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The Fitness Tracker- Does It Really Work? July 26 2016

For better or for worse, our society is becoming increasingly obsessed with weight loss and physical appearance. More specifically, we are obsessed with controlling everything that goes in and out of our bodies, and knowing exactly how much is consumed vs. how much is burned on a daily basis. As such, more and more tools and devices are being created to help us track these metrics, which, in my opinion, can become a dangerous game that leads to obsession. Though it is important from a health perspective to stay active and exercise regularly, the line between health maintenance and obsession is too commonly crossed these days.

            

Fitness tracking bracelets (most commonly known as “the Fitbit” although this is just one particular brand) are all the rage right now. The Fitbit is an accessory (worn as a bracelet) that tracks your daily movement and calories burned.  It seems like everyone and their mother are walking around with one of these fitness measuring devices- counting their steps, tracking their weight loss. But here in lies the misconception. It is not necessarily weight LOSS that the Fitbit is tracking, but burned calories. Weight loss is dependent on a combination of calories consumed vs. calories burned. So, the question is- are people really losing weight? Or is this yet another device to help us obsess over every workout missed, every calorie consumed, without any real benefit?

The problem with the Fitbit, is that it doesn’t actually track your caloric intake, and puts all of the focus on exercise. Naturally, effective and sustainable weight loss relies on a combination of a regular workout regimen and a healthy, reduced calorie diet. In plain English- you have to burn more than you consume to actually lose weight. By putting the focus solely on exercise, one might neglect the importance of diet and calories consumed by over-focusing on calories burned. That’s not to say that this device is totally useless. It is helpful to know how much we’re burning, but also to be mindful of what we consume. Basically, it is important to make the following distinction when investing in a Fitbit: this not a device that makes us lose weight, it is a device that makes weight loss easier, by giving us knowledge about how much we are burning.

To effectively lose weight, it’s more about a lifestyle. Getting super specific and counting calories eaten vs. burned is a slippery slope- it’s really not that important to be exact, as long as you are seeing results. You can use a fitness measuring device to help you keep track of your progress, but it’s important to remember that this information is only giving you one of the tools you need toward your end goal. So long as you are being consistent in your regimen, and burning a relative amount more than you consume, you will likely see results. If you aren’t, then just cut back on meal portions or increase your cardio. That simple.

 

 


10 Life Changing Health Benefits that Will Make You See Cardio in a Whole New Light! May 12 2016

 

         

Cardio by definition is any form of movement that increases heart rate and blood circulation throughout the body. Our bodies are made to move, yet so many of us today have jobs that force us to remain stationery for hours at a time. Cardio, for many, has become a dreaded word. An ominous entity that is to be feared and avoided at all costs! However, cardio doesn’t have to be super intense or intimidating. There are many ways to get your daily cardio in, so it’s important to find a way that is enjoyable for you. Whether it’s running on the treadmill at the gym, or going for a nice long power walk, bike ride or run outside, it’s really important to make time for cardiovascular exercise. Many people tie cardio and weight loss together, as it is the quickest way to burn calories which translates to loss of fat. However, cardio has a ton of other health benefits, which makes it equally as important for those who don’t have losing weight at the top of their priority list. Here are a few notable health benefits of performing regular cardiovascular exercise.

        

Improved Heart Health

It’s important to think of the heart like any other muscle. Not working it properly can cause it to weaken over time, which can result in serious long term health problems. Like all muscles, the heart needs to be exercised to grow stronger. Cardio gets the heart pumping faster and harder, and on a regular basis will keep it in shape and healthy.

                                      

Increased Metabolic Rate

Just as it speeds up your heart rate, cardio also improves other bodily functions, such as your metabolism. The more intense the session, the more your metabolic rate will improve. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is particularly effective in speeding up your metabolism. This helps to maintain your weight or lose extra pounds by allowing the body to burn off excess calories faster.

       

Improved Hormonal Balance

Regular cardio also changes your body’s hormonal profile. Cardio releases endorphins and “feel good” hormones that eliminate symptoms of depression and can help to decrease the appetite. Basically, regular cardio is a huge natural stress reliever, and it’s way cheaper than therapy!

                           

Enhanced Recovery Rate

Cardio can decrease the body’s recovery time too, for instance after an intense strength training or lifting session, doing a bit of light cardio will help bring more oxygenated blood to the muscle tissue, which will reduce muscle soreness and improve the repair & rebuilding process. This naturally allows you to get back to your routine more quickly, so you can continue working those muscles and building additional strength!

     

Other important benefits of regular cardio include:

Stronger Lungs

Increased Bone Density

Reduced Risk of Cancer & Heart Disease

Improved Confidence

Improved Quality of Sleep

Increased Energy Level

           

Just getting started? Begin by building up your cardio base and endurance, then dial up the intensity. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, we should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio 5 days a week, or 20 minutes of intense cardio at least 3 times a week. If your goal is to lose weight, you may want to up this to 60-90 minutes per day. Generally speaking though, when increasing your limits, focus on increasing the intensity of the workout rather the volume, unless you’re training specifically for a long distance event like a marathon.

          

Basically, performing regular cardiovascular exercise not only helps you burn calories and look lean and mean, but improves your overall quality of life. It enhances your overall mood, and will make you feel as good as the inside as you look on the outside! So next time you're dreading the treadmill, try to think of cardio as friend, not foe!  

 

 

 

 

 

 


Strong is the New Skinny. So Why Are Women So Afraid of Weights? April 08 2016

In Western Society, it’s all about a “lean and mean” physique, especially for the ladies. As a result, most women avoid weights and strength training in fear of putting extra bulk on their frames. Cardio based workouts tend to be more popular amongst women, resulting in a serious neglect of the important strength building aspect of exercise. The trick is to find a balance between cardio and strength building by combining the two in one fluid form of exercise. Here are a couple of ways you can use your own body weight and movement to condition and strengthen muscles, and improve cardiovascular strength and endurance.

                  

HIIT/ Circuit Training

People often think that we have to use intimidating strength building machines or lift weights to build muscle, but this is a common misconception. Using your body weight and movement to achieve this actually provides a much better and more balanced workout. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is rapidly increasing in popularity, especially amongst the ladies, as it provides an intense, full body workout by using just your own body weight in a strategic series of fluid movements. HIIT by definition means working out at a moderate intensity for two minutes and then pushing your body to the limit for one, then repeating with little rest between movements. Circuit training is a great combo of cardio and strength training, as opposed to singular weight training which only targets certain areas to build isolated strength. (Ex. Bicep curls, bench pressing, lat pull-downs, etc.) Also, as there is no machinery involved in HIIT, you can transition more rapidly from one movement to another.

 

HIIT entails progressing through a series of movements such as squats, lunges and knee lifts. Often people use props such as kettle bells and ropes in their circuit training as well to continue pushing their boundaries. This fluid range of motion not only helps with flexibility (allowing your joints to move more freely) but it builds core strength, helps with posture, back strength, endurance, and burns fat like crazy! You will also develop better balance through control and awareness of your body. The best part about this form of exercise is that there is a ton of variety in the movements and exercises you can do. You can always switch it up which helps keep you motivated to push your boundaries and break plateaus. Oh, and since it’s free and can be done anywhere, there’s little room for excuses! Check out this article by Shape magazine for some more in depth instructions on HIIT.

http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/lose-fat-fast-hiit-bodyweight-workout

                                                                            

TRX (Suspension) Training.

This form of exercise also doesn’t involve any heavy duty machinery, and can be done anywhere, anytime. TRX exercises use gravity and your body weight to build strength, flexibility, core stability and balance. There are hundreds of exercises you can do with this portable equipment, to strengthen and condition all parts of the body. You can attach the TRX ropes to any anchor point (monkey bars, a door frame, etc.) but you can also usually find them attached to the wall somewhere at your local gym. For more info on TRX training or to order the equipment, check out their site.  https://www.trxtraining.com/suspension-training

So don’t be afraid of a little muscle! Now you have all the tools you need to build up your strength, and maintain that lean physique you’ve worked so hard to achieve! After all, strong is the new skinny. ;)

 


7 Super-Foods you Should Eat for a Better Workout! March 15 2016

It’s no secret that diet is even more important than exercise in one’s health and fitness regimen, and a proper combination of the two is essential particularly when looking for toning and weight loss results. Incorporating the following foods as a regular part of your diet will give you varying benefits such as elevated energy or improved dexterity, and will also help you achieve your desired physical results much faster!

Avocado:

Many of us shy away with anything overly fatty, particularly those of us watching our waistlines. However, there is such a thing as “healthy fats” which are actually good for us AND beneficial in maintaining our weight and overall health. Avocados are a perfect example of a super food high in “healthy fats.” They contain cholesterol lowering mono-saturated fats that help keep your body strong, and free of pain. Studies have proven that those who eat a diet with restricted fat (less than 31%) have weakened muscles and joints and are therefore more prone to injury. Eating just a few slices of avocado each day is a healthy (and delicious) way to ensure you are consuming enough of the right kinds of fats to maintain your body’s strength and durability, without bulking up.

Bananas:

Packed with energizing carbs and potassium, bananas are a great way to replenish the salts and electrolytes lost through excessive sweating. Potassium helps with muscle cramping and fluid absorption, making this fruit the perfect healthy before or after workout snack!

Carrots:

Carrots are full of complex carbohydrates that energize the muscles, as well as potassium which helps to control blood pressure and muscle contractions. Plus, they are refreshingly crunchy and delicious!

Chicken Thighs:

Dark poultry like chicken thighs or turkey drumsticks have the same juicy, rich impact as dark meat, as well as the iron, zinc and vitamin b’s as red meat, with less of the fat. A diet lacking in Iron or Zinc can cause one to feel fatigued, and naturally have less than stellar workout results, so this food is a perfect way to pack in the nutrients!

Hummus:

This low fat, low cal snack is packed with all the protein, complex carbs and non-saturated fats we need to fuel a solid workout. Pair it with your carrots and you have a delightful, light, energy boosting snack!

Salmon:

Not only does salmon improve heart health, recent studies have suggested that regular consumption of Omega 3 fats (which salmon is rich in) could be linked to lower abdominal fat, which is particularly beneficial for those working out to tone their core.

 

Berries:

One of the richest foods in antioxidants, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are packed with potent nutrients that protect the muscles from free radical damage that can be caused by exercise. As a general rule, the darker the berry, the higher the nutrient content. So pack a few in your shake before you hit the gym! All you need is a handful, and your body will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4 Important Steps Toward a Healthier Morning Routine! February 18 2016

Not a morning person? Most of us aren’t. However, like anything, we can train our bodies and minds to be anything we want them to be, so long as we’re dedicated. This includes forcing ourselves to be healthy, positive people in the mornings, not just after 3 coffees when the clock strikes noon. It’s just a matter of training ourselves into a routine that will set us up for an energized, healthy, and productive day ahead. Follow these 4 easy steps every morning and you will no doubt feel (and see) the difference throughout your entire day!

Ditch the Caffeine

I know, this is not exactly what you want to hear. That morning coffee has become an ingrained part of many of our rituals, almost like a drug that we feel we can’t function without. Well, the first few days will be hard. However, swapping your morning cup of joe for a glass of lemon water will have many more health benefits, and eventually have a similar energizing effect. The difference is, lemon water will leave your system hydrated and cleansed, where coffee leaves you dehydrated and artificially stimulated. To name a few health benefits of lemon juice, it boosts your immune system, purifies the blood, and flushes toxins from the body. Extended consumption will also make your skin look healthy and radiant. :)

Make time for Meditation

It may not seem like an important enough reason to miss out on that extra ten minutes of sleep, but making time to clear your mind and calm yourself before the hectic day ahead has proven to have positive effects on one’s stress level, mood and overall emotional balance throughout the day. You don’t have to be a meditation expert, or even dedicate a huge amount of time to it, just simply allot ten minutes or so to lie in a quiet room, focusing on your breathing and clearing your mind of stressful thoughts and worries. This will help you feel centered, and start the day calm and relaxed, so that you’re better equipped to face any curveballs or obstacles that might be thrown your way. For more guidance on meditation, check out a book called Meditation Made Easy.

Get your Blood Flowing

Not everyone has the stamina to attempt a full workout first thing in the morning, especially before a full day’s work. (Though this is the recommended time to exercise.) That being said, taking a few minutes each morning to stretch your muscles and get the blood flowing is hugely beneficial in raising energy levels and releasing tension. It will also increase blood flow so your brain functions better too! Try a few yoga poses, or jumping rope at home for ten minutes. Whatever your quick routine of choice, all it takes is a few minutes to wake up your system. As this isn’t a ton of exercise, we recommend that you try and fit in a proper visit to the gym or a workout class of your choice later that day.

Don’t Cut Corners with Breakfast.

Whether you’re a chronic breakfast skipper, or you tend to be lazy and hit the first fast food joint during your mad dash to the office, you’re not setting yourself up for success with these habits. Make it a priority to allot that 15 minutes to whip up a balanced, nutritious breakfast. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day! It gets your metabolism started and gives you the energy (and brain juice) you will need to have a productive morning. Smoothies are an awesome way to pack in a lot of nutrients with very little prep time. It also helps to pre-cut your fruit so that you can save time in the am. Remember to add protein, flax seeds, and other supplements if you’re substituting for a proper meal.

All in all, these steps combined should take you no more than 45 minutes to an hour every morning, and they are so worth getting up a bit earlier for!

 


Give the Gift of Health this Valentine’s Day! 5 Awesome Fitness Related Gift Ideas February 04 2016

               

Whether you and your partner have been talking about “getting fit” for a while, or your single bestie needs a little nudge out of her rut, what better way to show your love than with the gift of health and fitness for Valentine’s day?! (Maybe you can even get one for yourself, while you’re at it ;)). Here are a few awesome ideas to get your loved one motivated to make his or her health a priority, and have some fun in the process.

            

Class Pass

The class pass is a great way to access a large network of fitness studios, and try a variety of types of exercises. The class pass consists of classes like yoga, pilates, lagree, spinning, barre, kettle-bell training, and many other types of new-age exercise classes. This gift is great for an adventurous friend or someone who likes to mix it up and is thus hesitant to commit to one particular package. Purchase them their first month, and they’ll no doubt be hooked after that!

https://classpass.com/

           

30 Day Yoga Challenge

Most studios will periodically host a 30 day challenge during which customers are challenged to practice for 30 consecutive days. Within these 30 days, students are challenged to try different poses each day, building in difficulty as they progress. This is an awesome gift for any yoga loving friend, but the challenge is appropriate for Yogi’s of all levels, beginners too!

            

Yoga or Meditation Retreat

Albeit a generous gift, this one is probably most appropriate for your romantic partner. (Or a really lucky best friend or parent!) What better way to unwind and connect with yourselves and each other than a relaxing, rejuvenating yoga retreat in a tropical paradise? These retreats are usually held in exotic and beautiful locations like Mexico and Costa-Rica.

             

Salsa Lessons

Looking for a fun way to spice things up, and also get some exercise? Try salsa dancing! Grab a package for yourself and your partner, and try out this exotic, sensual style of dancing. You’ll work up a sweat, and build trust and coordination. Learning how to move together in harmony will no doubt transfer well to other areas of your relationship, too. ;)

       

Enter them in a Mini-Marathon.

This gift works well for your bestie, your partner, or even Mom and Dad! A mini-marathon is a fantastic way to work toward an attainable goal and get yourself in excellent shape through training. Most importantly, you don’t have to be an ultra-athlete to attempt a mini-marathon. This can be an intimidating endeavor, so entering yourself along with the recipient is a nice approach to this gift. Once you’ve finished, you’ll both gain a real sense of accomplishment, and will be in excellent physical shape! Hopefully, after feeling the positive effects of all that training, you’ll continue implementing these fitness habits in your daily lives thereafter.

We hope this gives you a few inspirational ideas for gifts this Valentine's day, why not offer something besides chocolate this year?


Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone with Your Fitness Routine January 21 2016

                     

Plateauing by definition is a force of nature that lessens the effectiveness of once effective measures over time. The plateau effect is a state that is experienced when the human body fails to respond to exercise that has proven effective in the past.” Have you plateaued physically and emotionally when it comes to your workout regimen? Whether we want to admit it or not, this eventually happens to all of us, which is why every so often it’s important to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Try something new! What have you got to lose? No harm has ever come from gaining new experiences or trying new things. One might argue that you could dislike something or have a negative experience and regret trying, but these lessons learned should be looked at as self-knowledge gained. Now you know!

                               

To give an example, if you’re a big weights buff, and you feel that you’ve hit your physical limit, maybe it’s time to start working some of the other areas of your body, like your core strength and balance. Unexpected forms of lower impact exercise like yoga and pilates that are often viewed by hardcore gym types as “softy sports” are actually really effective in strengthening the core, and building long, lean muscles. Even if this is a form of exercise you’d normally turn your nose up at, give it a try. You might just find you feel awesome after a few classes!

Here are a few popular forms of exercise classes available and their varying benefits. Why not try a few that you feel might suit your needs? Try to be open minded, and perhaps work on an area that you haven’t necessarily valued as much previously.

             

Yoga

As mentioned, yoga is great for building core strength, flexibility, balance and posture, and is amazing for stretching and elongating the muscles. A few other benefits are that it really helps to get you in tune with your body, establishing a strong mind-body connection. It is known to help regulate breathing as well, thus having therapeutic and calming effects for those that practice regularly.

                    

Pilates

Pilates has similar benefits to yoga, but uses machinery in its more advanced forms and can (depending on the type of yoga you are practicing) be a bit more intensive. Pilates also engages both the mind and body, builds amazing core strength, stretches and elongates the muscles, and helps to build flexibility and good posture.

                             

Zumba

Are you feeling a bit bored with your gym routine, or like you just can’t seem to get rid of that spare tire around your hips? Zumba is an awesome way to spice things up a bit, and drop some L-B’s! Zumba is an fun, upbeat combo of dance and exercise that is a great way to blow of some steam or relieve some stress! So much so that you won’t even realize how much of a workout you’re getting until you’re ready to drop from exhaustion! The Benefits? This form of exercise will dramatically improve your cardiovascular system, coordination, and with regular practice you will see rapid weight loss. (The average person burns up to 1000 calories in just one class!) By moving to the rhythm of the music, your body naturally tenses and flexes muscles all over, making Zumba a great way to tone up as well.

                            

Spinning

Spinning is fantastic as it really gives you autonomy over your workout. You are in a controlled environment and able to increase and decrease resistance, build and lower your heart rate, and train in intervals with the help of a professional teacher. As such, in this form of exercise it would be very difficult to plateau because you are constantly changing your routine and challenging yourself! The results? Amazingly toned legs and buttocks, improved heart rate and endurance, and a feeling of accomplishment (and adrenaline) at the end of every class!

            

Kettle Bell Classes

For all you weight lifters that don’t want to stray too far from home, this is a great option for something a little different that’s still in your arena. Kettle Bell training is a more of a full body workout than basic weight lifting, combining cardio and strength training. It also consists of more fluid movements, which avoids the monotony of isolated repetitions and is great for building flexibility and toning several muscles at once. The unique combo of strength training and cardio increases your metabolism exponentially and builds muscle while burning fat, which makes this method ideal for weight loss as well. Why spend hours at the gym doing separate cardio, strength training and stretching when you can squeeze it all into one class?

                                 

Swimming & Aqua Sports

Aquatic exercise is awesome for those looking for a full body workout, with little to now impact. Water exercises are deceivingly easy due to buoyancy and lack of resistance, yet swimming is one of the only sports that works almost every muscle in the body, building cardio strength, core strength, endurance, flexibility and muscle strength all at the same time. Due to the lack of stress on your joints and bones, this is also one of the lowest risk forms of exercise for injury. With regular practice, swimming also improves circulation and reduces your blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Water sports are a great option particularly for rehabilitating athletes or for those who have been hard on their bones, joints or muscles and are looking to stay fit without doing too much further damage.

These are just a few examples of some of the amazing other options there are to try outside of your regular gym routine! Grab a schedule next time you’re at the gym, or just look online to discovery many others that may end up being your new favourite thing! Sayonara, comfort zone.

                       


New Year’s Health & Fitness Resolutions- How to Make Sure You Stick to Them! December 23 2015

                      

We’ve all undoubtedly made dozens of new year’s health and fitness resolutions, with a genuine intention of following through, yet they always seem to fall by the wayside after a couple of weeks. Sure, life gets busy, but sometimes we also set unrealistic standards and expectations for ourselves that actually become intimidating and set us up for failure. Here are a few general rules to follow when making your resolutions that will make your goals more attainable, and therefore make you more likely to stick to them!

         

Set Realistic Goals

If you set out to work out 7 days a week from a 1 or even 0 day a week schedule, you’re inevitably going to burn out quickly. It’s important to set goals that are realistic, and that won’t seem so overwhelming that you’re tempted to give up. It helps to set a plan in motion to increase your exercise regimen gradually, making it less intimidating and more motivating. Start with 2-3 days a week, go with this for a couple of weeks, then increase your limits. This applies to your exercises as well, start slow and build your strength and endurance by pushing your threshold gradually. Remember it’s not a race, it’s a marathon!

     

The same rules apply to your diet- don’t try to cut everything out at once. Ease your way in so you don’t end up in a starve and binge cycle where you limit yourself so much that you overindulge every time you allow yourself. This is hard on the body and not effective for weight loss. Sugar and carbohydrates are common groups that come up on the “elimination list,” just make sure to maintain a balanced diet and match your efforts with regular exercise. It’s all about building a healthy, maintainable lifestyle. Starving yourself will only cause low energy, and less productive workouts as a result. You need your fuel! Just make sure it’s the right kind.

    

Sign up for Programs in Advance

Because the fitness world has figured out that the first couple of months of the New Year is probably the biggest time for people to try to find their inner health and fitness buff, there are hundreds of programs available to help get you on track come January. Signing up for a program in advance is a great way to give yourself a little nudge to follow through on your resolutions. Once you start going regularly, you will find yourself part of a like-minded community and thus more inspired to follow through and chase your end goal.

If you enjoy yoga, sign up for the 30 day challenge at your local studio. There is almost always one happening in January! If you’re looking to build some muscle at the gym, sign up for a few sessions with a trainer there. They’ll get you on the right track, and feeling more confident to continue on your own thereafter. These kinds of programs also make amazing Christmas gifts! If you have a close friend or family member that you know is looking to make some improvements to their health in the New Year, grab them a fitness package. They’ll thank you for it now, and then again later!

           

Don’t Keep Your Resolutions a Secret

Sharing your goals and resolutions with friends or family will also help you stick to them. Saying them out loud makes them real, and signifies a deeper commitment. Plus, once you’ve brought your best pal or your mom in on your secret, they won’t likely let you give up easily either. It’s nice to have someone else nudge you once and a while too, especially if you’re starting to feel uninspired.

         

Track Your Results

Whether it’s at the end of each workout, or the end of each week, take a moment to track down what you’ve accomplished that week. This will depend on what your goal is- eating healthy, losing weight, toning up, etc. Track down any headway you’ve made towards your goal, or any lapses. This will help you keep track of your progress, and not let any cheating slip through the cracks!

        

Be Patient and Persistent

Visible results are never immediate, however, the way you feel physically after upping your exercise regimen and improving your diet will improve almost immediately. If the endorphins aren’t enough to keep you motivated, remember that all things worth having take time, commitment and effort. Remember why you set your goals in the first place, you will achieve them eventually! In the meantime, you will enjoy feeling a lot more energized, healthy, and positive.

We hope these few pointers will help you stick to your resolutions this year, and wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


Low Impact Exercise- Why Everyone from the Youngin’s to the Geezers are Doing it! November 20 2015

                     

If you are a runner or an athlete, you have no doubt felt the effects that high impact exercise can have on your joints, muscles and bones after a while. This is why athletes have been making a real movement toward lower impact forms of exercise such as body weight training, swimming, spinning, and even yoga. Sports are hard enough on their joints, they don’t need to be putting extra strain on them off the field, court, ice- whatever it may be. Us every day folk could take a page out of this book too. There are many different forms of low impact exercise that are quite effective and easier on the bod! These types of exercises help prevent injuries associated with traditional, high impact exercise and equipment, and is great for all ages and fitness levels. It can also be beneficial for rehabilitation purposes. Most importantly- despite popular belief, it produces visible results the same way that more traditional, heavy duty exercise does. So put down the bench press and try a different approach. Your joints and bones will thank you, and you’ll be surprised at the results you see!

                      

Body Strength Training

It’s a common misconception that we have to push ourselves on strength building machines and lift heavy weights to build strength and muscle. It’s actually a much better workout to use your body weight and movement to build strength and muscle. Body strength training is a great combo of cardio and strength training, as opposed to weights which only target certain areas to build isolated strength. (Ex. Bicep curls, bench pressing, lat pull-downs, etc.) Another benefit is that because there is no machinery involved, you can transition more rapidly from one movement to another. Circuit training is a popular form of body strength training, which entails progressing through a series of movements such as lunges and knee lifts. This fluid range of motion not only helps with flexibility (allowing your joints to move more freely) but it builds core strength, helps with posture, back strength and endurance, and burns fat like crazy! You will also develop better balance through control and awareness of your body. The best part about this form of exercise is that there is lots of variety in the movements and exercises you can do. You can always switch it up which helps keep you motivated to push your boundaries and break plateaus. Oh, and it’s free and can be done anywhere, anytime… which leaves little room for excuses!

                    

Swimming

Swimming is often thought of as more of a leisure sport, when it actually works every muscle and offers quite an amazing full body workout! Because water is non-weight bearing, the workout often feels much easier as there is really no strain on the muscles. This is probably the lowest impact form of exercise, so it is particularly good for those already suffering from joint or bone issues, pregnant women, those in rehabilitation, or the elderly. However, it is an excellent alternative from anyone’s regular gym workout as it works both the upper and lower body all at once. Interestingly, as opposed to other forms of exercise, because those carrying a little extra weight tend to be more buoyant, this form of exercise will be less intense for the overweight and probably more intense for those with a lower BMI.

                                  

Spinning

This is where all the runners live- it’s the same intense workout, without the heavy pounding feet on the pavement. Spinning has a lot of the same physical benefits of running- it increases endurance, strengthens legs, and ups your cardio fitness. The difference is that it is done in a controlled environment, and it is low impact and a whole lot easier on your muscles and joints. This form of exercise is great for anyone craving that high intensity workout, but not the achy knees and ankles. It is particularly beneficial for athletes training off season in helping them stay fit, while taking it easy on their bodies that will no doubt take a beating during the next season.

                        

Hot Yoga

Love that heavy sweat you work up during a serious workout? Hot yoga is no joke, and no- it is not for sissies. While it’s not always the highest intensity workout, hot yoga is known for building incredible core strength and balance, and increasing flexibility and endurance. It also helps with toning and weight loss with regular practice. Being in a 90 plus degree hot room also helps you work up quite the lather, and sweating out all those toxins can be very cleansing and therapeutic! Another known benefit of yoga is that it has positive psychological effects, as it fosters a stronger mind-body connection. Yoga is also a low impact form of exercise that uses only bodyweight and movement to build strength and balance, and really stretches out the muscles. There are many different types of hot yoga, all at varying levels of intensity. (Bikram, Moksha, Vinyasa, the list goes on.) Be sure to check the class descriptions at your local hot studio to see which best suits your needs.

So, next time you hit the gym, will you think twice about picking up the barbells? Ask a trainer to show you some body strength training exercises, you won’t regret it when you’re old and nimble!

 

 

 

 

 


The Benefits of Walking- For the Non-Workout Buffs! October 21 2015

              

As you may have noticed, we talk a lot about living the “sweat life” and, being major sweat junkies ourselves, generally cater more to the fitness buffs in our blog topics. However, we do recognize that there are many people out there who don’t share the same affinity for the adrenaline rush of a good workout, or get the same therapeutic experience from strenuous exercise. Whichever category you fall into, it is important to understand the importance of basic exercise, and the body’s need for movement. You don’t have to kill yourself on the treadmill, but at a minimum you should be walking regularly to keep your joints and bones strong, your heart healthy, your muscles moving, and your energy level elevated.

 

Walking has many known benefits, both physical and mental. For instance, it’s gentle and easy on the joints, and therefore appropriate for people of all ages and fitness levels. (It’s especially useful for those with arthritis and the elderly.) Whether you’re a gymaholic or a gymophobe, here are four major benefits of regular walking that you just can’t ignore!

It’s great thinking time.

               

Another major benefit of walking is that it’s less strenuous than other forms of exercise, and therefore requires less attention, allowing us to focus on internal issues. Walking gives you a chance to think; it’s a time to solve problems, hatch brilliant ideas, think about your loved ones and relationships, and generally pay more attention to life. Unlike driving, walking really allows you to be in the moment and be more engaged with the outdoors and the world around you.

It Improves brain function and reduces stress.

                

Walking, particularly outdoors, is a great way to clear the head. It rejuvenates and refreshes you, and provides an opportunity to sort through your thoughts and deal with any anxieties you may be having. Walking lowers cortisol levels, reducing stress, and also improves circulation which allows more oxygen into the blood stream. This improves your focus, energy level, mood and overall productivity. If you’re starting to feel burnt out after sitting at your desk for a while, taking a quick walk is a great way to get your creative juices flowing!

It boosts the immune system and strengthens the heart and bones. 

                            

Regular walking has been proven to increase overall health on a long term basis. Particularly when done outside, walking allows us to soak up lots of vitamin D that can be difficult to get through food. Vitamin D is essential for good bone health and boosts the immune system. Frequent walking also maintains healthy joints and keeps the bones and heart strong, preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.

It keeps you toned.

                                            

Though walking won’t have the same impact on your physical appearance as more intensive exercises like running or lifting weights, walking briskly on a regular basis will keep your metabolism working help you burn more calories, which is helpful in maintaining your weight. Power walking will also keep your legs and bum toned, and if you walk fast enough that you are using your arms for momentum, you may even notice more definition there, too!

The best part about walking is that it really doesn’t take more than 15-30 minutes a day, but the more you walk the better! It’s all about finding opportunities. Opt for the stairs instead of the escalator, every time. Take a brisk stroll on your lunch break, or skip the subway and take the scenic route to work in the morning on foot. Your body (and mind) will thank you! What is your favourite time of day to get your walk on?

 

 

 


Travelling Lots this Season? 5 Easy Tips to Help You Stay Healthy on the Road! October 05 2015

                

It’s so common when travelling to let all of your usual inhibitions and good habits go, and let the “vacation” mentality take over. If you’re someone who travels quite frequently, for work or otherwise, this “vacation mentality” can easily turn into your everyday regime if you’re not careful! There are ways to avoid this, it just takes a little mindfulness, and some preparation.

Don’t indulge.

          

Just because you’re outside of your regular routine doesn’t mean you have an excuse to go for the junkiest item on the menu. It’s important to give yourself a little kick every time you are inclined to indulge, whether it’s at the airport or that fancy patisserie in the base of your hotel. Ask yourself before every meal- would I order this at home? If the answer is yes, then go for it. The goal isn’t to restrict yourself, only maintain your regular diet and habits to avoid weight fluctuations or falling under the weather due to a drastic change in your dietary régime.

Hydrate.

                             

Hydration is key always, but especially while travelling. Being on an airplane or stressfully racing through a busy airport is a draining and dehydrating experience. Being in a new city will also likely involve a lot of walking and a jam packed day of activities, and let’s face it hydration is often an afterthought. It’s important to compensate for all this extra movement with lots of water. Staying hydrated will keep you alert, looking fresh, and has also been proven to curb an appetite. Half the time we feel like snacking we are actually confusing our body’s response to dehydration with hunger!

Pack your Vitamins!

           

There’s no easier way to catch a cold or flu than to sit on a crowded airplane full of people from all walks of life, sharing re-circulated air for an entire flight. Yuck, I know. Kind of unavoidable though. The only answer is to equip yourself as much as possible by taking immune boosting vitamins and supplements before (and after) your flight. Echinacea is a wonderful herbal supplement that can be hugely helpful in preventing sickness. Vitamin C is an obvious second. Also, don’t neglect any other supplements you take on a regular basis. Make sure to pack them all for your trip! It may seem like extra weight, but especially if you are travelling frequently, falling off your vitamin schedule will only make your chances of crashing that much greater. It’s important to keep our bodies on a regular routine with vitamins, maintaining their levels on a daily basis for optimum health and performance. Travelling usually means foreign germs and less sleep, so vitamins are a huge saving grace in helping your body keep up.

Book a Hotel with a Gym.

            

As with your eating habits, it’s equally important to keep up your fitness regimen as much as possible while on the road. It’s all about maintenance. If you’re on a trip for pleasure, and doing a ton and walking and shopping, this will naturally compensate for the half hour or so you spend on the treadmill at home. However, if you’re spending your week with your butt in a chair at a conference, make sure to book a hotel with an accessible gym. This way there will be no excuse not to take a short half hour out of your morning, head down the elevator and sneak a quick sweat in.

Pack Healthy Snacks.

                                 

Before you head out to your hectic day in an exciting new city, wherever it may lead you, make sure to toss a healthy snack into your purse. Bring a pack of individually packaged almonds, or some protein filled granola bars. Having these handy will make the “don’t indulge” factor a whole lot easier. It’s a lot harder to say no to the baked ziti when you “didn’t have time” to eat all day. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by snacking regularly, and you’ll find it a lot easier to make healthy choices when you finally see a real meal.

Do you have any more tricks for keeping up your health routine on the road? We’d love to hear your input!


Morning Workouts- Early Bird Gets the Worm. September 24 2015

                 

As a non-morning person, I have traditionally struggled to find the motivation to leap out of bed and get my disoriented, grumpy self to the gym. The snooze button and I have become close friends, despite my better attempts to pretend it doesn’t exist. After giving it a chance, however, I’ve started to see the benefits of getting my exercise in at the beginning of my day, as opposed to near the end. Here are the top 6 reasons that starting my day with a workout has officially turned me into a morning person!

                  

It starts your day on a positive note.

Starting your day with exercise gives you a sense of accomplishment that you will carry with you throughout the day. Beginning on a healthy tip inspires you to keep this momentum throughout your day, swaying you toward the salad bar on your lunch break, or giving you a little extra nudge toward taking the stairs over the crowded escalator.

                             

It elevates your mood and productivity.

As Elle Woods in Legally Blonde so eloquently put it- “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on our overall mood and stress levels. Starting your day with exercise will release endorphins, improving your mood throughout the day. Naturally, starting the day energized and alert with a positive mindset will increase your productivity.

                     

It boosts your metabolism.

Often, for those of us too sluggish to give up that extra hour of sleep in the morning to get our bodies moving, our digestive systems tend to be a bit more sluggish. I often didn’t feel an appetite in the morning, and would end up skipping this essential meal and waiting for lunch. Getting your body moving first thing is a great way to work up your appetite for the day’s most important meal. Exercise boosts metabolism, so by getting it in earlier on, you will burn more calories throughout the day. (Especially high cardio or interval training exercises.) Eating a healthy breakfast is also key in getting your digestive system moving and kick-starting your metabolism for the day.

                

It’s the best time to build muscle.

Our hormones are elevated first thing in the morning, and drop progressively throughout the day. Testosterone, for example, is at its peak level in the morning, and is an essential hormone in building muscle. (Hello, abs!) With proper sleep, the morning is also when our bodies have the most energy and thus the most potential for a productive workout. Also, sweating regularly is great for the skin. Who needs makeup with that post workout glow?

                                        

It’s just you and your thoughts... and maybe a few others.                 

The gym in the morning is a far different vibe than it is after work hours. The snarling guy waiting to use your machine, the girl hogging the mat- these un-pleasantries are far less likely to be an issue in the wee hours of the day. The morning shift at the gym is a much more peaceful, serene experience. You will find yourself far less distracted or intimidated, and have a chance to really escape and experience the therapeutic aspect of exercise. Even if you’re not a gym rat and you prefer to jog outdoors or hit an early yoga class, these spaces will also likely feel much more calm and private earlier on in the day.

                             

It improves your family & social life.

Getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning is a great way to make sure it actually happens! There are so many distractions that can arise throughout the day- a last minute work assignment, a friend’s get together, a sick child, etc. Hitting the gym before you start your day checks off that box, leaving more flexibility for other priorities throughout your day, such as spending quality time with family and friends.

                        

So before you turn your nose up at the early morning keeners and hit that snooze button, give the morning workout a shot. It might take you a little while to adjust to the new routine, but once you start feeling the positive impact it has on your life, you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 


Routine and Consistency- the Secret behind Health & Wealth August 24 2015

                   

We have all felt the positive effects of a good week of routine- that feeling of accomplishment. Yet, we seem to fall off of it so easily. Somehow when a task or goal is put down on paper or into your calendar it becomes much more of a priority, whether you’re super task oriented or not. No one likes to feel that they’re neglecting their responsibilities, so if they’re written down in front of us we’re more likely to get them done. After a while, this routine starts to feel like second nature to us. Basically, by creating a daily routine for ourselves, we naturally become more motivated and task driven, and we’re more likely not to be swayed by tempting distractions if we’re dedicated to a routine. Creating a daily schedule for yourself can help improve your productivity in every area of your life.

                                           

Fitness

Incorporating fitness into your daily routine is key, even if you’re not a huge workout buff. Maintaining a decent level of physical activity on a daily basis is essential not only for our long term health, but for our mental well-being and stimulation as well. Sitting behind a desk and being inactive all day can start to take its toll. Those who make time in their day for physical exercise tend to be more energetic, positive and productive. Make sure to jot this one down in your schedule. It doesn’t matter when or what you do, just make sure to be active at least once a day!

                                           

Time Management

Routine forces you to manage your time as it takes planning. To create a routine, we are forced to sit down, consider our tasks the following day/week, and how we can fit these in with our other personal daily functions (such as the gym, meals, social and family events, etc.) After a while, you will have expert time management skills, and will benefit from this in other areas such as your work life or planning out your kids millions of sports practices and school events!

       

Eating & Sleeping

This area is so underrated. People totally underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep and a regular meal schedule. Sleep (or lack thereof) is directly linked to our mental function and our general productivity. Without a routine, we tend to let our bedtime creep later and later until we find ourselves trying to function on 4 or 5 hours sleep for an entire day at the office. Not only will you feel like crap, your work will suffer. Just get those 7 to 8 hours! Set a bed time and stick to it. That simple.

In terms of eating, so many people wait until they are starving before eating a meal. This is a huge mistake. You should constantly be grazing on small snacks to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your mind alert. There’s a reason they call it brain food! Setting a meal time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snack times can be helpful in staying regular. If you want to go the extra mile, plan out what you’ll eat for each meal, too! (This will also help you stick to healthier options and resist temptation.)

                                

Routine for Kids

This is probably the most important area to stress. Creating a consistency for children, particularly around meal and bed times, is essential for their mental development and overall well-being. The younger years are the biggest learning years, they are essentially little sponges soaking up all the information they come across! It is crucial that we set them up for success by providing structure, regular meals and sleep schedules so that they can focus on learning and growing into the strong young adults we want them to be. Following a routine from a young age will also help them develop a good work ethic and a healthier, more balanced lifestyle as they grow up.

Take the time to create a daily schedule for yourself. Write it down each night or at the beginning of the week to start out. Before you know it, you’ll be living and breathing your routine without a second thought, and living a much fuller, healthier and more productive life!


The Importance of a Healthy Body Image in Young Children July 08 2015

         

This subject may feel somewhat tired at this point, but I am glad to see the media beginning to focus more on the saturation of dieting and weight loss incentives and their negative impact on young children, particularly girls. With growing access to technology and various media outlets, children are being bombarded with messages about “losing weight fast” and seeing headlines like “get thin in just a week” on a daily basis. They are also being shown images of “the ideal body” that have been edited and manipulated, creating an unrealistic (and unhealthy) idea of what “normal” should look like. This is so common that they are growing up with the mentality that they should constantly be trying to lose weight, to be thinner, no matter their size or weight. Weight loss has gone from being a health requirement for the obese, to a common goal of the majority of the population, at least in Western society. It’s almost like a competition, who is the thinnest? Who has lost the most weight in the shortest amount of time? Exercise has become only about losing weight, as opposed to building strength, energy and endurance.

                        

These negative messages impact all people, but children are the ones in the most danger as their bodies are still growing and developing and need proper nutrition to do so. They are also extremely impressionable, and are developing their habits and mentality towards their health and bodies that they will carry with them throughout their lives. Creating a positive body image in young people isn’t just about telling them that they are beautiful no matter what shape or size they are. Though this is important, there is more to it. Instilling a healthy body image entails focusing on the important factors, like health, nutrition and balance. There is a fine line between making sure they are conscious of their health and making good decisions when it comes to eating and staying active, and over focusing on these areas.

               

The best way to ensure that your kids maintain a healthy mentality toward eating and fitness is not to over- focus. Lead by example and provide them with healthy, balanced meals from an early age. Get them accustomed to eating this way without harping too much on the importance of it. This being said, don’t completely deny them of treats. This will only come back to haunt them later as they will likely have self-control issues when they are no longer restricted from these “forbidden fruits”. It’s all about balance and lifestyle. Treats are treats…simple as that.  In terms of fitness, try to provide an active lifestyle for them. Don’t focus on the results of fitness, but the importance of staying active and involved in extra-curricular activities. Sports are a great way to keep them active, as they are social, fun and team based which builds trust and companionship. Companionship is a really key factor in my opinion. It’s healthy to have a little competition between peers, but competing with oneself can become obsessive and self-destructive, particularly when it comes to weight loss goals.  

                  

Long story short- sign your kids up for lots of activities! Encourage them to find an active sport that they love. Keep them well fed with a healthy attitude toward nutrition, and too busy to over-focus on things like being super thin or losing weight. If they remain healthy and happy, the physical results will come naturally.


Staying Fit as a Busy Working Parent May 22 2015

It's really easy to find excuses not to exercise when you're a parent of young ones working a full-time job. Life gets BUSY. But would you ever deem it excusable to neglect looking after your child for these same reasons? Didn't think so. The first step in the right direction is to start viewing fitness as a necessary part of taking care of yourself. You wouldn't skip a basic necessity of caring for your child, like food, education, or sleep, because you were too busy, would you? So why should your own body get the shaft? I'm not suggesting that every mother or father should make it a priority to resemble a fitness model or have "abs of steel," just that you incorporate fitness as a regular part of your routine to maintain your mental and physical well being. Trust me- your family will thank you for it!

 Without regular exercise, we eventually become low energy, burned out human beings (which can equal lacklustre parents and spouses!) Maintaining a regular fitness regimen keeps your metabolism going, your energy levels higher, and your mood elevated. This has obvious benefits for your relationships with your loved ones, and even your sex life. But who has the time or energy to hit the gym after a long day at work, then feeding, bathing and coaxing a bunch of rambunctious kids into bed? It's never going to be super convenient, but here are a few tricks you can use to find the time. 

 Take Turns

If you're married with young kids and both working full-time jobs, you're just going to have to accept that for the next few years, you will need to rotate the morning and evening shifts. No one loves waking up at 6am to hit the gym before heading to the office for a long day of work. However, once you get there and get going, it's surprising how exerted you feel going into your day. Getting those endorphins going first thing in the morning is a great way to start, hard as it is to get yourself there. This means your spouse takes the breakfast shift with the kids, gets them to school etc. and when you get home that night, you're on deck for dinner, bath, and bedtime while your spouse heads straight to the gym. You'll probably be ready for an early slumber yourself at that point, but it will feel well deserved. The next day, swap. Or, find a similar way to divide and conquer, allowing for balance of responsibility between you. 

 Single parent? Bite the bullet and hire a babysitter for an hour or two after work to do the dinner shift while you hit the gym. It's a worthwhile investment. 

8 Minute Abs, Arms, Legs and Buns. 

Are you a stay at home parent with no nanny or assistance? I get it- there's literally no time to hit the gym, at least not on a regular basis. This is where home workouts come in handy. I am going to let you in on a little secret of mine. I swear by these hilarious "8 minute workout" videos (below) that I found online a few years back. Judging by their attire, they must be from the 80's. It amazes me that they're still up but I'm not complaining! If you can get past the funny clothes and hairdos, these videos are super useful and get you toned up in no time. There's one for abs/core, one for arms, one for legs. 32 minutes and Ta Da! Full-body workout. When you put your kids down for a nap, grab your laptop and set up in a room with a little floor space to do your exercises. Not in the napping stage? Set up in a room within sight while they eat their lunch. Or better yet, create an arts and crafts activity (no sharp objects!) that will keep them busy for a half hour. These are only a few examples of the masses of online workout and yoga videos available online. Do some research and find a few that work for you!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSby1UUhyts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSby1UUhyts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLIfN-31Bgs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnBhn7YSsnM

Play With the Kids! 

Don't underestimate the amount of cardio you actually get running after your little ones. As they get older, continue creating games that involve running, such as a family soccer or baseball game, capture the flag or even scavenger hunts. It keeps you AND your kids active and is a great bonding experience. 

 

Image Sources: 

Image 1-http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1026531/images/o-MOM-STRESS-WORKING-MOM-WORKING-MOMS-facebook.jpg

Image 2-http://www.thehabitproject.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/stressed-out-parents.jpg

Image 3-http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/11/03/1414973592839_Image_galleryImage_A_stock_photo_of_a_father.JPG

Image 4-http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/2010/09sep/stk2010_09_iStock_000010562074Small_424x302.jpg?width=475

Image 5-http://1.slimshortcut.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/mom-exercising-660x400.jpg

Image 6-http://f.tqn.com/y/grandparents/1/S/Y/S/-/-/CaptureTheFlagHillStreetStudioBlendImages.jpg 

 


Outdoor Workouts- So Hot Right Now. May 07 2015



With spring in the air and fitness rising on the priority meter, (hello, bikini weather) I thought I’d share with you the benefits and multi-uses of Mother nature’s back yard. Outdoor fitness is becoming more and more of a popular phenomenon. From fitness mobs  and running groups, to park workouts and TRX training, there are dozens of ways to use the outdoors as your gym, and soak up some vitamin D while you’re at it! Just follow these few easy steps and you’re on your way to an awesome beach bod, and some extra cash for summer fun!

                   

Image Source: http://www.domesticdork.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/NoGymNoProblem.jpg

Cancel your gym membership (for now).

Every spring, I cancel my gym membership. Why? I don’t see the need for a treadmill when I can run outside. I don’t see the need for machinery when I can use the monkey bars at the local playground for chin-ups and other exercises. I don’t need a floor mat when I can use my yoga mat in my back yard to stretch and do ab exercises. Most importantly, I save a solid few hundred dollars, and don’t burn fossil fuels driving to a gym or waste energy on electrically run machinery!  Most gyms will offer a 6 month membership. If you can do month to month, even better! Save money, travel time and energy consumption by using the outdoors until the weather no longer permits it.

Join a running group.

       

Image Source: http://trainingcampsf.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Group_running.jpg

As we’ve discussed before, community is a key element of staying motivated and driving performance when exercising. Most neighborhoods have a local group that gets together a few times a week to run. It’s a great way to meet people, and will keep you motivated to stick to a workout routine.

Use the outdoor elements.

      

Image Source: http://thefitchronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/pre-beach-workout-photo-51.jpg

 Often if you drive past your local park or even the beach, more and more you will see people exercising. Many beaches (south Beach, Miami for instance) actually have designated bars set up designed for strength conditioning exercises! Otherwise, any local playground will have monkey bars and other useful equipment that have multipurpose use, you just have to get creative!

 Some tips:

1.  Use the stairs. Find a set of three or four stairs (or even a picnic table). Step up 2 stairs with your left foot, then back to the ground with your right. Repeat with the other foot. Then step  up 2 with your left, then 2 more with your right, then back. Repeat. Who needs a stair master?

        

Image Source: http://www.fitnessbyd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/P1030157.jpg

2Use the monkey bars. For chin-ups, grab on with both hands, pull yourself up to chin level, release and repeat. You can also use the monkey bars to strengthen your core. Hang on to the bars with both hands, and slowly lift your legs up as far as you can. Hold, and release. Repeat. Or, try any of the exercises above. They're tough, but will give you killer abs!

        

Image Source: http://redefiningstrength.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/monkey-bar-exercises.jpg

 


Enzymes- WTF are they? April 09 2015

We talk a lot about the brilliant “Enzyme” technology in our detergent, and how it helps position us as one of the most effective, eviro-friendly products available on the market. Chances are though, the average person (who doesn’t deal with cleaning products for a living) won’t have a clue WTF an enzyme is, let alone how it works.

                                                

Image Source: http://images.sodahead.com/slideshows/000002449/3809_picture_of_a_hard_working_man_doing_the_laundry-26369960447_xlarge.jpeg

Enzymes are biological catalysts that break down organic substances through biological reactions. We have enzymes in our bodies, which help speed up important processes where a breakdown of substances is required or new substances are created, such as cellular respiration, photosynthesis and protein synthesis. In addition to their ability to speed up reactions, they also provide a controlled environment as they only produce one targeted reaction at a time, so by using them we can control where and when these reactions occur.  

                           

Image Source: http://www.buzzle.com/images/diagrams/enzyme-working-mechanism.jpg

So, naturally when attempting to develop a ground-breaking product that would finally obliterate that nasty funk from our work out gear, we looked at the root of the problem. Bacteria caused by bodily oils and sweat were clinging to the fibers of the clothing. Though conventional detergents would temporarily mask the problem with fragrance, that old familiar stink would quickly return during the next sweat session. So, we thought, what could we use to actually disintegrate this bacteria, removing it entirely? Enzymes!

                      

Image Source: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--JELz5JCi--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/jvtupl0vwc1ajvsfgwyw.jpg

So, the genius scientists behind No Sweat’s [secret agent] sports wash set out to purify these organic enzymes and use them to break down these biological substances. After careful testing they found that when combined with cool to warm water, these enzymes would indeed dissolve bacteria caused by sweat and bodily oils. The enzymes literally digest any biological stinks and stains, leaving the clothing odourless and fresh like new. Due to the fact that enzymes are effective in cooler temperatures as well as warm, they are safe for use on delicate fabrics, so we also recommend you use No Sweat on your intimates!

                   

Article Source: http://www.abpischools.org.uk/page/modules/enzymes/enzymes5.cfm?coSiteNavigation_allTopic=1


10 types of Evil, Gnarly Bacteria Living in your Workout Gear! October 29 2014

There are tons of bacteria living on your skin just waiting to feed on sweat. After a heavy hockey game, yoga class, or session at the gym, you toss your bacteria infested clothing into a moist bag. Guess what? You just dropped a kid into a candy store. This is the ideal environment for bacteria to reproduce, and thus amplify that oh so familiar pungent smell. Here are just ten examples of the nasty bacteria you are transferring onto your clothing while you sweat.

                           

Picture Source: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/125-microbes/oeggerli-photography

  • Butyric Acid- Originally found in butter, this forms when larger molecules are broken down into smaller ones as bacteria metabolizes sweat. Body Odour is the result of this fermentation; it is these smaller molecules that produce the unpleasant smell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_odor

                           

Image Source: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-butyric-acid.htm

                          

Image Source: http://www.asm.org/division/c/grampos.htm

  • Staphylococcus Hominis- another bacteria found on the skin that feeds on sweat. This one can sometimes cause infections of the bloodstream in people with abnormally weak immune systems. Most strains of this bacterium are curable with antibiotics, but there have been recent discoveries of more dangerous strains that are resistant to these cures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staphylococcus_hominis

                                 

Image Source: https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Staphylococcus_in_United_States

  • Micrococcus Luteus- another bacteria living on your skin, they have been associated with various bodily infections/ diseases such as: intracranial abscesses, pneumonia, septic arthritis, endocarditis, and meningitis. They have also been tied to coronary infections. Yuck! http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/lab-bio/res/psds-ftss/micrococcus-eng.php

                                

Image Source: http://www.bode-science-center.com/center/relevant-pathogens-from-a-z/micrococcus-luteus.html

                                   

(Streptococcal Pharyngitis)

Image Source: http://www.parkhurstexchange.com/clinical-reviews/ct_09_vol15

  • Brevibacterium Bacteria- The culprit of feet funk! This bacteria, also living on the skin, causes foot odor. They even use this bacteria to ferment several types of funky cheese, such as: Munster, Limberger, Port-du-Salut, Raclette and Nasal. Its aroma also attracts mosquitoes. Yum?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevibacterium

                             

Image Source: http://cheeseunderground.blogspot.ca/2011_02_01_archive.html

  • CorynebacteriumFound in the mucous and on the skin of humans and animals, the most notable strain of this bacteria group is diphtheriae, the cause of a contagious respiratory infection called Diphtheria which can be fatal. Other effects of infection caused by this bacteria strain includepneumonitis, pharyngitis, skin infections, and endocarditis. This bacteria has also been linked to odour. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corynebacterium

                            

Image Source: http://wishart.biology.ualberta.ca/BacMap/cgi/getSpeciesCard.cgi?accession=NC_003450&ref=index_2.html

                           

Image Source: http://zdravoe.com/129/p14113/index.html

  • Staphylococcus Epidermidis- Another strand of the Staphylococcus bacterium, this one is directly linked to underarm odour. This bacteria is present on all human skin, and can also cause infection in those with weak immune systems.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staphylococcus_epidermidis

                             

Image Source: {Pinterest via scharfphoto.com}


Limberness- The Silent Secret Behind a Killer Bod September 05 2014

               

Image Source: http://astoldbylaura.wordpress.com/category/college-life/page/2/

Ballerinas, Gymnasts, Cirque Du Soleil performers and Martial Arts experts are some of the most graceful, beautiful athletes to look at.  What do they all have in common? They are extremely fit, strong and FLEXIBLE. While many workout devotees focus on improving their general level of fitness and strength, flexibility seems to have been the ugly step-child of our gym culture- underrated and often an after-thought. 

In truth, the athletic performers that wow us the most had it figured out long ago. Flexibility is not only impressive, it is often what differentiates an average body from one that is super fab.

What:

 Flexibility can be termed as the ability of your joints and body parts to execute their full range of motion. In spite of common belief, flexibility is NOT genetic.  Yes, some bodies are more naturally supple than others but all bodies have the capacity to achieve a fuller range of motion with the right practice.  A focus on dynamic stretching  (“stretching while moving”) and isometric stretching (or “engaging the muscle while stretching”) is a good place to start.  These kinds of stretching increases core temperature, muscle temperature, elongates the muscles, and stimulates the nervous system all while yielding faster results.

            

Image Source: http://itrainthereforeieat.com/2013/11/22/should-you-stretch/

Why bother?

  1. It will save you from injury- muscles lose their natural suppleness are prone to tears, aches, and pains. Over time, loss of flexibility could lead to permanent changes in posture and normal muscle function.
  2. It will help “tricking” you’ll be able to take your yoga practice to the next level or really just impress the heck out of your friends and your kids at the park
  3. It adds a whole new dimension to your movement. Flexibility can’t be forced.  It takes time and patience and teaches “Kinesthetic awareness” where your body is in space and time. 
  4. It’s easy, fun, and impressive, so why not?

              

Image Source: http://loora.gym-space.fi/2013/05/07/kehonhuolto/?id=112&comment=1

How?

You should never feel actual pain. For the muscle/tendon stretches, a burning feeling lets you know that you’re doing it right. For joint stretches like the side split, etc., the feeling is odd. It’s uncomfortable, but not really painful. If a stretch ever genuinely hurts, then STOP! “No pain, no gain” does not apply to flexibility training.

Stretches to Improve Flexibility:

Shoulders-

   

image source: http://www.sensational-yoga-poses.com/images/bennitasana-chest-stretch-3.jpg

Spine- back bends, twists

image source: http://www.yogacurious.com/blog/one-legged-seated-spinal-twist-ardha-matsyendrasana-yoga-pose/2013/12/

Torso- side bend

                  

 Legs- side splits, splits, pvc foam roller

                 

image sourcehttp://www.fitsugar.com/Stretches-Sore-Lower-Back-24108098

                    

image sourcehttp://www.fitsugar.com/How-Do-Splits-3551904

                     

Knees- malasina

             

image source: http://crossfitwaterloo.com/2013/09/18/crossfit-kids-underway-yoga-schedule/

When?

The best part about stretching is that you can do it anywhere, any time. Try stretching while you watch TV. It keeps you from snacking and is great way to relax. Also, get your kids or spouse in on the action! Have them sit on your back, pull your arms, etc. to help deepen your stretch.

           

Image Source: http://funnymadworld.blogspot.ca/2011/10/funny-stretching-leg.html

Remember, flexibility isn’t something that happens overnight, nor is it something that will be achieved by putting in the bare minimum. Two months of 10–20 minutes of solid stretching every day should make a noticeable difference.   While, age, genetics, and how much you stretch, all play a role in determining how long it will take to achieve a particular goal, a reasonably fit person should take no more than 6 months or so to achieve a healthy to advanced level of flexibility.

                                

 Image Source: http://loora.gym-space.fi/2013/05/07/kehonhuolto/?id=112&comment=1

 

 


5 Fun Poses You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your Kids! August 06 2014

No matter what you say, it’s what you do that counts.  If you want your kids to be active- BE active.  They will love their time with you and will develop good habits in spite of themselves. Monkey see, monkey do!!! 

 

1)      Leap Frog, Yoga Style!

Sit in splits position and stretch it out while your little beaper leaps across you. You may want to throw in a chair to leap off of to avoid and accidental be-headings. 

 

 

2)      The Crow Swing:

 Good for Mom & Dad’s Arm Muscles, great for the little one’s flexibility. Not to mention one heck of a fun ride! Have your junior assume Crow’s position while you grasp his/her hands and lift. It might take a few tries to get air born- but they’ll love it once they do!

 

3)      Back Bend  & Crow Pose Combo-

Get into your best bridge and have your little tot perch on top of your tummy in Crow’s position. Tons of fun for flexibility, balance, and building trust!

 

 

4)      Splits Lift:

Lift your little one up in splits position and see how long you BOTH can hold it!

 

 

5)      Family Hand Stands:

 Get inverted together, and see who can hold their stand the longest! Inversions are great for increasing blood circulation. Providing more oxygen and blood flow to the brain is thought to increase many mental functions like memory, concentration etc. J

(More info on the benefits of inversions here http://yoganonymous.com/10-benefits-of-yoga-inversions/


Couples Workouts- More Sweat Leads to Better Sex! August 06 2014

                              

Having trouble motivating your spouse to hit the gym? Go with him/her! There are amazing benefits to working out or playing sports together.  It’s a known fact that exercise increases endorphins, which impact your overall mood. Fitness can be a great outlet for the release of stressors in your relationship, and a healthy, beneficial way to keep things exciting.

                                   

 

Sweating it out in unison can also be a great bonding experience, helping you to build trust and communication skills between you and your significant other. Who needs couples therapy?! More importantly, let’s face it- with your newly toned bods, increased endurance and all those pheromones flying around, you won’t have any more problems in the bedroom.

                                

 

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

 – Elle Woods, Legally Blonde.

 

 

 For some serious inspiration, check out this vid:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceEZD1X6fls

 

 Image Sources: Pinterest


Sweat Therapy as a lost Art June 29 2014

                            

Image: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/fitboard/board/category/motivation/user/anbisel

Has the active community become too focused on visible results, and less about the joy of escapism and the natural high that exercise can bring you? The fitness world today seems to be so consumed with the body changing element of exercise that it’s become a completely result-driven, mundane series of robotic and strenuous exercises we push ourselves through on a daily basis to make our bodies look a certain way. People have stopped seeing their workout as a time to escape, think, and regroup, and instead find themselves eagerly anticipating the finish line.

                               

             Image via: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/61924563597131201/

Well get off the treadmill, I say- and go find something that you can get lost in. Stop pushing yourself, and start losing yourself. We’ve all felt the uplifting effects of a good sweat session- the endorphins, the release. Finding a sport or class you like is the key, something that you can connect with physically as well as mentally. The focus in your fitness regimen should always be to keep the body strong and healthy, and to feel energetic and balanced on a daily basis. Finding escape in sweating it out can be the best kind of therapy for your body and mind, so ditch your shrink, and go enjoy it! 

              

Image via:http://www.alfievente.com/acupuncturemassageforsportsinjuries