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."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tricks for Treat Cravings

We all know that there are times when we just need to have a treat, when the cravings are so strong that we could eat a whole cake. This week my sweet tooth was relentless and with Halloween around the corner, I got to thinking about treats. How can we deal with irresistible cravings?

First, wait 15-20 minutes before you indulge in your craving, it might pass. Try distracting yourself in a positive way; go for a walk, check something off the to-do list, do a short workout or yoga video on youtube, or call a friend for a chat. 

If you are still set on a treat here are a few tips:
  1. Try a piece of fruit with nut butter, apple slices with almond butter is my favourite. The added fat turns it into more of a treat.  
  2. Reach for dark chocolate (70%+) instead of milk chocolate bars which have added sugary ingredients. When you are choosing dark chocolate, check the ingredients, sugar should NOT be the first on the list. I love Nestle Noir Intense. Have a few squares (not the whole thing)
  3. Make your own treats. This reduces the amount of preservatives and unclean ingredients you are taking into your body. My favourite treats right now are Primal Coconut Macaroons:      
    Thank you for the recipe allison eats!
    • pre-heat your oven at 350 degrees ferinheight.  
    • in a bowl whisk 2 large egg whites and 1/4 cup of natural honey
    • add 1/4 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract and 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut 
    • mix until combined
    • make tablespoon size balls and place on cookie sheet
    • bake in oven for 15-20 minutes rotating half way and let cool   
    • melt 4-6 squares of dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, dip macaroons and let cool 
I brought these for Thanksgiving tea and they were a huge hit. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

If you have any healthy craving-killing treats we'd love to hear about them!  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Training with Drew

We celebrated Andrew's birthday this weekend and I've decided that we should continue celebrating Andrew - as a trainer, today in this blog post. 

Andrew received his Level I Trainer Certificate on August 5th, 2012. Since then he has started coaching at CrossFit Renegade offering conditioning classes Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. After only two months Andrew, or Drew as he is known at the gym, has already had a very positive impact on his clients. 

Now don't take it from me...take it from one of his clients who shared the following with me: 

" thing that separates Drew from every other trainer that I have seen is that while he is at a high fitness level he inspires me as a person to get better at what I am doing. The fact that he is so bloody positive doesn't hurt either.

If anyone is to read this and say 'there isn't a hope I could ever do crossfit' ... consider this. I am a 6'8" 295lb man. In a month of training with Drew (and eating properly of course) I have lost 15 pounds. I really feel that Drew...gets where I am coming from and does his best every single time to help me out personally and push me just enough to get me to my goal of being a more fit and healthy person.

Don't get me wrong, the workouts are hard, brutal at times, but I can honestly say he is a huge part of the reason why my wife and I have attended every class and why we will continue to go. Great motivation, great person...As he says: today is the best day ever"

If you are interested in trying CrossFit check out CrossFit Renegade. You can start with Andrew's conditioning class which focuses on body weight exercises and metabolic conditioning. The next step is Foundations which introduces you to olympic lifting (yes you can do it!) and other CrossFit movements. And finally you can join the regular classes and continue your progress!