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An ongoing series of informational entries

Exercise, Fitness, Workout

THE BEST WORKOUTS

January 15, 2018

WHAT IS THE BEST WORKOUT?

In order to answer this question let's review the types of workout out there.

1- Crossfit Training

This type of training consists of aerobic exercises, resistance training and power lifting. The exercises are completed by doing them as fast as possible within the time limit. People who do Crossfit are regular gym goers who are looking for a "hard" workout. Unfortunately, Crossfit training comes at a high price, it takes a huge toll on your body especially on joints such as knees, shoulders as well as your lumbar spine. Exercises such as deep squats are known for damaging the knees, while kettle bell swings are notorious for damaging the shoulders. With any type of training, your form is the key. When you lose your form, you are more prone to injuries, and when combined with competition and timing pressure, you end up training past your limits, resulting in injuries and expensive physiotherapy work. Most of my rehabilitation clients have come to me after doing Crossfit and I do not recommend anybody to try it.


2- P90x

Similar to Crossfit, P90x consists of aerobic exercises, resistance training, stretching and martial arts. They claim that you can see results in just 90 days and P90x come in a series of dvds that let you do the exercises at the comfort of your home. You have the option of doing from the beginner stages to the most advanced. There are few problems with P90x. The main problem is that you can easily hurt yourself since the Dvd cannot warn you when you are doing the exercises incorrectly. If you are new to exercise or have not done a certain kind of exercise, your form will not be correct, resulting in injuries. One major flaw with P90x is the constant plyometrics (good old jumping exercises) such as jump box, burpees, tire-tire and knee-ups. If not done properly, you can seriously injure your knees (especially the meniscus and the Acl). Let's think back to our high school physics and Newton's Law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.". When you POUND on the ground, the ground will pound BACK, and your joints will absorb all the energy. This is how most people injure their lower back and knees. Another Newton's Law states: "A body in motion stays in motion" so if you are a beginner or never exercised before, as long as you are active, you will lose some weight and it will be easier to stay active as long as you keep doing it, this doesn't mean you have to "go big or go home", it means that it is really important to stay active; start with baby steps, change your habits little by little and you will reach your goals eventually. I do not recommend P90x as a workout because they still emphasize on "no pain no gain" rather than a challenge that is within your limits.


3- Tabata Training

Created by a Japanese professor, Tabata uses 3 minutes of warming up, followed by 20 seconds of exercises with a 10 second break, repeated 8 times. Unlike Crossfit or P90x, you can combine any kind of exercise and do them 8 times. For example, instead of a kettle bell swing or burpees, you can do planks and wall-sits for 20 seconds x8. You can combine any exercise in any order however, because the exercises are timed, your focus should be on your posture and your breathing, take longer breaks if needed. I recommend Tabata training for people who are active and would like to change their workout routine but I would not recommend Tabata for beginners or people with nagging injuries.


4- Sports Specific Training

This type of workout consists of functional training designed for ATHLETES. For example, if you are a hockey player and would like to improve on your power, if you are a runner and would like to improve on your speed or if you are a soccer player and would like to improve on your agility. If you play sports and would like to improve your performance, this is the best type of training for you. If you do not play sports, wants to lose weight or if you are a beginner, this is NOT the type of training for you. Many times, people want to do a tough workout and do not think of the consequences. Athletes, for the most part, have money for physiotherapists, massage therapists, rehabilitation coaches that can help them recuperate. Have you ever injured yourself playing sports? Perhaps playing soccer, volleyball or hockey? Injuries are part of sports and training for it is no different. Unfortunately, sometimes young Personal Trainers want to train all of their clients as athlete and give them the best and hardest workout out there, just beware of the consequences that come training like an athlete. I would recommend Sports Specific Training for those who play sports and would like to improve their performance. However, I would not recommend this training to the overall population, including for weight loss, postpartum, people with old injuries or special populations.


5- Cross Training

This type of training combines exercises to work various parts of the body. For example, circuit training (one upperbody exercise, followed by a lower body exercise and core). You can even cross-train your cardiovascular exercises such as cycling on day and running or swimming on the next day. Cross-training is ideal for people who get bored easily or have reached a plateau in their workouts. I recommend Cross-training to anyone who has reached a plateau in their workout and would like to try something different.


There are many different ways of working out, you just have to find one that works for YOU. We all have our goals, uniqueness and passion. Cookie-cutter training is not for everyone, nor should be. A Certified Personal Trainer can guide you in the right direction, keep you motivated and tweak your workouts avoiding plateaus and injuries. We are here to help you!


If you are a beginner, have not exercised for a while or have been taking medication, it is really important to consult your physician prior to starting any exercise and dietary regimen. Remember: A body in motion stays in motion. The more you move, the better it gets.

Stay Healthy!

Ergogenic Aids & Supplements

February 14, 2018

Ergogenic Aids are anything that can enhance the athletic performance, more specifically, they can enhance an individual's energy use, production or recovery. In light of this definition, a training program can be seen as a physical ergogenic aid and mental preparation for peak performance can be viewed as a mental ergogenic aid. However, for the most part these aids refer to dietary supplements.


Caffeine and Ephedrine

There is evidence that caffeine is a performance enhancer in long-term endurance exercise, but none to support that it improves performance in short-term exercise (Williams 1991). In fact, it may diminish performance as a result of its diuretic effect causing dehydration and gastrointestinal upset.

Ephedrine alkaloids are amphetamine-like compounds, it can have lethal effects on the central nervous system and heart.

Some serious adverse effects associated with the use of caffeine and ephedrine include:

• Hypertension

• Palpitations

• Nerve Damage

• Muscle Injury

• Psychosis

• Stroke

• Memory Loss

• Irregular Heart Beat

• Insomnia

• Nervousness

• Tremors

• Seizures

• Heart Attacks

• Death


While the use of caffeine and ephedrine results in increased lipolysis, there is no evidence that this translates into fat loss. So think twice before drinking Those 5-hour drinks, Redbull, Hydroxycut or even a big cup of coffee prior to working out.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Human Growth Hormone is a powerful anabolic secreted from the pituitary that effects all body systems and influences muscle growth. While a lack of human growth hormone at birth causes dwarfism, the exact function in adults is not clear. Little scientific information about whether or not HGH enhances performance is available.

Some side effects are:

• Overgrowth of many organs, bones and facial features

• Diabetes

• Heart or Thyroid Disease

• Menstrual Disorders

• Decreased Sexual Desire

• Shortened Life Span


Anabolic Steroids

They are muscle synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone. They are used to stimulate muscle build-up of the body by synthesizing protein. No conclusive research has been done on the benefits of steroids, however some athletes ho have used steroids have had greater muscle size, greater strength, better performance, increased speed of muscle contraction and greater bulk.

The negative impacts far outweigh the positive benefits of steroid use, including:

• Liver and Kidney Disorders

• Hypertension

• Impotence in Men

• Decreased Sperm Count

• Infertility in Both Men and Women

• Cancer

• Over Aggressive Behaviour

• Addiction

• Baldness in Both Men and Women

• Acne

• Severe Acne

• Increased Resting Heart Rate

• Hair growth, Deepening of the voice, Increased Bone Growth in Women


Creatine

Creatine is available in supplement form and is also naturally found in meat and fish. It acts to increase ATP synthesis which increases muscle mass, provides greater level of energy, helps with quick recovery.

Some potential side effects of creatine supplements are:

• Dehydration

• Overheating

• Kidney Damage

• Liver Damage


Amino Acid Supplements

High protein diets may aggravate a number of health problems such as:

• Weight gain

• Dehydration

• Gout

• Calcium loss

• Increased burden on the liver and kidneys.

Promoters claim that amino acid supplements can build muscle, provide energy and speed up muscle repair. It has never been proven that these supplements benefit endurance athletes or body builders who are in good health. So before you purchase a big case of Whey Protein Powder, ask yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks.

It is very important to keep in mind that we do not know the side effects in the long run for most of these ergogenic aids. The side effects of prolonged use of Supplements such as Creatine, Xplode and Protein Powders are still unknown. Some of the supplements make you retain water rather than increase muscle mass therefore stressing the kidneys and liver.

TOP 5 EXERCISES TO DO AT HOME

February 26, 2018

I always tell all my clients, the best workout is the one you can do at home because you can do them anywhere, they require very little equipment and space. Keep in mind that with any exercise routine your FORM is your priority, so make sure to do the exercises in good posture while breathing correctly.


Here are my top 5 At Home Workouts.


1- Skipping (or pretend skipping)

Skipping is great for the core and posture, it's a great way to get your cardio going without having to do a crazy amount of jumping (such as burpees and box jumps). If you don't have a skipping rope or you don't know how to skip, remember that you can always use that invisible rope and go at your own pace. Try skipping to an entire song such as "Roar" by Katy Perry.

2- Push-ups

No matter how much you hate to do them, learn how to love them!! They are great for the chest, arms and core. There are quite a few variations of push-ups: You can do them on your toes (advance), on your knees/thighs(intermediate) or against a wall (beginner). Don't forget to breathe in on the way down and breathe out on the way up. Try doing 3 sets of 10-15 reps

3- Squats

Squats are a great exercise not just to tone the legs and give you a firmer butt, they are great for the core and posture as well. However, doing proper squats can be challenging. Some trainers say: "It's like sitting on a chair" but how often do you pay attention on how you sit on a chair? Stick your bum back while using your heels on the way down, always keeping your knees aligned with your ankles and look straight ahead. Always always always use your heels to take the pressure off the knees. Don't forget to breathe in on the way down and breathe out on the way up. For a more advanced workout, try using a ball against the wall or a bosu with the blue side up. Try doing 3 sets of 10-15 reps

4- Planks

Planks are often called stationary push-ups. They look like push-ups and they are just as hard but with no movement. They are great for the arms, core (trunk) and posture. You can do them on your knees/thighs and forearms (beginner), toes and forearms (intermediate), toes and hands (advance) or on a ball/bosu (more advance). They key is to keep your back straight while continue to breathe. Try doing 3 sets of 30 seconds -1 minute.

5- Seated Rows with a Thera-Band

For those of you who don't know what these bands are, Thera-bands are thin, flat bands that you can get virtually anywhere such as at Winners, London Drugs, Shoppers, Walmart, etc. They tend to come in a pack of 3 (light,medium and hard).

They are very versatile and easy to store, a must for any fitness level.

Seated Rows work the upper back muscles responsible for posture as well as the biceps. Sit on floor with your legs straight out, place the band (of your desired strength) on the arch of your feet, keep your back straight and steady, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you move your arms inward. Breathe in as you extend your arms, breathe out as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. If the bands are too light, try adding all 3 of them together. Try doing 3 sets of 10-15 reps.


These are 5 simple exercises you can do at home, while travelling or even at the gym. A full body workout doesn't have to be full of gadgets or complicated, it just needs to target all troubled areas. Have fun and workout safe!

EXERCISE & COLDS


Is it ok to exercise when you have a cold? While research is limited, most experts recommend that if your symptoms are above the neck and you have no fever, exercise is probably safe depending on your energy levels, nevertheless, this does not mean that you cannot pass it to others. Intensive exercise should be postponed until a few days after the symptoms have gone away. However, if there are symptoms or signs of the flu, such as fever, then wait at least two weeks before you resume intensive training. This is especially true to people with weaker immune systems and older adults


The same way that you should not exercise the same muscles everyday because they need to rest, so does your body! Your body needs to not only fight colds and infections, but also rest and replenish the immune system. The more strenuous the exercise, the longer you will have to fight the cold. Another very important reason why you should not exercise when you have a cold is the fact that you can pass on to others. Wiping down the equipment BEFORE and AFTER you use is essential because it can help stop the spread of viruses. Sweating, coughing, sneezing and breathing through your mouth can make the people around you sick just as much as not cleaning after you are done.


Little things to keep in mind at the gym:

• When was the last time someone has wiped down the fitness ball? Most people do not wipe down fitness balls, bands, medicine balls and dumbbells.

• When was the last time someone has wiped down the mats? I have had clients who ended up with really bad skin infections on their elbows, knees and face from dirty, bacteria-infested, old mats. Some skin infections were so severe, that they ended up having minor surgeries.

• When was the last time someone has wiped down the cardio equipment and the floor? This is especially true on group fitness classes such as cycling/spinning because people tend to leave in a hurry.

• When was the last time someone has wiped down the weight machines? You will be surprised how many people do not clean the weight machines because “they did not sweat” even though they have breathed and maybe even sneezed on them.

Stronger immune system, stronger body!

• Eat a well-balanced diet. The immune system depends on many vitamins and minerals for optimal function. Replenishing your body with an adequate diet is just as important when you have a cold.

• Avoid rapid weight loss. Low-calorie diets, long-term fasting and rapid weight loss have been shown to impair immune function. This is especially true due to the fact that your metabolism starts to slow down and everything else slows down with it.

• Obtain adequate sleep. Major sleep disruption (e.g., three hours less than normal) has been linked to immune suppression.

• Avoid over-training and chronic fatigue. Over training can increase your heart rate, and decrease your recovery time. Keep "within yourself" and don’t push beyond your ability to recover.

• Wash your hands frequently. This is often your best prevention. Don't forget your fingernails and in between the fingers.

• Get a flu shot. Especially if you have a weakened immune system.

• Drink more water. In the fall and winter, it is easy to overlook your thirst and get dehydrated. Most people tend to drink more water when they sweat due to heat.

• Listen to your body! If you are feeling tired, sick, in pain, take the time to recover so that you can recover faster and get stronger. Pushing through pain and agony may delay all progress. Would you rather miss 5 days of a workout or 15?


GLUTEN MYTHS

February 26, 2018


Losing weight and being able to fit in a size 6 pair of skinny jeans seem to be a dream come true for a lot of people, and one more fabulous recipe promises to give you the body that you so desperately want: the gluten-free diet. But does it really work? Here are some true facts and myths about this diet.


The gluten-free diet only eliminate foods that have this protein: Myth

According to the nutritionist Ana Fortuna, a specialist in sports nutrition and weight loss, the gluten-free diet consists of eliminating the consumption of this specific protein that is found in certain cereals such as wheat, malt, rye and barley (what most beers are made of) while substituting for other cereals that do not have gluten. Think of it this way: If you are used to eating pizza 4x a week and you go on a gluten-free diet and replace it for gluten-free pizza, you will most likely not lose the weight. However, if you are used to eating pizza 4x a week and decide to replace it by eating more fruits and vegetables, you will most likely lose weight.


Gluten is present in all carbohydrates: Myth

There are a lot of food rich in carbohydrates that do not have gluten such as potato, rice, quinoa, ricotta cheese and not to mention vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, spinach and tomatoes.


It’s possible to lose weight by cutting off gluten and having the perfect body for the rest of my life: Myth

There is no scientific evidence that proves weight loss through the gluten-free diet, but it is possible to verify that some people can lose weight within the first three months, concludes the nutritionist. It is about being more aware of what you are putting into your body. If you love bread and pasta, you will not only reduce the quantity but also adapt to a healthier diet rich in fruits and vegetables. How many times have you heard or said “I can’t eat that because I am on a gluten-free diet”? You are eliminating bad habits such as pizza, pasta, bread, simple sugar and incorporating good habits.


Nothing will happen to me if I stop eating gluten: Myth

Weakness, loss of muscle mass, headaches, malnutrition can occur and the weight loss will be a consequence that is harmful to your health, according to the nutritionist Ana Fortuna.


Now that I know which foods have gluten, I can start my diet without any problems: Myth

This not only applies to the gluten-free diet but also to any other regimen that needs to be prescribed by a specialist. “In order for a person to start a new diet, the nutrition plan needs to be individualized according to their metabolic rate” says the nutritionist.


Anybody can cut out gluten: Myth

According to the nutritionist, the only motive that can drive a person to exclude gluten from diet is if he/she happens to be a celiac. Gluten can only be a villain to people who suffer from celiac disease because those people tend to have hyper sensibility and when digested can interfere with the small intestine. If you think you may have celiac disease or an allergy to gluten, go to your doctor so he/she can give you an allergy test.


Celiac disease is intolerance to gluten: True

It is intolerance to gluten and depending on the digestion of the protein, the small intestine becomes inflamed, making it difficult for the absorption of vitamins and minerals. “The body attacks itself and it can happen at any age. The most common symptoms are swollen abdomen, diarrhea, weight loss and vomiting” Says Ana Fortuna


Too much gluten is bad for anybody: True

Too much gluten can be bad for anybody, not just for celiacs. “This is because gluten can cause a reduction of serotonin, which may cause depression on some individuals even if they are not sensitive to gluten. In excess, it may result in psoriasis.” Concludes Ana Fortuna.


Bottom line, anything in excess is not good for you; small quantities of gluten will not make you gain weight. Gluten is not only found in pastas, but in many things such as yogurt, protein bars and bread. Keep in mind, you are what you eat! Gluten free brownies, pizza, bread and pasta will not make you lose weight. However, reducing the amount of bad carbohydrates such as those listed above, will get you one step closer to a healthier body. There are no magical pills, detoxes and diet, there is only a balanced lifestyle, that includes healthy eating and exercising most days of the week.



5 STEPS TO A HAPPIER WEIGHT-LOSS

February 26, 2018


1 – Get your friends and family on board!

Studies have shown people eat up to 30% more when they are in a group setting than when eating by themselves. We end up sharing a dessert that we did not plan on having, eating bigger meals or even trying someone else’s plate. Child obesity has skyrocketed due to children being less active and eating more junk food. You want to lose weight? Make sure all the people around you are on board and RESPECT the fact that you are trying to lose weight.

This is especially true when you have a family or live with someone as we have the tendency to change our minds. Kids want pizza for dinner? Leave it for the weekend and make a nice grilled Salmon with Quinoa salad tonight.


2 - Keep a food journal

I tell all my clients to keep a food/drinks journal and look over it once a week. Write down the date and time that you had your breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner as well as the amount of liquids that you had throughout the day (that includes water, juices, pop, alcohol). It may seem like a lot of work but once you look back at how well or how bad you did, you can visually track your progress.


3 - Set Smart Goals, there is no easy way out

From time to time I might get a new client who wants to lose 20lbs in a month. That is completely unattainable and unsafe! Sorry to burst your bubble but there is no miracle pill, no miracle diets, no miracle exercise and not everything Dr. Oz says is right!

In a healthy setting, you want to lose between 1-2lbs a week or 4-8 pounds a month. Depending on your age, health issues and physical fitness you can lose up to 10 pounds in a month but keep in mind that you have to work for it! Eating healthy and exercising regularly will shed-off those pounds, it all depends on how much work you put into it.

Aim for 1lb a week and if you lose more you will be even more motivated to continue. If you aim for 5lbs a week, you will be terribly disappointed.


4 – Get a Personal Trainer

This is not a sales pitch. When you pay for personal training sessions, you are committing yourself to your trainer and your goals. If you don’t give your trainer 24hrs notice, you will get charged for your session; this is to make sure you don’t slack off and waste both of your times.

Gym memberships seem to be less expensive, but if you are paying $30-100/month just to go once a week or for one month, you end up paying a lot more than getting a Personal Trainer. You can also run into the same problems when paying for fitness classes because you can still slack off, not to mention that if you don’t know how to exercise properly, you can get injured.


5 – Know your food!

There are too many fad diets out there, too many endorsements by Dr. Oz who seems to contradict every week, “miracle” pills/powders and yet so many people are still trying to lose weight. Here are some things that you should avoid and some things you could try. Stick to organic and fresh produce as much as possible.

AVOID                                 TRY

*Bread                                 * Kale and Spinach

*Deep Fried                        * Skim Milk/Almond Milk

*Pasta                                  * More nuts and fresh fruits

*Juices                                 * Ginger

*Pop/Diet                            * Water w/ half a lemon

*Fast Food                           * Pineapple Tea

*Chips                                  * Watermelon

*Mayo                                  * Smaller portion size

*Butter                                 * Homemade Soup (less salt, no cream)

*Soy Sauce/Salt                 * Greek Yogurt

*Cookies/Sugar                  * Low Calorie Snacks

*Rice                                    * More Veggies, fresh or frozen

*Potatoes                            * More fish

*Chinese Food

*Gravy, Bbq sauce, garlic sauce

* No batter, chicken skin, fat



NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR THE FITNESS MINDED


1- Call them goals rather than resolutions – Resolutions have the connotation of something we say in the beginning of the year and never follow through. Saying goals tend to change our mindsets rather than drag us down.


2- Start small to see bigger results – This is especially true if your goal is to lose weight. “I want to lose 4 pounds this month” instead of “I want to lose 10 pounds this month”. When you make your goals smaller, it increases the chances of you sticking to your goals and not giving up. Make it a year long plan, don’t expect miracles if you are not putting in the effort!


3- Keep a journal– Keeping a journal is a great way for you to visualize your progress. A food log should contain: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner + Time of day. An Exercise log should contain: Type of Exercise, Duration of Exercise, Water amount, Time of the day. Do not count calories, they don’t work and you could be setting yourself for failure!


4- Reward yourself – Have a cheat day, stick to food rather than alcohol, that way you can feel full faster and see what you are putting into your body. It’s important to have a cheat day so that you don’t over indulge later.


5- It’s never too late to start – What if you have fallen off the wagon after 2-3 months? Go back to your journals, see how well you were doing before and start again! Never wait until next year; this is how gyms make their money. They expect people to buy memberships in January, give up by March and start again in the New Year. Meanwhile, you are paying for the membership and not going. Make every cent count!


6- Make it about your HEALTH– Diets, fads, trendy workouts, they never work because people are thinking of their looks rather than health. Keep it simple. Walk more, eat better, change your workout every month, check your cholesterol with your doctor, try doing something you haven’t done since you were a kid (skipping, push-ups, hula-hoop, cycle)


7- Invest in your health rather than excuses– I don’t have money. This is the number 1 excuse every trainer hears! If you don’t have money for your health, don’t go to restaurants/bars, don’t go on trips, don’t even go to house parties and don’t smoke or drink. They are all dragging you down. Imagine the amount of money you would save if you didn’t do those things; that’s because you have a choice, make a priority to invest in your health and eat less junk. The results may not be immediately, but they are worth it!


8- Stick to the plan– This all ties up to setting smart goals, small changes over a period of time, keep a journal, take pictures to track your progress, go on the scale once every 2 weeks, have a cheat day and don’t forget what your goals are!


9- Hire a Personal Trainer to help you keep on track– We are here to help you! We have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve your goals in a safe and effective manner. We went to school and passed all the exams to make sure that we can take care of your health and body. Ask us questions! We are teachers, we are here to teach you how to maximize your workouts and minimize injuries! Personal trainers are not just for people who want to lose weight, many of us are certified in active rehabilitation, prenatal fitness and seniors. Many times we work together with physiotherapists, physicians, chiropractors and nutritionists to make sure you are well taken care. Make an investment and get a trainer to teach you how you can exercise safely and yet challenging.


10- Don’t Obsess, embrace the results!Rather you are trying to lose more weight or trying to recover faster from an injury, it is crucial that you embrace the results, sometimes the results may take longer, this is a lifestyle change and your body may have limitations due to age or severity of the injury. Embrace the fact that you lost 2 pounds, embrace the fact that your posture is better, and embrace the fact that you have more energy. They may sound minuscule but they add up!


DEPRESSION & EXERCISE

February 26, 2018

Depression is a very common occurrence. It may be caused by the weather, hormonal imbalance and by many other triggers. Exercise can ease depression because it releases endorphins.


Regular exercise has been proven to help:

• Reduce stress

• Boost self-esteem

• Improve sleep

• Boost Energy

• Increase Metabolism


Here are some examples of moderate exercise that can help with depression:

• Biking

• Dancing

• Jogging/Running

• Low-impact aerobics

• Playing sports

• Swimming/Aquafit classes

• Walking

• Yoga/Pilates

• Weight Training


Having a social support is important for those with depression, by joining a group fitness class or signing up for personal training sessions, you will benefit from the physical activity and the emotional support by others in your fitness class, fitness trainer as well as by your friends and family.


Before you begin an exercise program for depression, here are some questions you should consider:


• What kind physical activities do I enjoy? Classes, dances, martial arts, etc

• Do I prefer group or individual classes?

• What programs best fit my schedule?

• Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise such as a bone or joint condition?

• What goals do I have in mind and how do I achieve them?


Try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, most days of the week. Studies have shown that exercising four or five times a week is best. Remember to take baby steps, start slow and try to increase the intensity each week (i.e.: 40 minutes instead of 30, 2 kilometres instead of 1...)


Here are some tips to help you get started:

• Exercising should be fun and enjoyable. Find something that you like to do, even if it's only once a week

• Put your exercise routine into your calendar. Always allocate a time slot for your health

• Make sure you vary your exercises so that you don't get bored. Every 4-6 weeks is a good time length

• Building a routine is extremely important, the more you do it, the easier it will be to keep it going.

TOP 5 BEACH READY EXERCISES

February 26, 2018

Here are my Top 5 Beach Ready Exercises:


1- Lunges: Nothing says Beach Body like Lunges! They work on your legs, glutes and core like no other exercise. The two main keys with this exercise are: Take a nice big step forward and bend the back leg down while keeping your back tall. This exercise is not about reaching forward as it is reaching down! Keep your knee aligned with you ankle and foot as you inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. Helloooo Ipanema Beach!

2- Push-ups: This exercise can be done anywhere and it involves all major muscles in the body. Great for the chest,shoulders, arms, core and legs. You can start by going on your knees and then progressing to your toes, keeping in mind of your posture and breathing (inhale on the way down, exhale as you push yourself up)

3- Swimming: Awesome way to stay in shape while being gentle on the joints. Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise that also helps tone the body.

4- Woodchop: This exercise can be done on a cable pulley or with a medicine ball. While keeping your arms straight, gently twist from the waist and return to the starting position. This exercise is great for the core and arms as well as balance and mobility.

5- Seated Row/ One Arm Row: You can't have a Beach body without a nice Sexy Back! Our upper back is responsible for posture, so it is no surprise that this exercise made into my list. Sometimes we concentrate on the front or "mirror" muscles and we forget how important the muscles on the other side are. With a Seated Row, extend your arms until they are slightly bent and then bring the handles toward your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Remember to inhale as you are straightening the arms and exhale as you are bringing the handles toward you, keeping your back tall and static.


Don't forget that summer bodies are made in the winter, so get started now!

TOP 5 EXERCISE TIPS

February 26, 2018

1. Stay Hydrated

No matter which exercise you are doing, it is really important to replenish your electrolytes and to hydrate your body. Just by adding a simple slice of lime, lemon or orange to your water, you are replenishing all the important vitamins and minerals lost during your workout.


2. Exercise Within Your Heart Rate Zone

This is extremely important if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or if you are pregnant. Exercising within a specific heart rate target will help you improve your cardiovascular endurance without putting too much stress on the heart. Remember: The harder the heart pumps, the more oxygen it needs to send to the other organs and muscles. Too much too soon puts a tremendous amount of stress on the heart, other organs and muscles.

The most common formulas to find your heart rate zones are:

220 - your age x 50%, 70% or 85%

Borg Scale 1-10 (1 easiest, 10 hardest)

Wearing a heart rate monitor


3. Stretch!

I can't emphasize this enough. Stretching is essential to prevent injuries. An active person should stretch 2x a day everyday, especially after exercising (walking, running, working out, playing sports, biking, rollerblading, etc). You should hold each stretch until you cannot feel too much tension (sometimes 30 seconds is enough, sometimes 60 seconds). All major muscles should be stretched, especially the muscles on the neck and legs (especially calves if you are a runner).


4. Beware of Your Posture

You should always be aware of your posture regardless if you are exercising, however, when you are exercising this is a major factor in keeping your body injury-free. Remembering to keep your core engaged, your spine in neutral position while keeping your shoulders down and your joints relaxed can be a tough task to handle. This means no slouching when doing cardio, no arching of the back when doing weight training and no locking of the joints when stretching.


5. Rest

Always give your body 1-2 full days of rest and never workout the same muscles everyday. This means, if you are doing an upper body exercise, you should do a lower body exercise the next day (if you are doing a full body workout, skip the next day). The reason for that is, your muscles need time to grow and get stronger.

Over-training can lead to a number of issues such as irritability, lack of sleep, lack of energy, injuries, plateaus, anxiety, depression, stiffness, increased resting heart rate amongst other symptoms. Exercising for 1 hour most days of the week (no less than 3 no more than 6) will keep you active without going overboard!

TOP 5 MUST HAVE EQUIPMENTS

February 26, 2018

Here are my top 5 must have Equipments that don't require a lot of space & money!


1 - Resistance Bands - They are versatile, easy to use, easy to carry and they do not take a lot of space. You can work out your entire body by using these bands (tubes or thera-bands) and best of all, they are affordable! (Allergy Beware: They are usually made from Silicone or Latex)


2 - Skip Rope - Another great little piece of equipment that is easy to carry and does not take a whole lot of space. You can get your cardio going without having a big piece of machine in your living room. It is fun, easy to use and you can find the skipping style that works best for you.


3 - Bosu Balance Trainer - I love Bosu!! They are a little more on the expensive side than some other equipments (usually between $85-$130) but you can work on your entire body including: balance, core strength and stability, cardiovascular endurance as well as strength.


4 - Fitness Ball - Great way to work your entire body, very affordable piece of equipment but you need some space to store it. I love working with the ball with my clients because it's great for balance, posture, core strength and stability and overall toning. Some people even use them as chairs however, you have to find the perfect ball size depending on your height 55cm, 65cm or 75cm fitness ball can be purchased at any fitness store.


5 - Yoga Mat - They are not only made for you to stretch but to do any floor exercise including crunches, planks and push-ups. They are non-slippery and tend to stick to any type of floor, easy to store, easy to clean and quite affordable.

With these equipments you can do a full body workout without breaking the bank or taking a whole lot of space! No need for gym memberships, no tons of dumbbells/kettlebells all over the place, no need for treadmill or elliptical maintenance and they do not consume any extra energy. In just 10-20 minutes you can use all of these equipments for a full body workout!

So what's your excuse for not working out?

MY TOP 5 CARDIO

February 26, 2018

1 - Walking

Sounds simple enough but you will be surprise how many people do not walk enough. Walking for just 30 minutes can improve your posture, breathing and gait. If you are a beginner, older adult or have mobility issues, it is crucial to walk for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Doctors also encourage people who have done tummy tucks to start walking as soon as the stitches come off. You can walk alone, with a buddy, a dog or even with a stroller, outside or on the treadmill!


2- Running

Running is a great way to get your body in shape not only because it increases your heart rate for a period of time, but also because you are using your entire body, and yes, it includes your heart!! The fitter your heart is, the fitter you will get. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes for running, if you need to wear orthopedics don't forget to put them on your running shoes, old shoes should be replaced by new ones as well. Running does come with a few down sides: 1- It can damage the knees and lower back overtime due to high impact, 2- Tights calves should be stretched regularly 3- I.T. Band should also be stretch regularly to avoid injuries in the hip-knee area.


3- Biking/ Spinning Classes

Biking is a wonderful way to get your body in shape because it is easier on the knees. Cardio comes from the word cardiovascular, meaning your heart. This means that as long as you are getting your heart a workout, you will reap all the benefits from all cardiovascular exercises. Biking is one of the best ways to strengthen your heart without injuring the rest of your body. You can bike outside, use the exercise bike at home or do a spinning/cycling class. Spinning bikes are most similar to road bicycles, they can certainly increase your cardiovascular fitness. A 1 hour Spinning Class can burn between 700-1200 Calories depending on your fitness level.


4- Swimming/ Aqua Fit Classes

Swimming is gentle on all your joints and is a great way to stay in shape. Swimming just once a week can improve your cardiovascular fitness in as little as 4 weeks. It is a full body workout that will improve not only your muscles and joints but also your breathing! Aqua fit classes are a great way to get in shape and make new friends.


5- Skipping

Skipping is great in so many levels. It helps with your cardio, breathing, coordination, balance, speed and agility. The best thing is, we have all done it as kids and we had fun doing it. You can skip at home, at the park or at the gym, it does not require a lot of equipment or space. Not so coordinated? No problem! Just pretend you have a rope and skip to a beat!

TOP 5 EXERCISES THAT WILL GET YOU IN SHAPE

February 26, 2018

1- PUSH-UPS

This is a great exercise not only for the chest and triceps, but also your core. It requires your own body weight, so you can virtually do it anywhere, including at the gym, hotel room, the beach and even in your living room, What is so great about this exercise is that it helps in preventing falls, thus making it my number 1 exercise.


2- PLANKS

Planks are a wonderful way to work on your core. When people think of core, they think of 6 packs and this is not entirely true. Planks are great not only because it uses your own body weight and helps in fall prevention, but also because it is easier on your spine! The main muscles being worked are the Transverse Abdominus and Quadratus Lumborum - these muscles are responsible for posture and we all know how important it is to have a good posture.


3- SQUATS

This is another functional exercise that you can do anywhere, anytime and that does not require a gym membership. We squat down to pick something up, we squat to sit down, we even squat down to play with our pets and children. A squat is great for posture and the lower extremity muscles such as the quads (front legs), hamstrings (back legs), glutes, inner and outer thighs and not to mention the core.


4- REVERSE FLIES

This is a great exercise for posture! it works the main muscles on the upper back, responsible for having that nice upright posture we are all supposed to have. This is exercise require very little to no equipment. You can use a resistance band, dumbbells, machine, a towel or even nothing at all. Sometimes it is the simplest of the exercises that will give you the most benefits.


5- LUNGES

Lunges are very similar to squats in terms of movement. However, it requires more balance and concentration. We do lunges everyday such as to tie our shoes and talk to kids. You can do lunges anywhere even on the side walk! This exercise makes my top 5 list because of balance and posture, one of the most important things we all need to work on at any age!

TOP 10 STRETCHING SONGS

February 26, 2018

Stretching is just as important as doing cardio and resistance training. Here are some of my favourite stretching songs. Enjoy!


01- Only Time (Sweet November) - Enya

02- Orinoco Flow - Enya

03- Only If - Enya

04- Magic - Coldplay

05- Trouble - Coldplay

06- Too Much Rain Over Paradise - ATB

07- Children - Robert Miles

08- Mad World - Gary Jules

09- Girl From Ipanema - Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz

10- Breezin' - George Benson

Please share your ideas of songs for stretching & relaxation :)

WORKOUT SONGS

February 26, 2018

Songs can play a great role when working out. They can motivate, accelerate and even relax you depending on the training that you are doing.

A lot of my clients ask me how do I stay motivated while doing my workouts. My answer tends to be pretty simple: 1- I allocate my own workout time in my calendar 2- I eat something light before working out 3- I have a kickass playlist.


Rather I am running, cycling, using a cardio machine or doing weight training, music plays a great role on how I can push myself a little bit more and stay motivated until stretching time. Here are some of the songs that I listen to while working out.


1- Beautiful day- U2

2- Stronger- Kelly Clarkson

3- Roar- Katy Perry

4- Thunderstruck- AC/DC

5- It’s My Life- Bon Jovi

6- Eye Of The Tiger- Foreigner

7- Survivor- Destiny's Child

8- Seven Nation Army- The White Stripes

9- Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton

10- We Will Rock You- Queen

11- Living On A Prayer- Bon Jovi

12- Dog Days Are Over- Florence And The Machine

13- Don't Stop the Music- Rihanna

14 - Ho Hey - The Lumineers

RUNNING SONGS

February 26, 2018
Here are my fav running songs:

1- Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones

2- Back in Black - AC/DC

3- We Will Rock You - Queen

4- Baba O'Reily - The Who

5- Three Little Birds- Bob Marley

6- True to Myself- Ziggy Marley

7- Fancy - Iggy Azalea

8- The Greatest - Sia

9- Don't Stop The Music - Rihanna

10- Final Song - MO

RAINY DAY MOTIVATIONAL SONGS

February 26, 2018

Here are some of the songs that can get your body moving during those dark rainy days.


01- I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

02- Burn - Ellie Goulding

03- Thunderstruck - AC/DC

04- Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand

05- Keep Hope Alive - The Crystal Method

06- Danse - Mia Martina

07- We No Speak Americano

08- Wake Me Up - Avicii

09- Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

10- Gonna Make You Sweat - C&C Factory

11- I See You Baby - Groove Armada

12- I like it Like That - Pete Rodriguez

13- Djobi Djoba - Gipsy Kings

14- Danza Kuduro - Lucenzo

15- Sandstorm - Darude

16- Pump it - Black Eyed Peas

17- Lonely Boy - The Black Keys

18- All The Things I've Done - The Killers

GYM NO-NOS

February 26, 2018

• Exercises from the 80s should stay in the 80s!! Doing a Lat Pulldown behind the neck is extremely dangerous as you put pressure on your cervical vertebrae and restricts your breathing! This exercise should be done with a neutral spine, aiming the bar at your chest (yes, you are still working on your lats this way). Arnold may have done some funky exercises way back when, but please, be smart, stay safe!


• Another exercise from the 80s is using the Decline Bench Press. Blood rushes through your head a lot faster than you can build your lower pecks or abs. This may cause dizziness, nausea, faintness and even an aneurism. Many times, people hold their breath and arch their back in order to finish off their set which can make things a lot worse. If possible, use the decline press MACHINE for the lower pecks or a ball for the abs.


• Back Extension bench is not a roller coaster ride!!! The lower back is one of the most sensitive yet complex areas of your body. When using the back extension bench, go SLOW, concentrating on your breathing and posture. Hyper extending (arching) the lower back does not mean you are working it harder; it means you are hurting it!


• High Step Lunge Tilt. Ladies!! There are other way of working the hips without putting pressure on the knees and hips!! Words you should know: ACL, Meniscus, Tensor Fascae Latae (Look them up!). All it takes is one missed-step or jolting of the knee to really hurt yourself. Do your steps, do your lunges, just don`t push your leg back-side or do curtsy lunges, this is not a functional movement! Not even when bowing to the queen!


• The Elliptical was not made for running! Want to run? Use the treadmill! The Elliptical is a gliding cardio machine that although is not functional (and in my opinion should not be used), it is easier on the knees for those who have knee issues. Ellipticals do not burn more calories than other cardio machines!!! The calorie you burn depends on your metabolism, gender and your performance

WHAT IS RESISTANCE TRAINING?

February 26, 2018

Resistance training is a form of strength training by muscle contraction. It is also very important in strengthening of bone mass and weight loss. 1 in 4 women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and arthritis. Resistance Training is known to improve bone mass and density thus being crucial for people who suffer from osteoporosis

Many women believe that if they do weights they will “bulk-up” when in fact, doing weights can help them slim down. Resistance Training requires the muscles to “fire-up” which consumes energy therefore, burning some of the fat. Women have smaller muscles than men; this is due to our stature, smaller bones & natural selection. It would take 2x as long for a woman to become excessively muscular. Think of it as doing a leg press with 100lbs vs. doing a leg press with 200lbs; how many repetitions would you be able to do? The higher the weight, the less repetitions, the bigger the muscle fiber. In other words, hypertrophy (bulking-up).


Resistance Training helps our bones get stronger, our muscles get more toned not to mention that it helps us have better posture!


If you're a beginner or trying to lose weight, I would recommend doing 15-20 reps

If you're trying to tone up or maintain your weight, I would recommend doing 12-15 reps

If you're trying to gain strength, I would recommend doing 8-10 reps

If you're trying to bulk up, I would recommend doing 6-10 reps but more than 3 sets

Cardio exercise, weight loss, summer, beach body

WHAT IS CARDIO?

February 26, 2018

Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which refers to the heart. Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for a period of time. Another name for it is aerobic exercise. The kind of exercises that are associated with cardiovascular workouts are things like jogging, fast walking, and swimming where there is no break in the routine.


Exercises that emphasize stretch and strength, like Pilates, are generally not considered cardio exercise, though Pilates can be done in a cardio way, and can certainly be combined with cardio workouts to great effect.


Benefits of a Cardio Workout


There are many benefits associated with doing cardio exercises. Here are some top reasons to include cardio in your workout routine:


It strengthens the heart

It strengthens the lungs and increases lung capacity

It boosts the metabolism

It helps reduce stress

It increases energy

It promotes restful sleep


Types of Cardiovascular Training


· Continuous Training – Steady-paced training, where oxygen demand is being met

· Long slow distance – Longer Period of time (i.e.: Training for the Sun Run)

· Interval Training – High intensity followed by rest and then high intensity (precise time)

· Fartlek – Random program, high intensity followed by rest and then high intensity (no precise time)

Monitoring Intensity

· Heart Rate (220-age x %)

· Talk-Test (2-3 words at a time)

· Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) – How you feel on a scale of 1-10


Although doing cardiovascular exercises may help you lose weight, it does not mean that by only doing cardio you will lose weight. Cardio exercises work mainly the heart. By increasing your heart rate, you will demand more of your body (higher the heart rate, the more energy needed therefore the higher the calorie burn). If you're not challenging your heart, meaning if you're always doing the same cardio exercise and going at the same pace, you will not lose weight as your body is not being challenged. So if you use the elliptical everyday for 30 minutes and always the same level you are basically just wasting your time.


Beware! If you are pregnant or taking Beta-blockers make sure to follow a consistent cardio zone as well as monitor your training by using the methods of RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) and your Resting Heart Rate!

Nutrition, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, diet

NUTRITION & A HEALTHIER YOU

February 26, 2018

As we all know, nutrition plays a big part of wellness and exercise. The same way babies need a good nutrition in order to grow, so do our muscles and organs. Having a proper nutrition helps us fight colds, diseases, it increases our energy level as well as makes us feel good about ourselves. Most importantly, it teaches kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


In order to maintain a healthy weight and a high metabolism, we need to eat 5 times a day. This means: 1) Breakfast 2) Snack 3) Lunch 4) Snack 5) Dinner


Q. Aren’t snacks bad for you? Don’t they make you gain weight?

A. It all depends on what to choose to snack on. What a snack really means is a smaller meal. For example, you can have a fruit as a snack, or mixed nuts, or a low fat yogurt instead of cookies.


Q. What is a proper meal?

A. A proper meal consists of: A Protein Potion (ie: Chicken, Fish & Lean Meats), a Carb Portion (good carbs such as Fruits & Veggies) and a Fat Portion (ie: Olive Oil, Nuts, Light Mayo – if you must have it).


Q. What is a portion size?

A. Portion size is very important; especially nowadays all you can eat buffets and super-sizing meals for 30 cents more.


Remember, the protein portion should be the size of a deck of cards; carbs should be the size of your palm and oils the size of your thumb. Let’s say that you’re having pasta instead of a salad, the amount of carbs should be decreased to the size of your fist. Bad carbs such as pasta, flour, white rice and bread, should be eaten in smaller quantities.


Try not to have two different types of carbohydrates within the same meal (ie: veggies & pasta) as your body will take longer to digest all the food.


A good nutrition and exercise plan is beneficial to the entire household. If we make small but good changes every day, we can decrease the risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and even depression.


Let us not forget the importance of drinking water! Water helps with digestion, it helps with the removal of toxins, and it also helps with the reproduction of elastin (skin elasticity). Do you ever get headaches, migraines or even feel tired? You would be surprised what 8 glasses of water a day can do for you!


salad, healthy lifestyle

GREEK SALAD WITH A TWIST

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:


Romain Lettuce

Tomatoes

Red Onion

1/2 Cucumber

1/2 Avocado

1/2 Apple

Kalamata or Black Olives

Feta Cheese

Olive Oil

Vinegar

Pepper


How to Prepare:

Mix it all in a bowl! Super quick and easy recipe means no excuses!

Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy food, Wellness

Spinach Salad with Peanut or Almond dressing

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:


1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, dry-roasted ½ pound fresh spinach

5 cherry tomatoes – (5 to 10) 4 red onion slices

1/4 cup of berries

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper – or half this for less spiciness

6 tablespoons peanut oil or almond oil. You can also use 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter or almond butter


How to Prepare:

In a jar, shake together vinegar, salt, soy sauce & cayenne pepper until salt dissolves. Add oil & shake again to combine ingredients. Pour over salad when ready to serve and toss well.

Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy food, Wellness

Strawberry Feta Salad

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:

Strawberries, Feta Cheese, Mixed Greens and Poppyseed Dressing


How to Prepare:

Mix Strawberries (sliced) with Feta cheese, Lettuce, and Poppyseed

dressing. Delicious in the summertime.

Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy food, Wellness

Simple Mixed Salad

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:

2 cups romaine lettuce

chopped 2 cups bock choy

4 roman tomatoes

½ cup endive,

chopped ½ cup spinach stems removed and chopped

½ cup red cabbage

chopped ½ cup cucumbers, peeled and sliced

½ cup celery

sliced ½ cup mushrooms,

¼ cup carrot shreds


How to Prepare:

Toss everything together.

Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy food, Wellness

Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:

Strawberries

Dried Cranberries

Almonds

Goat Cheese

Romain Lettuce

Raspberry Vinaigrette


How To Prepare:

Mix everything in a bowl. Enjoy!

  Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food

Salmon Salad

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:

Salmon (preferably wild)

Capers

Chopped onion

Minced Garlic

Ground pepper

Cilantro

3 Tomatoes

1 Head of lettuce

2 Limes

Olive oil extra virgin

Apple vinegar


How to prepare:


1- Season the salmon with capers, minced garlic, 1 whole lime, ground pepper and some chopped or slices of onion. Wrap the salmon in aluminum foil and place it in the oven to broil on low heat for 15-20 minutes.

or

2- Soak in water a maple or cedar plank for 30 minutes. Season the salmon with capers, minced garlic, 1 whole lime, ground pepper and some chopped or slices of onion. Place the salmon on an maple/cedar plank and barbecue the salmon for 10 minutes on low-medium heat.


Mix lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, chopped onions, olive oil and apple vinegar in a bowl. Add the salmon to the top of the salad. Enjoy!

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food

Veggie Soup For a Healthy Soul

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:


Fresh Cilantro (Some Vitamin A + C)

Fresh Basil (Some Vitamin A + C, Iron and Calcium)

Green Onions (Protein,Fiber, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, and Vitamin C)

1/2 Red Onion (Protein,Fiber, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, and Vitamin C)

Fresh Garlic (High in Protein, Vitamin C, Fiber, Iron and Calcium)

Fresh Ginger (Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese)

1/2 Pumpkin (High in Protein, Vitamins A + C, Iron, Fiber and Calcium)

1 Fennel (High in Protein, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese)

1 Leek (High in Protein, Vitamins A + C, Iron and Calcium)

1 Squash (High in Protein, Vitamins A + C, Iron and Calcium)

3 Zucchinis (High in Vitamins A + C and Iron)

3 Carrots (High in Vitamins A + C)

Vegetable or Chicken Broth (low sodium or homemade) (Vitamin A and Potassium)

1 tbs of Sunflower Oil (Low cholesterol and sodium,good source of Vitamin E)

Salt to your liking (Manganese and Iron)


How to prepare:


I like to chop everything first before putting them in a pan. I then add 1 tbs of sunflower oil to the pan on low heat, slowly adding the chopped cilantro, basil, green onions,red onion, ginger and the garlic. Let it simmer until the garlic is a little crispy, then add the vegetable or chicken broth and keep it on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Finally,add all other veggies and in about 20-25 minutes you will have a nice healthy bowl of soup! If you have a pressure cooker, you can enjoy your soup in 15 minutes!!!


Bon Appetit!

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food

Metabolism Booster Detox

February 26, 2018

Ingredients:


4 Kale leaves

6 Mint Leaves

2 Limes

1L of water


How to prepare:

Mix in the blender the kale, mint and 1 litre of water. Put it through a strainer and then add the limes. Have it preferably in the morning.


Benefits:


Kale – Rich in vitamins A,C , K, minerals and enzymes, therefore having essential benefits for eliminating toxins. Great for cardiovascular support and has anti-inflammatory power.

Mint – Rich in vitamin C, it has sedative, disinfectant and healing properties. It helps the liver and calms indigestion. Great for headaches, acne and ear inflammation.

Lime – Rich in vitamins such as A and C .It helps with digestion, relieves constipation, and is high in anti-oxidants. A must to fight the flu season!


Please keep in mind that detox juices are not meal and exercise replacements. They serve to clean your body from the overload of toxins and should not be continued for long periods of time. Your body needs the proper balance, both diet and exercise should be in moderation. Over-detoxing puts as much strain on your body as over-training. Be sensible and stay healthy!

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food

10 SUPER FOODS YOU SHOULD EAT

February 26, 2018

1. Sweet Potatoes.

They are loaded with vitamin A, caretonoids, vitamin C, potassium and fibre

2. Grape Tomatoes.

They are also packed with vitamin C and A, and you also get some fibre, some phytochemicals and flavour

3. Skim or 1% milk.

Excellent source of calcium, vitamins and protein with very little cholesterol (same goes to low fat yogurt)

4. Broccoli.

Lots of vitamin C, carotenoids and folic acid.

5. Wild Salmon.

Full of creatine and Omega-3 fats which can help reduce the risk of heart attacks.

6. Crispbreads.

Whole-grain rye crackers are loaded with fibre and are often fat-free.

7. Diced Butternut Squash.

Every half-cup has 5 grams of fibre and loads of Vitamin A and C

8. Citrus Fruits.

Rich in Vitamin C, folic acid and fibre

9. Beans and lentils.

Rich in protein, iron, folic acid and fibre.

10. Spinach or Kale.

Jam-packed with Vitamins A, C and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, lutein and phytochemicals.

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food

Kidney Detox

February 26, 2018

Ingredients

1/2 bunch Cilantro

1/2 bunch Parsley

6 Mint Leaves

1 L of Water


How to Prepare

Put in the blender the cilantro, mint, parsley and water. Boil the juice for 10 minutes then use a kitchen drainer to drain out the big chunks.You can let it cool-down or drink it hot. Drink 1L throughout the day. This kidney detox is a great way to not only cleanse the kidney from all the toxins, but also a great way to get rid off all the water retention.

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food

10 Dietary Habits You Should Have in 2018

January 1, 2018

It seem that every couple of years a new fad diet pops up, promising miracle results and yet obesity rates keep going up! Here are 10 tips to start the year right!!


1- DRINK MORE WATER

Everyone knows how important it is to drink water, it helps digest food, detoxes the body naturally, it helps get rid of both hunger and headaches and best of all it’s calorie free, sugarless and it contains no sodium (unlike other liquids you may drink throughout the day). To calculate the ideal amount of water per day, just calculate your weight in kg x30. For example, if you weigh 70kg ( 70 x 2.2 = 154 lbs) you should consume about 70x30 = 2100ml of water per day. That’s about 2 – 2.5 Liters of water (coffee, tea & pop don’t count as both caffeine and sugar can dehydrate your body). This is especially true if you tend to retain water and even though it’s annoying to go to the bathroom all the time, it’s a lot cheaper than a gym membership or magical pills.


2- CHEW YOUR FOOD SLOWLY

Did you know it takes about 20 minutes for our body to know when it’s satisfied? We live in a society where fast food is everywhere and even when you’re not eating fast food, you’re still eating fast and in bigger amounts. Treat your food with respect and appreciate every bite! People who chew and eat slowly consume about 30% less than those who eat in about 10 minutes.


3- EAT A COLOURFUL PLATE

Ideally, our plate should be very colourful, that way we’re eating a vast type of nutrients such as different types of vitamins and minerals. Try to eat a plate that includes the colours green, yellow, red, orange and purple.


4 – NEVER SHOP WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY

That rule also applies to those trips to Costco and all those freebies you might be tempted to indulge. When you eat before you do your groceries, you will less likely buy unnecessary treats such as cookies, chips and ice cream.


5 – PLAN YOUR MEALS

Consider yourself a chef and your body a restaurant. Chefs take time out of their day to plan meals that people may like. If you have time to go on social media, liquor store, watch tv and even smoke, then you have time to plan your food! There are tons of apps and pinterests that can help you choose a healthier meal. Bring your homemade meals to work or school and always plan ahead just like a chef! Little containers with nuts or fruits will also help you with your cravings throughout the day.


6 – DON’T BE LAZY

So it’s getting closer to the end of the week and you feel like ordering pizza because you just can’t be bothered to prepare another meal. Think of something quick and easy to make that it’s relatively healthy such as an omelet, salad, soup or better yet use a slow cooker so that your meal is ready when you come home!


7 – PORTION SIZE

When we’re hungry, we tend to over eat and overtime our stomach dilates thus we continue to eat bigger portions. Eating 5 small meals a day will keep your metabolism strong and your waistline small. This is especially true when eating out.


8 – DON’T GO FOR SECONDS OR THIRDS

When the meal is good, we might go for another round or so (especially when hitting buffets) but is it really necessary? Sometimes we do that because we ate too fast (rule N. 2) or because we’re in an expensive buffet. Overtime, eating those extra plates can increase your chances of diabetes, heart disease, not to mention the agony of buying bigger clothes!


9 – DON’T DRINK LIQUIDS DURING MEALS

The reason for that is that we end up dilating our stomach too much thus stressing the liver and kidneys during digestion. Our saliva helps break down food (just like any other liquid) in the correct amount. It is best to drink some water before your meals so that you don’t over eat or eat too fast.


10 – REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR AND SODIUM IN YOUR DIET

If you like to drink juice, tea or coffee, try limiting the amount of sugar throughout your day. Did you know that store bought juices have about the same amount of sugar as pop? Did you know that some gluten free sauces have higher amounts of sodium? Both sugar and sodium are terrible for the body. Key words such as: Sugar-free, Fat-free, Gluten-free, Juice, Salad, Soup don’t mean that there are “healthy”. Read your labels carefully and don’t fool yourself!

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food, exercise, workout

Exercise of the month - January

January 1, 2018

Q. What is a Squat?

A. Squat is a very important functional exercise because it mimics everyday motion such as sitting down or picking something up. Unfortunately, there are many things that can go wrong when doing this exercise. The most common mistake is to put pressure on the toes instead of the heel of the foot. This causes unbalance, injuries to the knees and misalignment of the lower back.

Q. How can I do a squat properly?

A. Many trainers give the example of sitting on a chair. The problem is, too many people don’t realize how they sit down and how to have a proper posture. You want to start with your feet hip apart, your feet should point straight ahead and your upper back should stay nice and tall. You then put pressure on your heels (back of the feet) as you are pushing your bum down towards your heels keeping your knees straight, your core engaged and your shoulders relaxed. The key factors in doing a proper squat are keeping your upper body nice and tall as you are descending and keeping your hips neutral as you are ascending. Try doing this exercise in front of a mirror to see if your knees are aligned with the rest of your body (knees are straight and toes are in front of the knees)

Q. How do I breathe doing this exercise?

A. You always want to exhale on the exertion. So you are breathing in on the way down and breathing out on the way up. Holding your breath or breathing the other way may cause dizziness and nausea.

Q. Which muscles am I working when doing a squat?

A. You should be working your quads (front of legs), hamstrings (back of legs), glutes and your core (abdominals and lower back). If you ever feel pain on your ankles, knees, back and shoulders, please contact a health professional.

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food, exercise

Exercise of the Month - February

February 1, 2018

Q. What is a plank?

A. It is an important exercise that can be done at any age. It requires no movement and yet, it works on the most important group of muscles: the core. By having a stronger core, you are improving your posture and preventing falls.

Q. How do I do a plank properly?

A. In order to do a plank properly, you have to position yourself properly. You can go on your elbows and knees (beginner) and work yourself up to on your hands and toes (advanced). The main focus is to keep your abdominal muscles contracted and your back flat; balancing out your body weight on the four corners of your body (upper and lower). Keep your body in a neutral position from head to toe.

Q. How do I breathe during this exercise?

A. Your breathing is the second most important factor in this exercise. You should breathe in through your nose and out with your mouth. Holding your breath or breathing too fast may cause dizziness. Please contact your physician if you have high blood pressure.

Q. What muscles am I working when doing a plank?

A. The abdominal muscles which includes the obliques, transverse abdominus and rectus abdominus as well as the lower back and shoulders.

 Healthy Lifestyle, wellness, food, exercise

Exercise of the Month - March

March 1, 2018

PUSH-UPS

Q. What is a push-up?

A. A push up may just be the perfect total body exercise that builds both upper body and core strength. Done properly, it uses muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs.

Q. What is the correct way of doing push-ups?

A. The most important thing about push-ups is keeping your back straight. The second most important thing is breathing.

Get on the floor and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.

Rise up onto your toes (or knees) so you are balanced on your hands and toes (or knees).

Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging in the middle or arching your back.

Your feet can be close together or a bit wider depending upon what is most comfortable for you.

Before you begin any movement, contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine.

Keep a tight core throughout the entire push up.

Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle.

Exhale as you begin pushing back up to the start position

Don't lock out the elbows; keep them slightly bent.

Repeat for as many repetitions as your workout routine requires.

Q. Which muscles am I working?

A. Your Chest, Triceps (back of the arms), Shoulders and Core (abs and lower back).

baby, prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga

Common Mistakes When Planning a Baby's Layette

March 3, 2018

If you are a first time mom, the chances are you want to buy everything you see! I don’t blame you! With so many cutesy things out there, it’s hard not to go overboard and buy everything under the sun. Here are some common mistakes that you should look out for when planning your baby’s layette.

1- Don’t overbuy onesies – Although onesies are great and babies tend to use them a lot, the chances are they will out grow them very quickly (not to mention that babies are born in different sizes so those sizes 0-3 may not work). Another thing to keep in mind with onesies is that some of them come with zippers that can be a bit of a nuisance when changing diapers, as you will have to unzip all the way.

2- Research the sizes – Perhaps buying too many of the 0-3 months is not such a great idea, as your baby will outgrow them quite quickly. Also, pay attention to the size difference from store to store. Some brands are slightly different in sizes than others.

3- Try the product before hand – Check if the stroller fits in the trunk of the car, another tricky one is the stroller’s basket area, as some parents find that the weight of the baby blocks half of the storage. Check the car seat to make sure you know how to properly adjust before the baby comes.

4- Research your stores – Some stores to seasonal sales quite early on, so make sure to check out the stores’ website prior to leaving your home. If you’re having a baby in the summer it’s best to go to the stores late winter/early spring as you might be stuck with fall/winter clothes.

5- Don’t buy too many shoes – Those cute little shoes can be quite uncomfortable and babies don’t seem to like them so much. Instead, try buying more socks and fewer shoes. Some socks come decorated as shoes for that particular reason.

6- Don’t overbuy bedding sets – Sometimes we end up buying sets because they look just adorable but really, how many of those sets do we end up using?

7- Watch out for sales – Just because it’s says you “save” when you end up buying more, you would save even more if you didn’t buy the extra stuff. Buying 6 bottles, 6 pacifiers and wipes warmers are just unnecessary.

8- Try different diapers brands – There are lots of different brands and sizes of diapers, which can be very tricky. The best advice is to buy fewer of them and see which ones worked out better.

 pregnancy,prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, mom

Pregnancy and Aesthetics

March 3, 2018

Being pregnant requires a few changes not just physiologically but aesthetically as well. With so many Dos & Don’ts out there it’s hard to truly know how to take care of yourself and your baby.


Generally, a pregnant woman needs to be very careful prior to doing certain treatments or using beauty products may that be on their skin or hair.


Here are some things to think about when pregnant:


Tanning Lotions & Sunscreen

While pregnant women should use sunscreen lotion to protect against UV rays and sunburns, tanning lotions are not recommended as they contain the active ingredient DHA that is able to penetrate the skin and may harm your baby. During pregnancy, your skin is more susceptible to burning so you should be taking every precaution especially in the first trimester.


Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are also not recommended by most health care professionals as they could also potentially harm your baby in addition to raising your body temperature. Although overheating is quite common during pregnancy, it is also associated with spinal malformations in the baby.


Nail Polish & Polish Remover

Regular nail polish is fine to use, make sure to read the label and try to avoid nail polishes or hardeners that contain formaldehyde. Polish removers contain about 50% of acetone and they should be fine to use as well.


Shellac, Acrylic & Gel Nails

It is still unclear how harmful these products are on the baby. Health professionals do not recommend the use of harmful chemicals, especially those with very strong scent such as nail glue and gel nails. Also, the use of UV lights are completely forbidden during pregnancy. Some studies have linked UV rays with folic acid deficiency. Shellac gels can be Odorless but make sure that you use LED light instead of UV light.


Waxing and Hair Removal

So far there are no restrictions for waxing, either cold or hot wax or just regular shaving. However, it is best to avoid using hair removal cream as they can penetrate the skin.

Laser hair removal is not recommended during the gestational period but there are no contra-indications during breastfeeding.


Cosmetics

Most creams and beauty products are safe to use unless they say otherwise on the label. Anti-aging creams should be avoided as they contain glycolic acid, retinoid, retinol and surprisingly enough high doses of vitamin A, which has been linked with birth defects. Specific defects noted in the study included neural tube defects of the head, thymus, face and heart.


Body Lotions

Body lotions are fine to use as long as they don’t have more than 3% urea. Ask your dermatologist or health care provider for recommendations.


Shampoo, Anti-dandruff and Anti-lice

There are no restrictions on regular shampoos. However, shampoo for dandruff and lice are considered “medicated” shampoos and for the most part they contain a substance called Ketoconazole, which is prohibited during pregnancy.


Exfoliators/scrubs

No restrictions on them as long as they don’t have a concentration of urea higher than 3%.


Hair Dyes & Blow Outs

It is not recommended any hair dye, chemical straighteners or toners, only products that contain peroxide (highlights are ok). This is especially true in the first trimester. During breastfeeding it is ok to use such products but any product that uses formaldehyde and ammonia are strictly forbidden. So either embrace your gray hair, get some highlights or let it grow Ombre!


Laser and Botox

It is forbidden to do any kind of laser and botox during pregnancy.


Teeth Whitening

It is not recommended to use any chemicals or laser during pregnancy. The gums become more sensitive and more prone to bleeding which may cause inflammation and even infections. Generally, dentists prefer to just stick to dental cleaning. Also X-rays are not recommended during the first trimester.


Plastic Surgeries and Liposuctions

It is strictly forbidden to do any type of cosmetic surgery during pregnancy as they may result in the loss of the baby.


Massage & Lymphatic Massage

Both types of massages should be done by someone who is specialized in prenatal massage as there are different techniques. Some specialists even have prenatal pillows that conform to the woman’s body. Prenatal massage can help with anxiety, sleep deprivation, low back pain and water retention.


Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t take of yourself, it just means that you have to read the labels a bit more carefully and always seek the help of a professional (may that be a dermatologist, dentist, massage therapist, personal trainer) when in doubt.

 prenatal yoga, prenatal fitness, postnatal, postpartum, baby

Having a Baby on a Budget

March 4, 2018

If you’re pregnant with your first child, chances are you want to buy everything that is cute and splurge and all things related to pregnancy. I’ve compiled a list of things that could be important to splurge on and others that you could save on.


SPLURGE


1 -Professional Photographers for those pictures that will last you a lifetime! A lot of people end up regretting not hiring a professional photographer because they think it’s too expensive and they end up investing more time trying to do it themselves for pictures that may not come out like they wanted. You may also find some great deals online. If you live in the Vancouver area, I highly recommend Mengatto Photography 

2- Prenatal Massage Therapists can help you ease your aches and pain as well as reduce any water retention you might have. You can see them once a week or even once a month and you will not regret getting pampered! Again, check out for deals online.

3- Prenatal Fitness Classes are a great way to meet other moms and share stories. You will be amazed how much support and motivation you can have from a group setting. Being surrounded by others who are going through the same thing as you is very welcoming and comforting as you end up learning a lot more than buying books about pregnancy. You not only learn how to safely exercise during pregnancy but also how to deal with heartburns, which strollers to buy and even how to introduce a new baby to pets. These classes are more than fitness oriented, they are a community for all moms-to-be!

4- Breast Pump is a must have item as sometimes you may end up having breast feeding difficulties such as breast refusal, nipple soreness and some moms may even feel disconnected from the baby after birth due to psychological reasons. Because this is also such a personal item, it is not advised to buy one second hand or borrow from someone else.

5- Car Seats have expiry dates. Choosing a good car seat and making sure that is the right one for you is a must! You should never cheap out on things that are for safety reasons.


SAVE


1- Make a baby registry so that your friends, family and colleagues can buy things that you truly want or need! There’s nothing worse than having to go to the store to return an item or trying to create space for something that you didn’t really like. You may include anything from diapers to learning toys or even maternity undergarments and baby monitors. Sometimes a group of friends can pitch in and buy you a more expensive item such as a stroller.

2- Baby Showers can be tricky on a budget but you can rent a room in a community center, apartment building or have it at a teahouse. Baby showers are a great way to celebrate the coming of a new family member and socialize with others. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as a wedding, some people do a potluck while others orders their own food and drink (restaurants or teahouses)

3- Craigslist & Swapping Sites are a great way to save on things that your baby might not use for very long. You will be amazed how many brand new things you might find on Craigslist. There are also community boards on social media where you can swap baby clothes, toys, get a second hand crib, dresser and even brand new strollers.

4- Maternity Clothes are so expensive! They are nothing more than a larger size than usual. You can purchase Plus Sizes at any store or even online and still look good! Buying one pair of maternity jeans works great with any larger top and maxi dresses are wonderful in the summer time!

5- Use a spreadsheet to keep your finances under control, that way you can see where you’re spending the most amount of money and how you can save a bit more.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health

Vaginal Delivery Vs C-Section

March 5, 2018

Scientists from 25 different countries that included Canada, the United States, Australia and The UK, decided to study the impact of C-Sections in women who were having twins. The international effort was motivated by the increase in scheduled deliveries due to a myth that there’s a bigger risk for both mom and babies when the delivery is done vaginally. Just in the States alone, C-Sections have increase by about 50% between 1995 and 2008 and 75% for those having twins.


The study analyzed over 2,800 of deliveries during eight years and the results have shown that C-Sections don’t reduce the risk of death in twin pregnancies.

A C-Section may be considered in situations such as if the baby in in breech position (if the baby has not turned heads-down), risky pregnancies such as high blood pressure complications and high levels of gestational diabetes.


Some women (and even some doctors) prefer to have a C-Section because it’s something more scheduled and that way they can pick a date that they might prefer, other women have C-Sections because the babies don’t come out with a squished face, while other women are afraid of the pain and they want the delivery to go as quickly as possible. Whatever your reasons are for considering a C-Section, please keep in mind that it is a surgery and just like any other surgery, it comes with some risks.


Some risks of C-Sections may include: The umbilical cord coming out before the baby which may cut the blood flow to the baby, higher risk of complications for the mom including death (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that the mom is 10x more likely to die from C-Sections) and infections. C-Sections take a longer recovery, in some cases the mom can’t even lift the baby, no heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks and longer core recovery as the surgery cuts through the abdominal muscles.


During Normal or Vaginal Deliveries, the mom produces hormones called Oxytocin which protects the newborn’s brain development and prolactin which helps with breastfeeding. However, these types of deliveries tend to be physically and mentally exhausting as they may take hours and at the end there’s a chance that you might have to have an emergency C-Section.


It is the woman’s decision which type of delivery she wants to have, there are pros and cons for both deliveries but make sure to do as much research as you can and talk to your health provider about your options and any risks you might have.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health

Postpartum Depression

March 5, 2018

Postpartum depression occurs in about 1 out of 10 new mothers and can occur at any time in the year following birth. This is usually due to a hormonal imbalance and for the most part is a temporary condition, but if the new mother feels any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks, she should be encouraged to contact her health care provider as soon as possible:

1 – Feelings of sadness and overwhelming depression that disrupts her daily tasks

2 - Inability to or disinterest in caring for her baby and herself

3 - Feelings of low self-esteem and guilt

4 – Not feeling bonded with her baby

5 – Frequent anxiety or panic attacks

6 – Loss of appetite or eating all the time

7 – Losing interest in things that once were pleasurable

8 – Sleep disturbances not related to baby’s schedule

9 – Fatigue

10 – Thoughts of death


Depression can also have various physical complaints as well such as blurred vision, dry mouth, excessive sweating, headache, gastrointestinal problems and itching.


Sometimes postpartum depression can be caused by pressure on family finances, history of depression, feelings of loss of identity and insufficient social or emotional support.


Some other signs and symptoms of the baby blues or mild depression may include crying, sadness and irritability. They usually last a few days up to 2 weeks before turning into postpartum depression.

Treatment includes:


1- Individual counseling or psychotherapy

2- Support Groups (online, friends and family, fitness classes)

3- Medication

4- Postnatal Fitness Classes which can help both physically and mentally

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health

Air Traveling While Pregnant

March 5, 2018

Being pregnant does not mean that you cannot travel by plane and enjoy a nice and well-deserved vacation. However, you should take some precaution prior to booking your flight.


.Best Trimester

The best time for a pregnant woman to travel would be on her second trimester (between 14-28 weeks), this is because her risk of having a miscarriage is smaller than during the first trimester.

· Keep on Moving

Sitting for too long can diminish the blood flow, thus forming blood clots. Moms-to-be are more prone to blood clots due to water retention and bad circulation. It is best to stand up every couple of hours, moving the feet and wiggling the toes as much as possible. Frequently walking to the washroom could help you with your circulation.

· Bathroom Breaks

As the pregnancy progresses and the uterus grows, the bladder ends up being “squished”, thus increasing the number of bathroom breaks. Even on planes, take as many bathroom breaks as needed, holding it could give you an infection.

· Choose Your Ideal Seat

This doesn’t mean first class, but there are certain seats that you will give you more legroom. Some airlines might charge extra for those seats, however, bigger seats make for a much more pleasurable flight.

· Pressure Stockings

This goes hand in hand with the previous tips. By wearing pressure stockings, you will be decreasing the risk of blood clots and swelling due to the change in air pressure and continuous sitting.

· Snacks

Keep your snacks handy and eat every 3 hours to avoid nausea and hypoglycemia. You don’t have to be stuck with what the airline offers you; instead you might be able to bring some nuts and energy bars with you. Check with the airline prior to booking your flight.

· Stay Hydrated

You don’t have to be pregnant for this rule to apply! The air can be very dry inside aircrafts, therefore it is very important to drink as much water as possible. Dehydration can cause nausea and increase the risk of urinary infection. Juices and pop are not recommended as the sugar and carbonated drinks can dilate the stomach, making you feel uncomfortable.

· Learn About your Destination

Depending on where you are travelling to, you might need to get a vaccine, as pregnant women are more prone to getting sick due to changes in their immune system.

· Doctor’s Consent

Most airlines will not allow you to travel without a Doctor’s Consent so make sure to check with your doctor prior to travelling.

· Don’t Forget Your Medications

It is also important to keep any medications prescribed by your doctor in your carry-on bag (may that be for Thyroid, Nausea or Diabetes)

· Travel Insurance

It is best to get a travel insurance for those “just in case” moments as you never know what is going to happen on your vacation or you might end up with a big bill.

· Airline Policies

Every Airline has its own set of policies. Make sure you understand them prior to any bookings.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health

Postpartum and Exercise

March 5, 2018


* Increased Energy

* Decreased Aches and Pains

* Decreased risk of Postpartum Depression

* Helps with Weight Loss

* Can help heal hemorrhoids by improving circulation

* Boosts self-esteem


Postnatal fitness classes are extremely important for both mom and baby. It gets the moms moving around, getting out of the house, meeting other moms, sharing their pregnancy stories and milestones in addition to improving their posture, strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and overall fitness. Postnatal fitness also helps babies socialize, meet other babies, they mimic other babies thus helping learn how to crawl, walk, clap, share toys and best of all, postnatal fitness classes prepare the babies for daycare once the mom goes back to work.


Postnatal fitness classes build a sense of community between moms, a special bond that can last a lifetime!

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health

Best Exercises While Pregnant

March 5, 2018

I have been teaching prenatal and postnatal fitness classes for over 10 years and always hear: What are the best exercises to do when pregnant? With some many apps out there, youtube videos, magazines and so on it's really hard to know which exercises are really good for you when you don't have a fitness background.


First of all, and I can't stress this enough, pregnancy is not the time to do any diets or weight loss programs! If you were very active prior to getting pregnant and your doctor has given you the ok to continue exercising, by all means, continue running, swimming, hiking and exercising (in moderation). If you are new to exercising, start with long walks until you feel that you can perhaps do a fitness class catered to pregnant women. I would also avoid any contact sport such as basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and even cycling to avoid getting hit in the stomach.


Second of all, know your body and your limitations! Every pregnancy is different and every woman is different. This is especially true if you are using youtube videos and magazines as your main source of information. By having a better understanding of what diastasic recti (abdominal separation), gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and braxton hicks are, you will be more in tune with your body and know when to look for signs. I'm not saying that you have to become an expert on the subject, but it is really important to know what happens during pregnancy so that you don't aggravate certain conditions.


As a certified Prenatal and Postnatal Specialist in both Fitness and Yoga as well as an injury Rehab Specialist, the best exercises you can do during pregnancy are the ones that improve your posture. Strengthening the upper back muscles, glutes and hamstrings are a must! Exercises such as Wall Angels, Sit & Stand (Squat) and Clamshells are great to do and they don't require a lot of equipment. We can't forget to stretch those tight muscles either, stretching the calves will alleviate calf cramps, stretching the chest will alleviate some neck discomfort and everyone's favourite child's pose to alleviate lower back aches.


Some special considerations when exercising during pregnancy include: Avoid exercising on your back past the 3rd month, avoid any exercise that pushes the stomach out (push-ups, planks, downward facing dog, crunches) as well as any unnecessary twist (wood chops, sitting half spinal twist pose). For those who practice yoga, beware of any pose (even in prenatal yoga classes) that make you twist, lie on your back for more than 30 seconds or anything that makes you push your stomach out.


If in doubt, seek the help of a certified specialist and ask as many questions as possible, we are here to help you!!!

If you live/work in downtown Vancouver, BC and would like to come to my classes, feel free to check out my website for class schedule.


Have a happy and healthy pregnancy!

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health

Pregnancy and Exercise

March 5, 2018

It is very important to stay active and have a balanced diet and during pregnancy is no different. Studies have shown that regular, moderate-level exercise during pregnancy has various benefits that include:


· Reduced fat deposition and retention

· Improved postural balance

· Reduced lower back and pelvic pain

· A more rapid recovery postpartum

· Reduced risk of developing pregnancy induced hypertension

· Reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes

· Quicker return to their pre-pregnancy weight

· A better physical well-being (nausea, fatigue, leg cramps)

· Improved self-esteem and body image

· Reduced feelings of depression, stress and anxiety

· Increase in energy levels

· Reduction in bone density loss while breastfeeding

· Prevention of excessive weight gain, constipation and varicose vain

· Improved cardiorespiratory system which translate to coping better to physical stress, better circulation and physical demands during labor


Prior to the 1980s, there was a fear that exercising during pregnancy could cause a miscarriage, premature delivery or poor fetal outcome. Initial research focused on whether it was safe for a woman to exercise while pregnant and over time, the data provided compelling evidence of the benefits of exercising during and after pregnancy. During the past decade, we have seen a remarkable increase in the number and scope of studies in this field and as such, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) formulated guidelines providing recommendations for exercise during pregnancy that support the safety of most aerobic and strength training exercises.


In addition, studies have also shown the benefits of prenatal fitness to babies such as:


· Infants have less body fat at birth. Some research suggests that this may translate to lower chances of heart disease and diabetes in adulthood

· Infants are less cranky and less likely to have colic

· Children are less likely to suffer from anxiety

· Children have better oral and motor skills when tested at age 5

· Children have a better cardiorespiratory system


Although pregnant women can pretty much do the same exercises as non-pregnant women, special attention to the heart rate is very important (keeping it at 50-70%) and RPE should stay around 5-6 out of 10. This is not only during the cardio portion of a workout but also during resistance training. Higher heart rate could put the baby under stress as well as elevating the body temperature too high. Some other considerations include avoiding exercises that may cause Abdominal Separation, more specifically, exercises that push the stomach out such as push-ups, triceps pushdowns, frontal planks and cat/cow as well as exercises lying down on their back (past the fourth month of gestation) like crunches.


For best results, please contact a certified Prenatal & Postpartum specialist, as they are there to help you get the best results in a safe and effective manner

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, bootcamp, group fitness, personal training

Exercise of The Month - April

April 1, 2018

LAT PULLDOWN

Q. What is a Lat Pulldown?

A. Lat Pulldown is a great exercise to work the upper back. It is designed to develop the latissimus dorsi ( a long V-shaped muscle along the upper back)

Q. What is the correct way of doing a Lat-Pulldown?

The most important thing about doing a lat pulldown is posture.

• You can use a wide grip (working the outer lats) or a narrow grip (working the inner lats).

• While keeping your legs at a 90 degree angle, slightly lean back and stick your chest out.

• Keep your spine neutral (head + back + wrist straight) and your core engaged

• Bring the bar about an inch of the chest (about 2 fingers in height)

• Inhale on the way up and exhale on the way down

• Make sure to do slow and controlled movements, thus making your muscles work twice as hard.


Q. What muscles am I working?

A. Latissimus Dorsi, Shoulders, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Biceps, Erector Spinae, Abdominals and Lower Back.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - May

May 1, 2018

LEG PRESS

Q. What is a Leg Press?

A. A leg press machine is a great way to target the lower part of the body without any injuries.

Q. What is the correct way of doing a Leg Press?

A. First of all, sit on the machine with your back and head against the padded support. Then place feet on the foot plate about hip width apart, ensuring the heels are flat. The legs should form an angle of about 90 degrees at the knee with a little variation either way as long as the heels sit flat on the plate. You also want to make sure that the knees are in line with the feet and neither bowed inward nor outward. Push the platform by using your heels rather than your toes.

Q. What muscles am I working?

A. Quadriceps (front of legs), Hamstrings (back of legs) and Gluteus.

Q. How do I breathe when doing this exercise?

A. You exhale as you are pushing the platform and inhale as you are bringing in the platform.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - June

June 1, 2018

CHEST FLIES

Q. What is a Chest Fly?

A. It is an exercise that works the muscles in your chest and upper arms


Q. What is the correct way of doing it?

A. Many things can go wrong when doing this exercise. A lot of the times the seat is not in the correct height, the handles may be pushed too far back and the weight can be too heavy therefore causing injuries.

1. Adjust the handles so that it is 180 degrees out. Adjusting the handles too far back may cause tear in the anterior deltoids, teres minor and other muscles around the chest!! Too much range of motion is not a good thing!!

2. Adjust the seat so that the handles are aligned with your nipple line

3. Bring in one arm towards your chest, and then the other arm (to avoid injuries to the shoulders).

4. Pull both arms back while keeping the elbows slightly bent.

5. Bring both arms forward as you are trying to give someone a bear hug.

6. Keep your core engaged, back straight in a controlled movement.

You can also vary this exercise by using dumbbells with a fitness ball, bench, step, bands and cable pulleys. Remember: Form is the key! If you lose your form, take a break or turn the weight down.


Q. What Muscles am I working?

A. Pectorals (chest), Triceps (back of arms), Anterior Deltoids (front of shoulders) and Core


Q. How do I Breathe when doing this exercise?

A. You always want to exhale on the exertion. In this case, you breathe in as you are pulling your arms back and breathe out when bringing your arms forward.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - July

July 1, 2018

SEATED ROW


Q. What is a Seated Row?

A. The Seated Row is one of the most important exercises to do for posture because it targets the middle back as well as biceps and the lats.


Q. What is the correct way of doing it?

A. Just like any other exercise with a machine, you have to set it up to your personal preferences:

1. Adjust the seat height so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle

2. Adjust the chest pad so that your arms are slightly bent

3. Select the weight that you are comfortable with (the higher the rep, the lighter the weight)

4. Sit facing the handles, keeping your chest against the pad the entire exercise

5. Grasp the handles in a way that feels comfortable, bringing the handles close to you

6. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you are pulling the handles towards your body

7. Return the handles slowly, keeping your elbows slightly bent and without hitting the weights together.

If you are using the lower to the ground seated row machine, make sure to keep your elbows and knees slightly bent while keeping the entire back straight and steady (no bouncing, no movement)


Q. What muscles am I working when doing a Seated Row?

A. Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Middle Trapezius, Biceps (Upper, Middle back and Biceps)


Q. How do I breathe during this exercise?

A. Exhale as you are bringing the handles towards your body and Inhale as you are returning the handles.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - August

August 1, 2018

TRICEPS PUSHDOWN


Q. What is a triceps pushdown?

A. Triceps pushdown is an exercise that requires good posture and breathing. It is a safe exercise for anyone to do, including those who have high blood pressure and injuries to the shoulder.


Q. What is the correct way of doing this exercise?

A. First adjust the weight to the correct amount (a comfortable amount depending on your repetitions). Then keep your feet on a stance position (one foot forward, one back) to protect your lower back. While in the stance position, keep your elbows glued to your sides (they do not move at all) and slowly push the rope down. Try to avoid any jerking movements, lifting of the elbows and arching of the back. Always think tall and keep your core tight. Remember, it is not worth doing it if you are not doing in good form!


Q. What muscles am I working?

A. You are working your triceps (back of arms)

Q. How do I breathe when doing this exercise?


A. You always exhale on the exertion. Meaning, with this exercise you exhale as you are pushing your arms down.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - September

September 1, 2018

BICEPS CURL


Q. What are biceps curls?

A. They are the most common exercise for the biceps. They are also the most functional exercise for the biceps, since we virtually make the motion for a lot of things such as picking up groceries.


Q. What is the correct way of doing this exercise?

A. To perform a basic curl, hold weights with palms facing out, elbows next to the body. While keeping your elbows glued to your sides, curl the weights toward your shoulders, then lower the weights and repeat. The most important part of this exercise is posture. If you feel that you are starting to arch your back, either use lighter weights or take a break. Your form is your number one priority in preventing injuries and achieving your goals. Grunting, hurting your back, going on your toes and using momentum are your enemies.


Q. What muscles am I working?

A. You are working your biceps and forearms (front of arms)


Q. How do I breathe when doing this exercise?

A. You always exhale on the exertion. Meaning, with this exercise you exhale as you are bringing your arms up and inhale when bringing your arms down.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - October

October 1, 2018

BALL JACKKNIFE


Q. What is a ball jackknife?

A. A ball jackknife is an abdominal exercise that is great for strengthening the core and balance.


Q. What is a correct way of doing it?

A. There are a couple of ways of doing.

1 - You can start by placing your hands on the floor and then your feet on the ball, or you can lay down on the ball and roll yourself out until your shins are on the ball

2 – While keeping your elbows slightly bent, push your belly button towards your spine so that your core is contracted

3 – Maintain your back straight, bending the knees toward you chest

4 – Push your knees back out to the starting position


Q. What muscles am I working?

A. Although the abdominal muscles are the main muscles being worked, you are also working on the back muscles (quadratus lumborum + erector spinae) as well as the hip flexors


Q. How do I breathe?

A. Breathe out while rolling the ball in and breathe in while returning to starting position.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of The Month - November

November 1, 2018
                                                     BACK EXTENSION BENCH


Q. What is a back extension bench?

A. A back extension bench is a bench that when properly used can work the muscles on the lower back and along the spine responsible for posture.


Q. What is the proper way of doing a back extension on a bench?

A. Make sure that the upper pad is hip level and that your knees are slightly bent. SLOWLY bring yourself down (like you are bowing) and SLOWLY bring yourself back up to the point where you can see the upper pad on the bench. Avoid hyperextension of the lower back and momentum, these crucial points will save your back from a lot of pain!


Q. How do I breathe during this exercise?

A. Breathe in as you are descending and breathe out as you are ascending.


Q. What muscles am I working?

A. You are working mainly the lower back but also the erector spinae, a very important muscle situated along the spine.

Some extra pointers: You may also do this exercise with your hands across the chest (beginners), behind the head (intermediate), with your hands straight up (advanced) or even with a weighted plate across your chest. You can also do this exercise with a ball when there is no access to a back extension machine. Please keep in mind that your lower back is a very important and sensitive area, always use caution when doing any lower back exercise, keeping in mind your posture, speed and breathing. The slower you go, the more work you are doing. Slow and controlled movements are the way to go!

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Exercise of the Month - December

December 7, 2018

BALL TRANSFERS

Q. What is a ball transfer?

A. A ball transfer is a great way to work on your core that only requires 1 exercise equipment, a fitness ball.


Q. What is the proper way of doing a ball transfer?

A. Lie on the floor and place the exercise ball between your feet, gripping it with your shins. Extend your arms up right by your head, without lifting your body off the floor. Lift the ball up with your legs until it is over your abdominal muscles. At the same time, raise your arms forward to touch the ball. Pause for one second, and slowly transfer the ball from your legs to your hands. Simultaneously return your arms and legs to their starting positions and then transfer the ball back to your legs. Keep in mind that your back is flat on the ground at all times (no arching of the lower back) and that your feet should never touch the ground. Your arms and legs should be straight throughout the movement, if you feel you are arching your back, slightly bend in the knees and keep your legs a little higher than previously.


Q. How do I breathe during this exercise?

A. You always exhale on the exertion. In this case, you exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down.


Q. What muscles am I working?

A. Rectus Abdominus (abs), Transverse Abdominus (abs) , Internal & External Obliques (abs) , Hip flexors and Quadriceps (legs)

A few little pointers: If you want to challenge yourself, you can bring your head off the ground as you are transferring the ball, as long as you do not feel a strain on your neck. This exercise should feel as you are working your abs and the front of your legs. You should stop if you feel it on your back, neck or knees.

 prenatal, postnatal, fitness, yoga, health, personal training, bootcamp, group fitness, exercise

Things to consider when buying a stroller

November 7, 2018
With so many options, you may find that it's super hard to pick a stroller. They come with a variety of features that can certainly overwhelm the new parents-to-be. Most strollers don't come cheap, so finding a stroller within your budget, with features that you might like and the colour that stands out might seem impossible. Here are my top things to consider when buying a stroller.


1 - Choose a bright colour or a colour other than black

To me this is the most important thing to consider because when the winter months are here, cars need to see you and your stroller. Imagine yourself crossing the street on a rainy day and a car doesn't see you. The first thing the car would hit would be the stroller. By picking a brighter colour (or putting reflectors on the stroller), you are making yourself and your baby visible to drivers. Sometimes we get so carried away with budget or the looks of the stroller that we forget that safety should be a priority.


2 - Pay close attention to the wheels

Again, safety should be a priority when considering buying a stroller. Some strollers have smaller wheels, some stroller have bigger wheels, some can be all terrain and others not so much. If you live in an area where there's a lot of snow or if you're planning on walking a lot with the stroller, make sure to get one that is all terrain. When buying a used stroller, make sure that the wheels are not worn out or flat.


3 - Planning on having another baby?

Some strollers come with attachments for an additional seat. Look at how much it costs and how easy is it to assemble. If you're planning on having another child with a bigger age gap, you can also purchase a plank that can be attached to the stroller.


4 - Four wheels or three?

If you're an avid runner, you might want to consider having a jogging stroller. If you're not planning on running with the stroller, 4 wheels will do! Stability wise, they're about the same but some jogging strollers might not be as steady in the winter months.


5 - Travel set or not?

Some travel sets can be quite heavy, sometimes buying them separately are better than buying the combo. If buying second hand, check the expiry date on the car seat.


6 - Check the size & location on the basket

Some baskets may look spacious but once the baby is on the stroller, the accessibility may be limited.  Pay close attention to where the basket is located, especially if you're planning on using it a lot.


7 - Research brands and their customer service

Sometimes, strollers can rust, make sure you read reviews on the brands and what their customer service is like. New models come out every year and some parts might be replaced due to the previous year's malfunction. Reading up on customer service reviews might help you decide which brand is the right one for you.

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