Benefits Of Listening To Music

I absolutely LOVE music.  If I’m having a bad day and need a pick-me-up listening to my favourite music always works.  Music has the ability to change your mood, take you back to a different time and even lower your blood pressure.  There are many more benefits of listening to music so let’s take a look.

7 Benefits Of Listening To Music

  1. Improves athletic performance.

Studies have shown that exercise can actually improve your athletic performance by reducing the feeling of fatigue and improving motor coordination.  If you’re not feeling like doing your workout, get your favourite playlist and get to it!

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety.

Music has the ability to reduce your stress and/or anxiety by actually reducing cortisol levels.  The next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious try listening to your favourite down-tempo music.  This can be really helpful if you have a stressful commute.

  1. Reduces pain.

They’re not sure of the exact mechanism here but they suspect that music’s impact on the release of dopamine plays a role.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and relaxed.  I know that when I get tattoos it really helps when I’m enjoying the music that they’re playing.

  1. Improves your immune system.

Listening to music causes an increase of immunoglobulin A in your body which is an antibody that helps keep cells healthy.  As mentioned above, music also decreases cortisol and high cortisol levels  can cause a decrease in immune response.

  1. Helps your brain.

A study showed that young children who took music lessons showed different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year than children who didn’t take music lessons.  Music even helps people struggling with memory problems.  A study showed that stroke patients who listened to music daily showed significant improvement in memory and were able to focus better.

  1. Helps you sleep better.

Listening to soothing music before bed helps you sleep better and get a better rest.  Soothing music reduces sympathetic nervous system activity, relaxes your muscles, alleviates anxiety and helps to distract you from thoughts that may be keeping you from falling asleep.

  1. Helps lower blood pressure.

Listening to calming music or music that makes you happy actually helps to lower your blood pressure.

Improve Your Day With Music!

If you’re having a bad day, try putting on your favourite music.  You’ll be surprised how music can take you to a happier place.

Wholey Fit Daily Sweat! 20/30!

20/30

Warm-up for 5-10 minutes before you start and cool down and stretch for 5-10 minutes when you’re done.

 3 Rounds

20 1-Legged Deadlift (10/side)

30 V-Sit with a twist (1-1)

20 Cross-Overs (10/side)

30 1-Legged Glute Bridges (15/side)

20 Side Plank Reach Under (10/side)

45 sec. High Knees (out out in in)

Interesting Benefits of Chia Seeds

I was recently visiting with a girlfriend of mine who’s an avid runner and she mentioned that she uses chia seeds in her morning shake.  I’ve heard of chia seeds before and know they’re good for you but she told me something I wasn’t aware of.  Chia seeds actually help to keep you hydrated!  I decided that I had better look into the benefits of chia seeds!

5 Interesting Benefits of Chia Seeds

  1. Helps with hydration.

Chia seeds absorb 30 times their weight in water!  For you this means that they will help regulate your body fluid levels and retain electrolytes.  Both of these factors will help you to safely get through long workouts even when the heat and humidity are high.

  1. Reduces Inflammation and joint pain.

Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory which means they’ll help reduce inflammation in your body which will help reduce joint pain.

  1. Accelerates post workout recovery.

Two important things needed for post workout recovery are amino acids and antioxidants.  Chia seeds contain both!

  1. Keeps you energized.

Chia seeds are very absorbent.  They expand to up to 10 times their size when soaked in water and form a gel-like substance.  This gel-like substance will actually slow down the rate at which you turn carbohydrates into sugar.  This means that the carbs you eat will be able to fuel your body for longer periods of time and also stabilizes your blood sugar.

  1. Helps with weight loss.

If you’re trying to lose weight you should start adding chia seeds to your diet.  They’re high in fibre and nutritionally dense which means they’ll fill you up and provide you with extra nutients without adding a lot of extra calories.  And, as mentioned above, their absorbent qualities help to regulate blood sugar so you don’t get those spikes and drops which can wreak havoc on your body and appetite.  Some studies have shown that chia seeds also help prevent high cholesterol and high triglycerides.

How To Start Using Chia Seeds Today!

Chia seeds can be used in many different ways.  You can eat them as is or try adding them to a salad, oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese.  The possibilities are endless!  Some people like to make a chia seed drink by soaking 1 or 2 tablespoons in water for 5-10 minutes.  The taste is a very mild nutty taste. The texture is very gel-like though so if you’re sensitive to textures you may not like this option.  My friend adds them to her smoothie.

Keep in mind that chia seeds are very high in fibre which means they could cause digestive issues if you’re not used to having a lot of fibre in your diet.  As with anything new, start small to see how your body handles it.

The Right Workout Program For Your Body Type

What is the right workout program for your body type?  Each person has their own specific body type which is why there’s no one perfect fit for all when it comes to exercise and nutrition.  Basically, there are 3 body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.  Some people fall perfectly into one category and some will be in between.  Let’s look at the different body types and what workout programs work best for each one.

What Body Type Are You?

To figure out what body type you are, check out this quick and easy test.

The Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are characterized by a thin build with relatively low muscle and fat.  People of this body type have a hard time putting on weight, whether it’s muscle or fat, and is typically not able to tolerate large amounts of weight training or cardio.  It might sound good to those of us who have struggled with our weight but believe me, ectomorphs are just as frustrated with not being able to gain weight as some of us are with not being able to lose weight.

Best training for ectomorphs
  • Because the ectomorph can’t tolerate large amounts of training, they have to start of slow. If they go too hard too soon they’ll end up in an over-trained condition which causes many problems.  They may also feel burned out and frustrated.
  • Workouts should be basic and under one hour in length.
  • Workouts need to be changed regularly. After 4-6 weeks on a program the ectomorph will need to change things up to support muscle hypertrophy.
  • Be consistent! If an ectomorph really wants to put on muscle they have to train consistently.
  • Form is crucial! This is true for everyone but even more so for ectomorphs.  Ectomorphs will have weaker muscles so if they try to go too heavy and sacrifice their form an injury is almost guaranteed.  They need to go lighter so their form is perfect.

The Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are characterized by an athletic and muscular frame with relatively low amounts of body fat.  They put on muscle and lose fat relatively easily.

Best training for mesomorphs
  • Go for high intensity. This body type can handle high intensity and high frequency because they have good recovery systems.  Their stronger body type means they are less prone to injury.
  • Try different weight training techniques. The mesomorph can handle the stress of training hard really well so they need to use techniques such as drop sets, rest pause training, negatives, forced reps, etc.
  • Change it up! Change things such as exercises, reps and speed of reps frequently to keep your body from adapting and no longer making progress.

The Endomorph

Endomorphs are characterized by a rounder body.  They put on fat and muscle relatively easy and have a difficult time losing fat.

Best training for endomorphs
  • High intensity weight training. Endomorphs tend to be quite strong so they don’t have to shy away from high intensity weight training.  This doesn’t mean that they should jump into an advanced training program – they still need to start slow – but they will be able to handle heavier weights and longer strength training workouts.  As they get more advanced they can start adding more advanced techniques such as drop sets, rest pause training, negatives, forced reps, etc.
  • Short intense sessions of cardio. Endomorphs don’t generally have very good endurance but they need cardio to help them lose excess fat.  High intensity interval training (HIIT) is going to be the best choice.  15-20 minutes of HIIT will be much more beneficial than long steady state workouts because it will burn more fat without burning muscle.

Figure Out Your Body Type So You Can Train More Effectively

Take the test in the link above to see what your body type is.  Chances are you may be a mix of more than one type.  Once you know what you’re dealing with it will become a lot easier to design a program fitness and nutrition that will get you the results you want.

How To Get Lean Without Getting Bulky

One question I get asked a lot from my female clients is how to get lean without getting bulky.  First of all, I want to stress to the women that lifting heavy will not make you bulky.  You won’t start looking like the hulk if you start lifting.  Women simply don’t have enough testosterone to build huge muscles.  The female bodybuilders that you see have to work REALLY hard to look the way they do.  Their training is super intense and their diet and supplements (if they use supplements) are planned specifically to support that kind of building.

I think where the confusion lies is when women gain some muscle but don’t lose fat or put fat on due to following the wrong type of nutrition plan.  Fat lies on top of the muscle so if you’re carrying extra fat or put fat on you might get a ‘bulky’ look.  This isn’t too hard to fix though.  Let’s look at what you have to do if you want to get lean without getting bulky.

How To Get Lean Without Getting Bulky

  • Watch your carb intake.

You don’t need to eliminate carbs but you do need to be aware of what carbs you’re eating and how much you’re eating.  Carbs are a very important part of your diet – they provide energy and also help with your strength.   You need the right kinds of carbs though.  Eliminate processed carbs such as crackers, commercial cereals, desserts etc.  Limit your intake of carbs such as rice, potatoes and pasta.  Be super careful about grains too as they cause inflammation.  If you need to eat bread get sprouted bread (in the refrigerated section).  Limit your fruit intake as well since eating a lot of it can result is spikes and crashes in blood sugar.  I recommend 1-2 servings a day and consume them early in the day when you’ll be sure to use the sugar for energy.  Eat lots of veggies.  Try to keep your carbs to about 30-35% of your total daily food intake.

  • Increase protein and make sure you’re getting enough fat.

We need protein to build and maintain muscle.  Did you know that more muscle means a higher metabolism?  Try upping your protein to about 40% of your daily food intake.  This might sound like a lot but it gets great results for most people.

Fat is another super important macronutrient that too many people are afraid of.  You NEED healthy fats in your diet in order for your body to be healthy!  Healthy fats are natural fats such as olive oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil and yes! BUTTER!  You absolutely need dietary fat if you want your metabolism to run at an optimum level.  Be sure to keep your fat intake to about 20-25% of your daily food intake.

  • LIFT!!!!!

If you want a lean strong body you need to lift heavy!  Don’t be afraid of the heavy weights ladies!!!!  If you start a strength training program and start to notice your clothes are fitting tighter it’s because your nutrition is off and your body is hanging onto or adding more fat.  Remember, working out does NOT justify eating whatever you want.  You have to get your nutrition right if you want to get lean.  Don’t use the scale as your gage though.  5lbs of muscle takes up way less space than 5lbs of fat, but the scale doesn’t differentiate between fat weight and lean weight.

  • Don’t overdo the cardio.

I know it’s tempting.  Many people, including myself make this mistake.  I thought that the way to lose weight and look toned and strong was to do cardio until the weight fell off.  This doesn’t work.  If anything, it does the opposite.  Too much cardio will actually hinder muscle growth.  Actually, if you’re overdoing your cardio, your body becomes catabolic and actually starts to ‘eat’ your muscle for fuel!  Less muscle means a slower metabolism which leads to weight gain and frustration.  Aim for 30-45 minutes of cardio 3-4 days per week.

Another thing that will cause your body to become catabolic?  Starving yourself.  To figure out approximately how many calories you need per day use this calorie calculator.

A Balanced Approach To Your Health & Fitness

I think where most people go wrong is they assume they have to go extreme at the gym and with their diet in order to get the results they want.  Extreme’s not going to work for the average person.  You need to eat healthy and exercise in a balanced and healthy way.

Figure out how many calories you need to eat and calculate  your macros to be about 40% protein, 35% carbs and 25% fat.  Use an app such as My Fitness Pal to track your macros.  Track your results.  If you’re not getting the results you want try tweaking something – maybe you need a bit less of something or a little more of something.

Get someone to help you design a proper workout program or search for something online.  Again, track your results and if you’re not getting what you want out of it try tweaking a thing or two.  Every body is different and will react differently to nutrition and exercise so you need to be ready to try a few things before you find what works for you.

Need help?  Ask me!

Wholey Fit Daily Sweat! Pyramid Time!

Pyramid Time!

Warm-up for 5-10 minutes before you start and cool down and stretch for 5-10 minutes when you’re done.

Complete Up To 5 Rounds

30 Seconds High Knees

10 Burpees

20 Toe Touches

30 Cross body Mountain Climbers

40 Squat Jumps

50 Jumping Jacks

40 Russian Twists (1-1)

30 Glute Bridges

20 Up Down Planks (or hold an elbow plank for 45 seconds)

10 Burpees

30 Seconds High Knees

Rest 90 Seconds

Fitness Tests You Can Do At Home

Evaluating your fitness is a great tool to use to keep you motivated and moving forward.  Fitness tests should be a part of your routine.  Whether you’re a gym member or not you can incorporate fitness tests as part of your regime.

Why Are Fitness Tests Important?

Here are some of the benefits:

  • It makes you aware of your strengths and weaknesses so you know what you need to work on to create balance in your body.
  • Monitors your progress which shows you how well your workout program is working (or not working).
  • Lets you know when you need to change up your fitness routine. If you’re not seeing any new progress it’s time to switch things up.

Fitness Tests You Can Do At Home

Not everyone wants to spend the money on a fitness assessment done at a gym so here are some you can do at home.  Be sure to keep a fitness journal to record your results and mark it on your calendar to make sure you’re doing them regularly.  Schedule them for every 6-8 weeks.

  1. For muscular strength and endurance: Pushup Test

Perform as many pushups as you can in 1 minute.  Men should do these from their toes, women have the option of doing them from their knees.  When the timer starts lower yourself until your chest is about 3 inches from the floor.  Perform as many as you can in a minute – if you need to take a rest you have to hold the ‘up’ position while resting.

Ratings for Men, based on Age
 20-29  30-39  40-49  50-59  60+
 Excellent  > 54  > 44 > 39 > 34  > 29
 Good  45-54  35-44  30-39  25-34  20-29
 Average  35-44  24-34  20-29  15-24  10-19
 Poor  20-34  15-24  12-19  8-14  5-9
 Very Poor  < 20  < 15  < 12  < 8  < 5
Ratings for Women, based on Age
20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent >36 >37 >31 >25 >23
Good 30-36 30-37 25-31 21-25 19-23
Average 12-22 10-21 8-17 7-14 5-12
Poor 2-6 1-4 1-3 1-2 1
Very Poor 0-1 0 0 0 0

 

  1. For abdominal strength and endurance: Crunch Test

This is a regular crunch but there are guidelines.  Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels about 18 inches from your butt.  Place your arms at your sides, palms down, finger tips by your hips.  Measure 6 inches from your fingertips and place a marker there.   Keeping your hands on the floor do a crunch and let your fingertips slide along the floor until they reach the marker.  Return to start position.  This is 1 rep.  Do as many as you can in 1 minute and record the number.  Only count the ones where your fingertips actually touch the marker.

 

Ratings for Men, Based on Age
Rating < 35 years 35-44 years > 45 years
Excellent 60 50 40
Good 45 40 25
Marginal 30 25 15
Needs Work 15 10 5

Ratings for Women, Based on Age

Rating < 35 years 35-44 years > 45 years
Excellent 50 40 30
Good 40 25 15
Marginal 25 15 10
Needs Work 10 6 4

 

  1. For Aerobic Fitness: 3 Minute Step Ups

You’ll need a 12 inch step/bench that’s sturdy.  Stand facing the step/bench and set a metronome to 96 beats/minute (if you don’t have a metronome download an app).  Start the clock and step up, up, down, down on the beat (96 bpm).  You can rest when needed but stay standing.  Once the 3 minutes are up, sit down immediately on the  step/bench and count your pulse for 1 full minute.

 

Ratings for Men, Based on Age
18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent 50-76 51-76 49-76 56-82 60-77 59-81
Good 79-84 79-85 80-88 87-93 86-94 87-92
Above Average 88-93 88-94 92-88 95-101 97-100 94-102
Average 95-100 96-102 100-105 103-111 103-109 104-110
Below Average 102-107 104-110 108-113 113-119 111-117 114-118
Poor 111-119 114-121 116-124 121-126 119-128 121-126
Very Poor 124-157 126-161 130-163 131-159 131-154 130-151
Ratings for Women, Based on Age
18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent 52-81 58-80 51-84 63-91 60-92 70-92
Good 85-93 85-92 89-96 95-101 97-103 96-101
Above Average 96-102 95-101 100-104 104-110 106-111 104-111
Average 104-110 104-110 107-112 113-118 113-118 116-121
Below Average 113-120 113-119 115-120 120-124 119-127 123-126
Poor 122-131 122-129 124-132 126-132 129-135 128-133
Very Poor 135-169 134-171 137-169 137-171 141-174 135-155

 

  1. Don’t like the step up test? You can do the 1 Mile Walk Test instead.

Don’t attempt this test if you aren’t routinely walking 15-20 minutes several times per week.  Do not perform this on a treadmill as your results will be skewed.  Make sure you’ve measured out 1 mile and before you start the test be sure to warm up by walking slowly for 3-5 minutes.  Once you’re warmed up start your timer and walk your 1 mile as quickly as possible.  Note your time.

 

Ratings for Men, Based on Age
Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+
Excellent <11:54 <12:24 <12:54 <13:24 <14:06 <15:06
Good 11:54-13:00 12:24-13:30 12:54-14:00 13:24-14:24 14:06-15:12 15:06-15:48
Average 13:01-13:42 13:31-14:12 14:01-14:42 14:25-15:12 15:13-16:18 15:49-18:48
Fair 13:43-14:30 14:13-15:00 14:43-15:30 15:13-16:30 16:19-17:18 18:49-20:18
Poor >14:30 >15:00 >15:30 >16:30 >17:18 >20:18

Ratings for Women, Based on Age

Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+
Excellent <13:12 <13:42 <14:12 <14:42 <15:06 <18:18
Good 13:12-14:06 13:42-14:36 14:12-15:06 14:42-15:36 15:06-16:18 18:18-20:00
Average 14:07-15:06 14:37-15:36 15:07-16:06 15:37-17:00 16:19-17:30 20:01-21:48
Fair 15:07-16:30 15:37-17:00 16:07-17:30 17:01-18:06 17:31-19:12 21:49-24:06
Poor >16:30 >17:00 >17:30 >18:06 >19:12 >24:06

 

Time For Your Test!

Regular fitness tests are a great way to keep yourself motivated and prevent yourself from wasting your time spinning your wheels.  Numbers don’t lie and what you can learn from them will go a long way to improving your health and fitness.