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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!

Barefoot Running – Bogus?

17 Jan

I was first introduced to the concept of barefoot running in October 2006. At the time I was part of Western’s Triathlon Club and I was looking to make new friends. When the coach suggested we ditch our sneakers I didn’t want to be the odd one out so off came my shoes! I quickly realized October was perhaps not the best month to trial this technique. BRRRRRRRRR! The good news was my toes numbed quickly.

At first I felt like a gazelle, leaping through nature, wondering why I had never done this before – and then my calves provided an answer. OUCH! The total naked foot run time was 15 minutes. The pain in my calves lasted for days afterward, almost as long as the dirt stuck on the bottom of my feet.

The hype about barefoot benefits calmed down for a couple of years. Then out came these freaky looking shoes, Vibram Five-Fingers…

Neat looking, yes. But, will running barefoot do more harm than good?

“The Barefoot Professor,” Harvard University biologist Daniel Lieberman, published a study in the journal Nature in 2010. Lieberman used high-speed cameras shooting 500 frames per second and found that that experienced barefooters hit the ground very gracefully “[Experienced Barfooters] are like an airplane coming in for a landing; they have no impact at all.”

The trouble I have with Lieberman’s research is that his sample group was comprised of Harvard athletes; not your average human specimen.

For more on Lieberman checkout this excellent video by the MD himself!

Pretty interesting stuff eh?!

BUT barefoot running is not for everyone! In my experience the transition from shoes to no shoes can be extremely painful, especially if you start with too much barefoot running too quickly.

If you do want to try barefoot out I recommend looking at a shoe like the Nike Free. A barefoot shoe, yes, but not as high on the barefoot scale as the Vibrams.

I wear the Frees on my interval runs now and I love them. Keep in mind though, I’ve been running for 10+ years, I have relatively perfect feet as far as runners are concerned (no over supination or pronation, good arches) and I’m also a lightweight runner. The Frees are as close to naked as my feet will ever get again. No more October freezing feet sessions for me!

Bottom Line: For the majority of my clients I do not recommend barefoot running. Shoes were invented for a reason! If you’re going to try start with a model like the Frees and alternate running days with your old trainers. You need to gradually build your way up to comfortable and effective barefoot running!

Day Nine – Tweleve: 12 Exercises of Christmas

31 Dec

45 Seconds on – 5 Seconds off

Right Side:

Knee Drives

Elevated Lunges

Elevated Plank Jumps

Round House Kick


20 Minute Tempo Run

Repeat Leg Sequence

Interval Timer =

Day Eight: 12 Exercises of Christmas

20 Dec

25 Dynamic Bench Jumps

3 Sets

Day Seven: 12 Exercises of Christmas

19 Dec

Spider Man Push-ups

16 x 3 sets