Friday, August 14, 2020

Exercise, Face Masks and the "New Normal"?

Fitness Weight Loss, Personal Training Edmonton, Alberta.

It is important to wear a mask while in confined areas where you are close to others But what are the important exceptions?

Here in Alberta thanks to our heavy snowfalls doctors are very aware that after each heavy snowfall they are going to receive a larger than normal and probably the largest increases in heart attacks of the year. This is because people who may or may not exercise regularly are shovelling snow. As they lift the shovel filled with snow they hold their breath. This creates what is called the Valsalva maneuver. This action takes place when there is an internal pressure against a closed airway. This is especially dangerous for middle aged people who shovel their own snow. If people exhaled every time they lifted their shovel their heart would experience a natural flow. Like opening up a release valve. But hold your breath and exert and if you are the person with arterial blockages. That might just be more than your heart can take, resulting in a heart attack.

What does that have to do with wearing masks? What’s my point? I’m not an “anti-masker” and I understand the reasoning behind wearing masks. I think it is important to wear a mask while in confined areas where you are close to others. As some municipalities and cities are passing new mandatory mask-wearing legislation we must still be careful. As Neuton originally stated in his third law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Still, how does that relate to wearing masks? For most people, if you are in a grocery store and your heart is near rest or ten beats above your resting heart rate, it isn’t a problem. If you start running however it can be the equivalent of hyperventilating into a brown paper bag. This will put stress on your heart and lungs. You won’t experience the proper gas exchange at the alveoli level that your body is intended to experience. You will be breathing in too much Co2 and not enough O2. You could pass out, you might experience a heart incident, if you have asthma this could stress your respiratory system such that you could have issues with your asthma. There are many problems that this could cause. And what about people who are morbidly obese and they get a great work out just by walking around the grocery store? Yes, we want to protect them and protect ourselves in the process by asking people to mask up, but if their heart rates skyrocket when they are just walking, wearing a mask for them could mean they are at risk of many respiratory-related issues including dangerous strains on their hearts when they wear a mask and just walk at a normal pace.

So, what does all of this mean? This means if you are exercising, I hope you can either exercise outside or in a facility that allows you to be at least ten feet (minimum) away from the nearest person who is working out. I would hope that you stay as far away from others as possible and don’t wear a mask during exercise that makes you breathe heavy. I am hoping your gym has physical barriers in place and great ventilation so that you have access to fresh air so you can still get a good work out.

Yes, I just said it. I’ll say it again because it is important.

Do not wear a mask while performing an exercise that elevates your heart rate such that you have to breathe heavy.

Or masking up is going to put you in the hospital for other reasons. You could pass out and hit your head on the way down, you can have any number of respiratory issues due to wearing a mask while having an increased heart rate. Some people could even have a heart attack. Just be careful. If it is mandated in your area to wear a mask in public spaces, mask up while grocery shopping, but not while exercising. And if your heart rate skyrockets while you are grocery shopping, then ordering your groceries online might be a wise choice for you.

Until next time...

Keep Fit 'N' Well.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Is There Another Way to Lose Body Fat?

Fitness Goals, Personal Training, Edmonton, Alberta

As a personal trainer, I mostly hear the same health and fitness goals. Some people have specific goals in mind like training for a marathon or specific sport etc. Most of the goals fall into the category of weight/inch loss and increased muscle. The exercise prescription varies for each person depending upon what that person is doing for exercise now and what their goals are.

Whether it is weight loss, muscle gain or toning, part of the desired result for most people is to lose fat so their muscles will be more defined.

And that’s why I keep on talking about nutrition. A lot of people exercise. Some exercise really hard and yet they still have a lot of extra girth covering hiding their muscles. And they will continue to have that girth. In fact, the girth will likely increase as they age regardless of how much they exercise. (unless it is 8 hours of continuous exercise a day. That’s a different story.) For the person who wants to lose weight or tone up and exercises for an hour, a day then eats whatever they want? Most of those people will gain weight.

So, we’re back to nutrition again. There are so many ways to lose weight and keep it off. High fibre, low calorie, low processed foods and lots of whole foods, low sugar, etc. etc. The trick is losing weight then keeping it off. A lot of diets are successful, but then fail because as soon as people eat what they have been missing the weight comes right back.

There’s another option. It will be more effective when combined with a high fibre, low fat, whole food diet where half of your diet comes from vegetable sources of course, but for now, try circadian rhythm eating. Studies have shown that if people consume the same foods as they are consuming now, but consume those foods in an 8-12 hour window before 6-7p.m., then don’t eat after 6-7p.m. then fast for a minimum of 12 hours they will lose weight. Apparently we metabolize foods differently later into the evening. Studies have also shown that people who eat at night tend to gravitate toward foods that are higher in fat.

So for those of you who aren’t interested in consuming more high fibre foods, for those who are convinced that they can eat exactly the same way they are eating right now and lose weight? Well, maybe you can? Maybe you can eat the way you are eating now and lose a few pounds if you don’t eat after 7 p.m. then not again until between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. or even noon…For those of you with any current health issues, don’t try this without your doctor’s consent, but who knows? Maybe. Just maybe you can have your cake and eat it too.

Friday, July 10, 2020

New Gym Etiquette and Common Sense...

Fit 'N' Well Personal Training, Edmonton, AB, Fitness

At the end of the day it is up to each one of us to use our common sense to protect ourselves and those around us.

As gyms are opening back up and people are anxious to get back to working out again, just remember a few basic rules and hopefully, we will all be able to safely work out while minimizing risking more COVID infection spread.

Common Sense Rules:

  1. Assume the person who used the machine before you did has Covid-19 and didn’t wipe it down. That means you wipe every piece of equipment down before you use it, whether it be a dumbbell or an elliptical then again after you use it. Do not assume the staff did it even if the gym mentions that their employees are regularly cleaning equipment. Do not put your health and safety in someone else’s hands. Both gym staff and members with the best of intentions can forget to clean a machine or miss a crucial spot.
  2. The six-foot social distancing rule is a minimum of ten while working out indoors. It depends on the person and the space that person is in. If I see someone who is hardly working up a sweat, ten feet is likely fine. If they are working hard and running hard hills or intervals, ten feet is a bare minimum. More like 15 feet as a minimum. If moisture droplets from breathing or talking shoot out nearing 6 feet when people aren’t exercising can you imagine how far they travel when someone is working out hard and breathing heavily? If there are two or three people working out hard in one area and it is a confined area, 15 feet may not be enough.
  3. The gym should supply EPA registered antibacterial wipes. Not spray bottles with reusable rags.
  4. Check out the gym before you work out. Look around. How many people are in the gym? Are they at least ten to fifteen feet apart while working out? Does the gym have the appropriate cleaning procedures or supplies available? How many people total are in the gym at a time? And how big is that area relative to how many people they are allowing in that area?
At the end of the day, it is up to each one of us to use our common sense to protect ourselves and those around us. Do not leave this up to “What the experts say” then do the minimum required. The minimum required can put you and or your family members in the hospital.
Masks are great in public areas where there are a lot of people. Not in the gym! Don’t wear a mask while working out. That can put extra stress on your heart and might trigger a heart attack. Wearing a mask while exercising is like hyperventilating into a paper bag and breathing back in only your expired air. You could faint and hit your head on the way down. In which case COVID may be the least of your problems.
If you aren’t comfortable working out in the gym without a mask because there are too many people in the facility, then even if the gym is open, it isn’t ready for you. Be safe and use common sense.
If the gym is open, but there are too many people in the gym or the staff aren’t enforcing the common sense cleanliness and distancing rules, it simply isn’t ready for you. Never mind what the minimums are. This is no time to do the minimum that people are recommending. This is the time to put your health and safety and common sense before minimum recommendations.
Until next time keep…

Fit ‘N’ Well.

Friday, June 26, 2020

98 Year-Old Client...

Workouts for seniors, Edmonton, AB, Fit 'N' Well Personal Training

One of my clients is 98 years old. He is turning 99 soon.

Normally I like to offer eating and exercising tips in my articles to help motivate people. Today I would like to share a story from one of my personal training sessions from last week…
One of my clients is 98 years old. He is turning 99 soon. We have been working out together for many years. One day last week he had just finished 20 minutes on the treadmill then sat down for a quick rest before starting his weight routine.
He looked at me and said “Greg, do you have any other 98-year-old clients who work out as regularly as I do and eat as healthy as I do?”
My response was “I don’t have any other 98-year-old clients who exercise as often as you do. I don’t even know another 98 year old except for you. “I went on to say “Mr.________, you and Mrs._________  are 98 and 97 because you work out and maintain a healthy diet.”
These two clients of mine are a great source of friendship and motivation for me. That moment especially was a very powerful moment for me.
“You are 98 because you work out and maintain a healthy diet” I have always admired this couple. Before this moment I hadn’t really put much thought into how remarkable this couple is. They lead a healthy lifestyle and yet still enjoy the odd small dessert or sugary treat. They aren’t drinkers but enjoy a glass of wine at a family event. They are both strong and agile and physically they can do things that many 70 years old’s can’t do anymore. They still live together in their home of over 50 years and will be celebrating their 76th year of marriage this Saturday.

“You are 98 because you work out and maintain a healthy diet.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

New Miracle Hollywood FDA Approved Weight Loss Drug Now on the Market...

Weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle, Edmonton, AB
New Miracle Hollywood FDA Approved Weight Loss Drug Now on the Market…
Weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle is tough. Society tells us how acceptable it is to eat luxurious rich desserts and suggests that we look forward to a cold beer on a hot day.  And everyone knows when you’ve had a hard day and the kids are in bad moods the easiest answer is to order take out. Over time the lifestyle of consuming refined sugars, and unhealthy fats, pop, alcohol and a limited amount of fibre and vegetables is sooner or later going to increase waistlines and dress sizes. For professional athletes who work out 4-8 hours a day, they may be able to eat whatever they want and never gain an ounce. For the rest of us, we need another strategy. That’s where this drug comes in. Many women in Hollywood claim without this new FDA approved weight loss drug they never would have been able to fit into their dresses for the red carpets and movie openings.
As a personal trainer I often (almost daily) hear people say “It’s all about moderation”. For children and teenagers, that’s a great approach. For a few people in their 20’s and maybe into their 30’s that might work. For some, once they have as much as a taste of a cookie they find they have eaten six by the time the day is over. For others “moderation” is like being bankrupt and explaining to the bank that you have to go on a luxury holiday or buy a luxury car because you are living in “moderation” and since you’re not going on luxury holidays every week or buying two luxury cars you are still living in moderation. The bank doesn’t care about how you define moderation or what holiday you think you deserve. The bank only cares about getting a return on its investment with interest. Moderation is not for everyone. Sometimes we have to improve our health before we can afford some moderation in our diets. If you have a current heart condition, I can guarantee your heart doesn’t care about your desire to have birthday cake 8 times a year and Christmas dinner, Easter feast, Thanksgiving dinner, Thank God it’s Friday pizza night and all the other special occasions in your life and the lives of your friends and families.
What’s the answer?
Well to start, consuming sugar without fibre is a complete no-no. Sugar in an orange is okay. (an orange. Not 8 oranges or a glass of juice). There’s fibre in an orange. Sugar in a cake or in pop, white rice, white bread etc. is not ok. Aspertame and sugar equivalents are no good either.
The answer is a two-part answer. First, get moving and keep moving. Move your body for at least half an hour every day. An hour is better! Find activities that keep you moving whether that be mowing an hour of lawn one day then renovating rooms in your house the next, taking your dog for an hour-long walk every day or simply working out. It doesn’t matter, but do it every day.
Your body doesn’t care about your desire to be like everyone else or your justification for “moderation” Mine doesn’t either. We do the work and we stay healthy. We make excuses for why we can’t exercise or why we need to eat unhealthy foods that are void in fibre and our bodies make us pay the price. It may not be a popular answer, but it is the truth. And yes, some people can go for years eating junk food and not gain a pound. And yes, thin people who exercise and have bad diets die of heart attacks too.
As for the miracle, Hollywood FDA approved weight loss medication that is working for all of the movie stars?
Do a google search for the foods you are eating. Divide the carbohydrates by the fibre. If the answer is under 5 then eat it. If it is over 5 then don’t. It isn’t the amount of fibre in a food that is important. It is the amount of fibre relative to the amount of carbohydrate in that food that is important. Eat foods high in fibre. That is your FDA approved weight loss medication that works in Hollywood. It works! Your waistline will thank you, your arteries will thank you and your blood pressure will improve.

Until next week, keep...

Fit 'N' Well.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tips to Start Losing Weight Now...

Losing weight, staying fit, healthy living, Edmonton, AB

My recommendation is to start with the low hanging fruit.

Start with the little things you can easily fit into your lifestyle.
Here are a couple of easy ones:
  1. Keep a bottle of water in the console of your car, on your desk at work and beside your couch at home. Just take it with you everywhere you go and get in the habit of drinking from it regularly throughout the day. Sometimes we eat when we are simply dehydrated and thirsty. Our minds can’t tell the difference so we reach for that extra snack when all we actually needed was some water. Drinking a lot of water will curb your appetitive so it is worth doing. To make it a little tastier, I put a tea bag in the water. Peppermint or cranberry are my favourite flavours. In the winter I put in hot water to make tea. When I need a refill, I just fill it with cold water so my water has a little flavour.
  2. Go to bed early! When you go to bed late, you tend to add in an extra late-night snack or two. You aren’t thinking of food if you are asleep. Some people will tell me that they can’t go to bed early and have to have those extra meals throughout the night. For those people, weight loss is going to be more of a challenge.
  3. Consume the bulk of your calories before 7 p.m. Again, that is where going to bed early helps. The longer we stay up after supper time, the more likely we will be thinking of food and snacking. I’m not suggesting that you retire at 8 p.m. with your six-month-old, but going to bed by ten will certainly help.
  4. Exercise every day. Do something different every day. Get out there and walk, swim, lift some weights, go hiking, biking, get out in the garden, mow the lawn. Just get busy doing something that you enjoy that physically tires you out for at least half an hour every day. Get at it.
Enjoy your week. Until next time…

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fit 'N' Well Personal Training Inc, Edmonton, Alberta, Stay motivated

Things happen throughout the day to everyone. Life happens

Life happens and things get in the way of everyone’s best intentions. I’m not a morning person, but of course, as a personal trainer if I wanted to be successful in the long run I had to either embrace and get used to getting up at 4:45 a.m. at least 5 days a week or I would have to get into a different line of work… I chose to embrace mornings.
When someone signs up for personal training sessions I used to love the people who signed up in the morning. Why? They are often the most consistent clients. And consistent clients means consistent results and means I get paid consistently.
Things happen throughout the day to everyone. Life happens. Your boss needs you to work late, Johnny got in a fight at school and you have to meet him at the principal’s office. Little Suzi had her recital time changed and so you now have to cancel your exercise session to take Suzi to her ballet recital.
It doesn’t matter the reason. And results from exercise don’t care what your reasons are either. One of the most important factors when it comes to exercise is consistency. It is important to be consistent if you want any significant results. For this reason, I take the financial advice my Grandmother passed down to me over 40 years ago. She always told me to take ten percent of my paycheque and put it in the bank or RRSP’s. “The rest is yours” she would say.
It is too easy to cancel well-intentioned workouts. For this reason, I plan my workouts a week in advance. I slot in as many early mornings around client sessions as possible. If I have no space between 4:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. the others are slotted in after my early morning clients when they are at work. Any afternoon or evening workouts are a bonus. Even as a personal trainer, I can’t count the number of times I have intended to get a work out in the afternoon or early evening and something would come up and kybosh my good intentions.
My advice? Listen to my late Grandmother and pay yourself first. If that means going to bed earlier, then so be it. Get at least a half-hour morning work-out in before work. That way if something comes up that gets in the way of your well-intentioned afternoon/evening work out then so be it. If your schedule stays clear you’ll have time for a bonus work out that day. 😊
Until next week, Keep…

Fit ‘N’ Well.