I have been purposely practicing movement since I was a child. From the age of five doing acrobatics and ballet to aerobics (think bright purple unitard with leg warmers) at my local community centres in my teens.
I have always loved movement so deciding to become a fitness professional in my 20s was a no brainer.
In my 20s, while personal training my Toronto clientele, I also trained as an endurance athlete, and also in my early 30s when my children were little. I moved into heavy weight lifting in my late 30s. During these years I always practiced yoga as a recovery method, balancing my other activities and trying to stay injury free.
In my mid-40s, I found Barre, and have enjoyed the amazing transformation in my body. And then recently, about one year ago, I discovered Pilates. I immediately fell in love with the practice. I found the articulation of the spine (flexion, extension, rotation, and side flexion) fascinating. In yoga, we mainly keep the spine...
New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them with the best of intentions and I actually love them. Every year, the week before January 1st, I begin contemplating about what I’d like to change in my life for the upcoming year. On December 31st I carve out a bit of time with my journal to write out my plans.
Now, truthfully, as the year unfolds some of those carefully crafted ideas don’t even get implemented. Some of those ideas live for about a month or two and then get dropped. But thankfully some of my changes do stay and new habits are formed.
If your Year 2020 resolution was to develop healthier lifestyle habits and you are worried you may not stick to your new plan, you are reading the right article! As a Certified Personal Trainer, working for the Township of Langley, I have seen lots of success with clients reaching their goals.
I have noticed three important steps that have led to successful outcomes for clients sticking to their...
Can Christians practice the postures of modern Western yoga? I have encountered so many differing opinions over the past few years. Below I share my own journey and then a few important facts I have researched.
I grew up Catholic and left the Church and abandoned my family’s faith when I was in college. I became quite alternative, studying various spiritual paths. Two that stuck were Buddhism and the philosophy of yoga. I went on a handful of meditation retreats and practiced Vipassana (Insight) meditation 1-2 hours a day. In 2012, while on a retreat I had a beautiful and encompassing experience of God which slowly brought me back to exploring Christianity. God pursued me loudly and greatly and after some struggle (think Jacob wrestling with God), I listened. I visited almost every Christian denomination before deciding to head back home to the Catholic Church, which is another story entirely for another post.
While as I was a newbie Christian, I still...
A little while ago I was complaining to my hair stylist. I was complaining about the fact that for the past four weeks I hadn’t been consistent in my workouts because of a serious chest cold that just wouldn’t go away. You remember that nasty chest cough that everyone had in December? During cardio (or really just laughing) would send me into a flurry of deep chest coughing. I could still do weight training, but I thought it wouldn’t be so considerate to be at the gym hacking away spreading my germs everywhere, so I focused on performing light weights at home.
My biggest complaint was that I was losing weight. And that made me annoyed because I knew I was losing lean muscle mass, not body fat. And that muscle was hard earned. For the past year I trained 6 days a week, lifting 6-12 reps for 3-5 sets, twice a week per body part.
So here I was in my stylist’s chair complaining about losing weight because I wasn’t exercising. I said...
I am a person who likes to get things done quickly. I develop a plan and stick to it, with 110% effort and enthusiasm. It’s been great for achieving goals. But sometimes I wonder, at what price?
As I age, I am noticing how setting my mind on a goal definitely can be beneficial, but with such rigid firmness comes drawbacks, especially depending on how much stress and friction it causes my life.
Stress. Looking up the word in the dictionary, there are multiple definitions, but two definitely stood out for me: 1) importance attached to a thing; and 2) the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another.
The importance to a “thing.” Hmmm, importance on things, don't like that. “Pressure” and “force.” Another hmmm, just thinking those words invoke stress!
I was recently reading a Precision Nutrition blog post and I really liked Coach Craig Weller’s advice:
(Clients say) “I was doing great...
I often answer “the best diet is the one that you can maintain long term.”
This is such a complex discussion. And really there is no right answer as to whether there is one diet that works for all people. Well….maybe one right answer: whole foods. Selecting most of the food you eat from whole sources, meaning minimally processed, feeds your body the nutrients it needs and keeps it healthy.
The reason that no one diet works for everyone is that people are diverse. Every body needs different macros (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) depending on several important aspects.
In the first chapter of the Precision Nutrition's “The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition” textbook for my Level 1 Certification I am currently enrolled in, it gives an excellent and explained overview of several ways that people are diverse. Allow me to paraphrase…
Body Type – some of us are tall and thin, some short and stocky, and some in between....
Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles is integral to keeping your shoulder joint strong and injury free. For a detailed description of what causes shoulder impingement, please visit my blog post on that topic here.
The rotator cuff consists of four small muscles. The supraspinatus is the topmost muscle. It lays across the top of the scapula (shoulder blade). The muscles (laying posteriorly - the closest to the skin) are the teres minor and the infraspinatus. The muscle under the scapula (laying anteriorly) is the subscapularis.
The supraspinatus, along with the deltoid, abducts (lifts up from the side) the arm. The teres minor and infraspinatus externally rotates the arm. The subscapularis internally rotates the arm.
The rotator cuff muscle that gets most injured is the supraspinatus. The muscle I strained was my left supraspinatus.
Rounded shoulders = winged scapula
Our rounded shoulders are the main reason we injure our rotator cuff muscles. Most of us have...
Up until recently I was weight training 5 days a week. Using the body split training method. A typical workout week would consist of 75 minute training sessions broken down by body part, like this: Monday: shoulders and abs, Tuesday: legs, Wednesday: chest and triceps, Thursday: back and biceps, Friday: legs. I performed approximately 4 exercises per body part, 3 sets of 6-12 reps, going to failure every time (meaning: you lift weight heavy enough that when you get to the last rep you can’t lift it with proper form - please note then you don't lift it, because you should only lift with proper form). In addition, I was running 25 minute sprints and participating in 1-2 spinning classes a week. My cardio was mainly high intensity every time.
This is the popular bodybuilding workout plan. I think it’s been the most used model for building muscle for years and years (since the 70s). Because I was so focused on studying for the NASM CPT exam, I didn’t have time to...
This dish is one of my family's faves. Months ago, I was logging my macros on my My Fitness Pal app and I came across a mouthwatering video on how to make a low carb shepherd's pie. Presently, I can't find a link to the video, but I found the original recipe here.
I don't know about your kids, but mine are sometimes adverse to vegetables, and trust me, because their mother is a health nut those poor kids are given a LOT of vegetables. The first time I made this recipe I forgot to tell them that the top was made from cauliflower, and the funny thing is they didn't even know the cauliflower mash wasn't potatoes!
For the first several times making this I followed the recipe exactly as it states on the My Fitness Pal website, but I didn't care for the flavour combos. In the end I replaced the bison with extra lean ground beef, because while I would LOVE to always use bison in this recipe, I just can't afford it at this time. I experimented and came up with a recipe that...
I am at that age (early 40s) where I have many family members and friends trying to lose weight. It’s definitely tough for us to stay slim as we age. One of the main reasons is that we have been steadily losing precious muscle since our early 30s. It’s called sarcopenia. On average, physically inactive people lose 3-5% of their muscle mass per decade, my 6th edition NASM textbook states 5% per decade. That might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Your amount of muscle mass pretty much dictates your BMR.
Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is the amount of energy expended while at rest. Your muscles burn more calories in order to function, meaning the more muscle mass you have the more energy (calories) your body burns. Pretty cool, eh?
So as we age, it’s important that we exercise. Walking and light aerobics are great for our cardiovascular health (which lengthens our life expectancy), plus it will burn a little extra calories. However, it’s only...