Tag Archives: workout

3 Ways to Avoid a Snaccident

Ever roam the aisles of a drug store looking for a protein bar or healthy snack that taste good, is satisfying, or will fuel you up for a workout, and isn’t full of mystery ingredients? It’s a scary scavenger hunt most of us have been on that results in an ugly snaccident! When you eat the wrong thing or opt to skip a meal altogether the end result isn’t pretty. As a Fitness Trainer, Pro Athlete and Nutritionist I have learned to create an arsenal of perfect on-the-go snacks to pack in your gym bag to fuel a busy day. Here are three of my favorites!

  1. I make my own Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls to keep on hand when I need a boost. They satisfy my sweet tooth and are great for pre- or post-workout. Try this simple, easy to make recipe: 1/2-cup oats, two scoops of Vegan Protein Powder. I use Sprouted Living Vegan Chocolate Maca Protein Powder, one medium banana *mashed, 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and 1/4 cup honey OR 2 Tablespoons Yacon syrup, mix the ingredients in a bowl, roll the balls in unsweetened coconut and cacao nibs. Done and done.
  1. I am totally on board with having raw nuts-as-fuel, but post workout I suggest pairing them with a serving of Low GI fruit. Almond nut butter with pureed frozen banana is one of my favorite desserts to replace an ice-cream craving. Pre-portioned nut butter packets or ¼ cup portion control container for loose nuts are a great way to make this snack portable and help avoid ‘over-nutting.’ OD-ing on nuts can cause weight gain with just a few quick fistfuls.
  1. After a workout is when I suggest a protein shake. Bring a single serving of protein powder with you to the gym to mix with water, coconut water, or a greens juice to provide a delicious convenient liquid snack needed to reload your muscles. Having a single serve of protein powder in iced coffee or iced tea is a great carry along when traveling or stuck in meetings, and food munching isn’t an option.

Isn’t it great to know healthy snacking doesn’t have to be complicated? You now have on-the-go eating covered and you didn’t even have to cook!

Remember; Keep your Friends close, and your snacks closer.

Go Big & Go Home

Building muscle fast can be easy as one, two, three, if you go big and go home.

Here is an effective muscle building circuit that works multiple muscle groups in the least amount of time. One exercise targets your lower body and the Push-Pull exercises build your upper body.

The Workout:

  • Do 8-12 repetitions.
  • Do 3-6 rounds
  • Rest for 75 seconds after each exercise

The Circuit

Barbell Squat:

How To: Set your feet shoulder width apart. Hold bar across your upper back with overhand grip. Initiate the movement by first pushing your hips back, then bend your knees and lower your body as deep as you can. Drive your heels into the floor keeping your torso as upright as possible.

Pull up:

Trainer’s Tip: The difference between a chin up and a pull up is for a chin up, you use an underhand grip and for a pull up you use an overhand grip. Incase you’re wondering, a chin up is a little easier because it uses more biceps to assist with the range of motion. Because of this you can switch between pull-ups and chin up to target your biceps and back.

Barbell Shoulder Press:

What & Why: Shoulder presses target front and middle deltoids and triceps while activating the upper traps, rotator cuff and serratus anterior. Making it a great mass building exercise and improves the stability and mobility of the shoulders.

Break of Dawn: Calisthenics before Breakfast

Have you ever intended to work out in the afternoon or evening but wound up getting bummed out because you didn’t get the chance to exercise?

Or do you have a tough time getting started in the morning and feel sluggish throughout your day?

If the answer is yes and you want to promote brain function, improve focus, creativity and, above all, boost energy and your metabolism to help you burn more body fat throughout the rest of your day, I highly recommend you make time for a quick 15-30 minute calisthenic session first thing every morning.

If you already do your main workout in the morning, substitute this series of calisthenics on days when you don’t have time to go to the gym or boost your fitness by simply adding it in after work or while you’re on the road and in a hotel.

Making a short bodyweight workout part of your morning routine will have you feeling great. Moreover, it guarantees that you’ve done something active to build your health each day.

One of the greatest advantages of body-weight training is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, and there are a lot of exercises you can choose from to strengthen your entire body.

The three most essential movements for building strength and muscle with bodyweight training are push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.

Here are some basic calisthenics exercises to start with 3 to 5 rounds of 5-10 reps:

  • Negative Chins / Pull-ups –essential to strengthen your back and arms.
  • Pushups /Bar Push-ups – to build strong chest and triceps muscles and condition your core and shoulders.
  • Deep Squats & Lunges – to strengthen your legs and glutes.
  • Various dips – slow negatives will strengthen your whole upper-body.
  • Tucked L-sit & Leg raises will strengthen essential core muscles.
  • Rest: Plank 30-60 seconds between rounds.

Perform the workout upon rising, before you have anything solid to eat. Without a food energy source your body will look to your stored body fat for energy. If you are already quite lean, you can add a coffee and pre-workout BCAA’s with some lemon water to support lean muscle. After your morning workout, be sure to refuel with a healthy breakfast!

Get Fit for Less

Three Budget-friendly Home Fitness Tools!

It doesn’t take much to get in shape; as long as you commit to doing it.

It also doesn’t have to cost too much to make a positive contribution to your fitness routine.

Here are three pieces of equipment that you can find at most hardware stores across the country for less than $40 to get you started on your own home workout plan (for illustrative purposes, I’m using examples and pricing from items available at Home Depot).

Dowel
$2 to $7

dowelA 4-ft (122 cm) long, 1-in (2.5 cm) diameter wooden or PVC dowel.*A broomstick without the brush will also work. You can use a dowel for:

Overhead squats: hold the dowel overhead as you squat to work legs and buttocks, and scapular and core stabilization.

For standing twists: hold the dowel behind your head below your neck on your trapezius muscle with arms extended holding wider than shoulder width and twist your waist side to side to work obliques.

For side bends: hold it overhead and bend at the sides to work oblique.

You can also use it vertically for balance when doing lunges, dead lifts and squats.

Gliding disks
$11.95 each

gliderFour-inch gliders allow a homeowner to slide furniture and objects around with ease. Gliders can be used under household furniture, book cases, sofas, appliances, large beds, and cabinets. For your fitness program these are seriously fun and seriously heart pumping, gliding disks can really make you sweat. With these round plastic discs that slide easily on a smooth floor surface, you can do:

Lunges: including side and reverse lunges, allowing your feet to glide as you bring your body up and down which really isolates your front leg glute and hamstring.

Speed-skaters: Bend over like a speed skater and propel your body from side to side with your arms and legs to get a totally body cardio burn.

Core pushups:  Slide your hands together and apart, using your abs to keep you up.

Hip Thruster Ab Tucks: Place your feet on the discs while in a high plank position, use your core to tuck your knees toward your elbows and back out to starting position to strengthen your entire core strength.

Bungee Cord with Super Duty Carabiner
$6

carabinerAny exercise you can do with free weights you can do with tubing. A bungee cord is lightweight and perfect to take when traveling since it won’t weigh down your suitcase. The carabiner ends allow you to attach handles for $7 to triple its versatility.

How to use it:

Tubing squats: Stand on the tubing with feet shoulder width apart, while holding the handles. Keep your back straight, look forward, and lower your body as if you’re about to sit into a chair. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, squeeze your glutes to stand back up.  The tubing will add resistance to target the legs and glutes.

handleRows: wrap the tubing around a pillar or banister or another fixed object. Stand facing the tubing and grip the handles so your palms face in. Keep your back straight and retract your shoulder blades as you pull the tubing to your hips. This will target your back, shoulders and arms. You can intensify this exercise by sitting in a squatted position to target quads, glutes and core to the upper body burn.

Presses: Attach two handles to the end carabiners and wrap the tubing around a pillar or banister or another fixed object. With your back to the tubing, palms facing down, have your elbows out and press the tubing forward like a chest press. You can parallel the palms for an open armed chest fly variation.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to get in shape, as long as you commit to doing it. So head to your local hardware store and get started today!

 

Overload Your Progress

There are many different programs and methods of training out there that promise muscle growth. To continually make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance you must continually lift more and make your muscles work harder than they are used to. If you don’t, your muscles will not become any stronger or bigger than they currently are. One of the most effective ways to stimulate muscle hypertrophy is through Progressive Tension Overload

5 Ways To Create Progressive Overload

1. Increase Resistance

Progressively increase the weight you lift, as you become stronger the weight will become easier. Be sure to increase the resistance when you are able to perform more than your target reps.

2. Increase Sets

Increase the number of sets you perform for a given exercise. For example, if you normally do two or three sets of your set amount of reps increase to four to six sets for up to eight weeks to really fatigue the muscle.

3. Increase Repetitions

Increase the number of repetitions you perform and push yourself to do one or two more reps on each set. If you are able to get the extra reps completely by yourself and it is higher than your target rep range then you know it’s time to increase the resistance and use the help of a spotter if necessary.

4. Increase Frequency

The common approach to a body building style-training program is to train a muscle or muscle group once a week while cycling in a rest day. This method may not be effective to make continual gains for someone who recovers quickly.  It’s important to listen to your body to make sure that the muscles have had enough time to recuperate between training sessions before increasing frequency although every once in a while train muscles before they are fully recovered in order to shock them and keep them guessing can help stimulate hypotrophy.

5. Decrease Rest Time

Decreasing the rest time between consecutive sets will force your body to adapt metabolically by removing toxins and other byproducts of anaerobic exercise faster. Over time you will be able to lift more in less time.

The principle of overload is that a greater than normal stress or load on the body is required for training adaptation to take place. Once the body has adapted to the first stimulus a different stimulus is required to achieve progressive growth in power, endurance, strength or muscle mass.  If you remove or decrease your exercise intensity a decrease in that particular component of fitness will result.

Make Fitness a Habit with Nano Workouts

When you can’t find the time to do a traditional workout at the gym or group fitness class or CrossFit session you can work in a Nano workout! What is a Nano Workout? A Nano workout is a small amount of exercise multiplied many times throughout the day. Nano workouts are not a fitness program per se, but they are effective methods for achieving a more active lifestyle to complement more intense workout sessions and make staying fit a habit!

Here are 3 Nano moves to do before you even leave your house:

Calf Raises

Strong fit calves don’t just look great; they are also good for mobility, stability and posture. If you have a job where you spend a lot of time sitting down, it’s important to exercise and stretch your calves with Calf Raises to avoid tense muscles.

To execute this move simply roll out of bed, place your feet on the floor and raise your heals off the floor as high as you can. Stay in the elevated position for a half second before lowering. Repeat the desired numbers of times. Place an acupressure mat under your feet to improve circulation, increase energy level, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate headaches, relieve tension and muscle aches, reduce cortisol levels, improve skin complexion and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Air Squats

The bathroom might sound like an unorthodox place to workout, but did you know that on average, women spend almost five full days in the bathroom each year, for men it’s slightly less, but both use the bathroom several times throughout the day so if you make it a habit to do just one exercise each time you go, it will add up to some massive workout time. For instance, if you do Air Squats at the sink while brushing your teeth, which takes on average two minutes, twice per day, your toothbrush workouts will add up to more than 24 hours in a year!

Stomach Vacuum

Strong core muscles help with overall mobility and posture and who doesn’t like having a nice flat tummy? A great abs toner that you can do anywhere is the Stomach Vacuum. To execute this move just suck in your stomach to engage your abs. Imagine your belly button touching your spine and keep your abs tensed for about 60 seconds as you are walking before relaxing them. Repeat throughout the day and remember to breathe normally, don’t hold your breath.

Do these 3 Nano moves to help make fitness a habit during everyday activities!

The Peak Performance Creed

Peak performance in life isn’t about succeeding all the time or always being happy. It’s truly about doing the best that you can with what you have right now.

Peak performers are not necessarily the most talented. They just are just more committed to be their best every single day. There will be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do. One of the biggest differences between an average athlete and an elite athlete is that the elite “do” what most other athletes “wish” or “hope” for. Continue reading

Cleansing the body through exercise

If you have spent time in a heath food or supplement store — or a grocery store that carries vitamins — then you have likely stopped in front of the shelf featuring “cleanses and detoxes”. Cleansing and detoxing are staples in the campaign towards optimal health and wellness and it is intriguing to think about all the “stuff” that must build up in our bodies due to all the toxins we are exposed to.

Yet it’s important to back up one step and ask “what is a toxin?” Continue reading

Why Suffer When You Don’t Have To?

If you’ve ever busted your butt in the gym, chances are you have woken up the next morning and skipped washing your hair in the shower because your muscles were too sore to lift your arms. This can also happen if you’re new to gym workouts.

I’ll be the first to admit the self-satisfaction I gain from experiencing “good pain” muscle soreness following a great workout, but never should it be to the point where you can’t move for days.

Muscle hypotrophy occurs in the recovery phase, so you want to ensure you prime that time. If your muscle recovery takes more than 48 hours, you may need more water, sleep, quality nutrients or an adjustment to your workout routine. Among those adjustments are decreasing the intensity and increasing the frequency of your sessions to promote quicker muscle recovery.

The popular theory in the fitness world is that soreness is caused by the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. That is partly true, especially during the workout. After the workout, however, it’s more a case of post micro tears in the myofibrils of the worked muscles that cause soreness. The faster you can get past soreness, the sooner you can effectively hit them again with a workout and the faster you’ll grow. Muscle soreness shouldn’t be your badge of honour. Quick recovery should be.

You’re probably thinking: “What’s the best way to overcome muscle soreness?” Well, for starters, staying hydrated is the cheapest, easiest way there is to maximize your performance in the gym and afterwards. In addition to a balanced nutrition plan, I also recommend movement to increase circulation and quality sleep to allow cell restoration.

When it comes to supplementation, PURICA RECOVERY – developed for whole body health and pain relief — provides effective relief to people dealing with sore joints and muscles. It is a great ongoing supplement for athletes who want to inhibit cellular damage, decrease inflammation and increase the cells’ ability to absorb important hormones. My #1 recommendation for topical treatment is Arnica gel or cream.

Train hard. Eat clean. Recover then repeat. By applying these principles, you’ll be well on your way to faster and greater results. Enjoy the new growth!

Get In the “Zone”

You’ve probably heard the phrase “in the zone” or “in the flow.”

Ask any athlete and they will agree that there is nothing more fun in life than being in the zone.

When was the last time you were so focused that time stood still?  When you are so immersed in what you’re doing that you don’t worry about outcomes or distractions. You trust your skills and react without worry, doubt, or fear about results. Continue reading