Fitness Anywhere is proud to announce that we will be opening our first personal training studio at 175 Lisgar, just meters from Elgin Street this Spring. Our spacious, yet intimate location in the heart of downtown Ottawa will provide our clients with 1600 square feet for personal, private training, with the latest equipment and the city’s best trainers. Exact opening date to be announced very soon, but keep checking our site for more information on our pre-opening registration for small group classes and one on one training.
In an attempt to better understand what motivates others, during the entire month of January, I randomly asked 100 active people in Ottawa what it was that helped motivate them to get up, get dressed, and get active on tough, lazy or busy days.
Here are the top ten things that came up over and over again:
10. Coffee or espresso before exercise. One women also said that she brings a cup of hot green tea with her to the gym to sip while she’s exercising.
9. A new exercise play list. Music is a powerful motivator and naturally makes people want to move their bodies. Spotting someone dancing on the Stairmaster isn’t so uncommon at most fitness facilities.
8. Photos of younger, thinner days up on the refrigerator. For one woman however, having a photo of her at her heaviest was the motivation to never be that way again.
7. Having sports gear out and ready to put on in the morning or in a prepared gym bag in the car to go directly after work.
6. Having something new, be it new runners, a new treadmill, or a new heart monitor. New gadgets are a temporary motivator and can break the boredom of your usual routine.
5. Feeling fat or bloated. Surprisingly, this was a frequent feeling that motivated people to go that extra mile. Eating too much or doing too little can be motivating enough to make you go hard at it.
4. Keeping a workout journal. Writing it down can keep you accountable for your activity, or lack thereof.
3. Reading about or watching others exercise. Be it in fitness magazines, or watching your partner do pushups on the kitchen floor, monkey see, means monkey do! People get pumped when they see someone else in action.
2. Training with someone. Be it a friend, a personal trainer or exercising in a group, working out with someone else is the #2 thing that motivates most.
1. Seeing results in the mirror. There is no better inspiration than working hard at something and seeing firsthand that it works. Clothes get baggy, people constantly complement how great you look. It’s a powerful thing!
So what motivates you to move? Finding out could mean the difference between achieving your goals…or not. We’d love to hear. Write to us at www.fit-anywhere.com
After back to back interviews this week, with two separate individuals, both looking to lose more than 60 lbs of excess weight and both being self-proclaimed “food-a-holics,” I presumed that addressing food addiction might be a helpful subject to tackle for my readers. After all, nearly 60% of the emails that I receive about nutrition and meal planning ask specifically about whether there is such a thing as a food addiction and if so, how might one break it.
Like with all addictions, using a substance, be it alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, pornography or yes, even fatty foods, as a means to release stress or to provide immediate physical and/or emotional gratification, is a complicated pattern to break. Studies show that food, particularly high calorie foods consumed repeatedly over a long period of time, activate the same pleasure centres of the brain as highly addictive drugs. Making “overuse” or binging behaviour more prevalent since with each act, the exposure to the substance needs to be increased, making it more difficult to satisfy the craving each time.
While reading this month’s copy of Maclean’s, I stumbled upon an interesting article that summarizes this very subject, and backs it with research done by two men, Paul Kenny and Paul Johnson. Normally, I wouldn’t go to great lengths to repeat the findings of rat studies, but the results found by these two gentleman simply baffled me, and support my belief that the key to weight loss starts first with nutrition, and then exercise.
Kenny and Johnson, two researchers, published in the Journal of Nature Neuroscience, performed a study with a group of lab rats. The rats were provided with all sorts of unhealthy, fatty and sugary foods. During the study, the rats were exposed to junk food only, but were also later given healthy food, in addition to the foods high in fats and in sugars. Not surprisingly however, these rats opted only for the junk food, even when other healthy options were available. Yet what’s even more intriguing, is that when the fatty, sugary foods were taken away as part of the experiment, the rats, now obese, preferred to starve themselves for days rather than to eat the healthy foods that were still provided to them. (A Magic Calorie Ride, MacLean’s, January 17, 2011)
The power of junk food is enormous! It’s the reason why there are over a “billion served” at fast food restaurants. Like any addiction, you need to approach it with a support system in place and a good plan of attack. I too, grew up on numerous cans of cola per day, and fast-food-Fridays. It took me a long time to see myself through to where I am now, eating simply clean, healthy food from the earth….and not food from factories. Digging yourself out of a hole that can only get deeper is hard work and could be the biggest life-challenge that you’ll ever face. But the change is worth it! Making the decision to make a change is the first step. Getting help and support is the next.
Did you know that many people live day to day in a dehydrated state? Our bodies are made up of 75% water and 25% solid matter. The average male needs to 3.7 litres of water everyday and the average female 2.5 litres of water in order to properly lubricate joints, prevent kidney stones, to maintain good healthy skin, to ward off colds, flu and other winter ailments, as well as to maintain proper organ function. Most importantly, it keeps us from poisoning ourselves from our own waste.
Water is also the key to weight loss. Without water, vital chemical reactions aren’t present in order for proper digestion to occur, so your body won’t metabolise fat properly without it. Paradoxically, by not having enough water, your body retains fluids in an effort to keep a reserve, and can cause ankle swelling and other conditions that make you appear bloated, overweight and unhealthy.
Exercise, salty foods, caffeine, and alcohol dehydrate the body. Drinking a full, pure, 8 oz. glass of water first thing upon waking is an excellent way to rejuvenate the body and reactivates your sleeping digestive system. Carry a refillable bottle of water with you and sip it throughout the day. Drink 500 ml of water an hour before any physical activity, then another 200 ml 20 minutes before, and then again every 15 minutes during activity and enjoy another 500 ml post workout.
If you find it difficult to put back so many glasses of water, try drinking with a straw. This facilitates ingestion as the water goes down much more quickly and easily. Always keep it on you, and never let yourself get thirsty. At this point you’re already dehydrated.
Remember that the well-known 8 – 10 glasses per day is the bear minimum to avoid dehydration. Add an extra glass for every 25 pounds you are over weight. If you are physically active or live in a hot or a cold dry climate, you can nearly double this amount. If you’re not currently drinking close to the recommended amount of water, slowly and gradually add a glass of water per day so that you don’t over work your kidneys all at once. Stay healthy by staying hydrated!
So you’ve decided to take up running to get yourself moving and feeling healthy and fit again. That’s great! You certainly have made the right initial step toward improved health and fitness, but is it the only step? Certainly not! In fact, cardiovascular exercises alone are not enough when it comes to having complete fitness and health. Exercises such as running, swimming, aerobics and cycling are essential for keeping blood pressure normal, lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol, and for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. However, including resistance training (weight lifting) is a must and the ultimate compliment to cardio when it comes to weight loss and overall health and fitness.
Here are some of the benefits of including resistance training into your fitness routine:
- Decreases body fat
- Promotes joint stability
- Increases muscular strength
- Increases muscle mass and decreases body fat
- Increases resting metabolism
- Improves balance, coordination, and agility
- Improves strength in your core (back, pelvis, abdominals)
- Improves posture
- Increases self-esteem and body image
Resistance training can include training using your body weight, using machines or lifting free weights.
Unfortunately, although less and less, women tend to shy away from weight training for fear of increasing their size, getting bulky, or developing overly large, masculine muscles. To the contrary, weight training increases your resting metabolism far more than cardio exercises alone, so that your body burns more calories while you are not exercising. In order to maintain your developing muscle mass, your body needs to use more calories for fuel, so instead of storing calories, your muscles essentially eat up excess calories. Women do not have the testosterone levels that men have and therefore will develop small but strong muscles that help give great shape to the body. Hours and hours of weight training and high levels of testosterone are what yield large muscles. Including a 1-3 sets of resistance training exercises for each of your major muscles 2-4 per week, will not make you big, but will make you lean and firm and will help you on your road to weight loss and overall health and wellness.
Although it can be hard to break a good pattern when you’re feeling motivated, be sure that you’re leaving yourself a good full day of rest during the week. Not only is your body more susceptible to injury and illness from training too much, but it can also bring you to a training plateau much more quickly. This is where your fitness begins to inevitably level off no matter how much harder you push yourself.
To prevent this and to continue onwards and upwards in your journey to a healthier, more fit you, be sure that you give your muscles at least 24 hours to recuperate between resistance training sessions. Similarly, it is wise to alternate between resistance training sessions and cardiovascular sessions. In some cases, resistances training can be broken down into specific muscle groups or upper and lower body sessions, which thereby allows for daily weight training in alternation. Between sessions, choose to do some light cardio training, treat yourself to a good yoga or stretching session, or take the day off completely, so that your body can get the rest that it needs in order to respond to the demands that exercise is putting on it.
Regular exercise is essential for optimal health, just be sure you’re not overdoing it. Listen to your body when it’s tired and don’t be afraid to take a break, it will actually enhance your overall performance.