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Mid Workout Stretching

Out of breath during your cardio or weightlifting workout?

Pause and do some stretches.

Why?

#1. Regular Stretching increases and maintains flexibility.

#2. It gives you a moment to catch your breath and recharge available energy in your blood.

#3. Stretching exercises smaller muscles that most people forget about, like your obliques (side muscles).

#4. Stretching reduces muscle tension. Ergo, less pain in your muscles and joints.

#5. It also improves your muscular coordination.

#6. Improves balance.

#7. Exercises core muscles.

#8. Increases circulation and energy levels.

#9. Prevents sports injuries if done properly and regularly.

#10. Decreases the likelihood of injuries as you get older (eg. falls and breaking your hip).

#11. Mid exercise and post exercise Stretching helps with muscle recovery and helps condition your tendons/muscles.

#12. Because sometimes it just feels really good to have a good stretch!

Kicking and Kickboxing as Exercise

Not all exercises have to be cardio or weightlifting or yoga / stretching (which reminds me, I need to write more posts about proper stretching)... Sometimes activities can just be fun.

#1. Dancing - Yes, technically its a cardio, but you forget that it is and just have fun exercising without realizing it.

#2. Sex - Again, its a cardio... and it can also be weightlifting, depending on what you are doing. *wink*

#3. Martial Arts...

The simple act of kicking as high as you can kick does two things:

#1. Its cardio. So you can get a decent workout by doing 100 high kicks with each leg per day.

Note: If you have a sedentary lifestyle don't start with 100 per day because you could injure yourself since your legs aren't used to it. Start with 20 per day and work your way up gradually. (See the comments near the bottom about patience.)

#2. Its stretching. You feel it especially in the back of your leg, where your muscles aren't used to being stretched like that. Stretching helps to increase and maintain flexibility.

So if you're exercising at home and you want to add some flexibility exercises to your routine, kicking is a good place to start. Just make sure you have plenty of room to practice your kicks.

If you get really into it you may be tempted to get into Kickboxing, which as the name implies, combines boxing with various kicks into a martial arts-based sport.

Note: I did kickboxing back when I was in high school and later I did Taekwondo when I was living in South Korea (Taekwondo is focused on kicking and tripping opponents), so I feel confident speaking on the topic of kickboxing and Taekwondo even though I don't formally teach either of them. And frankly I prefer traditional boxing.

Kickboxing, is also sometimes referred to as "cardio kickboxing" or "boxing aerobics", because it is often employed as an exercise routine combining a mix of boxing, martial arts and aerobics that really packs a workout wallop.

Because Kickboxing uses both the muscles of the upper and lower body, as well as the core muscles, you get a great all-around workout in a short amount of time. You may discover that many sports have a tendency to do provide a full body workout, with several exceptions (eg. golf is a lazy man's game).


A typical martial arts class begins with some stretches and a light cardiovascular warm-up including push-ups and jumping jacks. The remainder of the class is usually comprised of a series of repetitive punches, alternating hand-strikes and kicks - typically switching between all three -- followed at the end by some kind of cool down/floor work/stretching combo.

Unlike other cardio exercises like running, cycling, etc which focus on only your legs, martial arts training (boxing, kickboxing, judo, karate, etc) requires a full body workout and also fuels an adrenaline rush, making it an adrenaline high workout too - which burns added calories in a hurry and helps tone muscles. And its good for developing functional strength, balance and coordination.

According to the American Council on Exercise, a kickboxing workout will burn about 350 to 450 calories/hour. That is a huge number when you consider its recommended that you only eat approx. 2,000 calories per day.

HOWEVER!


Because kickboxing is such a strenuous exercise the risks for beginners are also higher. People with back or joint problems (eg. arthritis) should avoid this kind of workout. Beginners are always wanting to learn something in a hurry. They have no patience and no commitment.

Kickboxing is very strenuous and the problem with a sedentary person trying to get into a kickboxing program is that they end up in over their heads very quickly. They're trying to do something that's too hard for them and they don't have the patience to practice just a little bit daily and instead they are trying to do a lot daily, which results in muscle fatigue and injury.

An hour of kickboxing for someone new to the sport is too much. 30 to 45 minutes is more recommended and then after 10 or 20 lessons they can work up to an hour. They have to build up gradually and be patient about it otherwise they will either injure themselves or give up due to lack of patience.

This perhaps explains why so few people get into any of the martial arts. They simply lack the patience and determination to keep at it and learn gradually. Learning patience and humility are arguably the two biggest steps.

Note

If you live in Toronto you can hire me as your personal trainer and we can add kickboxing lessons to the list of things to do if you are interested. Kickboxing (and boxing in general) is a lot of fun and makes a great cardio exercise.

All About Vitamins - What do they do?

Vitamins are important to your healthy diet, but what do they actually do?

Here is a handy chart which not only shows why various vitamins are useful, but also where you can find them.

When looking to buy a multivitamin its recommended that you find one that pick one that has all the vitamins in it, and if you have a very active lifestyle pick one with higher dosages. So remember to read the label instead of just buying the one which is on sale.

Although if its on sale AND turns out to have all the vitamins you are looking for, absolutely, buy it.


Vitamin What the vitamin does Significant food sources
B1 (thiamin) Supports energy metabolism and nerve function spinach, green peas, tomato juice, watermelon, sunflower seeds, lean ham, lean pork chops, soy milk
B2 (riboflavin) Supports energy metabolism, normal vision and skin health spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, milk, liver, oysters, clams
B3 (niacin) Supports energy metabolism, skin health, nervous system and digestive system spinach, potatoes, tomato juice, lean ground beef, chicken breast, tuna (canned in water), liver, shrimp
Biotin Energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism, glycogen synthesis widespread in foods
Pantothenic Acid Supports energy metabolism widespread in foods
B6 (pyridoxine) Amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, red blood cell production bananas, watermelon, tomato juice, broccoli, spinach, acorn squash, potatoes, white rice, chicken breast
Folate Supports DNA synthesis and new cell formation tomato juice, green beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, okra, black-eyed peas, lentils, navy, pinto and garbanzo beans
B12 Used in new cell synthesis, helps break down fatty acids and amino acids, supports nerve cell maintenance meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs
C (ascorbic acid) Collagen synthesis, amino acid metabolism, helps iron absorption, immunity, antioxidant spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, snow peas, tomato juice, kiwi, mango, orange, grapefruit juice, strawberries
A (retinol) Supports vision, skin, bone and tooth growth, immunity and reproduction mango, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, tomato juice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beef liver
D Promotes bone mineralization self-synthesis via sunlight, fortified milk, egg yolk, liver, fatty fish
E Antioxidant, regulation of oxidation reactions, supports cell membrane stabilization polyunsaturated plant oils (soybean, corn and canola oils), wheat germ, sunflower seeds, tofu, avocado, sweet potatoes, shrimp, cod
K Synthesis of blood-clotting proteins, regulates blood calcium Brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, liver


All About Minerals - What do they do?

Earlier today I was in a Shoppers Drug Mart on Yonge Street in Toronto and I was buying vitamin pills because I was starting to run low.

The pills I purchased had higher dosages of various vitamins, which is a good thing because I lead a pretty active lifestyle. But it also had a long list of minerals in it too.

Now most people know what calcium does (stronger bones) and perhaps also knows what iron does (increases cardiovascular circulation), but a lot of the other minerals I can bet most people don't know what they do.

So as you can see below I've gone ahead and added little explanations for what the various minerals actually do for your body.

Calcium - Strong bones and teeth, nerve function, muscle contraction, blood clotting.

Chromium - Associated with insulin and is required for the release of energy from glucose (converting sugar into energy).

Copper - Necessary for the absorption and utilization of iron, supports formation of hemoglobin and several enzymes.

Iodine - Helps regulate growth, development and metabolic rate.

Iron - Red blood cells and muscle function, white blood cells and the immune system.

Magnesium - Converting energy from food, cell repair, building strong bones, teeth and muscles and regulating body temperature.

Manganese - Facilitates many cell processes.

Molybdenum - Facilitates many cell processes.

Potassium - Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, cell integrity, muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission

Selenium - Antioxidant. Works with vitamin E to protect body from oxidation

Sodium - Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, supports muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmissions

Vanadium - Used for treating diabetes and anemia and is great for improving performance in weight training; and helps prevent cancer.

Zinc - Immune system, the breakdown of protein, fat and carbohydrate, important part of enzymes.

So as you can see they're all pretty important. Thus having a shortage of several minerals in your diet can be a problem for your health and will harm your efforts to lose fat / gain muscle. When in doubt, best to make sure you have enough of everything you need.

Javelin Throwing


I was recently curious about getting into the Olympic sport of Javelin Throwing. I tried it back in high school, but didn't really get the opportunity to get into it.

So I asked around to see if anyone knows where I can buy Javelins in Toronto and the best answer isn't even in Toronto. The company has Toronto in the name, but its located in Markham.

Sports Equipment of Toronto Ltd.
250 Telson Road
Markham
Ontario L3R 1E6
Canada


I warn you in advance however that javelins can be a tad expensive. (Which makes sense why so few people get into the sport.) The prices listed at sportsequipmentoftoronto.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=223 range from $1,115 to a mere $50.


So yes, you could get into the sport for a mere $50... but lets be realistic. Do you really want to throw ONE javelin and then have to go pick it up? No. You're going to want at least 4 or 5 javelins that you can throw, and then go pick them all up at once.

So if you want to get into it as a sport you have to be thinking of spending $200 to $6,000, plus you may want to get books about throwing technique, a coach who can teach you how to run and throw properly, or even special gloves or track and field shoes.

But hey, extra equipment is pretty standard with almost any serious sport.




Hot Tip: Sit Ups Humour

Hot Tip

Don't do sit ups after drinking tea on an empty stomach unless you want a weird feeling tummy ache.








Positive Thinking + Motivation

Here Are Three Tips for Developing Positive Thinking + Exercise Motivation

1. Focus on the Positive
If you think you will fail at you exercise / weight loss goals then you will fail because you will end up giving up too easily. If you focus on attaining your goals and WHY you want to attain them then you will stay positive and stay motivated.

We all have qualities that we like about ourselves and things that could use improvement. When we're having a bad day it's important to not dwell on why we're having a challenging time. Remember that a lot of this little stuff is meaningless and there is no point stressing about little details. Focus on the big picture and work on improving yourself to the ultimate goal.

Example: "I may not exercise a lot, but at least I am exercising daily. I just need to stay focused and ty to up the ante on my daily routine."

2. Keep What Motivates you Close

When you are going through a period of low motivation you need to keep your goals close by so you are feeling constantly motivated. This could be simply an image of the ideal body on your fridge or a list of habits that you want to achieve, a picture of yourself when you were 17, or a note that we carry around. Could even be poetry or a movie that you like to see again and again.

Example: For me that would be Rocky (all of the films), plus I have all the music from the Rocky films which I like to listen to while exercising.

When people are feeling depressed and unmotivated they have a tendency to eat junk food. So here's an important tip: Never go grocery shopping when you are depressed and feeling negative!
3. Celebrate Progress in a Smart Way

People love reward systems.

But don't reward yourself with fatty food by suddenly binging whenever you lose 5 lbs. That puts you in danger of a yo-yo diet.

If you're always achieving success but never offering yourself breaks and rewards the effort can begin to seem never ending!

Healthy Ways to Reward Yourself

A) Go out for a movie by yourself or with friends.

B) Go shopping for shoes, power tools, electronic gadgets or whatever makes you happy.

C) Take a day off to make artwork, poetry or listen to music.

D) Sex! Your lover will be appreciative of your efforts!

What is the point of working your buns off if you're always living within the confines of a strict regime and don't reward yourself!

If you're feeling the rewards you will also be feeling positive and motivated to keep at it!

Nutritional Success = Healthy Balance

Fitness is like a cart with two wheels. If you only focus on the exercise wheel and forget the nutrition wheel you will become stuck and never reach your goals.

Nutrition plays a huge part of fitness goals, even more so than exercise. The food (vitamins, carbs, proteins, calcium, etc) that is consumed is our fuel for activity, both physical and mental, and is also the building blocks of new blood, new muscle tissue, and reinforcing our bone structure. The quality of nutrition plays a huge role in how your body is using that food.

The end result is that for every nutrient, protein or calorie you consume your body will automatically try to make the most of it (either by using it or storing it).

How to Eat for Success by Making the Most of your Diet

1. Eat Healthy Food Most of the Time

Aim to eat healthy food 90% to 95% of the time. Every calorie should be going toward a function within the body. Healthy fats from nuts, fish and avocado contribute to healthy hair, skin and nails. A shortage of fats, due to anorexia for example, can cause your hair to fall out. Healthy fats also help the body to absorb nutrients. Vegetables should be a variety of colours and fruits should be high in fiber (apples, pears, etc). Carbohydrates should come from whole grain sources. Aim for a variety and balance and to counteract any deficiencies. eg. If you are low on potassium eat more bananas, spinach, mushrooms, etc.

2. Eat When you are Hungry / Don't Eat when you are Not Hungry

Listen to your body and when you feel hungry. Eat when you are hungry. This prevents over eating. Don't be afraid of snacking, but aim for healthy snacks.
 
When the body thinks it's starving it holds onto fat and this makes it even harder to lose it. On the flip side, if you're feeling satiated, don't eat! Stop eating when you are not hungry anymore. Save the other half of your meal for lunch the next day - or as a snack for later!

3. Don't Drink Calories

If you are drinking soda pop every day the first thing you need to do is cut that out. Its basically just flavoured sugar water, and its not helping you.
 
Calories in liquid form really hurts your daily calorie requirements and soda pop offers nothing nutritionally. Just cutting out sugary drinks during a weight loss diet will help shed a few pounds really quickly. Drink tea, water, skim milk and juices.

4. Track Your Calories

People who track their calories in a journal or on a SmartPhone App are 3 times more likely to succeed at attaining their desired weight. Knowing how much you are consuming daily, learning how to break it up into meals and snacks is an essential key to weight loss and finding a healthy balance. Below is a sample caloric breakdown for a weight loss diet.
 
 Breakfast - 400-500 calories

Mid Morning Snack - 100 calories

Lunch - 500-600 calories

Afternoon Snack - 100 calories

Supper - 500-600 calories

Evening Snack - 100 calories

5. Carry Healthy Snacks on You

If you're one of those people who carries a backpack, purse or briefcase with you wherever you go pack some healthy snacks in there for later.
 
My favourite? Peanut butter granola bars (the kind with no chocolate  in them), although they do have some honey to help it stick together.
 
How To Make
 
Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine or butter
3 cups granola

Equipment
Spatula
Glass bowl
Medium sauce pan
Flat non-stick pan

Step 1      
Measure out ingredients and prepare containers. You can buy 12-oz. packages that measure out to exactly 3 cups.

Step 2
Combine peanut butter, honey and butter in a medium sauce pan. Heat to a simmer and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. It helps to dice the butter into smaller cubes before tossing in.

Step 3      
Turn off the stove and pour the hot mix into a glass bowl. Pour in the 3 cups of plain granola and stir until well mixed.

Step 4      
Spoon into a flat pan that is 8 x 8 inches or similar size, such as 6 x 10 inches, then flatten with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Step 5      
Use a sharp knife to cut the chilled peanut butter granola layer into 2 x 4-inch sections, approximately. This should yield 8 to 9 peanut butter granola bars.

The Hunter / Gatherer Diet

THE FIVE PILLARS OF THE CAVEMAN DIET

#1. Nuts, berries, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

#2. Meat that has been recently slain and then cooked over a fire. Eggs are also okay, either raw, fried or cooked.

#3. Lots of water, but also juices from fruits and tea made from local plants for its medicinal benefits. eg. Birch bark tea contains aspirin.

#4. No sugary / fatty / processed factory made foods filled with corn syrup and other horrible things.

#5. No bread or grains. This means no flour, no cake, no rice, no spaghetti, nothing filled with carbs.

Now you might be thinking, what about milk? Well that is a tricky one. You see cavemen also sucked the marrow from bones, but trying to do that in our modern era just isn't practical. Eating nuts, berries, fruits, vegetables, meat, juice and water is certainly easily doable and practical. Sucking marrow from bones is not.

And there is also no proof that cavemen didn't use the milk from the animals they killed. It is widely understood that they used everything... the skins, the meat, the bones... even the intestines. So if they killed a milk-bearing female animal, its quite likely they did drink the milk too. It is certainly a matter of "what ifs" to be debated, so I leave that one to personal preference.

So in short the Paleolithic diet is really just a diet centred around eating the basics. Its very low in carbs, low in fat, its high in veggies, and you are still eating meat 2 or maybe 3 times per week, depending on the quality of the hunting.

Thus the diet of Cavemen and Cavewomen is pretty similar to what our modern athletes eat, with the exception of the protein shakes and protein bars... but that can be compensated with healthy doses of nuts and berries.


Thus the Caveman or Hunter / Gatherer Diet offers something that is easy to follow and is guaranteed to provide a stable, balanced and healthy diet - one that is sure to reduce someone's weight.


Which will people will no doubt break when they're left in charge of a box of doughnuts. Carbs and sugar in combination are difficult to resist, but if a person has the willpower they can just set the box down and forget its there.

Everyone is blessed/cursed with one particular caveman gene, and that is the gene that causes people to store fat for the winter. Whenever someone gorges themselves on fatty food, that fat is then stored on their body unless they have a remarkably high metabolism. As Winter approaches cavemen find themselves eating less fruits and berries and more meat. Combined with less sunlight and they are taking in less Vitamin D, which kickstarts a fat-storing process for the Winter. Thanks to the extra meat they will eating more fat, and if the food is plentiful they should have fat tummies by the time winter arrives and food becomes more scarce.

The reverse happens in the Spring when increased sunlight and more fruits/veggies increases Vitamin D intake and people start losing weight and feeling more energetic. So if your goal is weight loss the modern man does have an advantage: We can keep eating fruits/veggies in the colder months and maintain our Vitamin D levels so we don't store up fat like cavemen do.






The good news about the Hunter / Gatherer Diet is that its very easy to maintain. The food tastes good, you still get to eat meat and dairy, but you're avoiding carbs, sugars and fats - things which have been proven to be bad for us health wise.

Giving up our beloved sandwiches and pizzas and cakes can be tricky. But it can be done if you have the willpower and eventually you reach a point where you don't really miss the carbs because you've kicked the habit.

It also promotes the concept of buying freshly butchered meat as opposed to processed meats which have sugar, salt and other things added to them.

You can still have things like bacon, but you still shouldn't be eating bacon on a constant basis.



Seeds and nuts are a great source of healthy fats and protein. Chocolate covered almonds still make a good treat on rare occasions. You can still expect the once in awhile craving for sugar or chocolate, and you shouldn't be afraid to treat yourself - but you have to discipline yourself at the same time and remember that its all about maintaining a healthy balance.

Ultimately, it's up to the individual to figure out how they want their diet to work. Some people might choose that they don't want to give up ice cream - but as a balancing factor they aim for the low fat ice cream and they sprinkle or combine the ice cream with nuts and berries.

Deprivation diets don't work - but understanding the need for balance in a healthy diet does work.

Muscle Pain - What is it and what to do about it

Do you get muscle pain after exercising? Its normal, but what is it and what should we do about it?

Muscle soreness is caused by a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. Sometimes the pain is delayed, but usually the soreness tends to show up between 24-48 hours and is commonly called "DOMS" (delayed onset muscle soreness) after exercise.

Everyone gets it too. It's not unique to beginners or bodybuilders. Anyone who strains/rips their muscles is going to experience soreness either soon after or a delayed response. Sometimes the delay is caused by adrenaline and other pain-killing hormones in your system so you simply don't notice the pain until later. This is common for boxers for example who experience pain while fighting in the ring, but the real pain doesn't happen until after the match is over and they can barely stand due to all the pain.

Every time that you exercise and especially when you try new things such as exercises you've never done before, or trying heavier weights or by adding time to the routine, your muscles are simply not used to the demand. What happens is the tiny muscle fibers tear and break, and then they heal and fill in the muscle void with new muscle tissue so that you can handle that same load of work the next time with less effort and less pain. A little muscle soreness is a good thing. Hence the saying NO PAIN, NO GAIN. Muscle pain means that you have challenged your body and that it is now healing and building new muscle tissue.

Example

Lets say you don't normally do situps and your core muscles aren't the greatest. So one day you do 300 situps and that night and the day after your abs hurt. But two days later if you try to do 300 situps again, it will be easier the 2nd time around and you will experience less pain. This is because you've healed and built up more muscle in that region during the healing process. If you kept doing 300 situps every 2 days for a month by the end of the month you would be experiencing almost no pain and your ab muscles would be significantly stronger.

So regardless of whether you are doing weightlifting or ab workouts or even cardio, you are going to experience muscle pain. Even archery causes muscle pain in your arms and back if you aren't used to the poundage of the bow.

So what can you do about it?

#1. Only exercise those same muscles every 2 days so you can rest and heal in-between and build up your strength/endurance.

#2. Don't overdo it on the weights. Make gradual improvements on how much weight you are lifting. I know its fun to try and lift your maximum amount, but I only recommend doing that once per month and then keeping a record of what your maximum was.

#3. Stretching / Yoga. Stretching and yoga can help prevent / decrease muscle soreness.

#4. Take a cold bath or shower when you experience muscle soreness. Its really cold, but it helps numb the pain.

#5. Eat lots of beans, nuts, etc after a workout. Or a protein shake or protein bar. The extra protein will help build/repair muscle tissue faster. I don't recommend meat because the protein content in meat isn't as high as people like to think it is. eg. Pork chops are only 18% protein.

#6. Do NOT exercise muscles that are already sore. They're trying to heal. Focus your workout on different muscles on days when your muscles are so. eg. Some people like to alternate weightlifting on one day with cardio on the next. Or alternatively upper body on one day and lower body on the next.

#7. As a last resort, pain killers. Pay attention and learn what is actually in them however. A common painkiller you can find in a pharmacy for bodybuilders is actually just Tylenol 650 mg - which is the same thing people take for arthritis pain. So if you do go that way, look at the prices because seniors pay less for arthritis pills than bodybuilders do for muscle relaxers, even though its the same ingredient.

Always remember that pain is temporary. The feeling of achieving your goals lasts forever.

Lowering your Toxins and Why it is Important

You've probably heard on several occasions that people who quit smoking often gain weight. This is actually a MYTH.

What is more accurate is that people who quit smoking often experience weight fluctuations as they readjust to taste buds that can appreciate food again and a body that is shedding some of its toxins that it has stored up in their body fat as protection. Over the longer term most people who quit smoking actually lose weight as the result of this release of toxins and fat.

According to one study I found which tracked long term the weight changes over a 48 month period people who quit smoking do the following:

19% gained weight
24% weight stable
42% moderate weight loss
15% substantial weight loss

So 57% of people lose weight over the long term. It is only the rare few (19%) who replace their nicotine addiction with a sugar addiction who end up gaining weight, and that really comes down to poor willpower. So yeah, myth busted!

But back to my main point of this example. Your body stores toxins inside fat cells in an effort to protect the body. Basically its like a tiny prison cell for toxins and if you are consuming, eating, smoking, snorting lots of toxins then your body's natural reaction will be to store those toxins somewhere safe - which means you will be adding extra fat to your frame.

Fat and water storage are just two ways your body uses as a means of protecting you from poisonous toxins by diluting them and storing them in water and fat. This is often the reason why people have difficulty losing weight because our immune system tries to maintain a certain level of toxicity and it isn't going to allow the breakdown of fat cells if there is too much toxins in your blood. Our highly intelligent immune system simply won't allow the removal of excess fat if the level of toxins that is stored in the fat may put your life in jeopardy by their release into the bloodstream.

Warning Signs of Too Much Toxicity

Difficulty shedding weight
Dry, itchy, scaling or flaking skin
Soft, cracked, or brittle nails
Hard earwax
Tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or torso
Achy, stiff joints

 What you really want in your body is "healthy fat" with no toxicity in them. Healthy fat stores energy for your cardiovascular system to deliver to your cells that need them. Why does the type of fat matter? It is because building your body from the inside out is just like building a house. You can frame the house with the cheapest stuff you can scrounge. Or you can invest in quality materials that are going to be energy-efficient and last a long time. If your fat is toxic then you will end up storing lots of it and never using it, and you will feel slow and sluggish because you don't have enough healthy fats to provide energy for your daily activities.

So how do you get rid of toxins?

#1. Healthy diet. Cut out anything that is toxic or carcinogenic. That means don't eat the burnt crusts on your toast (anything burnt is carcinogenic), same goes with burnt meat and burnt marshmallows. If you are one of those people who burns their marshmallows and eats them anyway, stop that!

#2. Start reading food labels. Beware of any foods that has strange chemicals in them. Preprocessed foods are high in them.

#3. Avoid eating anything with bacteria in them. Bacteria creates toxins. So avoid eating meat that isn't well done. Indeed try to cut back on your meat consumption entirely so its at a more reasonable level.

#4. Go on a Detox Diet (eg. the Lemonade and Cayenne pepper one). This is for the more extreme detox people out there, but it really does work.

Are Food Dyes Toxic and How Dangerous are they?

There are a lot of websites out there which claim that food dyes are toxic. This is only partially true.

Part of the problem is that the websites and people spreading this misinformation are automatically assuming the worst and keep quoting nutjob websites which are far from reputable. In my effort to clear up this matter I found the following PDF:

http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf

The PDF goes down a long list of studies into the dangers of food dyes and what it determined was the following:

#1. Some people have allergic reactions to food dyes. That doesn't make them toxic. Some people are also allergic to peanuts, but peanuts aren't toxic either.

#2. The dosages of most food dyes are so ridiculously low that they don't cause tumours.

#3. There are some toxic tumour causing food dyes (Orange B and Red 3), but they're either illegal and banned by the FDA or no longer used any more.

#4. There is one remaining food dye which is known to cause tumours (Citrus Red 2), but its only used on some brands of oranges. So the advice there is Don't Buy Oranges with Food Dye.

Otherwise food dyes are harmless because they're either not toxic or the dosage is so ridiculously low (and those that are tumour causing are banned by the FDA). And they're certainly way less harmful than bacteria in your meat, burnt crust on your toast and smoking cigarettes.




But if you're really worried about it then just read labels when you buy your food.

To me the really dangerous chemicals are not the food dyes. Its the man-made chemical additives found in processed foods which are designed to make foods more addictive... and throw in lots of corn syrup (aka glucose) is added to almost all processed foods. That much glucose is definitely not good for you.

If you want to cut down on your toxic intake eat only foods that have no weird additives in them.


Vitamins - Expensive Urine or Worthwhile Investment?

You may have heard from various sources that vitamins just make "expensive urine". The argument is that the human body doesn't absorb all the vitamins we consume and that much of it is disposed of via urination.

However before you throw all your vitamins away and refuse to ever buy another vitamin, lets stop and pause whether that kind of knee-jerk reaction is necessary.

First. What is the purpose of vitamin pills?

It is to make certain that you are getting enough healthy vitamins in your diet, especially if you aren't always eating healthy. Extra vitamins means healthier well-being, stronger immune system, less toxins in your system, less need to store fat and your body tissue heals faster when you have lots of vitamins in your system. Ultimately it means that if you forget to eat enough veggies in a particular day at least you are still getting some.

Second. How much of it really is disposed via urination?

This answer varies depending on the source and also on the person. Urine consists of water and the waste from the foods that we eat and the fluids we drink. It also can include dead blood cells and other materials the body wants to get rid of, which can change the colour of your urine. eg. Eat too many carrots and your urine will turn orange.

Urine production is controlled by the kidneys. Your kidneys only remove things from your bloodstream when there is too much of it, meaning an excess amount of it that you don't need. So in the above example of eating too many carrots, you end up with too much Vitamin C in your blood and your kidney's remove some of it.

So what really matters is the quantity of vitamins you are ingesting as to whether any of it is being disposed of via urination.


This confusion about disposal relates to reporters misquoting British researcher Professor Brian Ratcliffe of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen who says that in his studies the human body disposes of as much as 75% of our vitamin intake, which sounds like a lot... But what reporters often forget to mention is that his research involved test subjects taking a 1.5 gram Vitamin C supplement (the equivalent of more than 20 oranges worth of Vitamin C). So the lesson people need to learn from this is that reporters love sound bytes and skipping over the part where test subjects were taking 20 oranges worth Vitamin C.

So based on that measurement, you can eat 5 oranges and your urine won't change colour and no vitamins will be wasted, but if you eat 6 your urine might change colour a bit.

Third. If quantity is such a concern, how much should we take?

It varies depending on your body's size and your level of physical activity. If you are robust and exercise a lot you are going to need more vitamins. If you're thin and almost never exercise your body evidently doesn't need much, but if you're trying to maintain your health it wouldn't hurt to be taking a small amount of vitamins.

There a lot of different vitamin pill companies out there. There are even rating systems for which multivitamins pack the most punch. So if you're just taking a Life brand multivitamin, then yes, you are not wasting any of it because the dosage is comparatively low. But if you're taking a very expensive "five star" multivitamin with a high dosage, then yes, you are more likely to be taking an excess of vitamins and some of it will be disposed of via urine.

But does it hurt you to be taking extra? No, it won't. It might hurt your wallet a little more if you're worried about that sort of thing.

The rule of thumb when it comes to dosage is that regular people who just want to maintain their health should take a regular joe multivitamin and then not worry about it. But if you're an athlete, a bodybuilder or you've recently suffered an injury and want it to heal faster... then getting the more expensive vitamins makes good logical sense.

Want some interesting facts about vitamins?

Too much caffeine or alcohol can turn your urine clear as your kidneys work hard to dispose of the chemicals.

Dark yellow means you are dehydrated and need to drink more water.

Bright yellow is from Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavon.

If you currently take a multivitamin and your urine is not changing color, it actually means that you are not receiving a sufficient amount. (Therefore don't worry, you aren't wasting any money!)

Less than 25% of Americans take enough Vitamin C on a daily basis.

You would need to regiment your food intake to make certain you are getting enough vitamins on a daily basis. Most people don't have time for that so the short cut is to take a multivitamin pill.

The therapeutic use of vitamin supplements can both treat and prevent serious disease by having vitamins in your system able to help fight off infection and cancer.

When in doubt about whether you should be taking extra vitamins then consult a nutritionist.

Six Pack Abs - The Final 5 Lbs

Lets say for a moment that you used to be obese. You've lost 100 lbs since then, and its been a long process of exercise, maintaining your diet, and you may have even fallen off the horse a couple times on your quest to have Six Pack Abs, but now you're almost there.

You can FEEL your ab muscles underneath a tiny layer of fat and skin. You are so close you can literally feel the muscles, but try as you might you cannot seem to shed that last 5 lbs and attain the Six Pack Abs you've been dreaming of.

After succeeding at a long term weight loss program many people like Jim find that they can't firm up the final few few pounds around their midsection. It is a common problem, but there is a solution.

Here are four techniques to try (possibly in combination):

1. Stress Management


On the wellness side of things, stress makes it difficult to shed fat. Especially if you are too stressed to eat properly or keep to your exercise routine. Stress makes you do two things: #1. It makes you want to relax, pig out and let yourself go. #2. Stress releases hormones that will make your body try to store fat - starting with your midsection.

Thus when you are feeling stressed here is what you need to do: Take a nap, do yoga and/or meditation. Sleep and time to think will do wonders for your stress levels and you won't feel the need to relax and binge on food.

2. Focus on Diet

Nutritionists always tell people that if they are exercising to their full potential, and not seeing the results that they want to achieve, then they need to be looking at their diet. The last few pounds around the waistline is notoriously toned with a cleaner diet. This should include eating plenty of vegetables, raising protein and lowering carbs. It also helps to drink plenty of water and avoid sugar.

A more extreme version might be to try a lemonade detox diet for 10 days. Or at very least cutting out carbs for 1 month (no bread, no pasta, no potatoes, etc) until you've lost those last 5 lbs.

3. Core Training

Sometimes putting on extra muscle helps to firm up the skin that is covering the abdominal. In addition to isolated abs training, focusing strength sessions on compound exercises (using more than one muscle at a time) and exercise that combines balance, plyometrics and stretching. Yes, stretching helps to develop muscle!

4. Marathon Training

Or at least a 5 km run. If you aren't doing it already, try training for a long run like a marathon or half marathon. Start jogging/running every day for 1 hour.

A 125-lb. person burns 283 calories running 4 mph for one hour. Increasing to a 5-mph pace burns an additional 227 calories per hour.

A 150-lb. person burns 340 calories running 4 mph for one hour. Increasing to a 5 mph pace burns an additional 272 calories per hour.

A 175-lb. person burns 397 calories running 4 mph for one hour. Increasing to a 5-mph pace burns an additional 317 calories per hour.

Over a period of a month such a regimen will burn approx. 4 to 10 lbs depending on your size and speed. You may discover it will work faster than that thanks to the After Burn Effect - calories being burned after doing high intensity exercise due to your cell's energy being replenished and muscle tissue being repaired  / new tissue created.

Long distance running also produces "Runner's High" - a cocktail of addictive hormones in your system - which will lower your stress, but beware of the dangers of addiction because some runners become so addicted they lose friends and family because they're outside running 100 km+ per week.

Combined these four tips will help to achieve a lean and hard midsection and get you those Six Pack Abs you've been dreaming of.

Heart Rate Targeting for Aerobic Efficiency

Trying to attain a specific heart rate during aerobic activities is one way to increase your overall fitness and endurance (and the strength of your heart).

Monitoring your heart rate by taking your pulse is the best way to see if you are working at the correct intensity to be getting a full workout. If your heart rate is above or below the acceptable levels, you should either increase or decrease your effort.

40-70% MHR = Active Living Zone - Best for "fat burning" and general health. Work at the level that meets your needs.

60-90% MHR = Aerobic Zone - Best for improving efficiency of cardiovascular system.

60-70% MHR = Optimal Active/Aerobic Zone - This is the best zone to get all the benefits of fat burning, general health and improving your cardiovascular system at the same time.

MHR = Maximum Heart Rate

HOW TO TAKE YOUR PULSE

When measuring your pulse use index and middle fingers. Never use your thumb since it has it's own pulse.

When you feel your pulse, count the beats for 10 seconds and then multiply your 10-second pulse rate by 6 to determine your pulse in Beats Per Minute (BPM). Alternatively you can also count for 15 seconds and then multiple by 4. It really depends on personal preference.

YOUR TARGET HEART RATE

Depending on your age and your physical condition your target heart rate will be very different. For athletes with strong hearts their heart rate will be 10% to 20% lower than a normal person because their heart is stronger and doesn't need as much effort to reach the same level of intensity.

You can also determine your target heart rate using the following mathematical formulas.

220-Age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

MHR × 40% = Low level of Active Living Zone

MHR × 60% = Low level of Aerobic Zone

MHR × 70% = High level of Active Living Zone

MHR × 90% = High level of Aerobic Zone

MHR × 65% = Is the halfway point between 40% and 90% and inbetween 60% and 70%, making it within your Optimal Fat Burn / Aerobic Zone.

Thus 220 - Your Age x 65% - Your Optimal Active/Aerobic Zone

Example: If you are 40 years old your MHR = 180. Times that by 0.65 to get 117, which is your optimal heart rate.

THE TALK TEST

A great and easy way to determine what level of activity you are doing is to do the "Talk Test." Can you manage to carry on a conversation while being active? Then chances are you are working within your Active Living Zone. If conversation is impossible because you are too busy trying to breathe then you are within the aerobic zone.

Understanding Plyometrics

Ever heard of Plyometrics?

Plyometrics, otherwise known as jump training, is a sports conditioning technique to improve performance. If you've never heard of it, don't worry, but the good news is that it is very good for building strength and full body conditioning while receiving a cardiovascular benefit - all at the same time.

The exercises that are included in plyometrics cause the exerciser to utilize muscles they don't normally use, including both lower and upper body muscles important for balance and core strength.

They're also great for doing morning exercises and they cost nothing for equipment, so they're frugal too.

They're also adaptable. Exercises such as push ups, squats and lunges can be made into plyometric exercises by pushing upwards to make you leave the ground through the point of contact (heels for squats and lunges, palms for push ups). Thus the simple act of push ups becomes more difficult and also more rewarding physically.

Other plyometric exercises include:

#1. Jumping side to side, back and front
#2. Long jumps
#3. Jumping with a knee tuck
#4. Swing kicks (straight leg swinging over a chair)
#5. Exercises that mimics sports movement such as throwing a basketball in a jump shot.

When you first start doing plyometric routines you might be concerned over prior injuries in your ankles and/or knees. However, what you will discover is that the training actually strengthened those weaknesses, instead of aggravating them.

The beauty of plyometric training is that it can be easily modified for the individual:

#1. Exercises can explode out of the form without leaving the ground
#2. One leg exercises can be completed on two legged exercises
#3. Smaller jumps can be substituted for high jumps

Plyometrics training will make athletes stronger at their game and the hobby exerciser receives overall body conditioning, and provide a nice change of pace for a general fitness regimen.

You may even enjoy it and make it part of your regular routine. :)

Motivational Exercise Quotes

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate
the mind on the present moment."
- Buddha

"Your own motivation in life is what keeps you going and excites you to live. Having a dream and a true passion to do what you love is what living is all about. Remember this, and forever be happy." - Unknown

"The most expensive piece of real estate is the six inches between your right and left ear. It’s what you create in that area that determines your wealth. We are only really limited by our mind." - Dolf de Roos

"The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we've already achieved them." - Denis Waitley

"Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else." - Les Brown

"The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret to outward success." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow." - Doug Firebaugh

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

"You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind." - Author Unknown

"When I realized I could do it I also realized the only thing holding me back was excuses." - Charles Moffat


How to Exercise Indoors in the Winter

If you hate going outside in the winter there is a long list of activities you can do for exercise in the winter - and lots of ways to get yourself motivated to exercise in the winter too!

#1. Make your Cardio More Spicy!

Give yourself a challenge and change the tempo of your workout. Try doing things faster, or try adding weights to your cardio, change the speed of repetitions every 5 minutes, and do it while listening to the most awesome motivating music you can think of.

#2. Take Up Weightlifting for Fun!

If you don't have weights at home just pick up random things that are heavy and lift them 20 times so you can get some repetitions going. Try different weights, different ways of lifting them, standing, sitting, laying down on your back.

#3. Clean the house while listening to LOUD music!

Really loud music gets you in the mood to move. Cleaning your house is cardio exercise and you will get a lot done in a hurry as the music will encourage you to move quickly.

#4. Clear a space just for Exercising!

If you have a cluttered home then doing step #3 first will mean you have space to exercise. Set aside that space for doing jumping jacks, yoga, jogging in place, practicing your high kicks or shadow boxing.

#5. Make a Cardio Medley!

I don't mean just music, pick 3 or 4 exercises you love doing and keep doing them one after the other for an hour 5-6 times per week. Having music to listen to will help you stay motivated.

#6. Try something New!

Be creative and look around for new things to try. If you've never done skip rope, now is your chance to try. You don't even need a "skipping rope" when any piece of rope will do.

#7. Download Exercise Videos on YouTube or FrostWire

They're free!

#8. Exercise Games

Thanks to Wii Fit and similar games now on the market there are lots of options out there to get moving if you want something fun to do.

#9. Take up a musical instrument!

Some musical instruments are also exercises because they require a lot of effort to play them. A drum set for example using a lot of upper body motion or the bagpipes uses breathing exercises and abdominal muscles.

#10. Dancing!

Make a playlist and just dance in your own funky way privately. Nobody can know but you, and everyone will be wondering what your fitness secret is!

#11. Take the Stairs!

If you live in a condo or apartment building find excuses to take the stairs. Doubles as weightlifting if you're carrying packages with you.

#12. Sex!

Believe it or not this is arguably the most enjoyable exercise you can do in the winter. Sadly it will never be a sport at the Winter Olympics.

:)

6 Eating Tips for Weight Loss Success

Eating healthy so you can have more weight loss success is more than just consuming less calories than you burn each day. Every nutrient should count towards the health benefits that are received, and should fuel every workout.

1. Track your intake of Vitamins

You want to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D (which cuts back on fat storage) and other healthy vitamins that your body needs. Vitamins makes your body work more efficiently, store less fat and boosts your metabolism (which means you have more energy to exercise and even feel motivated to exercise).

2. Plan your Meals Accordingly

It's amazing how easy it is to eat healthier if you have a plan - and know what you need more of. Once you've figured out which vitamins you need choosing what to eat is a very simple thing organize. Just think about what you will eat the day before and purchase ingredients in advance (or buy fresh if you live right beside a supermarket). Think about the times that you will eat your meals, and make sure that they are spaced out well enough so that hunger doesn't strike too early. When you're sticking to a plan, you are less likely to deviate from the diet.

If you don't plan ahead you will find it very challenging to stick within your dietary guidelines. You will end up eating too much sodium and/or having to resort to frozen food, and paying too much money for a salad that you could have made yourself! Planning really works!

3. Don't be Afraid of Snacks

Healthy snacks are good for you. They regulate your energy levels so you don't end up feeling starved later and over-eating things you shouldn't be eating in the first place. Avoiding snacks and binge eating isn't going to make you any thinner or healthier. Healthy snacks such as fruits or granola taste great, give a good energy boost, and when supper arrives you won't be as hungry. If you're exercising a lot aim for a protein bar. Avoid anything with lots of sugar or chocolate (chocolate bars are mostly sugar and very little cocoa).

4. Alternate High and Low Carbs

Some people like to alternate high and low carbohydrate meals. eg. Carbs for breakfast and supper, but not for lunch or snacks. The idea is to reduce your carb intake, but still maintain your energy levels and still being able to eat the foods your enjoy. You will want to eat carbs when you're going to be more active on a particular day and lower your carb intake if it's a lazy day where you know you won't be exercising much (like attending a funeral). Or if you know that you will be dining out, or going to the movies (and eating junk food) later on then you should still eat, but avoid anything high in carbs. Carbohydrate reduction (not elimination!) is necessary for weight loss success. Less bread doesn't mean you cut out bread entirely.

Why the big fuss over carbs? Carbohydrates are always underestimated, but they're a major factor in putting on weight - especially if you eat bread a LOT. Carbs are in almost everything, including bread, cake, doughnuts, milk, beans, fruit, vegetables etc. If a dieter is only counting carbs in the bread and whole grains that are consumed, the meal plan will have more than originally estimated. Pay attention to other sources of carbs than just bread and cereal.

5. Cut Back on Sugary Beverages

If you can't cut them out entirely at least cut back on your soda pop (or aim for the Diet Cola instead, although that isn't as good as you think as you will see below).

Any drinks with lots of sugar in it is going to contribute to the overall caloric intake. People who drink coffee with lots of sugar are likewise going to face problems.

Even diet drinks that have been artificially sweetened will cause a dieter to overeat. This is due to the sweetener telling the brain that it is going to have something sugary when it is not. Eventually the brain says, "Hey, where's that sugar you promised me?" and that's when a sugar craving kicks in... and then you eat something else with sugar in it and are more likely to binge on it because your brain is saying "Yes! Sugar! Finally!"

It's incredible how less often you will crave junk and sugary food when you haven't been eating it. Fried, fatty and sugary foods react in the body like an addiction. The more you have the more you want. The less you eat and less you desire it, eventually you just break the habit.

6. Think Smaller Portions

If the meal is bigger than your hand then its too much all at once. Its better to have 4 or 5 small portion meals per day than 3 BIG meals per day. With time the portions will get smaller because your energy levels are more regulated and even, thus you don't feel as hungry. Thus you don't binge. Thus you don't pack on the pounds and get addicted to sugar and fat... and thus becomes the awful cycle. Smaller portions helps you to break the cycle of addiction, like weaning kittens off their mother's milk.

Use the above 6 tips to achieve weight loss success through nutrition.

Archery Testimonial from Two Students

Two of my archery students sent in the photos below and the following testimonial:

“Charles provided a great introduction to archery and within a couple hours I felt far more comfortable and saw improved accuracy from start to finish.” - Shaun.



Motivational Quotes to Exercise

"Exercise should be fun, otherwise, you won't be consistent." - Laura Ramirez

"There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality." - Anthony Robbins

"You've got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It's called perseverance." - Lee Iacocca

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When you nourish your body with pure energy, you transform
from the inside out."
- Bill Phillips

Going the Distance: Building Heart and Lung Muscles

Do you get tired easily?

Does taking the stairs at a friend's apartment building sound like a chore to you?

If your car broke down and you only had to walk for 30 minutes to get there, could you do it with a smile on your face?

The thing you probably don't know is that endurance is very difficult to measure because it really comes down to two things:

#1. The strength of your heat muscles

The human heart is composed of a series of intricate muscles which contract and squeeze the heart, thus pumping fresh blood (and energy) throughout our cardiovascular system. Some of the energy being transported is sugar, fat and even proteins, but another source of energy the blood transports is oxygen from your lungs...

#2. The strength of your lung muscles

Air is drawn into the lungs by the pharyngeal muscles. Breathing out is automatic and requires no effort, but breathing in requires a contraction of the pharyngeal muscles. Rapid breathing is the result of a rapid use of these muscles, resulting in more oxygen being sent from the lungs to the heart, which makes re-oxygenizes blood to make fresh blood. That oxygen is then transported all over the body to specific muscle groups which need it most.

So how do you make your heart and lung muscles stronger? The answer is quite simple: Cardiovascular Exercises (or Cardio for short). Running, swimming, cycling, jumping jacks, boxing and similar activities get your heart racing and your lungs working quickly. Such exercises don't just build up your muscles in your heart, lungs, legs, arms, etc, but they also burn a lot of calories (fat, sugar, etc). They also reduce your risk of heart failure as you get older because you have a good strong heart.

Additional benefits include: A boosted immune system, a higher metabolism, a more enjoyable sex life, a slimmer figure, reduced chances of cancer and many other health benefits.

When you hear about people who go jogging or running for 60 to 120 minutes on a regular basis you may wonder how they managed to get that way. Truth is they didn't start out they way. They built up their heart and lung muscles over time, years of jogging and running on a weekly basis. Compared to some people who can only run for a minute or two, it may seem mind boggling that some people are able to run that far over long distances.

But what if I was to tell you that was actually the norm during "cave men times"? No TV, no internet... everyone hunting and gathering for food. Exercise was part of daily survival and recreational sports. The human body hasn't really advanced much physically since then. We still have the same genetic codes for accomplishing such feats of strength and endurance. So you do have the genetic material inside you to become a caveman (or cavewoman) running machine. You just need to unleash it.

Learning How to Improve Your Endurance

1. Practice Often (Once a Week is Not Enough)

A huge factor in improving cardio endurance is not letting progress slip away by taking a week off. You need to be doing intense cardio at LEAST twice a week to see progress. Even though it is built back quickly, stamina is lost rather quickly if you stop practicing because your heart and lung muscles wither back to normal if you aren't giving them a regular challenge. When starting out, aim to train at least 2-3 times a week.

The BEST routine is to go jogging every second day. 15 days per month. Why? You need the day off in-between to rebuild muscles. If you try to do it everyday then your muscles will be damaged repetitively without enough time for them to repair themselves.

2. Always Reach Limits and Aim Higher

It will be difficult when you first start jogging and running. One way to improve your stamina in a quicker way is to turn your jogging routine into Interval Training Exercise. You alternate jogging for several minutes with walking for several minutes, increasing times for the jogging on a weekly basis until eventually you are jogging the entire time. See the image on the right as an example of how to do this.

3. Push Through your Mental Barriers

Psychologically it's not going to be easy to keep jogging. Nobody likes to lose their breath or have sore legs but you know what, it will get better really soon as you build up your strength and endurance! Keep at it and within a couple of months the less enjoyable parts of building endurance will be a distant memory.

And you will be so happy you did it and succeeded when you do reach that point where you've realized you have the endurance to do it and keep doing it.

The world is beautiful and amazing

The world is beautiful and amazing. Now go outside and exercise!



Note: I am not intentionally advertising the camera used in the video. I just think it is a great motivational video to go outside and exercise.

Now Certified by ELITE Trainers

I am now Certified as a Level One Personal Trainer by ELITE Trainers. The ELITE test is really freaking hard. It took me 4 days just to finish the test.

I am not kidding. It has 100 essay questions and you're expected to write a lot on each question. Its like running a marathon, except they're testing your knowledge of various exercises, body types, cardio, weightlifting, stretching, vitamins, supplements, how to make small talk, how to motivate clients, everything... it is a freaking grueling test.

But at least now I am "certified". That is the really stupid thing about the whole certification nonsense. There is no legal requirement to be a certified personal trainer. Its purely a social protocol. Anyone can become a personal trainer, but being certified really helps when it comes to advertising and getting new clients.

I am also thinking of getting my certification to become a Nutritional Consultant - which again, there is no requirement to do that, it is just handy to have because it looks good when trying to attract new clients. Which means I would have to write another test... another 100 essay questions on nutrition. And then the waiting to see if I failed.

That is the really tricky part with ELITE Trainers. You have to score 86 to 100% to pass the test. If you score 85% then you failed. They set their standards really high. I scored 88% on the Personal Trainer test, so I managed to pass, but I am not sure if I want to repeat that process because it was so incredibly difficult.

ELITE uses a ranking system whereby you can become a Level Two, Level Three, etc in various fields including Nutritional Consultant, Personal Trainer, Sports Instructor, Weightlifting / Bodybuilding Instructor, Yoga Teacher. The ranking system goes all the way up to Level Ten and you can only take the next level if you wait 6 months. So in six months I may go back and take the Level Two Test... but for now I shall just wait and see.

I might also get the Sports Instructor certification, seeing as I currently teach archery, boxing, ice skating and swimming, but its kind of unnecessary. I shall think about it. I am not certain I need another certification just for attracting clients.

Hard Work Motivational Quotes

"Nothing worth doing is ever easy and working hard to succeed and finally achieving it is its own reward because then you can finally say 'I did it!' and knowing that if you hadn't done it you would have been forever disappointed."
- Charles Moffat


"Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win."
- Nadia Comaneci

"I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near."
- Margaret Thatcher

"When you live for a strong purpose, then hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necessity."
-Steve Pavlina

"The daily grind of hard work gets a person polished."
- Unknown

"Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted."
- David Bly

Archery Testimonial X 2

"Charles is a great archery instructor. We highly recommend him for anyone who is looking to take up the sport and wants to improve their aim dramatically in a hurry. The zombie archery target at the end of the lesson was a fun added bonus. Thanks again!"

- George and Linda R.



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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