I work with the young and the old. But sometimes the 'young' folks are the whiniest of them all. This last month Leslie who just turned 50 was kicking the asses of 25 year olds in Urban Warrior. I won't mention any names. There's a fire and determination in some people to get strong and fight what may seem like the inevitable slide into physical decline and apathy.
I have a 68 year old breast cancer survivor client who kicks ass on pull ups and just doesn't get sore from workouts that easily anymore. She trains a couple times a week, goes to 2 pilates classes a week, walks everywhere and regularly sees an osteopath.
I also have 68 year old clients who have neglected their bodies for years and are basically trying to be able to walk up and down stairs without pain. Good on them for coming in to train. But wouldn't it be great if our efforts didn't come too late so that when our wisdom is ripest we could actually go do whatever our little hearts desire without being limited by what our bodies can do? I know not everyone is lucky and sometimes fate takes over. Sometimes shit happens despite our best efforts to be healthy. But anyone can fight to feel better.
Jaimie sent this link to me today and funnily enough I was talking to someone tonight who mentioned this story as well. Seems Olga Kotelko's story is going viral, at least in my little world.
Here's an excerpt taken from the New York Times article:
On the third floor of the Montreal Chest Institute, at McGill University, Olga Kotelko stood before a treadmill in the center of a stuffy room that was filling up with people who had come just for her. They were there to run physical tests, or to extract blood from her earlobe, or just to observe and take notes. Kotelko removed her glasses. She wore white New Balance sneakers and black running tights, and over her silver hair, a plastic crown that held in place a breathing tube.
Tanja Taivassalo, a 40-year-old muscle physiologist, adjusted the fit of Kotelko’s stretch-vest. It was wired with electrodes to measure changes in cardiac output — a gauge of the power of her heart. Taivassalo first met Kotelko at last year’s world outdoor masters track championships in Lahti, Finland, the pinnacle of the competitive season for older tracksters. Taivassalo went to watch her dad compete in the marathon. But she could hardly fail to notice the 91-year-old Canadian, bespandexed and elfin, who was knocking off world record after world record.
What if there's a chance that anyone at any age could make fitness gains regardless of injuries, medical conditions or past experience with fitness. I say screw resignation.
Here's another little story. I worked with Vera for a couple months, a 67 year old woman with little exercise experience or at least not the type of exercise that actually made her sweat. Within just a couple months of training, she was going up the dreaded 5 sets of stairs faster and feeling like a fire was lit under her butt. She learned to hustle on her daily walks instead of saunter and is building up the muscles in her lower body to alleviate some of the pain she experiences from osteoarthritis.
Here's some more very interesting stuff from the article about this:
EXERCISE HAS BEEN shown to add between six and seven years to a life span (and improve the quality of life in countless ways). Any doctor who didn’t recommend exercise would be immediately suspect. But for most seniors, that prescription is likely to be something like a daily walk or Aquafit. It’s not quarter-mile timed intervals or lung-busting fartleks. There’s more than a little suffering in the difference.
Here, though, is the radical proposition that’s starting to gain currency among researchers studying masters athletes: what if intense training does something that allows the body to regenerate itself? Two recent studies involving middle-aged runners suggest that the serious mileage they were putting in, over years and years, had protected them at the chromosomal level. It appears that exercise may stimulate the production of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains and repairs the little caps on the ends of chromosomes that keep genetic information intact when cells divide. That may explain why older athletes aren’t just more cardiovascularly fit than their sedentary counterparts — they are more free of age-related illness in general.
Exactly how exercise affects older people is complicated. On one level, exercise is a flat-out insult to the body. Downhill running tears quadriceps muscles as reliably as an injection of snake venom. All kinds of free radicals and other toxins are let loose. But the damage also triggers the production of antioxidants that boost the health of the body generally. So when you see a track athlete who looks as if that last 1,500-meter race damn near killed him, you’re right. It might have made him stronger in the deal.
Exercise training helps stop muscle strength and endurance from slipping away. But it seems to also do something else, maintains Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (who also happens to be a top-ranked trail runner). Resistance exercise in particular seems to activate a muscle stem cell called a satellite cell. With the infusion of these squeaky-clean cells into the system, the mitochondria seem to rejuvenate. (The phenomenon has been called “gene shifting.”) If Tarnopolsky is right, exercise in older adults can roll back the odometer. After six months of twice weekly strength exercise training, he has shown, the biochemical, physiological and genetic signature of older muscle is “turned back” nearly 15 or 20 years.
Isabel passed along this link. Holy crap. Now I"m dating myself but I used to think guys who could do this, dressed like this were hot. But then again I was about 16. What did I know?
I used to rock outfits like this. Body suit up the bum, I'd add a little matching belt and leg warmers, maybe even a head band. Thanks Isabel. This makes me feel freakin' old reminiscing on how I started getting passionate about fitness. How far we've come. I wonder what we're going to look back on twenty years from now and laugh about. Like haha we used to do that didn't we look silly and look at what we were wearing. It's going to happen. Or at the very least the kids twenty years from now are going to laugh at us.
But truth be told, I found hard core aerobics just at the right time. It served a very important purpose. It took the edge off of what were anxious teenage years. High impact aerobics gave me the endorphins I needed to have even a temporary high, helped me escape from what was am angst ridden home life and probably saved me from getting into more trouble than I did.
It was Fitco in Victoria with the owner Marty and his mustache similar to Peter Dale's cranking the tunes, smiling and giving the young girls a little pat on the bum that got me hooked. My hat goes off to you Marty for being a part of what has now been well over a decade of working in the fitness industry and at least 20 years of consistently exercising.
I might have looked silly, but I sure as hell felt good. So for any of you reading this, don't be afraid to risk looking silly in your pursuit of fitness. Whatever lights you up inside will serve a very important purpose in your evolution.
I'm so lucky to get the kind of press that I do! The wonderful people at a fun and swanky new online magazine used me for their Winter issue. If you follow the link below and go to the Fit Kit section (page 154), you'll see a spread and links to video with me demonstrating my Anywhere Bodyweight Workout and the Crunch Free Core Workout.
Enjoy! And thanks to Erinn Steringa from THE KIT for thinking of me for their publication.
Jian Ghomeshi is hmmmm...what words could summarize his iconic presence in Canadian culture? Who else could've handled Billy Bob with so much grace? He's just so...special.
I heard he had his fitness/health regime critiqued in the Globe and Mail so of course I had to take a look.
“I work a 12-hour-day and average five hours of sleep. I’m up at 6:30 in the morning, I do my show, then I’m at the network all day, spending much of the day preparing for next day’s show. I don’t eat red meat; I haven’t eaten mammals in years, so I eat mostly vegetables, and fish."
“I was a caffeine addict. I’d do my show and drink a giant, powerful coffee, have another coffee in the afternoon, then do a triple espresso to have energy to go out at night. I was waking up drinking Red Bull, sometimes, to be up for the show.
"I was finding dramatic ups and downs in my energy throughout the day: I’d want to crash in the mid-afternoon; I’d get to a point in the evening I was bleary-eyed; I couldn’t speak, but then my energy would come back. My energy was disconcertingly inconsistent. And in broadcasting it gets pretty sedentary.
"I was feeling stress, headaches, pains, discomfort, and I was getting really tired. Friends said to exercise. I really needed an outlet for my energy. It’s kind of like the stress of the job, anxiety and fatigue comes out when I’m working out. It’s a healthy outlet for me, mentally and physically.”
“I have a terrible habit I’ve socialized myself into from years of touring in a band [Moxy Fruvous], and that is eating at 2 in the morning. And it’s not often the healthiest things.”
Seems he's a caffeine addict. Pretty hard core in fact. I'm sure his days living a rock n' roll lifestyle are hard to let go of, the staying out late habit but now he's got more day time work hours, can't sleep in and has to get to work so darn early. Can't really do both as we get older. It catches up with every one.
The advice to him was as follows:
Registered holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy at 889 Yonge, a yoga and lifestyle spa, says night eating is a hard habit to break, but self-talk is an effective behaviour-changing strategy.
“Jian needs to ask himself, ‘Am I really hungry?’ Because being mindful of what he’s eating and why he’s eating will help break the habit.”
Snack for stamina
For sustainable energy, he should switch to complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa and millet, and eat between-meal nibbles to prevent energy dips, keeping stamina high.
“Jian should eat a handful of brainy walnuts and four dried apricots, a half-scoop of chocolate protein powder & almond milk, or vegetable sticks and hummus – all blood-sugar-balancing snacks.”
But Jian, really.
She's missing the big picture.
You won't even out your energy levels through your day if you only get 5 hours sleep per night. Sleep deprivation is going to inhibit your ability to build muscle (sleep is when muscles fibres repair and get thicker), fight cravings and kick your caffeine habit. I hate to say it but you're not 20 anymore. You might have to start thinking about sleeping at least 7 hours a night. Your body's cravings for caffeine are telling you something is out of balance big time.
Further, food cravings aren't just psychological. When we're sleep deprived our bodies over produce a hormone telling up to eat more and under produce a hormone telling us we're full. The late night snacking is really just because your body is looking for ways to stay awake. It's not natural to sleep 5 hours a day. We need more for optimal health.
Overall, people sleep at least an hour less per night than we did a couple decades ago. Sleep deprived people are more likely to hang onto belly fat. Plus you aren't ever going to really lose the little belly or keep it off if you don't start getting some shut eye. Sleep deprivation also makes us produce more cortisol, the stress hormone that just isn't a good thing in large doses and can be directly linked to belly fat!
Go to bed to lose the caffeine addiction and late night snacking. At least try to get a bit more sleep. Come to think of it, the simplest solution to your late night snacking is shut eye. If you're sleeping at 2am you sure aren't going to be eating.
Tomorrow's weather in T.O. is supposed to be about 14 degrees and sunny. So thought it might be a great idea for the desk bound inside dwellers to find a way to get outside, sweat a little and soak up some precious Vitamin D.
So here's a workout you can do outside, anywhere tomorrow! Whoever does this workout over the weekend and sends me a picture of their sweaty selves will get a gold star and a prize! You heard it. You can earn yourself a $20 gift certificate for anything at Urbanfitt just for having the discipline to kick your own butt outside. No cheating!
This weekend warrior workout is a quickie! It'll take you about 30 minutes max. Try to find a field or a spacious park to do it.
Warm up with some: 10 Inch worms 10 Dynamic leg and arm swings (each) 16 Reserve lunges
Now the hard part: 1) Sprint at full speed down the length of the field/track/path 3 times (about 30-45 seconds) 2) Lunge back all the way 3) Drop and do 15 muay thai push ups (see video below). If you can't do muay thai push ups then regular ones will do ;)
4) Stay in push up position and do 20 firehydrants/mountain climbers 5) Find a bench or a ledge and do 15-20 tricep dips
Do it all again at least two more times.
Then make sure you stretch your butt, hamstrings, hip flexors and whatever needs it.
Enjoy the sweat! Remember if you do it take a picture of as proof and get a little pressie.
I recently connected with a woman, Ruth Tamari, and wanted to share an amazing opportunity to start taking charge of what your 2011 is going to look like. I love fitness. I love helping people feel empowered through improved strength and stamina but we are so much more than our physical selves. We actually need help moving forward in other parts of our lives.
So check this out. Might be a great thing for you to do!
Visioning Your 2011 The Art of Creating a Year You Love
Experience the power of visioning and creating a year of fulfillment for your career, personal development, health, family, relationships and much more! Dream big, breathe into your creativity, and get ready to create your own unique vision board or vision story for 2011.
Come learn more about Vision Boards and Vision Stories, how to create them yourself, how to use yours in 2011 and beyond that will connect you to a year and life you love!
A Vision Board and Vision Story are representations of how a life you love look, feel and sound like. The act of creating, focusing and choosing can powerfully propel you forward and keep you laser-focused on your dreams and goals.
This half-day workshop includes: A certified coach to facilitate the process of creating and fulfilling your life’s purpose On-the-spot coaching in self-discovery and personal growth All the materials you need to create your 2011 vision board or vision story A FREE copy of the NEW 121-Dreams Starter Kit to ignite your life purpose and have a beautiful structure to keep it stoked Refreshments and munchies A fun, inspiring and creative day All you need to bring is yourself! And you’ll have lots of time left for holiday events or for yourself!
Limited to the first 7 participants.
Date: Sunday, December 5th, 2010 Time: 12:30-4:00pm Place: The Centre for Social Innovation, 4th Floor, The Sunshine Room 215 Spadina Avenue, north of Queen Street, www.socialinnovation.ca Cost: Early Bird Price: $50 if paid on or before Wednesday, November 24th $60 from November 25th onwards Payment by cheque or email money transfer
Facilitated By: Ruth Tamari, MEd, CPCC, ACC Certified Professional Coactive Coach, Career & Life Transitions Website: www.ruthtamari.com Blog: www.ruthtamari.wordpress.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register: Email email@example.com or call 416-972-6896
The majority of people don't like to go down the conspiracy route when it comes to looking at how industry and the government collude to influence what we choose to put in our mouths. But even the New York Times is willing to expose the fact that maybe everyone's expanding waist lines might have something to do with back room deals in high government offices negotiated by conservative lobbyists representing the interests of industry twisting the arms of the powers that be. Perhaps it's the precarious nature of the western economic machine that forces compromises to be made in the interest of artificially extending the profitability of dairy farming. But anyone with their heads buried in the sand should be waking up to the fact that what we eat or what is put in our food is largely dictated by fat white men sitting in cushy offices with their suits bursting at the seams.
This is taken from New York Times Well blog.
Domino’s Pizza was hurting early last year. Domestic sales had fallen, and a survey of big pizza chain customers left the company tied for the worst tasting pies.
Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign.
Consumers devoured the cheesier pizza, and sales soared by double digits. “This partnership is clearly working,” Brandon Solano, the Domino’s vice president for brand innovation, said in a statement to The New York Times.
But as healthy as this pizza has been for Domino’s, one slice contains as much as two-thirds of a day’s maximum recommended amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease and is high in calories.
And Dairy Management, which has made cheese its cause, is not a private business consultant. It is a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture — the same agency at the center of a federal anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of some of the very foods Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.
Urged on by government warnings about saturated fat, Americans have been moving toward low-fat milk for decades, leaving a surplus of whole milk and milk fat. Yet the government, through Dairy Management, is engaged in an effort to find ways to get dairy back into Americans’ diets, primarily through cheese.
Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate. Cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat; an ounce of many cheeses contains as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk.
When Michelle Obama implored restaurateurs in September to help fight obesity, she cited the proliferation of cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese. “I want to challenge every restaurant to offer healthy menu options,” she told the National Restaurant Association’s annual meeting.
But in a series of confidential agreements approved by agriculture secretaries in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Dairy Management has worked with restaurants to expand their menus with cheese-laden products.
Consider the Taco Bell steak quesadilla, with cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella and a creamy sauce. “The item used an average of eight times more cheese than other items on their menu,” the Agriculture Department said in a report, extolling Dairy Management’s work — without mentioning that the quesadilla has more than three-quarters of the daily recommended level of saturated fat and sodium.
Dairy Management, whose annual budget approaches $140 million, is largely financed by a government-mandated fee on the dairy industry. But it also receives several million dollars a year from the Agriculture Department, which appoints some of its board members, approves its marketing campaigns and major contracts and periodically reports to Congress on its work.
The organization’s activities, revealed through interviews and records, provide a stark example of inherent conflicts in the Agriculture Department’s historical roles as both marketer of agriculture products and America’s nutrition police.
In one instance, Dairy Management spent millions of dollars on research to support a national advertising campaign promoting the notion that people could lose weight by consuming more dairy products, records and interviews show. The campaign went on for four years, ending in 2007, even though other researchers — one paid by Dairy Management itself — found no such weight-loss benefits.
When the campaign was challenged as false, government lawyers defended it, saying the Agriculture Department “reviewed, approved and continually oversaw” the effort.
Dr. Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health and a former member of the federal government’s nutrition advisory committee, said: “The U.S.D.A. should not be involved in these programs that are promoting foods that we are consuming too much of already. A small amount of good-flavored cheese can be compatible with a healthy diet, but consumption in the U.S. is enormous and way beyond what is optimally healthy.”
The Agriculture Department declined to make top officials available for interviews for this article, and Dairy Management would not comment. In answering written questions, the department said that dairy promotion was intended to bolster farmers and rural economies, and that its oversight left Dairy Management’s board with “significant independence” in deciding how best to support those interests.
It could be said this is a case of sucking and blowing at the same time. While we are being told that obesity is a crisis that will soon overtake smoking as a killer, the US government is making fast food even greasier . Of course, eating at fast food restaurants like Dominos is kind of a no brainer in terms of health implications. It sure doesn't help the folks that succomb to crap food as primary nourishment.
And by the way smug Canadians, our obesity stats are catching up with the US at an incredible pace, faster than most people want to admit.
Sometimes I kind of pull workouts out of my arss, like tonight at Urban Warrior. They always stick my the usual full body conditioning, high intensity thing that gets people fit fast and burns fat.
Tonight I surprised the class with the 12 x 4 workout.
I picked 12 exercises that we did 12 reps of 4 times around from start to finish. And by the way we didn't take any real rest periods. That was half the fun of it...getting the heart rate up high while doing some body weight strength exercises.
I'm getting to the point in the year when I start thinking about the fitness trends I see coming for the New Year. I actually never really stop thinking about where the fitness industry is headed but maybe I strain my brain a little bit more near the end of the year.
The American College of Sports Medicine publishes a list of their predicted trends every year based on a massive survey of worldwide fitness professionals. I love taking a look at their survey results because I know I live in a bit of a bubble off to the side of the traditional fitness industry.
The College surveyed more than 19,000 fitness professionals to come up with worldwide fitness trends for 2011, a survey the group has been conducting since 2007.
Their full findings haven't hit mainstream media yet (if you find them let me know!) but USA Today wrote a little piece just a few days ago highlighting the survey findings as follows:
Boot-camp workouts, strength training and core exercises are among this year's top 20 trends. Pilates and balance training, listed in the past, didn't make the cut this time.
1) Boot-camp workouts
These structured, high-intensity workouts, modeled after military-style training, include cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility exercises. The classes often combine sports-type drills and calisthenics.
"These workouts are not for the faint of heart," Thompson says. "Expect the workout to be led by a drill sergeant who has little to no patience for people lagging behind."
The programs are designed for the more experienced exerciser who wants or needs some additional motivation, or to try something different to spice up the workout routine, Thompson says. Class members move from one exercise to the next with little or no rest.
2) Core training
This trend stresses the strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, back and chest, Thompson says. The workout emphasizes everything but your arms, legs and head.
Many fitness experts believe people with a weak core have poor posture, and those with strong core muscles can function better in all aspects of their daily lives.
Core exercises are an element of many popular fitness programs.
Push-ups, sit-ups and curl-ups are examples of basic core exercises, but some fitness professionals now use such novelties as kettlebells and stability balls, he says.
3) Strength training
Most people have a vision of bulky men as being the only people who lift weights, but everyone from teenagers to the elderly should be strength training, Thompson says.
The government's physical activity guidelines recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities at a moderate- or high-intensity level for all major muscle groups two or more days a week.
So what do I think about the trends listed above? I think most of us who work out on a regular basis would agree to a certain extent. But I'm going to hit this 2011 predicted fitness trends hard in the next months with more specificity and detail based on what I've seen shift at Urbanfitt in the last few years. Stay posted!