About Me

My photo
BCRPA Weight Trainer * BCRPA Group Fitness Leader * BCRPA Personal Trainer * Cory Holly Institute Principles of Sports Nutrition Education Program * Body Training System Group Power Instructor *Body Training System Group Centergy Instructor * CORE Conditioning Instructor * TKO Fitness Instructor * Boot Camp Leader

Monday, February 22, 2010

Secrets to a higher success rate in acheiving your goals!!

Knowing where you want to be is very important in terms of health and fitness goals. Without having a specific outcome in mind, you will not have a clear path to follow. But what is more important then the end goal, would be that ‘clear path’ I just mentioned. How do you plan on reaching that goal? What steps do you need to do to get to that result?

Everyone is probably guilty of making this one mistake: Setting great goals with full intentions of meeting them. Then going about it in a haphazard way with no particular plan only to stray off and then stop completely in frustration.

Sound familiar?

So before you become a victim again, lets erase all past failures from our minds and start with a clean slate. You can’t begin with any negative thoughts that may drag you down. You can only move forward from here…and you will! Let’s do some careful planning together shall we?

Step 1
Grab a sheet of paper and list a specific (make sure it is realistic! Don`t set yourself up for failure by making up a goal that already seems impossible, think baby steps) goal for these timeframes:
1 MONTH – examples: lose 1 lb a week, eat healthier meals throughout day…
3 MONTHS – examples: increase weights by 5 lbs or more, increase running/jogging/swimming/etc time by 10 mins without fatiguing, be fit ready to join community sport league for fun…
6 MONTHS – examples: fit into fave pair of jeans (or dress, suit, jacket…) from back in the day, hike the grind (or any of the great hike trails here!), join sun run (or other charity run/bike)…
1 YEAR – examples: lose 5 % bodyfat, decreased inches in waist or belly by XX amount, gained inches in chest or arms by XX amount, half marathon, …

Just remember, these are not set in stone. As you are training and working, you may progress faster or not as fast depending on your body type. So it is OKAY to re-evaluate and reset goals so that they pertain to your fitness level at the time. (ex: if you haven`t been able to increase your weights at all after 2 months, maybe change the goal to having increased by 1-2 lbs by the 3rd month instead of 5lbs OR if you have already reached 5lbs in 1 month, change the goal to an increase of 10lbs by the 3rd month..and so forth)

Step 2
Now take a look at each specific goal and write at least THREE different strategies you will do that will help you reach that goal.
Here is an example for 1 MONTH:
Goal: lose 1 lb a week and eat healthier meals to speed up metabolism
Strategy 1: hire trainer and schedule 2 workouts a week and 1 on my own
Strategy 2: always start with a well balanced breakfast no later than 30 mins after
waking, high in complex carbs
Strategy 3: introduce a new vegetable and fruit each week to menu

Step 3
This is a very important step that most people do not even consider. As we all know, life happens and there will be times when events will occur that are not in your control that may impede in your success. Think of 3 possible barriers that may happen that could stop you from reaching your goal, and write out THREE different solutions to EACH that you can do to make sure it doesn`t stop you in your tracks!
Barrier 1 – busy work and hectic social life might cause me to NOT do my workouts
Solution 1 – pre set all appts with trainer and firmly make them call the day before to confirm.
Solution 2 – do not plan late outings with friends or family the day before trainer appts (make sure friends and family are aware of this too)
Solution 3 – on days where work is unavoidable, use every chance to take the stairs, go for walks outdoors after lunch, stop 2 stops beforehand and walk, park further and walk, do not stay idle for longer than 3 hours at a time!

Step 4
Finally, you now have to write down how you will know if you have reached your goal.
Examples for the above 1 MONTH goal:
· clothes that were a little bit snug are starting to feel like they `fit`
· energy is sustained from morning to lunch (no `crashing`)
· metabolism is improving because I feel hungry every few hours and satisfied after healthier snack (like the new veggie or fruit I have introduced into my diet!)

You will see a BIG difference in your success level when you carefully map out your strategies this way. But like anything, don`t expect any pay off if you don`t do the work, you are now equipped with some make it or break it ammo – USE IT!

Until next time team, keep your eyes on the GOAL!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stress Case!!

The word stress is normally associated with bad things. But did you know that stress can be good too? Let’s take a look at what exactly stress means to a physical body.

Stress is basically ANY physical, hormonal or chemical change in your body.

Here are a few examples of BAD stresses:

Taking a “blow” to the body (a hit or punch, hard impact on the joints *think running outdoors or jumping up and down on both legs*… which can result to bruising or pain or aggravation to the area or areas around it)
Worrying (about your exam, about your spouse, about being late… causes anxiety and an increase or sometimes even decrease in blood pressure)
Extreme weather (too cold and you shiver…too hot and you sweat)
Emotional turmoil (sad events can cause tears, frustration, depression…arguments can cause anger, revenge, hate…)

And a few examples of GOOD stresses:

Eating your favorite meal
Seeing a loved one
Reading a really good book
Well balanced work outs
Getting excited about great news
Laughing really hard over a joke
Great sex

The bad stresses are what people tend to recognize but how does feeling ‘good’ put stress in the body?

When the body is exposed to so many different stimulants everyday, you can expect that it is always working overtime in taking in the information and then producing what necessary hormones or chemicals in response.
By doing so, it puts stress on the body.
You just need to know the difference between which stresses you need in order for your body to keep producing the ‘good’ hormones.

And it is pretty simple…..
Anything that causes good feelings or a good response is obviously GOOD stress. This will promote the body to produce more endorphins (the happy hormone!) and will make you feel great. (ever notice that natural high you get after a workout? That’s it!)

If you are always feeling moody, depressed, tired, angry or just plain bad, it is best to check in with your family physician and maybe get tested on your hormone levels.

Until next time, maybe its better NOT to say “stay stress-free”?

Health respect & happiness,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Don't forget to stretch! But not after you resistance or cardio train too!

A participant in my Group Centergy class asked me what they could do to become more flexible. They wanted to be able to lean forward to touch their toes without feeling the tightness in their hamstrings.

I asked her what she did in terms of stretch and exercise. Her reply: Only this class. To which I replied: What about your resistance training? Or cardio training?
She just nervously laughed it off and looked like she didn’t know what I was talking about.

Flexibility is extremely important to keep muscles relaxed, joints malleable, and yourself at lower risk for injuries, but you cannot forget to maintain a well balanced workout program that covers all aspects of physical health.

Take this analogy…..
**IMAGINE this: What if you only ate protein…where are your carbohydrates that feed your brain and give you energy throughout the day to function? Or your good fats that maintain proper brain function and keep the bad fatty levels down? What if you only ate carbohydrates…where are your proteins that feed the muscles and helps regenerate and strengthen it? Get the picture? You can’t only eat from only one category, your body is not meant for that..and it knows when you try to cheat it from what it needs. Think die-hard atkins dieters that go a little ‘nutty’ after consuming only protein based foods… enough said!**

So, the question went from: “What can I do to make my hamstrings more flexible?” to “What can I do to help balance my workout so that I can feel my overall body stretched to its capabilities?”

I know everyone would like to be able touch his or her toes during a hamstring stretch but it is not realistic. Some people are born with a natural flexibility (I am guilty) and then there are some who must work very hard to attain it..and there will always be the ones that will never get there no matter how often they attend yoga/pilates classes. Understand that and accept what your body can do and work on maintaining it.

I found that the best times to stretch is after my workout, especially after resistance training. Others may prefer stretching after their warm up or even just after their cardio sessions. As long as it is after your muscles and joints get a chance to warm up. (if you must stretch before a workout, choose dynamic stretches over static stretches)

How you stretch is very important, POSTURE and TECHNIQUE must be adhered to or else, why bother trying to stretch at all?? BREATHING is sometimes forgotten…muscles need oxygen; so while you’re holding that position, breathe deep to oxygenate the muscles you are trying to lengthen out to feel the full benefits. I have also seen too many people hold a stretch for about 5 seconds before moving onto the next… RELAX! Poses should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds to even a full minute. For people on the go, switch your stretching styles to dynamic active and you can shorten your holds to as little as 15-20 seconds. (that is when you contract your muscles during the stretch then relaxing it)

Passive stretches are the BEST for heightened flexibility and range of motion, so whenever you can, give yourself a lot of time to pro-long your stretch.

I didn’t dwell too much on the different types of stretches for the hamstrings…but if you know a couple, you should keep doing them. Change it up by doing it standing, sitting, laying supine on the floor, or with someone assisting you. Just these subtle changes help keep the stretches feeling new and the muscles working because of the different vantage point of the range of motion.

Until next time, stay limber team!

Health respect & happiness,

Friday, February 5, 2010

"CORE" for thought...

I teach a wonderful group of men and women for a CORE conditioning class out in Burnaby and a few of them have brought up some very interesting questions and comments about how I train their core… take a listen:

I don’t know what the core is?
Many participants assumed the ‘core’ is just the stomach. And the stomach is just the abdominals? Partially there… the core is made up of a larger number of muscle groups including the: rectus abdominus (your ‘6 pack’), transverse abdominus (the ‘flat belly’ feel…think, sucking in your stomach), obliques (your waistline…think hour glass figure), erector spinae (lower back muscles that support your lumbar spine), and spinal rotators (back side muscles that helps you rotate the back).

It doesn’t just stop there, here are some forgotten muscles that can also be associated with the core when on the move: hips, hip flexors, glutes, pelvis…its actually safe to say that all movements you do is associated with your core and can’t be done without some type of core strength.

Why did you do so many different squats and push up type exercises? How is that core work?
These functional compounding exercises cannot be executed properly without having the core engaged! And when done slowly (or quickly but with control), you are forcing the core muscles to contract and voila! Core and balance comes into play without you having to realize it!

How do you ‘turn on’ the core? I don’t know the difference and how will I know if mine is turned on?
I spent quite a few minutes with this lady after class to go over a great technique I learnt in school on how to distinguish the feel between relaxed and contracted. Try it out:
Standing, start off with most horrible posture possible, stick your gut out, round your back…you might already look like that now…
Now, simultaneously, take a slow deep breath in and lift your chest up and stand as straight as possible.
Keeping your good spinal posture, as you exhale, press your shoulders down but keep your belly pulled in.
Take your hands and place on your abdominal area and keep pushing that air out (you should feel your belly start to shrink in…), poke your belly and feel it harden!
Hold onto that “feel” around the mid-section, and now continue to breath naturally.
Are you still poking your belly? Do it, it should feel different from when you were standing relaxed.

There’s the difference in how it feels to have it ‘on’ and ‘off’. Now you know how to turn it on. Once you are used to feeling it, engaging the core can be done as easy as switching on a light.
You will know when it is not turned on when your chest starts to drop, or your back starts to round downwards, or your belly sticks out and your lower back starts to hurt.
Every so often, assess your current posture…would you say its bad, or great?

I have never moved so slow or held a position for as long as I am in this class, it hurts!! Why can’t I just move quick, I can do more that way.
There is always a time and place for quicker paced and controlled exercises. But when you take the time to slow things down or even hold it for a longer period of time in the contracted position, it encourages the muscle to maximize the exercise! Imagine this: If you were to do crunches by swinging your elbows and upper torso up to help you, I bet you would be able to do about 100 without breaking a sweat. That is because you are using momentum (the swinging motion of the body) to help you along the way. Now, take the same exercise, move slower, think about the muscles at hand…and hold it at the contracted position for 2 or 3 breaths before easing it down slowly. I bet you wouldn’t be able to do 10 without feeling a greater burn. THAT is all core baby! Get it now? Sometimes it is not about quantity, but about QUALITY.

That is just from the first 2 classes. By the third class, I already have them coming up to me overjoyed because some of the exercises they have been doing now feel ‘differently’. (as in, “I CAN FEEL MY STOMACH MUSCLES REALLY WORKING WHEN I DO IT NOW!”) And you can bet I am witnessing great improvement in their form and stability as well!

=) * pump fist! * Woohoo! Another mission successfully accomplished!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

why hello, nice to meet you too...

Tue Feb 2 2010

As this would be my first official blog, I’d like to give a quick brief as to who I am and how I have come to where I am today.

For as long as I could remember, all I wanted to do was be around my big brother. He endured years of me pestering him and following him around and mimicking what he did…breaking a lot of his transformers or hot wheels…eventually he found out that it wasn’t cool to have his kid sister hanging around and kept his distance. I was a very stubborn child (still am) and reset the button once I entered highschool. He was heavily into the wrestling and the weight room so, of course, I started to gain interest. It was him that opened my eyes into the world of fitness that I am enveloped in today.

It started with tinkering around with the different weighted machines and free weights and him showing me wrestling moves that left me tapping out within 5 seconds. At 16, I found a local gym that would sign me up and it was love at first sweat! I tried a few group classes but the weight room was where I belonged.

And that is how this love affair with health and fitness sprouted: basketball team, track and field team, weight lifting, wrestling, pilates, tae bo, kickboxing (muay thai, cardio & kikara), yoga, dance (jazz, hip hop & salsa), jujitsu, power classes, step classes (yes, I did cave in to a few), boot camps and finally personal training.

The first time I started training with my PT, I was hooked, and knew that I wanted to be on her side of the sessions to help others feel the way I felt after getting in a good sweat.

It began with my certifications to teach the Group Power and Group Centergy classes at the gym I was currently employed at. It wasn’t until I actually left the gym that I enrolled back into school to get my certification to become a weight trainer, group fitness instructor and finally personal trainer. Going into the school, my frame of mind was to run a personal training business on my own, as I am very particular with the way I train and am with my clients.

The program was intense and quick paced, so it was very easy to weed out the ones who were serious and the ones who thought it would just be cool to be called a trainer. Between working 3 part time jobs, school, an apprenticeship program, maintaining a social life and reading and asking as much as I could about starting up your own business and what it takes, I somehow made it through and B.L.Training was born.

Today would mark my 6th month as the founder and president of B.L.Training!

I intend to provide the public with the best knowledge I can on how to be healthy the right way. That fitness is something EVERYONE can do. That it is NEVER too late to start or too early to get involved. That with careful goal searching and action planning, you CAN reach and even surpass the obstacles that may have inhibited you from getting where you want to be.

To help you train YOUR body for LIFE through my passion for health and fitness.

That is I. That is B.L.Training. I love what I do, and I want you to see what I can do for you.

So, what have you done for your body lately?

Until next time,

Health, respect & happiness,