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!

Do you burn the same amount of calories walking or running a mile?

13 Mar

Most runners have heard that running burns about 100 calories a mile. And I used to believe since walking a mile requires you to move the same body weight over the same distance, walking should also burn about 100 calories a mile. Sir Isaac Newton said so! When I first started running I had this 4 km loop that I would repeat over and over again. One day I remember thinking to myself; “Slow down! You just have to finish and then you will have burned the same amount so why bother pushing harder?”

In “Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running,” published December 2005 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a group of Syracuse University researchers measured the actual calorie burn of 12 men and 12 women while running and walking 1,600 meters (roughly a mile) on a treadmill. Result: The men burned an average of 124 calories while running, and just 88 while walking; the women burned 105 and 74. (The men burned more than the women because they had more muscle mass.) That difference adds up over the miles and weeks running vs. walking.

Running: .63 x your weight (lbs) x miles = net calories burned
Walking: .30 x your weight (lbs) x miles = net calories burned

Picking up the pace is also better for your heart, you won’t necessarily see the same heart healthy benefits if you walk to keep your weight down over running. The high intensity aspect running delivers is so important, your heart needs to learn how to deal with stress and get stronger from that. Walking just won’t stress it out enough.

I rarely, if ever run the same loop twice now. Variety is essential for exercise. I recently went back and did a similar variation of my initial route and I was done with 15 minutes to spare! I felt energized and was happy to get it over with quickly! So pick up the pace! Your heart and waistline will thank you for it.

Are you too Busy?

12 Mar

Do you feel like you’re running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off? Do you not have a second to spare to exercise?

I admit, lately I have felt a bit like a crazed headless chicken. Then I read this.

The last paragraph really hit home for me: What we need to do is change our language. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to clean the kitchen, it’s just not a priority. But other things are harder. Try it: “I can’t exercise today because my health is not a priority.” “This week I ate poorly because my well being is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

The truth is we need to make our priorities a priority again. In the modern world of facebook, twitter, pinterest, blogs, and more we can easily get sucked into the vortex and not realize how much time we aimlessly waste doing menial things.

Exercise is a non-negotiable, you’ll feel better and be more productive. I’m going to work on re-shifting my focus to my priorities … as for my kitchen, it will be cleaned eventually!