Sunday, December 7, 2008


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


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.


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.


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:

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 2, 2008


As you recall from last month’s newsletter that there is a lot of great marketing ploys that are far from the truth – they are nothing but hype.

Did you know that only 3% of the population lives a healthy lifestyle. That’s 97% of people that are only “fooling themselves”!

To help you sort out facts from fiction I’ve included a number of popular myths.

Myth: You will bulk up with resistance training

Most guys may want this but many women shy away from doing resistance training because they don’t want to get big bulky muscles.

Bulking up is not easy work – no matter if you’re a male or female. Men have about 30 times the amount of muscle building hormone testosterone as women. And unless you’re doing steroids it just won’t happen. If a woman does look bulky, it is because they have excess body fat and have not been eating correctly when building muscle.

You cannot get “toned” without doing resistance training. Sure you can lose fat by focusing on just cardio workouts, but you’ll lose lean muscle mass and strength to boot. Muscle building factors include (1) Testosterone (2) Illegal Drugs and (3) Genetics. Remember that it’s your muscles and weight training that gives men the “V” body shape and the women the nice “hour-glass” figure.

Myth: You can get a six pack from crunches

Unfortunately you cannot get a chiseled midsection by just doing crunches. I’ve seen it time and time again where someone will spend way too much time on dong abdominal crunches or sit ups to work their stomach.

If you want to sculpt your midsection you first need to be active. Perform core and functional exercises and stay focused – quality or quantity. Tense your abs – squeezing the muscle on contraction – just like you would do for any other muscle of the body.

And, most important – EAT PROPERLY. 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.

Myth: Chest Training will increase or decrease my boob size.

Boy, some of those things you women tend to believe….

Weight training cannot make your breast shrink or get larger. Breast tissue is made up of fat tissue. By burning fat you may decrease your breast size. You can also increase your a bra size by gaining fat. Remember, you cannot choose where your body will lose it’s fat.

A proper strength training program will help develop your chest muscles giving it a more appealing shape to your breasts and upper body.

Myth: My Low Back is sore …..I must have slept wrong

More than 31 million Americans have low back pain at any given time.

Back pain and sciatica doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that take weeks, months, or even years to develop.

Your body has to adapt to the weight going through your hips and pelvis and it’s your muscles that take the brunt of the abuse. Low back pain is mainly the result of a muscle imbalance.
By sitting all day your hip flexors get tight from being in a shortened position and your glutes become weak. These imbalances put your pelvis and spine into an abnormal position.

To offset this you must exercise to strengthen these areas. Squats, Lunges and Deadlifts (done properly) will help. In addition, because these muscles are contracted the majority of the time, you must stretch these muscles also. Hamstring and Hip Stretches should be done daily.

What puts fat-loss and fitness myths in our minds? It’s mainly the overkill of conflicting information alogn with the “quick-no-effort-needed” advertising that we are getting bombarded with.

One of my favorite sayings is “Use it or Lose it.” We are 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. Keep it simple, don’t over think and most importantly – have fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fat Loss Myths

You can’t go anywhere without hearing about a new breakthrough that will help you lose weight or gain muscle. A new fad diet, fat-burning pill, 5 minute workout or ab machine that will solve all your fitness problems.

There are definitely a lot of entertaining commercials to watch. When it comes to marketing, it’s absolutely genius. The truth is that most of the things you hear or read are nothing but hype.
Never mind the commercials, now the video game market is on line. Ever hear of the Wii Fit? Now you can get fit in front of your tv. Talk about another money grab. Check out the attached link: Wii Fit Parody:

Don’t kid yourself. Getting fit takes effort.

Here are some of the top “Fat-Loss” fitness-related myths:


Yes it is true. You CANNOT get rid of fat cells - other than by surgery.

A portion of your body composition is based on genetics. But wait, don’t start going around blaming your parents. For the majority of the population, the percentage of body fat is related to LIFESTYLE. Once you’re around the age of 16, changes in body fat are due to changes in fat cell size not number. These cells expand (or shrink) to accommodate excess calorie storage.

And here’s the kicker….
You can INCREASE the number of fat cells. Once done, YOU HAVE THEM FOR LIFE – unless you can afford liposuction surgery.

YOU CAN HOWEVER, REDUCE THEM. That is why nutrition and fitness is so important. By incorporating healthy eating habits and exercise into your daily routine, you can reduce the SIZE of your fat cells, but not the number of fat cells within your body.

You can NOT starve fat off your body. Doing so is the best way to gain weight. Fasting actually slows down your metabolism (your body’s rate of calorie burning). You will also lose muscle and energy by not supplying your body with the nutrients it needs. Not eating decreases your fat burning enzymes and increases your fat storing enzymes. Reducing food intake or “dieting” is a common yet highly unsuccessful approach to weight loss.
It is very easy to get caught up in the ‘quick results’ or ‘fast acting’ diet scams around today, but have you ever looked at the small print disclaimer? Such as “Results not typical..”? Remember, it is important to look at the long-term effects of such actions. The best results come from a long-term strategy involving a permanent change in both eating and activity habits.

You cannot spot reduce fat from a desired body part. Focusing on one type of exercise or body part won’t melt the fat off in that area. If you want to loose fat you need to do weight training with intensity. You must focus on your major muscle groups and multi-functional exercises. This will increase your metabolism and energy levels while burning fat – both during and after your workout.

Losing weight is not rocket science – although many make it out to be. Sure it’s great to count your calories to determine your caloric intake but don’t spend too much time on it.
Simply eat fresh foods that haven’t been processed. Don’t eat anything that comes out of a box, a microvwave or fast food restaurant. Eat smaller more frequent meals. Properly balance your macronutrient rations (Carbs, Proteins and fat) and eat the right carbohydrates and avoid refined sugars. Eat lean protein and drink plenty of water.

Cardio is NOT the most important exercising for fat loss. Many people that spend endless time “burning calories” on the treadmill or exercise bike are risking the loss of muscle along with any fat loss. Unfortunately the calories you burn in a 30 minute jog may not matter as much as you think. More important is your calorie loss when you’re not exercising.

It’s been proven that Resistance training is much more beneficial for fat loss than cardiovascular training as it elevates your metabolism for 36 hours after a workout.. Weight training not only burns fat but strengthens your heart, your muscles, increases your bone density and improves your posture.

Cardio/aerobic exercise, as with resistance training is still an important part of a balanced exercise program.

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!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fit or Active?

Now that the Labor day long weekend is over many people start to talk about getting involved in “getting back into shape”

- Did you know that 2/3 of Canadians are inactive?… and it’s getting worse.
- There are more women (67%) than men (58%) that are inactive.
- To top it off, physical inactivity increases with age.

Not promising statistics. Althought 85% of Canadians value physical activity – the majority do not add up.

Are you Fit or Active?
Do you train or exercise?
Do you know the difference?

Many people fool themselves that “being active” is exercise. Playing baseball, going for long walks or curling in the winter are all physical activity. Unfortunately this sort of exercise does not make you fit.

Most people involved in active sports have trouble doing 10 regular pushups, can’t do one pull-up or even touch their toes.

One of the tests that I do when performing a fitness assessment for a client is push-ups. Generally (depending on age) males should be able to do at least 15 push-ups while females should be able to do 10. And that’s not on your knees either.

To become “fit” and maintain a level of fitness you must have a consistent exercise program. True fitness is when your body can do whatever you ask it. This involves strength, endurance and flexibility.

One of the main focuses of my fitness bootcamp is to simulate all of the functional demands of life. Participants are adequately challenged to work the body focusing on multi-muscle group exercises.

I see many of the parents just contempt in sitting and watching their children play at the playground. There is no better time to either join in or start doing a simple bodyweight routine. There are endless possibilities to do a quick 20 minute work-out at the skateboard park. Your body was meant to move so just don’t sit there. “Use it or Lose It” is my motto that I regularly preach.

One of the most common errors I see regularly is someone focusing too much on one type of exercise. With women it’s usually the endless time spent running. Guy’s it’s the hour after hour doing the same weight-training routine.

Ladies, if you want the hourglass figure forget the long distance running. Unless you are properly training, expect to be either a toothpick or maintain your overweight figure with added knee/joint problems. Focus on High Intensity Interval Training. Emphasize circuit training. These are areas I touch on with my fitness bootcamps.

A fitness bootcamp is a great way to get the best out of your time spent exercising. Not only do you work-out in less time but you get better results than other programs. Although the majority of my clientele are woman, most men and women that participate see the benefits attained from some of the sport specific drills (reaction time, speed, coordination, etc). If you are involved in sports this is a great way to complement your training.

For those whom exercise regularly you should see progression. Be it fat loss, strength gains, etc. the main variable to focus on is intensity. This, along with the frequency of your workouts, time involvement and type are the most important to ensure “fit” success.

I can’t stress the importance of intensity enough. If you can chew gum and not be out of breath then you are not working hard enough. You must fatigue the body. BUT – know your limits.

Models in the magazines doing exercises with 5 lb dumbbells just won’t cut it. These models are hired for their looks. You can’t get their figure without pushing yourself.

Here’s another problem I see regularly…Someone who jumps off the treadmill and then spends all of his/her time doing Bicep Curls and Tricep Kickbacks. Come On! You have to focus on major multi-muscle group exercises. Plus, the key to effective training results include; Intensity, proper Mechanics and Movement speed.

And girls, stop spending all your time on the abductor/adductor machine. Save the isolated exercises when you are fit and need a change. Focus on Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts if you are doing legs.

As I explained earlier, to become “fit” you must have a consistent exercise program. But are you exercising or training? Do you know the difference?

Exercising is physical movement. Using the body but not necessarily focused. A lot of people do cardio this way. Going through the motions. Not much more than being “active”.

Training on the other hand is goal-oriented. It’s a consistent exercise program that requires a purpose - which creates results. For cardio, try an Aerobics class or High Intensity Interval training.

Here is an ideal training plan for someone who is just starting out or works out regularly;

1) Cardio/Aerobic exercise – twice a week (30 minutes of HIIT)
2) Circuit Training / Fitness Boot Camp – twice a week (1 hour of Cardio, Resistance Training, Core & Flexibility).
3) Weight Training/Resistance Training (1 hour) (once/twice a week)
4) Sports / Family fun activity (one day a week)
5) Day of Rest (one day of the week)

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that being “active” or a “weekend warrior” will cut-it.
It’s been proven that you need to spend at least 50 minutes a day 5 days of the week!

If you want a program that will make you fit – feel free to contact me. If you want to know how “fit” you are, a fitness assessment is a great way to know where you stand. And, as I’ve explained earlier, a fitness bootcamp is an ideal way to get and stay in shape. A new session of the Dynabody Fitness Bootcamp is starting soon. For more information check it out at or visit the St. James School Division Continuing Education program at www/ Phone 832-9637 to register. Classes start September 23rd.

If you are just starting to become active, want to lose some extra pounds or just need a change in your routine, make the decision to take action today.

Exercise in a Pill

It's been around for a while now - talk about a pill replacing exercise.

It hit the headlines back on July 31st, 2008.  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.
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?

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!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Long Steady Cardio does work but....

Last month I surprised a lot of people with the answer with what type of cardio is best for fat loss. The answer was high intensity interval training.

It’s not that long steady cardio doesn’t work, it’s just the most effective thing to do. Running/Jogging takes a lot of time. Unless you have a goal to run a marathon, don’t expect fast or long lasting fat loss results . Your body is very adaptable and can adjust to this steady state and will actually conserve energy (calories). Long slow cardio forces the body to get rid of muscle and increases the risk of injury, where as intensity offsets muscle reduction and strengthens the body.

Ladies -don’t be a cardio queen, the majority end up as “Skinny Fat people” Thin and frail-looking, not toned or muscular and who have trouble doing half a dozen push ups. I know of aerobic instructors that could really lose 20 plus pounds – not a very good role model….If you want to get wicked hot swimsuit lean then you HAVE TO increase the intensity.

Now if you totally love long steady cardio and are happy with the results then do it. Just remember that you must also get STRONGER.
You must add resistance training to your fitness routine. Major lifts using Multi-muscle groups is a must. Weight training is more important than cardio for fat loss.

The biggest thing is to enjoy what you are doing. Make sure that you incorporate all levels of fitness in your routine:

1) Aerobic / Cardiovascular fitness
2) Resistance Training / Muscle Conditioning
3) Flexibility
4) Nutrition

If you missed last months newletter, on the following link What Cardio is Best? or visit my blog Dynabody blogspot



I received some great feedback from my Spring Bootcamps.

No surprise, everyone participated for fitness reasons. What everyone liked the most was the fun and the variety.
There was a very high demand by participants to attend two classes per week. So this fall, Tuesday & Thursday classes are planned.

To cut down on rest intervals between circuits, more emphasis will be made on working the same muscle groups at certain workstations. This will cut down on explanations between sets, resulting in a more effective workout.

One thing that kept it fun was incorporating various games. Not only did it keep people motivated, it put a big smile on their face!


For the summer, I am looking at a Tuesday and Thursday outside fitness bootcamp (6:30 to 8 pm) and possibly an early morning program if the demand warrants it.

If you and a friend, college, or family member are interested please email me back.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Health professionals have always recommended walking as a preventative against heart disease.    With the human heart beating more than 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime – you’d want to keep it in shape.
With your blood traveling over 19,000 kms per day that’s almost four times the distance across Canada from coast to coast – you would want it to be and stay in good shape!
Hey, your time is valuable.  So how do you make the most of the time you have?
Is one type of aerobic workout better than another? 
What sort of cardiovascular workout is best for your heart?
What about for fat loss?
Are you ready to be shocked?  I am sure I am going to surprise a lot of people. 

The best cardiovascular workout is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT..

According to a Harvard Health Professionals Study,  after studying over 7,000 people they found that the key to preventing heart disease is intensity – NOT long-duration exercise. 

What is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT?
This is a much shorter aerobic workout that involves periods of exertion and recovery.  Basically you vary the degree of your aerobic workout by doing a short burst of high intensity exertion (sprint) and then follow up with a recovery period.  Then another short burst followed by another recovery, etc…
The latest research suggests that only vigorous activity is effective in reducing heart deaths.  Another recent Harvard study revealed that those who used sprint-aerobic principles in their workouts reduce their risk of heart disease by 100 percent more than those who practice aerobic exercise. Of course if you are out of shape I don’t suggest that you go out and give it all you’ve got.  That’s where goal setting comes in.

What about burning fat?
For many years the conventional wisdom was that more was better.  Long, slow cardio was the way to go.  The problem with this is your body adjusts to this steady state and it tries to conserve energy (calories).  Sure it initially burns more fat, but in time it teaches the body that it needs fat available to use as fuel for it’s next cardio session.
Sprint intervals burn fat best.  These short bursts use energy from carbohydrates, which burn energy at a higher rate than fat.  You then burn much more fat for energy during the recovery period as you replenish the carbs.
A study at Laval University in Quebec, found that High Intensity Interval Training or HITT cardio helped loose nine times more fat than those who ran moderately on a treadmill for 20 – 60 minutes.
Ever look at a long distance runner?  A long distance cyclist?  Next time you’re at the gym take a peek at the people that spend all their time on the treadmill….
I know running is addictive, but, I always end up thinking of the hamster that spends endless time on the hamster wheel.  Compare a marathon runner to a sprinter.  It doesn’t matter male or female.  The sprinter looks lean yet muscular – the ideal body.
Long slow cardio forces the body to get rid of muscle, where as intensity offsets muscle reduction.
Carl Lewis who won 9 gold Olympic medals, contributes some of his success to interval training.   Even Lance Armstrong who won the Tour de France seven times contributed his success to interval training.

Our bodies were NOT designed for steady cardio but rather stop-and-go movements.  No other animal on earth does endurance type physical activities.  In addition, most competitive sports focus on short bursts of exertion followed by recovery.
Another big advantage of High Intensity Interval Training over Endurance Cardio Training is the reduction of Strains and Overuse Injuries.
How many people do you know that have sore knees from running? If you are overweight you are basically crushing your joints with the excess weight and repetitive pounding.
Tight IT Bands, more correctly called Iliotibial Band Syndrome, can cause pain from the hip to below the knee.  Lateral Knee and Hip pain is most common, as the IT Band pulls the knee cap out of place bruising your femur. 

Most aerobic exercise programs result in a 50 to 90 percent injury rate in the initial six weeks of training!  Yet the typical weight-loss program for an overweight person seems to focus on continuous repetitions for a prolonged period of time.  As I’ve already stated more is not necessarily better.

What about middle-age and older adults?
By focusing on High Intensity Interval Training there is a tremendous increase in growth hormone which is not only important for muscle building, but for fat loss and reversing the aging process!
If you want to preserve muscle, improve cholesterol levels, maintain healthy testosterone levels, prevent hair loss and tone the body, start adding HIIT to your fitness routine.

Along with (HIIT) High Intensity Interval Training focus on resistance training and body weight workouts.  Join a fitness Boot Camp to help get you started or challenge you to get to that next level.
What ever exercise regimen you choose, don’t stop moving – and most important have fun!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring has Sprung head outdoors

So you want to start walking outdoors to lose all that belly fat that you accumulated over the winter?  Walking keeps your blood vessels young. According to a study by the University of Colorado, older men (averaging 62) who went on an hour-long walk 5 days a week had blood flow similar to that of young men average age of 27. 

Now, if you have been sedentary over the winter, starting out walking is a great way to start getting fit.  Health Canada recommends that you exercise regularly 4 to 7 days of the week.  The amount of time needed to stay healthy depends on effort.  Scientists say that you must accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity every day to stay healthy or improve your health.

 It is best to know what your ultimate goal is when you head outside.  Is it to become more fit?  Have a healthier heart?  Or do you want more?   Do you want to lose that body fat?

 Unless you are overly obese, you will see little fat loss results from spending a great deal of time walking.  Any activity can count as cardio/aerobic exercise as long as it meets the 3 requirements of frequency (a MINIMUM of 3 times per week) , intensity (working up to 60-90% of your Maximum Heart Rate) and time (at least 20 to 60 minutes).

Your body has about 5.6 liters of blood that circulates through the body three times every minute!  Regular aerobic exercise performed most days of the week reduces the risk of developing or prematurely dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death.  So why did you wait until winter is over???

 Can’t handle doing an hour long cardio workout?

 Try splitting your cardio workout into two sessions. This can double your fitness gains. A shorter workout duration means that you can spend more time in a higher heart rate zone and not tire. Plus you can do it a different times of the day.


 Try High Intensity Interval Training.  This is a much shorter aerobic workout that involves periods of exertions and recovery.  Basically you vary the degree of your aerobic workout by doing a short burst of high intensity exertion and then follow up with a recovery period.  Then another short burst followed by another recovery, etc…

 So do you know which cardiovascular workout is best for your heart and for fat loss?

I’ll let you know next newsletter.  Now go out and exercise!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


It’s that’s time of year again - Cold and Flu season.  People are getting antsy from staying indoors, everybody has had enough of the cold weather. Although the flu season starts around November, it seems that the end of winter is when most people come down with the flu or cold bug.

But, do you know the difference between a flu and a cold?

The flu or influenza, is a viral upper respiratory illness that comes on suddenly, causing symptoms such as fever, body aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, a dry cough, and a sore or dry throat. Often a flu can lead to a bacterial infection like bronchitis, an ear infection or sinus infection. In the worst case, pneumonia may develop.

A cold is also an infection of the upper respiratory system but is not so severe. Symptoms include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat, sneezing, watery eyes and congestion.

1 in 4 Canadians get the flu each year. It is estimated that between 4,000 and 8,000 Canadians die every year from serious complications of the flu.

The average person gets the common cold two to four times a year. Children can get the common cold as many as ten times a year!

Typically you catch the cold or flu through the air by coughs or sneezes.
Three influenza pandemics occurred in the 20th century. The worst was at the turn of the century where the Spanish Flu killed close to 100 million people.

There is no such thing as a “Stomach flu”. This is actually viral gastroenteritis, or simply put - a mild case of food poisoning.

Do you want to successfully fight the cold and flu? Here are some simple steps;

1. Get adequate sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep.

2. Eat properly. Stop eating processed foods. Eat whole foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and meat. Forget the chips, granola bars and soy burgers…

3. Influenza thrives on drastic temperature changes. I know that’s kind of hard living in Winnipeg. Being smart to reduce the strain on your body’s immune system. Dress appropriately. If you have to go outside when it’s 30 below don’t forget a hat, gloves/mitts and warm boots. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature – not too warm.

4. Wash your hands regularly. Not only when you go the washroom, but after going out in public – be it shopping, going to a sporting event, a play or the gym.

5. Eat Garlic. This is a natural adaptogenic infection fighter. Known as the poor person’s antibiotic, Garlic help eradicate infections as they enter your immune system.

6. Get Vaccinated. Having a flu shot every fall or early winter helps boost your immunity. If you don’t like needles then ask for a nasal spray – it is just as effective. It may be too late to get the flu shot now – unless you’re off to the southern hemisphere this summer. Some companies will even pay for the flu shot at the beginning of the season – so take note for this fall.  Although I'm not a big fan of getting the flu shot, children and the elderly should consider it.

7. Exercise Regularly. Working out helps to relieve stress which in turn helps your body’s immune system. By building up the virus-fighting antibodies this can also improve the response when receiving a flu shot.If you currently have the flu – do NOT try and sweat it out. The additional stress on your body will just prolong the infection.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

February is Heart Month

Did you know????

Your heart beats about 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.

Your body has about 5.6 liters (6 quarts) of blood. This 5.6 liters of blood circulates through the body three times every minute. In one day, the blood travels a total of 19,000 km (12,000 miles)-that's four times the distance across the US from coast to coast.

The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime-that's enough to fill more than 3 super tankers.

In Canada, stroke kills 45 per cent more women than men. And women are 16 per cent more likely than men to die after a heart attack.

According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation, most Canadian women have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. As they age, estrogen levels, which offer them a degree of protection against heart disease and stroke when they are younger, begin to decline.

What ever exercise regimen you choose, don’t stop moving. Walking keeps your blood vessels young.

Want more proof. A recent study out of King’s College in London found that being sedentary increases the risk of developing age-related disease and hastens the aging process. Make it to 70, the authors write, and if you're still physically fit and healthy, you will be as "happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year-old."

So rather than spending money on laser treatments and wrinkle cream, get active – go for a jog, take up a new sport or hit the gym.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Diets do NOT Work

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and get in shape. Before you spend your valuable time, energy and money on the latest diet fad, let me tell you that Diets do NOT work.

Diets have almost a 100% failure rate.
A July 2007 UCLA study concluded that most efforts at calorie restriction result in only very short-term weight loss, and, could even ultimately lead to weight gain.

Diets are dangerous to your health.
Diets put a strain on your body. Cutting calories results in depression bayseam dtsebtery and low energy levels.

Diets slows down your Metabolism.
By cutting calories and skipping meals, your body can’t differentiate between deciding not to eat and real famine. Your body believes it is starving and slows down in order to maintain every critical calorie it has.

Diets create fat.
When your metabolism slows down, it is more like to store fat. Then, when you do eat, your body realizes it is now getting the food it needs to survive and stores it as fat.

Diets lead to eating disorders.
It is very easy to binge or overeat when you are on a diet. Most dieters become part of the chronic or Yo-Yo dieters. Others become obsessed with controlling what they choose to eat.

Diets are Negative thoughts.
People dieting are more critical of themselves and become more miserable eroding confidence and self-respect.

Diets result in muscle shrinkage.
Muscle helps burn fat. Diets creates water and muscle loss. Any person that loses weight rapidly (faster than 1-2 pounds a week) is mainly due to water loss.

Diets are synonymous with Weight Loss.
Focus on FAT LOSS rather than weight loss. Rather than thinking of your weight, focus on your body composition. Your body fat percentage and hip to waist ratio are two of the best indicators of your lean body mass.

Losing fat is not easy. Your body wants to stay the way it is and requires hard work and willpower to succeed in a person’s quest to become leaner. There are no magic pills or fads that are effective in the long run. Models and Movie stars that endorse products are there to make money. Don’t waste your hard-earned money.

It is important to realize that weight is meaningless as an index of fitness or health. It is best to focus on FAT LOSS rather than weight loss.

Rather than Dieting do the following:

Focus on Calories in vs Calories out.

Exercise - Burning off the fat is much healthier and effective than starving the fat.

Nutrition - Proper nutrition is 60% of the effort in building a healthy strong body. Follow a properly balanced eating schedule. Eat 5 or 6 meals of fruits, vegetables and lean cuts of meat per day. Stay away from processed and fast foods.

I hope you do not fall in the Diet Trap and become part of the yo-yo phenomenon. You can’t stay on a diet forever. It is important to find a lifestyle that works for you. The best results come from a long-term strategy involving permanent change in both eating and activity habits.

If you’ve made losing weight your New Year’s resolution do NOT diet. Your ultimate goal should be to improve your energy levels, be free from illness, and achieve your personally desired body composition. See a personal trainer. They can help guide you on the right track.