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Why Hire a Personal Trainer?

If you have never tried working with a personal trainer, there's some serious benefits to trying out a few sessions. I'm not just saying that because I'm a personal trainer... You could just as easily hire someone other than me.

Five Great Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer

1. Your Own Private Yoda

True, you won't learn any telekinesis uses of "the Force", but the teacher-student paradigm cannot be understated. Having someone to tell you what to do, how to do it, why to do it and so forth will help motivate you to try even harder. Do or do not, there is no try.

2. Better Judges of Limits

A personal trainer will push you further but a great trainer will push you at the right time when you are ready for a new challenge. The "art" of personal training involves the ability to give clients a good workout by exerting them within the range between comfortable and hard. There is definitely a balance between a workout that feels effective, one that is not doing anything, and a session that does too much and leaves you feeling aches and pains. If you search for complaints about personal trainers you will find complaints regarding both ends of the spectrum, but never complaints about those in the middle. "My last trainer was too hot," says one. "My trainer is too cold!" says another. What you need to look for is the trainer who is "just right" for you and still challenges you the right amount.

3. Personal Trainers Organize the Workout to Maximize Efficiency

Anyone can learn to organize their workouts with a little research, but a personal trainer knows how to do it so you get the most out of your workout. Often they will focus on training big muscle groups first, and then working over to smaller muscles so you get a full body workout without missing anything. However, a personal trainer will also learn about their clients as individuals and as we all know, there is no standard prescription to exercise. Some clients have the most energy at the beginning of the session, and their trainer will learn that this is the time to do the more exerting and difficult exercises. Other clients take a good twenty minutes to get warmed up and into the session. In such cases, harder and more cardiovascular based exercises too early in will not be as effective as they could be.

4. Interval Training

Personal trainers know a lot about the topic of interval training and can push your limits even further by giving you hard and soft intensity exercises which allow you to get your heart racing even further, up your adrenaline and metabolism and allow you to get more out of a workout than you would if you were training solo. If you are training for a competitive sport they can also give you cross-training tips and exercises you can do so you can up your game the next time you're in competition.

5. A Trainer will Adapt to their Clients Needs and Wants

This is really important. A personal trainer quickly learns likes and dislikes of their clients. Some clients just want to make sure that they are exercising twice a week to stay healthy, and want a general routine that is changed up often enough so they do not get bored. At the same time, they do not want to feel like they're training for the army or the marines. Others really want to be pushed because they can't force themselves to be trained hard on their own - and they want a military-like approach. Some clients have very specific goals in mind and hire their trainer for technical exercise knowledge, sports instruction and implementation. eg. Hiring a personal trainer who also teaches boxing lessons. Whatever the case, a personal trainer is a chameleon in the gym, and can be the type of trainer that their client needs them to be.

Just don't expect them to be all like Yoda.




Need a certified personal trainer in Toronto? Hire me!

How Much Rest Do You Need?

Q

"Hello! I am confused from various people who say I should exercise daily and other people saying I should rest every 2nd day. Who is right? What should I be doing with respect to resting?"

- Jessica Y.

A

They're actually both right, but I understand your confusion.

Not the answer you were expecting, is it?

Ideally what you want to be doing is alternating days where you do upper body exercises and lower body exercises, giving the upper or lower half a rest in between.

Daily exercise is your ultimate goal, but to do so without developing sports injuries you need to take a rest in-between each day so you don't over-exert yourself and injure yourself.

Doing Alternating Routines also increases your endurance over the long run, because you are getting adequate rest for your various body parts, but your heart and lungs are being exercised daily - which means your heart and lungs will get stronger and develop much more endurance.

So for example if you are doing lots of upper body weightlifting one day the next day you should be focusing on your legs and hips.

However if you are doing full body exercises that are pretty intense, such as marathon running, then you need to be taking a break for a day (or two) after running a marathon.

Also please note the differences between different types of resting:

Active Recovery - Do something less stressful to stay active and not sedentary.  Instead of running go for a walk or do yoga, lift lighter weights and increase reps or swim for fun to take a break from your competitive training schedule.
 
Absolute Rest - Do nothing at all!  Read a book, go to the museum or take a nice long bath.  No activity is a great reward for many consecutive days of hard training.  Your mind and body will thank you!

Alternating Routines - Give your upper or lower body the time it needs to recover by alternating routines on different days of the week.

If you hire a personal trainer (hint hint) they can help you to create alternating upper body and lower body routines, thus allowing you to maximize your exercise and rest periods.

25 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Need more motivation to exercise? Here is 25 ways to help get you motivated.

#1. After a really good workout your body feels GOOD. A little muscle pain, but you feel energized and awesome. Think about that feeling more often and it will help motivate you.

#2. Me time is important. Having time to exercise can also be time to think and relieve stress. Exercise is great for relieving stress. (Especially boxing.)

#3. Keep track of how many calories burned. When you see the numbers it helps motivate you to burn more. Counting calories = Motivation to burn more.

#4. Choose fun exercises. Archery, boxing, skiiing, snowboarding, ice skating, swordfighting, climbing... whatever you really enjoy, do it!

#5. Combine exercise with other fun activities. ie. Photography and cycling go really well together.

#6. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you. If it helps look at old photos of you when you were younger / fitter. You can even photoshop images of yourself and then make those images your goal.

#7. Fitness magazines can help motivate you. They're also a great source of ideas for exercises you can do.

#8. Fitness films. ie. Rocky. Watching such films can really motivate you to get up and go.

#9. Fitness Models. For some people looking at other people (even photoshopped / genetically freaks) can help motivate them to work harder to achieve their fitness goals.

#10. Subscribe to fitness blogs like this one to see what other people are doing. Readings exercise ideas and success stories can really help you with motivation.

#11. REWARD YOURSELF. Never reward yourself with food. New clothes or fitness items make more fun rewards. ie. A new bicycle. Don't reward yourself for inconsistency. Only reward yourself for making your exercise schedule a constant.

#12. Fitting into smaller clothes, old or new, will make you feel awesome. Nothing like being able to fit into your old jeans from high school.

#13. Dating. Nothing like dating to make you feel attractive and motivated to keep exercising.

#14. Feel the Adrenaline rush. Some exercises give you a high because they're exciting to do. Ride that adrenaline rush and enjoy it!

#15. Music! Listen to music while you work out. The more exciting the music the better it is. I recommend two things: Movie themes from action movies; Classical music which is exciting, like the Hall of the Mountain King.

#16. An Exercise Partner. Having an exercise partner helps keep you motivated and on schedule.

#17. Exercise Classes. If you can't find an exercise partner then a class is just as good. Even better, an exercise class with FRIENDS. Or you will make new friends there.

#18. An exercise coach or personal trainer. Worth the money if you actually have tonnes of money to afford such extras. Their primary job is to motivate and challenge you. (If you live in Toronto you could even hire me as your personal trainer.)

#19. An Exercise Log / Chart. Keeping track of which exercises you did is almost as important as counting calories. Having a graph can show you visually what you've done. You can measure your weight on a weekly basis and see how much you improve. You won't see much results daily because weight fluctuates based on hormones, but weekly results will make you realize how well its working.

#20. Before, During and After Photos. Some people only take before and after photos, but during photos are also fun. You can even make a video showing the weight melt off. Take photos during the journey is fun. I recommend weekly photos.

#21. Set Big Goals that are Attainable. ie. Sign up for a marathon or a triathalon. Having an event to train for can help motivate you.

#22. Your Children and Grandchildren. Imagine living long enough to have grandchildren and being able to chase youngsters around in your 80s. As opposed to dying in your 60s or 70s from heart failure.

#23. Measure yourself with a tape and track your results.

#24. Collect motivational quotes and put them on your fridge or other things.

#25. Collect comments on how good you look. Write them down and add them to the motivational quotes.



Get The Most From Your Training Using Pre-Workout Supplements

Anyone who does bodybuilding knows that it takes a lot of time, effort and commitment and for this reason; it's worth squeezing every last ounce of muscle growth out of every weight lifting session. And whilst making sure you are working out in the most effective way is a large part of this, there's also a lot you can do before you start doing reps to maximize your training.

There are a huge range of supplements on the market and it can be difficult to decide which ones would be of real benefit to your training. Most of them are completely bogus. Here's a guide to some of the most effective supplements you can take before you head to the gym which could quite literally re-energize your whole regime.

The benefits listed on most pills

There are a vast range of different supplements but there are a number of key ingredients which have been robustly tested and scientifically proven to help achieve the desired results. My advice is to skip the supplements which are mostly untested and overpriced gimmicks and go for the ingredients we know work because they're in what the pros use - And oddly enough what the pros use is often naturally occurring things like Whey Protein which is derived from milk and Creatine which is found in red meat.

The kind of benefits you could typically expect to see after taking a pre-workout supplement including the following:
  • Increased muscle growth
  • Increased power
  • Decreased muscle cell breakdown during and post-training
  • Heightened protein synthesis
  • More stamina and endurance
  • Better energy levels
  • Less muscle soreness post-workout
  • Improved mood
  • Sharper concentration
The exact benefits you will see depend on what supplements you choose to take and how you take them; some can be used in different ways to get different results.

Strength and Power

For many bodybuilders, increasing muscle and strength is the only thing they are after. Some of them don't even care about how strong they are, they just want to look beefy.

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements but not everyone understands how it actually works. Muscles can only contract when they can access stores of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) but unfortunately only small amounts can be stored. These means that each contraction can only last for a few seconds, before the ATP store has to be replenished. The body manages this by breaking down Creatine to replace it - but if Creatine levels are low, you might struggle to complete your set.

Thus Creatine helps regulate the flow of ATP to your muscles, giving you an effective energy boost which allows you to do more reps. In other words by taking a Creatine supplement you are effectively providing direct fuel for your muscles, allowing you to complete the reps for each set whilst maximizing the weight.  Experts suggest approximately 5g of Creatine half an hour before you work out will achieve the desired result.

And the best part is that Creatine is found naturally in red meat, so if you lack the supplement just eat some beef before you workout.

Endurance

Endurance may seem like a quality more suited to a cross country athlete but bodybuilders also need stamina in order to complete each set and finish their planned training. For this reason, adding a supplement which improves endurance can result in better muscle growth as the workout will be far more effective.

Citrulline Malate is a type of amino acid which not only optimizes blood flow, driving power to the muscles, but also enhances the production of ATP, thus it works really well in combination with Creatine. However, it is particularly effective in reducing muscle fatigue during workouts, even during high intensity training. Citrulline works by removing lactic acid and other endotoxins which are produced during exercise, allowing the training to last longer and for the individual to continue to perform at a higher level. The removal of the acids also means that you will suffer less muscle pain after you are done.

Because of its excellent results, many pre-workout supplements include Citrulline in their ingredients but it is also possible to take it during your training session too.

Energy and Concentration

Although workouts need physical strength, mental stamina is just as important in order to get the best results if you need to stay focused and not get distracted.

Therefore, a good dose of caffeine is a great idea as it will help you stay on track. The added benefit is that caffeine is a very effective fat-burner, ramping up metabolism and freeing fatty acids to be used as energy.

However, it's important to get the balance right as too much caffeine can actually impair focus and concentration and reduce performance. It also takes a while to be absorbed into the blood stream so make sure you take it at least 30 minutes before you start training; around 200mg is usually the right dose. You will need to check the label on your coffee or other caffeine source to make sure you don't overdo it.

Notes

There are many other useful pre-workout ingredients such as whey protein, tyrosine, anti-oxidants and BCAAs.  You do not need to take pre-workout supplements on days you aren't training but when you do train, they should usually be taken on an empty stomach to maximize and speed up absorption.

Remember that you may also want a post-workout supplement - such as a whey protein shake - afterwards too.

Skating Lessons Testimonial

"Hey there!

Thank you again for the skating lessons and teaching me how to skate backwards. It was a lot of fun and much easier having someone to show me how to do it.

I look forward to wowing my friends with my new skills.

Thanks!"

- Caprice D.

Running Gear

FASHION - If and when you decide to take up jogging or running there is a list of things you will want.

#1. Running Shoes - ie. A good pair of Nike running shoes. Just do it.

#2. Comfortable Pants or Shorts - If its winter you will want something you can run in easily and has some kind of deep pocket to keep your house/apartments keys in so you don't get locked outside. (Speaking for myself, I wear camouflage army pants with big pockets.)

#3. A Hoodie - Because nothing says jogging like running around like Rocky Balboa in matching grey pants and hoodie.

#4. Gloves - If you're jogging in the winter comfortable warm gloves is a must.

#5. Scheduler - It doesn't matter whether you use a calendar, your alarm clock on your cellphone or a fancy dancy device specifically for joggers. Anyone who tracks their jogging is more likely to turn it into a routine and become successful in their goal of losing weight, running marathons, etc.

#6. Music - This is really optional, but a mp3 player or old fashioned walkman works just as well if you need extra motivation. I recommend including several songs from the Rocky soundtrack just for fun.

At the Gym, Exercise Humour

Ever wondered what other people at the gym are thinking??? Here is a little humour for you. :)



Whey Protein Supplements

Now if you've seen them in stores before you know what they are. Whey Protein containers... they look a bit like a bucket and what is inside is usually chocolate flavoured protein, a whole whack-load of chemicals designed to give you energy (like Creatine, a chemical which boosts energy being sent to your muscle tissue) all wrapped up in a chocolaty powder designed to be mixed with milk or water.

Speaking for myself I've been doing weightlifting and boxing for several years now (nothing professional, just as part of my weight loss / muscle bulking goal) and what I've learned is that whey protein supplements are really only useful if you're getting in a lot of exercise. As in at least 1 hour per day.

So if you're only doing 5 minute workouts you might as well just stick with your regular nutritious diet. The supplements aren't going to help you much.

But if you're jogging for an hour per day, doing weightlifting for an hour per day, or aerobics... or anything that causes you to break a sweat and gets your heart rate going (really rowdy sex) for an hour... then you might want to consider having 1 scoop of whey protein + 2 glasses of milk.

The Whey Protein I use is SIX STAR MUSCLE. The same as in the photo above.

Why do I prefer that one? Because I like the chocolate flavour and it has 26 grams of protein in one scoop. One of those per day is enough for my fitness routine and I only drink one if I know I am going to be exercising a lot on that day. The professional weightlifters are consuming 6 scoops per day (156 grams of protein) in addition to their regular diet... but that is just craziness. You would need to be exercising 30 to 40 hours per week to make that much protein actually do its job.

For myself my goal right now is to get rock hard abs, so I am combining a cardio routine with a battery of abdominal exercises designed to beef up my abs in a hurry. So I figured I might as well be taking 1 scoop per day to help speed up the process.

Whey protein supplements isn't for everyone. If you don't want all the extra muscle and just want to lose weight then you definitely don't need it. So if you're doing yoga, aerobics, cycling, etc and want a slim cyclist / yoga instructor physique then its definitely not for you.

There are plenty of places in Toronto where you can buy whey protein, including Shoppers Drug Mart. If you have a personal trainer they can also give you advice on how much whey protein you should be using to compliment your weight lifting routine.

10 Winter Exercising Tips

#1. Stay Warm

One way to do this is to stick your exercise clothes in the dryer the night before, zap them some heat for 3 minutes in the morning, put them on and then go outside and exercise. You won't notice the cold so much then. Other alternatives are to have a hot shower before you go outside or drink hot tea / hot chocolate before leaving the house. Go to the bathroom before you leave your home too. Your body will be warmer if you aren't wasting energy keeping your urine warm.

#2. Extra Long Warmups

Before you go outside do stretches, jumping jacks, jogging in place to warm yourself up before going outside. The extra 2 minutes of jumping jacks before you go out in the cold air will warm you up significantly.

#3. Interval Training

Doing intense exercises and moderate exercises in varying intervals will both make you hotter while exercising outdoors, but it also burns calories more effectively due to the Afterburn Effect.

#4. Shovel Some Snow

Shoveling snow counts as weightlifting. And having a tidy driveway is just a nice perk.

#5. Wear Layers

Wear 3 or 4 layers and you won't notice the cold so much. Wear 2 pairs of socks, extra thick underwear, etc. Don't forget a neck warmer, arm warmers, a hat or scarves. Think tight-fitting when picking what to wear. Don't ignore silk and high quality fabrics for your base layer. Silk is very breathable and warm.

#6. Mix and Match Cardio and Strength Training

If jogging in the winter doesn't suit you mix it up by adding in chin ups at your local park jungle gym. Find ways to change it up and the extra effort will keep you warm. Climbing stairs also works well.

#7. Try New Winter Sports

Never done ice skating? Road hockey? Winter Archery? Now is a good time to try it.

#8. Reward Yourself

Don't dread exercising outside when you get to reward yourself a simple pleasure afterwards. Listen to your favourite music after you exercise, have an extra long hot shower or bath, enjoy your favourite hot chocolate or coffee, take a nap, listen to an audiobook...

#9. Don't Fear the Cold, Embrace It

Remember that the cold won't kill you. You are only minutes from your home anyway.

#10. Think Positively and Laugh

Laughter warms your spirit and positive thinking doesn't hurt either.

Fitness for Men at Forty

Getting older is not very pleasant. Sometimes it just plain sucks. As you move past your thirties and into your forties you will start noticing there are a lot of changes happening to your body - and they're not pleasant changes like when you hit puberty and started noticing girls more.

For more men it becomes painfully obvious that you are not the young man that you used to be. You have to come to grips with the fact that your late thirties and early forties is a whole new phase in life. No longer is your body naturally going to be at the same level as it was in your 20s or even early 30s, even if mentally we still have the same or greater desires to be fit and athletic.

It can be rather sobering to realize it but while your body might basically look the same as it did when you were 25 or 30, its needs have changed. Your body has started to produce much less testosterone making it more difficult for you to build muscles, your metabolism starts slowing down and you get tired easier, and your recovery / healing periods are longer. Plus you are at a greater risk for heart disease and cancer.

However before you think it is time to check into the retirement home... think again!

By this point in life you should also have the experience and hopefully the wisdom to understand and accept these changes, and then adapt by developing a smarter and more effective strategy to counteract all of these affects of getting older. In this manner we can then keep moving in the positive direction of staying healthy and fit well into our retirement years - and stave off the worst effects of aging.

The Secret of Anti-Aging

It all starts with the diet.

Shocking right? So often it all goes back to diet again. Your diet will probably be about 80% to 90% responsible for how you look and feel as you hit 40 and beyond. The other 10% to 20% will be training and exercise levels. I know a guy in his 60s, avid cyclist. Has the body of a 30 year old because he stays active, but he can't blame it all on exercise because his family is mostly vegetarian so he is, not by choice, eating pretty healthy most of the time simply because that is what his family eats.

So why is diet so important? To start, a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to make sure you are getting all the nutrients into your body. Next you need to limit things like sugar, excess fat, and carbohydrates because it will take you so much longer to burn off accumulated fat since your older body has difficulty maintaining its metabolism.

Finally diet and supplementation (multivitamins, minerals, etc) has a huge impact on our daily energy levels, sex drive, stress, depression, memory, mood, and prevention of illness and disease.

You need to take the time to really understand all the results of eating healthy sometimes versus eating like a pig all the time. That also involves making sure you are consuming the right type of supplements to help combat aging. That means having things like: A daily multivitamin, flax seed oil, whey protein, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, zinc, and l-arginine, in the cupboard to boost your internal systems.

The Right Kind of Exercise

Along with nailing down a healthy and balanced meal plan, you need to workout the correct way. Specifically that means more weight lifting and high-intensity interval training.

Why these two methods? Weight lifting is important for maintaining and even increasing lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is directly related to your metabolism. On top of that, if you incorporate more full-body exercises such as squats, deadlifts, clean and pulls, or one-arm snatches you can help increase the natural production of testosterone in your system to offset the loss from aging. You could actually end up feeling younger instead of older.

When performing cardio work, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a superior choice compared to regular cardio exercises because of how efficient it is at burning fat, helps increase testosterone levels, and helps exercise your heart by providing a new challenge.

No Time like the Present

As you get older it becomes more apparent that there is no time like the present. You are running out of time. There comes a point where you can't put off exercising and taking care of your diet if you truly want to live a long time and be able to enjoy the autumn years of your life instead of being confined to a scooter and dying quickly because you refused to take care of yourself. But, you need to make that choice, not because you feel like you have to, but because you've realized the kind of life you want to have and the kind of life you want to avoid.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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