Archive | January, 2012

Annoying People at the Gym

31 Jan

The Treadmill Peaker

When you’re in a gym with 20+ treadmills lined up in a row and they are all empty you know that there is a good chance that the next person that comes in will undoubtedly take the treadmill beside you.

Then they causally glance over at your speed, especially if you’re doing intervals to check-in and make sure you’re not going faster than they could. Come on! I’m right here I can see you’re looking!

The Crossfitter

These are a new breed of annoying gym goers.

Unless you are my client or you have a body like Giselle I really don’t need to know your latest “Fran” score or how much you can deadlift.




The Group Fitness Diva

This person gets to the class 10 minutes early and waits impatiently at the door to make sure they secure their ideal spot (usually top left in my observations).

They were born to be aerobic queens and on one hand I admire their commitment and ability to dance like nobody is watching. But on the other hand when you miss a step and they run you over like aerobic roadkill these gym goers can be frightening and annoying.

The Pile Maker

They grab everything they could ever possibly need for every possible exercise they’ve ever seen and pile it right beside their mat (or mats). Heaven forbid they have to wait 30 seconds for someone to use a medicine ball!

The pile maker really doesn’t bug me that much BUT if they finish their workout and leave everything in their pile for someone else to tidy up then that’s super duper annoying. Who do they think they are?

The Talker

The gym really is no place to socialize. I’m a trainer and I personally can’t stand being in a gym longer than 45 minutes. Get in, get it done, get out.

It always amazes me how people can kill HOURS in a gym chatting. Don’t let yourself go there, it’s procrastination. Talk to me after over an ice cream cone!



Can you think of anymore?



Push-Ups: the New Bra

30 Jan

Push-ups can actually lift up!

Trust me on this one… It works! After adding push-ups to my workouts I noticed a big difference within 2 months, better than buying a new bra because it’s permanent!

Building up your pectoral muscles will help lift up your chest – actually. If you can’t do 10 real push-ups then you’re looking at a future of droopy boobies so get going!


  • Start with 3 sets of 10 push-ups on your knees.
  • Then work to 5 off your knees, 5 on your knees, eventually getting to 10.
  • Then start with 20 (10 off knees, 10 on) … progress in the same pattern from there (I do 3 sets of 30 full push-ups now)

If you do these 4x per week as part of your workout routine for 8 weeks you will notice a big difference.

Hurray for push-ups!

Exercise or Physical Recreation?

27 Jan

Let’s get one thing straight: physical recreation is not exercise! Exercise is the application of measurable stimuli to decrease fat, increase muscle or improve performance.

Recreation is for fun.

Exercise is for creating change.

I have a couple of male clients in their 50s and I hear this from them all the time, “yep, got 2 rounds in so I exercised.” NO! Golf is not your exercise, it is a great form of recreation but you will not have an elevated heart rate (unless you’re 80+ or a recovering stroke patient or a terrible golfer!)

If you can smoke a cigarette while you are being active then your are not exercising. I argue physical recreation includes golf, doubles tennis, types of yoga, and snow angel making. Physical recreation will help burn more calories than just sitting but the other health benefits of exercise such as decreased risk of heart problems, diabetes, etc. do not come from physical recreation.

In kinesiology we talk about METS, measured units of energy. METs need to be elevated above a certain level for an activity to be defined as exercise. For simplification purposes I like to think I’m reaching a desirable MET if I’m sweating within the first 5 minutes of the activity. If I’m not sweating after 5 minutes then I’m performing physical recreation.

There’s a place for recreation but exercise should not be confused with it!

Think Fat Is Just Under The Skin?

26 Jan

There are two types of fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Visceral fat is the scary fat, the fat that sits around our vital organs and disrupts regulatory processes.

Notice on these two scans the woman on the left has excess subcutaneous fat but the really scary part of this scan is the white fat around the centre of her body – that’s the visceral fat.

Visceral fat is difficult to detect because you can’t pinch it and know it’s there like subcutaneous fat.

So what should this woman on the left do? Sit-ups? NO!

My rule of thumb for fat loss is it has to jiggle. Sounds weird but it works. If you’re comfortable working out than it’s not working. I’m not saying kill yourself but make it jiggle. MOVE! Sit-ups, crunches, etc. isolate only a small % of our musculature.

If you’ve ever been to a spin class and noticed the guys with the large bellies who are there all the time and never lose any fat … that’s because they are comfortable and not jiggling.

If you want a lean body you need to build lean mass all over. Sprint, jump, leap … all good things to include in your regular regime. Jiggling more will help spike metabolism and a faster metabolism = a leaner you.


25 Jan

Clients shutter when I bring out this little marshmallow stick…

This harmless-looking apparatus has made grown men cry.

Stick-ing people is one of the best parts of my day. If you’ve never used a stick before you’re in for a treat.

Why do I love myofascial release so much? Well, about four years ago now I started spinning on a regular basis. I did that for about 3 months and then returned to running. The switch back was awful. My knees felt like they were locking with every step. I had to stop exercising for almost six weeks and that was horrible. I knew I had IT band problems so I went to see physio after physio, getting ultrasounds, stretches and various strengthening exercises. Nothing worked. I then spoke to a super fit friend of mine who suggested I try myofacial release (the stick or foam roller) and it was amazing!

The first time I hooped on a foam roller I was sweating from the pain after two minutes. Determined to get better … typical A type, I brought my foam roller with me everywhere; university common rooms, libraries, boyfriends house, etc. I’d pull out my foam roller and roll for 5-10 minutes here and there. People thought I was nuts … probably still do! But it worked! I was back to running and had no pain whatsoever. The myofacial miracle maker!

Here’s why myofacial release essential:

We have layers of fasica tissue all over our body. Fasica, unlike muscle does not have a muscle belly and therefore it cannot be stretched with typical methods of stretching.

Imagine a pizza dough being stretched out from your hip to your knee. It will be bunchy. You need a roller to roll out the bunches in the dough… the same thing happens with your fascia.

If you don’t stretch your fascia then you will be far more prone to injury. I argue that it is the single most important thing to stretch. You will know when your fasica is in good shape because rolling over it should be absolutely painless.

A great alternative to a stick is the foam roller:

The foam roller will accomplish the same thing as a stick but BE RUTHLESS.

Make sure you’re rolling over an uncomfortable spot, resist the temptation to make it easier by shifting your weight to a comfortable place.

Here’s a video of how to use your foam roller:



You Are Your Own Gym

24 Jan

Use the body you have to build the body you want!

I am a bona fide lover of bodyweight training. This love began around three years ago now and I’m so grateful I discovered this thought pattern in training.

I am naturally muscular. Years of super competitive sports conditioning left me with a solid physique but not a very feminine one. In my athletic prime I was running 5-7 days per week and lifting heavy weights on a progressive load schedule 3x per week. I was absolutely miserable with my body image. I’d scummed to the thought process that unless I was running 90 minutes a day I would not be able to keep my weight down. Then everything changed.

I discovered this website:







and was given this book:











In a world where everyone is jumping to the latest fitness trends I’m kicking it old school with bodyweight interval training circuits.

My program now consists of 95% bodyweight only training. I use supplementary equipment like chairs, benches, TRX, the odd medicine ball, and pull-up bars. I haven’t weight lifted in five years and I’ve never had a lower body fat percentage than I do now.

My workouts are NOT easy. Plyometrics, or “jump training” are very difficult for even the most elite athletes. It took a long time to build up my functional strength to actually be able to complete the exercises. Training with bodyweight exercises is an advanced form of exercise, and it’s far from boring! The awesome thing about bodyweight exercises for me is they allow me to stay lean and not get bulky which I’m very prone to do. I’ve found training within your own body allows you to sculpt your own ideal frame.

Most weight training exercises, think bicep curl, isolate only certain muscles, requiring fairly small portions of your body’s total muscle mass, unlike bodyweight exercises that incorporate many muscles. Bodyweight exercises are therefore much more demanding on your core strength (6-packs for everyone!) than weight machine activities.

Also something that I’ve come to love about bodyweight training is how injury free I’ve been! Bodyweight exercises use motions that keep you safe from many chronic injuries that come overtime with weight lifting and other unnatural exercises which have little to no use in our functional lives. The performance demands of the average person consist mainly of manipulating their own bodyweight throughout the day. So what could be more functional for developing better strength in day-to-day activities than bodyweight movements? But, right now, between couch potatoing and bench pressing – sitting on your bum and lying on your back we’ve got a nation of functional weaklings.

So give it a go! Checkout BodyRock and Mark Lauren’s You are Your Own Gym!

Water for Weight Loss: Why it’s Essential

23 Jan

Imagine polishing off an entire pan of lasagna. Then taking only a dry sponge and soap trying to clean up the pan. You’ll be there a long time. When you add even a tiny bit of water – volia! So much faster, those dishes are done in no time!

This is essentially what happens inside you when you neglect to consume enough water.

In this analogy:

Soap = metabolism

Sponge = exercise

Food = your food choice, typically unhealthy choices (like lasagna) are more difficult to scrub off than healthy choices (carrot, broccoli, salad).

Water = water

You have to drink water to help flush your food through your digestive system. Red wine or chocolate milk unfortunately will not work as well as water to clean the dishes or your body.

I feel like a broken record telling my clients to drink more water, drink more water. And they’re all like, “yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that one before.” But then they rarely up their intake.

Water is ESSENTIAL. I can’t stress the importance of water enough. If you want to get (or stay) lean it’s key that your water intake is at least 2 litres everyday, adding .5 L for every half hour you exercise or sweat vigorously.

If you’re not used to drinking lots of water it will be difficult to up your intake. You will likely need to go like a hippo every 30 minutes. It varies from person to person but in my experience it took about a week of regular water drinking for my body to adapt.

For those of you that don’t know me … I’m a visual goal-orientated person. When I embarked on my quest to drink more water I needed a daily visual reminder:

Here’s a tip: I took a 500 ml water bottle and attached 4 elastics around the bottle. Each time I finished the bottle I moved one elastic down.
I would try to have three bottles done by lunch time at work.

This is a no fail way to get your water in!

Give it a go! Good luck and let me know the differences you experience when you drink more water!