Monday, August 13, 2018


Commitment- By Regan Dacey

A serious challenge that I’ve struggled with in transitioning through different changes in my life has been commitment to my fitness journey. 
This seems strange, given that I have a diploma in Personal Training and work as a personal trainer with Fit ‘N’ Well, but I believe this is where many people struggling with their health and fitness also experience some difficulties. You’ve made a plan, implemented changes, are starting to see real results – then something changes. Perhaps your work or home life has become more stressful than usual. Perhaps you’ve suffered a setback, such as an injury or illness. Perhaps the initial motivation ad excitement for achieving your goals has died down a bit.
Once you’ve stepped off the wagon, it can be difficult to jump back on. A day or two can somehow become a week or two… or a month or two… or six months, nine months, a year. 
How are you feeling at this point? Disappointment? Guilt? Frustration?  
Let’s try looking at what commitment means. The definitions provided by Oxford Dictionaries online siteinclude being dedicated to a cause or an activity, which fits quite well within the scope of fitness, as well as an obligation that restricts freedom of action. Thinking of this, I would consider a commitment to fall under something you actually want to do or something you feel that you have to do
I’ve seen people succeed in the “have to do” category, but everyone should take a moment for reflection and consider how they best work to meet their goals. Personally, I’ve experienced far more success when I focus on wanting to do something rather than the feeling of obligation. It seems funny when sometimes the things I want to do morph into things I now feel I have to do, and suddenly I find myself lacking the commitment to work towards my goal. Remaining focused on the “why is this important?” and “why do I want to do this?” often helps in reinforcing the sensation that you’re actively choosing to work toward your goals.  
Here is an example: Washing dishes is not one of my favourite activities. For me, this definitely fits into the “have to do” category. I do, however, work hard to make sure they’re done and put away because as much as I hate doing dishes, I hate a messy kitchen even more! I WANT a clean and orderly space to prepare meals, so focusing on the desire to have a clean kitchen allows me to overcome the negative feelings I have when standing at the kitchen sink. 
This self-reflection can be an incredibly important part of your fitness journey. Exercise may not be your first choice regarding what you want to do, (like perhaps watching some TV or playing on your tablet!) but if you focus on the larger picture – why you want to live an active lifestyle – it can be much easier to remain committed to your fitness goals.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Low Intensity or high intensity cardio. Which is better for weight loss?

Fit ‘N’ Well Fitness Tips:

Low intensity or high intensity cardio. Which is better for weight loss?
This is a very popular question. In the ‘80’s everyone worked out as hard as they could. If someone suggested that they exercise for 45 minutes of 4-5 times a week, they were doing 90 minutes, 7 days a week. Then people ended up with overuse injuries, were burnt out and were no longer interested in exercise. The media had to change the message to encourage people to exercise again, so the message changed to “work out at a slow intensity for a longer duration”. In the ‘90’s, people’s idea of exercise was to walk around the block with a garden hose in one hand and a low fat sandwich in the other. In 10 years we went from one extreme to the other. In regards to your cardio work out then, what really is the best advice?
We have two sources of energy stores. Fat stores and carbohydrate (muscle glycogen stores). Everyone burns energy at their own personal rate that they metabolize calories. For sake of argument though, let’s say that if the average person walked for one hour, they would burn approximately 100 calories. Due to the low intensity of the exercise, they may burn 60% from fat stores and 40% from carbohydrate stores. Great news right? That is 60 calories from fat stores and 40 calories from carbohydrate stores. Now that is just about all that the media told us, so in the 90’s people were strolling around and thinking they were making great gains in their work out routines. Here’s what they didn’t tell us…
Yes, it is true, that if we work out at a higher intensity, we will burn a lower percentage of calories from our fat stores. These are not precise numbers, but again, at an educated guess, if you work out at a high intensity, you may burn 60% of your calories from carbohydrate stores and only 40% from fat stores. What they didn’t tell us though is that when you run for an hour, you may burn up to 700 calories. In this case 40% (calories burned from fat stores) of 700 is 280 calories which is much more than the calories burned from fat stores from an hour long walk.

Of course not everyone can run for an hour, or run at all for that matter, but that is part of the fun. In every work out, to increase your fitness level and burn more calories, you should challenge yourself to work a little harder or a little longer than your previous work outs. Everyone can set that goal. Your alternative is to continue working out at a low intensity and just exercise a little longer each time. Remember though, that if you want to increase your fitness level and burn more calories and you decide to take this approach, you may want to pack a lunch…to prepare for your daily walk to the next city and back!

Change of intensity and change of duration is a really effective way of creating a cardio routine that stimulates weight loss. At Fit 'N' Well, I often recommend that clients participate in 3 interval cardio sessions and two long duration cardio sessions to best stimulate weight loss.

Next time we’ll talk about why it is important to change your routine every 4, 6, or 8 weeks.

Until Next Time,

Keep Fit ‘N’ Well.

Greg Harvey

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Perfect Routine for Great Results???

I often have magazines and newspapers calling and asking me for the perfect routine. I have to laugh, because that is like telling someone that to be a world renowned mathematician, there is a perfect grade 3 math class. To determine how effective your work out routine is, you need only to answer a few questions:
Are you bored with your work outs? Do you come in to the gym and complete the same routine day in and day out? Do you do the same exercises with the same repetitions and the same weight that you have been using for several months or even several years? Are your work outs relatively easy? Can you read a book while you are on the bike and not miss a sentence?

If you answered yes to these questions, I have a second set of questions for you:

If you took grade three math classes for five years in a row, would your math skills improve? If you live on the south side in Edmonton and you never stray across the river, will you ever be able to navigate very well downtown or on the north side? Of course the answer to these questions is “not likely.” How can your math or navigational skills improve if you never take them to the next level? Fitness works the same way. I am delighted to see the keeners in the gym every day diligently working out. The problem is that many people’s routines never change. Now there is nothing wrong with keeping the same routine if you are really happy with your flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning and your over all muscular conditioning and don’t ever want to improve anything, but what if you aren’t satisfied? Unfortunately, if you aren’t happy with your physique, flexibility and cardiovascular conditioning and yet you are doing the exact same routine that you have always done, then it may be argued that you are insane. The Chinese define insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. I tend to agree. How can you do the same thing every day this year as you did every day last year and yield different results? The answer is of course that you can’t.

 So, how do you change? And what do you change? Change everything. Mix up which cardio machines that you are using. If you usually spend a leisurely 30 minutes on the bike before you hit the weights, try doing intervals on the elliptical. If you already change up your cardio routines by regularly using the bike, treadmill and elliptical, learn to play a sport. Squash and racquetball are great sports to learn. They only require one other player and you can play them all year long. Recreational soccer, basketball, softball and volleyball teams can be a lot of fun also and regardless of whether you feel like working out that day, when you have a commitment to your teammates, it will be easier to get a couple more work outs into the week.

 At the end of the day, if you don’t change your routine regularly, your results will plateau and you will likely get bored of working out and you will be less motivated to exercise regularly. To keep those results coming try different things.

  • Exercise with a friend.
  • Hire a personal trainer.
  • Join a sports team.
  • Train for a sport.
  • Join a running club
  • Challenge yourself, train for a half or full marathon.
  • Join a regular aerobics, yoga or pilates class to supplement your work outs.
  • Learn a new sport.
  • Treat yourself to a relaxing massage at the end of your work out or at the end of a succession of work outs as a reward for your hard work. Massage therapy is a great way of loosening up tight muslces and generally make you feel like a million bucks! Our massage therapists recommend regular monthly treatments  as part of your body's regular maintenance program to stay healthy and pain free.
At Fit 'N' Well we invented our own sport. We call it 'tennis ball soccer' . We play soccer in a racquetball court three on three. Our sport combines the strategy of hockey and the skills of soccer to provide a very challenging work out! The best part of our sport is it involves all of the important aspects of exercise to attain great results:
  1. Change
  2. Intensity
  3. A social aspect to keep people coming
  4. Fun
  5. Challenge
  6. Learning a skill set
For more ideas, visit Alberta’s sporting associations, visit  for more information on each of their programs.

Greg Harvey-PFT

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Working Out and Getting Results!

Working Out and Getting Results.

Everyone wants great results. Millions of dollars are spent every year on abdominal gadgets, diet pills and potions, supplements and fad diets. What really works though? What is the magic answer to muscle gain, weight loss and overall good health? Believe it or not, we know the answers. As Fit N' Well Personal Trainers, people ask us these questions daily.Unless, you have been living in a hut, stranded on a desert island for the past 10 years, I am willing to bet that most of us actually already know the answers. Unfortunately, the truth isn't as easy as popping a pill or buying a $99.95 ab gadget off the t.v, so we tend to keep looking for those easy answers. So what are they? What are the actual answers?
What is the truth?

Ten points to weight loss, muscle gain, more energy and overall increased wellness:
  1. Eight hours of sleep every night.
  2. 5-6 small meals per day every day.
  3. 8, eight ounce glasses of water daily.
  4. Consume vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables as the foundation of your diet. Does it make sense that the bulk of most peoples diets are man made processed foods? Does that sound healthy to you?
  5. Reduce your intake of refined foods and replace that processed food with less refined, whole grains.
  6. Eat a little bit of protein at each meal and snack to keep feeling satisfied, preventing too much starch and sugar consumption.
  7. A minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity 4-5 times per week to exercise your heart and lungs and burn calories.
  8. Strength train each major muscle group twice a week to increase lean muscle mass, thus increasing your metabolism, slowing osteoporosis or preventing it and protecting your bones from injury in case of falls or accidents.
  9. Stretch daily to improve flexibility, thus avoiding muscle strains and injuries, especially limiting lower back pain.
  10. Make exercise fun. At Fit 'N' Well, we encourage people to play a sport, go hiking, biking or something that is different, perhaps challenging and fun. We don't adhere well to just treadmills and exercise bikes. For best results, participate in exercise that has a social element to it or is something that you can train for. This will make exercise fun. If you are looking forward to the exercise and it isn't monotonus, you are much more likely to exercise more regularly. Regular exercise is what creates results.
  11. Number eleven is a bonus. At Fit 'N' Well, we encourage people to reward themselves after each work out or a succession of work outs. For example, you may want to choose a gym that has a great steam room, so you can go for a nice steam after your work out. Better yet, if you have time, you can go for a steam and a massage. It may not be something that you do after every work out, but even if you promise yourself a steam and a massage once a week, it may give you the extra push that you need to get through your week of work outs, so you have that nice reward waiting for you on Friday. Picture yourself finishing your work week. It is Friday and you have worked out every day, Monday through Friday and on the last weekday, as a reward, you are looking forward to a steam and a pampering treatment from your favourite massage therapist to melt away the stresses of the work week and reward yourself for dealing with too many customers, a demanding boss and 5 good work outs!

Now, did you know all ten points? Have you heard about or read about these points in the media on a very regular basis over the past ten years? I would bet that you have. The news articles may only feature one point in each article, but all ten points have definitely been marketed to the general public over the years. So if education isn’t the problem, then why aren’t people achieving their fitness goals? If they want the results and are educated on what to do, then why can’t they achieve them?

Truthfully, many people do achieve their fitness goals. What do these people do differently? Why do some people succeed while others fail miserably? It sounds like a bit of a cliché, but a successful fitness program may be easier to attain than you think. The answers to these questions will be in our next blog.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Where to begin...

Do you want to start an exercise program, but have no idea as to where to start? Well you aren't alone. You would be surprised if you knew how many people have never had a formal exercise program before and now need to lose some weight. Sound familiar?

Because you are just starting out, we are going to make this as simple as possible. You will need to exercise your heart and lungs. This is called 'cardiovascular exercise'. This kind of activity is anything that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time. Walking, running, cycling and swimming are examples of activities that will do this for you. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories as you perform the activity and raises your metabolism for up to 12 hours later. An increased metabolism means that your body burns burns an increased amount of calories.

The second form of exercise that is important to your weight loss ventures is called strength training. Strength training is an activity that puts stress on the muscles and joints, thus increasing your muscles' ability to lift or push more weight. As you strength train, your muscles get stronger and more dense. This also assists in weight loss as you burn more calories as you are working out and as you develop more muscle, your body burns more calories. It is kind of like compound intererest. The more muslce that you have, the more calories you burn all day, every day. For each additional pound of muscle that you gain, your body burns approximately an extra 50 calories per day. Over time this really adds up. For women who are concerned about getting "bulky", not to worry, muscle takes up less room than fat does, so building muscle will just make you look leaner. The women that tend to get "bulky" are usually the women who work out several hour per day. Not twenty minutes three times a week, like I would recommend for absolute beginners. For beginners, doing each exercise 12 to 20 times to near failure or failure will increase your muscles capacity to lift weight and will make muscles stronger. To see improvement, you will want to exercise each main muscle group twice per week and never two days in a row. Muslces will need 48 hours to recover before they are worked again. This will give them time to recover from their previous work out and get stronger so they can be worked again. If you strength train your muscles two days in a row, you risk injury. If you have never exercised before, a good starting point would be to strength train two to three days per week; performing a full body routine at each work out.

You don't need to work out in a gym to gain the results you are looking for. We have been training people in their homes since 1998. If you would like a personal trainer to answer any of your questions about exercising at home, contact us here. We will inform you of what sort of equipment you will need to get a good work out at home. If you are interested in seeing a personal trainer in a gym setting, we base ourselves out of the Terrace Fitness and Racquet Club. You may contact us here if you are interested in talking to a personal trainer regarding your exercise program. We also train people out of other facilities in and around select gyms around Edmonton.

Good luck with your exercise program. Until our next blog, keep active and 'n' well.

Greg Harvey- PFT.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Best Work Out Ever!!!

People often ask me for the best work out plan. I have heard various renditions of the same question. Magazines call me, television stations call me, women, men, teenagers... Everyone wants to know the secret to weight loss and a shapely cut body that will look great for their upcoming Mexico vacation.

The truth is not as glamorous as the magazines want to portray. They want an article that will entice people to buy their magazine for the article that shows the best exercise program that everyone is dying to get their hands on. The television station wants to see a peronal trainer with his/her client who has gone from a size 100 to a size 0. They want pictures, testimonials, video, the whole works. And the regular person off the street will call and ask all the same questions...

So, what is the best fitness program available? Well it varies depending upon a few factors. It depends upon what your current fitness level is, how much time you can devote to exercise, what your fitness goals are and what your health considerations are. Truthfully, I think that just posting a work out program for the sake of posting a program is irresponsible with out qualifying who it is for and weighing the risks of certain exercises for certain demographics. I can certainly give you some guidelines though....

The best exercise program is a program that:
  1. Is a fitness program that is done regularly. The perfect exercise routine that is never done is not so perfect.
  2. Is a program that is changed regularly. At Fit 'N' Well Personal Training, we change clients exercise routines regularly so people don't get bored and so our clients continue getting the results that they are looking for. Not changing your exercise routine is like doing grade three math for 8 years. You may learn a lot the first year, but you will essentially only maintain your knowledge over the next 7 years unless you keep changing exercises and increasing the difficulty.
  3. Is an exercise routine that is designed specifically with the clients goals and health considerations in mind. A work out that is effective for a hockey player may be a poor set of exercises for a golfer and a potentially dangerous program for a person who is not in very good physical condition or has injuries etc.
  4. Is an exercise routine that has an element of challenge or fun to it. At Fit 'N' Well, we try to make the exercise routines enjoyable so that people look forward to their exercise sessions, rather than dreading them.
It is very important when partaking of a new exercise program that you take into consideration whether or not that program is appropriate for your needs and goals. Did you get the program from a magazine? If so, what demographic is the magazine trying to appeal to? Do you fit that profile? More importantly, are those exercises going to help you reach your fitness goals? Does the person who designed the program have any fitness education from college or university? Or is he/she an avid reader of other fitness magazines and a fitness buff himself/herself? Please remember, you aren't going to be doing many exercises from your bed as your back is spasming because your mentor was someone who suggested a set of exercises that are not only inapporpriate for personally, but injured you in the process.

Good luck with your exercise programs. When you are starting a program for the first time, don't feel shy about asking a certified personal trainer for assistance to ensure you are doing your exercises properly and be careful about generic routines that may or may not be appropriate for your individual needs.