Monthly Archives: September 2016
Monthly Archives: September 2016
In this episode, I wanted to share my best fitness tips. Each of these fitness tips build on each other. You really need to keep each of these in your programming to ensure you're getting the most out of your fitness program.
1. Warm up
This has to be everyone's #1 fitness tip. Like rubber, your muscles and connective tissue get stiff when they are cold. It is important for you to do a proper warm up to avoid injury. A warm up consists of slow and controlled movement to get the blood flowing through your body. Only after you've warmed up should you stretch or exercise.
2. Have purpose
Each time you go to “work out” you should know why you're there. I see so many people come into the gym and wander from place to place with no clear agenda. I'm not saying they're wasting their time, but they certainly are not getting the most out of those sessions.
Once you're in the gym, focus on why you're there. The only reason for you to have your phone out is to skip a song on your playlist or record your effort on a fitness app. Yes, you are on a rest, but without focus you're likely resting too long. See warm up above.
4. Use good form
This is another key fitness tip. Injuries will keep you from meeting your fitness goals. Just as a good warm up is important for injury prevention, you should use good form. I'd encourage you to listen to the episode with David Knox, author of Body School. If you don't know good form, ask a trainer. I'm even willing to help, just ask.
5. Have consistency
Consistency is key to reaching your goals. Our bodies adapt to the exercise when we work through a challenge, feed, rest cycle. Taking too many days off will stall your progress.
Using the same weight each time you work out will help you retain the strength you have, but you won't be getting any other benefit from it. When you exercise, push yourself. As I said above, you have to challenge, feed and rest to get results.
Another big part of the adaptation cycle, rest is imperative. This includes rest between sets, which should align with your purpose (shorter rests for endurance/mass and longer rests for strength). It also includes the rest between workouts. Don't think you can work the same muscles every day and see improvement. You have to allow the muscle to rebuild, which can take up to 72 hours.
Your muscle requires protein for rebuilding and some glycogen for fuel. Making sure you're getting enough food is important. If you're working while you're on a calorie restricted diet, you might find you don't have the energy to push. As a result, you're holding yourself back from seeing good results.
Hydration is key. You should make sure you're fully hydrated before you hit the gym. I like to take a sip of water between each set. This typically has me walking more during my workout and keeps me hydrated. And I'm not on my phone.
From time to time, you'll need to step back and see how you're progressing. This reevalution will help you avoid plateaus.
11. Educate yourself
Take the time to educate yourself. This goes with form, fuel, exercises, and reps/sets. You need to figure out what works for you.
I hope you enjoyed these fitness tips. Do you have any fitness tips you'd like to add to the list? If so, please comment below…
In the book Body School, David Knox lays out the ways movement and form will keep our body healthy, fit and injury free. As a life-long dancer (yoga, jazz and modern) and a martial artist (holding two black belts), David knows a thing or two about movement and form.
Our inner voice is a very powerful thing. It drives our mood and feelings, and it can determine whether we will be successful in our health and fitness journey.
I'd like you to take a few minutes to do an inner voice audit. Answer the following questions (you may want a pen and pad to write down a few notes):
Now take a few minutes to think about this. Would you use the same words to address someone you love?
I'm currently reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD. Yes, I actually read more than just health, fitness, and weight loss books. This best-selling book has been out for a while and has gotten a ton of praise in the business and education fields. That said, I think there are some very practical applications for someone on a health and fitness journey. I'll include a link to the book at the end of this post.
In the book, Dr. Dweck explains that mindset typically takes one of two natures:
Maybe you feel you have a little bit of both. Or maybe you think intelligence can be improved but we can't change who we inherently are deep inside. That's okay. Rather you're squarely in one or the other, or have some of both, you can move into a growth mindset, which in the end is the inner voice you need.
You can improve your inner voice with a few practices:
If isn't, now you know you can fix that.
Pause training is thought of as an intermediate to advance technique, but I think there are some good applications even for the beginner. In this episode, we'll discuss pause training and how you can use it in a safe and effective way.
I use pause training in two different types of exercises.
Squat to the bottom and hold for improved range of motion:
In his book, The Art and Science of Aging Well, Dr. Mark Williams writes about the current science on aging in a way that give insight into how we should live to make sure we have the highest quality of life as we age. He notes a statistic that is quite relevant to aging. The death rate for humans is one per person, in other words, we all die. It is all just a matter of how and why.
It used to be thought that cells live forever. This was disproved by Leonard Hayflick. A cell can replicate approximately 50 times before they effectively die. The only way to break out of the aging control is when the cell becomes malignant.
Cells count the number of times they can replicate. Each time a cell replicates the end is slightly shorter. A telomere is an end-cap that causes the cell to stop replicating and the cell dies (apoptosis).
If our blood sugar is high, which is typically measured in blood work as A1C. This shows advanced glycation end products (AGE), which gums up the works. High consumption of high glycemic and processed foods age us faster. Avoiding these kinds of foods are important for aging well.
We were made to move. Physical exercise is a key requirement for aging well.
Proven benefits of exercise:
How much exercise should we get? An answer came from one of Dr. Williams' clients. Work up a good sweat every day.
The first thing I want you to remember about supplements is that they are just that, supplements. You should focus on getting your nutrients from real food and only use supplements to fill the gaps. In this episode, I will link to some products (affiliate). I take all of these supplements at some time or another throughout the year.
I covered fish oil in detail in Episode 39, so I will just briefly discuss it here. The only place to get fish oil from real food is to consume fish. Many people struggle eating fish. I recommend you try multiple species and preparations of fish before you completely give up on them.
The main caution with fish oil is that it can go bad. You should never take bad fish oil. I recommend only buying good quality fish oil. You should store fish oil in the refrigerator. I also recommend checking a gel when you first purchase the oil and once every few weeks, if you keep it that long.
I covered creating in episode 79, so here's a brief description and caution on creatine. Creatine has been show in many studies to not only improve muscular performance, but to have protective qualities for the brain. Creatine causes muscles to hold more water, therefore you could retain as much as 5 – 7 lbs of water. If you're a scale junkie, this might cause you some distress.
Vitamin D is essential. Fortunately, our bodies make vitamin D through sun exposure. Time indoors and sunscreens have severely cut the amount of sun we are exposed to on a daily basis. If you're not exposed to the sun on a regular basis or you live in places where there are lower exposure (far north), you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement. You can get a blood test to determine your status.
In episode 143, I explained how I am not using ketosis as a way to reduce fat and retain muscle mass. As a result of my eating less than 50 total grams of carbohydrates, I'm limited in the volume and variety of fruits and vegetables I can eat in any given day. To make sure I'm getting what I need, I'll add a multivitamin to my regimen.
Magnesium has been shown to improve people fall asleep, stay asleep and have lucid dreams. I find that taking a magnesium before bed helps me wake up more refreshed and I am more productive and creative.
The timing of this book, Don't Let Your Anxiety Run Your Life by David Klemanski and Joshua Curtis, couldn't have been better for me. I've been struggling with anxiety lately and needed the tools taught in this book. I'm certain you've dealt with anxiety from time to time. We all do.
Almost everything in life has the potential to make us feel anxious, but only if you let it! In other words, it is entirely possible to skillfully manage your anxiety by examining the relationship you have to your fears and worries and embracing them (rather than avoiding them!) ~ From the Introduction of Don't Let Your Anxiety Run Your Life.
Anxiety goes beyond just being a negative mood state. It is a future-oriented state, where people worry about some future event. It can be real or perceived.
There are three diagnosable conditions in the anxiety spectrum:
Self-diagnosis is difficult with these disorders. It may require professional attention. The anxiety becomes clinical when it interferes with their normal lives.
It is very common for people to avoid going the gym when anxiety over what others are thinking of them kicks in. Avoidance sets up a negative cycle. It is important to be exposed to the gym and not use avoidance behaviors such as not making eye contact or to isolate themselves in an empty area of the gym. Instead, you should do the opposite and engage and face your fear.
Other tips or practices:
In this episode, we meet Lynn Rossy, PhD. Her book, The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution explains how mindfulness eating is the key to weight loss. With thousands of diet books on the market, you would think there wouldn't be a need for another one. Yet one thing stands true: diets don't work.
We may change how or what we're eating, but once we revert back to our old ways, the weight just comes back. What we should be looking for is something more sustainable. That's where mindfulness comes in. Being in the moment with your food allows you to enjoy it more and make sure your body gets appropriate signaling for when you are full.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment.
Approaching food and our bodies without judgment will allow us to get healthy and maintain balance in our lives.
B – Breathe and belly check
A – Assessing your food
S – Slow down
I – Investigate your hunger half way through your meal
C – Chew thoroughly
S – Savor
Mindfulness eating allows you to enjoy your food completely, be in touch with your body's signaling, eat less, and feel full and satisfied. Mindfulness eating takes some practice, but with everything that takes effort, the payoff is significant. Give mindfulness eating a try and let me know how it went in the comments below.
In this episode, we meet Brad Beer, the author of You Can Run Pain Free. Brad Beer is a physiotherapist in Gold Coast, Austrailia. He works with professional athletes and Olympians, along with everyday runners (or wannabe runners) to help them pursue their sports without pain or injury.
This first step is critical.
Understand your flexibility
Know your optimal body weight for running.
If you're carrying too much body weight, you'll be putting too much strain on your joints. Losing a little weight, even if it isn't body fat, will mean less stress on the body.
Using a 10 point checklist, a running expert can evaluate your running form. This checklist looks at the length of muscles, endurance tests, mobility, etc. You can get the full checklist from the book.
When I first launched 40+ Fitness Podcast, I posted an episode each Monday for the first ten weeks that was a lesson that touched on each of the health and fitness foundations in my Forever Fitness Personal Training Program. These are the principles I share with my clients to help keep them progressing and meeting their health and fitness goals.
I start with commitment because without it, you'll never see success. Willpower fails, motivation wains and resolutions are dropped. When you know your “why” and a vision of what health and fitness looks like for you, you can put these together to make a vow. This vow paired with self-love makes all the difference. If you really want it, go past making a decision and commit.
We get fat because of sugar. The average American eats 150lbs of sugar per year. Sugar raises your insulin, which is the core hormone for fat gain. The only way to successfully lose weight is to reduce your sugar intake. Aim for 50 grams or less per day and you're going to see great results.
Persistence is what keeps you going, Progression is what keeps the results coming. Patience is where you're going to face this challenge over the long-term. Applied together, these three keys are what all successful people have.
Our body goes through some very important functions while we're asleep. Our hormone cycle is driven by our sleep. Memory development and muscle repair also occur during this time. You'll want to get 7 – 9 hours per night, but focus on quality rather than quantity.
The liver is responsible for dealing with toxins. It makes its job easier by pushing the toxins into the fat. Now that we're losing weight (aka burning fat), we're releasing these toxins and the liver is forced to deal with it. Beyond not adding more toxins, it is important to give the liver plenty of water.
Our brain, joints and skin all use water to perform well. If you are dehydrated you're going to look and feel worse. Your
Our bodies were built to find balance. For this reason, we will often find ourselves hitting plateaus. You can build in strategies to break through plateaus or avoid them all together. Periodization can be effective particularly in muscular strength, muscle mass, or endurance. Or you can look for a way to push past it. Just don't quit.
You are a unique individual. As a result, what works for someone else may not work for you. Don't be afraid to experiment to find the things that will work for you. Take the time to educate yourself and then apply and tweak your programming and food.
Recognize that there are different fitness modalities and you should consider most of them. Focusing on one at the detriment of the others will keep you from meeting your goals or accomplishing your vision. A few fitness modalities to consider follows:
Of all the fitness modalities, the one I almost demand my clients do is strength training. Strength is the most important factor to being healthy and fit. Heavy lifting boosts testosterone production (libido) and helps maintain strong bones.
Once you've seen success, it is important to shift from this being a project to it being a lifestyle. If you've made good healthy habits, this becomes easy. Avoid language like diet. Diets are temporary and when you go back to eating the way you did before, you'll go back to what you were. Health and fitness is a continuum. You can always get better.
Health and fitness is a state of being, not a destination.
Today we meet Larry Olmsted, an award-winning food author and columnist. In his book, Real Food Fake Food, Why You Don't Know What You're Eating & What You Can Do About It, Larry discusses how various foods we are served in restaurants or buy at grocery stores may actually be something entirely different.
There's nothing more fundamental than knowing what you're putting in your mouth. ~ Kelsey Timberman
When you don't get what you think you're buying. This is not a judgement on the quality you're getting. This comes in three forms:
Nearly 1/3 of the time, a different fish is substituted with another fish. Sometimes this is where you're served farmed fish that was marketed as wild-caught. Or it may be an entirely lower standard species of fish. The more expensive the fish, the more likely it is to be subject to fish fraud. Nearly all of the red snapper served in restaurants is not red snapper.
As a tip for getting what you're paying for, go to the fish markets on the water. There you can often see the whole fish, which makes it much harder for you to be duped.
Good extra virgin olive oil is very good for your health. This is the top most rating for olive oil and is quite rare. Studies have demonstrated that the majority of olive oil sold in grocery stores do not meet the standard for extra virgin. You can order olive oil from online club like Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club. It can be quite expensive. I personally buy olive oil at a specialty retail store, where I'm able to taste it before I buy.
Olive Oil is a fruit oil and as a result, it goes bad quickly. You should check the harvest date or pressed date. Good quality olive oil should be used within a year of harvest. Upon opening a bottle, you should use it within a month. Knowing the source, so you can make sure you're buying real olive oil.
In this episode, we discuss breath and breathing for health. I'm sure you know that breathing is an automatic function that takes no conscious thought to do, but maybe you should spend more time thinking about your breath and breathing.
When I ask someone why we breathe, they will almost always say, to get oxygen. This is half of the answer. We also breathe to expel waste materials, most of which is carbon dioxide. In fact, scientists now believe that when we burn fat, the byproducts are water and carbon dioxide. We lose weight through our breath.
Even though breathing is an automatic function, most of us aren't doing it very well. When you're seated and working on a keyboard or using a smart phone, you're collapsing your ribcage and only using a fraction of your lung's capacity. Over time, this weakens the diaphragm.
When you're lifting weights, managing your breathing is a big part of keeping your core tight and maintaining good form. You should breathe in as the weight is lowered and breathe out as the weight is moved. You should never hold your breath during a lift.
Mindful breathing can go a long way toward stress reduction. Chronic stress will keep you from reaching your health and fitness goals. I use the app Headspace to do a mindful breathing practice.
I will also do box breathing to improve the quality of my breathing. This breathing exercise involves breathing in, holding, breathing out, holding; all for a count of three. It is harder than it sounds, but a great exercise to improve breathing efficiency and effectiveness.
In her book A Funeral For My Fat, Sharee Samuels chronicles her 100+ pound weight loss over a five year period.
One concept that Sharee recommended was for you to write a letter to yourself. This letter should demonstrate the strength you have and the love you have for yourself. Documenting this self-love is valuable because you are able to go back and read this letter to yourself when you're down and out.
Sharee also recommends you find something you love. For her, workout out was a drudgery, and she could never motivate and push herself. That was until she found Zumba. She loved Zumba and that helped her stay motivated and on track with exercise.
Sharee is a big proponent in knowing yourself. She knows she is not one who can handle moderation. Therefore she can't approach food and have just one chip. She now focuses on her strength, which is planning. Knowing yourself allows you to take your own path to health and fitness.
Sharee uses an acronym – EFFORT to break through a plateau.