Trust the process – seeing the big picture

After launching our new Lifestyle Coaching service in late October last year, I’ve seen some great progress in the clients that have already signed up.

The service is completely built around seeing “the big picture” and of course developing a lifestyle of healthy habits. Right from day one we are thinking long term and not just short term.

The benefits have been better than I expected!

In my 6+ years of online coaching what I’ve seen is that Continue reading “Trust the process – seeing the big picture”

Let’s Talk About The Warm Up; Are You Doing It Right?

typical pre run warm up

What’s a typical pre-run warm up routine for you?

For the longest time I would just walk out the door, do some leg swings – if that – and go on my way.

That was the routine!

However I know better now; the point of this pre run dynamic routine is to thoroughly warm up your running muscles and be ready to get into your run. So instead of taking 5 minutes to find yourself during the run you can warm up more efficiently and save yourself the pain of potential injury.

The more you warm up your hips, glutes and hamstrings the less stress you are putting on a cold muscle during the run.

You are essentially activating that muscle to fire properly so that your stride will benefit!

Check out the video below for a sample of my “A Day In The Life Video” series I’ve been working on. If you want, you can jump ahead to the 3:44 mark where I go through my warm up, touching on my glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads – to make sure that I am ready to go when I hit the road.

 

 

If you watched the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed the video!

Now let’s talk. Comment below about your warm up routine, or lack of and I’d love to see if I can help!

Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter if you have any other run-related questions.

Justin

10 fat loss exercises better than burpees

Exercises alone don't burn fat

A friend of mine sent me this message on Facebook the other day:

Exercises alone don't burn fat

I get messages like this all the time. People asking me about a new machine, a new program, a new study, a new diet, etc. I love it!

I love it because people are curious, want good information and I appreciate that they come to me to validate the info. They aren’t just willing to accept everything that’s on the Internet.

Anyway, my response to my friend’s was this:

1. It’s not that simple.
2. In what sense do they mean for burning fat? Something more intense? If so, then most don’t.
3. In general, some good exercises in the list (unrelated to fat burning)
4. In general, some advanced movements that I wouldn’t recommend for most people.
5. Marketing at it’s finest. People love the idea of burning fat. This will likely get many shares and a few people even try it. I doubt anybody will see long term success from it.

I’ll expand here: Continue reading “10 fat loss exercises better than burpees”

How Many Miles Are Enough For Me?

What's the right mileage for you?

I want to stress that we are all individuals — in that vein there are no magic bullets, no quick fixes, no secret recipes to success. We all have a different training style that suits our body, personality and mental strength.

So a question I’m always asked is:

“How many miles are enough for me?”

 

What's the right mileage for you?

 

It’s a question that has been hotly debated for years! Should I train low mileage-high quality or high mileage-low quality?

To be honest the best answer is found somewhere in between.

In my mind the perfect training plan has you smartly increasing your mileage with a solid mix of high intensity and low intensity.

That’s why mileage is tricky…

Finding what works for you.

So how many miles should you run?

There are runners who are built to run 120 miles per week but there are also runners who can only handle 30 without coming up injured! Those 30 will need to be at a hard pace to make up for the lack of quantity but if done right those runners can still run incredible times.

In a perfect world where every runner is built the same and races happen in a vacuum. But it doesn’t…

I would argue that high mileage (done right) can lead to a bigger improvement than a more low mileage plan. This has to do with the improvements that only happen on a molecular level when you spend hour upon hours on your feet. (I would also argue that there is a mental toughness component that comes from taking yourself to the wall on your mileage training, but I will cover this in a later article.)

We all have a personal peak mileage and a personal peak race — it’s important to find out works best for you individually.

The Aerobic base

Authur Lydiard is the man who popularized building a big aerobic base before moving into more specific training. He coached a group of New Zealand runners, headed up by Peter Snell, that would go on to dominate the world stage. This is when a man by the name of Bill Bowerman brought Lydiard’s training philosophies back to the University of Oregon and the rest is history.

Think of the Lydiard system as a pyramid — the base of that pyramid being the amount of easy runs you put in. That base allows you build the rest of your pyramid, the bigger the base, the bigger the pyramid… hypothetically.

For years this “revolutionary” approach to distance running is how we coaches trained our athletes. Of course there was still a love for the old method that primarily relied on interval training multiples days a week… but the damage had been done and “periodized” training was here to stay.

In my own experience this can be modified a bit and if you’re more of a Jack Daniels (not that Jack Daniels) or Joe Vigil descendant like me than you would know that this philosophy isn’t the end all be all. I feel like the best set up for a training cycle is a steady diet of mileage, tempo runs, and mile pace work to build efficiency .

However, there is no denying that with just easy running alone and spending time on your feet then you will see a big benefit to your general aerobic system as well as:

increased bone density

increased capillary density

tendon development

improved Vo2 max

mitochondria recruitment

improved running economy

usage of fat as fuel

development of slow and medium twitch muscle fibers

mental clarity

mental strength

Mileage has it’s benefits but ultimately it comes down to what your body can handle. This depends a lot on your genetics but with the right amount of experience, trails and testing you can do a lot to optimize your performance.

Trial and error and research and obsess and learn and pass on to others…

So back to your question, “how many miles are enough for me?”

To be honest I don’t know — because I don’t know you, yet! However, I can tell you that more mileage is better than less and there’s no way of knowing until you get out there. With the right plan and progression you should be able to find your ideal mileage within a few weeks.

-Justin

If you have any questions or need help on your training journey, you can add me on snapchat, instagram or twitter — How can I help?

How to Find the Right Program

I’ve been coaching clients for over a decade now. I’ve worked with tons of different people, ages, body types, etc. I’ve also worked with tons of different systems, programs, and exercise regimes.

In this time I’ve noticed that most people are in the quest for the right program.

They want to find the program that will work best and will get them the results they want.

Of course! Why wouldn’t we want that? Continue reading “How to Find the Right Program”

Quick Fix Weight Loss Doesn’t Exist

quick fix abs

Nowadays we are obsessed with instant gratification.

We have the world wide web at our fingertips, we have drones delivering our products within hours of ordering and we freak out if texts aren’t returned within a matter minutes. There’s even a product that cools down pizza so that we don’t burn the roof of our mouths when we take an immediate bite (replacing the annoying task of waiting five minutes for the pizza to cool down).

So, it makes sense that we expect an instantaneous result from our weight loss attempts. Right?

Wrong!

Unfortunately, the human body has not and never will catch up to the technologies of 2016. It’s still stuck in olden days, when long-term health and wellness beat out “a better body in weeks.”

Our bodies are not set for today’s pace.

They move slowly but they get the job done—ya know, the job of keeping us alive. And they do not react when well told to do otherwise.

The fitness and diet industry knows that but they’re not interested in following the laws of our bodies—they’re interested in making money. So, playing on our obsession with quick fixes, they push quick fixes and timed solutions, aimed at giving us our best body in a matter of months, weeks, sometimes minutes! Recognize the following marketing schemes?

“5 minute abs!”
“30 days to bikini body!”
“Meal replacement shakes — lose weight in a week!”
“Take this pill and watch the pounds shed off!”

And so on, and so on.

It takes nine months to cook us, seven years for us to get our adult teeth and 12+ years for us to reach puberty. Why do we think that we can completely change our bodies in a week?

quick fix abs

Now, I’m not saying that it takes 12 months to lose 5 pounds. But, I do know that it is physically impossible to develop visible core musculature with a five minute workout. And deep down, you do too.

Not only are these products misguiding and incorrect, they can also be very harmful to your body. Many of these products are loaded with harmful chemicals that affect your metabolism and, frankly, are cheaply made. Most meal replacement and conventional meal plan programs advocate low daily calorie counts – and a VLCD (very low calorie diet) is perhaps the worst way to lose weight.

Not only are they unrealistic (do you really think that you can survive on 1000 calories a day for the rest of your life? Really?) but they are severely damaging to your metabolism. The lower your daily calories dip, the slower your metabolism becomes. And, since your metabolism regulates your body all chemical reactions within your body, a slow metabolism is not only damaging to your weight loss efforts, it is damaging to your body in general. Take it from someone who actually was on a VLCD, it is not a road you want to go down!

Now you’re asking “why would the fitness and diet industry to this to us?”

The answer is actually in your question—it is an industry. As in, the goal of these businesses is not to look out for your health and well being but to make money. The fitness and diet industry makes $20 billion dollars a year. $108 million Americans are on diets every year and they are typically on their fourth or fifth attempt. These businesses make money when you buy their products for the first time—they make more money when you continue to buy their products after your second, fifth, eighth failed attempt at weight loss. They are actually counting on your failure because that is where their cash flow comes from.

So, how do you actually lose weight?

Well, first of all, know that it takes time – There is no such thing as a quick fix.

Unless you want to live on meal replacement bars for the rest of your life, you need to make a lifestyle change, develop habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Habits like:

  • going to gym 3 days a week,
  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator,
  • aiming for 4-6 servings of veggies and fruit a day,
  • mindfully eating your meals

If you want to feel more in control, you can be more vigilant about your weight loss by tracking your calorie count (though it should never dip below 1300) and lifting weights. All of these habits will lead to a permanent, positive change in your body.

Now, it will take time—but wouldn’t you rather have a long, successful weight loss journey than five failed attempts at a quick fix?

So, my fellow dieters, let’s leave the quick fixes at the door. Throw out your meal replacement bars and shakes and laugh in the face of magazines that promise you a beach-bod in 30 days.

Instead, try to enjoy the slow but successful road to weight loss. Because, as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait!

Allie

Volume Foods – Using Fruits and Vegetables to Feel Full

How To Fill Up On Fruits And Vegetables

I like to eat.

If I could eat plates of pasta or bowls of ice cream all day long I would be one happy lady.

Unfortunately, if I were to do this ALL the time even with an active lifestyle I would likely gain weight, feel fatigued and have digestive complaints.

So what does one do when they want to satisfy their frequent pasta, ice cream or pizza cravings without jeopardizing their health goals?

You start modifying your meals by making them more voluminous;
often times by adding fruits and vegetables to the dish. Finding ways to substitute volume foods into your diet is a good option to get more vitamins and minerals into your daily routine but is also great if weight loss is one of your goals.

For example; many people already swap out their spaghetti noodles with zucchini noodles or you will see recipes using grated cauliflower in place of rice. These are a few examples of volume foods!

Volume foods are usually low in calories but high in fiber meaning you can eat more of the item (compared to the original food) without ingesting a ton of calories, plus it can leave you feeling fuller. Most voluminous foods are vegetables and fruit as they are high in water and fiber. These foods make you feel more satiated as they take longer to digest. By adding these items into your meals you are eating more food at a lower caloric cost.

Volume Foods

I started to eat more voluminous foods when I was macro tracking my meals and had a low daily caloric allowance as I was training for a body building competition. Meaning, I had to stretchhhhh my food intake very thin in order to satisfy my macronutrient intake for the day in a filling and sustainable way – If I ate foods high in calories I would end up eating less because those items add up quickly when you are eating well below you maintenance levels (high in calories and fat in this case). I am no longer calorie counting but I do still try to fill up on nutritious foods in place of some items as I try to keep my goals in check.

Whether or not you calorie or macro-nutrient track or just like to stay healthy this is a great way to improve general health as many people could boost their vegetable intake, meaning more micro nutrients and fiber!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to add fruit or veggies to your dishes:

Spiralized Noodles: You can buy a spiralizer or use a cheese grater to make noodle-like zucchini ribbons to eat in place of your pasta or rice noodles. You can then sauté them a bit in oil and/or sauce or eat them raw. Alternatively, I like to spiralize carrots as well. Combining the two and making a peanut butter satay sauce is my favorite way to eat raw spiralized veggies. I often add these raw carrot spirals on top of salads. If you have a fancier spiralizer you could even make sweet potato noodles, spiralize and apple or cabbage if you have a flat blade.

Volume Foods - a great way to add vegetables

Black Bean or Edamame Noodles: Great substitutions for pasta if you want a high fiber and protein meal. Beans are full of fiber and have good amounts of protein.

Cauliflower Rice: If you grate or use a food processor on rinsed and dried cauliflower you will end up with bits of the florets that look like grains of rice! You can make a pizza with the riced cauliflower too! My current favourite way to use riced cauliflower is in my oatmeal. It is a great way to add veggies into a dish that can otherwise quickly add up in calories depending on your serving size. Try adding 1/3 cup of riced cauliflower to ½ cup of raw oats. Add milk or water, spices, maybe some chia or flax seeds and berries then heat up like normal. The riced cauliflower gets lost in the oatmeal texture, making it an easy and sneaky way to get more veggies in.

Nana Cream: Using almost frozen bananas with some milk, spices and other berries whizzed up in a blender or food processor makes this lovely icy, but smooth banana frozen treat.

cocoa nibs

Pumpkin/ Squash: All members of the squash family have a special place in my heart. Similar to the nana ice cream I used chunks of almost frozen cooked pumpkin (Kabocha is my favourite squash) mixed with some milk or water, salt, cocoa or spices and voila! A magical icy treat low in calories yet high in fiber and nutrients!

Again, if you’re looking to add more nutrients into your diet there are tons of ways to do so and I am just showing a few, but get creative and get in the kitchen and see what you can whip up yourself! If you’d like more examples from me, feel free to reach out!

Stefanie

Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch

Yoga Can Do Wonders For Runners

If you know me, you would know that I am not the most flexible person in the world — like less flexible than this computer I am typing on — but that doesn’t mean I shy away from anything that involves flexibility.

This hasn’t always been the case though.

In college there was a time when instead of an easy day we opted for a team yoga session, you know active recovery, taking an actual easy day and working on flexibility.

I wasn’t having any of it, I had a strict mileage plan and if I couldn’t fit those miles in during practice… when was I going to get them in? I had a bad attitude about change, I needed those miles! It was tough but I didn’t make it any easier on myself and coupled with thoughts like;

“I’m just naturally inflexible”

“I stretch everyday, what do I need Yoga for?”

and the kicker, “How is skipping an easy run going to make me better?”

Thoughts of a stressed out collegiate runner… Continue reading “Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch”

Doing the work – do you know what it takes?

After over 10 years of coaching people in fitness and nutrition, I’ve finally realized that I know what I’m talking about. Well, truthfully, it’s that I’m finally confident in saying it. I’ve guided enough clients to the results they want that I am extremely confident with the programs and prescriptions I lay out for them.

However, it’s not usually the prescription that is the problem…

In relation to my last 2 posts, …you’re just not doing it and …straightest road to success I’ve learned that so many people are searching for that perfect answer of how they will get the results they desire.

The problem is that search and narrow focus actually prevents them from getting results.

I’m extremely confident that when I create a program for a client that it will help them reach their goals.

I’ve learned that it’s not that I’m prescribing the wrong thing, it’s that what I’m prescribing isn’t being followed.

Even when it comes to the packaged programs, DVD systems and latests hame gym gadget, for the most part they are going to work if followed. For the most part…

They key element is that they need to be followed.

Are you following me? haha

So if you’re starting to sense the theme of the last few articles, it’s that I’m not really concerned with trying to find the best thing to reach your goals. What I’m most concerned with is making sure you’re putting in the work to get reach your goals.

Are you putting in the effort and doing the work?

And the work isn’t just putting in your reps at the gym, stretching here and there or hitting the pavement every day for your run. Especially if it’s short-term, motivation-dependent work.

The work is putting in the effort when it gets hard.

The work is still getting outside or going to the gym even when you don’t want to.

The work is stretching and rehab every single day.

The work is getting it done because you said you would.

The work is getting back up when you’ve fallen down.

The work is doing whatever it takes to reach your goal.

Over the last two articles I bashed the idea of asking “what’s the best” something to get results. I’m going to give you a better question:

What will it take for you to actually to do the work?

The long term work.

What do you need to be able to truly commit, dig in, fight through the hard times and stick it out to the end?

What will it take to go beyond the original motivation you had to start the race, and fully complete the miles?

Where will you find the support that will pick you up when you can’t do it on your own?

Okay, maybe that was a FEW better questions, but I hope it got you thinking.

I’ll leave you with one more thought:

Whatever your goal and whatever you’re trying to achieve, it’s HIGHLY likely that someone else has already done it. Use them for motivation, guidance and support. Doing something completely on your own rarely works, and there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help and support now and then.

However, if you do use others for support, make sure they support you reaching your goals vs doing it for you.

I love comments, feedback and even questions. Please comment below and let me know if this article has helped you.

Chad

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore? Part 1 DOMS & Inflammation

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore

Am I hurt or am I just sore?

This is a common question you might ask yourself, especially the day after a hard workout or starting something new.

I used to be really bad at answering this question, which says a lot about my background and how far my knowledge has come since I was a 5’2″ high school freshman.

I was having a conversation with a friend about this the other day and we decided that it all came down to the old school mentality our coach
instilled.

Sure we were tough and had a “nose down” type of attitude, but this led to the idea that being sore was some kind of weakness. We ran through a lot of warning signs because… that’s just what we did. A mix of not knowing any better and wanting to be the runner with the most grit, but inevitably the injury team could have fielded a Varsity and Junior Varsity squad by the time conference rolled around.

* For the sake of clarity to anyone who didn’t run in high school, the “top 7” runners on the team were the Varsity squad and the next 7 were considered Junior Varsity, we had a small team – ok back to the post

You do need to be able to recognize that soreness is ok! but only within a certain context…

So what are these so called ‘warning signs’?

You can expect soreness after a good, hard workout or after a mileage increase, and that’s fine but be cognizant about where you feel it!
This comes down to DOMS!

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is caused by micro-tears in the muscle. These tears are necessary for building muscle/building better endurance in the muscle. All good things!

However, inflammation is an unnecessary byproduct of this process. Inflammation, essentially your muscles’ response to training*, can cause excess tightness throughout your body and can really impact the flexibility of your muscles and joints during this period.

*A more technical definition dealing with inflammation – biochemical processes release proteins called cytokines as “emergency signals” that bring in your body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem

So if we think of DOMS as a 48 hour window; any pain past that is a cause for concern. I usually follow this protocol with my athletes:

*Soreness up to 48 hours after: probably not serious unless it is near the joint or throwing off running form – monitor the situation and be sure to take care of yourself! Follow The Art Of Foam Rolling!

If it’s over 48 hours and there is still muscle pain, then it is probably time for a cross training day. I would recommend staying active in your recovery to help speed up the process, however if you’re legs are dead…

There is nothing wrong with an off day or two!

If there is still pain after the next 3 days (the 5th day post initial soreness) of taking time off or cross training — call this the next 72 hour rule — then it is time to go see a chiropractor or physio or sports doctor, at this point there is something wrong and the sooner you find the problem, the sooner you can start rehabbing!

So let’s look at a few scenarios –

INJURY TIMETABLE 1: First workout in spikes
Day 1 – Calf soreness/tightness but overall run goes fine
Day 2 – Calf is extremely sore, achilles tendon feels swollen and running is throwing off your gait – take a cross training day today
Day 3 – Feels a bit better but you still bike for the day
Day 4 – Calf still feels tight but after biking, a light jog and foam rolling you feel a lot better
Day 5 – Back to running!!

INJURY TIMETABLE 2: First big increase in mileage
Day 1 – You don’t really notice it but your legs are overall sore from the mileage so you take a super easy day
Day 2 – Your legs feel better but now you feel the soreness in your shin area, painful to the touch – take a cross training day tomorrow
Day 3 – Running is out of the question today, your shins are hurting when you walk
Day 4 – You don’t feel any better today and even biking is causing your shins to ache!
Day 5 – You feel just as bad as you did yesterday (you spent 3 days cross training and it doesn’t seem to be hurting)
Day 6 – It could be a stress fracture or it could be really bad shin splints, so think about going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist or someone in that field as it could be a muscular problem that can be worked out.

As with anything, listen to what your body is telling you! Do not be stubborn and think,”I’ll just run through it” because that mentality will put you on the shelf for a long time.

Thanks for reading friends,
As Always please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Coming up in part 2: Rehab and Prehab!

Justin