My Top 4 Favourite Supplements!

I’ve tried many, many supplements in my day.  My first one was some sort of fat burner that I ordered from an ad in a magazine.  It think it was Dr. Sister’s fat burner or something.  I was so excited when I got the free sample.  On the sample it said 4 pills is all you need to start seeing results!  The sample only had 3 and I was too young to own a credit card so I couldn’t order a full dose.  I’m sure that was for the best.

Of all the many supplements I’ve tried I’ve settled on 4 which are my favourite.  Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Protein powder.

For me protein powder is essential.  I use it right after my workout and the convenience of it is perfect for a lazy girl like me.  I use either Kaizen or Diesel.  Both are made from New Zealand whey protein.  The reason this is important to me is because New Zealand is held to super strict standards.  Their cows are grass fed and raised without hormones or antibiotics.  There’s more to it than that but that would be a new post in itself.

  1. Fat burners.

I tried A LOT of fat burners.  The owner of the supplement store I bought them from called me his Guinee pig because I was in there trying something new so often.  Some were good, some not so good.  The one I’ve settled on is Onset by Diesel.  I really like Onset because it gives me energy without making me feel jittery or nauseous.  Also, when showed it to my coach she told me I could keep using it right up until my drug tested competition.  This meant that there were no banned substances in it which is super important to me.

  1. Creatine.

I’ve used creatine in the past and when my coach told me to start taking it again for my lean bulking season I didn’t even hesitate.  Creatine is great for helping to build and maintain muscle.  I’ve used creatine monohydrate before and now I’m using creatine HCL.  Both seem to work great for me.  I was told that creatine HCL doesn’t seem to cause the water weight gain that creatine monohydrate sometimes does.  I’ve actually never noticed any kind of water weight gain with either.

  1. Exogenous ketones.

I first tried exogenous ketones about a year ago and quite liked them.  I seemed to have more energy and a clearer head.  I only use it when my carb intake is super low though such as when I’m cutting.  Right now I’m bulking which means I’m eating a lot of carbs.  Exogenous ketones do not cancel out carbs – they assist you with getting in and staying in ketosis.  If I were to take them now with my high carb diet I’d be throwing money away and ketones are not cheap!

Less Can Be More

As I mentioned, I’ve tried A LOT of supplements and used to take A LOT.  Over the years I’ve found what works for me and stick with the tried and true and make sure that my lifestyle supports my supplement choices.  It can be tempting to take a bunch of stuff that promises to make you lean and energetic but remember, people who come up with these miracle pills really just want your money.  Be picky and if you’re not sure what you need, talk to a pro 😉

My Top 5 Favourite Fitness Fads

I’ve been in the fitness industry for almost 20 years now and I’ve seen a lot of stuff.  People wanting to make money in this industry have come up with some pretty great and some pretty crazy stuff.

Here are my top 5 favourite fitness fads.  Some are solid ideas while a few are just hilarious!

  1. Tae Bo

Who doesn’t remember seeing Billy Blanks on those infomercials for Tae Bo.  Tae Bo is an aerobic workout that combines Tae Kwon Do and boxing and became HUGELY popular in the 90’s and continues to be popular up until just a few years ago.  Tae Bo didn’t just influence the people who bought the videos either.  It started a big ‘cardio-kickboxing’ trend in gyms that is still seen today.  I used to teach it in a few of the gyms I worked at!

The great thing about this past trend is it was a solid workout that got results.  It was a bit gimmicky in the way it was presented but it was a fun workout that got a lot of people in shape and started a new type of group fitness class at gyms all across the country.

  1. The Thigh Master

Ah the Thigh Master.  Just put it between your thighs and squeeze!  It may not have been the most effective way to get in shape but they did a heck of a job marketing it because it’s probably one of the most memorable fitness fads of the late 80s to early 90s.

  1. Tony Little’s Gazette Glider

You may not remember the glider but surely you remember the larger than life Tony Little.  That long flowing hair/baseball cap combination with his personality was absolutely mesmerizing – you couldn’t look away even if you wanted to.  The Glider was a good tool to get people moving but probably ended up being used as a clothes hanger by anyone who bought one.  By the way, this is not to knock the glider, this is how the majority of home gym equipment ends up.

  1. Jane Fonda Aerobic Videos

I’m sure I’m not the only one who put on a body suit and leotards and worked out to Jane Fonda videos!  Some of the exercises might seem a little hokey but they are totally solid and many are still being used today!  Jane Fonda had a HUGE influence on fitness fashion and aerobic classes that are still found at gyms today.

  1. The Shake Weight

Okay…for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Shake Weight, it’s basically a dumbbell that you shake until it starts to vibrate.  Picture that….it’s a bit sexually suggestive….Personally I think the people who invented it knew that any video of anyone using this thing would surely go viral and it did.

What Will Be The Next Great Fitness Fad?

There are lots of fitness fads that have and will come and go.  Some great for getting in shape, some great for making you laugh.  If you’re going to indulge in a fitness fad do some research and make sure it’s safe and make sure it’s something you’ll do….at least for a little while 😉

Top 10 Lies (that you tell yourself) That Keep You From Going To The Gym

Let’s just be honest here.  Working out causes discomfort and for the most part people like to avoid discomfort.  Here’s the thing though.  A small amount of discomfort is SO worth the benefits of working out.

Here are the top 5 lies that you’ve probably told yourself that has kept you from going to the gym:

  1. I have no time.

Come on!  There are 24 hours in a day.  Are you really trying to convince yourself that within that 24 hours it’s impossible for you to dedicate just 1 hour (or less) a day to improve your health?  Try getting up just a bit earlier and fit in a quick workout before work.  You’ll be more energetic, more productive and take less sick days (it’s been proven!)

How about getting in a 20-30 minute workout on your lunch hour?  Or make a deal with yourself that before you can go home after work you have to hit the gym first.  There are ways to fit in daily physical activity.  Don’t over think it, just get your butt moving!

  1. Working out is boring.

Working out is not boring if you find the right kind of workout for your personality.  Are you competitive?  Try Cross Fit.  Are you motivated when with other people?  Join a group fitness class.  Like sports?  Join a league.

And really, does everything you do have to be super exciting?  If you still think working out is boring, think about your long term health and how it will affect you and your loved ones and suck it up!

  1. I’m too out of shape.

Ummmm….the gym is meant to get you in shape.  I totally understand feeling self-conscious but if someone is judging you when you’re doing something to help improve your life that’s their problem.   I love that quote – what other people think of you is none or your business.  You’d probably by shocked that most people at your gym are way to focused on themselves and don’t even notice you.  And even if they do notice you and have an opinion that opinion will not change your life in the way that adopting a healthy lifestyle will.

  1. It’s too expensive.

Working out does not have to be expensive.  There are gyms that will cost about a dollar a day.  You can’t spare a dollar?  Think about the things you spend your money on.  Are you buying take out coffee?  Drop that habit and start making coffee at home and you’ll have paid for about a week at a gym.  Still think you can’t afford it?  Don’t join a gym.  Go outside!  You can go for a run and on the way stop and do some pushups, squats, lunges, dips….if you need more ideas contact me and I’ll share my bootcamp workouts with you.

Another option is to YouTube workout videos that you can do at home.  There are lots here.

5. Not motivated enough.

If you tell yourself you’re not motivated that you won’t be.  Whatever you think will become your reality.  Being unmotivated is a decision that you make.  If you need something to get you started maybe sign up for an event.  Or google inspirational quotes.

People are motivated by things that they really want.  All you need is a goal that resonates deeply with you.  Maybe it’s to be able to move without pain, or to live to see your grandchildren grow up, or to not be a burden on your loved ones as you age, or to participate in something you’ve always wanted to try.  Motivation will not just appear on its own!  You have to find it and then light a fire underneath yourself!

No More Lies!

Time to cut out the lies and do something that will improve your health and quality of living.  It’s your responsibility to look after your body.  And really, when you think about it an hour a day is nothing when it means that you’ll live a fuller, richer life.

Effing Belly Fat!

A lot of my clients complain that as they get older their belly seems to be getting bigger.  Unfortunately, that’s a natural thing that happens to most people.  They also complain that no matter how hard they exercise or how well they stick to their nutrition plan that belly just won’t budge.  This actually isn’t entirely true though.  It’s true that belly fat is hard to lose but it’s not impossible.  As you decrease your body fat your belly is shrinking, just not as fast as the rest of your body is.

What’s The Deal With Belly Fat?

Fat burning is a two-step process.  The first step is lipolysis which is when the fat cell releases fatty acids into the blood.  The second step is oxidation which is the process whereby cells use those fatty acids for energy.

Lipolysis is stimulated by the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline which are catecholamines.  The catecholamines enter your blood stream and then attach themselves to special receptors on your fat cells.  Once these catecholamines attach themselves they cause the fat cells to release their fatty acids which can then be used by other cells in your body.

Sounds simple enough, right?  Here’s where the frustration comes in.  There are two types of receptors on your fat cells that the catecholamines attach to: alpha receptors and beta receptors.  Beta receptors are the ones that trigger the release of fatty acids whereas the alpha receptors hinder it.  It just so happens that fat cells in your belly and quite often hips and thighs have more alpha receptors than beta receptors making them resistant to your fat loss efforts.

You Are Not Doomed!

Now that you know the facts you can understand why certain areas of the body seem to resist fat loss.  The good news is this doesn’t mean that you can’t lose fat from those trouble areas, it just means you need to do the right stuff and then be patient.

Tried And True Fat Loss Tips

  1. Eat enough of the right foods

Do NOT be tempted to starve your fat away!  This just backfires in the end.  Make sure you’re getting enough calories to support your body and your activity level.  You can either hire sports nutritionist or Google the info.  Then you need to make sure you’re getting your calories from the right sources.  Personally, I like to eat about 40% protein, 30% carbs and 30% fat.  Depending on my training and my goals I find about 1800-1900 calories feels good.  This just seems to work well for my body.  I mainly eat clean whole foods and supplement with a high-quality whey protein shake and egg whites if I need to bump my protein up a bit.  Everyone is different to be ready to experiment a bit and try to avoid going to extremes on anything.  Your body hates extremes.

  1. Lift weights!

I cannot stress this enough!  You must lift some heavy weights (especially as you get older) if you want a healthy body composition.  A lot of women fight it but every single one of my female clients who I’ve talked into lifting heavy has at some point sent me a message thanking me because they’re finally seeing the results they want!  If you’ve never lifted before you really need to hire a qualified trainer to show you proper technique.  Heavy weight training is awesome when done right, dangerous when done wrong.

  1. Stop doing so much cardio!!!

Are you one of those people who spends hours and hours a week doing cardio and feel frustrated with your results?  I was!!  That’s because too much cardio tells your body it needs to get really good at storing energy (ie FAT) so that it can fuel the long grueling cardio workouts you keep making it do.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t do cardio, just don’t do marathon steady state sessions.  Instead do HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.  HIIT is where you go as hard as you can for a short period of time, recover and then repeat.  These workouts can be as short as 15-20 minutes including the warm-up.  There are lots of studies that have been done to prove how effective HIIT is.

A dehydrated body is a sick body.  All of your cells absolutely require a certain amount of water every day.  Your kidneys need enough water to function properly.  If you’re dehydrated your kidney’s can’t do their job of purifying the blood.  When this happens, your liver has to help your kidneys out.  Your liver’s main function is to metabolize fat.  If the liver is having to help the kidneys do their job it can’t metabolize fat as efficiently.   Aim for about 3-4 litres/day.

  1. Supplement wisely.

Don’t be tempted by the latest miracle pill that’s going to ‘melt the fat right off your body’.  There are some great supplements that you can try but be sure they’re from a reputable company and be sure you use them as they’re meant to be used: AS A SUPPLEMENT.  This means that you need to already have your nutrition and fitness plan dialed in before supplements can help you.  There are some great fat burners but if you’re using fat burners without moving your body they won’t do a thing for you except make you super hyper and maybe a bit nauseous.  Exogenous ketones can be a great supplement but only when used in conjunction with a keto or keto-like diet (in other words low carb).

Don’t Get Frustrated

I know it’s frustrating when you’re doing everything you need to do but your results are slow or even seem non-existent.  The good news is you can lose that fat!  The bad news is you’ll need to be patient and perhaps more diligent than you have in the past.  Fall in love with the process and be consistent and persistent!

Does Weight Loss Slow Down Your Metabolism?

Have you ever lost weight only to gain it back plus more?  Why does that happen and what can you do to avoid it?

 Weight Loss and Metabolism

Metabolism is how much energy your body burns.  You burn calories at rest, while exercising and while digesting food.  Your metabolic rate will depend on your size, your activity level and your genetics.

Losing weight does in fact cause your metabolism to slow down because there is less of you to move around.  This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to gain your weight back though.  You just need to adapt your life to your new size.

Here are some things you can do to help keep your metabolism running well:

  1. Lose weight slowly.

Your body actually does not want to lose weight.  When you lose weight your body sees that as a threat to your existence so it slows its metabolism down in an effort to conserve energy.   If you lose weight fast using extreme measures your body will fight back even more.  The trick is to lose it slowly by slightly decreasing your calories and adding a moderate amount of exercise to your plan.  You should aim to lose about 1 pound per week.

  1. Hit the weights!

Have you been doing a ton of cardio but the weight is just not coming off?  Like excessive calorie restriction, excessive cardio will cause your body to slow it’s metabolism down to conserve energy.  Back off a bit on the cardio and add some heavy weight training.  Don’t worry ladies, you will not get bulky.  Lifting heavy weights will cause you to gain muscle.  Muscle is a metabolically active tissue which means it requires a certain amount of energy just to exist.  This is why people who are more muscular burn more calories.  You need to vary your strength workouts but aim to start with lifting enough to fatigue your muscles within 8-10 reps.  Do 3 or 4 sets with about 2 minutes between sets to allow your muscles to recover and be able to get through the next set.

  1. Change things up regularly.

Variety is the spice of life!  The body is an amazing machine that can adapt to anything that life throws at it.  This is great for some situations but not for weight loss.  If you’ve been eating the same thing and doing the same exercises for a long time you have to switch it up.  Have you noticed that you don’t get as sore as you used to from your workouts?  Have you noticed that even though you haven’t changed your diet you seem to be gaining weight?  This is because your body has adapted to what you’re doing and will no longer change.  It’s up to you to provide a different stimulus for your body.

4. Hydrate.

A dehydrated body will never perform optimally.  Not only can dehydration affect your weight, it can also affect your mental health.  Aim for 3-4 litres/day.  Drink more on more active and/or hotter days.

You Are Not Doomed To Gain Your Weight Back

Even though your metabolism does slow down when you lose weight this does not mean you are doomed to gain your weight back.  Keep in mind the 4 tips I gave you and realize that your new body needs to be cared for and treated differently than your old body.  If you need help, that’s what I’m here for 😊

Benefits Of Being Mindful

Some Benefits of Being Mindful

Being mindful is something we should all practice.  It means focusing on the present moment and not letting distractions pull you away.  Here are some benefits of being mindful:

  1. Improved sense of well-being

    People who practice mindfulness are less likely to be as stressed.  They’re not worrying about the future and they’re not grinding on the past.  They’re able to enjoy each moment and by doing that are able to create stronger bonds with those they love.

  2. Improved physical health

    Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can actually have a positive impact on your health.  Here are some health benefits of mindfulness:

  • Helps to relieve stress
  • Helps to lower blood pressure
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Improves sleep
  1. Improved mental health.

    There have also been studies done that show mindfulness can improve your mental health.  It can help treat:

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

How To Practice Mindfulness

Here are three things you can start doing today to help you be more mindful and live a more rewarding life:

  1. Breathe.  Sounds simple right? You’d be surprised though by how often most of us are not breathing properly.  When you have a few free minutes find a quiet spot.  Just sit and focus on your breath.  I find it helps to follow a count: breathe in for 4 counts then out for 4 counts.  As you get better you can extend your count.  You’ll be surprised by how easy this makes it to focus on just your breath and drown everything else out.
  2. Become aware of your body. Find a quiet spot for this too.  This will take a bit more focus.  If you can lie down in a comfortable spot.  Close your eyes and then start focusing on different parts of your body.  Start at your feet.  Spend some time here and focus on what you’re feeling in your feet.  Then slowly work your way up your body.  Notice if you’re feeling any tightness.  If you do try to let the tightness go.  This brings us to the third thing to try.
  3. Let go of tension. When we’re distracted and/or stressed our body will become tense.  For most people this tension is most noticeable in their neck and shoulders.  You’re probably holding tension in other areas too.  In your quiet spot, while you’re breathing deeply and becoming aware of your body look for those tense spots.  Once you find one focus on letting it go.  Keep doing this for each tense spot in your body.  This could take a bit of time so if you’re short on time focus on one area today and do the others on another day.

Go Be Mindful

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and lose the ability to be mindful.  You might think you’re doing a great job of multi-tasking and getting lots done but really in the end you’re only giving a small part of yourself to things that require a large part.  Becoming mindful will change your outlook on life and you’ll be able to deeply connect with the people and things that are truly important to you.  Mindfulness leads to a rich and rewarding life.

Simple Steps To Do Anything You Want to do

Simple Steps To Do Anything You Want to do

  1. Define your goals.

Make your goals very specific.  Write down exactly what you want no matter how crazy it may seem.

  1. Decide how bad you want it.

Now that you have your goals, decide how badly you want it.  Things are going to get tough sometimes so you need to really love it.  When you’re having a bad day and don’t want to do what you need to do will the thought of the outcome you’re working towards be enough to motivate you?  Don’t waste time start on a path to something you don’t really want that bad.

  1. Create your plan of action and break it down into steps.

If your goal is to lose weight and be healthy you need a plan.  Where are you going to workout?  Do you need to join a gym?  When will you workout?  Write it on your schedule.  What healthy foods do you need to have in your house?  When are you going to go shopping for them?  What unhealthy things do you need to get rid of?  Plan every step and then DO THE STEPS.

  1. Focus on each part of your plan.

Stay focused!  Don’t half ass anything.  Using the fitness goal, when you’re doing your workouts focus your workout.  When you’re out shopping for healthy foods take a list and stick to the list.

  1. Be consistent and persistent.

Consistency and persistence are key.  There will be days you don’t feel like doing what you need to do.  There will be days where you feel like you’re getting nowhere and you’ll question why you’re even doing it.  Push through that!  Do what you need to do everyday no matter what.  Sometimes the journey is tough, but the outcome is worth it (assuming you did step 2).

  1. Visualize yourself having reached your goal.

Spend some time every day or every other day visualizing your life once you’ve reached your goal.  How will you feel?  Take time to focus on how great you’re going to feel.  The long term pay off is pretty much always better than the instant gratification you feel you need in a given moment.

How To Build Your Own Workout Program

How To Build Your Own Fitness Program

A personal trainer is an awesome thing to have but not everyone wants to invest in one.  Here are some tips so you can build your own effective fitness program.

Mix it up!

If you do the same workout over and over again your body will adapt to it and you won’t see any progress after a while.  You need to change up your exercises and your rep range about once every 4-6 weeks.

Changing your rep range is super important and it’s something that a lot of people neglect to do.  Each rep range has a specific outcome:

  • 15 or more reps is used to develop endurance. This is also a great place for someone brand new to weight training to start.
  • 8-12 reps is used to increase muscle size.
  • 4-6 reps is used to develop strength. NOTE: do not attempt this if don’t already have a good base of strength built up.
  • 1-3 reps is used to develop maximal strength. NOTE: if you are new to weight training DO NOT do maximal strength training until you’ve built a good base of strength and you’ve consulted with a qualified trainer.

Changing your exercises is important.  You can easily search different exercises for the same muscle group on YouTube for ideas.

If you are brand new to weight training go to your local gym or rec centre and set up a free consultation with a trainer – most gyms/rec centres offer this.  When done correctly weight training will get you great results but if done incorrectly you can really injure yourself.

Stay balanced.

Make sure you’re working all you muscle groups equally.  A lot of people focus on what I call the ‘mirror muscles’.  These are the muscles you see in the mirror such as chest, quads, shoulders and biceps.  If you ignore the opposing muscle groups you’ll develop a muscle imbalance with can lead to bad posture and eventually injury.

A good rule of thumb is when you work one muscle group do the same amount of work on the opposing muscle group.  Follow a bench press with a seated row; follow bicep curls with tricep extensions; follow leg extensions with a seated hamstring curl.

Order matters!  Do tougher exercises first.

When coming up with your program be sure to do the exercises that require more muscle groups and more strength first.

For instance, do your heavy squats and deadlifts at the beginning of your workout.  Next move onto exercises that target two or more muscle groups such as bench press and rows.  Finally do your exercises that hit just one muscle group such as hamstring curls, leg extensions, bicep curls, tricep extensions, flies, and lateral raises.

Move in all directions!

Most of what we do in the gym (and life) is done in the sagittal plane (forward and back).  Think  bench press, squats, lunges, bicep curls, sit-ups, treadmill, bike.

There are two other planes that cannot be ignored:

  • Frontal plane which moves side to side. Think lateral lunges, lateral raises, speed skaters.
  • Transverse plane which contains rotational movements. Think Russian twist, wood chops, T-pushups.

Ready To Get Started?

Follow these tips for a great, well rounded fitness program.  If you’re still unsure of where to start invest in one training session with a qualified trainer to help get you started or do a Google search for workout programs.  Just be careful with your Google search.  Just because you found it on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct 😉