All posts by Taylor

Pros and Cons of Your Fitness Options

It is that time of year, the resolutions have begun. Many of you are in the hunt for an avenue to begin a new fitness program.

But what should you be doing? How should you go about making changes? Where can you go to begin a program?

There are so many avenues available to you that often the most difficult part of the process is simply figuring out what the best option is for your investment.  

Here are my thoughts about the most common paths people take at this time of year.

Gym Membership

Gym memberships are great for people who are self motivated and already have a good base knowledge of how to design a fitness and nutrition program. They provide clean and safe equipment and an area to workout. If you already have a workout buddy or group and are comfortable with how your body works and how to design a fitness program than a gym membership is a great option for you.

Gym memberships are not good for individuals who are unfamiliar with exercise programs and how to design a program to meet their goals. If you need someone to motivate you and teach you what you should be doing or if you find exercise to be boring and it seems more like a chore, than a gym membership is a large waste of your money.

Pros

·         Set hours and consistent access

·         Variety of equipment

·         A lot of variety

·         Most activities and facilities included in membership

·         Larger chains provide access to facilities in multiple cities

 

Cons

·         Locked into membership for 1 to 2 years

·         No guidance or long term support; the only support offered is very basic and is designed to entice you to purchase additional services

·         More concerned about profit than your long term health

·         Many ‘hidden’ fees

·         Hide information and pricing from you in order to ‘hook’ you into listening to their sales pitch

·         Staff are all sales driven and are rewarded for high sales, not for education and furthering their knowledge base and skills

·         Large chains often lag behind fitness industry trends and research by months or even years

·         Can be very intimidating

 

Purchasing Equipment for Home

This is the other most common purchase for people who are looking to embark on a fitness program. The purchase of home based fitness equipment. Treadmill’s and elliptical trainers are the two most frequently purchased pieces of equipment.

The vast majority of fitness equipment is based on cardiovascular fitness training only and does not incorporate strength or flexibility training. There are some popular strength based pieces of fitness equipment but most of these promise dramatic results in short periods of time, which is an immediate red flag. Too good t be true = it IS too good to be true.

I call treadmills and elliptical trainers the most expensive coat rack you will ever buy. You may get on it for a few weeks but soon you will be bored to tears and after 4 weeks of slaving away you will not feel any stronger or fitter and you will look the same in the same clothes. For the cost of this equipment you could have an experienced personal trainer TEACH you what to do and how to exercise with no equipment at all!

There are a lot of companies salivating at this time of year and waiting to impress you with flashy marketing, flashy equipment, and flashy payment plans to suck you into purchasing equipment that has a track record of being ineffective at changing lives. Commissions are great for them, however.

Pros

·         Convenient due to location in your home

·         Private for those nervous to go to a gym or join a program

·         Can be a good kick start to initiating a fitness program

Cons

·         Rare to achieve long term fitness success

·         No instruction or long term support

·         High cost for quality equipment

·         Very tedious and boring over time

·         Very little variety, becomes very boring

·         One sided fitness, does not encourage a well rounded fitness program

Private Fitness Facilities

These are smaller versions of gyms and are often very specific as to their services. Common offerings are yoga, personal training, group programs, pilates, dance fitness, martial arts, or a variety of other fitness based offerings. Many facilities also offer a combination of services.

In general you will find a higher quality of service at these establishments and it is much more personal. Programming and offerings are cutting edge and are created around what is most effective and not what generates the most profit.

You will also tend to find a more experienced, educated, and higher quality of staff at smaller private facilities as they offer more rewards for staff members, better pay and better opportunities for career advancement.

The challenge is to find a facility that offers services and programs that are appealing to you and effective at the same time. Again, this comes down to research and research! Check out facilities in your area, talk to the staff, and talk to current members in order to ensure that it is the right place for you.

­Pros

·         Personalized services and offerings

·         The most cutting edge and modern programming available

·         More focus on service and quality than on profit, fads, and gimmicks

·         Variety of services

·         Staff that actually care about your long term success and well-being

·         Affordable for the quality of service

Cons

·         Can be more expensive than a monthly membership

·         Cannot use facilities on your own time (typically)

·         Limited options can make long term fitness difficult

Personal Training

In my opinion this is the best option available to everyone. If you have never exercised in your entire life, or if you have competed in Ironman competitions, a quality personal trainer is worth their weight in gold. The key phrase is quality.

80% of personal trainers should not be allowed to call themselves fitness professionals and should not be allowed to dispense fitness advice.  This is an unregulated industry and finding a quality and experienced trainer is very difficult. For detailed information on how to do that follow the following link to my blog about the subject. http://tayloredtraining.ca/blog/the-problems-with-personal-trainers/

The cost is not as much as many people think (Visit my blog to learn about that as well: http://tayloredtraining.ca/blog/the-cost-of-personal-training/ ).

Yes I am biased to personal training, that’s why I do it for a living. Make sure to research your trainer before signing up with them. Kingston has many facilities where quality personal trainers are available to you. Research them, interview them, talk to their other clients, check on their certifications and experience. Ensure that you have selected the right trainer for you, then sign up with them and be prepared to get blown away.

Pros

·         Program is customized to your body

·         Lack of motivation is not a problem

·         Experienced trainers can help avoid injuries and they can work around previous injuries

·         Customized diet and nutrition advice

·         Constant motivation and someone to ‘checkup on you’

·         Cut through the myths and fads and have a realistic and effective program customized for you

·         80% more effective than working out on your own

·         Vast increase in education and leaves you with the ability to train on your own after the end of the workouts

Cons

·         Cost can be prohibitive

·         Finding a good trainer can be difficult

·         Investing in a poor trainer can be a waste of money

·         Can be very addictive, you may never want to train alone again

Books, Magazines, and the Internet

This is a dangerous category. It is so easy to post on the internet that almost anyone can raise a voice, even if they have no experience of knowledge base to be able to do that. Fads and unsafe programs and diets are very, very, common and deciphering between good, science based knowledge, and cheesy unfounded programs can be very challenging.

Books and magazines are designed to sell. There are many out there that contain great advice and programs. But there are even more that play off fads and fears in an effort to make sales. And they are impaired by the fact that they have to keep advertisers happy, which can lead to a skewing of good information.

The programs and advice in these periodicals are also very generic and do not account for individuals difference and preferences. Not to mention that they cannot work around previous injuries or injuries you may develop during exercise.

Many of the programs also require a lot of equipment that can be costly to purchase. Careful, a lot of those equipment manufacturers also pay for advertising in those same publications!

How can you be sure? Anything that promises dramatic results in very limited amounts of time is suspect. If they promise easy workouts or no sweat workouts you should also be raising red flags.

Pros

·         Very cost effective

·         Convenient

·         Get advice from the top experts in the field

·         Lots of variety

Cons

·         Not tailored to your individual needs

·         Often is flashy marketing and based on driving sales, not effective long term results

·         Plays into what you want to hear not what you need to hear

·         Tough to find quality, not fads

·         Often based on equipment and supplements that are not necessary

·         Workouts are often not effective, can be boring, and rarely result in the outcome that was promised

What Should You Eat on the Road

This time of year we are often travelling to visit loved ones or take a vacation somewhere a little less snowy and cold. I am constantly asked what the best options on the road to eat as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, this is not something always easy to accomplish.  

The key to eating while travelling is to keep the large carbohydrate portions out of your diet. Yes, a foot long sub can be a healthy option but not when you are sitting on your butt for hours at a time. Carbs are energy to fuel your body and if you are active you need a lot more of them. Travelling is not an active activity. So while you think having the sub is a good choice (and yes, it is still better than a burger and fries or grease drenched pizza) there are better options out there.

You want your travelling snacks and meals to be more protein based and healthy fat based. This will keep you feeling full longer, prevent large rises in blood sugar, and make sure your body gets only what it needs.  When it gets more than required you store the extra as fat. When you have frequent blood sugar spikes repeatedly over many years you can get diabetes. Too much trans fat and you are at increased risk for heart attack. This list goes on.

Here are some easy ways to keep healthy while travelling this holiday season:

Ø  Pack food with you, there is nothing the airline is going to serve you that is really all that good for you

Ø  Items to take with you include:

o   Nuts (any of them are good, almonds are the best)

o   Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc., just make sure to drink extra water as most of the packaged versions of these have salt added so your water requirements will go up)

o   Peanut butter (add to fruit, veggies, or on its own)

o   Tuna cans or tuna snack packs

o   Fruit (apples and pears the best)

o   Cheese strings (have with the fruit, very good)

o   Vegetables (always…); add some hummus or roasted red pepper dip, put peanut butter on celery and take that along

Ø  Take plenty of water, never be without water

o   If your taking a plane you will need to take a water bottle and fill it up AFTER going through security

Ø  Keep carbs to a minimum, try and avoid:

o   Breads

o   Pasta

o   Rice

o   Bagels

o   Crackers

o   Cookies, donuts, pastries

o   Muffins

If you are grabbing food on the run here is a brief list of the best options available to you. These options will be available to you at almost any fast food place.

Ø  Chili (not in a bread bowl and skip the dinner roll option)

Ø  Salads with chicken or beef

Ø  Grilled chicken sandwiches, skip the fries

Ø  Pita’s

Ø  Wraps (most sub places have the option to have the same toppings in a wrap, this cuts your refined carbs almost in half!)

Ø  If these options leave you hungry then add some nuts and seeds a half hour after eating to fill you up

Ø  Anytime you’re eating fast food it is important to make sure you are drinking lots of water as they are all higher in salt than home cooked food

Remember, you make the CHOICE to put food in your mouth. If you gain weight or feel like crap travelling it’s your own fault.  The options are always there.

And let’s be honest, this time of year there is more than enough food temptation. You are doing amazing things for your body to eat as healthy as you can as often as you can. Just because you are eating other treats is not an excuse to let your entire diet go to crap.

Taylor

Holiday Eating Strategies

I don’t expect everyone will be eating the perfect healthy diet over the holiday season. In fact I don’t expect you will b eating the perfect diet for the rest of your life. That’s ok! Here are a few strategies this holiday season to not become one of those people who think it is acceptable to gain 10lbs over the holiday.

Ø  Steer away from multiple servings

o   If you want more than one serving, wait at least 15 minutes between them, chances are the craving will go away

Ø  Stick to the higher protein options for the bulk of your food

o   Meat, cheese, eggs, dairy; these will all help you fill up quickly and stay satiated

Ø  Watch the sugar

o   This is the real culprit in our daily diet. Refined sugar leads the way in causin a host of medical and health problems

Ø  Avoid sugar/carb combination foods

o   Sorry to do this, but most baking and pastries fall into this category

o   If you are going to indulge, make it smart. Choose one or two servings and stick to that, no need to have a sampler tray of everything

Ø  Just because its fruit or vegetables does not mean its healthy

o   Well there are more health benefits here, there is often added sugar, white flour, and other food additive.

Ø  Watch the booze

o   Stick to red wine and lite beer, or spirits mixed with diet pop or water

o   Limit servings to 2 or 3, you will feel better and your body will thank you

Ø  Bring healthy options to the party and try and stick to those

o   Cheese and cracker

o   Hummus and veggies

o   Whole wheat pita cut into slices, baked with a olive oil, served with roasted red pepper dip

o   Hard boiled eggs

o   Fruit with yoghurt dip

Ø  Choose one or two nights where you will indulge, stick to ONLY health options the rest of the season

Ø  Do some research online for healthier alternatives to holiday favorite (ever heard of cauliflower mashed potatoes?)

Ø  Most importantly recognize that indulging sometimes is ok, so don’t feel guilty about a few little treats, just keep it to a few and try to make the majority of what you eat the healthier options

 

Enjoy the holidays. Have fun. Live a little. But do not make it acceptable to be unhealthy for a month with the thought that you will lose the weight later. First, its not just the weight, you are wreaking havoc on your hormones, heart, blood vessels, liver, kidneys. Second, most people do not lose the weight later.

Don’t be one of the people who I have to deal with in January and help them get back to being healthy. Be one of the people I congratulate and help get even healthier and fitter in January. Know that it is ok to practice some self control and it is ok to spend your time visiting and being with family and friends instead of stuffing your face with everything in sight.

Exercise Intensity – More Important then you think

Okay, I will keep posting all of the Taylored Tips comments on the blog site as well so that everyone can have an opportunity to make comments about the posts. Here goes this weeks…

We have all worked out at some point (if you just said no to that then exercise intensity is not really important to you. Getting off your butt and doing some form of physical activity is). Most of the time it only lasts for a while and we either get bored or are disappointed with the results.

Often this is because of the intensity of the exercise. Many people blame it on the exercise itself but almost any physical exercise will get you stronger and fitter if you are doing it right. The key is working with enough intensity to affect change with your body.

What is enough intensity? It is easy to know. If you are out of breath and sweating then you are working out with the right intensity. That’s right, even if you are doing a body weight program, like the 5 week program I have provided, you should be breathing hard and sweating.

I can hear some of you already, “I just don’t sweat.” Yeah right, sweating is a physiological response to increased body temperature. If you are not sweating then your body temperature is not rising, which means your muscles are not working very hard, which means your exercise intensity is not high enough.

If you are not breathing hard then you are not making your muscles work very hard either. Your muscles need oxygen to function. When they start to work harder they require more oxygen to maintain that level of exertion. You breath hard in order to get more oxygen into your body in order to fill that need. So if you are not breathing hard it means you are not creating a demand for oxygen in your body. You are not working with enough intensity.

Why is this even important? Because if you are not working harder than your body is already capable of working then you will not give your body any reason to get stronger and more efficient.

All of our fitness goals are usually based on making change to your body. Increased cardiovascular health, decreased body fat, and a stronger body are all common fitness goals. The only way to achieve any of these things is to ask your body to accomplish something that it currently can not do.

 

Why would your body make changes to the way it functions if there is no need for it to do so? It doesn’t want to get stronger, fitter, and leaner. That takes more energy to maintain and your body does not want to have to increase its energy output, in fact, it is always attempting to minimize energy expenditure. So if you are not challenging your current levels then you will not see any change.

 

Anyone that tells you workouts can feel easy and be short and will achieve all of your fitness goals is SELLING YOU SOMETHING. They are playing on your desire to have a quick, simple, and easy program that will change your life. It wont.

If you don’t believe me then go and try that easy fast program. See how fast you get bored. It will happen right before you get frustrated because you are increasing your fitness level and not achieving your goals.

 

For exercise t be effective it need to be uncomfortable. It needs to be challenging. It needs to push your limits, to challenge your current capabilities. If you are not working at that level you are not going to accomplish your goals. That’s the cold, hard truth. I am not one to sugar coat things.

So up your intensity level. Push a little harder, and challenge yourself. Don’t waste your time. You don’t have to do it alone. You need to find something you enjoy, something you can see yourself doing in the long term.  

Machines vs. Free Weights

I am not going to delve too far into this debate. You will hear all sorts of arguments from people in the health and fitness industry. Some make more sense than others. I am going to share my thoughts and the reasons why. This is going to be brief. I have written on this topic before and honestly I could write an entire book on the debate.

I will start like this, I am not a fan of machine training. The only people I think should ever use machines are bodybuilders. They were built and designed for bodybuilders by bodybuilders many years ago when we didn’t know better. Gym culture is built around bodybuilding culture and has adapted those beliefs and philosophies.

What is a machine? Anything that locks you into a specific range of motion and allows your bodies stabilizer muscles to turn off. So sitting on a machine doing crunches, or laying on a machine curling your legs are both examples of this.  Exceptions are cable machines as they allow for free range of motion and require your body to stabilize the joints.

Why is this bad?

Because your body was built and designed to work as am integrated unit. It was designed to support itself, to stabilize itself, and to power itself. Throw, kick, climb, sit, stand, push, pull, and squat. These are the basic ways you move. They all require coordinated movement from a variety of muscles and limbs at the same time. You are designed to operate as an integrated unit.

Machines do not allow this. They isolate one muscle at a time and support the rest of the body. This is not how you are supposed to work.

What about safety? If you can walk into the gym you can do body weight training. If you can pick up groceries, take a walk, or sit down in a chair you can follow the basic program I have provided you already.  If you can not do any of these things you should not be embarking on a fitness program, you should be beginning a rehabilitation program.

What about ease of use? Anyone who things it is easier to start with machines has not gone to a gym and attempted to do a machine workout. Some machines require as many as 5 different adjustments and if any of them are not set properly you can hurt yourself very easily.  Machines are not easy to use and it is not easy to know what order to do them in or how many reps of which weight to use.

Let’s be honest (by now you should realize I am quite straight up about things). Machines allow for easy workouts. If you think otherwise try 4 sets if pushups instead of 4 sets on the seated chest press, tell me which is harder. People want the easy option, where they can pretend to do a workout.

Machines give us a false sense of comfort about what we are doing. You may think you know what you are doing because you are following some thoughtless cheap printout handed to you by a gym staff member. But you do not really know what you are doing or why or if it is even the most beneficial program for you.

You need to work your body the way it was intended to work. You need to learn what that is and how to do it.

Your already on your way. My goal in life is to educate everyone on how to achieve lifelong health and fitness.  That is why I put up these posts and provide free workouts. Keep reading and keep learning. Make your body work and work your body.

Taylor

AArrghhh

Sorry, forgot about the sequential numbering order thing…wanted the info about the radio spots to be at the top of the blog. So read down below to the second December 9th post to get some details on my new weekly posts (Taylored Tips) and some good info about not being a lazy sloth this holiday season.

Taylor

What should you be buying for Fitness Gifts

What should you be buying for Fitness Gifts

Do not buy a treadmill or elliptical trainer. If you think this is a good idea go out and ask all of your friends and family that have these pieces of equipment how often they use them and how much of a life changing purchase they were.

Go and find me one person who has the level of fitness you would like to achieve that sits at home on one of these fancy and expensive pieces of equipment. Or find me someone who just can not wait to get on their treadmill for an hour 4 times a week while plugged into their ipod or television.

That’s right. It is pretty hard to do. Why? Because it is ineffective and BORING.

What should you do then? Let’s talk about it from a monetary perspective.

A mid-range treadmill will cost you around $1500, a decent elliptical trainer will cost you around $2500. They come with very minimal instructions and very basic programs. Neither of them help boost your strength or metabolism. They are not customized for your particular body type or metabolism type. They do not give you dietary advice or help build a realistic nutrition program that fits your lifestyle.

Here is what I recommend for the same budget: • $900-$1200 = 2 months with a personal trainer • $200 = Basic at home equipment • $150 = 2 month class package or facility membership

Total cost of $1250 – $1550

What is the difference? Well the 2nd option includes a few things:

  • A customized program
  • The ability to find things you enjoy
  • A program that is built to reach your specific goals
  • Customized plans
  • Actually being TAUGHT enough to understand how your body works and what steps you need to take for the rest of your life to stay healthy and fit
  • Diet overview and recommendations that are totally customized to your tastes
  • Programming and equipment you can have at home so you do not need any services in the future
  • The opportunity to try some new things that may surprise you by how much you enjoy it
  • Workouts that are enjoyable and much more effective

There are many places in Kingston that offer services to match all of those goals. Check them all out, sit down with the staff and interview them (ALWAYS interview people you are about to invest time and money in!) and then make a decision.

Do not succumb to the fitness failures that most people will succumb to in January.

Don’t waste your money on expensive exercise equipment that you really have no idea how to use anyway. Invest your money in education and valuable expertise, I guarantee it will be the most invaluable investment you have ever made.

Here is the deal

So for everyone (hopefully there is an everyone waiting for more blog posts…) waiting for some more blog posts I have good news.

There is going to be something new every week! I am not sure if I am going to repost them all in here…I may so that it will give people an opportunity to respond to any of my comments.

I have started a radio spot on 98.9 The Drive in Kingston. I am calling it Taylored Tips. If you check the menu on our webpage you will see a link. In that section of the site I will be posting the audio clip from the radio spot that week as well as a more detailed  written comment on the topics. Essentially I will be talking about all the things I would like to blog about, so it is like a blog anyway, except that you get to actually hear my charming voice.

There are already 3 spots up there, including a 5 week workout program with pictures and video clips that you can do at home! So check out that section of the site.

I will paste the most recent posts below!

As always, feel free to drop some comments! I love to hear them.

Taylor

The New Year Begins Now

I hear it every year, over and over again. It is the same old story. This time of year is simply too busy to start an exercise program or even to maintain an exercise program.

But that is OK because the new year is right around the corner. And there is so much good food and drink around for the next few week’s that starting a fitness program now would take away your ability to enjoy all of the holiday events.

Get over it. Stop making excuses. Stop living life with the expectation that you can always start tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

Don’t succumb to the New Years Resolution fitness downfall. Guess what? Those of us in the fitness world know that there is going to be a mad rush in January to take care of your bodies. Gyms make year long contracts because they know you will be all enthused and energized in January but that you will probably drop your fitness program by February. The contract ensures you keep donating money to help run the facility after you stop using it.

Here is my advice. Do not wait until January to start your fitness program. Start right now. But you need to go into it with some expectations first.

  1. You are not going to start the perfect fitness program and nutrition program right now
  2. You ARE going to start a basic program
  3. The goal is not to lose weight or to deny yourself anything, your goal is to start some kind of physical exercise
  4. You will spend the next 4 weeks coming to the realization that you can incorporate physical activity into your life.

I have built the program and provided a workout template and instructions for the programs. You simply have to do it now.

Use the next few weeks to begin to get into the habit of doing activity and start to get your body stronger. The next 4 weeks are the perfect time to get your tendons, ligaments, and muscles ready so that when you kick it up a notch in January (like everyone will do) you will be well set up for it.

It will already be a habit. You will be less likely to injure yourself. You will already be over the dreaded 3 week hump when most people drop out. Instead of making January the time to begin your fitness program, make it the time to improve the existing program that you are already doing.

This is going to leave you way ahead of the game over everyone else kicking off their fitness regime in January. You will already be there!

The Truth about Cardio

Here is something I hear all the time; “when do I do my cardio?”

My response is simply to tell people never. I do not see any need for people to do cardio only workouts.

The belief that we need to stems from this bodybuilding/gym tradition, which requires that low intensity cardio focused workouts be performed on seperate days from strength training. This is a process used by bodybuilders and fitness copetitors to minimize muscle breakdown while burning body fat.

What many people do not realize is the amount of time these dedicated individuals put into training. Many people in this field typically do strength training worouts 6 times a week for 60-90 minutes and then in addition to that perform another 4-7 90 minute cardio workouts at low intensity.

Will this system get you lean and strong? Yes. How many of you have time for 12 to 14 60-90 minute workouts per week?

Resultant from this philosophy is the idea that the only way to lose body fat and keep your heart healthy is to do long cardio training exercise 3-4 times a week. This is absolutely not the case. These cardio workouts are alos not neccesary to improve and maintain your heart health.
Thats right, you do not have to do cardio workouts to keep your heart healthy, strong, and free of disease.

Here are my thoughts.

Your body was never designed to work each body system independantly. Everything you do from daily life chores, to sports and recreation, to sleeping, and almost any other activity you do requires that your cardiovascular system works in conjunction with your muscular system, lymphatic system, circulatory system, and neurological system (thats your brain and body control) and every other thing that occurs inside your skin.

Why would we train that seperately then? Why would we work the muscles one day and the heart and lungs the next? Why would we do days of just flexibility and balance training and not train your body to be flexibly and balanced while it is also using your muscles and heart and lungs? The answer is that we should not be seperating these things.

Your cardio system, muscular system, and your nuerological system should all be trained TOGTHER. And sorry, jogging/walking on a treadmill, sitting on a stationary bike, and mindlessly going through the paces on an elliptical trainer does not accomplish this.

What we all should be focused on is making your muscles stronger (resistance training, not neccessarily weight training), while at the same time improving your heart and lung health (cardiovascular training) and challenging your brain (neurological system) to coordinate the whole thing.

 This can be accomplished many ways. Here are some examples:

-instead of a stationary bike get on a real bike and go mountain biking

-try rock climbing

-bootcamp style workouts (old fashioned military stuff, you know, pushups, stairs, squats, hill sprints and all that really fun stuff)

-HITT style programs

-martial arts/kickboxing etc

This is not an exclusive or exhaustive list by any means. The common theme here is that all of these activities challenge your muscles, heart and lungs, and your mind all at the same time.

What is lacking from most cardio workouts is strength training through full ranges of motion. Sorry but the ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes, spin bikes do not provide this. Walking, running, and swimming also do not provide these things (running and swimming can be adjusted to provide some of these benefits).

The whole point of this blog is to inform you that for the majority of the population (wanting to lose weight, ‘tone up’, improve their fitness, improve sports performance etc) there is no need to perform cardio workouts. This is a big fat myth.

The journal of Strength and Conditioning published an article in March 2008 detailing the aerobic fitness improvements in recreational rock climbers. The subjects of the study participated in 120 minutes of climbing per week and the average participant age was 42 years old.

What did the study find? That in 2 hours of rock climbing per week with no additional exercise the aerobic profile of this activity was classified in the excellent category as set by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Thats right. 2 hours weekly rock climbing meets the requirements set out to keep your heart and lungs happy and healthy.

And rock climbing provides the added benefits of strength training, improving flexibility, and improved neuorological functioning. Let’s see a treadmill or elliptical ellicit all of those responses in 2 hours per week. I am not even going to get into the positive changes to your hormones that come from strength based activities.

I hear the question all the time….’what about doing cardio?” If you love doing cardio then keep on going. But I want people to recognize that you DO NOT HAVETO DO CARDIO only training, in fact cardio only training can work against you.

Yes, if you only do cardio training and your goal is weight loss, strength gain, ‘toning’, or long term commitment to a program you are on the wrong track.

The longer you can do any activity the slower your metabolism must be and the better your body must become at conserving energy. Thats right, you are slowing your metabolism down. The longer you can do an activity the less muscle and strength you will have because you can not sustain that type of body tissue for extended periods of time, it simply takes too much energy. The longer you do the same activity over and over again the less likely you are to be stimulated enough to continue the program.

Here is the jist of what I am getting at. I am not saying cardio is bad. You need to exercise your heart and lungs. I am saying that the current beliefs and practices guiding how we maintain our cardiovascular health are totally misguided. We need to change how people are exercising in order to improve the long term health and well-being of our culture.

For all you runners, marathoners, cyclists and other endurance athletes out there take heed to what I am about to say before tearing a strip off me (which I always welcome anyway). I am not saying these cardio exercises are bad for you. I am saying that they do not line up with most peoples goals.

If you compete or have an interest in these endurance activities then it is fine to do them and you can do them safely and effectively. But also note this, if you exclusively do endurance activities and do not cross train with strength based and full range of motion activites then you are damaging your bodies very badly and need to adjust your workouts accordingly or you will pay the price inthe long term.

 

Sum it up! You do not need to do cardio training on its own. Trash your elliptical and get rid of your clothes rack (I mean super dusty treadmill). Find something you enjoy that can acomplish all of the things you need at the same time. It is more effective, more efficient, and you are more likely to stick to it and yes, you are more likely to enjoy it!

Taylor

Things We Think Are Healthy

There are definitely some things in our culture that we think are synonymous with ‘healthy’ when in fact they may not be.

It comes down to some flashy marketing and companies have used these trends to ingrain in us a false idea of healthy food.

Let me pretense this (I have to do that a lot) by saying that I am not going to go into great depth withthe details. If there is something you do not agree with, before you get angry and frustrated and write me nasty emails, do some research. Learn about the topics and the science behind it. If you still do not agree with me, then write me nasty messages. I can take it.

Things we think are healthy but are not necessarily so:

1. Vegetarian

Just becasue something is labelled vegetarian does not mean it is good for us! I can not tell you how many times I have been out to dinner and everyone feels a sense of self righteousness by ordering the vegetarian dish.  Guess what, this does not mean you are making the healthiest choice on the menu.

This does not mean that vegetarian foods can not be healthy, but vegetarian simply means it is not animal based. It does not mean the option is not filled with transfats, or sugar, or white flours, or a host of other things that are not good for you.

2. Organic

This is essentially the same as the above comments on vegetarian. Sure there are no additives or chemicals, but is there excessive amounts of sugars, or unhealthy fats? You can have a deep fried chicken sandwich covered in mayo and a side of fries and onion rings that is all organic. Doesn’t sound too healthy does it?

3. Low Fat (or fat free) 

I could write an entire book on this one! Low fat diets are not healthy diets. Your diet should consist of a minimum of 20% healthy fat sources, some argue that around 30% is an even better ratio. The key is that the fats in your diet should be healthy fats, poly and mono-unsaturated fats rich in omega 3-6-9’s.

Low fat products often remove fat and replace it with sugars and other fillers that are the real culprit of the obesity and diabetes issues facing our society today. We need fat in our diet!
Learn about what you need in your diet and how to eat. The best source on the market right now is The South Beach Diet. It breaks down the science of your nutrition and effective strategies very well. It is a good overview of the nutritional programming I use with the majority of my clients.

Always ask yourself who is giving you nutritional advice. Should they be giving you advice? What are their qualifications to provide that advice? Where did they hear it?

Or maybe they read it on a cereal box…