Do you Workout Because you Want to

Do you workout because you want to or because you have to?

This is an important question to consider because it can make a huge difference in your outcome.

In my experience I’ve seen a lot of people working out because they have to. They come to my gym or contact me online to start a workout program because it’s something that needs to be done. Either they are fed up with how they feel or look, or worst case scenario there’s been a health scare and their doctor basically demands it. In both cases they are doing it because they no longer want to be in their current position.

They’re doing it because they have to and in a way, it’s not really their choice.

This option does work for a while because anger, frustration, and fear are all great motivators. We’re angry at our bad habits or poor condition so it’s time to change. We’re scared of the health risks so it’s time to change. Our current situation has to be different, so we HAVE to change.

But being healthy because you have to creates resistance. Continue reading “Do you Workout Because you Want to”

Training for Longevity

Longevity

Training for longevity is a topic that has been popping up in a lot of conversations for me lately.

Longevity in a fitness sense is about having a high quality of function and ability throughout your entire life.

I believe our current generations will be living a long time. With the advancements we have in medicine, science, surgery, etc, many of us will likely reach 100 years of age and beyond!

That’s pretty fucking cool, but it’s also pretty fucking scary if you think about our current lifestyles and training methods.

I’m worried that we will make it that far in age, but I’m not sure our bodies will last that long.

One of the scariest things to me is the idea of living till 100 but having my body give out when I’m 60, 70 or 80.

I don’t want to be alive the last 20, 30, 40 years of my life unable to truly live! 

One of my favourite quotes is: Continue reading “Training for Longevity”

An Argument for Average Fitness

Average Fitness

I recently read an article by Mark Manson called “In Defense of Being Average“. (worth a read!)

The premise of the article is that we tend to idolize and make heroes of people (or characters) who embody perfection. We think up heroes like Batman and Superman, and idolize Greek gods and Spartan warriors. We’re always looking up to those that are the best at what they do.

The same is true in fitness. You can tell by the endless amounts of Instagram posts of “Fitspiration” focused on peach booty’s and 6-pack abs. It’s perfect images of perfect body’s in perfect lighting and perfect poses.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to look at for sure, but what does that do for our expectations of OUR fitness? Continue reading “An Argument for Average Fitness”

Building a 100 Year Body

We are living longer than we ever have before.

Thanks to modern medicine and scientific advancement, reaching 80, 90 and even 100+ is quite common.

One of my biggest fears is that we will live to 100 but our body only makes it to 70. We spend the last 30 years of our lives with minimal function and barely moving. Our life outlasts our body.

This make me think of one of my favourite quotes:

“We don’t stop moving because we get old, we get old because we stop moving”.

What this means for me is that in my fitness and health endeavours, I don’t only want a body that looks good now, I want one that lasts and functions for my whole life. I don’t want to just live to 100+, I want to BE ACTIVE until 100+.

Similar to a recent article I wrote, we need to focus on how our body functions and having a strong foundation in order to do this.

So many fitness programs today are focused on 2 things:
1 – an appearance/aesthetic result and
2 – getting that result as fast as possible

This speed and focus on external image often leads to sacrificing internal systems along the way.

We may look good at the beach, but this cumulative damage to systems on the inside ads up and leaves us limited in function, replacing joints, in a wheelchair or needing to inject hormones in our later years just to survive.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I want.

What I want is a 100 year body.

What I want it’s to look good AND FUNCTION GOOD until my last day!

~ Chad

I won’t sacrifice your health for faster “gains”

Gain

Yes you are pursuing your fitness goal with maximal intensity, but is it at the sacrifice of other areas of your health?

I’m seeing this more and more lately so I wanted to address it.

Here’s my perspective:

I’m a Kinesiologist.

For the purposes of this article, all that means is that I study the movement and function of the body and how it works.

As a fitness coach, what this means is that when I create an exercise program for someone, I’m not only looking at their end goal and what they are trying to achieve, I’m also looking at their body and how well it functions.

What I see so much of today in the fitness industry is a singular focus intensity. Everyone wants HIIT workouts that “make me sweat”.

The good news from a coaching perspective is that making a workout hard is easy. I see endless amounts of videos on Facebook and Instagram of people creating insane workouts and super challenging variations of exercises. My personal simplification of it is: #JustAddBurpees

And it does make sense because intensity is how we get results.

It’s easy to make someone sweat and it’s easy to make someone work hard and push their intensity.

However, this often comes at a sacrifice to other areas of health or function in the body.

I see this in high intensity workout programs that don’t address body proper body mechanics and this creates added strain on joints and connective tissue.

I’m tired of seeing olympic lifts for added intensity meanwhile the knees and back are bending in ways that anyone watching knows is not right.

Bottom line, I’m not willing to make intensity the highest priority at the sacrifice of another area of health or physical function just for faster gains.

In my coaching I take the time to build a solid foundation with each client based on their individual needs. I take time to make sure they move and function well and I make sure they don’t develop other health issues just to lose a few quick pounds.

Unfortunately this process takes a lot longer than what we tend to see put in front of us online, but I don’t care.

I won’t sacrifice long term health for a short term result.

My goals is to help you create a body that not only looks good, but will function great for the rest of your life!

~ Chad

1 is greater than 0

1 is greater than 0

I’ve used this statement for years with my clients and I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot more lately.

The idea is simple:

1 is greater than 0 means something is better than nothing. No matter how small that something is.

When it comes to goals, my clients often get stuck on the size of it. They get overwhelmed with the distance they still have to go.

What happens is we feel we need to achieve a certain amount in order for it to be worth it or considered a success. We feel it’s all or nothing.

In other words, we set the bar really high.

  • We forget that something is better than nothing.
  • We forget that one workout is better than no workouts.
  • We forget that a 5 minute walk is better than staying on the couch.
  • We forget that 1 good food choice is better than no good food choices.

We also believe that 1 isn’t enough. That the one small thing will never get us to our goals.

To a certain degree this is actually true. The 1 thing won’t get us to our goal. But, that’s not the point.

It’s not about reaching the goal. It’s about the direction we are going in.

Doing nothing keeps us on the current path. The current course. The course that is NOT leading to your goal.

Doing the 1 thing is taking the 1st step that starts you in a new direction.

It’s not really that it’s 1 step, it’s that it’s the FIRST step.

It’s 1 thing in the direction you WANT to go and that is always better than doing nothing.

The added benefit is that 1 thing usually leads to a 2nd thing. And on and on it can go. At least this way there is a chance.

Reaching your goals doesn’t come from the 1 thing. It comes from the accumulation of all the 1 things over a certain amount of time. There literally is no other way.

So, if you’re stuck in a rut, hit a plateau or feel like you’re never going to reach your goal, stop looking at the finish line. Start looking at your current starting point and figure out 1 thing you can do to move in the right direction.

No matter how small of a step it is, take it!

It’s only 1, but it’s better than 0 and it’s the ONLY way to get to 2.

~ Chad

Do your short term actions match your long term goals?

What’s your long term vision of your health?

Do you want to be healthy for the next week? 3 months? 12 months? 3 years? 50 years?

Seriously, this is no joke.

When I ask people this question, most people answer in the 50+ range or “the rest of my life”.

Like it’s a no brainer.

However, their short term actions don’t match their long term goals.

They are only focused on a short term goal, and if they don’t see results within weeks “it’s not working” and they give up.

Sound familiar?

People want long term results but only have a short term plan.

Do me a favor: comment below with your 3 month, 12 month, 36 month and 30+ year vision of your health.

Then let me know if that activity has changed your perspecitve.

~ Chad

Creating Consistency With Your Health Goals

In a 12 month period, how many months or weeks do you spend CONSISTENT with your health goals?

Consistently eating well.

Consistently exercising.

Consistently sticking to you goal.

It’s my belief that the current ’trend’ of health and fitness is done in 2-12 week periods. With most people actually failing within the 2-6 week range.

As in, we aggressively pursue our goal for 2-12 weeks but eventually we “fall off the wagon”. It’s the constant on and off that we do throughout the year.

We jump into some new trending 12-week program and either don’t finish it or don’t stick to it after it’s done.

I think a lot about this trend because it is my mission and goal to find a way to help people be more consistent with their health pursuits.

I believe our health is one of the easiest things we can control, to have a happy and long life, and it’s why I do what I do. I want to help as many people as possible have a long, healthy life.

I believe that the first step to that goal is consistency. Being able to develop consistency in the pursuit of your goals is what will keep you moving forward.

My suggestion: stop thinking short term quick results and start thinking long term. Be the tortoise not the hare.

Just get started! Lower your barrier to entry, start small, think of it as day 1 and get moving.

Worry less about WHAT you should be doing and more about that you are actually doing something!

~ Chad

3 Tips For Staying On Track While You Travel

Buy Snacks For Travel

I love to travel and I love to eat.

Dining as per the locals is my favorite part about traveling; there is nothing quite like saying yes to foods you can’t pronounce or identify when abroad especially when the cook or vendor detects your culinary curiosity.

It is no surprise that when I eat different foods (and normally too much) that my body isn’t used to; I experience some adverse effects like bloat, fatigue and grogginess. Instead, I try to eat one or two simple meals a day with light snacks which allows me to get an appetite going for a delicious, locally inspired dish.

By doing this I am able to enjoy my chosen city while keeping my health and wellness goals in mind.

I’m going to share 3 tips for staying on track (whatever your track may be) while traveling, my mini rule book not surprisingly starts off with “be prepared”, mainly in terms of breakfast and snack items.

Continue reading “3 Tips For Staying On Track While You Travel”

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