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How do I recover from an injury?

Yes, that is what my shoulder looks like from an x-ray.  Early June of 2019 I went flying over my handlebars in a cycling race… and that was the end of biking that summer! 

Acute pain, surgery (which involved a hook and a plate in my shoulder), pain, rehab, pain, rehab, finally a light at the end of the tunnel, and now staring down a second surgery… which will bring back more pain.

During the 13 years of playing football I had a phone book’s worth of physical injuries.  My physio file was THICK!  Being young, I always bounced back fast and way too early.  As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed the recovery process requires me to be more thoughtful to avoid chronic pain and long-term issues. 

What do you do when you are setting up for injury recovery?  GO SLOWLY!  And be diligent

Let’s go through the steps of recovering from an injury:

  1. The acute phase (also known as the “freakin’ painful stage”):
  • Assessment: this is where you find out what you did to yourself
    • Having a great physio is always a good idea!
      • Injuries not requiring a doctor should still be assessed, even if it is a physio
    • Sometimes it is painfully obvious that you need to see a Doctor (see above x-ray)
  • Very key to get down the swelling
    • RICE (we all know it, use it!  WebMD breaks it down really simply in this article)
      • Rest
      • Ice
      • Compression
      • Elevation
    • Pain management:
      • Depending on the injury this can range from opioids to simple ibuprofen
  1. As a trainer and a cyclist my first goal was to MAINTAIN FITNESS!!!:
  • Find a way to safely keep up your physical fitness
    • Your physiotherapist or doctor can give you ideas
    • Find a way to simple cardio!: even indoor, easy pedaling on a bike will keep those muscle tissues firing
    • Your certified PERSONAL TRAINER can keep you working the uninjured muscles and with exercise motivation
  1. Begin the rehab process (also known as the “is this over yet? stage”):
  • Guided by your physiotherapist, doctor, or Kinesiologist you should begin to get back movement in your injured joint or muscle
    • START SLOW with gentle movement patterns when doing physiotherapy
    • DON’T push into pain
    • Strength and range of motion will come back, enjoy the process
  • Start functional drills at the gym, or in a controlled environment  
    • Begin using the joint, or muscle, in more functional, sport specific drills
  1. Get back to doing what you do best:
  • Be healed to the point where there is minimal risk of re-injury
    • This will be assessed by your physio, coach or fitness expert
  • Make sure you do an ADEQUATE WARM-UP
    • Get the joint/muscles and surrounding area ready to move
  • Have fun, but again, go slowly

These steps will seem to take forever when recovering from acute injuries.  BUT, if you are diligent with your physical rehab, listen to your physio, and possibly get some personal training, you will be back to chasing your fitness goals in no time! 

How to Stay Motivated and Dedicated to your Fitness Goals.

Motivation, Dedication and Crushing your Fitness Goals!

A powerful and positive mindset if one of the key steps to keeping motivation and dedication long term!

      With New Years resolutions right around the corner it seems like everyone in Vancouver is thinking about fitness and health motivation.  How many times have you set a resolution at the beginning of the year just to watch it fade away a few weeks later?  Below you’ll find our best tips on how to stay motivated with your fitness goals…

Motivation is what pushes our lives and what pulls us to make decisions. You’ve probably experience high motivation, such as starting your new years resolutions, the first time you meet that special someone or when you notice your weight loss efforts are starting to pay off when you slip on those new skinny jeans. That can be really motivating!  You’ve most likely also experience motivation lows… when your new years resolutions starts to dwindle by mid January, your 5 times a week workouts slowly become once a week, you start hitting the snooze button more and more…

How to Stay Motivated with your Fitness Goals…

Why is motivation so extremely hard to keep? This quote from former Navy Seal and ultra endurance athlete David Goggins got me thinking… 

“Motivation is crap. Motivation comes and goes. When you’re driven, whatever is in front of you will get destroyed.” – David Goggins

With that said, it seems like motivation is much like an emotion… It comes and goes. Often without our control. You’ve probably noticed from your own experience that motivation highs make us feel really good and motivations lows make us feel less than par. 

You’ve also likely noticed that after a bought of high motivation you crash and burn only to be in the same position you were at the start.  That’s because sometimes we tend to set too huge of expectations and goals for ourselves that cannot be sustained for long periods of time. Perhaps trying to chase high motivation all of time is unrealistic.  Perhaps we should think about it in terms of staying dedicated or driven, instead of highly motivated all of the time. 

Read on to Find out 7 Key Steps on how to Stay Motivated and Finally Accomplish your Goals.

1) Baby Steps.

I’m a big believer in setting small baby step goals that won’t flip your current life completely upside down! Think small attainable goals that can fit nicely into your lifestyle.  This may sound meek but I promise that taking small steps can lead to big sustainable changes.  I’ve seen it work firsthand with all of my personal training clients!

Choose no more than two goals to stay dedicated to at a time.  When that becomes a natural part of your weekly routine or more of a habit then you can tackle another ‘baby step goal’. For example, if improving your health and wellness is a goal then your ‘baby step’ would be to drink 8 glasses of water/day until it becomes habitual.  Once that is a constant you can take on a new baby step goal and turn that one into a habit.  Then keep going and going until you become a super human!! 

“Motivation is what gets you started habit is what keeps you going”. – Jim Ryun, American Track and Field Olympian.

2) Create a Vision. 

“…unless you create a vision, see the person you want to be in your mind, your life will remain the same. You need to see the future ahead of yourself, how you want to live. Keep in touch with that vision every single day.”  David Goggin

Take a minute to envision just how it would feel to achieve your goal. How would you feel physically and mentally if in two months you reached your final weight loss goal, or finally completed that 10 km charity run?  Staying in contact with your vision and thinking of it often will result in more consistent motivation.. or should we say dedication? Whatever the word is – just keep your eyes on the prize!  

3) Find Your “Why” and Write it Down.

Having a goal is one thing but knowing why you want to achieve that goal is what will help fuel it. If losing weight is your goal you need to clearly define your reason for having that goal. Maybe you want to lose weight to prevent heart disease, reduce joint pain, look good for a big event coming up or to keep up with your kids.  We suggest writing your goal down and then beside it the “why’s” and reading through it daily.  Or better yet write it on a sticky note and post it to your mirror where you’ll see it every morning. 

4) Positive Self Talk. 

When it comes to achieving any goal your mind set and mental toughness play a highly important role. 

Elaine Mead Bsc of Positive Psychology  explains the research agrees that positive self talk can have a crucial impact on behaviour change as well as other benefits like reducing stress, easing anxiety and increasing self confidence.  From my experience as a personal trainer and competitive gymnastics coach I have found that individuals who have a positive outlook on their goals and their abilities to achieve them will succeed significantly more than someone with a negative outlook.

Examples of positive self talk may sound like:

  • “I have the power to change and I will”
  • “I am resilient and I will give it my all to make it work”
  • “With the lessons learned from this week – next week will be even better”

Positive self talk may sound cheesy, and you might feel a bit silly at first but I challenge you to come up with your own statement and recite it often especially when you’re faced with a challenge or a set back. 

5) Build a Process Goal. 

Focusing on the final outcome of a goal can often feel distant, overwhelming and leave you feeling uninspired. For example if your goal is lose weight, that’s great but it’s too general. Let’s come up with a specific number and create some small steps to get you there. 

I always encourage my personal training clients to make S.M.A.R.T goals: 

Specific:  To lose 10 lbs

Measurable: We’ll use a scale and take measurements with a measuring tape.

Achievable:  I know that from current weight, height and age, 10 lbs is a realistic and healthy amount to lose. 

Realistic: Losing 10 lbs is relevant to me and this is the right time in my life to focus on this.

Timed: Set a deadline. Since we know losing 1-2 lbs a week is healthy set that deadline accordingly. 

Now that we have some specifics let’s write down some action-oriented goals. Remember to keep them small and easily attainable.  Baby Steps!

Examples include:

  • I will walk for 30 minutes everyday this week.
  • To eat at least 4 servings of vegetables each day
  • Save the wine for Saturday night only 
  • Commit to my personal trainer twice a week
  • Bring lunch to work 3 times this week instead of eating out everyday

6) Make it Public.

Consider making your goal into a public statement. Notify friends, family, colleagues of your goal or even post it on social media (don’t forget to tag us @rep1_fitness_inc!) Social support and positive feedback from others will help keep you accountable. Consider finding a friend with a similar goal, if it’s fitness – find a workout buddy and make an exercise schedule you can both commit to. 

7) Reward Yourself. 

Everybody loves a good reward! If for example your big goal is weight loss and you’ve hit your “baby step” goal of walking for 30 minutes every day this week then reward your excellent efforts with something not food related. You could plan a fun day with friends, a movie out, a pedicure or a new pair of runners! 

With these key steps to keep your motivation high and practical ways to stay dedicated to your goals there’s no stopping how far you’ll go! Remember to celebrate the small successes and ask for help when needed.  Here’s to a happy and healthy new year and staying motivated with your fitness goals! 

Why should I get FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY?

Glutes assisted stretch

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?

Hamstring assisted stretching

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!
 
Book your first session now

Rep1 Fitness, personal training facility is now providing Fascial Stretch Therapy!

 
 
 

How to start Running – for the complete beginner!

Running for the Newbie

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 two days 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! 

Have a personal trainer at Rep 1 look at your form and running gait! 

  • Use a Fitness Tracker 

Use a fitness tracker app (there are literally hundreds to choose from!) on your phone or invest in a smart watch to track stats such as distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned. 

Apps We Like:  

Strava App 

Map my Run App

Run Keeper App

  • Follow a Consistent Program

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.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday Thursday  Friday  Saturday Sunday
Rest 2 km walk/run Cross Train or Rest 2 km walk/run Rest 2.5 km walk/run 20 minute run or cross train
Rest 2.5 km walk/run  CT or Rest 3 km walk/run Rest 3 km run 25-30 min run or cross train
Rest 3.5 km run CT or Rest 4 km walk/run Rest 4.5 km run 30-35 minute run
Rest 4 km run CT or Rest 4.8 km run Rest 5 km run 35 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 5.5 km run Rest 6 km run 35-40 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 5.5 km run Rest 7 km run 40 minute run
Rest 5.5 km run CT or Rest 6 km run Rest 8 km run 40-45 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 3 km run Rest Rest 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!

WHY SHOULD A SENIOR GET PERSONAL TRAINING?

WHY SHOULD A SENIOR CITIZEN GET PERSONAL TRAINING?

  1. Longevity
  2. Decrease of medical risk
  3. Improved Lifestyle
    1. Balance and stability
    2. Strength
    3. Flexibility
    4. Confidence
  4. Focused, one-on-one personal training is ‘personal’

 

When we think of ‘fitness’ the first image that pops into our brain is a packed gym of young, fit people full of sweat doing beach biceps curls and sit-ups.  The fitness industry ads and resources are often pointed at this younger crowd and missing a huge, aging, senior population that really needs our attention.  As this aging population increases, so should our ability to keep this crowd healthy and fit.  The benefits work in everyone’s favour!  Personal training is a great tool for senior fitness.  It will not only help to increase life expectancy, decrease medical risks and improve lifestyles, but it also gives seniors one-on-one fitness attention for their specific goals and needs.  There are many reasons to work with a personal trainer, but for senior citizens those reasons are even more plentiful:

             LONGEVITY:

               It is true!  Exercise can increase your life span!  We have all heard this and the science backs up the rhetoric.  As we age the intensity of the exercise may decrease but that doesn’t mean that it stops all together.  Even moderate exercise increases the years we live.  We all know that a good cardio workout is great for the heart, and isn’t the heart the most important muscle in the body?  A happy cardiovascular system means a longer life!  This article by Live Science breaks down the extra years exercising can add to your life. 

               DECREASE OF MEDICAL RISK:

               As we age the wear and tear on our bodies increases.  We  lose muscle and bone mass, our reaction time slows, our metabolic rate slows down increasing fat deposits, and we increase our susceptibility to serious medical risks.  These health risks have a better chance of being avoided by keeping up a regular fitness regime.  Adult-onset (type 2) diabetes is a great example of a high-risk, chronic disease that can be controlled by regular exercise and, of course, quality nutrition.  Exercise is known to help control your blood sugar levels and increases your fat burning… decreasing the risk of diabetes.  The science involved is way more complicated than I have simply stated here, but you get the idea!  Heart problems, obesity and many other high-risk complications can be reduced with exercise, that is just a fact.

               IMPROVED LIFESTYLE:

               There are so many medical reasons for the aging population to exercise, but what about lifestyle enjoyment?  Working with a personal trainer can have many benefits.  Having stronger muscles, better cardio, and increased range of motion will reflect in the day-to-day enjoyment of everyone, but especially will be appreciated by people as they age:

  • Strength increase. Something as simple as getting your groceries from your car can be easier.  A personal trainer will not only give you ‘functional exercise’ but they will show you how to do it properly.  Weightlifting should be carefully prescribed, and as we get older the need for proper coaching increases.  Having that dedicated set of eyes on you is a great way to keep in check when progressing through a fitness periodization.  
  • Balance and stability decrease as you age. Personal trainers know all sorts of fun exercises to work on balance and stabilizing muscles!  Sometimes these aren’t our ‘favourite’ exercises, but risk of falls increase with age… and if you don’t use it you lose it!   
  • Flexibility also decreases as we age; muscles and tendons get tighter which decreases range of motion and blood flow to joints. Range of motion exercises are way more the norm now than they were 10 years ago.  Foam rollers, stretching and flexibility training should be part of your trainer’s regime with you.
  • Confidence is an undervalued reason for being more fit as we age. The ability to climb a ladder, lift a heavy object, cross a street quickly, go for a hike, or grab something from the top shelf in your house all may seem trivial to anyone under the age of 60, but to a senior these actions can be challenging.  Working with a personal trainer (possibly doing Olympic weightlifting or cardio exercise) will provide the confidence to not only achieve these moves with success but also without a second thought… which is real confidence shining through!

FOCUSED ONE ON ONE ‘PERSONAL’ TRAINING:

                Personal training is great for the senior population because it is all about them!  There are great fitness classes and fitness facilities geared towards the aging population.  Those should not be discounted, and, of course, they are financially more reasonable.  These classes, though, are designed and created for general population fitness, not individual needs.  People with injuries or specific goals should be seeking a more ‘focused’ fitness program.  Personal training for seniors is all about the individual.  Coming back from an injury?  Have major fitness goals?  Why not get personal training sessions?  This way you will see your fitness results sky rocket!

                I have been personal training for 20 years and I have personally seen the results of an aging population have great success with fitness.  Health in terms of fitness is a great reward, but I really do believe health in terms of mental confidence in one’s own abilities is the greater reward.  The ability to function on your own, and function well, is the true gift of fitness.  Working with a trainer will not only give the aging population a safe environment in which to continue working out but it will also provide seniors the ability to progress to a stronger, fitter version of themselves!  If you are in Vancouver or Kitsilano, and you are looking for personal training studio for the senior population, please reach out to us to get set up with one of our experienced trainers.    

How Intermittent Fasting Can Fast Track your Weight Loss

How You Can Use Intermittent Fasting to Fast Track your Weight loss!

If you’ve been working out in a gym or training with a personal trainer in Vancouver lately you’ve most likely heard of intermittent fasting or maybe you’ve heard just whispers of it from fellow fitness enthusiast sea-wall runners as they wiz past! So now you’re dying to know what intermittent fasting is and why people are turning to it to accelerate their weight loss goals. 

Intermittent fasting has only recently entered the health and fitness consumer mainstream, however fasting has been in cultural practices around the globe for thousands of years. Many people believe that cycles of fasting is a more natural state for humans than the “old fashioned” 3-5 big meals a day.  Controlled fasting will reduce your overall calorie intake as well as increase fat burning hormones to facilitate weight loss. 

The idea of intermittent fasting came from the studies of Dr. Valter Longo, a highly acclaimed professor at the University of Southern California and the author of The Longevity Diet.  

While intermittent fasting is still under research, hundreds of clinical studies have shown it to be beneficial for weight loss. Due to the powerful effects it can have on your brain and body we do not expect it becoming just another fad diet either! Not only will it help shed stubborn fat but it can even slow the body’s aging process, reduce the risk of certain diseases and benefit your health and vitality in a myriad of ways.. 

If you’re trying to lose weight we always recommend reducing calories, consistent exercise and practicing healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep and staying hydrated first but if you would like to add in another step, some experts say IF could be a good “jump start” for the metabolism. 

So what is intermittent fasting? What are the best methods and how can you use intermittent fasting to fast track your weight loss? 

1) What is Intermittent Fasting?  

Intermittent Fasting, or a better term would be Time Restricted Eating is not so much a diet but rather an eating cycle. It does not focus on what specific foods to eat or not to eat but rather WHEN you should eat. IF cycles between phases of eating and fasting.

2) How Does IF Speed Up Fat Loss? 

Weight loss is the most common reason people practice intermittent fasting. By making you eat less meals throughout the day, IF automatically reduces your caloric intake. Being in a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss.  But some of the IF magic happens on a cellular and molecular level. When you’re in a fasting state, the body will adjust hormone levels to make fat cells a more readily available source of fuel.  Lessening your calories and burning fat for fuel…… we think that sounds like a recipe for long term weight loss! 

Here are some other key things that happen during intermittent fasting: 

  • Insulin Sensitivity: Refers to your cell’s ability to respond to insulin. The insulin hormone’s main role is to manage blood sugar levels. Unhealthy diets, prolonged high blood sugar and genetics can damage your insulin sensitivity. Improving your insulin sensitivity with tools like intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes.  We like to think of fasting as a much needed restful vacation for your hard working insulin!
  • Human Growth Hormone Increase: HGH aids largely in muscle growth and fat loss.  Cell reproduction and keeping bone, muscle tissue and fat metabolism in good balance are other benefits. 
  • Cellular Repair: Fasting can give your cells a chance to focus on repairing and removing old protein build up inside the cell. 
  • Gene Expressions: Now we’re getting science-ey! Several studies have shown that fasting and lowering calorie intake positively changes the genes that control longevity, aging and protect again disease (1).

3) How To Intermittent Fast: 

The simplest way to start is to follow Dr. Longo’s idea of Time Restricted Eating. This means eat for 12 hours then refrain for 12 hours. For example you can eat from 8 am and stop at 8 pm. Then not eat for the next 12 hours. 

There are several different other ways we’ve seen come into practice.  Since this can be a radically different way of eating than you’re used to we suggest not going to the extreme. Start off slowly, monitor how you feel and be patient. 

  • 5 by 2 Method: This involves consuming only about 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days a week and then eat regularly the other 5 days. 
  • 24 hour fast: This is where you fast for a complete 24 hours on one or two days a week. This one can be a little tough at first so we recommend starting with just one. 
  • 16 by 8 Method: This is the most popular one as most people find it the easiest to sustain. For example, skip breakfast and start eating at 1 pm and then finish eating at 9 pm. Fast for 16 hours in-between before you start eating again the next day at 1 pm. 

“By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.” says Chris Gunner BSc in his article on intermittent fasting

How Can I Make Fasting Easier?

Make sure to be mindful of what you eat during your eating phases, if you indulge excessively you might not see any results from IF. During the fasting phase make sure you drink plenty of water or herbal tea and keep yourself busy to fend off hunger pangs.  If you get dizzy during a fast, Dr. Jason Fung a Toronto based kidney specialist explains: “…Most likely, you’re becoming dehydrated. Preventing this requires both salt and water. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. However, the low-salt intake on fasting days may cause some dizziness. Extra sea salt in broth or mineral water often helps alleviate the dizziness.”(2)

Intermittent fasting looks like a great tool you can use to help rev metabolism, reduce belly fat, waist circumference and improve your overall health. If you’re new to this or have health concerns such as low blood pressure perhaps consult your doctor before trying IF.  If you’re keen to try intermittent fasting, a personal trainer can help keep you on track and motivate you stick to an IF method!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I Need to Train my Core? What Exercises are Best?

Do I need to Train my Core? 

Core Exercise

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 the deepest 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? 

Injury Prevention: 

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! 

 

Do I need a personal trainer?

TOP 5 REASONS TO GET A PERSONAL TRAINER:

  • PERSONAL TIME CONSTRAINTS
  • COMMITMENT
  • RESULTS 
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • MOTIVATION

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.

           TIME CONSTRAINTS:

           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!

           RESULTS:

           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!!  

        KNOWLEDGE:

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!  

       MOTIVATION:

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!

Do I need a fitness tracker?

 

           Fitness tracking is not new!  ‘Back in the day’ there were books you could buy that supplied programs (for running, weightlifting, cycling, etc) and gave you charts to track your progress… with a pen!!!  But as we moved out of the era of the chisel and stone and into the 2010+ years, fitness everything can be tracked with the touch of a button, or even by just walking with a watch on your wrist.  What do you actually need to follow, or track, when it comes to personal exercise? Why is it important… or not?

           Consistency is the key to your exercise program.  Good days, bad days and in-between days are all important for you to show up and do something!  Tracking your activity/intensity level is another way to keep that consistency going. This just isn’t for fat loss but also for strength training.   

           Some people just track ‘steps’, and if they workout in a gym that day it usually helps increase their step number.  This is your base level of tracking but should not be discounted; hit your numbers every day and see results! Remember this will give you results for your aerobic exercise.  

DO MORE THAN JUST RECORD YOUR STEPS:

 

           But those ‘steps’ are just one piece of the puzzle… how hard did you workout that day?  A heart rate monitor combined with a step, or kms, tracker will also show you how many calories you are ripping through when you are doing a heavy sweat.  The HARDER you work, or the longer the duration, the more you burn fat! So, whether it is steady state, intensity intervals or even group fitness, the heart rate monitor will reflect what you are burning.  This calorie count, along with your step count will give you some very satisfying numbers to add to your daily life.  Blazing through 750 calories and 8,000 steps is a solid justification for that glass of wine!  (life is about balance people!)

          Working with a certified personal trainer is the ultimate fitness tracker!!!  This is a person who goes through all your peaks and valleys with you and they see the progress.  Your fitness coach will know your initial struggles and the victories that you have had along the way.  There should be a fitness assessment and record of your initial fitness values. Whether is range of motion, cardio, or strength you will know ‘where you came from’ when it comes to working in the fitness centre.  If you are in Vancouver and looking for personal training please stop by our fitness facility if you want your progress charted!

         Fitness tracking is here to stay!  There is not a bike ride I go on without tracking my km’s, my average speed, and even the wattage I am pushing into the pedals.  There is not a workout that my personal trainers haven’t designed for my needs and goals. I’m addicted to the numbers and if you are into fitness you should be too!  It will keep you honest and give you the consistency you need to keep progressing. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Getting better!