Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh now I get it ... accountability

Loving and holding each other accountable
As Kelly and I have mentioned we are recently married.  Our first year of marriage has been pretty good, every day we grow together and love each other a little more.  Yesterday, we had a discussion regarding eating meat.  I was feeling a bit despondent about it and I shared that with Kelly.  We talked for a bit about my despondency and then Kelly said something that was extremely important for me to hear:

"If we don't ask each other questions, and hold each other accountable, who will? It's our job."

I have forgotten her exact words, but it is essentially what Kelly shared with me.  For me it was a turning point in the conversation.  That statement is also key to fitness.  Sometimes we need someone to help push us along. 

Every Wednesday I am awake at 4:30 AM to teach a 5:30 AM class, usually I go home immediately afterwards.  Today, though, I did something different.  I worked out. I spent 30 minutes doing today's workout.  I also asked my coach, Jamie Fiddler @ Crossfit Renegade, to help keep me accountable on doing a workout Wednesday mornings.  

As my coach Jamie keeps me accountable at the gym, Kelly keeps me accountable when I am at home.  What I eat, where I eat, and how much extra exercise I do all are managed with the feedback I receive from Kelly. Together, as our married team, we help make each other into better people.

 Who can keep you accountable to your fitness goals?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Perfect Plank

It has a been a while since I've been on here, and for good reason! I have been busy filling my mind and life with yoga, completing my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Inner Space Yoga Studio in Gastown (absolutely amazing studio by the way!). 

Through this training I am learning how to move in alignment with my body in a way that is safe and super effective.  In today's post I am going to share how to get into the perfect plank (i.e. top of a push up). 

a plank in my living room
This is a very important foundational position as it is the starting point for many exercises - like mountain climbers, plank, side plank, plank jacks, push ups, tricep push ups, vinyasas sequences in yoga and more. 

A perfect plank also improves posture, strengthens the entire body (arms, legs, shoulders, abdominals), relieves stress, and even improves flexibility! 

So here are a few pointers for the perfect plank:
  1. Hands
    • outer shoulder distance apart and directly below shoulders
  2. Fingers
    • spread wide and base of index finger pressing into the floor
  3. Arms and shoulders
    • upper arm bones integrated into the shoulder socket (shoulders back)
  4. Legs
    • strong legs and feet pelvis distance apart
  5. Hips 
    • in line with shoulders
  6. Core
    • fired up! pulling everything towards your midline
Try it! How long can you hold it for? Really how long?! Jump down now and try it! You can plank every day as a quick way to improve strength, flexibility, and mood.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The #1 Exercise for Weight Loss and Wellness

Our society has become so convenient that we hardly need to MOVE! We are not far from the characters in the movie Wall-e, floating around in comfy chairs with a screen in our face and a soda in our hand. 

With this context in mind, what is the #1 exercise for weight loss and wellness? I have great is whatever physical activity YOU LOVE! 

I can tell you what exercises burn the most calories and sculpt leaner, longer muscles but you are more likely to stick with something you enjoy! 

I love CrossFit and Yoga, what
do you love?
If you love baking, get your bake on: walk to get your groceries, stand in the kitchen, and use the power of your own body and a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients. Burn calories while doing what you love! 

Think about what you love and do it! If you don't know know what activity will be your "perfect match" it's time to go in search of it! I love yoga and CrossFit, and because I love it, I keep going. Finding what you love will help you too. 

Spinning, swimming, biking, water running, trail running, hiking, step class, pilates, snowboarding, skiing, squash, hiking, snowshoeing, the selection is endless! 

Live what you love!  

Monday, November 12, 2012

4 reasons why it's hard to lose weight (that you never think of)

Losing weight is a tough task; "baby weight," "freshman 10," desk weight," or whatever you call it, it just does not come off easily.  Here are FOUR reasons why it is so hard that we often overlook.  

1. Stress!  
Put simply: stress produces cortisol, a stress hormone, and that hormone produces fat.  All that anxiety about what you can and cannot eat or what you ate that you shouldn't have, adds to your difficulty in losing weight.  We already have enough stress in our lives, so try to make stress relief (whatever it may be for you) a priority and if you are stressing about food decisions, try to let it go. 

2. Caloric Density vs. Nutritional Density.  
Consider 2 meals. First, a Big Mac which has 702 calories (this isn't even including the fries and drink!). Second, a homemade chicken salad with dressing,  a side of fruit and a small whole wheat bun with butter which can have as few as 400 calories.  Which do you think will fill you up more?  The first has high caloric density and the second has high nutritional density. The big mac just gives calories while the salad will fill you up more and give you vital nutrients.  The Big Mac and all it's calories would be great if you were running two long distance marathons the next day, but for regular life, not so much.

3. Attitude.   
Often times attitude gets in the way of losing weight.  People sometimes approach weight loss as if it is a war on their body. Their inner voice is like a drill sergeant in attack mode telling them to work harder, eat less, and that they are not good enough.  What a stressful state to be in!  When you feel yourself slipping into the war mentality try to shift your thinking towards gratitude and compassion. Let the little voice in your head appreciate the changes you have made. Think about the gifts these changes have provided. Focus on what you have and WILL accomplish. The more you force yourself to think this way the more the war inside you will disappear. 

4.  Taste buds.  
You know what tastes delicious? salt and fat, sweet and fat, spicy and salty... any combination of those flavours makes your taste buds go crazy.  Those flavours by themselves are uninteresting and hard to stomach.  Ever tried to drink canola oil?  Or eat rock salt?  If you haven't I am telling you, it is terrible.  By combining multiple flavours, like most processed foods, you create an addiction to the combination of flavours.  Not to say that it is bad to combine salt and fat, we just need to be aware that sometimes the desire to eat more has less to do with being hungry and more to do with wanting that mix of flavours to pass through your lips.  To raise your awareness next time you are out, excuse yourself when you have eaten half of your meal and and brush your teeth or rinse out your mouth.  Your desire to eat more will likely diminish and you will feel fresh.

Monday, October 29, 2012

You ask. We Answer. What about nutrition?

Q: How important is nutrition for weight loss?

A: Very, very important. Some say 80% of weight loss can be attributed to diet while only 20% can be attributed to exercise. So if you are working hard to be active and exercise be mindful of what you are eating.  

Overall, in order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you eat/drink. Going to the gym will help you lose weight if you create a calorie deficit within your body. 

For example, according to the Harris-Benedict formula I require approximately 1400 calories per day to maintain my current body weight. If I eat 2400 calories in a day and go to the gym and work off 500 of those calories, I still have a surplus of 500 calories which will be converted into fat and stored. 

2400 calories consumed - (1400 calories required + 500 extra calories burned at the gym) = 500 calorie surplus   

However, if I eat 1800 calories and go to the gym and work off 500 of those calories, I will have a deficit of 100 calories which my body will have to find from within. Burning some of the excess fat I have stored within my body.

1800 calories consumed - (1400 calories required + 500 extra calories burned at the gym) = 100 calorie deficit 

So if you are looking to lose fat, its a good idea to get an understanding of how many calories you need and how many you are eating/drinking. 

A great tool for this is FITDAY.COM which calculates and tracks your calories based on the food you eat and your activity levels. Use it for a few days or use it long term. At the very least you will gain some insight into how many (or how few) calories you are ingesting and at the most you will gain a useful tool for tracking your progress and weight loss.  

Look for the answers to the following questions in upcoming posts: 

Q: Does it matter WHAT I eat or just how many calories I eat? 

Q: How can people target __________ fat (insert: belly/thigh/arm)?  

If you have any questions we'd love to hear them, if we don't know the answer we will find it! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

One-minute workouts for achieving your goals

Kyle O - sure looks like he is achieving
his fitness goals!
Now that school has started I am only able to get to my gym three days a week. For me, this is not enough; I like to workout four to six days a week.  There is a simple solution: quick home workouts. At home, everyone has access to the most sophisticated workout machine: their bodies.

Quick home workouts are not only great when you can't get to your gym but they can also play a major role in achieving goals. 

Kyle O, our friend and an action coach, recently showed us his improvements in his toes-to-bar exercise (an exercise where you hang from a bar and bring your toes up to the bar). He credits his improvement to a daily toes-to-bar practice; he has added toes-to-bar to his everyday activities, doing up to 50 a day!   

Exercises you can add to your day to achieve your goals include:
  • Push ups to improve upper body strength
    • try adding 5 a day!
  • Lunges and Squats to improve lower body strength
    • try adding 20 a day
  • Planks and sit ups (of any type!) to improve core strength
    • try adding a 1 minute plank or 20 sit ups!
  • Burpees to improve overall body strength and heart functioning
    • try adding 10 a day!
So let us know: What is your goal and what can you add to your day to achieve it?

Picture courtesy of KC PHOTO

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Escaping Technostress!

Technostress in action
In this day and age always being connected is simply a part of our lives.  Whether it's email, text or chat, we are always on, always available, and feel obligated to respond quickly. The feeling of anxiety that results from this constant connectedness is called technostress, a common ailment in our society. 

Kelly and I are quite guilty of this self imposed connectedness. Our smart phones are never far from our fingertips and our wandering eyes. Text messages easily interrupt conversations and the latest youtube video often distracts us from daily tasks. 

Having reflected on the feelings of anxiety that these little machines can invoke, we have decided to disconnect a few times per week. Walks to the grocery store, sushi dates, and some quiet house-time are cell phone-free. 
As Richard Carlson (author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...) says: "Life isn't an emergency," your text messages, emails, and all the other joys that the internet provides, will still be there once you have done what you are doing. In most cases it is not an emergency. 

So disconnect from the rest of the outside world and spend some time with each other, take a moment to breath, and remember "life is not an emergency."