Why a Calorie Isn’t Just a Calorie


We used to believe that calories were all created equal. It sounded like common sense, seeing as one dietary calorie contains 4,284 Joules of energy. This naturally led us to believe that if you consume 2,000 calories a day and burn 2,000 calories a day, homeostasis on your body will be the result. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case—100 calories of gummy bears act very differently when consumed than 100 calories of asparagus—and adopting the blind calorie-counting method of eating is at least part of the reason we see more obesity as a society in recent decades. Here are a few examples that highlight HOW all calories aren’t created equal:

 

Fructose versus Glucose

Fructose and glucose are two simple sugars in many foods, and one gram of each gives you the same number of calories; however, your body metabolizes them very differently. Fructose is predominantly only be metabolized in the liver, where as glucose gets metabolized by all the tissues in the body. On top of this, fructose leads to higher levels of the hormone Ghrelin (known as the hunger hormone). So, consuming more fructose means you’ll probably feel more hunger than satiation. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15181085).  In case that’s not enough reason to steer clear of fructose—and, of course, high-fructose corn syrup—it has also been shown to lead to insulin resistance and an increase in fat around your mid-section. But wait, isn’t there fructose in fruit? There is, but fruit are also rich in fiber and water, which prevents much of the negative damage. The long and the short of it is fructose calories do more hormonal and metabolic damage on your health than glucose.

 

 

Protein’s Metabolic Advantage

 Different foods go through different metabolic pathways in your body, some of which are more effective than others. For example, protein has four calories per gram, but much of these calories are lost as heat when your body metabolizes them (what is known as the thermic effect). In other words, it requires much more energy to metabolize protein than it does to metabolize fat and carbs.

 Thermic Effect Percentages:

• Protein: 25-30%

• Carbs: 6-8 %

• Fat: 2-3 %

 Based on the above percentages, this means if you consume 100 calories of protein, you end up with only 75 calories in your body, because of the 25% thermic effect (meaning 25% of protein’s calories get lost as heat). On the other hand, if you eat 100 grams of carbs, your body will still end up with 94 calories, because you only lose around 6 calories as heat due to the thermic effect. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11838888). It’s no surprise then that various studies have shown that a higher protein diet boosts your metabolism as compared to a lower protein diet.

 

 

Protein and Portion Control

 On top of its metabolic effect, protein also has a special appetite-killing power, so to speak. Protein calories are the most effective at making you feel full. You have probably noticed this. You can eat waffle after waffle loaded with berries, but you’re likely not going to eat three steaks for dinner. This study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002798) showed that people who eat more protein (30 percent of their diet was protein) ate 441 fewer calories per day and lost 11 lb. on average in 12 weeks. This essentially comes down to the satiety index. I already pointed out how your body feels like a bottomless pit when you’re throwing back waffles, or ice cream, but you’ll have a hard time getting the same amount of calories of milk, eggs or meat into your system.

 

 

Glycemic Index

 The glycemic index basically has to do with measuring how fast foods raise your blood sugar. As expected, highly refined carbohydrates spike your blood sugar faster than protein and healthy fats, for example. Blood sugar spikes lead to blood sugar crashes, which lead to cravings for more high-carb foods. In short, eating more foods higher on the glycemic index means you’re putting yourself more at risk of both gaining weight and getting Type 2 diabetes.

 

 If you want more nutrition advice, come talk to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pass the Salt Please!


Study says you can stop feeling guilty when you ask your neighbour to “Pass the salt, please!” Fat used to be sinful, and now it’s not. Sugar was never great, but now we know how awful it is for us. And then there’s salt. Salt has always been moderately evil—it has been thought to cause high-blood pressure and heart problems—to the point that some health professionals say 0 grams of salt a day for many people is best. Especially for old people, they say. If you have ever visited a grandparent in assisted living and joined them for lunch, you probably ate a whole lot of bland, tasteless, saltless food.

 

The WHO (World Health Organization)’s generic recommendation is to consume than 2 grams of salt a day to ensure you stay free from high blood pressure and strokes. To put that into context, 100 grams of bacon has around 1,7 grams of sodium, so if you ate bacon for breakfast that’s pretty much your salt for the day according to the WHO. Don’t even think about sprinkling any additional salt on your eggs or avocado! Good new for salt lovers is this could all be poor advice, says a new study, which involved more then 90,000 people in more than 18 countries, published in the Lancet Medical Journal. The study says no country has ever reduced their sodium intake to those low levels, nor should they try. Link to the study: (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31376-X/fulltext).

 

The Canadian researchers discovered salt’s alleged harmful effects were only relevant in countries, such as China, where they use a ton of salty substances, like soy sauce, very liberally, and where people tend to consume more than 12 g of salt a day. Not only that, they discovered that incredibly low levels of salt in a person’s diet led to more heart attacks and death than moderate levels of sodium. Their conclusion: Low levels are bad (i.e. 0-5 grams) and high level are bad (above 12.5 g), but somewhere in the middle can actually play a role in improving cardiovascular health, as the body needs sodium—an essential nutrient. The average intake in the UK is believed to be around 8 grams, possible right where it should be, according to this research.

Why Your Body Needs Salt

  • Sodium is needed for our muscles to contract, for regulating fluid balance, for regulating blood pressure, and for our nervous system to properly transmit signals.
  • Sodium also helps you absorb chloride, amino acids, glucose and water in your intestines.

 

Despite these new findings, the study has already been stirring up big criticism from the anti-sodium camp, and has even sparked a movement among other scientists to prove them wrong. One of their biggest challenges is that the Lancet study didn’t properly measure how much sodium was in people’s urine, as this needs to be done over a 24-hour period of time, they argue. You can read more about the criticism to this study here: (https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/07/17/experts-criticize-new-study-about-salt-consumption) Another aspect of the study to consider is potassium intake. The research found that cardiovascular problems decreased when people were also eating higher levels of potassium—which is found in plenty in many vegetables, fruits, as well as nuts. So perhaps it’s less about sodium intake and more about potassium intake? Something to consider for future research.

 

Why is Potassium Important?

  • Potassium regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions and plays a role in your nervous system. A high-potassium diet is believed to reduce blood pressure and water retention, as well as it helps stave off cardiovascular troubles, osteoporosis and kidney stones.
  • low potassium is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, digestive problems and infertility
  • Check out more about potassium and if you’re getting enough of it here: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/potassium-sources-and-benefits#1    

 

 

One more final thought about salt to take with a grain of salt (Because it’s coming from my common sense, not a doctor): If you sweat a lot, especially in the summer, you probably can handle more salt than otherwise. So the next time you want to ask for salt but feel like you might offend the cook as the implication might be the food is bland, don’t hold back. You need sodium as much as any other mineral in your body and if you’re craving salty foods, there might be a reason for it.

Hand Protection 101


Our Guide to Treating and Protecting Your Hands

 

If you have spent any time on the barbell, swinging KBs around, or doing pull-ups or toes-to-bar, you have probably experienced a blister or a rip. (If you’re still a rip virgin, chances are you won’t be for long, so you too, can listen up). It generally starts with an uncomfortable feeling somewhere on your hand or finger as you feel your skin shift and loosen up. Generally, it’s enough to signal you to hop off the bar and tape up, or stop the movement altogether for the day. However, sometimes it’s too late. The skin has already ripped off, or a water or blood blister, has already formed. What do you do next? Should you pop the blister? Should you cut any dangling skin? Keep it moist? Dry it out? Let’s address these one by one.

 

 

POP IT OR LEAVE IT BE?

The old-school gymnastics coach advice is to grab a needle and thread and poke a hole on one side of your blister, and then string the thread through and out the other side of the blister. Gymnasts far and wide have been known to go to bed with thread hanging out on both sides of their blister. What this does is help dry the rip out—via the small air hole made from the needle—all the while keeping the skin covering and protecting the rip. Sounds kind of gross but it does work and some people like this method. It is certainly better than popping the blood blister and force ripping the skin off, leaving your hand stingy and vulnerable for the next 24 hours.

However, if you’re going to avoid any hand movements for a couple days, then it’s often best just to leave the blister be. That skin will rip off at some point, but if it has a couple days to sit and heal, by the time the skin rips off, it will be a lot dryer and much less painful than a newly-formed open rip in the middle of your hand.

 

 

LEAVE THE DANGLY BITS?

If you have ripped, but the skin is still sitting nice and flat over the rip, then it’s probably best to leave the skin as is. But if the skin is dangling, and especially if you’re planning on continuing to work with your hands that day or the following day, then definitely grab some scissors or cuticle cutters and cut off the loose skin. If you don’t, the skin is likely to keep pulling back further and further, making your rip longer and deeper and more painful.

When you do cut the skin off, it’s best to grab some fine grain sandpaper or a pumice stone and gently smooth the callus out around the edge of the rip when the skin is soft – like just out of the shower. Again, this will prevent the skin from pulling back further and aggravating the rip even more.

 

 

MOIST OR DRY?

 The million dollar question! This one is a bit like Goldilocks: You want to aim for not too moist, not too dry, but just right. If you keep lathering polysporin on your rips, or Aloe, or some other product, sometimes it can backfire and slow healing because it keeps the wound too moist, which makes it even more tender. However, if you don’t do anything and let it dry out, then sometimes it gets so dry it cracks and forms an even deeper, more painful rip. The best approach is to put some sort of disinfecting ointment on the right away and cover it up with a band-aid, but then pull the band-aid off and let your hands air out when you sleep. You’ll find they’ll feel significantly better in the morning when they’re not kept covered and moist overnight. If the rip looks too dry in the morning, put some more product on it. If not, leave it be.

Here are some options for what to put on your rips to speed healing and stop them from getting too dry:

 

  • Polysporin or Neosporin

 

  • Aloe

 

  • Climb On

We are big fans of this stuff! It was introduced to us back in 2010 ish and we have been loving it ever since. We carry it at the gym so don’t hesitate to ask us about it. We have commonly called it “magic in a bottle.” It is what rock climbers use when they rip their fingers climbing and it heals the rip really fast so you’re able to get back on the barbell or pull up rig a lot quicker than if you left the rip alone.

 

 

Though ripping your hands is sometimes inevitable, like with any ailment, prevention is the best medicine. And there are three steps that can be taken to avoid ripping in the first place:

 

1. Keep Calluses Thin and Pliable

One of the most common places for calluses to become thick and stiff is right at the base of your fingers where they meet your palm. It’s worth spending a few minutes each day checking out what your calluses are doing and filing them down to thin them out, again either with fine grain sandpaper file (we carry these in our pro shop) or a pumice stone.

 

  1. The Goldilocks Rule

Same goes for the moisture level of your skin. If your hands are super dry, it’s worth applying a moisturizer before going to bed. Dry skin can lead to cracks, which turn into rips.

 

  1. Grips or Tape

If you’re going to be doing 100 pull-ups, it’s best to throw on some grips or tape you’re hands as a prevention measure. The Natural Grip makes some great ones. We sell them at the gym so you can take a look at them in our pro shop. There are a bunch of different kinds of gymnastics grips – but it really depends on you, the athlete, as to how they feel on your hand. Go with something you’re comfortable with.

 

 

Hire a Professional Coach


Stop Thinking You Can do it on Your Own: Work With a Professional Coach!

 

People are full of great intentions: Intentions to wake up at 6 a.m. and start running. Intentions to begin P90X after work three days a week. Intentions to start going to the gym regularly. The most motivated among us can manage it for a bit, but most of us fall off pretty quick because we either get bored or we soon lose motivation. We start hitting snooze, we don’t see many gains and wonder why we’re missing out on sleep to run in the rain. We realize we don’t really know what to do at the gym and we’re tired of guessing what to do, knowing we’re probably doing it all wrong anyway.

 

 

So basically your lack of success in fitness comes down to one of four things:

 

  • Lack of Accountability, or dwindling motivation, causes dwindling commitment.

 

  • Lack of Coaching leaves you feeling confused about what to do, and therefore adds to your accountability.

 

  • Lack of a Systematic Program stops you from working on the right things, meaning you don’t move forward and see fitness gains.

 

  • Lack of community adds to the increasing dwindling motivation, or at the very least makes you feel bored and alone and not enjoying the process.

 

This is what we’re here for: We offer professional coaching, a program that works, a social and supportive community to keep things fun, all of which helps keep you accountable to what you really want: To get fit and live a more enjoyable, fulfilling life.

 

Let’s break down these four pillars a bit more:

 

  1. PROFESSIONAL COACH:

 With us, you will receive a professional coach—a consistent coach in your corner—to help you with your fitness, performance, nutrition, and even life goals. You will begin by doing one-on-one training with this coach, and will eventually do a combination of group classes and one-on-one coaching, keeping your relationship with your coach alive and thriving, ultimately keeping you committed and accountable to your various goals.

 

 

  1. PROGRAM

 With us, you’ll follow a systematic, functional fitness program that has been proven to help people see fitness gains they didn’t think were possible. Have you always dreamed of having the strength to do a pull-up? We will help you.

 

 

  1. COMMUNITY

 Corny as it sounds, it’s impossible to train with us and not make friends. Sweating together in group classes bonds people in a unique way. Being around other people looking to get fitter, eat better, be better, is contagious, inspiring and motivating and goes a long way in ensuring you stay committed. Throw in social events and you have a new social friend circle to experience life with.

 

 

  1. ACCOUNTABILITY

The combination of having a coach in your corner, a program and that actually works, and a reason to come to the gym—to hang out with your friends—suddenly fitness becomes less work, more fun, turning the gym into an automatic staple in your life that you’ don’t even think about.

 

 

Think you could benefit from having a coach, a program and a community, contact us now!

 

 

How Sugar is Killing Us Slowly


How Sugar is Killing Us Slowly…

 

Approximately 420 million people in the world have Type 2 diabetes. In the United States alone, it is believed that in the next few decades, as many as one out of three Americans will develop the disease. You have heard it before, and you’re about to hear it again: Much of this blame can be placed on sugar (and refined carbs, for that matter). A crazy stat about sugar: The processed food industry is a $1.5 trillion industry!

 

 

Some of the biggest problems with the industry is that many of these foods are being marketed as “healthy,” fooling people into consuming even more sugar than they realize. Gummy vitamins are just gummy bears, folks, and there’s no such thing as a “healthy breakfast muffin.” It’s just cake. And fruit juice? Just sugar and water.

 

 

Why is sugar so bad? It’s time for a quick science lesson: I’m paraphrasing this information from a super informative TED TALK by Dr. Jody Stanislaw. You can watch the full talk here if you’re interested: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tic7X3ET4gE). Her basic message is that sugar is killing us slowly, and we have all been brainwashed to think it’s OK to consume sugar on a daily basis. Or, “Sugar is not a treat. …Sugar has become a gradual death sentence,” was how Stanislaw put it.  According to her, more people die from diabetes and diabetes-related complications than car accidents, and this number is only going up.

 

 

So back to the science lesson: Basically, it comes down to the pancreas. Inside your pancreas are beta cells. Beta cells are crazy important. Without them you’d wither away and die within a few weeks. Any time you eat sugar, or highly-refined carbohydrates, sugar enters your blood and beta cells act as security guards for the blood. They do this by releasing insulin, whose job it is to either pick up the sugar and use it, or store it as fat. The problem is you can overwork your beta cells by eating too much sugar, or things like cereal, bread, pasta, alcohol. Any time you eat these types of food, your beta cells make more insulin. But there’s a limit. Eventually, you’ll wear out your beta cells: Beta cell burn out is essentially pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. At this point, you start to have to shoot yourself up with insulin because your body is too tired to make it.

 

 

The good news is, it actually is reversible by some simple diet changes—namely by reducing your sugar intake. According to Stanislaw, it really IS that simple. Less sugar and refined carbs (and processed foods) = A healthier, non diabetic, you! Here are three tips Stanislaw gave for helping you combat your sugar addiction:

 

  1. Protein for breakfast

You don’t need orange juice or yogurt for breakfast! Start the day instead with protein, which will put you on track to have balanced blood sugar levels through the morning. It also puts you on track to avoid sugar cravings later in the day when you feel tired.

 

 

  1. Drink more water

Stanislaw explained that when you’re feeling hungry and/or are craving sugar, down a glass of water first. Dehydration can feel like hunger, she said, and even a 5 percent decrease in hydration can feel like a 20 percent decrease in energy, which might be what’s triggering your sugar addiction in the first place.

 

 

  1. Low-Carb replacements

Get creative in the kitchen with your cooking and start looking into healthier low-carb replacements for traditional carbs that you and your kids crave. Cauliflower rice instead of rice, spaghetti squash instead of noodles, zucchini lasagne, the list goes on. Check out our recent blog on the topic (January 2018 #5 blog-Beyond the Lettuce Burger) that goes into other types of replacements for foods you grew up eating and turned out to be super unhealthy, like pancakes!

 

 

If you’re not interested in being one of the 420 million people with Type 2 diabetes, why not make those changes?

Basic Hygiene Practices for Gym Goers


New Technology of the Week: The Stench Odometer!

 

 

Telling someone they smell is always tricky business. We’ve definitely come across this from time to time at the gym – someone in class has B.O. or wears the same t-shirt every day and smells musky but everyone is scared to address it. Have you ever wondered if you are one of those funky-smelling folks and the people in your life haven’t had the nerve to break it to you? Or possibly nearly as bad, maybe you have putting on too much perfume or cologne and are poisoning your loved ones’ noses? You can stop wondering because there’s a device that will tell you if and how much you smell!

 

A Japanese company has just released a device that can tell you how bad your body odor is. All you will have to do is turn on the Tanita ES-100, flip out the sensor and point it to the part of your body that might be releasing suspicious odors. It’s no surprise this new technology—which uses a similar technology to a breathalyzer test—comes from Japan, a country that takes body odor and impeccable hygiene seriously. Don’t try to leave your shoes on in someone’s home in Japan!

 

 

Once you scan the area, the machine takes about 10 seconds before spitting how putrid your body odor is, ranking you from 0 to 10. 0 means you have nothing to worry about, while 10 indicates you have probably been losing friends due to your bad odor. If you receive a score of 5, it essentially means it’s time to deal with your aroma. Or maybe it’s just time to shower. The device, which is small enough to fit in your pocket, also tells you if your perfume, deodorant, cologne, aftershave might be causing a ruckus to noses that come into contact with it. Right now, the ES-100 is on sale in Japan for 13,824 yen (around US$125). This gets you about 2,000 scans until you have to replace that part of the machine.

 

 

While we’re on the topic, let’s address foot odor. I don’t know a single person who trains hard who hasn’t had a moment where they become embarrassed because their feet smell. Here are 5 easy tips to help with foot odor:

 

1.Shower Your Feet: Wash your feet every day: It’s easy to forget about your feet in the shower, or at least to neglect them more than other crevices of the body. Take the time to get in between your toes and scrub hard. And then thoroughly dry your feet afterward.

2.Shoe Best Practices:Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, as they never fully dry overnight after a sweaty session. Give the pair you just wore two days to dry and trade off on a sort of shoe rotation. And definitely don’t keep them all cooped up in a gym bag overnight! Also, shoes with leather lining is way better for sweat evaporation than plastic linings.

3.Pumice Stone: Bacteria LOVE dead skin, and no matter what you do, the bottom of your feet are going to generate patches of dead skin. Take the time to remove this skin (especially if you don’t get regular pedicures) with a pumice stone.

4. Foot Deodorant: There are actual deodorants and antiperspirants for your feet. Look into it.

5. Let Your Feet Breathe: When you get a chance, walk around barefoot and let your feet breathe from time to time.

 

Just trying to make the air around us all a little fresher…

 

 

Are Organic Foods Really That Much Better for Us?


The Downfall to Organic Food

 

I don’t know about you, but I almost feel guilty buying non-organic vegetables. As if the ethically-sound, environmentally-conscious shopper next to me is looking down on the non-organic carrots in my cart.

We have been told that organic is healthier for us and for the planet, and the message is obviously being heard loud and clear: The organic food industry in the US was estimated to be worth $29 billion in 2010, and has grown about 10 percent per year since then. On average, consumer report analyses say organic is about 47 percent more expensive than non-organic food. Other than organic being expensive, is there anything else problematic about it? Have we been brainwashed into thinking it’s something it’s not? Possibly, maybe, arguably this might be the case.

 

Here are a few things to consider before you blindly believe organic is automatically better for your health and the planet:

 

1. A Little Substance Called Carrageenan

What is carrageenan? It’s a substance extracted from some seaweeds that contains a mix of polysaccharides and is used to thicken foods, especially organic foods, such as almond milk and coconut milk. It is also found in some organic infant formulas and soy products. Sometimes it’s used as a substitute for gelatin in many vegan foods.

Why is it bad? Though a debatable subject, it has been shown to cause chronic inflammation, diabetes and cancer. And in fact, in 2016, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) even voted to remove carrageenan from the list of substances allowed in organic food out of fear/evidence that it’s harmful to our health. Some evidence of health concerns can be found in Dr. Joanne K. Tobacman’s research on the substance. Her studies suggest that carrageenan can cause gastrointestinal inflammation, impaired glucose intolerance and insulin function. Read more here: https://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CarageenanReport-2016.pdf  Meanwhile, a more recent study published in 2012 also shows a link between carrageenan and diabetes. Full study can be read here: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22011715).

 

 

2. More Waste!

 Often times organic food, especially produce, doesn’t last as long in your fridge before going bad. This means you either end up with more waste, or have to go shopping more often. Or get really good at making soup with old, wrinkly vegetables.

 

 

 

3. Is it really healthier?

 

 A few things that might be misleading:

• While we have often assumed organic means no chemicals are used at all, this isn’t always the case.

•In Europe, the UK Food Standards Agency, the French Food Safety Agency and the Swedish National Food Administration, have all released research that claims organic food is neither safer nor more nutritious than non-organic food.

• Similarly, a 2009 analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/90/3/680/4597089) said there’s no nutrient difference between organic and non-organic food. A 2012 study found similar results: (http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1355685/organic-foods-safer-healthier-than-conventional-alternatives-systematic-review).

• Meanwhile, a 2012 study from Stanford University analyzed 240 studies. 223 of these studies compared nutrient, bacterial, fungal or pesticide levels on various organic and non-organic products, such as fruit, vegetables, grains, meats, milk, poultry and eggs. The result: Little significant health benefits between organic and conventional foods, and also no difference in vitamin content. (One significant difference were the level of Omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk).

 

 

 

4. What about ethics and the environment?

 

 When it comes to ethics and the environment, it seems pretty evident that organic animal faming is the way to go: Animals are clearly treated more humanely and live in better conditions on organic farms. BUT, when it comes to vegetables, this isn’t the case.

The common belief is that pesticides used on non-organic produce are bad for the environment, but a 2010 study (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100622175510.htm) found that some organic pesticides actually have worse environmental impacts than conventional ones.

It goes beyond just pesticides: Organic milk, cereals and pork often generate higher greenhouse gas emissions per product than non-organic ones (this comes from a study from Oxford university. Not only, that more, but organic products often take up more land (an average of 85% more land) and produce less products in the process!

 And finally, check out this article that talks about how organic agriculture today actually creates more pollution than conventional faming: (https://qz.com/454479/organic-farming-is-actually-worse-for-climate-change-than-conventional-farming/).

 

What do you think? Do you think it’s worth breaking your wallet and bank account on organic food? Why or why not?

 

 

 

 

Kids with ADHD and Autism NEED More Exercise


Kids with ADHD and Autism NEED More Exercise

 

Health professionals these days are placing more and more children on the autism spectrum – in fact, in the 1970s and 1980s, about one in 2,000 children were thought to have autism. Today, it’s estimated that one in every 150 children are on the spectrum. To a large degree, this massive rise is a mystery scientists are still trying to figure out. Read more about the topic here: https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/searching-for-answers/autism-rise.

 

Whether or not you think the numbers have really increased this much in recent decades, or if we’re just over diagnosing conditions like autism and ADHD these days, a new report by ParticipAction (https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/thought-leadership/report-card/2018)—a Canadian national non-profit set up to promote healthy living and physical fitness—says kids with both autism and ADHD have the most to gain from increasing their physical activity. The research—headed by a team that included paediatric neuroscientists, clinicians and practitioners—found physical activity in children with these conditions is highly connected to their brain health. Specifically, exercise helps them with depression, anxiety, as well as sleep disorders. Sadly, the report also noted that only 35 percent of children ages 5 to 17, are getting the exercise they need. It is thought that this is part of what’s making these children even less focused, more moody, and more prone to depression and anxiety.

 

 

We Believe its Never Too Early to Start Working Out!

Though working out looks different at the age of 5 than it does at the age of 25 or 65, it’s never too early, or too late, to start developing the 10 general physical skills—cardiovascular respiratory endurance, stamina, speed, strength, power, coordination, balance, agility, flexibility and accuracy. These skills will make sports and life easier, and will help you live a long, healthy life. As for children, specifically, here are 7 more reasons you should get your kids going with an exercise program sooner as opposed to later!

 

  • HABIT:Starting early establishes the habit. By the time your kid is 18, working out will be so second nature to him/her, it will be easy to maintain the routine and lifestyle well into adulthood.

 

  • OBESITY: Children who are active for 60 minutes each day are significantly less prone to obesity. If your children and teenagers train with us, they’ll be surrounded by health-conscious people who are excited about eating healthy, which we have seen rub off on our younger members in a healthy way over and over.

 

  • GOOD GRADES: Physical activity is connected with improved behaviour and focus at school.

 

  • BRAIN HEALTH:Anaerobic activity in children is connected to an increase in the size of essential brain structures and neural connections.

 

  • MENTAL HEALTH: Physical activity is linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety in children.

 

  • BODY IMAGE:Fit children develop more self-confidence and have a healthier self-image.

 

  • SOUND SLEEP:In adults and children alike, exercise is linked to better sleep!

 

If you have a child(ren) you think could benefit from starting a fitness program with a professional coach, dont hesitate to contact us now. Its never too soon to focus on your health.

Aging Doesn’t Have to Mean Declining: If You Strength Train, That Is


 

We dont quit playing because we age, we age because we quit playing.” George Barnard Shaw

When you think of your grandma, you think of her as being old and wrinkly with white hair, frail and weak with hunched shoulders and a curved spine. Although you can’t know her health numbers by looking at her, her bone density is a fraction of what it once was, and she suffers from a phenomenon called sarcopenia, meaning she has lost muscles mass and strength. Read more about sarcopenia here: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066461/).

Now I’m not promising we can help you avoid greying hair and wrinkles but the other stuff can be avoided and it will go a long way in keeping your quality of life where you want it to be for as long as possible. Aging does not have to go hand-in-hand with frailty and broken bones, nor does it have to mean a decline in strength or muscle mass. Strength training is at the heart of maintaining both your bone density and muscle mass and strength.

 

 

Here are 8 reasons why it’s ESPECIALLY important to strength train in your later years, and it’s never too late to start:

8. Don’t Break a Hip

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says bone density loss generally happens to both men and women in mid-life. For a woman, it often speeds up during menopause, as her estrogen levels drop, and by the time she’s 65 years old, if she has experienced a fracture in her hip, she’s five times more likely to die within a year. Strength training helps prevent bone density loss, and might even help build new bone. Check out this study for more about strength training and bone density:(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006)

 

7. Keep Getting it Up

In short, strength training keeps testosterone levels higher, both in men and women. It can even increase testosterone levels, so certainly incentive for men who have felt themselves decline in that regard.  Read more: (https://www.webmd.com/men/features/exercise-and-testosterone)

 

6. Metabolism on Fire

Remember when you were a kid and you could eat anything you wanted and not gain a pound? I’m not saying your metabolism will improve to be that of a 10-year-old kid, but there is evidence that strength training helps your body’s metabolic processes, which essentially means it keeps your body running more effectively. A more efficient body means fighting off things like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

 

5. Lift that Couch at 75!

One of the worst parts of aging seems to be losing the ability to do things you used to be able to do, like carrying groceries up five flights of stairs or moving a couch so you can vacuum underneath it. In short, if you want to stay independent and continue to look after yourself when you’re 80, you need to maintain your muscle mass and strength. Check out this study that shows that weight training does exactly this: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117172/). Simply put, the study concludes “Progressive strength training in the elderly is efficient, even with higher intensities, to reduce sarcopenia, and to retain motor function.”

 

4. Who Wants to be Happier?

Dr. Wayne Westcott(http://www.wayneandgary.com/meetwayne.php) has done several studies on psychological changes associated with resistance training, studies that have shown that strength training helps with depression, physical self-concept, tranquility, positive engagement and overall mood in adults and older adults.

 

3. Stop, or Even Reverse, Type 2 Diabetes

Westcott also says that people with appropriate body weights, as well as moderate to high levels of muscular fitness, are at a low risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. On top of this, many studies have shown an improvement in insulin sensitivity and glycemic control after people start weight training. For motivation, check out this story in the CrossFit Journal of how this man reversed his diabetes through fitness: (https://journal.crossfit.com/article/delatorre-beers-2)

 

2. Who Wants to Live Without Pain?

Many people just accept that aging comes with weird aches and pains, and often chronic pain. Improving your strength also goes a long way in helping with things like lower back pain, as well as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

 

1. Look Better, Feel Better

Real simple: A more efficient, strong body with more lean muscle mass just looks and feels better than being frail or overweight. Look good, feel good! Even at 70. That’s our hope for you.

Contact us now, no matter how old are are, and how old you feel right now!

 

The Importance of Recovery – Part 2


PRs Slowing Down and Youre Feeling a Plateau? Fix Your Recovery! Part 2

In Part 1, we talked about warning signs that your body isn’t recovering well. In a nutshell, some of the big signs include: performance plateau or decline, trouble sleeping, resting heart rate changes, feeling low or depressed and uncharacteristic muscle soreness (DOMS). Obviously there are others, but those are some of the most common red flags. Even if your recovery is decent, it can probably always be better. If you’re working out as hard AF and want your fitness to improve your life, you might as well be diligent and recover as hard AF. Although Mat Fraser maybe doesn’t post shots of him on Instagram meal prepping or getting a massage, you better believe he’s doing those things. If you think any of the above symptoms could be related to your recovery, consider some of the following solutions:

 

Prioritize Sleep

If you’re in the detrimental poor sleep cycle and you can’t shake it—meaning, you’re not recovering, so you can’t sleep, then bad sleep makes recovery even worse—then it’s time to take sleep seriously for the sake of your mental health, hormonal balance and muscular recovery. You’ve all heard the magic 8-hour sleep number. Truth is everyone’s magic number is different: Could be 7 hours for you, could be 10 hours.

Some sleep tips include:

•Go to bed (even if you can’t fall asleep right away at first) and wake up (preferably early) at the same time every night for two weeks. Resetting a consistent rhythm has proven to be best for quality sleep.

•Make it as dark as possible: Try black out blinds, and definitely make sure there are no screens or lights on, even lights from alarm clocks!

•Wake up with the sun if possible

•Adjust the temperature. Fresh air and cooler temperatures have been shown to improve the quality of your sleep.

 

 

 

Stop Skipping Cooldown and Active Recovery Days

Many people I work with have a “go hard or go home” mentality. Active recovery—be it a hike or a swim or a mobility session—and cooling down after a workout are important, not just for the mind but for muscular recovery. If you feel your legs cramping after 150 wall balls, don’t run out the door right away only to sit at a computer for five hours. Take 10 minutes to do a light bike, roll out, and stretch. Same goes for active recovery days: If you’re sore, moving at a low intensity helps flush out your body and decrease the DOMS.

Here’s a great article about foam rolling and why it’s good for recovery: https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/what-is-a-foam-roller-how-do-i-use-it-and-why-does-it-hurt

 

 

Continue to Dial in the Diet

If you’re not eating well, let’s just keep it simple for now: Avoid sugar and processed foods. Try the Whole30 Diet (https://whole30.com) or the Plant Paradox diet (https://gundrymd.com/food-pyramid/) for 30 days and see how you feel. Then report back to your coach for life and we can talk about how to dial it in further. And if you think you’re already eating well—lots of protein, healthy fats and vegetables—it might be worth considering a food sensitivities test if you feel your recovery still isn’t great. It can tell you what foods your body just doesn’t like: Sometimes foods you least expect—even healthy foods like eggs or broccoli—are causing you inflammation. Tweaking your diet and removing foods that make you inflamed can make all the difference in your recovery. Also consider WHEN you eat. If you’re not eating some carbs, protein and fat within 30 minutes after a hard workout, start doing that.

 

 

H2O

People tend to be attentive to hydration levels on game day—“I am doing a half marathon today so I better drink lots this morning”—but day-to-day hydration is often overlooked. Not only does drinking enough help recovery, it also helps efficient nutrient uptake, helps lower stress on the heart, and improves skin tone and hair quality. You’ve all heard of the pee test: If your pee is clear to pale yellow, you’re probably hydrated enough. If it’s dark yellow, drink the water! If you can’t get yourself to get that much water down, add a lemon or cucumber, or buy a soda stream if it’s the bubbles that you’re after.

 

 

Stop Slouching

Might sound strange to put this in the recovery tools, but bad posture, be it sitting or standing posture, can lead to back pain, neck pain, making your body feel like it isn’t recovered and ready to train. A good chair is a great place to start, especially if you sit all day at work: Invest in an ergonomically correct one. If you have a hard time sitting up straight, place a foam roller or lacrosse ball in your back to give you a tactile reminder to sit up straight. If the foam roller or ball falls, you know you started to slouch. As for standing, make an effort to stand with equal weight on both feet, and don’t let yourself lean on objects for support.

 

 

Some Substances are OK

Though we’re not here to tell you to pump yourself with all sorts of supplements, there are some good ones that have shown over and over to help with recovery. Here are three to consider:

Fish oil: Fish oil is one of the most proven substances for recovery. It increases recovery by decreasing inflammation in your body, decreasing muscle soreness (DOMS), and boosting your immune system.

L-Glutamine: An amino acid, glutamine removes waste products like ammonia from your bloodstream, helps with both brain and digestive function, and ultimately helps recovery from physical stress.

 Magnesium: First of all, magnesium is great for sleep. But it also helps improve muscle function, helps maintain electrolyte balance and reduces fatigue. Combining magnesium with zinc is something else to consider, as zinc also helps boost the immune system.

 

Like diet, its best to trial and error and see what works best for you! And dont hesitate to reach out to us for more help.