The July 2010 issue of Consumer Reports magazine has a big spread on protein powder. Consumer Reports tested 15 protein drinks and found chemicals and heavy metals in several.
The three they pointed out were: (figures are for three servings)
EAS Myoplec Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake Liquid 16.9 micrograms of Arsenic 5.1 micrograms of Cadmium
Muscle Milk Chocolate 5.6 micrograms of Cadmium
Muscle Milk Vanilla Creme 12.2 micrograms lead
Here's a comparison of the cost of different sources of protein taken from the article. 1. Half of a chicken breast = 27g protein = $.62 2. Three 8oz glasses of milk = 23g protein = $.60 3. Three scrambled eggs = 20g protein = $.46 4. One scope of Nitro-Tech = 25g protein = $1.61
Looks like I'm going to have to go out and buy a hard copy of the July issue since it's not posted on their website. If I can't get a whole food unprocessed source of protein, I use Isagenix Isopro. It's just plain old whey, nothing else.
Taken from the Isagenix website: "We know that quality whey can only come from a quality source, which is why our exclusive whey comes from dairy cows that are raised on pastures (not grain) on small New Zealand family farms, milked according to season, well rested, and not treated with hormones or antibiotics."
The key here too is not just the potential for contaminants but also that the cows are grass fed not grain fed. Anyone who knows about what makes a healthy cow knows that grain is not the healthiest food for cows to survive on. I've always believed you can't really buy high quality cheap protein powder so I don't mind spending a bit more on Isopro.
Most people don't want to really talk about this stuff. Let's face it. We go to the gym to get healthy. But chances are there's even more bacteria lurking in environments where people get hot and sweaty...together.
It's one thing to have a little dust here and there. It's a whole other dealio to actually walk into a gym and see loads of dirt, grime and dust bunnies everywhere. It takes constant attention to keep a gym environment clean. It takes vigilance to make a gym environment hygienic and keep the germs, bacteria and fungi, yes fungi at bay. I've actually heard of gyms in town where people pass around the same skin infection. Ackkkk!
When you hang at most big gyms, you see cleaners constantly working on the space. I"m constantly cleaning Urbanfitt. Getting a cleaner in once or twice a week isn't going to cut it. Many boutique fitness studios can't afford cleaners on a daily basis. So who's doing the daily cleaning of things like mats which are communal and often covered in dry sweat. This time of year is especially time consuming for me. Maggie is a shedding beast right now. I'm so embarrassed at times because I like Urbanfitt to always be a haven of peace, lack of clutter and freshness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a bacteria called methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was recently found in recreational athletes. The CDC cites close physical contact and equipment sharing as reasons for outbreaks. Researchers have also found E. coli, strep-bacteria and the influenza virus in gyms and on athletic equipment.
This last flu season I made it out without getting sick despite coming in close contact with so many people in a sweaty environment. I always disinfect my hands between clients and use disinfectant cleaner on surfaces.
Other big things to watch out for at gyms is athlete's foot. Yum. How dirty do the floors look? If they look dirty then chances are they haven't been cleaned in a long time and there's going to be loads of stuff to pick up if you're training barefoot. With the growing movement to train barefoot, this is a biggie.
Just some happy thoughts as the season to sweat more due to the weather has arrived. When leaving your gym, always disinfect your hands. And if your gym of choice is, shall we say gritty at best, get in the shower ASAP after your work out. It's not being paranoid. It's being practical people.
Becca Lemire came by the studio this week for a session to experience what it is I do with clients.
Here's an excerpt of her write up. Thank you Becca!
"A one-hour personal training consultation with Jane left me feeling worked-out, sweaty and inspired to take care of myself. It’s no surprise, as she has 10 plus years of specialized experience in the fitness and health world. She’s a published author, mother, speaker and expert in her field. We did tons of great moves together and she also frequently injected me with useful info on dieting (Don’t diet, have a more Michael Pollen approach, but keep in mind losing weight is 80% food), exercise, (don’t do everything laying on the floor, get up, get out and move, do kegels when doing arm workouts.), and holistic health (a sore muscle in your neck can affect your back, make sure to stretch strength and tone young, it will be easier to maintain in older age, and don’t go by numbers, go by how you feel)."
Since I started going to Urbanfitt just over a year ago, a lot has changed in my life. I no longer have back pain. I sleep better. Then, I started my own company and was asked to teach part-time at U of T.
One initiative that I have taken in the past year that I am particularly proud of is the establishment of Julia's Fund at the SickKids Foundation. For eighteen months after her first birthday, our daughter Julia wasted away. She was often gravely ill, with mysterious and sometimes contradictory symptoms. Doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children and the National Institute for Health in Maryland struggled through diligent work to diagnose her condition in what often seemed like a race against time. No one could figure out the puzzle of Julia’s assortment of symptoms.
Since her diagnosis in 2007, Julia’s health has been managed with medication and her life has been rebuilt. She has improved dramatically. She has gone from an emaciated child stuck in a hospital bed to a scrappy 5 year old in kindergarten who is in love with ballet. However, some of the damage done to her body before the diagnosis endures.
Julia’s Fund will create an information base (“registry”) through which future APS patients will be more easily diagnosed, and by this the process of managing the disease can begin sooner. Present and future lives will be helped by what has been learned through Julia’s case.
Please keep Julia's Fund in mind when you are planning your charitable giving. You can get more information and donate at www.juliasfund.com. For even more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Jane and Urbanfitt. While you can't take all of the credit for the amazing changes in my life during the past year, the physical and emotional energy I have gained at your gym has been my springboard.
Sara-Clare picked up our ropes today so we can do some super fun training in the park.
Come out and try an Urban Warrior class with Sara-Clare to see how much fun you can have with big heavy ropes. It's time to get outside! I'm thinking a tug of war would be pretty fun too.
I'm excited to discover all the things we can do with them. You'll be seeing me at some of the Urban Warrior sessions myself to get my butt kicked! Thanks to Sara-Clare for adding her innovative training approach to Urbanfitt.
Here are some benefits of thick rope training:
Benefits of Thick Rope Training:
* grip strength – dynamic crush / dynamic pinch (dependent upon thickness of rope); dynamic wrist postures AKA YOU'LL BE ABLE TO OPEN YOUR OWN JARS LADIES!
* intermuscular coordination – summation of tensions through the coordinated engagement of multiple muscle groups (prime movers, synergists, secondary movers, etc.) simultaneously YOUR BODY WORKS SMARTER AND IS MORE INTEGRATED IN MOVEMENTS. YOU BURN MORE CALORIES AND HIT MULTIPLE MUSCLE GROUPS. HELLO METABOLISM KICK START.
* mental toughness - rope training is NOT easy, it is not a quick fix, it is a bust ass PUSHING PASSED OUR PERCEIVED LIMITS EMPOWERS US IN THE REST OF OUR LIVES
* massive core strength – rope training involves many primal movement patterns. YOU TRAIN YOUR CORE WITHOUT EVEN NOTICING
* high work capacity - because rope training utilizes the entire body, a high level of work capacity and muscular endurance is developed HIGH EFFICIENCY EXERCISE!
Sara-Clare teaches Monday and Tuesday nights and Saturday at 11 and Sunday at 9:30-10:45. I'm going to learn how to use them too!
I stopped providing bottled water over a year ago at Urbanfitt. There's still water but it's tap. I just think it's plain silly to pay for water that is held in toxic plastic and add to land fills with unnecessary waste.
I felt yet another victory against bottled water when I surfed my regular fitness and wellness sites for new info.
New findings show that several types of bottled water sold in Canada contain high levels of bacteria, raising questions about the cleanliness and quality of bottling plants.
The health concerns add to the backlash against plastic-bottled water that has led several cities and school boards to impose bans.
Canadian researchers from C-crest Laboratories Inc., a pharmaceutical product-testing lab in Montreal, tested nearly a dozen brands of bottled water and discovered that 70 per cent had high levels of heterotrophic bacteria. The findings were presented Tuesday at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.
“This amount of bacteria is alarming, as if we are ingesting a cup of culture,” said Sonish Azam, a researcher involved in the study who works at C-crest."
"When we look at issues such as quality, monitoring and affordability, we see that bottled water doesn't always make the grade. For instance, some brands may be of excellent quality, but others can have inferior bacteriological quality. And all bottled waters are expensive. Another important fact: there are fewer government regulations to guide the bottle water industry. While bottled waters should meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, monitoring requirements aren't as stringent as are those for tap water."
Recently, people have been talking about the carcinogenic affects of chlorine in water.
"Current scientific data shows that the benefits of chlorinating our drinking water (less disease) are much greater than any health risks from THMs and other by-products. Although other disinfectants are available, chlorine remains the choice of water treatment experts. When used with modern water filtration methods, chlorine is effective against virtually all microorganisms. Chlorine is easy to apply and small amounts of the chemical remain in the water as it travels in the distribution system from the treatment plant to the consumer's tap,This level of effectiveness ensures that microorganisms cannot recontaminate the water after it leaves the treatment plant."
But if you go to a plethora of other sites and sources you'll find information much more like this (taken from Alive.com):
"The major health issue regarding the chlorination of municipal water is that it exposes us to a variety of toxic chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs), which are byproducts of chlorination. Studies have linked THMs to miscarriage and fetal malformations, and they may be also associated with an increased risk of stillbirths.
One of the most common of the THMs, chloroform, is classed as a potential cancer-causing agent. In public pools it has been measured at more than twenty times the level found in tap water. Little data exists regarding dermal and inhalation exposure routes to the chloroform body-burden from domestic and recreational use of chlorinated water."
Seems that it is generally agreed that the safest way to make drinking water safe is ozone sterilization:
"The first water treatment plant to use ozone for disinfection was installed in Ousbaden, Holland, in 1893. Today, after 110 years of usage, ozone sterilization is utilized in countries throughout the world including Germany, France, the US, Cuba, Japan, and Mexico."
Regardless, it is becoming clear we can't take our water safety for granted, bottled or tap. But at least the latter doesn't pack land fills and perhaps not even be as safe as we'd like to believe.
1) Not being afraid to have sex with the lights on. 2) Going bikini or bathing suit shopping and it doesn't ruin your day. 3) Feeling younger than your chronological years. 4) Looking in the mirror butt naked and not cringing or pinching soft spots.
June 3rd I will be speaking at an event at the Spoke Club.
Divas in the City: Toronto's Female Forum for Fabulousness
My topic you ask? Mastering your MOJO the sweaty way.
You can't mani/pedi your way, shop your way, vacation your way or positive affirmation your way to getting your MOJO back. You've got to do it the sweaty way. I will be speaking about my personal recipe for MOJO repair and retention.
MOJO doesn't discriminate based on age, sex, marital status, family status, occupation or education. We are all born with our own special magic or spark. And when we lose that spark, we lose so much.
Urbanfitt is in the business of MOJO repair and retention. Just the other day I told my new 62 year old client we were working on getting her MOJO back after she sadly reported of her lack of "relations" for many years. I assured her we were going to get her thing going on again and she happily giggled and even reported said conversation to her friends.
Seems there's a big trend taking hold. Office Parkour. After my Wednesday night Parkour class that left me SORE for two days, someone put me in touch with this video. It is seriously laugh out loud.
Also, wanted to put the word out that Urbanfitt has been graced with some more media attention regarding Tabata. A Global news crew dropped by Thursday night to interview me and to shoot part of the class that takes place on Thursdays at 6:30 pm.
Whenever I do media stuff, I'm sleepless the night before and often have an upset tummy. Maybe it's excitement or maybe it's partly a fear that I'm going to make a fool out of myself. Like many people, I know I'm not a know it all. So I always engage in these interviews with ample humility.
After Global interviewed me, one of my clients, Jamie, told me I had green stuff in my teeth. I thought she was just teasing me the way she always does. She wasn't. I looked in the mirror and did in fact have a hunk of bright green stuff in my teeth. I asked the camera man if he saw it. He assured me he hadn't and that it was a wide shot. Please oh please let there not be visible green stuff in my teeth during province wide 6pm news on Global this coming Thursday when the segment is supposed to air.
Amanda at foxyburd.blogspot.com was at class during the Global thing and will open her home to them for an interview as well. And a big thanks to my clients who agreed to go on TV. I assure you I did not know they would be doing the close ups on your bodacious bosoms and butts. I also didn't think they would stick around long enough to see you start sweating and grunting like you always do half way through class. You guys are like family for doing something like that for me and Urbanfitt. Sara-Clare and I ran the Tabata class together and were a great team.
Oh ya. I also found out that I might have been mispronouncing Tabata on TV as well. Humility is intact and gratitude flows to Suzanne yet again for working her magic and getting them into the studio.
I couldn't help myself. I had to put my two cents in about this article that many of my clients mentioned this week. It's kind of career suicide and totally damaging to the personal training industry to have an article like this come out. The last thing people need is to be AFRAID of pissing off their personal trainer. Many personal trainers including me charge something in line with what one would pay for psychotherapy. So to me, getting quoted in the Globe and Mail complaining about the very people who put food on your table is just plain STUPID. Keep it to yourself folks and sort out your client management issues. We are paid good money to deal with resistance and human behaviour. Personal trainers need to be able to manage issues that arise in relationships with clients. It's not a black and white profession. We are PERSONAL trainers, that is, we get closer to people than most people do.
So here goes.
Sandra Bueckert, founder of One on One Fitness in Calgary, was once working with a client when she got down on her knees to adjust his footing. Standing over her, the man looked into her eyes and said, “While you’re down there.” He then coughed suggestively.
Sexual come-ons, from the crude to the subtle, happen all the time. Often, clients seem to think they’re in a bedroom rather than a gym.
“Just because we’re getting sweaty together does not make it foreplay,” Ms. Bueckert says. Having to shoot down a client’s flirtations and get back to work can make for an incredibly awkward session.
And female trainers aren’t the only ones attracting horn dogs, says Ben Spooner, owner of Alive Personal Training, also in Calgary.
“It definitely goes both ways,” Mr. Spooner says. Male trainers often get propositioned or have a hand placed suggestively on their chests, he says. “It’s uncomfortable.”
Trainers may be in great shape, and working with you in close proximity, but that doesn’t mean they’re down for sexy times.
My response: This type of thing doesn't happen for me because I set the tone of the relationship. If it did I would nip it in the bud and set proper boundaries to clarify the nature of the relationship. If it happens repeatedly with the same client then either end the relationship or speak more clearly.
Clients who wolf down cake and fried chicken at home, then wonder why they aren’t losing weight have become common enough at Precision Athletics in Vancouver that the company now requires all clients to undergo nutrition counselling in their first month.
“Obviously, if you’re not losing weight, you’ve got to look at your nutrition,” says Craig Boyd, director of trainers. “But people just brush that off and say, ‘I eat healthy.’ But when you get a food log from them it’s ridiculous.” One client turned in a log that listed a scone as a healthy snack. “It’s a pastry!”
And more often than not, clients who drink four double mochas with whipped cream each day will blame the trainer, not themselves, for their failure to shed pounds.
“People go, ‘Oh, I eat healthy.’ First of all, they don’t eat healthy. And second of all, it takes you months of them working hard and not seeing results for the effort they put in [to identify the problem],” Mr. Boyd says.
My answer: Well duh. Who ever thought people can be totally honest with themselves yet alone other people. It's our jobs to read people accurately and deal with resistance. Digging deeper into someones resistance is part of being a great trainer. Stop complaining trainers and start learning how to move people through this stage of denial. If they aren't ready today, maybe they'll be ready tomorrow. They aren't there to make our lives easier or our jobs easier. They are paying big bucks to train so that we can help them move forward at a pace that works for them. If a client is disappointed with results and they are sabotaging themselves with eating habits, then learn how to listen actively, re frame, reflect back on their behavioural choices and be more creative. Resistance from clients is part of the job you signed up for.
Some clients think that because they’ve paid for an hour with a trainer they are going to get an hour, even if they show up 15 or 30 minutes late for an appointment – or, in many cases, cancel appointments at the last minute.
“She is hell on our schedule,” Ms. Bueckert says. “You’ve planned to see this person, and your time is your living.”
Often, trainers will have to deal with one client who has arrived late but expects a full hour while the next client waits for their appointment. “That next person’s in the corner tapping their toes and giving you the evil eye,” Ms. Bueckert says.
Conor Kelly, owner of Evolution Fitness in Toronto, says Late Lucy is probably the most annoying client type for trainers.
“For a professional who makes their money by the hour, it’s kind of like the ultimate disrespect,” he says.
My answer: If this continually happens, the appropriate boundaries and expectations of the client trainer relationship have not been set. Resolving this issue is up to the trainer. I make it clear from the get go and in a client contract what's going to happen when someone is late. This type of thing would only happen once at my studio because it would be addressed appropriately immediately.
BAD TECHNIQUE GUY
“It just really surprises me how people will pay so much money and hire a professional, just to ignore all the advice,” Mr. Kelly says.
Often, clients will sleepwalk their way through a routine, and then months later still not know how to do a particular exercise properly even though they’ve been taught the proper technique over and over again.
“That’s definitely something that we as trainers find very irritating,” Mr. Kelly says.
Some clients just never learn, says Debbie Scott, founder of Phoenix Personal Fitness in Calgary.
“You have some of those clients that it just doesn’t matter how many times you say to them, ‘Slow down, do this, do that,’ ” she says. “Their technique is just brutal and you just kind of pull your hair out. You know those assisted pull-up machines? Sometimes it’s like a ride at the fair.”
My answer: I just taught a client a proper Romanian dead lift in two reps today. Her former trainer tried multiple times without success. If someone isn't getting the exercise then one of the following things has happened: the trainer has chosen an inappropriate exercise for the client's skill level. The trainer isn't trying a variety of ways to explain it or the trainer needs to learn to be more patient with the client and keep at it without getting frustrated. Plus I'm working with older clients with NO training experience introducing activity later in life and who might also have mobility issues or be coming out of a serious illness. I choose activities that build on their confidence, not make them feel inadequate or uncoordinated. I thought our job was to work with people wherever they're at and not expect a client to be worried about our experience in a session.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
As with bartenders and hairdressers, people spill the details of their personal lives to trainers all the time. But that doesn’t mean trainers want to hear it.
“You’re trainer is not your therapist,” Ms. Bueckert says.
What has she had clients talk about during a training session?
“Their husband’s cheating. What he’s doing with the secretary. Why they want to leave their husband. When they plan to leave their husband. In fact, some of them have a timeline. What their children are doing. What drugs their children are doing. What schools their children have dropped out of.”
“Oh my,” she says. “I feel like I’m a bartender.”
Trainers want to help you get in shape. They don’t want to help you deal with your divorce or other details from your personal life.
My answer: Most people don't have environments in their lives where they can let it all hang out. Someone trying to get healthier is an interconnected being. Mind body and soul move forward together in getting healthier. If someone needs to bitch about someone or something freakin deal. It's not about us the trainer but about the client for the hour. You don't have to solve their problems and don't even try. You're not qualified. Just listen nonjudgementally and refocus people on the task at hand. This morning I sat on the floor with a client who started to cry during a side plank. It was a gift that she would share those details about her life and allow herself to be vulnerable around me. What do you expect from clients? For them to keep sucking it up like they have to in the rest of their lives. If they're running into major troubles, then have a roster of psychotherapists you can refer them to. I can easily make people work and listen to them at the same time. I am honored to be there considered part of someone's support network
So for the trainers quoted in this article, all I can say is bad career move and in a recession, you are not serving the rest of us who are working hard to evolve personal training from something more than counting squats and pull ups into a holistically integrated health service.
Last night, despite being totally exhausted and having to start work at 7am today and finish tonight at 8:30 while I should have been getting some beauty sleep for a big media interview tonight, I joined some awesome tough and fun peeps for my first parkour class at Monkey Vault, 213 Geary between Dovercourt and Dufferin.
What is Parkour? I didn't know exactly until last night. This is taken from Wikipedia:
"In September 2009, American Parkour began a community effort to define parkour. They invited the entire community to post their personal definition of parkour. It was edited into the final version by a committee of American Parkour employees and people outside of American Parkour to ensure that it was truly a community effort. Their result:
Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.
* Parkour requires... consistent, disciplined training with an emphasis on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, control, precision, spatial awareness, and looking beyond the traditional use of objects. * Parkour movements typically include... running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, balancing, and quadrupedal movement. Movements from other physical disciplines are often incorporated, but acrobatics or tricking alone do not constitute parkour. * Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts. * Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.
—American Parkour Community Definition"
First of all just let me say, I'm a big believer in finding one's MOJO however possible. If you read the description of what Monkey Vault does, it's right up the MOJO mastering alley.
"This centre is a place for movement. Parkour, Art Du Deplacement, Freerunning, Street Acrobatics, whatever you want to call what you do, the base of each remains the same. Each requires discipline, each requires proper training. That's why this place exists. That's why the people inside it train so passionately. This place was created to inspire others to reach newer and higher levels, push people past their previous boundaries, and allow them to prove to themselves what they are made of. We all have monkeys inside us, but as we grow older this feeling, this passion for movement dies away. It shouldn`t. Come play with us, let us help you revive it."
I was freaked out as Amanda at foxyburd.blogspot.com can attest to. I'm like "I don't want to break a limb. I have to be all good for tomorrow."
Last night I went to bed bruised, elated and a little tipsy after a glass of vino with the parkour mamas. We jumped, we flipped, we crawled down stairs face first and we did things we never thought we could. We LOVED it.
Here are some samples of what we did. Check it out!
We ran right into hard objects and jumped over them. This is me.
We threw our bodies through metal ladders feet first. Here's Amanda and Ali mastering this.
We scaled walls. Here's Randy, Amanda and Ali.
We finished with an obstacle course and climbed railings and jumped into a pile of foam. Here's me and Mandy doing it.
Here's a great picture of Randy mid air.
Then we ended the night with chuckles and snacks and all agree it was hard to sleep last night after all that good clean fun. Thanks Dan. You really showed us all a good time.
Sara-Clare's kettlebell class Tuesday evenings is getting nice and full! Yay! Today she went out of her way yet again to get some more kettlebells into Urbanfitt. I love learning new things and thanks to her, I'm learning some great kettlebell technique and have incorporated some kettlebell training into my personal training sessions and group sessions.
What is a Kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a Russian type of hand weight that is shaped like a big cannonball with a handle. Often made out of pure cast iron, they are available in a wide range of weights and sizes. The lightest one weighs in at only 10 pounds, and they can increase in weight all the way up to 100 pound weights.
Kettlebells aren't a passing fad:
Kettlebells originated in Russia, and the first recorded mention of them was in 1704 within a Russian dictionary. The Russian word for Kettlebells is "girya," and the men who lifted these weights were called "gireviks." Kettlebells gained recognition as a superb weight loss tool when they were featured in the fitness magazine Hercules in 1913. In the recent history of the Kettlebell, they have become increasingly popular within the United States thanks to a man named Pavel Tsatsouline. Tsatsouline is a fitness author who used to be a trainer for not only the United States armed forces but the Soviet Union forces as well. Once the United States noticed that they could not endure as long as their Russian counterparts within competitions, they began incorporating the kettlebell into their training routines. In 1985 a committee for the sport of Kettlebell lifting was created, and the first National Championship for Kettlebells was help in Russia in 1985 with its own set of rules and standards. Today, the Kettlebell is being introduced into the fitness routines of the everyday person, as their benefits have proven them to be one of the most useful tools for overall conditioning.
Why use kettlebells?
As the long history of the Kettlebell proves, it has many benefits to offer those who use it on a regular basis. Kettlebells' are great for:
Efficient full body strengthening. Maximizing shoulder flexibility health and mobility. Caloric burning during and after a workout. Improving body awareness due to the precision required for proper technique. Teaching you how to move weight from your core/pelvis instead of muscling through movements. Strengthening back muscles.
I could go on. As I experiment with my body, I will have more to share. With any fitness tool, it would be easy to get on the band wagon of "this is the only thing you need" type of dogmatic thinking. At Urbanfitt, we offer a variety of training techniques and incorporate a variety of training tools to create fitness alchemy.
Come try Sara-Clare's kettlebell class on Tuesdays. We won't be training in our undies like the dude in the pic. Promise. First sweat is on us! Register now. Sara-Clare also offers private training sessions. Call 416.964.3309 for more info.
Riders Board and Cycle just opened up in my hood. THANK GOD! An interesting business that doesn't sell fluffy white pastries or change your oil. Might I have made a good investment after all?
A couple weeks ago I got my old Supercycle tuned up at Riders Cycle and Board. This week my new student roomie bought a used bike from Riders with a full guarantee through the summer. What bike stores do that?
Yesterday I was taking my monkey for a little bike practice (can't call it a ride yet) and we passed by the shop for a little seat height adjustment. Valentine gave us some tips for teaching kids to ride. I said, "you should really offer learn to ride lessons for kids!". Valentine said, "I do. $50 an hour. Kids or adults." And he went further to explain his teaching technique which included much later in the process, him tagging along behind the bike with his in line skates on.
I think teaching our kids to ride is clearly one of those bonding moments no one should miss. It's like teaching your kids how to poop on a toilet or swim. It's just what you do as a parent. Every moment I can spend with my daughter I savour. But sometimes you've got to call in the pros. Many people are having kids later in life now too. Staying stooped over a tiny toddler bike does no favors for old fogies' backs. Just last week, one of my clients was teaching his child to ride and they had a crash. My client ended up with a broken wrist and rib. His son just a split lip.
Sometimes our kids learn better from other people especially if we tend to lose our patience or push too hard. It takes a village. My grandfather taught me. But many kids don't have many extended family around them helping out like they did before. Let's face it. Families come in all shapes and sizes nowadays and the two parent, two kids, two car garage thing just isn't standard issue anymore.
So I thought I'd put in a little recommendation for Valentine and his likes. He's got a super friendly chilled out demeanor and it's easy to tell he's a community oriented type of being. It seems that this is a growing trend, the paying to learn to ride a bike thing. And if you're an adult who doesn't know how, what better way to stop missing out on one of the most joyous activities on the planet.
You can visit Riders Cycle and Board at 80 Geary Ave at Dovercourt or call 647.349.5649 or email email@example.com or riderstoronto.blogspot.com
I just started reading Pema Chodron's book, "When Things Fall Apart" that was graciously passed down by a friend last night. So much of what I'm reading sounds familiar. I've been here or there before. I even have a tattoo of rebirth on my belly. I've gone through several major transformational periods in my life. After making it through each death and rebirth phase of my ideas of who I thought or I was what I thought I knew, I always end up finding someone I like better.
I often meet people when they are entering, in the middle of or coming out of a major transformational phase in their lives. It could be a chronic illness, a soon to be empty nest, menopause, a career change, divorce, a birth of a child, depression or anxiety that has lead to the body falling apart. But all of these major life events have something in common. We have the choice to adapt or we run the risk of shifting into autopilot, losing our mojo and our passions and living a life that doesn't allow us to experience the depth of being human. And when we disconnect from ourselves we disconnect from others.
I learn so much from being around people who are in the middle of the muck of a cycle. It's a gift to be around people who allow themselves to be vulnerable with me there. It's so much easier to have compassion for other people than it is to have compassion for our own flaws isn't it. At least it is for me.
Here's a little clip of Pema Chodron talking about acceptance of ourselves.
So many people come into the studio for the first time feeling vulnerable or shamed by weight gain or by not having taken care of themselves. I'm always amazed by the universal ability for people to be extremely hard on themselves. If you're not one of those people, I'm sure you've either done an immense amount of work or you haven't been truly humbled yet.
Getting back into exercise after a long hiatus takes a lot of courage. We know it's not an easy path to lose weight, get strong and make regular exercise a habit. It can be a little scary going back into a gym after being away for a long time.
Here's a little excerpt from "When Things Fall Apart". I am continually amazed at the courage it takes for people to step into Urbanfitt for the first time and am so grateful they chose to get back at it or to even start for the first time in my studio.
"So the next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. When I was first married my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was a complete coward but went ahead of did things anyhow."
Several of my clients bring their pooches in for workouts at Urbanfitt. It adds colour. I like it! Today, Honey came for a visit with her new owner. Seems she thinks she owns her new mama as displayed in the photos below. They are priceless. These pics were taken during the core class today.
First up we have the scapular retraction exercise called the "T".
Next we have the 'dead bug' to fire up the transversus abdominus.
We finished with several stretches. Here's a pic of the dog assisted pidgeon. One of my favourites. Honey's weight really assisted her mama in going deeper into the glute and hip release ;)
Another visitor this week was a Chow named Alphie. He's a big ball of love and fur.
But seriously, there are many health benefits with having a pet.
1) Pets Can Improve Your Mood: Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets. A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. It's hard to be grumpy when you have a pet happy to see you when you get home every day.
2) Pets Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs: Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. Groups of hypertensive (AKA type A) New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets.
3) Pets Encourage You To Get Out And Exercise: The guilt of not walking a dog is more likely to get us off the couch than a workout video. Maybe the thought of taking care of someone else is a stronger motivator than taking care of ourselves.
4) Pets Can Help With Social Support: I totally agree with this one. I chat with more people when I'm out with Maggie and more people approach me on the street or even just smile. Isolation is a very strong predictor of health and recovery from illness.
5) Pets Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love: This one is a no brainer. I think a dog is a must when you live alone.
6) Pets Can Reduce Stress—Sometimes More Than People: While we all know the power of talking about your problems with a good bud who’s also a good listener, research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better! People were less stressed when their pets were with them than when a tight friend or even a partner was present! Maybe the unconditional not giving advice thing about pets is the key to this one.
I confess. My daughter ate chicken nuggets today. I know. I know. It's a treat thing. She knows that people who eat too much MacDonalds aren't healthy and become overweight. But hey. What can I say. So when my Tabata class folks walked in today, she proudly announced "I'm eating chicken nuggets" knowing that I had already asked her to keep them on the downlow. That monkey knows her mama!
After that little comic relief at Urbanfitt, Erin mentioned a Ricky Gervais thing on youtube where Jamie Oliver pigs out on chicken nuggets on camera. Here it is. Kind of funny!
Then one of the class peeps starting joking about how she has workout turrets. Sorry if this offends anyone actually with tourrettes. We were so not being PC. I ask for forgiveness for us all. I won't use her real name but let's call her Cindy. Cindy makes sex like noises during class when she's working hard and also does random whoos! when she's engaged in high intensity stuff.
Some of us can relate yes? I tend to grunt when I'm working hard and swear out loud. I even say stuff like "come on Jane!" and talk to myself. Makes me feel better. Others make little whimpering noises like a lame kitten. Other people make a full out whining noise like a teenager getting in shit and yet still I have one client who sighs like a southern bell in the summer when she's working hard. I'm always amazed by the people who stay totally quiet. What's different about me from the silent folks out there? To me it's like keeping a sneeze in instead of letting the pressure out. But the reality is that when I grunt I can push myself harder. I look at it like the crazy karate dudes who use sound to get more power. I strongly encourage vocalization in classes etc. even if I get a little too much info like from Cindy. Now I know what she sounds like in the sack. Hot stuff.
In case anyone reading this didn't know, I was born with the unfortunate last name of Clapp. Apparently not only being slang for gonorrhea, it also means mouth in German. My client who speaks five languages explained today.
He and I were laughing pretty hard after he came up with the "I'm going to kick the Clapp of out you" line. In his native language, he told me he could rhyme the ass off of Eminem. I told him to bring it. But as he started to relax during his fascial stretch, his brain shut down. I'm sure it was the stretch ;)
Truth is I don't actually kick the Clapp out of people. I don't believe in the No Pain No Jane thing either. It's really just tongue in cheek. What I try to teach people is the balance between ease of movement and effort.
Anyone who is just concerned with making you sweat without attention to form and technique is not serving your health. The boot camp suck it up and shut up thing isn't an Urbanfitt thing.
The major difference between a hard workout and a smart workout has little to do with the exercises performed. Fitness is more about the "how" than the "what." It is rarely about the moves or the piece of equipment used; it's the level and quality of effort put into the workout that matters most.
Many people do need to learn what physical effort feels like. I had a new client in her 60s today who hadn't really fatigued her muscles in years. That was a bit of an awakening for her today.
But most people need to learn how to work smart, move forward with a strategy for balanced fitness and give up on getting fit in 3 weeks. Chill people. It can't be done.
It's always fun to see people work hard. But workouts and classes have to be more than just hard. They have to make sense. Do you know why you're doing the exercises you're doing? Why are you participating in a brand new fitness trend? How does it fit in with your goals? How is what you're doing helping you with chronic pain or injuries?
Here are some red flags about boot camp classes or personal trainers to watch out for:
The instructor/trainer can't or doesn't answer your questions. The instructor says "no pain, no gain," or "exercise can fix all your health problems," or any of these other common fitness myths. The instructor encourages you to work through pain or injury. The instructor diagnoses and recommends a treatment for your pain and injury rather than recommending a visit to a physician. You know you're not doing something properly but the instructor repeatedly doesn't notice or doesn't correct your form.
So it's about a hell of a lot more than getting the Clapp kicked out of you. That's just the icing on the cake.
I always try to pretend that my birthday isn't an important day. I've had partners who are repelled by anything that seem in the least Hallmark holiday like. But the truth is that birthdays are a day for us to be engulfed in goodness and good wishes. Today was a special day. I loved getting little notes from Facebook friends wishing me a good day. May seem cheesy but not to me. It made me feel good to open little notes all day.
So a big thanks to the universe and the people that took a moment to be kind today. I also scored today with perfume, a new bag/purse, two David Sedaris books, Lululemon, flowers, Paris guide book. Paris walks with kids reference thingy, dinner out with my favourite person on the planet and I also bought myself a gift of someone weeding my garden for me and the new Kodak Zi8 camera. Sweet!
I'm not going to write about fitness, health or something smart. Instead, I chose to compile some of my favourite birthday quotes and sayings to end my day with some good cheer, wisdom and start my 37th year on the right foot.
You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime. - John P. Grier
No wise man ever wished to be younger. - Jonathan Swift
One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them. - Virginia Woolf
Age is a high price to pay for maturity. - Tom Stoppard
It takes a long time to grow young. - Pablo Picasso
It is better to wear out than to rust out. - Bishop Richard Cumberland
Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow. - Margaret Fuller
This week I've been spending a bit of time talking about my philosophy around eating with Urbanfitt clients. As we add classes and expand the Urban Warrior group training program, it seems time to ensure I'm moving forward in a way that is consistent with the philosophies that have been evolving over the last four years.
I've played around with different fitness guru philosophies over the many years I've been at this. I've made some mistakes along the way in terms of what I endorse. I'm not perfect. My own body serves as the best experiment as do how my clients react to advice. But ultimately what I've come to realize is that eating issues and difficulties in losing weight have more to do with breaking negative behavioral patterns and healing our relationship with ourselves and in particular our relationships with food and our bodies.
There is no perfect diet that can do this for us. We need guidance and coaching in changing behaviors, yes. But there's no secret solution to our eating challenges that will be found in the pages of a book. MIchael Pollan helps us all realize how painfully simple it should be.
We all have areas of our lives where we get trapped in patterns that ultimately lead us away from feeling better about ourselves whether we are consciously aware of them or not. Constantly living life in a way that brings our unconscious to the surface and allows us to be more mindful is ultimately what is required for a permanent change in behaviours. The best 'diet' books out there are the ones that focus on big picture health and an emotional evolution.
So after one of my food chats, one of my long term class participants told me about something interesting she had discovered called MoodGYM. She thought it would be right up my alley. She recently changed jobs and shifted careers and was experiencing more anxiety so she started exploring ways to help her manage better. Some of you out there might have heard of the book, "Mind Over Mood", a cognitive behavioral workbook.
Now there's an online resource where you can go and do a mood workout: MoodGYM
If you're someone who has emotional eating issues, maybe a little workout at MoodGYM is a better alternative to the afternoon Starbucks cookie or the late night binge. It's great to see that tools used in psychotherapy are becoming more commonly accepted as useful for everyone. Maybe I'll start using MoodGYM for little on the spot attitudinal tune ups.
I can't tell you how many times people have asked me to write 'home' programs, 'away' programs, 'cottage' programs or even 'travel' programs for them to do alone. I used to put a huge amount of effort into putting together the perfect independent training programs for everyone regardless of the likelihood of them getting completed. Once I even went on a TV show demonstrating how to exercise on a sail boat! As if anyone has ever exercised on a sail boat! (correct me if I'm wrong ;)
It's taken me years to fine tune my intuition in terms of what an individual is likely to do alone. The truth is that most people find it very difficult to exercise at home, on vacation, or in a hotel room alone.
I've also spent some time training people in their homes. The workout is always different. Perhaps it's the phone ringing, the child asking for a snack or a dog needing to go out but workouts are more interrupted and generally less focused. I don't dig training people in their homes.
Most people need to get themselves into an environment conducive to focusing on their bodies. So today one of my clients came up with a great term when describing his decision to get a membership at Urbanfitt to encourage his independent workout plan.
I love it! I googled it and didn't see it being widely used anywhere. Different locations motivate people in different ways. Some people might find the general tranquility at Urbanfitt for independent workouts demotivating. Some people hate being stared at by meat heads and couldn't imagine going to a big gym. Different strokes for different folks. But reality is if you don't like the environment you plan on working out in, you're less likely to go. We like repeating things that make us feel good and we like feeling like we belong somewhere. For some people their gym is their community. For other people, they don't want to be bothered or see anyone they know.
Nowadays, there are so many different fitness environments to choose from: big chain gyms, boutique personal training studios, yoga or pilates studios, spin gyms, circus schools etc. You name it. There's the right type of environment for everyone and certainly no lack of selection.
So to tap into your location motivation here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) Do I feel good about myself when I leave? 2) Am I annoyed by the type of clientele around me? 3) Do I like the music? 4) Do I feel like I've found "my people"? 5) Does this environment align with who I am as a person and my values? 6) Would I feel confident recommended this space to a friend?
Sometimes going to the wrong environment to save cash will be like throwing your money down the drain. It's better to spend money on something you're going to use even if you have to find other areas to cut spending.
Victoria is high energy and not very good at sitting still for long periods of time. Her days involve balancing caring for her son, running a small business (Victoria's Kitchen), auditioning for TV and film, going to yoga, and working for casting agents.
So when she found out she had a tear in her medial meniscus and that she would need knee surgery and possible be out of commission for weeks, she was pretty unhappy about the whole thing.
Victoria's active past involves gymnastics, dance, circus and other challenging physical activities so I shouldn't have been surprised by what I found out when I visited her 48 hours post surgery last night.
When I came into the house she was sitting on her couch, leg elevated. As a few minutes passed she told what she had done that day. First, she walked two blocks with only one crutch to Starbucks and was really taken aback by all the people just sitting around drinking bevies. Like who has time to sit and do nothing? Not Victoria.
Then she showed me her list of physio exercises that she was supposed to start two weeks post surgery. She had attempted several of them already. And apparently she had made her made up and down her stairs a dozen times that day. To top it all off, she also had been trying downward dog several times and even demonstrated a pretty fine form downward dog before my eyes.
I'm writing this story about Victoria because I'm totally blown away by her determination to get moving again. It's easy for anyone to get down after surgery. Our mortality and vulnerability is hard to ignore after putting our trust in a surgeon's hands. But the outcome after a surgery like Victoria's is going to be largely determined by attitude. How insistent someone is to get moving again will have a major impact on speed of recovery.
I wouldn't expect anything less from Victoria. She puts us all to shame with her determination and refusal to let life get the best of her.
Sarah K. is an animal in Urban Warrior and a compact little ball of toughness who needs hard workouts like a race horse needs a track. Urbanfitt welcomes all fitness levels, ages, sizes and particular physical challenges. Would hate to scare anyone away from joining after hearing about Sarah K. ;)
Shortly after a particularly challenging Urban Warrior session, Urbanfitt coach Sara-Clare sent an email. “Just wanted to let you know how hard the group worked tonight. It was a very technical and coordination based workout, that focused on flexibility and strength in all movements. They pushed themselves to excel to their best. After the tech was taught, we didn’t have time to finish everything…..except Sarah! I offered to lead the stretch and if some had time or wanted to finish the workout they were more than welcome. She stayed and finished the following
10-1 reps of Turkish Get Ups (on each side) 1 hall length of walking fire hydrants and midget walks Total 100 TGUs all together!!!!! Just had to tell ya how proud they all made me.”
Sarah K. says she stuck around to finish because she’s OCD. I don’t believe it. I think she dips deep into her well of determination and uses exercise as a way to reinforce her belief in her inner strength. This is exactly what exercise can do for us all.
Next round of Urban Warrior starts Wed May 12th. Classes run: Mon, Tues, Wed 6:30-7:45 Sat 9:30 - 10:45, 11 - 12:45 Sun 9:30-10:45
For more information on pricing and how to register visit our schedule.
I come by my knowledge of the impact of computer use on the body honestly. I worked in the corporate world and I co-authored "Working on the Ball: A Simple Guide to Office Fitness". During my corporate years, I often suffered from brutal neck pain caused by sitting at a desk for prolonged periods, talking on the phone and using a computer mouse. One of the most common complaints of pain while I'm training someone is wrist or shoulder pain likely caused by desk sitting and mousing all day. Chances are your mousing shoulder is going to sit lower than your other shoulder, be more internally rotated and at higher risk for injury.
Here's some generally agreed to facts about mouse use:
• Improper mouse use is a significant source of injury for computer users • Gripping the mouse too intensely can lead to thumb and finger tendonitis • The mouse can cause shoulder and bicep tendonitis as well as muscle fatigue • Prolonged mouse use can lead to thoracic outlet syndrome. • Anyone who works extensively with computers should consider their machines as potential occupational hazards.
So what to do?
Don't use your laptop mouse and get an attachable mouse used in a proper position. A laptop mouse will definitely mess you up. Get advice from an ergonomist if you have one at your disposal at your workplace. Take breaks from your computer regularly. Buy my book and refer to the desk set up section.
Chances are that if you have regular pain in your mouse side wrist, shoulder, neck or behind the scapula, the work you do at a desk is either causing it or making it worse and it won't get better on its own. A combination of strength training focused on structural balance, stretching and body work like active release therapy or accupuncture plus fixing your desk set up is necessary to resolve your pain.
Obviously, any one hiring a personal trainer has decided a big resounding YES to this question. I was walking down the street from my studio about a month ago and I ran into someone I knew from the neighborhood. I hadn't seen her in a long time. She asked me how Urbanfitt was doing since the recession. I said good. That things held steady and that I have more clients who train out of necessity. I'm dealing with many more specialized medical conditions, injuries and with people who don't want to go to big gyms.
She said, "Well aren't you lucky they think it's necessary". What she said to me really stuck with me. Isn't our health a necessity? Isn't being able to walk up and down stairs without pain a necessity or sleeping without back pain a necessity? What about being able to get up and down off the ground in order to play with our kids?
I've read stuff here and there about how people think the personal training industry is dying. I beg to differ. As people get older and as life only continues to get more stressful, people need personalized help in order to tackle health issues including obesity and challenges specific to the aging body.
So when one of my clients told me about the Globe and Mail article that summarized a recent study regarding the efficacy of personal training in terms of improved results over training alone, I had to take a look.
So will you get better results if you work with a trainer?
In my opinion, the answer to this really depends on who you train with. And if you look at fitness holistically, results can be defined in many different ways. The study outlined in the Globe and Mail really just focuses on strength and muscle growth.
"In a famous study at Ball State University in Indiana, researchers put two groups of 10 men through identical 12-week strength-training programs. The groups were evenly matched when they started, and they did the same combination of exercises, the same number of times, with the same amount of rest.
At the end of the experiment, one group had gained 32 per cent more upper-body strength and 47 per cent more lower-body strength than the other. No performance-enhancing pills were involved – the only difference was that the more successful group had a personal trainer watching over their workouts."
Here are some interesting highlights from the article:
By the halfway point of the Ball State study, the supervised group was choosing to lift heavier weights. Since both groups started with the same motivation level, it was likely the trainer’s presence leading that group to set more ambitious targets.
Novice weightlifters choose weights that are too low to stimulate significant gains in strength and muscle size.
Women who train alone choose particularly too little weight as compared to men to stimulate muscle growth.
Women who do not have a personal trainer underestimated their own abilities.
Motivation and the willingness to tackle ambitious goals seem to be one of the main differentiating factors when working with a trainer.
For less experienced exercisers, the educational role of the personal trainer takes on greater importance.
But the BIG caveat here is, a weekend course to get certified as a personal trainer does not make a good trainer. Results depend in large part on the trainer's skills, knowledge and experience. Make sure you find a good one.
Anyone looking to change their body composition and lose body fat can't do it very easily without tackling sleep issues. No ifs ands or butts about it. Sleeping a minimum of 7 hours a night is #2 on my Golden Rules of Fat Loss.
You're not a hero because you can survive on less sleep. I know I keep repeating myself about the importance of sleep but it seems if we're going to cut corners in our wellness it's going to be around ZZZs. Here's a funny vid showing an activity that we could definitely get less of in order to get more sleep. It's cute too!
Scientists have been telling us for years that sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain. A study published in 2005 which looked at 8,000 adults over several years as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey determined that if you sleep less than 7 hours a night, you're at a significantly higher risk for weight gain. The less you sleep, the higher the risk.
And there's been more recent studies that say the same.
Another study published this year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition took a small group of men and measured their food intake across two 48-hour periods. One group slept eight hours and the other group slept only four. The men who slept four hours ate an extra 500 extra calories about 22 percent more. Eating an extra 500 calories a day means you gain one pound a week or 52 pounds in one year.
A University of Chicago study last year had similar findings in both men and women. The sleep deprived group ate significantly more snacks and carbohydrates after five and a half hours of sleep.
Several studies have put the blame on hormones, arguing that decreased sleep creates a spike in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, and a reduction in leptin, which signals satiety. The jury is out but how much more information do we need. The obesity trend started to hit just as we started to sleep less, eat more processed foods and turned to low fat eating as a means to battle the bulge. And now we've got the iPad to potentially rob us of even more sleep.
Over and out and off to watch mindless television before shutting things down for the night.