Tagged as: weight loss

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! 

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!

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! 

 

April 21st, 2011

Today is my first “Boot Camp “session with town of Taylor, I thought that the best place to have it in the empty field by Lone Wolf Golf Club. We had 30 – 40 people show up, which is not a bad turn out for the first class… I will say that for the participants that showed up there is a huge difference in fitness levels everything from someone having a mild stroke 2 weeks earlier to former athletes in high school. So this is going to be a bit of a challenge.

I had to give everyone a brief outline as to what we are going to do today and one of my 1st rule is that there is no driving to the field. The Taylor Gym is just across the street so made it clear that everyone is to park there and either walk/jog over to the field. Let the fun begin…

The session itself was pretty good and it went better then I thought it might. We did lots of different exercises and it was tough for some. I even had Jamie throw up and then get back to the work out just like nothing ever happened. She is a trooper. Jen and Sara had a tough time with it but they managed to finish it.

I am looking forward to seeing what the town is going to be able to do with themselves. I am going to do whatever I can do to help the town reach their goal in losing weight. I am not going to make this easy on them and I am not sure if the town is going to like it all that much, we have the majority of the town sitting on there ass most of the year because of the long days so Garfield and I will do what we canto help..

Jonathan is waiting for me at his house for a training session; I think I am going to take him to the park for our session. There is a park just a couple blocks from his house. I start our session with Jon doing some bike sprints down the block. He really likes to ride his bike so I might as well include it in our warm up. I am not sure how much he liked it because it was pretty tough, not sure if he really is used to be working that hard.

After his warm up we made our way to the park, there is a jungle gym there so there is lots for us to do. We had a little conversation about him being bullied in school and I wanted to  share with him that it had happened to me as well and that he is not the only one to be picked on in school. I also mentioned to him that if he gets in better shape he will start feeling better about him and confidence with improve as well.

Our session did not last very long because Jon started to feel dizzy and short of breath. Steve was there aswell and he thought he might be faking a bit. But I did not want to risk it soI stopped the workout and I told him to grab some juice it will increase hisblood sugar. I told him not to worry about it today because we will make up forit during our next session

I am off to Rick Kolter’s house to assess his fitness levels and also to see what types of medications he is on. The reason I am doing this is so that I can make the decision as to weather I am going to train him in the gym. I have had a discussion with Dr.Ali Zetner about Rick and she did give me the detail on him in medical terms and she did give me some advice as to what I can and cant to with him. I am also looking to talk to his actual doctor to see what their thoughts are as well.

I did get to Ricks house and I know that he ride motorbikes, luckily I have a Harley as well so we do have some common ground to start with. Rick starts to tell me about his bikes and his kids as well because they love to go riding as well. Rick has a couple dirt bike that he lets the kids use at the track, something he loves to do is spend time with his kids. I am thinking that if his health is so bad and he does not turn his life around he will not be there for his kids much longer.

I wanted to know more about Rick so I asked to see what medications he is taking and find out a little more about him. To be honest I am BLOWN away by all the medications that he had to take, I am not sure if I have ever in my life seen that may pills that 1 person has to take every day. WOW! I also found out from him that he is this exmilitary guy that used to run 10 miles per day as well as workout in the gym for 3hrs a day as well, so for me to see this guy who is so badly out of shape it is quite the contrast. I can’t imagine going from super fit to not!! That has to be tough, but you just never know when your body is going to say enough is enough.

Rick also mentioned to me that he did the first endurance challenge and it had taken a lot more out of him then he thought it would, he has been home in bed for the past couple days because his body actually rejected the workout that he did. In my mind I am thinking that this is going to be a real challenge not just for Rick but for myself as well. I mentioned to Rick that I really want to help him out but before I can do that I need to get clearance from his Doctor and I wanted to get clearance from Dr Ali.

As we were leaving I told Rick that I will do what I can even if it is walking around the block with him, at least it will be a step in helping him to a better and healthier life.

Jamie is coming to the gym today for her session and she is great at bringing her bike so I wanted to do a couple bike sprints outside with her as a warm up. I will say that Jamie is not that excited about the idea, she thinks that she will fall off or it was going to be too tough BLA BLA BLA!!! I really didn’t want to her excuses, so as we walk out to the road I explain to her what I want from her and you can tell she is nervous only because it is something out of the norm for her. She starts the first one and as she finishes it she gives me a smile, she says it’s tough but she can do it.

Jamie’s workout is tough we did lots of cardio drills in the gym, such as running, walking, lunging to pylons, push-ups on a bench on the floor etc. Pretty much you name it we did it and Jamie had a few moments where I was not sure if she was going to make it but she finished and she mentioned that she had burned 500 calories and that excites her because she realizes she is burning fat.

I have only been training Jamie for a couple weeks but you can already tell that she is feeling betterabout herself and it is starting to show…

mikeveinot