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!
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!
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!
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 Psychologyexplains 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.
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!
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!
This is Courtney. She started training with Krista this January and couldn’t do a single push-up from her knees… Now we are up to 15 with full range of motion. Courtney is well on her way to progressing to her toes! #WeAreRep1