VooDoo Floss Compression Bands : Say bye-bye to aches & pains AND say hello to super-fast workout recovery

Every year, we spend approximately a bazillion dollars on all manner of treatments for pain in our necks, backs, feet, shoulders, etc.

Sadly, most of that pain is due to inactivity, poor posture, sitting too long in front of tvs & computer screens, poor training form, etc.

If only there was a way to quickly and inexpensively eliminate those aches and pains?

VooDoo Floss Bands

Way back in 2011, I saw the following Youtube video (with Dr. Kelly Starrett and uber-strong man Donny Thompson) highlighting the use of DISTRACTION and COMPRESSION to help repair shoulder dysfunction…which I happened to be suffering from at the time.

The very next day, I…

  1. Ordered a pair of compression bands, and
  2. Started rehabbing my bad shoulder with the distraction technique.

After 6 days…

  1. My shoulder felt a LOT more stable and was noticeably less painful. I had also resumed resistance training with my focus on rehab.
  2. The compression bands arrived in the mail.

After 2 days of compression & distraction rehab…I was able to press an 80 lb dumbbell overhead with ZERO pain in my formerly-bad shoulder.

In another week, my shoulder felt better than it had in a long, long, long time.

In the 5 years since then…Crossfit exploded in popularity…helping Dr. Starrett become THE mobility  & athletic performance guru…and compression bands became very popular amongst weightlifters, crossfitters, powerlifters AND physiotherapists.

Fast forward to today…and it’s just about time for compression bands (and associated rehabilitation techniques like Donnie Thompson’s distraction technique) to enter the mainstream.

Instead of spending big bucks on massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc, it’s time for “normal” people to take advantage of this amazing rehab technique and…

For $65, you will be getting the knowledge and the gear required to keep your joints healthy, strong and pain-free.

And if you don’t want to drop the extra $$$ on Kelly’s book, I have sourced the best “how-to-use-compression bands-to-fix-my-busted-up-body” videos from the Youtubes. They are organized by joint/bodypart.

Note: If you follow the above links (and make a purchase), Rogue fitness will give me 5% of the purchase price as a finder’s fee. It won’t cost you any extra and the dough will go straight into my daughter’s education fund.

If you have any questions about the rehab techniques, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook

Wrist / Forearms

Elbow

 

Shoulder

 

 

Hip / Thigh

Knee

 

Calves

Ankle

Feet

 

 

A Cheap and Effective Diet to Lose Weight Quickly

Recently, one of my clients asked me to assist one of her friends who:

  1. needed to lose weight quickly (in order to be eligible for surgery)
  2. was low on funds

Normally, my training clients are fairly well off, so the diets I usually recommend are loaded with fresh fruits & veg, natural (not factory farmed) meat, healthy oils and a variety of health, performance & weight-loss supplements.

With constraints on time and money, I turned to my good friends…dietary fiber and butyrate.

For those of you that don’t know, butyrate is created as fiber is fermented in your gut. And in addition to a LOT of health benefits generated by this fiber/butyrate process, eating a high fiber/butyrate diet results in:

So here’s what we did

Client Info:

  • 297 lb female
  • Hypertension
  • Exercise limitations
  • No known food allergies or other food constraints
  • Needs to lose weight asap to be eligible for a required surgery
  • No extra income for personal training, supplements, etc

Exercise Plan

Due to her medical issue, the only exercise I could recommend is a daily walking routine (10,000+ steps) and mobility/flexibility training in the evening before bed

Overall Diet Theory

  • Low cost
  • High fiber & butyrate
  • Boring & predictable – making meal prep simple and reducting opportunities to “accidentally” cheat
  • Low time commitment – which is always a bonus

For Breakfast….EVERY day

Oatmeal Custard…..mmmmmmmm good

  • Oatmeal – 1 cup dry large flakes
  • Water – 2 cups
  • 1 XL egg

Recipe here

Optional Toppings

  • Peanut butter & banana – 1 tbsp PB max
  • Raisins & cinnamon – 2 tbsp raisins max
  • Brown sugar & vanilla – 2 tbsp sugar max
  • Frozen berries – big handful
  • Chocolate chips – small handful max

Mix and match toppings as your heart desires…while keeping quantities in line

creamy-oats-4

For Lunch & Dinner….EVERY day

Rice & Lentil Pilaf

This recipe makes enough food for both lunch and dinner combined.

  • 2 cups of dry rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, etc
  • 1 cups of lentils (I prefer the French or Puy lentils…great taste)
  • Chopped garlic, onion & spices (to your taste)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (grass-fed if possible) – added after cooking
  • Ajvar sauce (or similar flavorful sauce) to taste – added after cooking

ajvar_sauce

 

To drink throughout the day

  • Water (at least 8 glasses)
  • Tea and/or coffee – no sugar or dairy (herbal tea counts as 1 glass of water – coffee & tea count as 1/2 a glass of water)

Results

  • After 4 weeks, she has lost 18 lbs…from 297 to 279.
  • The first week, she lost only 2 lbs. Not sure why, but after the first week, the weight loss has been consistent from week to week.
  • She was a “little bit” gassy for the first two weeks, but that side-effect has resolved itself
  • Similarly, her trips to the bathroom have become healthier
  • Her appetite, especially at night when she is relaxing, is nothing compared to how it used to be. She has always been a late-night snacker.
  • She also told me that she thinks her allergies & her skin are much improved since starting the diet.

And while we can’t quantify anything other than the weight loss, none of her observations sound unrealistic…but as a science nerd, I am still going to take them with a grain of salt.

So there you go…A Cheap and Effective Diet to Lose Weight Quickly

 

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

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

Exercise at an early age = Healthy Gut, Healthy Brain, Healthy Metabolism

In 2015, there has been an explosion of research directly linking the health of your gut microbiota to your overall health…or lack thereof.

When your Mom told you to “eat your yogurt”, she had no idea why eating live bacteria was a good thing…she just new that it was.

Today, researchers are proving Mom right.

In this latest study, researchers at the University of Colorado have discovered that exercise at an early age has a powerful effect on the health of your microbiota…leading to improved brain health and metabolic activity over the course of your entire life.

The researchers concluded that there “may be” a window of opportunity during early human development to optimize the chances of better lifelong heath via physical activity & optimal gut health.

“Exercise affects many aspects of health, both metabolic and mental, and people are only now starting to look at the plasticity of these gut microbes,” said Monika Fleshner – fleshner@colorado.edu, a professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Integrative Physiology and the senior author of the new study. “That is one of the novel aspects of this research.”

Microbes take up residence within human intestines shortly after birth and are vital to the development of the immune system and various neural functions. These microbes can add as many 5 million genes to a person’s overall genetic profile and thus have tremendous power to influence aspects of human physiology.

While this diverse microbial community remains somewhat malleable throughout adult life and can be influenced by environmental factors such as diet and sleep patterns, the researchers found that gut microorganisms are especially ‘plastic’ at a young age.

In the study, researchers found that juvenile lab rates who voluntarily exercised every day developed a “better” microbial structure when compare to sedentary juvenile rats and adult rats, even if the adult rats exercised.

A robust, healthy community of gut microbes also appears to promote healthy brain function and provide anti-depressant effects, Fleshner said. Previous research has shown that the human brain responds to microbial signals from the gut, though the exact communication methods are still under investigation.

Also under investigation is at what age is the microbiome most plastic & most susceptible to improvement via exercise OR other interventions (diet, sleep, etc).

What does this mean to you?

If you’re the parent of young kids…make sure they are active every day.

Mom didn’t need scientific research to know that the bacteria in yogurt was good for you. You don’t need to wait for any further research to know that physical activity is good for your kids.

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

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

 

Train Smarter : Movements v.s. Muscles

Over the course of history, humans have evolved from single-cell organisms into the multi-cellular complex beings we are today.

In our current form, we are a collection of cells, neurons, hormones, enzymes, bones, muscles that all work together like a super-efficient mega corporation. 

And just how does this relate to working out?

It relates if you are still training like a bodybuilder from 1977

screen-shot-2015-06-23-at-11-59-36-am

Because if your workouts are focused on muscles instead of movements, you are making a big, big, big mistake.

Just like all those cells that came together to become a liver that filters waste products that would quickly build up and kill the entire organism, your muscles weren’t designed to work in isolation.

Even in that most muscle-centric of exercises – the bicep curl – your biceps need your triceps and core muscles and leg muscles and deltoids to pitch in and stabilize

The same holds true for all weightlifting exercises…no muscles ever work in isolation.

Trying to force them to work that way goes against how they are supposed to work.

Think about it…when you walk or run or sprint, you never focus on individual muscles or muscle groups. Instead, your brain sends out the signal to all involved muscles that it’s time to work together and get running.

To that end, one of the best things you can do to improve the efficiency of your resistance training workouts is to stop thinking about muscles and start thinking about movements

Here is a list of the “basic” movements that will serve as a framework for your new movement-based workout program.

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

That’s it for today.

Over the next few days & weeks, I will explain these movements fully and provide exercise examples and teach you how to put them together in a complete training program.


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. Only subscribers will have access to these reports.

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

oscillation training fitness exercise healthhabits

Oscillation Training – Get Stronger, Get Fitter, Get Healthier

A couple of years ago I wrote an article entitled Increase Your Bench Press…thanks to Koji Murofushi.

In that article, I introduced you to oscillation training and how you can use this training method to:

  • rehab injuries,
  • prevent injuries,
  • improve muscle imbalances,
  • thereby increasing strength,
  • and agility,
  • and speed,
  • and power

Since then, I have read numerous studies looking at the effectiveness of weightlifting with:

  1. Stable loads on unstable surfaces – ie Barbell squats on Bosu, foam mats, Swiss ball, etc
  2. Unstable loads on stable surfaces – ie Dumbbells, kettlebells on floor, benches

My unofficial meta-analysis of these studies shows that:

  • Stable loads on stable surfaces allows for maximum force production of the prime mover muscles.
  • Unstable loads (DBs, KBs) on stable surfaces reduces force production in the prime movers (agonists) by a negligible amount while producing a similarly tiny increase in synergists & core muscles.
  • Unstable loads on unstable surfaces (Bosu, Swiss ball, foam mat) further reduces force production in the prime movers while ever so slightly increasing force production of synergists & core muscles.

There have also been numerous studies which postulate that training with unstable loads on stable & unstable surfaces will eventually lead to increases in muscular strength & power as muscle imbalances are corrected, core strength improves and all muscles involved in athletic movements – agonists, antagonists & synergists – are trained to work together more effectively.

And now for the new research:

In this latest study, researchers tested the effectiveness of oscillation training via a series of parallel back squats with an unstable load (weights suspended from the bar by an elastic band)

oscillation_training_overhead_squat
Couldn’t find a good back squat with hanging bells video to create a gif 😦

The Study:

  • Fifteen resistance-trained males completed ten repetitions of the back squat with 60% of their one repetition maximum in both stable and unstable conditions.
  • Peak vertical ground reaction force and the integrated muscle activity of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medius, biceps femoris, soleus, rectus abdominis, external oblique, and erector spinae muscles on the right side of the body were determined.

Results

  • The unstable load resulted in a small (3.9%), but significant decrease in peak vertical ground reaction force. This makes sense considering the previous research on unstable loads.
  • The unstable load also produced noticeably greater muscle activation in the rectus abdominus, external oblique, and soleus.

This may turn out to be highly significant – where previous studies on trained individuals found that DBs or KBs or vibration platforms or Bosus or Swiss balls produced small increases in muscle activation in these “helper” muscles, the use of oscillation training was much more powerful.

Oscillation training may actually turn out to be a really useful tool for athletes and wanna-be athletes.

What does this mean to you?

If you are one of the following trainees, systemic use of oscillation training may be just what you need:

  • Someone stuck at a strength/size/power/speed plateau
  • Someone with sore shoulders or knees or back or…
  • Someone who plays a sport
  • Someone who finds their body is feeling “older”
  • Someone who has poor posture
  • Someone who wants the health benefits of yoga and/or pilates bust hates yoga and/or pilates
  • Someone who want to be as fit as they can possibly be
  • Someone who just started doing Crossfit and doesn’t want to destroy their shoulders
  • Someone with a big gut
  • Someone who wants to maximize the health benefits of weightlifting without getting “too big” or spending too much time.

How to incorporate Oscillation Training into your program?

  1. Start small. This is supplemental work, meant to make the rest of your program work better.
  2. Don’t do oscillate before doing big compound lifts using the same muscle groups/movements. You don’t want to wear out your assistance muscles prior to needing their help on a big compound lift.
  3. You can do oscillation work after doing big compound work, or
  4. Do oscillation work on off-days – rest days or days where other movements / muscle groups are being worked.
  5. You don’t “need” a fancy bamboo bar. It’s nice to have, but you can just hang plates off the ends of normal barbells with a good set of Jump-Stretch style bands.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on social media 🙂

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

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.

More Proof – HIIT Better than Cardio

I-LOVE-HIITAs a personal trainer with 25 yrs of experience AND as a certified fitness junkie, I love HIIT because…

  1. it works really, really well to help my clients get fit really, really fast,
  2. it helps my clients drop excess body-fat really, really fast
  3. and because it is really simple to program HIIT workouts and it fits into the busiest of schedules really, really well.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees HIIT like I do. 

There is a large group of trainers and fitness “experts” who…

  • think that low intensity cardio is superior to HIIT for developing aerobic fitness, and
  • fear that the High Intensity aspect of HIIT is dangerous to the health of their clients.

Their concern is that people with less than perfect cardiac function are at imminent risk of suffering a heart attack if their trainer puts them on a HIIT protocol. Which makes sense….if you haven’t read a medical journal in the past few years and still believe that low intensity cardio is the only safe way to improve cardiac function..

However, if you’re like me and don’t want to wait for our mainstream health & fitness to catch up with modern science, I invite you to…

1. Take a look at some of my articles about HIIT and Cardiac Function

2.  Take a look at the latest research investigating HIIT and building a healthy heart

In a study just published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, researchers tested the effectiveness of HIIT workouts to improve the VO2max/VO2peak of 112 patients with coronary heart disease.

NoteVO2max/VO2peak is considered to be the gold standard for aerobic fitness, and aerobic fitness is believed to be the best indicator of cardiovascular health and a well-established predictor of total and cardiovascular mortality in subjects with and without coronary heart disease.

This means that exercise protocols which drastically improve VO2max/VO2peak are to be seen as powerful tools to help the medical (and fitness) communities prevent coronary heart disease and extend life.

In this study, the participants were divided into three groups based upon exercise intensity – as determined by percentage of HRmax.

  • <88%,
  • 88–92%, and
  • >92% of HRmax

The goal of the study was to determine if higher relative intensity during exercise intervals would elicit a greater
increase in VO2peak…leading to greater & faster improvements in aerobic fitness and in theory improve cardiac related mortality rates.

Here’s what happened

  • No adverse effects occurred during training
  • Overall, VO2peak increased by 11.9 % after 23.4 exercise sessions
  • Higher intensity exercise groups showed the greatest increase in VO2peak
  • 3.1 mL for the <88% group
  • 3.6 mL for the 88–92% group, and
  • 5.2 mL,for the >92% of HRmax group

hiit heart function

These findings build upon previous research which shows that the beneficial cardiovascular effects of aerobic exercise are intensity dependent, with higher intensity exercise showing a superior effect…leading the study authors to conclude that  “CHD patients who are able to perform high intensity training should aim at increasing exercise intensity above 92% of HRmax and thereby possibly achieve even greater improvements in aerobic capacity”.

What does this mean for you?

  • If you’re a CHD patient, you need to talk to your cardiologist about HIIT training…keeping in mind of course that CHD patients need to keep a close eye on how everything they do – exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, stress, etc – can impact the function of their CV system.
  • If you’re not a CHD patient, it means that if you want to improve your aerobic fitness and avoid dropping dead of a heart attack, you NEED to start doing some form of HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.
  • And if you’re a doctor or fitness expert who still believes that low intensity cardio is the best way to improve aerobic function, you need to put down your preconceptions and pick up a scientific journal every now and then.

Reference

  • Moholdt T, et al. The higher the better? Interval training intensity in coronary heart disease. J Sci Med Sport
    (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2013.07.007
  • Rognmo O, Moholdt T, Bakken H et al. Cardiovascular risk of high- versus
    moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in coronary heart disease patients. Circulation 2012; 126(12):1436–1440.
  • . Kodama S, Saito K, Tanaka S et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a quantitative predictor of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in healthy men and women: a meta-analysis. JAMA 2009; 301(19):2024–2035.

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

Increase Your Bench Press…thanks to Koji Murofushi

The Koji Bench Press is known by many names:

  • the Crazy Bell Bench Press,
  • the Bamboo Bench Press,
  • the Banded Kettlebell Bench Press,
  • the Hanging Kettlebell Bench Press,
  • the Crazy Plate Bench Press
  • the Bandbell Bench Press
  • and the Chaos Bench Press.

Whatever you call it, the Koji Bench Press has been attributed to Japanese hammer thrower Koji Murofushi and his unique training techniques.

The general idea behind the hanging weights is to create a higher level of instability via it’s pendulum chaotic oscillating effect….taxing and strengthening the assistance / stabilizer musculature….

….preventing & repairing injuries….

…improving athletic performance…

…while exposing any weaknesses in your musculature.

NOTEThe first time you try this technique, GO LIGHT!!!!

I’m not joking. Until your nervous gets used to the Koji bench press, you’re gonna shake and shake and quite possibly dop the bar onto your face. So GO LIGHT!!!

Over time, I have found the Koji bench press to be a great tool for helping get rid of sticking points, increasing totals and helping “sore shoulder” lifters bench with less pain.

You’re going to look strange doing the Koji, but if you give it 2-3 months, you will see improvements.

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

healthhabits health fitness senior

How to Live Longer…and Better

Every January 1st, thousands and thousands of people resolve to….

  1. lose weight,
  2. get fit,
  3. and become uber-healthy

By February 1st, almost all of those people are sprawled on the couch eating Cheetos and watching Dancing With The Stars.

Maybe if they knew that:

  • Adults who perform at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week live longer than those who don’t.

In this study, researchers “used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Health Interview Study mortality linkage, and U.S. Life Tables to estimate and compare the life expectancy at each age for adults who were inactive, somewhat-active and active. “Active” was defined as doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week”.

They found that…

  • Men at age 20 were estimated to gain as much as 2.4 years of life from moderate activity.
  • Women at age 20 gained about 3 additional years from engaging in moderate activity.

This benefit crossed racial barriers as well – with the “biggest benefit from physical activity seen in non-Hispanic black women, who gained as many as 5.5 potential years of life”.

A second study, published in PLOS, found that…

  • 75 minutes of brisk walking per week was associated with a gain of 1.8 years
  • Higher levels of physical activity (equivalent to 450 min of brisk walking per week) resulted in a gain of 4.5 years.

Unfortunately for those of us trying to sell the benefits of exercise to our loved ones, neither of these studies looking at quality of life.

If I was a betting man, I would bet that not only do the “exercisers” live longer, they live better…with more energy, less aches & pains, better state of mind, etc…

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

Reference

3 completely badass fitness products that you’re GONNA buy…or else.

Alright….maybe badass isn’t the appropriate description for these products.

None of them are going to smack you around for being a pair of idiot skinheads starting trouble on a public bus.

But they will help you :

  • make your feet work better
  • reduce associated pain
  • pack on muscle faster than cheap internet steroids

Correct Toes

Dr. Ray McClanahan (podiatric physician) believes that the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. Unfortunately, the shoes you are wearing right probably don’t do that. This realization is why so many people are giving barefoot / minimalist shoes a try. Unfortunately, if you have been wearing “normal” shoes for most of your life, switching to a barefoot shoe isn’t going to fix your feet.

This is where the Correct Toes spacer can help. They are designed to spread your toes into their natural and correct position…improving “proprioception, which then allows the brain to better promote balance and optimal muscle function”.

Paired with a quality pair of barefoot / minimalist shoes, Correct Toes returns your foot to its natural state, treating most foot problems, and by extension, many musculoskeletal problems.

Sidewalk Surfers from Sanuk

There is no point in buying the Correct Toes spacer and fixing your gnarly old feet if you’re going to keep shoving them into a pair of “normal” shoes and scrunching them together like some masochistic Chinese foot binding experiment. What you need to do is buy a pair (or two) of barefoot / minimalist shoes that allow your feet to move as they were originally intended.

And that’s one of the reasons why I have been wearing a pair of Sanuk Chibas all summer long.

Some of the other reasons are…

  1. they are comfortable as heck,
  2. can be worn on the beach AND with casual clothes,
  3. they look pretty darn good
  4. and they come with an antimicrobial additive…meaning they won’t stink after hours and hours of barefoot wear.

SizeOn

skinny exercise weightlifterA few months back, I started working with two different 40+ year old clients who wanted to add some muscle to their “slender” physiques. In addition to a complete restructuring of their diets and an introduction to a truly nasty training program, I put them both on Gaspari Nutrition’s SizeOn product.

Instead of taking a bunch of different products, I wanted one supplement that would service their workout endurance demands as well as help them pack some meat on their hardgainer bodies. And SizeOn turned out to work perfectly.

Both clients had already started gaining muscle with SizeOn, but when we added it into the mix, things really took off.

  • Both gained significant muscle mass
  • Subject #1 gained 14 lbs of muscles while losing 7 lbs of fat
  • Subject #2 gained 11 lbs of muscle while losing 22 lbs of fat.

Pretty significant transformations…especially when you consider that both of these guys were both ectomorphs and lifelong hard-gainers.

I can’t say enough about this product – Great Stuff!!! – Here are the ingredients if you want to check it out.

Get Rid of Shoulder Pain with Band Traction

The shoulder is a highly mobile joint. Because of that mobility, it is also highly susceptible to injury…. and pain.

Believe me, I know.

  • The younger me used to lift ridiculously heavy weights without ever feeling pain…or giving a darn about the health of my joints.
  • The older me wishes the younger me hadn’t been so stupid.

At one point, my shoulders were in constant pain. I couldn’t sleep without a shoulder aching and an arm falling asleep. It wasn’t good.

And then I found Dick Hartzell, Jump-Stretch Bands and the wonder of his joint traction exercises.

It will take a bit of time, but this stuff is magic for fixing jammed up shoulders.

NOTE: If you’re already doing physical therapy for shoulder pain/injury, please discuss this article with your physio.

 

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

money-muscle-health-healthhabits-fitness-exercise

Treat Your Fitness Like You Treat Your Business

My busiest clients are almost always my most dedicated and most successful clients.

Despite working 18 hour days, they still find the time to workout and prepare healthy Paleo meals. And it’s all because they approach their fitness routine in the same way they approach their business.

  • They schedule workouts just like they do business meetings.
  • They realize that a good trainer or nutritionist is an cost of doing business…just like an accountant or some other business consultant.
  • They plan time to shop for and prepare healthy meals.
  • They understand that a fitness plan is just as necessary as a business plan

Something to think about…the next time someone tells you that they don’t have time to exercise.

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

exercise-is-medicine-health-fitness-healthhabits-

Exercise Is Medicine

I am a big believer in the power of social media as a tool to share information, affect public opinion and empower the little guy.

I am also a big believer in the power of daily exercise as a tool to keep you healthy, fit and looking super-sexy.

To that end, I would like to suggest that we all begin using the hashtag #ExerciseIsMedicine whenever we’re tweeting or re-tweeting a story about exercise.

Thanks in advance.

Doug 

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…

A Solution for Skinny – Fat Runner Syndrome

In spite of two major knee reconstructions, I love running long distances.

Even though I am built like an hypermuscled Clydesdale, I still love throwing on a pair of shoes, hitting the trails and watching the world slow down as I ground out the miles. Aside from the numerous health & fitness benefits, I love how I “feel” when I run.

So, I can understand why a LOT of runners:

  • Focus exclusively on running
  • Ignore the other components of physical fitness
  • Allow muscle mass to waste away
  • And end up with a Skinny-Fat body

But…it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible for long distance runners to hold onto a decent amount of muscle mass and avoid looking like a anorexic Hollywood actress

Here’s how.

Nutrition

  • The Paleo Diet should form the base of your eating plan. The high nutritient : calorie ratio makes it the best choice for repairing muscular damage brought on by your workouts.
  • Fish oil and a quality green food are two base supplements that I recommend to all clients – runners or not.
  • While Paleo is your best choice throughout the day, when it comes to your pre & peri-workout nutrition, Paleo carbs (except for fruit juice) aren’t going to work. Too much fiber, slow digestion, full belly. Not good when you’re running for miles & miles.
  • What you need is Sugar and BCAAs before, during & after each work – cardio & resistance.
  • Buying tip – My favorite BCCA supplements are Scivation XTEND and Biotest Surge Workout Fuel.
  • Supplement daily with Creatine. Improved ATP storage. Improved muscle cell hydration. Better looking muscles. What else do you want?
  • Buying tip – Choose a micronized creatine powder from a reputable brand

Training

Here’s where we stimulate muscle growth.

And we’re going to use either of these two programs to do that.

But, we’re going to make some modifications:

  1. You’re going to do a maximum of two weightlifting workouts per week. You pick which bodyparts you want to work on.
  2. You’re not going to do the leg workouts during your running season.

I have tried to have clients do both and it almost never works. Without a pile of performance enhancing drugs, your legs won’t recover from the combination of weight lifting & running.

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Sleep

GET 8 HOURS SLEEP!!!!

And consider switching to a “barefoot” running technique

Ever since I switched to…

  1. running in barefoot / minimalist shoes and
  2. landing on my forefoot / midfoot instead of using the standard “heel-toe” running gait

…my knee pain & shin splints have disappeared.

Well, there you go.

A solution for Skinny-Fat Runner Syndrome.

Follow the plan and within no time, you’ll be a lean-muscular runner.

 

 

This is how you sell exercise to America

If you are trying to sell something to America, how do you do it?

  • Celebrities
  • TV/Media
  • Excitement/Fun/Sexy

So why is it that when “the experts” try to convince America that it’s in bad shape and that it needs to drop a few pounds and get fit…they resort to boring education programs and pamphlets handed out at the doctor’s office.

That’s not how Sony sells Playstations or Ford sells cars or Beyoncé sells her music.

And that’s why I love this ad campaign for the “Let’s Move! Flash Workout”

This is how you sell exercise to America.

You create a marketing campaign that focuses on an A-List celebrity who is fit, healthy & sexy while not being an anorexic stick-figure. She is obviously proud of her body and enjoys being active and isn’t afraid to get sweaty.

Combine that with a hit song that makes you want to dance…and then throw in a group of happy looking people who match the appearance of your target demographic.

Then, you reduce the barriers to entry by providing easy, step by step instructions on how to be just like the kids in the video.

Now imagine what would happen if Let’s Move had the advertising budget of a major international corporation like Coca-Cola or Nike.

  • Imagine if different versions of this video were splashed all over tv & the interweb.
  • Imagine if new videos were created for other demographics.
  • Imagine if this marketing effort was part of a long-term, well funded, health promotion program.
  • Imagine if you were exposed to this type of advertising day after day, week after week, year after year.

Imagine if marketers could brainwash America into believing that being fit, active & healthy was fun, exciting, cool, sexy, etc…

This is how you sell exercise to America.

Do MBTs & Skechers Shape-Up shoes actually tone your butt, legs & calves?

Thanks to a comment/question from AM, I have put together this little poll to ask you that age-old question?

Do those weird MBT/Skecher Shape-Up shoes actually work?

They claim to:

  • Tone your calves, legs, butt, abs & back
  • Improve your posture & balance
  • Burn fat
  • Improve circulation
  • Solve world hunger & guarantee world peace

But do they?

Let me know what you think…especially if you have ever worn them.

.

Take 2 minutes in the Cryo Chamber & call me in the morning

What if the magic pill for…

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Rheumatic disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscle damage
  • Recovery from intense exercise
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Improved athletic performance

…wasn’t actually a pill.

.

What if diving into a bathtub filled with ice…

…could turn you into a healthier, fitter you?

.

Would you do it?

.

Popular in Europe & Asia, whole body cryotherapy is primed to become the next big thing in athletic rehabilitation and spa treatments.

Heck, it was even featured on the Amazing Race.

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates

.

Related Posts

Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Fibromyalgia is no match for Exercise

New research from John Hopkins University has found that fibromyalgia patients who engaged in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 to 7 days per week were able to:

  1. improve their mobility, while
  2. reducing their levels of perceived pain and disability

And as anyone who suffers with fibro surely knows, that is huge.

  • Never-ending pain throughout your body
  • Lack of sleep
  • Complete and utter exhaustion

That’s what it’s like to live with fibromyalgia.

Not fun.

The Study

Researchers asked the participants to increase their activity levels by increasing the intensity of regular everyday activities such as

  • taking the stairs instead of using an elevator,
  • gardening
  • and walking.

Their goal was to push themselves hard enough to cause heavy breathing, but not hard enough that they couldn’t hold a conversation.

The Results

By the end of the study, the participants had increased their average daily steps by 54%.

More significantly, the exercisers reported “significantly less perceived functional deficits and less pain.”

Speaking about these results, researcher Kevin Fontaine said, “The nature of fibromyalgia’s symptoms, the body pain and fatigue, make it hard for people with this malady to participate in traditional exercise. We’ve shown that LPA can help them to get at least a little more physically active, and that this seems to help improve their symptoms.”

Conclusion

In my experience, working with fibromyalgia patients has been one of my most rewarding experiences as a personal trainer. While it can be frustrating at times to see your client struggling with a new level of pain (that I caused), it is an incredible feeling when the situation starts to improve.

As they get accustomed to the exercise and the pain levels start to drop, the workouts take on a whole different light.

They stop thinking of themselves as fibromyalgia patients and start thinking of themselves as just another athlete suffering through another brutal workout avec moi.

.

[box type=”important”]So, if you know anyone with fibromyalgia, pass this post on to them…and encourage them to get active.[/box]

.

Related Posts

Essential Workout Gear: The Gymboss Interval Timer

I love interval training….absolutely love it.

There is something magical about the HIIT, HIRT and Tabata workouts that I inflict upon my clients.

As the clock counts down, they move quicker, lift heavier and recover faster.

Whether it’s bike sprints…or bodyweight squats…or Thrusters…interval training is a powerful tool for burning fat and getting really, really fit, really, really fast.

hiit-sprints-before-and-aft

How to Get Started with Interval Training

Step One:  Buy a Gymboss Interval Timer

Seriously, you’ll thank me.

  • No more watching the clock out of the corner of your eye or screaming at your workout buddy for not paying attention.
  • No more dropiing your smartphone on the hard gym floor.

Spend the 20 bucks. Buy a Gymboss interval timer. Clip it to your shorts. It will beep & vibrate to let you know when to start & stop.

Simple. Effective. Buy the damn timer.

Step Two: Do one of the HIIT/HIRT/Tabata workouts listed below

Step Three: Start sweating

That’s it

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

You’ve just finished another gruelling workout.

Now what?

If you’re like Tiger, you’re going to stagger into the change-room, grab a quick shower and head off to the nearest Hooters.

And like Tiger, you would be WRONG

When it comes to getting fit/healthy/buff/ripped/sexy/etc, your workouts are only half the equation. The other half of the equation is Workout Recovery.

And because I love you guys so darn much,  I have put together my favorite Post-Workout Recovery Techniques.

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake

I have talked about this technique before. Simply put, it’s a no-brainer.

Post workout – your muscles are screaming for nutrients. Ignore that message and your workout recovery goes into slo-mo. Heed the message and the repair goes into overdrive.

More info here.

Hot/Cold Contrast Showers

Alternate between 30 seconds of cold water and two minutes of hot water. Perform this shrinkage inducing protocol three or four times.

While most of the claims about this recovery technique are anecdotal, there is some research showing that alternating hot/cold showers post-exercise is effective in lowering both heart rate and the levels of lactate in your blood. Anecdotally, contrast showers have been said to improve athletic recovery via increased blood flow and possible nutrient and waste product elimination (lactate). There may also be a psychological benefit and an increased feeling of alertness and fatigue reduction.

In my personal experience, contrast showers help reduce my post-workout DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as well as perk me up for the rest of my day.

Fish Oils

Your workouts cause inflammation.

Localized inflammation in joints and muscles. Systemic inflammation throughout your body. Fish oils are a great, natural, anti-inflammatory. Add some to your post-workout shake. If you already have issues with chronic inflammation, you may want to consider adding some Turmeric/Curcumin or Zyflamend into the mix.

Meditation / Sleep

High intensity workouts can be tough on the CNS (central nervous system)

And while there are lots of supplements (natural adaptogens & pharmaceutical agents) out there that claim to help repair & restore the CNS, I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of them. However, I am willing to push meditation & sleep as the two best CNS treatments ever invented.

Sleep – You probably don’t sleep enough already. Add in a tough workout routine and you’re looking for trouble. Get your 7-8 hrs.

Meditation – There are lots of ways to meditate. There are crunchy-granola yoga meditative techniques. There are medical based mindfulness meditation programs. Praying is a form of meditation. There are even mp3s you can buy that claim to help sync your brainwaves into the pattern best suited for meditation. But the simplest method may be to just sit or lie down, put your hands on your belly and focus as your breath flows in and out.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) are another anti-inflammatory agent.

When added to a nice hot bath, they are absorbed through the skin and helps reduce muscular pain and general “achiness”. It also helps increase your levels of magnesium and may help reduce water retention.

Ice Massage

The benefits of ice massage are questionable at best. But, I know a lot of athletes who swear by it, so I figured it best to include it in this review.

Most of the pro-Ice Massage evidence isanecdotal. The main claim is that ice massage is an effective method for reducing localized inflammation and reducing the symptoms of DOMS. However, the clinical research doesn’t agree. In fact, some researchers feel that ice massage should be contraindicated when it comes to preventing post-exercise DOMS.

So, I leave the decision up to you.

Personally, I will skip the post-workout ice massage. If you need more info, click here.

Therapeutic Massage

There are many different types of massage.

Medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced levels of anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety.

Plus, it just feels gooooood.

Get a massage every month or so. Your body will thank you.

TENS

TENS is a non-invasive, medically tested, safe nerve stimulation intended to reduce pain, both acute and chronic.

It’s also the subject of cheesy late night infomercials.

And that’s too bad. Because, in my experience, TENS is a great little tool for reducing muscular pain. I bought a unit two years ago after a car accident screwed up my neck, back, shoulder & knee. It wasn’t my only treatment modality, but it was convenient, effective and relatively cheap.

For post-workout pain, a TENS unit is probably overkill. But, for those older trainees who have a few chronic aches and pains, a TENS unit might be worth it’s weight in gold.

Chiropractic / Acupuncture

I group these two treatment modalities together because my chiropractor is also an acupuncturist and soft-tissue therapist. I don’t get one without the other.

I go every two months and Sheldon works out the kinks that I have managed to create. When I over-do the chin-ups and my bad shoulder acts up a little, Sheldon breaks out the acupuncture needles, re-adjusts the bones and does a little (excruciating) muscle stripping.

45 minutes later and I am a new man.

Traumeel

Traumeel is a homeopathic anti-inflammatory.

And, according to researchers, it works better than NSAIDS at reducing chronic inflammatory conditions as well as systemic inflammation caused by exercise. Plus, you get none of the unpleasant side-effects associated with NSAIDS.

.

Well, there you go. There’s my list of Post Workout Recovery Techniques.

Feel free to comment if you think I have missed something or if you disagree with one of my choices.

Is There A Link Between Exercise and Arthritis?

knee pain jointAccording to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, “Middle-aged men and women who engage in high levels of physical activity may be unknowingly causing damage to their knees and increasing their risk for osteoarthritis”.

“Our data suggest that people with higher physical activity levels may be at greater risk for developing knee abnormalities and, thus, at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis.”

And in case you didn’t know…Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects approximately 10% of the American population.

The Study

The study involved 236 asymptomatic participants who had not reported previous knee pain – (136 women and 100 men, age 45 to 55, all within a healthy weight range.)

The participants were separated into low-, middle-, and high-activity groups based on their responses to the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire. PASE is a standard test that scores an older individual’s physical activity level, based on the type of activity and the time spent doing it.

Then came the MRIs.

Radiologists scanned the knees of the test subjects and compared their findings to the levels of physical activity as determined by the PASE questionnaire.

Sadly, the MRI analysis indicated a relationship between physical activity levels and frequency and severity of knee damage.

tiger woods knee

The Details

Specific knee abnormalities identified included meniscal lesions, cartilage lesions, bone marrow edema and ligament lesions. Abnormalities were associated solely with activity levels and were not age or gender specific.

.

  • The prevalence of the knee abnormalities increased with the level of physical activity.
  • In addition, cartilage defects diagnosed in active people were more severe.
  • The findings also indicated that some activities carry a greater risk of knee damage over time.

“This study and previous studies by our group suggest that high-impact, weight-bearing physical activity, such as running and jumping, may be worse for cartilage health.”

.

“Conversely, low-impact activities, such as swimming and cycling, may protect diseased cartilage and prevent healthy cartilage from developing disease.”

Their Conclusion

The researchers concluded that there is a need for prospective studies to evaluate the influence of low-impact versus high-impact physical activity on disease progression.

My Conclusion(s)

  • Our bodies wear down with use. This should not come as a surprise to anyone 40+ years of age. Odds are there are lots of things that you can’t do that you could do in your teens or twenties. (see Viagra)
  • With age comes wisdom. Or at least it’s supposed to. As a kid, I never included a warm-up into my workout. Nothing hurt, so why would I warm-up? Today, if I skip the warm-up, things hurt.
  • Additionally, since I have become a slightly-older, slightly wiser version of myself, I have eliminated or modified the types of exercise that cause me pain – long distance running, 1 leg pistol squats, football, various weightlifting exercises, high intensity plyometric jumps, etc…

And with these modifications, I eliminated the nagging knee & shoulder pains that had begun to crop up.

My Other Conclusion(s)

  • No exercise is perfect for every person. Swimmers often suffer with shoulder pain. Cyclists often develop muscle imbalances due to their posture while cycling. Yoginis suffer joint injuries.
  • The body you have today is different from the body you had 20 years ago. Treat it as such.
  • Your body is different from my body. What works for me might not work as well for you.
  • Your body will tell you what is best for it. If your knees swell up after going for a long jog…maybe you shouldn’t go for a long jog. If your shoulders hurt after a set of overhead presses, maybe you should find a way to modify or replace that exercise.
  • There is a difference between high intensity exercises performed properly & high intensity exercises performed improperly.
  • Before giving up on “high intensity” exercises that require running & jumping, see if you can find a better way to do them. Try to modify before you eliminate.
  • Look at correcting postural imbalances that may lead to injuries
  • Consider purchasing rehabilitation equipment designed to prevent injuries

and most importantly, remember this…

You would rather visit an orthopedist than a cardiologist……so get off your butt and get some exercise.


.

Related Content

Reference

Losing Weight is Simple…but it ain't easy

I just about got my butt kicked at the gym this weekend…by a 50-something, morbidly obese woman with a fetish for unproductive cardio workouts.

Here’s what happened.

After finishing my workout, I was chatting with some other gym members about the best ways to lose weight, get fit, etc.

During the conversation, I made the unfortunate decision to proclaim that losing weight is simple, but not easy.

Bad move on my part. Little did I know that our conversation was being overheard by the aforementioned 50-something morbidly obese cardio junkie.

And after hearing my comment, she decided to join the conversation. Unfortunately, she pretty much went nuclear.

I couldn’t make out much of what she was saying due to all the screaming and profanity, but I think the gist of it was that:

  1. I didn’t know what I was talking about
  2. She had “fat” genetics and her obesity wasn’t her fault
  3. I was prejudiced against overweight people
  4. and then the profanity started again.

The entire gym stopped…and watched…Fun times.

Luckily for me, I was so blissed out on my post-workout endorphins, that this verbal onslaught had little effect on my good mood, and I was able to weather the storm. And, with the help of the other gym members, we calmed her down and she actually started to listen.

Over the next 20 minutes, we discussed a lot of the lies and half-truths surrounding weight loss.

I explained that successful weight loss is as simple as:

  1. Choosing an effective nutrition program
  2. Choosing an effective exercise program
  3. Learning how to control destructive thoughts & emotions.

But, it is learning how to control those thoughts and emotions that makes successful weight loss nearly impossible for a lot of people.

Ergo…simple, but not easy. And, believe it or not, 20 minutes after it all started, Ms. Angry Cardio Junkie and I were hugging it out…which was a little gross considering she had just finished 80 minutes of cardio.

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

Fitness Equipment Deathmatch #1

In the tradition of my Nutrition Deathmatches #1 and #2, today’s post compares and contrasts two different pieces of fitness equipment.

First up, the Wellness Belt

To be completely honest, I had never heard of the Wellness Belt until this morning when I heard a commercial for this product while listening to a radio station marketed towards Zoomers.

I could not believe what I was hearing.

According to the commercial, the Wellness Belt is the health breakthrough that every soon to be senior citizen has been waiting for.

Simply by wearing the ultra-fashionable Wellness Belt throughout your day to day activities, you will experience:

  1. Effortless Weight Loss
  2. The Elimination of Back Pain
  3. A Reversal of Osteoporosis
  4. Improved cardio-vascular fitness, a reduction in cholesterol, high blood pressure and a lowered risk of heart attack
  5. Improved posture, reduced back pain, less intense headaches and migraines, increased neck range of motion and elimination of menstrual cramping. People with scoliosis have reported reduced tightness in the spine.
  6. Increased free time as you never have to exercise ever again

Sounds great!!!

How do I get one?

Well, I’ll tell you.

For a limited time, you can save $30 off the regular price!!!

That’s right. For just $167.97 +s/h & applicable taxes, you too can own your very own Wellness Belt.

kettlebellOR for less money, I can buy a set of 6 indestructible exercise bands and a single kettlebell.

With this equipment, I can expect to experience:

  1. Actual Fat Loss
  2. Increased Muscle Mass
  3. Increased Strength
  4. Increased Anaerobic Endurance
  5. Improved Body Image
  6. Improved Sex Appeal
  7. An Improvement in many types of Pain (back, head, neck) caused by Muscular Imbalances
  8. A Potential Improvement in Osteoporosis due to increased Osteoblast production caused by longitudinal loading of the long bones of the body.
  9. Improved Cardio-Vascular Fitness
  10. Increased pride as I know that I earned my new and improved body.

.

What to do, what to do?

On one hand, I have a product that requires no effort, is unlikely to do anything useful and is only being purchased by the self-deluded and extremely dim-witted.

On the other hand, I have a set of products that are going to require time, effort and buckets of sweat. But in return, I am pretty sure to transform my body into something I can be proud of.

Darn it, I cant decide.

What do you think?

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates

.

Related Posts

The No Excuses Workout

This workout is designed for all of those people who say they would like to exercise, but when push comes to shove:

  1. they don’t have enough money for a gym membership, or
  2. they can’t run because they have bad knees, or
  3. they don’t have enough space in their tiny bachelor apartment.

It’s my No Excuses Workout.

Program Goals:

  • Improved Aerobic & Anaerobic Fitness
  • Accelerated Fat Loss
  • Increased Muscular Strength
  • Correction of Typical Muscular Imbalances

The workout consists of 2 workouts that can be performed twice per week for a total of 4 workouts

The remaining 3 days of the week can be devoted to the walking program outlined in Boomer Bodyweight Workout #1

WORKOUT #1

Superset #1

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

  • Chair Squats – Maximum 20 reps per set
  • Push-Ups – Maximum 10 reps per set – choose a push-up version that matches your level of fitness

Superset #2

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

Superset #3

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

  • Shuffle LungeMaximum 30 reps total for both legs
  • Plank – Work up to 60 seconds

Repeat all 3 supersets 2 to 3 times

One complete circuit of all 3 supersets takes 15 minutes + any rest you take between supersets. Two circuits will take 30 min +. Three circuits will take 45 min+

It’s important to keep rest to an absolute minimum. This is how you are getting the aerobic benefit of the workout.

WORKOUT #2

Superset #1

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

1 or 2 Leg Hip Thrusts – Maximum 20 reps total for both legs

Bodyweight Tricep Extensions – Maximum 10 reps

Superset #2

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

Bulgarian Split Squats – Maximum 10 reps per leg

Bear Crawls – Crawl 5 yards forward, reverse and crawl 5 yards backward

Superset #3

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

Reverse Lunges – Maximum 10 reps per leg

Plank – Work up to 60 seconds

Repeat all 3 supersets 2 to 3 times

One complete circuit of all 3 supersets takes 15 minutes + any rest you take between supersets. Two circuits will take 30 min +. Three circuits will take 45 min+

It’s important to keep rest to an absolute minimum. This is how you are getting the aerobic benefit of the workout.

And remember to go at your own pace. The goal is to get healthy.

If you are a beginner, it is most important to learn how to perform the exercise well before picking up the intensity. Use some common sense people.

For advanced trainees, focus on reducing rest time and increasing the difficulty of the exercise.

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

Related Posts

Resistance Stretching

In yesterday’s post, I introduced you to microStretching.

Today, it’s Resistance Stretching….made famous by 40-something Olympic and World champion Dara Torres.

dara torres banner

In 2008, Resistance Stretching was Dara’s secret weapon at the Olympic Games in Beijing where she won three silver medals, broke her own personal best time in the 50m freestyle (trailing the gold medalist by 1/100th of a second) and became the oldest Olympic swimming medalist in history.

dara torres banner 2

Dara’s success as an older athlete is what got me interested in Resistance Stretching (RS).

So, I contacted Dara’s RS gurus Steve Sierra and Anne Tierney and grilled them with questions.

Here is some of what they had to say…

What is Resistance Stretching?

Resistance Stretching is based on the theories that:

  1. The stretching effect occurs during the entire movement of the muscle while it is being contracted, not just at the end point of the stretch…unlike traditional static stretching.
  2. A muscle must contract while elongating for a true stretch. Stretching a muscle without contracting produces a false range of motion known as substitution, and ultimately results in over-stretching and injury.
  3. Repetitions are necessary for gains in flexibility, just as repetitions are necessary for gains in strength during strength training.

How do I do it?

Resistance Stretching can be performed alone using self-stretches or with other person(s) using assisted stretching techniques.

Dara relied on assisted stretching to prepare her body for the Olympics.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “dara torres resistance stretching – n…“, posted with vodpod

Unfortunately, you and I will most likely not have access to a team of trained Resistance Stretchers.

But don’t fret, my clients and I have had great success using the standard self-stretches as well as the variations that I MacGyvered on my own.

This video outlines some of the basic self-stretches.

Where you go from here is up to you.

Once you understand the basic concept of Resistance Stretching, you are only limited by your imagination. I am constantly coming up with new stretching variations.

Just follow these ffive steps

  1. Identify the muscle or muscle group that you want to stretch
  2. Start by flexing or shortening that muscle
  3. Tense the muscle
  4. Start stretching the muscle while simultaneously resisting the stretch
  5. Repeat

In a future post, I will provide videos of some of my favorite stretches. I just need to bribe one of my clients to let me record them and put it on the blog.

 

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

microStretching

We all know how to stretch….right?

Bend over, touch your toes and hold for 30 seconds.

So, why is it that after years and years of static stretching after each and every workout, my hip flexors, hamstrings, abductors, calves, traps, pecs and entire shoulder girdle were always uber-tight and I was suffering from lower back spasms every few months?

  • Could it be that what we thought was right wasn’t?
  • Could it be that just about every personal trainer in the world is wrong?
  • Could it be that Mr. Toe Touch was wasting his time and perhaps even making things worse?

This is where I found myself about a year ago.

So I went looking for another way to stretch my tight muscles back into balance.

And I found two very different techniques that worked very well for me.

Today, I am going to introduce you to microStretching.

For those of you that need more info – here is an article written by microStretch guru Nikos Apostolopoulos that explains things in more detail.

Microstretching – Nikos C. Apostolopoulos

That’s it for today. I am going to let you chew on this concept for a little bit before we get into the “how to” details.

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

Related Posts

The “I don’t have time to workout” Workout

No more excuses….You do have time to exercise…

  • If you only have 5 minutes to spare, do 1 of these workouts.
  • 10 minutes = 2 workouts
  • 15 minutes = 3 workouts….

…You don’t even have to go to the gym.

The Rules

  • Each workout lasts 5 minutes (the set/rep combinations are suggestions based upon my experience with clients)
  • If you get to 5 minutes before you get to the end of the workout…STOP. 5 minutes max means 5 minutes max.
  • Each workout involves 2 or 3 different exercises
  • Perform 1 set of exercise A, then move on to exercise B
  • No rest between sets – the workouts are designed to be performed with no rest
  • If your form gets sloppy…slow down. Catch your breath. Good form is more important that getting one extra rep. Injuries suck.

5 Minute Workout # 1

1.   Air Squats – bodyweight only – 5 sets of 30 reps

2.   Hindu Pushups – 5 sets of 15 reps

Try and complete all 10 sets in 5 minutes

5 Minute Workout #2

1.   Dragon Flag 5 sets of 5-10 reps or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)


2.   Shuffle or Scissor Lunges – 5 sets of 40-60 reps (20-30 per leg) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

Try and complete all 10 sets in 5 minutes

5 Minute Workout #3

1.   Spiderman Lunge 5 sets of 12 reps (6 reps per side) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

2.  Hip Thrust/Bridge – 5 sets of 40-60 reps (20-30 per leg) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

Try and complete all 10 sets in 5 minutes

5 Minute Workout #4

1.   Kettlebell Swing  5 sets of 10 reps (5 reps per arm) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

2.  1 Arm Dumbbell Press – 5 sets of 10 reps (5 reps per side) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

3. Siff Lunge – 5 sets of 10 reps (5 reps per side) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

Try and complete all 15 sets in 5 minutes

5 Minute Workout #5…my personal favorite

1.   Jumping Bulgarian Squat 5 sets of 20 reps (10 reps per leg) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

2.  Band Woodchops – 5 sets of 20 reps (10 reps per side) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)


3. 1 Leg Stiff Leg Deadlift – 5 sets of 10 reps (5 reps per side) or 5 minutes (whichever comes first)

Try and complete all 15 sets in 5 minutes

Bonus Workout…if you have a partner

5 minutes of this…

BTW, Marv is another personal trainer from Toronto

Related Posts

13 Training Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Fitness training isn’t rocket science.

  • Good training & nutrition decisions produce good results.
  • Poor training & nutrition decisions produce poor results.

So, how come when I go to the gym this afternoon, I can pretty much guarantee that I am going to see a lot of intelligent, well-educated, gainfully employed people making some pretty stupid training decisions?

  • Maybe fitness training is rocket science?
  • Maybe I am some sort of fitness training genius.

albert-einstein

So, as a public service to all of the non-fitness-training genii out there, here is a list of some of the training mistakes I will probably see at the gym today.

Try and avoid them.

  1. Doing Cardio Training before Resistance Training
  2. Doing Static Stretching before Resistance Training
  3. adductor inner thighTraining Core before Legs
  4. Chugging a Gatorade while reading a book on the Exercise Bike
  5. Thinking that the Inner Thigh (Adductor) Machine is going to work some sort of magic.
  6. Ignoring your Weaknesses and over-training your Strengths
  7. Believing that Core Training is all about Crunches & Planks
  8. Training Body Parts instead of Body Movements
  9. Believing that you can Out-Train a Bad Diet
  10. Making chronic neck & shoulder pain worse by ignoring your postural muscles
  11. Thinking that Resistance Training will make you too big
  12. Thinking that Cardio training will make you too small
  13. Performing a one size fits all type of fitness program

And if you see yourself on the list and want to change your evil ways, feel free to comment.

I or one of your fellow readers would be glad to lend a hand.

Addendum

I just received an email from a quasi-famous strength coach/trainer to the stars telling me that I was an idiot for believing that cardio prior to resistance training is a bad idea.

Personally, I can’t believe that he took the time out of his day to tell me off via email (wouldn’t a comment have been quicker?) but I would like to thank him because it helped me come up with another fitness training mistake:

Dogma

Believing that one way of training is the 100% right and that all other methods are 100% wrong.

Whether it’s hardcore cardio junkies or Crosfitters or bodybuilders of Yoginis, being close minded to different training methods seems prety stupid to me.

Related Posts

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 more reasons to love High Intensity Interval Training

  1. HIIT was better than the standard  multidisciplinary approach (exercise, diet and psychological support) at helping overweight kids reduce their cardiovascular risk factorsHere’s the study
  2. HIIT can prevent cardiac death in type 2 diabetic individuals. Here’s the study
  3. HIIT should be a required treatment for all Metabolic Syndrome patients. 16 weeks of HIIT training significantly reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease, in terms of improved VO2max, endothelial function, blood pressure, insulin signaling, and plasma lipid composition. Here’s the study
  4. HIIT substantially improves insulin action. Say bye-bye to type 2 diabetes & metabolic syndrome. Here’s the study
  5. HIIT increases levels of HDL cholesterol – that’s the  good cholesterol. Here’s the study
  6. HIIT improves the HRR (Heart Rate Recovery – a measure of how quickly your heart returns to normal post-exercise)) in already well-trained cyclists. Here’s the study
  7. HIIT drastically improves cardiovascular function (V02max) in patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Here’s the study
  8. Interval training produced a 302% greater increase inV02max when compared to a long, slow distance training protocol. Here’s the study
  9. HIIT significantly improved the aerobic fitness of a group of prepubescent children (aerobic fitness measured by peak oxygen consumption and maximal aerobic velocity) Here’s the study
  10. HIIT improves the erectile function of hypertension patients  Here’s the study fellas

Related Posts

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

health fitness exercise healthhabits workout

Here's why you NEED aerobic exercise

Let’s face it. Cardio is boring. Running laps around a track or pedaling away like some spandex wearing gerbil…..Boring.

But,according to the authors of this new study, “your personal aerobic fitness is not something you will see in the mirror but it is an important predictor of your long-term health,”

“The most important part of physical activity is protecting yourself from diseases that can be fatal or play a significant role in increasing the risk factors for other metabolic diseases.”

The Study

fattyliver
Fatty Liver

For years, we have known that poor aerobic fitness is associated with obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. This new study adds another serious condition to the list – non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

The study also suggests that the resulting liver problems play a crucial step developing obesity-related illnesses. In fact, the study authors think that “Fatty liver disease will be the next big metabolic disorder associated with obesity and inactivity.”

So, to test the link between aerobic fitness and fatty liver disease, the researcher bred a strain of genetically unfit rats. These couch-potato rats could only run an average of 200m compared to over 1500m for the average fit rat.

Leaving both strains of rats to their own devices, the researchers noticed that at 25 weeks, the unfit rats showed clear signs of fatty liver. “By the end of their natural lives, the rats’ livers had sustained damage including fibrosis (the precursor to cirrhosis) and unexpected cell death”.

In contrast, the ‘fit’ group enjoyed heathy livers throughout their lifespans – despite the fact that neither group was getting any real exercise.

The team’s findings provide the first biochemical links between low aerobic fitness and fatty liver disease, and have lead the authors to suggest that NAFLD could potentially be treated or prevented by a suitable exercise program.

Conclusion

  • Aerobic exercise is boring
  • Aerobic exercise prevents fatty liver disease
  • You don’t want fatty liver disease, so
  • Get movin’

The Most Amazing Weight Loss Story

This story is for all of those people out there who have already given up on their New Year’s Resolution to finally lose that extra 20 lbs.

Maybe you gave up on the diet because there just wasn’t enough time in the day to prepare healthy meals to take to work.

Or maybe, you had to take the kids to hockey practice and had no choice but to stop at Timmy’s and grab a double double and some Timbits.

Or maybe, you just needed a motivational kick in the pants to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Consider this story your kick in the pants.

Your New Weight Loss Hero: David Smith

In only 26 months, David Smith managed to streamline his body from a gargantuan 630 lbs to a trim and fit 229 lbs.

And it wasn’t easy.

Losing 401 lbs. of body-fat is a very complicated experience. David didn’t get to 630 lbs. without picking up a whole bunch of emotional baggage along the way.

His transformation involved a lot more than burning off body-fat.

In his own words:

‘I had been overweight all my life.

‘I would have sticks and stones and dog mess thrown at me and I would be spat on.
I’ve had a broken arm and black eyes because people didn’t like me because of my weight.

‘It got so bad that I didn’t want to leave the house and I didn’t even feel comfortable in my own backyard until it was dark out.

‘I felt like I deserved as much pain as possible and I wanted to kill myself.

But one day, he took the first step and reached out for help.

He sent an e-mail to Chris Powell, fitness correspondent for Good Morning Arizona, a local news broadcast on KTVK, in Phoenix.

Powell paid Smith a visit. “We were both probably thinking: what are we getting ourselves into right here? There would be no way I’d have anything in common with this guy,” Smith said.

Powell, a former Cosmo magazine bachelor, was socially confident. But now he was trying to get through to this painfully shy man.

“I didn’t know what 600 pounds looked like,” Powell said. “He couldn’t really look me in the eye. He was just so broken. He really didn’t know what to say or what to do.”

Despite their initial awkward meeting, they made a deal.

Smith committed to losing the pounds and Powell agreed to stick with him as long as Smith didn’t give up. And 26 months later, David Smith was 401 pounds lighter.

‘The first few months were really hard, Chris would be telling me that I was doing really well and I was losing weight – but when I looked in the mirror I saw someone weighing more.

‘To begin with the training was really tough, at my heaviest I struggled to walk five feet without becoming out of breath.

‘Slowly, though, I got better and managed to do more and more and the flab was literally falling off me.

Conclusion

  • David Smith lost 401 pounds.
  • I am sure that he had lots of excuses not to eat right or exercise.
  • And yet, he lost 401 pounds.

So, put down that bag of chips and get to sweating.

keepexercising

Related Posts

Tabata Training 101

What Can Tabata Do For You?

Aside from burning off pounds and pounds of excess body-fat, Tabata Training can help you:

  • Improve your cardio-vascular function (aerobic endurance)
  • Improve your anaerobic endurance
  • Improve your muscular endurance
  • Make you strong and fit and look fantastic

How’s that for a fitness training method?

The Science Behind Tabata

The basis for all of the excitement surrounding Tabata Training comes from the good doctor’s 1996 research study published in the journal – Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

In that study, Dr. Tabata concluded that high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) was a much more effective and efficient training method than tradional cardio training.

Not only was Tabata Training more effective at improving anaerobic endurance, it was also more effective at improving aerobic or cardio-vascular endurance.

And Why is Tabata Training so Effective?

Dr. Tabata believed that the reason behind the success of his training protocol was:

INTENSITY

The good doctor believed that exercising at a high level of intensity for a short period of time was more effective than  exercising at a low intensity for a long duration.

And he wasn’t alone.

Ever since Dr. Tabata released the scientific genie from the bottle in 1996, other researchers have built upon his work. Here are just a sample of the available research:

And there is lots more where this came from.

I just did a quick PubMed search and came up with 1110 studies related to Tabata’s work.

So, What is Tabata Training Anyway?

Dr. Tabata’s training method is a very specific version of High Intensity Interval (or Intermittent) Training.

In his 1996 study, Dr. Tabata had seven subjects perform:

  • An intermittent training exercise 5 days a week for 6 weeks
  • Each individual training session consisted of seven to eight sets of a single exercise
  • Each set was performed at the high intensityof about 170% of ˙VO2max.
  • Each set was timed to last for 20 seconds
  • Each period of rest between sets was timed to last for 10 seconds
  • This means that each Tabata Workout lasted for only 4 minutes.
  • 4 minutes of Tabata Training x 5 days a week x 6 weeks = 120 minutes or 2 hours of exercise over 6 weeks
  • In comparison, Tabata’s cardio-vascular group performed 30 hours of cardio training over the course of the experiment (60 min workouts x 5 days per week x 6 weeks)

And still, the Tabata workouts were more effective than the cardio-vascular workouts.

How Do I Design My Own Tabata Workout?

I am glad you asked.

In tomorrow’s post, I will give you two Tabata style workouts.

Each workout is to be performed 2x per week for the next 6 weeks.

I guarantee that those of you willing to give this program a serious effort will see some serious improvements in their physique and their overall level of fitness.

And for those of you that can’t wait until tomorrow: Here are some of my posts about HIIT training.

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

A Better “Best Life” Weight Loss Plan

Health Habits

In yesterday’s post, I rambled on and on about Oprah’s “Best Life” weight loss plan.

oprahs-best-life-series-your-weight

And what I found most unique about her new weight loss plan was her focus on how our emotions and thoughts impact our relationship with food.

While I and others have written about this before, somehow I think that Oprah’s opinion carries just a little bit more weight with America’s obese.

dietbooks2008In fact, because of Oprah’s influence, I predict that the next big wave of popular diet books/programs will all include some form of psychological/emotional/spiritual philosophy.

And this could be a good thing…or it could be just another gimmick to sell books and supplements and pills and gym memberships and…..well, you get my point.

We all know, that for most of us, losing weight is not as simple as reducing our intake by 500 calories and increasing our output by 500 calories. If it was, all of us would be lean and fit and earning extra money posing as swimsuit models.

While weight loss is easier for some of us and incredibly hard for others, we all know that it isn’t simple. There are many factors at play.

And, as a personal trainer who relies on word of mouth to earn an income, I need to figure out which of those factors are keeping my new clients from being as fit and healthy as they want to be.

If they don’t see results, my bills don’t get paid.

But, seeing as none of you are my clients and, in the spirit of everything being free on the internet, I hereby present to you, my multi-faceted, mind, body and spirit, guaranteed to work, new and improved for 2009 Health Habits Weight Loss Plan.

Enjoy.

And if you are reading this prior to January 16, could you please click here and throw me a vote for Wellsphere’s Health Blogger Award. As of today, I am sitting at #16 and I could use a little charity.

The Plan

.

When it comes to losing weight, it always comes down to lifestyle.

I can give you the most effective diet and exercise plan known to man (just send $19.99 to…), but unless you are willing to address your negative lifestyle influences, you and I are wasting our time.

You might as well join a fat acceptance group and learn to embrace your inner fatty.

Your Formerly Fat Lifestyle

.

To begin, I am going to break your Formerly Fat Lifestyle into 3 parts:

  1. Physical
  2. Mental / Emotional / Spiritual
  3. External

Let’s start with the physical:

.

Nutrition

.

This may sound strange, but thanks to our Western Diet, most overweight people are actually undernourished. Overfed, but undernourished.

What do I mean by this?

I mean that the food that most of us eat doesn’t even deserve to be called food. Sure, it provides calories, but it doesn’t actually provide the nutrients that our bodies need to perform at their best.

As a result, even though our bellies may be full, our cells are screaming for more. And in their quest for more nutrients, they call on a whole bunch of hormones and brain chemicals and food-related memories to MAKE YOU EAT MORE AND MORE AND MORE.

So, one of the first things I do is to change the types of food my clients are eating. We don’t even discuss calories. For most people, improving the quality of their diet drastically reduces appetite.

Note – I will go into much more detail in future posts, but if you can’t wait, check out these archives:

.

Exercise

.

This may sound strange coming from a personal trainer, but up until fairly recently, human beings had no need for “exercise”. Our ancestors stayed fit through their daily activities.

But, unless you are planning to quit your desk job and take up a life of hunting and gathering, you NEED to exercise. You will never get enough exercise in your day to day life.

NEVER.

And when it comes to weight loss, not all exercise is created equal. Oprah was on the right track when she decided to cut back a little on the cardio training and replacing it with more resistance training. While cardio is vital for the health of your heart and lungs, it is a poor choice for weight loss.

Now if only we could get her to quit the bodybuilding-type program Bob has put her on. Considering her goals and her schedule, she needs to find a program that maximizes fat loss and strength and minimizes bulk and wasted time. And her current program…is at least 5 years out of date.

For most of my clients, we are trying to:

  • Build strength without bulk
  • Focus on functional strength that improves “real life” activities
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Increase short term and long term metabolism
  • Improve joint mobility and muscular flexibility
  • Increase speed, quickness and agility, and oh yeah…
  • Burn a lot of calories

And like I said before, I will be going into more detail. Here are some links for the impatient:

.

Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation

.

At first, this topic may not seem to have much to do with a weight loss program.

But when your knee is killing you because a tight IT band has caused your patella to track laterally and grind away causing pain, inflammation and swelling, you may see the benefit of including some pre-hab / re-hab training in your weight loss program.

We are all getting older. As kids, we could abuse our bodies and count on them bouncing right back. As adults, we need to use some of that wisdom we are supposed to have been accumulating to avoid the problems before they happen.

More info to come. Here are your links:

.

The Mental/Emotional/Spiritual aspects of weight loss:

.

This is the part of Oprah’s new program that I found the most interesting.

Whether or not it proves to be effective, Oprah’s search for the mental/emotional/spiritual reasons behind her eating disorder is a big step forward.

oprahs-weight-loss-confession
click pic for Oprah's weight gain confession

And while the psychological community debates whether or not disordered eating patterns (like Oprah’s) constitute an actual psychological condition, it is obvious to those of us who struggle with obesity, that obesity and emotion go hand in hand.

So, as part of Oprah’s new weight loss program, she asked herself 5 not so simple questions:

  1. Why are you overweight?
  2. What are you really hungry for?
  3. Why have you been unable to maintain weight loss in the past?
  4. What in your life is not working?
  5. Why do you want to lose weight?

And assuming, that she/you/me answer those questions on a deep & meaningful level, we may be able to understand or even release some of the emotional “stuff” that has been contributing to our weight gain.

Or maybe not.

While I think these 5 questions may be psychologically enlightening and a source of motivation at the start of your program, I question whether they will have any staying power. What happens in 3 months when the initial “aha” moment has worn off?  How is knowing the “truth” about your weight gain going to keep you from falling off the wagon?

You need some tools to take you from enlightenment to realization.

beck-diet-for-lifeAnd one of those tools could be the Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Weight Loss Program by Dr. Judith Beck.

In fact, it’s likely that some of you may already have seen this book. It’s been one of the big sellers at my local bookstore. And with good reason.

If people are excited about Oprah’s new psychological/emotional approach to weight loss, they should be overjoyed to find Dr. Beck’s program.

Next week, I will post a review of the book.

But for now, I will let Dr. Beck provide a brief description of her plan:

Most people struggle with losing weight and keeping it off because no one ever taught them how. It’s not just a matter of willpower and a healthy eating plan. To be successful, you have to learn a set of cognitive (thinking) and behavioral skills. Other weight-loss programs assume that dieters know how to keep themselves from cheating. Dr. Beck respects that dieters are human; she expects mistakes and her unique program teach dieters exactly what to do immediately following mistakes, and how to solve and prevent them in the future.

By following the Cognitive Therapy techniques dieters learn to:

  • think differently and overcome common dieting pitfalls and sabotaging thoughts
  • eat favorite foods while steadily losing weight
  • feel in control in the most challenging situations
  • feel confident in their ability to follow a healthy diet and exercise plan
  • remain motivated to maintain weight loss for life

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

But, to be fair, I am a little biased. While I don’t agree with every part of Dr. Beck’s program, I have,  in the past few years, weaved aspects of Dr. Beck’s program into my own pseudo-psychological mind control program. And it has been very successful.

In fact, one of my clients is following Dr. Beck’s program. In the coming weeks and months, I will be reporting on his progress.

.

The External Stuff

.

mcheart-attackTime Management

.

So, you have the perfect nutrition plan and the perfect workout plan and your thoughts and emotions are all pointed in the perfect  “let’s get ready to burn off some body-fat” direction, but…… you are swamped at work and the kids need to go to soccer practice and you just don’t have time to make it to the gym and you “had” to stop at the Golden Arches and pick up one of those new McCoronary meals.

And the next thing you know, you have gained another 10 pounds.

Let’s face it.

Your regular day to day schedule does not have any available space to add in daily exercise and meal prep and meditation and sports massage and all of those other things that you should be doing to get your body in tip top shape.

Something is going to have to go.

foot_massageYou need to prioritize.

You need to exercise. Cancel something else.

You need to eat real food, not grab take-out on the way home from work. Cancel something else.

You need to calm your mind…be it meditation, prayer or even a good foot massage. Cancel something else.

If Oprah can do it, so can you.

It won’t be easy.

But you need to make this commitment to your health.

And it doesn’t stop there.

There will be other roadblocks in your road to physical fitness.

.

The Cost

.

Each January, like lemmings, hordes of people trudge down to their neighborhood health club and fulfill their new Year’s Resolution by purchasing a brand new 1 year membership.

And 60 days later, 80% of those people are never heard from again.

Weird, huh?

But wait, it gets weirder.

We may be the worst trainers in the world, but damn, aren't we sexy?
We may be the worst trainers in the world, but damn, aren't we sexy?

In the past 10-15 years, the biggest money maker in the fitness industry hasn’t been those wonderful people who overestimate their desire for fitness.

It has been the personal trainer.

And boy, have they made a lot of money for the health clubs.

And boy, can they cost you a lot of money.

But, if you find a good trainer, who has a good reputation and is willing to stand behind his work, the benefit can outweigh the cost hundreds of times over.

Remember, if you are going to pay for fitness, make sure that you are paying for results…not promises.

.

Social Support

.

  • Will you be able to stick to your diet as your husband shovels another slice of greasy pizza into his pie-hole?
  • Will you stick to your workout schedule when your kids demand a ride over to their friends’ house?
  • Will you go to bed at a decent hour when your posse has just fired up the dvd player for a Quentin Tarantino movie marathon?
  • Or will your family support your decisions to re-gain your health?, and
  • Will your friends join you at the gym in a show of support?


Unless you have some sort of unshakable iron will, your friends and family will impact your weight loss success or failure.

So, you need to sit down and discuss your plans with those people in your life who might just throw a monkey wrench into your weight loss plans. Let them know that you need their help. Let them know that your health  is at stake. Let them know that you love them and appreciate them and…..

Get them on board. You know them better than I do. Figure out what buttons need to be pushed and get pushing.

.

Okay, that’s all for now.

In the next few weeks, I will be fleshing out the bones of this “better than Oprah’s” Your Best Life weight loss plan.

In the mean time, if you have any questions, please comment at the end of this post

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

.

Related Posts

.

Want To Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Common sense tells us that exercise is good for us.

Scientific research tells us that “exercise, of appropriate intensity and duration, could help maintain normotension if post-exercise hypotension persists over subsequent everyday activities.

In English:

  • Exercise lowers your blood pressure – hypotension
  • Our lifestyles make us prone to high blood pressure – primary hypertension
  • The B.P. lowering effect of regular exercise balances out the B.P. raising effect of our lifestyles to give us a healthy blood pressure – normotension

So, What Now?

In this study, researchers looked at how exercise intensity affected our “at rest” blood pressure.

During the study, the researchers:

  • Monitored the B.P. and heart rate of 6 normotensive males for 24 hours after a workout.
  • The 6 guinea-pigs performed 4 different workouts over the course of the entire study.
  • The workouts differed only in their intensity.
  • Workout #1 was the control workout: They did nothing. No workout
  • Workout #2 consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 70% of their V˙O2peak
  • Workout #3 consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 40% of their V˙O2peak
  • Workout #4 consisted of cycling at 40% of their V˙O2peak until they had matched the work output achieved in Workout #2.

V˙O2peak is the highest amount or volume(V) of oxygen(O2) you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity.

The Results

While the participants slept, their resting blood pressure (B.P.) was monitored

  • Workout # 2 produced the greatest reduction in resting B.P.
  • Workout #1 had little to no effect on the participants’ B.P.
  • Workout #3 had the second lowest effect on lowering B.P.
  • And even though Workout #4 produced the same amount of work as Workout #2, even it did not have as strong an effect on the participants’ blood pressure (90 % CI for difference = − 22.1 to − 0.1).

Conclusion

  • Daytime exercise can elicit a physiologically meaningful lower BP during sleep, and
  • Exercise intensity is the most important factor in this phenomenon.

So there you go folks, increase your exercise intensity and lower your blood pressure.

Related Posts

10 Ways to Burn 1 Pound of Body Fat…vol.2

A little while ago, I gave you 10 ways to burn 1 Pound of Fat. In that post, I reminded you that…

  • A pound of body fat is equal to 3500 calories,
  • There are 7 days in the week,
  • And that if my Grade 3 math skills were up to snuff AND you burn an extra 500 calories every day of the week,
  • You should burn 1 pound of body fat per week,

And then we went looking for a few new ways we could burn an extra 500 calories per day…

Well…here we go again…

Hatha Yoga

  • It will take the average American Male (191 lbs) 231 minutes, or almost 4 hours of downward dogging  to burn 500 calories
  • It will take the average American Female (164 lbs) 269 minutes, or 2 and 1/3 hours of yoga to burn 500 calories

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 231 minutes = 242 minutes)

Quick Navigation

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

Fit and Fat?

Is it possible to be fit and fat at the same time?

Researchers at Albert Einstein College found that despite their weight, nearly a third of obese people are not at high risk of diabetes or heart disease.

OK, not exactly a ringing endorsement in favor of obesity, but how about this…

A recent German study found that for normal and overweight people, excess belly fat is a strong link to heart disease and diabetes. However, for their obese cousins, belly fat is not such a big deal. For the obese, a fatty liver is a more accurate risk factor.

According to this study, obese people who get at least moderate physical exercise tend to have less fatty livers.

OK, here we go.

Fit and fat!

According to Dr. Wylie-Rosett (Albert Einstein College): “In our study, the obese people with better risk profiles tended to have more physical activity. And the normal-weight people with worse risk factors tended to have characteristics associated with lower physical activity levels.”

  • Alright, now we’re getting somewhere.
  • Maybe it is possible for obese people to be fit.
  • Maybe fitness is more than having a six-pack.
Beer belly....Six pack???
Beer belly….Six pack???

Maybe fitness means not having visceral fat around your internal organs, improving insulin sensitivity, having a healthy blood pressure, along with well developed aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

How about we throw in some quality of life factors like enough muscular strength and balance to go about your daily activities without the aid of an electric scooter.

Conclusion

So what is it?

Can you be fit and fat?

My answer:

  • Yes…in theory. It is possible to carry excess fat and still be healthy as a result of a complete fitness program.
  • No…in reality. While there is a slim minority of people who gain excess fat due to a medical condition, the vast majority of obese people are obese as a result of their lifestyle. They eat too much and move too little. Until they change these habits, the resultant obesity will have a negative impact upon their health.

4 Steps to Developing Health Habits

We all know someone who is always saying that they are going to “get into shape”.

But, they never do. They know what to do, but they just don’t do it.

Basically, the opposite of Nike

So, how do we get them to do it? Glad you asked.

This study found that individuals who focused on behavior-changing strategies were much more successful than those people forced to endure their doctor’s cognitive approach to behavior change.

Instead of attempting to change their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes surrounding exercise and healthy eating, study participants were successful at increasing their physical activity levels by implementing 4 simple strategies:

Goal Setting

Setting SMART fitness goals involves 5 steps:

  • S – A specific fitness goal could be a walk each morning before breakfast.
  • M – For a goal to be measurable, you should define how far you are going to walk and how often you will perform the workout
  • A – To be achievable, you should start off with a task that you can achieve, knowing that the distance / intensity will increase as for fitness improves.
  • R – To be relevant, your goal should be in tune with your overall fitness goal – weight loss, improved blood pressure, etc.
  • T – To avoid ‘accidentally’ missing a workout, you should arrange a specific exercise appointment in your daily calendar.

Stimulus or Cues

Establish physical reminders to encourage yourself to exercise – Pack your gym bag and leave it by the front door every night, leave yourself notes encouraging yourself to work out, schedule your workout into your electronic schedule with an alarm, ask friends or family to call and remind you…really any reminder will help.

Self Monitoring

Keep a workout and/or food log book. It’s tough at first, but it pays off in the end.

Feedback

Reward yourself with a non-food based treat when you succeed. The rewards should become larger / more important to match the degree of fitness success.

Successfully completing today’s workout deserves a small treat, but not missing a workout for 3 months deserves a really big pat on the back.

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

greedypiggy-obesity-weightloss-diet-health-healthhabits

How much is your fat worth?

In a move that will probably cross the pond, the British government is actually paying it’s citizens to lose weight.

The governments Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy consists of a series of projects run through the Well@Work scheme. This program, led by the British Heart Foundation offers rewards for workers who lose weight. One competition, called The Biggest Loser, awarded £130 ($260 approx.) in gift vouchers for the participant who lost the most weight.

The Government is investing £372 million ($725 million USD approx.) over three years to implement the strategy.

Sadly, a recent analysis of nine research studies which used financial incentives found there was no effect on weight after 12 months. Aberdeen University’s Health Services Research Unit said eating more fruit and vegetables was more effective than paying for weight loss.

However, Dr Ian Campbell, the medical director of Weight Concern, said work-based incentive schemes were a “win win” because the employer benefited from a workforce that was less likely to take time off sick, while employees improved their health. He said: “It might sound a bit desperate but we are desperate so we have to look at all these things.”

Another program for UK nurses (being run by American health care company Humana) “offers pedometers, access to personal trainers and vouchers for high street retailers as incentives to slim down. The scheme involves health information, motivational talks from health coaches and participants can upload data from their pedometers onto a computer to chart their progress”.

Humana spokesman Lee Phillips said: “This is the first time in the country we have got a programme like this running for hospital staff.

“The trust see this as being in line with the Government’s emphasis on health and wellness in the workplace and I think this will really take off with a lot of people – it is all about making people aware of their health.”

I guess time will tell. What do you think?