It’s not even February and your 2018 goals are slipping away already!


So you set goals for yourself for 2018. But already you’re hitting obstacles that are starting to make you slip a little bit.

Sigh.

You’re not alone.

If you’re hitting a bump in the road already, or think you might soon, here are some quick tips on ensuring you remain committed to the plan you made for yourself on January 1st.

 

Don’t do it alone

Making big changes alone is tough. It’s the reason people hire coaches, team up with workout buddies, or start going to AA, for that matter.

And what better person to make a change with than your partner.

Let’s say you have a mild drinking problem and decided to do no booze for two months. If you live with your partner and he/she pulls out a bottle of wine every evening, it’s only going to tempt you, and even potentially make you resentful. Or if you’re planning on spending less money this year and your partner is constantly pushing to buy new gadgets or go out for meals, it’s going to be incredibly tough for you to stick to your plan. And, of course, if you’re trying to commit yourself to fitness and your partner is a sloth, well, let’s just say it’s an uphill battle.

Even if your partner wasn’t part of your original plan, getting him/her on the same page as you working for something collectively beneficial together will really help you stick to your goal. Let’s just say waking up at 5:15 a.m. for a 6 a.m. group class or personal training session will be a whole lot easier if you’re not doing it alone…

 

Make a List

Oh, the satisfaction of crossing things off your list!

Writing down your goals is a tremendous help when it comes to following through. Let’s say your goal is to read one book a month this year. Crossing the name of the book you read off your list each month—in a place that’s visible to you—will be a constant reminder to reach for your book instead of your phone for a 30-minute Instagram scroll as you’re laying in bed.

The same is true if you’re making a diet change: Food journals go a long way in keeping you accountable.

 

Talk about it out loud

Though you might be tempted to keep your goals to yourself, expressing them out loud to people will make them more real and essentially put pressure on you to follow through.

Nobody wants to tell their friend, ‘I failed,’ when he asks how ‘No booze January’ went. You’d be surprised how willing people are to support you in difficult changes when you speak about them openly and honestly. Don’t be afraid to talk about the struggle!

 

A set back doesn’t mean you failed

Let’s say you do cheat on your diet. Or you miss a week of the gym. That doesn’t mean it’s done and you should give up. It just means you messed up for a brief moment in time. That’s the perfect time to regroup and get back on track.

You don’t stop putting deodorant on for a month just because you forgot one morning. Same is true of life change; get back on the path.

 

Checkpoints

Let’s say you set yourself a goal to get a muscle-up by the end of the year. It can be really easy to get to March and still feel far away from that muscle-up. It’s important to set smaller goals—milestones along along the way—that can provide as much satisfaction as reaching your ultimate goal will.

This is, of course, what your coach is for. If you have a fitness goal but are unclear of the milestones you will need to achieve before your reach that ultimate goal, talk to your coach to put a plan in place to help you enjoy the journey, and the small accomplishments along the way to your ultimate prize.

Stay the course.

 

 

Beyond the Lettuce Burger: Healthy Options to Replace Less Healthy Foods you Love


Why is it that all the foods you grew up on and loved as a kid—pasta, pancakes, potatoes–turned out to be unhealthy?

The day has come where you can put your devastation away because we have some healthier alternatives for you, and I promise you in some cases you’ll enjoy the alternatives even more than you loved your all-purpose white flour pancakes and white rice as a kid.

Here they are:

 

Potatoes: YUCA (also known as Cassava)

While sweet potatoes and yams are a common substitute for the less healthy, full of lectin, starchy potato, sometimes they’re just too sweet, right? The solution: Yuca, or cassava.

Yuca is another tuberous root, but it’s much better for you than a potato because it contains less lectins, and therefore is better for your gut.

And I promise you, you might even like yuca better than those golden nugget potatoes roasted with butter and rosemary that you find yourself craving. From mashed yuca, to scalloped yuca, to yuca fries, all of your favourite potato dishes can be made from yucas, too.

Some tips: If you’re making mashed or scalloped yucas, use coconut milk and ghee instead of butter and cow’s milk. And substitute flour for coconut flour as a thickening agent for your scalloped yuca sauce.

As for yuca fries, avoid cooking with vegetable oils. My best tip: Bake or fry with duck fat! A real game changer.

 

Rice: Cauliflower

While it’s not necessarily the flavour of rice you’re after, as it’s quite tasteless, rice does seem to be a necessary filler when you’re eating things like stir fry, curry dishes, gumbo, or jambalaya, right? It just seems necessary to absorb the sauce in many dishes.

The solution: Turn cauliflower into rice by grating or finely chopping and then sauté it lightly in a healthy oil or fat with salt and pepper. I would argue it has more flavour than rice and absorbs sauces in a similar way, so you won’t miss rice ever again.

 

Lasagne: Zucchini Noodles!

Once you replace your lasagne noodles with thinly cut strips of zucchini, you seriously won’t go back. One of lasagne’s common downfalls is how the noodles sometimes absorb too much of the sauce leaving you with dry lasagne if you’re not careful. This won’t happen with zucchini noodles. Like rice, it’s the other flavours in the lasagne—the nicely flavoured meat, the spinach, the creamy ricotta etc—that keep you coming back for more, and zucchini noodles are perfect for letting the other flavours shine, all the while providing a rigid structure to keep it all together.

If you’re avoiding dairy, goat cheese—a hard goat cheddar or goat gouda can be shredded just like mozzarella—is a healthier option to cow’s cheeses. Check out our recent blog about cheese options to find out which cheeses are healthiest (link to December 2017 #4 blog).

Or there are always nut-based vegan cheeses if you don’t mind spending a little more money.

 

Pasta: Spaghetti squash

See Lasagne.

You won’t miss those relatively flavourless spaghetti or fettuccine noodles when you start substituting with spaghetti squash.

 

Pancakes: Alternative Flours

Oh how you miss those fluffy pancakes you had every Sunday as a child.

Alas, there are plenty of options out there: Replace flour or traditional pancake mix with chestnut flour or coconut flour. Or even protein powder!

Or you can avoid flours altogether and replace it with pured pumpkin, plantains or chestnuts. Blend them up with coconut milk, coconut oil and eggs (and a little honey or maple syrup and sea salt) and you have a perfect pancake batter.

 

Ok, Im getting hungry now

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons you should hire a health and fitness coach in 2018


A new year has begun. You’re still overweight. Your blood pressure is up from 2017, and every time you see your doctor, you’re told your A1C levels are getting closer to indicating Type 2 diabetes. Not only that, but going up the stairs leaves you out of breath, and you dread carrying your groceries from the car to your house every time you shop.

 

It’s time.

 

You could join the community centre gym and start walking, and hopefully soon running, on the treadmill, or riding the stationary bike or elliptical—boring yourself out of your own skull in the process.

 

You could try that new spin class you’ve heard people rave about, but it seems so repetitive.

 

You could try to pick up swimming again. You remember liking it when you were a kid. But the thought of fighting over the lane with five other swimmers isn’t exactly enticing.

 

Or you could sign up for bootcamp, but the thought of working out outside at 6 a.m. in the cold early January morning makes you shiver just thinking about it.

 

Or yoga. Yoga gets you somewhat fit, right? Or does it?

 

The options for fitness are vast, to say the least

 

Before you make a decision, let’s reverse engineer this for a moment to figure out what’s going to actually get you what you REALLY want and need.

 

What you undoubtedly want is to be and feel healthier, right? To improve your growing health concerns, right? To make climbing stairs and grocery shopping easier, right? And if you look better in the process, that would be more than welcome, right? Oh and you probably have some chronic injuries that you wouldn’t mind healing, and you certainly don’t want to get more injured, right?

 

Is a three-day-a-week treadmill routine going to get you all of the above? Or swimming, or yoga, or a freeze-your-ass-off 6-week bootcamp? I’m going to take a leap here and say NO. None of those things are going to get you where you want to be, which is to live a happier, healthier life.

 

So what will?

 

Hiring a professional coach!

 

Here’s why a coach is the way to go:

 

Personalized attention:

 

Contrary to what you may have been told, fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. With us, you’ll work in a one-on-one environment with a coach (and will eventually be able to also attend group classes). Your coach will be able to address your individual needs, your strengths, weaknesses, injuries and goals, and then hold your hand and steer you in the right direction physically, mentally and emotionally.

 

Accountability:

 

Ever start a workout routine but then fall off after a few days, weeks or months because there’s nothing to hold you accountable? Appointments with your coach will go a long way in ensuring you stay committed to achieving what you really want.

 

Youll actually get fit!

 

Imagine that? Actually seeing improvements! Half the reason people do fall off the wagon is because they don’t notice any strength, skill, stamina, endurance, or body composition benefits from working out. Working with a professional coach, who will monitor your progress, is what’s going to vault your fitness, health and body composition changes to levels you didn’t know were possible.

 

Heal Your Chronic Pain:

 

You know that shoulder injury you sustained when you were 16 that was never diagnosed and never totally healed? Or the chronic pain you feel in your knees or back every time you stand or sit for too long? Yeah, your coach will give you tools to help eliminate those chronic aches and pains you gave up on trying to heal years ago.

 

Nutrition:

 

You know you need to change the way you eat, but again there’s nobody to hold you accountable, and you’re confused what you should be eating because you hear so much contradictory information. Like fitness, nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Your coach will work with you through trial and error to figure out what your body needs to run as effectively as possible. And in the process, you’re going to find you’ll love the way your body looks and feels a whole lot more!

 

The result: Youll finish 2018 a lot healthier, fitter and happier than you started the year.

Resolve to make a lifestyle change in 2018


There’s something ominous about the phrase New Years Resolution, isn’t there?

How many long term, sustainable changes in your life have started with a New Year’s resolution? Probably not many, if any, right?

More often than not, New Year’s resolutions backfire come February or March. Often it’s because they’re short-term in nature—things like 30 days without booze or sugar—so on February 1st you shamelessly get your booze or sugar-high back on without regret.

Other times, it’s because they’re too narrow in their focus: Things like committing to going to the gym three days a week, or not eating chocolate for two months. Problem is going to the gym three days a week all the while continuing to eat like crap won’t bring you success. Neither will cutting out chocolate but continuing to be lazy and replace chocolate with ice cream.

While I don’t like the idea of a “New Year’s Resolution,” per se, what I do like is the idea of a new year being a chance to come up with a real plan of attack for gradual, all-encompassing, lasting health changes.

If you’re going to do this, though, you need to be willing to adopt a three-pronged approach to change that includes FITNESS, NUTRITION and LIFESTYLE.

If you’re not sure where to begin, look no further. Our coaches revel in helping motivated people make health transformations that go just beyond getting stronger and improving their endurance in the gym. We’re looking for people who want to get more fit, make positive diet changes, and transform their lifestyles in the process.

First of all, its important to figure out WHY. Why do you want to get fit. Before you contact us, take the time to dig really deep as to your why. If your answer to the WHY question is weight loss, then dig deeper: WHY do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to get strong? What is the real, raw, vulnerable impetus behind your motivation to work on your fitness? Be real. Be vulnerable. Thats whats going to allow for true change.

Once you’re able to let your guard down and understand what’s really driving you, then you’ll work together with a coach to come up with a health, fitness, nutrition, lifestyle plan that’s right for you.

How?

  • It will start with one-on-one personal training sessions. Your coach will assess where you’re at physically, address your health and injury history and get you moving in the direction of improved mobility, strength, endurance, speed, power etc… Once you’re competent physically, you’ll be able to attend group classes in conjunction with personal training sessions with your coach. Having a coach in your corner to keep you accountable is what’s going to prevent you from falling off the wagon like you have other times you’ve made New Year’s resolutions.
  • Diet, diet diet: Your coach will get you logging what you’re eating and will educate you about the best way to fuel your body. He/she will look into your gut health and address ways to fix it if it’s something that’s preventing you from, for example, losing weight. And most importantly, your coach will be there to support you every step of the way, as we know that diet changes are WAY harder to make than getting you to walk through the doors three days a week.
  • Lifestyle: Your coach will take a look (if you’re open to it) at what else is going on in your life. Is there something funky with your sleep these days? Your mood? Your job? Your relationship? Although we all started out interested in the fitness aspect of overall health, we also realize we can’t look at fitness in a vacuum. It’s part of a bigger picture of life, and for you to truly achieve the results you want, everything in your life needs to be in order. I hate the word life coach, but that’s kind of what we do: We help you get better at life!

 

2018: The year you started taking care of you! (Sounds pretty good, right?)

I’m eating well! Why aren’t I losing weight?


The more clients we work with, and the more we dig into diet, the more confusing it sometimes seems to be…

Because I have learned there’s no one-size fits all approach, and I would be suspicious of anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.

This is especially true when it comes to weight loss. It seems some people look at sugar or bread and gain pounds, while others can eat a pint of ice cream a night with no visible body composition repercussions. It’s an unfair world we live in.

Though there isn’t a golden rule, over the years we have witnessed some general trends and some fairly powerful anecdotes from clients who struggled for months, years or decades to lose weight, and were finally able to figure it out.

If you’re one of these people—struggling to make sense of why your body isn’t losing the weight you want—consider the following:

 

GET OFF ALLLLLLLLL OF THE SUGAR

You might think sugar just means refined sugars, like putting a sugar cube in your coffee, pounding daily Cokes, or eating apple pie for dessert, all the while you continue to eat fruit every morning, handfuls of figs at lunch and put honey in your coffee because it’s a more “natural” sugar, you have been told.

I worked with a client once—and have heard many other similar success stories—who finally decided to give up all forms of sweeteners, including maple syrup, honey, agave, dried fruit, fresh fruit—you name it. The moment she did: BOOM! Weight loss galore.

If the thought of not being able to eat fruit or honey or anything sweet ever again makes you suicidal, relax a moment. Many people are able to re-introduce some sweet things back into their diet after a few months of zero tolerance. But you need to go through the zero tolerance period first. Try it for 30 days and see what happens.

 

HEAL YOUR GUT

The problem for some is they’re eating lots of good food, but their gut bacteria is messed up, so their bodies have lost the ability to absorb nutrients effectively, which means their metabolism and digestive systems aren’t working as well as they should.

We wrote about gut health recently.

Or the Coles Notes version:

  1. Eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet (gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes)
  2. Take a probiotic supplement (the higher CFU count the better)
  3. Eat more soluble fibre
  4. Consume apple cider vinegar and bone broth
  5. Look into supplements (namely Vitamin D, zinc, L-Glutamine, Betaine HCL, fish oil)

 

FIX YOUR SLEEP

Don’t believe me that sleep is THAT important for bodily processes like metabolism (i.e. weight loss)?

You have probably worked out after a night or two of bad eating. Maybe even after a night or two of heavy boozing. Maybe you even PRed your back squat when you were hungover…

But imagine going two nights without any sleep and then trying to workout at intensity. The thought of it is painful, right? Two consecutive nights of little to no sleep and you probably feel way more ruined than you do from an entire month of poor food choices.

This article from the International Journal of Endocrinology explains more (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/) about how sleep deprivation has profound impacts on your hormones, your metabolism and your cardiovascular health.

In short, if there IS a magic bullet solution, it might just be sleep.

Sleep tight, folks. And avoid the sugar.

What you’re paying for, and what you’ll receive at 7 Mile


How much are your classes?

A question often asked by a newbie who pops into our facility.

“Group classes aren’t really what we sell,” we say in return.

Generally, this is met by a dumbfounded look and a slight hesitation, and sometimes a cautiously-worded question:

What.areyouumselling?

“I’m glad you asked…”

Bear with me as I backtrack for a moment:

There are lots of styles of gyms out there: There are the community centres, where you pay $10 bi-weekly for access to treadmills, bikes and weights and can drop in whenever you please. You get zero guidance from a professional and are left to your own devices to figure out this fitness thing on your own.

And there are the posh gyms that look more like spas featuring all the bells and whistles: tanning beds, pleasure massages, saunas and towel services, and where people, well, just don’t get that fit.

And there are the personal training studios, where you work with a trainer for $100 an hour, and where you’re passed off to a new trainer every four months because trainers keep leaving.

And, of course, the group exercise and bootcamp facilities, where the going rate is around $150 a month for unlimited group classes, and where you receive little to no personalized coaching.

We are none of the above.

Yes, we offer group classes, as well as personal training and individual programming, but what we’re really selling—the value you will receive when you train with us—is a coach for life. In other words, an experienced, professional coach in your corner—someone whose pursuing a lifelong career in the health and fitness industry.

I repeat, you are NOT paying for “the workout of the day” or “unlimited classes” or “open gym time.” You will receive those things, too, but the value is in our professional coaching service.

What does this look like?

This means you have someone by your side to help you with your health, fitness and nutrition wherever you’re at in life. Whether you’re a 17-year-old looking to snag an NCAA sports scholarship, a 50-year-old looking to reclaim your health before it’s too late, or whether you’re injured and need guidance getting your mobility back.

The value you receive comes in the form of a relationship with this coach, who will also provide his/her ongoing expertise—technical expertise, programming expertise, nutritional expertise—and even mentorship if you’re looking for it.

Why do we think this is the best way?

Health and fitness is complicated, and human beings are like snowflakes: No two are the same.

Our model gives you the one-on-one attention of a personal training studio (without costing you upwards of $1,000 a month) and the social community of group classes. But beyond that, it gives you the assurance that you have someone who knows YOU—and  your strength and weaknesses—to help you live the best, healthiest life you possibly can.

We arent selling workouts, or classes: We are selling a professional coaching service. If this sounds like something youre looking for, contact us.

Why do some people stick to a fitness routine while others fail?


This question has long intrigued me.

As a coach, as much as I like to think I can predict who will end up sticking around and committing to fitness, the truth is I can’t. Sometimes the least likely people get hooked, and people I expect to last years fall off the wagon.

In the last six months, I have come across a number of health transformation stories that have helped me develop a theory as to why some people commit to fitness for life while others fail.

I met a man who used to weigh 340 lb. He drank a dozen sodas a day and a pint of ice cream every night. And it wasnt uncommon for him to eat an entire brick of processed American cheese in one sitting. Then one day in 2015, he decided to make a change. Today, hes 205 lb. and hasnt had a single soda or a bite of American cheese since that day two years ago when he took his health into his hands.

And I met a woman who, at the age of 69, weighed 220 lb. and could barely get off the floor. She, too, made the decision to get healthy and hasnt looked back. A year-and-a-half-later, shes down 50 lb., has been taken off a host of medications she was on, and can get up and down off the floor with ease.

When you hear people tell their stories of massive, long-lasting change, it’s impossible not to become inspired.

Unfortunately though, those stories aren’t the norm. They’re kind of the exception. Truth is, most people have good intentions to take real action in their lives and change but don’t ever do it. They think about wanting to change, they verbalize the need for change, and maybe they try the gym for a couple weeks or months, but it ultimately feels too hard or too overwhelming, so they fall back into their own patterns and continue to live their mediocre lives.

The question becomes: What was it that both the American-cheese addicted man and the 69-year-old woman did to be able to create lasting change in their lives?

They both told me, independent of one another, that for them to decide to commit to health and fitness, they needed to throw away the tapes in their head that told them change wasn’t possible. The tapes that told them they couldn’t do it. The tapes that told them they would fail.

Once they were able to beat the voice in their head, they were able to develop a sense of certainty, and more importantly, come to terms with the fact that their pasts were not their futures.

I have come to believe this is the difference between people who commit to fitness for life and people who don’t: Empowering versus self-limiting beliefs.

What exactly is a belief?

A belief is essentially something you feel certain about. Often, there are no solid facts or rationality behind the belief.

Most people don’t realize it’s up to us what we believe. Instead, we blindly believe our beliefs as truths and we let them limit us.

Usually, our beliefs come down to our past experiences. We assume that just because the last job interview didn’t go well, neither will this one. Or that we failed in our New Year’s resolution attempt to go to the gym three days a week in 2010, that we will fail today. This is not the case.

The former soda guzzler and the 220-lb. woman are real people. In fact, you can read about his very real story here (https://journal.crossfit.com/article/mcmanus-beers-2). They’re not superhuman, made with more willpower than you. They just chose to say screw you to their unfounded beliefs and choose a new, better, path for themselves.

Fitness in childhood can make you a healthier adult!


I have been vocal for a long time about my hypothesis that—when it comes to health—what you do as a kid will translate into who you are as an adult.

My friends have often poo poo-ed my theory, but it has always just made sense logical to me.

I was a gymnast as a kid. I spent my weeks as an 8-year-old training six days a week, four hours a day, 24 hours a week. It goes without saying, my flexibility, body awareness, strength etc… are better today as an adult than they would otherwise have been without gymnastics. Everyone usually accepts that.

But when I suggest that being a gymnast helps my metabolism today, I get laughed at.

No more laughing!

There’s now proof, or strong evidence at the very least, to support my apparently wild theory.

A new study published in The Journal Frontiers in Physiology (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphys.2017.00476/full ) suggests that being fit early in life can have health benefits that last into middle age. The study looked at the effects of exercise on gene expression, inflammation, and YES, metabolism!

This doesn’t bode all that well for today’s children, seeing as in 2013 the World Health Organization reported there are as many as 42 million obese children under the age of 5 roaming around the world.

Back to the study: It found that exercising in your early years changes how your body metabolizes calories, and how it responds to high-fat foods in adulthood. The study also suggests that early life exercise can help decrease bone mass loss, as well as inflammation, later in life.

One of the professors in the study, Elwyn C. Firth, explained: ”Bone metabolism strongly influences energy metabolism in the body, and metabolism—what you do with energy from diet—is the central crux of why some children and adults become obese.”

In other words: Do gymnastics as a kid and you’ll be able to eat entire ring of brie cheese without consequence as an adult?!!! OK, maybe not quite that simple…But it certainly suggests it’s never too early to think about, and pursue fitness!

Even if you’re skeptical as this is just one study, here are a list of 7 other known health benefits for starting fitness as young as possible—reasons to enrol your kids in a fitness program ASAP!

  • Physical activity is linked to better classroom behaviour.
  • Physical activity requiring balance and coordination are associated with better emotional responses and emotional control.
  • Exercise is linked to decreased in depression and anxiety in children.
  • Exercise promotes better self-esteem and confidence in both childhood and adolescence.
  • Exercise improves quantity and quality of sleep.
  • Exercise helps children develop interpersonal skills (this is especially true when we consider participation in team sports).

Have a 16-year-old? An 8-year-old? A 5-year-old? Contact us for getting them going on a fitness plan for life!