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Stress During the Holidays

December 10th is supposed to be the most stressful day of the year. Will it be for you? I would have thought thtat the shortes day of the year would have been the most stressful!

Here are some ways to help you to reduce your stress during the holiday season. Most people focus on strictly the holidays. They stop exercising during the month of December and as a result, feel stressed! One way to relieve your stress, is to find some time and do some exercise, either outside or at the gym. This allows you to clear your mind of your holiday stress, worries and it also helps you to rejuvenate your body by feeding your body with fresh oxygen.

If you absolutely don't have the time to exercise, sit down for a few minute and slowly breathe in and out a few times. This will help to relax your mind and hopefully make you feel re-freshed and focused.

Posted on: Monday December  10, 2007

It's Not How Big You Are

Exercise technique, focus and discipline

Yesterday I was at the gym and someone was working at a machine with me. I was doing reverse tricep extensions. He wanted to work in with me and out of common courtesy, I said sure. He finished his set and asked me what weight I had it on and I told him. He said that's a lot of weight for my exercise. I have to admit that it is quite a bit of weight, especially given the fact that I'm not a huge or big guy. I replied to him that it is a lot of weight!

This little story brings me to what I want to say today. It's not necessarily how big you are that determines how much weight you can do for any particular exercise. The factors that determine your strength or ability to lift or move a given amount of weight are: technique, focus and discipline. Technique is important because if you don't use the proper technique you will obviously hurt yourself especially when you are lifting a lot. Also, without proper technique you don't get the desired benefit from the exercise and obviously, you will not be able to perform the exercise or lift the weight. Focus and discipline are required because without the will to perform the task, you will not achieve it!

Posted on: Wednesday November  28, 2007

Seasonal Exercisers

There are a lot of people who are seasonal exercisers. By the term 'seasonal exercisers' I'm talking about people who only exercise at certain times of the year. It could be for 4 or 5 months before summer to get in shape and look better for summer. This is especially true in November and December. I notice many people do not go to the gym at this time of year. Gyms tend to slow down, whereas they really peak in January and February. It's no wonder many people pack on the pounds after Christmas.

Exercising your body shouldn't be seasonal. It's not healthy and it doesn't accomplish anything for your body. Exercise workouts should be done on an on-going basis and year-round. I know most people can't go 2-3 times to the gym every week for 52 weeks. It takes time and a lot of commitment. That's why it's good to come up with a plan. For example, try working out 8 weeks straight and then take 1 week off. In summer, do some outdoor activities like playing sports, cycling or rollerblading. This way, it adds some variety into your workout routine.

Posted on: Monday November  26, 2007

Active Pregnant Moms

We have all heard that children these days are becoming more overweight and obese. This is particularly true in Canada, United States and the UK. A research study has come out finding that active pregnant moms have more active children. Another good reason for women to not only be active during pregnancy, but especially throughout their lives! It's also a good way to reduce the growing obesity rate among children and ensure that your child is born healthy and remains healthy throughout their lives. Plus active moms set a precedent for their children.

It's perfectly safe to exercise during pregnancy, but I suggest you check with your doctor first. Also, you should be careful as to what exercises you do and the intensity levels you perform these exercises at. Best to seek the guidance of a qualified personal trainer or pick up a good book on exercising while being pregnant.

Posted on: Friday November  23, 2007

Eating Salt

Studies have been done and you've probably heard this before: most people eat too much salt. A diet high in salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure and a possible heart attack. If you know someone who has had a heart attack, you know what's involved. I have a family member who had a heart attack late last year. She survived but now she has to take all sorts of medication prescribed by the doctors for basically the rest of her life. That's what the doctor's say. The only problem with taking all these pills is, what really are the long-term side affects of this medication on other bodily functions? Doctors say there are none, no side-affects, but do they really know? So the best thing you can do is to minimize your chances of a heart attack. Lowering salt consumption is one easy step to do this.

What you also have to realize is that most processed foods (cereal, soups, deli meats) contain salt. Some more than others like frozen foods tend to contain incredible amounts of salt even when the product mentions that it is healthy for you - like those healthy choice products that are appearing on the market today. I really think that the food industry really needs to consider ways to further reduce the amount of salt in such foods. Even some restaurant foods like Chinese food contain a lot of salt. The food itself is healthy, but it's the added salt content that isn't!

So by adding extra salt to your foods, you are compounding your salt intake. Unless of course, you eat absolutely no processed foods! My suggestion to you when you cook, instead of adding salt, try other spices or herbs. Add vegetables to add flavor to your foods. Use what's natural to add flavor.

These are just my thoughts about eating too much salt.

Posted on: Thursday April 12, 2007

Abdominal Exercise Video

I was testing out the video feature on my digital camera in September 2006. I decided to create an ab crunch exercise video because I really wanted to see how it would turn out. This weekend I finally got around to adding it to my website.

The video turned out pretty good considering I am using only a 4MP digital camera. I tried to demonstrate the exercise and talk about how to do it at the same time. Not exactly an easy task, so I added some text below the video. Next time I'll add the voice later. You can view the ab exercise video here.

Posted on: Monday March 12, 2007

Healthy Eating

There are so many diet programs out there, but it can be very confusing to determine which one to choose or is best for you. Even with all the studies out there, it can still be difficult to choose which diet works best for you. Right now there is a study that has been released that indicates in the short-term that the Atkins Diet helps young and middle-aged women lose weight. I don't suggest that you go out and try the Atkins Diet because in the long-run, how effective is it any way? How healthy is this diet in the long-run vis-a-vis high blood pressure, your risk of a heart attack? My recommendation is that you check with a nutritionist or your doctor before beginning any diet program.

What I do want to share with you are some tips to healthy eating.

Years ago I read an excellent book on eating healthy and eating the correct combination of foods that will prevent weight gain or in the long-run help you lose weight naturally and in a healthy way. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the book or the authors. This book deals with eating the correct combination of foods without mixing more that two food groups during the same meal. The reason for this is that your body has trouble digesting all these different food groups at the same time. For example, when you have a meal with say lean meats, eat it with a salad and not starchy foods like potatoes. Actually, it's a good idea to incorporate vegetables and fruits with any meal to aid in digestive process of your body.

Other ideas to help you eat healthy and lose weight:

Don't skip meals especially breakfast
Eat smaller-sized meals
Drink 1 to 2 cups of green tea per day (helps to boost your metabolism and immune system)
Exercise and be active on a regular basis

Posted on: Wednesday March 7, 2007

Alzheimer's and Exercise

You may have heard about this information already or you may not have, but I think it's worth mentioning today on my fitness blog. It concerns Alzheimer's disease and exercise.

There are a number of ways to prevent or slow down the onset of Alzheimer's disease. One of these ways is daily exercise and staying active. Social interaction is another key to preventing Alzheimer's disease and this usually goes hand in hand with exercise. Whether you exercise at a gym or in groups outdoors, you are exposed to social interaction.

This is just another exercise tip to staying healthy.

Posted on: Thursday March 1, 2007

Exercise and Summer

With spring and summer approaching, have you been working out on a regular basis? If not, now is a good time to start. Actually, exercising shouldn't be a seasonal thing for most people. You should find time to be physically active at least 2 times per week, while 3 times is more than enough for most people. To help you with any workouts or cusomized workout programs that you may need, you may want to check out the Global Health and Fitness program.

For the people, who have been exercising regularly you may now want to step it up a notch, fine tune or select exercises that are sport or activity specific. By sport specific I mean the following in this example:

I like to rollerblade from mid-April to mid-October, during the warmer or hot months of the year. There are certain weight training exercises that I like to do throughout the year on a weekly basis and they include the following: leg presses, leg extensions and calf raises. I could do more like lunges, etc.., but I feel that these specific exercises are more than adequate.

Around late February to early March, I also start to use the glute machine, exercises for your butt. There's one type of machine that's called a glute machine, I forgot the name of the company. I think it's called Lifestyle Fitness? Anyway, most of the machines by this company are of low quality, but they do have a few good ones and this is one of them. You are standing, you lean your body forwards and press back with your leg. It is sort of a misnomer for a machine because I find it exercises the entire leg, including the glutes. It does a great job in simulating the skating motion when you are blading.

By doing these 4 key leg exercises, I don't feel any muscle soreness from the first time I rollerblade again after a 5-6 month weather induced layoff! Even if I go blading on back-to-back days and nor should you.

Posted on: Tuesday February 20, 2007

Getting In Shape For Your Wedding

If you are planning a wedding right now for the summer or fall, you are aware that there are a lot of things you need to do. You are also aware of the fact that both the bride and groom will be the center of attention during that day. It's probably more obvious that the bride will get more attention. It also due to the fact that wedding dresses tend to reveal more. And if you are over-weight, it will show. So it's important that you look and feel good in your wedding dress.

In an ideal world, you should be exercising on a regular basis so when the time comes to get married, your weight should not be an issue. You should feel comfortable with your weight and you can focus on the other aspects of your wedding day. If you haven't been exercising and need to lose some weight for your wedding day, then it's time to start a workout program and examine your diet. Are you eating properly? Or what are you eating that has resulted in your weight gain? If you are unsure of where to begin since time is running out, seek the help of a fitness trainer. I highly recommend the Fast Track To Fat Loss Program.

After getting married, many people stop exercising. This is the wrong thing to do. Looking good and feeling well shouldn't be the focus of one day, your wedding day. You should be committed to a healthy lifestyle for your entire life.

Posted on: Monday February 5, 2007

Joining A Gym

Why you should join a gym?

If you are fortunate to live in a warm climate or you don't mind the cold weather, you could do all your cardiovascular exercise outdoors and do your weight training indoors in your house. The only drawback with this approach is that you are limited to what you can do with respect to weight training. Gyms provide you with many more options when it comes to weight training and even cardiovascular exercise. There are all kinds of different and interesting fitness classes now available depending on your interests. 

So the main benefit of joining a gym is variety which allows you to achieve greater fitness benefits whatever your goals are. Other benefits of gym memberships are:

Motivation. The atmosphere in a gym motivates you to work a little harder or put a little more effort into whatever you are doing.

Means of escape. It provides you an escape from home and work.

Friendships. Many people meet friends at a gym and some singles by chance, do even meet their partners at gyms.

As you can see there are many benefits to joining a gym. Sure sometimes it's a hassle to go to the gym, but once it's part of your daily life, it's no different than going to work. The rewards you get are more than worth the effort. There are also many gyms that are affordable  so you don't have to spend an arm and a leg.

Posted on: Thursday January 25, 2007

Green Tea and Working Out

Do you need to increase your energy levels during the day or increase your energy levels during your workouts? You may want to start drinking caffeine-free green tea. I started drinking green tea last fall and my energy levels have increased during my workouts and during the work day. The only days that I don't drink green tea is the day of my workout. I find that it tightens my muscles and limits my workout. I still don't understand why, but it may not be so for you. So I've compensated for this little problem by only drinking green tea the day prior to my workout and it seems to work fine for me. The most I drink is two cups in a day, but usually one cup is enough for me.

So will green tea work for you? Well I asked a friend to drink green tea and he has also noticed increased energy levels and lost a few pounds in the process. The reasons for this is that it boosts your metabolism and it also boosts, strengthens your immune systm. It also has antioxidants. 

Depending on what literature you read, green tea is also supposed to fight stomach, skin cancers and helps to prevent tooth decay. Green tea is also ideal to help you lose weight.

I just wanted to share with you want I know about green tea and the results I have gotten from this tea. So instead of going for a cup of coffee, try some caffeine-free green tea. After a couple of weeks you should notice results and then you can judge the merits of drinking green tea for yourself.

Posted on: Tuesday January 23, 2007

Rapper LL Cool J Workout

Whether you are starting to exercise or you have been working out for awhile now, it's always helpful to consult a professional trainer like Fast Track to Fat Loss Program to offer you advice with workouts and workout routines. You could go about it yourself, but you have to be dedicated and commit your time to reading fitness books or watching fitness shows and DVDs.

This leads me to the topic I want to discuss today. You see many rappers in music videos these days who are very muscular and chiseled to perfection. They have the perfect type of physique. The type of bodies that the ancient Greeks were accustomed to portraying in their statues. The ancient Greeks were interested in the ideal human body or the perfection of the human form so it's no wonder that the Olympic Games began in Olympia Greece. 

Anyway, you see this perfection in the human physique in rapper LL Cool J. He's been able to achieve this level of fitness through hard work, discipline and yes, with the help of his long-time personal trainer Scooter Honig. So even celebrities like LL Cool J have consulted a personal trainer! Together they have created a workout system that burns body fat and builds muscle. After seeing this picture of LL Cool J, you have to agree that his workout works.

LL Cool J's Platinum Workout

Whether you want to achieve the perfect body like LL Cool J or simply stay in shape and get the best-looking body that you possibly can or desire (more like the ancient Greeks believed), you can read more about his workout routine in his new book: 
LL Cool J's Platinum Workout

Posted on: Friday January 12, 2007

Exercise and Your Health

It seems that almost every time that I watch the news on TV, there is a news story about a research study that focuses on the benefits of exercise or physical activity for your health. This morning I was watching the news and they mentioned that European researchers have found that one hour of vigorous physical activity or two hours of moderate activity per day will reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Do we really need such studies to tell us this when it's a logical conclusion that exercise will benefit your long-term health? I guess we do in order to remind people of the importance of physical activity when it comes to your health. The human body was designed over time to be physically active in order to funtion optimally.

Would you buy a car and just let it sit and rust? No. The human body is no different. Physical activies includes such things as going for a brisk walk, cleaning your house, etc... I know that cleaning your house is not fun. I hate it too. I wish we could create self-cleaning houses, but that's never going to happen in our lifetimes! That's why many people join gyms in order to exercise in a different way and meet some new friends in the process or just get away from problems of every day life.

If you need help when it comes to exercising, you may want to check out the rest of my website or visit the Fast Track to Fat Loss Program

Also besides exercise, in order to remain healthy, you must also eat properly and try to avoid extreme stress. But these two topics are blog issue for another time.

Posted on: Tuesday December 18, 2006

Exercises at Work

Ever feel tired at work or you have a problem that you cannot solve, why not take a break and refresh your body and mind with some quick and basic exercises. Maybe you will not have time to go to the gym after work, why not spend 10 minutes on these exercises before you leave work? They can be done anywhere with no equipment required.

Here are some exercises from Tom Weede's latest book (see below):

Desk Exercises

Chair Leg Extension - Muscles strengthened: Quadriceps (thighs) 
Press your tailbone firmly against the back of the chair. If the chair is adjustable, move the height so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Lightly grasp the armrests or the edges of the seat pad. Keeping your back straight and looking straight ahead, slowly extend your right leg with your foot flexed toward your shin. At the top of the movement, your leg should be fully extended, but don't forcefully lock out your knee. Slowly return to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions, then repeat with your left leg (this is one set). 

Isometric Hand Press - Muscles strengthened: Biceps, triceps, chest 
Sitting upright in your chair, grasp your hands together in front of your chest, and firmly press them together. Make sure you continue to breathe throughout the exercise. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds, then repeat four more times. 

Wall Push-Off - Muscles strengthened: Chest, triceps, shoulders 
Stand about three feet from a wall, and place your hands flush against the wall, about shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body toward the wall by flexing your elbows. When your elbows are aligned with your torso, push back up. Do 10 repetitions. Make this exercise more challenging by using your desk: Stand several feet away and position your hands on the edge of the desk, shoulder-width apart. Then repeat the raising and lowering of your body by flexing your elbows. 

Overhead Press - Muscles strengthened: Shoulders 
Sitting upright in your chair, flex your elbows so that your left hand is in front of your left shoulder, and your right hand is in front of your right shoulder. Your elbows should be slightly flared out to the sides, just below shoulder-level. Lightly clench your fists with palms facing forward. Next, fully extend your elbows without locking them out, with your hands moving toward the center over your head. Slowly return to the starting position. Complete 10 reps. To make the exercise more difficult, use a book to press overhead. 

Drawing-In Maneuver -  Muscles strengthened: Mid-section 
Sit upright on the edge of your chair, grasping the arm rests or the edges of the seat pad. You can also stand with your hands on your hips, feet shoulder-width apart. Next, pull your stomach up and in as far as possible -- think of pulling your belly button toward your spine. Hold that position for the count of five to ten, then release. Do 5 to 8 repetitions. 

Flexibility Exercises Side Bend - Muscles stretched: Back and sides 
Sit at the edge of your chair with your back straight, and interlace your fingers with your palms facing away from you. Reach your arms straight above your head, then lean to the left from the waist and hold. Next lean to the right and hold. 

Cross Arm - Muscles stretched: Upper back 
Sit upright and bring your right arm across your upper body at about shoulder level. Your elbow should be slightly flexed. With your left hand, grasp under your right arm just above the elbow. Gently pull your right arm across your chest, toward the left, and hold. Don't shrug your shoulders -- keep them relaxed. Repeat with your left arm across your upper body. 

Neck Stretch - Muscles stretched: Neck 
Sit or stand with your head upright. Slowly turn your head to the right as far as comfortably possible and hold, then turn slowly to the left and hold. Next, let your head fall gently toward your chest and hold. Avoid tilting your head backward -- it weighs about 10 pounds, so this can put too much stress on your upper spine.

The following exercises are from a book excerpt from Tom Weede's latest book: The Entrepreneur Diet - The On-the-Go Plan for Fitness, Weight Loss and Healthy Living (December 2006). Published by Entrepreneur Press ; Copyright © 2007 by Entrepreneur Media, Inc.Tom Weede was a former senior editor of Men's Fitness magazine.

Posted on: Tuesday December 5, 2006

Abdominal Workout

Looking for an abdominal workout that actually works and can be done in 15-20 minutes, 3 times per day? Whether it's to tone your abs or get a six-pack, the effectiveness of this workout depends on your nutrition and how slowly you perform these exercises with attention to your form.

Here's the workout:

Day 1

16 to 24 repetitions ab crunches - front
16 repetitions ab crunches - right side
16-24 reps crunches - front
16 reps crunches left side
16-24 reps crunches front

16-21 reps back extensions

16 reps ab crunches with legs crossed and legs being lifted (from left side)
16 ab crunches with legs crossed and legs being lifted (from right side)
16 ab crunches with legs crossed over to side on floor (from left side)
16 ab crunches with legs crossed over to side on floor (from right side)

30-40 reps of bicycle crunches (20 to each side)

16-24 reps of legs straight out and back to your chest

Day 2

16 to 24 ab crunches - front
16 ab crunches - right side
16-24 crunches - front
16 crunches left

16-21 back extensions

16 reps ab crunches with legs crossed and legs being lifted (from left side)
16 ab crunches with legs crossed and legs being lifted (from right side)
16 ab crunches with legs crossed over to side on floor (from left side)
16 ab crunches with legs crossed over to side on floor (from right side)

12 to each side- left, right and middle. Almost like bicycle crunches but hold each time for a few seconds on your left, middle and right. These are the toughest to do and very effective.

Day 3

16 to 24 ab crunches - front
16 ab crunches - right side
16-24 crunches - front
16 crunches left
16-24 crunches front

16-21 back extensions

12-16 to each side of side bends (3-4 sets)

Not sure how to perform these exercises, you will find some here and or in this excellent book called: The Complete Book of Abs found here.

Posted on: Monday October 1, 2006

Exercise and Longevity

Your longevity, how long you live, depends on exercise, nutrition, your genes, your size and just plain luck, too! As you can see, a lot of factors determine how long you live.

I was watching the news this morning and there is this 75 year old man from Canada who competed this past Sunday in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. He completed the marathon in one hour and 30 minutes which according to someone interviewed is a good time for most people. For someone his age, it's a fantastic time. They showed him jogging towards the finish line. He looked great for his age.

This is not his first marathon, either! He's competed in many and I hear he is known worldwide by many people for this. So what's his secret? It's staying active and exercising. Preferably you should start exercising, i.e., taking part in sports or some sort of physical activity when you are young and continue exercising throughout your life. For those of you who haven't done this or stopped for whatever reasons, it's never too late to start exercising again

Posted on: Monday September 25, 2006

Ideal Body Weight

How much should you ideally weigh?

It all depends on a lot of factors. Some are obvious like your height, your body's natural width and girth. Other factors are not as obvious such as your bone mass and density. There are adverse side affects to either weighing too much or too little. If you weigh too much then you may feel lethargic during the day and your body functions have to work extra hard putting unnecessary strain on your body. Likewise, weighing too little is not good for your health and various body functions. Also, trying to perform or take part in sports or exercise would not result in optimal performance.

The idea for this topic came to me while I was watching CNN. They reported that Madrid is banning extremely skinny models. What constitutes skinny to them? Models who are 5'9" tall must weigh at least 122lbs and have a BMI of 18.

You must be wondering by now what your ideal weight should be? The answer is twofold. First, based on your given height you should fall within a certain range. Your doctor should have a chart to show you this or be able to tell you this. Secondly, your body will tell you if you weigh too much.  For example, if you are tired a lot during the day or unable to exercise at optimal levels.

Posted on: Saturday September 16, 2006


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