Max Benefit – Min Time Workout #2

Question #1 : Do you want to be healthier, fitter, leaner, sexier, etc?

Question #2 : Are you insanely busy?

If you answered yes to both questions, have I got good news for you.

Today’s post is the second in a series of mini-workouts designed to:

  • improve fitness,
  • improve health,
  • burn fat,
  • build functional strength,
  • improve energy system function,
  • improve muscular endurance,
  • improve speed endurance
  • AND save you time.

Each post in the series will consist of a single mini-workout.

All of these mini-workout posts will be catalogued together to allow you to mix & match to create your own custom plan. Here’s the first workout if you missed it.

Without any further ado, here is….

Max Benefit – Min Time Workout #2

Exercises

  • Bulgarian Split Squats – modifying the weight (bodyweight, vest, dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells, resistance bands) as your strength & endurance allows.

tumblr_mxbdh76yAZ1qdjo2ho1_400

In the latter part of the workout, after you have ditched all of the external weight (barbell etc), you may find that you are unable to complete full range of motion lifts. If that is the case, you have a few options

  1. Shift your weight backwards onto your heels. This will spare your quads & load up your hips…which are more endurance friendly
  2. Shorten your range of motion. This will reduce your workload while still frying your quads

Bulgarian_Squat

  • Alternating Shoulder Presses – modify weight used to suit your strength/fitness level
  • Band Overhead Pull Aparts – modify resistance band used to suit your strength/fitness level

Set/Rep Scheme

  • Alternate exercises (Bulgarian Left Leg/Shoulder Press/Bulgarian Right Leg/Band Pull-Aparts/etc…)
  • 1st Set – 20 reps, 2nd Set – 19 reps, 3rd Set – 18 reps….all the way down to 10 reps (Total of 11 sets)

Speed of Execution

Perform reps as fast as possible…with good form

Rest

Minimize reps between exercises – zero rest between sets is the goal

How to keep improving with this workout

The design of this mini-workout allows you to keep improving as you choose harder versions of the exercises and/or perform them faster and/or reduce the amount of rest between exercises

The Workout

  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 20 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 20 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 20 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 20 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 19 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 19 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 19 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 19 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 18 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 18 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 18 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 18 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 17 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 17 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 17 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 17 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 16 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 16 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 16 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 16 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 15 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 15 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 15 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 15 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 14 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 14 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 14 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 14 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 13 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 13 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 13 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 13 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 12 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 12 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 12 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 12 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 11 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 11 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 11 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 11 reps
  • Bulgarians – Left Leg – 10 reps
  • Alternating Shoulder Pressess – 10 reps
  • Bulgarians – Right Leg – 10 reps
  • Overhead Pull-Aparts – 10 reps

That’s it for today. As I add new Max Benefit – Min Time workouts, I will include a link to a index page which will list all of workouts in one place.

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

pushups @healthhabits

Max Benefit – Min Time Workout #1

Question #1 : Want to be healthier, fitter, leaner, sexier, etc?

Question #2 : Are you insanely busy?

If you answered yes to both questions, have I got good news for you.

Starting today, I am going to start posting a series of mini-workouts designed to:

  • improve fitness,
  • improve health,
  • burn fat,
  • build functional strength,
  • improve energy system function,
  • improve muscular endurance,
  • improve speed endurance
  • AND save you time.

Each post will consist of a single mini-workout. All of these mini-workout posts will be catalogued together to allow you to mix & match to create your own custom plan.

Here we go with…

Max Benefit – Min Time Workout #1

Exercises

  • Push-ups – modifying the angle of your body to suit your strength/fitness level (feet elevated, flat on floor, hands on bench, hands on counter, leaning against wall, etc)
  • Bodyweight Squats – modifying depth of squat to suit your strength/fitness level (ass to the grass, parallel to floor, 1/2 squat, 1/4 squat, etc)

Set/Rep Scheme

  • Alternate exercises (push-ups/squats/push-ups/etc…)
  • 1st Set – 20 reps, 2nd Set – 19 reps, 3rd Set – 18 reps….all the way down to 10 reps (Total of 11 sets)

Speed of Execution

Perform reps as fast as possible…with good form

Rest

Minimize reps between exercises – zero rest between sets is the goal

How to keep improving with this workout

The design of this mini-workout allows you to keep improving as you choose harder versions of the exercises and/or perform them faster and/or reduce the amount of rest between exercises

The Workout

  • Push-ups – 20 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 20 reps
  • Push-ups – 19 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 19 reps
  • Push-ups – 18 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 18 reps
  • Push-ups – 17 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 17 reps
  • Push-ups – 16 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 16 reps
  • Push-ups – 15 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 15 reps
  • Push-ups – 14 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 14 reps
  • Push-ups – 13 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 13 reps
  • Push-ups – 12 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 12 reps
  • Push-ups – 11 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 11 reps
  • Push-ups – 10 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 10 reps

 

That’s it for today. As I add new Max Benefit – Min Time workouts, I will include a link to a index page which will list all of workouts in one place.

 

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

 

Obesity in Canada

Yesterday, the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released their report on the state of obesity in Canada.

Included in that report is a series of 21 recommendations.

As a health/fitness/politics junkie, this report is like catnip to me, so I was pretty eager to get my grubby little paws on a copy.

Let’s take a look inside….

obesity in canada

The Cost of Obesity in Canada

The committee’s findings show the vast scope of this epidemic:

  • Each year 48,000 to 66,000 Canadians die from conditions linked to excess weight;
  • Nearly two thirds of adults and one third of children are obese or overweight; and
  • Obesity costs Canada between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion annually in health care and lost productivity

In short: Canada’s obesity problem is way too big to be ignored

How did this happen???

1. Nutrition

In terms of eating habits, the committee was told that since the 1980s, Canadians have decreased their intake of high fat foods and increased intakes of fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the food guide. However, consumption of processed, ready-to-eat and snack foods have shown the largest increase over this period.

Over this period of time (80s – present), a review of Canada’s food guide reveals that Canadians have been told to switch…

  • from a diet of a modest number of daily servings reflecting a balance of whole foods
  • to a low fat diet that permits significantly more servings per day, a large proportion of which should be grain products, or carbohydrates.

The committee was told that, as a result, the food guide may be recommending a diet that is nutritionally insufficient with respect to vitamins D and E, potassium and choline and that only by eating artificially fortified and highly-processed cereals can the diet provide adequate levels of calcium, iron and vitamin B12

  • According to 2012 data only 40% of Canadians are eating even the lower recommended number of fruit and vegetables per day, 5 servings.
  • The food guide recommends that adults should be consuming closer to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

At the same time, Manuel Arango, of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, indicated that as much as 62% of the Canadian diet can be categorized as highly-processed, a percentage that has been rising in recent decades at the expense of whole foods.

As a consequence of the increased intake of highly processed foods, sugar consumption has increased dramatically from 4 pounds annually per person 200 years ago to 151 pounds annually per person today.

The overwhelming consensus among witnesses with respect to food consumption trends was that the consequence of Health Canada’s evolving food guide and the increasing variety and availability of processed and ready-to-eat foods has been a pronounced decrease in consumption of whole foods and alarming increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods.

As a result, Canadians are eating too much calorie-rich and nutrient-poor food.

In short: Canadians eat too much processed food and not enough real food. 

2. Physical Activity (or lack thereof)

Regarding physical activity, the committee heard that the participation rate in organized sport among Canadians has not declined in recent decades, and may have increased. However, several witnesses emphasized that although participation in such activities is encouraged, it does not by itself ensure that Canadians, especially children, are getting sufficient exercise.

They described how many of these activities include a significant amount of sedentary time and that they tend to lead people into thinking that they are doing more than enough to be considered as being physically active. Members heard, for example, sports such as hockey, soccer or basketball include a lot of instruction time outside of games, and a lot of bench time during games, when participants are idle.

More importantly, several witnesses suggested that it is the decline in active, free play among children and a decline in the activities of daily living among adults that have primarily contributed to an overall decrease in physical activity.

In 2011 the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology  developed separate, evidence-based physical activity guidelines for four age-groups; children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

The physical activity guidelines recommend:

  • 180 minutes per day for toddlers and pre-schoolers,
  • 60 minutes a day for children and youth up to 17 years of age,
  • 150 minutes per week for adults aged 18-64 years including some bone and muscle strengthening exercises,
  • and similar guidance for seniors over 65 years with exercises aimed at improving balance and reducing the risk of falls.

In addition the guidelines recommend that:

  • children under four not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time.
  • Children and youth are advised to limit screen time to no more than two hours per day while limiting sedentary behaviour, indoor activities and motorized transport.

Unfortunately, a minority of Canadians are meeting these goals.

Although 50% of Canadians believe they meet the physical activity guidelines when asked, in fact, when objectively measured, only 15% of adults are actually getting the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

On average, Canadian adults obtain only 12 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day.

Similarly, children and youth are largely failing to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. According to Elio Antunes, President of ParticipACTION, less than 9% of children and youth are sufficiently active, and the proportion of active kids decreases with age.

The committee was told that only 7% of 5-11 years olds meet the physical activity guidelines and this proportion drops to only 4% for adolescents.

With respect to the sedentary guidelines, the committee heard that less than 15% of 3-4 year olds and only 24% of 5-17 year olds are meeting the recommendations.

In fact, members were told that children and youth are spending 38 to 42 hours per week in front of television, desktops, laptops, ipads and smartphones.

In short:  While we think we have increased our rates of physical activity via structured exercise (sports leagues, gym memberships, personal trainers, etc), we haven’t….our rates of daily physical activity continue to drop while our rates of sitting on our butts staring at screens have continued to rise.

To make it even worse, we are setting up our kids to be even lazier than we are.

So….what are we going to do about it???

In the discussions of what we can do to reverse the trend of obesity in Canada, participants kept coming back to Canada’s anti-smoking strategy.

Despite the obvious distinction that smoking is a completely unnecessary practice while eating is essential, witnesses noted several lessons that we have learned from the anti-smoking campaign:

  1. the anti-smoking strategy employed several different approaches implemented by different levels of government.
  2. the evidence-base of the negative health consequences had to be elucidated and presented clearly to Canadians.
  3. the strategy had to bring about a societal change in terms of how smoking was viewed.
  4. the change in behaviour would take time.
  5. the strategy would not be popular with the industry.
  6. and finally, the federal government provided the leadership for a pan-Canadian approach.

In their comparison of the anti-smoking strategy to any anti-obesity strategy, witnesses continued to emphasize the need for a comprehensive, health-in-all-policies, whole-of-society approach.

The committee was told that policies, wherever possible, should encourage or facilitate the pursuit of healthy lifestyles. In this regard, witnesses suggested that a health lens, should be applied to a range of policy development, across departments and across all levels of government. An effective all-of government platform would encourage the development of provincial and regional initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles. As such, the committee would like to see the federal government take aggressive measures to help Canadians achieve and maintain healthy weights.

In short:  While Canada’s successful anti-smoking strategy can serve as an effective model, we have to remember that obesity is a much more complex problem and as such requires a more comprehensive solution.

In that spirit, the “Obesity in Canada” Committee has come up with 21 suggestions for reversing Canada’s obesity problem.

Here’s the list….

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories and in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, create and implement a National Campaign to Combat Obesity which includes goals, timelines and annual progress reports.

@healthhabits says:  This is exactly the kind of thing government should be good at. Bringing all sorts of disparate stakeholders together to work together towards a common goal. IMHO, this is a necessary step.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the federal government:

  • Immediately conduct a thorough assessment of the prohibition on advertising food to children in Quebec; and,
  • Design and implement a prohibition on the advertising of foods and beverages to children based on that assessment.

@healthhabits says:  Quebec has had a prohibition on the advertising of all food and beverages to children under the age of 13 under its Consumer Protection Act11 for many years. Studying the effectiveness of this program to determine if it should be rolled out nationwide makes sense to me.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the federal government:

  • Assess the options for taxation levers with a view to implementing a new tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages; and,
  • Conduct a study, and report back to this committee by December 2016, on potential means of increasing the affordability of healthy foods including, but not limited to, the role of marketing boards, food subsidies and the removal or reduction of existing taxes.

@healthhabits says:  Skip the study and just go ahead and slap a tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages AND take ALL of that money and use it to subsidize un-processed (aka real) food

Recommendation 4

The committee further recommends that the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada immediately:

  • Address the recommendations made by the Auditor General with respect to the Nutrition North program and report back to this committee on its progress by December 2016

@healthhabits says:  Northern communities are much worse off in terms of overall nutrition and the cost of nutritious food in particular. Canada’s north is one giant food desert. As such, it may require special (aka expensive) intervention.

Recommendation 5

The committee further recommends that the federal government conduct assessments of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Working Income Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit with a view to determining how fiscal measures could be used to help Canadians of lower socio-economic status, including our Aboriginal population, choose healthy lifestyle options.

@healthhabits says:  Skip the assessment, ditch the tax credits. They are designed to reward the well off & ignore the poor…which is just plain stupid as the poor are the ones driving Canada’s obesity epidemic. If we want to save healthcare & improve economic productivity, any physical activity incentives need to be directed primarily at the poor & secondarily at more affluent Canadians.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that the Minister of Health immediately undertake a complete revision of Canada’s food guide in order that it better reflect the current state of scientific evidence. The revised food guide must:

  • Be evidence-based;
  • Apply meal-based rather than nutrient-based principles;
  • Effectively and prominently describe the benefits of fresh, whole foods compared to refined grains, ready-to-eat meals and processed foods; and,
  • Make strong statements about restricting consumption of highly processed foods.

@healthhabits says:  All of these four recommendations sound great. 

Recommendation 7

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health revise the food guide on the guidance of an advisory body which:

  • Comprises experts in relevant areas of study, including but not limited to nutrition, medicine, metabolism, biochemistry, and biology; and,
  • Does not include representatives of the food or agriculture industries.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%. Economic bias should not be allowed in Canada’s Food Guide…even if food lobbyists support an MPs re-election campaign.

Recommendation 8

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oils, to minimize trans fat content in food, unless specifically permitted by regulation.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%

Recommendation 9

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health:

  • Reassess the daily value applied to total carbohydrates based on emerging evidence regarding dietary fat and the fat promoting nature of carbohydrates;
  • Ensure that the regulatory proposals for serving size have addressed all of the concerns raised by stakeholders during public consultation, and,
  • Require that the daily intake value for protein be included in the Nutrition Facts table.

@healthhabits says:  Every few years, nutrition experts flip-flop their positions on the relative healthfullness of the different macronutrients. One decade, we are supposed to avoid fat…then it’s carbs…then it’s “too much” protein, then we’re back to fats…and so on…

My suggestion is to avoid making blanket statements on the healthfullness (or lack thereof) of any macronutrient.

There is nothing wrong with eating fat or carbs or protein.

The problems start when people:

  • start eating excessive quantities of overall calories
  • demonize a single macronutrient and replace it with a highly-processed substitution
  • choose poor quality highly-processed food over real food – fruit, veg, seeds, meat, etc.

With all of this said, I think that the consumer needs as much info about the quality of the food they are eating AND the gov’t can help them by requiring a total nutritional profile of every food product be made available on the company’s website

Recommendation 10

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health assess whether sugar and starch should be combined under the heading of total carbohydrate within the Nutrition Facts table and report back to this committee by December 2016.

@healthhabits says:  Give us sugar totals, starch totals AND total carb totals.

Recommendation 11

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health implement strict limits on the use of permitted health claims and nutrient content claims based on a measure of a food’s energy density relative to its total nutrient content.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%. I would also require any nutritional claims require scientific proof. Links to that science should be available from the products page on the company website. Make a claim…back it up.

Recommendation 12

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health:

  • Immediately undertake a review of front-of-package labelling approaches that have been developed in other jurisdictions and identify the most effective one;
  • Report back to this committee on the results of the review by December 2016;
  • Amend the food regulations to mandate the use of the identified front-of-package approach on those foods that are required to display a Nutrition Facts table; and,
  • Encourage the use of this labelling scheme by food retailers and food service establishments on items not required to display a Nutrition Facts table.

@healthhabits says:  If you sell food in a package, you should be required to have a Nutrition Facts table as part of the packaging. As well, a website url pointing to a page with more complete nutrition info about the product should be included as well.

Recommendation 13

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health encourage nutrition labelling on menus and menu boards in food service establishments.

@healthhabits says:  This is a little vague. How about something more specific like…calories, macronutrients, allergens listed in small print on the menu AND a more thorough nutritional analysis for each item on a separate booklet…and on their website as well.

Recommendation 14

The committee therefore recommends that the federal government increase funding to ParticipACTION to a level sufficient for the organization to:

  • Proceed with Active Canada 20/20; and
  • Become the national voice for Canada’s physical activity messaging.

@healthhabits says:  Based upon what I have seen from ParticipACTION in the past few years, I am not sure if giving them more money is the best idea. 

It may be simpler and more effective for Health Canada to hire the same PR flacks that put together Canada’s anti-smoking campaign and get them to focus on a “exercise more : play more : move more” style of message.

I’m not sure why we need ParticipACTION’s added layer of bureaucracy.

Why not…

  • hold a public contest for ad/pr/marketing firms to come up with their best message to get Canadian’s active again
  • have Canadians vote via the contest’s website/FB page/Twitter/etc
  • award the winner the contract
  • promote the heck out of the programs via internet, tv, radio and print.

And while we’re at it, why don’t we throw out a request to Canadian celebrities & athletes asking them to donate their time to film some short PSAs to add to the Health Canada Youtube channel.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the fine folks who work for ParticipACTION. They may have exactly the kind of expertise to organize the kind of program needed to get Canadians active again.

Recommendation 15

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities together use the recently established National Health and Fitness Day to promote the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.

@healthhabits says:  I didn’t even know there was a National Health & Fitness Day. I guess that’s why they need the promotion.

Recommendation 16

The committee further recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada provide sustained or bridged funding for pilot projects that have been assessed as effective.

@healthhabits says:  Hmmmmmmm who’s making the assessments? And what happens when they haven’t be PROVEN effective after a year or two of government $$$$ in their bank accounts?

Recommendation 17

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health in discussion with provincial and territorial counterparts as well as non-governmental organizations already engaged in these initiatives:

  • Encourage improved training for physicians regarding diet and physical activity; • Promote the use of physician counselling, including the use of prescriptions for exercise;
  • Bridge the gap between exercise professionals and the medical community by preparing and promoting qualified exercise professionals as a valuable part of the healthcare system and healthcare team;
  • Address vulnerable populations, such as Canadians of lower socio-economic status including Canada’s Aboriginal population, and pregnant women;
  • Advocate for childcare facility and school programs related to breakfast and lunch programs, improved physical education, physical activity and nutrition literacy courses; and,
  • Engage provincial governments in discussions about infrastructure requirements for communities that encourage active transportation and active play.

@healthhabits says:  All of the suggestions sound great…and yet they are couched in the kind of government bureaucracy speak that makes me lose all confidence. Can we please get a little less talk about what we want to do and a little more talk about how we’re going to do it!!!

Recommendation 18

The committee further recommends that the federal government provide funding under the New Building Canada Fund to communities for infrastructure that enables, facilitates and encourages an active lifestyle, both indoors and outdoors.

@healthhabits says:  If that means more walking paths, more bike paths and more walkable neighbourhoods…I am on board. If that means funding for arenas & pools…I have to disagree. We need to keep a focus on the cost : benefit ratio. Tax dollars don’t grow on trees.

Recommendation 19

The committee therefore recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada implement a strategy to increase the visibility, uptake and use of the Best Practices Portal by stakeholders across the country.

@healthhabits says:  Never heard of the Best Practices Portal. At first glance, it seems a little meh, but the idea is solid. Give Canada’s docs a dedicated site to source info on reducing obesity & related diseases seems like a great idea.

Recommendation 20

The committee therefore recommends that Health Canada design and implement a public awareness campaign on healthy eating based on tested, simple messaging. These messages should relate to, but not be limited to:

  • Most of the healthiest food doesn’t require a label;
  • Meal preparation and enjoyment;
  • Reduced consumption of processed foods; and,
  • The link between poor diet and chronic disease.

@healthhabits says:  See my comments on funding ParticipACTION above. We don’t need multiple groups coming up with different public awareness campaigns. Have a contest, using the Canadian people as judges, ask Canadian celebrities & athletes for assistance

As well, bring back Home Ec in school.

Recommendation 21

The committee further recommends that Health Canada and other relevant departments and agencies, together with existing expertise and trusted organizations, implement a comprehensive public awareness campaign on healthy active lifestyles.

@healthhabits says:  See above….physical activity, diet and healthy active lifestyles should all be promoted AT THE SAME TIME.

 

What do you think???

Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you want to discuss.

canada is the worlds fittest country

Reference

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

 

pushups @healthhabits

Introducing the 20:20 Workout…The Simplest Get Fit, Get Lean, Get Healthy, Get Strong, Get Awesome Workout of All Time

Introducing the 20:20 Workout…The Simplest Get Fit, Get Lean, Get Healthy, Get Strong, Get Awesome Workout of All Time.

Here’s the general theory:

  • 20 seconds of high intensity exercise
  • 20 seconds of rest
  • Repeat as many times as possible…while maintaining great form & high intensity.

Here’s why this workout is awesome:

  • It’s dead simple. Even the newest of workout newbies can understand “work really hard for 20 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds”.
  • It improves your energy system fitness…which improves your endurance, strength, power, etc.
  • It makes most trainees stronger very quickly -(experienced trainees who already lift primarily for serious strength won’t see much in the way of strength improvement)
  • It improves the muscular endurance of those people who already lift for serious strength…which will improve their strength training programs
  • It’s great for weight loss
  • It saves time. Most trainees will be gassed after 20 minutes…and it takes a real freak to keep the intensity up over 40 min.
  • As you become more efficient at this program, your power & speed-endurance will improve significantly
  • It can be performed at home, indoors, outdoors, on the playing field & in the gym.
  • It’s fully expandable….from very simple beginner workouts to more complex workouts for advanced trainees or people with physical restrictions
  • It’s 100% free

Workout Examples

Legs + Horizontal Push + Horizontal Pull

Repeat for a set time or until your form starts to break down and/or your intensity drops by (self-measured) 20%

Legs + Vertical Push + Vertical Pull

Repeat for a set time or until your form starts to break down and/or your intensity drops by (self-measured) 20%

Legs + Horizontal Push + Horizontal Pull + Core

  • Stair Step Ups or Box Jumps or Burpees for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Chest Press or Push-Ups for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlifts
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Standing Rows or Bodyweight Rows for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Ab Roll-Outs, Front Plank or Dead Bugs for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds

Repeat for a set time or until your form starts to break down and/or your intensity drops by (self-measured) 20%

Legs + Vertical Push + Vertical Pull + Rotation

  • Bodyweight Squats or Bulgairan Squats for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Pulldowns, Band Overhead Pull-Aparts or Chin-ups for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Standing Single Leg Straight Leg Flexions – Front, Side & Rear
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Overhead Press – Band, Bodyweight, DB, BB
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Woodchops, Stir the Pots or Palloff Press for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds

Repeat for a set time or until your form starts to break down and/or your intensity drops by (self-measured) 20%

Legs + Horizontal Push + Horizontal Pull + Core + Carry

  • Waiter Walk or some other “Carry” variation for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Stair Step Ups or Box Jumps or Burpees for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Chest Press or Push-Ups for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlifts
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Standing Rows or Bodyweight Rows for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Ab Roll-Outs, Front Plank or Dead Bugs for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds

Repeat for a set time or until your form starts to break down and/or your intensity drops by (self-measured) 20%

Legs + Vertical Push + Vertical Pull + Rotation + Sprint

  • Bodyweight Squats or Bulgairan Squats for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Pulldowns, Band Overhead Pull-Aparts or Chin-ups for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Standing Single Leg Straight Leg Flexions – Front, Side & Rear
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Overhead Press – Band, Bodyweight, DB, BB
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Woodchops or Palloff Press for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Sprint for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds

Repeat for a set time or until your form starts to break down and/or your intensity drops by (self-measured) 20%

Design Your Own 20:20 Workout

As I said above, the 20:20 Workout is fully expandable and is easily modified to fit your specific needs.

Step #1 : Choose the body movements that you want to work on

  • Push Vertical
  • Push Horizontal
  • Pull Vertical
  • Pull Horizontal
  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Walk
  • Run
  • Sprint

Step #2 : Choose an exercise or exercises for each of the body movements you have selected

Step #3 : Organize the exercises so that you maximize your rest periods. Instead of putting 2 leg exercises back to back, stick an upper body exercise in betweenex. Squat – Horizontal Push – Hip Hinge – Horizontal Pull

Step #4 : Set a timer for a 20 sec work : 20 sec rest interval program. If you don’t have a timer, check out Gymboss. They’re easy to use, inexpensive and will prevent you dropping & cracking your smartphone screen

Step #5 : Fill a bottle of water & get ready to sweat

pushups @healthhabits

Questions? Hit me up on social media – Twitter, Facebook.

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

Tabata and the End of Night Time Snacking

 

At this time of year, millions of people around the world have resolved to lose weight. Sadly, most of them will fail.

One of the main reasons why so many of us are unable to lose excess bodyfat is night-time snacking.

During the day, we are able to eat healthy, control our portion size, choose vegetables over starchy carbs and stay away from junk food.

 

eatinginfrontoftv

But at night, most of us relax, drop onto the couch, turn on the tv…and say goodbye to our weight-loss willpower.

And nothing wrecks a diet faster than night time snacking while watching tv

A few years ago, I had a client who was having problems with night time snacking. He did everything “right” during the day, but when he finally relaxed at the end of the day, he found himself dealing with major cravings while watching the nightly news.

Most of the time, he drowned his cravings with mugs of steaming hot tea. But as the cravings didn’t lessen over time, we felt that we needed to do something to resist their temptation.

Here’s what we did.

Right before he sat down in front of the tv, I had him perform a single 4-minute Tabata set of Step-Ups using one of the staircases in his home.

And it worked.

We have no idea why it worked – hormones, brain chemicals, recharged willpower – and we didn’t care. All that mattered was that his cravings went away, making it easier for him to achieve his fitness goals.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you 🙂

How to do Tabata Step-Ups

What is Tabata?

Tabata is an exercise protocol in which you exercise as hard as possible for 20 seconds…then rest for 10 seconds…repeating this 7 more times…for a total of 8 x 20 second work sets + 8 x 10 second rest sets = 4 minutes of high intensity exercise.

How do I do Tabata Step-Ups in my home?

You couldn’t find a simpler exercise.

  • Step 1 : Walk over to a staircase
  • Step 2: Step Up
  • Step 3: Step Down
  • Step 4: Do this as fast as you can for 20 seconds
  • Step 5: Rest for 10 seconds
  • Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 & 5 seven more times

Step Up Videos

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

New Research : Bodybuilding and the Mind-Muscle Connection

In the bodybuilding world, one of the most important “principles” of lifting is the need to establish a mind : muscle connection.

It’s not enough to lift the weight. For maximum success, the trainee must put all of his/her intention into the muscle that is being worked.

For many of us who aren’t bodybuilders…who lift for strength, power, endurance, athletic performance, etc…this seems like a giant load of new age nonsense.

Until now:

In this new study, researchers found that when trainees (working with loads between 20 -60% of their 1 Rep Maximum) focused on the muscles being worked, they were able to increase muscle activation…without decreasing the activity of other muscles involved in the lift.

By focusing on the muscles, they actually made the muscles work harder.

Which is exactly what those bodybuilding gurus have been saying for decades.

arnold-concentration-curl

What does this mean to you?

If you lift weight in 20-60% of 1 Rep Max range, focusing intently on the muscles being worked seems like a really great idea.

If you lift in the 80+% 1 RM range, there is no need to focus on the working muscles…you should be focusing on perfect form & execution…your nervous system will look after how many muscle fibers are contracting to complete your lift.

In the 60-80% range, I don’t know what to tell you. The researchers in this study focused on intensities of 20, 40, 50, 60 and 80 % of the pre-determined 1RM.

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

 

Reference

Can You Be Fit AND Fat : Research Says NO

According to Swedish researchers, the idea that you can be Fat and Fit is 100% false.

In this study, it was found that obese men with a high level of aerobic fitness are more likely to die than normal weight men with below average levels of aerobic fitness.

The Science

Looking at a group of 1,317,713 Swedish men with a median age of 29, researchers investigated the association between aerobic fitness, obesity and death.

Here’s what they found…

  • Men in the top 20% of aerobic health had a 48% lower risk of death from any cause as compared to the bottom 20%.

man runningIn regard to the “fit and fat” hypothesis, the researchers found that men of a normal weight, regardless of their fitness level, were at a lower risk of death compared to obese men who were in the top 25% of aerobic fitness.

In fact, the men with extreme levels of obesity lost all of the benefits associated with aerobic fitness.

is it possible to be fat and fit

What does this mean to you?

  1. Fat and fit is a myth.
  2. While this study focused on men, it would be foolish to believe that overweight women are somehow different.
  3. Going for a run after eating a whole pizza is not a solution.
  4. Obesity is a killer.

Reference

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

Coming Soon : HIIT for Health

healthhabits woman.png

Early in the new year, I will be publishing an ebook on HIIT and why it is  such an amazing tool for improving your health.

I have been providing some version of this report to those of my personal training clients with significant health issues over the years. Since then, their doctors have slowly begun to see the benefits of HIIT as a tool to prevent & recover from serious health conditions.

In addition to to the scientific arguments for HIIT, the book will include a LOT of printable HIIT workouts and instructions on how to easily craft your own personal HIIT workout program.

This publication will be available 100% FREE for @healthhabits subscribers.

 

If you already subscribe to @healthhabits, keep an eye on your inbox in the first week of January

If you don’t subscribe to @healthhabits, what are you waiting for?

button subscribe

 

pushups healthhabits

“I Don’t Have Time to Workout” Workout

Around the world, the #1 excuse for not exercising is…”I don’t have enough time”.

As a public service to those uber-busy people, I have put together a template for a 15 minute workout that is simple, effective and works for beginners & elite athletes alike.

  • 15 minutes
  • Great workout
  • Guaranteed results
  • No more excuses

Step #1

Buy a set of very affordable workout bands like these. ($30 from Amazon). You can probably find a set for next to nothing at the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Village, etc.

Step #2

Find a place to exercise.

Bands can be attached to a door:

or any immovable object:

Note: The spring link used in the video costs about $2-3 at Home Depot.

Step #3

Get an interval timer – Smartphone (iphone, android) app, Gymboss timer, etc.

gymboss-interval timer

Step #4

Choose 1 exercise / exercise combo from each group:

Group #1 

  • Step-Ups
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Scissor Shuffles
  • Running in Place / Jogging on the Spot
  • Shuttle Runs
  • Skipping Rope
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Exercise Bike sprints

Group #2

  • Standing Band Chest Press
  • Standing Band Row
  • Standing Band Overhead Press
  • Standing Band Pulldown
  • Standing Band Woodchop
  • Standing Band Pallof Press
  • Standing Band Thrusters

Group #3

  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Bodyweight Hip Thrusts
  • Bodyweight 1-Leg Deadlifts
  • Standing Band Hip Thrusts
  • Bodyweight Jump Squats
  • Standing Band Deadlifts
  • Standing Band Lunges

Step #5

1.  Set your timer for a 4-minute Tabata style interval

  • 20 seconds of exercise
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • Repeat 8 times
  • Total time: 4 minutes (160 seconds of exercise + 80 seconds of rest)

2.  Perform the chosen Group #1 exercise using the 4-min Tabata style interval. Using good form, perform as many reps as possible.

3.  Rest 90 seconds

4.  Perform the chosen Group #2 exercise using the 4-min Tabata style interval. Using good form, perform as many reps as possible.

5.  Rest 90 seconds

6.  Perform the chosen Group #3 exercise using the 4-min Tabata style interval. Using good form, perform as many reps as possible.

7.  Done 🙂

Step #6 – Optional

If you decide that you have more than 15 minutes and want to increase your volume of exercise, add additional exercises from any of the three groups.

Step #7 – Optional

Before you grab a shower, you could choose to add some mobility/flexibility exercises into the mix. Here are some resources:

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

LEPTIN

Is Leptin Gene Therapy the Future of Weight Loss?

Every year, millions of “weight loss” dollars are spent by pharmaceutical companies in the search for a drug that can prevent and/or reverse obesity. And every year, billions of “weight loss” dollars are spent by consumers on supplements, gym memberships, pills, potions & lotions.

Unfortunately, every year…almost all of that money is wasted as obesity rates creep higher & higher…pushing up the number of people with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.

But what if instead of looking for a drug or a vitamin or a diet or a workout…the solution to obesity was genetic therapy?

  • What if there was a way to reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc thanks to a combination of leptin genes and a “safe” adeno-associated virus delivered to you via an IV injection?
  • What if researchers were already working on this?
  • What if the research has already seen success in lab mice studies?

Would that get you excited about a scientific cure for obesity & it’s related lifestyle diseases?

Assuming you answered yes to the above question, I will continue with a brief overview of the science for all you weight-loss geeks.

LEPTIN

A Very Brief Overview of the Science

  • Researchers use adeno-associated viruses as a vehicle to deliver leptin into your body
  • The virus/leptin combo is injected into test subjects (mice) via an IV
  • The nonpathogenic virus infects the host’s cells with the leptin gene
  • The expression of the leptin gene is played out over a long period of time
  • Unlike a direct injection of leptin into the host’s brain, the adenovirus delivery method circumvents the “normal” leptin resistance feedback loop

Allowing for a sustained drop in appetite, a sustained drop in food consumption, a sustained drop in body-fat, reduced blood sugar levels, reduced triglyceride levels, improved glucose tolerance, etc, etc, etc…

What does this mean to YOU?

Unfortunately not very much right now. All of this research is being conducted on mice…meaning that you shouldn’t expect to get an anti-obesity injection from your doctor anytime soon.

Still, as a health & fitness nerd, this science is pretty darn cool. If you think so too, pass it on.

Public interest via social media, means more attention via mainstream media, which means an increased chance that someone / some company with deep pockets will fund additional research.

And additional research can’t help but speed up the process and maybe, just maybe…we’ll have a safe & effective treatment for obesity & it’s related diseases.

And that is pretty darn cool too.

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

How many BURPEES does it take to burn off 1 grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Here at @HealthHabits, I like to try and answer the big questions that have been plaguing mankind since the beginning of time.

  • Where do we come from?
  • Where do we go when we die?
  • How many burpees does it take to burn off 1 grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream?

Today, we’re focusing on the PSL…

Note:

It takes a “fit” person approximately 10 minutes to do 100 burpees. That means, burning off the calories in just one grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte will take Mr. or Ms. Fitness 34 minutes of non-stop burpee action.

34 minutes of this…

burpees

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

10 Ways to Burn 1 Pound of Body Fat – Vol. 4

Welcome to the fourth edition of 10 Ways to Burn 1 Pound of Body-Fat.

The following list will highlight different physical activities and tell you how long they will take to burn 500 calories….which is a convenient number because a pound of body fat is 3500 calories and there are 7 days in the week.

And if my Grade 3 math skills are still up to date, 500 calories burned  x 7 days in the week = 3500 calories burned per week = 1 pound of body fat burned off per week.

And that’s pretty cool. So, here we go….

THE LIST

Zumba

  • It will take the average American Male (191 lbs) 62 minutes of Zumbafying to burn 500 calories
  • It will take the average American Female (164 lbs) 72 minutes of shaking her booty to burn 500 calories

zumba

To find out how long it will take YOU to burn 500 calories…

  • take your weight (ex 200 lbs),
  • divide by the average American weight – male or female ( ex 200 lb male / 191 lbs = 1.047),
  • and multiply the result by the average time that I calculated (ex 1.047 x 62 mintes = 65 minutes)

Exercise List

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

The Journey from Fat to Fit

Every January, bookstore shelves groan under the weight of the hundreds of brand-new weight loss/diet/exercise/nutrition/snake-oil books.

And every January, millions of people…unhappy with their bodies…spend bazillions of dollars…in the hope that one of those books will contain some magical insight that will allow them to transform their bodies from fat to fit…without having to sweat…eat spinach…or lever their butts off the sofa.

Unfortunately…

The journey from fat to fit is never going to be that easy.

  • You’re going to sweat.
  • You’re going to eat healthy.
  • And you’re going to stop spending every night on the couch watching tv and/or playing XBox.

But in return, you’re going to…

And to help you get there, I have put together the “From Fat to Fit” roadmap…

Consisting of a series of 4 meta-steps, this DIY infographic will make your transformation from fat to fit simpler, faster and much, much, much more effective….I promise.

TheJourneyfromFattoFit

Step 1 – Follow a plan

I don’t really care which plan you follow.

  • If you want to combine an Atkins diet with a yoga routine, go for it.
  • If you want to become a Vegan who does Crossfit, go for it.
  • If you want to count calories and do exercise videos at home, go for it.
  • If you want to join Weight Watchers, perform EFT tapping, go to AquaFit classes with the little old ladies at my gym, go for it.

In my 20+ years as a personal trainer, I have helped people transform their bodies using all sorts of different plans. In my experience, finding a plan that works best with the client’s lifestyle is infinitely more important than the plan itself.

And science finally agrees with me.

According to researchers at McMaster University, all diets work…if you can stick to them.

Conducting a meta-analysis of 48 randomized clinical trials of branded diets – Atkins, Weight Watchers, Zone, Jenny Craig, LEARN, Nutrisystem, Ornish, Volumetrics, Rosemary Conley, Slimming World and South Beach – Mac researchers found that any weight loss differences between these popular diets are minimal and likely of little importance to those wanting to lose weight.

What was important for weight-loss success is the ability of people to stick with the diet.

  • People who stuck with the diet, lost weight.
  • People who didn’t…didn’t.

What this means to you

This means that instead of following the latest & greatest weight loss program, find a program that works best with YOUR current lifestyle.

  • How much time do you have for exercise, meal prep, etc?
  • How much money can you put into the program?
  • What kind of foods do you love/like/hate?
  • Do you prefer group activities or are you a lone wolf?
  • Do you like lifting weights & sprinting or would you rather go for a walk with your dog/spouse?

Be picky. For the plan to work, we NEED it to be a custom-fit it to YOUR lifestyle.

It’s like buying a new pair of shoes. No matter how awesome they look on the shelf, if they don’t have your size, you’re not buying them. 

Step 2 – Cook & eat real food

Back in the olden days, Moms taught their daughters how to shop for, prepare and cook complete, nutritious & yummy meals from scratch. Aside from the obvious gender role sexism, this was a great thing for the health, wealth & appearance of the whole family.

And it’s going to be a great thing for you too.

  • Cooking real food costs less than frozen diet meals
  • Cooking real food costs less than diet-delivery meals
  • Cooking real food lets you modify meals to fit perfectly with your tastebuds
  • Cooking real food will give you complete ownership of your plan and will make you proud of yourself
  • Cooking real food gives you control over the quality of ingredients
  • Cooking real food gives you control over calories
  • Cooking real food gives you control over macro & micronutrients
  • Cooking real food teaches you a skill that you can give to others (kids, friends)
  • Cooking real food can be a very calming, zen experience…helping to reduce day to day stress
  • Cooking real food for friends & family is great for expressing & receiving love…and that’s a heck of a great feeling
  • Cooking real food means no more artificial flavors & colors
  • Cooking real food means you can invent new recipes and try new flavors
  • Cooking real food means that your kids will learn how to cook real food, eat healthy, be healthy, be fit

And that’s just off the top of my head. There are so many more benefits to learning how to cook like Grandma did.

Luckily for you, Youtube has a ton of “How to Cook” instructional videos. Here are a few to check out.

Step 3 – Non-Workout physical activity

On the infographic, I ask the question: After dinner, are you more likely to go for a walk, or sit on the couch and watch tv?

If you answered sit on the couch and watch tv, I am 99.99% sure that you will never achieve your weight loss goals.

There are two reasons why I believe that:

  1. Sitting on the couch at night watching tv (or playing XBox, or surfing the net, or some other form of inactivity) means more calories consumed via snacking & less calories burned as you sit on your keester. Over time, this caloric sabotage is going to make a major difference in your body transformation.
  2. Being inactive during your “leisure time” means much more than just calories in : calories out. It is a symbol that bleeds into the rest of your life, sabotaging your food choices and influencing your decision to skip your early-morning workout or replace your home-made healthy breakfast with a muffin from Starbucks.

On the flipside, being physically active (walking, cycling, cleaning the house,etc) after dinner is guaranteed to have a positive impact on your body transformation.

  • In addition to the calories burned and the snack foods not consumed, going for a walk with your spouse/kids/friend is hugely beneficial to your mental and emotional health.
  • As well, this “non-exercise” exercise has a sneaky way transforming your overall point of view towards leisure time. Watching becomes doing. Instead of staring at a screen, shared experiences become the new normal. The entire family becomes more active and interactive.

Step 4 – What do you do when stress hits?

Nothing wrecks a healthy diet faster than a crappy day at work…or a sick kid…or an overdue pile of bills…or some other emotional catastrophe.

While your logical mind is calmly & rationally telling you how important it is to stick with the plan and eat healthy…your out of control emotions are screaming at you to wolf down a dozen donuts, an extra-large pizza and a six-pack of beer.

Can you guess who is going to win that argument?

Without a pre-existing plan to handle life’s rainy days, your weight loss / getting healthy plans are going to take the occasional beating from your emotions.

Here are a few techniques for controlling your emotions when life punches you in the face

Note: All of these techniques may seem different but they all work on the same principles:

  1. They distract you from the emotional thoughts
  2. They prevent you from obsessing & bring you back into the present moment
  3. They give you time for the emotions to die down & your conscious mind to regain control

My advice: find something that works best for you & your unique lifestyle

  • If you’re religious…pray
  • If you carry a smartphone with headphones…load it up with meditation or brain wave entrainment mp3s
  • If you don’t buy into this new-agey, crunchy-granola stuff…drop to the floor and do push-ups & ab exercises until you are a sweaty mess.

The how is irrelevant…all we care about is short-circuiting your emotions & regaining conscious control of your mind.

Conclusion

Getting lean, fit & healthy isn’t rocket science.

  1. Find a plan that works for YOU
  2. Cook real / healthy food
  3. Increase your “non-exercise” physical activity
  4. Learn to control your emotions

And feel free to contact me with questions (Twitter / Facebook) if you need to chat.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

How to Get a Tan Without Risking Skin Cancer

  • You know that you look better with a bit of a tan.
  • But, you’re worried about getting skin cancer.

What would you say if I told you that there is some pretty solid science showing that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is more effecting at improving skin colour than suntanning?

The study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior showed that (Caucasian) people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables have a more golden skin colour thanks to the high levels of carotenoids.

Most widely known for their presence in carrots, carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that helps reverse the oxidative damage we incur in our daily lives. In particular, carotenoids have a powerful effect on our immune and reproductive systems.

Lead author Dr Ian Stephen said: “We found that, given the choice between skin colour caused by suntan and skin colour caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin colour, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin colour, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun.”

Dr Stephen suggests that the study is important because evolution would favour individuals who choose to form alliances or mate with healthier individuals over unhealthy individuals.

We should note that while this study looked exclusively at Caucasian faces, it may be true that a study of other racial groups would produce similar results.

Previous studies have shown similar preferences for skin yellowness to be found in an African population.

For more info on this study;

If you want to participate in future studies regarding health & beauty, check out The Perception Lab.

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

5 Ways to Wreck Your Workout

Every January, millions of hopeful people flock to health clubs in a desperate attempt to get fit/healthy/sexy/etc….

And as a personal trainer, fitness research geek and multi-decade gym junkie, I feel that it is my duty to shine a light on some of the ways newbies are wrecking their workouts.

#1 –   Doing Cardio Training before Resistance Training

Most people that join a gym have similar goals…losing body-fat, getting healthier, getting fitter, feeling better, etc.

If that sounds like you, you need to stop doing your cardio training before your resistance training. Doing cardio before resistance training will…

  • slow down your body-fat reduction,
  • slow down or prevent any strength gains,
  • prevent improvements in energy system performance,
  • do nothing to maximize your cardio-vascular function,
  • and wreck your workout.

Here’s how you should organize your workouts:

  1. Short (5-10 min) joint mobility warm-up
  2. Resistance training
  3. HIIT and/or Cardio-vascular training
  4. Joint mobility & flexibility training

Joint Mobility Warm-Up 

Starting your workout with short joint mobility warm-up is a good idea for a few reasons.

  • It physically warms up your muscles, making them more flexible and less prone to injury
  • It causes your joints to be lubricated with synovial fluid, helping them move smoother, preventing injury.
  • It transitions your mind-body from your real-world problems into a “it’s time to workout” mode. This may seem inconsequential, but trust me…it isn’t.

Sample Joint Mobility Protocol

Joint Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP. This warms up your core muscles and establishes a quick mind-body connection to some very, very important muscles.

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up. After the swings, just about every muscle in your body should be nice and pliable and ready for the rest of your workout.

Resistance Training

The type of resistance training you perform depends on your goals. Strength, size, endurance, looking good naked, etc.

The main reason you should perform resistance training before cardio is that resistance training requires a higher level of intensity than cardio training and as you fatigue, your ability to perform at a high level of intensity is the first thing to go.

And if you perform your resistance training in a fatigued state, you are going to wreck your workout, miss out on the weight-loss benefits, miss out on strength-building benefits, and lose out on the energy-system boosting benefits, etc.

HIIT and/or Cardio Training

Whether you perform HIIT or longer duration/lower intensity cardio training or some combination of the two depends on your training goals.

Joint Mobility & Flexibility Training

You have lots of options here…

If you want to learn more about mobility training, I suggest you check out the work of Kelly Starrett and/or Jill Miller. Smart people who make complex stuff simple.

#2 –   Drinking Gatorade while doing Cardio

Unless you are putting in 60 minutes+ of hard, sweaty cardio training, you don’t need the sugar calories found in Gatorade and other sports drinks. You do need water…but you don’t need Gatorade.

In fact, drinking sugary sports drinks minimizes one of the great benefits of of exercise…improved insulin sensitivity.

What is insulin sensitivity…and why should you care about it?

Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of insulin. Someone said to be insulin sensitive will require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has low sensitivity.

In short, being sensitive to insulin is good….being insensitive is bad and is a sign that you are on your way to developing type 2 diabetes.

Exercise, Insulin Sensitivity & Gatorade

Lots of research shows us that cardio exercise makes your body more sensitive to insulin. What happens during exercise is that your body pulls stored sugars out of your muscles & liver to fuel your activity. And for most gym-goers, you have more than enough sugar stored in your body to get you through your workout. (that’s why you don’t NEED Gatorade…unless you are a serious cardio athlete)

Post workout, your sugar-depleted muscles are going to be screaming for sugar. And when you chug down a post-workout protein smoothies or make yourself a meal at home, your muscles & liver are going to take priority over most other body processes.

And this is good…because it means that your muscles are going to get all the nutrients they need to recover faster from your workouts.

Takeaway Message – Unless you are a serious cardio athlete, don’t drink a sugary sports drink during your workout. You will perform just as well, recover faster, while getting leaner, stronger, fitter…faster.

#3 –   Training Chest & Biceps 3x per Week

This message is for all the young guys who think that getting a buff chest and jacked biceps is going to make all the girls swoon.

It won’t. You’re just going to wreck our workout, plus…

  • All the other guys think you’re a poseur, and
  • Your arms & chest would grow faster if you started training smarter.

What does training smarter mean?

  • Train your entire body…not just your beach muscles
  • Get stronger through your core & legs…and you will be able to handle heavier weights over your entire body.
  • Remember that training your back also trains your biceps at the same time

#4 –   Believing that Lifting Weights Will Make a Woman Look Like a Man

You would not believe how many women believe that if they start lifting weights, their body with morph, grow and swell into this…

…when in reality, after years of lifting weights, eating tons of protein & nutritional supplements, favourable genetics and a lot of sweat & hard work, fitness model Jamie Eason looks like this…

…not exactly very manly.

The truth is that you are already lifting weights.

  • Every time you stand up from a chair…you are lifting weights.
  • Every time you go for a walk…you are lifting weights
  • Every time you pick up your kid…you are lifting weights

And you don’t look like a man.

As the old adage says, the poison is in the dosage. If you choose to lift weights like a bodybuilder, eat huge like a bodybuilder and inject steroids, growth hormone & insulin like a bodybuilder, you might end up looking like a bodybuilder.

But…if you lift weights in an intelligent manner, eat in an intelligent manner and take a few crucial supplements, you will probably end up looking fitter, healthier, stronger and sexier than ever before.

#5 –   Expecting Immediate Results

Diet experts around the globe will tell you that to lose body-fat, you need to eat less calories than you consume. Referencing two of the laws of thermodynamics, they say that if you eat 500 fewer calories than your body requires to function, your body will free up 500 calories of stored body-fat to make up the difference.

And if you do that every day for a week, you will lose one pound of body-fat by the end of the week.

Unfortunately, as logical and scienc-y as that sounds, it doesn’t work in the “real world”.

The human body is a beautifully messy piece of work.  Two identical twins with identical bodies can follow the exact same diet & exercise program and get totally different results.

And while that seems totally unfair for the twin who isn’t seeing results, that’s real life. Transforming your body is going to require a process of trial and effort.

  • Find a nutrition/training program that has a good track record and seems to fit nicely into your lifestyle.
  • Give it your best for a month.
  • Evaluate how it worked for you.
  • Give it another month or try a new plan
  • Evaluate how it worked for you

Repeat over and over and soon enough you will become an expert on what works for your body.

Health_Habits_AvatarR1 - my face

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Want to be healthy? Be friends with active people

Playing , socializing and fitness are intertwined in my life.

I love people and I love moving, and it makes me happy when I can combine the two.

What makes it even better is that if you have friends that are active, chances are you’ll be more active, and if you want to get healthy, that’s a beautiful thing.

Being active with friends is a great way to passively maintain your commitment to moving. Any number of friends of mine will call on a Sunday morning and tell me a few people are going out for a game of shinny in an hour. I’m so in. There’s nothing better than a bunch of grown ups skating around getting sweaty.

Two weeks ago my cousin texted me and said she was going cross country skiing and asked if I wanted to join her. It was a last minute impromptu excursion. I quickly packed up my skis and met her at the trail. We laughed as we fell down constantly (it’s early in the season, we’re finding our ski legs!) and we raced against each other on the straight aways. At the end of the trail we both collapsed, laughing, sweating and catching our breath.

This fall, my French Boyfriend built me my own custom mountain bike (swoon!) and we spent a lot of time trail riding around rural Manitoba. Cycling is totally his sport and he’s coaching and motivating me to improve. I was determined to improve my time every week. We’re playfully competitive with each other, it’s fun and a great way for us to connect.

This is how I enjoy spending my leisure time. It’s not an effort to set these activities and routines up, they just happen organically when you surround yourself with the right people.

Start the trend with your own friends and family. Arrange a skate on the river or a tobaggan trip to Assiniboine Park. You might be initially met with some groaning but after the fact, I guarantee that everybody will say, “that was fun, why didn’t we do that sooner?”

And who knows, next Sunday they might call you to go and play some hockey. It has to start somewhere.

So…..who wants to go skating this weekend?

About the Author:

In addition to being a Twitter friend of mine, Lindsay Hamel is a awesome personal trainer from Winnipeg, Canada.

If you want to train with her or just talk about fitness stuff, you can reach her here on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or at her website.

What Happens When A Skinny Person Gets Fat

No one ever said the world was fair.

  • Some of us can eat and drink whatever we want…and never gain a pound of body-fat.

Victorias-Secret-vs-Dove-women

  • While some of us eat healthy, eat small portions, exercise religiously…and still have to shop for Plus Size clothes.

NOT FAIR….especially in a society which:

  • Rewards women (and men) who are lean, fit and have no need to squeeze into a pair of Spanx.
  • Punishes obese women (and men) with lower pay, bad jokes and outright hostility by a growing army of douche-bags.

So, what happens when the world goes all Freaky Friday and a 39 year old woman who is naturally tall…naturally lean…while being naturally addicted to potato chips & pizza…suddenly gains 30 pounds in less than 3 months…without changing her diet or level of physical activity?

  1. Does she freak out and start snorting diet pills?
  2. Does she go into denial and pretend that she still fits into her uber-skinny “skinny jeans”?
  3. Does she morph into a rabid Fat Acceptance advocate denying that obesity is a symptom of less-than-optimum health?
  4. Or does she step back, look critically at the situation and start looking for causes, cures and support?

Here’s what happened

About two weeks ago, I got a call from Ms. Skinny/Fat to discuss her recent & unexpected weight gain.

She told me that how, after a brief period of denial (#2), she had become concerned that this weight gain might be an indicator of a hormonal imbalance or some other health issue…and that she had better do something about it (#4). She had already booked an appointment with her family doctor, but since she is friends with one of the world’s greatest weight loss experts (moi), she decided to solicit my opinion.

Over a cup of coffee with her and her husband, we discussed the past six months of her life…what she ate, when she ate it, her work life, her home life, her medical history, her stress levels, her husband, her plans for the next six months, etc…

We looked into every nook and cranny of her physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual aspect of her life…trying to find clues for why her body decided to stop being skinny and start being pudgy.

What we found was that a teeny-tiny dose of mirtazapine (1/4th of the normal starting dose – prescribed for anxiety) was most likely the culprit to have caused a significant shift in her appetite, metabolism, insulin sensitivity, leptin sensitivity and ultimately caused this naturally skinny person to get fat

After a quick consultation with her doctor, Ms. Skinny/Fat made 4 immediate changes to her daily routine:

  1. She started bleeding herself off of the mirtazapine
  2. She started taking a new prescription for anxiety
  3. She started a CBT/Mindfulness Mediatation program for anxiety
  4. She removed ALL starchy carbs from her diet in an attempt to compensate for any potential insulin/leptin sensitivty problems

The Result?

  • Her appetite dropped immediately
  • Her weight gain stopped immediately
  • After one week, weight loss has begun

The Moral(s) of the Story?

  1. It doesn’t take much for a naturally skinny person to get booted out of their excluisive little club. A slight shift in hormones or brain chemicals can have a drastic effect upon body composition.
  2. If you are the type of skinny person who thinks that fatties are fat because they are lazy and without self-control, you may want to put down your prejudices and give your brain a shake.
  3. Obesity IS a symptom of something going on in your body. A perfectly healthy body is NOT obese. Whether the cause of your obesity is easy to find and/or easy to correct is another question altogether. In this case, it was pretty easy to find and seems to be on its way to being corrected.
  4. If you are the type of obese person who blames their metabolism for their obesity, you might be correct in the diagnosis, but you are 100% wrong if you think the situation is hopeless. Obesity isn’t a curse. It’s a symptom of imbalance. Discover the imbalance and try to correct it.

Reference

Be the Best You that You Can Be

Every day, I speak with people who want to transform their body from fat to fit. And for the most part, I tell them that the human body is an amazingly adaptable machine that WILL respond to exercise, nutrition, etc.

Unfortunately, sometimes I have to splash a little cold water on their hopes & dreams. Just like Mssrs Ecto, Meso & Endo, we all face unique limitations and restrictions.

  • Mr. Meso’s waist is great for bodybuiding…but not so good for becoming the World’s Strongest Man
  • And while Mr. Endo is built for pulling transport trucks out of ditches, he is never, ever going to be as lean as Mr. Ecto without a boatload of illegal and life-threatening drugs.

We all have limitations…

  • Physical – wide hips, narrow hips, small boobs, big boobs, muscle fiber type, metabolic rate, etc…
  • Mental – self-confidence and belief in their ability to improve
  • Financial – gym memberships, trainers, healthy food & supplements cost money
  • Social – support of friends & family isn’t guaranteed
  • Knowledge – Some people still believe that cardio is the best way to lose weight
  • Time – we are all stuck with this one 😦

And while most of us will never be hired to be the next Calvin Klein model…

calvin-klein-models

…we sure as heck can be better than we are today.

Be the Best You that You Can Be

 

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

Best Body Transformation 2013

For the past two years, I have been posting free workouts here at Health Habits

These workouts employed all manner of fitness equipment and as such, were more appropriate for people with gym memberships.

This year, we are going to focus on people who workout at home.

  • To begin with, we will only be doing body-weight exercises.
  • After a month or so, we will add in some strength band workouts. I suggest you buy yours NOW!!!
  • As we go along, I might add in a kettlebell or some other piece of home fitness equipment. I will give you lots of notice OR give you alternative exercises.

The workouts we will be posting online are exact replicas of the ones I am using with one of my newest clients. In fact, to show you how effective these workouts can be, my little guinea pig  has agreed to track his physique transformation as the year progresses.

His goals are as follows:

  1. Reduce body-fat
  2. Get fitter – stronger, more flexible, agile, etc
  3. Get healthier
  4. Look great in the buff

Which are probably the same goals as 93% of y’all.

Here’s what we’re starting with…

Measurements : Day # 1

  • Weight : 283 lbs
  • Waist – landmarked @ Belly Button  : 50″
  • Hips – landmarked @ Butt : 45″
  • Upper Arm – Midpoint between Shoulder & Elbow : 17″ relaxed – 18″ flexed
  • Thigh – Midpoint between Hip & Knee : 28.5″
  • Neck :19″
  • Chest – landmarked @ Nipples : 53″

[colored_box color=”yellow”]There are a few other health issues that we will be tracking, but will not be reporting here at HH (as per client request). Nothing out of the ordinary, but he wants to retain some modicum of privacy. If, in the future, he decides to open up his life a little more, I will report how this transformation has affected these issues.[/colored_box]

Pictures: Day 1

Transformation---1---Front

Transformation-1-Side-right

Transformation---1---Back

Transformation--1--Side-Lef

  • On Monday, I will post the first resistance workout.
  • On Tuesday, I will lay out the dietary / lifestyle plan that I put together for our guinea pig
  • On Wednesday, I will post the second resistance workout.
  • On Thursday, I will make some recommendations about future exercise equipment purchases.
  • On Friday, we have the 3rd resistance workout.

If you have any questions for me or the GP, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter.

alpha-flight-canadian-super
after pic???

The Best Exercise for a Fit Sexy Body

What if I told you that there was a form of exercise that…

  • Raises low self-esteem
  • Burns a ton of calories
  • Is scientifically proven to repair distorted body images
  • Increases functional fitness
  • Is incredibly effective for OBESE participants
  • Is a great way to make new fit friends
  • Makes you stronger
  • Makes you leaner
  • Makes your fitter
  • Makes you more flexible / mobile
  • Makes you sexier
  • And is incredibly FUN!!!

Fit Sexy Body

And what if I told you that this form of exercise is the biggest fitness trend to come along since spandex & leg warmers.

leg-warmer-spandex-newton-j

In fact, led by the market leader (Zumba), dance fitness classes are spreading around the fitness world at an amazing rate. And as a result, there are a lot of women (and a few men) who are transforming their bodies, getting healthy and having a great time while they’re doing it.

Unfortunately, along with all of this fun, there has also been a spike in ankle & knee injuries caused by people doing dance fitness classes in shoes not made for dancing. My physiotherapy buddies here in Toronto have seen their waiting rooms fill up with Zumba injuries over the past couple of years.

What does this mean to you???

It means that if you want to…

  1. create a fit sexy body with dance fitness
  2. while avoiding sprained knees & ankles

…you need to seriously think about buying a pair of dance specific shoes.

Fit Sexy Body

And I can heartily recommend these two brands of dance fitness shoes by Ryka…

… because over the past 5 months, I have had a group of female clients trying out different pairs of dance fitness shoes and these 2 pairs kept getting the best reviews. It wasn’t even close.

They fit better…they look better…and they perform better as dance fitness shoes.

Fit Sexy Body

The official Ryka sales pitch – Ryka designs all their shoes to fit a woman’s foot shape, muscle movement and skeletal structure. For example, the “Q-angle”(quadricep angle) – the anatomical relationship between the hip and knee – measures 5–7 degrees greater for women than men. As a result, women tend to shift more weight to the outside of their feet which leads to over-pronation, instability at foot strike and higher risk of injury. All Ryka sneakers, are designed and developed taking into account a woman’s unique fit needs.

Their dance fitness shoes are further modified with a low profile compression mid-sole, lateral stability and a pivot point (the pink circle) designed to help the shoe respond correctly to dance fitness movements.

These are not running shoes or tennis shoes. They are dance shoes.

NOTE: There are a growing number of dance fitness shoes on the market. I am recommending these 2 pairs of Ryka shoes because my “guinea-pigs” loved them. I have no financial involvement with these products other than they supplied samples free of charge for my experiment. There were 3 other manufacturers who supplied footwear free of charge. Their shoes didn’t test well…so they’re not in the article.

Reference

Can You Lose Weight with Virtual Reality???

This new study flies in the face of my personal prejudices re video-gamers, but…. according to Dr. Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, when an individual strongly identifies with their online avatar, that avatar can have a strong positive influence on that person’s health and appearance, and may lead to the creation of new forms of obesity treatment and help break down racial and sexual prejudices.

“The creation of an avatar allows an individual to try on a new appearance and persona, with little risk or effort,” said Dr. Behm-Morawitz. “That alter-ego can then have a positive influence on a person’s life.

For example, people seeking to lose weight could create fitter avatars to help visualize themselves as slimmer and healthier.”

The Science

  • Dr. Behm-Morawitz had 279 Second Life users answer a questionnaire about their engagement with their avatar and relationships they developed online, as well as their offline health, appearance and emotional well-being.
  • Self-presence, or the degree to which users experienced their avatars as an extension of themselves, was found to predict the influence of the avatar on people’s physical reality.
  • A strong sense of self-presence in the social virtual world positively promoted health and well-being of study participants. People with high degrees of self-presence in the cyber world reported that their experience with their avatar improved how they felt about themselves offline. Self-presence also correlated to greater satisfaction with online relationships.

Of course…there may be one giant flaw with this plan.

  • Individuals who strongly identify with their uber-fit avatars are probably spending a lot of time online as those avatars…and as we all know, sitting in front of a computer screen has direct connections to obesity, musculo-skeletal pain & overall poor health.

But then again…as computing power increases, who knows how avatar technology could be woven into our lives in a way that would actually encourage living a healthy life.

NOTE – Dr. Behm-Morawitz is in the process of researching “how avatars may be used to encourage tolerance of diversity. A person’s race, gender or ethnicity can be altered in the virtual reality world and they can be put into simulated situations where they suffer prejudice and discrimination.

And that is pretty darn cool.

Reference

Get Fit & Lose Weight – Emotional Jeet Kune Do

Every day I help clients discover & push the buttons that they need to push…. if they are going to…

  1. Get the exercise their body needs
  2. Eat the food their body needs
  3. Think the thoughts they need to think and
  4. Feel the feelings they need to feel

…in order to become the healthiest, fittest, sexiest, most awesomest selves they can possibly be.

Here’s an example of the plan I used to help one of my clients lose 185 lbs over the past two years.

  • 319lbs – 185 lbs = 134 lbs

Small carb-free meals for breakfast and lunch

For example, breakfast would be 3 scrambled eggs with butter AND lunch would be a small Greek salad with feta, olives, lettuce & tomatoes – no dressing.

My reasoning behind this approach was that she was a busy executive and was very, very busy throughout the day. The combination of a busy day and not being around food made it “easy” to focus on work and forget about food.

It took a few weeks for “easy” to become easy. She hated me a little bit at first.

Large Paleo meal at dinner after her evening workout

1 big plate full of paleo-friendly food after her workout. That means loads of veggies and a good sized piece of animal protein. She was also allowed to have a piece of fruit for dinner. One of her favorites was the sauteed apples I posted about here.

She was full after dinner every single night.

Supplements

  • 1 tbsp of fish oil every morning
  • Probiotics with breakfast
  • Digestive enzymes with each meal
  • Multi-vitamin and minerals
  • Workout energy drink – I had her use Scivation Xtend

Emotional Jeet Kune Do

My client is a very, very smart woman. And very self aware. So when I told her that she WOULD transform her body into something even more awesome than what she was asking for…she told me that I was full of shit. Literally…she told me I was full of shit.

And after I finished laughing my ass off…I explained to her that over the 20+ years I have been training people, I have learned two things:

  1. Massive physical change is theoretically possible for just about everyone
  2. I am really, really good at making the theoretical happen

And to make the theoretical come true, I employ a system of emotional Jeet Kune Do on my clients. And like Bruce Lee, my emotional Jeet Kune Do is a style with no style.

This means that since we’re all unique creatures with our own individual thoughts, feeling, emotions and peculiarities…there is no fitness/diet plan that will produce awesome results for all of us.

We all have our own unique buttons that need to be pushed to get us to break and replace our bad habits.

And in her case, I asked her to lie to herself.

  • First, I asked her to imagine herself as a total freak of nature…super healthy, super fit, super sexy, etc…
  • Second, I asked for her reaction to this visual picture
  • She came back with another “you’re full of shit” comment
  • After which, I went into my spiel  about being good at making transforming people and that I truly 100% believed that we can make this change with her body. And that the biggest impediment was that she didn’t believe me.

Here’s where the Jeet Kune Do comes in.

  • I asked her to start lying to herself

Whenever she doubted my plan…or her ability to not eat ice cream…or that she would ever have a butt you could bounce quarters off of…I wanted her to:

  1.  Accept her doubts (past history + emotions will not be ignored or minimized)
  2. Get angry and tell the doubts to “Fuck Off…because  she’s going to do exactly what those doubts say she can’t”

And the reason I think this worked for her is because in her business career she has been faced many times with people, boards, companies & governments who told her that she couldn’t do what she wanted to do.

And most of the time, she responded by getting angry, getting to work and kicking their asses (after telling them to fuck off…inside her head)

The essence of emotional Jeet Kune Do is to search for your buttons…not your friend’s buttons, or the fitness guru’s buttons…YOUR BUTTONS.

What’s YOUR Excuse?

Just in case you needed some extra motivation to put down the chips and get your ass off the couch….

Instant Exercise Motivation #25 – ESPN’s Body Issue 2012 – Pt 3

Here is the 3rd and final installment of ESPN’s collection of incredibly fit, incredibly talented, incredibly sexy human bodies.

Walter Dix – Sprinter
Oksana Masters – Paralympic Rower
Tim Morehouse – Fencer
Ashton Eaton – Decathlete
Anna Tunnifcliffe – Sailor
U.S.A. National Volleyball Team
Destinee Hooker – Volleyball Player
Megan Hodge – Volleyball Player
Alisha Glass – Volleyball Player
Stacy Sykora – Volleyball Player

I am already looking forward to next year’s installment.

Reference

Say Yes to Fitism

Last night on the news, I listened to stories about socialism, racism, creationism, nationalism, and multiculturalism.

How come we never hear about…

Fitism:  the doctrine that fitness and the fit lifestyle are awesome and important. “his fitism allowed him to look great naked”

The #1 reason why people diet and go to the gym

A Real Sophie’s Choice: Baldness or Suicide?

Baldness Sucks!!!

Unfortunately, according to a new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry….”men who developed persistent sexual side effects while on the anti-baldness drug finasteride (aka Propecia), have a high prevalence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts“.

During their research, the researchers found that:

  • Most former finasteride users exhibited some degree of depressive symptoms
  • 11% had mild symptoms of depression
  • 28% had moderate symptoms of depression
  • 36% had severe symptoms of depression
  • and 44% reported suicidal thoughts

In the control group….

  • 10% had mild depressive symptoms with no cases of moderate or severe symptoms
  • and 3% reported suicidal thoughts.

Study author Dr. Michael S. Irwig concluded that “the potential life-threatening side-effects associated with finasteride should prompt clinicians to have serious discussions with their patients. The preliminary findings of this study warrant further research.”

And if that isn’t an understatement….

Reference

Science of the Squat – Depth & Load – and How They Impact Your Squatting Muscles

The squat is often called the King of Exercises.

And for good reason – because nothing develops lower body muscle mass, strength & power faster & better than barbell squats.

And if you want to be known as the King of the King of Exercises, you’re going to need to take a look at this new research published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the relative muscular effort (RME) while performing the squat exercise. Specifically, the researchers were looking at the effects of barbell load and squat depth on hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar-flexor RME.

Study Design

Ten strength-trained women performed squats (50-90% of 1 RM) in a motion analysis laboratory to determine hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar-flexor net joint moment (NJM). Maximum isometric strength in relation to joint angle for these muscle groups was also determined. RME was determined as the ratio of NJM to maximum voluntary torque matched for joint angle.

Results

Both barbell load and squat depth had significant interaction effects on hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar-flexor RME (relative muscular effort).

  • Knee extensor RME increased with greater squat depth but not barbell load
  • Ankle plantar-flexor RME increased with barbell load but not greater squat depth
  • Hip extensor RME increased with both greater squat depth and barbell load

Conclusions

This data suggest:

  1. Training for the knee extensors can be performed with low relative intensities but require a deep squat depth.
  2. Heavier barbell loads are required to train the hip extensors and ankle plantar-flexors.

What does this mean to you???

It depends on your training goals?

  • Are you a bodybuilder trying to develop your quad sweep ala Tom Platz?

Then you need to squat deep – Ass to the Grass as they say

  • Or maybe you’re a sprinter, or a football player, or a powerlifter, or a strongman looking to develop a uber-power posterior chain to dominate your sport?

Then you need to focus more on load than depth of squat

  • Or maybe you’re an all-around / hybrid kind of athlete like myself?

Either way, with this info, you’ll be able to design better/smarter/more effective squat programs…all thanks to science 🙂

Reference

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

Instant Exercise Motivation #24 – ESPN’s Body Issue 2012 – Pt 2

Just in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics, ESPN has released their Body Issue for 2012.

And what could be better than a collection of incredibly fit, incredibly talented, incredibly sexy human bodies to motivate our collective lazy butt up off our collective couch and get us moving.

Fit = Sexy

Brad Richards – NHL
Ronda Rousey – MMA Champ
Jose Bautista – MLB’s Best Hitter
Maurice Jones-Drew – A cross between the Hulk and Iron Man
Candace Parker – WNBA
Mike Smith – Jockey
Daniela Hantuchova – WTA Tennis pro

Instant Exercise Motivation #23 – ESPN’s Body Issue – 2012

Just in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics, ESPN has released their “Body Issue” for 2012.

And what could be better than a collection of incredibly fit, incredibly talented, incredibly sexy human bodies to motivate our collective lazy butt up off our collective couch and get us moving.

Fit = Sexy

Carlos Bocanegra – US National Soccer
Maya Gabeira – Big Wave Surfer
Daniel Leyva – US Olympic Gymnast
Suzann Petterson – LPGA Golfer – #6 ranked
Tyson Chandler – NBA pro
Abby Wambach – US National Soccer
Rob Gronkowski – NFL pro

 

The World’s Best Weight Loss Laboratory…

… is the one between your ears.

There is a ton of great information available online to help you lose weight, get fit and look great naked. But all of that information means nothing if you don’t incorporate it into your life in a way that produces results.

But until you….

  • learn to recognize and manage your destructive emotions & unconscious thoughts
  • learn how to incorporate healthy eating into your life
  • learn which physical activities your body thrives on
  • learn how to handle your obstacles to health & fitness
  • learn how to modify workouts & exercises to suit your body, your fitness level, your aches & pains
  • learn how to manage your time to include daily exercise
  • learn how your body responds to a new diet
  • learn how to shop for healthy food that fits your budget

…you are doomed to failure.

That’s because, even the absolute best health & fitness advice is 100% theoretical, until you:

  1. Put it to work on your body,
  2. Listen to the feedback you’re getting from your body
  3. Adjust your diet/workout in response to that feedback
  4. Repeat #2 & #3 until you get things “perfect”.

It ain’t rocket science. But it does require some practice…and you’re going to make mistakes.

But it’s those mistakes that are going to eventually point you in the direction of tip-top fitness and an ass you could bounce quarters off of.

The Ultimate Hardgainer Workout

Every week, I get a couple of readers ask me about training programs for hardgainers. And while, I do have a great size-building workout posted already….it isn’t a true hardgainer program.   So here are the instructions for my ultimate hardgainer workout.

But this one is.

The HealthHabits HardGainer Workout of Death

hardgainer---before-and-aft

THE RULES

  1. Focus on individual muscles or small groups & not movements – think pecs instead of bench press
  2. Keep the number of muscles worked per workout to a minimum – no full-body workouts
  3. Maximize the volume of work applied to those muscles
  4. Limit rest periods during the workout
  5. Make good use of post-workout recovery techniques to help aid recovery and avoid crippling DOMS
  6. In between these workouts, don’t do anything more challenging than a brisk walk.

All of these rules work together to do one thing:

To force the targetted muscles to do the most amount of direct work that is humanly possible….and then help you recover from it. For whatever reason, hardgainers need to be pushed really, really, really hard to force their bodies to adapt and create new, bigger muscles

Okay, that’s the theory….here’s what you’re actually going to do.

The Week at a Glance

  • For true hardgainers, I have set this up as a 4 day split routine with a mandatory 5th Rest Day.
  • After the rest day, you start over with Day 1.
  • This means 6 workouts per week.

Popeye workout

  1. Quads / Hip flexors / Hams / Glutes
  2. Chest / Horizontal Back / Rear Delts
  3. Biceps / Triceps / Core
  4. Shoulders (Front/Side) / Vertical Back / Neck & Traps
  5. Rest
  6. Repeat
Note: This 4 day program can be modified to fit your goals/lifestyle/training experience level
  • Instead of 4 on-1 off, you could do it over 7 days with M/W/F/Sun being your training days
  • Or over 8 days with an off day in between each training day
  • Or you include include one or more of these workouts into an existing program to bring up lagging bodyparts

The 4 on-1 off works best, but it’s pretty intense

A Day at a Glance

  • Each workout begins with a 10-15 minute warm-up all of your joints and muscles to get them ready for the workout. Feel free to use the warm-up I lay out in my Best Body workouts. The idea is to lube up your joints and warm up the muscles.
  • With this workout, instead of counting reps, set & weight lifted, each muscle group will be trained for a set time, with the goal being to do the most “work” during that set period of time.
  • Each muscle group will be hit with 2 – 4 exercises during that set time period.
  • Each muscle group will usually be hit by both compound (bench press) and isolation exercises (DB chest fly).
  • I have organized the exercises in a specific order to maximize your results.
  • We will be using 3 different set-extension techniques to help you extend the length of the set and maximize the volume of work inflicted on your muscles.

hulk muscle

  1. Alternating Single Limb Sets – left, right, left, right – kinda self-explanatory
  2. Drop Setslowering the weight used on successive sets as you begin to fatigue
  3. Rest Pausewhen you think you can’t complete that final rep, pause…take 2-3 big breaths…and then lift the weight

Okay, there’s the overview.  Here come the workouts…

Quick Navigation

Next PageDay 1 – Quads / Hip flexors / Hams / Glutes

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

Instant Exercise Motivation #15

Giving in to temptation is giving up on this summer’s six-pack.

Read This Before You Join A Gym, Buy A Treadmill Or Start A Diet

It’s December 31st.

That means that tomorrow morning, three billion people are going to resolve to:

  • Start exercising
  • Get in shape
  • Lose weight
  • Or some other version of this most popular New Year’s Resolution

And soon after making that resolution, they’re going to spend a bunch of money on a gym membership, weight loss program or a new piece of fitness equipment in the hope that this “thing” will help them to finally transform their body into super-sexy celebrity shape.

ryan-reynolds-jennifer-anis

 

And they couldn’t be more wrong.

The biggest problem facing everyone who wants to transform their body isn’t lack of resources.

It’s lack of consistency.

If you don’t find a way to stick to your plan day in and day out…it ain’t gonna work.

Sorry.

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

10 Really Good Diet Hacks

10 Really Good Diet Hacks

Every year, billions of authors publish trillions of diet books with complicated schemes and demands to buy their pills, powders and lotions.

Today, I’m going to give you …10 Really Good Diet Hacks…guaranteed to help you drop a bunch of body-fat…without forcing you to read a 300 page book or buy any diet pills or drinks.

1.    Eat a Big Breakfast

Your grandma was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Egg-Crepe health food nutrition healthhabits

What Grandma didn’t know was that eating a big breakfast helps reduce hunger and promotes weight loss.

In one study comparing a Big Breakfast Diet with the uber-effective low carb / Atkins style diet plan…

After four months of dieting:

  • The Low Carb Dieters lost approximately 28 pounds
  • The Big Breakfast Dieters lost about 23 pounds

Both groups did well, losing between 6 and 7 pounds per month…with Low Carb beating Big Breakfast

However…after eight months of dieting:

  • The low carb dieters had regained an average of 18 pounds. This produced a net loss of 10 pounds over 8 months – an average of 1 1/4 pounds per month.
  • The Big Breakfast Dieters lost another 16 1/2 pounds during the maintenance phase. This produced a net loss of 39 1/2 pounds – an average of 5 pounds per month.

As an added bonus, at the end of the study, the Big Breakfast Dieters reported that they experienced less hunger and fewer cravings for carbohydrates than the low carb group.

Next PageMacronutrient Timing

Quick Nav:

Instant Exercise Motivation #10 – ESPN's Body Issue – 2011 – Part 3

ESPN released their “Body Issue” for 2011 earlier this month.

Here is the final installment of the incredibly fit and sexy athletes that they featured.

Julie Chu - Olympic Hockey Medalist
Jose Reyes - MLB All-Star Shortstop
Stephanie Gilmore - World Surfing Champion
Steven Jackson - NFL Pro Bowl Running Back
Hope Solo - Gold Medal Winning Soccer Goalkeeper
Ryan Hall - Olympic Marathoner
Kelly Kulick - U.S. Bowling Champ
Jeremy Campbell - 2x Olympic Gold Medallist
Helio Castroneves - 3x Indy 500 Winner

.

In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Instant Exercise Motivation #9 – ESPN's Body Issue – 2011 – Part 2

ESPN released their “Body Issue” for 2011 earlier this month.

Here are some more of the incredible fit and sexy athletes they featured.

Blake Griffin – Basketball Wunderkind
Natasha Hastings - Olympic Gold Medal Sprint Champion
Sergio Martinez - WBC Middleweight Boxing Champ
Belen Mozo - LPGA pro and 4-time All-American
Louie Vito - Snowboard Champ
Vera Zvonareva - Tennis Superstar

.

If you missed it, Part 1 is here.

 

superman-fat-ripped health-fitness-healthhabits

9 Ways to Make Your Workouts Super Awesome

1.  Reduce Rest between Sets

Reducing rest between sets will:

  • improve your anaerobic endurance,
  • allow you to do more work in a shorter period of time,
  • increase your EPOC
  • and force you to burn fat faster.

Unless you’re trying to get huge, cutting your rest periods to 30 seconds or less is a great thing to do.

skinny exercise weightlifter

2.  Start doing some Unilateral Training

Working one limb at a time is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, turn a bench press into a core exercise and get you stronger with less strain on your joints

See the 1 Arm Shoulder Press & 1 Leg Squat in this article

3.  Get Serious about Peri-Workout Nutrition

3 meals a day isn’t going to cut it if you want to get the best results from your workouts.

To maximize performance, recovery & fat loss, you need to get smart about what you eat and when you eat it.

This article goes into lots of detail about Peri-Workout Nutrition

4.  Improve your Joint Mobility

Most gym-goers barely find time to stretch their muscles.

Almost none of them try to mobilize tight or impinged joints.

And that’s too bad. Because I bet 9 out of 10 people at your gym have at least one bad joint that could be magically healed with a proper joint mobility program.

Kelly Starrett is my favorite guru when it comes to joint mobility

5.  Buy a Foam Roller

Seriously…buy a foam roller. Your muscles and your bank account will thank you

Lately, I have been using a Rumble Roller. It’s softer than my previous roller, but those knobs really do the trick on my IT bands and tight hip muscles.

rumble foam roller

As well, one of my clients used it on her tight trap muscles to help eliminate tension headaches.

Next PageTips 6 – 9…

Reebok ZigTech = Run Faster Longer

Over the past couple of months, I have been beta-testing a pair of Reebok ZigTech running shoes.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I have become a big fan of my wild looking Zigs.

I hate to admit it because I am a big believer in minimalist style training shoes that force the muscles in your feet to do some actual work. I also can’t stand that high-end trunning shoes are sold mainly on hype. They promise a lot but usually deliver very little.

And that’s exactly what I assumed about the ZigTechs when I was contacted by a PR company who represents Reebok.

They wanted to know if I would be interested in reviewing some of their gear for Health Habits.

And while my official policy is to only review products that I like enough to purchase myself as well as recommend to my clients, I decided to give them a try because I was looking to get back into running some real distances and I needed to find a new pair of shoes that would allow my poor surgically reconstructed knees to survive a “run” without swelling up.

And boy am I glad I did.

ZigTech Shoes : The Good

  • Whether it was on an elliptical cardio trainer, a treadmill or outdoors on the frozen Canadian tundra, the Zigs allowed me to increase my mileage while making life much easier on my knees. Also, shin splints were reduced by 84.73%.
  • Comparing apples to apples, my performances on the elliptical & the treadmill improved by around 10% over the past 2 months.
  • Lateral mobility was good during cross-training workouts. I was concerned about this initially.
  • I thought my red & black versions looked pretty snazzy.

ZigTech Shoes : The Bad

  • There was some heel slippage during some of my resistance workouts. I fixed this problem by switching to a “Heel Lock” lacing pattern.

ZigTech Shoes : The Interesting

  • Unlike running shoes equipped with springs, air bags, gel paks etc, the idea behind ZigTech is that the sole absorbs the impact of heel strike and rebounds that energy horizontally along the length of the shoe propelling the athlete forward with each step. That’s the theory. And while I didn’t have some fancy-schmancy lab equipment to test that theory, it did feel like that…like I was being pushed forward. Kinda weird, but pretty cool.

Conclusion

While I am still a big believer in wearing barefoot/minimalist footwear, I like running better in my ZigTechs.

So, here’s my plan:

  • minimalist shoes during the day and during most workouts.
  • Zigtechs when I am running

My Emotions Made Me Fat

About 3 months ago, I tested my body composition.

  • Total body-weight was = 243 lbs
  • Lean body mass (bone, muscle, organs) was = 216 lbs
  • Body-fat was = 27 lbs
  • Body-fat percentage was = 11%

And since winter is my time to focus on strength and ignore body-fat, I was pleased with the numbers.

I was strong as a horse and would worry about the excess blubber in the spring.

And then my Dad went into the hospital.

At first, he seemed to be responding to treatment and we were expecting him home in a few days. Unfortunately, he picked up a couple of drug resistant infections in the hospital and things started to go downhill.

But since my Dad has always been a fighter, he went to war against the drug resistant staph & c-difficile. One day he would be getting better and we would feel hopeful. The next day, he would crash. This went on for over two months.

Until, on Feb 9, 2011, my Dad passed away.

Since that time, I have had the pleasure of organizing services, looking after my Mom and attending memorials and family remembrances.

I also went a little mental during the 3 months and gained 24 lbs of body-fat.

  • Total weight as of yesterday is = 267 lbs
  • Lean Body Mass (bone, muscle, organs) is still = 216 lbs
  • Body-fat weight is = 51 lbs
  • Body-fat percentage is = 19%

And it’s not like I went on some sort of cheesecake bender.

Instead of my normal Paleo diet of meat and vegetables, I was eating more like a normal North American.

  • A giant cookie with my Starbucks coffee
  • Sandwiches instead of salads or stir-frys
  • A can of Coke in the hospital cafeteria.
  • Hard candies and potato chips from my wife’s stash
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • and the occasional giant bowl of ice cream

Combine all this junk with my skyrocketing levels of cortisol and a bad case of the blues – and I have managed to pack on an extra 24 lbs of blubber and a newfound fear of my bathroom mirror.

And if that isn’t the perfect example of how emotions can make you fat, I don’t know what is.

Luckily for me, between my muscle mass and my ultra-casual personal trainer wardrobe, it’s hard to tell that I packed on the weight.

But, I know it’s there.

.

But not for much longer.

.

FYI – More info on Emotional Eating

.

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 1 – Day 1

PHASE 1

Warm-Up

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but as long as your muscles are getting pliable and your joints are feeling “loose”….feel free to do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.

5 Minutes of the following 4 Mobility Exercises:

.

1.  Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

.

2.  Rolling Like A Ball

.
3.  Shin Box

.[y

4.  Lateral Lunges

.

5 Minutes of the following Muscle Warm-Up Exercises

I am going to list a bunch of exercises. You choose which ones you want to do….remembering that the goal is to warm up the muscles and make them pliable and ready to handle the following workout

  • 1 Arm Swing Snatch – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Step-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Push – Ups
  • BW Rows
  • Jumping Chins
  • Shuffle Lunges
.

PHASE 2

The HIRT Workout

HIRT Superset #1

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 5 minutes per superset
  • NO REST between sets
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 10 reps (10RM)
  • Perform 5 reps per set
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible

.

Zercher or Front Squat

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight
  • Goblet squats and band front squats are okay substitutes

.

1 Leg Deadlift

  • 5 reps per leg per set

.

HIRT Superset #2

Hi-Lo Vertical Cable/Band Slam

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

I need to make a video of this…and I will, but for now, let me describe with the aid of these 2 videos.

Imagine a medicine ball slam

But, instead of using a medicine ball, we used a cable stack (rope handle) or a strength band

The guy in this video is way too spastic for my liking. What I want is a very distinct up and down movement. Nice and powerful like the med ball slam but with the added resistance of the cable stack or the strength bands.

.

1 Arm DB Press

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

.

HIRT Superset #3

Swing Snatch

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

.

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • 5 reps per leg per set @ 10RM weight

..

HIRT Superset #4

Standing Cable/Band Row

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

.

Push-Ups

  • 5-10 reps per set

.

HIRT Superset #5 – optional

Repeat one of the first 4 Supersets – your choice

HIRT Superset #6 – optional

Repeat one of the first 4 Supersets – your choice

.

PHASE 3

10 minutes of DIY

  • If you really want to lose weight, spend 10 minutes doing some HIITsprints on an exercise bike. I would recommend 10 sprints with a 10 sec ON : 50 sec OFF ratio
  • If you want to buff up those biceps, hit the curls for 10 minutes
  • If your hip flexors are really tight, put in 10 minutes stretching them along with your quads and lower lumbars.
  • And if your goal is power & strength, spend 10 minutes doing static holds or partial lifts

PHASE 4

Stretching – minimum 10 minutes

Focus on the muscles you just worked, plus the ones that are tight on just about everyone….hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, chest, neck & traps

.

So, that takes care of Monday’s workout.

Wednesday & Friday will be similar in theory but with different exercises hitting different muscles and working different movement patterns.

Tues, Thurs, Sat & Sun are up to you.

It all depends on your goals

  • If your main goal is strength & power, you will perform Neural Recharge workouts –Here is a sample workout
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, do a yoga class or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • But, NO SERIOUS LIFTING on your off days. You’ll screw up your recovery.

You can also rest on those off days. These 3 workouts are pretty intense and will do a lot on their own.

.

Your Best Body Workout – 2011

Based upon your feedback, the next 50 weeks of workouts will focus on:

  • Overall Fitness / Athleticism
  • Fat Loss
  • Strength / Power
  • General Health / Disease Prevention

In essence, our goal is to create bodies that can perform at a high level of overall fitness, look great while doing it and potentially live forever.

Alright, so here we go.

Today I am going to lay out an overview of the workouts you are going to be doing for the next 4 weeks.

Later tonight, I will post another article laying out the specifics of Monday’s workout, with videos, etc…

The Plan for the next 4 Weeks

  • 3 resistance training workouts per week
  • Off days will vary depending on your personal goals
  • If your main goal is strength & power, you will perform Neural Recharge workouts – I will post sample workouts
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, do a yoga class or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • But, NO SERIOUS LIFTING on your off days. You’ll screw up your recovery.

The Workouts

  • Each workout will start with a 10 minute warm-up session
  • 5 minutes of joint mobility exercises, and
  • 5 minutes of exercises designed to get your muscles all nice and pliable

From the warm-up, we move immediately to the main part of the workout

  • 4-6 HIRT Supersets (# of sets depends on your current state of fitness)
  • Each superset lasts 5 minutes – buy a timer
  • NO REST between sets
  • Perform the work part of each exercise as quickly as possible
  • Rep schemes will change during the 4 weeks
  • Neural Recharge exercises will be included to supercharge your nervous system
  • As always, the success of HIRT workouts depends on the intensity of your effort – if you’re going to give it 80% effort, don’t bother. I want/need/demand 100% of YOUR best effort to get the most out of these workouts.

After you have completed the 5 min HIRT superset, you will have 3 minutes between sets to get ready for the next superset and perhaps even stretch a little bit. I will suggest a stretch that will help improve the performance of the next superset.

After you have completed all of the HIRT supersets, I want you to spend 10 minutes on a goal specific to you

  • If you really want to lose weight, spend 10 minutes doing some HIIT sprints on an exercise bike. I would recommend 10 sprints with a 10 sec ON : 50 sec OFF ratio
  • If you want to buff up those biceps, hit the curls for 10 minutes
  • If your hip flexors are really tight, put in 10 minutes stretching them along with your quads and lower lumbars.
  • And if your goal is power & strength, spend 10 minutes doing static holds or partial lifts

And after the 10 min specialty phase, I really, really, really want you to spend another 10 minutes stretching…even if you just spent 10 minutes stretching your hip flexors.

Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

.

Anyway, that’s the highlights of the coming workouts.

Monday’s workout will be posted tout de suite.

.

Is Obesity Socially Contagious?

A new study published in the journal Obesity attempts to answer two questions:

  1. Does obesity tend to “cluster” among young adults?
  2. And if true, what impact does the “cluster” have on the weight and weight-related behaviors of it’s members?

The Study

The researchers took 288 volunteers (66% female, 75% Caucasian) and divided them into two groups – Normal Weight (NW) and Over Weight (OW).

Each test subject filled out a questionnaire to determine weight, height, number of overweight social contacts (friends, lovers, relatives, classmates, etc…) and perceived social norms for obesity and obesity related behaviors.

Members of the OW group were also asked to assess how many of their overweight/obese social contacts:

  1. were currently trying to lose weight
  2. were intending to lose weight in the near future
  3. encouraged weight loss in other overweight contacts
  4. would encourage/approve weight loss in their overweight contacts

The Results

Compared to normal weight young adults, those who were overweight or obese were more likely to:

  • have an overweight romantic partner (25 percent  vs. 14 percent for the NW group)
  • have an overweight best friend (24 percent vs. 14 percent for the NW group)

This led the researchers to conclude that obesity is socially contagious.

It also reinforced previous research published in the NEJM.

However, when they considered that…

  1. “both groups reported similarly low levels of social acceptability for being overweight, eating unhealthy foods and being inactive” and
  2. among OW/OB young adults, having more social contacts trying to lose weight was associated with greater intention to lose weight

…the researchers also concluded that “overweight and obese young adults who had more social contacts trying to lose weight were more likely to want to lose weight themselves”.

And to me, that’s the most important part of this study.

While peer pressure and social structure does have the negative effect of ghettoizing overweight individuals into groups, it can also have a powerful effect on changing weight-related behaviors.

And if anyone is interested in developing a successful weight loss program is listening, this is where they should begin.

With positive peer pressure.

Not with food pyramids or calorie counters or lectures on health & longevity, blah, blah, blah.

.

Reference

.

The Science behind Beauty Sleep

According to the latest research….your Mom was right.

A good night’s sleep is the best thing you can do to look attractive and healthy.

In this study, researchers looked at the relationship between sleep and our perception of attractiveness and health.

The researchers took 23 participants between the ages of 18 and 31 and photographed them between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. on two separate occasions – once after a normal sleep and once after being deprived of sleep.

A group of 65 observers were then asked to rate the photographs for attractiveness and whether the individuals looked healthy and rested or unhealthy and tired.

Results

  • The sleep deprived photos/people were judged to be less healthy, more tired and less attractive.
  • Conversely, the well rested photos/people were judged to be unbelievably sexy and a veritable picture of health.

Conclusion

The researchers concluded that “humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behaviour”.

In short, if you want to look your best…get some beauty sleep.

Reference

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

Instant Exercise Motivation – Part Two

Patrick Willis - LB, S.F. 49ers - ESPN - The Body Issue

During the last installment of Instant Exercise Motivation, we used a little reverse psychology.

Today, it’s all about positivity.

This month’s issue of ESPN magazine is their annual Body Issue.

So, go ahead and feast your eyes on some of the world’s fittest/sexiest athletes….and then get your butt to the gym.

ESPN - Body Issue 2010 - Diana Taurasi - G/F - Phoenix Mercury
ESPN - Body Issue 2010 - Tim Howard - Goalkeeper - USA Soccer
ESPN - Body Issue 2010 - Rachel Yurkovich - Javelin - USA Track & Field

and, just in case you still aren’t motivated enough to haul your lazy butt into the gym, there’s always this.

Is POM Juice a Scam?

The FTC has charged the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements with making false and unsubstantiated claims that their products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

The FTC Charges…

“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made.  Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”

POM’s Response

POM Wonderful said that it disagrees with the FTC and its results have been encouraging. POM said it has a right to share its research as it becomes available, especially because its food products do not have risks associated with pharmaceuticals.

“It’s a shame that the government is unable to understand this fundamental distinction, and instead is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate,” the Los Angeles-based company said.

Persecute the Pomegranate???

The FTC isn’t persecuting the pomegranate.

They’re persecuting a company that took a previously unloved little fruit and with a few million dollars for research & advertising, transformed the image of the “health juice” market from hippie to hipster.

Unfortunately, they went a little too far with their marketing claims.

Statements such as the following caused the FTC’s ears to perk up.

  • “SUPER HEALTH POWERS! … 100% PURE POMEGRANATE JUICE. … Proven to fight for cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health.”
  • “POM WONDERFUL JUICE =  30% DECREASE IN ARTERIAL PLAQUE … 17% IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW … PROMOTES HEALTHY BLOOD VESSELS … ”
  • You have a 50 percent chance of getting [prostate cancer].  Listen to me.  You have to drink pomegranate juice. It is the one thing that will keep your PSA normal.  .  There is nothing else we know of that will keep your PSA in check. … It’s also 40 percent as effective as Viagra.”
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice and POMx prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat heart disease, including by decreasing arterial plaque, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood flow to the heart;
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice and POMx prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat prostate cancer, including by prolonging prostate-specific antigen doubling time;
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice prevents, reduces the risk of, and treats, erectile dysfunction.

So, where does POM go from here?

If they’re smart, they will start acting like other health & fitness supplement companies and….

  1. tone down the health claims
  2. amp up the sex appeal

Apparently they’re pretty smart.

What Does Your Health Club Do For You?

What does your health club (or personal trainer, or iphone app, or online fitness community, or fitness magazine, etc) do for you?

If your club is like my club, then they….

  • provide fitness equipment and space to exercise
  • offer the advice of their in-house fitness professionals
  • blend up the latest in post-workout nutrition
  • schedule fitness classes at convenient times
  • bring in guest speakers to increase your fitness IQ

And, if they do all that, then you’re getting top notch health club service.

So, why is it that after I read this article from marketing guru Seth Godin, I got the feeling that today’s health club industry is doomed for extinction?

Or hopefully…evolution.

Question(s)

Why is it that over 70% of all new health club members stop coming to the gym within 3 months?

And why is it that most of the remaining 30% don’t look much better than we they first joined?

And why is it that today’s health & fitness industry doesn’t seem to care?

The Answer?

Because the current health & fitness industry is still focused on delivering products and services instead of solutions.

Think about it – most people go to a health club to burn off some fat & to get fit.

How they do it is irrelevant.

Or at least it should be.

The goal is what matters……and the health club (or personal trainer, or iphone app, or online fitness community, or fitness magazine, etc) than can shift their focus toward the goals of their clients and away from the latest fitness trend becomes indispensable to their clients.

And in my opinion, this style of thinking is a big part of the reason why Crossfit has become a major player in the health & fitness industry.

They provide results better than anyone else.

.

Heart Disease and Stroke Caused By Diet

Ontario is Fat

Up here in Canada (especially in my hometown of Toronto, Ontario), there is a large chunk of the population that considers itself “superior” to our American cousins.

We start fewer wars, we’re better educated, we have lower crime rates, we don’t watch Two and a Half Men, we’ve never elected a Bush and we’re not all fat & addicted to deep fried pizza.

U.S. Obesity Stats for 2009

Unfortunately, as it turns out…we did go to war in Afghanistan, our high school dropout rates are rising year after year, our favorite tv show is Survivor, we elected Stephen Harper and according to this study….

70% of Ontario adults are either overweight or obese, and have a strong prevalence of high blood pressure that could lead to heart attack or stroke.

And if my university mathematics are correct, that means that only 30% of Ontarians should be proud to take their shirts off at the beach.

30%

Just like Mississippi…the fattest state in the republic.

WTF!!!

Perhaps it’s time for my smug Canadian brothers & sisters to put down their wobbly pops, throw out that tub o’ poutine, get up off their rotund derrières and start developing some Health Habits.

.

Drew Carey goes low carb - loses weight and reverses his type 2 diabetes

Drew Carey: Low Carb Celebrity Sex Symbol

Drew Carey goes low carb - loses weight and reverses his type 2 diabetes

According to People magazine, Drew Carey has dropped 80 lbs and reversed his Type-2 diabetes since starting a low carb diet back in January.

That’s 80 lbs in 7 months….or just over 11 lbs per month.

And no more diabetes.

How did Drew Carey Lose Weight?

“No carbs,” Carey says. “I have cheated a couple times, but basically no carbs, not even a cracker. No bread at all. No pizza, nothing. No corn, no beans, no starches of any kind. Egg whites in the morning or like, Greek yogurt, cut some fruit.”

hmmmm…yogurt & fruit. That doesn’t sound very low carb.

Sounds more like a healthy, sensible, totally achievable Mediterranean style of diet to me.

He snacks on fruit, and for dinner he’ll have grilled chicken and steamed vegetables and water. “I don’t drink anything but water,” he says. “No coffee, no tea, no soda.”

.

Equally important, he says, is keeping up his workouts. His secret: “Lots of cardio. About 45 minutes of cardio, at least 45 minutes of cardio. I’ve been kind of lazy like lately, so I’m not doing it 6 days a week, but I will be for this next month.”

.

All this discipline has gotten Carey from a size 44 pants to a 33-34, with his goal to lose another 10 lbs. and shrink to a size 32.

.

“I like being skinny,” says Carey. “I was sick of being fat on the camera. Really, I just got sick of it. Once I started losing weight, again, like once I started dropping a couple pant sizes, then it was easy ’cause once you see the results, then you don’t wanna stop.”

.

Once you see the results, then you don’t wanna stop.

Wise words, from a wise man……Drew Carey…..low carb celebrity sex symbol and weight loss motivator extrordinaire.

.

The Secret to Weight Loss

There are those genetic freaks amongst us who can eat pizza and cake and ice cream and mocha frappucinos with extra whipped cream….and still remain as lean as Mr. Posh Spice. But you ain’t one of them.

So, make a choice.

Do you want to eat pizza and cake and ice cream and….or do you want to be fit and lean and get a modeling contract with Calvin Klein, be a sex object for billions of women & men and have a set of abs that you could grate cheese with.

Your choice.