Strengthen Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

fitness injury Sep 29, 2018

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...

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Shoulder Impingement Injury

injury Sep 22, 2018

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...

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Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Low Carb Shepherd's Pie

recipes Aug 17, 2018

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...

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BMR, and Why It's Important

health Aug 07, 2018

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...

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Ground Turkey & Chicken Muffins Recipe

recipes Jul 24, 2018

We love these muffins. So versatile: throw into a picnic basket, add to a big salad, make into meatballs for spaghetti, quick grab and go lunch.

I often make these, alternating between using ground turkey and ground chicken. If I am remembering correctly I got the recipe idea from Jamie Eason's website years ago. There are a lot of variations on the web, but this is my favourite.

  • 2 lbs ground chicken or ground turkey
  • 1 eggs (original recipe uses 3 egg whites, but my family like them with whole eggs)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 0.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves (original recipe uses 2 tbsp powder, but I like adding fresh cloves)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 celery
 Preheat oven to 375F. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Roll mixture into balls and place in silicon muffin tins. Bake for 40 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
 

Using ground turkey: 172cal, 7.9g fat, 6.5g carb, 18.7g protein

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Inner Core Stabilization, Diastasis Recti, and Flatter Tummy

fitness Jul 24, 2018

Pillow belly. That is what my children called the soft, squishy area between my ribs and pelvis. When my children were little they would take running leaps, head first, into it.

During my pregnancies I developed noticeable diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is the separation of the connective tissue in the middle of your left and right halves of the rectus abdominis, the most superficial abdominal muscle, making it unable to contract properly.

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My separation is quite severe. Whenever I have a physical examination with a new doctor, they are always like “Whoa! That is the worse diastasis recti I have ever seen!” I mumble a thanks…My guess is that I had it slightly even before my pregnancies with my "outie" belly button issue, but it definitely got worse after.
 
   
The first picture was taken in the early 2000s, after a triathlon race and a year before having my first baby (notice my "outie" belly button). The second...
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Joint Pain & Exercise

fitness health Jul 14, 2018

Several years ago I went through a stressful patch in my life with over programming (driving kids everywhere), too many volunteer commitments, selling/buying house, moving to a new city. And so, amongst all of that I wasn’t taking care of myself all that well: I ate a lot of prepackaged convenience “vegan” foods, lived on caffeine, often skipped meals, wasn’t consistent with exercising, didn’t get enough sleep or even down time. I was about 8 pounds underweight (when I am stressed I don’t eat). So my health was at an all time low. On top of that I started having severe peri-menopausal symptoms: delayed cycles, hot flashes, extreme fatigue, urgency to pee, joint pain. Fun times.

Many of those symptoms were eased by slowing down, cutting out a few programs from the family schedule, making healthy meals at home, eating animal protein, taking a compounded T4 hormone for my hypothyroid. But my joint pain remained. It wasn’t awful, just an...

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Egg Muffin Cups Recipe

recipes Jul 09, 2018

I was diagnosed as being mildly insulin resistant last year. My doctor suggested I stop eating a high carb, low fat vegan diet and adopting more of a moderate protein, moderate carbohydrate, higher fat Paleo diet. I was vegan because my husband was vegan...for seven years, and he was stubborn about changing. I ate meat out, but didn't cook it at home. After much research, I decided eating a higher fat, animal protein diet would be beneficial to try.

Immediately I gained 7 pounds...eek! But truthfully I needed to gain that, I was underweight. On the vegan diet, over the years I did develop some health issues: irregular cycles, fatigue, hypothyroid. Going more Paleo, I slowly gained my energy back (thyroid meds helped too!). Now I eat more of a Zone style diet: 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat. Over the years since Zone became popular in the late 90s, I have always found this macro ratio works well for me. I should add that when I was eating Paleo I never cut out oats and rice,...

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Registry Tracks Successful Losers of Weight

health Jul 08, 2018

As I was studying to take my ACE (American Council on Exercise) Personal Trainer exam to become re-certfied (I let my certification lapse several years ago), I came across really interesting information on dieting.

In ACE's Essentials of Exercise Science textbook, their chapter on nutrition contains a summary of a very enlightening study.

The National Weight Control Registry is a database that tracks successful "losers" of 30lbs or more and who have maintained that loss for over one year. ACE's book writes that this registry "has uncovered an abundance of tried and true tips to help people lose weight and keep it off".

Brilliant! As I read this summary I became incredibly excited! What an amazing registry! Simple wisdom, easy to implement, and motivating as it provides confidence that following these tips have helped so many others.

Here are the 10 insights:

  • Control portions: We live in a time where our portions have expanded. Years ago, muffins were half the size, restaurant...
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