Picture this: Your fitness goal is to lose a bit of weight, get a bit stronger and just generally get a bit fitter. Not asking for much right? So with your goals all set, you’ve been consistently working out for a year and half now.. You go to step on the scale and are shocked to see it hasn’t budged! Frustrating? Yes. If the number on the scale can make or break your day you’re not alone. You’re proud of your efforts in the gym but baffled by the number on the scale. Surely it would be going in the direction you want after all those squat jumps right?
1) YOUR SCALE DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR EVERYTHING
Please remember the scale does not measure everything. The scale is only one vague measurement of tissues, cells, bones, the food you ate and the glass of water you just drank. The numbers do not show the bigger picture of health and fitness. It certainly does not tell you if your cardiovascular system is becoming more efficient or if your muscles and joints are getting stronger just to name a few. Now don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look a certain way. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to drop body fat especially if it’s for health reasons. But don’t miss out on all the other ways to tell if you’re getting fitter, stronger, healthier!
2) LET YOUR CLOTHES TELL YOU
When someone begins or increases their fitness program they will most likely gain some muscles mass. Muscles mass is denser (or leaner) than fat tissue. It takes up LESS space than fat. 5 lbs of muscles holds much differently than 5 lbs of fat. If you’re clothes are looser than this is a fantastic sign you’re getting leaner. Take regular progress pictures and measurements too. What you can’t see on the scale you can usually see in a photo. If your measurements are better or the fit of your clothes are better than the number on the scale doesn’t really matter. Yahoo!
3) USE NON-SCALE MEASUREABLES
Let’s take a step away from body composition and let’s look at other ways to measure your fitness and health. Measuring your physical fitness tangibles like strength, endurance, speed, mobility etc. allows you to establish some starting points that you can retest at a later date. Who knows – this might even spark some much needed motivation for you besides stepping on the dreaded scale!
You and a trainer can measure your strength with tests such as Max Push up Test – how many push ups you can do in a certain time frame or a wall sit test for time as well. Sounds like fun right? You can measure your speed with a very simple 1 km run – or roughly 2.5 times around a track for time. If you’re looking to move better, a trainer can put you through the Functional Movement Screen to look at your mobility. We promise that the feeling of being stronger, faster and fitter far outweighs the number on the scale.
Other fitness victories that should never be forgotten include, being consistent with your program, having the energy to play with you kids, being able to walk up the stair without knee pain, better mental health and sleep.
If you enjoy relying on the scale and are able to step on it with a neutral mind set then make sure you’re using the scale properly. Ensure you always use the same scale, same time of day, same day of the week and in the same clothing.
If you’re still looking to move the scale then focus on making the health changes you need. Changes such as a healthier diet, progressive exercise routine, better sleep, stress management and your relationship with food. Take an honest look at your overall activity level as well as your consistency with exercise and nutrition. With this approach your goals will be met. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Fear not! A certified personal trainer can help you!
Getting a grip on your New Years resolutions can be done with a little bit of planning, perseverance, and a sprinkling of grit! I know that sounds difficult but don’t go away just yet! I’ve got 5 simple steps that will help you get there!
The new year is the perfect time to start a new chapter. So many of us choose this time to make resolutions and set goals. The new year brings a fresh start and great opportunity to ditch old habits and start new ones!
As trainers we hear all about your health and fitness goals at the beginning of the year but unfortunately it is all too familiar to see these goals dwindle by March… So what can we do to stop this endless cycle of disappointmentand feelings of failure?
5 tips to finally get a grip on your New Year Resolutions:
One of the biggest reasons we see resolutions fail by March is that we choose goals that are too lofty, and without a solid plan to get there. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Limit your resolutions to one goal at a time.
So you have a big health and fitness goal in mind. That’s great! But let’s break it down into small attainable ‘mini goals’. Achieving these mini goals act like stepping stones towards your big goal.
For example if your big goal is to lose 20 lbs, a good place to start would be to just walk for at least 30 minutes a day.
Once that has become a habit and a staple in your daily routine then you can tackle the next mini goal; start drinking more water.. And etc etc.. These small baby stepslead to healthy habits that become the building blocks to achieving your big goal.
2. Write it Down:
I can’t stress enough the power of pencil to paper! Write your goals down everywhere and often!
Write them down in your day timer, on your phone, in your notebook, on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it often.
This will help keep your vision clear when life get’s busy!
3. Make a Plan:
Creating a detailed written plan including the key points below:
The steps or ‘mini goals’ you will make every week
Why you want to do it
Potential obstacles that might get in your way
Ways you can keep yourself on track when these obstacles pop up
Say your goal is to run four times a week and you’ve identified that a potential obstacle might be that long hours at the office will get in your way.
Take a moment to brainstorm ways you can get around this. Just by taking a few minutes to note anything that might get in the way of your goal and finding solutions for these set backs will lead to better success with your new years resolutions
For a wish to become a reality you need a plan to get there!
4. Ask for Help:
Having a solid support network can help you stay accountable and keep your new year resolutions. Find a like minded buddy, a community group with the same goal, seek a mentor or hire a personal trainer! Make your goals known to your friends, coworkers and family and ask someone to hold you accountable.
5. Find your Why!
The first few days into your new years resolutions you will probably feel motivated and confident that you will finally meet your goal. This is because you haven’t really had to deal with any temptations or discomfort yet. But as the weeks progress and life starts to return to normal routine you will be faced with some obstacles or inclinations to fall back into old habits.
When those obstacles pop up, take a minute and remember your ‘Why’. Why do you want to achieve this goal. Keep your inspiration in mind when times get tough.
Behaviour change is very hard at first, but trust us – keep chipping away at it!
Sticking to your resolutions is hard work. There will be set backs along the way but learn from them as you go. If your current plan is definitely not working for you, don’t give up all together, be flexible and re-evaluate your plan. Ask your friends for advice or ask your trainer to help with planning. Be patient with yourself – remember: greater health and fitness is a life long goal!
Here’s wishing you the best on your journey and to finally keeping your new year resolutions. Let this be YOUR year!
Sorry, I am going to go on a bit of a rant here… OF COURSE GYMS ARE SAFE!
Covid has been tough on many industries and businesses have taken massive hits on all levels. Companies are required to spend more money on cleaning, training and safety supplies. We have had huge staff turnover and we have lost customers to fear, new safety rules, and social distancing in our establishments.
Somewhere along the way the fitness industry became the enemy and the bad press for fitness in BC over the past few months has been astonishing and unwarranted. High intensity fitness classes were shut down in vague statements produced by the BC provincial government. Lots of people throughout the province then thought that all gyms were shut down because of these statements. Personal training and regular gyms were never shut down… and they are safer than they have ever been!
Your Fitness Professional is a LEADER, and always has been:
The employees and managers of fitness facilities are often former captains of sports teams and athletes of all sorts. Football, field hockey, lacrosse, hockey, gymnastics, triathlons, etc… name it, we have done it. People in fitness are leaders and accustomed to shining in adversity. When times are tough, you can usually see us leading the charge to make things better, it is our learned/natural behaviour.
When did that change? It didn’t! So, when the government says we are in a pandemic and here are the new safety protocols… we are the first to pick up the torch and start running. Extra cleaning? Yep! Wear a mask? Yep! Social distancing? Sure, we can make that happen as well. And the whole time we will keep our chins up and keep smiling! Day after day… it’s what we do.
We may have ‘fun’ here at Rep1 Fitness… but we take your exercise, programming and safety very seriously!
Your fitness leader’s inherent nature is to help make your life better:
We come into this industry to make you a more awesome, more fit version of yourself! It isn’t all about the money for our industry. If it was about money, we would pick a different field, like financials. Exercise professionals take a ‘gym job’ with the intention of helping you chase your physical goals. It is about your achievements, and (selfishly) how much those achievements make us smile!
We are the field full of ‘keeners’ and ‘try-hards’, in it for the intrinsic rewards as much as the paycheque. Keeping gyms and classes open is about the physical AND mental health of our province, led by people who have ALWAYS had your safety in mind.
Exercise professionals are SUPPOSED to keep you safe:
We always have our client’s best interests, and safety, at the forefront of our minds. Covid times or not, we are required to maintain our certifications and constantly review our safety protocols (such as CPR). When your fitness expert has their keen eye on you… you know you are safe. That expert is also responsible for your safety in the gym during Covid, and we go above and beyond. We have always kept you safe and, without going into ALL the safety protocols, we are trying (and succeeding) more than ever.
So, if you are looking for physical and mental health, there is no place better than your local Vancouver gym. Go in, feel good working out, and know that your safety is in the hands of people whose genuine nature is to care about you!
Okay, so this is a HUGE topic…. I think it is the most important one I’ve ever had the opportunity to blog about. I can tell you with confidence from personal experience, client testimonials and the steady flow of new research being done that fitness and exercise has a profound impact on mental health.
The year 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. If you’ve felt the effects of Covid-19 on your mental and physical health you’re not alone.
You may have seen your regular fitness fall through the cracks as the pandemic has forced many of us to work from home, or the unfortunate fact that your favourite group fitness studio or recreational team sports have come to a halt. Many people have experienced weight gain because of this – the dreaded “Covid-15”! More on that later..
It’s safe to say that with the added stress and feelings of uneasiness around the pandemic plus the lack of regular exercise many people have been experiencing higher than normal rates of anxiety and depression. A recent poll done by the Angus Reid Institue a Canadian foundation for independent research, states that 50% of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began with many feeling worried (44%) and anxious (41%).
Okay! Enough with the dreary stats already! Here’s a sunnier one:
Getting your heart rate up changes brain chemistry, increasing the availability of important anti-anxiety brain chemicals, including serotonin.
Serotonin is just one of the brain chemicals responsible for your happiness. Exercise, especially getting the heart rate up can get these chemicals flowing intentionally!
Exercise activates the frontal region of the brain and amygdala. The frontal lobe of your brain is responsible for cognitive skills like problem solving, emotions and memory. In turn this helps control the amygdala, the part of the brain where emotions are processed.
Exercises increases your body’s production of endorphins and serotonin – see above. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and stress.
Exercise can offer a break from negative thoughts that feed drepression.
Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.
A consistent fitness regime can have you feeling accomplished and with an overall sense of well-being.
Exercise can promote all kinds of changes in the brain. This includes neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm.
The Canadian Association of Mental Health states that is very likely and even okay to feel worried and have some stress about the current situation. Along with staying in touch with loved ones and seeking formal help from a professional if needed they highly recommend exercise, sleeping and eating well to support your mental health.
Fitness as your Community
One of my favourite things I heard a client mention the other day was that when living in isolation due to the pandemic just the act of coming to the gym and saying hello to friendly familiar faces has been a game changer for her! Beyond fitness goals, community allows us to find a sense of belonging. It’s what can support us through some difficult moments
Training during a Pandemic
As mentioned above, the dreaded “Covid-15” has become a topic now too – the average weight gain during a quarantine is 3-15 lbs! Yikes! Thankfully Rep 1 Fitness is still operating with very safe Covid protocols in place. If you need help with your fitness right now – or if you think a loved one needs some motivation (Hey a gift card for personal training is a fabulous holiday gift idea!) contact us!
You already know that exercise is good for your body, but more and more research is telling us it can have a positive impact on mental health as well. Even the most modest amount of exercise has shown to improve emotions, sleep, stress levels and can even help you cope with depression and anxiety!
Let’s aim for 30 minutes of continual exercise on most days of the week.. Or better yet 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like a brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Vigorous would be more like running, playing singles tennis or doing high intensity interval training. If you’re not sure where to start let one of us at Rep 1 help you!
Fitness is one great tool that will help carry us through these dark winter months during a pandemic!
We all know that fitness and staying in shape will keep you safer during these unprecedented times. But how safe is it to go back to the gym? Are you safe with your personal trainer post COVID-19 in Kitsilano? Here at Rep1 we have gone above and beyond to make sure that you don’t have to worry and you can once again you can enjoy your one-one-one personal training. Let’s review the steps Rep1 has taken in our Vancouver fitness facility to make sure you feel comfortable while getting your SWEAT on:
We have a robust intake/outtake air system here at Rep1 that we put in when we opened our doors originally; this was mandated by the city
Right before we opened again post-covid we had the air filters in this robust system replaced
Clean air is good air!
Medical Grade hand-sanitizer
We can use all the help we can get fighting the Corona Virus… we got the good stuff!
Our team has their own, custom logo’d masks to keep you safe!
post-covid19 Rep1 Fitness is your safe, and fun, way to get your exercise
Social distance spacing:
Each person coming into Rep1 gets their own station; with social distancing in between!
Each station has a complete government approved cleaning set up for a vigorous wipe down after each session
Client times are staggered to keep the gym less busy and avoid overlap of the training hours
Our great team:
We clean up all day; every day!
We had ZeroBlast come in and do a safe, anti-microbial layer throughout the facility
This layer was done by fog, last 90 days and leaves a protective layer on all the surfaces of the facility
This ‘layer’ makes it so bacteria and viruses cannot attach on the gym surfaces
So besides just being the best personal training team in Vancouver, we are also the most prepared to get you back into fitness during this post-Covid world! Think fitness. think safety and think the Rep1 Fitness team when you are getting back into your exercise routine!
At Rep 1 Fitness we’ve seen our older adult clients achieve amazing health and fitness results. Perhaps the word ‘amazing’ is downplaying their achievements and we should say ‘life changing’!
Our senior clients can be seen working on single leg balance drills, learning to lift weights or even venturing into weekend cycling races. No matter what your level of fitness is, it’s without a doubt that exercise can positively impact one’s health. Being physically active can improve your quality of life, mental and physical well-being and can even lead to living longer. Participating in a safe fitness program contributes to well-being at every age but is essential for older adults. The best exercise for seniors combines 4 pillars of fitness; strength, cardiovascular, mobility and balance.
Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart disease and can even slow cognitive decline. It can help control blood pressure, cholesterol, increase circulation and maintain a healthy body weight. Also some studies reveal that regular exercise can help reduce the risk of some diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s up to a whopping 50%! A smart and safe exercise program can help strengthen your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones helping fight against falls and osteoporosis.
Best of all, exercise can help you stay strong, agile and energetic so you can continue the activities that bring you the most the joy in life!
There is no ‘one best exercise’ but an exercise program that combines strength, cardiovascular and flexibility work is the most beneficial for seniors. Try and find an exercise routine that not only includes those but one that you enjoy the most! This way exercising will be fun and you’ll be more likely to stick to the program long term.
What if I’m a Total Beginner?
If you’re new to fitness or haven’t been active in a while fear not! It’s never too late to start and reap the benefits of exercise. First and foremost, before you begin any new exercise make sure you speak to your doctor. Ensure any existing health conditions or medications are taken into account. Ensure you start slowly and gradually build up. If you have no idea where to start consider working with an experienced personal trainer. They have the knowledge and abilities to work safely with all age groups.
If you’re new to fitness start with walking. Walking is one of the best exercises for seniors. You can start with 10-15 minutes several times a week. Work your way up to being able to walk comfortably for 30 minutes. This is a great cardiovascular foundation to have. From there you can build upon your foundation!
Starting a Fitness Program
The good thing is that greater health and fitness can be achieved by exercising just 30 minutes most days of the week. Let’s take a closer look at what your fitness program should like in detail below:
“Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity…” recommends the World Health Organization.
Moderate intensity exercise includes walking, swimming and even mowing the lawn. Moderate exercise should feel somewhat hard. Physical clues will be breaking a light sweat after 10 minutes, breathing quickens but you can still hold a normal conversation.
Vigorous intensity exercise should feel very challenging. Your breathing would be rapid, you’d break a sweat after only a few minutes of exercise and you cannot carry a conversation comfortably.
If you’re new to vigorous exercise be careful not to overexert yourself. If you experience any pain, feel faint or dizzy be sure to stop and rest. Then gradually build up next time. Again, working with a certified personal trainer can be very helpful as they know how to prescribe exercise intensity for your personal level.
The Best Exercise for Seniors:
From there we suggest adding in a strength training regime. Resistance training (strength training) is another best form of exercise for seniors as it helps maintain and improve your muscular strength and endurance. This leads to better posture, stronger bones and even contributes to your quality of life!
As we age our bodies naturally lose muscle mass. Humans lose 3% – 5% of muscle mass every decade after the age of 30. This can even speed up around the age of 65 if a person remains inactive. It is crucial to stay active and strength train as you age to help slow this process down. Sarcopenia (muscle loss with age) can come with symptoms like loss of stamina, muscle atrophy (muscle shrinking) and weakness. With regular resistance training woman can expect to gain 0.5-1 lbs of muscle per month and men 1-2 lbs of muscle every month. These numbers can vary greatly depending on genetics, hormone levels, age, quality of sleep and diet. Nonetheless – we can ensure you will see and feel a difference even in the first month of regular strength training!
Daily tasks like climbing stairs and carrying groceries for example all require muscular strength. With stronger muscles you can expect to do these things with ease and confidence.
How Much and How Often?
We suggest strength training a minimum of two days per week. Strength training includes exercises using free weights, resistance bands, weighted balls, cables and even your own bodyweight. Again, make sure you start gradually with a weight you can safely lift for 10-15 reps. Movements that strengthen all the major muscle groups like squats, lunges, modified push ups and rows are the best exercises for seniors.
Below are just some of our amazing older adults at Rep 1 Fitness showing us some of the best exercises for seniors:
The Wall Push Up – this is a great place to start building your upper body strength. If you haven’t done a push up in a while start with your hands on the wall to decrease the difficulty.
The Squat – This lower body exercise is excellent for building strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. If you’re smiling and laughing like our trainee in the video it means you’re doing it right!
The Lunge – Similar to the squat, this exercise builds the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes as well as challenges balance!
Flexibility and Mobility
Our muscles and joints lose flexibility and range of motion gradually with age. Mobility is important for performing exercises correctly as well keeping simple daily tasks easy. Flexibility can be improved by static stretches, holding a stretch for up to 60 seconds. A joints range of motion can be improved with dynamic stretches and specific mobility drills.
Below is one of our favourite stretches for the hips and lower back and you can do it lying down – bonus!
Below is one of your favourite stretches for your hamstrings. Step 1, start by lying on your back, bend one leg in towards your chest and wrap a band or strap around the bottom of your foot. Step 2, slowly begin to straighten the leg until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of the leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
Better yet, assisted stretching therapy like the Fascial Stretch Therapy, a pain free, table-based technique can increase your flexibility. The Fascial Stretch Therapy offered at Rep 1 can help improve flexibility and mobility, reduce muscle soreness and leave you feeling relaxed.
The ability to balance better has to be one of the best outcomes of exercise for older adults. It is widely known that over 2 million older adults in North America fall each year resulting in injuries due to loss of balance. The great thing about balance exercises is that they can be done almost anywhere. Try standing and holding onto a railing, fence or sturdy chair for support, then slowly take one leg off the ground so that you’re balancing on one leg. Try and stay here for 10 seconds then take a break. Repeat 5 times on each leg. Once you feel comfortable try balancing on one leg without holding onto something.
If you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a complete beginner we encourage you to continue or start your fitness course no matter your age! You’ll be sure to see and feel the positive benefits of exercise on your mind and body. And who knows where your fitness venture will take you!
Fascial Stretch Therapy is coming to your favorite personal training studio in Kitsilano! In this article, we will be explaining:
What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?
What are the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy?
How it fits in your exercise program.
What is FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY (FST)?
FST is a pain free, assisted method of stretching that will help you increase your flexibility and fitness. It is complementary to any stretching or foam rolling you might be doing at the moment.
The session is designed to re-balance your body as a whole, and decompress your joints before applying a long lasting stretch. It will help you recover between those hard fat-burning or weight-lifting sessions, and get you ready for your next workout.
During an FST session you will be laying comfortably on our massage table. A personal trainer will be moving your body in a sequence of movement and guiding your body, gently pulling it in the right path. You will feel almost instantly more relaxed, lighter and will be moving with more ease. Usually those nagging aches will be reduced after just a couple of sessions.
Make sure to wear athletic clothing as you don’t want those tight jeans keeping your from getting the best results.
Book your first appointment today and move pain free and with more ease.
What is fascia?
Fascia is the term we use for all connective tissue in your body. Fascia includes but isn’t limited to tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue around the muscles. In a way, fascia is the connection between your muscles, bones and nervous system.
This notion of fascia helps us understand and see the body as a whole, not as separate compartments.
Life factors can cause the fascia to be short and tight which can transmit stress unevenly throughout the body.
Tight fascia could be responsible for painful movement, increased muscle tightness, strains, tendon injuries, headaches, scar tissue formation, decreased blood flow and reduced energy levels.
For example a tight shoulder can explain the pain you have in your elbow, and increasing the mobility in the shoulder could be what you need to be pain free.
What are the differences between fascial stretch therapy and other modalities of stretching?
There are any different ways you can stretch your body, but fascial stretch therapy is different in several ways:
FST targets the whole fascial net, not just muscle.
FST stretches without pain. “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply here. We relax the muscle/fascia and gently elongate it. One of the goals is to have you feel more relaxed after just one session!
FST uses multiples planes of movement. It is a dynamic stretching modality, in other words, you won’t be holding a stretch for a long period of time, rather your body will be guided properly in a movement sequence.
FST uses traction: it decreases the compression in the joint capsule and allows for a deeper stretch without pain
FST is an assisted form of stretching, you will be on a table, and the therapist will be moving your body.
What are the benefit of Fascial Stretch Therapy?
Gui, personal trainer at rep1 fitness is assessing the hamstring flexibility of his client.
Increased mobility even after only one session.
Better appearance: a better posture and muscle symmetry will help you look better
Better recovery: improves blood flow to tired muscles, which helps you to recover faster from your tough training sessions with less soreness.
Reduced pain and risk of injury by reducing the compression or impingement that can happen in overused joints.
Improved energy throughout the day.
Reduced stress level: breathing will be a key part of your session. Breathing deeply activates your para-sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for your relaxation.
How does FST fits in your workout routine?
Stretch therapy is a complementary part of your training program. Therefore you still need to do your cardio, do your fat burn sessions and lift your weights. And of course, you still have to works on those trigger points by spending some time on the foam roller.
Most people need a couple of session per week to start. However, once your body is in a balanced state again, one session per month should be enough to maintain the range of motion you earned with FST.
Also remember to avoid doing a high impact workout right after an FST session. Instead, you would rather want to gently use the new range of motion, and not re tighten your body right away.
Keep this in mind and your FST sessions will help you have a better posture, have better workouts, and have more energy throughout your day!
But Gui, why did you bother learning about fascial stretch therapy?
As many people in the gym know, I love to lift heavy things, including myself. And I want to keep exercising, sweating and rock-climbing for a long time!
As I get older, I realized that I should not only plan my workouts, but also my recovery. FST helps me recover better and faster by decompressing the joints (especially after a heavy kettlebell day), by allowing a better nutrient exchange in the join capsule and relaxing the nervous system.
After a quick restorative fascial stretch session, I feel more relaxed, looser, and more important I feel I can move better. After experiencing all the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy, I had to find a way to offer that service to my clients. That’s why I decided to learn the technique and I am now a certified FST provider in Vancouver!
Call us and book your first appointment at your favorite fitness facility!
Rep1 Fitness, personal training facility is now providing Fascial Stretch Therapy!
If you’re a looking to add more cardio into your weekly fitness regime, you’ve been persuaded by co-workers to join their annual charity run, or if you’re a complete beginner and the mere thought of running exhausts you, then this beginner’s running guide is for you!
Running is an excellent form of exercise and has plenty of health benefits such as weight loss, cardiovascular health and mental health.Ancient humans evolved running and it is one of the most basic human movement patterns. It is also thought to be the oldest ‘sport’ dating back to the very first Olympic Games. Today there are thousands of marathons and running events held each year in North America and millions of people who participate all over the world.
Running never interested me until this year when I was seeking to revamp my regular fitness program and needed some sort of athletic challenge again. I decided to join the Rep 1 Fitness trainers and clients at their annual 5 Peaks Trail run in Golden Ears Provincial Park earlier this year.
I was never a runner or a natural long distance cardio athlete. I tried running a handful of times but stopped well before any note worthy distance. Growing up a competitive gymnast I thought with the power in my legs and a good fitness background I would be able to run no problem. Think again! Long steady-state cardio like running was never part of our conditioning program in gymnastics and I soon found out I had to lose the ‘over confidence’ and learn how to run from scratch…
Tips for the running beginner!
Start Small and Build Up
The worst thing you can do for your body never-mind your confidence is to start off trying to run too much too soon.If you’ve never run before we recommend starting with twodays per week with at least two rest days in between. Start slowly and monitor how you feel. You should be able to breath comfortably while running as if you were able to carry on a normal conversation. If you find your breathing is out of control, slow down or walk for a few minutes. The key is consistency! Consistent weekly runs will add up to longer distances, faster pace and superhero status in no time! Check out our sample program below!
Posture Posture Posture!
When you’re running think upright posture, shoulders relaxed and a slight forward lean. A slight forward tilt will place your centre of mass on the front part of your foot and avoid the heel striking first. This allows the foot and ankle to use its proper spring mechanic. Core should be strong and stable. Elbows in, arms gliding close to your sides – lets please avoid the dreaded chicken-wing-elbows-flailing-out-to-the-side technique!
Below you’ll find a sample running program that gradually builds up from a 2 km run to a 1o km run. If you’re new to exercise visit your health care provider first to get cleared for running. If you’ve never run before we suggest building up your strength, endurance and running fitness base first. This can be done with walk/runs, alternating between walking and jogging intervals for 20 minutes a couple times a week. Specific strength training in the gym can also help build your running base and prevent injuries.
Sample 8 Week 10 Km Running Program
Cross Training (CT) refers to exercise like swimming, elliptical trainer or strength training. Remember running is the main goal here so do not exhaust yourself with overly intense cross training, it should be moderate and no longer than an hour. Make sure to always warm up first and cool down by walking and stretching after. After your first ‘big’ run your body will want to rest and recover for a few days, read our article on rest and recovery here.
2 km walk/run
Cross Train or Rest
2 km walk/run
2.5 km walk/run
20 minute run or cross train
2.5 km walk/run
CT or Rest
3 km walk/run
3 km run
25-30 min run or cross train
3.5 km run
CT or Rest
4 km walk/run
4.5 km run
30-35 minute run
4 km run
CT or Rest
4.8 km run
5 km run
35 minute run
5 km run
CT or Rest
5.5 km run
6 km run
35-40 minute run
5 km run
CT or Rest
5.5 km run
7 km run
40 minute run
5.5 km run
CT or Rest
6 km run
8 km run
40-45 minute run
5 km run
CT or Rest
3 km run
10 km run!
If you begin to enjoy running like I did and decide to do a trail run like the the 5 Peaks or one for charity like the family friendly CIBC Run for the Cure make sure you know the race course. If it includes any hills for example ensure to add some hills into your training runs.
Enough reading – let’s get running! Throw on some good running shoes, stay safe and happy running!
Fun times with friends and co-workers at the annual 5 Peaks Trail Run!
Planking on a fitness ball which is unstable can help improve your core stability!
It is impossible to step into a Vancouver personal training gym without hearing a trainer talk about the core! Core exercise has been a hot topic in the health and fitness industry for many years. So which core exercises are best and why is it so important!?
Improving your core strength will not only help you appear leaner by tightening and flattening your stomach, but vastly improve your overall fitness level. Having a strong and functional core will help prevent injuries, ease low back pain, improve posture and positively impact your athletic performance – think better golf swing or a faster 5 km run time!
So what exactly is your core? Many people still confuse the core with the abs. The core refers to the Lumbo-Pelvic Hip Complex. Wow! Now that’s a mouthful! Let us explain… this complex refers to the muscles of the hips, lower back, the glutes, pelvic floor and most importantly: The Transversus Abdominis. This is thedeepest layer of the inner abdominal muscles. It wraps around your torso like a corset. One of the main jobs of the Transverse Abdominis is to stabilize your spine.
You can think of your core (or you can call it the lumbo-pelvic hip region if you’re feeling fancy!) like a box around your torso. This box acts like the foundation for the rest of your body. Much like a foundation for a house. The core muscles work to stabilize the center of the body so that the arms and legs have a stable platform to work from.
The abs are the superficial “six pack” muscles that lie in the front of your stomach.
It is known fact that having a strong and functional core is more important than having bigger arm and legs muscles. So why exactly?
The core plays key role in everyday tasks. Before you pick a toddler up off the floor or carry groceries in from the car your core should be engaging first to stabilize your spine. When lifting weights in the gym you should have a strong core for the same reason. Core strength here will help you lift the weights with proper form and technique. Also avoid compensation from the wrong muscles and create exceptional movement patterns.
Improved Athletic Performance:
Developing your core strength and stability can immensely maximize your power, speed, coordination, balance, agility and overall functional fitness.
A 2009 study from the official research journal of The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) found just that! They studied two groups of runners. One group underwent 6 weeks of core specific training, made up of 5 core exercises done 4 times a week. The other group did not strength train the core at all. The study concluded that people who underwent 6 weeks of core training considerably improved their 5000 meter run time than those who did not strength train the core.
During an athletic feat, actively tightening your core muscles will improve the transfer of power to your extremities. Think about this next time you swing a golf club or when you hit the ski hill for the first time this winter!
Improved Posture and Back Pain:
Having poor posture and spending too much time in a seated position both can be risks factors for back pain. The core muscles work to hold your spine and pelvis in place, helping you stand and sit up straight. Also if the muscles surrounding your spine are strong, the vertebrae and discs of the spine will be better supported. Better functional movement in daily tasks, good posture and long term pain relief are often very welcomed results of having a stronger abdominal wall. We call that a win-win!
What Core Exercises are Best?
So as you can see training your core is highly important and key in creating the strongest, healthiest and most athletic version of yourself! So what kind of core exercises are best? Forget mundane crunches and sit-ups! When training the core keep functional exercise in mind. Perform core specific exercises in a wide variety of standing, kneeling, half-kneeling and plank positions. The best core exercises will challenge your core stability, rotation and anti-rotation. The Cable Wood Chop exercise for rotation, the “Pallof Press” for anti-rotation and the ever famous plank for core stability are excellent choices. Don’t forget to hold your body in one straight line when you’re planking! A personal trainer can determine which exercises are optimal for you. They will tailor a program to help you crush those core and fitness goals! Now let’s get a sweat on!
All around Vancouver there are fit people running, biking, swimming, kayaking and just being the most dang fit city in North America! Look around, whether it is the beach-side path in Kitsilano or across the water in the mountains of the North Shore, people are making the effort to stay healthy. We are one of the most dedicated cities when it comes to fitness! So why would anyone in this overly-caffeinated, health-conscious town need a personal trainer? Time constraints, commitment, results and even an improved ability to do our favourite fitness pastimes! And how about the knowledge base and motivation that a fitness professional brings to your hour of sweat? Let’s cover all these reasons below and show you why you need to sign up with a trainer today.
People in Vancouver are busy! The most fit city is also the most expensive… we need to pay to play. So even if we get out on the weekend to climb mountains, cycle to Horseshoe Bay or get in a round of golf, our work/life schedules during the week make things terribly hectic. Fitting in fitness can be hard. With a personal trainer you get serious results for your time! Once you have an assessment and a plan with your fitness coach, your workouts are streamlined. The time you would personally spend making a plan for yourself is done, the areas of weakness are balanced during your workout, and your fitness goals are your coach’s focus! Your personal trainer makes things easy (and hard) at the same time.
COMMITMENT TO BEING FIT:
Because all of us are so busy in Vancouver it can make our ongoing commitment to health and wellness irregular. A personal trainer will give you a set, committed fitness time every week. This is a set time in your schedule and build your life around it! How many people do we know with gym memberships to places like Steve Nash Fitness facility that don’t use them on a regular basis? Without that set exercise program, and set time with your trainer, your chances are low of getting the regular exercise you need. With a trainer you have to show up to your session… or else we call you!
Are you looking to improve your triathlon time? A trainer can help you strengthen your weaknesses and improve your result. What about rehabbing an injury? Keep yourself on track by hiring a Kinesiologist to progress you through the injury. Maybe you are just looking for general fitness, to lose weight, gain some cardio or weight strength… the best way to do this is to hire a professional fitness coach! This is the person who will make you do the appropriate exercises for you! Often we focus on the gym routines that we enjoy; a personal trainer will push your comfort zones and show you all types of exercise! This is what will exceed your limits and make you progress! The exercises you may not like could be the ones you need; your personal trainer will make you do them! All of your favourite exercise past-times get easier when your training sessions are being directed by a coach because that is their job… make your life hard in the gym to make it easier outside the gym!!
Your personal trainer will have a minimum of a training certification, and more than likely many more training specialties under their belt. Whether it is a cardio exercise class or a weightlifting course they have taken, all of us fitness experts have to maintain our classroom knowledge year after year. It is actually important for personal trainers to maintain their mental health and training game as they continue through their career. There are many benefits of this to you! Instead of you personally trying to keep up with all the latest fitness trends and knowledge, your coach will do that for you… keeping your workouts fresh and fun!
We all have those days where we don’t want to leave our bed and we definitely don’t want to workout; that is what your trainer is for! Your upbeat fitness professional will take you through the good days and the down days. When you walk out of your fitness facility after your training hour you will be feeling refreshed and energized… ready to face the day! Not all trainers are ‘bounce off the walls’ motivating, that can be intimidating, but, again, they should be energizing enough to pick you up on your slower days.
As a gym owner you think it would be easy for me to get a workout in my day, but it’s not. There is so much to do and get distracted by… so I have TWO trainers. Each one hits up a different style with me and we have progressed to a point where I enjoy the body I am seeing in the mirror once again. Since committing to twice a week personal training I have seen amazing results, and I am a trainer myself!