important to remember that key to your training results is not your equipment but how you train. Intensity, Mechanics and movement speed will bring the best results. And remember, you can blame your parents for your genes, but YOU are the one to blame for your consistency, your progression and your results