Tag Archives: fitness

Overload Your Progress

There are many different programs and methods of training out there that promise muscle growth. To continually make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance you must continually lift more and make your muscles work harder than they are used to. If you don’t, your muscles will not become any stronger or bigger than they currently are. One of the most effective ways to stimulate muscle hypertrophy is through Progressive Tension Overload

5 Ways To Create Progressive Overload

1. Increase Resistance

Progressively increase the weight you lift, as you become stronger the weight will become easier. Be sure to increase the resistance when you are able to perform more than your target reps.

2. Increase Sets

Increase the number of sets you perform for a given exercise. For example, if you normally do two or three sets of your set amount of reps increase to four to six sets for up to eight weeks to really fatigue the muscle.

3. Increase Repetitions

Increase the number of repetitions you perform and push yourself to do one or two more reps on each set. If you are able to get the extra reps completely by yourself and it is higher than your target rep range then you know it’s time to increase the resistance and use the help of a spotter if necessary.

4. Increase Frequency

The common approach to a body building style-training program is to train a muscle or muscle group once a week while cycling in a rest day. This method may not be effective to make continual gains for someone who recovers quickly.  It’s important to listen to your body to make sure that the muscles have had enough time to recuperate between training sessions before increasing frequency although every once in a while train muscles before they are fully recovered in order to shock them and keep them guessing can help stimulate hypotrophy.

5. Decrease Rest Time

Decreasing the rest time between consecutive sets will force your body to adapt metabolically by removing toxins and other byproducts of anaerobic exercise faster. Over time you will be able to lift more in less time.

The principle of overload is that a greater than normal stress or load on the body is required for training adaptation to take place. Once the body has adapted to the first stimulus a different stimulus is required to achieve progressive growth in power, endurance, strength or muscle mass.  If you remove or decrease your exercise intensity a decrease in that particular component of fitness will result.

3 Ways to Say Goodbye to Belly Fat

High levels of the stress hormone Cortisol have been shown to contribute to higher levels of body fat especially deep belly fat. Chronic stress, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are a few stressors that can lift cortisol levels and keep the body in fight or flight mode, which triggers the body to hold on to fat in self preservation.

The good news is that you can get rid of deep belly fat by following three simple steps.

1. Proper food combining.

Be sure to include a protein, fat, and carb in each meal with an adequate amount of fiber rich foods. When your meals are balanced, your hormones are balanced and your body will absorb the foods nutrients better increasing satiety and decrease the odds of overeating.

2. Control your portions.

When you need to learn how much is enough, invest in a digital food scale and weigh your proteins, fats and complex carbs when prepping your meals at home to learn what a healthy portion size is for you. In our super sized society what is common does not mean it’s normal. After just a few months of measuring with your scale you will be able to eyeball a portion when eating out and determine if it’s enough to starve, satisfy or stuff your hunger. When you’re really trying to lose those last 5-10 lbs. or drop five percent body fat, portion control is a must!

3. Eat frequently and consistently.

To lose access body fat and build muscle being consistent with your meal timing to help maintain proper blood sugar balance. I support the current recommendation of eating five meals per day rather than two to three large meals. This can be made up of three main meals and two snacks or five to six calorically equal meals to fuel your activity level. In all cases be sure to have breakfast within thirty minutes of waking and time your last meal to be at least two hours before bed to support energy levels and quality sleep.

When you consistently eat nutritionally balance, properly portioned meals you will have more energy to fuel your workouts and decrease the mindless indulgences that caused the access belly fat to accumulate in the first place.

Make Fitness a Habit with Nano Workouts

When you can’t find the time to do a traditional workout at the gym or group fitness class or CrossFit session you can work in a Nano workout! What is a Nano Workout? A Nano workout is a small amount of exercise multiplied many times throughout the day. Nano workouts are not a fitness program per se, but they are effective methods for achieving a more active lifestyle to complement more intense workout sessions and make staying fit a habit!

Here are 3 Nano moves to do before you even leave your house:

Calf Raises

Strong fit calves don’t just look great; they are also good for mobility, stability and posture. If you have a job where you spend a lot of time sitting down, it’s important to exercise and stretch your calves with Calf Raises to avoid tense muscles.

To execute this move simply roll out of bed, place your feet on the floor and raise your heals off the floor as high as you can. Stay in the elevated position for a half second before lowering. Repeat the desired numbers of times. Place an acupressure mat under your feet to improve circulation, increase energy level, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate headaches, relieve tension and muscle aches, reduce cortisol levels, improve skin complexion and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Air Squats

The bathroom might sound like an unorthodox place to workout, but did you know that on average, women spend almost five full days in the bathroom each year, for men it’s slightly less, but both use the bathroom several times throughout the day so if you make it a habit to do just one exercise each time you go, it will add up to some massive workout time. For instance, if you do Air Squats at the sink while brushing your teeth, which takes on average two minutes, twice per day, your toothbrush workouts will add up to more than 24 hours in a year!

Stomach Vacuum

Strong core muscles help with overall mobility and posture and who doesn’t like having a nice flat tummy? A great abs toner that you can do anywhere is the Stomach Vacuum. To execute this move just suck in your stomach to engage your abs. Imagine your belly button touching your spine and keep your abs tensed for about 60 seconds as you are walking before relaxing them. Repeat throughout the day and remember to breathe normally, don’t hold your breath.

Do these 3 Nano moves to help make fitness a habit during everyday activities!

Make Every Second Count with Tempo Training

Tempo training is an awesome way to make every second of your workout count. Different tempo prescriptions provide greater training variety and stimulus, which means fewer plateaus and more strength gains. A tempo prescription is usually listed after the reps and sets of an exercise as a series of four numbers that represent the time it should take to complete the four stages of a lift. 

The First Number refers to the lowering (eccentric) phase of the lift. 

The Second Number refers to the amount of time spent in the bottom position of the lift – the point in which the lift transitions from lowering to ascending. 

The Third Number refers to ascending (concentric) phase of the lift – the amount of time it takes you to get to the top of the lift. 

The Fourth Number refers to how long you should pause at the top of the lift.  

If you are given a 4220-tempo prescription for a set of squats you want to ensure that your 4-second count doesn’t take 2 seconds to count when things get tough. Proper counting technique to practice is verbally counting out one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-one thousand…yes it will burn!

Proper tempo prescriptions can help athletes develop a stronger mind muscle connection by giving them an opportunity to “feel” which muscle groups are activating through the four stages of each lift. Tempo training can be beneficial for all types of athletes. CrossFit for example, most often pushes athletes to the limits with maximal effort lifts and workouts, slowing down movements with tempo prescriptions allows for a greater amount of time under tension with less overall stress on the central nervous system, this allows athletes safe strength gains to support their workout of the day. 

If you are looking to increase your training results I encourage you to try implementing tempo training into your program for 4-8 weeks to experience the benefits. If you’re not sure how to create tempo program for your specific needs, please shoot me an email and inquire about online coaching programs. 

Clearing Up the Confusion Around Cardio

Whether you love it or hate it, the truth is most people start their fitness journey with cardio workouts and ponder the question:  “How much and what kind of cardio should I do?”

I can’t tell you how many hours of cardio I have done over the past year, let alone my entire fitness career.  Simply put: Cardio has become a habit for me. I didn’t always enjoy doing hours of it when prepping for competition, but that’s because I didn’t know then what I know now. I have experimented with hundreds of different cardio prescriptions — both in my own training and with clients for almost 20 years — so let me just say, I know a few things about what works and what wears you out!

As with any personalized training program, each person has different needs and therefore different cardio prescriptions that will work best for them. There are, however, some golden rules that work if you want to decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass.

The good news is you want to do less of more and more of less. What I mean by that is, you will lose more fat and build more muscle by doing short burst and intense interval sessions rather than long, slow, boring machine cardio sessions.

I always recommend that you do your cardio after lifting weights or, if you’re able to train twice per day, in a separate session.  This will ensure you get maximum strength gains which will increase your lean muscle mass, which in turn will increase your BMR (Body Mass Ratio). In English, that means you’ll burn more calories, even when you’re not at the gym!

One negative effect of aerobic training — more so than weight lifting — is that it produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Too much cortisol post-workout will interfere with lean muscle gain and actually increase body fat.  So unless your goal is to be skinny fat or to increase your fatness, I do not recommend “hamster wheel” cardio for hours on a machine like a drone.

If you get on a treadmill while hanging onto the handle bars or get on an elliptical and go for an hour while watching TV or reading a book and not even break a sweat, you are not getting the most out of your minutes. The only time I would say it’s best to do low intensity cardio is if the person is severely obese and just starting a workout routine. Once you are in the routine of working out, cardiovascular conditioning requires you to challenge the heart and lungs, which makes interval training the way to go!

The truth is that proper nutrition accounts for more than 80% of your weight management results. So when it comes to cardio prescriptions, optimal fat loss can be achieved with a sensible nutritional plan and interval sessions that are 20-40 minutes 3-6 days per week.

10 Habit Hacks to Achieve Healthy Weight Loss

How can you shape or engineer your environment so that maintaining a healthy weight is easier?

You have to put your mind to it, but the good news is that simple changes made to your home or workspace can help make achieving weight loss easier. The key is to surround yourself with nutritious foods and supportive messages while reducing the number of influences that will challenge your commitment to better health. Make these simple adjustments to boost your chances of weight loss success and improve your health:

  1. In the home, get rid of stuff that you’re likely to eat too much of. Overeating is obviously a leading culprit in weight gain.
  2. One step towards improving eating habits is to change the contents of your shopping basket. If you never buy chips, they will not be in the cupboard to tempt you.
  3. Have a snack before a meal, something such as a small serving of protein. This will help you avoid over-indulging later.
  4. Stay away from alcohol before starting a meal. There’s evidence that alcohol stimulates appetite and leads to overeating.
  5. Serve your dinner meal from the stove or counter rather than serving your plate right off the table. Studies show you are likely to eat 19 percent less food with this healthy habit.
  6. Serve salad first rather than bread at mealtime. You’re three times more likely to eat the first food you see than the fifth.
  7. Replace 12-inch plates with 10-inch ones. People tend to eat about 60 extra calories per meal when they eat off of larger plates.
  8. Avoid the TV and Computer When Eating. It’s easy to lose track of what you’ve eaten when you are not paying attention. Try to remove items that will take your focus off of eating, such as the computer or a television at mealtime.
  9. Celebrate your healthy meal by sitting down, relaxing alone or with family. Take the time to slowly enjoy your food. Creating a special mealtime ritual will help you to feel satisfied with the experience of eating. This is better than looking in the cupboard and fridge before mealtimes or snacks to see what is there.
  10. Physical activity is more important for weight maintenance than for weight loss. What matters most for weight loss is controlling calorie intake. However, doing things such as walking to the local market or parking far from the grocery store door will support weight loss by increasing total daily steps and calories burned. Adding daily exercise is the key to improving your mood, protecting against disease. It boosts energy during the day and improves sleep quality at night.

The Peak Performance Creed

Peak performance in life isn’t about succeeding all the time or always being happy. It’s truly about doing the best that you can with what you have right now.

Peak performers are not necessarily the most talented. They just are just more committed to be their best every single day. There will be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do. One of the biggest differences between an average athlete and an elite athlete is that the elite “do” what most other athletes “wish” or “hope” for. Continue reading

Cleansing the body through exercise

If you have spent time in a heath food or supplement store — or a grocery store that carries vitamins — then you have likely stopped in front of the shelf featuring “cleanses and detoxes”. Cleansing and detoxing are staples in the campaign towards optimal health and wellness and it is intriguing to think about all the “stuff” that must build up in our bodies due to all the toxins we are exposed to.

Yet it’s important to back up one step and ask “what is a toxin?” Continue reading

Why Suffer When You Don’t Have To?

If you’ve ever busted your butt in the gym, chances are you have woken up the next morning and skipped washing your hair in the shower because your muscles were too sore to lift your arms. This can also happen if you’re new to gym workouts.

I’ll be the first to admit the self-satisfaction I gain from experiencing “good pain” muscle soreness following a great workout, but never should it be to the point where you can’t move for days.

Muscle hypotrophy occurs in the recovery phase, so you want to ensure you prime that time. If your muscle recovery takes more than 48 hours, you may need more water, sleep, quality nutrients or an adjustment to your workout routine. Among those adjustments are decreasing the intensity and increasing the frequency of your sessions to promote quicker muscle recovery.

The popular theory in the fitness world is that soreness is caused by the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. That is partly true, especially during the workout. After the workout, however, it’s more a case of post micro tears in the myofibrils of the worked muscles that cause soreness. The faster you can get past soreness, the sooner you can effectively hit them again with a workout and the faster you’ll grow. Muscle soreness shouldn’t be your badge of honour. Quick recovery should be.

You’re probably thinking: “What’s the best way to overcome muscle soreness?” Well, for starters, staying hydrated is the cheapest, easiest way there is to maximize your performance in the gym and afterwards. In addition to a balanced nutrition plan, I also recommend movement to increase circulation and quality sleep to allow cell restoration.

When it comes to supplementation, PURICA RECOVERY – developed for whole body health and pain relief — provides effective relief to people dealing with sore joints and muscles. It is a great ongoing supplement for athletes who want to inhibit cellular damage, decrease inflammation and increase the cells’ ability to absorb important hormones. My #1 recommendation for topical treatment is Arnica gel or cream.

Train hard. Eat clean. Recover then repeat. By applying these principles, you’ll be well on your way to faster and greater results. Enjoy the new growth!

Get In the “Zone”

You’ve probably heard the phrase “in the zone” or “in the flow.”

Ask any athlete and they will agree that there is nothing more fun in life than being in the zone.

When was the last time you were so focused that time stood still?  When you are so immersed in what you’re doing that you don’t worry about outcomes or distractions. You trust your skills and react without worry, doubt, or fear about results. Continue reading

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