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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Just this past Wednesday I got back from a 1 week vacation with my sister in Puerto Vallarta. It was a great week filled with a whole lot of relaxing and not much else. The perfect vacation.
To me the idea of vacation is that it’s a break from your normal routine. You do something different and for most you take time to relax. That’s what I did!
However, it may mean some difficulty getting BACK into your normal routine.
From my week away, I realized a few things.
1 – I love activity and I get bored pretty quickly by doing nothing.
I think this is an important element because it’s something that I consider in the whole concept of a ‘lifestyle change’. It’s what I consider to be my ‘normal routine’ and it’s all about momentum and habits.
If you’re the type of person that doesn’t exercise regularly and find yourself too tired to workout after work, that is your momentum and your habit. Your normal routine. You’ve built that through repetition. It’s hard to break out of that and into a workout routine because you’re going against your flow so-to-speak.
If you’re like me, and you’ve built a lifestyle of fitness, working out regularly and making healthy food choice are your momentum and habits. A few days of shitty food and no exercise would be going against your flow. After a few days of that you want to go back to your momentum. I found that after about 3 days of sitting by the pool I was ready to get up and move. I wanted a workout!
2 – I planned to rest and not much more.
On that third day I had decided I would go to the resort gym for a workout. However, when I packed for my trip I didn’t bring and running shoes, which of course are required in the gym. I had actually packed socks for my workouts, but at the last minute I recall tossing the shoes aside and saying “I’m only going to wear flip flops this whole week”. I wasn’t able to use the gym, but because I was in a workout mindset I ended up doing a few sets of push ups and pull ups near the pool. I made due with what I had in the moment, but had I planned for workouts I’d be better set.
That said, I’m actually a believer in a vacation being a vacation. Not just from work or other things you do, but from workouts too. Unless your vacation is pushing 2 weeks or more, having a week off from workouts can actually be a great thing for your body’s recovery. So I usually plan for the rest and plan to NOT workout.
3 – My metabolism is pretty good at managing calories.
A lot of people complain about gaining weight while on holidays. I get it and it makes sense. Especially when you’re at an all-inclusive like I was because the food and drinks are endless.
For me, because of my lifestyle as mentioned above and therefore the metabolism I’ve created in my body, I realized how well I self regulate. I had some indulgence of food and drink in the first day and a half. After that I felt like I wasn’t as hungry and I didn’t desire drinks as much. I wasn’t being active, my caloric demand therefore wasn’t as high and by filling it with greasy and sugary foods in the first couple of days, my body slowed me down and I didn’t feel hungry.
Again, I’m sure some people may experience the opposite of this and I’m not exactly a normal case here, but I do believe that it comes from my lifestyle and habits I’ve built.
4 – How you come back from Vacation helps dictate your momentum going forward.
Even though I wanted to exercise and I was pretty good at regulating my calorie intake during the trip, I did feel pretty lazy by the end of the week.
When I got back from my vacation on Wednesday afternoon and literally went straight to work. I coached classes at my gym that evening and again the next morning. I love what I do, but I was pretty tired.
I’ll be completely honest, when I came back I was completely planning on skipping my Wednesday night workout. I had plenty of excuses for why it would be best to wait till the next morning. Thankfully I’m slightly *cough* competitive and when one of my buddy’s came in to do the same workout I was supposed to do of course I jumped in.
I felt better afterwards and it kickstarted my momentum back into my normal routine. By jumping back into things, I jumped back on the wagon and regained my momentum of fitness and activity.
I think vacations can have a momentum to them. It’s good to relax and rest and recover if that’s what you’re going for. But doing that for a week or two gets you in that mode. I found that by the end of the week I was more tired throughout the day. I think part of it was from not having the best sleeps in my hotel bed, but also because that was the momentum I built. I had an inertia of not doing anything and my body was getting used to it and adapting.
For me, that’s a whole lot different than my normal routine. The key for me was that at the end of the week I broke that momentum and got back into my usual regimen. A couple days later I still feel a little more tired than normal, but I feel myself getting back on track.
Having the break is only good if you can get back on track again afterwards.
The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.
Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.
It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.
This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.
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