Archive | March, 2012

Greek Yogurt Popsicles – Honey Blueberry

21 Mar

I recently discovered Greek yogurt.

I know, I’ve been living under a rock. The truth is it sounded too good to be tasty; 15g of protein per serving, low fat and no added sugar. Greek yogurt is a superfood and I think it’s super delicious.

Inspired by the unseasonably hot spring were are experiencing in Toronto I decided to make a Popsicle variation of my new favorite snack. This recipe also makes a delicious smoothie if you don’t have Popsicle molds.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

Blend all ingredients and pour into Popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla flavour)

1/4 cup skim milk

1 cup frozen blueberries (or any berries)

2 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp honey

optional – if you’re using the plain variety of Greek yogurt add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

If you’re feeling lazy there’s always this option:

These are SOOO good. Hard to believe only 90 calories per bar.

Jock Yoga

20 Mar

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the yoga jock himself, Michael DeCorte.

I took his class here. Michael followed my golden rule of exercise and had me dripping sweat within the first 10 minutes, something that never happens to me in yoga – and this wasn’t hot yoga!

The class was 70% female, 30% male – a nice mix for a yoga class. The 75-minute session was set to really fun modern music, a refreshing change! It is easy to see why Jock Yoga classes appeal to everyone, they are challenging yet approachable. And the mini massage after is pretty great too!

Michael’s story is incredibly inspirational:

The yoga jock grew up in Northwestern Ontario a very overweight and unhealthy child. At the age of 20 Michael made the leap to Toronto and found himself lost in the club scene of the early 90s. He found immense release in the drug-saturated environment and popularity/notoriety of being a bar star. Chewed up and spit out by the party life, Michael fled back home to Thunder Bay in 1997, where he began a battle between addictions and recovery.

After a few years of dabbling in sobriety, exercise and different spiritual traditions, Micheal moved back to Toronto restored and revitalized. His physique as well as psychology were transformed. He became a bodybuilder, marathon runner and a certified personal trainer.

After attending his first Bikram yoga class in winter of 2002 Michael was hooked! In fact, he became obsessed with yoga, he had found something which he believes to be spiritual as well as physical.

Gradually, Michael let go of his strict body builder workout regimen, and began a daily yoga practice. He enrolled in the Downward Dog teacher-training program and never looked back.

“In practicing yoga, I’ve found my passion.

In teaching yoga, I’ve found purpose.”

– Michael DeCorte, Founder of Jock Yoga

It’s incredible how often people ignore their passion and pursue a career in business just because they think that it’s the right thing to do. I know personally members of my family encouraged me to find a secure job in financial services world. When I told them I would be a trainer at first I was looked at like I was taking the vow of poverty … I think they are ok with it now! Michael wisely decided to “Do what he loves, and the money will follow.” I love that – Go Michael!

Where to find him:

The best thing about Jock Yoga programs is you can do them all over the city! You don’t have to join a special gym just to take his class. He teaches at Moksha and 889 Yoga among many other places that offer single class passes.

On his website Michael offers a schedule of where his next class will be. This makes him really easy to find!

What is “skinny-fat”?

19 Mar

“Skinny fat” is a buzz term for what has been scientifically named “normal weight obesity.”

A skinny fat looks decent in clothing but once some of it comes off, it’s not too pretty.

Research has shown that many people with an average body weight are harboring dangerously high body fat percentages due to lack of exercise and poor diet.

If possible have a professional measure your body composition. I do this for all my clients, it’s so important to track progress. Normal range men fall under 20% and women under 30%. I’ve measured my body composition most recently at 16% putting me in a ultra lean category for females but my BMI says I’m normal. I’ve measured clients with underweight BMIs who have abnormally high body fat % in comparison.

Don’t rely just on the scale! Track your measurements (chest, waist, hip, arms, thighs) and follow them closely.

How to avoid being “skinny-fat”:

  • Exercise! Not just cardio because this alone does little to help muscle tone.
  • Incorporate resistance training, doesn’t have to be weight training but adding strengthening exercises like a plank, or jump squats will go a long way!
  • Stop drinking alcohol – it doesn’t help your cause. Alcohol fat is unattractive.
  • Stop smoking. It’s ugly and it’s ugly on your body.

Beauty is living what you love

18 Mar

I think this man is absolutely adorable. Don’t you just want to hug him? And then try the cucumber soda?

I love when asked how he describes his job he says, “happy”. That’s exactly how my job makes me feel. It’s inspirational to see people dedicating their lives to following their passion. Mine happens to be training, his is soda, what’s yours?

I believe that now more than ever before we can all do exactly what it is that makes us smile. We have access to minds from all corners of the world, we have twitter and youtube where great ideas catch on and spread like wildfire, everyone can start a website, anyone can follow their passion! I have been working for the last year but I still get excited everyday about work and I feel like my job is the best job on the planet.

Imagine if everyone where this happy going to work – I think the world would be a much better place!

Food Volume

16 Mar

Our daily food volume has more than doubled over the last 50 years.

When you order an XL coffee at Tim Hortons they basically hand over the entire pot!

To see a change in your body you have to change your diet, it’s at least 50% of the equation if not more. I have one client who is drastically changing his diet. The biggest thing he’s noticing is the difference in the volume of food he used to eat vs. now. He is just amazed now at how little he can eat and still stay satisfied.

World famous chef, Wolfgang Puck has a great line about food volume. He says that a perfect meal is one that you could happily make love immediately afterward.

When I was growing up I was always told to clear off my plate. I’d eat until I was stuffed. I think this strategy worked for kids in the 1950s but the problem with eating until we are full now is that our plates are too big. The more I ate, the more my capacity for food volume increased and the bigger I got. I used to eat more than the rest of my family combined, now I’m on par with everyone or sometimes less.

When I was traveling through Thailand and South East Asia last year I was blown away by their portion sizes; they were tiny! At the beginning of the trip I was often tempted to order two servings but that would have been pretty embarrassing so I didn’t. After about a week I got used to it and really loved feeling light after every meal. When I came back to England we went out for classic fish and chips. After the dinner I almost keeled over, literally stuffed to the brim and I couldn’t even finish half!

Reducing your total food volume will guaranteed reduce your waistline. The only two things we need to consume in excess are water and green leafy veggies!

Tips I use to cut back on food volume:

  • Small people order smalls, large people order larges
  • Skip over the appetizers at dinner, it’s basically an extra meal, if one looks really good I’ll order two appetizers sometimes instead of a main
  • Put food on smaller plates at home
  • Tell myself that it’s not the end of the world if I’m hungry, I know I can always find food quickly

Don’t Throw in the Towel

15 Mar

I am now convinced that age is merely a number.

I train 50 year olds that easily could pass as 20-somethings in the gym. And I’ve trained 20-somethings that could pass as 50 year olds. It is so evident to me the difference regular exercise makes in the aging process. I see firsthand it is essential.

If you wake up in the morning and you’re aching, sore, tired, bloated, or generally miserable chances are you’re not working out, or not working out hard enough – it’s not because you’re old. It’s unfortunate that somewhere along the line we seem to be taking in this weird message that workouts should be somewhat leisurely. I’m here to tell you that this is a lie. You need to sweat! Within 10 minutes of starting your workout you should be dripping. It’s vital that you keep challenging yourselves and not allow your workouts to get passive. I’m always upping the anti on my intervals, never settling with what I did for my last workout. Keep it exciting and your body will stay interested and keep changing.

In my training experience I’ve seen people let themselves off the hook with the age card. They throw in the towel after their first job gets stressful or life’s struggles get in the way. I tell them not blame the fact that they’re getting older on lowering the intensity because it is baloney! 50 is the new 25, you are young – but you need to workout to stay that way.
For you 20-somethings reading this, stay with it now! It is SO much easier maintaining than starting from ground zero. 30 minutes a day will go a long way 30 years from now! For some inspiration have a look at this couple!

If you’re looking for some suggestions to up the intensity give this a try.

What if the rest of your life was the best of your life?

Four Favourites

14 Mar

{Blend into your surroundings with this super cute bike lock! Only in Japan.}

{It’s their time of year again! Hyacinths have the best smell}

+

= Amazing healthy treat

{Frozen blueberries with one tablespoon of maple syrup drizzled over top}

{Yoga motivation video – sequel to the original}

I’m off to Halifax for a March break long weekend! I’m meeting up with my super fun sister Lindsay so we should have some great videos and how-tos for you! Check back for daily updates!