Saturday, February 04, 2017
February is Heart month and our theme this year is “Every Minute Counts”. Since Every Minute Counts we should try and make each minute a little harder, oops I meant to say more productive. As a personal trainer, I sometimes confuse the goal :). One of the hardest types of cardio is the rower (ergometer), this is because you are using both your upper and lower body at the same time. Working more muscles means you need more blood pumping through your body, the result of this need is your heart rate going up. Proper row technique can go a long way to making this type of cardio a little less painful, maybe even enjoyable.
The Rowing Stroke
The rowing stroke is broken into 4 phases, the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. Each of these phases uses your muscles a little differently and if you rush them together your stroke is less productive, both in terms of how far you are traveling with each stroke but also in how much you get out of your workout. There are 2 key numbers on the display of the rower, The Strokes per Minute (SPM) and the Split Time (time per 500 meters). You can row fast or slow, that is your choice, but to achieve the best result with the least amount of effort you want to row at a steady pace that allows you to have a low split time and a low SPM. This means you are using more of your muscle power to row and not just racing back and forth jacking your heart rate up.
- Arms are straight; head is neutral; shoulders are level and not hunched.
- Upper body is leaning forward from the hips with the shoulders in front of the hips.
- Shins are vertical, or as close to vertical as is comfortable for you. Shins should not move beyond perpendicular.
- Heels may lift as needed.
- Start the drive by pressing with your heels down and pushing back with your lower body muscles, then swing the back through the vertical position before finally adding the arm pull.
- Hands move in a straight line to and from the flywheel.
- Shoulders remain low and relaxed.
- Upper body is leaning back slightly, using good support from the core muscles.
- Legs are extended and handle is held slightly below your ribs.
- Shoulders should be low with wrists and grip relaxed. Wrists should be flat.
- Extend your arms until they straighten before leaning from the hips towards the flywheel.
- Once your hands have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and gradually slide the seat forward on the monorail.
- For your next stroke, return to the catch position with shoulders relaxed and shins vertical.
Check out this video for more on rowing technique: click here.
There is lots of time left in February for you to set your goal, get on the rower, and get those minutes in!
Posted by Nikki
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Every year around this time millions of people in Vancouver make New Year’s resolutions most often the same ones from last year and the year before. Albert Einstein once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” I feel this is very applicable to our annual resolution.
Nikki shared an interesting article with me about using “Three Words” to live by for a given year. This would be instead of setting a resolution to lose weight or be more organized, two of the most popular goals people fail at each year. Instead, you choose three words that you feel will embody the changes that you would like to make in your life, work, and/or health. This is a very interesting concept, and one that I think would be a fantastic way to get rid of the baggage that comes with making a New Year’s resolution. Instead, you have a way to look at your options and decisions and see how they stack up against your Three Words. I have decided to give this a try below are my three words for 2017 and some different ways they will apply to my decision-making process.
Nourishment | Build | Serenity
|Nourishment for me will apply to my mind, body and relationships it is about making decisions that will provide me with substance, fulfillment, and energy. I will apply this in how I eat, what I read and the activities I choose.
Build will be about improvement and taking action in construction of my body, my relationships, as well as my skills. I can apply this to my activities, my friendships, and the new things that I want to learn.
Serenity is going to be the hardest word to instill into my life. For me, this is about acceptance, contentment and the ability to take pause and appreciate what is happening now. It will apply to those moments that I get frustrated, when I feel that more is needed, or the achievement was not high enough. It will also be in reflection throughout the day and taking in the good that happens each day.
So this year when you are surrounded by your friends, family or complete strangers in a bar take a moment and think about what three words you want to exemplify how you will live your life in 2017. For me, it will be a year of nourishment that allows me to build on my future and personal well being as I take time to find my serenity in the world around me.
Share your three words that will define your 2017 here.
Posted by Nikki
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
At Momentum Fitness a lot of our Personal Training clients want to learn new exercises, part of working with a personal trainer is being able to learn new, and exciting, exercises in a safe way. This month we wanted to talk about the Turkish Get Up. This exercise is an advanced movement that is often done incorrectly and even taught incorrectly by most people. The first mistake that people make is thinking this is an easy exercise to do, they think I have been getting up out of bed, or off the floor my entire life surely I can do an exercise called the Get Up! We hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is an advanced exercise and you need to break it down into segments and learn a few key moves before trying to put it all together into one fluid movement.
Key Moves to Master:
For the Turkish Get Up the most popular equipment that people currently use is the kettlebell however it can be done with dumbbells and even barbells and on YouTube I found a video of guy lifting a girl wrapped around his arm. For the purpose of our lesson we will assume that you are using kettlebells, and not other gym goers.
- Shoulder Packing – this is key to prevent shoulder injuries and to maintain kettlebell control during the Get Up
- Single Leg Glute Bridges – glute stability and strength is required to ensure that your back does take too much of the load
- Reverse Lunges – the need to be able to stand and lower to and from one knee is critical to the success of your Get Up
- Shoulder Press – Even though you never do an actual shoulder press during the Get Up you will need to have the range of motion to move the kettlebell to an overhead position
Phase One: The Roll – Getting from your back to sitting
- Lay down with your kettlebell next to your shoulder. Always treat the bell as if it is very heavy even if it is really light.
- Roll onto your side and grab the kettlebell with both hands then roll onto your back
- Punch both hands to the sky then lower one arm to your side at a 45-degree angle to the shoulder.
- Pack the shoulder of the arm holding the kettlebell above your chest, by pretending you are squeezing a lemon in your armpit. This will sink your shoulder back and keep your elbow straight.
- The leg on the same side as your free hand should also go to a 45-degree angle from the hip and the bell side leg will be bent at the knee with the foot planted outside of the hip.
- The goal is to keep the hand and arm pointed at the sky as you roll up from supine to sitting.
- Using your abs to roll up to seated by placing weight on your free arm and elbow.
- Once seated keep your back flat and your free arm straight with the loaded arm still packed at the shoulder and the hand pointed to the sky.
Phase two: The Hip Bridge – From sitting to bridge
- You are now in the seated position with your kettlebell held above your head and shoulder packed.
- Your free arm needs to be behind your back and about 10-12 inches from your hips at a 45-degree angle pointing up and away from your body.
- It is important your planted foot and free arm are in the proper position because it will allow you to perform the hip bridge without feeling jammed up.
- You should be able to lift your hips up and holding the kettlebell towards the sky and keeping your free leg out straight and still at the 45 degree angle from the hips.
Phase Three: Stack Hips and Shoulder – From hip bridge to stacking
- You will now have the kettlebell held towards the sky and be in a hip bridge on that side with and your additional weight on your straight arm planted firmly on the ground.
- You will have your shoulder stacked and at 90 degrees to the ground with the bell towards the sky and your opposite hand planted on the group your free leg will be out straight from your body
- From the hip bridge take your free leg and bring it under your hips placing the knee right under your hip.
- This will stack your hips directly under your shoulders, make sure to keep the kettlebell pointed to the sky
Phase Four: The Windmill and Windshield Wiper
- You should be in the stacked position, one foot forward in a lunge position and one knee on the ground stacked under your hip, your shoulders should be 90-degrees to the ground with the kettlebell held towards the sky.
- The windmill is the repositioning of your shoulders to be above your hips while keeping the kettlebell up towards the sky
- This will un stack the shoulder from the ground and place the kettlebell in a over head position and it will unstack your hips and you will end up in a one knee position.
- The windshield wiper is the pivot on your knee of your lower leg and foot from the 45 degree angle it will be in from the windshield wiper to a more inline position with the knee
- You will finish in the half lunge kneeling position, with the back knee on the ground and the opposite arm holding the bell above your head keeping the shoulder packed. Both knees should be at 90 degree bends.
Phase Five: Standing Tall – From one knee to standing
- You should be in the half lunge kneeling position with the kettlebell held overhead towards the sky.
- Your free arm can be held out to your side for balance in this position and as you stand.
- To stand you must shift the weight from being evenly spread between knee and opposite foot to all your weight being on your foot.
- From there you will use your glutes and stand up using your forward leg
- Plant your opposite leg under your hips and evenly distribute your weight between each foot
- You should now be in a standing position weight equal on both feet, abs and glutes tight and contracted with your arm overhead holding the bell and your shoulder still packed.
And that my friends is a Turkish Get up. Of course the harder part is now that you are standing you will need to reverse each step in each phase and get all the way back to lying on the ground and then do you opposite side.
It is highly recommended that you start by master each phase before you progress to the next phase. Also work on the other four exercises as you progress through each phase of the Get Up. This will help you with controlling each movement and staying tall with the shoulder remaining packed as you move.
Have fun and let one of the Personal Trainers at Momentum Fitness help you in mastering the Turkish Get Up
Book a Free Fitness Assessment, learn where you are tight or weak and what you need to focus on to master the Turkish Get Up
Posted by Barry
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I Have a Confession to Make: I Am a Self-Sabotager…
… and my symptom (a nice word for “excuse”) is procrastination. Whew! I’ve said it now, it is out there for all to read. The thing is all self-sabotagers know their symptoms; be it procrastination, time management, punctuality, or willpower, we all have our default behaviors. People who procrastinate working on a project are no different than the person who overeats, but wants to lose weight; or the person who avoids exercise, yet knows they should be doing it. We all fall into the same traps, and we always seem to self-sabotage any efforts that we or others make to avoid the traps. The big question is why? And, is there a way to correct this behavior?
Now, if you are like me and have a partner who is the exact opposite of you, in my case, uber organized and a list-oriented person that has been given the nickname “The Get’er Done Girl” by her work colleagues; then, you may constantly be reminded of how much you self-sabotage. I will give you the perfect example, this blog. I have been putting off writing it for a week now, and I have finally just run out of any remotely legitimate excuses to not write it. Plus, a prompt from my significant other asking if it was done yet also helped. I think she set an alert to pop up and remind her to ask me about this blog. It does not matter, the whole thing is that I self-sabotaged every chance I get to avoid doing what I knew needed to be done.
The same goes for people, and their fitness; in fact, procrastination is way up at the top of the list for why people do not exercise. The number one reason – err.. I mean, symptom – people use to not exercise is time, or more specifically lack of time. Followed closely by the number two reason being, I will start tomorrow. We are all given the same amount of time every day, it is just a matter of how we decide to spend it, not the lack of time; we all know that tomorrow is always a day away. But, here is the big question: why do we self-sabotage? Be it our health and fitness, work projects, or for some, their relationships.
Recent studies show that this trait is linked to a form of self-preservation. Essentially, we do things that are the exact opposite of what we want or should be doing to provide an excuse for any inevitable failure that will come. By taking your energy and focusing it on something different, it allows you to say that the failure is not a result of your incompetence, but more of a choice, and if you really wanted to you could do it. Everyone knows that having ice cream is not a good idea if you want to lose weight, even if you have been working out hard. But, by having it and any other treats or rewards, it just sets you up to say that all the dieting and exercise did not work for you so why do it?
Alright Now, How Do We Fix It?
Shorter Periods of Time
By taking all your effort and concentrating it on shorter periods with definitive end dates can assist with adherence to a plan. Instead of thinking about having to give up ice cream forever, change the timeline and go without it for a month. For your exercise, hit the gym for only 20 to 30 mins then leave.
Change Your Environment
I will also take this one step further, and change your patterns as well. Your environment is critical, get out of your house, go to a gym or better yet, see a personal trainer, they really do work. Patterns are something that we all develop, and they limit us in our choices and narrow the decisions we make. For example, if you tend to hit a fast food joint on your way home from work, then change how you drive home from work. Let’s face it, the fast food joint is not going anywhere.
I ask everyone I meet to log exercise and food for one week. When I see them again, and they tell me why they stopped or could not do it, I know right away that they will not succeed at this time. They are most likely lying to themselves about their actual habits. It is estimated that the average person spends up to 7 hours a day staring at a screen outside of work hours; this includes tablets, TVs, smart phones, and laptops. So there is not any person that I meet that can honestly not log food and exercise, if they really want to make a lifestyle change, they are staring at the tools every day.
This could be as simple as Google Calendar or an app on your phone that reminds you what you are working on today and what your goal is. Wearables have all kinds of fun, interactive tools from tracking to alerts to motivational badges that tell you when you’ve accomplished a tremendous feat. If you cannot rely on yourself to remind you, then use technology.
Recognition and Action
OK, this really is the number one thing that any self-sabotager should do: admit that you have a problem. Recognise that what you are telling yourself may be a lie, you really will not exercise tomorrow. Then, take action on your lie and go to the gym.
Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Get started RIGHT NOW!
Posted by Barry
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
They say the hardest part is getting started, I am glad to have had that done! First week is in the bag and week number two is almost done. Quick Update: I have started to run again after injuries – feet and knees – led to my stopping in 2011 after I ran Ironman Florida. The goal to get out and run pain free anywhere for 30 to 45 min would make me happy. The stretch goal would be another triathlon, not a full Ironman, but at least an Olympic distance. I am a long way off from this, but hopefully I can get things on track and keep building up.
As a personal trainer, I would tell anyone starting out or getting back into running that going slow is highly encouraged. Now normally, like most trainers, I would be an exception to this rule or at least I would think I should be. However, my injuries were severe enough that they not only prevented me from running, but also limited walking, hiking, and quite often work was painful with every step. So I am approaching this new goal with extreme caution, and will attempt to hold myself back from being my own worst enemy.
The program that I have put together is a three-day-a-week run, starting with a walk-run interval of 4 min to 1 min for the first two weeks. Each session is 45 min in length starting with a 10 min walk and finishing with a 5 min walk; this gives me 6 run intervals. If I am on a treadmill, it will be set at a 2% incline walking at 3.0 mph and running at 6.0 mph. I am avoiding pavement runs, but have already done one trail run with Zorro, which will be covered in a moment.
My first three runs were all on a treadmill at Momentum Fitness and they were fantastic. I had very minimal stiffness in the feet and no knee pain the next day so I will chalk this up as a success. Now week two started on Monday and coming off the success of week one, I decided to hit the UBC Endowment Lands with Zorro; got him out for some exercise and got my run in. I learned very quickly that this was not the best idea; Zorro is not a great training partner for a guy just starting out. I ended up doing much longer intervals and less walking during this run.
I want to blame Zorro, say that he was looking at me and calling me a wimp, and telling me to suck it up and just run. He was very disappointed every time we stopped and would just look at me with a “is that all?” stare. Reality is, he does not care; he was outside in the trails with things to sniff, and he would run ahead and come running back. It was my ego that made me run longer and harder, and not stop when I should have. As a result and pay close attention to this, it is now Thursday and I still have foot pain; a mix of pushing my run intervals and the uneven trails has lead to half a week of no runs.
Good news is I am going to run – right now actually – and I will get back on the interval. Bad news is I will need another week of building before I am off my 4:1 ratio.
Always listen to your personal trainer, but never train like they do, and perhaps a 2.5 year old Lab is not the best running partner when you are just getting back into it.
Posted by Barry
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Monday, June 20, 2016
You will often see images of very fit and athletic people running ladder drills, but it is important to note that this exercise is not limited to just athletes. In fact, most agility and dynamic exercise you see the uber fit doing can be adapted for the unfit, elderly, beginner, or average gym goer. For several of these people, doing agility work should be mandatory.
Agility training is teaching your body how to react to situations both in your control and out of your control. It is critical training for people that perform sports that require adaptive movements, controlled movements, and the ability to change direction quickly. But also for elderly or people recovering from an injury because it can enhance their response times when their balance is off and need to improve their motor control to prevent a fall in the first place.
Ladders come in varying lengths and widths, a standard ladder will be around 15’ x 20” with 12 rungs.
Some Basic Drills
Start at the base of the ladder
- Left foot to the outside left of the ladder
- Right foot into the first ladder box
- Left foot into the first ladder box, next to the right foot
- Right foot outside of the ladder box
- Left foot into the second ladder box
- Right foot into the second ladder box, next to the left foot
- Repeat until you reach the end of the ladder.
Out and In
Starting at the base of the ladder
- Hop to the outside of the first ladder box with both feet
- Hop inside the second ladder box with both feet
- Repeat until the end of the ladder
Stand 90 to the base of the ladder
- Both feet into the first box
- Both feet into the second box
- Repeat until the end of the ladder, then return leading with your left foot
Embrace your inner child, start hopping, skipping, and jumping! Not only will you get a great workout, but also improve your agility, react faster to situations, and avoid injury!
Posted by Barry
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Sunday, May 29, 2016
2 Ways to Perform T-Spine Rotations
If you go to the gym or to a personal training studio, or even to physio you will see people doing this exercise. This is usually prescribed or done to increase mobility of your thoracic spine. However, if you make the move too big, as most people do, you will feel it more in your lower back or hip. To make this exercise more of a thoracic mobility, follow this simple progression.
Progression 1: Kneeling T-Spine Rotations
By starting on your knees, you will be able to feel the restriction, and hopefully become more aware of your T-Spine limitation. When you progress to Side Lying Rotations, you will be able to better feel for these limitations and know what adjustments to make.
How to Do Kneeling T-Spine Rotations: Intermediate
- Start on your hands and knees
- Keep your hands under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips
- This is known as the Four Point Position because pressure is being distributed equally between all four points on the floor
- Now take away your right hand and place it beside your right ear
- Keep the load equally distributed between the remaining three points of contact on the floor
- Keep your left hand on the floor and your arm straight
- Lower your right shoulder and elbow towards your left hand
- Hold for a 3 second count
- Then rotate back, trying to point your right elbow towards the ceiling
- Hold for a 5 second count
- Repeat for 10 repetitions, then do the same for the left side
- To make this easier, sit back on your heels and then perform the exercise, keeping your bum on your heels
Progression 2: Supine T-Spine Rotations
This can be done with your knees together (refer to the image below). You can also use a ball between your knees or with your bottom leg straight and the top leg on a full foam roller. The goal is to keep the spine stacked as you rotate, this means that your head will stay above your hips during the rotation.
How to Perform Supine T-Spine Rotations:
- Start lying on your left side, knees bent and arms in front of your chest
- It is best to have a foam block or rolled towel to support the head
- Raise your right arm towards the ceiling, and stop when it is 90 degrees to the floor
- From this position, lower your right shoulder towards the floor, rotating the spine
- It is important that you do not change the spine angle, and keep your head and spine in alignment with your hips
- Once your shoulder is down, you can outstretch your arm as shown below
- If your shoulder cannot touch the floor, do not reach out with your arm, it will only create a chest stretch and move your spine out of alignment
- Try to keep your hips stacked and your right hip pointing to the ceiling
- Do not rotate your hips as this will lead to a low back stretch and reduce the T-Spine rotation
Adding T-Spine Rotations to your gym workouts or your home-based exercise plan is a great way to improve your posture, reduce upper back and neck pain as well as improving your performance in many sports, including golf.
Posted by Barry
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Friday, May 20, 2016
Ok so full disclosure here, I have been off running for almost 5 years. Wow… that is painful to say. I loved running and have completed marathons here in Vancouver, but also in New York and San Francisco. And, I did my full Ironman in Panama City Beach, Florida so I am no stranger to road running. On top of that, I have done tons of trail work, including several adventure races such as, the multi day race from Vancouver to Whistler, all on water or trail. Now, I am sitting here thinking about getting back into running, and looking at my options of starting back on the trail or hitting the road again with the possibility of getting back to triathlons, maybe even a Half Ironman.
First, it is important to mention that all running is an impact form of exercise, and if you are new to it, or like me, getting back to it, proper progression is required. Do not just head out for a run 3 times a week, you will get injured. I will be doing a 2-month build up to running 3 times a week, sustained for 30+ mins. I will post my workout on our website for download for anyone that was once a runner and is looking to get back at it.
For this blog, trail running will be on soft pack dirt or gravel, some roots, but for the most part, clear of debris. Road running will be a mix of of asphalt and concrete, think seawall and sidewalks.
Pros for Trail Running
- You are out in nature
- Easier on the joints because it absorbs impact
- Lower incidence of shin splints and muscle fatigue
- Clean fresh air, no pollution to deal with
- Runs can go for miles without needing to stop
- Not very crowded
- Great if you run with your dog
Cons for Trail Running
- Hidden roots, rocks, and holes pose hazards
- Can be scary to run alone for some people
- Always a risk of running into wildlife
- If you get lost, you may be really lost, carry a cell phone
- Harder to track distance and speed unless you use a monitor
- Harder to get to running locations
- Not well lit for night runs, head lamp required
Pros for Road Running
- Leave your place of work or home, and start your run
- Easy to track route distances
- Easy to join groups or find running partners
- Most areas are well lit for night runs
- Easy to develop running routes, and make a routine for running
- Easy to run when traveling
- Easy access to water and assistance should you require any
Cons for Road Running
- Cambered surfaces can cause injuries
- Concrete and asphalt are harder on joints, ligaments, and muscles
- Roads, sidewalks, and pathways can be busy with walkers, bikes, and cars
- Pollution can be high in areas close to busy roads
- Most routes will require stopping for traffic and other obstacles
- Footwear will need to be changed out quicker due to hard surface running
After reading the above, you will need to look at the type of runner you are, where you live, and injuries that you may be dealing with or wanting to avoid. If you are time pressed, and just need to do it when you can, then road running is the way to go. Just try to vary routes and change directions to avoid overuse injuries due to cambered surfaces. Also, switch up your shoes regularly depending on body weight and number of runs. Now, if you are a true outdoor person, then getting away from the city will make running way more interesting so get out and hit the trails. Just remember that you will need trail runners, not running shoes; they have a different tread system for gripping trail surfaces on the down and uphill. More importantly, tell people where you are going, the route you are running, and your estimated time of return. More, always run with a fully charged cell phone, I recommend that you use a separate music player as music can drain the battery, and you will want your phone for emergency reasons, not entertainment.
For me, I will do a mix of routes since Momentum Fitness is on 8th Ave in Kitsilano. I have easy access to the seawall for runs, and just a short drive to the UBC’s Endowment Lands for some great trail work. Additionally, I spend weekends in Squamish so it will be all trail work and my dog will love me for this. For most runners, I would recommend that you do a mix of trail and road work because it will provide a great mix of scenery, convenience, and reduce the impact of constant road running.
I will be posting updates on my progression as well as the program that I will be using for building my time and keeping injury risk low.
Posted by Barry
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Sunday, May 01, 2016
TRX (Total Resistance Exercise) straps were invented so that people, primarily soldiers, could exercise anywhere. There are now several brands and variations, but the basic principle is that you have an adjustable strap that can be securely fasten to an immovable object so that you can perform exercises. They are now a modern day staple in most gyms, and in some areas there are TRX only training studios.
One of the most common exercises and more beneficial exercises is the “Push Up” so it is no surprise that a popular variation of this fantastic body weight exercise is now using a TRX strap. In fact, at Momentum Fitness, our personal trainers will use the TRX push up to help people who cannot do regular – on the floor – push ups. One of the reasons that a TRX push up is so good is because it challenges the shoulder girdle by requiring added stability over having your hands on a flat surface. Push ups are normally done on the floor or a bench, which are very compressive to the shoulder joint so people that have impingement or rotator cuff issues will need to avoid these positions. However with the TRX, we can control the angle, and as a result, we can actually train the stabilizers and allow the shoulders to get stronger with each completed push up.
As with most exercises, the use of proper form and the right progression is critical to success. So before you run out and start doing TRX push ups, check with a personal trainer, and have yourself evaluated to see if this is the right place for you to start.
Book a complimentary health assessment so you will know where you should start based on your goals and current fitness level.
Posted by Barry
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Thursday, April 21, 2016
Be it a magic bullet or the search for the Yeti or Bigfoot, the truth is people love to seek the magical single thing that may not exist, but could change life as we know it. In exercise, it is even more prevalent than in other areas of life. Almost every person I have met asks what is the best exercise for: losing weight, getting stronger, or to get that perfect beach bod. I think in health and fitness, people search for this: a quick fix, thinking there must be an easier way.
The reality that almost everyone knows is: there is no single thing that solves all problems for everyone. When it comes to health and fitness, this magic bullet doesn’t exist. For all of the questions that people ask, the personal trainers at Momentum Fitness could give you an exercise that will help you achieve the goal. Running is great for fat loss and still ranks number one for people that want to lose weight; CrossFit will make you strong, I mean really strong; and Tabata training will sculpt that beach body that will make everyone jealous. However, none of these exercises work in isolation. You need to look at other lifestyle factors like sleep, nutrition, stress and mental wellbeing.
Yes we will all sleep when we are dead, but there is no need to rush to this outcome. The fact is that we need sleep, and in our hustle and bustle of the world, we seem to all be lacking it. But why is it so important? First, without it, we all get a little cranky and hard to live with, but that is not quite scientific enough now is it? Your body does some of its best work when we are sleeping; it is the time where all cell repairs take place so if you want those muscles built up, get some rest. More recently, scientists have started to study brain plasticity and how sleep – in particular, our REM time – is important in clearing the mind and improving memory and the ability to learn.
TIP: Unplug, no screen time 30-60 mins prior to bed. This means no e-reader, no TV, and no laptop. Just shut everything down and go to bed early.
This is the one that almost all of humanity wishes to completely ignore when they decide to get in shape. Yet as far as a singular health tip goes, it stops people from wanting to make a change. As a personal trainer, I wish I had a dollar every time I hear a client say that they eat fine and that is not why they are 50 or 60 lbs overweight. I once had a 300 lbs client say eating is fine because they are vegan so therefore they do not need to make food changes. Let me make this simple for everyone, if you are overweight you need to make food changes because you cannot get fat without a nutrition problem.
TIP: Stop kidding yourself and just eat right. If you hesitate and ask yourself: is this healthy or not? Easiest way to make a change is to eat only whole foods. If you pick up a package and there are more than three ingredients or any that you can’t buy on their own, put it down and walk away.
Most important thing to know about stress is that it will kill you. I know it sounds cliché or an old wives’ tale, but this one is real. Excessive stress is slowly killing you, the problem is: it does this indirectly by altering your body functions. Elevating blood pressures, affecting blood sugar levels, releasing toxins into the body, reducing sleep, creating mood swings, and altering appetite. But hey, we all need to work, we all have family, and we all have personal needs and wants that are not being fulfilled so stress is just a part of life. Although true it is part of life, but when left unmanaged, it is a deadly part of life so everyone needs to do something about it.
TIP: Meditate. Pause. Okay… now that you have stopped laughing, I need to tell you something that you may not know about meditation. It is not the “ohmm”, eyes closed, and think of nothing that people think it is. Meditation is different for each person, and it shares a common theme: clear your mind of all the crap. Personally, I like to take a slow hike in the woods or on the beach with my dog and just not think about work, family, or all those little things I cannot solve. Instead, just be with nature and my very non-judgemental best friend.
#4 Mental Well-being
Currently in the news, there is a ton of articles and stories on mental health or mental well-being, especially with the recent number of child suicides. Good mental well-being is defined as having confidence in yourself by having the ability to know your limits and set reasonable standards. The ability to feel and express a wide range of emotions. The ability to build and maintain relationships with people. The ability to handle daily stresses, live, and work productively. A breakdown in one area does not mean you are not healthy, it just means that you may want to address it, and make changes before it creates a domino effect.
TIP: Take a long hard look at your work life balance. If you are in the negative, here it will eventually throw other areas out of balance. As a personal trainer, it can be easy for me because our jobs are essentially lifestyle jobs. We work in the mornings and afternoons and have irregular schedules that allow us free time to pursue other interests. If your work is all consuming then a change may be needed to get that work-life balance.
Finally, we are back where we started with exercise, and what is the best thing a person can do. There is a really short and easy answer to this question as well. Exercise should be done every day, and it should be enjoyable. I know some are laughing again, but I am serious. Everyday people need to do something active. I will not judge on what that is, more just to encourage you to do it. I have had several debates with trainers on what constitutes exercise and fitness professionals will probably argue this for eternity. My simple rules are: does it get you moving? And are you doing it for a sustained period of time? If you have those two things, you are being active and getting some exercise.
TIP: Variety is the spice of life, but it is also the spice of exercise and activity. Do not bottleneck yourself into one thing. Yoga will not cure all nor will strength training or cardio. Instead, add all of these and a little weekend golfing, gardening or hiking, and you will have more balance and more successes.
Now you have all of the information you need to get out there, make a few changes, and strive for that new fitness or health goal. Remember, if you have any questions or want to work with a personal trainer, we make the exercise part to be fun. Then, book a complimentary Fitness Assessment at Momentum Fitness, and take the first step in reaching your goals!
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Posted by Barry
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