Fitness tips

Episode #8 Most Common Exercise + Weight Loss Mistake

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In this episode I discuss the thing that is really hard for people to grasp when it comes to exercise and trying to lose weight.  It is a common misconception that is played out everyday at the gym.  My recent lifestyle has had me falling into the habit that is counter productive to long term healthy weight maintenance. How about you?

What’s Wrong With These Bikes?

I have been a group exercise coordinator for a very long time.  Which means I manage the group exercise programs at the gym.

Here is something I come across A LOT, A LOT, did I say A LOT?

iphone pics 149What is that? Well my best answer is I do not know? My assumption would be it is a cluster of spin bikes that have been moved to the back of the spin room because they are not working correctly. My job? Solve the mystery.

Step One: Look in the bike maintenance binder to see what bikes need fixing.

I open the binder. Well that is funny because there is nothing written in the binder which means everything is functioning perfectly.

Step Two: Look at each bike to see if there is anything obvious broken.

Nope, after a little bit of searching and effort on my part nothing stands out.

Step Three: If time permits prior to my class climb on each of the bikes and ride them as you increase tension. Listen for any noises, feel for any issues.

Nope.

Step Four: Shrug shoulders in frustration wheel bike back to its position and hope it was just moved to wash the floor or something.

I find I can relate to this back row of bikes facing the wrong direction and begging for attention. Do you?

Often times when something is not working I find myself doing one of two things.

(1) Isolating myself because I feel I am not of any use to anyone.

(2) Making an emotional display of my displeasure in order to draw some attention.

Whether I choose the 1st or the 2nd behavior both of them get me back to the same place. Those around me will attempt to get me back in the game and when nothing is solved and I no longer appear or feel broken I will just be thrown back into the pack until the next time I try to be useful and my problems once again surface.

Two lessons my crazy mind sees in this back row of misfit bikes.

Lesson #1 The SPIN class called life can be grueling and if you are playing hard all the time things eventually will break, need replacing or repair, nourishment, some loving that’s just NORMAL.

Lesson #2 It’s my job when things are not working to COMMUNICATE what the problem is. Even if I a not exactly sure, sometimes there is so much squeaking, squealing, and misalignment you do not know where it is coming from BUT the more information I can share with the ones I love the better opportunity I am giving them to HELP me meet my needs.

What are your struggles when it comes to getting healthy?

Have you talked to the people around you about them?

Have you given them specific things they can do to help you?

Personally I isolate. My wife Jen is learning this about me and I am learning that if I cannot clearly communicate to her what I am dealing with that I need to tell her that. Sometimes that looks like “I am frustrated with __________ right now and I am praying for clarity. I am not sure what the root of it is. But when I know what it is I will tell you what you maybe able to do to help”

I find that talking it out with her will sometimes bring the clarity I need, which beats the isolation that solves nothing.

We are both getting better at asking “what can I do for you?” and then being specific about what that is.

SO what has you sidelined? Work on clarifying what the problem is. Pray about it. Then ask for specific HELP.

Clearly writing your problem in the bike maintenance binder means there is a much higher chance your issue will be addressed and you will be back in the pack moving forward longer before the next problem arises.

I love this point from Danny Silks “Keep Your Love On.”

“It’s my job to tell you what is going on inside of me, and your job to tell me what’s going on inside of you. We do not have powers of telepathy or the right to assume we know one another’s motives, thoughts, feelings, or needs.”

  

How You Can Eat More and Lose Weight

Eat MORE and lose weight?………well that got your attention didn’t it? 

Before you read on I want to be upfront. There is no magic in this information. No, I am not going to sell you a miracle substance. I am not going to convince you there has been a breakthrough in science and a discovery that will astonish you. There is no thorny once thought extinct plant that you can sprinkle on the cheese burger of your dreams and LOSE weight!  And no it is not available at one low price for a limited time….sorry :(

I am going to just show you a couple slides from a real person’s calorie management device to illustrate the power your small choices have in a day.

What do I want you to learn from it?

2 things

(1) Small choices add up

(2) You can eat more when you move more

When I was a Kinesiology student I remember hearing about some studies where large companies would hire a specialist to come into the sedentary workplace to come up with a plan to introduce more movement at the work place. They did mean things like lock the bathroom door to force people to walk further to another bathroom. They turned off escalators, introduced standing workstations, provided lunch time exercise classes, and several other “forced movement” tactics.

By the way forcing people to do things is never a way to actually change anything.  Change begins from the INSIDE, not by forcing change in the external environment. STOP AND TAKE THAT IN Change is an inside job!!!

FOCUS Ira ;)   Ok back to the experiment. I recall thinking (very sarcastically I might add) “Really? As if taking stairs, parking the car further away or standing at my desk would add up to anything significant.”

Enter the calorie management device.

 I starting working with a device a couple years ago that you wear on the back of your arm all day, you can even sleep with it on. This device measured with over 93 percent accuracy how many calories you burned in a day. I was testing the device on myself and was surprised by the results. On a Friday I had gone to the gym in the morning and done a really intense 1 hour spin class. Then I return home and sat at my desk for a good chunk of the day catching up on administrative tasks. Saturday morning I woke up early,  cleaned around the house, walked around the mall, did some grocery shopping, shovel the driveway (it was winter), and did not workout.

Well guess which day I burned more calories on? I will give you a hint it was not the day I worked out! What the device reveal to me was the vastness of the impact our sedentary lifestyles are having on us. You may go to the gym before or after work but if you are still sitting all day it may come as a surprise to you how few calories you are actually burning.

Here is two days in the life of one of my clients.

DAY #1 A movement filled day!

good day

On this day working out, running errands, walking the dog, shopping around the city her calorie burn was  3201 calories. Which means she can eat 2200 calories and still be on track to lose 2 pounds by the end of the week!

Lets compare that to a couch day. She did not leave the house, she watched TV, read some books, and got up to prepare some meals. In the evening she did a little extra time on her feet cleaning up and preparing a meal.

Day # 2 Sedentary Day

bad day

On this day she burned almost 1000 calories less than the previous example.  Guess what that means? In order to stay on track for a 2 lbs a week weight loss she would only be able to consume 1167 calories. That is nearly 1000 calories less then Day #1!

What does 1000 extra calories look like?

Apple (79)

24 Almonds (163)

Hard Boiled Egg (72)

2 slices of bread (120)

1 cup of cubed avocado(241)

Roasted Chicken Breast (280)

SO how can you eat more and still lose weight, move MORE! This is the way I look at it. Small changes do add up! Moving more allows me to add more nutrient dense food to my daily routines. Food is medicine and if I can eat more of the healthy stuff it is going to help deal with the nutritional deficits that are occurring with the standard north american diet.

One last note, be conscious of how much movement you are doing in a day. Each day may not present itself with the same opportunities to move. So if you find yourself on a day where you are moving less, eat less.  Equally as important if you are moving more, EAT MORE! Not just for the sake of eating more but also to keep up with your ENERGY demands!

What You Do Not Know About Your Neon Colored Running Shoes

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I am going to assume you bought your last pair of running shoes based on how they fit your feet right? You certainly did not buy your running shoes because they looked super funky and fashionable? NO not you! (insert raised eyebrows and slight nod of the head)

Ummm….OK lets get real. My guess is you are like the good majority of people who buy their running shoes based on fashion, not function. I don’t blame you, man have shoes gotten funky! I do admit to having a brightly colored pair myself which my son has nicknamed my super hero shoes!

But I see an alarming amount of people unknowingly wearing what are called minimalist shoes.  I would venture to say about 60 percent of my classes are sporting a pair. Now I am not saying this type of shoes is bad, but what I want you to know is that the way we are training in them is a problem.

Question: When you removed the labels from your new shoes did you happen to read any of them?  If you had you may have noticed some of them are starting to come with caution labels like this one.

barefoot running

Now here is my take: I like the barefoot and minimalist footwear movement because I believe when our feet are placed in a structural box (old stiff traditional pair of runners) we begin to weaken our feet and ankles that are actually built for dynamic movement. Its the old saying “If you don’t use it you’ll lose it.”

Did you know that your feet and ankle contain 1/4 of the bones in the human body? and 33 joints with over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons! Your feet where made to sense the ground you walk on, absorb impact, leap, tip toe, swim, stomp, run, dance and get you where your going. But if your feet have not had the freedom to move au naturel  you are going to have to take the time to train them up to do so.

Here are some clues that your shoes maybe minimalist.

-a large toe box, where your foot has the freedom to splay and your toes have the freedom to move

-a thin sole or thin covering

-you can fold or roll the shoe up

-while holding the heel and toe of the shoe you can twist the shoe in opposite directions freely

Unfortunately some of you may now be realizing as your reading this article why your heel, ankle, foot or Achilles has been bothering you it’s called over training. If you wear this shoe for all of your training right from the get go your muscle does not have enough time between training to adapt.

I ran my half marathon in the fall with a minimalist shoe.  I did part of my training in the beginning with a more structured shoe and a couple runs a week with the minimalist shoe.  By the end of my training I was wearing my “super hero” shoes for 100 percent of my runs.  I still taught specific classes at the gym in my structured shoes why? cause I followed this key principle; I trusted and listen to the signs my body was giving me.

As a trainer I find there are 2 ends of the spectrum.

(1) There are those that keep pushing the body when it is clearly in pain, they see the pain as standing in their way, rather than pain being a clear built in function of a body that is communicating a problem. Without pain we would do a lot of stupid and harmful things to our bodies! Pain is not as bad as we think it is. Pain is a problem when it is chronic yet we choose to ignore it OR numb it out with medication. Pain is our body asking us for unmet needs. Whether the needs are mental, physical, or spiritual. When over training in these shoes constant pain is just your body saying back off give me a chance to catch up!

(2) The other end of the spectrum I find people who at every sign of pain they label themselves injured and quickly take themselves out of the game. FEAR of things getting worse plaques their training continuously. Either they just are inexperienced with the normal discomfort of an exercised body OR they have been injured in the past and are scared of going back.

Here is what you need to know. Muscle that are challenged will become weak and during repair will exhibit pain. Trust that your body will build itself back up and the weakness will be overcome by strength and that it is just the way your body is made! Your body works to meet the demand that you place on it.

So training in these shoes will result in your weak muscles feeling the burn. Just be patient, trust your body is communicating a good message with you, YOUR BODY IS NOT FIGHTING AGAINST YOU! Please remember this! Your BODY WAS MADE GOOD and it is FOR YOU! Learn to have a good relationship with the signals your body is sending you. Learn to back off without labeling it “failure” or “giving up” and in turn learn to push ahead and trust that out of your weakness you will become stronger.

 

 

 

Episode # 5 Thank God For Tibialis Anterior

Thank God For Tibialis Anterior

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It’s easy to lose sight of what is really important. Like the tibialis anterior a muscle that most of us don’t even know we have yet its function is essential in our day to day activities.  This is a challenge to draw your attention to what you have rather than what you always feel like your missing.