Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Do’s and Don’ts of Rewarding Success

Go For Gold!

From a young age, you are rewarded with success. You get stickers for potty training, trophies when your team wins, and you get to go out for ice cream if you do well on a test. Rewards are often used to enforce good behavior. This can directly apply to fitness. You can reward yourself for good lifestyle habits that will get you to your goal. It is a great way to keep motivation high, as long as you avoid the common mistakes that are made with rewards. Here are 5 “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of rewarding your fitness success.


Set weekly, monthly, and biannual goals. You can increase motivation for the longer goals by making your biannual rewards larger and even more desirable than the weekly reward. Setting goals in smaller increments helps to keep motivation up because it gives you something specific to achieve every week, instead of one end goal somewhere in the future.


Reward success with food. This will only enforce the habits that you are trying to break. You’ve probably heard of a “cheat day”. Cheat days are just an excuse to not follow your plan for a day. You can stay on track all week and then, in one cheat day, ruin your entire week’s progress by eating too many calories. This is why you should NOT reward your good behavior with the very habit that you are working on breaking.


Be specific. Just as you need to be specific with your plan to get to your goal, a specific reward will give you something to look forward to. Instead of saying, “I will reward myself with something nice for eating my calorie number everyday,” say, “I will reward myself with a facial for eating my calorie number everyday this week.”


Set goals that you know you will not achieve. Your body can only burn so many calories in a day. In order to lose 10 pounds in one month, you would need to lose 2.5 pounds per week. This would mean a calorie deficit of 8,750 each week, or 1,250 per day. This means that you would need to eat 1,250 calories less than you’re burning every day. An average female only burns about 1,800 calories per day. So, in order to lose 10 pounds in one month, the average female would have to consume 550 calories per day. This is absolutely unrealistic and unhealthy. Consult a professional to learn what is realistic for your timeline when goal setting.


Choose rewards that you genuinely want. I know that this sounds like a give in, but if your reward is something that will bring you joy, it will help keep you motivated to keep going. Rewards that are only mildly rewarding, may lose their appeal as your motivation starts to dwindle. For example, the more your cravings increase when you are losing weight, the less valuable that manicure may seem. You may become more inclined to give in to the craving and put off your reward if it isn’t something that you truly desire.

Rewarding Your Progress

Rewarding success in a fitness program is an excellent way to encourage adherence to the program. When you have been working so hard day in and day out to follow your plan, it is nice to reward your progress. Just make sure that you follow these key rules. DO set goals in increments, be specific, and choose rewards that you genuinely want. Don’t reward success with food, or set goals that are unrealistic.


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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

You Aren’t Burning As Many Calories As You Think

Don’t Be Fooled

You know that calories are the most important factor in weight loss. How can you know how many you are burning? If you step on any cardio machine, it will give you this little miracle number of how many calories you are burning. But is that accurate? If you aren’t completely sure, then you can’t be completely sure that you will lose weight.

The Treadmill Doesn’t Know You

The cardio machines don’t know you. Even if you put in your age and weight, it doesn’t know if your weight is mostly body fat or muscle. Muscle burns more calories than body fat because it is a high maintenance tissue, meaning that it takes more energy to maintain. Even if the total weight is the same between two people, the person with more muscle will burn more calories. That is why a 200 lb, 6 ft man that is mostly muscle will burn more calories than a 200 lb, 5 ft female that has more body fat. It also explains why men typically lose weight faster than women. They burn more calories because they have more muscle. So, when you put in your weight on a treadmill, it doesn’t know you and can’t give an accurate calorie burn.

Is It Really That Far Off?

Yes. University of California, San Francisco’s Human Performance Center tested the accuracy of various cardio machines. Treadmill’s were found to overestimate caloric burn by 13%. Stair climbers were found to overestimate caloric burn by 12%. The elliptical was the most shocking by overestimating caloric burn by a whopping 42%. The following table demonstrates the difference between what the cardio machines are telling you and what you may actually burning.

Equipment                                         Estimated Caloric Burn                                                 Actual Caloric Burn

Treadmill                                                         800 calories                                                                    696 calories

Stairclimber                                                    800 calories                                                                    704 calories

Elliptical                                                           800 calories                                                                    464 calories

 If you are eating as if you are burning 800 calories when you are actually only burning 464 calories, you could be overeating  by almost 500 calories every single day. This would result in GAINING 1 pound per week.

So What Can You Do?

Ignore what the cardio equipment is saying and get yourself a wearable tracker, like a fitbit or apple watch. By wearing a tracker, you can customize it to your own personal body as well as track your calories throughout the whole day. Most trackers allow you to input your height, weight, body fat percentage, health history, and lifestyle. This allows for a more accurate caloric burn estimate. Wearing a tracker also allows you to track all of your movement. Your workout is only 1 hour of your day. But what about the other 23 hours? What you do the rest of the day will make a significant impact on how many calories you burn. A wearable tracker is the best way to go.

Get Fueled!

The cardio equipment will fool you. It can often be as much as 42% over when estimating your caloric burn. This will greatly impede your weight loss goals. The best thing to do is get a wearable tracker, such as a fitbit, to determine how many calories you burn in a day. Take control of your caloric burn and take control of your life.


Related Links

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Thursday, 2 February 2017

How To Tell The Difference Between Protein And Fat

Is It A Protein Source or a Fat Source?

What’s a good source of protein? Peanut butter has protein in it right? How do I know if it is more fat or more protein?

You’ve probably asked yourself questions like these before. Food labels can be confusing. It tells you how many grams of fat and protein are in it, but what does that mean? When you’re working on eating a balanced macronutrient meal, it is important to understand exactly which foods are fat sources and which foods are protein sources. Here is how to tell the difference between the two.

Just Because it Has Protein, Does Not Make it a Protein Source

Did you know that Hostess twinkies have 2 grams of protein per serving? That counts right? Wrong. Just because the food contains protein, does not make it a protein source. Small amounts of protein are actually in a wide variety of food, especially those with anything that contain any dairy or nut product. Protein sources are determined by whether or not the majority of calories come from protein.

Food Label Math

The way to figure out how many calories come from protein and how many calories come from fat is a simple math equation. Protein has 4 calories per gram whereas fat has 9 calories per gram. Take the amount of protein in grams and multiply it by 4. Then take the amount of fat in grams and multiply that by 9. This will tell you how many calories come from fat and how many calories come from protein. If the number of calories from fat is higher than the number of calories from protein, it isn’t truly a protein source.

Let’s look at peanut butter, for example. One serving of peanut butter has 6 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat. This may look like a good enough amount of protein to make it a protein source, but we can’t stop there. We must figure out how many calories come from each by multiplying as shown below.

6 grams protein x 4= 24 calories from protein

16 grams fat x 9= 144 calories from fat

When 144 of the 200 calories per serving of peanut butter comes from fat, it is clear to see that this is a fat source, not a protein source.

The Power Is In The Knowledge

Now you know, in order to tell the difference between protein sources and fat sources, it is just a simple math equation. Multiply grams of protein x 4, then grams of fat x 9. This will tell you how many calories come from protein and how many come from fat. When the calories from protein are higher than the calories from fat, you can be sure that you are eating a true protein source. For more information about protein and fat, speak with a trainer today!


Related Links


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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Importance of Postpartum Abdominal Exercises

The First Step

Women, this one if for you! So, you just had a baby? Congratulations on motherhood! This is an exciting time in a new mother’s life, but it is also a crucial time that can make or break your future workout routine. Post pregnancy, a new mother needs to address the abdominal muscles before anything else.

Diastasis Recti Abdominis

The body goes through many changes during pregnancy. One of these changes in particular, lingers and greatly affects the body after delivery. It is called Diastasis Recti Abdominis. During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles separate as the baby grows. This separating causes a gap between the muscles. You need to address this first postpartum. Think of your body like a corset. After having a baby, you need to lace up the abdominal muscles like a corset before more strenuous exercise can be performed. 

Protect Against Injury

Working on your abdominal muscles may seem purely aesthetical, but it is actually all about function. The abdominal muscles support the spine and lower back, protecting against injury. Your risk of injury is higher after pregnancy because those abdominal muscles have been separated and compromised. This is why it is so important to slowly start repairing them. Simple exercises, such as basic breathing and the Sahrmann Exercises, are necessary to rehabilitate these muscles.

Prepare For More Intense Exercise

If you jump straight into strenuous exercise without this crucial component of support, there is a very high chance of injury. Basic abdominal exercises after pregnancy, are designed to prepare you for more strenuous and intense exercise. You can return to your full workout only when the abdominal muscles have been restored. Your body just went through a lot. You don’t want to do too much too soon without the proper preparations first. The last thing you would want is a back injury that will put you out for six months after you’ve just had a new baby.

Now You Know

Abdominal exercises are the most important thing to do after having a baby. This includes pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, basic breathing, and simple Sahrmann exercises. During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles separate, causing Diastasis Recti Abdominis. This can put the spine and lower back in a compromising position, increasing the risk of injury. This is why it is so important to address and rehabilitate the abdominal muscles before more intense exercises are performed. Talk to a trainer today to learn about how you can start on a program to repair these abdominal muscles postpartum.


Related Links

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Cold Weather Workout Motivation

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful

It’s cold and rainy outside. You could go home, get cozy, and eat some soup by a nice warm fire… or you could go workout. Which one do you choose?

It’s easy to take an extra day off from the gym when the warmth of your bed is calling you. The lack of sunshine can leave you feeling more tired. Don’t let the change in weather get you down! Here are 4 tips for cold weather workout motivation. 

Exercise Combats Seasonal Depression

Exercise has been found to help fight depression. When the weather changes, many people feel a degree of seasonal depression. This can be anywhere from severe depression, to feeling higher anxiety and a lack of desire to socialize. Exercise can help with this. Studies have found that exercises produces the same result as an antidepressant and can actually have longer lasting results. It gets the blood flowing, enhances endorphins, and will help fight holiday weight gain. These benefits are a great motivator to workout despite the cold!

Burning Calories Warms You Up

Be your own personal heater. If you’re avoiding working out because it is cold, just remember, you won’t be cold for long. The best way to warm up is from the inside out. Whether it is strength training or cardio, you can work up a sweat. You may even forget that you were cold!

Treat Yourself To a New Winter Workout Wardrobe

Nothing says motivation like a brand new winter workout ensemble. Treat yourself to a new pair of shoes or a new long sleeve athletic shirt. It’s easier to get yourself to the gym when you feel great in your gear.

Your Warm Bed Isn’t Going Anywhere

Your bed will be there for you in an hour. You don’t need to go home and curl up right away. Hit the gym first. Get in a solid workout and THEN you can cuddle up with a blanket on the couch. You have the rest of the night to relax. Get one workout in first.

Fight The Cold

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from working out. Exercise can help fight seasonal depression and keep you warm. Remember, your bed isn’t going anywhere! Treat yourself to some new activewear and you’ll be good to go!


Related Links

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Monday, 26 December 2016

How To Squeeze In A Workout While The Relatives Are In Town

It’s The Busiest Time of The Year

The relatives are coming to town, presents are piling up under the tree, and your workout starts to get pushed back. It’s all too easy to put your own goals on hold during the holidays. Here are three tips for how to squeeze in a workout while the relatives are in town.

Get Out Before They Get Up

Whether or not you are a morning person, early morning workouts might be just what you need this holiday season. Before the sun comes up, before your family wakes up, head to the gym. You’ll be back home right as they’re waking up for the day! Starting your day off with a workout with ensure that you do it, as well as get your body going for the day. Plus, increasing your waking hours will help increase your daily calorie burn!

Make It a Family Affair

You’re family is only here for a limited amount of time and you want to spend time with them, right? So how do you get your workout in? Take them with you! Most gyms have a day use fee so they can workout right along with you! You can show them the ropes and introduce them to your favorite personal trainers. It will be a fun bonding activity while burning some extra calories.

Make It Short and Sweet

It’s not about how long you workout, it’s how hard you work. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. You can get a great workout in 30 minutes as long as you are working hard and pushing yourself. By setting a time limit and working as hard as you can during that time, fitting in a workout will feel more realistic.

Have a Holly Jolly Workout

Getting a workout in while the relatives are in town doesn’t have to be an impossible dream. Get out to workout before they get up for the day, make it a family affair by bringing them with you, and make it a short and sweet workout. By following these three tips, it will be easier for you to stay active through the holidays.


Related Links

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Thursday, 15 December 2016

How To Stay Off Of Your Trainer’s Naughty List

Naughty or Nice

The holidays are here. This is a busy time of year where it can be easy to let your fitness goals slip away. Don’t let this happen though! Here are three tips to staying off of your trainer’s naughty list and on track with your fitness goals this Holiday season.

Keep Coming to Sessions on a Regular Basis

We all know that time is limited during the holidays. You have family in town, you have gifts to buy, and it can be difficult to find time to workout. Make your training sessions a priority. You can sit down with your trainer and plan out your day to be able to fit in everything that you do. They can help you find one hour for a workout somewhere, even if it’s outside of your normal time. This is not the time to take a break. Do it for you.

Make Sure That Your Food Log is Complete and Accurate

Work parties, school parties, family parties… Oh My! That one piece of chocolate that you grabbed out of the bowl, is it in your log? What about the one slice of apple with caramel that you ate? It ALL still counts. If you eat it, it needs to go in your log. Two little Hershey’s Kisses are almost 50 calories. If you have an extra 50 calories a day, you will gain 5 pounds a year. It may not seem like much but it all adds up and needs to be in your log.

Discuss Any Issues With Your Trainer

Are there any issues that you foresee popping up? In the past, have you struggled with staying motivated during the holidays? These are all issues that you should discuss with your trainer. Honesty is key in the trainer/ trainee relationship. This is important because your trainer is there to help you. The only way that they can help you stay on track when it gets harder, is if you are communicating these struggles to them. Don’t worry about being judged or think that it’s too small of an issue and that you should be able to handle it on your own. Let your trainer help you.

Now You Know

To stay on track this holiday season, make sure to attend your regularly scheduled sessions, make sure that you keep logging your food, and that you are open and honest with your trainer. This is the key to success. Talk to a trainer today to learn how to get started. 


Related Links

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