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Never Give Up, Stay Motivated

One of the big problems for some people is staying motivated when it comes to exercise. It is work.

Thus I have decided to post a lot of motivational info on this website, including quotes, so people can easily find inspiration for keeping up with their fitness routine.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
- Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

"You must do the things you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world."
- Helen Keller

"A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong."
- Tecumseh

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

- Vivian Greene

"Don't tell me what I can't do."
- John Locke

What good are Fat Calipers?

Tape measures aren't very accurate because of three reasons.

#1. It doesn't account for muscular changes under the fat. If you build up or lose muscle you won't be able to tell using a tape measure.

#2. Fat can shift around easily, making it difficult to get an accurate measurement.

#3. Tape measures don't measure the actual amount of fat you have.

When it comes to getting a more accurate measurement body fat calipers are one of the best ways to determine how fit you are and how fat you are.

BMI (body mass index) readings are also problematic because it doesn't measure muscle tone either. According to BMI many bodybuilders are overweight or even obese because they're carrying around a lot more muscle weight.

Same goes with just measuring your weight on the ol' foot scales.

Scales, BMI and tape measurements cannot differentiate between fat and muscle weight. A person can gain an inch in their waist (and freak out more than likely) but that could very well be muscle under the fat, and it probably shows in a more defined midsection, but on someone who has a round belly they would think they've become fatter. It is also possible to be very thin but still have high body fat, which is also very unhealthy and a source for chronic diseases.

 The disadvantage of body fat calipers is that they take getting used to and you have to learn how to use them. There are also different types of calipers, including some that require another person to take the reading for you. Considering that "pinching an inch" on your belly with someone helping you is not something everyone feels comfortable having done to them, it's advisable to start with a model of body fat caliper which allows self-readings in order to spare yourself embarrassment.

Try to find a body fat caliper kit that comes with instructions, body fat charts and a journal for personal progress tracking. You are more likely to succeed in your goals if you can measure and accurately see your progress.

Of course no amount of measuring will compare with the feeling of confidence when you look in the mirror.

Free Self Defense Classes = Exercise

If you're a woman and live in a major city you can shop around and discover there are a lot of places that offer free self defense classes.

As a man, I would have to pay to participate in similar classes, but women fortunately can signup for many of these classes for free.

I highly endorse such classes, being pro-feminist myself, and since I teach boxing lessons for both men and women the topic of self defense comes up regularly.

The good news is that at such classes you aren't just learning how to defend yourself - You are getting valuable exercise at the same time. Its certainly frugal if you're looking for that sort of thing.

If you're looking for more of a challenge and perhaps appreciate the sport of boxing, let me know and I can give you some lessons.

In the meantime check out this Homemade Pepperspray Recipe that a friend of mine over in England made. Over the counter pepperspray is illegal in Canada because it is a prohibited substance (although some places still sell it), but there is a loophole in the law which allows people to make homemade pepperspray.

Break Times = Excuse to Exercise

Ever found yourself waiting for a bus, train or taxi?

Ever discovered that you need to wait for someone to finish or deliver something before you can do something you're supposed to do?

Ever got really bored while standing in a lineup?

Well here is a hot tip!

Take that 6 minutes or 10 minutes or however much time you have available to do some basic cardio exercises.

#1. Run in Spot

#2. Jog up and down the Stairs

#3. Do Stretches or Yoga

#4. Do balancing exercises on your legs

#5. Do squats

#6. Do Counter Pressure Exercises (aka Isometric Exercises) with your arms (pulling or pushing one arm vs the other).

Now I admit some exercises may look silly if you do them in public. eg. Doing yoga while waiting in a bank lineup, but some exercises like the Counter Pressure Exercises or Stretches you can do anywhere and nobody will notice or care*.

* Although truth be told, stretching also has an effect of making people look more attractive to the opposite sex.

One famous user of Counter Pressure Exercises / Isometric Exercises was Bruce Lee, the martial artist / movie star. It made up the majority of his training exercises. His martial arts style, Wing Chun Gung Fu, placed huge emphasis on using such exercises to build up strength and speed.

Bruce Lee injured himself while exercising with free weights and swore off using weights, insisting from that point on that he would focus on using Isometric Exercises and bodyweight exercises.

The end result is if you have 6 minutes and nothing to do, why not do some quick cardio, stretching or any other kind of exercise? Think of it as an exercise break and you've got no excuse not to use that time productively.

And lets pretend for a moment you end up waiting around like that on a daily basis. Say half an hour every day while you wait to pick your kids up after school. That is 5 days per week, 30 minutes per day, 150 minutes worth of exercise. Burning 300 calories per hour you are looking at 23,400 calories per year or approx. 7 lbs. Maybe more if you're burning more than 300 calories/hour.

The Fat-Burning Zone Myth

You may have heard that if you go over a certain heart rate while doing cardio or aerobic exercises that you do not burn fat.

This is however an urban myth. It is one of those misconceptions that should be put to rest once and for all when it comes to fat burning aerobic exercises. The idea got its start in the mid 1990s when scientists reported that during high-intensity fat burning aerobic exercises, the body burned mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel, as opposed to burning stored fat as it did during lower-intensity activity.

The key word is 'mostly'.

Unfortunately a few unintelligent exercise instructors took the news and ran with it, encouraging people to pay for low-intensity "fat-burning" classes... classes that ultimately didn't help people much.

It is true that the body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat during more mellow exercise like walking and easy cycling... but the actual number of calories is very little.

When you pick up the pace for a higher-intensity cardio workout you burn a greater number of overall calories of both stored fat and stored carbs... and thus burned much more fat period.

For example, say a 140-pound woman performs either a fairly easy walk or a high-intensity jog. After 1 hour, she would have burned the following in total and fat calories:

Walk = 200 calories (75% fat for a total of 150 calories of fat)

Jog = 300 calories (60% fat for a total of 180 calories of fat)

Thus the higher intensity workout always burns more fat. Its really the result of your body drawing upon all available reserves to get as much energy to the muscles as it can.

NOTE! High-intensity aerobic exercises kick your metabolism into high gear even after you're done working out. That means that even after you stop exercising you are stilling burning calories because your blood is being pumped faster for a longer period in an effort to heal muscle tissue.

"When you exercise vigorously, you get a robust hormonal change, which causes your body to burn more fat during your recovery time," says Janet Walberg Rankin, PhD, professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. Your metabolism also stays revved up five times longer after a vigorous workout than after an easy one. Over time, this can add up to burning an additional 100 to more than 200 calories a day.

High-intensity exercises are difficult to sustain, especially if you're just starting out. But practice makes perfect and you can build up more intensity and duration as you get better at it.

The easiest way to infuse intensity into your existing routine is to start adding 5 minutes of higher intensity exercises to whatever you are doing.

10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories

Want to burn more calories and trick your body into burning more calories without thinking about it? (Okay, some of them you do have to think about, but once you get into the habit you won't think about it so much.)

1. Always drink Cold Water - Cold water BURNS calories because your body ends up expending energy to warm up the water to body temperature.

2. Swing your Arms when you walk.

3. Listen to Music / Wear Headphones - You will walk faster and move your legs without thinking about it.

4. Lift More - Decrease the repetitions and lift more weight over shorter time periods. The more you lift the more you rip... and ripped muscles = muscle regrowth. (The old no pain = no gain.) Lifting more also burns more calories, even though the total weight lifted is the same. ie. 10 x 10 lbs = 100 lbs... vs 5 x 20 lbs = 100 lbs, but the 5 x 20 lb version burns approx. 25% more calories.

5. Break Up Your Sets - Do 5 different exercises, then repeat the same exercises. This burns more calories because your body is pumping more blood sugar to different body parts.

6. Head Outside - The cold air burns calories.

7. Crank Up the Incline - Running uphill burns waaaaaay more calories.

8. Log at Least 12 Minutes - To fight fat you need at least 12 minutes of continuously moderate to high-intensity activity EVERY day.

9. Cut Your Workouts in Half - What is better, an one hour workout every day or two half-hour workouts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon? Splitting your workouts burns more calories because it raises your metabolism.

10. Warming Up - A quick jog in place to get your heart going makes a difference before you begin every workout. It decreases the chances of injuries and fatigue.

SEE ALSO - 10 More Ways to Trick Yourself into Burning Extra Calories!

6-Minute Cardio Fat Blaster

Want to increase your metabolism? Apparently one of the best things to do is to have a very short vigorous workout (ie. a Quickie) and then go about your daily business.

Here is a quick 6 minute workout I found that burns fat superfast.

0:00-1:00: Bouncing Shuffle

Squat slightly with elbows bent at sides. Shuffle left to right for 4 counts each.

1:00-1:30: Jog in place

1:30-2:30 Speed Skate

Hop from side to side, swinging opposite leg behind you and arms in the direction you're moving.

2:30-3:00: Jog in place

3:00-4:00: Knee Crunch

Lunge with left knee bent, right leg extended behind you, arms to front at shoulder height. Bend right knee and pull toward chest as you crunch upper body toward right knee (as shown); extend back to lunge. Switch legs after 30 seconds.

4:00-4:30: Jog in place

4:30-5:30: Jump Squat

Twist Squat with feet hip-width apart, hands behind head. Rotate torso to left and right, then jump, hands overhead. Land with knees soft and repeat.

5:30-6:00: Jog in place

12 fun winter activities for 2012

Love to go outside and exercise in the winter? Here is 12 activities that you (and friends) could do...

#1. Have a snowball fight. Easy!

#2. Build a snowfort.

#3. Build snow people.

#4. Carve ice sculptures.

#5. Ice Skating.

#6. Skiing (downhill or cross country).

#7. Road Hockey.

#8. Snowboarding.

#9. Wrestle in a snow drift!

#10. Have swordfights in the deep snow with a friend!

#11. Learn how to use snowshoes.

#12. Invent a new sport! (ie. Snowball bowling!)

Interval Training, Burn Calories Faster

To get this blog on the roll I decided to research fast ways to burn calories. Some of the ideas I came across include:

Interval Training

Walk for 5 minutes at a moderate intensity (an effort of about 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being lying around and 10 being sprinting). Then speed up for 5 minutes at a high intensity (about an 8 or 9). Repeat for 40 minutes.

Super Intervals

Do the interval workout above with while carrying something (ie. a weight belt or a backpack with a book or two in it). Strap it on and get a short but highly effective workout. Repeat for 30 minutes. (The advantage to this one is you can adjust the amount of extra weight you want to carry on you, depending on your energy levels and endurance.)

(Make sure you warm up and cool down for a few minutes both before and after your walk.)

Brisk Walk Calories burned: approx. 250
Time (minutes):60

Speed intervals Calories burned: approx. 270
Time (minutes):40

Super intervals Calories burned: approx. 300
Time (minutes):30


The goal of this blog is Threefold:

#1. To incease our fitness by exploring different exercises people can do. The focus will be on cardio exercises, but other exercise types will also be explored because variety = fun, and I believe fitness should be fun.

#2. To create a community of fitness buffs. Anyone who wants to join this blog and post their own exercise ideas, thoughts and adventures are free to do so. Just contact and I will send you an invitation to join.

#3. To promote myself as a personal trainer / weight loss specialist. Why? Because I enjoy helping people and I enjoy exercising. If I am good at it, sure, why not!
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


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